Category Archives: 2018

These youngsters and their ‘March For Our Lives’

I suppose you have to have buzz words and jingles if you want to turn out the masses for your demonstrations.   I’ll confess I’m a bit ambivalent about the anti-assault weapon frenzy and don’t believe for a minute any lives will be saved by taking them out of the hands of civilians.    I wouldn’t lift a finger to support an issue I consider a meaningless gesture.

But on the other hand, it’s an inconvenient fact the same folks who rally for the 2nd Amendment and want to wave their assault rifles around also want to rape Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.    And these youngsters in the streets waving signs wouldn’t lift a finger to keep them from doing it.

So what a lucky coincidence!   The flood that’s going to sweep away assault rifles [I couldn’t care less about] will carry with it the people who want to rob senior citizens of their livelihood, health care, and keep them from having to live under bridges [which the anti-gun youngsters couldn’t care less about].

Just imagine it!    800 places all over the US, thousands of people in the streets inadvertently working to throw the people out of national elected office in 2018 and 2020 who want to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicade.

March 24, 2018, March of our Lives locations in the US. People inadvertently marching and demonstrating to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/22/us/politics/march-for-lives-demonstrations.html

Well friends, I might just have to get me a sign and join them.

If I had to take away every assault rifle in the US to save my SS pension and Medicare, I’d be out there carrying signs pretending to believe that confiscating every assault rifle in existence would stop those school shootings.

Nobody ever demanded the two issues had to ride in the same boat, but once it happened I favor torpedoes to sink the ship and making sure any lifeboats carrying them don’t reach a safe harbor.   They haven’t left any room in the equation to call themselves a loyal opposition.    They are the enemy who happens to like guns and hate letting old people have a means to live.

What a lucky coincidence the same politicians who pander to gun lovers want to rob seniors of their Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Sooooo you can have my Social Security check when you pry it from my cold dead fingers,

You can have my Social Security check when you pry it from my cold dead fingers, I reckons.   Me and my kiddos who want to take your guns away and incidentally protect my livelihood are going to sink your ship.

Old Jules

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Nobody said it would be – Philosophy by limerick

Locomotive Rock located on the Laguna Rez a few miles north of Acoma.

Stopping a train just ain’t easy
The methods are bloody and sleazy
But changing direction
Requires a correction
More solid than whiney and breezy.

Old Jules

The Genius MBA – Philosophy by Limerick

Made his money the hard way, inherited.
Went to Yale where he struggled and merited
Every cent that he earned
With his MBA; spurned
Do-nothings with slogans he parroted.

Old Jules – July 31, 2012 blog entry

 

 

Which US war had most bald-faced liars?

Empire of Japan finalizes surrender aboard the USS Missouri September 3, 1945. By Army Signal Corps – Naval Historical Center Photo # USA C-2719. Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2684817

WWI had an Armistice Day… it celebrated the end of that particular horror.     WWII had VE [Victory in Europe] Day, and VJ [Victory over Japan] Days.   Celebrations to the end of two more horrors.   Then there was Korean Armistice Day, which nobody ever heard of, much less celebrated.   And, of course, there’s Veterans Day, just acknowledging all us veterans no matter when we were in the military.

The trouble with having undeclared wars and losing them is that nobody knows why they’re there in the first place, what it takes to win it, or how to know when it ends.    Maybe for Vietnam we should celebrate the day the last helicopter with people hanging off it lifted from the US Embassy in Saigon.

The last helicopter leaving the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon April 29, 1975. By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31234270

But now there’s this:

Honoring Vietnam Veterans Day, March 29, 2018

US landing craft 1945, Iwo Jima

Ever noticed [assuming you’re old enough] you never heard a WWI vet bragging about whatever it was he did during his time in the service?    Most I ever encountered never spoke of it at all.

And WWII veterans are pleased to tell you they spent the war burying bodies in the Solomon Islands, or in a Japanese POW camp, surrendered without firing a shot, or as a postal clerk in North Africa.   It’s always been surprising to me just how few guys actually were on the front lines ducking bullets [or saying they were during the decades afterward].

Same with Korean War veterans.     Nobody ever wants to tell you he was on a ridge with a bunch of other cold, hungry, scared GIs gunning down swaths of Chinese with a quad .50 machine gun.    In fact, Korean War vets hardly say anything at all.

That’s the reason I’ve wondered many times why the same is not and has never been true of Vietnam vets.     I’ve seen file clerks, supply clerks, mechanics,  and one particular logistics officer all claim to have been heroes, laying ambushes in the jungle.    More recently I even ran across a guy who was in Korea at the same time I was when there were few incursions and firefights on the DMZ a decade after the ceasefire.     Even knowing I was THERE the silly bastard began laying BS about how he and his unit were setting up ambushes on the DMZ… he was in the 8th Cavalry, which was on the DMZ…..   But nothing else he said held any water.    Maybe he was jealous of all those finance clerks in DaNang who’ve now become jungle fighters by hindsight.

vietnam era veteran

They’ve even got these ‘Vietnam Era’ caps so we can all get into the act. Yeah, I’m one of them Vietnam era vets….. spent my tour in Asia crawling through the jungle trying to get a dose of clap for my country. If I ware one of these I’d be what they used to call, “All hat and no cows”, same as all those REMFs on patrol.

But I’ve digressed.   My real question is this:   What was it about the Vietnam War that brought out the lies and the brags?    Why were WWII file clerks never tempted to pretend they were heroes, but the Vietnam War file clerks bought themselves ball caps proclaiming themselves brothers to the finance clerks, the supply clerks, and all the other rear echelon folks who discovered later they’d been combat vets.  Hell hundreds happily tell one another they’ve been troubled with PTSD.     Not more than two hours ago I was talking to one who was in personnel administration who is actually drawing a service-connected disability for PTSD.    A personnel admin clerk.

Vietnam never had an Iwo Jima.    No Guadalcanal or Midway.   No Bataan Death March.     When US troops landed on Guadalcanal August, 1942, they’d never seen any movies about jungle warfare.    Surprise!    They had no idea what they were in for.

Maybe that’s the distinguishing factor.    Maybe it was all those WWII movies, John Wayne pulling the pins out of grenades with his teeth.   Frank Sinatra drooling over Gina Lollobrigida between firefights in Burma.   Robert Mitchum outsmarting the Japanese while protecting a nun [Deborah Kerr].    Maybe that was the missing factor, the systemic flaw in the Vietnam War that caused all those non-combatants to spend all the remaining decades of their lives trying to correct it.

After all, shooting water buffalo out the door of a helicopter with a machine gun is a story that can be embellished with a lot more vigor than stories about typing a company morning report at the motor pool.

Don’t get me wrong.  Not all Vietnam veterans are lying.    If a guy tells you he was a Navy engineer, and upon questioning tells you he ‘poured concrete for the Navy’, he’s telling you the truth.    If he tells you he repaired field telephones, he’s telling you the truth.

And there’s always that one-out-of-ten, or one-out-of-twenty, who actually did serve in the jungle and participated in all that stuff you’ve seen in the same movies the file clerks with the Vietnam veteran caps got their stories from.

So how can you tell if a Vietnam veteran is lying to you?   Well one of the ways is to listen to his claim.     If he says he was a medic in a VD clinic he’s probably telling you the truth.

But if the US is going to carry on endless presidential wars without having to re-institute the draft they’re going to have to keep glorifying their warriors.  And  a person who spent a tour in Asia greasing and changing the oil on jeeps in Saigon loves being called a warrior.   Loves the feel when he pulls a straight face and announces, “Yeah, I fought in Vietnam.”

Old Jules

 

The waxing and waning of generational blame

Ashes to ashes2Hi readers     Thanks for coming by.

I don’t believe I ever doubted anytime during my 74 times around the sun that my parents and their generation experienced far more difficulties on average in life than did my own generation.    I’d go a step further and conjecture that in general all previous generations to mine tended to be more challenging to the folks living in them than my own as a genre experienced.

To me this doesn’t seem a subject of controversy .   More than likely the great majority of people who traveled that piece of time with me would agree.

But unless I’m mistaken, we’ve come to a place in history where convictions of that sort among the young no longer exist.    Everything I see of young people suggests to me they believe their generation actually doesn’t have it as ‘good’ as their parents or their grandparents.     As measured in almost everything they value.

In some ways I believe they are right.   The baby-boomers beginning during WWII in the United States were blessed with an affluence beyond anything that’s gone before in the entire history of mankind.   We lived in a time when the pantheon of individual choices ranged from entrepreneur, to beatnik, to hippy, to hitch-hiker to corporate climber.    Or any combination of those and countless others.

It wasn’t our fault.    We lived in a world in transition, born into a bubble of expectations and hope that allowed us a confidence we had no reason to doubt, but no business believing.     And because of that, while many of us merely submerged ourselves in numb mediocrity, a substantial piece of the whole went out and lived our lives in ways that left no doubt that life could be lived.

So what happened to convert the confidence and enthusiasm, the trust, of the 1950s, 1960s, and to some extent, the 1970s, to the slough of despond and hopelessness  that emerged among the youngsters in the 1990s and 2000s?

I don’t believe, despite their perceptions, that younger people have it more difficult than my generation.   In fact, in many ways they appear to have it sufficiently easier to qualify as appalling.    True, there aren’t a lot of manufacturing, skilled labor, whatever-middle-class-hell jobs were around back before everything went to the 3rd World.     And it isn’t clear how the current population of mediocrity will provide for themselves so’s to accumulate tons of appliances, entertainment, transportation, bass boats, clothing and cosmetic surgery.

But is that really a quality of life issue?    Isn’t it, rather, a challenge of personal values and priorities?

I’ll confess, reading posts of young people on FaceBook hasn’t given me much sympathy for them, hasn’t inspired much hope they’ll make the world a better place during their time here.     But then, when it comes down to it, neither did mine own generation.

Sure, a lot of people I knew were moderately-to-wildly successful at accumulating wealth.   A lot of them surpassed themselves in various ways far greater than anyone would have expected of them when we were kids.   And many of them handed everything to their kids with a silver spoon, spoiled them beyond recognition.    Indulged in precisely the same mindset as my generation’s parents who went through WWII and the great depression, determined that their children would have it easier than they, themselves had it.

But my generation had it so damned easy, making it even easier on those that followed might qualify as a crime in a better world.   Might qualify as condemning our progeny to expectations that bear almost no relationship to anything related to happiness, fulfillment, or genuine satisfaction.

This isn’t the first generation in the history of man where many have been reduced to the moral and economic equivalent of flipping burgers to earn a living.    The simple fact is, the affluence derived from a minimum wage 21st Century job would have been coveted by so many of our ancestors so far back we’d lose count trying to identify them.

“We’ is a terrible word.    It pretends there’s some group of individuals who share some accomplishment, some responsibility, some abstraction.    Something that happened on our watch.

And the fact is, there isn’t any such we.      I’ve lived a life of 74 years and I didn’t have a damned thing to do with anything that happened during my time on this planet.   Not a single damned thing.

And I honestly can’t say I’ve been in personal contact with anyone who did.    The people who made things happen, who drove the events of my lifetime might as well have existed in comic books, movies, television shows and epic poems.   Because I sure as hell never encountered one.

Jeese, what a life.    What a ride this has been.   What a phony, sexy, drug-induced hallucination.

Old Jules

‘Squirrelly’ Armijo Survives his own Funeral

I was searching around trying to find blogs about my challenges working up to leaving the ranch in Texas [back before fate and health took a possession of the steering wheel and gas pedal]. I wanted to reflect on the urgency and intensity I was pursuing in those days before the bottom fell out of my life and I had to find a different reason to stay alive than returning to all I love in New Mexico.

But as I’ve done so often, I find I’ve digressed, am digressing a moment. I came across this post and even though it’s been told before, I had to read it again.

And now you can read it again, too, if you’ve been here a while. Or for the first time if you haven’t. Old Jules

So Far From Heaven

A legendary man in the Quemado/Reserve area nicknamed ‘Squirrelly’ Armijo had a good working claim down near Queen’s Head in the Gallos near Apache Creek in the 1940s  through the 1960s. Maybe that’s where he came across a skeleton, and probably just figured he might as well take it home, so he put it in his truck.
Driving up those winding mountain roads he lost control of the truck and rolled it. Squirrelly was thrown clear and the truck caught fire. He must have been out of his head, maybe with a concussion, because he evidently wandered into the mountains in a daze.

The police arrived and found the burned out truck with a skeleton inside and assumed because the truck belonged to him the remains were Squirrelly’s. He was pronounced dead, an expensive funeral held, and he was buried.

Twelve days later Squirrelly wandered out of the woods several miles away…

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There’s something about pet cemeteries

ship cat

n Memory of Simon, Served as ship’s cat on HMS Amethyst – Simon’s heroic ratting saving the crew from starvation during the hundred days the ship spent trapped by Communists on the Yangtze River in 1949. Simon was originally the Captain’s cat, a privileged creature who fished ice cubes out of his water jug and crunched them, but after he survived being blown up along with the Captain’s cabin, he was promoted to ‘Able Seacat’ and became pet of the whole crew. Unfortunately, the decision to bring the feline hero back to Britain proved the end of him as he caught cat flu in quarantine and died. http://spitalfieldslife.com/2018/03/18/at-the-pet-cemetery/

Jeanne sent me an email with a blog post about a pet cemetery in the UK dating back almost a century:   http://spitalfieldslife.com/2018/03/18/at-the-pet-cemetery/.    Maybe because I’ve lost so many cats so dear to me over the past few years, but it really struck home.     I rarely get an emotional reaction when I visit human cemeteries, but by golly, a click to that blog did the job.

cemetery entrance

Unfortunately, the Ilford Pet Cemetery is currently closed to visitors due to safety concerns after a Eucalyptus tree was brought down by the snow, but you can contribute to a fund to remove the tree and reopen the cemetery by clicking here http://spitalfieldslife.com/2018/03/18/at-the-pet-cemetery/

For those who have read this blog for several years, but don’t recall their demise, Shiva the cow cat died while we were with Jeanne back when I was trying to finish dying on her couch in Olathe.     She’s buried in the backyard of the house where she first arrived in Kansas and had her litter of kittens.

Shiva in bathtub

This was taken when we lived in the mountains in Placitas, New Mexico. Shiva hadn’t yet graduated to the lofty status of ‘the cow cat’. That came later during the several years we spent together on a ranch in Central Texas.

Hydrox Top Cat RIP

Hydrox, Top Cat, RIP 2016, found his burial place among the ruins of out-buildings at the Blackjack Battlefield. That’s where John Brown and his followers attacked a group of pro-slavery settlers in an incident some prefer to believe was the ‘real’ first battle of the Civil War. It’s a middling distance from Leavenworth, but when I can trust the car I visit him as frequently as possible.

 

A couple of good cats just vanished from my life this century.    There was Mehitabel #3, whom I eventually found the hairy tufts of at the base of a telephone pole in Grants, New Mexico, where eagles often perched.    And:

MIA – Permanent Mouse Patrol – Niaid

Andrews, Texas, December 2013, when I was going through my diagnostic challenges with the VA in Odessa and Big Spring…. I suppose that was the most difficult aside from Hydrox, and the fact she’s in some anonymous grave in the sorriest part of Texas anyone’s likely to find anywhere probably suffices.     During those times I thought I might join her at any moment.

So I’m inclined to think those pet cemeteries, though mawkish, are something of a plus.     If we’re lucky we’ll have a lot of animalcules to share parts of our lives, and over the decades we’ll endure the consequence of their lives being so much shorter than humans.     Knowing they’re lying in some prepared spot where we can visit them if we wish, shed a few tears, and say a few more goodbyes seems worthy of them.

Old Jules