Monday, May 21, 2007

Who says we can't?

I don’t think I can stand another politician saying that we can’t deport 12,000,000 illegal aliens. Adolph Hitler killed 6,000,000, and you can throw in another 20,000,000 Russians in what they call The Great Patriotic War. We don’t want to kill anyone but some folks need to go home. The economy will not collapse, and there are Americans who will take a job of work without claiming it’s somehow demeaning.

There’s a lot of debate going on about Ted Kennedy’s amnesty bill. John McCain has once again proven himself to be someone I don’t want for my president. Jimmy Carter has once again shamed me as a citizen of Georgia.

I may lose that $100 bill that’s been sleeping under the paperweight on my desk for the last two elections. I always bet on the common sense of the American public, and I haven’t lost yet. The She-devil…Hillary…scares me, and I fear an attack of national dementia.

This reconquista business scares me, too.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Leave them kids alone!

So, I wake up this morning, overcoming the insomnia monster, and here is an elderly lady being attacked in church. I wasn’t through ranting about War II veteran Leonard Sims, and I’m waiting on the follow-up about the Manhattan granny who got punched out a while back.

What is the deal with attacking old people? Is it their vulnerability? Are criminals such cowards these days that they can’t stand up and commit a crime one-on-one? Take me on; I’m relatively healthy and fit. I have the handicap of a wheelchair, so the odds might even out in your favor. Don’t be slamming older folks around.

It’s ironic that churches have surveillance cameras these days. This punk is so caught. The lady he attacked fought him off with a pen. That is so cool; Grandma sends him to the hospital with stab wounds.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you commit a crime in church, God is watching you. The surveillance camera images are quite clear, and the thug will be identified and arrested in real time.

Maybe it’s just my anachronistic religious upbringing, but I don’t think I’d want to mug Grandma in God’s sight on the third row of the church.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Photo clarification

Yes, the previously posted picture is a shot of a .44 magnum at work. Clint Eastwood spoke it exactly right as "Dirty Harry": it's the most powerful handgun in the world, and will blow your head clean off.

It's a shame that at least one righteous student at Virginia Tech wasn't carrying one that awful morning.

Sick stuff...

Okay, I confess. I have done something shameful online. No, nothing like cruising kiddie porn, or even adult porn, which is pretty boring these days.

The site I visited was a form of pornography, however. After seeing it featured on FOX News, I went to the “V-Tech Rampage” site and played through the game a couple of times. It’s a crudely produced little piece of obscenity, with graphics on the level of Pac-Man.

Obviously, what is causing the current uproar is the fact that this little shooter game is based upon a horrible real-life tragedy. Adding to the problem is the game’s creator, a 21-year-old Aussie whose name will not be honored here. This chap sports a Hitlerian toothbrush moustache and a nasty attitude. He says he will remove the game from the Internet for $2000, and apologize for $3000.

I have children and blue jeans older than this punk. Where are his parents? I suppose he has the right to create such a “game”; conversely, I suppose if I could get within arm’s reach, I would have the right to give him a whack upside his head on behalf of the survivors and next-of-kin of the Virginia Tech victims.

You won’t find a link to this little game here. It takes a few clicks, using Google™ through Yahoo™. Like the real shooter, I won’t honor the kid’s name or website with mention here. I’m sure that since his 5 minutes of attention on FOX, this arrogant little kid is wallowing in multiple site hits and the attention of the world. I regret being one of the site hits, but I had to see it to believe it. It’s real. I would’ve felt less furtive had I been viewing naked women online.

Obsessive as always with my father’s murder, I wondered about the impact if some kid half the world away suddenly designed the “.22-caliber Killer Game”. Y’know, something about stalking, hiding in the bushes, and shooting elderly men in the head when they return home from their respective jobs. Hurt, angry, and outraged doesn’t begin to describe it. I’d be looking for blood and thunder if someone dealt with my personal tragedy that way.

I can only hope that the Virginia Tech families form a unified front against this punk, and ignore him. What he’s done is a sorry example of human behavior. Just because one has the right to do something, they are not justified in their execution of that right. We don’t need more laws to stop such idjits; we need to shun them, hence no link on this site to the game.

He didn’t even get Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes; he got five too many of fame. Nobody reads this blog, so my commentary won’t help to load his wagon.

Be gone, bad boy! 21 ain’t too old to spank! I know unprintable jokes that are cuter than you! Take your obscene little game and go home to the outback of Oz.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A True Hero

There is a lot of “stuff” going on that demands news headlines. That’s been a given for most of my adult life—said adult life beginning approximately day before yesterday. This is a space for what hits the gut. The Big Picture is out there, and that’s why they put windows in houses. The Iranians will still have nukes tomorrow morning. Traitors will continue to run American policy decisions. Radical Islamists will still want to kill us day after tomorrow.

Come December, Dad would have been 100 years old.

I have written here in the past about my father’s murder. If that seems a bit obsessive or compulsive, fine. You go live with it. I watched my mother die in a state of paranoia because the serial killer was never caught. I sleep with a firearm within arm’s reach, and it’s been 22 years since Dad fell. Thank you, so-called “.22 caliber Killer”. Your legacy lives on. Some of us never forget.

This isn’t about my father. Constant readers know the facts, and the outreach is always there for you. Given 1980s investigative sciences and the incompetence of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department and the GBI [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], only my father will know the face of his killer, while I pick feuds with “law enforcement" agencies statewide.

Having gotten my plug for unrequited justice in, this isn’t really about my father. This is about a black man in Detroit named Leonard Sims.

In the 1940s, the Army was segregated. Despite earlier heroics by folks like the free men who composed the bulk of the 54th Massachusetts regiment, and other African-Americans who served America because they believed in the dream, in the stressed-out years of War II black soldiers were still regarded as second-class troops. Like their forebears, they were relegated to scut work. The logistical accomplishments of the Red Ball Express in the European theater are legendary. Many of those truck drivers were African-American. Equally legendary are the Tuskegee Airmen, black pilots with the right stuff who put the lie to the myth that blacks lack something related to duty, honor, and country.

At the OK Corral, an unarmed Ike Clanton pleaded for his life. It’s documented that Wyatt Earp told him to “get a gun and get into the fight”. After Pearl Harbor, many black men wanted to get a gun and get into the fight. They were initially denied, and, like Avis car rental, they had to try harder and prove themselves.

After War II, black men came home with a new perspective, and leveled the playing field. They refused the status quo, and like the rising tide, they raised all boats. Ironically, their courage enabled the current “gangsta” psychopathy that grips younger blacks.

I have no background on Leonard Sims, so I’ll take some guesses. He either drove for the Red Ball Express, or he was a Navy “mess boy”. Either way, he paid his dues. This is one tough dude.

So, at the age of 91, he goes to get into his car, and he’s suddenly pinned by a carjacker who slams the driver’s door into his chest, pinning him against an adjoining car. The punk then proceeds to work Mr. Sim’s head like a speed-punching bag in a gym, pounding the elderly man mercilessly.

This is totally out-of-bounds, even to the criminal mentality. Hey, you want the car that badly, give Pops a gentle shove and take his keys. This guy knows war and death; he’ll hand you the keys. Take the car; it’s “stuff”, and can be replaced. There is no call to pound an old man into the asphalt.

What exacerbates this atrocity is that a number of able-bodied citizens stood by and watched. Paces away from what was happening, they did nothing.

I know Detroit, where the incident occurred. It’s a city overrun by packs of savage animals that prey on the weak. That’s not unique to big cities in America, and we’re not doing racial profiling here. Crime is a fact of life.

A psychologist on national TV made excuses for the inaction of the onlookers. “Our instinct is to process danger…he may have had a gun…”

I certainly don’t live in Detroit, or any other city. If, however, I was yards away from something like the beating of Mr. Sims, I’d be rolling, literally. I live in a wheelchair, but I can hoist and stand when necessary. That would include grabbing a punk’s shirtfront, and using my 6’3” advantage to start pounding back on behalf of a 91-year-old man. Hopefully, this would shame the more able-bodied into action. If not, I’ve taken a few brawl losses in the past, so nothing is lost if I divert the thug’s attention from Mr. Sims.

Mr. Sims has done an interview I’ve seen. He looks good, he looks feisty. The swelling on his face has gone down, and the bruises will fade. This guy is a double hero; his actions in War II speak for themselves, and his transcendence of this later-life event is extraordinary.

I hope his assailant, whose name will not be honored here, will attend a state-run gladiator academy for a number of years. Even criminals have families, and someone who thinks he’s a bad-ass for beating up a 91-year-old man may be in for some bad news. There is a form of street justice that exists in prisons, and the authorities have no control over it. In this case, not that there’s anything wrong with that. In addition to the prison sentence, I hope this thug enjoys having his head used for a speed bag.

Mr. Sims lives to enjoy the fullness of his days. No punk could put him down. No system of racial inequality could suppress him. This is a man who was never intimidated.

I stand to attention; I salute.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Books, hippies, and other esoterica

I’ve been hacking along on the book for quite a few days now, in spite of my vow to once again abandon the project.

The problem is, “The Voice” has faded to a whisper. At the risk of sounding like one of the tin-foil-hat crowd, a writer needs a “voice”, especially for a long-term project like a for-real book. Really good authors can project themselves into the third person persona, or like Robert B. Parker and James Lee Burke, they can use the first person to give character insights that will reach the reader.

When I started my labor pains on birthing the book in 1986, the voice was loud, clear and precise, like an orator in reader’s theater. “The voice” tells the story to the author. You know something, and you know how you want to tell it to others. Perhaps a novel is the ultimate form of “Gee, I wish I’d have said that!”

Now, with the emergence of ubiquitous home computers and universes of virtual reality, it’s darn tough to play God in the theater of the mind. It seems like only yesterday that one could pick up a book of written words on paper, and form their own perceptions of what the characters in any given scenario look like, what they must be feeling. One could smell the sea salt, the sweat, the blood, the fear. The protagonists didn’t look like refugees from Sim City; they might have looked like people you know, and remember in your mind’s eye, but they were real people in the universe of the novel you were reading.

When I wrote the original draft of The Forge, I even clipped photos from some commercial magazines, as reminders of the general appearances of my characters. I didn’t depend much on plot outlining; I depended on that inner voice to tell me where to go. It worked at the time; the voice was a strong guide. I knew what I wanted to say, and how to say it. I had a cork bulletin board pinned to the max with notes, mostly for the sake of continuity.

Unfortunately, that was 21 years ago. To borrow the hackneyed phrase, that’s much water under the bridge. Some of my constant readers have urged me to tell the story that floats full-blown in what’s left of my mind. Thanks to you—and you know who you are—but it’s like another bad memory these days. The voice spoke to me, and then it departed for friendlier climes.

I, too, am a victim of the proxy ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] that I suspect afflicts many computer users. When I was a kid—learning to type on an old Royal portable with a cloth ribbon; I still have the wrecked carcass—I speculated on how great it would be to have a miracle machine that would respond to the human voice and transcribe that voice into words. I don’t read much any more; I can find facts instantly on my home PC, and the older I get, the more my entertainment is provided by squirrels and woodpeckers doing their respective things mere yards away from my deck. Technology has overrun me on the “miracle machine”; someone was shilling voice-activated software on TV the other night. I suppose my computer can churn out a basic manuscript with no more prompting than my babbling words into a headset; I can always go back and clean it up to a semblance of what I want. Another example of the Chinese proverb about taking care for what you want, because you might just get it.

The day’s news—choose any given day—has overrun me in my search for “The Voice”. What was once a strong baritone expounding from the stage of my shattered mind—think John Barrymore—is now a whisper in the wind, a fading echo of the musical notes of Woodstock. No one reads any longer. The History Channel officially made hippies a relic when they ran Sunday night’s 2-hour special simply entitled “Hippies”.

How nice that my teenaged angst, lust, and dissolution earned me a footnote in history as a member of yet another “Lost Generation”! At least my daughters were born without any obvious birth defects from all the DNA-chain-shattering LSD I gobbled when it was all about making babies instead of raising them.

I never really had a chance to be a hippie. I was born too late for the Summer of Love, in spite of running away from home at age 14. [They caught me and the girl and dragged us back to conformity.]

Other facets of real life intervened, so as I approach 60, I haven’t had a haircut in a decade that I can remember. The ex-wife trimmed the split ends in ’02, recalling her glory days in cosmetology school as a corpse dresser. [My whole family is strange; married-into or inherited.]

My Pa was the only one who could give me a decent trim, and when he was killed in 1985, I gave up on haircuts. That’s no longer a political statement; it’s a “lifestyle choice”. I tried my share of marijuana and LSD. I was young and stupid; I didn’t realize that merely living in the real world long enough would provide trips aplenty if only one survived.

Through the grace of God, I have managed to stumble through my clumsiness, thoughtlessness, and stupidity. One thing I cannot seem to trip on is the clear presence of “The Voice”, tuning in loud ‘n clear to re-tell the story that echoed through my grieved brain decades ago. Instead of a powerful oratory voice, I get a weak psychedelic whisper of the past. Whatever inner muse fueled the telling of the original story, it doesn’t seem to return to help clean it up for the new millennium.

I won’t quit fooling with the thing, or several other plot concepts, but the older I get, the more difficult this creativity trip becomes. I recall that Joseph Heller took about two decades to write one of the revered novels of my generation, Catch-22. That is a work of art. The best I can aspire to is an “airport book”; buy it in Newark, read it on the flight west, and give it away to a panhandler when you land in Oakland on the Left Coast.

When Doc Holliday died in the Greenwood, Colorado asylum, his last words are documented as “This is funny”, because he wasn’t dying with his boots on, like the fashion of the times. Instead, he passed peacefully in a hospital bed, barefoot, gowned, and gasping for breath.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. This is funny. I’d like to leave a legacy that outlasts an in-flight movie.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The fate of "The Book".

The book was not working. Begun as a therapy exercise in 1986, following the murder of my father, it went through a number of re-writes. An editor with a national publication company told me that parts soared beyond the dreaded blue pen, and one more rewrite ought to get it.

A technological glitch [push of the wrong button; pilot error] ate a quantity of manuscript on the final rewrite. Computers were not user-friendly in the early 1990s. I did the Bud Cort “Harold & Maude” thing: threw my arms over my head, sniveled, and quit writing for 20 years.

I dusted off the hard copy of the manuscript recently, and tried to make a new start on the final re-write. Trying to work some logic into the plot line, I suddenly had a head-snapping epiphany: the whole novel is irrelevant. It was an over-ambitious attempt to reconcile the end of the Vietnam war with some Iran/Contra hijinks, and tell a personal story to boot. I should maybe have written faster. Iran/Contra is lost to history. Vietnam is a collective bad memory. It never ceases to astound me that young people today have only a vague idea of what “Watergate” really was. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan are both gone; to paraphrase the late journalist Lewis Grizzard, all great men are dead, and I don’t feel too good myself.

I teased some of my constant readers with e-mail excerpts of the rewrite. Sorry about that; it just doesn’t look to be a happening thing. In a world where chimpanzees are nominated for “personhood”, a novel about goings-on in the 1980s is so irrelevant as to be laughable. Traitors control Congress today, and the national will to win the war against terrorism is reduced to holding our breath and awaiting the next attack. I just can’t find the heart to tell a fanciful story of twenty- to thirty-year old events. No one remembers the historical context; the dusty remains of history are relegated to the ash heap of ignorance, apathy, and indifference: “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter anyhow.”