Tuesday, November 30, 2004

It could be worse. I just don't know how people do this stuff. Oh, Sara's doc sez she will be fine, it is NOT the Bird Flu.

Anyhow, I was grumbling and grousing about the holidays, when I tripped over this most excellent concept of how to handle the shopping malls.

I am not shopping, BTW, do not send me gifts, do not expect gifts. Unless you are my parents, or I am sleeping with you, no gifts. Instead, do something nice for someone for a change, and think about me while you are being nice.

OH, and I forgot about Matt's latest scheme. I like it.

Please copy, forward or spread this letter as you see fit:

There is a group of like minded motorcyclists that have come up with a plan to send a motorcycle
"short track race care package"
to our troops in Iraq. The idea is to send over a pair of Honda
, flags, and an assortment of other race oriented equipment (cones, banners, gear, chemicals, etc.)

We already have the backing of a couple of local businesses. This is not some tax-deductible-non-profit.
This is just some hair
brained scheme dreamt up by a bunch of hooligan racers to bring a ton of smiles
to some of our Heroes. So, before anyone else
says it- yes, it is a dumb idea. Don't you love it?

Anyone interested in help out through donations of materials or cash, should contact me. I already
have two bikes lined
up to go. I figured we could get a web site set up to post photos of the silliness
for all to enjoy.

If you just want to send pay pal direct, or contact me for donations, use this
e-mail address:

Big thanks thus far to: Motion Pro, Marty Mfg., Kalogeras Engineering, Mark Foster and
several others that want to
remain anonymous.

Matthew Buck

(Matt is the CCS Southwest Lightweight Expert Class Champion scroll down for result.
He is also a pal of mine)

Monday, November 29, 2004

in efforts to keep hip in the urban marketing, and keep ahead of Wal Mart, Guess what Target now sells?

I did not believe it myself, till I found out Amazon also sell kinky things that need to be kept away from me.

Encourage kids to read. So I missed the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. But this guy did a Quicktime VR shot. Let it load, then move your mouse around to cause it to rotate, Pretty cool.

I am so glad Sara is home. She went to the doctor, the cough is just a cold, and not SARS or Avian flu, or wierd food related illness. so that is wonderful. She has been telling me about her fun times in Japan, and I just found this link, to what she better NOT have been doing in Japan. (growing underarm fur and doing odd things with wooden models!)

heee heee heee! I better get back to work

Sunday, November 28, 2004

i have been playing this stupid online game Piercing Mildred, for years. And this week is the second time I have been NUMBER ONE!


woo hoo.

My pal Chris Null got me into it when we worked at Surface Mount Taping, YEARS ago.

Sunday. November 28. 11:55am.


and it'll be great to see her. YAY. and I managed not to burn the place down or anything.

Comics! After my Indian history comic book find a few days ago, I just saw the coolest Anti-Commie propaganda Comic from the 1960s. Heck, it's endorsed by J.Edgar Hoover, and with his mark, you know it's wholesome.

Digging back into the page, I found it is from the Authentic History Center, run by a high school teacher as an archive of collected popular culture. The more I dig into the pages, the more I find amazing and intriguing. Read it, check it out, send him some cabbage, this is one of the "good" uses of the internet.

I'm on my way to SF to pick up Miss Hammer.

Friday, November 26, 2004

gotta love Canada. This just in from Shawn the motor builder.

last night was fun. pals, food, movies. woo hoo

Everybody WORKS!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Photos of the Sprinter Conversion are up!

So, I own an '04 140 white high top cargo Mercedes/Dodge Sprinter.

using it as my daily driver. I had a cabin built in, with cargo area in back to transport motorcycles to the race track. Did I mention really getting 25mpg? (not the claimed 32, but still, 25 is great)

already finished:
rear 'dinette' box seats with storage under lid/cushions
overhead cabinetry
rear 6x9 speakers
window shields? Raingutters, not sure what they are called
Tinted windows
Mercedes Conversion decal, grille, wheelcaps
Swivel Passenger Seat

Planned Improvements (next few paychecks)
Trailer Hitch & Wiring Harness
Cd/MP3/external plugin source stereo with fader
removeable motorcycle wheel chocks in cargo area
rear door ladder
wood dash kit
folding aluminium shelves in cargo area
bicycle mounts on rear walls/roof
floor & wall mounted racks for toolboxes & fuel cans for racing
black magnetic vinyl sheeting to cut out large cow spots for exterior decor
rear nudge bar
rear insulation
possible rear roof vent
front grille guard/push bar
driving lights on grille guard
investigate 'ground effects' for streamlining (which will require neon)
over sliding door roll out awning for @ races
under body storage bin for fodling motorcycle ramp & astroturf

Finally, an online Graphic Novel (comic book) version of Valmiki's Ramayana. If you want to come up to speed on Indian culture, learning the stories that are the building blocks of it. These guys have made a 24000 couplet long poem into a graphic novel, very easy for the American mind to follow.

You can purchase more stories at their website and I gotta say, at 25INR/book, this is a great price. As of today's conversion rate, that is about 55 cents per novel.

and if that doesn't float your boat, you can watch half nekkid models throwing meat at each other. But I'm told that is now passe, and Fish is the next abused substance. Well, if all that icks you out, PETA tried to sell vegetarianism through 1970's porn. Check it out.

These are all way too wierd for me, it's 10am, i have not started cooking the spanish rice, I am already tired. I hope everyone remembers to be thankful, and not to eat too much.

Go Cowboys! I am not a big football fan, I really prefer sports, not games (games are played with balls and sticks, on a field, pitch, or green, with tonnes of rules). In a sport, you are a hero, going 100+MPH, fuelled by high octane, and it CAN kill you when it all goes wrong.

But, for them that likes games, have fun watchin today. I'll be thankful for my life, and thinking about some of my real heroes, great men who have changed and influenced me.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004





performance stats are amazing

but, only 80 miles per charge.

the Smart car hybrid makes more sense. not yet available in the US, it might fit in the sprinter!

So I just got back from having coffee with my pal Eileen

she reminded me of 2 very important things.

A) she was the first to tell me about the cream of artichoke soup at Duarte's in Pescadero. AND, they took their son Ryan there as a wee baby, his first dining out experience. Thanks for reminding me and setting off my craving for Duarte's soup.

B) Last year at this time I was in O'Connor hospital finishing out my chemo.

This year I am better

anyone wanna guess what I am thankful for?

My life

yeah, it's been a good year.

Wednesday morning, I am hung over and disturbed. Last night was Taco Tuesday at Tlaquepaque. I only had 2 Super Chevalis. But it was enough to set my head on sideways, and make me feel really queasy this morning.

So I start rummaging around my email inbox, and I come across an email from an organization I did not actually know existed. And now, I kinda wish I could go back in time a few minutes and still not know they exist.

Jews For The Preservation Of Firearm Ownership

uhhh.... I mean, I AM a red sea pedestrian. and I do own firearms A lot of them, actually. And I likes my guns. but, there is something about this site that makes me feel soiled.

I even like the fact that in their FAQ, first thing they say is :
Question: I'm not Jewish. Can I join JPFO?
Yes! The only membership requirement is that you support all of the Bill of Rights for all citizens!

and I'm all for supporting bill of rights for all citizens. But I am more for the Schoolhouse Rock Bill, you know, who sings and dances, and doesn't neccesarily sing and dance while holding a gun, like Brasco the Bear.

Grandpa Jack explains the myth of gun control? My grandpa was named Saul, and he never talked to me about guns. My pal Bill Matsler's grandpa was named Red, he had a ranch in Llano, and he told me Gun Control means being able to hit your target from a long way away, first shot, accounting for windage and elevation. I dunno know Grandpa Jack.

Jews for Presere.... (JPFO for short, their name is too long) are based in Wisconsin. I have BEEN to Wisconsin, and I did not see any jews there. Lots of healthy, tall, blonde, hard working honest people, but none of my homies. Maybe, that's why the jews in Wisconsin want firearms, I dunno.

I do like the "Dial 911 and DIE" cover...

But Brasco the Liberty Bear? They sell greeting cards with a freakin gun toting BEAR on them.

I just don't know, something about it smells fishy. I feel soiled. I need to take a nap and let it all go away.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

stumped by Urban Legend again. My recent Laser Printer comment brings out the Minister of Information shrouded in her full glory. (Lissa knows a lot of stuff about a lot of things. She is brilliant)

Charles, you Bumbling Fool,(well, I embellished that part)

The government is NOT tracking your laser prints by imbedded serial
numbers. Sheesh. You'd think a reasonably intelligent person could
come up with a better story. Chip embedded "near the laser", and
"millimeter" sized yellow dots? Give me a break.

A paper on tracking counterfeit documents by analyzing for make and
model (not each individual serial number) was presented a couple of
weeks ago at a conference. That's probably what gave someone the idea
for the spoof.

But they really could have done a better job with the technical
information. How about we write one on how doctors are secretly
injecting microchips with flu shots which let airport security
scanners read your identity?
Lissa Shoun

Need I say it again? Lissa is super ultra cool.

in other, non legend news. A searchable database of comic book covers. No powerpoint presentation need be boring again. Type the word you want in the blank, it searches for a match.

and, Crappy Gifts.

Monday, November 22, 2004

just reminded of a quick story, had to relay

reminds me of a similar story and an old clapped out GS450 I used to have. riding home from work, she sputters and dies. Light rainshower. I pull over, whip out my tools and commence the drill:

Plugs are great, strong spark, will not start

Carbs are fine, no sticking floats, will not start

Fuel filter is clean, will not start

Pull the covers, and check the valves, nothing is wrong, will not start

I am about to start on the head to see if I holed a piston, when some farmer in a truck drives by. Does not stop, mind you, but drives by and hollers "hey, run outta gas hippie?" waves, forgets to use ALL fingers, and drives away.

I stand there, a little irritated, very wet, scratching my head, reach down, turn the fuel petcock to reserve. hit the button, she putters, starts right up.

Heckfire and Dalmations!

sometimes you get so mechanical you forget the simplest things.....

the holidays suck. It's just a consumer fest, mashed up to make me spend what money I don't have.

I read a brilliant commentary on it. If you don't want to read it, here is the main point for me:
"Go buy one of each and hand them out to whomever you see first. Then go buy more. Repeat until you have no more money. It’s the right thing to do."
This sums it up for me. Spend till you are broke. then blow out your credit cards.

Last year I was sick, and I had a good idea. Shaft birthdays. Blow off holidays. Gove people gifts on NOT holidays. When they are not expecting it. Little things, that lets them know you REALLY like them, not just "oh, I gotta buy"

With that said, I foind the perfect gift for my folks, and Sara's folks. Everyone else, sorry, I dunno what I am gonna do. I am broke like a joke, and need to pay off the Sprinter.

Anyhow, the one ONLY cool thing is, I just read this hilarious review of some lady's book about being Jewish.

and this is the line I really liked:
"We get to light menorah candles. Which means we get to play with fire. Sure, throwing tinsel on a tree is fun, but it's just not FIRE."

I like playing with fire!

I have no idea why I found this link, but it is mildly entertaining. Sure, it's not about Ninjas, but then again... I thnk the creator may have some issues. Maybe he did not get to play with FIRE

Did you know the government is tracking your color laser prints?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Today Matt & I went out to ride short-track motorcycles. I ran 3 heats, then ran out of energy. It was silly fun. Matt, Jack & I went to dinner at Taiwan restaurant, then I went home for a rest.

Got email from a pal who was at a cemetery today, and prompted this memory from me:

about a buh-zillion years back, I lived on a ranch outside Dripping Springs, TX with my ex-wife. It was her house, I moved into it. The house was nice, tasteful, etc, but it was a yard in the country. everything had overgrown with vines, brush, wierdness.

I spent the first 3 months cutting, shredding, pulling weeds, burning brush, clearing land. We found a 54 Buick transmission, motor and fenders. No joke, under brush and junk. It looked like Matt's backyard times 30.

When I finished, there was prarie grass & defined groves of oak trees. A nice looking ranch, but only 3 acres. My neighbor Eddie was the ranch manager for the 40 acre spread that surrounded us. It had lots of pasture, but also lots of overgrown brush and junk.

Eddie made us an offer, If I'd clear out one of the lower pastures, he'd let Rona graze her horses there.

I started clearing and cleaning, and stumbled over a wrought iron fence. Small, overgrown, rusted. I focused on it, started clearing, got the fence uncovered, started cutting back past the fence, and found the first headstone. Early 1800's. It was the family cemetery for them that started the Signal Hill Ranch.

Took about 2 weeks, managed to clear out all the brush, all the "small" trees, left the bigest oak, but cut it up to look like a tree, not a bush.

4 couples, 19 kids, 6 slaves. ... for the stones I found.

Eddie and I talked about it, and decided not to publish or show anyone, the family line ended over 50 years ago, when the ranch was sold at state auction.

If we mentioned it, the land would have become historic, closed, etc. etc. and would have just turned to a big ol mess.

As it stood, it was a nice place for the folks who were buried there. I even planted some bulbs.

Rona said it wasn't enough space to graze her horse, and we moved to the Florence, TX ranch a few months later.

Last time I was in town I drove by to look at it, it was already starting to grow over again. Makes me wonder about the tradition, and where I ought to lay my remains.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

found this and wanted to share.

Used Motorcycle Buying Guide:

If the ad says…. it really means….

# MUST SELL… before it blows up.
# RUNS FINE… I was going to say "runs excellent" but I had a last minute attack of conscience.
# NEEDS SOME BODY WORK… was side-swiped by a Winnebago.
# WELL-MAINTAINED… I occasionally changed the oil.
# LOOKS LIKE NEW… just don't try to drive it anywhere.
# ALL ORIGINAL… I never had anything fixed, adjusted, or replaced.
# LOADED WITH OPTIONS… each one more troublesome than the last.
# PROJECT BIKE… I can't figure out how to finish it and I doubt you will either.
# LOTS OF POTENTIAL… to drive you insane.
# NEEDS MINOR REPAIR… doesn't run.
# ENGINE QUIET... uses 90-weight oil
# PARTS BIKE... beyond repair.
# ROUGH CONDITION… too bad to lie about.
# IMMACULATE... recently washed.
# CONCOURS... recently waxed.
# NEEDS MINOR OVERHAUL... needs engine.
# NEEDS MAJOR OVERHAUL... phone the junkyard.
# BURNS NO OIL... (it all leaks out).
# REBUILT ENGINE... cleaned the spark plugs.
# DRIVE IT AWAY... I live on a hill.
# DRIVE IT ANYWHERE... (within 10 miles).
# DESIRABLE CLASSIC... no one wants it.
# RARE CLASSIC... no one wanted it even when it was new.
# STORED 20 YEARS... (in a farmer's field).
# RAN WHEN STORED... won't start.
# NEVER APART... bolts too rounded to loosen.
# SOLID AS A ROCK... rusted solid
# RESTORED, WITH 0 MILES... won't start.
# RESTORED, WITH 2 MILES... won't stay running.
# OLDER RESTORATION... first owner washed it.
# GOOD INVESTMENT... can't be worth much less.
# NO TIME TO RESTORE IT... can't obtain parts.
# 95% COMPLETE... other 5% doesn't exist.
# CLEAN… homeless dude at 5th and Main peed on it.
# GOOD TRANSPORTATION… It's ugly as sin.
# ENGINE BLUEPRINTED… I don't know what it means either.
# LOW MILES… the odometer was turned back.
# ONE OWNER… can't give it away.
# SURE TO APPRECIATE… that's why I'm selling it.
# . . .OR BEST OFFER… I'm guessing here.
# OTHER INTERESTS CONFLICT... spouse's ultimatum: "Either that #!!@&## thing goes or I do!"

My pal Matt is a bad man. He turned me on to Nabisco's "Chicken in a Biskit" I know it's not real food, but I like it. Especially the chicken on the package.

For some reason, it reminds me of the 'vomiting chicken' graphic on the old 70's firebird.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Cisco just bought my pal Chandu's company, Jahi. this is cool. my pal is now rich. YAY

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Last night was the Monday Night Ride. I have been craving Artichoke & Green Chile soup from Duarte's in Pescadero. Oh, YUMMMY. So we met, we rode, I ate. It was a cold ride, dark, but fun.

Then this morning, one of the guys who did not make the dinner posted some political thing on the monday night ride list. Of course I ranted and raved about how Politics has no place, blah blah blah.

It started out innocently>>>
> Yeah, I have a comment,  thanks for wasting all the

> bandwidth with a very large, very off-topic email.
> missed you at the ride last night. What ride? You
> know, the reason for this mailing list.
> i'm very tired of political spam & crap, please don't
> forward it to this forum?
then a bunch of folks emailed "I'm with Charles" and stuff like that. Till Antonio posted this link, innocently about a girl biker.

I was pretty excited, biker chick and all, till I seen the bible verse.

that made me sad.

Because it reminded me of Denise Matthews, who is a bold, saved again televangelist living in Fremont, CA.

but when I was young and hip, in 1982, she was known as ..... VANITY! lead singer for Vanity 6! A girl group put together by the Artist formerly known as Prince, who is now known as Prince again, cause no one could spell the stupid heiroglyphic that he chose as a name.

that's right, she was a sassy, tough, strutter, who posed in her drawers for the album cover.

Lyrics? oh yeah, nasty.

>>> That’s right, I can’t control it
>>> I need 7 inches or more
>>> Tonight I can no longer hold it
>>> Get it up, get it up, I can’t wait anymore

of course, their competition was the "Mary Jane Girls" yes, I also had their album.

well, that's enough 80's trivia, back to the point.

Vanity? ruined by Religion
Biker Chick from Antonio? Ruined by Religion

Religion and politics are bad. they discourage girls from running around acting all trampy and wearing their drawers in public.

Down with Religion and Politics! Up with barely legal biker sluts from hell.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I miss Sara, but i am sleeping like a rock.

rip ODB

Work must slow down, we are closing in on the move project, but the logistics phase is very intense.

i did not clean anything out of the garage this weekend, but did ride the Harley to work, it needed to go for a walk. It's battery was dead, it needed some oil, and initially was difficult to shift. It is still hilarious fun to ride.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


sara left for japan

mom, i went and visited mike & evvie. she is okay

i am tired

Friday, November 12, 2004


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Okay, I am really Busy, I do not have a lot of free time on my hands, like this lady. And I have not been excercising, but I am in better shape than some. I am just hoping, that I will do something good while Sara is in Japan, and go for a walk, eat more fruit, lose weight, get fresh air, relax, etc.

THIS is the moral stupidity I have ranted about! Just because a pharmacist thinks something is immoral, they will not do their job? DO NOT take us back to the dark ages! At least Ashcroft is gone!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Monday, November 08, 2004

2 words.

concrete wigwam

Sunday, November 07, 2004

went to the International Mototcycle Show in San Mateo/San Francisco yesterday.

saw all sorts of cool stuff. new bikes, new gear, old bikes, the BALL of DEATH riders, it was a lot of fun.

it's this cool 14 foot steel cage, and they have 3 riders at once in it. Even cooler, it's the Landers family, that I used to roadrace with when they were kids in Texas.

but if you get a chance, if it is coming to a city by you, it was a good show this year.

thne we went to some mexican food place for dinner, rode home in the cold, and sat around in the hot tub and had drinks.

This morning I went for a ride with Jack & Dale, but we got pulled over on the way up, and I got a ticket for 75 in a 55. I don't think I can take defensive driving, or traffic school as they call it out here, so I may have to go meet a judge. BOO

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Last night, we was at Ariake Sushi, on Blossom Hill Road. It's a nice joint, they have a floating sushi boat bar, but also tables. The prices are very reasonable, and we go there enough they kinda recognize us.

Anyhow, Sara mentioned that she now understands why I got so irritated and did not talk "politics" before the election. (which, btw, I ranted on a bit AFTER the election)

I'm still not really sure which part she understands, but she is right. After all the years working for the senate, VP campaign, then political consulting firms, I am a little too informed. I dislike politics, and I really dislike all the furor and hub-bub generated a few weeks before and after the election.

All of a sudden, EVERYBODY has an opinion, and they want to argue about it. Have you noticed, you usually hear people talk about "arguing politics" instead of "oeacefully discussing politics"there is a reason. It's Polar. It's black and white. It's yes or No, and why don't you do it MY way.

My paternal grandmother Manya (msrip) told me "I came to the US a long time ago. I have seen Democrats in office, I have seen Republicans in office. You know what? It still takes an honest person an hour of labor to buy a loaf of bread"

That stuck with me. In the grand scheme of things, it isn't really gonna make that much difference. Don't alienate your family and friends over it. Cause they are all you got.

Taxes go up, they never really go down.
Someone has to fix the roads.
You know who is really in power?

the silent fourth branch of government. The paper-pushing, entrenched, mid-level managers who carry out all these programs.

Why am I 'off' to politics?

Alex Rhodes.

When I worked for the political consultancy, we had a really great candidate for state rep. He was on the school board. He cared about his community. He had enough money to raise money. He had goals and ideals. We got him elected. He got in office, and he was stonewalled. Blocked.

He was a junior member of the house of representatives, and he could go to meetings and vote, but nothing really BIG happened.

And soon, well, you know, there's a little money if you vote this way. We'll contribute to your re-election campaign if you vote that way......after 4 years, he was just another cog in the machine.

A young upstart with a crapload of money knocked him out of office, and now freely sells favors.

Alex went back to running his small business, and does some consulting, and is back to being a damn wonderful guy.

I doubt he'd run again if he knew what all was involved.

Why is someone willing to spend $550 million (in 1992 campaign) for a job that pays a heck of a lot less?it's crazy.

Anyhow, I hate talking politics, because I feel people argue over issues they only slightly understand, and it polarizes the nation, states, communities, freinds and families.

I wrote this a while back, it remains true today. Family and Friends, not politics.

Divorce taught me all I really had or needed in my life was my friends and family, everything else was just things, stuff that could be replaced.

Cancer taught me how valuable my friends and family are, and how much I need them.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

the moral majority is neither

I am getting really tired of hearing all the jackasses interviewed saying they voted for President (not a Texan) because of Moral Values.


You are voting for the moral values of middle class white christians.

Our founding fathers got kicked out of almost every country in Europe cause they wanted freedom of religion and seperation of church and state.

STOP telling me you feel GW has moral values. The man did a lot of coke, drank, was a fornicator, barely made it out of school, welched on his duties in the Air Force Reserve, then magically was "born again"(after he married a strong woman from Texas who put a whuppin on him) and now espouses the fanatic christian right wing voice.

Moral Values?
Freedom of Speech, Choice & Religion
Seperation of Church and State
Civil Liberties
Respect for others

these are the moral values we should fight for.

My pal OMJ and I spoke last night, and he had good thoughts from someone else.
"Spend 5 minutes thinking about the election, then continue the work we should be doing"

I agree.

Get over it. But do not give up. Start or continue working for Civil Rights, Education, Freedom, Justice, Living Wage,..... make the country better. Start in your neighborhood. Make the world better for all our kids. Not just YOUR kids.

here's the best election news I have heard

My kid sister sent me an email, detailing her outrage at the whole "moral compass" thing, and asked me for the text of one of my rants from June 2000. Here it is.

Prayer in Schools * 6/22/2000

Prayer in School, and Growing Up Jewish in North East Texas.

I am almost hesitant to write on this subject, it is still a sore spot for me. Personal liberty and freedom is a cause very near and dear to my heart, but I want you to know my cause and reason for concern.

Our country was built on the solid foundation of freedom and liberty, justice for ALL. With that preface, I'll move on.

My parents lived in Longview, North East Texas, I was born there in 1964. As a child, I remember "colored" bathrooms, "unofficially" segregated classrooms, restaurants with "no dogs, negros or Mexicans, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" signs in the front door. I remember very clearly watching an elderly black woman stand in the hot sun waiting for a bus because three white men were sitting on the bench in the shade, none of them would get up. My father gave her a ride home in our Oldsmobile.

I also remember the pride of helping mom bake cookies to send to my cousin's platoon in Vietnam. Going to the post office every Saturday with my dad to mail off these packages, and buying "buddy poppies" from the VFW table at the Post Office, thanking the vets for defending MY freedom. Every so often an airplane touched down at Gregg County Airport, and we were there to help make a parade for the boys coming home. They were fighting for my freedom.

When I turned 6, I got to go to public school. The first day of class opened with the pledge of allegiance. I stood proud. I knew, I was helping keep the flag free by sending my cousin's platoon cookies, writing them letters, and wearing my "P.O.W. bracelet". Then something unexpected happened. A kid came on the loudspeaker said a prayer. It wasn't like the prayers I heard in Temple every Friday night. It ended with "in Jesus name we pray, amen." I did not know what was happening, then the teacher made an announcement. Well intentioned, but words that are seared on my soul even today.

One of our students is Jewish, so from now on, Charles Barry will not have to stand during the prayer."

She meant to make me more comfortable. I KNOW she meant to do the right thing. The reaction was wrong. Horribly wrong. That one sentence changed my life. Every single person in the room stared at me. I had no idea what I did wrong. No clue why they were all staring. No concept of what was coming next.

I was the only Jewish kid in my grade. Heck, until my kid brother got to school, there was only one other Jewish kid IN the Longview School District, and she was two years ahead of me, and at a different campus. Longview is the center of the Baptist Bible Belt, or at least very close to the buckle. All the white kids went to one church, all the colored kids went to another. The Catholics had their own private school.

On the playground that first afternoon, two kids came over and asked me if I believed in Jesus. When I responded "I believe in God, Baseball, America, NASA and President Johnson," they beat the living tar out of me. "When the pork lips comes, you are gonna burn in hell." they said. I did not really know what exactly was happening, but I did not like it at all. I was a small kid, an easy target, and I did not know to fight back. Every day at recess, I got the living crap kicked out of me. "You don't believe in Jesus, and when pork lips comes, you are going straight to hell." I suppose they figured if they beat me hard enough, they'd earn a special spot in heaven next to Jesus.

I learned to run, and eventually made friends with some of the niggers. No, not black, not colored, not Negro, definitely not African-American. My friends were called niggers, and they got beat up a lot too. For a while. One colored boy used to laugh and tell me "Damn Charles, you a nigger too, only your skin is the wrong color" It happened every day. "in Jesus name we pray, amen."

We were all amazed to find out that one of the colored boys older brother was actually in the SAME area as my cousin. He had written to his parents about the guy who's cousin from Longview sent them boxes of cookie crumbs every week, and how great those damn crumbs were. Apparently the US Postal service was not as kind to the boxes as we hoped. My family was fighting beside his family for the freedom of our country and our rights! Before the end of the war, my cousin Michael jumped on his helmet on a live grenade and won a medal. He lived too. He also was credited with saving his whole platoon.

The war in Vietnam finally ended, our troops came home, and I saw how they were treated. It sucked. These guys were fighting for our freedom, when they came home they were treated like worms. I did not understand. My dad did not smoke, but now on Saturdays, he began buying a pack of cigarettes. Not only did we still give black grandmothers rides, but now we handed cigarettes to the vets we saw downtown, shook their hands, and told them how proud we were. At school, the beatings still continued. "In Jesus name we pray, amen."

My mother did not believe me. She thought I was just hard on clothes. My Sears Toughskins had more iron on patches than anyone else. My shirts were always torn. My eyes were usually black. "In Jesus name we pray, amen." Every morning. And I was excused from the prayer. Every afternoon, I took a beating, then played with my nigger friends. For about five years.

Then it happened. my friends began growing. A lot. Big Joe was 5' 6", 135 lbs. in the 5th grade. One day he turned and beat up 3 white kids who were beating me. Joe got sent to reform school. But the kids who were beating me about Jesus and the Pork Lips learned a lesson. It was almost time to stop. My friends were getting bigger, and they were protective of me. Whether I believed in Jesus or not. After all, my dad gave grandmothers rides home, and we showed respect to all people.

In Junior High, they introduced me to other blacks from other schools they knew from their church. "no, he ain't a nigger, he's a Jew-person, and the Baptist honkeys beat tar out of him all the damn time" I had a few protectors, and the beatings slowed down. We all were getting older, and although I was bound for hell when the pork lips came, I was also a person who should be left alone. The morning prayers continued, "in Jesus name we pray, amen." Never once did I get to say the pledge on the loudspeaker. Never. That privilege was reserved for members of the First Baptist Church.

Kids began having parties, birthdays, pool parties, etc. And I never got invited, because I did not believe in Jesus. The First Baptist Church had trips to go Skiing. Trips to Six Flags, and Trips to damn near anywhere, that kids got excused from school for. Except me. "In Jesus name we pray, amen."

I did not hate the kids who beat me. I did not form an anger towards Jesus. I just wanted to know why, as an American, helping to fight for truth, justice, etc., was I being treated this way just because I did not share the same faith as these other kids. Social studies class educated us about the Constitution. "Separation of Church and State", to me, was non existant. You either went to the First Baptist Church, or you were Catholic, Mexican, Nigger or Jew, and you took your beating. There were two classes of people. that simple.

In high school, I made friends with a white guy who transferred from Dallas. His folks were divorced, and he was Methodist and did not count anyhow. He drank, he smoked, and he did not have the harsh North East Texas accent. the first time he said "Apocalypse" the mystery of the "pork lips" was lifted. When the Apocalypse came, THAT was when I would burn in hell for not believing in Jesus. Heck, I KNEW what the Apocalypse was. I'd been afraid of angry pig lips for a long time, for no reason.

On Graduation day from Longview High School we had a special "senior breakfast". Ans yes, they said a prayer "In Jesus name we pray, amen." and Ross the drunk Methodist hollered out at the top of his lungs "EXCEPT FOR CHARLES!" It may have been the first time, as young adults, that ANY of these kids considered how alienated I felt because of their faith in God. How could a kind and forgiving God condemn a soul to eternal hellfire just by virtue of birth?

I am all for faith. Our country needs more faith. But please, I beg, for the sake of each and every Jew, Catholic, Black, Mexican, Hindu, Moslem, and more, do not push the faith of the majority in public school. Allow prayer in groups. Allow kids to gather on the playground and say a prayer. But please, PLEASE, do not have them say one over the loudspeaker. My Rabbi used to always say, "As long as there are Math Tests, there WILL be prayer in schools."

I feel we DO need more faith, but "In Jesus name we pray, amen." is the faith of ONE group, true, a majority group, but one group only. And I know from personal experience and fear of pig lips, that forcing the belief of that ONE group on all Americans will cause kids to get beat up. I have learned, I pray for the same things Biker Steve prays for, a safe ride home, more power for our cause, health and happiness. just not "In Jesus name we pray, amen."

Fighting for American Freedom is something I have done as long as I can remember.

If we must push faith and religion, please remember that America is made up of families that left or were kicked out of countries from all over the world to escape religious oppression. Let's not become oppressors. Save young kids from the "pork lips". We should espouse faith, whole realizing many faiths do not worship as mainstream Christianity. Religion should be by CHOICE, not dictated by the majority.

The tenants of the 10 commandments are almost universal, we should not divide ourselves on what language we express them in. Prayer in schools should be allowed voluntarily, individually, and never, ever over the loudspeaker.

I will continue to fight, but I wanted to let you know my feelings on prayer in schools and Moral Virtues.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Sorry, I have been too busy at work. Work work work, then go home and work on motorcycles or the Sprinter. Every motorcycle I own is now running, serviced, and in good shape. The Harley needs some transmission work, but it is not urgent.

The Sprinter will be finished at Happy Vans today. The cabin will be fully complete (in my mind) and I will wait one or three paychecks before I start on the cargo bay.

I need to call my folks, cause I haven't in a long time.
I need to plan a trip to Austin
I need to find & buy a gun safe
I need to clean out the garage
I need to buy Sara presents!

My old roommate Bill's Grandma, Orthea Matsler once heard me whining, and she gave me a wonderful bit of Texas advice. It holds today. She said:

Charles, if you don't like something, there are TWO things you can do.

Change it or Move on.

Life is that simple.

That advice still stands. She was a bright lady.

I am trying to change things

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