STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

Yes, that’s me and Robert Redford taking a stroll in the wilds of southwest Idaho, after I tracked the Sundance Kid down and right after the elusive star agreed to grant me a longer audience when both of us returned to New York. And boy did he have a story to tell.

Maybe you remember it. That’s the one in which he said it wasn’t necessary to do drugs to get high. He’d been there, done that—with the Hopi Indians, no less. “GETTING HIGH NATURALLY WITH ROBERT REDFORD” the cover read. Massive scoop.

Redford

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to enjoy it, because by the time it came out, I had met an-ex Coast Guardsman who had served as a lookout on one of the first CG cutters assigned to the Caribbean drug trade on the cross country train who persuaded me to write HIS even wilder story. Problem was, I didn’t know my co-author was actually IN the drug trade—and a psychopath to boot. By the time I did, it was too late…

Have you ever seen the 1951 Hitchcock movie “Strangers On A Train?” Well, I lived it. That’s the one where a psychopath played by Robert Walker recognizes a tennis star, played by Farley Granger, and talks him into “exchanging” murders with him—and Walker follows through on his end of the lethal deal?

Well, no one was killed because of the deal I made with the fast-talking stranger I met on the Amtrak Empire Builder, but by the time it was all over I certainly was ready to throttle him…

(To be continued…)


JFK’S FINEST FORGOTTEN HOUR

What was JFK’s finest hour? Received historical wisdom is that it was his adroit handling of his face-off with Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis of October, 1962. However six months before, Kennedy also stood his ground during an all-but forgotten battle with Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis E. LeMay, the same “bomber general” […]


‘I LOVED YOUR BOOK!’ (100 Day War)

Seven years after its publication in Finland, where it was the second best selling non-fiction book for six months, four years after it was published in the U.S., The Battle of Finland (or the Hundred Day Winter War, as it was called here) continues to throw off sparks of different sorts, including fine reviews to […]


THE LAST LENIN MUSEUM (Monitor 1/18/17)

TAMPERE, FINLAND. Tampere, Finland’s second largest city, is known as the birthplace of the Soviet Union. That’s because that is where the two architects of the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, then on the run from czarist authorities, met in 1905 at the city’s Workers’ Hall. The venerable hall used to be known […]


STRATCOM BLUES (Politico 3/16/17)

RIGA, LATVIA. For an institution that is supposed to be a think tank, the sullen-looking, three floor headquarters of StratCom, the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, with its deep-set windows, piked gates and guardhouse, more closely resembles a fortress. So it’s not surprising to learn that in its previous life, when the Republic of […]


INTRODUCING LOREAL PRYSTAJ

Every once in a while I make a special discovery which I am keen to share with my friend and the larger GFS community. Sometimes it is a book or a film which I can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes it is a new city you must see. Once in a great while it’s an artist […]