Archive - June 2012

1
Filmmaker Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65) to Premier WAGING PEACE: The Peace Corps Experience, June 21
2
Review of Will Lutwick's Dodging Machetes
3
Office of Inspector General of the Peace Corps denies Dr. Textor opportunity to see a preview of its evaluation of the so-called “Five Year Rule”
4
Review of Juana Bordas's Salsa, Soul, and Spirit
5
Review of Theroux's The Lower River
6
Golf Greatest Rivalry:Players Against the Lake Course
7
Tools of the (Writing) Trade
8
Naughty Titles
9
Hessler in Cairo
10
Leamer Again in the News

Filmmaker Allen Mondell (Sierra Leone 1963-65) to Premier WAGING PEACE: The Peace Corps Experience, June 21

WAGING PEACE: The Peace Corps Experience. A film by Allen Mondell, Media Projects, Inc. On Thursday, June 21, 2012, filmmaker Allen Mondell premiers his latest project, WAGING PEACE: The Peace Corps Experience. The premier will be held at the Collins Center Crum Auditorium on the Southern Methodist University campus. Tickets for the premier include a reception, film screening and panel discussion. Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased online. WAGING PEACE is a collection of letters, journals, blogs and emails that were written by Peace Corps volunteers in the field of their host country. The written material is weaved together with the profiles of four former volunteers who are still trying to make a difference in the world today. The materials range from 1961, when the Peace Corps started, all the way to present day. “I want to convey what it was like to leave this country, whether it . . .

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Review of Will Lutwick's Dodging Machetes

Dodging Machetes: How I survived Forbidden Love, Bad Behavior and the Peace Corps in Fiji by Will Lutwick (Fiji 1968-70) Peace Corps Writers $15.95 paperback 2012 266 pages Reviewed by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras, 1975-77) MR. LUTWICK HAS SUCCEEDED in creating an entertaining and thought provoking Peace Corps memoir. This is a fine example of what a memoir can be for those willing to invest in writing rather than type-writing. Although ostensibly a love story, the author explores military conscription, discrimination and guilt. Written with episodic, fast paced chapters it is intriguing. Once I started, I could not stop and yet, found myself thinking about his story and its themes long after the highlighted passages began to fade. Twenty-two year old Lutwick arrived in Fiji in November, 1968, part of the third group of Volunteers. The program had begun only eleven months before, the same month that the tone of . . .

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Office of Inspector General of the Peace Corps denies Dr. Textor opportunity to see a preview of its evaluation of the so-called “Five Year Rule”

The Office of the Inspector General of the Peace Corps will publish its yearlong review of the “Five Year Rule” within the next “two to three weeks.” Fifty years ago, Dr. Robert Textor authored the original “In, Up, and Out” memo that morphed into the Five Year Rule. Unfortunately, he is scheduled for surgery on June 29th.  He made a reasonable request to be allowed to see the final review before his surgery. The Office of the Inspector General of the Peace Corps considered the request for two days and then denied it without explanation. Dr. Robert Textor was a young Anthropologist who was called to Peace Corps Washington in June of 1961 to consult the fledging agency. As an Anthropologist who had done field work in Thailand, Textor knew how critically important “transcultural experience” was. He wanted to make sure that Peace Corps Washington could capture the “transcultural experience” . . .

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Review of Juana Bordas's Salsa, Soul, and Spirit

Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership For A Multiculural Age by Juana Bordas (Chile 1964–66) Berrett-Koehler Publishers [Second Edition, Updated and Expanded] $22.95 (paperback); $11.62 (Kindle) 232 pages 2012 Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964–66) I WAS PREPARED that Juana’s book would read like a text . . . so I got ready to prep myself like any good student. Wrong — from the first page this “text” read like a novel, excitement and adventure on every page . . . I stopped underlining her quotes with my yellow pen, and just started reading what felt like another beautiful novel from Isabel Allende, same colorful and intense style. Surely they must have been childhood friends! I began to see myself, and my Mexican heritage, as Juana opened doors for me to appreciate the beauty of who we are . . . a “text” of a different nature. There is more to . . .

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Review of Theroux's The Lower River

[Charles Larson (Nigeria 1962-64) who has written some fine books on Africa,  is an African scholar himself, and now a Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. has published a very good review of Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) new novel The Lower River. It is in the weekend edition ( June 8-10, 2012) of  Counterpunch, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. The review is reprinted with Charles permission. You can reach Larson at clarson@american.edu.] Africa Distressed by Charles R. Larson (Nigeria 1962-64) Paul Theroux’s early novels (Fong and the Indians, Girls at Play and Jungle Lovers) drew on the writer’s years in the Peace Corps, in Malawi, where he began teaching in 1963. These works were generally comic, satiric, even hopeful-not the bleakness about Africa revealed in his most recent novel, The Lower River. When Ellis Hock, the main character in the latest work, contemplates . . .

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Golf Greatest Rivalry:Players Against the Lake Course

Golf has always been the breeding ground of great rivalries. The Big Three: Hogan, Nelson and Snead. Then Palmer, Player and Nicklaus. Next, a long decade of Nicklaus vs. Watson. And today Tiger against Everyone! But the greatest rivalry in golf is actually not one player against another. The greatest rivalry pits players against championship courses.  And the one to beat, decade after decade, is the Lake Course of The Olympic Club in San Francisco, home of this week’s 2012 U.S. Open. Ben Hogan, who won three majors in one year, could not defeat this course in 1955. Arnold Palmer, who won everywhere and on every golf course, had a seven-stroke lead with nine holes to go in the final round in 1966 and the Lake Course beat him. Tom Watson, winner of five British Opens, two Masters and one U.S. Open, failed to win there in 1987. And the late, . . .

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Tools of the (Writing) Trade

Here’s an interesting piece in of literary trivia that was in the Authors Guild Bulletin (Spring 2012). Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, an English professor at the University of Maryland, gave a lecture recently at the New York Public entitled, “Stephen King’s Wang.” King’s first computer was a Wang. Kirschendaum collects old computers and hopes to discover “Who was the first novelist to use a word processor?” Mark Twain was the first to use a typewriter, for Life on the Mississippi, and The New York Times quotes Nietzsche, who typed, “Our writing tools are also working on our thoughts.” One of the earliest bestsellers written on a computer was Tom Clancy’s 1984 The Hunt for Red October. Frank Herbert’s Dune may have been submitted to his publisher in the late 1970s on 8-inch floppy disks, according to Kirschendaum. Kirschenbaum’s Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing is due for publication in . . .

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Naughty Titles

Titles with dirty words in them often wind up on bestseller lists according to a short item in the Authors Guild Bulletin, Spring 2012. In 2005, there was On Bullshit. Then followed Shit My Dad Says. In 2010 there was Assholes and in November Tucker Max wrote a sequel, Assholes Finish First. It made the trade paperback bestseller list, but not in the No. 1 slot.

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Hessler in Cairo

Every morning when I wake up to make coffee I flip on Morning Joe and  wait for the failed congressman to stop yapping so I can see if new rioting has taken place in downtown Cairo, and find out what’s new in Peter Hessler’s (China 1996-98) world. Where’s Peter, I’m thinking, as I watch the rioting in Tahrir or Abbasiya. Peter, I know, lives within blocks of city central, and I know he is just a crazy enough RPCV to get close enough to the action to get into real trouble. Well, the new New Yorker (June 18, 2012) has him alive and well and reporting on the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and what it means for Egyptians and the rest of us. The long article (it wouldn’t be a New Yorker article if it wasn’t long) has Peter and his translator Mohamed calmly walking toward another demonstration in . . .

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Leamer Again in the News

Today’s edition of The Journal News, a Gannett paper in Lower Westchester, top story is about Larry Leamer’s (Nepal 1965-67)  bombshell yesterday in Newsweek. The Richardson family said the Newsweek/Daily Beast report was based on “vindictive lies.” Leamer, who is a noted Kennedy authority, and author of three books on the family, based his account, he says, on documents filed during the divorce proceedings. Leamer also says his research showed the Mary Kennedy was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and that she was in his words, “a desperately sick women.” Leamer said he contacted a Harvard professor and authority on the disorder who confirmed that he had met with Mary and Robert Kennedy and that she exhibited, in fact, clear symptoms of the mental illness. Meanwhile, Mary Kennedy’s attorney, said he and the family are shocked by the accusations. Family court document are “sealed”–only available to those who are a party . . .

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