So far, neither source has mentioned why this strange order of conduct was in effect. So I’ll have to read more material to see if the first sources are wrong. If it was an accurate recording of how things were done on the Japanese side, I want to read more about why it was so.
|Kwantung Army surrendered en masse to the Soviet Red Army.|
ByJames Robert Smith
Ineed to say a few things up front, before I even start this story.
|My mom’s parents. From what I understand, around this time my grandfather was a performing–apparently a singing!–acrobat. Wish I knew more about that act.|
Same thing here. Photos of my mom’s sisters are all packed up except for these two sent to me via Internet some months ago from a wedding many decades ago (1930s?). Here, my mom’s sisters Florris, and Verna.
Musings on genre writing, waterfall wandering, and peak bagging in the South’s wilderness areas.
Originally I had planned to hike a side trail to see a major waterfall on the mountain, but it was closed due to damage from a severe forest fire. So I had to forego that part of the hike and just hit the summit and come back down.
As I stated in my previous blog post, it has been quite some time since I have been on anything approaching a serious hike. This is because I took a job last year that put me working full time and which has kept me from hitting the trails as much as I’d like. In addition, every time I have planned a hiking or backpacking trip to coincide with a day or two off I have been faced with heavy rains. I have hiked and backpacked in rain before, but it’s not my favorite thing to do (to put it mildly) so I cancelled all of those hiking trips.
Thus, my legs especially are in bad shape. Walking around the neighborhood just doesn’t give me the kind of exercise to keep my muscles and tendons in good condition. So, the almost nine-mile hike I took to the top of the mountain and back to the cabin put a lot of stress on those mushy muscles and tendons. Ouch.
But it had to be done. Weather for my next day off (Monday) calls for sun and cool temperatures so I have a hike planned. Hopefully I’ll be able to do more mountain hikes and keep my legs in better shape.
Here then is a brief video concentrating on the bands of low cliffs I passed under on my way to the top of the mountain. Because of all of the rainfall this year, the overhangs had become drizzling waterfalls and the route sent me under the overhangs to avoid getting soaked.
|This is normally just a dry wash. Saturday it was a waterfall.|
|One of the first extensive bands of cliffs you see on the climb.|
|The trail takes you under some of these rocky overhangs.|
|I had to edge in close to the mountain here to avoid getting soaked by this ephemeral waterfall.|
At any rate, we went to spend two nights at Table Rock State Park near Pickens, South Carolina and I finally got in some serious hiking. However, I am so out of shape that I paid for the almost nine miles I put in on the first day. By the time I got back to the cabin my thighs and hamstrings were all cramping and I was in total agony off and on for about four hours.
But…it was worth it just to be able to hike in my southern Appalachian mountains. With any luck the weather will cooperate on my next day off and I can get in some more hiking then.
|Just after we arrived at the park to stay in Cabin #7.|
|At Bald Knob just after hitting the summit of Pinnacle Mountain.|
|Table Rock and The Stool (right) from Bald Knob.|
On the way back to my truck (parked on the ridge along the road you can see), I returned to the top to take in the view. I can never resist the hike to the top of that mountain. Looking down I could spot no one else (it was a Monday and the multitudes who had filled the meadow on the weekend were gone back to Asheville). Best of all, the place was silent. Completely quiet. I couldn’t hear a single human voice, no flutes piping away, and no damned annoying drums. Just the wind and some bird song.
At any rate, I always think of the contrast when I look at this old photo. What a huge difference a couple of days can make.
|The meadow devoid of humans and noise.|
One filmmaker whose work I generally despise is M. Night Shyamalan. His movies are–to put it mildly–mostly stupid. I was first talked into going to see his movie “The Sixth Sense”. I concluded that it was insipid and predictable. It wasn’t without a good performance from Bruce Willis, and that was the only thing that kept me from walking out on it.
In addition, I have seen (or tried to watch) a host of his other films. Either out of boredom or at the request of friends who actually do enjoy his movies. They were pretty much all complete failures for me, except for one movie.
“Unbreakable”. That was the only movie from Shyamalan that I have seen which I quite enjoyed. Yes, it is a silly superhero movie. But he plucked out most of the goofy ideas of the superhero theme and–as much as was possible–turned it all into something almost realistic. For the first time in my life I watched a filmmaker actually create a superhuman project that really was (to quote the silly meme from the 1980s) “not just for children anymore”.
He removed the idea of spandex costumes. He dispensed with secret identities, headquarters, allies, and other such fantasies. One of the things I rather did like about the film is that the superhero in the movie doesn’t even realize that he is such until someone tweaks it out of him. And then it becomes an inner conflict of whether the protagonist is, in fact, superhuman, or just mentally disturbed. In addition, the powers that the hero has are almost believable. Not quite, but just enough for me to be able to enjoy the movie as something approaching logic–tremendous strength, a high level of immunity from physical damage, and a measure of telepathy that is so vague it even confuses the hero. Yeah, I could dig it.
Also, it didn’t hurt that it starred Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, two actors whose work I sometimes enjoy. Both of them tend to deliver questionable performances from time to time, but now and again they will also surprise me with particularly convincing portrayals.
It was because of “Unbreakable” that I relented and tried to watch a string of his other movies which were absolutely awful and made me wonder if the writer/director is a moron (and also how anyone would continue to give him the vast amounts of cash it requires to make a major film these days). These later movies were so awful that the very mention of his name ended up filling me with a sense of disgust.
I never did see “Split”, his movie about a man who is besieged by multiple personalities. Because I had already seen or tried to watch “Signs”, “The Village”, “The Happening”, and “After Earth”. I turned all of those off because they were so horrid in every way I could mention. The man was, I had to admit, a manufacturer of shit.
Except for that one movie, “Unbreakable”.
Later I read that he is doing a sequel to “Unbreakable”, and that his previous movie “Split” is actually part of his superhero trilogy. Therefore, I will go to see “Glass”, his new movie, the final film in his trilogy. I’ll also rent “Split” to see if it’s his usual awful material. Maybe he’ll surprise me.
Or maybe I’ll have been suckered again. I’ll let you know.
|Bruce Willis as the unbreakable superhero, here trying to use his confusing ability of extra-sensory powers.|
|James McAvoy as the monstrous “Beast”. (I wonder what kind of a deal they had to work with Marvel Comics/Disney for the use of that hame.)|
|Samuel L. Jackson as the dapper evil genius, Mr. Glass.|
Musings on genre writing, waterfall wandering, and peak bagging in the South’s wilderness areas.
And I used to wonder what it would be like to hike through the Smokies and encounter things like timber wolves and fishers, bison and elk, mountain lions and beaver. From time to time I would hear some people talk of reintroducing some of these creatures into the Park, but I never heard any concrete plans to do so.
However, eventually, the Park Service did create and implement an action that resulted in the reintroduction of elk. They chose Cataloochee Valley to be the initial site for this and began to bring in and acclimatize the big deer. I will never forget the first time I drove into Cataloochee hoping to spot some elk and doing exactly that, seeing a couple of big bulls at the edge of the forest and the field, standing there on the verge where I was able to snap a few grainy photos with my first digital camera back in 2005.
I still enjoy going to Cataloochee to spot the elk. It remains the best place to see them, as the core of the burgeoning herds still call it home. I speak to people who encounter them in other parts of the Park, so they are spreading out. Eventually, I hope they begin to move out in all directions as the population increases and that they will spread into other parts of the southern Appalachians–perhaps even to my home state of Georgia. That would be something to see.
In meantime, it would be nice to see the return of some of the other great animals missing from the ecological web of the southern Appalachians. The fisher has been successfully reintroduced to West Virginia. Maybe they could naturally return to the Smokies. Perhaps mountain lions could come back to the southeast. While it would be great to see bison also come back, the facts on the ground there would make it difficult. The Park is surrounded by suburban sprawl and I doubt that local people would agree with having to deal with such a large animal parading through neighborhoods and onto streets and lawns. But it would be grand.
|This guy was in charge. He had a couple of scars on his right flank, probably from past duels.|
|A couple of cows.|
|Whenever I see elk herds or whitetail deer herds in the Park, I also see flocks of wild turkey.|
|On the move.|
|The bull was concentrating on courting this particular cow. I suppose she was the one most open to mating.|
|The herd here was large. Dozens of elk, mainly cows.|
|The big bull tolerated a couple of young spike bucks in the field. Not sure why, unless he didn’t look upon them as anything approaching a threat.|