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. 😀😋🤔
Monday, December 31, 2018
As the Brits would say, another year is done and dusted. An eventful year to say the least.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
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
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
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 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.
Tuesday, November 06, 2018
This might piss a few folks off, but I personally don't care. If yinz don't like that I'm not foursquare voting for the 'Blue Wave', unfriend away. People who choose to shun me because I didn't vote the way they did, aren't really my friends, and therefore, not worth my time.
I'm not one of these voters, even in the age of Trump, who believes Democrats, good. Republicans, bad. I don't trust either party. To me, they are two sides of the same coin. There are sleazy Democrats as well as sleazy Republicans. There are good Republicans as well as good Democrats. I hate that we live in a state that forces us to vote straight party in the primaries. I hate that we live in a state where the Republicrats make it so hard for a third party to get candidates on the ballot.
Especially considering that in Pittsburgh, Democrats hold a 9 to 1 edge in terms of voting strength. And we have had plenty of Democrats who've run this region into the ground. I have no problem voting across the aisle. My politics might lean to the left, but I also hold some conservative positions. I hold some libertarian positions. I hold some positions that are downright draconian. I want to vote for the person, not the party. Today will be no different. I'll vote for some Democrats as well as some Republicans. Mostly Democrats because they are the party on the outside and Trump's wackiness needs to be checked. But I won't be surprised if the Democrats do a faceplant and end up as ineffective as the Republicans. Where there are third party candidates, I'll vote for them to throw up a middle finger to the Republicrats. Call me a skeptic and a cynic, but i believe in compromise and bi-partisanship.
I'm registered Democrat. But that's only so I can vote in the primaries, because Pennsylvania has this insane rule that requires it. But in the general election, I do not vote straight party. I go across the aisle.
Saturday, October 27, 2018
There is a reason why churches, synagogues, etc call their worship space a sanctuary. A sanctuary should be a place where people can worship God in whatever form they choose in spirit and in truth. A sanctuary should be a place where people can come to worship and have no fear that the violence of the outside world will intrude on their sacred space.
But as had been seen in Charleston, SC when a sick individual gunned down nine people who were at worship, and at Tree of Life, today where at least 11 were gunned down while worshipping the God of peace, the outside world has made its way into the sacred space and defiled it, blasphemed it, and shed innocent blood.
The President put the blame on the synagogue for not having adequate protection (meaning armed guards?)
Is this what we've come to? That we must worship God with armed guards to keep us safe? Is that what is needed?
I'm not sure what the answer is, but it's a sad day when we cannot even worship God without having armed guards to protect us.
And if there was an armed guard in the space and the gunman came in, who would he go after first? Right, the armed guard.
And if something like this can happen in Squirrel Hill, one of Pittsburgh's safest and highest profile communities, then no where is safe.
May the souls of the departed rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon them. And may the God of healing and peace provide those things to those who's lives were irreparably changed by today's incident.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
I'm not into throwing my limited financial resources down a rathole like the lottery, but if I won $1.6 billion, after paying off debts, giving a bunch of it to my church, my Legion, downsizing into an apartment, giving to various charities, and such, I'd have a helluva time trying to figure out what to do with the rest of it.
All the activities I mentioned would take a couple million or so. What could I do with the rest of it? I don't drive, so I wouldn't buy a car. I'd still continue to work, although I'd get a gig that I actually want to do instead of one that I have to do.
I could put about half in the bank and live off the interest. I don't have kids, nor am I interested in siring any, so I can't leave it to them, although I'd give a nice bit to my friend's family, especially her little boy's college fund, for a full ride to any college he wanted, although I'd lean very hard on him to go to Robert Morris.
Most of my family are dead or estranged more or less, although I have a feeling a bunch of them would want to renew relations with me. There are a few things I'd like to do, I could give some to my various alma maters. All told, I could probably do all I wanted to do with about $200 million, at the most.
But what would I do with the other $1.4 billion. I could hide it off-shore, so Uncle Sam can't get his grubby paws on it. Anybody have any suggestions? I know one thing I'd definitely need, an unlisted phone number because everybody and their little brown dog would be hitting me up for loans, dodgy investment offers, donations for causes, real or imagined, and more golddigging women than I could count.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
I created a page on teh Facebook to show the wordage I've put on to the Scribbler since its inception in 2006.
The posts that are on this FB page are but a sample of the stuff I've written to the real Moonlight Scribbler at www.moonlightscribbler.info
There are close to 300 essays, posts, brain dumps, and other literary desecrations that go back to 2006. I just started this page on FB in 2018 to draw a little attention to the real blog and because everybody these days has a brand. Why not me?
As I've said many times, I really don't care whether people read this thing or the real blog. They are both attempts to carve out my little piece of digital real estate on the Internet.
It's the equivalent of the tiny log cabin in the woods miles away from civilization. And I just live there puttering around, yelling at clouds and doing my thing. If people come to visit, fine. If not, no worries.
Doesn't cost me all that much. Just $15 and change a year to keep the domain. The blog rests on Blogger (Does anybody still use that service anymore?) And this page rests on Facebook, for better or worse.
And as long as Google figures they can still make money off people's old school blogs, they'll keep it around. Hopefully when they decide to get rid of Blogger, they'll give me plenty of warning of how to export this data. There's a lot of good stuff there and I'd like to see it end up taking up space on someone's server.
Friday, September 21, 2018
I seem to have a weird relationship with women. There are times that I wish I had a special someone in my life.
But I'm not really interested in pursuing a relationship. I'm a loner by nature. I value my Independence and I don't really want to hold myself to someone else's schedule and priorities.
I'll go out with someone to a function, but if she wants to leave, and I want to stay, she goes home alone. And vice versa.
I don't dress to impress, I don't go out to clubs or a lot of social functions. I don't really date, didn't even date in high school, and here's a real shocker. I've never had a steady girlfriend.
The closest thing I have to a serious relationship is a woman that I've known for about 25 years. We met in college and at best, we are very close friends who care about each other very much. We go to dinner occasionally and I've babysat her son and I'd take a bullet for her family in a minute. (Happy Birthday, Denise) But we don't have a romantic relationship, just a very strong platonic one.
Most of the women in my life are good friends, drinking buddies, and people that I like to hang out with. Which works out fine for me. I don't have to dress up for them, I don't have to do some kind of mating dance to impress them, most of them are married anyway. I'd like a few more like that.
I believe every man needs at least one good platonic non-sexual relationship with women. Don't really need a full-blown relationship. My broke ass can't support one anyway. I'm old school. I insist on paying for dinner and I'm not used to a woman splitting or even picking up the check. Even if the woman has more money than I do, which covers about 99 percent of the US female population. I'll accept it if it happens, but I won't feel good about it.
I figure my situation isn't like most guys. But I don't march to the beat of a different drummer, I dance to the beat of a different band altogether. Gotta be me.
Friday, September 14, 2018
According to my birth certificate, at this very moment, 11:45am on Sept 13, I officially turn 56 years old.
What an interesting life thus far. A lot of blessings, missed opportunities, lucky breaks and more than a few f**k ups, but God has been good.
I'm more or less in good health. Some body parts don't work as well as others and I wish I could have a few redos, but I can't complain. It could be a helluva lot worse.
I have a home albeit one being held up by duct tape and chicken wire, friends and people who give a damn about me. I had to work today, so I can't say it's been an enjoyable day, but I'll go to Waterworks after work and have a birthday beer.
Depends on what's on tap, but I could use a real big strong nasty Imperial Russian Stout. The kind that puts hair on your chest. The ones that get you buzzed after half a glass.
I'll have to wait until next week to really celebrate because the birthday falls between paydays and my broke ass gotta watch the wallet. But I have enough to splurge on a decent beer. Because life's too short to drink crap beer. Especially on one's birthday. 😀😋😉
Ok, kids. Thanks for the birthday wishes. They were greatly appreciated. Another year older, another year presumably wiser.
If only I could take all this supposed wisdom of my 50's and apply it to my 20's, a lot of things would have turned out differently. Maybe better, maybe worse.
Every decision we make creates a new fork for our lives to follow. Think of all the decisions you've had to make in your life, either major, like whether to have children, or minor, like buying Wheaties rather than Corn Flakes.
Each of those decisions creates a fork. Look at those forks as branches of a tree, and by the time it comes to cashing out, you'd have a tree with as many branches as there are stars in the sky.
So many choices, so many branches, so many roads to follow. Some work out better than others.
I've had my share of branches that worked out, I've had my share that ended up in a dead end. I've had branches I thought were dead ends that ended being the right choice, I've had others I thought were the real deal that ended up being crap.
But once you go down one of those branches, it can be hard to backtrack and reconsider your path. Sometimes you catch a break and get a do-over. Most of the time you don't.
In those cases all you can't do is to try and make the best of the situation. Life can be a bitch sometimes, but it can also be great, but one way or another, it's never boring.
Have a good day, kids. Hug your spouses, significant others, kids, critters. Tell them you love them. Be nice to each other. Be civil if you must, be decent if you can, strive to be excellent.
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Listening to some old school Petra reminds me of the fun times I had in Alameda from 1984-86.
I was on the USS California, which was homeported at NAS Alameda at the time along with the carriers Carl Vinson (Navy didn't have to spend any money transferring my ass from the Vinson to the Cal, I literally walked across the pier.), and Enterprise, and sister cruiser, the Mississippi, and the tender Samuel Gompers.
NAS Alameda wasn't like the big behemoth Navy bases at Norfolk and San Diego, where you couldn't swing a baseball bat without hitting a squid. It was a small base on a small island across the Bay from San Francisco. Oakland and SF were only a bus and BART ride away.
But Alameda was a quiet little town of about 100k or so. The West end of the island was taken up by the base and the businesses that catered to the Navy, and the East end of the island was mostly for the civs.
I liked it there. The people were nice, Town/Navy relations were civil, as far as I could tell. I wasn't really much of a carouser or drinker during my time in service, although there were a few things that I'm sure I can't talk about--the statute of limitations hasn't run out on them yet. A couple of them are related to the eagle ink I have on my right arm.
But while I was in Alameda, I decided to get back into the church. I was raised in the church in my youth and when I joined the Navy, I left it behind. My days on the California were stressful. Didn't really get along with a lot of my shipmates, and the ship wasn't a lot of fun, either. So I needed a place to unwind, decompress and chill. I found a little out of the way house on Central Ave off the main drag of West Alameda. It was a Christian servicemen's center called the Compass and Helm.
It was the kind of place, where if you didn't know about it, you'd walk right past it. It catered to the base and its tenant ships. They barely advertised, no sign in front of the house. In theory, all of the churches in Alameda supported it, but most of the support came from an equally small, unobtrusive church around the corner named Westside Baptist Church. A member of the Conservative Baptist Association, Westside also depended on the base for a lot of traffic.
A rather small and plain looking building, Westside topped out at about a couple hundred on the rolls, but depending on which ships were in port, regular attendance ran about 30 to 60. The congregation was a multi-racial mix of townies and Navy and it was my kind of church. Small, friendly, not a lot of frills, preached a simple message.
The Helm, as it was known was run by a middle aged quirky, but very friendly couple named Chris and Cathy. They lived at the Helm with their daughters, Bethany and Holly. A couple of sweeties. The Helm existed to give sailors a place to hang out and chill.
They held a Bible study on Thursday nights and allowed sailors to crash for the weekend as long as they found a church to go to on Sunday. They had books, games, a ping-pong table, a small kitchen with the requisite coffee pot. All in all, a place where we could leave the Navy behind for a while.
I made a number of good friends at the Helm, the most prominent being a de-nuked ET named Stewart. He and I hit it off as a couple of weirded out geeks. We loved computers and techy stuff.
Most of the Helm rats were from the Enterprise, a few off the Vinson and the odd Gompers or Mississippi sailor. I was the lone California squid.
We occasionally went to the Oakland Coliseum to watch an A's game or to whatever venue a Christian band was playing. Especially Great America down in San Jose. Saw Petra there a few times.
But most of the time, we hung out at a local diner called Tillie's that was open 24 hours a day. (Think of Ritter's for Pittsburghers.) They served great breakfasts and we'd go there after church or Bible study and just hang out and talk.
I ended up becoming a member at Westside, and won the trust of Cathy where she allowed me to open the Helm up and make the coffee. Cathy had a strict rules of not opening up unless either Chris or a male that she trusted was there. She was very protective of her daughters.
But while I made the occasional trip to San Francisco, most of my time in Alameda was spent at Westside or the Helm. That was between 1984 and 86.
The Helm's not there anymore. Probably pulled up stakes when the Navy closed NAS Alameda in the late 90's. Have no idea what happened to Chris, Cathy, Bethany, Holly, Stewie, or any other Helm Rats. I pray they are all well, those that are still alive anyway. They were good friends who helped me get through a pretty tough part of my life. God Bless the Helm.
Sunday, September 02, 2018
Well boys and girls. 23AndMe came back with my ancestry results based on my submitted DNA.
And while they only give a very general idea of where I come from, it was interesting to say the least.
Basically, the dominant locations are: 62.6% Sub-Saharan African (well, duh) 25.6% of that major group is Nigerian, 12.7% Broadly West African. 7.1% Coastal West African 6.3% Coastal West African and the rest, a smattering from various regions of Africa.
I have a sizable amount of European in me. Over a third, 35.3% of which British and Irish make up 20.5% 8.1% Broadly NW European, and about 2% French and German. Which doesn't surprise me because it's a fact that slave masters were well-known for impregnating their slave women.
And the rest of the major groups 1.3% Native American and . 5% South Asian.
As all my parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, etc are either dead or basically estranged, I can't discuss any of this with them. I share the same mother but different fathers with the rest of my siblings. I know the family lineage on my mother's side, know little of my father's side and was told a little about the family on my other sibling's side, but I'm pretty sure that most of them are dead by now.
In some ways, 23AndMe didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. I'm black and I have a sizable amount of British and Irish in me. A lot of Black folks are.
I remember my father telling me a very long time ago that I had some Irish in me. But he never went into details.
But 23AndMe crunched the numbers and broke it down into general categories. And it was only $69 bucks. All that info from just spitting into a test tube, a rather gross exercise, by the way.
So I'm more than just your ordinary garden variety Negro. My Brit and Irish side betray my love for soccer, my bad teeth and my taste for Irish Whiskey.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
I wonder whether a way forward for the Catholic Church in the US re: the everpresent scandals, would be if the Catholic Church in America were to separate from the Vatican?
It'll never happen, but it seems to me that one of the problems is that American Catholicism is stuck having to adhere to rules, policies, and standards set by a bunch of old men in the Vatican who know little about America and Americans and persists in this one-size-fits-all, centralized, top down, shit-rolls-downhill way of thinking.
The Vatican is a hide-bound, conservative institution that resists change, innovation, and functions very much like it did back in the Middle Ages. I think that the Catholic Church in this country needs to tell the Vatican to shove it and completely create an entirely new hierarchy and structure designed to deal with the unique issues of Catholicism in the US.
Have an American Pope who has the power to act quickly and decisively in matters of clerical discipline, instead of waiting for matters to wend their way through the labyrinthine bureaucracy of the Vatican.
A pope that can make clerical celibacy optional and allow women to take holy orders as a matter of practicality and to alleviate the major problem of the dearth of clergy coming out of the seminaries, instead of coming up with weak excuses that "God doesn't want female and married clergy, and it is impossible to enact these changes."
I call Bullshit.
The Church can make these changes in a heartbeat if they really wanted to. They just want to maintain the old boys network that has some really old boys indeed.
Old boys who need to be put out to pasture. Or if necessary, put down.
Now, I know that an American Catholic church will still have pedophiles to deal with, as well as other challenges that plague divinely inspired, but humanly administered religious organizations, but at least an American Catholic church won't have to say "Mother May I" to a bunch of clueless old dudes that haven't changed their socks since the 12th century, if they want to make serious changes that can help restore the reputation of the church to an increasingly frustrated and doubting faithful, who are no longer interested in listening to the tired old "Fast and Pray" platitudes.
What do I know? Those of you who are Catholic, chime in. Tell me I'm all wet and that I should not talk about things I know little about. But something has to change.
Monday, August 20, 2018
I'm not Catholic. Not even an expert. I'm just an ordinary schlub with an opinion. And opinions are like rectums. Everyone has one, and everyone thinks that theirs is the only one that don't stink.
But looking at the latest chapter in this never ending saga of scumbag priests and the equally scumbag bishops who protect them.
First of all, pedophiles are not unique to religions in general and Catholicism in particular. Every walk of life has pedophiles. Pedophilia is a HUMAN condition. Doctors, lawyers, priests, security guards, you name the occupation, there are pedophiles infesting it. No profession is immune. And yes, there are atheist and agnostic and non-religuous pedophiles.
Second, the Catholic Church has had scandal in it from the moment it was created. The Church claims that it was created by Jesus Christ. However, who does Jesus work through? Humans. Flawed, f****d up humans. Even at the top. The Church has had corrupt f****d up Popes. It has had flawed f****d cardinals, bishops, priests, and deacons. It has flawed, f****d up laity.
But the Church is supposed to have a charge laid down by Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel, make disciples, take care of the least among us, and be the Light of the World. And the overwhelming majority of cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons and laity are good hard-working people who felt called by God to serve his church.
But a few scumbags, shit birds, corrupt lowlifes, and predators have infested the church and used the least and the weakest among us to play out their twisted, evil, Satanic perversions. These loathsome creatures are the cockroaches that plague the church and spread their filth. You know how to get rid of cockroaches? Shine a light on them to expose them, find out where their nest is and eliminate them with extreme prejudice.
No more bishops passing on their problems to other dioceses. No more cover ups and hush money payoffs. No more secrets, no more lies, no more bullshit. The Church needs to stop playing games and stop the platitudes from the old men in the Vatican beseeching the faithful to fast and pray for God to intervene and miraculously take the problem away.
God works thru human beings. And human beings have to take charge and do the heavy lifting and the hard dirty work to clean up this mess. The pedophiles need to be rooted out and put behind bars or into mental facilities to receive treatment. The bishops, cardinals and even Popes who cover up for them must be defrocked, arrested and put into jail.
For they have violated the sacred trust bestown on them when they were ordained. And even if they claim to be healed, they should never be allowed to work with children again. And while I support a married and female clergy, I do not believe that those changes are the great panacea. There are plenty of pedophiles who are married with children.
Whitney Houstonn sang that our children are our future, we should teach them well and let them lead the way. Jesus came down hard on those who mistreated children. He said that a giant millstone should be hung around their necks and they should be drowned in the sea.
The Church needs to offer compassion and forgiveness to those who truly confess their sin and earnestly repent, but that doesn't mean that they go scot free. Nothing is more important than the protection of our children. And that means that no expense nor effort should be spared in order to protect them. And this goes for all God's Church. Catholic, Protestant, and otherwise.
We, the people of God will be judged by how we care for the least of us. And those predators who prey on our children and refuse to confess their sin and seek true repentance need to suffer the ultimate consequence... eternal separation from God.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
While I claim to be a Christian overall in my faith journey, I've never been comfortable with how Christianity deals with people who are not Christian but who have led good and virtuous lives.
Basically, the Bible says that those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior are going to hell. Period. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Doesn't matter whether they've lived good virtuous lives even better than most Christians, when they die, they take the down escalator and get to spend eternity with Old Scratch. I'm not really cool with that anymore.
I tend to look at things from others' points of view, and I just find that whole line of thinking manifestly unfair. So I've adjusted my thinking. It's not orthodox Christianity, far be from me to think that I, a single person can change over 2,000 years of teaching in a faith that numbers billions, but it's my way of thinking, and God will probably give me a ecclesiastical wedgie and an ass chewing worthy of a 25 year Navy master chief when I finally get to meet Him.
But basically, I'm adopting the belief that when a virtuous non-Christian dies, they'll be subject to whatever their faith's teaching dictates in regard to an afterlife. If they are either atheist or agnostic, they'll be worm food.
But if their faith dictates that they'll go to whatever their faith calls a Heaven, that's where I believe they'll end up. The truly evil people of the world, the Hitlers, the Bin Ladens, the unrepentant mass murderers, rapists, child molesters, that bunch are still going to hell. No dispute there.
Those in the middle, those who's lives are not totally virtuous nor totally evil, whether Christian or non-Christian, I believe, they'll be deal with according to their faith, if they have one. I guess this is all part of my no longer being of an Evangelical bent. It sounds kind of semi-Universalist.
Definitely not what the Bible teaches. But I can't stomach seeing people who have lived lives worthy of merit being consigned to damnation because they chose not to accept Jesus. Because they cling to and derive meaning and strength from a faith that is different from mine. I love Jesus, but some of his disciples deserve a smack upside the head. Probably includes me as well.
I guess the best way to describe me these days is as a Unitarian-Universalist of Christian persuasion with Episcopal leanings. I guess that I no longer fear hell or damnation. Which may come back to haunt me down the road. As the old spiritual goes, "We'll understand it better, by and by."
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Currently reading a book called Believers. The author of this book explores the world of Evangelical Christianity. Just starting it.
The reviews state that the author is giving the subject an even handed analysis. We'll see.
I went thru a brief phase of Evangelicalism while I was in the service. With an emphasis on End-time theology. I read Revelation and Daniel a few times, read a lot of Hal Lindsay and the entire Left Behind series ( It was meh. Not gory enough for me.)
And I thought about concepts of whether the Rapture was going to happen Pre, Mid or Post-Tribulation. I was a Pre-Tribber for those who are curious.
I listened to a lot of Christian music, mostly Petra, some Stryper, Steve Taylor and DeGarmo and Key. I even chucked my entire ELO collection because some TV preacher convinced me that their music was inspired by Satan. Won't make that mistake again.
I grew out of that phase when I joined an Episcopal Church. Now my Christianity is a lot more fluid, in some ways, more confusing. It's more liberal, more questioning, less dogmatic. I take the Bible seriously, not literally. I no longer believe that it is inerrant. I'm not interested in winning the world to Christ, nor am I interested in living in, or working toward a Christian theocracy in America.
I have a bad habit of looking at things from the POV of a minority, and I can see a Christian theocracy as not being in the best interests of non-Christians.
I call BS on those preachers that insist that Christians are being persecuted in America. And I don't 'witness' to people because evangelism is too much like selling stuff. And I hate selling things. I believe I need to get my spiritual house in order before hanging condemnation notices on others.
Finally, I can't accept how Evangelicals embraced the Republican Party values in the 80's starting with the Moral Majority and ended up being foursquare behind a person like Trump, who's values and behavior are 180 degrees opposite of Jesus. They can say the ends justify the means, but if Obama had done one-tenth the stuff Trump has done or had done prior to being elected, they'd be screaming bloody murder.
I'm a live and let live kinda guy. Everybody has to figure out what helps them get thru the long night. Christianity, as I see it, works for me. Might not work for you. That's up to you to figure out. I'll respect the path you travel as long as you respect my path. Too bad we all can't embrace that philosophy.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Despite Trump doing all he can to prove that he must not be reelected in 2020, It wouldn't surprise me if the Democrats do a face plant and end up losing in 2020, because they spend all their time fighting over themselves about who's more liberal-than-thou.
I see the problem as: Many Democrats will all hunker down into their little closed minded tribes, listen to the people who resonate with them, read the books and media they agree with, and turn up their noses at those whom they disagree with.
They won't give up anything, but will expect others to concede to the greater cause.
They'll spend precious time and money giving litmus tests to fellow Democrats, telling them that they are either too liberal or not liberal enough.
All the while, Trump and his minions will lockstep into another four years in the White House.
If Democrats want to take back the White House, they need to gather their disparate tribes together, put aside their differences and everybody has to be willing to swallow their pride, and unify.
They need to stop thinking that politics is a zero-sum game. They need to put out a message that will attract the Trumpies who voted for him, but aren't seeing him as the answer they thought he was. They need to stop bashing Trump and give people a reason to vote FOR them, other than to be anti-Trump.
A lot of the people who voted for Trump were part of the original Democratic constituents before the party decided to sidle up to the elites on the coasts. Working class/middle-class people in the heartland, the so-called flyover states. They may be a little more conservative than the elites, but they were reaching out for a lifeline and the Democrats threw them an anvil.
Trump threw them a lifeline and they grabbed for it, not seeing that the lifeline ended up being a noose.
Democrats need to get their collective heads out of their butts, stop worrying about safe spaces for coddled millennials, and get their hands dirty.
Saturday, July 07, 2018
The Democrats are fractured. The Bernie crowd have everybody thinking that if they give everybody free stuff, that'll work.(It won't)
The rest of the party just puts out the same old tired assed anti-Trump message and they don't tell people what they are for.
Hillary and Pelosi should be put out to pasture. If there was a real need for a legitimate third party that takes the moderate views of the Democrats and the Republicans and leaves the full mooners out on their own respective islands, it is right now.
I find the extreme left and right equally annoying. And I'm not interested in listening to either of them.
I have a feeling that the Dems probably will not win much in the midterms, and they better get their disparate wings together or else we'll have another four years of MAGA or MAWA.
I'm registered Democrat, because they are the devil I know. And in Pennsylvania, if you want to vote in a primary election, you have to belong to a registered political party. Which I feel is vaguely unconstitutional.
But if a legit moderate third party were to come into existence, I'd kick the donkey to the curb in a heartbeat. But the Dems and Repubs make it difficult for a third party to make headway in this country. They don't want third party to fracture their chokehold on the electoral process. Too bad. Both of them are two sides of the same coin.
Saturday, June 30, 2018
If there was one thing I could take away from my six years in Uncle Sam's Boat Club, other than the propensity to drink copiously, spout vulgar language at the drop of a hat, and a bad habit of constantly referring to my service of teh Facebook whether people wanted to hear about it or not, was that I learned how to cook.
My job officially was called a Mess Management Specialist. Which is a 50 cent word for a cook. It wasn't what I originally enlisted to do, I go into that long convoluted spiel at a later date. But I ended up going to school in San Diego for six weeks in 1981 to learn how to cook, Navy style.
'A' School, as it was known then was an entry level school designed to insure that when you got to the fleet, you weren't completely useless. You could go into any Navy galley and at least know what to do with a knife and could identify a copper (large steam jacketed kettle used to make soups, sauces, etc), a griddle, a fryer, and an oven.
Of course, OJT is how you really learned how to get down. And get down is what we did. A lot of long hours, sore feet, bloody and burnt appendages, and bad backs from throwing around boxes of No. 10 cans, 70 lb steamship rounds, and 50 lb bags of flour.
But by the end of it all, I learned to cook. Not Bobby Flay or Anthony Bourdain level of Food Network culinary wizardry, but at least I won't starve. Breakfast was always my favorite meal to cook. I was the egg man on my carrier and cruiser. I'd man the griddle on my chow line and guys (Combat Navy ships were all male at the time) would call out how they wanted their eggs, and by the time, they got to me, their order would be ready.
I got so that I could have a dozen orders on the griddle at the time. Scrambled, omelets, eggs to order. I got pretty good at it. It was about keeping that line moving. Dudes didn't have time to eat leisurely. So they wanted to get in, eat, and get out.
And when I wasn't cooking eggs, I was backing up the line when stuff ran out. On my cruiser at sea, we fed 500 guys three times a day. Seven days a week. Multiply that number by 8 on a carrier. Easily putting in 80 hours a week. It was a grind. We worked our asses off.
And we got a lot of compliments, but also a lot of complaints too. A bitching sailor is a happy sailor. But we got it done. I won't say that I can cook like a chef on Food Network, but give me a recipe card, and the appropriate ingredients, and I can whip up something that's edible, at least to me.
Friday, June 22, 2018
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, May 06, 2018
I see all these Pens fans ripping netminder Matt Murray for some subpar play in the playoffs. I for one, like goalies. It takes a lot of balls and no small amount of masochism to put on 25-30 extra pounds of gear, step into a goal crease and have guys fire 100+mph hockey pucks at you 30+ times a night for 80 games plus the playoffs.
Plus having guys trying to crash the net and run your ass over. I loved Fleury when he was here. I liked Barrasso. I once had a Gilles Meloche jersey. I'm down with goalies.
But give Murray a break, people! Kid's been in the league for what, three years, won two cups, and fans are already kicking him to the curb? Talk about what have you done for me lately!
Maybe this isn't just the Pens year. Pittsburgh does not have a birthright to the Stanley Cup. Murray's done quite well for a young up and coming goalie. And he will only get better. He hasn't even peaked yet. And he has two Stanley Cup rings! At 23! Which he was insturmental in earning! Not like dude sat on the bench all season. He was between the pipes paying his dues! How many goalies break into this league with a chance to earn hardware from jump? Not very many.
Barring a career ending injury, Matt Murray has a good long career ahead of him with a opportunity to win a few more Cups. Either with or without the Penguins.
I can only imagine the pressure on Murray's shoulders having to follow in the footsteps of a Penguin legend, dealing with the passing of his father, and having to listen to a bunch of fans rip him because he's not the second coming of Ken Dryden, Grant Fuhr and Patrick Roy.
Get over yourselves, people! And people wonder why I don't like Penguins fans. #JustSayin
Saturday, May 05, 2018
The fact that I take a live and let live approach to my Christianity means that i'm in violation of one of its basic tenets which is to proselytize. I've never liked proselytizing. It's too much like selling.
And I don't like selling things. Which means that when I die, I'll probably get reamed out by St. Peter because I didn't try to make disciples. Jesus might look at me with a sidelong glance while he shakes his head and tsks. My name might appear with an asterisk in the Book of Life. And instead of getting a big mansion where all the muckety-mucks live in Heaven, I'll probably get a studio apartment in the low rent district where all the praise music singers live 😄.
Especially since the Evangelical wing of Christianity has embraced conservative Republican politics which goes against a lot of what Jesus taught.
Then again liberal Christians aren't above using politics to advance their idea of the Trinity either. Ideological full mooners of both liberal and conservative strains have given Christianity a bad name over the years. Jesus was more of a liberal, but he had some conservative teachings too.
I think we'd all be better off if we can get the politics out of the church on all sides. But that will never happen. We all want to put God in a box that appeals to our sense of aesthetic. But God won't nicely fix in any box, no matter how pleasing it looks to us. There's always going to be parts of him that will stick out no matter how hard we try to shove him in.
And God don't take kindly to being shoved into boxes. Tends to piss him off. And we don't want to piss off God too much. Never know when he'll decide to go all Old Testament on us all over again. #JustSayin 😀
Friday, April 27, 2018
Concerning the whole Stephen Foster Statuegate flap. So what's next? Are we going to rename the Stephen Foster memorial across the street into something less offensive?
I'm surprised someone hasn't got their undies in a knot about that yet. I get that a bunch of people find the statue racist. But I don't pay attention to it, nor do I care what the city does with the thing.
I just think that a statue of Stephen Foster should be next to the building that bears his name. If I got bent out of shape about everything that annoyed or offended me, I'd have a standing reservation at Western Psych. I've got more important things to worry about than every little thing that offends me. Thankfully, little in this world does offend me, or I would have been shipped off to the funny farm years ago.
Not saying that people shouldn't get offended by things they find objectionable, but by every little thing that frosts their cupcakes? In that case, some folks would have their panties in a knot 24/7. What a way to live. And some folks will probably say that I'm being a race traitor or I ain't 'woke' or whatever.
Guess what? I wasn't put here to meet with your approval, or follow your standard of right or wrong. I'm a grown ass man, I don't have to answer to you. I can only answer to what I feel is right, not anyone else's. If you have a problem with my way of thinking, it's YOUR problem, not mine. #JustSayin
Friday, April 06, 2018
Happy 12 years of the Moonlight Scribbler! Enlightening the ass end of the Internet with descrations of the literary art, amusing and occasionally disturbing observations and random brain dumps from the Little House in the Ghetto by your's truly, the humble Chief Scribe in Residence since April 6, 2006!!
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
36 years ago, today. Me and about 2,500 of my best friends put the USS Carl Vinson into commission. The shipyard officially handed over the keys to a shiny new aircraft carrier to the Navy and told us to have fun but not to ruin the paint job. Since then, the Chucky V has been kicking ass, taking names, and looking fabulous doing it.
Damn, that was a looong time ago. I had almost forgotten. I served aboard Vinson from June 1981 to January 1984. I made her maiden world cruise in 1983 from Norfolk, VA to Alameda, CA. I was in the hangar bay when the command went out to 'bring the ship to life.'
I got to work hard, play hard and go to places a lot of people couldn't find on a map. It is a rare distinction to be called a plankowner. That is, a sailor who was a member of a ship's crew when she was put into commission.
We were the first crew. We set the initial standard. We were in many ways, the guinea pigs. It was our job to man the new ship and get her ready for service. It was our job to polish out the Vinson's rough spots. To establish the culture and reputation that would see her through her service life.
And I'd say we were largely successful. The Carl Vinson has established herself as one of the best carriers in the fleet. She has won many awards, positively represented the Navy in several newsworthy situations, and has garnered a sterling reputation.
And as she heads towards the closing years of her 50 year service life, she stands ready to go out as she came in. On top and looking fabulous. I'd love to be one of the rare sailors who could complete the circle. To be on her deck when she closes out her days, as I was when she started them.
To all who have served aboard her with pride and distinction from that commissioning day to this day, Fair Winds and Following Seas.
Vis Per Mare!!!
Thursday, March 08, 2018
Well kids. My last night at the Denise's house critter sitting. Glad to report that during my stay, all the critters survived. The house is still standing and I'll be heading back to the Little House in the Ghetto this afternoon.
The neighbors will feed the animals while Denise and her brood spend another week in Rat World. Wouldn't get me within 50 miles of the Mickeyship. Too many crowds, too expensive, and I'm just not a Disney kinda guy. I'd be spending my time spreading lurid rumors about Mickey's threesomes with Minnie and Daisy, Goofy's heroin habit, also the real reason Donald Duck doesn't wear pants. And otherwise destroying the myths about the Happiest Place On Earth. If only the kiddies knew how their favorite rodent really got down. You think Trump got up to some hinky doings...😋😋Some of the stuff I heard that goes on in the Mickey Mouse clubhouse would make the Playboy Mansion look like a church picnic. Just sayin'!
But I get back to work on Friday only to have the weekend off. My paycheck will take a beating for the next month or so, but it was nice to just sleep in, chill out, and relax a bit. It was fun to spend time with Chessie. He is a sweet pup. The next time I see him, he'll be a little bigger, hopefully better behaved and less inclined to chew my face off.
Back to the grind, as it were. Thanks for the likes and compliments re: the puppy pictures. If I were in a position to own a critter, I'd like to have a dog like Chessie. But that's not happening any time soon. But I can still come up on occasion and play with the pooch. But the good thing about house sitting? When the time's up, the kid/pet goes right back to their parents/owners/etc and my happy ass gets to go home.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Well, boys and girls. Tonite I start house sitting an 11 week old puppy and three cats while my long time friend and her mother take her little boy to Rat World over the next two weeks.
I'm convinced that poor JB will need extensive therapy in his older years to clean out all the mental Mickey manure shoved into his little head from five years of constant exposure to various Disney content. It'll only get worse as a result of being directly exposed to the deleterious effects of the Mickeyship for two weeks. Poor kid. Glad I'm not paying for his therapy.
Aaanyway. For the next ten or so days, I get unlimited access to the TV, WiFi, and fridge while dodging all sorts of puppy pee and poop and kitty kerfuffles. Oh, joy.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really a big vacation guy. I think I've taken a weeks vacation in the last four years. Part of it is because until last June, I worked for companies that didn't really offer paid vacations. The first company did, but I didn't see the extra money until the following June. The rest gave us a week every year, but we took it without pay. My current company actually treats its employees like human beings and allows us to earn paid vacation time. Needless to say, I'm much happier with my current employer, but I'm still in the habit of not taking vacation or sick days. Fortunately for me, I pretty much work unsupervised, therefore I can be as sick as a dog and not have to worry about infecting anyone else.
I'm really not all that thrilled about taking these ten or so days off. But Denise doesn't have anyone else she trusts with the critters. This isn't my first house sitting rodeo. Most likely won't be my last. So I have reacquaint myself with watching broadcast TV, because all I watch at home is Hulu, which has copious amounts of Star Trek. I'll take Midori, my Chromebook with me, maybe I can get a little writing done. I might even be able to catch up on my sleep. But watch this space as I post updates on Uncle P's Week of Housesitting Hell.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
I don't own a gun, not interested in owning a gun, I support the 2nd amendment, but I also think it's been stretched way beyond the intent of the founders.
This country has a disturbing hard on for guns that concerns me. Unfortunately, barring an amendment of the Constitution, we will never get rid of guns. And anyone who knows about the Constitution knows that it was designed from the jump to be a pain in the ass to amend.
I have no problem with RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. I don't understand why people need to keep an arsenal in their homes, but as long as they use them responsibly and keep them properly secured, nothing I can do.
We need to figure out how to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and the bad guys. I support tougher background checks including for history of mental illness. I support requiring gun purchasers to take a gun safety course or show proof of previous training and to show proof of secure storage of their weapons. I support longer waiting periods. I also support any person being convicted of gun violence resulting in the death of human beings being locked up for life without parole.
While gun ownership is a right in this country, unlike most rights afforded to US citizens, the right to bear arms also carries the possibility of people getting hurt or killed by those exercising that right. So, in my mind, the granting of that right should come with some qualifications and requirements not afforded to other rights.
Purchasing and using a gun is not like purchasing say, a pair of shoes.
I do not support the arming of teachers, unless that teacher is an ex-cop or a veteran. However, do not make the assumption that every veteran knows how to handle a gun. I only fired a gun once in the Navy. In boot camp, where we spent two days field stripping a .45 and firing one magazine of bullets at a target. No qualification tests, no marksman badges. Teachers are in school to teach. Without the concern of some kid trying to steal the gun. Or them trying to defend themselves and a classroom of terrified kids from some waste of life who wants to shoot up a school.
I'd prefer to have an armed cop or two in the schools. Personally, I'd love to see anybody who shoots up a school, church, or any other public gathering to be executed on the spot a la Judge Dredd, but the Constitution frowns on that sort of thing. Something about fair trials and all. That's pretty much my feelings on this whole kerfuffle.
Friday, February 23, 2018
What the hell. Let's just give everybody a gun. Put a Colt .45 in newborn's creches, give Smith and Wesson .38's away free if you buy 8 gallons of gas or open a Christmas club account.
Let's give AR-15's to trick or treaters for Halloween. Give AK-47's out with diplomas to graduating seniors. Teach the dog how to shoot a Tec-9. Put snub-nosed revolvers in Cracker Jacks and cereal boxes.
Put a display of Glocks next to People magazine in the grocery store check out line. Give out Kimbers to employees with their paychecks. Pass out Sig Sauer's to the old folks with their Social Security checks.
Let little Johnny and Suzie bust out their Mossberg shotguns at show and tell. Let them cook off a box of buckshot at recess.
Hey, we can't stop people from shooting up schools, churches, concerts, nightclubs, etc. Might as well just let everyone go around packing heat. Even the folk who are a cheeseburger and fries short of a Happy Meal!
Why not? Guns for everybody!!! What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Let's arm the teachers!
We may not have enough money to pay for school supplies, or pay the teachers enough to deal with the little psychos on a regular basis, or heat the schools, but we can call down to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and get them to print up a few hundred million to pay for training and guns to arm them in case of an active shooter situation.
Police officers go thru weeks and months of training to learn how to handle an active shooter scenario. Let's give each teacher a gun, a few weeks of training and expect them to perform as well as a police officer with years of experience.
And they have 15-20 terrified, screaming, crying kids to deal with on top of some mental case diaperstain with a death wish shooting up a school. Somehow, I don't think this will go over well.
Tell you what. Just put a cop or two in the schools. Teachers have enough shit to deal with educating our wacky ass kids. Let's not add to the by making cops out of them.
This batshit cray-cray has 'NRA' written all over it. I guess the NRA is looking at it as a bunch of potential new members. #JustSayin.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Know what I'd love to see? Though it'll never happen. I'd like to see the community college concept extended to four year degrees.
I went to a community college (CCAC Boyce '95), So I know what they are and how they work. They provide a no-frills basic 2 year college experience for the commuter student who just wants to go to school, go to class, and move on.
No dormitories, no dining halls, not much in the way of student life. No frats or sororities. Some athletics, but not an all encompassing program like at, say, Pitt or Penn State.
Not a bunch of extras that tack unnecessary expenses on to students bills.
I would like to see community colleges offer 4 year degrees. It would save students a ton of money. A 4 year degree from a community college would cost a fraction of what the same degree would cost at a traditional college.
Now a 4 year degree from a CCAC wouldn't have the prestige or cachet of a credential from a Pitt, Penn State, or RMU. But if the schools offered a strong academically sound education that can give students the tools they need to enter the workforce, how important really is the name atop the sheepskin?
I've been thinking on and off about this subject since my CCAC days. The regular four year schools would have a fit. They'd never allow this to happen. But I think the idea has some semblance of merit. #JustSayin
50 years ago today, Mister Rogers Neighborhood aired for the first time.
True story. I was working the stage door of the Benedum Center back in the '90s. And apparently, Fred Rogers was filming a segment that showed him entering the Benedum thru the stage door. So he comes walking past the security desk and I lose it.
Now working the stage door, I saw all sorts of local and national celebrities, and my thing was that if they spoke to me, I spoke back but I didn't go looking for autographs or anything like that. Had to be professional.
Although I became a fan of Chita Rivera because she was very nice to me when she came into town to do 'Kiss of the Spider-Woman.' I do not have similar feelings for Jerry Lewis, but that's another story for another time.
Aaanyway, Mr. Rogers comes blitzing past. I didn't say anything and after him comes David Newell, better known as Mr. McFeely. I say hello, he answers back, very nice guy, and he asks me, out of the blue, if I'd like to speak to Mr. Rogers. Of, course! I said.
A few minutes later, Fred Rogers stops at the security desk, shakes my hand and talks for a few seconds. I about fell out, I was tongue tied and didn't dare ask him for an autograph. I did not want to waste the man's time.
Long story short, he was in person exactly as he was on TV. Very nice, soft spoken, a true gentleman. I'll never forget that day. It's Mister Roger's World and we're just living in it.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Can anyone tell me what a citizen's duty is to this country?
About the only obligation a citizen has in the US, that I can see, correct me if I'm wrong, is to pay taxes. And some of the schemes people come up with to avoid that are mind-boggling.
We don't require our citizens to vote and depending on the election, I've seen as little as 10% vote in a special election and less than half in a primary or general election.
What about serving on a jury? You should hear some of the excuses I hear from people wanting to be excused from jury duty. The last time I got a jury summons was in the late 2000's. I got picked for a three day trial, did my service, got my $27 and went my merry way. Haven't gotten a summons since. If I get one, I'll appear and go thru the process because I believe that is one of the duties of a citizen.
We don't require our citizens to perform national service, military or otherwise. We don't really require a hell of a lot of our citizens.
Which is quite ironic given all the hoops we make potential citizens jump thru to become citizens. I wonder how many natives could pass the citizenship test? I bet less than half. Americans aren't exactly the most read of people when it comes to our institutions.
I just wonder sometimes why we make such a stink about immigration when frankly, there really isn't all that to being a citizen here. Like I said, correct me if I'm wrong. #JustSayin
Saturday, February 17, 2018
I always see these memes that say the country went into the shitter when we 'took God out of the schools,' Ostensibly, this means that if we put God back into the schools, everything will be all right.
Problem is, which God should we put back? The God of the Abrahamic faiths? (Christianity, Judaism, Islam), The Hindu pantheon? The myriad of gods of the Buddhist and Shinto faiths? The various gods of different tribal groups in Africa and South American jungles? Let's go old school and bring back the ancient Greek and Roman gods. Maybe go up North and check out the Norse deities. Or, what the hell, we're in the United States, let's go with the God of American Exceptionalism.
Why don't we just bring them all back and let the kids pick and choose. And while we're at it, if we have to bring back gods, we also give the assorted devil's, demons and denizens of the underworld equal access.
We can't just go with ONE God. What about the kids who don't believe in him, her, it, whatever? We can't let them be left out.
Inclusiveness is the order of the day.
And what about the weird kid who worships the blob of gum stuck to his shoe, Wrig-Lee? Doesn't his choice of savior warrant some attention?
I don't get it, someone enlighten me on which God should go back into the public schools to put the kiddies back on to the straight and narrow, so they won't be wanting to kill each other with the crap-ton of guns we have in this country. #JustSayin
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
The problem isn't the gun. Guns are tools. They have no soul, no ethics, no sense of right or wrong.
A gun is merely a set of mechanical parts put together to do one thing. Fire a bullet.
A gun can be used to put meat on your table. It can be used to defend your home against a robber. It can be used to kill in cold blood. A gun is really no different than a hammer. A hammer can drive a nail into a piece of wood. It can also be used to cave someone's skull in.
A gun can be used for good or evil. The gun does not make the decision to put meat on a table or to kill someone in cold blood. The person wielding the gun makes that decision.
As much of a hard on America has with guns, take them away, people will still find ways to kill each other. Guns make the act of killing a little easier, but humans will always find a way of killing their fellow man, if they want to badly enough.
The important thing is to keep the gun out of the hands of those who will use it to kill. Probably won't stop them from killing though. If a person wants to kill badly enough, they'll use a gun, a hammer, a tire iron, a baseball bat, or any number of things that can be pressed into service to end life. And I don't see people wanting to make hammers, tire irons, and baseball bats illegal.
I'm not some gun nut who has an NRA shrine in my back yard. I don't even own a gun. But I have any number of things within arm's length, I can use to kill someone. None of which are illegal to own or use as they are intended.
The decision to kill rests with every person. Whether they use a gun or not, makes no difference. #JustSayin
I'm actually kind of happy I'm off the market in terms of dating.
Saves me a boat load of money. I can come and go as I please. I don't have to leave whenever my significant other decides to go.
I don't have to dress to impress. I don't have to be dragged to boring events to meet with her friends, who most likely will gossip about me being totally unsuited for her, and with whom I would rather stuff my head into a wood chipper than spend five minutes with.
And any woman who ends up getting into a relationship with me will most likely be disappointed with who she ended up with and will either break up with me or cheat on me.
So I save myself a bunch of heartache and drama as well. It's all about living life with as few hassles as possible, kids. #JustSayin
Saturday, February 10, 2018
I hear a lot of back and forth about the whole DACA situation. And while I get the attitude that they are here 'illegally' and should be sent back to the country they came from. A country they know little about.
I tend to believe that children should not be held accountable for the actions of their parents. They had no control of their situation, they were brought here without their consent. I believe they should be given an opportunity to get their citizenship, maybe a kind of one-time situation where the current crop of Dreamers are processed and then after they're taken care of, then shut off the tap.
I know that there are Dreamers who are making a positive effect on the country, working honorably in all sorts of fields, especially those who've joined the military. In a time when less than half of one percent of Americans are serving, and people who were born and raised here make copious excuses for not joining, for a person to put their life on the line for a country that is not their's, even if it's the only country they know, takes a special amount of courage and deserves a special amount of respect. Courage that is often not found in native citizens who talk a big game about 'Murica getting its badass on, but won't back up their words with actions.
As far as I'm concerned, any Dreamer who puts on this country's uniform and serves honorably should get citizenship at the same time they get their DD214. #JustSayin
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
So Lord Cheeto wants to emulate Little Rocket Man by having a 'Grand Military Parade' down Pennsylvania Ave. Having marched in more than a few parades and formations, I can state definitively that most military people resent being trotted out like show ponies for a President to stroke his hard-on while fantasizing about how great he thinks he is.
Memorial Day/July 4th/Veterans Day parades, we're proud to march. But to satisfy some shitbird's ego with pointless patriotic theater? That's f*****g UNSAT! Excuse my French, kids, this situation really frosts my cupcakes.
Trump would be better thought of if he took the money he wants to spend on this Mark One, Mod One Goatf**k and used it on real problems affecting our AD MilPers and vets. Like why so many AD MilPers and vets are killing themselves, like why we have vets who put their lives on the line for this country who end up homeless and mentally destroyed. Why our female MilPers are enduring sexual harrassment and assault. And why the hell are we still dicking around in Iraq and Afghanistan? Not even 9am as I write this and I need some alcohol!! #JustSayin
Monday, February 05, 2018
Simple guidelines for any female ladies of the opposite sex who are interested in dating me.
In a word.... DON'T!
If you looking for a guy you can dress up and show off to your girlfriends crowing about what a hot stud you landed, I'm not your guy.
If you're looking for a guy who'll take you to the hip cool night spots, clubs, eateries, concerts, and sporting events so you can see and be seen, I'm not your guy.
If you're looking for a guy whom you can talk about the coolest new movies and TV shows, I'm not your guy.
If you're looking for a guy who dresses like a GQ model, drives a hot car, and looks like a million bucks in new money, I'm not your guy.
If you're looking for a guy that'll help you unleash your inner social butterfly, I'm not your guy.
However...if you're looking for a guy who'll treat you like a lady, be your close friend/confidant/drinking buddy/someone to shoot the shit with/a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board, a distinterested party to vent, unload, and bounce stuff off...I'm your guy.
If you're looking for a guy that'll answer your phone call at 3 am every night for a week because you need consoling when your puppy died, I'm your guy.
If you need a guy to help you find your keys outside your house in the pouring rain, I'm your guy.
If you need a guy who’ll blow off his plans to come out to help you drown your sorrows and offer a listening non-judging ear after your supposedly hot date crashed and burned, I'm your guy.
If you don't care how your guy looks, dresses, how he gets around, how he gets down, whether he can hold a semi-intelligent conversation and is a master at self-deprecation... I'm your guy.
In short if you want a date, I'm not your guy.
But if you're looking for a friend...I'm your guy. #JustSayin
Friday, February 02, 2018
Once again, the news from Gobbler's Knob is that the famous rodent prognosticator, Punxsutawny Phil has seen his shadow thereby guaranteed that we will have yet again, another six weeks of winter. Y'all know that Punxsutawny Phil has seen his shadow 108 times in 131 years, right? Park Place math puts that at 82 and change percent, right? Now the hard working statisticians at the Moonlight Scribbler Institute of Advanced Statistical Analysis and Crab Shack have pored over these numbers with painstaking care and have deduced and confirmed what I've known for a long time.
Phil is on the take.
He's getting paid, people. I have always believed that the various producers of winter goods (tossle caps, sleds, snow shovels, space heaters, etc) have formed a cabal in order to influence Punxsutawny Phil to see his shadow and predict six more weeks of winter, thereby giving those industries six more weeks to reap the profits from winter. It is true, people. The numbers don't lie. The few times that Phil has not seen his shadow are but a clever ploy designed to throw curious investigators off the scent, by insinuating that the fix is not in. But smart people like me are not fooled. Every once in a while, the winter goods cabal attempts to lay down a smokescreen to deflect suspicion. But their tomfoolery is all too apparent to those of us who know what to look for.
And this cabal has very persuasive ways of making sure that their activities remain in the shadows out of the public eye. They have hit squads, you know. Those old guys wearing the top hats and speaking Groundhogese up at Gobbler's Knob talking to Phil? Don't be fooled, they may seem harmless, but they are secret operatives trained in cutting edge military tactics and equipped with state of the art weaponry designed to make sure that the secrets of Phil's payoffs remain unknown to an unsuspecting public. These operatives have been trained by Army Green Berets and Navy SEALS to defend the wishes of their cabal masters by any means necessary.
I myself have been harrassed by these top hatted thugs when they confronted me armed with Mossberg tactical shotguns, bludgeons, and clubs and demanded that I remain quiet. They have tried to buy me off, but while their offers have been tempting, I still remain undeterred. No doubt, they will resort to more extreme measures of persuasion as time goes on. They are merciless and infinitely patient. I may not survive much longer.
I will never stop making my voice heard about these insidious activities. My efforts to educate the public are ceaseless and will survive my untimely demise. I have others in my employ who will carry on my work once I am gone. Their identities remain secret, but even now they are hard at work. The world must know these deep secrets behind Groundhog Day.
I have approached the major broadcast and cable networks, pitching my revolutionary documentary, 'The Dark Secret of Groundhog Day', but fearing physical and economic retaliation from Phil's forces, they refuse to entertain my entreaties. But I will keep seeking and searching and will ultimately find an outlet for my voice to be heard. Those of you who are allied with my cause are welcome to join me as we uncover and expose the lies, treachery, and hinky doings behind this most innocuous seeming celebration, which in secret, hides an plan that can tear apart this nation. STAND WITH ME!!!