A Welcoming Community

It is a hot July 80 degrees here in Ohio, so we make a silly decision. We head to Charlotte, North Carolina, where it is even hotter. We are going to see our daughter, who moved there a few months ago. The biggest part of our drive is through West Virginia. The scenery is beautiful but hard to study while you are driving on very winding roads. This is a state where you will find roads named Possum Hollow Road. A driver of a black SUV is going way over the speed limit. He is whipping from lane to lane. He cuts right in front of a semi truck as if the semi could stop on a dime. I’d like to get a look at the SUV driver. I suspect it is Charles Bronson because he has a death wish.

We stop for gas at a busy service center trying to be the Breezewood, PA. of West Virginia. We get some sodas and go to the register of the convenient store. A jittery bouncy toothless woman with a teenage girl’s body and an eighty year old woman’s face says,”What do you mean you’re all out of fountain energy drinks.” The young man at the register looks at energy woman and says to us, “It’s going to be a crazy day; ya all have a great day now.” A tavern sits next door with a sign that states, “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy a shot and that’s close.” A strip club called, “Southern Exposure” is on our left as we reenter the highway.

We drive through Virginia only for a small section. It needs no welcome sign; you are greeted by a state cop parked in the intersection every square mile. Virginia is for lovers and speeding fines. I was once stopped in Virginia and had to pay a big fine because I had a radar detector. I was treated like I was trying to bring a kilo of cocaine into Virginia. I am growing weary of left lane bandits who ride in that lane while driving under the speed limit. The driver of a car ahead of us has his arm sticking in the air. He is giving the I love you sign and does it for about three miles. I’m happy to see he has Ohio plates but wish he had both hands on the wheel.

You know when you have arrived in North Carolina. You’ll see places like an Exxon station featuring peaches, peach pies and a butcher shop. It’s also where you’ll find restaurants that don’t understand the reasoning of unsweetened iced tea. Charlotte drivers putter off from a red light but once they are on Jeff Gordon Expressway or Dale Earnhardt Boulevard divers seem required to drive like they are on a NASCAR track. Highway 3 is named after the car Dale was killed in. Your GPS system will also be confused by twelve roads named, Sharon. Sharon Road, Sharon Lane, Sharon Amity, Sharon Road West, Sharon Lakes Road etc. They are all named after a region in the Bible. A coastal plain in West Israel, extending from Tel Aviv to Mount Carmel.

You will find every denomination of churches in Charlotte. The biggest growing one is Elevation which is a mega church auditorium. Its thousands of members are referred to as Elevators by outsiders. The church takes in $25 million a year from its 17 locations with 9 being in the Charlotte area. It is one of the fastest growing churches in the USA.  Senior Pastor Steve Furtick and his wife built a 16,000 sq. ft. house with 7.5 bathrooms on 19 acres of land in Waxhaw, NC, a suburb of Charlotte. The house and land are valued at just under $1.8 million. The church will have a hard time changing the world as the pastor’s wife has told members they shouldn’t have friends outside of fellow church members. Former employees say they were paid low wages, worked long hours and were expected to give total access to their personal lives to church leaders.

We finally reached our daughter’s apartment building. In her parking lot a young boy plays unsupervised. He climbs a hill sits in a wheeled office chair and flies down the hill. Somehow he avoids crashing into parked cars. I later see the chair parked next to the garbage dumpster. It is hot out so our daughter takes us to the apartment complex’s pool. In the pool, two teenage Spanish-speaking couples are dancing to Spanish music. One couple gets in the pool and the boy tries to make out with the girl. She says in English, “Chill out there is kids in the pool.” He replies, “Oh come on baby.” She sings, “You say, “Hello.” He sings back, “And I say goodbye.” A big part of the apartment complex is made up of Latin American immigrants. I learn that there are currently over 3,000 international refugees from over 40 different countries living in Charlotte. The middle schools here teach over 12,000 students who speak over 160 different languages. Between 2004 and 2014, Charlotte was ranked as the country’s fastest-growing metro area, with 888,000 new residents.

In 2012 there was a rally to protest the growing Latin American population in Charlotte. The rally was organized by Neo-Nazis and the KKK. These groups were confronted by a counter demonstration by the Latin American Coalition. These counter-protesters dressed like clowns and brought squeaky toys, whistles, noise-makers, red noses and flour–every time the Nazis and Klan mentioned “white power” the counter demonstrators sprinkled white flour in to the air. The “Send in the Clowns” action worked and the white supremacist realized they were being drowned out and mocked as clowns and left.  The Latin American Coalition said, “While racism and hate are serious business, hate groups coming to our city is just ridiculous.  The type of rhetoric these groups espouse does not work to move our country forward. We reject such divisiveness. Take your hate somewhere else, there’s no room for hate discourse in our community.”

My daughter’s boyfriend drove us to a nearby South Carolina flea market. There were lots of Latino vendors. We see fresh veggies including cactus, chili pepper plants and green beans a foot long. A black man buys a speaker from a white vendor wearing a shirt with a rebel flag on it. A biker is buying a $5 helmet. I wonder if he thinks a $5 helmet will protect his head. Probably more than the silly do rag he is wearing. I love seeing a white man vendor speaking Spanish to a woman wearing a Guatemala t-shirt. A Hispanic elderly woman is selling Tupac and Fred Sanford t-shirts. Upon leaving we pass a giant fire station. Probably needed with the mix of 100 degree heat and abundance of fireworks wholesalers.

We learn that downtown Charlotte is called “uptown,”much to the confusion of tourists. The city of Charlotte now has over 199 neighborhoods. The very first Family Dollar opened up in Charlotte in 1959. Within 10 years, it turned into a 50-store chain. By 2013, 78,000 Family Dollars had emerged in 48 states. One every 3 miles in Ohio it seems. Charlotte’s Museum of History shut down. It ran out of money as people were not willing to pay to visit it. A young Charlotte resident commented on the closing saying, “Charlotte has a past. It’s just not living in it.” We leave knowing we will miss our daughter but I am comforted by that comment and the peaceful, humorous direct action confrontations of the Latin American Coalition. I am grateful that our daughter is only an eight-hour drive away. I feel for those immigrants in Charlotte that are thousands of miles away from their families.  Our daughter has found a new home and we hope young people like her will make Charlotte a welcoming community.

Teach Your Children~ CSN

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” -FDR














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Latrine Nativity

In Stone Ridge, Texas Falon Griffin

began experiencing contractions

and was rushed to the hospital

by her husband, Robert Falon.

She cried out that the baby wouldn’t wait.

They then pulled over and went in a Chick-fil-A

and soon had their baby girl in the bathroom.

The restaurant informed them that they don’t deliver

so next time just come to the drive thru window.

Headlines for a big baby born at Burger King

would have been Whopper baby born at Burger King.

If the parents planned the birth at Burger King

they could say they wanted to have it their way.

If you had your baby at Taco Bell

instead of at a Burger King,

you would be thinking outside the bun.

Of course, a Taco Bell baby would have been born with a lot of gas.

Robert Falon stated to the local media that his wife

“Did something amazingly spectacular and should be congratulated.”

Robert is not very bright and doesn’t realize that women

have been giving birth to babies for centuries.

He did put Chick-fil-A on the spot with his comment.

So, because the baby girl named, Gracelyn

was born in a Chick-fil-A restaurant

she has awarded free Chick-fil-A for the rest of her life

and a guaranteed minimum wage job at age 14.

Their sandwich has 1400 grams of sodium, MSG, artificial colors

and Dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone-based antifoaming agent

also found in products like Silly Putty and shampoo.

With a diet of these ingredients Gracelyn will never make 14.

Gracelyn won’t be able to eat at Chi k-fil-A on Sundays

as they are closed because they say it’s the Christian way.

Church’s are opened on Sunday and happy to take your money.

If Gracelyn had been born on a Sunday,

it would have been an udder nightmare as

she would have been born in the parking lot.

Chick-fil-A founder Truit Cathy died on a Monday.

He was not allowed to die on a Sunday

as it would have violated company policy.

The CEO of Chick-fil-A has made statements against homosexuals.

Former employees have said that Chik-fil-A is homophobic,

Islamaphobic, misogynist and bigoted.

Which qualifies them to be located next to Hobby Lobby.

It also means everyday is white Christian appreciation day

featuring all white meat from non-laying chickens

who refuse to submit to the unwanted sexual advances of Roosters.

Which means you’re really eating lesbian chickens.

That makes sense because the name, Chick-fil-A

sounds like the name of a lesbian nightclub.

 Women have been kicked out of Chick-fil-A

for breast feeding because it wasn’t kosher.

At Gracelyn’s birth her dad had on a Trump 2020 T-shirt.

 If Gracelyn turns out to be gay Chick-fil-A

will not hire her and dad will disown her.

Dad should have had Gracelyn turn down the food and a job

as conservatives believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Which makes as much sense as trying to pick up a chair

while you’re still sitting in it.

Having babies in fast food restaurants instead of hospitals

is Trump’s new healthcare plan to make America Great Again.

 I was born in a hospital like most people.

I wouldn’t want free hospital food for life

but what about free healthcare for life?

I like books so I wish I had been born at Barnes and Nobel.

 When Chick-fil-A founder Truit Cathy died

 he was very shocked to learn

that god is a gay Islamic vegetarian woman

named Adala, which means, justice.

Don’t Chow Down at Chick-fil-A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtGY9c6KKKY

“Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?”–Author Ernest J. Gaines







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Ballad of Fai 

A firefly was drawn to the light from a family’s campfire. He thought the lights were thousands of other fireflies gathered for courtship. He had arrived in the United States two days ago. He was only a few days out of his larva stage. His mother had placed his larva on a slow boat from China. She had escaped a Chinese Mason jar (or as she read it from inside a Nosam jar). She was jammed in the jar with hundreds of other fireflies. They were forced to provide light for workers at a Chinese sweatshop. The mother did not want her son growing up under a brutal Chinese regime. While in his larva state the mother read to her son. That is why he turned out bright enough to tell of his plight. She had told him, that his name was, Fai.

Fai wants to inform Americans about the genocide in China being waged on fireflies (or lightning bugs as we in the U.S. know them). China is home to about 100 known firefly species, with perhaps 100 others yet to be discovered. Urban Chinese have flocked to theme parks for massive firefly shows, and the insects have become romantic gifts. Over 17 million live fireflies were purchased in 2016. Most were sold through Taobao, an online shopping network, where one vendor reportedly sells 200,000 per day. Millions are sold to light up celebrations of birthdays, engagements, weddings, and anniversaries. The biggest sale of fireflies is in August for Qixi Festival, also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. Instead of cards, roses, wine or fine chocolates, Chinese lovers give a jar of live fireflies to their beloved. While the buyers bask in the firefly’s luminous glow, the huge demand means lights out for the future of Chinese fireflies. It’s sad to see genocide against a species for the reason of hate but in this case the reason is for love. The reason fireflies gather in great numbers is because of their own courting instincts. Their love for one another now leads to their ultimate capture and demise.  Those are the facts that should shed a little light on firefly’s situation in China. Fai has come to the U.S. seeking asylum and to plead for social action to save his species.

The first thing Fai saw out of the larva was a spider. The spider tried to eat him as a light snack. The first sights Fai saw as a firefly on the boat were lighthouses along the Outer Banks of NC. The boat landed in NYC. and young Fai felt the warm welcoming glow of the golden light from the Statue of Liberty. These things made him think Americans valued light. He thought that as an immigrant he would be of value and have a career. He felt he would be welcomed as he was fleeing genocide and seeking asylum. Instead he was now confronting angry white men in a red MAGA ball caps, who said he was an illegal immigrant and needed to be imprisoned until he could be deported. He flew away from the men and stated, “Build your wall you insect racist and I will just fly over it.” President Trump labeled immigrants like him as foreigners who murder and rape. Trump called immigrants animals which in Fai’s case might be true a bit. Fai tried to convey that he had value to America. He stated that he could be curfew for children, like in the old days.

Speaking of children, a 6 year-old girl at a campfire had captured our young illuminating immigrant. She had placed him in a Mason jar not knowing Mason jars are a firefly’s biggest phobia. He had been out tonight being flashy and he was now a prisoner in a Mason jar charged with flashing in public. The little girl who captured him had just awoken and carried the jar outside the families camping tent. She lifted the jar and stared into it. Her giant face staring at Fai was all he could see. She tells her mother that the beautiful lightning bug is gone and now she is looking at an ugly beetle. Fireflies are a nocturnal illuminating insect but in day time they are a bioluminescent beetle. The girl opened the jar and freed the bioluminescent beetle. His daylight ugliness had saved his life. The firefly was happy to be free but he told the girl this quote he learned from his mother, “Child until you see the beauty in everyone and everything you are blind.”

I couldn’t imagine a warm summer night without fireflies, Children growing up need fireflies to light their journey to maturity. The firefly’s flash dance brings joy to even the most stoic person. We all need to take a moment to watch, to smile, to enjoy the world’s simple pleasures. It is but a season, and like childhood, like life it to soon ends. Fact is fireflies only live 4 weeks out of their larva stage. Kai made the best of those four weeks. He joined other fireflies in the nocturnal ballet dance of mating. He left behind quite a few new baby fireflies that were born in the U.S. so they were “anchor babies” who were born American citizens. Fai’s mother had named him right because Fai means, beginning.

Owl City: “Fireflies” 

“The fireflies flew up into the sky, free.
I watched them until I could no longer tell them apart from the stars.” ~ Paul Pen






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Hope VS. Fear

In the United States today, the wealthiest 1% of Americans

have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% combined.

The bottom 50% of income earners

own less than 1% of the nation’s wealth.

Over 50% of stocks and bonds are owned by the 1%.

56% of all income gains went to the top 1%.

In the last 8 years the 1% gained $6.75 million each,

the poorest 50% of American adults lost an average of $3,000 each.

The wages of America’s poorest 50%

have remained stagnant for 40 years.

Corporations have benefited from 75 years of public funding

for technologies that are now replacing working people with robots.

Amazon paid absolutely zero taxes in 2017.

Apple, Google and Microsoft have tens of billions in overseas tax havens.

Hunter Harrison, former CEO of railroad giant CSX,

received a $230 million pay package for cutting 17,000 jobs.

In 1950, the ratio of a CEO’s wages was 30% more than a worker.

Since 2000, the ratio is between 300 to 500% to one.

The 1% ers view these figures as real progress.

The GOP and the 1% that owns it aren’t interested

in growing the economy only in taking a bigger piece of it.

If they were interested in growing the economy for all

they would invest in education, infrastructure and share

part of that growth with the workers who built it.

Instead they are only interested in raising their income

and in being able to cut their own tax rates.

Out of 11,000 lobbyist active in D.C.

6,242 work at cutting taxes with the goal

of reducing corporate tax rates,

The right characterizes increasing taxes on the wealthy as stealing?

They are the ones who are stealing, with their disregard for the social costs

of eliminating the environmental and financial regulations that protect us

and cutting education which ends up harming our children’s future.

They also send our sons and daughters off to die

in illegal, unnecessary wars that aren’t paid for.

Billionaire Warren Buffet said, “There’s class warfare, all right,

but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

In a debate about the inequity of CEO’s making 100’s of times the money

of workers Newt Gingrich said, that the salary of New York City janitors is obscene.

The 1% owns the media and it serves to do their bidding.

They use it to give you bumper sticker size mantras

to keep them on top like, “Healthcare for all is Socialism”

and that “Big government is bad.”

When you shrink government who wins, who loses?

The rich continue to win, the poor continue to lose.

The 1% has succeeded in dividing us based on non-economic issues

such as race, religion, abortion, gay marriage, guns etc.

Republicans regulating women’s bodies, and attacking

gays and immigrants is a NO-CLASS War.

If we stuck to voting based on sound and fair economics

(and not emotional hot-button issues),

we could diminish the power of the 1% substantially.

These figures should give us righteous anger and rage.

In dealings with people on a daily basis, I see little of either.

Many people agree we are getting screwed but they 

are not angry enough to even vote in many cases.

The 6 heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune have more wealth

than the bottom 93 million Americans while,

Wal-Mart doesn’t pay their workers a livable wage.

Billionaire hedge-fund managers,

who only pay 15% in taxes,

helped crash the economy and squirrel away

their money in offshore tax havens.

Who makes government tax policy?

Half the members of Congress are millionaires,

and they all rely on millionaires and large corporations

for campaign contributions to get them elected.

If we point out these facts we are labeled,

class warriors and Communists.

Meanwhile, the wealthy trash and go after

postmen, city workers, firefighters and cops.

They claim paying them a pension and benefits

is an entitlement they haven’t earned.

The wealthy hate unions fighting for a fair wage for teachers.

They claim these unions have destroyed the US education system,

not the relentless defunding by the congressional right wing.

When the wealthy do these things they claim it isn’t class warfare.

A conservative Supreme Court elected a president

and also ruled that corporations are people.

This ruling was called, “Citizens United.”

It gave the 1% free rein to buy our politicians.

They hire lobbyist to write

legislation favoring the 1%.

Unlike real people corporations

can’t be drafted, called to jury duty,

or in the case of two-thirds of them,

don’t have to pay taxes.

When the GOP continues to claim

they don’t negotiate with terrorists

they don’t include the corporations

that owns them lock stock and barrel.

That is why our planet our environment,

our very health and children’s future

is all for sale on the auction block.

The public doesn’t have enough money

to even qualify for a bidder’s card.

Somehow Bible thumpers always miss

sections about how we are our brothers’ keeper

and how a camel has a better chance of

getting thru the eye of a needle

than a rich man has of getting into heaven.

I believe the wealthy have scientists working on

shrinking camels and building giant needles.

If they actually read the Bible they’d learn that

being stewards of the planet usually doesn’t include

polluting, destroying and exploiting it for profit.

The whole weight of the world

is on the backs of the working-class

and yet we carry no weight

and are considered dead weight.

That’s because Wall Street, the military,

corporate farms and Big Pharma

have rigged the Capitalist game.

They are the salesman and they only have need

for you as long as you buy their goods.

They will always bite the hands that feed them

as they are snakes and the customers are sheep.

Congress protected bankers who went bankrupt

and foreclosed on the public and had us bail them out.

They protect CEO’s who offshore jobs,

and have no loyalty to our nation.

Congressional committees made up of men

attack women’s reproductive rights.

Paul Ryan and others want to gut

Social Security and Medicare

benefits for retirees and disabled people.

The environment was attacked with the passage

of the Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

it will benefit Canada and send oil to China

and U.S. taxpayers will pay for any spills.

The GOP has gone to war against

science and scientific integrity.

They passed a bill forbidding scientist

from advising the EPA on their own research.

It now instead takes advice from so called, experts

paid by corporations who want to block regulations.

The Tea Party was funded by the 1%.

Together they and President Trump

have helped turn race against race,

the middle class against the poor

and private sector workers against public sector workers.

As the middle class has become poorer their only way

to hang on to some of their money is to vote against levies

that would benefit their local communities.

This is local voting against our own self interest

and is destroying communities across America.

Trump wins an election by promising jobs.

This while he and his daughter have products

with their names on them made in Chinese sweatshops.

High time to realize that our representatives

do not represent us or our children’s future.

Understanding our situation

and replacing complacency

with action is the catalyst

for any real change.

Any small act of kindness you can do

without expecting a reward is something

the wealthy will never understand.

To do so is an act of revolution

against their system of greed.

That and learning about the political agenda

of the places you spend your money

is the weapon of mass destruction

that the powers that be fear most.

They want you to fear losing all that you have.

They don’t want you to realize what you could have

by replacing fear with hope and action.

It’s a bottom up revolution,

not to take the power

but to share power with each other.

We can be a force of good when we walk together

in solidarity powered by peace and love.

As the late historian Howard Zinn said,

”They have the guns we have the poets.

Therefore, we will win.

John Butler Trio: “Revolution” 

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” ~ Henry Ford


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Cooking is a Blast or Killer Griller

A recent survey found that only 15% of gun owners secure their weapons so children wouldn’t have access to them.

In Warren, Ohio a 44 year old man named Robin Garlock said that there were some kids coming over to the house, so his first thought was that he needed to put his gun somewhere safe so the kids didn’t get hurt. He decided to put the loaded gun in his Maytag oven. Without knowing Robin’s girlfriend turned on the oven and started to heat it up. After a while of the oven being on the gun inside got to hot, in fact it was so hot that the bullets that were loaded in it exploded. Two of the bullets went right through the oven door and struck Robin, one in each shoulder. While at the hospital the police did question Robin about what happened, but ended up believing his story when the saw the bullet holes in the oven door.

Cooking is a Blast or Killer Griller


Hiding a gun in his Maytag oven

was a surely a half-baked idea

to implement gun safety.

It gives new meaning to the term, “firing range.”

How does putting a gun in an easily opened device

at floor level secure it from inquisitive children?

You keep kids out of an oven by

putting broccoli or cauliflower

somewhere near the front of it.

Everybody knows you hide your loaded

handgun in the microwave or baby’s crib.

Anyone would have known that a Remington

is just not compatible with a Maytag.

He should have stored his pistol in the Glock Pot.

This is why God gave men grills.

Microwaves spying on us,

now ovens shooting us,

I’m telling you, our kitchens

just aren’t safe anymore.

Green Eggs and BAM!!!

Robin said, “My wife’s meals

can often be very, very deadly.

On this particular day he asked her,

“Hey Honey, when’s dinner?”

He then heard bang, bang, and bang.

She replied, “Don’t ask again.”

It was Roasted lead with a light cream sauce.

Ironically, just at the time of the shooting

the kitchen radio was playing the Beatles song,

“Happiness is a Warm Gun.”

Could have just as easily been the Maytag

repair man who was shot in the kitchen.

The police investigated why the gun fired.

They found the oven had been sprayed with Easy Off.

I wondered if the oven yelled,

“Put up your mitts” before it fired?”

Robin opened the oven having forgot to wear

his Kevlar apron and Kevlar oven mitts.

This oven shooting incident has triggered

a lot of talk about oven control.

The NRA claims the oven shooting

should be blamed on, “metal illness.”

They say we have a Second Amendment

Constitutional right to keep and bake arms.

The NRA is demanding that all appliances

need to be loaded and armed.

A good microwave armed with a gun

could have stopped the gunslining oven.

The NRA claimed, “The only way to stop a bad appliance

with a gun is a good appliance with a gun.”

They were opposed to banning assault ovens as

people will get them somehow, so do nothing.

Trump said, “I’m not interested in this shooting

unless, it happened in Chicago or the oven

was Islamic or an illegal immigrant.

Politicians said, “We are not to speak of the gun.”

We can talk about Robin’s IQ level or

the obviously poor construction of the oven.

We can talk about the man’s extremely poor culinary skills

but we are NOT to talk about the gun.

That is because guns don’t shoot people

ovens shoot people.

FOX NEWS said this is what happens

when Maytag ovens are on Ritalin

and are allowed to play video games.

Wacky right-wing ministers stated

these kinds of shootings happen

when you take the Bible

and prayers out of kitchens.

They also recommended not sparing the rod

on misbehaving kitchen appliances.

The police questioned everyone in the kitchen.

The found out that the ice maker froze in fear,

the spatula had flipped out,

the dish ran away with the spoon,

the blender kept spinning the facts

and the waffle iron had waffled about what to do.

The refrigerator knew the case was cold

and oven knew the heat was on.

The police discovered that the oven

was licensed to Conceal Carry.

So if we were playing a game of clue.

it was the hot Maytag oven

with the revolver in the kitchen.

In the end the oven admitted guilt

and said it tried to fix stupid but failed.

You can lead a man to common sense,

but you can’t make him use it.

The oven’s lawyer says

ovens aren’t the problem,

guns owners are the problem.

For the future safety of all of us,

I think Robin should hide

his toaster in the bathtub.

He was not charged with any crime.

If he were driving and had wrecked into a ditch

and been injured he would be cited for reckless driving.

Ironically, to drive a vehicle,

requires training,

a license and insurance.

Owning a gun only requires cash.

To Robin I’ll send along,

laughter and tears.

The Beatles: “Happiness is a Warm Gun”

“When a country with less than five percent of the world’s population has nearly half of the world’s privately owned guns and makes up nearly a third of the world’s mass shootings, it’s time to stop saying guns make us safer.” ~ DaShanne Stokes

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Millennial Exodus

My wife and I are driving to Charlotte, North Carolina.

My daughter has gotten a job and moved there.

My son is working in College Station, Texas.

Like many parents in the Mahoning Valley,

my children have moved elsewhere to get jobs.

It’s a sad situation for the future of our area.

We are transporting some of my daughter’s furniture.

In West Virginia I noted a Gentleman’s Club

called, “Southern Exposure” and a Bible College

are both located at the same exit.

Along the highway I notice mountains of trees.

I see a fire trail with an observation tower

overlooking the vast expansion of forest.

This while the station on the car’s radio

is eerily playing, Jimi Hendrix’s version

of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

West Virginia is beautiful country to pass through.

Politically I was worried about their future.

Now after the recent primaries the voters

have showed they care about their future.

They have voted against Don Blankenship’s

bid to be their next U.S. Senator.

Don is a coal baron who likes to use racist language.

He spent a year in prison for violating mine safety standards

that led to the death of 29 West Virginia coal miners.

Don has showed no repentance for his crime.

He is happy his parole is up so he can get his guns back.

I was also happy to see that state legislator Rupie Phillips

was defeated in the his bid to be a U.S. Congressman.

Rupie will do anything to win including have run

as a Democrat, an Independent and a Republican.

He was charged with domestic battery in 2012.

Like Blankenship, Rupie does not believe in global warming.

We only spend a short time driving through Virginia.

Local sheriffs have speeders pulled over every mile.

I chock it up to just Virginia being Virginia.

From the on ramp a beat up pickup truck

pulls right in front of our car without even looking.

I cannot get in the other lane as a left lane bandit

has been riding next to me for a dozen miles.

I almost rear ended the dilapidated pickup

as it had absolutely no pickup and go.

In a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina,

we pass a Spanish Evangelic Church.

Its parking lot is filled with modest older cars.

Up the road sits a new huge megachuch.

I dubbed it the Mercedes, BMW church.

We arrive at my daughter’s apartment

and help her move her furniture in.

I call a local pizza shop and place an order.

They said it would be ready for pickup in 25 minutes.

We arrive to pick it up but it takes another 20 minutes.

I forgot to factor in Southern time.

Much like I see in Akron, Cleveland and Pittsburgh,

there are men on street corners holding signs

asking for donations and stating their plight.

My thought is that these guys should dress differently.

I’d suggest a top hat, tuxedo tails, monocle and a cane.

The more they resemble the Monopoly man the better.

I say that because in this country we take care of the rich.

We give them all manner of corporate welfare

while we bash poor people on Social welfare.

We even elected a candidate that filed bankruptcy

several times and stiffed workers who did jobs for him.

Hell, even our so called, elected “representatives”

represent the will of the wealthy not us working stiffs.

We keep voting for millionaires who play golf at County Club’s

So I say, “If you’re begging for money on a street corner

you should dress like you belong to a Country Club.

We stop at a QT which is like our 7/11.

Next to me a car pulls in with a bass booming stereo.

I then hear these lyrics, “Pop Shit, Top Shit,

Pop Shit, Top Shit” real catchy tune.

We go inside to get a fountain iced tea.

Being we are in the South there are several flavors.

The ice is broken and looks like it has been for some time now.

That makes me think about some of the construction standards

I see in places like my daughter’s apartment.

No one seems to be able to miter a corner or spread caulk evenly.

I guess some of that might be because so many people

are moving to Charlotte they are tossing up housing quickly.

From what I see it isn’t necessarily retired people

as much as it is young millennials getting jobs and moving here.

We went to the largest farmer’s market in Charlotte.

We passed on the turnips, okra and greens all which I hate

and we bought the best watermelon I have ever eaten.

It was cool to see senior white men walking

holding hands with senior citizen black women.

Looking around we saw many mixed raced people

and same sex couples all walking holding hands.

Maybe, it is a new South at least in the urban areas.

With an influx of young Northern millennials,

the South could one day turn into blue states.

It would a good thing to see eventually but

it doesn’t take away the hurt of so many of us

having had our children move so far away from us.


Kids sing, “Teach Your Children Well” to songwriter, Graham Nash

“The greatest gift you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” ~ Nishan Panwar


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Use it for Good or Lose it

Religious zealots, talk of God’s great love

but what they believe in is his unconditional hatred

of those he chooses to hate.

Funny how their God always

hates the same things they do.

God doesn’t have a Twitter or Facebook account

but they do and it’s where these bash gays and liberals.

I wonder why God would hate what he created with

his supposed unconditional and boundless love.

These zealots claim God helps those who help themselves.

I say it’s what they help themselves to

and who they harm while helping themselves

that really is what matters.

Some preachers focus on the coming apocalypse

instead of working to create a better here and now.

These preachers have absolutely no need

to buy insurance as they’re already dead.

Their concept of God is a murderous psychopath

who will torture you forever if you don’t agree to be his BFF.

My response to that line of thinking is

“You and I read the Bible very differently.”

God or at least my God doesn’t instruct me to hate anybody.

I prefer a faith of love and understanding

that doesn’t preach condemnation.

But I guess it’s much easier to keep converts

in line with fear than with love.

Racism, homophobia, bigotry,

xenophobia and misogyny

all have historic roots in religion.

These issues wouldn’t be in America without

religious zealots and their God of hate.

We would be so much further ahead,

socially, scientifically and intellectually,

in the world than we are currently.

You’ve heard the “my cross to bear” expression.

Think of the cross as an opportunity.

Use that opportunity to spread a faith of love.

You and everyone you meet in life

will happier and blessed and our short stay

on this planet can be a taste of Heaven

instead of a Hell on Earth. Peace.


Wrong Worship Song 

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.” ~ Garrison Keillor

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