Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Imagine if I'd Actually Gone to My Prom.

Seeing all these prom pictures on teh Facebook reminds me that I didn't go to my prom in high school.

One, I couldn't find a girl even remotely interested in going with me, much less being seen with me. Course it would have helped if I would have actually ASKED someone, but I was a social misfit in high school. I played soccer and hung out with the teletype machines that were in our computer lab. (Yes, I go back to Data General teletypes, acoustic modems and dialing into a mainframe at Brashear to write programs on paper tape. We thought we were the shit, back then.)

I dreaded rejection, and while I knew a couple of girls, they weren't in the cool club, which would have turned their noses up at me so high, they'd have scraped the ceiling.

Two, I couldn't afford to go. $35 for a prom ticket was a lot of money for a poor assed kid in 1980 and the monkey suit, the corsage and all the other accouterments would have broken the bank.

Besides, I would have been bored shitless. I am the classic exception to the rule that all black people can dance. No rhythm whatsoever. I would have just sat there watching a bunch of kids I didn't care that much about having fun with their various cliques (And the 'Dice was a VERY cliquey school back in the 70's!)

And I'd be just sitting there like a lost puppy. Pretty sure that any date I'd have had would have ditched me from the jump. Except for a few moments of NSFW fun, high school sucked by and large. And I went to a good high school.

But it's reputation didn't rub off on me.  I maintain that everything I learned about life I got in elementary school and grades 8-12 were essentially a black hole. Park Place was awesome and still keep my classmates from the 309 close to my heart.  But it all went to shit when Reizenstein opened, and it never got better at Allderdice. At least it was fun watching Mr. Fisher chasing class cutters and snatching hats off the heads of guys in school.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Uncle P Needs a Vacation

     I need a vacation. And no, Dorene, not a working vacation out in God’s country knee deep in chicken poop and paw paws.  I love you sweetie, but not that much. I need a real vacation.
     A week or two or three or more just lazing my black ass somewhere and having people coddle and pamper me.
      I’d love to go back to some of the liberty ports I hit in the Nav back in the day. Between two different deployments and various at-sea periods, I hit 16 different places. Some, like Monaco; Perth, Australia, and Hong Kong were very cool. Some like Diego Garcia, Casablanca, and Abidjan, Ivory Coast were meh, and Karachi, Pakistan scared the hell out of me. And the statute of limitations hasn’t run out on The shenanigans I got up to in Olongapo City Philippines.  What happens in Olongapo, definitely stays in Olongapo!!
       All those places had one thing in common though, I didn’t spend nearly enough time in any of them. Although in the case of Karachi, one day on the beach there was more than enough for me. 
       The phrase “Join the Navy and see the world” is apropos, but you only spend enough time in a liberty port to say you were there.  You don’t spend enough time in the places you hit to really see or do anything. And I wasn’t the stereotypical squid who saw these places thru the bottom of a beer bottle.
       There’s only so much you can do when your ship pulls into a port for three days, and you only get a day and a half to get around. I’d love to spend a week or two in Australia just checking out the Aussie life in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. I’d love to trek up and down Japan, or Hong Kong or venture beyond the velvet ropes and play a few hands of baccarat at Monte Carlo, or have a real Singapore Sling at Raffles. I want to go back to Pearl Harbor and toss a Dixie Cup in the water at the Arizona Memorial to honor the fallen.
      But unless a rich uncle that I didn’t know about died and left me a steamer trunk full of greenbacks, I can only go as far as McKeesporch. I need a vacation. Real bad...

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Adios, AAF

      RIP Alliance of American Football.  They had potential, and started out hot, but any league that needed a $250 million infusion of cash after its first week of play was skating on thin ice from the jump.
      The league had a few innovations that the NFL in its infinite wisdom (and I use that term lightly) should take a look at implementing. Or like Trump, they'll implement them and claim they invented them.  Among other things, eliminating kickoffs, not putting skirts on quarterbacks and conversion kicks. Also miking the refs during penalty discussions were especially noteworthy.
     But like the XFL Version 1.0, USFL, the World Football League, NFL Europe, and other attempts at creating an alternative to the NFL, football fans who are used to watching the best players in the world aren't gonna settle for watching a bunch of guys who rode the pine on an NFL team's bench or had a cup of coffee in an  NFL training camp. 
     Which is sad because while the AAF didn't directly go after players seeking an alternative route to the pros other than college, I really want to see college football get out of the business of being the developmental system for the NFL by admitting players who's sole purpose for being on a college campus is to play football and take bullshit classes to do so. But you know the saying about free milk and a cow.
       In the end, it all comes down to the green stuff. Everybody's making money off that racket except for the poor bastards who put themselves through the meat grinder for a 'scholarship'.  But I digress. 
       Too bad the AAF went belly up. They had some quality former players who bought in on the management side, notably for yinzers, two of the classier players to play for the Stillers, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu. You'd think that those two would not hitch their wagon to a bum horse. (Though Hines should probably stop trying to play the restaurant game.  It ain't working for him. The best way to make a million in the restaurant business is to start out with two million.) 
     I hope their reputations don't take a hit from this demise.  But knowing Ward and Polamalu, they'll land on their feet and won't need a bake sale held on their behalf anytime soon. Oh well, them's the breaks. You buy into a promising venture only to see it flop. Plenty of people with Hah-vahd MBA's do it every day.
      The AAF seemed like it had quality people who knew something about football running it, One hopes that Vince McMahon took notes on where the AAF went wrong when rolling out version 2.0  of the XFL, but it's hard to persuade people who are used to drinking bourbon-barrel imperial stouts to go back to quaffing 'Dilly, Dilly.' Just sayin'

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

My Last Word on the Antwon Rose Shooting.

My last word on the Antwon Rose shooting.

      Antwon should have stopped running. He should have turned himself in to face the justice system. He should not have hung around with the wrong people.
       Parents of children, especially black children tell their kids to not hang out with the wrong crowd. But it’s not easy to do that in communities filled with single parent families where poverty, drugs and easy illicit money lurk on every street corner. A single parent can't ride herd on their kids 24/7. That we agree on.
       But people do dumb things when they are scared and they do dumb things when they succumb to peer pressure.
       But the cop had options too. He could have called for backup and had them go after the kid. He could have given chase to try and catch him. If he couldn’t catch him, he could have issued a BOLO with the kid’s description. He could have tried to de-escalate the situation. But he took the easy option. He drew his gun and shot him.  He had other options. 
        The community would not have made a stink if Rosfeld could have apprehended Rose without resorting to his gun.  But he didn’t.
         And yet another young black man is killed by an ill trained cop, who thought the only way to resolve this matter was to shoot first and ask questions later. In his own testimony, Rosfeld said that he didn’t know why he shot Rose. He said he saw someone point a gun at him, but he could not positively identify who it was. 
          Blame on both sides. Don't get it twisted, I do not hate the police. They have a thankless job.  They see humanity at its worst every day. Cops are taught to make spur of the moment decisions. Life and death decisions. I don’t begrudge the police their job.  I wouldn’t do for one million dollars what they do for one one-tenth of that.
         But the cop gets to go home and think about his actions. He can heal, but Antwon Rose, due to a cop’s incompetence and a bad decision he made, won’t get to see the rest of his life.
          And the police will have that much more difficulty gaining the trust of and protecting a community that has historically not trusted the law nor its enforcers.
          Sometimes it seems like they make two steps forward and one step back. I know cops that are actively engaged in their communities. They address school assemblies, church groups, Civic organizations. They try to show the community that they are on the same side.
           In Pittsburgh, the police run a community police academy where members of the community get to learn what it's like to be a cop on the beat. They do the Lord's work trying to live up to their motto: "Serve and Protect."
            They are trying to erase their role of the past as the bloody fist of control wielded by a racist government bent on keeping the black community under heel. Pretty much every black person knows someone, a friend, relative, or loved one, who has had a negative experience with the police. Some of those experiences were nothing more than an annoyance. Others turned bloody. 
          Every black parent gives their children, especially the boys, "The Talk.". How to respond when stopped by the police. Be polite, comply with the officers requests, and keep it moving. 
         Some folks decide to give the cop attitude. Bad move. Best to just do what they want and move on.  But there are also those cops who think they are the big shit and want to make an example of those they meet. 
           Those cops made black folks lives hell in the days of the Jim Crow South. Cops who'd arrest a black person on an minor or even nonexistent charge. Merely to show them who's boss. And even if the person was compliant, they had to give them a hard time...or even worse.  It was these cops who made the community hesitant to trust the police as a whole. A legacy that endures to this very day.
          Most cops just want to do their job and come home to their family.  But there are those who don't deserve to wear the badge. They dishonor it, and they make the job harder for their colleagues who are trying to keep the lid on.  It is those cops who must be weeded out. A cop should only draw their gun if it is a last resort or if they feel their life is in danger.
         Face it. People are going to run from the police if stopped. It's human nature. But a cop should exercise every possible option available to them to resolve the issue before drawing their weapon. They may only have a split second to make their decision. But pulling their gun should be the last option.  There are times when a cop has no choice but to shoot. But not when faced with a young man running away from them, with the cop's life not under threat.
      Antwon Rose wasn't innocent. He made a stupid decision by hanging out with the wrong kind of people. He made a stupid decision by getting into a car with shady people and getting involved in a drive-by. He made a stupid decision by running away from a cop. And the price to pay for those stupid decisions was his life. But if that policeman could have used better discretion in resolving this matter. Antwon would have lived to learn from the stupid decisions he made.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Smug Ass White People.

    I'm off of Facebook for a day or so. The comments left by certain people with white faced avatars showing joy and making snarky remarks about Antwon Rose and expressing relief that the cop that shot him in cold blood was found not guilty have rubbed my nerves raw. 
      I don't hate all white people. I have more white friends than I have black ones on Facebook. And I love those white folks who showed love for me. 
      But right now, those white folks who show such callous disregard for a mother's loss are casting a long and undeserved shadow over the good white folks that I know and love.
       Yeah, the kid should not have run. He should have stopped and allowed himself to face the justice system. But the officer who shot him was under no duress. His life was not threatened. The officer could have called backup and had them find the kid and put him into custody. He was in control of the situation until he lost control. 
       But now two lives are ruined. And right now, I'm not feeling white people right now. This country does not give two shits about black people, and it hasn't since the first slaves got here 400 years ago. We're only good as long as the country can make a buck off our blood, sweat and muscle. As long as we do as we're told and keep our mouths shut.  I give up.

      What I need to do is stop looking at the comments in the various posts re: the trial.
       So many self righteous pieces of s**t crowing about "All he had to do was not run from the police."
        Yeah, he should not have run. He should of complied. But people do stupid things when they're scared.  The cop may have been in his right to shoot the kid, but his job is to catch the bad guys and put them into custody. Not execute them.
       This isn't Mega City One and Rosfeld wasn't Judge Dredd. He could have called backup and had them pursue the kid.  He had options. But he chose the easiest one.  Now he'll have to relive his decision for the rest of his life. While Antwon Rose, due to a fatal decision he made, won't get to see how the rest of his life may turn out.
      There is blame on both sides. But the police try to gain the trust of the black community, they try to erase the history that black people have with dealing with the cops.  But all it takes is one incident like this and all that progress goes up in smoke. Black folks have long memories.  
       And all this does is make the cop's job that much harder, and it makes our communities that much more dangerous because the gang bangers and the thugs know that the community will hesitate to cooperate with the police. Which gives them the green light to commit their crimes and hold our community hostage.
        There are so many symptoms to the problems plaguing the black community. And while racism and white supremacy are large parts of the problem, there are things that only the community can solve.
         We have to teach our young men to not settle beefs at gunpoint. We have to teach our young men to respect women and take care of them. Most black men worship the ground their mothers walk on. To criticize a black man's mother is to invite a fight. We should be the same way about the women in our lives. But the problems are generational. There is plenty of blame on all sides. Maybe, just maybe this incident is the one that brings the community to it's senses.
      But we've had so many of our men killed by the cops and each other. And we've marched and protested and had 'Stop The Violence' rallies, and still we just keep killing each other.
       When will it end? What is the tipping point. We know what the problems are, we just don't need smug ass white people reminding us of them.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Harrumphs and Hear, Hears.

     Even though I'm not Catholic, I, your Uncle P, can tell you exactly how this big meeting with the Pope and these bishops will go.

     The pope will sit there and complain loudly about how the Church is abusing its children through the sin of its leaders and that the Church needs to crack down, blah, blah, blah.
      Meanwhile the bishops, cardinals, Vatican toadies, bureaucrats, and functionaries, many of whom were around when the Crusades were bangin' will sit there, nod their heads at the right times, give an enthusiastic 'hear, hear' and 'harrumph', and pledge to support the Pope and wipe out the sin of clergy abuse of children.
      All the while, the Pope's message goes in one ear and out the other.  At least in the ears of those who haven't fallen asleep or died during the meeting.
      They'll defrock a bishop or two, give a cardinal a slap on the wrist, admonish the faithful that they've heard their cries for justice and that they pray for God to intervene.
       And then after every body has gotten all worked up and is raring to get to the bottom of this, they all go back home, and absolutely NOTHING more will happen.
       Because as far as the toadies and bureaucrats are concerned, Popes come, Popes go, but bureaucrats live on forever. And who really holds the levers of power in the Catholic Church, it'sthe old men in the offices. Not the old man wearing the triple tiara and the Fisherman's Ring. #JustSayin

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Call A Spade A Spade.

     I hope that the Alliance of American Football will eventually give the NFL a few things to consider, but what I'd like to see is a football league that gives a respectable alternative to college football.
     Problem that I see with the AAF is that it's for players that have spent a cup of coffee in the NFL, either on the bench of a team or have been through an NFL training camp. Not the type of league for players coming out of high school or playing college for a couple years.
      I want to see a football league that caters to 18-22 year olds who want a shot at playing pro football, but who don't want to put up with college life.
     Face it. College football is full of players who are only in college to bide their time until they can leave to go into the draft. I want to see a league that will pay these kids about $30-50k/yr, give them the rights to profit from their name and likeness and allow them to get used to a pro football life and after 3 or 4 years, will allow them a shot at the NFL or the AAF or the XFL or even Arenaball.
     To me, college football as it exists today is a joke. Their concept of student-athlete makes me laugh. Many of these  kids, especially the blue chippers aren't interested in getting a degree. They want to play football.
      And the NCAA's sham amateurism makes a ton of money for them and the schools, but the kids don't get dada for their work.
      I don't figure the NFL would want to create something like this because who wants to buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.  But this is something I'd want to see and support.
       At least it calls a spade a spade and opens up roster spots on college teams for those players who want to play football and earn legit degrees.