Category Archives: Liars

The Challenge of 2012: Not Knowing Who Wants to be King

One of my personal goals during the past several decades has been to live through an entire presidential term without knowing which politician occupies the White House.  A second goal is to not know which segment the single party occupying the Congressional seats disguised as two parties pretends to  be the one in power.

I almost made it through a presidential term without knowing who was up there once, but I fell off the wagon inadvertently because of 9/11.  I don’t recall who the guy was who was president then, but I do remember having to know who he was then for a while.

This time around I hornswoggled myself into knowing.  Him being a black guy, I was curious to see whether he’d be any different than the string of white ones preceding him.  But now I’ve satisfied myself he isn’t and my curiosity’s receded sufficiently to allow me to pound it down into the seldom-referred-to compartment of my brain where I try to keep things that are none of my affair. 

Old Sol and I have that in common, not wanting to know who is president of the US.  He doesn’t want to know, either.  Notice how he’s got his face squinched up in preparation for what he knows is coming.

But the challenge doesn’t begin with a new president.  It begins early during each election year as a Chinese fire drill of power-hungry liars telling the truth about one-another, but lies about themselves.  Along with the attitudinal lackeys of each among the citizenry saying things back and forth, repeating the lies in favor of their own preference and in opposition to those they vilify for one reason or another.

I’m going to be modifying the reading material online and offline I expose myself to so’s to help me in my goal of not knowing the names of all those lowlifes and read whatever lies they’re telling about others, and what truths are being told about them by their enemies.

From my point of view the greatest presidents of the US are those nobody ever heard of.  They did their jobs so well they barely get honorable mention in history because nothing noteworthy happened while they were president.  Which ought to be the goal of every president.

Here are some presidents I consider the great ones:

Martin Van Buren


Millard Fillmore

 

Franklin Pierce

Rutherford B Hayes

James Garfield

Chester A Arthur

Warren G. Harding

I’m including Jefferson Davis because nobody even acknowledges he was once president of half the country:

 

Here are two candidates for future greatness:

Gerald Ford

 

Jimmy Carter

Once the willow switch and razor strop went out of style as a method for dealing with loud, greedy, demanding children, the only methods left were ‘reasoning’ with them, which didn’t work, then ignoring them.

I’m going to skip the reasoning and just ignore them.

Old Jules

The Tanglefoot of Expecting the Unexpected

You couldn’t make this up.

Yesterday several blogs I subscribed to began with identical words:

A recent Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the FBI wants what it calls “food activists” prosecuted as terrorists, perhaps because nothing could more terrifying than exposing where our so-called food comes from and how it is manufactured.”

I didn’t disbelieve it initially, but it seemed a bit sloppy, though not outside the realms of the possible.  What bothered me about it was the fact nothing was mentioned about who made the FOIA request, why, and the precise wording of the contents of the FBI document. 

So I plugged the sentence, A recent Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the FBI wants what it calls “food activists” into the dogpile dot com search engine.  http://tinyurl.com/7y6cokz

My thought was that it wouldn’t require much search to find an initial post with the core information.  Instead, as of early evening yesterday, there were 20 pages of posts repeating the one I’d recieved.  Earliest I found was December 23, then more a couple of days later, gradually building up to a landslide yesterday.  Blogs all over the web re-posting the same piece of writing, some with variations or addenda of their own.

Not one expressing the slightest doubt the story was true.  Not one questioning where the original claim originated.   Today there’ll be more as the panic spreads, I’m thinking.

The problem is the powers running this country opened a door to a new avenue of the believable.  Indefinite detention Act voids US Constitution, Get a Job! Internment/Resettlement Specialist, US Army, Sunday morning thoughts December 18, 2011, and  The Long Watch referred to the activities of the US Congress a few days back, along with the way some people were responding to it. 

But once that desire to be able to lock US Citizens up without any due process based on being suspected of terrorism was enshrined in Congressional activity, all bets were off.  Suddenly it makes all kinds of sense for the folks charged with law enforcement and pesky people doing all manner of legal things they’d like to lock them up for to want to squeeze them into the meaning of the word terrorist.   They know that, and you and I know they know that.

So out of nowhere comes a claim the FBI’s already doing it.  How much disbelief does the discerning reader need to suspend to accept it as gospel without the acquired skepticism of experience with the huge mass of BS on the web?

Heck.  Maybe it’s even true.  The only evidence it isn’t true is the fact there isn’t a grain of evidence it is.

Expecting the unexpected has some inherent pitfalls.  One being that we see what we expect to see.

Old Jules

Old Sol’s Moodiness and Being a Character In a Book

In case you’re one of those people who hasn’t been staring at the sun, here’s a brief update before I tell you about an interesting tidbit in my life:  Finding myself a character in a ‘memoir’ [actually a novel] written by my step-brother published as non-fiction.  But important things first:

From http://spaceweather.com/

Here he is November 28:

As you can see, the south pole stuff’s maintaining itself, still doing what it was doing when I last mentioned it.

Here’s today.

Still something going on down there, but the grandstanding is still north of the equator.

Strangeness

SINUOUS SUNSPOTS: A line of sunspots stretching across the sun’s northern hemisphere appears to be an independent sequence of dark cores. A telescope tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen, however, reveals something different. The sunspots are connected by sinuous filaments of magnetism:

“These sunspots writhe and squirm energetically as they rotate away from us!” says John Nassr, who took the picture on Nov. 28th from his backyard observatory in Baguio, the Philippines.

The connections suggest an interesting possibility. While each sunspot individually poses little threat for strong solar flares, an instability in one could start a chain reaction involving all, leading to a widespread eruption. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

I could write a lot about this but none of it would necessarily be true, so I’m doing my best not to have an opinion while keeping my foot in the door for afterward saying “I told you so,” if I can get by with it.

Okay.  Now for the main thrust of this post.  Before beginning the post I visited the Bobby Jack Nelson Forum on Amazon to see what was being said about him: http://tinyurl.com/7zj2la3

A while back I got an email on an old email address I rarely check anymore from a lady who wanted to discuss my step-brother, Bobby Jack Nelson.  She explained he’d offed himself in a nursing home in San Saba, Texas, and that she’d had a long-term relationship with him. 

But Bob had told her a lot of things she’d begun to think were lies.  She just wanted to bounce some of them off me because she knew he and I had associated considerably during the 1980s and early 1990s when he was writing Keepers – A Memoir. http://tinyurl.com/d82tcsk.

 To be honest the whole thing qualified as strange enough to keep life worth living.  Bob and I saw quite a bit of one another during those years, and I knew he was writing a novel about, among other things, his childhood in Portales, New Mexico.  I considered him a friend.

 But one day in the late-1990s [as soon as the novel had been accepted by a publishing house, I later discovered] while I was living in Socorro, New Mexico, I got a call from Bob.  He didn’t mention the novel, but he said he was going off to South America and wouldn’t be returning to the US, so I wouldn’t be hearing any more from him.

I got reports from various mutual acquaintances they’d seen him in Texas here and there, so I figured he just wanted to break off our association, which was puzzling, but okay by me.  Then I got a call from a Dallas reporter asking what I thought of the book, which I hadn’t been aware was published.

 Naturally, I bought and read a copy.  Suddenly it was clear to me why the reporter had called me, but also why Bob had suddenly taken a powder.  My first reaction to reading it would have been to trip up to that mountain town he was staying in while writing it and beat hell out of him.

I was honestly dumbfounded the man could bring himself to publish such a pack of lies as non-fiction.  But a person would have had to have been there, or remembered what he’d said back earlier had happened, to recognize there was barely a grain of truth in any of it.

Gradually I cooled down and just forgot about Bob until the lady contacted me to tell me he was dead, and how he’d died.

We exchanged a lot of emails over several months, and it was a journey of mutual discovery.  But the discoveries came in the form of Bob being an even worse liar than I’d have thought possible knowing already he was an accomplished liar.  And for her, not knowing he was a liar at all, I suppose it provided her some closure to find the man she loved, somewhat idolized, was in awe of, was not the person she’d believed him to be.

 Oddly enough, I think Bob tried to warn me a number of times about himself.  Several times he told me over the years that he was a liar, but I didn’t grasp the extent of what he was saying.  Other times he told me he wasn’t what I thought he was, and I shrugged that off, too.

But what came as a shock to me, first with the book, and later with what the lady told me, was that Bob absolutely despised me.  That, I’d have never guessed during the years I wasted pieces of my life associating with him in what seemed a mutually warm, friendly relationship.

Live and learn.

Old Jules

 

Songs of 20th Century Wars on Victimless Crimes

In the old days it was about taxes and heaping the payoff of the national debt on farmers who made whiskey out of their corn.  In 1790, it was considered an abomination and the farmers rebelled.  Abraham Washington or George Lincoln, I think it was, sent troops and eventually the Whiskey Rebellion became a footnote in history.

 

The song was ended but the melody lingered on.

Miss Marcy doesn’t quite fit the theme, but it involves whiskey stills, illicit sex, murder, dancing, adultery and other dirty stuff, and it’s a good song.  I’d be remiss leaving it out.

 

The Night Chicago Died isn’t precisely historically accurate, but it’s the only song comes to mind encapsulating what Prohibition led to:  Gangsters, cops and bystanders being gunned down, speakeasy whiskey nights, corruption, and a lot of richer cops, politicans and gangsters with nobody else better or worse for it except prison guards, more lawyers, judges and cops.  Sound familiar?

Even into the 1960s illegal whiskey still brought a smile and tacit approval from a population unaffected by the tiny wars still going on between back-woods whiskey-makers and ‘reveneurs’.  Not to be mistaken for Jack Daniels or Johnny Walker.  Nobody was getting killed over in the Jack Daniels plant.

 

Roger Miller’s classic’s just another example the general public attitude as opposed to the governmental enforcement apparatus tactics.

 

The US Government isn’t a fast learner.  They were already controlling and taxing whiskey.  They’d have saved more treasure than anyone can imagine it they’d taken that approach to dealing with cocaine.  The substance abuse happened, the machinery of justice cranked up to deal with it, the prisons filled, and the taxpayers paid, paid, paid without taking it off the streets.  Nor even out of the prisons.

Much the same song, different stanza for the poppy derivative family.

 

But whiskey and illicit drugs weren’t enough.  The only obvious place the government was successful collecting taxes across the board was on tobacco.

 

But even a lot of whiskey drinkers and cocaine snorters didn’t like smokers.  Gradually smokers were eased over there with prostitutes when it came to hammering them out of existence.

 

I’ve included a lot of different versions of this next song because we’ve needed a lot of jails for the people who get crosswise with moral superiority, barrels full of money, cops, politicians, judges and people who just like to know people they don’t agree with are in jail.

I’ve had to leave prostitutes and prisons for women full of them out of this because nobody cares enough about them to write a song.

 

 

 

Old Jules

Wilderness Threats


A man I went to grammar school, junior high and some high school with, then several decades later became reacquainted and huff-puffed a lot of up and down mountain canyons recently began visiting this blog.  If no other reader enjoys the tale, at least he will, because he was there:

The following is copyrighted material from a book I wrote once.  I give myself permission to use it here. [ Crazy Lost Gold Mine-ism]

I’ve never concerned myself much with the dangers of wild animals during my extensive time in the woods.  Mostly they’ll mind their own business if a person takes reasonable precautions and doesn’t go out of his way to provoke them.  In New Mexico backlands of the late 20th century the real threats usually come in the form of humans.  When those happen they usually come as suddenly and unexpectedly as finding one’s self in the middle of a herd of elk.

Grasshopper Canyon and Stinking Springs are on the northern end of the Zunis below Oso Ridge on the west face of the mesa.  Two canyons run north and south, parallel to the face, half a mile apart, separated from one another by steep, narrow walls several hundred feet high.  These two walls consist of coral reef from some ancient time when Oso Ridge was an island.  The canyons aren’t easily accessible, so I prospected there a while.

The land below Oso Ridge around Grasshopper Canyon is checker-boarded in ownership.  Grasshopper is all National Forest, but immediately south is a section of Navajo tribal land.  Adjacent to the Navajo section is a section belonging to the Zuni tribe.  Fences between these sections allow a person to always know whether he’s on public land or tribal land.

I was working Grasshopper Canyon with my friend Keith, a stockbroker from Santa Fe. We separated and worked the arroyos southward parallel to one another, gradually moving toward the fence delineating the Navajo section.  Occasionally we’d call out through the woods to make certain we weren’t out-distancing one another.  The last thing either of us expected was an encounter with another human in those woods.

I was bent over taking samples from the bed of a shallow arroyo, just deep enough so when I straightened I could view the small meadow around me.  I stood getting my breath and stretching the kinks out of my back when I saw a man dressed in cammies backing out of the woods at the edge of the meadow.  He was being stealthy, carrying a .22 rifle in a ready position.  He had twenty to thirty colorful birds hanging on a string around his neck the way a fisherman carries a stringer of fish.  As I watched, almost invisible to him with only the top of my head showing above the arroyo, his eyes searched the woods to his right where Keith was working.  Keith had called out from there a few moments previously.

Still watching Keith’s direction the man backed toward me until he was only a few feet away from me.  “Nice string of birds.”  I scrambled up the bank while he spun and pointed the .22 in my general direction.

My partner’s in the woods back behind you.  You don’t want to be firing in that direction.”  We studied one another.  He eyed the shoulder rig I was wearing and the butt of the 9 mm automatic showing from the bottom.  “’You out here killing songbirds?”

Mister Songbird was a young man and from appearances, a Zuni.  He stared a moment longer before answering.  My impression was that he was considering whether I was a game warden or other law enforcement official.  “I’m getting them for Zuni New Year.  They let us do that.”

We talked for a few minutes, me accepting what he said at face value, and the tension gradually dissolved.  He agreed to get the hell out of the canyon because we were working there and wouldn’t want any shooting.  Besides, we’d probably messed up his hunt with our yelling and bustling around the woods.  I watched him back into the meadow to the south and allowed myself to sigh with relief.

Back in Santa Fe I called the US Fish and Game Department.  I thought there was a remote chance the feds were really allowing Zunis to kill protected species birds on National Forest land.  If so, I was prepared to be indignant.

When I told my story the fed was silent a moment.  “You are a lucky man,” he observed.  “You confronted an armed man committing multiple Federal felonies and he didn’t shoot you.”

*     The following didn’t make it into the final draft of the manuscript: The fed also observed the Zuni lad would have spent a lot more years in prison for killing those songbirds than he would have for killing me.  I drew a good bit of comfort from knowing that.

Eventually logic won out over the other appeals of the Zuni Mountains as a location for the lost gold mine I was searching for.  Although the Zunis were handy for me, being only a few hours drive from Santa Fe, they were too far from Tucson.

Also, too many prominent landmarks in the area would have immediately brought the original survivors back.  The route I imagined them following would have taken them within sight of Los Gigantes and enough other one-of-a-kind eccentricities to make the location unmistakable.

Even the Big Notch and Little Notch in the Continental Divide can be seen from miles to the west.  There’s nothing else similar to it in North America.

Marty Robbins – Little Green Valley

http://youtu.be/WT5qegD28Wo

Helpful Advice

I don’t give advice, but I’m frequently interested in the viewpoints of people who do consider themselves wise enough to give it.

Well, I say I don’t give advice and I sincerely try not to, try to catch myself at it and chide myself when I discover I’ve backslid in a way I can’t squirm out of.  Well, most of the time.  If you’ve read the Survival Book  [  https://sofarfromheaven.com/survival-book-2/ ]  you know I’m lying to myself and to you when I say it.

Some of you nitpickier readers might assert the ‘Ask Old Jules’  blurbs Jeanne posts on the Facebook page amounts to advice, but I can’t agree.  That’s just answers to questions with no attempt to be helpful, no wish to influence the choices other people make.

But I’ve digressed.

I read Ed Hurst’s blog, ‘The Oracles of Marriage’ http://my.opera.com/soulkiln/blog/, and while I find myself not in total agreement with him in a lot of ways, I suspect people involved in relationships with other people might profit from reading and carefully considering what he says.

There’s also the Dear Coke Talk http://www.dearcoketalk.com/ blog ruminating and giving advice I find amusing and might have found helpful when I indulged in relationships.

We’re living in a time of possibly the most profound social experiment in the history of mankind.  During the past century 10,000?  50,000? years of accumulated human wisdom and tradition has been discarded worldwide in favor of various packages groups believe they’ll like better.  I’m not, personally, certain anyone on the planet is qualified to give advice in times such as these.  The body of experience just isn’t sufficient to pull solutions out of a catch-as-catch-can gut feel cauldron of individual preferences and biases, and deliver them any meaningful where.

Seems to me it would be a good time for people involved in relationships to do a lot of pondering, reading, discussing with the party of the second part about boundaries, about ownership, about mutual dependencies, about verbalizing expectations, and about self-reliance.

But what the hell do I know?  I can show you how to start a fire with flint and steel.  I can elaborate at length on how you can make the best of almost any bad situation and come away from it a lot more confident and probably happier than you went into it.  But when things go into the arena of two people clinging to one another in a complex web of expectations neither has clearly defined, neither has ever agreed to, the only reasonable approach seems to me to be honest communications.

I was married 25 years and one of the conversational mantras during that time was, “What’s the matter?”

Nothing.”

“Yes, something’s the matter.  What is it?”

“Nothing.  No, really.  Nothing.”

That interchange sums up what I’m talking about.  It’s a statement communicated by non-verbal methods that the party of the second part hasn’t satisfied the expectations of the party of the first part.

Why isn’t the answer a forthright statement?  Because the unsatisfied expectation isn’t one that has been brought out into the open, discussed, and agreed to.

“I’m angry and I want you to know I’m angry, but you’ll have to guess why, want me to not be angry.  I’ve chosen this method in hopes of getting you to modify your behavior to something more in tune with what I want from you, knowing you probably won’t agree to it unless I sulk it out of you.”

How the hell can anyone presume to give advice about how to do that better?  When the goal is ownership and control who’s better qualified than the party of the first part, whichever the gender?

Old Jules

Kenny Rogers & The 1st Edition – Something’s Burning

Intelligent Common Sense vs. Knee-jerk Common Sense

I agree.

The question is what brand of common sense we choose to adopt.  One trait we humans all share is the unquestionable fact that we have common sense.  We’re able to spot the lack of it in others whenever it’s out of sync with our own, which frequently happens.

Among other things, it seems to me common sense ought to be manifested in personal and public choices about what’s worth getting excited about, being afraid of, and what is not.

For instance, I read somewhere recently that in the entire history of terrorism, beginning in Russia in the 19th Century, fewer than 10,000 people have died.

Common sense would seem to argue terrorism’s not a large enough issue in the world to lend much weight to private and public decision-making.

The war on drugs has been waged since the Reagan Administration.  Countless millions of dollars have been expended in the effort.  Today, forbidden drugs are as available on the streets of America, perhaps more available, than they were when Reagan declared war.

Common sense would seem to argue it was time to look at other alternatives about five years after it all began, rather than spending more on it, building more prisons, hiring more cops, judges, prosecutors.

We’ve known since the early 1970s that foreign energy dependence was a threat to the well-being of this nation.  Petroleum and other hydrocarbons were going away.  From Nixon onward, US presidents pledged and waved the bloody flag pretending an effort to free the US from foreign energy dependence by development of alternative energy sources.

Common sense would seem to argue we’re more dependent on foreign energy today, 40 years later, than we were when our elected chiefs first made public acknowledgement of the threat to national security and well-being.  Which is another way of saying they lied, made meaningless gestures to an actual threat to national security and well-being, while devoting their attention to waging bloody wars on top of soil where the old-fashioned energy sources lay hidden.

Whatever common sense is, you and I certainly have a lot of it.

If we could ever discover how to inject it into the gray matter of the men we elect to office, we’d have to change the definition to something less common.  Which is the reason I stay the hell away from knowing the current news events and don’t pay any mind to politics.

Common sense tells me history testifies to the futility of common sense and the futility of worrying about political matters.   Common sense tells me life’s too short to fire up my ammunition at targets I can’t hit.

Old Jules

John Prine– Illegal Smile
http://youtu.be/Li-HVSdjQFg

Did You Ever Fake Reading a Book?

The e-newsletter  Shelf Awareness  occasionally includes author interviews where a standard question is “What book have you faked reading?”   This brought to mind something I can tell  now because I don’t think they can take my high school diploma back from me.

When we students who began school in the first half of the 20th Century in Portales, New Mexico entered Junior High in 1957, they explained a lot of what we had to get done during the next few years if we wanted to graduate from high school. If those years passed and we hadn’t done each thing on the list we’d be pumping gas the remainder of our lives.

Among the various academic requirements was Major Book Report every year. I didn’t see this as a problem up front. I was a heavy reader and couldn’t imagine a deadline arriving on that one without me nailing it in plenty of time.

But somehow the 8th or 9th grade came along and spang, there I was, with Mrs. Wilbanks standing before the class announcing day-after-tomorrow our big book reports were due. Suddenly I was in a panic. I’d read plenty of books, but none that came to mind as qualifying for a big book report. Those normally had to be cleared with the teacher ahead of time, which somehow slipped by me for one reason or another.

I don’t know what made me decide to invent a book that didn’t exist.  It seems insane all these decades later.  But I suppose  I concluded I just hadn’t read any Big Books after I went to the library and saw the lists of the ones other kids had been thumbing through and dogearing.

But I got out my Esterbrook fountain pen with the turquoise ink and set to work inventing a Big Book I’d read.  “Chessman”, by Borden Deal .  It was a good book and I regret Borden Deal never wrote it.  I turned in the book report on time and sighed thinking I’d cheated death one more time.

A few days later Mrs. Wilbanks brought the graded book reports in and prepared to pass them back, but she cautioned us to just look at the grades and corrections, then hand them back in.  They’d go into our permanent files with our other Big Book Reports until we graduated High School.

Then she pulled out a book report from the stack I could recognize from my desk near the back of the room.  Sloppy, turquoise handwriting on yellow paper.

I don’t give A+ on Big Book Rep0rts, but I’ve made an exception this time.”  She lighted up the room with her smile and gestured toward me with it while I sank into my seat.  “I believe this might be the best Big Book Report ever written by one of my students.”

Knowing that book report was up there hanging over my head as evidence bothered me a lot.  When I left Portales and headed for another school my 11th year, I hoped they’d let me carry my records so I could snag it, but it wasn’t to be.  Next year I changed schools again and again didn’t get an opportunity to steal it back.

Not until I graduated in 1961 did I again get my hands on my Big Book Report on “Chessman”, by Borden Deal.  I packed it away with all my other important papers and kept it until Y2K, when it went into the fire after one last read.

If you haven’t read the book I recommend you write it.  It’s a winner.

Old Jules


The Coasters – Charlie Brown
http://youtu.be/dS9sOCRH3MU

Lying Consistently or Telling the Truth

When I got out of the US Army in 1964 I was a confused young man.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but initially I felt some urgency to get started doing it.  My first thought was to buy a farm in the vicinity of Portales, New Mexico, where I’d spent most of my youth and done a lot of farm labor.  That area was in the process of the subtle change from hardscrabble family farms to agribusiness farms, though I didn’t recognize it.

Although my granddad had a small farm a few miles from town, and although the main revenue for the population was farm-related, most non-farmers didn’t hold  farmers in high regard.  Including my granddad, with reasons he considered adequate.

The result was that my granddad, my mom and my step-dad took active measures, once I found a 160 acre irrigated farm I could swing for, to make certain with the local bank that I didn’t get financing to buy it.  They each pronounced separately to me that I was destined for ‘better things’ than farming, which I bitterly resented.

Someone mentioned to me the Peace Corps was a place where young people at loose ends were volunteering to go off and set the world right.  Relatively new at the time, I’d never heard of it, but I applied.

Then, as I’d done numerous times before, I hitch-hiked out of that town.  The World Fair was going on in New York, and I headed that direction, and spent the summer in Greenwich Village simulating being a beatnik.

I might talk more about all this in future posts, but I’ve digressed from my original intentions for this one.

I began my Peace Corps training in Hilo, Hawaii.  India X Peace Corps Project, intended to send bright young Americans off to Gujarat, India, to teach the locals how to raise chickens.  Sometime I’ll probably wax poetic about all that, but I’m trying to limit my digressions.

Training was intended to be a time of intense learning, but it was also clear, we were cautioned from the beginning, it also served as a filter to remove the great percentage of the trainees  through observation, psychological testing, peer ratings, and voluntary withdrawals.  A sort of basic training with the emphasis on washing out all trainees with potential shortcomings.  About 2/3 of India X washed out of training before the end, including me.

But I’m having a lot of trouble getting to the point of this post because of all the background material.  Enough!

One of the methods of screening trainees was the Minnesota Multi-Phase Personality Test.  Most of the trainees were well-enough educated to be familiar with it.  The MMPP was reputed to be ‘unbeatable’, and we were each acutely aware of our personal shortcomings.  Most of us agreed if the Peace Corps had any idea what was going on in our heads they’d faint, revive themselves, and deselect us without further ado.

During the week prior to the test we’d gather at night to discuss the best strategy for foiling the Peace Corps cadre and the MMPP.  The two obvious approaches were, a] Tell the truth and suffer the consequences, and hope to be forgiven, or, b] Lie consistently.

By reputation, the MMPP wasn’t capable of being lied to consistently without catching you out.

Most of us viewed ourselves as the cream of US youth.  The Peace Corps told us that’s what we were from the first day of acceptance for training.  We’d been picked from hundreds, maybe thousands of applicants.

So we’d already fooled them that much.

Our consensus as a group was to lie consistently.  Some of us succeeded.

This is getting lengthy, so I’ll use it as a launchpad, most likely, for some future posts.

John Prine– Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian
http://youtu.be/r_vTY67Wd9I

Internet Wisdom

I spent a while this morning visiting various blogs, groups and reading blasts.  Stayed mostly away from the news feeds, however.

But I came away renewed, refreshed and relaxed from all the exercise dodging ricochets of wisdom, originality and profundity.

  • Found out Love’s a big deal however it happens to be packaged, especially if it’s universal and unconditional (not making any demands), and I was appropriately edified with the knowing of it.
  • Found out pets are cute and smart, which I hadn’t noticed before,
  • Found out wild animals wouldn’t hurt a flea, mostly, unless it’s the fault of some human,
  • Found out humans mostly wouldn’t hurt a flea if they’re properly loved,
  • Found out millions of chickens spending their lives in lines of 3′ wire cubes a mile long and three deep from egg to hatchet were capable of being subjected to some irony  called legal cruelty if they died prematurely by some other than the normal method,
  • Discovered there’s an amazing breadth of conflicting, mutually exclusive truths floating around,
  • Discovered the wisest folk on the planet and those most prone to pass one-sentence fragments of that wisdom along to others are those who wish they’d been born with a Tribal Census Number of one sort or another, but who almost certainly weren’t (though they, followed by I, would be the last to say so).  The good news is there are plenty more of the same tribe willing to shoot it back at them.

I suppose I’ve almost exhausted that source of wisdom for the moment.  Thinking next I’m going to study the labels on food cans.

Old Jules

http://www.pcworld.com/article/137100/the_10_funniest_sites_on_the_internet.html

8:00 AM afterthought

I probably should have mentioned something else I’m noticing and find a lot more humorous than any of the above:

The emergence of the “I fought in [name a war the US indulged in during the past half century] syndrome.  Most don’t come right out and say so, but the great majority attempt to convey a distinct impression they were infantry point men, or at least out where the bullets were flying.  And it was tough.   The PX, pizzas and whores were all off somewhere different than where they were.  Tough and scary with all those meanies trying to get through the wire every night and them laying ambushes on the jungle trails, crawling in tunnels full of snakes and little brown brothers with hand grenades.  Unspoken implications they weren’t among the 150/1 REMF [rear-echelon MFs] in Vietnam, not among the 500/1 in everything since.

Naturally all this gets followed by a lot of fawning modern day patriots thanking them for protecting all this freedom we now enjoy, frowning about how little thanks and respect vets get for being vets.

If you hold your mouth right you can get a smile out of this phenomenon.  Twist it around a little further and you can even squeeze out a laugh.

REMFs circa 1963

[Edit:  Sheeze.  Just got an email from someone thought I was saying I was a Vietnam Vet.  I’m not.  This pic is Korea, 1963.  Nobody ever heard of Vietnam yet.  That 1st Cav patch – in those days was “The horse we never rode, the line we never crossed and the yellow is the reason why”]

I took the picture but I’ve since then metamorphosed into a point-man with a nasty scowl figuring on getting a Veteran bumper sticker and some thanks for all I must have sacrificed so you modern patriots could stay free, etc etc etc etc etc.

Sometimes I think we old people really are as pathetic as young people believe we are.

10:00 AM afterthought

If lip-service croc-tears patriots actually wanted to say thanks to someone who made a sacrifice they’d pay a visit now and then to a long-term care VA hospital instead of displaying “Support Our Troops” stickers and sloganizing a lot of easy, empty rhetorical cliché.  The wheel chair population wasting away forgotten in those hospitals sacrificed something they wanted to keep, even though they probably never believed they did it to protect the freedom of anyone else.

Likely it gets lonesome in there being a has-been swept off into a corner so’s they don’t distract from the enthusiasm for the ones haven’t done their unintentional sacrificing yet.  Paying them an occasional visit, taking them a pecan pie, sitting around exchanging lies about wars we fought would get a lot nearer to sincerity than a thousand flags and bumper stickers.

And those guys would welcome it, though they’d have every right to be suspicious and wonder whether the world’s coming to an end.