And the deer ate my hostas

Washington. D.C. also known around here as Babylon on the Potomac, or for you Lord of the Rings fans maybe Mordor works better, is a complete mess.  Maybe a hobbit will happen by and push the whole shebang into an inferno.  Or maybe that old wizard with his pointy hat can do the job.

We hear lots of work across the aisle jabber and we have a party purportedly in control that can’t even work with the person across the table.  Democrats and Republicans are our problem.  The unquenchable thirst for power and control and television camera time is the problem.  One party trying to ensure failure of the other is the problem.  Democrats are lock-step obstructionists chasing Russian boogie men while the Republicans couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle.  If you search for the gang that can’t shoot straight odds are you’ll find a picture of the Republican congress.  Senate work is incredibly tough work they tell us.  One hundred supposedly educated men and women sent to Washington to serve the people cannot sit down like adults and fix a problem they created by sticking their big fat federal government noses into healthcare where it did not belong in the first place.  I am beginning to believe that Congress should recess.  And stay recessed.  The Russians didn’t have to hack our government to screw it up.  The knot heads led by McConnell, Schumer, Ryan, and Pelosi are doing that just fine all by themselves.  Put us in control (pick your party) and we will fix it they said.  Bet that made your coffee shoot out of your nose.  There are a couple of things that may fix Mordor, a giant enema or pulling the swamp plug for example.  Go home Congress, stay home.  You won’t get anything done, but you sure as heck can’t break it any worse than you already have.

It frustrates me to no end to see such a disastrous operation and on top of that I walked out into the yard to discover that the deer ate the hostas.  Yep, all of them right down to the ground.  They bypassed the planet’s most pungent deer repellant.  The stuff stinks to high heaven and would probably gag a litter of polecats.  Road kill eating crows would avoid choice pavement pizza if this stuff was sprayed on it.  So I spent time researching deer resistant plants to fill up the shaded areas around the yard.  My hillbilly commonsense tells me unless it’s rocks, there is no such thing.  If hungry enough, deer will eat any vegetation.  I believe the herd that fertilizes my yard and rubs the bark from the trees must wander through a pot farm before they get here. They arrive with a big league case of the munchies.  Then nothing is safe.  I think even the feral cats hide from them.  So maybe I’ll have a rock garden with only rocks in it, a desert southwest landscape in the middle of green wild and wonderful instead of vegetation.  Rocks don’t need watering or fertilizer.  Either that or a tall chain link fence which always improves the landscape especially if topped with a roll of concertina.

Since Congress seems hell bent on controlling every aspect of life or fouling it up beyond repair (FUBAR), maybe I could ask them to solve my deer problem.  We could have some hearings, environmental impact studies, and more hearings to determine whether the deer are actually Russian drones and probably some more hearings to determine if these are Republican or Democrat deer, a select committee to investigate and certainly at the end of all of that a Special Counsel to determine who lied about it.  Several years down the road, I’ll be summoned to appear before a grand jury and at this point no one will even know what the original issue was.  Congress would pass legislation to declare my yard and those similar a national park and wildlife reserve and confiscate the property at fair market value of course, and require me to move into an apartment in town where there is no grass or flowers or deer.  They’ll replace my pick-up truck with a scooter and raise my taxes to pay for the necessary growth of federal wild life management necessary to care for the new game reserves.

Anyone seen Bilbo?

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

What Do Fish Say?

Happy Saturday — Up out of the Bunker Joke Vault

WHAT DO FISH SAY WHEN THEY HIT A CONCRETE WALL?
DAMN!

WHAT DO ESKIMOS GET FROM SITTING ON THE ICE TOO LONG?
POLAROIDS

WHAT DO YOU CALL CHEESE THAT ISN’T YOURS?
NACHO CHEESE.

WHAT DO YOU CALL SANTA’S HELPERS?
SUBORDINATE CLAUSES.

WHAT DO YOU CALL FOUR BULLFIGHTERS IN QUICKSAND?
QUATRO SINKO.

WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU CROSS A SNOWMAN WITH A VAMPIRE?
FROSTBITE.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROAST BEEF AND PEA SOUP?
ANYONE CAN ROAST BEEF.

WHERE DO YOU FIND A DOG WITH NO LEGS?
RIGHT WHERE YOU LEFT HIM.

WHY DO GORILLAS HAVE BIG NOSTRILS?
BECAUSE THEY HAVE BIG FINGERS.

WHY DON’T BLIND PEOPLE LIKE TO SKY DIVE?
BECAUSE IT SCARES THE HELL OUT OF THE DOG.

WHAT KIND OF COFFEE WAS SERVED ON THE TITANIC?
SANKA.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HARLEY AND A HOOVER?
THE LOCATION OF THE DIRT BAG.

WHY DOES A PILGRIM’S PANTS ALWAYS FALL DOWN?
BECAUSE THEY WEAR THEIR BELT BUCKLE ON THEIR HAT.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BAD GOLFER AND A BAD SKYDIVER?
A BAD GOLFER GOES, WHACK. DAMN!
A BAD SKYDIVER GOES, DAMN. WHACK!

WHAT DO YOU CALL A MAN WITH A CAR ON HIS HEAD?
JACK.

HOW DO YOU CATCH A UNIQUE RABBIT?
UNIQUE UP ON IT.

HOW DO YOU CATCH A TAME RABBIT?
TAME WAY, UNIQUE UP ON IT.

HOW ARE A TEXAS TORNADO AND A TENNESSEE DIVORCE THE SAME?
SOMEBODY’S GONNA LOSE A TRAILER.

A Puzzle, a Coloring Book, and a Journal

When I retired the second time, I received from my cube farm family among other things a puzzle, a coloring book and a journal.  Each of them objects of sedentary endeavor.  The puzzle still has the cellophane wrap on the box.  It is a puzzle of “The Thundering Herd” my favorite college football team and one of our country’s most storied programs.  On the box, there is a choking hazard warning so I must remember that as my mental capacity ages. The coloring book is one of those with elaborate detailed drawings laid out in a God Bless America theme.  It would probably take me a day or two to color one of those pages.  Problem is my old friends including my cube farm compatriots and more than a few old Soldiers would tell you that I have trouble staying inside the lines.  Willingness more akin to burning desire to strike out in an unorthodox direction is an inclination that served me well, mostly.  Both the puzzle and the coloring book are intended to busy the mind, but for my part require more patience than cat fishing in the rain using raw chicken livers for bait.  As for the journal if you rummage around inside the bunker, you will find many notebooks of various sizes filled with my scribbles – years worth.  There is always one nearby to capture any brilliant thought that may somehow find its way into my head.  Come to think of it, I may want to feed those notebooks to the shredder someday soon.  It is faster than thumbing through them and ripping out the damning pages.  Not that there are any.  Maybe a few.  Dozen.

When I told my Doc I was retiring, finally retiring, the first thing he asked was, “What are you going to do?  Do you have a hobby?  Something to work on? Do you play golf?  If you have nothing to occupy your mind and time, you’re going to die.”  I like my Doc, he gets right to the point.  I told him I have a set of golf clubs hanging on the wall in my garage, at home there since I left the Army back in 99.   I tried to learn the game.  After several years of trying and my son understanding that I was uncoachable, I was able to make it through 18 holes without losing too many balls, but the guys who started drinking beer and smoking cigars after the 9th hole were still beating me handily.  One of them told me he hoped my swing never broke down because I would never be able to find the parts to fix it.  I kicked his fancy golf bag off the cart.  Another after I dribbled the ball a few feet from the tee told me my aim was good, I just needed to work on my distance.   I asked him if he remembered who drove him to the course.  I finally gave it up when I showed up to the driving range in hopes of improving my feeble skills and was turned away because my shirt didn’t have a collar on it.  And this is a sport that includes drinking beer and smoking cigars.

While I was doing my Rocky Balboa impersonation at the gym this morning, I was thinking about that stuff.  Since I retired June 30, 2016, I have been busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest and there’s no let up in sight.  The greatest thing, everyday is Saturday if I want it to be.  I have no schedule, except for Drill Sergeant Suzie-Q ensuring I am up and at it in the gym three mornings a week.  We go there together on the buddy plan.  That is a big help.  Just for the sake of clarification I can still bench press more than she can.  I am feeling good, my weight is near where it should be and I am quite polite as I lap seasoned citizens on the track, well citizens a little more seasoned than I.  Hitting the gym on a regular schedule also helps me to keep track of what day of the week it is.  It is easy to lose track of that since Friday’s lost their significance and every day feels like Saturday.  Making barbecued ribs on a weekday afternoon in place of nachos and coffee back in the cube is sweet as the expression goes these days.  And you know what else?  My yard looks great and I haven’t spent one minute of a Saturday out there yet.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some challenges.  In the Army we had NCO Business and Officer Business and one worked at staying in his or her lane.  Here at Pendry manor we have Suzie-Q business.  Staying in my lane keeps me in good stead.

I’m going to keep that puzzle, coloring book, and journal right where I can see them as reminders that life did not slow down when I retired it sped up.  For my friends back in the cube farm, that is sunshine you see at the end of the tunnel not an oncoming locomotive.  Well for all of you except a couple.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

Through the Looking Glass

I cannot recall a time of so much anger, hatred and outright vulgarity coming from the mouths of politicians, news media, and celebrity types.  If you cannot present a cogent point of view without F-bombs, unhinged hatred and profane insults to whom are you speaking?  Are you really trying to present a view or are you just trying to enrage the ignorant?  There are bought in consumers of this spiteful conduct.  We witnessed what one simple minded and deranged human is capable of when fed a constant litany of hatred and dehumanizing rhetoric.

I may be naïve, but I don’t accept that a majority of Americans appreciate what is happening nor do they value the ethical morass presented to them hourly.  These people, who continue to act like life is a continuous high school cussing and gossip party, are also by the hour digging their hole deeper.  Their unbalanced attack and pure hatred of our President and the Republican Party in general is constantly broadcast to consumers of legacy media and the cable news cellar dwellers.  They have become the face of a political party now joined by a politically motivated would be mass murderer.  And these are the people who call everyone else a threat to “democracy.”  Kim Jung Un could only dream of such a successful mass brain washing operation.  How long before another politically motivated idiot fires into a crowd.  When will the mask wearing paid for thugs graduate from pepper spraying girls to something more deadly.   Sometimes people who look nice and read scripts well are simply too stupid to gage likely outcomes of their words and behavior.  Otherwise they would stick to facts and verified truth rather than preconceived notions and leaked innuendo.  But that is the piece that is dangerous to average Americans going about their daily business.  It is certainly an outcome of political rhetoric and winger-punditry, but it’s not what is most dangerous to our country.

It is the sophisticated subversives who are determined, deliberate and inside our government that represent clear and present danger.  They are the Snakes in the Grass I wrote about in April 2017.  They have now set the path to achieve their end game.

Special Counsel Inquisitions tend to wander around the battlefield rarely focused on their appointed purpose (Russian Collusion).  They seem never ending.  And like most inside the beltway “investigations” (akin to some Inspector General investigations I recall from my past) they tend to draw conclusions first and then set out to prove them.   This steers them away from where they should be looking if indeed it is answers they seek.  Or as Attorney General Sessions stated “it’s like looking through the looking glass.”  I agree.  It certainly appears we followed Alice down the rabbit hole – one with many twists, turns and detours all leading to a predetermined destination.  Somewhere another deep throat is standing by to produce that one piece of insider evidence to seal the deal even if it’s fabricated.  After all, wasn’t it a false dossier that added the fuel that set the whole fake narrative into motion?  If it turns out differently this time, count me among the surprised.

Sadly, I believe it is going to be a long, hot and dangerous summer.  Now we have to protect ourselves from political domestic terrorists who are brainwashed into believing they are patriots.  And why not?  A few years down the road they’re likely to be honored with a New York parade.  For all of our politicians and pundits if you learned nothing else from current events, understand that words have meaning and lies are still lies even if everyone believes them.  Most Americans, I believe, will reject the current direction of our national political discourse.  They are more concerned about solving real problems.

If our legally elected President is forced from office by what is clearly a coup attempt orchestrated by deep state players and swamp rats, then it is no longer America.  It is closer to Venezuela.   Actually it’s much worse than that.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

Happy Birthday United States Army!

Happy Birthday United States Army!

Thank you to all Soldiers past and present.  This We’ll Defend!

HOOAH!

Citizen Soldier?

Up out of the Bunker Archives – 2000.

“Every citizen [should] be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and the Romans, and must be that of every free state.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1813

I just finished a nightly routine of listening to my wife with one ear and Tom Brokaw with the other. A stereophonic listening technique I’ve mastered over the years. There’s nothing new or exciting to report – from either direction. Following the necessary yes hon’s and ok dears I sneaked away to scan the on line newspapers. The Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today… rounded out with a quick look in on MSNBC and CNN Interactive. Being out here in the hills of somewhat depressed, but wild, wonderful West Virginia I feel the need to stay in touch. Having all that media at my fingertips makes me feel sort of executive-like.

Tonight I read two interesting commentaries. One, a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune responded to a budget surplus editorial that appeared in their Jan 27, 00 issue. The writer pointed out that the editorial suggested four options for the $1.92 trillion surplus. He suggested a fifth option – spend it on the military. He supported his point with examples of an aircraft carrier afloat with a crew of 3700 when it should have 5000. The Army’s 18 divisions replaced by 10. He mentioned that our numbers have decreased by nearly one million with 700,000 gone from the active force and another 250,000 from our reserves. I didn’t try to verify the figures because if they’re not right they are certainly close to what I know to be true. The writer also pointed out that “… many of our nation’s servicemen and women are required to draw food stamps in order to survive. It’s the reason so many are leaving the military and the reason we are unable to recruit good people into the military.” I don’t know who the writer is other than a citizen writing a letter to the editor, but the facts in his paragraph caused me to think about the state of our Army and who exactly is filling the ranks in those 10 divisions.

The other interesting commentary appeared in the Feb 5, 00 issue of the Washington Post. It is titled “Reaching out to Dropouts” and is not attributed to an author. It talks about the plan to bring high school dropouts into the service. I’m not opposed to this because there are many reasons young people in our country leave school that have nothing to do with being bums or criminals. The problem is that too many people who are charged with determining what equals a quality recruit are far removed from any of those experiences or reasons.

In 1971 the Army allowed a dropout I’m quite fond of to come into the Army – me. And it probably saved my life. Looking back on those days, when we still had the draft, the Army was trying to keep the fighting positions in Vietnam full. While many were being exempted from the draft, others were running north to Canada. Those with the right connections got rare jobs in National Guard or Army Reserve units. The draft managed to snare some college-educated or well-to-do souls who couldn’t or didn’t attempt to avoid their duty. But, it was mostly middle to lower income and minority America pounding the ground in the jungles of Vietnam.

One theme that was repetitious in the Post article caused me to remember those times: “… an important additional benefit will be the economic leg up it can give low-income and minority youth.” or “Army Secretary Louis Caldera said, “many of them [the dropouts] minorityand low-income youth who need a second chance…” or “… if the Army can offer thousands of low-income youth a ticket back into the economic mainstream…”

Excuse me while I drag out my soapbox so I can tell you what I really think of those words. They sound awfully damned elitist to me. Let’s help lower income and minority Americans have a better life – in the foxholes. The son of the Senator or the CEO then can go off to Oxford and practice not inhaling. If America is concerned about her low-income and minority youth I suggest the politicians look at solving the problems that caused them to be in that predicament in the first place.

Many of these youths will make fine soldiers because they are grateful for opportunity and the rise from dropout to respected professional is quite a leap in self-esteem. But, most of all they understand something that likely escaped too many others in our country – sacrifice and daily survival in a world that’s actually not kinder and gentler to their lot.

There is another point to all of this that really sticks in my craw. The message to America and reinforced by such comments and programs is that military service is not for everyone. Do you think Mr. Jefferson meant to say that every poor, minority citizen must be a soldier? I fear that in the comforting and safe confines of our super power, wealthiest nation on earth we’ve lost the true meaning of Mr. Jefferson’s message that every citizen must be a soldier. Like it or not, own up to it or not, we have created our very own neat little caste system in this country where poor kids give it up in the military for rich kids. Sorry, but I couldn’t think of a kinder gentler phrase to use to express that. Gone are the times when the rich kids are flying fighters, driving PT boats or charging up San Juan Hill. Simply put, much of this country takes for granted all that we have and has lost its sense of service and commitment. One of Mr. Jefferson’s successors in leadership characterized that commitment like this:

“I am writing…In hope that my telling this one story will help you understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves still loving their country but loathing the military.”
– William Jefferson Clinton

As my Daddy used to say rest his soul, when things get out of whack like this there is usually a comeuppance not too far down the line. What concerns me is we appear to be lining up the ones who will pay the price of that comeuppance.

© 2000 J. D. Pendry

 

Isolated

Up out of the deepest part of the Bunker Archives – 1987. Go Cubs!

Being disliked, mistrusted, and generally held in contempt by a potentially hostile mob that completely surrounds you is the ultimate feeling of isolation. When we came into the area where the crowd started forming several hours earlier, there was a momentary hush. Their disdain for us was obvious. Their scowls were so electric that the very thought of that many pairs of hostile eyes directed at me made me shiver and caused the fine hairs on the back of my neck to bristle.

We had taken the usual care in preparing our uniforms. However, their crisp blue appearance did not appear to impress a single member of the crowd. Now, each of us wondered if each piece of our equipment would perform its necessary function when needed – and we knew it would be needed.

There was a growing lump in my throat. That, along with the acidic taste in my mouth was starting to make me a little nauseous. I was sure that my queasy stomach would embarrass me at any moment. That would probably not be good for an authority figure in the position I was now in. It would be akin to the lions cutting a weak animal from the rest of the herd.

I made a slow 360-degree turn. As I did, it confirmed my fear that we were now completely surrounded by the crowd. This only reinforced in my mind the thought that if the crowd should decide to direct its rage toward us, our position was not defendable.

The confrontation we found ourselves in the middle of had been brewing for several months. The crowd had formed into two opposing, hostile mobs. Insults were being shouted back and forth in a rising crescendo of noise. Even with a cursory glance the most inexperienced of us could pick up on the clear line of opposition we stood in the middle of. It was painfully clear to us that one group or the other would not like any move we made. The jeering and insults being passed back and forth between the two sides was now nothing more than an indecipherable roar of noise. The insults being shouted at us from both sides, however, were as clear and distinct as they would have been if only one person several feet away had uttered them. We were our only allies and neither side wanted us to forget that.

Another hush fell over the crowd. Our leader, a thick-skinned veteran of many such confrontations, had just summoned the leaders of the two groups. They approached hesitantly. Neither was willing to approach the other and much less was their eagerness to get near us. As they got near, their carriage and stone like facial expressions made their leadership obvious. They were greeted by the same stern, stone like expression from our leader. A brief discussion followed their meeting. Hands reaching into pockets, nervous fidgeting and shuffling feet only added to the crowds’ curiosity about what the gist of this conversation might be. The meeting was over as quickly as it started. Abruptly, our leader turned and walked swiftly back in our direction leaving the two leaders standing alone. They momentarily glared at one another then turned and quickly headed in opposite directions. Again, the noise of the crowd became deafening.

When our leader returned to us, the grim look on his face was not reassuring. The gum he always had in his mouth was being nervously worked over. His look only caused me to think again about how vulnerable our position was. We were like the toyed with prey of a large cat – there, whenever he wanted to finish us off. Our leader took on an air of calm as all great leaders do in such situations. He had already made his decision. As he issued us our final instructions, we knew that he intended to make the first move and try to gain control of the inevitable confrontation. He directed us to our assigned positions. We moved to them directly, but with caution. The adrenaline was starting to flow and our senses felt charged with electricity. The farther we got away from one another the greater the sense of isolation and vulnerability we felt.

When we reached our assigned positions, our leader gave each of us a look to ensure we had followed his precise instructions. It was even more obvious now that he intended to make the first move. Even at a distance of nearly one hundred feet I could clearly see him nervously working the wad of chewing gum in his mouth. The noise of the crowd was again rising. All eyes were on our leader in anticipation. While surveying the crowd he made some minor adjustments to his equipment confirming that all he needed was within reach. Then, he very calmly lowered the protective mask over his face while making momentary eye contact with the leaders of each group. Then in a very loud and commanding voice he yelled, “PLAY BALL!”

Copyright© 1987, J. D. Pendry, All rights reserved.