22 October 2014


We've been doing this for around a decade now, but, just in case you want to plan ahead (and December ain't that far ahead) ...this year's bonfire will be held in the same place ... on December 13.

All the usual stuff ... cocoa, caroling, and we think — not sure, but we think — a fat dude in a red suit will once again be coming down river in his Christmas Special, lighting the tree, and listening to ALL the kids in the Elf Hut.


October 23, 2014, marks the 31st anniversary of the 1983 terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks at Beirut airport in Lebanon, which killed 241 members of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit.

Yet another unmarked, un-remembered reason why we're supposed to kill muslim terrorists.

15 October 2014


Back in the halcyon days of Donna Summer, Freddie Mercury, ABBA, the BeeGees; i.e., the good ol’ disco era; a new killer arrived … and he wasn’t listening to a dog named Sam.

My wife was a nurse then — still is, unfortunately — and remembered the first patient they had.

“Don’t know what he’s got, but no one has an answer, so we’re all double gloving and gowning before going in.”

“What do the doctors say?” I asked.

Snort from my wife.

“They do Indian rounds.”

“Huh?” says I.

My wife, holds her hand across her brow like Tonto blocking the sun and looking out on the John Ford desert.

“You know, Indian rounds. ‘Yeah. He looks okay.’ They don’t go in and we ain’t going in unless we’re in full coverage.”

They didn't get a name for it until a couple of years later. And that, my friends, was the beginning of the good ol’ HIV/AIDs epidemic that is still with us today.

She and I have lost more than a few friends to that insidious disease ... and I think something worse is on its way to thin the herd some more. 

Only this time, we actually brought the disease here intentionally.

Think about it.

And I hope I'm wrong ... but I don't think I am.

11 October 2014


Lest we forget.

On October 12, 2000, USS Cole, under the command of Commander Kirk Lippold, set in to Aden harbor for a routine fuel stop. Cole completed mooring at 0930. Refueling started at 1030. Around 1118 local time, a small craft approached the port side of the destroyer, and an explosion occurred, putting a 40-by-60-foot gash in the ship's port side. The attack was the deadliest against a U.S. Naval vessel since the Iraqi attack on the USS Stark (FFG-31) on May 17, 1987.

Those who died were:

Electronics Technician 1st Class Richard Costelow
Mess Management Specialist Lakina Francis
Information Systems Technician Tim Guana
Signalman Seaman Recruit Cherone Gunn
Seaman James McDaniels
Engineman 2nd Class Mark Nieto
Electronics Warfare Technician 3rd Class Ronald Owens
Seaman Recruit Lakiba Parker
Engineman Fireman Joshua Parlett
Fireman Apprentice Patrick Roy
Electronics Warfare Technician Kevin Rux
Petty Officer 3rd Class Ron Santiago
Operations Special 2nd Class Timothy Sanders
Fireman Gary Swenchonis Jr
Ensign Andrew Triplett
Seaman Apprentice Craig Wibberly

Fair seas to all.

03 October 2014


Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt. — Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V

Today is  the 21th anniversary of the raid — Operation Gothic Serpent — in Mogadishu, Somalia in which 19 American soldiers were killed in the contacts immortalized in the Mark Bowden’s book and the Ridley Scott movie made from it, Black Hawk Down

Although often thought of as a 75th Ranger ops, Special Forces, Navy SEALs, Air Force Pararescuemen and 160th Special Operations Regiment pilots were also involved in the battle, and the rescue element that extricated the Rangers, et al., was composed of US 10th Mountain Division troopers, as well as armor elements of Pakistani and Malaysian military.

Lost in the memory of the day was the fact that the object of the raid — capturing some criminals — was successful and that somewhere between 700 and 1500 Somalia street fighters were killed during the attack. Seventy-three Amercians were wounded in the attack and rescue/wrap up. 

The two Blackhawk helicopters taken down were hit by RPGs. Whether they were locals or al Qaida imports is debatable. 

Lest we forget:
SFC Randy Shughart, a Delta Sniper killed defending the crew of Super Six 4, the Medal of Honor.
MSgt. Gary Gordon, a Delta Sniper killed defending the crew of Super Six 4, the Medal of Honor.
MSgt. Tim “Griz” Martin, Delta soldier killed on the Lost Convoy, Delta Force.
SFC Earl Fillmore, Delta soldier killed moving to the first crash site, Delta Force.
SSgt. Daniel Busch, crashed on Super Six 1 and was killed defending the downed crew, the Silver Star, Delta Force.
CWO Clifton Wolcott, pilot of Super Six 1 and died in crash, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, and the Air Medal with Valor Device, Night Stalkers.
CWO Donovan Briley, copilot of Super Six 1 and died in crash, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal with Valor Device, Night Stalkers.
CWO Raymond Frank, copilot of Super Six 4, Silver Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Night Stalkers.
SSgt. William Cleveland, a crew chief on Super Six 4, Silver Star, Bronze Star and Air Medal with Valor Device, Night Stalkers.
Staff Sgt. Thomas Field, a crew chief on Super Six 4, Silver Star, Bronze Star and Air Medal with Valor Device, Night Stalkers.
Sgt. Casey Joyce, who was killed on the Lost Convoy, the Bronze Star with Valor Device, 75th Ranger Regiment.
Spc. James Cavaco, who was killed on the Lost Convoy, the Bronze Star with Valor Device, 75th Ranger Regiment.
Cpl. Jamie Smith, who bled to death with the pinned-down force around crash site one, the Bronze Star with Valor Device, 75th Ranger Regiment.
Sgt. Dominick Pilla, who was killed on the convoy rescuing Pfc. Todd Blackburn, the Bronze Star with Valor Device, 75th Ranger Regiment.
PFC Richard Kowalewski, who was killed on the Lost Convoy, the Bronze Star with Valor Device, 75th Ranger Regiment.
Sgt. Lorenzo Ruiz, who was killed on the Lost Convoy, the Bronze Star with Valor Device, 75th Ranger Regiment.
Sgt. Cornell Houston, who was killed fighting on the rescue convoy, the Bronze Star with Valor Device, De Fleury medal, 10th Mountain Division.
PFC James Martin, who was killed on the rescue convoy, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division.
Sgt. Matt Rierson, who was killed on Oct. 6 by a mortar which landed just outside the hangar, Delta Force.
Pvt. Mat Aznan Awang (posthumously promoted to Cpl) driver of a Malaysian Condor APC hit by a RPG on Oct. 3rd.

My prayers — such as they are — for their families. 

30 August 2014


My daughter Megan had a baby girl on August 29, 2014 at 0819.

Keira Angela Keating was 8 pounds, 13.096 oz.

Length 52cm  (hold on while I convert): 20.47 inches

Mother and baby doing fine.

Cousin Travis James Joyce, holding Keira at the hospital.

Keira Angela Keating, Travis James Joyce, proud dad Chris, and — not exactly ecstatic — big sister, Madeline Joyce Keating.

Madeline, Megan and Keira. We think Madeline is trying to put make up on Keira ... or  ....?????

Below: Keira, Uncle James Davis Joyce and a Cousin Travis doing his Goldmember imitation.

13 August 2014


Having had to clean up one guy's mess after doing it with an M-14 in the mouth over the fact that his wife or girl left him, and having found myself on two occasions with — literally — my trusty 1911 Colt cocked and in my mouth, and having failed to pull the trigger on both occasions, I've come to some conclusions on suicide.

While some call it a coward's way out — and in some cases, i.e., overdoses, drug induced, etc. — it is cowardly, suicide in and of itself isn't a cowardly act. It takes balls to stick a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger, and it takes balls to toss your sorry ass off a building. Sucking some drugs, or sticking the ol' tailpipe in your nose, doesn't take balls. It is — like all suicides — egotistical

It is an egotistical act, because it is predicated on the fact that what's happening to the suicide-ee is the only thing that counts, when in fact what is happening to everyone else related to the suicide-ee is what's actually important.

But the suicide-se is too self-involved to consider that.

I always thought Robin Williams was a funny guy.

Now, he's just another sad egomaniac, and I feel sorry for his family. But not him.

But, hey. What the fuck do I know? I'm still trying to stay alive.


So ... I order some football gear for my grandson, and I order it tonight, because Dick's sent me an e-mail saying $20 off an order over $100. And it ends tonight.

So, the kid needs ("needs" is relevant) a padded shirt, gloves (he sure as shit doesn't NEED receivers gloves, but what the hell), and I order a football that's the right size. No sense practicing with a ball that ain't the size of the ball they work with.

So, the order comes in over $100 ...but lo and behold, no gahdamn $20 discount.

Now, normally, I'd blow it off ... but ...

I call Dick's get a nice lady on the phone, tell her the story, she points out the small print, I guffaw-guffaw, and yell into the phone, "Ah-HAH! The fine print."

Anyway, she asks me to wait a minute, checks, comes back and knocks $15 off the order. I'm happy, Dick's happy, and I ain't exclusively buying at Sports Authority from now on.

Good customer service by Dick's, and I'm a satisfied customer.

24 July 2014

OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE — Adventures in Linens

This about sheets. Yeah, I said sheets. The kind you sleep on.

I say it’s out of my comfort zone, because I can’t recall ever having written about housewares. Or adventures in sheet buying. Or lifesaving sheet moments. Or mattresses, beds, pillows, etc.


You would think it’s a simple subject. Some material, some elastic, a stitch here and a stitch there, and presto, a good night’s sleep.

Well, let me tell ya’…

The stuff I didn’t know about sheets could fill a — admittedly small — book. But you’ll have to look all that stuff up yourself. No, this is about the Restaurant at the End of the Universe of sheet shops. (If you’re a Doug Adams Hitchhiker fan, you’ll get the reference. If not, well, become one. And thanks for all the fish.)

Now, I’ve slept in lots of less-than-comfortable places in my life. On airport floors, under triple canopy jungle, in snow-and-ice-covered tents, erect-six-across airplane seats for 18-hour flights, cars, boats, pickup truck beds, sandbag-floored Hummers, track-throwing BFVs, and one extremely thin and hot mattress in a house of ill repute in Vung Tau ...  and more. But when I sleep in my bed, I want a comfortable one, y’know?

What constitutes a comfortable bed for me?

A decent mattress, 650-count or better Pima or Egyptian cotton sheets, a lightweight comforter and a cold pillow (of late, one of those high-density contoured foam pillows is seeing more-than-limited duty when my neck hurts. Don’t ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane and land on your head. It plays hell with your top six-or-so vertebrae). That’s not asking for much, is it?

Now. Go to a store and buy a set of sheets. Go ahead. I bet the fitted sheet in every sheet set you’ll find has something somewhere on it that notes, “fits to 18 inch mattress,” or “23 inch,” or somesuch.

Well guess what? If you’re mattress ain’t at the top end of that number, you’re going to end up with a fitted sheet that doesn’t fit Jack Shit, and wrinkles into ridges high and hard enough to serve as a cheese grater for your not-so-delicate dermis.

I ain’t no Princess and the Pea, but trying to find sheets to fit my 10-inch mattress was impossible. My wife said so, and, generally, that’s good enough for me. But I wasn’t buying it this time.

Gotta’ be on line, right? Welllll … a lot of tantalizing close come ons, ended up with “fits to 23 inches,” etc.

Two days worth of searching and learning everything there is to know about mattresses and sheets, and — finally — I stumbled upon someone who understands my problem — Cozytown Linens.

Your fitted sheet doesn’t fit your mattress? Call these folks up or order from their website www.cozytownlinens.com. You WILL NOT be disappointed.

The fitted sheet is custom made to the size you order. Before they make the sheet, they e-mail you and advise you to make sure you did what they already told you to do insofar as measurements are concerned.

(FYI: Not all mattresses, regardless of name — i.e., queen, king, California ya-da, ya-da — are the same sizes. Not in length, width and especially not in depth).

Their prices are reasonable for quality linen. I ordered a queen-size set, custom made to my mattress, with four pillowcases. Pima cotton, 650 thread count, $199 or so.

I drooled on the thought of them and they arrived in about seven days and were worth every single penny.

If you wanna’ be comfortable for that brief period of time you’re lying on your back zeeing out, these are the people you want to buy your sheets from.

Forget about all the BS from everyone else. THIS is the real deal. Sheets that actually fit YOUR bed. And you ain’t buying them anywhere else.

You want comfortable, fitted sheets. Go to Cozytown Linens. Period.

Cozytown Linens, www.cozytownlinens.com. They’re outta Pelzer, South Carolina, so you’re also getting American made. Toll-free number is 864-236-4968.