War War War

Hawks in the media and military establishment are calling for America to address the threat of ISIS after the video beheadings of journalists covering the civil war in Syria.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News commentator, “Now, are we going to pull yourself up by our bootstraps and get on with the business of destroying ISIS, or are we simply going to sit back and agonize every time they commit another outrageous act?”

Army general Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported at a media conference, “ISIS is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated.”

President Obama has responded to the crisis by condoning more drone strikes, which led to the vengeful decapitation of the reporters, and ordering hundreds of soldiers to Iraq to bolster the National Army’s resolve against the fanatical invaders from Syria.

The situation on the ground is fluid with various factions probing each other’s weaknesses before committing to a coalition designed to oust ISIS from Iraq. Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis, militants, communists, and the national government are bartering for larger stakes in the country without any longtime commitment to the cause of national unity.

Fox News has been fear-mongering about retaliatory attacks on the White House and an ISIS invasion across the Mexican border. People are talking about the radical Muslims as if they are grouping in Nogales to take over Tucson, but Iraq is thousands of miles away from the USA. Mexico already has an armed rebellion on its hands with drug traffickers, who will not allow ISIS interlopers to interfere with their business, and the US military is shot after a long war in Iraq and an endless conflict in Afghanistan.

The last thing America needs at this time is another war, but sadly that will probably be what we get next, because the Pentagon and the military-industrial can fight a war at home, even though they are willing to try as seen in Ferguson, Missouri.

End the war in Afghanistan.

Bring the troops home.

I Blew The Shofar

Last weekend I was out on Montauk with Richie Boy. We worked around his cottage in the morning and hit Ditch Plains at noon. The waves were ankle-high, but the surfers were discussing the upcoming swell on Wednesday.

“There’s a hurricane out there.”

“Biggest waves of the season.”

“I’m taking off the day. I think it’s Rosh Hashanah.”

Nobody argued with his choice and this morning I woke up thinking that today was the High Holy Day of Awe.

“No, it’s next Wednesday,” my landlord AP told me.

“I blew it.”

“Better than blowing the chauffeur.”

I made a mistake, but what can you expect from a goy?

ps the ocean was flat last weekend, but lovely all the same.

Blowing The Shofar

Ron, a Catholic chauffeur was bragging to his friend how well the Jewish family who employed him treated him.

‘You wouldn’t believe it,’ he bragged. ‘I get tips galore, and they always buy me lunch or dinner when I drive. My salary is great, with benefits. I get off all holidays, including the Jewish ones, like Rosh Hashanah.’

‘That sounds pretty good,’ said Dave, a friend. ‘But what’s Rosh Hashanah?’

”Oh, that’s when they blow the shofar*,’ answers Ron.

‘What?’ spluttered Dave, ‘You call that a benefit.’


Last summer a boat driver came over to our table at the Full Moon Bar in Jomtien. Tip liked to drink. The young Cambodian smiled at me and said something to Mam.

I really didn’t understand what, but her reaction translated the meaning.

Tip smiled at me again like I was an old fool.

That may be true, but I’m only a fool for my friends.

I picked up a knife and said to Mam, ‘This boy is going to have a problem.”

“No problem.” She knew my temper.

“No problem.”

I envisioned standing up behind the young man to slip the blade between his ribs.

At my age old fools don’t fight young men.

Mam was hoping that I did nothing stupid and I didn’t do anything stupid other than put down the knife and ordered another beer. Mam and I crossed the street to drink in front of our apartment building. It was a smart move and Tip was smart too, because he saw the murder in my eyes.

Old guys can be like that and Chas Mover sent a joke that’s very appropriate.


An old prospector shuffled into town leading an old tired mule.

The old man headed straight for the only saloon to clear his parched throat.

He tied his old mule to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, “Hey old man, have you ever danced?”

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No, I never did dance…

“Never really wanted to.”

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said,”Well, you old fool, you’re gonna dance now,” and started shooting at the old man’s feet.

The old prospector –not wanting to get a toe blown off– started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied.

When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air. The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly.

The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man’s hands, as he quietly said,

“Son, have you ever licked a mule’s ass?”

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, “No sir….. But… I’ve always wanted to.”

There are a few lessons for us all here:
Never be arrogant.
Don’t waste ammunition.
Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
Always, always make sure you know who has the power.
Don’t mess with old men; they didn’t get old by being stupid.

Stealing the Shofar

Joseph, a deeply religious man, went to his temple for Rosh Hashanah and forgot his prayer shawl [Tallit], so he borrowed one from “the rack” by the door.

At the end of the service, he realised that he really liked this Tallit so much so that he actually decided to stuff it down the front of his trousers and take it home.

After the service when he was walking through the reception line, the Rabbi Lionel stopped him and whispered, ‘Joseph, I am sorry, but I saw you stuff a tallit down your pants. Why would you do this?’

Joseph, totally embarrassed and ashamed, explained the situation, whereupon Rabbi Lionel suggested he remove it from his trousers and give it back. By now, the Tallit had managed to slide half-way down his leg. While Joseph was bent over pulling the it out of his pant leg, he accidentally let out a loud fart.

Rabbi Lionel, exasperated, said, ‘Joseph … you took the Shofar, too?’