We all have the occasional brain fart, but like the smelly kind that come out of our buts we usually try to hide them – we don’t claim them. But then we have Michele Bachmann whose uncontrolled brain farts instantly exit through her mouth – usually in front of a microphone.
I was deployed with a Navy unit to Vietnam. We flew night missions out of Tan Son Nhut Air base in Saigon and from the air strip in Da Nang. We would take off, change directions, drop to three hundred feet and fly into north Vietnam airspace to conduct our missions in black out and radio silence. Many times I have seen the lights of Hanoi off our starboard wing where we would be flying beneath radar detection. On two of our missions we limped back with our aircraft shot up by ground fire. Fire trucks chasing us down the runway on our landings was a common sight. Just being in country was a fear factor you learned to live with. But the most scared I ever was, was on a night of liberty. I always looked forward to being in Tan Son Nhut on a week-end because on Sunday morning between ten and noon a Bloody Mary was five cents each at the NCO Club. I would leave all the troops headed for church and make my way to the Club, where I would order a couple of cheese burgers and fries and two Blood Mary – and I would keep the Bloody Mary coming until just before noon where I would lay down a dollar and tell them to fill up the table. Usually, I would somehow find my way back to the hut, crash and lose another day in-country. However, one Sunday afternoon I cut the ritual short because I knew I would be flying to Da Nang the next morning. After I left the club I slept for a couple of hours until night fall, then decided I would go into Saigon and pump some iron at a Gym/steam bath/massage parlor/whore house. I worked out for an hour, then locked my clothes in a locker provided, and went into the steam room with my billfold, money and pistol in a plastic bag that I carried for that purpose. After the steam a little, old, Vietnamese woman led me up a narrow rickety flight of stairs to a massage room… The room was about 8x8 feet with a light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and was empty except for what looked like a military gurney. I stretched out on the gurney with nothing on but a towel; slid my bag under the corner of the thin matrices and waited for the young woman that would come in, pop my fingers and toes, walk up and down my back and pummel the hell out of me. Suddenly I hear gunfire downstairs. There were men yelling and women screaming and people running up and down the stairs. I didn’t know the language, but I did know the shit was hitting the fan. I jump up, bare ass naked, pull the pistol out of the bag, and realize there is no place to hide. Quickly I shove the gurney against the wall, wedge myself onto the little shelf under the mattress and pull the sheet down over the side to somewhat hide me. It is one thing to find yourself in the middle of a gun fight between VC sympathizers and the White Mice (South Vietnam Police.) It is totally something else to find yourself, a six foot, white, naked American, in the middle of a fire fight between Vietnamese. You know when you are in a war zone that you may have to fight for your life; and you accept that. But, not naked…that’s scary as hell. I stayed under the gurney for maybe five minutes, but it seemed longer. Things had quieted down as I eased out into the hallway, a towel around my waist and my pistol in my hand. The old lady was in the hallway and yelled at me “You get out GI,” and get out I did; threw on my fatigues; made it out of the alleyway and grabbed a jitney back to the base.
The gate was guarded and on alert. Flares lit up the night sky and in the distance I could see a solid column of fire raining down as puff the magic dragon unleashed the hell fire from one of its six-thousand-round-per-minute Gatling guns.
The guards waved me through the gate and I headed back to the hut. The hut was empty: my brother E-6’s were in the bunkers. I went to my locker, retrieved my M-16 and the bottle of Old Grand- Dad that I kept stashed. Out in our small kitchen area I settled in a comfortable chair facing the door, poured myself a drink and waited for what-ever. Every time I was in danger after that I always thought, “At least I’m not naked.”
My wife just bought me Dan Brown’s new book Inferno. Dan Brown is the man who wrote (among others) The Di Vinci Code and Angles & Demons: both page turners about a professor named Robert Langdon and the unbelievable secrecy, power and reach of the Catholic church, and the extreme the Vatican will go to protect its doctrines and dogma. Both books made in to movies starring Tom Hanks. The Inferno finds Robert Langdon in Florence, Italy being hunted down by a hit woman with spiked hair, a powerful criminal organization, the Italian military police and possibly even the American government. A powerful plague is about to be released on the world and the secret to the disruption of the plot lies in the text of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem The Inferno: a trip through the multiple layers of hell.
“We are on the brink of the end of humanity, and our world leaders are sitting in boardrooms commissioning studies on solar power, recycling, the hybrid automobiles? How is it that you – a highly educated woman of science - don’t see? Ozone depletion, lack of water, and pollution are not the disease – they are the symptoms. The disease is over population.” Perhaps a good argument for the culling of our run-away population growth? Half way through the book I felt like I was revisiting some of my earlier blogs on world population as pollution. Since 1900 we have been doubling our population approximately every forty years. We now have over seven billion people in the world and by midcentury we could be looking at fourteen billion. This is past the point of sustainability. Population scientist set four billion as the optimum population that he planet can sustain. Dwindling water supplies, ozone depletion, global temperature increases, depletion of ocean resources, deforestation, species extinction, and sea level increases have all risen at the same rate as population growth. This book is a must read. It is not only a gripping adventure novel, but also dissertation on the biggest environmental danger to the human race. I just got back from Augusta where I had an appointment to service my car…and I had to stop by Barnes and Noble and buy Dante’s DEVINE COMEDY, which begins with the Inferno… (like we need another book in our small cabin – fortunately my wife has the same obsession with books.) Read it – or wait for the movie…but read it. the Ol’Buzzard
Why am I thinking about this? Sometimes shit just jumps into my mind. Republicans are not the only ones that live in a bubble. Religions have their own bubble that contains their own versions of reality. In the year AD 325 Christian leaders met at the Council of Nicaea to determine the divinity of Christ: if Jesus was a profit or the messiah. They decided he would be the messiah: the Son of God. As Christianity moved into Europe the image of Jesus became blond or sandy haired, blue eyed and with European features.
Discovery magazine decided to do a composite of what Jesus likely looked like taking into account his blood line and Middle Eastern linage. He appears here as slightly over five feet with Middle Eastern features – more than likely a more accurate portrayal.
The Council of Nicaea is shown in paintings as an orderly ecumenical meeting of church bishops; however it was, in reality, a chaotic, argumentative confrontation of different factions of Christian sects arguing for the inclusion of their particular credos.
Why the hell do we need a C in our alphabet? You could easily replace it with a K and 90% of the words would sound the same: kar, kat, kape, klerk, kandy, bakk, rakk, etc. In the few incidences where K would not fit we could substitute and S: Synthia, rase, ransid… While we are at it let’s drop the U following the Q – it still keeps the sound: qeer, qeen, qack, qake. It would make SCRABBLE a lot easier. For those of you that feel the meaning would be changed you should remember that spoken language came thousands of years before someone tried to phoneticize (my word - my spelling) it. It is the sound and the context in the sentence that can define the word…At least that what I tell my wife about my creative spelling when she edits my writing or we play SCRABBLE. the Ol’Buzzard
It has been well over a month since I blogged. During that time I lost a good friend. This is important to me because I don’t have that many friends… well one or two from afar.
Rick Kamm was a school teacher that worked with me in the Alaska Native villages. He was an excellent teacher, a sensitive person and a very caring individual. He had far more patience with children than I ever had: seeming to actually love the children in his care. He would work with the most unruly and disruptive students with patience and perseverance eventually winning their trust and cooperation. After working together in the bush Rick and I corresponded by e-mail, sharing books and ideas until a week before his death. I do not know what religious belief Rick held, but the way this good man died further cements my common sense judgment that religion is nothing but a man behind the curtain manipulating the masses. Rick came down with a cancerous growth in his chest and little by little he smothered to death. Rick was brave and uncomplaining right up until the end. The world was a better place with Rick in it. Just before my mother died a few years ago, I spoke to her on the phone. She was the last of all her friends, brothers and sisters still alive. She said she hated to go to sleep for everyone she dreamed of was dead. Death willows away the friends and family we have as we grow old; but that is the debt we owe to nature for a long life. the Ol’Buzzard