Friday, June 22, 2018

This S**t has to stop!

     I refuse to look at the comments left after the posts re: the shooting of Antwon Rose. Either the incident itself or the protest.
     Because I know what a lot of them will say. It'll be a lot of nasty back and forth. Some of it will be borderline, if not outright racist. Enough dog whistling that even the deafest dog on the planet couldn't help but respond.
     A lot of rage, anger and foulness from both sides. I'm tired of it.
     And in the middle of it all. A scared young man caught up in a bad situation gunned down. And the 99.99% of us who weren't there will take up sides and lob verbal grenades at each other. 
     All along, two lives have been sacrificed. The young man, and the cop who shot him.
     One will never live to see his potential fulfilled.
     The other will have to live with his decision knowing that the life that was planned out for him will have changed permanently, most likely for the worse
      This f*****g insanity has to stop.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

2018 World Cup...zzzz

The World Cup starts next week and being that the US ain't in it, I personally don't care.  I don't even know how the groups are set up.        Which is the 'group of death'?
      And the fact that FIFA gave the tournament to Russia is a real turnoff. If you think that's bad, they gave the 2022 World Cup to friggin' Qatar. An insanely rich desert country with no soccer history and where it gets to 120 degrees in the shade during the time the World Cup is traditionally played. One wonders how many palms at FIFA were greased by Qatar to land that gig? 
      Put a gun to my head and ask me to pick a winner, I'd tell you to pull the trigger. I'll go with the safe bet of Germany and Brazil or Argentina in the final. And if the US were in it, depending on what group they would have ended up in, I would have predicted they'd have gotten out of the group stage, and either lost in the first or second knock-out round.
      I am more interested in the local side these days. The Hounds are in second place in their conference, our defense is playing lock-down, and we have two weeks to rest up, heal up and prepare for the long summer slog.  Now we just have to get the offense to get moving.  I'm pretty sure we can make the playoffs and get a home playoff game, but that's down the road aways. We keep playing the way we are and start jump-starting our offense, playoffs are a given.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Trump is about Trump

     Boys and Girls. If you learn one thing, learn this. Trump is neither a liberal nor a conservative. Trump is neither a Democrat nor a Republican.
     Trump does not give two shits about anything except Trump. Whatever gets him over, to use a wrestling term,  he is about. All he cares about is what people say about him and what he can say to make himself look good to others.              Doesn't make a difference what he says and to whom he says it. It is all about what makes him look good.
     He rewards and respects those who talk good things about him and makes him look like a big noise, and he punishes those who talk bad about him and make him look like a loser.
      Right now, he's got the Republican party digging his song and dance, but if parroting Democratic principles made them fawn all over him, he'd switch sides in a minute.
      And Democrats would fall in line behind him. Why does he inject himself into things that should have nothing to do with him?  Because he is a Mark 1 Mod 1 narcissist.  He only cares about himself. And if what he does helps others, that is gravy to him. A mere side effect. 
     Trump is about Trump, first, second and last. And the quicker the country learns this and acts accordingly, the better. #JustSayin

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Where Others Zig, I Zag.

What others reject, I embrace. I'll dance with the homliest girl at the party, and date her too. If I lived in Chicago, I'd choose the White Sox over the Cubs. When I lived in the Bay Area, I chose the A's over the Giants.
     I'd have bought the bumblebee Stiller throwbacks just because so many people hated them. I support Everton when everybody pulls for Liverpool. When the crowd zigs, I zag.         Whatever the cool kids flock to, I run from. I hung with the geeks, and those who had no clique to run with in high school. We made our own damn clique. 
      I celebrate what others turn away from. If I had the cash to buy a Stiller or Penguin jersey, I wouldn't get a Roethlisberger, Brown, Crosby, or Malkin jersey. I'd show love for the obscure players. Those who's name would have never been seen on the back of a fan. I once had a Stiller jersey  from Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala.  How obscure is that?
      I went to the college that was considered the 5th horse in a 4 horse race among Pittsburgh area D1 colleges. Yes, Robert Morris is a D1 college, as hard as it is for some of yinz to comprehend.  I don't do cool. I don't do trendy, anyone who's ever seen the way I dress can attest to that.
      Instead of going to some big honking megachurch with a staff listing resembling a Fortune 500 company that used live animals at their Christmas pageant, that pulls in an offering at one service what  my church pulls in a year, and where the pastor drives a Bentley, I go to a small, working Episcopal Church in Homewood where the pastor drives a Volkswagen. I don't follow crowds. I take the path less traveled.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

We Are America.

     Veterans are no different than the rest of America. We come in different shapes, sizes, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, political affiliations.
     We are America! The only difference is that we did what 93% of Americans didn't do. We put on the uniform, swore an oath, gave up a sizable amount of our rights, some of us gave up our lives as well to serve this country.
      Some saw combat, others waited in the wings. Some flew planes, drove tanks, carried a gun. Some drove ships, shot missiles and guns, some ran storerooms, cooked meals, others fixed sewer systems, took care of paperwork, made sure people got paid, healed the sick and pulled teeth.
      Some had jobs that were plastered on recruiting posters, and were the subject of thrillers and TV shows. Others did the grungy dirty work that supported the elites that went unnoticed.
      We all did our part. We worked long hours under dangerous conditions for crap pay. No one joins for the money. They join because in some way, they feel that this country, with all its flaws, weaknesses and problems is worth serving and defending.
        We're no different than any other American. No better, no worse. Our country called, we answered. That's the difference. The honor is ours to serve.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

RIP Coral Calloway

Two very rare things happening to me today. 1. I'm taking a personal day off. And 2. I'm going to a funeral. Folks who know me know that I rarely call off work. Unless it's weather related or I'm knocking on death's door, I don't take days off. I need the money.
     And I'm not really a funeral guy. The last funeral I went to was my eldest brother's and that was almost ten years ago. He was also the last of my close relatives to pass on. I have no parents, grandparents, or siblings left. Just little ol' me. 
     But this funeral is for someone who, while we butted heads more than a few times, I considered a friend. She was my Legion post's bartender, Coral Calloway. She ran our bar for a long time.
     By her admission, she was a piece of work. Headstrong, opinionated, said whatever was on her mind. She had no problem barring people. She barred her own sister, her best friend and your's truly for a couple weeks. Because of that I can count how many people she threw out on two hands with fingers left over.
     She ran a tight ship, but she loved a good party. Coral's idea of a good time was a bar full of people laughing and talking, drinks flowing, food on the table, and Earth, Wind and Fire on the jukebox.
    Coral loved all the Pittsburgh sports teams, but she especially loved the Steelers. She threw an annual Steeler party at the post where she put up black and gold all over the place and her voice was usually the loudest in the bar when the boys scored or when Big Ben threw a pick. She was not a fan of Ben Roethlisberger.
    I went to her viewing after work yesterday. There was a nice turnout of family and friends, the Legion was pretty well represented. And the funeral home did a good job laying Coral out. She was dressed in black and gold and her coffin was covered in Steelers gear. Just the way she would have wanted it. Her family is asking guests to wear black and gold to the funeral. Gives me a chance to break out my new Stiller jersey.
     Coral continued working for us-- for no pay, by the way. She was a volunteer-- despite enduring great physical pain and she'd foregone getting much needed surgery. She was stubborn like that. But she's feeling no pain now.  She's probably in Heaven cussing somebody out right now.  She had a mouth on her. But she was good people. She worked hard all her life, brought a lot of money into our bar, and it will be hard to replace her, if that's even possible. RIP Coral.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day 2018.

Being that today is Mother's Day, happy Mother's Day to all the women who've been graced with the greatest honor a woman can have.
     An honor that confers great joy and pride, but also comes with equal pain, sadness, frustration, craziness and a range of emotions. With this honor comes the unique privilege of raising offspring.
      The creating of life within yourself, seeing that life born, grow, live, and ultimately make a way for itself. As a man, I can never earn that title, but I can respect those who have.
     To those who have had the title of Mother bestown upon you, whether by accident or by design, you have my undying respect.
      I've told my story about my mother, the master gardener without portfolio, the church choir singer, the housekeeper, the numbers player, the fisherwoman, the one and only Lily Brice who shuffled off this mortal coil back in 1985. 
     I remember the day well. It was Father's Day, 1985. I was on the USS California, CGN-36. We were on a WestPac deployment in the Indian Ocean. I was getting ready to go to work, when I got a message to report to the chaplain's office. 
    When a sailor gets a message to see the chaplain, it means only one thing. Somebody died.  I go to the chaplain thinking it might have been my father, who was doing poorly.  I was shook when he told me that the Red Cross sent a message to the ship saying that Lily Brice had died.
     I did what any Mama's boy did. I cried my eyes out. Here was this badass, tatted up Shellback bawling like a school girl who found out his mother had passed on.  I dried my tears, got my emergency leave orders and left the ship that night.
      So began a 12,000 mile trip from the Indian Ocean over 4 days via 3 ships, 2 helicopters, 3 planes, with stops in: Diego Garcia; Philippines; Guam; Hawaii; Ontario, California;  San Francisco and finally, Pittsburgh.  I figured that I wouldn't get home in time to see the funeral, so I told the family to go on without me.
      So I never got to say goodbye to my mother.  I spent 30 days at home in mourning, and glad that I had a respite from deployment life. I eventually retraced my steps and made it back to the ship.
     But before I joined the service, a relative told me to make sure I took care of my mother.  I took that advice. I made sure a portion of my pay went home to my mother for her to use however she wanted. It was a significant dent in my check and I found myself broke between paydays a lot. I could have used that money I sent home, but I dared not take it back.
      Every month, she got $100 from me. I didn't know nor care what she used it for. It was my way of paying her back for all she did for me.
      She supported me in so many ways. She saw me off with tears in her eyes when the recruiter came to take me to the Federal Building for my induction. She came to my graduation from boot camp. She came to Newport News to witness the Vinson being commissioned. She even hung up on me when I told her that I was calling her from Fremantle, Australia and the call came close to $100. She bragged to her choir buddies when an Australian family who was escorting me around Perth contacted her to tell her what a nice and courteous son she raised. 
     I just wanted to make sure that she would be taken care of while I was gone.  And now I miss her 33 years on.
     Thank you, once again, Lily Brice. 1927-1985. Resquiat in Pacem.  And may light perpetual continue to shine upon you and the rest of your sons and daughter.
     Pray for your lone surviving son, that he may continue to live as you taught him, a life worthy of your approval.