Letters: An Inevitable Conversation

Japayuki: A Novel

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

You Are Not Alone! Never have been! Never will be!

I believe it's safe to say just about every culture in existence, in every part of the world, has its stories of unexplained phenomenon and sightings of creatures and phantasms and such.
My family certainly has their fair share of stories of apparitions and visitations by questionable presences that defy description, explanation, and logic; and yes, even I can recall some personal experiences, face to face(?) experiences that remain very clear in my memory even after decades.
So, I thought to help you welcome in the New Year with a better understanding of who we are, what we are, and where we are, I would offer you a little ditty. And just you know, I am pulling this out of a current draft of a new book in which I delve deeper into this whole concept of You Are Not Alone! Never have been! Never will be!
If you are one of those people who believe the world orbits around you, that the sun shines only on your pretty face, then perhaps this will help you to come to terms with just where you really stand as far as life on this Earth goes, and who or what could be standing right next to you, or looking over your shoulder even as you read this.
You see, it has long been established, documented, researched, and confirmed that we, humans, are not alone, not on the face of this planet, not in this realm of consciousness, not in this phase of life, or sphere of life. Rather, we are co-existing with a myriad of life forms, and perhaps energy based personalities and characters, some that are accepting of us and may even wish us happiness and peace, while many, many others simply wish us gone, and let us know in their own little ways.
The obvious visitations by what we dub as extraterrestrials, beings obviously, and undoubtedly far superior intellectually and technology speaking to simple minded stick and wheel humans, are the best known as they are highly publicized by news outlets, investigators, and scientist.
Please note that while we call these beings extraterrestrials, there are those, scientist and investigators, who believe, based on volumes of research, that we may very well be something along the lines of an annoying virus on their planet. For it is they who can travel the space we can only look up and marvel at. It is they who can dive to the bottom of the oceans we can only look down into wondering.
But there are other visitors that can come and go with such ease, in and out of this world we so arrogantly claim as our very own.
In many, but certainly not all, cases the experiences, visitations, manifestations, and peeks through various realms and windows of existence take place in unexpected locations. A living room in a modern new home; an airliner cruising at 30 thousand feet, or a dense jungle deep in still developing parts of the world.
In my personal experiences, it would seen many visitors prefer the simpler, uncomplicated versions of humans, perhaps due to the fact that they are more accepting and even welcoming.
Again, in my family's case, we pretty much lived paycheck to paycheck, but we always had roofs over our heads, not always four walls, but pretty much always a roof and food for the day. We almost always lived in older neighborhoods, like the King Williams district; places wrought with history and mystic, and yes, ghost stories. In these places, it was almost commonplace for us to experience a myriad of unexplained noises, such as the sound of gravel or dirt being shoveled against the wall of our dilapidated one room apartment. (Of course, a check would reveal no evidence of any digging whatsoever.)
But even more upsetting were the visions of characters draped in black capes and whatnot just outside our door. (We had to go out of the apartment to use an outhouse of sorts.) And then of course there were the stories of our Grandmother enduring her arguments with an entity beckoning to accompany him away. Of course, this could have just been a Sancho, but true believers always pegged him as the Angel of Death.
As if all these (there were many, many more such incidents) weren't enough to curl your hair, and despite being warned countless times about engaging, conversing, encouraging such entities, my lovely sisters just couldn't resist the thrill of doing just that.
My youngest sister found it necessary to one day open our house to a mysterious old woman draped in head to toe black, allowing her to wonder within our home casting who knows what over us. But even better, and again despite knowing better, all my sisters gathered eagerly to communicate with the now infamous spirit, Raul, I believe it identified itself as, via the infamous Quiji board.
Then, one Christmas, Raul threatened to burn the house down. I believe that was the end of the Quiji.
But Raul wasn't the only spirit in that old wood frame house, as it was filled almost nightly with odd occurrences and visitations of varied kinds including late night footsteps down the creaky hallway, knocking and tapping on interior doors, visions of images in attic windows not accessible from inside the house, images sitting and waving from the front porch swing, and the assorted whispering and moaning in the dark.
Possibly the most troubling experiences were of our dear mother who would encounter a force that she described as approaching from the hallway and not only entering her bedroom, but approaching the side of her bed. She would tell of feeling the presence, then the depression on her mattress as if the entity would sit beside her. Finally, she would feel pressure against her chest, as if the entity were trying to suffocate her. This of course, happened on more than one occasion.
The experiences within that one house alone would lead one to believe that it was a portal of sorts through which many visitors would traverse, some obviously stopping to look about. Oddly enough, a niece recently reported a very vivid dream of our mother (her grandmother), in which Grandma complained that the current residents of the house were boring. This made me stop and think, as just about every dream I have of my Mother, she is in that house.
The evidence that such energy exist and manifest itself to us in familiar visions is well documented. However, there are other incidents of manifestations that defy explanation and/or purpose and intentions.
To disallow any contradiction or cries of hearsay, I will recount only incidents I have witnessed and documented personally. And I will start with the most recent. But first, allow me to offer a setting.
Dhes, my wife, and I are presently in the Philippines; but not in urban Philippines such as Manila; provincial, such as in a barrio that is more representative of pre-electricity, pre-running water era. The majority of people here still live in simple Nipas, and prepare meals in dirty kitchens. Water is retrieved from centrally located hand-pump wells and carried home in buckets and jugs. A very simple life to be sure.
The terrain is dense jungle. There are well worn paths into the dense jungle that challenge travelers during daylight hours; night walking is for those most familiar with the paths, and by that I mean, human walkers. For, as it is often said, when the sun goes down, the jungle comes alive.
I shared the story of the playful, at times curious Tinker Bell fireflies. But, there are far more ominous things out there. One of which seems focused on Dhes at the present.
Every culture has their names for their specific entities, one name common in the Philippines is the Aswang, one of the most fearsome monsters in the Philippines.
Most commonly described as a witch-like character, the Aswang can change shape and size at will, is territorial and essentially a shy nocturnal creature. It uses the darkness and the jungle to their advantage. These are creatures said to prey on the ill and dying, described as eaters of the dead. But, they are also said to be sensitive types that can be angered through disrespect, denial, and annoyance.
Whatever the case, Dhes has experienced some inexplicable, curious events recently which some believeokay, many believe, may be the work of such a creature. Such as the markings she experienced a few nights ago.
After a fairly uneventful day, one which we walked about and spoke to neighbors and kids, we retired home and set to relax with a movie. On showering she experienced a burning sensation on rinsing her hip. There etched into her skin was what appeared to be a crude pentagram, the symbol for infinity, and an arrow point towards her abdomen.
While the marking were crude, they were not random. These marks were aligned and symmetrical enough to rule out some haphazard brushing against some bush or nail. During our earlier walkabout, I easily (and painfully) found a broken Christmas ornament as it penetrated my chinela piercing my foot. I know Dhes would have noted the multiple scratching by an obviously sharp object. Her wounds were deep, pitted and fresh.
We treated her etchings and locked down the room for the night, as these creatures access their victims through open windows and doors. But before I go on with the etching incident, let me share a still earlier incident that may, or may not, have bearing on this.
Our home is still under construction. Our ceiling is still open, as electrical issues are completed, and other things dealt with. But the master BR, bath, and closet are completed.
The area is approximately 36x15 feet. And, if you know about construction, or peeked into your attic you understand there are rafters and blocks supporting all.
Well, besides the Aswang, there are many other creatures lurking such as the tree people, invisible for the most part, but none the less among us. And, there is even one likened to a Sentar, that is to say a hoofed creature, observed around our home many times in the past.
Well, one night we are awakened by what can only be described as something not only running, but playing with a ball on our ceiling. At first we thought maybe a mouse trying to crack open a nut of sorts. But the more we listened the odder it got.
Whatever the creature was, it was rolling an object the length of the 36 feet. What should have been a virtual impossibility due to the rafters and blocks of woods.
We also listened closer to the steps. Exactly! Mice don't stomp about, they're quiet as, well mice. Gekkos pitter patter, but what we were hearing would mean there was one hell of a soccer playing gekko up there.
Then Dhes tells me to just bang on the ceiling, to chase whatever it is away, but that's when things get really weird, because on my banging, the playful thing does stop rolling it's toy, but only to stomp back down at me; almost as if annoyed I have interrupted it.
Now, it's time to get serious. We're both out of bed climbing a ladder armed with flashlights and broom handles read to evict, but..nothing. Dhes does gets a glimpse at a mouse hopping the rafters, but again, a quiet exit, and certainly no sign of any rolling ball.
Dhes reports the experience to her older sister, who is two rooms down from ours. Her room does not have a ceiling yet, so the next night, when the playful things are back, she easily peeks up to check out the commotion.
The next morning she explains to Dhes that what she saw was four beautiful, bright white, round mice playing on our ceiling.
By her description, I believe what she saw were four orbs.
I pulled this from the website The Different Colors of Ghost Orbs and Their Meanings. White or Silver Orbs are representative of spiritually; the white (or silver) is associated with a connection with a higher source. Some investigators believe orbs that are either white or silver in appearance are an indication that a spirit is trapped on this plane. Others believe it may be a sign that the spirit is there to offer protection to the people in the area. White energy is typically perceived as highly positive in nature.
Could the orbs be protecting Dhes from the Aswang? After all, they were focused over her bedroom. Was the body art a frustrated act? A “Maybe I can't eat you, but I can mark you.” act of envy? By simple definition the symbol infinity, in reference to human beings, infers possession of infinite goodness, justice, truth, love, mercy, wisdom, power, light. The Penta, in relation to the biochemistry of a human being, is listed as pentavalent, a chemical balancing agent, critical in ensuring stability and reasonableness. Certainly all envious traits.
I'm googling to see if I can get some speculation from internet soothsayers, prophesiers, seers, crystal gazers, or oracles. (Responses should be interesting!)
The thing is, Dhes is blessed. She is protected, shielded by some force, and that's from childhood. Which could offer even another possibility. As a child, on this spot, she cheated death, and in doing that, she may have cheated the Aswang. Even in the U.S., in both California and Texas, she has been shielded and defended by something or some. Besides, being blessed, or maybe in association with that, she has a tendency to attract visitors. She is forever seeing images passing by her, as if observing her. She also experiences strange, bizarre incidents, as the one I'll close with.
Once, feeling depressed, she ventured out to her tree house garden. On reaching the back of house, she suddenly found herself engulfed in an swarm of Monarchs. She described these butterflies as playful, swirling around her, engulfing her totally, as a Dust Devil would. She said even the cats got caught up in the fun as they hopped around, rolling in the never ending flood of butterflies.
She looked around and saw that there were no butterflies anywhere else, not across the street, not next door, nowhere but around her. After lifting her spirits with there beauty and majesty, they left her standing there with her cats, able to survive her day.
So, this new year, as you live your Earth bound life. As you maybe gaze into the stars and wonder. As you turn to that sound, that fleeting shadow, or that subtle whisper, remember, this may be home to you, but it is also home to so many, many others. Share. Display kindness. If you fear some, know that there are others to protect. Never curse the unknown, for you don't know if they are able to curse you back, because always remember You Are Not Alone! Never have been! Never will be!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Christmas Story

This story was originally written as an acknowledgement to my brother, Florentino Quintero, Jr; Tino. He is the eldest child of six; I am the youngest. In between are four girls, Evangelina, Yolanda, Rosa Linda, and Mary Jane.

This is a true story, one that I have adapted and interjected into many story-lines in my determination to always keep it alive.

In drafting Japayuki, a novel based on actual events, I found that Tino's story fit perfectly into that story-line. While I do not know what happened to the original, every adaptation essentially remained unchanged, with only minor alterations to fit the particular story.

This Christmas, Dhes and I are in a small village, a barrio, in the Albay region of the province of Bicol, Philippines. This year we spend Christmas with Dhes's family and friends. In keeping busy, I decided to revisit Japayuki and revise and edit as needed. Just days from Christmas morning, I decided to revise and edit this part now, and offer it to you.

I hope you enjoy the meaning and importance of this very short Christmas tale. In that I am also considering reworking this novel into a play format, I will toy with that concept in this presentation, a la Arthur Miller style. See what you think.

An excerpt of Japayuki
In play format by R.M.Barron

In a small military barracks room. Camp Schwab. Okinawa, Japan.

Bryan and Risa have enjoyed an afternoon of Christmas shopping and relaxation. But it is getting late and Risa must return to her position as bar girl at the Upper Lima, a popular karaoke bar located in Kinville. But, in touring and wandering in and out of shops decorated for the holidays, she has become somewhat depressed. Bryan, noting the obvious sadness, attempts to bring her back to a happy state.

Bryan: Walking up behind Risa, as she gazes out a dirty window. He places both is hands on her shoulders and gently massages. Now come on, it’s getting late, and I want to get you something to eat before I take you back. He leans to smile at her. Remember, you guys are putting up your Christmas tree today. He turns her so she is now facing him. Remember? He repeats, kissing her softly on the nose. I don’t want you to miss that. Besides I’m supposed to take the pictures.

Risa: Her head lowers. Christmas tree? Christmas here? She is moving slow, not sharing his enthusiasm for the holidays.

Bryan: Come on; please don’t do this. He lifts her chin to look into sad eyes. Don’t tell me you’re going to be a Scrooge? He embraces her, rocking her gently.

Risa: No, I like Christmas. She almost whispers. It’s just, she pauses, fidgeting with a button on her blouse. ThatI don’t think I’m in any position to celebrate it, that’s all.

Bryan: Oh, I see. He is nodding, understanding. You think, because you are away from home, working here, you aren't entitled to a Christmas. He bends to make eye contact with her. Is that it? He allows his hands to run the length of her arms as he steps back, but doesn't let go of her hands. Then I guess it’s time for me to tell you a little story now. A Christmas story. He leads her to the edge of the bed, and gently sits her down.

Risa: Not letting go of his hands. And the Christmas tree?

Bryan: This won't take long. I promise. He smiles at her. Now, you have to understand, this story takes place a long time ago. He begins to pace slowly in front of her. Hands emphasizing his words. On a Christmas Eve; just like today. With another smile, he launches into full storyteller mode, and begins. I am maybe five or six years old. My parents are divorced and six of us, me, my four sisters, and our Mom are living in a run down, rat infested, cold motel room. I guess you could call it our version of a little nipa hut.

Risa: Looking up at his comment. Really?

Bryan: Really. He nods, raising his eyebrows at her. Believe me, life really sucks. He makes his way to that same dirty window, now himself gazing out of it. I lay down that night, he continues, as if taking himself back to the event, angry. He turns to look at her, knowing well what she is feeling. I didn’t care if Christmas came and went, just like you don’t care now. He walks to her, kneeling in front of her, again taking her hands. Why? Because I believed that for the first time in my life, Christmas was not there for me. He smiles at her, squeezes her hands and rises to continue his pacing. You see, Ris, just as in your life, my life had once been okay. I had always had something at Christmas. Something. But this year I had—we—had nothing. Not even a Christmas tree. He chuckles quietly, shaking his head. So, I lay there, looking up at the stars out of a dirty window, he pauses to point at the dirty window they had both gazed out of, wondering why. Questioning why. My mother works in the motel restaurant, as a waitress, mostly for tips. When the restaurant closes for the night, she simply moves to the lounge—the bar next door. The Lemon Drop, I believe it was. Now he is at a desk straightening out some papers. She works the bar, Ris; she serves the beer; she entertains the customers. Sound familiar? He grins broadly at her this time, acknowledging her pursed lips and raised eyebrows. Now, I can hear my sisters whispering to each other. Trying to lull themselves to sleep with simple conversation, but I just look out and up through that dirty window and I whisper to God: “What did I do wrong? What!?” Now, he actually chuckles out loud.

Risa: With a puzzled look on her face. Why? What happened?

Bryan: Turning to meet her questioning stare. He answered me.

Risa: Only raising her eyebrows at this comment.

Bryan: Walking over and siting next to her on the bed. The next thing we hear, is a banging at our door. We all jump, just staring at the door. It's late, the lights are out. We are expecting no one. Our mother has a key, yet? Hear there is this banging at our door. My oldest sister gets out of bed, closely followed by the others. She peeks out and see who it could be. That’s when I hear my brother’s voice from the other side. He is the oldest and has been on his own, but now he is here, outside our door. When my sister opens it, he pushes his way in carrying a tree. A simple little Christmas tree.

Risa: Shrugging her shoulders slightly. Maybe your Mom asked him too

Bryan: Shaking his head slowly at her suspicion. No. Again, he was on his own. We hadn't seen him in awhile, but he was with us now. He props the tree up in a corner and like magic, we all come to life; we are grabbing things, making little ornaments for it out of paper and foil and whatever else we can find in that dismal little place; and Ris, when we are done? It stood there, and? It is glowing. Shining—without lights—it is shining. Christmas hadn’t forgotten me, Ris, it had arrived. Even in that pathetic little hold in the wall; even with hardly a thing to our names. Christmas had arrived.

Risa: Sighing deeply, nodding understandably at the message intended.

Bryan: Standing to conclude his tale. Some would look upon that tiny little tree and say it was nothing more than a dried out discarded twig. A true Charlie Brown tree. And you know what? They would be right. But that night, that tree, was the best tree that ever was; it was, and always will be, the most beautiful and wonderful Christmas tree that I will ever have; ever. And screw Santa, from that night on, my brother would always and forever be my Christmas hero. He kneels back before her. That night, I learn the real meaning of Christmas; that night Ris, I learn the meaning of love. Christmas didn’t come in brightly wrapped little boxes, or on fancy dinner tables. Christmas came from the heart. He takes her right hand in his and places it gently over her heart. It’s love; love Ris, nothing but love. You can’t hold it, you can’t package it, you can only share it with someone else. He rises again, her hands still in his. My brother didn’t have to go there that night. He didn’t have to take us that tree. He could have said “What for? There are no ornaments! There are no lights! There’s certainly nothing to put under the damn thing! What good is a silly tree without all those things?” But he didn’t say that. He loved us enough, he thought enough of us to go there, on a cold miserable night, and take us that tiny, beautiful, simple little thing and in doing that, he gave me, all of us, the greatest gift he could ever give. He gave his love. He gave us family. He gave us Christmas.

Risa: Standing, wrapping her arms around him.

Bryan: Stroking her hair and kissing the top of her head. This year you’re my Christmas, Ris. Neither one of us is where we want to be. So, I celebrate it only because you’re in my life, and I hope, I really hope, that you can try to understand that you mean that much to me.

Risa: Now wrapping herself around his neck, staring at his total acceptance of her. Merry Christmas, Bryan. She whispers. I believe there is a little tree somewhere waiting for us.

This Christmas the world is in turmoil. No nation it would appear is untouched by some kind of violence and disruption. But yet, Christmas will arrive. Focus on your families. Focus on what's important in life. Care for one another. Love one another. We are away, but we will take this opportunity to share the true meaning of Christmas with damn near an entire barrio; we will offer the gifts of acceptance, of food, and for the kiddies, a small toy of some kind. Our family back home made our Christmas through their sharing with us to allow this be truly meaningful event. Our Christmas is complete. We will be thinking of all of you with each smile we see here. Thank you, and as Tiny Tim would say, God bless us one and all.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Violence Against Women on the part Athletes Continues

In the course of the last couple of days, I have been approached seeking my support of cases involving violence against women. One of the cases you may be aware of, especially in Texas; it's actually only the latest case of a professional athlete, Greg Hardy, a Dallas Cowboy, severely beating a woman. The second case involved the trafficking of minor females for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sadly, there seems to be an increase of the later. Still, I don't mind supporting these campaigns as they do raise awareness of these types of pathetic social behaviors. I also don't mind considering I am well into my own campaign advocating for the emancipation of women globally. In all cases involving violence against women, the root cause, by my research, is the same. This is how I responded to the Hardy case, a case that should, by all accounts, be an attempted murder charge:

As a native Texan, presently overseas, I'm asking all my fellow Texans, regardless of team loyalty to please support this [violence against women] effort and to share it with all their Circles and Friends. Violence against women has got to stop, period. Misogynistic acts against women often are an indication/symptom of serious, deep rooted psychological issues, repressed homosexuality, based on research, being at the top of the list. Learned behavior is in there as well. Gay men feel entraped, cornered by homophobic social attitudes; frustrated, they lash out. The learned behavior guy is just doing what he saw Daddy do to Mommy, or mimicking what he saw on the latest Donkey Punch video. Greg Hardy obviously feels he has to punish women, hurt women for some reason. Whatever Hardy's problem, it falls on the Dallas Cowboys organization to remind him that violence against women is a criminal act; then, they need to fire him. The local authorities also need to prosecute appropriately. Greg Hardy, himself, has to evaluate the reasons he hurts women, and again, there are many, then he needs to seek professional help. Battering women will not solve his problems. I support this campaign because I also come from a violent family enviornment. My father beat my mother until she ran for her life, literally. Another reason I'm supporting is I just released an ebook on the subject. If you'd like to learn about the history of violence against women, I invite you to check out: Letters: An Inevitable Conversation https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588291. I cite over 200 sources in producing this fact based fictional story. 30% is free, then, to get to the climatic end, it will cost you a whopping $1.99. But be advised, it's been call blasphemous and heretic, only because I call out misogynistic organized religions/cults; and, it's been call anti-government, only because I call out Stone Age religious extremist fundamentalist politicians who love subjugating, humiliating, and degradating women through legislation. I will also be addressing this particular campaign through my blog DhesBar Publications Short Takes http://dhesbarpublications.blogspot.com. A single campaign will not resolve this issue. Be safe all, and live smart.

Violence against women is actually a social plague, not an issue. Please consider lending your voice to eradicating it that our mothers, sisters, daughters, grand daughters can finally feel free and safe in our communities.

(To lend your voice towards the Hardy csse visit https://www.change.org/p/bank-of-america-don-t-sponsor-the-dallas-cowboys-if-they-keep-letting-domestic-abuser-greg-hardy-play-for-them-6?recruiter=25199746&utm_campaign=signature_receipt_fb_dialog&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition)

Monday, November 23, 2015

An Inevitable Technological Grass Roots Social Movement/Rebellion? Could be.

There is that almost natural, intrinsic set of checks and balances in the world that is just one of those oddities of human nature. If someone does bad, there is always someone else who will do good. If someone attempts to implement some wrong on society, there will be someone who will stand and challenge that person. We see this manifest in the simplest of acts (sometimes called random acts of kindness) on the streets of city and towns, and in more global implications such as we saw in the past World Wars that have plagued Earthly societies. Now granted, these level of events are not always what they seem. Hitler was a psychopath who attempted to gain control of the world; he was countered, but not before he reeked havoc on much of Europe. Today, because man never seems to learn from past events, we watch what we call an Islamic State attempt to gain control of the world; and, as we have seen in the past, this new threat is being countered, not only in the traditional military and economical ways by other nations, but by means of a technological war by a new unseen opposing force: Anonymous. Both sides will, of course, persist in their efforts, for it is a scientific law, for every action there is a reaction. But, this conflict, this war is unprecedented for one other reason. If you listen to the description of Anonymous you will not hear of a structured organization; there is no leadership, there is no board that discusses and plans; the membership is universal and they identify themselves simply as Anons. There is no membership application, no on-line qualifications to fulfill. There are few rules, and the ones in place are only intended to protect and maintain the, well, the anonymity. Members commonly use the tagline "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us." Some descriptives used for Anonymous are: an unrelenting moral stance on issues and rights, regardless of direct provocation; a physical presence that accompanies online hacking activity; and a distinctive brand. Because of it's broad spectrum of members, there is no claim to preference in regards to gender, national origin, religious orientation, or political affiliation. And, while it appears to at least this Blogger that they are still in the formation, growing phase, it further appears that they are impacting significantly the trending issues, in the United States, and globally. One point to drive this view is, while they claim no structure per se, they have a face (a flag?), and have declared a cyber war on ISIS. While this Blogger has a policy of not affiliating with any organized entity, political, religious in nature or claim, and even social, I recognize Anonymous. I have seen this beginning before. I have read of their potential to reach across state lines, national borders, even oceans. This is the technological equivalent to a grass roots rebellion. Government has failed. That has been clearly stated by Anons. And now, they mass, in impressive numbers, with impressive skills, with lofty goals and objectives (some maybe needing to be refined a little), and it is my guess, they will change the face of society to a great extent. Personally, I will follow the efforts of Anons as they forge ahead. And perhaps even poke at their true intentions.

(For more information on Anonymous visit:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day? Armistist Day? Remembrance Day? Why Not: Everyday!

Veteran's Day is one of those observances that are, well, awkward. One the one hand, America wants to show it's appreciation for all the men and women who have served in military uniform; while on the other hand, America denies all those men and women who have served in military uniform the post care and benefits they have been promised.
There are about 50 thousand homeless veterans in this country on any given day. Their medical care is a disgrace, and compensation a joke.

I especially enjoy watching all those hypocritical politicians (who believe the military is intened to serve and protect the one percent), smile and shake the hands of lame, disfigured, and burned Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen. Many feel they have to lie about their own service, I guess out of self-pity and/or embarrassment.

My personal favorite story? Why my own of course! I remember writing to President Obama, I believe it more of a rant, but I was asking why the Social Security Administration did not consider military disabilities when one applys. He did not respond. At least not directly. He only referred me to the Veterans Crisis Line. You can imagine my surprise when one evening the phone rings and it's a Crisis Line attendee, asking me if I was okay. On questioning the caller, she explained, "Uh, you did write the President, didn't you? I dismissed the concerned woman, by asking her to please clear her line and make it available for a veteran who truly needed it.

But back to Veteran's Day, because I believe it's every American's responsibility to defend and protect our Constitution, yet so many just sit back and let others risk life and limb, sanity on the lines. I acknowledge those who served with me; I acknowledge those who served before me and all those who are serving now, and will in the years to come. For all in a uniform, whether that uniform is on their backs, or in their closets, thank you for your service. The sacrifice you made, stepping up to the demands of service is appreciated.

The best military character ever created for a movie was Colonel Jessup. Because while it's true, many Americans, politicians included (some of them are actually American citizens, you know), can't handle the truth about what's happening "over there" right now, and what's headed for your shores as you read this short. And just has the Colonel said, deep down within you all, while some of you detest us, while some of you feel we are not worth the post service investment, while some of you consider what we do as disgusting and vile, "you want us on that line, you need us on that line,"

Yes, I'm a proud veteran, but as the mantra is defiantly uttered, once a Marine, always a Marine. A person doesn't sign up to defend and protect the Constitution for four years, six years, or 30 years, they sign up to do so for life. So, even today, I'm ready to take my place back on that line in fulfillment of my oath, whether the enemy if foreign or domestic, whether that line is in another country, or in my own back yard.

As for the rest? If you are benefiting from the service of these men and women (yes, that's all of you), then just enjoy your liberties (while you can), and live your life. I'll leave you with another mantra of sorts, applicable to all walks of life and professions:

"Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Just The Facts Please!

Ah! But, just what are facts? So many people claim to know, but what do they really know? Our illustrious, learned politicians love to smile into cameras every day, more so during election seasons like present day, and rattle off facts like crazy. But, where did they get their facts? Professors and teachers stand before hundreds of students daily and belch out facts regarding mathematics, the natural sciences, the social beginnings of our communities, about the very use of our language arts. But, again, where, oh where did these so called facts really originate?

Well, that's my point.

You see, what we hear stated oh so often as facts are nothing more than the the opinions (blabberings?), the suspect findings, the somehow derived determinations of other people, and in a lot of cases, fools and scamps. Yet, written down on parchment paper, published, and appropriately codified these ramblings become facts to be handed down, read and regurgitated in classrooms, and pushed on and on, by degreed parrots.

I will use a very common, universal example. I will, right this second, tell you that the man you know as Jesus the Christ, was but a simple man, Jesus, the Nazarene, who was indeed crucified (murdered), not because God so commanded it, but for no other reason than other men, clerics and politicians, were jealous and fearful of him.

Is that a fact? Well, it must be because it is so stated in the Jefferson Bible. And, a bible can't be wrong, can it? But wait, another bible (yes, there are many), one with no clear author, states that Jesus the Christ was the very Son of God, given, sacrificed to the sinners of the world as a savior. Can that be true? Again, there it is in black and white, published and codified. Taught, and preached, and shared. It must be true, right?

So, how does one know which is the two is the true fact, and which is the bunk? Well, the only true fact is a statement that can be supported by evidence (and no, another man's opinion does not qualify as evidence). If archeological evidence, hard physical evidence exist to support the statement, then the statement can be said to be factual. (Homework: Research the two examples above and decide for yourself.)

Here's another example, Pat Robertson once stated as fact that an emancipated woman would turn into a witch and murder her entire family. While it's a sad fact women have killed their children, and certainly, many have killed their husbands. And while all is well supported by hard evidence (finger prints on a smoking gun), it cannot be used to support Robertson's statement; for one thing women are not emancipated, and another, witches are fictitious biblical characters created by Augustine in the 400s. But, Robertson has is a theory; and, theories can be easily (sometimes) proven true or false. So, I say, let's emancipate women now and we can all stand and watch what happens together.

(For more on Pat Robertson's views on women and other topics visit: The Top 10: Facebook 'vomit' button for gays and other Pat Robertson quotes http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/09/us/pat-robertson-facebook-remark/)


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's Definitely Not Going To Be Kansas Anymore

I have been reading with interest, and growing concern, the stories coming out of Europe pertaining to the refugees from Syria (and other countries). I find it interesting only because this tit for tat, Muslim/Christian tug of war, well, check that, all out war for control of (now) Europe has been going on now for centuries. The first Christian Crusades against the Muslims was in 1096, and we all know why that was launched, right? No!? Why because Egypt, Syria, North Africa, were Christian nations, well, at least until Muslims conquered them. And? The papacy just was not going to stand for that. And so, as the classic line goes, the rest is a sad history of hegemonic masculinity, religious extremist fundamentalist arrogance, ignorance, stubbornness, and well, chest thumping. Yes, all continues merrily on (it actually never stopped), and it seems it's the Christian's, and Jew's turn to thwart off a Muslim invasion. Good luck with that, guys.

But, I'm just curious; am I the only one who saw this coming? And for those Americans who are not concerned, who believe they will only be bystanders in all this, how tinted are those glasses?

But maybe they're right not to worry (too much) for, somehow, some way, countries, governments, societies, will weather the fighting (as they have in the past), the destruction, the deaths, on both sides. Victories will be claimed; new flags will wave, new social orders instilled, but life will continue. And, no matter who wins or loses. No matter who gains what stretch of land, this time. The minds will continue to work. New strategies will be drawn out. And someday, and it's anybody's guess as to when that day will be, but mark this down somewhere, someday, just as they have for millions of years, the two will clash once again.

But, here is the gist of all this, and probably the comic relief side; all these battles, all these claims to superiority dominance are waged in the name of God.

I would bet my life savings (wait, I don't have one), I would give the National Treasury, to know what God thinks of all this. My bet is She's laughing, no roaring.

If you are an American citizen, pondering the coming Presidential elections, listening to Don, Bern, Hill, Marc, Jeb, Ben, listen to the level of concern they're communicating regarding the latest Muslims vs. Christians fracas. Listen to how they intend to deal with tens of thousands of Muslims refugees heading to our shores, looking forward to settling into these candidate's posh neighborhoods. I say their neighborhoods only because this is America, land of opportunity and equality, I know they don't intend to settle all these poor displaced people in urban Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York. Hell, those places are dangerous! No, these people would be better served, they'd be more comfortable in the suburbs, in the Hamptons, Forest Hills, Martha's Vineyard; America needs to show these people our best side. Not our already overcrowded, deteriorating inner city, uh, well, slums. Hell, Germany and other countries are putting them up in five star hotels! We can at least do that much. Is the Waldorf Astoria still open? Great opportunity for Trump to display a little foreign diplomacy.

One last thing to ponder. How many of these refugees are the Japanese accepting? China? Russia? Just wondering.