Making Social Media Fun Again…for Me!

I hesitate to do this, but I must. It’s time to lay down the law for you people. You need a set of rules for your use of social media. I’m not so much concerned about how you interact with each other. My concern is more personal. It’s about how you can better interact with me. After all, that’s what important here.

A few years ago, I prepared a simple users guide for newcomers to Facebook. I must say that you failed miserably in following my advice. I am undaunted. My enjoyment of social is important to all of us and certainly worth preserving. Let’s get started.

TIMELINE CLUTTER

If I follow you or we’re friends on social media, your posts appear on my timeline. Think about that. I see what you post. You may not have thought that through. Your memes, photos, status updates and sundry ravings all pass before me. Let’s try to keep it entertaining.

What do I like? A lot of things. Babies are cute. Most small kids are, too. Jokes are good, too, as long as they’re funny. I like a clever pun. Pictures of you are okay, too, but try to make them interesting. Your selfies get tedious, unless you’re really attractive. It’s best not to risk it. Let’s keep it PG-13, too. There are other places to go on the Internet for more “mature” material.

There are many things I don’t need to see. Abused children and animals top that list. If there is a person who must see photos to know these things are bad, that person is either  stupid or insane. As far as you know, I am neither of those. Oh, and no one needs to see dead people. People who want to see pictures of dead people are dangerously disturbed. Don’t indulge them.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m unsure of what to do. What if my posts aren’t entertaining? There are three categories which never fail to entertain me:

Baby Pandas

Post a picture of a baby panda or multiple baby pandas. I’ll like it. I might even comment on it. Here’s one:

babypandas

 

I’m smiling. Don’t confuse Giant Pandas (the adorable ones) with Red Pandas. According to my research, the Red Panda is a weasel-like beast, a kind of tricked-out raccoon. I’m not saying that they don’t have their merits, but they aren’t cute enough to entertain me.

Monkeys Riding Dogs

Several years ago, a friend of mine posted a video of a monkey riding a dog recorded by him at a minor league baseball game. I laughed. I LOL’d, as it were. Here’s a picture of monkey riding a dog:

monkeyrodeo_wide-307fc1e70816bf01cb93296037a053f1e2977234-s6-c30_jpeg

I just laughed again.

I realize not everyone likes monkeys riding dogs. Here in Lexington, Kentucky, our local minor league baseball team actually cancelled a dog-riding monkey show because people complained. I guess it’s not good for the monkeys or maybe the dogs. I disagree. I’ve watched those videos. The monkeys are clearly having a blast. As for the dogs, they seem fine. Dogs are pretty affable, you know. It’s not like they’re riding Maltese or Chihuahuas. If it were apes, there might be a point. Apes are big and can be dangerous. Besides, we humans ride horses. We even race them, and I’m not 100% sure the horses even know they are in a race. We are in no position to judge monkeys–or dogs, for that matter.

Cars Hitting Buildings

I’ll admit that this is a little odd. What can I say? I’m a fan. I live in Lexington, Kentucky, a city which has an usual number of car-on-building accidents (if that’s what they really are). I’ll just say it–I am the one who first identified this phenomenon. It happens all the time here. Here’s a typical post:

carskid

I don’t know why this happens, but it entertains me, and that’s the point. One rule–don’t post about one if someone gets killed or seriously injured. The humor is in the property damage. Some folks are so kind as to post these and tag me so that I don’t miss out. Those people get it, and I like them for it.

POLITICS

As much as I dislike the topic, I must mention politics, specifically your politics. I’ll be blunt: No one cares about your political views. By “no one” I mean me. I once mentioned this in a Facebook post. One “friend” commented that I was wrong and that all his friends were very interested in his views. This same guy later called me a bigot for saying that the presidential election wasn’t the end of the world. It seems unlikely that he actually has any friends. I certainly can’t be counted among them.

I want to be clear about something. I’m not saying that you can’t post about politics. Of course, you can. That’s what the blocking and unfollow functions handle. I don’t have to see them. Prattle on if you must. Where we need to be careful is on commenting on my posts. I rarely say anything political. If I do, it’s fair game. Comment all you want. What you musn’t–nay, can’t–do is make a political comment on a decidedly non-political post. Here’s an example. Let’s say I post this status:

Wow. I can’t believe this warm weather we’re having.

This banal post doesn’t even merit a comment, unless you want to point out that where you are is actually quite cold or some other such equally uninteresting comment. Here are examples that won’t fly with me:

If Trump has his way, global warming will make every day like this.

What I can’t believe how great it is to have Trump as president. I don’t even care about the weather anymore.

The rule is simple: If my post is not political on its face, your comment cannot be.

RELIGION

Unlike politics, I have no problem with religion. I like all kinds of religions. Like Thomas Jefferson, I don’t care if you worship 20 gods or none. Good for you, I say. It’s important, though, to keep it to yourself most of the time.

As with politics, I’m not too concerned about your posts. I can’t force you to be entertaining. The same rules about political comments apply here as well. If I post about a recent sporting event, I don’t need to be reminded that God doesn’t care about it. I also don’t need a bunch of Bible passages cited or quoted. Believe it or not, I know a lot about that stuff–probably as much as you do. You’re not really teaching me anything.

A lot of people ask for prayers on social media. I’m cool with that. Pray for me, too, if you want. One caveat: I can’t participate in “unspoken” prayer requests. You know the ones:

I have an unspoken prayer request. God knows about it.

I don’t know what you’re asking for here. Maybe you’re calling down a curse on me or praying for something like the eruption of a super-volcano. God knows I can’t have that on my conscience.

As much as I am uninterested in your religion, your views on the religion of others is even less compelling. Resist the urge to deride anyone’s religion on my pages or walls or what have you. This is particularly applicable to my atheists friends–and I have quite a few. You folks tend to be very proud of your non-beliefs. Hey, I would be too if I were confident that all the many religions are wrong. Nevertheless, you must resist the urge to continually remind us of your superiority. Careful now, don’t do it in response to this, either.

I’ve not covered everything–sports, for example. It’s annoying when your favorite team wins and you act like you actually contributed to the win. I do the same thing, so I’m not exactly on the high road with this one. Likewise, we carry on about what fabulous, sainted parents we have, forgetting that we know people whose parents were little more than monsters which could procreate for some reason.

You’re probably wondering or perhaps even saying aloud: Why should I care what his clown thinks about what I do on social media? That is, indeed, a valid and thought-provoking question. I suggest, however, you consider that if you can make one person happy every day, you have not lived your life in vain. If that one person is me, we both win.

©www.thetrivialtroll.com 2017

MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE: Five Changes You Must Make

When I was a young lawyer, one of my aged partners suggested that our firm should be like the “Athenian youth” and strive to leave the world a better place for our having been here. That is certainly a laudable goal. Who among us doesn’t want to make a difference? Too often, we while away our time on personal, even selfish, pursuits. I hold to the belief that each of us in our own small way can make a positive difference in the world.

You make think it unrealistic to expect to impact the world as whole. You may be right about that. After all, many of us have limited skills and even more limited work ethics. If our efforts require much in the way of ability or effort we likely will fall short. Do not despair. There ways–simple ways, in fact– each of us can make the world a better place. If we can have a positive impact on just one person, we will have made a difference.

The person with whom we should start is me. That’s right. I deserve a better life as much as anyone, maybe more. If you can do even one thing to make my life easier, you will not have lived in vain. You will have helped me. I can think of nothing more commendable.

Here are five things you can do, starting today, to improve my lot in life. Let’s get started

  1. DON’T DRIVE A CAR

The environmental damage from automobiles is well-known. Even electric cars require all manner of minerals for their construction, the mining of which is always controversial. If, like me, this doesn’t persuade you in the slightest to give up your car, consider the effect of your car on me.

Maybe you’re one of those people who always drive 10-15 mph below the speed limit. You’re annoying me. When you look in your rear view mirror and see the line of traffic, just assume I’m in that line. Why inconvenience me? I have to be somewhere–and soon. Besides, the way your drive, you’re close to walking anyway. Just go ahead and hit the pavement.

Even if you drive at normal speeds, you still need to park that car. Traffic stresses me out. I have places to go, things to do. Put bluntly, you’re in my way. Public transportation is perfect for you. Better yet, stay at home. What is so horrible in your home that you are compelled to leave it? Stay there and address your disturbing domestic problems.

Speaking of parking, if you drive you will eventually park somewhere. I need that parking spot.

Of course, some of you drive for your livelihood. By all means, continue to do so. You may be delivering something I need. Plus, someone must provide transportation to those who no longer drive. It certainly won’t be me. I’m busy trying to get somewhere.

2. DON’T PLAY THE LOTTERY

All over our great country, there are outlets available to buy lottery tickets.  PowerBalls, MegaMillions  and other variations beckon. The dizzying selection of scratch off games sit spooled like toilet paper waiting to be ripped loose by cholera-ravaged unfortunates. Riches await. Our nation’s vast network of convenience stores are the prime culprits in separating you from your money.

We all know that the odds winning big in the lottery are astronomical, on par with getting a chance to walk on the moon. Every day, untold thousands of people waste their hard-earned money on these games of chance which amount to nothing so much as a regressive taxation system. (Honestly, I have no problem with a regressive tax. The progressive tax system has never done me any favors. That rant will have to wait for another day.)

These are compelling reasons to avoid the lottery. The most important reason, though, may be less obvious. The next time you are purchasing your tickets turn at look behind you. That is me standing in line. I have patronized this convenience store for–you guessed it–the convenience of it. I know that prices are higher than at the grocery store, often considerably so. I have selected this store for the speed and, again, the convenience of it.

You, guided only by your avarice, have robbed me of the one commodity I value at that moment–convenience (are you sensing the pattern yet?). In fact, there is nothing more inconvenient than to stand in line with a cup of coffee while you negotiate a transaction only slightly less complex than currency arbitrage.

The odds of your winning the lottery are remote, at best. The odds of royally ticking me off, though, are virtually certain. Please, move along.

3. SPREAD THE WORD–SOMEWHERE ELSE

I have no problem with your religion, unless you use it do great harm to others. Even then, my problem is likely to be with how you practice it, not the faith itself. Regardless, I don’t want to hear about it. This comes from someone who has always been fascinated by religion. I’ve studied religion from various perspectives, both the faithful and skeptical. If I’m curious, I’ll get the information.

When you want to tell me about your religion, I’m very likely to be somewhere between disinterested and down right hostile. This is true even if I agree with your views. Why am I so obtuse? Religion (or spirituality, if you prefer) is a matter of faith, not argument or persuasion. Nagging or yammering at someone won’t bring him around to your views. When that someone is me, it may cause the person to adopt contrary beliefs simply to frustrate your efforts.

You might assume that I am directing this solely at Christians. You’re wrong. If, like me, you are an American, you probably live in America where most people claim to be Christian. Naturally, most of our contact is with Christians. Regardless, I implore people of all religions to follow this lead. For example, if you are Hindu do not concern me with your views of Vishnu or Shiva. I know a Buddhist, and I sincerely hope that he does not tell me of the proper path to the Middle Way. I’m comfortable with where I am, leaning much more toward indulgence than asceticism.

Nor are you atheists excluded. As a matter of fact, you’re especially not excluded. I  know you’re proud to be an atheist. Consider me to be on a “need to know” basis. I have no need to know. Here’s idea: Find a vegetarian and you two can “one up” each other on the solid, empirical grounding of your views.

At this point, some readers are preparing comments to enlighten me on why they will not be silent. You’re really missing the point, which is simply to make things easier for me. Your comments won’t do that. Plus, I’m not asking you to be silent. Just be silent around me, and assume that I am always around.

4. VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE–QUIETLY

Everything I abhor about hearing about your religious views applies with even more force to your politics. Unlike religion which is driven (mostly) by genuine belief, political drivel is often impelled by the desire to be in the know and perhaps a bit smarter than others. These are repellent characteristics. More importantly, they annoy me and can diminish my enjoyment of such important pursuits as surfing the Internet and mindlessly watching television.

I’m well aware that there is only so much I can expect here. Politicians and talking heads are inescapable. But, ask yourself: “With all this political discourse, what could I possibly add to the conversation, given my obvious limitations?” I’m sure you’ll agree that you run a much greater risk of annoying me than contributing anything meaningful.

If you are truly committed to improving my life, you will take this to heart. That door you knock on with a fist full of campaign literature could be mine. It could be me who reads one of your wrong-headed screeds on social media. It’s not that I don’t respect your views (which I may not, of course). It’s just that I don’t care. Isn’t it unfair and more than a tad selfish to inundate me with tripe that only you and others care about it? You’re better than that–or at least you should be.

You’re angry about the state of the world. I get it. If I were you, I’d be angry, too. But I’m not you. I’m me. It does no good to have two of us angry.

5. RAISE YOUR OWN FOOD

Modern agriculture has changed the world. We feed far more people than was thought possible even a generation ago. Our grocery stores brim with foods of all kinds. Sadly, the price we pay is high one.

Additives, preservatives, chemicals and the like endanger our food supply. Our farm animals are fed steroids. Genetic modifications have made many foodstuffs risky. Most important in our daily struggle is the cold, hard fact that I frequently go to the grocery store to buy this stuff.

I like my food chock full of preservatives. I want it preserved as long as possible. Chemicals don’t bother me. I like huge, mutated chickens pumped full of steroids. I want my beef dyed red. I want my fruits and vegetables sprayed down with insecticides. I don’t want to eat bugs. In short, the modern grocery store is exactly what I want. You, on the other hand, need to make changes. Why?

You’re the person with 11 items when the sign plainly limits the checkout lane to TEN FREAKING ITEMS! You position your cart in the aisle where I can’t get by on either side. You pay with checks, like some troglodyte who just emerged from his subterranean lair. Why not see if they’ll take pelts? You use coupons. Think about this: If you need to use all those coupons, isn’t it just possible that you can’t really afford to buy food in a store?

Grow your own food. Raise chickens. Buy a cow. Even a modest quarter acre lot will accommodate at least a couple of cows. Get a hog. Grow something. Your ancestors foraged for their food. Get off your high horse (you can eat those, too, by the way) and quit acting like you’re better than your kinfolk.

Since you won’t be driving a car, raising your own food makes perfect sense. It will be convenient for you and, critically, ME. The world will be a better place–at least for me. 

©www.thetrivialtroll.com 2016

Oh, my God

God.  That’s a big subject and a touchy one, too.  I’m talking about big “G” God.  Gods (little “g”) is (are?) also a big subject but not as touchy.  Face it–we don’t know people who worship multiple gods and, if we do, we just sort of laugh them off as nuts.  We who believe in such things as people rising from the grave and whatnot are much more rational.

I’ve been thinking about my idea of God.  Regardless of your religion or particular domination, you have your own ideas about God.  Naturally, you’ll do your best to keep these ideas consistent with your own religious views.  Recently, I read something which asked what I thought God would look like when I met Him and what I would say to Him.

I’ll admit that I never gave much thought to either part of that question, expect the second part which I do think about when I watch James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio.  “What will you say to God?” is, of course, one of the questions devised by the great Bernard Pivot.  I mention this only to subtly point out that I am an erudite student of such things and you very likely are not.

The God of which I speak is my God.  You may know Him by another name such as Yahweh, Jehovah, Elah, Allah or so other moniker.  He’s the Creator, the Almighty, the Supreme Being.

So, what does God look like?  I’ve read the Bible a couple of times and can’t recall any description of God’s appearance.  That’s probably because no one sees him, expect maybe for Moses.  Even Moses only saw a burning bush, and I just can’t make shrubbery my God.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have a pretty juvenile image of God.  My God has long white hair and big white beard.  He sort of looks like Santa Claus, only he’s not fat.  He also wears a long, flowing white robe.  It might not even be a robe.  Maybe it’s a dress of some kind.  Honestly, it kind of looks like a Ku Klux Klan get-up without the hood.  I can’t get the idea of the white robe/dress out of my head.  That’s just God clothing.

Oh, and he doesn’t wear shoes.  Why not?  I don’t know.

I also don’t know why my God is so unkempt.  I’ve known people with long hair and beards.  Most men with big beards are also bald.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps they just want to grow hair anywhere they can.  I can’t fault them for that.  I can’t grow a beard. Maybe that’s why I think a beard is Godlike.

He’s white.  And male.  And American.  That all makes sense.

Why does my God need a haircut?  I’ve never thought of men with long hair as being particularly pious or even wise.  In fact, most atheists I know have long hair.  God certainly can’t be an atheist.  I just can’t think of God with a crew cut or smart-looking businessman’s coif.

Most puzzling is why I think of Him as really old.  I guess that’s because God has been around so long.  He’d have to be really old, wouldn’t He?  Then again, He would be ageless, wouldn’t He?  Maybe I think of Him as wise and, thus, old.  That makes no sense.  Old people can be wise, but a lot of them aren’t.  For example, if you are total dumb-ass at 40, there’s a really good chance that you’ll be an old dumb-ass at 75.  Add to that the probability of advancing dementia, and you have a not-so-wise man.  My Dad lived to be really old, but was a lot wiser at 50 than at 80.  If God is like my Dad was at 80, praying is useless.  He’ll just forget what we talked about, and I’ll have to repeat it the next day.

So, here’s a drawing of my God.  Feel free to use this yourself:

god_0001

I do not envision God to have misshapen feet and hands. He chose not to give me any artistic ability, resulting in a somewhat crude rendering of His likeness.

At this point, I should note that I know there are religions where it is offensive to draw or depict God or any sacred image.  If you belong to one of those religions, please take no offense.  You may assume that this drawing is not of your God.

So, what would I say to God?  More correctly, what will I say to Him? It will depend on the circumstances.  Should I die some particularly gruesome death, I’d probably start with “What was that all about?” I imagine God to have a very deep, booming voice, something like James Earl Jones. It would be nice if he sounds like Morgan Freeman.  That would be comforting.  Naturally, he speaks English.

Anyway–what would I say?  I’d probably say something awkward like “Hey, how are you?”  He’s God.  Of course, He’s doing well.  Then, I’d be really embarrassed. He’s probably real good with people and would put me at ease.  Once I lightened up, I’d ask him some questions:

  • Is it safe to assume I’m clear on the Hell thing?
  • Is any of my family around here?
  • Faith healers–a bunch of lying bastards, right?
  • Why did you quit smiting people? There are so many people who deserve it.
  • Did you really see everything I was doing?  If so, I’d like to apologize for quite a few things.
  • Do you ever get really pissed off at the televangelists?
  • Assuming I get to be in Heaven, do I have to be around everyone else in Heaven or can I choose to be around only those people I really liked?  Don’t get me wrong–I’ll follow the rules.  I’m just curious.
  • I took your name in vain quite a few times–I guess you know that.  It wasn’t anything personal. It’s not like I really wanted you to condemn someone or thing.  I had a bit of a temper, and–let’s face it–I was just as you made me, so I’m not completely at fault.  Does that make sense?
  • Back when I was alive, I wrote a blog post about what you look like.  That didn’t offend you, did it?

I’m sure I’d think of a bunch of other questions.  Then again, I’d probably be pretty nervous. Maybe he’d have a bunch of stuff to tell me and kind of carry the conversation.

I fully expect someone to be offended by this and call me names.  Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to get a religious lecture like I did when I posted about Jesus.  Save your breath.  My God also has a sense of humor.

©www.thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2014

Help A Drowning Man

phil

I am awash in a sea of bad information. How did this happen? I’ve spent too much time in the ocean of social media where information is plentiful, but accuracy is sacrificed for speed and volume. How does this happen? The easy answer, of course, is that people are idiots. This knee jerk response is just as flawed as the flotsam vomited out on social media even as you read this. People love outrage. More precisely, they love to be outraged. This is especially true when politics and religion are involved. This causes otherwise intelligent and thoughtful folks to randomly post thoughts, memes and links which are related to reality only by the thin thread of having originated from someone’s mind.

Another answer might be that I spend too much time on social media and should do something else like a read book.  No thank you, Egg Head.  That ain’t happening.  We need to work together.

Phil Robertson is now the millstone around my neck.  If you don’t know who Phil is, then good for you.  You aren’t into social media and perhaps spend your time writing poetry.  If so, you’re probably not reading this anyway. Phil is a “reality TV” star.  His show, Duck Dynasty, is entertaining.  It certainly seems scripted to me, but what do I know?  Perhaps Phil and his family became multi-millionaires while bumbling about like…well…reality TV stars.

I won’t rehash what Phil did.  There’s no point in doing so.  He said things that pissed people off or made people happy.  Outrage ensued.  Many folks–again, otherwise intelligent–have risen to his defense by citing his right to “free speech.”  One poster on Facebook said “What the hell happened to free speech in this country?” The answer is nothing, because Phil’s opinions have nothing to do with free speech.  “But, but, but…he got FIRED!!”  You are correct.  He did get fired.  Free speech, unfortunately, doesn’t prevent that.  “YES, IT DOES!” you screamLet’s read the First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

[Note how I helpfully highlighted the part about “Congress.”]   Congress has made no law regarding speech which affects Phil at all.  In fact, no government official has done anything to Phil.  Maybe you love what he said about gay people and African-Americans.  If so, you have found some common ground with radical Islam.  Maybe you’re a Libertarian sort who supports everyone’s right to speak his or her mind. I really don’t care.   But, let’s all agree to never invoke the First Amendment again on this issue.  We’ll all feel better.  I know I do.  Thanks.

It’s not only the plain language of our Constitution which cause confusion.  Easily verified claims also drive us to hysteria.  Here’s a favorite example. Occasionally, a meme makes the rounds about Presidential and Congressional pensions. It reads:

WAGES

Salary of retired US Presidents……………………….$450,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of House/Senate members……………………$174,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of Speaker of the House……………………….$223,500 FOR LIFE

Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders………………….$194,400 FOR LIFE

Average salary of a soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN ……$38,000

Average income for Seniors on Social Security …………………$12,000

I think we found where the cuts should be made! If you agree, pass it on!

Aren’t you outraged?  This is patently insane.  Why would these people get paid for life!?!?!  What kind of country do we live in?  That’s a valid question but not because of this.  The above information–while outrageous–is incorrect in almost every way. None of these people–not even the President–gets full salary for life. It simply is not true. Does this stop folks from being outraged about it? Of course not. Variations of this meme have been posted many times on social media.  The comments are fairly frothing with their condemnation.   Here’s my suggestion:  When you see something that is so inane as to make you want to immediately post it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, stop and think.  Since you’re probably on the Internet at the time, do a simple search.  Check the facts.  You’ll be amazed how easy it is to confirm or counter such things.  Again, we’ll all be better for it, and you won’t look like an uninformed ass.

Then there are the half-truths, those items of interest based in reality but twisted into something sort of whole truth.  Here’s a meme making the rounds:

veterans

The House of Representatives passed a budget bill cutting pensions for veterans.  (Not “Veteran’s”).   That much is true.  The reduction is actually a reduction of the cost of living increase for certain pensions.  It’s what I call a “Government Cut.”  A “private cut” is where you make less money next year than you made this year.  It only applies to certain veterans–ones deemed young enough to re-enter the work force.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  This seems like a bad idea.  We’ve worn out our military with endless wars.  The least we could do is leave their pensions alone.  On the other hand, don’t worry about veterans actually getting a cut in their pensions.  The private sector, where there are no pensions anymore, is the only place that happens.

This is a prime example of excellent propaganda. Take a grain of truth, twist into something outrageous and scare everyone. Remember that Hitler got elected by scaring the hell out of people. There’s a reason he had a Ministry of Propaganda.  It works.

Finally, there are those debates that rage over opinions.  Most of these involve politics or religion–two topics which civilized people never discuss.  Bear this in mind:  There are two sides or more to each such debate:

  • Obamacare:  POINT–The program is already failing and far too expensive for the country to afford.  Socialized medicine will lead to reduced services for everyone.  COUNTERPOINT–It’s the law.  Give it time, and the kinks will get worked out.  If socialized medicine is so horrible, why do we provide it to our military veterans.  Wouldn’t they be better off buying their healthcare in the market?
  • Phil Robertson:  POINT–He’s free to speak his mind and express his faith.  Leave him alone.  COUNTERPOINT–People are also free to be offended by his comments.  We don’t have to leave him alone.
  • NSA: POINT–The Government is only gathering data. They have no way to do anything with it. COUNTERPOINT: Yet. There is nothing more un-American than spying on your citizenry.
  • TAXES: POINT–Let’s raise taxes on the highest earners. This would quickly fix all our fiscal problems. COUNTERPOINT–Our government has a history of spending every penny it brings in–and more. Until we fix that, more revenue won’t help.

These few examples show how it works. There are two sides to all theses issues. It just depends on your political prism.

Of course, acknowledging differing opinions isn’t our way. God forbid that we be asked to actually respect another’s views.  We prefer to be right.  In fact, we demand it, even when we are wrong.  I am fortunate to have friends from all walks of life.  Their politics range from Left-leaning Communists to budding Neo-Nazis.  The Right’s take on current events is a combination of moral outrage, moral superiority (always Christian), the U.S. Constitution  (if you don’t like something, it’s unconstitutional) and some nostalgia (such things as whipping children are fondly recalled).  The support Republicans and like all Ayn Rand quotes.  The Left approaches these issues from a different angle, of course.  They are intellectual titans ready to make fun of religion (always Christianity.  They don’t say anything about Islam, Judaism, et al.), cite obscure authors, and engage in relentless name-calling often involving obscene language.  They support Democrats and love to quote Barack Obama, Mahatma Ghandi and hate all Ayn Rand quotes, even though most of them are atheists like Rand.

Here is a typical social media exchange regarding Mr. Robertson, who has eclipsed war, world hunger and random violence as the issue of the day:

  • Original Post:  I stand with Phil!  The Bible says that we will be persecuted for Him! Christians have freedom of speech, too!  Our country is being destroyed!  I will never watch TV again!

[See how our friend has concisely encompassed the significant elements of right-wing rage.  The Bible, persecution, morality, patriotism and broad and incorrect legal principles.]

A response from the Left naturally flows:

  • Comment:  You can stand with that bigoted, homophobic, racist if you like.  I have never seen his show.  In fact, I do not own a television having traded mine for a Navajo Dream Catcher.  Freedom of speech is not an issue here–offensive, racist, homophobic rhetoric is.  The Bible supports all manner of prejudice.  I suggest you read the collected works of Bertrand Russell instead.

[Our Leftist chum has countered with his own salvo.  He engages in name calling that far exceeds anything Mr. Robinson has done but does so from a perch of intellectual superiority. He is above mere TV watching.  He concludes his concise commentary by inferring that atheist mathematician/philosopher Bertrand Russell is a better source for moral guidance than the Holy Bible. Well done.]

This exchange will continue with many additional posts by these and other commentators.  The Right will contend they are right because, well, they are right…or Right.  The Left will froth and name-call, even resorting to the use of vulgarities to make their points.  Ultimately, no one makes any sense and everyone is angry.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have engaged in this foolishness on occasion, especially when legal principles are misstated.  I forget my advantages in this regard:  1) I have actually read the Constitution; and 2) I graduated from law school.  I, too, have been called names.  One Lefty even called me a racist for correctly noting that the ubiquitous George Zimmerman is Hispanic.  I countered with own my stream of obscenities.  It’s easy to fall into this trap.  I do not judge.

Let’s all commit to work as one to make all this easier for me.  After all, wouldn’t the world be a better place if things suited me?  Don’t be a racist, homophobic, liberal, conservative, Communistic Neo-Nazi, Bible-thumping Atheist.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

How to Be a Prophet

The Amazing Criswell has nothing on me in the prophesizing game.

The Amazing Criswell has nothing on me in the prophesizing game.

I drive quite a bit for my job, often in Eastern Kentucky where the radio choices are limited.  As a result I listen to radio preachers.  Some are quite good and inspiring.  Most aren’t and are downright terrifying.  On a recent road trip, I heard a preacher talking about prophecy and he humbly said:  “Brothers and sisters, some say I have the gift of prophecy! I would never claim to have that gift, but if I do, it’s because the Lord has blessed me to speak  the truth of His word!”  In other words, “Of course, I am a prophet.” He then went on the explain the End of Days in terms only slightly more complex than the Unabomber Manifesto.  Frankly, I couldn’t follow it.

It did, however, get me thinking:  What if this guy is a prophet?  More importantly, what if I am?  If I am, I’ve never really tried to use my skills.  Maybe I should.

All your major religions have prophets.  The Abrahamic faiths have Moses, Isaiah and many others.  Islam throws in Mohammed, too.  Mormons have Joseph Smith.  Scientology gives us Tom Cruise.

I can’t claim to be a theologian or even particularly religious.  I have, however, read the Bible–the entire thing.  In fact, I’ve probably read it all several times.  I don’t think of the Bible as a book.  It’s really a collection of short stories, memoirs and musings by a variety of authors.  These writings are chock full of sex and violence, good news and bad news, rules, laws and, of course, prophecy.

Isaiah is the Babe Ruth of the Biblical prophets, the big hitter of the bunch. Others, like Nahum, are more Dal Maxvill.  They all foretell the future with varying degrees of accuracy.  The wildest, though, is John, and he is saved for the very end.  His book–Revelation–is like something Hunter Thompson might have written after a peyote bender.  This book is the one that almost everyone knows something about, regardless of religious faith or lack thereof.

A good prophet can interpret this mess and make his own predictions.  Those are my aims.

Let’s clarify up front that the book is Revelation, not Revelations.  Technically, it is the Revelation of John.  Who was John?  No one knows for sure.  Some think he was John the Apostle, while others think he was an entirely different cat.  We know he lived on the island of Patmos; thus, we can call him John of Patmos.  Even though my name is John, it damn sure isn’t me.  The wild imagery of his book seems completely out-of-place with the rest of the New Testament, but it made the cut when the books of the Bible were canonized way back when, so it’s part of the playbook.

I offer the preceding paragraph only to make it appear that I am an erudite Biblical scholar.  I am not.  Regardless, I know quite a bit about it and am willing to speculate as to its meaning.  This puts me on par with the vast majority of folks who think they are, in fact, erudite Biblical scholars.  Thus, I can be a prophet, a false one mind you, but a prophet nonetheless.

I won’t debate the literal versus figurative meaning of the Bible.  I know that a lot of folks say that the Bible is to be taken literally.  For example, Adam and Eve is a true story right down to the last detail.  Hey, how do I know? As a prophet, I would only predict the future, not try to interpret the past.

One thing, though, that has to be subject to some consensus is that Revelation cannot be taken literally.  If is literal, the signs of the last days are going to be very easy to identify.  A seven-headed, crown-wearing monster will be hard to miss.  There will be beings that look like animals with eye balls all over them; angels blowing trumpets; an archangel; a whore; and a bunch bad doings.  I’m not the quickest on the uptake, but if this all literal, I’ll catch on fairly quickly.  I’m into symbolism, and I like to think John was, too.

Most of us are concerned about the Beast.  Actually, there are two beasts:  One from the sea and one from the Earth.  The Sea Beast has a seven heads, crowns, etc.  The Earth Beast has a couple of horns and is basically charged with making everyone do the bidding of Sea Beast.  Got it?

If I were a prophet–a real one–I could and would interpret this symbolism.  I think I can do that.  Revelation is the best source for prophecy because you can make into whatever you want with just a little imagination.  For example, Charles Manson made it all about the Beatles.  Read and learn.

Everyone will have to get the mark of the Beast, which we all know is the number 666.  Without that, we can’t buy or sell stuff. To make a long story short, the Beast (or Beasts–I get a little confused here) do battle with the Lord of Lords and, predictably, lose.  They are thrown into the Lake of Fire to be tormented for all eternity.  It goes without saying–even though I now say (or “prophesy”) it–the Lake of Fire is a bad beat.

Here’s what you don’t want to do:  DON’T JOIN UP WITH THE BEAST.  If you encounter a seven-headed anything or a dude with horns, steer clear.  But, what if it IS symbolic?  Then, we’ve got a problem. That’s where a prophet has real value.

I once worked with a Seventh Day Adventist who passed out literature in our office saying that the Papacy is the Beast.  Honestly, it was very hard to follow.  I wasn’t convinced.  A lot of brainy folks think old John was talking about Emperor Nero Caesar, because through some convoluted numerology his name corresponds with 666.  I talked to a lady once who said that the Social Security Administration is the Beast.  While those are enticing theories, take a look at this:

BARACK:  6 letters

HUSSEIN:  7 letters

OBAMA:      5 Letters

Note how his full name totals 18 letters.  What numbers divides into 18 three times?  6, of course.  THREE sixes or 6-6-6.  It couldn’t be any clearer.  That’s my prophetic take on it.

(As an aside, some ancient texts show the number as 616, but we’re not going down that road.  Such reckless speculation would render meaningless Iron Maiden’s classic song The Number of the Beast.)

But, what of the seven heads and whatnot?  Well, first the Beast of the Sea is obviously the United Nations which covers all seven continents.  The ten crowns could well be the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for all I know.   Maybe Obama is the Beast of the Earth.  His ears are kind of like horns.  Plus, he’s a smoker.  That would explain speaking like a dragon.

It makes perfect sense.  The first beast (the UN) and the second beast (Obama) will gather together to make war against the Lord of Lords.  We can all see that coming, can’t we?  I do.

How about the Whore of Babylon?  Centuries ago, lots of folks said it was the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church said it would be a fake Catholic Church.  No one, apparently, ever thought it would be a real whore, so don’t try to burn Miley Cyrus at the stake.

We know that ancient Babylon is in Iraq, so I say we call Iraq Babylon.  When John spoke of this whore reigning “over the kings of the earth,” could he have been speaking of the United States?  Hmmm.  Starting to make some sense now, huh? No?  Who’s the prophet here–me or you?  Ignore me at your own peril.

There are tons of details in Revelation, but I have neither the time nor interest to become familiar with them. I’ve made my point, whatever it may be.

Through a cursory reading of the Bible and libelous logic, I’ve just turned the President of the United States of America into the Beast (or Beasts).  Someone reading this agrees with me.  (By the way, don’t tell me if you do).  So, I’m now a prophet, false of otherwise.

In truth, I’m not a prophet (at least as far as I know).  I used to bet on football games and displayed no gift for prescience.  The last great prophet was probably The Amazing Criswell, star of several of Ed Wood’s films, including as the narrator of Plan Nine From Outer Space.  While he was wrong about Mae West becoming President and the outbreak of cannibalism in Pennsylvania, he wasn’t far off on predicting all-homosexual cities.  He predicted the end of the world to occur on August 18, 1999.  He was certainly no less of a prophet than the clown who predicted the end for May 21, 2011.

On the off-chance that I’m wrong, and I am a prophet, I need to make some predictions, so I conclude now with ten simple predictions or prophetic musings, if you will:

  1. In 2014, Tim Tebow will get a try out with an NFL team, and it will receive news coverage similar to the Super Bowl.
  2. In late 2013, a minor celebrity will be arrested.  His or her mug shot will be quite embarrassing.
  3. Any day now, a politician will become embroiled in a sex scandal, which he will blame on a troubled childhood or substance abuse.  Or both.
  4. The 2016 Presidential race will be littered with an appalling array of unqualified candidates.
  5. In 2018, the United States Constitution will be amended to replace the Electoral College with an American Idol-style reality show hosted by Eminem and Brent Musberger.
  6. By 2020, the U.S. will return to its conservative values, outlawing all forms of sexual activity, unless it involves use of a firearm.
  7. In 2022, Scientology will cease to exist, as the last member states:  “No one ever believed this nutty shit anyway.”
  8. At 80 years old, O.J. Simpson will die when someone just stabs the living hell out of him.
  9. In 2031, a cure for cancer will be perfected.  Unfortunately, it will so expensive that no one can afford it.
  10. In 2036, Jesus will return to Earth.  He will quickly be branded a dangerous socialist and denied a work visa in the United States.

If none of that happens, then I’ll second John on predicting a multi-headed sea beast.  That should cover all my bases.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

The Middle East: A Simple Guide from a Simple Man

As always, the Middle East in the news. The government of Egypt has been overthrown (again) and the USA is threatening something against Syria. Apparently, the Syrian government gassed some of its citizens. At first, it sounded like we were going to wipe them out.  Then, it sounded like we might just block them on Facebook.  Now, it sounds like we’re doing nothing.

If you’re like me, you probably don’t know nearly as much about the Middle East as you should. After all, other than occasional lunacy from North Korea, the Middle East is pretty much where all the world’s trouble originates these days. I’ve penned this short primer to help others gain my limited knowledge of this troubling region.

DEFINING THE MIDDLE EAST

What is the Middle East? Well, first off, it’s not continent or a country. It’s actually a bunch of countries, mostly in Western Asia and a tiny part of North Africa. So, the Middle East is actually Western Asia and small speck of North Africa. Understand?

Below are all the countries that comprise the Middle East, along with my brief comments on what I know about each of them:

  • Bahrain: Didn’t know this was a country. I thought it was a city in Iraq.
  • Cyprus: Never heard of it. I don’t think we’ve ever attacked it or attacked anyone on its behalf. Thus, it’s safe to assume that 1) It has no oil; 2) It hasn’t attacked Israel; and 3) It isn’t another name for Israel.
  • Egypt: Egypt is actually in Africa. Did you know that? It was ruled by ruthless dictator Hosni Mubarek who was ousted from power by people who were then ousted from power. Most of what I know about Egypt is from The Ten Commandments. Looks like a bad place. They once had someone win the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated.
  • Iran: The biggest of the troublemakers. Iran used to be called Persia and was known for its fabulous rugs and house cats. Now, it’s known for political and religious fanaticism and occasional wild threats against countries which could wipe it out in about a day and a half.  It’s only modern contribution to society was former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s embrace of business casual attire.
mahmound

Iran’s former president may have been nutty, but he made every day Casual Friday.

  • Iraq: Also known as the 51st state of the United States. Of course, it was once ruled by evil ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein. Now it is ruled by God knows what.  Hussein was the kind of well-balanced leader who tried to repel an America military attack by firing rockets at Israel.
  • Israel: Sort of like the United States’ little brother. It gets picked on a lot but always knows big brother has its back. Like a little brother, it also talks tough and doesn’t hesitate to threaten others. Beloved by evangelical Christians who somehow don’t care that a vast majority of its citizens reject the most basic tenets of Christianity. It has never been ruled by a ruthless dictator, but it has been governed by ruthless democratically elected leaders. Americans aren’t allowed to publicly criticize the Israeli government. Oddly enough, Israelis criticize it openly and often.
  • Jordan: I don’t know much about it, other than they seem like they’re friendly enough. I just found out the King Hussein died in 1999. He seemed alright to me. I was excited to learn that Abdullah is now the king–until I found out it wasn’t Abdullah the Butcher.
abdullah

King Abdullah The Butcher of Jordan (I wish!)

  • Kuwait: They have a lot of oil and a king or emir or something like that. They were invaded by Iraq 20 or so years ago, causing us to kick some Iraqi ass back to Baghdad. Since then, they don’t cause trouble for the U.S.
  • Lebanon: Beirut was once considered the Paris of the Arab World. During most of my life, it’s been a hotbed for troublemakers. Apparently, it still is, as it is the home base of Hezbollah, a disagreeable group whose sole purpose is the destruction of Israel.  Then again, no country is perfect.  We have the Westboro Baptist Church.  Oddly, though, Lebanon is a democracy–probably because it doesn’t have any oil.  Their constitution requires that the highest government officials belong to varied religions.  This keeps any one group of loons from taking over.
  • Oman: Hmmm. They’re too small to cause much trouble, I guess.  It sounds a lot like Onan, which makes me giggle.
  • Palestine: Not really a country, but it used be. That’s one of the big problems over there. They want to be a country again, but there isn’t enough land. So, they fight with the Israelis.  A lot of it has to do with the Gaza Strip, which sounds like an exotic dance, but it isn’t.
  • Qatar: Here’s what I know. The name is pronounced “Gutter.” Sometimes. It has a lot of oil (surprise!), but it’s a tiny little piss ant of a country. They seem to keep to themselves.
  • Saudi Arabia:  It’s a kingdom and also lousy with oil.  People wear robes and fabulous head wear.  They have a royal family.  May be best known as the home country of Osama Bin Laden, the lanky terrorist mastermind who had his sorry ass blown away by Navy Seals.  They’re heavy-duty Muslims, allowing religious leaders an official role in the their government.  Supposedly friendly to the U.S., but I have my doubts.  They remind me of friend who would sleep with your girl friend, and then blame her (not that I ever knew anyone like that or anything).
  • Syria: Doesn’t seem to get along with anyone, except Russia.  It is said that if Turkey and Syria ever go to war, they will fight until the last drop of Iraqi blood.  They’ve had a civil war going on for a couple of years now, but no one seems to know who is fighting whom.  There may not be any good guys.
  • Turkey:  Turkey is a democracy and has been for some time. It’s almost all Muslim but not Arab. They’re Turks, of course. They’re very sensitive about Armenians, so don’t bring that up around them. They’re best known for their wonderful baths and horrific prisons.  A friend of mine went to Turkey and ate a big bucket of cherries causing some sort of severe gastrointestinal reaction.
  • United Arab Emirates: This isn’t a country but a group of country-like states. They might just be cities. They’re all ruled by emirs and sheiks. One of the sheiks has a horse farm not too far from where I live. I’ve seen him at the race track. Dashing fellow that sheik. The best thing about the UAE is that it’s where former Iraqi Information Minister Baghdad Bob lives.
  • Yemen: It is the Unemployed Brother-in-Law of the Middle East. It’s real close to running out of oil which would pretty much turn it into the set for the next Mad Max film. They seem fairly friendly with the U.S., as do most impoverished nations. On the other hand, Yemen is a hot bed for terrorists resulting in the occasional lethal drone strike.  They don’t seem to mind.

Were you as surprised as I was to find out that Libya isn’t part of the Middle East, at least according to Wikipedia?  It sure seems like it should be with all its threats and saber-rattling over the years.  The late Muammar Gaddafi (Khadafi?  Qaddafi?) certainly qualified as a ruthless dictator.  I don’t get it.  Let’s just throw Libya in there anyway.

Libya's late strong man was certainly a bad guy, but the world misses his style.

Libya’s late strong man was certainly a bad guy, but the world misses his style.

Neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan are in the Middle East, and we can’t stretch the definition to include them.  Remember this rule of thumb:  None of the “Stan” countries are in the Middle East.

GOVERNMENT

Middle Eastern countries have a vast array of governments from democracies to theocracies to monarchies to dictatorships.  They all seem to have one thing in common:  They like to threaten and fight with each or, at the very least, Israel.  Generally speaking, they also seem to despise the United States–and we ain’t too fond of them, either.

All Middle Eastern nations brag about their armies who typically provide little resistance to invaders (Israel excepted, of course).  They quickly surrender and often join forces with the invaders.

Strong men and ruthless dictators have always been popular.  They’re usually fairly despicable, although the United States has been friendly with some of them.  The Shah of Iran, for example, was a fast friend of ours.  One good thing about these folks is that they are able to keep the religious nuts out of their governments, which is more than we can say for our own form of government.  Of course, if you’re like the Shah, you may be unfortunate enough to thrown from power by the religious nuts.  That also happens sometimes in our country, but it’s through elections.

Some of the countries follow Sharia law, which is a form of theocracy incorporating Islamic law into the secular laws of the country–or something like that.  You may have heard Glenn Beck and others of his ilk decrying the possibility that Sharia law will become the law of the land in the United States.  Some states have even passed laws to prevent that.  If you voted for anyone based upon that, please consider not voting anymore.  Thanks.

RELIGION

If Middle Eastern governments are varied, their religion is not.  The countries are predominantly Islamic, with exception of Israel, which is mostly Jewish.  I don’t know about Cyprus.  Lebanon used to have more Christians than anyone else.  I assume that’s still the case.

As we all know, we’re not to discuss religion in polite company, but religion is a big deal in the Middle East.  Most of the countries don’t want any religion but Islam.  Of course, many Americans don’t want any religion but Christianity, but we are certainly more tolerant, if not any less hateful about it.

Some Americans think all Muslims are terrorists. It’s like people who say all conservatives are racists. Although there may be quite a few who are, the overwhelming majority are not.  Facts don’t matter.  People believe what they want to believe.  It’s sort of like religion.

My son has a close friend who is Muslim, and he seems harmless enough.  We have millions of Muslims in the U.S., and I’m reasonably certain they aren’t all terrorists.

We in America talk about radical Islam or Muslim extremists.  I’m not sure how you define those terms, but read the Old Testament and take every single rule and law literally.  You’ll probably be an extremist.

A lot of the fighting in the Middle East is between Muslim groups.  There are Shiites and Sunnis.  I don’t know the difference and don’t intend to find out.  I have a hard enough time with all the different Christian denominations.  Here’s a good guide for you.  If your church suggests that you blow yourself up or blow up other people, consider checking out another group.

CULTURE

I don’t know much of their culture.  They like soccer, so much so that Iraq once executed its national soccer coach.  They also play buzkashi, a game where you throw around a goat carcass (maybe that’s Afghanistan).  They probably play cricket.

I’ve never heard any of their music, but I imagine sitars.  If they make movies, they’re probably anti-American.

They don’t treat women very well or at least most of the countries don’t.  There is a lot of capital punishment (very American, too) and hand chopping (not American).  When excited, they randomly fire weapons.  Lots of Americans do the same thing.

American flag burning remains popular, too.  Throwing shoes is their idea of a cutting edge insult.

ECONOMY

Oil.  Tourism for Israel and Turkey. Oh, and don’t forget American foreign aid.

SO, WHAT NOW?

That sums up all my knowledge about this fascinating and controversial region.  I have never visited the Middle East and don’t intend to do so.  You may visited there or even be a native. If so, you are likely appalled by my ignorance and outright fabrications.  Well, too bad.  I’m an American, and I don’t have an obligation to learn about every foreign country on Earth.  I know a little, and so does everyone else who read this. Just don’t throw a shoe at me.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

The Republicratic Commonwealth of Kentucky

Someone sent me an insightful email suggesting that each state in the United States declare its own sovereignty and refuse to follow any federal laws except those they find acceptable. It also recommends such things as jailing of illegal immigrants, drug testing welfare recipients, no gun laws and other acts of sovereignty. It got me thinking about doing this in my home state, the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

If you’ve read much of this self-indulgent blog of mine, you know I’m a lawyer. Anything like that email sets my mind spinning. For instance, states can’t refuse to follow federal law. We have a local sheriff here in Kentucky who claims that he won’t enforce any new gun laws and will arrest anyone who does. Once you get past the laughable image of this guy trying to arrest FBI and ATF agents, you can see that such defiance–if real–amounts to insurrection.

This type of “sovereignty” is secession from the union. States have no right to secede. Before you start screaming, read Texas v. White from the United States Supreme Court. That’s the law. There are exceptions. First, there is armed rebellion. Second is by agreement. Since Kentucky doesn’t have a military (The National Guard belongs to the feds but more on that later), we’d have to hope for agreement of the rest of the states. Let’s face it, we’re Kentucky. They might let us leave. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.

Nevertheless, I’m willing to ignore the United States Constitution and decades of jurisprudence to entertain the notion of Kentucky as its own sovereign state. What would we look like?

GOVERNMENT

We call Kentucky a Commonwealth, just like Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts call themselves. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a leftover from colonial times. The only problem I have with it is that it sounds vaguely communistic. Let’s move on.

As some Americans are aware, we have a republican democracy. We elect representatives who (theoretically, at least) represent our interests. They pass laws which are executed by our executive branch and enforced by our courts. Some believe we have the greatest country on Earth with the greatest form of government. I say bullshit to that.

If we’re going to secede, that means we don’t like the federal government. We don’t want it. We don’t need it. There’s no point in looking anything like it. Kentucky has 4.25 million people spread over a mind-boggling 120 counties. Each county is already its own little fiefdom with elected officials, courthouses, graft and whatnot. I say let each one run its own affairs. They can set up their own governments. Most will likely become dictatorships in short order–assuming they aren’t already, but give the people what they want.

We’ll be a sort of confederacy of counties, but we’ll still need a constitution of some kind. Kentucky has a constitution, of course. It is approximately 60,000 pages long. Okay, that’s a lie, but it seems that long what with all the bizarre amendments made to it over the years. It’s going to have to be revamped.

One problem is that it is very similar to the United States Constitution. It makes little sense to break away from federal rule only to keep in place the same framework that led to our secession. We probably need the Bill of Rights, and Kentucky’s is pretty similar to the feds. I say we copy the Bill of Rights except the Second Amendment which will now read:

The right to keep and bear arms is absolute and shall not be limited or constrained by any law, regardless of reasonableness or necessity. “Arms” means anything that can kill people or animals, whether intentionally or accidentally.

We probably should replace “Governor” with something like “King” or “Pharaoh” in the rest of it. Honestly, I’ve never read the whole thing. I don’t think anyone else has, either. Maybe we can keep the rest of it.

We’re not the smartest people. Let’s don’t make it too complicated. Maybe we can start out with anarchy and see what happens.

Regardless of the form of government, what will life in our new nation be like?

GUNS

This is an easy one–no gun laws. None. No knife or sword laws, either. Why can’t I defend my family with a saber if I want? Maybe I want to scatter bear traps around my yard. So be it. Napalm doesn’t incinerate people. People incinerate people.

No background checks. Why can’t a crazy man defend himself from real and imagined threats? The nuttier you are the more guns you should have. How else will we protect the criminally insane?

Next topic.

RELIGION

This is another easy one. We’ll have the Ten Commandments posted everywhere. I mean everywhere–schools, buses, government buildings, private property, sporting events. Without that irrational United States Supreme Court to interfere, we can even post the entire Book of Deuteronomy if we want. Any kid who can’t describe how to build the Temple can’t graduate from high school.

We’ll pray in school–all day long if we want. It will have to be a Christian prayer, of course. Anyone caught on a prayer rug will be subject to ridicule.  In fact, we might make such ridicule a constitutional right, too.

We’ll even include somewhere in our new Constitution that Jesus wrote it. That will seem crazy at first, but in a few decades people will debate whether or not it is true.

MILITARY

This one is tough. We can’t have a military. Okay, I know some of you are thinking: “Hey, the state runs the National Guard. That’s our militia.” Well, sort of but not really. Since 1903, the National Guard has been run by the feds and–more importantly–funded by the feds. We can’t do it. Plus, who are we going to fight? Hopefully, it won’t be the United States military. Have seen the toys they have?

Remember that we’re going to have plenty of weapons. I think we’ll have enough to fight off an invasion from Indiana or Tennessee. Besides, the chances of anyone wanting to take over Kentucky are pretty remote.

FINANCES

Kentucky receives about $13,000 per person in federal money per year. That’s a hell of a lot. I’m not good at math, but it’s at least billions of dollars each year. Wow.

We have all kinds of taxes in Kentucky–income, sales, property, usage (WTH?) and a bunch of others. I have no idea what it amounts to but I’m sure it’s not close to what we need. Now, that we’re off the federal teat, it’s time to tighten our belts. If we don’t, we might have to raise tax rates to 120% or so. We can survive but how?

Go for the Gold

With the feds off our backs, they’ll close Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. We’ll give them 48 hours to come and get their gold from Fort Knox–maybe we can keep a little of it, too. Would they really miss a couple of tons?

Schools

Okay, on the surface, this may seem like a big deal, given that we are dependent on the feds for school funding. Not so. Ever heard of home schooling? That’s what everyone did back in the Good Old Days when everything was better. Teach your own kids, you lazy bastards.

Our state universities will be in peril. We should be able to offer at least a few on-line courses at the Universities of Louisville and Kentucky to keep the basketball programs afloat.

Police/Fire

Here’s where our friends in the National Rifle Association will help us. Let’s take the idea of an all-volunteer school security force and expand it to all law enforcement and public safety. With the schools closed, these volunteers will be eager to help out. Besides, every community has dozens–if not thousands–of people who want to carry a gun and wear a badge. Hell, most of them would probably be willing to pay the state.

We have a long history of volunteer fire departments. Let’s just do more of that.

Highways

I’ll concede that federal highway money is helpful but only to the extent that you need highways. I suspect that Kentucky has the highest number of ATVs per capita of anywhere on Earth. If any state is ready for dilapidated highways, it’s this one.

What is Kentucky best known for? If you said illegal meth labs, that may be correct, but I’m talking about horses. We have lots of horses, but I hardly ever see anyone riding them. Saddle up.

Unemployment

Good lord, we have a lot of folks drawing disability checks in Kentucky. No more SSI and don’t expect Kentucky to pick up the slack. If you’re too infirm to work, you should really think about moving to the United States. They have systems for that kind of problem. We don’t.

Here’s how it works. If you can work, get a job. If you can’t, leave or maybe you just starve to death. Problem solved.

As far as welfare, bear in mind that’s another federal boondoggle. It has no place in our utopian world so don’t worry about drug testing. We Kentuckians will be free to consume copious amounts of drugs without fear of Big Brother staring over our shoulders.

Currency

We won’t use the worthless United States currency. We will print our own money, just like in the old days. It will bear pictures of Adolph Rupp, Daniel Boone, Jim Varney and other famous Kentuckians.

Rather than the worthless crap printed in the United States, our money will be backed by a secure commodity. We will go on the Coal Standard. Our money will be backed by the valuable coal reserves in our state, which we will now be free to mine and burn with abandon. Of course, we can’t burn too much of it or we will have to switch to the Weed Standard which also runs the risk of being burned.

HEALTHCARE

Let’s get one thing straight. No government health care–of any kind. Medicare and Medicaid–those behemoths of our former overlords–are gone. They won’t be replaced, either. We’ll adopt what I call the Bachmann Plan: If you want health insurance, get a job. If you can’t get a job, see comments above.

In fact, health care in general will be discouraged. Haven’t we all had enough of a bunch of holier-than-thou eggheads with stethoscopes telling us how to live our lives? The Founding Fathers didn’t put up with such nonsense.

You may be concerned about such inane things as public health, life expectancy and rampant disease. Given that our health care services are likely to be substandard, at least by so-called “Western” standards, we don’t need a bunch of sick people lingering around making the rest of us sick. A quick death is much better for everyone.

IMMIGRATION

We’ll just be flat against it–in all its forms. No one from a foreign country, which now will include the United States, is allowed. Anyone trying to float across the Ohio River will immediately be attacked by our fleet of coal barges. We’ll just shoot people from Tennessee. That won’t bother any Kentuckian. Hell, it probably won’t bother anyone in Tennessee, either. West Virginians will be a problem, but they’re so similar to us it won’t be a big deal.

We’ll round up all the foreigners and deport them. Anyone who looks, dresses, talks or acts the least bit different will be a suspect. We’ll just dump them in the nearest bordering state.

This may sound like a daunting task, but remember–this is Kentucky. Most people are trying to leave, not get in. We can expect enthusiastic cooperation.

We will make limited exceptions for immigrants who obtain a 5 Star Visa. This visa program will be administered by the head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.

“HEMP”

The people of Kentucky want to legalize hemp but can’t because of the narcs in D.C. Now, we can cut right to the chase and legalize marijuana. Why? Well, it’s our number one cash crop for starters. Also, we can dispense with the foolishness of pretending we want to wear hemp clothing and shred our hands on rotted hemp rope. We want to smoke the stuff, not wear it.

MISCELLANY

Like any young nation, we’ll face challenges. Someone like Ashley Judd will try to become dictator. Louisville will probably try to declare itself a city-state like the Vatican. We’ll need to change the state motto from the axiomatic “United We Stand. Divided We Fall” to something less incongruous. We’re up to these challenges.

What if it doesn’t work out? Simple–we’ll just accept massive amounts of foreign aid from the good old U.S. of A. If that doesn’t work, we have a massive stash of chemical weapons in Richmond. That will invite an invasion by the US and the establishment of a new government. That one never fails.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013