Thursday, May 29, 2014


At war, sleep is always a premium. In Nam, we could go days and seemingly never sleep. You get to a point where you would almost do anything to get a little shut eye. Here's a good sleep story. It was raining and a bunch of us went into this little hut. It was probably two in the morning. The rain was coming down in sheets. I lay down on some straw along with some other guys. Just to get a few minutes would be like heaven. It seems we hadn't slept in days. Fast asleep and instinctantly I woke up. A rat was sitting on my stomach. A rat as big as a cat. If I moved, I could count on a bite and rabies. I was absolutely petrified. Finally the rat moved off. Forget sleep. If I have told war story before slap me. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


The Santa Barbara thing is so tragic. In my view we are not off the hook. People should have recognized early on that he was crazy. The sexual thing, his sense of rejection, is interesting. 
He is not an attractive guy but there was somebody out there for him. Somebody like me should have grabbed him and slapped the shit out of him. There are many ways to shape him up. One article I read said, "sexually repressed;" everybody in the Muslim world is that. Here is a guy that those like myself should have been on top of it. F..k, in San Francisco, he could get laid for free, could have paid a few bucks, gotten a massage. I would have kicked his ass. I failed. This is being a little facetious but every time something happens like this, I always think there is a moment in time. Dang. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014


“I wouldn’t want to do it again but it was part of the experience of my life. Life is sort of an adventure. Sometimes the adventure gets out of hand”

Robert J. Flynn, shot down during the Vietnam war. He spent most of his time in solitary confinement. He retired as a Commander in the Navy. This a LTC. If he had been in the Army, he would have retired as a general. The Marines would have nominated him for Sainthood. Rightly so. What the f..k is wrong with the Navy. Plus, the damn inequity of it all. And, this isn’t to take away from these kids in the sorry ass wars of Iraq and Afghanistan who received the “Medal of Honor.” Commander Flynn should have gotten the Medal of Honor. What he got was what any military type will tell you: “I also served” medals. This p…sses me off to the max. What the f..k is wrong with those Navy weenies. I want to personally apologize to his wife and family.

Thursday, May 22, 2014



Yesterday, I am hanging out at one of  my favorite Coffee Houses (this is the literal name. It has big, great chairs, sofas), the place is mostly empty, very early. I am smiling because of a trite incident but weird. I am getting my coffee after paying and ordering an Elvis bagel (peanut butter, honey, and banana)." This female walks in the door,  off the street with her own coffee cup, puts cream in her coffee and walks out like she thinks this is some sort of community coffee house where you don't have to pay. What the hell is this? I am smiling. 

I sit in one of the big sofas so I can watch the street, busy, very comforting. This lady who honestly looks like you would think a "bag lady" (homeless) comes and sits down across from me. There is this entire place where she could have chosen. She is layered. Clothes on top of clothes. This is Frisco. (Using Frisco as I have just discovered that we were led down the primrose path by SF Chronicle, Columnist, Herb Cain. I never liked him anyway and as my Priest buddy, Ed Kristoff use to say, "he was a gossip."
Anyway, Frisco was the original name). 

I think, "What the hay," I should at least spring for coffee for the woman," although she is not asking for anything. This is an aside but relevant I think. 
If you live in a big city and confront the homeless regularly, you learn tricks: Ignore them, never stop and talk, don't engage. I usually don't pay any attention to these ideas, it is kind of the culture to me and I think, "how best to deal with it." I often fork over a buck or so, to most. I've heard all the arguments, "if you give them money, it encourages. I don't give a s..t. It is worth something maybe for the indignity of having to beg, pander? What the flying fig as my dad would say! 

Some have great scams. "Can you  spare a quarter?" Give me a break, he/she doesn't plan to stop at a quarter. If you give it to him, he knows he has potential for more. I like the guys who are selling the "Street Sheet." It is a small newspaper about homeless issues. Here's an exchange of last week. "OK, give me one of those Street Sheets." 
"Man, you are the best," as I hand him a dollar. He looks to be about 60, thin, very articulate, "Man, I can use some help. I would love a burger. I haven't eaten all day." 
"How much are we talking about?" 
"Oh five bucks." 
"Well, you know things are expensive. However you can help."
I laugh. He has me. "OK." 
"Man, one more dollar will get me a burger and a drink." 
What the hell, I am already into him for $5. LOL. I have been scammed and I know it. A few weeks ago at the ballpark while I am waiting for a friend, this guy kept talking to me and before I know it, he has me for $20. I love the signs. The best one I've seen lately is, "Please help? My family has been abducted by aliens." He got a buck from me for originality. 

The layered look, possibly bag lady/homeless opens up this gigantic satchel. She takes out all these artist supplies and before my eyes draws this really beautiful colored piece of art. Elvis bagel finished, I decide to risk commenting. "Beautiful drawing. Do you ever sell your art?" 
How much for this piece?" 
"I'll take it." 
"I want to autograph." 
Here is where I think we might be dealing with something. She autographed, put her address on the back. Turned it over. Wrote her name again. Addressed, repeated the same info. I finally said, "I have to go." 
She gave up her art. I handed her $20. Then gave her a $5 for coffee. The money is insignificant, the experience was priceless.  

Monday, May 19, 2014


There is a voice over in the movie, “Bull Durham,” where Susan Sarandon says something like, “Baseball is America’s game.” So true, Where else in America that we know where you can have an African American 12 year old sing the National Anthem; and, at some point, 40 thousand plus people enthusiastically join in on, “God Bless America.” It is a great time. 

Looking out on the crowd, it is the United Nations: black, white, Asian, Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans; well, you get my point. America’s game. An absolute sampling of a cross section of our great country. 
Such fun. Ballgame is kind of hard for talking, normal sorts of things, etc,—you have the game. There are acres of kids with their team jackets, their baseball gloves, ready to catch that errant baseball. 

Baseball is for kissing somebody you love, for touching, hugging: the excitement, up and down. It’s for yelling, eating, drinking, talking to strangers. It is what baseball is about. It is the “American game.” 

Go “Giants” but it could be with any American team. Maybe it is the reason that we try to preserve the integrity of the game. I don’t know, but, baseball is America’s game I do know.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Shut The F..K UP

Everybody has weighed in on "Racist Sterling." I haven't mainly because I didn't know what to say. Sterling is a f..king idiot any way you look at it. 

There are idiots and then there are idiots. The President had it right. "When you are listening to an ignorant racist, whatever, just let them keep talking." Such assholes. It is intriguing for many reasons. Yes we know he is a racist. He is blindly jeolous. He's 80 Years old and should be home looking after his grandchildren. What fries my ass constantly is the fact these sorry MFers have money. It galls the f..K out of me. I've listened to the debate. Everybody has done their thing, let's move on. 

Everybody has weighed in. Sterling is a first class racist, stripped of involvement in NBA. Who knows, he is old guy and going to "hit the road soon." How is God going to deal with this sorry f..ker. 

Part of his problem is that he is
hanging around with these young "fillys" amd eventuallu he'll pop tpo much Viagra will kill him anyway. He looks exhausted, if you get my drift. I am not a basketball fan so stripping Sterling and never forget the f..k is in a long line of racists. 

We have never dealt with race in the country and I don't think we can, really. In a country like ours, so diverse as a rule. It is just what it is. We have to see people as people. Here is another example: I've been following the Jill Abramson firing at the "NY Times." I think we might as well add gender to the area of "let's lay off." Let us white boys shut the f..k up. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The VA

The VA does as well as it can, I believe. My experience has always been good. The San Francisco VA will rival any HMO in America, hands down. I am no spokesman for the VA or anybody for that matter. 

My initial experience wasn't great mainly because of the entrenched civilians who were the admin. Ten years later, I decided to try again and as my wife says, I just love to smell the soldiers. True, there simply is an affinity with those who have shared experiences. VA has improved. And, most of the docs (in Frisco) are from UCSF (University of Californis, San Francisco) which is the med school. A vet goes to the doc. Intern sees him. Asks a bunch of questions, tells him he thinks this. Goes out, gets his supervisor who comes in. Asks a bunch of questions. Makes diagnosis. Decides on treatment. This is top notch. Doesn't get any better. 

Is the scandal in AZ a big problem, waiting on appointments and in some cases while waiting, the Vet dies. Pretty sad and complicated and is more intricate than a TV sound bite. It wouldn't happen in San Fran, I assure you. And, shouldn't anywhere. Shinseki's fault? No. Let's give him  slack. I became a fan when Shinseki was the only general who raised questions before our stupidity in Iraq. That alone is enough to give him bigtime slack. 


I usually don't forward things, leave that to Winnie Ruth. But, because this is our history, very interesting post about tobacco. When we were growing up, nobody thought about age of kids working, just if they could do it. 

I started cropping (we didn't call it picking as the article did) tobacco at age nine. I can't think of another single person in our class involved with tobacco but me. Right/wrong? What struck me about this article and video was the fact that I got sick everyday I was cropping tobacco. What I thought then as a youngster was that because I had to deal with the dew, leaves getting in my mouth, made me sick and throwing up. According to this article, it was probably nicotine poisoning. Amazing. Dang. 

Every small farmer had a small patch of tobacco. It was an allotment, set by some mysterious entity. I think it had to do with how big our farm was.

The strange thing is that usually we had five croppers. I was on the outside and as I got older, I was one of the fastest ones. I was next to what we called the "drag" row. A mule pulled a sled and the croppers laid the tobacco in the drag to go to the barn to be tied and ready for curing. Do any of you know all this. Well, interesting. 

I have always been a friend of tobacco. When I have been in situations here in California where "health nuts" have put the "bad mouth" on smoking, my usual response is that I can't ever criticize those who smoke as when I was growing up on a tobacco farm in NC, tobacco put food on the table. Most of the time, if anybody is paying any attention they give me the" nobody is home look." Anyway, here is video.  

God bless and as the NASCAR guys say, God bless, "Merica."

Sunday, May 04, 2014


Election Day in Iraq. I can remember last election. It was pretty inspiring. Those "purple fingers". I  thought, "Wow, this might actually work." Bullshit. Looking at it now, I am thinking, "we could screw up a two car funeral procession." In Iraq, there is no decision that we've made that was not f..ked up. None. Doing away with the Iraqi military, the Ba'ath Party which was what little institution existed, are only two of scores of our idiocy. (Getting Saddam surely didn't give us any great sense of "mission accomplished).Then supporting Maliki. A crazy f..k up, any way you look at it. Honestly to think that Maliki would be inclusive and not be involved in major payback is stupid beyond means. 

I listened to Terry Gross interview Dexter Filkins about his article in The New Yorker. "What We Left Behind?"
I read it. Great/terrific. Like reading an "between the lines" history of our "fuck ups" in Iraq. (My words, not his). Very interesting which echoes  most of my own beliefs with one exception: Filkins bought into the absurdity of somebody, that we should have left troops in Iraq. Bullshit. What, in my view is crazy: we spent billions, maybe trillions of dollars, lost thousands of young Americans and for absolutely nothing. Young Americans who were fathers or mothers or could have been--sons, daughters, sweethearts. This is not some trivial cost of war that we are sacrificing: young lives for a government that wouldn't know democracy if it ran over them. Iraq is worst off than ever. The best thing that could possibly have happened to us is to get thrown out. Thank you Lord. Those who were the decision makers and have written books justifying their actions have to live with their stupidity. But, we don't have to accept their self serving, "Alice in Wonderland" perspective. We f..Ked up and we are going to be living with it in one way or another for a long time to come. 

Friday, May 02, 2014



Recently someone asked me if I believed in heaven. Absolutely. Why they said with no evidence? I allowed how it all had to do with faith. Then we ventured into a discussion of death. (Very delicate as this person was in a life and death struggle) 

The sad thing about death is that it is so final in this life. No longer are you able to pick up the phone and call, send an email, Final/FINAL! Someone  comes for treatment. They come week after week and then one day they don't. They are gone as to this life. 

Sad and it is life. What happens then, at least for me, I begin to think, not so much in sadness but how can I keep this person that I cared deeply about; how can I keep their memory alive. For instance, my really good friend in the Army for years was this chaplain called Hal Alexander. I've learned a Filipino word, mahal KO. Loosely translated, I love you. I am constantly saying I love you. Often, I say mahal KO, at least to myself and think of Hal and am so grateful that I know this phrase. It serves the purpose of me remembering my friend. "Nobody dies unless they are forgotten."