Menu Close

Author: rackjite

Texas Ice House XI

From the Oval Office through the vast red majority of our hinterlands, the driving force of American Christianity has purposefully removed the blessedness of the peacemakers, the inheritance of the meek, the compassion for the outcast, the first stone throwers, the cheek turning, the money changing, the eye of the needle and universal forgiveness in lieu of reactionary Right-wing control of our government
At the library where we vote early, serendipity had caused Bubba and I to enter the same last parking place together. I inched against him for a spell but finally gave over to the pragmatism of vehicle size. I parked down the street and walked through the sea of political signs; correction, the sea of Bush and Delay signs, to meet Bubba at the end of a very long line. The year before when I came by to vote early, I had been the only person around. I hear the same is going on in all early voting states. I would suppose it is because people are afraid for their lives come Tuesday making for more early Democratic voters.
The wait was going to be some hours so with time to kill I decided to play my constant game of building Bubba up before giving him a whack. I pointed out the only two Kerry signs over by the dumpsters, Bubba followed my finger and found them also. Bubba was enjoying himself. I brought up the recent story about the two eighteen year olds who had been caught stealing hundreds of Kerry signs, clearing out entire sub divisions. Just a couple bad apples Bubba told me. I agreed with him in that I have had three Kerry signs in my yard for two weeks and they were still there. He enjoyed his little victory until I closed by saying they were in my backyard. This generated a few guffaws twenty people down which caused me to understand I had a captive audience.
Okra drove by and seeing us gave a honk. She soon joined us with great and grand explanations to those around us why she got to take skips, though it soon became obvious that it was mostly because of her tee many martunni lunch. In seconds Okra and I were hard at it. Unlike the Bush supporters with their buttons pinned upon their flag fashions, I, like most Kerry supporters, dressed politically clothless, though I did wear a small NO DELAY button. Okra unaware of the audience asked me what was wrong with Tom DeLay. There it was, my opportunity to let it fly in public.
"What is wrong with Tom DeLay?" I loudly began, "He is as-bad-as-it-gets regarding religious intolerance and bigotry. He is as-bad-as-it-gets regarding the environment. He is as-bad-as-it-gets hammering in corporate money for his votes. He is as-bad-as-it-gets when it comes to political dirty tricks. He is as-bad-as-it-gets with being voted the most unethical man in Congress for 2004. And on a personal level, he is a stupid, mean, nasty a whole."
Okra went from white, to pink, to red and by the time she had turned purple, she had lost control and pushed me in the chest hard enough to topple me. Bubba caught me before I went down as Okra glowed in her Christian Grace. Most of the audience was unaffected but seemed to take some enjoyment in the scuffle and giving Okra wide berth. After all, Most Texans are more like Bubba than Okra. They are not much concerned with religious issues, or any issues at all other than their tax money, their guns and keeping coloreds out of their immediate surroundings.
After recovering from my close call, and Okra calling me a baby murdering heretic, I brought up the previous evenings’ local news report about the young man who had beat the crap out of his wife for saying she was going to vote for Kerry. The cameras before the judge saw the young man blame alcohol and his deep religious beliefs for his uncontrollable violence. Okra asked what that had to do with anything. I gave her a hard look, figuring the proper retort would just pass her by. So letting it go, I asked if she and Bubba would save my place for a few minutes which they agreed to do.
I jumped back in my car and spurted home to pick up my Kerry signs in the backyard which were doing no good. I returned quickly, parked, and approached my friends from the back of the line carrying the three ungainly signs. I said nothing and just whistled the – give a little a whistle- song. Which soon drove Okra over the edge.
What are you going to do with those? She growled.
With what? I replied.
THOSE SIGNS! she yelled.
What signs? I played.
THOSE GODDAMN KERRY SIGNS IN YOUR HAND! She screamed.
Third commandment! I cried.
This was one of those cases where its hard to tell if its the alcohol or the religion causing the craziness.
ARE YOU JUST GOING TO CARRY THEM AROUND ALL DAY? She spat.
Well, yeah, then they won’t get stolen. I added.
Okra was in a huff. Bubba chimed in telling me I couldn’t carry them into the building proper. He was probably right so I asked Okra if she would hold them for me while I went in to vote. Okra was in more than a huff now.
Taking Bubba’s point to mind I noticed that the narrow lane of grass between the parking lot and the sidewalk we lined up on was mostly devoid of signs, so I stepped out and put them in the ground spaced about ten feet apart. Okra immediately went out into the sea of Bush signs and carried back three to place inches in front of mine so they could not be seen from our point of view. CLOSED! I yelled. I picked my three up again and placed them in an open area, loudly shouting, OPEN! She repeated the process and then went and got three more to put on the other side so they could not be seen at all. CLOSED! CLOSED! I shouted. I slipped mine out from the Bush sandwich one last time and with final conviction said OPEN! OPEN! OPEN! Okra sandwiched them in again and I let it rest; hoping that by some miracle at least one person in the line understood the issue that so permeates this election cycle.

Texas Ice House X

On my way to Jesus’ Ice House to meet Bubba for the first presidential debate between George Bush and John Kerry I became ensnarled in a dead stop traffic jam. Living between two lakes meant at least a half hour roundabout trip to my date which was less than a mile head. I got out and stood on the hood of the car to see what could be seen. A block ahead were lots of bustling police cars, crime tape and a swat team van blocking off the road in front of an apartment complex. A small crowd of pedestrians where being shooed back to their cars by angry officers. The word was a man had hostages and was shooting at police with his Texas sized arsenal. Being a Thursday, this was unusual as these situations happened mostly on Mondays and Fridays. So I had no choice but to go around the lake.
Listening to the debate on the radio was an ear opener. I am sure I was not the only one who thought I may have honed in to a local university station listening to some professor trying to communicate with a monkey. About halfway through when I pulled into the ice house, I realized it wasn’t even live, but a vinyl recording that was skipping; mixed messages… mixed message… mixed messages, no wavering, no wavering, no wavering.
I approached Bubba and Okra who were sitting at a table far more subdued than they had been during the GOP convention. Bush was speaking so I was shushed and signaled to sit down. I watched to see if it was any different from the radio. It was more evenhanded, for one could actually see that it was two men rather than a man talking to a monkey. On the screen was a tall man standing upright behind his podium speaking clearly, on the other was the President listening. He had his back arched holding the podium wearing a rather angry looking smirk. These unfair long shots of the President listening, made him look like the monkey so many political cartoonists portray him as, something he just cannot help.
When the debate moved to the complicated matters of Korea, I noticed my friends lost interest, so I took the opportunity to comment that the President sounded like a monkey on the radio. Okra became highly agitated, calling me a bigot and a racist. I complained that was a bit unfair, suggesting that perhaps a monkiest or a Georgist was more appropriate. She gave me the shoulder and went back to nodding in agreement every time the President repeated the words MIXED MESSAGES, or HARD JOB. I realized that HARD JOB was the new conservatively correct word for dealing with bombings, beheadings, and lots and lots of dead bodies.
When the debate was over I could tell who won by the subdued responses from Bubba and Okra, there was no heart to the claim their man had won. As I had been late I asked them both to stay a while so we could discuss the actual content rather than all the monkey business, for I had been pleasantly surprised that the debate hit the nail on the head over matters of terror and war.
I first explained President’s clear position. That he is not about bringing the 911 terrorists to justice, but to win a War on Terror. That to do so, it is most central we had a pre-emptive war on both Iraq and Afghanistan, and that we must hold to a long term presence. That he and God are on the offensive to change the hearts and minds of a billion people to our way of thinking. That the American concepts of freedom and democracy will have to replace what the vast majority of Islam’s want; jobs, a little supper, not seeing their sisters in a mini dress and most importantly, getting our ass out of their house. That nations united, alliances, world views and global tests are for wilters and waverers. That those who disagree with the President’s war are not only bad Americans, but out to destroy Exxon Mobile, Halliburton and our Security Moms.
Surprisingly, neither of my friends argued the point. They agreed, that indeed I had the issue correct and all good Americans understood that was the good and right thing to do. I then explained the Senator’s clear position. That its the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons, but because of the failed leadership that got us there, we must now win this thing as quickly as possible and get the hell out of there. To do so we must win back our reputation around the world that President Bush has so haughtily destroyed. We must schedule summits, forge alliances and pass the global test of doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. And the best way to do that is with John Kerry and a new group of people to replace those who got us into this unmixed and unwavering mess.
Unsurprisingly, this was met by Bubba playing the big frog and Okra the little frog, in an ice house song of ribit-ribit. They soon moved it North of France to the Godless suicide prone heroin addicts of Scandinavian, and their damn foreign beer in those silly green bottles. When I retorted that the beer is not foreign to them, I was met with hehaws of how I just don’t get it.
On the ride home I thought about the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam. A President’s mostly personal war based on a lie. How it tore this nation apart, and how blind patriotism kept it going until we finally reached our limit at 2 million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans dead. Sadly if history is any judge, we have 56,980 to go before we wake up.

Texas Ice House IX

My my way to Jesus’ Ice House to meet Bubba for the first presidential debate between George Bush and John Kerry I became ensnarled in a dead stop traffic jam. Living between two lakes meant at least a half hour roundabout trip to my date which was less than a mile head. I got out and stood on the hood of the car to see what could be seen. A block ahead were lots of bustling police cars, crime tape and a swat team van blocking off the road in front of an apartment complex. A small crowd of pedestrians where being shooed back to their cars by angry officers. The word was a man had hostages and was shooting at police with his Texas sized arsenal. Being a Thursday, this was unusual as these situations happened mostly on Mondays and Fridays. So I had no choice but to go around the lake.
Listening to the debate on the radio was an ear opener. I am sure I was not the only one who thought I may have honed in to a local university station listening to some professor trying to communicate with a monkey. About halfway through when I pulled into the ice house, I realized it wasn’t even live, but a vinyl recording that was skipping; mixed messages… mixed message… mixed messages, no wavering, no wavering, no wavering.
I approached Bubba and Okra who were sitting at a table far more subdued than they had been during the GOP convention. Bush was speaking so I was shushed and signaled to sit down. I watched to see if it was any different from the radio. It was more evenhanded, for one could actually see that it was two men rather than a man talking to a monkey. On the screen was a tall man standing upright behind his podium speaking clearly, on the other was the President listening. He had his back arched holding the podium wearing a rather angry looking smirk. These unfair long shots of the President listening, made him look like the monkey so many political cartoonists portray him as, something he just cannot help.
When the debate moved to the complicated matters of Korea, I noticed my friends lost interest, so I took the opportunity to comment that the President sounded like a monkey on the radio. Okra became highly agitated, calling me a bigot and a racist. I complained that was a bit unfair, suggesting that perhaps a monkiest or a Georgist was more appropriate. She gave me the shoulder and went back to nodding in agreement every time the President repeated the words MIXED MESSAGES, or HARD JOB. I realized that HARD JOB was the new conservatively correct word for dealing with bombings, beheadings, and lots and lots of dead bodies.
When the debate was over I could tell who won by the subdued responses from Bubba and Okra, there was no heart to the claim their man had won. As I had been late I asked them both to stay a while so we could discuss the actual content rather than all the monkey business, for I had been pleasantly surprised that the debate hit the nail on the head over matters of terror and war.
I first explained President’s clear position. That he is not about bringing the 911 terrorists to justice, but to win a War on Terror. That to do so, it is most central we had a pre-emptive war on both Iraq and Afghanistan, and that we must hold to a long term presence. That he and God are on the offensive to change the hearts and minds of a billion people to our way of thinking. That the American concepts of freedom and democracy will have to replace what the vast majority of Islam’s want; jobs, a little supper, not seeing their sisters in a mini dress and most importantly, getting our ass out of their house. That nations united, alliances, world views and global tests are for wilters and waverers. That those who disagree with the President’s war are not only bad Americans, but out to destroy Exxon Mobile, Halliburton and our Security Moms.
Surprisingly, neither of my friends argued the point. They agreed, that indeed I had the issue correct and all good Americans understood that was the good and right thing to do. I then explained the Senator’s clear position. That its the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons, but because of the failed leadership that got us there, we must now win this thing as quickly as possible and get the hell out of there. To do so we must win back our reputation around the world that President Bush has so haughtily destroyed. We must schedule summits, forge alliances and pass the global test of doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. And the best way to do that is with John Kerry and a new group of people to replace those who got us into this unmixed and unwavering mess.
Unsurprisingly, this was met by Bubba playing the big frog and Okra the little frog, in an ice house song of ribit-ribit. They soon moved it North of France to the Godless suicide prone heroin addicts of Scandinavian, and their damn foreign beer in those silly green bottles. When I retorted that the beer is not foreign to them, I was met with hehaws of how I just don’t get it.
On the ride home I thought about the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam. A President’s mostly personal war based on a lie. How it tore this nation apart, and how blind patriotism kept it going until we finally reached our limit at 2 million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans dead. Sadly if history is any judge, we have 56,980 to go before we wake up.

Texas Ice House VIII

Tonight my way to Jesus’ Ice House to meet Bubba for the first presidential debate between George Bush and John Kerry I became ensnarled in a dead stop traffic jam. Living between two lakes meant at least a half hour roundabout trip to my date which was less than a mile head. I got out and stood on the hood of the car to see what could be seen. A block ahead were lots of bustling police cars, crime tape and a swat team van blocking off the road in front of an apartment complex. A small crowd of pedestrians where being shooed back to their cars by angry officers. The word was a man had hostages and was shooting at police with his Texas sized arsenal. Being a Thursday, this was unusual as these situations happened mostly on Mondays and Fridays. So I had no choice but to go around the lake.
Listening to the debate on the radio was an ear opener. I am sure I was not the only one who thought I may have honed in to a local university station listening to some professor trying to communicate with a monkey. About halfway through when I pulled into the ice house, I realized it wasn’t even live, but a vinyl recording that was skipping; mixed messages… mixed message… mixed messages, no wavering, no wavering, no wavering.
I approached Bubba and Okra who were sitting at a table far more subdued than they had been during the GOP convention. Bush was speaking so I was shushed and signaled to sit down. I watched to see if it was any different from the radio. It was more evenhanded, for one could actually see that it was two men rather than a man talking to a monkey. On the screen was a tall man standing upright behind his podium speaking clearly, on the other was the President listening. He had his back arched holding the podium wearing a rather angry looking smirk. These unfair long shots of the President listening, made him look like the monkey so many political cartoonists portray him as, something he just cannot help.
When the debate moved to the complicated matters of Korea, I noticed my friends lost interest, so I took the opportunity to comment that the President sounded like a monkey on the radio. Okra became highly agitated, calling me a bigot and a racist. I complained that was a bit unfair, suggesting that perhaps a monkiest or a Georgist was more appropriate. She gave me the shoulder and went back to nodding in agreement every time the President repeated the words MIXED MESSAGES, or HARD JOB. I realized that HARD JOB was the new conservatively correct word for dealing with bombings, beheadings, and lots and lots of dead bodies.
When the debate was over I could tell who won by the subdued responses from Bubba and Okra, there was no heart to the claim their man had won. As I had been late I asked them both to stay a while so we could discuss the actual content rather than all the monkey business, for I had been pleasantly surprised that the debate hit the nail on tha

Texas Ice House VII

I my way to Jesus’ Ice House to meet Bubba for the first presidential debate between George Bush and John Kerry I became ensnarled in a dead stop traffic jam. Living between two lakes meant at least a half hour roundabout trip to my date which was less than a mile head. I got out and stood on the hood of the car to see what could be seen. A block ahead were lots of bustling police cars, crime tape and a swat team van blocking off the road in front of an apartment complex. A small crowd of pedestrians where being shooed back to their cars by angry officers. The word was a man had hostages and was shooting at police with his Texas sized arsenal. Being a Thursday, this was unusual as these situations happened mostly on Mondays and Fridays. So I had no choice but to go around the lake.
Listening to the debate on the radio was an ear opener. I am sure I was not the only one who thought I may have honed in to a local university station listening to some professor trying to communicate with a monkey. About halfway through when I pulled into the ice house, I realized it wasn’t even live, but a vinyl recording that was skipping; mixed messages… mixed message… mixed messages, no wavering, no wavering, no wavering.
I approached Bubba and Okra who were sitting at a table far more subdued than they had been during the GOP convention. Bush was speaking so I was shushed and signaled to sit down. I watched to see if it was any different from the radio. It was more evenhanded, for one could actually see that it was two men rather than a man talking to a monkey. On the screen was a tall man standing upright behind his podium speaking clearly, on the other was the President listening. He had his back arched holding the podium wearing a rather angry looking smirk. These unfair long shots of the President listening, made him look like the monkey so many political cartoonists portray him as, something he just cannot help.
When the debate moved to the complicated matters of Korea, I noticed my friends lost interest, so I took the opportunity to comment that the President sounded like a monkey on the radio. Okra became highly agitated, calling me a bigot and a racist. I complained that was a bit unfair, suggesting that perhaps a monkiest or a Georgist was more appropriate. She gave me the shoulder and went back to nodding in agreement every time the President repeated the words MIXED MESSAGES, or HARD JOB. I realized that HARD JOB was the new conservatively correct word for dealing with bombings, beheadings, and lots and lots of dead bodies.
When the debate was over I could tell who won by the subdued responses from Bubba and Okra, there was no heart to the claim their man had won. As I had been late I asked them both to stay a while so we could discuss the actual content rather than all the monkey business, for I had been pleasantly surprised that the debate hit the nail on tha

Texas Ice House VI

The recent hurricane in Florida sucked all the hot humid air out of Texas. It was the first Summer day I can recall that the industrial fans on the floor of Jesus’ Ice House were off, making both the traffic and Bubba seem much louder than usual. Having set records for lows over the week, even Bubba was in a good mood. He got on his most prevalent political rant, that taxation was not only the redistribution of wealth, but thievery and extortion! I mentioned an article I had just read in the back pages of the Houston Chronicle. It seems that the GOP feels that when they win this November, it will be a mandate for them, and with owning all branches of government, the time will be ripe to eliminate income taxes and replace it with a federal sales tax of about 25%. Finally the end to the most terrible bane of the wealthy, progressive taxation. Though the Bush Administration, with the coming election are not drooling over it publicly, but saying it is only an option that needs looking into. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is not so moot, he is aglow with the idea, claiming it is both doable and necessary to eliminate all taxes on corporations to be competitive in the New World Market.
Upon hearing this Bubba began go glow in ideological rapture. I tried to penetrate the golden aura around him by suggesting that with the 8% in state sales tax, it meant that Bubba would be paying one third of the price of everything he buys in a regressive tax. That the GOP was going to redistribute the wealth upwards, and extort and steal even more money from him and the rest of the Bubba class than before. No penetration, the glow was locked in. Jesus slid the Chronicle down the bar so Bubba could read the article. After much whooping and hollering as he read, Bubba confronted me with Speaker Hastert’s argument. That because Europe uses VATS and sales taxes, so must we if we want to compete with them. Bubba laughed that the argument was over and he had won. The glow deepened as he explained that if the cowardly socialist welfare state Europeans could do it why couldn’t we? But Bubba, I tried, they can do that because being socialist welfare states they take care of each other; they have far less disparity of wealth than we, their overall tax rate is much higher, they have national health care for all, they have endless unemployment comp and workman’s comp, subsidized housing, meaningful mass transportation, low crime, little violence, safe streets, and almost empty prisons. An alien world of reason and community rather than our world of only gold, guns and God.
That brought an unusual BUENO! BUENO! from Jesus who always tired to hold the middle ground. But even that little kick in the pants could not dissipate the gleeful glow Bubba wallowed in. Contemplating his joy in all those wealthy people getting an 80% tax cut which he and his would have to pay for. Here in Texas we may not be very smart, but we have lots of guns to keep it that way.
What I like best about Jesus’ Ice House are the garage door walls that open it up to the outside world. Though its mostly traffic, its nice to see who is coming and going, and I enjoy the hum of the giant industrial fans on the floor and being able to see my car out front. I also like the scattered, somewhat contradictory signs around the place; No Guns and Trespassers Will Be Shot.
In an argument last night, Bubba got his butt burned again because I am a veteran and he isn’t. Sometimes that weighs on him so heavy he leaves the bar to go out and skulk in his truck for a spell. I noticed him sitting there for a rather long time last night, so I went out to confront him with a little liberal sympathy and understanding. Lighten his load with a bit of humor perhaps. Keep in mind, this is Texas, if I am not nice to selfish bigoted armed stupid conservatives, I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to.
As I approached his truck which he often retreats when on the losing end of an argument, I heard his radio blasting familiar pejoratives: Immigrants! Foreigners! Arabs! Mexicans! French! Europeans! Frogs! Africans! Liberals! Women! All this time I had thought poor Bubba was out there crying in his cups when he was really listening to Michael Savage at 120db. Though disappointed, I tapped on his window no matter. Startled, he turned off the radio faster than he rolled down the window and gave me that pained Bubba look. I stepped back and looked under the vehicle, "Hey Bubba! Lock and load! There are funny looking people who I bet also have funny sounding names under your truck stealing your hula hula mud flaps!"

Texas Ice House V

"Several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command….They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country." John Kerry April 1971
The Houston heat and humidity was back, but the roaring industrial fans placed around the Ice House floor could not drown out the smirk on Bubba’s face. I hadn’t seen him so happy since George Bush dropped 30,000 weapons of mass destruction on downtown Baghdad because Saddam was going to attack us with weapons of mass destruction he didn’t have. Bubba told me war hero Bob Dole had weighed in and asked Kerry to apologize for claiming our troops in Vietnam had committed war atrocities. Rather than rain on his parade, I complimented Bubba on at least getting to the nub of this entire Swift Boat matter. That it wasn’t about purple hearts or medals for bravery, but rather about the long festering political hatred directed at someone who told the truth about Vietnam.
Bubba went on about how everyone in Vietnam did not kill babies, and for Kerry to say everyone did was a lie, a smear, and unAmerican. I tried explaining that neither was it "everyone" or what Kerry said, but what he said he heard other Veterans say. That of course got nowhere. I then asked if he doubted that American war atrocities were prevalent or that officers condoned or looked the other way when it happened. That was skirted by general accusations of Vietcong war crimes. I explained My Lai to Bubba, how 300 unarmed women, pregnant women, old men, children and babies were lined up in ditches and shot to death. It was real, documented and the truth. And much like Abu Gharib today, the military tried to play it down blaming a few "out of control" enlisted men and women. My Lai, like Agu Ghaib was no aberration, it was the one they got caught at. Though war crimes on as large a scale as My Lai were by no means everyday occurrences, that is not the case with heads and ears being lopped off, civilians murdered, villages burned, and prisoners shot or thrown out of helicopters. It is the truth, and no one should every have to apologize for telling he truth.
Not a ripple in the Bubba Smirk! He went on to say how Bob Dole called Kerry’s wounds superficial and they didn’t bleed! I hit all the points; that superficial wounds get purple heats in combat, that Kerry has a piece of shrapnel in his leg, and saying none of Kerry’s wounds had bleed, Bob Dole tossed his credibility to the wind trying to save the sinking Ship of Bush. Nope, that had no impact either.
So I tried one last burst. I reminded Bubba that Kerry had volunteered for Vietnam, volunteered for combat, got three deserved or underserved Purple Hearts, one deserved or underserved Bronze Star, one deserved or underserved Silver Star, one serious or superficial piece of shrapnel in his leg and four months of combat duty MORE than George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Paul Wolfowitz and his idol Rush Limbaugh put together.
Bubba laughed, all my arguments didn’t mean a thing because the Swift Boat ads, true or false, worked. Kerry is losing more and more veterans as the media reruns the ads. It looked like the centerpiece of Kerry’s campaign has been neutered by chickenhawks and cowards. Bubba was right, and I ate crow and gave him his day of glory.

Texas Ice House IV

I

Texas Ice House III

On

Texas Ice House II

The