Sunday, April 23, 2006

SUNSET Posted by Picasa


Stanley Kurtz did an essay on NRO recently titled Four Scenarios. The subject is how to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Here is the relevant paragraph:

The first scenario is a sufficiently united front at home and abroad in support of force to compel Iran to verifiably abandon its nuclear program.
The second scenario is a sufficiently united front at home and abroad in support of force that, if force must be used, the very serious military, economic, and political consequences are minimized.
In the third scenario, the president uses force against Iran toward the end of his term, amidst bitter division at home and abroad, when it looks as though Iran is merely months away from a bomb.
In the fourth scenario, our bitter divisions at home and abroad tie the president’s hands, and Iran gets the bomb.
(This was one paragraph in the original. I broke it out to make it more readable.)

The third scenario is unlikely. President Bush has shot himself in the foot so often he won’t be able stand alone to gun down the Iranian “evil doers.”

The first two are impossible. Democrats will never support this president no matter what is at stake. Their hatred is implacable.

Bush’s presidency will end with Iran still pursuing or already having the bomb.

But for the next presidential election, the Democrats will a very honest argument to get people to support them:

Only a Democrat in the presidency will be able to confront Iran.

Democrats would never support a Republican led opposition to Iran. On the other hand, they would support almost anything a Democrat president proposed.

Republicans would support a Democrat president confronting Iran.

So, if you want unity and world peace and a battle against terrorists, elect a Democrat.

Otherwise, we won’t play.

It is like a gun to the head of the world.

HEAVY LOAD 4 Posted by Picasa


Don’t put too much stock in the opinions of retired generals. Several are now getting a lot of publicity from calling for the retirement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They cite his mismanagement of the war. I suspect they are disgruntled residue of other lost policy battles.

Generals are notorious for getting things wrong, for being behind the times. In WWII many favored trench warfare. When I was in Vietnam in ’62, I distinctly remember some generals calling for the disbanding of Special Forces. In ’62 the Special Forces represented nearly half of our effort there.

The general’s argument was that there should be no elite units in the army. They wanted to sell the idea that the army was one large elite unit. Recruitment ads at the time made that point. They wanted to do away with berets that some units would adopt for self identity. I think General Westmoreland was very sympathetic to that school of thought, but that was another battle he lost.

It was common knowledge that Special Forces was in such disfavor to these hide-bound brass that to join them automatically put a ceiling on a career. An officer with a Special Forces background could only advance so far. They didn’t want that kind of radical thinking to penetrate the upper levels of the General Corps.

When Rumsfeld came in a Defense Secretary he was the worst nightmare to this reactionary school of generals. He killed off expensive pet programs. Worse, he wanted to modernize everything. Even worse to the “trench warfare school,” he wanted to expand the hated Special Forces and increase their mission.

Of course that meant war. Many of these generals have been working to undermine Rumsfeld for years.

Now, in retirement, they are taking their final shots.

Saturday, April 22, 2006



This from The Gay Patriot

London – 20 April 2006

The Iranian government is executing gay and bisexual men under the cover of rape and kidnapping charges, according to a major new investigation by Simon Forbes of the UK-based gay and lesbian human rights group OutRage!

Anyone here ever read Marco Polo? He wrote accounts of bisexual and homosexual behavior among Muslims as he traveled through their areas. Those kinds of stories were common before him and even more common after his time.

Think about it. Under Muslim law, an unmarried man can have no sexual contact with a woman under pain of death for one or both.

Well let’s see, women are out, what does that leave?

My 18 months in Iran were not the most pleasant. Not many of my fellow American workers enjoyed it. We had a few gay chaps among our number. As usual they were office, warehouse or medical workers. They seemed to have a great time there. I know this is an extreme anecdotal observation, but that’s the way I saw it. And I saw it clearly.

The point is if the Iranian Government were to execute all the men guilty of gay behavior, they would decimate their population. On the other hand, it’s a convenient charge to bring against men they don’t want around. I doubt if they have to bring much proof to the judges. The judge would only say, “Of course he’s guilty. We all do that.”

Friday, April 21, 2006

HEAVY LOAD 3 Posted by Picasa


This story is so perfect I reprint it in its entirety without comment.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Indian court protects wife after drunk husband mumbled ‘divorce’

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court on Friday came to the rescue of a Muslim woman trying to reunite with her husband after he mumbled the word for divorce three times while drunk. Nazma Biwi’s predicament started after her husband, Sher Mohammad, uttered the word “talaq” three times in 2004. Now, Muslim clerics have barred the woman from living with her now-repentant husband, saying she must first consummate a marriage with another man and then get another divorce. Only then can she remarry Sher Mohammad, the clerics say, citing Muslim rule on restoring broken marriages.

But India’s highest court disagreed and ordered the state government of Orissa to provide security to her. “No one can force them to live separately. This is a secular country and all communities, Hindus or Muslims, should behave in civilised manner,” a three-judge bench said.

Biwi said she has been ostracised since her 32-year-old husband in a drunken stupor uttered the word for divorce but tried to retract his statement when sober the next day.

According to Muslim personal law, a man need only repeat the word “talaq” three times to effect a divorce. But the case has ignited a debate among scholars about a husband’s intent.The 26-year-old housewife said her troubles started after she spoke about it to friends. Soon afterwards, local clerics issued an edict forcing the couple to separate in their home town of Bhadrak in the eastern state of Orissa.

Last month, a Muslim couple in the adjoining state of West Bengal were ordered to separate after the husband muttered “talaq” three times in his sleep.

Aftab Ansari and wife Sohela, married 11 years and with three children, however registered their marriage in an Indian law court to avoid separation, though clerics rejected their marital union. AFP

The enbolding is mine.

Don’t believe it? Check it out *here*.


Monday, April 17, 2006


News flash from The Nation, “Bangkok’s Independent Newspaper”:


Curbs on revellersUnruly frolickers blamed for mayhem and carnage on the roads, blinding motorists with thoughtless water attacks

To prevent road accidents during the Songkran holidays next year, water-splashing will be allowed only on designated roads, the Interior Minister said yesterday.

Though many road accidents this year took place on secondary roads, many people were splashing water on main roads, making them prone to accidents, said Chidchai Vanasathidya, who has assumed the duties of caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Read the entire article *here*, (if it’s still online).

Not only did I witness this “reckless behavior,” I was one of those “unruly frolickers”. That’s a first for me. I’ve never been called a frolicker before. I’m guilty, Your Honor, with an explanation.

I had no idea it was Thai/Buddhist New Year’s Eve.

I had never heard of “The Wetting.”

I found out about both when I got abducted and found myself participating. I was peacefully watching TV in my bedroom at 7 PM when The Jungle Princess came in and ordered me downstairs. This is usually for a visit by one of her many relatives.

Of course I complied. I know how to keep things well lubricated.

There were a bunch of guys and girls and they had a pickup in the lane. In the back of the pickup were 3 garbage cans and 2 large plastic basins filled with water.

“Do you want to ride?” they asked me.

“Well, okay, sure, why not?” They seemed eager to have me along. I didn’t want to be a spoil sport.

“In front or in back?”

In back seemed like the ‘guy thing.’ They all approved.

The pickup started off with 15 on board plus the water. 10 of us were in the back, including my four kids, (yes, 4 now, don’t ask) and 5 in the club cab. Your Honor, I still had no idea what was going on. I think they looked on me as a trophy.

Suddenly I was in the middle of a pickup war. They drove alongside and doused us with water. We did the same for them. Any water I threw, Your Honor, was strictly in self defense. Some of our attackers used ice water. That didn’t seem fair.

I was once in Lima, Peru during Carnavale. Many used water pistols there. Some filled their pistols with ether. That was very cold when it touched my skin. It was said that some were spraying sewer water. That is truly evil.

Here in Bangkok I was a curiosity and a target, being the only farang (westerner) in the pickup wars. Buses pulled alongside and all the passengers smiled down at the soaked farang. At a stop, a guy walked over from his pickup to soak me with a pot of ice water. I must say that it was all done in total good humor. Throughout the evening, with all the drunkenness and pressing crowds, I never saw a sign of animosity.

By the time we got downtown all our water was gone. We parked. In leaping off the back of the pickup, I didn’t allow that my legs had been in a squatting position half the time. My right leg collapsed and I rolled on the wet pavement. I quickly told everyone that, “I meant to do that.”

Then they started lining up, each asking, “Are you all right?” I think they got people from all over downtown to come over and inquire after my health. They brought one guy on a stretcher with an IV sticking in his arm to ask, “Are you all right?”

Okay, I exaggerate a little, but it was a little excessive. The old guy took at tumble, get over it.

From where we parked, we walked a mile or more to get into a frenetic crowd scene. People had gathered in front of some bars that were blasting loud music. Scantily clad women were dancing in windows upstairs. The crowd was as close as any I had ever been in. Cheap feels were available but weren’t any fun because we were packed so tight it was hard to distinguish the sex of the feelee. And what Thais call “girly-boys” were out in force. Thais seemed to spot them easily but I needed a scorecard and none was available.

With so many people jammed so tight, I started picturing a Muslim style stampede. We worked our way to some breathing space on the fringe from where I could do some girl-watching. With everyone soaked there should have been a hundred thousand wet T-shirts. But all Thai women wear bras so the water was wasted. It was nice to watch anyway because they always wear the tightest clothes possible.

After another hour or so we all went home.

And there you have it, Your Honor. I am guilty of being a “frolicker,” but it wasn’t my fault.

HEAVY LOAD-2 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 15, 2006


A while ago I wrote about dumb managers and smart managers (in the archives Sep. 24 2005). Stories about dumb managers abound. Some years ago a new man was brought in to manage an unpromising Houston team. At his first press conference the conversation went something like this:

How do you intend to improve the team?

By executing correctly. We will practice fundamentals until everyone knows their job and does their job.

Executing what?

Pickoff plays, hitting the cut-off man, bunting, hit & runs, stuff like that.

Last year’s team bunted pretty good. Look where it got them.

They didn’t bunt good enough. We will do better. I won’t accept failure.

You mean you expect to succeed every time you signal for a bunt?

That’s right.

At that, some of the reporters started snickering and everything went downhill. The reporters knew more about statistical probability than the manager. They went on to hold each other in mutual contempt.

I was looking at baseball stats this morning. The Los Angeles Angels have played 11 games. In those 11 games they have drawn 17 walks. (Just for comparison, one player, Todd Helton of Colorado, has drawn 15 walks.) They are doomed. The team on-base-percentage is barely over .300, the worst in the majors. Mickey Hatcher, their hitting coach will be fired, but that will make no difference. The general manager has been collecting a bunch of guys who have no patience at the plate.

To compound the problem, Mike Scoscia insists on batting Adam Kennedy 9th. Kennedy had the second highest on-base-percentage on the team last year and is a natural first or second hole hitter. I can hear Scoscia’s logic because I heard it on the sandlots as a kid and from novice managers in little league later: “The number 9 hitter gives me a second leadoff man when he comes up in the 3rd inning.”

Scoscia is an excellent handler of pitchers but he will never be able get the most out a lineup. There are a bunch of computer freaks who could help him out and would work for nothing. I doubt that the Angels would ever go that way.

HEAVY LOAD Posted by Picasa


A couple of days ago I posted what the Mexican constitution said about the rights of immigrants. Here it is again:

· Immigrants and foreign visitors are banned from public political discourse.
· Immigrants and foreigners are denied certain basic property rights.
· Immigrants are denied equal employment rights.
· Immigrants and naturalized citizens will never be treated as real Mexican citizens.
· Immigrants and naturalized citizens are not to be trusted in public service.
· Immigrants and naturalized citizens may never become members of the clergy.
· Private citizens may make citizens arrests of lawbreakers (i.e., illegal immigrants) and hand them to the authorities.
· Immigrants may be expelled from Mexico for any reason and without due process.

What pisses me off is the hypocrisy. I traveled extensively in Mexico. In some places there, you are nothing but a mark to be fleeced. And that seems to be what their constitution is saying.

If the US adopted their immigration laws and told them, “When you change yours, we’ll change ours, tit for tat,” it would be interesting to see what they would do. Their laws are so severe because they fear a Yankee invasion that would take over everything and make Mexico the 51st state. And that could very well happen if they made laws as liberal as they want ours to be.

The irony is, that would be the best thing that could happen for their people. Then they wouldn’t have to leave in droves to find work. Then the need for immigration laws would be lessened.

ATM Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I’ve been reading something called the Kvetch Blog. It’s written from the feminine viewpoint with a light lyricism. I feel like an intruder there so I’ve backed off leaving comments. She’s started dating again at 40ish. Been there, done that.

It brought back a ton of memories which will give me material enough for a long series of pieces, all of which will be greatly educational I’m sure.

I came home from Vietnam for the last time when I was approaching 40 and had never been married. At that time I had dated only two American women in my life. I was carrying baggage in the form of my half Vietnamese 4-year-old son.

Shortly after we settled in Southern California I met a real estate lady. She was in her middle to late 30s, single, with two grown sons and a daughter about my kid’s age. We spoke a few times and then went out. On our first date I was driving toward Laguna Beach at night on the Coast Highway. The top was down on my T-Bird but the heater was going full blast.

She looked at me. “You’re going to drive with the top down?” she asked.

I immediately pulled over to the shoulder to raise the top. It was no problem. A motor did the work.

“No, no,” she protested. She loved it with the top down. She insisted I leave it.

As the evening progressed other things were said, and I suddenly realized she fit the profile in my essay And yet Another Nobel Prize…NOT. (This is in the April, 2005 archives.) So I said, “I bet one of your sons is gay.”

“Yes,” she said, not seeming surprised at all, and she went on to talk about her family.

We continued dating for a while because, besides her head, other things were okay. That should come as no surprise because guys will take a neurotic bed partner over Mother Teresa any night of the week

Very often, in bed, the nuttier the better. Write that down. That will be in the exam.

Here’s a very important footnote: Stay away from married women but especially neurotic married women. I had a brief fling with one of the latter. Then an image came to me. I could see her in her bedroom having an argument with her husband. To get back at him, I could hear her say, “Oh yeah, well I’m screwing (so and so). What do you think about that?”

That scene came to me as if I were there.

I got out of that situation.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

RIDE, ANYONE? Posted by Picasa


These are the comments of a nearly neutral observer. I can’t be completely neutral because, among other things, the exchange rate affects me. Political instability often leads to an inflationary spiral. Thus far the baht has gained in strength for some reason. That may be the best indication of who won the recent turmoil.

The dust is settling. Here are some obvious results and some neutral observations:

Today’s edition of The Nation, the English language newspaper which has been a persistent critic of Prime Minister Thaksin, had 4 pages of classified ads. The paper often had four times that and more. They have been complaining about losing advertisers.

During the election campaign the building housing The Nation was besieged by pro-government demonstrators, forcing them to move out for a while.

The decision of the opposition to boycott the election still bewilders. If they had used all the energy they expended demonstrating against Thaksin to campaign against him, there was a very good chance they could have won. There was as much as a 40% anti-Thaksin “no” vote. The opposition would have won that and more. I wonder if they understood how democracy works.

Sondhi Limthongkul, the leader of the opposition faces a charge of lese majeste. It was ‘reported’ that he had made a remark or remarks offensive to the Thai royal family in a speech to demonstrators. Just prior to the election he went (some say fled) to China. Mr. Sondhi has since returned to Thailand and faces charges.

A Thai language newspaper that reported his alleged remarks voluntarily ceased publication for 5 days after saying they had misreported the remarks.

As a result of the boycott by the opposition, Prime Minister Thaksin’s party won all 100 list-MP seats. They received 16.4 million votes. Next highest party got 675,662 and no seats.

The demonstrations caused Thaksin to resign as PM, but he is the undisputed head of a party that has a 100 to zero edge in the Thai parliament. Can you say “pyrrhic victory?”

I hope this is the last time I report or comment on Thai politics. All I want is peace and stability for Thailand.


In case you haven’t heard, there are widespread demonstrations in the United States over its immigration policy. Every country has its own immigration laws as they should. Different countries with different cultures have their own needs.

I have written about Thailand’s immigration policy elsewhere (in the archives Sep. 19), but I must comment on the people who man that agency (The Immigration Service). They are as pleasant a group of people as I have met in Thailand, which is a land of pleasant people. They are consistently polite and good-natured.

That is in marked contrast with my one confrontation with the American immigration service. In fairness, I only had dealings with one man, a sullen, unpleasant man.

I brought my 4-year-old son home from Vietnam. It had taken me 3 1/2 years to get him out. Expensive lawyers on both sides of the Pacific had made sure that the paperwork was perfect.

Because I hadn’t been married to his mother, I had gone through adoption proceedings in the US even though my name was on his birth certificate.

But the INS guy dragged his feet. You would have thought I was hitting him up for a personal loan. Luckily my lawyer was with me, saying little but watching carefully and looming over the proceedings. So the thing went through. My kid got his citizenship “derivative,” which pleased my lawyer but didn’t mean anything to me at the time.

I digress.

The demonstrations in the US are being carried out primarily by Mexican-Americans and just plain Mexicans. Before they learned it was counter-productive, they even carried Mexican flags. All this is about US immigration policy. The president of Mexico has even criticized that policy.

Okay, I got an idea concerning all this. This is sure to satisfy the Mexican contingent involved in that stuff. Why not adopt Mexican immigration laws to apply to Mexicans in the US? Just adopt all the immigration laws on the books in Mexico or perhaps just what is in the Mexican constitution. What could be more fair that that?

There is even some precedent because a United States Supreme Court Justice recently cited a foreign law when writing an opinion. So it is a small step to adopt their law.

What is their law? A guy did some research for The Institute of World Politics. Here is some of what he found:

By J. Michael Waller

In brief, the Mexican Constitution states that:
· Immigrants and foreign visitors are banned from public political discourse.
· Immigrants and foreigners are denied certain basic property rights.
· Immigrants are denied equal employment rights.
· Immigrants and naturalized citizens will never be treated as real Mexican citizens.
· Immigrants and naturalized citizens are not to be trusted in public service.
· Immigrants and naturalized citizens may never become members of the clergy.
· Private citizens may make citizens arrests of lawbreakers (i.e., illegal immigrants) and hand them to the authorities.
· Immigrants may be expelled from Mexico for any reason and without due process.

The entire article is *here*.

Let the US adopt their laws. What could be more fair that that?

Sunday, April 09, 2006



Just about every building on a main thoroughfare in the city has a shop of some kind on the ground floor. It seems to me that most private residences, such as mine, are built with a gated patio in front. These patios, large enough for two cars, are easily converted to a place of business also. That often happens on streets with moderate traffic.

In addition there are street vendors everywhere. They sell many small items but most commonly they sell food. Most specialize in a single item such as a particular sandwich or a waffle or fried chicken. Some set up a sidewalk restaurant with small tables and plastic stools. There are different kinds of mobile kitchens for each specialty.

A restaurant suddenly materialized at the entrance to my soi (lane) last week. There was a mobile kitchen, two card tables and plastic stools all set up on the pavement because there is no sidewalk. And, surprise, there were customers. It was a going concern in an instant. These are things I like about Bangkok.

I like that there are storefront restaurants everywhere. Some, granted, you might call a hole in the wall. Some with little more capacity than the sidewalk variety. But there is one thing every storefront restaurant will have. They will have a refrigerator or ice chest with cold beer.

I was reminded of this when I was wandering through Bangkok’s Chinatown a little while ago with a Chinese-Thai friend. Bangkok was once a predominately Chinese city. It is no longer but there is a large Chinese section.

The buildings on main streets in Chinatown also have storefronts on the ground floor. We had been walking a while on a hot sticky day when I noticed an important difference. We hadn’t passed any storefront restaurants.

“Where can we get a beer?” I asked my friend. He had been born and raised in this area. (I thought it interesting that he did not speak Chinese.)

“We’ll find a place,” he assured me.

We walked on, and on, and on. There was no place of business that sold beer.

What a curious culture, I thought. Who would want to live like that?

We finally came to a large first class hotel. Inside was my salvation, a cold bottle of 6% alcohol, Thai beer. That stuff will knock you on your ass if you’re not prepared.

But, I thought, where is the salvation for the local Chinese working man? He is unlikely to go into a fancy hotel for a casual beer. Is there nothing for him?

Apparently not.

Perhaps that is the Chinese culture. I know that Singapore, a predominately Chinese city, was one of the most boring cities I have ever been in. So perhaps that is the Chinese culture.

Or perhaps all the fun is kept out of sight of my round eyes.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A BURMESE LADY Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 06, 2006


This is another excerpt from my novel in progress.
I am unable to put the novel in this blog because Google does not give me control of dates or the archives.
The complete novel can be found at in the Nov 2004 archive or in the 'best of' list at the bottom.
Here is a short excerpt from Ch. 21:

They had been going toward the landing zone about an hour when a single shot rang out behind them. Hao stopped. Kincaid caught up to him. It was still early morning but they could already feel the heat of the day. Hao sprawled out with his back to a tree. Kincaid joined him. He wanted to drink some water from his canteen but it was too early for that.

“That was from this side of the trail,” Kincaid said.

Hao nodded. “About half and hour behind us.”

The radio squawked. “Was that you, Kincaid?”

Kincaid had disconnected the ear plug so the sound came from the tiny speaker. He pushed the talk button. “No. They’re on our tail. About a half hour behind.”

“Watch you ass.”

He gave Hao a wry look. “Thanks,” he said into the radio.

They rested another couple of minutes in silence before Hao got up and started off again. Kincaid followed when he was barely visible. The undergrowth was heavier here so they had to keep closet together.

Hao stopped several times when he heard noises. Most often they were caused by wild chickens. Once they flushed a resting boar. Another time they had to wait for a twenty foot python to cross their path. Sometimes it was small birds. The sounds of the jungle magnified in the silence so that even a small bird could make them wary.

A single shot rang out behind them. Hao froze in his tracks. Kincaid checked his watch as he closed up. Hao squatted where he was.

“It was an hour exactly between shots,” Kincaid said. He sat in a tiny clearing. It was already warm enough that his shirt was soaked with sweat.

“Time for a break.”

“Is that what they’re trying to tell us?”

“Are they about the same distance back?”

Kincaid shrugged. “Sounded closer to me.”

Hao nodded. He thought so too.

Kincaid pulled out the radio and pushed the talk button. “That wasn’t us.”

“Didn’t think so,” came the reply.

Hao studied the trail behind them. There was nothing to see.

Kincaid took a sip from his canteen. It was the first that day. The water was warm. It tasted foul.

“We could take them,” Hao said.

“Oh yeah?”

“Only a few in front. Maybe only one or two.”

“How do you know that?”

“Why else would they shoot? To warn us? They’re telling the ones behind where they are. They’re asking for help because they can’t take us alone.”

Kincaid thought about it a minute. “Maybe,” he said.

“For sure,” Hao said. “We could take them.”

“And how far back are the others? How long would it be before a whole battalion is on our ass?”

Hao shrugged and grinned.

Kincaid wasn’t sure if Hao had been serious about turning and fighting. If he had agreed Hao might have laughed at him for being so foolish. He grinned back. “Let’s get the hell out of here, tiger.” They called each other ’tiger’ when one felt the other was getting too heroic.

Hao started out again. He quickened the pace. Kincaid had to struggle to keep up but he managed.

They heard the shots behind them every hour but the sound got no closer. Around noon their pursuers had fallen behind. It was too late then anyway because they had reached the main group at the landing zone. The choppers came in and took them to their base at Nha Trang.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

LOST MAN Posted by Picasa


This is an excerpt from my novel in progress. Because I have no control over dates in the archives on this Google blog, I have had to post it all at Two sections are now posted at the bottom of my "best of" list on that blog. All will be in the Nov. 2004 archive.
Remember you guys, this is copyrighted materisl. Contact the author for permision to publish. Please.

Here it is:

Sergeant Walker took an instinctive dislike to Steve Kincaid. He didn’t like the way the other recruits looked to him for leadership. He didn’t like the way he kept to himself. And he especially didn’t like the fact that Kincaid was one of the few men in the platoon that hadn’t fought in the first three weeks.
The drill sergeant decided to make Kincaid his special project. He was called out to do pushups on the flimsiest excuse or for no reason at all.
“Bonner?” the sergeant called out to another member of the platoon. They were in formation, preparing to march to a class. “Do mah ahyes deceive me or is yoah shoe untahed? Git out heyah and gimmee twenny.” He looked along the line of men. “And you, Kincaid, you git out heyah and gimmee twenny counta yoah breathin’.”
That kind of thing gave the sergeant some satisfaction but it wasn’t enough. Kincaid was of decent size and muscular. The sergeant desperately wanted to see what he could do in the ring. He watched Kincaid for a couple of weeks waiting for him to have words with another member of the platoon. Looking for anything that would give him the chance to bait him into the ring. The chance never came.
The sergeant got tired of waiting. He decided to confront Kincaid in front of the platoon. That night he got the opportunity just before lights out. The whole platoon was in the barrack. Kincaid was crouched over his footlocker straightening it out. His back was to the door. The sergeant could see him from outside.
A recruit in basic training is trained to call the platoon to attention whenever a non-com enters the barracks. The sergeant sent in a recruit to tell those by the door not to do that. So the sergeant was able to walk up behind Kincaid without him knowing he was there.
Walker bawled out “Kincaid” in his best parade ground voice while, at the same time, putting a boot into Kincaid’s rump, pushing him head forward into his footlocker.
All of Kincaid’s instincts told him he was being attacked. He came up with his legs twisting around and unleashed a wicked overhand right all in the same motion.
Two voices down the aisle shouted, “’tenshun!”
Kincaid saw who it was and tried to pull the punch as much as he could.
The sergeant leaned his head back a fraction so the punch just grazed his chin and landed on his right shoulder with surprising force. He staggered back two steps and stood there with his mouth open, his legs apart.
There was an audible gasp from those in the barrack. All were watching.
Kincaid couldn’t help still being angry and it showed. He didn’t like someone, anyone, coming up behind him like that and he didn’t care who knew it. He didn’t care if he got court marshaled for it.
The sergeant didn’t like what he saw in Kincaid’s eyes. This was not the normal wet-pants recruit he was facing. The man wasn’t going to back down and the sergeant was in big trouble. He had waived the regulations when he had deliberately entered unannounced. But even if right had been on his side, he couldn’t bring Kincaid up on charges. A competent non-com never let things get so far out of hand that he could get attacked by a recruit. Besides that there was the company ‘fight’ program to think of. The base chaplain had already been complaining to the Inspector General about the company. A stink like this could finish the fights, and the sergeant dearly loved the fights.
A solution suddenly occurred to Sergeant Walker. He loved it! It was time for him to select a platoon leader anyway. A mean grin split his face. “Tough guy, huh?” He nodded his head up and down. “I figured that.”
The sergeant turned away from Kincaid and started walking up the aisle. “At ease,” he called.
Most of the recruits had never come to attention. They had been frozen in the position they were in when the action started.
“Well now, I knew that you boys had a tough guy here in the barracks.” The sergeant spoke to them as he walked up and down the aisle. “I want you boys to find out just how tough he is. We’re gonna call Private Kincaid there, the King of the Hill. We’re gonna make him Acting Platoon Sergeant. Acting Platoon Sergeant Kincaid will have a lot of special privileges. He’s first in line at the mess hall, he gets special passes into town, he doesn’t pull KP, things like that. Sounds pretty good, huh?” He looked around at the recruits. “Well? Doesn’t it sound pretty good? Let me hear you.”
“It sounds pretty good, sergeant,” a few of the recruits mumbled.
“I don’t hear you,” the sergeant shouted. “Does it sound pretty good?”
“It sounds pretty good, sergeant!” they all shouted.
He went nose to nose with one man. “Would you like to have those privileges yourself, soldier? Well, would you?”
The man he was looking at shouted, “Yes, sergeant.”
The sergeant turned and started walking up the aisle again. “Well you can have them. Any one of you can have them. That’s why we made Acting Platoon Sergeant Kincaid the King of the Hill. All you gotta do is whip his ass. If any one of you takes Kincaid there into the ring and whips his ass, that man becomes Acting Platoon Sergeant. That man gets the passes and no KP and all the rest.” He stopped in the center of the aisle and looked around again. “From what I’ve seen there’s several of you boys in the platoon can take him. No need me naming names. You know who you are.” He looked from face to face. “I always have the toughest platoon in the company and this platoon has the makin’s of the toughest I’ve ever had. Don’t let me down.”
The sergeant turned and left.
The recruits stayed where they were for a moment after he left, then they started moving slowly toward Kincaid’s bunk.
“Did you see the look of Kincaid’s face?”
“Yeah. He nearly decked him.”
Several patted Kincaid on the back.
The entire platoon was soon in a semicircle around Kincaid’s bunk.
“Nobody’ll challenge Kincaid.”
“I know I won’t.”
Kincaid heard them talking. That was something that had been bothering him. “Why do you let him put you in the ring?” He spoke quietly to the nearest boy.
The soldier stared at him blankly.
“Any of you,” he addressed the circle of faces near him, “why do you let him put you in the ring?”
They all stared at him with blank looks.
“What did he say?” someone asked from behind.
Kincaid stood on his footlocker and spoke so they all could hear. “Why do you let him put you in the ring?”
None answered. Some looked away.
He tried another approach. “How many of you enjoy getting into the ring?”
They all looked at each other. No one said anything.
“How many of you like fighting amongst yourselves?” Kincaid looked around at the group. “Anyone?”
“Do you guys want me as the platoon leader?”
A couple of guys said, “Yeah,” right away. Some more nodded. Then some others said, “Sure.” Before long the entire platoon seemed in agreement.
“Okay,” Kincaid said. “My first rule is: No more fighting amongst yourselves. From now on, the men in this platoon stick together. You can fight guys from other platoons, but the guys here are your buddies. You don’t fight anyone in this room. That’s my rule.”
He didn’t say what he would do to enforce it. He didn’t think he had to. From the look of relief on everyone’s face, they had had their fill of fighting in the ring.
The PA system piped in a recording of a bugle.
“Light’s out,” Kincaid said.

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Monday, April 03, 2006


As threatened, this is the beginning of a novel. I previously posted a Chapter 1 on November 13 (in the archives). I decided that was a lousy way to begin an action- adventure novel. This works better for me.

The current events of this novel take place in modern day Iran, but it is a twisted path to get there. This is fiction! It is almost complete fiction from the characters to the events. I call on personal experiences for many descriptions from basic training on, but everything is fictionalized. Got it?

This, if I live long enough, will be the first of 5 novels I will rewrite and post here. That is the plan and even my alter-ego doesn’t have a problem with it, which is unusual.

Because this Google blog does not let me alter dates or go back in the archives, the complete novel has to be posted in a different blog. It will be posted in the November 2004 archives at

Here is the beginning:


“General Trinh is delivering papers.”

That was the message on the answering machine. The caller hung-up, not waiting to see if anyone picked up.

It was a message that would reverberate in several countries and cause many deaths.

The message was left on Steve Kincaid’s answering machine. He went quickly to push the ‘Save’ button so it would not erase automatically. He stared down at the machine for a few moments as if expecting it to explain further. It did not.

He didn’t recognize the voice. It didn’t matter. He knew it was true. There was a hint of accusation in the tone. That didn’t need to be there. He felt guilty enough. He had let everyone down.

Damn! Damn! Damn! All he had wanted to do was disappear. All he wanted was to work anonymously at an anonymous job and be left alone. No chance for that now.

He had to do something, but what. All he had was the respect of his people and he was losing it.

Calm down. One thing at a time. He had to think. While he was thinking he had to sharpen his skills. This was going to call for some kind of action, that was certain. That thought came almost as a relief. He could feel the restrictions of civilization falling away. He could almost feel the freedom he had felt in the jungle again.

He went to his favorite place to relax. An arcade nearby had a booth in which he could shoot an air rifle that shot BBs. It was fifty shots for a dollar. He never went to regular firing ranges because they kept careful records of who was firing. They even required identification.

Anyway the BB guns were more challenging. There was nothing more difficult than a snap-shot at a moving string with a BB gun. Some of the targets were on hooks at the end of strings. Kincaid’s goal was to get the target bouncing so violently that it came loose and fell. Hitting the string caused the most radical bounces. Hitting the string while the target was already bouncing often made it come loose.

The girl at the booth hated to see him come. It meant work. Kincaid did like to leave while any target was standing or hanging. She had to cleanup after him.

This time, when he finished, he had the beginnings of a plan. He had the weapons. He had the manpower. He knew where the money was, the big money.

General Trinh would not be delivering papers for much longer.

(This continues in the archives at Nov. 30 2004.)

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Sunday, April 02, 2006


I’m going to start posting a novel here. Most of it I will put deep into the archives, perhaps Nov. of 2004. This will be perhaps the 4th draft. I’m posting it in progress because it’s safer on the internet than in my computer. If my computer crashes I’m screwed.

Baseball season has started but, if it’s like last year, we won’t have games on TV here in Thailand until the basketball season is over. It seems to be a one American sport at a time policy. They will show 8 soccer games in a day but only one American sport in a particular week. Oh well, it’s their country, I’ve heard

On the subject of TV, The Road Runner cartoons on the cartoon channel here in Bangkok are exactly the same as in the US. They have no subtitles and no dubbed language. Perhaps because there is no speaking.
I thought you’d like to know.

I’ll never understand why Americans got so down on polyester. It’s strange how something so useful could go so out of favor. Here in Thailand there is nothing better to wear than thin polyester slacks. They keep their crease, wear like iron and are cool, (in the temperature sense).
My best, most comfortable slacks here were purchased from Haband.
Shorts are very rarely worn here. I think they are frowned on.

The two English language newspapers here are already proclaiming a defeat for Prime Minister Thaksin in yesterday’s election. All other news sources merely report that the votes are still being counted.