Friday, December 26, 2014

Reinaldo A. Castro, 1940-1967

My daughter, home for the Holiday, ran with me early this morning. And it was cold, cold, cold. There was frost on the bouganvillea as we started down the driveway.

It was nice to have a running partner. She has made this run with me before, and twice we have spotted a fox just before he/she sprang back into the bushes along the blacktop trail that follows the creek. I haven't seen the fox in a couple of months.

This morning we found a gray-haired gentleman, whose kindness is misguided, putting food out for the feral cats that slink on and off the trail. I asked him if he had ever seen the fox. He said he had and also "two of those wild dogs."

"You mean coyotes?" I asked as I backpeddled my way on the path, not sure exactly what he meant.

"Yeah... those."

Still not sure that's what he was describing.

This run was for Reinaldo A. Castro.

If you're wondering why Twisselman is running for these men who died in the Vietnam War, check out the blog entry here that explains it.

Reinaldo A. Castro

U.S. Marine Sergeant Castro was from Pacific Grove. I could find no photo of Reinaldo. The photo here is the best I can do... a shot of his name at the memorial. The entry below, an eye-witness account, was made on his page at

On April 27, 1967 a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter UH-34D tail number 148071 lost power and crashed into the sea after take-off from the aft platform of a navy ship positioned off the shore of Vietnam. Troops aboard the aircraft included LCP Richard H. Dallas, SGT Reinaldo A. Castro, LCP James A. Benton, LCP Blenn C. Dyer, PFC Samuel W. Osborne Jr., and LCP Ronald K. Pennington. All drowned and their remains were never recovered. The following are comments made by an eyewitness to the incident: “Years have passed, but I remember this incident clearly. I watched the bird take off, dip its blades, and then hit the ship. The aircraft sank fast. Navy crew members of ship ran out with M-1 rifles to keep any sharks off survivors if they came. Saw only a few crew members swimming and no grunts. We were loaded down with full gear and ammo for the operation ahead.” By Michael L. Meeker, Marine Infantry, 1 Bn/3rd Marines [Narrative taken from]

Thursday, December 25, 2014

James C. Carlson, 1947-1968

Christmas morning, and I got out of the house at 5:45, probably just following Saint Nick. It's finally feeling like winter, or at least winter in Central California, and I wished I had my gloves... fingers were getting prickly from the cold. I got up to the Memorial before the sun came up. Only one of the three decorated trees was lit; the smallest one, but it gave out a bright light. 

The run this morning was for James C. Carlson, listed as being from Salinas, but he was probably originally from Tennessee.

If you're wondering why Twisselman is running for these men who died in the Vietnam War, check out the blog entry here that explains it.

James C. Carlson

U.S. Army PFC for whom an entry was made on his page at

"From his High School yearbook: Working on cars and motorcycles is Jim's favorite pastime, and he is an active participant in the T. & I. Club. His talent in art will probably lead him to study in that field at M.T.S.U." - Ken Neely

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pepito Caguimbal, 1947-1966

The afternoon shadows were long yesterday when I started my run. The sun was low over the Santa Lucias off to the west. I ran through the Safeway parking lot and picked up the trail that runs along the north side of the Twin Creeks golf course, a broken piece of blacktop that winds its way to Laurel Drive. The branches of trees along Gabilan Creek are starting to drop their leaves in earnest now -- late in the year, but it's been a strange few years, weather-wise, confusing nature and its cycles -- and little makeshift tent and tarp shanties set up on the creek are being revealed. I hadn't realized I'd been running just a few yards from folks' humble abodes.

When I got to the Memorial, I took note of the three fir trees that have been decorated with Christmas lights and ornaments. One or more volunteers have added a touch of the Season to the hill.

This run was for Pepito Caguimbal of Castroville.

If you're wondering why Twisselman is running for these men who died in the Vietnam War, check out the blog entry here that explains it.

Pepito Caguimbal

U.S. Army PFC Caguimbal was from Castroville. This tribute was made on his page at

"I am a sophomore a Gridley High School. For a History assignment we were assigned to post remembrances for those who died serving our country in the Vietnam War. I believe all the soldiers who died for my freedom deserve recognition. This remembrance is for Pepito Caguimbal. Thank you for your devotion to America and for your commitment in securing a bright future for me. Your commitment and sacrifice are priceless. Thanks again and God Bless."- Marie Shank

Monday, December 22, 2014

Robert L. Bennett, 1947-1969

Made a mid-day run on this sunny December day. This run was for Robert L. Bennett of Salinas, who died in Binh Long province.

If you're wondering why Twisselman is running for these men who died in the Vietnam War, check out the blog entry here that explains it.

Robert L. Bennett

U.S. Army Specialist for whom an entry was made on his page at

"My mother was married to Robert and was scheduled to go visit him on R&R but never got that chance. His death rocked my mom to the core and I don't believe that she ever got over her first love. I try to make it a point to take care of his headstone for his mom (who we lost last year) and for all veterans." - Janet Wohlgemuth

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Monterey County Vietnam Veterans Memorial

On Thanksgiving morning three weeks ago I took my run, heading out before the sun came up. I planned on a route I've done many times; one that is six miles long and takes me through Natividad Creek Park. It's a good length and always puts me in a right frame of mind when I finish.

That particular morning, at the 2-1/2 mile mark, something drew me up the hill off Laural Drive, toward the Regional Occupational Program site.
Before one gets to the ROP, on the hill off to the left sits the Monterey County Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I was drawn to it as the sun broke over the Gabilan range to the east of Salinas. Before heading back down the hill and completing my run, I reflected on the day and on the departed souls represented on this spot.

This was not my first visit to the Memorial but probably my fourth or fifth time there. No matter how one feels about our country's 20th century involvement there -- support, condemnation, or indifference -- there can be only respect and reverence for those Americans who gave their last full measure in the conflict: over 58,000 U.S. military casualties, more than 5,500 of those coming from California, and 78 whose names are on the Monterey County Memorial.

Since that morning, I have made the run/visit to the Memorial five more times, and I have decided to dedicate each six-mile run on that route to a name listed there. The run helps me make each name more than just etchings on marble. Each name represents a person who lived and died and should be remembered.

Below are the names of the first six names on the Memorial. Biographical info and pictures, if available, are from,, and other places on the web. You may notice that the list below, and in the blog entries to come, is not in true alphabetical order, but this is the order in which they appear at the memorial.

Please check out the official website for the Monterey County Vietnam Veterans Memorial at for information on the building of the Memorial and the people responsible for erecting it. A lot of good information and photos of the Memorial there.

I will be running in the name of each of the other 72 persons. As I complete each run I will be posting their names, photos, and any other info I might find in subsequent entries in this blog.

Frank G. Antone

Frank Antone was born on June 10, 1946, in Hersbruck, Germany. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on December 6, 1965, and completed basic training at Naval Training Center San Diego, California, in February 1966. SA Antone next served aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) from March to April 1966, followed by Underwater Demolition Team training with Naval Amphibious School Pacific at Naval Base Coronado, California, from April to August 1966. He served as a UDT Diver with UDT 11 in the United States, aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Ogden (LPD-5), at Subic Bay in the Philippines, and in Okinawa from August 1966 to July 1967, and then with SEAL Team ONE at Naval Base Coronado from July to November 1967. SN Antone's final assignment was with SEAL Team ONE in South Vietnam, where he served from November 1967 until he was killed in action on December 23, 1967. Frank Antone was buried at El Carmelo Cemetery in Pacific Grove, California.

Alton E. Baker

Alton E Baker from California had the rank of Private First Class in the U.S. Army when he was a casualty on 11/01/1965. This occurred in Republic of Vietnam. Private First Class Baker was enlisted as Active Duty Army as Light Weapons Infantry Army . Casualty circumstances were attributed to " Small Arms Fire

And this comment on his page at "Alton was a true hero on November 1, 1965. We captured a full field hospital. I was the medic for A Troop which Alton was in. During the course of the fire fight Alton was hit in the hip and couldn't move even though he was very alert. Alton was one of the guys I carried back to the rear. I carried Alton back to the creek or river bed and put him down jumped down the embankment to pull him over and he got hit in the chest right next to my hand. To this day I think about Alton every day - a true hero and a wonderful person. I have been looking for his parents since I returned but to no avail." --Jay "Doc Hock" Hockenbury

Richard L. Barbee

Couldn't find any bio info for Sgt. Barbee, but here's an entry to his page at

"Rick, it is finally done. I promised Jeannie I would get your picture on wall. Have been trying for years. The Army would never answer any of my requests, but 2 people I don't know worked and got it. Bob from Yuba City and Collette from Salinas . What a wonderful thing they did. I know your Mom is so happy. Rest in peace."

Richard L. Buckles

U.S. Army Captain for whom I could find little except this excerpt from

"Richard and I were kids that played together on Kentucky St. in Bakersfield. The years were 1945 to 1947. As I recall, his dad was Ronald Buckles and was an officer in the Army at the time. Richard is the only person I know of as an acquaintance that died in Vietnam. A memory from the time is when we were throwing dirt clods at each other and I threw one in his direction and he ducked. The clod broke their garage window. My defense when asked why I broke the window was 'if he hadn't ducked, I wouldn't have hit the window,'" - Jim Rutter

John L. Bowen

From an entry on his page at

"He is my brother, my best friend growing up. He protected me, gave me advice, listened, entertained me by singing or playing the piano, what he called the 'Boogy Woogy'. He played any musical instrument you gave him. My dad handed him the pick to his Fender Steel Guitar and when John played it my dad walked out of the room, evidently the steel guitar is very difficult to master. He was a terrific pitcher for the High School Mustangs. John had lots of friends and was/is loved by many." -Sandy Bowen Evanko

Cecil O. Bundage

U.S. Army Platoon Sergeant for whom I could find little except this excerpt from

"I think of you and the others from that day often. It is etched in my memory like it was yesterday. The picture does not do you justice but it is the only one I can find right now. Though not with us long you gained the respect of us all." - Bob Witsaman

So it's December 20, and I've made six runs... each in the name of one of these men above. I have taken to running the walkway star at the Memorial twice: once to honor the man from the day before; and again to note the name of the next man.

I'm not a fast runner, and these 60-year-old legs can't make the run every day, so this tribute may take awhile, but I'm determined to complete it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower

October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969.

Ike was president when I was born, serving in that office from 1953 to 1961.

One of the more famous speeches by any president is Ike's farewell speech in 1961, when he warned:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Some trivial bits of information...
- He was the only bald president in the 20th century.
- He supposedly smoked four packs of cigarettes a day before quitting under doctors' orders.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chester A. Arthur

Chester Alan Arthur (October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886) served as U.S. President number 21 from 1881 to 1885. He was never elected to any public office, moving into the Top Dog post after James Garfield was assassinated, six months into the job. It appears that he didn't like the position all that much, in that he mounted a very lackluster campaign in the 1884 election.
He did, however, earn some accolades. Mark Twain once wrote, "[I]t would be hard indeed to better President Arthur's administration." Or should that be taken as a back-handed compliment?
The dude had some amazing facial hair. I couldn't find any instance where he and Ambrose Burnside (to whom the term 'sideburns' is supposedly attributed) ever met during their stints as generals during the Civil War, but they both sported some crazy cheek fuzz. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Illustration Friday: Silence

Almost 10 years ago I discovered a cool site... It's a place where a word... abstract or concrete... is given as a challenge for folks to visualize in art. The art can be digital or traditional. Really the only requirement is that you have a blog or webpage on which to post the art and to which a link is provided at IF's site.

Back in 2005, and for a couple of years after, I posted links to my other blog,, darned near every week taking on the topic of the week, and it was my introduction to a form of social media. Folks would comment on the various blogs, and for a time little support cliques sprouted up here and there, and it was all very cool.

It's probably still very cool, and please don't take this as a trite little muse of melancholy. In 2008 or '09 real life got very busy for me, and my submissions to IF dropped off to only one or two a year. I still check the topic of the week and browse. But I've lost touch with most of the folks who used to comment on my stuff and on whose stuff I would comment. The newer format has made it a little harder to follow folks, I feel. I imagine there are still groups of folks who check in on each other, and it's good to see the site thriving.

So, all that said, and looking over it, it probably needn't have been said. Doesn't really say anything. But it would take too much effort to go back, highlight it, and delete it. Maybe that notion of deletion dovetails well with the subject this week... silence. This week's IF topic is here, and I'll post it.

Peace to all, and don't go deaf.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. (Birchard) Hayes, 19th President of the U.S, serving from 1877 to 1881.... another of those bearded folks from the 1800s. I didn't know a lot about this fellow. He only served one term, by his choice. Found out on Wikipedia that he served in the Civil War, starting as an officer and ending up a major general. He was a brave and daring soldier and was wounded five times in that conflict.

From apple4the I gleaned these things from the list of 'facts and trivia.'

"- Hayes thought he lost the election because his Samuel Tilden had more popular votes. Hayes had more electoral votes. Congress appointed a special committee to decide the winner. Hayes won by one electoral vote.
- Hayes gave Southern states more say in the government, however they passed laws that took rights away from former slaves.
- Hayes rallied for equal education for African American children.
- Hayes was the first president to have a telephone in the White House. Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the phone) installed it and gave it the phone number "1."
- The first Easter Egg Roll was held in 1878 on the White House lawn with President and Mrs. Hayes.
- President Hayes had a lot of pets in the White House: Jersey cows, 5 kittens, 5 dogs, 5 birds, a goat, and several horses."

I'm a little late posting this... His birthday is today (born October 4, 1822, died January 17, 1893). And Chester Arthur's b'day is tomorrow! October is a busy month for presidential birthdays...Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and John Adams are still to come. Side note: someone with aspirations for the top office has an October birthday... Hillary. Of course, she hasn't announced yet, but I don't think there's going to be any surprise when she gives her decision.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

Time to post the 3rd in the series of U.S. Presidents' caricatures. This one was another fairly easy guy to draw.

Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer who was elected as Governor of Georgia in 1971. A well-meaning public official, I don't think he was ready for prime-time in politics when he was elected President in 1976.

His contributions to the welfare of his fellows on this planet... through Habitat for Humanity and his peace efforts... earned him the Nobel Peace Price in 2002.

He's been fairly critical of presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat, in his later years.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Illustration Friday: Radio

TRAVUS T. HIPP, 1937-2012

There was once an FM radio station in Gilroy, California called KFAT, and it played... well, how would you describe it? Progressive country? Alternative rock? Yeah, that, and a whole lot more. Listening to that station in the late 70s and early 80s is how I first learned of Travus T. Hipp (aka: Chandler Laughlin).

But he had been part of the Bay Area radio scene since 1960... at KSAN, KHIP, KZAP and other places behind call letters.

KFAT became KPIG in the late 80s, and station headquarters relocated over the hill in Freedom, just east of Santa Cruz. KPIG is still in business, and the music is still good, with a mix that guarantees it a preset button on my radio dial.

Travus remained a part of KPIG until his death in 2012, phoning his political commentaries in from Silver City, Nevada. He gave listeners 'all the news you never knew you needed to know--until now.'

William Howard Taft

This guy, William Howard Taft, was the 27th U.S. President. He was born on September 15, 1857, and he will be the subject of the masthead on the 15th of this month, in my ongoing effort to produce a caricature of every person to serve that post and highlight them on their birthday.

Taft was the only man to serve as both a U.S. President and a Supreme Court Chief Justice.

He was a large dude, tipping the scales at around 340 during his presidency. Within a year of leaving office, however, he was able to drop 80 pounds.

He had a pretty epic moustache, too.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Grammar Illustrated

Cover spread for Grammar Illustrated
 The book Grammar Illustrated, by Janelle Melvin, published by Fountainhead Press, and illustrated by yours truly, is published and in students' hands, I believe.

Janelle has had this concept of teaching English grammar through visual examples, using photographs primarily, for several years now. She felt that she could transfer that concept into an instructional book form. She got together with me, and we worked for several months to get her vision onto the printed page. There are over 200 full page comic book style layouts and illustrations.

This is the first printing of the first edition, and it will be interesting to see, as it gets used in practical application in the classroom, if there should be changes forthcoming for a second edition.

All in all, an interesting and rewarding experience for me.
Detail of one of the Pronouns pages

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Starting tomorrow, August 27th, I'm really going to get serious about updating the header on the TwissArts website. I want it to highlight something different for each day... a quote, a special holiday, or the anniversary of some event in history.

That leads conveniently to the start of a personal project; one that will be a full year in development.

As I've always been interested in U.S. History and, by extension, its Presidents, I am planning on doing caricatures of each of those folks, starting with LBJ for tomorrow. I may have started with one of the easiest to caricature... his ears, nose, and chin are all pretty distinctive.

Only one President has a birthdate in September. So check the masthead on September 15 to see if I've tackled William H. Taft, biggest of the big boys of the capitol. October will be the biggest challenge, in that more Presidents have been born in that month than in any other.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Had the great pleasure of designing the new label for Fog's End California Moonshine, distilled by the Salinas Valley's own Craig Pakish. The photo is from Kirk Kennedy's library of images.

Very smooth spirits made for sipping.