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Thursday, June 29, 2017

This is a picture of a reticulated python similar to the one Eddie has an encounter with in THE LAST RAJAHThe inspiration for that episode came from my experience with “Pete” at U-Tapao Airfield, Thailand in 1972. Pete was kept in a 15’ x 15’ screened enclosure adjacent to the “Grunts Grove” snack bar where crews would go to get a bite after a flight. Despite the size of the cage, he was too large to uncoil completely. His head was the size of a saucer and his girth was the size of a football.  Pete was periodically fed a live chicken. The process was fascinating. On the first day, the chicken was oblivious to the danger. It would walk all over the snake, even perching on its head. The snake never moved…it just stared straight ahead with cold, dead eyes. When you came back the second day, something had changed. Although the snake still hadn’t moved, the chicken was now in the corner trembling with fear. On the third day…no chicken! How did the chicken know on day two that the jig was up? When the war ended, Pete was transported to the Omaha Zoo. He weighed in at 300 pounds. Oh…it turned out Pete was a she!

P.S. The woman pictured below hasn’t been seen recently…coincidence?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

This is what Duke and Eddie had to work with in CHASING DRAGONS and THE LAST RAJAH. It’s probably hard for modern pilots to imagine climbing into an aircraft like the Lockheed Lodestar with its primitive navigation capabilities and setting out on a 2,000-mile journey over open ocean for a remote island destination. But thousands of missions were flown just like that.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Vintage Terry and the Pirates comic featuring Captain Terry Lee, his co-pilot Hotshot and the Dragon Lady. She served as an inspiration for the Madam Zhang character in THE LAST RAJAH. I had to age her a bit and move her from Shanghai to Borneo. Terry and the Pirates was created as a comic strip by Milton Caniff. It was subsequently adapted into a radio serial, a movie serial, and a TV show. The retro feel of the series was what I was going for in CHASING DRAGONS and THE LAST RAJAH

Monday, June 5, 2017

James Brooke, the first "White Rajah of Sarawak, Borneo. His family's 100-year reign is the basis for the plot of The Last Rajah. Here's some background info:

If you go the page listed above, you will also see a picture of a proboscis monkey similar to the ones that warned the Deuce's radio team of an approaching Japanese patrol.