Sunday, May 27, 2007

Greetings Sucker

OK, it is Texino. I am a man living in the beginning days of the end of the USA. What! You heard me. When? Now. How come? Well I'll tell you about it. When I was a little boy in the first grade of school, on the first day actually, I had this weird experience. When it was time to go home, the teacher had us all stand in line at the class room door because that was where our moms or in my case my big sister would claim us. I was the first one in line and I wore a red shirt and blue pants. This important because I have always remembered seeing myself standing there. It was not like a true out of body experience in that it was as if I was looking in from some other dimension and others were around me and we were all looking into that school and the feeling was one of extreme peace and content. I remember that often, yet it happened well over 50 years ago. This is important only because I spent the next seven years in a day dream and when I matriculated to the upper grades, I did not know a thing. This caused me to fail quite badly and made me a prime target for the draft and the Vietnam war, which is where this post is going to end. It may surprise you that I was not an unwilling soldier. Why? Well like I said, I day dreamed my way through elementary school, getting by because I had the same teachers as my older sister had had and they couldn't seem to believe that I was not as artistic and quick my sums and every thing else that she had been. They must have thought I would catch up but aside from learning to read on a college level by 6th grade, I did not excel at all. Now what all my teachers and special teachers and IQ testers and touters never picked up on was that I was a super patriot. That's right folks me, Texino, was caught in the folds of the flag and I lay there like it was a mother's arms. It seemed that wherever I directed my gaze at Lee School there was Old Glory in the breeze. It was the old 48 state version and I could sit and stare at that flag for hours and my soul would swell with such pride, such true love and such a feeling of peace and good fortune that I had been born American, that little else mattered. Especially mathematics.

I got to the point where I might actually graduate from High School but due to my careless attitude I got drafted instead. So I went into the army and I did so well on my tests that I got chosen for officer school. I did not go there though because I had not graduated from High School. Now the Army probably should have let me go home and finish school, but they did not. Once I got to Vietnam though, I was able to take some tests and get a G.E.D. I made really high marks too.

Lets talk about war now. OK? Fine. It did not take me very long to find out that this whole idea of going out and killing life in general was bad JU JU. What I mean was, we killed everything we could. Monkeys, dogs, cattle, Elephants, frogs and some people. Our people and the personnel of the enemy insurgent forces. Our people? Well yeah. You put some young men together and send them out posse style and then bring them back to a sort of base camp/wild west setting and you don't take their weapons. Well Jackson, it won't be long before someone gets shot over some bullshit that might not have rated a shove back in the world. Yeah, the world i.e. the Real World. The one with the nice flag.

Now during the Vietnam War, they ran GIs though on 12 or 13 month rotation. You could extend your tour another 6 months and get 30 days leave in the bargain. When you hear a Vet say he did two tours in "Nam" that's what he is talking about. Now I really do not know many guys who extended and were in the serious combat business. I mean anywhere you might be in Vietnam was at one time or another dangerous in that you would take some mortar and rocket fire. For the most part though it was not so bad. Some guys, now they had it a lot different and they did their tour in the mud and blood. One way or the other, those guys went home by year's end. Maybe you have the growing impression that not every soldier was "Combat Happy" like they might have been back in WW II. Well you are right. Lots of fellows just did the books or ran radio nets or fixed jeeps or did the hundreds of other jobs necessary to keep a war going. I won't say this is solid fact, but it does seem that the more combat a Vietnam Vet talks about openly, the less combat he actually saw. I'm sorry guys but tunnel rats and Long Range Re-con Patrols were very specialized jobs and they just did not employ the amount of men who would have you believe otherwise. So why in hell would some soldier want to make up war stories?

Maybe you have heard of this "Greatest Generation"? Well if you are anywhere around your middle age, you have certainly heard enough from them because they are your parents and most likely filled your head with talk about the depression and walking to school 10 miles in the snow. They may not have said too much about the WAR other than it was hard to get tires and butter at home. Well they did not have to make up war stories because the ones who went stayed until it was over plus they marched through captured territory and liberated camps and saw everything you have seen on TV about WW II first hand. They don't have much to say. Conversely, the Vietnam Vet felt the need to say something, anything because under the eyes of their folks they did not have much to hold up and compare. Guilt to some extent. What? Well during Vietnam and it was on for quite some time, the USA lost 58 thousand and some. Good boys and some girls too. If that seems a lot, go compare the totals of WW II and you will find 418 thousand US deaths over about 1/2 the time. Like any stat. it can and will be bent.

Now, lets talk about who won. In Vietnam, the war to unify the country had been going on since 1958. The country was unified by the communist north after a stalemate peace was signed and the US just went home. In WWII the Axis wanted a unified Europe. They were defeated, but the European Union exists as we speak. In the far east, the Japanese wanted to gain control of resources in order to become an economic competitor on a world wide basis. They have that position now.

We are talking about two wars that caused about 75 million deaths world wide. As you can see, I have no trouble doing my sums here. Now what was it all about? It was just the result of some opinions really and when the opinions clashed the people behind them wanted to prove a point so they had a fight. A real big fight because there was no shortage of flag loving little boys to show up for the contest. It's how nations prove their worth and their right to exist and when they run out of flag boys and sooner or later they all do, well then they retire. You don't think it can happen here, do you? Well maybe you have not been reading at college level as long as I have.

Friday, May 25, 2007

No Fear. No Sense. A bit of loathing in Alaska.

Did you see the film where the bear(s) ate the guy and his girlfriend? It was odd in that the guy who was eaten was actually making this movie about how these particular bears were like minded creatures and it was his mission to live among them in the summer time and then spend the rest of the year giving presentations to increase bear awareness.   All in all, this seemed like a harmless endeavor because these particular bears were living in a protected area of Alaska, a park really, and they just lived their lives as bears had lived for hundreds or thousands of years and, other than a few bear sighting trips given by local guides, licensed to do this by The Park Service, no one really got in the way. Well the film guy and his friend, they did.  

 It was not very hard to make a comparison between this bear lover and the late writer Hunter S Thompson who, at one time, got close to the Hells Angels Motor Cycle Club to the point that he felt a certain kinship with the bikers. Well, he got in the way too, and a group of the Hells Angels attacked.  They might have killed him too, but the mood passed and they quit. The bear man did not have the luxury of his assailants showing a bit of self restraint, once they determined to get him. I guess that some people become enamored with the lifestyles and general affairs of the tougher animals be they controlled either by society or the laws of nature.  After all,  Angel Boss Ralph "Sonny" Barger was once a babe in arms and bears start out as the cutest creatures. To some, this logic is enough to a body think he or she has a special skill or unique grasp of the situation, so its OK to just jump in the swim. Both Thompson and the bear guy had that certain conceit which made hanging your hat in a danger zone seem OK.   I will hazard a guess that neither HST nor the Grizzly Man had done much, if any, bad boy stuff as youngsters. In fact, it might have done both major good to have done time in the Juvenal Justice System (Reform School) where the thirst for dangerous living could have been tempered by the acquisition of some street smarts. In other words, it should have been painfully obvious (not the other way round) that there is no percentage gained by sticking your nose into a "closed shop" <–––trade union lingo.

What about women? They often can keep things in line, being the survivors and keepers of the societal flame.  I don't really know that much about girls, just the obvious stuff, and when some man says "Women like it when you..." I usually tune him out because I don't think one person can be all that certain in regard to what might move a whole gender.  Of course I am making the assumption that everyone has a basic understanding that people like it when you treat them in a courteous manner and refrain from exhibiting unexpected or uncommon behaviors. 

The grizzly man's sweetheart was an educated and ambitious person who liked adventure, however; seeing her posture around the bears, even the summer bears, one would feel that she was not in the least bit comfortable and it seems as though her plan was to get as far away from Alaska and Mr. Grizz as possible ASAP. She almost made it too and would have, had it not been for the bitchy demeanor of the GM whose tantrum, at an airline ticket counter, forced the couple to book a later flight and therefore return to the most hostile of all the bear hangouts. 

Thompson? He married more than once, had at least one son, but never seems to profile any women in his books.  It seemed to me that the writer, who was following the Sex, Drugs, Rock, Roll and political-science beat for Rolling Stone Magazine, must have been letting some good ink go dry in not talking about the female involvement in those topics, given that it was considerable in more ways than the sexual issue.  For a lot of men, I guess that is where it just stops, and that is too bad.  

So do all these words come down to "Mind your own beeswax"?  Probably, but I am somewhat motivated by a certain penchant that we humans have for suddenly lashing out when an invisible barrier is stretched or pierced.  In that way we are, in my opinion, showing real kinship with the other beasts.  Have you ever been fooling with a dog or cat and have the animal suddenly snap at you? Or have you ever been on the edge of a conversation  between two people where you feel you are involved enough to make some harmless comment only to have one person jump you with the "You don't know me well enough!" thing?  If you have been unlucky enough for that to happen, then you know that you did not see it coming and had no Idea you were "out of line." While I really can't imagine being so rude and am extremely kind to animals ( excepting bears) these outbursts have occurred one or two times and left me physically or emotionally "clawed."  Some kind of defense?  Animal Magnetism at work?  Or maybe someone is just an asshole.  Thing is, snaps like that got the Grizzly Man and his sweetheart killed and almost cost us the pleasure of Dr. Thompson's better efforts and did cause the man's death when snapped himself or caught his limit, one.  This life we are in?  Well,  it's a caution to be sure.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vexed or wretched or wretches

My Mother, the late Mrs Texino sr. wanted me to be a ball player. If you were alive around the middle of the last century, you would know that she meant baseball. I would be a pitcher beyond compare and she quoted headlines from future sports pages; "Texino marvelous in shut out" or "Texino's sore arm wretches him." I was taught to throw and catch at an early age.
I would sit in a chair opposite my grandmother who would toss me a ball of Red India Rubber. Once I learned to catch it, she moved the chair back a bit and another bit until I could snag the ball with ease, but with the wrong hand. I was left handed and that is good for a hurler. The problem was I caught the ball in my left hand which meant I was a right handed pitcher. Further study showed that I wrote with my left hand and passed a football lefty and threw left under hand batted left but my overhand toss was definitely right and not very strong. The doctors had told my mother I would grow to over 6' 3" and had this happened I might have made it as an odd baller. I could side arm a submarine pitch that looked really cool but tended to surface right into the hitter's zone and I could throw a change up. Actually, I threw three changes, my curve ball, my fast ball and the actual change. In other words I had no speed and since I stopped growing at 5' 9" I was not likely to get any by using my height for leverage. In later years, pitchers like the great Luis Tiante would fool the hyper hitter with a confusing delivery from the "Stretch" followed by a looping curve of such magnitude, that it seemed to take several seconds to reach the plate.
That a professional batter would fall for this seemed absurd, but El Tiante could come in and strike out the side. Not always, but enough for the Red Sox to keep the portly Cuban in the 'pen'. I should say that this whole baseball nonsense was predicated by Mama's dislike for the "Damn Yankees." I should say in defense of Mama that, to her thinking, "Damn" was not a curse word when "Yankees" was attached. There must have been something to this, but I never found out because by the time I was 10 Mama had scouted and dismissed me as a prospect. Too bad because I could catch anything that came my way and was also an excellent placement hitter who could go long too. Oh well, I have always thought that ball teams were managed all wrong, so I probably would wretched the Managers and vexed the owners to no good end.*

*note every writer in this hemisphere is required to do a baseball piece at this time of year.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Love my dog, love my dog

Here is a picture of my dog Cosmo. He is ill and it is going to cost quite a few dollars to make him well. I don't have the money, but I can make it. The situation is this; I know people who also need money and the amount that I am paying for the medicine Cosmo needs would be a big help to them as well. This is a problem of ethics. Does the life of a companion animal require anything besides giving it food, water and a warm place to sleep? This would not be an issue for most adults. If the animal was down with an expensive illness especially when he is > 10yrs of age, lots of people would, have him put down, shoot him or maybe just abandon he to the wilds or the pound. I can't do that. You can see that there are two of us in the picture and both could fit the definition the dog. We love each other, we are concerned when the other goes missing; if I were to start walking, Cosmo would follow and not turn back. I would do the same. Cosmo is not dull. He speaks his needs
If he is low on water, he has a sound for it; Hungry, he has another. He knows I like to walk in the night, so I am not seen, he waits till the dark before getting his lead, and so on. He is my companion and has been since I became disabled. I say that he will do these things because he does them every day; even when he is sick. Me, I try to get out of stuff when I feel bad. I do not know exactly when I came to feel compassion for all life. Maybe I caught it in Vietnam; lots of that sort of thing there among the Buddhist and Animist. Also, I have some experience in dealing with the bad and sad parts of life, and while there, I was not blind to the pleasure that a good dog can give. Cats too. Cosmo will live until he has to die. I'll see to it by making my own sacrifices and no other person will suffer. You may love whomever you wish too.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The House of Blue Lights-Not

It's Texino,

I was thinking that "damed lies" might not be the best of blog titles, especially if one wanted to be taken seriously. I want people to take me seriously, so with this in mind I went to blogspot's HQ to apply for a different name. The name I chose was "The House of Blue Lights" which as everyone should know is a line from a song by (Little) Richard Penneman of Macon, GA.
The "House..." is where one can find Miss Molly (who sure likes to ball) "from the early early morning to the early early night."
At any rate, it sounds like prime Texino habitat. Alas, it is not to be, for some other blogster has captured it. Now I could have some variation like Texino's House of Blue Lights, but I don't want to confuse things and since I lie constantly, I suppose "damned lies" will have to do. Who knows? Maybe the existing "House..." might belong to (little) Richard himself. I'm a big fan of his and since we are contemporaries, I hope that he will live for a good while. BTW, Richard is not especially small. They called him little Richard because he was young when he hit the charts.

So on with the "lies." Not much to report because one of the animals who lives here died this week. His name is Snook and he was a kitty cat. An old kitty, but I had not expected him to pass. I was told by a neighbor that he was lying a bit up the road and when I went to fetch him home he was pointed that way and looked like he just lay down and died. I was really broken up over it too. Old Snook had been with me through some times and I guess maybe I had some other things to let loose of, so I just cried until I felt better. I laid him a proper grave. Cosmo and Desmond came out in the back and acted an honor guard while I filled the hole and put a nice chunk of granite there to discourage any grave robbers. I have had some real good cats.

Last week, I got the notion I could read a book by just placing it on my chest. Turned out to be the result of fever. I have Malaria. Positive for TB too. I am pretty much confined to dating girls from the local tribes. They understand the JU JU of those diseases. Too bad because I have been told I am good looking. Oh well, it comes, it goes and sometimes it just vanish.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Art of War II a timely update by PFC Texino

"The [Lost] Art of War" by General Sun Tzu is the oldest treatise of military strategy that you can get. It is also often listed as the favorite or "last book read" by the sort of men folk who are interviewed by the popular press. Probably bull shit. Sun was making notes hundreds of years BC and though the Chinese were clever, their war making skills could have been better. For instance they invented "gun powder" but not the gun.

I don't care to argue the military history of the Middle Kingdom because the Chinese were xenophobes with no global aggression policy, unlike, say, Spain. No my argument is more to do with the relatively recent phenomenon where large well equipped world powers have racked up a losing record against what are essentially back water tribes. That's the point of this go-round.

Why do I get to write it? Well, I was a soldier once and I fought back several times against aggressive insurgents. I rose and fell in stature and finally settled into the modest rank of Private 1st Class or PFC for short, and while it is true that an army is actually run by the crusty and crafty sergeants, it is also a fact that a few well placed PFCs can easily wreck havoc on the whole thing. Joseph Heller's "Ex-PFC Wintergreen" is a case in point.

So given all that, I see little reason why I shouldn't be able and qualified to update General Sun and a few modern folks as well on how to get a war up, over and come out a winner.

First, it is obvious to me, we should not commit our resources to one side of some countries' internal conflict (civil war). Why? Well foremost would be the fact that it is damn hard to figure out exactly whom you should be killing. This is no small matter in warfare, and makes a conflict damn hard to prosecute.

Next; Fighting a war is very expensive, so it is a good idea the have a rational goal in mind when you decide to get one going.

Furthermore; When the people with whom you are fighting either, start the thing or present such a danger to the your country that the average citizen can clearly understand and agree with, you stand a very good chance having the sort of unified support that will carry you to a noble victory.

Now, in my opinion, it would be wise for a country that is considering, contemplating, dreaming of, in fear or in hope of making war to spend some time gaining intelligent intelegence about the potential enemy. Of course it would be great to know their secret plans and how many bullets your opponent has, but it is also important to understand the social and religious culture of your foe. In Vietnam a country where I used to be a soldier for the USA, the Americans made loads of gaffs and then wondered why "friendly" civilians would sometimes act out in a way that might prove fatal for someone. Knowing more about the sharp rift between the Shia and Sunni factions of Islam and how each would react to Saddam's fall from power might have made for a different strategy in that war.

It is possible to break down war to the components of a fight between two kids who know each other. Like this: You know exactly who you will be fighting; You know if your opponent is a bully or a clever tactician who knows judo; You know whether or not your adversary might use allies if a loss seems evident and you know the sort of personal stuff that could weaken your opponent or make the person fighting mad. Now you can use this knowledge either as a way toward a winning strategy or to avoid the fight all together without losing face.

I do not know what General Sun would say about this thesis other than it is over simplified, but Is it really that oversimplified? To me it seems a better ploy than wandering around having to make snap decisions in regard to friend or foe, losing lots of young folks, spending a zillion bucks on a decidedly non crowd pleasing event where the only happy campers are the Big Leader's inner circle who are making an inflated wage doing the same same that GI Joe and GI Jane do for chump change out of love and respect of Country. Now doesn't that seem pretty fouled up?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ways to write " la la la."

OK, this is a picture of my band, "the hoodoodads"

Now, if I am standing on the corner,often the southeast corner for some reason, and someone comes by me and says;
"Tomasthatistheworstexcseformusicihaveheardplusallthosemenarenaked" and so forth. Well, I can just place my fingers in my ears and say, "La la la la la la" until the person leaves. This is not really nice behavior, but it gets the point across and may also serve to keep any lurking LDS Missionaries at bay.

But what's an hombre to do when he receives a letter from the ether that proceeds to list his deficiencies in such a way that the writer would set off the La La defense were he or she on the scene? Well here are some bon mots which have served me well in years gone by, and please understand that this tactic is not meant to deflect serious criticism, just the type that often comes from that set of cranks who monitor blogspace and are overly quick on the trigger so long as they enjoy the protection of the anonymity gun.

First there is the simple though somewhat opaque; "Your Butt Hurts!" as in, "You are so full of 'it" that..." To me this trumps the more direct and pushy statement, "You're full of shit!" or the modified "You're so full of shit, [that] your eyes are brown."

Another zinger. Would be to answer in the manner of one to whom English is not the mother tongue. This is easy for me of course, but anyone with a sense of humor should be able to flummox the situation quite well. A clever off shoot is to pretend that you see the critique as a compliment and carry on from there.

If you tend toward the sadistic, you might use "The straw that broke the camel's back" gambit. Here, you simply go off on a ramble about how much your writing means, and how it has kept you sane and much less violent toward yourself and others. Until now! You get the picture.

Here are some other things I have employed:
; Act like you have been given a prize and your tormentor is trying to claim your share; Pretend they are a restaurant responding to a bad review and explain why you will employ your position to make sure they are shut down.
Confuse, then conquer.

I found while operating as Texino on the bluegrass list that the majority of folks could be won over if you were just nice. Trouble was Texino was not supposed to be nice. Well it is just a thing. You be a writer or poet, people going to bump you around some. The worst thing you do to a net person who wants to torment you and not stop is tell that person you have had the last word and you will no longer acknowledge his or her existence. That'll show them.