Thursday, February 25, 2010

A European War

The Irish vs. The French  (h/t WoFat)

The French President is sitting in his office when his telephone rings.

'Hallo, Mr. Sarkozy!' a heavily accented voice said. 'This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Clare, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you! We voted to reject the Lisbon treaty!'

'Well, Paddy,' Sarkozy replied, 'This is indeed important news! How big is your army?'

'Right now,' says Paddy, after a moment's calculation, 'there is myself, me Cousin Sean, me next door neighbour Seamus, and the entire darts team from the pub. That makes eleven!'

Sarkozy paused. 'I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100,000 men in my army waiting to move on my command.'

'Begoora!' says Paddy. 'I'll have to ring you back.'

The next day, Paddy calls again. 'Mr. Sarkozy, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!'

'And what equipment would that be Paddy?' Sarkozy asks.

'Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy's farm tractor.'

Sarkozy sighs amused. 'I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armoured personnel carriers. Also, I have increased my army to 150,000 since we last spoke.'

'Saints preserve us!' says Paddy. 'I'll have to get back to you.'

Sure enough, Paddy rings again the next day. 'Mr. Sarkozy, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We have modified Jackie McLaughlin's ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Bar have joined us as well!'

Sarkozy was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. 'I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military bases are surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And -- since we last spoke, I have increased my army to 200,000!'

'Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!' says Paddy, 'I will have to ring you back.'

Paddy calls again the next day. 'Top o' the mornin', Mr. Sarkozy! I am sorry to inform you that we have had to call off the war.'

'Really? I am sorry to hear that,' says Sarkozy. 'Why the sudden change of heart?'

'Well,' says Paddy, 'we had a long chat over a few pints of Guinness and packets of crisps, and we decided there is no fookin' way we can feed 200,000 prisoners.'

Friday, February 19, 2010

American Journey

The Old Excuse for Present Failure:
by Charles Krauthammer

In the latter days of the Carter presidency, it became fashionable to say that the office had become unmanageable and was simply too big for one man. Some suggested a single, six-year presidential term.

The president's own White House counsel suggested abolishing the separation of powers and going to a more parliamentary system of unitary executive control. America had become ungovernable.

Then came Ronald Reagan, and all that chatter disappeared.

The tyranny of entitlements? Reagan collaborated with Tip O'Neill, the legendary Democratic House speaker, to establish the Alan Greenspan commission that kept Social Security solvent for a quarter-century.

A corrupted system of taxation? Reagan worked with liberal Democrat Bill Bradley to craft a legislative miracle: tax reform that eliminated dozens of loopholes and slashed rates across the board — and fueled two decades of economic growth.

Later, a highly skilled Democratic president, Bill Clinton, successfully tackled another supposedly intractable problem: the culture of intergenerational dependency. He collaborated with another House speaker, Newt Gingrich, to produce the single most successful social reform of our time, the abolition of welfare as an entitlement.

It turned out that the country's problems were not problems of structure but of leadership. Reagan and Clinton had it. Carter didn't. Under a president with extensive executive experience, good political skills and an ideological compass in tune with the public, the country was indeed governable.

It's 2010 and the first-year agenda of a popular and promising young president has gone down in flames. Barack Obama's two signature initiatives — cap-and-trade and health care reform — lie in ruins. Desperate to explain away this scandalous state of affairs, liberal apologists haul out the old reliable from the Carter years: "America the Ungovernable." So declared Newsweek. "Is America Ungovernable?" coyly asked the New Republic. Guess the answer.

The rage at the machine has produced the usual litany of systemic explanations. Special interests are too powerful. Filibusters stymie social progress. A burdensome constitutional order prevents innovation.

If only we could be more like China, pines Tom Friedman, waxing poetic about the efficiency of the Chinese authoritarian model, while America flails about under its "two parties ... with their duel-to-the-death paralysis." The better thinkers, bewildered and furious that their president has not gotten his way, have developed a sudden disdain for our inherently incremental constitutional system.

Yet, what's new about any of these supposedly ruinous structural impediments? Special interests blocking policy changes? They have been around since the beginning of the republic — and since the beginning of the republic, strong presidents, like the two Roosevelts, have rallied the citizenry and overcome them. (end Krauthammer)


The Tea Party movement in America is a grass roots cry for rational leadership at the national level. Barack Hussein Obama can't deliver it because he simply doesn't know how - or where to begin. His only job before politics was "community organizer" (rabble rouser). Our national reputation around the world is that of a country, poorly led. The Chicago Political Machine can't run Chicago without paid thugs and Illinois, which is bankrupt as California, is an example of epic failure.

The voters delivered the Democratic Party what it has been begging for: A Super Majority in the Legislature and a Utopian Socialist at the helm of state. And in a year, they spent more than George Bush did in the proceeding eight years with virtually nothing to show for it.

The Democrats shine a jaundiced eye on average Americans who can see plainly what they've done and bristle at the thought that their incumbent politicians (if polling is accurate) will be voted from office in November.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Sit There and Bleed

(h/t Opus #6)

A seventy year old white man on a bus is trying to avoid a conflict with a young black man, intent on carrying the fight to him.

Unfortunately for the black inner city person, the old white man knows how to throw a punch ---  leaving the inner city black man no option but to sit there and bleed.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Apologies to Blog Readers

I've been off the air/out of touch for the last week. A minor surgical procedure turned into a blood-born infection that is just now coming under control. All is well but it was a miserable week.

If I was an old horse, they'd just shoot me...

Monday, February 8, 2010

White Powder: On Sale Now

No, this isn't an ad suggesting you buy narcotics. My novel, WHITE POWDER, A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos is now on sale. AMAZON.COM (CLICK HERE)!

There is something 


about a secret

Back of the Book

Yes, in addition to soliciting your opinion, this is a shameless plug for my new novel,
WHITE POWDER: A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos

We all know the cliche, "You can't tell a book by its cover". I'm not sure whether or not that's true. I'm speaking, of course, of the BACK cover of the book. And here's my question. Would you rather read canned reviews by paid reviewers on the back of the book like this:

"Stunning masterpiece" - Time
"The novel of the year!" - The NewYorker
"Lambert's work is brilliant!" - Los Angeles Times
"A roller coaster ride through the war in Indochina." - Atlantic Monthly

Or would you rather read something about what's actually in the book? I really want to know. When I pick up a book at a book store I scour it to see what it's about and to try and determine whether or not I'd like it. But maybe reviews work better? What do YOU think? What prompts you to buy a book that you pick up?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


My grandson, Griffin at his first birthday party.

Me, at my first birthday party

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ice Cream Confection

In honor of the 44th President of the United States, Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream has introduced a new flavor: "Barocky Road".  Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and surrounded by nuts and flakes.

The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient. The nuts and flakes are all very bitter and hard to swallow. The cost is $100.00 per scoop.

When purchased it will be presented to you in a large beautiful cone, but after you pay for it, the ice cream is taken away and given to the person in line behind you at no charge. You are left with an empty wallet and no change, holding an empty cone with no hope of getting any ice cream. Are you stimulated ?

Tough Rig

The vehicle is called an MRAP

Mine Resistant/Ambush Protected vehicle - and it's the latest thing in the US arsenal. In this incident in Afghanistan (note the lush land we're fighting for in background) the ten men the vehicle carried were unharmed and the driver had minor injuries. If this had been your pick-up truck, the results would have been different.

above - an MRAP (bomb proof vehicle after hitting
a 500 lbs land mine in Afghanistan)

below - an MRAP that is not blown up.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Snowstorm in the Middle of the Mojave Desert in March.
My daughter, Heather, was cold.
Cross-country in the Mojave Desert.
Hell Freezes over (Hell's Gate, Arizona)

Soda Lake (near Baker, California)

Off camber on a steep hill (Arizona).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Day

Today, February 2, 2010

Punxsutawney Phil, ace forecaster emerged from his tree stump burrow in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to see his shadow. Thus, there are six weeks more of winter to look forward to.

photos displayed are current for today's emergence of Phil, the groundhog

But is that all there is to it? 


According to German folklore of the Pennsylvania region, higher temperatures trigger hormonal changes in the testosterone levels of male groundhogs, which wake them from hibernation and send them out with other males to do battle for mating rights. So, they're not looking for their shadows. They're looking for amorous lady groundhogs.

February second is also known as Candlemas Day or the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, the day Mary first came to the temple for ritual blessings following the birth of the infant Jesus, and celebrated since the Middle Ages by the sacramental lighting of candles.  Hence the old Scottish couplet which long predates the American groundhog tradition: "If Candlemas dawns bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year."

And then there is they cynic's view of this proud day in Punxsuatawney. That of a pitiful spectacle.
"With one nod from a filthy rodent best known to pest control agencies, a moribund old coal mining hamlet turns magically into the Lourdes of Pennsylvania, Mecca to thousands of people who, if they hated the winter so damned much, why don't they move to Florida, anyway?" - Groundhog Day (The Movie)

Monday, February 1, 2010


For the sake of my kids who read this, I stumbled across this photo of me, age 17, holding a pheasant I shot in the back yard of my grandmother's house. I recall the day and asking her to pluck and clean the pheasant for supper. For those of you who knew my grandmother, you will know it was a polite request, not a demand. She suggested that I do it myself so I did. I made her take this picture first.

The bird took a fair load of #7 shot...and I ended up picking some pellets out of the bird as I ate it. I've never been fond of pheasant (all dark meat) and I didn't know how to cook it, so it was tough as shoe leather.

However, since I stalked it and flushed it in the back yard, I was proud of my kill so had to eat it. After that I shot them in the head from my bedroom window with a .22 and gave the fresh kills to neighbors.

Note the dirt road in front of the house. They're paved there now, but yes, I did have to walk a mile to school on dirt roads when I was a kid...

The Process of Publishing

Taking a novel from concept to print is really a difficult process for a writer. (keep in mind that an "author" is a writer with a friend in the publishing business -- by definition) A writer with no influential friends, remains a writer.  And occasionally writers find other struggling writers and when their lives touch, it's almost an epiphany.

Last week I was called to jury duty and spent a wasted day in the lunchroom of the Riverside Courthouse waiting for a call that would never come. There were a host of other citizens serving that duty, grist for the machine. As it happened, I sat next to another man, maybe a few years older than me, who also wrote. He asked me what I was reading. I told him I was going over a proof copy of my book, making final corrections before it went to press. And one thing led to another.

Misery loves company. Writing a novel is not a process of collaboration. It is one soul's adventure of introspection in a process of creation of a work, entirely unique, which reflects one view you may have of the world. Writers who become authors (they find an angle on the publishing business) understand that the world is fickle and to find love and appreciation in the hands of the Great Unwashed, you must pander to the mob in your writing efforts. Mass market, means MASS MARKET. A book that appeals to the masses.

When you read WHITE POWDER, you'll find the necessary sex and violence -- and maybe you'll like the story too. It does build to a conclusion so don't skip ahead. And for writers who may read this blog, you are not alone in your individual quest for creative recognition.
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