Sunday, July 31, 2005

As time goes by

I received an email earlier today asking me who wrote "As time goes by" from Casablanca.

It was written by Herman Hupfeld in 1939. Here is the complete lyrics.

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by
And when two lovers woo
They still say I love you
On that you can rely
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by
Moonlight and lovesongs never out of date
Hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny
It's still the same old story
The fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by

I love that song... So I'm a hopeless romantic.
Sue me! ;)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cruel and Unusual

I am just sick and goddamn tired hearing of the alleged "abuses" at Guantanimo Bay.

Who cares? I sure as shit don't. These people would gladly kill you and we're so fucking worried about offending them.

Fuck them.

I have a great idea. No more torture to get information. In fact, my idea is so great I'm surprised no one else has thought of it before.

It's fool proof.

Play the song "Muskrat Love" by The Captain & Tenniel over and over again, 24-7. That song heard just a few times would push anyone over the edge.

guaranteed every last stinking one of them will be spilling their guts out within seventy-two hours, giving up bin Laden or anything else the CIA wants to know.

I'm thinking of coming up with a CD I'll burn and send down to the interrogators at GitMo...

"Twenty Songs to extract information from the Terrorists, but not offend them in any way, shape or form"

1) Muskrat Love ~ Captain & Tenniel

2) Billy, don't be hero ~ Bo Donaldson

3) Achey Breaky Heart ~ Billy Ray Cyrus

4) (insert anything from Jennifer Lopez here)

5) Shadow Dancing ~ Barry Gibb

6) My Beautiful balloon ~ the fifth Dimension

7) Taxi ~ Harry Chapin

8) (insert anything from Pat Boone here)

9) Send in the Clowns ~ Judy Collins

10) Me and you and a dog named boo ~ Lobo

11) American Pie ~ Don McLean (This one is particularly vicious)

12) Sweet Caroline ~ Neil Diamond

13) (insert anything from Tony Orlando & Dawn here)

14) Escape (the pina colada song) ~ Rupert Holmes

15) Afternoon Delight ~ Starland Vocal Band

16) The Electric Slide ~ Marcia Griffin

17) The Macarina

18) (insert anything from Barbara Strisand here)

19) Leader of the Band ~ Dan Fogelberg

20) The theme to "Different Strokes" (if that don't push them over the edge, nothing will...)

Instructions: Play repeatedly, sit back, keep note pads and pens ready, information will spew out in moments...

Let me see the ACLU or Amnesty International bitch about that.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, July 29, 2005

Delivering quality?

Last Thursday I mailed a small package to a friend a few towns away. It wasn't that large, about six inches by ten inches, and not all that heavy, only about twelve ounces.

I sent this package first class but since I've never had any trouble getting anything I've mailed in the past to my friend at this address I didn't feel I needed to insure it or pay extra for tracking.

I thought wrong.

I get a PM from my friend this morning saying the package still hasn't arrived. It's been eight days now, and since this address is only about thirty miles from my post office, it should have gotten there by now. I went to my post office and the postmaster there said I can't file a missing mail report for thirty days. It would have been easier to drive up to my friend's house and drop it off myself. Things I've mailed to Australia have gotten there faster.

All this right after I sent in a questionnaire the USPS sent me last month, giving them a glowing review on their services, since I've never had a problem with my mail service before, besides getting other people's mail in my post office box constantly.


I'm a firm believer that no good deed goes unpunished.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I'm thinking of coming out with some t-shirts and sweat shirts with this little guy as my trade-mark/spokesdog.

In the bubble over his head, I've got a bunch of "Tomisms" I'd have him saying.

Here are a few of my favorites:

"Darwin was wrong!"

"What did you step in?"

"This is more fun than clubbing baby seals!"

"Piss up a rope!"

"Your family tree is a stick, isn't it?"

"Did your parents have any children that lived?"

You are a prime reason incest is illegal."

"Can I please have some coffee flavored coffee?"

"I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings!"

"It's a Dog-Eat-Dog world and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear."

"If Jesus was a Jew, why does he have a Mexican name?"

"Pissing off the entire planet, one person at a time... You're next."

"What was it you liked about me again? Was in my cutting sarcasm or acerbic wit?"

"You are sucking up air that I could be breathing!"

Ok, let's vote. What is your favorite? Let me know by email or comment. I'm really serious about this and would really like your input.

As an aside, the picture really was my dog, Fred, a Golden Retriever, whom I no longer have. At the time this picture was taken he was about eight months old and had just gone involuntarily swimming in a water tank when I was camping in Williams, Arizona. The name 'Fred' was an acronym for "Fucking Rediculous Eating Device" which fit him to a 'T'...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Ahoy there, Sailor!

Well, as the old "Village People" song said...

"In the navy, you can have a good time!"

It seems that this guy took that to heart... But forgot all about the US Military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Where'd they go?

One of the things I truly missed living in Arizona was the fireflies or lightning bugs on a summer evening. My younger sister and I would spend hours chasing them in my back yard and putting them in mayonnaise jars with holes punched it the lids to let air in. At the end of our hunts, we'd let them free and witness a explosion of blinking green light as they flew off slowly. It's one of my fondest childhood memories.

When I moved back east and settled here in West Virginia, again I was treated to the pleasant scene nightly as star-lit fields would come alive after dark with their flashing beacons.

That is until a few nights ago. I noticed that they were gone. I didn't see one of the little guys all night at work, nor did I see any last night. With the heat and humidity up as high as it has been, I'd expect to see thousands of them for as I remember, the hotter and more humid the night was, the more they'd flash their little lures...

But it seems like they're gone completely for some odd reason.

Has anyone else noticed them missing?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What are the chances?

I've finally figured it out. Why the Arabs hate us that is. Not just America, but Western Civilization.

Remote controls.

We have them, they don't. They hate us for having them so now they're blowing up busses and trains, flying aircraft into things (although someone should tell bin Laden this idea isn't all that original, the Japanese figured that one out in 1943) and committing all sorts of mayhem and destruction.

It used to be the Israelis were the prime target because even though the Arabs owned or controlled 99% of the prime desert real estate outside of Las Vegas, they wanted that little sliver of barren desert the Jews had that is about the size of the state of Delaware, and couldn't live without it and would blow up every man woman and child in the Middle East to get it.

That was right up to the time the Soviet Union imploded and the remote control revolution took hold.

Hamas, al Qaida, Hezbollah and the PLO then took a long hard look at what they were after and said "Fuck the Israelis! We want the remotes!

Akmhed wants the remotes. He wants to sit in his yurt with his seventy-two veiled wives who he has no idea what they look like watching Survivor and American Idol, or that hot new Arab college special, filmed live at Beirut University, "Goats Gone Wild III!"

In essence he wants to be just as pathetic and lazy as us here in the West.

Here's their chant:

"You dirty evil satans! Eaters of pork and pork by-products! Filthy consumers of alcohol and illicit drugs (but please oh please continue to buy our choice opium we grow in the hills of Afghanistan especially for you!) We want your remote controls now or we'll blow you all to Allah!"

Here's what I'm talking about. Friday morning shortly after I get up out of bed a guy I work with shows up at my place with a new in-the-box car stereo. He knew I was in the market for one and he has a way, shall we say, to get things way below wholesale.

He shows me this great car stereo, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, 10-band graphic equalizer, all the bells and whistles including...

A remote control.

What the fuck does a car stereo need a remote control for? We can't reach twelve Goddamn inches from the steering wheel to the dash any more? How fucking lazy are we now?

It gets better. I began to think... I remembered when I was shopping earlier this year for an air conditioner for my apartment, I saw one with a remote control. I thought you just turned them on and forgot about them. It's too cold, turn it down, not cold enough, turn it up for Christ's sake. I also saw a bedside alarm clock/radio with a remote control. How fucking absurd is that? You are to damn lazy to roll over and hit snooze, you have to use a remote?

It all started about thirty-odd years ago with the advent of the "Clicker" from RCA. Change channels from the comfort of your easy chair.

I'll tell you what. WE didn't have any 'clicker' in my house growing up, us kids were the damn clicker. The job of 'channel changer' was passed down like a Rite of Passage from sibling to sibling and we wore it like a Badge of Honor.

After dinner, we'd all gather in the living room in front of the Philco black and white TV my father bought in 1953 and then the fun would begin.

"Tommy, put on channel 10, Cronkite is coming on."

But sometimes the 'fine-tuning' function of the channel changer would be needed...

"Tommy, move the left rabbit ear to the left, the other left dumbass! Ok, good... Now the right one up straight. Jesus jumpin' Christ almighty! That's not working either! Go get some tin foil!"

Thank God we didn't have satellite then. I'd be up on the roof in a blizzard knocking snow off the dish.

We only had four channels then, the local ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates, and the PBS station out of Wilmington, Delaware.

End of fucking list.

No CNN, HBO, Cinemax, MTV, VH1. None of it.

None of this 500 channels shit. I had satellite TV in Arizona with 500 channels and still there was nothing on.

Now everything has a remote control. Have any of you been in a public restroom lately? Urinals and toilets that flush by themselves, triggered by a little remote control sensor. Spigots that turn on and off when you walk up to them. Paper towels are gone too. Just walk up to that little metal box on the wall, put your moist hands under the little vent and hot air blows out to dry them, again turned on and off by remote sensor.

I don't know about you, but I think I can manage to flush a toilet all by my self without any computerized assistance, thank you very much. Besides, those auto-flush hoppers are way to quick to flush for my liking anyway. You've just finished your business, pull your pants back up and VROOOSH!!!! Gone with absolutely no time to check things out.

Now wait just a Goddamn minute! I'm at the age when I need to check what I've left to make sure things aren't coming out that aught stay right where they were!

Was that my spleen swirling down the drain?

What's next? A little arm that will wipe my ass for me?

(guaranteed to get every single one of those pesky dingleberries or your money cheerfully refunded!)

Or another one that unzips my fly and pulls out my pecker, aims for me and when I'm done shakes it three times so I don't drip and put me away again?

(Thee times ONLY, that would have to be fail-safe set at the factory, lest some extreme right wing nut, remembering that old fourth grade adage; 'if you shake it more than three times you're playing with it!' decides it's a masturbation device and has it banned)

I do have to ad one thing here. Leave it to the French to give you another step in taking a dump. They use a bidet... What a bidet is, it's another commode-type thing that sits next to your regular toilet, and after you've pinched one off, you squat over the bidet and warm water sprays up to cleanse your privates, allegedly negating the need for toilet paper. How do you figure that? Unless you like a wet ass, you're still going to have to wipe, won't you? Leave it to a country that can't figure out how to keep the Germans out to think of that fucking brain fart.

I can see where the future is going with this one. Pretty soon we won't even need to use the restroom at all. We'll just hit a button on our remote control and Consuela in some Third World shithole will take a dump for us, all from the comfort of our barcalounger.

The things that were supposed to make our lives easier have made them worse. I was at a friend's house not to long ago for a cook out. His wife let me in the house and as I was walking through the living room and saw their two kids raptly watching the Bloomberg financial channel. These are kids ages nine and ten.

I had to ask, because I knew neither of them are destined for Wall Street...

"Hey guys, why are you watching that?"

"Because the remote is broken and the TV is stuck on this channel."


"Eh, guys, see those two little buttons on the TV? The ones with the 'up' and 'down' arrows on them? Try pushing those."

"Oh wow, Tommy! Thanks! We never knew you could do that!"

I'd like to show them an old rotary phone and see if they could figure it out. But to tell you the truth, I'm not sure which is more pathetic, the fact that they couldn't figure out how to change channels on their TV without the remote or the fact that they would rather zone out to Bloomberg financial that go outside on a nice day and play.

I've been accused of living in the past far to much and pining away for the "Good Old Days".

I think the reason is perfectly clear. As for the chances we'll survive another one hundred years as a species?

Those chances are remote.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Someone will burn in hell for this...

Check out the switchplate on the upper right...

Who the hell would think this was a good idea?

Anyway, speaking of my own personal Purgatory, I'm back from another fucked up weekend at the mine in Raven, VA.

Stay tuned, I have some doozies prepared for later this week!

Friday, July 22, 2005

When will I ever learn

NOT to pick up the phone when the caller ID says it's my boss?

Not only do I now have to go back to Raven, VA to that damn mine again this weekend, I've got to pull a sixteen hour shift there tomorrow, starting at 2 AM, then another shift Sunday, 6AM to 6PM.

I'm sick and tired of making that damn two hour drive one-way...

There's an El Cheapo motel a few miles down the road from the place in Claypool Hill, so I'm really tempted just to get a room there Saturday night just so I don't have to make that round trip after sixteen hours.

The things I do for overtime...

Shatner Sings!

Folks who've know me for a while know that music is a huge part of my life. Besides scribbling here and writing my novel, I spend a lot of time downloading music. I've got close to 4000 songs on my hard drive, from classical, big band, jazz, blues, classic rock, country...

I like all kinds of music and it just depends what mood I'm in to what I'll listen to. I even have a huge collection of "novelty" songs as Dr. Demento was a huge part of my childhood. Songs like "Pencil Neck Geek", "Dead Puppies", I'm a Blonde"...

Songs like that.

But I've just downloaded a bunch of songs that had me pissing myself laughing. Some original stuff, but a few staple songs like "If I Had A Hammer" and "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds"...

Sung by...

William Shatner of all people.

Yep, Captain Kirk.

If you get the chance, get yourself a copy of the CD "Shatner Sings!" and if you have a warped sense of humor as me you'll love it!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Another full moon

I should have known.

I had off from work last night, so yesterday instead of going to bed I decided to stay up for a while and get some things done, like the laundry and food shopping.

That didn't happen as I stayed up writing for a bit on my novel that'll never get published. So about 4 PM yesterday I shut down my computer and went to bed. I slept until about 2:30 this morning and it felt good not waking up to my alarm clock.

But now it was 2:30 AM, I'm wide away and have really nothing to do. Not that there's a whole hell of a lot to do in Athens at anytime.

So I grab a shower and get dressed and decide to go to the only place around that's open all night, the Omelet Shoppe in Princeton. I grab the newspaper out of the box in front of the place and head in, order up some coffee and read the goings-on in the rag and do the crossword.

Sitting in the booth behind me is three women, all in their mid-40's from the looks of it, and all had consumed more than their fair share of adult beverages from the sound of them.

One woman in particular was railing about her estranged husband, how he beat her and her kids, burned down her trailer, and since she was separated from him he had been stalking her.

I wasn't really trying to eavesdrop, but the way they were talking you couldn't help but hear everything. The woman with the psychotic husband kept getting up and playing sappy country songs on the jukebox and started giving me the eye every time she would stagger back to her friends.


I just wanted some eggs and hash browns, read the paper and do the crossword. Not to be the next chapter in some on-going soap opera.

So after the whole restaurant hears about her on-going troubles with hubby, they get up and leave. As soon as she gets into her car, the phone in the restaurant rings and the server answers. She then walks over to my booth and I think she's going to refill my coffee.

I thought wrong.

"Hey, are you single?" I'm asked.

"Who wants to know?"

"The girl who just left, the one with the short blonde hair..."

'You meant the little four foot tall troll with the psycho husband?' I though...

"Yes, I am single, but I'm not looking for anyone right now." I tell her, and with that she goes back to the phone and whispers for several minutes, and as she hangs up, I hear screeching tires in the parking lot and see the woman I've turned down burning rubber out of the lot. I guess I hurt her feelings by not finding her the most desirable woman on the planet and dropping everything in my life to fawn over her.

This is what I'm attracting.

Nut cases with other nut cases as ex-spouses.

I need that like I'd like to have root canal.

Next time I'll just stay at home, because I can't seem to get rid of this damn nut magnet I've got.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Homies, RFD

Ok. I'm about sick and tired of this whole "Ebonics" shit.

Last night at work I'm doing my checks and I come across a few kids up to no good. They tried to intimidate me with fucking ghetto talk.

"Yo dog, we juss chillin' no wha I sayin!"

What the fuck.

I'm not in the Badlands of Philly anymore. I'm in Athens fucking West Virginia.

"Ok, pal. You're on private property. Take a long walk off a short plank..." I tell them.

"Hey dog, you keep dissin' me an my homies I gonna pop a cap in yo' az!"

Here's where it gets interesting.

I walk right up to what appears to be the leader. I stand nose to nose to him and say in a voice just above a whisper:

"Ok asshole, here's how it's gonna go. I was a cop in Philadelphia for ten years. If you think I'm going to be intimidated by your ghetto talk you're sadly fucking mistaken. And, if you even think about pulling a piece on me it's you're gonna look mighty silly with it sticking out of your ass. You think you're so goddamn tough? I'd like to take all three of you little fucks up to 23rd & Lehigh Avenue on a Friday night and drop you off. You'd piss your pants. Look at you talking like gang members. I bet none of you have even been to East Beckley let alone East LA. Take a hike before we find out what kind of health insurance your mommy and daddy has for you!"

The leader was turning a very pale shade while I was up in his face and by the time I was finished all three of them were about two inches tall. The grumbled and shuffled away.

"And pull up your goddamn pants!" I yelled after them and in one last act of defiance flashed gang signs at me.

Gang signs in Athens. Shit, that's so fucking funny.

Goddamn hayseeds.

These kids have no clue what it's really like.

There's very good reasons I'm not in the city anymore, and the behavior they're trying so hard to emulate is a big reason.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A matter of privacy

I have a note on my front door held on by a magnet that reads PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB written in red. It's pretty plain to see and you've got to be a complete moron not to see it and have no respect for anyone else if you ignore it.

This is what the note says:

I work nights, which means I sleep during the day.
I don't knock on your door at 2 AM, so please do not
wake me in the daytime.

A little common courtesy is all I'm asking.


The tenant

Pretty straight forward and polite, if you ask me.

But what does my landlord feel the need to do incessantly?

He not only feels he can key himself into my apartment anytime he feels like it, he has his illiterate exterminator pound on my door at noon yesterday, scream "Bug Man!" then let himself into my apartment to spray for critters, waking me up out of a very sound sleep.

I've asked my landlord not to do this several times in the past due to my work schedule but he still insists on sending this shithead to my place when I'm asleep.

This guy is very lucky he didn't get shot for his trouble, but I really think he pissed his pants when he saw me standing au-naturale with a .357 magnum aimed at him.

So not only did my landlord raise my rent another $30 a month not long ago, he's bound and determined for me never to get any sleep, along with my extremely active next door neighbor. (I didn't have that much energy when I was 19 for Christ's sake! I'm wondering what drugs he's taking!)

So now I'm actively looking for a new place. Something with a little more privacy, and no neighbors. I'd never thought I'd say it but I sort of miss my house in Arizona, where my nearest neighbor was mile down the road.

On second thought, that used to happen quite frequently there too.

Right now I'm still seething over this. In over twenty years of living on my own I've never been treated with so little respect.

For the time being I'm going to start pushing my love seat in front of the door when I go to bed.

But the fact stands that I shouldn't have too.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, July 18, 2005

"A kiss is just a kiss...

... a sigh is still a sigh, the fundamental things apply, as time goes by"

I was feeling a little melancholy over the weekend, and Sunday morning I decided to watch my all-time favorite film, "Casablanca". I can’t really remember exactly how many times I’ve seen it, but I still keep returning to it like a well-worn dog-eared paperback. You can almost recite it verbatim you’ve read it so often, but it pulls you in like a moth to a flame.

Bogart’s character pulls me in like that.

It’s like looking into a mirror sometimes. I've been called a "Rough~Tough Creampuff" before, and I'll have to admit, I am a hopeless romantic at heart. Gruff exterior covering a heart of gold.

Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine is a man who stands alone and looks out for no one but himself. By holding onto that pitiless tough-guy persona he reveals to the crowd, he's able to hide emotion and stray away from heartache, which as the movie progresses, takes the focus away from the romance and the Nazis and places it on Rick's struggle to redefine himself.

But who is this Rick? What is his magical power? His secret weapon?

Rick is the anti-fascist with hard feelings, the former soldier of fortune who has grown weary of smuggling and fighting, and is now content to sit out the war in his own neutral territory... Even loyalty to a friend doesn't move him as he refuses to help Ugarte, (Peter Lorre) a desperately frightened little man of ill-repute who is running for his life...

Emphatically, Rick says, "I stick my neck out for nobody." But we know he will do just that in a very short time, for into his life comes a haunting vision from his past, the beautiful woman he still loves and bitterly remembers... She is married to an underground leader and she desperately needs papers of transit Rick now has in his possession...

The cynical Rick's facade of neutrality begins to weaken as he recalls the bittersweet memories of his past love affair, memories triggered repeatedly when the strains of "As Time Goes By" come from Sam, his piano-playing confidante... But Casablanca’s basic message is a declaration of self-sacrifice... War World II demanded all.

The words stated by Rick at the airport had their impact:

"The problems of three people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

It goes without saying that Bogart is incomparable when he seems most like himself... His way with a line makes "Casablanca" dialog part of the collective memory:

"Paris? I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray. You wore blue."

Besides the main character’s similarities is some ways a lot like me, lost and alone, erecting a wall around myself to insulate me from further heartache, but still with a caring and sensitive inside struggling to get out. It also lets me know that there really is hope out there, however elusive.

I know I’ll go on. I’m smiling a little broader today than yesterday, which is at least better than I was doing yesterday morning.

If you still haven’t seen Casablanca, do yourself a favor and rent it sometime. Pop a huge bowl of popcorn, curl up with someone you care about and enjoy it.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, July 17, 2005

It's just a game

This is just sick and wrong.

Mark R. Downs, of Dunbar, PA is accused of paying $25 to one teammate on his T-Ball team he was coaching to injure another disabled boy so the boy wouldn't have to play.


These are eight year olds you dickhead! Disabled or not, what the fuck would posses this asshole to actually pay to have this kid hurt? It's a bunch of kids for Christ's sake, and it's a Goddamn game! Let them play and have fun!

When I was that age, I played little league. I wasn't all that good, in fact I sucked. But my coach did what coaches are supposed to do.

He coached me, and through that coaching I played better. In fact, after a few years I became a pretty good 1st baseman and being a southpaw a fair pitcher. Because my coach coached me.

I know that's a unique concept.

Helping a kid play better is what you're supposed to do, not benching him or having one of his team mates whale him in the head with a baseball so he wouldn't play.

That's teaching teamwork and fair play, asshole?

I'll tell you this much. That coach better be damn glad he didn't do that to my kid (if I had a kid) because he'd have more to worry about that getting beaned with a baseball.

And some people still don't get it when I say society as we know it has no redeeming qualities.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, July 16, 2005


You sometimes don't know how important some things are to you until they're gone.

This blog for instance. It started out as just an occasional rant for me, I was going through a rough period around Christmas and New Year's and it was (and still is) kind of a therapy for me. I hadn't intended for it to become an everyday thing, but that's exactly what it's become.

I look forward to writing every day, even if it's just a short few paragraphs but it's a small pleasure to me to write down things that are on my mind, and also to get feedback from close and dear friends who are regular readers and those who just dropped by.

Imagine then my horror when Thursday afternoon my cable connection went out.

And stayed out.

After several calls to my ISP, I was finally told that a major outage was being experienced throughout their network in Southern West Virginia. They couldn't give me a timeline on when I'd be able to re-establish a connection, but they assured me it would be before the end of the weekend.

End of the weekend! Holy shit! What the fuck was I going to do?

Then I just had to sit back and relax. I'd survive. I just did a little writing in MS Word, started working on my novel again for a while yesterday.

But it got me thinking. I'm from an age well before the internet. Hell, I didn't even have cable TV growing up. I actually went outside and played when I was a kid. "Pong" was the only home video game, and my dad was far to frugal to spend his money on something as trivial as that. When it was raining out and I couldn't play sandlot baseball or ride my bike all over Philadelphia, I did another thing I don't think anyone does anymore.

I read books.

I know, quaint.

But now I come home this morning and thankfully my connection is in fine working order.

So stay tuned!

I'm back with a vengeance!!!!


Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Boris dahling! We must get squirrel!

Anyone who's known me a while knows I'm a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution and the Right to keep and bear arms.

But I do realize that there should be a few exceptions. Some folks should never be allowed to possess firearms, like convicted felons, mentally unstable folks, people with a history of domestic violence...

And this dumbass.

Apparently a Bell South lineman was shot by a Rome, Georgia man late last week when the man erroneously mistook the lineman for a squirrel.

Source: News-Tribune, Rome, Ga.

How the hell do you mistake a full grown man on a telephone pole as a squirrel? Did he have a furry suit and bushy tail?

The last squirrel I saw didn't look anything like a telephone company lineman. Put a little hard had on the rodent and he still wouldn't look like a lineman.

The police won't be pressing charges and neither will the lineman.


Here's some fucknut out with a shotgun shooting at things and mistakes a full grown man as a squirrel and you're not going to lock him up? If anything he should be charged with reckless endangerment.

Or Felony Stupid.

The one thing for sure is I'm not going to be climbing any telephone poles in Georgia any time soon.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A man of God?

The thing I hate the most is hypocrisy. It's the reason I left the Catholic Church.

Hypocrites are beneath contempt as far as I'm concerned.

So guess what?

Yesterday afternoon, I was awakened by a phone call from my boss. He had an interesting story to tell me and wanted to hear my side.

Apparently, the dimwit I was working with this past weekend didn't like me drinking beer in our hotel room, and decided to do something about it.

I'm here to tell you yes, I do like my beer but I don't drink nowhere near as much as I did a few years ago. I used to drink quite heavily. So heavy in fact I half expected my liver to just up and explode one day. I'd go on benders that would last days and I'd wake up and have to put my liver back into my torso it was so bad.

But, even then the one thing I'd never, EVER do is drink on the job.

And I mean NEVER.

So what's this prick tell my boss?

I allegedly bought a case of beer on the way from the job Saturday, and downed half of it before we even got back to the hotel, tossing the empty bottles out the window along I-64. I was also speeding and driving erratically, cutting several people off along the trip also. When I got back to the hotel I'm also allegedly supposed to have rudely propositioned the night desk clerk in front of several witnesses, trashed the room and passed out in my own vomit in the bathroom.


This is quite surprising to me since the six-pack (not a case) I bought on Friday night, I still have two cans left sitting in my fridge.

And another thing, I'd never drink in a company vehicle either.

The one good thing about this is my boss, although a moron in his own right, didn't believe a word of it anyway. He's known me long enough to know I'd never do that, and he's never had any reason to suspect me of this.

The thing I want to know is, what makes a person, a so called "God-Fearing" Christian make up such a bald-faced lie just to destroy another's reputation, especially when that person didn't do a damn thing to him?

I didn't even rat him out for the bear feeding episode and I could have.

So let me say this. This man of God, this "God Fearing Christian" had better become a "Tom Fearing" man right quick, because if I ever see this fucking troglodyte again, I'm going to bitch slap him so hard he's going to wake up in another time zone.

Oh, I know what you're saying. "Tommy, you should just turn the other cheek..."

Well, my friends, I've done that far too many times in the past only to have that one slapped too.

"vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord..." Well, God's busy. I'm just gonna help him out with some light work.

Some Christian. He's a fucking hypocrite.

Right now I'm just going to quietly seethe...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Stupid is... stupid does!

Or so Forrest Gump, one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century said.

I said yesterday I was partnered up with a evangelical bible thumper. Well, he's not only that, but he's pretty much a dim bulb too.

Not the swiftest sloop in the regatta...

Not the sharpest tool in the shed...

When we get to the mine for our first shift, we had to be what they call in the coal mining business "Hazard Trained" for that particular mine. Everyone has to go through it before they can set foot onto mine property. It's really not much, just a list of do's and dont's that the mine says you must follow, or if you get maimed, dismembered or killed through non-compliance of these rules it holds the company free from liability. It's pretty straight forward stuff, like look before crossing the road, don't go near pinch-points of heavy machinery when in operation, don't touch live elctrical wires when standing in pools of water, don't fart into methane detectors...

That kind of stuff.

One thing in particular I do remember on this paper we had to read and sign was one five-letter sentence in bold print.


Again, pretty straight forward and loaded with common sense. I know better that to feed the bears at the mine or anywhere else for that matter.

So, we all read and sign the slip of paper, so now we've all been properly "Hazard Trained" for the jobsite and ready to start work. I'm assigned the patrol vehicle and basically have free-reign of the property and Roger Ramjet gets the back gate guard house.

I'm patrolling around the property, getting the lay of the land so to speak and after about two hours or so I finally make my way around to the rear of the mine proper to the rear guard house. I come up over a hill to see the guard house and what do I see?

Three bears slowly walking back into the woods from the direction of the shack.

I pulled up to my partner and ask if he saw the bears.

"Yep! Sure did! I gave them some apple pie and some potato chips!"


"Eh, did you not see the part about not feeding the bears?"


"Then why, if I may ask, did you feed the GODDAMN BEARS?!?"

"Please, do not take my Lord's name in vain!"

"Ok, I'm sorry. God, please forgive me. But why did you feed them?"

"Cause they looked peaked!"


"They looked mighty hungry so I thought I'd give em' some a my lunch!"

"You know, forget I asked. I'll see you later..."

With that I drove away.

I was half expecting that on a later patrol I'd find maybe a leg and part of his uniform left... And some apple pie crumbs leading back into the woods.

And still they keep finding me...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, July 11, 2005

The things I put up with

For a little overtime.

Last Friday morning around 7:30 my phone rings. I answer and it's my supervisor. He needs me for a special detail near Dawson, WV for the whole weekend. I agreed (because I'm really desperate for some OT) so he gives me the details.

I'm to take the patrol vehicle that night and meet him at the hotel right off I-64 in Dawson. He says he's gotten motel rooms for all of us and he'll fork out the cash for food too. I'm to meet him at 10 PM and bring everything I'll need for a few days.


I'll do it.

Since I'm assuming I'll be working a night shift as I usually do, I go to bed early to get plenty of sleep for work that night.

My first big mistake... I assumed something.

I get up around 7:30 PM and get my shit together. I go over to the office and get the patrol vehicle and head out for Dawson at 8:30 because it's going to take me at least that long to get there from Athens. I get to the motel at about five minutes til' ten, and there my supervisor is with three other guys. He introduces them and gives us the skinny on what's going down.

Here's where it gets interesting.

He's only gotten ONE room for the four of us. We're going to "Hot Bunk" all weekend.


Not only do I have to get into a bed that's already been slept in by some sweaty fucker I don't know, I got to share the same room with some other swinging dick I don't know.

Now he tells us I'm to work Saturday and Sunday, days... 5 AM to 5 PM.

Fucking wonderful. Now I'm wide awake, ready to work that night and I'm supposed to go up to my room and go back to sleep.

So me and this other guy, who turns out to be a real mental midget get to the room. It's NON- smoking. I can't smoke in the room, This guy is telling me his life story, and I'm wide awake.

"I need a drink" I'm thinking at this point. I change back out of my uniform and head across the steet to the only other place in Dawson, West Virginia open at 10:30 PM, a convenience store to get some beer. I buy a six-pack and head back to the room and he's got the Religion Channel on and is watching some Fire-And-Brimstone preacher spew some diatribe about the coming apocalypse.

I offer a beer to the guy to be friendly and he tells me "Alcohol never crosses my lips because it's the Devil's drink..."

Ok, now I'm stuck with some religious nut for the entire weekend.

I down two brews and crawl into bed. Shortly after he turns off the TV and the lights and gets into his own bed. He's quickly asleep and I rapidly find that he not only snores like a chainsaw, he's got teminal flatulence.

Why did I even answer the phone? Is the overtime really worth it?

Try as I may, I can't get to sleep. I'm not even going to drink anymore to help sleep along because we've got to get up at 3:30 AM because it's going to take at least forty-five minutes to get to the jobsite in the morning.

So I wind up finally crawling out of bed around 1 AM and wander down to bullshit with the night desk clerk. At least he had some coffee brewed.

At 3:30 I go up and toss my partner out of bed and we get ready and head out at 4. I'm following the directions and shortly before we get to the site, I see a sign, "RAINELL, 3 SUMMERSVILLE 8".

Why the hell did my boss get us a room In Dawson, thirty miles away from the jobsite when there are motels in both those other towns, minutes away?

Can anyone say "The Peter Principle"?

More to follow later... I've got at least a week's worth of rants from this past weekend alone besides some other shit I want to talk about.

Stay tuned!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, July 08, 2005

The 'Stang'

A few days ago I wrote about a little reminiscing, and in that trip to the past I mentioned my 1967 Ford Mustang.

It was a very peasant little memory and I was happy to share it with my friends and regular readers to my blog.

I get a lot of comments about my posts, mostly by email as it seems not a whole lot of folks want to comment on the blog itself. That's ok with me, because for the most part the emails I've gotten are positive and I'm not really seeking recognition anyway.

But I do get some negative stuff. Most of that is pretty hilarious. I'm saving a whole slew of them and will post them on a later date. Mostly its stuff like "Ah, you're full of shit! You've got to making this shit up!"

Well, I DO NOT make any of this stuff up. I may omit names and places, and change some stuff around slightly (for obvious reasons) but I never make any of this stuff up.

So yesterday I get this email.

This guy must read my blog every day and formulate his hate mail for hours. I have no idea who it is, but besides being borderline illiterate, has no idea who I am or what I've done, so in essence he talks like a man with a paper asshole, to quote my Dad.

Another nut.

"Tom, you NEVER had a 1967 Mustang! Stop your lying!"

Oh really, Asshole?

Look up at the picture. There it is. That picture was taken in my best friend's driveway sometime in the summer of 1983. The roof is half red primer, half red paint because I was in the middle of re-doing the roof because the white vinyl top was trashed. It's missing the hubcaps from the driver's side because they were stolen earlier that year.

Typical of Mustangs, both rear quarter panels were rusted and filled with bondo, as were the front shock towers loaded with rust also. Both front floorpans had holes so big I used to toss my beer cans out that way and would get splashed with water sometimes during a good rain.

My brother and I had just recently re-did the whole top end of the 289 CID V-8 because it was burning about four quarts of oil a day and would leave a huge cloud of grey smoke on my block every time I started it, but it ran cherry after we did the valve-job. It had a Ford C-4 automatic transmission that shifted squirrelly from a standstill when it was cold. At the time I wished it had been a 5-speed, but thankful now that it wasn't because my left calf would have been enormous and I'd have never gotten it out of second gear living in Philadelphia.

I paid $750 for it from the neighbor who lived across the street from me. I can't remember her name, but if you'd like I'll do a title search for you, and you can ask her if I really bought it.

I sold it to another soldier I was in the army with at Ft. Stewart, GA in 1986 because I couldn't go through another Georgia summer with the all-black vinyl interior and no air conditioning. (Just one time jumping on that seat with shorts will make you a believer in cloth upholstery!) I can't remember his name either, so you're out of luck there.

The license plate number was (PA) NNV 558 and the last year it was registered in Pennsylvania was 1986. Check with the PA DMV on that too.

Ok, dickhead?

Are you completely satisfied now that you've totally fucked up a very pleasant memory from my childhood?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Watch out Little Buddy...

...Or you'll step in the glue!

That line was uttered by Alan Hale Jr, or the "Skipper" on one of my favorite TV shows growing up, "Gilligan's Island" and of course he was talking to Gilligan, AKA Bob Denver, who I didn't know lived a few miles from me in Princeton, WV until I literally bumped into him at Wal Mart right before Christmas.

I was carrying a few things and rounded an aisle and bumped into a guy about my height, about sixty or so, with snow-white hair. I apologized and went on my way and I thought "hey, that guy looked like Gilligan!" But I thought it was just my overactive imagination, because I'm always comparing people I see to celebrities or people in the news.

"Hey, that kid looks like Pugsley!"

Until the next day at work I was talking to a guy I work with and said I had run into a guy that looked like Gilligan and he told me it probably was Gilligan.

Well, no shit. I then learned he and his wife owned a local radio station right here in Princeton, WGAG 93.1 FM

It's a pretty cool station as I've already said in an early post. Go here:

After this I started doing some research to find out what other famous people are from West Virginia because I'm always fascinated to find I'm walking in the same places famous folk have traveled. Sylvester Stallone went to my highschool, for instance.

I had already knew one of my boyhood heroes was from West Virginia, Gen. Chuck Yeager, the first person to break the sound barrier in flight. (Yes, I came from a time when my heroes were pilots, astronauts and the only movie star I looked up to was John Wayne... Unlike today when kids look up to Thug Gangsta' Rappers and freaks like Manson and Michael Jackson. Sad, really.)

So I did some digging and found these famous people were from West Virginia also.

Don Knotts Not only was he the lovable goof Barney Fife on the "Andy Griffith show", he was in several Disney movies like the "Apple Dumpling Gang", and my all time favorite, "The Incredible Mr. Limpet". He also hailed from Morgantown.

Kathy Mattea This country music diva hails from Cross Lanes

Mary Lou Retton The gymnast and hero of the 1980 summer Olympics comes from Fairmont.

Pearl S. Buck Who won the The Nobel Prize in Literature 1938 was from Hillsboro.

George Brett A legend in baseball who played for years with the Kansas City Royals comes from Glendale.

Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson Was a Confederate General who hailed from Clarksburg.

Daniel Boone, John Henry and many more are also included in this list, so it seems I'm walking in some pretty cool footsteps here in my adopted home of West Virginia and it makes me even more proud to say "I live in West Virginia!"

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'll Sue!

Every time I think I've seen and heard everything, something else comes along to make me shake my head and say what the fuck.

About 1:27 AM EST on the morning of July 4th, the NASA space probe Deep Impact struck a inbound comet, Tempel - 1 for the first time ever.

This was pretty astounding stuff, because it's like trying to hit a bullet with another bullet from about a trillion miles away, and the study is supposed to help scientists discover where life really came from. Pretty cool shit if you're kind of a science nerd when it comes to this stuff like I am.

Now enter Marina Bai, a 45 year old Russian astrologer. She's suing NASA for 311 MILLION dollars because the crashing of the probe Deep Impact "violates her spiritual rights, changes the natural order of the universe which interferes with my practice of astrology and deforms my horoscope."

The 45-year-old mother of two is so upset about the space agency's scientific assault on the celestial body that she has taken the step of suing NASA in Moscow courts. Her lawsuit seeks to recover $311 million in "moral" damages.

Bai, a self-published author and spiritualist, said that she couldn't sleep after watching a television report about the Deep Impact mission, which is led by a team of astronomers at the University of Maryland, when it was launched Jan. 12.

In court papers filed by her lawyer, Alexander Molokhov, said that the case is based on solid legal ground, since NASA has a representative office on Russian territory.

Bai asserts that Deep Impact will "infringe upon my system of spiritual and life values, in particular on the values of every element of creation, upon the unacceptability of barbarically interfering with the natural life of the universe, and the violation of the natural balance of the universe."

I'm so glad that since the collapse of the Soviet Union not only have the Russians taken hold of our free-market system, it has also embraced our legal system with it's love of silly lawsuits with a vengeance.

Again, it gives me warm fuzzy feelings as to where we're headed as a species.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A new Home?

This is just way to cool!

Ever since I was a kid and my parents took myself and my siblings to Strasburg, PA to ride the steam train there I've wanted to do this.There's still a motel a few short miles outside of where the small Strasburg railroad is and what is now the Pennsylvania railroad Museum made entirely out of old cabooses.

My family stayed there that weekend and it was fascinating to the impressionable eight-year old I was.I always wanted to get an old caboose, and maybe turn it into a hunting/summer cabin out in the woods somewhere. But never really gave it much thought until I found this website:

Here's what I'm going to do...(That is when I get a slightly better paying job...)Get a little chunk of land somewhere here in southern West Virginia, and get one of these babies. Fix up the interior and live it in.It's only me, so the size wouldn't be a problem. Hell, the square footage of one of them is double the size of the apartment I'm in now anyway! They’re about 9’ wide by 40’ long, plenty of room for just me.I've got all kinds of exterior landscaping ideas already!

Or how about two? Place them side by side, about twenty feet apart on two separate pieces of track. Between the two build a wood deck with a roof and make it look like a turn-of-the century railroad station. Use that as like a deck/patio, have one caboose as a kitchen/dining room and the other as a living room/den/bedroom suite.

Ideas are pouring out of what little gray matter I have left...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Our future?

While all of you are going to barbecues, eating burgers, hot dogs and bratwurst and drinking beer to celebrate our nation's independence today, think about this. In a recent survey by the newspaper San Francisco Examiner of American highschool students proved our country is doomed.

When asked by the paper to name what country we fought to gain our independence, here's what was given as replies:

"Eh, Japan or something?"

"Canada, isn't it?"

"Korea, right?"


Ok, last word to all of you keynote speakers at next year's graduation ceremonies. Please, oh please don't say the phrase "You are the future" because that really scares the living shit out of me, ok?

With that said and done, have a happy 4th of July!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Blast From The Past

I've read a few times that music can trigger memories long forgotten and I strongly believe that.

Last night at work I had just finished the book I was reading and decided to listen to the radio for a bit. I tuned it to a local radio program, "Little Buddy Radio" and I'll blog about that station in a few days.

The station plays the usual "Do-wop" 50's stuff, but also a great deal of 60's, 70's and 80's stuff too.

So as I finished my hourly patrol I settled down in my 'stakeout' place to watch over some properties and listen to the tunes and it was then I was catapulted back far into the past, to another July 4th weekend so many years ago.

The song was Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight" and the year was 1982...

It was a warm night and I was in my 1967 Ford Mustang and the 289 purred under the hood, all eight cylinders firing in smooth perfection. I had only been driving for about six months (well, driving legally six months as far as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was concerned) and I had an open bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon between my legs...

The stereo was playing, but not loudly and my first love was seated shotgun, her left hand on my thigh and head on my shoulder and her long auburn hair flowed behind her like a dark wave.

Both windows were down, for the night although humid, didn't warrant air conditioning even if the old Mustang had it. Lighting bugs were lighting the way along Rt. 32 that runs along the Delaware River north of New Hope, PA on our way to nowhere. A diamond studded blue-black sky blanketed us with trillions of stars.

We were both silent, the warmth of the afterglow still encompassing both of us as I sped along, the car taking the curves along the river with ease.

It was a time right at the cusp of adulthood. Right before the harsh realities of life sneaked up on us and robbed us of that last little shard of innocence our hearts still held on to, however tenuously. It was the beginning of the last summer as a child...

A time of pure innocence...

Of knowing everything and knowing nothing.

The cynic in me tried to tell the memories to turn around! Don't go forward! Go home! There's nothing but heartache and misery ahead! Hide from it all!

But I quickly pushed them inside and was sixteen again for a few more fleeting minutes.

I could hear the purr of the motor, feel her hand on my thigh and the warmth of her body so close...

Smell her perfume...

Still taste her kiss on my lips...

Then a firefly landed on the steering wheel on my patrol vehicle and a slight breeze wafted a pleasant aroma, slightly jasmine...

Then in a bittersweet flash, the firefly flew away flashing his meloncholy beacon as if to tell me hello and good bye at once, and the moment was gone forever.

I know it's late,
I know you're weary
I know your plans don't include me
Still here we are,
both of us lonely
Longing for shelter from all that we see
Why should we worry,
no one will care girl
Look at the stars so far away
We've got tonight,
Who needs tomorrow?
We've got tonight babe
Why don' you stay?

Deep in my soul,
I've been so lonely
All of my hopes, fading away
I've longed for love, like everyone else does I know
I'll keep searching, even after today
So there it is girl, I've said it all now
And here we are babe, what do you say?
We've got tonight,
Who needs tomorrow?
We've got tonight babe
Why don't you stay?

I know it's late,
I know you're weary
I know your plans don't include me
Still here we are,
Both of us lonely
Both of us lonely

We've got tonight,
Who needs tomorrow?
Let's make it last, let's find a way
Turn out the light,
Come take my hand now
We've got tonight babe
Why don't you stay?
Why don't you stay?
Who needs tomorrow?
Let's make it last
Let's find a way
Turn out the night
Come take my hand now
We've got tonight babe
Why don't you stay?
Why don't you stay?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden
Lyrics Copyright 1978 Bob Seger

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Before I left Arizona last September, I put a lot of stuff I had salvaged from my house into storage.

Dollar wise, it wasn't worth a whole lot but it was a lot of stuff that held great sentimental value and I really couldn't put a price tag on any of it. My old army dress uniform, a 2500 + police shoulder patch collection from departments all over the world that had taken me since I was about nine years old to accumulate, A bunch of stuff I acquired while I was in the army like a Russian officer's cap and an East German border guard's hat (That I traded over the wire at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin for a MRE ) Photo albums, my 200 + 33 1/3 record collection & stereo, High school yearbook, a book shelf my father made me for my 12th birthday.

Stuff like that.

And tons of books. I had about 70 beer case sized boxes filled with hardcover books. History books, novels, my old textbooks from the police academy and college.

I had already sold off most of my rifles before the move.

It was a matter of logistics. I had to get out of Arizona fast, not that I was in trouble with the law, but that was coming if I'd have stayed any longer. I was going to put into use some really nifty things the Rangers taught me until reason won out over passion. She and especially her needle-dicked new boyfriend were not worth going to jail over, so discretion being the better part of valor I decided a change of scenery would do me worlds of good...

So in order to get out fast, I put most of what I had into a storage place in Chino Valley and fit what else I could into my car. I couldn't afford to rent the U-Haul for the trip and I figured I'd be on with the railroad soon after I arrived in West Virginia and could have the stuff shipped back east.

I had planned on being in the next class at the Railroad Conductor's Course at Marshal University and a conductor with CSX shortly thereafter.

But fate stuck it's fickle little finger into the mix. I had no idea just how screwed up my ex had my credit and I wasn't able to get the student loan for the class. So I got stuck in this McJob a lot longer than I'd expected and then I started to have vehicle problems and that forced me to buy another vehicle.

I just couldn't afford to pay for the storage unit any longer, and the one friend I had left in Arizona whom I thought I could trust to get the stuff out and put it into his garage fell off the face of the earth never to return any of my phone calls.

I knew it was coming and there was really nothing I could do about it. Even though it was inevitable, it was still extremely painful when it finally did.

Yesterday I got the letter from the storage place and my heart just dropped. All my stuff, and in essence my entire life from early adulthood to 2003 went for lien sale this past Monday.

It's all gone.

It was heartbreaking, but in a way it's refreshing. One last thing that's going to have me looking back. I can keep plodding forward a little lighter.

Back right before my father died I was living with a woman who tossed everything I own out into the apartment complex dumpster one night while I was at work. It was a really rotten thing to do, and I was still angry over it for years. My ex swore she'd never do something like that to me.

She didn't.

What she did was far worse. In essence she forced me to do it myself, and for that and a bunch of other stuff I can never forgive her for, but having me destroy my life like that is totally unforgivable.

Well, it's all gone now never to be replaced. But it's in the past and I've got to look to the future. My life is 1000% better than it was two years ago and I'm going to keep pushing forward. I can't say I'll never look back, for I must remember the past and learn from it, because if I don't learn from it I'll be doomed to repeat it.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, July 01, 2005

Brothers in Arms

Last night I was awakened again by a thunderstorm. Not nearly as bad as the one a few days ago, but along with the song playing on my alarm radio, it brought back some memories and some feelings I wish I could suppress a little.

The song was "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straights. A rock group that was popular from when I was in high school and through my Army years.

It was a song that had a whole lot of meaning then, and still does today.

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me now
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

I began to think as I lay in bed in the growing twilight, that sure is true.

I began to think about those political troglodytes. The ones calling for our immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Now I've been having second thoughts about the way we were brought into this conflict in the first place and I do feel that we were misled in our mission.

But what I've been hearing from the left particularly is this:

NO MORE VIET NAMS! Get us out now!

Well, let me tell you this.

No matter what brought us into this fight in the first place, that's moot now. We pull out now without finishing what we've started, it will be another Viet Nam.

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

From everything I've read and learned from my Senior NCO's when I was in the Army, all of whom were Viet Nam vets, we could have won there if the country had the political will to do it. We could have won in 1968 if our political leadership had the intestinal fortitude to carry on and not micro-manage the entire war.

From 1960 to 1973, the US Army never lost a major engagement in Viet Nam. We could have won. The Viet Cong ceased to be a viable fighting force after the 1968 Tet Offensive. We kicked there asses all the way to Hanoi.

Now we face the same problem. Too many people forgetting what got us here in the first place.

Remember 9-11? I sure as shit do. Maybe Iraq wasn't directly involved, but we sure as shit let the whole fucking world know we weren't going to fuck around any more. Remember Beirut? How about a whole bunch of other places we were attacked and we stood by and did nothing?

that's the whole crux of it. The terrorists and everyone else in the world thought we were just a paper tiger. We'd never do anything if we were attacked.

They thought wrong, and for a change we weren't hiding and for that I applaud my Commander in Chief.

We stopped, after years of being ones, pussies.

But one thing is certain. Those soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are all my Brothers and Sisters in Arms. They willfully serve where our leaders sent them. There's no draft. They're all volunteers. We owe it to them, every last one of them, not to turn our backs and pull out before they've finished.

Not to mention the Iraqis who want us there. They need us until things are stable.

We cannot fail them. Not any of them.

We have to let them finish. Because if we don't and Iraq becomes another dictatorship yet again, every last one of those brave young soldiers will have died in vain.

There's so many different worlds
So many differentents suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

I know we all can't be the same. We all can't think alike. That's what makes our country different from everyone else.

We HAVE to finish in Iraq. We have to go in for the long-haul. I for one hope to never see it again, but I'd go in a New York minute to fight beside by brothers and sisters there.

Not for some altruistic desire to spread democracy in the Middle East, but so that those who've already paid the ultimate sacrifice won't have died in vain.

And if we pull out now, they will have.

Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

In four days we celebrate our independence.

Let us not forget the independence of the Iraqis either.

And let us not EVER forget those who have already given there lives, and not let them have died in vain.

I cannot ever desert my brothers in arms.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden
Lyrics Copyright 1985 Mark Knoffler