Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

March 27, 2009

Bad Move

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 9:03 pm

Obviously, the Prez didn’t read my previous missile. Generals always want more troops. This is about the last thing that Afganistan needs: more troops. THINK VIETNAM. Westmoreland said more troops and we’ll be home by Christmas. Where LBJ messed up then is by not asking, “Christmas of what year.” More troops and it only made it worst as we are talking, Vietnam for a burst of six to ten years and then even we left in “the middle of the night so to speak.

The president inherited two intractable problems. Iraq and Alfganistan. The problems associated with Afganistan go far beyond anything we can do. For way too long we have refused to admit it in light of history. The Russians finally gave up and went home.

The idea that the government can negotiate with the Taliban is about as “will of the wisp” as anything could possibly be. Recently when a Taliban commander tried negotiation, three days later, he was shot dead.

The absurdidy of attempting such peaceful means is countered daily by such acts of the video surfaced recently of the teenager dressed from head to toe in a Burka and yet flogged for immoral acts. An example of nothing more abhorrent to our way of life than these sort of acts.

In Iraq, we are facing a building crisis with the Sunni Awakening Councils. They are credited with being the main reason for a reduction of violence in Iraq. This reduction is one of, “says who” as car bombings, various acts of violence against the civilian population appear daily. And the loss of five American soldiers of late don’t bode well for peace. But, we’ll accept what we can. The people are appearing more confident, the markets are open and the Iraqis have a ploy of not reporting car bombs, etc. I doubt this denial will work as it only prolongs the inevitable as the violence increases.

The big problem is that there’s a hint that the Shiite dominated government is usurping this arrangement with the Awakening Councils by arresting their leaders and interfering with their being paid by the U. S. A prescription for disaster. Will the Sunnis continue to be on the side of the government. They’ve switched sides once. All this to say, our scene in Iraq is a house of cards and facing it is a gateway to getting out should be our goal. IS ANYBODY LISTENING?

March 24, 2009

THE FUNERAL

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 9:10 pm

This is one of those stories that grew with each telling. In fact, if there had ever been one where truth is stranger than fiction, this if it. For some reason, Corb had gone with Mom way down in Sampson County where Grandpa was preaching a fuberal. The fact that Corb had gone was somewhat of a phenomena. He was a master of es caping when it was time for one of these foreys, especially as related to church. If he didn’t want to be found, the CIA couldn’t do it. So, for him to go with Mom, this must have been a little different.

Grandpa often did this funeral preaching and preaching was the correct word. For one thing, in a normal funeral, a herd of preachers would often make even the worst sinner into a saint. But, if there was the slightest doubt, then a preacher like Grandpa could be brought in by the family to preach them into heaven. Grandpa would pranch up and down the ailes exhorting the saints and sinners to pray for the soul of the departed, to stand in the place of this one whose life on earth was less than stellar. By the time Grandpa was through, most of the county had been taken into the fold where they wanted to be or not.

Now there’s mystery here. We are the first to admit. But, on this day, Grandpa was shining. The subject at hand was a Mister Senn. You got it: Senn, like Sin. Mr Senn had died of old age, whatever that is. They lived in a big old ram shackeled house and farmed a small plot of land, had cows and pigs, the usual trappings of a small farm. And there were four Senn daughters who had never married. Rumor was that one of them, Thelma by name and the one who had taught a bunch of women, to include Mom, a special quilting pattern, was the matriarch of the family. The Mom had died years earlier. Thelma by her size was imposing. Corb said she was bigger than Aunt Gertie but just not only rotund but big, shoulders, arms, a big, big woman, he emphasized.

And, the fact that it was grandpa doing the honors was strictly coincidental or maybe not. Mom, being the oldest, and Grandpa didn’t seem to always have the best relationship. I’m not totally sure why and our information more or less came from George and he should know. In a kind of weird happening, our George had spent a couple of years on and off staying with Grandpa. Grandpa, through Grandma, had talked Mom into it. Mom’s thought was that Grandma didn’t ask for much and if she needed George for while, we could surely spare him. It was one of the only times
when Dad and Mom really got cross ways. Grandpa was in a jam with the crops. He was off doing the Lord’s work, Mom’s brothers could not be counted on to keep things going. They needed George for stability. It didn’t work, George was unhappy, Dad was upset, we didn’t like it. George came back home but with tales to spin.

We think it might have been the way Mom and her sisters perceived that Grandpa treated Grandma. He would be gone for weeks and nobody would know where he was. Yes, he was always doing the Lord’s work. Mom was skeptical. And, I think we were at this funeral preaching just to make sure that Grandpa knew that he was being watched. This was all speculation but the drama of this funeral was not.

It had been raining seemingly for weeks although on this day, it was pretty nice with the sun out. The church was a wooden type with a nice steeple and this cemetary out to the side, much like most of the rural churches. What would happens is that the more prominent people would have a gravesite closer to the church or easier to get too. All churches had a cemetary committee and they were notorious for fighting.

First off the service got started about an hour late as was pretty much the way it always was. Right there in the front, just below the pulpit was Mr. Senn stretched out lizard length as Dad was so fond of saying The open casket with the departed Mr. Senn was there for all to see. From what I guessed, Mr. Senn would not have been too happy to be so prominently displayed, especially since he was probably not known for being a stalward church attender. How did I know? I knew nothing other than Grandpa had been called in so he must have been a hard case.

Mom and Corb were seated close to the back. The church started about an hour late which was the way it usually was. Corb said he calculated that they were in for about four or five hours if they were lucky.

The Senn sisters were moaning or crying. It had already heated up. Grandpa was getting warmed up. A couple of people had let loose with some “praise the Lords.” Then what happened next is a little fuzzie–let the show begin. So begins the clapping and crying. More choruses of praise the Lord, Grandpa was on the move, up and down the ailes, in front of the Senn girls, talking about the power of God on these blessed girls who had cared for their father. Corb said he almost thought Mr. Senn might climb out of that casket and say, “preach on, brother.”

This goes on for a couple of hours, and kind of on cue, the Undertaker makes a move for the final viewing. People start filing by, some murmuring. Mercifully, it seems to be coming to a close. After the Senn girls had their chance, the casket would be closed, the pallbearers, local saints would carry the casket to the already dug grave for a brief commital service. And, the folks would have a little reverie as they departed. A successful funeral. The Senn girls could be happy that they have dobe well for the elder Senn.

Nobody could have predicted what was going to happen at this point. As was the custom, the family is the last to view the deceased. Suddenly, without warning, Thelma is overcome with grief, she falls on the casket. The casket crashes into the floor and knocks a giant hole in it. Everybody is in stunned silence.

For what seems like forever, time is suspended. Then, thank the Lord, Clyde Norman, a local man is assisting in the funeral. He comes down the aisle and not to gentlely pulls Thelma off the casket and wrestles her back onto the bench. Now, think about it: this is no easy feat. Thelma tops the scales at a rough estimate of about 400 pounds and we ain’t talking just casual weight. All the Senn girls are no size eights but Thelma is heavy and muscular like an ox. Did I mention that Thelma was a school teacher. It is said that her classes were examples of orderliness; the threat of one of her gigantic hands up beside one of those country boys heads were enough to coerse the rowdiest boy into silence.

Finally Clyde and a couple of the men helped maneuver the casket back on the wobbly contraption while it precariously leans and he closes it. Most everybody knows the normal procedure: the preachers proceed ahead of the casket, then the family have a short walk to the gravesite and a few words and we’re out of there to rush somewhere and tell the tale of what happened on the day of old Mr. Senn’a funeral.

Grandpa is still a little ashen as are most of the people. The walk through the cemetery is slightly muddy, no standing puddles but the evidence of days of rain are everywhere. The casket is placed on the restraints which are used to lower it into the ground. Not an easy task because of the wet ground. Another pastor reads some scripture and just as he is about to pray, Thelma becomes overwhelmed with emotion, literally falls on the casket and it lowers under this enormous weight into the hole with Thelma on top. The preacher in trying to hold onto her, is lowered into the hole also. Here the preacher is on top of Thelma who is on her Dad’s casket and they are not six feet under but at least four feet down. It is an indescribable scene. The preacher is trying to get a hold to get off of Thelma but can’t. To the rescue comes Clyde and some other man. They get the preacher’s hands and painstakingly pull him out of the hole. It took at least four of them.

Thelma is lying face down. The indignity of it was surpassd by the gravity of getting Thelma out of the hole. The stories that probably ensued from this incident in modem times would have brought TV stations from around the world and segments of it would have been on the news for days, eventually resulting in a reality show.

After several attemps by different teams of men, all resulting in no success to get Thelma out of the grave, at best they had merely gotten her in a position where theycould grasp arms and hands. As resignation turned to
panic, someone came up with the idea of a hoist. What this could do was hydralically pull Thelma out of the hole. Someone took off to find one and in short order they were back. A heavy duty line was tied around Thelma’s waist and slowly she was pulled from the hole. There were no cheering crowds as discretely Thelma was whisk home.

Corb! What a funeral!

March 15, 2009

F… UP and gwt rewarded

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 9:17 pm

Messing up and getting handsomely rewarded is the order of the day at AIG, the giant insurer whose financial Products Division more or less brought on the country’s financial mess. Now, of course, they are going to get 100 billion in bonuses and we going to let it happen. Why? We don’t want to get sued. Well, la de da, what is the big deal?

We involved ourselves with AIG based on the best information we had at the time. Little did we know that we were about to fork over these gigantic bonuses to the weinies who were the ones who created the incredible mess mainly with the infamous credit swaps. In my view, since we didn’t know, we can change the rules. Want to sue us, go ahead.

Larry summers, the president’s chief financial advisor caved somewhat, saying we are a country of laws. It was code for the fact that those receiving these outrageous bonuses had a contract before we took over their messes. I don’t accept it. The last time I looked, lawyers weren’t running the country. Let the lawyers duke it out, at least it will take years and by that time, the 80 % that we own might have righted itself.

March 12, 2009

ANNIE

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 3:18 pm

The President needs to spend one evening watching Annie. Here it is, TomorrowTomorrow, the sun will come out tomorrow. If I were him, I’d do the version of Daddy Warbucks with Albert Finney and Carol Burnett. It was precious with Daddy Warbucks as a Republican tycoon and FDR’s New Deal.

Annie the orphan believes immediately and Daddy Warbucks, the selfish business tycoon follows, won over by the naive and ulimately pure Annie. The scheming potential parents of Annie represent the Wall Street tycoons and selfish money grubbing bankers. It all ends well as our crisis will even though we are not the same as before bit wiser and better.

March 5, 2009

GIVE MW A BREAK

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 1:04 am

As a “No” voter on prop 8 and a supporter of gay marriage, I’m drawing the line on a Harvey Milk Day holiday for the slain supervisor and gay hero. Rarely do I agree with our governor but I think he’s right on this one, “should be at the local level. If the gay community wants a holiday in the Castro, but a special day, MLK, please!

My first introduction to Harvey was reading Randy Shilts really terrific book, Harvey Milk, the Mayor of Castro Street. Those of us who lived through the history understamd all to well those dark days And, thank God for district elections which gave Harvey his rightful chance. There is no doubt that Dan White’s heinous act change the course of San Francisco history. But, the elephant in the room even somewhat depicted in the movie was that Harvey did some pretty immoral things. Shilts boldly said that Harvey would have sex 20 times on a single night. What was that? How? For heterosextual couples, this would be considered Immoral. Yes? No? And, no one is willing to even mention that the era of the bath houses was propelled along by Harvey. AIDs took it’s told. Decimating the gay community and denying us of artists, musicians, and cultural icons or would be icons for decades is still with us. This is beyond tragic.

Those who see a special day for Harvey as more acceptance of the gay community because of the Sean Penn oscar which I think was political in itself. As a movie afficianoto, I think by any objective measure Micky Roarke was the better choice.

A Harvey Milk day in the Castro seems fitting but as a symbol of a special day of recognition on a broader basis, I don’t think so. We applaud his achiements but not his personal life. A public person by that choce gives up the right to the sort of life style that Harvey Mill chose. And, just as George W or Bill Clinton’s legacy is tainted by personal decisions, so will Harvey’s.

Special to the webblog,
Gusdavis Aughtry

March 1, 2009

MARINES, Got To Love’Em

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 12:04 am

When I was in Vietnam, we had a not so subtle joke: the Marines had the highest casualty rate of any of the Services in Nam and we would always say one thing–they know one tactic, “Put your head down and charge.” This wasn’t really true but it was somewhat indicative of how they approach everything. Take the latest crisis: suicides on the up tick. In 2008, 41 Marines committed suicide, a rate of 19 per 1000. Last year, the Marines lost more to suicide than were killed in Iraq. Here’s what they are going to do, “All Marines will receive a two hour suicide prevention presentation next month. Problem solved, Marine style.

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