On Being Apostate

You Can Blame Me

It seems that the reason so many are so miserable is me. My adjectives, WASP, cis-hetero male, from parents who busted their ass to give me a better life, makes me bougie and bougie is evil. Being bougie means that my existence is a sin. So I owe a debt to those who are not bougie that I must somehow repay. All because I was born this way. About that . . . about on being apostate.

This debt is evergreen. Whatever I do, no matter how much I genuflect before the proletariat, I am still despicable simply because of my parents. If I had 40 acres and a mule to give it would not be enough. I am born into a debt because somehow I had advantages I owe to someone who isn’t kin to me.  Mao is so wise.

Those who fight White Privilege are racist. I’ll explain. First, they need a narrative that names an oppressed class who are suffering under an oppressor of their choosing. They declare that African-Americans are all Stepin Fetchit enslaved by white plantation owners. Just being a WASP is ipso facto proof of White Privilege.

Rather nicely, two groups are tagged with adjectives they cannot be free of. Both end up being shit on, one because they are prevented from any agency that would challenge their designation as oppressed and the other because they are prevented from being anything other than the enemy of the oppressed.  This is what social justice looks like.

My Apostate, White Privileged, Pimply Ass

White Privilege is a cocked up reason to feel guilty for being born into a WASP family. It makes great virtue signal and excuses a personal obligation to be accountable for our shit. The problem isn’t us, it’s our parents, who stupidly had sex and didn’t get an abortion. Idiots. Wikipedia says this about White Privilege.

White Privilege is rooted in Marxist thinking. It’s a version of the anger against the bourgeoisie. To be bougie is a sin, the thinking goes. So, we grind through all the bougie people and stuff and shit out anything and anyone of any value. For the very reasonable price of only 90% of our income and the surrender of all privately held assets. No problem.

I should be overjoyed at paying 90% of my income to a dear leader because, white privilege. Obviously, I am oppressing black people simply because I had the misfortune to be born to upper-middle-class WASPS. Next is the minister who triggered these 1700 words.

Reverand Katie Mulligan

Allow me to introduce the Reverend Katie Mulligan. Katie gave the sermon last Sunday at my Dad’s church. I grew up in this church. There is so much I didn’t know or understand back then. These days, my beef with my Dad’s church has changed. Katie’s sermon tells me that rather than speak tradition to peer pressure they have decided to be with the cool kids. Katie seems to be someone who has decided that she wants to be one of the cool kids so she’s attached cool kid adjectives to her personal brand.  I was the kid bullied by the cool kids.

Why I Live at St. Giles

Since then I’ve been a member of various churches. I keep coming back to being Presbyterian. In part because I too love to argue. These days I am a member of St Giles.  First Pres Pitman and St. Giles are very different churches.  Keith’s sermon last Sunday:

White People are the Cause of It All

Katie chose to focus on white privilege. Whoa. So my entire major malfunction is my heritage as a WASP? It really is my Mom’s fault? I’m so relieved. And here I thought that it was some Freudian id thing.  It must be that Jung was the real crackpot. Kinda sucks that I wasted all that money and energy on therapy when it really was my parent’s fault.

My problem with Katie’s sermon is that it is anchored in Marxist beliefs. Marx is an enemy of Christ. Marx taught the proletariat to hate the bourgeoisie. Those who follow Marx need two things: a proletariat and a bourgeoisie. Where one of these does not exist they set about creating it. Ergo most of the tropes regarding privilege, disparity, isms, etc. They need peeeple who are oppressed so that they can champion for them. It cannot be that the peeeple are in fact, fine.

Marx’s enemy was the Czar of Russia. His period is the early 20th Century when Capitalist Industrialism was the envy of some and a reason to revolution for others. Things can be made fairer by making everything owned and controlled by the government. Didn’t, doesn’t work.

Zoshul Just This

I don’t want to get too deep into my dislike of all the social justice movements that point to Marx as their philosophical roots. Modern Protestant thinking anchors our faith in a personal relationship with Christ. So the path to social justice begins with each of our hearts. The method is deeply Jewish–a tithe of 10% given to the church who in turn uses it to pay the bills and meet communal needs. It is different from Marxist ideas of government where the tithe becomes a tax and the authority to choose how the tax is spent is given to the party instead of the church.

The religious point I want to make is that we won’t anger our way to an answer for all the bougie sins laid at our feet. There is an evergreen stew of resentment and sins invented to explain why they are so miserable and we are so evil. After a while, though, life as a shunned whore living on El Camino de las Almas Perdidas en el Valle de la Sombra de la Muerte sounds better than the empty promises of an abusive pimp like the social justice movement of the day.

Katie Says

Katie asks us to either feel guilty for an accident of birth caused by a few moments of horizontal bop perpetrated by our parents or angry that the roulette wheel of life spun and we got the black square. Either way, it is evergreen. There is nothing I can do that will ever be sufficient for Katie to accept my restitution or repentance. I will forever be the enemy to her simply because I had the misfortune to be born a WASP with parents who busted their ass so I could have a better life. I owe a bottomless debt to those less fortunate than me on the basis of my race and choice of gender identity.

Thanks, Katie, that makes me feel so much better. Do you know a good supplier of worms I can eat while I dig my own grave because of the White Guilt you accuse me of?

You cannot be a Marxist Christian. The two are antithetical. Marx pointed to the bougie, to the privileged, to explain why the proletariat was so miserable. His answer was to destroy the bougie and redistribute their wealth to the proletariat. Millions died as a result. Katie wants me to be happy about this, to pick up a protest sign and offer my body as a holy sacrifice to atone for my white privilege. I’ll get right on that after I go insult another brown person.

Hail Ceasar

Christ’ enemy was his own church and the Roman Empire. Where Marx offers a replacement God-King who would be fairer than the Czar Christ’ kingdom has each of us as its cornerstone. We are, individually, the resurrected kingdom, the new temple. Instead of anchoring a solution in the God-King and our self-worth defined by our place in the hierarchy Christ turns to us and asks each of us to do our part. Jesus was far more anarchist than imperialist. Marxism is just imperialism with a set of rules preferred by revolutionaries.

Katie, if you want us to fix this the answer is old and simple. Instead of looking to a pseudo-religious ideology that teaches hate for your way and worth, look again to Christ. The Beatitudes are a place to start. I’ll repeat my essentials as a suggested way: love kin, friends, neighbors and enemies alike, when in doubt, give grace and mercy first, surrender everything so that the only thing left is a desire to love Christ, be humble and quiet, as these are presented to you, do small acts of kindness of great love, and last, service and missions first.

I doubt that Katie and I will agree on much. Instead of being a light on a hill PCUSA chooses to placate its abusers in the name of diversity and inclusion. Katie, sorry, you chose to be angry at me and threaten to shun me because I happen to believe that Christ called me to something other than hating myself because I happened to land on the white square of the roulette wheel of life. I’ll pray for you.

Not One of the Cool Kids

My Jesus is absurd. He says stupid shit like, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” He asks me to love people who I’d like to punch in the face. Instead of offering me a free cell phone because I say I need it he wants me to serve the poor, the aged, and prisoners with no hope of return. Katie’s Jesus offers safe spaces featuring coloring books and snacks to insulate her from the trials of absurd living according to the way of a martryed carpenter. It indulges us in every whim. Don’t like dating guys? No problem, date women. Can’t decide what gender identity feels right? No problem, don’t decide. Born something other than white and life sucks? Poor thing, it’s not your fault. It’s those evil white people pissing on your future.

My Jesus told me to stop whining, to shut up and that I would work for Him. I don’t get safe spaces or all that is offered within them. I am not a cool kid. Some say that I am the reason they are so fucked up. It is because I happen to be born to WASP parents that I am obligated to brown people for sins I was born into. Where are those worms and my shovel?

Share

Misery in the Valley

A Pastoral Peace

It’s been a quiet week on the farm. Spring is a few months away. There is still winter misery in the valley. Over the winter Ray tore down the 9N and rebuilt it. The chicken coop needs an overhaul, including two tires. It’s been a couple years since the bearings have been changed. Father Thomas’ homily touched on Lamentations. Guys complain about their honey-do lists. Guys that live in 3500 sq ft homes at the end of a cul-de-sac. Men who would shut their mouth after a day of chores on the farm. My Dad offered to help Ray and got to a lawn chair in the barn before he had to sit a spell.

I never lived in a cul-de-sac. My Dad’s house is in a tree covered suburb of Philly. When I headed west in a Trailways bus out of Cherry Hill I was dazzled by the bright lights of the City 3,000 miles distant. The City by the Bay called to me and I answered with a bus ticket. I stopped on the east side of San Francisco Bay at my grandmother’s house in Albany, CA. My Dad said I’d never last living in the city.

It’s been forty years in the city. My Dad has a few chairs on the farm in Merida. One is in the living room with a shoe-box full of remote controls. He commands the entertainment from that chair. Another is an Amish made cane rocking chair with a commanding porch view of the farm. He used to take visitors and talk to the farm hands. Lately, he sleeps in that chair most of the day.

Shall I Stay With Misery in the Valley?

Sixteen years ago the reasons to stay in the East Bay disappeared. The Empress flew to Taiwan with my son. I lost another temp job. My landlord declared that he was converting the entire complex to Section 8 housing. Every tenant had to either move out or qualify for Section 8. Then and still the wait list for Section 8 is decades long. I make too much money so that left moving out.

Choices. Stay on the correct coast where my Dad’s family can trace their California story back through the San Bernadino Mormons or leave the golden state. Then there is the Mayan option—to live with my grandfather’s family on their farm in Yucatan. I chose the third option. I moved from Richmond, CA to Richmond, VA in 2002.

Even when I am in Yucatan I stay in Merida at a hotel. All those years watching the world pass by my taxi-cab windshield make the bustle & noise of the city feel right. Also, I’ve seldom lived in “good” places.  Home has been cars, friend’s couches, hotels and beggar shelters. The house in Richmond is the longest stint of stable living I’ve had since separating from the Empress. My Dad was wrong about me. I did last living in the city.

Tuning to Twilight

It’s twilight. Dinner service is wrapping up and the band is tuning up. I’ve got my Mccauley’s neat and a plate of barbacoa. The weatherman is telling the gringos that this monsoon season will be bad. The train of storms starting in Nigeria is strong. Already they have named 8 storms that have wandered near and then away from Merida.  The 9th, Ian, generated warnings to evacuate. I took another sip of my bourbon.

This is the wrong side of the tracks. It is populated by the bottom third of the bell curve. The normies and good folk fear this valley. They see the shadow of death over us and nod with complicity to their preacher who tells them that we are their fate if they don’t behave. We are good with that.

When I am not in Richmond, Philly or Merida I am here in the bar or in my flat upstairs. The flat used to be warehouse space for the bar. No amount of Pinesol is enough to erase the mix of old bourbon, piss, puke, stale beer, illicit sex, and cigarettes. It has two rooms, a former office in the back with a thrift store sourced kitchen.  Someone before me put a  cheap fiberglass shower with copper pipes green with age into the former office. I’ve tried to clean the toilet but even straight bleach won’t remove the years of beery piss and tossed smokes. The sink stinks of smoked heroin. The big room in front used to store liquor and also has thrift store furniture. It offers no escape from the stench of mortal sins.

Yes I Do

More than a few have climbed the stairs to my loft and exclaimed, “you like living here?!” I do. The noise of the bar plays a melody grounded by the sub-woofer beat of freight trains that pass by every couple hours. They hurry on to feed the hungry maw of the collected mass of normies who worry about me. Let them be scared.

Normie kids come to the bar to get their freak on. This place is exciting. Stuff happens. Girls show up ready to dance, drink and mayhaps give some. The music is awesome. The food is good, even better after a few drinks. People come here to play and then we send them home a little worse for it.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. We don’t want to be less dangerous. It’s a long drive over the hills on two-lane gravel roads to get here. An hour out of town is a gas station inhabited by a shotgun-toting old man with a bad attitude. His nose for outsiders is unfailing. He’s put buckshot into the doors of more than a few who seemed like they were lost and ought to be headed back out of the valley.

Gasoline and Buckshot

Old man Saito does sell gas. You have to get past the initial curmudgeonly greeting. You can’t be in a hurry. Most of the normie kids out for a weekend in town know enough to either tank up before they cross the pass or invest a few hours in drinking rice wine (50 proof!) with him.  Those in the know bring a fifth of Makers Mark with them. He searches their car for contraband and finds it, upon which his attitude improves considerably. Also, let him find a carton of Marlboro Red 100’s. Sometimes the old bribes are still the best currency to buy some freedom.

There is freedom here you can’t find on the other side of the pass under the bright lights of the city. Somebody came to a twelve-step meeting and was nervous that they might be found out as a gender-queer psychiatry patient with a thick jacket of mental ward admittance and city jail time. We were not impressed. We are small enough to not need a recognizable municipal government.

The closest we have is Saito’s son, who can be seen drifting through the streets picking the trash for aluminum cans. He’s out on parole after collecting federal time for punching a US Marshall. Oh, it doesn’t stop there. Once inside a fellow inmate threatened to rape him so Ren killed him barehanded. You have to do better than liking both sausages and clams to be interesting here.

Hard Living

It’s a hard life here. We don’t have public schools, public health services, or a social safety net. There are Ren Saito’s friends and there are those who either die or leave because they pissed off Ren. Those that stay figure out a truce with Ren. To survive here you either need your own money or a way to earn a living. Ren found The last guy to try standing on a corner with a sign asking for money in a dumpster at the back of the bar badly bloodied. He was offered two choices: clean the bar after it closes or leave town. He stayed and is the first to greet fellow beggars with a warning.

You know this one, that when you hit bottom the only direction is up. Our townies leave here stronger, clean & sober. We do for each other. The reason we don’t have a lot of municipal services is that we are small, we know each other, and we don’t hesitate to do the needful for each other. It’s how a lot of small-town America works.

I’ve seen the world from the 31st floor of 101 California Street in San Francisco. My suits from back then cost me what I make in three months. I had a family, a two-bedroom condo with designer furniture and two cars. My travel mug costs a month’s wages for those who don’t live under the city lights. That was then. Things are better now.

Father Thomas

Last thing. The church is here. Father Thomas is a Cherokee, a Gulf War Vet, with a bronze twelve-step chip. He was accused by a parishioner of raping boys. Before all that he was convicted of tax evasion for selling moonshine. The county ADA could never find enough evidence to charge him with rape. The church offered to send him to Brazil. He left instead.

He went back to Seminary and was ordained in the Anglican Church. The rumblings of some that the church was out of sync with the times regarding abortion and standards of fidelity or chastity in marriage drove him to set out on his own. He planted a small monastic order in the valley. His order runs a local school, missions and mercy programs, as well as the usual services of a local parish.

Many have underestimated Father Thomas. One seeker accosted him, wanting to know if he used the KJV, “I do not.” Which one, then? “My own.” Your own copy of the KJV? “No, my own translation.” Oh. You will find the NABRE in the pews of the order’s chapel. The order lives under a modified Benedictine Rule.

Westboro Baptist showed up one weekend and sought out Father Thomas. They expected tv cameras and protestors. They got a church picnic in full swing. Father Thomas approached them with plates. The Westboro Baptist kids were hungry. It was a great time for all.

Bottom Third

Down here on the bottom third of the curve, with places to lay my head in Richmond, the Valley, Philly, and Merida I am happier than I was when I chased status and money. I am free. I may not be successful in building my personal brand such that I collect accolades from the normies. My virtue signal is noisy and dissonant. I’m good with it.

The band started up. Lighting Hopkins stuff. My floor is swaying to the music. It’s a good night for the normies downstairs chasing the light fantastic. I’ll sleep well tonight.

Share

Run! Felina Run!

Run! Felina Run! It’s what was in my head as she told me about the pendejo who had invited her to stay with him on a visit to Richmond.

He was all that. He called himself Akim Kogan. Former addict, 6 years clean and sober !with tokens to prove it!, ex-felon on a long list of drug charges, tatted, long-haired, bearded, beyond 29, divorced, said all the right twelve step slogans . . . catnip for Felina. All good right?

Family Drama

We will get to that. I want to interrupt Felina’s nightmare. Jolana, it seems, has blown up this family gathering in South Carolina. My plans to chill with a cooler of beer in a hotel room have morphed into a tree-killing spreadsheet detailing everything Jolana wants in an epic family reunion. Lina has begged off and made plans to vacation in Kentucky with the in-laws. Way early on, Karelma dismissed the “let’s go total hippie and camp out in a farmer’s field in Oregon” plan. Merida will only see about half the sun covered by the moon. For Karelma, enough. She hasn’t been home with the fam in a few years. Between Jolana’s insistence that everything be perfect in Oregon, wait, sorry, South Carolina and missing the fam, Merida was an easy choice.

This event is wired to explode the way Jolana is rigging it. It *has* to go letter-for-letter the way Jolana has it planned on on her spreadsheets. It’s not going that way. My Dad, firmly attached to his baby-girl Lina, will be camping with her in South Carolina. So, there is that. I sort of like the idea of not going to South Carolina. Save for my Dad, the fam is finding other places to be that weekend. Because of my Dad I will also be in South Carolina. Tito will be with Lina and her in-laws in Kentucky. There is a Felina connection to this. I invited Felina and bae to use the other bed I reserved back in January. This ought to be good.

Bae Issues and Akim

Back to Felina. Felina and bae had an epic, bipolar fueled battle. Bae was evil on his face. He was the worst boyfriend ever. He should do the world a favor and just eat worms and die. Because . . . dirty dishes at the start. Felina’s Mom was also in Richmond lately. Felina’s Dad passed a few years before I met her. Good man, good life, but he went home to God after a battle with emphysema and heart disease. Felina’s childhood home in Puerto Rico was always a rental and without her Dad to keep the rent paid her Mom got behind. Plus, Felina’s Mom had the usual storm cloud of old people problems.

Felina had convinced her to buy a house in Richmond. No, I am not going to go down the rabbit hole of how a poor Puerto Rican woman of Catalan descent qualifies for a mortgage in Richmond. Ok, just a little: remember the Shrub era mortgage crisis? Yeah, that. So, taking care of Mom meant periodic runs to Richmond. Though, this being Felina, things with Mom tended to be stormy. Felina needed a place to stay while visiting Mom and Akim had been in her ear about how good it would be to see her. Bae’s geo-locus within 50 miles was suspicious because . . . dirty dishes at the start. She had to go somewhere. Akim was the Colonial Heights somewhere.

On a Warm Summer Night

Still Not Asking for It Run! Felina Run!It was fine for a couple nights. Night 3 there was tequila and roast chicken and an impressive sounding, long winded speech about how capitalism was evil on its face; including a dreamy vision of a utopian world in which no one ever got sick, never died and never aged beyond 27. Sex was easy, drugs were easy and the Internet was a government funded civil right. ‘cuz Felina and maybe he had a shot. She remembered bits and pieces of a rant about women weaponizing the word, “mansplaining”. There was something else about “rape culture” being a fraud. Akim didn’t get the irony of him mansplaining rape culture to an abuse victim. He was feeling his alpha dominance. Felina was feeling a need to sleep behind a locked door.

Sometimes You Need More Than Locks

Felina grew up Catholic so this New Age pseudo-Jewish drunken preening just weirded her out. Felina got off the couch, went to the bathroom to pee before bed and then to the extra bedroom. There was no hint from Akim that he was a prick. She slept with the door open.

I got a text message from Felina that she wanted to talk about a situation. That can’t be good. Then nothing until the next day. She and I had talked about giving her tanning bed time at my local gym. That turned in to a request to be picked up from the Pony Pasture in James River Park.

We headed to the Fan where Inger was crashing with some friends. I’m not used to having Felina cry. Usually she unloads a manic rant that runs 5-10 minutes and then either she’s at her destination or she gets quiet and falls asleep. This time there were tears. The makeup became a mess, “I trusted him! He’s been so good on social media. I stayed with him before and it was fine!” Still nothing on why Akim had gained a spot on Felina’s shit-list.

 A Level Down

This is what came through the tears. She had gone to sleep before midnight. She woke to find Akim’s hands on her. Another pig getting off by touching her. I heard this and wanted her to punch him in the balls. Make him hurt. She didn’t do that, “I went possum. We didn’t have sex or anything. I let him finish. He left the room and the next morning was all happy and shit. He had coffee, scrambled eggs and home fries ready for me. I hate eggs. I am vegan.

It’s a trope. Why don’t abuse victims stand up for themselves? Why didn’t she beat the shit out of him the first time he tried to hurt her? Some do. There are women that go to jail for defending themselves. Felina is not that woman. For all her fire she carries unspoken core beliefs about men that leave her vulnerable. She’s had men trying to get with her since she was a child. She’s internalized this intrusion as something men need of her. Men need sex. They need women. She is helping them. To which, I’d say, “Not like that!

A lot of the talk on the ride to the Fan revolved around boundaries. Maybe it was ok for him to touch her. Maybe this was a polyamory thing and she should have fucked him. Akim was older, wiser sounding, claimed a strong presence in the cube rat and bill paying world, a girl could do worse. He wasn’t as bad as the bicho she knew as a girl. Through it all I kept hearing things about bae that made me like him and his family.

Forgiveness Includes Justice

We talked about forgiveness. One thing about that. Forgiveness is not also foregoing justice. Where crimes have been committed the perpetrators need to be held to account. Felina, being firmly in the black-market, off-radar world, can get justice but it won’t come from the cops. The place where Akim is vulnerable is his carefully crafted beard that keeps his criminal truth ignored. I’ll never know if Akim escaped consequences. It’s not the sort of news you tell in Felina’s world. Shit just happens.

A bit about bicho. He’s not just guilty of sexual assault. He owns a sex-train of broken hearted single mothers whom he seduced and abandoned. All this free-love has accrued multiple child-support obligations that he has not kept current. Most of the cube-rat beard is a front. It won’t take much to break the spell and cause him some ugly karma.

We got to her friend’s house in the fan. The house was dark. Door knocks produced no response. After a few minutes I saw her disappear into the alley. She came back a bit later clutching a note. The friend had gone out with Inger and other friends to The Camel and would be back later. Felina had a key to let herself in.

There is no pithy wise ending to this. Stories like Felina either work their way around to a happy ending or they don’t. I pray that Felina and bae figure it out, take care of bicho, and settle in to being a good life, mayhaps back on Puerto Rico. Time will tell.

Last thing, a link some may need: RAINN. Don’t suffer in silence. Ever.

 

Share

Felina Novella

#felinaramos. Felina Ramos is my own personal, IRL soap opera. She is my guilty pleasure. I unfollow her on Facebook and then lurk. Everything about she and I is trouble. Yet I still vacillate  between following her, ignoring her, lurking her and going back to following her.

Yeah, what now? Right. She puts a message out on her wall that after she has had some sleep she wants a ride to a fast food place. Her offer is to buy from the dollar menu and also pay for a meal for her driver. I said I could do better than that. All normal and not blog post worthy. This is Felina, though. I get there and unlike previous excursions she comes out the door shaking. There is a tempest alive in her house between her cousin, her auntie, and her. Cops have been called. Contraband hidden. 3 latina women in full battle mode doing their level best to tempt the other into a fight. Entertaining for me and sad to see.

The cousin is learning a hard lesson. Once you escalate to fists there isn’t much else you can escalate to and have the same effect. The next level up is bloodshed and either a combination of jail and hospital or the morgue. The cousin’s attempts at psychological warfare are falling flat. She’s already used the nuclear option so another nuclear option is greeted with, “meh.”

I spent a few minutes with Felina on the front lawn teaching her some basics of sword fighting that enable a warrior to be cold in the middle of a fight. Hollywood has orgasms telling pornographic depictions of war as passionate. Actors get to display great emotion, to *ACTING* on camera. It’s all bullshit. A good soldier is no more excited by battle than he is by his morning shit, shower and shave. This is achieved through training and some simple techniques. I showed Felina some of those techniques so she could sooth herself and be effective.

A little more about the technique. You have seen Bruce Lee and others go through dramatic motions and vocalizations to focus their energy. That’s for camera. The real technique isn’t obvious to those uninitiated. It also doesn’t stand out because a swordsman should live this way so that there is no shift between battle mode and life mode. It is the way he is. He is never not practicing bushido.

Back to Felina. After the cops came, after the cousin lost the momentum, we went to the bodega to make groceries. Felina is a hot mess. She is also a good catholic girl who can’t escape her confession of faith nor her anger at the church. Felina, when she begins to be attracted to a guy or a girl, has expectations of the prospective partner. One of them is that when she complains of being hungry said partner should offer to feed her. Whelp . . . the current bae is a very fashy boy. He is tall & skinny, olive toned, of non-obvious lineage, with sharp green eyes and fiercely blond, nappy hair. He favors androgenous fashion, mixing thick cowboy belts with leggings, ripped jeans and wildfang sweaters. He is also a rather fine snowflake, expert at the approved fashy signals.

So, we’ve all been there. You go to the kitchen, hung over, dreaming of a favorite cure, and upon a search of the cupboards, find that the cunt cousin has scarfed down what you had hoped to eat. Through the fog of the hangover you remember that you ended last night having to get the bae to pay for your Uber home because this week’s check got smoked on a bar tab. There was a fight with the bae because he was not being very copacetic and you were drunk. So, the refuge of a millennial, social media, becomes a place to shout out your annoyance and desperation. What’s the reply of all those fashy friends to your plight? “Wow, that sucks. Wish I could help but . . .” Bae isn’t returning your texts or replying to voice mail. A quick trod around the tubes turns up a thread on gab.ai where the bae is flirting with some yup bitch. Asshole.

Yeah, so . . . all that virtue signalling about the plight of the downtrodden and when one of ours is ass-out the sincerity is smoke on the water. This isn’t just a thing with the fashy protest crowd. My brethren, confessed Christians, do this. Actuality is scary. It threatens our bubble and we react by trying to push it away. Guys like my Uncle Gary and people like Felina, who are an affront to a few orthodoxies, at first generate an itch to shun.

My Jesus was a badass. He was a carpenter who ate with thieves. He did scandalous things that insulted the establishment of his day. I don’t hear him saying to me, “Wow, Felina is a handful, stay away from that mess.” No, he says to me, “learn to love her as I would love her. Serve her as I would serve her.” Ruh roh. That’s not inside my comfort zone. Watching three women go at it is not my idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Listening to Felina hope that her cousin is arrested isn’t the sort of Gauloise fueled conversation I imagine I could have with a girl like Felina. Yet, here I am, leaning on the fender of my Impala, waiting for the storm to subside.

She had me on her front lawn and bae on the phone. Fashy boy was begging off. He had to work overnight at Denny’s and didn’t have any clean uniforms. The circle of friends she engaged with on social media evaporated as she posted about the fire fight under way between cousin and auntie. Everybody was broke, out of town, had to work, car trouble . . .

I did my small act of kindness with some love. I dunno about great love. Felina is on my list of folk who are a challenge to love. She is this big storm of hot mess that seems untamable. At the bodega she lit up buying Haitian items. I had a whole different list in my head when I offered to make groceries. No matter. Part of my task is to do these acts of kindness agenda free. It was illuminating to see what she bought.

On the way back she was negotiating a night away from the house. Bae wasn’t pleased. He didn’t get that a standard piece of advice is to stay away for a bit until things calm down. She was just going to drop the groceries and get a ride to the friend’s house. Cousin’s parting shot was a post on social media that Felina was trading nekkid favors for what I spent at the bodega. As if. But, in the hour since we left the cops had calmed things down and the auntie had started some red rice and stewed chicken. So, from my passenger window she said her goodbyes and went back inside.

Share

Hello 2017

I don’t have 1500 odd words on a single topic. I have a storm cloud of random thoughts buzzing around like knats on meth. So, this post will be a little (a lot) scattered. Your normally crazy-making, pugnacious blog posts will resume soon enough.

♦ ♦ ♦

We have been told for a century that we have no agency, we can’t do it ourselves, we must keep taking what pittance Pimp Daddy US deigns to grant us and praise him for his benevolence. We don’t need to burn down D.C. or anything that dramatic. Just move our commerce into the black market. Yes, some of us will get arrested for failing to pay taxes and such. That’s the cost of doing business in an authoritarian, socialist republic. Pimp Daddy US has never been able to completely shut down the extant black market so I don’t see him able to do so anytime soon. Self-reliance, the thing of 2017.

♦ ♦ ♦

These are the current cabinet departments under the Executive Branch: State, Treasury, Defense, Attorney General, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health & Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Education, Energy, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security. 15 huge bureaucracies that have an enlightened self-interest in continued existence. In addition, there is the White House Chief of Staff, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Trade Representative, the Ambassador to the United Nations, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. 7 more bureaucracies that are treated like Cabinet level offices in the Executive Branch which also want to continue to get funding.

Congress has its own administrative organization feeding from the trough of Pimp Daddy US. You have to also add in the lobbyists, who are a hidden fifth element of the federal government. Much of the sausage making of governing this empire happens inside the offices of law firms lobbying on behalf of their clients. They provide the staff needed to write the laws, provide congress with the digests of the legislation written, advocate for the laws desired by their clients and provide cover for congressmen and senators who want to claim that the junket to the Turks and Caicos was a working one. We won’t be able to do much with the licentious relations happening on K-Street. Free speech, etc. There are things we can do, though.

We are a multi-trillion dollar economy. We are one of the wealthiest and largest empires in history. It takes a government of a certain size to run this massive empire we have made. That said, we have built an unwieldy and ineffective bureaucracy in the Executive Branch that has become a tail eating serpent. It no longer exists to serve the President or us. It exists to serve itself and to grow. We will not fix our present malaise unless we cut this cancer on the republic down to size. So, if I were king (no danger of that), I’d do several things. First, day one,shut the government down for a hundred days. Essential services like Defense and Homeland Security would stay in operation. Everything else, though, would be shuttered. All Executive orders would be suspended pending review. Next, these cabinet offices would be kept: State, Treasury, Defense, Attorney General, Commerce, Transportation, Homeland Security, White House Chief of Staff, Office of Management and Budget. The others would be shut down over two years. The work they do would be turned over to private, non-profit entities with supporting law and/or regulation through the Attorney General to ensure they behave themselves. These entities would not receive federal funding.

Dumpf campaigned on “Drain the Swamp”. The first president to take a serious whack at the bloated fourth branch of the government will get crucified by the press and those with a vested interest in sustaining it. The opposition will unleash all the political dirty tricks they have. It will be a fight for power unlike anything we have seen since the Civil War. If that president survives the fight and manages to eliminate the Cabinet departments I’d like to see gone it will have the effect of taking money out of Congress’ hands and out of the kitty of any following President, maybe. Anything done on an Executive Order can be reversed by succeeding Presidents. Part of the victory will be to tie the hands of any successors so that putting back the eliminated Cabinet Departments will be too politically expensive. Swamp drained. Power in Washington reduced. Both good things.

I am not so naive as to believe that shrinking the Executive Branch will make the government less corrupt. Wealth and power are like water. They find their own level. In the absence of power vacated by the Executive Branch something will step up to fill the void. We’ve had our century of feeding on Pimp Daddy US’s benevolence. Government is already corrupt. I’d like to try allowing that corruption to go somewhere else. Gone out of the White House maybe we can find a better battlefield on which to fight it to the death.

♦ ♦ ♦

I am reading James O. Hannay’s, “The Wisdom of the Desert”. Holy Crap! We are a bunch of glutinous wussies. I keep talking about living on less, devoting a whole blog post (Money) to it recently. I haven’t changed my habits. I still fuss over finding an afternoon at Starbucks on one cup of coffee to be too expensive. Will I follow through in 2017? The new year is 2 days old. We have 363 more days to see if I do.

♦ ♦ ♦

Ray RobertaBob’s rules to live by:

  1. Lidera con compasión y misericordia. Solamente después de que su encuentro con alguien desafíe su opción para comenzar con la compasión usted encuentra maneras de limitar creativamente su misericordia hacia ellos. Incluso entonces, considere a los monjes y su voluntad de sufrir más allá de lo que la mayoría de la gente consideraría sana.
  2. El perdón te hace libre.
  3. Constantemente pregunte si sus elecciones actuales le acercan a su deidad o interfieren con su relación con su deidad. Todo lo que te aleje de una relación sana con tu deidad debe dejar tu vida.
  4. Un poco de miseria es bueno para el alma. Algunos de lo que quieres sólo pueden venir a través de la lucha.
  5. El rey no es tu papá de azúcar ni tu amigo. Deja de esperar que él te cuide.
  6. La sabiduría comienza con parientes y amigos. Amad a vuestros parientes, amigos y enemigos por igual.
  7. La forma en que usted califica para ser servido es servir a otra persona.

♦ ♦ ♦

That’s pretty much it. I joined my local YMCA as 2016 neared an end. I’ve done 3 workouts so far. I’ve been on diabetes meds long enough to be addicted and overly tolerant of their effects. Bringing my disease under control will mean more addictive/damaging/powerful meds or a much more impactful change in habits. If you want to pray for something, pray that I’ll get it in gear and eat better/exercise more. I’ve said enough about my money dysfunction. It’s not a matter of more knowledge or more words. New Year’s Resolutions are slow-news-day filler. I am a writer. Talking about doing something isn’t the hard thing. It’s the follow through. Stay tuned. This story will play itself out over the next few years. Keep reading the blog to find out how it ends.

Share

You So Sadomasochistic

First Posted 28-Oct-2014

I may be repeating myself. It is something I noticed as an Americorp Volunteer at Boaz & Ruth. People who had been horribly abused as children sought out adult relationships with abusers. It was as if because of some unresolved business with God the evil of their parents drove them to carry it into their adult life as they sought partners. Children of drug addicts somehow found their greatest love in other addicts and drug dealers. I’ve learned of late that some of the crap I went through as a kid is an inheritance from my grandparents and perhaps further. Lovely.

shacklesI live in the capital of the South. Richmond, VA is one corner of the slave triangle. The other corners are London and the West African Coast. The wound on the soul of slavery is still felt deeply here. It still festers in the hearts of our ancestors, slave and slave owner. The abuse perpetuated was horrid. The inherited bitterness deep and hard to heal. “Why can’t you just get over it?” If you have been abused you know. It isn’t something you just get over. So much of your life is colored by the scars of the abuse. The physical wounds heal. The psychological wounds can be a chronic illness that is difficult, perhaps impossible to heal. You don’t just “get over it”.

We elected a black President. Good on us. He is not, as is popular to say in the conservative press, HRH Obama. But the way some of us have responded to him, the expectations we have placed on him, feel to me like slaves wanting to return to the plantation and shackle themselves to involuntary bondage and whippings. It feels like some of us are seeking from him the very sorts of behavior we despise because it hurt us so. I hope you are mad at those words. You should be. Obama needs to succeed as a president, as a man without regard to race. That his popularity is fading among some because he didn’t buy them a cell phone and a Cadillac should expose a flaw in the character of our culture. It should not be a metric of Obama’s performance as president. It should also reveal a need to continue to heal the wounds in our culture which drive us back to the destructive relationships we left.

That itch to seek justice from the sumbitch that abused us, just drives us back into the hell we so passionately say we never want to return to. The healing has to come from forgiveness and a healthy relationship to God. We need to leave our sumbitch alone. One more thing, though. I am saying we need to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. I’m not saying that we should forgo seeking appropriate justice. Choices need to have consequences. Folk that are behaving in a dissonant or damaging way need to be called to account. Most of the time this means involving the cops or other appropriate support. It’s not something we should do on our own.

This relates to Obama how? We have to stop electing politicians we elevate to demi-gods or kings. We have to stop putting them in power expecting them to stop abusing us, wrap us in material comfort, and attempt to fill the God sized hole with pleasures or things of this world. We have to get over the idea that a president is good or bad based on whether he buys us a Cadillac and a cell phone. Obama can’t do a lot of what we wanted him to do. We have to do it person by person, at the local level. That’s how we break the cycle of bitterness we have inherited.

Share

The End of the World

First Posted 10-Feb-2105

Not dead yet? Sun rose again today? Doh. Guess we are not going to die just yet. Dang. I was hoping to be raptured so I didn’t have to do dishes tonight. Well that stinks. As I type it’s a fairly typical February day for Richmond, VA. It’s cold, it rained this morning, there was sleet but now it’s all melted and the streets are dry. We haven’t had our snowpocolypse storm yet this year. The one where the weatherman swears it’s going to dump 1,000 feet of snow on us and we won’t dig out until the year 3,000. So, there is bread, milk & toilet paper still on the shelves in the store.

“Mosque” by Antonio Melina

I am familiar with my Christian brethren who live breathless lives sure that today is the very day when St. Lucifer will show up, pronounce his victory over Christ, and begin the end of the world. Various fools in our history have set a date & time that came & went and the sun rose and the end of the world was . . . not so much. So, they had to mop the floors like yesterday and do dishes and all the other stuff that comes with the day to day. Not raptured today? Maybe tomorrow.

Now, though, I learn that there are Muslim fools who believe an Islamic apocalypse very similar to our Krischin one. They too keep believing that Mohamed is nigh and we are all dead about . . . now. Not dead? Rats. Maybe tomorrow.

The hamper is full. The victory garden needs weeding. I’m cool with a kind of passive foolishness where folk run about evangelizing because they are sure that the end is near. What I don’t like is the thought that we should do something to precipitate the end. If God isn’t moving fast enough to bring final judgement on his creation then we have to get it in gear and start making it happen. Uhm, what? Wait. Meaning?

If I understand this right, meaning that we are doing God’s work by killing all who don’t agree with our flavor of Abrahamic religion. Whoa. That’s not good. If it’s true, it needs to stop. Too, if there is an eight century beef against Christians because of what we did back in the day, OMG, start forgiving, please. I’ve said similar things earlier on this blog. Vengeance just begets more vengeance. The whole reason that the final play of Oresteia is a trial is that by then folk have figured out that the rule of law is the only thing to break the perpetual bloodshed of a feud. Resentment is a bottomless hole. There is nothing the object of the resentment can do to make it even. There are no words sufficient, no number of bodies on the floor that will be enough. At some point justice and mercy have to come together to break the cycle of violence.

I don’t have the way out of this. Being nice to them doesn’t seem to mean anything. Talk is useless. They use the time to clean their guns and resupply. I know of the debate over whether it is “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not murder”. I tend to fall with those who say it is “Thou shalt not murder” and on that, say that there are times when killing is necessary. I’d rather we didn’t fight, we didn’t unleash our military might in the Middle East. But, if that’s what it takes, if bodies on the floor are what is needed to end the fight, so be it. Those of us that survive will get the dishes done and do the needful.

Share

Forgiveness is Work

#johnk. My buddy and I were kicking around the various malfunctions we suffer from/through with our kin. His Dad somehow picked up the “go away/come here” tactic of some women. It is a core belief of his that any relationship that feels like it is in “come here” mode will flip to “go away” mode right ricky-tick. So much so that he almost needs a friendship to swing between moments of closeness and moments of distance. He also talked about the substantial list of “‘spose to’s” that his brother has. His brother, then, spends a fair amount of time being frustrated because the world/people/God doesn’t come correct and do things the way they are supposed to. His family also seems to suffer from “last word” disease. This is where you can’t end any conversation with the other party unless they have the last word.
missouri-black-eyed-susanFor my part I talked about our family believing that we know what’s wrong with you and that we also know what you should do, what you are supposed to do, to fix what ails you. We are quite sure that if you’ll do it our way everything will be fine. Also my Dad’s habit of saying something provocative for his own amusement at the rise he’s able to get out of you. I carried into adulthood a core belief that I was the sacrificial lamb that needed to die so the family’s sins could be atoned for. A sacrificial lamb who became a sheep who liked the color black and has an abiding suspicion of overarching orthodoxy. Tell me the price of friendship is adherence to your orthodoxy and I tend to want to fight about it. Becoming a disciple of Christ took some doing. I had a lot of forgiving to do.

The conversation came around to forgiveness. I’m all about mercy and compassion because it is what has kept me out of jail. If I don’t forgive, don’t remain merciful to my ex-wife, I probably would be in prison and she would be dead. My son would lose his mother and his father, one to the grave and the other to the prison system. My son’s Mom is alive and well and living in Henrico, VA because I made a practice of being compassionate.

My friend was struck by these words: “forgiveness is work.” I said it because as many times as I have forgiven my ex-wife and for all the years we have been apart, I still get triggered and find myself reliving old bitterness. I have to forgive her again, pray again, do the things I’ve done for fourteen years to keep my heart pointed toward Christ again. I’ve gotten better over these years. I can do this in seconds where it used to take me several hours. Still, I am never done with the work of being compassionate, of loving my enemies. Forgiveness is still work for me. I used to believe it was a one & done sort of thing. You said the words and it was over. You said, “I forgive you.” and the power of the egregious event is gone. Then I met my ex-wife, who has a remarkable talent for holding the emotional weight of an egregious event far longer than I thought was possible.

When we separated I found that it wasn’t enough to offer an apology once, to say I forgave her once. I still felt the hurt of our destructive relationship, separation and eventual divorce. I had to do it again, do the work again, so that I could stay spiritually healthy. It wasn’t a one & done sort of thing. I’m still working at it. So far, it doesn’t look like I’m done. I’m better at it than I was fourteen years ago. But stuff happens and the work I’ve done evaporates and I find myself repeating prayers I thought I’d finished with. Still, practice has made things better. Over the years there is less that truly unbalances me and I find it easier to rebalance and refocus on Christ. If there is any message it is that you shouldn’t give up if an ill wind blows apart your life and you have to repeat the work of being/becoming compassionate. Keep at it. Things do get better.

Share

3-Dot Mediocrity

First Posted 24-Jun-2015

Ok, yungins, go Google “Herb Cain“. Also Walter Winchell. Both published columns talking about what was going on in their respective cities. Herb Cain was a fixture in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost 60 years. His columns were tidbits of news seperated by an elipsis. I will never be as good as either Herb or Walter. But I’ve been away from this blog for a while and the backlog of topics has gotten long. Rather than try to make a post per topic I figure I’d steal a tactic from Herb Cain and do a few topics in this post.

confederate_flagLet me start with Rachel Dolezal. I need to marry her. Brown, crazy, liar, single mother, divorced, bitter, all my major malfunctions in one woman. She’d hate me so I’d feel right at home. Oh, and Rachel? Newsflash: you are white. . . We are a week into the aftermath of the tragic death of 9 Christians by a lone gunman. A lot has been said. I don’t know how much I can add to the conversation. Definitely prayers and condolences to the families that lost loved ones. As for a-hat, everything I have to say involves a criminal act of vengeance so I’ll not say it here. I am pleased that folk have taken the high road and talked about love and forgiveness. . . the knee-jerk reaction of Obummer and Billary to lay the blame at the feet of inadequate gun control is just stupid. There is gun control. For a law abiding citizen it is plenty difficult to get a gun. Yet, the a-hat who killed 9 people was able to get a gun. The gun isn’t the problem. The a-hat and his evil ideas about African-Americans is the problem . . . the various politicians and corporate leaders who are reacting to public opinion and removing the Confederate Battle flag from public buildings and products. I get it that some view that flag as a symbol of racism. Yes, we did unspeakable evil as a nation in our first century. Yes, the Confederate flag was flown by those who fought to keep slavery. I get that. I can understand a desire to not have that symbol part of ones visual landscape. . . 9 people are dead because of the heart of an evil man.

The problem is/was his heart, our hearts. The battle should not be over external symbols. It should be over the content of our character and the quality of our hearts. The absence of the Confederate Battle flag will not change that. . . I haven’t heard much from Billary. I’m working in New Hampshire, the focus of a lot of campaigning for the 2016 Presidential election. Of what I’ve heard it’s as if nothing was done over the last 8 years. Healthcare has to be reformed, more money taken from the rich and given to the poor, the same tired rhetoric about being a change agent for the middle class (meaning Union workers). Blah, blah, blah. Can we get a new song from the Democrats? Please and thank-you. While I’m at it, can we get some political leadership that hasn’t sold their testicles to the Chinese? The current crop sounded wonderful in the election prior to starting their term in Congress. Now they are a bunch of whining weenies who happily bend over for the Democrats and Obummer. Useless.

Share