Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions - Be it Resolved...

New Years resolutions are promises to yourself that you don't really mean to keep - but in a PERFECT WORLD, you just might.

There is also the Lunar New Year coming up on February 14, the year of the iron TIGER. People who are born in the year of the Tiger (as my friend WLC is) find this year to be a dreadful prospect. But you have to hand it to the Asians, who seem to celebrate the Lunar New Year with more circumspection. They don't resolve anything. Their hope is to make it through the year.

I drifted through the things I want to do next year and the things I resolved to do better at, irrespective of the Lunar New Year's drear predictions. (Being born in the Year of the sheep, this year isn't dreadful for me in astrological terms)

1. I want to see my novel published. WHITE POWDER: A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos is a book whose time has come. So I resolve to help peddle my own book in 2010, not so much for profit as for the vanity of having people read my work and (hopefully) appreciate it.

2. I resolve to complete my next novel, already in the works, in 2010. (Working Title: Penitent Man)

3. I resolve to take more time on vacation/holiday in 2010. (you wouldn't think this one is difficult to keep but it always turns out that way) As life sits now, every meal is a banquet, every paycheck a fortune, every formation a parade - but I don't get away as much as I'd like to.

4. I have no bad habits, but if I discover one, I resolve to consider quitting that bad behavior.

5. I resolve to buy more toys. It's true that (a) he who dies with the most toys wins and (b) the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

In my reckless list making and resolving I had resolved to make a longer list, but decided to break that resolution right off the bat to set a trend for the coming year.

Happy New Year 2010

Monday, December 21, 2009

CIA and the Secret War

WHITE POWDER: A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos

Soon you can order this fine novel from or any of a number of fine book sellers. It will also be in some libraries across the US (and Canada, hopefully). ISBN 1449975852

The cover art is complete, the layout is complete and the work is going through a final editing process. In late January, or early February, it will be available. (Yes, WoFat gets a free autographed copy)


In 1961 the Viet Nam war wasn't the lead story on the evening news and wouldn't be for three more years. The developing war in neighboring Laos was never to make a headline. It was a secret war, managed under the auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency. In Laos the only cash crop was opium. Opium grown in Laos was purchased and refined by the Corsican Organized Crime Group known as the Unione Corse. They worked the drug in clandestine laboratories in France and later also in Viet Nam. 

The novel begins in 1961 with an effort by the Central Intelligence Agency to penetrate the Unione Corse through the use of Captain Craig Burton, one of the 107 United States Special Forces soldiers assigned to the 77th Special Forces Group who originally entered Laos in 1959. Unbeknown to the CIA, Burton is involved in a torrid affair with the married daughter of a kingpin in the Corsican underworld in Laos. Their tale of star-crossed love winds through the story and slowly becomes the story as personal motives supplant the CIA's operational imperatives. 

This extraordinary novel re-creates elements of the Secret War in Laos as it was in the early years when Soviet Russia, Communist China, the fading French Empire and the emerging American Empire grappled for control of the opium producing center of the world. White Powder is Larry B. Lambert's first novel: fast moving, panoramic, and scrupulously researched - a work on a grand scale. It is filled with the intense passion of a period that determined the shape of today's world. It draws strength from his personal experiences as a special warfare officer and intelligence official. M. Cordell Hart, a former CIA official who began his career in Indochina stated, "The novel is disturbing. It makes me feel as if I was back there."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas List

My grandson Griffin's Christmas gift list was modest this year. Next year it may not be quite so restrained. He doesn't really understand that you OPEN the presents under the tree and that there are goodies inside.

It's fun being a grandpa.

Flying Old Glory

Van Barfoot lives in Richmond, Virginia. His home comes under the the Sussex Square homeowners' association. The homeowners association is upset that he put a 21 foot flagpole in his front yard. Each morning he raises the flag. Each evening, he retires the colors.

Angered at his disregard for the "harmony of the neighborhood", the Sussex Square homeowners decided to take legal action against Barfoot.

Who is Van T. Barfoot? He's a 90-year old man who won the Medal of Honor during the Second World War.
Barfoot was born on June 15, 1919, in Edinburg, Mississippi. His grandmother was Choctaw, but Barfoot himself is not an official member of the Choctaw Nation. Although he was eligible, his parents had never enrolled him.
After enlisting in the Army from Carthage, Mississippi, in 1940 and completing his training, Barfoot served with the 1st Infantry Division in Louisiana and Puerto Rico. In December 1941, he was promoted to sergeant and re-assigned to the Headquarters Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet in Quantico, Virginia, where he served until the unit was deactivated in 1943. He next joined the 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, and was shipped to Europe.
During the Italian Campaign, Barfoot participated in a series of amphibious landings: the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943, the invasion of mainland Italy at Salerno in September, and finally the landings at Anzioin late January 1944. His unit pushed inland from Anzio, and by May 1944 had reached the town of Carano. They set up defensive positions and Barfoot conducted patrols to scout the German lines. When his company was ordered to attack on the morning of May 23, Barfoot, now a technical sergeant, asked for permission to lead a squad. Because of the patrols he had made, he knew the terrain and the minefield which lay in front of the German position. He advanced alone through the minefield, following ditches and depressions, until he came within a few yards of a machine gun on the German flank. After taking out the gun with a hand grenade, he entered the German trench and advanced on a second machine gun, killing two soldiers and capturing three others. When he reached a third gun, the entire crew surrendered to him. Others also surrendered and Barfoot captured a total of seventeen German soldiers. He had killed 8.
When the Germans launched an armored counterattack later in the day, Barfoot disabled one tank with a bazooka, then advanced into enemy-held territory and destroyed an abandoned German artillery piece. He returned to his own lines and helped two wounded soldiers from his squad to the rear.
Barfoot was subsequently commissioned as a second lieutenant. His division moved into France and by September was serving in the Rhone valley. Barfoot learned he would be awarded the Medal of Honor and chose to have the presentation ceremony in the field, so that his soldiers could attend. He was formally presented with the medal on September 28, 1944, in Épinal, France, by Lieutenant General Alexander Patch.
Barfoot is one of the country's last living World War II veterans who received the Medal of Honor. He also served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War and earned a Purple Heart. He reached the rank of colonel before retiring from the Army. He currently lives in Henrico County, Virginia, near his daughter. On October 9, 2009, the portion of Mississippi Highway 16 which runs from Carthage through his hometown of Edinburg to the border between Leake and Neshoba counties was named the "Van T. Barfoot Medal Of Honor Highway." (Source: Wikipedia)

I'd say that gives him the right to fly the flag when and where he chooses. In a larger sense, if all Americans took such pride in their country we wouldn't be in the mess we're in. I further suggest that Barack Hussein Obama might not be president.

I'm guessing that Colonel Barfoot found himself living in a nest of Democrats.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Equal Opportunity

I recently paid a visit to a California State Prison, as I do from time to time (not as a convict). The place was in a general state of disrepair because California is bankrupt. At one point in my visit I used the prison guard's washroom. They advised that there are no paper towels to dry your hands after washing because the state decided to cut back. The one thing that appeared new, prepared where cost was not the object, was an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) poster, featured at every guard station. They were printed in color, mounted on foam core board and framed. The size - 2' x 3'. There were eight or nine large photographs of people of color on the poster, advertising that if there was a problem, they were the people to go to. They would listen to your tale of discrimination and would set things right. I don't work in the prison system, however it appeared to me that the lunatics were running the asylum. Perhaps a penologist or a state worker could set me right, but I simply find it odd that the only new and shiny things in the prison are the EEO posters that DOMINATE the guard's shacks - every guard's post has one.

When I worked for the government there were EEO awards that were handed out to minorities and women from time to time. I never attended the luncheons where they were bestowed because (a) I didn't find that sort of thing interesting, (b) the food at those suarees is universally bad, (c) there was always something better to do during lunch even if meant watching paint dry.

Back when I was in the US Navy, officers were compelled to attend EEO update training. Keep in mind that there were no minorities in the SEAL Teams. Everyone was "an operator" irrespective of race, national origin, etc. and there were no women at all. The EEO training, I opined, was in the event that they opened up the ranks to the unqualified - who felt the need to participate and were granted leave to do so based upon the demands of "equality".

The EEO people I've encountered in my life have been universally the sort of people who were unqualified to do ANYTHING but be an EEO representative. If you owned a company, you'd never hire them because they'd be dead overhead expense with no compensating productivity.  They're the drones of the workplace - the people with no potential in life, no added value to the whole, and for some reason they are now exalted within the California prison system. Go figure.
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