Just before his eighty-ninth birthday, my father was watching a Viagra commercial on TV. It ends with the warning, â€œIf an erection persists for more than four hours, contact your doctor.â€
He called up his clinic and got the nurse. Heâ€™d taken some Viagra, he said, more than four hours ago and his erection still wouldnâ€™t go away.
â€œMr. Palast, you shouldnâ€™t have done that! Youâ€™ll have to get to the emergency room immediately.â€
â€œI canâ€™t go,â€ he said. â€œI havenâ€™t shown all the neighbors yet.â€
In 1930, when my father was an eight-year-old kid in Chicago, he askedÂ his older brother why people were outside in the cold snow waiting in a longÂ line. His brother Harold said, â€œItâ€™s a bread line. They donâ€™t have anything toÂ eat. …more
It’s been a good week. Robert McNamara’s dead and my book, Armed Madhouse, was released in translation in Vietnam.
I don’t blame McNamara for losing the war in Vietnam. After all, the good guys won. I do, however, blame him for losing World War II.
In 1995, in Chicago, veterans of Silver Post No. 282 celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their victory over Japan, marching around a catering hall wearing their old service caps, pins, ribbons and medals. My father sat at his table, silent. He did not wear his medals.
He had given them to me thirty years earlier. I can figure it exactly: March 8, 1965. That day, like every other, we walked to the newsstand near the dime store to get the LA Times. He was a Times man. Never read the Examiner.
He looked at the headline: U.S. Marines had landed on the beach at Danang, Vietnam. …more