Monday, May 25, 2015

A Poem For Memorial Day

"You Have No Fucking Clue" 
by Vietnam War veteran Joe Depaoli

A bunch of young men in their late teens riding a bus to MCRD San Diego,
“Get the hell out of the bus and on those yellow footprints, you fucking Maggots”.
You have no fucking idea

Congratulations Marine, 
the pride one has.
You have no fucking idea

On our way by ship to Vietnam, 
riding out a two day typhoon on an old WWII troop transport.
You have no fucking idea

Off the coast of Vietnam, 
watching flairs, tracer rounds flying, shell bursts.
You have no fucking idea

Getting on a Mike boat 
and setting foot on enemy land - locked and loaded,
You have no fucking idea

An officer comes and says we can’t fire on the enemy until they fire first,
You have no fucking idea

The first night in enemy country,
You have no fucking idea

Short round, several Marines wounded,
"Corporal, take those two new Marines out about 3 clicks and set up an LP."
Night, dark as hell, seeing movement, fire M16 full auto, 
hear yells of, "I’m hit, I’m hit - cease fire", 
we just fired on or own ambush.
You have no fucking idea

Not on point today, 
Why am I flying in the air, trip wire and a grenade;
You have no fucking idea

Scraping my wounds and the wounds of guys next to me out with a brush, 
no anesthetic, 
until they are clean and bleeding,
You have no fucking idea

On the hospital ship USS Sanctuary, standing on the railing, 
watching a CH46 attempting to land on the flight deck, 
it suddenly pitches right and 19 folks are in the water… only 5 survivors.
You have no fucking idea

Alfa Company is gridded in by the NVA, 
only 26 non casualties out of 115 marines, 
rescue effort to pick up the dead and wounded, 
place dead and wounded on tanks.
You have no fucking idea

Take the wounded and dead off the tanks, 
some flesh remains on the tank exhaust, 
the burning flesh of Marines, so hastily loaded aboard,
You have no fucking idea

Back at Con Thien, only a couple of hundred incoming today, 
buddy hit twice by shrapnel, 
blew my radio away and part of one of my fingers, 
got to get him to the chopper,
You have no fucking idea

Med evac buddy, 
he lost one eye, 
at the hospital in Da Nang, 
someone yells, everyone that can get under your beds - incoming,
You have no fucking idea

On a C130 flying over the South China sea, 
finally feel a little safe,
You have no fucking idea

One month later landing at Travis AFB,
the cheers of all aboard resound as we touchdown back in the world,
You have no fucking idea

Seeing my mother and father, 
round eyes, 
no smell of cordite, 
no smell of burning 55 gallon drums of shit, 
no orders to lock and load, 
no sound of incoming, 
no dead bloated maggot infested bodies of the enemy on the ground, 
no one screaming "I’m hit - medic up", 
no more shredded jungle fatigues, 
no more dumping of enemy bodies in town squares,
You have no fucking idea

I look at my mother and father, 
dad has a fucking idea because he was in WWII, 
and my mother has a fucking idea because of being in an occupied country in WWII, 
nothing is said or needs to be said other than, “Glad you're home son.”

My wife, 
my children, 
my grandchildren, 
most of my family and friends,
You have no fucking idea

Dear Lord, 
Dear Ancient ones, 
how I wish I had no fucking idea.

hat tip = The Rude Pundit

Sunday, May 24, 2015

On Memorial Day Eve

Relax and be mellow - and melancholy if you've been reflecting at all on the extraordinarily shitty reasons for feel-good bullshit celebrations on a day intended to memorialize lives cut short in service to the venal ambitions of politicians bent on conquest driven by corporate profit.

Freedom rings loudly now
Listen up, hear the sound
Screamin’ as the shots ring out
That’s what freedom sounds like now

Beating drums, fathers’ sons
Teach ‘em well to kingdom come
Steal the daylight from the sun
That’s what freedom has become

Stand over the shadow of a man
Starin’ at his lifetime with blood-stained hands
What had you planned to say?

Underground, out to sea
Bodies come to rest in peace
Fighting for the right for more
That’s what freedom has in store

Asphalt burns the un-soled feet
Vacant eyes in defeat
Lost the thread on every dream
That’s what freedom’s come to mean

Stand behind the handle of a gun
Starin’ down the future, darin’ time to run
Like time could run away

Freedom’s blowin’ sadly now
Listen up, love came ‘round
Candles burn in memory
Freedom is a fading dream

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Sunny Day In Ireland

It's generally a lousy idea to put Human Rights to a vote, but in a country that's 85% Catholic, marriage equality is now the law in Ireland. 

Way to go, Irelanders.
With the world watching, the Republic of Ireland has become the first nation to enact marriage equality by popular vote.
The leader of the opposition, David Quinn, has already conceded the loss. “Congratulations to the Yes side on their win,” tweeted Quinn, who is director of the Iona Institute. And in a more lengthy statement Quinn is already pivoting to the next fight, saying "We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience."
But today is a day of celebration for supporters of LGBT rights, both in Ireland and worldwide. The margin is still being finalized but all reports say Irish voters Friday overwhelmingly approved adding this language to the country’s constitution: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
Coupla things:
While Ireland is the first to make it official by way of popular vote, they're the 19th country in the world to make Marriage Equality the law nation-wide.  USAmerica Inc (aka The Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave) funnily enough isn't among them.

And also too:

Irish people from all over the world went to great lengths and considerable expense for the  chance to go home and vote.  We've seen similar phenomena in South Africa and Argentina and Panama and Iraq and Afghanistan and Poland and Ukraine and Egypt - and we never see it here in the US.  I guess it's just another good example of how fucking exceptional we are.


hat tip = FB buddy LM-M

Basically - we don't wanna bust the biggies because that'll be bad for business; it could hurt some companies that are very important to all of us in a lot of ways, and could have a really bad impact on the economy as a whole.

By that logic, we don't wanna bust the meth peddler on the corner down the block because that could drive down the property values of the whole neighborhood(?)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

World Music


Maybe I'm growing up or maybe I'm just getting weirder as I grow old, but even though there's a tinge of 1960s East Coast ersatz Bohemian (Faux-hemian?) in this, there's something I find compelling about it - and I'm not going to bail on it by calling it "oddly compelling".

There's just something kinda noble and soulful about talented people creating something interesting enough to get past the barriers of culture or politics or whatever.

Bonus - looking them up on Google and Wikipedia was worth the effort if only to have discovered there's a music genre known as Ethno-Chaos.

The world is out there - we should go take a look at it once in a while.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Today In Fashion

In the last dozen years or so, it seems like a bajillion middle-aged middle-class American men (guys with more money than either common sense or hair) grew goatees and started riding Harleys - evidence of how fucked up and phony we can get in our obsessive pursuit of a personal identity driven by the whims of fashion and imposed from the outside by marketeers bean-counters and peer pressure instead of reflection study and insight.

Or maybe I'm just feeling the effects of having binge-watched way too much Mad Men over the weekend, trying to catch myself up on a part of Cultura Americanus Vulgaris.

Anyway, along comes this - via KWTX:
WACO: (May 17, 2015) Rival motorcycle gangs turned a local restaurant into a shooting gallery Sunday afternoon and when the gunfire was over, nine people were dead and 18 were injured.
Early Monday, law enforcement had turned their attention to the risk of additional bike gang members looking to retaliate, and initiate further violence in the Waco area.
Sunday afternoon, Waco Police, assisted by Department of Public Safety troopers, police officers from several cities and deputies from the McLennan County Sheriff's Office were surrounding the Twin Peaks Restaurant, in the Central Texas Market Place after several people were reported shot during a rival motorcycle gang fight, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.
Police initially said three gangs were involved, but later said factions from at least five gangs took part in the melee.
Police and troopers were in the parking lot trying to secure the area and protect citizens when a fight broke out inside the restaurant and spilled into the parking lot.
Swanton said the fight quickly escalated from fists and feet to chains, clubs and knives, then to gunfire.
Gang members were shooting at each other and officers at the scene fired their weapons, as well, Swanton said.
So - a few questions:

Assuming there're good-guy bikers with guns and bad-guy bikers with guns, which was which when the shooting started?

When the cops showed up, were they able to spot the good-guy bikers?  Or did they just assume everybody with a gun (but without a cop suit) was a bad guy who needed to be seen as a threat?

And when can we expect all you CosPlay Bikers to stand up and condemn the extremists in your midst?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Bias Runs Deep

We learn that things are supposed to be a certain way, and it can be a ridiculously arduous task to un-learn them in order to re-learn them in a different way.

I understand it, but it still kinda pisses me off that we'll have to spend the next 30 years trying to undo the damage caused by the Political Psychology of the last 30 years and that it's more than a little probable that we'll just have to wait for the UltraCons to start dying off.