Thursday, November 27, 2014

THANKSGIVING

My wife came back from her 5 mile run with this tale. She is passing this restaurant that is closed. It is Thanksgiving, after all. This guy is asking people for money. A few people are ponying up. My wife thinks to herself, "I have no money." Before she could say anything, he looks at her and smiles, "Momma, shouldn't you be home cooking." 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

FERGUSON REVISITED

In August, I wrote about Ferguson. Since then, there's an indictment and predictably, things are worst, riots: talk to a white person, they see it one way. An African American, another way. Can anything be done? No, not really. We, at least, ought to do a few cosmetic things. More training for police would be a start. And, let's stop looking like an assault team. How about this? When a gun has to be used, why can't the cops shoot a person in the hand or arm or shoulder. Hopalong Cassidy could shoot the gun out of a bad guy's hand. And, shooting kids! Why is firing the weapon the first thing done? In a recent shooting, the police killed a 12 year old after 3 seconds of arriving This is training. It is time to get on top of it. And, more diversity. Watching TV and seeing all those police white faces gives cause for pause. 

The idea of talking and resolving seems as foreign as "flying to the moon", which we've done but sitting down with the races proves more difficult. However, this thought hit me. The military. What an example. The military has pretty much solved the racial issue. Eliminated race? Mostly. There may be a few pockets of institutional racism but it is vastly better than the civilian community. 
And plain and simple, a racist won't make it in the military very lomg. 

Solving the race question is mountains better in the military. And why? Simply, soldiers have a shared experience. Undeniable. They have been through the same training and get the picture. Promotions. hassles, all look alike. There are issues with the military: too small, women finding their place, other things; but race is not one of 'em. The military is as color blind as you are apt to find anywhere. And for enlisted soldiers (navy/army/marines), there's a little of us (all races) against the "man" (officers, white, black, whatever)."

How to translate this to the civilian world? Don't know how to do it. If we had some sort of community experience for all youngsters, it would help but that is not going to happen and we are the worse for it. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

CHUCK HEGEL

I didn't particularly like Chuck Hegel (hadn't thought much about it, really); but, he was an alright SecDef, surely better in my opinion than his predecessors. He was a Sp4 in Vietnam, (maybe a Sergeant) that is enough to give him am "atta boy" among the politics. But, it doesn't. He is receiving an "ah s..t. 

Dealing with impossible situations, who can manage world crisis. A laundry list: Iraq, Afghanistan, Isis, Syria, Ukraine--take your pick. These rumors, innuendoes about Hegel, are examples of how politics run. 

Good for Hegel, getting fired is a great badge of courage as I see it. Being fired 4 times when I was in the Army, over 29 years, was my greatest achievement. Telling someone to f..k off when I was trying to do my job mostly got me in hot water but still, I can identify. Unfortunately Hegel will go out like a gentleman where I would leave them with a f..k you very much. Then again I am not a politician. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

CHRISTIANITY

Yesterday, I went to a Catholic Mass which was a Memorial Service. I always come away fairly reflective. For one thing, the Catholics are very athletic. Up and down, up and down. The service was steeped in what the Catholics do, I guess. Having been to several masses before, it was fairly familiar. 

The Priest's  sermon was good. He talked about a longer journey, referring to Chris, who had been Jackie's work colleague. She was on a longer, more important journey. Then he related a conversation he had with her about who might be waiting for her on this journey. I took it to mean heaven

It did get me to thinking. First of all about Christian theology. And, I have to explain this often to these old guys I hang out with. What makes being Christian different than other religions, which I don't know all that much about, but as to something; Islam, for example, you merely declare you are a Muslim but in Christianity, there is a "conversion" experience. You are suddenly heading in one direction and through many different circumstances  or however/whatever, you embrace Christianity and accept all Christ has done, died for you on the cross, taken your place, whatever, which produces a "new" you. This is very simple for a believer but profound too.  A MYSTERY!

Heaven is another aspect. Almost impossible to explain but comforting. And, as Jackie says, regardless of status or wealth or whatever, in this aspect, we all end up at the same terminal

And, then of course, we have the Catholics themselves. I have been accused a few times of being hostile to Catholics. Probably true, one of my faults, cannot stand what I consider religious bullshit. The Catholics have canon law which, in my way of thinking, is outside the Bible and issues like the priest as Jesus on earth, able to forgive sins; the Pope speaking as some sort of divine authority. Bullshit. I am guilty of bad mouthing the Catholics, I guess. 

OK, I am going to stop. Any comments? I have written a book. My motive for all this is rarely do I go to church and I am sure I have told you this before. I usually come out of church feeling worse than when I went in. Jackie is very involved but I blog, etc., on Sundays like the above. Comments?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

THANKSGIVING

One Thanksgiving story comes to mind. When I was growing up, it was a big thing, Thanksgiving. We were farmers and always had plenty of food. My mom cooked this gigantic meal: Turkey, ham and mountains of other stuff. She and my Aunt Gertie (isn't it funny. My mom was named Bertie and my favorite Aunt, her sister, was Gertie); anyway, Thanksgiving was coming up. I was in my freshman year of college. These two foreign students lived just up the hall of my dorm. They didn't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving. The school tried to find a place for them. My good friend, Margaret Chiles, who was the student activities director, was so stressed. There were no takers for these guys. I finally said, "what the hay, they can go with me."
(I think they were Irish). 

The day before T'giving, we loaded into my old raggedy 49 Ford and took off. On the way home, about five hours away, we saw this guy hitch hiking. We picked him up. He was a college student too, from of all places, Bob Jones U (BJU was this fanatical right wing, very  conservative school with all these rules. I briefly had a sweetheart from there. You couldn't hold hands even. Well, that is one romance that ended early). The Bob Jones student was going to a friend because his folks had split up. "Go with us." What will your mom say? "She won't even know you're there." 

Mom prepared so much food, you could have fed the whole town. We had a great time. And, I was right, nobody even noticed the three extras I brought in. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

IMMIGRATION

 

The Prez's courageous stance on immigration surprised no one. These old guys I hang out with are naturally on opposite sides-- they have very decided and thought-out opinions. Their Repub view is that we already have all these laws and merely need to enforce them. Immigration, according to one, started during Caesar Chavis's time with "guest workers" who were suppose to go home. They didn't and we didn't enforce the law and so here we are. 

My one contribution is a philosophical one as I think immigration, like race, is one of those unsolvable problems that based on our system, can't be fixed. We are doing about as well as we can. 

We are all immigrants and if you go back far enough, you will discover it. I see these immigrants say something like, "I am an American. This is my country." Brings tears to my eyes every time. Contrast this to these ignorant, died in the wool, opinionated bigots.  

I thought the president's comments were "right on." He should tell the Republicans,
 "f..k you very much. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MITCH MCCONNEL

To think l that we have to put up with McConnell's smirky scowl for the foreseeable future is more that I can fathom. F..king discouraging anyway you look at it. 

A new book called "The Cynic" deals with the rise of McConnell. According to the book, he is a politician through and through as he has positioned himself always to the next election. And he has championed all those areas that we totally abhor: wrecked campaign finance reform, cozied up to the banks and Wall Street; fought against any sort of reasonable immigration. Name it, this sorry f..ker has done it. His whole life, up until now, has been geared to "NO" if it doesn't enhance his status. But, the issue to me isn't McConnell.  We know what he is, and I am being kind. But, what interests me more are those who voted for him. 

Who are these people, having seen who McConnell  is and what he has done and aspires too. So, they endorse all the bullshit. Honestly, makes me damn ashamed. I know it is politics but still...as a southern, I have always been suspicious of KY. I think as my brother Raz would say, "Kentucky is mostly a bunch of Yankees."

I think if I could wish anything for my fellow "Mericans" who care, (and not all do) we agree to disagree but let's don't be selfish. Pluralism is a great thing and a founding principle of our country even if we don't know it: those with plenty share with the less fortunate and the majority protect the rights of the minority. We are all a gaggle of immigrants who through luck and good fortunate live in this great country and have prospered. McConnell, I fear has forgotten it, never grasped it or is just a sorry MFer who doesn't care.