Jesus: All-Round Good Guy

I’m not a theologian. I’ve read the Bible, but much like Karl in Sling Blade, I understand parts of it but not all of it. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading the Bible. It is full of sex, violence and scandal–and that’s just the Old Testament. The New Testament is the cornerstone, of course, of Christianity. It’s not nearly as saucy as the Old Testament. It does, however, tell the story of Jesus, the key figure in the Christian world.

Most folks know the story of Jesus. He was born to a virgin in a manger. He is the son of the one, true Living God. He was sent to Earth to die for our sins. He did just that, being crucified, of all things. His sacrifice bore all the sins of mankind. Three days after he died (wink, wink), he arose from the dead, thereby fulfilling the promise that he would not die. That’s pretty close to accurate.

Before reading further, you should know a couple of things. One, you’re not going to see a bunch citations to scripture. This ain’t Sunday School. Plus, I don’t research much for this silly blog. This is no pedantic discourse on historical Jesus. I’m going from memory, which may be inaccurate, but I’m sure you’ve heard just as reckless preaching from the pulpit. Second, I’m not a fan of “oral histories” when it comes to religion. There’s too much room for mistakes and outright lies. I don’t believe the oral history of my own life. So, all you’ll see here is stuff I remember from the Bible and my own rank speculation.

I’m not so much interested in Jesus as God or even a god. That’s a religious thing. If you believe that, you have taken it on faith, like all religions. You don’t need to be sold on it. If you don’t believe, no amount of persuasion on my part will affect you, especially since I would probably make little sense and only end up arguing with myself about it.

My interest is more in Jesus the man. After all, he was a man, in addition to be the son of God and God himself. From this point forward, I shall try to avoid discussion of The Holy Trinity, as it only confuses me. But, what of Jesus the man? What kind of guy was he?

First off, it’s unlikely that he wa  6′ 2″ with flowing sandy blonde hair and a perfectly shaped nose. He was a Jewish man. He probably wasn’t a foot taller than everyone else or look like Barry Gibb.  According to science, he probably looked like this:

jesus

Since the Bible doesn’t describe his appearance, he can look like anything we want, but we should try to be a slightly realistic.

Back then, I guess, people didn’t have last names, but we call him Jesus Christ or, sometimes Jesus H. Christ. I’m pretty sure Christ wasn’t his last name. No one called his step-dad “Joseph Christ.” Of course, Judas was Judas Iscariot. I can’t really reach a conclusion on this one.

Jesus's monogram has caused centuries of debate about what the "H" stands for.

Jesus’s monogram has caused centuries of debate about what the “H” stands for.

REGULAR GUY

We don’t know much about Jesus the child. The sketchy narrative breaks when he’s a preteen and picks up when he’s in his 30’s. What did he do during that time? He could have been a slacker for all I know. If he was, you can be sure he told someone not to write that part down.

He seems like a regular guy. He was a carpenter, which is a regular guy job. There aren’t any details about what kind of carpentry he did, but it was probably the normal stuff for the times–barns, mangers (how ironic), yokes, maybe houses. Who knows? He may have even made crosses for crucifixions.

30 years old was probably pretty old in those days.  Whether it was because of poor health care or more accurate record keeping, we were no longer in the times of people living to be 900 years old.  I’m guessing that Jesus was middle aged.

When the story picks back up, he’s ready for business. The Sermon on the Mount is some of the best preaching you’ll ever hear. I picture it as being quite the scene, with the turnout being mostly the sick and demon-possessed. The sick people probably had leprosy and wore those big leper bells around their necks to warn people when they were approaching. The possessed were just plain insane. Jesus didn’t care. He hung out with them anyway. He even healed them. Good guy.

People were probably leery of Jesus at first. First, the son of God thing was probably off-putting. Imagine if the guy who built your house went around claiming to be the Messiah. Second, even those who believed he was the son of God were probably a little rattled. Up until that point, God was a vengeful cuss who destroyed entire countries, turned people into salt, slew children and even wiped out mankind–all because he had a Byzantine set of rules no one could follow. His son might be a bit edgy. Can’t you just see someone meeting him for the first time?:

Son of God. No foolin’? I’m sure you know about that pork chop I ate last week. I don’t know what I was thinking. Haha. Anyway, could you see your way clear to pass on the smiting just this once?

Imagine the surprise when Jesus said it was no big deal.

TEACHER

It didn’t take him long to collect followers, the so-called Disciples. They were a motley crew and seemed to bitch and moan a lot. Jesus had to be a patient dude to keep from blowing up at them. The first time someone doubted that I could walk on water, he would be walking–right out of the inner circle. “Oh, you can’t feed all these people with a loaf bread and fish.” “Oh, really? Who’s the son of God, you moron?” Jesus did none of that. Nor did he ever rub their noses in it like I would have. I would have been all: “Looks like everyone else is eating, what are you gonna do now, smart ass?” Even after he came back to life, he dealt with this stuff: “Hey, Doubting Thomas, what do these look like–callouses?” Not Jesus. He was a patient man. Good guy.

Even if you don’t believe Jesus was real, he was still a good guy, even as a literary figure. Consider the things he said:

  • Love your enemies. Any tool can love his friends.
  • If someone asks you for something, give it to him. Then, give him more of your stuff.
  • If someone slaps your face, tell him to do it again. This isn’t to prove that you’re a badass. It’s just to let him do it.
  • Don’t worry about the splinter in your friend’s eye when you’ve got a plank in yours. In other words, stay on your side of the street and deal with your own crap.
  • Quit bitching about the government. Give them what they want, and give God what he wants.
  • Don’t judge anyone. Ever. End of discussion.
  • The humble, the meek, the pacifists, the downtrodden–these are my kind of people.

This is just a small sampling of the man’s wisdom. The funny thing is that even though he’s had billions of followers, I’ve never met even one who does any of what he suggests.

Just as impressive as what he said is what he didn’t say. Here is some of that:

  • It’s okay to hate people, especially if they look different from you or don’t believe I’m the son of God.
  • Go forth and kill people in my name.
  • I really hope the folks who preach this gospel all get rich.
  • Give me money to show that you believe in me.
  • Arrogant, self-righteous jackasses are really cool.
  • C’mon boys! Let’s go protest a funeral.
  • Some day there will be a land called America. It will be my favorite place on Earth.
  • You know what I like? War.
  • If people are poor or starving it’s because they deserve it. They’re probably lazy.
  • I hate foreigners.
  • When you pray, be sure to ask for things. Money is always good. Oh, and ball games–I’m a big sports fan.

Jesus was a positive, upbeat guy, even in the face of what he had to know was going to be a bad, bad ending for him. If it had been me, I’d probably have said: “Look. After they crucify me, you dudes kill every last one of those bastards. I’ll be back in three days, and I expect to see some carnage.” Not Jesus. He tried to stay positive. Good guy.

HOLY MAN

Two stories demonstrate that Jesus, Godliness notwithstanding, was a good guy. Remember Lazarus? He was a good friend of Jesus’s. Maybe Lazarus bought a yoke or something from Jesus. Lazarus died, and his family asked Jesus to resurrect him. Now, you could tell Jesus didn’t want to do it, and I can understand. He performed miracles to make a point, not just to do it. He might have thought this would set a bad precedent. Anyway, he got nagged into it. Lazarus had been dead awhile and was pretty rank. I’m sure Jesus thought: “Man, what have I gotten myself into? Damn, he’s funky.” He did it anyway. Boom! Welcome back, Lazarus. Jesus just did it to be nice.

The other was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew that some bad crap was coming down, so–like a lot of us would–he went off to pray. The gist of his prayer was: “Okay. I know I’m supposed to do this. I get it. But, IF by any chance you’d like to get me out of this, I’m cool with that, too. Of course, you’re the boss. If this is what you want, I’m all in. Just think about it.” What could be more human than that? He would do what he was supposed to do but was fine with getting out of it. What else would a good guy do?

Even his crucifixion shows what a good guy he was. He could have unleashed all manner of wrath. Remember–he’s God’s son, the same God that wreaked vengeful havoc throughout the Old Testament. Instead, he forgave his tormentors.

FAMILY MAN

Like any regular guy, Jesus had a family. Yes, he was the son of God, but Joseph was his step-dad. Joseph taught him carpentry. They probably argued about stuff like any family.

His brother James probably had it tough. At this point, some of you will get hair-lipped and scream: “THAT’S A LIE! JESUS DID NOT HAVE A BROTHER!” I say he did. Why? Because the Bible calls him James, brother of Jesus. That’s good enough for me. So, calm down.

My older brother was an excellent student and good kid. That can be tough to follow. Imagine poor James. Even when he was spreading the gospel, he probably heard about it:

MAN: What’s your name, friend?

JAMES: James…uh…James Christ.

MAN: Are you related to….?

JAMES: Yeah, he’s my brother.

MAN: Wow. He was, I mean is, a great guy.

JAMES: Yeah. We’re fond of him.

MAN: Look, we’re having a little get together later. You’re welcome to come by. Do you think….?

JAMES: Thanks. I’ll see what I can do, but He doesn’t just appear. But I’ll check.

No matter what a good job James did preaching, he was never going to measure up.

Mary was a typical mom, except for the virgin birth thing. Why did Jesus turn the water into wine? Because his mom told him to do it. Haven’t we all been there? My son is an excellent, self-taught piano player. His mother always wants him to play for her friends. He rarely does. It’s embarrassing. Jesus reacted the same way. He hadn’t even started performing miracles yet, but she was his mother. So, he did it. “Okay, Mom. Are you satisfied now?” Good guy and a good son, too.

LADIES MAN

Jesus hung out with women, too. I suspect women weren’t treated too well in ancient Judea. Jesus didn’t care. Mary Magdalene was right by his side until the end–and the beginning. He didn’t care. Now, I know a lot of you say Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Maybe so, but the Bible doesn’t say that. If she was, it wasn’t important enough to write down. If you feel better thinking she was a whore, good for you. I know this much: Jesus wouldn’t have cared. He liked the downtrodden. They were his peeps. He made no judgments. Good guy.

I don’t know if Jesus dated or had a wife. If he did, the Bible doesn’t talk about it. Then again, it doesn’t talk about any of the Disciples having wives (Okay, maybe it does, and I just don’t remember). Let’s face it. The Bible isn’t very kind to women, so they probably wouldn’t have included that anyway. It wouldn’t have been weird if he had a girlfriend or wife. In fact, it would have been weird if he hadn’t. I’d like to think he did. He was human, too.

SUMMARY

Even if you are a committed atheist, you must admit that Jesus was a fine fellow. If not atheist, maybe you’re just not a Christian. No one ever turned from Christianity because Jesus was a bad guy.  Hey, the Koran mentions Jesus frequently, maybe even more than it does Mohammed.

Jesus said that he’ll come back one of these days.  Maybe he’s your plumber.  It’s doubtful that he’s preaching on TV.  He’s probably just a regular guy–good guy but regular.  If he does come back, though, I’m pretty sure we’ll all try to kill him again.

So, there you have you it. Jesus the man. Good guy. Now, some of you may be poised over your keyboard ready to set me straight and accuse me of heresy and blasphemy. Before you do, ask yourself this: What would Jesus do? Good guy, that Jesus. He’d just like this post and move on.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Acorns, Bombs and Guns: The Falling Sky

Chicken Little once famously declared “THE SKY IS FALLING!”  Of course, he (she?) was wrong–it was an acorn.  Sadly, Chicken Little terrified his barnyard companions until they sought shelter in a fox’s den.  Only the unfortunately named Cocky Locky survived.  The lesson? It was a freakin’ acorn, you moron.  Now, Ducky Lucky, Henny Penny and the rest of your friends are dead meat–literally.

We can all agree that Chicken Little was a damn moron.  Plus, he was a chicken.  Chickens are filthy and disgusting.  Why the hell would the other animals listen to one of them, anyway?  Now, you probably think I don’t eat chickens, but I do.  Why?  Because I want to.  They’d eat me if they could.  Where was I?  Oh, yeah, Chicken Little.

(By the way, I have an idea for a post about chickens.  I’m not sure the public is ready for it.)

We Americans have much in common with Chicken Little.  I’m not saying we wallow in our own filth and stink like hell, although some of us surely do.  We do, however, get hit with the proverbial acorn and then scurry about the national barnyard in a panic.

Our latest acorn is the Boston Marathon Bombing.  Here’s what we know (or think we know):  Two brothers born in the Caucasus region of Russia are alleged to have detonated homemade bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.  One of them is dead and the other is hospitalized.  Since these two were identified, here are just a few of the things I’ve heard from folks, most of whom I consider intelligent (my comments are in red) :

  • These guys should have been sent back to Chechnya.  First, Chechnya isn’t a country. Second, when would we have sent them back?  One of them has been in the U.S. since he was 8 years old. 
  • The FBI had been asked to check out the older brother.  It’s the FBI’s fault.  How do we know the FBI didn’t check him out?  There’s no law against being sketchy. 
  • Pressure cookers aren’t designed to be used as bombsNo shit?  All this time, I thought KFC was a terrorist front.
  • All terrorists are Arab.  Ahem, Chechnya is not an Arab region.
  • All terrorists are Muslims. Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczynski–Not Muslims.
  • Muslims are dangerous and should be watched.  Some are. So are some Christians, Jews and atheists.  There are 2.5 million Muslims in the U.S.  If they were ALL terrorists, don’t you think we’d notice the constant terrorist attacks?  The last time we demonized an entire group of people, we put them in interment camps.  No one looks back at that with pride.
  • No one is safe!!  Technically, that’s true.  The U.S. has 15,000 or so homicides a year.  You can’t really call that being “safe,” but it begs a question:  If terrorists are responsible for three of those, who’s killing the other 14,997?
  • We can’t try these terrorists in civilian courts.  Why not?  We have a great and fair legal system.  It affords the accused many rights but also arms the government with ample resources to prosecute crimes.  We become outraged if American citizens aren’t afforded these same rights when accused of crimes in other countries. 

Here’s what appears to have happened in Boston.  Two followers of some radicalized version of Islam took it upon themselves to build homemade bombs and blow up people.  They succeeded.  The Muslims in our country aren’t all banded together to destroy our way of life.  Relax, Chicken Little.

These weren’t criminal geniuses.  They learned to make bombs on the Internet.  You can, too. You can also get helpful advice from a book called The Anarchist Cookbook.  It wasn’t even written by a Muslim.  It was published in 1971.  My brother owned a copy.

We also have acorns bouncing off our heads over gun control:

  • People don’t need ANY guns.  Perhaps that’s true, but it’s irrelevant.  The U.S. Constitution protects the right to own guns.
  • You’re wrong!  The Constitution only allows a “well-regulated militia” to own gunsNo, I’m right.  At least that’s the U.S. Supreme Court says.
  • I must have a gun to protect my family.  Where exactly do you live?  I’d like to know so I don’t move there. 
  • I must have a gun to protect myself against the government.  Which one?  If you mean the U.S. government, good luck with that.  Have you seen the firepower of the U.S. government? 
  • Well, I have other good reasons to own a gun.  You well may, but here’s the deal:  You don’t need a reason.  You can own one just because you like guns.  Hell, you can even own one for the sole purpose of wanting to shoot someone with it. 
  • The Second Amendment is bad. Let’s get rid of it.  Interesting take, but here’s your problem–and it’s a big one–it’s very difficult to amend the Constitution.  That’s a good thing.  It keeps us from tearing it apart with knee jerk reactions.  If you can’t get a few guns law passed, your chances of amending the Constitution are less than nil.  Move on to something that’s at least possible. 
  • Expanded background checks are the beginning of a police state.  No, they aren’t.  If that’s true, let’s just get rid of ALL background checks. 
  • If we pass new gun laws, the government will come and take our guns. The only way that can happen is if the government decides to ignore the Second Amendment and a host of other Constitutional rights.  If that happens, a few new gun laws will be the least of our problems.
  • We don’t need new gun laws, because criminals won’t obey them.  That’s probably true.  Law-abiding citizens obey the law, and criminals don’t.  That axiom applies to all laws.
  • Guns don’t kill people.  Again, that’s true.  It’s also true that Sarin gas, rocket launchers, grenades and flamethrowers don’t kill people, either.  You need a better argument. 

The truth is that a few new gun laws won’t hurt us.  Who knows?  They might even help.  I doubt we’ll find out any time soon.  My advice?  Relax.  We have a violent country full of people who like to hunt humans for sport.  If you’re one of them, you’ll still be able to get a gun.  If you’re a law-abiding citizen, you’ll also be able to get one. If you’re on the other side of the debate, think of this:  If you’re right and over 90% of the public wants stricter laws, there will be political backlash.  Count on it.  Relax.

Bombs and guns.  Terrorists and criminals.  Law-abiding citizens and victims.  Black and white.  Acorns and the end.  We live in a world now where we can get real-time news reports.  During the pursuit of the Boston bombers, you could follow it almost moment-by-moment on Twitter.  The news of the world in 140 characters.  That’s how we think now.  We hear something, and it requires an immediate response.   There’s no time to think.

Perhaps this is why there is a visceral reaction to everything now.  We color it black or white.  I suppose a lot of things are black or white, but those aren’t colors.  There are a lot of colors out there.  Take a look at the world and you’ll see them.  The same thing applies to the big issues of the day.  Maybe they’re black and white.  Maybe not.  It’s at least worth looking at them long enough to tell.

We are an odd people. Most of us, regardless of political leaning, are proud Americans.  We love our Constitution and cherish our rights.  But, when we thinking the sky is falling, we’ll gladly give up those rights in order to assuage our fears. Could it be that this is the reason that people–whether terrorists, politicians or our friends–try to scare us with the black and white of the world?  Maybe the fox tossed that acorn at Chicken Little.

Now, back to acorns.  An acorn hit my head once.  It hurt–a lot more than you’d expect.  It actually raised a knot on my head.  So, I’m not saying that terrorist attacks and gun control aren’t painful topics. They are.  Just don’t confuse them with a hunk of the sky. The fox awaits.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Feel Lucky?

luck

Luck has a bad reputation. People don’t like it. They certainly don’t want to give it any credit. We don’t care for the randomness of it. If we’re just plain lucky, how do we take credit for our good fortune? It’s antithetical to our desire for praise.  Bad luck is just plain unfair, and no one likes that.

People talk a lot of about luck, because we don’t understand it.  Sure, it explains all the success of our enemies and all our own bad choices.  Beyond that, it baffles us.  Why me?  Why not me?

Webster’s Dictionary defines luck as a “force which brings good fortune or adversity.”  Carl Jung called it synchronicity which means “meaningful coincidence.”  Luck can be good or bad.  We can luck out.  We can have a run of bad luck.  We can get lucky.  We can run out of luck.  There are lucky dogs and ducks.

Luck seems inherently good, although there surely is bad luck, just like bad Karma.  If you wish me luck, I assume it’s the good kind, but I could be wrong about that.  If you run out of luck, it’s always the good kind.  We know that you never run out of bad luck.

Those of a religious bent prefer to call good luck a “blessing.”  We’re not lucky. We’re blessed. On its face, that’s a selfless view. All credit goes to God. Even that view, though, gives us just a wee bit of credit, doesn’t it? After all, aren’t we just a tad superior if God blesses us while others suffer innumerable hardships? Or, maybe we’re just lucky that God blesses us.  Regardless, blessings, it seems, are of the good luck variety.

What of those who aren’t so blessed? Sick children, poverty and lives of abuse aren’t blessings. No one suggests that God indiscriminately curses them. Is there some evil more powerful than God? That seems unlikely. Bad luck? Perhaps.

Religions discount luck.  It runs counter to the sovereignty of God.  I’m sure the Bible speaks poorly of luck, although I don’t know that for a fact.  Damn the luck, as they say.

We are so concerned about luck that we think we can bring it upon ourselves.  Four leaf clovers, pennies and horse shoes will draw good fortune.  Black cats, broken mirrors and umbrellas opened indoors can curse us.  7 is a lucky number.  13 is so bad that buildings won’t have a 13th floor, as if calling it the 14th floor changes its fundamental qualities.  We crossed our fingers for good luck.  All of this runs counter to the very essence of luck–randomness.  We so desperately want to gather the good and avoid the bad that we conveniently ignore that.

There are different kinds of luck, good and bad.  There’s dumb luck, like the time I found a $20 bill.  There it was, just sticking out from under my car tire.  Maybe it was a blessing, and God wanted me to do good with it. I don’t remember what I did with it.  I was in college at the time.  I probably bought some beer.

There’s the luck of the Irish, which may not be good luck at all. The Irish haven’t been all that lucky, historically. Maybe that’s why they think nattily dressed dwarves will lead them to pots of gold. That would certainly require some luck.  I asked an Irish guy once about the luck of his people.  His eyes welled with tears.  I just dropped it.

There’s beginner’s luck which explains why people far less experienced than us do better than we do at certain things we’re supposed to do well.

There’s hard luck.  Ever heard a hard luck story?  It’s never uplifting.  It usually ends with the teller asking for money.  You do that with me, and you’re out of luck.

Speaking of being out of luck, have you ever been shit out of luck?  That’s always bad.  Again, what the hell does it mean?  It may well mean that one has, in fact, defecated away one’s good fortune.  If so, I can see how that is bad.

So, is there luck or is it, as Branch Rickey said, the “residue of design?”  I don’t know what the hell he meant, but I take it to mean you have good luck when you’re just better than everyone else.  Conversely, if your design is poor, you’ll get a boatload of bad luck.  There is plenty of evidence of both in the world.

Rickey was right, to some extent.  Post-it notes were developed because a strong adhesive turned out to be weak. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by accident.  These folks were, however, working on something at the time.  It’s not like Fleming just let some bread go bad and then cured an infection by eating it on a dare.

Certainly, if you win the Powerball, there’s an element of luck. Consider than twelve men have walked on the moon. Ten are still living. That’s one out of every 30 million Americans. Your lottery odds are one in a 150 million. Luck.

What if, as Warren Buffett describes it, you win the “sperm lottery,” and you are born into great wealth? You’re lucky, at least when it comes to money. One of your ancestors may have been, too, or he or she may well have earned every penny you have. You, on the other hand, lucked out.

Grover Cleveland Alexander once said “I’d rather be lucky than good.”  Alexander was a Major League Baseball pitcher in the early 20th century. He was a great pitcher. He won 373 games. He gave luck its due.  If I were him, I would have taken all the credit myself.

Tennessee Williams said “Luck is believing you’re lucky.”  That makes no sense, but Williams choked to death on the lid of an eye drop bottle.  That’s some hard, bad luck.

Lou Gehrig, another great baseball player, once said “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”  He said this on Lou Gehrig Day, held in his honor because he had ALS, a disease so rare that they named it after him:  Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  If that’s good luck, no thank you.

Why do we call people lucky dogs? I think that’s because dogs used to be, well, treated like dogs. That was bad at one time, before we had dogs sleep in our beds and eat at our tables. I’m guessing that a dog who lived with people was just damned lucky.  Mr. Rickey’s theory doesn’t apply to dogs, I guess.

Having a stroke is really bad, unless it’s a stroke of luck.  Then, it’s really good.  You want that stroke.  A real stroke is not a stroke of luck, unless you mean bad luck.  Surviving the stroke could be a stroke of good luck.  See how random it is?

I’ve had my share of good luck, and I’d like to take credit for all of it.  Honestly, I can’t.  Some of it just happened.  Plus, if I take credit for the good, I have to take the blame for the bad, and that’s just not my style.

I don’t suggest you live your life hoping for good luck.  It’s random, after all.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t be luck.  I guess we just have to do whatever we do and take the good with the bad.  Good luck with that.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

How Evil or Not Is Our President?

I’ve watched a little of the History Channel series on the Bible.  A lot of folks are bothered by the violence in it.  I assume those people haven’t actually read the Bible, the Old Testament in particular.  There is incest, forced slavery, rape, murder of every description and even genocide.  It’s tough stuff.  A lot of folks who want to ban other books because of the Bible would probably want to ban the Bible itself if they ever read it.

Some are upset by the portrayal of Satan.  Why?  He looks like our president. Really, he does (the TV Satan, that is).  It’s supposed to be a coincidence, and maybe it is.  It does, however, raise the question of whether Obama is, in fact, Satan or just really evil.  My conservative friends think so.  My liberal friends think quite the opposite, of course.  The hard right (rock-ribbed Republicans, as my Dad would have said) reject everything Obama says or does as wrong-headed and Socialist.  The Left accepts everything he says or does as being brilliant and enlightened.  In other words, he’s the Democrat version of George W. Bush.

satan

I don’t know much about Satan or Lucifer or Beelzebub or whatever you call him.  The Bible doesn’t talk that much about him, either.  All this stuff about him being the proudest angel and falling from grace, etc., isn’t in the Bible.  Regardless, I know he’s bad news.  He tempts us with all kinds of evil.  I can’t endorse that behavior, although I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed a few of his temptations.  He’s also the overlord of Hell, which is bad in all possible ways with its lakes of fire, weeping and wailing and the obligatory gnashing of teeth.

So, why the Hell does the President look so much like Satan?  There really can’t be a good explanation, UNLESS–you got it–he IS Satan.  Okay, I know that’s a stretch.  What if he’s just the Anti-Christ?  The evidence is disturbing to say the least:

  • The Westboro Baptist Church thinks he’s the Anti-Christ.  That’s a credible source for theological truths.  They also think the U.S. Army is dominated by homosexuals.
  • The Obamacare microchip implants are certainly a bad sign.  The Mark of the Beast.
  • The name “Barack” has 6 letters, as in 6-6-6.  How convenient.
  • He’s black.  The History Channel has proven that Satan is, too.  Plus, Satan is always called things like the “Dark One.”
  • As we all know from the film Jesus Christ Superstar, Judas was black.  Coincidence?
  • Although the Bible says nothing about the age of the Anti-Christ, isn’t there at least a decent chance he would be about Obama’s age?
  • It is well-known that the Anti-Christ will be a charismatic figure, much like–you guessed it!–Obama.
  • Revelation 13:5-8 says the Anti-Christ will rule for 42 months.  That’s fairly close to one term of Obama’s presidency.
  • There’s even a website that questions whether he’s the Anti-Christ.  If he weren’t, why would someone go to all that trouble?
  • Michael Savage says Obama is “the most evil” President ever.  That’s good enough for me.
  • This passage from Revelation 13 succinctly describes Obama:
    • [1] And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
      [2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
      [3] And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
      [4] And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?
      [5] And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
      [6] And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
      [7] And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
      [8] And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world

    They might as well put a photo of Obama next to this passage.  Sixty or seventy years ago, a lot of churches thought the Papacy was the Anti-Christ.  Don’t they look silly now?

Those of you with a  conservative bent are probably smiling.  Maybe you’re thinking:  “He can’t be serious, but, you know, all that makes sense.”  If you’re over there on the Left, you may be angry, thinking:  “Another right-wing Nazi making fun of the greatest President ever.”  If you’re really far Left, you’re probably an atheist anyway and just generally offended by anything hinting at religion.  You don’t have faith in anything, except the Government, that is (that’s big G Government, just like big G God).  Oddly enough, atheists now worship a man who has been a Christian his entire adult life.

All this naturally leads to my next line of inquiry.  If we dismiss Obama as Satan or even the Anti-Christ, what if my friends on the Left are correct and he is a great man–the greatest man?  Consider:

  • We know nothing of Jesus’s teen or young adult years.  The same can be said of Obama whose formative years remain shrouded in mystery.
  • Some people think Jesus looked like this:
jesus

The resemblance is uncanny.

  • Jesus was black.  Okay, I have no direct or indirect proof of this, but isn’t it at least possible?  The Bible doesn’t say he wasn’t black.  Don’t you find that suspicious?  I do.  Besides, look at his picture!
  • Like Jesus, Obama has fed the multitudes.  In Obama’s case, it’s with food stamps, but the effect is similar.
  • Obama made Chris Matthews’ leg tingle.  That has to be some kind of miracle.
  • Louis Farrakhan once said of Obama “The Messiah is speaking.”  He never says anything nutty.
  • Speaking of miracles, Obama got a black man elected President of the United States–TWICE!
  • Jesus and Obama are both excellent public speakers.
  • Both were carpenters.  I’m little thin on facts to support this one, but it hasn’t been dis-proven to my satisfaction.
  • We all know that Jesus was born of a virgin mother, but what of Obama?  What do we know of his so-called “father?”  Not much.  Did he even exist?  If not, why not?
  • I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t have a birth certificate, either.
  • One can persuasively argue that Jesus, too, was a community organizer.  He organized an entire religion!
  • Jesus’s followers were the meek, the downtrodden, the poor in spirit.  Isn’t this exactly what folks on the Right say of Obama’s supporters?

Before you condemn me to the Lake of Fire, I am not suggesting that Obama is the Messiah or even a Messianic figure.  I only ask the questions that others fear.  Not surprisingly, I have no answers.

As with any serious theological debate, there are countervailing arguments.  If he were God or something similar, it’s hard to understand why Rand Paul wasn’t smited during his recent filibuster. If he were Satan or one of his minions, one would think he would try to woo the religious Right instead of constantly enraging them.  We can’t allow such obvious inconsistencies to derail our reckless speculation.

The Bible is thin on details describing Satan.  I’ll admit that Revelation contains an excellent description of the Anti-Christ what with the two heads and whatnot.   Although the Bible makes it clear that Jesus will return, it is equally explicit that we don’t know when or where.  Using those criteria, it is impossible to eliminate Obama.  Thus, we may never know the answer until it’s too late.

If Obama is Satan, then where does that leave Dick Cheney?  If Obama is the Messiah, then why is he a Muslim?  If he is just a man, why do we have all these questions, none of which are subject to adequate answers?  Have I written this under Satan’s spell or by divine inspiration?  Where does Glenn Beck fit in to all of this?  Why does Rachel Maddow look like a dude? We may never know the answers to these and other questions.

So, where are we?  I don’t know.  Maybe Obama is an Ivy League-educated ideologue who surrounds himself with like-minded people–a decent family man with whom a lot of people (myself included) vehemently disagree on some issues.  The Liberal George W. Bush.  NOW, I’m talking crazy.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

My Flagging Patriotism

flag

I make no secret that I love being an American.  I’ve always been an American, and I’ve always loved my life, at least most of  the time.  I might also like being Swiss or a Liechtensteiner, but I’ll never know.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like being a Somalian.

Because I love being an American, I suspect that makes me patriotic.  I certainly have pulled for us in all the wars.  But, when I hear really patriotic people talk, I think I’m a wild-eyed anarchist.  The flag–the American Flag–more than anything else makes feel like that.

Being a bit of a gadfly, I’m leery of blind loyalty to anyone or anything.  Any time people speak of patriotism, I  think of the famous quote that we’ll know fascism when it reaches American because it will be “wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”  Some say that Sinclair Lewis said this.  It certainly sounds like something he would have said.

Nothing swells Americans with pride like our flag.  Old Glory.  The Stars and Stripes.  Unlike some countries whose flags have wild colors and sayings on them, it’s simply designed.  Fifty stars and thirteen stripes.  Red, white and blue.  We don’t have animals or people on our flag.  It’s not all busy and confusing.  I’ve always like the flag, but I don’t worship it.  I really liked the one the Air Force draped on my Dad’s casket.  My fellow Americans, however, are obsessed with the flag.

Prior to the American Civil War, the flag wasn’t so much a symbol of patriotism as it was a marker used to identify federal territories or possessions.  During the Civil War, it became a symbol of the union just as the Confederate flag was a symbol of rebellion.  Since then, the flag has taken on more significance.

Nowadays, the flag is venerated.  Rick Monday was a fairly good baseball player in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  He was a good outfielder, hit with some power and had good speed.  He’s known for two things.  One, he was the very first pick in Major League Baseball’s first amateur draft.  Second, he saved the flag.  During a game at Dodger Stadium in 1976, Monday was playing in the outfield for the Chicago Cubs.  Two “fans” ran on the field, threw down a flag and prepared to burn it.  Monday ran by and scooped it up with one hand just before it was lit.  He got a standing ovation.  Mention Rick Monday to a baseball fan of a certain age, and he or she will remember that moment.   

2006-04-24-rick-monday
Rick Monday’s greatest play.

We have songs about the flag.  “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “It’s a Grand Old Flag” are two of them.  My father was fond of march music, so I I’ve heard Stars and Stripes Forever many, many times.  It’s pretty catchy.

We like the flag so much that we have laws about it.  The Flag Acts of 1777, 1794 and 1818 tell us what the flag should look like.  We have a United States Flag Code which has rules about displaying and caring for the flag.  You can read it at 4 U.S.C. Section 1, et seq.  (I’m a lawyer, and that’s a citation to a statute).  Before you go scrambling to the United States Code to turn in your neighbor, there are no criminal penalties for breaking these rules.  Think of them as rules of etiquette for the flag.  Here are just a few of the rules:

  • Don’t dip the flag
  • Don’t display it upside down (except to show distress)
  • Don’t wad it up
  • Don’t make clothes out of it
  • Don’t draw pictures on it
  • Don’t walk on it
  • Don’t let it touch the ground
  • Burn it when it’s worn out
palin

This is okay, because Mrs. Palin’s bikini is not an actual flag. It’s not okay that she’s wearing a bikini, though.

flynt

First Amendment fanatic Larry Flynt. Wearing an actual flag as a diaper is not okay, but it’s not a crime.  Maybe it should be. 

These are a just a few of the highlights.  There are a bunch of rules.  Only an anal-retentive Boy Scout could keep track of all of them.  Just be glad there are no criminal penalties. By the way, I was a Boy Scout–maybe it was a Cub Scout–for a couple of weeks.  What did I learn?  How to fold the flag, of course.

The bottom line is that we don’t like people being disrespectful to the flag.  People in foreign countries like to burn the flag–our flag.  You can tell they think that infuriates us, and it does.  Some of these folks will hit it with shoes.  That’s definitely a no-no.

Although the flag is iconic, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution allows us to desecrate it.  Like Mr. Flynt, we can wear it as a diaper if we so choose; however, I don’t suggest that, because it will make you unpopular in many circles.

Remember, though, it’s not a crime.  We Kentuckians have made it a crime under state law, Kentucky Revised Statute Section 525.110.  That statute is unconstitutional, of course, but we don’t care.   It’s still a law, even if we can’t enforce it.  We’re well-known in Kentucky for passing laws that can’t be enforced and for periodically embarking on Quixotic battles to display the Ten Commandments.  It’s part of our culture.

Of course, Americans have a Pledge of Allegiance.  Man oh man, the Pledge of Allegiance gets people worked up.  We’re supposed to pledge allegiance to the flag, by God, or so the argument goes.  No one ever explains why we should do this, but we should.  Some–like your author and The United States Supreme Court–believe that Americans shouldn’t have to pledge allegiance to God, country, flags, politicians or anything else.  We’re Americans.  We have the right to be apathetic or downright hostile about everything.

I often see posts on social media lamenting that schools don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  This isn’t true.  My children attended public schools where the Pledge was recited.  Now, the school can’t force you to recite it.  That’s okay, at least with me.

If you’re going to get all worked up about the Pledge of Allegiance, consider:

  • The original text of the Pledge:
    • I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
  • It was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist.  That’s right, a socialist.
  • It was written as part of the 400 year celebration of Columbus’s arrival in America.
  • One of the purposes of it was to sell flags to schools, because there was a belief that patriotism was at a low point.
  • Bellamy wanted to include equality and fraternity for all, but he knew that schools wouldn’t support equal rights for women and African-Americans.
  • About 30 years later, “my flag” was replaced with “the flag of the United States of America.”  The thought was that immigrants needed to be clear about which flag they loved.
  • In 1954, the now familiar “under God” was added.  This was during the Cold War when godless Communism was all the rage.
  • A minister named George Docherty suggested to President Eisenhower that God be added to the pledge.  Reverend Docherty likened the Pledge to something “Moscovite children” might recite.
  • Legally, you can’t be forced to recite it.
  • Schools can recite the Pledge, but student participation is voluntary.  If you think schools are not allowed to recite the Pledge, you are wrong.
  • The vast majority of states require that time be set aside for recitation of the Pledge. So, if you think the country is going to hell because we don’t do it, again, you’re wrong.  Here in Kentucky, we have Kentucky Revised Statute Section 158.175 which sets aside time for it.
  • Groups like Socialists and Fascists love to have people pledge allegiance to the state.

This being America, we don’t force anyone–even children–to pledge allegiance to the flag.  Maybe you think we should, but such things as freedom of speech and of religion stand in the way.  It’s okay.  Those are good things, too.  Think about it like this:  If you’re one who thinks we should be forced to say the Pledge, imagine how you’d react if President Obama said that.  See?

We’re not the only country with a flag.  Other countries have flags, too.  All of them do, I guess, but we don’t care much for those.  Most of them are goofy looking with odd sayings and pictures on them.

andorra flag

Andorra has the typical weird flag combining a haughty crest with cows and odd foreign gibberish.

Some other flags just took no thought at all.  France, for example:

france

The French flag can be easily adapted in the event of surrender.

We want people to fight for the flag, too.  Personally, I wouldn’t do that, especially if I had time to think about it.  I’d probably let you have the flag if it were that important to you.  That’s not the same as fighting for one’s country, although I wouldn’t want to do that, either.

When we Americans get mad at foreign countries, we don’t take to the streets and burn their flags.  To us, that seems over the line.  Oh, we’ll invade your country, kill you by the thousands and overthrow your government, but we’ll be good to your flag.  That’s only decent.

All our states have flags.  Here is the flag of my state, Kentucky:

kyflag

It states the fairly obvious maxim of “United we stand.  Divided we fall.”  I suppose the cartoon on it symbolizes country and city folk coming together.  We also call ourselves a “commonwealth.”  No one knows what that means, but we’re just a plain old state like everyone else.  Kentucky has its own Pledge of Allegiance:

“I pledge allegiance to the Kentucky flag, and to the Sovereign State for which it stands, one Commonwealth, blessed with diversity, natural wealth, beauty, and grace from on High.

Notice that it doesn’t mention “God.”  I think people would be outraged about this if they knew we had our own pledge.  “On High” could be God, Jesus, Buddha or a bundle of sticks.

I’ve been told that this is Alabama’s flag:

alaflag

Weird, huh?  It’s kind of like they’ve just Xed themselves out.  Then again, it’s easy to draw.

State flags aren’t as controversial.  I’ve never heard anyone accused of desecrating one, and I’ve never seen angry foreign mobs burning one.  If someone did, we’d probably get mad, but it would quickly pass.

Everyone knows the famous photo of the flag being raised at Iwo Jima.  It wouldn’t have had the same impact if they had raised the Kentucky state flag by mistake.

Some of our states are fond of the Confederate flag, the Old Stars and Bars.  Only in America could you fly the flag of a rebellion that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and almost destroyed your country.  Of course, a lot of folks are offended by that.  That’s also very American.  Do what you want, but others have a right to get pissed off about it.

Whether you’re conservative or liberal, you might be thinking:  “Hey, does this nut have some kind of problem with flags?”  No.  I’ve never desecrated a flag (at least not on purpose).  I don’t advocate such things, either, but I probably don’t love the flag.  And I certainly don’t insist that you love it or pledge some kind of oath to it.  Just don’t wear it as a diaper, unless you really want to.

©thetrivaltroll.wordpress.com 2013

My Over 50 Not-To-Do List

I’m in my 51st year on the planet.  Although many people have exceeded my longevity, this impresses me.  Of course, lots of folks lived less time than I have and did much more–Mozart, for example.  All in all, though, living longer is a good thing.

I now read AARP publications.  AARP recently ran a tongue-in-cheek article about things NOT to do after age 50.  It was somewhat humorous.  Somewhat.  Like a lot of things, it got me thinking.  Now, that I’m 50 (and have been for several months now), what won’t I do?  Here are five such things:

PLAY BALL!  I’ve written before about my mediocrity as an athlete.  That never stopped me from trying to play sports.  No more.  No basketball.  No softball.  No flag football.  Nothing where I risk injury.  Why?   I don’t want any other injuries.  The older you get, the more injury-prone you are.  My sports are now limited to baseball and basketball with my youngest son and even then I don’t go all out.

I’ve never had a serious injury.  I’ve never worn a cast or had surgery or used crutches.  I did tear a muscle in my shoulder once, but they can’t do much about that.  I had a stress fracture in my foot, but it went away.

In my 30’s I scraped the outside of left calf sliding during a softball game.  It looked like a burn and hurt like hell. It scabbed up in a couple of days.  Then, the scab disappeared, and it looked like an orange peel, except oozy.  You know how your mother said that a cut with red lines running from it is bad?  It had those, two.  It was something called cellulitis.  The doctor said it was a “galloping infection.”  I had to elevate my leg and put a heating pad on the open wound.  I also had to draw a circle around it with a Sharpie.  If the red spread past the outline, that would be bad.  When I stood, the blood rushed to my leg and it felt like a thousand needles.  I  had to get a shot every day, too, for a week.  The shot gave me diarrhea.  For days, I was reduced to lying down with a heating pad on an open sore which burned like it was on fire while trying to control my bowels and drawing on my leg with a magic marker.  I’m just too old for this kind of thing.

Even if I wanted to play sports, I probably can’t.  The simplest of sports may be beyond me now. A few months ago, I passed baseball with my 17-year-old son who is a high school baseball player.  He can throw 80-85 mph without much effort.  I was terrified.  Enough of that, too.

Fortunately, my youngest son is almost 11 now.  If I had a younger kid, I’d hire someone to play with him.  No sense taking unnecessary risks.

ANGRY UP MY BLOOD:  The great baseball player Satchel Paige once cautioned against eating fried food, because it would angry up one’s blood.  I don’t necessarily agree with that, because I like fried food.  I do, however, agree with the caution about angrying up the blood.

I was an angry young man.  Angry about all kinds of stuff–my job, politics, religion, sports–pretty much everything.  I had a short fuse which was easily lit, too.  I was an unpleasant person.  I’m too old for all that, as well.

It seems that my peers become angrier with age while I mellow.  I am aging in reverse, like a far less handsome version of Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button.  It seems that everyone my age is mad about liberals, conservatives, the rich, the poor, taxes, drones, sports, religion and life in general.  Here’s the deal:  We all have opinions.  So do I.  I’m certain that mine aren’t all that important.  In fact, I may be flat wrong on many (most?) of them.  Same goes for you.  I’m sure that pisses you off.  Relax.

I’m confident that being mad shortens my life.  How?  Well, every minute I waste fuming about something, I could be doing something else.  So, there goes part of my life down the old crapper.  As a live and let live guy, I really don’t care if you’re mad, even at me.  Just don’t ask me to play along.

GET IN MY CUPS:  I was once quite fond of strong drink.  I may still be, but I haven’t partaken in several years.  Understand that I have no problem with those that do.  I just believe that such indulgences are a young man’s game.  Hangovers had bad for my brain.  Why else would my head hurt like that?  Vomiting is no good under any circumstances.  Also, not remembering conversations or where I’ve been or what I’ve done is problematic.  Soon enough, age itself will cause such problems.  No need to speed the plow.

Here’s the kind of thing I did when I drank.  A few years ago (not as many as you might think), my wife and I went to a party.  I drank quite a bit before the party and quite a bit at the party.  Oh, I had a grand time–or so I’ve heard.  When we came home, I retired to the basement whereupon I quickly dozed off (the more crass of you might call it “passing out.”)  A couple of hours into my respite, I had the urge to relieve myself.  Rising from the couch, I was unsteady on my feet.  No doubt this was from the deep REM sleep.  As I staggered toward the bathroom, somehow I fell forward, striking my head on a wooden post.   Oh, I also broke my glasses.

No problem.  Holding my forehead, I made it to the bathroom and did my business.  My right brow was really throbbing, so I thought I might take a look at it.  Leaning close the mirror–remember my glasses were broken–I moved my hand from my right eye to get a good look.

The funny thing about cuts to the head is that they bleed far in excess of the severity of the actual injury.  When I moved my hand, blood fairly gushed from a small slice in my right eye brow.  It ran into my eye and down my face.  It just kept coming.  There was only one thing to do–I puked and went into a full-blown swoon.  Then I sat in the floor convinced that I was bleeding to death and would be found covered in blood and vomit–not a glorious demise.

So, I did the only thing I could do.  Holding a towel to my head, I climbed the two flights of stairs to the master bedroom and consulted my dear wife.  Let’s just say that the evening suddenly took an even uglier turn.

I’m too old for this kind of foolishness now.  Let the young men bleed profusely and copiously vomit.  I’ll sip my Starbucks, work the crossword puzzle and retire for the evening at 9:30 or so.

EAT WELL:  This takes some explaining.  I don’t eat all that poorly.  I don’t have a weight problem.  I’m a lean, mean 160 pounds.  Perfect middle-weight size.  Think of me as a whiter, less-imposing, soft version of Marvelous Marvin Hagler (if you don’t know Hagler, you’re not my age).  At one time I weighed 176 pounds, which was a little too much.  I quickly shed that weight.  That’s just a genetic thing.  Don’t get all pissed off (see section above).

People want me to eat well, and I guess I should.  My family has a bit of a history of heart disease.  Regardless, there are things I like to eat.  They include, but are not limited to:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Chocolate
  • Ice Cream
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Pork in general
  • Deep fried anything
  • Gluten
  • Peanut butter
  • Hot dogs
  • Red meat
  • White meat
  • Meat

I also don’t mind my food being laced with preservatives.  Why not?  Hey, I like it preserved until I want to eat it.  Call me crazy.

I’m not diabetic.  I don’t have celiac disease. Or diverticulitis.  Or any food allergies.  If you do, please watch what you eat.  The key here is to watch what you eat, not what I eat.

If YOU don’t want to eat this stuff, I’m okay with it.  I won’t force it on you.  I don’t have people to my house for dinner anyway.  Eat what you want.  You can eat free range horse for all I care.  Just don’t tell me what to eat.  I enjoy food and fully intend to continue to do so.

FIGHT CLUB:  Chief Joseph said:  “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”  That’s a good philosophy, and I agree wholeheartedly with him.  Fighting isn’t good, especially if you run the risk of getting the crap beat out of you.

Like heavy drinking, fighting is a young man’s business.  When you’re young, fighting can be a test of your manhood.  It can also be provoked by heavy drinking.  Either way, it’s usually a one-on-one situation and little harm is done.

Unlike in the movies, real fights rarely result in a lot of punching.  A good punch is almost always a “sucker” punch which the recipient doesn’t see coming.  Otherwise, punching is mostly a bunch of embarrassingly wild swinging.

It hurts to be squarely punched in the face.  It also hurts to squarely punch someone in the face.  Your hand explodes in pain.  I don’t like pain.  That said, real fights end up with a bunch of rolling around on the ground.

Another thing about real fights.  No one gets punched in the face repeatedly and keeps fighting.  Nor do you punch anyone in the face repeatedly.  The human head is hard.  It’s like a bowling ball with a few soft places on it.  Go punch a wall five or ten times and let me know what you think.

At a certain age–maybe 30–I realized that people who are willing to fight might be dangerous, especially if they, too, were in their 30’s.  These folks also tend to carry weapons, because they’re looking for trouble.  I don’t want even a remotely deadly weapon used on me.  I don’t want to throw a punch and miss, only to end up with a Chinese throwing star stuck in my forehead.

One possible exception is that I might fight a younger man.  Why would I do that? Wouldn’t youth put me at a terrible disadvantage?  Possibly.  However, don’t discount the power of being Old Man Strong.  We all reach an age where our years create a certain toughness without us even knowing it.  Some suggest that perhaps we lose the will to live and become fearless.  I prefer to think of it as God’s way of rewarding us for surviving.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine foolishly punched his dad.  His dad didn’t flinch.  Old Man Strong. Fight over.

So, if you’re a young fellow, be careful.  If you get mouthy with an old guy and he just chuckles or, worse yet, takes a step toward you, run.  It may be all that saves your dignity.

CONCLUSION

This is hardly a comprehensive list of things I won’t be doing.  Such things as starting a meth lab, amateur pornography and polygamy are also taboo.  These, though, are things I wouldn’t have ever done, as far as you know.

I’m not perfect.  Maybe one day I’ll be shooting basketball with my kid, and you’ll wander into my yard spewing about politics and telling me to reduce the MSG in my diet.  Like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, I’ll take a swig of whiskey and then start a fight with you.  Let’s try to avoid all that.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Superman, Court Storms and Other Random Musings

My mind spins with random thoughts.

SUPERMAN

The only comic book I ever read much was Superman. I loved Superman. I loved the Superman TV show with George Reeves. Honestly, I don’t understand why I loved that, but I did. Even with body padding, George Reeves made for a decidedly unfit looking man of steel. Jimmy Olson, as played by Jack Larsen, looked like he could whip Superman’s ass. Of course, that may have had something to do with the fact that Larsen appeared to be in his 30’s playing the young Olson.

A new Superman movie comes out this year. I hear it’s a darker Superman. I guess he’s a troubled soul. I don’t buy that. Superman isn’t troubled. He’s Superman.

Now, I’m hearing that there may be a Justice League movie. You know the Justice League–Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and The Green Lantern band together to fight evil. Later, other more obscure superheroes joined. You may have seen the cartoon series with the wonderfully sonorous tones of Ted Knight as the narrator.

Here’s my question: Why the hell does Superman need to join up with these other so-called superheroes? He can do everything they can do and more. Super-strength, super-speed, super-vision, super-swimming. He can fly!! Oh, and he’s indestructible. Okay, he doesn’t have Wonder Woman’s invisible plane. Big whoop. Again, he can freakin’ fly! He’d kill Batman. Just flat kill him. The Flash? Be serious. Superman is so fast that he can turn back time. He’d catch The Flash and then beat the living crap out of him. I never even understood The Green Lantern. Superman can do everything he can do.

Let’s don’t even talk about Aqua Man. He has gills and can talk to sea creatures. That’s helpful–TO NO ONE!

So, that’s it. Superman has no business in the Justice League. Let them fend for themselves. Of course, when they get in a bunch of trouble, who will they call?

COURT STORM

Fans of the University of Miami (Don’t call it “Miami of Florida”) had the audacity to run onto the court after beating the Duke Blue Devils. If one followed the many breathless accounts (hundreds of which were via ESPN’s sundry media outlets), you would have thought two things: (1) This is the first time this has ever happened; and (2) Numerous Duke players were trampled to death.

Neither is true, but it happened to Duke so it’s a big deal. Coach Mike Kszwkfjkdsji (close enough) did as he is wont to do and hurled obscenities at the crowd. When asked about it, Coach K sounded like he had survived the Benghazi attack. Now, countless talking heads have had enough. This must stop.

Let’s first disabuse ourselves of the notion that Coach K is a potential Nobel Prize winner who just happens to coach basketball. He’s a tempermental, foul-mouthed coach. His mentor is the despicable Bobby Knight. He’s not a college professor. He’s a college coach.

Here’s what should happen. Every school’s fans should run on the court after every Duke game, win or lose–whether they are playing Duke of not. Just run wild. In fact, when Duke loses, fans in every arena in the country should rush the court when the score is announced. Let’s just make it a tradition like that crazy octopus-throwing thing in hockey. One exception should be North Carolina. Don’t ever do that against your big rival. It just makes you look sad and desperate.

I say we go a step further. Opposing fans should rush the court even when Duke wins. That should make Coach K completely mental.

I am a proud alum and lifelong fan of the University of Kentucky. We’ve had the court rushed on us at INDIANA UNIVERSITY! Indiana, winner of multiple national championships, poured onto the court after beating UK in a regular season game. They put it on the cover a phone book. We’ve had this happen so many times that the Southeastern Conference now levies heavy fines for it. Trust me, the SEC isn’t concerned about Arkansas fans going wild if they beat Auburn.

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Imagine Coach K’s reaction to this.

The uninformed might ask: When do you UK fans rush the court? Answer: When we win the National Championship and only then to congratulate the players on doing what we knew they would do any way. I’m not saying we’d never do it during the regular season. As soon as we win a game that we fans don’t expect to win, I’m sure we’ll consider it.

TAXES

It’s tax time again. Pause. Are you done moaning? I pay a lot of taxes, and I’m fine with that. You know why? It means I make a good living. If I didn’t pay any taxes, I wouldn’t be making much money. I like making money. Now, I’ve known some folks who made a lot of money and didn’t pay taxes. Some of them went to jail. I’d rather pay taxes.

AMISH PEOPLE

Why are there so many Amish TV shows? I don’t get it. Amish Mafia? Amish people in New York? Young Amish running wild during Rumspringa. Evidently, the Amish are entertaining. Hmm.

I met an Amish guy once, I think. He had the beard, the hat and the poor-tailored clothes–that’s my stereotypical view of the Amish. But it was at a gas station. He was buying a bottle of water. That doesn’t seem Amish. We exchanged pleasantries. He had a bit of an odd accent. Nice enough, too. Yeah, he was Amish.  He didn’t entertain me.

I don’t find the Amish any more entertaining than Mennonites or Hutterites. I grew up in Eastern Kentucky where we had some experience with Mennonites. They did mission work in Eastern Kentucky. That’s how pitiful we were. Mennonites thought they had it better than we did. Again, nice people but not a barrel of laughs, unless you think bonnets are funny, which they kind of are.

Of course, all this makes me think about Shakers even though they aren’t Anabaptists. I live near a historic Shaker village. It’s pretty nice unless–like me–you enjoy cable TV. The Shakers don’t marry or procreate, and they’re prevented from adopting. There are only three left, and they’re like 90 years old. Not much TV potential there.

The Amish do one thing entertaining. Sometimes, they hire men to replenish the gene pool. That’s right–hired men to impregnate their women just like in the movie A Boy and His Dog. You have to do it in front of the husband. There’s some reality TV for you.

SEQUESTER

Let us not speak of this again.

COMICS

Okay, I lied. I used to read Archie comics, too. I’m still haunted by why he rejected Betty. SHE THREW HERSELF AT HIM! I didn’t know any girls who looked like Veronica and Betty. Maybe that’s why I liked it.

I knew this kid who would steal your comics if he came to your house.  We had to check his coat sleeves before he left.  Oh, and he used to draw obscene things on Betty and Veronica.

Well, that’s it.  Those are just a few random things rattling around in my head.  I feel better now.  Wait a second…what if Superman had been raised by an Amish family?  Imagine the possibilities…..

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