Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Kobe scores 60 points and the winning game shot to exit a winner!

Good Day World!

It was tough watching Kobe Bryant play his last game for the Los Angeles Lakers tonight but...

Kobe scored 60 points and led the Lakers to a win over the Utah Jazz for the 1st time in the season. He made the winning shot to exit a winner!)

I've been a Laker fan for over a half century and had the honor of watching legendary players like Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor, Bob McAdoo, Magic Johnson, Karrem Abdul Jabbar, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, James Worthy, Gail Goodrich, Shaquille O'Neil, Eddie Jones, Bryon Scott, and...

now Kobe Bryant.

I've always considered him an exceptional player, but I didn't always like Kobe the man. 

He wasn't a player I would have approached for an autograph; unlike Kurt Rambis who gave me one during the Laker's preseason workouts at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California.

It was only at the end of his career - the last three years specifically - that Kobe started showing signs he was not such a bad guy afterall.

Age will do that. The Black Mamba got reflective as injuries sidelined him the last three seasons. 

I expect to see Kobe in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He has a lock on it. After tonight's game against the Utah Jazz, Kobe will have a lock on becoming a legend in his own time!

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Ghost Story: Believe It, Or Not

Good Day World!

After 65 years, I've learned not to write off stories about the supernatural. Our world is full of mysteries.

I first discovered this when I was six-years-old.

One day while playing in my bedroom a man suddenly appeared. One moment nothing. The next he was four-feet away and looking at me solemnly.

Surprisingly, I was not afraid. I was more puzzled than anything and wondered why he was dressed so funny. I think I said "hi," or something to that effect with no results.

Now your probably thinking, "Oh he just had a vivid imagination and thought he saw something." 

Fair enough. I did have a vivid imagination. I won't deny that. But here's some food for thought;

When I saw my Mother shortly after seeing the ghost I told her about him. My mother was a healthy skeptic but agreed to try and draw the man if I would describe him to her.

I would like to note that my mother - who passed away four years ago - was a very talented person who could play the piano like a pro, and was a very good artist.

We sat down at the kitchen table and I began describing the man I saw. After just a few minutes she stopped and looked at me strangely.

I could tell something was troubling her, but she wanted me to go on with my description. She probed every detail of his clothing, face, ect., sometimes asking me to repeat what I said.

As I talked she was sketching with a charcoal pencil onto a blank sheet of paper. A portrait began to develope. The man's hat, his jacket, his boots and sword. A dark bearded face, creased with wrinkles, was soon looking back at me from the sketch.

When I finished my narrative, after noting his uniform was gray, my Mother sat there, tapping the pencil in a mindless rhythm for several moments.

"What was on the man's belt buckle?" she asked one more time.

"Letters," I repeated. "CSA." I did know my ABC's.

She finally let her guard down and admitted she was astonished. I was in first grade and my class certainly hadn't learned anything about the Civil War yet.

Maybe on TV you wonder? We didn't have one. This was 1956. We had a radio, which I never listened to. Music wasn't one of my interests.

When my father came home from work he looked at the drawing my Mother made and shook his head in wonder.

"How is that possible?" he asked her.

Mom didn't have an answer to that. I felt like I did something wrong the way they were talking about the man, and how could I have made up a story like that?

The incident/sighting has slipped into my past. Like a ghost returning to a nameless void after trying to make contact with a six-year old boy.

The drawing my mother made that day was lost in numerous moves over the decades. I remember she went back and colored it in with gray pencil, and kept it with a stack of favorite watercolors she did.

I'm not asking you to believe anything. It was one of the strangest incidents in my life and I'll always wonder why that Confederate Cavalry officer (my Dad was a Civil War buff and came to that conclusion) appeared to me.

One more thing...NO, Dad didn't have any illustrated books on the Civil War laying around the house.

Time for me to walk on down the road... 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Part II - My Path to Manhood

Good Day World!

This post continues from yesterday.

The roads I took in Vietnam became a part of my life's journey.
They were my path to manhood, for better or worse.
                 PART TWO
   Highway 22 overlooked the Song Ba River. To be more accurate, the Ba River as Song means river in Vietnamese. 
We called it the Song Ba River because that’s what someone wrote down on the maps we used. 
Maybe that someone liked the sound of “Song” and modified the real local name as Americans did so often during the war. Who cares right?

   We had allies out in the jungle too. We were staying in the An Khe area along the West bank where some Montagnards lived. They hated the NVA and the VC, so we became allies. The tribe that we had the most contact with was the Jarair. They were tough little nuts who were fierce fighters and who considered the Vietnamese their enemy from ancient times.

   They also knew how to live off the land. They picked wild green onions, chopped bamboo shoots, and captured red ant nests using battery bags discarded by Americans. They’d take some of the rice they always carried with them and throw it into boiling hot water along with the green onions, bamboo shoots, and the red ants. 

   The concoction wasn’t bad at all. Kind of a minty tasting. Much better than the fish head stew I once had in a Montagnard village. While we’re on the subject of local cuisine, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Vietnamese Centipede, an orange-legged terror that runs from four inches to eight inches long and has an attitude. 

   A nearby South Korean unit, we called them ROKS, liked to eat those centipedes. They put them in with their foul-smelling kim che (which already smelled bad enough to gag a maggot). They also ate monkey brains, but I’m not going any further with this.

   There was a certain lizard there, about three feet long, that also figured into the local cuisine. I don’t know what it’s real name was, but we called them “Fuck You” lizards. They hung around trees and in the night you could hear them go: “Tik, tik, tik, phuk yu!” They really sounded like someone saying fuck you. If you listened long enough.

    We’d tell new guys that it was Charlie out there taunting us, and that got their attention. Saw a Fuck You lizard with a flashlight one night. It looked like a miniature dinosaur and hissed at me! The next day I saw that lizard’s double draped across the back of a young Montagnard boy. He may have been Vietnamese. It’s hard to remember some details. It’s limp body spanned his shoulders and he smiled when I pointed at it.

“Numba one chop chop” he said.

 I hope this little two-part post helps you understand what it was like 46 years ago for a 19-year-old boy who had to become a man fast in a foreign land. It helps me to share this part of my history and hopefully help people understand war is hell. 

 For some soldiers like me with PTSD, the war has never ended. I live with tortured memories that still come unbidden. Yet, I manage to lead a somewhat normal life (what’s that anyway?).

 Thank you for reading this. It helps to share.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Part I 46 years ago: My Path To Manhood

Good Day World!

 Forty-six years ago this month, this week, I was a combat engineer serving in the Republic of Vietnam. 

A year earlier, I was a high school student without a care in the world, and eager to graduate so that I could get on with my own life. Be my own boss. You remember what that was like, don’t you?

You might say my path to manhood was ironic. I had yet to grow up about some things in life, and I ended up learning important lessons on dirt roads.  

  My squad’s mission was to sweep for mines on a two-lane dirt road laughingly referred to as Highway 22. We would get up at first light and haul our heavy mine-detection equipment out and take a stroll down that reddish dirt road until we finished, usually at noon.

   The VC, who watched our every move from hidey holes, enjoyed putting “Bouncing Betty’s” beneath piles of buffalo shit as they knew the odor offended our Western sensibilities. The hoped we’d pass over the putrid piles rather than bother disturbing them. I never saw the trick work, but heard it did somewhere else from guys in other units.

    I can tell you that it was no fun probing for live bombs with a bayonet in a stinky mess. I got use to it however, as I got use to everything in that alien world somewhere in the Central Highlands that spring. How I managed remains a mystery to me today. 

    Army units were assigned to provide us security. men, and sometimes a tank, would accompany us as we walked along swinging those heavy and bulky mine detectors.

 Charlie knew how to hide during the day. 

  He just burrowed down into the ground and waited for darkness. Hoping that the mines he set during the night would kill some invaders that day. Sometimes I imagined his eyes following me. Patiently watching. Hoping to see me become a causality.

 I stepped on a mine one day because I'd turned my earphones down ( I had a throbbing headache from too much drinking the night before) so low it was practically off while shortening my sweep radius. 

The earth stopped as my squad leader shouted and gestured wildly at me. I looked down and realized I'd stepped onto a small depression (a bad sign) and froze.

It hit me that I was standing on a mine as the sergeant came up to me, kneeled down, and carefully probed around the area. He slowly traced around the perimeter of a pressure plate. 

  Time was meaningless. Sweat poured off my brow, urine ran down my leg, as I strained to recognize what kind of mine would be exposed. 

   The sergeant said “French make.” That meant it would take at least 1000 pounds on the pressure plate to set it off. It was safe for me to move. 

 I felt like throwing up, but the sensation passed after awhile.

Stop by here tomorrow for Part II of this slice of my life.

 Time for me to walk on down the road...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

People Power Is More Than Just a Slogan Today

Good Day World!

For the first time in my 65 years of existense, the phrase "Power to the People" is more than just a slogan.
When I was a teenager in the Sixties, it seemed like every group was using it. The Black Panthers, hippies and radicals had that in common.
It's not like people didn't join them; it's just that most of the time the slogan was more of a siren call than anything really effecting change. 
The hippie's philosophy of free love and flowers floating in air faded away with too many LSD trips, quietly disappearing into the "Me" Seventies.
Radicals, like the "Weather Underground," called on anarchists and disenfranchised minorities to wage war in America's streets. Their version of people power was more like a scene from the apocalypse. In the end, the group perished in a fiery shootout with police.
Then there were the Black Panthers. Their message of "Power to the People" carried revolutionary tones and called for a new society where African Americans would be treated equally. Their mission was to help struggling black communities.
African Americans are still fighting a race war for equality today.
But a newfound confidence has sprung up worldwide, as citizens feel more empowered. A good example of how to tap into that power can be found at, a website with a platform dedicated to letting anyone start a petition.
For better or worse, people can organize almost instantly now and get their message across loud and clear. 
Standing on street corners and waving signs, hoping people will notice and perhaps honk their horns in support, doesn't cut it in this new age of technology.
The age of people power is here. You are part of a revolution that will forever change the way things are done by local and national governments.
As It Stands, it's exciting to see the ascension of the common man, but now the question is, where will it eventually lead us?
Time for me to walk on down the road...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Crazed killer escapes from mental hospital, a miracle diet, and Trump dumped in new poll

Good Day World!

It's one of those freaky Fridays...

An escapee from a Seattle, Washington, mental hospital was last seen buying a ticket to Spokane on a Greyhound bus. 
(This undated photo provided by the Lakewood Police Department shows Anthony Garver.Lakewood Police Department via AP)

Just how far south Anthony Garver has gone no one knows yet.

I live in Oregon, and hope he doesn't make it this far south. The police say he's 'Scary and dangerous,' and warned the public to call 911 if they see him.

With that unpleasent thought lingering like a snake in the grass, let's move on to more weighty matters...

It's hard for me to believe in a diet where you eat next to nothing one day and gorge the next...and actually lose weight! That's freaky.

Watch this video and see what you think.

There is Growing Evidence That Fasting Diets Really Work

Here's the freakiest story for the day...

How is it that Donald Trump is the GOP frontrunner when you see polls like this?

Seven in 10 people, including close to half of Republican voters, have an unfavorable view of Trump, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

Go figure. Having a reality star run for president is about as freaky as it gets!

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

When love calls: a brief look at a four-letter word

Good Day World!
The Beatles had it right when they sang, “All you need is love.” 

  The most positive emotion in humans is love. It moves mountains.
(Photo-My wife Shirley, and I.) 

It saves lives. No amount of money will ever buy it. Your body and mind need it like oxygen.
   It has spawned poems since ancient times when rhymes were written for Kings and Queens.

  C.S. Elliot describes four kinds of love in his book “The Four Loves.”  They are based upon the Greek words for love;  Storge (affection), Phileo (friendship,) Eros (romance), and Agape (unconditional love). 

   Love is the best anti-depressant, but many of our ideas about it are wrong. Most of us get our ideas about love from the popular culture. We expect to be swept off our feet when in love. We tend to have unrealistic images that don’t fit with the real world.

   The myth in our culture is love just happens. It appears out of nowhere and suddenly you are intoxicated. It doesn’t work that way. You have to actively pursue love by learning a variety of skills. You can’t just sit down and wait for love to come to you. That’s a mistake a lot of us make.

   “Hate controls everything it touches, but love sets everything it touches free,” said Bryant McGill, in The Voice of Reason. It’s true. Love can give us a new lease on life. It has no boundaries, other than the ones we set upon it.

   An extremist when it came to love, Kurt Vonnegut also had a healthy irreverence about it. In The Sirens of Titan he said, “A purpose in human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

  In The Brothers Karamazov Fydor Dostoyevsky forcefully describes love. “What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.” 

   Paulo Coelho in Zahir: A Novel of Obsession, wrote, “Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”

   Honore de Balzac, who knew a thing or two about all-consuming love, wrote Physiologie Du Marriage.  In it he states, “The more one judges, the less one loves.” The wisdom of this quote really resonates when you think about it. I think we’re all guilty, at one time or another, of harshly judging others.

   One of my favorite quotes about love comes from Agatha Christie who wrote in her biography: “It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize how much you love them.” 

   It was Albert Einstein who asked, “How are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?” When I try to describe my first love (who I married) the words seem sappy and silly. I found that love grew, and was not a static thing.

   The longer you love, the deeper it goes. I know this from experience. Poets and authors worldwide have talked about love since the days of yore, but the subject never seems to be exhausted. People have always written about it, big and small. Love is always a fresh subject.

   Love is hard to define. How do you avoid mistaking it for infatuation or lust? Not even an experienced person can give a definite answer to that question. Psychologists talk about “that initial glow” (for the first six months) when a couple fall in love. It’s almost a fairytale come true, but always ends in reality. If love survives the rigors of  the world, it’s true love.

   “Love is your mother watching basketball games with me, even though she doesn’t care about the game,” I explained to my sons early on. “Love is selfless. It bends under stress, but always rebounds when given a chance.”

   Contrary to what some people may think, love has no price, yet still has to be earned. A mother’s love for her child is the exception, because it has no bounds or requirements. I’ve seen love in my wife’s eyes for 41 years, despite all the dumb things I’ve done during that time.

   Yes, I believe in the power of love. During my hippie days in the late sixties, I eagerly embraced the message of “Peace and Love” even though I was a stranger to it. Love does make the world go around, of that I‘m sure.

    As It Stands, to have truly lived, we must have love in our lives.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A word of wisdom: remember to be wise in your whining ways!

 Good Day World!           
 I’m a whiner when it comes to pain these days.

 Seems like I get a new pain everyday when I wake up. I can strain a pinkie doing something stupid the day before, and the pain will greet me in the morning like an unwanted in-law seeking to move into my den.

 I try to take solace in the fact experts say my habit of cracking my knuckles when I was young didn’t cause the arthritis that I currently suffer. They say cracking my knuckles was simply forming - then popping - an air bubble in my synovial fluid. That’s the gooey stuff in the cavities of your joints.

 I have a lousy left knee. It crunches when I walk. When I had it examined and the word surgery came up, I decided it still had mileage left despite the near constant pain. So I wear a brace - sporadically - and whine for all to hear as I lumber along. 

 I just read an article about a sugar solution injected into the knee for pain relief. The technique - known as dextrose prolotherapy - has been around for 75 years but is still considered an "alternative" therapy. 

 If I used this method for pain relief I’d probably get sugar diabetes! Alternate pain solutions have produced problems for me in the past and I‘m gun shy of shooting myself in the foot again!

Seriously, I do look for ways to alleviate my pain without taking meds. I use relaxation techniques, smoke ganja, and watch my diet. 

 I’m careful not to twist my back when I bend over and pet my pug. Basic stuff. I use the cane when my right leg goes totally numb, as it will after I stand upright for long periods of time. Comes from nerve damage in my back. If I don’t resort to the cane after a certain point, I look like Big Bird on a binge! 

 I’ve discovered that whining can feel good. People pay attention and you might even get babied for your efforts! If you’re really lucky, they offer to get whatever you want, and are happy to run to the store for your favorite chocolate peanut butter ice cream!

 I just have to remember to be wise in my whining ways. Too much produces the opposite effect of what I want. Everyone disappears suddenly, and I’m left to lament in solitude. There is a fine line.

 I whine about bruises. The darn things pop up out of nowhere on parts of my body that barely got bumped the day before. If it’s a really dark bruise I display it as proof that I have a reason to whine. 

“Look at this dear,” I tell my wife, displaying a dark spot on my forearm. She patiently nods in sympathy.

 I don’t know what good it does to whine when I hurt. When I was younger it was the last thing I would let anyone know. Heavens no! I was way too tough to let on I was human. Especially in the Army.

 Age does something to a person however. As I settle into my sixties, all the abuse I subjected my body to is coming back to haunt me like old competitors on steroids! 

Decades of basketball are partially to blame for my pain, but excesses like jumping off roofs of houses when I was in elementary school, contributed to the overall breakdown of my body. 

 Pain comes home to roost in older birds like me who didn’t take good care of themselves. I lived hard, played hard, and still play hard even when it hurts! In that I don’t have any regrets. 

 I’m in my so-called Golden Years, I’m gimping around like Popeye on pot, but I’m lucky to have a wife who’s understanding and will listen to my whining without wanting to see me lose my voice!

 I was talking with another fellow my age the other day and we did a dueling banjos thing where I would whine…then he would…then I would whine even louder.. and he would.. Well, you get the idea.

 As It Stands, they say humor is the best medicine, so I try to remember to laugh after a good whining session! 
(This column first appeared in the Times-Standard in April of 2008)

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2 Nursery Rhymes For The Times

Good Day World!

Hello Boys and Girls!

I've got two Nursery Rhymes about Donald Trump for you today.

The one on the right comes to you via MAD, and the one below via MY twisted brain!

Today's nursery rhyme is about Drump De Dump who wants to be president of the USA.

Here we go;

One day, Trump de Dump sat on an imaginary wall.

But Trump de Dump had a great fall 
when the Mexican government refused to build his giant wall.

Despite being a grump, Trump de Dump still smiled at every rally,
as his followers beat up protesters and kept a weekly tally.

It was amazing what Trump de Dump could do,
if he didn't like you he'd find a reason to sue!

All of the GOP's women and men,
couldn't rein Trump de Dump in!

So, the country is watching Dump's campaign in disgust,
hoping - against all hope - his efforts will be a bust! 

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sweet Mary Jane: Talking About Sex and Cannabis

Good Day World!

After smoking ganja for 50 years, and researching the many applications that it offers, I'm still always looking for more news about my favorite plant. 

One of the more interesting - and less talked about - uses for pot is to enhance sex. I'm talking about other ways than just sparking a bowl and feeling sexy.

As far back as the seventh century, practitioners of Tantra—the ancient Hindu meditation that aims to “channel the divine energy of the macrocosm or godhead into the human microcosm”—have used weed to, well, channel the energy of a different godhead, too.
According to the journal Psychedelic Drugs, which documented the extensive use of cannabis in Tantra: “The Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga eloquently detail Hindu sexual techniques, and the Tantras transform such sexual practices into a means of meditational yoga.”
One of my favorite stories is the epic Arabian work 1,001 Nights which detailed the intoxicating and aphrodisiac properties of hashish: 
Art thou not ashamed, O Hashish-eater, to be sleeping stark naked with stiff standing tool?”

When people want to get down and funky in India they drink bhang (a kind of weed smoothie made of yogurt or milk, nuts, spices, and ground cannabis).

Folks in Morocco, Egypt, and Lebanon, consume kif, which refers to the cannabis itself, but is also the name of another kind of blended pot drink that reduces inhibitions and impotence, and increases “transcendental experiences.

More recently, I found out about marijuana lube for sex (I have a hunch this stuff has been around for a long time). It's called Foria. 
You spray it on your nether bits with the goal of having a localized, sensory-based high with no psychoactive effects.

Apparently it will also “bring to your fingertips the power of ancient plant medicine to inspire deep healing and unlock profound pleasures.” 
(Here’s a video if you want to see women talking about the “beautiful waves” of Foria-induced pleasure.)

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Banana Generation: Butt-Hurt Youths Struggling With Reality

                                   Good Day World!

Meet the Banana Generation (aka millennials).

Like bananas, their feelings are easily bruised. They think there should be laws for people that make them FEEL unsafe or speak rudely to them.

Our college's are cluttered with bananas who are ill-fitted to go out into the real world. Instead of studying, they're setting up "safe places" for minorities to gather.

One has to wonder what will happen to these fragile souls when they eventually leave campus life. 

According to a recent Pew Research Center report, the nation's 18-to-34-year-olds are less likely to be living on their own today than they were in the depths of the Great Recession despite an upswing in the economy.

The Pew study shows that while the population of millennials (Bananas) has grown by three million people over the last eight years, there are fewer that are heads of their own households.

I know there's good reasons why some young adults are coming back home again; student debt, etc., but I question their grip on the real world.

One of the reasons I say that is because of advances in computer/video technology. 

It's not unusual to see 33-year-olds living second lives online in video games that are becoming more realistic every day...further blurring the lines between make-believe and reality.

There's a broad suspicion, shared across the ideological spectrum-from right-wing watchdogs to high-minded progressives-that college students these days are absurdly thin-skinned, unduly obsessed with "safe spaces" and political correctness.

As an Independent, I have to agree with that assessment.

In the great fruitbowl of life, the Bananas are going to have to learn to morph into watermelons!

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday Sacraments: Wine, Peyote, Cannabis, and Holy Water

A divine sip of wine is one way to worship God. According to Christians " alcohol is a gift from God that makes life more joyous,"...