Dispatches from the front.

My sister-in-law came for the holiday with a belated birthday present for her brother: a CD with scans of the photos their father took when he was a soldier. He was a parachute infantryman, really in the shit as they say, but as we all know, sooner or later things began to break the Allies’ way, and among the spoils of war was a Leica camera he took from a German officer, seen here:

Roger Derringer, Southern FRance

(The camera, not the officer. That’s Roger, who would have been my father-in-law if he’d lived long enough to see us married.)

He carried it through the south of France as troops liberated the region in August 1944. First, the bad guys:

nazibunker

I guess that’s a bunker of some sort. I can only guess at the construction materials, but it must have been a headquarters, don’t you think, with that insignia?

Anyway, up through France they marched. Cannes:

liberation of Cannes

And Nice:

Nice, France

This is what being greeted like liberators looks like:

FRanc reception

And no one cares if you take a souvenir or two:

Roger Derringer, France 44

I’d love to know where that flag ended up. Alan says his dad came home with his dog tags and little else. The camera went to an officer, I know. He must have sent the photos ahead somehow.

Quiet day today, not much to report. The coffeemaker broke — on a Monday morning, no less — but we had a backup. Staff call, phone calls, a lingering queasiness that tells me I should really go easier on the rich food, at least over a four-day weekend.

But there is some bloggage:

The perpetually wrong Jennifer Rubin thinks Hillary Clinton can be toppled by? Anyone? Yes, Caroline Kennedy. Your laff of the day.

This is Tippy the fainting squirrel.

Finally, the Amazon drones story. I was astounded to see how much attention it was getting today, especially when I heard people discussing it a year ago at the Detroit policy conference. The problems seem so enormous I don’t know how they can be overcome easily, starting with cost. I seriously doubt free shipping is going to be an option here, so what, exactly, might you order from Amazon that you would need in half an hour that would be worth the price of getting it air-dropped? An engagement ring? Olives for your martini? Beyond that, there’s the distance-from-warehouse detail. Drones are very clever little flying machines, but they are short-range solutions. Across town might work, but I can’t send one down to Coozledad’s farm with a bottle of bourbon strapped to its belly (as much as I might like to). A good deal if you live near a “fulfillment center” (and look how many there are in labor-compliant, low-wage states like Indiana and Kentucky) but not so much for everybody else.

Besides, everyone knows what drones should be used for: Taking pictures of Tina Turner’s wedding.

Happy Tuesday.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' |
 

42 responses to “Dispatches from the front.”

  1. Dexter said on December 3, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Thanks for sharing those precious photos with us. I bet Mr. Roger had to fight off those happily-liberated young ladies “Over There”, being such a movie-star lookin’ handsome son-of-a-gun.

    All this dust-up over drones reminds me of the scooter craze in 2000. These “airplane quality metal-made” scooters were going to replace the bicycle. News specials, advertising…no little motors yet, you had to scoot them. I bought one. The whole movement faded as fast as the even-more ballyhooed Segway. The only real staying power of the Segway was contained to airport security and shopping mall security. Cops never really liked them, too expensive for kids…a near-total flop.
    Drones have practical applications, like for filming real estate that is for sale, but to deliver a toy or a pizza? Dat shit be cra’.

  2. Dexter said on December 3, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Oh…did someone say Kardashian yesterday?
    http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Kim+Kardashian/Kim+Kardashian+Kanye+West+Miami+2/ReX04_bkvga?utm_source=tabo&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=tabo-Z-Photos-Desktop-1

  3. Deggjr said on December 3, 2013 at 6:31 am

    This National Geographic story of ships being broken apart by hand in Bangladesh supports the scrapping/Third World association from yesterday: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wallpaper/ngm/photo-contest/2010/entries/wallpaper/week-10/ngpc-wp-wk-10-9/.

  4. coozledad said on December 3, 2013 at 8:02 am

    As much as I’d love a bottle of whiskey flown in, my neighbor would probably crash into the drone with his ultralight, or his Cessna. He’s always in the air, and nearly always over my house.

    I’m not a violently natured person, and not particularly vindictive. But God help me if I saw one of his machines erupt in a drippy orange fireball, it would be as good as whiskey.

    Sadly, I just can’t drink much of anything anymore. I’ve lost my tolerance for it. It just makes my lower back hurt.

    Maybe someone can drone me some reefers.

    Those are great photographs. I also wonder why the Germans bothered to put a swastika over that dugout.And it seems like constructing the upper portion with pales would just be adding to the shrapnel if there were a nearby artillery hit. It might have been some farmer’s milk cooling or cheesemaking house adapted for ass-covering.

  5. beb said on December 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Segway also has a nice niche in the tourism market. You can book a seqway tour of Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, and I’m sure elsewhere. I susoect the fact that you can’t make them cheap enough is why they didn’t catch on more.

    My dad didn’t drink or gamble so he had a lot of free time in the army, which he and a friend filled by visiting places. His friend was a camera bug so there are a bunch of photos of Dad wandering around the Egyptian antiquities, climbing the pryamids and so on. Which I’ve misplaced somewhere in our house. Damn, I wish I could find them.

  6. brian stouder said on December 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Look at the shoes on the civilians (not to mention the clothes on the women); you can tell it was a Major Special moment for all involved (New Years and Mardi Gras rolled into one)

    Marvelous photos; thanks for the peek

  7. alex said on December 3, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Fulfillment centers. To anyone who’d never heard of them, it might sound like some sort of extravagant day spa where your every wish would be granted. Hoosierland is also home to gazillions of distribution centers for low-rent retailers like Walmart and Family Dollar, and I’ve known a few tubs of lard who went to work in these places and now look fit enough to be professional athletes. So perhaps that’s these companies’ idea of employer provided health benefits — making people run their asses off and do lots of heavy lifting.

    Here’s betting Mitch Daniels is planning a run in 2016 in which he’ll use this state as a model for the nation — a slave colony serving the oligarchs where the inmates can be deluded into believing they’re free.

  8. Jolene said on December 3, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Great pictures, indeed. Alan’s dad was a handsome guy.

    Love your characterization of Jennifer Rubin as perpetually wrong. She is, in addition, utterly humorless and just plain mean. There are some people who should just go away.

  9. nancy said on December 3, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Cooz is so smart. I believe a cheese or milk house is exactly what that was before Jerry turned it into office space. Having grown up surrounded by mono-crop farming, I still think of hundreds of acres of corn, beans or wheat and not actual food.

  10. brian stouder said on December 3, 2013 at 8:57 am

    It looks like Ms Rubin bored her editor into not even reading her thin-gruel. This was sentence number two:

    If so, a hint of a potential romance might be have been spotted — in Japan of all places.

    So was the “hint of a potential” a “might be” or a “been”? Who knows?

    I then skimmed to find a “collective swoon” and was not disappointed.

  11. nancy said on December 3, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Part of my irritation with that piece is, I am OVER Caroline Kennedy. She’s not responsible for the circumstances of her birth or upbringing, but her sense of entitlement just grates, and this constant crediting of her with somehow getting Barack Obama elected, or over some mystical hump, or whatever, bugs me to no end. The *only* people who give a shit about what a Kennedy thinks are reporters who want a lazy, phoned-in column about Legacy and Camelot and Tragic Destiny. Particularly this Kennedy, whose life accomplishments have mainly been raising children, writing books no one reads and giving a speech at the Democratic national convention every four years. For this, apparently she believed she was owed a Senate seat. Ambassadorships to friendly allies I have no problem with, as long as it stops there. The thought of her somehow being a rival to Hillary Clinton is absurd.

  12. Julie Robinson said on December 3, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Great photos, and refreshing to see a time when Americans were loved around the world.

    Caroline Kennedy as presidential candidate would make Sarah Palin look experienced.

    Last night as I took my customary five minute stroll through the afternoon paper I was struck by two articles, the first a rather bizarre and breathless report on how one can use their phones and tablets to watch every second of the Super Bowl, even when nature calls. The Super Bowl, which won’t be played for two months: http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131202/LIVING/312029996/0/SEARCH. One can only ask why this was considered important enough to run on Dec. 2.

    The second, however, is well worth the read:http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131202/NEWS/312029984/1038/HEALTH. The gist is that good ol’ small government Indiana has added a layer of regulations to those who want to become the navigators who help folks (mostly low-income folks, it should be noted) through the healthcare marketplace.

    Let me just quote the article here: “But Indiana has added another certification level for people who want to be insurance marketplace navigators. They must be certified by the Indiana Department of Insurance in the same way an insurance broker is. Aiding people to choose a health insurance plan is serious business, and counselors should know what they are doing, but for bare-bones-budget nonprofits such as RSVP, the process is costly, upwards of $150 a person. Agencies must also pay a fee to the Department of Insurance.”

    If this were a government regulation that affected a business owner, wouldn’t the Repub’s be crying foul and targeting it as a hindrance to capitalism? Why are the tables always turned when it comes to the have-not?

  13. Julie Robinson said on December 3, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Great photos, and refreshing to see a time when Americans were loved around the world.

    Caroline Kennedy as presidential candidate would make Sarah Palin look experienced.

    Last night as I took my customary five minute stroll through the afternoon paper I was struck by two articles, the first a rather bizarre and breathless report on how one can use their phones and tablets to watch every second of the Super Bowl, even when nature calls. The Super Bowl, which won’t be played for two months: http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131202/LIVING/312029996/0/SEARCH. One can only ask why this was considered important enough to run on Dec. 2.

    The second, however, is well worth the read:http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131202/NEWS/312029984/1038/HEALTH. The gist is that good ol’ small government Indiana has added a layer of regulations to those who want to become the navigators who help folks (mostly low-income folks, it should be noted) through the healthcare marketplace.

    Let me just quote the article here: “But Indiana has added another certification level for people who want to be insurance marketplace navigators. They must be certified by the Indiana Department of Insurance in the same way an insurance broker is. Aiding people to choose a health insurance plan is serious business, and counselors should know what they are doing, but for bare-bones-budget nonprofits such as RSVP, the process is costly, upwards of $150 a person. Agencies must also pay a fee to the Department of Insurance.”

    If this were a government regulation that affected a business owner, wouldn’t the Repub’s be crying foul and targeting it as a hindrance to capitalism? Why are the tables always turned when it comes to the have-not?

  14. Jeff Borden said on December 3, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Jennifer Rubin is one of the more egregious “right-wing” hires made by allegedly mainstream news outlets to demonstrate how they are down with the conservatives. Her presence at what was once one of the nation’s premier newspapers isn’t in the worst of it. Torture enthusiast Marc Thiessen –who ghost wrote the new book by Wisconsin’s wingnut governor Scott Walker– also pens crap over there. But Rubin is a very special blend of stupid and arrogance and the next time she’s correct in an assertion will be the first time.

    Charlie Pierce is right about the “courtier village press” in DC. They get hot and bothered at the mere mention of a Clinton, a Kennedy, even a Bush. It is sheer laziness.

  15. Julie Robinson said on December 3, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Sorry for the double post, I would swear I didn’t click twice.

  16. BigHank53 said on December 3, 2013 at 9:16 am

    It’s Jennifer Rubin. She thinks more highly of her toe-jam than she does the Clintons, so it’s no surprise she’d pick someone–hell, anyone–to dislodge Hillary.

    Those drones are never, ever going to deliver anything, and if you want to know why, imagine yourself trying to explain to a jury why your company shouldn’t have to pay for carving three fingers and an eye off a toddler.

  17. LAMary said on December 3, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Not only are Caroline Kennedy’s books read by no one, they’re just collections of stuff written by other people. Her mother’s favorite poems was one, I know. Another was a collection of patriotic stuff.

  18. nancy said on December 3, 2013 at 9:22 am

    The other thing about C.K. is how plainly, obviously she loathes being in proximity with anyone who isn’t of her class or social circle or whatever. I’m sure she’s a fine friend and gracious hostess and whatever else is valued in her Upper East Side world, but she doesn’t like answering impolite questions and she hates the hoi polloi. For once, the would-you-want-to-have-a-beer-with-her test might come in handy.

  19. brian stouder said on December 3, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I think HRC will be our next president, if she wants it (and why wouldn’t she?)

    It will be a presidency of firsts; first female president (not counting Mrs Wilson), first “First Gentleman” in the WHite House; and the odd dynamic of first former president to return to the White House as a non-president.

    And let’s be frank – I think WJC would die a happy soul if HRC becomes president #45…with an emphasis on “die”. He’s not looking the best, and I think he’d never stop nor even slow down in the race to achieve that.

    So we’d have a state funeral for the spouse of a president, who was himself a former president

  20. coozledad said on December 3, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Some California Republicans are going to be read the sentencing guidelines for mail and wire fraud:
    http://wonkette.com/535557/hero-california-republicans-do-their-part-for-constituents-with-fake-obamacare-site#more-535557

    When you’re losing, just lose. Don’t dig your own grave.

  21. brian stouder said on December 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Death Panels!!!

  22. Connie said on December 3, 2013 at 11:34 am

    One of my co-workers just told me he is converting to Mormonism. I am stunned. How does a raised Catholic turned adult atheist get to that point? Before he can be baptized he must marry his long time live-in.

  23. brian stouder said on December 3, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Connie – wow.

    I suppose the bright side is that he didn’t join a (newer?) cult, like the science fiction writer’s one.

    I was gonna say “Happy Birthday Illinois” – 195 years old today – and now you remind me that that state had a pretty big Mormon presence back in the day, ’til they ran them out.

    Maybe ol’ Red Romney* inspired the co-worker?

    *this is what Chloe always (and quite innocently) called the losing presidential candidate, and it just seemed to fit

  24. Charlotte said on December 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Handsome dead father in law! We have a bunch of great photos of my grandmother’s uncle, “The Colonel” who was largely in charge of logistics during the liberation of Italy. Also a handsome devil, although it’s pretty clear that he wasn’t a lifelong bachelor because of his “terrible eczema” (my grandmother’s story) but because he was playing for the boy’s team. Lots of pictures of him with very pretty girls on his arm, and, well, they just all look like beards to a modern eye. (So now “terrible eczema” has become a code phrase amongst us cousins.)

  25. alex said on December 3, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I just had some very obsequious terrible eczema from my bank drop by the office to give me a receipt he could have just as easily put in the mail.

  26. Scout said on December 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Poor Tippy looks like he (she?) has neurological problems.

  27. Connie said on December 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Elan Gale has admitted that he made Diane in 7A up. According to salon.com.

  28. Judybusy said on December 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Gotta love the audacity of Scott Walker.

  29. Joe K said on December 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    We would be talking about john not Caroline if Hillery would not have ordered him shot down.
    Just saying,
    Plot Joe

  30. Dexter said on December 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    The judge has approved, and Detroit can and will proceed with bankruptcy , facing appeals from municipal unions who will fight to keep pensions for cops and firefighters. You’d think everybody could pass the hat in Detroit and come up with a measly $92 billion to cover the debt, eh?
    http://www.freep.com/

    Mitch Albom is spending I believe he said next Tuesday at a mall near Detroit raising money for poor and unfortunate Detroiters…I didn’t get many details as I was just speed-dialing radio shows last evening. He has Lions QB Matthew Stafford onboard and I heard him say Lyle Lovett and many others are stopping by to play music all day long. Sounds like a great event.

  31. Sherri said on December 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I was listening to the news this morning, and there were two stories side by side that struck me. One was the Missouri legislature going in to special session to come up with a package of tax breaks to try and lure Boeing to build the 777 there (because the $9 billion in tax breaks that Washington gave them wasn’t enough, Boeing also wanted to the gut the pensions of the machinists). The second was about the pension shortfall in the state of Illinois, and the proposals to address that.

    Funny how tax breaks for large corporations never seem to be a problem, even when everything else is falling apart. Microsoft still gets a tax break here that was intended for startup companies, which Microsoft was 30 years ago but hardly is now.

    If corporations are people, they sure are greedy people. I read another story recently about car companies building cars in Mexico, and selling the same cars with fewer safety features for higher prices in Latin America than in the US because there are no government regulations requiring those safety features. Yeah, not for lower prices, for higher prices: http://www.mercurynews.com/nation-world/ci_24619458/mexicos-booming-car-industry-selling-unsafe-cars

  32. coozledad said on December 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    It was on that day, my son told me he was gonna be a filmmaker.
    http://gawker.com/movie-theater-sorry-for-playing-graphic-sex-scene-inste-1475659533

  33. brian stouder said on December 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Well, as usual, Cooz’s link gave me my laugh of the day….although Joe’s quip was pretty good, too

  34. Connie said on December 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    You mean Joe wasn’t serious?

  35. Connie said on December 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Ooh, ooh, ooh! I was just handed the advance reader’s edition of Laura Lippmann’s February 2014 release After I’m Gone.

  36. brian stouder said on December 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Laura Lippman is the one person who rights fiction which I always and automatically acquire.

    Connie – this is definitely good stuff!

  37. Julie Robinson said on December 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    If Cooz and Joe made me laugh, it’s Sherri who has the money quote of the day: “If corporations are people, they sure are greedy people.” Preach it, sistah.

  38. brian stouder said on December 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    What Julie said!

    It is like the wise man said -

    ‘Corporations are people, my friend’

    Beauty….sheer unadorned beauty!

  39. Diane said on December 3, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Connie,

    I think you will enjoy it. I read an advance edition and think it is one of her best. The problem I’m discovering with advance editions is that I no longer have the release dates to look forward to.

  40. Deborah said on December 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Ooh la la, fantastic photos. I’ve been to Abiquiu and back so I’m only now having a chance to comment.

    I give CK a break, she’s been through a lot of death in her family.

    Now I’ve got a lot of links to click and enjoy.

  41. Sherri said on December 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    This picture is hilarious: http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2013/12/03/3015921/picture-says-minnesota-vikings-stadium-deal/

  42. Dexter said on December 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    What’s sadder in Pinellas Park, Florida, little kids seeing porn or the same kids passing by many pain clinics where pill heads and addicts scrounge around making deals for pills which flow out of those pain clinics?
    Addicts, junkies, pill-eating freaks passed out against garbage cans on the walkways and in the parks. It’s a helluva place, Pinellas County. So anyway, I believe the porn-switch was probably done by some sick twisted teen-ager who was watching the commotion up in the projection room while whacking his tool.

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