Monday, November 20, 2017

Work or Work?

Here’s what I'll be working for this week.
  1. Gasoline: CA’s recent gas tax hike has made it more difficult to keep gas in the car. Cheapest: $3.09. I’d like to fill up the 15-gallon tank this week – something I’ve done only once since I’ve owned it.
  2. Brakes: brake light flashes once when I turn the car on; probably just in need of brake fluid.
  3. Laptop maintenance: Asus Windows 10. It’s a workhorse; no maintenance since I bought it in 2014 with Windows 7. Locks up regularly and cursor jumps around without warning. It’s time.
  4. Space heater: Because I live in Southern CA and my landlord pays for water and because of electric cooking appliances, I’ve been able to do without gas during the summer. In winter, however, this is harder -- not only because it’s colder, but, since I do most of my laundry by hand, it takes days for it to dry. A space heater would reduce this time span down to an hour, probably.
  5. Electric and Internet bills – and coffee in bulk: Obvious.
I want to do a post here each day this week, including another one today; these will go along with my
The perfect metaphor for my typing speed
usual semi-weekly posts for Da Tech Guy.

I have an at-will gig at a transcription site and I could spend all day doing that and pay for some of this stuff by next Monday. But if I do it that way, no blogging will get done.

So, again, I’d like you all to help if you want. Thanks.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post:  Telling the Truth Isn't for the Faint of Heart.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Why Non-Christians Don't Understand Christian Prayer

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This is a continuation on my post from a week and a half ago at Da Tech Guy blog. It probably won’t follow a direct line of thinking, though. Call it a train of meandering thought.

After the massacre at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, many expressed sympathies toward those who were affected and still living. “Thoughts and prayers” is the usual phrasing, something with which I have no quarrel.

However, with such an evil act having been perpetrated on followers of Jesus the Christ while they were in the midst of worshiping Him, many non-believers took the opportunity to mock Christianity and Christians.

Most of the mockery amounted to this: “Where is your god now?” “Prayer doesn’t work.”

I have several atheist friends and family members with whom I usually don’t argue and, usually, they don’t argue with me when I expound on the Bible. However, I hope that they all read what I write here and it’s this: if you’re going to argue against Christianity, know what you’re talking about and what you’re arguing against. That is the failure of naysayers to Christianity and of prayers to the Living God.

A lot of people, even some Christians, argue about what happens here on Earth as if there is no afterlife, as if this life is the only one there is. If it’s true that this is all there is, then why bother doing what’s right? Why not get all you can get and get away with?

I’ve always believed that God exists. But, before I became a Christian, the god I thought existed didn’t pay much attention to me and was busy lavishing his attention on others he felt were worthier. (The riveting thing about that is, after I became a Christian, I began to reflect on certain incidents prior to that and concluded that God had been paying close attention to me, but I had ignored it or forgotten about it.)

The beginning went like this: after reading the Bible the first time all the way through, I said “Okay. I’m in.” There were no harps or angelic visions.

Since becoming a Christian, my struggle has been to rid myself of that old notion of who God is and to discern what the true nature of our being and of this world. I’ve read the Bible from beginning to end more than once. I’ve attached myself to a Bible-based nondenominational church. I’ve read and listened to topical sermons from many pastors.

The story of my search for a church is told here, but that was only the barest beginning. My life as a Christian used to be like this: I’d go to church, listen, take notes, say amen. And then I’d go back to ignoring God on the other six days. That pattern stopped when my life seemed to take a turn for the worse. Broken relationships, taking care of a terminally ill great-aunt (parent), loss of house, car and loss of the majority of my physical possessions, homelessness. Oh, I was praying then, every single day! Hanging onto the promises of God. Taking them and saying to him “you promised this if I did this.” And the big one “are you going to leave me, too?”

I could almost hear him say: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Okay then. Just checking.

And He has stabilized my material possession situation – several items have been replaced by my generous friends-fans -- but I have not reverted to my old relationship with Him. And that’s one of the main purposes of prayer: keeping the relationship alive. It does so many things including thisone thing: it will keep you sane. But you must listen even more than you talk because He knows things that you don’t know. Example: eternal life; the life after this one.

If I’m going to die and my body becomes worm food and my consciousness ceases to exist, then why bother to do anything other than to satisfy my own appetites? People much more intelligent than I am have struggled with this, but that intellectual inequality matters not at all. If we actually think about these things – if we are “fortunate” enough to have it enter our minds and curious enough to keep turning over those rocks to see what’s underneath, we come to one of two conclusions.

1) That there is no God, and nothing matters in the long run, or
2) That there is a God, and what we do here matters to that deity.

Of course, item 2 has many subheadings, such as, the nature/personality of this deity and what that deity wants of us, if anything.

Leaving aside all the other theologies, why wouldn’t I want to serve an omnipotent, omniscient God of whom I’m a reflection and who loves me like any father loves his child? And why wouldn’t I want to be with him when this life is over? To experience things I can never imagine in this life? And if I listen and talk to him, why wouldn’t I want his omniscient self to reveal things to me that I need to know? And if he loves me with perfect love, why wouldn’t I trust him most especially when the feces hits the fan?

This direction of thought – this walk of faith – is, mostly, unfathomable to those who never embark on the journey and, especially, to those who volitionally choose to walk in the other direction. If there is nothing else other that this reality, prayer seem foolish to them. But the irony is this: if there is nothing else other than this reality, then there is no point in getting worked up over murders, suicides, rapes, etc. either! I mean, if there’s no final accounting, then it’s eat, drink, be merry, rape, steal, kill and destroy as much as you can get away with, if any or all of those are your thing.

Right?
If we learned that the vast majority of the world loved chocolate but hated vanilla, would we claim this made vanilla “wrong” or “evil”? Of course not. It’s just a matter of taste, or human preference. Yet how is it any different asserting murder is “wrong” or “evil” if the only reason we do so is that we learn that the vast majority of the world hates the idea of killing others in a way the vast majority of the world considers unjust? 
If man’s consensus is all it is, then it falls into the same category as flavors: human preference. (…) 
And if God doesn’t exist? Then we should stop fooling ourselves and putting lipstick on the pig of mere preference. Stop using words such as “values” (prevalent now precisely because “morality” connotes something absolute), designed to obscure atheism’s meaninglessness.(…) 
So, if God doesn’t exist, neither atheists nor theists can be moral — only in or out of fashion.
This pastor caught no end of short-sighted ridicule even from Christians about this very biblical point of view.
When we pray [“Deliver us from evil”], we are certainly praying that God would deliver us from evil temporally—that is, in this earthly life. Through these words, we are asking God to send his holy angels to guard us from those who would seek to destroy us with knives and bombs and bullets. It may seem, on the surface, that God was refusing to give such protection to his Texan children. But we are also praying that God would deliver us from evil eternally. Through these same words, we are asking God to deliver us out of this evil world and into his heavenly glory, where no violence, persecution, cruelty, or hatred will ever afflict us again. 
We also pray in the Lord’s Prayer that God’s will be done. Sometimes, his will is done by allowing temporal evil to be the means through which he delivers us from eternal evil. Despite the best (or, more accurately, the worst) intentions of the wicked against his children, God hoists them on their own petard by using their wickedness to give those children his victory, even as the wicked often mock the prayers of their prey.
I don’t want to tell the story of the Garden of Eden again, but one thought about it reminds us that the evil in this world was set in motion then and, at some point will lead to the destruction of it. But, again, is this the only existence there is? Christians give an emphatic “no” to that question. Therefore, those who have Jesus the Christ as Savior will live forever in Paradise, and that includes most if not all of those who were murdered in Texas. This world is bad and, in it, evil falls on the just and the unjust alike. That, however, is not so in the next world, not for the group mentioned, at least.

But there’s the soul and spirit of one person that everyone seems to forget about in the discussion of this tragedy: the perpetrator. He will live forever, too. I don’t even want to think about it, really. But assuming there is an afterlife and you spent your last moments in this life mowing down innocents …

Back to prayers; in situations like this, Christians pray for the comfort of the living, that they are reminded of the hope of eternal life, and to go along with that, that their loved ones likely made it into Heaven, considering what they were doing when they died.

So those who ridicule prayers and Pray-ers have no concept of what they are doing. It's like a spiritual Dunning-Kruger effect.

I think we should pray for them.

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

My October 2017 Post Digest from Da Tech Guy Blog

Strangest Fruit
Old Ally
There's Still Hope for Humanity
Noisome Pestilence, Etc.
Feeding the Brimstone
Bigger and Uglier
Dirty Drawers
Wait ... What?
Some of My Best Friends are Catholic



Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog.

When you hit the Tip Jar, it helps pays for: A Roof Over My Head, Food, Gasoline, Car Insurance, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.





Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Actors, Unequal Amplification, and the Inability to Hold Onto One's Shit


No, this is not one more blog post about Harvey Weinstein.

In the week following the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, I featured an Instagram photo shared by Discovery’s star, Sonequa Martin-Green. In the photo, the cast and crew kneel in solidarity with the NFL players who are kneeling during the National Anthem when it is played/sung prior to football games.

I had thought about skipping both Discovery and the NFL, but I changed my mind and decided to watch the TV show; I have to say that it’s great.

Especially compelling is the character of Captain Gabriel Lorca. Trek fans have never seen a captain like this dude before -- not unless he/she is a guest star who, at the end of the episode, is going to end up dead, imprisoned, or disgraced in some other way. Part Kirk and part General Chang, minus the joie de vivre of either -- as yet, anyway.

On Twitter, I started following actor Jason Isaacs, who plays Lorca, not long after the episode debuted. Isaacs is far from the first actor I’ve followed. I keep track of several others because I like their work and/or some entertainment project of theirs.

Of course, we all know that the entertainment industry is filled with liberals and leftists and, because of Social Media, we often get to read what their liberal/leftist opinions are. It’s something to be expected and when an actor puts forth a liberal/leftist opinion with which I don’t agree, I generally keep scrolling unless it’s an area in which I have specific knowledge.

With Isaacs being a very outspoken liberal, I expected to have to keep scrolling a lot and I do. But the following caught my eye.


FTR, Isaacs is a British subject.

Not only do I have a lot of liberal friends, but a lot of liberals in the family (hello? I’m black) and I’m connected to many of them via Facebook; many of them hate President Trump with the fire of ten thousand suns. And then there are all the conservative NeverTrumpers. On top of that, there are the Trump Worshipers who, also, fly into a rage should someone have the temerity to offer the most benign criticism of DJT – like maybe he could be more selective in choosing his opponent when starting a Twitter war.

I keep scrolling for most of these, too. Unfortunately, many don’t do me the same favor and will cut off communications if I don't roll over and agree.

Many in the categories specified in above are very good at doing this one thing:

Losing their shit.

But most of my friends and acquaintances are not entertainment professionals and, therefore, don’t have the voice that the latter do. Entertainment professionals – especially actors – have far greater amplification than do most of us normal people. Huge numbers of people follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the same reason I do -- respect for their ability to entertain.

Don’t get me wrong. This post isn’t about fairness. Of course, the amplification imbalance is not fair, but I, for one, think fairness is overrated. I point out the imbalance to say this one thing:

Amplification size does not equal truth.

I do wish that more actors, regardless of their politics, would take the time to flesh out their opinions, but we all know that’s too much to ask for most of them, with some notable exceptions. Mostly it’s all about whipping up the mob and pumping up the ego by soliciting “right-ons” aka “likes” – something I’m not above doing, but as fans of baldilocks already know, it’s not all I do.

So, I’ll keep scrolling over outrage mongering of any variety and hope for a few more measured, reasoned voices even if they belong to liberal entertainment professionals. And I’ll keep watching Star Trek: Discovery. The NFL, however, can go fly a kite.

And, remember:

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest: Dirty Drawers

When you hit the Tip Jar, it helps pays for: A Roof Over My Head, Food, Gasoline, Car Insurance, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility. 



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Halfrican's Perspective on Black African Immigrants and Black Americans

In September, the Black Students United at Cornell University sent the school’s president a list of demands, one of which was startling, but only a little.
We demand that Cornell Admissions to come up with a plan to actively increase the presence of underrepresented Black students on this campus. We define underrepresented Black students as Black Americans who have several generations (more than two) in this country.
The Black student population at Cornell disproportionately represents international or first-generation African or Caribbean students. While these students have a right to flourish at Cornell, there is a lack of investment in Black students whose families were affected directly by the African Holocaust in America. Cornell must work to actively support students whose families have been impacted for generations by white supremacy and American fascism.”
I found this and a great deal of other information about this matter at Legal Insurrection. You can read it all here

This attitude reminded me of a post I wrote last year about black African immigrants and American-born blacks – something about which I have a unique perspective. I thought I’d lost the post; apparently, at some point, I accidentally hit the delete button, but I retrieved it via the Wayback Machine and reposted on its original date and time. However, here it is again. The short version: neither the university nor white people in general can fix this.

*****

7/29/2016

Today, on Social Media, I requested that my friends and followers submit writing topics to me. One of the suggestions was the difference between African immigrants and black Americans who are descendants of American slavery.

I’ve glanced against the topic before, when making other points.

The Herding, Part One:
Take everything we know about the history of Americans of African descent piece by piece. Our West African ancestors were sold into American slavers -- mostly at the behest of other black Africans. Upon arrival in America, they were forbidden under pain of death, to speak their native languages or use the names with which they had been born. Unlike all other immigrants to America, the African slave was forcibly cut off from these vestiges of the Old Country--essentially the slave became a new creation. The American descendant of American slaves is, thus, wholly and deeply American.

[N]ames, languages, family structures, belief systems (…) have buoyed all other ethnic groups—including recent African immigrants—in their sojourn to this country and all of them had the choice to hold onto the elements of their cultures that fit into the American ideal and discard those which were incompatible. American slaves were granted no such luxury. Our ancestors were emptied of their identities and re-created in the image of what America had for them. And, up until roughly fifty years ago, much of that image was molded by oppression and scorn. 
However, most black Americans held on tightly to the universal totems of personal and communal honor: love of God, family, love of community, industriousness, self-reliance -- all of which also flow and follow from America’s founding document. (That America strayed away from those principles with respect to black Americans isn’t the point, that those principles even existed is. And, with those concrete principles in hand, black Americans were able to point to them and say to other Americans, “live up to your -- to our -- principles.”) 
(…) 
What we saw in New Orleans after Katrina was a microcosm of the character disintegration of this most American of Americans. It wasn’t born of DNA nor of the historical effects of slavery; it was born of the wholesale abandonment of a character tried and refined by fire and of the principles which held black Americans together in prior times of adversity.
If mother and father don’t love child enough to at least try to create the most tried and true environment for the nurturing of that child, it follows that neither mother, nor father, nor child will love and respect neighbors or community. We declined en masse the prescriptions and proscriptions of God regarding the family and allowed government to usurp the place of the head of the family--the husband/father/leader/protector. We abandoned the identity which our forebears shaped for us and put chaos in its place.
As is obvious and as one might be able to infer from my own heritage—being the 55-year-old offspring of an African immigrant to America and an American descendant of American slaves -- I’ve had plenty of time and reason to give the topic a lot of thought. I don’t think that many involved think through the circumstances far enough, which makes for a lot of animosity between black Africans and black Americans.

My earlier observations point to several factors for the differences, some of which are common among African, black Caribbean immigrants, and other immigrant groups:
  • All voluntary immigrants to America represent the go-getters among their number. It takes uncommon intestinal fortitude to get up and leave everything one knows in order to chase a dream in a foreign land.
  • The birthplaces of all voluntary immigrants provide qualities to be measured. The qualities in question are: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. America almost always wins this measurement contest.

Aside from those observations, there are others to consider.

My father came to America in 1959 via the Mboya Airlift. His group of several dozen gifted students was the first large-scale immigration of black Africans since the end of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Importation. (For the record, the U.S, importation of slaves was outlawed in 1807, but there was still a huge black market—no pun intended—up until the Emancipation Proclamation.)

Mboya Airlift students; I have not been able to pick out my father among them. Attribution.
After the Civil War and before the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, only a bit over a thousand black Africans immigrated to the USA, the dearth of which was due to the lack of financial resources among most black Africans at the time. The Johnson-Reed Act tamped that number almost down to zero. (It’s interesting to note that this law banned Arab and East Asian immigration outright and that it was a codicil to the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, which was aimed at Southern and Eastern Europeans. I’d like to investigate the effects of those restrictions with respect to Eastern Europeans who were looking to escape Ataturk, Hitler and Stalin in that decade and those following.) 

But, subsequent to the Mboya Airlift, the restrictions on black African and other non-Western European immigration were eased in 1965.
The timing is significant and is the point of this singular observation. African immigrants are indeed the go-getters from among their fellows, but they also began to arrive in America at the right time—when race was becoming less of a factor for all Americans and legal residents who were willing to grab hold to the American dream. One might also note that the moral and societal re-enslavement bait to black Americans was cast at roughly the same time.

Here’s something which just occurred to me today: the underlying assumption that black Africans should be similar in ability and behavior to black Americans is that black African heritage confers a DNA-level inferiority on all of us as compared to other groups.

If it were true that black African-descended persons were genetically inferior to other groups, then it would not matter that African immigrants were the go-getters from among their various tribes. They would still tend to display intellectual inferiority to other immigrants and, indeed, be intellectually inferior to black Americans, since, roughly 80% of black American descendants of American slavery -- including me -- have some European heritage.

But that does not appear to be the case.

Survey Shows Black Immigrants are More Educated, Make More Money than African Americans (sic)

“Black immigrants are doing better economically than Blacks born in the U.S. Household incomes for foreign-born Blacks are, on average, $10,000 higher than U.S.-born Blacks. And Black immigrants are less likely to live in poverty,” according to a Black Enterprise article by Stacey Tisdale.  
The Pew Research Survey also indicated foreign born Blacks were older, more educated than Black Americans and more likely to be married.
According to Census data, more than 43 percent of African immigrants hold a bachelor’s degree or higher -- slightly more than immigrants from East Asia. Nigerian immigrants are especially educated, with almost two-thirds holding college degrees -- a significantly higher percentage even than Chinese or South Korean immigrants. African immigrants are also very likely to hold advanced degrees, many of which are earned at U.S. universities. By many measures, African immigrants are as far ahead of American whites in the educational achievement as whites are ahead of African-Americans.

I have repeatedly pointed to the grave damage done to black Americans by the Great Society Programs and all of its evil progeny, but here’s the one which I believe is the most significant: lack of identity.

Most things labelled as identity are extremely dangerous, and feed on hatred of other identities, but, as I pointed out in my essay about Japan and New Orleans, the dearth of a core identity is just as dangerous in that pointless and evil identities are waiting to fill any such voids. Africans and all other immigrants come to America with their core selves intact and that is what drives most of them, in my opinion. That core self is often culturally-based, but it has an even more important foundation: family honor.

Do I need to go on—again--about what has happened to family honor among the vast majority of Americans who are black? I didn’t think so.

We all know about the pseudo-Africans--those black Americans who seek to cobble together an African identity for themselves; indeed, that's what the creation of Kwanzaa is about. I have occasionally made sport of pseudo-Africans, mostly because I can, but, as I've thought through and composed this essay, I'm feeling less haughty and more inclined to point my identity-less American brethren to a true identity solution:

Create a family, be loyal to and accountable to it. That's what pushes our African immigrant friends further than almost all others. And, it's a solution which we can fashion for ourselves. That goes for all Americans...at least for now. Seize the Time.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

About Communication

Roses in my hood. Because roses.
This is the the third time I've posted this missive. This one is a truncated version; sometimes, I do go on, but it's not boring. I promise!

ADDED: Misspelled the title at first. I rely on that little red underline too much.

*****

Think about the last time you tried to have a conversation about important things--especially one in which the other participant didn't agree with you. Several impediments to the transmission of and response to the verbally-expressed ideas likely occurred, coming from both parties.

1. One or both persons talked over each other.
2. One or both persons misinterpreted/misrepresented what the other was trying to say more often than not, due to--again--preconceptions about the other person, the ideas being presented or both.
3. When disagreement is present, one person accuses the other of arguing, as if all arguing is bad and as if argument isn't a natural part of a situation in which two people disagree on a topic.

Dennis Prager talks about this topic often: how to have a productive conversation in which two participants are able to viably communicate. His rule is that a good communicator should speak no more than four sentences, and then allow the other person to respond to the ideas expressed in those sentences. The reasoning behind this rule is that the ideas contained in four sentences are the maximum amount of information that an average person could remember to address without taking notes. I would add a codicil to this rule: if the one knows that an idea requires a long exposition--inherently, much more than four sentences--one should warn the listener of this fact beforehand, simply to find out whether the other party is willing to sit still for the speech/story.

However, in most verbal exchange of ideas, the extremes tend to occur. Either one party talks (filibusters) so long that the other party cannot address every issue because the latter is simply not able to file each issue into short-term memory. Or one party cuts the other off in mid-idea before all elements of that idea can be fully expressed and the former addresses what he/she thinks the latter means without have the full picture. Both conditions are frustrating, often infuriating and result in raised voices, harsh words, hurt feelings and often misconceptions about either or both persons involved in such a so-called conversation.

A third communication extreme is when a person is intent on taking everything the other says as an insult, responding in the perceived same manner and the second person has to spend the rest of the "conversation" saying "no, I didn't mean that, what I meant was--" and getting cut off again.

I don't like to talk to people. I'm not a good conversationalist in that when I sense that the person doesn't really want to listen, I get nervous and begin to stutter and/or trip over my words. And most of those who want filibuster instead of listening will take advantage of that. Additionally, I tend to get angry when the other person doesn't listen--especially when he/she claims to know what I mean apart from things that I've actually said or observation of my actions. When that happens, my voice tends to gain a few--or many--decibels.

Why does this subject mean so much to me?

Because being a good-faith participant in the art of communication is an act of love--all forms. However, the philia form of love figures into the other two greatly: "getting on well with someone" or at least doing all one can to do so. It's also known as respect. Good-faith communication: that means that one assumes that the other participant is conveying a given idea out of goodwill.

I've been in situations in which I was trying to warn a person/persons of possible physical or situational hazards and was verbally torn to pieces--basically amounting to "don't tell me what to do!"--because of misinterpretations of the warning, twisting of my words and/or preconceived notions about how I thought. As a result, some of these persons are no longer my friends. Others (relatives), I keep in a certain zone--the no-real-communication zone.

The more I had been listening to and reading (vehemently illogical and mendacious) opposing responses to stated political and social views, the more I began to wonder why any of us keep plugging--especially those of us on the right. Communication impediments listed above--especially preconceived notions--abound. So why bother?

Then I remembered why I bothered in the first place; convincing others of my points of view was nice, but it wasn't the reason I started blogging. I started doing this for two reasons: to give factual and intellectual flesh to the things I had been thinking about and to do it without being interrupted; to put forth love: *good-faith* communication and to (mostly) get it back---whether the fellow communicator agrees or disagrees with my opinion on a given subject. Anything else is gravy.



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Monday, October 9, 2017

Shame On You!

UPDATE: Thank you! 😍😍

Still needed. $200 for my landlord.

ORIGINAL POST: This came from an old blog friend whom I will not name and it’s in response to my post about the origin of watermelon.

You idiots are doing the same thing to Juliette Akinyi Ochieng right now. She's a black lady that isn't looking for offense and regularly highlights some of the real problems with blacks and others being overly or disingenuously sensitive, so you can come on her page here and revel in a small zone of "safety" that she has created where whites can criticize this stuff. You sure as hell wouldn't be writing this on your own and calling out blacks like she does because you would get blowback if you did it. So you come in here and clap for her saying the things you don't have the guts to say without the cover she is providing you.
I’ve had one very close friend say that I say the things she can’t say without having the accusation of racism being slung at her. This friend is white, had a black step-father, grew up in poor and primarily black surroundings. Her ex-husband is black; she has five children and two grandchildren that I know of; obviously, all her progeny are half black or more than half. She has been Christian, conservative and Republican for as long as I’ve known her – close to 20 years. But hard truths about blacks coming out of the mouths of whites – any whites -- are now deemed racist. I imagine my white and very conservative brother-in-law must strike this deal with his opinions also. He’s a cop.

(Side note: I used to get slimed with the epithets reserved for black conservatives, but now it’s a rare thing. I strike back and I enjoy it.)

The thing is that my blog friend is right; not about my other friends being idiots, but about my blog and my Facebook page being zones of safety. I don’t know if my white friends revel in that safety or not, but, even if they do, here’s the thing: once you allow others to shame you into silence, you’ve set a pattern into motion. You become used to being silent or whispering your opinions in hushed tones – or in zones of safety. Those who would cast shame upon you – who would label you racist for your un-politically correct opinions count on this.

Most who feel shame for whatever reason feel it because the care about how they appear to others. That’s a valid concern, but like almost everything else, balance is necessary here. You should care about the opinions of those you love, like, and respect and about those from whom you work. But, even in those areas, there are limits.

You shouldn’t give a rip about those whose primary function is to silence you because you disagree with them. And when they attempt to cast more shame upon you, speak more.

Interestingly enough, that was the primary point of my watermelon post; that a subject of shame can be taken and flipped on its side, if one possesses enough knowledge and enough personal power. But, more simply one can refuse to be shamed.

Shame is a choice and can be killed. You don’t even need a gun.

And the only cover anyone needs is from God. There's your power over shame, right there.

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Why This LA Native Never Became an Actor

UPDATE: Still needed. 

Back in 1994, when I exited active duty USAF and returned here to my native Los Angeles, I thought about acting. I was 33, reasonably attractive and, though I was starting to curve out a bit even then, I figured that a little diet and exercise would fix that. (Even now, at age 56, though my out-curving is steeper, whenever I put forth a moderate amount of effort in both areas, I achieve good results. Problem: keeping up the effort.)

I took a couple of acting classes – lots of fun and very available here. I even had a non-speaking extra role in The Truth About Cats and Dogs -- beach scene, playing volleyball, though it probably ended up on the cutting room floor. I don’t know, since I’ve never seen it. It was a background scene for which they had me change my bathing suit because they said I was too distracting from the main scene, so it’s likely been reshot. Yes, I'm bragging about what a hot mama I was back then.

Anyway, I decided not to pursue acting for a singular reason: I would likely have to sleep with people not of my taste in order to make a real living. Even back then, the existence of the Casting Couch was commonly known and no one pretended that most actors – especially female ones -- didn’t have to spend at least one occasion on their backs, or on their knees.

I wasn’t a Christian then, so it wasn’t a matter of morals, but a matter of willingness. I was not willing to sleep with repulsive men or with any women for any reason, and, praise be to God, I have never had anyone force themselves upon me.

For Los Angeles natives, rumors about what goes on in Hollywood are part of the culture. Movie and TV shots in various neighborhoods are commonplace; there was one on my present block a few months ago. And the exchange of sex for money/fame is nearly as indigenous here as  earthquakes.

When I made my decision, there wasn’t any specific example I had in mind. I just knew what I’d have to do and I said “no.”

An acquaintance makes her living here as an actress in small speaking parts and commercials. She's been at it a long time, but has never been in a series or a movie role. A beautiful woman, she's told of countless Casting Couch offers, but she won't yield, so she's relegated to the minor leagues. 

So, when the antics of one Harvey Weinstein became news in the past few days, it was no surprise. Even Bill Cosby's bent wasn't all that shocking.

I suspect that Weinstein -- and Cosby -- angered someone more powerful than he, because his Casting Couch has been in existence for decades, long before I made my choice or even knew that Weinstein existed. Others like him were part of Hollywood's foundation.
Harvey Weinstein. I suspect that owning this face is great motivation to become rich. But his heart is uglier.
This probably sounds like blaming his victims; it is and it isn’t. I don’t know whether many people outside of the LA culture know that much about this before they get here. But they surely do after the deal is proposed and, outside of rape, they either close the deal or they don’t.

And I’m sure that Washington operates similarly. 

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Out of Africa: Watermelon (UPDATE)

A brand-new firefighter has been let go because of a gift he presented to his new firehouse.
DETROIT (WJBK) - Earlier this month, 41-year-old Robert Pattison [a white man] went to introduce himself to his fellow firefighters at Engine 55 at Joy and Southfield in Detroit. Second Battallion [sic] Chief Shawn McCarty calls it a tradition for firefighters. 
"It's not mandatory, it's voluntary," he says. "You come in bearing gifts. The usual gift is doughnuts, but you are allowed to bring whatever you want to bring in." 
And Pattison, a probationary firefighter, decided to bring a watermelon wrapped in a pink ribbon. We're told some African-American firefighters were instantly offended, since 90 percent of the people who work at Engine 55 are black.(…) 
Fire Commissioner Eric Jones says the Fenton native was officially discharged. 
In a statement Jones says: "There is zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior inside the Detroit Fire Department. On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at Engine 55, a trial firefighter (probationary employee) engaged in unsatisfactory work behavior which was deemed offensive and racially insensitive to members of the Detroit Fire Department.
My personal experience with watermelon and white people: whenever both have been in the same vicinity at the same time, I've had to ponder bogarting my way into the fray in order to get a slice before it’s all gone. But, I digress.

A friend of a friend posted a link on how watermelon stereotypes have morphed in America over a relatively short period of time, but I figure that the original reason for the association is this:
The watermelon is a flowering plant thought to have originated in southern Africa, where it is found growing wild. It reaches maximum genetic diversity there, with sweet, bland and bitter forms. In the 19th century, Alphonse de Candolle considered the watermelon to be indigenous to tropical Africa. Citrullus colocynthis is often considered to be a wild ancestor of the watermelon and is now found native in north and west Africa. However, it has been suggested on the basis of chloroplast DNA investigations that the cultivated and wild watermelon diverged independently from a common ancestor, possibly C. ecirrhosus from Namibia.
Like our ancestors, watermelon was, no doubt, part of the cargo. However, I suggest that, instead of worrying about the shame that watermelon association has induced in black Americans, we should embrace it as one of the good things brought to America and one of the few things on which most Americans -- most anyone -- can agree: watermelon is tasty and healthy.

Kenyan farmer Geoffrey Ndung'u tends to his crop. Cite.
Shame is powerful, obviously. And it’s much easier to inflict it than to free oneself from it. But, hopefully, this tiny bit of knowledge is more even more powerful.

UPDATE: Rank-and-file black Detroit firefighters stand up for Patti(n)son.
But Tuesday a social media post by Tadarius Spearman stuck up for Pattinson, including a group photo of him with other African-American firefighters.

"Just want to let everyone know he's a real amazing dude and it was all good intentions," he wrote. "And our entire class (is) supporting him in this. Especially us African-Americans and that's all that needs to be said. Stay up brother. #DFD
Well done, gentlemen.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Commie Infiltrator?

Last week, a photo came to light in which a West Point cadet posed at his 2016 graduation while showing the underside of his cover. ‘Cover’ is the proper term for the hat/cap in a military uniform ensemble.

Spenser Rapone (l) at his graduation from West Point
On the cover’s underside is this assertion: “Communism will win.”

That cadet is now 2LT Spenser Rapone and, because of the exposure of the photo, Rapone’s advocacy for communism has come to light. Debra Heine aka Nice Deb has a great outline of Rapone’s beliefs here.

A commenter at This Ain't Hell had this to say about Rapone: “Somewhere, some Sergeant First Class or First Sergeant is saying, ‘See? I f*cking told you so!’”

I’d have to check, but I don’t think that the military sanctions members for its political/ideological beliefs (anymore), though I’m pretty sure that this revelation has ensured that the lieutenant will not get promoted; commissioned officers who are passed over for promotion – rifted -- are involuntarily separated from the service.

The best the Army can likely do is get him for defacing his uniform. Civilians should not look at such a thing as a slap on the wrist. The military services take proper wear of the uniform very seriously and for an officer to willfully deface his uniform will probably get him out earlier than being and out-and-out commie infiltrator or being rifted. And, likely, Rapone’s separation would be of the Big Chicken Dinner variety. Just found out that commission officers cannot receive a BCD or a dishonorable discharge. Chew on that.

Then, there’s his advocacy for political violence – in line with his support for ANTIFA. His political ideology has been known to West Point and the Army since 2015.

Recall that the Army knew about leanings of Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hassan -- former Army Major and MD -- well before his murder spree.

Some of my fellow veterans suspect that Rapone's openness has an unstated purpose: to get out of his West Point appointment and, thereby, his Army commitment. This makes sense to me. A true communist infiltrator would keep silent and wear the appearance of the perfect officer; he/she would understand the concept of OPSEC and apply it to his/her mission.

However, if the latter was Rapone's true purpose, I’d say that he overestimated the Army’s ability to learn from its mistakes.

There are nastier surprises in store, as we found out earlier this week.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning Da Tech Guy Blog. Latest: Strangest Fruit

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