Sunday, May 02, 2021

Pittsburgh Needs Fresh Blood Downtown.

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

There! I said it. Unfriend away, kids. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Don't Really Grok Big Time Sports Anymore.

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

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

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

Ironic coming from a sports management major. (I had a passing interest in the back office world of sports and Sports Management was one of the few majors RMU offered in the 90's that didn't require calculus. ๐Ÿคฎ)

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

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

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

Friday, April 16, 2021

Should We Stay or Should We Go???

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

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

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

 But how much longer can we stay there?

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

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

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

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

Educate me.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

15 years of Moonlight Scribbler!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 26, 2021

What To Do About Yet MoreMass Shootings?

This is merely a thought exercise. It will never happen, it's definitely not constitutional, and it's most likely barbaric and borderline cruel and unusual punishment and brings to mind Judge Dredd. And it's not reflective about how I really feel about this subject. 

  But...how about when the police catch the people involved in mass shootings, instead showing them stuffing the person into a police car/paddy wagon, they just execute them on the spot?  On the news in front of the whole country?  Put a gun to the guy's head (most mass shooters are male) and splatter his brains all over the sidewalk. How about that??? 

At the very least it'll save the justice system time, money and cell space and takes one more foul ball off the street.  It's draconian, it's dystopian and it's clearly not legal, but why not?

Personally, I think we should put people like this in the deepest, darkest, dankest hole in the prison system and never let them see the light of day ever again.  They forfeited their right to live as a human being when they deprived a bunch of innocent people of their lives. Put them away, and forget they ever existed. 

 While we as a country are awash in guns, guns are merely a tool. They can put meat on your table, they can rob an innocent person of their life. It all depends on who uses it.  Remove guns from society, people will just find another way to kill each other. I'm not a gun nut. I don't choose to carry a gun.  I look askance at those who open carry rifles out in the street. I wonder why they have to show off their weaponry. I certainly won't want to talk to them. God only knows what's rattling around in their heads that they have to walk around showing off their shooting irons. 

I don't know...it's just when I hear of another mass shooting, I'm conflicted. I support the 2nd Amendment. I support concealed carrying a gun for self defense. Why you have to brandish a big ol' rifle out in the open is beyond me.  Don't be surprised if I steer clear of you and wonder if you'll shoot me if I look at you funny.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

I'm Complicated...

By and large, I'm a decent person. I go thru life with a more or less positive outlook. I'll help my friends, even complete strangers on occasion. I love my church, one day I'll be able to go back there. I love my Legion. I love good beer. I have great friends. Some go back to kindergarten. Compared to others, I feel that I've been dealt a good hand, though I don't always play it well. Sometimes I bid 10 for 2 and hit it exactly. Sometimes I bid 4 and only get 3. 

 I'm reasonably healthy. I don't smoke, or do drugs. I only drink in moderation. I mind my own business.

But there are times when I'm not the nicest person in the world. There are times when I can be downright nasty. I don't do fashion. I don't dress to impress. Take me as I am or not at all. I'm a loner by nature. I don't always like to be around people. I'm not a dater. I'm 58 and have never had a steady girlfriend. Not really interested in getting into relationships. Never married, no desire for kids.  

In terms of maturity, there are areas where I'm maturity challenged. Sometimes little things set me off. I don't like coming in to work and seeing that the previous guards didn't empty the trash. I don't like that we have garbage bags that if you look at them funny, they tear. I don't like working consecutive double shifts on the weekend. I'm tired of this damn pandemic. 

Fame and lofty credentials don't impress me. If you're a friend, I will respect and cheer your accomplishments. But if you have an Ivy League degree, or have won awards of excellence or have a bunch of letters behind your name, and you try to impress me with your skills, I'll just ask you if you want a medal or a chest to pin it on. 

Same with celebrities. If want to use your celebrity status as a platform to advance a cause or to make change. Fine, cool. But I don't care about your mansions, your cars, your pampered kids and your big noise spouse or significant other. I don't read People magazine. Your s**t stinks just like mine. Maybe you just use $100 bills to wipe your butt.

If you choose to put your head in the lion's mouth, don't expect much in the way in sympathy from me when he bites it off. 

I am impatient. I hate standing in lines. I tend to blame the people in front of me than the slowpoke behind the desk. Six years of standing in liberty, chow and ship's store lines will do that to you.  

I'm a veteran. I rock my ship's ball caps. I've seen lots of stuff, did lots of stuff, some of it morally questionable. In places most people couldn't find on a map. Worked hard, played hard, and stayed hard๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜. But at times, I look back on my years in the service with regret that I could have done better, gone farther.  

I went to college. Have two degrees, but I could have planned it out better. I could have made better decisions. Maybe I'd be in a better position in life. But I've made my bed, I have to lay in it.  

About the only thing conservative about me is that I'm not a risk taker. I'm deathly scared that something I try will blow up in my face. And I don't have that much to lose. I don't always make good decisions. 

There's a lot about me I like. There's a lot about me I hate. There's a lot about me I want to change but I'm too scared shitless to try to. All I can do is try to keep this life moving down the road. Celebrate the good things, rage against the bad, change what I can change and work around what I can't. I'm not perfect. Not always nice. In many ways I'm as simple as a puzzle with only one piece. In others, I'm so difficult to grok, the Library of Congress doesn't have enough room for my instruction manual. I'm just me. The good, the bad, the ugly. The salty, the sweet, the savory. I am the sum of all my experiences. The math doesn't always add up.

 But it is what it is.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Trump Impeachment 2--Electric Boogaloo

Well, now that Trump Impeachment 2--Electric Boogaloo has come and gone with Trump being acquitted as every person with an IQ greater than single digits expected, maybe after the various media outlets and their punditocracy have analyzed the outcome to death, the country can move along to more pressing matters and leave Trump to stew about his future at Mar-A-Lago while playing golf, getting even fatter, and preparing for his next legal obstacles.  

But, if there's one thing Trump hates, it's being ignored. He's a publicity whore. He has to find a way to get back into the spotlight and the news media on all sides, rushing to fill the 24 hour news cycle will gladly oblige. He's gonna be gloating like nobody's business. I doubt that Trump will go away, much less quietly. 

 Unlike previous Presidents who were happy to put their White House years behind them and live some sort of a regular life. Trump is incapable of that. He's hell bent to wring every possible usable bit of hype as a former President as he can. This was his greatest achievement. To be leader of the free world. And he's gonna milk that cow until ALL dem teats is dry!!  

As easily the most controversial former President since, maybe Nixon, Trump has been the given the greatest opportunity to burnish his brand and legacy since "The Apprentice." Look for him to find all sorts of new and exciting ways (to him) to keep his fat face in front of the cameras, by hook or by crook. 

 Trump won't be satisfied just languishing on the golf course. He's got the bit in his teeth and whether we want to see him or not, he'll be out there making the Republicans and his supporters heel, roll over, and sit up and beg. And Trump says he doesn't like dogs...Now he's got about 74 million of them to play fetch. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

A Squarish, Roundish Peg.

If 23 and Me can be trusted, I'm approx 35% European consisting of 28% British/Irish and a smattering of other Euro ethnicities. 62% Sub-Saharan African 32% of which is Nigerian and a smattering of other African ethnicities. The rest is just random trace material from Asia and other world regions. 

 The British/Irish comes from my father, who apparently was white. I also thought he was very light skinned. But there's no way to find out about his ancestry because he's been dead over 20 years. And even then, I knew nothing about his family. I never asked him about it. It never occurred to me to ask him. 

 I have a different father than my brothers and sister, all of whom are also dead. Apparently, I must have been a one-off between my mother and my father. I didn't know much about their relationship. Never asked about it.  It never occurred to me to ask them.  They obviously knew each other enough to have me. But they didn't live together.  So, I'm all over the place.

 Those home DNA kits only pin down to a specific region of the world. They obviously don't go down to the minute levels. The user uses that data as a base reference and  refines their study by talking with their relatives, researching family records, etc. My close relatives are all dead. I wouldn't even know how to get started on researching all that stuff.

  I've always had more white friends than black friends. I've always felt more comfortable around white folks than black folks. Maybe my being bullied by black kids in middle school contributed to that feeling.  I don't really conform to common black stereotypes. I don't really listen to hip-hop and rap, unless it's the older stuff. I don't like basketball. I'm not all that fixated on personal appearance. I don't dress up. Don't care about my hair.  I go to a Black church, which I love. But it's an Episcopal church, which isn't really big amongst black folks. I sing gospel, but I don't particularly like listening to it. 

I'm what black folks might call an Oreo. Dark (more light skinned) on the outside, white on the inside. I don't fit in completely anywhere. I'm a squarish, roundish peg that kinda fits in square or round holes with a little persuasion, but not perfectly.

Maybe this admission won't get invited to the cookout or the spades game anymore. Maybe I'll have to turn in my black card, as I'm not fully a part of the tribe, as it were.  But I have to figure my own way in the world. Maybe by straddling both cultures. 

Sad that it took me into my late 50's to come to this conclusion.  But I have good friends of all races and ethnicities. And they put up with my quirks and eccentricities. And as long they're willing to do so, I'm happy.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Pirates, Steelers and Penguins? Umm, no.

As I’ve gotten older, I get less and less geeked up about pro sports. Especially the teams that represent Pittsburgh. I don't lose a minute of sleep whether they win or lose. 

Hell, I don't sleep very well anyways, but the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins don't contribute to my insomnia. I refuse to be Joe Shit the Yinzer who has to die a thousand deaths every time they win or lose.  I don't use 'we' to refer to these teams. Who the hell am I and how does my involvement increase these teams chances of winning?  

That's not to say that I hate the teams. If they win, they win. If they lose, they lose. The sun comes up again the next day.  Wins and losses don't direct my life.  I just choose to follow from a distance.  I'm not just going to call up the sports talk yakkers on the radio and moan about Ben's four picks against the Browns. I'm not going to vent on Facebook about Mike Tomlin's inability to win in the playoffs. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter. 

The last Steeler game I went to in person was in the 80's.  The last Penguin game I went to was...I don't remember. It was at the Igloo, and the best seats in the house were $50. These days, you can't get an order of nachos, a beer and a hamburger for that. The last Pirate game I went to was about two years ago when a friend of mine asked me to go so I could get her a giveaway shirt for her and her daughter. The previous time was when some friends invited me because Chicago was playing a post-game concert. (Which, due to a rain delay, didn't happen until midnight. To Chicago's everlasting credit and professionalism, they honored their commitment and gave their fans 45 minutes at 1:00am, but I digress.)  

Aaaaaanyway.  I'm not looking down my nose at those who truly are Pirates, Steelers, or Penguins fans.  If you enjoy watching them whether in person or on TV, God love you.  And if you have to call some dude on the radio up to go hammer and tongs with them about why the Pirates suck or the Stillers can't win in the playoffs, or why the Penguins' power play is in the shit. Knock yourself out.  

But anymore, you need to have big money to watch games in person. Between tickets, parking, food and merch, it can cost a few hundred bucks. That's bucks I ain't got. And being that I don't have a TV nor cable and consume my media thru a tablet, watching games thru streaming isn't really an option.  So my limited interest in Pittsburgh's Big Three sports franchises comes from those circumstances. 

Now, I do have a team I give a shit about and that's the pro soccer team in town. The Riverhounds. I've had season tickets for the last couple years, and I go pretty hard for them. 

Why? I played soccer in high school and the service. I sucked at it. But I enjoy watching it. Thing is, I only care about the Hounds. I don't care about MLS, or the Premier League.  But unlike the Big Three, I can go to Highmark with a twenty, watch some pretty good minor league soccer and munch up at the concession stand and come back home with change from that twenty.  

And I tend to root for the underdog. Pirates, Steelers and Penguins don't need my support.  But the Hounds are grassroots. They play in front of a few thousand. Their players don't command huge salaries. They're looking to get an MLS deal. The Hounds don't have much in terms of media coverage or TV deals.  Sports media in this town couldn't find Highmark if I put them at the West gate.  But it's a fine way to spend a Saturday night.  They want my business. And I'll give it to them.

And ironically, I have a degree in Sports Management from Robert Morris. Which 20 years on, was probably a waste of time, money and brain cells in that the sheepskin isn't being used.  It just sits on my wall, mocking me.  I just didn't want to study anything that involved calculus.  Algebra kicks my ass.  You start using letters to represent numbers, my brain has a meltdown. And as far as I'm concerned, algebra was the work of the Devil.  I'm not very smart.  But I digress...

Ahh, Robert Morris. Yet another overlooked institution in this town that deserves my respect. In terms of college athletics, everybody roots for the big University in Oakland. They block out the sun in Pittsburgh.  Even Duquesne gets love here. Bobby Mo, not so much.  The scrappy little brother of Pittsburgh's D1 colleges. The fifth horse in the four horse race between Pitt, Duquesne, Penn State, and West Virginia.  The little school out by the airport that  punches above its weight and occasionally lands a jab. 

Why Bobby Mo, you ask? Because they took a crap ton of my credits from CCAC, the price was right, and at the time, if you could walk in a straight line and count to five, they accepted you. In retrospect, The Relentless Pursuit of Higher Education wasn't very well thought out.  But I digress...

Though RMU in 2021 is a very different school than when I went there in the late 90's. But it's MY school. I'm a part of it. I've given that school money. I have a brick on campus that I bought to support the building of the student chapel. I value loyalty. Once I latch onto something that earned that loyalty. I don't give it up easily.  That's me. I have to have a connection. I have to have skin in the game. I have to have an investment. And I just don't have that with the Big Three. Any swinging dick can root for the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins. Rooting for the Hounds or RMU? That takes commitment. To zig when everyone else zags. At least to me.  But what do I know?  

I'm just some idiot who likes to write long winded screeds read by five people and a Cocker Spaniel on Facebook.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Mr. Biden, JUST BE COMPETENT!!

My presidential standard for Joe Biden is...Simply. Be. Competent. No more, no less. I don't expect Washington, or Lincoln, or Roosevelt, or Truman, or Kennedy, or God forbid, even Reagan. 

Just don't shit the bed, stay off Twitter, don't play golf every other damn day, don't engage in needless hyperbole. If he has to lie, and he will, it's part of the job, at least make your lies somewhat credible and don't embarrass us when dealing with our allies and our foes.

 Hire people who have a clue and not because they gave you money. (Although every President does that, just make sure that their expertise is somewhat related to the job you're hiring them for!) Unlike hiring a neurosurgeon to run the federal housing agency! 

All I ask of Biden is: DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID!!!! Just act like you've been there before. Be boring, plain, simple. Just do the damn job with as little fanfare and chaos as possible. Be the anti-Trump. Just settle for competent.

That's all I want.

Talk Me Off the Ledge.

Be reminded boys and girls. 

Just because I'm happy to see Trump take a long walk off a short pier, that doesn't mean I'm building a shrine to Joe Biden in my backyard. I'm not exactly expecting Biden to be the great American savior.  Unfortunately, he was the best the Democrats could dig up after a long and torturous campaign.  

I'm registered Democrat, but if a legit third party came along that wasn't full of batshit oddballs and that provided legit common sense ideas, I'd kick the donkey to the curb in a heartbeat. 

As far as I'm concerned, neither political party in this country gives two shits about the ordinary man/woman in the street. It's all about the special interests and who can throw the most money at our elected officials. And these days, both parties are sucking up to the full mooners at the extremes of the political spectrum. 

Democrats have forsaken their working class roots to become the party of the college educated elites. And while I'm college educated (If you count an unused sports management degree from Robert Morris educated.) I'm certainly not elite (Except in my own fractured mind.)  The Repubs have become the party of Trump, and we've all seen how that worked out.  If Biden can bring the country back from the precipice, more power to him, but I'm keeping my expectations low.  That way I'll be pleasantly surprised IF he delivers. Emphasis on IF!  

I'm disillusioned with the current state of American politics and while I will continue to vote because way too many people shed their blood to pay for that right, I'm not happy with the choices I'm seeing on my ballot. Any more it's like a choice between getting hit with a baseball bat or a sledgehammer.  Your mission , should you choose to accept it, is to talk me off the ledge. ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ