Disgrace in Syria   (2016Sep20)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016                                          12:50 PM


What’s happening in Syria is some bullshit. For years, they’ve been deconstructing an ancient civilization—ancient cities, like Allepo—and sites of historic importance to all of humanity. They’ve ruptured their society, spilling millions of displaced, forever exiled, into the world around them—exiled, not because they can never return, but because the place they fled has ceased to exist.


No one even knows who he or she is shooting at anymore—Assad’s troops, Rebels, Jihadi-extremists, Kurds, Russians, Americans, now Turks—this isn’t a war at all—it’s a civilization-free zone. The pitiable millions remaining were promised a cease-fire, waited day after day for the shooting to stop, then finally got a relief caravan moving—and, poof!—the cease-fire was over, and they shelled the relief trucks, killing innocent civilians and aid-workers alike. Fucking assholes.


And I’m not just talking about Assad and Putin. Where is the UN in all this? Where are the Saudis? Where are the Egyptians? What about all those little caliphates full of oil-rich poohbahs? I live in the suburbs, an ocean away, and I can hardly stand this—what is wrong with those people?


This is what happens when people have to fight for their voice, for their dignity. This is what intolerance gets you. All these people are so busy fighting for their side, they don’t even realize that the best way to stop the killing is to accept that there are other sides. And, of course, you do what you know—half-a-lifetime these folks have been clocking in each morning by picking up a gun. It’s a shame they’re raising a new generation, in the rubble, who will never know anything else.


It makes me want to cry. There are a lot of problems behind this violence. It’s a shame that killing each other is the only solution—O, wait a fuckin minute. It ain’t. Goddam fucking assholes….


Alright—deep breath. There’s nothing I can do about any of this stuff.

I have new pictures of my beautiful granddaughter. She just gets more adorable every day. This time she has on Supergirl socks (with tiny red capes!)—it’s just too delightful. And just look at those delicate hands and feet. People are fragile things—but babies just flaunt it, don’t they? Still, none of us have armor—just flesh. We should treat each other like we were as fragile as babies. Because we are.

I know—because I used to be healthy and indestructible—nothing could hurt me. Then I got sick, and then disabled. Little friggin microscopic bugs took me down. How can we waste our lives fighting each other? I know talking things out is boring—but it beats living in rubble, with babies starving. Just sayin.


[below was previously published on Medium.com]

Monday, September 19, 2016                                          7:26 PM

ISIS is Bombing   (2016Sep19)

29 people were injured by a bomb in NYC—another was found two streets away, before it could go off. The Marine Corps marathon in NJ had a late start, so no one was hurt when a bomb there exploded. Another IED exploded while bomb-squad robots tried to defuse it. Unexploded devices allowed investigators to identify and hunt down a suspect—and, as of now, it appears that he was acting on his own.

All in all (and with sincere sympathies for the 29 wounded in New York—and the NJ police wounded during his apprehension) this was an excellent terror attack—a complete and utter failure to engender unease, much less terror. Our police and other agencies acted professionally, quickly, and successfully. It’s really little more than a campaign talking point, 72 hours after the event.

Americans do not terrorize quite so easily—certainly not anymore. And with top ISIS leaders being taken out day after day in the field, a laughable flop of a domestic terrorist attempt is only made more ridiculous by the knife-wielding Jihadist in Minnesota (again, with sincere sympathies for the wounded in that mall)—if they’re going to take us out hand-to-hand, they’ve picked the right country—come and get me, nutjobs.

Still, we must remember that school-shootings, mass-shootings, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Anthrax mail-hoaxes of the past—all were carried out by the mentally disturbed—and even if we wipe terrorism from the face of the earth, violence will always lurk in the dark spaces of the mind. And we should remember that, outside of the buzz of current politics, these radicalized people are also mentally disturbed.

The will to violence is not so common as the media might suggest—if it were, we’d have people popping off every ten yards. The rare individuals that perpetrate bombings or shootings—even in the name of an organization—are still being culled from the ragged edges of our society. Most of us are too busy trying to get along—too busy living—to trouble with violence.

And that is why it is so important to uphold our ideals and our inclusion—every time someone is marginalized or neglected, they are pushed in a dangerous direction. When these people act out, there is a failure, too, in those around them—those who didn’t enclose that person in the security and comfort of a community. Those who overlook the underserved, the troubled, and the stigmatized, only put off trouble, and allow it to grow into a greater problem.

Failure of Leadership / Veterans Day  (2015Nov11)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015                                              12:37 PM

Every war we talk about the bravery, the gallantry, of our side’s soldiers—and the perfidy and inhumanity of the other side. And no one with a heart could fail to feel the tragedy of young heroes going to their deaths with honor—or fail to feel disgust at war crimes. But to me, the failure is always on those who allow things to get to the point of war.

The anti-war movement that arose during the Vietnam War was begun by activists—but it attracted many parents of draft-age children, and of children who were currently serving, and of the fallen. They recognized a failure of leadership in a government that cared more for their Cold War ‘chessboard’ than for the men and women being sent into harm’s way. Had they known that Nixon’s advisors had told him the war was unwinnable, they would have had too much ammunition—so they were lied to.

Being the first time that a citizenry had actually opposed its own government’s war plans, the peaceniks made a few mistakes. Their biggest mistake was in demonizing the soldiers, along with their leaders—the horrors of Vietnam were laid at the feet of the grunts on the ground—young boys, mostly, trying their best to survive in a situation that their leaders sent them into without any hope of winning. Whatever savagery was reported as having been committed by US troops in Vietnam (and there was far too much of that, sadly) it was a consequence of boys being sent into hell without any leadership—and that was reflected in the top brass, all the way up to the C-in-C.

Nevertheless, today’s GOP cliché, that liberals don’t ‘support our troops’ was a valid charge in 1972. But the liberals have seen, along with the rest of the country, that our military reflects our leadership—those young people will respond to whatever training and discipline the USA gives them. And with world leaders—and military leaders—that can’t be bothered to think things through, to discuss alternatives, or to make plans before they start shooting—we can’t really expect those leaders to produce an army that won’t immediately descend into bloodlust—the whole idea of war is to suspend civilized behavior for the duration—exceptionally convenient for leaders—not so good for the GIs.

I watched the Iwo Jima Reunion of Honor documentary last night—and I was struck by the refrain of survivors of both sides—that they had nothing against any individual—that they fought only because their country told them to—and because they expected to be killed if they didn’t kill first. I remember the shock I felt, after a Cold War childhood of indoctrination into hating the commies, when I first confronted the truth that most citizens of the USSR were just like us, getting up every morning, going to work, raising a family, trying to live their lives—that they were an ocean away and, outside of a few Politburo members, no more interested in our neighborhood than we were in theirs.

The Cold War was two governments, riddled with fear and ambition, insisting that we citizens share those failings. It was give substance by the nuclear arms race and MAD—but those policies were also confined to our governments—in fact, most information concerning that science was kept secret—we were only supposed to share the fear and hatred, none of the understanding.

I’m disgusted by the fact that humankind is so tantalizingly close to a civilized society in some parts of the world—and our leaders, our military, and our media focus on the trouble spots—trying to treat war as if it were an inevitability. War isn’t inevitable—it is, and always has been, a failure of leadership—we should rename Veteran’s Day to Leaders Should Do Better Day.

Hawks will say this is naïve—that the world is full of evil and it must be fought. Well, evil is everywhere—when it happens here, we call the cops—we don’t declare the neighborhood a war zone—a profit center for arms merchants and black-marketeers. There is a balance to most things—war signifies those places where the powers-that-be have decided ‘balance be damned’. And they don’t do this because they have to—they do it because they’re too damned stupid and lazy to find a better way. Worse, there are those like Dick Cheney, who sees war as good business—how do we forgive ourselves for voting for madmen like him?

Americans have matured—we no longer blame soldiers for the horrors of the wars they are sent into. But when are we going to start blaming the governmental and business leaders whose responsibility those horrors are? When will the ‘Leader of the Free World’ evoke the image of a diplomat, instead of a sniper?

Memorial Day – Observed   (2015May25)


Monday, May 25, 2015                                            12:14 PM

Remembrances are tricky. There’s no critique in a eulogy. Why speak ill of the dead? They can’t hear you. I’m looking forward to my own eulogy—must be nice to have people talk about the good and overlook the bad.

Americans have little sense of soldiers as defenders of the homeland. We don’t have any borders to speak of—just oceans. Hence our navy is really the picket-line for the USA. But 9/11 changed even that—as have drones. The conservatives describe the modern military paradigm as ‘fighting over there so we don’t have to fight here’. Yet we are just as vulnerable to the keyboard of an angry teen hacker in Teaneck, perhaps more so, than any imaginary horde attempting a beachhead on Martha’s Vineyard.


It’s become so tangled that many people have begun to see non-involvement in the Shia/Sunni civil-wars of Mid-East nations as a viable military strategy. Recent perusals of Bin-Laden’s archives show that he wanted to keep American targets as the terrorists’ focus—and he did succeed in virtually bankrupting this country by blowing up a single skyscraper. Lucky for us, he’s dead—and ISIS is a far more benign group of thugs who prefer to shoot at things closer to home. If we can just counteract their YouTube recruitment videos, they’re dead to us.

20141019XD-StandardsSunday (3)

Unfortunately, they have stumbled onto something that is almost as aggravating to Americans—they’re destroying the cultural history of our earliest civilizations. Human suffering is common—but these jerks are smashing museum artifacts—priceless, irreplaceable art from the dawn of humanity. But that is just for PR—they take most of their plunder and sell it on the black market to fund their armies.

So let’s not forget, on this Memorial Day, that Americans who get rich selling arms to the globe, and rich Americans who buy artifacts on the black market, are the support network for these ‘terrorists’. People say we should stop sending drones into the Middle East—I say we should stop sending money and arms there.

But today is about honoring sacrifice. Mothers who’ve lost one of their own children in battle are troubled by the paradox of glorifying something that could very well take another, or one of their children’s children. Young men who are proud to play their part in our military sense a dark message that their greatest glory will be found in death. Disabled veterans may find themselves bitterly reflecting that the dead have it much easier than some of the living—and get the lion’s share of respect and honor from their countrymen.


To me, it’s a historical issue. To honor the dead from the two World Wars, the Civil War, the Revolution, et. al. is a straightforward sentiment. By comparison, all the ‘wars’ that followed the advent of the A-bomb—Korea and Viet Nam—became something less than ‘all out’ warfare—they were Political. We tempered our forces, fearing that ‘all out’ aggression would involve the Red Chinese—which would have transformed those ground wars into a nuclear World War III. The interpolation of politics into the fighting and dying became the kindling that sparked the anti-war movement.

Subsequent ‘wars’ drew even further away from the idea of fighting with all our might and resources—today’s military actions are a hodge-podge of nation-consensus-building and domestic opinion-polling. The boys and girls who are ‘sacrificed to our freedom’ today are just as likely to be the victims of one day’s poor polling points—or some cheap contractor’s shoddy manufacturing.


Plus, there is no more ‘war at home’, as we had in WWII, with USO stations, fund drives, ration books, and flags in the windows. Part of the PTSD suffered by today’s returning veterans is the disorientation felt when they return to a country that’s barely aware of what they’re doing. They suffer, bleed, fight and die thousands of miles away, on the other side of an ocean—and come home to bored, sensation-seeking civilians who hardly knew they were gone.

If we’re going to have war in the Middle East, we should have a little Memorial Day every damn day. Failing that, we should stop sending our young people to die in places we don’t care about. Or maybe we should rename today “Oil Day”.


The War for Heaven on Earth (2014Jul03)

Hi everyone! I wrote a poem today, then a drew an illustration for it, then I recorded a music background for it.

Click here to hear the poem:



Click here to listen to my piano soundtrack:


Click here to see the Graphic Print Version of the Poem.


And here are the drawing and photos used for the artwork:

Original Sketch
Original Sketch
our Bee-Balms...
our Bee-Balms…

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20140703XD-TheWar4HvnOnErt 022

Blueberries ripening...
Blueberries ripening…
Our little baby watermelon--coming along...
Our little baby watermelon–coming along…

20140703XD-TheWar4HvnOnErt 013

20140703XD-TheWar4HvnOnErt 016

Hope You Enjoyed…

O—and, since this is the next day—Happy 4th of July!

In Memorium

20130422XD-Googl-Mandelbrot03So what are we dedicating in memory today? Fallen fighters, great men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice—and all those whose sacrifice is drawn out over a long life of ‘walking wounded’ through their days—and all soldiers, really, it seems (now that we’ve accepted Post-Trauma-Stress as a disorder, rather than a sign either of cowardice or of a non-battle-related psychosis) we should be laying wreaths at the graves of their innocence and peace of mind, amputated forever from all who see combat, even if they returned to us apparently unscathed by bullets or shrapnel.

And how could they not? Many third-world places ‘live’ in PTSD, their society is arranged around PTSD—as would yours if you had to physically scramble for the bits of food that represent either starvation or survival for your entire family—every day, and hiding from bands of mercenaries (or in some cases, the US military).

We are raised to be civilized in most of our country—with growing areas of unrest due to economic hardship of a depth and duration not seen since the 1930s. Perhaps we are wrong to do so. Perhaps we should raise our kids as the Spartans did, preparing them for war from the moment of their birth. Or we could just enlist recruits from those areas of our nation which see conditions not unlike the third-world.

Whatever we do, it will still be nothing compared to the firefights and kill-zones our children encounter when sent to the Middle East (or elsewhere) as soldiers—if our children fight, all our tenderest, most loving hugs and kisses will be wasted. Worse, we provide them with a past the memory of which is part of the torture of seeing combat—the tremendous contrast, the overwhelming urge to return to the land of the ‘living’, makes their nightmare worse.

Are we to remember the victories they fought and died for? What did we win in Iraq? Nothing worth Americans’ lives and blood. What are we still trying to win in Afghanistan? Our enemy, Bin Laden, was living in the country next door—the war in Afghanistan made it easier to muster up a helicopter night raid into Pakistan to kill Osama. Have we freed the Iraqis and the Afghans? Not really—they have their own way of freeing themselves and we seem to be in the way.

So I think it is just and proper that we remember, on Memorial Day, that our fighting men and women do their duty, same as the Light Brigade, and we should be serious about sending them in harm’s way. They will fight and die and bleed, and they will always win (a real plus, as armies go) whether they are sent on a fool’s errand or in defense of our freedom. So perhaps, more importantly, we should remember the next time we go to war, as we do today, that it is no small thing to send crowds of our best young people into an orgy of violence.

Osama Bin Laden proved this to us—he relied upon our willy-nilly response to the 9/11 debacle to trick us into spending rivers of cash to ‘close the barn door’, if you will. This, with a little help from greedy Americans, caused our economic implosion five years ago. We beat the Soviets the same way (which makes it even more galling) by scaring them into outspending their means on the ‘war-tech race’ that ended the Cold War—and the Soviet Union.

So we look with pride on the heroes in uniform today and yesterday, particularly those who never came home, and we feel the security they provide to this entire country—and we steel ourselves for the future. For only by keeping our military out of questionable conflicts can we solemnize our responsibility to make sure their blood isn’t ever on our own hands.

Veteran’s Day

Sunday, November 11, 2012            7:45 PM

Okay. Sunday night. Veteran’s Day. The real date, although tomorrow is the observed holiday. That ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1914’ still gets me—you see, I’m reading “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett and, while it is historical fiction, there is nothing fictional about his description of the callous decisions of so many nations’ leaders to send millions of young boys to their death. To have a fancy 11th this and 11th that—it’s just typical of the stuffed shirts and nobility of those times to try and aggrandize even the ending of the needless slaughter.

Still tens of thousands without electricity in the NYC Metro Area. Funny how it’s always the low-income neighborhoods that see this kind of neglect. Is there a rule or something? Can’t we at least hand out a bunch of those keychain flashlights that are given out at conventions, just so they can see their way up the stairs? They can’t be that expensive.

I see the news reports of General David Patraeus resigning over an affair—or is it two affairs? Two ladies having an email flame-war over him, something like that? When I first saw this story on the CNN crawl, I thought, “What the hell is the FBI doing investigating the head of the CIA?” But then I remembered a story in the NY Times from a day or two before—that Patreaus was having some trouble due to using military paradigms, but the CIA had always been a tightly knit group, leery of outsiders, used to being treated like a club more than an agency—and definitely not into military-style leadership.

So that made me wonder if the whole scandal thing was just their way of dumping their new boss. If a guy can’t hide his affairs how can he keep America’s more important secrets, eh? But I sympathize with Dave—being married and having two other women fight over you—you know that won’t end well. Still, I think the CIA has a lot of nerve copping a ‘tude—9/11, WMDs in Iraq, Arab Spring, Heavy losses in Afghanistan—will they ever warn us in advance of disasters instead of making excuses after the fact? Do spies even make sense in our present day? Surely very poor spies who do nothing useful can be considered redundant. Maybe they should start poaching personnel from the FBI.

I think a ‘sea-wall’ protecting Manhattan and environs from rising sea-levels and more powerful storms would be an excellent WPA-type project for creating jobs. Infrastructure nationwide should be considered as a part of the unemployment problem—roads, bridges, schools, whatever—and it increases the value of our assets to ‘put some work into the house’, as it were. And this time, along with a salary, we could offer workers credit towards tuitions—so they can get better jobs than pouring concrete, you know?

Just a thought…Image