Monday, November 30, 2015


In the military, Christmas seems a special time, especially to soldiers away from home. 

One Christmas that sticks out to me is one in Germany. I was a young Captain, maybe 26 and assigned to a Nike Hercules Missile unit. We had this crazy Sergeant Major who pretty much ran everything. One day he says to me “Chaplain, it is Christmas, we need to get a project where the troops can feel like they are in the spirit of Christmas. What about finding us something like an orphanage and we’ll get some presents and visit.” I go to several German Orphanage type places. Other American military units had the kids locked up. OK, let’s do something else. I found this old folks home we could visit. 

The Sergeant Major rounds up a bus load of troops to go with me. We bring presents for the old folks. We get there in early afternoon. Bunch of American GIs, maybe twenty. We are met by the Director of the home who says something like, "I hope you aren’t going to be disappointed. The men and women don’t get much attention, seldom are they visited. They mostly just sit." 

There were about 39 or forty grandmas/PAs. The GIs don’t speak a word of German other than eine beer bitta. The Germans don’t speak English. 

The old folks, men and women, began dancing with the GIs or with each other. I guess they didn’t need language They were all having such a good time. The Director was flabbergasted. Finally it was time to go. We loaded all the troops in the bus. The director said, "I’ve never seen anything like this. Most of the patients refuse to do anything and here they have been dancing and having a ball. 

We pulled out of the driveway and the oldsters were following us waving goodbye with their handkerchiefs. What a good time. Two days later I discovered that the soldiers had spiked the punch. All the old people were pretty soused by the time we left. Oh well, we gave them a great Christmas. 

Friday, November 27, 2015


Recently I had a tête-à-tête with a friend. He is from my perspective, the worst communicator I've ever known--interrupts, makes these declarative statements, essentially shutting down the dialogue. Drives all of us crazy. I thought of this musing  by George Bernard Shaw, 
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw 

Monday, November 23, 2015


Have a blessed Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. As "Mericans" we have so much. Recently I asked a friend who is Irish, successful business person and desperately wants to emigrate to America. I definite get it for the really sad Syrians trying to find peace and safety. But, hard to say about my friend and I asked him why does he want to emigrate. His answer: you Americans have no earthly idea of how fortunate you are. You are safe. You have, even the poorest, a measure of what you want and you don't even think about it.  

However, even Thanksgiving can't take away these random thoughts. (1) Best treatment of the whole ISIS issue I've seen in the "Economist." (2) Very disingenuous to watch the Prez beating his chest like I saw him last night about how we are going to destroy ISIS. THEY HAVE US BY THE GONADS, let's face it. (3) If you saw 60 Minutes last night and the episode on Iraq, amazing. We are still pouring millions into that operation; some American general is claiming great victories. I think that we are at the stage where they outright lie. (4) Or, maybe it is downright perception. And, what we know is that a person's perception is his reality, regardless of the facts. I've always thought they bear some of the blame to where we find ourselves. Rosy reports, how we are kicking ass when out here in the hinterlands, we are not seeing these great victories. The examples are everywhere. Think Paris. It is a mess. 

God bless, Have a blessed Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Can we or will we go for an effective coalition. NO, mainly because it has to be done by an effective and "cool" leadership. And that appears to be missing or in short support. It is not that it is not our fight but it is not something that we can do or should do, alone, if at all. Countries like the Saudis, Iran, all have to come together. (Good luck with that). I heard on one news outlet that there are Saudis who are actually contributing financially to ISIS. Saudi is a country where they behead citizens who are not Muslim. What the f..k. 

I have been an Obama supporter but he has of late f..ked up. I see nothing that we are involved in that is working. What is that saying. Something like, "To continue doing what we have always done and expecting different results mean that you get what you've always done." As a country, we know how to be stupid. 

I can't "get" this on our attitude toward Russia. This is, by any estimation, dumb, dumb, dumb. To tame Syria, Assad is the key. Take care of the problem (ISIS) and then sort it out. 

The prez and his choir say our strategy is working. WHAT STRATEGY IS THIS?

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Any amateur military tactician can tell us what we have to do to defeat ISIS. (1) OVERWHELMING  Force,(100,000)
 much like we defeated Saddam in Kuwait. Surround wherever ISIS is concentrated. (2) Cut off their supply routes, no one in or out, outside activity suspended (hauling oil). (3) Close off escape routes. (4) Bring lethal force, which means being prepped with air strikes by the dozens, tanks, mortors, reducing the ISIS space to rubble. Invade with ground forces, from every direction, two weeks max to kill or capture ISIS fighters. Mission accomplished. Not simple but the only way to defeat them for the present. 30 days max. 

Will we do it? NO! The reason Gulf War One worked is because we had a coilition and did not disguise what we were doing. It is complicated and the last thing we want to see is America, alone or with Europe, take up a fight that is not ours. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Maybe We Ought To Think About The Draft

I don't feel safe in Paris and am emigrating to Israel. I feel safe there. Although they live with danger, they feel safe. Maybe it is because everybody in Israel has to serve in the military and they learn how to handle themselves. 

A Parisan Interviewee 


A couple of weeks ago some AF type said we were killing thousands of ISIS fighters. How does he know? Well, the targets, drones, whatever, are effective. Then some Colonel says yesterday that we have now targeted/destroyed 16 gas trucks. Yet hundreds are lined up getting oil. Then some government money guy estimated that we have seriously hurt the fanatics in the pocketbook. They are only making millions. Some Bloomberg reporter says, "let's try billions." The rosy, make that over optimistic, Alive in Wonderland spokesmen/women take us for a bunch of idiots. What ever it seems they need to tell us to float our boat, they do. The bottom line is that we are supposedly killing the leaders, defeating them in every way and we still have "Paris" and ISIS is stronger and more lethal than ever. 

We don't want to think our leaders are selling us a bill of goods, the equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge. I say again, ISIS is as ruthless and powerful as ever, despite our chest beating. I think it is time that "Americans that care" are told the unvarnished truth or just accept the fact that we just "did fall off the turnip truck". 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I confess upfront that Bernie is my man. He has new ideas and my independent nature likes him. He thinks that to deny refugees is unAmerican. Our country was built on immigrants, to include all of us. For us to deny helping people who have struggled for the very basics in life goes against all that we are. 

Are there terrorists among the refugees? Probably. Any young man or woman will have to be vetted throughly. It is another wrinkle in the great security apparatus. 
The politicians, grandstanding on the backs of trying to do the right thing, is counter productive, to say the least.  


We have said some stupid things but failing to coordinate with Russia on getting ISSI IS CRAZY. THIS IS A CHANCE; wanting Assad to go? Where is he going to go?  

Retribution and revenge against ISIS is what we want. Let's wake up and smell the roses. Syria has changed and we have to deep six (get rid of) our demand that Assad go. He has nowhere to go. And, we are not going to get anybody to the peace table or any table without him. 

Monday, November 16, 2015


Already politics is entering the scene.  According to Senators McCain and Lindsay; naturally, it is all the Presiden's fault,  And, I get so tired of hearing; the "American People." Bullshit. It is not American People. We should say, "Americans that care." Let's face it, many Americans don't care, don't give a s..t, one way or another. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015


The Paris terrorism reminded me of 9-11. My daughter called me then and said, "Dad, are you watching TV?" Afterwards, I was glued to it for days. Now, with the terrorist attacks on Paris, the same emotions have evolved. Just so happens that I was on a pheasant hunting trip with a few of my buddies, mostly vets. 

We have talked, postulated from the very beginning of news of the attack: what to do? In a sense we admitted that there is nothing to do unless we are willing to be ruthless. One of my buddies called to mind the Clint Eadteood movie, "Unforgiven." Clint has killed the corrupt Sheriff and he gets on his horse and looks at his good buddy, Ned, in a casket on display for all to see. (Morgan Freeman.) Clint stops and says something like, "You better give Ned a proper burial or I am coming back and will kill you and then I will hunt down your families and kill them." This is what we call "ruthless." It is the only way to confront ISSI. 

One of the aspects of what we are seeing is that ISSI doesn't mind showing us and telling us who they are because they are counting on our value system to keep us from being "ruthless." We will do limited retaliation but not much. We don't have the heart for "ruthless". 

In other words all we can do is react and not much of that. Do we have it in us for "ruthless." I don't think so. Are we ready to deport/blame families for their terrorist children. What about torture, water boarding. This is the way you get information, water boarding, profiling, listening in on conversations. What about it? Can we be "ruthless?" I DON'T THINK SO. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015



Yesterday we decided it was time to get another dog. Our beloved died in late September. 


Saturday morning we got an email from a breeder in Aiken, South Carolina. We had sent her our previous dog's obituary, which included pictures of him, and asked if she had a "Jack Russell."


With this email was a picture of a long-legged rough-coated male Jack Russell in many ways similar to our departed. This dog was a year old, had not been neutered and lived outside with 5 other Jack Russells, so that both he and his coat were thin.  The breeder warned he would be a project, having never been on a leash nor socialized. But, he was adorable, calm, and loveable and that closed the deal.


On the trip back to Atlanta, we stopped at a truck stop in Madison so everybody could go to the bathroom. My wife slipped a leash around the dog's neck. Never having worn a leash, he spooked, tightening the leash around his neck. With that he panicked and went berserk, biting her as she tried to grab him, and pulling the leash out of her hands.  The dog ran off to the trucks parked overnight.


Our turn to panic.  It was dark, this dog did not know and trust us, and would not come when we called...he didn't even have a name for us to call.  


We chased him as he darted around the trucks in this huge truck stop in the dark with his leash dragging behind. Fortunately he is white so easily seen by the big rigs that kept pulling in.  Then two guys in a pickup truck came to try to help...every time we would get even close to him he would sprint away. They were at least able to help us keep him in sight as he ran next door to Lowe's and on beyond to the Chick Filet.  The chase went on for over an hour.


Then two more people joined the chase...young guys, string bean thin, one wearing a cowboy hat. The boys were 17 and seniors in high school in Madison. 


 Our fear was he would head to the highway in front and sure enough he did.  At that point nobody could see how this would have a happy ending. Either he would be hit on the highway or would run off into the woods never to be seen again. We were as traumatized as well as the dog.


Suddenly one of the young guys ran up and said "We got 'im."  Turns out the two of them had chased him around the car dealership across the street and finally managed to corner him and step on his leash.  He, of course, bit the guy who grabbed him and pooped on his shirt but he managed to hang on. 


There was elation all around and I gave the two guys what money I had.  The dog calmed down immediately as if nothing had happened. As we drove home he stayed in my wife’s lap and peed on her pants to show his appreciation. It took us much longer to calm down. Once home he slept soundly on the foot of our bed, hard to say which of the three of us were most exhausted.


By today the dog and my wife have bonded. He still growls when I come into the room.


Oh yes, we named him.  Truck.



Talk about a laugh, I had it. Don't tell The owners (thanks to them for sharing) but "Truck," I am afraid, would have been history with me. My lack of patience and a realization that Truck was a dog would have done it. LOL. Now, if Truck had been a six year old child, I would have hung around.  

I guess that pets for those who don't have children become their children. Our upstairs neighbor who is now gone,  grieved/cried over her dead cat for months; she spend thousands of dollars on "Henry" to keep him alive. I blame the Vet. It was a money thing for him. Even after he died, she erected a shrine. So...LOL. I don't mean to be laughing. Thanks for sharing. I love pets. My daughter is fostering two cats that were abandoned in a fire. 

But, dang, good story and writing. 

Monday, November 09, 2015


    Robert Redford) and "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) get in hot water after the network broadcasts a report about President George W. Bush and his military service. Good movie to me. Kate Blanchett reminds me of my daughter. 
        The big overall story is about Bush using influence to get him out of Nam. When a rival network, ABC questioned  documents like OERs (Officer efficient reports), CBS caved. Dan Rather retired. CBS fired the Blanchett character who was the hero of the movie. 
    Good movie, showed how the behind the scenes work; power, nobody tells the truth. Surprise surprise!! Historically, makes me think way back to Al Gore. What if he had hung in. Or, for Bush 2nd term,  CBS had not caved but said "F..k you very much," to the right wing. John Kerry, the Democrst at least went to Vietnam. The Swiftboat vets were "used" and did him in. 
    Let's face it, the country would be a different place today. 

    I liked the movie. A good story about something meaningful. George W., was not all that bad, just a little on the dumb side and easily manipulated by Rumsfelt and Chaney. Let's at least, give him his dues, he had to deal with 9-11. 

    Can't give Chaney or Rumsfelt or CBS any slack. Chaney couldn't go to Vietnam, his own statement, he had "other priorities." Rumsfelt altered the military, making it less effective by closing posts and creating generals. CBS went for the bottom line, money. My personal protest is that I am not watching CBS anymore. Ever! MFers!!!!! 

Friday, November 06, 2015


Donald Trump has a house worth 100 million. Most of the Republivans are way up there. Milk Huckaby, a preacher lives in one that costs 3 million. Sorry MFer. The average ones of these assholes' size houses, 4440 square feet. Average American size of house, 1800 sq ft. 

What ticks me off to the max is that we keep electing such MFers or that we even give them a forum. . San Fran, my town, for instance, didn't do shit for the poor in the election. The rich and developers won on every hand. The poor don't vote and until they do, they are going to take it in the shins. 


One night recently, I found myself at night deep into the heart of the
San Francisco's mission district. What I noticed were the scores of mothers/grandmothers with small kids, with their backpacks waiting for the bus. It is pitch dark--what an interesting phenomena to me, a life that most of us don't think about. A mother, children in tow heading home, probably been at work, maybe cleaning houses. Minimum wage you can count on it. Hardly the American Dream. Created a kind of sadness. WTF

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


Yesterday, I was boarding the bus and in front of me were two females, I guessed Brits. They asked the driver if the bus went to San Francisco. The very large African American female said, "No and you need to get off the bus." I started to jump into it but didn't F..King coward. The bus did go to San Francisco. Why the driver did this is beyond me. The mystery, If you think about it, how often had this bus driver been discriminated against/denied, whatever and yet she does the same thing to others. A mystery. 


My political rantings about SF. Big money won and as some columnist I read, said,  "if you don't think money rules the day, I want to sell you a nice bridge painted golden with a nice view." The people are stupid acting. And we knock out prop F on the strength of $6-8 mil poured into the campaign. We are stupid beyond words as overall even in liberal SF, we vote against our own interests. 

And then we are enhancing our democracy by not voting and as my late brother, Raz, use to say, "if you don't vote, keep the f..k out of this conversation." We need some more high rises in the City, anyway. 

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


A "Sixty Minutes" story shook me to my toes. As a grandpa, the scariest 70 Minutes program I've seen. I couldn't help but project: Projection from all these kids that are hooked on drugs telling their stories to the pain of their parents. Here's just one. Google 60 Minutes and read the full transcript of the segment. 

"All of these parents say they wanted to talk to us (Bill Whitaker, the interviewer who is terrific) because too many other families are embarrassed, in denial about their kids' heroin use. 

These parents say the stigma and shame are compounding the epidemic. Here's a sad, sad comment. "So, for us, we were in total shock when it happened. But, the struggle was the stigma.

Lea Heidman: She passed away, (overdosed) the day after Saint Patrick's Day and she posted on Saint Patrick's Day a picture of her on her laptop, studying, doing homework, saying, "No partying for me, not even a single drink, I'm staying in and I'm-- and I'm working." The next day she used herion and that was the last time she used. She died. 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Prop F

I am not a San Francisco voter but It portends a lesson for us all. Prop F is yes and no. The NOs are spending 6-8 million on defeating the Prop, plus have brought in all the big guns. The other side has only $350,000. As a voter, does that tell you something? 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

A Stupid Pill

Sometimes, I have jokingly said that teenagers, in particular, get up every morning and take a stupid pill. Now we can say this about our government. What the F..K, "they get up every morning and take a stupid pill. Here it is: US PLEDGES $100 Million to opposition fighters ." What opposition is this? Already, we spent millions and ended up with fourteen fighters. We are spending 10 million a day bombing without any real knowledge we are doing shit. Unless, of course, you have been to the American Generals "school of spin." Throw in Iraq and Afghanistan and it is endless; cruelty of war that is like a NC goat rope. "Nobody stands still and impossible to tell who the players are." 

We have a great "out" with the Russians in Syria. Assad has literally nowhere to go and we are not like some High School kid in a rivalry. I have always supported the Prez but might have to step away. 

Hello! Hello! John McCain wants to invade everybody. Does he have no memory of our stupidity in Vietnam. He was a POW for God's sake and should be the first to point out that Syvia is a "fast train to nowhere" for us. STUPID!!

The pundits are hinting oneupmanship to our leadership as opposed to the Russians. I sure as hell hope so. Maybe eventually the Russians will realize as we should have, get the f..k out. But, we've taken a stupid pill.  We can't win, we can't tie and by sending in a few Special Forces solders, we invite disaster. Stupid is the only answer I can come up with.