Yes. A Repost. If you do nothing else, please scroll down and listen to the clip. It is hysterical (and real) Even better.
Cheers Y’all and Happy Saturday Oops! Sunday (is it?)
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Texan, Father, School Teacher, Rancher, & Much Maligned 36th President of The United States of America.
I love LBJ, or as Brother Dave Gardner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4E_Nrm0j8k) once called him: ‘Daddy Bird’. Johnson was a divisive entity during his one and a half terms as president—primarily due of course to the Vietnam War—which he inherited. Yes, I realize I am gonna get some push back. Favorably mention ‘LBJ’ even today and you best stand by for some unhappy and contentious words.
Young Daddy Bird
The problem I have, in general, when talking to folks about Johnson is that most are ignorant of the man, his history, his upbringing; his good works: Rural electrification for Texas. Medicare, Civil Rights, The Great Society (never really came to fruition, due to Vietnam) and so on.
Once he became ‘The Accidental President’ he took JFK’s dreams and made them reality. Johnson could do that. Why? Because he was the consummate politician—far more effective than Jack Kennedy. JFK’s dreams were hollow pipes. Johnson made them happen. This is historical fact: For those of you who would care to search it out. For those who don’t really care to do that: Just-Trust-Me on this one, ‘cause I am a Texan, and Texans don’t lie (overmuch).
I have read all of Robert Caro’s books (http://www.robertcaro.com/) on LBJ and I have done my own research, and I have my own memories.
During the Sixty-Four election, my Mom, the originalHippy Chick informed me she was voting for Goldwater.
“Goldwater! Mom! Are you serious?”
“Yes Son. He is right for America.” “‘Right?!’ Right don’t even come close: just to the right of Attila the Hun.” (Even at that tender age of seven, I was politically astute. Honestly.)
Our country does not produce colorful leaders like LBJ anymore.Much of the blame must be placed on the information revolution and the manifestation of the instant sound bite. I am not bemoaning the Information Age. I would not be able to throw my thoughts so carelessly about to the entire world if it were not for this Internet Thing we all embrace. All I am saying is one must ponder how many potential great leaders are out there, but refuse to step up to the plate simply because they do not wish to have every word they have ever uttered tweeted or twerked or posted or face-booked for all to see. Some things should still be classified as TMI. That is just good manners.
What if JFK had had the internet to deal with? We would all have known of his affair with MM. WWBS? What would Bill ‘Oh Really’ Say? We would have been ass-deep in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but Fox and CNN and even MSNBC would have burned more video on JFK’s infidelity. Castro would have loved it. Just sayin’…
My Step-sister worked for Oliver Stone on the film JFK. She was one of the on-set-dressers. We got into a heated argument over the whole conspiracy thing. She was convinced that LBJ was behind it all. I know quite a lot about LBJ as I have mentioned. I have done my research and I love Texas history.
Anyway I asked her upon what she based her unwavering belief.
She said, “That photograph of Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One in Dallas.”
Smug? Ladybird? (Just behind his right hand, in case y’all don’t recognize her) Of course, that is Jackie on the other side.
“You’re shitting me,” I said.
“Look at that photo and see how smug Ladybird looks in it. You just know then and there, she knew the whole thing.”
“I think I need a drink,” was all I could muster by way of response.
(Oh! And my step-mother worked for Jack Ruby: I know some shit about it)
I am not writing here as an apologist for LBJ. My focus is on the wonderful Texan caricature character he was. His humor, his down-to-earth’ed-ness, his vibrant lust for life, his convictions, and his larger-than-worldly-life persona: His ‘Texan-ness’.
Therein lies the rub for me. Johnson could be a buffoon. He could be portrayed as an idiot. He could be rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. He would be chastised and eventually ostracized.
But he got shit done!
He was a great, moral, honorable man.
No one will ever convince me otherwise (but you are certainly welcome to try)
Watch and listen to the Video Clip. It proves my point (and it is hysterical). These tapes were released a few years back. I have them all.
Ed. Note: Again, Most of the photos are ‘clickable”
1423hrs: Southpark DFAC
It was a long and winding road which led me home. As I was trudging along, sweating my ass off, I kept reminding myself of the New Yorker’s directions given to someone looking to get to Texas from NYC: “Head west until you smell shit. That’s Oklahoma. Go south until you step in it. That’s Texas.”
I found my way back to Southpark in similar fashion: Followed my nose to the ‘Poo Pond’; took a left—ran right into Southpark. Easy as pie. Poo Pie. As soon as I got back and kicked yet another Gomer outta my rack (What’s wrong with these people?), I went to Flight Ops to see if I could fly the hell outta here tomorrow. I’ll tell you what they told me: “We’ll have to get back to you on that.”
1738hrs: Sitting on my Rack
Shoo’d the Gomes off… again. I sent you an email few minutes ago, telling you my show-time is 0100hrs for my flight back to Dwyer. It believe it’s a Helo this time. They are slower, but it’s a short trip. Saturday, I could have walked here and gotten to the CAC office same day before they closed. The computers here have been acting stupid today, so I don’t know if you got my recent posts. Only thing left for me to do is update my time sheet at 1900hrs and eat supper. I stole a sleeping bag from the Billeting laundry box last night so I wouldn’t freeze (The A/C works really good in this tent starting around midnight). Problem is, not getting to really sleep much. I must confess something: I really like a routine. I do much better when I have a routine. You probably would never have guessed that about me. Hopefully Mike will not still be there tomorrow, but I had no email from Shannon, so I suspect he remains. Shannon surely would have told me if he finally did leave. I would hope so anyway.
1915hrs: Sitting on my rack
Supper was yummy. Roast pork and a chicken breast. Southpark’s population seems to have doubled today. Trying to find a spot to sit in the smoking arena is an exercise in futility. Time for me to leave obviously
What a Dump
I am really exhausted now. Tomorrow will be another Long Day, but at least at the end of it I’ll be back in my own bed and in my own hooch. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” I’m sad right now a little bit ‘cause I have not heard from you. Hopefully a bit later before I depart for the flight line and most likely another long wait to get on yet another bird… I hope they fed the hamsters this time: “Helicopter Hamsters.” Sounds like a song: ‘Muskrat Love…’ (Lance, you need sleep Son)
Tried to sleep. Failed. Ideas of what to show you and do with you and to you in Dubai race around in my head and look for a place to rest.
31 July Tuesday 0021hrs: DFAC – Strong coffee
Taster’s Choice instant. ‘twill serve. Just got off the computer a few minutes ago and had several emails from you. Happy Now. Some dude was very vociferous about some folks taking more than their allotted ten minutes (I’m not guilty of that. Not Much). Anyway, I had to go. Got a couple hours of death-like sleep until a Billeting Gome woke me up (very politely) tapping me on the shoulder, making sure I knew I was scheduled to fly. I assured him that “Yeah Baby! I’m flying outta here.” My alarm was about to go off, but I’m glad he woke me up just in case it didn’t. They have the Olympics on TV now here in the DFAC. I had forgotten about them and I suppose they are well underway by now. I do hope Texas brings home a lot of gold this time! Gotta go and grab my ‘kit’. See? I can speak Brit. Heading to the rally point. Rally Ho!
0315hrs: PAX Terminal KAF
Been successfully herded from Southpark.
0348hrs: Taxi Runway
Didn’t even have time to finish my coffee. Gryphon Airlines exhibited uncharacteristic efficiency today. I did manage to wolf down part of an MRE I had rat-fucked on the 28th. Not on a helo—thought I would be. A/C on this bird no better than the last one. Waiting to take off… Plane is full and we have two stops before Dwyer. Hopefully I’ll be home in time for DFAC breakfast, but not likely. Oh, plane holds about forty-six in case you’re wondering.
0404hrs: Airborne! Escape Velocity Breached! “Once more unto the Breach!”
On our way! Yippee Ki Aye! Captain is female, Michelle. I love her already.
0519hrs: FOB Shindan
Sitting here in Beautiful Shindan. Well, just sittin’ on the plane which is sittin’ on the tarmac in Beautiful Shindan. I have never been to Shindan, so I have no emotions one way or another about Shindan, but apparently I like writing the word ‘Shindan.’ It is just before sunrise here and this time tomorrow I should be back in MY Gym on MY FOB. But for now, next stop FOB Ferah. Shindan Gomes are boarding now… While they are settling in, I’d like to tell you more about this airplane. As I said, she seats around forty-six. I am semi-comfortably ensconced in a window seat, seated near-the-rear of this DHC-8-300, aka: ‘Dash Eight’ and we just dashed from KAF to here at twenty-thousand feet and I must assume at about 250 mph, but I’d have to verify that with Michelle, or her hamsters. This is a Four-Hamster plane: two hamsters per propeller which is in accordance with FAA, ‘Fuckin Afghan Aviation’ regulations. Our Flight Attendant, Gail, is going through her spiel again (poorly) and has informed us that “No one would like to hear the smoke alarm going off (ya think?), so please don’t smoke Schmuck.” I added the “Schmuck” because I am in charge of this letter and it made me happy to do so. Well, the hamsters are warming up their little legs, so I reckon, we’ll be departing presently. And in fact we ARE! I love my Life!
Airborne now and I see the sun just peeking over a mountain—very romantic. Why does Shindan get to have mountains and Dwyer does not? Shindan looks like Aspen on a bad day, and Dwyer looks like Lubbock on any day.
0613hrs: FOB Farah
Gotta get off here briefly. The hamsters will be taking on Hamster Fuel, probably corn, or corn nuts, or whatever it is that fuels hamsters.
0629hrs: FOB Farah
I love this FOB! Well, what little I have seen of it anyway. It is tiny and nestled in some really cool-looking mountains. As we were landing I was watching for the asphalt runway to appear. It didn’t. We landed on a dirt strip. How cool is that? Not my first dirt strip landing but it caught me off guard.
When I first got to Afghanistan, I was hoping to be sent to a small remote FOB such as this, alas, I’ve been stuck at Dwyer for a year. Now that the hamsters have refueled and I’ve had a taste of my ‘Dream FOB’ nothing left to do but head back to Dwyer, which should begin in a minute or two.
0655hrs: Airborne Again
Gail told us we have thirty-five minutes to Dwyer and I believe her. Shouldn’t get over twelve thousand feet altitude, “And once again, this is a non-smoking flight.”
“Thank you Gail. It’s been at least thirty minutes since I heard that.”
This concludes our Special Broadcast and we now return you to your regularly scheduled emails, already in progress. It’s good to be home.