joe dreck
June 25, 2004

For Joe Dreck (a k a The Captain) life is not an email but an email can be life.
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Subject: "The Good ol' Days" ... gone forever
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2004 5:03 PM
Earlier today I wuz browzin' thru my high school year book (1959) from H.H. Arnold HS in Wiesbaden, Germany. What a treat! I particularly enjoyed the text for the Home Economics Class of "FUTURE HOMEMAKERS". It said, "The girls analyzed the components of good grooming and worked out desirable wardrobes. They studied the best ways of making home-life happy through good cooking, tasteful decoration, and consideration for others."

Ha ha! Read that whole quote over again jest to make sure ya' got it. See, all a guy had to do back in those days was to find you a gurl who was a good cook, and who could decorate yer house, tastefully that is, and was considerate, and ya' had it made. Under conditions like that you could get married for yer whole life, secure in the knowledge that you were going to have a pair of clean underwear in the morning.

But, it didn't work out that way, did it? That wuz Then; this is Now, and that scenario is as obsolete as the Dodo bird. See, gurls don't learn these sorts of things today. No, no, cuz today, well, GURLS JUST WAN'TA HAVE FU-UUN! They are perfectly willin' to leave the 'Good Cookin', the Tasteful Decoratin' and the Consideratin' to someone else.

I wonder though jes who it is who's goin' to fill in that cookin', decoratin' and consideratin' gap that's been left. Scuuuse me, but I'm not up for it myself. I just don't know what has happened these past forty-five years! Something has definitely gone amiss.

Here in this third millennium one can hardly find a female gurl person, who will happily and enthusiastically fetch one's cigarettes or a cold one from the fridge, or perform some other minor task you might assign them without them moaning and groaning, and bitchin' about it. Today, this new breed of Gurl is more likely to tell you, "Hey dude, Stick it up your ASS! I'm not yer Fuckin' Maid"

In the modern Home Ec. class of today, (do they even still have such archaic classes like that?) this is what they teach the young gurls,

"Tell him to 'Fuck Off' and stick it up his ASS!"

See, back in the fifties your sweetie woudda' said, "Honey, do you want me to fold these last three pair of your underwear first or, do you want that beer right now?" Ha ha!

As Charles Schultz woudda' said, "Sigh!" the cap'm

Subject: Boo-Boo Blues
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2004 5:00 PM

I know lots of ya'll have gotten this before...all I can say is...I'm redundant sometimes; Deal with it.

This, a blues song I wrote for 3-6 year olds, a demographic largely overlooked by the blues community. We don't hear too many blues songs with them in mind, do we? But, Hey!! They get the blues too ya'know! This one is sung by "Lil Joey" and the Drecks with his inimitable haunting harp work and it goes like this….

"Woke up from my nap…Found out Mommy was gone.....

Felt so sad…Threw my blancky 'cross the lawn......

Fell off the swing...and skinned my knee...Now I got a boo-boo....

and it hurts so bad...Now I got a boo-boo...and it hurts so bad.....

Just wanta' cry...Don't know why.... Cus, Mommys not here…To see my tears.......

Got the lonesome boo-boo blues.........

Sittin' in the sandbox...Feelin' so low...

Doan even feel like...Playin' no mo'....

Got the hurtin' fer certain boo-boo blues...and I feel so sad

Mean ole ice cream man...Drove right on by...

Din't stop....Din't EVEN slow down

Got the boo-boo blues and it hurts so bad.....

Crawled into the corner...Huggin' my knees.....

Sittin' there thinkin'...'bout Chuckie Cheese.....

I got the lonesome boo-boo blues and it hurts so bad.....

I got the boo-boo blues...And I feel so sad....

But then.... Mommy came thru the do'....heard my plight....Kissed my boo-boo.....

said doan you worry darlin' cuz everythin's gonna be alright.....

Mommy grinned at me, and said...

Whada'ya thinkin'? Chuckie Cheese??.....

And I yipped...Yo Mommy....ALL-RIGHT!!.......

Now I don't got... Those mean ole' boo-boo blues... No mo'....

Nah, I ain't got those mean ol' boo-boo blues NO MO'....

Cuz Mommys here...And everythin's gonna' be.... AL-RIGHT.Now, I'm workin' on another one called,

"Meaghan done me wrong and took my crayons too!"

A story of Lost Love and Betrayal. the cap't

Subject: The cap't purges himself of Guilt and Shame
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2004 1:24 PM

STOP THE PRESSES! NOTIFY THE MEDIA! I am about to make a Public Confession.

While normally, I abhor these kinds of self-serving smarmy affairs, I DO feel a need to unburden myself, and I suppose Public Humiliation is as good a way as any. I have been secretly carrying the weight of this incident on my shoulders for six months now and have spoken of it to no one. It's been eating at my core. This had not happened to me for years and years. I had thought those days were over.

You hear horror stories about other peoples but you just don't think it will ever happen to you. You know whut' I mean! I thought at the time it was just some quirky thing that would never occur again. But, after just repeating my incomprehensible behavior once more just a couple of nights ago, I feel I must confess this shameful thing and try to purge the demons within.

OK? Here goes: It happened like this. I came home early of the morn as is my habit, in my normal state of being, getting undressed, preparing to rack out, when the realization struck me. That awful moment when you know you've Fucked Up!…I HAD BEEN WEARING TWO DIFFERENT SHOES!!

"Oh FUUUUCK!!" I let out in an anguished moan.

"Oh Fuck! " I said once again.

"What a fucking idiot you are!!"

I thought I had put all that shit behind me. Sure I fucked up that one time before but I made a vow; NEVER AGAIN! And now; here it is.

I felt everything spinning out of control and that's when I knew I needed help. (although I think the spinning part was simply due to the fact I had lost my balance and was careening about the room a bit. (Those of you who may have had similar experiences trying to step out of your trousers know what I'm talking about)

So last night I attended my first support group meeting of FIA (Fucking Idiots Anonymous) I had to stand up and introduce myself and say,

"My name is the cap't and I'm a FUCKING IDIOT."

And then I had to tell my story. I wish I could say it was a cathartic experience, and it prolly wuz for those others there, but I'm not so sure I will be going back though, because after hearing the varied stories of my peers... I realized...I was the Biggest Fucking Idiot of

Them All! Hands down. No competition. There was no one there I could feel a bit smug and superior to, and look down on and smirk to myself and say, "What kind of Fucking Idiot would do something like that?" And this is exactly the kind of Vibe I was getting from everyone else.

I mean, what's the point? The way it felt to me was that my presence there only served to make Other peoples feel better about Themselves. But it didn't do shit for my own self esteem! I'm not gonna go thru that kinda shit just to try and maybe work my way out of the cellar of the Idiocy Tower, ya' know whut I mean!

So now, I must embark on my own Self Help program. I am going to have to add one more item to my daily agenda. See, each day I go through a checklist before I leave the house. That way, I don't forget anythin'. Ya' know, like

Money?.... check..
Car keys? check..
House keys?... check..
Cigarettes? ...check..
Cigarette lighter?... check..
Comb? ...check..
Phone? check..
Loose change?... check..
Something to read?.....check
Attitude adjustment package'....check.....

now, I'm gonna' have to add a new category

Shoe symmetry?... check.

I'm just gonna have to make sure that each of my shoes looks like a mirror image of the other one. Well anyway, although it's hard to find anything positive about this whole situation, I must say though, that at least this time they were two black shoes rather than one hiking boot, and one Nike. I suppose we could call that progress of some sort, eh?...I suppose?

Remember this though, before you judge me too harshly, just remember...that ONE day, you might be a Fucking Idiot too. the capt.

P.S. Should the day ever come when you realize you just might be a Fucking Idiot too; just think of me. Mebbe' it'll make you feel better, cuz hell, thas' what I'm here for; Right? just so others can feel better bout' Themselves! Yeah right, while yer walkin' Tall, ya' can look down on me.

Subject: Sleep Therapy; Don't try this at home, kids!
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 2:23 PM
Last night I wuz unable to get to sleep, y'know, doin' that tossin' and turnin' thing all night, and finally, in frustration I tried sprinkling sand in my eyes, y'know, jus' like the Sleep Fairy used to do,


Although my eyelids became quickly swollen shut, I wuz never able to achieve the desired effect. Try something else. the cap't

Subject: Appallingly Lax Security at the Mall.
Date: Monday, June 21, 2004 12:30 AM

I wuz out at Ward Parkway shopping center earlier today and I am telling ya', there is a Disaster waiting to happen at the mall! The situation is appalling. It's a bad situation. Security is almost nil. They haven't learned a thing!

Perhaps ya' recall about three years ago when I wrote of being hijacked along with some other passengers on the escalator at Ward Parkway, and held hostage there by a group of Bible wielding Right-Wing Christian Fundamentalist demanding that prayer be re-instituted in the schools.

Perhaps you remember I was a sorta “hero” of that event, and how I had to slap one elderly lady into semi-consciousness in order to calm her down, and I'm sure, today, years later, she hardly remembers the reconstructive surgery that was necessary.

But sheeit, if I hadn't stopped her yowling and whimpering, those guys were getting ready to thump us on the heads with those Bibles, and as ya' can imagine, those dudes weren't packing yer run of the mill Bibles. No, no, they were definitely Heavy-Duty Industrial Strength Bibles! One good whack with one of those dudes and ya' would definitely be having Visions, although not of a heavenly nature. I know! I can tell you this from personal experience, since I was a whack-ee victim myself.

Maybe you remember how I amused the children and kept them calm by reciting nursery rhymes about John Wayne Gacy and Jeffery Dahmer, until the Swat Team arrived and rescued us all. Fortunately, that situation was resolved — except for a large knot on the back of my head — without any real bloodshed. (Well, not counting the old lady, that is.)

Today, there is absolutely no screening of passengers boarding the escalators. Ya' could board that contraption with a whole armful of Bibles and no one would say a word to ya!!

So...keep yer eyes open and be careful out there boyz and gurlz. Stay alert when yer 'hangin' out' at the mall, cuz the peoples in Homeland Security seem to be takin' a nap as far as this threat is concerned. And if ya' happen to see Osama Bin Laden strolling around the mall, (remember him? another one of those Religious Fanatics) don't even mention the word, "escalator" to him. No need in giving him any more ideas, eh! the cap't

Subject: Some things are better left Un-done, Un-said, Un-Read!
Date: Friday, June 18, 2004 3:27 PM
If ya' like to read, and if ya've ever read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, and of course, if ya' like to read, ya' almost certainly would have read this all time classic, since ya' know it would be on any ones' list of the top 100 books of the 20th century...then ya' absolutely must NEVER EVER read his last book he wrote just before he died called Portrait Of The Artist as an Old Man. (The central character, who is an aging author himself is named 'POTA', y'know, like,' Portrait Of The Artist, see?)

OK, ya' got that! Put that thought right out of yer mind and NEVER think it again. Can ya' do that, boys and gurls? Ya' don't want this kind of dreck tainting your memory of him. Really! It is better that you never realize that this terrible piece of shit came out of the same mind, and should some personage ever recommend that ya' do read it, ya' must gotta flee from them away, as fast as ya' can, ya' dig, and notify the authorities that a deranged and possibly dangerous personage is roaming the streets making vile suggestions and conducting themselves in a most unseemly fashion.

And should this topic ever come up in the course of polite conversation, possibly at yer book club or some such, I suggest ya' try and change the subject by faking a faint, if necessary...or…a heart seizure or mebbe throwing yerself on to yer back and holdin' yer breath while kicking and screaming and hollerin'. This can be a very useful technique for diverting peoples attention from places ya' don't want them to go, ya' unnerstan'. In the midst of the chaos and confusion no one will ever remember what ya'd just been discussing.

You will in fact be doing them all a favor, cuz' there are some things we just don't need to know! Ya' know whut' I mean? the capt.

P.S. I wanted to write a brief synopsis of this terrible book, but then I realized that that would be counterproductive to my stated aim to preserve Heller's memory. But, man! is there some grist for the mill there!

Subject: Whut's in it fer Me? Why do I do it?
Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2004 3:55 PM
Ya' know, peoples are constantly axing me alla' time, "Whyd''ya' do it Cap'm? I mean, whut's in it fer You? Sheeit. Ya' bust yer Ass, ya' sweat Blood an Tears, ya' try and make a better Society, and whudd'ya get fer yer efforts?"

Well, I'll tell ya'I bro, in a word, GRATIFICATION....that's whut! Yes, ya' unnerstan', it certainly is most gratifying to know that one's “Words of Wisdom” sometimes find fertile ground and take root there.

I'm referring here to several peoples who have written me to thank me, personally, for saving them from future potential injury when dealing with late night ice cream eating, especially involving consumption by means of a fork utensil.

As I pointed out, this can be a Dangerous and Hazardous Practice even for the Professional, such as myself, much less for your average hayseed novice nincom-poop. This is why we allways say, "Kids, don't try this at home!"

I have a simple Maxim I always try to follow in the Food Game and it's this, "The less Blood spilled in the Preparation; the mo bettah' the Feast." the capt.

Subject: Personal Change; You Can Do Eeet!
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 4:44 PM
I don't remember whether I have told this story before or not cuz' I have forgotten a lot of the stuff over the years that I can't remember any more.

But, in any case, perhaps you will get a little inspiration from it. If just One person blah blah blah reads this and pauses in their daily Life to consider the consequences of their actions, and re-evaluate themselves, it will have been worth the time and effort it took to pen it blah blah blah

A couple of years ago I went home early of a morning and I was just really fucked-up drunk, you know whut' I mean? It was one of those situations where I had to use the walls of my crib for support in order to get from one room to another. In my drunken loon state I decided to have a snack, naturally. So I stumbled into the food preparation area and pulled a half- pint carton of ice cream out of the refrigerator.

My freezer at this time worked so good, the ice cream was frozen hard as a rock. So I used my left hand to hold the carton and with my right hand I wielded a fork to try and dislodge a chunk or two. I was just trying to slice away a sliver, y'know, when all of a sudden the fork slipped and went through the carton and stuck in the fleshy part of my left hand. So I stood there sloshily swaying and wobbling with a fork in my hand and bleeding all over the kitchen floor, and at that moment I had a kind of Epiphany and said to myself, "Goddam, what in the world is happening to you? This is disgraceful!. You can't go on like this. You've just got to change your habits. No two ways about it!"

And so I did!

And ever since that night I have Never used a fork to eat ice cream with again! See, it's pretty darned hard to jam a spoon into your hand. the cap't

P.S. I hope this little story might provide you with the Impetus you need to make some over due changes in your Life...blah blah blah

Subject: "The Great Communicator"
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 12:23 PM
When Ronald Reagan opened his mouth, to "Communicate," I in turn opened mine, to "Regurgitate!" the cap't

Subject: Oh whut a night!
Date: Saturday, June 12, 2004 2:35 PM

Last nite, this young dude came up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder in a familiar buddy kinda way, which I didn't like one bit, cuz I didn't know the kid. He says to me, "Hey charley, could I bun a couple of smokes off ya'?"

HaHa Dig this! He wants TWO cigarettes, see! That way, I guess he figures he wouldn't have to bother me again for a few minutes. I said, "I don't think so."

He said, "Oh c'mon charley I only need two."

I said, "Hey look here dude, I only got enuff smokes here to last MYSELF the rest of the night, see, and that doesn't include yer cigarette needs, but ya' know whut? Yer in Luck."

"Oh yeah, how's that?"

I said, "Cuz there's a cigarette machine right over there in the corner."

He goes, "Oh man, I don't want to have to buy a pack. Hell they're five dollars out of the machine."

I said, "No kidding! Let's see if I got this straight? You want Me to give You two cigarettes cuz you don't want to have to pay for them yourself. You want ME to pay for YOUR cigarettes!! Where the fuck do you think I get mine? Whadd'ya think? I got a fucking Marlboro tree out in my backyard? You think every time I want a pack I just go out and pick one off the tree or somthin'?"

He says, "OK, OK, I get yer point, aw'right. I guess I'm just gonna have to give up smoking."

I said, "No, no, ya' don't gotta do nothin' so Drastic as that...all ya' gotta do yer Own goddam cigarettes!"

See, this simple solution of how to rectify a lack of cigarettes has never occurred to him. No, cuz' ya can avoid all that unnecessary 'buying' shit, cuz all ya' gotta do is; bum em' off other peoples. He walked away a bit pissed I suppose. Fuck im'! Like, I care!

A short time later I'm playin' pool. I got the table. This young Princess challenges the game. She tells me she put two quarters in, but the table won't work. I tell her it takes a dollar.

"A dollar! But I only have two quarters," she says in a pleading tone. I told her she's gonna need two more quarters if she wants to play. So, exasperatedly, she asks her four friends if they have any quarters. They all fumble thru their purses and she manages to pick up one, and she says,

"Well I've got three now, do You have a extra quarter I can use?"

I said, "No, no, I don't, but hey look, it's no big deal, there's a money changer right over there. You can get all the quarters you want"

And, no shit, she whines, "But I don't want to have to break a dollar for just one quarter!"

Oh you poor thing. She doesn't want to break a dollar!! haha Gee whiz! Well of course, fer sure, cuz you know how that is; once you break a dollar, well, sheeit ese, before ya' know it, it's done gone and spent and ya' don't even know where it went! Right! So she wants ME to make up the fourth quarter. Ha ha. Yeah! Fat chance sweetie! She finally finds some young sucker who takes pity on her, thus saving her from having to break that dollar. Chump!

Some peoples want you to pay for their smokes; others just want you to pay for their pool games. Shine off. I don't wanta' hear about it. I jes take a pass.

Later, in another joint, a friend of mine ast' me if I minded trading one of my Marlboros for one of his Winstons. I said, "Yeah I Do mind, cuz I don't like those godammed Winstons, but I'll do it anyway."

I mean, sheeit, if I wanted a Winston, I woulda' bought some. I don't like fucking Winstons! But anyway I give him one out of the pack. A short time later he says in an accusatory tone, "Charley, this isn't a Marlboro!" And shows me the cigarette I had given him which was a Camel.

Well, ya' see whut happened wuz, that, earlier I had consolidated some loose Camels I had lying around and put them in my Marlboro pack and he just happened to get one. He acted kinda like I had conned him out of one of his prized Winstons and had unloaded a piece-of-shit Camel on him. I told him, "Hey bro, I know just how you feel. Cuz this isn't a Marlboro either!"…as I showed him the Winston in my hand. the cap't

Subject: Whoopie!!! My ship has come in. At last!
Date: Friday, June 11, 2004 12:42 PM
Great newz boyz and gurlz! I just received a "Letter of Trust and Confidence" from a General Victor Jaja (kinda' an unusual name eh) from the Republic of Liberia. He is the former Drefense Minister and it seems he has absconded with some 52 millions that were formerly earmarked for the military, but because of the ongoing war there, he has decided to keep those monies for hisself. Do I detect a bit of Larceny in the General's makeup. Ahh, a man after my own heart.

I don't know how exactly he got my address, but I'm sure glad he did, cuz he tells me if I will help him move the money out of Liberia by allowing him to deposit it in My bank account, he will give me 30% for my trouble. Man, thas' 15 million, 600 thousand. Fuck those peoples in Liberia; they wuz only gonna' use the money to buy guns and bullets with to kill each other! I'm actually doin' them a favor. So, in the meantime, I'm rich! I'm rich! Hot damn! I knew it wuz gonna' happen some day: I just didn't know it was gonna' take so fuckin' long!!

All I can say is: those surly bank tellers at my bank better get themselves a new attitude, cuz when I next be boppin' in there, they best be showin' me some Respect, ya unnerstan' whut ahm sayin'. the cap't P.S. Oh yeah, by the way, keep this on the QT, ya' dig. But this General Jaja; haha he thinks I'm actually gonna let him take out 70% of MY 52 Mil. Yeah right! Ha ha. "Hey yo, General Jaja, wake up dude, cuz there ain't no Easter Bunny neither!" Ha ha. What a chump!! This hombre obviously doesn't know who he's dealin' with here, huh!

Subject: It was a kinda fowl situation
Date: Thursday, June 10, 2004 6:59 PM

Early this mornin', upon arrivin' at my crib, I headed straight for the food preparation area, where I proceeded to fix myself a chicken omelette. The ingredients of this dish are pretty much self explanatory. Ya' need some eggs and ya' need some chicken to mix in with it. I also had some chicken and noodles soup to accompany it, but rather than adding water, I used some creme of chicken soup to give it that extra added 'chicken' flavor. It was just a 'chicken kinda' night' I guess.

And speaking of chickens, I wuz earlier today at Prospero’s book store on W. 39th St. Y'know, 'the 39th street strip'? Right there in the heart of of the Gastronomic Capital of this great Metropolis. If ya've never been there before....check it out. This is a cool place. They gots all manner of used books ya' prolly hadn't thought of in years. It has an ambience kinda like the old 'Whistlers' in Westport, but they added a dash of funk. It's also a place where local artists, poets, musicians and other peoples of that creative nature can do their thing. They have a "spoken word" type affair once a month. Although I haven't been to one yet, I assume this is where peoples go and 'speak words' of their choosing.

It's only co-incidental that I jus' happen to be Personal friends with one of the riilly Big HONCHOS there who jus' recently jus' happened to run a bit of my drivel in his new quarterly mag called Alternative American, which ya' can pick up a copy there of yer very own,

ABSOLUTELY FREE, with no obligation whatsoever! Check out "The Gimme Game" which is an excerpt of Bob Savino's new book, Report from the frontier. I liked that a bunch!

If ya' should go there, tell whoever's workin', that the Cap't sent ya', and no matter who is workin' there that day, they'll stop whatever they're doin' and say to you, "WHO?" and most likely, frown and look puzzled at the same time. When ya' splain' who yer rappin' bout', they still won't have any fuckin' idea who ya'e talkin' about. Don't be too concerned; this happens to me alla' time! Ya' could ask fer 'Will', one of the co-owners, and a PERSONAL friend of mine who would be glad to steer ya' on to some righteous reading material if ya' don't have anythin' particular in mind, like, fr'instance, say, 1984,

So anyway, while I wuz browsin' about the store I came across a small newspaper article taped to the wall. It wuz about 'Mike' the headless chicken. It seems that back in the early ‘40s, in a little town in Colorado, a farmer by the name of Olsen, per instructions from the Missus Olsen, who wanted the neck bone for some soup, whacked a chickens head off near the top. But this intrepid capon didn't die!! No, he ran around the chicken yard, well, y'know, like a chicken with his head cut off...making pseudo pecking kinda of motions, cuz' y'know he didn't have no head with no beak to peck with no more. And when he tried to crow, he only made a gurgling sound. (by the way, this is a true story, this is not a joke!! OK so, don't be sitting around waiting for no “punch line” or nothin', cuz it ain't gonna' happen)

So the farmer decided not to eat the chicken right away. The next morning, he was still 'alive and scratchin' and so farmer Olsen named him Mike and proceeded to feed him by pourin' water and corn down his open gullet. This wuz perfectly OK by Mike. Mike stayed alive for 18 MONTHS! Thas' right, 18 months!! Farmer Olsen took Mike to state fairs all around the country exhibiting him fer a small fee and making a modest living. LIFE magazine did an article on 'im in ‘43. Mike had become a celebrity of sorts.

Unfortunately, for Farmer Olsen, the gravy train wuz derailed when, tragically, Mike choked to death on a kernel of corn in a motel in Arizona. (sniff, sniff) I mean, can ya' dig it? The headless chicken lives for 18 months and then... one day... chokes on a corn kernel!! (I'll bet there's a moral in this story, somewhere, if ya' look hard enough)

Now there's a small town in Colorado close to the Nevada state line by the name of Fruita, yeah, thas' right, Fruita. This little town, not havin' a helluva lot to brag about, decided to 'adopt' Mike as their very own mascot, even tho he wuz still dead and all, and so today, they honor the memory of Mike with an annual “Mike, the Headless Chicken Festival” and since it is a annual thing, they do this once a year now And they have also erected a monument to him in the town square, which makes alla' the Fruitans chests swell with pride.

So, maybe if yer wonderin' where ya' might be going on vacation this year, ya' might consider goin' to Fruita, Colorado. Other peoples come from miles around and everyone has a good ol' time there, drinkin, and cavortin' and carryin' on, all in Mike's memory. the cap't

P.S. As I pondered this whole affair, I couldn't help but wonderin' jus' exactly what the fuck was Mike doing in a motel room in Arizona? Huh? I mean, wuz he on vacation, or somethin? And I suppose the Heimlich Maneuver hadn't yet been discovered, but...even if it had...can ya' imagine using the Heimlich Maneuver on a headless chicken? I dunno' ese, I mean, I can dig the sanctity of life and all, but, sheeit, but personally, I wouldn't be up fer that! And here's somthin' to ponder on amigos...think of being awakened each morning a few minutes before dawn, not by your traditional, 'cock-a-doodle-doo', but, instead by a loud gurglin' sound!!

Mebbe, it got to be more than the farmer Olsen could handle....the gurglin' and all... morning as Mike gurgled at dawn's approach, mebbe Farmer Olsen snapped. The coroner's report listed cause of death as “accidental strangulation,” but who knows? Mebbe fowl play was involved? I dunno.

Subject: The excessive Absurdity of SOME feminists. Some...mind you.
Date: Thursday, June 3, 2004 7:24 PM
Yesterday, I wuz listenin' to, All Things Considered on NPR and this female person, I know it would prolly piss her off if I referred to her as, "this woMAN" because she was talkin' bout respectin' those and I quote, "Heroes and Sheroes" from the past; and I did a mental double-take and thought, "Say whut! 'SHEroes'?!" 'C'Mon...Pul-eeese. 'SHE-roes'!?"

I mean, I have no beef whatsoever with the De-sex-sation of many words, like, fr'instance, "firefighter" as opposed to "fireman" or "police officer" as opposed to, "policeman" or "spokesperson" as opposed to "spokesman." But when I hear shit like, "herstory" for "history" and "SHEroes" for "heroines", my reaction is simply, "Hey sweetie, take a hike wil'ya!! And while yer at it....Get Lost!!!" SHEroes my ass!! Sheeit. the cap't

Subject: Remembering Uncle Benny
Date: Thursday, June 3, 2004 3:58 PM

This past Saturday I read a book called A Special Prisoner by Jim Lehrer, the former co-host of the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour on PBS. He has written a number of fiction and non-fiction books over the years.

The book is about a B-29 pilot captured by the Japs (war time language) during the waning months of WW11 when we were bombing Japanese cities at will, their Air force having been mostly decimated by then. What planes they did have left were being kept in reserve to be used as Kamikaze planes for the final defense of the home islands.

The Japanese considered these captured pilots as, "war criminals" for the complete destruction they were wreaking throughout the country. Any captured allied pilot was thus deemed a “Special Prisoner” and were subjected to the most brutal, inhumane treatment imaginable from the very moment of their capture. Many were beaten to death by their civilian captors before they could be turned over to the military. After that, survival was measured in weeks. Only one out of twenty airmen captured by the Japanese survived their detention! Whereas in Germany, the survival rate was nineteen out of twenty. This book got me to thinking, with Memorial Day approaching. It got me to thinking about my Uncle Benny, Benedicto Flores, who died Nov. 14, 1992.

My mother came from a large Mexican Catholic family of sixteen, of whom 14 survived to adulthood. There were originally eight hermanos and eight hermanas. During the war the Flores family had all seven of its boys served (one having died in early childhood) during the war. There are only a handful of other families who can claim that distinction, and none who can claim more. They did their duty. Three served in Europe and four in the Pacific. Though some were wounded, all survived.

Uncle Benny though, in the Army before hostilities broke out, had the misfortune of being stationed in the Philippines. After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese struck swiftly throughout Southeast Asia with alarming success.

As the Japanese invaded the Philippines, the American and Filipino troops there, under the command of Gen. Douglas McArthur, were woefully unprepared. After some resistance, McArthur and his command staff, seeing the hopelessness of the situation, were evacuated by submarine to Australia, (thereby earning for himself the dubious nickname of, "Dugout Doug" forever in the minds of those left behind) leaving Gen. Johnathon Wainwright in command.

After months of heroic, but futile resistance, subsisting on reduced rations for months, with almost no ammunition or medical supplies, the out-gunned, out-numbered forces with no air cover and no chance of re-supply or re-enforcements, were finally forced to surrender.

Uncle Benny, along with 18,000 other POWs already malnourished and in poor physical health, was forced to march 100 miles with virtually no food or water to a former Army post called Camp O'Donnell. The infamous Bataan Death March ensued. Prisoners, unable to sustain the brutal pace, were beaten to death, bayoneted, beheaded and executed for the duration of the entire march. Eight thousand of them died on the way. Only 10,000 made it to the camp. Uncle Benny was one of them.

For the next three and a half years, they were worked and starved and beaten to death. Living conditions were unbelievably harsh and brutal. The daily death rate was appalling. Near the end of the war there were only two thousand left. Uncle Benny was one of them.

As the Allies closed in, the Japanese decided to transfer these remaining POWs to the Japanese home islands. They were loaded on to two transport ships, each holding a thousand men. Conditions on these ships made the “Black Hole of Calcutta” look like a Summer Resort. Prisoners died standing on their feet and remained there because there was no room to fall down.

Tragically, in one of those inexplicable misfortunes of War, while en route to Japan, the ship Uncle Benny was on was bombed, strafed and sunk by American planes, the pilots completely unaware of their cargoes, as the ships were not marked in any way. Of the thousand POWs on Benny's ship, only fifty of them survived. Uncle Benny was one of them.

At war’s end, Uncle Benny weighed just seventy pounds. He looked like a survivor of Auschwitz. In situations like that, the only people who survive are the Strong. The Weak, though maybe the best of people, do not survive. Only the Strongest survive! Uncle Benny was one of those.

I thought about Uncle Benny on Memorial Day and just having read A Special Prisoner.

After recovering in the hospital for many months, eventually Benny was discharged and moved back home, into the house on 1100 Denver St. in San Antonio where he was born. He remained there until his death back in ‘92.

He was a life-long bachelor, who subsisted on the proceeds from a second hand furniture store. He was heavy drinker his whole life. And, who can blame him! He endured what we cannot even imagine. I think that whatever transgressions Benny may have committed in his life, before or after his ordeal, are expiated by the Hell he was forced to endure for three and a half years.

As a kid in the late ‘40's and ‘50's, watching movies like the Sands of Iwo Jima and other war movies of the time, I always used to try and get my uncles to tell me about their “adventures” as I thought of them, but none of them would ever do so. Like so many others who had been in actual combat, they had no desire to relive those terrible experiences and then to share them with a 12 year old. It was understood, that you didn't even mention it to Benny.

When I was growing up, my dad was a career Air force officer and so, because of frequent transfers, we traveled a lot and were only able to make it to San Antonio to visit all my uncles and aunts in between my Dad's assignments. And because there were so many and time was so short, we were not able to spend very much time with them individually, so I never was able to develop the normal relationships most families enjoy. But I always looked forward to seeing Benny. He was always a low-keyed, mild mannered man around us. He had quiet, sad eyes, and he often times seemed lost in thought and a bit unfocused, as though he was someplace else.

I could never imagine him being mad about anything, because he was always so gentle around us; but on the other hand, he always seemed to be getting out of some minor scrape with the law. (That was one of the things I liked about him, Ha ha) I used to ask him how he got that black eye, or this bump or that bump, but he would just laugh shyly and dismiss it and say it was nothing.

In retrospect, I suspect Benny was a lot madder than I would have ever known. I think he kept his anger bottled up and hidden from us. I don't think we realized the pain he carried within. And maybe too, he felt Guilt as many do in situations, where, they wonder...why they lived? Against all odds when so many others around them died.

I wish I could have sat down, as an adult in my own right, with Benedicto Flores and gotten to know him as a Man, as the Man he really was...and not the notion I have of him as, “Uncle Benny, my favorite uncle” but as Benedicto Flores, a genuine American Hero, who deserves to be remembered with the utmost Love and Respect. I wish I had been there for Uncle Benny, when he needed some one to be there for him, like he was there for you and I, from March ‘42 til Aug. ‘45. I wish I had had the privilege to have known him better!

When Uncle Benny died back in 92', his body wasn’t discovered for several days later. He had become a recluse. The utilities had been long turned off. He had sat in the darkness, drinking his muscatel and gave in one night. He was apparently just another reclusive wino, dying alone…amidst the detritus and clutter surrounding him. The circumstances of his death were, and still are…so sad. Where were we, Uncle Benny? Where were we when you needed us? I'm sorry Uncle Benny; we let you down.

Ironically, a few days after his death, they found a handwritten will leaving TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND dollars in CASH to the Pope and $124,000 in real estate to the Church, and yet he died seemingly Destitute! A couple of years later, family members received a statement from the Vatican acknowledging receipt of same.

They acknowledged receipt, but I guess their mothers never taught them any manners because they forgot to say, "Thank you." (which rankles me to this day) the cap't


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