Sunday, December 19, 2021

Florida man used flamethrower to settle parking dispute, police say

 Florida man used flamethrower to settle parking dispute, police say

Excerpt: A Florida man angry over his neighbors’ parking habits sprayed fire from a commercial flamethrower toward a car with three teenagers inside, police said. No one was hurt. Andre Abrams, 57, of Gainesville, is facing three counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intending to kill, according to court records. He posted a $15,000 bond last week and is awaiting a decision whether prosecutors will formally file criminal charges. The mother of one of the teens, Ashley Gainey, said Abrams frequently sprayed the flamethrower to scare off guests at her home. Gainey’s daughter, Nate’talya Baker, 16, fled the car with her friends as Abrams continued to spray flames toward them, police said. “When he shoots it, it lights the whole road up,” Gainey said. “It’s like it’s daylight outside. He’ll do it in the middle of the night.” [A FLAMETHROWER! YES! I’ve got to get one of these, right after I move to Florida. When I say “We’ll have a hot time, tonight,” I’ll really mean it. Seriously, familiarization with the flamethrower during Marine training was FAR more frightening to me than learning to throw hand grenades. Ron P.]

Me, too. I was more scared when a flame thrower backed up on me at Camp Lejeune than I ever was in Vietnam. ~Bob

In Poll, 93% of Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem Prefer Israeli to Palestinian Rule

 In Poll, 93% of Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem Prefer Israeli to Palestinian Rule

Friday, December 17, 2021

Science fiction’s curious ability to predict the future

 Science fiction’s curious ability to predict the future

Scots Christmas Poem

 This is a fun wee bairn’s poem from Scotland, circa WWII. FYI: a

lum is a chimney.

I’ve been feelin’ awfu’ worried,

Since I heard my mither say:

“The sweep’s been awfu’ busy

An’ hisnae’ been oor wey.”

She tried her best tae get him,

But the mannie couldna’ come,

An’ fine I ken that Santa Claus

Will no’ come doon oor lum!

I’ve heard him on a windy nicht,

Gang whistlin’ ower the hoose,

An’ I’ve been guid as guid could be,

An’ quiet as ony moose.

But I’ve got an awfu’ feelin’

That Santa winna come tae me on Christmas mornin’

‘Cause we’ve got a dirty lum!

I’ve written letters every nicht,

An telt him whaur I bide,

An’ that I want a spitfire,

Wi’ a hale air crew inside.

But, if he comes, I’m awfu’ feart,

He’ll maybe no’ get oot.

The sweep’s no’ been,

An’ maybe he’ll be chokit wi’ the soot.

So, maybe if ye see him,

Or hear him ony nicht,

Tell him I’m behavin’,

An’ daein’ my lessons richt.

An’ say it’s no my mither’s blame,

She’d aye the sweep afore.

So, would he bring my aeroplane,

An’ jist – jist leave it at the door?

Here Are the Facts About Spikes in Crime That Sen. Dick Durbin Didn’t Want Me to Share

 Here Are the Facts About Spikes in Crime That Sen. Dick Durbin Didn’t Want Me to Share

Tuesday, December 14, 2021



The Long Walk

 Book Recommendation


The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek To Freedom Paperback by Slavomir Rawicz

The author was a Polish cavalry officer who fought the Germans in 1939. When Poland was overrun by the Germans and their Russian allies, he went home. It happened to be near the Russian border. He was immediately scooped up by the NKVD and accused of being a spy. After torture, the sentenced him to 25 years hard labor and sent to GULAG Camp 303 in Siberia . He and six companions escaped and began a long march to India over 4,000 miles away. This is a terrific story of men’s desire for freedom. I highly recommend it.

Illegal Migrants Are Allowed to Fly Without ID

 Good News! Illegal Migrants Are Allowed to Fly Without ID



Sunday, December 12, 2021

Merry Christmas, Snake A Vietnam Christmas


Merry Christmas, Snake

A Vietnam Christmas

Robert A. Hall


Eddie wrapped a length of C-ration baling wire around the trunk of Aunt Thel’s tree, and wedged the end between the bunker’s crumbling sandbags.  That corrected the starboard list caused by a bent stand.  Considering that their mail had been air-dropped from a C-130 cargo plane, the two-foot artificial tree had come through remarkably well, with only the bent leg and one broken limb. At Snake’s suggestion, they had turned the “bare spot” to the wall and trimmed the tree with the surviving decorations and local crafts: a tin star cut from a C-ration can, a pair of lance corporal chevrons with the black coating worn off so they glittered, some brass M-16 shell casings.

Eddie would have preferred canned peaches from Aunt Thel, but he thought the tree looked right cheerful in their bunker.  He twisted the tin star to catch light from the radios and began softly singing:

“Jingle bells, mortar shells, V. C. in the grass--

You can take your Merry Christmas and shove it up...”

He sensed “incoming” and ducked as Snake’s boot banged into the wall, safely away from the precious tree, sending a trickle of sand dribbling through the slats of the wooden pallets that served as the bunker’s floor.  Eddie turned and saw Snake smiling at him over a can of C-ration ham and limas.  You couldn’t get pissed at a guy who would trade you beanies and weenies for ham and “slimies,” which every reasonable person hated the way Santa’s point-deer Rudolph hated clear weather.

Eddie wiped his eyes to get rid of the stinging caused by grit from the sandbags.  It didn’t help.  “Since when did you get the Christmas spirit?” he asked, “I thought you were a Black Muslim?” 

Snake had announced his new religion several weeks ago, the fourth in seven months.  Though he maintained a devout facade, his “conversions” were a standing joke in the platoon.  Eddie had reasonably pointed out that while he, himself, was black, Snake was a white dude—an awkward start for a Black Muslim.

Snake’s response was that Eddie was an Uncle Tom; and, that since there was no other black dude to be the radical on their radio relay team, he would have to do it himself, “Just like every goddamned thing else around here.”

“Can’t be a Muslim on Christmas Eve,” Snake smiled, and continued dropping pieces of John Wayne crackers through the floor planks for the rat.  He’s been trying to kill the rat just last week, but, following the lead of the Viet Cong, had declared a Christmas truce with it yesterday.

Eddie picked up the jungle boot, and turned it over, observing that it was nearly new.  He looked down to his left boot, where the electrical tape holding it together was coming loose.  The sides had rotted and he hadn’t been able to scrounge replacements from supply’s limited stock.

“Hey, Snake, how about giving me your extra boots?  We’re the same size, almost.”

“Certainly, my man,” Snake promised, “As soon as the Sear’s catalog comes and I can order something more stylish.  We might, however, barter--I do admire that K-bar knife on your belt.”  Snake rose and headed to the bunker door, which hung precariously from the hinges of shell boxes.  “I’ll go switch generators.” 

He went into the night, taking only a small flashlight, to carry out the regular task of alternating the 400-cycle generators that powered their AN/TRC-27 radio relay unit.

Eddie was re-taping his boot when the first mortar round exploded in the small perimeter.  “Christmas truce!” he spat, lunging for the door, “Little rice-propelled bastards!”


By the time the corpsman had checked the flow of blood from Snake’s mangled leg, and closed the flap of open flesh on his right cheek, the painkiller had taken hold and he was babbling happily.

“Lucky break, Eddie,” he said, laughing, “I tripped over the goddamn antenna guy wire and couldn’t make the hole.  Now I’m going home for Christmas, buddy.  I’ll be dancing in Time’s Square on New Year’s Eve while you’re still stuck in this shit hole, man.”

Eddie glanced at Snake’s leg and winced as they loaded him onto the stretcher.  “Nail one of them hippy broads for me,” he said.

Snake laughed again, almost a giggle. “Hey, Eddie,” he said, “You can have those boots.”  He gave a weak, cheery wave.  “Merry Christmas, man.”

“Merry Christmas, Snake,” Eddie said, then he impulsively pulled the K-Bar from his belt and laid it on the stretcher, knowing that some rear-echelon pogue would probably steal it from Snake.  “Take that home as a souvenir of this slice of paradise.”

Snake waved again as the corpsmen hefted the stretcher and struggled carefully up the muddy slope toward the med-evac LZ.  “Merry Fucking Christmas,” Eddie whispered to himself.

He turned to go check the radios.  The grit was bothering him again.  Now, he thought, who the hell can I trade ham and limas to?


Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who later served five terms in the Massachusetts Senate. He retired in 2013 to have a lung transplant, but worked PT from July 2017 to June 2021 as a writer editor for the My Life, My Story Program at the Madison A hospital, writing life stories for over 400 veterans. He has had articles, stories and poetry in over 50 publications and has 12 books on Amazon.


 Published in Calliope and my book Eddie Grabowski’s Gift.

Christmas Poems-=-Feel free to share

 A Veteran’s Christmas Wish

Each year when Christmas comes around again,
I pause on Christmas Eve to take a dram
Of whisky, and I think of absent friends,
And Christmas in a place called Vietnam.

I think of boys who never had the chance
To see their kids on Christmas Eve at play,
Their lives were spent that freedom might advance,
From Valley Forge right up through yesterday.

They fell at Belleau Wood and Normandy,
At Gettysburg, at Iwo and at Hue,
They gave their lives to keep our people free,
And never saw another Christmas Day.

So take a moment from your festive joys,
To think of soldiers who were young and true,
And say a prayer on Christmas Eve for boys
Who gave up all their Christmases for you.

Robert A. Hall
A Prayer for Gifts at Christmas
Robert A. Hall

Just give me Lord a grateful heart
For blessings on my life,
For hearth and home, family and food,
My grandkids and my wife.

Just give me Lord a happy heart,
A beacon of Your light,
That I may spread Your love for us
And banish darkest night.

Just give me Lord a sharing heart
To spread Your message far,
That touches all of sinful man
And started with that star.

Just give me Lord a cheerful heart
So everyone I know
Will see Your joy within my smile
And follow where You go.

Just give me Lord a Christian heart
To share Your gift to me
That changes folk across the world
From mountains to the sea.
--Robert A. Hall

The Christmas Gift

There is a gift that comes
From those out on the lines,
It is not wrapped in bows,
But, oh, how bright it shines.

There is a Christmas gift,
A pearl beyond all price,
From those who ask for naught,
But make the sacrifice.

They risk their blood and bone
On endless weary tours,
For that is all that keeps
The evil from our shores.

You worship as you will,
You freely have your say,
And all that is a gift
From sentries far away.

There is a gift that comes
From troops who guard the line,
That lets us live in peace
And joy at Christmastime.

We say “Support the troops,”
But hardly pause to think
What honor really means,
Or how near looms the brink.

There is a Christmas gift
From those who hold the line,
And you and I, my friend,
Get nothing more sublime.

Robert A. Hall
Former SSgt, USMC

Saturday, December 11, 2021



Friday, December 10, 2021

Thursday, December 9, 2021

and more


more memes




Book recommendation


Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think by Victor Davis Hanson

I always enjoy reading Hanson, even when I don’t agree with him. This book was written soon after 9/11, and his prediction that we would get serious about fighting Islamic Terrorism has not been born out. But his analysis of three battles, Okinawa, Shiloh, and Delium (424 BC in Greece) and the way they changed the nations and military that fought them are very interesting. This is historical analysis that will make you ponder. I recommend it.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Repeal Day

 Today is repeal day. On this date, prohibition was repealed. Have a drink to celebrate! ~Bob