Archive - March 7, 2015

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Remembering Peace Corps Evaluator Novelist Mark Harris
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Loose Change
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Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) New Book: My Life as a Pencil

Remembering Peace Corps Evaluator Novelist Mark Harris

One afternoon back in 1963 novelist Mark Harris received a telephone call from Sargent Shriver inquiring whether he’d be interested in writing a special report about the Peace Corps. Mark gladly accepted, then waited five months while his loyalty and sanity were investigated (been there, done that), and then he went overseas  to West Africa where he wandered around for ten days in a country he later called ‘Kongohno’ and he also  wrote his one-and-only Evaluation Report for Charlie Peters. Mark Harris retells all this in a book entitled, Twentyone Twice published in 1966. The book has two sections. One is about getting through security, the second is about Africa. The fictional name that he used of the West African country he visited is Kongohno…I’m not sure of the actual country, but I believe it was Sierre Leone. Old timers in the Peace Corps might know the real name of the country Mark Harris visited as a Peace Corps Evaluator in . . .

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Loose Change

One night hubby and I clicked the numbers on the remote control hoping for a glimpse into the wonders of the natural world on NatGeo. Question marks appeared on the screen. We checked other nearby channels. Nada. Nothing. A message at the bottom of the screen informed us that the cable server had “rearranged” their grid of channels. Nobody consulted us. Where were our favorite channels? Just when we finally had the channel numbers engraved in our memories, they up and CHANGED them! It’s like at the grocery store, when someone gets the brilliant idea to change the location of their products, and shopping takes an hour and a half instead of the usual hour. On my yearly visit back to my hometown, I head to a favorite shop and…it’s no longer there. Slow changes, fast, surprising changes. Changes in our aging bodies. Stiffness getting out of the car. When . . .

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Ron Arias (Peru 1963-64) New Book: My Life as a Pencil

A former English teacher and newspaper and magazine journalist, most recently for 22 years at People Ron Arias has published the following books: The Road To Tamazunchale, a novel nominated for a National Book Award; Five Against the Sea, a true survival saga; Healing from the Heart, with Dr. Mehmet Oz; Moving Target: A Memoir of Pursuit, and White’s Rules:Saving Our Youth, One Kid At A Time, with Paul D. White. An amateur potter, he lives with his wife Joan in Hermosa Beach, CA, while their filmmaker son Michael resides in Japan, which increasingly has become a second home for them. This book is about Ron as a reporter, or as he writes, a ‘pencil’. It is a collection of outtakes and back-stories from decades of reporting in global hot spots, most recently for 22 years at People magazine. Arranged chronologically, starting in 1959 with a wine-drinking encounter with Ernest Hemingway in Spain, the stories . . .

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