Thursday, June 30, 2016


Overall I support transgender in the military. 150,000 have served. Where and how? It ain't going to be easy. I don't know how it is suppose to work. 
There is an innate problem with the military: they have one mission: to fight and win wars. They are a war machine, plain and simple. What they are not is a social organization. The SecDec, the generals and bureaucrats are pretty much the the same ilk who got us into Iraq and Afghanistan. The military is hurting, hurting in terms of numbers, asked to do more with less. It isn't a matter of race, trans, gay, democrats/republicans, gender, issues, causes, whatever. There is only one question: CAN OUR MILITARY FIGHT AND WIN WARS?

Monday, June 27, 2016


Recently I saw the SF Giants play. Some of my buds had the tickets. If we had to buy our own, close to a hundred; eats maybe, $50. So, $150 per person. Too expensive. Always sad to me. (Baseball is "Merica's game. according to Walt Whitman via Susan Sarandon in the best baseball movie ever, 'Bull Durham')." 

We don't want to see people priced out of baseball. Well, for our littlre group, we did the Saint Augustinian thing. We can't help everybody but if we run across need, we do what you can". We bought a round of beers for those sitting around us. 2 people. 

My favorite poet is a guy called Jim Woessner. He makes observations about life mainly from coffee shops. Very insightful. Little tongue in cheek. We are thinking this through. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

America of the 50s is gone.

Today, I am headed out to the "Gay Pride" Parade, mainly to show support. I am thinking about the difficulties of how divided we are as a country. What I am hoping is that as Americans, we are just in a time of "messiness" and we'll get out of it. 

By accident last night as I was flipping through the channels, I ran into advertising by Time/Life where they want you to buy music, programs, etc.; they had one big collection of Bob Hope and then another of Dean Martin. It was very sad,  all those old movie stars: singers, etc., you can imagine. Most dead. Great pic of Ali (meaningful since we just celebrated his life). Wonderfully nostalgic, the simple way America use to be: Bob Hope entertaining the troops in Nam, celebrity roasts. Funny. THAT AMERICA IS GONE. Mainly, the country is so much larger and diverse. We can't go back even if we could. What we have is what America is now. We have to deal with with it and at some point get past the messiness. I am confident we will. GOD BLESS AMERICA. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Lot of "down in the dumps" types in the Bay Area still. The Warriors bit the dust. Saying things like, it is only a game, get over it,  won't hack it. 

The Warriors had a great run. Let's look at it like this. Cleveland, the town, needed a win; haven't had a Champion in 52 years. I don't like LeBron (nothing personal) but he is probably the best basketball player on the planet. He's a bully. Just so happens he is on the basketball court, not the school playground. Let's give him his dues and Cleveland especially. I don't know who said it, think Tennessee Williams--pretty subtle but we get his meaning. "There are only three or four great cities in America: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and everything else is Cleveland. See what I mean, let them have their day. 🏀🏀🏀🏀🏀😀😀😀😀😀

Monday, June 20, 2016


HooAhhhh was made famous by Al Pachino in the movie, "Scent of a Woman." Pachino is a blind, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who has lost his way. His plan is to go to NY City, do the things he loves to do and then "do himself in." But, he needs help and enlists Charlie, a prep school scholarship student who has his own set of problems. Pachino is emotionally salvaged when he defends Charlie who is accused of lying. Pachino's speech is one of the classic movie ones ever. HooAhhhh is rendered by Pachino several times in the movie. 

The Army's expression "hoo-ah" is a guttural response barked when troops voice approval. It may be derived from an old acronym, HUA, "Heard, Understood, and Acknowledged." A former commander always greeted you with, HooAhhhhhh!!!!!!! A GREAT SOLDIER

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Verdict

In the movie, "The Verdict, Paul Newman, is a drunk lawyer who can barely keep it together. Pretty much at the end of the movie, he addresses the jury and basically says, "now it is your turn. Forget the high price lawyers, the judge, whatever. Now you are the ones that count. Justice is up to you. 

This is just a small portion of the movie and not verbatim for sure but an example to me of where we are in our country. At some point it will be the people's turn. On NPR's Fresh Air, Davd Davies interviewed this guy who has written this book on how the Repunlivas are almost assured of majorities based on how they babe gerrymander congressional districts. However, and it almost sounds like a conspiracy theory but they have done it by and in secrecy. They get a team, some guy is an expert on how to do it. Thru dry it up, in secret, pass it along to congress, they lit like they came up with it. Now, here is the kicker. It is now time forvthebpeople. They might think they have stolen our democracy and they have unless now that itbisbupbtonthevprople. We have a choice. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Who Needs an AR 15 Assault Rifle

I've been watching a lot of the sadness in Orlando.  F..King nut. I know the Car (AR) 15 (the weapon the shooter used) really well from Vietnam. It is a little cut down version of the M16. In Vietnam, what made it appealing to me was it was shorter and less cumbersome. I could fling it over my back and it was pretty concealed. It would fire on full automatic--the American version doesn. WHO IN AMERICA NEEDS AN AR 15 assault rifle. Answer, NO ONE. 

Monday, June 13, 2016


Nothing to say really. The only thing I can relate it to is Vietnam. We had 22 GIs killed at one time. Then, a dubious record: the most Americans killed at one time in the war. "A" Company, as I remember, had swept through a ville and cleared it and moved on. Later on they came back to the same ville and the VC had come back in and booby trapped everything. 

They were careless. It was unbelievable carnage. I wasn't there till later but sad beyond belief. My chaplain assistant, George Page, and I helped load them on the choppers. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Take some risks. I don't mean speeding or doing drugs but take some risks to find a challenging and maybe difficult profession. Don't let money be the driving goal but rather interesting, lively activity. Learn to take a hit now and then and brush it off. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Don't Confuse Me With Facts, I Have My Mind Made Up

The "NY Times" today has a long article on Trump and his gambling empire which has faded like the deset sun. He is obviously a silver tongue devil as he can talk really supposedly smart business people out of their money. Weird to me. The fact that Trump lies and takes people's money, leaving chaos in his wake doesn't mean "dooley squat" to the people who'll vote for him. What the F..K are they thinking? They don't. 

Thursday, June 09, 2016


An Older, Whiter, Less-Educated Electorate are more than we've thought. And, these are Trump supporters. HELP. 

Monday, June 06, 2016

Mohamed Ali

In the South, maybe other regions, we have a tendency to make national figures into “Saints” when they die. I liked Mohammed Ali. He never took himself too seriously and was entertaining and in later life wore the mantle of an illness that seemed unfair. 

Ali reminds me of a Lieutenant we had in Vietnam. The Army, for all its faults, is pretty colorblind. The Lieutenant I am thinking about was black, assigned to lead a platoon (30 or so soldiers) of rednecks and hillbillies: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, NC, etc. At the time nobody thought anything about it. We were trying to stay alive in a sorry war and there was no time for anybody to contemplate their navel about an African American Lieutenant in charge of a bunch of Southern white boys. (In Nam, white southern boys were the majority of combat soldiers, mainly because they were poor). The poor always fight America’s wars. The other youngsters their age had deferments and were in college protesting the war or getting laid while these redneck kids were dying, supposedly fighting for their country.

I once asked the Platoon Sergeant: “How did this work out with the  Lieutenant?”
He said, “Everybody just likes the LT,” as they called him. My suspicion was that the LT was simply a good leader and leadership is truly colorblind. Ali was like that. People just liked him. I did. Want to make him a Saint. Fine with me. 

Thursday, June 02, 2016


Today is the anniversary of my brother George’s death. He really wasn't my brother but he was. You would have to know and understand how I grew up for me to really explain. I was raised on a tobacco farm in NC. Tobacco was the cash crop, just like the pot in Humbolt CO, CA. (Just wanted to say this as a joke). 

As one of five boys, we worked. But, none of us worked like George. George really belonged to the Orphanage. Belonged is the true concept, he was viewed as property. 

As was the custom when tobacco harvesting took place, farmers would go to the orphanage and hire kids as laborers. The orphanage kids worked and the meager wages would go to the Orphanage. My details are sketchy because I didn’t pay it a lot of attention when George showed up for the first time. (Not totally sure about how it all came about but how I think it might have happened). 

Priming/cropping tobacco was back breaking work. More than likely a miserable sickness went along with the work. The tobacco had been sprayed with chemicals to kill worms which were maxed out deadly to tobacco. The poison (toxins) would get on the workers and a type of sickness would descend where you would have to get better to die. Once the workers went to the fields, they never stopped until dark. Therefore, they brought their meager lunch with them. George never had anything. Then one day my Dad showed up with a lunch for George. Then began an unusual bond between my Dad and George. 

One day George came to work with bruises and not one but both eyes black. My dad was incensed. I don’t know what happened but soon my Uncle Craven showed up. He and Dad did some heated talking. Uncle Craven was heavily involved with the Klan. He had been in WWll and wounded badly. My Dad and Uncle were two of five brothers. All five had come to America from Ireland as indentured servants to work in the tobacco fields. 

They worked,  according to my brothers, for years and would never have gained their freedom had not one of the brothers killed the wealthy land owner in a saloon brawl. Three of the brothers fled west. This is about all I know. My Uncle was a violent man and according to my brothers, nobody messed with him. Mainly they were scared of the Klan. George never went back to the Orphanage but lived with us the rest of his life.