Tuesday, April 22, 2008


General Lou Walt was an authentic war hero. He started out in WWII as a sergeant, got promoted up to general, then was commandant of Marines in Vietnam.
He took seriously the notion of capturing the minds and hearts of civilians;
so he was booted out of command, and left the service.

There was a student group of ‘Viet Vets Against the War’ at CSU; they were looking for a faculty sponsor, a peacenik veteran. (The administration insisted on a faculty sponsor, as someone vulnerable to punishment if the student-group got out of line.) The VVAW students recruited me as their faculty sponsor.

One Saturday I got a call from a VVAW student: Gen. Walt would be making a speech the next day at the Knights of Columbus Hall: “We have to picket that somabitch!” (It was widely thought that professor activists goaded the students into action; in reality, it was the other way around.)

I agreed, partly because the right-wing pastor of St.Joe’s had clashed with me in the past. I made up a poster, with 4 crosses in the corners, worded thusly:
“Whatever you do to Vietnamese children,
that you do unto ME!”

We stationed ourself outside the hall: myself,
a guy in marine uniform with one leg, and a small marine, in uniform, very twitchy.

Around the corner they came: a Boy-scout band in the lead, followed by a dozen beefy salesman-types, followed by the general and Monsignor Cavanaugh—who gaped open-mouthed at seeing me with my small entourage. The general was about 5’6 and equally wide, with no fat; I could have sworn his shoulders had corners.

The salesmen were all for attacking us; but
the general waved them down and came over, smiling, for dialogue. He asked the one-legged guy, “Where did that happen?” The guy admitted that he’d never got to Vietnam, losing his leg in a motorcycle accident in California.
Walt smiled and said, “Actually, we lost more men in highway accidents than from combat.”
Then the general quizzed the nervous little marine, who said: “I was at Pyong-DongPhu!” The general looked suspicious; “The marines were never at Pyong-DongPhu!”/
“YOU were never there, but the marines were !”

Seeing a uniformed marine talk back,
the general lost all civilian sophistication,
all general’s sophistication, and reverted back to pure sergeant.
A vein stood out on his bull-neck.
He and the youth began arguing about who had the most wounds.

I could see that in a minute, the boy would leap at Walt, so I said, “Gentleman-we can’t settle our disagreements by counting wounds !” Walt came back to his senses; he barked at me “Where were you?”/”..in Inchon in 1952.”/”That doesn’t count,’
he sniffed and returned to his cohort.

Now I had a perfect response, which I suppressed from sheer physical cowardice;
I was sure he’d leap right for my throat.

I could have said,
“Huh—at least we TIED OUR WAR !”

Saturday, April 19, 2008


The most precious items in medieval Siena were the bones of St.Catherine.
So when they went to war, they moved the bones to a secret place outside the city.
They won the war, and staged a triumphant procession to move the bones
back into the city.

She was a 3d-order Dominican, so the Dominicans marked the day of her return with a separate feast called the TRANSLATIO CATERINAE. (In Latin, TRANSLATIO means transference—of her bones).

Siena gave some of the bones to their war-allies.
While chanting the Office, at the end of every psalm, friars bow low for the GLORIA PATRI. That gives a chance to sneak in wise-acre cracks about the liturgy.

On this feast-day, Bro. Paul was next to me in the choir. He muttered:
“Poor Catherine; she lost a lot in Translation !”


A colleague of mine is a world-famous promoter of beastly rights.

He was caught by a student eating a hamburger.

‘You’re an awful hypocrite!”

‘No, I’m a sinner.”

‘Sinner? What’s that?’

Friday, April 18, 2008


COMING UP: some enthralling stories from Lyons
ancestors in long-ago Dakotas.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Some heterosexual men don’t want to BE cops,
but they like to HANG AROUND cops.
This can be dangerous.

Two Chicago cops illicitly used a cop-car
to drive to Northern Wisconsin to a gambling den.
A civilian cop-groupie was riding in the back seat.

Coming back, they speeded—of course—and a Wisconsin State Trooper made them
pull over. Ingeniously they explained that the guy in back had killed a cop, and they were rushing him back to Chicago.

Immediately the giant trooper pulled the poor guy out,
snarled, “Filthy-Cop-Killer !”
and laid him unconscious with one blow.

Monday, April 7, 2008


"Can I have the car to go out drinking?" asked the insolent teen.

"Don't hold on to your ass" said the Irish father;
" They'll grow together before that happens."