Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Put down your shovel and pick up a computer, Biden advises coal miners

“Anybody who can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well,” Biden said Monday during a campaign event in New Hampshire. “Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for god’s sake!”

Just remember: The smartest man in the world picked Biden as his vice president.

St. Petersburg dark, but warmer than usual

City had 2.5 hours of sunlight in December, sprinkled over four days.

However: “Despite the month-long darkness, 2019 was among the warmest years on record, the 78.ru news channel quoted St. Petersburg’s chief forecaster Alexander Kolesnikov as saying.

Y’all ain’t got no ribs? BANG! BANG!

By ABC7 Staff | December 30, 2019 at 12:09 PM EST - Updated December 31 at 8:49 AM

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A brother and sister are facing charges of attempted murder after a drive-by shooting in Sarasota.

Police say shortly before 3:15pm on December 22, near the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Maple Avenue, the victims had stopped their vehicle in the roadway and were speaking with a person selling ribs along the roadside to find out if there were any left.

According to the victims, the two people in the vehicle behind them, later identified as 23-year-old Rajanique Graves and 17-year-old James Phillips, who are brother and sister, became angry.

After learning the ribs were sold out, the victims continued forward and when they reached Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Coconut Avenue, the victims say Phillips pointed a large gun out of the window of his vehicle and fired two shots at their vehicle.

One victim, who is pregnant, was struck in the left forearm and the bullet continued through her arm into her stomach.

After the shots were fired, the suspects fled.

The victims called 911 and had friends drive them to the hospital. Both are expected to survive their injuries.

Police say Phillips and Graves were arrested without incident during a traffic stop on Friday, December 27 near the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and U.S. 301.

Both were transported to the Sarasota County Jail.

Phillips is facing charges of Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle and Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. Graves is facing charges of Principle - Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, Principle - Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle and Principle - Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. These are Principle charges because Graves is believed to have been the driver of the vehicle.

Link at knuckledraggin.com

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Just wondering

I saw a poster that said, “Have you seen my cat?” So I called the number and said I hadn’t. I like to help where I can.

(That was stolen. This one is all mine.)

Like those things that say, “Have you seen me?” Do people get mad if you call and say, “No, I haven’t seen you”?

Need the Wayback Machne

My wife was watching "Say Yes to the Dress." I was kind of watching now and then and grew a little questioning about one of the brides, who looked kind of old to be wearing white and paying $5,000 for a wedding dress. Then the scene switched to her to-be "wife." Yep.

I said to my wife, "If we could go back a hundred years and tell our grandparents that in our time in this country, the US of A, women married women and men married men, they would tell us to shut up and stop saying things that would never be allowed."

Know why the Bible warns against such things? First, because such so-called marriages are an abomination; second, because God knew those things would happen when mankind stopped reading his words.

That's the way I drive

You'll hit every cone on the highway before I let you merge in front of me, because you saw that sign two miles ago just like I did.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Russia's super duper really, really fast missile

They're lying. An ICBM that goes 27 times the speed of sound. Or, 20,709 mph. Or, 33345 kph. 

Years ago, sometime in the early 1960s, in a Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square. the then-Soviet Union had in its drive-by military hardware a mobile intercontinental missile, a big dude on a big trailer, pulled by a big vehicle. Western intelligence agencies went nuts trying to figure out how had the Reds made that thing in such secrecy? 

Several years later, a defector gave the answer: The thing was a fake. The tractor vehicle was real, as was the missile trailer. But the missile  body? Empty. Yep. There was no mobile ICBM.


The Reds were just as good at lying about non-existent missiles as they were at covering up the deaths of millions from starvation in the Ukraine in the 1920s.

That's a thing about Russians, Red or nowadays ones. They lie. It's as much a part of the Russian psyche as is drinking too much vodka.

Older, but not bolder

Read this on knuckledraggin in comments on being older and the ability to run and shoot: “I’m like a tank with a track blown off, I can pivot and shoot, but the fight will likely start and end right here.”

Friday night Florida lights

Last night my wife, our oldest son, our daughter and I took in Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, managed growths of native Florida, tropical and sub-tropical plants, and epiphytes. For Christmas, the place was lighted in holiday style.

The journey through leafy jungle plants and stands of bamboo was similar to walks I experienced 50-plus years ago, but this time much more safe. The previous walks I enjoyed as well, viewing plant types I had seen only in movies.

I remember a morning in armored cavalry assault vehicles (ACAVs), moving along a dirt road and coming upon a sight people would have paid money to see – off to the right front morning, mist rising from a narrow stream, drifting through large leaves of tropical plants. The mist would burn off as temperatures became warmer and then hot, but for a few minutes, the scene was of peaceful tranquility.

On parts of the walk through Selby Gardens, Sarasota Bay is visible, with thirty or so sail boats of various sizes anchored. I mentioned that the scene would be better if the long bridge were gone. “Oh, no,” my daughter said. “That’s the way I get to work.”

Progress. The world depends on it.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Germans moving to Hungary for safe life

From Daily News Hungary

By Kitti Tordai

More and more German citizens are moving to Hungary to live in peace and security – reported by hirado.hu.

The Hungarian news portal interviewed Tanja Weber, who celebrates her first Christmas in Hungary. The German woman moved to Zalakom├ír three months ago; as she says –

“In Germany, I lived in constant fear, I got frightened only by hearing steps behind myself on the street”.

She added that it already occurred that someone had been following her, but fortunately, she managed to enter the house in time; however, the final straw was when a migrant almost raped her.

“A short time ago, three Syrian men almost raped me. I wanted to sell a sofa; that is why they contacted me, but I still cannot speak about the details. I wanted to report it to the police, but they said I had no chance to win as they were three against me”– said Tanja Weber. This was the time when she decided to leave Germany as soon as possible, as she wanted to live happily in peace and safety.

Tanja Weber’s daughter does not feel well in Germany either; accordingly, she plans to move with her family to Hungary within one year.

Among their friends, several people are already living in Hungary or plan to move to the country.

Another German family bought a house two years ago in the town of Csapi, Zala county. The property has been renovated since then. Steffen Richter previously dealt with personal protection; in 2015, he already recognised that mass immigration would lead to unpredictable consequences.

As he says: “Germany is moving towards Islamization. The government does not know, and probably does not want to protect the population”. He also adds that Germany’s economic decline is noticeable – hundreds of thousands of people are dismissed; while according to politicians, there is a labour shortage, that is why immigrants are needed in the country.

Richter’s family was not separated by the moving, as his brother lives near to Kaposv├ír. They also have several friends – so far, they have helped three German families to move to Hungary, the fourth family is coming in January.

As they say, by the passage of time, they are less and less homesick; they consider Hungary as their new homeland, where they hope they can live in safety. Source: hirado.hu


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Something I would like to have written

“I had a lot to learn and nothing at all to prove.” – David Drake, ‘Though Hell Should Bar the Way’

Merry Christmas

That's all.

Probably didn't happen

An Orvis Orientalis ram walked up to a similarly gendered Connochaetes Bovidae and asked, “What’s gnu?”

“Not much,” the Connochaetes replied. “What’s gnu with ewe?”

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Michigan County threatens to demolish Amish homes

ACLU Sues To Stop Michigan County From Demolishing Amish Homes

Posted on December 19, 2019 in Amish Controversies

In August we learned that a Michigan county had deemed Amish homes “unfit for human habitation.”

The reason? Outhouses and lack of running water, which created what were described as unsafe living conditions.

Eviction loomed, and jail and fines were possible. There was even a threat of the homes being bulldozed.

Now the Lenawee County Health Department has been sued by a team of attorneys representing 14 Amish households, as reported in the Toledo Blade.
The purpose is “to halt Lenawee County officials from demolishing Amish family homes.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is helping a private Ohio law firm in this case. They assert discrimination by the health department towards the Amish.

Amish did not want to sue at first. They changed their minds when they realized their homes might be destroyed. The lawyers here are working pro bono.

Link at knuckledraggin.com.

(I was nine years old when my family moved into a house with indoor plumbing. Before then, I can remember seven houses we lived in, each having an outhouse far enough from the main house as to be a real trip during winter. All those houses had a well, from which we drew water with a rope, pulley and bucket. That first house with indoor plumbing also had a well, but we drew water only when necessary, such as an electricity outage. None of us ever got sick from an outhouse or from well water, nor did anyone we knew. Lenawee County’s argument is false. There has to be another reason the county government wants to get rid of its Amish, other than the stated aversion to outhouses.)

Christmas 1966

On Christmas morning 1966, my rifle squad of Aero Rifle Platoon of Air Cav Troop got on an M35A2 deuce and a half and rode to the northwest perimeter of Blackhorse base camp. There, near the camp burn dump, we were met by four soldiers from K Troop. They and we were to conduct a daytime reconnaissance of a hill that sat a kilometer or so northwest of base camp and set up an ambush that night.

The K Troop sergeant mentioned to Staff Sergeant Gene Boeher that his people had been on the hill before. “We’ll go to the east,” he said. “You can find a good place on the northwest side.” We parted ways then, with a return time of 2 p.m.

Grass was thick and high going up the side of the hill. We were careful in moving. In-country since Dec. 2, we were aware there were people who wanted to kill us.

The top of the hill would have made a nice park, placed somewhere else or in different circumstances -- tall oak trees, small open areas and jungle plants with large leaves. Sergeant Boeher announced that the area would be a good place from which to conduct reconnaissance, so we all picked a shady spot and took up prone position.

We stayed on the hill until just after 1:30 and then made our way to the agreed rendezvous point. The K Troop guys showed up. We walked back to base camp and went through the wire. The truck arrived and we got on and went back to Air Cav Troop area. After stowing machine gun ammunition and M79 rounds and Claymore mines, we went to the mess hall and had Christmas dinner. Just before dark, the four soldiers from K Troop arrived in the platoon area, and we got on the truck and returned to the burn dump and went through the wire and up the hill. We set up ambush at the same area of the hill top. Nothing happened during the night, so after daylight we went back to base camp.

The thing about the hill, from a military perspective, was you could see all of base camp from the top of the hill. Every tent, every bunker, the beginning of the air strip, the Huey gunships parked in the open.

In March, while the regiment was operating near Lai Khe, Viet Cong set up mortars on the hill top and fired on base camp for more than fifteen minutes, placing rounds on specific targets. A couple of days later, engineers went up the hill and cut down and burned every tree. The hill was ugly after that.

Homeless in college

Or on college campus, anyway.

"While an unwoke individual might be concerned that many homeless people are substance abusers, criminals, or mentally ill, a more enlightened and woke perspective would not find this troubling in the least. Integrating America’s homeless population with America’s college students would be a natural extension of 'inclusionary zoning' which has become a basic principle of progressive urban planning.

"According to the 'science-based' policy of inclusionary zoning, 'the role of inclusionary zoning is to encourage the development of affordable housing in low poverty neighborhoods, thereby helping foster greater social and economic mobility and integration.' If this is the policy being rolled out in America’s progressive towns and cities, certainly it can also be rolled out on the campuses from which these progressive concepts originated. College campuses are, almost by definition, 'low-poverty neighborhoods.'

Given their penchant for preaching to the unwoke, Progressive officials in the University of California system should welcome homeless criminals.

"Jerry Kang, for example, UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, during 2018 earned $468,919 in pay and benefits. In return for this lavish compensation, Kang and his devoted staff produced, for example, “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statements,” now required to be completed by all UCLA faculty applicants. Kang delivers talks on 'inclusion strategies,' and surely would love to include the homeless on his list of disadvantaged and underrepresented groups to bring on campus."

(Wow. Almost half a million dollars for being in charge of equity and inclusion. I am not certain what that title means, and I have a university degree, completed graduate school and worked on five daily newspapers in Texas.)

(I’d guess universities would fight equity and inclusiveness of homeless criminals, addicts, thieves and poopers, because, well, you know, “Not in my back yard.” Or, not in your free speech zone?)

Link at knuckledraggin.com.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Chattanooga intends to stop genocide in city

But, city officials will not say what constitutes “hate speech.”

Spokescritter Kerry Hayes: “City staff do not define hate speech, as that is not the purpose of the Mayor’s Council Against Hate or the Hatebase tool.”

So no one at City Hall knows what hate speech is. Oh.

“(R)esidents can submit sightings or incidents of hate speech they experience or witness. The city pulls this data nightly from Hatebase and adds it to a dataset used to monitor hate speech in the community.”
“The City of Chattanooga is one of the first local governments that Hatebase has partnered with in the U.S.,” the paper reported.
“Hatebase originated from the Sentinel Project, an international nonprofit based out of Toronto that works to prevent genocide and mass atrocities through engagement and cooperation with victimized populations across the globe.”

Link at knuckledraggin.com

Sunday, December 22, 2019


It took Melania days to hang all the bulbs on the White House Christmas tree. When Hillary was first lady, the bulbs hanged themselves.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Pick the Nazi

One is Swedish, the other is German. One would dictate everyday life for all the world’s peoples. The other would not. Based only on physical appearance and attitude, I vote for the left one as the Nazi.

NY law officials follow Trump prediction on MS-13 gang

 “New York Prosecutors took down nearly 100 MS-13 gang members and associates in the largest take down of a violent street gang in New York’s history.
“MS-13 is a very violent El Salvadoran gang known for brutally murdering people, kidnapping and raping women and girls, extortion and terrorizing neighborhoods.
“President Trump in 2017 was outraged after two teenage girls in Suffolk County were kidnapped and brutally murdered by MS-13 gang members.
“’They kidnap, they extort, they rape and they rob. They prey on children, they shouldn’t be here,’ Trump said when he visited Suffolk County in July 2017. ‘It’s time for every member of M-S-13 to be in fear. Look over their shoulder. Look in their rear view mirror, because ICE and its partners are comin’ hard, and we’re comin’ strong.’

(Democrat Nancy) "Pelosi, however defended these monsters who rape and chop up young girls and said they have a ‘spark of divinity.’”
gatewaypundit linked from knuckledraggin.com

Friday, December 20, 2019

Probably aliens. Or Trump

A glass lid at a Russian museum mysteriously rose above the famous meteor that in 2013 exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk this weekend.
The 500-kilogram fragment, which was fished out of a lake several months after it crashed to earth, is on display at the city’s museum of South Ural history. The meteor caused window-shattering shockwaves and injured several hundred people when it fell.

“We have no explanation,” the museum’s director said.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Just another working day

A friend of my wife left home at 3:30 this morning in order to make a two-hour drive to reach a company she was to audit.

Two supervisors earlier this week told the woman she had to be at the business at 6 a.m. She could not be late.

The woman arrived at the company well before 6 a.m., only to find out the business was walled and gated. She did not have the entry code. In order to get inside, she had to flag down a security guard and produce identification as well as proof she was to audit the company today.

She finally made her way into the business’ building, only to be told no one was there other than security people. Two hours later, the people she was to work with showed up.

Oh, well, she said. She gets paid good money.

An unusual day at a country school

One day in eighth grade, the home room teacher called a girl to the front of the class. She put a hand on the girl’s shoulder and announced: “This is Mary’s last day in school. She is leaving tomorrow to get married.”

I thought: What? She can’t get married. She’s too young! We were all around 14, but I think Mary might have been a year older. I don’t remember ever talking to her, nor of her talking to me. I don’t even remember anything about her before that school year.

I don’t remember why, but I got the idea Mary’s parents had agreed that she could marry an older man.

I thought, too: She’s going to have sex.

I don’t remember anybody mentioning Mary again after that day.

Oklahoma bill will keep feds out of gun control in state

“The state of Oklahoma can legally bar state agents from enforcing federal gun control. Refusal to cooperate with federal enforcement rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

“Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on five Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. U.S. serves as the cornerstone.

“’We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.’”

Link at woodpilereport.com

Wanted: New boat driver

Ridiculously expensive yacht hits bridge opening in St. Maarten.

“According to yacht hobbyist site Superyacht Fan, the vessel is 282 feet long and features a movie theater, multiple bars and a spa. Currently owned by Pakistani billionaire Alshair Fiyaz, the ship was built for Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for $120 million in 2004.

Link at knuckledraggin.com.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Today would have been my father's 100th birthday

Daddy was born in Tarrant County, Texas. He grew up in Bowie County. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps several months before the Japanese attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was discharged in December 1945, three months after the end of the war. He was stationed at Ellington Field, Texas; Pratt Army Air Field, Kansas; at the Boeing School in Seattle; and on Okinawa. He worked from the time he was 10 until he died at age 69. He loved his family. He raised us kids to be honest. He hated thieves and liars.

(The first post of this somehow got a Dec. 17 date. Today, Dec. 18, is the correct date.)

If you can carry it out of the store, it’s yours

California and Chicago don’t prosecute thefts of under $1,000.

From American Digest and CWBChicago:

Video posted to Facebook this weekend shows four adult shoplifters casually strolling out of a Lincoln Park store with as many coats as each one can carry. Meanwhile, a stunned store worker trails behind, seemingly helpless to do anything about it.
Marshall's "just got they dumb ass got" Facebook user Binky GZ wrote in her Dec. 13 post. "They walked out this bitch with hella coats."
No doubt about that.
Video is rolling as the men walk past the check-out lines one-by-one with piles of winterwear.
The second thief has so many coats in his arms, he can barely see over the top of the stack as he walks.
But the third man has more style, preferring to keep his haul of about 10 coats neatly arranged on their hangers as he hot-foots it toward the door.

Link at knuckledraggin.com.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Homosexual ‘militants now call the shots at the Hallmark Channel’

“The Hallmark Channel, a lonely island of old-fashioned wholesomeness in a sea of degeneracy, continues to sink beneath the waves. Recently, we read that it had succumbed to LGBT bullies and plans to feature unnatural sexual relationships in its famous Christmas movies. Now it has caved again.

“Following intense criticism, Hallmark CEO Mike Perry is apologizing after the Hallmark Channel pulled multiple ads for the wedding planning site Zola in which same-sex couples were shown kissing.
“’We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,’ Perry [whimpered] in a statement obtained by EW. ‘Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences.’”
Question for Hallmark: What is the percentage of homosexuals watching your heterosexual movies? Do you honestly believe you will pick up more heterosexuals by showing lesbians or queers kissing? Your weak morality on deciding inclusiveness and decision to “celebrate our differences” goes against God’s word that stood as a bulwark for thousands of years. If you do not know that, you are as dumb as your decisions indicate.

Place of duty--1

Place of duty--1

        Robert Kincaid came back to the war because of a woman. Kincaid told the story his fifth day with the platoon, the night of the day Hueys came to an LZ in the bush and flew the platoon to Fire Base Angelique.
        The platoon had been more than a month in the bush. All of us looked forward to down-time, even if comforts at Angelique consisted only of showers and a small PX tent. Water in the showers was warm if you got there in the afternoon, when the sun heated the steel containers that held water for the showers.
        Fire Base Angelique covered four hundred acres of a large clearing northwest of Tay Ninh City. Jungle surrounded Angelique. The jungle was not as thick as in Tarzan movies; large trees and underbrush mostly. A village once was in the clearing, and the cleared area had been rice paddies. The village was destroyed during the French war, almost fifteen years before. There were two wells where the village once was. Now, water purification trucks sat near the wells. The trucks were equipped with pumps and filters and chemicals to purify water pumped from the wells and into two large rubber-lined containers the size of swimming pools. The armored cav troops of Second Squadron and the artillery batteries each sent a water truck to the pools every day. Operators of the water purification detachment filled the trucks, and the trucks returned to the troop areas and battery areas and filled the shower containers and water trailers. In dry season, Chinook helicopters brought additional water in 500-gallon rubber blivets.
        Along with the cav troops and the rifle platoon, four artillery batteries occupied Angelique. The artillery batteries had 105-millimeter towed howitzers, 155-millimeter self-propelled howitzers, eight-inch howitzers and 175-millimeter long guns. The sixteen guns fired daily at pre-planned targets or on-call targets when units in contact with NVA or VC required support and at night fired harassment and interdiction (H&I) at places VC or NVA might use as assembly areas. The 175-millimeter guns sometimes fired on called targets in Cambodia.

Place of duty--2

Place of duty—2

        The afternoon of the first day the platoon was at Angelique, the troop supply truck made runs to the PX tent. Three large CONEX containers filled with cases of beer sat inside an area fenced off by concertina wire near the PX tent. The beer was Pabst Blue Ribbon, Hamm’s, Carling Black Label and Miller High Life. Two other CONEXes held cases of soda -- Fresca and Tab mostly -- and a few cases of Coke if you got there early enough. Every soldier had a ration card and could buy two cases of beer a week. That first day, Hunter and Wizard volunteered to buy beer. Billy D, Kincaid and I bought sausages, beef jerky, crackers and cookies. Bull and Snooze would buy beer and things next day. After settling in the squad tent and cleaning weapons and scraping mud from jungle fatigues and exchanging worn clothing for new sets, we waited for dark. Sergeant Reid and the LT wouldn’t let us drink during the day.
        After supper, Bull and Snooze went off to the NCO club, a large tent with a plywood floor and a bar, a dozen or so tables with chairs, and a stereo system. The other five of us in Second Squad went to the bunker beside the tent. Wizard went inside the bunker and passed up a poncho buttoned together and the neck hole and bottom string tied and the poncho filled with beer and ice. Kincaid and I had scrounged the ice from the mess tent. Outside the wire, there were beer stands, small businesses run by Vietnamese civilians. Those places sold ice in long blocks made at ice houses in the nearest big town and brought to the stands in Lambretta cycle buses or trucks. The blocks of ice the Vietnamese sold were packed in rice husks for insulation and always had bits of rice husk stuck to them, even though the Vietnamese washed off the ice before selling it. Nobody put ice bought at the stands in a canteen cup, but ice from mess halls was declared clean for our use. That night, we didn’t intend to put ice in our canteen cups, but it was good to have clean ice and not the Vietnamese kind made with water from who knew where.
        Billy D took the poncho from Wizard and lay it on top of the bunker. He untied the string at the neck of the poncho and passed out cans of cold beer. Hunter always had the church key, and he passed it around. Everybody took that first sip of beer, the best sip, and lit cigarettes, except Kincaid. He didn’t smoke. “Bad for your health,” he said when somebody offered him a cigarette his first day with the company. Hunter laughed when Kincaid said cigarettes were bad for your health. “Sheeit,” Hunter said. “You see anything around here ain’t bad for your health?” Kincaid had smiled and said, “No sense pushing the odds.”
        We sat on the bunker in a kind of half circle, facing out, and Hunter sitting on the middle top of the bunker beside the poncho. The beer was good, and the cigarette I smoked didn’t have that funky taste of out in the bush when the day was too hot and I’d already smoked too many cigarettes. In the bush, the only good cigarette was the first one of the morning, when I drank C-ration coffee from my canteen cup, or coffee cooked at the mess tent and brought out in a mermite can with the rest of breakfast when we got a hot meal.
        Nobody said anything for a while. The heat of the day was mostly gone. Night wasn’t yet dark enough for people on the perimeter to get spooky and start firing at VC who weren’t there or pop hand-held flares to try and see the VC who weren’t there. The night was too early, too, for VC sappers who were there somewhere to sneak through the wire. VC sappers were good at that, usually waiting until after midnight, when people in the perimeter bunkers were sleepy. Sappers got through wire maybe fifty percent of the time. The really serious sappers stripped naked and eased between concertina and underneath tanglefoot, dragging satchel charges. When past the bunkers, good sappers would throw satchel charges into command bunkers if they found any. Ammunition dumps made good targets, too. Anything behind the perimeter bunkers was a good target, even if what blew up was a squad tent full of sleeping soldiers. Sappers hadn’t tried the wire at Angelique for a month or so.

Place of duty--3

Place of duty—3

        After a while, Hunter said, “We need more people. We’re short three.”
        Billy D said, “Shoot, I heard in the armored cav, sometimes they go out, they only got three people on the tracks. Supposed to have four, but they go out with three and nobody on one of the machine guns.”
        “You need somebody on all your guns,” Wizard said. “I wouldn’t want to go out, not have somebody on a gun.”
        Hunter said to Kincaid, “You’re the first new guy we got in two months. Course, you’re not exactly a new guy.”
        “I guess not,” Kincaid said.
        None of us knew much about Kincaid. He’d done a tour with the Americal, farther north. He was from Virginia, and the five days he spent in the bush before we came in to Angelique, we could tell he knew what he was doing.
        Billy D asked, “How was it in the Americal?”
        Kincaid took a sip of beer. “Fucked up. We worked a lot of villages. There’re more villages up north, especially near the coast. You go in a village, everybody hates you. They don’t look at you. It’s like you don’t exist.”
        “Hearts and minds,” Hunter said, and Kincaid laughed.
        “Fuck,” Wizard said, and the disgust in the word was our disgust. He made a weird laugh. “Like folks say, you grab em by the balls, their hearts and minds got to follow.”
         Kincaid said, “Where there aren’t villages, you get mines. Lots of mines. Sometimes it seemed we lost a man a day, people not watching where they put their feet. Down here, there aren’t many villages. You see somebody in the bush, most likely he’s NVA.”
        Wizard laughed. “When he’s dead, he’s NVA.”
        “There is that,” Kincaid said.
        Hunter asked the question we all wanted to ask. Hunter was that way. There was nothing oblique in his approach to anything. “Why’d you come back?”
        There was irony in Kincaid’s laugh. “Well, you might say it was because of a woman.”

Place of duty--4

Place of duty—4

        We paid attention then. All of us. Nobody in the squad had seen a round-eye since two doughnut dollies came to Angelique two months past. The girls were kind of cute, and they had light brown hair and eyes that smiled. They laughed a lot, too, and it had been far too long since anybody heard a girl laugh.
        “Uh-hunh,” Hunter said. “This woman, she had a boyfriend, maybe a husband, hunh. That’s the only reason a man’d come back to this shit.”
        “She was divorced,” Kincaid said. “I don’t know if she had a boyfriend.”
        Billy D said, “She was a older woman.” He shook his head. “They say a older woman, she knows what she’s doin.”
        “Who says that?” Wizard said. “Who’s this ‘they’ everybody talks about?” He turned in Billy D’s direction. Wizard and Billy D were always jawing at each other. “Somebody you know screwed a older woman, told you she knew what she was doin? Must’ve been somebody you know, cause I know you ain’t had no older woman.”
        Billy D couldn’t let the remark go by. “Hey, Man. You don’t know who I screwed, who I ain’t screwed. Maybe I screwed a older woman, that’s how come I know they know what they’re doin.”
        “You ain’t screwed a older woman, Billy D,” Wizard said. “I know you, Man. If you’d ever screwed a older woman, you woulda told us.”
        “Well, maybe I keep some shit to myself,” Billy D said. “Maybe I don’t tell you everythin.”
        “Sheeit,” Wizard said, but Hunter stopped the argument.
        “You two shut the fuck up,” Hunter said. “I asked Kincaid a simple question, you two butt in. I ain’t asked neither one of you shit, and you got to argue like what you think is important.”
        Wizard drew on his cigarette. Billy D sucked beer and then crumpled the can. “He started it. All’s I said ...”
        “I don’t care,” Hunter said. “Shut the fuck up and let Kincaid answer the question.”
        Kincaid smiled. “What was the question?” he said, and we all laughed, except Wizard and Billy D. Kincaid got another beer. Hunter passed the church key. “Thanks,” Kincaid said. He punched holes in the can, then handed the opener back to Hunter. “Like Billy D said, she was an older woman. About thirty-three, thirty-four. Somewhere in there.” He sipped at his beer and stared into the night.
        Wizard broke the silence. “What’d she look like?”
        “Tall,” Kincaid said. “Maybe five-foot eight. Slender. Red hair, green eyes.”
        “Man,” Billy D said. “A red-headed woman. They say ...”
        Hunter jumped in before Wizard could start the argument again. “Shut up, Billy D.” He turned toward Kincaid. “Tall woman, huh.”
        “Yeah,” Kincaid said. “She was a fine looking woman.” He sat on the edge of the bunker, his hands inside his knees. “I’ve always had a weakness for fine looking women.”
        Hunter laughed. “Who doesn’t?”
        “The thing is,” Kincaid said, “I just can’t turn down a fine looking woman.”
        “Well, shit,” Wizard said. “You Rudolph Fuckin Valentino or somethin? Women always crawlin all over you?” He looked up at me. “Tom, you ever turn any down? I mean, just because a girl ain’t some beauty queen or somethin?”
        I thought about the question a few seconds. “Nope. Don't remember ever telling a girl get lost cause she ain’t pretty enough.”
        Wizard laughed. “You took too much time thinkin, Tom. You been out with that many ugly girls?”
        “There ain’t no such thing, Wizard,” I said. “I mean, in my entire life of nineteen years, I’ve seen one ugly girl.”
        Wizard slapped a knee. “You ain’t been anywhere, then.”
        Hunter’s voice was quiet when he said, “Wizard.”
        “Kincaid has the floor.”
        “Okay,” Wizard said. “Okay. Go ahead on, man. Tell us how fine women always throwin themselves at you, you got to beat em off with a stick.”
        Billy D didn't let that remark pass. “Ol Wizard knows all about beatin off.”
        “Billy D,” Hunter said, “I swear, between you and Wizard ... You just like my sister’s kids. Both of you. Don’t know when to shut up. If I have to say anything else, I’m really gonna be pissed off.”
        Billy D raised a hand. “Okay, Man. Okay.”
        Hunter looked at Wizard. Wizard raised both hands. “I ain’t sayin nothin.”
        “All right,” Hunter said. “I think you can tell us the rest, Kincaid.”

Place of duty--5

Place of duty—5

        “There’s not all that much to it,” Kincaid said. “After I left the Americal, I did my thirty days leave and reported to Fort Riley. In the middle of Kansas. It wasn’t where I expected to go, and it damned sure wasn’t what I put on my dream sheet. There’s Belvoir in Virginia, Camp Pickett and A.P. Hill. But I get sent to Kansas. After a while, I got tired of Stateside duty. Regular army shit, you know? Spit shined boots and starched fatigues every morning. Inspections every Saturday morning. No training that meant anything. A notice came down, the army needed people for escort duty. I put in for it, got accepted.”
        “So,” Hunter prodded.
        “It was strange at home,” Kincaid said. “It wasn’t like I expected it to be. Everything was different. Everybody was different. It was like a place I’d been before, but it didn’t feel like home.” He took a long swig of beer.
        Billy D said, “You see any girls? Ones you’d been out with, I mean.”
        “Yeah,” Kincaid nodded. “I did. But they were different. I didn’t ask any of them out.”
        That was a thing we didn’t want to hear, the girls back home were different. What we wanted when we got home was for everything to be the same. Except maybe people would appreciate what we had done, look up to us a little. We didn’t want any of that war hero stuff like some of the people from World War II did when somebody mentioned a name and some guy would say, “Yeah, he was a hero in the war.” More than anything else, we wanted the girls to say, “Wow, you’re back,” when we got home.
        Nobody said anything for a while after Kincaid said the girls were different. I drank at my beer, lit another cigarette, then said, “What kind of escort duty did you do?”
        Kincaid looked at the dark ground. “Body escort,” he said. “Funeral detail.”
        “Shit,” Wizard quietly said.
        That was another thing we didn’t want to know about, didn’t even think about.
        Wizard quickly said, “I don't mean you were wrong to take that kind of duty, Man.”
        Kincaid nodded. “I know. It got me out of regular duty. Inspections, guard duty, field exercises.” He laughed. “The company I was in, half the guys had just got back, they’re waiting to get out, and the army had us pulling field exercises. I don’t know what war they were training for. It wasn’t this one.” He drained his beer, got another can and punched holes in the top. “It wasn’t bad duty, escort and funerals. Usually, there were eleven of us. An OIC or NCOIC, seven for the firing squad – three rounds each -- two flag folders and a bugler for Taps.” He laughed. “Remember what the drill sergeants used to say in basic? Fuck em all but nine. Six pallbearers, two road guards and one to count cadence? Sometimes we didn't need eleven. Sometimes the local VFW or American Legion provided the firing squad. Sometimes men from the guy’s family or his friends were pallbearers. Sometimes they’d have a kid from the high school band play Taps.”
        Billy D said, “My uncle J.T., his funeral was like that. The VFW did all that stuff.”
        “Yeah,” Kincaid said. “In towns where there was a VFW or Legion post, we were always invited for drinks. They wouldn’t let us pay. There were always girls and women, too. All dressed up. At the viewing and at the funeral. See, the service member’s body is never allowed to be alone. There has to be a soldier in uniform with the body at all times. That’s what the regs say, and that’s what we did. At least one of us was always with the body, even during viewing. That’s when it was worst, though. You get relatives there, and you know they’re asking themselves why it had to be him and not you. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, they’re always nice to you, but you know they’re wondering. I mean, we’re there, in Class A uniform, ribbons and all the accouterments, most of us with CIB’s, all of us with combat patches. We made it, why didn’t he? He couldn’t have done anything wrong that got him killed. Maybe somebody gave him an incorrect order, and he got killed following an order.

Place of duty--6

Place of duty--6

“Anyway, my last one, six weeks ago, we were in this little town in Nebraska. Spring Hill, or something like that. I had the midnight til oh-two-hundred shift at the funeral home. The funeral home owner gave Sergeant Miller a key so we could get in and out. All the family had gone home about ten. It was around twelve-thirty when I heard a knock on the back door. I wasn’t supposed to leave the room, but I figured maybe it was somebody who needed in the funeral home. I went to the back and opened the door. A woman stood on the step. She was all in black. Black dress, black shoes, a little black hat and a black purse. She said her name was Verna, and she was an aunt of whoever it was in the casket. She said she knew visitation was over, but she had just got to town and would it be all right if she just stepped in for a minute or two. I said, yes, ma’am, that will be all right. I locked the door when she was in. I led her to the room. She stood there, looking at the casket. She asked if I would open the top part. I said I couldn’t do that. It was one of those remains not for viewing things. I said it in a nicer way than that. She said she understood. She started talking then, about how when she was growing up she didn’t like the town. Right after she graduated from high school, she went to Omaha, attended business school there. She got a job, met a man and got married. She said it didn’t work out, so she filed for divorce. She hadn’t been back to Spring Hill since the divorce. Her sister, Jimmy’s mother, frowned on divorce, she said. We talked a little longer, and then she took off her little black hat. She pulled a pin from her hair, and all this red hair fell over her shoulders. She didn’t say anything, just took my hand and led me from that room and to another room, an empty room. There were chairs and a long couch in the empty room. One thing led to another, and pretty soon we both were naked and on the couch, going after it like we didn’t have a care in the world.” Kincaid drank at his beer.

Place of duty--7

Place of duty—7

        “Well,” Hunter said, “I ain’t sayin I agree with where you did it, but, hey, when you get a chance to get some, take it.”
        Kincaid nodded. “That’s what I thought.” He laughed. “Hell, when she took that pin from her hair and her hair just kind of spilled all over her shoulders, I wasn’t thinking at all. I knew what she wanted to do, and I wasn’t about to argue with her. Anyway, when it was all done and we lay there, breathing hard, I heard a voice from across the room. It was Sergeant Miller. I don’t know when he came in. Verna and I weren’t exactly paying attention to anything except each other. Sergeant Miller stood in the door, and he said, ‘You about done there?’ I didn't say anything, I just got up and started putting my uniform back on. Sergeant Miller said, ‘Who’s this? Some hide you picked up?’ Verna said, ‘I’m Jimmy’s aunt.’ She lay there on the couch, not at all embarrassed. Sergeant Miller was, though. He said, ‘Oh. Well, ma’am, I suggest you get dressed and allow Specialist Kincaid to return to duty.’ He walked out of the room. When I was dressed, I went back to the room where the coffin was. I guess Verna got dressed and left. Sergeant Miller was in the room with the casket. He didn’t chew my ass or anything. He just said, ‘You left your place of duty.’ I said, ‘Yes, Sergeant.’ He said he wasn’t going to mention any of what happened to anybody. There was no need to embarrass the family, he said. Then he said, ‘But when we get back on post, you will immediately apply for transfer. Somewhere, anywhere.’ He said the post personnel NCO was a friend of his, and the transfer would be expedited with unusual speed.”
        “Well,” Hunter said, “the Man don’t like it when you fuck up. And you did fuck up.”
        “I did that,” Kincaid said.
         Billy D said, “Ol Jimmy didn’t care. I mean, if he’d been in your position and you’d been in his, you think he’d of passed it up?”
        Wizard laughed. “Billy D, for once I got to agree with you. There ain’t a one of us wouldn’t have done what Kincaid did.”
        Kincaid said, “That’s not the weirdest funeral I was at. I mean, yeah, I screwed up, and I’m paying for it.”
        “What,” Wizard said. “You had a funeral and two women threw themselves at you?”
        “It wasn’t like that at all,” Kincaid said. “Two weeks before, we’d done a funeral at some little town in Missouri. We attended the services at the church, and when we were at the cemetery, the deceased’s mother came up to Sergeant Miller. I was standing nearby, and I heard her say there was a problem. Sergeant Miller asked what the problem was, and this woman said ... she said, ‘One of those soldiers is colored. We can’t have a colored soldier at my boy’s funeral.’”
        “No shit?” Hunter said.
        Kincaid nodded. “That’s what she said. I wanted to walk over and ask her what she thought her son might have to say about a colored soldier at his funeral. I mean, the dead guy was a grunt, you know? But, that wouldn’t have been the proper thing to do.”
        Hunter asked, “What happened?”
        “Well,” Kincaid said, “Sergeant Miller talked to the soldier in question, Specialist Sam Parsons. Parsons was from somewhere in Georgia. I don’t know what Parsons really thought, but he told Sergeant Miller that if it would make the mother happy, he wouldn’t participate in the service.” Kincaid drank at his beer. “Like I said, things are different back home.”