Monday, February 27, 2012


I thought the Academy Awards missed the mark on Best Picture. "The Help" should have won hands down. Since I don't know the ins and outs, I can only say no comparison with "The Artist," which I thought was boring. To me, "The Help" celebrated courage with which every older American can identify, especially Southerners. I think I have done this before but ADD that I am, can't really remember. However, here goes, "on behalf of every Southerner, I apologize and asked forgiveness for our prejudicial treatment toward African Americans. We were ignorant. It was a cultural thing during the time of "The Help" but that is no excuse. 

We didn't have the same experiences as"The Help"e but were just as prejudice and it was wrong. My brother ran a country grocery store and had a lot of black customers. Much of the business was what was called then, "on credit." I can never remember my brother ever refusing credit to anyone. I would actually go with him to deliver groceries to black families, which he didn't have to do. My brother had a "good" heart and was especially attendant to widows or those having it "hard" as he would call it, usually involved female, several children and absent father. I didn't understand it all, as I was about 14.  I would often smile because he could be so funny. He would say, "look at this, these people have a TV." (there would be a TV antenna on their usual ramshackle house, owned by their landlord. I would usually laugh and say or think, "Oh Corb., poor people shouldn't have a TV, right?" Most of the the time, we would laugh. Blacks who traded with my brother were a subculture, different from "The Help" in a sense but like "The Help" as to class (which we definitely had).  When my brother left his grocery store (too complicated to go into: involved IRS, sugar to bootleggers, etc. but, the black community owed him thousands and thousands of dollars that he forgave. I don't know if he ever came around on whether poor people should have a TV. 

Friday, February 24, 2012


Two marines and a Vietnamese scout come rushing in to the  medical bunker
unexpected  with the obviously wounded Vietnamese solder.  He has a  hole in his
trachea[windpipe] from shrapnel. A major  spray of blood comes gushing  out with each exhale and I see  he is obviously in severe
shortness of breath, in danger of asphyxiating from  blood. accumulating in his lungs with each inhale.  Also his eyes are in an
absolute terror and panic as  he looks at me. I had never seen this before. He managed to keep flailing his arms, trying to keep the corps men on and myself away.

One of the Marines tells me as they leave that the solder believes he is there to be tortured
since that is what he was was going to happen if captured.

The only ones who understand a word of Vietnamese in the bunker  are the scout and the wounded prisoner.
I repeatedly tell the scout to tell the prisoner I want to help him, to save his life. Each time the scout talks to
him, the wounded soldier goes again into another wildly failing episode as if fighting us for his life.

I am meanwhile  hurriedly preparing a surgical tray with expanders, scalpels, etc to stop the bleeding and secure an
airway by doing the tracheotomy before he suffocates from his own blood. By necessity, this has to be done in full view of the soldier.

In the context of Vietnam, I knew there was a 50-50  chance the scout was still telling him I really was going
to torture him if he did not give information about his combat unit and their plans.

To this day, I do not  do not know and will never know what was being said. If
he thought to the end that I was there to torture him or to help him.

All  of this was happening  in 3-4  chaotic minutes.

Finally did the only thing which seemed  save his life in the midst of chaos of blood spraying, prisoner terror, etc,
Pushed the scout aside, had 6 corpsman hold the wounded guy down and gave him just enough of a dose of IV sedative
 I dared to which would sedate him but not fatally   suppress his already reduced breathing ability.

Good part of the picture. It worked. Tracheal tube put in under sedation. Stable when helicopter picked him out .Every reason to believe he survived.

Not so good part of the story. Was uncomfortable to be seen as part of a possible system of medical  torturing. I knew it was not true
of any American doctors in Viet Nam.  Had real suspicions  whether it was also not true of the South Vietnamese or Korean 'allies'. But the wounded soldier lumped
myself and them  as part of the same adversary.

A day in Viet Nam. Dr. Paul L., Then Captain, USMC

Thursday, February 23, 2012


My dad was the most ethical person I've ever known. I surely didn't realize it at the time. However, today, I "get" what an extraordinary man he was. I could probably conjure up several examples but one just made it across my radar screen. ( Could be because today, Feb 22, is the anniversary of his death).  He had a simple ethic: "always try to do what's right." This view was not always clear or made sense to anybody else but it did to my Dad. He was fond of saying he understood what "doing the right thing" was even if others didn't. The example that comes quickly to mind is a time when my Mom's folks "fell out") This is a NC term which means they refused to have anything to do with him. The perceived slight had to do with my Dad's decision to help a neighbor harvest his crops. What made this an issue was that my Uncles, Mom's brothers, wanted to have all the land in the area to farm. However, another farmer had rented acreage and would not give it up. The Uncles came up with a plan: deny him the labor force needed to harvest his crops.The idea was that if he could not harvest the crops, the landlord would not get her share and so  the land eventually would come back to the Uncles. When my dad refused to go along, Mom's folks were incensed as well as my mom. My dad's logic: not fair to the neighbor and a selfish and wrong act; "getting back at someone" was not in his nature but mainly, helping the neighbor harvest the crops was the "right thing to do."

Sunday, February 12, 2012


WHO THE F..K are these people? I can't help but think, who are they?. When Romney, Gingrich, Paul, Santorum speak and the people applaud, my first thought: who the f..k are these people taking in this stuff? I guess they are fellow Americans but it sure as hell doesn't make me feel any better. People whose narrow views are simply products of non thinking or bigotry or racism. Politicians, especially this Republican crowd, they'll do or say anything. They are drunk with idiocy. But, the audiences, what is it that they go for these narrow, extreme views. Bias myself? Absolutely. I hate that fellow Americans are this stupid and it is hard for an "Independent" like me to find empathy. In NC, we have a view: "you can say most anything about someone if at the end of the pronouncement you say, 'bless their hearts.' " What the hell, at least the Republican candidates, as they are bad mouthing the Prrsident, ought to say, bless his heart." They, the Repub wannabes, if they threw the "bless his heart" in occasionally would make them appear less nasty. If I were a Republican, I would be ashamed that Sarah Palin, was more or less a spokes  person for my party. She continues to command wide audiences. Don't you know that she's on her knees daily, thanking John McCain who is into the stupid and angry mode and wants to bomb most foreign counties, for picking her as his running mate. As my Dad use to say, "might as well laugh as cry."

Whitney Houston

I am not much of a celebrity worshiper but have always liked Whitney Houston.  What a voice and talent!  From my perspective, with no real facts, just observation, she was doing great and then got involved with a "dope head" and she gets all hooked on whatever dope he's into. She never came back from it although the relationship ended. And, now the irony is that the former "dope head" has pretty much shaped himself up. Here's a big-time subjective view, based on many years of counseling with couples or women. It has been my observation that women will often choose men who are absolute sorry asses by anybody's standard. I have wanted to say over and over, "why did you marry that sorry asshole?" But, I've refrained. Oh, there's the psychobabble of "bad boys" but it is more than that. Women in general seem to go into relationships that have little or no chance to make it. Just an observation and what the f..k do I know!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


This is one of those links that you wonder if its true. I think so. I keep wondering where the f..k these rosy reports of Afghanistan come from. If this article is true, now we know. The military has always been a "can do" organization. It has worked to our detriment. And, the ones that have to be blamed, if establishing blame is what we have to do, is our civilian leaders. There are all sorts of examples. Let's cite just one off the top of my head. In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, one general voiced opposition. Shinseki, now the head of VA. He was simply ignored. The rest of the generals were "can do." In their defense, I can only say, they view the mission, whatever it might be, as doing their job.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


In the NYT Sunday mag is a great article by a reporter who spent some time with a Marine platoon out on the tip of the spear, in Helmand province.  Makes me glad my time was in Vietnam, not Afghanistan.  It  seems not much has changed for the grunts, especially here, in an undeclared war, backed by a few, not the many.  He accurately, for me, describes the Lt. and his platoon.  
   One particular fact makes one take note: the "booby traps" aka IED's, are much more lethal in Afghanistan than in the villes and rice paddies of "Nam".  It seems that the Taliban has learned a thing or two about materials, placement, and components and explosives.  It also seems like they've figured out how to get the most 'bang' for their buck, using cheap chemicals available from agricultural sources in Pakistan.  There's something rotten in Pakistan but I don't think we should really get involved there either.  It's frustrating, knowing so little of the facts that our decision makers are privy to when deciding on strategy.
   I guess we'll have to live another 30years or so to find out what really happened.  In the meantime, we'll bear witness to the list of wounded and maimed as they return after multiple tours, fully knowing that their chances of returning unscathed are pretty much zero after 1 tour.   I guess if there is a saving grace, it's the fact that the Taliban can't mass for an assault like the NVA.  Our intell is no doubt better now and the drones keep the Taliban on the move and the night really doesn't offer the protection it once did back in the day.  I still wake up counting the hours until the sun comes up, and with it, new life.

CPT, you are getting an A on emails. Would you believe that I read the article about the Marines just yesterday. Good article and I am pretty much where you are. My thought overall is what a f..king mess to put a bunch of young Marines in a no win war. Not just "no win," a train wreck. Where I see the difference in Afghanistan and Vietnam is that we could have won  Vietnam at least in military terms. Take over the country, won the war and sort it out later. In Afghanistan, if we stay there a hundred years, will not make lots of difference. The only thing I would see if somehow, we decided to make Afghanistan as training ground for the wars to come. But, it would take lots of creative thinking and with the top levels of the military, thinking is in short supply and the high levels of government have had no military experience and don't know s..t. What it would mean is closing places like Fort Irwin where we do desert training. Instead of practicing war, we would actually be in one. Aside from that, we need to get our asses out of Afghanisyam post haste. It is only going to get worse. All the rosy picture of our progress convinces me that somebody at some level has been smoking the "John" weed. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES AMERICA--Get the f..k out of Europe

LEAVING EUROPE. About time. If there is anything about which Ron Paul is right on, it is reducing our footprint in foreign lands. We are bigtime stupid in this area. Why, for instance, has it taken this long to start moving out of Europe. Well, the ready answer is probably the "Cold War." I'm not going to dispute such but I can tell you this for a fact, it is now damn time. Even In the early seventies, it was not without it's problems. I was a soldier in Europe then and it was not good. American soldiers resided in substandard barracks while the Germans, at that time, having conscription, lived in new facilities. I use to think, "what is wrong with this picture: here we are suppose to be protecting the Germans from the Soviets and yet we are second class citizens." And, it was one of those subjects no one talked about. Damn straight. A tough time. Our American military was struggling with issues of racism while drugs were rampant. The draft was on its last legs and the Vietnam war was all but wound down. A hell of a hard time. And, add to this some uncaring and stupid decisions by those who made and carried out policies that related to the military. One specific one created an untenable situation where, even today, we are dealing with the fallout. Scores of Vietnam soldiers with a few months to do before discharge were sent to Europe to fill out the ranks. It was a gastly mistake. These Vietnam soldiers were expected to "soldier" when in fact, they were jaded with war. Many crashed and burned, mainly through drugs or other types of insubordination. To the active military's discredit, soldiers who had done their duty were simply and unceremously hung out to dry. The reputation of the Vietnam soldier was forever sullied as being a dope head or worst still, the Vietnam war was somehow directly his fault. Shameful is what can be said. LEAVING EUROPE IS LONG OVERDUE.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Ticking Off The Catholics

The Prez needs to take a page out of the Susan B Komen Foundation's recent book. They f..ked up. Taking back a grant from Planned Parenthood. They realized it immediately as the backlash was a hurricane. They "got it" and restored the grant, said "Sorry, we f..ked this up." They will not get back to where they were but at least they tried. The Prez or Sec of Health and Welfare, have ticked off most of the Catholic population or so it seems. Hard to say. I heard these two "talking heads" on "The News Hour." You would have thought that the mention of condoms was cataclysmic to the Catholics. Who knows (granted, I don't have all my facts together). It is politics and the Prez and cohorts would probably have been better to appease them. But, let's face it, the Catholics want to keep people buried in that bullshit of no birth control. For whatever reasons, maybe to create new believers to brainwash. Damned if I know. But, look at the poorest nations of the world, Catholic. Having babies right and left. An example that I see often: I'm stopped at a light in San Francisco: a young hispanic girl crosses in front of me,  she is pg, has about a six year old by the hand, has a small baby on her chest, pushing a baby carriage with what looked like twins:  count them, five kids. Want to bet? Catholic. A mystery to me. Even after the child abuse scandals, the Catholics seem to be stronger than ever. I am a Christian, a Bible thumper (meaning that I believe, even with all the mysteries, there is no need for anything outside the Bible as relates to the faith). I don't go for canon law, all that bullshit outside the basic Bible. Priest forgiving sins. That sort of thing but still, why offend if you can figure a way out of it. What is that saying: if you discover you are digging yourself into a hole, quit digging!!!