Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MY COUNTRY, RIGHT or WRONG...still my country

My country, right or wrong. If right, to be kept right. If wrong, to be set right 

Karl Schutz, courtesy of the WSJ. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Fascinating movie that won the Academy Award for best Foreign Film. On the surface, a simple story, very well done and with a familiar but very complex theme. It was hard to nail down the message of IDA--does it have to have a message. It does to me. 

IDA, heading toward her vows in a cloistered nunnery sets out to discover her Aunt who is worldly. The Aunt decries all the experiences IDA is going to miss. IDA tries them and goes back to the Nunnery. We are left with the idea that all the worldly experience: music, sex, drinking are no great shakes or the lure of the cloistered life is in the final analysis, the life for IDA. 

I don't know. Really I don't. I can hardly fathom someone locking themselves away. Not just the Catholics but Buddhist, whoever. My problem. 

See this movie, if for no other reason than the unbelievably stark black and white Polish countryside. 


The head of the VA claims he was in Special Forces (Green Berets). What the f..k is it with these guys. He says he was trying to connect with a vet and merely got caught up in it. In his case he could have just told the truth and come out way ahead. . 

The crazy thing is that he, in fact, is a paratrooper and a Ranger. Ranger School in the Army is a hell of a lot tougher than being a Green Beret. The Special Forces is designed for one thing, conduct counter insurgency warfare. They go into a village, train the people and help them fight whoever the enemy might be. The Special Forces (Green Berets) worked well in Vietnam.  It did not work at all in Iraq or Afghanistan. To help them out, John Wayne immortalized them in a movie. 

The head of VA should have called me and I would have told him, you got caught bullshitting on camera. Get smart. You are a "Ranger."

Sunday, February 22, 2015


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Lupe. I remember the day exactly 19 years ago. WOW. I love you. 

 She sounded awake!  Sounded great!  

Ok she clearly answered for her grandparents but not her mom! Will try from ny! Ily 

 I know you'll love to hear this. I would call you at Vanderbilt, you would never answer. This was in the old days with little or no social media. I would get beside myself imagining what could be happening as I was calling throughout the day. Finally by the end of the day, after I've called a hundred times, you would answer. "Oh hi Dad, how's it going?" 

Oh yeah. Answering her grandparents is truly a good thing. LOL. 

The Oscars Revisited


I am deeply apologetic for missing my first Oscar in decades – my favorite holiday.  I promise this will NEVER happen again.  Please drink champagne and vote in my stead – we will return next year! 

I've heard that Ugandan red carpet is something else.   I have a whole new voting strategy now that I know that the voters are 75% male, 90% white with an average age of 63.  Really going to miss everyone and our annual spectacle, but, given the nature of your conflict, you are forgiven.

Here's to female directors and drunken acceptance speeches!
It's ok.  Just as long as you don't send us pictures from the Oscar party you are going to instead.   That would hurt.  



As for the Oscars, I don't see how "The Imitation Game" can possibly miss. Selma is a close second. It was good but I lived it, smack dab in the middle of it. As a white boy from NC, I know racism. As an aside, It is one of the reasons I've always liked the president. The poor guy has endured racism on every turn even if they call it something else. 

The "gay" thing I can hardly believe. The very idea that the sorts of biases went on are more than appalling. I can hardly believe it. And, even on Dowtyn Abbey, they dealt with the same issue. I am amazed. I am so grateful that we are where we are now, at least facing the prejudices. And, no doubt, we'll hear from the Academy tonight on the subject, even if The Academy is dominated by a bunch of old white men. . 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


They are not a country. You wipe out an element, they just recruit more. What to do? Keep killing them with whatever means you have. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


During WWll, it quickly became apparent that there was a basic difference in how Germany and America strategized. The Germans by far had the best plans. However, if the plans failed, they didn't know what to do. If the Americans failed, they came up with another plan. This is a concept that we denitely need to revisit. Primarily, Assad of Syvia. Maybe at one time, we could think nation building, that sort of Arab Spring bullshit but as we're discovered, it ain't working anywhere in the Mideast. It is time to take a page from WW ll. Our strategy is not working, time to change strategies. From the very get go, we talked with an absurdity that defies any sort of rationality. We said Assad must go. Where the hell could he go? Where is he going now? Our priority has changed, it is now, ISIS. Can ASSAD help us. F..king A. Time to get us a new strategy. 

Friday, February 06, 2015


Brien Williams. I have always liked him. I switched to Scott Pelley as I thought that Brien was a little to flashy and slick for me. His lost credibility, that sort of thing. 

In Iraq, his claims were more stupid than anything. He was traveling in one of what we called the old "hooks (Chinooks)."  One of the chopters took fire. In recounting the incident, Williams says his "Hook" takes RPG fire. This is big now because RPG is "rocket propelled grenade." The RPG is a shoulder held weapon, very powerful. 

Charlie Wilson, if you remember him, was a Texas Congressman who personally was responsible for getting RPGs in the hands of the Afghans where they could bring down Soviet helicopters. It turned the tide of the Soviet occupation and departure. So, Brien, we could accept small arms fire but graduating to "RPG" is hard to swallow and those who "danced on your grave,  maybe apparently felt the same way. A bit too much. If you had just stuck to small arms fire, you might could have made it. 

What is very interesting to me is how you thought that you would go unchallenged, as smart and as savvy as you are. The same sort of thing kept John Kerry from the presidency. The Swift Boat Vets never let up. In their case, I thought they were misguided and used but same principle.    

And my personal sadness as a fan compares the good examples of Bob Simon. A loss. We hardly will hardly know Williams is gone but Bob Simon leaves a vacuum. God bless Bob on his journey. 


Nobody feels worse over this dilemma of captured hostages than me. First of all, there is no winning against Isis. They are not a country, rather a bunch of terrorists. All the bombing will not do it, and even if there was some idea that you could wipe them out, they would just rise again. There's some responsibility that the hostages have to accept. Those who go to a Wild West place like the Mideast put themselves in harm's way. Nobody forced them to go. They are noble and have done noble work but it is at a risk. Let's admit it. 

This isn't callous just smart. When you involve yourself with fanatics, any possibility exist. If it were up to me, I would get the hell out of the Mideast. It is a fast road to nowhere. We are f..king crazy. Untenable position? Tell me what we are now doing makes sense or is working. Bullshit.  

The Buddy Babb Method

My friend Buddy Babb. He was this great guy who was kind of like a mentor to me before there was such a thing as mentors.  

I met him when I was the janitor at this placed called, Therma Fax Copying Machines, the forerunners to printers, etc. They got "short handed" and Buddy asked me to make some service calls. I said, I don't know anything about these machines. He says, "I don't either. Here's what you do. Open up the cover. Peer down in it, jiggle the gears. Close it up. Open it up. Then turn it on and see what happens. Nine times out of ten, it worked. Recently, my wife had computer printer problems. Most of the time, she is pretty sure that I can do nothing. At a stage of desperation, she asked for help. I applied the Buddy Babb philosophy. I open it up, jiggled a few things around. Didn't work. Tried again. Nothing. It would act like it was but not. I closed everything. Opened it. It worked. The Buddy Babb philosophy. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015


“This new nominee for SecDef (Secretary of Defense) sounds like Donald Rumsfeld, reincarnated. And, we know where he took us, right?”


“And, then we have John McCain. What the f..k is it with him. Combat soldiers in the trenches grow to hate war and will be against it at all costs. So, why is McCain so hawkish. If I were a male chauvinist, I would say ‘he must not be getting any.’ Since I am not, I think this. ‘As much as I admire his suffering as a Pow, we forget and this came from a Marine buddy, McCain was a pilot. He was flying 30,000 feet above the battle. He was not facing an enemy on the ground. Therefore he sees war differently.’ 

Or, he still might be a sore loser, to the Prez.”

Sunday, February 01, 2015



Recently my wife was telling me about some FB postings of someone on her "Journey of Cancer." She posted about her treatment plan and all the problems involved. It was pretty dismal. She had the gene that seemingly necessitated a radical mastectomy. Add to that no real family help. Heavy duty issues with a son, already acting out. Very sad. And, yet I know this person has fabulous life skills. 

As one who strongly believes that God is not very involved with us down here, mainly it wouldn't make sense. How would God choose, "Oh, that one can live, that one gets cancer, that one gets run over by a car, etc, ;" See what I mean." This isn't a repudiation of someone who has a belief of more direct involvement. People have to believe what works for them. My view is that God sets life in motion. Gives us good minds and tools and says you are on your own but I have given you what you need