Tuesday, August 15, 2006

White Doves

Four white doves. Three had pink rings around their eyes. Black eyes. One dove had a black ring around his. White doves, black eyes, blue, peerless sky. Spotless birds, and pure white, the frost white of a rose. A frost white felicity to shame the moon. And the abyss, the dark, dark deepness of the black eyes, jewels encircled, set in pink and black, standing on dainty pink feet in a little white church with a glass door.

The young lady opened the door and gently took one dove. I immediately had the sense that this God's creature knew in some sense what was transpiring, its role in the unfolding of events this afternoon. There was only the flutter of the flags in the breeze to mark the time, a gentling backdrop to the sounds of grieving mothers, dads, sisters, brothers. The dove so gently held was paraded around the circle then a lady, Brian's mother, I think, handed off the just folded flag, and carressing the dove to her breast she let it go with a tear and a kiss.

The bird flew straight away and immediately it's three companions were set free. They quickly joined and flew, fluttering white sapphires in the peerless blue sky, circling the funeral rites below, and finding their bearing on the westering sun, they set off into the heavens, free spirits, liberated from the surly bonds of earth.

Rest in peace, Brian Kubik.

Laid to rest near Killeen, Texas.
August, 15, 2006
Died of wounds received in combat operations, Bagdad, Iraq.
He was 20 years old.
Patriot Guard Riders honored this American hero.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Take the gloves off

Here is a comment I posted on Tigerhawk.

When the U.S. fought WW II there was no "proportionality". The Germans, the Japanese, the Italians are now our friends and allies to one degree or another. When we fought the "cold" war against the hegemony of the major communist states there was a measure of proportionality; yet, Russia and China, though not our friends in the same way as Germany, etc., are nonetheless involved with us in a more or less civilized way. As regarding the Korea and Vietnam wars, I would say they were more battles in the cold war than wars in themselves; and yes, we used proportionality in those conflicts. As a result we are still dealing with a major failure vis a vis North Korea. Vietnam, unlike states whose ass we properly kicked, is still pretty much an economic basket case whereas if we had used our full force then they would be much better off today; though I still claim we won that battle, just not decisively.
I think the problem with the current emerging world wide conflagration is that these people are so much different from us. We might as well be fighting aliens from another world. This is different from our previous conflicts in that these people are pre-medieval in their world view. We fail to understand what motivates them. We seem unable to accept that they don't want something "from us". They just want our destruction. One of their leaders said as much many years ago in a moment of candor.
We don't understand them. We are doomed to failure because we do not "know" our enemy. Lacking this knowledge we have a difficult time anticipating his next act of aggression. In fact, I am not so sure we even know ourselves anymore. This is a failure of leadership as much as anything. But I will tell you one thing. I believe our enemy is human enough to have his will broken and to do this the blood, as foretold in the Bible, will have to run in the streets to the depth of a horse's bridle. This can happen. Let them send a WMD into Tel Aviv or deal a major blow to America's heartland again.
The Greek historian Herodotus, writing about the Persian wars of 490 and 479 B.C., quotes the Persian king Xerxes:
"I intend to throw a bridge over the Hellespont, and to march an army through Europe against Greece, that I may punish the Athenians for the injuries they have done to the Persians....I...will not rest till I have taken and burnt Athens....if we shall subdue them, and their neighbors....we shall make the Persian territory co-extensive with the air of heaven; nor will the sun look down upon any land that borders on ours; but I...will make them all one territory, marching through the whole of Europe...no city or nation of the world will remain, which will be able to come to a battle with us... Thus, both those who are guilty, and those who are not guilty, must equally submit to the yoke of servitude."
Some of the rhetoric of the enemy is a mere echo of these sentiments.
Three hundred Spartans, at a mountain pass at Thermopylae, fought to the last man against Xerxes' army. In the valley below, the Greek army used this precious time to prepare to do battle against the invaders. The Greeks prevailed.
In a sense, Israel now fills the place of the Spartans giving the U.S. time to get its act together for the next chapter in this sad tale of which the current events are but a foretaste. God bless them for their service to a seemingly indifferent or even hostile human race. I for one, wish they would take the gloves off. Hell, I wish we would take the gloves off.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Temporal Tectonics

When the dismal light of the darkened sun shall sink deep into the depths abysmal of the eternal night, verily: when the sleep of terror shall fall upon all creation, verily: when the sound shall no longer echo, aye: when thou art lost upon the sea of blood, of tepid tepid blood, verily! Verily! then will I be awake, awake anew! and ascend, ascend over ocean, rock, mountain, continent, away away, covered in scarlet wings, and seek me a sea of burning gold, and drink and devour the sea will I, oh, drink and devour the sea will I! Hali, G. V. Desani

The middle east circa July, 2006

If you have your ear to the ground and are in possession of a particular sensibility you can detect a certain tectonic shift in the march of time. The landscape has been slightly altered and the ebb and flow of events follow the slightly different contours of the terrain. The infrahuman forces of embodied evil, the satanic in nature, the death cult that is Islamofascism, collides spectacularly and openly with the life enhancing element again. Millions of souls are in the thrall of this metastasizing evil incarnate. They sacrifice their children as suicide bombers knowing subliminally that their opponents' moral sensibilities recoil and tend to acquiesce to their demands just to make them stop their barbarism. "They give birth astride graves".* And in the brief moment that life's potential is folded into the cold eternal night they rejoice clutching and holding dear the darkness of their perverted god as it snuffs out the potential for apotheosis. The world has seldom seen more blatant flowering of evil. And the Israelis, having done, as their name implies, battle with G_d and joined forces with him, now, as in the recent past, are again at the spearhead of a world civilization teetering on the brink of a darkness void of the light of truth and liberty, the warmth of love, the sweet voice of understanding and knowledge and wisdom. My heart cries out for victory, for clear eyed leadership willing to take up the sword of righteousness and join battle with and utterly dam up and contain and destroy this tide. Never in the history of the planet has the choice been so clear. This is the eschatological unfolding of the apocalyptic flower of human history. This events the ultimate destiny of humanity's total devastation or doom. You had better be on the right side for the sake of your immortal soul and the light of G_d seeking expression therein. Make the wrong choice and it is like trying to get to the west by going east. You can never arrive at your destination and merely tend to a certain direction.

The spin of planet earth in the infinite darkness of space allows a daily rekindling of life by the light of the sun. How far north from south on this very lighted thing we call home? The pole pins us to the firmament giving direction to all movement. Hence purpose and order. How far east from west? Infinity? Latitudinal alignment of destiny provides an infinite regress. A journey in this aspect is never completed. Opposing this is the Longitudinal path. Go far enough in this direction and you end up heading in an opposite direction. It is a function of spin. Time, too, has a spin. As time travelers we need to orient ourselves Longitudinally in time. Otherwise we can never fulfill our destiny, achieve true understanding of life's meaning. If we loose this struggle with evil man's opportunity to discover and properly align his efforts with truth as such will be set back thousands of years to the time when god's were appeased through such things as child sacrifice. Remember the bible story of Abraham and his son Isaac? He is on the mountain, close to G_d, about to sacrifice his son in an act of worship when G_d stays his hand. This is a pivotal point in the evolution of man and Israel is the focal point. Compare that with the Islamic culture that still sacrifices their children. Not hard to see the choice here, if you are in possession of a particular sensibility. Can you find Polaris? Choose poorly and succumb to the long dimming of the light of truth in service of a dhimmitude in a perverted theocracy. This will be our lot as we find ourselves constrained to hopelessness and slavery.

* "Waiting for Godot", Samuel Beckett

They give birth astride graves, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

And from Macbeth:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Mike Strank
b. 1919 Jarabenia, Czechoslovakia.
d. 1945 Iwo Jima, Japan.

Their leader and Sergeant, it was Mike who got the order to climb Mt. Suribachi. Mike picked his "boys" and led them safely to the top. Mike explained to the boys that the larger flag had to be raised so that "every Marine on this cruddy island can see it." It was Mike who gave the orders to find a pole, attach the flag and "put'er up!"

Continue reading about the "Flag Raisers" at http://www.iwojima.com/raising/raisingc.htm

And, when is the last time you carefully read this:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Hey, I will be back. In a few. Busy here pouring a slab. Dealing with "K" bike issues. Contemplating the blogiverse. Fixing this damn hernia. Humbling myself. Life is interesting and imminently worth living for the present. The grass grows, the garden too. The grasshoppers are in a sharing mood so there is some produce to enjoy. Tomatoes too. Haven't stepped on a snake lately. That bee swarm I heard today passed me by, didn't infect my house or outbuildings as they once did. It rains. The sun shines. The summer solstice is on me but the temperature is mild, only in the 90s these past few days.
Tacking into the wind pulls at my mind. My intention. Interesting, that. So easily we slip into valencies. A part of me now spins in that direction pulling at the available personal resources, duty calls though I never resolved to build a cathedral of mindstuff, or, more apt, a hovel, in a narrow alley well off the main thoroughfare. This blog thing. For whom do I write? You two or three anons? Myself? Writing itself? I think the latter.
I will be back but maybe not for long.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gallup, New Mexico to Angel Fire, New Mexico

"You should not think of it as a fight for certain nations against others...It is a struggle for an ideal that has to establish itself on earth in the life of humanity, for a Truth that has yet to realize itself fully and against a darkness and falsehood that are trying to overwhelm the earth and mankind....." Sri Aurobindo

My bike is the blue green Beemer.

This is Brother Gary and wife and two grandchildren. To right is the inimitable "Top". He drove a pickup pulling a trailer to rescue broken bikes. He was very outgoing and boisterous and I had the audacity to ask him whether he was called "Top" because he was a former First Sergeant or because he always spoke at the "top" of his voice. That took him back and I am lucky to have gotten away with my head intact.

Your humble author and brother and Chaplain Arnie.


Healing. In the background is another chaplain. The bearded guy. He is talking to an active duty Army Chaplain, who, in fact, was the Chaplain in chief for the run. His son is to his left. As far as I can tell they made the whole ride. The boy will not soon forget the "bonding" with dad.

On to the post for today.

It's Friday. Today's trek from Gallup,NM to Angel Fire, NM is 285 miles. I woke up in the middle of the night my mind going over the events of the preceding days, my body vying for attention to its own set of troubles, doubt overriding the whole picture. I remember, in my mind, quitting the ride. I will just leave, I thought. A few minutes later after yet again revisiting the experience so far I resolved to continue another day. Maybe after awhile the body would develop the correct response to the physical demands, build a little more muscle in the necessary places, and it would get a little easier. Gary, when I mentioned this to him, told me I was getting old. Most encouraging, just what I wanted to hear.
We convened the formation back at Red Rock as mentioned earlier and shortly afterwards got the five minute warning and mounted up and began the day's ride. By the luck of the draw I ended up in one of the trailing platoons. I don't recall which but it was back in the pack. Maybe I could get lucky at the gas stop and get closer to the front. Again, we had a police escort today. The authorities basically shut down the interstate for us. No one was allowed to pass us, and every ramp was blocked by either a New Mexico trooper or one of our own road guards, or both. This did ease the way and the miles dropped steadily away behind us in a blur of heat mirage.
Before long we were joined by a military Blackhawk helicopter, our escort in the sky. This pilot would go up and down the formation, which I determined was about two miles long, and would in a sense, it seemed, be flying his shadow. He would keep it on us and the way the sun was, if he was coming from behind, you would first get the shadow on you then see him off to the right a ways. He kept his bird at about 250 feet altitude would be my guess. Well, this took your mind off the hurt between the shoulders, the heat, the terrible noise of all the Harley's. My recollection is that it was as we made our approach to Sante Fe that he took his leave of our formation. He did this by making one last pass, rear to front, then he circled and came to a hover perpendicular to the highway and maintained position so that we would all ride under him. This threw dirt up in the air and when you hit his prop wash you knew it but to a man we were thrilled by his "salute". Everyone returned his gesture with a hand salute, a pumping fist in the air, a thumbs up, or a wave of the arm.
Before Santa Fe there was a brief stop in Grants where we attended the dedication of a new Vietnam Memorial. There were several speakers topped off by New Mexico Governor Richardson. I recall thinking that I could have written better words, but, truly, their hearts were in the right place, even if they did not articulate the spirit of my personal aspirations for a national resolve appropriate to our current place in history. Later, as we were breaking up I found myself face to face with the Governor, he was shaking hands and I joined in thanking him for his sentiments. Today, especially this morning, I had ruminated in my mind while riding what it meant for mankind, for the divine being with whom we have this reciprocal exchange called evolution, that in the service of a country not seeking world wide hegemony but seeking to spread the message of our founding fathers, the message of freedom, liberty, and justice, men and women give their lives and make sacrifices in a thousand other ways for this ideal, this paradigm in the fundament, this liberty. And these men and women with whom I am journeying across this great land, many, many of them bearing deep scars in their bodies and psyches, wounds bearing witness to that sacrifice of which I write. I was sitting in a bar in Saigon, Tu Do street, sipping gin and tonics wondering if one of the ubiquitous geckos would fall in my drink, or maybe chasing a skirt, I remember one Chung Le Hoa, Chinese girl, while my brothers bled their lives away in the jungles and rice paddies. At night, in my bunk, I would hear the "thrump" of mortars, see the flares, see the tracers in the sky, safe in my compound near the front gate of Ton Sohn Nhut air terminal. The Viet Cong were always probing the jungle side perimeter of the air base but I was on the city side, the safe side. Later in life I would read, several times, books like Marine Sniper, the story of Gunny Carlos Hathcock, and Five Years to Freedom, the autobiography of Lt. James Rowe who was a POW held captive by the Viet Cong. This is how I learned about the other side of the Vietnam experience.
Of course, as things in the Army go, I had been originally assigned to some small outpost on the coast Southeast of Saigon when my orders came down moving me from Ft. Benning, GA to Viet Nam. But when I arrived, for the good of the service, I was reassigned to HHD, 1st Logistical Command, USARPAC. That was in May, 1966. I served as a personnel specialist, the company clerk, which is a sort of a gopher for the first sergeant and the CO. I was glad I wasn't humping hills in the boondocks, that is for sure. I had it made in the shade, as they say. The biggest danger I faced was catching VD. But I digress. Back to the present.
On top of these thoughts I am having add the fact that when we do our frequent parades, when we participate in a public function along the way such as today's dedication of the memorial in Grant's, when we just pass near a town on the way, we are greeted by Americans waving flags, saluting, yelling encouragement. There are old people, obviously veterans themselves, there are young people, there are children with their families. Truckers honk for us, people stop in their cars on the interstate and stand and salute as we pass by, people come to the overpasses and wave flags and salute or wave to us as we pass under them. This is a rich panoply
of characters and I only wish the sanctimonious politicians, and especially the blame America first and always moonbats could appreciate this for what it surely is. I mentioned to brother that evening that politicians have a rule of thumb that for every letter or call they receive on a given subject there are ten thousand other citizens who share that sentiment but who do not take the time to write or call. It occurs to me, I said, that for every person waving a flag and thereby voicing their support for our effort, that person represents ten thousand others who could not be there. Pretty soon you are talking about millions of people, the vast majority of the people taking a strong position in support of the nation's military. And that is a loaded thing, for in supporting the military you also support the mission, the dedication to the principles embodied in our constitution, the securing and increasing of liberty for all people everywhere. That is my thought on the matter. Later at the Angel Fire Viet Nam memorial I would give full voice to this while having a quiet talk with Chaplain Arnie.
After Sante Fe we soon found our way to a narrow two lane road that began our climb to higher and gratefully cooler elevation. The desert again gave way to pine forest which scented the air and lifted my spirits. The weather changed too and by the time we arrived in Angel Fire and the nearby Vietnam Memorial there were a few sprinkles. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Gary's wife and son and his wife and two children were there to meet Gary. We had a nice visit and shared a meal at in nearby Eagles Nest, NM.
At the memorial people were going through the display. For many it was an emotional journey back in time to unresolved issues with their experience in the war. I saw many tears and in fact the whole atmosphere became as leaden as the skies that greeted us on our arrival. A catharsis was taking place. Groups stood in silent prayer, I looked in a few faces that had that "thousand yard stare" of the battle worn soldier. My own "brainstorm" of the day continued and after Gary introduced me to Chaplain Arnie just outside the memorial I had an opportunity to give voice to my personal thoughts. He was kind to hear me but I had difficulty getting the words out and spoke very quietly. It was the essence of my ruminations of the day. I said that in so far as God can be said to have attributes I thought that liberty was an eternal paradigm of his, like a facet of a diamond, that there were other facets, of course, beauty, understanding, and love, for instance, but that liberty was on my mind now because of the nature of our mission. I said that it occurred to me that this "liberty" was a kind of luminous being which luminosity was increased by the sacrifices of those acting in its service and that our founders understood this and it was that they enshrined in our constitution. I didn't go farther but obviously these attributes are attractors for the nascent spirit embedded in existential mass and of creatures and act as a drawing force in conjunction with others that under the right evolutionary circumstances participate in the awakening in matter of life, consciousness, conscience, and eventually Godliness. This echoes a more detailed philosophy that I have come to hold in the past year as well as the quote at the top of this post, which quote I happened to run across this on (Robert Godwin) Gagdad Bob's blog, One Cosmos.
Giving voice to this I felt deeply the timid yearning of my soul as it approaches and dares to join fully in holy union with "that same primal spirit whence issued forth of old the whole cosmic activity*". I tremble as at the approach of a longed for lover. The blossom of this sacred union of the dew drop in the ocean of the abyss is my eternal hope and joy for all men and women everywhere. Rejoice in the luminous being that is liberty, blood bought and sustained against the darkness of tyranny. Our nation is, by virtue of this alone, the one true shining hope of mankind and fits hand in glove with the divine plan. To abandon this hope is to open the door to the re-primitivization of the planet by the powers of darkness. Over the course of the rest of the journey I would continue to dwell on these thoughts and would give voice to them when it seemed appropriate. I always found a sympathetic ear. I was not always so "deep" with my exposition, tailoring it to the individual at hand, and I promise to not delve more into the abyss, for awhile at least. As I have already said it was my experience that people shared with me the feelings that we do not have the leadership we deserve and that boils down to failure to aggressively identifying for the public the true nature of the conflict in which we currently find ourselves embroiled, who our enemies are, where they come from, and a response capable of defeating this implacable enemy. To the rank and file American, to put it more succinctly, it appears that the policy of this government is somewhere in between Eurabia style appeasement and the prosecution of an all out war on the enemies of freedom. Americans by and large want the latter and that is why President Bush's numbers are down. We are on a path to failure because one hand is tied behind our back. That makes the President a loser and nobody likes a loser. He has shown he can win. I wish that "facet" of his person would come back to the front. That is my opinion informed by hundreds of anecdotal contacts with my countrymen as I made this journey to honor my fallen comrades. But, back to Angel Fire.
Chaplain Arnie quoted me a bible verse that we should go and spread the light of the Christ throughout the world. He maintained perfect equanimity during our exchange and we walked towards the chapel where he went in to offer a candle. I went up the hill to where a Huey helicopter was poised as if coming in for a landing. Gary was there and I had Pastor Dan take a picture of us. The camera obliged and we were able to shoot a couple more shots.
*Bhagavad Gita

Another Chaplain. Dan, from Pennsylvania whom I met in Williams, AZ one day out from Ontario. He almost daily checked me out, looked me in the eye real hard and said, "how are you doing". Much appreciated Dan. When I took this picture Gary quipped that he learned how to fly in one of these birds. Noting that it was a slick (nomenclature for an unarmed Huey) I retorted that he was attracted to the craft because he too, back then, was a pretty "slick" dude.

Me and Gary at the Huey. You can just make out the manikens in the cockpit.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Day Two, Williams, AZ to Gallup NM

This was the first day I actually rode in formation. Our trek for today would cover 226 miles about half of yesterdays 400 miles. You think that 226 miles is nothing, but riding in formation, and I was lucky to get in the third or fourth rank of the second platoon, and maintaining the prescribed distance with the other riders requires constant attention and tiny adjustments of speed. The people in the back have the most trouble because of the accordion effect of the formation. Each variation in the speed of the lead riders, the adjustments of the followers to keep the pack dressed up, is amplified by the distance back in the pack. We usually rode two up, meaning side by side with two to three bikes length between ranks in the column. There were six platoons which changed in number daily. If there were 300 bikes each platoon would have about 50 bikes in it. The platoons each had leaders but the members of a given platoon were just the luck of the draw. This made it more difficult to develop unit cohesion and the like, and made it harder to get to know your fellow riders. On the other hand it would be a challenge to have everyone be in the same unit, though, I believe, it would be worth the trouble. This is the eighteenth run so it stands to reason that the organizers have pretty much worked out the major kinks and come up with the most efficient method of moving this many motorcycles across the country. Anyhow, you can never let go of the throttle and this increases the tension on the body a great deal. Riding a motorcycle is a kind of isometric exercise at any rate but not being able to relax your right arm really takes a toll after several days of several hundred mile days. For me this was my fifth day of motorcycling. I have heard of guys riding coast to coast in 50 hours in what is known as the "Iron Butt" contest. Maybe when I was young, but not now, no way Jose. This is truly a test of mind over matter for me and my fellow travelers and is a kind of self sacrifice for the stated purpose of keeping the focus of our people and their representatives on the sacrifices of veterans, on the prisoners of war and the killed in action as yet unaccounted for especially in Vietnam. It is indeed a high honor and a distinct privilege to participate in this homage to our comrades in arms past and present in the struggle for liberty.

So today we met, were served breakfast by our gracious hosts, the people of Williams, Arizona, and mounted our machines and rode east on I-40. If my memory serves we were in Gallup and headed into the Red Rock State Park by four p.m. or so. This is part of a larger region known as the painted desert and as early as A.D. 300 was inhabited by the Anasazi people. From 1700 the Navajo inhabited this region. Also, the Zuni and the Hopi people figure in the history here. The Conquistador Coronado, it is said, sought here for the Seven Cities of Cibola and the ancient sky city known as Acoma is nearby. This is supposedly sacred ground for these peoples. The ceremony in which we participated was called a gathering of the warriors and the gourd dance songs were the same as those of old. About fifty people sat in a ring on the floor of the natural amphitheatre and performed these songs. There was a flyover by a Pavhawk from Kirtland AFB. Tomorrow would bring another encounter with a helicopter. In an adjacent area we were treated to Navajo tacos which were ground meat on a large thick taco like bread topped with cheese and vegetables. One was all you could eat.

I sat next to a guy wearing an ancient green beret of the US Special Forces. He said he lived nearby and when I remarked how the beret looked like it might be original issue he said that it was presented him by President John F. Kennedy. The Special Forces were started by President Kennedy. This man had seen service in Vietnam, obviously. Brother was sitting across from me and to his right were Sizzmo and husband Terry. I had an opportunity again to remark that we deserved better leaders than we had and that there was not a strategy that would lead us to a clear cut victory over our current enemies and how this was how it was in Vietnam. The Green Beret said he had personal knowledge that when we got the word to pull out of Vietnam a team of Special Forces was poised in North Vietnam to enter Hanoi and overthrow the North Vietnamese government. I stated it was my understanding that the congress of the United States in ending funding for the South Vietnamese government was the final factor in ending our involvement. As is playing out now, those who sought, in the 1960s, to appease our enemies, with their allies in the mass media, eventually gained enough political power to have their way. Sizzmo and Terry had nothing to add to this conversation but the Green Beret and I seemed to be of one mind.

I left Red Rock a little earlier than brother and checked us into the Red Rock Inn in Gallup. The proprietors were Indian (from India). I always take this as a bad omen as my experience over the years is heavily weighted on the negative side when it comes to the way they manage their properties. It turned out to be not all that bad except that the clock was wrong which fact brother and I failed to correct. This had dire consequences next morning. Naturally, the Inn did not provide a computer for internet access. This should be standard, a PC in a public area that guests can use to check their email, etc. A lot of places have them, but a lot don't too. They almost always tell you that there is wireless available in the room and to use your own laptop. My response was it is not really feasible to carry a laptop on a motorcycle. And there was no hot tub. Oh, my aching back. I didn't bother looking for a masseuse this time. Slipped my mind, I guess.

In walking around the parking lot I spoke in passing to a gritty lady unpacking her Harley. Her nickname was "Skid". I learned later that had a pejorative meaning. Interesting. She rode with us all the way, I believe. At least I saw her frequently and spoke to her on several occasions. One of the younger riders seemed to have snatched her up. Poor choice of words, I know! Also, I noticed three New Mexico Highway Patrol motor cycles. They were BMW "R" bikes, not sure which one, but similar to this.

Dinner having been seen to, showers had, voice mails checked, gear properly seen to, it was time to relax. Brother goes to bed at 2000 hrs or earlier, and till then we squabble and quibble over the TV remote. I think I was asleep by 2130 or so, which is too early for me, so, naturally I woke up early. I looked at the clock. It read 0545. I woke brother up cause this meant he was late and his cell phone alarm failed to go off. Well, might as well go downstairs and get us some coffee, right? There was no coffee, but I did see the clerk and bit my tongue so I would not snap her head off for the oversight. I went back upstairs and brother was looking at the TV to check the time and said the clock was wrong, that it was really 0445. Oh! That explains it all, why it is still dark out. Well, OK. That is what you get for making me go to bed so early! We were already up, too late to go back to sleep now. I made coffee in the room. Brother got around and was gone in 15 minutes as usual. He needed to be with his fellow road guards.

I got it together and packed my gear in my own good time and checked us out of the motel. Saw Skid again. Really tough looking, weathered face, skinny. I suspect if she stood sideways and stuck out her tongue she could pass for a zipper. While packing my bike and readying my communications gear, I wanted to monitor the road guards today on the FRS/GMRS radio, channel one, the New Mexico HP guys came down and left just when a fourth member of their group rode up. Turns out they were our escorts and would be with us most of the way across New Mexico. Later, I tried to take their picture as we were gathering back at Red Rock for the mandatory morning confab, but brother's camera wouldn't work. He had asked me to take pictures, a task laid on him by his wife, and I certainly tried, but for every ten or fifteen tries I think I got one picture. Hopefully he will get these few successes to me and I will be able to post them here eventually.

While we were meeting, an Indian (medicine man? shaman?) was going around with a feather thing, it had about 20 feathers in it, they looked like hawk feathers of some kind, and "blessing", or putting a spell of protection on some of the riders. He went down the ranks of bikes touching each one and mumbling incantations with his head down. This was thoughtful and a further example of the kindred spirit the veterans on the run had with the Indians of Red Rock. I suspect he was Navajo but have no way of knowing though I spoke to him. He said he was the brother of the master of ceremonies of yesterdays gathering of the warriors. He was a veteran and while he did not say so I have a strong suspicion that he had been WIA as he walked with a limp. I hoped he had put a good "spell" on my K1100.

Well, I have gone on long enough now. I'm sure you are tired. I am. Let me figure out the links thing for this post and put it up on the net. This journal is a far cry, I know, from a truly elegant travel log I only have so much time and energy to devote to this project and am doing it completely from memory. I didn't make any notes along the way and didn't even have the intention to do this on my return to netnationhood. I have fancied that it might be interesting to do a journal while traveling. I like the genre. The first travel book I can recall reading was John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley. Charley was his dog. I really enjoyed it. John and Charley traveled from East to West across the whole USA, as I recall. I don't have the book to refresh my memory but I do remember enjoying it as much as, say, his Grapes of Wrath. Excuse the digression.

So, tomorrow we go to Angel Fire and brother and I spend the night in the splendiferous Gold Pan motel while the main force stays at the main resort in Angel Fire. Those poor suckers don't know what they missed. See you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Day One, the Mojave Desert

The Mojave desert is more than 25,000 square miles and covers parts of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Interstate 40 traverses the Mojave West to East, and intersects with I-15 in Barstow, California. After arriving in Ontario and registering for the run (they give you a ribbon to tie to your bike, a wrist band, and for new people, a FNG pin) I was unable to establish communication with my brother and elected to spend the night in Barstow. I stayed at the Days Inn, which was OK, at least I was able to procure a downstairs room on the end which makes it easy to move baggage back and forth and with the window shades open I could keep a close eye on the bike. But a walk around town made me think I could have easily made a better choice of accommodations. I saw one of the motels Lilek had published a photo of on his blog, the Stardust Motel. (OK, the sign is the same, but the state is different. Oops! But you get the idea.) Would have been interesting to spend the night there. The clerk at the Days Inn bordered on surly. She was overweight and possessed of a downright sour disposition. To get even I used the pristine white towels to clean my bike. Also staying at the motel were a couple of truckers. I talked to one at length. He was waiting for a cab by the office and had this plywood contraption with a satellite radio, a Citizen's Band radio, a CD player, and so forth, built into it. He did not have his own truck but worked for a company that moved him from vehicle to vehicle. This device allowed him to carry his electronic creature comforts with him when he changed tractors. He too was a biker. He said he had two bikes one being a Gold Wing. I asked him about the current CB protocols explaining that I was having trouble getting truckers to talk to me. It has been years since I used a CB radio. Used to have one in my Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce convertible. I thought truckers might prefer talking among themselves but he disabused me of that notion. We decided that my little hand held Cobra HH 38 that I have adapted to the bike's communications was probably not putting out a strong enough signal. He suggested that I needed to check the ground.

I walked out the door of my room a little later at the exact same time that my neighbors were leaving their room. First I encountered an astonishingly beautiful young black lady, about 25 or so. She gave me a friendly greeting. Real nice. Following her out of the room was a US Army Sergeant very nattily dressed in desert cammies. He was garrisoned nearby, he said. We shook hands and I thanked him for his service to our country. They got into a beautiful black (what else) Cadillac Escalade and drove away. Maybe they were indulging in a little afternoon love fest. I don't know. When I was a buck sergeant in the Army my pay would barely support the old VW bug I banged around Europe in. Things have really changed. I think it was his car. At least he took the driver's seat.

Later that evening I got to talk to my brother. I would meet up with the group today or latest that evening in Williams, Arizona, the first overnight. He said they would be through around ten a.m. on the 17th. The next day.

After a late meal from Subway I hit the sack and caught a few "Z"s.

Next morning I had time to kill. Getting up at sevenish I needed something to do till ten. That is when I walked down Main street into town. 0945 I was sitting on the bike at the on ramp to I-40 poised for today's ride. I waited for 20 minutes but didn't see any bikers to speak of so I eased onto the highway and rode a few miles, took the access road and putted slowly along a mile or so to the next overpass where I stationed myself over the middle of the Eastbound lane. And waited. Maybe ten minutes later a group of ten bikes or so, and a car pulling a trailer, clearly connected with the RFTW group, passed under me. OK, I thought, these are the outriders and the main body of three hundred bikes will be along shortly. I waited another ten minutes before giving up and setting out on my own. Thinking they might be ahead of me I twisted hard on the throttle and tried catching them. I ran for an hour or so at speeds up to 110 MPH before giving up then settled down to a comfortable five or so above the speed limit (70).

Several hours later way out into the Mojave something was brewing. It is a rare thing in the desert when it rains. And for all the time and torment of heat and aridity that holds back the rain, when the storm finally breaks it is with a profligate ferocity that speaks of long pent up dormant forces yearning to burst forth, and they did. Darkening skies, hail, wind, tear and rend the earth amid punctuations of thunder and lightening. The storm blew in from the North. It was a fast mover crossing my path and I was canting, tacking into the wind. It was so hot before the storm and I was in such a hurry to try to avoid the main force that I didn't bother to stop to put on my rain gear. The coming cool air was delicious in spite of the blowing dirt and the plant debris sweeping the road. I must have collided with over thirty tumbleweeds which, when you hit them at speed, burst into smithereens. It is dangerous to try to dodge them so I just crouched into the back of the fairing as close as possible and rode on. Not far into the storm there was, in the center median, a West bound half of a double wide trailer home on it's side and I could see that the truckers had slowed down considerably in order to better control their rigs in the wind. Most were much heavier than the overturned trailer and only suffered being swerved back and forth. So I got wet, but it was a welcome cool down, and it only took about fourty miles to dry completely out. Later, at the motel, I learned that the state police had shut down the interstate to trucking for awhile during this storm.

It wasn't long after this that the road began its climb out of the desert and I was riding through pine forests as I approached Williams, AZ. It was about three p.m. when I checked into the Fairfield Inn using my brother's reservation.

After unloading the bike and having a shower I went down to look for a car wash and met Pastor Dan in the breezeway of the motel. He was from Pennsylvania and had ridden his Harley out to join the run in which he would participate as a chaplain. We rode into Williams where he spotted the car wash for me and then we identified the VFW where the main group would meet for dinner after parading through town. Pastor Dan and I talked about several things and he confirmed that chaplains in military service were not permitted to pray in Jesus name which fact I find highly disturbing. I told him that I had read a report of a chaplain who having defied this regulation was being brought up before a court martial. He was able to confirm this. This is an abomination. Personally I would just as soon "pray" in Buddha's name, but that is beside the point. This is a Christian nation. The whole of Western culture is founded on Christian values and only an idiot would fail to recognize that Christians are tolerant people by and large and perfectly able to live and function in a secular society. To deny our past this way is the worst kind of revisionist crap.

The group came in about six p.m. There was a parade and the townspeople turned out in force to wave flags and applaud and make their friendly greetings known. The group had gotten a late start, something that would plague us all the way across the country. The VFW served us a great BBQ dinner, there was beer, of which I had none, and there were about 230 bikes. I hooked up with my brother and we sat down with Paul, a friend of his from Colorado, and Will from I forget where. I saw and spoke to Paul and Will almost daily from then on. Of course we were all Vietnam veterans but I was different because 99% of the riders wore black, rode Harleys, and had their gear festooned with patches, pins, all kinds of detritus of the military/Harley biker life. I immediately, almost, told brother that I didn't really fit in with this group. But I tried. I noticed pretty soon that the pins/patches were really touchstones and conversation starters. I did wear a NRA hat and that alone started several conversations for me.

Brother said I needed to meet someone. He pointed out a lady with a pony tail standing on the stairs across the way passing out beads. I walked over and introduced myself and asked about the beads. Sizzmo was her name, and, no, she would not sell me any beads, but would trade me a hug for them. OK. She was really nice, had met her husband, a Vietnam vet, in a foxhole in Iraq. I met him later in Salina, Kansas. His name was Terry. Sizzmo had a little speech that she thought Vietnam veterans were the most important people alive, or words to that effect, that it was her mission to help make up for the lack of appreciation they received on coming home from that war, and to that end she made and passed out these little beads fashioned in the same configuration of colors as the Vietnam service ribbon. There are red beads in this matching the red in the ribbon. Hers, she said, were heart shaped, denoting her affection for. This speech of hers of course brought a few tears to my eyes but I recovered quickly from the emotions of the moment and launched into my own speech that we had actually won the Vietnam war and that more importantly the best way to pay homage to old soldiers is to give active support to those fighting today's conflicts and that this war on Islamofacism was far and away more important in the total scheme than the Vietnam war being that Islamism is a graver threat than Communism, which, by the time of Vietnam, while it still maintained some of its fervor, was mainly peopled by cynics out to cash in on the movement, not so much interested in the driving ideology as a world view but as a dogma with which to enslave. Well, she started to back away quite early in this outburst of mine. Hey! She opened the door, I ran in! I don't think this fit her scenario one bit. "Here, take the beads. Give me the hug. Thank you for your service. Welcome home. Sorry, gotta go grab the next old vet and make him cry." Wham! Bam! Thank you m'am! Anyway, I gave this speech several times with some variation during the trek East. Brother got the best/worst of it. I was on a roll, you see. I spoke to Sizzmo several times. She avoided me till one day, at the check in at the motel in Salina, when I met her husband, she warmed to me again. I was joking with her, calling her the "bead" lady. Later I got a picture taken with her which I hope to post at some time. Meanwhile here she is with another subject.

It was a cool evening at that elevation. I looked around for a masseuse but could not find one and the motel had not yet opened the hot tub. My back was killing me. I told brother that we should get a travel trailer and three or four massage tables and staffed with twenty something female masseuses take it on next year's run.

Next, Gallup New Mexico, Red Rock, Navajo gourd dance and Navajo tacos

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Interstate I-10 notes

Interstate 10 is a long highway at 2,460 miles. It starts in Jacksonville, Florida and ends at Santa Monica, California and is said to be the loneliest of the interstate highways. I have, in recent times, traveled most of this length, to and from Pensacola, Florida, and with this recent trip from Iraan, Texas to Ontario, California. It is a very busy artery carrying much commerce. It is a favorite of drug smugglers who move their wares and the proceeds thereof constantly up and down its length. As a means of impeding this, and also trafficking in human smuggling of illegal aliens, the US Border patrol has set up several checkpoints along its length. There is one just East of El Paso at Sierra Blanca where on May 3, just a couple of weeks prior to the outset of my journey, over a ton of marijuana was discovered in a cover load of avocados. There is another checkpoint not far into New Mexico from El Paso where I-10 goes through Las Cruces. My passage through these are reminders that "big brother" is watching always leave me a little uneasy. To what am I acquiescing? Isn't this just incrementally the loss of liberty?

As you approach El Paso, and again, as you again encounter the Rio Grande river basin in New Mexico it is startling the way the desert ends near the banks of the river and green life takes over. Literally, one side of the road can be totally devoid of life and the other a verdant pasture. Additionally, in the middle of the desert, Sainte Genevieve, owned by Cordier Estates, has a winery and there are many vineyards about which certainly appear anomalous in these most extreme arid conditions. I like this wine because it is local though it is not the best available by any means, just passable, and the price is right.

I had several encounters with friendly people before reaching Ontario. There was the air conditioning mechanic at the Texaco in New Mexico telling me how I would benefit to come back and visit Silver City and the nearby ancient Gilla Cliff dwellings. I have never been to the cliff dwellings but my son and I traveled the adjacent Geronimo trail several years ago on one of our frequent camping trips. Geronimo is a man I have revered since childhood embodying as he did the very essence of rugged individualism and self reliance. He suffered greatly at the hands of the "white" man and during the course of his life took the fight for personal freedom and justice to his enemy. His story is a paradigm of the struggle of the oppressed and later in its history our country would change course and make right previous wrongs and I too would participate with comrades in arms to further the cause of liberty. There are many false starts on the paths we are set, many dead ends. Matters most that an exercise of conscience, properly cultivated, mitigates these errors as we continue the long journey. More on liberty later.

A note on the approach to San Bernardino. I was startled to see thousands of electricity generating wind mills, 4000 to be exact, according to this article. I had a hard time keeping my head on the task of riding the bike I was so taken by this landscape of machinery stretching as it does for several miles. My thought is that I would much rather have a simple nuclear power plant tucked away in one corner than this blight on the otherwise pristine desert landscape. But that is just me. I can just imagine how many environmental exquisitely supersensitive consciences anguish over all the poor birds that supposedly find liberal victimhood as they perish trying to navigate the air above these treacherous hills and valleys.

Next, the Mojave desert and day one of a nine day coast to coast journey.

Back Home

I was gone from May 14, to May 31, 2006. Seventeen days. It was a Sunday that I began. Two o'clock in the morning. I couldn't sleep. The anticipation of the journey, you know. All packed, all ready, I jump on the bike, the K1100LT BMW, 100 horse power, dual overhead cammed, four valves per cylinder, see there be there device and away, away, away, flying, true nap of the earth, asphalt attenuating, distance assimilating, ever generating the fleeting escape of the landscape into being centered everywhere bounded nowhere. At last I am again on a trajectory to the unknown. This dipping into mystery, that the journey is the destination, refreshes the spirit and everything is again new.

The first day ended in El Paso 600 miles across a mostly arid landscape. I took a favorite route down US Hwy 190 through El Dorado and Iraan then finally connected with I-10 and blasted through Ft Stockton, past the Davis Mountains, through Van Horn and on to El Paso. It was a grueling ride and twice the distance of most of the succeeding days. El Dorado is the home of new bigamy "cult". During an encounter with a clerk at a service station I got a whiff of the local intolerance of the interlopers. There was at the time a federal warrant out for the leader of the group and this was the featured article of the newspaper on sale at the counter and I made mention of this. The last time the feds dealt with such a group was in Waco, Texas when they burned alive women and children trying to get at one David Koresh, the leader of that group which had similar leanings. I remarked later to my future daughter in law that a mark of a civil society is the degree to which we are tolerant of those among us who exhibit behavior beyond the norm. Not that I am necessarily tolerant of illegal behavior, though some things illegal shouldn't be, in my opinion, but the aggressiveness of the authorities should be something less than the wanton slaying of innocents just to serve a warrant.

Day two I rode up into the underbelly of New Mexico and into the center of Arizona where I spent the night in a suburb of Phoenix, Casa Grande. Day three took me to Ontario, Ca., suburb of L.A. where I met with the participants, fellow Vietnam veterans, of the Run For The Wall organization at the Airport Hilton Inn. I registered with the group and tried unsuccessfully to make contact with my brother with whom I was to share this ride. Judy Lacey posted a daily journal of the trip to D.C. and you can see maps of the daily rides here.

More later of what promises to be a post trip hodge podge of notes and comments.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Run For The Wall

It was unfortunate that in losing their prior weaknesses, they had developed the veneer of fanaticism that often shields the revolutionary from the full spectrum of human reaction and interaction, leaving him merely an automated shell with only revolutionary responses functioning. Lt. Rowe "Five Years to Freedom"

We had another severe storm the other night. More hail and a stupendous display of lightening. I ran around and disconnected everything that might have blown out. About two thirty in the morning I woke to a loud and continuous roaring sound. I thought it was a tornado but all I got was penny sized hail for a half minute and then rain and wind and the aforementioned lightening. Our Spring rains came late this year. I was beginning to think they would not come at all. It seems that they are more severe in being later than usual. The crops hereabouts have been shredded twice by hail.

Saturday the internet connection was down all day and I had to make it through the day without the internet. I think my ISP has no power surge protection because every time there is a severe thunderstorm with the attendant lightening they seem to go down. Finally about eleven P.M. the service was restored but by then I was ready to forget the whole thing.

I have been getting ready to go on a long motorcycle trip. The first stop will be El Paso, about 600 miles from here, and one night and a day later Los Angeles. There I will meet up with about 300 veterans and we will set out on a mission that will take us to the nation's capital where we will conduct a "Rolling Thunder" parade culminating in an event at the Vietnam Memorial commemorating the memory of 58,000 patriots and defenders of freedom who shed their blood and lost their lives in that war against tyranny, communism, as it was then called.

There are any number of thoughts as to what the meaning of Vietnam was for my country. To me it is very simple and has remained the same since the founding. Will you stand up for liberty and make the appropriate sacrifices to achieve victory over an implacable enemy, or will you give in to the worst instincts of humankind and abandon your soul to the evil devices of the enemy? Will you sacrifice your individual human rights and self determination to the group identity? In Vietnam as in previous conflicts this took the form of a fascist statism driven politic where the individual's rights are always sublimated to the needs of the state. In our current conflict with Islamofascism a loss would mean freedom would be crushed by a c. 500 B.C. world view of religious fanatics whose stated aim is nothing less than hegemony on a worldwide scale.

It is a strange hand that history has dealt us. We are constantly confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles to the realization of human potential. The choices are increasingly complicated and demand more at each turn. If we weren't so exquisitely tuned to the highly tuned diplomatic niceties of Western civilization it would be so easy to dispatch the enemy. Sometimes, somewhere, we are going to find it necessary to call up the brutish qualities sublimated in ourselves and take care of the problem in such a way that the primitives we struggle against can understand.

Many of us heap criticism on the current administration for not being aggressive enough in the prosecution of the war effort. I am one of those who firmly believes that the situation warrants a national resolve that simply does not exist at this juncture. Yet I note that the President acknowledges, in word at least, that we are in the middle of World War III. Well this is a step in the right direction, but a general call to arms needs to be trumpeted daily across the land. Our leaders have not asked us to make sacrifices in our personal lives in order to defeat this enemy. They, in fact, tell us to go on leading our lives as before. We are not reminded of the acts of war that have been perpetrated against our nation by this enemy. If you want to get an idea as to the scope of the events you have to make a personal commitment to dig out the details yourself. We are not instructed on the nature of our enemy in a historical context. The information is out there, but, again, you have to really want to find it.

Jeffrey Kuhner writing in Insight Magazine has an article that lists some of the terrorist events during the Clinton administration:

Even though Osama bin Laden had declared jihad on the United States; the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993; 19 American soldiers were murdered and dragged through the streets of Mogadishu; U.S. military personnel were killed in 1996 by terrorist attacks on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia; U.S. embassies in east Africa were savagely bombed in 1998; and the USS Cole was the victim of a suicide terrorist bombing by al Qaeda operatives that took the lives of 17 sailors. Mr. Clinton refused to treat these atrocities for what they were: acts of war.

Before that it was 1983 when, during the Reagan administration, in an Iranian sponsored attack, the Marine barracks was destroyed in a bomb attack in Beirut, Lebanon. There were 241 American servicemen lost in that attack. Before that, in the Carter administration, on November 4, 1979, Iranian "student" protestors seized the American Embassy in Tehran and held it for 444 days. Ayatollah Khomeini exhorted that the U.S. was the great Satan and urged "demonstrations" against ours and Israel's interests. When have you heard from our leadership that for almost three decades we have been under attack by the same enemy we now face in the so called global war on terrorism? A clarion call needs to issue daily from the national leadership and the touchstone should be these and similar events that clearly indicate the nature of the challenge we face.

As a nation we understood what was at stake in the struggle against Nazi tyranny. It was clear to us that the communist movement following WWII had to be defeated. Yes there were dissenters in these wars too but on the whole our people properly assessed the threats and marshaled the appropriate defenses to assure victory. Only in Vietnam do we see the erosion of America's will to win. I firmly believe that an indomitable spirit thrives in the core of our national will and that this will still burns in the hearts of our people. It begs to be roused by effective leadership. We are in a race against time. People are waking slowly, on there own, to the nature of the threat. If the enemy hits us again it might be that will suffice to rouse our people to demand victory in a loud enough voice that will be heard in Washington.

What is at stake is the destiny of mankind. If we lose in this struggle the human spirit will enter a new dark ages. What will come out of that will not be anything that you can imagine in terms of where evolution would take the world otherwise. Winston Churchill told the British people in WWII that he had nothing to offer but "blood, sweat, and tears". Under his leadership England proved again she was up to the task. Where is our Churchill?

Back to the motorcycle trip. This is not a party. In fact it promises to be a very difficult task both physically and emotionally. The reason I am participating in this is to help keep patriotism alive. The web site for the annual Run for the Wall event is http://www.rftw.org/ . As I write this it is two days till I leave for Ontario, CA. Wednesday, May 17, at 0800 we leave Ontario for D.C.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"Sickness unto Death"

I wrote this post in response to Vanderleun's essay at American Digest titled Clear History .

"So to be sick unto death is, not to be able to die--yet not as though there were hope of life; no, the hopelessness in this case is that even the last hope, death, is not available. When death is the greatest danger, one hopes for life; but when one becomes acquainted with an even more dreadful danger, one hopes for death. So when the danger is so great that death has become one's hope, despair is the disconsolateness of not being able to die." Kierkegaard

Vanderleun speaks of a yearning towards a utopia that never comes and the connection of this with a lack of foundation in history. I have a slightly different take (exegesis) on this that also involves history. Consider that the exodus is the mother of the myth of creation. The Jews were brought out of Egypt. The world was brought out of the void. Now, the unadulterated spirit is will and will is power. The urge to go beyond the self (yearning), the daemonic urge, or romanticism, is perversion of this power. Classicism to the extent that it elevates the intellect, or dwells on the distinction that can be made between the power of the mind, rationalism, and mere corporeality, sets up a tendency towards adulteration of the will. The next logical step from classicism is towards romanticism. The daemonic spirit appeared through the movement of Christianity. Romanticism is the daemonic spirit, the erotic in nature. Think of the sensuous genius Don Juan: "My need is too great for anyone to satisfy." His need, having been brought out of the void is based in a state of estrangement from himself which he can never overcome simply by trying through the satisfaction of the senses to turn around and fill the void.

This ubiquitous yearning speaks of the soul's failure to recognize it is essentially complete from its inception. Thus the continuous attempt of the soul to go beyond itself with the concomitant urge to see reality as greater than itself.

The prehuman force existential mass is the most concrete medium while romanticism, the post human force is given perfect expression by the most abstract medium, music, e.g., the music of Mozart.

This leaves us with a "Sickness unto Death".

Friday, May 05, 2006


We talk about the same things over and over again until the terms are so saturated with meaning that they become meaningless. This is the conundrum of mainstream religion and the basis of dogma.

It stormed pretty hard most of last night but mostly the brunt of the storm was a little South of here. I got more lightening and thunder than rain. But, fortunately for the garden and pasture, it did rain a little. Around three o'clock this morning the system moved of to the Southeast pushed by a North wind and I was able to get a little sleep without worrying about hail, tornados, or both.

I love going out in the morning after a rain so I invented a reason to go to the store. Sort of needed a loaf of bread and some fruit. Could have made do, but I went anyway. I turned on my cell phone and there was a voice mail from one of my sisters saying she sent me the addresses I had requested for the son's wedding but they came back undeliverable. Bad email. I gave her the new address and we chatted for a few minutes about nothing in particular. I asked if her youngest girl was entertaining thoughts of marriage and she said not that she knew of. She said her life had a "calling" and that she was no doubt waiting on the right minister like person (read Christian fundamentalist) to come along. I thought sadly that there was a great divide, the "reach", between our lives that could never be bridged. No matter what.

Have you ever been near a hummingbird? I was standing under a tree the other day and this very loud humming sound caught my attention. It was quite sudden. I don't know what kind this one was. I have seen the ruby-throated hummingbird around here and its wings beat at about 70 cycles per second. Once I rescued one of these trapped in my shed. As it tried to escape through a window I was able to capture it in my hands and harmlessly release it outdoors. Yet again, on another occasion, I was sitting on the deck and one flew within three inches of my nose and hovered there for a couple of seconds. (And, no, my nose is not "florid" red.)

The flowers the humming birds go to bloom from a plant that rooted and grew over the course of a season. The flower rises on its stalk, blooms for a day or two, withers, and goes to seed. The flower and the bird enjoy mutual attraction. In fact, the flower habituates the bird into its cycles and acts as a sort of paradigm of developmental activity for the bird. The bird quickly learns the purpose of the flower and patterns its life accordingly. This is like the soul of man and God.

The non-local undifferentiated ultimate ground of being serves as a kind of repository of paradigms. These are channels or grooves that "limbs" of the developing individual life ensconced soul are drawn to by prayer or meditative practice. Once connected with a paradigm there is a kind of joining of intention. The soul begins to come into its own. Understanding leaves behind mere mind stuff, knowledge, thoughts. The clinging nature of material existence is abandoned. Struggle ends replaced by liberty, meaning, purpose, and joy.

My beloved mentor used to say "I feel so clean". Now I begin to understand.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bicycle Ride

"A violet by a mossy stone
half hidden from the eye
fair as a star
when only one is in the sky."
Robert Lewis Stevenson

I woke up at 0539 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. I used to get up even earlier than this but not these days. If I can go back to sleep I am a lot more refreshed. It seems my best sleep is between six and eight. I usually stay up till eleven or so watching the tonight show(Ugh!, I don’t know why I punish myself with this) so its not as if I was getting too much sleep.

So after my morning prayer and small offering there was the coffee break and checking the news and email on the net. I got an email from one of my sister's. I had asked for some addresses of her children so my son and his fiancé could send them wedding invitations. She didn't send the addresses but asked when the wedding was going to be.

Around nine I did my pullups, pushups, stretches, setups, and so forth prepatory to the ride. The day was and remains rather mild. It might make 90 this afternoon but this morning it was around 75 or so with low clouds and a gentle wind out of the southeast. So I packed up my stuff and set out.

I carry sunglasses, wear a hat with a handkerchief underneath it to catch the sweat. I always wear gloves and take a cell phone and pocket knife and pepper spray to keep the dogs at bay if I encounter any I can't outrun. Of course I have to have the electric gate opener and I carry my drivers license just in case. It takes so long to get ready. I wish life could be simpler. I do this three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday. The ride is a measured course of 13.5 miles. Not far, I know, but enough for me. I run into other cyclists fairly often. One told me his ride was 26 miles.

My bicycle is a found object. When I was in college I was living with who would become my second wife in a garage apartment. In the garage I found this old ten speed. It had a leather seat and was missing the derailer but I snagged it and eventually put it in service. During the years I was a runner it got very little use but eventually I gave up running in favor of bicycling for my main source of exercise. In the last year I replaced the handlebars. The old one was broken and mended with one of my really sloppy welding jobs. I put a dirt bike handlebar on it in place of the original racing style. After that I replaced the seat and then the cables for the gears. When I put it in service I had to buy a derailer and fix the gears but the cables I used then were to short so the shifter was almost under the seat and when I would peddle sometimes the inside of my leg would rub against it. I also added some grips and when a rear wheel spoke broke and couldn't be relaced I had to get a new rear wheel too. I am sure I have less than $75 in this bike. I have seen bikes for upwards of a thousand dollars. I just can’t get my head around that, at least not right now. I am sure it speaks volumes about our culture, society, and the individuals who buy them.

I don't know the make of the bike. The maker's mark is illegible having been scraped away once upon a time when someone refinished the bike. I think it was originally metallic gold but now it is a drab indescript brown with a little rust here and there. But I keep it well oiled and she operates smoothly enough. In the last year at 13.5 miles per ride that's 40.5 per week so in a year that comes to 2106 miles. When I ride I often think that I am really living up to the old adage that one should "use it up, wear it out, make it do". All the other cyclists I see are pretty much as "yuppiefied" as one can get and some look at me with either curiosity or disdain or derision or a combination. Some are friendly though. One guy I see most frequently always passes with a nice "hello, how are you today?". And they all pass me. Their bikes are a lot lighter than mine and they are all younger than me too. Besides I try to do my miles in tenth gear, uphill and down, just to make it more difficult. Sometimes, in fact most often, the wind is blowing too. It commonly is at least 15 or 20 MPH. Thirty miles per hour is not uncommon. That makes for a much more difficult ride. Uphill into a 30 MPH wind is hard work.

So I make it through the woods, up my driveway, over the hill and through the gate onto the county road. This takes me up another small hill where there is currently a dead skunk. Phew! I hold my breath and close my mouth as I go by the body. I doesn't smell as bad as when it was a fresh kill and I can see that in another week or so there will hardly be anything left what with the sun drying it out and the occasional vehicle again running over it. I confess a thought occurred to me to put it in an obnoxious neighbor’s mailbox. But no, I would never do that. This neighbor used to leave bottles at my driveway entrance hoping, I guess, that I would run over one and ruin a tire. But that was years ago now.

A little farther down this road I turn right. Today is the first time I have ridden on the roads' new surface and the loose gravel makes for a much less smooth passage. There is about a mile of this before I am onto another leg of the journey where the surface is smooth and I go along in almost complete silence except for the wind and my breathing and the sound of birds, now and then a dog barking or a bellowing cow. The great Dane I used to fear came out today and barked but only half heartedly. He and his crew used to chase me. I tried to make friends but he would have nothing to do with it, though the Labrador and Dalmatian that ran with him became friendly. Once I had to use the spray on him but mostly the wind blew it away. He keeps his distance now for which I am grateful. He is huge and I noted with interest in the news yesterday an animal control officer took a bite in the face from a great Dane she was trying to befriend with some snacks. Anyhow he left me pretty much alone today and I did him the same kindness continuing on my ride.

I passed by some wheat fields that were ruined by a recent hail storm and noted with interest that the corn and maize crops nearby have come back after being so severely pummeled that I thought the farmer would need to replant. The heads of the wheat are on the ground and can never stand up again so the harvesting machine would only get straw. The corn and maize, which were maybe a foot high when the storm struck, put out new growth from their roots and in another week or so one will be hard pressed to tell they were ever damaged.

Two farmers, no, three, were tilling their land to keep the weeds from growing up between the rows. I think I saw two people today besides these farmers. One was in an older Chrysler. I saw him twice, going and coming. The other was in a pickup. I see this pickup all the time but don't know where it "lives".

When the pickup passed I looked right at him to make eye contact, and waved as usual. Well, I should have been wearing my sunglasses because contact is what I got. A tiny piece of grit flew up from the vehicle’s passing and flew right into my left eye. The eye teared up and this eventually took care of the problem. Of course, I didn't rub my eye. But I sure wanted to. After about two miles it was much better though I could still feel "something" there. When I got home I washed it out with a garden hose and now it is almost like it never happened. I need to remember to look down immediately on the passing of vehicles if I am not wearing my sunglasses.

Well I guess I have gone on long enough with this post. If you are looking for meaning and purpose and great truths they are here but the accretions of mundane living shield them from the discerning spirit. I remember reading of a seeker, in China, he lived in a cave, and one day he was sweeping the dirt in front of his cave, just doing a little but necessary chore, you see, and suddenly it hit him, right between the eyes, so to speak. He "achieved" enlightenment on the spot. No doubt he was contemplating in the act of this mundane chore and no doubt he had been involved as a seeker of ultimate reality for most of his life, attending schools, finding teachers, comparing different approaches, experimenting with differing methods. So, if you come prepared, and pay the strictest attention, there is ultimate truth on hand everywhere, in the smallest things. I like that line from Robert Lewis Stevenson, used to rejoice in my heart of hearts when I would read it to my son:

A violet by a mossy stone
half hidden from the eye
fair as a star
when only one is in the sky.

Life is so simple. It is not necessary to look beyond the immediate for release from the perceived turmoil and trouble and pain of existence. You can spend your entire life looking for the answer. There are countless teachers, ministers, so called authorities on spiritual culture. All of their words are so much chaff to be blown away by the wind when the truly discerning mind finally penetrates the veil of tears, let’s down its guard and in a supreme act of vulnerability accepts the cosmos in its entirety. And the resonance from that confluence ripples across the stars enriching the heavens with another “fait a compli”.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Scatter Mind Chatter

About thirty minutes before sunset I went for a walk down the driveway. I had just created this blog and had been on the computer for an hour or so and needed a break. The driveway is almost a mile long. It goes through a wooded area and then breaks into a native pasture and runs up a gentle slope, tops a small hill, and continues on to the gate and the county road. It is a private place and few are the times that I see any people, except for the occasional passing car on the road and less frequently a bicyclist or someone out for a walk.

As I walked away from the house I mentally noted that I didn't have my gun. A few weeks ago I resolved to always carry a pistol or something since I have come way to close to stepping on some of the rattle snakes that share this place with me. They don't always, in fact they seldom, rattle or even coil. They just lie real still hoping that they will be overlooked. That is fine. I would love to overlook them but that would be very hard to do if I stepped on one. They are very difficult to see. Your eyes can easily pass over them. Basically you only see them if you focus on them.

I am walking down the drive. Many thoughts pass through my mind. I mainly scan the ground and look around at the sky, which is partly cloudy, and enjoy the movement of the south wind as it cools my skin and bends the grasses to its movement. Many birds come and go too, with the thoughts.

One thought is that it is possible to walk without intention. This is a meditative practice that takes years to perfect. I have not done this but I know it involves careful watching of the minute detail of the walking to the exclusion of all else.

Another thought comes to mind concerning the meaning of words. It occurs to me that every word mimics the creation of the universe. There is intention, then rising from that a vibration that is molded and shaped into a tangible thing that broadcasts meaning and purpose and completion.

I do not know what it is to walk without intention though I am sure it is more than just doing it as an automatic action, like breathing. Isn't intention subtly present even in breathing?

I stood on the hilltop and while the sun went down noted how far it has traveled since the winter solstice. At the spot where I stand, at the winter solstice, the sun sets "in" the chimney of a neighbors house I can see about a mile across the way. Now, just a month and a half from the summer solstice the sun is well on its way to the point of return up the horizon to a large clump of oaks which will see it again head south.

I walked back to the house and posted this entry. We will see what is next.