86ing the '60s

This is a confession.

For forty years now, I have harbored a deep resentment bordering on hatred for the so-called '60's Generation. Oh, of course I don't mean each and every member of that bunch. But I do mean those who did their best to destroy America as I knew it, those who proved to be big public pains in the ass - and there are an awful lot of them. My confession isn't that I resent or hate them... no... no. My confession is something quite more nefarious than that.

For forty years, I have detested the endless spitting-up of their own self-serving, egotistical bile. My stomach churned at their anti-culture tunes and films. My guts clenched at each new anti-American book and tv special. It has been forty years of gagging over the government programs they pushed on the rest of us. They made America suffer in stifling silent pain as they shredded whatever might have been decent about our country. I did my share of swimming against this tidal wave... it's not my nature to be quiet in the face of obvious wrong-doing. But to raise your voice against their rantings back then automatically put you in the category of a Richard Nixon or a racist or a bigot or some sort of party-pooping cretan of some kind or another.

Now the '60's generation is getting long in the tooth. Let me make it very clear that, being born early in the year WWII erupted, I am a bit older than many, though not all, of the '60's crowd. Witnessing their demise gives me another reason to live.

You can tell it's happening because you see it in some of the current tv shows. Specials dedicated to how that generation "refuses to get old." Ha-ha-ha! You pathetic idiots. It's still all about you isn't it? I love watching you appear on talk shows now, faces aged to the point where no operation or medication yet known to man can cover the wrinkles and sags. This actually brings smiles to my own face and seems to actually keep me from getting as badly wrinkled.

Oh. You expect me to name names. No, I don't think so. The list would take pages and pages. Besides, you know who they are. They are men and women who started out as hippies, created the drug culture in America, then grew to be writers, actors, singers, entertainers, politicians, professors, stock brokers, and yes, even Supreme Court Justices.

All through the debacle called "The '60s," those of us conservatively inclined resisted their cries to "Bring it all down, baby." We simply carried on with life, pursuing our careers, raising our own families and in general doing our best to avoid becoming corrupted by the perverted habits of their secular world. As a tribute to the soft-headedness of many Americans, many of the '60's Big-Mouths had very successful and lengthy runs. Many became household names. Made fortunes. They are not without considerable talent, this group. But what do you call talent which is used in such a perverted way?

Now their runs are coming to an end. Surely you've heard the rock stars who've lost their voices. The old entertainers trying too hard to be hip, who look as terrible on-camera as off. The journalists who no longer have viable tv gigs to preach their progressive pap at us. Badly aging politicians still spouting the same bullshit they did in the '60's - so worn out they seem to be propped up in front of the cameras like dummies, reciting their puppet-master's scripts.

A few of the '60's crowd have turned from the dark side and now prance around pretending to be new paragons of virtue, preaching the yin to the yang of their previous lives.

Yeh, soon they will all be joining the ranks of already-departed '60's icons like Timothy Leary, Andy Warhol and Alan Ginsberg. I savored each and every one of these departures, and I plan to celebrate a lot more in the months and years ahead. While some will be placing flowers and Teddy Bears on their make-shift memorials, I will be doing a little jig as I check their names off my list. Sure there will be new assholes to replace the old. As Warhol himself noted, "Everyone will have fifteen minutes of fame." But each successive generation's number of minutes shrinks as media time accelerates and the world shrinks.

This may not be poetic justice or payback exactly, but for me, well... in a perverse sort of way, I'm finally getting my fifteen minutes. Not of fame, but of satisfaction.



     God made Adam and Eve out of it. But this is not about that kind of clay.
     Politicians’ feet are made of it. But that’s not what this is about.
     This is about a little soul that came out of the woods one day and captured my heart.

     At the time, my wife and I were living in the heart of Mendocino County, in Northern California. Our house was deep in the old forests of Redwoods and Doug Firs, near the old “Skunk train” line some of you might know about. There are a lot of snaggle-tooth people in the area who refuse to spend the time or money to have their cats “fixed.” As a result, these people find themselves with unwanted litters on their hands. Their solution is to drive the kittens out somewhere away from their home and drop them off at the side of some out-of-the way road. Thus, one day I heard the feeble mewing of a kitten, but couldn’t locate it.
     Next day, I was doing some work in the garden and spotted a tiny fur ball hiding under my deck. We had two grown cats of our own, Fuzz and Yeti; the starving kitten must have been drawn to their food.
     For reasons not even clear to me, the appearance of this kitten was propitious. One look into his big blue eyes and I was hooked. Now you have to understand something – I like cats but I'm no cat nut. We have adult children – our cats were not substitutes for children as they are for some. Anyway, I managed to get him to cozy up to me by offering him some vittles which he happily accepted. Eventually I was able to pick him up for inspection. He took to me right away. He was some sort of Siamese mix, didn’t much look Siamese; had nice plump features and shorter legs than you find on a Siamese. He had beautiful thick fur running from a creamy white to a warmer tan and dark grey mask and ears... and those beautiful riveting blue eyes. He reminded me of sculpting clay, so I named him Clay. Fuzz and Yeti didn’t appreciate him. They were used to being the center of attention, and let’s face it, these old pampered pusses couldn’t compete for my heart... not with this little fur ball who had come into this world unwanted, and whose earliest days consisted of being dumped out of a pick-up truck, hiding from coyotes and scrounging for food.
     Fuzz and Yeti were typically spoiled semi-indoor cats. We had built them a nice cozy house in our garage. It was plush, and heated in the cold months. They had access through a pet door, so came and went at their leisure. They had more food than they knew what to do with. They were so well fed that they lay near their food bowls and watched unperturbed as Steller Jays by day and raccoons by night came by and ate their dinner. Clay quickly learned the routine. With three squares a day, his fur grew thicker and shinier, he got stronger and lost his fears and shyness.
     Clay was playful and loved to tease the older, much larger cats. They did their best to ignore him but he often wound up jumping on top of their heads in his show of affection. The little guy strutted around like he was a big boy. I loved watching his over-sized paws as he ran circles around Fuzz and Yeti. Best of all, we’d sometimes catch him go nose-to-nose with the beautiful fawns ushered into our backyard by mama does to feed on our grass – grown thick and juicy from Northern California rains. We almost never had to mow the lawn. They kept it as perfectly trimmed as a putting green on any of Donald Trump's golf courses.

     One day, I noticed all that vitality was draining out of Clay. A trip to the vet revealed he had inherited Feline Leukemia and was not going to get better. We took him home and did what we could to make him comfortable. I think Fuzz and Yeti instinctively understood. They softened toward him. One night, Clay rolled up into a ball and drew his last breath.
     I buried Clay in the shade of a canyon oak at a high spot on our property. I often visited the spot, and when we decided to move I went to say goodbye. We lived with quite a few cats over the years. Clay was not with us very long, but he is my favorite. I like to think he was an angel sent to lift my spirits at a time I needed it. His mission completed, he was called back by Whoever sent him, undoubtedly receiving a reward for a job well done.
     That was almost 15 years ago. I often think of the little guy. It was an honor knowing you, Clay.



The Fontane Sisters’ 1955 #1 hit tune, “Hearts of Stone” was about as catchy as tunes got back then. Of course, the girls were singing about love, and how a heart armored against rejection will never break. Which is certainly true. But the hearts I’m referring to here are not just hardened toward love. 

Stone cold hearts are developed over a lifetime. Those of us who have been around the block a few times have seen enough liars, cheats, con men, and BS artists of every stripe that we may become inured to the woes of others. I’ve been around that block enough times to have worn a groove into the sidewalk.

We are born with soft hearts, it’s the nature of youngsters. We like furry, feathered friends, nature, and anything as innocent as we are at that tender age. The hardening started a long, long time ago in my case, when friendly neighborhood bullies were older white kids who threatened us kids with their fists. For a dime. Then there were black kids who threatened with switchblades for fityy cent. Later yet, in Manhattan, came the panhandlers of all colors who hit on us with sad-sack stories about needing money to get across the River to their granny’s deathbed. There were poor unfortunates who “just needed a job” to get back on their feet. Then sad sack employees hanging on your neck like albatrosses. Car repairmen who couldn’t fix a glass of water. Contractors who demand up-front payment and never complete the job. Doctors who misdiagnose, make your life even more miserable and still demand full payment. Best friends and relatives who turn on you like coyotes in the dark. Business partners who do you in. Your telephone message recorder and your e-mail inbox is daily filled with missives of crooks, scam artists, cheaters, liars and every sort of bunko trickster from your own town all the way to the farthest reaches of Siberia and deepest Africa. I know each of you has your own list of heart-hardening episodes.

Is it any wonder we become cynical? How many politicians have we cheered, only to be terribly disappointed as they succeed to elected office only to make a mess of things with their feet of clay? How many presidents have we watched betray their promises and the very people who put them in office?

Should we feel guilty that we are skeptical of foreign nations who demand our aid today, after we have seen what so many corrupt leaders have done with our tax dollars? How many charities have used your hard-earned money to line the silk pockets of their over-fed leaders? How about people caught in disaster, those in government and those in our lands, who didn’t have enough sense to get out of the way of whatever was rushing toward them? I am out of sympathy for them all. My heart has become granite. I’m not proud of it. That’s just the way it is. Once hardened, even God has a difficult time softening a heart.

Going back three generations I am aware of, my family never asked for help from outside. Not for anything. Believe me, they could have used it! Like many of yours, my ancestors came to America from Europe. They came legally. There was no one here, no government “program” or department yet invented to give them a hand. They were simply processed through Ellis Island, deposited on the shore, and forced to fend for themselves at the turn of the 1900’s, when times were very tough for many in America.

My folks never received or asked for help during the Great Depression. To these generations, the very idea of welfare – indeed any kind of handout – was degrading. They had something called pride. Like many of you, I never had any kind of financial assistance to complete my schooling. It was school by day, work by night, and get through it somehow. Somehow I did.

These are just some of the more obvious experiences which turn our hearts to stone over the years. The net result is many of us are sick and tired of hearing all the whiners today. We cringe at whining millionaire entertainers who want our sympathy for how they screw up their lives. And they get it from soft-hearted devotees! We are outraged at politicians who screw up and offer pathetic excuses for one failure after another as they are defended to the end by soft-headed followers. We despise those who try to sue anybody and everybody when they themselves are at fault. Yet soft-hearted juries award them prizes. Does that driver in the car behind me expect my sympathy when he rear-ends my car, or one who runs down some innocent kid because she is busy “chatting” on her cell phone about something “really important”? Does that drunk driving his pickup on the wrong side of the road expect my sympathy when he wipes out an entire innocent family? I can’t give him something I don’t have. Cold? Welcome to America’s heartlessland.

But one tiny corner of my heart still beats soft and warm, and I reserve that little corner for the innocents of this world, most of whom are pets, my fine feathered friends, and children under the age of seven.


What Does it All Mean?

This seems to be the question every political pundit is asking and answering about last week's election results.

As far as this observer can tell, it means the American voter is... I hate to use words like stupid, empty-headed or pathetic... so I'll stick with the somewhat more polite hapless and hopeless.

If it's true, as many pundits suggest, that independent voters - "those in the center" - and true-blue conservatives were angry at the failure of Republican elected officials to do much in the last few years, why on Earth would these voters cast votes for Democrats? This is daft. If Republicans were too corrupt for these "sensitive" voters, is their memory so short they have forgotten corruption on the other side of the aisle?

If these same voters were unhappy with the Republican's lack of fiscal responsibility, do they actually believe the Democrats will do better? Have they forgotten it was a Republican Congress under Gingrich which forced Democrats to control spending?

If these same voters were unhappy with the war in Iraq, do they actually think Kerry, Murtha et al. will make things any better over there? Do they actually think our boys and girls will be coming home sooner with Pelosi steering the House?

If these same voters were unhappy with the lack of progress in controlling our borders, do they actually believe the Democrats will build that fence any faster? Will go after illegal aliens any harder? Will face down the ACLU? Will clean up the drug gangs? Any voter who believes this is beyond hopeless. He is delusional.

We are told these unhappy voters were "sending a message" to President Bush. "We are unhappy with you and your people Mr Bush, so we are making Congress change hands." Somehow this is supposed to make President Bush see the light. Quite frankly, President Bush no longer cares about this. He has been acting as a "war president" and so knows his damnable "legacy" is dependent upon success or failure in Iraq and the general Middle East. "Success" in that arena, if it is to come at all, will take ten years if not more. Two years isn't going to cut it. So President Bush will have to declare some kind of made-up victory and pull many if not most of the troops out by 2008, well before the end of his term. James Baker will help him find his way out of the morass. At least Baker is a bright man. He and his cohorts will come up with a plan to do this - probably the same plan you or I would come up with around the kitchen table - and Pelosi and her Nancy Boys will go along with it.

Now I have to ask the embarrassing question no one else is asking as far as I can tell. Why is no one contesting this election? We all know there are hundreds of thousands of Democrat votes cast by the dead, the illegal, and the otherwise ineligible. A difference in only a few thousand votes in several close and important races would have changed the results dramatically. Had the shoe been on the other foot, had the Republicans retained control of both Houses by such narrowly-won races, there would be an army of "hanging chad" counters, touch-screen weenies and paid lawyers combing over the results like a horde of locusts from now until January First in order to overturn the election. Could it be that these things are all pre-determined anyway?

In the end, yes, I think the general American voter is hopeless. He couldn't figure out that a vote against a Republican doesn't have to be a vote for a Democrat - a party no more worthy to run Congress than Republicans. Those protest votes could have been cast for write-in candidates of their own choosing, or third party candidates where available. That would have been a better way to protest. That would have been a clear and unambiguous signal to both parties that we are not very happy with either of you and we want more choices.

"Choice" we are told, is a good thing. "Competition" we are told, is a good thing. Dictatorships, we don't need to be told are a bad thing, because they only get one choice of leader - the one with the guns. But here in "free" America we get more choice of ice cream flavors, more choices of credit card companies, more choices of auto makers, breakfast cereal, cell phone plans, sports programs, shoe styles, and cable stations - things that don't really matter much - but we get just a couple of candidate choices at the polls. The choice between tweedle-dum and tweedle-dumber isn't much better than we'd get in an oligarchy - for that is essentially what we have become. Are two choices much better than one when both are in cahoots?

We need more choices at the polls. In 2008, in this great nation there must be more than two viable candidates to run for President. In order to get better choices, we must somehow find a way to break the stranglehold the two party system has on democracy. We have no choice.


Kerry's Confession

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, "Freudian slip", or parapraxia, is a very real phenomenon. One example would be an error in speech caused by the unconscious mind. Some errors - a husband accidentally calling his wife by the name of the woman with whom he is cheating - are obvious cases of Freudian slips. In other cases, the error might appear to be trivial but shows some deeper significance on analysis.

It begins with something which you have locked in your subconscious, often because it is something you are ashamed of. If you are not careful with your words, the embarrassing idea will squirt out in conversation.

This is exactly what happened to John Kerry when he said "...You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Of course we understand he was TRYING to say it was George Bush who is the poor ill-educated dummy who got stuck in Iraq. Nevermind that George was by far the better scholar of the two. All that doesn't matter now. Kerry's subconscious twisted his tongue so his guilt slipped out - he accidentally said what, deep down, he actually believes. In effect this is Kerry's confession. His party is angry. He embarrassed his liberal Democrat friends because, well golly gee, this is what they secretly all believe. They look down their pseudo-aristocratic noses at the military (not to mention the police and anyone else the rest of us describe as "The Good Guys").

Kerry's past behavior belies his pathetic claim that he, as a medaled veteran himself, respects the military. Videotape recording of his testimony before Congress, after his Viet Nam experience, wherein he trashes those he served with, is extremely painful to listen to. It literally drips with his pseudo-aristocratic arrogance. The phony patrician accent, the supercilious attitude, the calculated graphic phrases. It is crystal clear that he detests the military, and yes he detests all the rest of us, "the unwashed." In his failed Presidential campaign for 2004, he goes on to claim our troops in Iraq are breaking down doors in the middle of the night to slaughter innocent women and children. Does this sound like a man who has any regard for the men and women who serve our country?

With his Freudian slip, Kerry re-focused the debate in the last week of this current Congressional campaign away from Iraqi and back to the disdain he and many in his party feel toward the military and any extention of power the US exerts. The elite liberal Democrats, the likes of Kerry, Pelosi, Murtha, Rangel et al. despise the fact that the US military - whether or not they are succeeding - is out there on a noble mission, getting attention, getting the funding, while they, the smarter-than-the-rest-of-us liberal Democrats, are sucking hind teat.

John Kerry, in my opinion, is a despicable boy, running a close second behind Ted Kennedy. Kennedy's name, position and fortune was inherited. Kerry's was carefully and scandalously manipulated. His past qualifies him to lead nobody - except perhaps a school for gigilos. He represents that class of phony wealthy politician who wants you to believe they have sympatico with the poor they supposedly represent. He and other wealthy Democrats, Pelosi being one of the wealthiest in Congress, prance about declaring Bush's tax-cuts only benefit wealthy Americans... but you can bet these wealthy Democrats are reaping the benefits and stashing it in off-shore banks to avoid paying their fair share. This is the height of hypocracy. Is it any wonder Kerry's subconscious appears to be burdened by guilt?

America intuitively knows these weasels will do anything, say anything, deal with any devil, including America's declared enemies, just to get back into leadership roles. Are the Republicans any better? In many ways they are not. But at least in terms of who embraces the idea of a traditional America and what it means, they stand heads above the many Democrats in Congress who subscribe to a progressive America. "Progressive" of course is Marxist-speak for let's have an "id par-tay!" where the elite are free to let it all hang out and anyone who criticizes their behavior is "re-educated."

If the blame-America-first, military-hating "progressive" Democrats are the kind of people you trust to run our nation and protect what remains of our culture, go ahead, give them your vote. You will get exactly what you deserve. Unfortunately, the rest of us will be stuck watching the chaos, and paying the piper.