A Perfect Storm of Hope and Fear?

August 11, 2017

Look at the News Today! Oh, Boy!  Is it a perfect storm of Hope and Fear, or is it just a distraction from more important pursuits in life?  Just as promised, there are wars and rumors of wars.  All I can say about America is, I’m praying really hard and hoping all the stupidity and posturing doesn’t blow up in anyone’s faces.  A certain twitter twit who shall not be named in this blog, and other twittery, aside, I hope certain powerful people, at least one of whom is a little bit of a twit sometimes, will remember the power of constructive criticism when being critical, and remember the axiom, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

North Korea, flexing its’ flabby muscles, is working out the ‘kinks in their ICBMs while enhancing their nuclear program, so they can prove that they’re a global threat.

We still have the ongoing cowardly skirmishes, missile attacks into Israel from their various borders that go mostly unreported by the news.  The only time they report is when Israel responds, and then Israel is blamed as if they were the aggressors.

I’m going to lump , the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the obviously weakling Boko Haram crew, and all the other militant, aggressive and violent groups under the same umbrella, together.  They all think they’re the new caliphate, but what they are, so far, are bullies and cowards and criminals and killers.

It has to be said:  anyone who uses women and children as either human shields or as weapons, are completely worthless, cowardly worms, unworthy of the name “warrior.”  But then, any society or religion that’s afraid of looking at, much less, empowering and educating women, has obvious social issues.  And don’t answer that making them blow themselves up is in any way empowering.  There’s a word for that kind of thinking.

No connection meant to be implied… (no, seriousarcasmically! 😉 ) , but there are several countries holding people hostage for whatever leverage that might enable, and that, too, is bullying.  Not to say that our beloved United States is always above such tactics.  One of the countries is Mexico so I couldn’t guess why they have a hostage, and the website says it updates daily but they want to sell you the data of who is being held and if they have a reason, why.  But most of the countries on the website, presuming it’s legitimate, have a certain connection.

It has to also be said, that anyone who oppresses, threatens, maims, or murders, in the name of their religion, must have a wimpy god, or maybe they’re serving the wrong god, or maybe they’re not really serving their god, and they’re only serving themselves.  If they claim to serve a god who isn’t staring back at them in their mirrors, then I ask this:  Can’t their god kill or punish any blasphemers for him/her/it-self if they deserve it?  Wimpy god, wimpy followers.

If you’re following a wimpy god, maybe you should get a real God.  That One in the Old Testament really knew how to take care of business, but He made certain promises and so far has kept them, giving us partial fulfillment in Jesus and the promise of final fulfillment later.  Since then, God hasn’t really felt the need to demonstrate Old Testament-Style excessive force.  He’s currently leaving it to ordinary mortal humans to choose to be nice to each other and to love Him, or not, He lets a certain amount of evil out of the box every day hoping we’ll help each other through it.  He lets natural consequences and humanity  mete out justice, and He promised to sort it all out at the end.  And we are not measuring up to His hopes.  Good luck with your eternal destiny, if you’re not inclined to follow Jesus. According to a Good Book I read sometimes, He’s the only way to get a guaranteed good one.  Do NOT call me narrow minded.  I’m just reading the Book, and that’s what it says.

And that’s the news from the fear side.

On the hope side, we have two lotteries both above $300M.  That’s right, for the low price of $3, you, too, can have a chance at nearly $800M.  Except, I went out today and bought one of each, and since I’m hoping to win both, and I have my chance, I’ll just wish you luck on some other drawing.

$800M is, because there’s no other way to describe it, “stupid” money.  Even $400M is stupid.  And I’m prepared to eat those words after winning, even after I win both drawings.

The perfect storm of fear, hope and other minor distractions in the news brings up  a question.  From the hope side, is that over-hyped snowball’s chance in hell of becoming stupidly rich, just a distraction from something important we should all be aware of, and doing something about?  And how many people have spent the rent check on chances and disregarded family and ordinary expenses?  And, from the fear side, the world has been spinning and orbiting, and seasons have come and gone, for millennia, and humanity, while having the ability to obliterate itself, has thus far chosen the wiser alternative.  Is the saber rattling just a way for world powers to get away with something they’re NOT talking about, while all of the idiotic rhetoric, “operating on favors, political leanings, posturing,” and more idiotic rhetoric is flying by your computers, smartphones, or televisions.

I didn’t even mention the latest social media trends, fashion trends, the news about what all the cool kids are doing, the negativity of what people are doing to each other, or to the flora and fauna, or the one nice public interest story that makes it into the news on a slow day, behind all of the murder and mayhem and destruction.   And then there’s television shows.  They all give us a little escape from the disastrous and frightening, and further distract from more important and worthwhile pursuits.

I recommend, if you have a chance to do something, that you find a great cause, and work toward the good goals that one person can pursue.  I’m saying, do something nice for someone this weekend.  Make it a habit, and maybe try to do something every day.  It’s MUCH less of a waste of time than, worrying about the news you can’t do anything about, or daydreaming about being stupid rich, or even, say, reading this blog!

Make it a great weekend.

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Hamilton, Dixon, Pence, Trump, Shame, and Social Agendas

November 20, 2016
I shared the following thoughts with a facebook friend in response to her re-post of one of those memes:
This happened:  Pence was booed for walking in the doors, and then shamed after the show by one of the cast members:   http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-hamilton-idUSKBN13E0AT
And then the social media chimed in with what my friend copied and reposted:
https://scontent.ford1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/15178247_1315628581863526_1724928735457143316_n.jpg?oh=d807d35d94a885495e60b1d29f071650&oe=58CC9B5F
I’ve been quiet a long time, because basically I hate the news for smiling after they report on the murder and mayhem and destruction and hate from both sides of the election debate and vote and now, the fear and loathing from both sides, and the hate crimes from both sides.  I hate it.  I hate that this is happening in my country, and I hate that people have so much time on their hands that they can vandalize property, spread messages of hate to everyone, back and forth, and it never ends.  I hate the bullying, name calling, the violence.  I hate the news for spreading the fear, when most people just want to go back to their mundane lives and hope that whomever got elected president doesn’t make it any worse for them.  Oh wait.  That’s just me. Unless it resonates with you.

My joke, before  the election, was: Q: “Who will lose the election this year?  A:  “The American People.”  Might be true either way.

I don’t have time to riot or protest, I have to go to work.  I don’t have time to fix whatever vandals decide to destroy.  Nor the financial resources.  See below, for additional information you didn’t want to know about where I am financially.  The old cars still run.  The house has a new heat/ac unit we couldn’t afford, but a family member loaned us some of the cash, for the emergency expense.  It’s in the 30s tonight, so thanks.

I’m disappointed in advance for how the churches are going to handle the event in their sermons. I hate the news for what they’re going to do to this story in Sunday and Monday’s broadcasts.  For what it’s worth, without disclosing who I voted for, I did write how I feel about the event:

Hamilton, Dixon, Pence, Trump, Shame, and Social Agendas

11/20/2016, Michael N. Johns

I feel it was inappropriate for Mr. Dixon, the Alexander Hamilton cast member, to publicly try to shame Pence for his beliefs. True, they didn’t refuse him service. Refusing someone service IS idiotic, bad for profits, bad for public image, and just bad business; don’t get me wrong. But when people do ask me to work at my job for them, I don’t get to tell my company’s clients that they should give their hearts to Jesus and seek His truth for the best ways to follow and obey Him.
When I’m at work, I have a job to do that has nothing to do with my faith. I do it without promoting my social agenda because I’d get fired if I EVER did that to my customers. Neither should someone else take the liberty at their job to try to tell me what I should think, or about how I need to show more respect for their choices in life that don’t conform to Jesus’ teachings (Matthew 19:3-8; Mark 10:2-8). (And there’s really no disrespect intended, see below in BOLD TYPE for my position on your choices, whatever they may be.  It’s really, intentionally, not to cause offense, but to express a more opinionated attempt at deterrence)  A backstage pass and a sit-down with the cast, or a gentle Facebook reply, maybe, but not at a curtain call with cameras that tries to make him look bad.
Trump’s response was over the top, but that’s because he’s Trump. Honestly, I could care less whether or not you respect Jesus’ teachings or not. It’s your life, it’s your choice, as long as you don’t expect me to praise you for your choices, just like I don’t expect praise for when I don’t live up to Jesus’ OTHER standards sometimes.  I don’t even care who you say you love, as long as you don’t hurt someone and want to call that “love.”  I really don’t care. My opinion doesn’t really matter.  Do what you want.  You don’t ultimately answer to me.  (But consider that you may eventually have to answer to Someone.)
I won’t be boycotting the show though. I like what I have seen so far on various social medias and on TV documentaries.  Lin is absolutely brilliant.  But I won’t go.  I won’t go because I can’t ever afford to go, NEVER. I still need to fix my teeth (at least 2 dental implants) before I waste that much for theater tickets. My insurance already doesn’t cover them, and went up $100 a paycheck this year, due to changes I presume were precipitated by Obamacare. If I had that money in my pocket instead of paying some number cruncher’s wages, I could have used the extra premium money to pay for them. Except my wages went up $0 this year, to keep up with the cost of living.
And, irony, if you don’t like the electoral college for their choice, look up who invented it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)
Oh, and please:  let’s not discuss how raising the minimum wage will miraculously help me. Once the economy adjusts prices to account for the change, if they raise that minimum wage like they’re talking about, and suddenly it’s over what I’m making right now, that “helpful” “raise” will drop me to the lowest poverty wage possible, all over again. I’ve done the math: a $15.00 minimum wage would technically give me a higher numerical income than I’m making now, but adjusted to the new minimum, represents a 52% decrease in the value of my hour at work. I haven’t worked for minimum wage since high school 30 years ago. If I can’t afford dental implants already, effectively reducing my buying power by more than half would work just great for me, wouldn’t it?
But no, my social agenda has no place at my job. And I don’t think it did at Mr. Dixon’s, either.
__________________________________________________
If you do the math backward, you now know how much I get paid.  If you tried and stopped before your brain cramped, I’m sorry.  Either way, you know it’s not even half-enough for a family of four.
I don’t need to hear about your favorite alternative definitions of love and marriage, or about my narrow-mindedness, bigotry, homophobia, and while you were name-calling you figured I’m probably reeling in the excesses of white privilege, a hateful, sexist, racist, primitive, egotistical, backward-thinking radical Christ-follower, a spouse abuser and a misogynist in general, too.  But you can delete the morale-shattering blast reply you were already half-way into writing.  My morale is already well-broken.  The world is broken, so why should I be any different?

If you’re still holding any offense taken at me, in support of all your criticisms (choose a convenient few from the list above), I wrote this after working 41 hours at work -that I got paid for (think about that), volunteering twice this week to help a charity, then late yesterday and today, washing and putting away days of dirty dishes, and cleaning the floors, and vacuuming, and folding the laundry I washed for our family, and raking leaves for my mom and dad.  Not rioting or vandalizing in the street, not promoting my social agendas or opinions, not shaming someone who believes different things than I do, not really hating anyone. I’m no saint, nowhere close to perfect, but I’m trying, despite how depressing life can be, to help make it a little better for everyone, because I don’t care what your favorite sin is- I have enough bad habits and evil in my own heart, I don’t really have time for worrying about what yours may be.  And there’s too much work to be done before I can steal the time through alternative sleep choices.  So yeah, if you want to throw any or all of the critical labels above at me, sure. Stay with those.  Or, throw a few others toward me.  Or not.  I won’t have time to be concerned with that either.

The brilliant cast, including the very talented and intelligent Mr. Dixon (in the role of Aaron Burr, no less), is hopefully making enough money from Hamilton.  I would hope they’re not pressured by debts and breakdowns and accidents and tooth decay and HVACs.  Mr. Dixon doesn’t really have to care about me, or my teeth, or my cars, or my wages, or my ability to make discretionary entertainment choices, or my religion, or my opinion.   And neither do you, readers.   But if you read it all the way through, I appreciate that you took some of your valuable time to do so.

 

Love and Terror, Heroes and Villains

November 18, 2015

Normally I wouldn’t write this here, but it is the news:

1 John 4:18 – New International Version (NIV)

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

I’ll probably cross-post it in MoeJoe Musing because it’s going to read like one of those.  So sorry if you follow both blogs you’ll get 2 notices.

Here’s the news:  “Perfect love drives out fear,” and it was proven in the terrorist attacks in Paris.  I have to look at “love” from a few angles, because the stories offer some different perspectives.  But here we’re trying to get at  “perfect” love.

The hero of this story is Elsa Delplace, and her mother Patricia San Martin. They attended the concert at Le Bataclan in Paris, France.  And they didn’t go home because they were shot dead by cowardly terrorists, killing innocents in the name of their god.  But Elsa’s son gets to go home, because mother and grandmother sacrificed themselves protecting him. This is perfect love.  This is heroism.

The Bible further teaches:

John 15:13 – New International Version (NIV)

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

That assertion pointed the reader to Jesus, who laid down his life for the world.  Soldiers will sacrifice themselves to protect other soldiers, and it’s on a kind of similar level.

I would say there is a love that comes close, and it’s a mother’s love for her child.  I have never seen a more fearless, fierce love than when a mother is protecting and caring for her child.  Ever.  A loving mother will stand between an abusive father and her child, taking a beating to defend the child’s life and possibly losing her own in the process.  A loving mother will stand between a cowardly terrorist and his bullets and her child, sacrificing her very life.  A loving mother will stand up to any kind of bully, and do anything they feel is necessary to protect and defend her child.  A loving mother will endure anything necessary, for her child.

But what about a mother’s love for her cowardly, terrorist son?  She loved her boy, although he was clearly misguided.  This nameless, faceless, cowardly terrorist’s “…mother suggested his suicide jacket may have gone off by accident and said he could have carried out the attack because he was ‘stressed’.”  Oh, don’t bother to tell me his name.  He’s dead. He’s inconsequential. He doesn’t matter. His life was a waste inasmuch as he took other innocents with him when he died.  He was an idiot who labored for a Darwin award, hopefully without leaving behind any future terrorist offspring, and he’s unworthy of calling by any other name.  He’s not even worthy of a Darwin award, except inasmuch as he is no longer living and he did it to himself.

Sorry terrorist-mom, it’s difficult to digest.  Here’s what you’re saying to the world:  Your son accidentally planned an accidental date with some of his friends. He accidentally put on a vest-bomb while they accidentally picked up guns.  He accidentally walked down to a cafe near a concert venue.  His friends then accidentally shot bullets into innocent people, while he accidentally pressed a button to detonate said explosive vest, and he accidentally killed as many innocent people as he could while accidentally blowing himself up.

I can’t fault the mother’s love though.  She’s desperately defending her dead boy.  She’s desperately searching for some reason behind his participation in the events in Paris.  I’m sure he was stressed, but I find it impossible to believe anything other than that this was no accident.  If perhaps someone forced him to put on the vest, perhaps.  If perhaps someone detonated the vest remotely, perhaps.  If someone perhaps forced him to go to the cafe near the concert venue.  That’s a lot of perhapses.

I’m sorry, but no, terrorist-mom.  There was no accident here, except accidentally choosing the wrong god to serve, and then expending his own worthless life in the name of his god.  Alas, his god is no god.  In the words of Jeff Dunham’s Achmed, the dead terrorist, he was just another https://www.youtube.com/embed/K06bEg811O4“>”idiot with no future.”   

There’s a difference between these two kinds of love though.

A mother, Elsa Delplace, selflessly sacrificed her life in an effort to insure her son could continue his life.  And a grandmother did the same.  These are heroes who leave behind a legacy of love.

A nameless, faceless, cowardly son hatefully killed himself in an effort to murder as many innocent people as possible.  His mother is desperately defending him, against all reasonable logic, to try to deflect his legacy of hate.  Alas, by no accident, hatred was all he offered the peaceful people of Paris.  He and his mother will be forgotten, but Elsa Delplace will be remembered for her own heroism, and will be remembered by the life of her son, whom she saved by her sacrifice.

The God I strive to serve does not command his followers to kill anyone, but rather, to answer with love.  He also advocated speaking the truth, because a lie serves no one but Satan himself. The God I serve teaches to “love your enemies.”  Though in no way will I love the faceless, nameless, now deceased terrorist, I will lovingly tell the truth to his mother:  Your love for your son is admirable, but wouldn’t it be better if you could do something that shows your love for the people of Paris, and brought the rest of your surviving family with you to work to restore their peace, their comfort, and their faith in humanity?  That would be a worthy investment of life, and not a waste.

Elsa Delplace, thank you for demonstrating real love to the world.  If we all loved in this way even the terrorists would take note.

Now Accepting Checks for $100M or More

September 9, 2015

In the News Today, (Oh, Boy!) The IRS doesn’t want your money, billionaires.  The folks at MSN have alerted me that the IRS is poised to start refusing mailed-in checks for more than $99,999,999.00, starting in 2016.  If you’re ready to write a check to the IRS for say, $99,999,999.01, or more, they can’t accept that.  If your tax bill is $99,999,999.01 or more, I think you can afford to deliver your money to the IRS by courier.  And you can divide it up and send in two checks:  one for $99,999,999.00, and one for $0.01.  Trust me, that will amuse the tax collectors.  I hear they’re legendary for their senses of humor.

I say, if the IRS doesn’t want your money and you’re itching to write someone a check for $99,999,999.50, just for fun, it’s spelled M-I-C-H-A-E-L–N–J-O-H-N-S.  I just want to be sure there’s not a typo in that, because my bank is almost as big a stickler as the IRS.  I don’t know how much taxes are on gifts, but don’t worry.  You can let me figure that out.

I’ve said it before, I’ve got “half-vast” personal plans for what to do with vast sums of money.  There are a few things I would invest that money on:  A tax attorney to set things up.  College funds for my kids.  A hugely fuel efficient, safe car for me and the family.  A slightly bigger house.  A better computer.  A new violin and viola for myself.  Sure, I’ve already got a viola, but why not.  Maybe even electric instruments.  A health club membership and fried chicken and waffles, to fight to the death, hopefully after a very lengthy war.  Solar and wind power generators for my new house.  An electronic book reader.  A big dog.  Maybe a husky or a husky-shepherd mix.  A cat or two.  I’d love that, and so would my kids.  And maybe a few other minor things.  Fishing supplies.  More good coffee.  Stuff like that.

There are a few things I would NOT invest that money on:  First, A cruise.  I know people who go on a cruise every year and they love it.  If that’s your thing, go for it.  I’ve heard they’re great.  But our friends at MSN have the latest news story about a cruise gone bad.  King Salman from Saudi Arabia had the right idea.  He wanted to visit Washington DC, so he rented a hotel.  The whole thing.  But then, he’s got an entourage, he’s the king, and he can afford it.  If I were going on a cruise, the ideal arrangement would include the captain, the crew, my family and friends and me.  And maybe some musical entertainment.  Today, among others, I like the Indianapolis Symphony, trumpeters Wynton Marsalis, Chris Botti, Phil Driscoll, and my son. And, maybe Mariah Carey, her voice is divine no matter what the critics are saying. Perhaps Bob Carlisle would come too, his singing is amazing.  If it were my ship for the week, I could sing with all of them; that would be a lot of fun.  I’d love to have the money to rent the whole ship, and pay for fun tutoring sessions for my kids and me, and sit-in performances with the orchestra, including my son on his trumpet, and my daughter and I on our violas.  She’s pretty good.  Both of my kids are, of course.  And the other fantastic entertainment.  But I wouldn’t want to squander that money, especially if the cruise might go bad.  There have been several issues with cruise ships:  bacteria making everyone sick on a few, a drunk captain sinking one, and the latest, an engine fire on the Carnival Liberty, stranding passengers on a tropical island. They’re taking good care of everyone, but still.  For me the best money is on dry land.  With my luck, there’d be megalodon size sharks, a coral reef, an iceberg, a tidal wave, or something.

Second, If I had $99.99999901 million dollars, I would not invest in any more lotteries.  I’ve trickled away tiny amounts, less than some people would spend in a single day on fast food or coffee drinks.  Maybe a dollar or two every few weeks, if the jackpot was high enough.  That trend will continue. But if I had that kind of scratch, I wouldn’t buy any more scratch-offs.  Sure, buying ten tickets makes me ten times as likely to win, but just as easily, I could lose ten dollars.  I might give gifts to homeless people, but those would be in the form of positive investments into their lives.  Food.  Clothing.  Shelter.  Education.  Maybe even jobs.  But not false hope.  The lottery represents hope, but so far in my experience it doesn’t pay.  I read just the other day that Illinois wasn’t paying out bigger jackpots because they didn’t have an approved budget, and that was for people who actually won.  The lottery in Florida was sued over what they claimed was a “misprint,” they refused to pay on that.  So it seems that for any reason at any time, the various state lottery commissions can deny winnings. It’s all too random on the draw and all to predictable once someone wins.  The lottery commissions might exert the power of greed and hire lawyers to defend themselves for not paying the prize money out.  As apparently occurred in Indiana, they get a fancy office space and squander the income on themselves.  Etc.  Or maybe it’s all legal and they are only protecting fairness and fun for everyone, how would I know?

I would not buy guns or plastic surgery.  I suppose if I really needed plastic surgery to repair some accidental scarring or something, maybe that.  But no guns.  You can have them if you’re safe, and law abiding, and registered, it’s fine with me.  We have a constitutional right to lawfully and responsibly own guns.  But guns have a way of finding their way into the hands of bad people.  I’m not going to supply anyone with a gun. Those illegal ones?  The following stories are all proof that crime doesn’t pay well enough, or it’s just wasteful, stupid and destructive.  I’ll leave those illegal guns to rich kids with more money than common sense, criminals who would have gotten away with it if they’d lived in Chicago, but not in Texas, and criminals with either an evident death wish or (don’t click on it!  really, don’t!) not quite enough money for a proper holster (I TOLD you NOT to click it!) to store that, or both.  Ewww.  Don’t try that at home.  But if you do, I hope the safety is on.

Keep it safe, and dream big.

Breakfast All Day, Hooray, McD-ay

September 2, 2015

I love breakfast.  I love pancakes, waffles, biscuits, fruit preserves, maple syrup.  I love bacon.  Who doesn’t love bacon?  I love sausage.  I love eggs.  I love it.  I even love breakfast cereals and yogurt.  And of course, juice and coffee.  But I don’t love it when I just wake up in the morning.  I’ve got issues, you know?  I have to be awake a while to get over the stress and nausea and generally icky feeling I have almost every morning.  I love breakfast, but I have to wait a while before I’m hungry for it.

I love breakfast at any time between about 11:00AM and maybe 3:00AM.  When you wake up feeling famished at 2AM, or you haven’t turned in quite yet after your night of festivities, who doesn’t think breakfast would be amazing?  There’s the problem.  Many restaurants have breakfast for a limited number of hours each day, and those restaurants do not cater to my stomach, my hunger cycle, my idiosyncrasy.  I don’t want to get out of bed at all before 10, if I have the day off, and imagine my dismay at missing breakfast at McDonald’s because I was a few minutes later than they actually served it.  I don’t even try to go very often on days when I work, just because I’m in a hurry, or feeling my morning ickies, or both.

I once frequented a mom & pop truck stop that was famous locally for their wonderful food.  They served breakfast all day.  But everything I ever ate there was great, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Until the last time.  The last time I ate at this local truck stop, whose name rhymed with Money’s, in a secret undisclosed town whose name rhymes with Rurham, Fourth Darolina, just by coincidence, I happened to get food poisoning, from somewhere else.  It must have been my refrigerator.  Said restaurant has closed and cannot defend themselves against my rumor.  But when I called to inform them that I had been experiencing flu-like symptoms, a few hours after eating breakfast for dinner that evening, they asked me what I ate, and then said it couldn’t possibly have been their food.  Maybe I had gotten the bug from something I ate before I went to the restaurant; it just hadn’t hit me yet.  Which is lawyered-up-speak for, “we’re throwing out the old batch of biscuits and sausage gravy you ate from and you won’t be able to prove anything in a court of law.”

I’ve read that sometime after my last appearance at that eatery, they were replaced by a McDonald’s, which brings me to my happy news:  I can get breakfast all day at McDonald’s, starting October 6.  No more purchasing it in the morning, waiting until I’m ready to eat and my food’s gone cold (and just to gauge the tolerance of my intestinal fortitude, and my stomach, I’ve done that several times and never gotten food poisoning from THAT experience.  Not ONCE.)

Pardon my festive air, but joy of joys.  http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/full_menu/breakfast.html <~~~~THAT, and hash browns, available all day.  When I can actually enjoy eating it.  Cooked fresh when I order it, and served hot.  Pardon me while I say my “grace.”  Thank you, God.  Hooray and hallelujah.  Could someone please pass the maple flavored artificially caramel colored high fructose corn syrup?  It’s OK in a pinch, when I’m on the run and don’t have time for other location options.  The rest of the foods(, with the exception of those flaked onion chips that make me sick when they’re on my burger), mysterious in origin as they may be, are actually awesome.  The syrup though, it’s just OK.  That’s the one thing I would replace.  It’s not price-friendly, but I do like real maple syrup.

The hash brown at McDonald’s, though, may be the best breakfast item on the whole planet.  I’ve been known to order two, just to start and end my breakfast with that flavor.

I think I’m hungry, and I’d love some breakfast.  Do we have to wait until October 6?

Sorry, We’re Sorry, We’re Really Sorry

August 31, 2015

In The News Today (Oh, Boy) We’re Sorry!  Our beloved governmental agencies are either giving it back, or taking it back.  Mostly I find the  trend is taking, but in our first story, this trend is reversed.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing necessarily in this instance:  We’re giving it back.  It was a good run, almost 100 years.  But move over, President McKinley, and step down!  I get the feeling we Americans are supposed to be more ashamed than I actually feel.  It seems our President thinks we’re really really embarrassed about our U.S. History.  Or we should be.  By presidential order, Mount McKinley is getting re-renamed.  The mountain itself was so embarrassed about being named for McKinley, it shrank 83 feet from 1952 to 2013.  So it’s going to be called Denali again, the name the native Alaskans kept right on calling it.  If it grows, I’ll be a little nervous with pride, since Mount Saint Helens, aka Louwala-Clough, aka “The Smoking Mountain,” exploded.

There was really nothing wrong with President McKinley.  He did a good job as president, with sound economic and foreign policies that helped the United States solidify itself as a world power.  He was assassinated sometime into his second term, another victim of the Curse of Tippecanoe, or Tecumseh’s curse.  

Tecumseh’s Curse, named for Chief Tecumseh, whose brother started the whole curse thing, was linked to several deaths, first of which was President Harrison.  Harrison cheated in his deals with the native Americans to secure settlement territories, and defeated the native Americans in The Battle of Tippecanoe.  Reagan was first to survive, rumor has it because he was a champion for native American rights and strict following of existing treaties.

But what alarms me is this:  If we’re undoing the historical renaming of territories and landmarks, my own state may be in for a shock.  Because who can pronounce the Miami name Kekionga, or Kiskakon?  And do we really want to move the capital from Indianapolis to the corner of the Great Black Swamp?  Or at modern day Huntington or Fort Wayne?  They probably shouldn’t rename anything in Indiana.  It’d sound like a diversion tactic to distract people from more important issues.  Hmmmmm…  But I can’t imagine our government doing anything like that.

In other news, supergroup U2 has announced they are renaming “Every Breath You Take” to “The Stalker’s Theme,” or “An Ode to ‘Big Brother.'”
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The next one has a familiar ring to it.  Illinois is declining to pay any big lottery winners.  Lucky me, I haven’t won yet.  If I had won, it’d probably be just my luck to have won in Illinois.  They are saying it’s because they haven’t figured out the budget yet.  They aren’t saying it’s because they’ve already spent the money.  But they are saying “We’re Sorry!”

It’s not funny, but if I were to pull the same stunt, the state, or almost any other financial entity to which I’m indebted, could garnish my wages to get their cut.  “Um, I’m sorry, could you wait a few years for my taxes until I get my budget under control?”  No, says the state, we can’t.  But if I win the lottery, they can claim that excuse.  How about if I repossess the Governor’s mansion and decide to take up residence there, and have his kitchen whip me up some Illinois cuisine?

No, as the old blues man said, “The Lord giveth, the government taketh away.”  Even after the government promises to “giveth,” they can still arbitrarily decide to “taketh away.”  Something doesn’t seem fair and balanced about that kind of power.  Country singer Webb Pierce is the only source I can find for a similar quotation in a song, but I swear I heard it in a blues song once. If you know the reference, let me know.
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I’m on a roll, so why not stay with the midwest:  If you didn’t think “there’s more than corn in Indiana,” I’ve got news for you.  There’s birds, and seeing as the state and the government are both said to be “for the birds,” the state is “takething” and “givething back.”  Apparently, northern Indiana didn’t already have enough birds so we Hoosiers are setting up to “restore” an old wetland region as a bird sanctuary.  Apparently we’re sorry for draining the land for whatever other reasons were given when it was drained.  I wonder who’s losing their home or land for the venture.  And I wonder how we can encourage those stupid birds to actually migrate instead of taking up year-round residence.  If we can’t, there’ll be a continuous barrage of water fowl waste left on the sidewalks and worse, on our cars.  Watch out for deposited… deposits, wherever you walk.  Seems the more comfortable we make the area, the less inclined to migrate like they are supposed to.

Makes me wonder what’s next?  Shall we clone the dinosaurs and giveth them back the planet?  That’d make an awesome movie or 10.  But I’d rather not do it in real life.

I Love Strong-Willed Women

August 27, 2015

“Oh, Boy,” how I love this.  I just love a strong, assertive woman, especially one who’s right.  And today I have three to tell you about.  Today, the New York Daily News informed me about two.
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First, from my friends at the New York Daily News, there’s dear, dear Ms. “Zhou.”  While I understand the need for restrictions at the airport, in the name of public safety, I also understand there’s a limit.  And Ms. “Zhou” chugged her way past the limit of the breathalyzers, if they had them there in Beijing.  Did you know that at the airport in Beijing, they limit the amount of alcohol you can carry with you so the baggage handlers don’t throw it around and break it, is 100ml?  And did you know a normal-sized bottle of alcohol is about 750ml?  When confronted about her luggage contents, “Zhou” was instructed to hand over the bottle to the customs officials.

That’s right, “give us yer alcohol,” said the air pirates.  “Zhou,” being of sound and practical mind, was not about to surrender.  “Up yours,” she might have said.  “And down my hatch.”  Who knows?  Not I, since I regrettably don’t speak Chinese.  She then drank the entire bottle in front of the greedy, thirsty, but now stunned, customs officials.

If I knew the customs guys, I might have shared it, but these were total strangers.  If I loved them, I might have given them a $200 present, but no, she didn’t love them either.  And “Zhou” it was that she pur..purch.. got a $200 bottle of Remy Martin XO Excellence and then killed off her property, because “death before surrender” was the most practic… prac… the best option.  She’sh right, you know.

In an enraged demonstration of abuse of power, the deprived pirates did get their revenge.  They declined to let her board the plane, as she was, though in a different container, still carrying the 750ml of alcohol.  So they accused her of being drunk.  Being of still-sound and practical mind, Ms. Zhou then took a nap to wait for the customs people to either come to reason, or change because their shift ended, to allow her to catch a later flight or arrange alternate transportation.

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Second, do you know about Australia?  It’s the place where, every ten feet or so, there’s something that can kill the average adult male gorilla, which is why you don’t see very many of those in Australia.  They have spiders that could stop a truck, more poisonous snakes than humans, and crocodiles.  Lots and lots of crocodiles.  I haven’t even researched the evil plant life, but I imagine there’s random toxic vegetation scheming to kill anyone daring to come within a yard or so, but only after first inflicting a nasty skin rash that spreads slowly and painfully and kills you in a month or so.  I’m saying this to just remind the reader that to live in Australia you have to be tough.

One Australian woman, Jodi Magi, temporarily sought refuge from these continual threats by moving to Abu Dhabi.  You may have heard me venting about the drivers in America (I mean the United States), frequently proving they’ve been poorly trained to perform the task.  But apparently it’s not only in America.  This dear lady tried to find a parking space, and the only available spot was half filled by some arrogant, possibly drunken, cad who was taking up two, at least one of them being a dedicated handicapped spot.  Being rational, she checked to see if the person really was handicapped, but found no sticker, hanging tag, or anything other than the apparently handicapped skill level of the driver at parking in a single spot.

This tough Australian woman said some choice words on her Facebook page about the other driver, and posted a shaming picture of the offending car.  And for that, the Abu Dhabi authorities are deporting her, not the offensive driver. I can only imagine they didn’t understand the meaning of her words, since she uses the Australian vernacular.  I’m certain if she really wanted to say something offensive about it, she could have chosen something far worse to say.  And I’m certain that if the world were fair, it would be the other driver who would be deported, or at least fined and sent to driving school.  Abu Dhabi authorities apparently don’t allow the same freedom of speech as we do here in America, land where Facebook was created, and I think that’s sad.  They’ve fined her $2700.00, and tossed her in the slammer pending her deportation.  I bet you can buy a lot of cognac with that.

She’s a strong woman from Australia, and I’ll tell you, I have to admire her restraint.  Sure, she’s a keeper.  But despite her fair appearance, she probably could have flipped over the car and left it upside down, perfectly centered, on fire, in one or the other of the two handicapped spots.  Instead, all she did was take a picture and use her words.  That’s a demonstration of some very moderate behaviour, Jodi, and I applaud you for it.

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And finally, my wife.  You see the kind of woman who attracts my attention in the stories above.  They are all strong, strong willed, powerful and decisive.  They can handle their lives, their liquor and their language, and they exercise a gentle restraint.  My wife is exactly this kind of woman, which is why I love her so deeply.  She’s been strong enough to put up with me with that same gentle, loving restraint for more than 20 years.  How do I know this?  I’ve not been smothered under my pillow while sleeping.  And she’s definitely a keeper herself, an elegant, lovely, practically perfect lady.  I’m a man extremely rich in God’s blessings.

The News that Misconstrues, Continues.

August 25, 2015

WOW It’s Been a LONG time since I posted anything here.  Life, crises, etc, blah blah whatever, I wish I could say I’m over it meaning I am through the crises but I can’t.  I can only say it like the faddish speakers say it, meaning I’m ready for it to be over with me.  Because really, I’m over it.  Speaking of being over it, I’m over all the spinning the modern news media applies to stories in order to incite more fear in the easily panicked, and more anger in the already angry, more hate in the already hateful.  And I’m over all of it.  I clicked on the news long enough to read it, and clicked off just as quickly because I am over it.  I wish the news media would report on news instead of just reporting things that enrage, or cause fear.  I heard just this morning that a hurricane is coming, possibly toward Florida.  They might want to perk up and watch that, it’s kind of important.  But I heard other things too, that were played up way bigger than they needed to be.  Here are just a few reprehensible representative samples:

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With apologies to Sting and the rest of U 2, and the rest of you too, Ma-Moo, Moo, Moo, Ba-Brrr-Brr-Brr, “is all I want to say to you.”  Why, for the love of steaks, do they call a new glacier-tail-turned-iceberg a “calf?”  Anyway, in the news today, STEAKS. Oh.  Sorry.  Nevermind, no steak today.  Just your standard rumors of hatred, gloom, and doom, and melt-down.  Anybody got a good pinot noir?  Anybody got a steak?  That would help me relax a bit.  No ice for me, thank you, I like my red at room temperature.  But if you want an ice cube floating in your glass, you can chip one off this:

In The News Today (Oh, Boy!), a really big glacier dropped a really big iceberg and it was, scientists estimate, the size of the island of Manhattan.  A glacier is basically a frozen river, and when a piece of ice reaches the edge, the floe-ing river eventually drops bits off, forming icebergs.  You’ll recall the last famous iceberg that sunk the Titanic and spawned a recent movie about a guy who failed to climb on a big floating door with his girlfriend, who failed to share said door-raft, and their famous love song, sung by Celine Dion.

Icebergs happen when all frozen rivers drop off those babies, a bit like a machine trimming off an extruded bit of pasta or a (soon to be) cheesy puff.  It’s about as common as rivers flowing to the sea, which they’ve been doing since just a bit before Elvis Presley sang about it in Blue Hawaii.  Elvis “can’t help falling in love with you,” and frozen rivers can’t help but eventually calve.

Enter the Spin Doctors.  No, not the band, although they’re cool.

Yup, they’re hijacking a perfectly natural, normal event, because they can say “Everybody Run!!  It’s the size of Manhattan!!!,” because again, it’s a really really big river. To put it in perspective though, the Mississippi river flow rate in New Orleans releases almost that much water about every twelve days. Which means, if the glacier hadn’t calved for a while, it was due.  But the scientists who want us to believe in it are saying this natural event was accelerated by global warming.  They’re spinning it so hard, I’m dizzy.  I’d believe them too, if I didn’t think their interpretation of the calving event was such a big mis-steak.  Even a glacial river moooo-ves a little bit every day.

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I don’t know what happened on the wine train, but I confess, while I enjoy the stories of a loose-tongued drunk, when they stray into tales of disrespect, on a plane, on a train, or in an automobile especially, I take them with a grain of salty distrust. I know a lady who reads books, and she’s not a quiet-natured person, when with her friends.  And I love her to death, but if she gets excited she does get louder.  Add a little alcohol and you have a situation.  So I can see the two sides of the situation.    I have no idea what actually transpired, because I wasn’t there.  However, on their website, the terms are very clear:
wine train

That’s right, if guests make a disturbance, the train reserves the right to relocate them.  And these guests were “relocated.”  I’m sorry if they were unjustly treated, honestly.  One has to wonder whether the group of lovely ladies may have just tested that authority a little bit, and got called out for it.  Right or wrong, the train management made a judgement call that was within their authority as a business, according to the terms agreed to by all of the passengers.  What they may not have agreed to was a definition of a “disturbance.”

In the lovely ladies’ defense, it probably wasn’t as loud as the cracking noise, nor the splash, made by glacier while calving.  #laughingwhileblack may actually be a valid claim of discrimination, or it may be just another inflamatory news story designed to make black people hate white people, another way of getting us to play “Win All You Can”.  Instead of playing to help each other, so everybody wins all they can, someone in the group plays to hurt others and only help themself.  The news is very fond of reporting, playing up, and encouraging the anger and hate of the latter scenario and not reporting the former, peace building solution, when chosen.  I wish they would stop it.

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The economy is another thing that the spin doctors play on.  Doom and gloom sayers, in the face of China’s economic woes, are trying to incite financial panic by telling us that These United States of America is the next likely domino to fall.  The Dow Jones and the S&P are both back up after a day or two of a downturn. But I heard another economist from the non-spinning side of things telling people to jump off the merry-go-round, sit a minute to recover from the dizzy feeling, dust off, and stay in, and in fact, this morning’s rebound exposed the spin doctor’s lies.  He said, economic downturns are a normal part of any economic cycle, things go up, things go down, things go back up again, and his point has already been proven this morning.  Anyone remember Douglas Adams?  Even from his high and lofty perch at “The Restaurant At The End of the Universe,” he still had the presence of mind to remind people:  “Don’t Panic!”

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Please play nicely with others, everyone.  Always play nice.  “Win all you can” means “everyone help everyone to win,” not “be selfish and take all you can at others’ expense.”  And always remember, “Don’t Panic!”

Obama Departs Whitehouse

April 1, 2015

On the newsprint the date is wrong, it should be March 32nd.

Daily Browse

April 1st – Breaking News

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Reprises, Good and Bad

March 25, 2015

In the News Today (Oh BOY!!), reprises!  You know what a reprise is.  It’s a thing where something went away, or we thought it was gone, and it came back.  If it was something good and they brought it back, we celebrate.  If it was something bad and they brought it back, well, let’s all pan it in critical review and hope it goes away again never to  rear its’ ugly head again.

Dateline, um, not sure where this would be from.  Canada?  Outer Space?  Outer Limits? “Secret,” undisclosed, highly organized but poorly secured location in a cornfield or underground?  Hollywood?  They’re bringing back Anderson and Duchovny in their X-Files roles for a few new episodes. That’s right, Fox is back on Fox.  When I was younger, I watched the show X-files with my wife, like it was a date night or something.  We went to the X-Files movie together, a real date night.  That was something we both enjoyed, and shared together, and it’s coming back!  I can’t contain my X-citement.  Unless you read this like, say, “The Smoking Man,” or maybe Steven Wright or Ben Stein.  Or Data or one of the pureblood Vulcans from Star Trek, although the whole lot always seemed a bit more human than they might have been.

Dateline, Switzerland.  The CERN Hadron Collider is back.  Or maybe not.  Wait for it…!  The story was reported by… Fox, and other news media outlets I’m sure.  I’m just making the connections to Fox more obvious here.  The device, which may create miniature black holes and cause the end of the world, has experienced upgrades and now a setback to restarting.  Look for it in a made-for-TV miniseries coming soon, maybe even an episode or movie for the grand finale of …well, maybe everything, or maybe just The X-Files reboot.  CERN is short for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, I think most of us will just leave it at CERN.  And X is short for something, but I don’t think I want to know even if the truth is out there.

I’ve heard lots of rumors about things that are going to cause the end of the world, including the supercollider.  If you like it as much as I do you’ll love reading more about that.  Honestly, I just love that stuff, but I don’t really think it’s going to happen any time soon, in spite of scholarly research showing the possibilities.  I have it on good authority there are at least 1007 years left in our old Mother Earth, no matter what we do to her.  But as soon as peace is declared (Revelation 6), the countdown begins  (Revelation 6-9 and Rev. 16 talk about the “Great Tribulation judgements; those are in the first 7 years, and then the extra thousand years are in chapter 20).

In spite of the faith I put in The Book, I still will advocate for taking care of the planet.  It’s the only home you and I will have, until they colonize the space stations, the moon, Mars, and wherever else we figure out how to get to.  I’ll also be a fierce advocate for taking good care of each other, because we just need to be nice to each other.  So many people are just rude, and I wish they would stop it.  Or I can think of good places to put a few of those tiny black holes.  No, not bullet holes, silly.  After the test of the supercollider we can use those to get rid of mean people.  We can see which sucks more:  Mean people or a tiny black hole.

I’ll get back to mean people in a little bit.

This one is really really interesting, or maybe a bit spooky.  It’s *OK* though.  Dateline: Oklahoma. (*…1,2,3,4*)  Ryan is a kid who says he is the reincarnation of Marty Martyn.  Never heard of the guy.  It’s an interesting theory, but I have questions.

If Marty died in 1964, and his reincarnated spirit has been missing until this 10 year old shows up, what’s he been doing for the last 31 years?  Floating around?  Sleeping to recharge his batteries?  Or was he reincarnated right after his death and spent 31 years as another guy?  And if he was, who was THAT guy?  This kid, named Ryan, can tell you details about Marty’s life.  It’s the stuff of another episode of X-Files I think.  I’d love to hear the story of the person in between Marty and Ryan, but like the X-Files, I believe it seems like it might be true, but it’s fiction.  I’d also like to know why the “memories” have faded over time, which I believe is to say that whoever was telling Ryan he was Marty isn’t around any more.

His mom says she is a Baptist, but I honestly don’t think she’s reading the same Book.  Mine says we only die once and then face judgement.  Sure, there’s the time when the Witch at Endor met the real spirit of Samuel after he had died, and there was Jesus who actually came back in the flesh, but all the other really weird X-Files type bad stuff that was caused by a spirit, was a demon, and the good stuff was just message deliveries from angels, like the ones who celebrated at Jesus’ birth.  It’s just my opinion, you can believe what you want.  But if demons are fallen angels, they’ve been around long enough to watch people and remember stuff about them, and like that lady in the Book of Acts, they can certainly say sooth.  Or soothsay.  If she could predict the future or demonstrate “psychic powers” through the demon inside her, how hard would it be for a demonic spirit to inhabit a kid whose mother doesn’t really believe in it, and make her really not believe in it by telling stuff about the past?

I’m sorry for calling her faith into question, I have a dear friend who believes in reincarnation and ghosts and stuff, and I just disagree.  My own sister believes our grandfather warns her about deer on the highway, and maybe it’s true, after all Hebrews does talk about us being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  And Jesus taught that after death we become “like the angels.”  But in my Book I never read about angels taking over a person, or giving them memories of past lives.  I’m sorry, I just don’t believe that was Marty.

Where’s the line?  If you don’t remember it, or didn’t watch it, there was a hilarious episode of Big Bang Theory in which one character believed in psychics and another thought they were fakes:

Leonard Hofstadter: No, I’m sorry. I really am. It’s not right to mock what a person believes in.
Penny: Thank you. Would you be willing to go to my psychic and see what it’s all about?
Leonard: Would you be willing to read a book that concisely explains how all psychics are frauds?
Penny: I would not.
Leonard: Okay, let’s go see your psychic.
Penny: Really?
Leonard: Well, yeah, one of us has to keep an open mind.
Penny: You saying I don’t have an open mind?
Leonard: No, not at all. Let me help you with this stuff.
Penny: You know, I believe in ghosts, too.
Leonard: Great.
Penny: And astrology.
Leonard: I know, and pyramid power and healing crystals.
Penny: Oh, no, no, no, crystals don’t work.
Leonard: Really, that’s the line? Psychics are real, but crystals are voodoo?
Penny: Oh, voodoo’s real. You don’t want to mess with voodoo.

Draw your line where ever you want; it’s fine with me.  I’m trying to keep it between my chosen navigational beacons, that is to say if it says it in the Bible I’m going to trust that first, and what I hear and see that contradicts it, um, never.  If Marty got a second shot, what was really the purpose?  What was the big accomplishment in his appearance?  Making someone doubt their faith in God by causing them to question what’s in the Bible doesn’t seem like a good work worthy of a reincarnation.  Maybe if he revealed some big universal truth, or did a good deed or something, I might put some stock in it, but otherwise I don’t buy it.  Even my sister would agree that if it IS my grandfather warning her about deer, that’s a good work, such as one would expect an angel or a good spirit to do, something worthy.  If “Marty” is Marty, the memories shouldn’t fade after being so vivid, and he came back just to re-toot his little bit-part horn about his career in old movies.  What’s the point of that?

Marty, if it’s really you, tell me the winning lottery ticket numbers for the next $350M lottery so I can get the winning ticket.  Or better still, just send me the winning ticket.  That’d be a worthwhile good deed.  Otherwise, sorry, afraid I just don’t buy it.  And if I did win the lottery with a ticket I found, I don’t know.  Would I have to go around preaching the gospel according to Marty, then?  There’s my title:  “Are you there, Marty?  It’s me, Michael.”  Oh, I bet that‘d be a best-seller for a while.  Maybe even a certain famous lady who used to have a wildly popular daytime talk show and magazine would endorse it so all her followers would buy an extra copy for their friends.  Marty, if you’re really there, make me rich.  And not famous.  Because if I had to put up with fame it would take some of the fun out of being rich I think.

And on to infamy, in the news today, something that should not come back.  Racism.  It needs to go away, to die forever, and to be completely forgotten except by horrified students of history.  But instead, it repeats and repeats like an earworm or an annoying drum or the clock ticking when I can’t sleep.  Ugh, I’m sick of it.  Let’s get along with each other and treat each other nice, no matter who we are.

I really like the people at the Huffington Post.  They just reported it and it almost doesn’t feel like it’s biased like my report of the story.  It almost feels fair, like they’re asking the readers to make up their minds.  Is this OK?  Is this not OK?  Well I made up my mind.  Not OK.  Dateline Toronto, Ontario, Canada?  Some stories I really like and others really rub me the wrong way.  The whole media circus over whether the police are to be trusted or not, rubs me the wrong way.  There’s a single bad apple in any given barrel if the barrel is big enough, that’s the truth.  But this story, while it sounds very scholarly, rubbed me the wrong way.  So check my white privilege I guess.  She says minorities deserve to have exclusionary places they can go to discuss things and organize to make things better for themselves.

I agree with most of what is said in the article, except the exclusionary parts.  But I have a friend who used to call me a white racist all the time, because I don’t agree that I have privileges in the modern era that anyone else in my socioeconomic status doesn’t have.  I work for a company that pays me the same or less than “people of colour.”  No privilege there.  My neighbor, whom I love like a brother, is a “person of colour,” and we live in the same neighborhood and he makes a lot more than I do.  He just spends it faster, and he has nicer cars.  Again, no privilege there.

One of my best friends from high school married one of the most beautiful, most brilliant women I have ever met.  I love them both dearly, and she happens to be a “person of colour.”  If I were racist, I would object to my employers paying my associates more than me, but I don’t.  I signed up for this job and agreed to the terms of my employment.  If I were racist, I would object to my neighbor living so close, but I love him dearly.  Like any of my neighbors, I’d cheerfully do anything he asked.  I’ve mowed his grass, brought him and his lovely wife food, enjoyed celebrating his birthday.  And my neighbors have returned the favour.  My neighbors are awesome.  If I were racist, I’d object to both marriages, one to my very pale best friend, the other to a woman whose family immigrated (legally) from Mexico.

If I were privileged, and broke some minor law, I might expect to be excused.  But no, my wife and I are paying for our moving violations just like anyone else, I’m paying higher insurance premiums just like anyone else.  No privilege there.  I might expect to be ignored by the police, but no, clearly, they are watching me and my wife, the same as anyone else.  When they’ve stopped me in the past, I’ve listened intently and obeyed their instructions, because they have guns.  It didn’t matter whether I did anything wrong or not.  I don’t want my lack of attentiveness to cost me my life.  I won’t disregard their instructions or complain or resist them, as long as their requests are reasonable.  I will treat the police with respect, if not because they “serve and protect” me, then because they carry a gun and know how to use it.  If I wanted one, I suppose I could get a gun myself, but I don’t want one.  If you have one and it’s legal, more power to you.  Go get your 2nd Amendment bumpersticker.

If I were privileged, I might have a sense of my own personal entitlement, but I really don’t. I would definitely expect to make (or have) a LOT more money.  Are you there, Marty?  C’mon!

I think I’ve told this before, so you can stop reading if you’ve heard it.  Skip on ahead.  When I lived in North Carolina, we visited a certain church.  My wife and I were the obvious minority, but the people were quite accepting.  My problem came when the pastor got on a preaching “roll,” and then abruptly stumbled, stopped, and obviously changed what he was going to say, and I believe it was because we were there that day.  According to the article from the Huffington Post, we made their “minority” gathering an “unsafe place.”  I was delighted they were loving enough not to exclude us though.  Perhaps it was a wake-up call to the pastor.  If it’s the real thing, love is love no matter how it’s spoken, and truth is truth, and if it isn’t love and it isn’t truth, both at the same time, it shouldn’t be spoken at all.

As much as I like the Huffington Post, I have to disagree with the tone of the article, and its’ conclusions, as well as a few details written as if they were fact, when in fact they were just the author’s opinion.  Racism is racism whether it’s called “prejudice” or “racism,” or “exclusion,” or “privilege.”  You can’t equivocate or delineate that.  The line is hate, or exclusion or oppression because of an inherited trait.  If you exclude me for something I am, if you hate me for who I am, it’s wrong.  That line is easy for me to draw, and it should be pretty obvious to everyone.  The only line I want to draw is we should love each other and care for each other no matter what.

We had a “Baptist Student Union” at my college back in the 1980s.  Anyone, of any religion, was welcome to join us, attend our meetings, and participate.  It wasn’t exclusive to “Baptists.”  We even had one Methodist while I was there.  We also had a “Black Student Union” at my college back in the 1980s.  I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure white and oriental and other non-black people were not encouraged to join.  I made a lot of friends who participated in the “Black Student Union,” but I was never invited to join, and they basically laughed at me when I asked if I could join, and it dropped there.  I was never given papers to fill out to make anything official.  I’d have supported the members, after all, I liked them individually.  But collectively, it felt exclusive.  I felt unwelcome.  There wasn’t an Oriental Student Union, or any other non-black student union, and the mention of a “White Student Union” would have been immediately put down as racist.  For this reason, I call foul.  Here’s why I believe that:

If you can’t say it in polite and mixed company, it shouldn’t be said at all.  If it would sound hateful, or prejudicial, or exclusionary, or racist to someone if that someone was there, you can’t tell me it isn’t hateful, prejudicial, exclusionary, or racist if that person isn’t there.  If it isn’t loving of everyone, it isn’t loving at all.

Also, I’ve got a safe place where you can say whatever you think, as long as it isn’t hateful.  My house.  Come on over, I’ll get you some food and a drink, and we can all watch X-Files together.  We might disagree on some things, and that’s ok.  I won’t show you the door on some minor thing, even a philosophical difference, as long as the conversation is civil. Because we really can all get along, and celebrate each other, and even learn to love one another, like my Bible teaches.  Or at least that’s what “I want to believe.”