Saturday, December 14, 2019

The 37th Or Something Like That Reincarnation Of Woody Allen’s Epic Los Angeles-New York City Battle-And A Little Romance Thrown In-Woody’s “Café Society” (2016)-A Short Film Review

The 37th Or Something Like That Reincarnation Of Woody Allen’s Epic Los Angeles-New York City Battle-And A Little Romance Thrown In-Woody’s “Café Society” (2016)-A Short Film Review

DVD Review

By Ronan Saint James

Café Society, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristin Stewart, written and directed by Woody Allen, 2016

[In a recent introduction to this new series, a series based on short film reviews for films that deserve short reviews if not just a thumb’s up or down I noted that Allan Jackson, the deposed previous site manager, required his film reviewers to write endlessly about the film giving the material an almost cinema studies academic journal take on it. That caused a serious decline in the number of reviews over the years which I hope to make up with a flurry of snap reviews for busy people. To see in full why check the archives for November 28, 2018- Not Ready For Prime Time But Ready For Some Freaking Kind Of Review Film Reviews To Keep The Writers Busy And Not Plotting Cabals Against The Site Manager-Introduction To The New Series- Greg Green]

I will say this about Woody Allan, a guy can’t be too bad, can’t be too repetitious if he indulges his passions for old time bluesy, jazzy torch singers who are also into jazzing, 1920s and 1930s time frames, and be-bop Benny Goodman as an example big-time swing bands. Even if the story line of this latest production Café Society is a 37th reincarnation of stories he did much better when he was young and hungry when he wanted to make definite statements that New York City not La-La Land was the epicenter of American cultural expression in whatever condition it found itself. That said this retread still had its points. 

Naturally poor Woody, oops, Bobby, was tired of New York for a minute decided to see the world and headed to Hollywood where a successful talent agent uncle might help him get a leg up in the movie business-maybe follow in “Unk’s” footsteps. Before he could get that leg up though he found his soulmate or who he thought would play that role-as naturally some gentile woman from the Midwest, here Nebraska but you name the vanilla state and can plug it in. So Woody certainly could never have been accused of not rushing headlong into the eternal film saver-boy meets girl trope that has kept many a film from the delete button of late.

That said here is the play once Bobby gets out from under the New York scene (I would not be telling any tales out of school to note that he would scurry back before too long with his tail between his legs-okay) and into the wilds of Hollywood he finds that true love, his uncle’s assistant, receptionist I don’t know what he put down on his tax returns but something to cover the fact that Von, dear Von, is his uncle’s mistress if anybody can use that term anymore with a strange glance. Uncle is ready to ditch wife and all except for a time he dithers and that will give our Bobby his opening. Except (always the Woody “excepts”) when push came to shove and it was mano a mano on who Von was going to marry she went with the uncle. Fast forward: a bunch of years later both Bobby and Von met at some social event in New York and while they did not get it on or anything like that they were both very wistful after departing. Like what might have been. After three divorces and a bunch of affairs that sentiment hit me square in the eye. Again. We are doing short film reviews these days under strict orders from the “boss,” his designation of himself so that is it.

When The Bad Guys Come You Want Sean Connery On The Case -Once Against The Bad Guys Fall Into The Abyss-Sean Connery’s “Presidio” (1988)-A Film Review

When The Bad Guys Come You Want Sean Connery On The Case -Once Against The Bad Guys Fall Into The Abyss-Sean Connery’s “Presidio” (1988)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Leslie Dumont
Presidio, starring Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, 1988

Every since he was 007 James Bond the one man spy ring to save the crumbling British Empire, worth saving or not, Sean Connery has seemingly never given a bad performance. That is the case here with Presidio. Maybe it is Sean’s ruggedly handsome no nonsense looks and his bravado manner but as long as he has played the avenging angel of John Milton’s poetry or some such classic of the Greek or English literary canon he can’t go wrong. In street language he puts the hurt, the big step off on the bad guys. No questions asked, no quarter given.

Of course now, in 2018, the Presidio which brought either terror to young Army recruits when it was a point of debarkation for the hellish war in Vietnam or delight to be on the Pacific West Coast, to be in sunny and thoughtful California if you drew an assignment there, the place is mainly shut up against the Golden Gate Bridge except the golf course which devotee Si Lannon of this publication says is a bear to play (and maybe why avid golfer Connery took the role, just a thought). Of course as well a military installation close by the city streets of San Francisco is going to have some jurisdiction problems if some crime spills out from the fort to those mean streets.

That is the underlying tension between Provost Marshall, the sheriff, chief of police, in military speak played by Connery and one wild boy ex-Army MP, played by Mark Harmon, who was then working for the SF Police Department. A murder, a vicious no hold barred murder if there is any other kind, occurred on the fort and the villains fled to the streets of Frisco town after a wild chase. The murder victim a female MP who was doing her job checking out some suspicious activity at the Officers’ Club. For that she got wasted and for that our man Sean will go to the ends of the earth to find the killers.   
The big problem is why the killers were in the OC anyway, since apparently nothing was taken, nothing that seemed to be out of place. That will be the puzzle both Sean and Mark have to solve. Solved despite a serious disagreement about Mark’s budding affair with Sean’s wayward daughter who has had the angst of every military brat, civilian too come to think of it in trying to find her own identity against that titanic father force. That Mark had problems with the old man while he was an MP adds fuel to the fire.

In the end as expected the case will be solved. As it turned out the deal going down was not the drugs from Asia that I thought at first might be the reason the fort was being used as a transit point to bring the stuff into the country but diamonds, tons of them from the look of things. The cartel dragged down a few soldiers in its wake including a decorated sergeant who got caught in the middle for some problem he had over in Vietnam in the old days. Yeah, watch out bad guys when one Sean Connery comes on the screen your days are numbered.

Just Before The Sea Change - With The Dixie Cups Going To The Chapel Of Love In Mind

Just Before The Sea Change - With The Dixie Cups Going To The Chapel Of Love In Mind

By Lance Lawrence  

There were some things about Edward Rowley’s youthful activities that he would rather not forget, things that defined his life, gave him that fifteen minutes of fame, if only to himself and his, that everybody kept talking about that everyone deserved before they departed this life. That is what got him thinking one sunny afternoon in September about five years ago as he waited for the seasons to turn almost before his eyes about the times around 1964, around the time that he graduated from North Adamsville High School, around the time that he realized that the big breeze jail-break that he had kind of been waiting for was about to bust out over the land, over America. It was not like he was some kind of soothsayer, could read tea leaves or tarot cards like some latter day Madame La Rue who actually did read his future once down at the Gloversville Fair, read that he was made for big events anything like that back then. No way although that tarot reading when he was twelve left an impression for a while.

Edward’s take on the musical twists and turns back then is where he had something the kids at North Adamsville High would comment on, would ask him about to see which way the winds were blowing, would put their nickels, dimes and quarters in the jukeboxes to hear. See his senses were very much directed by his tastes in music, by his immersion into all things rock and roll in the early 1960s where he sensed what he called silly “bubble gum” music that had passed for rock (and which the girls liked, or liked the look of the guys singing the tunes) was going to be buried under an avalanche of sounds going back to Elvis and forward to something else, something with more guitars all amped to bring in the new dispensation. More importantly since the issue of jailbreaks and sea changes were in the air he was the very first kid to grasp what would later be called the folk minute of the early 1960s (which when the tunes, not Dylan and Baez at first but guys like the Kingston Trio started playing on the jukebox at Jimmy Jack’s Diner after school some other girls, not the “bubble gum” girls went crazy over). So that musical sense combined with his ever present sense that things could be better in this wicked old world drilled into him by his kindly old grandmother who was an old devotee of the Catholic Worker movement kind of drove his aspirations. But at first it really was the music that had been the cutting edge of what followed later, followed until about 1964 when that new breeze arrived in the land.

That fascination with music had occupied Edward’s mind since he had been about ten and had received a transistor radio for his birthday and out of curiosity decided to turn the dial to AM radio channels other that WJDA which his parents, may they rest in peace, certainly rest in peace from his incessant clamoring for rock and roll records and later folk albums, concert tickets, radio listening time on the big family radio in the living room, had on constantly and which drove him crazy. Drove him crazy because that music, well, frankly that music, the music of the Doris Days, the Peggy Lees, The Rosemary Clooneys, the various corny sister acts like the Andrews Sisters, the Frank Sinatras, the Vaughn Monroes, the Dick Haynes and an endless series of male quartets did not “jump,” gave him no “kicks,’ left him flat. As a compromise, no, in order to end the family civil war, they had purchased a transistor radio at Radio Shack and left him to his own devises.

One night, one late night in 1955, 1956 when Edward was fiddling with the dial he heard this sound out of Cleveland, Ohio, a little fuzzy but audible playing this be-bop sound, not jazz although it had horns, not rhythm and blues although sort of, but a new beat driven by some wild guitar by a guy named Warren Smith who was singing about his Ruby, his Rock ‘n’ Roll Ruby who only was available apparently to dance the night away. And she didn’t seem to care whether she danced by herself on the tabletops or with her guy. Yeah, so if you need a name for what ailed young Edward Rowley, something he could not quite articulate then call her woman, call her Ruby and you will not be far off. And so with that as a pedigree Edward became one of the town’s most knowledgeable devotees of the new sound. Problem was that new sound, as happens frequently in music, got a little stale as time went on, as the original artists who captured his imagination faded from view one way or another and new guys, guys with nice Bobby this and Bobby that names, Patsy this and Brenda that names sang songs under the umbrella name rock and roll that his mother could love. Songs that could have easily fit into that WJDA box that his parents had been stuck in since about World War II.

So Edward was anxious for a new sound to go along with his feeling tired of the same old, same old stuff that had been hanging around in the American night since the damn nuclear hot flashes red scare Cold War started way before he had a clue about what that was all about. It had started with the music and then he got caught later in high school up with a guy in school, Daryl Wallace, a hipster, or that is what he called himself, a guy who liked “kicks” although being in high school in North Adamsville far from New York City, far from San Francisco, damn, far from Boston what those “kicks” were or what he or Eddie would do about getting those “kicks” never was made clear. But they played it out in a hokey way and for a while they were the town, really high school, “beatniks.”  So Eddie had had his short faux “beat” phase complete with flannel shirts, black chino pants, sunglasses, and a black beret (a beret that he kept hidden at home in his bedroom closet once he found out after his parents had seen and heard Jack Kerouac reading from the last page of On The Road on the Steve Allen Show that they severely disapproved on the man, the movement and anything that smacked of the “beat” and a beret always associated with French bohemians and foreignness would have had them seeing “red”). And for a while Daryl and Eddie played that out until Daryl moved away (at least that was the story that went around but there was a persistent rumor for a time that Mr. Wallace had dragooned Daryl into some military school in California in any case that disappearance from the town was the last he ever heard from his “beat” brother). Then came 1964 and  Eddie was fervently waiting for something to happen, for something to come out of the emptiness that he was feeling just as things started moving again with the emergence of the Beatles and the Stones as a harbinger of what was coming. 

That is where Eddie had been psychologically when his mother first began to harass him about his hair. Although the hair thing like the beret was just the symbol of clash that Eddie knew was coming and knew also that now that he was older that he was going to be able to handle differently that when he was a kid.  Here is what one episode of the battle sounded like:                   

“Isn’t that hair of yours a little long Mr. Edward Rowley, Junior,” clucked Mrs. Edward Rowley, Senior, “You had better get it cut before your father gets back from his conference trip, if you know what is good for you.” That mothers’-song was being endlessly repeated in North Adamsville households (and not just those households either but in places like North Adamsville, Hullsville, Shaker Heights, Dearborn, Cambridge any place where guys were waiting for the new dispensation and wearing hair a little longer than boys’ regular was the flash point) ever since the British invasion had brought longer hair into style (and a little less so, beards, that was later when guys got old enough to grow one without looking wispy, had taken a look at what their Victorian great-grandfathers grew and though it was “cool.” Cool along with new mishmash clothing and new age monikers to be called by.).

Of course when one was thinking about the British invasion in the year 1964 one was not thinking about the American Revolution or the War of 1812 but the Beatles. And while their music has taken 1964 teen world by a storm, a welcome storm after the long mainly musical counter-revolution since Elvis, Bo, Jerry Lee and Chuck ruled the rock night and had disappeared without a trace, the 1964 parent world was getting up in arms.
And not just about hair styles either. But about midnight trips on the clanking subway to Harvard Square coffeehouses to hear, to hear if you can believe this, folk music, mountain music, harp music or whatever performed by long-haired (male or female), long-bearded (male), blue jean–wearing (both), sandal-wearing (both), well, for lack of a better name “beatniks” (parents, as usual, being well behind the curve on teen cultural movements since by 1964 “beat”  except on silly television shows and “wise” social commentary who could have been “Ike” brothers and sisters, was yesterday’s news).

Mrs. Rowley would constantly harp about “why couldn’t Eddie be like he was when he listened to Bobby Vinton and his Mr. Lonely or that lovely-voiced Roy Orbison and his It’s Over and other nice songs on the local teen radio station, WMEX (he hated that name Eddie by the way, Eddie was also what everybody called his father so you can figure out why he hated the moniker just then). Now it was the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and a cranky-voiced guy named Bob Dylan that has his attention. And that damn Judy Jackson with her short skirt and her, well her… looks” (Mrs. Rowley like every mother in the post-Pill world refusing to use the “s” word, a throw-back to their girlish days when their mothers did not use such a word.)     

Since Mrs. Rowley, Alice to the neighbors, was getting worked up anyway, she let out what was really bothering her about her Eddie’s behavior, "What about all the talk about doing right by the down-trodden Negros down in Alabama and Mississippi. And you and that damn Peter Dawson, who used to be so nice when all you boys hung around together at Jimmy Jacks’ Diner [Edward: corner boys, Ma, that is what we were] and I at least knew you were no causing trouble, talking about organizing a book drive to get books for the little Negro children down there. If your father ever heard that there would be hell to pay, hell to pay and maybe a strap coming out of the closet big as you are. Worst though, worst that worrying about Negros down South is that treasonous talk about leaving this country, leaving North Adamsville, defenseless against the communists with your talk of nuclear disarmament. Why couldn’t you have just left well enough alone and stuck with your idea of forming a band that would play nice songs that make kids feel good like Gale Garnet’s We’ll Sing In The Sunshine or that pretty Negro girl Dionne Warwick and Her Walk On By instead of getting everybody upset."

And since Mrs. Rowley, Alice, to the neighbors had mentioned the name Judy Jackson, Edward’s flame and according to Monday morning before school girls’ “lav” talk, Judy’s talk they had “done the deed” and you can figure out what the deed was let’s hear what was going on in the Jackson household since one of the reasons that Edward was wearing his hair longer was because Judy thought it was “sexy” and so that talk of doing the deed may well have been true if there were any sceptics. Hear this:      

“Young lady, that dress is too short for you to wear in public, take it off, burn it for all I care, and put on another one or you are not going out of this house,” barked Mrs. James Jackson, echoing a sentiment that many worried North Adamsville mothers were feeling (and not just those mothers either but in places like Gloversville, Hullsville, Shaker Heights, Dearborn, Cambridge any place where gals were waiting for the new dispensation and wearing their skirts a little longer than mid-calf was the flash point) about their daughters dressing too provocatively and practically telling the boys, well practically telling them you know what as she suppressed the “s” word that was forming in her head. She too working up a high horse head of steam continued, "And that Eddie [“Edward, Ma,” Judy keep repeating every time Mrs. Jackson, Dorothy to the neighbors, said Eddie], and his new found friends like Peter Dawson taking you to those strange coffeehouses in Harvard Square with all the unwashed, untamed, unemployed “beatniks” instead of the high school dances on Saturday night. And that endless talk about the n-----s down South, about get books for the ignorant to read and other trash talk about how they are equal to us, and your father better not hear you talk like that, not at the dinner table since has to work around them and their smells and ignorance over in that factory in Dorchester.  And don’t start with that Commie trash about peace and getting rid of weapons. They should draft the whole bunch of them and put them over in front of that Berlin Wall. Then they wouldn’t be so negative about America."

Scene: Edward, Judy and Peter Dawson were sitting in the Club Nana in Harvard Square sipping coffee, maybe pecking at the one brownie between, and listening to a local wanna-be folk singing strumming his stuff (who turned out to be none other than Eric Von Schmidt). Beside them cartons of books that they are sorting to be taken along with them when head South this summer after graduation exercises at North Adamsville High School are completed in June. (By the way Peter’s parents were only slightly less irate about their son’s activities and used the word “Negro” when they were referring to black people, black people they wished their son definitely not to get involved with were only slightly less behind the times than Mrs. Rowley and Mrs. Jackson and so requires no separate screed by Mrs. Dawson. See Peter did not mention word one about what he was, or was not, doing and thus spared himself the anguish that Edward and Judy put themselves through trying to “relate” to their parents, their mothers really since fathers were some vague threatened presence in the background in those households.)

They, trying to hold back their excitement have already been to some training sessions at the NAACP office over on Massachusetts Avenue in the Roxbury section of Boston and have purchased their tickets for the Greyhound bus as far as New York’s Port Authority where they will meet others who will be heading south on a chartered bus. But get this Pete turned to Edward and said, “Have you heard that song, Popsicles and Icicles by the Mermaids, it has got great melodic sense.” Yes, we are still just before the sea change after which even Peter will chuckle about “bubble gum” music. Good luck though, young travelers, good luck.

From The Veterans For Peace- The Twelve Days Of......The Struggle Against The Endless American Wars

From The Veterans For Peace- The Twelve Days Of......The Struggle Against The Endless American Wars

From The Veterans For Peace- The Twelve Days Of......The Struggle Against The Endless American Wars

From The Veterans For Peace- The Twelve Days Of......The Struggle Against The Endless American Wars

The Trials and Tribulations Of The Generation Of ’68-The Summer of 1969-Frank Jackman Casts His Fate With The Poor Peoples Of The Earth-And Tweaking The U.S. Army To Boot-With Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” In Mind

The Trials and Tribulations Of The Generation Of ’68-The Summer of 1969-Frank Jackman Casts His Fate With The Poor Peoples Of The Earth-And Tweaking The U.S. Army To Boot-With Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” In Mind  

By Frank Jackman 

Maybe it is the nature of this publication, maybe it is the nature of historic memory or maybe it is the nature of this man, me, this Frank Jackman who has staked his life on what he remembered hearing a long time ago on a radio folk music show in the heat of the folk minute that swept the nation, the nation’s youth particularly in the early 1960s when he was growing up poor in the old Acre neighborhood of North Adamsville a bunch of miles south of Boston. He had been startled to hear one Pete Seeger, banjo man extraordinaire playing that instrument and singing alternately in Spanish and English the old Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti’s version of Guantanamera when he came upon a later verse translated as “I want to cast my fate with the poor people of this earth.”* The story I have to tell, a personal Frank Jackman story is how in the summer of 1969, fifty years ago, yes, I know a lot of 50th anniversaries have been addressed in this publication over the past few years by members of the Class of `68 still standing, had been a key decision point in my own fervent desire to cast my fate with the poor people of the earth. And have not done a bad job of staying committed to that vision at a time when things could have gone either way in that hell-bent Vietnam War year.    

[*I was about to say that with this song this was the first time I had even heard of the name Pete Seeger, a name I would come to know as a fellow activist and later when I took up writing reviews of music that mattered in the American songbook I got to know him personally as a “hail fellow, well met” but that is not true. Not true although that Sunday evening WBZ (in Boston) Dick Summer’s folk show I rightly assumed I had not heard of the man or his voice before because of one   Lester Dannon (known in the local professional music world as Lester Dannon and his Cannons, a jazzy, pop music grouping favored among the older set, the generation that had gone through the Great Depression and slogged through World War II as he had, my parent’s generation for weddings and family outings).  Lester whom we kids called innocently then without any other thought that taking part in a youthful rhyming craze called Lester the Molester, which these days would call for all kinds of interventions and investigations, had force-fed the most popular work of Pete’s and a group that he was a member of The Weaver’s cover of Leadbelly’s Goodnight, Irene.

Lester may have not been a molester, but he had a plan to wean us away from our growing love of break-out rock and roll music which he hated by playing on the record player and having us sing folk tunes like Irene and pop tunes from his, our parent’s generation. We bucked and buckled under that horrible weight for three junior high school years but gave in to the inevitable when he threatened to play classic music and opera if we didn’t learn his clowny stuff. (Lester may have not been a molester of anything but our growing music taste buds although he was caught up unjustly in a scandal later when the junior high school male gym teacher was fired because he was sexually molesting young underage boys although not from the school or town but elsewhere part of the reason he was able to be a predator for as long as he had been. We had to bring a big campaign to clear Lester’s name once we heard about the false accusations against him but that did not cause him to not hate rock and roll until his dying days or us to forgive him from ramming music we really did hate then, a generational thing, down our throats.)  

Many of the older writers still standing at this publication, I will just mention the guys I grew with still standing, Sam Lowell, Seth Garth, Jack Callahan, Allan Jackson, Bart Webber have written extensively the past couple of years on key anniversaries, key 50th anniversaries which none of us would have thought possible back in the 1960s when the motto, if unspoken mostly was “live fast, die young, and make a good corpse.” Noteworthy and cause for much internal friction between older and younger writers who could have given a fuck about events their parents had come of age through happened a couple of years ago when then site manager Allan Jackson went crazy giving 24/7/365 or so it seemed to commemorating the Summer of Love, 1967 and subsequently the riotous happenings of 1968 too numerous to mention now but the anniversaries which were fully covered last year.*

Now in the year of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the eternally etched rock festival that defined one end of a generation, we are in for another burst of writing about what it all meant historically and personally. It is with that backdrop that I tell my story which is not about Woodstock Nation, not then anyway, but about that previously mentioned then vague and untested idea of casting my fate with the poor people of the earth, my people. Others from that cohort of older writers I grew up with have written about my epiphany, especially Seth Garth’s Frank Jackman’s Masters of War but just now if nothing else as a cautionary tale I want to commemorate the 50th anniversary of my personal decision to refuse orders to Vietnam, which is just a short cut way of saying that I had cast my fate with the poor people of the earth-for good.         

(*Look to the Archives from late 2017 to early 2018 to get the inside story of what happened to cause Allan Jackson’s downfall and subsequent short “exile” before new and current site manager Greg Green brought him back as a contributing editor. A short summary was that the younger writers balked at having to do assignments they didn’t’ care about to the exclusion of stuff they did know, brought the matter to a vote of no confidence, won the vote and brought Greg Green and an Editorial Board in to oversee that such things as Summer of Love mania never happened again. Strangely some of the assignments Greg decided on when he took charge, seemingly in order to assert his authority were frankly bizarre like the Marvel/DC comics come to cinema series that nobody young or old wanted to touch with a ten- foot pole.)

Every guy and it was all guys then who came of age in most parts of the 1960s, who were of draft age, from eighteen to late twenty something, maybe later, had to face one big choice no matter where they stood on the issues of the day, on the Vietnam War. What to do about military service. Everybody from POTUS (Twitter speak) Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Donald Trump down to the guys in the Acre neighborhood of growing up poor North Adamsville. I have heard many stories about how guys wound up in the military or figured a way around military duty over the past fifty years and have concluded that I would be less judgmental about how each person made their decision, except those who essentially bought their ways out like Bush and Trump but this story is not about them. It is a wonder so many survived their experiments, like those who found a way around going into the service like taking all kinds of drugs just before the dreaded physical which everybody passed unless you had some serious deficiency, military deficiency like only one leg or blindness, the Army needed two-legged men and non-visually-impaired men (now men and women) to hump the boonies as the saying went-meaning nowhere else in the world but sweated jungle, delta, river Vietnam. Like guys loading up on salt to drive their blood pressures up. Like declaring themselves homosexuals which today might seem weird giving the changes in policy but then meant you were refused and if you did get in and were found out that you really were gay subject to discharge and not an honorable one either (assuming that you were serious about your homosexuality and not just using it to avoid service which hung over guys for a long time.) Like guys declaring themselves fervent members of a whole number of communist organizations or their fronts when the security clearance questions were asked. That, by the way, lasted only so long until the Selective Service (the draft’s official organizational name) figured, knowingly figured from their FBI friends who had infiltrated those organizations in the previous decades, that there was a scam going on. The vast majority though one way or another who refused induction didn’t use these ruses some very clever but by a flat-out refusal to be drafted-not later when actually in the military as in my case.

The reader, hell, on reflection fifty years later writing this piece, me, may wonder why I did not join that last grouping by refusing military service as a civilian which took its own level of commitment and decision-making outside the box that society expected of us. I certainly knew that there were plenty of young guys, men who were refusing, although as I recall I did not know any personally on campus or elsewhere. I did know since I was working my way through college driving a truck and servicing coffee machines I passed the Arlington Street Church in the Back Bay section of Boston which was a central sanctuary for draft-resisters. Go back though to that point I made about coming from the hard-core working class, working poor Acre section of North Adamsville and that will give a better idea of why I had not resisted military service as a civilian. 

Start with the family, make that families since mine replicated the great majority of the families in the Irish-etched Roman Catholic Acre. Where would I have either learned or gained support from that milieu about not going into the military when my father had slogged through World War II in the Pacific War as a gung-ho Marine who faced all the island- hopping battles those Leathernecks were engaged in. Many other fathers and relatives had the same stories. (I was not close probably ever to my very distant father who had like many men from his generation had seen the ugly face of war and kept quiet about what they saw after their service did tell me one time that he, a son of the Hazard. Kentucky coalmines enlisted in the Marines on December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor, on the idea that he would rather take his chances against the Nips, a derogatory term for the Japanese then, than face life in the mines and what that meant and had never looked back. Maybe to his personal sorrows since he had nothing but a very tough life when he married my mother and landed in her hometown Acre neighborhood)    

Moreover even in my own Acre neighborhood generation, the Tonio’s Pizza Parlor corner boys as we called ourselves, which came of age not only under the sign of rock and roll but of the great Cold War ideologies and concepts which were held pretty firmly if not totally understood provided no cover for what I would do. My high school graduation class of 1964 for example had as I later found out when the males were asked for their military service if any almost all had some such record. Among Tonio corner boys as the war escalated every single guy with the exception of a couple who had disabilities which precluded military service wound up serving in Vietnam including the late Peter Markin who of all of us would had been the logical choice as a resister. (Markin whose life and fate still bring a tear to our eyes when we mention his name took his service harder than the others and would wind up falling down in the end to an early grave already extensively written about by everybody in our crowd including me, a bitter fate for a guy who was always ahead of the curve in our crowd about which way the social winds were blowing). Top that off with the deaths of two corner boys, Rick Rizzo and David White, whose names are forever etched on the Adamsville town memorial stone and down in black granite down in Washington, who laid down their heads in some bloody swamps in Vietnam and you get an idea of what the milieu was like and how likely the ideas of resistance were to come intellectually to me without some serious trial to confront me. (My family and many other families which I learned about second-hand after the dust had settled not only hated or did not understand what I did but supported the war efforts long after even guys like POTUS Richard M. Nixon had tried to get out from under anyway he could).   

No, no, now that I am on my high horse it is not good enough blame the social milieu as the defining reason for allowing myself to be inducted into the Army in January of 1969 against all good reason. No question a different milieu say in Shaker Heights and among the elite college brethren and intelligentsia would have provided more thought-provoking possibilities but that denies my, Frank Jackman’s, sense of himself and his desires and concerns. I believe I have written about it elsewhere in this publication and if not then I certainly have mentioned it in a million conversations the contradictions between that stated purpose of “casting my fate with the poor people of the earth” which has animated this whole piece and what I thought my life’s goals, destiny if you like, were to be can be summarized in what I was about in the fall of 1960 when I was just fourteen.

I had always been interested in politics, history, government, something I shared with the late Markin. Which did not preclude either of us from being extremely larcenous corner boys or totally bonkers about girls, cars and sex in whatever order you want to put those elemental categories like the other guys who lived and died exclusively on that plateau. Markin and I, although we had deeply imbibed the Cold War anti-communist ideologies that choked American society in the 1950s, had other ideas as well, centrally concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and a stirring concern about the emerging black civil rights struggle down the South. Ideas which we tended not to discuss with the fellow corner boys who would have either red-baited or race-baited us. In 1960 the blessed Quakers, and they were blessed and always will be as the reader will find out later when the deal when down in the summer of 1969 whatever religious or political differences we had then or now along with prominent liberals like Doctor Spock, the famous baby doctor whose words of wisdom many mothers although not Acre mothers lived and died by decided to have a nation-wide event to call for nuclear disarmament in October of that year.

Despite all kinds of advice, maybe some veiled threats, certainly scorn from fellow students and the civics teacher I argued for that cause in school and had decided to go to Boston, to the historic protest spots on Boston Common to take part in the nation-wide observance. Even, and maybe especially, our corner boy leader Frankie Riley argued against my going (we even made a corner boy famous bet about whether I would go or “chicken out”) since he feared for my life if I went there giving the times and given the reaction of what I would later call the rednecks. I went (winning that bet gladly since I could have money for a date with a certain girl I was then for a minute interested in) and met those forthright Quakers and a few others who braved the scorn of the crowds to protest the nuclear arms race. If one thinks today that politics and prejudices are ugly and headed to civil war if not stopped in their tracks then you get the idea back then right out on those mean streets, maybe more in your face if you can believe that.     

Contradiction. The fall of 1960 was also the time this country was knee deep in the upcoming presidential election between one Richard Milhous Nixon and our own Irish Jack Kennedy. “Our own” no wrong term for we were crazy in the Irish-strewn Acre to see Jack beat that bastard Nixon. I would all fall go door to door putting literature in doors touting Jack’s candidacy. For those who don’t remember or are too young a central component of Jack’s campaign was that there was a “missile gap,” with the Soviets overhauling us with ways to take advantage of their larger number of weapons, nuclear weapons. So in one short period I could, and did, express my sincere beliefs in nuclear disarmament in Boston and in tribal Jack of the gap. That would not be the first time or the last that such contradictions ruled my universe. In 1968, remember Bobby Kennedy with a tear, I went crazy around the East Coast trying to get him elected before he was felled breaking many dreams and my heart. More importantly to what will follow I let my somewhat vague, upon reflection, anti-war sentiments get overwhelmed by all the other considerations about why I should have refused induction, including a girlfriend whose brother was serving in Vietnam.

Forward though to January 1969. As previously pointed out there were little points of rebellion about going into the Army, but they did not dominate, no way and if the impression has been left that this was the case that is wrong. Probably the truest statement would be some kind of belief that either war would be over before I had to confront what every male of my generation had to confront whatever his personal beliefs might or that I expected somehow like at several times in my young life to skate by, not get called for some reason known only to me at the time. Given what was happening on the battlefields I think that the latter sentiment dominated. I got my “friends and neighbors at the draft board” notice in the early fall of 1968 to report for the inevitable almost forgone conclusion physical examination (that “friends and neighbors” the actual salutation on the letter). Naturally I passed it since at that time almost anybody with two arms and two legs passed unless they had some gimmick already to get them out but which even if I had known about it then would not have used still depending on luck I guess I would call it.
Then in December 1968, I think I got the notice to report to the Boston Army Base for induction (no longer there but now part of the up-scale Seaport District). While that certainly got my attention, I was still in some form of denial. Adding to that my girlfriend at the time (this after I had broken up with that girlfriend whose brother was in Vietnam for personal reasons) , Joyce, who had started graduate school at Boston University after having been through the “wars” out at the University of Wisconsin which along with Berkeley, Michigan and B.U. were among the most vociferous centers of anti-war opposition was pressuring me to refuse induction. Easy for her to say, although she would prove right and prove a stalwart as well during my imprisonments. Whatever idealistic views I had (via Robert Kennedy), some sloth and maybe my whole freaking youth in the Acre which could not and should not be discounted did not mesh-then. The only thing that might point to some future struggles on my part was that the day in January 1969 before I was to report for induction I had Joyce cut my longish hair (you could hardly be a young male in Boston without that longer hair to distinguish you from the rednecks) and giving the Army butcher-barbers the satisfaction of cutting my locks. Still I took the oath, accepted induction.

The expectation, gained from the Acre brethren who had already either served or were in the service in Vietnam like Sam Lowell, was that I would take basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey. What happened was that for reasons known only to the Army Dix was full or something so those inducted that day were sent first to Fort Jackson down in South Carolina and then transferred to Fort Gordon over in Augusta, Georgia (the site of the later to be revered by Sam Lowell Masters’ Golf Tournament) for basic. The former location is where I had my opening epiphany, where I first really knew I had made a mistake about accepting induction. And while it would still be premature to say I had decided to refuse to go the thought was getting etched into my psyche.

Stop. The previous pages represent a pretty good remembrance of my times before that fateful January day. In looking over what others like Sam Lowell, Seth Garth and Zack James (Alex from Carver’s younger brother who was too young to have been involved in all of this but who is a very good writer and hence has written, from outside the inner circle, a good piece on my travails). Rather than reinvent the wheel I think Sam should take over and tell once again his version of what I went through. Hell I have said enough let’s let site manager Greg Green publish his Introduction and Sam’s piece and if anybody has further questions they can comment and I will answer in return.    
Introduction To Sam Lowell’s Frank Jackman’s Masters of War by Greg Green

Life is full of surprises as everybody over the age of about three knows firsthand even if that hard fact does not stand out and light a fire under you at every possible moment. Take my own situation. A couple of years ago I was working hard at the American Film Gazette managing the overall film review schedule and trying to outdo the legendary publisher Larry Lorton from Film Daily in the number of films we did reviews on. Then Pete Markin (aka Allan Jackson who used that moniker in honor of a fallen hometown friend who taught him and a few of the other writers here a thing or two about the profession although he eventually fell on his own sword which is a story many had detailed here over time and I need not go into) brought me over here to run the day to day operations while he readied himself for retirement or some other project. Jesus, then the Summer of Love, 1967, or rather the 50th anniversary commemoration of the event hit this place like a whirling dervish. I was too young to know much about that time but had heard some pretty raw and scary stuff about drugs, unprotected sex, unlicensed or registered vehicles including some converted yellow school bus that became home for varying times by some of the Tonio’s Pizza Parlor corner boys from the Acre  and other larcenies from writers here who had been there under Markin’s guidance, the real Markin not Allan. In any case Allan went crazy to make sure the damn event got almost as much coverage after 50 years as when the thing actually got off the ground and created what he and the others hatched up as a re-working of the antics of the Generation of ’68.

All well and good. Well not all well and good since the younger writers could in the words of Alden Riley one of the leaders of the Young Turks give a fuck about the fucking Summer of Love, 1967 or any other year in that decade. That led to a show-down and the demise of Allan Jackson, a founding member, and my elevation to site manager and the overall poohbah of this operation. According to what I hear around the water cooler things are calmer now that not everybody has to spent 24/7/365 neck-deep in the 1960s like that was the golden age, like that was the Garden as Lance Lawrence mockingly called it.

All this to say that some of the stuff from the 1960s, and the recently concluded The Roots is the Toots rock and roll series is one example that I was more than happy to give an encore presentation to (admittedly after a little nudge from Sam Lowell and others), is worth another inspection. That brings us to the real-life story below about what happened to Frank Jackman when he was of draft age, eighteen to who knows how long if things ever got really dicey, in the age when that meant something and meant some tough decisions for a whole generation of young men who didn’t know what the hell to do when their number got called. Yeah, maybe this tale is not the sexiest one on the block, on the lowdown of the 1960s when youth nation went overboard with sex, drugs and rock and roll but fifty years or so later it still reads like a good story that people should know about-and shout from the rooftops about as we enter another year of endless war in the endless wars of our times.
Frank Jackman’s War from the pen of Sam Lowell
(I have changed up locales and people’s names but the story-line is as pure as I can make it for my friend Frank Jackman-S.L.)

Jack Callahan’s old friend from Sloan High School in Carver down in Southeastern Massachusetts Alex James (Alex short for Alex not as is the fashion today to just name a baby Alexander and be done with it) is an amateur writer and has been at it since he got out of high school. Found out that maybe by osmosis, something like that, the stuff Miss Enos taught him junior and senior years about literature and her favorite writers Hemingway, Edith Wharton and Dorothy Parker to name a few, with which she would entice the English class stuck with him with through college where although he majored in Political Science he was in thrall to the English literature courses that he snuck into to his schedule. Snuck in although Alex knew practically speaking he had a snowball’s chance in hell, an expression he had learned from Hemingway he thought, of making a career out of the literary life, would more likely wind up driving a cab through dangerous midnight sections of town occasionally getting mugged for his night’s work. That Political Science major winding up producing about the same practical results as the literary life though. Those literary designs stuck with him, savior stuck with him, through his tour of duty during the Vietnam War, and savior stayed with him through those tough years when he couldn’t quite get himself back to the “real” world after ‘Nam and let drugs and alcohol rule his life so that he wound up for some time as a “brother under the bridge” as Bruce Springsteen later put the situation in a song that he played continuously at times after he first heard the opening line “Saigon, long gone…."  Stuck with him after he recovered and started building up his sports supplies business, stuck with him through three happy/sad/savage/acrimonious “no go” marriages and a parcel of kids and child support.  And was still sticking with him now that he had time to stretch out and write longer pieces and beat away on the word processor a few million words on this and that.

Amateur writer meaning nothing more than that he liked to write, and that writing was not his profession, that he did not depend on the pen for his livelihood (or rather more correctly these days not the pen but the word processor). That livelihood business was taken up running a small sports apparel store in a mall not far from Lexington (the Lexington of American revolutionary battles to give the correct town and state) where he now lived. Although he was not a professional writer his interest was such that he liked these days with Jimmy Shore, the famous ex-runner running the day to day operations of the store, to perform some of his written work in public at various “open mic” writing (and poetry) jams that have sprouted up in his area.

This “open mic” business Alex had embarked on s was a familiar concept to Jack from the days back in the 1960s when he would go to such events in the coffeehouses around Harvard Square and Beacon Hill to hear amateur folk-singers perfect their acts and try to be recognized as the new voice of their generation, or something like that. For “no singing voice, no musical ear” Jack those were basically cheap date nights if the girl he was with was into folk music. The way most of the "open mics" worked, although they probably called them talent searches then, was each performer would sign up to do one, two, maybe three songs depending on how long the list of those wishing to perform happened to be (the places where each performer kicked in a couple of bucks in order to play usually had shorter lists). These singers usually performed in the period in front of the night’s feature who very well might have been somebody who a few weeks before had been noticed by the owner during a previous "open mic" and asked to do a set of six to sixteen songs depending on the night and the length of the list of players in front of him or her. The featured performer played, unlike the "open mic" people, for the “basket” (maybe a hat) passed around the crowd in the audience and that was the night’s “pay.” A tough racket for those starting out like all such endeavors. The attrition rate was pretty high after the folk minute died down with arrival of other genre like folk rock, heavy rock, and acid rock although you still see a few old folkies around the Square or playing the separate “open mic” folk circuit that also run through church coffeehouses just like these writing jams.
Jack was not surprised then when Alex told him he would like him to come to hear him perform one of his works at the monthly third Thursday “open mic” at the Congregational Church in Arlington the next town over from Lexington. Alex told Jack that that night he was going to perform something he had written and thought on about Frank Jackman, about what had happened to Frank when he was in the Army during Vietnam War times.

Jack knew almost automatically what Alex was going to do, he would somehow use Bob Dylan’s Masters of War lyrics as part of his presentation. Jack and Alex ( a Vietnam veteran who got “religion” on the anti-war issue while he in the Army and became a fervent anti-war guy after that experience despite his personal problems, including a couple of losing bout s with drugs and alcohol before getting twelve step sober) had met Frank in 1971 when they were doing some anti-war work among the soldiers at Fort Devens out in Ayer about forty miles west of Boston. Frank had gotten out of the Army several months before and since he was from Nashua in the southern part of New Hampshire not far from Devens and had heard about the G.I. coffeehouse, The Morning Report, where Jack and Alex were working as volunteers he had decided to volunteer to help out as well.
Now Frank was a quiet guy, quieter than Jack and Alex anyway, but one night he had told his Army story to a small group of volunteers gathered in the main room of the coffeehouse as they were planning to distribute Daniel Ellsberg’s sensational whistle-blower expose The Pentagon Papers to soldiers at various spots around the base (including as it turned out inside the fort itself with one copy landing on the commanding general’s desk for good measure). He wanted to tell this story since he wanted to explain why he would not be able to go with them if they went inside the gates at Fort Devens.

Jack knew Alex was going to tell Frank’s story so he told Frank he would be there since he had not heard the song or Frank’s story in a long while and had forgotten parts of it. Moreover, Alex wanted Jack there for moral support since this night other than the recitation of the lyrics he was going to speak off the cuff rather than his usual reading from some prepared paper. 

That night Alex was already in the hall talking to the organizer, Eli Walsh, you may have heard of him since he has written some searing poems about his time in three tours Iraq. Jack felt right at home in this basement section of the church and he probably could have walked around blind-folded since the writing jams were on almost exactly the same model as the old folkie “open mics.” A table as you entered to pay your admission this night three dollars (although the tradition is that no one is turned away for lack of funds) with a kindly woman asking if you intended to perform and direct you to the sign-up sheet if so. Another smaller table with various cookies, snacks, soda, water and glasses for those who wished to have such goodies, and who were asked to leave a donation in the jar on that table if possible. The set-up in the hall this night included a small stage where the performers would present their material slightly above the audience. On the stage a lectern for those who wished to use that for physical support or to read their work from and the ubiquitous simple battery-powered sound system complete with microphone. For the audience a bevy of chairs, mostly mismatched, mostly having seen plenty of use, and mostly uncomfortable. After paying his admission fee he went over to Alex to let him know he was in the audience. Alex had told him he was number seven on the list so not to wander too far once the session had begun.

This is the way Alex told the story and why Jack knew there would be some reference to Bob Dylan’s Masters of War that night:
Hi everybody my name is Alex James and I am glad that you all came out this cold night to hear Preston Borden present his moving war poetry and the rest of us to reflect on the main subject of this month’s writing jam-the endless wars that the American government under whatever regime of late has dragged us into, us kicking and screaming to little avail.  I want to thank Eli as always for setting this event up every month and for his own thoughtful war poetry. [Some polite applause.] But enough for thanks and all that because tonight I want to recite a poem, well, not really a poem, but lyrics to a song, to a Bob Dylan song, Masters of War, so it might very well be considered a poem in some sense.   

You know sometimes, a lot of times, a song, lyrics, a poem for that matter bring back certain associations. You know some song you heard on the radio when you went on your first date, your first dance, your first kiss, stuff like that which is forever etched in your memory and evokes that moment every time you hear it thereafter. Now how this Dylan song came back to me recently is a story in itself.
You remember Eli back in October when we went up to Maine to help the Maine Veterans for Peace on their yearly peace walk that I ran into Susan Rich, the Quaker gal we met up in Freeport who walked with us that day to Portland. [Eli shouted out “yes.”] I had not seen Susan in about forty years before that day, hadn’t seen her since the times we had worked together building up support for anti-war G.I.s out at the Morning Report coffeehouse in Ayer outside Fort Devens up on Route 2 about thirty miles from here. That’s when we met Frank Jackman who is the real subject of my presentation tonight since he is the one who I think about when I think about that song, think about his story and how that song relates to it. 

Funny as many Dylan songs as I knew Masters of War, written by Dylan in 1963 I had never heard until 1971. Never heard the lyrics until I met Frank out at Fort Devens where after I was discharged from the Army that year I went to do some volunteer anti-war G.I. work at the coffeehouse outside the base in Army town Ayer. Frank too was a volunteer, had heard about the place somehow I forget how, who had grown up in Nashua up in southern New Hampshire and after he was discharged from the Army down at Fort Dix in New Jersey came to volunteer just like me and my old friend Jack Callahan who is sitting in the audience tonight. Now Frank was a quiet guy didn’t talk much about his military service, but he made the anti-war soldiers who hung out there at night and on weekends feel at ease. One night thought he felt some urge to tell his story, tell why he thought it was unwise for him to participate in an anti-war action we were planning around the base. We were going to pass out copies of Daniel Ellsberg’s explosive whistle-blower expose The Pentagon Papers to soldiers at various location around the fort and as it turned out on the base. The reason that Frank had balked at the prospect of going into the fort was that as part of his discharge paperwork was attached a statement that he was never to go on a military installation again. We all were startled by that remark, right Jack? [Jack nods agreement.]

And that night the heroic, our kind of heroic, Frank Jackman told us about the hows and whys of his Army experience. Frank had been drafted like a ton of guys back then, like me, and had allowed himself to be drafted in 1968 at the age of nineteen not being vociferously anti-war and not being aware then of the option of not taking the subsequent induction. After about three week down at Fort Dix, the main basic training facility for trainees coming from the Northeast then, he knew two things-he had made a serious mistake by allowing himself to be drafted and come hell or high water he was not going to fight against people he had no quarrel with in Vietnam. Of course the rigors of basic training and being away from home, away from anybody who could help him do he knew not what then kept him quiet and just waiting. Once Basic was over and he got his Advanced Infantry Training assignment also at Fort Dix which was to be an infantryman at a time when old Uncle Sam only wanted infantrymen in the rice paddles and jungles of Vietnam things came to a head.

After a few weeks in AIT he got a three day weekend pass which allowed him to go legally off the base and he used that time to come up to Boston, or really Cambridge because what he was looking for was help to file an conscientious objector application and he knew the Quakers were historically the ones who would know about going about that process. That is ironically where Susan Rich comes in again, although indirectly this time, since Frank went to the Meeting House on Brattle Street where they were doing draft and G.I. resistance counseling and Susan was a member of that Meeting although she had never met him at that time. He was advised by one of the Quaker counselors that he could submit a C.O. application in the military, which he had previously not been sure was possible since nobody told anybody anything about that in the military, when he got back to Fort Dix but just then, although they were better later, the odds were stacked against him since he had already accepted induction. So he went back, put in his application, took a lot of crap from the lifers and officers in his company after that and little support, mainly indifference, from his fellow trainees. He still had to go through the training, the infantry training though and although he had taken M-16 rifle training in basic he almost balked at continuing to fire weapons especially when it came to machine guns. He didn’t balk but in the end that was not a big deal since fairly shortly after that his C.O. application was rejected although almost all those who interviewed him in the process though he was “sincere” in his beliefs. That point becomes important later.

Frank, although he knew his chances of being discharged as a C.O. were slim since he had based his application on his Catholic upbringing and more general moral and ethical grounds. The Catholic Church which unlike Quakers and Mennonites and the like who were absolutely against war held to a just war theory, Vietnam being mainly a just war in the Catholic hierarchy’s opinion. But Frank was sincere, more importantly, he was determined to not go to war despite his hawkish family and his hometown friends,’ some who had already served, served in Vietnam too, scorn and lack of support. So he went back up to Cambridge on another three day pass to get some advice, which he actually didn’t take in the end or rather only partially took up  which had been to get a lawyer they would recommend and fight the C.O. denial in Federal court even though that was also still a long shot then.

Frank checked with the lawyer alright, Steve Brady, who had been radicalized by the war and was offering his services on a sliding scale basis to G.I.s since he also had the added virtue of having been in the JAG in the military and so knew some of the ropes of the military legal system, and legal action was taken but Frank was one of those old time avenging Jehovah types like John Brown or one of those guys and despite being a Catholic rather than a high holy Protestant which is the usual denomination for avenging angels decided to actively resist the military. And did it in fairly simple way when you think about it. One Monday morning when the whole of AIT was on the parade field for their weekly morning report ceremony Frank came out of his barracks with his civilian clothes on and carrying a handmade sign which read “Bring the Troops Home Now!”

That sign was simply but his life got a lot more complicated after that. In the immediate sense that meant he was pulled down on the ground by two lifer sergeants and brought to the Provost Marshal’s office since they were not sure that some dippy-hippie from near-by New York City might be pulling a stunt. When they found out that he was a soldier they threw him into solitary in the stockade.

For his offenses Frank was given a special court-martial which meant he faced six month maximum sentence which a panel of officers at his court-martial ultimately sentenced him to after a seven day trial which Steve Brady did his best to try to make into an anti-war platform but given the limitation of courts for such actions was only partially successful. After that six months was up minus some good time Frank was assigned to a special dead-beat unit waiting further action either by the military or in the federal district court in New Jersey. Still in high Jehovah form the next Monday morning after he was released he went out to that same parade field in civilian clothes carrying another homemade sign “Bring The Troops Home Now!” and he was again manhandled by another pair of lifer sergeants and this time thrown directly into solitary in the stockade since they knew who they were dealing with by then. And again he was given a special court-martial and duly sentenced by another panel of military officers to the six months maximum.

Frank admitted at that point he was in a little despair at the notion that he might have to keep doing the same action over and over again for eternity. Well he wound up serving almost all of that second six-month sentence but then he got a break. That is where listening to the Quakers a little to get legal advice did help. See what Steve Brady, like I said an ex-World War II Army JAG officer turned anti-war activist lawyer, did was take the rejection of his C.O. application to Federal District Court in New Jersey on a writ of habeas corpus arguing that since all Army interviewers agreed Frank was “sincere” that it had been arbitrary and capricious of the Army to turn down his application. And given that the United States Supreme Court and some lower court decisions had by then expanded who could be considered a C.O. beyond the historically recognized groupings and creeds the cranky judge in the lower court case agreed and granted that writ of habeas corpus. Frank was let out with an honorable discharge, ironically therefore entitled to all veterans’ benefits but with the stipulation that he never go onto a military base again under penalty of arrest and trial. Whether that could be enforced as a matter of course he said he did not want to test since he was hardily sick of military bases in any case. 

So where does Bob Dylan’s Masters of War come into the picture. Well as you know, or should know every prisoner, every convicted prisoner, has the right to make a statement in his or her defense during the trial or at the sentencing phase. Frank at both his court-martials rose up and recited Bob Dylan’s Masters of War for the record. So for all eternity, or a while anyway, in some secret recess of the Army archives (and of the federal courts too) there is that defiant statement of a real hero of the Vietnam War. Nice right? 

 Here is what had those bloated military officers on Frank’s court-martial boards seeing red and ready to swing him from the highest gallows, yeah, swing him high.

Masters Of War-Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
’Til I’m sure that you’re dead

Copyright © 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music