Uniquely Random Memories from the Middle East Continued (Goddamn it, but Sheryl rocks me whurl) Scroll down.

“We made love in that birdhouse after sundown. And with the door open. And why not? We were young. (And we had all that ‘Diplomatic Immunity’ bullshit to boot)”

Thus ended my last ‘serious’ transmission regarding my recently orphaned series, bits of which may be found here  here  here  here…

WordPress is not Facebook and I would do well to remember this, yet if memory serves, the above is indeed how I did in fact, end my last sober transmission regarding this never-ending (Insha’Allah) story I still call without shame or sham, My Life.

Guess what Friends.  I am gonna end it now. Hang onto yer butts.

All true, but I have a tendency to grow bored with my own writing and this does not bode well, well…

I have just recently been returned from my Sabbatical, (kicking and screaming) which was spent in some dark happy place looking for answers. Finding none, save one, I have returned to these pages more or less now unobstructed and with fresh thoughts unobscured.

“Whatever does he mean, “Unobstructed”? “Hey Y’all! Come look he’ah! Lance done lost his mind!” (a-gin)

Means, Dear Readers that I am just gonna tell “THE TRUTH” from now on. Not that I have not ‘til now been telling same but, now I am gonna tell the Whole Truth, because by omission, I have been lying.

No Sugar, no mas.

This I gleaned from my Sabbatical. “So thanks Sabra. And thanks for the lobotomy, and gee! That shock therapy was da bomb!”

Stay tuned…

Oh! And to tie up that last loose end:

Janet and I spent a wonderful day or two at Sharm, then went back to SFM and carried on. Things kinda went to shit after that… for a spell.

But then we got married and it was all copacetic–For about two hours.

Yes it was on our honeymoon and we got into an argument and ended up after the ceremony un-ceremoniously sailing our newly purchased and vowed-upon wedding rings off the balcony of the Sheraton Hotel, (tenth floor) gleefully watching them bounce on the sand in front of the Mediterranean Sea, to wait there for some intrepid happy beach comber to later discover and claim ‘pirate treasure’ no doubt from Sodom and Gomorrah… (Yes, American tourists are stupid)

After we had ‘dissolved’ our new marriage in that ancient simple way,  we went back to drinking and fucking, and for some I suppose that is what one could call a decent marriage, at least in the early stages.

And honestly, I think that is all way too much information about my time spent with her and Moses in Sinai and in the ‘Rest-of-the-Holy-Land.’

But perhaps not.

(See? I am sharing “deep thoughts” here) with you thanks to my newly ended Sabbatical. Now don’t you feel ‘very unique’? (Ed. Note: I HATE that! There are no degrees of ‘unique’. You can look it up)

If ya wanna…

 Addendum:

I really don’t want to write about Janet but… damn it! She is such a wonderful, truly true, truly colorful, truly unique, one-hundred-and-one pounds of fun character, especially after we arrived in Nacogdoches Texas and began our ‘unique’ married life.

We are all, all of us, ‘very unique individuals’.

Ain’t we?

Or aren’t we all just deluding our own unique selves?

Probably will be continued when They let me out again for ‘Social Time’

mscientist 

And Finally I leave you with a good Sunday Morning Song. We used to sing this as we ran in formation to chow when I was in BUD/s Class 158. Can you imagine? Probably not.

Video Credit: 

 tnDianna

Now I sing this every morning… in the shower… with the hot water… so no one will ever hear…

Vid credit? I suppose Sheryl…

And the final finally, I leave Y’all with the most perfect’est Sunday Morning Song:

(Yeah! Sheryl is a sxy Goddess. Ain’t she?!)

Video Credit: Public Domain (I hope)

Hamas, Gaza, IDF, Israel, Intifada, and U.S. (us) And why we should care (?)

Some of you may know of my history in the Mideast.  Most of you may not.  Some of you may know I get emotional about issues.

Some of you may not.

Some of you may give a shit.

Some of you may not.

I flip  a coin

It comes down on both sides.

It lands on edge and remains thus…

For ever.

No matter: I don’t have a dog in this fight: The current Fight between Hamas and the IDF (Israel)… Actually, I did, once upon a time, have a dog.  He died. But that was many moons ago.

And we did/didn’t call in the dogs back then: the ‘Fight Between the PLO and Israel’… “Let ’em duke it out!”

–Ronald Reagan, “et them all, et tu, Brutus?”

And about who could wrap some arms about Yasser Arafat?  No one. Not even Ronnie. Then he (Arafat) became ‘Rocky Balboa’ to some of rest of the world. Yes! Fast forward… but who among the thinking of us and the remembering of us, can ever forget

Munich in ’72?

Munich

And I was on the ‘good’ side.

I was for the ‘Home’ Team: Israel! Nineteen Sixty Seven! The shining moment of the IDF! Just like the Lord: ‘Fought for Six Days and Rested on the Seventh.”

“Didn’t them Jews kick the ever-lovin’ shit outta them A-Rabs?! Fought for Six Days…”

Biblical! (Yay God! and Madison Ave…)

Then I learned to read (and listen)

Point is:

I, as most of us (I hope) want the killing to STOP. It hit ‘Home’ today when I went to buy a beer. There were Palestinians in the road… In Memphis America! They were not happy. Unhappy Palestinians. Goddamn Right! They were unhappy! In Memphis!

I do not blame them. I am not happy either, but that said, Israel has some right to defend… don’t they? If you would like to argue, I welcome that, as I, more than some of you out there, have lived on both sides of that pond. And on both sides of that issue.

I have driven through Gaza. Too many times. I have seen the refugee camps. The poverty.

And I had intimate sex (is there any other kind?) with an Israeli Sabra, of Yemenite ‘distraction’ (i.e., she was Arab: Arab Jew) More than twice… Yet that sex did not prejudice me… (Well, maybe it did… just a little)

Putting sex aside, I know some politic, especially when it comes to Israel and Islam.

I have been on both sides.

Call me out, yet consider that I am foremost and always just a simple Texan.

So, be nice (or not)

Peace

Random Memories from The Middle East: The Road to Sharm el Sheikh

Parts  One  Two  Three  

*** 

I sped off still heading south. I observed her fade fast in my rearview mirror, but not before I saw her mouth hanging open in wide disbelief (As if I were actually calling her bluff). After about a half-mile and her no longer in sight, I stopped, opened a beer, popped in a Joni Mitchell–Hejira–cranked it up, lit a Marlboro and waited.

Presently I could make out her petite form marching through the sandy haze, her skinny arms flailing back and forth, not unlike a power-walker. As I watched her approach I snuffed out my second cigarette, tossed the empty beer bottle onto the back floorboard, turned down the volume on Joni’s Black Crow, and waited to see if she was getting back in the car.

She opened the door, threw herself in and off we drove, not saying a word until we got within about five clicks of Sharm el Sheikh. Her face was dirty with trails of sweat running down, making small rivers of mud, her hair windblown and looking to have absorbed quite some substantial part of the Sinai.

She did not look happy.

“Are you sorry?” she finally blurted out.

“Sorry? Sorry for what?”

“Sorry for being an asshole,” she said.

“Oh, that… What!?” I was genuinely confused.

“For refusing to have sex with me this morning after that Israeli dude left.”

Now I am laughing. She wasn’t.

“Are you fucking serious Janet?” I asked after I had regained some composure. “You heard the man. We had to vacate. Did you think I was in the mood for love? With the IDF watching us? Shit Woman! It was time to go.”

“There was time enough… in the tent,” she said somewhat between clenched teeth and somewhat subdued—at the same time—a talent she had perfected over some years. (Ed. Note: Janet had five years on me)

“You are unbelievable. Okay, ‘I’m sorry for not fucking you’. Gimme another go? Right here. Right now. In this fuckin’ heat and in this fuckin’ sardine can of a car? Or would you prefer it on the burning sand with the scorpions and spiders?! For Chrissake Janet!”

“There was a time when you’d never refuse me, no matter where or what,” she said and then clammed up, starring out the window.

Fine! I thought as I gave the volume back up to Joni.

Just on the outskirts of Sharm (The whole Sinai Pennisula was ‘Outskirts’) we came upon a Bedioun ‘roadside do drop in’ sort of place.

“Hey Janet! Let’s check this out.”

“Can’t we just go in to Sharm?”

“No. I wanna talk to these folks. Besides they may have some stuff we need.”

“Fine.” (And then someday too soon, this woman would be my wife…)

I parked the car and got out. Janet cleaned her sunglasses and remained behind. I walked up to the ramshackle place and was greeted by an old grizzled Bedouin.

“Salaam alaikum,” I said.

“Salaam alaikum,” he said back. Then, “Amer-ca?”

“Yes,” said. “English? Speak?”

“La’, (no)

(I spoke just enough Arabic (and Hebrew) to get me into trouble back then.)

“Sodas? Coke-a-cola?” I asked.

“Naam,” 

“OK. Baksheesh?”

“Naam.”

I gave him a pack of Marlboros. He gave me two cokes. Apparently inflation had set in here. I smiled though and shook his hand, happy to have made some cultural advancement. Jimmy Carter shoulda seen me that day. Got back in the car. Janet, still incogneto, remarked,

“Was that worth it?”

“Yes. It was. Thank you. We are reps of the State Department. WE are suppose to be ambassadors. Don’t you git it?’

“Yeah. I ‘git’ it. I get that I want this trip to end soon. I am tired and hot and sweaty and thirsty and hungry and horny. And I see no end in sight for me.”

We drove on into Sharm.

As I have reported, Sharm back then was not much. There was one hotel, but who had money (or desire) for that? It had a tentative look about it anyhow. This was ‘Israeli-Occupied Egypt’ after all and finding investors to pump money into a region, however beautiful, must have been difficult, given the  volatility of the times and the probability that Israel would eventually give the desert back to Egypt (even though Israel had ‘held’ the Sinai for more than ten years at this point)

Past the hotel was a small ‘camping ground’ of sorts. There were ‘bird houses’ for rent: ten bucks per night and a communal shower/latrine area. I say ‘bird houses’, because that is exactly what they resembled: Thatched roof, two wooden ‘bunks’ side-by-side, and too small for a six-foot-one cowboy to sleep on. I lay down and test-drove one. I discovered that by leaving the door open I could be fine with the sleeping arrangements, letting my feet hang out, though if Janet and I were to have some privacy for any ‘Woo-Hoo’ / ‘Whoopee’, we would have to pretend we were in the back seat of a compact car and make due. (Unless we opted to keep the door open: an option my shyness would never allow me to consider)

At this point I must admit Janet was always a trooper during such times. She was of course a soldier, albeit a weekend one, and had previous experience with less-than-pristine habiliments. After we had decided to spend the night at this place, taken our showers, had some drink and sandwiches, her mood (and mine) improved as the sun went down and the heat subsided. Behind us were the mountains. In front of us, the sea, and ahead of us, our future.

We were after all, two lovebirds deep in love and in our own private birdhouse.

We made love in that birdhouse after sundown.

And with the door open.

And why not?

We were young.

(And we had all that ‘Diplomatic Immunity’  bullshit to boot)

*****

I love Joni’s smile. She don’t smile often, but when she does… magical shit happens. Shoots bolts right through my heart Baby!

To Be Continued…

SueZ, Open Sez-a-me! Canal!

I have been to the Suez Canal at least 300 times.

I’ve been witness to some incredibly funny shit in my day, but never nothin’ even remotely approaching this

Monumental Shipping Screw-UP!

LMFAO!

*******

Because I am a Smart-assed Moron:

Clik the GD Link Below!

No Bare Feet Beyond This Point

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

******

Jet, the oldest at the table–about thirty—wore a goatee, long brown hair on top of a head that looked a little too big for the rest of his frame.


He had a laconic manner, but was not what one could ever call ‘brusque’.


He just didn’t say much. He seemed to save his words like cash money is what I’m saying.


Presently, he asked, “Mog, when’s your next run to TA?” (‘TA’ = Tel Aviv).

Mog (who spent words with reckless abandon) replied, “I got the fuckin’ R&R run tomorrow.
Shit! Hey Lance, what run you got? Wanna trade?”

Mog hated the R&R runs mainly because R&R runs meant taking passengers. He loved driving the trucks into ‘Town’. Two reasons: He loved trucks and he loved to drive trucks very, very fast. Mog was a great driver, but riding with him scared the shit out of me.

“Sure Mog; I’ll trade with ya.”

“Which run you got?” he asked, now slightly wary at my all too quick agreement.

“Canal run.”

“Aw Shit No! Forget it.”

SFM Basecamp was about thirty klicks from the Suez Canal.

Every day an R&R vehicle left SFM to rendezvous with one coming from Cairo. Passengers would take a small boat across the canal and continue on to Cairo or back to SFM.

Incoming and out-going mail was also exchanged. Having  ‘The Canal Run’ meant getting off-base only for an hour or two.

Going to Tel Aviv meant driving only four hours, checking into the Sheraton and having the rest of the day and night to paint the town red with Per Diem and whatever else one wanted to contribute or muster out of his own purse.  

Mog had an Israeli girlfriend in Tel Aviv, actually she was his fiancée, and he took all the Tel Aviv runs he could get, so he could go see ‘The Little Mama’.

In fact all the drivers had Israeli girlfriends except Big Mo. His ‘Honey-Co’ was a Big-Boned, Tall Drink O’ Water, Texan Gal, working for SFM, just like us.

Her name was ‘Big Mammu’ and if those two didn’t eventually get united in hellish matrimony, then I say ‘Fuck it.’

There is no hope for the rest of the world. Perfect for each other they were, is all I’m saying.

********** !!!!

STILL LAUGHING!!!!

FUCK ME TO TEARS!!

Street Cred Vid: UnionSquareMusic

Yeah. I’m a fukking Moron!

Hahahaha!

(For any who do not get my sense o’ humor… You boarded the wrong boat)

NO Refunds.

Sink or swim!

*****

‘Awesomely Sexy’

Sassy and Sexy

does not even begin to come close to properly describing these ladies.

Especially Susanna Hoffs!

(See below ‘Waltz Like an Egyptian’ vid)

Just Sayin’

People just don’t seem to have fun anymore—too uptight

Right?

Or perhaps old age has made me jaded.

***

Addendum:


When the ‘Gyptian’ vid came out I was floating around on the USS Callaghan, somewhere in the North IO…Indian Ocean…
HQ in San Dog had sent us a copy of the vid.
Guess what we did.

Yep.

We had the ship’s photographer film the crew…
Walking like Egyptians.

I wish I had a copy, but you can use your imagination.

********

Footnote to this story:

In ’79 Egypt hired a Jap construction company to dredge the canal and to increase it’s girth by about  thirty-three percent.

This made life difficult for me.

From then on I had to take my passengers to Ismailia close to the Med coast to be able to cross over into Egypt proper.

‘Beautiful’ Ismailia

Added about an hour to my travel time.

Each way.

Fuck!

Sinai Field Mission. Or The Story of How Lance Lost His Mind and Later Found it Ferreted Away in His Pocket

This Post is a Continuation of a Promise I made to Me (And to Y’all, Gentle Readers) to write about Sinai Field Mission. For brevity’s sake (The Soul of Wit), I am breaking it down into snippets. To catch the back story, actually the forward story, please go here:

“No Bare Feet Beyond This Point” (This is a ‘Re-Constructed Old Post.’ No Alcoholic Beverages Were Harmed, Nor Consumed While Operating The Requisite Heavy Machinery For The Successful Completion of This Project)

********************

Me and Boeing’s 747 partners: Wheels Down at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv Israel late one afternoon, October 1977, just a couple of days before Halloween, found the Talmud. I mean tarmac. 

My final destination, however was not Judea; it  was The Sinai Desert, to live for eighteen months-plus on a mountain-top base camp, Dubbed ‘Caddo Mountain’, (In deference to the Texans who built it and ran it and to whom I would soon become a compadre) some shit-hole between the Gidi and Mitla Passes: Historically, the only two routes armies could pass from east to west or west to east across burning Sinai to thwack upon each other’s opponents’ heads.

I was 40 days leeward of twenty years and a little more than apprehensive. (These Two States, Egypt & Israel, were still technically, At War)

UNEF BUFFER Zone

I knew some of the history, but I couldn’t be bothered that day about ‘Ancient’ History (Yom Kippur War, Six-Day War, ‘Suez War’ of ‘56, Holocaust. Nope: I was here for ‘New History’, ‘My History’, ‘My Adventure’: A Dangerous Desolate Gig (my first). I had never been out of CONUS (Continental United States) before.

And I was stoked. A fresh-faced, bullet-proof Texan Kid newly escaped from Louisiana and cock-strong! Fuck did I care for Mid-East Politics? I am here! Step right up! Texas has arrived! “Step aside, Son!”

Gathering my luggage (my father’s old sea-bag left over from his USMC Korean War days) and a few other bags, laden with tennis shoes, workout gear, books and magazines… way too much superfluous shit, I scampered to find my liaison, struggling with all my kit.

Finding him, a tall, skinny, thin-haired, gaunt-faced, ‘Middle-East-Hardened’ Texan Veteran (four months here previous to me, I discovered later), man who spoke with an air of, ‘Oh, you’re the ‘New Kid’… Follow me’ he said laconically.

He looked an old thirty-five to me. (Later I found out he was twenty-nine, but we were all so young there. Back then.)

Ignoring his attitude, I tried very hard to ‘get into the groove.’ It was hellishly hot, even for an October—a Texas October. I had jet lag and fatigue like a pup that had been crated too long. Even though I was ‘stoked’, all I really wanted was a gallon of really cold orange juice, an air-conditioned hotel room, and a bed. The ‘plane ride’ from Dallas to Tel Aviv had robbed me of some (I thought) important part of my young life and my health. I was severely dehydrated, completely spent, and pretty much left wondering if I had made some horrible mistake.

But, I sucked it up.

After a hot and hotter and even hotter bizarre drive (The Road signs looked so foreign to me, some form of hieroglyphic—never having seen Hebrew before—had not at that point read the Old Testament) from Ben Gurion Airport, through the busy streets of Tel Aviv (me resisting the urge to ask, “Hey! are we there yet?”) we arrived at the Mediterranean Sea and the Sheraton Hotel.

My ‘liaison’ deposited me at the front desk of the ‘New’ Sheraton Hotel on HaYarkon Street Tel Aviv, telling me in parting,

“The R&R Vehicle leaves at 0800hrs; meet here in the lobby. Don’t be late. Goodbye.”

“Thanks Asshole.”

I checked in, and got me that room, such as it was. It was more a closet than a room, but it was cool and clean, and there was that bed tucked away in the corner…

I hit it, and slept like the dead.

To be continued…

The Basra Bugman Revisited.

I am re-posting this because I am still working on the Continuation of the ‘Sinai Field Mission Chronicles‘.

(Great Excuse, eh?) Anyway, some of you ‘newbies’ may not have had the wonderful ‘opportunity’ to have swerved into it. Therefore it is with great humility that I present it once again for your perusal.

**************

Bugs were a huge problem for us in Basra.

There were big bugs, small bugs, flying bugs, crawling bugs, creeping bugs, creepy bugs, sleepy bugs, scary bugs, poisonous bugs,  biting bugs, fighting bugs, suicide bomber bugs, and worst of all: No-See’um bugs. (Please don’t get me wrong: I love bugs:  Queendom  and Spiders)

But every day at precisely 1600hrs:

BUGMAN!

Basrah Bug Man

The BUGMAN Commeth: Bugs, watch yer ass.

We all worked in trailers, which passed for ‘Offices’ in Basra and we had A/C Window Units which would suck in the Bugman’s Offerings with vengeance. So everyday, at around 1600hrs, we kept collective ears tuned for the sound of Bugman and his Blower, lest we fail to turn off the A/C’s and become victim to BUGMAN.

The parlance always went like this: The one with the best hearing would announce in a low nonchalant voice: 

‘The Bugman.” (almost a whisper, but we were all tuned in to those two words–we certainly did not want to be premature, because of the oppressive heat)

Then scramble to shut down all the A/C units ahead of relentless Bugman (no less than twelve window units), and life would go on, while we sat sweating (Yes, the heat was brutal, but so were the bugs).

“Here I come to savvve the day!!!”

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