Fixin’ to Die Rag by Country Joe and the Fish

Gimme an F… Gimme a I… Gimme a S… Gimme a H…

What’s that spell? What’s that spell? What’s that spell? What’s that spell? What’s that spell?

Fixin’ to Die Rag by Country Joe and the Fish

yeah, c’mon on all you big strong men Uncle Sam needs your help again he’s got himself in a terrible jam way down yonder in Vietnam so put down your books and pick up a gun we’re gonna have a whole lot of fun

and it’s 1, 2, 3, what’re we fighting for? don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn next stop is Vietnam and it’s 5, 6, 7, open up the pearly gates well there ain’t no time to wonder why whoopee! we’re all gonna die

Fixin’ to Die Rag by Country Joe and the Fish

well c’mon generals, let’s move fast your big chance has come at last gotta go out and get those Reds the only good Commie is one who’s dead and you know that peace can only be won when we’ve blown ‘em all to kingdom come

chorus

well c’mon on Wall Street don’t be slow why this is war a-go-go there’s plenty good money to be made by supplin’ the Army with the tools of the trade just hope and pray that if we drop the bomb they drop it on-the Vietcong chorus

well c’mon mothers throughout this land pack your boys off to Vietnam c’mon pops, don’t hesitate send ‘em off before it’s too late be the first one on your block to have your boy come home in a box

 

and it’s 1, 2, 3, what’re we fighting for? don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn. …

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A Farewell Student Piano Recital on Fire

In a white La Jolla chapel May 2004

Our daughter held a recital for her students and what’s more

The pupils and family came to wish their good-byes

Their attention was fixed on her with adoring eyes

As their maestro and mentor was leaving in a week

Knowledge, nature and spirituality to seek

Preparing her farewell address caused the tears to flow

From the lovely pianist who was privileged to know

Beginners she molded from four to seventy-four

From novices to the accomplished she opened a door

Her passionate love of piano and beauty too

Each had to develop on their own with so much new

Musical notes, rhythm, tempo, fingering and poise

Gradually they produced music within without noise

Asian, Jewish, Indian, Hispanic, White and Black

Purpose, determination, confidence, none did lack

Strolling up to the piano, sharing what they learned

A fire had been lit inside their spirits that burned

With enthusiasm as friends, parents and Brette cheered

Only a short time before a recital they feared

Music from popular to Beethoven and Mozart

Fingers, body, and mind drew energy from their heart

They were carefully trained to grow and improve with time

Their music flowed from them from the cute to the sublime

When finished all demanded their teacher to perform

Her Beethoven’s “The Tempest” simulated a storm

Captivated by enchantment the audience heard

No rustling of paper, coughing, or even a bird

Disturbed the magical 3 hour celebration

Smiling faces replaced the discord of our nation

She started a fire in these learners like a seed

That sprouted and blazed so that each of them could succeed

The students embraced their mentor with adoration

They had a creative artistic transformation

Of their imagination waiting for a catalyst

She entered their lives clearing away the fog and mist

That inertia in our lives impedes us not to strive

To light the fire inside and be fully alive

To those lyrical impulses for students she taught

Caring, discipline, determination can ‘t be bought

So now that she leaves all of her well-wishers behind

They have her gift of music and memories in their mind

Who enthralled all of her students, relatives and friends

With her spirit, grace, and care as she explores all ends

Awaiting a foreign world she will learn from and grow

We will long for her to return as off she must go

Hike roads untraveled by lakes, rivers, and nature’s wealth

That will energize her own and spiritual health

Remembering what you did for students young and old

Will brighten everyday with your lovely heart of gold

 

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The Kerry Campaign in Annapolis at my 40th Reunion 2004

(Dan and Joan at Reunion-click to zoom)

Joan and I slowly made our way following the crowd back to the center of Annapolis on our way to our hotel after Navy beat Delaware in football 34-20 overwhelming the Blue Hens and silencing twenty of their despicable fans standing behind us. The Brigade of Midshipmen with the Naval Academy Choir and Band played and sang with Navy fans the traditional song the midshipmen in unison sing at the end of every football game:

(Brigade of Midshipman before the game--click to zoom)

NAVY BLUE AND GOLD

Now, colleges from sea to sea

May sing of colors true.

But who has better right than we

To hoist a symbol hue?

For sailors brave in battle fair

Since fighting days of old

Have proved a sailor's right to wear

The Navy Blue and Gold.

GO NAVY– BEAT ARMY!

(Annapolis Harbor area--click to zoom)

Soon we noticed in a major intersection a gathering of supporters for John Kerry for President passing out literature for the election in three days. “I’m here for my 40th reunion and glad to report many of my classmates, including me,  support Kerry for President,” I said to an organizer.

“I’m so happy to hear that. You can’t imagine how many angry swift-boat types are telling lies about his medals in this campaign. Please inform them of the gross distortions they have made of his record. Here’s a leaflet describing the dirty tricks campaign they launched,” she said.

Kerry’s presidential campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that ads from an anti-Kerry veterans’ group are inaccurate and “illegally coordinated” with Republicans and the Bush-Cheney campaign. Swift Boat Veterans For Truth claimed to quote from Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971: “They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads,” “randomly shot at civilians,” and “razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Kahn.”

The ad deceptively ignored Kerry's preface, recounting that he was reporting what others said at a Vietnam veteran’s conference. An official transcript showed that Kerry had been referring to a meeting in Detroit, Michigan, part of what was called the “Winter Soldier” investigation. He told the Senate committee that veterans had testified to war crimes and relived the “absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.”

In the swift boat commercials, former sailors falsely accused Kerry of lying in order to receive two of his five combat decorations, a Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star. The ad featured a sailor who commanded one of five swift boats in the Mekong Delta during an incident March 13, 1969. Kerry was decorated and that sailor had earned a Bronze Star in that incident, yet said “Kerry's boat fled after a mine crippled another boat and was not under enemy fire when he returned to rescue an Army officer knocked overboard by a second mine that detonated nearby.” In contrast the Navy citation for the sailor’s Bronze Star stated “All units began receiving enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire from the river banks.”

Kerry also received a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts for other actions the ad overlooked. The Navy's letter awarding him the Bronze Star stated he exhibited “great personal courage under fire” in rescuing an Army Green Beret Lieutenant, who recommended Kerry for the decoration and who has publicly disputed the sailor’s account. He said Kerry wrote the report that was the basis for the citation even though another officer, Lt. Cmdr. George Elliot, signed the document.

In response the Kerry campaign published its own ad that featured the Green Beret Lt., a registered Republican, saying Kerry saved his life, “All these Viet Cong were shooting at me, I expected I'd be shot. When he pulled me out of the river, he risked his life to save mine.”

I feared the Republican deceptive tricks could detract from Kerry’s campaign and mislead the public. At this time our eldest son was a resident neurosurgeon at Case Western University Hospital and participated in organizing the “Doctor’s for Kerry” group in Cleveland. He and his wife, a resident pediatrician at the same hospital, had first row seats for Kerry’s final speech before Election Day. These hopeful family members with others tried their best to counter the Bush-Cheney-Rove machine ironically in the very city where I was indoctrinated in failed Vietnam policies. I thought our country faced a moment of immense importance. Could these false advertisements mislead enough people to allow the Bush administration to continue ravaging the Middle East and expose our military to more needless death while the depleting the treasury of the reserves the Clinton presidency established with a balanced budget? Isn’t this as bad as Vietnam? Kerry reminded us during his speech before the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations April 23, 1971, “Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, 'The first President to lose a war.' We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

How appropriate were those words to the conflict in Iraq? How can the American people be misled by presidents and their administrations who so flagrantly trample upon the cherished principles of honesty, integrity, and the concept that war is always the last resort when all peaceful avenues have been exhausted? I was outraged when I learned that the Gulf of Tonkin resolution fabricated a phantom attack on the high seas to a docile and believing Congress in order to escalate the Vietnam debacle that sent more than 58,000 of our military to their death, not to mention the two million Vietnamese killed. Here we go again in Iraq I thought, unless the American people can withstand the fraudulent Republican campaign that will use any artifice to maintain their hammerlock on power.

Convinced because the Bush administration had committed themselves to “Shock and Awe” in the beginning of this war they were the single most dangerous crowd on earth, I recalled a famous Mahatma Gandhi quotation: “The Roots of Violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles.” Gandhi's words fit the Bush-Cheney-Rove team like a glove. My civil rights background, years of struggling against mean-spirited people and institutions like the military,  flashed before me as a reminder that all of us must do whatever we can to prevent powerful forces from destroying values we cherish in our society. If Bush won the election, I thought a most disastrous future awaited the world for the next four years. While I enjoyed the wonderful tailgate party, not even the aroma of garlic, herbs, fresh oysters and clam chowder and Bloody Mary cocktails, deflected me from my feeling of doom hanging over the upcoming election like a tidal wave ready to sweep away the gentle people committed to non-violence.

(Joan , Dan, and Kathy Lyndon at Tecumseh Statue taken by Denny Lyndon--click to zoom)

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Adventure, Harmony, and Turmoil, Coronado 1953-4

Dan Jr. High Coronado, Track team(2nd lft), and class 1953(4th lft)  (Track team second in Dan, Brad Holcomb, and John Shellenberger followed by class picture Coronado Jr. High 1954 Dan fourth in top row)           (Point your mouse on all the pictures for details  and click to expand photos) When Coronado H.S. played Oceanside in football, we lost 64-0. A Black running back named C. R. Roberts scored six touchdowns. On many of his blazing runs, he carried the ball over fifty yards. Since I sat near the field as a member of the band, when the game ended I ran over to him and asked, “What’s your secret, C.R.? “Keep your nose clean and play with your heart.” He looked at me for a second, holding his head high, covered with sweat and dirt, while steam drifted from his head in the stadium lights. For that moment, he seemed like a statue of a black muscular god. I learned from the Boy Scouts in our troop that he wore the uniform of an Eagle Scout, and planned on going to the National Scout Jamboree held at Irvine Ranch in the summer. He also ran track, earning CIF honors in many events. He became a tailback at USC, played professional Football for the San Francisco Forty-Niners, and was an excellent student and respected man of character. In the high school band, a select group of musicians practiced creative music brought to us by our fiery red-haired director, Paul Hennenberg, who always wore wildly colorful shirts. He introduced us to classical, foreign, jazz, rock and roll, blues, and experimental music. I played third trumpet behind Alan Manchester, who liked to clown around. Phil Andreen, a joker, played every instrument in the band, but concentrated on trombone. Chip played first saxophone, and friends George Mardock, baritone, and Earl Barlow, the only Black musician, played base fiddle. Peter Gray was fabulous on his French horn, followed by Jan MacGregor and Kathy Stevens, and Kathy Lewis thrilled us all with her marvelous oboe solos. Dan,Tom, and Susan middle front, Kathy and Jan second row, Bob, Jack, Jody,and Brad  Mr. Charles Granzer third row Coronado Jr. High Band 1953-4 One day during a tedious band practice, Alan and Phil blurted out a few deliberately bad notes to break up the mood. Droning an off-key riff, I joined in. Paul Hennenberg threw his baton against the wall, glared, and bellowed, “I’ll dismiss the next person to mess with this band. Take a break to change your juvenile attitude.” I had seen him angry before, but never like that and slinked back in my seat.   The band meant so much to me I would have hated having our leader boot me off for foolishness. Under his intense direction we played The Planets, op.32 (1916) by Gustav Holst for many sessions until we were prepared for state competition. Each planet had its own haunting sound appropriate to the symbol it represented: Mars-War, Venus-Peace, Mercury-Winged Messenger, Jupiter-Jollity, Saturn-Old Age, Uranus-Magician, and Neptune-Mystic. Typically, Paul spent the most time working on Jupiter since jollity seemed a characteristic of our eclectic group of musicians. “The FBI March” kept us current with a popular television show from Sergei Prokofiev’s Opera, The Love for Three Oranges, op. 33  (1921), for flute, oboe, two clarinets, bassoon, two horns, two trumpets, strings, piano, and percussion. Our music appreciation teacher introduced us to classical composers in his conservative business suit when lecturing. He had a clever way of exploring many classics including Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. After playing the entire piece of music on his phonograph, he would emphasize special features like repetition of a melody by different instruments, unusual rhythms and sounds, and the crescendos, especially at the end. For our final exam he played brief parts of the pieces for us to identify. Dad paid for private trumpet lessons for me and saxophone lessons for Chip by sailors assigned to the superb Navy band. A skilled Hispanic musician made a two-year commitment to the Navy and introduced us to the jazz of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and others saying, “Theirs is the music of the future. Try to emulate their sounds and rhythms so you’ll have an idea where to take your music.” He brought us records that differed from anything we had heard, showed us how these artists created a livelier sound from an old favorite through improvisation, and  how to play spontaneously. During gym class as a seventh grader, Steve Ashworth and I laughed during roll call after Danny Clifford let fly a silent deadly one that created a stench. A two hundred pound varsity football coach with black eye patch, red face, baldhead, and menacing expression glared at us from a bloodshot eye, like a pirate in a Disney movie. After dismissing the class, he pointed at Steve and me, “You two jokers follow me.” He led us across the basketball floor to a closet, took Steve in, closed the door, and said, “Drop your pants, bend over, and grab your ankles.” A loud WHACK, “OOOUUUWWW,” followed as Steve rushed out with tears in his eyes and staggered bent over from pain while I quivered with fear. The evil bully held something behind his back and barked, “You’re next, Sonny. Get in there, drop your pants, bend over, and grab your ankles.” He closed the door. An excruciating pain from my butt ran down my legs made me tremble after the same loud WHACK that left Steve floundering. “OOOUUUWWW,” I yelled. Tears rolled down my cheeks, I gasped for air and felt nauseous. The thick wooden paddle he had hid from view had carved holes that left welts on our butts from a weapon deliberately fashioned to make bruises. Because he knew we would yell when whacked, he closed the door to hide his cruelty. The sign urging athletes that “Winners Never Quit” made me glad this thug was not my coach. Our butts ached for a week. The American Legion had tryouts for its hardball league at Coronado for kids sixteen and younger. They selected me as their second baseman. Most of the team was fifteen and sixteen-year-old athletes except for me, Jody Wesson, Walt Albright, and Robin Crenshaw. John Crawford, a muscular athlete, shot putter on the track team, was the team’s leading hitter. Coach Minnie moved me to left field and put a varsity basketball player, Wayne Nix, on second base when our shortstop brought him to join us against a strong San Diego team. Determined to succeed despite my demotion, I hit a bases-loaded double. “Don’t worry about the outfield move. You’re a good ball player with plenty of time to play infield," Coach said. We had two Black athletes that gave us an opportunity to learn about people from a different background. Willie Dickey led off and ran like a scared rabbit around the bases and with lightning speed in the outfield after balls. He made diving catches while sliding on the grass at full speed. He set fire to the base paths that sent puffs of dust like a greyhound and chunks of dirt flying off his cleats from stealing bases, making extra base hits, or turning a routine ground ball into a single. Catcher Herman Wright, ran track like Willie, stole bases whenever he wanted to, batted over .300, and had a rifle arm. I developed a passionate attraction to athletics but also became interested in girls my age with a crush on tall dark-haired and beautiful Kathy Stevens, long blond Judy Hutchinson, athletic Buffy Wilson, and sexy Jackie Stamps. Distracted by fads, the latest music, and being “cool,” I spent hours on the phone with my fantasy girl friends, raced to the beach with Chip, and had little time left for Mom. Unfortunately our Junior High Band director, Mr. Granzer, believed a hearsay report and said,"Because you started a fight on the playground, you are removed from your position as Vice President of the eight grade. No one can hold office here who acts that way. You should be ashamed." I smiled and left knowing what a farce the hearing was. Some fight! A huge seventh grader, forty pounds heavier and four inches taller, pounded me three times from behind for rebounds in a pick-up basketball game on the outdoor courts leading with his elbows in my back and shoulders. The last time I ended up on the asphalt with skinned knees. "I'll meet you on the playing fields after this game ," I said angrily to him. He chuckled at my vapid threat and met me there when the game ended. We agreed not to throw punches and to wrestle. Lunging in anger at him, I threw him down with an arm tightly around his neck in an instant. He grabbed my neck and there we stayed glued together like a pair of lovers hugging cheeks together, dogs in heat, for twenty minutes sweating in the hot sun, dust, and crab grass. "This is stupid," I finally said, tired of the farce of a fight. We got up, shook hands, and laughed. We were lucky someone didn't report us for homosexuality--a deadly sin those days. Continuing my love of Boy Scouts, I joined the Coronado troop and completed all the merit badges for Life Scout. The camping badge required many nights in a tent at camp outs in wild areas surrounding San Diego and a few nights in a hammock tent in our enclosed backyard. Hiking with my backpack with friends to the mountains, swimming in lakes, rivers, and streams, cooking over campfires, singing folk songs, hearing ghost stories, talking with other scouts in a tent in my sleeping bag, peaking up at the stars, and the camaraderie made me love Boy Scouts. On one trip Steve Ashworth brought his .22 Rifle as did a few others under the supervision of our scoutmaster, Mac. On a rugged hike I said, “There’s a rabbit hiding under that shrub.”Steve quickly shot the motionless rabbit a foot away. “Why did you do that? “That’s what guns are for.” “You should have scared him so he’d run. That takes skill to hit a fast rabbit.” “Fuck you, Lavery. You don’t even own a gun.” “Can I use it for target practice?” “Yeah, when I get finished looking for things to shoot.” Later, I enjoyed hitting a rock, fence post, can, and a tree. I joined the nation of scouts at the annual Jamboree in Irvine for three days of adventure. We met scouts from almost every state. Our leader, a muscular Scotsman, led us in executing a raid on another scout camp. My friends joined me with other scouts on the secret mission. We left our calling card to those troops we invaded at night emulating a military surprise attack, escape, and evasion. While at the Jamboree exchanging memorabilia I saw C. R. Roberts in shorts with green Boy Scout stockings. No one would dare laugh at the muscular athlete for wearing shorts. Kathy Stevens drove all the way to Irvine to see the Jamboree and for a visit with Jan MacGregor and me. I was proud to be part of an organization that cultivated patriotism, friendship, love of the outdoors, and the military values of honor, discipline, and physical fitness. (Click on the small icons below to expand)

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Get on Obama’s Train

(Sing to Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues) Obama’s train is moving

It’s rolling around the bend

Corporations now are people

And big money they spend

Helping Romney and Ryan

Work for the one per cent

Obama’s team has a plan

To bring full job development

Along come young Paul Ryan

And rich stiff Mitt Romney

Both are out of touch

And act like royalty

Obama offers each of us

A much better way

Fair taxes for the rich and

Make Wall Street greed pay

He ended the Iraq War

Osama Bin Laden’s gone

Put an end to torture

Kept America strong

Say no to tea-party neo-cons

Who just want to disrupt

Vote for worker’s rights

And prosecute the corrupt

Most thoughtful world leaders

From East to the West

Support Obama’s platform

His vision is the best

Alternative energy and

And more efficient fuel

Higher teacher pay

No dumbing down of schools

Close all tax loopholes

Don’t subsidize petrol

Environmental protection

Immigration reform and gun control

Tax cuts for working families

Restore our economy

Strengthen alliances abroad

Fight terror relentlessly

On January 20th

Of the year 2013

Obama’s leadership restored

A more secure world scene

Nations around the world

Will join America once more

Encouraging all people to

Seek peace instead of war.

 

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