Sunday, April 14th will be the 22nd annual Honolulu AIDS Walk! The 5K walk will be held at Kapiolani Park, and will be a day of community, fun, and a chance to make a difference
in the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS in Hawaii. Since the first
walk, over 2 million dollars has been raised through the
Honolulu AIDS Walk, valuable funds that provides services to our local
This year, the old Disgruntled Veteran has sponsored a friend who will be participating in this walk. I may just have to show my ugly old face, and cheer them on . . .
A college Professor, an avowed Atheist, was teaching his class. He
shocked several of his students when he flatly stated he was going to
prove there is no God. Addressing the ceiling he shouted: “God, if you
are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you
The lecture room fell silent. You could have heard a pin drop. Ten
minutes went by. Again the Professor taunted God, saying, “Here I am,
God! I’m still waiting!”
His count-down got down to the last couple of minutes when a Marine,
just released from active duty and newly registered in the class, walked
up to the Professor and punched him full-force in the face. The
Professor tumbled from his lofty platform, and he was out cold before he
hit the floor.
At first the students were shocked, and they babbled in confusion.
The young Marine took a seat in the front row and sat silently. The
class fell silent… waiting.
Eventually, the Professor came to. When he finally regained the
power of speech, he glared at the young Marine in the front row.
“What’s the matter with you? Why on earth did you do that?”
It is now 03:30 as I begin this entry. Tonight has been another night that I have experienced my night terrors. After awaking at 00:30 on the 26th, I was finally able to get to sleep approximately 21:00 that evening. I reawakened at 01:30 this morning. The grounding technique did not seem to help. Nor did talking to the spirit of my deceased dog. She watches over me from her ash box as I sleep.
So, have gotten a few hours work done on my package.
Hopefully today, Doctor Ikeda at the Veterans Administration will give me some kind of medication that will help me to regulate my sleep a little better.
A lot of dark thoughts on my mind this morning, but they will remain unsaid for now. I need to walk.
Going to be dog sitting at home from April 1st through May 1st for some friends who are taking a trip to the mainland to visit their grandchildren. It will be nice to have a dog around again, even though temporarily. I am still missing Latte'. Any chance that I get to pet a dog - - - or to interact with one in a friendly manner, I will certainly use to maximum advantage. So, I am really looking forward to Toby coming to visit for a month.
Managed to get one or two good nights sleep over the last week. The rest were filled with the "Joys of combat-related PTSD". I have begun implementing some of the techniques that have been shown to me at the mental health clinic, and I'm finding that they do seem to help somewhat. Not perfect, but they do help reduce the stress.
Down at the storage facility earlier this morning, continuing to clear away the flotsam and jetsam of the wreckage of our lives. Some time within the next few months, Erika plans to start selling off all of the collectibles. She has about a million Barbie dolls. I have quite a few collectibles as well. Looking back now, I cannot possibly fathom the reason that I even wanted that junk. It looked good at the time, but over time - - - it has proven far less than useful. Why do we as humans accumulate so much useless stuff throughout our lives???
I will definitely not let the situation develop again. If I do not use an item at least once weekly, that I have no need to have it among my possessions. Far better that I own my stuff, rather than my stuff own me.
Senate Opposes ‘Chained CPI’ Cuts to Social Security, Veterans’ Benefits
March 22, 2013
WASHINGTON, March 22 – The Senate tonight voted to block cuts in benefits for Social Security and disabled veterans.
The amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) put the Senate on record against changing how cost-of-living increases are calculated in a way that would result in significant cuts.
“The time has come for the Senate to send a very loud and clear message to the American people: We will not balance the budget on the backs of disabled veterans who have lost their arms, their legs and their eyesight defending our country. We will not balance the budget on the backs of the men and women who have already sacrificed for us in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor on the widows who have lost their husbands in Iraq and Afghanistan defending our country,” Sanders said.
The amendment opposed switching from the current method of measuring inflation to a so-called chained consumer price index. President Barack Obama favors a chained CPI as part of what the White House calls a “grand bargain” that Obama hopes to reach with congressional Republicans.
The proposed change would affect more than 3.2 million disabled veterans receiving disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who started receiving VA disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits reduced by $1,425 at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at age 65. Benefits for more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children who have lost a loved one in battle also would be cut. Dependency Indemnity Compensation benefits already average less than $17,000 a year.
More than 55 million retirees, widows, orphans and disabled Americans receiving Social Security also would be affected by the switch to a chained CPI. That figure includes 9 million veterans with an average yearly benefit of about $15,500. A veteran with average earnings retiring at age 65 would get nearly a $600 benefit cut at age 75 and a $1,000 cut at age 85. By age 95, when Social Security benefits are probably needed the most, that veteran would face a cut of $1,400 – a reduction of 9.2 percent.
A chained CPI would cut Social Security benefits for average senior citizens who are 65 by more than $650 a year by the time they are 75 years old, and by more than $1,000 once they reach 85.
Groups supporting Sanders include AARP, the AFL-CIO, National Organization for Women, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS and others.
Sanders is chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the founder of the Defending Social Security Caucus.
It was on this day in 1775 that Patrick Henry gave a famous speech which probably included the line, "Give me liberty or give me death!"
Henry spoke at the Second Virginia Convention, a meeting of American colonial leaders held at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. There were 120 delegates, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry. The 39 year old Henry was representing Hanover County, Virginia. The four-day meeting turned into a fierce debate about whether or not to raise a militia and arm Virginia in the fight against the British.
Henry was an attorney with a knack for turning a phrase and a commitment to American independence. Twelve years earlier, he had stood up in court and called King George a tyrant, and he had been fighting against English laws and rule in the courts ever since.
There was a problem with Henry's speeches. They were wonderful and charismatic and everyone was entranced by them, but afterward, no one could remember what he had said. Thomas Jefferson said of Henry: "His eloquence was peculiar, if indeed it should be called eloquence; for it was impressive and sublime, beyond what can be imagined. Although it was difficult when he had spoken to tell what he had said, yet, while he was speaking, it always seemed directly to the point. When he had spoken in opposition to my opinion, had produced a great effect, and I myself had been highly delighted and moved, I have asked myself when he ceased: 'What the devil has he said?' I could never answer the inquiry."
So although Henry's speech at the Second Virginia Convention is so famous, no one is sure what he said. It wasn't written down until 1816, by Henry's biographer, William Wirt. Wirt talked to people who had been present at the speech and had them reconstruct it from memory.
According to one of Wirt's sources, in what has become the accepted text of Henry's speech, he ended with these famous words: "It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
My session Monday at Tripler went fairly well. Much better than I had expected. Some of the things that we discussed, and that I have some homework on are: sleep hygiene, exercising in the morning versus night, sticking to a calorie controlled diet, and not making too many major lifestyle changes all at once.
I will be having an upcoming appointment, in order to obtain some heavy-duty prescription sleep aids. I am also cutting way down on my caffeine intake. I truly do not know how much caffeine I take in on a daily basis, but it is safe to say that I know for sure I am drinking at least fifteen 8 ounce cups of coffee daily. Yesterday, and today - - - I have only allowed myself two 8 ounce cups of coffee in the morning. I am experiencing major cluster headaches, but expect those to pass within a few days. I am taking aspirin for the headaches, and it does seem to help a bit.
My friends who are aware of the changes that I'm going to make in my life, are trying to be helpful to a point. However, knowing far better than them that I am at all on-all off type personality - - - their suggestions of "just take a few weeks to cut it back a cup or so a day", are not going to get the job done. I will basically cut it off immediately, and suffer the consequences. A test of will. One that I shall pass. The headaches caused by caffeine deprivation will lessen over time . . .
Erika and I continue our housecleaning of the wreckage of our lives. Our next project will be to move down to the storage facility, and start clearing away items that we pay to store - - - but have not used nor seen for years. If you don't use it at least once weekly, what the hell is the purpose of having it? With the exception of all of my military documentation, and my photos of Family, Friends, Latte', etc.
Progress on my presidential investigation package continues. I am now at the 92% mark, and hope to be getting it out of here within the next week to 10 days. After that, I should be able to generate a package into the mail to the remaining personnel on my list - - - every 2 to 3 days.
While life is not good yet, it is getting better! This coming Sunday morning, I will be starting a hard and fast caloric monitoring diet in order to loose approximately 40 pounds during the course of the next year. No matter how much well-meaning social pressure (there will be a lot) will be put on me by my friends, I have zero intention of giving into it - - - and that is not up for further discussion, nor negotiation.
My goal for the next year, will be to get back into at least 80% of the physical condition that I was in while on active duty some 20 years ago. That will be the most important change for the better that I can make in my life at the current time.
"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home." - - - Chief Tecumseh - - -
Things progressing better than expected - - - not as well as hoped. My T.S.R.P. intake went well with the Veterans Administration. Have my first counseling appointment this morning. Must be at Spark Matsunaga ACC by 07:00, so that will necessitate a 05:30 departure from the house. Unfortunately, the city bus/VA van combination will not have me there in time - - - so I must rely upon a friend for transportation. Going to have to research this a bit better over the coming week to see if I cannot get there on my own that early. Will be field testing my new stainless steel, leak-proof Theramax coffee mug. As I sometimes have problems with dropping glass mugs, due to the "lump-lumps" now growing in my fingers as well as the rest of my body --- I decided to use my Amazon.com gift certificate that I received for Christmas to buy some new coffee cups that will not break. Works well at home. Will see today how it works on the move . . .
Last Wednesday, I had an appointment with the VA optometrist. Dr. Riezman wrote me new prescriptions for both my reading and distance vision. Should have my new glasses by next week. One pair for distance, One pair for reading. My prescription for computer usage has not changed.
Presidential investigation package is 90% complete. Going to be collating it sometime the end of this coming week, or the beginning of next and getting it in the mail. I will be so happy when it is on its way. Then, I should be generating the remaining packages at the rate of one every two to three days - - - just a matter of some minor revisions to the individual recipients. Will be glad when all are finally on the way in the mail. Quite a bit of work to get done over the next 45 days or so . . .
Started using my VidaOne nutrition monitoring software again yesterday morning. Tired of being obese. Goal is to drop 22.5 Kilograms over the next year through rigorous calorie monitoring. Have not been doing near enough walking the last two months. That is going to change as well. Will start with five-thousand steps per day average, working up to twelve-thousand steps daily average over the next year. Here is a baseline summary:
Going to be taking a lot more private time over the next few months. Have things I need to be doing for myself. Not explaining, just going to do. Whatever the personal cost, it will be worth it in the end. For both Mama and I . . .
Hopefully, this computer will hold out until this ongoing project is complete. This HP has really surprised me. Did not expect it to last as long as it has. My first laptop. Next one will hopefully be a MacBook Pro. So damned tired of Microsoft. Not even going to bother learning the "new" Windows 8 at all.
Sleep this past week has included the normal night terrors. Up most (if not all) five out of the last seven nights. Will be asking VA social worker for some sleep inducing aids, and definitely want to get on Chantix ASAP. Not sure why the VA opposed to giving it to me. Will be pressing for definite answers.
Deactivated my Facebook account yesterday. Not going back. Another distraction in my life that I do not need at this time.
Time to get serious again in all aspects of my life. Zero time for joking around.
Did not get near as much accomplished today as I had planned. When I first logged onto the computer this morning, I had forgotten that my backup software would run a weekly verification to check the integrity of all the backups on my external drive. This normally occurs on Sunday, and does not begin until I have been logged on to the computer for 5 minutes. It runs in the background, and does not prevent me from using the computer. Unfortunately, during the Daylight Saving Time shift this past weekend - - - my computer did not automatically update my world clock settings. We do not observe DST in Hawaii. Thus, I was forced to make a manual adjustment this morning. I logged on, adjusted my clocks - - - then was required to reboot in order for the changes to take effect.
During this process, I exceeded my 5 minute "grace period" with respect to the backup software timeout period to begin the integrity verification process. As the computer was shutting down to reboot, the integrity verification process began. I was then locked out of my computer for approximately 2 1/2 hours waiting for it to complete.
This delay meant that everything I had planned to accomplish this morning, I did not even get started on until approximately 1100 hrs. Major "self-inflicted" pain in the ass!
I had planned to go walk with the neighborhood citizens patrol this evening, but as I was running approximately 2 1/2 hours behind my projected schedule - - - I decided during dinner with my friend Masa, that I would just let that slide for this evening.
Had a very nice fish dinner at the Shrimp and Barbecue (the high point of my day) place on Keeaumoku Street. While the hour and a half spent socializing with Masa was nice (and the mental break) and needed, I am still running behind where I want to be. Therefore, I am contemplating pulling an all-nighter on the computer tonight to get caught up.
Tomorrow morning, Erika has an appointment at Kaiser-Moanalua Hospital with the EENT clinic. Time to do the radioactive dye test again, to check for cancer. I hope that all goes well for her. While she is doing the test, I will be down at the storage area continuing to get our belongings squared away, and to make some room in case we have to move.
Was talking on the phone this morning during the zero-dark-thirty hours, with an old Desert Storm shipmate. While I will always miss Latte', and no one can - - - or will ever replace her - - - I am now ready to get a new dog as soon as possible. Latte' was my first. She taught me the joys of having a dog in my life. Now having experienced those joys, I find myself quite unwilling to be without them ever again. I require a new dog, and I will have one as soon as it is practicable.
Hopefully I will get caught up to where I need to be later this evening, and then be able to obtain an hour or two of rest before getting back up to finish what I need to get accomplished today. Tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be long days . . .
The appointment last Friday at Spark Matsunaga ACC went fairly well. At the conclusion, I did have to talk to more than one person before I was allowed to leave. My feeling is that they were truly concerned, and had I not given them the answers that I did - - - I would've not been allowed to leave to return home.
The gentleman that conducted the orientation, was one of the most straightforward people I have ever met with the Veterans Administration in over 20 years. The information he provided was excellent, current, and to the point. He did not waste my time. I am under no misunderstandings, as to what to expect from my upcoming treatment. This is a major, refreshing change from the dealings that I am used to having with the Veterans Administration.
After I arrived home, I did have to send an e-mail to the gentleman who conducted the orientation - - - with my DD 214 attached. This also, is something new. For years, I have been asking when the VA people will get e-mail accounts (that the veterans may send to) in order that we might save time if they need some documents, rather than have to run all the way up to Tripler Army Medical Center. The answer over previous years has been that they are trying. Trying??? The rest of the world has been using e-mail since the early 1990s.
Glad to see that the VA is finally starting to catch up to the rest of the veterans that they are supposed to be serving. One can only hope that they continue their progress. And maybe increase the speed with which they are doing it. After all - - - they are only about fifteen years behind the power curve . . . He also informed me that I will be undergoing sessions with my therapist of choice. I do not yet have my treatment schedule. I am sure that I will be hearing from them within a matter of a week or so. I already know, my therapist of choice will probably be most beneficial to me during our sessions. They have already proven themself so, when we had our individual intake session.
I think that there may be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel! One thing is certain. Should I fail to crawl towards that ray of light, this person will not be afraid to kick me in the ass in order to move me forward. Being a Combat Vet, they will know just how to get it done properly. Still fresh enough out of theatre - - - to have not lost their edge. I see that as a very good thing.
Not able to sleep more than an hour and a half last night. Experiencing the normal night terrors. Back on the ship in the Persian Gulf . . .
Not bad enough to use the Veterans Crisis Line. Just got to stay awake now as I have breakfast with a friend between 06:30 - 07:15. Then a ride to Spark Matsunaga ACC at T.A.M.C. for my PTSD TSRP orientation at 10:00.
Reorganizing at the storage facility yesterday. Moved around 6 tons of stuff - - - restacking it so one can easily see the labeling on most of the boxes at a glance. Just a little bit remaining in the old shipping container to move into the new facility now. Should be able to knock it out in the early part of next week.
Made excellent progress on my PIP last evening. Since I cannot obtain proper sleep - - - why not put the time to efficient usage?
Got to start preparing to depart at first light . . .
While I am grieving her loss, I realize that while there can be no replacement for her - - - there will be another special friend in my life someday . . .
As I am all too aware of the cruelty that people are capable of, I will, when it is time - - - be seeking someone else's unwanted dog. I will adopt from a shelter. There are enough homeless dogs who need a loving home - - - that it would be less than humane to do otherwise . . .
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010. The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
8,283 were just 19 years old.
The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam ..
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam ..
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . I wonder why so many from one school.
8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriot camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.
For most Americans who read this, they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not - - - we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away - - - haunted with these numbers. They were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
It has been a busy week since the death of my Latte'. I have had many things to do, and my emotions of course run to the sad side. Later today, I will be picking up her memorial plaque to mount on the box containing her ashes. Then within the next few days, I will be choosing the pictures to place upon her box. The house seems so empty - - - even when it is packed to over-flowing with people. We are going to be having a memorial service for her, however at this time the date is uncertain. Will keep all the local folk posted, should they wish to attend. As for me, I have been keeping my mental health appointments at Tripler Army Medical Center. Last Wednesday, I underwent an intake screening for the Traumatic Stress Recovery Program. This coming Friday, I have my orientation. I have received many, many e-mails and cards of sympathy. I wish that I had the time to thank each of you individually. Unfortunately, this public post on my blog will have to suffice. There are simply too many things happening in my life right now. Last night, was the first time in over a month that I have been able to get out and walk with the neighborhood citizens patrol. It was really nice to see the guys, and to catch up on various aspects of our lives. It was also nice to get out and walk for a little bit. I plan to continue with this as often as I am able. I so miss my little girl. She bravely hung on as long as she could, to give me time to accept the fact that she was going to be passing out of my life. I am saddened beyond words. There will never be another like her. What an imprint she has left upon my heart . . . Yesterday, I was given a very useful, valuable item that is an olive-drab green color. I remember when at the age of 19, my buddies and I would call it Marine Corps Butt Ugly Green. At 58, it is (to me) the most beautiful color. If I ever manage to get unstuck from this rock and build my sidecar rig - - - I will have the entire rig powder--coated olive-drab green! What a durable, lovely, and tough finish that will be!
More about the item I was given at a later date, have to properly break it in first . . . The new phone is working out well, however there are some issues with (my coordination of) texting which really slow me down. Just have to keep working at it, although I do find the lack of all the so-called smart features very relaxing. The battery life is great! I also find myself feeling much better, now that I am not spending any time on Facebook. Inserting a shameless plug here for the Oasis of my Soul, a blog authored by my friend Ara Gureghian. I find it both inspirational, and quite insightful. Highly recommended reading! Without doubt, it is the most helpful (for therapeutic purposes) blog I have ever read. Work is now resuming on my Presidential Investigation Package that concerns the recoupment of my lost military retirement. I should be able to get that out within the next 10 days without too much problem, provided that I am able to work on it for 4 to 5 hours daily. Once that is complete, things will finally be underway from the top down. I already have them in motion from the bottom up. Be Well. Stay Safe.
The USS Constitution; Old Ironsides, as a combat vessel carried
48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men.
This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea.
However, let it be noted that according to her log:
“On July 22, 1798, the USS Constitution sailed from Boston with a
full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water,
7,400 cannonshot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of
Her mission: “To destroy and harass English shipping.”
Making Jamaica on 6 October, 1798 she took on 826 pounds of flour and
68,300 gallons of rum. Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there
12 November, 1798. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef, and 64,300
gallons of Portuguese wine. On 18 November, 1798 she set sail for
England. In the ensuing days, she defeated five British men-of-war, and
captured and scuttled 12 English merchantmen, salvaging only the rum
By 26 January, 1799 her powder and shot were exhausted.
Nevertheless, although unarmed, she made a night raid up the Firth of
Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and
transferred 40,000 gallons of a single malt Scotch aboard by dawn.
Then, she headed home.
The USS Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February, 1799 with no
cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky and 38,600
gallons of stagnant water.