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The above door is leaning against the “sibin” a studio, bar, pool and dart room in Clonegal/Abbeydown. As a matter of fact all the doors are located there. Hats and gramophones in Milton and Ireland.
I have been watching Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” and the more I watched the madder I got at the political establishment that lied its way into my generation’s devastating war.
THE VIETNAM WAR features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.
In case you don’t know we lost.
The series brings the war back to mind and paints a disturbing picture of what I was, fortunately, spared from.
It is disturbing for a number of reasons one of which is President Kennedy telling a close confidant “I can’t pull our “advisors” because it would negatively impact my re-election”. The TV screen shows 17 killed.
…and there would be no re-election bid.
He said that 5 years before I was drafted into the Marines in 1968.
I try not to be an “if only” person, but if he had admitted we, the United States, had made a mistake and ended our involvement in Vietnam that 17 would not have turned into 58,000+.
President Johnson said in 1965 “We are not going to win this thing”. A Marine Captain said “They knew this was a lost cause years before I was called to fight there…I am pissed”.
Like I said, the show brings to mind my experiences involving the war, the draft and friends.
At this point in my life I strongly felt that this war was justified and …
…I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be drafted into the Army.
The night before I was called up I had a few beers. The next day at my physical my blood pressure was sky high and was informed that I would be called back at a later time.
April 2, 1968.
That later time arrived and I thought if a few beers did that to my blood pressure, what if I drank shots and beers all night and into the early morning do for me.
I was still drunk at my physical and my blood pressure was normal.
Along with me that day was my best friend in high school and best friend in college.
There must have been around 500 men in the hall. Three were drafted into the Marines the rest into the Army. Hours later I am on a train headed to the Marine Corps Training Depot at Parris Island.
My friends were off to Army basic training. They went to Vietnam, I ended up at Headquarters Marine Corps, Joint Planning Group Arlington Va.
My high school friend’s name is on the Wall and my other friend took a long, long time to tell me what happened to him.
I was lucky, but what I witnessed and worked with was a group of Marine Officers that included Generals, full/light Colonels, Majors and Captains, all brilliant military people that recognized, with this war came promotions…and that included me.
Marines were coming back from Vietnam with ranks under me, Sergeant Carney. While Colonels, with my help, continued to write classified papers, including estimating the number of Marines that were going to be killed that next week.
Don’t ask me how that was calculated.
My assignment at the Joint Planning Group/Navy Annex/Pentagon soon changed my position on the war and those in charge politically and militarily.
I have a lot more to tell but for now this is enough.
I think I have watched the Super Bowl “come back” replay about 5 times and I would watch it again …
Let’s put an end to the talk about going 16-0…can’t we just be satisfied with another Super Bowl win?
…can the opening game on Thursday come soon enough?
The Red Sox are up 4.5 they just might win the division…and I think John Henry is a real ass hole…
Don’t ya just love Benintendi and Nunez…
I like the look of the new Celtics … but Wycliffe Grousbeck is still an asshole….ask me why someday
Just picked up my 235 year old fiddle and played the only tune I know by heart…sounds good…the fiddle that is
Wrote this for an Irish wedding
a celebration of love
will embrace those near and far
this day is yours
make it come alive with
laughter, music and love
dance like nobody’s watching
this day belongs to you
while holding on
tomorrow will soon be here
tom will take you there
for tomorrow belongs to him
for tomorrow belongs to him
your ride together has just begun
I love cartoons…especially editorial cartoons but the comics are great … my favorite is Dilbert and the character Wally that does nothing. I am a bit concerned I think the pointy-haired boss fired him.
A friend and I recently had a discussion on the trending of the cartoons in the New Yorker and are concerned that they are going a little upscale…but we still like them.
I just had my first birthday…
Recently penned this, with a Lewis Carroll lead, and sent it to someone looking for direction in life
A path to somewhere
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
If only I could walk long enough. What is “long enough” I say and does anyone really know where you want to get to.
Is direction important in one’s life?
Or more specifically, having a direction. Where are you going? Until you can answer that question, you can’t say that any one route is better than another. Any road will get you to where you want to go.
Not having a direction, not having a goal, not knowing where you are going, it’s all the same. You go nowhere. You can never get “there,” can never arrive anywhere, because you don’t really have a destination. Without direction, without a destination, without a goal, how do you pick a direction, choose a road, or plot a course to get “there”?
I know it’s practically impossible to know everything before hand. But if you wait until you have all the information, life will pass you by in the mean time. … and as Ferris Bueller said: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Make a decision, make mistakes, make more decisions …then act on it.
I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. But without anything more specific, how can I possibly move forward? What road will take me to a destination that I can’t specify?
As usual, most of life’s difficulties come down to preparation. Too little or too much, or just sitting there with “analysis paralysis” the result is the same. You don’t get what you want, you don’t go where you had hoped to end up.
The first step is to get an idea of what you want to do. Select one of the areas you are lacking in direction. Brainstorm some possible directions. Write them down. Then consider each one and narrow the field down to just a few of the best and most appropriate possibilities.
Once you have a couple of really good candidates, finish your research and select one of the paths. At this point, it probably doesn’t matter which one exactly you choose. You can always write it off as a “learning experience” and try again. Even if the steps are small, you should strive to make progress, learn from the experience and revise your direction.
Where are you going? Answering the question is important. If the answer to the question is anywhere, you’re probably already there.
Yes my first birthday as a grandfather…
I have been at the “beach” and those that follow my blog know that my accommodations are somewhat primitive. There is no electricity, running water, internet, TV and using a cell phone is influenced by the wind and weather. It is a place that after 3 or 4 days you are about to lose it and it is time to return to civilization…where I am now.
It was cloudy and about to rain, I was digging through a stack of books looking for something to read. Most of the books are murder mysteries and at this point, if I read one more James Patterson book, I might become a serial killer. Even worse, a Democrat. I swear there must be a study out there on the political affiliation of serial killers. I would put money on Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, being a Democrat.
I keep on digging for a book and come across a hardbound book with 244 pages and a title that just suits me. I look at the author’s credits and find a book that was on the New York Times best seller list and start reading the book in hand.
It is a book of anecdotes, stories of people, places, love, life and pigeons. The book is by Robert Fulghum and titled Uh- Oh. Someone must have lent it to me years ago and if they’re reading this now, must be saying…ah, so that’s who has my book. I apologize for keeping it for so long and please identify yourself before I lend it to someone else…cuz it’s a great read.
I recently became a grandfather, her name is Mae Carney O’Sullivan and one of Fulghum’s stories really hit home.
Please allow me to share two excerpts with you, the stories are my favorite in the book but do yourself a favor read the book.
A couple of days ago someone was talking about some problems they were confronting and decided that these problems were just inconveniences not real problems and therefore not worth getting stressed out. I jumped on board and by coincidence, Fulghum wrote about the same as I read his book a day later.
…Survivor of Auschwitz… “lissen, Fulchum, lissen me, lissen me. You know what’s wrong with you…it’s not this job.” “So what’s wrong with me?” “Fulchum, you think you know everything, but you don’t know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. “If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire – then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems. You will live longer. And not annoy people like me so much. Good night.”
the other excerpt
...Grandfather and grandchild go to the zoo. First time. And we see the lions, and tigers and elephants and kangaroos and bears and gorillas and all the rest…..she rode in the stroller and I pushed. The next time we do this, I’m going to ride and she’s is going to push.
For all of my “Oh, Sarah, look at the whatever.” Sarah was most impressed with the pigeons that hung around. What she liked about the pigeons was that she could almost touch them but not quite. No matter how carefully, cautiously, quietly, she approached, the pigeons always managed to move just one small step further out of reach. The space between her and the pigeons moved in concert with her. She could come so near and yet never completely close the distance. “What would you do with one if your caught it, Sarah?” She didn’t know. Processing was not in the plan, actually. Reaching for the pigeons was all that was important to her. Not catching, but pursuing, mattered.
Riding home, Sarah fell asleep in her car seat beside me. I sat in the car and looked for a long time at her face. Who is this child? I wondered. I want to know her. Now that I am older and wiser and have the time and patience I did not have as a father, I will approach her as she approaches the pigeons – carefully, cautiously, quietly, with perseverance. And wonder, as she does, how one can be so close and so forever far at the same time. She is not “mine” and never will be. Two people think of her as “their” daughter. But Sarah only belongs to herself. There will always be a moving space between us – an untraversable distance to be treated with respect. Sarah doesn’t know what she would do if she actually caught a pigeon. And I don’t know what I’d do if I ever caught Sarah. To love something and to possess it are not the same thing.
Talking to her father the next day, I inquired of Sarah’s report on our excursion. “She’s been talking a lot about pigeons…are you sure you guys went to the zoo?”
I hope that Mae and I will dance with the pigeons some day.
This blog is the longest since I started doing one. If you are still reading … thank you…and I will end it with…
…last week, someone asked me if my stories were authentic, especially the one about Whitey Bulger, it is true and for the most part so are the rest (except Herman the pig in “the bone setter”). Fulghum’s answer to the same question continues to be “yes and no I’m not sure sometimes myself.”
for more on Robert Fulgham click on the following:
For us…not so for them on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
It has been several years since I visited the Normandy beaches and the “cemetery”. Here, there is a certain spiritual feeling that captures your mind and soul. It is real and it surrounds you.
The men and women that came here on June 6, 1944 did so because of an unconditional love for our country, and don’t you ever ever forget, for me and for you.
Today the beaches of Normandy are some of the most beautiful in the world but you are soon reminded of what happened here.
More than 2,000 Americans died on the shores of Normandy on June 6th, 1944. On a cliff high above it rests the Normandy American Cemetery, one of the world’s best-known military cemeteries. Buried on these hallowed grounds are the remains of nearly 9,400 servicemen and women who died on and around Omaha and Utah beaches, and in the struggle that followed to break out from the beachhead. Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. is one of three Medal of Honor recipients buried here. There are 38 sets of brothers buried next to one another. I must repeat…38 sets of brothers…let that sink in for awhile. At the center of the cemetery sits a small chapel. A ceiling mosaic depicts America blessing her sons as they depart to fight for freedom. In the open arc of the memorial facing the graves area is a 22-foot bronze statue, “The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.” The names of the missing are carved into garden walls behind the memorial.
There are many stories that are told by the guides and supported by pictures and videos of that day but the one that stands out for me was about the Army Rangers climbing Pointe du Hoc.
Our guide asks a gathering of about 40 people, “how long do you think it took some of those Rangers to make it to the top of the cliff?”
Answers ranged from hours to a day.
Pointe du Hoc, a prominent headland situated between Utah and Omaha, was assigned to two hundred men of 2nd Ranger Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Rudder. Their task was to scale the (100ft) cliffs with grappling hooks, ropes, and ladders to destroy the coastal gun battery located at the top. The cliffs were defended by the German 352nd Infantry Division and French collaborators firing from above.
The men at the point became isolated and some were captured. By dawn on D+1, Rudder had only 90 men able to fight.
Following their actions at Pointe du Hoc on 6-8 June 1944, Rudder’s Rangers suffered a seventy percent casualty rate. Less than seventy-five of the original 225 who came ashore on 6 June were fit for duty. Of those who served in the 2d Ranger Battalion on D-Day, seventy-seven were killed and 152 wounded. Another thirty-eight were listed as missing. In the 5th Battalion, casualties numbered twenty-three killed, eighty-nine wounded, and two missing. Among the casualties was Lieutenant Colonel Rudder, who was wounded twice and later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for his actions at Pointe du Hoc.
Our guide answered “It took some of the Rangers 15 minutes … from landing on the beach to climbing to the top.” He continued “Think about that … they knew that if they didn’t make it to the top they were going to be killed.”
God please care for those heroes under angel wings, and God bless America.
I drive a used BMW or should I say pre-owned. This is my third one and it is a standard shift. My last one was having transmission problems and I brought it in to where I bought it. They sell and fix BMW, Mercedes, and Volvos. They also do Saabs but they are dying out. I also had three of those.
The week after I bought the standard shift, I threw my shoulder out and had to have rotator cuff surgery. So I haven’t driven it much.
Returning from Ireland and going through all my mail I came across a recall notice from BMW. I was impressed that BMW even acknowledged my car. I called my mechanic and he said I would have to take it to an authorized BMW dealer. I did and arrived at the appointed time.
Like I said I buy used cars and I was not expecting to be greeted by people dressed like they were about to attend a formal affair at the Ritz. I checked in with service and was escorted to an area that had all kinds of boutique coffees, cold cereals, drinks I never heard of and fruit that I didn’t recognize. Next to this area was the BMW bicycles, I looked at one and it was priced at $1250.00, the full line of BMW clothing, watches, luggage, toy cars, bigger toy cars, kayaks, and highly priced call girls in the men’s room.
The people waiting in “this” area, well I think they were all from Hingham and they looked constipated. I was dressed like I just shoveled shit in a cow barn and they kind of shied away from me.
I have to ask those of you that buy new cars … are the dealerships all like this now?
After about an hour, oh by the way, the recall was for the airbags, I asked would it be much longer and he replied they are now vacuuming and washing the car and it should be ready shortly.
Soon after, my man tells me it is set to go and gave me a full print out of problems and potential problems that I should address. I paid nothing. The car has never looked so good, unfortunately the potatoes that were starting to grow in the back seat were cleaned away. They didn’t disturbed the stacks of clothes I keep in the back but the look they gave me was one that says “I think this guy is homeless and he lives in his car”.
Maybe they saw me put four granola bars, an apple and two bananas in my coat pocket as I was leaving.
…and you ask what my favorite car was…
And you wonder why my vocabulary turns to fucking shit when I return to the states.
The two words most used here are brilliant and fucking. Used together and it describes the highest level of excellence…fucking brilliant (or when I want to clean it up a bit FB)
The video that follows is fucking hilarious. The broadcast was recent.
A honest to goodness letter to an Irish Magazine follows. I have included this letter into a few stories but after this video I had to include it again.
Here comes the summer
I am writing to complain abou the weather. No wonder we Irish are all half fucking mad. The fucking weather keeps on fucking changing all the fucking time.
As I write, it”s slightly fucking drizzly and very fucking overcast. Only ten fucking minutes ago it was fuckung sunny! I suppose in another ten fucking minutes it’ll be fucking torrential fucking monsoon type fucking rain.
Followed shortly thereafter by fucking Hurricane Biddy (or fucking something) and a fucking asteroid shower!! For fuck’s sake, fuck this truly fucking Gawdawful bastardin shit!!
In conclusion WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH!!!!!
I am a comin fucking home soon and the snow better be gone and this April shower shit on hold and fucking hurricane Biddy is years away.
…and you ask….how was your stay in Ireland? It was fucking brilliant. The weather broadcast …. I believe it was on the 1st of April.
Gotta cut back on the “F” word Mae Carney O’Sullivan will soon be dancing in the rain.
Nov 5, 2015 – Uploaded by Timothy
Could be trouble ahead…the EU has gotten involved in the added ingredients in tea. Is there another Boston tea party brewing?