office photo of me 10:24:13

Welcome to my blog

I’m Larry Beck but I use the pen name of lb woodgate for my blog.

This blog allows me to express views, often socially progressive in nature, to discuss an array of issues.  Some serious, others not so much.

I hold a B.A. from the University of North Texas (big whoop) where I majored in Sociology and minored in Political Science.  Yes, I have “palled around” with academics.

I served a stint in the Marine Corps back in the latter part of the 60’s and did a tour of duty in Vietnam, getting there one month before the Tet offensive exploded.  I saw the best and worst of people as a Marine and value the time, comradery and experiences I had but knew before my first and only enlistment was up that I was not meant for such a regimented life.  I am grateful that after going in as a kid I came out a bit more mature.

Pretty much everything interests me but I tend to focus on political and environmental science, religion, and elder issues.

I welcome any and all who share similar concerns and even those who don’t.  All I ask is that you keep it civil.  Respectful conversation, tolerance and a willingness to learn outside the box is what strengthens us as individuals and as a people.  Or at least it seems that way.

53 responses to “About

  1. I am also surrounded by conservatives (or, at least, Republicans) in Kansas, although there is a pocket of intelligent life in Johnson County, where I live.

  2. Hi Larry. I came across your comments on John Zande’s page. It seems we share similar views on multiple fronts, so I popped over here. Great stuff. I look forward to reading your work. By the way, Semper Fi, Devil. Good to see a fellow Marine on WordPress.

  3. Hi Larry- I, like Doug Dawkins , served with A Battery, !st LAAM Bn on hill 724 at Hai Van Pass from 10/66-11/67. I ran the supply function on the hill there for part of that time. When were you there? Have you been in touch with other Marines who served on 724? please do consider attending our reunion, or at least share you story, so we can relate it to others who attend. Semper Fi! brother. Ken Bruno

    • Ken, it appears that both you and Doug were stationed on 724 before I got to Vietnam which was early December, 1967. After sleeping just off of the DaNang airstrip where we were dropped off on a late incoming flight, I was picked up by a truck dispatched from 1st LAAM Bn “A” and taken to my new post. I was there for about a month when the Tet offensive broke out.

      We received incoming rounds for two nights with the heaviest fire on the first night. Some NVA regulars came up the east side of the mountain and tossed satchel charges at the missal launchers located there but did very little damage. Unfortunately for one of them, a young NVA officer was killed from shrapnel of the 16” explosives fired from the USS New jersey which was in the DaNang harbor at the time. The infantry unit stationed with us found his body on the other side of the perimeter wire the next day when they swept the hill for any other potential threats to our security.

      We had a couple of wounded, none severe, and the targets that they were apparently going for missed their mark. One of the targets was the generators that supplied power not only to our living facilities but to the BCC, radar and missal launchers. This sticks in my mind so vividly because about a week before we were hit I was walking down the gravel road from the command post cabin near the top of the hill heading back to my bunker assignment for that night near the living quarters below. As I was meandering down that road when a shawowy figure bolted across the road about 20 ft. in front of me. Startled just a little bit it crossed my mind that this was some huge animal. I recall even thinking it looked like a kangaroo. How odd since none inhabit that part of the world.

      It was only after we were hit and we could see that they were targeting the generators that it dawned on me what I saw was likely a human being, an NVA recon observer who had breached our perimeter to explore the hill to see where valuable targets lay. When he ran past me on the road that night he was coming from the area where the generators were located. Had there been a full or partial moon that night I would have better identified my shawdowy figure and, having my rifle with me and a magazine in it locked and loaded, I may have gotten off a few rounds.

      When we did get hit a week later I was at post #5, next to the shower hooch, near the bottom of our base camp. I was asleep at the time and my partner came scurrying down from the top where we stood watch and shook me to alert me of the incoming rounds. I threw on my boots and grabbed my rifle. I remember panicking just a little because I had only brought one magazine with me. Before Tet most of us never imagined we would be attacked so we were slack in our preparation for guard duty.

      I was able to get both flares off from our ammo box out of the bunker aperture. I recall hating that we had no more than two and wondered why no one else seemed to be setting theirs off. Later I was informed by the infantry unit commander that it was best to avoid lighting up the hill to give the VC a better view of what was going on. I don’t recall getting that information.

      I felt unsafe in my bunker once the shelling had stopped and began to imagine that enemy troops would be assaulting us. That bunker was a sitting target for a rocket or hand grenade tossed into the aperture. So I hustled outside about 10 yards away behind a big boulder where I could get a good view of the slope below me. As I was perched there I heard someone hustling down from the area from the where the mess hut was located and was able to see it was one of the guys who bunked in the same hooch with me. He had his rifle in his hand and no helmet. Turns out he brought no ammo either and we both laughed about it later.

      For some reason I had the presence of mind to play a little scare tactic on him as he bolted toward our bunker, yelling out “Halt, who goes there!” Under these conditions I’m sure he thought I would have fired at him so he started screaming “don’t shoot” and yelling out his name. He couldn’t see me as I sat there chuckling at the fear he was exhibiting knowing damn well I would have reacted in the same way had the situation been reversed.

      Later, as the sun started coming up and it was clear that the VC were not going to waste man-power on our position I became aware how much my feet were killing me. It was at that time I realized that earlier in the excitement of being attacked that I had put both boots on the wrong feet and wore them like that for the last 2-3 hours. Clearly adrenaline flow at high rates can supersede minor aches and pains.

      We never experienced any further attacks after the second night but we were a bivouac area for several Army (101st Airborne) and Marine combat units on their way North where the heavy fighting at Hue and Khe Sanh was going on. It was later discovered that the larger hill adjacent to us on the west side was heavily fortified by the VC and where they found a pretty sophisticated field hospital. It was terrifying to watch the napalm attacks on this hill. Unlike some who watched with me I remember not feeling the inclination to cheer on this brutal attack realizing that other humans may be underneath it all.

      I was just a kid of 18 while there but I remember after seeing some of the horrors of war for the first time then and in the months to come, my entire attitude changed from one of a gung-ho Marine to something of an anti-war advocate. That sensation only became more pronounced when I returned to the states in late December, 1968.

      I got an early out since my MOS as a radar operator was considered non-critical so not only did I leave Vietnam behind me when I arrived home but I left the Corps too. As I have stated on tis page, the experiences had in the Marine Corps were unique and memorable. The comaraderie I experienced as a jar head will be with me always.

      I wish I could be there for the reunion in May but I suspect I will most likely not. Please feel free to share what I have provided for you here and if you run into a guy from Oklahoma named Doug Graybill who palled with me while stationed on 724, give him my best regards. There was also a member of the infantry unit stationed with us that I became friends with named Robert House that I wouldn’t mind seeing again either so if he makes it there let him know I was thinking of him.

      I hope both you and Doug stay in touch and do let me know how the reunion went.

  4. When you called your ISP and asked them if there was a more economical plan, what did they say? (from TGB comment 5/17/14)
    Love your blog! I’m signed up for e mail delivery.

    • Verizon is too big too negotiate prices. It’s either take it or leave it. I’m just trying to get a feel if a deal with Direct satellite will give me the speed and service I need.

      Thanks for signing up to follow my blog. I love the landscape paintings on your site.

  5. I’m one of 24.6% of the people in the Nebraska 3rd Congressional District who didn’t vote to send the same Republican back to Congress where he served in the worst and second worst Congresses in history for what was accomplished. He voted straight party line, meaning for the 2012 shutdown, all 55 attempts to end/alter the Affordable Health Care Act, for the Keystone pipeline across the environmentally sensitive Sandhills of Nebraska, and…I think I’m going to be sick!!!

    Anyway, I look forward to reading a progressive voice from a state I see as not so much so. It will give me hope.

    • Welcome to my red state world weggieboy. Here liberals and Democrats are equal in status to the devil so, though most conservatives hate their Republican legislators, they would self-inflict the same wound every election cycle rather than to consider that their unfounded views about the left are out of touch with reality.

  6. Larry,

    I can’t find a way to get a hold of you privately, and I fear you won’t message me back if I ask you to. So, forgive me.

    I just found out that our friend Cheryl, Spinny Liberal, has passed away. I’ve been bantering back and forth with Kendrick lately over them Cowboys and I decided to look up a few of the old WordPress friends and I came across the news that Cheryl died several months ago.

    I didn’t know if you knew or even if you know what happened. But regardless, please contract me. terrance@siftingreality.com

    • My apologies Keith. I pulled the toon from google images. I am not able to pay the $20 so I have pulled it from my post on the TPP. In the future I will make sure not to post anything on my site of yours without first notifying you.

      Your work btw is top notch. I do my blog with ads so I don’t have the revenue to pay for such excellent work though I have used a couple of sites where if it really fits my post theme I am able to purchase them for under $10. Should you drop your price range to this level I would probably be more in the market for such work. Again, my sincere apologies.

  7. Hi IB;
    I understand and 10. bucks works for me. You can use the donation button on my http://www.whatnowtoons.com website and I will be notified. When you re post it I would appreciate a link to this website below the art work. The kind of cartoons I draw are not in demand since the right owns most of the media. I’ve been offered national syndication “IF” I were to draw conservative cartoons, something I cannot do. So I plug along drawing when I can but I have to do other work to bring in money to live on. But even that is slow since companies can now go to other countries that pay artists less. These trade deals are only good for the big corporations.

  8. Hey, Woodgate! Haven’t heard from you in a while. I’m starting to get worried. At your age, you could drop dead at any second. You still alive? If so, please post something to let us know.

    Gotta keep track of of you old fossils. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” isn’t as funny now as it was 30 years ago, is it? 🙂

    • I’m still around SM. Not going to get rid of me that easy. I spend more time dealing with local matters here in Denton and have a separate blog that addresses important issues here.

      You can catch up with what I’m up to at DentonDoings.net

      • Good to hear you’ve still got only one foot in the grave, not two.

        But seriously dude. Especially at your age, you can’t go more than a couple of weeks without being heard from. I used to visit my grandmother every week just to make sure she wasn’t a rotting corpse on the living room floor. Post something every week just to let readers know you’re still alive. Anything, even a picture of you holding today’s newspaper and a demand for money…Or maybe even highlights from this Doing Dentonites kink you’re into.

        PS: I can’t post comments there. So, if I had anything relevant to say, I’d be kept frustratingly silent.

        PPS: Who’d ya vote for in the Texas Primary? Cruz? 🙂

      • I’ll see what I can do SM just keep you sane:-)

        Can’t understand why you can’t leave a comment on that local blog site. There’s a place for comments at the bottom and I have had people leave comments.

        Local politics are heating up here with city elections with a small crowd of revolutionaries going after the establishment hierarchy. Looks like we might take one of the two seats open this year. I’ll keep you apprised

        State wide I gave my primary vote to Sanders (of course) but will likely vote Green Party in the general if Hillary gets the Democratic nomination – which is looking pretty likely right now.. GOP will win Texas’ electoral votes so I might as well vote for someone who I really feel comfortable with.

      • You want to keep me sane? That would make you 1 against the 7 billion whose life-mission is to drive me insane. But thanks for the offer. 🙂

        The reason I can’t post comments on Doing Dentonites is that you need to “sign in” using a Google, LiveJournal, WordPress, OpenID, etc account. It does not allow for an “anonymous”, or simple screen-name, option as some sites do.

        I hate when websites do that because I don’t sign up for nothing! These accounts are mostly just meant to track you and gather information on you to sell to corporations, or Big Brother. I like to remain as off-the-radar as I can. I don’t give my e-mail address to anyone. I use an ISP masker and a bunch of other privacy programs. I wish I knew how to do more.

        The reason I can post on WordPress blogs is that all it asks to post a comment is an-email address. I give it a bogus one and it works. The accounts these websites demand you sign-in with usually require a real e-mail address or more.

        But on the plus side, the Denton website allows you to preview your comment before posting. I wish EVERY website did that. It would save me from making thousands of stupid errors, especially with HTML. Back when literacy still meant something, a “preview” was a pretty standard feature.

        In conclusion, good to know you’re not dead yet and will continue to post stuff on your blog, albeit at a slower pace. Until then, I may occasionally check out Doing Dentonites. It’s rare when a small, southern, hicktown makes international news…in a good way. It’s an interesting (Kamikaze) mission. Keep us updated.

  9. “It’s rare when a small, southern, hicktown makes international news…in a good way”

    Bite your tongue my man. We have a population currently of 123,000 with a projection of 175,000 sometime around 2020. One of the top ten fastest growing cities in the country too but that may not be the blessing it is often seen as. 😉

    • Growth is only good if you’re a cancerous tumour.

      My pitiful hick-town is larger than Denton, but everyone here acts like they’re the off-spring of cousins.

  10. Hi Larry,
    I had one of your blog entries bookmarked and just realized that I haven’t ‘seen you around’ since March. I hope all’s well with you and that you’ve just taken a break from blogging.
    – Carmen

    • I’m fine Carmen. Thanks for asking. Retired from blogging but still busy here locally with elections coming up and serving on my hometown’s Planning & Zoning Commission

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