Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Comeback


     Dallas “Blackjack” Bond, former world light heavyweight champ, returned to New York City. Here he once thrilled boxing fans in Madison Square Garden, and here he met and married Angela Minoni, a petite dark haired beauty he called Angie.

     Born in poverty, he learned to make his way in life early.  In the sweltering heat of the Mississippi lumber camps, he swung an axe and pulled on a cross-cut saw until he was lean and strong.  When his parents died, he went to New Orleans and took a job as a longshoreman working on the docks.  There were always rough men around looking for a fight.  They soon learned the tall slender kid from Mississippi had a crushing left hook.

     “It felt like someone hit me with a blackjack”, an opponent once commented after regaining his senses.

     Angie was supportive, but the years took a physical toll, and she convinced him to leave the ring.  They moved to Las Vegas, where he opened a gym and became a trainer.  They had no children, but lived well and enjoyed each other.

      Last September he lost her after a hard fought bout with cancer.  Her death hit Dallas like a liver shot in the twelfth round of a fifteen rounder.  He was sixty eight years old, conscious, but on the canvas and unable to get up.  He sold the gym and moved back to New York in December, hoping he could find something of Angie.  It was the old neighborhood, but everything had changed. 

The coldness of the winter night seeped in through the wrinkles in the old building.  Dallas stirred under the covers in his small bed.  His six foot two inch frame took up the greater portion of its length.  He slept in his gray sweats for added warmth.  Throwing back the blankets, he arose and shuffled the short distance to his bathroom.  The door frame barely accommodated the width of his shoulders.

     Standing at the sink, he splashed icy tap water onto his face.  He ran his wet fingers through his wavy graying hair, and then dried his face with a tattered green towel. He stared into the mirror and wondered what Angie ever saw in that mug.  The reflection of his slate blue eyes looked back at him.  The thick scar tissue drooped at the corner of each eyebrow and made him look sad.  His nose was flat and slightly crooked.  With age, his cauliflower ears had lengthened and now looked like unfinished candle wax sculptures.  The line of his jaw didn’t exactly line up either.

          He turned away and moved to the living room.  A framed photograph of a youthful Angie stood beneath the lamp on the end table.  Dallas glanced her way and forced a smile as he lowered himself to the hard floor for some push-ups and sit-ups, but his heart wasn’t in it.  He held his huge calloused hands at arms length while working his fingers to loosen the stiffness in his knuckles.  Even though his once-chiseled body had smoothed with age, it was still impressive.  He stood and moved to the window.  The sun shone brightly.  It was time for a walk down memory lane.

     He slipped out of his warm-ups and put on some heavy woolen trousers and a nice plaid dress shirt.  He drank the last of his coffee, put on his coat and hat, and left the building.  For a moment he stood on the sidewalk, basking in the contrast of warm sunshine and crisp air. Before him an ever-changing pallet of skin colors moved over the gray concrete, accompanied by a symphony of dialects. The city had its own atmosphere.  He could smell smog, refuse, and people, mixed with the more pleasing and pungent odors of garlic and onion cooking. 

     “Let go of my purse!”  A woman was screaming.

     Dallas turned and saw a gang of young punks surrounding an elderly woman who was hanging on to the strap of her purse with amazing tenacity.  He felt a surge of adrenaline as he ran toward her.
     “Let go of her now!”  he yelled as he waded into the group, shielding the lady who had now fallen to the sidewalk.  “It’s not worth it guys, back off.”

     A large young man sneered as he sauntered toward Dallas.  The others watched and grinned.
     “Looks like you need a lesson in respect old man.”  The bully threw a looping right as he spoke.

     Dallas ducked to the left and the punch found nothing but air over his right shoulder.  Instinct brought his left fist in a short arc to the young man’s jaw.  His assailant fell hard to the sidewalk.  The others scattered.

     “Are you alright ma’am?”  Dallas asked, as he helped the frightened woman from the ground.

     “Yes, I think so.  Thank you so much.  I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

     “Do you want me to call the police?”

     She looked down at the young man now lying at her feet.  “No, I don’t think he’ll be bothering anyone for quite some time.”  She brushed herself off, thanked Dallas again, and started home.

     Dallas thought of Angie.  She fought so hard, but he couldn’t help her.  He knew she would be pleased with him today.

     You know Angie, I’m thinking about making a comeback.  The legs are gone, the reflexes aren’t so good, but I still have my left hook.  The adrenaline was wearing off and the cold air chilled him.  I think I may do it in Biloxi though.

     He glanced heavenward and his blue eyes were smiling again.

Dennis Price

I haven't the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.  - David Sedaris

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


      The old white frame dog run house sat atop a bluff over looking the paved road.  Its tin roof was topped with two lightning rods which were grounded by a large twisted cable. Each rod tip looked like a spear head pointing skyward.  About midway down the shaft was a clear glass ball.  The house had a porch which ran all the way across the front. On the porch was a rocking chair, and in this chair on almost any given day sat Loutisha.  She was my great grandmother.  We called her Granny Tish. 
      The dog run was open and split the living quarters of the house in half.  Granny Tish dressed in a long skirt and long sleeved blouse even on the hottest summer day.  A cotton bonnet hung over one of the rocking chair’s back posts.  She wore gold wire rim glasses that didn’t seem to help her eyesight much. She would squint at your approach and make a guess at which one of the grandchildren’s offspring you were.  Her once dark hair was mostly gray now and she wore it in a bun at the back of her head.  The skin on her face was wrinkled except on her high cheek bones.  She had a pleasant earthy aroma.  It was a mixture of Calgon bath soap, cooked bacon, wood smoke and coffee.  Her old Collie dog was always nearby.  The porch was adorned with a few pot plants in tin buckets, a broom made of broom sage, and a water pail with a dipper for drinking.  A metal basin was also on the shelf with the drinking water. 
      She had a well out in back of her house with a wooden windlass.  A long metal bucket hung over the tile curbing attached to a long cotton rope. I still can hear her saying, “Don’t you kids turn a loose of that windlass, you will break my curbin’” The water from her well was sweet and cold.  She had a big wood stove that could be stoked from the front or top.  A metal cabinet over the cook top was designed to keep food warm. In the morning she kept a pot of coffee warm on the stove.  Her breakfast usually consisted of buttered “cat head” biscuits and slab bacon.  I liked to watch her eat. 
      If the weather got stormy she would leave the porch and go inside.  She didn’t like lightning.
      She would say “It’s a comin’ up of a blowout.” 
      I was young and I found almost everything she did fascinating.  Several long cane poles leaned against the front porch and she always had a coffee can of worms at the ready.  She loved to fish.  I can picture her ambling down the gravel lane toward the creek with her cane pole in one hand and her worm can in the other.  Her old dog went along to keep the snakes away.  He occasionally showed up with his head swollen from an encounter with a water moccasin.  She would never allow you to fish with her if you were wearing light colored clothing.  It scared the fish.  She carried a folding knife to repair her line, and stab turtles who were stealing her bait.
       “I neigh stobbed me a turkle” she’d say.
     Sometimes she asked me to stay the night with her, but I was afraid.  My cousins said the house was haunted because my great grandpa Jack had died there.  I always went back to my grandmother’s house, which was just down the lane, when the sun went down.  Granny Tish was from a large family, and when she was fifteen, Jack (my great grandfather) was courting her older sister, Mandy.  When he came to ask Mandy to marry him, she turned him down.  Tish knew she would and had climbed a tree near the walk leading to their house.  As Jack walked dejectedly away from the house, Tish dropped down onto the walk in front of him and said, “If Mandy won’t have you I will.” 
     I was in grammar school and learning to read and write.  Granny Tish did not have much formal education.  She would labor over the grocery list before the delivery man came.  I was comforted that someone had as much trouble writing as I did.  She died when I was fairly young, but I’ve always had fond memories of my visits with her.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Looking For Answers

Today will be an exercise for you in critical thinking.  I am going to post some information for you to review on Operation Fast and Furious.  It will be from two previous posts on the subject.  The first post is sited in the post sited below.  I suggest reading these posts in order, and then making your deductions.;postID=1595521757921552790

I know everyone is zeroing in on Eric Holder for his role in Fast and Furious.  However, I doubt seriously if any of the Congressmen who question him know enough to ask the right questions.  I think Eric Holder has shown his true racist colors now that he's bolstered by the most racist president in recent history.  I agree that he should be removed from office, but I think arriving at the right reasons will take more than the vitriol from the NRA and some of their supporters.  I am going to provide you with information that may cause you to dig deeper.

The focus, outside of Holder, has been on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.  The same type of media misinformation was put out about the Branch Davidian Compound standoff near Waco, Texas. The mis-information was parroted by the NRA, and, then Attorney General Janet Reno, was the target of much Congressional blustering and inquiry.  Based on my thirty plus years of experience with such things I can tell you that neither Attorney General Reno or Holder probably knew anything about either operation until things went to hell in a hand basket.  The sign offs on these operations are handled in most cases by a bevy of lesser players in the Justice Department.  The day of the raid, after Janet Reno was briefed, she pulled ATF out of the scene and replaced them with the FBI.  So, ATF didn't have much of a presence other than to man the road blocks and sit in the FBI negotiations and briefings.  The whole affair could probably have been over in a matter of a few days with little or no damage on either side, but nothing the field commanders suggested could be implemented in a timely fashion because of all the other people, with no knowledge of what to do or how to do it, who had to be consulted.

Let me give you some little known background information:  The Justice Department, and the FBI in particular, have been trying to get the primary enforcement designation over the laws that ATF enforces.  ATF is rarely given credit when major cases are solved.  The press routinely refers to them as other federal agents.  After 9/11/2001, the word went out that we were all going to be lumped into a mega enforcement group under the Justice Department know as Homeland Security.  ATF had been under the Treasury Department since its inception back in the 1930s.  I could have worked for two more years before my retirement became mandatory, but I chose to go at the earliest opportunity to avoid having to work for the Justice Department.  I would not be surprised if the real underlying purpose of Operation Fast and Furious was to embarrass ATF and have the FBI take the jurisdiction.  I can tell you that it is highly unlikely that anyone at the field level came up with the idea to cooperate with Mexico in any kind of enforcement operation.  This had to come from higher up.  I worked on or near the border for much of my career.

Fact:  The levels of governmental corruption are so deep in Mexico, that it is impossible to count any information as reliable that comes from their side of the river.

Fact:  ATF has monitored and worked on guns and ammunition going to Mexico since the early 1970s when I started work for them.

Fact: ATF's jurisdiction ends at the bridge.  U. S. Customs picks up jurisdiction at that point.

Fact: ATF's presence in Mexico was in an advisory capacity and to aid in the tracing of recovered firearms.

Fact: Guns and ammunition (illegal to most in Mexico except law enforcement and the military) have been smuggled in for as long as anyone could make a profit doing it.

Fact: The traffic in firearms is continuing at the same rate as it was before Fast and Furious started and will continue until we seal the border.

Fact: ATF did not increase the number of guns going into Mexico by having prior knowledge of straw purchase buyers.

Fact: Once the guns reached the border, all bets were off.  Information from the other side cannot be depended on.  The police on the Mexican side drive most of the nice vehicles stolen here in the U.S. and taken across.  Recovery companies often buy them from these officials when they get tired of driving them.

Fact:  Having a GPS form of tracking device would have been worthless.  These guns would have gone to Mexico regardless of what ATF did.  Identifying and stopping a few guns from heading to Mexico through straws purchasers doesn't amount to a drop in the bucket when it comes to the number of guns being trafficked.  The idea for this operation must have come from some upper level source, because no ATF agent in his right mind would have approached this.

It is sad that other agents from other U. S. agencies were killed and wounded, but again I must ask you to consider who you are dealing with for the evidence in these instances.  The FBI reported, after the operation was stopped, that some of the ones making the deliveries of straw purchased guns were FBI informants.  In typical FBI fashion they didn't bother to tell ATF.

Ask yourself these questions:

Why were ICE agents driving along a dangerous highway unescorted?  These agents also operate in an advisory capacity and don't have any law enforcement authority in Mexico.

Why did the assailants drop their weapons after the shooting?

Who found the weapons?

Who did the ballistics tests?

Who provided the bullets for these tests?

What happened to the three mopes they originally paraded before the public after the shootings purporting they were the shooters?  I haven't seen them since.

All of this information is coming from the Mexican authorities.

Possible outcome for the Obama Justice Department: Embarrass ATF and have an excuse to shift the enforcement authority to the FBI, and secondarily to show how dangerous and ineffective our current gun laws are.  Before you decide, consider your answers to these questions. Did this plan originate in the mind of Eric Holder?  I doubt it.  Did it come from the cabal controlling the puppet strings?  I think that possibility is entirely possible.

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.  -Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tomorrow we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence that occurred on July 4, 1776.  King Alfred the Great was the first British monarch to rule over all of England (849 - 899 A.D.).  He saw the connection between an educated populace and effective government.  He insisted that his Nobles learn Christian history.  He wrote that, "Local government ought to be synonymous with local Christian virtue, otherwise it becomes local tyranny, local corruption, and local iniquity."  Our fore fathers used these same principles in founding our great nation.  We have seen the predictions of King Alfred come to life as our government rejects the Christian faith and the attendant principles of righteous behavior in favor of secular humanism.  It is time, as individuals and a nation, to repent, and return to a government of people who value the wisdom of God and practice it.  Nothing short of that will save this nation.


Out of revolution,
the grip of monarch’s rule.
Driven by freedom.
Founded on values
from God’s holy book,
the glue that binds,
in trust,
its varied masses.


Through fire of war,
was forged in strength
a strong republic.


And though the vision dims
in her prosperity,
she rises to the challenge
when tyrants seek
to quell her voice.


Blessed by God,
we must hold those
values close
that bound
our loose knit colonies
in their infancy.


Dennis Price

We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.  - Walt Kelly