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Friday, November 22, 2013

22 NOV 13

One day in Dallas . . .

Got to remembering today.

I'm 67 years old.
Now nearer to the end than to the beginning of all things "Me."
Been thinking about politics and presidents.

Had these thoughts on things presidential:

The first president I can remember is Eisenhower.
I liked him because he reminded me of my grandfather.
I was 10.

Then came Kennedy . . . 
He became a sorta teen-idol figure.
I loved his look and sense of style.
Plus, he drove PT Boats in the war.

Lyndon Johnson . . .
I alternately hated or pitied him.
Hated his micro-management of the war in Vietnam.
Pitied his obvious pain at the American troop losses
that ensued.

Nixon . . .
Couldn't get a read on him.
He wasn't called, "Tricky Dick" for naught.
(Although I did write a college paper in 1974, defending
him, for a Political Science class I took via USAFI.)

Gerald Ford . . .
A caretaker ...
a nice guy who was just "there."

Carter . . . 
An embarrassment to all of us ex-patriots living in Berlin.
Thought his handling of the Iranian Hostage Crisis abysmal.

Ronald Reagan . . . 
Loved how he rebuilt the military to counter Soviet threats.
(But then, I'm a bit biased on the subject.)
Don't really know how his "Trickle Down" theory of economics
worked ... whether it did what he claimed or not. All I know
is that the country seemed to thrive, economically.

George the First . . .
A solid bureaucrat.
Well versed in the world of international derring do.
Plus, he was another WWII vet, one who'd flown combat
missions and had once been shot down.

Clinton . . .
A flim-flam man who made good.
The first president of my own generation
and he managed to avoid military service
by staying in college. (At least he was smart.)

George the Second . . .
A good man, trying hard
but not always getting it right.
Another one who avoided service in Vietnam
but at least he flew jets for the Air Guard.
(And how many thousands of my fellow citizens
joined the Guard for the exact same reason?)

Barack Obama . . .
An empty suit, not near as smart as
he thinks himself to be.
Still ... duly elected ... twice!

As for 2016 ...
dunno for sure.
It could very well be Clinton v Christie.

All I know for sure is that after 67 of my years,
The Republic still stands.

Being career military ... both in and out of uniform,
I learned to keep my presidential political thoughts to myself.

(Plus, I once worked with a soldier who's last prior duty station had been
the White House. Part of his duties required him to sweep the briefing
room for bugs prior to the president's morning briefing. At the front
of the room was a large flip-chart, with a black cover stenciled with
"PRESIDENT'S EYES ONLY." On his last duty day, he peeked under the
cover at the top briefing sheet. He told us that after reading what the
man has to deal with before breakfast, daily, he'd never criticize another
sitting president again.)

I've always tried to emulate him in that.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

09 NOV 13

Veterans Day Approaches . . .

Played around in Photoshop and came up with this
for a holiday facebook Timeline Cover photo:

Touched up another photo from Vietnam also:


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

06 NOV 13

Words . . .
We communicate with words.
The written word may have a lasting impression because of it's very nature but the spoken word, too, has a very strong impact ...
especially when delivered by a master orator.
Witness this video: "Remember How We Forgot"

                                        Poet, Shane Koyczan and Violinist, Hannah Epperson

Friday, November 1, 2013

01 NOV 13

A War Story ...

8th RRFS, Phu Bai, RVN
In 1967, we acquired a new room mate,
one Al Gray. He was from Alaska ... more
to the point, he was from the Aleutian Island
of Unalaska, a crabbing center. His father
worked in a cannery there and began sending
cases of premium crab meat to Al every month.
What to do? Make crab salad of course!

Al wrote and asked his father to include jars of mayo
with the crab ... soon, we were making up batches of
crab salad. Bread! We needed bread. Not just any
bread but a sub-sandwich type of bread.
In my travels to and from the airport, I'd spied a local
kiosk that sold bake goods.
I visited there ... became, immediately, entranced by the
kiosk owner ... a beautiful French/Vietnamese woman
named Mai (?). She was older than me by 20 years
but still jaw-dropping beautiful (Think Nancy Kwan).
She spoke four or five languages, English being one, and was
happy for the business. I made an arrangement to buy a dozen
baguettes of bread from her once a month.

Once a month, we'd have a crab salad party in the room and invite
anybody who'd supply the beer. My boss, CWO Slusser, attended
a couple of times. As for Mai ... I had a big crush on her and we had
many a chat together. She told me that she was married to a French
soldier and was waiting for him to return and take her back to France.

Came Tet '68.
Lost track of most all of our LN's for about a month or so.
Was restricted to the confines of the 8th for the same amount of time.
Our LN's began drifting back ... telling tales of terror and death in the
surrounding villages. A mass grave, containing 3000 bodies, was
uncovered on the outskirts of Hue City.

Finally, local kiosks began reopening.
Business slowly began returning to normal.
Mai's kiosk remained closed. She never reappeared.
I heard rumors ... stories told by the locals, that she was executed for
being too friendly with the Americans.
Could never confirm this.
Have always felt guilt at the thought that our friendship may have been
a cause of her death.