Friday, October 20, 2006

After Pat’s Birthday
By Kevin Tillman

Editor's Note: Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002, and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Kevin, who was discharged in 2005, has written a powerful, must-read document.

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we get out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,
Kevin Tillman
(originally published on


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It was Twenty Years Ago Today...

I got an email the other day from an old friend congratulating me on the 20th anniversary of my ‘zine Block Talk™, the precursor to my ‘zine and subsequent blog both titled Slap & Tickle.

Back in the day, I was a manager for Century Theatres—or as I affectionately refer to them as “the bastards at Syufy. Back in those days, they were not called Century Theatres, they were “Syufy Luxury Theatres.” The theaters were massive domes which sat anywhere between 450 – 1000 people. No shoeboxes for these luxury theatres, no siree…

We were young and we were in charge. I knew few people working in the theaters that were over 30—and those that were older were often old-timers who hadn’t seen 50 in over a decade… so, there was a bit of a Lord of the Flies thing going on. Total irresponsibility, total ‘managed chaos’ and totally fun. Totally.*

Block Talk™ got started because the bastards at Syufy had a newsletter called Platter Chatter** and each district had to submit information to be included. I was the editor for the San Jose division.

The problem was, not a lot was going on that was exciting… or exciting enough to be included in Platter Chatter (a read often referred to in the company as being “dryer than a popcorn fart.”***). I would often get complaints from other managers that I had failed to include whatever pointless information a theater had submitted because it did not show up in the oh-so-prestigious Platter Chatter. Who gave a shit if their per-person took a 3 cent jump? Honestly, the way Syufy kept raising prices, it was impossible not to get that to happen.

The problem was, I was submitting this boring information and no one in our Corporate Office could give a rat’s ass about them (and our theaters had TONS of rats. Seriously. Tones.) In desperation, I created Block Talk™ and what I submitted to Corporate, I sent to all the theaters.

I quickly discovered I needed to “contain [my] smartass comments.” Because, after my first issue, my district manager came up to me and said, “You need to contain your smartass comments.” That spawned the Block Talk™ Annex. Which had articles, stories, and artwork that Corporate need not see—especially, if I wanted to keep my job.

There were some bits of genius in there—all by individuals other than myself. Chris Sanford and Matthew Keller created some brilliant and hysterical work. I looked through it the other day and realized so much has changed. Many are married, a number of us came out, a surprising number have moved away, and Century Theatres has been sold to some crappy company out of Plano, Texas. However, in a small way and in significantly different format, Block Talk™ is still around.

For those of you who never got to enjoy “The Exciting Adventures of Jolly Joe” featuring the crime solving mysteries of Syufy Sam, or experience “Dan Koje: Ambulance Driver on the Edge,”I will try and get permission from the writer to publish excerpts—(perhaps even the whole series? Who knows? It’s a wild crazy world!)

Twenty years… it goes by fast.

*It was the 80’s…
**Sort of an inside joke… an unfunny inside joke, but an inside joke none-the-less.
***The driest of all known farts
Welcome Baby No. 300,000,000!

Today, the 300 millionth U.S. baby was born this morning at 7:46am EST. The U.S. is only the third nation in history to have reached that number of citizens. We are way behind China and India in people, but we far surpass them in terms of global warming. Whooo-hooo! We’re number 1! We’re number! We’re number! USA! USA! USA!

Welcome baby #300 million. I hope you live a long, long life—because we need someone to pay off the mind-blowing, soul-crushing debt that Bush has left for you. Now, get to work!

PS: No, that picture is NOT of me...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What is Wrong with These People?

Do you ever get the feeling that Republicans think about gay sex more than gays do? Oh, and when they think "gay sex" it's actually weird, twisted, perverted shit that no gay man would want to think about...

Ben Stein (who I used to think of as a "nice Jewish boy") made some choice comments, read them HERE. Ben Stein, you are not a "nice Jewish boy." No, not at all. In fact, you're a sick fuck.

Do I have to state this again?* Eighty-Nine percent of all child molestations are "STRAIGHT" MEN preying on LITTLE GIRLS and of that ninety percent are members of the family or close family friends. Putting Ben's hypothesis to work, I believe that straight men are true perverts...

*Apparently, I do.

A big thanks to Michele Leese—faithful blogger, and dear friend—who generously sponsored me in the upcoming JDRF Walk-for-A-Cure!

Michele, you’re the best!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

It’s all about the children…

It’s that time of year again, I am walking in the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk-For-A-Cure on October 8. In the past, several readers were very generous and donated to the campaign. I’m hoping that my few readers will again make the effort.

Juvenile Diabetes effects more than 18 million Americans, with a new diagnoses every hour. Insulin is not a cure and the destructive nature of this disease seriously impacts not only the quality of life of the patient, but their life expectancy as well.

There is hope and in the last few years the JDRF has made great strides in funding research that has brought the cure ever closer. With your help, we can find a cure.

I believe that every dollar counts*, so please give whatever you can and, I will be forever grateful. Along with my gratitude, I will also give you a place of honor on the S&T page noting you as a kind, generous and giving person!

It’s best to donate online and you can do that by clicking HERE. (Check out my thermometer!)

Again, thank you for helping to stop this terrible disease.

*Of course, more dollars count more…