Holiday shopping tip: remember the indies.

While you are thinking of holiday shopping, remember your independent bookstores. Their sales are down 40% although people are buying books in record numbers (mostly through Amazon). This operation, Bookshop. org, is trying to help. The profits go to the bookstore. Try them. Of course, my books are there, too, but go ahead and search for others. Happy shopping!

Sea story: Judges and schoolteachers in Mogadiscio (1982)

In 1982, the capital of Somalia was still spelled in Italian. Today it is spelled Mogadishu, but it sounds the same. USS Coronado, a large amphibious ship painted white, dominated the harbor as she moored to the pier downtown. USS Coronado as CMEFThe flagship of the Commander, US Middle East Force was making her semi-annual Swing around the Indian Ocean, showing the flag and maintaining relations with the local governments. We did not know that it would be our last Swing: before long, the Iran-Iraq war would grind to a halt, but not before the US Middle East Force would be absorbed by the new US Central Command. By the end of the decade, the US Fifth Fleet would dominate the waters between Suez and Singapore, and the Middle East Force would join the Sand Pebbles and the Mediterranean Squadron in the pages of naval history. But not yet. Continue reading