Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Imagine if I'd Actually Gone to My Prom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 05, 2019

Uncle P Needs a Vacation

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

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Adios, AAF

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

My Last Word on the Antwon Rose Shooting.

My last word on the Antwon Rose shooting.

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

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Smug Ass White People.

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

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

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Harrumphs and Hear, Hears.

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

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

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Call A Spade A Spade.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

This Blog Post Can Give You Cancer

     Studies are always coming out saying that this thing or that will give you cancer. These days, what DOESN'T give you cancer? 
     Breathing gives you cancer. Walking across the street and getting hit by a cement truck can give you cancer.
Eating a peanut butter and jelly sammich can give you cancer.  Hugging your four legged critter can give you cancer. Thinking about cancer can give you cancer. The mere mention of the word 'cancer' can give you cancer.  Watching the Kardashians can give you cancer!  Reading this blog post could give you cancer. We're all gonna die anyways. Most likely of cancer so, just live it up doing, eating or thinking about what you love because, inevitably, it'll give you cancer. #JustSayin

Monday, February 04, 2019

Move Over Little Stillers, the Big Ol' Pats Are Moving In.

     In retrospect. The Patriots succeed because of one simple philosophy. Simple in explanation, not so simple in execution. 
      They don't need the best 53 players on their team, only the RIGHT 53 players on their team. And I think the Steelers need to adopt that philosophy.
       The Steelers had great players, good enough to win hardware, but they always come up short. But the Patriots, love or hate them, they get other teams castoffs, leftovers and bench warmers and win Super Bowls. 
       Maybe it's time for the Rooneys to stop going after the AB's and LeVeon's that are strong in talent, but are more into burnishing their brand, and go after the guys that aren't necessarily first round draft picks, but are hungry and are willing to put their heads down and grind for team and titles.
       Guys like Juju are one thing. He likes the spotlight, but he also puts the team first.  But we don't need divas and high maintenance drama queens who're more interested in Instagram likes than being solid teammates who put the squad ahead of themselves.
     Those kind of players are out there, the Patriots don't have a corner on that market, but the Steelers need to go after them.
      Maybe it's time for a change of scenery for both the Rooneys and for Tomlin. Maybe it's time for a mutual parting of the ways. Buy out Tomlin's contract. Let him resign and save face.
       But the top of the Super Bowl mountain now has two. And it's time for the original occupant to kick the usurper out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Let The Trannies Serve!

If you're trans, and you're fit, qualified, and are willing to put up with all the shit that goes with military service such as

1. having every aspect of your life planned out for you 24/7/365;

2. being told what to do, when to do it, what to wear while doing it; and what could happen to you if you don't do it; 

3. working weekends and holidays in brutally hard conditions with equipment specifically designed to cut, burn, and otherwise kill or maim you in all sorts of new and exciting ways;

4.  schlepping you and your family to a new duty station in some God-forsaken place every few years with all the hassles that go with moving (although I would never think about having a family, much less a girlfriend or spouse while I was in the service, but there are people dumb enough to do it);

5. to be confined to a cramped ship with 5,000 of your best friends for six to eight months doing the work mentioned in #3 above for 16-18 hours a day, seven days a week, with few breaks, and barely enough time in liberty ports in exotic locations around the world to say that you had been to said place, but not enough time in said ports to actually do anything;

6. to get the satisfaction that you're doing something that only one half of one percent of the population of the United States has the willingness, much less the man bits to do, in order for some schlub to give you a dead fish handshake and a half-hearted 'Thank you for your service.'

   If you're willing to do that, plus all the other stuff I didn't mention, not to mention, putting with all the crap that goes with being trans, put her there, pal. 
    I'd have been honored to serve alongside you. And I'm pretty sure I served with a tranny or two. I certainly served along enough gay dudes who did the grind as hard as I did.  I had to work with them, not hit the beach with them. 
    All I asked from the guys I worked with was be on time, sober, in uniform, and ready to grind. #JustSayin

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Glory Hallelujah!

     This is my response to those Trumpies that say that their boy has done more for black folks than any other President in history.

     Trump has actually done more for the black community since any president in history?
More than freeing the slaves?
More than signing the Civil Rights Act?
More than desegregating the military?  More than ending Jim Crow?
More than granting black folks the right to vote?
More than allowing us to sit at the lunch counter at Woolworth's so we could have a burger and a Coke with white folks?
     Those who believe that, did they actually ASK any black people whether that statement is true, or as usual, did they get that from Trump's Twitter account again or Fox News, Breitbart, or other right wing propaganda? 
     Trump, you say?
You mean the same guy who perpetuated the whole birther thing against Obama? The same guy who's old man discriminated against blacks in housing? The same guy who took out the full page ad in the NY Times who advocated for the death penalty for the Central Park 5, who were ultimately judged not guilty in the attack on the Central Park jogger?        
     That Trump? Oh please tell me more.  Enlighten me. Please tell me how dat nice Mista Trump done helped us poor darkies break our chains so we could be free! Glory Hallelujah! Praise Jesus and Mista Donald Trump!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

It's too damn easy to get a CCW.

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

A New Post Record on Teh Scribbler.

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

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

How Trump can pay for his wall.

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