Thursday, January 29, 2009


As a rule, I pretty much thought men were not huggers. But it looks like there's a general trend toward hugging. I like it. I am seeing more and more men hugging. I always hug. Some are a little uncomfortable with the bear hugging that I like. If I don't like them all that much, they get a semi-hug. This is a kind of upper body hug, a little akin to the Mafia hugs like on the Sopranos. A little better than the European cheek kissing but not nearly as good as a bear hug. What also works well is a group hug. This way, you can include all, whether you like them or not.

Our new President elect appears to be a somewhat semi-hugging type; occasionally a "bear hug. " The best one I've seen him do was on Vets Day with Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs in Iraq. Also, on the night of the election, he and Joe Biden were hugging machines, each other, the kids. Anybody within range. What I've noticed with all the cabinet appointments is that the president elect shakes hands, leans into the person and gives them a back pat. I'm calling this a semi-hug. Pretty good!

Us "GIRLFRIENDS" us old guys,the vets: we go for the hugs. And, we are all into group hugs which is good especially if men are hug phobic. Sometimes we'll hug several times in a gathering: a hug when a guy leaves, group hug somewhere along the line. More guys leave, more hugs, group hugs. You get the picture.

During this economic down, especially with all the dismal news, let's get out and hug a few people. We'll all feel better for it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


There is nothing left to say almost about the Inauguration. It was, in my opinion, simply the best America has to offer. Usually I pay scant attention but, like most Americans, this year was different. Our new President was selling hope. And, not in a bad way but laced with realism. His speech was simply superb and he hit every topic that are hot buttons because they are real. He didn't let us off the hook. Issues like greed and hard work and time and hope--all fixed in there together. 

Made me very proud. Our new president ls from a different generation. The issues aren't black and white but class, the inequties, the lack of opportunity between the haves and have nots, regardless of race. To put it mildly and obviously what we all know: he has a formitable task before him. So, let's put shoulder to the wheel, lean into the wind, and bridle to the mule. 

Times a'wastin

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I've been thinking lots about the economy and the suffering in Gaza amid my comfort. The whole idea of "being comfortable" bothers me in my soul. Let's face it, we have a class system in America, even if we deny it. To get to the place where we are so comfortable, thinking that this is the lot for all, especially with the present suffering going on, that, I might add, I am only hearing about--this truly bothers me. An encouraging note is that the new President's nominees, several, have addressed that issue, i. e., the poor, the disparity in lives in our country. And, just because I'm comfortable doesn't mean that I can assume that there's no suffering. 
I think there's no shame in having reached a certain level of comfortableness, but not sure that we can automatically assume that we deserve it. I guess what I am saying is that we should not be too comfortable in our comfortableness. 
One of the things I think about is that we don't all get dealt the same hand. Simply as fate, we are born who we are, not our fault. We could have been born some poor child filled with anger and hate in Gaza, whose life may soon be over. GOD HELP US in our complacency. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The complex financial morass is way beyond me or the average citizen for that matter. Well, to be honest, I really don't know anybody, supposedly the best and the brightest who understand it.

In some ways, it defies logic. Here's what we know: we have already given billions to bankers who if they did not cause lots of the problem, were surely complicit in the first place. And, the man who forked over the first several billion to his buds without requiring any accountability didn't once mention conflict of interest. Suspicious? When the Sec of Trea calls up his buddies, calls them by their first names--make any difference? I THINK SO.

At the heart of our financial mess has been good old greed. Who can deny that? What nobody seems to be willing to admit is that man left to his own devices will choose self interest everytime. I THINK SO. If greed is the basic nature of man that no one talks about, why do we keep avoiding it? Tell me the last time you heard a politician mention greed. Often we want answers, they are into spin when it is simple--Greed! In spiritual terms, which are as good as any, it is called the "depravity of man." I THINK SO.

Answers? I don't know any better than those who are making the decisions. But, absent of knowing, I think we are doing the best we can by at least doing something. I THINK SO.

If there has ever been a good example of the depravity of man, Bernie Madoff who is in his seventies and bilked mostly his friends out of billions, is a premo example. The laundry list of his transgressions are too much to even discuss. Another crook, in terms of "brass," is Richard Piccoli, 82, who got over 4 million from duped smart people in a 2 year period. I am amazed on many levels as these two guys should have been out playing with their grand kids. I THINK SO.


COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE is an Army school of a year's duration. It is mainly for potential commanders and is mostly on military tactics. Almost all the students will go on to become Colonels and Generals and lead the Army. During my time there, it was especially hard as Vietnam was in its last days. We were not even permitted to talk about Vietnam. Almost to a person, we had seen combat, some several times. Most of us had spilled blood in that very sorry war. It was hard and someone started circulating a casette tape called WHAT THE CAPTAIN MEANS. This was in 75 and the internet was not yet reality. The tape circulated among the students and we laughed and laughed. Over the years, I have tried to quote many of the comments in "What The Captain Means" but have been unsuccessful as one almost has to hear it. Now, thanks to some generous soul, it has been posted on YouTube. Thank you, thank you:

There is simply no way to convey what this meant at that time. I laughed so hard, as did everybody and then one day we were sitting in the auditorium, students called it the Big Bedroom and suddenly, What The Captain Means started playing over the public address system. It was hilarious and kind of became our theme as it was a time of enormous grief as Vietnam fell --we realized that it had all been for nothing or at least that was the feeling. So, when we would see each other, someone would invariable say, "What The Captain Means" and it would take the edge off things.

And, there is much more to What The Captain Means than humor. The comments are subtle truth. And, they apply to the spin of war today just as they did in Vietnam. God help us.