Monday, October 25, 2010

Coming Soon

Coming soon to this blog near you: a REAL post!

So where the hell did October go, anyway? Boy, I must take a lotta drugs.

And Happy Birthday to Kim Ayres, who is just a kid of forty-four today.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Whine and Cheese

It has come to my attention that my last post, I'll Be . . ., came very close to a whine and cheese festival. I’ve given myself a good talking to, so that won’t happen again.

What we really need around here is a smidge of humor.

Like the very literary blog name I came up with on the spur of some miscellaneous cogitating:

TITLE: Stream of Unconsciousness
TAG LINE: I wish I knew what I was thinking.

Clever, isn't it.

I think we need some more music too. I was surprised by the response to Jimmy Durante, the "Schnozzola" (as Pat correctly identified him), so I chose this blurry but short video of Jimmy with Ella:

What’s that you say? The lady could SING? Of course she could sing, and so could Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Mahalia Jackson . . .

Nowadays, what passes for “singing” are American Idol winners mashed on gigantic mixing boards by wizard sound engineers. Their albums, to me, are decidedly poo.

But wait a minute.

It almost sounds like I’m whining.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'll Be . . .

I haven’t posted anything in a week. Or answered any emails. Or read any blogs. Or made any comments on your comments. Or read any of the great articles in my back copies of Nudist Quarterly.

There's a terrible reason why I’ve done none of these things because everything looks like this:

And this:

No, I don't see eye charts everywhere I look. I see regular stuff, but in its BLURRED and DOUBLE VISION format. Font size, which I can control from my keyboard, makes no difference—the blur and dv are just larger.

Sadly, the deterioration of my eyesight is the result of drugs I take for my lungs and heart. Prednisone, the major culprit, has caused the irreversible damage to my optic nerves. This photo is an example, but my own photos look remarkably like the one on the right.

Until I figure out a workaround so I can actively blog again, a Plan B as it were, I’ll leave you with a song by Jimmie Durante, a television pioneer in the 1950s and one of my kidhood favorites.

I’ve reduced the YouTube video to a Podbean kind of thing because it’s all about the song, dedicated to each and every one of you.

[End of health update #2,567.]

Saturday, October 02, 2010

What War Hath Wrought

Like Poop from the Pope, I wrote this piece on May 14, 2010 for another blog but it never made it to this one. Also like Poop, it fits Worm's "Believe It or Not" perfectly because it's a disgrace.

* * *

No Suicides Allowed

"Thousands of soldiers, their bald eagle shoulder patches lined up row upon row across the grassy field, stood at rigid attention to hear a stern message from their commander.

"Brig[adier] Gen[eral] Stephen Townsend addressed the 101st Airborne Division with military brusqueness: Suicides at the post had spiked after soldiers started returning home from war, and this was unacceptable.

" 'It's bad for soldiers, it's bad for families, bad for your units, bad for this division and our Army and our country and it's [sic] got to stop now,' he insisted. 'Suicides on Fort Campbell [Kentucky] have to stop now.' "
I quote from an article written on April 24, 2010 by Kristen M. Hall of the Associated Press. She goes on to tell the story of twenty-one-year-old Adam Kuligowski upon his return from Afghanistan. Adam loved the Army and his job, but he became increasingly depressed and angry. Finally,
"Adam wrote a note telling his dad, [Mike], 'Sorry to be a disappointment.' Then he shot himself inside a bathroom stall with his rifle.

"When the Army closed their investigation into the soldier's suicide, his father said an investigator told him that Adam's problem was that he was unable to conform to a military lifestyle. Mike Kuligowski did receive a personal note from the general who was commanding the division at the time: 'We don't know why this happened,' he wrote.

"Kuligowski was not appeased. 'It reminds me that officers know absolutely nothing about the plights of the soldiers who are under their command,' he said. 'What kind of leadership is that?' "
What kind of leadership is that? Off the top of my head and in one word I would say, typical.

The plight of these soldiers was called "shell shock" in WWI. In WWII and Korea, it was called "battle fatigue." Since Vietnam, the psychiatric diagnosis is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. But disregarding the labels, the symptoms are the same. For military leaders and investigators to scratch their heads over the increase in suicides is ludicrous, and General Townsend's proclamation "to stop now" is way beyond asinine.

According to Hall's article, Fort Campbell is responding to the crisis.
"The number of patients being treated at the behavioral health clinic has increased by 60 percent, from 25,400 in 2008 to nearly 40,000 in 2009. To handle the expanded need, they've also increased the number of counselors in that clinic to 60 last year, compared to 36 in 2008. In all, Fort Campbell has about 100 counselors, some of whom work in areas like social work, family advocacy, substance abuse and children's behavioral health."
40,000 patients and 60 counselors equals a caseload of 667 to 1. It cannot be done. Furthermore, who is writing psych med scripts and monitoring 40,000 people?

We train our soldiers to defend our country from a hostile invasion. We train them in all types of weaponry, to kill to protect the civilian populace. And then we send them to fourth-world countries like Korea and Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan that don't want them there in the first place, and our soldiers kill to protect themselves from an enemy they cannot distinguish from a non-enemy. Amid the chaos they see atrocities no human should ever have to witness, including the bombing of innocent children and infants.

Eventually the soldiers come home and are discharged from service. Most of them adjust to their old lives again, but many don't—the ones who need help.

As someone whom I can't remember said, "We make them into killing machines, but unfortunately there is no 'off' switch." Yes, yes there is: it's called suicide, a very effective off switch. But not at Fort Campbell, Kentucky because suicides are not allowed.