The Happiest Year of My Life Remembered

The news of late from CNN foretells the fall of Anbar Province and of Baghdad. I spent one year working in Anbar Province. This was the happiest (on record) year of my life.

I am attaching a video and yes it is corny, and yes, the music is somewhat ‘gay’, and no, this was not a video that I made, or would have made.

It is a video made by the Filipinos who worked for/with me during this time. They made this vid as a ‘going away’ present for me when I decided to leave Anbar (Camp Wolfe) to work for an Iraqi company in Baghdad. Filipinos lean toward sentimental, hence their choice of music. To them it was fittin’. I loved them all.

I cherish this video and the sentiment behind it.

I do hope you will watch.

Cheers,

Lance

P.S. Hint: I am the guy in the black gimme cap and the black jacket. Bob The Mechanic is the guy with the beard, wearing the overalls.

080116 Wolf Looking Northeast 080116 Wolf Looking Northwest 080116 Wolf Looking Southeast LN LSA

 

I just had to attach this vid as it is so apropos:

Lenny on stage

 

Steinbeck

Edit That.

 As a “thinking” person, I do not believe in ‘Creation Science’. Nor do I believe in “God.”

But… I do believe in Magic!

That Magic which calls itself :”Jodi Foster.”

(Hahaha! I am sooo funny! And yep: I have seen the movie. Lighten up.)

And I love Science ‘Friction’

“Tired of being all alone here…late at night”

I am a Socialist!

“Socialist:” One who needs warm bodies akin… his skin.”

My Honest Intent Tonight: Or, Stay Tuned…

Sometimes Lance makes sense; sometimes he don’t.  

OKay: it is now time to drop the illiterate–the ‘Cool’ behind all that. I mean, I am not going for the “cool” vernacular anymore. I speak English. I am My Father’s Son. I do not…

 Here is the scary part:

It all makes sense to him.

A gun, made of plastic…

(Just like the M16 in The Nam)

Mattel

And you can just tell. It’s Swell! Made by Mattel!

Swell… Ergo: I grew up…. killing…

I have been...aw shit! Y’all know this.

.

…Was to bring fresh, peace, piece? or fresh peaches?… truth: I forgot.

Nevertheless, my intent was to inject some ‘Freshness’ into this blog. I may fail. But! Hey! Gonna give some ole college try (spoken by one who had never finished collage, er, college.)

See? I know words… and semantics… and malapropism.

So what?

Some out there in “Radio Land” may be asking, “Hey! Why don’t  doesn’t Lance ever finish a story?” Case in recent point,Running in Soft Sand,” or “The Barmaid Who Whacked Me, But Did Not Mean It…The Whacking Part..?”

or countless others…

Just one more Vietnam Vet who never ever went to Viet Nam…

My respond? I get bored with my own prose.

Get your own!

There! I admit it.

Sorry.

Stay tuned: It can only grow worse.

(It always does)

–Lanc’d

Heart Attack ACK ACK ACK! (You oughta know by now…)

imgres.jpg
(“It seems such a waste of time.”)

I really *like* this post. (guess I have no choice)

Some of Y’all may have seen this one coming. 

Some  also may have discerned one salient fact  point of my perception of myself:

‘I think I am bulletproof.’ *insert BUD/s here*

Hell! I have always lived my life that way, embracing that one paralyzed fact. I just know I am such:

‘Bulletproof’.

“I think, therefore I am… bullet proof.”

(So sorry, René )

Hey! Just walk away Renee:

Vid Credit: hawkmoon03111951

(How many times have I cheated death? *insert Ronnie here*    *insert Minefield Here*    *insert Shark Fishing  here*     *insert Iraq here*

And on and on…

Yep.

How could anyone get past that and ever even know how fragile even I may be? *insert Shonnie here*

(Smirk) It begs credulity.

Well… I had my Bulletproof Ass handed to me a few days ago.

The consensus around the Camp Fire that is my GF’s workplace (Saint Jude—Lot of smart folks work there—mostly doctors an’ such) is that Lance had ‘experienced’ a minor heart attack. Now ain’t that funny? Ain’t that rich? AAD (“Also a Doctor”—stolen line from Wolfe’s ‘The Right Stuff’Also a doctor. The words the first schmuck said to Chuck Yeager right after he parachuted from one hundred thousand feet and crash landed:

“You look like shit” – misquote, but you get the drift: just look it up and move on…

(I was all gray an’ shit and I had all the symptoms, and my BP was… approaching escape velocity, but… shit! I was just ‘funnin’.)

Ed note: Just received an email from my… doctor… ok, she is not MY doctor, only an old friend. Anyhow, she is a pharm-assist. She says I had a Myocardial infarction. 

“A what?” I had to ask.

“You had a fucking heart attact! Dig it, ASSHOLE?”

“Yeah, I dig. So What?”

And then I invited her to not use profanity on my Blog Page. (she hung up on my dumb ass after that. I cannot imagine why)

My  Grandfather died, at ’55 of a “Myocardial infarction. ” Think I am not scared? Naw! Ain’t.

Ain’t that rich? Been there; done that. No T-Shirt, alas. Nothing to hang on my “I Love Me Wall.”

“He, most likely, has ‘experienced’ a heart attack.” Kinda like I ‘experienced’ ‘Six Flags Amusement Park. Or Four Years in Iraq.  Or a year and a half in Afghanistan, not to mention three years in Sinai, back when nobody had even ever heard of it—now that, dear reader, is sorrow:

“Hey Good –Lookin’, where do you work at?” asked she, The Hot Babe. (The ‘at’ shoulda told me she ‘weren’t’ for me anyhow, but when you’re young, who gives two shits for grammar? I axe you.)

“I work in The Sinai Desert, for the State Department” answered I, lonely guy on R&R, too far from Texas where I did not even need to employ my bullshit.

“Oh… Sorry. I only date guys who work in cool places. Bye!” She said, as she followed on over to the Fraternity Asshole House…(s) Doubtful she found cerebral stimulation there, but what the hell, eh?

***

Yeah, I ‘experienced’ those too. Those were great… experiences.

Point is, my personal health issues notwithstanding: I am back. (for now)

And am back to comment, torment, regale, impale, exhale, exhalt, vent, rant, recant, apologize, criticize, proffer, pro-offer, disclaim, disdain, mock, muse, love, confuse, confer, confide, and certainly collide.

And all that shit above is denied.

Yet…

I have this pain… in my… ass. (and me chest)

More later… assuming I get over myself tonight.

Peace,

Lanc’d

P.S. Let us just call this a ‘Stream of Consent’ Or a ‘Babbling Brook of Mind’.

Vote on it: Get back to me.

-L

DAMN!

I almost forgot the best part of this post:

Hit me like a slow bullet

SADE:

And…

All of you “likers” don’t get the ‘jist’ of the ‘jisters,’ now, do you? I don’t often ask for a lifeline, but…

Honestly now, I feel as if I am living on / my  borrowing time.

(and my bank is broken)

(and if anyone out “There” ever misconstrues that, THAT, as a plead for money, for me, well, fuck, Nay FUCK you!. I was merely communicating my status.

Words Hurt.

I know this now (“Took you long enuff Asshole.”).

I never mean to hurt; I just spew… stuff… outta my mind…

Keep yer ‘symphany.’ And your musical parades for the poor.

Give your money to Palestine… 

Yeah: 

That’s the “Lance” we sorta, love.

Rock on, LM!

As long and as has (he?) been long (and boring) as has this post, I will never delete it.

Why? Not?

Because I love Sade.

That is the simple truth, Ruth.

Or perhaps ‘Truth #2’

But then, those of you who know… know.

It’s my page…

 “Love is a gun.”

I Don’t Even Know Where to Begin

When I go to a post and find a video, or a song, I always watch/listen, simply because I assume the author put it there for a reason.

I take the time.

I am distraught today

“Why?” Because of… News… I am watching CNN, Al Jazeera, even FOX.

Things are fucked up.

Really fucked up.

Yep

So… in that vain vein, I just give you this below.

(Who said the1980’s music sucked?

Why? Music sucked? Oh yeah! Lance did… Lance is an idiot)

You tell me.

Cheers,

Lance

Vid Credit: BeGrooovy

My GF just walked out the door to meet up…with a friend… to get a pedicure.

“Have you been watching the news?” I asked.

“No. That is yer job,” she said.

“Yep. Well, the Mid East is on fire.”

“America. See you later.”

“Of course.”

I cannot even begin to explain how I feel now.

“Just one more year and then you’ll be happy.”

 I was almost a NAVY SEAL.

Shit Done Jumped Off

In the Middle of the East.

Sad?

Yep.

Employment opportunity for me?

Most Def.

“Put me in Coach.”

“Redemption Day”

Vid Credit: allmydiscs

See the anger in her eyes?

(Yeah. I see that too)

This Read:

http://yelkhoudary.blogspot.com/

 

 

He Went to Paris: I can smell the Darkness

paris.jpg

And he went to England; played the piano, married an actress maimed “Kim:”…  She was a good wife… I loved her.

This is a continuation, albeit a flashback, to my story of Janet and Random Memories from The Middle East.

Months before the events inked here, here, here, and here, I found myself in Paris (actually two Paris’s—One Texan—One French). Confus’d yet? Stand by: it grows worse(r)

Let’s back up a mite (mites are hard to back up by the way, militarily that is: damn small and damn slippery, them mites… and they tend to mite-bite one, usually on one’s ass)

We call that “Green on Blue” and if you are following the recent news cycle, you will surely know that, that is inappropriate. But that is just how I roll. Fuck Afghanistan and their pretended bullshit “We gonna take over security of our country…” Won’t happen. But after ten plus years there (and some several months there by me, after Iraq–got ‘liberated’–now there is yet another joke, I can speak to the idiocy that is ‘our’ foreign fallacy.

I was in Sinai, 1978 (if memory serves), and I received a letter from my step-sis. This was not unusual back in those days, as we were still ‘speaking’. She sent me a rather long and boring letter regarding Honey Grove and all the ‘Happenings’ thereabouts. The letter was indeed ‘boring’ until I got to her ‘PS’. It read and I quote (loosely), “By the way, R is marrying J. Jesus-Beezus!”

This was, to me, devastation by way of bad, unspeakable news!

‘How could she?! She was MINE. Mine to mine and to have and to hold… just as soon as I finished with my wanderlust. How dare she?!” How DARE she?!

What to do?

Well, I had some R&R time ‘on the books’ so I hopped on a freighter (airplane), and flew back to Texas, ostensibly to break up the marriage, just like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. Problem was, was that I screwed up the dates and the logistics, and arrived not in time to bust up the wedding, but just in time to see the happy couple speeding off fast to Waco and their honeymoon…

Shit!

Never having been more depressed at missing a rendezvous, what to do? Rebound Son! Rebound!

So, I sought out Janet. Let’s call it a ‘bank shot rebound.’ I knew she was working at the Hopkins Lamar (See? To this day, I never know which county I am in)  County Courthouse as a probation officer, so I timed (this time, my timing was spot on) my entrance during her lunch break: Intercepted her coming down the stairs of the courthouse.

“Hey Janet!”

“Lance?”

“C’est moi! How’s Trix?”

“You are supposed to be in Egypt,” she said.

“I escaped,” I said. “Wanna have lunch?”

“Uh… Sure. Why not?” (Why not indeed)

We went to lunch. Then she took the rest of the day. We went to her apartment and drank gin. Later that eve, after I had regaled her with fantastical tales of the Middle of the East, she took a drag from her Virginia Slim and asked, “So are you gonna fuck me tonight, or what?”

I said, “No Ma’am; I am gonna make love to you—something I should have done five years ago.”

So we did—I did—make love to her.

The problem now became that I had a plane to catch to that other Paris: that one in France. The other part of the problem was that my plane was waiting in Houston. I was about five hours at seventy miles per hour away from my Air France plane at Houston Intercontinental. I had to go. Now.

I hit the road to Houston, not really wanting to go, but I had promised my buddy, Bart, Black Bart, that I would meet him in Paris on such and such a day. Naturally, I ended up missing my flight and arrived Paree a day late. On the taxi ride from Charles de Gaulle airport, we drove under a bridge and the taxi car lost its windshield to a lone rifle shot. (my theory) “Terrorist?” I asked the cabby? (en français).

“Merde!” Was all he said, as he dodged the flying glass. (true story). I did not care anyhow, but this rather happenstance occurrence did not bode well for my first day in Gay Paree…

“There’s my hotel!” I exclaimed as he had managed to (somehow) keep driving.

I paid him off, got out of his now mangled, windshield-less cab and made my way into the cheap hotel lobby. Went up to my room, dropped my shit; then went looking for my buddy. Found him at last sitting on his rack, rather sullen in mood. I checked out his room. It had a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower.

“So Bart,” I asked finally, “What have you done here in The City of Light for twenty-four hours?”

“You see that tower there?” he asked, pointing to the window.

“Yep,” I said. “That would be the Eiffel Tower.”

“Well, since you didn’t show, I went out on my own… and hey! Ya know, they don’t speak English here? I went out on my own. (You mentioned that) Walked over to that tower, looked up at it—kicked it—and said to myself, ‘Yep. That there Bartamus, that there is the Eiffel Tower. Then I came back here and took a nap. And would you please tell that France Maid that I do not want no fuckin’ breakfast? She wakes me up in the fucking morning with her biscuits (‘croissants’ Asshole) and lousy coffee.”

“Sure Bart,” I said. “I will post a note, en français on yer door.”

“You speak France?”

“Yep.”

“Well Hot Damn then! You be Bogey. I’ll be Bacall.” (of course)

“I weren’t able to bust up the wedding.”

“What?”

“The Wedding.”

“Oh you mean between R and J?”

“Yep. That one, you moron.”

“Yer better off,” he said.

“OK. Then why am I so depressed?”

“Dunno. Did you have any other adventures while you were back In-The-World?”

“Matter of fact, I did. I hooked up with Janet.”

“Bullshit.”

“Nope. No bullshit. Why I missed my flight, in fact.”

“Well, I was just about pissed off at you, but now I unnerstand.”

“Thanks for that,” I said.

“Hey!” he said. “Let’s smoke a bowl and you can tell me all about it while we go and kick this town in the ass.”

“Light her up,” I said. We smoked and drank and then off we went stoned and semi-drunk and in Paris (France) Just two more ugly Americans (Texans)

Now Y’all…

I hesitated while choosing the vid to represent this post. Then I swerved onto this one below. It is somewhat depressing, yeah. But, but… This is how I see my life ending up. I hope you will take the time to watch, listen, and comment.

Vid Credit: 

John1948SevenA

Cheers,

Lance

To Be Continued… Hopefully.

“Losing his hearing, but he don’t care what most people say.”

“Lately I been thinkin’ I just might quit drinkin’…

“I feel like Hank Williams tonight”

JJ Walker

tex flag

Thought I’d re-post this for all my Brit Friends Out There: “Now I know why London Bridge Fell Down”

When I was working in Basra, my gig allowed two weeks R&R every two months or so. Sounds like a deal, eh? Well, yes it was. Be aware however, we worked seven days a week, ten hours a day. NO days off. So do the math; we earned it. And of course we were getting shelled and rocketed and mortared regularly.

Anyhow, I had a stateside girlfriend back then. Actually more friend than girl. Rather platonic relationship, but we were ‘Buds’ and I loved her dearly. (Still do) And we went way back.

It was agreed by us both, that once I went to Iraq, we would spend our (my) R&R’s together. I flew her to Barcelona, Athens, Italy, and finally London. (She made all the arrangements. All I had to do was show up) Too easy for me.

Mid 2006 we met in London. I was ‘cacked out’ (Lenny Bruce vernacular). Worn out. Plumb tuckered. Tired. Damn tired. Spent.

R&R London
Click Me: This Was My London

She was, of course not. Now mind you, this woman had been all over Europe already. London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Athens… well, she was rich. Catch my drift? I had seen quite a lot of Europe my own damn self. Did not hold much magic for me.

All I really wanted was some ‘down time.’

Bless her heart (and this speaks volumes of our great friendship), she let me do what I wanted; which basically meant I could sit in the flat she had arranged for us in downtown London and drink Beefeater while watching movies and smoking Marlboro’s and ranting at the current state of affairs in Iraq.

After a few days, she did manage to get me out of the flat for a walk-about. We went to Buckingham Palace (one day shot there)

We went to the British Museum; saw the Rosetta stone. Another day gone.

“Lance that’s the Rosetta Stone.”

“Yep, that’s cool.”

Had some fish ‘n’ chips (I preferred Long John Silvers, but that is just what an asshole I am)

Rode the Tube. (I prefer Le Metro in Paris, but what the hell)

And various other exhausting  exhilarating  excursions.

“About three days before we were to part: me back to The Sandbox; she back to Texas, she asked me, “Lance, isn’t there any place in London you would like to see?”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact, there is. I wanna go down to Marble Arch Station.”

“Whaaat?” she said.

“Yeah. Marble Arch Station.”

West End of London, England, United Kingdom

“That is a Tube Station.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Why on Earth…”

“Because it belongs to Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker. And Texas.”

(Best Original Audio from ¡Viva Terlingua!)

London Homesick Blues

She acquiesced and off we went. Got there and I had a salutary beer to J.J. Walker and Gary P. Nunn. Then I was happy and pronounced my R&R a successful bit of Rest and Relaxation.

Best Video From “Lost Gonzo Band (with Gary P. Nunn)”

–Austin, ’74

“Well I decided that

I’d get my cowboy hat

And go down to Marble Arch Station…”

Went back to the flat and had a few gin and tonics and lived happily ever after.

“R&R” means that: Rest and Relax and do whatever the hell you want. London could wait… until I came back the next time.

Good God!

I MISS Texas!

This is This Week’s Contribution to T-Throw-Back Thursday

Bob (The Most Interesting Man in Iraq) is my life-long frin…

I miss his dumb ass (and ‘dumb-ass’ is a term of endearment where I come from)

If one is lucky, really lucky, one meets maybe onetwo, or  three or four people in life that transcend funny.

Bob is one such ‘transcendent’ lucky for me.

He saved my fragile sanity.

****

My mechanic (Of Parsons Mechanic fame) came by to have some ‘chat’ with me:

Bob

The most Interesting
Mechanic in the World

“Way’ll… I have a natch’ral disaster on my hands.”

“Ok Bob,” I said, “I’m ‘bout to bust with anticipation.”

“Yep. A natch’ral disaster.”

“You mentioned that already.”

“A real-life natch’ral calamity.”

“Do I have time to go to chow while you go through your preamble?”

Ignoring me, he continued, “That Six Kay (‘6K’ as in six thousand pound lifting capacity) forklift is all a-pieces. hamorr’agin’ parts all over th’ place. The Boys (Filipino mechanics times two) tol’ me it was the fuel injector pump. So, I kin’ly smiled and said ‘Okaaay…,’ and let ‘em go at it. They need ta learn how ta fix thangs without me onct in ah’while. Well,  they dun got tha’ forklift tore all ta pieces.  Now, I dun give ‘em all mornin’ to dick ‘round with it, an’ I’m gonna give ‘em all this aftr’noon to dick ‘round with it some more. Then first thing tomorra, I’m gonna ask ‘em, ‘Boys, how come that forklift ain’t a-workin’ this fine morning?’”

“I’m hip Let’s keep it real.”

“Your ‘personnel management style’ is showing Bob,” I said.

“Yeah, whatever… An’ tomorra’s Thursday. An’ day after that’s Friday. An’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ on Friday. Tomorra, we gonna start our dee-cent inta th’ day off.”

“Kinda start slowin’ ‘er down ‘round mid-noon time, eh?” I said. (I can do ‘Southern’ just as slick as you please when I want to.)

“X-actly. We start double-clutchin’ and dee-celeratin’ an’ bring her in nice and slow like.”

“And what about my forklift?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

“She’s all ‘In’shalah’d’ out Boss.”

“Dead in the water?”

“Tits up.”

“Broke dick?”

“Send her saddle home.”

“I need to call Baghdad?”

“She ain’t lookin’ none too fav’erble.”

“Call HQ an’ tell ‘em we need another forklift?”

“Now, jes hol’ on. Doan git ’em all wadded jes yet.”

“Ok. I got it. Thanks.”

“We’re Parsons’ Mechanics an’ jes watch how we roll,” he said on his way out the door.

I love my job.

I have a “Ten Kay” forklift that still works. So I should be alright for now. Besides, Bob just  loves the drama and we do this little dance everytime there is a crisis in the motor pool. If I were a betting man (And actually I am) I’d wager two of my pay checks that come Friday if that 6K forklift is still down, he’ll be out there bright and early with his boys working on it until it is repaired even if it means giving up his day off. I’ve seen him do that already too many times over the past year and a half he has worked for me. There is no man made of better stuff. An’ he sure do entertain. Yessir, he certainly does. And I’d never have been able to keep the operation afloat without him.

I love all my crew and wouldn’t trade a single one of them for a pile of cash money or a case of Johnny Walker Black with the authorization to drink it.

This song is dedicated to Bob, wherever he may be:

OK: Ed. Note:

Y’all gotta love how ‘Texan’ this vid is—look at the ‘ensign‘-Texan Flags-behind the sage, er…stage.

(and if you look really close–for you guitar players out there–you will notice the hole in the guitar. Willie tells some stories ’bout the gee-tar. He tells one about a drunken party with Leon Russell in a hotel room, when Leon almost broke it. Willie, in classic form, invited Leon to stop touching that guitar.)

When I am coherent, I may write about that.

And then there is this:

Willie sang, “At the airport in Milwaukee…”

Lenny

Lima

on that: Milwaukeeeee!

 

I Have Spent A Lot of My ‘Dear Years’…

“Dear (fill in the name) I am so sorry we are apart, but you see, I am serving… something, something greater, something important, something, some power, Uh, My ego. See you soon. Love, Lance”

Away from my Homeland.

Yes.

I have.

My Choice.

Fyodor-Dostoevsky-Quotes-4

Sometimes in Service of my Country.

Sometimes in Service of Lance.

But, always, always, In Service  of That Great American Dream.

I came home from Iraq in ’09.

Went to Kandahar in ’11.

Came home late ’12.

Guess what?

There is no American Dream no mas.

The Bureaucrats killed it. 

I am a Patriot.

I love my country.

I served my ‘Country’.

But now, I do not recognize my country.

Now, I am leaning to socialism.

This post is but a beginning.

I am not gonna bore y’all with Lenny and Sarah, and bullshit anymore.

I am gonna bore you with reality.

The Reality.

Stay tuned.

For those of Y’all ‘Fraid of the NSA, well, bow out now gracefully. I have no fear, but I am old and have nothing to lose. And to quote Bette Davis: “Fasten Your Seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

And, Yes! I am not stupid. I do recognize the dichotomy of the diametrically opposed points of the two songs I present below for your perusal. You must sort out your own feelings.

Now, some would argue, “Lance is just living in his past; he is craving for the days when Revolution was a real possibility”

Some might say that.

I say, “There is no better time than the present, to take it up; because things now, are really fucked up.”

“Wake up!”

Wake the hell up, America!

My Country!

I love my America.

I truly do.

-Lance 

 

Memorial day is coming. We need to remember the Soldiers and our family.

Please take a few moments and read this.

johncoyote

HPNX1058

We need to stop and remember the people missed. Memorial day need to be a day of remembrance and thankfulness.

Shadows of war

A Story by Coyote Poetry

"

War can catch even the cold in heart.

"

Shadows

I was a Soldier for almost 15 years. I volunteered for every dangerous mission you could be part of. The missions were to Africa, Bosnian, Central and South America and Iraq. I had no fear of death. I have seen dead enemy soldiers and the poor innocent civilians in the way of hate and war. I wasn’t effected by war. I was raised in Detroit. I saw my first dead body at four years old.  I watched my uncle died. I was raised with the Vietnam war and body counts were part of my life. My father served in the Korean war and I volunteered for Vietnam at 17 year old. I learn…

View original post 1,332 more words

Thought I’d Repost This: Hell! It’s Thursday Somewhere.

When I was working in Basra, my gig allowed two weeks R&R every two months or so. Sounds like a deal, eh? Well, yes it was. Be aware however, we worked seven days a week, ten hours a day. NO days off. So do the math; we earned it. And of course we were getting shelled and rocketed and mortared regularly.

Anyhow, I had a stateside girlfriend back then. Actually more friend than girl. Rather platonic relationship, but we were ‘Buds’ and I loved her dearly. (Still do) And we went way back.

It was agreed by us both, that once I went to Iraq, we would spend our (my) R&R’s together. I flew her to Barcelona, Athens, Italy, and finally London. (She made all the arrangements. All I had to do was show up) Too easy for me.

Mid 2006 we met in London. I was ‘cacked out’ (Lenny Bruce vernacular). Worn out. Plumb tuckered. Tired. Damn tired. Spent.

R&R London
Click Me: This Was My London

She was, of course not. Now mind you, this woman had been all over Europe already. London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Athens… well, she was rich. Catch my drift? I had seen quite a lot of Europe my own damn self. Did not hold much magic for me.

All I really wanted was some ‘down time.’

Bless her heart (and this speaks volumes of our great friendship), she let me do what I wanted; which basically meant I could sit in the flat she had arranged for us in downtown London and drink Beefeater while watching movies and smoking Marlboro’s and ranting at the current state of affairs in Iraq.

After a few days, she did manage to get me out of the flat for a walk-about. We went to Buckingham Palace (one day shot there)

We went to the British Museum; saw the Rosetta stone. Another day gone.

“Lance that’s the Rosetta Stone.”

“Yep, that’s cool.”

Had some fish ‘n’ chips (I preferred Long John Silvers, but that is just what an asshole I am)

Rode the Tube. (I prefer Le Metro in Paris, but what the hell)

And various other exhausting  exhilarating  excursions.

“About three days before we were to part: me back to The Sandbox; she back to Texas, she asked me, “Lance, isn’t there any place in London you would like to see?”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact, there is. I wanna go down to Marble Arch Station.”

“Whaaat?” she said.

“Yeah. Marble Arch Station.”

West End of London, England, United Kingdom

“That is a Tube Station.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Why on Earth…”

“Because it belongs to Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker. And Texas.”

She acquiesced and off we went. Got there and I had a salutary beer to J.J. Walker and Gary P. Nunn. Then I was happy and pronounced my R&R a successful bit of Rest and Relaxation.

Best Video From “Lost Gonzo Band (with Gary P. Nunn)”

(Y’all guys need to watch this: a woman gets nekkid at the end…just sayin’)

–Austin, ’74

“Well I decided that

I’d get my cowboy hat

And go down to Marble Arch Station…”

Went back to the flat and had a few gin and tonics and lived happily ever after.

“R&R” means that: Rest and Relax and do whatever the hell you want. London could wait… until I came back the next time.

Good God!

I MISS Texas!

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, 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: please read 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!!!”

Continue reading

Missing The Most Interesting Man In Iraq

Bob (The Most Interesting Man in Iraq) is my life-long frin…

I miss his dumb ass (and ‘dumb-ass’ is a term of endearment where I come from)

If one is lucky, really lucky, one meets maybe one, two, or  three or four people in life that transcend funny.

Bob is one such ‘transcendent’ lucky for me.

He saved my fragile sanity.

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

My mechanic (Of Parsons Mechanic fame) came by to have some ‘chat’ with me:

Bob

The most Interesting
Mechanic in the World

“Way’ll… I have a natch’ral disaster on my hands.”

“Ok Bob,” I said, “I’m ‘bout to bust with anticipation.”

“Yep. A natch’ral disaster.”

“You mentioned that already.”

“A real-life natch’ral calamity.”

“Do I have time to go to chow while you go through your preamble?”

Ignoring me, he continued, “That Six Kay (‘6K’ as in six thousand pound lifting capacity) forklift is all a-pieces. hamorr’agin’ parts all over th’ place. The Boys (Filipino mechanics times two) tol’ me it was the fuel injector pump. So, I kin’ly smiled and said ‘Okaaay…,’ and let ‘em go at it. They need ta learn how ta fix thangs without me onct in ah’while. Well,  they dun got tha’ forklift tore all ta pieces.  Now, I dun give ‘em all mornin’ to dick ‘round with it, an’ I’m gonna give ‘em all this aftr’noon to dick ‘round with it some more. Then first thing tomorra, I’m gonna ask ‘em, ‘Boys, how come that forklift ain’t a-workin’ this fine morning?’”

“I’m hip Let’s keep it real.”

“Your ‘personnel management style’ is showing Bob,” I said.

“Yeah, whatever… An’ tomorra’s Thursday. An’ day after that’s Friday. An’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ on Friday. Tomorra, we gonna start our dee-cent inta th’ day off.”

“Kinda start slowin’ ‘er down ‘round mid-noon time, eh?” I said. (I can do ‘Southern’ just as slick as you please when I want to.)

“X-actly. We start double-clutchin’ and dee-celeratin’ an’ bring her in nice and slow like.”

“And what about my forklift?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

“She’s all ‘In’shalah’d’ out Boss.”

“Dead in the water?”

“Tits up.”

“Broke dick?”

“Send her saddle home.”

“I need to call Baghdad?”

“She ain’t lookin’ none too fav’erble.”

“Call HQ an’ tell ‘em we need another forklift?”

“Now, jes hol’ on. Doan git ’em all wadded jes yet.”

“Ok. I got it. Thanks.”

“We’re Parsons’ Mechanics an’ jes watch how we roll,” he said on his way out the door.

I love my job.

I have a “Ten Kay” forklift that still works. So I should be alright for now. Besides, Bob just  loves the drama and we do this little dance everytime there is a crisis in the motor pool. If I were a betting man (And actually I am) I’d wager two of my pay checks that come Friday if that 6K forklift is still down, he’ll be out there bright and early with his boys working on it until it is repaired even if it means giving up his day off. I’ve seen him do that already too many times over the past year and a half he has worked for me. There is no man made of better stuff. An’ he sure do entertain. Yessir, he certainly does. And I’d never have been able to keep the operation afloat without him.

I love all my crew and wouldn’t trade a single one of them for a pile of cash money or a case of Johnny Walker Black with the authorization to drink it.

This song is dedicated to Bob, wherever he may be:

OK: Ed. Note:

Y’all gotta love how ‘Texan’ this vid is—look at the ‘ensign‘-Texan Flags-behind the sage, er…stage.

(and if you look really close–for you guitar players out there–you will notice the hole in the guitar. Willie tells some stories ’bout the gee-tar. He tells one about a drunken party with Leon Russell in a hotel room, when Leon almost broke it. Willie, in classic form, invited Leon to stop touching that guitar.)

When I am coherent, I may write about that.

And then there is this:

Willie sang, “At the airport in Milwaukee…”

Lenny

Lima

on that: Milwaukeeeee!

 

Spring Clinging

My Blog is no longer an aversion

Nor a version

of a virgin

Therefore, since I am leaving soon

(Insha’Allah.. Joke: probably get killed for that one–Y’all know who I am here and on which side I fall upon–Atheist) I am not for lack of a term: ‘an Evangelical Atheist’. I do not care what you believe or don’t believe. My only further statement is atheists can be moral and good people, just like theists. We can also be immoral and bad people, just like theists. And we can be some kind of combination of the two; just like theists.

Hopefully, that above statement loses me not any of my followers (save one: my mother), But if so this is Karma (and no! I am not Buddhist nor Hindi either), then I will adopt the philosophy of a great ‘blogger-man’ I admire, respect, follow, and really despise:

http://aopinionatedman.com/ (ed note: May, 31st: I am no longer a fan of the Lemmings. i.e., I do not follow OM no mas, mainly because even I, cannot be that charitable) And that is all I am gonna say ’bout that. If you want some more piercing eloquence of the subject, I happily direct you to ‘The shitstorm that is my life: (she is brilliance in a bottle:

http://theshitshowthatismylife.com/

We differ, but we are kindred in our discourse of difference. Opinionated Man says this, and I quote:

“My goal with this blog is to offend everyone in the world at least once with my words… so no one has a reason to have a heightened sense of themselves. We are all ignorant, we are all found wanting, we are all bad people sometimes.”

Now. This is not in my manifesto, but I do find me subscribing to it more and more, day by day. Not sure why, but I do think OM has a valid point here: He writes for HIM.

This, I understand. And this is my new path. (Now all I need do is find some more followers… to hit the trail with me 😉 )

But Imagine:

Try to

Therefore in the spirit of cleaning up hard disk drive space, I have nominated this post (the one on the next page–The ‘Hitch-Slap’ will remain as long as I have electricity and an internet connection) for permanent removal. (though I Love it daily..er…dearly..especially the video clip”

Drum Roll Please!

I  heretofore nominate this post…

To be… In the Hunger Games!

As tribute.

What say you?!

Read it and kiss it’s ass goodbye!

Credit: Moki John

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU8vs5ndzUv3ku6N2lm-ywA

“I’m just a simple sailor Son…

Credit: Lance (But you knew that)

Continue reading

Even London Bridge Has Fallen Down; Now I Know Why

When I was working in Basra, my gig allowed two weeks R&R every two months or so. Sounds like a deal, eh? Well, yes it was. Be aware however, we worked seven days a week, ten hours a day. NO days off. So do the math; we earned it. And of course we were getting shelled and rocketed and mortared regularly.

Anyhow, I had a stateside girlfriend back then. Actually more friend than girl. Rather platonic relationship, but we were ‘Buds’ and I loved her dearly. (Still do) And we went way back.

It was agreed by us both, that once I went to Iraq, we would spend our (my) R&R’s together. I flew her to Barcelona, Athens, Italy, and finally London. (She made all the arrangements. All I had to do was show up) Too easy for me.

Mid 2006 we met in London. I was ‘cacked out’ (Lenny Bruce vernacular). Worn out. Plumb tuckered. Tired. Damn tired. Spent.

R&R London
Click Me: This Was My London

She was, of course not. Now mind you, this woman had been all over Europe already. London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Athens… well, she was rich. Catch my drift? I had seen quite a lot of Europe my own damn self. Did not hold much magic for me.

All I really wanted was some ‘down time.’

Bless her heart (and this speaks volumes of our great friendship), she let me do what I wanted; which basically meant I could sit in the flat she had arranged for us in downtown London and drink Beefeater while watching movies and smoking Marlboro’s and ranting at the current state of affairs in Iraq.

After a few days, she did manage to get me out of the flat for a walk-about. We went to Buckingham Palace (one day shot there)

We went to the British Museum; saw the Rosetta stone. Another day gone.

“Lance that’s the Rosetta Stone.”

“Yep, that’s cool.”

Had some fish ‘n’ chips (I preferred Long John Silvers, but that is just what an asshole I am)

Rode the Tube. (I prefer Le Metro in Paris, but what the hell)

And various other exhausting  exhilarating  excursions.

“About three days before we were to part: me back to The Sandbox; she back to Texas, she asked me, “Lance, isn’t there any place in London you would like to see?”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact, there is. I wanna go down to Marble Arch Station.”

“Whaaat?” she said.

“Yeah. Marble Arch Station.”

West End of London, England, United Kingdom

“That is a Tube Station.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Why on Earth…”

“Because it belongs to Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker. And Texas.”

(Best Original Audio from ¡Viva Terlingua!)

London Homesick Blues

She acquiesced and off we went. Got there and I had a salutary beer to J.J. Walker and Gary P. Nunn. Then I was happy and pronounced my R&R a successful bit of Rest and Relaxation.

Best Video From “Lost Gonzo Band (with Gary P. Nunn)”

–Austin, ’74

“Well I decided that

I’d get my cowboy hat

And go down to Marble Arch Station…”

Went back to the flat and had a few gin and tonics and lived happily ever after.

“R&R” means that: Rest and Relax and do whatever the hell you want. London could wait… until I came back the next time.

Good God!

I MISS Texas!

Woke Up In A Bad Place. Stayed The Duration. Not Sure Why

I want to write a post about this photo.

It is the first sign I saw in ’05 when arriving in Basra, Iraq.

Gave me pause.

Go Back To Yer GTT Asshole

Go Back To Yer GTT Asshole

“Ah the stories we could tell.”

Apologies to Jimmy Buffett.

The Basra BugMan

Basrah Bug Man

I Am Become Death: Destroyer of Tiny Worlds.

Bugs were a huge problem for us in Basra. There were big bugs, small bugs, flying bugs, crawling bugs, creeping bugs, biting bugs, fighting bugs, suicide bomber bugs, and worst of all: No-See’um bugs. (I love bugs: please read Queendom )

Then every day at precisely 1600hrs,

BUGMAN!

“Here I come to savvve the day!!!”

Mister Bugman

Sung to the tune ‘Mister Sandman”

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

bug, bug, bug, bug, bug

bug, bug, bug, bug, bug

bug, bug, bug, bug, bug

Mr. Bugman, save us from screams

(bug, bug, bug, bug, bug)

Kill all those bugs that we’ve ever seen

(bug, bug, bug, bug, bug)

Give them a tank of poison and smoker

(bug, bug, bug, bug, bug)

Then tell them their buggy nights are over

Bugman, Now I’m so alone

Don’t have no bugs to crawl in my home

Please turn off your smoky beam

Mr. Bugman, bring us a scream

bug, bug, bug, bug, bug

Mr. Bugman, don’t save us from screams

Bring back those bugs, the cutest we’ve seen

Give them the word that we’ll not roll over

Then tell them their lonesome nights are over

bug, bug, bug, bug, bug

Mr. Bugman bring back our screams

(Yes)

Give them six eyes with a come-hither green

Give them six legs like bugs Versace

And lots of wavy hairs like Liber-auntsy

Mr Bugman, someone to scold

(Someone to scold)

Would be so peachy before we’re too old

So please turn off your poison beam

Mr Bugman, bring us, please, please, please

Mr bugman, bring us our screams

bug, bug, bug, bug, bug…

‘Cause now we miss the bugs an’ we’re bored…

(With Apologies to The Chordettes)

A Conversation from Mosul about a Forklift

My mechanic (Of Parsons Mechanic fame) came by to have some ‘chat’ with me:

Bob

The most Interesting
Mechanic in the World

“Way’ll… I have a natch’ral disaster on my hands.”

“Ok Bob,” I said, “I’m ‘bout to bust with anticipation.”

“Yep. A natch’ral disaster.”

“You mentioned that already.”

“A real-life natch’ral calamity.”

“Do I have time to go to chow while you go through your preamble?”

Ignoring me, he continued, “That Six Kay (‘6K’ as in six thousand pound lifting capacity) forklift is all a-pieces. hamorr’agin’ parts all over th’ place. The Boys (Filipino mechanics times two) tol’ me it was the fuel injector pump. So, I kin’ly smiled and said ‘Okaaay…,’ and let ‘em go at it. They need ta learn how ta fix thangs without me onct in ah’while. Well,  they dun got tha’ forklift tore all ta pieces.  Now, I dun give ‘em all mornin’ to dick ‘round with it, an’ I’m gonna give ‘em all this aftr’noon to dick ‘round with it some more. Then first thing tomorra, I’m gonna ask ‘em, ‘Boys, how come that forklift ain’t a-workin’ this fine morning?’”

“Your ‘personnel management style’ is showing Bob,” I said.

“Yeah, whatever… An’ tomorra’s Thursday. An’ day after that’s Friday. An’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ on Friday. Tomorra, we gonna start our dee-cent inta th’ day off.”

“Kinda start slowin’ ‘er down ‘round mid-noon time, eh?” I said. (I can do ‘Southern’ just as slick as you please when I want to.)

“X-actly. We start double-clutchin’ and dee-celeratin’ an’ bring her in nice and slow like.”

“And what about my forklift?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

“She’s all ‘In’shalah’d’ out Boss.”

“Dead in the water?”

“Tits up.”

“Broke dick?”

“Send her saddle home.”

“I need to call Baghdad?”

“She ain’t lookin’ none too fav’erble.”

“Call HQ an’ tell ‘em we need another forklift?”

“Now, jes hol’ on. Doan git ’em all wadded jes yet.”

“Ok. I got it. Thanks.”

“We’re Parsons’ Mechanics an’ jes watch how we roll,” he said on his way out the door.

I love my job.

I have a “Ten Kay” forklift that still works. So I should be alright for now. Besides, Bob just  loves the drama and we do this little dance everytime there is a crisis in the motor pool. If I were a betting man (And actually I am) I’d wager two of my pay checks that come Friday if that 6K forklift is still down, he’ll be out there bright and early with his boys working on it until it is repaired even if it means giving up his day off. I’ve seen him do that already too many times over the past year and a half he has worked for me. There is no man made of better stuff. An’ he sure do entertain. Yessir, he certainly does. And I’d never have been able to keep the operation afloat without him.

I love all my crew and wouldn’t trade a single one of them for a pile of cash money or a case of Johnny Walker Black with the authorization to drink it.

Dispatches From Iraq: The Man Who Blew Up Goats

In ‘08 I gave my notice to Parsons and went to work for an Iraqi company called Leadstay. Leadstay was the outfit that provided all the heavy equipment and operators we employed at Camp Wolf in Anbar Province. They worked under the direction of our EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) guys, (Tetra Tech) helping them to locate and destroy the UO (unexploded ordnance) that Saddam had so graciously left behind.

goats

The project, USACE CMC (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Coalition Munitions Clearance project), was a noble one and I worked for them two years, “Kicking bombs” as my IT guy referred to it.

Previously I had worked for Parsons on the USAID (U.S. Dept. of State) Rural Water Project. We built water treatment plants for rural villages all over Iraq providing clean potable water to people who had never put lips to same. Spent two years doing that. I was in the ‘Construction’ business. At CMC I had moved into the ‘Destruction’ business, or for you literary types: ‘deconstruction business’. The circle was now complete.

CMC was winding down in ’08 after having destroyed roughly four hundred thousand short tons of old live ordnance during the five years they had been ‘kicking the bombs’ which the bad guys would surely have turned into IED’s.

I needed to find a new gig.

leadstay_operators

Through my connections with Leadstay I was hired on as ‘Business Development Manager.” They paid me fifteen thousand bucks a month (In cash if I so desired) plus two percent of any new contracts I landed. Potentially very lucrative.

The Leadstay ‘Man Camp’ was in the ‘Red Zone’ just outside the wire of Camp Victory, which bordered BIAP (Baghdad International Air Port). Electricity was hit or miss. The power grid from Baghdad was kind of like Texas weather; “If you don’t like it just wait a minute and it’ll change.” We had backup generators, but they were only for show. The shower in my hooch often gave me little shocks, reminding me that “OSHA does not live here.” All the Iraqis (and some of us) were armed. I wasn’t, but I had my eye on an AK-47 for sale in the duty-free shop Ahmed owned.  Mostly the Duty-Free was a liquor store.  We were only allowed to drink booze on Thursday nights. (Of course we mangled that rule, being ‘By God Americans!”)

I lasted about a month.

Continue reading

Letters From Iraq: A Day in the Life of a Camp Manager

An Excerpt from an email I sent from Mosul, late 2008. Victor was a soft-spoken, highly educated and proper gentleman originally from Nigeria. He could not have been more out of place and time.

I realize this is rather a crude ‘toilet joke’ post, but it is a true story. Regarding ‘dirty words’ and ‘dirty toilet stories’, no one had better commentary on the subject than Lenny Bruce. Please have a listen below.

Lenny Bruce – 1961 arrest for using obscene language

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

There was another ‘Victor Moment’ during this morning’s meeting with Parsons and my Boys. After I had finished discussing everything I had on today’s agenda I asked if anyone had any issues which needed to be addressed. Usually there are none, but today Victor piped up and said,

“I want to report an incident that causes friction.”

“Now what?” I’m thinking. “Friction?” I said. “Friction’s no good; friction causes fires.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Victor said.

“Oh, of course not… Okay Victor. I’m all ears. What’re you talking about?”

“There must be more respect and decorum in this camp. This morning at the Tetra-Tech meeting, one of the security guys, the big fat one, sat right in front of me and he leaned forward and…’Brrrrruuuuppp!’”

Laughter all around.

“Victor, you mean he farted in your general direction?” I said.

More laughter.

Very serious now, Victor said, “Yes. This was disrespectful. I told the gentleman that this was not good to do this. He turned around and said, ‘No really; it’s good for you.’ I told him I did not appreciate this behavior. There were eye witnesses too. The CRG guys were sitting right next to me.”

Trying to stifle my laughs (and failing), I said, “Any nose witnesses?” Then over the howling laughter of the boys said, “Sorry Vic, couldn’t resist. So, do you want to, uh… file a grievance against this guy?”

“Not yet,” he said. “But I want it on record.”

“Ok Victor. Consider it on record. Hey Dana, would this be considered a health, safety & welfare issue and do we have a form for this kind of… uh, grievance?”

The Boys still giggling.

“I’ll have to look online and get back to you on that one,” Dana said as straight-faced as he could which wasn’t very convincing.

“Ok, please do that.” Then I said to all, “Does anyone else have any ‘incidents’ that require my attention this morning?”

Nope.

“Ok then, Launch!” (Which is how I end all my meetings: I ‘launch’ my Boys off into their work day.)

Later as I was signing out for my walk at the TOC (Tactical Ops Center—Radio Room) with the CRG guys, they told me they had an ‘incident’ to report.

“Let me guess,” I said. “Someone has farted at you, eh?”

Laughter again all around.

“Yes,” Garth said, “Actually not at one of us, but Victor was just in here trying to muster support for his case. Says we’re all witnesses and we will be compelled to provide a written statement.”

“Oh Christ,” I said. “This guy wears me out.”

“Well, we just fucked him off,” Mark said.

Gareth (the Welshman) chimed in, “Yeah, I told him, ‘Hey we’re all just a bunch of blokes working here for fuck’s sake! Take a look at where we work: fuckin’ Iraq. What a wanker!” (Gotta love those Brits)

“Well, I guess the war’s over,” I said.

“What?” Gareth said.

“War must be over if this is the kind of shit we have to worry about. Some people seem to think we’re working on Madison Avenue. Too bad Miss Canada wasn’t here for this. (She had actually been here for a USO Show a week earlier.) We’d probably be looking at sexual harassment… Well, I’m off on my morning walk-about; gotta keep up my girlish figure ya know. You can call me on Channel One if there are any more wind-breaking developments.” I said as I headed out the door.

I could still hear them laughing and joking about Victor and his complaint as I walked away. I’m sure there will be more to this story. I sincerely hope Victor complains to Baghdad about this. Those guys could use some humor injected into their lives. Once again, I really can’t make this stuff up.