Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Needless to say I'm the first one on the scene this morning. Gary is out walking probably with Rascal, his dog. This is the greatest dog, a lab. I've never seen a dog have as much fun as Rascal. A couple of times at the Presidio where dogs are king, he runs along the water, dives in it, smiling all the way. I wish he could come to breakfast. No telling where Michael is this morning. I've just read this thing on this yoyo who taped the presidents's conversations. Wouldn't you love to have a friend like this. With friends like this guy who needs enemies. And, of course, he is not doing it for money or to push his book: merely wants to preserve it for posterity. I mean, "yes, we all just fell off the turnip truck."

George W. comes out OK I think: you don't reckon it is a set-up and George W. is in cahoots. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. The "gays" should take a little consolation in "W" remarks that he's not out to "get them." Well, this might be a stretch! But, the remark I liked was about smoking the weed. He didn't deny inhaling like, "Bill." And yet, refrained from being in Al's camp but he definitely gave marijuana a try or two. He didn't want American's children thinking he was a pot head. I smiled.

Drugs, of course, are no laughing matter. And, I think that most Americans have no earthly idea how pervasive they really are. And, where many of American's young parents have a tough time with their children who know that Mom and Dad took a whiff. Now even the "W" has fessed up.

One of the things I want to ask this morning is the question: "is pot a big deal?"

You better believe it. Potis a "gateway" drug to harder stuff.

Give me a break, who says so? Well, I do Drug users and especially proponents of pot deny this but it is fact.

I can tell you with the stuggle with my son. I later discoverd from his wife, now his exwife, that he had smoked pot for years before he got on the hard stuff. It isn't that pot is bad or good but it will take over your life.

Yes, but the question is, "Does it lead to other things?"

Well, it's not that it leads to other things by itself but the reason it is definitely a gateway drug is that when you are smoking pot, it is the company you keep. Those people are doing all kinds of other things besides smoking pot and suddenly maybe the casual user of pot is exposed to all these other drugs and they begin to indulge." Yes, pot is a gateway drug."

Monday, February 21, 2005

I am hanging out here waiting on these guys. I worked awhile in my Day Timer. You would think that with a Day Timer, Palm Pilot, I could keep up with things. Here's what I said to these guys, "You guys have got to quit drag assing in here about noon. If we are going to wait till noon, we might as well eat lunch."

Naturally, they paid me about as much attention as a tree. I was there about thirty minutes before Michael and Gary showed up. I was sitting in a middle booth and these two guys in the next booth were jabbering away. And, guess what they were talking about? Mostly politics. I eavesdropped for about ten minutes intently before I got engaged in other stuff. It was the war, some politico trying to mess over the Boat People of Sausalito. (This is a group of early settlers on the water in their boats. They pay no rent, live on their boats and generally flaut the various laws. At least that is what the word is). Interesting looking twosome. One guy had no teeth. Now, that is interesting. Oatmeal I guess.

Contrast those guys to the girlfriends and I have to smile. You wouldn't believe it. Honestly, we talk about everything, tell war stories, women, politics--there are no subjects off limit. This morning, Ray told this great war story. As a twenty year old, he joined the Merchant Marines, kind of on a fluke. He needed a summer job and signed up. One day they called him and said they had a job on a ship, something like a transport ship taking old planes, parts, other sort of stuff to Vietnam. This is 1965.

The war has not really cranked up yet. So, he's on this ship with about thirty other guys, the youngest one by far. Basically, he's in the engine room sweeping floors. They go to the Philippines, then Pearl Harbor and finally in about a month end up in Vietnam. He has a night of off when they hit the port in Vietnam. So, here he is: this twenty year old, out by himself, away from home for the first time. He goes to this bar. There are these beautiful Vietnamese women and one comes over to him and says she is claiming him. What! Doesn't have a clue what is going on. Somehow he finds out that they have to pay the bar owner and then they can go somewhere. He gives the bar owner about $5 and then they go outside. He doesn't know anything, all he is interested in is getting some. Anyway, in those days in Vietnam, Madam Nhu, the corrupt premier who was a good Catholic, kind of a morals police. The girls could not be seen outside the clubs and then they couldn't even ride in the same taxis with the man. She tells the Ray to get in another taxi and she gets in one and he follows. They wind all around, alleys, all kinds of stuff and finally gets into this maze of apartments, finally get to hers and go in and it is a great little pad. They spend all night together, great night; he has to be back at the ship at eight andhe's up all night, finally realizes that at six, he's got to get out of there but no taxis and the gal gets him a pedicap. The guy is about a hundred who is pedaling the cab. He finally makes it back. Is this a great story or what? I might have to turn this into at least a short story.


Here I am waiting on Michael. He claims he was in the shower when I called, probably laying up next to warm flesh. What a character. Three books.

I will never forget how we met. My wife and I went to this great little Italian restaurant just down the hill from where we lived in Mill Valley at the time. It was called Baci's and tables were all crowded together but great chow. In fact, for a long time, I mourned its passing. The owner was a character and had a million schemes. The one I liked best was that he was importing these little Italian sports cars, Spiders: they were fairly inexpensive and the Californians would be scarfing them up by the truck loads. I had a Fiat Spider and I didn't think so. I could have bought a Farrari with the price of keeping it going. It was almost as bad as an MG, where you needed a British mechanic riding with you. Fiat--Fix It Again, Tony, caused a smile.

Anyway, Jackie and I were seated by this couple and they were talking. We couldn't help but overhear them: the conversation was fairly benigh. I guessed they were boyfriend and girlfriend. So, about ten minutes into the meal, I couldn't help but overhear several things and almost laughed a couple of times. This guy was really funny and then the girl said to him, "Wow, I don't know what it is but I feel really kind of frumpy tonight." The man gave a big sigh and said, "Well, you look kind of frumpy tonight." Without thinking, I immediately looked at him and said, "What, I can't believe you would say that!" If looks could have killed, I would have been a goner as my wife had this look of horror on her face. The guy looks at me and bursts out laughing. So did I and thus began this great friendship. He is the greatest guy.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

War Protesters

I can't wait till Michael and Gary get here. We are going to have a great fight this morning. I have mixed emotions about the protesters. Mill Valley seems to be a hotbed of activity. I lived in Mill Valley for twenty years but recently moved into San Francisco. I never really bonded with MV. It's a great little town of 13,000 people and going down to the town square, it reminds one of a little Swiss village. To say that it is yuppieville is an understatement but also, quite politically way to the left of Micahel Moore. I hate labels but sometimes don't know what else to use. Mill Valley ain't conservative, you can know that for sure. And, liberal causes are a way of life.

They even have an old folks home that has a bunch of senior protesters. Yesterday, this new group was out in the rain. I was going to take picures but by the time I got my camera, they were gone. I will have to say that they had some pretty unique signs--several like peace symbols and then some banners. Most of the folks riding by were sympathetic, blowing their horns. Not me but I didn't give them the finger either.

I have mixed emotions. My feelings all along have been that we had to get Saddam sooner or later. He was a madman, killing his own people, the worst sort of despot. It was going to happen. I would have preferred later. For one thing, we were still fighting in Alfganistan, please! I totally supported our efforts in Alfganistan and taking out the Taliban and getting Osama. Iraq pretty much was contained and so let's wait it out. But, it looked like "W" was bound and determined to go to war with him as the larger idea of fighting terrorism. I was skeptical. My philosophical belief was that after 9-11, our lives changed forever and everybody in America's lives had changed, never to return. Terrorism had been a part of the world community for a long time and now it had come to us. So, we have to realize, accept it and prepare as best we can and not worry about it. We are who we are and to change that, for better or for worst, is to give the victory to the terrorists. George W. didn't see it my way, obviously.

And, I thought that we ought to get more of our traditonal allies on board. I voted for Bush the first time but couldn't stomach the mismanagement of the war. Then we had the invasion and it went smoothly and the infamous Bush pronouncing a victory. There were some symbolic gestures, i. e., pulling down the statue of Saddam and almost as quickly, there was sudden chaos and things began to fall apart. And, it became obvious to those of us who had some experience with the military that nothing had been done to secure the peace.

Obviously, it was a belief by Rumsfelt and others that somehow, the presense of the U. S. in the Mideast would give us a foothold and support the Iraelis; I mean, if you listened to the "talking heads", somehow it all seemed plausible. The problem was that it did not work. Looting was widespread, there was no security and worse of all, we could not secure the safetyof the people. It was a disaster in the making that continues. Suddenly, W's view of victory went to hell in a handbasket and so now we are heading toward the inglorious mark of 2000 dead Americans and maybe as many as 100,000 Iraqis, and we have the Mill Valley protest.

Damn, I just don't know how I feel. Somehow, I don't think I can go along with the protesting. I remember Vietnam and the protesters. I was younger then but it felt like betrayal. Here we were in Nam, fighting for our country. Fighting in the sense that the country had sent us to Vietnam, we didn't just show up on our own. We felt the protesting was very personal toward us. I never doubted the sincerely of those protesting, I don't think but it just didn't feel right.

OK, here' s Michael. He looks like warmed over death.

"What in the hell is going on with you, you look like s...."

"I know, I know, too much dancing over the weekend." Michael is a bigtime sausa dancer and much in demand. It is a form of exercise to him but also I think he's looking at women. He says no but give me a break!

"What you been up too?"

"Oh, just making it over the weekend."

What about yourself.

Well, I am working on my house a little, still leaking.

Did you see the protesters.

He curses. Michael is a hardcore patriot to the max. Served in the Navy and had orders to go to Navy Seal School but at the last moment got detailed into Navy intell. "Ass holes, you got to be kidding me. I felt like stopping and kicking their ass."

Gary comes in. "Well, about time you got here."

"Yeah, I had to get a cup of coffee. the coffee here sucks but I'm not telling them like Michael told Santi." (Santi was the owner of another place we use to hang out and still go to on occasion).
"What you guys up too?

Well, we are tralking about the protesters.

What protesters?

You didn't see them.

No, where where there?

Well, they were at Tam junction. In the rain no less.

I tell you what gets me about them. Not any of them have been in the military, they don't know shit about what is going on.

You can't say that. At least they are out there doign something. I don't think the war is so damn hot myself.

What in the hell do you know.

Well, I know what I read and our ass is in a qaugmire and your man, Bush won't admit it. All of you who voted for him are now going to have to live with him.

Give me a break.