Monday, May 30, 2016


 Recently I read where in WW1, at the battle of Somme, the Brits lost 58000 in one day. We had 58000 plus killed in Nam, don't know how many in Korea, WW 11; in Iraq or Afghanistan 6/7 thou, at least. Americans still being killed--even one soldier's loss of life is too many. For soldiers in particular--a soldier killed at war--all the lives that the death affects. I think dying in war is different. So f..King unnessary. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Think about it. Here's an old guy, white hair that is either a combover or gone wild.  Kids are all over him? Just when we thought youngsters in America have gone to hell. Tatoos, smoking dope. Here's Bernie, they are flocking to him. Brutallyy  honest, no scandals. Has new ideas. Kids eat it up. What am I missing here? 

Monday, May 23, 2016


The Prez goes to Nam. I've thought lots about his trip as opposed to mine. Vietnam, as a war, continues to hang over us, the enigma of our times. Lots of baggage still hovers around Nam, like the President's visit and Morley Safer dies, two significant happenstance.  

Modern Vietnam is probably the epitome of a capitalist nation although calling itself communist. The Vietnamese as an ethnic group are probably the most successful in America. As entrepreneurs, they know no bounds. 

There's a big "take away" from the President's visit, especially as we look to Memorial Day. For one thing, Vietnam reminds us why presidential elections matter. In our system of government, we often think the president can do more than they can--what the president can do is "send us to war." 

Nothing was more evident of that than Vietnam. The Gulf of Tonkin was a sham. LBJ says something like, "we are not going to let some pipsqueak country like Vietnam muscle us." Vietnam brought him down. 

On a 60 Minutes tribute to Morley Safer, he first went to Nam as a reporter and was told, "this thing will be over in 3 or four months." TEN years later we escaped Nam with our tails between our legs and thankful to get out. 

The war and its unending nature drove LBJ from office. Enter Nixon, elected on the idea that he would get us out of Vietnam. At that time, about six thousand GIs killed in Vietnam. By the time the sorry MFer left office, 58,000 plus dead. 

Vietnam Vets have often felt maligned about Nam. We didn't send ourselves. The country sent us and when we returned, we were blamed for the war. 
We've had to get over it. I can only speak for myself but as we have come out of the shadows, we find that our sacrifices mattered little. We continue to make the same mistakes that took us to Nam in the first place. Our world was simpler during Vietnam but the principles remain the same. 

The Vietnamese that I know, value freedom above all else. War is a terrible thing and no country realizes that more than the Vietnamese.  

Friday, May 20, 2016

Morley Safer

I always liked him on "60 Minutes." His rugged, wrinkled, scraggly absent minded professor looks, not withstanding. I once saw him in Vietnam, at Bien Hoa Air Base. He was wearing jungle fatigues and looking pretty inocuous. I wish I had spent time with him. Morley is the sort of guy that I would like to sit around and shoot the "s..t" with. "Morley, what do you think of this war? Americans dying without knowing what they are doing here.  

I messed up. The next best thing was  his memoir--a good read. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Ask by Judy Woodruff of the PBS Newshour. "How we ought to live?"

"Getting in the Spirit like an Episcspalian at a Baptist Church." 

Sunday, May 15, 2016


My nephew says that when he messes up, "he is not telling on himself."  

Willy Brown, former mayor and long time legislator, "shady" by most anybody's standard, said Trump was an egomaniac. He should know as he said? "I am one myself." 

Friday, May 13, 2016


Saying goodbye is very important. When I was in the military, I left Korea (86-87) the last time and didn’t say goodbye. I left in the middle of the night. I still have friends who, although forgiving me, still will remind me of my failure. I don’t blame them. I learned a lesson: ALWAYS SAY GOODBYE. 

Recently, my all time favorite restaurant closed. I loved the place. The service was awful but the food was to die for. I knew the Owner, the Wait Staff (1 or two persons). Their lives. I flirted with them. I brought all the people I loved for veggie lasagna. They left without saying goodbye. I am bummed. GdA

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Hijab And The Citadel

I have always been amazed somewhat at the Citadel. In Vietnam, this Lieutenant would regale us with Citadel stories. Thinking about those, I doubt seriously that they will bend on the Muslim Hijab denial. 

Another LT had quite a different experience. He said he was on his knees, with a toothbrush, (part of hazing for new cadets) cleaning urinals and thought to himself, "My parents are paying good money for me to do this. (A public school but not cheap).  According to him, he quit the school. His parents never forgave him. To them,  being a cadet at "The Cidadel" was a sacred experience and to have a son who quit was akin to treason. I still remember the pathos in the LT's voice. I felt really sorry for him. I doubt the Cidadel will bend to what they consider, tradition. No "head covering" for God, him/herself even. 


Tuesday, May 10, 2016


San Francisco is a sports Mecca. Presently, there’s the Golden State Warriors (basketball) who have made history this year: won the most games ever and just won first playoff series. (2) The Oakland Athletics; and, the (3) San Francisco Giants, of course, who regularly in even years, win the “World Series.” Simply, the Bay Area is "sports rich" for the fans. 

My bias which is questionable to say the least--have always associated rabid sports fans with the middle class, blue collar which is stupid on my part. Amazing. Who could afford a ticket anyway. But, somebody does, the Giants are the most successful franchise I'm told in existence, sell out every game 43,000 plus, every single home game. 

However, I am fascinated with other stuff: for instance, the "Frisco Five" (love the moniker) who have been on a hunger strike. Now, another group protesting. Want to get rid of SF Police Chief and don't want the City (San Francisco) to cooperate with Feds on immigration.  Now, this already from probably the most “liberal” (hate labels) City in America--this particular group wants to make it more so. The patients running the asylum. LOL. Think Warriors and Go Giants. 

AN ASIDE. I remember coming back from Vietnam the first time and landing in San Francisco. I was in uniform and it was almost like I had leprosy. At first I couldn't figure it. At the airport, I went to get my ticket and suddenly I was the only one there. It was like a bunch of "quail," scattering. Even the Delta Airlines people. I was so naive. I said to the ticket agent, "what's going on?" She whispered. "You should change your clothes, our customers are afraid you will attract protesters." 

I finally got it and went into the bathroom and changed my uniform for some civvies. (had to buy a tee and some Bermuda shorts as we called them then). To this day you will never see me in shorts, not the the sharpest dresser anyway. I love San Francisco and wish that I hadn’t taken it so personally then. Could have said, “f..k you very much. “

Saturday, May 07, 2016


Things can go wrong in a hurry in countries and when they do, it is shocking how willing people are to go along with it. 

Amhearst historian talking about the Holocost 


My brother Chuck was wounded badly during the Korean War. While he was still overseas, he sent my mom this little silk pillow that she enthroned on a sofa in the front of our house. It had stitched on it this: MOTHER- 
M-is for the millions of things she gave me. 
O-means only that she is growing old.
T-is for her tears she shed to save me. 
H- is for her heart of purest gold 
E-is for her eyes with love light shining. 
R is for right and right she will always be. 

Put them all together,  they spell mother, a word that means the world to me. 

Kind of corny but I've never forgotten the little silk pillow. 

Thursday, May 05, 2016



"AGE is not a time of life but a state of mind." 

I don't know who said this. Maybe Flossie. She is 91. Here is what she said about herself, "Just because my body is starting to go, doesn’t mean my personality or character should." 

Taking walks, watching politics and writing a little bit of light verse help keep Lewis as optimistic now as she was at 15. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Who Are These People

It takes an enormous effort on my part to have anything good to say about "the Donald." My wonderment all along has been, "who is voting for this man?" Well, an article from CNN, I think, found the Trump voters: Uneducated white men have come to the Republican voting rolls for Trump in droves. After reading the article, yes, they have been lieft behind. What we know. Manufacturing jobs have left the country or factories have closed for these "left behind." Along comes a blustering Trump and is going to right all that has been left behind. These white men come from all sectors. Racists, hard workers, Klu Klux Klan, anybody but they are white man with minimum education and minimum skills. Instead of bad mouthing Trump all the time, let's figure out a way to bring these men along. Here is where we have to have a robust government to create training programs and ways for these angry white men to get picked up. I have some ideas. Infrastructure alone can do lots. Trump is not going to win the presidency and there is a certain sadness that I have about these left behind white me. Most are hard  workers who want to provide for their family but they are not perceptive enough to know that even if elected, Trump could not make the difference in their lives. Two things should have swayed these workers away from Trump. His hair aside and the flying around in his private jets with Trump emblazoned on them, think he can give jobs. Take them is more likely. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Vietnam Vets and Trump

From day one of the Trump saga, I have constantly sought to know: "who are these people" supporting Trump. I have discovered at least a possibility and this pains me. VIETNAM VETS. 

Most of us have accepted the idea or at least I thought we had, we fought a war in Vietnam, returned home and fought another one. Americans who cared,  hated the war and extended it to hating the soldier. The good news is that because the country officially treated the soldier so badly, now everybody loves the soldier. Look at all the big sports events, always honoring the troops even if the military foots much of the bill. 

Vietnam vets are not immune from being bigoted like the draft dodging Trump. But, we ought to be. I
s it lack of hindsight? (I have to wonder what they have been smoking). From where I stand, Vietnam was a sorry war. Stopping communism was a ruse. (1) "Ho" was dedicated to uniting his country. He fought the French, and we stupidly replaced them. (2) We underestimated the tenacity of the Vietnamese to engage in guerrilla warfare in their own country. We did some stupid things in Vietnam but the smartest one was getting out, even if it took us ten years.  

One vet in this article I read quoted Richard Nixon. This is laughable. Nixon ran and won by saying he will get us out of Nam.  At the time of the election, we had about 6000 American soldiers who had lost their lives in Vietnam. By the time he left office, it was 58,000 plus. (This reminds me of Trump, like something he would say and do).

What is very discouraging to me is I honestly thought that Vietnam would have taught us a lesson. It didn't do a thing. We have been as stupid as ever with Afghanistan and Iraq--Involving ourselves in impossible situations and continuing to do it. (A soldier was just killed in Iraq. We are suppose to be out of there). 

This is all perspective, of course. I will have to admit that I thought these old tired views of Nam were gone and here they showed up. LOL. Things like the "Domino theory." Why the f..k are we still talking about this discredited political bullshit. Damn crazy. Wè don't need to justify ourselves. It was a sorry ass war. We did our duty. Next case. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Great saying

I simply keep the serenity prayer (God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can and, wisdom to know the difference. RN) at the forefront and move on. I just remember that God has the "plan" and I just have to stay tuned for my part in His play. LC

Sunday, May 01, 2016


James Raz, age 7, was having a little trouble with boys at recess. James Raz is a gentle kid, play hockey and does karate. Anyway, his Mom told him, James, you have to handle  it yourself. He told his mother after school, "Mom, I handled it." 
"I am playing with the girls." My kind of guy.