Beyond the Call

It’s National Medal of Honor Day. Since its creation in 1863 there have been 3530 Medals of Honor awarded to 3511 individuals. It is given to those who display “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.” 19 service members have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice. Five brothers have received one. Eight civilians have been honored, including Charles Lindbergh and Buffalo Bill Cody. (Facts from Wiki)

Love this headline from a op-ed piece by David Marcus: “Adams says performers are exempt from vax mandates — does that include politicians, who are clowns?” Exemption for elites — anyone surprised? What about all those who were fired for non-compliance? Peons, I guess.

Encouraging headline from “Ukrainian Forces Advance East of Kyiv as Russians Fall Back.”

Headline from “Whoopi Goldberg demands apology from British royal family for colonial past: ‘Somebody is listening’.” That should put a halt to the current slaughter of blacks by blacks.

Born in 1973, Australia’s Max Barry is in the midst of an impressive literary run. He has banged out essays, short stories and seven novels. I just finished his fifth, Lexicon, published in 2013. The cover of the large paperback edition boasts “A Time Magazine Top Ten Fiction Book of the Year” and “An NPR Best Book of the Year.” That persuaded me to give it a shot. I have mixed feelings about it. The writing is so-so, often tedious. 387 pages, it is drawn out, at times annoying. Although I didn’t buy the premise from the outset, I found it interesting. It’s about an organization that weaponizes words. Its members, after schooling, are assigned the name of poets. The narrative focuses mainly on a teenage female gone rogue. The action is set in parts of the USA and a small Australian town. The body count is high. There are brief instances where it rises above thriller. For instance: “… to people at the top, the scariest thing is how many people there are below. They need to watch us…” And: “…we exchange privacy for intimacy. This is why the human animal will always be vulnerable: because it wants to be…” And: “…this underlying lexicon. What are the words? How many are there?” 1124 users at Amazon have rated Lexicon, forging to a consensus of 4.4 on a scale of five. I’ll go with 2.75. So far Barry has had one of his works adapted to film, Syrup (2013), for which he collaborated on the screenplay. Another has been “announced.”

Not much action at the floating book shop on this gorgeous day. My thanks to the woman who delivered a bag of kids’ stuff just as I was about to leave; and to young Gareth, who bought Do Dice Play God?: The Mathematics of Uncertainty by Ian Stewart, and The Platinum Rule: Discover the Four Basic Business Personalities and How They Can Lead You to Success by Tony Alessandra; and to my constant benefactress, who insisted on paying for The Rag Man’s Son, an autobio by Kirk Douglas; and to Sophie, who I thought was joking when she asked for erotic romance, and who purchased Love Slave by Bertrice Small. She said: “Don’t tell my husband.” My lips are sealed.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.