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Nekkid In Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down A Well Paperback – July 18, 2002
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About the Author
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After the war I lived as a navy brat here and there--San Diego, Mississippi, the Virginia suburbs of Washington, Alabama, what have you, and briefly in Farmville, Virginia, while my father went on active duty for the Korean War as an artillery spotter. I was an absorptive and voracious reader, a terrible student, and had by age eleven an eye for elevation and windage with a BB gun that would have awed a missile engineer. I was also was a bit of a mad scientist. For example, I think I was ten when I discovered the formula for thermite in the Britannica at Athens College in Athens, Alabama, stole the ingredients from the college chemistry laboratory, and ignited a mound of perfectly adequate thermite in the prize frying pan of the mother of my friend Perry, whose father
was the college president. The resulting six-inch hole in the frying pan was hard to explain.
I went to high school in King George County, Virginia, while living aboard Dahlgren Naval Weapons Laboratory (my father was always a weapons-development sort of mathematician, although civilian by this time), where I was the kid other kids weren't supposed to play with. I spent my time canoeing, shooting, drinking unwise but memorable amounts of beer with the local country boys, attempting to be a French rake with only indifferent success, and driving in a manner that, if you are a country boy, I don't have to describe, and if you aren't, you wouldn't believe anyway. I remember trying to explain to my father why his station wagon was upside down at three in the morning after I had flipped it at seventy on a hairpin turn that would have intimidated an Alpine goat.
As usual I was a woeful student--if my friend Butch and I hadn't found the mimeograph stencil for the senior Government exam in the school's Dempster Dumpster, I wouldn't have graduated--but was a National Merit Finalist.
After two years at Hampden-Sydney, where I worked on a split major in chemistry and biology with an eye to oceanography, I was bored. After spending the summer thumbing across the continent and down into Mexico, hopping freight trains up and down the eastern seaboard, and generally confusing myself with Jack Kerouac, I enlisted in the Marines, in the belief that it would be more interesting than stirring unpleasant glops in laboratories and pulling apart innocent frogs. It was. On returning from Vietnam with a lot of stories, as well as a Purple Heart and more shrapnel in my eyes than I really wanted, I graduated from Hampden-Sydney with lousy grades and a bachelor-of-science degree with a major in history and a minor in computers. Really. My GREs were in the 99th percentile.
The years from 1970 to 1973 I spent in largely disreputable pursuits, a variety that has always come naturally to me. I wandered around Europe, Asia, and Mexico, and acquired the usual stock of implausible but true stories about odd back alleys and odder people.
When the 1973 war broke out in the Mid-East, I decided I ought to do something respectable, thought that journalism was, and told the editor of my 327
home-town paper, "Hi! I want to be a war correspondent." This was a sufficiently damn-fool thing to do that he let me go, probably to see what would happen. Writing, it turned out, was the only thing I was good for. Using my clips from Israel, I argued to the editors of Army Times that they needed my services to cover the war in Vietnam. They too let me do it. Editorial bad judgement is a valuable resource.
I spent the last year of the war between Phnom Penh and Saigon, leaving each with the evacuation. Those were heady days in which I lived in slums that would have horrified a New York alley cat, but they appealed to the Steinbeck in me, of which there is a lot. After the fall of Saigon I returned to Asia, resumed residence for six months in my old haunts in Taipei, and studied Chinese while waiting for the next war, which didn't come. Returning overland, I took up a career of magazine free-lancing, a colorful route to starvation, with stints on various staffs interspersed. For a year I worked in Boulder, Colorado, on the staff of Soldier of Fortune magazine, half zoo and half asylum, with the intention of writing a book about it. Publishing houses said, yes, Fred, this is great stuff, but you are obviously making it up. I wasn't. Playboy eventually published it, making me extremely persona non grata at Soldier of Fortune.
Having gotten married somewhere along the way, I am now the happily divorced father of the World's Finest Daughters. Until recently I worked as, among other things, a law-enforcement columnist for theWashington Times. It allowed me to take trips to big cities and to ride around in police cars with the siren going woowoowoo and kick in doors of drug dealers. Recently I changed the column from law enforcement to technology, and now live in Mexico in Jocotopec, near Guadalajara, having found burros preferable to bureaus. I now share my existence with Violeta Gonzales, who was what God had in mind when he created women but just hadn't quite perfected the idea until recently.
My hobbies are crawling South America, scuba, listening to blues, swing-dancing in dirt bars, associating with colorful maniacs, and writing seditious columns.
My principal accomplishment in life, aside from my children, is the discovery that it is possible to jitterbug to the Brandenburgs.
Top Customer Reviews
On the 9/11 attacks: "Our politicians and talking heads speak of 'a cowardly act of terrorism.' It was neither cowardly nor, I think terrorism.Read more ›
At times you don't know when Fred is departing from the literal truth and entering into the "Fred Zone". Frankly I prefer the Fred Zone it's a lot more interesting.
I am regular at Freds web site and look forward every week to the latest Fred on Everything column
Fred has a way of exposing the [falsehoods]in a way that refreshingly funny and enjoyable. His outlook on life ans attitudes are what made this country great and hopefully will again. Plus Fred will have you laughing or crying or both.
You will wish you could have a collection of individual essays on various always handy to give to some loudmouth know-it-all dunce running his mouth on the subject.
But this book, read and enjoy. It is true keeper.
As far as Reed being a racist, well, I'll give him this: He doesn't presuppose that all statistical differences between races are the result of oppression or unfortunate circumstances, which is tantamount to racism in our digustingly false, PC age, nor is he embarassed or apologetic that he's white. This is not to say that Reed demands that the differences are purely or even largely genetic. When you actually read his articles, you get the impression that he primarily believes the problems of minorities to be cultural ones, meaning that they are told NOT to work or to succeed, that you are not responsible for yourself or anyone, and to defy society and demand that everyone else support you. This is not to say that he thinks that all races are identical save from visual aspects. He doesn't. But this isn't the central issue.
Reading his articles, you'll also notice that he is highly concerned with the massive amount of immigration between.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fred Reed wrote this so you know it's going to be funny, point on and a nonputdownable book.
Reed is a master wordsmith with a really unique view of our society. Read more
Interesting insights into where the U.S. is today and why. Also lots of neat anecdotes.Published 9 months ago by Peppi LaPue
Excellent read, have recommended this book to several people.Published 10 months ago by jon vanwagenen
I'm embarrassed by the fact that I only recently discovered Fred Reed and his inimitable writing style - I should have been reading him since his first column. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Doc Sheldon
What we got here is a edjucated redneck who writes with a dictionary of obscure words on his desk, which he refers to often. Unfortunately, his writing makes a lot of sense. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Merrell T. Denison
Writing with a clarity of understanding that only comes from a lifetime of real world experience Fred Reed's essays always enlighten and entertain. Read morePublished 22 months ago by whitebuffalo