Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How Did I Get Here?

Normandy Sailing, Leroy Neiman

Men are disturbed not by things,

but by the view which they take of the


Lisa's bio: How did I get here?

First, allow me to say I am pleased this project has grown in the ashes of the old IntelDump. Perusing Phil Carter's
last post at the WaPo [23 April], I found the following typical gem from friend "fasteddiez" (Arrabiato was one of the hapless commenters):


RE: the cost of success

At least with the old "Intel Dump" crowd, inbred, foul mouthed, etc. as it was/is, you did not have to deal with the kind of Drool Cuppers you now seem to host here. "Arrabiato"? is that some kind of coffee? Is it served in a silver drool cup?

As ZZ Top said, You're Bad, You're Nationwide! It does not seem to be cost free, however.

That spirit is what we are after. To me: I've not been in the military, don't know strategy or tactics, yet I have landed among some really fine military thinkers through the magnanimity of our barkeep. It is serendipity for a military groupie, but how did I become one?

Blame it on an eccentric mother, psychological glitches and Larry Burrows.

The explanation does not reside with my father, who is from a long lineage of conscientious objectors (his father deserted the Russian army.) But members of mom's family have served honorably in all military engagments up through Korea, on both the British and American sides.

Each morning as she packed my kit (lunch), she would belt out rousing choruses of war tunes, from both sides: "Over There, Over There / Send the word, send the word, Over There. . ." Her grandfather sat under a portrait of Lord Kitchener. To be English is to have some minor quirks.

Vietnam was in full swing when a child, and I saw the turmoil through my parents' responses. My father would banish me from the room when Walter Cronkite broadcast war footage. There was a sense of deep mystery surrounding the thing, and terrible violence. My mum's heart swelled with pride over the heroic actions of "our boys," but she did not support the war. And she had nothing but disdain for the "dirty hippy drop-outs" we'd pass on our daily travels.

Early on I also had a yearning for protection, and was drawn to men of honor and duty, who would leave no comrade behind. Men with a sense of duty and responsibility. It was my particular Cinderella fantasy that a soldier could fit that bill.

Combined with Larry Burrows' war photos in Life, I felt steeped in this very distant foreign excursion. As I grew older and the other girls developed crushes on rock stars or movie stars, I could not transfer my admiration from the haunted soldier's faces in the magazines to the likes of a fey Peter Frampton or Billy Idol. I wanted to meet these brave men and thank them. I could only imagine the scope of their sacrifice, but I was separate from them. It was my secret hope one day to talk with them.

Until 2002, I had only known "Vietnam era" vets, but then came a fateful meeting with Ranger. As expected, much discussion centered around the WTC attacks and the ill-advised responses, but I was hopeful I could indulge my long-held desires to enter the thoughts of a Vietnam soldier.

While I have been honored to meet several of his fellows who fought in Vietnam -- all fine people who have indulged me to one degree or another -- Ranger himself is a very focused man. He would probably not mind my saying that his perimeter is rather tight in. Alas, the hoped-for incursions into his psyche were not to be had. But with the blog's inception (2006), oh the variety of soldiers and other men I have met!

Once the initial vulgarians were cleared, there were poets and bards, bakers and thinkers, mystics and humanitarians. There was sensitivity, generosity and grace. I have been truly humbled at the excellent people we have been privileged to meet via this medium. (As mum always said: so many men, so little time!)

Though I am generally a pretty serious and analytical person, I'm not going to lie: One of the big attractions here is the testosterone (well, and the occasional gin and tonic.) Most women have so little, so I feast on it vicariously at the few reasoned military sites. Please don't think me a total ninny, though. Mostly, I marvel at the informed, impassioned and sometimes wicked debate. I've learned much.

So thanks to FDChief -- a man of extraordinary ferocity and refinement -- and the other denizens, I look forward to entering the fray as your thoroughgoing civilian distaff rep.

To the ramparts!


  1. I must say Lisa, I believe this dive has just risen a few notches on the haute society scale with your arrival!

  2. Good on Ya, Lisa!

    We need balance on unique joints such as this. Hey, is this an EM slop chute or a Great Santiniesque Zero Bar? Inquiring minds wish to know.

    I must run now, but will be posting on Lisa's Embryonic Byline later in the day.


  3. Welcome! And good on your Mom for marrying a conscie. I have always respected those who objected to war. Especially those who in WW1 went to the ambulance corps, or in WW2 and later went as medics, or even those absolutists who went to prison for their belief. That too took a skosh bit of testosterone. But the draft dodgers like Cheney and draft evaders like Bush who were "contemptuous" objectors can kiss the a$$ of the true conscies like Quakers, Mennonites and others as far as I am concerned.

  4. Aww, shucks, ma'am. Twarn't nuthin.

    Welcome; we are all the better for your perspective, your experience, and your wisdom.

  5. Lisa-

    You add a certain grace to what would otherwise be a rather rough-hewn assemblage.

  6. Welcome aboard, Lisa. I'm looking forward to your contributions. But does this mean we have to clean up our act?

  7. Publius: Don't be silly. Lisa's contribution here is akin to that of artillery to the battlefield: she lends tone to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl.

  8. Publius,
    Lisa makes me clean up my act so......

  9. Thank you all for the very kind welcome. It really is a privilege.

    Publius: By no means attenuate your argument! (Chief, you are sweet.)

    Ranger: You are incorrigible, so do not play otherwise ;)

    POLT: Do not think me so easily taken by your "myth of redemptive violence." I liked neither Popeye nor Roadrunner, and the Three Stooges were entirely too violent [and silly]. My attraction to testosterone has a more primal basis.

    True that my liking for strong and brave men is part of a prevailing archetype, and myths have long fascinated me. Though my Gloria Steinem - Simone de Beauvoir-reading mother tried to beat it out of me, there it is.

    I am with Marcel's "The Spirit of Abstraction as a Factor Making for War," and have always thought that affiliation of any kind serves a divisive function. To "cleave to" is also to cleave "from".

    Please don't think I worship violence. However, I realize that the potential exists in each of us, and the only way to reduce it in the world is to eradicate it from within, a pretty tall order for a measly human.

    Meantime, I'll continue to appreciate the soldier in a very personal way.

  10. Lisa-

    My warmest welcome is added to those above.


  11. Oh my.

    As I peruse the list of posters here, I do not see my name.

    So, I better say "hi" to our friend's post!

    Hello, Lisa!

    BTW, here's Lisa in the New York Times. As I might have mentioned somewhere else before, tres cool!


  12. Good catch, Basil. I for one did not know we had a celebrity in our company. NY Times. Impressive.

    Hey, Lisa, one observation and then one question. First, I am impressed with you being featured in the NY Times, and I also admire the hell out of you living without a/c in the climate we all enjoy. You're far tougher than I am. And the question: What's with the guns? Somehow I'd gotten the impression you were pretty much against such gear, perhaps from something you said on Ranger's site. In any event, you've proven to be quite wise in figuring out means of self protection. As I believe I noted at Ranger's site, I always have an equalizer at hand in my home. Interestingly enough, I also live in a state where it's legal to carry in a car. The wisdom of such a law is apparent whenever one ventures into Deliverance country. Our states are pretty similar.

  13. Publius,
    It's legal to have a gun in a car and truck here in Fl. IF it's not in lunging distance. I personally carry them in my trunk,locked away and loaded. Since i live where we shoot sunlight in with artillery I will never approach my house unarmed.I live in the sticks.
    Lisa is quite good with a shotgun shooting skeet. She's a natural wing shot. She's less apt with a pistol hence the shotgun by the bed.
    BTW she learned to shoot from one of the best. No hints necessary. Hell I even armed her with a knife and taught here how to use it. So much for the gentle thing.
    The NYT pic was nice.

  14. publius,
    As an after thought.Lisa can shoot a 12 ga double as well as 20's.She also shoots my 16ga. All my stuff is classic doubles. No wimp 28 gauges like wimp ass Cheney shoots.

  15. Ranger, you done good. And good for Lisa. More women—and men for that matter—should learn how to protect themselves and those around them. It's a cold, hard world we live in.

    BTW, Ranger, I question the trunk thing. How do you get to what you need in the trunk if you're in the passenger compartment and someone is in the way of your getting to the trunk?

  16. Publius, Lisa told me about the upcoming article over at ranger's site. Deserving self-promotion I'd say.

    Ranger, I grew up with a single shot 410 for quail when I was a little feller on grandpa's farm.

    Could you handle one of those?



  17. Publius,
    i hate to talk on Lisa's article but you asked.
    I use a principle called attack recognition. If I can get away i will do so in the car. Also my car can be used as a 2000 lb. bullet.
    My dog will alert me to intruders before i get out of my car.
    BTW- i checked Lisa out famfire with AK's and black guns.
    I also didn't say what's in the trunk -did I?
    A 410 is a fine home protection piece if used with buckshot. It's also a great learning gun. I reckon I could handle one since I used to take buckshot out of M79 rounds and put bb's in their place and then shoot doves, then mamasan would cook them.

  18. Thank you, bb.

    Publius: Sadly, I recognize the state of our State, and guns are the Sonitrol for people with open doors and windows.