Saturday, June 19, 2021

Juneteenth.

So, what did I do today? Juneteenth? The latest federal holiday since Dr. King's birthday?  

I went to work. 

I'm not a federal employee. So I don't get the day off.  As of yet, Juneteenth is not one of those holidays where I get holiday pay. I'm normally scheduled to work on Saturdays, so I'm at work.  I'm guessing there's black folks who broke out the grill and got a cookout going. As if black folks need an excuse to do a cookout.  I don't do cookouts. I don't own a grill. I can cook up sliders, hot dogs and I'm serviceable at ribs. But I'd rather let others do the work. And the last time I was invited to a cookout was a couple weeks ago when Bob Marshman  and Mary Lee Marshman  invited me over.  But even if I was off today, I probably wouldn't do anything special for Juneteenth. It's a significant day in the black community.

  It puts closed to an insidious and evil part of American history. A part that has not been fully taught, and a part that we are still feeling the lasting effects of 156 years later. There are still injuries, old wounds that won't heal. We have to try and get past them. But we can't just let the past slip away. We disrespect those who spilt their blood to pay for our freedom. Black folks walk a tightrope. We must remember what we've been through and use it as a driving force to move ahead.  But we can't let slavery's chains hobble us and keep us obsessed with the past at the expense of the future. Respect the past.  Honor the past. Teach it to our children. Make sure the past stays in the past and that the lessons of the past are learnt so they don't get repeated again. All we have is the present, and the future.  

We need to make the future great for our children and our grand-children. I don't have kids. Don't want kids. But the kids are our future. They need to learn from the past. But not be stuck in it.  They need to be educated.  But we can't trust the schools to teach them the good, the bad and the ugly.  History, unfortunately, is written by the victors. And we all know that the victors aren't going to write what makes them look bad.  We need to learn the whole story, so we can teach it to future generations. But the elders who faced this history up close and personal are leaving us. Who will take their place as the caretakers?

Thursday, May 20, 2021

A Question for Those Few Republicans Who Live In Cities.

I don't know if I have any Republicans who live within the city limits of whatever city they live in my FB circle.  You pay school taxes to your city’s public schools. You send your kids to your city’s public schools. You pay water bills and sewage bills to your city’s utility companies. You pay property taxes to your city. And by city I mean a CITY! Not a jumped up suburb. A New York, Philly, Washington DC, LA, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Miami, Dallas, Houston.  Those kinds of places.  My question to you is WHY? 

Why do you persist in being a city resident?  Most Republicans, once they get enough money to afford it, they beat feet to the nearest suburb. The reasons are numerous: low crime, low taxes, better schools, better housing, better quality of life, the list goes on and on.  To hear and see suburbanites, especially Republicans in the comment sections of the local fishwrap’s FB pages, they think cities are the Seventh circle of Hell. Rampant crime, high taxes, crappy schools, dirty streets, decaying infrastructure, sketchy homeless people.  But there are still are a few Republicans living within cities. Why? 

Is it that you’re saving up money to make a run for it, eventually?  Is it because the public transportation in your chosen city runs close by your home or place of work/play/shopping, that you’re willing to put up with the problems of city living so you don’t have to travel miles out of the city to a suburb?  Is it because your city’s sports teams, performing and creative art scene, restaurants, nightclubs and social scene make up for your city’s shortcomings?  Does your particular city neighborhood have a certain quirkiness or uniqueness that you like that you wouldn’t find in a suburb?  Are you waiting for your kid/kids to finish high school/college and get out of the house before splitting the city scene for the suburbs? I know there are Democrats who are quick to bounce out of the city, but the suburbs tend to be largely Republican.  And it’s the Repubs, I direct my query to.  Although anyone can answer.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

My Name is Pierre.

My name is Pierre. Don't ask me how I got that name. Ask my mother. You might have a hard time getting an honest answer from her as she's been dead since 1985.  

I have a love/hate relationship with the name Pierre. It's unique (At least in this country. In France, not so much.) It's a conversation starter. It hasn't exactly helped me with girls, although I think that my lack of success in that area is due to more pressing reasons. 

Guaranteed if I were to ask 100 people to spell my name at least half will spell it wrong. The number of permutations I've seen my name written on a Starbucks cup approachs the number of stars in the known universe. 

 I have/had numerous family members refer to me as P, Uncle P, Peezer Weezer. My father called me Soup Head. No idea where that one came from. My mother called me Lovebird. Ask her what possessed her to give me that name. But she has been dead for 36 years. So she might not be interested in answering you.  

For a long time I didn't like being referred to as P because of its resemblance to a certain bodily function having to do with the elimination of waste. But I have grown to embrace that single letter nickname and I actually like being referred to as Uncle P. Especially in that unique way that black folks refer to older men. 

Despite my mixed relationship with the name my sainted mother either blessed or burdened me, depending on your viewpoint,. I have had no interest in changing it legally. Partially because it would cost more than I could afford and do you know how much paperwork I'd have to fill out to change my name on all the stuff I've been involved in over the last 58 years? I'll stick with Pierre.  

At least all the girls in high school that I was scared shitless to talk to and admired from afar because they were clearly out of my league are my friends on teh Facebook and some aren't scared to be seen with me in real life (or IRL, as the cool kids would say.😁😁) High school sucked!!

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Pittsburgh Needs Fresh Blood Downtown.

This year brings a mayoral election to Pittsburgh. And as usual, the slate is nothing but Democrats. The incumbent mayor is a Democrat as are his two challengers. What I'm about to say would probably make most of yinz think that Uncle P has been drinking too many hairy assed imperial stouts.  But I wish that there was a Republican in the field.  

There! I said it. Unfriend away, kids. 

If there was a rational, reasonable Republican (they DO exist!) in the mayoral field that wasn't a batshit Trumper, I would seriously think about voting for them.  Now the day a Republican actually runs for and wins a city office, much less the mayorship of Pittsburgh is the day the Devil does triple axels on a frozen lake of fire.

Democrats outnumber Repubs in Pittsburgh six to one. The last time Pittsburgh elected a Republican mayor was in the '30's.  The Democrats have had a stranglehold on city power for damn near a century. Now the Democrats have had varying degrees of success running Pittsburgh. They were able to clean up Pittsburgh's smoky image and replace the steel industry with a strong medical and technological base.  They did a decent job cleaning up Downtown. They've slowed down the population exodus that plagued Pittsburgh since the steel industry left in the sixties and seventies. Tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple have started to make their presence known. Pittsburgh has become known as a cutting edge medical leader.  

But, at the same time, the Democratic Party in Pittsburgh has become fat, bloated and complacent. It hasn't been challenged.  They trot out the same old rhetoric and the same old machine politics and the same old tired politicians. Emphasis on old. 

 And the people keep voting these same calcified donkeys in, year in and year out.  The old saying goes, "Competition Improves the Breed. For a champion thoroughbred to stay fit and fast, it must be exercised. Otherwise, it becomes a tired old nag. And thus is the status of the Democrats in Pittsburgh. Due to lack of true competition, it has become broken down and can't get out of its own way. Destined for the glue factory. 

 If the few Republicans in Pittsburgh could muster up some candidates that could make the Democratic machine sing for its supper for once,  the city could benefit from some fresh thinking. Some new eyes taking a different look at our problems. 

 I know that cities are usually run by Democrats while the GOP run the suburbs. There aren't many cities that are run by Republicans. Yes, I am registered Democrat. But in general elections, I've been known to split the ticket.  In my life, I've registered Republican, Independent, even dabbled in Libertarian. I'd kick the Democrats to the curb if a real sound alternative popped up. I'm not wedded to any political party. I find the full mooners at either extreme equally annoying. 

 But I'm ready to see some new ideas, some new thinking. But I don't see it happening anytime soon.  Republicans aren't moving into the city in large enough numbers to tilt the voter registration more equitably.  And the Democratic message is getting more and more tiring. And less and less effective. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Don't Really Grok Big Time Sports Anymore.

At one time, I kinda cared about who the Stillers drafted in the first round. But these days, with my feelings about major professional and college sports on the wane, personally I don't care. 

I just don't get into the off-season horse trading and politicking, the money math and educated guessing...ur, hypothesizing about drafts and trades that goes into big time pro sports. Trying to explain the dark art of salary cap manipulation to me is like explaining quantum mechanics to my little buddy, JB.  Then again as smart as he is, he could grok quantum mechanics as well as how the salary cap works better than I could. 

I don't listen to the sports radio yakkers. I do subscribe to DKPS (mostly because of the development of a legit up and coming local sports media outlet that competes with the big boys) and The Athletic, but I don't really spend much time on them these days. Not really much of a sports fan anymore.  

Ironic coming from a sports management major. (I had a passing interest in the back office world of sports and Sports Management was one of the few majors RMU offered in the 90's that didn't require calculus. 🤮)

Don't really care about the Pirates nor the Penguins.  The Penguins priced themselves out of my reach years ago. Plus the Pirates...are the Pirates. And baseball bores me to no end.    if the Stillers win, they win. If they don't, I don't miss any sleep.

News flash, Yinzers! The world doesn't end if the Stillers don't make the Super Bowl! 

 Didn't go to the Big University in Oakland that Blocks Out The Sun in Pittsburgh. I'm more interested in the grassroots sports in Pittsburgh. The Riverhounds, my alma mater Robert Morris, the teams and school that don't get all the attention. The teams that require an investment of loyalty. The teams the local sports media industrial complex don't send reporters to cover, much less don't know they exist.  Especially in college. I don't get supporting a school you didn't earn a degree from, much less attend.  Any swinging dick can root for the big major sports teams in town. Takes loyalty to root for a sport or a team or school  playing on the fringes.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Should We Stay or Should We Go???

Biden says he wants to get out of Afghanistan by 9/11/21. Now I'm no expert on geopolitics or even war. I was a squid who served chow. 

But I think we're screwed whether we stay or whether we get out. The Russians couldn't win in Afghanistan. What gave us the hubris to think we could prevail.  If we leave, the Taliban will end up filling the power vacuum and we'll end up in the same situation we were in on 9/11.

  Twenty years and thousands of lives wasted propping up a country that clearly cannot or will not stand on its own two feet. 

 But how much longer can we stay there?

  It's like we're stuck in quicksand.  Russia, China and North Korea are ruled by strongmen who vote themselves lifetime terms in office, and looking to start some shit against the US. They clearly are looking to change the world order. And they figure the best way to do that is to take us down. And as much as I'm tired of the US being the world's policeman, letting them be in charge doesn't seem to be in the planet's best interest.  Democracy has its problems but it is the equivalent of the valedictorian of reform school. 

I don't think war with any one or all three is imminent, but they could be licking their chops to start something with us after twenty years of spinning our wheels in Afghanistan. 

Look at us. We're demoralized, divided, our military has been downsized to a shell of its former self. Groups like the Taliban are willing to play the long game. But we aren't. Patience isn't exactly an American virtue in 2021. These days, we like our wars, quick, cheap and as unobtrusive as possible.  After all, we have to make sure we don't miss The Bachelor. 

I don't have a damn clue about how we get out of Afghanistan without it hurting a lot one way or another.  Thoughts on all this by those who are smarter in all this than I am. 

Educate me.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

15 years of Moonlight Scribbler!

Happy 15th Anniversary for the greatest blog that no one has ever read.  Remember when blogs were written by ordinary schmoes about whatever was on their minds from their latest pain to their Hot Wheels collection to contemplating their cat’s hairballs?  Before corporate ninnies took them over to try to get their Pulitzer on?  The former still exists. 

The Moonlight Scribbler, was created on April 6th 2006, simply because I had a shit ton of random stuff in my head that wouldn’t leave until I wrote it down.  The Scribbler was the successor to a couple of collections of writings that I started back in CCAC and Robert Morris in the 90’s and called Just Another Lovely Day in Paradise. Of course, back then, storing such things online wasn’t a thing, so I put the whole mess on floppy disks, which either got lost, destroyed or erased. I don’t remember. Back then, Just Another Lovely Day In Paradise or JALDIP wasn’t as developed and was just about random s**t.  Kind of like the Scribbler today except not as well written. Mostly just a couple of paragraphs about whatever was rattling around in my head at the time.

I think that JALDIP got to about 100 pieces of varying lengths and quality.  I just wrote s**t off the top of my head about whatever.  My years in college revealed to me that I had a long dormant gift of writing. Or at least, the desire to put stuff down in a semi-permanent form that those who might want to read it could access.

Fast forward to 2006.  Google had bought Blogger and I had the itch to get back into a JALDIP-like thing. So I decided to start an online presence.  Hence, the Moonlight Scribbler. I never really intended it to be read. To this day, I don't really care if anybody reads it. I put the URL out there, if people see it and want to read, cool.  If anything, I look at the collection as digital real estate on teh Interwebs. A place where this stuff resides in the cloud for posterity.  Like a tiny cabin out on the ass end of the Internet. 

I haven't checked lately, but the Scribbler is up to over 300+ posts.  Some months, I post more than others.  I could compile the month by month statistics and determine when I was most active, but I'm too lazy for that these days.  I post to it pretty much when I feel like it. It all comes off the top of my head. I don't research anything. I won't guarantee that anything quoted from the Scribbler is true or correct.  For the last few years, I've taken my longer FB posts, like this one, of which I have written many and posted them to the Scribbler. Though I might add stuff to them.   The Scribbler is pretty much soup to nuts. It's all over the place.  

One day, I presume Google will decide to kill off Blogger. They tend to do that when a property no longer makes money for them. I can only hope that they will give bloggers an opportunity to download their stuff so it can be imported to another platform. If that happens, I may have to buy some hosting space, move everything over, and host the blog on my own. Not looking forward to that. At the same time I don't want all that content to get lost.  That's 15 years of pretty good stuff I've generated. Don't want it to end up like JALDIP.