Sunday, September 21, 2014


I hate you find yourself at this spot. I have been there so often in my not so illustrious careers that if anybody can empathize, I can. 

Fired four times officially in the Army and no telling how many other times, that only I know about. If I live long enough, I am going to write a book about it. The time which I remember most is Vietnam. I had been with these guys in my unit for almost a year and the head chaplain took an incredible dislike to me. Probably some sort of jealousy. He replaced me with somebody else and sent me to the rear. What nobody could understand is why that should bother me as it got me out of combat; but to me, it was a big thing, really devastating. 

At war unusual things can happen. The head chaplain was based at this place called Camp Eagle. It was at the headquarters with all the staff people and the generals--they had never been attacked. Most considered that it was safe and impenetrable. They had all the amenities. I was down South, getting ready to be unceremoniously thrown out of the country. Most figured I must have done something bad or whatever or else this would not be happening. I didn't understand it myself. 

Without warning, Camp Eagle came under attack. Actually a siege, nobody could get to them. It went on for about three days. Finally, they were rescued. The head chaplain was catatonic and had to be send home. I went back to my old unit. 

The interesting thing is that nobody other than me or the head chaplain were even knowledgeable of what had gone on. Had the siege not happened, I would have gone home and been out of the Army. The rest of this is history, I guess. If there is a moral to the story, it is just, "keep your head down and see what happens." There is nothing worse sometimes than jealousy. And, in our culture, money also seems to be the winner but I am still naive enough to believe that "right" is the winner. I can tell you what it did for me throughout my career, it made me a champion of the underdog, the downtrodden or those who got on the wrong side of the beauracratic establishment. Most of my peers feel that my public "stands" probably kept me from being the chief of chaplains. I don't think so. It was probably my choice of assignments but who knows. 

Friday, September 19, 2014


I took a friend to the doctor for a CT scan this morning. She had a double mastectomy this summer and is having her fourth chemo Monday—then 8 more, one each week. She’s already had to have a blood transfusion. The CT scan is to see if the cancer has spread. She was a survivor of childhood cancer and had lots of radiation then, which apparently makes you more likely to have cancer later. I hope she’ll be OK. She’s got three kids, 8, 12, 17, and a husband. 


So sorry about your friend. You did such a good thing. Cancer is such an insidious disease. Sometimes I sit in the lobby at UCSF (University of California, San Francisco), messing on my phone or something and the sadness in the faces of the people are just heart breaking. The saddest are the really older folks (since I am one myself). I think it was last week--I was hanging out and this really old guy was trying to get his wife from the car to a wheelchair. The young guys, the parking attendants, were standing around, not knowing what to do. I put her in the wheelchair. (He needed somebody with him). Sad. 

Who knows the story? Of course, with an older couple, maybe 80 plus, time to make another decision. But, I don't know, I am just a "passer-by." Dang. See what I mean. You did a good thing, helping your friend. God bless. 

Sunday, September 07, 2014


Mental Illness is a terrible thing. Depression seems to be the worse. I had an interesting discussion recently with a minister friend. He said, "Chaplain, you are a problem solver. You see a problem and you try to fix it but you can't fix me." 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Sorry, Captain, got caught up in the fervor of Sam and gang. Here is basically what you missed. Sam is spouting off about the rigors of his life. John is kind of liking Chrissy and grandson living with him, even though he is having to curtail his numerous female friends; who before have occupied the space where Chrissy and son are. His older daughter who is nutso according to John--she doesn't get it at all. She owes him $14,000 from his fronting the money to flip a house just as the housing bubble went South. She left screaming obscenities: how dare he bring up such bad memories. "John, lose her address."
 Gary showed up late to tell us about the sense of Intimacy that he and Joan felt when  they went whale watching, recently. Today, she chose yoga over us. My contribution was the idea of a "reality" show. Nobody liked my idea that the GFs were tailor made as old guys would watch us. Nobody agreed. I thought some "Agent" would be standing in the door, waiting on the green light to pay us big bucks as our first episode (Go to sleep if I have already told you this) would be helping Larry with his plan to move to Tahoe and get laid. We did decide that this episode would have to be shelved as he is opting for a $16,000 motor for his boat. I am personally disappointed in the choice. Sam wants to be excluded from the first episode. He prefers to recount the excitement in his life--between his upcoming colonoscopy or buying a replacement tooth brush. OK, that is all I can muster for today. It is Labor Day. Wednesday is a go. CHOW. 


Dang. You need to write a Mayoral post about Ferguson. Us white boys have no credibility but what those folks need are schools, jobs, and a non-militarized police force, for which you have been advocating. Unfortunately, what Ferguson says to me, race in our country is no better today than it was when I was growing up. Enormous segregation. We had a place called Pope's Bottom where all the blacks lived: mired in poverty, three generations of females having babies. A grandmother had a baby, kid grows up to have babies. Sorry ass male is gone, maybe in jail, hanging out in Raleigh, smoking dope or selling it. 

What we need is Green Gulch to get involved. Dang. I am thinking about sending a bus, headed by Gary, to GG to load on volunteers. John will direct activities on the way to St. Louis. Sam will be available to talk lawyerly stuff for distraction purposes. The doc will be available to discuss medical alternatives if they should arise. You and I will use out vast contacts to recruit from Bay View Hunters Point and Pope's bottom in my home town. Plus. We will tap into the very productive homeless network in San Rafael. Since we do not have an AA to lead on the ground efforts, Michael will have to do. A Jew is better than nothing. We have to be in this for the long haul. 

Now, you will have to excuse me as I am returning to the "NY Times," a Commie rag if I have ever known one. God bless us and God bless St Louie and God bless "Merica."