Saturday, June 05, 2004
I don't precisely remember when I became fascinated in the subject of D-Day. The most likely moment is when I saw the movie The Longest Day
. I remember being fascinated that they would have to transport so many cooks and mess tents (can't remember the exact number, but it was north of 10,000), and it was then that I began to realize that war was not just about the fighting, but about the supply and maintenance operations. When you're a kid you might "play war" but when you get hungry you go home for lunch. When you're in a real war you can't go home and grab a bologna sandwich.
For some reason I found that compelling. I won't pretend to be a real scholar on D-Day, but I have read books, seen movies, and played a fair number of computer simulations of the event.
Tomorrow is the anniversary and we will remember the heroes of the actual fighting part of the invasion. But on the day before the anniversary, let's talk about all the folks who risked their lives in support duty:
Here's a D-Day reminiscence from a corporal in the Third Canadian Postal unit
Someone had heard what sounded like sub-machinegun bursts from the spire of the church and then we heard a shout that there was a sniper up there firing indiscriminately at whatever targets presented themselves. The eight of us gathered behind the hedge which was both high and thick and so close across the narrow road from the church that we were out of any line of fire. We all had our weapons with us of course ready for action and the man beside me, whose name I now remember was Ferguson, had a Sten gun. He was holding it pointed down, and I suppose either from excitement or nervousness, he pulled the trigger. The gun ripped off three or four rounds, one of which nicked the sole of my right boot. Another half inch and I would have been the first Postal Corps casualty and probably crippled for life.
Here's one about a communications group
I became a member of a Forward Intelligence Unit (FIU) comprising 1 officer + 5 EM, engaged in operations against bypassed German pockets of resistance, this was mainly in the Gironde estuary.
Evelyn Kowalchuk tells her own story
in audio (Win or Real) about evacuating wounded soldiers from Omaha Beach. Very moving--do not miss this one, but get the hankies out.
And just to remember that they also serve, here's one from the home front
, from the town that lost more men that day for its size than any other, and from the sister who lost two brothers.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Detective #150 Comments
The Batman story, "The Ghost of Gotham" is solid, with excellent artwork by Dick Sprang. Dick and Bruce attend a stage presentation of Macbeth on the third page. The major problem is that the plot is so convoluted that they devote 12 panels (the entire last two pages) to explaining how things happened. As usual, however, the background story is excellent. An expert mentions three famous ghosts, the Drury Lane Theatre Ghost
(mispelled Dury), Jane Seymour of Hampton Court
and Borley Rectory
, known as the most haunted house in England. All of them, as you can see, exist and are considered famous now, 50 years later.
But by far the star of the show is the final Boy Commandos episode in Detective (the series staggered on for two more issues in its own mag before folding). The story is a very clever takeoff on the Around the World in 80 Days story, with the BCs required to circumnavigate the globe while using prescribed methods of transportation. It's a very enjoyable story, with a superb plot and excellent art.
Ted Rall Unemployment Project Gets Results!
Reader and fellow blogger Fred Schoeneman reports
that MSNBC dropped loathsome Ted Rall
in response to the outrage over his odious cartoon slandering the memory of Pat Tillman. Rall seems to think that the news that Tillman was hit by friendly fire means we should all apologize to Ted. Of course, those of you who were reading this blog know that the big objection to Rall's cartoon was over his putting racist words in Tillman's mouth.
I got a little discouraged about the TRUP when all I got back were comments that "We stopped carrying him ages ago". This cheers me up to no end!
You Won't Hear This Report from Dan Ratherbiased
National Geographic has an article on the Shiites of Iraq
. Hugh Hewitt (returned from vacation) points to this paragraph
, which does not appear in the on-line teaser for the story:
"By mid-January of 2004, 270 mass graves had been reported. The Free Prisoners Society estimates that five to seven million people 'disappeared' in the past two decades, the majority of them Shiites."
We mourn for our 800+ soldiers lost in Iraq, as we should. But don't let anybody tell you they died in vain, or for oil.
That's Why It's Pronounced Rooters
Dan Dickinson has a great article on the distorted coverage
of the Iraq war by Reuters.
According to the "Trust Principles" posted on their website, Reuters is "committed to reporting the facts. . . . We do not take sides. . . . Reuters' journalists do not offer opinions or views." (Indeed, days after the September 11 attacks, Reuters took down the digital U.S. flag that was displayed outside its New York office in Times Square. It didn't want anyone to conclude that it supported the United States, as opposed to Osama Bin Laden.)
Best of the Web Today
pointed us to this quote from Reuters
Bush, who avoided combat in Vietnam while serving as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, calls himself a war president for his re-election campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
The Greatest Player in the History of the Montreal Expos
Added excitement as this selection will likely be final.
There are nine hitters with over 950 games played as an Expo; none of them had 1800 games. Tim Wallach leads with 1,767 games, 1,694 hits and 905 RBI. Tim Raines leads in runs scored with 947. Vladimir Guerrero paces the sluggers with 234 homers, nine more than Andre Dawson. Gary Carter is close to the lead in just about everything, plus he was Gary Carter behind the plate. In terms of runs plus RBI, Carter, Raines, Dawson and Wallach all ended up in a tight bunch from 1500-1666. Adjusted for the number of outs, Wallach drops back with .325 Runs +RBI/ Out, while the other three remain in a tight knot from .381 (Carter & Raines) to .393 (Dawson). One nice thing is that all three had very well-aligned careers. Dawson was an Expo from 1976-1986, while Carter played in Montreal from 1974-1984 and Raines from 1979-1990 (and briefly in 2001).
Overall, when faced with men who are similar offensively, I have gone with the best defensive player, and that's clearly Carter, who was probably the best catcher in baseball for much of his career. The pitchers don't have much to offer with the exception of Steve Rogers and Dennis Martinez.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
WWII Memorial Dedication
Bill at InDC Journal has a magnificent post
concerning the dedication of the WWII Memorial this weekend. Lots of great photos, lots of war stories, lots of great reading. One of the best blog posts I can remember.