• Category Archives Family
  • Googling Dad

    My Father, Joseph A.Litzler,  passed away at a very early age for both of us. He was a career Marine. A Drill instructor. The best way to explain to people what he did was to say Think of Lou Gossett Jr in an Officer and a Gentleman or better yet, Clint Eastwood in Heart Break Ridge. Seems like someone else uses the same analogy. It’s nice that while my father passed before the internet came to be that he has made his way there. Anyway here’s the quote i found about him.


    Sounds like an experience I had at NAS Pensacola in 1969, only I was the hapless ‘boot’ in charge of marching the rest of AOC/NAOC Class 3869.

    The drill instructor was there, grading me, as I marched my guys into an 8′ chain link fence adjacent to the parade ground. My Drill Instructor, Gunny Litzler…well, I was going to say he “took command” from me because he felt sorry for me – NOT. In his gutteral voice I think he muttered something very insulting designed to estimate your worth just shy of a Sand Flea.

    I withstood a lot of abuse and humiliation during those two weeks of Boot and sixteen weeks overall and after commissioning, I think I stared at my new uniform (Working Khaki’s and the Naval Officer’s crest on my piss-cutter) for about two hours before I hit the sack.

    I still remember Gunny Litzler the most (we had about three other Drill Instructors)because he was about the meanest looking guy I had ever seen, and a true Marine Professional. He looked about 100 years old and yet, you realized he could break you in two in a fair or dirty fight. At all of 5 feet 7 inches of him, I realized that the Gunny was the kind of man that kept America safe all these years. He may have been lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable, and dispised the ground I walked on, but I loved him for what he taught me – taught all of us – during that very challenging 16 weeks. I never knew how long I could hold an M-14 with outstretched arms, until September 16, 1969, but under Gunny Litzler, it was a lot longer than I’d ever expected. Think of a short Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge, or Jack Webb in the “DI”. That was Gunny Litzler.

    Forty-two years ago…and I can still see his face.

    Hand slute…Ready two!



  • Turning forty

    I had the great pleasure this past weekend of turning forty. In our youth centric world you would think this to be an odd statement. But then I am over the hill by your myspace, Mtv media driven society.   I remember when I turned 30 people telling me it was the new 20. The same people are now telling me that  40 is the new 20. Personally 40 is 40 and I love it.

    What made turning 40 so memorable was the the time, love and great pains that my amazing wife, family and friends took to make it so unforgettable. I was content to have a quiet time of it and not make a big deal out of the day. I’m not really a big fan of birthdays, but not for the aging reasons most people seem to have.

    I was prepared to do laundry, sand the dresser for the babies room and take care of some things around the house. This was fine as my wife had, just the day before already suprised me with an old school shave and hair cut at the Barbers lounge in Sf.  She went to drop me off and and a few of my friends were their waiting with a box -o- cup  wicked good cup cakes and beers in hand.  Afterward we had  drinks in the Mission, my old stomping grounds and had amazing tapas at Esperpento. I had forgotten how good their food is! All of this was also after having brunch with my dear friends Carolyn & John and their adorable two year old flirt of a daughter Maeve.

    Now you add this perfect day, to the fact that my wife had already knit me the most amazing hat and had surprised me on all counts, i needed nothing else. Well she and her co-conspirators were not quite finished.

    On the day of my birthday I had breakfast with my wife and sister at the Log Cabin in Albany. The plan was to go grocery shopping, look at a house, take care of the list of aforementioned chores and have a quiet relaxing day.  There was also the plan of having a “single drink” at my favorite place The Forbidden Island. Well My wifey, Leslie, invites my sister for come by the house later on in the day which surprised me, but set off no flags. Ok we’ll have a drink I’ll make dinner and still have a quiet evening. Nope

    After a series of events designed to throw me off a trail i didn’t know existed, we finally arrived at the Tiki bar.  As I left the well lit sunny street to the the dimly lit world of Tiki I was greeted with a deafening  “surprise”  before my eyes had even adjusted.  I had been gotten once again, two days in a row on a scale I would not have imagined possible.

    It took me about forty minutes to get through the initial hellos to everyone there. It meant a lot that everyone had not only gone to such lengths to suprise me, but they had all come out to celebrate the day with me.  Here I was surrounded by great friends at my favorite Tiki  bar with everyone drinking from peronalized “skillbilly” tiki mugs.  Even my birthday cake, made by Sugarcoatit Studio, was totally tiki! I was in Tiki Heaven.

    I have often heard people use the phrase “the measure of a man” refering to the status of their possesion and social status in society.  I have come to realize that the true measure of a man is his friends and family. It may have taken me forty years to realize it, but I am truely blessed with the best of both.