Saturday, March 31, 2012

Boris and Natasha are still ploting to kill Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle

but their plot will fail. A spavined Old School Cold Warrior has not quit his post and has planted himself firmly in their way. Dutifully he calls in his findings to the Moose and Squirrel net.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Today wil be a day for two guys thirty years apart to do dopey things

because my nephew has arrived for af few days which is a good thing.

The neat part of this is that many moons ago I held him as a baby and watched him over the years.

Like old men do, I woke up early and I can hear him snoring in the other room. I guess he gets the snoring part from my side of the family. Of course I do not snore and get tired of being accused of it. I know I don't because I have stayed up all night several times and never once heard myself snore.

It is funny how it works. He will be thirty in a short time. I turned 60 last fall.

I am entering old age and he is entering middle age. It is astonishing how fast time flies.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jammed up today

I got in at 0100 this AM and sat down and checked the QSL card that came in during my absence.

I now need QSLs from WA, OR and SD to have all 50 states confirmed.

I hit the rack and woke up tired and feeling like hell so that's why this post is late and so short.

World without end, amen.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I own a number of hooded sweatshirts.

I have worn them for decades. In fact I recall one I had as a toddler which is interesting because it means my memory is pretty cood considering that remembering that means my memory still recalls things five and a half decades old.

In fact, as I write this I have one on. It is actually pink and says "Pennsylvania" acrosss the front and I snagged it at a PA Turnpike rest stop. I was cold and needed it and that was the color that they had on sale.

Hooded sweatshirts are pretty good for keeping a guy warm on chilly days and seeing I work outside an awful lot I wear one quite a bit.

While I don't really wear them too often when I am not at work, nonetheless I do grab one from time to time when I am home. Because I am generally in and out of buildings I seldom have to pull the hood up. Unlike other people I actually use the hood for the purpose it was put there. It keeps my head warm.

However, when the hood goes up when I go outside, it comes down when I go inside. There are two reasons for this and both reasons are different. The first reason is that I do not want to overheat when I'm inside. This is something that people that are outside a lot are aware of. When you go inside your adapt and when you return to the cold the hood doesn't feel as warm.

The second reason is that when I enter a business I do not want to make the clerks there nervous. A lot of businesses have signs requesting that you pull down your hood and remove your sunglasses before entering. It's their business and their rules and it makes sense. I do this without a second thought. It's simply good manners.

I wouldn't think of entering a business wearing, for example, a ski mask and I try and make it a point not to wear sunglasses and/or a hood when I go inside a business either.

In fact when I talk to just about anyone I remove my sunglasses. Again, it's good manners. It lets them see who they are talking to. This holds double when I find myself dealing with the law enforcement community. I have very few problems dealing with policemen. I attribute this to basic good manners and displaying basic courtesy.

I'll admit that I do a little play acting when I deal with policemen. I make it a point to let them see me take off my shades so they notice that I am doing it to be polite to them. I suppose if I am wearing a hood I'd pull that down, too. It makes the officer a little more relaxed because he then thinks you have little to hide.

An awful lot of the 'gangsta wannabes' think they look a lot more intimidating in a hoodie and sunglasses and I suppose they do. Looking intimidating is a part of gangsta life I suppose and a hoodie with the hood up and a pair of shades can be that as it does disguise a person and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that disguises are the tool of armed robbers and other thugs.

Nobody is telling anyone how to dress. It's your choice but when you look like a thug and are going to be treated by one. When you dress like a thug and get treated poorly you have nobody to blame but yourself. After all, you made the choice to dress that way. It's that simple.

This is not a black or white thing it is simple human nature.

Incidentally I am getting tired of that portion of the black community telling everyone about how different they are. The only part of the black community that tells people how different they are is the part that makes themselves different. These are the ones you see going to Fat Al Sharpton's hateful little meetings.

The members of the black community I know and deal with are generally doing the same thing that I am. They get up in the morning and get dressed and go to work so they can take care of their families. They couldn't care less about people like Fat Al and Calypso Louie and you never see these people attending their meetings.

For one thing, because they are no different than anybody else, they are just too busy raising their kids to have the time for such foolishness. They have more important things to do.

One of the things I would do if I was in Zimmerman's shoes is to buy a hoodie and a pair of mirror sunglasses and attend one of Fat Al's hate speeches. They'd never spot me and if a VERY close friend could snap a picture or two it would be a hoot to put on line.

Getting caught would be doubtful because nobody would recognize me in a hoodie and shades.

Sometimes the best place to sleep is in the lion's mouth.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Piccolo's take on hate crimes


With the events unfolding in Florida and the possibility of President Obama getting the justice department involved to thump Mr. Zimmerman I might as well run my keyboard again. This time I will speak a little about hate crimes.

For one thing the prosecution will not accept me as a juror because there is simply no way in hell I will convict anyone that is smart enough not to admit guilt of a hate crime bacause without a confession from the defendant there is no way the charge can be proven.

I can not read what is in a man's heart. I have no way of knowing what motived someone to do something. Unless someone actually tells me what he is thinking I can not read a person's mind.

About the only way I can see getting an honest conviction for a hate crime is to have a jury of 12 psychics.

I would pay good money to see the DA interviewing potential jurors to make sure they are truly psychic.

"Yes, I can read minds. Right now you are not paying total concentration on this case because you are wondering if your wife is going to notice the bill on your MasterCard for the motel you were in yesterday afternoon screwing your baby sitter. You are also terrified to have it come out that the girl was only seventeen years old."

The potential juror turns to the judge. "Your Honor, right now you are trying to figure out how to get rid of the water on the pitcher you have on the bench and replace it with the vodka that you generally keep in it."

He turns to the court stenographer. "You don't need to wear the little black dress out on your date tonight. You're just going to dump him, anyway."

I suppose that I would accept this person as a juror in a hate crime case.

But I ain't no psychic. I am ineligible to serve in a hate crime case.

There is also another thing I just happen to have noticed about hate crime legislation and that is the law does not seem to be fairly applied.

I have not seen a whole lot of minorities charged with a hate crime.

Why is that? There are certainly haters out there that are minorities, yet it seems that just about everyone that has been charged with a hate crime seems to be a white male.

White males do not have a monopoly on hate. There are an awful lot of other people of various other races that hate, yet none of them seem to be carted off and charged under these laws for some particular reason. I would like to know why.

I don't see, for example, any of the Black Panthers being carted off and charged. They seem to simply be left alone to intimidate voters and continue to spread their brand of hate. Word has it that they have just posted a $10,000 contract on Geroge Zimmerman's head. That in itself is conspiracy to commit murder.

Why have none of these thugs been charged?

These so-called hate laws ought to be stricken from the books.

First of all they are truly unenforceable. You can not know what is in a man's heart.

Secondly they are being used selectively and not applied fairly across the board. They do not appear to apply to minorities.

Actually I think that these laws do little more than foster the very hate that they were designed to quash.

If that is the case, maybe they ought to simply be repealed.

If someone commits a crime, let him stand trial for it. The reason he committed the crime really makes no difference. A crime is a crime is a crime. Pay for it. It is as easy as that.

Incidentally, I have to give credit where credit is due. I have been no fan of the Southern Poverty Law Center, but they have just truly amazed me. I have just found out that they consider the New Black Panther party to be racist and anti Semetic. Will wonders ever cease?

Then again, if I am not mistaken, a number of SPLC lawyers are Jewish so that very well may explain it.

Good news. I fixed my cell phone which has been driving me nuts. The volume was too low and I could not hear from it very well. After 3 weeks of frustration I found out the volume control was turned down. I must have whapped it somehow.

This proves that thing do work a whole lot better when you plug them in.
Two wrongs clearly do not make a right. Sometimes three or four do. Hell, in some cases it may even take a dozen or even more.

my other blog is:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Don't look for racism to go away in the near future.

There is just plain and simply too much money in it.

Fat Al Sharpton needs it as his bread and butter and so do people like David Duke. Jesse Jackson is pretty well paid to run the Rainbow Coalition and the SPLC and NAACP would go under if racism disappeared.

This, of course, is chump change compared to what the media makes on this. Every race problem that comes up is yet more money in the bank if they can spin it and turn it into some sort of circus and sell advertising.

Right now with the Treyvor Martin shooting and George Zimmerman not being charged issue going on the news is busy as hell sensationalizing things to insure that they draw viewers so the advertisers will be willing to pay for air time.

With any luck maybe they can spin the incident into a full blown riot and make more advertising money yet.

With the economy the way it is I do not see racism disappearing very soon. It is going to take nothing less than zero unemployment and everybody too busy working to make that happen.

The part I find most interesting of all is that there are an awful lot of followers of Duke, Sharpton and the like that profess to have an in for corporate America and profess to hate rich white guys in suits. Yet they keep up promoting racism and keeping the media giants in events that they can sensationalize. Not only that, these ringleaders encourage the media to do sensationalize their doings and events.

I don't think that you are going see the ugly head of racism disappear soon because as soon as it does there are going to be a number of people out of work. Good jobs like 'professional instigator' are hard to come by in this economy.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Well, down in Florida it looks like

there is probably no way in hell Mr. Zimmerman, the shooter that shot Treyvon Martin is going to be able to get a fair trial. The very people that are screaming for his blood have seen to that.

If that's the case he should walk and the very people that want to see him hang are the ones responsible.

Right now I am getting pretty fed up with people that want to try someone by mob rule. It is not the Al Sharpton's job to try George Zimmerman. It is not Louie Farrakhan's job to try George Zimmerman and it sure in hell isn't tbe job of the Black Panther party to try George Zimmerman by putting a $10,000 contract on Zimmerman's head. (This reward is thinly disguised as a bounty for his apprehension but it sure sounds like a contract to me.)

Remarks made by President Obama and Rick Santorum do not help, either. Believe it or not Jesse Jackson has managed to keep his nose out of this so far. Good for him.

Trying George Zimmerman is the job of the Florida legal system. That is why we have it.

This is clearly not the America that I invisioned as a kid when I helped collect quarters to support the Freedom riders that fought to insure that Blacks could be allowed to vote in the sixties.

I'd bet you right now that Dr. Martin Luther King, jr is spinning in his grave.

This is not the America he invisioned, either.

The America I invisioned as a kid was one where all people of all races, colors, and creeds couple meet each other as equals in places like the hardware store, the furniture store and the corner produce stand and make our purchases, greeting one another with warmth. We would help each other out with suggestions as to which pillow would be appropriate, or what brand of roofing tar is suitable for use.

Red, white, black and yellow, united Americans working together as one people.

We would help each other by pointing out the qualities of the various items of produce on sale and which is the best bargain.

And then we would, all of us, join hands as we took our purchases down to the town square and upon arrival at the town square, All American meeting house, we would take our produce from the bags and throw it at the hatemongers giving their speech there and then take out the roofing tar and pillows and as a united people and an American community we would then as one tar and feather the bastards like Sharpton and David Duke and run them out of town on a rail.

Then we see about getting Mr. Zimmerman a fair hearing.

Al Sharpton's mom died and he was too busy stirring up the pot down in Florida.

You only have one mother, but there are quite a bunch of pots that can be stirred up.

We now know where the man's priorities are, now, don't we?

my other blog is:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

President Obama just jumped

on the band wagon and started running his mouth on the death of Trayvon Martin down in Florida the other day and has possibly now dragged the justice department into it to insure that the shooter, George Zimmerman, gets hanged.

If the state of Florida decided that Zimmerman is not guilty of murder and they release him it is certain that the feds will jump in and attempt to try him on some other trumped up semi-related charge and see to it he is convicted.

I often wonder about the mechanism that is used by the feds to meddle into the business of a state. The case here is nothing more or nothing less than a state level beef that is to be settled by the courts of the State of Florida. The federal justice department has no business getting involved.

If you ask me, over the years the feds have jumped in on a bunch of high profile cases simply because they are high profile and the politicos want to look good.

The entire affair is nothing more or less than a state level that would have been quietly handled if the case didn't cross racial lines and give Brother Al Sharpton a reason to stir up more trouble and keep the hate pot heated up and insure that he will stay fat and rich. But the case jumped racial lines and gave Brother Al and Calypso Louie a chance to add more fire to the hate and insure they will not be out of a job.

Because Brother Al and the NAACP have jumped into things and turned a simple state case into a major racial incident there is going to be hell to pay and it doesn't really look like Zimmerman is going to get a truly fair trial.

Fair is fair and I have never seen Al or the NAACP make any effort to police their own ranks. A young black man murdered an 85 year old woman and beat up a 90 year old man pretty badly, yet I have heard nobody mention that. It won't be prosecuted as a hate crime, either. The thinnest book in the library is the list of minorities convicted of hate crimes.

I am not sticking up for Zimmerman whatsoever. From what I have been able to tell it has the makings of a bad shoot so far. Then again I get the feeling that the liberal media is not telling us the full truth. Other sources have reported that Martin very well may have assaulted Zimmerman. This possibly may turn up to be a case of justified homicide. That is for the Floridia legal system to decide.

It is not for Al Sharpton to decide, nor Louis Farrakhan nor Barak Obama. It is for the Florida legal system to decide.

The incident is not for the president to get involved in and send the justice department in for political gain. It is not an excuse for Calypso Louie and Brother Al to whip angry mobs up.

Frankly I am disgusted that President Obama has gotten involved in this at all. It is obvious that the only reason he did run his mouth over this is for personal political gain. Using the death of someone for that reason is disgusting.

This is simply a case for the legal system of the State of Florida to decide under state law.

After I wrote this I noticed that Rick Santorum jumped in there and wants Zimmerman jailed. I bet Santorum doesn't have all the facts and is just pandering for votes. It was yet ANOTHER stupid comment on his part, but these days stupid Santorum comments seem to be occurring every time he opens his mouth.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

There are a number of groups fighting

over the proposals in a number of places regarding proposed requirement to show an ID before you can vote.

I have to show an ID when I vote and I suppose that is to cut down ov voter fraud. In other places I guess they just take your word on who you are and they are proposing that you show an ID of some sort before you are handed a ballot.

Of course there are a couple of groups that are up in arms over the requirement and I certainly wonder why someone would be against something that would insure that an election is on the up and up.

Now these groups are going to try and tell everyone that requiring a person to show a form of ID is unfair to women and minorities and so on, but I really do not think it is all that difficult for a woman or minority or other so-called oppressed person th get some sort of an ID.
Unless they have had it taken away from them, virtually every adult in the country has a driver's license.

Of course, there are a small handful of people that do not because either they have had it suspended or they have opted not to drive and use public transportation. Still, most states have cleverly anticipated that there would be a handful of people in this category and they have made it possible to get a state sponsored picture ID in most cases cheaper than it costs to get a driver's license.

There is really no reason whatsoever that aq person that wants to vote cannot get themselves some sort of a government sponsered ID card.

I would sure like to dig into the groups and see whay they are so adamant about making sure that producing identification to vote should not be legal.

It kind of makes a person wonder if maybe these groups are not all on the up and up.

Perhaps they have taken place in some sort of voter fraud and are now upset that it will now bw just a little harder to insure that our elections are fair and open.

I really don't think that these groups really give a damn about minorities getting to vote so much as they are in making damned good and well that their little group of peopleget in there to vote early and vote often.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The warning shot.

I quite often read articles whereby a homeowner defends himself and his property with a firearm and I certainly have no problem with it whatsoever.

Of course when someone does that there is generally a ballyhoo from the kind and compassionate set suggesting that the defender should have taken some other sort of action in the situation.

My favorite one lately is the woman that said that the homeowner should have fired a warning shot.

Well, the homeowner DID fire a warning shot. It hit the intruder quite nicely in the center of the forehead.

It will go far in serving as a warning to others that intruding into someone's home can prove to be fatal.

I do not consider this to be a problem of any sort.

Last night I ran through a bunch of articles on where the best place to retire is.

What a joke that was. Most of the places listed have a pretty good snowfall in the winter and that's not a very good thing.
Maybe when I retire I will become a swamp person. Snakes and alligators are more appealing to me than snow.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Last night on another website I took a poll.

There are a number of police officers on the site and from time to time they get bashed pretty hard, generally unfairly. A number of the members there sometimes ask the various Law enforcement type how they would act under certain circumstances.

Last night I took a dirty rotten poll asking officers if they would do such things as beat up 97 year old men, set fire to orphanages, flash girl scouts, and things of that nature if they were ordered to do so by their chief.

Of course, to make it fair I gave them two choices. They could either vote 'yes' or...'yes'.

Strangely enough, for some odd reason everyone that voted in the poll voted 'yes'.

The poll was a mild spoof on some of the questions asked of cops over the years. Mine, of course went beyond the ridiculous and into the sublime.

The point being that generally speaking police officers will generally do what they are told by the community they serve. If the community wants strict policing of the most minute infractions they police there will make damned sure that jaywalkers are brought to justice. If the community wants them to simply keep the peace, they will generally be a lot more tactful and will tend to let a few of the lesser things slide.

The average cop is generally just some guy that gets up in the morning and goes to work at a somewhat thankless job and makes a paycheck. After work he is generally trying to do the best he can to raise a couple of kids and keep them fed and clothed. In reality they are not a whole lot more different than anyone else that works for a paycheck.

They come in all shapes and all sizes and with all humors. Some are serious like Joe Friday of 'Dragnet' fame, some are a lot more easygoing. In generall they are just guys that are trying to do a good job and are attempting to make the planet a little better and safer place to live.

Of course, like everything else, there are exceptions and these tend to get noticed by the public. Of course, these few tend to smear a fairly honorable trade for the rest of the tradesmen practicing the trade. There are also a few honest mistakes made here and there by honorable officers and these tend to grab the limelight.

You have to remember that policemen are simply human beings and by definition they are flawed as we all are. They do make mistakes and that is something simply to be expected. We can only hope that the mistakes they make can be corrected, hopefully with an eraser, but if necessary the courts. That is part of the reason we have courts. They sometimes correct mistakes made by policemen.

Some areas have strict police forces and the township next to mind has a force with a fairly strict reputation. I have had contact a number of time with some of the officers there and have suffered no headaches. I sometimes hilltop with a portable ham rig in a mall parking lot at off hours and they have stopped by a couple time to see what I am up to. I simply write these visits off as guys doing their job, which is simply what it is.

Frankly, I would wonder if they didn't have enough curiosity to check me out as sitting in a mall parking lot at odd hours with a military radio is something that probably ought to be checked out.

A lot of people get indignant when the police do drop by and see what is going on. They get upset which really when you think about it is wrong. Police are supposed to check things out to make sure things are on the up and up.

It doesn't make any sense to get upset with an officer that is simply doing his job. If you are engaged in lawful and reasonable behavior the cop is simply going to nod and go away. If you are pleasant he just might have a pleasant conversation with you. If you are snooty with his do not be surprised if he returns the compliment. After all, he is only human.

One of the things people ask one another is "What are the cops like in such and such a place?"

Why don't you simply look around?

If you see that just about everyone driving obeys the speed limits and comes to a dead stop at stop signs than it is a lead pipe cinch that traffic laws are enforced. On the other hand if you see a number of pickups roaring past you with the passenger shooting signs and mailboxes with an occasional whiskey bottle being thrown out the window you can probably figure that they don't enforce traffic laws (and a few other laws) in that area.

A trip to a tavern willl tell you something. If the people there behave themselves they most likely enforce laws there. If you walk in on a Saturday night and see people breaking chairs over each other's heads and the bartender explains that the loose substance on the floor is not sawdust, but last night's furniture you can bet they don't enforce a whole lot in that particular municipality.

Policing simply reflects the community and the community generally gets either what they want or what they pay for, and often both. Cops are like everyone else. They tend to seek employment in the higher paying areas. If a community pays well it will draw a large enough empoyment pool so the community can be selective. If they don't pay well, they are generally stuck with what they can get. This is why wealthier neighborhoods generally get better officers.

Police officers are little more than a reflection of the community in which they serve.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I wrote this back in 2002. Long read.

Blaine is dead now. He has been for quite a while. He was the lucky charm of the Kodiak fleet for quite a while following the dubious honor of being shipwrecked three times in ten days, and living to tell the tale. Many fishermen would tousle his hair for luck before they left on a trip. Everyone was amazed that he had the guts to go out again even after the first shipwreck. In an ironic twist of fate he was killed in a pleasure boat accident off the New Jersey coast several years ago.

I didn’t get word of Blaine’s death until about a year after if happened, and that was through a mutual friend that had gone to visit his mother. His mother gave him a Zippo that I had gotten engraved and had given to Blaine after the ten days reign of fear.

“Run as fast as you will and escape if you can, for you are the quarry and fate is the hunter,” the lighter said. The mutual friend recognized the lighter and returned it to me, along with news of his death. I carried it briefly until the integrated unit I was working on made a run to New York. Off the coast of New Jersey, near the sight of the accident, I threw it over the side. Fate had caught up with Blaine, and it was only fitting that the lighter be buried with him.
And, quite frankly, it weighed too damned heavily in my pocket. Seafarers of all types, especially fishermen are superstitious as all hell.
Blaine was a high-school dropout with a Master’s degree in life. He could do two things, as I recall, that impressed me: He could make any cheap flashlight work under any circumstances, and he could drive my vehicle with no instruction.
To anyone that uses a flashlight regularly, that says a lot. Bill Gates probably can’t. As for the latter? Well… that was a miracle among the order of loaves and fishes. I had built the truck, a ’62 Dodge, in Seattle out of parts, I had maybe $26 tied up in it, and had managed to nurse it up the Alaska Highway. That’s a tale in itself, and one I’m perversely proud of. The truck was one of the joys in my life. It was obstinate, moody, cranky, and had a mind of it’s own, but she never quit me.

I drive a brand new Toyota these days, which I find disgusting because the damned thing is sterile. Come 100,000 miles, it’ll develop some character. I hate new things. No character.

One of our last conversations was about the author John Irving. I asked him if the book, Hotel New Hampshire was any good.

“Typical John Irving,” he said. “Whores, bears and farts. It was as funny as hell, though, you’d like it.”

Farts are something I’ll save for Howard Stern.

My bear story is pretty brief. I was picking salmonberries to make wine and jelly out of once, when I heard a rustle and say that behind the bush, a huge Brownie was standing there. I let out a start, took off and shot up a skinny tree. When I looked behind me, the bear was running in the opposite direction.

I stopped shaking like a baby’s rattle in well under an hour. A stiff belt of cognac helped.
I really don’t have a whole lot of use for prostitution, not that I have a whole lot against it, but it just isn’t my vice, but there are three tales in my life involving whores.

There was a pretty interesting deal in Kodiak as far as the local hookers went. The madam hired from the Astoria area and really had a pretty good eye for what it took to work for her. One thing was basic honesty, and a certain amount of integrity in the way they acted.
They were quiet and acted like ladies. They did not drink too much or drug. They were discreet and when they were cruising, they melted in with the furniture. They could afford to be discreet and invisible, because in a commercial fishing town customers would go looking for them. There was no room in the town for sleazy or rough stuff. One incident and the police chief would close them down in a heartbeat.

The key to a successful, quiet night on the town is reconnaissance, and these women were recon specialists extrodanaire. Carnac the Magnificent couldn’t hold a candle to the talents of the Kodiak hookers. They intuitively knew who was going to do what, when and where, and who was going to go off on a tear and make an ass of himself. They also had quite a nose for trouble. I’m sure this saved my ass a couple of times.

If a guy treated these women with any degree of decency, they were pretty generous with their knowledge. Some of them also played cribbage when times were slow and I whiled away many an hour playing cards with one or two of them.

One Christmas eve, I wandered into Tony’s to see if anyone wanted to go to Midnight mass. The only taker was one of the hookers. She was discreet enough to ask me quietly and met me outside so as not to create a scene. She didn’t have to do that. I wasn’t embarrassed in the least.

I got a fair amount of flak over that, but in the process, I found out who the real Christians were in town. You guessed it, the drunks, sheepherders, and fishermen. The usual church goers were pretty uppity to me for a while after that incident. I told several of them to feel free to use the piece of mistletoe that I had clipped to my shirt tail.

When she found out about all the social shit I got into about it, she swore revenge. When she left town for good a couple of months later, she left an envelope with the bartender to be delivered to me. It contained her client book with all sorts of sordid details. This was a dangerous thing, and as you can probably imagine, whose names were in it. All sorts of so-called decent citizens, many of whom had shit all over me for bringing her to mass.

I never used any of the information in it, and I’ll tell you this: If I had 200 pounds of C-4 explosive, I could not have done half as much damage to the town as I could have with that little notebook. It was like having my own nuclear bomb! I never even told anyone I had it!

Proper style, for me, upon entering the bar, was to plunk down next to one of the ladies of the night, buy her a drink, and look around a while. After I sensed the mood of the place, and had found out what was going on, I’d move around. Or, if the place had an air of ugliness about it, I’d leave.

This was not paranoia on my part, just good sense. Life on the Last Frontier could get pretty weird when it wanted to. Like when a drug dealer would bring a bunch of Quaaludes or mushrooms into town and peddle them at cut-rate prices. When that happened, it was best to get the hell out of there and find something else to do. Half the town would be whacked-out., which was pretty normal when you think about it. But when Quaaludes are mixed with alcohol, it’s depressing. I’d get tired of moving inert, passed out bodies out of the way.

Mushrooms were another story. People would get animated as all git-go. When mushrooms came to town in any quantity, it would be time to hide. When mixed with large quantities of alcohol, some people could do nothing but sit and laugh themselves goofy. I’m patient. I can wait. If I wanted to see a three-ring circus, all I had to do is wait until summer until Barnum and Bailey arrived. Or go fishing.

Katie was the third whore that entered my life, and she’s my favorite. In fact, she isn’t even a whore. Katie worked as an office girl in downtown. She wasn’t particularly pretty, nor was she ugly. She had a way about her that men enjoyed. She was blunt spoken, had the tact of a .45 automatic being thrust in your face, and had an outrageous and ribald sense of humor that occasionally appeared. She could joust verbally with the guys, dishing it out and taking her lumps. She didn’t sleep with every Tom, Dick and Harry, nor was she a vestal virgin. She was not impressed with a lot of bullshit credentials and kept herself pretty squared away,

I privately call her The Whore of Life.

I wandered into Tony’s with Al’s wife, Judy. We were both waiting to see Al. Al owed me money. Katie was sitting at a table, looking like she wanted to be picked on. She had that sporting for an argument look about her. I went to the bar…the place was dead… and picked up drinks for Judy and I. We went over and sat next to Katie. Judy and Katie chatted a bit. Then Katie looked at me and asked me how I was.

“Pretty good after this last trip,” I said. “but that storm left me so damned horny that I’d even go so far as to even give YOU a hundred bucks for a piece of ass!” It was a good natured insult that I knew she would not let slide. I braced myself. Katie could be quick-witted as a rattlesnake, and I expected a mildly profane retort.

Instead, I found myself trying not to let twelve year-old scotch whisky squirt out my nose!

“Get your cash up on the table!” Big Boy,” she said. She turned to Judy, who was slack-jaw astonished. “The goddam rent is due, and I’m fifty bucks short and I gotta eat until Tuesday!”

Judy laughed. I reached into my jeans pocket. I knew this game. It had nothing to do with sex or money. The object of the game was to keep a straight face and see who would quit the game first. I threw a pair of fifties on the table with a straight-faced leer.

Katie opened her blouse, grabbed the hundred bucks and stuffed the bills into her bra. She stood up. “Let’s go,” she announced.

We both left quickly, leaving Judy with an astonished look on her face. When we got outside, I expected Katie to bust out laughing and hand me my money back. After all, the look on Judy’s face was priceless. Instead, she hopped into my truck. I got in and fired the old ’62 Dodge up, put her into gear and started to Katie’s apartment. I still didn’t know what she was up to.

She was abrupt and short with me until we got inside her apartment. At which point she startled me by starting to get undressed.

“Ya gonna screw me, or what?” she asked.

“Katie, if you need the lousy hundred, call it a loan,” I said.

“Take your frigging clothes off me and screw me.”

“Is there a method to this madness?”

“Yes. Now screw me.”

So I did, and I was very selfish. The whole act didn’t take very long. She commented on that, and I snapped back that she had gotten paid for it, so shut up and went over to my clothes.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Getting dressed.”

“Get back in bed!”

So I got back in bed.

“I hate having sex with someone for the first time because guys like you are so damned keyed up that I ought to have charged you TWO hundred bucks. Now we can both relax because the ice has been broken. Besides, I needed the hundred bucks to spend on my new sweetie this weekend.”

“Who the hell is your new sweetie?” I asked. I glanced at my watch. I wasn’t checking the time, I was checking to see what day of the week it was. My personal calendar at that time held two dates, today and tomorrow. To everyone else it was Friday evening.

“You are, you stupid shit! After all, whadda ya think I am, some kinda whore or something?”

I didn’t dare touch that one with a ten-foot pole. Without a single word, I simply walked into her kitchen, grabbed bottle of wine and climbed back into bed.

And, yes, she spent the hundred bucks that weekend. She took me out Saturday night. A pretty good movie and a great dinner.

Katie and I had a relationship of sorts for a couple of months that hit it’s peak almost immediately and tapered off quickly. The chemistry that makes long term relationships just wasn’t there. Shortly after the relationship was over, I was astonished and very much relieved to discover that out basic friendship had actually improved.

Usually when a relationship splits, it splits completely. After the split we rode each others cases loud, and playfully nasty. We publicly never had a civil word to say to each other.

Privately, things were different. After Houseboat Bob killed himself that spring , she knew I was pretty upset because I had just spent the day with his bereaved father. She came to where I was living with an overnight bag and a thick flannel nightie, and climbed into my bed and held me and listened to me alternately cry and ramble on about a lost pal and dealing with a distraught father. She held me all night.

The next day, she and I had another nasty good natured spat, and we were both quite vicious. Quite a few people listened, and found it to be very entertaining.

Years later, when my friend drove seven hours one way to tell me about Blaine and return the Zippo lighter, he asked me about Katie. I told him I had lost touch with her shortly after I left the Rock. (to locals, Kodiak Island is known as ‘the rock’) He told me that she was still there, and that the locals still occasionally talk about the way she and I got along after we broke up.

“We miss it. It was like listening to Danny DiVito and Rhea Pearlman having breakfast with their kids,” he said.

The Bering Sea, aboard a 98 foot Bender, a Challenger series semi-custom crab boat, an older model that has seen quite some use. We have left port singing a very cynical song to the tune of an old Janis Joplin tune:

Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Marco…crab …boat;
My friends all sail Benders, They don’t stay afloat…..

It is now the dead of winter, and a couple weeks before Katie and I got together.

It is also a pretty god time to give you some particulars: In the late ‘70s, the Crab fishery exploded. There was money to be made there, a lot of money. The shipyards were making boats left and right. Marco, a Seattle based outfit made pretty good, stable boats that were well designed for the Bering Sea. In Alabama, Bender, who started off as a welding and machine shop, was marketing a fairly inexpensive model, 98 feet and designed along the lines of the Gulf shrimpers. It was a pretty seakindly boat, well made, but with a few inherent design flaws.

The boat could not carry enough ice on her superstructure to get a case of beer cold, nor could it carry many crab pots on deck in heavy seas. These boats generally went to sea with de-icing equipment known as “Louisville Sluggers”, meaning garden variety baseball bats. A scared deckhand with a baseball bat can remove a lot of ice, but several fishermen were lost by being swept over the side by heavy seas.

Several of these Benders “turned turtle” and were lost, generally with all hands, before the design flaw was later corrected by retroactively adding sponsons, void areas that added to the stability. But that was later…….

By the early to mid 80s, the crab fleet was getting pretty overcapitalized, the seasons were short, and every second spent working the gear counted. Workdays were long, thirty hour days were normal, forty and forty-eight hour days were commonplace, and seventy-two hour workdays were not unheard of.

Shortening the length of the seasons meant that skippers would have to work in rougher weather. Boat payments still had to be made. And skippers took pretty hellacious chances. Working gear in twenty-foot seas became commonplace.
Too commonplace…..

The fishermen evolved, too. They were independent, rugged, devil may care characters that were tough and too often pretty wild. Many had nothing to lose. Many would drink like wild men, many would constantly drug themselves to a stupor. Then they would go back to sea sick as dogs and work the poisons out of their systems. They took hellacious chances, constantly risked it all. That they could survive such rigors and binges is a monumental tribute to a thing called youthful, rude good health!

It is interesting to note that after I left Kodiak, the Navy opened a base up there for training their SEAL teams in cold weather operations, they made it clear to the SEAL team members that they were to leave the fishermen alone! To placate SEAL egos, they told them that they’d probably win the scuffle, but they’d probably get pretty busted up in the process.

Besides, the Navy had a lot better things to do with it’s money than spend it patching up busted up SEALs. An injured SEAL is non-operational.

In short, the fishermen were not typical, old school fishermen, but were highly trained athletes, bred for endurance. Skippers would often fire a deckhand on their thirty-fifth birthday simply for being too damned old.

I’ll reenter the story here by giving you a rundown on the present whereabouts of the crew:

Blaine: Dead. Skiff accident in New Jersey.
Larry: The skipper. Dead. Went down with the boat a couple of years after I got off it and moved away.
Guy: Deckhand. Dead. Killed with Larry.
Bill: Crippled up with arthritis. Lives in the Cascades. Does odd jobs.
Me: I’m telling the tale, ain’t I?

The seas were running about twenty feet when we decided to call it a day, and besides, we were toast after about thirty-six hours. Still, running gear in twenties was pretty commonplace. The seas were expected to get a hell of a lot worse before they got any better. Bill and I took the first wheel watch. Usually one guy takes it, but things were pretty snotty and Blake wanted two guys in the wheelhouse. Besides, Bill and I were a pretty good team. We’d swap off wheel duties and the other guy did errands, got things and lit cigarettes for the guy at the wheel in addition to keeping his eyes peeled. His main duty was to keep the guy on the wheel on his toes.

Incidentally, the flare of a match can ruin night vision for almost half an hour. The night lights in the wheel house were both dim and red to preserve night vision.

Things grew worse by the hour, and the seas grew to about thirty or more and it got cold. We were starting to make clear ice, which meant little. But the seas quickly grew and the clear ice rapidly started to turn into rime ice and started to build up fast.

I was on the wheel at the time and I looked at Bill. Not a word was spoken. He went below and woke up Guy and Blaine and kicked the skipper’s bunk. The boat started to handle a little sluggish.

Blake was like a cat. He was in the wheelhouse in a flash, and took one look at what was going on. Blaine and Guy didn’t have to be told what to do. They suited up and broke out the de-icing gear and headed out on deck. Larry ran below and brought up a case of Louisville Sluggers, took one and turned on the back deck intercom. He went below and grabbed his raingear, returned and gave us orders: Both of us were to stay where we were.


“ Yeah, the pair of you!”

I gave the wheel to Bill because he was a better boat handler than I was. Besides, he was bobbing around a bit with nervous energy. I could tell. He needed something to do. I did, too, but I didn’t know it at the time. Outside, the other three were gaining ground, or at least holding their own. The hours since we had racked out were mounting up. The other guys had gotten about three hours sleep, which was enough.

The reflection of Bill’s face in the wheelhouse glass told me that he was dog-tired, and I’m sure he saw the same in me. I got on the PA and argued that I was more good out on deck than here and Larry relented. My next couple hours were spent on deck busting ice. About two a.m., Larry sent us in. We were ahead of the game, and the seas were taking a bit of a break. Besides, the ice wasn’t building anymore. I figure that maybe it had gotten a bit warmer. We thought the worst was over, but we were wrong.

Ten minutes later, we were hit by a rogue wave, and the whole boat shuddered. Bill later told us that it was a miracle that we had not lost our windows. I went back to the wheelhouse, Blaine went below to tend to the engine room and refill the day tank. We knew that if the main quit, we’d probably die. I saw the fear working itself out of Bill’s body, I could tell because he was bouncing and really getting into steering. Guy started putting things away and making something to eat, which wasn’t too bright of a thing to do with the way the boat was bouncing around.

Curses and falling pots and pans could be heard. This failed to stimulate my appetite. Guy was incompetent in the galley. Blaine once said that Guy could fuck up a can of green beans. Blaine was right. A couple days earlier, Guy tried to open a can with an old-fashioned punch type opener and wound up with green beans all over the deck.

Wham! Another rogue! Suddenly the fear that I had held for the past several hours manifested itself. Here I was as steady as a rock, grinning like a Cheshire cat, when all of a sudden the fear I had slaked off came through to me. It had gone into my body. My colon was starting to spasm.

One of the windows had almost popped out, it was leaking, so I hammered it in with my fist until it was back in place. I grabbed a box of Kleenex and a five-gallon pail some wag had labeled ‘Puke Pail’, tore off the lid, dropped my pants and sat on the bucket. My sphincter exploded!

The entire wheelhouse became fouled with an odor that I thought the human body was totally incapable of producing. All the poisons of fear had just exited my body, and the stench was overwhelming.

Bill didn’t bat an eye. He just stayed on the wheel.

A few seconds later, I exploded again. This time the stench was worse, but I knew the fear was out of my body. I wiped myself, pulled up my pants and slammed the lid down on the pail and returned it to the corner and bungeed it in tight. A fetid, vile stink hung in the air.
Larry opened the lower hatch and started up to the wheelhouse.

“Beat it!” ordered Bill.

“What’s going on…..”

“Just get the fuck outta here and give us some Goddam privacy, will Ya?”

Larry went below. He was a damned good skipper, and knew when to leave well enough alone. Most skippers lacked the social grace to simply go away. Most would have popped off with some big ego lecture about how this is MY boat, and so forth. Not that Larry wasn’t an in-charge skipper, he just had some compassion and knew how to keep his ego in check.

Bill grinned. “That was the aroma of fear, if ever I smelled it. It’s gonna take at least an hour for this place to air out. Started seeing mermaids yet?” He was referring to the hallucinations that come with lack of sleep. Most of had had them many times as fishermen. I suppose the Indians call them ‘visions’, although many Indian visions were drug induced. My most common hallucination was pink and purple dinosaurs. Brontosaurus Rex.

“No,” I chuckled. “Wonder if Blaine has seen his horses yet.” Blaine always saw a horse ride across the wavetops when the hallucinations hit him. When that happened, he’d get shaky for a few minutes until he got over it.

“He got some sleep, remember?”

“Yeah,” I said, looking out the window. The one I had just hammered in. I was on lookout again. I lit Bill a cigarette and handed it to him. He took it and inhaled. It helped make the odor go away.

Outside, it was nasty, and it looked like it was nearing it’s peak. I stared into the blackness and say the reflection if Bill and his cigarette. Then I saw her.

I saw the Whore of Death.

I didn’t flinch. I looked carefully. There she was. I looked at her, checked her out for a good thirty seconds. Suddenly, I felt a painful erection. It actually hurt. I stopped checking her out and shifted my eyes. For the next thirty seconds or more I stared her straight in the eye. My loins still ached.

“You want me?” I said aloud.

She nodded.

My eyes locked into hers. I stared for quite a while. Then I spoke. “You can murder me, rape me, or take me by force anytime you want. But you can NOT seduce me!”

She smiled, the look of a seductress that knew she could have me no matter how I protested. To her my protests were nothing more than pro forma. She looked entertained that I’d protest at all. I stared hard into her made up eyes. Under her false eyelashes, her eyes were hard.

“Besides, you’re Mother Nature in another form. I know who you are and what you want!”

She paled before my eyes, turned as white as a sheet.

“Beat it, Whore,” I said. “Be gone!”

And she vanished. Seconds later, I went soft.

A few seconds later, I turned to Bill.

“What was that all about,” he asked.

I casually told him that I had been visited by the Whore of Death. Bill paled, and I explained that she was gone. Bill stayed a chalky white for several seconds. I casually lit him a smoke. The day was breaking through, and we were no longer steering in the dark.

“Don’t ask, I don’t know why I know this. Just listen. There will be one more big wave, and this storm is going go blow itself out. I just know this. By the time we wake up, we’ll be working the gear again.” I said.

Sure enough, a couple of minutes there was a huge swell, but we changed course to avoid the worst of it, firewalled the throttle, rode it to the top, chopped power, and surfed down the back of it, throwing spray all over.

“That son-of-a- bitch would have killed us,” said Bill.

Larry came up into the wheelhouse.

“It stinks in here,” he said, looking at me. “Something crawl up your ass and die?”

Bill looked at Larry. “You got it, Larry,” he said. “I’m outta here.”

As Larry took the helm, I looked at him. “As skipper of this stalwart vessel, you are a leader of men. Right now you don’t have any men left,” I said. Larry looked at me and shook his head with a perplexed look on his face. Then he snickered.

“Yeah, really,” he said. “You two look like hell.”

Bill grabbed his empty coffee cup, opened a locker, grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and poured about an inch and a half into the cup. The liquor would put him to sleep in seconds. Sometimes a guy could be too tired to sleep, and a medicinal shot or two would take the edge off enough to do the trick.

I grabbed the ‘Puke pail’ and the pair of us headed below. I made a mental note
not to trip on the cup, which I knew would wind up on the deck next to our bunks. Bill headed into the stateroom we shared, and I went out onto the shelter deck to clean the pail with a fire hose. I cleaned it and filled it 1/3 full of water, went back to the wheelhouse to replace it.

When I got to the rack, Bill was out cold.

To this day I wonder if I shouldn’t have taken a good shot before bed and passed out. I would have avoided a lot of mental turmoil, yet I would not know what I know today.

I climbed into my rack and stared at the overhead and ran the last couple hours back through my head. The whole thing was surreal.

First, I had looked the Whore of Death straight in the eye and not flinched.

Second, I had not let my fear overwhelm me. I had managed it and kept my sense of balance. I could take pride in these two things.

Third, I knew Bill and I now shared a special bond. We had a special respect for one another that would last for life. Neither of us would ever say a word to anyone else about the events that had taken place.

Fourth, I knew that I had been right chasing her off. That bitch was trying to seduce me and take both my life and my very soul. Had I given in, she would have taken me, and most likely, the whole crew. I wasn’t so much worried about MY life, as I was the lives of my shipmates. Still, the thought of spending eternity chasing her scared the hell out of me. And chase her, I would have, like many lost souls.

Fifth, and this scared me, I knew that the client book I had that had been given to me by the hooker I had taken to midnight mass held more power that I had ever imagined. Most of the names in it were fairly normal people. Many were single, some were married man that had strayed from the marriage bed for a fling, or some reason or another. But some were people that were trying to satisfy some deep rooted thing that was an aching in their souls.

This latter would willingly kill me in front of a thousand people and spend the rest of their lives in prison rather than have to publicly face themselves. I decided to do two things: I would still keep the client book, but I was going to ship it out of Kodiak. I eventually did this, and later I destroyed it.

I realized that I now knew too much. I was dangerous.

I wanted to sleep now, but it would not come. I found I wanted to look at The Whore of death again. I brought her back into my mind. I didn’t was to see her eyes, I just wanted to put her into my mind for future reference.
At this point, the erection I had experienced in the wheelhouse earlier returned. It strained against my long johns.

The Whore of Death was a tall woman, a couple inches taller than me. She was ageless, but looked around forty. She didn’t have a bikini figure, nor a Playboy model look about her, nor was she stocky like a corn-fed farm girl. Her hips were a bit wider than the model types, and she was fairly well busted, but not top-heavy. Far from the ideal figure Hollywood shoves down our throats, I can describe her body as being utilitarian and practical. The type that can just about keep on keeping on forever. One thing was for certain though: She had stolen her legs from Tina Turner. They were powerful.

Her face and skin were nothing remarkable, either. Her skin was neither teenager tight, nor old age wrinkly, but had somewhat of a leathery appearance that comes from too much time in the wind and sun, and she had a quite few stretch marks on her breasts, abdomen and hips, as if she had given birth several times.

It was quite some time later when I figured out where all the stretch marks came from: She had given birth to every single natural disaster that had ever occurred on the face of the planet!

What made her so damned attractive was a total animal magnetism that defined total carnality. A thing well beyond the carnality of the flesh, a carnality that went deep into the soul. It was fearful, and a man that tied himself up with her once would be doomed to spend the rest of eternity trying to be with her again. In the pursuit of her, he would give up everything and become a shell of a human, lost forever.

Indeed, I was glad to have sent her away when she appeared in the wheelhouse.

Another thing was certain: This was going to be my last winter fishing trip---ever! I was going to get off the boat as soon as the season was over, at least until well into spring.

I blocked her out of my mind, but my erection wouldn’t go away. I needed sleep, and contemplated going to the wheelhouse for a stiff drink to knock myself out, but the erection wouldn’t go away and I really didn’t want to wander up into the wheelhouse with an erection.

I reached into my long johns and touched myself. Instantly I exploded and before the throes of a very powerful orgasm were over, I was dead to the world in a deep sleep.

I woke to Bill rustling around, and looked out the porthole. The seas were down, sixes and eights and no whitecaps. The wind had died out. I looked at Bill.

“They’re over there, Bill,” I said, pointing to his pants.

“You asshole,” he laughed. It was a reference to the time we had been in a rush and had both tried to put on the same pair of pants a la Laurel and Hardy several trips ago.

We got dressed and went out into the galley. Blaine was there looking pretty chipper. He had probably sacked out on the settee.

For the first time since I’ve known him, Bill announced that he was starving. He was always a coffee and cigarette man. Everyone gaped. Even Larry as he walked into the galley. Seeing Larry in the galley was a good sign because it meant that Guy was at the helm. Larry never left Guy steering unless things were pretty mild.

“What happened up there, last night?” Larry asked Bill. His voice had a cutting edge to it.

“Nothing that had anything to do with the safe operation of the vessel,” answered Bill, in a formal voice.
Blaine glanced at me, but the look I gave him told him that nothing was ever going to come from my lips. He nodded, and never asked me again. He knew better.

“Are you positive?”


“I will take you at your word.” Larry went up into the wheelhouse and Guy came down.

“One a you guys shit your pants up there?” He asked. “The wheelhouse sorta smelled pretty bad when we got up there last night.”

Blaine surprised us all. He grabbed Guy and bounced him against a bulkhead a couple of times. Bill and I looked at each other and laughed. Then Blaine backhanded Guy a couple times. More laughter. Guy broke loose and ran up to the

Larry came down a minute or so later. He was carrying a bottle of cognac, and poured the three of us a cup of coffee and added a tablespoon or two to each of the cups.

“Well, Boys, time for our morning booze,” he said.

More laughter. The cognac he added was not enough to effect us in any was, but it sure gave the coffee a wonderful aroma.

Blaine cooked up a pretty damned good breakfast, and we ate like hogs. Fifty minutes later we were working the gear, and would do so for the next few days until the season ended. We made pretty good money, too

Further adventures in deranged behavior:

I got off the boat as planned, and in June got back on. We fished black cod and halibut and I made a bunch of money. I could afford to take almost a year off, and in the middle of August, took my personal sailboat off for a long cruise down the inside passage. I was sailing nearly a year before the money ran out, and wound up having an interesting time for quite a while. It’s another story. A book, really.

During the Gulf of Alaska crossing, I hit a pretty good storm and saw the Whore of Death again. She announced that she had something for me and vanished. When I went below, I saw my father, who had died a few years before. He was funny, and left me in good spirits. I still miss him. He was a real character.

Bill got off in August when I did, and went to the Cascades to build himself a home on some land he had there, returning to fish as he needed money.

Guy took his money and took some woman to Hawaii. He was gone three days, returned pretty upset that she had left him after he had tossed her into the pool. We felt bad for him until a couple months later when the woman came back to town. Seems he HAD thrown her into the pool, all right. From a third story balcony! After that, no female would have anything to do with him, even the hookers. He left town, but returned in time to be rehired and later killed when Larry lost the boat.

Blaine went back to Jersey, where he met his fate.

I never did return to winter fishing.


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Monday, March 19, 2012

SOmething for you from a couple winters ago

I posted a poll a while back asking you guys if I ought to get a snap brim cap, a fifty mission ‘crush’ or a leather helmet and goggles for driving the Miata in.

Actually, I’ll probably drive it bareheaded, but I have an invite to go for a ride in a Stearman when the weather breaks and I’ll be damned if I’m going for a once in a lifetime flight in anything but a helmet and goggles.

So I put on my flight jacket and drove out to Ohio to buy me a leather helmet and goggles. The place was having a special. Buy both and they throw in a scarf. Cool.

It was as cold as a witch’s tit in a brass bra when I left the store, so I left the regalia on and hopped into my pickup and headed home. I left the stuff on and promptly forgot about it as I drove along the Ohio Turnpike. After a while, I wanted a cup of Joe, so I pulled into a rest stop. I was almost into the restaurant area when I realized that I was still wearing a silk scarf, helmet and goggles, but it was so cold I said ‘The hell with it’ and walked in.

I was in the McDuck line when a trio, obviously three generations by the family resemblance fell in behind me.

The teenaged boy, about sixteen or so, asked his dad "What’s with him," looking at my outfit. I couldn’t help myself. I turned and introduced myself.

"Crash Murphy," I said. "I’m one of the last of the Old School stick and rudder men. Headed to New York City to guard the Empire State Building. That idiot Robert Denhart the third pulled another one of them oversized apes offa Skull Island and he’s gonna show it. They pulled me out of retirement to keep the Empire State Building safe. Best piece of flying I ever did was back in ’33 the first time a gorilla busted loose."

"They don’t have screamers like Faye Wray anymore, either," I added. "I had a radial engine roaring and 4 thirty caliber machine guns going off and I could STILL hear her above it all."

The father smirked, but the look the grandfather gave me was truly devilish. The kid didn’t know what to think. He wasn’t scared, nor really too uncomfortable. Still, he decided to pass me off to someone else.

"My grandfather flew fighters during WW2," said the kid.

"What was his name?" I asked.

"George Bailey," said the kid.

"I taught a George Bailey to fly back in ’43," I replied.

"It was ’42," interrupted the old man. "Crash, is that really you? I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!" He looked at his grandson. "He’s the guy that taught me to fly during the war," he explained.

The look on the kid’s face was priceless. His eyes were as round as saucers and his lower jaw was resting on his waist. At least until he saw the look on the faces of his grandfather and I. Then he turned real red. He had just been had by a couple of pros and knew it. He turned beet red.

The father chuckled, Gramps and I smirked. The father had actually stepped aside. He was enjoying the show.

One look at George Bailey and I knew he was probably something like a very successful used car salesman. He was clear eyed and as sharp as a tack.

"You look good, George," I said. "Last time I saw you, you were as skinny as this youngster is. You’ve grown downright handsome in your middle age."

"You, too, Crash. How did you do it?"

"I used to tell you young guys not to drink that cheap whiskey," I said. "But you never listened to me. I told you to drink good whiskey off of the top shelf, and plenty of it."

"I remember," said George Bailey. He turned to his son. "Do we still have any of that good Bourbon left that Jimmy gave you last Christmas?"

"Sure," answered the son.

"Good. I’m going to have me a drink of that when we get home," said George Bailey.

"But dad," said the son.

"Heck, I might have two."

"But, dad…"

"I might even have six or eight if you don’t stop telling me what to do, Son. I’m still your father!"

The clerk called "Next!" so I went up and ordered my coffee and bid them a hasty adios.

As I was leaving, I heard the kid ask his father and grandfather who the hell I was. I heard George Bailey tell him "A friend."

Then George Bailey turned to his son. "I really am going to have that drink," he said.

I laughed all the way to my pickup
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Louie and I Man the fighting tops.

Louie and I were in our third year of Cub Scouts and the fall tour sponsored my the military was a visit to the USS Constitution, ‘Old Ironsides’, located in Charleston, Mass.

This was not really as exciting as it sounds. My aunt had taken me to see ‘Old Ironsides’a few months earlier during the early part of the summer when my mother was in the hospital. My aunt was a new schoolteacher and decided her nephews needed some ‘cult-chah’ and dragged my kid brother and I through the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (booooring), the Boston Science Museum (pretty neat) and to keep our interests up, we went to see Old Ironsides The Navy’s ‘canned tour’ was pretty good, and they had let my brother and I play with the smashers, the heavy 32 pound guns.

Still, I wasn’t going to miss out on a trip with the guys, so I went. Louie and I teamed up again, as usual.

This was a great deal. Mrs. Broomstick was no longer our Den Mother, Mrs. Lewis was ands she was pretty good in that she didn’t over mother us and raise hell over what we ate. She had several kids of her own, mostly older, and she had a lot of things figured out. She figured out that simply feeding us was good enough and that there were better things to raise hell about than a couple of lousy peas left on the dinner plate.

One other thing she had figured out is that Dr. Spock was an idiot.

I heard her tell my mother that once. She raised her kids the old fashioned way. She used common sense.

‘Mother’ Davis was Cub master. This was about three or four years before we started calling him ‘Mother’. Back then he was simply Bob Davis to adults or Mr. Davis to us kids. A couple years later, he became a Boy Scout leader where he earned the nickname ‘Mother Davis’.

Mr. Davis, I later learned had been a Navy veteran of WW2 and his battle station on an Attack Transport was the helm. During Okinawa, he had spent a hellish 70 hour-long stint at the wheel dodging Kamikazes. He was pretty proud that ‘his’ Marines had gotten into Okinawa all right. I learned this later in Boy Scouts.

He was also sometimes a real character with a real deadpan sense of humor.

At the Pack meeting, he explained that we were going on the tour with another Pack from across town. This was pretty neat because we knew most of the guys in the other Pack from school.

Two Packs of Cub scouts, almost 100 kids were lined up and Mr. Davis got in front of all of us and carefully explained that Constitution was a bona fide Naval vessel and that we were to show her some respect. We were supposed to board her properly and demonstrated the proper way to board.

We started up, following Mr. Davis. He was wearing his old Navy cap.

When he got to the top, he faced the Officer of the deck and saluted.

"Former 1st Class Petty Officer Davis requests permission to board, Sir," he said.


Mr. Davis faced aft and saluted the colors.

Then he stood next to the Officer and watched almost a hundred Cub Scouts board.

"Cub Scout Johnny Smith requests permission to board, Sir," giving the two fingered Cub Scout salute.

The officer of the deck returned the salute, and the Cub Scout faced aft and saluted the colors.

Mr. Davis watched the scene repeat itself almost a hundred times with a big self-satisfied look on his face. The poor officer of the deck must have worn out his arm returning all the salutes, but he did, returning every single one crisply.

Another officer, one with oak leaves on his collar, watched and chuckled at the hapless officer of the day. So did a Chief. Louie and I knew what Chiefs were from out trip to Wasp, two years earlier.

"Hey, Chief," I asked. "You let the captain run the boat?"

Mr. Davis laughed out loud, the Chief grinned appreciatively and the officer with the oak leaves on his collar points smirked.

"The Chief does a pretty good job of keeping an eye on me," he said.

They all laughed.

"I like you, kid," said the Chief.

They laughed again.

After the last of us boarded, the tour started.

The Navy was smart, figuring that no human should be forced to give a tour of any type to 100 children of Cub Scout age, split us into a couple of groups. Anything over one thousand, two hundred and thirty four questions in a two-hour period was enough for anyone. The two packs were split up, which was a pretty good deal, considering we got to pal around with other guys we knew, but shared Cub Scouting in common.

Seeing that I had been through the tour and had briefed Louie, we plotted out escape.

We didn’t want to be sailors. We wanted to be Marines.

Mrs. Lewis had shown us a picture book about Constitution at our Den meeting. One of the pictures was a picture of US Marines on the fighting tops. They were shooting muskets at the British from a platform halfway up the masts. We asked her about what the guys there were doing. She read us the cutline.

‘Marines man the fighting tops during a battle in 1814’, read the cutline.

The mentality of being a basic rifleman is something that someone is born with, or one does not have it. Louie and I must have had it at the time. The picture fired our imaginations.

We both knew where our spiritual battle stations were.

Anyway, we sneaked out of the tour and hid near the officer of the day. Sometimes the best place to hide is in the lion’s mouth.

"Wait until he’s talking to a pretty lady," said Louie.

We waited. Shortly thereafter, a woman from the Baltimore area showed up and came up the gangway. She had to be from Baltimore because she had a set of breastworks that looked like they came from Fort McHenry.

While the officer of the deck was busy with her, Louie and I interrupted.

"Permission to man our battle stations," I asked, giving the Cub Scout salute.

"Granted," snapped the officer, returning our salutes.

Our little asses were now covered!

John Paul Jones would have marveled. The Gunnery Sergeant of Bon Homme Richard would have been in tears of joy seeing the speed the ‘tops were manned!

We did not climb the rigging, nor did we scale the mast.

No way in hell. There is a proper nautical term for what happened next.
Louie and I swarmed up the ratlines, and in record time, too.

Seconds later, two ten-year-old wannabe Marines were on the fighting tops of the forward mast. How we got up there without being caught is still, forty-two years later, beyond me.

Still, we were there.

We sat there, out of sight and enjoyed the view.

Then we did sort of a dumb thing. We looked down.

We were a bit scared. The Officer of the Deck looked like a small dot from there. Slowly we relaxed, and the inevitable happened. We started fucking around, which is to be expected of ten year-old boys.

It wasn’t long before one of us did something stupid like shout "Land, Ho!" or something dumb like that. It wasn’t much, but it didn’t take much, either.

That’s when the shit hit the fan. Chaos reigned on the main deck. Orders were being barked and suddenly we saw a sailor start up the ratlines toward us. He was coming up the starboard side. At a glance, we saw that all the action going on below was on the starboard side.

So Louie and I started down the port side ratlines as fast as we could. I guess we figured that if we could hit the deck running, that we could scurry below and mix in with another group of Cub Scouts. They’d probably give up if we did that.

We were pretty close to the deck when we both saw that there were people headed toward us to head us off, so when we were pretty close to the deck, we both jumped.


I landed in the arms of a pretty beefy Chief. The grip he held me in let me know that I wasn’t going anywhere.

The officer with the oak leaves caught Louie and they both fell in a heap. Louie bounced up like a cat and took off like a shot. He almost made it, but was nailed cold by a sailor that scooped him up like a sack and returned him to the Skipper, the Chief and I.

"What were you doing up there," asked the Captain.

"Me and Louie are going to be Marines when we get bigger," I said. "We were just manning our battle stations."
"We had permission," added Louie.

"Who gave you permission?" asked the Skipper.

"He did," we both said, pointing at the Officer of the Deck. "He said we could man our battle stations!"

"Mister," said the Skipper. "Do you have any children?"

"No, Sir"

"When you have children, you’ll learn."

"Yes, Sir." He looked embarrassed.

The Skipper and the Chief exchanged looks. They seemed somewhat amused. But were trying to hide it.

"I’m glad I have girls," said the skipper.

"Hell, Sir," said the Chief. "In a couple of years, you’ll gladly trade stuff like this when the girls discover boys and you find a dozen young men outside their window baying like hounds."

The Skipper turned ashen.

"That’ll be enough of that, Chief. But I do take your point."

We got off pretty easily, with a lecture of sorts. The skipper also told us that we couldn’t do Marine things until we were actually old enough to be Marines.

"We figured that if we learn to do Marine things now, we’d make stripes faster when we went in," said Louie.

"You two will do OK just the way you are," said the Chief.

The Skipper and the Chief were both kind men and they escorted us back to the tour.

"Why did you guys start running? Asked the Skipper.

"Because you were chasing us," I answered.

The Chief actually laughed outright.

"Yeah," said Louie. "And if we were caught, we’re supposed to try and escape."

"You two will make pretty good Marines," said the Chief.

It was well over thirty years before I found out why we never caught hell for this from Mr. Davis or Mrs. Lewis. I found out from ‘Mother’ Davis a couple years before he died.

He told me that he figured that two ten year old boys that had been caught raising hell by a Navy Chief had gotten whole lot more of a punishment than they deserved.

edited to add, these days it's pretty funny telling Marines that 'When I was a whole lot younger than you, I was manning the 'tops on Old Ironsides!'

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St Patrick's Day

Well, that idiot Santorum is doing a great job of talking himself out of the Oval office again. He's talking about tearing up the first amendment with a so-called war on pornography among other things.

He's already made it clear that he wants to govern the reproductive systems of women and tell them that they have to have children if they want to have sex.

What he seems to be promising us is that if he gets elected he is going to spending most of his time trying to make sure that the government will be strictly enforcing the laws of the Catholic church and regulating behavior of consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes.

None of this whatsoever is any business of the government.
The imbecile should simply be telling us how he is going to get the country back on their feet and working again.

If he would simply realize that government has no place in our private lives and start worrying about how to get the country off of its ass and up and working again he would be a shoo-in.

While I will not vote for Barack Obama under any circumstances, I will not vote for anyone that wants to take my freedom away.

If Santorum gets the nod I will be in the middle of a dileimma. I very well may not go to the polls for the first time in my adult life.
Why bother?

It only serves to encourage them.
Spring is starting to show its head and I have a feeling that this is going to be a long summer full of sultry nights and you know what that means when the Grandfather's Club meets on my back porch.
We have a snort together and sometimes even two and plot against the government and their high-handedness. Our big thing is to make sure that the grandchildren get a real taste of true American freedom.

I think that this summer we are going to illegally and criminally take the grandchildren out for a ride through farm country in the back of a pickup truck and endanger their lives a little more often than we did last summer.

After we commit this reckless crime against humanity we retire to the back porch and strike yet ANOTHER blow for liberty. We have a drink of bourbon.

Today is St. Patrick's Day and if I was home I would put my yarmulke on and head straight on down to the local Jewish deli for a corned beef on rye and a side of slaw because the way the Irish serve corned beef and cabbage is an abomination.

Yesterday someone came along and tried to ruin it by making references to the Catholic church and calling it a fariy tale. He ought to have his ass kicked for trying to ruin a perfectly good holiday for the rest of us that use it as an excuse to eat corned beef and suck down a Guiness or two.

Saint Patrick supposidly chased all the snakes out of Ireland. I wish he would come to this country and do something close here. He could run the snakes out of this country. He could leave all the legless creatures that slither on the ground but it sure would be nice to wake up and find Washington DC with a pretty good sized portion of the population gone.

Someone ran a poll a while back over who would emerge as victor in a fight between Chuck Norris and the Most Interesting Man in the World.

While I will not go so far as to even venture a guess as to who would emerge victorious in such a bout, I do firmly believe that watching such a fight would prove to be.........................interesting.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Today is a blah day.

I really do not have a whole lot to say for a change but I have pretty good news.

No, I did not save a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to GEICO.

I got in touch with my nephew last night and he is going to pay me a visit and hang out for a few days. That is pretty important to me because he is going to get a little responsibility dumped on him when he gets here.

One of the things that I want to get taken care of while I am alive and in one piece is what is to be done with me after I cease to exist.

He's getting that little chore dumped on him. It will be his job to see that the box containing my remains is turned over to the United States Navy for burial at sea.

I can imagine how that's going to work out and I can see a circus in the making but he's the guy for the job.

I suppose if the pickup I own still runs he can save a few bucks by throwing the box in the back and heading off to Norfolk to deliver the body. He's smart enough to tie the load down and cover it with a tarp.

Then again maybe I should find someone a little less responsible for the job as it would be a lot more fun to look down from the heavens and watch a 3 ring circus as the box falls out of the pickup while going up a hill. I can see it now. A couple of drunks trying to drag the box back and reload it on the pickup on the Pennsylvania turnpike as a trooper drives up and beer cans roll out of the bed.

Or pulling up to the base entrance with a pickup full of beer cans and a casket in the bed.

"May I help you," asks a spiffy sailor.

"Yeah. I got my Uncle Pic in the back here and I want to take him to where you bury people at sea."

"Hmmm," says the sailor. "I gotta inspect this vehicle."

"OK, but Uncle Pic's gettin' kinda ripe and I was hoping to get him into a refrigerator before he starts too stinky. Ya might really want to freeze him. The pizza and six-pack he had before he died really tore his ass up."

He exits the vehicle and there is the ringing noise of an empty Jameson's bottle hitting the pavement.

Still, I look forward to seeing my nephew because he is no longer a damned kid. He is a good man and I respect him. I have a lot of things to do before he arrives.

It'll be a pretty good three or four days with him hanging out and doing dopey guy things.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

One of my shipmates live on a pretty nice boat.

He bought it for peanuts and probably got what he originally paid for. It wasn't much of a boat when he bought it but after a lot of sweat equity is is now a pretty fine yacht. There was a lot of sweat and, over time, a pretty good chunk of change he coughed up to put the vessel together.

The boat has twin diesels and a pretty good sized fuel tank and uses fuel at the rate that you would expect of a yacht of that size. At current fuel prices that is about $25/hour. That comes to about $600/day.

Of course, he doesn't take it out a whole lot, partly because of that and partly because he simply put it together to live on and partly to resell.

He does this as a way of making a few extra bucks and saving a few extra bucks because slip space is cheaper than renting an apartment. I suppose to a certain extent he is playing 'flip this boat'.

He reports to me that an awful lot of people generously offer him, say, a bottle of wine or a case of beer to either go for a boat ride or to take them fishing. He also reports that when he points out that at 6 gallons of diesel an hour for an 8 hour fishing trip is 48 gallons of diesel at about $3.75 a pop comes to about $180 and when you add oil changes and other maintainence $200 really won't cover it.

Of course when he points this out to someone they seem to get a bit upset and think he is a jerk. He isn't.

He's just another working stiff that doesn't happen to have a few spare extra couple hundred bucks kicking around to piddle away and impress someone.

To a certain extent anyone that owns a pickup truck or a van runs into this sort of thing from time to time. They get asked by someone to help them move. Generally this really isn't a problem when the pickup owner agrees after being offered a tank of gas and a case of beer. DUI laws have pretty much quashed 'moving parties'.

An awful lot of people don't think. Fuel costs money. A case of beer which the skipper can not drink anyway while the vessel is underway really doesnt to start to begin to come close to compensate for what you are asking someone to do. Especially a case of beer that the passengers are going to drink themselves anyway.

We're talking about a fifty foot yacht here and not some dinky little jon boat with a 5 horse kicker stuck on the back.

Back when I lived on a 24'7" sailboat with a 9.9 horsepower Honda for auxillary power things were an awful lot different. If someone showed up with some beer or a jug or something I could easily afford to blow off a day and go sailing because it would only cost me a couple of cups of gasoline at about a buck or so a gallon to get me out of the harbor. The wind was free. I think to a certain extent that is still is because nobody has found a way to tax it yet, but I imagine someone will come along with a way.

There's an awful lot of difference between a 24'7" cruising sailboat and a 50 foot motor yacht, both in size and operating costs yet there are an awful lot of people that think that a bottle of wine will cover the operating costs of a 50 foot motor yacht.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The killings in Afghanistan. Part 2

I started a thread on another website I frequent with a link to yesterday's post and as of 8 hours after I posted the opinions seemed to run for and against having the Staff Sergeant turned over to face Sharia law. They seemed to be roughly split into 3 opinions..

A few tried to compare it to the major that killed 13 in Texas but that was a case of a GI killing other GIs on a military post. That is clearly a case that is covered entirely by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

There were a couple people that said that trying the Staff Sergeant by the Afghani court system was barbaric. I do not doubt that one bit. Perhaps the Staff Sergeant should have thought of that before he perpetrated such a barbaric act himself.

A GI in a foriegn country to a certain extent is governed by local law. While on duty he is protected by the military and that is the way it is supposed to be. Inflicting casualties on the enemy is not considered to be a criminal act. That's what GIs do. They inflict casualties on the enemy.

What they do not do is leave firebases and the legal protection afforded by them and wander downtown and commit crimes. They do this at their own risk.

As for the three opinions I have had expressed over yesterday's post, they run about 1/3 expressing we ought to drag the Staff Sergeant back to the States for trial. Some of them stated that if we turned the Staff Sergeant over to Afghani authorities that they would be brutal. I have no problem with this. The murders were brutal.

He went into their town and murdered their people and I have no problem with them extracting justice by their rules.

Others expressed that by doing so it would make us look weak. I disagree. It would make us look fair and just. There's a difference.

A sense of justice is a strength and not a weakness.

Another school was in 100% agreement with my post.

There was also another school of thought and when I think about it it may not be a bad idea. The third school of thought is that we try the Staff Sergeant by courts-martial in country, expedite the appeals process and if he is convicted, execute him in Afghanistan.

I don't have a problem with the latter proposal at all.

The biggest thing is to make it clear to the people of Afghanistan that what the Staff Sergeant did will not be tolerated at all by the United States military.

To be honest with you I feel this way not because of some type of emotional sympathy for the Afghanis. I think that this is a necessary thing to do for the troops serving over there. The troops should know that anything that endangers them needlessly will be dealt with.

While we can't undo the damage the Staff Sergeant did, we can certainly make it clear that we do not tolorate this. That in itself will help make it clear to the Afghanis that the average GI doesn't go along with outright murder of civilians.

The Afghanis should be made well aware of this and the troops damned well deserve to know that anything endangering them needlessly will be dealt with immediately.
I just asked one of the troops what he thought ought to be done to the jerk and his reply was brief and to the point:

"Firing squad of US troops in the village square."

It should be noted the GI that said this is a paratrooper woth 5 tours under his belt.

I have no problem with that. It might even do a better job than simply turning him over to Afghan authorities. It would send a message to the Afghans that we don't tolerate that kind of behavior at all.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'd be surprised if this post doesn't get me a lot of crap

I didn't get the cattle prod I mentioned yesterday because I really didn't want to deal with some humorless boob.
Yesterday I read a story about a couple and their kid getting tossed off of an airplane because the kid wouldn't behave. Good call on the pilot's part. I support him 100%. There is no reason 175 people should be cooped up on an airplane with a kid that won't behave itself.

In other news, the troops are now most likely going to experience the Taliban increasing activity thanks to some Staff Sergeant going off and killing a bunch of civilians in Afghanistan. Of course, there is simply no reason for this whatsoever. The Staff Sergeant has just put a lot of GIs at risk and that is never a good thing. While the Staff Sergeant is being detained in safety the rest of our GIs will be at increased risk.

Of course, the Army will courts-martial him and if he is deemed mentally incompetent he will wind up in the screw factory for rethreading. If he isn't considered incompetent he will wind up in Leavenworth and probably have to spend the rest of his life in isolation because the GIs there will probably extract justice from him if he is not isolated.

Frankly, in this particular instance he has committed a civilian offense against the people of Afghanistan. He ought to be turned over to them and let him face Sharia law.

If a GI in, for example, Germany or South Korea committed a crime against local law by there he would most likely have to face criminal prosecution by the Germans or Koreans. I'm pretty sure that the German police have carted in more than one GI for getting drunk and tearing up a bar and taken him to court.

Turning this GI over to the Afghans would do several things. It probably wouldn't get the Taliban settled down but it would show the average Afghani that we don't tolorate that kind of behavior in this country and we don't tolorate our people behaving like that over there.

Over the years I have spoken with a number of professional GIs, both Army and Marine and almost to a man they have told me stories of little acts of kindness paying off in huge dividends.

"Don't go down that street today, Marines," said one kid to a Marine patrol. Sure enough the engineers located a pretty good sized IED a few hours later. Right down the street the kid steered the patrol clear of.

Betcha that won't happen as often after this incident. Innocent GIs are going to pay heavily for this act of cruel stupidity.

This does not mean that GIs are Kumbaya singers, either. They are not. Nor are they wild-eyed killers. They are professionals. They kill when they have to, without hesitation, compassion or remorse. It is just another part of their job.

Right now I believe we have the most professional military that we have ever had in history. They are to a man, volunteers. A large percentage are not still on their first enlistment. They are on professional status. Most of them have at least one deployment under their belt, and many of them have several deployments.

This also isn't another war where the young first enlistment privates and corporals constitute the overwhelming percentage of casualties.
If you look at the casualty reports there are an awful lot of officers and NCOs leading from the front and getting hit. This means to me that the professionals are not simply time servers. They are leading from the front where they belong.

It doesn't really matter if they are reservists or regulars, most of them have been overseas and gotten their hands dirty.

I'll bet there are not a whole lot of GIs out there that support the recent cowardly killings of all those civilians. It would be interesting to see how many GIs would be in favor of handing the Staff Sergeant over to Afghan authorities for trial and punishment.

An awful lot of keyboard commandos out there are going to try and tell me that I'm wrong here but I'd sure like to hear what the boots on the ground over there think. The man has disgraced his uniform, his service and himself. What is a whole lot worse is that it sounds like a lot of GIs are going to pay for these acts with arms, legs, sanity and their very lives.

I'd bet an awful lot of the troops would go along with throwing the Staff Sergeant to the wolves. I'll bet they don't condone that kind of behavior, either for a number of reasons, either moral, practical or both.

Then again I may very well find myself wrong with this post because it is going to take time before all the facts trickle in but this is what it looks like now.

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