Racism is Cookin’ Up on the Grill

Good headlines will always get my attention… they have to; otherwise, I don’t give a shit.  My attention span sucks so bad these days.  My therapist says I have Adult ADHD, and I say, “What? I wasn’t paying attention!”

So, anyway, I saw a specific headline that caught my eye earlier today (05/22/2018) on the MSN.com “home page.”  MSN.com “home page” is a default web page that we get at my work when I open the “New Tab – Internet Explorer” shortcut on my desktop.  The “home page” has a big window with about 20 headline stories and advertisements to scroll left or right through.  Each photo has a headline and clicking on the words links to the story source.  The remainder of the “home page” is an endless sea of selections of varying themes that can be found by forever scrolling down.

I’m scrolling down and come across that interesting headline; ‘BBQing While Black’ event held in spot where white woman…  Where white woman… what?2018-05-22 14_55_17-New tab - Internet Explorer  The photo in the headline is a black man standing over trays of smokey charcoals and a large wire rack with every inch of it covered with a variety of meats; predominantly large sausages.  (Nothing phallus going on there.)  I mean, c’mon, racism already reeks in this one from the get-go… why not have large sausages and a black man in the picture?  The source is CNN… another clue into the world of loaded media.  In the background are people, trees, and event tents all of which come together to give the impression of a pleasant outdoor community festival.  So, what does a white woman have to do with this?  What did a white woman do in this location that inspired a “black BBQing” event?  That’s why I found this interesting and interesting enough to click on this news gem.

The CNN news story goes on to shout the following headline,

“A white woman called police on black people barbecuing. This is how the community responded”

The story is rather short, and you should read it.  The gist of the story is that a white woman witnessed a black family firing up a charcoal grill in an area of that park where charcoal grills are banned.  The next thing you’ll read is that somehow the videos and the narrative went viral and gained a leftist spin that this whole kerfuffle was adding “fuel to the national conversation about white people calling police on black people for seemingly trivial reasons.”  Really?  So, in response to this disgusting white woman’s obvious fear of hatred of black people (wrote in a sarcastic font), a couple of intelligent and sympathetic black men organized the ‘BBQing While Black’ event consisting of; 30 street vendors, local businesses, six DJs playing hip-hop, R&B and ’80s soul music.  There were dance contests and local council candidates.  All organized within a month of the fateful phone call to police.

I read this and thought, okay… that will show this white woman who seems to have problems with black people invading her space… perhaps.  I’m white.  I was part of a group of white kids in junior high school that were accosted unprovoked by a group of black kids during a field trip to a museum in the city of Chicago.  Sometimes, white people have a reason for feeling on edge around black people.  But, sometimes we have to trust that not all black people are bad people… duh!  WE KNOW THAT.  I really think we white folks for the most part do know that.  But I read that a white woman (that’s the only description given) unfairly brought dishonor to blacks by calling the police.  Intrigued by this, I Googled “BBQing While Black.”

The HUFFPOST source for this story was the one I choose to read more about this.  Again, the headlines drew attention to the absurdity of this yarn.  “Their crime?,” the headline read… “Using the wrong type of grill in a barbecue-designated zone”  How trivial?  It was all because of their skin color, wasn’t it?  Read on, please.  Even the article author, Carla Herreria was kind enough to write some details that seem to be more truthful than we have been led to believe.  Herreria writes that the woman saw that the Onsayo Abrams’ family was setting up a charcoal grill in a park barbecue zone not designated for charcoal.  Abrams told her he didn’t see a sign, so mind your business.  She said, if Abrams continued she would call the police.  He didn’t and she did!  So, now she’s attracted the video attention of some curious bystanders.  The videos and the people made this all look like this lady was scared of the black man.  She kept her distance as she dialed the police; interpreted as fear.  To me, that was just the smart thing to do.  If you’re busting someone for breaking the law, you sure as heck don’t want to be within smacking distance.

No where in the article was it implied that this woman did what she did because of a race issue.  She was even quoted when asked about why she was calling the police; that she called the police to enforce the no-charcoal BBQ zone.  BUT… by the hands of some one it became a race issue.  The race card was played.  The whites picking on the blacks.  Another example of whites using police as their personal bodyguards… YES, that was implied in the stories.  The family’s day was ruined, although no citations were issued.  But in that spot, the community came together to say …


Posted in Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts of the Absurd (1)

There are never enough silly and whacked out things said on Internet.  In fact, the boundaries of what is said by people that think they have something intelligent to say are practically non-existent.

My state legislators passed some bill recently that allowed funding of abortions through Medicaid and other state issued health plans.  In essence, that means that my tax dollars will help pay for abortions; and I do not approve of abortions.  My state government says they don’t care what I want, but they really don’t care about anything I want anyway.

A woman on the social media giant, Facebook made a comment to this story; to paraphrase, she acknowledged that abortions are legal, and women have that choice, but in her opinion if a woman chooses to have an abortion, she believes she should pay for it; not the state.  The comment garnered 40+ likes, and in the social media world and the small reach this statement had, that is a reasonably well amount of likes.  One of my progressive left FB acquaintances (using the word Friend or even Facebook Friend is not a title I would give to most of these people), replied with the following;

“But state funded medical care for pre-natal care, birth and then adding another person into the pool is way costlier. If money is the issue–safe abortion is a big savings! Abortion is probably cheaper than contraception. My first choice would be 100% contraception coverage and money for education programs.”

There you have it.  A safe abortion is a big savings!  Like dealing a discount on a car, or finding a good price for eggs on grocery day!  I can debate the subject of abortion all day, and find myself all jumbled and befuddled in the discussion; but this bonehead is comparing the cost of a life and the cost of ending that life, and has determined the abortion is cheaper in the long run.  Let’s not stop there, how about we do unsafe abortions and knock off the woman while we’re at it, and save money in the long run on welfare.

Thank you for reading… sometimes I can hardly believe what I read.

Posted in Rants | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cute Mistake

Back in 1994, my eight year old son wanted to help make dinner. That particular night he and I were going to have chicken with rice. I left him alone for a few minutes and soon, he came to me apologizing for the mess.
You see, back then a new product was released to the market called, “boil-in-bag” rice. You take the bag of rice from the box and place it in the boiling water to cook. My son did not know this, and his struggle to open the bag instead resulted in uncooked rice spread all over the kitchen. Since I only saw the aftermath, I imagined him trying to open this sealed bag and his surprise when it exploded all around him.

Posted in Memories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those were the days

Facebook today reminds me of my childhood; growing up in Casaprota, Italy. Every summer the train of clabularius filled with slaves and gladiators would make its way through my town to the Colosseum in Roma. My mother and I would travel by donkey with a collection of wares to sell or trade outside the Colosseum. I would sneak off into the amphitheater to watch the battles, and at the bloody end, the crowd would be silent and Emperor Antoninus would determine the fate of the gladiator. Thumbs down was the worse and make the hair on my arm stand straight up… but it worked the crowd into a uproarious frenzy. Ah, those were the days.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Facebook Rant

My bitch today has to do with some guy that is “feeling frustrated” because Mohammed Ali (who passed away June 3, 2016) is getting more TV time than the Blue Angels pilot, Capt. Jeff Kuss that crashed in Tennessee 1 day prior. (And then a bunch of my FB friends need to share the same post; which BTW when you share a post without comment means they are sympathetic or agree with the post.)  Apparently, Capt. Kuss directed his failing aircraft away from civilians and crashed into a field where he was fatally injured.  Yes, he was a brave man.

Well, my “frustration” with this is that I have a hard time believing that anyone alive thinks a celebrity’s death will get less TV air time than ANYONE else’s death, including police officers, military people, or the hundreds of victims shot in Chicago this month. The fact that someone thinks this and then takes the time to type it out… blows my feeble mind.

Rule #1 in our society is the bigger the celebrity that died, the more TV air time he/she will get. PERIOD! THAT’S IT!! I didn’t make the rule, that’s how it is. DEAL WITH IT! Frustrated my ass.

Posted in Rants | Leave a comment

Who is the Liar?

If I told you I live on an island within a huge castle with four servants that catered to my every whim; If I said I drove a mighty horse-drawn chariot that protected me from the outer evils of dragons and trolls.

Would you call ME a LIAR?  If it is my view of the truth is it a lie?  EVEN if what I believe to be true is remotely a fantasy… isn’t that still MY TRUTH?

Or is it your judgement of me?  By calling ME a LIAR.  Of which, since you deny me of MY TRUTH; YOU are not speaking the truth and now have indicted YOURSELF the LIAR.
You might not believe me, but calling me a LIAR, a FIBBER, a DECEIVER, a  PREVARICATOR is only making YOU the one that CANNOT see MY TRUTH, my REALITY, my VERACITY.


Posted in Rants | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is there an “Expiration Date” on Capitalism?

I do not think I could effectively explain the information overload I have experienced recently on the state of our country’s economy and the inevitable effect it has on its citizens; which of course includes me. My overall reaction to all this information is disturbing. The information has come from many different sources, and I am thinking these are all tied together somehow; related in some way. It drives me to ponder the question; is there an expiration date on the social economic system called capitalism in the United States?

I am neither a “Doomsday Prepper” nor a person that sheds negativity into every conversation concerning politics or money. Yes, politics and money are always closely related. I am not overly criticizing the leaders of this country as if it is their entire fault; although they certainly should not be let off the hook. I waver on my stand of attacking the capitalists, “Wall Street,” and those with the gold that make the rules. They are doing what comes naturally. However, they are definitely sharing the “hook.” I do not stand on street corners carrying “end of the world” signs. I do not preach about the Armageddon… or the second coming of Jesus, for that matter. And I do not know why I carried my thoughts to such an extreme. I do, however, believe that money is usually a key motivator in any endeavor related to business or lifestyle. Money is a major force that has carried a laundry list of warning labels since the beginning of man. I view ALL advertising messages as suspicious; merely 60-second blurbs of half-truths aimed at separating you from your money. The goal for the capitalist is to obtain money. The verb to describe this is “capitalize;” to take advantage of; turn something to one’s advantage (often followed by on): to capitalize on one’s opportunities.

The bottom line is a term widely used to mean, the final statement, when all is said and done, after the dust has settled… income minus expenses equals the bottom line. And my bottom line is this; as U.S. manufacturing and service jobs continue to evaporate, as U.S. inflation and rising costs continue to out-pace the wages, as more and more goods and services are needed for consumption… when does it all go “pop”? When will the muscle of the classes; the middle class, no longer be able to afford those goods and services? When will companies no longer be able to provide goods and services because they are not making money on those higher priced goods and services?

Will it be a pop or BOOM?

Ok, maybe instead, the economic death spiral will be slow and painful; like a screw forced into an under-sized hole using a big-ass screwdriver. We might continue to see the signs, continue to worry, continue to feel the pinch, and before we know it the number of families living in poverty, without homes, or without food becomes a huge statistic (way bigger than it is now). The crime rates should begin to climb proportionately. Looting will be common; not for fencing but for survival. Bustling cities and towns will look more like Detroit… I mean; a ghost town. The top 1% of the wealth in this country will tumble and only those that sustain their markets in foreign lands will survive (longer). Banks will close and a run on cash will close them faster.

Maybe the BOOM will be evident when it hits you or your neighbor directly.

JOBS: “Fifty years ago, a third of U.S. employees worked in factories, making everything from clothing to lipstick to cars. Today, a little more than one-tenth of the nation’s 131 million workers are employed by manufacturing firms. (USATODAY.com; “U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Fading Away Fast”; by Barbara Hagenbaugh, USA TODAY; Posted 12/12/2002 10:47 PM)

Surely, the highly-delusional optimist will point out the overwhelming increase in service-related employment over the same time period. But those jobs are going off-shore as well, as U.S. companies flee their customer call-centers and information help phone lines to low-cost English speaking countries to take advantage of their inexpensive, intellectual population, e.g., India. No job is safe from off-shoring. And who is filling those “service” jobs; factory workers? I think (and this is my opinion) a different sector moved into those face-jobs; mostly women and the high school graduates. Speaking of graduates, if I were to copy the entire cited article from above, a “subject matter expert” that was interviewed made a comment that workers of the future will be attending college their entire careers. Fantastic! As college tuitions rise faster than pizza dough, the future worker will need two full-time jobs just to keep up payments for schooling. Thus, with a sarcastic tone, the worker-student is provided a couple hours of sleep in-between classes and jobs. But from this, more schools will be “built,” and create more scholastic competition, and drive down those tuitions, right? No. Infiltrating the system with more universities is like adding more major league baseball teams to the league; we begin to dilute the superiority of abilities. In teaching, that is reflected in the learning. Fact! As more people try to get into college, admissions gets tougher; qualification standards get higher; and inevitably the supply of graduates exceed the demands on the work force. On the other hand, we get bogged with inferior educations and scam artists trying to make a fast buck. Case in point; a friend of mine recently received his official papers to be a certified welding inspector. It turns out, his instructor falsified his certification; thus, nullifying my friends certification.

But if we are going to discuss labor shifts, something about this has always bothered me. And that is the masses cannot just make sharp turns to change direction and meet these new roles. For example, our elected officials like to spout off about job creation to help improve our economy and those that need work. Sounds Great! And in turn, when they decide to be true to their word, they commonly appropriate monies to rebuild something; like the country’s crumbling infrastructure. Again, sounds great! However, I’m perplexed as to how that helps our aged workforce struggling to find work. A sixty-year old man laid-off from his desk job after 30 years is no good at building bridges or even driving a dirt truck. The physical requirements alone can keep this guy off the payroll. What about a desk job for this out-of-shape, not quite ready to retire wage earner? There aren’t many jobs available that will fit their requirements or his expertise. One might argue the increase in jobs on the construction site creates more money flow for other consumables, which in turn over time should create more jobs. Unfortunately, I just don’t see any immediate jobs opening up for the old guy in my example. I’m not saying it is impossible, just unlikely and definitely unable to serve the newly-unemployed masses. Instead of creating jobs for everyone, we shift the unemployment demographic.

The base of the socioeconomic pyramid consists of a large “unskilled” workforce; lovingly called the worker bees. “Capitalism is a pyramid; a social structure that requires an abundance of laborers to produce, process, and transfer all of the goods that we consume. The base of this pyramid is very wide with a large number of laborers supporting a relatively small number of elite at the top of the pyramid.” (Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2410970) Like a pyramid, if the socioeconomic base is weak it will not stand. Regardless of my whining, if the wealthy capitalists blindly chip away at the base in order to serve themselves, there won’t be a base to hold them up.

WAGES: “For starters, between 1993 and 2012, the real incomes of the 1% grew 86.1%, while those of the 99% grew 6.6%, according to the study, based on Internal Revenue Service statistics examined by economists at UC Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.” (Article Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/11/nation/la-na-nn-income-inequality-20130910)

What? This is an OUTRAGE!! Or is it? Not really. This is a capitalist system, where the upper elitists do less for more and the worker bees do more for less. The guy with the gold makes the rules and if he can get away with making larger profits without paying his workers more than he has to… well then, why the heck not? The workers are at the mercy of the “man.” And the man wants to make money.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Age (and long before that), laborers have been the greatest asset a company has, yet there were so many laborers to utilize, the bosses treated them as badly as they wanted and got away with it. The common laborer can easily be replaced because of the number of them and the unspecialized or simple, teachable work content. Somehow our government found the heart to protect the children by implementing child labor laws around the turn of the 20th century. Later, unions were formed and they fought to protect the workers from inhumane and unfair treatment. Again, the government had to create more labor regulations to keep businesses from totally enslaving their workforce. Don’t ever expect a fair shake from corporate America. The only break might come when a business market as a whole sees that the spenders… the ones buying their products… are being forced to keep their money in their pockets. That is called an economic revolution.

During the time of strong growth and prosperity after World War II, companies offered higher wages and benefits to retain valuable employees. Companies relied on gaining their employee’s loyalty through perks and niceties, e.g., bonuses, parties, picnics. But that bubble blew in the seventies because of stiffer global competition, increased operating costs, and shrinking profits. Companies scrambled for better efficiencies. Of the three major cost components; labor, materials and overhead, labor was the easiest to change and it made a big impact. For an example, the introduction of the 401(k) and subsequent legislation, companies continue to exploit the worker by eliminating the pension and giving the retirement burden back to the employee; thus, lowering their costs of putting money into pensions and hiring people to manage those monies; thus, increasing their profits. I have witnessed first-hand the diminished perks for the working class of large companies. Another example would be the massive shift to off-shoring of manufacturing to LCCs (low cost countries). As of this writing, a U.S. company established in China can hire eight bodies for each one eliminated in the states.

Capitalists thrive in a competitive arena. The goal is to make money… – more money (a bigger market share) than the other guy. In the race for money, if one company sees an advantage, they will take it. They won’t lean back on their heels and pass on an opportunity just because it might not be liked by the community. I am definitely not condoning unethical business behaviours. I despise that. Capitalists reek of corruption, wrong doings, and whatever it takes to capture the almighty dollar. History is flooded with stories of bad business behaviours. But being a good, hard-working capitalist is also honorable and revered. Thus, the paradox; capitalist guys and gals you love to hate.

And speaking of history, if I were to compare the standard of living of today to previous millions of years before me, I would be compelled to say we Americans are SPOILED WUSSES. Our reliance on everything being handed to us in exchange for a couple paper bucks is taken for granted as much as breathing. We take it all for granted. We have to; consumer spending and consumer debt is back in full swing despite a downturn after the real estate bubble blew up.  If I want food, I go buy it. To stay warm and dry, I pay the bank for the loan they gave me to stay in my nice, renovated, over-sized house. I get around in a good car that I pay to have it maintained, and I keep it running with a bi-monthly trip to the gas station. If something bad happens to my health, my car, or my home, I have insurance to help me because I can pay the premiums. All I have to do in exchange for all this… is get up early five times every week, and drive to a company created by capitalists, and do my very best at what I do, so that they let me come back the next week to do it all over again.

It was not like that many years ago. This luxurious lifestyle I am accustomed to was way out of reach for my forefathers. The last thirty years has seen a technology growth so fast, it would make their heads spin. But were my forefathers looked at as unfortunate for living without all these techno-toys of today? No. They did what they knew from their fathers and their fathers before them and they learned that working hard and doing important things got them their daily needs. That was part of their lives; being self-reliant; and being self-sufficient got them through each and every day. They did not rely on money, only trade. If they could not grow it or make it, they found someone who could and they bartered for it. The key was that everyone needed a huge basket of resourcefulness at the ready. Everything came from the earth and nature; not a grocery store or website.

Sometimes I sit and ponder what would life be like if I no longer had access to the luxuries of my lifestyle. I do not enjoy the thought of losing the things I consider “basic.” If you multiplied my loss by the millions of people in the same position as I would be in, the chaos of this country and subsequently the planet would be unimaginable.

How can an economic meltdown be prevented?

It is unlikely the wealthy capitalist will depart with his money to re-invest in America and American workers unless they see little to no risk of loss. Democrats seem to like the idea of spreading the wealth; they call it redistribution of wealth. Republicans think lowering the tax rates will put more cash in the working class’ pockets to stimulate the economy. Is it hopeless? I don’t know. The recovery depends on how quickly we fall. The best scenario is that recovery begins and blends with the decline.

The recovery lies in the non-secrets of our past; the non-hidden essentials of survival and commerce.  We need to fill our baskets with resourcefulness. And we need to re-establish the barter and trade mentality. I imagine the bustling inner-city and suburban neighborhoods thinning as people can no longer afford their homes. I don’t even have a good idea where they ALL will go; perhaps many will live with relatives… communal living will come back in-style out of necessity, perhaps many will seek refuge in nature, or worse perhaps and most likely many will become homeless, vagrant beggars that squat under viaducts in cardboard makeshift shelters.  Images of over-crowded shanties and corrugated steel cubes held together with mostly coat hangers come to mind.  Living conditions that I find unimaginable and cannot see myself tolerating.

Those that stay in neighborhoods will need to setup their fortresses for protection. But they will also turn their plots of land (and possibly the land around them) into vegetable gardens. They might even gut a nearby garage or two in order to house some barnyard animals to provide textiles, dairy, eggs, and transportation. If they can fend off the poachers and thieves, they could survive for as long as their bodies hold out. There will not be any medicines to help them feel better. But I see the birth of an old way of life; barter. As one neighbor fills his food pantry, another has built a blacksmith’s forge. Another further away knows how to cobble shoes or sew. And in this system, we find the recovery.

After that… God only knows!

Posted in Lessons Learned, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment