Wednesday, January 09, 2019

It's too damn easy to get a CCW.

     This will probably piss some of the gun types off, but...the problem that I have with Pennsylvania's concealed carry permit rules is that NO TRAINING IS REQUIRED TO GET ONE!
      That means that any swinging dick can go to their Sheriff's office and apply for a permit to carry a gun, and they don't have to show any expertise in how to use the thing.  I could walk three blocks down to the Sheriff's office in the County Courthouse, plunk down $14, and  the Sheriff can issue me a permit to carry a lethal weapon despite the fact that the last time I fired a gun was 39 years ago in boot camp. I don't even have to know which end of the gun the bullet comes out of. 
     Now, it's safe to say that most people who get a concealed carry license have at least some semblance of training in weapons safety. Maybe they were a cop or a veteran, (BTW, do not assume that every military veteran knows how to handle a gun. I fired a .45 in boot camp in two days of small arms training, and never laid hands on another one in my six year tour in the Nav. Plenty of jobs in the services have nothing to do with firing a weapon.)  or they just learned to fire a gun from their relatives. Or they took a weapons safety course. If you have that kind of experience and can produce evidence of it, fine. The fact that the Sheriff does not require an applicant to show it when applying for a CCW, causes no end of concern to me. As much as it may smack on gun control to the Second Amendment zealots, if I ran the state, I'd require someone applying for a CCW to show proof that they have gone thru a proper weapons safety course.  Now, the thing is, all the weapons safety courses in the world won't do you a bit of good, if you're hearing voices in your head telling you to shoot up a school, a church, a nightclub, etc. People doing stuff like that have a screw loose and need mental health care before they hurt someone or themselves. But what if you have some otherwise safe, sane guy with a CCW that has had a bad day, the car won't start, the spouse is on their case, their dog died, they lost their job, all that crap builds up, they get madder and madder and something snaps and before they know it, their gun is out and they're drawing on somebody?  This is such a complex and emotional subject with no quick simple answers, but it does cheese me off that it's that friggin easy to get a license to carry a lethal weapon. #JustSayin

A New Post Record on Teh Scribbler.

      Just realized, I set a record on my blog, The Moonlight Scribbler, the greatest blog no one's ever read.
       In 2018, I posted 51 posts to the blog. Which smashes the 39 post record set in 2009. Mostly the long, rambling Facebook status messages that I usually post when I have a burr under my saddle for one reason or another. I'll copy and paste them to the blog, where they'll sit unread, neglected and unloved like a blind, sterile, three-legged lost puppy. 
      Due to Facebook's insidiously evil curating post algorithm that selectively decides to post what THEY think their users want to see, some of that stuff probably never saw the light of day on Zuck's Folly.
      And being that I spoke disparagingly of Teh Facebook just now, that guarantees that this post might not be seen either.   Which means you can go to www.moonlightscribbler.info to see those gems as well as the other 294 blog posts that have existed on my little piece of digital real estate on teh Internets since April 6th 2006. #ShamelessSelfPromotion #MoonlightScribbler

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

How Trump can pay for his wall.

     I know how Trump can build his wall. He's ostensibly a billionaire, he can pay for the wall himself. Only $5 billion and change. He can swing that with the spare change he finds down the back of his sofa. Or shake down Melania for the rest.
      By building the wall with his own money, he can decide how it  looks. He slather it with gold. He can make it as tacky and over the top as his hotels. He can put his name all over it.
      He can claim victory because he can say to his adoring base that he was able to do something that no one else could. That HE alone solved America's immigration problem without help from the government.
      And imagine how much federal money he could save. He could get some of the undocumented workers that slave away at his properties to build it. He could call it the Official Donald J. Trump International Limited Edition Grand Edifice. He could charge his supporters $1,000 a pop for meet and greets with pictures of them standing with him at the base of the wall.
      Every 10 feet, there'd be a giant 'T' in silver on the wall. There would be giant waterspouts on the top of the wall. Tourists could drop a deuce in specially designer porta potties with solid gold shitters. Five star chefs could cook Trump steaks on hibachis. It would be absolutely MAGA to the tenth power!!

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve 2018

     As the Brits would say, another year is done and dusted. An eventful year to say the least.
     America still struggles to make sense of the continuing Trumpercade, The Stillers don't make the playoffs, The Queen of Soul abdicates her throne, and 11 innocent souls are gunned down in God's house.
     A few of the many things that happened in 2018. But we still march on. We mourn those who are taken from us, we go to work, earn our pay, pay our bills, take care of our youngins and critters. And we soldier on. Because that's just what we do.
     Tomorrow starts a new year. One we have never seen before and 365 days hence, we'll never see again. But until December 31, 2019, should God allow us to see that day, we need to live our lives one day at a time.
      Nothing in this world is guaranteed. Every day could be our last. So treat it as such. Live life as best you can. Love yourself, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
       Let's try like hell to be kind to each other, even when those around us conspire to drive us crazy.  Don't forget that those around you also think you drive them crazy too. 
        Let the light of goodness, whether it takes the form of God, Positivity, or what ever force you may believe in shine through you that others may see it and desire what it is you have. And if you're on the other side of the equation, look for the light of life in others and endeavor to kindle it in your heart, so you can pass it on.
       Hug your spouses, significant others, kids, critters and each other. Eat good food, drink good beer, enjoy each other's company, tell funny jokes whether NSFW or not, make each other laugh, bear each other's burdens, help each other, love each other, support each other, and pray for or send each other good thoughts and prayers, and make those thoughts and prayers reality by your actions.
      From the Little House in the Ghetto, Home of the Moonlight Scribbler, the greatest blog no  one's ever read, situated in the bucolic and peaceful neighborhood of Homewood-Brushton in the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is your 99 and 44/100% pure  Pierre Raleigh Wheaton signing off. See yinz on the other side. 😀😋🤔

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Gatekeepers

     Currently reading a book called the Gatekeepers. Interesting book. The author shadows an admissions officer from a highly selective college on the East Coast in an effort to demystify the process by how colleges select the students to admit to their schools.
     It poses a few questions for me. If I had a child, (which I don't) would I push him or her to pursue a college education? And if I did, would I try to push them to the big name Ivy League schools, or a second tier school, or would I be happy to just let the kid go to whatever school suits them, whether local or out of state?
      Does a big name on a college diploma really insure a better life? 
      Bear in mind, that I didn't go to college out of high school. It took six years of military service and six years of scuffling and shuffling before I was mature enough to go to college. And I went to CCAC, which I took to like a duck to water, though, I did my own version of academic advising, which I would not recommend. 
       And after graduating and getting my associate's, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I decided to transfer to Robert Morris because, at the time, they transferred most of the credits on my transcript and in the late 90's were pretty cheap in terms of tuition. RMC back then was not nearly as selective as they are now. I probably couldn't get into 2018 Robert Morris with my 1997 transcript.
       Pitt wouldn't have transferred a quarter of my classes and CMU and Duquesne wouldn't have touched me, and I couldn't afford either of them at the time. But I could have done better had I not flown by the seat of my pants in terms of selecting a major and scheduling my classes. 
      But, water under the bridge.  I don't think I could be the helicopter parent who pushed their kid to apply to nothing but Ivy League schools. I would have been happy if they applied to and was accepted to Pitt or any other of the local schools. If he or she decided to save the old man a few bucks, and took their freshmen and sophomore classes at CCAC, and transferred to a four year school, I'd have been elated.
      I'm very much a believer in community colleges. I'm a product of one (CCAC Boyce Campus '95). I wouldn't need to live vicariously thru my kid, by making them go to a better school than i did, though I would lobby strenuously for them to at least apply to RMU. Being a legacy can't hurt.
      And if my hypothetical kid decided to do what I did, and decide to go to the military, I'd be okay with it, however, I'd advise them seriously to talk to some veterans about the good, bad, and ugly of military service and not just take a recruiter's word as Gospel.  I would just want my kid to be happy whatever path they take.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

D1 College Football is a joke.

     All this hubbub about who's supposed to be in the so-called 'College Football Playoff' is a joke. Until this 'playoff' has at least 8 or 16 teams in it, it ain't worth my getting all that excited about.
     Just pick Alabama and throw darts at a map for the other three schools. E$PN and the NCAA will make a ton of money regardless of who's in the field. And they make it seem like this four team playoff is the greatest thing since sliced baloney. 
     Never mind that the other three divisions of NCAA college football and the NAIA have had 16 and 32 team playoffs for decades. And don't give me the horse poop that the FBS (The legal beagle name for what used to be called Division 1A) can't have a larger playoff structure because they are concerned about the welfare of 'student-athletes'. Bullshit. NCAA has never given a crap about student athletes who play major college football.  Other than Army-Navy, major college football is a joke. Players who have no business in college other than to try and snag a shot at pro football bust their asses risking permanent injury making tons of money for their respective schools and don't get to share in the revenues they help produce. Much less come out of school with a degree. Which is the idea of college  in the first place. 
     I have an idea. Just call a spade a spade, get the top marquee schools in the so called Power 5 conferences: the Michigans, Ohio States, Alabamas, Penn States, USC's and so ons, have them secede from the NCAA and create their own ultra elite league where they have open rules regarding recruiting and paying players, they can set what academic standards they want, or not require their players to go to class at all.
      They can pull whatever shenanigans they want re: boosters paying players or giving them cars, access to hot women, letting players profit off their likenesses, make it the Wild Wild West. No rules.
       Dispense with the illusion that a lot of these guys are interested in earning a legitimate degree. Treat them as what they are. Hired guns used to make big money for these universities. At least, under my plan, they're legitimizing what's been going on in the shadows.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

My annual (more or less) Thanksgiving message.

     Ok, kids. Enjoy the food, family, and football. But save a spare thought for those who don't have the privilege of being home for the Holidays. Our MilPers on the grind in faraway places on the land, in and under the sea, or in the air, our public safety workers, cops, firefighters, paramedics, security types, and the poor schmucks who's employers make them work today in advance of the Black Friday pre-game lunacy later this evening.
     Do Uncle P a favor, wait until tomorrow to do the retail therapy thing. Give a thought to those who don't have a family, or food, or even football.
      Pray for those who don't have what you have, and remember that it doesn't take much for you to be in their shoes. If they have shoes. Better yet,  If you can, turn your prayers into action.     
      Thanksgiving is supposed to be about giving thanks for what God, (if you believe in him, her, it, or whatever form you imagine the Divine takes) gave you. The only thing we're guaranteed is the heartbeat that we're experiencing right now. The next may be our last. Every day is a gift from the Lord on high, and they all go by so fast. (H/t to Randy Stonehill.) 
       Aaaaanyway, sorry to drop a turd of reality into the punch bowl of optimism. But enjoy this day, have fun, celebrate friends and loved ones. But just remember, it ain't all about you. Carry on. 😀

Friday, November 09, 2018

Veteran's Day 2018

     Veteran's Day is this Sunday. The 100th year anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the War to end all Wars, at least until 1939.
      And of course, all the hubbub about veterans and how best to honor them. Among  the offerings of the obligatory veteran's discounts.
      I'm not really a big chaser of veteran's discounts. I don't feel that my tour of duty warrants them. If I saw combat, if I was injured and earned a Purple Heart, if I came home with PTSD or some other mental issue, that's one thing. But I came home pretty much the way I left. More than a few pounds heavier, a little bit more mature, a little irritated in retrospect that I didn't do more to make more of my time in.
      I didn't join the service because I wanted to uphold some great family tradition of military service. I joined because I had crap grades out of high school, I wasn't prepared in the least for college, and Homewood in 1980 was a place I desperately wanted to leave. Because my black ass might not be alive today had I decided to stick around. 
      Look on my DD214, not a helluva lot on there worth noting. A grand total of two decorations. Neither of them took any special effort to earn. More or less, just being in the right place at the right time and keeping my nose clean for four years.  And while I wear my ship's ball caps, and am proud to rep the veteran status, and while I appreciate that veteran's discounts exist. I'm not big on chasing them down.
      I'm not in great financial shape, but I don't want to be looked on as a charity case.
      I'm uncomfortable with people thanking me for my service. My service wasn't really all that much. I wasn't a Rambo or a war hero. I didn't come out with a chest full of medals. I didn't jump out of a perfectly good airplane. My Navy career isn't the stuff of Tom Clancy thrillers. I was a cook. I served chow. Pretty good chow, but cooks don't make it on to recruiting posters. Hollywood doesn't make movies about stewburners, at least not stewburners that aren't secretly Navy SEAL's. That celebrity treatment's for the SEAL's and the fighter jocks.
      That wasn't even my first choice of careers.  I ended up doing that because I bombed out of my first choice job and was willing to go to San Diego for six weeks to go to a school, damn near any school rather than go to the fleet as a deckape. I f'd up more than a few times, when I was in the service. But I succeeded in keeping my crow, getting my Good Boy medal and not going up to Captain's Mast. Big Whoop.  Thanks to all those who put on this country's uniform. Especially those who were just a face in the crowd, a cog in the machine. Who came home neither as a hero, nor as a mental case, or in a flag draped coffin.