31 December 2010

Alter Kocker

--You still think hes in there [the outhouse]?
--Yeah, he's in there.

--Well he's holding onto his shit like it was money
--The Unforgiven (1992)

Well, I'll be damned. It's the gentleman guppy.

You know, he's like a turd that won't flush.


Johnny's playroom

Is a bunker filled with sand

He's become a third world man

--Third World Man
, Steely Dan

Why, oh, why

Did this have to happen?

--Why, Oh, Why?
, Psychostick

Ranger isn't much one for high falutin language, so he's given a cultural piece to stand as metaphor for things that are wrong in the world. The episode seems emblematic of something troubling brewing in the American psyche, as George W. Bush might say.

There are some stories that are so disgusting they must be shared. This report originated while Ranger was communing with nature in the Futureworld waterless urinal at the Mayo Clinic (his original mission was to wash his hands after delivering a gallon of piss to the laboratory for heavy metals testing):

Separated by one thin divide was a toilet stall from which emanated startlingly violent blasts of anal expulsions that would lead to an elevation of alert status if they were heard by a Transportation Security Administration bomb expert. But that is not the story.

The story is that the blastee was on the cell phone during this transformative experience describing the large and great lunch that he had eaten at some indiscriminate earlier moment. He was musing upon the excellence of the thing which led to the current offense. Freud would have something to say about both releasing and retaining the excremental remains of the meal.

So why share this? Why subject other to this episode?

Ranger can't help but wonder from where we have come and where we are going as a race and as individuals on this last day of 2010, a truly awful decade for the U.S. Do we really feel compelled to communicate while shit is blasting from our anal sphincter? Forgive me, but this is beyond my comprehension, truly unfuckingbelievable. TMI.
And yes, the urinal was waterless.

24 March 2008

Not Me

War has always had
a cost someone has to pay.
Just who and when will vary
from day to bloody day.

You hear, "We're at war!"
and the patriotic sighs
and watch with fascination
someone else go off to die.

It's to keep us safe and sound.
Can't those traitors see?
Its for freedom and to keep driving
a swanky SUV.

And four thousand dead
is not a lot to bear.
We don't fight them here
we fight them over there.

And those wounded in the head,
just keep them from our sight.
It's all worth it in a war
when the cause is in the right

And we don't have to worry,
no calls for sacrifice.
We fight on borrowed money
and leave our kids to pay the price.

So, Iraq has alway been
a cost someone has to pay.
Just who and when will vary.
But not me friend, no not today.

--Chris Christiansen

07 March 2008

A Soldier's Prayer

Teresa Stone says her poem, A Soldier's Prayer, "was written over several months at the end of 2007 into 2008. Vashtie is my middle name and I am a US Army veteran."

In this poem she prays to retain her own peace and humanity, "Yet the guilt still fights to sway / Me away from a fragile sanity," and wonders, "Yet fear all will be stained / By the hell I cannot leave behind."

Thanks, Teresa, for your service and your poem. Please stay sane.


A Soldier's Prayer
by Vashtie

I'm on my way to another land

To fight for what others say I must

Sent off with waves and a marching band

I struggle not to cry as I wipe the dust

From my eyes, now losing sight of you

Your smile goodbye burns in my mind

Your loving touch, my lips on yours

Give me the strength to find

The courage to serve these many tours

Then return quickly and safely to you

I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

To face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within

The miles grow between us each day

But my heart remains strong and true

To the thought of you and a future day

When I can return whole, complete to you

And find the life I've left behind

Your eternal love makes me strong

A picture of you always in sight

Your closeness, your touch I long

For in the middle of the lonely nights

As I cling to the hope of you and us

I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

Help me face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within

While the battle rages outside and within

I pray that the ones I kill are the enemy

And not the innocents who struggle to win

Their way of life, their destiny

Now interrupted by weapons of arrogance

With blood on my hands I can't deny

The look, the fear in their eyes

I hold my breath, try not to cry

And pray, reaching up to the skies

That peace will come soon and stay

I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

I endeavor to face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within

I ache to stay alive and see you again

That you'll love me just the same

And though I've taken a life

Not judge me too harsh or blame

Me for what I had to do.

My fallen comrade's face

Haunts me day and night

I stay strong as I race

With all my heart and might

To avenge this hero's death

I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

I struggle to face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within

I did what I had to do

In this land so far away

This I know to be true

Yet the guilt still fights to sway

Me away from a fragile sanity

The end of my tour is near

I'm excited. I'm afraid

I long for all I hold dear

Yet fear all will be stained

By the hell I cannot leave behind

I pray, oh Lord, I pray

That I have the courage to be afraid

Of the things that make me human

I journey on to face those fears each day

With strength and valor from within

How can I make the transition

From warrior to peaceful citizen

How can I turn such an imposition

Into a truth without criticism

Without your love to keep me strong

Take me back with open arms

Help me see the good despite the bad

Help me heal and do no harm

And turn my tears to ones of joy now sad

This is my prayer to you.


(Though Ms. Stone didn't serve in the current Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts, she was was on active duty during Gulf War I and served two tours in Korea. As an interesting aside, her great-great grandfather, Wallace Bruce, was a Civil War veteran and world-renowned poet who wrote poems for military units "for a variety of ceremonial reasons - the unit was standing-down, an anniversary, a medal awarded, etc."

In her own words, "The poem is genuine, the feelings expressed are genuine and real and my hope is that it will touch not just soldiers but allow those who don't go off to war - especially the ones we're engaged in now - to know just what it costs someone to have to do so. This war was engaged in with complete disregard to the sacrifice of so many brave, and often too-young, people." )

09 January 2008

Disappointed Veteran


I feel what I have to say is rather negligible. I am a veteran, married to a veteran, and mother of a veteran.

Our families (my husband's and mine) have had someone in practically every armed conflict in American history. We are mostly blue collar folks and patriotic in the old fashioned way: serve, but verbally blast the government at the same time if they screw up. I am religiously what sometimes disdainfully is described as a secular humanist, afflicted with inconvenient bouts of mysticism.

In 2003, I built what I call The Walk of the Fallen Iraq War Memorial
Labyrinth in my town to honor and serve the men and women dying in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. My sense of outraged justice, and a spiritual thing harder to describe drove me to this act of physical labor and mental anguish.

But the real reason I write today? None of that. . . not for the dead now that I appeal, but for the living. Since WWII
America has prided herself on the mercy of not sending a family's final son into a war zone. Well, the bean counting MBA-educated rulers of the military now have "rotation schedules" that neatly avoid that piece of humanism. They
send married couples with children to the SAME war zone. They don't care, in other words, if they orphan those children.

I got out of the Army in 1979 rather than pursue my desired military career because they began demanding what they called a "parenting plan," in which you would send your children so they could then deploy both of you to nasty places. I could not, in good conscience, do that to my kids.

But today, Jan 9th, a young couple I know left for Iraq -- leaving a toddler and infant behind, perforce military demands for both of them. They are bound for the very same base in the very same combat zone. They could conceivably die side by side on the very same day. Bonus? The mother's unit lacks funds, so although she goes to a base that receives mortar fire routinely, she gets NO body armor.

Supporting the troops, right? Children can't vote and have no advocates. . . and the military doesn't care if they have no parents left, either. I hope my pagan friends are right; I hope there are pissed off Goddesses out there!

--by Labrys

27 December 2007

Welcome -- Having Your Say


Many people want to speak out about the events in Iraq and Afghanistan, but don't know how. They question the legitimacy of their voice and they do not know if anyone will hear them.

This is your sounding board. You don't need a pedigree to share here -- just a thoughtful, reasoned response to the United State's military actions since 2003. Think of it as your own Town Hall.

I hope for many different voices, from many places, stateside and abroad. Any view is valid and welcome, as long as it is thoughtful and in the spirit of civil dialog.

If you know someone who is not wired, please pass along our address.

The rules are simple:

who you are, what you think and why you think it, up to 500 words. It can be as personal or as disinterested as you like.

Relevant artwork and poetry are also welcome. Submissions may be edited for grammar and length.
If you don't want your name published, use a pseudonym.

We are looking for original content. Your truth. If your piece has been published elsewhere, let us know so that we can recognize that.

For your efforts, we offer a free Ranger Against War bumper sticker (below) so you can display your dismay, if you are of a mind to do so. Send a #10 business sized SASE to the address below.

I have a thought to take this to a wider audience, and possibly to publish it in another format, if it catches on. With that in mind, you would surrender your exclusive copyright to your submissions, so submit with that in mind. If you want your real name used in such an eventuality, but do not want it published on the blog, let me know and I will honor your confidentiality.

Make your submissions to:
lisa@rangeragainstwar.com, subject line: Submissions.

If you do not have a scanner and would like to submit a graphic, or would prefer to mail your writing, the address is P.O. Box 3674, Tallahassee, FL 32315. Please send a copy, as entries will not be returned.

We will see where this goes.