boots

My fellow poets and I have created a group called the Walking Wordsmiths.  We are participating in the Aviva Walk London to Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

On 8 September 2007 thousands of women and men will gather together for one challenge, to walk 44km through the streets of London, with the chance to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.  We have signed up for the challenge of walking for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and committed to fundraising at least £2,000.

We would appreciate your support as we take part in this challenge, 44km for the 44, 000 women that are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK.  You can help support us by making a secure online donation using your credit card.  Click on the link below:

Support the Walking Wordsmiths

For more information on how you can participate in the Aviva Walk London to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, please visit their site at:

www.breakthroughwalklondon.org.uk

Peace,

Clay

I was trolling through some old memories this morning.  All of sudden, I couldn’t remember who I was; or who I am.

Will the real Clay Lowe please stand up?

I was born Clayton Lamont Lowe.  But from the very beginning, Clayton didn’t exist.  My family called me Lamont.  Then Clayton appeared when school started.  Then I became two people; Clayton at school, Lamont at home. 

After I left home for university, Lamont disappeared and Clayton became Clay.  I don’t remember who first called me Clay, but the name stuck and I’ve been him ever since.  And now I’m trying to remember who Clayton and Lamont are.  Has anybody seen these guys?

btw…in Purple Haze, does Jimi say ‘excuse me while I kiss the sky’ or ‘excuse me while I kiss this guy’?

sunrise over geissen 

I thought I would have a greater sense of nostalgia upon my return to the Rock, instead I was greeted with ambivalence and massive piles of rubble. 

March is the month of Founder’s Day in which West Point grads celebrate the founding of the United States Military Academy.  The closest Founder’s Day celebration to me was in Heidelberg Germany.  This, I thought, was extremely good fortune.  I could kill three birds with one stone.  I could meet my long time friend Jeremy whom I served with at the Rock, I could re-visit the place I lived for three years as a young 2nd lieutenant, and I could attend Founder’s Day.

Not to concerned with our carbon footprint, Ruth and I booked a couple of flights to Frankfurt-Hahn for 2p each round trip.  The plan was to fly into Hahn airport, rent a car, and drive an hour and half to Frankfurt, pick up Jeremy and his wife, and then continue on another hour to Geissen to bed down for the night and go in search of the Dead Beat.

Driving on the autobahn is a fantastic experience.  It’s nice to be able to drive at the limits of your skill and the car’s will to go fast.  Ok, I know driving at high speeds is not good for the environment, but speed is king.

After we got settled into our B&B, we drove to Neiderkleen in search of the Dead Beat which was the unofficial name of the restaurant all the officers in our battalion adopted as thee place to hang out and break bread together.  The real name of the restaurant was Molise.  How it came to be known as the Dead Beat is a lost legend.  It just became a tradition of the unit.  When a new officer joined the unit, us older officers would make part of his induction a meal at the Dead Beat.
But it seems the Dead Beat met its demise when 3/5 Cav closed the post down and moved to Freidberg.  The Molise as we knew it was gone. 

the dead beat

A new restaurant stood in its place.  We went inside to enquire about the Molise’s fate, but none of the locals admitted ever knowing any such restaurant ever existed.  We got the suspicion that maybe they were just saying that so as not to chase potential business away.  Not to be deterred, we asked a passer-by on the street if he knew of Molise.  He did.  He said it had closed down 6 years ago, and had moved elsewhere, but he didn’t remember where.

inside dead beat
We decided that although the name had changed on the outside, the spirit of the Dead Beat still lived on, so we eat at the new place and reminisced about the old times.

I couldn’t find my sense of the roads or make a connection with the place that had been my home for 3 years.  I thought coming back to the Rock would conjure up strong feelings of remembrance, but I just couldn’t feel anything for the place other than a vague familiarity. 

The next morning, we visited what used to be Ayers Kasserne or the Rock as we called it.  The Rock had been bought by a trucking company and basically turned into one huge parking lot with piles of rubble that were once the offices and barracks of 3/5 Cav.  We tried to bribe the civilian guard at the gate to let us come in and have a little wander as old soldiers who were once stationed here.  But he kindly explained to us that this was private property now and he couldn’t authorise a walk amongst the rubble.

outside the rock 

rubble 

We said our final farewell to the Rock.  I felt a chapter close on an historic period of my life.
The rest of the weekend was a bit of an anticlimax for me.  We drove down to Heidelberg for the Founder’s Day dinner.  The turn out was very small as most of the active duty officers assigned to Germany these days are deployed to Iraq. Still it was good to be in the company of old brothers in arms.  And it was good to get an update from the current Dean of Academics as to the state of affairs at West Point.  It appears the new generation of Cadets are up to some really great things.

It wouldn’t be a gathering of old Grads without at least one West Point Rocket cheer.  My table won a bottle of wine for the best rendition of the Rocket.

There was one hair rising moment.  It’s a tradition for us to pay homage to our fallen comrades.  When the adjutant read off the final roll call, I was awestruck at the number of young officers who have died in the Iraqi conflict.  A chill ran up my spine when the adjutant called out the name Guy Berrateri.

Guy was a personal friend of mine. I dedicate this post and the following song to him.


 

I hit a bird yesterday, or rather a bird hit me. I was travelling back up the M5, going 90mph, when I heard this awfully loud crack. At first I thought a rock had hit the windscreen, but then out of my rearview mirror, I saw feathers floating in the air. I thought, ah I must have hit another bird.

Later when I pulled into the printers to pick up my new batch of business cards, I saw the most gruesome sight. The reporter in me wanted to take a picture of it, but the humanitarian in me said to be respectful of the dead even if it is just a bird. What had happened was the bird had impaled itself on one of the roof rack bars. I’m talking this square bar had gone clean through this bird’s chest. I literally had to cut the bird off with a spade, it’s guts and stuff spilt all over the side of my truck. Yuck!

worms

If you’re one of them militant vegitarians, this video might help to strengthen your cause.  I haven’t tried the experiment myself, but as soon as I have the opportunity to slap some pork in a dish, I’ll give it a try.  But as you can already see, I do enjoy the taste of a good worm!

businesswoman

According my friend Becky, smart girls like sex. Gee, I’m glad to hear that because I was beginning to wonder as there’s seems to be more literature than I care to count lauding the single woman crisis.  Crying about how the modern woman can’t find a good man.

It seems that high powered professional women are caught in a bind. They want to seek financial independence so as not to rely on a man for support once they are married.  Yet the very thing they seek – high powered demanding jobs – is preventing them from getting married in the first place.  Barbara Whitehead argues that “women with all-consuming careers are increasingly starved of opportunities to find a mate.”  In her book called, Why There Are No Good Men Left: The Romantic Plight of the New Single Woman, Whitehead argues that, “Marriage bundled social goods together – sex, children, economic support, but the girl power project gave women access to all those things on their own.”  In other words they don’t need men.  But of course they do want men, if for nothing else than to supply them with seed to produce babies.

There’s nothing wrong with modern man.

The breakdown in the natural order is what is fueling the gender crisis.

I’m reminded of the Sheer pantyhose commercial that showed a woman prancing around in a business dress suit showing off her nice shapely legs covered of course in Sheer’s pantyhose singing the jingle:

“I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in pan, and never ever let you forget you’re a man because I’m a woman…”

High-powered career girls are too tired “on their nights off to pull on a little black dress and trawl the bars looking for candidates to fill the vacant position.” Just buy a man like you buy anything else, she suggests.  “After all, we pay for people to cook, clean, iron, drive, and dress us, so why not pay for a partner?”  And so it is that men have been reduced to appliances, no longer needed in the relationship, except for as a usual tool or service.

Men have become the embodiment of J. Alfred Prufrock:

No I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was I meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advice the prince, no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous-
Almost, at times, the Fool.

It has been an absolute screamer of a day for the end of men.  In yet another article, research done by scientist at St Andrew’s University, suggests that a feminine face is the key to a woman’s heart. In their research they found that modern women want caring feminine traits rather than more macho markings in their men.  Single women apparently want a trophy partner, a “new man” with domestic attributes that her friends can admire at a party, but who can be trusted not to go home with any of them.  This Adonis “has large expressive eyes set in a smooth-skinned symmetrical face, straight nose and rounded hair and jaw line.”

african hunter 

This past week or so I have a huge demand on my intellectual reserves so there hasn’t been much time left over for blogging.  But no worries, I shall endeavour to persevere. 

I’ve been doing some research on African legends.  I thought I’d share a few of the stories with you.  Here’s one about Akiti the Hunter.

A FAMOUS hunter and wrestler named Akiti boasted that he was stronger than any other man or animal. He had easily overcome a giant, a leopard, a lion, a wolf, and a boa-constrictor, and as nobody else opposed his claim, he called himself “the King of the forest.�

Wherever he went, he sang his triumphant wrestling-song, and everyone feared and respected him. But he had forgotten the Elephant, who is a very wise animal and knows many charms. One day the Elephant challenged him and declared that he had no right to call himself “King,� as the Elephant himself was the monarch of the forest and could not be defeated.

Akiti thereupon flung his spear at his enemy, but because of the Elephant’s charm, the weapon glanced off his hide and did him no harm. Akiti next tried his bow and poisoned arrows, and his hunting-knife, but still without effect.
However, the hunter also possessed a charm, and by using it, he changed himself into a lion and flew at the Elephant, but the Elephant flung him off. Next he became a serpent, but he could not succeed in crushing the Elephant to death.

At last he changed himself into a fly, and flew into the Elephant’s large flapping ear. He went right down inside until he came to the heart, and then he changed himself into a man again and cut up the heart with his hunting-knife. At last the Elephant fell dead, and Akiti stepped out of his body in triumph, for he was now without question “the King of the forest.�