Friday, December 19, 2014


If you are open to experiences, no telling what can happen? Once when I was taking my daughter's car to her, totally across the country, ECU, (East Carolina; Greenville, NC) we had this gigantic snowstorm in Kingman AZ. I pulled into a motel. Got the last room. Shared it with a mother and adult daughter and two teenagers. We had the best time, pizza, war stories. I hated to see the snow end. For years we kept up with each other. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Who in this world would think that several old men (most in their seventies one in 80s) would want to talk about kissing. Most of us had read the article about kissing in the NY Times Magazine. It was about famous kissing. Stardom kissing, memorable kissing. We laughed. My favorite celebrity kiss was Adrien Brody and Hallie Barry. Now that was a kiss. 

Somebody said, don't you guys know, "all great love making begins with kissing."  We go for that. Then someone told a "war story" about his first kiss. He was about fourteen and had his eyes on this girl and was planning to sneak a kiss when she beat him to it. It was great. Instinctively, he knew that kissing was a wonderful thing. His mom constantly was kissing he and his brother. The reason he remembers so distinctly about this first kiss is a sad time; his mom was very sick and soon thereafter died. And, his dad, unable to care for he and his brother had placed them in a Catholic orphanage. This prompted another of the GFs (Girlfriends, name my wife gave us) to hop in. He was about seventeen. This may not have been his first kiss but the most memorable. He finds out there is a party at a friend's house. This was "in the day" before floating parties or social media. So this was a big deal. He shows up and maybe 10 or so there. He spots a girl that he doesn't know. They start talking. They kiss and somehow end up in the closet. They must have been in there an hour. All they did was kiss. The next day his lips were so sore he could hardly move 'em. He could hardly believe it. We laugh. Next came a story of not the first kiss but the best one he could remember. It led to other stuff that he wants to keep to himself. He was in the Army in Korea. After a movie, he and several GIs were sitting outside at the Snack Bar. In typical Army fashion, nobody paid any any attention to ethnicity. This gorgeous African American sat across from him. She was a Lieutenant in 2ID (Second Infantry Division). He was a lowly private. They were all in civilian clothes. She had gorgeous lips. She was definitely flirting with him. He thought he'd risk it. "Could I kiss you?" he said. She didn't say a word but leaned toward him. It was one of those five second experiences that seemed like eternity. Her lips were soft and utterly delicious. She departed the area and he never saw her again but it was not for a lack of trying. It was like she disappeared from the face of the earth. A couple of the GFs accused him of making it up. On more than one occasion, it had been suggested that he never let the truth interfere with a good story. 

This is a good one, as the story goes, I am about thirteen. My friend, not sure if she can be called a girlfriend: we were just great buds and had been to the movies. We are walking toward her house and we detour through the park. We stop. I know it is kiss time. I do it. I press my lips hard into hers. It was like Gary Grant did it. She takes a deep breath. "Oh no, I have done this wrong," I am thinking. She says, "that was terrible." I want to sink into the ground. My first kiss and I have f..ked it up. She touches me on the lips. She is older, afterall. She says, "Kissing is very important and I want to teach you," pausing, she said,  "you open your mouth slightly and you press your lips lightly on the lips of the other person." She put her fingers on my lips and kind of pursed them and then she gave me a little peck on the lips as if saying. "Relax, we can do this. Let's practice." We did for about ten times until she pronounced that I had mastered it. THANKS FOR THESE GREAT MEMORIES. 


This is one of those stories that you "had to be there." JUST HAD TO BE THERE. My wife and I were invited to a friend's house who wanted to have a Mexican theme party. This came about because of the illness of one of the "gym rats." (term of endearment). For about a half dozen years about a half dozen of them met regularly at the gym--in addition to working out, they talked about politics, finances, trips and traveling. They shared it all. I was never apart of it nor did I want to be. 

I have an in inate problem, let's call it a flaw. I don't like to be around people whom I consider "route step." I will not elaborate. But, here is the story. We are invited to this party with the Mexican theme. Wear something, related to the theme, as our bud, who is ill, normally would be in Mexico. Thus the theme. He is ill and can't make his trip. Provide a little of Mexico here. 

We have nothing. Our neighbor who is Hispanic brings a picture. Gorgeous, picture of sexy couple tangoing. As close as we can get. Reminds me of Al Pichino in the movie, "Scent of a Woman" and the tango of the movie. 

I haul the picture out of our pad, in the rain, to the car and then across the GG Bridge.  Still in the rain up to their apartment. We walk in with this picture. It is "HO hum." I place the large, heavy picture in a stragtegic spot. We have dinner, chat, the evening ends. I get the picture, haul it back to the car, across the GG Bridge to our apartment, lug it inside. See what I mean. You had to be there. Sigh. LOL. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014



Sony pictures cancels movie, "The Interview." What the f..k kind of message does this send. Some despot tells us what to do. He wins. They won. Sony pictures should be ashamed. Anybody who looks at the movie a millisecond will know it is a spoof. 

This is something I want to asked: you mean those despotic MFers have better hackers than us? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Yesterday Terry Gross, the best interviewer on TV I think, Interviewed Timothy  Spall. I had never heard of him. Most will because of his Harry Potter association. Toward the end of the show, Spall mentioned a good friend who just died. Instead of passing over it, Terry jumped in and asked him about his relationship to his friend. He told about it and then he said, "I want to dedicate this interview to him." It was so sweet and moving. I am going to pick up this practice. Thank you. 

I dedicate my comments here to all those vets I saw at VA yesterday. Most of them were older, probably Korea/Vietnam. Unfortunately, many are self medicating, overweight and some looking like "a deer caught in the headlights." I dedicate this blog posting to them. Regardless, thank you for your service. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Good movie and reminded me of another Alice. She was the librarian when I was a young Captain in Wurzburg, Germany. I was just back from Vietnam and so screwed up. This was before the big push on PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Her kindness was overwhelming, not only for me but all soldiers. This is the anniversary of her death. Thank you Alice. I wish I had been more on top of my life. 


We have got to end this cycle where cops use deadly force as a first resort and then get off scott free. Cops are citizens too and they need to be held accountable in courts of law. The message we're sending now to cops is do whatever you want and you won't go to jail; heck, we won't even take your badge. If we don't turn this thing around we'll end up like some third rate South American country. 

Guess they're tearing up Berkley. No surprise there and good for them. We have got to end this 

Totally agree with you. Always amazes me that cops can't, if they have too, shoot a thug, thief, or whoever in the arm, leg; why chest or head. But, totally agree, cops have to get a different mentality.

Don't know what to say about some place like Oakland/Berzerkley (use to call them this during Vietnam). Destroying property, etc. and, don't know in terms of police recruitment. We want to get away from all white but not sure of pool of African Americans.  Just heard of some survey: 80% of whites support cops. Forgot low percentage of blacks that support them. Of course, I don't know: as Meg (daughter who is a Doc) says, "Dad, want a study, I'll get you one on anything." 

San Fran hasn't had much of a problem. Don't know where the large Hispanic community says. Traditionally, they don't care all that much for each other. I think, I fall on the side of "problem that can't be solved." Like immigration, income inequity. We have to keep trying but not in our lifetime. 

Sunday, December 07, 2014


 It is hard to describe my dad. He was about six feet or so. Always wore overalls. He chewed tobacco. Thin "apple," not literal the apple taste,  I don't think. It was a brand name. Get this, he never spit but swallowed the tobacco juice. Just thinking of it makes me nauseous. I never chewed or smoked or my brothers. My dad's thought. I am not letting you start this nasty habit. And, we were tobacco farmers. Go figure. 

There are so many stories I could tell about my dad, it is hard to single out one. One thing I do know, he kept my Mom exasperated seemingly constantly. She would cry, scream, anything at him. He never raised his voice. More likely than not, he would grab me or one of my brothers or several if we were standing around and say, "let's take a ride." The worse he ever said about my mother was, "you know how she is." She would calm down and then not speak to him for days, sometimes weeks. What was so remarkable, he kept talking to her like everything was fine. He had the greatest laugh that was often presence. His best saying was, "you might as well laugh as cry." He practiced it. 

Dad had a heart that literally was as big as the outdoors. He practiced the Augustinian principle and didn't even know it. Saint Augustine said some like, "you cannot help everyone but when you are confronted with one in need, if you can, you are obligated to help." Example, once Dad picked up a hitch hiker who stayed with us for several years until he joined the Navy. Get this: after he retired he came back and moved in beside us. 
A memorable experience was my brother, George. He really wasn't my brother but he lived with us all my life. My dad got him from the Orphanage. He was to help us work during the tobacco season. We would pay the orphanage his wages. When Dad was readying to take him back, he ran away. The conditions at the Orphanage were awful Dad said. Kids sleeping on a cold floor. Never enough to eat, raggedy clothes. "This is something out of a Charles Dickins novel," he said. Noway is George going back. The orphanage tried to get him. My mom said "take him back." My dad refused. They had an awful fight. Mom entered her silent mode. The superintendent of the Orphanage came. No. She threatened. They send some strong armed type to physically snatch him. Dad was big into peace but suddenly, he was a different person. He loaded his shotgun and put it by the door.  

What brought the episode to a peaceable  close, however, was not my dad but my Uncle, a notorious bootlegger. He showed up out of the blue and talked to the man from the Orphanage who promptly departed the scene. George never left. We called him our brother. 

A while back, several of my brothers were recalling the incident when my older brother Raz laughed and said, "Did you ever know what Uncle Craven said to the man from the Orphanage?" We didn't. He said, "My brother is determined the boy is not going back. I will pay you a reasonable amount for him." The man said, "No,  I want the boy." Uncle Craven to him. I will kill you then. The man left and George lived with us from that time on. 

Saturday, December 06, 2014


This is a hard call. I am going to go for it around comments of Rick Steves, travel writer. Over the years, I've watched his programs on Europe. Now he has expanded to the Mid East. Good programs but he was lamenting the idea that many "Mericans" are saying, "have a good trip as opposed to Bon Voyage." In other words, we are choosing to stay home because we don't want to go to the Mideast or Mexico or anywhere that we might become hostage bait. 

I've been to most places in the world and based on what is happening on the planet, I think we are in a spot where staying home is a legitimate option. The loss of an American hostage in Yemen is tragic even if he no doubt knew the danger. We are dealing with ruthless terrorists who have no interest in any value system that opposes their fanatical ideology even if they don't understand it. So, why should we put ourselves in danger. GOOD QUESTION. 


Its so very pathetic that negative, sensationalism type press has taken over the airways, fanning the fires of hate and distrust and disgust I might add.  WW