Friday, January 30, 2015

Marin Coty

This is a funny and I want to tell it now; if I don't, I'll be interrupted. I am sitting over at the Marin City Starbucks. The only place in Marin with diversity. Well, maybe Peets in San Rafael where Ray and the homeless, etc., hang out. 

Anyway, I am doing a little blogging and this guy comes up to me and I know I recognize him but can't remember his name. He is the guy who invented the world's greatest pillow and as I remember he got ticked at Larry. Larry told him that marketing his pillow was a conflict of interest. I don't remember all the details but it was something like, "what is proof that your pillow is the greasy pillow ever invente?". 
"Well it is sold by Walmart, Target or somewhere." 

"Well that doesn't mean it is best." It was kind of a heated exchange. Larry threw in a couple of MFs. 

So, he invites me to come to La Boulange group. "Thanks." He asked are we still meeting? Yes, I give him our philosophy. "We are just a bunch of old guys who get together. Anybody can come, not come, etc. we don't have a group. We talk politics, philosophy, women."

This is the kicker, he says we expelled a couple guys who were coming to La Boulange. I almost busted out laughing. How can you tell somebody they can't come to a casual group of old guys telling war stories. Funny. 

I was leaving and the guy he was sitting with was on the phone. I stopped at the table and said, come join us sometime. We have such a good a good and uproarious time--mostly we talk about  "P." He absolutely turned white, you had to be there. I doubt he will show.  LOL We should go back to La Boulange. I love the sun but they serve only foo foo food. I want to eat something that is bad for us. I know you are on the edge of your seat here. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


The president making nice with the Saudis  made me want to throw up. Those sorry MFers are living in the 12th Century or before and the Prez is cozying up to them, kissing their ass really. The best comment I've heard about this travesty is from a guest on Public TV's, "The News Hour." He lamented the "blogger" being in jail and flogged by those assholes. He said something like, "this poor guy is in jail and being flogged for something a 100,000 Americans casually do every day." The president not even saying anything has truly diminished him on my view. As my mom would say "this is f..king scandalous" I added the f..king. 


Sir Henry has hit the road. We thought Sir Henry had died. Monique is getting ready to go into major grief. She is unhinged about her cat. Too long to even go into it. 

I am thinking I will bundle him up and cart him down to the vet. I start walking over to pick him up, his tail wags. WHAT! He is not dead. LOL. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wrong on Iraq

On the Michael Krasny show, a local talk show, the interviewee was Dan Savage who has made his rep in talking about sex/relationships, etc. , a favorite subject, obviously. I enjoyed listening as no topic seemed to be "off the table." Savage reminds me of a young Albert Ellis, former teacher and father of REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy). Ellis was so glib, smart, rational that it was often sickening almost. I remember asking Ellis once, an avowed atheist, did he believe in God. He said, "no one has ever proven there is a God. But, then, no one has ever proven there isn't." Savage has that ability to turn something on its head. 

The one question that got me and the answer too was about as good as I've ever heard. Krasny, I think, asked him a political, foreign policy question. His answer, something like this. "I cannot answer that. I got it wrong on Iraq. After 9-11, many of us (he named a laundry list of public figures, most notably Hillary Clinton, who like himself, were convinced that Iraq was involved in 9-11.) Therefore, he cannot render a judgement or speak on any of the current foreign policy issues because he was so grievously wrong about Iraq. He has lost the right to render an opinion. GREAT ANSWER. 


When I recently saw the American Sniper, I empathized mostly with the wife. Families are often the victims of war. My buddy says, "marketing ploy." My skeptical buddy aside, I have been blown away with the controversy and polarity of this movie. 

Kyle was tragically killed by a deranged fellow vet. The trial is happening now. Here is another little bit of an aside, Originally, I wrote this piece before I saw the movie. I was anxious to see if I would change much now that I had seen the pic. No, not really. I had heard so much about the movie. It fleshed out a few things. 

Just a word about the story: no criticism as the movie portrayed Chris Kyle as a hero and God knows we need a few of those. But, as ex military, thought this. "Number of kills," how did they figure that? In Nam we went through the "body count" fiasco. You kill a VC, here is his hand, one body. Oh, there's an arm, another body, see what I mean? How did they determine that? 

And then there is the episode with the idiot, Jesse Venturi, that got over a million bucks from suing about an incident in the book--upon which the movie was based.  Supposedly, Kyle got into a fight with Ventura (which never happened.) Oh well. There's a little fiction in all writing, a little embelishment here and there. 

If there is much of that, it has to be trying to put a story together with some intrigue, mystery like hunting down Kyle's enemy, also a sniper who actually went to the Olympics representing Iraq. True, yes/no. Maybe. 

I don't care much for the super critics like Bill Maher, Seth Rogen, and Michael Moore. As a euphemism, they are a sorry bunch of draft dodging MFers as far as I am concerned. If I have to choose, I choose Chris Kyle. 

I don't like war movies; my two memories relating slightly to this was seeing "Hair" (a stage play) in London whole Vietnam was going on. I kept thinking what about dropping a grenade in the middle of the performance. And, then after hesitating forever, going to see "Platoon." It was better, mainly because I was with my main squeeze at the time and could divide my interest between the movie and her. 

The popularity of "American Sniper" is a little baffling to me. Chris Kyle was a terrific soldier from all accounts. Let's don't take anything away from his patriotism; his bravery and commitment to fellow soldiers. All that being said, there's a "but" here; we are presently in a period of all things military is grandeur personified. I think, as I have read many places, it is easy to glorify the soldier when you have no "skin" in the game. Sitting on the sidelines, cheering those brave men and women on and raising your right hand and saying "I do" to serving, ain't the same. As I use to say about the protests during Vietnam, "protesting on the mean streets of Berzerly and hanging out in the rice paddies of Vietnam, ain't one and the same either." 

Because we have less than one percent of "Mericans" who even know anybody in the military, they don't know the ins and outs. The President may have gotten enamored with all those generals in uniform with a chest full of hero medals but us former military types think what the f..k when we see them. These guys must dress each other. 

The movie points out a few things that are timeless, Kyle's utter frustration at life going on in America while American soldiers are dying at war. I can remember the same emotion when I was in Vietnam. How in the world can this happen. We are over here in this noble cause and the rest of America doesn't give a f..k. 

Well first of all it was not a noble cause. It is the perpetual dilemma of modern day soldiering. You go to serve. You lose your identity in who you are as a  a soldier. You do not decide the course. You do what you are told. But, along the way there are doubts. These surfaced just briefly and not from Kyle but a fellow soldier. 

Bradley  Cooper is Chris Kyle and Chris Kyle is Bradley Cooper; fascinating movie if you understand the military and the "South." Hard to watch in a way. Kyle for real is a Texan, raised by "right wing" fundamentalist Christians. He learns to shoot and pretty much  adopts his father's views. If this sounds like criticism, somebody slap me. It is about Southern roots which can be forgiven for not always connecting the dots. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015


The "talking heads" are still discussing the President's "State of the Union" address. What a colossal waste of time! Why? We have a dysfunctional Congress. The president's proposals will go nowhere. Great ideas but dead on arrival. And, the president is out selling these ideas to the American people, that ubiquitous term which should be, "those Americans that care." 

Nobody has even mentioned how the poor  guy's hair has turned grey.


Went with my buddy from high school to see his parents that live last month. I have not seen them since High School. They are in their upper 80s and very spry. I asked them what kept them going.
1)They take long walks each day
2)Involved in Churchthis is a great formulae. 
3)Meet their friends at Bojangles everyday...had to laugh at that one....
This is a great formulae. And, you are right, whatever works. I love "Bojangles." My brother, Raz, use to say about them, "you could read the paper through their ham biscuits." True but delicious. 
The WSJ did a whole section on how people handled old age and your friend's folks would fit with them. The only thing that WSJ would add is "sex." In their survey, couples said intimacy was very important.    

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The president inspired me, relatively speaking, in his State of the Union speech. He is a politician, after all. But, as politicians go, he is one of the best in my opinion. His speech writers did some clever things but the president can also turn a phrase on his own. I have always liked him, not agreeing on everything, especially on military decisions. I think that he had let the generals bamboozle him. I think he is the smartest president we've  had in awhile. Maybe not as calculating as some but not afraid to tackle hard issues. He can laugh, joke, think on his feet. But mostly I judge him with, "would I like to hang out with him over a beer."  I WOULD. 


Monday, January 19, 2015


MLK will always be a hero: he stood up to LBJ and J . Edgar Hoover and spoke out against the Vietnam War. 
RD, former Marine in Vietnam

I just saw "Selma." Powerful movie and always makes me ashamed. I will only say one thing: when I grew up as the youngest son of a poor tobacco tenant farmer, the economic divide was not a lot different than being a slave. 

My Dad was a slight bit of a renaissance man, although in the KKK man.  He was eventually expelled because he refused to participate in the whipping of a black man for no reason. Not to say that he had not participated in others if he felt justified. His view of the Klan in the beginning was that it was a vigilante group designed to keep order. I don't know but I think he always regretted it. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015


The News Hour and the NY Times both made the decision not to publish the infamous cartoons. Big mistake, I think. Philosophically, I would not say or do anything that would denigrate someone else. However, this is different. It is no time to attempt political correctness which I suspect with the Times and PBS. Reminded me of one of my favorite cowboy movies, Open  Range. The bad guys are intimidating Robert Duval and Kevin Costner who play cowboys merely exercising their rights. Charley and Boss (Duval) are in the saloon. When it looks like the townspeople are burying their heads in the sand about the rich cattle baron trampling people's rights. 
Kevin Costner's character, Charley, says something like, "there are some things in life that gnaw at you and so important that you are willing to die for 'em." 

The attack had one purpose: Intimidation. The NY Times and the PBS News Hour both folded and bowed to intimidation. They pretend something else but it is mostly billshit. 

Plain and simple, this is an issue so important that there is only one view in my estimation. In this case, I can only do what I can, cancel my subscription to the Times and cancel my pledge to PBS. To me it isn't the philosophy and merely disagreeing, it is something so fundamental to our value system that I have to do what I have to do. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Just heard this on KCBS (Bay Area radio station). This guy riding his bike, on the way to doc, as he has heart condition; an 80 year old in a pick-up hits him. Two separate groups: one robs the biker and another group robs the 80 year old. 

Note to a friend. Partly joking. For goodness sakes, don't even slow down around Oakland. Still thinking about the people in an accident and had their wallets stolen. 

Comment back: These people's don't have values, so sad. 

 I guess but are they poor, desperate or a bunch of low lifes. oh well...I guess I like to think that as "Mericans" we have a value system. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


This story was in the WSJ. It struck my fancy because I never had textbooks in college. I was too poor. In those ancient days, they surely didn't cost $250 bucks. The article is along the point that, "here is an unexamined Econ lesson." 

It is a ripoff which lies at the feet of the profs themselves who require those books. Do you think for a minute that the profs pay this price. Of course not, they get complimentary copies, etc. It is an injustice and an awful lesson to teach to our students as they fold the price into their student loans. F..K. 

Don't we have a course in ethics in our universities. What never ceases to amaze me is that just because something is legal, doesn't necessarily mean it is ethical. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Read your web comments today. As for serving in the military, due to poverty which has contributed to sign ups from this region, (TN) is what's different from where you are (CA) is why would rich people in a seriously upper class part of the country join the military? That's why when you talk with people there (CA) and the subject of "Service" (military) comes up, they don't get you. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Flogging. What the f..k!!! We are allies with a country that flogs people? A journalist in Saudi Arabia is taken to the public square and flogged for insulting ISLAM. I guess it's better to get flogged than killed. But, it seems damn crazy to be involved with some country flogging people. Think we can depend on a country mired in the 12th Century? This is f..king crazy. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015


What never ceases to amaze me is how public officials think they can get away with things like f..king around. In this media world, forget it. Give me a break. Take Petraeus. F..king around with a woman doing his biography. He was/is an egotistical maniac. I never liked him. It was nothing personal but realized that he constantly took credit for others' ideas. The so called "surge" was one of them. It was actually a LTC's idea who was an Army Squadron Commander. And, Paetraeus was elevated to sainthood by beginning a new chapter in prosecuting  the war in Iraq, which was nothing more than paying the Sunnis off. When we quit paying them, they went back to fighting us and blowing things and people up. And, Petraeus, of course, called it counter insurgency. It was really successful, right? Look at Iraq now. It isn't all Petraeus' fault but lots. He "snowed" the President and for that he should be ashamed. 

All that bullshit being said, let him go. The idea of prosecuting him is some asshole lawyer's attempt to "get" Petraeus, the former darling of the Press Corp, plus a few headlines themselves. As July Johnson of "Lonesome Dove" said when he thought the Indians had stolen his wife. "I got bigger fish to fry." There you have it. We have bigger fish to fry than Petraeus. 


RANGE  of EMOTIONS. It never ceases to amaze me of the range of emotions that are in our lives. A tragedy like in Paris, the simple birthday of a loved one gone. The anniversary of a best friend from Vietnam's death. In the midst of this, a wedding. 

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


We are headed into the NY with our resolutions. I hope you guys continue to love my home state (NC) although they appear to have come off the rails of late. Here is what you face. Recently I said to my brother who lives in Greenville, "Chuck, do you watch much TV?" 
"What do you watch?" 
I keep Fox News on most of the day

As my dad would say as he is turning over in his grave at my brother's's remarks, might as well laugh as cry. God bless.   

Sunday, January 04, 2015


Age resistance is futile...we begin to die the moment we're born. Us older types can remain vital and present, engaged and questioning. We can grow until our last breath. GRA, Sr said it best, 'I am going to live until I die.' 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Reform the Military

The Atlantic Magazine did this long article on the present state of the military. My good friend sent it to me. These comments are in response. Here is the link, if you have any interest.

Russell, (my good friend and patriot), I actually thought of you as relates to this article. I read it through twice. I personally think Fallows is "right on."  In fact, I have blogged much of the comments. 

I have tried hard to make a little dent in this chasm between the military and the civilian community, with no success, I might add. My idea is that if all faced a common experience, the chasm wouldn't exist or certainly be lessoned. My thoughts have been that as a country, we need some sort of community service. As I have tried to promote it, mostly the "nobody is home" look is pretty prevalent. 

I think Fallows points are very good and I've actually read him before. There are a couple of good zingers he left out and would have bolstered the argument or ideas I think. One is, we have way too many generals and his quote was right on about generals becoming "risk adverse" as they don't want to risk screwing up. The military system is very unforgiving even on minor things. When you get to Colonel, all records look the same. Those who make general usually have some high ranking sponsor who pushes their career. Once a general passes one star, he is as political as any politician. (You can understand, the generals owe their allegiance to their sponsors and when they can influence the system for the retired general who was their sponsor and now maybe works for a defense contractor, they will do it).

Personally as I have viewed the generals relationships with the president, in the beginning especially, he was intimidated by the generals. The generals would show up with all those medals, in uniform, the Prez had had no military training, he was bamboozled as we say in NC. 

We could easily reduce the generals by half or more. A good example is Fort Bragg (NC) in your neck of the woods. They have 28 generals which means that every general must have his own parking space and a bevy of aides. It is ridiculous that we have allowed this situation. 

One subject that almost nobody takes on: The vast cost of the Volunteer Army. And, the fact that we have three Service Academies when we could easily combine into one, saving millions but you better believe nobody will touch that. I've read that It cost a minimum of 1 mil to educate each cadet at the academies. Honestly, I think it's more. 

Fallows did admit that he legally dodged the draft. I surely don't blame him but am convinced that the great reverence for the military came about partly because the public treated Vietnam vets so badly, actually blaming them for the war. It is a wound that I don't think can be healed. 

There is a personal note to this article. Fallows referenced my good friend,  Cecil Currey, who pointed up the same thing as Fallows, almost 20 years ago. 

Cecil was a Prof at South Florida U and author of several books. One was a book about the "Disintegration of the American Army." He was "right on." In fact, he wrote the book under a pseudonym, Cincinatis (I remember discussing it with him and even discouraged him from publishing the book).  We debated it. He was uncovered. He was a Reserve chaplain and on his way to becoming a general in the Reserves when he wrote the book. After publication, he became persona non grata. Nonody would give him a job. Briefly, he came to work with me. (Cecil was one of my dearest friends and died a couple of years ago). A memorial to him is on the Airborne Press website

To me the most scandalous part of the article was something any of us who have been around the military already know. Great numbers of generals step right into these lucrative jobs with defense contractors. Big-time conflict of interest. These contractors don't hire these generals for their looks. Your fellow North Carolinian, Stanley McChrystal, from Statesboro, fired for bad mouthing the president (My conspiracy theory is that he set it up to get fired) really landed himself a big job with big money. . 

Russell, I think you hit the nail on the head, ruckus? Forget it. I have been very discouraged over the last dozen years or so about Iraq, Afghanistan--there have been some really good books written, articles like this one. Nothing happens. We make the same stupid decisions. The military/diplomats give us the same rosy reports. Bullshit. To me, it is very discouraging. I am not giving up as you aren't but to be honest, I don't see anything happening. PRETTY SAD. 

Friday, January 02, 2015


Have been to several gatherings over the holidays. Most people are awful communicators. They don't know how to have honest exchanges, listening, letting others talk, adinfinitum.  

HAPPY NEW YEAR. God bless you and God bless "merica."  (Like Southerners say. They don's say, "A" Merica. Leave out the A, say, "Merica.)"
We need to discuss the country's future, Mostly, for the last few years, if we are involved as a country, it is like a NC goat rope as my brother, Raz, would say. 

Seth moulton

Did we have the sense that America cared how we were doing? We did not,” Seth Moulton newly elected Congressman, talking  about his experience as a Marine during the Iraq War.