South Vietnam Tours for 1968

Review: ** stars at best. Tour date: 1968
I was on the Mekong tour. While admitting that accommodations were adequate, we found them to be primitive at best. All water was luke-warm as was food which was also tiresome in it’s unchanging cuisine. Service in all locations was lackluster. Some native servers came-over as nearly hostile.

We enjoyed the colorful river and canal traffic as we cruised in the provided boats. We often wondered why the crews fired their large guns regularly at the poor sampan drivers, tho the boats occasionally created spectacular fireballs in the evening sky.

The inhabitants of small hamlets where we spent several nights came-over as particularly prickly in their relations with us. Although we slept well we often noticed a lot of movement outside our accommodations. This movement must have been related to the night hunting of the natives. We did not observe much in the way of wildlife but nights echoed of the hunters guns.

Overall, we found the Delta to be a delightful feast for the eyes, but the native servers and inhabitants left much to be desired. Perhaps as the tourism economy develops these people will be taught better manners and service skills.


Fire Ants

Fire Ants – Never has an animal been more appropriately named.  Ant

I grew-up playing baseball on red-ant infested lots & ball fields in North Central Oklahoma. They are beasts which will give you a whale of a sting when you trespass upon their territory. Regular ants will protect themselves; if you are improvident enough to stand on their little conical home and make a few twirls and then reach down and rake them around a bit, some will rise in defence of home & hearth.

But, if you find yourself standing in the middle of nowhere and have even checked for God’s creatures underfoot and found none and you are quietly feeling the soft breeze or smelling the sweet honeysuckle on that breeze; minding your own innocent business completely…AND Suddenly…you feel as if your leg has been engulfed by a wildfire…a back-draft from hell…Then…you look down to per chance see a measly half-dozen tiny ants across your foot…Congratulations!…you have met the infamous Fire Ant!

These beasts are amongst the very few creatures which attack unprovoked. Totally undisturbed they will stalk a human being to the far corners of the earth. A lone Fire Ant can spy a human standing unaware at 50 yards (the rough equivalent of Forest Gump’s run across the breadth of the North American continent). Said Ant will run at fastest pace, burning precious energy, across the US to have even a half-chance as causing intense pain.

Fire Ants are the most inviolably hateful and poison illegal aliens to ever invade North America. I am fully aware that some Native Americans would argue this point. Most of these fellow Americans are the Sioux or Crow or Blackfoot – northern nations who have yet to come into contact with these heathern beasts. I am sure that there were visitors to the Sioux council fires who warned, “the white strangers, barbarians, are coming; you Need To Do Something to prepare!!!”

To the everlasting regret of the tribal leaders, who simply sat eyeing each other wondering at the seeming insanity of these Easterners, did nothing and found themselves with 5 white acres and a stupid-looking mule.

Remember this when you find yourself staring in wonder at the tiny ants who have sunk mandibles into your flesh and buried their stingers ankle-deep and pumped as much poison into you as they possibly can, and you are convinced the earth’s mantle has evaporated and you are sinking into pools of unbelievably blistering-hot magma. There is no need to look at the USDA lists or the Texas Extension Service website…they Are Fire Ants.

I’ve heard that you can see 1,000 common non-venomous snakes but when you see your first rattlesnake you will know, without doubt, as you look into those evil black eyes, that you are in the presence of most-foul death. Fire Ants are much the same. But even the most evil snake will give a human a wide berth.

One more time…I will scream to you – They Are Coming! They have temporarily halted round about my house, but only to become adapted to the cooler weather northwards. They are building their numbers and stock-piling poison for the coming march. But soon they will adapt and survive and bite and sting their way into your yards and fields and fill your breaker boxes and kid’s sandboxes and bring welts and blisters upon YOUR body!

You Have Been Warned!!!

The 16th Amendment

The 16th Amendment was passed on July 2, 1909.

This 115th anniversary is a good time to reflect upon that which our fathers have wrought.

Due to the needs of war and a growing government the 15th Amendment was proposed and subsequently approved by the requisite two-thirds of the of the American states.

Now any any student (even casual) of history knows that there is a precedent of corruption found whenever large sums of money are found. The confluence of political establishments and large sums of money are especially ripe targets for individuals and organizations wishing to attain high levels of power and wealth.

It was indeed a fortunate thing that this method of raising large sums of cash came along just in time to help fund the first world war (the war to end all wars) to be followed two decades later by the 2nd world war. Toss in a great depression and even a new non-conflict called a cold war and it was found huge sums of money were needed to protect and support liberty and freedom.

As matter of fact this river of money flowing through the government proved something else: that there was not enough money. So, the national federal reserve bank was founded. An amazing little (not little for long) institution quickly became a political darling due to the fact it could simply print fabulous sums of new cash. And all this cost absolutely nothing…except to the common citizen.

Here we are a century of growth and enlightenment later faced with totally corrupt institutions supported by other beasts of the same nature. What are we to do? Should we reform these predators which we created? Even if returned to their pristine conditions will they not quickly return, or, rather fall into abject corruption? Of course they will.

The issue is systemic in my humble opinion. Should we rid ourselves of government altogether? I really do not think that is necessary. I suggest the problem is not in the political institution but in what we have come to expect of it.

Because we are naturally lazy, or maybe we are too busy, or for whatever reason, we do not with to deal with the myriad of problems facing us as a society on a regular basis. Someone at some point made the startling suggestion, “Let’s let the government do it!!”

We tried that and it did work to a degree. However, it also attracted every shyster and con person in the known universe. Little problems were soon discovered to be “over-whelming” problems requiring sums of money so vast no one understood them. Yet we provided vast sums which it seems were not enough of themselves, but it was ok, the politicians just printed the balance of the needed cash each year.

Considering all the above the answer seems manifestly simple: Try Something Different!

O Gloom and Doom

O’er those gloomy hills of darkness


I suppose it is just as well that sunset for the “Greatest Generation” is rapidly approaching. The America which they inherited is gone…long and irretrievably gone and, further, will never ever return in our lifetime.


Who killed it? They did, we did, and all the cute little X-gen’s since. Why? Well, greed, of course. We proudly proudly proclaim that America has a huge heart, but that’s just not the case. It is rather a case of rich, poor and all those between greedily seeking more of everything – for nothing. There is indeed a cost for everything and the cost is high.


The two national political parties have eviscerated America. They have been faithfully returned to Washington for decades by voters bought an paid by the National largess until those on the dole now out-number those working to support them. All the political parties across the spectrum who claim to have a “cure” are lying, uninformed or guilty of false hope…all are reaching for power to hold that which they have stolen.


Is the system repairable? No. The America bought in a terrible cost of blood was completely destroyed in the 20th century. Freedom, liberty, privacy, economic security, you name it, all those beloved amenities of the American dream are gone. Before the end of this, the 2nd decade of the new millennium, we shall witness the coup de grâce, that final bullet to the base of the American brain.


What will happen? The final collapse of the economy which has so faithfully supported all the foolish idiocy. It has been horribly abused for long and the spark of capitalism has just kept chugging along. In the end though all life must perish. With that monetary/economic collapse the Federal Government will cease to function. Most state governments will cease to function in any manner in which they have been accustomed. On the other hand, local governments will flourish for a bit.


What will follow? Chaos, in politics and economics certainly will; but I do not foresee the end-of-world type holocaust predicted by politicians. Big cities will bear the brunt and most city-dwellers will indeed suffer. And well they should as they have been the major backers of the America killers. Those in rural areas have retained the ability to provide for themselves and will fare vastly better.


Both East and West coasts will not recover for a half-century. The agriculturally based states in the great plains will thrive if they prevent an influx of starving big-city folks. Texas is a powerhouse which will be little effected if they manage to cut themselves away from the rest of the collapsing country. There are rumors that indicate the Texans may be positioning themselves for this very event. The Southeastern US could survive a collapse if they have a resolve to do so.


Whatever the long-term future holds for the former American people will depend heavily upon lessons learned. Part of the world will grieve for our past support; some countries will rush to fill the void left behind our leadership; others will simply give a sigh of relief. In fact, many Americans will feel relieved to finally put down the tremendous burden we have carried to long.


Let thy glorious morning dawn.