Tuesday, December 29, 2015


When I was on the way to Vietnam in 68, I had a couple of days to kill before my flight from Travis(AFB). Somebody talked me into going into San Francisco. We ended up on Broadway Street, with place after place of stripers, bars., etc. I was enthralled. I could hardly believe it. My joke was that I had only been wearing shoes for a year or two and here I was suddenly in Sodom and Gomorrah. 

The truth is that I was just out of Seminary and to say I was naive isn't even close. I was just speechless. We went in one bar and my buddy ordered a beer. I got a Coke. Heck, I was a Southern Baptist even. The bartender asked to see our IDs. With the old ID, across the back of mine was a big "Cross" that said Chaplain. The bartender held up my ID and said, "Hey look everybody, we got us a priest." I could have died. I wanted to get out of there ASAP. I gave the scantily clad waitress a twenty. I never saw her again. I could hardly believe she kept my $20. 

Regardless, that experience, began my love affair with San Francisco. It was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen. I can't leave it. Relatively speaking, I never have. 

EVERYTHING CHANGES. San Francisco has changed, probably several times. Back in the day, it was a place where you could count on running across two or three characters on every street corner. San Fran has seen the hippies, the "Beat Generation," whoever they were. They have known the Pranksters, the jokesters, the "Summer of Love." (Us vets would love to have been on Haigh Ashbury rather than dodging bullets in the Nam.) 

Now the techees. What has happened in the present is different, I think. Technology has brought money. Mostly in the City (the locals call it The City). It was the late Herb Cain, a newspaper columnist, who made it a crusade to call it San Francisco/or The City. Sometimes just to be obstreperous, I will call it Frisco which the old timers did. 

MY TAKE. It looks like San Fran has lost the artists. Greed  has run them off. The Board of Supervisors (Town Council) appear to be pretty impotent and offer no real help. When I first got here, what was emphasized were the neighborhoods. In reality, Frisco is just a bunch of little neighborhoods stuck together. 

It is hard to know how many of the techies will stick. I think lots. The money will drive out some. But, many non techees will figure it out. I hope so anyway. Regardless, FRISCO ain't going nowhere. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015


This is one of those movies that you know the ending and you don't like it but nothing you can do about it. Cleverly done and holds your attention. 

My view and what we have is a bunch of crooks betting on it all coming down around the heads of the poor; and, scant attention is paid as they don't give a s..t about anything or body but themselves. 

The movie is cleverly done. When it is over you wonder how did they hold your attention this long on a movie that you lived. Every American who cares should see the movie. Lots of culprits who should have gone to jail but didn't. I think if "The Big Short" has any fault it is that it should have spent more time showing the people who lost homes and jobs, the poor, the marginalized. 

My big thing as of late is that nothing changes. Nothing f..King changes. 

I've seen "Spotlight, Truth, etc. During and before and after some good books and movies showed the stupidity of the Iraq war, what happened--didn't  make any difference: the country went ahead with its stupidly. Think Afghanistan. Billions of dollars wasted and the country is no better, worse after all these years. Nothing makes a difference. 

There are no answers but at least it would be nice to see some politician say, "f..k, we can change this. We can but I don't have much faith that we will. See the movie. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


A Sad Day
The Lucky Penny is closing in favor of high rises, just what we need in Frisco. I am here eating as a personal memorial. Lucky Penny is one of those disappearing diners, a hang out place for old guys usually. They lie,  tell jokes and get the Morning Special for five or six bucks. It is the never ending coffee and water, amidst the war stories as most are vets. 

I first started coming to the Lucky Penny when I was in the military stationed at the Presideo. Most military types would view a PSF (Presideo of San Francisco) a choice posting. For me, it was and can any place be more beautiful? No, throw in the Lucky Penny. Enough said, thanks for the memories. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Memory

When you are old, kids and grandkids doing their thing, what are you left with? Memories. And, let's face it, Christmas is more a cultural holiday than a religious one and so most celebrate the day, regardless of their faith. 

I was in Seminary before the Army. Next door, was Bill Stebbins. I recall his name as it is a chance to honor his memory. A really great guy. A “Yankee” from Boston. Bill was an engineer and had enjoyed a meteoric rise in his profession but along the way, he got the “call,” and here we were, Divinity School buds. It is Christmas eve. My daughter has her heart set on a "play stove" that actually glows and has a small amount of heat and a 5 year old can pretend to cook. Meg is asleep, sugar plums dancing in her head. I have to put the stove together. How hard can it be. Two hours later, I am no further along than when I began. All the parts are laid out, no sweat. 

Admitting I have no abilities, I call in my back-up plan, my next door neighbor, Bill, the engineer. A “piece of cake,” he says. Five hours later just as the sun is coming up, we get it together. A great Christmas but not nearly as great as the story told over and over. Here we had an engineer and it took him five hours. What chance does a mere mortal have? A great Christmas. Lesson learned, “Is this already assembled? 
“Forget it” !!!!!! 

 abilities I. This area. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Getting Fired

In my not so illustrious career, I was fired 4 times. In the military, you can't be fired like in the civilian world but your career can be ended, many things can happen: being relieved from duty is no fun but I will have to admit that I took a somewhat pride in my four firings and still survived. Here is one of them. 

The Chaplaincy had been sued in the courts as unconstitutional. The chief of chaplains had hired the rabbi, who was also a lawyer, to represent the chaplaincy and their interest. I didn't even know him. We were having a big conference at the Presideo. I was merely an attendee. At the last moment, the chaplain, who was running the conference at 6th Army, asked me to step in and give a devotion. 


I made a few remarks and led with an illustration that in the "City" we had a business called "Class Act." They would cater parties, deliver flowers, anything you wanted and with "class." It would cost you big time but they themselves were a "class act." Then I said, the Chaplaincy ought always to be a "class act." And then I used the chaplaincy constitutional issue as a good example. We could not let that issue effect our ministry. We had to be a "class act." If we were Baptist, Presbyterian, Jewish, Mormon, whatever, (at that time, Muslims were not on the score card.), we had to do our job, we couldn't slow down or pretend we were something we weren't.  

Devotion over, thought I had done a good job. Pat, pat, pat

About an hour later, I get a call to come to The Deputy Commander's office.  The Deputy Commander was a great guy. I go to his office, the Rabbi is there with his general's star, etc., shining. Pete was kind of pale as I remember. The Deputy Commander began to dress me down. It was a couple minutes before I realised what was happening. When I tried to explain, he cut me off. A tirade. Finally, I got an opening and said, "I don't know what you are talking about." 

"Your remarks at the breakfast about the Constitutional issue. You degraded it." 
I said, "I just gave an illustration." 

The Deputy tried to jump in. The Rabbi would not let him. He finally ran down and to my credit I was pretty calm and tried to apologise. 

He then said, "I will destroy your career. I am going to recommend that you be given an article 15." By this time, I knew he was out of his league and none of those things could happen, anyway. I was already on everybody's "s..." list anyway. I said something like, "Rabbi, (He already had emphasised that he was a general). "Rabbi, I don't care what you do. And the way you come across to me is that you are a classic asshole and you can just kiss my ass." I departed the area.  I don't recommend this course of action. 

The Rabbi and a buddy of mine went on to write a book about the Constitutional issue. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Movie review. SPOTLIGHT. Good movie, about the child abuse scandal in Boston. Movie showed all the difficulties of the "Boston Globe" in breaking the story, going against all the powers that be in the Catholic Church. The Priests, over 90, abused hundreds of kids. Usually they were poor kids from poor families who blindly believed. What amazed me is that the scandal has hardly dented the church. 

Michael Keaton's character was the catalyst. His best movie and still very appropo, "Clean and Sober."  Good movie about how a young up and coming business type got caught up in drugs. The movie opens with one of the most "grabbing" movie scenes I've seen. He and this girl are in bed and he is getting up and tries to awaken her but she has overdosed and is dead. 

Spotlight was good but didn't quite seize you like, The Big Short. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


I've always liked the president. I think he has tried to be president to all and with this "route step" Congress, not easy, to say the least. 

Seeing him/Secdef talking about the great strides we are making against ISIS makes me wonder. First of all, we don't know if the claims of the Air Force/the generals are true. It is not that they lie but have an uncanny ability to deny reality. 

Bullshit, on more involvement in the Mideast. We have been there and done that. Think of all the rosy reports from Iraq. Give me a break. Reminds me of Vietnam. The "body parts" fiasco. One North Vietnamese bites the dust. We are fighting a war. Suddenly, the one becomes several. A finger is one, how many parts you could count, equal how many bodies. Not much has changed. 

The predident has a decent course, no large forces in the Middle East is the best. The Air Force, whatever but let's stay realistic. We have sorry Middle East allies. It is their fight, let us stand tall.  

These comments of defeating ISIS IS BULLSHIT. Am I the only person in America who knows you can't defeat an ideology. So, you knock them off in one spot, they pop up in another. Keep doing what we are doing but forget this bullshit of defeating which is stupid and false. 


My good friend went in for a knee replacement. His body shut down. For a couple of days, he was kept alive, hoping to save him. He died. 

Instead of lamenting what happened, we need to rejoice. A wonderful transition: live a long (84), rich life (Army Chaplain for 30 years. Touched scores of young soldier lives. Wonderful musician. He and his wife Shirley were known throughout the military for their entertaining); go in for routine operation, unforeseen complications, unrelated to original problem. Goes into a coma and dies in a few days. No lingering, acceptance of death. 

What a wonderful way to do it. For one who has anticipated heaven all his life, when he got a chance to go, never hesitated. HooAhhhh Lamar, you did it. God bless you on your journey. 


TRIBUTE. A few days ago, one of my best friends from Army days, died. It was really weird. He went in for a fairly routine knee replacement and died. He was a Chaplain. I remember many things about him. So unselfish: Vietnam, Germany, other assignments where paths crossed. Hands down, He should have been the Chief of Chaplains (A General). What prevented him? Mainly, he never played politics or forgot that he was a pastor. 

A few weeks ago, he called me out of the blue. Left a message. Just wanted to chat. I called him back. We had the best talk and once again I thanked him for being a mentor and setting me on a pathway. He loved to chide me about living in San Francisco and being on the "left coast.”Maybe he was saying goodbye and didn’t know it. 

What I hope for with the funeral, the family will go all out. Lamar always loved a big show, a big extravaganza. He was the master of the grand gesture, making everybody happy to be around him. If it were up to me, I would do a massive 82d Airborne Division parachute drop just for show. Everybody at the “Service” will have a Lamar story and I am doubly sorry I am going to miss it. I hope the tribute is an all day affair with dinner on the grounds. If there has ever been a life to celebrate, Lamar's is it. God bless him on his journey.      

Wednesday, December 09, 2015


I am in the bathroom washing my hands. This old guy comes out of the stall. The old guy says, "Today is my birthday and  where are we going to lunch?"  

I say, "well, not sure." 

He says, "you aren't my friend. The gray hair and glasses fooled me." Then he says, " you don't have prostrate problems do you?" I said "no." Then jokingly, I say to him, "I am still blowing it out." He gives me the puzzled look. I say, "you know, sex." He laughs. "Well, he says, "I kept telling my wife that we had to keep doing it. She agreed but didn't help, got it anyway but had a lot of fun." "Well, I hope you aren't giving it up are you?" 

"I am 93, I think not."  

Tuesday, December 08, 2015


Let's put it in terms SC voters can understand. 


Monday, December 07, 2015

PREZ'S Speech

I thought it was good. In a way, nothing new. I think, in a sense, it is like 9-11. We have to protect ourselves the best we can and go on with our lives. Not much choice. 

What is pretty scary to me now is Ted Cruz. He's cunning and the "Donald" will fade--too much of an idiot, even for the Repubs. 

I love the magazine, "The Economist." It is good to me because it is written by the Brits but much about America. No PC stuff. Here's a quote from them about the people who follow Trump, "middle aged or white or older, rather poorly educated and awed by a shoutee billionaire." 

Also, this is an original thought if there is such a thing. I think that the Pasadena shooters did the rampage on the "spur of the moment." One of the guys they killed, a coworker, was a Zionist/Jewish, a zealot. From the pictures of his wife and him, both rather large persons. The coworker was outspoken, maybe even bullied the shooter. Who knows, only speculation but doesn't make sense, based on the arsenal they had amassed, that something didn't happen to get them ahead of their plan. It could have been much bigger.  

Sunday, December 06, 2015


Recently I had a couple of hours to kill and went to see the movie, Brooklyn. I read the little excerpt and it seemed like something I wanted to see, mainly because of my fondness for Brooklyn. I lived there a couple of years while I went to grad school at LIU (Long Island University). LIU was a great fit for someone just back from Nam. Originally LIU was supposed to be one of many schools spread throughout NY. It never happened. I didn't know why. The locals called it Jewish University. I choose not to see that as derogatory as when they called me Cracker. A term of affection. 

My MA was in Sociology and part of our thesis project was a survey of the Bedford Stuyvesant area and the NY City welfare system. We (my fellow student) had to devise questions, go house to house for a couple of blocks and then stand on a corner and see if we could get a few people to talk with us. 

This doesn't sound so out of the ordinary when you just looked at it on paper. What made it downright funny was the timing. It was 1972, the Vietnam war was winding down and here were two college types, one white with a deep southern accent and the other black. Both of us were Vietnam vets and angry. It could have been comical, not to mention dangerous, but as I remember it, several street hoods as my bud called them, answered our questions and pronounced us dumb as dirt or something like that. But, for me, I developed an admiration for Brooklyn. It was the epitome of blue collar, lots of Irish, Italians and Jews. They didn't seem to mix but from my perspective, they got along well.

 Brooklyn was the first place I ate real pizza and discovered bagels. 

Going to see the movie, “Brooklyn,” was a chance to maybe recognized some of the things I remembered. It didn't work out that way. “Brooklyn,” the movie was incredibly timely, however. A young Irish girl comes to NY. The experiences of homesickness, finally meeting a love although Italian. Sister dies, she goes back to Ireland and it has changed. She had secretly married her sweetheart but the temptations to remain in Ireland were immense but through some crafty insight, she regains her composure and returns to Brooklyn. 

A sweet little movie, coming of age, the emigrant experience. The movie didn’t capture what I hoped, places that I wanted to recognize, as it wasn't about Brooklyn even though the title implied it. But, what the begingles, see the movie. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015


“Pentagon Will Open All Combat Roles to Women.” Good. Anybody who has paid any attention and most don’t, have no doubts women can do the job. As a Vietnam vet, even in that sorry war, women faced combat and more than did themselves and the country proud.  What irritates me are those like the SecDef who don’t take into account the psychological effect of women in combat. I’m not sure if it would make any difference anyway. Example: I was once a teacher in a military school.You have 49 men in a class. Introduce one woman, everything changes. It isn’t the woman’s fault. It is us sorry men. What we should be asking ourselves is how good is our military? 

Because most Americans are uninvolved and you get Ash Carter, the SecDef and the generals view which is about as credible as George W. and Iraq. What can you trust from them? PC BULLSHIT. A high percentage of recruits drop out of basic training even. As always happens, those who fill the ranks come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.  Americans think, "Seal Team 6, Special OPs," etc., that ain’t it. The regular soldiers are going to be these elusive “boots on the ground,” both men and women and we don’t know the what/how. 

Friday, December 04, 2015


I got all caught up on the latest regarding the San Bernadino attack. I did not know the couple had a child. And I discovered a few more details. Such as what was going on at the facility prior to the attack. 

Regardless, no matter the details, what an awful, senseless, stupid, needless, selfish, crazy act. I just don't know what else to say Brother. 
I still don't know if it's a terrorist act or not but it's looking more and more like it is. If the FBI says it is I'll believe it is. 
Of course, there is no good time for an event like this to happen. But from a political standpoint it could not have happened at a worse time.  Think any Syrian refugees will have a snowballs chance in hell of getting into this  country now?  

And then there's Trump. He's riding this for all it's worth and no one will call him out on it. He lies, he makes inflammatory statements, he's downright mean-spirited and yet people just let him bluster on. No one takes him on; everyone seems afraid of him. 
God help us Brother. 

Thursday, December 03, 2015

US of A

"Being in a country as a nobody, where everybody thinks they can be somebody, is infectious." 
Freddy, a character in the British TV drama, "The Hour," talking about his trip to America. 


Been reading about latest mass shooting in San Bernadino. Baffled, I'm sure, like most Americans who care. Absolutely floored that a couple with a young child could be this misguided. What mother would leave her baby to go with her husband to kill people, knowing they are probably going to die. Unfathomable!!!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


One of the great things about growing older is that you get a chance to be a little more outrageous. Example, yesterday at the Post Office, I was behind this very pregnant female. She says to me, "go ahead, I am not ready." 
"Are you sure? I have nowhere to go." She says, very happy that she is getting this done. (Mailing her packages) 

I am silent, to be honest, I don't want to engage her as I have other things to do and this might take awhile (if we start talking). I don't know her but there are all kinds of questions I might asked: (1) Why is it so important that you get packages mailed? (Actually none of my business but she did start talking to me). She is pregnant, very pregnant). She says to me. (2) “My baby is being born on Christmas Day”). Now that is an opening.(3) could say, "is there a Dad or Grandpa that goes with that baby." This could have elevated a casual conversation. 
“Congratulations,” I did say. Then, without thinking I comment, “You know your baby will have to always compete with Christmas (Could have said holidays but am on a personal crusade about all this "political correct" bullshit. It is Christmas. 

She says, "yes, hadn't thought of that." Again, without thinking I say, “here is a plan, give him/her (him she says). Give him a half birthday in June or July. Make a big deal out of it. The real birthday comes at Christmas.” 

My business with post office was done. I departed after saying “good luck.”