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On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, and the atomic age was born. To mark it, read the gripping account published by the U.P.’s James McGlinchy:
Driving into Hiroshima we saw a buzzard sitting on a tree. Nobody but a buzzard would want to pick over this city— undoubtedly the most destroyed city per square mile of all those that have been bombed and shelled in six years of bloody war in Europe and the Pacific…. One bomb— that is the key to the most staggering single event of this war. You can ride through Hiroshima and look at it again and again and all the time you say to yourself, ‘One bomb did all this.’… From that one bomb people are still dying…. According to Japanese doctors, their hair falls out, their gums bleed and they have stomach and kidney trouble…. They get weaker and weaker and finally they die…. In this city you can smell the stench of death as it used to stink from the bodies of dead Germans who were left to bloat in the summer sun in Normandy. In this city you can see all the ruined cities of the world put together and spread out. In this city you can see in the eyes of the few Japanese picking through the ruins all the hate it is possible for a human to muster.
McClinchy is profiled in Rick MacArthur’s tribute to Walter Cronkite. The whole piece is a must-read.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”