Rants

What’s Stuck In My Head – 20 September

Sorry, I haven’t been keeping up with this series as of late, but I’ve been up to my you-know-what with my genealogy.

This song runs through my head on a regular basis. I’ve always enjoyed Bruce Hornsby’s music, either solo or playing on other folks records. And this one fits right in line with my social justice thoughts. “Did you really think about it when you made the rules?” Such a great lyric.  Especially when paired with the command “But don’t you believe them!” at the end of the song.

Then this morning I get up and see this tweet on my timeline;

tweet

And that doesn’t just fit in with this song I don’t know what does. This administration doesn’t give a rats ass about folks on the fringe of society. If you’re not a rich white republican male, you do not matter. This country is in a sad state right now. That’s all I’ll say about this, I will get off my soapbox now.

So here’s The Way It Is. I hope you enjoy it. (And yes, I realize this may be a repeat, but this song means a lot to me. Plus I should probably start a spreadsheet or something of the songs I’ve already posted.)

Peace,
B

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Not The Song I Want To Hear (Part II)

As I mentioned in part I of this new series, I really enjoy being able to change the station when a song/artist/band comes on that I don’t want to hear, and not have to play it and pretend how great it is like when I was a DJ.

Not that I did much of that, in fact pretty much the exact opposite. When I was an on-air DJ at this particular country station (won’t mention the call letters or anybody’s name – just in case), the program director insisted that we would not play a certain song. He didn’t think it was “country” enough. The music director told me to play it (my shift was overnights, from midnight to 6 AM). He knew the program director wasn’t listening. So I played it quite often. Always the rebel!

The program director couldn’t figure out why he would get calls requesting the song when “we don’t play it” but the caller would insist they heard it last night.  We never told him we were playing it. But he did relent eventually and added it to the rotation.

That song was Swingin’ by John Anderson. It hit #1 on the US Hot Country Songs (Billboard). But yeah, it ain’t country enough.

But, as usual, I’m down a rabbit hole.  Let’s get back with the subject of today’s post.

Stuff that makes me change the station immediately;

  • Bread. Has to be the most overplayed sappy crap of all time. If you can listen to an entire song and not go into a diabetic coma, it’s a damn miracle.
  • Rupert Holmes. Seriously? How did this guy ever get a recording deal? I won’t even get into how bad Escape (The Piña Colada Song) is. I got queasy just typing the title.
  • The Doobie Brothers (but only with Michael McDonald). Early Doobie stuff is excellent. McDonald was to the Doobies as Yoko was to the Beatles.
  • 10cc. Again pure syrup.
  • Damn near any 80’s synth stuff.  Too many bands to list here.

Stuff that gets turned up:

  • Jackson Browne (with the exception of The Load Out/Stay). Way overplayed.
  • Steely Dan. When I was about 14 (this would be about 1972 – 73) one of the older guys across the street from my house told me that the Dan would be the next Beatles. They may not have made it quite that big, but they came close.
  • Santana. Another guitar god. Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile), Samba Pa Ti are two of my favorites. Smooth, on the other hand, gets turned off.

That’s my list for today.  I’m sure there’ll be more to come.

Here’s Steely Dan doing Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, which I’ve heard is about Rick Derringer (Rock And Roll Hootchie Coo). Rick and the Dan were set to record together, but Rick didn’t come back after the first session. At least that’s the story I’ve heard.

Peace,
B

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How’s Your Day Going??

So today has not started off all that well.  But it’s looking better.

First thing – checked my email and found that the professional genealogist I contacted to help with a search said no. She wouldn’t help me. Just referred me to someone “local”. I can’t even pay anyone to help me find ancestors.

Traffic today was super stupid. There were two guys going 30 MPH (in a 45 MPH area) side by side blocking traffic. This was planned, as they were laughing at each other and waving every time someone honked at them.  And, of course, this was in a no passing area (double yellow line).

Finally, this guy in a very large pickup truck passed them (crossing the double yellow line), pulled over to the right lane and basically just stopped.  This allowed everyone to get around the other jerk. There was much yelling and the customary middle finger salute as folks went around. I saw the passenger door on the big truck open, but no idea if someone got out to have a nice discussion with the gentleman now trapped in his vehicle. I haven’t seen any reports of an incident in that area on Twitter, so hopefully, it was settled without violence. Well, maybe just a little violence.

The next problem – the lines at McDonald’s. Only about 20 cars deep at the drive through and folks lined up out the door to get inside! Were they giving something away? I didn’t have time to sit and wait to find out. Mainly due to the idiots mentioned above that put me a good ten minutes behind schedule.

But wait! It get’s better.  The coffee pot at work is DOA. Seriously, WTF??? But I did find an old one in my bosses office, so I took it.  Hey, he’s off today. Besides, he doesn’t have a carafe for it anyway.  So coffee was finally made.

One more thing – my SiriusXM app wouldn’t load. It’s common for the app (the “official” Windows 10 version from the Micro$oft store) not to open the first time. But today, it took a good thirty minutes for it to load.

I’ll tell you, a day without coffee and no tunes? No chance. I would have gone home.

So, how’s your day going?

Peace,
B

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Let’s Butcher Another Song, Shall We?

This morning on the way to work (later than usual due to a morning doctor’s appointment) I tweeted this:

tweet

Yes, I was once again stuck behind non-driving fools. The guy in the left lane even had the right turn signal on, for about 2 miles, and then turned left, with the right blinker still blinking away! #SMH

I do have a problem with the song I parody in the tweet. It gives clowns a bad name! As a registered clown, I take a bit of umbrage on this point. But I’ll let it slide because the video is just so trippy!

crop clown makeup.jpg

Skeeter the clown. (ca. 1982)

Peace,
B

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Two More Observations

Yeah, I know.. Two posts in one day? Just who the hell does he think he is?

So on the way home tonight I saw a very funny sight. The car in front of me was a hatchback Volkswagen. I don’t know the exact model since all the identifying items had been removed, but not the big VW logo. The car had been lowered, with the usual too wide wheels and tires, and had the standard exhaust work so fond of the “street racer” types. All it really does it make it sound like Wifey’s® battery operated corkscrew. Yes, we have a battery operated corkscrew. But only for Wifey’s® wine, my craft beer has no need of a corkscrew. I do, however, have at least seven bottle openers all throughout the house and porches. Gotta be prepared you know.

So, back to the story.  On the rear window of this silly little vehicle someone (or someones) had written in the dust (I doubt anyone could see out the window it was so dirty) “Sleepy Boyz” and decorated it was four very large penises. The occupants of the vehicle seemed to be totally oblivious to the artwork. I wonder if the dirty deed was done while someone was passed out in the car.

Needless to say, I was laughing at them the whole time they were in front of me.

The second observation is once again, a personalized license plate.  But this one I actually liked. It read “NONUKES 1”. I actually hope there are more of the “No Nukes” folks out and about. That is something I can agree with.

So, in honor of “No Nukes”, here is “Plutonium Is Forever” by John Hall from the 1979 “No Nukes” concert. I have that album somewhere….

Peace,
B

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A Case For Charity

So on the way home from work this afternoon, there were two people on two different corners asking for help.  The first one was your basic down-on-their-luck looking person, with a sign that was basically illegible. The second guy though had a great sign, “I need a beer” was all it said. Now that is a concept I can get behind (although I am currently on day 6 of no beer while I try to get my cholesterol and triglycerides under control, again).

I don’t bring these encounters up lightly. I take the homeless problem seriously. Especially among my fellow veterans. But today, I couldn’t help these folks. I have basically stopped carrying cash.  Not that I’m afraid of getting mugged, but because an ATM card is just too convenient. There really isn’t any reason to carry cash. Or is there?

This reminded me of an encounter Wifey® and I had outside a local store a week or two ago. As we were leaving the store a young man with his family, significant other, and two small children were asking passers-bys for help.  The gentleman was wearing a clean Subway restaurant shirt and hat leaving to believe that he had a job. Of course, Subway, and similar fast food jobs are usually part-time minimum wages deals. And we all know that a single person, let alone a family can’t live off of minimum wage. I guess it’s obvious I support the $15 an hour minimum wage initiative.

As usual, neither of us had any cash and told them we couldn’t help them. But as we were pulling out of the parking lot I realized I did have a credit card for that store. I could have taken them into the store and bought them at least something that would satisfy at least part of their need. I will admit that I was almost in tears because I failed to help another fellow.

And that leads me to another story (yeah I know, shut up already).

Many years ago, when I did call myself a “Christian”, which I no longer do, this happened at the church we attended.

It was while I was setting up for a Wednesday evening Bible study/reflection time (I was on the soundboard as usual) when a down-on-his-luck gentleman approached me asking for money.  Well, this time I did have some cash on me. I gave him all I had, a whopping $5. After the guy left one of the members of the church, a deacon no less, said to me “Why did you give that bum money? You know all he’s going to do is buy beer with it!” My reply and one I still use to this day when I asked the same question was “Well, what the hell did you think I was going to do with the money?” Basically, I gave the guy my beer money, but I knew I had some more beer at home.

And if I had any beer at home today, I would have given the guy with the beer sign a beer or two. Share and share alike!

I’m sure some folks reading this (there is somebody reading this right?) will disagree with my view on helping folks that are not as fortunate as themselves. And while, as I said, do not call myself a Christian, I believe the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels (and I don’t think they are exact quotes, or if the human Jesus even said anything close to the words) are a good guideline for behavior towards our fellow humanity. Especially in regards to what is usually termed the “least of these”. To me, that means anyone on the fringe or outskirts of society. From what I’ve read of the New Testament, they tend to use the terms widow, orphan, poor, and occasionally refugee. In today’s world that would mean (to me at least) the homeless, the LGBT people who have been rejected, the refugees that have come to live with us (in or from ANY country, of ANY race, creed, color etc.), the indigenous peoples and ALL the other people of color, women, I could go on. But that’s another post.

My dear-ol-mother used to try to stop me from helping folks when I was younger.  Her favorite phrase was “Charity starts at home”. But then the question becomes; “define HOME”.  Going back to the Bible, even Jesus was asked a similar question, “Who is my neighbor?”, his response was the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you don’t know that parable click here to read it.  Of note on that parable is the Jesus Seminar released a book several years ago Sayings of Jesus” where they examine the sayings attributed to Jesus in the four Gospels. This parable was one of the few that all the participants agreed was a very probable saying from Jesus. (OK, I promise no more Bible references. I’m not a Bible scholar.)

No matter your belief system, I bet in some “holy” book you will find a varient of the “Take care of the ‘least of these'” command. I know you will find it in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qu’ran because I’ve read all three.

So what are your thoughts on helping today’s “least of these”? I’m not just talking money. It could be time spent with people in the hospital or an assisted living facility. Or visiting people in jail. Helping at a homeless shelter, a food bank, the list goes on. I admit, that I fall very short in this area. I try but fail. So for me, it’s usually a monetary donation. But when I was underemployed, it was time.

So do you do anything to help? Even if you don’t (no judgment here), leave a comment on your views on this subject. I welcome any open and thoughtful discourse. However, I do reserve the right to delete any derogatory comments.

Peace,
B

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Tips From Skeeters Driving School

Yes, another traffic rant. Sorry, not sorry. For any newcomers to the blog, feel free to search for the other traffic rants, there are several.

Here is a video that sums up most of my feelings. But it’s not the video I wanted of Gallagher. He has a short routine about that subject, which we’ll discuss after the video. This is from 1988, so some of the references are a bit dated, but the thoughts are still spot on.

What I want to talk about this time, is what to do when you’re in a left turn lane but can’t make the turn yet. Gallagher has a very nice routine about it, but I couldn’t find just a clip of it.

This is the way I was taught, and I know many of my family members were taught this way as well. Hell, even my mother knew this was the way to do it.

When you’re the first one in the left turn lane your supposed to get your ass out into the middle of the intersection. You have a green light, therefore you have a right to be in the intersection. This will accomplish several things, first it allows the car behind you to also get his/her ass out into the intersection, and second, it allows car #3 to get their front wheels up and over the stop bar. This way when the light turns yellow, all three cars can make the left.  You really need to see the routine, as Gallagher’s physical mannerisms make it so funny.

I hope this is a lesson you can take with you. Because if I have one more moron stopped at the stop bar and not even trying to turn left when there’s a break in traffic… Well, let’s just say it won’t be pretty.

Peace,
B

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Not That I’m Counting Or Anything

But on 25 May 2021, I will turn the magic age of 62 1/2 years old. Provided ol’ 45 doesn’t change the retirement age, on Friday 28 May 2021 I am retiring (told the boss I’d finish out the week just to be nice). I’ve already done my 20 years in the Army, and quite frankly, I’m done. Stick a fork in me.

The current countdown (give or take a few seconds since I took the snip)..

time

But like I said, I’m not counting down or anything.

Peace,
B

P.S. Yes I know it’s a long way off, but these “Stupid End Users” I deal with day in and day out required me to put the countdown on my PC so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

P.P.S. I’m always worried when I click the spell check button on the WP editor and it says “No writing errors found”. I think it’s just fucking with my mind…

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Send Lawyers, Guns, And Money

(With apologies to Warren Zevon)

I have to admit that I don’t agree with Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2;

“The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers”

I know several lawyers and even accountants that don’t deserve such a fate.  Although many do. I think Dante had a level reserved just for those of that profession.

However, (yes another traffic rant is coming), there would be a special place in Hell, if I believed that such a place existed, for idiots that will never use a turn signal, jerks who think that using a turn signal automagically gives them right of way, and especially the asshats that refuse to drive the speed limit no matter in which lane they are blocking traffic.

‘Nuff said…

Peace,
B

Again….

And yet again another mass shooting at a school. This will of course, once again, ignite the gun control debate. Since I am an Army retiree I am a bit conflicted on the whole gun control issue.

When I first enlisted back in 1976, I took the oath and swore to “Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.” I believed in that oath in 1976, and I still believe in it today.

So does that mean that I have to support private gun ownership? To me the second amendment reads;

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Source: Wikipedia

I read that, first as a “Well regulated militia”. If I remember my history correctly when the constitution was written, the “upstart” United States may have had a standing Army, but nothing that could be called up quickly for any local problems, i.e. a sudden raid or offensive by the British Army. Hence the creation of a local militia. In today’s world, we call that militia the National Guard (I know this because my son is in the Guard). We no longer have the need for the local authorities (a mayor of a town, the local council etc..) to call up able-bodied men (and maybe women) to arms themselves and defend their homesteads.

However, the second part of that amendment “…the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” leaves some wiggle room. I have no problem with private, RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. My son has a weapon, as does my brother-in-law, and several friends and neighbors. I, personally do not. In my years as a paramedic in the Army, I have seen all too well the carnage that all kinds of weapons can inflict on the human body. I want no part of that. I am very much a pacifist. If that means, I’m the first to die in some “invasion” or whatever, so be it.

So where does that leave me? Or better yet, what is the definition of “responsible gun ownership”? For me, that means, self-defense for you and your loved ones. Also, for hunting and sustaining lives with the meat from those kills. That leaves out “trophy” hunting. I was so very pleased to read about the poacher that was mauled to death by the lion he was hunting in South Africa. I never find joy in the taking of any human life, but in this case, I feel justice was served.

Does that mean you can use “any weapon”? I don’t believe so. I see absolutely no need for any semi-automatic weapons in the hands of any civilian. Why would you need an AR-15 (or an M-16 – same weapon – for the military folks) to hunt? Knowing the damage that this weapon causes to the human body (and goats, as I had to do a “goat lab” when in training – after knocking a goat out, they shot it with an M-16 in a non-life threatening way, for us to treat the wound). There would be very little meat left to eat if you shot the average deer with an AR-15.

Do you need it for home defense? Not likely. Remember, the Governor would have called up the National Guard before this would be necessary.

And all this returns us to the beginning of this post. More school children have been killed because Congress (and maybe the Office of the President) refuse to do anything other than send “prayers and thoughts”. And as far as I’m concerned “prayers and thoughts” are nothing but bullshit. Pure and empty wishes. Instead, the NRA, which I believe should be labeled a terrorist organization, just gives more money to the congressmen (and women) they have in their pockets, and nothing gets done.

We need legislation, and we need it now. It’s time we vote out everyone who refuses to act on any gun control reform, both Republicans and Democrats. 2018 is the year to get them out of there. Start at the top. I say Impeach him now! But, I don’t think we have anything we can impeach him on (yet). But let’s get the ball rolling even stronger. Maybe we should vote EVERYBODY out and start all over again.

But we need better gun control legislation. I’m not advocating taking guns from people. But maybe, I am. Assault style rifles, semi-automatic weapons, “bump stocks” and other military-style weapons should be removed from the general public. There is no damn need for them in a home. You want to fire one? Go to a firing range. Maybe we could allow them to have them on hand for people to experience shooting them. I know there are ranges that have special licenses for fully automatic weapons. So this would allow people to have the same experiences.

But I doubt any of this will come about until a congressman’s child is killed in a random shooting. Sad to say, but I seriously think that’s what it’s going to take. But even then, if it’s a white person doing the shooting, they will claim its “mental illness” if it’s a “refugee” (especially someone from the middle east), then it’s “terrorism”. It’s never the fact that almost anyone can get a weapon, no matter what their background check says.

I have bipolar type 2 disorder. This should disqualify me from being able to buy a weapon. I could easily turn it on myself, or others with no warning simply if my meds aren’t doing their job that day. But I know, I could walk into a pawn shop or even a gun shop or two in this area and with my military ID, walk out with a handgun. I may not even have to wait the required 3 days.

So, after all is said and done, I’m still at a loss. The carnage will continue. Nothing will happen in Congress, the NRA will get more powerful, and more people will die.  If Sandy Hook didn’t change anything, if Las Vegas didn’t change anything, and if Stoneman Douglas doesn’t change anything, I doubt the other 18 school shootings this year will change anything either.

For those that read this and say “If you don’t like it leave”, sorry no. I choose reform. You can leave if you’d like.

Comments are welcome, just know any “hate speech” type of comments will be deleted. I have no problem if you disagree with me, but let’s keep it clean and honest. I know there are more than one view on this subject, and this is mine. Feel free to express your view.

Peace,
B