Friday, September 28, 2012


As I drove into the neighborhood yesterday evening coming home from work, I saw the guy a few doors down out in his yard. He had cleared a path of grass, scoured right down to the soil from his porch to the mailbox at the curb. Good straight edges, about 3 feet wide, gently curving with a 90 degree turn to his driveway as well. 

This guy is always doing something, and I figured he was making a sidewalk. He had all the turf nicely stacked on a flatbed trailer, and he was guzzling a big glass of lemonade as I passed. It had a nice visual style to it. I could see it in my minds eye, as I'm sure you are doing now, lined next year with a bed of petunias, a few Crepe Myrtles, and a watchful little garden gnome set amid the Nana Nandina's.

 It looked pretty good for phase 1 of his project.
But as I pulled out of the neighborhood this morning, there he is, up bright and early, but he is not going into whatever Phase 2 might have been.
Sometime during the night he has replaced all the turf he removed yesterday. He is standing there, hands on his hips, looking all tired and dejected. There will be no cement walk from the porch to the mailbox, no Nana Nandina, no garden gnome..

I guess he was either:
1) Tweaking pretty bad yesterday.
2) Or else his wife came home and said “No, uh-uh”

I'd have told her to kiss my gnomish ass.

Sunday, September 23, 2012



It is easy to pick up the rifle, it is much harder to put it down”

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

I can imagine him saying this trying to avoid fighting with the United States Calvary. 
In 1877, 700 of his Nez Perce (mostly women and children) led the U.S. Army on a 1,400-mile, 4 month long running battle, hoping to escape to Canada to continue their way of life, only to be caught 40 miles from the Canadian border.
General Sherman said of Josephs attempt to escpape to freedom "one of the most remarkable feats in military history". It was there that Chief Joseph gave this fairly famous speech: 

“I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are dead. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolzote is dead. The old men are dead. It is young men who say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are…perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired, my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

They were marched to a Reservation in Oklahoma, where Joseph died years later. His doctor said he died of “a broken heart”.

Somewhere on that Reservation there is a grave that contains the half-Indian Grandson of Merriweather Lewis, whom the Nez Perce had befriended in 1805 when the explorer reached Oregon on his famous expedition.

Anyway, its this kind of thing I think about when I think about what Obama will be having to do tonight in his speech, after having campaigned on stopping the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also shutting down the US torture chamber at Gitmo.

“It is easy to pick up the rifle, it is much harder to put it down.”
 Chief Joseph ~ Hien~mot~Too~ya~la~kekt (Thunder Rolling from the Mountain)

Saturday, September 22, 2012


"Talk loud and sit close to the house."
Teddy Roosevelt

Friday, September 21, 2012


Here is a picture of the Dr. Pepper can that came out in November of 2001 in commemoration of the 9/11 attacks.

This Special Edition can was designed to reflect national pride and unity. An image of the Statue of liberty and 3 words from the Pledge of Allegiance appeared on the can:
“One Nation…Indivisible”

Instead of inspiring unity and antional pride, it started a firestorm of dissent from folks that were offended by the omission of the words “Under God”. In 2001.
The reason I write about this now is that I note that lately a story to repost on Facebook has been appearing that claims Pepsi is attempting to market a can of similar design. I would suggest that this is a bogus story, regurgitated from the Dr. Pepper campaign, designed to fan the flames of the “Under God “ controversy.

Me? I am neither offended in a religious sense by the inclusion or omission of these words on a can of soda pop, or in the Pledge itself.

However, I am offended mildly as a writer at the inclusion of the words “Under God” in the text of the pledge as we know it, because "Under God" DID NOT appear in the original pledge as written by Frank Bellamy in 1892. Those words were added by Congress in 1954.

If anybody ever tries to add the words “Under God” to anything I write, I’ll sue the fuck out of them.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I used to work with this British guy, Hugh Martyr. We were chefs at the Fort Worth Hyatt. He smoked Dunhills, and drank Earl Grey tea. He lived out at Eagle Mountain Lake, and drove his little Triumph Spitfire down 10 mile Bridge Road for his commute. He had gloves, goggles, a scarf, and one of those little caps the Brits like to wear when they are “touring”. That’s what they call ‘driving”.

He was really a classy kind of guy, and we made quite a pair I suppose. We used to get into a lot of banter back and forth about systems of government, and Presidents and Kings, and the idea that we are a people separated by a common language. It was always good natured, and Hugh’s dry sense of humor was delightful to me.

In 1982, Margaret Thatcher sent the British fleet to capture back for the Empire the Falkland Islands, which had been invaded by the Argentinian army. Argentina claimed the Falklands, which they called the Malvinas, belonged to them.
 It was a real crisis.  The whole British task force eventually comprised 127 ships. Thatcher sent three Aircraft carriers, four Destroyers, a dozen battleships, no telling how many subs, and all the Auxilliary Navy to support the armada. Also deployed were ocean liners--including the Queen Elizabeth II-- loaded with tens of thousands of tough British marines ready to slog it out with the Argentinean rebels. 
The Falkland Islands are about 100 yards off the coast of Argentina, but 10,000 miles from sunny England. It took the British fleet eleven  days to get there. It is so far away that they lost ships and men just trying to hazard the journey.

Of course, when they got there, they kicked ass, and took their Island back. After all, the Argentineans only had a dozen planes and 4,000 troops in the entire army anyway.

All of this made Margaret Thatcher a hero. But I never quite understood it. During the crisis, I used to come to work and ask Hugh:
“Tell me again why you want this Island? There is nothing there but some sheep, a few stray penguins, and the occasional Magellinic Snipe.. It sits right off the coast of Argentina, its not much bigger than Tarrant County. What in the world does the Empire need with this Island? Why not just give it back? Why not just let them have it?”

The thing is, of all the banter that Hugh and I exchanged while we worked together, this is the one that pissed him off. He didn’t like it one bit, and it created a bit of a rift between us for a while.. He tried to explain it to me, but I never quite understood. Maybe I still don’t.

The reason I write this story is because I went to see the movie "Obama 2016", and in the movie it basically says that because I thought in 1982  that maybe Argentina had a claim to the Falklands, that makes me Anti-American.


Monday, September 10, 2012


Tuesday, September 04, 2012


"I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. I'm tired of never having me a buddy to be with, to tell me where we's going to or coming from, or why. Mostly, I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?"
from The Green Mile by Stephen King

Rest easy John Coffee, you big soft gentle man.

Michael Clarke Duncan (December 10, 1957 – September 3, 2012)