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I never closed my eyes.

Thick moisture dripped off my chin.
The dense, impenetrable jungles of
Honduras weren't exactly
pleasant. The heat was so thick
you could smell it, accompanied
by swarms of ungodly gnats
that got in your nose, ears,
and eyes.

It was always hard, always...

I couldn't figure out where the
guerrillas were going. Maybe the
American was leading, but why would
he head into the jungle. More
than that, the sups wouldn't tell
me who the American was.

Finally.. caught them filling their canteens.

We'll hit 'em at dawn. They are on the horn begging for
resupply. Their higherups are writtin' 'em off.


Move forward, 3 50 meters left. I'll take right. Move.

Base of the mountain, 250 meters. My mark...


We let all fucking hell loose.

Suppressive fire. Watch the left side! GO!

The first team smashed forward.
My team gave them cover fire.
Now it was our turn to move.

The American didn't look like your average
"Gentleman leftist" idiot revolutionary.

I've got eyes on the American.

A satisfying red mist exploded from his throat.
He went down, clawing. I went ahead
and put his radioman down too.

More grenades, another few minutes of withering fire.

We lit the whole fucking area up.
Everything was dead.

A little tingle crept up
my spine as I walked up
on the American and his radioman.

The green beret on his head
struck me first.
Then his face, familiar...

Someone had betrayed him. The CIA director
was a real shithead. He tried to tell me
I did a good job. I knocked him out.

Never saw that guy again.

Eric Haney was a Delta Force operative. He told his story to Maxim.
This is what he must have been thinking during one of his particularly intruiging operations.
Call it artistic interpretation.
By the way, this is a true story.


OOoOOo! I'm being oppressed! Damn The Man, Save The Empire!

My father left when I was quite young and I was raised by my mother... an all too common scenario for my generation. The male role model in my life, other than my brother, who is 2 years older than me, was my grandfather. He was always a man of science and didn't put his faith in anything that couldn't be proven with it. Don't get me wrong, he has a sense of humor and he's got alot of life under his belt. He's just grown into a pretty isolated guy. He's the first to leave a family gathering to go down to the basement and play video games, and he rarely makes it easy to communicate with him unless you are talking about something he is interested in. And let's not hope you have different opinions, or you'll get the short and snappy retort of a man convinced he's tried it all and his way is the way it is.

He is pretty intellegent, though. I guess that comment is based on my own knowledge, so he may just be smarter than me, but that's how everything goes with humans... everything is relative to the storyteller.

He's the kind of guy who picks up a Quantum mechanics book at the age of 60 just to see what it's all about. I do not have nearly that kind of dedication to the art of learning, but I respect it.

Anyway, one day a few months back, we had a discussion, albeit short, about astrology and his opinions on it. I was shot down almost immediatly by his adamancy about it not being based on fact. I buckled under his pressure and dropped the topic just as he wanted. DAMN ME!

Mother's Day was to be the day of my more calculated assult. I had been thinking of what he had said about astrology for a few months now and it was time to reiterate my opinion without letting him win. My mother had left early due to illness, so it was just me, Granny and Grandpa at the dinner table. Half way thru the meal, I looked up at him and started with my arguement, picking up on a 2 month old conversation out of no where.

"I was thinking about what you said about astrology, and I think you are misinformed."

A slight grin appeared on his face, knowing that I had been contemplating for months something so silly as that conversation. I went on to explain to him what I thought about his opinion, and he again came with a sternness hard not to obey. I fought with everything I had, though I wasn't really fighting for anything other than the right to vocalize my own opinion in his prescence. Astrology was definitely not the issue here.

To my amazement, after about 5 or so minutes of conversation, he started to understand that I was only wanting to have an honest and forthcoming conversation between two adults. I wasn't really trying to prove him wrong, but merely share my ideas on life in general. I was probably more inquisitive than anything. After that, it was smooth sailing. We went back and forth for about an hour or so, my grandmother listening to my left. She wasn't much part of the conversation, other than the initial "Van, you don't have to talk down to him" to aid me in my struggle for independence in the conversation.

He got this flare in him that I don't know if I had ever seen before. He started talking about the fundamentals of knowledge and understanding, and I was all ears. I ended up asking more questions than anything and he answered them as fundamentally as he possibly could.

The next day, I got a pro-bush email forwarded to me from him (he's one of those people who forwards me shit all the damn time!). It was definitely slanted and there were alot of facts used in irrelevant ways, and I replied to the email to let him know how I felt. I was careful not to bring personal attack into it, just stating the ill-use of the facts. His response was not at all what I expected.

He started off by saying how proud of me he was that I was using my mind and how he wished me the best in my journey for truth. He reccomended to me the writings of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descaretes, Kant, and many others. The email was eloquent and passionate, something that usually didn't come out of him.

I think I tapped into something deep down in him. I now notice him being nicer to everyone around him. I think his flame just needed a little fuel, and my inquisitiveness was all it took. Good!
Death and Management

This morning at 6 am one of my employees called me to let me know that one of his co-workers' wives had called in and told him that her husband had passed away. Joel has been with the company for a little over a month, and there was nothing wrong with him (as his hiring manager, I'd probably have known). For the last hour and a half, instead of worrying about how to improve statistics and implement new projects, I've been thinking about how little we value the people around us and just how much we take them for granted. I know this is an incredibly old theme but it's usually thrown out in context with family - "I should have spent more time with dear Aunt Mildred" rather than, I should have gotten to know Joel outside of how quickly he resolved problems and how professional he was in the workplace.

I will go into work today and clear off his desk, reassign all of his work, and write a somber email to the staff. I will fill out the requisite paperwork to replace his position. On Monday I'll get his address from HR and send his wife and family a floral arrangement with the company's deepest sympathies. I'll arrange for an HR specialist to call his wife and set up benefits. I will respectfully attend the funeral. And then, as though I were looped on soma I will go back to work and pretend that I care about our customer satisfaction surveys, resolution statistics, new product meetings, and upper management perception.

All I knew about Joel was that he had a military background and that he liked to work with computers. He got along well with his peers and did his work with no complaint. Joel was a quiet, compliant, positive person who didn't need my attention as a manager.

Now he's irreplaceable.
From the Ulysses is not pornography node:
In 1934, through the unstinting efforts of co-founder Bennett Cerf and his legal counsel, Morris Ernst, RANDOM HOUSE succeeded in bringing out the first American Edition of Ulysses
compare with this, from http://badmovieplanet.com/duckspeaks/reviews/2004/the-cat-in-the-hat/ :
Green Eggs and Ham. GEH was inspired by a bet Geisel made with Random House publisher Bennett Cerf that he could write a book using just fifty words. Geisel won the bet, and the book became the biggest seller of his career.
Methinks this "Bennett Cerf" may be one of the unheralded great characters in publishing, etc, etc... when it is not 3am, i will track down more info ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

11am today I saw American Splendour with Harvey Pekar Q&A, and part of him and his wife and his cute (gawky cute, geeky cute, the kind of girl gets written about lots here) adopted daughter (and i feel scared saying that, like Harvey's going to find this and hunt me down and beat me up, Archie Bunker style, though he seems like a nice guy

and my eyes are burning again, and i've had a ton of intellectual experiances and all, and two hours ago i was going to stay up one more hour to write an Ask the American (sure, ya'll don't like it, but my editor wants one every week, no questions ask, and I gotta oblige 'cause writing for the paper is still a gig, and when you've got no job a gig is the best you can hope for... and three days of writing festivals and being the token American and the token Joycean (all of them cooing over me 'cause i'm reading Ulysses for a class, like i'm some kinda rare specimen, though i haven't finished the bit i've got reading for class tommorow-- Eumeneus, cabman's shelter, late at night, and have i told you yet how Luna Park shines at night as yer rounding the curve of Circular Quay? its a bit like living it, only with more beauty and less legends

and when you see that the writers who get invited to festivals are just YOU only with a little less luck so they had to write a bit more, you want to spend your 20 bucks on a salad and throw away all your cash so you're FORCED to submit, FORCED to be what what you're supposed to be

and i met "adults" (36 years old) who had no idea, just artists/writers/actors living free in part time jobs and Sydney lofts, and i wonder if its a good thing or a bad thing that the music (Moloko, Massive Attack, Beck) and the movies (Micheal Moore) seemed so perfectly familiar

i can type so fast my hands would be on fire, so this is coming out as i think it-- speed of second, speed of thought. in my own head, its genius, a combination of all the millions of inputs during the day. you'll disagree, but can ya delete daylogs, dad? Dylan dances to Stipe's strings sometimes, ya figure, in his room when he dosen't need to be professionally old ("that ain't a 10 gallon hat, i say, re his new apperance-- more of a 20 gallon") by way of explanation to a lady at a hip store playing the Wonder Boys soundtrack, my fave, and can i trade on nice hats and energy long enough to convince people i can write long enough to convince them to give me enough to eat?

(a joke, of course-- parents will provide. but i hide a bit from reality, and all i must do is extend the image long enough to make something of it. pretend not to be the starving singer with muttonchop meatcap and instead record the fourworded wavespeech of a Bronte Beach afternoon where yer too busy dancing in the waves to write about them

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