Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

December 11, 2010

FAILURE TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 1:49 pm
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This is almost an aside but I’m thinking it: How she could have married such a sorry asshole as John Edwards is beyond me. And, it isn’t that he merely f…ed up, it is that his sorry ass didn’t “step up to the plate.”

We men are a sorry ass lot, let’s face it and we often do our thinking with the wrong “head” but John Edwards seemed to be doubly dumb. He gets a women pregnant while Elizabeth is battling cancer. What the hell! I want to say, has he never heard of condoms. The sorry MFer should have at least gotten a vasectomy but that would imply by that I thought he was just being what we men most often are: weak and his indiscretions could have been covered up. It is the last thing I want to say. Elizabeth’s cancer trumped everything. She was battling for her life and he was out f…ing around. When she started her long road with cancer, he should have put his foot down and said, “politics are behind me” and be like the Sheriff July Johnson in “Lonesome Dove.” July was out chasing after Jake Spoon who shot the dentist who was also the mayor. When his wife went missing, July announced that suddenly he had “different priorities.” And, this isn’t to condone or pass judgment but Elizabeth deserved better.

December 8, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 5:59 am
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Yes, Elizabeth, all our days are numbered. God bless Elizabeth Edwards on her journey. Just yesterday, an announcement, “treatment is stopping.” I thought then sadly, “a couple of weeks.” Today, she died. I was sad and everybody I talked too was sad. She fought a valiant fight through all the trials and tribulations. A strong, front burner woman. We are less without her.

November 13, 2010

HEREAFTER

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 3:34 pm
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My granddaughter and I saw “Hereafter”, the Clint Eastwood directed “cogitate your navel” story. I really liked it. My granddaughter gave it a six. I gave it a nine on a 10 point scale. I thought the story narrative moved pretty well, not slow and just enough reflectiveness by shuffling between the stories to make it interesting.

Three stories from very appealing characters could hardly miss in my view. One having had a near death experience trying very hard to put it in context of her life. A youngster with tragic loss in his life and desperately wanted to settle unfinished business. And, of course Matt Damon as the catalyst.

Some of the things are so enigmatic to the story that only could someone of Eastwood’s statue, not to mention clout, have gotten this movie made. And, one does wonder if his 80 plus years didn’t have something to do with the question: “Where do people go when they die?” In some ways it is the “near death” stories of a few years ago: the white glowing light, people pulled from the brink of the abyss wherever it might be.

Good movie and I will use it for discussion with my buddies for a long time. (I hang out with a bunch of old guys like myself two or three times a week. Several have seen the movie) As a Christian, I accept the mysteries of heaven. Streets paved with gold. I doubt it and accept the Biblical views as metaphors but doesn’t make any difference. I believe in the very existence of heaven. I don’t have any doubt where people go when they die. It is the mystery. It is even the “faith” of it. And, the idea of heaven is tremendously comforting that this life is not the end. That in some great mysterious expectation, we’ll see our loved ones again. See what I mean? The “Hereafter” evoked these comments from me and maybe Clint had this in mind. Probably searching himself.

June 29, 2010

WHAT IFS OF LIFE

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 2:48 pm
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I had just been on R and R, rest and relaxation. What the hell is that? You sure can’t relax and it ain’t no rest. It is like that Joe Sputnik cloud hanging over you, the old Li’Abner character. You have to go back to that hellhole called Vietnam.

She had that classic Vietnamese look, probably from the Cholon district of Saigon. Saigon is one of those cites that isn’t prettty but, has am energy that is hard to beat. The endless long buildings, slapped together like so much local on steroids. It is like a jungle without the vegetation. The narrow streets are like tiny alleys of a laboryenth. The alleys are everywhere, with a possibility of eats from carts, gourme for sure. Mostly little over ladies weilding spachalas moving with intension to feed all for a few piasters but dollers are better. She’s standing looking at me. She has that look, a look that she thinks American GIs like: big, ugly platform shoes. Leather. She kept glancing at me. She’s thinking how to approach. I am so damn tired that I’m not sure I even want to think about a women. Oh wow, it was a glorious first night.

Fast forward 30 years. There she is again. Probably my imagination. But, the classic look, a little more business like but could be her. Suddenly my entire tour in Vietnam flashes forward. We are in a restaurant, Mai’s on Clement Street in San Francisco. Mai’s is one of those restaurants that serves it all, want eggs and sausage, you got it I always laugh. They probably have a Mexican cook.

She glances at me with no recognition. thre’s an entourage with her. She’s a Grandmother. Probably her daughter, mid thirties. Her son-in-law I guess, two small girls. Amerasian, beautiful children. Her grandchildren I surmise.

The thing about Asian Women with black eyes, they can look at you while not looking at you. You never know really. I once knew an American love that could do the same thing. She was an opera singer and had trained herself to look at her audience but then not really looking. It was a kind of communicating she said. I was skeptical. I would occasional catch het looking at me but not looking if you get my drift.

Mai’s is a small restaurant. I’m sitting in the middle, reading the paper, multitasking, writing on my iPhone, Buffy Saint Marie is playing overhead. How do I know? I gave the CD to Mai and everytime I’m in, she plays Buffy. Mai’s husband’s father-in-law was an ARVN (Army of Vietnam), the South Vietnamese Army. Mai’s husband and I bond over the fact that we are two old soldiers who did our duty. Nobody cares and we hardly do anymore ourselves but there’s something shared that passes between us. I always feel somewhat guilty. We made a lot of promises to these folks and then split. But, who the hell knows, many came to the states and have been very successful. Maybe our most successful immigrant group. Would they be better off back in Vietnam had we not interfered, many hanging out in rice paddies. I asked them often. Nothing is ever very definative. I constantly patronize whatever they do, restaurants, nail salons. What the hel!.

I can’t help myself, keep glancing across to the family, just a few breaths away. Their food comes. The daughter is sitting closest to me. She is obviously Amerasian. How do I know? I just know, beautiful coloring. They are chatting, mixing Vietnamese and English. The daughter uses her folk to divide her eggs, which are over easy. She makes a sandwich. I smile. Who the hell does this? I do for one.

I’m back in Vietnam. It is a time when everything is suspended. It is three days of heaven, war is forgotten, I’m with this fabulous woman. I’m twenty. I’m in love. I am crazy. Saigon is behind us. We are on beautiful beaches in Vungtal. We are laughing, making love everywhere. I am AWOL but don’t care. We laugh and cry. I leave and go back to war. It is all a blur. The Army busts me but in a couple of months I’m back at Sergeant. I want to go back to Saigon and find her. “Forget her. She’s a prostitute.” Not to me I say. Finally the memory fades but I never forgot. I’m through with my tour. I go to Saigon on the way home. I can’t find her. Nobody can help me. I catch the big iron bird back home.

Buffy is singing Until It Is Time For You To Go. Seems pretty appropriate. The Grandmother looks long at me. A broad smile creases her face as suddenly a long lost memory maybe intrudes. She looks at her grandaughter and gives a big hug. I smile at her.

January 21, 2010

SHOCKER

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 1:34 pm

Can you believe MA. I would move out of the state. Just think a state that voted in gay marriage has now sent a Republican to the Senate. Ted Kennedy has got to be turning over in his grave. I am still in shock.

My belief is that it didn’t make any difference with a state where the plurality is so much Democratic, they should have voted a Democratic if a turtle had run. To put a Republican in is unbelievable. Dang bunch of Yankees.

Nobody ever tells it like it is: lots of Democrats had to vote for the Republicans and they should be ashamed of themselves. Always before we could blame it on right wing fundamentalists. Not this time. The President campaigned. Kennedy’s wife. Unbelievable. What did they think they were doing. One more obstructionist in Washington

Gusdavis Aughtry

VICTORIA

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 5:18 am

The first time I saw Victoria I’ll never forget. Her big yellow Cadillac was perched at the top of the hill by the Post Chapel at the Presidio of San Francisco. A big American flag streamed from it announcing two remarkable women. Over the years, I’d often see that flag flying in the breeze, always with the same authority. That day, Victoria merged from the car along with her Mom. She walked slowly, a pretty severe case of osteoporosis. Her Mom held to her as they made their way to the chapel, under the canopy and into it. They sat about two thirds back. I would see them every Sunday.

Presidio was what us paratroopers called a “leg” post. Most military types thought getting assigned to the PSF (Presidio of San Francisco) was a dream assignment. Not me. I had arrived dragging my feet. My original assignment was to 7th Special Forces at Fort Bragg. I actually was leaving
my all time favorite assignment, the 82d Airborne Division to take the assignent. I don’t know how it happened that I was now going to PSF. My good friend and boss at the Presidio, a Priest, says he didn’t engineer it but I was skeptical. I was one of the few SF trained chaplains in the Army. It seemed in my own mind, I had sacrificed and taken lots of risks to get Special Forces qualified. It involved a gruelling training regiment, culminating in a jump into the thetchtous Uharrie Forest with an m60 machine gun straped on my back. I was going to Vietnam and it was macho and egotistical and when I got to Vietnam, I got siphoned off to the 101st Airborne. it turned out to be a great assignment not to mention a great ministry. This should have taught me a lesson. Go with it.

I didn’t realize it much then but came to realize later on–these two were the epitome of patriotism. Red, white and blue coursed through their veins. Victoria was always dressed to the “nines” with three ponds always on: an American flay, her WAC

The Post Chapel was the second oldest building on the Presidio, a dynamic historical chapel with these gorgeous flags of units that served at the Presidio hanging from these high cathedral ceilings. Plagues adorned the walls as memorials to the decorated and famous military and the not so famous. It was almost like Victoria and her mother were born for that chapel.

Victoria’s family was military through and through. Her Dad was a military man, retired with the rank of Major. He is shrouded a little in mystery. They served in Hawaii, Utah. He was in WW l. They lived for a long time in Seattle and put down roots and somehow made their way to San Francisco where Victoria became a 4th grade public school teacher. They lived in this really nice apartment on Nob Hill and she and her mother spent their time riding around the Bay Area and hanging out on the Presidio.

The Presideo was a big part of Victoria and her Mom ‘s life. They were a familiar site at almost every single event that went on: the chapel, the club, ceremonies, change of command. Someone said to me one day, “Who is that lady with the other older lady?” People rernembered them because Victoria was beginning to suffer a little more from the osteoporosis and walked slower but always with her Mom on her arm. Must be somebody important. “Of course, I allowed.”

For the vast majority of their lives, Presidio of San Francisco was a hard charging military Post with active duty soldiers and a first rate teaching military hospital. Victoria took it personal when any body had the audacity to call the Presideo a base as opposed to a Post. And, when the “powers that be” decided to close the Presideo, Victoria again took it very personal and never forgave them, whoever “them” might be.

The love of Victoria’s life was her brother Fred. Other than simply a sister worshiping a brother, Fred was pretty remarkable I think. He was in flight training in Southern California, preparing to be one of the Army Air Corp’s finest. Victoria was herself a WAC (Woman’s Army Corp) stationed in Virginia. She was a clerk and waiting her turn to go overseas. It was WW ll. Her Dad was an Artillleryman and was somewhere in the Southwest. All were “ready” for what might come.

This meant going to war. Victoria never figured what might possibly happen. She got the call in the middle of the night and could describe it in intricate details–how the “Charge of Quarters” came to get her. She fell to the floor. Fred had crashed and been killed. It was a training accident. He was on his final check-out flight before he got his wings. Later on he postumously got them. Fred was dead. Victoria could not believe it.

The funeral, the time of grief, all ran together with life. A war raged on in Europe and Japan had attacked us. Fred was dead. Here’s where the story of Fred takes a turn, especially in Victoria’s mind. There was an incident when her mother went to get Fred’s personal items. Someone whispered to her, Victoria thinks maybe the Red Cross; “Fred is the 4th one to die in a similar act. We think maybe sabotage. A German sympathizer is suspected of sabatogimg Fred’s plane and the crash was the direct result of his actions.” It was a blow to Victoria. The details and follow up to such a heinous act disappeared in the mist of war.

Years later Victoria wanted to clear it up. She travelled to LeMoore Field where the “act” occurred and talked to people. She joined the Aces Organization which kept her on the edge of those who had been fellow students of Fred. Had he lived, to her, no doubt he would have been an Ace (pilot that shoots down at least 5 enemy planes). She actually located some who had flown with Fred. Over the course of years, Victoria steeped herself in the history of these comtemporaries of Fred. Along the way, the sabatoge story faded and for Victoria, a kind of nostalgia set in. She could cry and did often when she talked of Fred. Her apartment had pictures of him everywhere–the correspondence concerning his death was stacked around.

After Victoria’s Mom’s death, the actual beginning of our personal involvement with Victoria began. She kind of fell apart, as there was literally no one to help. My wife, Jackie stepped in and took her under her wing (Jackie is an angel) so to speak. I pulled a few strings and got the commander to authorize her continued access to the Presideo and especially the Officer’s Club where they hung out and were fixtures.

Victoria moved into the Sequoias, a retirement center. She continued to be a ubiquitous presence in the Bay Area, developing a cadre of good friends and driving that big old car around. Flag flying. She and Jackie made trips to Europe, numerous ones to Washington, visiting Arlington Cemetary the graves of Mom, Dad, and Fred.

A few weeks ago, Victoria had a heart attack. After her attack and subsequent hospital stay, she returned to the next level down, the Health Center. In the Health Center, Victoria had a small room as she would hope to gain strength and return to her apartment. The room had a nice TV but Victoria decided it was a place for the pictures of her family and mostly of her beloved brother.

Victoria died this morning. Her pictures of her family are still up. God bless Victoria on her journey.

December 8, 2009

AN ABSOLUTE MYSTERY

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 5:38 pm

I am absolutely agast that we are sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.By any sense of reasoning, this does not make any sense.

The very idea that we could possibly draw down in Afghanistan in 18 months is absurd, given the basic problems we’re facing. Saying it is about as useful as tits on a bore hog. In fact, we have abandoned that view anyway. The SecDef and McChrystalball, along with others has said that the date is fluid and depends on the conditions on the ground. What is that? What amazes me is that every single person who is in the process speaks with one voice. Not a maverick among them.

The generals are honorable persons and McChrystal is one to admire, up every morning before dawn, running, living like a monk. In my almost 30 year military career, I have worked for a dozen generals directly and no telling how many indirectly. I understand the mentality. What the public who cares don’t understand about Gen McChrstal and the other generals above one star. They got where they are through a process that is as political as any could possibly be. It doesn’t mean they are not competent, very simply, they may be or they might not be–in my experience, the best leaders don’t usually get to be generals as they won’t be political. The one exception may be Petreous. I’ve read lots about him and he seems to be more rooted in reality, having said all along that we are not in for a short war. Unfortunately, most do “general think.” They always want more troops and have a military solution to the overall plan.

In my opnion, we have gotten to look to their views too much. We have a civilian chain of command but someone like the President doesn’t have military experience and so he relys on the generals. Their positions are not wrong bur the reality in my view is that 30,000 more troops is absurd.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm Mike Mullen said this: “We are not winning which means we are losing and we are losing. The message traffic out there to recruits keep getting better and more keep coming. And, then he went on to tell the troops at Fort Campbell, we are going to “take losses” Dud!!

Every soldier in Afghanistan costs us a million a year. I know that it doesn’t translate like this but just think what we could do with that money in our own country.

To me, it is very discouraging to see this troop increase. It is Vietnam revisited. In Vietnam, we realized too late that the Vietnamese goverment was corrupt. Karzar said at his inaugural speech, “it will be five years before Afghants can take over and we will need financial help much longer.” The interesting thing about this guy is he doesn’t even try to disguise the corruption. Fraud, etc. Is simply a way of life and this chalatan is our partner in the war. We are a bunch of idiots. We are stupid. Makes me want to move to Ireland. I would if I could figure it out.

I’ve already given my solution. We are not going yo leave, why didn’t the President go with the Biden plan. Keep about the level of troops that we now have, begin to replace them with Special Operations troops who are older and more attuned to fight this kind of war. Rotate them often and by in large fight the Taliban to a standoff. When they realize we are not leaving, I think we might accomplish goals such as Afghants taking over. but hen again, I don’t know but it is better than 30,000 more regular soldiers.

Somehow we have bought into the idea of the “surge” as some sort of panacea. However, if examaned carefully, what we did in Iraq is separate the factions with barriors. I don’t think we cam deny that things are better in Iraq, maybe the surge. But, when we say violence is down, my retort is, says who. With bombings with regularity, one day, almost a hundred. Says who.

HE’s BACK, HE’S BACK

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 5:27 pm

Yes, Ted is back as in Ted Haggard, the former pastor of the Colorado mega church. Think, you will remember him. He was the voice of family values and the darling to right wing fundamentalists until he was caught frequenting a gay maseuse. The preacher went from a host of microphones, TV, and so many attendees on Sunday morning, they had to go in shifts to disgrace.

Haggard in his return, has closed in on a space close to his old stomping grounds. The Lord probably spoke to him to locate close to his former flock. On his first appearance, so many came that they had to move to a barn. He’s back and like Jim Bakker, probably a TV show is to follow. With Bakker, I actually watched a little of his show one night: same old stuff, selling a dream. Send in your money. And, they are. Redemption is a big issue with people of faith, along with forgiveness. But, it seems to me that the “faith” might be better served if these guys would keep a lower profile. Forget it! Once they have tasted the limelight, with egos as big as all outdoors, they can’t give it up, even with the shame. And, what about those who flock back to them–people are pretty forgiving. And, then again, in my view, let’s try stupid.

December 5, 2009

THE TRUTH

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 11:41 pm

If you are going to lie, always tell as close to the truth as you can. Advice that apparently many are taking. A really good friend of mine sent me this long article about a cabinet member frequenting gay bars. I immediately emailed him back and asked if he had checked it out. He said no . At breakfast with a friend, recently, she told about an article she had received from another friend with some wild story of men who were obviously Middle Eastern boarding a plane, being obnoxious, later on supposedly a test to see how plane crews would react. Apparently a total fabrication. My friend never bothered to check it out, merely forwarded it on. These things start somewhere and more often than not, they take on a life of their on.

I am facinated with the trouble and time it takes to put together these elaborate false articles. In both these cases with my friends, they were long articles that had to start somewhere. I am not a conspiracy theorist but I wonder: has some zeolot figured out that they can out and out make up things/lie and get them to unsuspecting people like us to help them spread their message. Maybe? I wonder? Most of us aren’t going to check things out. Here’s a suggestion, hit the delete button and not the forward.
gda

November 26, 2009

GOD BLESS “MERICA” (this is way the NASCAR guys say it)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 7:18 pm

I don’t think it is just Republicans who are “locked in.” As a Democrat, let us be objective: everybody that I talk too of all kinds of political persuasions, appear to get it about Afghanistan, we simply can’t do anything. They are a tribal people, still live in the Middle Ages, a President who stole an election and fosters corruption. He is, by reasonable American standards, a joke. Yet, we continue to pour in millions as though we have a McChrystal ball. Nothing seems to make any real difference: we have a demo Prez, that I’ve supported bigtime, Demo congress: no difference. So, it really baffles me.

 
I’m sticking with my view: 30% of Americans are downright stupid. I don’t mean dumb, they just don’t think, and they appear to be mostly Republicans from where I stand but by no means, the only ones. We have 300 million plus in the country, 25% are out to lunch, they don’t participate in anything: operate on a philosophy of “Of all my fathers children, I love myself the best. If the Lord provides for me, the devil take the rest.” And, what I’m hoping is that there is at least 50% of Americans, of all persuasions, who at least possibly, maybe are still participating and want to rescue the country.
 
America is a great country, still experimenting, I believe. We may be ungovernable, like CA, not sure. Still, we have lots of opportunity, can criticize the government, and be about as nutso as we want to be.
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