Social Media

17 Mar

For now, Word Press will be my social media. Although I tried it ten years ago to promote a book called War of Hearts and Minds: an American Memoir, it didn’t take long before I petered out. But ten years later, I’m here trying it once again to promote another book, this one called Nakhon Phanom: The Domino That Didn’t Fall (and my Thai hometown).

I know, of course, that Word Press is not exactly social media, but at least it’s a platform, and it’s the best I can do for now. Facebook is a bit too public, and the rest I’ve yet to understand. I know I’m supposed to link them all together to have a social media presence if I want to sell some books, and maybe I will…in time.

My wife Phoorita‘s in Thailand now. I just talked to her on messenger. She’s quarantined in her village home with Gawn, her 94-year-old aunt. She just went out on the street to buy some food from a food truck. I called her for free on messenger. Quite a bit different than when I lived there. Anyway, I’m home alone trying to explain why I wrote these books. I think I’ll do that tomorrow.

Why I write and who I am

15 Mar

My name is James Isaac Jouppi, but I usually go by Jim. I’m 73 years old. I started writing when something happened in my life which no one else understood, or at least I felt that way. I was twenty-five at the time, and I wrote all day and sometimes all night for a week or two.

People were saying I was crazy or that I should start acting like an adult. It all had to do with the Vietnam War, but I was never in Vietnam. So I self-published a book last year, and now I have to promote it. I don’t actually have to promote it, but I paid for a book promotion, and now, as part of their promotion, they need to know my social media tags. So I signed up for word press and got a tag which is just So come and tag me and maybe I’ll give you a book. Or even better, just go to Amazon and buy the book by James I. Jouppi.

So why would anyone want a book about Vietnam which is written by someone who was never even there? And why would anyone think I have anything to say, especially since we’ve gone through at least three wars since then and are rapidly getting sucked into another? And how can people go through their normal routines as if nothing is amiss when Ukraine is being leveled? Well, what else can we do? Send money to help the refugees? Pray for them? .

Anyway, I started this blog, and I’ll write more about the trials of a self-published author and even about the Peace Corps. And the CIA. Not so much about current politics except to say that I watched Tucker Carlson last night, and he was talking about Tulsa Gabbert and how the pundits are saying they’re both treasonous just because they’re trying to tell the truth. And he made some sense. He’s supposed to be a jerk, but he made sense. So that’s as political as I want to be right now.


Radio Interview

30 May

Well, I completed my interview with Doc Kirby in Troy, Alabama.  It’ll be on air on some Sunday at 3:30 PM, but I don’t know which Sunday.  Anyway, I’ll be able to listen to it by googling “WTBF listen online”‘ which is cool.

I don’t know how I did.  I answered his questions, but sometimes he asked questions as if he hadn’t really read the book, but that may have been intentional.

Having just returned from Thailand two days ago, after a three week visit, I’m more impressed than ever that what I wrote about is a product of the murky, distant past, probably even  moreso over there than over here.  Thusly, when I gave a copy of my book to the librarian at the library, I told her I’d worked in the library building during the war, and she asked if i was talking about the French War.  Actually, I think I read something to the effect that the French had damaged that very building when shooting Lao insurgents who were crossing back and forth across the Mekong, but that would have been in the 1940s or 50s or something, so I’d have to be about ninety years old to have been there during that.

Either that or they damaged  the Vietnamese church.  I know they damaged the church, but maybe they shot up both.

Anyway, in my long post below I wrongly called out the OSS as being the OCC.  It was actually OSS, Office of Strategic Services, which was the predecessor of the CIA.  For a little while, before they called it OSS, they apparently called it OCI, Office of the Coordinator of Information.   I got into the history of it all of this on the plane ride home while reading the book about Jim Thompson (see entry below), and today, before talking to Doc Kirby, I ordered a book off the Internet entitled The Quiet American about Vietnam (by Graham Greene) which was published way back in 1955.  Both the Thompson book and The Quiet American have much to say about the CIA.  My book does not, or at least it’s not so blatantly there as it is in the Thompson book.  I want to read The Quiet American to see how the CIA might have been working back then in Vietnam and see how it was disguised.  I guess I’m wondering if  The Quiet American  might not  be a little bit like my book, except that it’s a novel.  From what I read on the Internet, there’s even a woman in The Quiet American who appears to have been somewhat like Noy in that she was going after security………..or, rather, security was what mattered most–and who was willing to accept the mutual betrayals of her lovers.  So, just as in my book, it was two guys after one woman, and one acctually has the other killed and doesn’t even understand his own motives.  Did he do it  for Vietnam or did he do it  for himself?  I think it’s quite a bit different from what I wrote, but there’s common elements as well.  In my book, Winston was heroicallhy betraying me.  I guess, in its day, The Quiet American was a pretty popular book…………….So long.


29 May

Hey, I just reread what I just wrote, and it has a lot of typos.  I even used “it’s” once when I should have written “its”.  I resolve to do better.


29 May

Hello world.

I just returned from Thailand yesterday and tomorrow I’ve got a radio interview on Doc Kirby’s show.  Of course, it won’t be live, but I think it will be on the Internet.  There’s a lot I could say, but I think, acttually I hope, he’s going to set the agenda.  I don’t know if I’ll sell any books off of this, but, at least, I can direct people to this site if they have any interest in what we talk about.  And from here, of course, they can oder my book just by googling my name and going to iuniverse or any of the multitude of sellers.  For the record, for anyone who may read this, I’ve sold, so far, just one ebook for which the purchaser paid two bucks, at Barnes and Noble I think.  The price is higher on the Internet.   I also sold two softcover books of Part I.  What’s selling now is actually Part I and Part II which makes the book too long, and too expensive except as an ebook.

But what am I trying to do here?  What’s my goal?  Well, I look at it this way.  You take any individual, your friend, and you see them at the supermarket, and, if you ask them them what is their goa, they might look at you pretty strangely, like you’re weird, and then they might say that their goal is to buy a frozen pizza.

So my goals are a little like like that.  Little goals and big goals.  Just like the guy at the supermarket wants to change the world by removing one frozen pizza from the supermarket shelf and putting it in his personal freezer at home, I also want to change my world in little ways, which might, at times, seem very self-serving,  but, ultimately, I have bigger goals in mind.  Just like the guy at the supermarket,  I also want world peace and no more government debt.

So where do I go from here.  Well, just a couple days ago, actually three days ago, I talked to David Long in Bangkok.  He’s a character in my book, and he may not like what I wrote, but I did give him one signed copy.  I also donated a signed copy to the library in Nakohn Panome (my spelling) in upcountry Thailand.  At first the librarian thought I wanted to sell them a copy because I was using the word for give instead of the word for donate.  “Oh, the woman said after I told her several times that I wanted to give them a copy, “you want to DONATE a copy.”  After that she was very nice, and she introduced me to another librarian who gracciously acceptedf my donated copy.  Incidently, Friendship Bridge Number Three, built just last year, is only seven miles north of this library.  It’s number three because it’s the third bridge over the Mekong bridge to Laos which is sort of like a less spoiled Thailand.  By that is there’s  less people.  Six and a half million people in a country the size of Colorado.  Thailand has seventy million people in a country the size of Texas.   The bus fare from downtown to Tak Kaak Laos is only seventy baht–two dollars and change–but I didn’t even learn about the international bus, or the bridge, until I was leaving town.

Anyway, it was strange in that library.  At the entrance, when I started walking blithely in, a guy told me a little bit gruffly that I needed to take off my shoes.  I didn’t understand him at first, so I started reading the sign on his desk, but before I could make it out, he repeated his instructions.  The second time I understood, so I asked him where I should put my shoes, and and he pointed to a rack.  It didn’t seem like there were that many cubbyholes for shoes, but that day it didn’t matter, because I only saw one other patron.  There weren’t even that many books.

If anyone were to read my book, they might understand why this particular building is important, at least to me.  Forty years ago, when I was a Peace Corps volunteer, it was the provincial government headquarters building, and I worked out of an  office on the first floor of this building as  did my major antagonist (another American).   Upstairs, in the tax office, was Noy, first my girlfriend and later, after I left, after I left Peace Corps, his wife.  I was trying to determine where the governor’s office had been, but I didn’t remember if it was on the second floor or the third.  I think it must have been on the second, because the third floor is pretty much just an attic.  That is, the floor is nicely finished, but the rafters are exposed except for a room on the side.  But maybe that room, now with just a couple stacks of chairs, was once the governor’s office.

Anyway, as I was there walking thr0ugh this builidng after gruffly being told to take off my shoes when I first arrived, I almost felt like I was trespassing or something,  especially on the third floor.  But there was no “do not enter” sign on the stairway.  I can often understand Thai signs (if not Thai books), and I swear there was no sign.

I guess my writing is sort of indirect, maybe like the guy who’s purchasing the pizza.  Buying the pizza is not his ultimate goal, but buying the pizza sustains him.  Incidently, and this is pretty amazing, at least to me, the book which best summarizes the origins of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War was published just last year.  Of course, that’s just my opinion, but there’s stuff in that book (which I read on the airplane coming home) that I’d never known before.  That is, if the book I wrote is the yang, this book-the one I read on the plane-is the ying.  It’s actually a biography of Jim Thompson, who knew what was going on, while my book is a memoir about my attempts to work in the system without ever being told what was going on.  Of course, to some extent, I also knew what was going on, but I didn’t understand the history of it all the way Jim Thompson did.  Incidently, Thompson vanished while taking a walk in Malaysia in 1967, very posssibly because of his support of the Viet Cong, and the latest book about him is entitled The Ideal Man.

I should say, as long as I’ve gotten this far, that the Jim Thompson book explains the development of the American Intelligence aparatus after World War II far better than in any other book I’ve ever read.  According to the book, the first operatives were recruited from Ivy League schools, mainly Yale and Princeton, and well as from major corporations.  Thompson, a socialite who’d gone to Princeton, had good connecltions, and he was getting very bored with a stateside career which was going nowhere when he was recruited for a miliary intelligence job near the end of World War II.   Anyway, at the time of it’s development, the CIA was called OCC, or actually something else which later became OCC before evolving into the CIA, and the OCC people, Thompson and his friends, supported the Viet Cong or actually, at that time, the Viet Minh, who were fighting the French colonialists.  Then came the fall of China to the communists, and then came Joseph McCarthy.   Thompson, although a socialite with many friends in Thailand, was left out on a limb because he was experiencing his reality in Southeast Asia and not taking orders from Washington, which was being influenced by Joe McCarthy.  According to the book, he was a guy who everyone wanted to know, because he was  very knowlegible because of his Intelligence background.  He was even buddies with the ambassador and the army generals in Thailand, both Thai and American, and everybody like him.  By the 1960s, Thompson wasn’t even in Intelligence, but, late in his life, he started giving interviews about the war which were pissing people off.  Actually, by that time, he was mainly  developing the Thai silk industry into a major export business, and his company, Jim Thompson Silk, exists today.  In fact, the house he lived in is now a major tourist attraction in Thailand.

I’ll continue this later after the radio interview on May 30th.  I go back to work on May 31st.  The first day back is always hard.  Bye for now.

Oh, I meant to say that I did ask why there was only one other patron at the Nakohn Panome library that day, and the woman said that it was too hot, that their patrons mostly come in the evening.  I also visited Ho Chi Minh’s safe house, and no one was there at all, but a woman saw me poking around, and she came over and said there was no other visitors because I was there at noon.  Then I went to the Thai Vietnamese Friendship Village which is a pretty big complex, and no one was there either except for a few maintenence workers.  They had some photo displays, but the captions were in Vietnamese.  I guess I should say that the safe house was used by Ho Chi Minh long before America’s involvement in the Vietnam War–in 1930 or so.  As for the Friendship Village, it’s a project of exiled Thai Prime Minister Taksin, and it’s less than ten years old.  A guy at a small store in the adjoining village  said it’s mostly just used for meetings.


8 Jan

I wrote a book.  I can’t find people who want to read it.  Even I give them the book, they still don’t really want to read it.  Of course, if they paid for the book, then they’d want to read it.  But they won’t pay for the book.  That’s why I gave them the book.  Of course, they may be reading the book.  Right at this very moment, they may be reading the book.  Anyway, I started this blog about writing to vent my frustrations about writing.  My publicist told me to to do this.  It was so easy to start a  blog.  Who would have known.  Later…………..

Hello world!

8 Jan

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