Don's Blog

Clay Shaw/Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw/Dueling Voices/I Lost It at the Beginning/101 Reasons Not To Murder The Entire Saudi Royal Family/He Knew Where He Was Going (?)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Print Edition Of Clay Shaw Bio Still In Process

Work continues of getting a print edition of my biography of Clay Shaw, Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw. As these things go, the print edition is running behind schedule, mainly due to the extra care taken to produce a nice product. We should be in the final stages now, with release possible by late spring.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Announcing Nashville: The Mood (Part 1)

The first edition of Nashville: The Mood (Part 1) has been published as an e-book at both Amazon and Smashwords, for $2.99. It is available on all e-reader formats, including Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple, Sony, and many others.

The first in a projected series of shorter books, it will be a much different take on Nashville, its atmosphere, its culture, and its morals. Nashville is more than just a state of mind; it's a real city.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Closer To Death, Fidel Castro Acknowledges What Some Have Suspected: "I Have Been A CIA 'Operative' Since 1954"

In Nashville, Tennessee today, a Federal judge ruled that satire is permissible, both in verbal and written forms, but only by securing the advance written admission of the party reading or hearing the remarks that he or she understands the intent behind them. Judge Richard Kasssimouloudisandropoulous said that such an admission must be in writing and signed by both parties.

Meanwhile, in Havana, Cuba, former Cuban President Fidel Castro held a four-hour press conference during which he admitted, and spoke at length about, his long-time CIA connections.

"They recruited me in the mid-50s, long before the revolution. They presented me with a plan, whereby they would support me through my route to power, then we would do an old 'switcheroo' in order to bring in the Russians to support me financially. It was still in the first decade of the Cold War, and the Russians were making some headway around the world, and this was a creative way t sap their time and resources...And yes, that was the very word they used: switcheroo.

"I have to admit, I thought it was the craziest idea  had ever heard of! And quite frankly, these CIA fellows didn't exactly inspire the greatest confidence. They weren't that impressive on the surface. And none of them would enjoy a good Cuban cigar...But I have to admit that, over the years, the plan worked pretty well. We cost the Russians a lot of money that they could have put to use elsewhere, and over a critical, long period of time.

"The only time the Russians came close to figuring it out was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I don't know why, but I could tell they had some suspicions, even though I raised Hell with them for taking the missles out...But the Bay of Pigs operation worked beautifully, and really cemented the deal..If we hadn't pulled that off so successfully, I don't think the whole plan ever would have worked...The Russians were sharp and tough, especially in the old Soviet days."

The press conference was the 107th since Castro became seriously ill in 2005. He has logged more than one thousand hours of press conference time since then, holding some as long as twelve hours in spite of his illness.

Asked if his brother, current Cuban President Raul Castro, knew about his CIA connections, Castro replied firmly, "Of course not. What a question! Raul is stupid! He does what I tell him to do. And I don't tell him everything I do. That would be senseless....But you already know that, or should, if you want to be a good journalist."

Asked if there had been any American movies that had accurately captured Cuba at the time of their viewing, Castro answered, "Only Topaz. Oh, I know it is not Hitchcock's best, not by a long shot. It was still pretty good, though. I liked the scenes with me and my mistress, even thought they couldn't call me by my real name....But my favorite Hitchcock movie was North by Northwest. We had just come to power then, and I remember watching it in the palace right after I moved in....I must have watched the damned thing at least 100 times."

Castro said that he used the term "operative" to describe his CIA role because he never had been sure what the proper term was. "Like many of you in this room, I like spy fiction, and they use that term...In fact, a lot of the CIA people I dealt with read those kinds of books. Cheap fiction....But I think they got a lot out of them. They could always come up with a good idea after reading those books. So I started reading them, too.....But as for the word 'operative,' pick your own word if you don't like it...Hell, I never was sure what I was."

Castro said that he was revealing his role now because he was old, and possibly about to pass on. "I don't know how much time I have left. None of us knows that. But whether we believe in the Great Beyond or not, we all want to leave as much information behind as we can, to help future generations...And the Soviets are no more....although I suppose Khrushchev and Brezhnev are kicking themselves right now."

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Congressman Jim Cooper Holds Press Conference To Discuss Progress In Choosing His Opposition In Next Election

Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) representing the Nashville area, held a quiet press conference yesterday to discuss the situation regarding the opposition in his next election. The congressman has traditionally selected the opposition to run against him in order to give the voters the feeling that there was a choice in the elections, both in the primary and the general election. Cooper long ago decided that it simply didn't look good to have no real opposition election after election, so he pioneered the method of selecting his opposition, in stages, to give voters the feeling of a real election, complete with advertising, sometimes even negative, and debates.

Cooper said that he was still deciding on both primary opposition and general election opposition, but that the opposing candidates would be selected by early next year, "definitely by the end of February--I'm going on a long vacation after that."

Cooper said the challenge "obviously is to find someone for each race who will play their part, the part they have agreed to play, without letting their ego intervene and get out of control, turning it into an actual competitive race. That would, after all, defeat the purpose.

"We'll get it done, and in plenty of time. It does seem like it gets more difficult with each election. Candidates don't seem to like just going through the motions anymore; they want to take a real swing at winning the whole thing, after I've been good enough to make them famous, at least for an election cycle. They'll at least be a footnote in the history books; that's good enough for most people."

The lone reporter at the press conference, John Seigenthaler 7.87, a descendant of the famous publisher, asked several probing questions. One was how the congressman was feeling (Fine!). Another was how his wife was doing (Fine!). A third was about how the Washington Redskins had done this season (I've seen both better and worse.).

But Cooper seemed to bristle at a question about whether Cooper could simply dispense with the process of picking his own opponents for what some call a "phony" election.

"The people who follow it don't think it is phony," Cooper retorted, "even when they know about the process we follow here. They watch the coverage, or read it, and they see the commercials and watch the debates. They read the biographies of the candidates and their spouses, as if it was their own family they were reading about. At the end of it all, they feel they have particpated in American democracy at its best. What else can give them that feeling?

"And something else as well. There are some, a minority but an intelligent minority, who know that we have put the whole show together, that it is different from elections in other states, even other elections in Tennessee. They see it as entertainment. But you know something? They think it is damned good entertainment!"

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Print Edition Of Man Of A Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw

Work continues on producing a print edition of Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw, my full-length biography of Clay Shaw. At present, the best estimate s for a January 2014 release.

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