29 May 2006

Memorial Day

I always pause and reflect on this day about our fallen military members and all of those who served proudly. I am very proud and honored to have been in the military and to have served in Vietnam. My son Steven Rigney served in Somalia, Bosnia and Kuwait. My best friend served in Vietnam, my two favorite cousins were in the military, and both of my brothers were in the military during the Vietnam conflict. Thank you all for your service.

I wish, at times, that I could go back to my early days in the military and give more wholly of my abilities and talents and pay more attention. I am certain that I would receive more than I would give. I would, if I had to do it over again, make a career of the military. It is a black spot, to me, on my past that I got away from the true aspects of my military service because of peer pressure and wanting to go and play cowboy and do stunt work. But, we all have things that we would like to correct in our past and our character .... except for a relative of mine who thinks that he has led the most perfect and most wonderful life imaginable. Oh, for a semblance of that kind of perfection in my thoughts about any portion of my 60 years!

Hilda and I watched some old war movies, went to the veteran's graves at the cemetery, and then I took Hilda to her house. I am going to get some pool and jacuzzi time, eat and watch "Deadwood .. the 1st Season" on the DVD. I may watch some of Miami - Detroit on ABC. Phoenix plays tomorrow. Go Suns !!!

Last evening, we watched "Brokeback Mountain". The subject matter was abhorrent to me, but I must say in it's defense that it was well photographed and brilliantly acted. I am glad that they were herding sheep though.. kept them from being real cowboys. I was turned off a lot by the graphic love scenes, but I have to admit that the actors all did really great jobs.

As to movies that I really enjoyed this weekend ... there were a slew.

In Harm's Way... with John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, and everybody else.
The Enemy Below... with Kurt Jurgens and Robert Mitchum
To Hell and Back ... Audie Murphey
The Longest Day...with everyone in Hollywood who was alive at the time

Good old b/w war movies.

26 May 2006

Az Weather and other stuff

Last Sunday, the ice broke on the Santa Cruz River .. we reached 100 officially for the first time this year. It happened several times since, but this weekend is supposed to be nice ... mid to high 90's.

I went to the interview Friday for my new job. I had a chance at a position making $2 per hour more than I was making, or (if I got the warehouse assistant position) $3 per hour more. I received neither position ... but I am now the Supervisor of the entire warehouse, the boss over the position I applied for, making $5 per hour more than I was making. They said that they are very lucky to have me and they are grateful that I showed up. I will work tomorrow (Saturday) for 5 or so hours to get my area straightened away and set up a training schedule for the new hires that are working for me. Right place at the right time I guess. It is only a year long position ... but may lead to more. Besides .. I am only 17 months away from Social Security. An old man officially by now. Hell, I have been getting bugged by AARP for over10 years. I have never joined ... any group that elects Harry Belafonte as man-of-the-year is too far left for me to be a member. I mean .. that is one anti-American dude. Besides ... they only want to sell you insurance.

I am looking forward to having Sunday and Monday off. Hilda and I are going to the veteran's cemetary on Monday, flags and such ... one on her father's grave and her uncle's grave, plus a few on some old pards of mine who went much too early. Marla and Beau and Reinhardt are going with us. Our salute to the vets I guess.

Military holidays are precious to me ... more so than Thanksgiving or Christmas. I am military to my core, and really didn't realize the depths of my feelings until 6-7 years ago. But ... that's who I am.

I will not get another paycheck (full one) until the 13th, so ... I'll have a couple of really lean weeks. But things will start to mellow out about July 1. Give me a reason to enjoy the fireworks.

24 May 2006

He said it, and I AGREE

ON SHEEP, WOLVES, AND SHEEPDOGS By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, RANGER, Ph.D., author of "On Killing."

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? -William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997 One Vietnam Veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year.
Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me, it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell.

Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there whom will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf.

But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America , more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed, right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001 , most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: Slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa , when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001 , Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury , New Jersey . Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers -athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church. They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs. Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

I was training a group of police officers in Texas , and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones were attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear, helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.

Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."

Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level. And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes.

If you are a warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself..."Baa."

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other.

Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

"If It Weren't For The United States Military and the Local Police, there Would Be N o United States of America "


Do not know if this will make others feel their age, but it makes me feel that way.

Birthdays today:
Comedian Tommy Chong (Cheech and Chong) in 1938, age 68
Musician/songwriter Bob Dylan in 1941, age 65
Actor Gary Burghoff (RADAR in M*A*S*H) in 1943, age 63
Singer Patti LaBelle and director Frank Oz (the voice and human under Miss Piggy) both in 1944, age 62
Actress Priscilla Presley (former wife of Elvis Presley) in 1946, age 60
Singer Rosanne Cash in 1955 (daughter of Johnny), age 51

Well, old or not, I had better head out to work.

23 May 2006

Middle of the week thoughts

O.K., it's not the middle of the week really, but when Tuesday's work day is over ... it's hump day to me.

I took the other job today, start next Tuesday (but have some 3 hours of meeting/training on Friday) delivering and doing warehouse work for Audit Insights, they are subcontractors for Market Decisions. They do the leg work on product research for large national companies. The one I'll be working on is for Proctor-Gamble. I will also be working part-time for the people that I am currently working for. They wished me well and I'll still be doing part-time maintenance (mostly electrical) for them. I feel that this gives me maximum potential for earning the most, but still leaving me time to sleep and eat.

I have been thinking, over the last few weeks, about essential foods. I don't know if I have written this before ... if I have, sorry about that. I feel that "essential" foods are those that we feel that we HAVE to have in our house at all times. They could be meat, vegetable, condiments, spices, whatever. These are things that, rich or poor, you feel are essential. I think that I know mine .... they are (in no particular order):

Bread (anything but white) .. whole wheat/rye/Asiago cheese/bagels/kaiser rolls/French/whole wheat tortillas
Cheese .. cheddar/swiss/Hulami/jack/pepperjack/Mexican (several varieties)
Chiles .. fresh/canned/jarred
Eggs ... usually 2 dozen minimum
Miracle Whip Salad Dressing ... large jar (or two)
Onion ... Yellow/white/sweet
Mushrooms ... whatever I can afford
Garlic .. whole cloves/seasoning/etc
Carrots ... fresh/canned/bagged baby ones
Tomato sauce .. regular/spicy/HOT
Margarine ... 3 lbs at all times
Wine or beer
Diet soda
Water .. bottled
EVOO .. extra virgin olive oil

There are other things in my pantry and fridge ... but these HAVE to be in there. Or, at least I feel that they need to be there. I am certain that everyone who reads this has their short list of ingredients like mine, but different.

Let me know what your essentials are.

22 May 2006

The beginning of the week

I have just watched a GREAT and INTERESTING fim. It was called "F IS FOR FAKE" by Orson Welles. A documentary of sorts. It is/was not for everyone...but I loved it. It is about an hour long. Good Monday evening, .... good movie, couple of glasses of wine, and some pork/potatoes/carrots courtesy of the Crockpot.

I am going to talk to the people about the "other" job tomorrow. It will be hard leaving what I am doing now ... it's really an enjoyable gig. But, you must go where the $$$ is, especially at my advanced age.

It was cooler here in the desert today ... high 80's, still no triple digit temperatures in Tucson. It will began to go back to being high 90's tomorrow. Forecasts for Wednesday and Thursday are hovering around 103. I am ready, have been for weeks.
Lovely Tucson summers... they bring thoughts of the River Styx to others I know, but our summers ARE Arizona and ONLY Arizonans can love them. Guess that makes me a native.

21 May 2006

The 'DaVinci' thingy

O.K., ..... largely because of my lady Hilda, ..... I went to see THE MOVIE. I love Tom Hanks and I love the film making talents of ol' Opie (Ronnie Howard). But .... this damn thing was BORING (and much too long) !!!!!! If you have JUST read the book, you'd have (sort of) understood the movie. If you've never read it, or it's been a while ... you're dead in the water. This was like flushing copious amounts of legal tender down the old crapper. And it took forever... I kept thinking, ... "it'll get better", but as usual ... I was wrong. Poor old Tom Hanks, first "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and now this. Opie will do O.K. (or better), because curiosity will make him millions. It is already reaping huge amounts of dollars, even though EVERY review of the movie pans it horribly. The best review that I have read came from an eastern European country .... I mean, come on people !! An eastern European review for a major American movie? Come on Opie! The book was interesting ... even though many holes had been punched in it's 'facts' early on, and even though the author talked about his belief in the facts as though it were a NEW religion. He professed a strong belief in the FACTS of the novel, and he's never backed up. The authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail"... where ol' Dan got many of his "facts" and ideas have admitted, as have their 'sources', that this is a lot of hooey. But old Dan, bless his greedy little heart, appears to be solidly adhering to his basic premise ... that this is NOT A NOVEL, as much as it is a revelation. Well, since I have sat through the damn thing once ... I know now that, happily, I never have to do it again. That is sort of a minor reward. I will forgive Opie, he has done SO MANY great movies .... from Splash to Apollo 13 ... with many others in between. He is talented and has vision, but .. he had a bad day. Very bad day .... to my mind.
Have a great week.

Pictures around home

Maximus Laguna, the birthday boy.
Hilda and her mom, Esperanza (Hope) LaRoque Riesgo
Me and my mom at her apartment

Sunday Morning

Some pictures from yesterday., Hilda and my mom, Hilda and me, and Hilda and Devin and me at the party.

I have just returned from my Sunday morning walk, and the sun is now peeking over the Rincon mountains. I really enjoy the desert southwest in the pre-dawn mornings. It is another day with the chance of cracking the 100 degree mark. We haven't reached it yet officially here in Tucson. But lots of the state already has. Some places several times. I have seen thermometers here in town with over 100 on them lots of times in the last 2 weeks, but officially we are not there. In Tucson,they say "the ice breaks on the Santa Cruz River when we have our first official triple digit temperature".

I washed the nietos clothes ... don't like to send them back to their Nana with dirty clothes in their bags. They are sleeping and probably will sleep late. All that pool time yesterday and last night, the walking at the car show, the party. And Abel Anthony has had football practice every afternoon this week. They are tired.

20 May 2006

Saturday ..chill out city

Well, it's Saturday ... no serious thoughts today. My nietos, Abel and Devin, slept late. I have washed and dried and folded clothes, been grocery shopping, played spades on POGO, read a few blogs, caught up on the news and it's 0900 (9 AM). The boys are starting to stir, I'll have to make them some breakfast, and I'll probably eat again. Devin is off to the shower, so I had better get started in the kitchen. We are going to get in the pool some, go to BOOKMAN's (THE used book/ CD / game / et al purveyor in Tucson and other places in Az). We are going to a birthday party at Hilda's for her niece's son, Maximus.

It is now just past 1230 and we are headed out after our sojourn in the pool. Bookman's and a huge FORD car show down on 4th Ave.

2000 hours(8 PM)
Awesome car show .. lots of Mustangs, GT's, Shelby Cobras, old trucks, and old Fords of every description. Three city blocks worth. I took a couple of pictures. The nietos felt sort of out of place at Hilda's (the birthday party) at first. Every kid knew every other kid, except them. After a while ... water ballon fights, Pinatas, food, etc., and they fit right in. We came home about 1845 (6:45) and they got in the pool for an hour (me too) and now...they're on the computers and I am watching ARNOLD in Commando. Have a great Sunday.

18 May 2006

Mt St Helens

I cannot believe that it has been TWENTY-SIX years since the eruption!!!!! Am I getting old .. or what? That means that the students entering (or in) college were not born when it erupted. It's like ... ancient history ... ALREADY. Where does the time go?


Well, I have been seeing all the hullabaloo on TV, hearing it on radio, and reading in in the print media. So ... what do I think?

First of all, it is NOT illegal immigration. It is illegal but it is certainly not immigration. We, the United States, are being invaded by a third world country and we (Americans) are aiding and abetting the invasion.

The "liberal" press says that the 'IMMIGRANTS' do menial jobs that no one else would do. Bullshit! The illegal immigrants in this neck of the woods earn between $9.00 (typical Tucson wage) and $18 (outstanding wage here) per hour. Most do not pay taxes. Nor do they have car insurance, registration, et al. I asked a guy who lived in the apartment complex I used to live in why he had Mexican plates on his truck. He said that ... he did not need car insurance, needed no Arizona air quality inspection, no registration. If he got stopped by the cops, he spoke no English, acted very nice and took whatever ticket he got. After the cop leaves, he simply tears up the ticket and no one will ever call him to court.

I feel that immigrants are people who want to BECOME Americans. They want to learn English, embrace our history and customs, salute our flag, et al. Most illegals want to remain Mexican, speak Spanish, celebrate only Mexican culture, celebrate only Mexican holidays (unless they're PAID U.S. holidays). What they want is American wages, American benefits and a way to buy land and houses in Mexico. They dislike (or hate) white Americans AND any persons of Latin/Mexican descent who live here legally and think as I do.

We are on the verge of becoming a "bi-cultural" nation. And all bi-cultural nations have become HIGHLY unstable. A couple of examples are ... Figi and France. In Figi, the British imported lots of lower caste workers from India to do the menial jobs. As the population (Indians vs Figi natives) became almost equal, the indiginous population become highly tribal and very anti-Indian. The country became highly unstable. France allowed thousands of Muslim minorities into the country to do the menial jobs and they made headlines recently by attempting to burn the country of France into submission. If we, as I believe, become a bi-cultural country in the next 8-10 years ... I fear that the United States that we all know and love will be no more. When we have a large portion of the population who neither feel nor act as Americans ... we may be doomed.

Between the secularization of America, the damning of Christrianity, the welcoming of third world asshole / punk/ gang members ... we are like the ever popular cartoon of the man in a robe with a beard and a sign that reads "THE END IS NEAR".

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

16 May 2006

Middle of May

This will probably be a long post. I say that because I have nothing to say. Whenever I have nothing to say, it always takes me two pages to NOT say it.

I have been listening to music (surprise, surprise) and watching a biography of Emeril La Gasse on the food network. He's a keeper. What energy, and what a sense of food and entertainment. What a man.

The music of the day, as it were ... is "A Nod to Bob", a lot of people doing Bobbie Dylan songs for his birthday and Robert Earl Keen's "Gravitational Forces".

I talked to one of my nietos today (Devin Thomas Rigney) and I am bringing him and his brother Abel up for the weekend. There is a birthday party at Hilda's for her niece's son Maximus, who turns 5. The nietos will get in some swimming at my place on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

I have been working as a maintenance man for two of the sweetest people in the world, AzANG General Ulay Littleton and his wife Julie. But I have been offered a position making about $400 a month more. I am certain I shall take it ... hell, money is money. I shall know more next Tuesday, and shall certainly post it on this BLOG .... that's what I do you know. It is a "temporary" job of about a year's duration. But then, I shall be 6 months short of Social Security .... you know, 18 months is all I have left before social security (pitiful, isn't it) and I can do anything for 6 months.

Today's thought:
If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of 100 people, with everything else remaining the same, it would look like this:
There would be:
* 57 Asians
* 21 Europeans
* 14 from the Western Hemisphere,
* 8 Africans,

* 52 would be female
* 48 would be male

* 70 would be non-white
* 30 would be white

* 70 would be non-Christian
* 30 would be Christian

* 95 would be heterosexual
* 5 would be homosexual

* 6 people would own 59% of the world's wealth, and all 6 would be from the United States

* 80 would live in substandard housing

* 70 would be unable to read

* 50 would suffer from malnutrition

* 1 would be near death
* 1 would be near birth

* 1 would have a college education

* 1 would own a computer

* 0 would play oboe

NOTE: I played oboe in the 7th and 8th grade at Robert E. Lee Junior High in Danville, Virginia.

14 May 2006

More on Mother's Day

So, .... I wrote about Chris Gussa and I didn't want a 1000 word blog entry. So, I am writing again. I am sending a couple of BLOG entries out as e-mails to certain people because I think that they'd be interested. I have found that ... given time alone ... I am very lazy now-a-days. I can sit in front of computer / TV / stereo for an unlimited number of hours ... with NO ACTUAL REMORSE. I think that maybe ... because I have no long periods of inactivity alone ...that I just tend to sit and relax too much when that type of down time is available. I also have eaten way too much today ... I can eat every 40 minutes or so, if I do not keep track. If I retired, I should gain 200 pounds unless I am able to find something to keep me extremely busy. I have been writing, sort of ... but because I have been listening to a lot of music written by writers whom I consider MAJOR writers of poetry ... my stuff seems so infantile and trite that I destroyed most of it.

I have been working on a short story .. the finished work hasn't pleased me yet ... called DEATH BY COP. It is about a guy who reaches the edge ..... lost his family, has few friends, low paying job who decides to END IT ALL (sound like anyone we know?)... he does so by confronting Police officers with a gun and refusing to give up (Suicide by confrontation as it were) but he only gets wounded, albeit severely, and has to live the rest of his life in prison, and with limited use of his arms and legs. I'm trying to-work out the details, but I believe that I AM NO WRITER ... but I feel that way everytime I write anything.

Mother's Day ... and other stuff

Well, it is the afternoon of Mother's Day and I have been sitting in front of the computer and the TV (watching mind-numbing stuff ... mostly Myth Busters on DISCOVERY). Have been printing out copies of the book, "LOVE'S STORMS~DESERT RAINS", so that I can bind them and mail them out. I have changed the cover totally, a friend of mine wrote an "introduction", which I started to delete, but he threatened me with bodily harm. I put in a dedication and corrected all the spelling and grammatical errors that I could find.

I had been listening earlier to a CD from 2003 by an old friend .. Chris "Uncle Gus" Gussa from Benson, Arizona .... called HOTTER THAN YASSAR'S HOOEY. He is a GREAT guitar player and has a sexy wife (Heidi) with a great singing voice. The songs are mostly country/blues oriented and most are written by Chris. He produces music for commercials and records other singers. He is also the producer (and best friend) of Baxter Black, the renowned cowboy poet. He was voted the"Best Blues Guitarist in San Diego" in 1966. He has a ranch and recording studio in Benson, AZ ... my old home town ... where he runs his businesses. He also records under the name Chris Brian Gussa and plays flamenco/ surf/ blues/ et al / music.
I would like to copy something from the Internet.

Back in 1966 in the small town (at that time) of El Caj√≥n, California, Chris Gussa, at the age of sixteen, won a contest for Best Blues Guitarist in San Diego. “I think I won a hundred dollars and got a write up in San Diego Magazine or some such thing”, says Chris.
During or around that time, Chris had been jammin’ with a bunch of young guys at a teenage nightclub called “The Palace” in Mission Beach who called themselves THE IRON BUTTERFLY. They got this “not so appealing” offer to play five nights a week in a seedy little place off of Sunset strip for around fifty dollars a week each and sleep on the floor for free. Most of them quit school and went for it, but Chris stayed behind (mostly because his mother wouldn’t let him quit school) but also because he preferred real genuine Blues to the strange heavy psychedelic stuff they were doing. A few weeks later a talent scout from a “small label” called Capitol Records came in and signed them. The rest is history and “Uncle Gus” was literally left singin’ the Blues.
And sing the Blues he did, playing in Chicago at the age of eighteen and also in practically every state before settling on his ranch in Cochise County Arizona in 1982.
Studio work was always the most satisfying thing to Chris, so after he married his wife, Heidi, who worked with him as rhythm guitarist and vocalist on the road for years, he set up a working studio on his small ranch in Arizona. He was mostly producing jingles and educational movie sound tracks at this time.
It was here that Chris started working with legendary cowboy humorist, BAXTER BLACK. Baxter used to be a regular on the Johnny Carson Show and he is a regular commentator on NPR (National Public Radio). Baxter and “ Uncle Gus” have appeared on PBS TV together and have produced many national radio commercials including Chevy Trucks just lately.
But as the years kept going by, Chris “Uncle Gus” Gussa started missin’ the Blues. He hadn’t done any kind of serious Blues Project in over twenty years.
In the words of Chris, “It was like wakin’ up from a coma or somethin’, ... all of a sudden somethin’ snaps and you say, “I’m a Blues man, I remember now.”
Chris came back, bringing with him a feeling from the past, a time when Blues didn’t mean, “bang on that guitar and scream a lot, you can get away it."
TURN UP THE BLUES-A-LATOR, on Roadcatz Records, consists of 12 original songs.
Most tunes are Chicago Style “movers” and everything on the CD features a powerful electric guitar solo with the exceptions of “Big Juicy Burger Blues” and “What’ll this ol’ Ford do?,” which are acoustic, with story tellin’ and humorous lyrics.

Also from the internet. Please go to -


11 May 2006

Yakkity yak .. sleepless time

I know that I have much more than verbose this last couple of weeks, but that's why I have a BLOG and don't write letters anymore. If you want to read my thoughts, you do. If you don't, you no longer have to bother to delete them. I get to put my thoughts and pictures in e-mail like form and I am not bothering anyone. I am sorry that I can no longer give everyone HAPPY BIRTHDAY and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY wishes on a weekly basis. But then again, I don't know that anyone ever wanted me to do that. I started my "infamous SUNDAY LETTER" years ago .... probably 5 ..... when I was writing to cousin Jean, I discovered cousin Dean with whom I had not spoken in decades, added him and his siblings, added Jean's sister Robyn, then the people on the list started to snowball. Recipients came and went and I often wondered if they wanted to read my musings at all. So, along comes BLOGGER.COM to the rescue. I still write, I still add pictures, I still write poetry, I still get your e-mails. But, I know that the reason I am writing is the same reason everyone else writes ....... ME, my ego and my need to put thoughts and ideas down into words. I would like for all my friends ... and a myriad group of strangers to read my stuff and make comments. However, some have said that they "forget" to go to the blog. And others have said that they do not want their comments made public or viewed by everyone in the world. That is why I still have an e-mail address. I write a lot ... you'd be surprised at how many I put in draft form and then decide the next day to delete. I type probably 2 hours a day. On this blog, on All Poetry.com, on several political blogs and sites ... my answers and comments on another person's writings. This keyboard is getting worn out. But I love it.It is late. I got called out of my slumber to go across town and repair an electrical problem at one of the rentals. Thought that I would listen to some music before trying to get back to sleep.
have a great weekend. Bill Hearne is great ... he's older than me, and fatter ... but what a voice. He sings Ian better than Ian. He has a great rendition of his nephew's song (Michael Hearne's 'New Mexico Rain') and he sings the best "cowboy" / "southwestern" songs in the world. I am making a CD of some of his stuff to send to Dr. McGowen ... a must hear.

10 May 2006


Picture yourself near a stream. Birds are softly chirping in the crisp, cool mountain air. Nothing can bother you here. No one knows this secret place. You are in total seclusion from that place called "the world." The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity. The water is clear. You can easily make out the face of the person whose head you're holding under the water.
There now ...... feeling better?


I have told you all before that lyrics are the blood in my life. There is not a moment in any day when lyrics are, at least, in my subconscious if not slogging through my conscious mind. I was thinking tonight of what lyrics do I find "Outstanding". There are, of course, thousands. But I picked the four examples that were the closest to being in my conscious mind RIGHT NOW. These are all single verses from songs that haunt me.

JUST ACROSS THE BORDERLINE (sung by Meredith Marshall)
Ry Cooder, John Hyatt, James Dickinson

  An' you reach the broken promised land
Every dream slips through your hand
An' you know it's too late to change your mind.
'Cause you paid the price to come this far
Just to wind up where you are
An' you're still ... just across the borderline.

Clinton Codack, Wendy Special (Sung by Emmy Lou Harris)

Another lonesome morning
Another long lonesome day
You’ll have to live without her
The morning seemed to say
Another lonesome morning
You thought you didn’t care
But morning breezes find you
Wishing she were there

Butch Hancock (sung by Jimmie Dale Gilmore)

I would have killed myself, but it made no sense
committing suicide in self defense
but I lost everything I bought her
When she said "Babe, you're just a wave, you're not the water".

Ian Tyson (sung by Bill Hearne)

Give me one broke horse with a good fitting saddle ...
that's easy on your back
one good woman who makes up the difference .....
for everything I lack
one last chance to sell my calves .... 'fore the prices go to hell again
clear blue skies, and eighteen inches of rain

To me, those are poets. And all those singers interpret those lyrics masterfully. But then, that's only MY opinion.

I feel sorry for those in the world (and it includes my lady Hilda) who do not hear and remember lyrics. They are really missing out on some great words and great feelings.

Love from the desert

08 May 2006

May 1st

On May 1st, as a result of the Mexican boycott the national retailers reported 4.2% lower sales for the day, with a 67.8% reduction in shoplifting. Duh!!

Soapbox time

I will be called heartless, crazy, unfeeling and uncaring for this post. In fact people have already said some of those things about me. But I feel that I should be allowed to voice my opinion.

If you build or buy a house or a business in New Orleans that sits below sea level and below the level of the Mississippi River and sits in the path of hurricanes from May to November, should you buy extra insurance or just wait for the rest of the nations taxpayers to bail you out? Levees are man made obstructions to water that God wants to send one place and we want to keep in another place. They do not guarantee that water will never get to your place and flood your silly ass out.

If you live in California, have lots of money and build/buy a home perched on a steep slope because it has a killer view and shows others your wealth ..... why should American tax payers buy you a new multi-million dollar home when yours slides down the mountain in the west coast rain?

If you live in another country ... why should I, and other taxpayers, support you and your regime and come running whenever you have a war/famine/earthquake/ etc. with lots and lots of our money and assistance ... most of which is diverted before it ever gets to the people in need?

Where is it written that Americans need to support Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, et al, [who are very oil rich countries] with military assistance and financial aid? That's stupid.

If Africans, Bosnians, Serbians, and others are having problems .... why is it us and not France, India, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Germany and others who bail them out?

I was never an isolationist ... but I feel as if I am becoming one. I see kids and families where I live that are on the brink of going under. They don't get enough (if anything) to eat, they live in substandard housing, go to over-crowded schools and get treated like shit by the government. But, that same government is trying to feed, housea nd educate every child world wide.

Other countries need to step up to the plate or we need to withdraw from the tournament.

Comment if you wish ... all views are welcome. If you don't want others to see your reply ... e-mail me at hildantonio@cox.net

07 May 2006


I got a phone call today from Mrs. Marla O'Conner Chantz, they (she and Beau) did it yesterday. They are now legally hitched. They are going to Laughlin tomorrow for a few days and then will come back to Tucson. I wish them many years of happiness and comfort.

06 May 2006

Saturday redux .. or he mounts the soapbox again

I have been reading a printout of a collection of haiku that the lovely Sheryl of Minnesota sent me a while back. She did not say where she downloaded it from, but they are desert themed ... like my stuff. I would like to know from whence they originated, I'll have to write her and ask her.

I gather after re-reading them, that people ... students perhaps??... were shown a picture, or pictures, of Saguaros in the desert and then tasked with writing a haiku about it. I say this because although they are images of cacti and the desert, but without any affection that people who live in the desert would have for the scene. The problem I have with most of them, besides the spelling.. which is horrible at times which leads me to believe the authors are students, is that a lot of them do not conform to any of the haiku styles. They are not 5-7-5. They will be 5-6-5, or 5-7-6 or 5-7-5-1 or 7-5-8 or whatever. That is not haiku. One of the reasons that haiku attracts people is because of the inate rhythm that it possesses. I believe that the authors are young people for several reasons, but one GLARING error that always grates on my nerves. YOUR DOES NOT MEAN YOU'RE !!! When I see signs that say YOUR INVITED, or something similar, it is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. YOUR means belonging to you and YOU'RE is you are.Why is that so damn difficult for the populace to comprehend? Sort of a white Ebonics. You all know the term ebonics ... it is a word that means "I am illiterate, but I cannot spell illiterate". I think, nay .. I know, that we as a nation are losing, or have lost, the ability to utilize our language. I understand that I myself do not have the fluency in our great language that I would really like to possess. But I do so admire those who write well, spell well, and are able to make English sing and dance. That is one of the reasons that I read so much and one of the reasons that I am fascinated by quotes, in whatever language, lyrics, plays on words and quips.

Three of the best and most quotable persons in American history, in my mind, are Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain and Julius 'Groucho' Marx. The very best being Groucho. Is there anyone extant who has not heard or doesn't remember a quote of his?

1. Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and then misapplying the wrong remedies.
2. I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be willing to make an exception.
3. Anyone who says he can see through women is really missing a lot.
4. Now there's a man with an open mind - you can feel the breeze from here!
5. Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.
6. I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.
7. Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.
8. Remember men you are fighting for the ladies honor, which is probably more than she ever did.
9. Last night I shot an elephant in my Pajamas and how he got in my pajamas I'll never know.
10. I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.

And one that is the motto of Tucson's own .. Bookman's Used Books [purveyors of used books, games, CDs, tapes, records, et al... one of my favorite haunts]. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." They have that emblazoned on t-shirts, mugs, etc. in the store.

Have a great weekend, must get moving. LFTD

Saturday the 6th

Today is Saturday, May 6, the 126th day of 2006. There are 239 days left in the year. Aren't desk calenders informative little boogers?

Well, sometime today in Las Vegas ... my two friends Marl and Beau (Marla Marie O’Conner and Ashley Beaumont Chantz) will become legally wed. Congratulations and condolences ... both. Buena Suerta compadres. They are doing it the day after Cinco de Mayo, which means that probably every year on their anniversary, they'll both have hangovers. Not a happy thought.

Well, what else happened on this day that will forever be their anniversary? Since they both, like me, are interested in History.

1. The Army of Northern Virginia commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee routed Union troops under Gen. Joe Hooker in 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia.
2. The Eiffel Tower was officially opened to the public on May 6th, 1889.
3. British medical student Roger Bannister cracked track's most notorious barrier, the 4-minute mile, during a meet at Oxford, England in 1954. His time: 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.

And now we go on with life, and this post!

My quote of the day is by a woman I have no regard for really, that's another story, but it's a good and true quote. I happen to love quotes for much the same reason I love haiku, they give meaning that everyone (or most persons) sees readily in a succinct form. Anyway, Erica Jong said ..
"You see a lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy."

It is Saturday morning as I said at the beginning. I took a marvelous walk in a mesquite bosque down by the Tanque Verde Wash this AM from about 0500 to 0600, I only slept about 4 hours last night. Renewed my soul a bit. I sit here at my trusty computer desk with some orange juice and tonic water, very lean bacon and some Asiago cheese bread. Life is good.

05 May 2006

Friday night .. very late (for me)

Can't sleep ... or can't GET sleepy. This will ruin my Saturday plans. I'm usually in bed 3 hours ago (it's 2300 hours ... 11:00 PM to civilians). But my dear friends Beau and Marla were here and they're off to Vegas tonight to get married (tomorrow ... May 6th). They were to get married in December and they (she) backed out, but they both kissed me (Beau on my cheek) and they headed out. Buena Suerte mi amigos!! She did say that I was her first love. That made me feel good ... and bad. What can you say?

Been watching the news about Teddy's kid, the congressman from R.I. ... a drunk of the Kennedy kind. Boy, just like his dad .. huh? Get drunk, deny it, crash your car, run off and hide. The coat of arms of that family MUST have a bottle of booze (Ted's dad, old Joe, made his $$$ as a rum runner/ bootlegger) and a crashed car emblazoned on a field of cover ups. That's my opinion anyway. Or maybe as Beau told me ... the Kennedy crest is a couple of blind-folded rats standing knee deep in chicken shit and stabbing each other in the back. If that had been a Republican representative ... the newspapers would put out an extra edition and all other news on TV would be cancelled for coverage of this story. But because it's a democrat and a Kennedy, people feel sorry for him and his DISEASE. They are saying on TV, "Give him the benefit of the doubt." Give me a damn break! I think that Hyannis Port is part of Russia or Iran ... but with fat, drunken, white boys.

I must sound just like a Right-wing conservative weirdo.... come to think of it, I am. As Rosanna Rossanadana said ... "never mind!"

Nighty night! LFTD

Cinco de Mayo

Today is the Mexican holiday that was invented in America, is celebrated in America and is WRONGLY thought to be Mexican Independance Day. The holiday was "invented" by Mexican-Americans to instill a sense of historical pride in their children. Why they just didn't start celebrating Dieciseis de Septiembre, (16 September) the Mexican Independance Day, is beyond me. On the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo) 1862, the outnumbered Mexican army did score a victory over the invading French forces of Napoleon III at Puebla. BUT ... in the U.S., this is the day everyone is Mexican just like everyone is Irish on St Patrick's Day. I think, however, after the debacle of 1 May this year ... only the drinkers and college kids will celebrate, but they hardly need a reason.

I think the date should be better remembered for some birthdays:
John B. Stetson, the hat maker, born in 1830
Spencer Tracy, the actor, born in 1900
Tyrone Power, the actor, born in 1913
Tammy Wynette, country singer, born in 1942
........... and, as my friend A.B. 'Beau' Chantz pointed out last evening,
Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher born in 1813 and
Karl Marx, German political theorist born in 1818 ... my favorite quote of his is: "All I know is, I'm not a Marxist."

My favorite thing about today ... IT"S FRIDAY. Only 9 hours of work until the weekend.

I am going to go out and eat with the fetching Ms. Hilda tonight, probably Chinese or Italian ... I am avoiding Mexican Restaurants this week. Sort of a feeble backlash protest of mine. Tomorrow, I plan to spend most of the day alone and get some things done that have been relegated to the back burner for too long. I'll start in the pre-dawn with a walk (or hobble) along the Tanque Verde wash, a slow breakfast over the morning papers at Jerry Bob's, wash the car, browse the books / CD's / tapes / etc at Bookman's on east Speedway for a couple of hours, get to the library, check out the live music at the 17th Street Farmer's Market, do the pool and jacuzzi in the afternoon, etc ad infinitum. Recharge these ancient batteries of mine.

04 May 2006

Ian Tyson

I have been listening, of late, to some old Ian Tyson songs. Many of you may remember the popular folk duo of Ian and Sylvia (nee Fricker, later Tyson) in the 60's, you know ... "Someday Soon", "Four Strong Winds", etc. During the British Invasion in the mid 60's, they became the Canadian equal of the Byrds or The Flying Burrito Brothers in the new Country-Rock genre. An extremely popular country performer in Canada and the U.S., he hosted a hit TV show up until about the mid 70's. And then he got divorced, got fed up with the music scene and decided to go to his ranch south of Calgary and cowboy for a living. He did some rodeo, got married again and enjoyed the ranching life. His second wife, Twylla, encouraged him to record "Old Corrals and Sagebrush", a collection of old and new cowboy songs made basically just for friends. Once people heard the album, he was on his way again. He is, by far, the best cowboy song writer ever... to my mind, way better than even Chris Ledeaux. I love Chris, but his stuff ... like Garth's ... is so damn commercial. Ian writes about REAL modern day cowboys and real feelings. Songs like "Navaho Rug", "18 Inches of Rain", "Casey Tibbs", "Summer Wages", and "Alcohol in the Bloodstream" just dazzle you with the imagery of his lyrics and his true love for the cowboy life and the Rocky Mountain west. I sometimes think that he is one of the most over-looked artists extant. Even though he tours constantly and has an extremely devoted fan base, he has never been / and is not now given his true due by the musical establishment or powers that be. I only wish that anyone who loves lyrics and music and the American west could listen to everything he's recorded in the last 25 years. But then again, I enjoy keeping him to myself as sort of a secret, hidden treasure.
Love from the desert

Thursday - pre dawn

Authors that I am currently reading:
C.J. Box "Savage Run", James Lee Burke "Neon Rain", Ian Rankin "Black and Blue", Ray Bradbury "From The Dust Returned".

CD's that currently have my attention:
Lyle Lovett "My Baby Don't Tolerate", Charlie Daniels Band "Road Dogs", John Denver "Greatest Country Hits", Vince Redhouse "A Long Way Home".

BLOGS I am visiting:
Mine, jkirlin.blogspot.com, hughhewitt.com, radioblogger.com, instapundit.com

My (current) favorite old poem of mine:


The desert rain pours down amid multitudinous flashes of lightning.
Ominous thunder booming like kettle drums in a Wagnarian opera.
Hot though our desert is, the rain is icy cold.
I sit in the open doorway astride an ancient kitchen chair,
drawn to the majesty of the monsoonal opera.
Hard,cold rain pellets beating against my skin and clothes.
The walkways become tributaries flowing to the parking lot river.
The majestic saguaros sit in small pools, drinking in their wetness.
Tomorrow they'll smile in an even greener hue.
But now,although the thunder still echoes quietly,
the fury passes as the storm stumbles slowly westward.
The rain, now a steady downpour, feeds the desert's thirst.
I think of you at times like these.
You loved the rain, and the aroma of the desert wetness.
But my tears no longer flow with the rain,
you are not forgotten but you are gone.

03 May 2006


I was going through some of the pictures in my computer and thought that I would post a few. The first is me with Abel, Jasmine and Devin, 3 of my nietos at my computer desk. The second one is me and Hilda , again at my computer desk. Believe it or not, I am not ALWAYS in that chair.
Sheryl and Dean could not see pictures that I e-mailed them ... something about AOL not accepting attachments from APPLE computers, glitch in the system or something.


Birthdays that surprised me today ... Wednesday 3 May. Singers James Brown age 73 (born in 1933); Englebert Humperdinck age 70, born Arnold Dorsey in 1936; and Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons age 69 (born in 1937).

I am copying something of Dennis Prager's that I read yesterday:
By Dennis Prager
In the Soviet Union, the future is known; it's the past that is always changing. -- old Soviet dissident joke.
As a graduate student in international affairs at Columbia University, I specialized in the study of totalitarianism, especially, though not only, the communist variety. I found the subject fascinating, but I never for a moment imagined that any expertise gained in this field would prove relevant to American life.
Sad to say, it has turned out to be the most valuable subject I could have studied. The totalitarian temptation is not confined to Nazis and communists; it can rear its head in any society and gradually destroy it. And as the Soviet dissident joke notes, one quick way to identify totalitarian threats to liberty is to identify those who falsify the historical record on behalf of their cause.
In America today, two groups are most actively engaged in falsifying history: the ACLU and the anti-smoking movement.

The ACLU is suing cities and counties to remove crosses from their city and county seals. One of the ACLU's greatest victories was getting the Board of Supervisors in a 3-2 vote (the three were the three leftist supervisors) to remove the tiny cross from the seal of Los Angeles County. Of course, this was done in the name of separation of church and state; no one falsifies history without some higher motive. But falsifying Los Angeles County's history was the issue. The cross was on the seal because Los Angeles was founded by Catholics. That is why it is named "Los Angeles," "the angels." (Once the ACLU successfully removes all crosses from cities and counties, will it move on to changing religious names such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and St. Louis, not to mention Corpus Christi?)
The attempts by the ACLU -- and the Left in general -- to expunge the Judeo-Christian roots of America from American history are mirrored by the attempts of America's anti-smoking organizations to expunge the history they object to -- images of Americans smoking.
Examples of anti-smoking fanatics doctoring photographs are so legion that I can only offer a few examples in the space of a column.
In 1999, the U.S. Postal Service released a stamp depicting the famous abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock. The most famous photograph of Pollock, who loved to smoke, was a Life Magazine photo of him with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. The Postal Service used the photo, but digitally removed the cigarette.
As a columnist in the MIT student newspaper wrote at that time, "To strip Pollock of his cigarette would be like taking away the character-defining cigar from Sigmund Freud. Would you replace Freud's cigar with a fat pencil?"

The question is not rhetorical. Of course, the Postal Service would.

This is all new. As recently as 1982, the Postal Service issued a stamp honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt that showed a profile of the president and his trademark cigarette holder.
The Disney Corporation has done this to characters in its films -- even the arts are falsified because of the totalitarianism of the anti-smoking movement. In its 2000 re-release of the 1948 film "Melody Time," Disney removed the cigarette from the cartoon character Pecos Bill. (Instead of a cigarette in his mouth, kids now see him holding a gun by his mouth!)
In his newest book, "Hitler and Stalin" (Yale University Press), historian John Lukacs notes that Hitler, the original anti-smoking zealot, had a cigarette removed from a photo of Stalin that Nazi Germany circulated when it signed its non-aggression treaty with the Soviet dictator. Hitler felt it was bad for Germans to see such a "statesman" (Hitler's term) with a cigarette between his fingers.
And Stalin, of course, was the father of doctoring photos, removing rival Bolshevik Leon Trotsky from all photographs in which Trotsky had appeared. (In one such photo, Stalin's photo changers failed to remove Trotsky's shoes, leaving Stalin amid a group of early Bolsheviks standing next to a pair of shoes.)
In 2001, the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News altered a photograph of James Dean to remove an unlit cigarette from his lips. To its credit, once this doctored photo was exposed, the paper's managing editor told the Associated Press, "It was a mistake . . . We did want the cigarette to be less dominant, but when you start messing around with a picture, that's wrong."

Exactly. That's wrong. In fact, it's worse than wrong, it's totalitarian.

Those who want a fully secular America don't care about what the Left is doing to America's Christian history. And those who loathe cigarettes don't care about what the anti-smoking zealots (again, usually folks on the Left) are doing to photos and films. But, as Shakespeare said about a rose, totalitarian behavior by any other name smells the same -- and that is a lot worse and a lot more dangerous than even cigarette smoke.

Copyright 2006 Creators Syndicate

02 May 2006


A picture of my cousin Robyn, her daughter Lee Ann and an unknown relative.

Why am I upset?

A copy (sort of) of an e-mail from my friend Sheryl the magnificent up in Minnesota.

I went to the doctor for my yearly physical. The nurse starts with certain basics. How much do you weigh?" she asks. "180," I say. The nurse puts me on the scale. It turns out my weight is 240. The nurse asks, "Your height?" "6 foot 4," I say. The nurse checks and sees that I only measure 6 foot 1/4 inch. She then takes my blood pressure and tells me it is very high. "Of course it's high!" I scream, "When I came in here I was tall and slender! Now I'm short and fat!"

She put me on Prozac.

John Denver et al

I was talking to someone today, a good friend actually, and they made the following remark. “ No one ever really liked John Denver or Neil Diamond or Barry Manilow, so you (meaning me) must be slightly off kilter or weird.” Now I admit that Barry Manilow isn’t someone I listen to very much although he did do a couple of things that I liked. And I also admit that none of the three are well thought of musically now-a-days by those who profess knowledge in these things. You know … these guys are not cool / hip / bad / or whatever word of jargon is extant.

But, …. listen up here. These guys each sold millions of records and played to sellout houses nationwide and world wide. Someone must have liked them … me for one … and been willing to fork over hard earned bread to hear them.

Neil Diamond wrote and sang some of the best songs ever. I mean … ‘Solitary Man, Forever in Bluejeans, Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, Cherry Cherry, He Ain’t Heavy (he’s my brother)’, et al ad infinitum.

John Denver, whom I still listen to regularly, pleases me as few others do. Just listening to ‘Back Home Again, Annie’s Song, Starwood in Aspen, I’m Sorry, Sweet Surrender’, and many others puts me in a better frame of mind and mellows me out. A bottle of German white wine, some good cheese and John on the stereo really washes the cares of the world off my back and right down the drain. Now, I’ll admit I dislike Thank God I’m a Country Boy immensely and have heard Take Me Home Country Roads 3000 times too many, although I liked it initially. He had 14 gold albums and 8 platinum albums in the U.S as well as numerous gold and platinum sales overseas, and was elected to the Songwriter's Hall Of Fame.

Now for my point .. bet you didn’t think that I had one, huh? ….. we live in a ME / NOW/ THROW AWAY society. We do not respect anything that is not CURRENTLY in vogue. Passe’ comes quickly and when something is passe’… we heap dirt upon it. Ray Charles once said .. “there’s only two kinds of music, good and bad.” Right on Ray !

So now I sit and listen to some John Denver… his real name was Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. and his father was a General in the Air Force. He lived in Tucson for a few years in his early teens … 11 through 14 I believe … and was a member of the world famous Tucson Boy’s Chorus. I do not have any wine, times are hard, but I already feel better. I did not and do not endorse his political beliefs and all of his causes, but damn … he could write and sing.

Love from the desert.

01 May 2006

The day with no mojados (wetbacks)

O.K., they marched and complained and .... played the race card big time. Here in Tucson, there were Mexican-American and Latin-American anti demonstrators also. They believed that since they came here the hard way, learned our history, learned English, pay taxes and pay attention to our laws and are proud to be American ..... these illegals should DO THE SAME.

Hooray for our side.

These illegals BROKE THE LAW ... are BREAKING THE LAW and yet DEMAND THEIR RIGHTS. Illegals HAVE NO RIGHTS. Why is that difficult to understand? To many people in America, these sentences that I wrote and the thoughts that I have are felt to be racist. NO ONE who knows me even a little, believes that I am predjudiced.

An Opinion

I did not write this, but I agree with it 100%.

I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However...... the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct! " crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.

I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans ...... we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan.. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women ....... on Christian principles ....... founded this nation ..... and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home.........because God is part of our culture.

If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so! But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag / our pledge / our national motto / or our way of life .... I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other Great American Freedom ... THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

Random thoughts, .. do I ever have other kinds?

Here in the desert southwest, we are in full late-spring swing. Temperatures in the 90's for at least the next seven days. It is 65 here now (0500 hrs ..... 5 AM) It is supposed to be over 100 in the western part of the state today, around Gila Bend or Yuma I think. At least we don't get those violent storms like the ones in Texas last week.

Today is .. "The Day Without Immigrants". Excuse me, but immigrants are people who legally immigrate to the U.S. Illegal aliens are not immigrants, they are criminals. And don't give me that stuff about them taking jobs that no one else wants at minimum wage. In Tucson, there are MANY of them in the $10-$18 per hour range. That is more than I make. A company that I used to work for, Patio Pools of Arizona, had to hold seperate safety meetings each month for half the employees because they could not/ would not understand English. At Escalante Concrete, they had 7-8 people working on the same driver's license / social security card. Those were just the ones I knew about. Where I work now, there is a guy named Leo, real name Raul, who makes the same per hour that I make but he doesn't pay taxes. He is paid in cash, as are all the cleaning people. He speaks no English, although I know that he understands it. I've caught him several times in situations that he had to clearly understand what we were saying in order to do what he did. I have nothing against Mexican-Americans, but I am steadfastly against illegal aliens.