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Nonsense, Fiction, and Miscellaneous Things

Dear Sir
Mr. Savim NoLie
1413 Main St. Boulevard, Suite M
Conga Bonga, Malaryia

Esteemed Sir,

As you may well know, and I have no reason to believe you don't, I have recently come into possesion of the outrageous sum of 32 and one half million US Dollars. Monies which are rightfuly mine and being used to bankroll my charitable endeavors, such as. . .well, we shouldn't worry about them for now. Believe me, there is nothing unsavory nor nefarious about any of this windfall. Future generations will profit from my magnanimous charity.

The circumstances of this gravy are as follows. My brother Vasim, a former high-raking official of the Malaryian government, was caught transferring government funds into his own personal account.  An account which, unbelievably, I had no access too.  I had warned him that this was an outrage; that he should not keep all of the funds for himself.  He replied,  'An outrage?  Ha!  What right have you to this money?  You are the outrage!'.  Of course, I, understandably, punched him in the nose and offered to take half the money. Although I could smell the burning embers of revenge within him, he agreed to share the money with me, wholeheartedly.

We began transferring the sum of 45 million US dollars into my account.  Unfortunately, his laptop computer crashed and  I, er...we lost 7 and one half million US dollars.  We were horrified. Although, most certainly, we could afford a new computer, we have not succeeded in obtaining one, as you well may understand. Therefore, we require someone of good character, whom we can trust, with a weak character,. . . I mean,. . . a working computer, to transfer the remaining 7 and one half million US dollars into our account.

Our research has identified you, sir, as one we can sucker. . .er. . .trust. Your reputation precedes you. Our research shows your character to be trusting and greedy,. . .er. . .speedy.  

Please be advised, the nature of this transaction, is entirely legitimate. Not a stinking hair should stand straight up on my head if it weren't.  So, in order to fulfil this obligation, please send your name, bank acct. no., and underwear size, for verification purposes, to me at the above address. Once the transaction is complete we will transfer 3 and one half million U. S. dollars into, what remains of your account, as payment for services rendered.

May you have a good day and we will be anxiously awaiting your incompetence. . .er. . .help.


                                                                                                          Vasim and Savim NoLie

Stephen Crane, "The Red Badge of Courage"

I've recently read Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage.  A novel which follows the character Henry Fleming's experiences through his first battles of the Civil War.  Like DeFoe's Robinson Crusoe and Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, it is a classic of literature.

The story is populated with men more attentive to the war than to themselves, and young men more attentive to themselves than to the war.  Henry is of the latter group.  He is aware of his own heroic notions; "He had burned several times to enlist. Tales of great movements shook the land.  They might not be distinctly Homeric, but there seemed to be much glory in them."1  And he has doubts as to his ability to live up to these notions;  "He lay in his bunk pondering upon it.  He tried to mathematically prove to himself that he would not run from a battle."2  This is the essential story of the book.  How will Henry fare, physically and emotionally, the troubling experiences of this war.                                         

Besides humor or heroics is Crane's view of his story.  Crane is less opinionated and more of a revealer of subjects to be opined upon by the reader. When Henry expresses about battles,  ". . .there seemed to be much glory in them."3, it is up to the reader to reflect on what that might mean; good, bad, true or false etc..  Crane, himself, does not judge Henry.   Crane is mostly consistent and uniform. He is even-handed, not judging the characters as good or bad, not juding the war as good or bad.  He puts the characters into actions without judging their decisions.   One event in the book has a soldier telling doubtful comrades of the regiments plans.  "'Well, yeh kin b'lieve me er not, jest as yeh like. I don't care a hang.'  There was much food for thought in the manner in which he replied. He came near to convincing them by disdaining to produce proofs. They grew much excited over it."4  I can image Crane telling the reader the exact same thing about this book, and the reader admitting to, 'Yes. There must be someting too it.'

One criticism I have is that, at the very end of the story Crane does step from observer to promoter.  A promoter of battles as a noble, even invicible, form of maturation.  About Henry Fleming, Crane writes;  "With this conviction came a store of assurance.  He felt a quiet manhood, nonassertive but of sturdy and strong blood.  He knew that he would no more quail before his guides wherever they should point.  He had been to touch the great death, and found that , after all, it was but the great death.  He was a man."5    I have no doubt that battles make a person grow, but I think that; ". . .a store of assurance. . .", ". . .no more quail. . .", ". . .the great death. . ." and the like are, accolades which make a caricature of Henry. Crane may have written this purposefully; sarcastically embellishing war's dignity.  But, again, it is up to the reader to decide.

The first 3/4's of the book can be slow but interesting, while the last quarter is fast paced and engaging. Basically the book is about soldiers .  Not modern soldiers with modern weaspons but universal soldiers, living and learning essentially the same lessons, from generation to generation.  The Red Badge of Courage is like a fond antique coin from the 1800's, worth more than it's face value.

1Stephen Crane,  The Red Badge of Courage, www.americanliterature.com, Chap. 1

2Stephen Crane,  The Red Badge of Courage, www.americanliterature.com, Chap. 1

3Stephen Crane,  The Red Badge of Courage, www.americanliterature.com, Chap. 1

4 Stephen Crane,  The Red Badge of Courage, www.americanliterature.com, Chap. 1

5Stephen Crane,  The Red Badge of Courage, www.americanliterature.com, Chap.24


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