Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Flipping the script on Religion

Something I've been thinking about the last couple. The majority of Americans hold some kind of religious beliefs. Whether it's the God of the Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, or some other faith. I think the number is about 70 odd percent. But I may be wrong. 

But the number of people who identify as atheist, or agnostic, or simply non-religious or some variant is on the rise.  But let's flip the script. Say one day the majority of Americans no longer believe in God, or embrace some sort of religious beliefs. Say that number gets to about 70-80 percent.  Maybe higher. What happens to the minority of those who still hold to their beliefs. How will the majority treat them.

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of and from religion. But will the majority seek to change that? Will they try to eliminate those who practice religion? Will they shunt them off to the side and regard them as freaks to be laughed at and made fun of as unenlightened backward folk who refuse to put aside their superstitions and myths?  Or will they be allowed to still exist and be ignored, their houses of worship slowly moldering away as fewer and fewer people use them except for the odd wedding or funeral. Their religions allowed to become  more and more irrelevant.

I tend to think the latter. I think that sometime in the future, religion will become a thing of the  past. It'll still be around, but its relevance will be a shell of what it is now.  #JustSayin

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


In the middle of the big ocean, there be COVFEFE!! A lot of Covfeve. Beautiful Covfeve. Wonderful Covfeve, Winning Covfeve. The best Covfeve ever. The American people demand only the best and finest Covfeve. And we're gonna get Mexico to pay for the Covfeve.  Obama never gave us this much Covfeve, or this good Covfeve. I'm the only one who can give the American people this much wonderful Covfeve. Believe me, you'll get so much Covfeve, you get tired of winning all this Covfeve. I know more about Covfeve than the generals do.  Mexico isn't sending us their best Covfeve, they're send the Covfeve of rapists, murderers. We're only going to admit the best Covfeve. The finest Covfeve.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Patriotic Theater on teh Facebook.

So much patriotic theater on teh FB today. Everybody's getting their Star Spangled  indignation on. I just laugh.

So many problems this country is facing. Natural disasters, racial division, a health care  crisis, economic inequality, mistrust of law enforcement, an incompetent President heading an equally incompetent Congress, the possibility of war with North Korea, with China waiting in the wings, and people are getting their panties in a bunch over a group of football players kneeling at the playing of a song that has to be one of the worst national anthems ever created.

Give me America the Beautiful over the clusterf**k that is the Star Spangled Banner any day.

It's like one of those meetings where the participants spend most of their time passionately arguing over the color of the paper the agenda is printed on, rather than the subject of why they were meeting in the first place.

People swearing that failing to stand for the National Anthem will bring about the downfall of the republic. Nonsense.  Neither the flag nor the anthem are holy objects that must be worshipped. Honored, revered, respected, yes. But not worshipped.

In case you're wondering about how I react when subjected to the National Anthem.  When I'm at an event, and the national anthem is played, I stand, remove my hat, and reverence the flag. Sometimes I take advantage of a little- known clause in the National Defense Allocation Act signed by Pres.  Bush the Younger in 2008 that allows veterans to remain covered and salute the flag as if they were still in uniform. Either way when the song is over, I recover, give a salute to the flag, and sit back down. I do love this country, I'm proud of my service , as undistinguished as it was. I did what I did.

Understand one thing. In the oath that US military personnel take upon induction, there is only one thing that we are charged to support and defend...the Constitution. Not the flag, not the anthem.

Don't get it twisted. I respect the flag, I honor the flag,  I'm not a fan of the Star Spangled Banner, it's not my  choice of music for our National Anthem, but it is what we as a country decided on so I'll stand  for it.   But there is only one American institution that has earned the distinction of explicit support and defense by those who served in this country's Armed Forces. And that is the Constitution. The document that seals the rights of every American to peacefully protest against those things that bother them or that they feel is unjust. And I tend to think that police brutality against unarmed​ citizens in general, and Black people in particular falls under that category.

Colin Kaepernick said that when he first knelt at the anthem that his protest was about police brutality against Black people. He said that he was not disrespecting the military or vets until he was blue in the face.  But because he upset the apple cart by not standing like a real patriotic 'Murican, everyone jumped to the tired conclusion that he was disrespecting the flag, the veterans, military personnel, etc. I really do wish that people would stop using vets and military personnel to advance their political agenda. We're not a monolith, nor are we fetishes that must be handled with kid gloves. As many vets took a knee with Kaepernick as decried his actions.

But I don't get bent out of shape if someone chooses to kneel, or sit, or turn their back to the flag during the anthem. I don't get angry, or self righteous. It's none of my business. Your patriotism (or lack thereof) is none of my business. That is between you and your God or your conscience. I've got a helluva lot more important things that make my hair gray than what you do at the anthem.

If you choose to refuse to stand, because you feel your cause is just, God love you. That's what living in America is all about. The right to peacefully assemble and or protest. Emphasis on PEACEFUL. Kneeling at the National Anthem instead of standing qualifies as peaceful protest.

All I ask is that you be peaceful and don't try to FORCE me to accept your reasoning. Tell me politely how you feel and what drives you to take the action you take. I'll respectfully listen. I may not agree, but I owe you at least the opportunity to be heard.

I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said 'Wag More, Bark Less.'   I agree wholeheartedly.  We need to stop shouting and do more listening.  You don't have to agree, but I've never heard of anyone being hurt by listening. #JustSayin

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The swoon of the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates.

As for the recent swoon of the local base-ball club, I think that the players have mailed it in.

They won't admit that to a hot mike, but they've cashed out. And I'm also betting that more than a few of them are hoping that they'll be traded.

Or they're on the phone to their agent trying to figure out how to get the hell out of here. That whole Nicasio thing had to be the last straw for a lot of those guys. That and those four year extensions for Huntington and Hurdle. Though I don't really blame Hurdle. He has to dance with the coyote ugly girl NutJob et al set him up with.

And you know the players talk. And they have friends who play for other teams.  Friends who's contracts may be expiring. Friends who'll soon be free agents looking for some place to play next season. Friends who might ask their buddies on the Pirates what the climate and atmosphere and the management's philosophy is like at PNC Park.  And I'm pretty sure that current players will tell their free agent buddies to stay away from the Bucs should they come calling. 

Who I truly feel sorry for is the franchise player for the Pirates, one Andrew Stefan McCutchen. He is everything the fans love about baseball. A genuinely nice guy, a hard worker, came from a humble background, plays the game the right way. Loves the Bucs, loves the game, loves the fans. He, more than the other 24 guys on that roster deserves a shot at winning a title.  But I don't think he'll ever get that shot as long as he's wearing the Pirates' colors.  Not as long as Nutting, Coonnelly and Huntington are running this team.  I think it's time for 'Cutch' to take his talents elsewhere.  This team does not deserve him. This front office does not deserve him.  This owner does not deserve him.  And he does not deserve them.  You can bet that had the Steelers and the Penguins had a player of Cutch's caliber on their roster, they would not waste him like the Pirates had. Oh wait! They do, and they haven't

All of which tells me that the future of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club will be murky as long as the current management team of Nutting, Coonnelly and Huntington, (sounds like a two-bit law firm) are still knocking around Federal St.  The problem is, that they won't go away. They're like a rat infestation. You can't get rid of the owner. He's not interested in selling the team. As long as Nutting is making money off the Pirates, he'll bleed the team dry. Other than voting with their wallets and their feet, the fans have no clout. Attendance has dropped significantly since the 98 win season of 2015, a lot of fans have given up on the Buccos, but there are still enough people in town who are willing to put money in Nutting's wallet to enjoy a night out at the 'ol ballgame at America's Best Ballpark. Until those holdouts get disgusted enough with the product on the field to stay away, Nutting has no incentive to sell. 

Maybe if the Opening Day crowd next April was 15,000 instead of 38,000, maybe the front office might get the message, but the mystique of baseball always seems to win out. The quaintness and nostalgia of spring training, the crack of the bat, the slap of a fastball hitting a catcher's mitt. The smell of popcorn and new mown grass. All those things conspire to feed in the minds of baseball fans of teams like the Pirates that maybe, just maybe this is the year that the local base-ball club might get it all together.

Fans are starting to lose patience with the decisions this bunch of incompetents make and the constant diversions of PNC Park, bobbleheads, all you can eat sections, free t-shirt Fridays, fireworks,  and concerts featuring washed-up bands are wearing thin. While the other two major sports teams in town, the Steelers and Penguins are doing what they can to bring hardware to Pittsburgh, all the Bucs bring are excuses.

  It's too bad I don't drive and the Washington Wild Things weren't so far out in the sticks. I'd rather give them my time and money than the Pirates. It's not top of the line baseball. Most of the guys there have as much of a chance at making the big show as my finding a virgin in a frat house, but at least the management of that team is looking to compete and trying to win a title instead of pinching pennies and making lousy draft picks and excuses, and hiding behind the wonders of their ballpark.

Friday, September 15, 2017

City League Update Week 4

Coming into week 4, two of the teams expected to be the preseason favorites to hoist City League hardware this season are presently holding down the lower half of the table. Brashear is presently 0-2 in league play, while U-Prep is sitting at 1-1. What both teams have in common is losses to a high scoring 2-0 Allderdice squad. The Bulls fell to the 'Dice 35-13, while U-Prep lost to the Dragons last night 34-24.  The Dragons have scored 30+ points in three of their last four games, their two losses coming to Altoona in a 35-34 lid-lifter and a sloppy 35-19 loss to Wheeling Park. 

The 'Dice would be the highest scoring team in the league if it weren't for the Westinghouse Bulldogs. The Doggies have only played two games this far, but they piled on the points in both contests. They opened the season with a 61-0 non-league drubbing of Kingsman Academy out of Washington DC, and followed that up with a 38-0 shutout of Perry.  The Commodores, under the coaching of Perry and City League legend Rod Rutherford, have a 1-1 league record destroying Carrick 49-0 and then turning around and getting buried by Westinghouse.  Brashear opened their account with a 24-16 win over Franklin, PA and then lost two straight to 'Dice and U-Prep 26-7. The Wildcats of U-Prep opened their season with two devastating non-league losses: a 41-6 smacking at Hubbard(OH) and perennial Maryland powerhouse, Fort Hill came up to the South Side and destroyed U-Prep 75-8. 

Carrick, of course is still Carrick. The Raiders opened the season with three lopsided losses, 32-8 to Brentwood, 49-0 to Perry and 62-0 to Farrell. 

This being the City League, there are plenty of teams from outside the WPIAL and Pennsylvania who will either host or be hosted by City squads this season. Some are old standbys who've battled City teams for years like Linsly, Wheeling Park, Brooke, Wheeling Central out of West Virginia, Du Bois, Altoona, Hollidaysburg, Farrell, Hickory out of PA, Fort Hill out of Maryland, Steubenville, Bridgeport and Howland out of Ohio. A new team coming into town is South Park out of Buffalo, NY who'll be playing Perry at the George on Saturday afternoon. It's good to see some of these teams making the trip to Pittsburgh, it gives local fans the chance to see some new faces, although I guess that some City coaches also welcome the opportunity to travel to some places so their players get to see what a true high school football experience looks like, instead of the almost prison game atmosphere that City League games sometimes resemble. 

Upcoming action: Allderdice played last night, their next game is against Carrick next Thursday at 7.  Brashear takes on Westinghouse tonight at 7 and goes on the road to Hollidaysburg on the 22nd. Carrick travels to Linsly for a Saturday afternoon tilt and has Allderdice on the 21st. Perry battles South Park (NY) at home on Saturday at 5 and travels to Brooke (VA) on the 22nd. U-Prep travels to always powerful Steubenville (OH) on the 22nd. Westinghouse plays Brashear tonight and hosts Hickory on the 22nd.  No 3:30 game on the agenda this weekend.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

The Mark of a Good TV Series.

Just finished watching all 175 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  It's interesting how when you've invested a bunch of time watching a prominent series like DS9 from start to finish, you start to regard the characters in a way that when the series finally ends, they seem like friends who are going away, you get all emotional and you think you'll never see them again. I guess that's the mark of a good television series. The show draws you in and lets you connect with those characters to the point that you forget that they are just actors playing a role and that you create an emotional bond with them. I felt the same when I finished Battlestar Galactica.  And oversensitive fools like me end up blubbering like Japanese schoolgirls when we see those beloved characters wind up and go away.  I've started watching ST:TNG and for reasons that escape me, I've even decided to give Voyager another shot. Maybe it'll be better the second time around.  Ehhh, maybe not.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trump denies Trans people the right to serve.

So Lord Cheeto has decided that transgender folks can't serve in the military. I got one word for that, and I'm not cleaning it up.  Unfucking Sat! When 99.5% of the people in this country can't or won't serve, denying ANYONE who is qualified and willing to put their lives on the line for this country that privilege is nothing short of insane.

And yes, I'm a veteran who has served with LGBT people. And if my ship went to GQ because of a missile strike, I guarantee you that I would not stop to ask the sexual orientation of any sailor I came across who needs help.  They're wore the same damn uniform I did, they're my shipmate, they bleed and die just like anyone  else.  And it was my job, my obligation  to get them that help. As long as they do their job and keep their personal life and professional lives separate, I don't care who they sleep with. None of my business. I didn't have to party or hit the beach with them.

I'm straight. I'm not interested in seeing dudes making out. I'm not interested in transgender issues. Those issues are for trans folk to work out between themselves, their loved ones and whatever God they pray to, or not. None of my business. Not my circus, not my monkeys.  But in a day when the military is having a hard time trying to fill its ranks, and has more and more hostilities to wrestle with in terms of bad nations looking  to do America harm, to exclude anyone who is eligible, qualified and willing to serve is madness to me. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The idiocy of liberal moralizing

.Though I tend to fall center-left in my politics, there are times when my liberal brethren can be just as annoying as pricks as conservatives. 

There are times when I just don't give a shit about whether the hamburger I eat is contributing to climate change or whether the beef comes from factory farms rather than organically grass-fed artisanal small-batch meat that cost $20/lb at Whole  Foods.
Or whether something I say causes some sensitive lefty to get their organically sourced, free-trade, not-made-in-a-sweat-shop-by-Indonesian-child-labor panties in a twist. 

There are times when I'd like to take PC safe space prattle and shove it sideways up some overbearing snowflake's tuckus.

Sometimes liberal moralizing can go just a little too far and I end up just going all PacFleet Shellback squid on somebody. And then start using various four letter words as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, pronouns, prepositions,  participles and gerunds.

If you want to be a feminist, vegan, LGBTQIAMICKEYMOUSE-friendly climate change, animal rights, left-leaning Bernieite, fine. Knock yourself out. I happen to agree with a lot of that stuff.

But don't look askance at me, nor sniff self righteously,  or prepare to sermonize me because I occasionally like to eat junk food, fried chicken, Mac and cheese, or some other food that isn't heart-healthy, low-cholesterol, or gluten-free.

Or fetishize my dog as one my children, or say a dirty joke that may cause your head to combust in righteous indignation.

Don't be that guy or girl. You might have good intentions, but you'll end up coming across like some miserable do-gooder stick in the mud that desperately needs some good unhealthy food, good beer, and you should probably get laid more often.

Here ends the sermon, the ushers will now come forward

Friday, July 07, 2017

Presidential Influence in our lives.

Honest question. Does whomever is occupying the White House really make a difference in your day to day life?

I started my working life at 18. Reagan was in the White House. I was in the service at the time, and everybody of a certain  political  persuasion said Reagan was the greatest President since sliced bread. Of course there were also those who said that he was the Antichrist. To be honest, I can't remember a damn thing he did to make my life on ship easier. I never paid attention to what he said. I did my job, went on deployment, worked hard, played hard. I think that my pay went up a little during that time. I was a junior enlisted and really didn't give a s**t about politics.

In '86,  I got out of the service, went to work in the security field, went to college during the Clinton years. And nothing HE did made my life any better or worse. I made about the same amount of money, paid about the same amount of taxes. Same with both Bushes and Obama.

Now that Trump is in the White House, unless he really craps the bed, I don't expect things to get any better or worse under him. Personally speaking. Not to say that I agree with Lord Cheeto. But I don't expect my life to get better or worse under him, than I expected life to get better or worse under any President.

It's my conclusion that the President really does not have much, if any bearing on the day to day life of average Americans. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I haven't been paying attention. I don't live or die by what the President says or does as long as he doesn't get us into a war and tells me I have to go back in the service. Which I probably could do if I was young enough because I had a great time on ship. But I'm just interested in what Yinz think. Am I right or wrong?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Down With Play Dates

Grumpy Old Man Rant #34. What the hell is a 'Play Date?' In my day we didn't have play dates where you went thru this song and dance about who your kids played with. We didn't call the other kids parents, coordinate our Google calendars to set up the proper day for little Ashley, or Sherman to come over to their friends house to play. We didn't do background checks or ask for Act 33 clearance on the other kid's parents. In my day, as we were tearing ass out the door, we told our mothers we were going to so and so's house to hang out and they said 'yes' or 'no'.  Most of the time they said yes so they could get us the hell out of their hair. Then again, when I was coming up we had rock fights in abandoned lots and played tackle football in 2 feet of snow at the corner basketball court. I tell you,  Play dates are a Communist conspiracy designed to undermine the American childhood. They make our kids into soft, whiny little Nancy boys. Down with play dates!!!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Lets Go Bucs

It's become increasingly clear that the three years the Pirates made the playoffs were an aberration. A time where the blind, deaf and dumb squirrel that is the Pirates front office found the three nuts conveniently sitting next to each other.

And the last season and a half has been akin to that same blind, deaf and dumb squirrel running around in the back yard bumping into every tree they tried to climb and falling out of the ones they've succeeded in scaling.

But they still have the Bobbleheads, the fireworks, the all you can eat sections, Take Your Dog To the Game, Free Shirt Fridays, the post-game concerts by washed, uh vintage rockers that Yinzers still get a collective hard-on over and let's not forget, The Greatest Ballpark in Baseball. As long as they have all that and the increasingly gray haired fans still pine for the good ol' days of Maz, The Fam-A-Lee, Captain Willie, and the Great One, the Pirates can trot out this s**t show every year and make bank.

Willie and the Great One would be spinning in their graves like a carousel if they were to see what the Pirates have been reduced to.