Saturday, August 31, 2013


A friend of mine hold me recently about a friend who had bypass surgery and literally when the surgeons got in, they found a "hole in his heart." Jim Karanas recently died and left a hole in the heart of an entire community.My wife, Jackie,  was one. Her sadness over the last few days has been palpable as has scores of others--a HOLE IN THE HEART. 

I didn't know Jim Karanas, only through my wife. He taught and introduced "spinning" as an exercise program to San Francisco. I am going to give him the title, "Father of Spinning." Jim was this bigger than life person to Jackie. He ignited in her a desire to be physically fit and to develop a lifestyle that would produce it.  What price can you put on such motivation? The thing that always impressed me about Jim is that my wife could call him anytime--here is a guy with all kinds of things going, seemingly dozens but he always took time to respond back. No small thing to me. 

What to do about "a hole in the heart?" A surgeon can repair. Not so easy to those who loved Jim. Keeping his memory alive is one way to venture repair. The poet, Angelo Patri, gives a hint, "In one sense there is no death.  The life of a soul on earth lasts beyond their departure.  You will always feel that life touching yours, that voice speaking to you, that spirit looking out of other eyes, talking to you in the familiar things they touched, worked with, loved as familiar friends.  They live on in your life and in the lives of others that knew them."


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

82d Airborne Division

When I was last in the 82d Airborne, in the dark ages of 1982, we always were preparing ourselves for war. It was what we did. The 82d Airborne has always been a volunteer force and consequently is different from any other unit in the Army. You must volunteer to be in it. The one thing that we can pretty much know: the 82 has not changed. They are a bunch of wild hearted soldiers who are fearless. A good example: The main street through the 82d Airborne is Ardennes, named after that famous forest in WW ll. The 82d had a joke. "Put us on Ardennes and we will run to the war." 

The 82d Airborne has trained for the last several months to parachute into Syria. This is nothing new for the famed Airborne Division. They train for the latest crisis in the world. Wheels up, meaning that in 72 hours once they have been given the green light, they are ready to go and they are on the way. 


I am listening to these prognosticators and honestly it is a crazy situation. What I can't get is "why"' in the f..k would Assad be that stupid. I think we are going to do something; I have mixed emotions. If it was my decision, what would I do. I DON'T THINK SO; I remember how euphoric I was when we went into Iraq. And, so chancy. Sadly so. I hope the president has enough experience now to be smart. He is not going to please McCain who can't be mollified. He is still angry about losing to Obama. Get over it John. And, I doubt that the President has a mandate for doing the Syria thing, regardless of what it is. Americans who care are war weary. We have seen war too much. Iraq where our reward for young dead Americans is nothing. Afghanistan, a parcel of corruption and the Taliban waiting in the wings. 

The situation is so iffy--so much confusion; sadly civilians have been gassed. There  are no clear cut answers on anything. Getting bogged down in another war is a fast train to nowhere and is unthinkable. If we have to do it, go in with a punishing attack on Assad's headquarters and air dense sites. Make it fierce with the idea that,  "do this again and your ass is grass." 

Jayne Mansfield's Car

This is one weird movie. Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon and my favorite, Billy Bob Thornton, always an under rated actor. A weird movie with weird characters. A good story or maybe best to say, "a study on the effects of war." Character studies. Every southern stereotype but what the hay, Southerners are easy to make fun of. It is good for us I think.  All true. Midway through the movie, my wife said, "Are there famiIies like this?" Absolutely. 

Billy Bob's character is permanently scarred by war, both physically and emotionally. The other brother equally scarred but in a different way: smokes dope and plays hippy. Then one who never left stateside but always felt guilty of not being in combat. A deep sense of patriotism, even in light of the "draft." The whole family still supports the government and the war. Not unlike the  "Red States" today, "don't confuse me with facts, I have my mind made up." 

The event that the movie is based on is a mother who escaped the South to flee to England where she met someone, married, and created a different life and another family. Her pull to the South, however, is that the insidious cancer has taken her, she be buried in the South. Her other family brings her home. The other family, the Brits, have their own issues (weirdness)
A couple of funny scenes with some, maybe I should say, idiosyncrasies, only to, in the end, turn out better than anyone would have suspected. 

A last thing, how did they come up with the title, Jayne Mansfield's Car ( the one she supposedly died in)? Possibly because Duval, who will always be Gus, from Lonesome Dove, was obsessed with automotive wrecks. But, then again with such a weird movie, what the hell difference does it make what the title is. . 

Sunday, August 25, 2013


GRIEF/CLOSURE. I have never particularly liked the word, "closure," because it implies that this is it, nothing else to be done, finished, next case. We know, of course, that grief works in different ways, for different ones. However, recently, I experienced a type of closure that was "right on." It was a celebration of our good friend's  life. She died a year ago. At that time, we had a wonderful celebration of who she was. In this case the husband had a ceremony of placing the ashes in this "see through" case. Hard to describe but it really was sweet. The unscripted casual way that we watched and celebrated who she was. When I think of ashes, I think of spreading them somewhere. This was different and I think for those present, a celebration as we've done what we can. A closure. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

PFC Bradley Manning

Surprise. Surprise on the Bradley Manning sentencing. The same thing on conviction. He had no chance. 

What fascinates me as ex military is how "little" civilians understand about their military. (Yes, it is a military that belongs to the people). Concerning Manning, there is a chorus of lawyers, journalists, adinfinitum who want to make sense of a system they f..king don't have a clue about.  

Those who don't "get it," want to look at a courts martial like they would a civilian trial. Bullshit. Military justice (and that is a misnomer) is no military justice in the sense that most think of justice in court. There is a bullshit trial but rarely and I mean rarely is anyone found innocent. I would love to see the stats. There are three levels of courts martial: (1) General, (2) Special, and (3) Summary. I haven't even heard these different types mentioned. Manning's trial was a "general." A "special" is for lessor crimes and a summery is usually smaller offences, before a judge. 

In Manning's case, his lawyer has been about worthless: made stupid decisions. In front of only a judge, for one. She is a military lawyer for God's sake. In a military courts martial, you have a prosecutor but the judge is like having two prosecutors. F..k, what kind of justice is that? The judge is subject to the same system as the rest of the military for her promotions, assignments, etc. There is an automatic conflict of interest. Why in the hell is this not pointed out? Answer, civilians don't understand the system. 

Courts Martial have a system of investigation called an article 32 which results in "bring the guilty bastard in." It is a procedure that is stacked against the Bradley Manning's of the military and civilians are clueless about it. THE MILITARY COURT SYSTEM NEEDS REFORM. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brits Just As Stupid

I thought the American Intel types were the only ones that excelled at stupid. But, apparently the Brits are not far behind: Holding the partner of Glenn Greenwald, at the Heathrow Airport for nine hours. Why? Payback to Greenwald for attempting to bring a modicum of transparency to America's (and Britain) vast public snooping network. 

Monday, August 19, 2013


When 9-11 happened, I, like most Americans, could hardly believe it--from that day forward, everything changed for us and for anybody who has anything to do with us. 

Think about it: to a useless and ill conceived war to now wholesale spying on American citizens. And all done in the name of preventing terrorism. This is, as my mom would say, scandalous. The intelligence community has, in a sense, bit by bit taken chunks out of our  government. It is why someone like Snowden and to a slight degree Bradley Manning are whistleblowers and not traitors or treasonous, whatever term the government wants to put on it. Do any of us think that had they not done leaked, the NSA would have fessed up. If you believe that, you have been on the "weed" way to long.   Instead of seeking to blame the leakers for forcing us to own up, we should be hanging our heads as we have become complicit in things that totally go against the value system of us Americans who think and care. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013


The examples of people living into old age and doing it well is legion, at least as I see it in San Francisco. The "City" is constantly winning, "healthiest big city in'Merica.' " Recently I went to dinner with a 90 year old. She was great. Other than she is vain, LOL, and will not get a hearing aid, she doesn't appear to have missed a step. 

In last week's "Vow's" Section of the NY Times, an 89 year old was marrying an 80 year old. According to her story, they are having sex (well the term used was "make love"). From the bride, "And, yes they make love. Romance doesn't stop with age and that is something that has rather amazed me. It makes me realize that there's hope for everybody". 
His story: married five times, including this one. Outlived three wives, one divorce. The divorce was while he was a soldier in France, fresh from the D-Day invasion where he drove a munitions truck onto Omaha Beach, he saw a crying French girl. Her house had been destroyed, family was destitute. He helped, eventually married her. They had a son. She later ran off with a French chef. One of his marriages lasted 44 years. Her last years were marred by cancer and faithfully he nursed her till she died. His son of French chef fame eventually found him. The best line came from the bride, "this is so much better than a funeral." 

Friday, August 16, 2013

PFC Bradley Manning

To be honest, I do not know anyone at the present that I feel more sorry for than Bradley Manning. Here is a young, confused soldier who has f..ked up and been convicted of his "f..k up" and is awaiting sentence. He and all the various talking heads, pro and con, are speculating about his sentence. 

HELLO! Let me clue you in: the judge is a military judge. She follows rules and regulations. (She is an ESTJ on the Myers Briggs Type Indicatoryou can take that to the bank). The guilty verdict was assured, "Bring The Guilty Bastard In." A big mistake by his lawyers to allow him just a judge. Manning might have gotten an empathetic ear with a jury of his peers. I doubt it but it was at least a shot. He committed a crime but in a sense has already been punished: harsh treatment and solitary confinement. All along I have felt it was immoral. An aside, I often wonder, what do other soldiers think about Manning. The guards at Leavenworth prison are young Military Policemen. I doubt they go along with his treatment. I surely hope not. 

Anybody who has adult children and thinks seriously about Manning "get it." Kids make stupid decisions, do stupid things and often get up every morning and take a stupid pill. 

What will the judge give Manning? Probably 20 years plus. What should he get, a "dishonorable discharge and time served." I am f..king dreaming.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


ONE ELECTION CYCLE. This is what a good friend of mine said about NC joining the other right wing Republican states when they passed their voter ID law. One election cycle is what it took. NC has traditionally stuck to doing its own thing, often apart from the rest of the South. Now, with "one election cycle," it has aligned with the bigots and right wing Republicans. My home state (NC) can't produce any  credible evidence that there is voter fraud. How about Racism? My friend who had recently moved to NC says that he loves the State, beauty, etc. but based on what the intolerable, right wing has done, he would never move to NC. F..kkkkkk 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The VA

Criticism of the VA and their lack of good "whatever" always seems to play well on the evening news. They have lots of shortcomings and are an overwhelmed HMO. And, there's two sides that most don't get: the claims section is not the medical side. However, with that slight bit of support for VA, what fascinates me are the vets themselves. They may or may not be a reflection of society. I don't think so. In front of me are a couple of guys who are like a history book. They know the units and they love to give commentary. as if it is the military channel: talking about the various units--5th Special Forces, 8th Infantry, 509 Airborne, Marine Force Recon. Need I go on? 

The VA is like a zoo. Today, mostly old vets and in fact, looks like mostly Vietnam vets. The guy beside me has his clothes in a plastic bag and is one of the "don't smell him, treat him" types.  Sometimes I don't know how I feel about VA. I go there because It is as close as I can get to soldiers. In my mind's eye, I have this unrealistic view that us vets are like a fraternity. We have been soldiers. We have similar experiences. 

But, I don't know. Fellow Vietnam vets, so called Swift Boat vets, sunk John Kerry when he was running for president. Think about it: Kerry lost, we got George W. We also got two useless wars, similar to Vietnam. Impossible to have decisive victory under any circumstance. As Vietnam vets, we should have known better. We have to figure that if Kerry had been elected, he had been a soldier and we would have avoided useless wars. As vets we f..ked up, let's face it. We were simply used for politics. Doesn't speak very well for us vets being a fraternity. 

Monday, August 12, 2013


Have you ever known someone you don't even know but you don't like? Larry Summers is one and I am sure he will me staying up nights worrying about how some "midget" in the scheme of things doesn't care for him.  (In my defense, I have read lots over the last several years about him. But, based on my track record of late with the president's decisions, he will probably nominate him to be Fed Chairman). What amazes me about guys like Summers is that they have modest incomes/wealth at a certain point. They go to work for the government and immediately the f..kers are wealthy. Summers is a good example. He is worth about $400,000, goes to work for Obama and now conservatively $7-31 mil. You have got to be kidding me! What the f..k. Do we think that all these people who are paying him these big bucks or involving him in businesses or stocks or start-ups are doing it for his good looks or because he is a good guy 

He gets 6 figures for speeches. Who in the hell is worth that? These outfits who pay them that much money must be dumber than a "box of rocks." Maybe, dumb like foxes. I am absolutely flummoxed. 

My info comes from the "NY Times" story about Summers. Most of those interviewed fall over backwards touting positive things about the him. What do we expec them to say? They surely expect to gain, at least in influence. He'll take their call. 

Green Berets

I saw this saying and it reminded me of how the Green Berets saw this saying, "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn't, it never was."

What I remember from Special Forces days was a poster that you saw everywhere. I kept one for a long time, just as s joke at how macho the Green Berets were and they needed it based on their pretty hairy missions. 

"If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, shoot it." 

Sunday, August 11, 2013


NurseGood luck and God bless you
PatientI want to give you (all the staff at the Infusion Center) a gift for the great care you have provided. 
NurseNo need. Our great gift is seeing you leave treatment and cancer free. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed but I am bound to live up to what light I have. I must stand with any man when he is right. Stand with him while he is right and depart from him when he goes wrong. Abraham Lincoln

I have been a big time supporter of the Prez. Financially contributed, campaigned and defended even when I didn't agree: drones, GITMO, etc. But, it seems of late his good sense has gone South. His advisors maybe--I don't know where he gets these f..kers like Jay Carney. Milk toast personified, wakes up every morning as Alice in Wonderland in a new worldHere's an example of poor thinking in my view. backing out of a one on one with Putin, the President comes off like a spoiled brat. We don't get our way and we pick up our marbles and go home. What the f..k.


Hey Guys,  Check this out.  I was walking my dog the other day as a "Trucker" was pulling out from a motel.  He spotted my 101st Cap and motioned me over.  We had one of those insightful 3 minute conversations that transcended time.  I gave him a business card and he said he would be in touch.  Check out his communication.   

Enjoy  ..............  Dan

Greetings........Always nice to meet a vet wearing his Division patch. That alone says something. of your attitude....Ive met other vets who cant even remember who they served with..........When I went to Nam I always had the intent of keeping a diary and  even in my civilian life prior to going to Nam was use to carrying my trusty instamatic camera...........A few years ago I found one of the guys from my company had a website up concerning Nam and I spent about 2 years sending info and photos. Gordon,who runs the site, had also found the official duty officers log for each day.  ...........So anyway its just  an honest tour of duty account. Mostly boring and nothing they'll make a movie about but theres loads of photos. but it is honest and accurate............go to     and click on the Ed Nored story 

Dan, thanks for sending along. What an interesting chance meeting. I went into the website. He has best definition of a Vietnam vet and the war's aftermath that I've seen. It's simplicity is what is very good in my view. His comments that he knew some vets who didn't remember units, etc; I have never encountered that unless the people were bogus. When someone tells me they were in Vietnam, I ask what was your unit, your MOS and where were you? If a guy doesn't know this, he was probably not in Vietnam. I ran into some guy the other day who said he had been in Vietnam. Where were you? Oh, I was all over. OK! Hope all is well. God bless.  jda

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


My apologies to the “NY Times" but have to mention this. The incredibly discouraging thing about our culture is that we can have all these investigations/exposes like in the “Times." Nothing changes. An example, a surgeon charges big bucks in the US; overseas, a fraction of the cost. Nobody says how the f..k can this be. He or she continues to charge.


This is not like a movie review. But, will have to say that Woody Allen's latest movie is terrific. Kate Blanchett will definite get an Academy Awards Nomination. Every character is terrific. My favorite is Bobby Canavale. He plays a blue collar type from Brooklyn. Great. The basic story is a little of a take off on Bernie Madorf. A reverse rags to riches story as a riches to rags. The Kate Blanchett character is essentially off her "rocker" and comes to live with the low self esteem sister.

The movie is simple an example of our culture--a movie about life. Everybody has a story. I love movies for the reason that they give us a chance to see and talk about our story. I'll be discussing it for some time--this is how you know a movie is good. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013


"Closing of embassies because of the threat of terrorist attacks." Do we think that now with the National Security Agency in the spotlight, their calling our attention to potential terrorism justifies what they have been doing.  Have the vast majority of Americans just fell off the turnip truck? Apparently so with the acceptance that the NSA is doing its job is justified: Keeping us safe from terrorists or the threat thereof. The NSA can't lose. If we have terrorist attacks, they say, "we warned you." If we don't, the word will be that we were prepared and thus, attacks were thwarted. How can we dispute it? Give me a break!!

Friday, August 02, 2013


What is this BS. Last night all over the news is "Russia granting asylum to Snowden". Good for them, not going to be bullied by the U. S. What hypocrites we often are in this arena. We give around 5000 asylum prr year and we raise hell at Russia's action. To me, Snowden is someone who made a decision of conscience. And, we are singing a song of treason. Do any of us think that the NSA would ever admit that they are spying on us--yeah and I can fly. What is it with the president and all these politicians embracing the NSA for their spying on us. And, worse still, since we didn't get our way, we are not going to play, i.e., meet Putin when they have the G8 summit in Russia. Bullshit.