My place is the last stop for gas, parts, food, directions, and other necessities before you plunge into the wilderness of the barrens. Not much doing at the moment. Might as well fire up this rig I’ve cobbled together. You can do almost anything with wire and alligator clips. I’ve got a 13-inch TV (color), a rebuilt IBM Selectric, a modified Commodore 64 with an aftermarket supercharger and algae-based memory, and miscellaneous other machines, all attached to an old satellite dish somebody traded for a set of used tires. The whole thing is powered by a 1953 Hemi donkey engine I also use to power my pneumatic garage tools. I’m connected to everything that’s happening in the world. And thanks to an old transmission tower that used to belong to the Jersey Devil Church of Christ before they disappeared without a trace, I can talk to the world too. I’m thinking of it as the Command Center. So when I have nothing better to do I might as well sound off about anything that occurs to me. If you have nothing better to do, you might as well stop by and see what I’m sounding off about. But that would be up to you.
There was an era called Victorian. In England. Which is a country your parents may have heard of. Ask them. They had a Queen named Victoria who ruled for 150 years or so. Toward the end, around 1900, things started to fall apart. When ruin became a whole new esthetic. Hence Victorian Ruin Gardens.
So now we are recapitulating Victorian Ruin Gardens in Elsinboro, NJ.
We used to have a gazebo. I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for this marvelous moment to occur.
The gazebo is gone.
And the willow is back.
One gets old, one gets to be new. But they’re the same girl, one Italian, one Jewish. All the same same same same.
Important distinctions. The Italian girl is a REAL slut, picking up every john in a Checker cab and taking what she wants. The Jewish girl is a fake slut, dressing up as meat because she can’t quite get there.
Flat-Out Whore. And kill those f’ing cops who are guarding my dressing room.
What we’ve become. Not really fun, is it? Why men are losing sexual interest. Shrieking, ravening, horny females are just meat on the table for the taking. The story of our times.
So you didn’t like my idea that the Dems are an army of Gollums. Sad, sickening, and slimy.
Backed up by legions of orcs.
Maybe you just can’t see them for the offal they are. Because a lot of you are like them. You fancy yourselves not as bottom-feeding scum but the upper crust. Your hatreds are the envies, jealousies, and covetousness of the tenth commandment you have broken after smashing all the others with smug glee. Here’s your spokesman.
But just remember, inside this is still who he is. Who you are.
The Power to Rule Them All IS The Precious. Why real talent in full blown freedom is always the enemy.
Found this artifact of WWII, produced by William Wyler and introduced by James Stewart, like my dad and me a Mercersburg boy. It’s called “Thunderbolt,” about the P-47 fighter plane and the record of the 12th Air Force in the Italian Campaign.
So many coincidences. Stewart roomed with a cousin of ours at Mercersburg. He was a bomber pilot. My dad was a P-47 pilot in the 12th Air Force. I happened to be living in Dayton, Ohio, when a monument to the 12th was dedicated at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Got to see the moving ceremony. My dad and I both laid eyes on a P-47 in the Wright-Patt museum at the same moment, me for the first time ever and he for the first time since the war. Subsequently — and with still more coincidence — my consulting career took me to Evansville, Indian, where P-47s were built in a serpentine plant now used incongruously for the manufacture of air conditioners.
So many disconnects. I recently published a book about my granddad’s WWI experiences.
Could not do this for the much more recent experience of my dad. He didn’t write an account. So many many things I just don’t know. He flew in Africa, Sicily, and Italy. No specifics beyond 88 combat missions. He got a Purple Heart in Naples Harbor. It always embarrassed him because he got it for being reckless and stupid, putting others at risk. All I have of his experience is scraps, anecdotes and vignettes of life as a fighter pilot. No book is possible for him. Only what I was lucky enough to get when he’d had one more than his usually strictly regulated quota of two martinis.
Memories of flak so thick you knew you were dead and all that was left was flying the mission till they got you. Watching helplessly as Germans shot your friends in their parachutes. Crashing a stolen Spitfire on a beer run. Escaping a volcanic eruption in Sicily flying down a flight of steps on a Harley you didn’t know how to ride. Twenty first birthday back in early flight training in the states when they turned off the runway lights because they forgot you were up there. Flying multiple missions on a single day at Montecassino and amazed that Germans were still shooting at you from the ruins after twelve hours of bombing. Vain enough to wear a dress uniform on missions because you’d heard that the Germans employed beautiful women to interrogate captured Allied pilots. Flying so low on strafing runs that you see the terror of truck drivers you were killing with .50 caliber machine guns. Toasting a friend who didn’t return with the squadron by flinging his glass into the fireplace and then dividing up his belongings. Being shocked at the obscene language of W.A.S.Ps. Passing out on a dive bomb run and coming to moments from impact with an automatic stick move that flipped the plane into a series of six or seven snap rolls 500 feet off the ground: then the squadron commander’s dry voice: “If you’re through showing off, Lieutenant Laird, please rejoin the formation.” Witnessing a pilot you thought was a good man shooting down his squadron commander because the opportunity arose and he took it. And more. As I said, scraps and anecdotes. He never talked to me about the screaming nightmares of fire in the cockpit. No book in this sometime spillage.
Why I’m posting this stilted movie about the first Thunderbolts.
And then one day, in 2008, long after his death, I really did get to see, and hear, a P-47 fly.
Not all I have of my dad by any means, but all I have of his war mostly.
There’s this TV show called Criminal Minds, all about a crack FBI unit that flies in on their Gulfstream to hunt down serial killers. My wife and I watch from time to time, and we just laugh and laugh; it’s our favorite sitcom. Every show proceeds in exactly the same order. First, we see some terrified young woman being skinned and dismembered while still alive, screaming until her throat is cut all the way through to the nape of her neck. Cut to grim faces in the unit’s posh conference room. Hotch, the stone-faced Agent in Charge, says “wheels up in ten.”
We see their sleek white Gulfstream dashing to the rescue while one of the stars captions the whole show with a trenchant quote by some wise man you probably never heard of: “The great actuary Percy Hamhock said, ‘The quality of mercy is not strained. It is sliced, diced, ground to a bloody paste, and tossed from a bucket into a bleak fetid swamp.'”
Inside the plane (Da Plane!), grim faced profilers shake their heads at maps of their destination, some backwater they’ve never heard of before, like Des Moines, Omaha, or Baton Rouge, while Dr. Spencer Reid — on hiatus from his male modeling career — amuses himself by reciting Moby Dick word for word, or the complete works of Kant.
The rest of the episode proceeds in series of Big Moments. Big Moment 1. They descend on the local tobacco chewing constabulary, whose chief suspect is a homeless man conveniently in their drunk tank. Hotch, moving his lips as nimbly as Clutch Cargo, informs the hicks that his team is only there to assist. “And by the way, the correct term is not ‘suspect.’ It is ‘UnSub’.” This goes over about as well as you might expect.
Having appropriated the entire police station, the team fans out in different directions. Bestselling profiler Rossi and the ponytailed ninja babe-mom JJ go check out the latest dismembered and half eaten victim. Impossible cool black dude Derek gets on the phone with the country’s most talented hacker, a Minnie Pearl lookalike down to the price tag on her ludicrous hat, and after the usual creepy pleasantries about her lust for him and his “love” for her get down to the business of applying computer technology to the crime. Derek wants the name, address, and phone number of everyone in the known universe who has ever dismembered, parboiled, and eaten at least 10 percent of a woman. Garcia says, “No problem, my ebony Adonis. As you know, I can do anything in a minute and a half, except stroke your perfect body.” She’s telling the truth. Her laptop supercomputer can access every database in every universe, known and unknown, and cross reference every item,to every other item while Garcia noisily chews gum.
Meanwhile, Hotch subsides into his normal granite immanence as Reid amuses the local gendarmerie with a recitation of the death rate from mouth cancer, by year, of overweight white men who chew tobacco.
Big Moment 2. When the team has reassembled, Hotch comes to like a crocodile opening his eyes on the riverbank and announces that “it is time to deliver our profile.” They line up like high school debaters in front of the hicks and take turns handing down their wisdom: “The UnSub is a white male between the ages of 25 and 35,” says one. Says another, “he is a loner with profound sexual insecurities.” And so it goes. “He may have been abused in childhood.” “From the Skittles wrapper we just found at the scene, we conclude that the UnSub likes Skittles.” “In all likelihood, this is a very damaged individual who likes to dismember, parboil, and eat at least part of the women he abducts.” The profile is invariably followed by stunned silence.
Big Moment 3. Derek’s phone rings. It is Garcia. After more creepy flirting, she announces, “I’ve located him. His name is Hiram Billabong. He’s a 56 year old electrician, originally from the Australian Outback. His address is 186 Dumbass Street, right there in town.” The team nod approvingly at one another.
Big Moment 4. (Our absolute favorite part) The full dress FBI Raid!!! They’ve got the big log thing they use to bash in the door. They’ve got the FBI SWAT guys with their assault rifles, full body armor, and helmets with plexiglass face shield. They’ve got Derek and JJ and Spencer Reid, helmetless, of course (hair, you know), and armed with 9mm pistols. Lots of yelling as they move from room to room. Clear! Clear! Clear! Clear! Meaning there’s nobody there.
The team reassembles crestfallen in the driveway. Rossi is still on the phone with his publisher in the big black SUV at the curb. Derek scowls. Hotch glowers. JJ angrily flings her ponytail around. Reid recites verbatim the year by year statistics of the FBI’s 0% success rate at first raids since the bureau’s inception. Everyone tells him to shut it. The SWAT guys melt away as if they had never been there.
Hotch has to phone the director. JJ has to call home me check on the sitter. Reid has yet another appointment with his hairdresser. Rossi makes a world weary grimace and returns to the SUV, where his literary agent is on hold.
Which means it’s time for Derek to go solo. HE gets Garcia on the phone, making it clear he has no time for sexual innuendo. She gets serious. She has used GPS and a Skype session with the guy who used to play the math genius on Numb3rs to determine the exact location where the next killing is happening right NOW.
Big Moment 5. So Derek “borrows” a local cop car, drives to the specified location in a town he knows nothing whatsoever about, and just as the UnSub is about to very very very slowly begin the dismembering of his living victim by threatening her little finger with a machete, Derek shows up and shoots him dead.
Back on the plane, everybody looks as world weary as Rossi. Except Reid, who points out in excruciating detail, with exact dates and episode numbers, the teams unbroken record of finding serial killers in an average of a single day, which compares pretty well with the years and years it usually takes law enforcement personnel to hunt down these vicious but cunning predators. He makes one of his faces.
There might or might not be another quote. Gulfstream banks away and dissolves to credits.