This nice little blurb appeared on Publishers Marketplace yesterday . . .
Needless to say, I’m delighted by this fabulous turn of events, and glad to know that I have another outlet in the pipeline for the story-based nonfiction/history work that I do with my writing partner, Jim McNeal. Our shared experience of Plebe Year at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982-83 is a key framing device of the book, so it was interesting to revisit that, 40+ years on, trying to process not only what we did and learned, but what worked and what didn’t within the experience. Our goal in this project is to evaluate ~20 other crucibles deployed by elite organizations throughout history, then to synthesize our findings into an evaluation of how present and future organizations can create, implement, maintain, or abolish (as appropriate) their own tests and crucibles. We’re about 25,000 words into the project already, and have found it fascinating research and writing thus far.
Jim and I are very grateful to our fantastic agent, Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group, for his enthusiasm for our project and his fine work in placing it. I met Mark while at the Writing Workshop Hawai’i, and that has proven to be a transformational professional experience. I learned a lot while there, established some great networking connections, and was able to present my work to people who could help me make it better, before bringing it to market. Thanks on that front to the wonderful Ying Compestine as well for her expert advice at the Workshop, side-by-side with Mark’s, on how best to proceed with my parallel fiction and nonfiction activities. As it turns out, with their sage counsel and support, both of my creative lines will now be advancing to the marketplace of ideas, which is deeply gratifying to me. Win, win, win. I most strongly recommend exploring Writing Workshops‘ other offerings if you are at a point in your creative journey where such connections and learning could be of value to you. Plus, the workshop was super fun and I met some great people, so that’s always a bonus!
I’m also delighted that we’ve found a home for Crucibles with Agate Publishing. Jim and I had the chance to talk with the house’s Founder and President, Doug Siebold, before the offer and deal came to fruition. We deeply appreciated his embrace of our concept, his vision for it within his publishing portfolio, and his overall approach to forging a creative corporate culture that’s anchored not only in bringing meaningful works to market, but in doing so from within an inclusive, diverse, and socially conscious business model. Plus, he’s based in the greater Chicago area, which pleases me, given how creatively resonant my time in the City of the Big Shoulders remains for me. Once again: win, win, win!
2023 continues to be a banner, pinch-myself sort of writing year, with this latest news building on this and this. And it’s still only March, so who knows what’s yet to come. Watch this space . . .
1. This has been our third winter/spring cycle in Northern Arizona, and it’s been something of a doozy: colder, wetter, snowier, and longer than the chilly season normally lasts, by a long-shot. One of the consequences of all the rain we’ve had here, and all the snow they’ve had a few thousand feet up and a dozen miles north of here, is that our nearby rivers and streams have been in full flood for weeks now. There are two perennial streams (Oak Creek and Wet Beaver Creek) and one intermittent stream (Dry Beaver Creek) near our house, plus boodles of normally-dry unnamed washes. We’ve seen them flood explosively during monsoon season (including the two that immediately abut our property), but those flows are short-lived. The current inundation is likely to keep running for a long time yet. It makes hiking difficult (both in terms of not being able to get across things one normally can, and in terms of how five pounds of mud caked on each boot makes your legs feel), but I do keep having to remind myself how good this is for the region in macro, after years of mega-drought. Marcia and I have rambled down to the three local creeks, and the views have been impressive. Click the photo of Oak Creek taken yesterday (where that whitewater is, there is supposed to be a trail) to see some of the other wet and wild images hereabouts these days:
2. As a follow-up to my announcement upon the release of my new book with Rear Admiral Jim McNeal, Side by Side in Eternity: The Lives Behind Adjacent American Military Graves, I’m happy to report that it seems to be fully and widely available now in both print and eBook versions from all of the major online retailers. Thanks very much to any and all of you who have purchased a copy. That means a lot. If you’ve actually managed to read it, and if you enjoyed it, Jim and I would also be deeply appreciative if you’d be inclined to rate/review it Amazon or any other online retailer, or on your own websites, or in print, for our working journalist friends. I guess if you read it and hated it, you could review it too, but, gosh, who are we to ask to continue to wallow in something that you didn’t enjoy? Maybe just let it go and move on instead, yeah?
3. As another follow-up to my other announcement about winning the Unleash Creatives Book Prize for Ubumembu and Other Stories, I am pleased to report that I have, in fact, signed a contract with Unleash Press to publish the book, and we are targeting an October 1, 2023 release date. So you’ve got one item for your 2023 holiday shopping set and sorted, easy peasy. I’ll be sure to pester you further about it in the months ahead, you bet. I’ve still got a full-length poetry collection and a full-length essays collection out for consideration in various locations, and our literary agent is working to negotiate placement for the next collaborative book that Jim McNeal and I are pitching, provisionally titled Crucibles: History’s Most Formidable Rites of Passage. So there may yet be more good writing news here in the weeks and months ahead, building on what’s already been a great year for me on that front, with thanks to so many who have helped make that possible.
4. And I end today’s omnibus post with a brief memorial note on the occasion of the passing of an artist I admire: Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins (1941-2023). Fuzzy was one of the five core members of a doo-wop barbershop quintet called The Parliaments, founded in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1956, with the group’s classic line-up cohering by 1960. The group scored their first and only hit single under their original name with 1967’s “(I Wanna) Testify,” though in keeping with industry practice at the time, the recorded version of the song only featured lead vocalist George Clinton, while session aces rounded out the rest of the sound.
Due to a series of financial and legal disputes and disasters following the success of “Testify,” Clinton and Company rebranded themselves around their core supporting musicians as Funkadelic, then some years later signed the same group of singers and musicians to a second record label under the name Parliament. The collective released albums under both names in parallel throughout the ’70s, eventually cohering into “P-Funk,” with Parliament’s records leaning toward the soul/R&B/disco side of the cultural equation, and Funkadelic’s leaning toward the psychedelic/rock side.
Fuzzy was visually and vocally front-and-center throughout P-Funk’s most seminal recording and performing era, credited with “Werewolf Vocals” and “Berserker Octave Vocals,” among other things. He was the primary featured vocalist alongside Clinton for most of the group’s early years, occasionally adding guitar and drums to various recordings and live performances. And he looked like this . . .
Fuzzy’s great run with the group finally ended in 1977, when he and fellow 1960 members of The Parliaments, Calvin Simon and Grady Thomas, bailed together, aggrieved by and tired beyond recovery over various shady behind-the-scenes financial dealings that devalued their historic and then-current contributions to the group’s recorded and live work. The founding trio made an attempt to reclaim the original Funkadelic brand as Clinton’s core Mothership was crashing into a fog-shrouded mountain of cocaine and legal acrimony, but their moment had passed, and the effort was to no commercial or critical avail. In that same transitional period, Fuzzy released two solo albums featuring a variety of P-Funk alums: A Whole ‘Nother Thang (1976) and Radio Active (1978), before moving on to a career focused on his gospel ministry. Those solo records are both highly enjoyable and funky and soulful, if woefully underappreciated, then and now. (I was glad to see this week that they seem to be available on many contemporary streaming services, if you want to check them out).
Fuzzy also contributed as a collaborating songwriter during his P-Funk days, and in a prolific group with very, very few single-name songwriting credits (most of them George Clinton’s), Fuzzy landed three wrote-it-alone songs: “Back in Our Minds,” “I Miss My Baby,” and “I Got a Thing, You Got A Thing, Everybody’s Got a Thing.” All of them are fantastic, and all of them are conceptually and creatively important in the group’s chronology and discography. I include a link to “I Got A Thing” below to wrap this post. If you’ve never heard it, you need to, along with all of the other early Funkadelic and Parliament albums in their entirety. On a historic note, “I Got A Thing” marked the P-Funk recording debut of Bernie Worrell (also RIP), who became one of the cornerstones of the collective’s sound and spirit through the ’70s, then emerged as one of the great go-to session keyboardists from the ’80s on through to his death in 2016.
1. Marcia and I are home from a wonderful birthday visit to Las Vegas, where she and Katelin celebrated their natal date at the same moment when huge swaths of the world were marking International Women’s Day. My mother joined us, on her first ever visit to Las Vegas. We kept telling her we were going to buy her a carton of Pall Mall’s, give her twenty dollars, and leave her at one of the convenience store casinos for three days, to giver her a true, old school, hardcore Vegas experience. But that didn’t quite work out, as we opted for some tourism time on the Strip and at Fremont Street instead. As is typical for our visits to see Katelin and John in their home city, we also had some superb meals, with two new-to-us destinations being particularly pleasing: Edo Gastro Tapas and Wines, and Panevino. The former offered an exceptional ten-course tasting menu, where everything was superb and interesting, the latter was a high-quality traditional Italian restaurant in a lovely space with a great view out over the airport and Strip. Both recommended if you find yourself needing some substantial sustenance between bouts of gambling and partying. I took some snaps during the week, as I usually do, which you can see by clicking the photo below of the posse waiting for the Bellagio Fountains to do their thing:
John rented a mobility scooter for my Mom. It was easy to do, affordable, and greatly enhanced her ability to get up and down the strip and around various casinos. Recommended if you’ve got a family member or friend whose Vegas experience could benefit from having some wheels.
2. Right before we headed to Las Vegas, I was tickled to receive word that my full-length collection Ubulembu and Other Stories had won the Unleash Creatives Book Prize. I posted a screen cap of the announcement at that prior link, but then when I went to look at it again a couple of days ago, I noted that they had since added a review quote from the Final Judge of the competition. The review makes me blush on one hand, but it also deeply pleases me that someone clearly gets what I do, writing-wise, which is always a wonderful affirmation to receive. Here’s the quote, with deep thanks to Dick McPherson and all at Unleash Creatives/Lit:
3. As I wrote at length in this post, I somehow missed the great Buggy Jive‘s late 2022 album, The Ghost of Alexander, which coulda woulda shoulda been a contender for my Album of the Year last year, had I been paying better attention in real time. One of the nice things about being back on social media for book marketing purposes is that I can now keep better tabs on current events involving the artists who move me, like Buggy Jive. And so I was very pleased to see yesterday, in real time, that Buggy has already got a new single out, called “Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” which is typically great, and which features yet another awesome video. Here ’tis, hooray!
As we were getting ready to head to Las Vegas this morning for Marcia and Katelin’s shared birthday this week, I received a very pleasing email from the team at Unleash Creatives, the gist of which I copy in visual format from their website below:
Ubulembu and Other Stories is a collection of sixteen shortish fiction pieces, some written as far back as the early 1990s, the latest ones done in the past few years. I am tickled to death that this prize comes with the opportunity to publish on Unleash Creatives’ imprint, with an expected 2024 delivery date. (It was a full year between manuscript completion for Side by Side in Eternity and its actual publication, so I get the long lead time in the production and layout process). While I am proud of all my professional writing, these stories are most special to me, because they’re not reporting, or reviewing, or researching, or describing existing narratives or events, they’re tales spun in whole from within me, which only exist because I imagined them, and that feels different, somehow.
I was most impressed by Unleash Creatives’ platform and editorial interests and review approach when I submitted Ubulembu and Other Stories for their consideration last August, and I will be most proud to have my work come out under their publishing mark. I’ll keep you posted as I have news, because of course I will, I’m me.
If you do score a copy, Jim and I are very interested in your thoughts and reactions, especially on which of the various chapters and topics we covered worked best for you. As we’re shaping our next book, nominally titled Crucibles: History’s Most Formidable Rites of Passage and constructed around a similar omnibus history narrative approach, it will be helpful to know which of our prior pieces hit the hardest with our readers. Also, if you’ve got any pull with libraries or local booksellers in your market, if you’re looking for a Book Club idea, or if you see an opportunity for Jim and/or I to speak or sign somewhere, do please advise. We’re ready for full-court press marketing at this point, and appreciate any and all help on that front.
Got my autographin’ pen out . . .
2. I’ve been enjoying fiddling about the colorization applications at Palette, applying them to a bunch of old black and white family photos. It’s surprisingly naturalistic looking, and I’ve produced an album of the photos I’ve reinterpreted, here: Fiat Colorum. I post a sample pair below, of my father (first picture) and my mother (second picture) when they were young children. These and others do a good job, I think, of powerfully capturing what the rural American South looked like, once upon a time. And still does, if you get away from the coastal, golf or mountain places where most Northerners retire to, or the ever-sprawling cities and their endless suburbs that have transformed the region during my lifetime.
My dad with Rose, who essentially raised him on a day-to-day basis while his mother worked as a teacher, and an unknown-to-me neighbor girl.
My mother with her dog, Lorna, and Lorna’s puppies. Love the debris pile in the background, classic Southern style. Why dispose of anything when you’ve got a perfectly good field to store it in? Who knows when you might need some of it again for something?
3. While 35+ years of living in the frigid climes of Idaho, Upstate New York, Chicago and Iowa certainly raised my non-native tolerance for foul weather, one of our primary motivations in moving to Arizona was to get away from all that. And, in relative terms, we certainly have, though long-time locals hereabouts concur that the winter of 2022-2023 has been, thus far, the worst in local memory. I woke up Monday morning to this view out of our kitchen window:
I do not approve. Nope. Not one bit.
Uggghhh!!! The one nice thing about this type of weather here, though, is that it generally all melts quickly, except in shaded areas at higher elevations. The day after I took that snow shot, I did a short-but-steep hike up the nearest major rock face to our house, and the view from on-high at that point looked like this, with the white stuff mostly gone from view:
Watch that first step. It’s a doozy . . .
Then yesterday, I went and climbed the snow-flecked mesa at the top center of this photo, looking back across our village at the red-rock face I’m standing atop in the photo above. You’d have never known we’d had any snow:
The formation in the center with the pointed green caps is where I do more hiking and climbing that anywhere else. Our house is at the base of that formation, at its left-hand side in this view.
I post these pictures and thoughts now, as we await the next forecast wave of snow, three to five inches expected through the afternoon and evening today. UGGGGHHH!! We will be driving to Las Vegas on Saturday to celebrate Marcia and Katelin’s shared birthday at Katelin and John’s house, so I’m hoping that this snow event also disappears quickly, as we need to climb up a few thousand feet en route from here to there.
4. I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve reactivated a Facebook account to help with promotion on Side by Side in Eternity. I’m here, if you’re there, and you care. I’ve been posting information about the book and various hiking and other outdoor adventures in Arizona. But, somewhat predictably I suppose, the most popular things I’ve posted are photos of the charismatic (?) mega-fauna (??) that hang out in our yard:
I’m here to eat the bird food. Please spill some more here for me. Do it now. Snort.
Side by Side in Eternity: The Lives Behind Adjacent American Graves was officially published and put up for market on February 9, 2023. It’s currently available for purchase on the McFarland Books website, but is still in pre-order or out-of-stock status at Amazon Prime and Barnes and Noble. I am expecting my author’s copies this week, so presume that will also be when the online booksellers get their stock from McFarland for regular sale too. My co-author, Jim McNeal, and I would be greatly appreciative should you care to order a copy, or to share this information with others who might be interested. And if you do get it and read it and like it, reviews left at the online platforms are also most helpful and appreciated. We’re looking to do book signings or talks about the book as well, so if you’re in a position to facilitate that, please do let me know. And big thanks in advance to any of you who choose to support our project in any of these ways.
I’d previously posted the Table of Contents for Side by Side in Eternity, but do so again below to give you a sense of the stories we cover in the book. Each one stands alone, but together we believe they tell a bigger story about the ways in which Americans have honored (or dishonored) fallen soldiers and their allies or family members from the Civil War to present times. As a bonus tease, for those who knew him, the Epilogue is about my father’s grave, adjacent to a Civil War infantryman of the “U.S. Colored Troops” (as the first African-American soldiers were known) at Beaufort National Cemetery. Here’s the roster:
To give you a little deeper sense of how we frame our concept, here are the first two pages of the introduction (you can click the two images to enlarge for easier reading):
And lastly, as I’ve been pre-promoting the book over the past year, I’m often asked “How do two people write a book together? Did you alternate chapters? Or sit together and write?” Here’s the answer to that question that we have used in the proposal for our next project, tentatively titled Crucibles: History’s Most Formidable Rites of Passage:
We view our successful collaborative approach in cinematic terms, where Jim serves as our producer, and Eric serves as our director. We frame our projects together, establish their structures and forms, and then closely collaborate on crafting a cohesive final manuscript from many disparate pieces. Jim focuses on the research, interviews, logistics, business, communications, and documentation aspects of the project, while Eric shapes the scenes and deploys the creative writing touches required to create a robust and entertaining narrative, carrying a distinctive voice, viewpoint, and perspective. Both elements of our partnership are equally critical to the products we produce, and we have established a timely and thorough collaborative approach for telling complex stories in accessible and entertaining fashions. This cinematic approach to our writing is purposeful, as we see each of the component stories within Side by Side in Eternity and Crucibles as complete, standalone entities, visual in their construction, and worthy of reinterpretation in film, video, or television formats.
One thing that would be really helpful and interesting to us would be feedback on which of the constituent chapters in Side by Side in Eternity work best, or are most resonant, for readers. If you do read the book, I’d really appreciate it if you could use the comments here to let us know what hit the spot most soundly for you. Thanks in advance for that, once again. As always, I’m deeply appreciative of everyone who has supported and continues to support my various creative endeavors over the decades.
Click the pic to order your copy from McFarland now. Or head to Amazon, Barnes, or the other online bookseller of your choosing to pre-order a copy. Or head down to your local book shop and ask them to stock it. All good from here!
1. My disdain for modern social media has been widely shared here in recent years, after I bailed completely on the idiom and shut down my various accounts around 2016. (I actually gave up on Facebook all the way back in 2012, though I have had to re-open accounts every so often for various professional reasons). But now, as related to the creative news posted recently here and here, I do find myself needing to have a promotional outlet on at least one of the major social media platforms in the months ahead, so I have once again recreated my Facebook account, because needs must. I’m here, if you’re interested in connecting in that fashion. I can’t swear that I will be a good correspondent within that idiom, as my focus will be on promotional activities and on avoiding seeing things that I really don’t want to see, and on making sure that I don’t fall into the platform’s time-suck potentialities. But I always try to be polite, and I always reply when spoken to (not so much when spoken at), so there’s that. I will note that I often see significant traffic being driven to this website from Facebook, and without an account, I’ve not been able to figure out where and why such interest is originating. So it’s a nice and helpful side effect to now be able to thank people there who are supporting my various projects, without me having known about it for the past six years or so.
2. In my Best Albums of 2022 report, I noted that I would do a supplemental post if something slipped in under my radar after I had published my list. As we get deep into February 2023, only one new-to-me 2022 album deserves such a supplemental post: The Ghost of Alexander by Buggy Jive. I’d lauded Buggy’s EP I Don’t Understand How the World Works, and Alexander‘s lead single “Make Me Water (Extended Schenectady Vasectomy Mix),” but somehow the full album slipped out without me noticing in real time. Shame on me. Guess I should have been on social media. But in any case, better late than never, and Alexander stands as yet another incredibly fine entry in Buggy’s soul-rock catalog. He’s always been great, for as long as I’ve known of him (and known him), but when I look at the incredible volume of incredible music that he’s released over the past five years of so, the mind boggles and the jaw drops at his ability to compose great songs, write great words, sing stellar harmonies, and drop super sublime instrumental arrangements and performances, song after song after song, all by his lonesome. And as if that wasn’t enough, he’s also one of the finest video producers working that idiom in recent years. I mean, check this one from Alexander out:
How and why is that thing not destroying the internets and commercial broadcast outlets? It’s got everything going for it, and then some. No accounting for popular cultural tastes, I guess. One of my favorite things about Buggy is his ability to craft deeply personal first-person narratives that explore monumental themes with perfect little details that make them feel real, lived-in, organic, and whole. The coda section to “Make Me Water” is especially awesome in this regard, especially for those of us with deep familiarity with the 518. It made me smile big from Sedona to know exactly why we need to raise our capes when we ponder the City that Lights the World. Tee hee hee! Had I been on my game at year’s end, or had this album come out earlier in 2022, it could have been a contender in my mind for Album of the Year. Sorry I missed it in real time, Buggy. It won’t happen again.
3. I also picked up a couple of late 2022 reads that I missed in my Best Books of 2022 report that I’d like to laud and celebrate at this point. First, on the fiction front, Expect Me Tomorrow by Christopher Priest, one of my very favorite currently-working authors. Key to his canon are his Dream Archipelago books, one of which (The Islanders) I would count among my dozen favorite novels ever. (Though I have to use the term “novel” in its loosest possible meaning in this particular case). Expect Me Tomorrow is not a Dream Archipelago story, but it taps another of Priest’s cornerstone concerns, where obscure but true historic events and characters are deployed in service to the creative world-making in which Priest excels. This one explores a 19th Century true crime story, tying it to the 20th and 21st Century concerns that might have followed the skein of the historic story. Priest’s depiction of a post-climate change England in 2050 is heartbreaking and harrowing in equal measure, and he manages to make that component of his narrative fit flawlessly with the past tense elements of his story. It’s fine writing from a fine writer, highly commended to your attention.
4. The other great 2022 book I read recently goes into the nonfiction bucket: Some New Kind of Kick: A Memoir by Kid Congo Powers and Chris Campion. Kid Congo (botn Brian Tristan) was a member of three hugely influential bands who I adore: The Gun Club, The Cramps, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. His book is delightful in exploring how he came to serve in each of those camps, and how the perhaps better known members of those groups interacted with him and with others. But even more enjoyable was getting to know Kid Congo as a person, as his story is a fascinating one that made me really root for him in a most supportive and affectionate fashion. Also fascinating: he was Johnny on the Spot for an incredible number of highly significant events in highly significant places with highly significant people during the first eruptions of the punk and post-punk eras. His first-hand accounts of things that I’ve generally only seen reported in third-hand voice is eye-opening, educational, and fun. A great read from a great artist and human being. Win, win, win.
Marcia and I made it home from Hawai’i late this morning after a classic red-eye flight from Kailua-Kona (depart 11:30 PM) to Phoenix (arrive 7:30 AM). I pounded some melatonin and tried to sleep, but it was fitful at best, so I’m definitely in the logy zone this afternoon.
The trip was a great one. The first week was spent, as reported in Item #1 here, at The Writing Workshops Hawai’i program, held at a lovely, isolated retreat center on the far northern corner of the Big Island. We met some wonderful and talented folks, read, discussed, and listened to a variety of great stories (fiction and otherwise), ate outstanding food and had spare time to explore some of the more accessible sites on that side of the island. Good times with good people, doing things we love to do. Can’t go wrong with that sort of situation.
For our second week, we shifted over to Kona Town, renting a condo where Katelin and John joined us. In a fortuitous turn of events, Marcia’s sister Evelyn was also in the Kona area for the week, so we spent enjoyable family time with her, and benefited from her deeper knowledge of the island. Over the week, we pretty much circumnavigated the entirely of the Big Island, which deserves its name, because it takes a lot of car time to see that much of it. But the sights you see, oh my, they are glorious and unique, and well worth the effort.
Between this trip and our recent Spanish adventure, we were away from home for a longer period of time than I think we’ve ever experienced before over a five week period. It was all wonderful to be away in such great places, of course, but then it feels especially wonderful to be home after such travels.
And not to bury the lede here, but that bit about “with representation” in the title of this post refers to a most delightful happening from this working vacation. With apologies to those of you who are my e-mail lists and have already heard this, here’s the message on this topic which I sent out earlier this week . . .
With apologies, as always, for my occasional mass emails, I wanted to let you all know that I have a new book coming out this month in collaboration with my writing partner, Jim McNeal. For the non-Navy folks: Jim and I were classmates at Annapolis and Supply Corps Corps school, so have known each other for 40+ years at this point, and it was a joy to work together on this fun and interesting project.
For my friends in the working media, if you would like to acquire a review copy, please let me know directly and I will provide your information to the publisher’s marketing folks. Jim and I would be deeply appreciative of such support, just as we’d be deeply appreciative if any of you are able and willing to pre-order Side by Side in Eternity to help generate buzz around its actual release.
Finally, I am also most pleased to announce that Jim and I recently contracted for representation on our next book project with highly-esteemed literary agent Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group. I had the opportunity to spend a week in Hawai’i at a writers’ workshop with Mark and was most impressed by him and his work. Jim and I are truly delighted to have him as our agent. Our working title for the next book is Crucibles: History’s Most Formidable Rites of Passage. Watch my website over the months ahead for updates on that project.
Again, with apologies for mass mailing, thanks so much for all of your ongoing support for my creative endeavors. It means a lot to me.
And with that wonderful piece of news out there, I now turn to the obligatory post-travel photo album, as I always do. You can click on the photo of Marcia and I illuminated by Kilauea’s lava glow, just after sunset. There are some “wow” pictures in the album of what you see when you look over that volcano rim, too, along with all sorts of sights from all sorts of other places around and about the island. Pretty darned impressive, I tell you. Pretty darned impressive, indeed.