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February 14, 2012

The Secret History of the Sword

When I was a young lad in Berlin, we had no such thing. But thanks to the tireless efforts of Nestlé and Fleurop, even my German compatriots are now encouraged to buy candy and flowers, and purchase a sappy, raunchy or—they say—even classy card on Valentine’s Day.

Nothing wrong with that.

So why not throw in a tender yet timeless story about this festive occasion into the FencingClassics mix.

A word of caution: We have no idea where the author got the notion that things can happen that way. He sounds credible.

Happy Valentine’s Day, you crazy kids.

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German Trifecta: “Der deklassierende Trainingsanzug”

December 22, 2011

Three’s a charm, I thought. So here’s the last old Trader’s Daily sketch for today, this one published Jan. 25, 2005, when my oldest son Max was 11 and my daughter Sophie a tender not-quite-six… and I was cultivating my rediscovered coolness as a competitive fencer.

Those were the days. Read more…

Trader’s Daily: “Alte Mädchen und Zugvögel”

December 22, 2011

Another piece that I did for Trader’s Daily, this one on Jan. 16, 2006.

Part of my intent with my column was to present the all-knowing cosmopolitan German reader with the perspective of the resident expat—not the superficial expertise so easily acquired by a three-week trip from Manhattan to Miami to San Francisco.

Many of my German readers didn’t like this at all. Read more…

Nostalgie Pur: “Ein Stück Heimat”

December 22, 2011

This piece first appeared in Michael Vaupel’s Trader’s Daily on Dec. 2, 2004, when Verlag Norman Rentrop was syndicating various financial products we were publishing.

And yes, since it’s a German publication, it’s written in German. So unless you speak it—Pech gehabtRead more…

November is NaNoWriMo

November 1, 2011

Last night, at 12:01 AM, the starting shot was fired for this year’s NaNoWriMo competition. As you all know that’s short and snappy for National Novel Writing Month—a self-induced, self-inflicted deadline to hammer out 50,000 before the month is over…


Read more…

Bibliomania: The Life and Times of my Library

October 5, 2011

Every year, thousands gather for various Book Festivals all over the country.

Ask any one of them and you might find that that person’s latent lifetime ambition is to add a ream of perfect-bound, printed paper to the exponentially growing mountain of books in the world.

But times are a’changing. Books no longer are what they used to be. Neither are private libraries. Read more…

Clara Van Gerven: “An Experiment”

September 14, 2011

A man at a table scribbling in a notebook. A girl passed out next to him. A double-breasted man doing, what, calisthenics? What could be going on here?

Baltimore writer Clara Van Gerven knows… and has provided the first entry into Talking Camel Contest #2… Read more…

Boston Tea and Mad King George: The Six Degrees of Henry Angelo

September 2, 2011

Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels. But it’s also  one of the great sources of historical irony. The War of 1812 created one such irony, as far as the canon of classical fencing literature is concerned.

This one is quite complex, as indeed anything should be that manages to connect personages as diverse as a prominent member of the Boston Tea Party, Mad King George, the Hessian mercenaries—and the ubiquitous fencing master dynasty of the Angelos in a game that makes the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon look as one-dimensional as a Partridge Family reunion special… Read more…

Arts and Craft: Three deadly obstacles to becoming a writer

September 1, 2011

There are obstacles to becoming a writer. Serious obstacles.

Like writing, for example: Do you have any idea how many unwritten, unpublished, unsold, unread bestsellers and pieces of literature slumber in the brain cavities of direct marketers, HR managers, creative writing graduates, advertising interns?

But there’s more:

A short but tragic assessment of what keeps one writer from achieving greatness. Seriously… Read more…

New Challenge

September 1, 2011

Since our Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Challenge was such a rip-roaring success, let’s keep the ball rolling. Or, to flog the spherical element of this cliché, keep Sisyphos pushing the rock uphill.

The image above dates back to 1938. It’s part of a dating guide for women. Not that it matters, because your challenge is to hammer out a couple hundred coherent words about the scene. It matters not if this is the beginning, middle, or end of your story…

Just write! And email the story to The Talking Camel for posting.