Thursday, December 31, 2020

Begone 2020!!!!

Well boys and girls, I guess this is as good a time as any to put out Uncle P's Semi-Traditional New Year's Screed. 

For those who have just become Facebook friends this year, this is a more or less annual thing that I put out on New Year's Eve where I yammer senselessly about the year gone past and put forth my hopes and dreams for the coming years.  It's like all the other long tortured FB rants I put out over the years. Completely off the top of my head. No rhyme or reason. It'll be edited and amended multiple times of the day as stuff pops into my head after I finish writing. 

I am not a professional author.  I'm just some idiot who likes to write. And my style is wordy at best.  And don't expect the Great American Novel or some beautiful tome that you'll want to mold your life by or use to divine some hidden knowledge.  If you choose to use it as such, God help you. This, like most long posts like this will end up on my personal collection of writings at 

 My personal blog which I've maintained since 2006. It's the repository of all the bits and pieces of mental gunk that accumulates in my head and won't go away willingly.  I don't advertise it, don't really care if anybody reads it. It's my personal real estate on teh Interwebs.  It exists primarily for my self therapy. Read it your own risk...or not. I don't care. 

Ooookay, preliminaries aside. Let's just say that THIS YEAR SSSSSUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKEEEEEDDDDD! If ever there was a year that the world would give anything to see the back of, it was 2020.  It started out fine, then a tiny virus too small to be seen with the naked eye caused the world to be turned inside out.  Countries locked down their borders. They asked, and some cases ordered their residents to stay home. Face masks became a required article of wardrobe. The six foot shuffle became a new dance step as the term 'social distancing' became a part of our vocabulary. Businesses large and small dependent on social interaction shut down. Many never to open again. Employees of those businesses were thrown out of work while state struggled to handle the overflow of unemployment insurance claims.  

The federal government was thrown into chaos as various states took differing approaches towards dealing with the new virus. Some locked down completely, some took a laissez-faire attitude until the positive cases mounted up. Congress wrestled with providing trillions of dollars of aid to the population. 

Either way governors were damned whatever way they chose.  Cultural arts organizations shut their theaters and museums.  Opera and, ballet  companies and symphony orchestras could not do live performances losing millions in irreplaceable revenues. Schools shut down forcing kids to learn via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Everybody learned to homeschool whether they wanted to or not.   Sports leagues changed the way they did business. Smaller leagues shut down completely. Bigger leagues either shortened their seasons, played in "bubbles" and radically changed when they were to begin play. 

And on top of all this was the summer of our discontent.  The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others by police ignited afresh protests against police brutality against unarmed Black folks. The voice of protest rang out throughout the country. Some of which turned violent. Some of which turned destructive. All of which added to the anger and hostility of a population being denied simple pleasures as eating out, hitting the bars and watching sports live and in person.  The country ground its teeth on edge.  But the fun wasn't over yet. 

There was a little thing called the Presidential election.  I'll be the first to say that the choice between which two of the old decrepit white dudes we ended up with was the lesser of two evils.  

Trump needed no introduction.  To be graceful, as I do have some Trump supporters in my FB friends.  There was nothing in between about President Trump. Either you loved him, or you hated him. His years as President upended many of the norms and expectations we asked of our elected leaders.  He careened from one extreme to the other spreading chaos and unpredictability wherever he went.  The Left couldn't stand him. The Right virtually deified him.  

As a result of one of the most diversified Democratic campaigns in US history, involving a slate of candidates covering all manner of races,, creeds, colors, sexual orientations and whether they pronounced To-MAY-to or To-MAH-to, we ended up with...Joe Biden. An old dude who spent almost half a century in elected office, was the former vice President to Barack Obama, 78 years young, and was probably the most mediocre candidate of the field. Give Joe credit, he chose a history making VP candidate in Kamala Harris that may end up moving into the White House sooner than she expects because, frankly, I doubt Biden finishes his first term. The Presidency of the US is one of the toughest jobs in the world that chews up its officeholders and spits them out. Seen Obama lately? A lot of snow on his roof.  There are people who retire from jobs much less stressful than POTUS at much younger ages.  Maybe Biden will prove me wrong, but I doubt it. 

Long story short, this thing is getting ponderous even for me. After an election where paper ballots and stamped envelopes replaced the voting booth for millions of Americans, Biden ended up winning. But Trump being Trump, refuses to relinquish the stage making baseless claim after claim that the election was stolen from him.  The Pirates have a better winning record than Trump in terms of the number of lawsuits and court cases brought forward versus the number won. Something like 1-58. At least the Bucs won about a third of their games this season. 

Well there's a lot more stuff I can go over, but this thing is running long. Covid has claimed the lives of about 300k Americans in 2020. It is turned our lives inside out and upside down. Most Americans are willing to put up with the inconveniences that have resulted citing a need to support the public good, but a significant amount are thumbing their noses in defiance claiming infringements on their freedoms.

 I don't know. All I know is that 2020 has been a year that I'd describe with a vulgar Navy term that rhymes with 'Floatpuck.' I'll leave it to you to figure it out. 

Aaaaanyway. I'll conclude that personally, 2020 wasn't a bad year for me. I dodged a bullet in terms of staying employed. I have stayed free of the Covid bug.  Other than buying waaay too many books that will be gathering dust until I get around to reading them. I did miss going to Riverhounds games, and spending time with friends.

 Haven't seen the inside of Holy Cross in months. Can't bear to watch services online. I do miss going out to eat. I pretty much just stay home but occasionally go out to get food and beer.  Tonight, I'm planning on staying home, drinking a couple of British beers. I was thinking of getting a bottle of Budweiser or Coors Light so I could send off a shitty year by drinking shitty beer.  

Well, kids. I hope that 2021 is a damn sight better than 2020 for you. It's a pretty low bar. May you all maintain or attain good health. Kiss your kids and critters. Even though 2020 is going away, Covid is still out there, until vaccinations are commonplace, and we put this bug behind us, mask up, do the six foot shuffle, and watch yourselves out there. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. 
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and grant you peace. 

Be good to each other, love each other. Bear each other's burdens. We're all in this together, no matter how much we like to wall ourselves off under the guise of rugged individualism.  Humans are social creatures. We need each other. And sacrificing for the public good helps us all in the end.

From the Little House in the Ghetto located in the bucolic and pastoral neighborhood of Homewood-Brushton in the fair city of Picksburgh, Taxsylvania. This is your 99 and 44/100% pure Pierre Wheaton signing off. See yinz on the other side. 😁😁😁🀣🀣🀣

Monday, November 23, 2020

Trump and Televangelists ...

Know what's funny? Trump calling on all his supporters to cough up the bucks needed to pay for all these lawsuits that keep blowing up in his face. 

You know who also used to shake down their supporters for dubious causes?


You remember Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts and that whole rogues gallery of B-list Gospel hucksters who'd plead, beg, and cajole their viewers into sending them money to support their "ministries" (read, their bank accounts.) Because they believed that Gawd laid a burden on their heart that they needed paid for by the financial assistance of their "prayer warriors,"  Or some other Christianese bovine feces used to separate the faithful from their money. 

 You'd hear about the little old ladies who resorted to eating cat food because they signed over their social security checks to these fraudsters for some cheap "anointed" prayer cloth, or to have their preacher of choice "pray" for them.  When in fact that money went to pay for an air conditioned doghouse (Jim and Tammy Bakker) or that Bentley or private jet, or the $5,000 suit or the $10,000 mink coat or the 20,000 seat mega church that God told them that they HAD to have in order to propagate His word throughout the world.  And the people would eat that shit up. And the money kept rolling in. 

The Christian media industrial complex brings in billions of dollars beaming out the Gospel to anyone who wants to hear it. And televangelists keep shouting to anyone standing still long enough that Christianity in America is under persecution. 🀣🀣🀣🀣  The average Christian in this country wouldn't know what persecution was if it walked up to them and smacked them in the head with a Thompson Chain-Reference NIV Bible with a fake leather zip-up cover. (I had one of those.) 

And of course, who would those who are willing to swipe the plastic to send their hard-earned cash to Rev. Bob's Mega-Jesus Explosion Church/Bookstore/Yoga Studio/Crab Shack, vote for?

 You guessed it, Trump.  A thrice married/twice divorced, misogynistic serial adulterer who ran casinos, built gold-plated opulent hotels, golf courses, and dodgy real estate developments financed and over leveraged with loans originating from a German bank more than willing to loan him money even after defaulting on a mountain of existing loans to the point that no US bank would touch Trump with a pole as long as the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Who became a Christian of convenience to woo the God/Guns/America crowd despite mentioning Two Corinthians and standing up in front of a church with a Bible in his hand. Upside down, no less. While telling an armed security detail to use pepper gas against peaceful protestors. If Trump actually tried to read that Bible he was carrying, it would have burst into flame.  I think you guys see the similarities. 

I have no problem with supporting a church. But I'd rather give my money to my local church. That way I can see with my own two eyes where the money's going.  If Holy Cross' priest all of a sudden showed up with a Roller in the parking lot instead of a Volkswagen, I'd know something was up.  But I guess, to each his own.  

Hey, another blog post!!  And a pretty good one too.  I'm really good at pulling these things out of my nether regions. But I'm not very good at ending them.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Thanksgiving/ Christmas/New Year's Triple Whammy.

I'm not really feeling the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's Triple Whammy.

 Especially this year. In the case of Thanksgiving and Christmas, those are family holidays, best celebrated with family and loved ones.  As many of you know, family is not a big part of my life. All my close family are dead. Mother, Father, Grandparents, Sister, Brothers, that lot, all dead. 

Notice that I don't say that my relatives have "passed away", or "moved on", or are in a "better place." 

No, they're dead. 

I still have a few cousins and uncles, nieces and nephews, etc still kicking around. But I haven't talked to them in years. And I'm not really interested in renewing relations with them. 

We were never a close bunch. About the only time we got together was for weddings and funerals, and over the years, we had a lot of the latter and damn few of the former. I have no idea what or where my surviving relatives are, and I don't really care.  

I have some friends who kinda stand in for family.  But as nice as they are, they don't really replace blood. And this year has definitely put the kibosh on visiting my friends. I keep a policy of not hanging out with friends even if they are clear of the Covid bug, unless they invite me over. I don't go where I'm not welcome.  

But, pretty much, I go it alone. Not married, no girlfriend, not even a friend with benefits.  Just me.  I'm so used to doing the solo act that I probably have no idea about how to handle having someone in my life full time.  I'd probably end up screwing it up. I figure that any woman desperate enough to take up with me would be driven mad by my ways and end up leaving me, or worse, cheating on me.

 I fully intend on spending Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's alone at home watching TV and cuddled up with a nice six pack of decent beer. And my evergrowing collection of books of the dead tree and electronic variety. 

Not really feeling the upcoming onslaught of schmaltzy Holiday music.  The religious carols are fine. Christmas is first and foremost a religious holiday.  But the secular dreck, even the childhood favorites, I'd rather put my head into a wood chipper than subject my ears to that "Ho-Ho-Ho" horror. And once Thanksgiving ends, that crap will be on 24/7 until midnight on December 26, when, like the incessant political poop of our recent election, it all vanishes into the ether. 

 And of course, every store and radio station will be doing all Christmas, all the time over their air.  And Facebook and social media will be even more chock-a-bloc than usual with memes, inspirational posts and pictures of everybody celebrating with family.  Yeah, I'm not feeling these upcoming few weeks. I sure hope 2021 will be a damn sight better than 2020, because this year has been the drizzling shits. 

But for those of you who have close families who love each other, or at least don't hate each other, enjoy the upcoming holidays.  Love your relatives, no matter how much of a pain in the ass or batshit crazy they are. Because you never appreciate them fully until they're gone. Don't worry too much about me. I'm a hardy sort. I always figure out a way to amuse myself.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day 2020

It's Veterans Day, and Facebook will be inundated with posts, memes, and other displays indicating support for veterans. Pretty much all of you know I'm a veteran. I tend to squawk about it a fair amount on teh Facebook. Probably too much. 

I might rock my ships ball caps when I'm out and I post Navy stuff and belong to several veterans groups on FB, as well as I'm a 30 year member and post officer of the American Legion, but I don't chase veterans discounts. I don't really need them, I'd prefer that they went to those who saw combat and left some of themselves, whether in body or mind, on the battlefield. I didn't do anything special. I was a cook, (or the 65 cent equivalent phrase, Mess Management Specialist.) I served chow. I can hold my own in a kitchen. Not exactly Bobby Flay/Iron Chef material, but I can more or less cook or at least follow a recipe. I cranked out a bunch of chow to a bunch of squids on an aircraft carrier and a guided missile cruiser. No big shakes. 

As I've gotten older, I've looked back on that time in my life and frankly, I made a lot of stupid decisions. I could have done a lot better, and a lot more than I did. I didn't come home with a chest full of medals, but at least I did come home, albeit with a head full of memories as well as some Ill fitting uniforms. 

I don't really care if people thank me for my service. It's no real big deal to me. To a lot of veterans, "Thank You for Your Service." can sound like an empty phrase. Small talk along the lines of "How are you doing?" "Fine weather, we're having." A time filler. 

  Understand that I didn't join the Navy out of any patriotic duty or love of country. I simply had crap grades coming out of high school, college wasn't an option and Homewood in 1980 wasn't where I wanted to be.  I wanted a reboot and the Navy gave me the Ctrl-Alt-Delete to do that. 34 years after walking out of the East Gate at NAS Alameda, DD214 in hand. I can say that while I've done some noteworthy things (going to college, staying employed and out of trouble) I could have done a lot more. 

But, on this Veteran's Day, don't just thank a veteran for their service.  If you know a vet who's down on his luck. Buy him/her a meal. Lend him/her an ear. Find the local organizations that help veterans where you live and throw them a few bucks. Volunteer if you can. Make your words count. If you're in a position to hire a veteran, give them a shot. 

 It has been my honor and privilege to serve this country.  I'm not the biggest flag waver in the world. Show me a veteran who got pissed when Colin Kaepernick et al knelt at the National Anthem and I'll show you a veteran who'd have knelt with him. Starting with me.  

I don't need the patriotic theater that comes with our sporting events.  I've marched in Veteran's Day Parades and officiated at Memorial Day services. I've given Medals to NROTC Midshipmen at CMU and I've presented Legion school awards to graduating eighth graders at St.Bedes. I've done the patriotic things that don't involve waving the flag. I vote. I've protested. I've served on juries. Among other things. 

Loving your country is like loving your children. When your kid cuts up and does wrong, do you just look the other way and let them persist in wrongdoing? No. You correct the child, you show them the right way to live and to treat others.  Correction and discipline as well as praise and congratulations produces a well rounded child. Same with the country. A good country needs correction and discipline as well as congratulations and praise.  I love this country, but I will call it out when it does evil. 

Happy Veteran's Day to all those who served this country and to those who love and care for them.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Election Day 2020 Part Zwei

Being that it is Election Day and by sometime in December or January after all the votes are counted and the various hacking attempts by rogue nations have been foiled... maybe...We finally find out which decrepit old white guy gets to run the country for four more years. 

Because teh Facebook as will other social media platforms will be going especially batshit with vote by vote coverage of one of the most chaotic elections in our country's history by various news outlets with real or imagined news cred, bloggers, vloggers, hacks, freelancers, and anyone with an itch to get their Dan Rather on and the hand-eye coordination to use a notepad and a pen or a handheld voice recorder or even a smartphone, I for one will not be adding to the miasma. (Talk about a run-on sentence, Whew!!) 

At least not in the sense of posting any political posts. I have the day off and I'm going to get some of this early fall crisp air. And I'd suggest most of yinz do too.  After doing my civic duty, I'm going out for a nosh and a beer and whatever other hinky doings I can get myself into. Money will be spent, more books that may not be read in the next ten years may be bought and yours truly has no idea what the hell he's doing beyond that.

I'm not even trying to watch election coverage later this evening. Not like the election will be called five minutes after the polls close anyway. My black ass will be watching YouTube, or Hulu, or maybe even ESPN. Hell, maybe I'll even read a book. Between the ebooks and dead tree books I have in my house I could open The Little House in the Ghetto branch of the Carnegie Library.  

But, aaaanyway, I have to get my mind off these election shenanigans.  As much as I'd love to see the wide beam of Trump in my rear view mirror, if he gets reelected, it won't really affect me in the least. Any tax cuts he passes won't add more than a buck or two to my paycheck, if that. If he gets us into another war, I'm too old to fight. 

I'd just be marking time until 2024 when he finally trades the White House for the Big House when all the crap he's committed since he's claimed presidential immunity from finally catches up with him. Enjoy those fab new bracelets and plush new accommodations, Donny! 

Well, this rant is getting to blog-post length and maybe I'll post it to my blog. (Which nobody reads, but 

if you get a hankering to. Shameless self promotion.😁😁😁) 

Lets just try to keep it civil and remember that even though we are all on different sides of the political spectrum, we all owe each other a duty to be kind to one another, to love one another, to walk circumspectly, to strive to get past all the rinky dink differences between us and embrace the things we have in common. We have minds to think, hearts to love, and a country and world that needs healing. We can overcome our differences...if we want to.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Election Day 2020

     I might need some shinier foil to boost the reception of my tinfoil hat, (Oh, wait. I have a ham radio license I'm not using. I just brush up on antenna theory and...) 
     Err, uh,... As I was saying...but I have a feeling that more than Russia, and Iran are planning to hack our election. Our buddies from North Korea could jump in. China could make an appearance. They've been hacking us for years. (To be fair, we've been hacking them too.) But our attempts to hack their elections are senseless, because those nations have assured that their dictators are there for life. 
      But given the crazy quilt way in which we in the US run our elections, 50+ separate institutions with varying degrees of election security, counting and reporting protocols, and competence among election officials running all sorts of voting apparati (Is that a word??) All produced by, what, three different private voting machine companies, none of which are running open source voting machine software. It's a wonder that America's house of cards election system hasn't collapsed like a long condemned building.
      Plus Covid jumping in to implement its unique amendments to Murphy's Law. Safe to say that the media won't be able to deliver speedy election results this year. Yup, no calling an election five minutes after the polls close THIS year.
       Yes, boys and girls, I think that with all those factors in place. And considering the two men running for President, I think we are well and truly fracked. πŸ˜ πŸ˜ πŸ˜›πŸ˜›πŸ˜›

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Fun With Apple and Boost Mobile.

      The last couple days could be described as “Fun with Apple and Boost.”

       I bought an used IPhone 7 from Boost Mobile a few months ago (mostly to play games, Especially PokΓ©mon Go, yeah I’m THAT guy.)
       Unfortunately, the battery had gotten to the point where I was getting barely a day out of a charge. So I tromp off to the Apple Store to get the battery replaced. 
It sucks that cell phone manufacturers for the most part, no longer allow consumers to replace their own batteries without taking half the phone apart to do so. They’d rather you spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone, or in the case of Android, a phone with the newest version of the operating system. 😑😑😑. But I digress. 
     Well, after waiting two hours for a repair that was supposed to take about 40 mins, the tech at Apple tells me that due to an unspecified issue with the battery in the old phone, they were going to replace THE WHOLE PHONE!!! Huzzah!!  Apple gave me another iPhone 7, same color, same capacity, for the price of the battery replacement, $49!  Now they replaced my phone with a four year old phone that was probably lying around gathering dust in some back room for who knows how long, but I didn't mind, I don't buy new phones anyway.  But give Apple credit, at least they'll up grade a four year old phone with the latest version of the OS.
       Now this won't make me a Apple fanboy, nor will I  build a shrine to Tim Cook in my backyard, but thanks Apple for doing your boy a solid. Now I had to take this phone home and restore from a backup. I have fairly slow WiFi which is why I prefer to stream content from a cellular connection.  But what Apple gives with one hand, they take away with the other. Apple allows you download updates to apps over cellular, but not updates to the OS or restores from backup. Those have to be done over WiFi😑😑😑 It took about 12 hours and change to restore the phone to its original state. Then I had to spend a couple hours on Boost to resolve an issue with the sim card locking itself after a few minutes from a reboot. Fu-un!           Well, eventually I got that issue settled, and know my phone is going along with a nice battery and I am happy again.                     Technology can make our lives easier, but when it chooses not to sit, and stay, but rather run off and get hit by a passing car, it can be a hassle.  
        So ends the 30 days of Pierre. The 58th observance of such. Damn, this month went fast. They all do anymore. God willing I get to do it again next year.               Well, have a good day kids.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Trump's Not Thinking This Through!

     For those of you who are smarter than I am, and admittedly, that is most of you. 

      I don't get how all of a sudden mail in voting is fraudulent. We've had mail in voting for years and no president has ever contested the validity of mail in voting until Trump.  Trump apparently does not realize or admits that a significant portion of his base will vote by mail. Not every body who goes to his rallies will vote in person. Not every Trump supporter goes to his rallies.

        Military personnel on deployment will vote by mail. I mean where the hell will soliders, airmen, or Marines in Afghanistan or Germany or other far flung locations or sailors on ships in the Mediterranean or the Western Pacific gonna find a voting booth? 

      If he finds a way to get those ballots invalidated, he could be throwing votes away that could decide the election FOR him. 

       He's cutting his nose off to spite his face. He's not thinking this through.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Do The Police Need Retrained?

      Any sane individual knows that Jacob Blake and George Floyd were not angels. They had criminal records. They were breaking the law.  
      But could the police have subdued George Floyd without kneeling on his neck for eight minutes?  Could they have subdued and arrested Jacob Blake and put him into custody without shooting him in the back seven times?  
      Speaking for myself, I want the bad guys caught. I want them arrested and put in jail, especially if they commit heinous and evil crimes, especially against women and children.  But I would think that the police would remember that they are but the first step of the justice system. Not the first, middle and last step of the justice system.  
       As I’ve said, this is not Megacity One and the police are not Judge Dredd. Google it if you don’t know who Judge Dredd was. (And no, I'm not talking about the bad 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie.😜)
       Their job is to catch the bad guys and deliver them into custody. Preferably in a condition so they can have their day in court.  Most cops out here just want to do their jobs and go home to their families. But do they need to shoot a man seven times, in essence, empty their clip to subdue them? Do they need to kneel on a man’s neck for eight minutes?  Why does it take six cops to bring down a man for selling loose cigarettes?
        I mean if the cops had just arrested these two and figured out how to subdue them without crippling and killing them, most folks wouldn’t have paid it any mind.  But why did these cops go straight for their guns and chokeholds bypassing more humane methods?  
        Was it in their mentality? Did their sense of survival override their training?  Did the adrenaline rush shut down their instinct? Or was their training just deficient? 
         I’m not a cop, and I know the majority of cops can go their whole career without pulling their gun.  And speaking for myself, there are some bad people out here doing evil things, but the greater punishment is for them to sit in jail, rotting away and ruminating on their crimes. #JustSayin

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Finding a Way Thru Covid.

      Honestly, I'm starting to think that we'll never completely get rid of this Covid bug. Eventually a vaccine will be developed (And Big Pharma will charge up the butt for it, citing "research and testing" costs πŸ˜†). 
       It may take a year or two for it to come out. But until it does, I think we'll be masking and doing the 'six foot' shuffle for a while. Definitely for the remainder of 2020. 
        Businesses will continue to suffer, the economy will undergo more fits and starts and we're going to have to find new and exciting ways of living, playing, and working. But give us humans credit, we are supremely adaptable critters.  We'll grumble, complain and bitch, but we will eventually get the collective brain matter together and muddle through.  
        Things will change and have already changed. Some things we'll have to let go, others we'll have to pick up and move forward. But while the interim seems like a royal pain in the ass,  if we pull together in the same direction, more or less, we might find a way thru all this.  
         Or the whole mess might collapse in on itself and take us with it.  It's up to us to choose which option we want to take.  #JustSayin

Monday, August 03, 2020

Looking At My 20's Through 57 Year Old Eyes...

      Question to my FB peeps. Honest answer, kids. How many of you think I spend waaay too much time living in my past?  Especially the six years in the 80's that I was in the Navy.

     How many of you say to yourselves "Damn, I wish Pierre would stop his incessant obsession with stuff that happened 40 years ago. Those days are long over! Water under the bridge! Get with today's world! He's more than the Navy! He's grown beyond it! Leave it in the past. Bury and don't dig it up again!"  Or has he? Has he grown beyond it?

      Please, give me honest, frank opinion. 

      My justification. Those years, frankly, were (outside of years in college in the '90's), the best years of my life.  Since then, I've never gone so far, experienced so much, learned so much about myself as I did during those times. 
      And in retrospect, when I look at that 18-24 year old times with 57 year old eyes, I realize that I f****d up those opportunities I had. I could have gone much further. I made so many stupid decisions. I did good, I had fun. I worked my ass off. I'm proud of what I did.  And I saw things a lot of people would have never seen. 
       But I could have gone further, seen more, did more. Outside of my college years, my life this far has largely been routine. Work, eat, sleep, exist, repeat. 
        I've got friends on teh Facebook who've made something of their lives. And are still doing so. To them, their 20's were a mere chapter of their lives. My 20's were the whole  damn book. Seems like everything beyond the years of '80-86 and '92-00 was just a muddled mess. 14 years of excitement and accomplishments amidst 43 years of...blah!!!  Aaaanyway, tell me what you think and be honest.  
        Brutally, if you must.

Friday, July 24, 2020

More Anthem Kerfuffle!

       People think the Republic is going to fall because athletes kneel at the National Anthem? If that's the case, this country is in  worse shape than we thought. Why do we need to play the anthem at every damn sporting event anyway? I don't need to be constantly reminded of where I live. I know where the hell I live.
        Hello! Six year Navy vet and 30 year blue cap member of the American Legion here!!!  I don't need it drummed into my head over and over ad nauseum. Just play the thing first game of the season, at the championship game and be done with it.  Or don't play it at all. I don't care!!!  I don't need the patriotic theater anyways!  And the country will survive! 

       Okay, tired cranky old veteran/squid rant incoming. Cover your eyes if you're not Interested. In the Navy, on every ship inport or on base, they would play the National Anthem every morning at Morning Colors at 8am (or 0800 for all you squids. If you're a Marine, that's when Mickey's little hand is on the eight and his big hand is on the twelve! πŸ˜†) 
      Basically an honor guard would raise the flag while 'To The Colors" and the National Anthem were played and the American flag was raised. Anyone outside had to stop what they were doing, stand at attention, face the flag or the music if there were no flag present and if in uniform, salute, or if in civvies, stand at attention and uncover and honor the flag. 

      I remember seeing people in uniform, enlisted and officers alike literally running into the nearest building when the music starts so they wouldn't have to be caught outside at attention and saluting for the five minutes it took to raise the flag. Familiarity breeds contempt.
      I've gone to sporting events and have seen people fidgeting, getting a beer, looking around, scratching themselves, checking their phones, going to the bathroom, yakking to their buddy during the Anthem, and many of these same people would kvetch up a storm if they saw an athlete kneel. Can't have your cake and eat it too, people. ☹️☹️☹️😠😠😠

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The End of the Great Experiment??

      If there's one painful lesson this COVID-19 bug is teaching us, it's that no matter how much blathering and bluster we spout about America being the greatest, the  richest, the most powerful, God's favored, and just simply the most awesomest country with which the Good Lord has ever chosen to bless this planet, as far as dealing with this COVID-19 problem goes? 

 We suck!

      Hospitals are still dealing with shortages of masks and other PPE's. Trump wants the schools open PDQ, and we have no idea how to balance the safety of students with the faculty and staff who support them. 
      States feeling public pressure to reopen their economies, do so, only to have to lock them down again when people decide to disregard the rules regarding social distancing and wearing masks citing a loss of freedom. 
      Questions abound about whether sports will be back and in what form. And whether we should even care.
      America has always been divided in one form or another since its founding. I mean we had a bunch of slaveholders write a founding document that proclaimed all men are created equal, except for the women they married and the slaves they held. Yet the recent protests and other unpleasantness has served to widen the divide. 
      Both sides of the political, racial and social spectrums are talking AT and PAST each other instead of TO each other. Doom and Gloom are trafficked far and wide on social media and in the news.  Our institutions are being pummeled by fear and mistrust. People are scared, tired, mad, and confused by the mixed messages they see and hear.  

      Could we be seeing the beginning of the end of the Great Experiment? #JustSayin

Monday, July 13, 2020

How God Talks To Me.

      You know, the capacity for humans to complain no matter the circumstances astounds me. 
       Case in point. My work schedule has changed a lot since this Covid-19 bug hit. I'm working double shifts, I'm not really a morning person, despite spending a large portion of my life getting up at 4:30 to spend 16 hour days cooking for a bunch of squids.  I have to get up 1.5 hrs before work to make sure I get my coffee and breakfast. It's a bit of a pain in the ass.
       My body has aches and pains galore. I'm still recovering from my recent hospital stay.   And I grumble inwardly when trudging to work. But then God has to put me in check sometimes. 

       He says, "Hey dumbass! You know how many people lost their jobs when their business shut down?  You know how many people had to go on unemployment?  You know how many people have to put their lives back together after this thing hit?  Do you know why I put it into your head not to have kids? Not to have a significant other?  You have it sooo damn good right now!  
      You lost your Theater Square site. BFD!  But you're now working security at UPMC. You're getting OVERTIME! You're working more hours now than you were at the beginning of the year! Your paychecks are BOOMING right now!  I'm keeping your ungrateful ass out of the hospital!  You could have had a bigger stroke than you did and be totally useless to yourself! 

      That's the way God occasionally talks to me, like an 80's RTC Great Mistakes company commander (Back in those days, they could cuss.) In a way that I can understand.  And he's right. I have it pretty damn good compared to others. It's not the ideal situation, the ideal life, but it works, for me, that is. Take whatever moral you choose out of this.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Lift Every Voice and Sing

      The NFL proposing to have "Lift Every Voice and Sing" played before Week 1 games, the headlines the media is throwing out there for the story is clickbait.  Lift Every Voice and Sing(LEVAS) is commonly referred to as the Black National Anthem.
      It, of course, does not have the same standing as the Star Spangled Banner(SSB), which is the official national anthem of the USA. However, many black folks, myself included, feel strongly enough about the words in LEVAS to treat it as our National Anthem, even to the extent of standing while it's played.  And instead of singing only the first verse of the SSB, Black folks sing all the verses of LEVAS. Because all the verses carry significant meaning to black people.  
       It is a song that describes black folks struggle and fight to be considered relevant in this country. It offers us hope. It praises the God who sustained us, and kept us fighting whether being enslaved, hung by a noose or being told that we must use separate facilities, or when police continue to abuse their authority and kill those they arrest. It is a powerful song that never fails to inspire. More white folks ought to listen to it. 
       In actuality, this scheme by the NFL, while well intentioned, is the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on an amputation.  It's a feel good effort to act "woke." And I'm sure the NFL will find a way to make money off the whole thing.  
       But this is one small step. Among many. But, as the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with ONE SMALL STEP. We have come a long way, but we still have far to go. 

      All sides to look deep into their hearts. That includes black folks as well. How can we demand respect from everyone when we won't demand respect from ourselves?  
      How can we demand that police stop killing us, when we are still shooting each other over drugs, turf, and women?  How can we get out of our ghettos when the only ways out we offer our children is either as an entertainer or an athlete?
      Why are there more black men in jail than in college?
      Why are there so many black folks using smartphones and so few helping to design them?   I don't know. I'm but one voice and I don't know the answers.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Juneteenth and Other Overlooked Tidbits of American History.

     I have to admit. Despite going to what many people considered a good high school (1970's Bill Fisher era Allderdice) I don't remember hearing about Juneteenth.  
     As an aside, I don't think high school taught me much of anything, in truth. I regarded it as somewhat of a black hole.  Despite The 'Dice's reputation, academic and otherwise at the time, it didn't seem to serve me well. I ended up in the lower half of my graduating class. Whether it was the school's fault or my fault may be up for debate. Probably a little of both. 
      But aaanyway, I don't remember Juneteenth being part of my American history class. It's sad that such an important date in history, like so much of black history, doesn't get taught in our schools. We read about slavery, and how it is eradicated. Don't remember being taught much about Jim Crow, we read about Martin Luther King and the high points of the Civil Rights Movement, and after he was assassinated...bupkes. 
       Admittedly, this was 40 plus years ago and while my long term memory is pretty good, my high school years were more memorable about what happened outside the classroom as opposed to inside them. 
        But like it or not, black history is American history.  And it deserves more exposure to our youth than just a rehash of the high points. They need to know about what set up the high points. 
        But there is so much history of all the peoples that make up this country that is a part of American history and that deserves to be told, and only so much can be crammed into 180 school days. How do you fit it in?  How do you make sure that no people's history gets short shrift. I don't know.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Defund The Police?

With the death of George Floyd still fresh in the country's psyche, a call has gone out to "Defund The Police."  Some look at that phrase as a way to reallocate funding municipalities use for the police towards the communities they serve. Others think the phrase means to abolish the police altogether.

I think the slogan "Defund the Police" is inaccurate. I don't believe the term means to abolish the police.  While the ranks of the police are full of individuals who do not deserve the badge, the majority of police try to do damn near impossible jobs honorably.  And the presence of rogue officers makes that job even more difficult. 

 One thing I wonder is that there are calls police receive and respond to that they do not really need to respond to. Why does a cop need to respond to a complaint about a homeless person being where they shouldn't be? Why does a cop have to respond to a call about an illegal street vendor? Why does a cop need to respond to somebody selling loose cigarettes?  Why does a cop need to respond to a dispute between neighbors?  Why does a cop need to respond to a shoplifter? 

There are many situations where police are dispatched where their presence is not really needed.  Robberies, yes. Domestics, yes. Shootings, yes. A situation where violence, especially where weapons could possibly be involved, fine.  But if the matter can be peaceably settled without the use of weapons, why involve the police?  I would think that a cop would prefer to be handling a life-threatening situation or catching bad guys than rousting homeless people or ticketing a street vendor who doesn't have a vendors license. 

I think that defunding the police might mean taking some of the money municipalities used to operating the police and using it to create a community advocacy program that trains people in de-escalation and handling issues that require assistance from trained professionals but not from the police. By all means, if a trained community advocate has a problem that requires the police to make a show of force, maybe the person they're trying to help gets combative or shows a weapon, by all means the police must be summoned, and a quick response is needed to prevent loss of life.  But why not free the police from routine issues so they can concentrate on doing what they are trained to do.

I may be wrong. I'm not a cop.  But put in your feedback.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Uncle P's Thoughts--Police and Protests

     Another thing. Please don't assume that because I'm black, I have inbred animosity towards the police. There are plenty of black folks who don't like the police, who flat out hate the police.         For a multitude of reasons.  Police for decades have been used by racist administrations at the state, county and local levels to enforce racist rules, laws and mores meant to harm black people. They have been used to deny black people justice, they have been used to persecute, torture, lynch and kill black people. They have been used to keep black people down and to deny them their rights.  Try and find at least one black person, who hasn't either been harassed, falsely accused, falsely arrested by police, or hasn't had a relative, acquaintance or loved one who hasn't been subject to unjust policing.
       But unless we choose to employ vigilantism to protect our neighborhoods, the police are what we have.  I am privileged in that I haven't had issues with police. I have never been stopped, harassed, or hassled by police.
       I am a security guard. I am the eyes and ears of the police, fire departments, and paramedics for the places I'm assigned to work. Police can't be everywhere. If something happens at one of my job sites, my job is to alert the first responders, and inform them as to what happened. My job is to give them the who, what, when, where, and how of an incident and leave it to them to figure out the why. It is important to me that I give them proper information so they can do their job. The client who contracts my guard agency to protect their property expects that, as do the first responders whom I contact.  When I talk to them I have to do so respectfully, professionally and with courtesy.  I give them the information they need and keep it moving.  It doesn't happen often that I have to deal with cops, but when I do, I have to give them what they need to do their job, and by doing so, I'm doing my job. 
     I am angered when I see police misuse their authority. I am angered when I see them abuse suspects and kill those whom they are responsible for bringing to justice. Cops are the tip of the spear, not the whole spear. Their job is to protect the community, enforce the law, catch the criminals and bring them to justice. They aren't judge, jury, and executioner. They aren't Judge Dredd and this isn't Mega City One. 
       I have nothing but respect for police. They have to deal with a lot of unpleasant characters. Human beings at their worst.  They are given great power and concomitant great responsibility.  But, they are human. They have to guard against becoming that which they protect us from. They can't let the badge go to their heads.  It's a job I couldn't do. I neither hate police, nor do I suck up to them. I see them for what they are and the job they are called to do. I congratulate them when they do the right thing and condemn them when they don't.  They are us. The good, the bad, and the ugly. 

 RoboCop doesn't exist except in the movies .

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A Church Is Not A Building.

     A church is not a building, a church is the people who worship in that building. It's a community.  The building is secondary to the community that worships in it. 
     A building is temporary.  A building is fleeting.  It can beautiful, but it can fade away.  The building burns down, is destroyed or is closed, the people either rebuild, find another building or share the building with another congregation.  A strong church community will outlast any building it's housed in. Jesus never placed much emphasis on buildings. He knew they were temporary. Like all things constructed by finite man, buildings would ultimately fall.            He cautioned his followers to not be concerned with earthly treasures. But to lay up for themselves incorruptible treasures in heaven.  Where moths cannot corrupt and thieves cannot break through and steal. 
      Last I remember the New Testament, Jesus preached wherever there were people willing to listen to his message. His disciples preached wherever they could find a place where people could gather.  Could have been in a house, a spare room, an open field.          "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there also will I be."  
      These days in a world plagued with a pandemic,  those two or three could be gathered together in Jesus' name in a video conferencing situation.  As long as they are gathered together in one accord and in Jesus' name, he promised us that there also he shall be. It would be better if we were all physically together in community, but the spirit of God is still present if we are miles apart in our own homes. This is the situation we find ourselves in today, but God is still God, even through a pandemic.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

How Not To Get A College Degree 20 Years Revisited.

     Shout out to the lovely and talented Madelaine Berg aka Madwoman. She and I walked across the Sewall Center stage 20 years ago this week to graduate from what was Robert Morris College to earn our bachelor's degrees. I
      If I'm not mistaken, Madwoman's degree was in Hospitality and mine was in Sports Management. Unlike me, Madwoman actually used her sheepskin while mine sits in a picture frame and looks at me tauntingly.  My route to undergraduate "success" took eight years and I called it "The Relentless Pursuit of Higher Education" A treatise of questionable worth about how "not" to get a college education. 
      In short, I spent 3 years at CCAC from 1992-95 getting my associates with no plan about whether I was going to transfer or where. I basically flew by the seat of my pants. And did not bother taking advantage of academic advising, because I had no clue of what the hell I was doing.  I only got into Robert Morris because at the time, they were very good at accepting CCAC's credits. And my associate degree wasn't even designed to transfer. 
      Pretty safe to say that that plan would NOT work at today's RMU.  You would think that someone who entered college in his thirties would have a clue. Wrong!! I was dumber than dirt. Still am at 57.  But I now am in possession of a bachelor's degree that is all but useless. 
       But, suffice it to say, I had a lot of fun getting it. Between all the commendations I earned at CCAC and the hijinks and hell I raised in both my Phi Theta Kappa chapter at CCAC  and my Phi Beta Lambda crew at Robert Morris, I had fun, learned a lot about myself and ultimately the degrees did serve me well in that I learned how to write gud!!! 
      Still doing the same work I was doing before I started college. But I learned a little about leadership in running my PTK chapter and I got a little hardware too.  If I had it to do over again, I would do it again, but I'd talk to some advisors this time around. 
       I'll end on this note. Students thinking about college. Don't do it by yourself. Talk to advisors. Plan your schedule and classes intelligently. Don't think you know it all, because, trust me, you don't.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Protest If You Want, But...

My feeling about these protestors hankering to reopen their state. If you're over 18, you're an adult and are responsible for your decisions.
     You want to roll the dice on your life that you'll survive this bug if you go out and gather in large groups, disregard social distancing, and pay no attention to what the experts are saying about how this bug spreads, go ahead. Knock yourself out. If your dumb ass dies due to your stupidity, you're a grown ass man or woman. Live or die with the consequences. 
     It's too bad this bug doesn't discriminate between those who are taking the advice and those who choose to put their head in the lion's mouth. This thing is going about willy-nilly grabbing anybody it wants. No one is immune. All you can do is minimize your exposure.
     But there are those who have to learn things the hard way I guess. I feel sorry for those who have to pay for the stupidity of those who choose to tempt fate. Those innocent family members who lose a loved one if they are infected by COVID-19 while doing this protest.
     It's a pain in the ass that we have to shut down the country until this thing runs its course.  Especially those who were made jobless. I lost my job for a month. Hated it. For those who are jobless for months, this is like slow torture. No one likes to go on unemployment. No one likes to rely on the government to throw them a bone. But until this bug goes away, unless you can find a gig that's functioning in this new world, that's all you can do.
     I like going to bookstores. I like having a beer or two at the Market District at Waterworks. I want to attend my church's services in person instead of via Zoom. I want to use the Riverhounds season tickets I paid $300 for to watch some sakkah. But that ain't happening for the foreseeable future. All we can do is figure out how to make due with what's available.  You can still go to restaurants, you just have to do take out. You can still put up the grill and barbecue, you just can't invite a bunch of people over. You can still watch TV, stream video, play video games. You can still walk your dog, have your kids play in the back yard.  This all has to be done with your family or a few trusted friends.
      Eventually this bug will go away. But it will go away quicker if we just keep doing what we're doing.  But humans in general and Americans in particular, are an impatient lot. We don't like being contained or told what to do. Which is why less than half of one percent of Americans join the military.  We want what we want, when we want and we're quick to wave the Constitution around when we don't get it.
Never mind that most Americans have never read the Constitution or knows what it means.  Or that non-citizens studying for the citizenship test know more about the damn thing than most native born Americans do. But we sure like quoting it.  But....I don't know. Let's just do what we have to do to get through this.  But do what you want. Just don't invite me to your funeral if you die whilst screaming for your 'freedom.'
      In the first part of my piece, my libertarian side popped up for a moment. Freedom does also mean allowing people to do things that can be bad for them but that freedom stops when it affects others. And that's where people lose the definition of freedom.  My freedom to swing my fist ends at your face. Your freedom to protest for the government to reopen your state stops when your family loses you because your disregard for social distancing and sheltering in place causes you to be infected by this bug and you end up hospitalized or dead.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Choose Wisely, America.

     Now that Bernie Sanders has cashed out, that leaves us with two old doddering fools with touchy-feely issues. As a service to my fellow 'Muricans, I and the rest of the gang at the Moonlight Scribbler Center for Political Excellence and Crab Shack have burned the midnight oil cogitating and concentrating, scheming and dreaming, thinking and drinking and after many minutes of perusing insanely complex mathematical models, copious shots of Fireball, and thousands of brain cells expended, we have, in a valiant effort to submit to you, the discerning voter, alternatives to the Trump/Biden choice that awaits us.

1. Bill the Cat from Bloom County fame: Multi- time Presidential candidate from the Meadow Party. Occasionally dead. Virtually indestructible. Known to ingest any number of dangerous substances. Limited vocabulary consisting of "Oop, Ack and Thbbft!" Had been known to date or have dalliances with Jeane Kirkpatrick and Queen Elizabeth and was drinking buddies with Garfield and Heathcliff. Once had Trump's brain implanted into him. And made better use of it than its current owner. 

2. Pinky and the Brain from Animaniacs: Two genetically enhanced mice. One is a genius, the other is insane. Which is which? Who knows? Their aims are simple: to take over the world. At least they're transparent. 

3. My best friend's adorable, but very dead Dachshund, Snickers: A local favorite.  As old in dog years as Biden or Trump but much smarter and less likely to put a paw in the wrong place. Mainly because One, he's dead and Two, his legs were only three inches long.  Very unlikely to screw up his Presidency because he's dead.  A most worthy candidate who'd be a credit to this country. Did I mention that he's dead. A factor that could weigh most heavily in his likability ratings. 

Finally, Any high functioning adult. 

Choose wisely, America. Our country's future depends on it.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

An Ancestral Oddball.

      A few posts back, I said I was an ancestral oddball. Explanation follows.  All my siblings and I were born to the same mother, but different father's.
       My mother had five kids. Four boys, one girl.  I am the outlier. Typical if you know me. I never make things easy. I was born to a different father than my siblings. He died a number of years ago. I don't remember when.  I never met the relatives on his side. All I knew was him. Never knew his parents or any other members of his family. 
       I suspect this is where I got the 20 odd percent of British/Irish according to 23 and me. So I guess I got the biracial thing going. My mother, father and all my siblings died within the last 35 years.          I never really knew the father of my siblings. I never really knew his parents or grandparents. My mother mentioned them when I was growing up. But they all died before I came into age. I don't know about where my siblings kids are, or whether they're still alive. I lost touch with that side of the family when my last brother died about ten years ago.  
        And I'm not really interested in tracking them down, if they're still alive. For all intents and purposes, I'm it.  The last apple on my family's branch of the tree. Once I'm gone, that's it.
         I've got nobody, as far as I know. All I have is myself. It's kind of scary.  But it is what it is.  
         Why am I sharing this on Facebook?  I live a fairly open life here. There are very few secrets in me. I keep those close to the vest, but the rest? I put it out there for all to see.  My mixed up life. For what it's worth. Which ain't much.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Conversation With God...

A conversation between me and God shortly after I arrive in Heaven.

God: Okay, Pierre. Here's the deal. You accepted Jesus my son as your personal saviour. That gets you in. The bad news is that we haven't figured out where to put you.

Me: Okay.

God: You met the minimum requirements. But you haven't done anything else.  You don't evangelize, you don't witness, you haven't brought one soul into the kingdom.  You got in by the skin of your teeth. You don't even pass out tracts.

Me: Have you ever seen Chick Tracts, Lord? 

God: Okay, point taken.  I know you like to sing so we'll put you in the Heavenly choir. For once you won't be the only tenor in the section. 

Me: Cool! 

God: Now, for where you're gonna live. Obviously, we're not putting you in the high rent district. You won't be hanging with me, or Jesus. The Holy Spirit gets around a lot so you'll get to rub shoulders with him. But all the good digs will be taken by Mary, Joseph, the Disciples, Paul, the Old Testament Patriarchs. That bunch.  You won't be there. Besides, they aren't the most exciting crowd. Important, but not exciting.  So I guess we'll put you in the Heavenly Ghetto. 

Me: From what I hear the Ghetto of Heaven is infinitely better than the finest gated community on Earth. 

God: It is, but that's where all the praise singers will live. 

Me: You mean I have to listen to praise music for eternity? 

God: Either that or the campus where all the musicians who performed all that awful Contemporary Christian Music of the  70's and 80's will live.  Your choice.  It could be worse. You could be stuck where all the televangelists live. 

Me: Yech! Unless I get to smack the televangelist that convinced me to toss my ELO collection, I want nothing to do with those Brylcreem prophets!  I guess I'll take the bad CCM. At least some of them rocked. The lyrics were crap but it had a beat. Petra won't be there will they? 

God: You chucked away a perfectly good ELO collection because some idiot televangelist told you they were of the devil? Oh, he's getting a Heavenly Wedgie for that one!  I love ELO!!  Are you kidding? Petra's the house band! Especially with Greg X. Volz as the lead singer!  I rock to those boys!! Good choice in your choice of residence. I'm not looking forward to being praised 24/7/eternity. But them's the rules.  Welcome aboard and get your robe, and other goodies over at Processing.

Me: One more question, Lord. What about beer?

God: What about it?

Me: Is Heaven going to be a dry Paradise?
God: Oh, no. You know how boring this place would be if we didn't have good beer? In your case, all the Bourbon barrel Imperial coffee stout you can drink!!

Me: Yeeeah boyee! 

God Don't do that again!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Trying To Figure Shit Out.

Anymore, when I see the stupidity, evil and corruptive shenanigans that occur in the name of organized religion, Sometimes I have to wonder. 
      Did God make us in His image? Or did we make God in our image? I mean, there's a lot being done right in organized religion. The homeless are bring helped. The hungry are being fed, It does bring peace to countless people's lives. Faith has its place.  
      But there's a lot of stuff being done wrong too. The most vulnerable of us are being violated by people who are supposed to be in a position of trust. And those who are supposed to supervise them try to cover their asses by sweeping it under the rug. 
      There's thievery, there's squabbling and power grabs. Those in power abuse that power for their enrichment. Or to subjugate the powerless. People are mixing politics with faith. People making a buck off God's expense. God's words are being twisted to accommodate agendas. God's words being used to excuse all manners of evil. 
      And trust me, there are plenty of those who express no belief in God capable of both great deeds and evil ones too. No one corners the market on either good or bad. We're all capable on f*****g up on a biblical scale.  
       I don't know where I'm going with this. It just popped up into my head and wouldn't leave until I put it out there.  Kinda like verbal constipation.  That's how my blog works. A lot of the longer rants posted here end up there. Ex-Lax for my mind, as it were.   Shameless plug. πŸ˜€

       But people are starting to be turned off to organized religion. It's not satisfying people's needs anymore.  More and more are no longer identifying with a particular religion, or they choose to pursue spirituality outside the walls of a church. My feeling? I identify as Christian of the Episcopal persuasion. I don't witness, or pass out tracts.  I don't evangelize. I accept people as they are, where they are. I don't always succeed. I'm trying to figure out my situation before trying to sell others on a cure. We all have to figure out what gets us through the long night. It's different for all of us.  We all gotta figure this stuff out for ourselves. I'm trying to do the best I can with what I got. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. But I try. And that is my parting word to you. You may get it right. You may blow it all to pieces. But you still gotta try. 


Friday, January 03, 2020

Christianity Done Messed Uncle P's Head Up!

I was raised in the church. Raised Baptist. Did the whole Sunday school/Easter/Christmas pageant thing. Sung in the choir, served as a youth usher. Got saved at 13. The whole schlemiel. 
     Then I went into the service, fell off the church radar until 1983 when I found a cool Christian servicemen's center and church in Alameda, CA. It rekindled my faith somewhat. Got into a lot of prophecy/End Times stuff. Read a lot of Hal Lindsay, Revelation/Daniel stuff. 
      Got so bad that some televangelist convinced me that rock and roll was of the devil and I threw away my entire ELO collection. D'OH!!!  The whole backmasking fiasco. I only listened to contemporary Christian music. And a lot of that music SUCKED big time. It REEKED! Just listening to that pap would give you diabetes. 
       Then I got out of the service and went back to the Baptist life until 1993, even got rebaptized because I felt that my first baptism and 'getting saved' was purely to please my parents. 
        Then God gave me a vision of my current church.  A small Episcopal Church in Homewood. I went there and I've been there ever since 26 years later.  I love that church. I feel like I can contribute. 
         But as I've grown older, my approach to Christianity has changed. I'm no longer an Evangelical. Evangelism is too much like selling something. And I HATE selling things. I got tired of the legalistic, punitive Christianity the Fundagelicals were pushing.  I no longer believe in biblical inerrancy. If the Bible was inerrant, why are there so many versions? Why were there so many additions, subtractions? Why do certain denominations recognize the Apocrypha and others don't?  Why do so many denominations twist the Scriptures to fit their agenda? 
         Anymore, I'm starting to veer towards a more Universalist approach. I can't really put my head around a loving God sentencing millions of people to eternal hell because they don't follow the script.    
         Try as they can, the church is not going to be able to preach the Gospel to every man, woman and child on the planet. There will always be those folks who live in too remote locations for missionaries to get to. Why should they suffer an eternal punishment for a circumstance not of their own making?  I don't know.  I'm not sure what to think anymore.