Saturday, January 30, 2016


Recently, I joined a vet buddy of mine who was the guest lecturer at the local Community College.  I will have to say that I was very impressed with their interest in  Vietnam vets, origins of war, etc. Before class, I chatted in general with the instructor: his goal, what he hoped to achieve with his class. Pretty much with these college kids, the same as the general public. They love the soldier, appreciate what he has done but don't have plans to join him. Herein lies the rub so to speak. We have an All Volunteer Force of good soldiers, we think. They haven't really been tested and Americans that care (not all do) have a tendency to think as I read somewhere that we have a military made up of "Seal Team 6," types. Bullshit. Ideally, we would like a Force, representative  of our country, it is what a democracy is. Bottom line, we have a military that is by in large unproven with a leadership vacuum of too many generals and a Secretary of Defense, much more interested in being PC than the quality of the "Force." As these kids would probably say, we are F..K!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


It is on to the Super Bowl. The hype begins. Tickets are dirt cheap, however, $4500 for the nosebleed seats. To be honest, I am not the greatest of football fans as it is. I don't know what has happened to me. (Actually went to college on a football scholarship till I failed out) I am pulling for the Broncos. Why? Several friends to include my son-in-law, are passionate fans. 

To be honest, San Francisco doesn't get much from the Super Bowl, based on who you believe. I listened to the two sides and in typical politician style, “don’t confuse me with facts, I have my mind made up.” Supervisor Kim I believed more. Well, what about issues like hotels, those great places for $1500 a night minimum. Supervisor Kim says, “the hotels would be full anyway.” The most telling thing to me, however, had to do with arguments of the benefits of the “Super Bowl. “ The Mayor for instance. Rosy picture. He should have been a general in Iraq, those rosy reports of how great we are doing only to be run out later. Mayor talking about the dough rolling in based on analysis. Guess who did the analysis, marketing firms. True academic studies told a different picture. How will we ever know the truth.? We won't , think the mayor or any politician will ever admit it. Please! Give me s break. 

Many San Franciscans are ticked off with the NFL because they will not reimburse Frisco for the $5 mil they are spending. (I am joining a movement calling SF, Frisco, like they did a 150 years ago). Of course, many San Franciscans will be enjoying all the parties (streets already blocked off), musical groups, and round the clock entertainment which the NFL has promised. 

Nobody is interested in my views, especially a dyed in the wool football fan but let's face it, football is a brutal game. I can still remember my coaches saying, "until you get your bell rung", you weren't hitting anybody. No telling how many concussions we got, really. 

I haven't seen it yet but am going to see this movie called “Concussion.” I think that I saw where one in four NFL players will, at some time, be diagnosed with TBI (traumatic brain injury), resulting in early Alzheimer's/dementia). Pretty sad. I am not going to quit watching football but will see it a little differently from now on. 

Friday, January 15, 2016


When someone walks away from you, consider their part in your story over. Let them go. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Recently, I was at one of my favorite  coffee shops in the "white bread" town of Sausalito, California and beside me is some guy working on his laptop. Suddenly he says to me, "What do you think of Donald Trump?" Without thinking I say, "I think he's an idiot." 

The guy goes ballistic. You would think I called his Mother a "lady of the night. . 
"What is an idiot, how can you say that?" I don't feel like engaging any MFer who would give Donald Trump the time of day. I immediately say, Sorry, it really was a euphemism, just off the top of my head." He continues to babble on. I ignore him. Finally he gets the message and I depart the AO (area of operations. 

As I think about it, this is what we face during this political season. For my taste, even though on a different political team, I really like the governor of SC. Here is a comment after the Prez's State of the Union talk. "I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every day how blessed we were to live in this country."

For what it's worth, I do think Donald Trump is an idiot. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


"Revenant." Fabulous. When I compare to "Hateful 8." ("Hateful 8," one of the worst movies I've seen. "Revenant," the best by miles). 

I actually had never heard the word, "Revenant." So, goggled it naturally. Means someone who comes back from the dead. 

Fascinating movie and held my attention all the way. (And, I am ADD) Never seen such scenery. Filmed, says Goggle, in Canada, Argentina, Mexico, British Columbia, etc. Remind me never to go to those cold places. Such a good movie, hard to even evaluate. Really can't. (Fits right up there with my all time best 3--"Scent of a Woman, From Here to Eternity, Good Fellas." 

It is a movie of revenge and survival. Whew! Grace Dove, the accompanying pic. I don't even remember this scene. 

Monday, January 11, 2016


Danged if I kmow. With Bowie's death, much has been made of him. I don't know his music or have paid scant attention over the years.  

But, yesterday at Starbucks,  this lady asked me what I considered a related question, "Do you think when someone is sick, they get more religious as they get sicker?" David Bowie for instance. He was sick, did he get religious before he "hit the road" as my buddies would say. I haven't heard any word that he did. 

In my view, I don't have any evidence that it happens with people who are sick. I can tell you this though in my experience, very much a related subject, at least to me. What can become significant is some sort of concept of heaven. Not everybody but a significant number of people I've met. They can be irreligious, have no faith, atheists, whatever. They live with the idea that there is something else. This is not the end. They find comfort in the fact that somehow in some mysterious way of which we are not sure, we will see the person again. 

Will David Bowie be up there, somewhere dressed in an outlandish way. I don't have a clue. My suspicion is that things like that won't matter. The idea of heaven, where it exist or not, is comforting. Will David Bowie be there. I think so. 


The movie, "Hateful 8." In Korea in 86, when anyone saw a bad movie. The comment, "2 hours off our DEROS." (date expected to rotate from overseas). 

It is not the worst movie I've ever seen but it's close (in my opinion, could have been a good movie). The story was OK but thick with themes of gratuitous violence, use of the "N" word constantly and other socially unacceptable language. "MF" repeated over and over. 

How Tarantino gets away with it is baffling to me. I would think his peers would be raising hell. Must be the money. 

The sound effects, scenery and authenticity of a "place" were good. But, if there was any redeeming value in the story or characters, Escaped me. Well yes, song at the end. "Many Won't Come Home." I bought it, thoughts of war. 

The one female, slapped around lots, never could figure that one out. Why? Jennifer Jason Leigh plays interesting roles. I saw her years ago in "Last Exit To Brooklyn" where she gets raped about 20 times, really. 

I've seen most of Terratino's movies. They all have a theme. In this movie all the characters were good actors but the hot button issues were really hard to take. Samuel Jackson's diatribes in turning the table but not to talk about injustice--a long diatribe about felatio. 

If you saw his movie, "Pulp Fiction," a little of the same technique. Have to wait till almost ending to grasp how it comes together. 

The movie is in bad taste, let's face it. There must be a reason there were few people in the movie with me. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Not much of a "foodie." I grew up on a farm and nobody had any interest in things like "presentation." Here is the chow, eat up. And, I've read/heard, we either "live to eat or eat to live." I am definitely the latter. However, recently I started following a blog called the Food Archivist. The best looking food and good explanations. Great. Anyway, kind of got me interested in one aspect. Taste. The combination of tastes. Here is a great discovery. Banana bread and olive oil. My wonderful friend who is the world's best cook, gave me banana bread. I was eating it constantly. Feeling a little guilty as I am a physical fitness nut, positively addicted to running, working out. And, staying pretty trim, I might add. 

How can I do this and eat all this great "banana bread." It really is a  psychosomatic thing. Who knows what is related. I have buds who are skinny and more or less eat everything that doesn't eat them. Then others can walk by food and the pounds pile on. 

What conclusion I came to: eat banana bread and make believe it is healthy. It is in a sense, great carbs. 

Fate, however, intervened. One day I've just cut myself a couple of mouth watering slices of banana bread. It is to die for. Suddenly my eyes rest on a bottle of olive oil. Everybody knows that olive oil is good for you. A breakthrough. Wow. Here it is. Put olive oil on the banana bread--a fabulous taste. Perfected, I soak banana bread in olive oil, put in the microwave for one minute. A wonderful combination of taste. I must let the Food Archivist know.

Rhymer in the Sunset

Recently I met with a few of my buddies from my old unit in Nam to commemorate the life of our Battalion (1/501 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division) poet, Phil Woodall,  whose poetry is "on line" at Amazon. Phil's poetic express of the Vietnam war is a keeper. Thanks Phil. 

Saturday, January 09, 2016


This day is significant for lots of reasons but two, for sure.  My brother Raz, who is in the next life--today is his birthday. He left this life a couple of years ago and I still miss him, terribly. He was the patriarch of our family and took the position seriously. Always getting together, being there for us in a crisis. A Marine on Guadacanal, he never ceased living the Marine motto, Sempi Fi. Happy birthday, Brother. 

Then there is my best buddy from Vietnam, Phil Woodall. He was a poet. I can still see him in my mind's eye, sitting  or leaning back on his "ruck sack," writing verse. Phil never left Vietnam. I don't mean physically but emotionally.  Regardless, Phil always stayed upright. A renaissance man. I loved him. We all loved him. 

He was an infantryman and after he'd been in Vietnam a year, decided to stay for another one. To no avail, I tried to talk him out of it. 

After Vietnam, he had a good career. Not sure exactly what. However he was absolutely devoted to his Vietvet buddies and kept us ever alert to being there for each other. He singlehandedly was responsible for honouing his brother vets at the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial. He called wanting me to go and would not take no for an answer. 

Phil stood before "The Wall" and touched those names of our unit, 1/501 Airborne Infantry Battalion, who paid the ultimate price. Because the names are on "The Wall" on the day they died, Phil knew every single one and recounted the battles and events surrounding their death. I was awed at his knowledge. I shouldn't have been. It was Phil. 

Thanks Sergeant. God bless you my brother. In his honor, I am downloading his book of poetry, "Rhymer In the Sunset," Geronimo, Phil. 

A last thing. I have always believed that this life is not the end. Not exactly sure how the afterlife works but it is comforting to me. Consequently, I have to think that my brother Raz and Phil have connected. They are probably both somewhere telling war stories. 

Thursday, January 07, 2016


The 6th Season of Downton Abbey is off and running. And, I like millions of "Mericans" were glued to the TV. It is really perplexing to me to know why we are so enthralled with a way of life that we fought a war to escape. What the f..k! I don't get it and am slapping myself. That whole idea of servants and privilege is abhorrent to most Americans who care or even think about it. Yet, here we are, hanging on every word. 

Suddenly, we know Mr Carson and Miss Hughes who are older and have decided to marry. It is so sweet. Mr Carson, the epitome of bowing and scaping/ Miss Hughes smart and insightful. This servanthood life is what they've known. 

Downton Abbey is a soap opera any way you cut it. Dozens of stories/family drama. We don't give a f..k if their behavior is the very thing we rail against. 

The writer of the show is a genius--wrote every bit of it himself. Amazing. But, here he deals with war, relationships, personality, change--every area of life. 

In the opening segment and the impending marriage of Mr Carson and Miss Hughes, they dealt with sex. Is their marriage going to be one of good friends, mutual respect or what they consider the complete marriage, which includes sex, maybe. I died laughing. 

Before we get too smug, most Americans don't even talk about such things here in 2016 even.  Downton Abbey is set I think, in 1929.  Priceless. What the hell, I am not giving up Downton Abby. 

Tuesday, January 05, 2016


My Seminary professor use to say, "empathy is when you feel so much for a person that you can be inside their skin." I saw this in our president. The President has touched me a couple of times with his empathy--this appeal for gun control where he chocked up. Quite a picture. And, at the Charleston memorial for those murdered and his singing "Amazing Grace." 

His very human response won't make any real difference. It is politics. And, the electorate continues to be stupid (putting back into office the same ones). What I can't get--where is America's empathy? Who knows if more gun control will stop more senseless killings. With a country of 330 million, there are enough crazies to go around. 

 But, empathetic Americans can mirror the President. Simply said, empathy means this: what if it was our child dead because of gun violence? 


Rain like we have not seen. Has to effect the drought. When I first came to San Francisco, Jan 83, rained constantly for weeks. I thought, "this is like Vietnam." During the monsoon in Nam, rain was like little "shards" coming down, felt like little needles. Oh well, thank you Lord for the rain. 

Monday, January 04, 2016


RNot much of a SWs fan; where I come down on it is the amount of money "Mericans" spend seeing it, translated that Disney makes. 

We have six million kids in America that go to bed hungry every night and Star Wars is making so much money they need a deuce and a half to take the cash to the bank. 

Obviously this is merely a philosophical rant on my part. If people quit seeing "Star Wars," does that mean the kids get fed? Of course not. I feel the same way about bigtime sports. Same principle. Look in those stadiums, they are full of mostly whites. How can they afford it? I keep hearing about these angry white men. What are they so f..king angry about? Most of them are watching football and discussing "Star Wars." 

Sunday, January 03, 2016


Recently, our really good friend died. After the initial shock, we are thinking of what we might do to keep his memory alive. 

Here's an idea:  maybe we could do an e-book of experiences and dedicate to our friend. In the old days,  publishing was tough. Most who wanted to do it, like us, had to publish themselves.  Getting an agent was a dream, sending a manuscript "over the transom" as it was known back in the day, was like a drop of water in the Pacific Ocean. Without contacts or celebrity, forget it. It was money. Some celebrity could be a dope head with the people skills of a tree and he could tell someone about his sordid life and it would sell millions or so we thought. 

Most of us write because we have too. We are positively addicted to it. My walls were plastered with rejection. I have tried it all. I actually had an agent, Shirley Burke. She was wonderful, loved all her authors and constantly told us how great we were and were a mere step away from the big time. Then I sold a book on my own. Travelled to NY to talk to my new editor. Great man and woman team. "We want more books like yours. Great war story with a purpose." I left the wonderful team at Manor Books sky high. My feet would not touch the ground. I was on my way. I never heard from them again. 

Now, with e-books, available on line, pretty simple, relatively speaking. We all have amazing stories or stories that jangle our chimes. We can honor our friend by publishing our stories and dedicating to his memory. Smash words and Amazon have levelled the playing field and publishing is limited only by our imagination.