ok. now comes the time for the other shoe to drop. i am not here to talk about why we went to vietnam. no one asked me. they rarely ask me anything. it may or may not have been the right thing to do. lots of people thought it was at one point or another. then like everything else we grew weary of the whole dead and death deal on the news every night. none other than uncle walter said, on tv, that we were in a hurt and losing the war. this was during the tet offensive in 1968. yes, it was a minor set back but we actually cleaned the nva’s(north vietnamese army) collective clocks during that time. the north veitnamese were so badly beaten they were unable to mass a similar offensive until easter of 1972. at which time we cleaned some more clocks with even less americans around. however, on the other hand, during tet the nva were busy killing innocent civilians and burying them in a mass grave in hue. hundreds and hundreds of people. this was or should have been a signal flare but no one was paying attention. of course there were other things involved but the american people had lost interst in the vietnam war. sadly. it was said, time to leave. pack up and just go. come home. let them fight their own war. adios.
after the 1972 easter offensive the cry really went up. leave now. why, mom and pop america even thought it was a good idea. it may have been but there are always other things lurking about. waiting. the time finally came for america to put the nightmare behind us or so it was said. we up and left. then it came and came in ways that in my opinion we are still paying for, karma wise. the bad juju of just leaving and closing the door behind us in vietnam still lives with us. the blood of all the innocent people who were slaughtered in vietnam, laos, cambodia after we left won’t wash off our hands. probably never will. we can twist them and turn them and mutter like lady macbeth but it ain’t gonna do any good. the blood of those poor people is still with us. the lives of those sent to concentration or re-education camps are on our hands as well.
yes, of course, i’m a crack pot. uh, huh. the really sad thing is we are about to pull the same bonehead mistake again. yes, say what you will. of course we shouldn’t have started this one either. unless you are willing to go, air force general curtis lamay, on iraq or the veitnamese, then maybe you shouldn’t get involved in the first place. because eventually we lose interest. if we just pull up stakes and leave iraq, ala vietnam, we are looking at another blood bath. thousands perhaps millions more innocent people killed or worse. yeah, there are worse things than death. ask the vietnamese. or the chinese under mao. the russians under stalin. or anybody who wasn’t a german under hitler.
i see the whole thing as just more bad karma bad juju bad moon rising if we just up and leave iraq. look i’m no bush fan. i’m not gonna go into that here. hell, i’m no fan of any politician. all i’m saying is, we have to think of those left in our wake. it’s the innocent iraqi citizen who is the one that’s going to suffer mightily if we leave them like we did the vietnamese. the why, the where fors of going in the first place don’t matter now. what is done is done. we have enough bad karma around us as a nation. enough bad juju to keep all manner of folks in work for years and years. we don’t need anymore but we sure as shit will conjure up some more if we leave iraq in a lurch.
my friend, jh, gave me a book to read last week. it’s an old book about the vietnam war. a war in which i have some personal experience. the book is by tim o’brien, ‘the things they carried’, is it’s title. it’s a very good book and i’d reccomend it to anyone who has a taste for good writing. you may not like the subject matter but sometimes good writing wins the day. so in the spirit of good writing winning the day i have some other book suggestions for you. you may not like them as well but it will be your loss and for sure you will lose some historical perspective about stuff and the vietnam war. you may not care about that part of our history but it’s still here and now and there as well. more on that later.
i began reading books about the vietnam war over 25 years ago. at the last sorta count i think the number was over 300 and counting. here are some that i think you should read. if for no other reason than just for some good writing. plus you might learn something along the way.
one of the first books i read on the topic was by, bernard fall, a frenchman who wrote several good books about the war. his first, if i’m not mistaken, was, ‘hell in a very small place – the siege of dien bien phu’. another of his books worth reading is ‘street without joy’. those two sad wonderful accounts of the french and their time vietnam may not be for everyone but i think everyone should read them.
one of the premier books by an american concerning the war would be neil sheehan’s book, ‘a bright shining lie – john paul vann and america in vietnam’. a great book. i was so stoked when i finished it i actually found his phone number listed in washington dc and called his house. he wasn’t home. i yammered at his wife for a bit and hung up. yeah, it’s that good.
there are 2 books out there or used to be out there that were written about air america, the 3 letter agencies airline in nam. one i know isn’t out there anymore or at least i don’t think so but finding it would be very well worth your time and money. that book would be christopher robbins’, ‘air america’. not the sappy crappy movie of the same name, or fuck, it could be for all i know. a great book about some very brave men. he has another book concerning the war in laos, one of the added attactions to the war in nam. it’s title is, ‘the ravens’. a really good book about some more brave men and their time in laos being semi secret. it’s funny it’s sad and it is good.
of course then there’s michael herr’s book, ‘dispatches’ , which probably should be required reading in history classes. fat chance of that ever happening. a bit too real for the suits. another along the same lines but more in a traditional vein would be james r. ebert’s book, ‘a year in a life – the american infantryman in vietnam, 1965-1972’. it pretty much sums up the harrowing life of a grunt. i’m sure a grunts life hasn’t changed much since alexander or hannibal or before.
i can hear you snoring, however, just bear with me and i’ll piss you off soon enough.
there’s a newer book out there that i think is right up there with sheehan’s, john vann book, and that book would be, ‘the cat from hue’, by john laurence, an old cbs newsman who covered the vietnam war from 1965 to 1970. it took him a number of years to get the book done and out but he hits notes pretty much on evey page. fine writing like all the books mentioned but his sings and plays notes hard to hit, let alone find. there are more, hundreds more, out there. maybe i’ve whetted your appetite for some reading about our recent past. i hope so. just do it.
hard luck boy
that’s what john harrelson was doing or starting to do back when i first met him. it seems like a long time ago and well, it was, though i may have met him earlier when he was in some other band or another since we went to the same high school and lived in the same socal burg, de onta(ontario), ca.
at some point, back then myself and several other friends started up a light show company. we bought the equipment from a guy in claremont who was tired of doing it. the light show it that is. i think we paid $400 for his equipment. a chunk of change for the late 60’s. i borrowed my end from my dad, explaining i would pay him back very soon. he gave me the money and was very surprised and impressed when i did re-pay him a few weeks later. for the younger ones, a light show was a show of lights. sorta. lots of overhead projectors, slide projectors, motion picture projectors, mirror balls, oils and food colors mixed with other messy stuff. all of that was projected up on the stage behind a performing band. hopefully adding to the experience of the band or maybe some sort of chemical. or both. all very nice indeed.
we worked around claremont a lot doing college dances there and promoting our own stuff as well at taylor hall, along with other venues in the area. somehow or another we even got to do a show with the sir douglas quintet when they performed at one of the colleges in claremont, ca. they were impressed and wanted us to go on the road with them. we declined as we were all still in school and stupid.
after the gig with sir doug, which whetted our appetite for more high end action, we somehow or another got hooked up with the guy who was promoting, hard luck boy. which if i may say, was a great blues band and i’m not just saying that just to be saying it. they were.
we jumped through some hoops for said guy and then sorta auditioned for him by doing a show with hard luck boy, as headliners, along with some other local bands at the swing auditorium in san berdoo. we passed the test and got the job with the promoter.
we were still promoting our own shows and making some decent coin for that time by doing the shows. however, by hooking up with that promoter it meant the big time for us and for a while it was. one of the first shows we did was in either redlands or riverside at the university was with hard luck boy and lee micheals. lee was amazing. probably one of the loudest acts ever and it was just him on the hammond b-3, and his drummer, frosty. i remember the windows in the place just pulsating away. i thought they were going to break. if i’m not mistaken i think we did another show or so with hard luck boy and lee before our big show.
our big show, and one of hard luck boy’s biggest shows, was in irvine at the university featuring hard luck boy, lee micheals, and led zeppelin. if memory serves we were up in the sorta lodge section of the gym setting up our equipment. the first time we turned all of our equipment on we blew a fuse or 2. not a good omen. however, things were fixed up by the campus electricians and our light show went on without any more hitches. the concert was one of the best i’ve seen and a mind blower.
i’m not sure if we worked with john anymore after that show. because our light show act went in two different directions at once after that big gig. internal bickering killing it off completely a few months later. however, it was great while it lasted. the memories might be hazy but they’re still there. and more importantly they are very fond memories.
most of john harrelson’s cds, such as ‘mojave’, are available at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/harrelson
the poster from the led zeppelin show. may 1, 1969.
yeah, that seems to be the quandry. myspace and all the hackers deluxe or this place. myspace numbers are up since i got here or came here. whatever. interesting. myspace jacking with me or someone looking at the myspace web dealy here and visiting? i really don’t know. this place is more peaceful. no distractions. just the pounding it out deal. i like that. though there are folks i like to mail over there or whatever. i dunno. twixt and tween.
the hacker shit still goes on in myspace. thought i’d cleared it up yesterday. yeah, and i gots lots of bridges in big cities to sell you. cheap. sure. buy while the market is still tanking. no hacker stuff here. yet. ma cristo. i dunno. time tells. i suppose.
peter green and his band ‘fleetwood mac’ still burning away in the cd player. fine. very fine.
it looks like some of you have found your way here and looked around. thanks. i hope you come back. also thanks for not commenting on just how crappy last nights ode to peter green turned out. sometimes notes are hit and sometimes they are just clinkers in the musical scale of life. blogging as well.
perhaps a few more words on what it is that i do or don’t do are in order. i don’t fret over stuff blogs, thoughts or agonize over editing. i find it tedious and boring. what gets hammered out stays hammered out. it’s they way i prefer to do things. i don’t recall ever not hitting the post button. screw it. what is done is done. one nice thing about this place is that there is a spell check. that is when it works. i’m still trying to figure shit out here. as a dyslexic the spell check saves me a lot of time with stopping and starting just to look up a word in the dictionary. fellow dyslexics will understand. as for grammar errors, ce est la vie. you don’t like it or they bother you then don’t read it. simple easy. i don’t do this for you. i do it for myself and whatever it is inside me that makes me want to just sit here and pound away at the keys. if someone finds it interesting and wants to read it then it’s just an added measure of good fortune for me. perhaps you too.
i guess that covers it for now. i hope you find your time here entertaining. see? it was nothing much.
yeah, ok. let’s see what happens here. what the fuck, eh? i picked up an old old cd this past week. a very very nice blues deal. damn fine. turn it up, yeah. turn it up some more. just right. sweet. peter green. english blues guy. the original fleetwood mac guitar player. lindsay is good but peter was the blues. simple easy. cd would be ‘peter green’s fleetwood mac-live at the marquee ‘. mick fleetwood, of course, on drums. peter green was fleetwood mac. the real, old fleetwood mac. the real blues band, fleetwood mac.
sure stevie nicks was/is a babe. a damn good singer as well. or pre steveie there was christine macvie. blues babe for sure. good music all around. but if you love the blues the 60’s english dudes had it down. downtown. yeah, butterfield. taj. charlie musslewhite. bloomfield. not to mention muddy, john lee, b. b., robert, albert, jr, et the fucking al. capice? just give me the blues. loud.
fleetwood mac at it’s early finest stuff. fleetwood mac before peter just up and walked away from the music and the scene. at one point he pushed bed pans around in hospitals. yeah. gone. forever. this particular cd i’ve never heard before and by god i’m so happy i found the sucker. it kicks ass. the sound is a bit muddy but don’t matter. it’s the raw pure stuff that the blues are meant to be. very simple. straight to the heart. great goddamn stuff. like an old 45rpm that’s all scratched up but it still cooks…crank it up and the scratches disappear. the music lives on. maybe better than ever.
if you haven’t heard peter green play some guitar you should. you should do whatever it takes to find some of his stuff. there is still some of his early fleetwood mac cd’s out there. stuff after this one. the real stuff. life on the edge stuff. gritty real hit you up side the head stuff. you like clapton? yeah, well, who doesn’t? peter was better. yeah, sorry. truth hurts. so did his up and leaving music to push bedpans around with other people’s shit in them in dismal dank hospitals. but then people have to do what they must do. he did what he felt he had to do. you can’t ask for anything else.
the only thing you can say is, peter green taught carlos santana and a shit pot of other present day guitar players some mighty fine shit. ‘black magic woman’ is a peter green song. there are roots out there. some deep and fine roots. some music that should never be forgotten. lennon/mccartney, the glimmer twins. peter green. yeah, he should be right up there with them. peter green was the blues. peter green is still the blues. peter green WAS fleetwood mac.
this cd is some roadhouse some place on a hot sultry nasty full moon summer night or some cold snowy blustry cold ass nasty winter night. it’s life all rolled up into one fine blues cd. peter green’s fleetwood mac. the original. where ever you are peter, god bless and thank you for some fine blues.
i dunno, this may have been a mistake. i’m not a general audience kinda guy and i don’t want to be for that matter. of course, with this being the weekend there is no one about or around to ask just what the hell i can get away with here, writing wise. maybe someone out there in blog land can give me a tip or two concerning what is considered genereal stuff and what happens if and when i go off board and go r or x rated. i need to know, like i said this might have been a mistake.
yeah, hi. i’m new here. my blogs are liable to be about anything that my fevered brain can come up with at the moment. if you are looking for polished writing you’ve come to the wrong place. it’s not my style. nor in my make-up, as well. most of what i write is for a more mature audience. if that offends then don’t read my blogs. i am also not our childs guardian nor do i want to be. that’s your job. do it.