Nov 272011


“After a day or two of riding, our troops were terribly saddle sore, to the point of serious disability. To ease the friction, we sent in a hundred jars of Vaseline. But in Afghanistan the dirt is a fine dust and it’s everywhere; it lingers in the air and covers you from head to foot. This fine dust collected on the Vaseline; instead of helping, it converted the Vaseline into sandpaper. Now their legs were being cut up. What they really needed were chaps, like cowboys wear. But there wasn’t time to measure them for chaps. So we decided on pantyhose. We sent over two hundred pairs. If it worked for Joe Namath in Superbowl ’69, why not for our troops? Lo and behold, it worked like a charm. The pantyhose saved the day.”

Mike Delong, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command

The photo of the Bush gals is from the cover of a Ladies Home Journal. The quote is from “In the Graveyard of Empires” by Seth G Jones c. 2010 W.W. Norton & Co. Seth Jones found it in a book by DeLong called “Inside Centcom.” I have been doing some ‘light’ reading about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. One conclusion I have come to is that they were/are seriously underfunded and poorly planned, mostly due to a lack or consensus and resolve on the part of Washington. I have only managed to get through three or four books on the subject, so I won’t say more than that. Sebastian Unger’s “War” was riveting and informative, if a bit Hawkish. An equally well-executed book, “The Good Soldiers” by David Finkel, includes enough graphic detail about victims of IEDS to get you out of your house and marching in protest. The Bush ladies are certainly lovely, though, aren’t they? They did not start either war, or course. I just think they are lovely. There’s another one hiding back there, too, with just her arm showing. I cropped her, unthinkingly.

Nov 252011



As I roved out one bright May morning
To view the purple heather and flowers gay
Who should I spy but my own true lover
As she sat under yon willow tree
I took off my hat and I did salute her
I did salute her most courageously
When she turned around
And the tears fell from her eyes
Saying ‘False young man, you have deluded me
Three diamond rings for love I gave you
Three diamond rings to wear on your right hand
But the vows you made, love
You went and broke them
And married the lassie that had the land.’
‘If I married the lassie that had the land, my love
‘Tis that I’ll rue until the day I die
But when fortune calls few men can shun it
I was a blind fool was I’
Now at night when I go to my bed of slumber
The thoughts of my true love run in my mind
When I turned around to embrace my darling
Instead of gold ’tis brass I find
And I wish the Queen would call home her armies
From the West Indies, Americkay, and Spain
And every man to his homeland would run
And I in hope that we’d meet again



This photo is hard to “read” because it’s a black-and-white copy of a black-and-white copy. It’s a picture of two women in Afghanistan who have just voted. You can’t see the ink on their fingers, which is apparent in the book where I found it: In the Graveyard of Empires. The lyrics are from a traditional (Irish?) folk song covered by Jane Siberry on Hush, a lullabye recording. The song is about lost love (think Katy Perry “The One That Got Away”), but it is also a song about empire and colonialism. Jane Siberry covered it before she went through “the change” and reinvented herself as Issa (a form of Isaiah).

I am a fan of Jane Siberry from Wim Wenders days. I looked away for a couple of years . . . when I looked back, she had undergone a Prince-ific life transformation which continues, as far as I can tell from her latest release. What kind of loose leash does a persona have to be on to seriously follow that kind of thread? What kind of restless culture scratches around in The Course in Miracles and trends toward the gluten-free? Too many choices, versus none at all. What would identity be like if it were governed by the state and dressed in hoods and robes? Music is vital. The end.