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Memory Manifesto

Memory Manifesto

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Jumpers

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The Age of Dis-Consent

The Age of Dis-Consent

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Matt Beynon Rees who writes the international award winning Omar Yussef series interviewed me recently. If you haven’t read The Collaborator of Bethlehem, you are missing an insiders view of the dynamics behind the internal violence inside of Palestine. He’s walked the streets and knows the people, their history, culture and language. And his books give you a dimension of the human face behind the news headlines.  

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Posted: 4/20/2009 11:28:03 PM 

 

Adaptation to the world has always been, Darwin teaches us, a struggle. And uphill battle where casualties are the norm. Many fall aside. And when that happens, it is often labeled failure to adapt. Terry Eagleton has written a piece that links the role of capitalism to the shedding of beliefs in the sacred. The contradiction is in the continuing emotional resonance of metaphysical values in daily life--whether they become a source of inspiration or one of parody. Jon Stewart’s Daily Show popularity suggests the preference is leaning toward the latter.

 

The Western audience in search of spiritual transcendence, at least in the traditional ways, has increasingly shrunk in influence in the modern secular world. Their voice is one voice among many. Again in the West, the central role and legitimacy of the institutions traditionally vested with a monopoly over spiritual values have eroded over time. The question is what scope is left for such institutions to play in the modern political world. That is the essential unanswered (and perhaps at his juncture unanswerable) question of our time. How it is officially answered is the line drawn in the sand between cultures.

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Posted: 4/20/2009 10:26:59 PM 

 

Some in the media have called it Black Songkran. Demonstrations over the traditional Songkran festival turned ugly and violent. Soldiers, APCs, and tanks were in the streets. Buses burnt. Confrontation found the Reds and the military and police on opposite sides (most of the time). Then suddenly it was over as quickly as it started. The demonstration was called off and the protesters in the thousands who had camped out at Government House left, loaded into buses provided by the authorities.

 

This is a blog devoted to books. There are a number of such political blogs that have given a blow-by-blow account of the events over the last week. Foremost would be Bangkok Pundit which contains a good source of foreign reporting, local Thai newspaper and TV reports as well as the English language newspapers in Bangkok. If you scroll down, you will find a number of related blogs that present points of view on the current political situation.

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Posted: 4/16/2009 5:57:39 AM 

 




I had the chance a couple of weeks ago to go on a Chao Phraya River cruise. My Swiss friend Marcel Emmenegger (making the victory sign) was the organizer, assembling people to visit Punntara Resort. Our group was composed of friends of Marcel and Khun Peerapong.

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Posted: 3/31/2009 5:12:37 AM 

 

Bangkok has a large expat population. No one can hope to know everyone living here. Sometimes people slip through the cracks that you wished you’d had sat down for a couple of hour conversation. Only you find out about them too late. A case in point is playwright and filmmaker Ronald Tavel. He died a few days ago on a flight from Berlin to Bangkok. Apparently he’d been a resident in Thailand for a dozen years.

 

This is from the New York Times:

 

“Ronald Tavel, a playwright and screenwriter who brought a bawdy sense of the outrageous to some of Andy Warhol’s early films and helped mold the Off Off Broadway avant-garde theater movement in the 1960s and ’70s, died Monday on a flight from Berlin to Bangkok. He was 72 and had lived in Bangkok for the past 12 years.”

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Posted: 3/30/2009 5:35:32 AM 

 

On Sunday 22nd March The Japan Times ran a review of Paying Back Jack. 

 

Review Mark Schreiber under the title Tale of a fallen woman and other intrigues, concluded:

 

“It's easy to see why Moore's books are popular: While seasoned with a spicy mixture of humor and realism, they stand out as model studies in East-West encounters, as satisfying for their cultural insights as they are for their hard-boiled action.”

Paying Back Jack is out in hardback edition published by Atlantic Monthly Press in October 2009 and in the UK by Atlantic Books in December 2009.

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Posted: 3/23/2009 10:23:51 PM 

 

A certain marketing idea may have started with Disneyland. And that idea is roughly a place must have entertainment value in order to be worth spending money to visit. It should be fun for the entire family. Nothing scary or too real ever makes the grade; that puts people off. What people want is safe, clean, and with benches to sit. Never mind that the fairy tale story castle the children love is not remotely like any real castle.

 

The same fate is destined for old battlefields. I suspect that the recent construction to turn the Dien Bien Phu battlefields into tourists attractions can find examples elsewhere. Call it the war of the battlefields where each site, village, province and country seeks to out flack its competitors by offering a more entertaining tour of a place where a historic battle was fought.

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Posted: 3/23/2009 4:46:16 AM 

 

Several people have asked about the video camera that I used in Vietnam and Hawaii. It is a small and inexpensive camera called Flip.

 


It cost about $125 and may be one of the best investments I’ve made recently. I carry it everywhere. There is a new upgraded model that has high definition. If I were to buy it again, I’d spring for the upgrade.

 


There are several excellent features. First it is small and fits easily into your shirt pocket. Second it is very easy to use. Third, it has a USB port built-in so that you stick it into your laptop and upload the footage and are ready to shoot again. Fourth, it shoots up to sixty minutes. Fifth, no fuss with batteries as it charges through the USB port straight to the camera.

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Posted: 3/19/2009 6:30:25 AM 

 

One of the joys of writing is to meet new people on the road.  Last week when I was in Honolulu I had a chance to meet Shawn Hamamoto.

 

John Murphy videoed our parking lot discussion about Vincent Calvino.

 

Such literary discussions should be encouraged in parking lots, street corners, and sideways across the world. ...
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Posted: 3/19/2009 12:18:35 AM 

 

One of the features of living in Asia is how people share public space. Behavior in private spaces (homes and offices) is never a reliable indicator on how people react in the presence of strangers in a public place.

 

In Thailand it is rare for a motorist to stop at a Zebra crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross. Drivers cut in front of each other, drive through red lights, block intersections, drive on the wrong side of the road, etc. In Vietnam, by comparison, the mix of vehicles requires more tolerance on the part of motorists. Hundreds of bicycles and samlors share the limited public space with cars, vans, taxis, and trucks. As in Thailand, if you are on foot, then you must wait your chance to slip through a narrow gap as the traffic comes to a halt.

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Posted: 3/18/2009 12:01:01 AM 

 

Anywhere in Asia, the wet market is the place to find what remains of traditional ways of shopping for food. Hanoi is no exception and the wet market was one of the first places I set out to find. No matter how low the prices are in mega supermarkets in places like Tesco or Costco, something has been lost in the shopping experience that comes with a market where the stalls are staffed with local vendors selling fresh produce, meat, chickens and fish.

 

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Posted: 3/16/2009 10:59:11 PM 

 

I spent five days on the Big Island attending the Left Coast Crime 2009 convention. About 300 plus people attended. Writers included those who write cozy mysteries to thrillers. We stayed at a resort outside of Kona – one of those complexes that could have been anywhere. That didn’t matter much as the point of the trip wasn’t sight seeing. Though my two friends Terry and Tito did their best to show me around the Island. Terry has a coffee farm and I spent sometime at the farm with Terry and his wife Susan and son Sonny. On the way back to the conference, Terry pulled over to the side of the road and picked enough fruit to last me the five days of the conference.



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Posted: 3/16/2009 5:28:25 AM 

 

In late February I was in Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu. My friend, Canadian literary critic, publisher and author, George Fetherling suggested the adventure. George is finishing a book on the French colonial period in Indochina. Dien Bien Phu was where it came apart with a massive defeat at the hands of the Vietminh in 1954. We walked the hills where the French had set up trenches and fortifications. They were heavily out gunned and out manned. The surrender after about 3 months of battle remains a historical watershed in Southeast Asian history. I recorded the trip with a series of videos.

 

I had mentioned to George that in 1990 when I made my first trip to Saigon, it was as if the war had ended a couple of weeks before. Dark, grim, and improvised. There were beggars and homeless people everywhere. No one had any money. It was a nightmarish, noir place. The absence of streetlights made nighttime navigation on the streets a challenge. I saw very few private cars in 1990. But there were UN and NGO vehicles. The Vietnamese were extremely resourceful, crafting vehicles out of spare parts and scrap metal. These Mad Max vehicles belched bluish gray smoke and, of course, had no lights. I spotted a variation of such a vehicle outside the market in Hanoi. Only the vehicle in the video clip is too well made to properly belong in the garage along side of to the old Saigon road warriors but it does give an idea of the kind of transportation that one found on the roads in 1990....
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Posted: 3/16/2009 5:26:02 AM 

 

I arrive in Honolulu on Thursday afternoon. I hope to see friends at the Sala Thai restaurant Thursday evening from about 6.30 p.m. onward. If you have books you'd like me to sign, please bring them along. I will also a few copies of Paying Back Jack, Spirit House and The Risk of Infidelity Index.

I am looking forward to the evening. With Thai food and beer, what better way to start the weekend a day early.


Breeze and Pou

Sala Thai is located at:
1333 Nu'uanu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 529-0308
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Posted: 3/12/2009 6:18:56 AM 

 

At Timothy Hallinan’s blog, I discuss creativity:

 

“Let’s start with what many people believe is the definition of creativity: someone who has a vivid imagination. No one can say that is entirely wrong when checking the list of creative workers above. But there are a few problems with the definition. While imagination is useful and indeed necessary, it is not sufficient to define creativity. What is missing? I have few ideas to share about the basic elements.”

 

Link: http://www.timothyhallinan.com/blog/?p=459

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Posted: 3/2/2009 12:00:06 AM 

 

On 12th March 2009 I will be at Sala Thai in Honolulu, Hawaii to sign books. I plan to bring along 10 copies of the latest Vincent Calvino novel, Paying Back Jack.

If you order a copy https://order.kagi.com/cgi-bin/r1.cgi?4D9  in advance, you will have it hand delivered and I’ll spring for a free Singha beer.

 

Pou, the owner of Sala Thai and her assistant, Breeze, will be assisting me at the signing. Who said Christmas only comes once a year? Why not bring a friend or two, stop in and say hello?

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Posted: 2/16/2009 10:00:48 PM 

 

Everything we read informs us that the public’s attention span has dropped like an anchor in shallow waters and the window for judging success has been squeezed down to microdot size.

 

Movies are judged by their opening week returns.

 

In the New York Times, Jeff Huber Google’s senior vice president of engineering (adopting the Nurse Rached philosophy) sets out how he wields the executioner’s sword brining it quickly brought down on projects that don’t quickly show financial results.

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Posted: 2/15/2009 11:03:15 PM 

 

On Sunday 22nd February I will have breakfast with Timothy Hallinan and Steve Martini in Bangkok. Tim writes an exciting series staring a journalists/private investigator set in Bangkok. Tim’s latest novel The Fourth Watcher has received many rave reviews, and he has a third novel coming out this year.

 

Steve Martini’s latest novel is Shadow of Power. This is Steve’s ninth Paul Madriani legal thriller. A number of his novels have been on the New York Times bestseller’s list.

 

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Posted: 2/15/2009 11:00:33 PM 

 

A stroll along Soi Cowboy can lead to the unexpected. Even elephants get into the act, begging for food. The tourists buy plastic bags of fresh sugar cane and are rewarded (sometimes) with the equivalent of an elephant wai.

 

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlR1dy1RXKw ...
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Posted: 2/12/2009 3:25:00 AM 

 

Prices on all books have been reduced from 66% to 38%.

It is now affordable to order books from Thailand.

Order here: http://www.cgmoore.com/readers/index-buybook.htm

 

One of the main obstacles for readers buying books from Thailand is the cost. In the past my publisher has shipped all books by air courier. That costs an arm and a leg and part of a shoulder. The decision was made to ship by registered post. The delivery time is around two weeks, but the cost reduction is substantial.

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Posted: 2/12/2009 3:15:41 AM 

 

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