Monday, September 20, 2021

Education Should Not Be Profit Driven

So I joined another Facebook group. This group sent me a request that I join because I liked one of their posts that crossed on my page. The group is called "Public School Advocates". Their stated goal in as few words as possible is;

" ....... to organize to advocate for strong public schools that serve all students well."

That they are a satellite organization of "The Progressive Magazine" did not bother me at all. I have been accused of being a progressive in my past and will be more than happy to be accused in my future. I am not sure if I am a progressive though. I let others decide that for themselves. Just don’t call me a Winger.

I chose to join this group because I am sincerely interested in education in the US, having gone to 12 different public schools before I graduated from high school. My experience was a crap shoot when it came to quality and what was focused on in a particular state. And though I never attended school in the town I live in now, Acton, Maine, my daughter did and her education was as good, if not better than most public schools at the time. Acton school, along with many others in the nation at the time, were recognized for their quality of public education. She is a tenured college professor today. I hold Acton School responsible.

So, any group that is for a strong public school posture at the state, federal and local levels is okay with me. Education, like Healthcare, is better served with government involvement than not. A country is only as healthy, mentally and economically as its population. If the people are under educated, less healthy and poorer than competing nations, then who loses? We all do. 

I am tired of losing and being ashamed of how far the USA has fallen. The rest of us should hang our heads also. There is no excuse other than we have caved to the petty selfishness of small minds with deep pockets in the private sector. Relying on them to carry the ball is not working out. But we have known that for a long, long time. Government is not the evil, the money grubbers are.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ......................................

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Cutting Them Some Slack

Morning Joe is still pissed off at his party. But now he has tempered his criticisms of the GOP as a whole and divided the GOP into two sections. We have the Insurrection Party or Trump Cult as the loudmouth infantile representatives of the Right and the more main stream old skool, calmer and cooler now Republicans who had been momentarily swept up in Trump Mania these past six years. 

Instead of beating on all Wingers, Joe has allowed old favorites like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham some major slack of late. It is disappointing, but not unexpected. Joe is a genuine to the bone, Right Winger. That he was and still is so anti Trump and his minions just proves that not all Wingers went insane. It also proves that if one hates Trump, that does not necessarily turn them into a commie pinko libtard, no matter what Fox News says.

He is beginning to ask that the Republican party be considered separate from the Qanon style madness attributed to them by the Left. 

Bullshit. It is nothing but the old excuse used and abused by religious and political leaders to deflect any blame for the horrors done in the name of their religion or political party.

" Not all Muslims are terrorists." or " Not all Republicans are Trumpers."

These are true on the face of the statements. But the responsibilities of leadership does not stop there.

If leadership fails to try to rein in or, at the least, condemn the extreme factions of their group, they become enablers which makes them no better than accomplices. When a leadership stands mute while many of the faithful run amok, their silence is more often than not taken as tacit approval of the craziness acted out in the name of the group.

This is why I am disappointed in Joe. He is taking his heel off the throat of selective Wingers too soon by using a tired excuse that does not hold water. As long as the insanity within the ranks of the GOP continues its out of control trajectories, the whole party bears responsibility. 

Hand wringing and mealy mouthed insincerities do not cut it anymore. The Republican Party owns Trump and all that has transpired as a result of his presence these last six years. And as far as the historical repercussions, they will own those forever.

Later ................................

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sunday Morning Outrage

Early this AM before I fed the animals or made fresh coffee, I grabbed a cup of day old joe, mic-ed it, sat down at my desk and opened up Facebook. I had not even worked the night grunge out of my eyes, yet here I was scrolling through the posts with a chip on my shoulder. I did not remember details from my dreams the night before so I had no hint why I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But I did. 

A familar irritation had taken root again. An irritation I developed to a keen edge over the last 6 years when the Right compounded their ever increasing stupidity and pushed a moron into our lives.

I came across a quote post attributed to Arnold, one of the few Republicans I still have any respect for. You can read it there on the right.

The lead in comment by T*:

"The earth isn’t stagnant. Climate change has been happening since the dawn of time."

At the bottom of 70 plus replies to T*'s classic Winger go to Troll comment, I posted this:

"So would this be an excuse to not try to mitigate the worst effects? Certainly Climate Change or global warming has happened many times before. Does that mean we should just carry on and add to the damage? Or maybe start paying attention to a planet whose resources are being used up at an ever increasing rate. Maybe start looking to clean up our nest that we have been shitting in for so many millennia."

I was pleased that I did not let my shoulder chip get the better of me. I made my point and left. ..... Left that is until I got here to my relatively safe space I call "The BoZone".

It was not surprising the ardent climate change advocates were sucked in by this low hanging fruit. This was a post on a purportedly science leaning group page. Folks posted graphs, charts, and probably held pointers as they scurried to get their replies in front of the audience. 

What surprised me was climate change folks continue to reply to the audacious Winger troll bait aimed at owning the libs and progressives because that is more important than anything other than kissing the orange man's ass. These clueless minions of the Right have nothing tangible in their support quivers most days, so they make shit up, obfuscate reality and fact with unitelligible replies, or just use a bunch of  fuck you emojis. 

The problem with these worthless Winger taunts is they work. These clowns are able to stir up the local Liberals on a facebook page with drivel and nonsense.  And even though I have recently vowed to not get sucked in, here I was sitting in with 70 others who had Sunday Morning Outrage.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ................................

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Twenty Years Later - 100 Words

I am still angry, sad and confused over 911 and all the madness that has transpired in the twenty years since. My country was brutally reminded that the planet was no longer just our oyster. The age of modern colonialism was over.

Adrift in a new age with no rudder, our response was mindlessly lashing out which was what the attackers wanted. Any victory perceived on the far horizon was doomed to fail. And fail it did; Big time.

Time may heal wounds but Time does nothing for the sad memories so violently implanted.

Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The Realm of Possibility - Redux

A flash fiction piece originally posted - Jan 2, 2012

I am posting again because recent events in Texas seems to be coinciding somewhat with this potential future scenario.


Elder Jacob Bean closed the banned copy of the Scripture. He understood why the second book had been outlawed during the Troubles. Harsh times called for harsh measures. The clearly defined rules found in the first book were perfect in their simplicity and dovetailed well with the brutal measures taken to fulfill the Great Elder’s prophecy of the Final Reformation. He could not understand though why owning such an innocuous collection of harmless fables was still on the list of capital offenses. Would not a good caning suffice?

Rules were rules. Shortly Elder Bean forgot about it. He was only as inquisitive as he needed to be to render a verdict. Without new rules, his only choice was to convict. It was a shame they had no females of breeding age. At least they would have been spared. Elder Bean shrugged. The family of three would have to die.

“Jarrad get in here.”

No response. Servo-tech Jarrad was not at his desk. Elder Bean got up and walked out to the anteroom outside his office just as Servo-tech Jarrad came careening down the hall. “Deep Apologies Elder Jacob, …….call of nature.”

Elder Jacob Bean’s cold eyes studied his assistant for a moment. “I understand simple Jarrad. Even eunuchs have to urinate.” His eyes softened and what might be construed a hint of a smile whisked across his face and was gone. He handed Jarrad a bulky envelope. “Please forward this to the Council of Elders ASAP. I have rendered my decision.”

“Yes, right away your Holiness.”


The Final Reformation was in full swing by 2075. The Troubles that had started in earnest around 2024, ripped and tore through Humanity for fifty years. The planet’s population had at first tried to discuss their differences. Unforeseen political and military alliances were formed. Regional confrontations escalated into planet wide scorched earth campaigns. War, starvation, disease, and mass suicides took their toll. By 2035 less than two billion souls still walked the Earth. Religious zealots took control over two thirds of the planet. The Pan Asians controlled the rest.

The Age of the Three Kingdoms had begun.


Scurrying servo-techs connected last minute wiring to the feed going out planet wide. They applied last minute make up to aging Elder faces and fussed over positioning of the altar in the Elder Well. The two prayer benches upon which the Witnesses would sit had been scrubbed and polished. Three stainless steel crosses with braided wire restraints formed a semicircle around the altar in front of a larger Cross upon which hung the current facsimile of what Christ looked like now. He sported a stern face now days and fierce eyes. His arms were spread open as if welcoming all who ventured into the Elder Well, but it was his razor sharp hands that told the truth of what went on here. The Elder Well was designed for one purpose – to instill fear. Fear kept the Elders in power. Only the pious walked out of the Well alive.

Christ had finally transitioned from being the son of God and was now God’s Avenger.

Elder William Graham ll sat and fidgeted in front of his mirror. Tonight would be his first chance at the Bloody Pulpit. He worried every detail with his hair, his robes. He practiced his severe look. He worried that his sweat would show through the heavy makeup. After all, the Witnesses, comprised of the founding Elders would be watching his every move. Sweat would be a sign of weakness in his faith. A servo-tech with a clip board touched his shoulder. “Five minutes Elder William.”

“Are all the sacred devices in place?”

“Yes Your Holiness.”

“Well then, let’s break a leg.”

The servo-tech counted the last few seconds before the night’s festivities began. “9….8….7….6…..”, and then with his right hand he silently finished at 3 and …………… an off camera tech with a calm mellow, made for prime time voice began.

“Welcome good Christians of the Realm. The night’s Sacrifice is brought to you for the first time from the newly constructed and righteously blessed Harold Camping Studios here in New Holywood. Elder William Graham ll will perform God’s Will as Heaven’s Apprentice and will be witnessed by twelve of our most revered founding Elders."

"Tonight’s unfortunates are a family of three from Oxnard. Caught with a copy of the New Testament, the mother refused to acknowledge her sin and plead for mercy. Their fate was sealed when her husband tried to run with her and their son of six. So tonight for your viewing pleasure, …….tonight we have a three-fer."

"Ladies and gentlemen let the festivities begin……………”


Mullah Saluman Kaleri sat 6000 miles away watching the feed from the Realm. Others in his mosque considered the monthly sacrifices broadcast over the Net nothing but more foolishness from the Realm of God. He knew better. There was more to their monthly bloodletting than just reinforcing the fear of God to maintain control over their heathen majority. They wanted a new crusade. What they did today, tomorrow, next year was all aimed at defeating Islam. The sacrifices were a promise of sorts should the Infidels successfully overrun the Kingdom Of Allah. He knew this because it would be what he would do to them.

The Mullah watched the various players take their places in the Elder Well. He watched each “lamb” being led or dragged in by two ornately masked assistants who shackled them each to their respective crosses. He watched the Acolyte solemnly lay out the cloth which held the devices of the Sacrament and then stand at attention to the right. “Ah”, he thought. ”Tonight the new guy has chosen blades to purge their sins.” Mullah smiled and settled back to watch.

The music swelled. The house lights dimmed. The audience grew quiet. Suddenly spots lit up Jesus. Fire and sparks shot out of his eyes. Heaven’s Apprentice began his slow march to the pulpit. Adorned in a simple red and green striped robe tied crudely with a knotted piece of hemp rope he gave the appearance of a god fearing man until he looked at the camera. At once he became a figure to fear. William Graham acting as Heaven’s Apprentice had nailed the look. There was an audible gasp heard as the audience moved forward on their seats. This was a man to fear.

What followed was a well rehearsed sermon of the evils of allowing unclean thought to sully the mind of the faithful. Mullah Salumen Kaleri lost interest and turned the sound down. With one eye on the feed, he poured himself some tea and was just raising it to his lips when the first cut was made. Mullah turned the sound back up and settled in. “This guy knows how to do it.” 

He took a sip of tea.

@ 1150 words

Image - Salvdor Dali - Christ of Saint John of the Cross 

Monday, September 06, 2021

Truck Porn

I recently joined a Facebook group named “Fallen Flags – Trucking Companies of the Past”. It has hundreds of thousands of members, most of who have trucking in their past. The group’s stated reason for existing is to share pictures and stories from this country’s trucking culture, preferably from back in the day.

To put it bluntly, it is Truck Porn aimed at the classics when trucks were like women. And some even looked better than women. Personally, I prefer the B&W grainy, been folded four times image with thumbtack holes and a round brown coffee stain blocking part of the name on the truck. Those are the ones to copy and hide under the mattress.

The posts are mostly images with or without explanations or historical context. It only takes a half hour to accrue many likes. My first post had 80 plus likes in the first two hours. The last time I checked there were over 500, which is not unusual. I have never been part of such a large Facebook group.

Since I joined a month or so ago, the rule regarding no politics seemed to be respected by the posters as a whole. I read subtle digs here and there: mostly where a union or independent trucker would feel slighted. They were mostly minor skirmishes that lasted only a few comments.

And then this morning someone posted the image at the top of the page. Less than an hour and 93 comments later, Fallen Flags shed its calm, friendly wrapper and revealed the hate and discontent that roiled and boiled just below the surface.

An overwhelming majority voiced their disgust with such obvious socialist leaning propaganda. Nasty comments rolled off their computers like someone spitting out something evil they found in their mouth. Get in a trucker’s face and nine times out of ten, they will respond in kind.

The negativity did not surprise me. I remember existing in the trucking world for 17 years. As an accused freedom hating commie pinko libtard I had had more than a few heated discussions back in the “My Country, Love it or Leave it” days. I even had to join a drunk driver of a ten wheeled dump out in the gravel outside a bar on some foggy mountain top southwest of Pittsburgh. He objected to my hippie freak flag sad excuse of an American wearing an Atlas Van Line uniform. He kept mumbling how I dishonored my uniform. Since I was sober and he was not, it did not go well for him. At least I kept him from driving that dump truck home that night.

Well, he was drunk so he gets a mulligan. The comments this morning I assume were soberly written. If so, then not much has changed since I pounded the highways and byways of this country. Truckers spend countless miles considering the Universe and their place in it. An often favorite fantasy of mine which I know many truckers shared back in the day were those hours I wasted coming up with how to fix every fucking problem on the planet. And to this day, I know I was right then and even more so now. The ex-truckers this morning wrote with the same confidence.

Sadly, just as truckers from the 1970s tended to do, today they are still not getting it when it comes to their industry’s liberal roots which the meme wonderfully points out. Truck drivers owe the liberals of the early 20th century big time whether one is union or independent. Without those liberals, I would guess the golden age of trucking in the US would never have come to pass. Without those liberals, today’s retired truckers might not have the pensions or Social Security the liberals forced upon us. So hate the liberals all you want, but it only shows that you have been convinced to not know where the butter for your bread came from.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .........................................


Saturday, September 04, 2021

Fearless Nature - 100 words

I was rooting through old pictures yesterday searching for specific Kodak moments from my past. The images I sought were not found. Instead, unexpected images caught my eye. I pulled out my smart phone and copied a few of them.

The one to the left is my daughter and I enjoying her first trip up a ladder. She was not even three yet.

Though tentative, there is no panic on her face. It was an early glimpse into the fearless nature she would grow into as she took on each new challenge in her young life.

She made me proud.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

God & Government

Tina commented this morning on Facebook. Her comment was a reaction to the new Anti-Abortion, Pro-Birther law passed recently in Texas. She wrote:

"Different hats, same goal, the Taliban have taken over Texas."


This is what happens when religious extremism mingles with politics. And while the Christian Evangelicals will cry unfair, not true, and become righteously indignant at being compared to suicide bombing losers from a religion they hate, there is credibility in the claim that the two religions at their core are not that far apart. And it is ironic that they do not see that they agree more than they disagree. But such is the nature of the average fanatic.

Abortion long ago stopped being about abortion and some false claim of protecting the sanctity of Life. Abortion is the spear that leads the charge of the Dominionists of White Christianity to force theocratic law into our everyday lives. The movement has had legs as long as there has been Christianity. Its influence has peaked and cratered at various times over the last two millennia. At this point it seems to be growing within the ranks of existing White Christians while at the same time White Christianity membership has shrunk from its super majority of 80% in 1976 to a new stable population of 44%. There are less of them overall, but the ones left are certainly an angry and dedicated bunch.

This scary supposition by an avowed Dominionist is replicated in various ways in articles and books by most of the Dominion advocates. If we are not believers, we have neither the intellect nor the moral right to govern ourselves. We need God to show us the way.

Again, like abortion, the Dominionists are just using Biblical interpretations they made up to hide their true intentions. They lurk behind a facade of religious ooga booga fire and brimstone gobbledygook they may or may not believe themselves. Their quest is to gain power and wield it without any question. It is that simple. 

Combine this new twist in Texas, all the other abortion twists in other states, the assault on voting rights and it seems we are headed to becoming a country ruled by a tyrannical white minority who use religion to hide their true intentions.

Be wary of all politicians, but be really afraid of those politicians who wield their Bibles in public. They do mean us harm.

Later ................................

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The Uptown - Best Fight Ever

At the end of February, 1977, the ELO tour finished the month with a three day gig at the Uptown Theatre in Chicago. After these shows, we had nine days off and then back at it for the rest of March. 

It had been a punishing tour for everyone. My only hope was to finish out the tour with less drama than had centered on me previously. My truck and trailer were fixed, I was full of renewed dedication after having almost blown it in Erie. So closing in on Chicago had convinced me it would be a cakewalk from here.

My first effort to find the Uptown found me looking at it after an hour of navigating streets not meant for semis. The problem was even though I could see the theater, the north south running El hung at about twelve feet off the road between me and the gig. At least I had plenty of time to regroup, form a new plan of attack and end up on the right side of the tracks. I was parked street side in plenty of time for stage call.

The three days in Chicago passed without much fanfare. I thought so until I recently found a remark I had scrawled in the margins of my ELO itinerary next to the Chicago dates:

"Kung Foo"- and then under that, "Best fight Ever" - and suddenly I remembered.

I cannot remember their names now, but I was sitting in my cab with the two T-shirt concession guys waiting for the show to close so I could back in to load out and they could man their Tee shirt and swag table for the exiting crowd. The Tee shirt guys were a buddy duo who had been in Vietnam together and were now in the Tee shirt business together. Being a sanctioned "official" vendor of ELO Tees and other swag, they frowned on the pirates who haunted the venues marketing inferior knock offs. I once watched them beat a competitor senseless at a large venue, I cannot remember where. Needless to say, they would cheerfully use thier fists to mark their territory.

So, we are in my truck.  They were sharing a six Pack, I was not. I never did mix alcohol and driving trucks. I was a very loose dog when off, but not while driving. I was probably sucking on some coffee or a soda I poached from the Green Room.

A small man came out of the alley I was to back down. On his heels two more small figures came running out of the alley and jumped the first guy. They began to awkwardly put on a sad rendition of a kung foo fight.  It became very clear that all three were more than half in the bag, they were all shitfaced. Maybe every 3rd or fourth blow landed and often without much effect. The victim gave as drunkenly as he got.

This went on for several minutes. Meanwhile one of the Tee shirt guys begins a Howard Cosell style commentary on what was unfolding 30 feet from the truck. It was hilarious until it wasn't.

At some point, the two assailants manage to get the victim on the ground. At this point they had forgotten any Kung Foo magic and were busy kicking the victim in the kidneys, the legs, wherever they could land a kick.

The Tee shirt guys became concerned. The funny dialog stopped and one of them began to open the door. The other one grabbed his arm and told him to wait a second. He saw something I guess that I and the other Tee shirt guy missed. 

The victim was not as down and out as we supposed. When the two assailants stopped to catch their breath, the victim got up and kicked their asses. Not just a minor beating, but a call the ambulance type beating. One of the duo managed to make his escape, but his buddy ended up in the ambulance. 

The whole fight lasted maybe five minutes total. The three of them could not have weighed more than 120 pounds each soaking weight. But as it turned out one of them definitely was able to fight above his weight class. His obviously superior martial arts talent prevailed. Oh yeah. The original victim was put in handcuffs until the Tee shirt guys and I offered our take on the fight.

Damn, the odd things I have witnessed from inside a truck.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ..................................................