Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

I don’t normally blog on Sundays, but since there may or may not be something early this week I did what I could to provide manna for the masses. Hope you like it.

*** Ebay.


I know, I’m sorry, it’s so repetitive. Can’t this company just die already, you ask? They are trying, but these things take time. Not even John Donohoe can bring down a massive site like ebay just by snapping his fingers.

Ebay wants their sellers back, or so they say. The cynicism comes becomes ebay knows exactly how to get their sellers back: reverse the repression and outright hostility of the past year. That might, might, do the trick. But they aren’t willing to do that, no, they want their sellers to come back without them doing much of anything differently. In other words, they want their sellers to come back so they can kick them around some more.

Fat chance. The longer they leave us adrift in the marketplace, the longer we have to find new homes. Many already have and no longer need ebay. But ebay is just beginning to get an inkling that they actually need those millions of people who have left the site. It’s not an actual idea, yet, and flies in the face of Donohoe’s avowed mission of having a giant site with absolutely zero hits per day…yet someone, somewhere within ebay seems to have noticed that their stock has lost 2/3 of its value and that this is not a good thing.

Ebay is frustrated they don’t have as many sellers to kick around anymore

*** Ian Kershaw is a well known historian of World War 2 and is ideally suited to weigh in on Operation Valkyrie, to lay out the straight story of the German opposition to Hitler as Tom Cruise’s movie sparks interest from those who might not have previously known the tale. The Luck of the Devil is a terrific title, snappy and accurate. I haven’t read it but Kershaw is one of the more entertaining historians, so it’s probably quite good. However, he is English, and tends to see things a bit differently than American historians. Not a caution, I like his work, just an observation. The attached article is a nice overview, should be read, if possible, before seeing the movie, so the casual viewer can have some idea of who was who in the Nazi pantheon.

The Luck of the Devil by Ian Kershaw.

*** One of the more important figures to emerge from World War II was Josip Tito, the leader of post-war Yugoslavia, the communist who broke with Moscow and defied Stalin. During the war, of course, Tito was a very important cog in the Allied wheel, forming a partisan effort inside of Yugoslavia that was so large and so well disciplined that the Germans eventually had to form an Army Group just to fight them. For those who don’t know, an army group means at least two armies. A German Army of the era was formed around two Corps, and a Corps would have, as an absolute minimum, about 25,000 men. Doing the math, then, an Army Group would have no fewer than 100,000 men, although the numbers were usually in the range of 250,000. So, the Germans were forced to use a huge number of men who were badly needed elsewhere to fight the population in lands they had already conquered. And much of this was Tito’s doing. (Not all, Tito had a rival who supported the monarchy, but that’s another story)

Anyway, the new book Tito’s secret years in Moscow 1935-1940 by Silvin Eiletz, uses newly de-classified Soviet era documents to reveal just how close Tito was to Stalin’s secret service (presumably the NKVD) and how close he claim to being killed (he was denounced as a Trotskyite, which meant a summary death with perhaps some torture thrown in for good measure). And we in the West may be very glad that this did not happen. After all, if it wasn’t for Tito, we would never have had the Yugo.

Tito and Stalin were cozy before the war

*** It’s funny how things can be going on in your city and you don’t even know it. Shadowcon is happening in Memphis even as I type this, and apparently it has happened many times before. Who knew? Not me. But that’s what this blog is for, discovering this sort of thing an dgiving it life, and hopefully at time goes by I will find more of this. In the meantime, here’s a nice look at one author who is new to all of this, discovering new life in his older years.

Older but new