Some Sobering Thoughts for Memorial Day

I pass these thoughts along from the Wall Street Journal of 5/26/2016 in hopes of stirring your thoughts and hearts beyond the beach or backyard barbeque.

At time like these we need such reminders, and I have highlighted some of these words that resonate with me.

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The cemetery for American soldiers who died in the invasion of Normandy, France, in 1944. Photo: Getty Images

The cemetery for American soldiers who died in the invasion of Normandy, France, in 1944. Photo: Getty Images

The American Dead in Foreign Fields

On Memorial Day or any other day, the cemeteries for those Americans who fell in battle offer profound lessons.

By Uwe E. Reinhardt May 25, 2016 6:24 p.m. ET 61 COMMENTS

WSJ | 2016-05-25T22:24:00.000Z

If you have not ever done so, I urge you to program into your next trip abroad a visit to an American military cemetery. There are quite a few in Europe, and some in Asia. You can find a list online.

These cemeteries are settings of an awesome serenity and beauty, immaculately kept by the American Battle Monuments Commission. As Americans, we must thank the architects who designed these settings and the workers who over the decades and to this day have kept them in their immaculate condition.

My wife, born in China and reared in Taiwan, and I, born in Germany and a longtime U.S. citizen, first visited the World War II cemeteries when our American-born children were young. We would tell them: Here rest some of the warriors who sacrificed their lives so that your parents and people in many parts of the world would be free from tyranny and could pursue their dreams in freedom. We made it clear to our children that this was not just a grown-up talk—that it was real and part of their proud heritage.

The lesson must have stuck. Last year our eldest child, now a fully grown man, urged me to come along to visit the battlegrounds in Germany, near the Belgian border, where U.S. troops fought so bravely and where so many of them—too many—met their early death.

This time we visited the large American cemetery near the Belgian town of Henri-Chapelle, about 20 miles west of the German city of Aachen. There rest the warriors who fell in the brutal, four-month-long battle of the Hürtgen Forest, followed by the Battle of the Bulge and the eventual push of American forces all the way to the Rhine River.

You can walk along the gravel paths of these cemeteries, and among the thousands of markers—crosses and Stars of David—beneath which the warriors rest. Pick a marker at random and adopt the soldier whose name is chiseled into that marker. Make him your father, or brother, or cousin, or a friend. Imagine him alive, and how you might have hugged him as he shipped out to the distant front.

However brutal his death may have been, you will draw solace from knowing that he rests here, in this serene setting, alongside his buddies who shared his fate. You may even imagine that somehow, don’t ask how, the fallen soldier may know that you are visiting him, to pay your respects.

You may not be able to suppress some tears; I never can. Perhaps in my case it is because I have taught American college freshman for so many years that I can vividly imagine the warriors alive, playing boisterously when they were not fighting or resting, dreaming of some sweetheart they left behind, and imagining what they might do with their lives when the war finally ended and they could go home again. Perhaps it is also because they met their untimely death because of the murderous deeds my birth country had inflicted upon the world at that time. It deepens my sorrow.

But whatever emotions you may bring to a visit there and take away from it, I promise that you will not soon forget it.

You will come away with renewed and strengthened respect for those of your fellow Americans willing to wear the nation’s military uniform and to bear the ultimate sacrifice one can make for one’s country. If you are a student, you will look with fresh eyes at the few among your classmates in the ROTC, learning, along with their regular studies, how to become officers in America’s armed forces.

And you will reflect deeply on our nation’s role in the world. Whatever our flaws as a people have been in the past and still are today, you will realize, standing there among the thousands of gravestones, that in the sweep of history, ours is a grand nation of which you can and should be proud.

Mr. Reinhardt is a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University.

And this …

Note especially the connection from the words I have highlights in the Mills essay with the words of Mr.Reinhardt above

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John Stuart Mill (1806-73), circa 1860. Photo: Getty Images

John Stuart Mill (1806-73), circa 1860. Photo: Getty Images

Notable & Quotable: John Stuart Mill

A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice . . . is often the means of their regeneration.’

May 25, 2016 6:23 p.m. ET 16 COMMENTS

WSJ | 2016-05-25T22:23:00.000Z

From English philosopher and political economist ’s “The Contest in America” for Fraser’s magazine, February 1862:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice—is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

Copyright ©2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Reprint submittals have been sent.

Don Johnson – May 2016

Evolution? And The Marvel of Blood Pressure Regulation

http://www.evolutionnews.org/continuing_seri/the_designed_bo/

The Darwin propaganda machine continues to insist – and teach our young people – that the totally naturalistic explanation of un-directed and blind evolution is fact and explains the phenomena of life  that we see all around us … including our own self.

I call it a propaganda machine  because that is exactly what it is. It allows only the accepted dogma of the elite and disallows, ignores , mocks  and attempts to destroy anyone who dares to buck the orthodoxy of that elite – see the story of Dr. Edward Hedin for example

My wife recently suffered a fainting spell brought about by a series of events resulting in a problem with her blood pressure (she’s OK now).  The amazing intricacies of blood pressure regulation in the body, as well as many other designed features of the human body are well documented by Dr. Howard Glicksman  in this series on the Designed Body including six articles on blood pressure.

The body and it’s various internal systems and functions, as well as it’s external capabilities such as seen in the concert hall and the baseball field demonstrate a complex system of a “goal directed” and  designed result, and not the “undirected” naturalistic fairy tale as told by the Darwin propaganda machine.

Scan through and actually read the extensive documentation provided by Dr. Howard Glicksman, as well as many other good science reporting by the Discovery Institute and do your own thinking and come to your own conclusions.

And know this (pay attention teachers and parents) – you will find very little (approaching none) science reporting of the type I talk about above, to the general public and the schools from the “ … National Center for Science Education (NCSE)  a not-for-profit, membership organization providing information and resources for schools, parents, and concerned citizens working to keep evolution and climate science in public school science education. … .” And any notion of design out. No you have to go to those sites and organizations that actually do science reporting but are ignored, mocked and demonized by the likes of NCSE.

 

Don Johnson – May 2016

 

Connecting a Few Geo-Political Dots

Remember back in the immediate post 9/11/2001 world there was considerable discussion about how the government failed to connect intelligence dots that may have prevented the carnage of the 9/11 suicide missions against the US.

Here’s some dots that in todays world seem to be begging for connection lest we lurch into a period of substantial national and world chaos.

The dots?

First Dot — The national debt. looking back a few years we have Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warning that the ballooning national debt represents the most serious national security threat the US faces.

Here’s some of his reasoning:

“ … And the reason I say that is because the ability for our country to resource our military — and I have a pretty good feeling and understanding about what our national security requirements are — is going to be directly proportional — over time, not next year or the year after, but over time — to help our economy.

“That’s why it’s so important that the economy move in the right direction, because the strength and the support and the resources that our military uses are directly related to the health of our economy over time.” … .”

And more …

“ … Actually the way I said it was — and I still believe this — that it’s the single biggest threat to our national security. Obviously it’s complex, but the way I looked at it, if we didn’t get control of our debt, there would be continued loss of confidence in America.

I was in the military for over 40 years, and one of the principles I kept with me was that there’s an expectation globally that the U.S. will lead. Questions about that expectation have certainly risen in recent years. The fact that there’s even a question about that is worrisome to me, and I think needs to be for a lot of people. … .”

So what does this mean in terms of American military strength?

As the national debt continues to rise we would expect to see less of the tax base available for maintaining the military in an increasingly dangerous world. We now have close to 20 trillion dollars in debt … and what do we have to show for it? A diminishing and hollowed out military capability reminiscent of the Carter years when much of our naval aviation capability was grounded for lack of fuel and spare parts. 

Next Dot – A Hollowed  Out Military.

Defense budget cuts are now showing up as illustrated by this recent report on the mission status of Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter bomber fleet.

“ … Today, the vast majority of Marine Corps aircraft can’t fly. The reasons behind the grounding of these aircraft include the toll of long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight against ISIS and budget cuts precluding the purchase of the parts needed to fix an aging fleet, according to dozens of Marines interviewed by Fox News at two air stations in the Carolinas this week.

Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy. … .”

If you spread this Marine situation across all the services and then refer back to Adm. Mullen’s  concerns about American leadership and world confidence in that leadership, it becomes very disturbing for the near term future — especially as potential and actual belligerents such as Russia, China, Iran and others are increasing their military presence and threats around the world. 

And finally we come to an extensive analysis of the stability of the world through the eyes and studied wisdom of historian and commentator Victor Davis  Hanson – yet another dot to connect.

Next Dot — The De-Stabilization of the World.

I’ll let Hanson’s words flesh out this final dot.

“ … In 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier warned Adolf Hitler that if the Third Reich invaded Poland, a European war would follow.

Both leaders insisted that they meant it. But Hitler thought that after getting away with militarizing the Rhineland, annexing Austria, and dismantling Czechoslovakia, the Allied appeasers were once again just bluffing.

England and France declared war two days after Hitler entered Poland.

Once hard-won deterrence is lost, it is almost impossible to restore credibility without terrible costs and danger. … .”

Note well the final words in this snippet from Professor Hanson Once hard-won deterrence is lost, it is almost impossible to restore credibility without terrible costs and danger.” ________

Are we on the brink of terrible costs and danger because of a national disregard for the lessons of history – or worse, a general and willful ignorance of those lessons?

 

Don Johnson – May 2016

Am I still a Republican? Is there still a Constitutional/Conservative Republican Party?

From Governor Bobby Jindal:

“ … I do not pretend Donald Trump is the Reaganesque leader we so desperately need, but he is certainly the better of two bad choices. Hardly an inspiring slogan, I know. It would be better to vote for a candidate rather than simply against one. If current trends hold, I will be among the many complaining this fall about my choices. … “

I have voted Republican for many years.
I was too young to vote for John F. Kennedy although I probably would have. And I certainly would have voted for Robert Kennedy.
Likewise for Lyndon Johnson – too young – and he declined to run again for the next election. I don’t know if I would have voted for him, but I think I voted for Richard Nixon, then Gerry Ford, then Ronald Reagan twice, then George H.W. Bush, then George W. Bush.

It’s not that I’ve been a hard core, died in the wool Republican – but  rather because of Democratic policies dating back to Slavery and the KKK, I’ve been anti-Democrat and will remain so.

But now with a man such as Donald Trump taking over the Republican party, I feel the need to take a sabbatical from Presidential politics – a long sabbatical perhaps extending beyond the November 2016 election.  A lot can happen between now and November, but in the meantime I will not entertain the idea of my vote going to “ the better of two bad choices.” Or as I would prefer to phrase it  — “picking one from scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

See you later in the year.

 
Don Johnson – May 201

Crass Capitalist Marketing Campaign – Part 1

It’s time for a crass Capitalist marketing  campaign – meaning I’m trying to sell a few of my books here. So take a look and if you see something you like, buy 40 or 50 copies to give away to your friends and relatives — or at least one for  yourself.

They’re really good.

First watch the following video which is a companion to the book which follows:

Life at sea

And here is the book:

http://www.blurb.com/books/6608466-i-didn-t-want-to-worry-you-mom

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Then there is this dystopian short story I wrote a few years back.

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/5113602-the-old-man-in-apartment-620

image

 

On the Pressures of Doing Drugs – a note to my Grandchildren from one who has not been as pure as the driven snow.

demonic2

By now many of you have heard of the Heroin epidemic that seems to be sweeping the nation from corner to corner. Some of you may be effected by this evil in your own families – it has hit ours, and it’s like a body slam when it hits close to home. So I offer this a warning from my own personal experience.

I’m no stranger to the drug scene, but I am immensely grateful that it was short lived and far away in my past. Let me tell you the story.

My career in the drug culture happened in the late 1960s just prior to me graduating from college, and somewhat in the midst of the 1960s drug scene and the whole counter-culture scene that was running rampant then. I was somewhat immune to all of this since I was married with a small child and going to college which took up enormous amounts of time and energy – I just didn’t have the time to “save the world” by getting high.

Then he came to live with us for a time. He was a full-fledged 1960s prototype Hippie complete with the long hair and clothes to match. Rolled his own cigarettes and smoked the “cool” grass of the time and listened to the hard rock music. He was cool, he was sick of the “system” and held a middle finger up to it – whatever it was — often.

He was my brother in law – fresh from the divorce of his new wife and running away from the little girl that was his beautiful daughter.

While he was with us – I don’t recall how long – there was often pressure to try some of his “stuff.” I generally resisted, but every now and again I rolled one and inhaled deep and long – and waited for that promised high. It never came, and each time I found myself sulking away in a corner saddened by who knows what – but saddened.

Gordon then started the pressure of trying something new and different – something he was sure I would like. This something was what the Indians used in their religious ceremonies, so how bad could that be, and it could be a way of opening new vistas to my life. It was safe he said because it was natural (haven’t you heard that if it’s organic and natural its gotta be good?)

This natural and organic stuff the Indians used for spiritual and religious use was Mescaline, a naturally occurring psychedelic with a long history of human use. It is best known as the primary active chemical in the peyote cactus. So before too long I was primed and persuaded to partake of this pill that was to enhance my life experience.

As I mentioned earlier, this took place close to the end of my studies at San Diego State … in fact what I am about to share with you happened during finals week of my final semester at school — I was about to take that big step into the real world of full responsibility and citizenship … well maybe not.

So Gordon and I each took our pill and set off into the night in his car. Thus began the most frightening experience of my life – before or since that night.

We wound up at an all-night drive in restaurant along Harbor Drive in San Diego. We settled into a booth – across from one another – and settled in.

As we sat there I could feel the changes taking place in and around me. I would look across the table at Gordon and would begin to see changes in his face – unpleasant faces that I tried to shake off  (not a whole lot unlike the picture above) . But they came back … and worse each time. At peak I saw Gordon’s face dissolve into an evil distorted countenance of oozing skin and bone — something out of a horror movie.

I was descending into insanity (and I mean this literally) … and then I would come out of it to a place of sanity. But then right back into insanity. In and out – in and out – each time as bad or worse. I began to fear that the next trip into insanity would be my last and I would never come back – a deep and profound fear had a grip on me.

Eventually, after a night of this I guess the stuff worked its way out and it was gone – and I was on the sane side of reality.

But it was not over – remember, it was finals week and I was right in the middle of it. Fortunately that day was one with no tests and I settled into the Student Union for the day. And what a day it was. I lay down on a bench and stayed there all day unable to move. My body felt as if it was filled with concrete and I couldn’t move even if I had wanted to.

And I had finals pending!

I made it through, passed my finals and graduated to a brand new job as a computer programmer. It very easily could have been different – very much different.

Thus ended my career as a drugee … but I still continued my drinking for far too many years.

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The drug problem has not gone away … on the contrary it has intensified with the strength, harmful effects and lethality increasing as the years go by. And has a sense of hope increased or diminished in the years of children growing up to adulthood?

So this is my note to my grandchildren — from one who has not always been clean as the driven snow:

· Be very careful who you hang with – they may not have your best interests at heart.

· Resist any and all pressures for you to do the wrong thing. Get help with this if you need it – parents, teachers, pastors, grandparents, even police – people who have demonstrated a love and concern for you over the years.

· Know that this stuff can kill you in very unpleasant ways. It has killed others.

· You can get through this. If you can find a Christian Youth group try it out and get plugged in – you might find peers that actually care.

And remember — I love you very much,

Grandpa

demonic

Stay away from me or I’ll kill you!

For You Inventors–A Mother Load of Ideas for Innovation and Invention

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Life on Planet Earth is filled with amazing designs. Designs and machines doing just about anything and everything you could imagine.

From the machines in the smallest cells — to the hands,  arms and legs that produce those last second buzzer beating 3-pointers in basketball.

Those amazing vocal instruments belting out incredible music that we can all hear with those amazing machines called ears.

It’s those new and rapidly growing fields of study call Biomimetics and Systems Biology which looks at those designs in nature — the real ones – and produces inventions based on those designs. 

Here are a couple of articles for you to look at and marvel:

I recently had my own idea of a GPS-less navigation system based on how salmon, turtles birds and other animals migrate and navigate. Unfortunately, I’m late to the party and many others around the world are well along with this idea. But these ideas are based in the designs seen in biology.

So look around you at some everyday things. Things that you may see a better way to build something based in biology … its called Intelligent Design.

Don Johnson – April 2016

 

YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN

An interesting story from my old shipmate and new Hungarian friend.

 

MrvonD3VonD Navy

YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN

by Adam von Dioszeghy

Fifty years is a long time. People die. Generations die. Babies are born. Buildings are torn down and new ones go up. Ships are scrapped and new ones launched. Some types of music pass out of favor and others rise to the top. Old habits cease and new ones take hold. In general, things change.

Most of us don’t like change; at least, we don’t like those things to change that we have not only become accustomed to but that we like a lot. And yet, change is inevitable, like it or not. The hardest thing to take is the unexpected change of something that you would have sworn would never change. You go into a thing, expecting it to be JUST as you knew it and….bam! it’s gone. Or it is now something totally different than what it used to be, than what you knew it to be.

I served as a Naval officer in the conflict know as the “Vietnam War”. It started in 1964 and ended in 1975. I was involved in the front end, on a destroyer (USS Porterfield DD682); my last deployment was in 1967, on the same old destroyer. When my tour ended, I said my good byes in Yokosuka, Japan, flew back to the US – to be specific, to Travis Air Force Base in Northern California – went to law school, practiced law and lived another kind of life. But I never forgot Vietnam or the Navy. As hard as the experience was, it left an indelible mark on my life and on my persona. I still say, “say again” instead of, please repeat it, or “you’re coming in garbled and unreadable” instead of, I didn’t understand you, and “we’ve been rotating and radiating” instead of, we’ve been moving about aimlessly. When we are getting ready to go somewhere, I say, “single up all lines”. Fortunately, my wife understands me and my idiosyncracies. This speaks volumes for her and her kindness.

In 2000, we moved back to the land of my birth, Hungary. The Navy faded further and further back in my mind. But – as tangents go – it never quite reached the point of being completely forgotten. Some of the Navy pictures still hang on the walls. My old “official” Navy baseball cap is still around, and I still wear it; it has the name of my ship and my name, rank and position (ASW or Anti-Submarine Warfare officer) on it. It has survived 50 years of use and abuse. Not like some other things…but I’m getting ahead of my story.

In 2016, Aliz and I decided that it was time to visit our old homeland, the U.S.of A. We had not been there since 2009. Our last home was in Napa Valley, California, so that was the major destination we had in mind. But we had friends all over the State, so we made arrangements to see as many of them as possible. One such friend was Martha, the widow of one of my shipmates on the Porterfield. In fact, he was not just a shipmate but my superior officer, as he was head of the Weapons Department, ASW being a part thereof. He was also the best friend I had on the ship. He left the Porterfield late in 1966 to pursue a Naval career, which he managed to do excellently…as he did most things. Sadly, he died after a short illness, battling pancreatic cancer, in 1999. Aliz and I kept in touch with Martha, his widow. So, as we planned our journey, we decided to include a trip to San Diego to visit her.

The Porterfield was homeported in San Diego. Although Martha and Todd lived in various places in the States, they returned there when he retired, and she still resides there.

The San Diego Naval Base has always been a big and important one, and it has stayed that way even after some down-sizing by the Navy. The destroyers and cruisers of the fleet were “housed” at the “32nd Street Naval Station”. I had many wonderful memories of the base; well, not so much of the base itself, as its Officers’ Club, affectionately referred to as “O Club”. Rarely did a day go by when – after “libs” began (for you non-Navy types, that is the commencement of liberty…usually about 16:00 hours…or 4 p.m.) – the officers would gather at the O Club for a few drinks (one, two, seven or eight) and for discussions of the disgusting habits of the CO (Commanding Officer) or the XO (Executive Officer) or the idiotic ways of the Navy. When the ship would go out for excercises on Monday morning, and return Friday afternoon, it was inevitable that all officers (not on duty) would gather at the O Club, occasionally even joined by wives and/or girlfriends. From time to time, such gatherings would “deterriorate” into dinner, and a very late night, indeed. Cops, way back then, were a little more forgiving of drunk driving, especially by “warriors”. I’m happy to report that there were never any accidents, let alone ones with death or injury attached. God looks after fools, little children and – apparently – drunken Naval officers. As a personal aside, on one occasion, our ship came back after a particularly difficult and trying week at sea, and was followed by an unusually enthusiastic evening of drinking and dining, with even more than the usually copious amount of imbibing. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that the next morning – a Saturday – I had to take the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) on Point Loma at a unversity there. When the test began, I was not even hung over: I was still inebriated. For reasons only known to the Man Upstrairs, I got a high score on the test, and managed to get admitted into Stanford Law School. Apologies for the digression….

So, as you see, the O Club was an essential part of my Naval experience. And as memories would occasionally surface, it featured prominently in my recollections. However, the distance to Hungary and our very infrequent trips to the US reduced the chances of ever seeing my beloved O Club again. And then came the visit of 2016.

Before going to visit Martha, Aliz and I decided to stay a couple of days at a hotel in downtown San Diego and see some old sights. And, of course, go to the O Club for a drink, “strolling down memory lane”; Aliz had heard so much about the place, I desperately wanted her to come and re-live a few moments with me in that iconic place.

Of course, San Diego had also changed in 50 years. There were new freeways criss-crossing it, new high-rises, changing views and the redesign of the center of town, making recognition of old things difficult. As Aliz and I sat in a downtown bar, I asked the bartender if he was local. He shook his head…he was new in town. So I said,

“Then, I guess, You wouldn’t know how to get to 32nd street from here?”

Before he answered, a nice young man, sitting at the end of the bar, with a baseball cap turned backwards on his head, said to me,

“Do you mean the Naval Base?”

I lit up like a lamp.

“Yeah, the 32nd Street Naval Station!”, was my enthusiastic reply. The young man pulled out his smart phone, punched in some data, and commenced telling me how to get to it, using some freeways. I was so happy I could have danced a jig. It looked like Fate wanted us to go memory-hunting. I couldn’t wait till the next afternoon so we could make our pilgrimage.

The next afternoon came, and my excitement rose to new heights. I told story after story to Aliz about those wonderful times at the O club so many years ago. How every time one of us “made rank” (being promoted to a higher rank), he had to host a “wetting down party” for all the other officers in the wardroom….a financial “hit” of no inconsiderable measure to his pocket book. She hid her boredom well, and was waiting to see and experience the “scene of the crimes” herself. I followed the instructions of my young friend of the previous day and made the approach to the gate of the base. I tried to search my memory to see if anything looked familiar, but the surrounding area had changed too much. The entry, which was quite active and busy back in the 60s, seemed much less so; and yet, there was a line of cars waiting to enter. Finally, I pulled up to the Marine sentry.

My heart was beating pretty fast as I handed the Marine my Navy i.d. card. The card was dated Sept. 21, 1968, and the accompanying photo was of the same vintage. It took some imagination to match the face of the 30 year-old officer, staring back at you – with a decidedly military look – with the face of the 77 year-old geezer sitting at the wheel of the car seeking entry. However, the old i.d card had “indefinite” for the expiration date, so the card was – technically! – valid. The Marine stared at the card, as if he was looking at a ghost. He looked at the photo and then he looked at me. Finally, his hand flew to his cap in a salute.

“Good afternoon, Sir. May I help you?” Deja vu was all over me. The spool of time was being rewound.

“Good afternoon, Marine”, I replied. “I haven’t been on this base since the Vietnam War….almost 50 years ago. Can you direct me to the Officers’ Club so I can show my wife where we had about the only fun back in those long-gone, hard days”, I continued. “I have forgotten where it is.”

There was a pause, and the Marine – still standing at attention – slowly replied.

“I’m afraid, Sir, that there is no longer an Officers’ Club on this base.”

I was stunned. I couldn’t have heard right. WHAT? NO OFFICERS’ CLUB ON A NAVY BASE??? I almost didn’t know what to say to him. Then I gathered my wits about me and turned back to him.

“Where do the officers do their drinking when the ship ties up after a hard week of exercises at sea?” I asked.

“I’m afraid I don’t know , Sir….all I know is that there is no Officers’ Club on this base….hasn’t been one since women entered the Navy fighting force. Now, I don’t know if the two events are connected…”, said the Marine. I shook my head and continued my seemingly hopeless task (meanwhile, the line behind me was getting longer, but no one honked the horn): “Do you mean to tell me that you can’t even have a BEER on this base??!!” The laconic answer was: “I’m afraid you can’t, SIR!”

I was devastated. There was nothing else I could do. My wife was remarkably silent and placid beside me. I straightened in my seat (as much as I could), and said to the Marine:

“Thank you, Marine…I’m sorry I bothered you.” The Marine straightened – which was unnecessary being that he was as straight as could be – tightened his salute and said, in parting:

“No problem, SIR! And I’m sorry, SIR! I understand how you feel, Sir. And, thank you for serving in ‘Nam, SIR!” My hand flew to my coverless head, and my salute was as snappy as his. I put the car in gear, negotiated a U-turn and headed out the gate. The folks behind me probably wondered what that was all about. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that any of them could have guessed.

Aliz and I did not speak until we were back on I-5, heading north. She must have know how I felt and did not want to disturb my thoughts. I looked at her – her face reflecting the setting sun – and I thought that her eyes were a bit more moist than usual. I smiled, as our eyes met, and said:

“Thomas Wolfe couldn’t have said it better: ‘You can’t go home again'”.

I got just a little drunk that night in a nice, civilized, civilian bar.

 

More of Adam von Dioszeghy (Mr. von D as we called him back then) here:

http://www.amazon.com/BRIDGING-TWO-WORLDS-Memories-Reflections/dp/1622878663/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

How Jesus Christ Superstar Helps Us Appreciate Easter

https://youtu.be/lS2nX4fuzqc

IDontKnow

“I don’t know how to love him, what to do, how to move him. I’ve been changed, yes, really changed. In these past few days when I’ve seen myself, I seem like someone else. I don’t know how to take this. I don’t see why he moves me. He’s a man, he’s just a man….”

https://pjmedia.com/faith/2016/03/26/how-jesus-christ-superstar-helps-us-appreciate-easter/?singlepage=true

The first play I ever saw on Broadway – and at the time a skeptic/agnostic/atheist …

 

Don Johnson – March 2016

The Irony of Bernie and Seattle

Bernie

I find great irony, contrasts, contradictions and not a little troubling concern when I see that Bernie Sanders was victorious in the state of Washington (read Seattle).

Seattle can rightly be viewed as the apex of Free Market Capitalism, with the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Starbucks and others creating much employment, economic opportunity and great wealth for many, not only in Seattle but around the nation – indeed the world. How many years was Bill Gates the richest man in the world? How many millionaires did he create?   The last ten years or so of my working career was centered around developing software using Microsoft Windows and Microsoft software development tools.

Then we have Bernie Sanders, the self professed Socialist, which puts him in the camp of the central planners of history – the central planners of those glorious reaches for utopia via those many failed 5 year plans. Those central planners who seek to level the playing field and eliminate that dastardly “income inequality” and make us all economically equal (except for those exempt central planners with the mansions and lavish dachas in the countryside).

Swinging back to Seattle, we see that grand golden goose that has laid so many golden eggs for so many.

440px-Simpleton_finds_The_Golden_Goose_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_15661 

And we see that very rich man along with his wife who are in the process of giving their wealth away. Giving it away in ways that benefit many of the sick and poor around the world. And they are doing this in the grand tradition of the free market enterprise system – they give this wealth away voluntarily and without the coercion of those Bernie style central planners.

So we have the irony of a Bernie Sanders seeking to confiscate the wealth of a Bill Gates – wealth created from that golden goose called Seattle and redistribute according to needs as determined by those central planners in their dachas.

Is the Golden Goose an endangered species?  

dead-goose-taxidermy

Don Johnson – March 2016