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Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Ian Fleming.

5:05 am in Art, Culture, Influential Authors by dakine01

Ian Fleming is the creator of one of the most iconic characters of the 20th Century.

My name is Bond. James Bond

From Fleming’s wiki:

Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was an English author, journalist and naval intelligence officer, best known for his James Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst and the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through a number of jobs before he started writing.

While working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.

I was aware that Fleming had been a “spy master” during World War II but not all the details. If I remember correctly, his spy experience from the war was often glossed over.

His first book was Casino Royale. While I do not recall which of the Bond novels I read first, I know this was not it. Yet I also know that I read all the Fleming written James Bond books around the same time period. I think I was in junior high at the time, a couple of years after the release of Dr No. Probably about the time the movie Goldfinger came out since I would have followed the news reports about a movie where Kentucky and Ft Knox were showcased.

No, I have not read any of the James Bond books written by others than Fleming. I also do not pay that much attention to James Bond movies beyond those based on the Fleming authored books and stories. Yes, I am a bit of a James Bond snob.

I recall reading that President Kennedy was a James Bond fan. I do not recall ever being aware that President Reagan was as well.

The most surprising fact I discovered about Fleming when I started this diary? Fleming authored the children’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

In 1964 Ian Fleming had a major heart attack. It was during his convalescence that he decided to turn the bedtime stories he had been telling his little son Casper, into a book for children. This book became Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: the story of the adventures of inventor Commander Caractacus Potts, his wife Mimsie, their two children Jeremy and Jemima and the wonderful Chitty Bang Bang car which could float on water and even fly!

Creator of James Bond as a literary and movie character AND author of a children’s book. (The film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was only loosely based on Fleming’s book but that is often the case with movies as we well know.)

I Went and Looked at the Moon Last Night

6:07 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Unless you have been stuck under a rock, you probably know that Neil Armstrong died yesterday. In July 1969, I, like so many millions of others, watched as he made “One small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.” (I am using the words as he said he spoke them rather than how we heard them as I can fully appreciate how there could be a comm drop – as should anyone who has had a phone drop the occasional word.)

That summer, I was 17 years old and about to start my senior year in high school. Vietnam was still raging; Richard Nixon had been president for only a few months, and I had all my life and the world in front of me. The USSR had launched Sputnik just 12 years earlier. Newspapers were soon providing the nightly times when Sputnik and then the follow-on US satellites would be visible in the night sky so that we could go out and watch them move rapidly across the sky.

Coach Bill wrote this diary yesterday at MyFDL on how many of us learned about the space program in school:

My earliest and most vivid memories of elementary school were when we would gather together in a single classroom and watch a rocket take off with a man aboard. I grew up with the Mercury Seven Astronauts, the Gemini program and eventually the Apollo Missions that culminated on July 20 1969 when Neil Armstrong stepped off a ladder onto the moon.

In 12 short years, we as humans went from the first man-made objects in space to a man on the moon. This was a celebration of humanity at least as much as a celebration of “American Exceptionalism.”

As adults, we read and watched The Right Stuff. Now, it has been almost 40 years since the last Apollo mission. We have seen the Challenger and Columbia disasters and the end of the Space Shuttle program.

So where are we going? Not just as a nation but as a human race? The author Kim Stanley Robinson visited Firedoglake’s Book Salon yesterday to talk with folks about his latest novel 2312. One of the things that makes me love “hard” sci-fi is the inherent optimism that we will escape at least out to our solar system if not the whole universe. Let’s hope our leaders can show some of the same imagination as shown by President Kennedy when he vowed to put a man on the moon within the decade. Otherwise, we have the situation Mr Pierce describes:

For at least a time, there literally was only one other person in the history of man who knew what Armstrong knew — how that sandy soil feels when you walk on it, the exact places where the shadows fall, the precise geometry of the mountains of the moon. Today, there are only eight of them left, all of them in their 70′s. What will happen when the last of them dies? It’s very likely that there will not be a living human being who knows what Neil Armstrong knew. It will all be for videotape and digital libraries, for historians and, if we’re very lucky, for poets, as well. But there will be nobody alive who actually knows. Not a single one of our fellow humans, anywhere on the Earth.

I went and looked at the moon last night.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor