Ping-Pong with Hitler

To educate yourself in America, you must first go through the process of un-educating yourself. Particularly American history, but also in social studies, civics, and to some degree economics and economic systems. We were served up such a massive fraud of fabrications that it takes time to completely manifest that almost everything we were taught was at best a half-truth, but very often a complete falsification of some event, discipline, or period of time. 

The saying ‘history is written by the victors’ is interesting. The journey America is on is a long one. The history that was documented (popularly) for the first few hundred years was predicated on the concept that white Christians had won the right to inhabit and govern this continent. That a war of sorts was conclusively decided because they had invaded these lands and dominated the native cultures. Then using black enslaved people they created economic prosperity for the whites that rivaled and then dominated world economies.

However, it should be apparent to us now that there is still a long road ahead. Whites will continue to lose influence (intellectually and materially in numbers) as other cultures rise and assert influence. The truthful history is already being published and over time these new realities will be accepted and it will not reflect favorably on our white founders and subsequent political leaders. This nonsense about CRT is the last desperate struggle of white dominated regional and state governments to hang on their fantasy. In the next few decades, whites will become outnumbered by other races. 

Politically and spiritually the old white mentality is already outnumbered as many whites have moved past the old mentality. New history will be made and old history will continue to be re-examined and re-written to reflect actual facts. Children will be taught the new facts and perhaps we will finally be able to start truly confronting our violent and racist past. And that, perhaps, will allow us to right our systemically flawed institutions and become an equitable multi-racial society.

A man can dream. Of course I will be long dead by then. And the world will be on fire so there will be other pressing issues to address.

I am re-reading the ‘1619 Project’. It is just too vast and there is too much information to get in a single reading. In the past few years I’ve read a lot of American history, particularly related to the black experience in America. Jill Lapore’s ‘These Truths’ is amazing. As is Colin Whiteheads several books especially ‘Underground Railroad’. ‘Caste’ by Isabel Wilkerson articulates the deeply systemic nature of racism in America. Clint Smith’s ‘How the Word is Passed’. Hanif Abdurraqib is a terrific black writer, poet, and historian who happens to have been raised and lives in Columbus. ‘America on Fire’; ‘The Warmth of Other Suns’. There’s more but my memory isn’t what it once was. But they are in my library.

I’d rather play a game of ping-pong with the risen ghost of Hitler. 

Charles Bukowski

I put the BMW on the road for a couple of hours last Saturday. It was that kind of beautiful day and I had just finished a 5-hour project for mom in the hot sun. So I earned the ride. I stayed on the back roads, including some gravel township roads that weaved past old remote farms and a state forest I did not even know existed (Perry State Forest). The hills and fields are green with spring and it was just a relaxing beautiful day. A day to feel the wind and sun on my face and roll over the hills and past the old farmhouses and barns and outbuildings with tractors and hay rakes and other Ag equipment.

Mostly on the motorcycle, I don’t have a destination or a route—just a vague sense of general direction and off I go. The plan unfolds itself in due time. 

This day I headed northeast and eventually popped up a little short of Zanesville, but then quickly turned south and then west. All roads go somewhere, even the tiny little county and township farm roads. I skirted the edge of Perry Forest and made a note to come back and check out the trails. When I came through New Lex, I took Old Somerset Road North and it brought me out by St. Joseph’s Church.

This is the church of my youth and early formative years. I had not been there since grandma died 9 or 10 years ago. And before that, when Uncle Bobby died. I stopped by the cemetery and had a look at their headstones. My cousins and I were altar boys at St. Joe’s. It is the oldest Catholic Church in the state and used to be sort of a big deal. When we were young, there was a huge hotel-like building with a big commercial kitchen where the nuns and brothers lived. In the olden days, from 1788 to around 1900 or so, there were traveling priests and nuns who visited small towns but stayed at St. Joe as a sort of home base. 

The church owns a lot of farmland so the brothers were also farm hands who raised and harvested crops and livestock on the fields around the church. Brother Pete used to take us fishing at the church pond before commercial fertilizers become omnipresent and all the waters became clogged with moss. 

I have no real trauma from my years in the church. Just the slow, spirit-crushing burn of guilt for the sin of being born and choosing to embrace life’s pleasures over the dull somber tedium of religion. The ritual and music and fellowship of church was always appealing to me in my youth. It was all the other bullshit that eventually made me realize the church was far more obsessed with its own importance than with truthfulness or actually helping people. Only after adulthood did I come to realize how destructive and manipulative religions are.

But a small country church, at least in those days, served as an important community gathering point. The religion at times took a backseat to simply allowing people to assemble, share food and trade stories of hardship on the farms.

Anyway, I took a few photos and reminded myself about some of the good times we had running wild all over the church and farm and up and down the halls of the old hotel and playing hide and seek in the big commercial kitchen. When we rang the bell for Sunday mass, the weight of the bell when it swung was much heavier than us, so we would pull down to get the bell going and when it swung back up, we held on and got a free ride 4 or 5 feet off the ground. Up and down we would go while the sound of the bell rang out over the fields and across the valleys.

On Sundays of course we had to suffer through mass, but at least being an altar boy made the time pass a little more quickly because we had a part to play in the proceedings. 

This was my first semi-free weekend in some time. Mom must have sensed that because on Friday she mentioned she had been hoping one of us boys could put lattice around the decking to close in the area between the deck and the ground. So I swapped my long bike ride for construction and sorted that shit out for ole Rita. She’s the reason I am living in this part of the world at this point in my life and by-god she deserves whatever she wants. 

But I still found a little time. I did some work-work early Saturday morning. But later in the afternoon, after the lattice and motorcycle ride, I sat on the deck and smoked a cigar and read Bukowski and chatted with the cows next door. Mom and dad and I had salads at Terri’s restaurant while the paint was drying on the lattice and then I stopped by the little Mid-Western store and bought a turntable and some old country LP’s for dad. It’s a super cool little store with some kitschy things—old cowboy boots and western shirts, but also some hip little accessories and knick-knacks. My friend Sylvia works there and she was working Saturday so she hooked me up with the tunes for Ed. 

There is also a great picture of her dog Rosie included here. A real sweetheart that Rosie.

Java 13 is getting closer to opening. I think perhaps 3rd week of July we might be ready for a soft opening. Will be great to get that open and Black Dog Ridge finished at least with the major construction. Then the fun begins of making it a real home in the mountains. Some decorating and landscaping and trail-building will need to be done.

I am planning to have the College Market 30-year reunion here in Ohio and at BDR. It makes little sense of course, considering the College Market is in Pocatello, but that’s the way it’s going down. Carla will come. Maybe Kelly? Deanna? Johnny G? Maureen might come. Not sure I even remember the other names. Little Laura—but I don’t think anyone has seen or heard from her forever. Michelle I think is still around.  

It will be great fun. Maybe a day at Java and then off to BDR for the remainder of the time. 

This week I was back in Worcester for work. I’m now hanging at the Crown Room at BOS, trying to get home to CMH. My normal 4-hour delay with Delta who always manages to never have any accountability for these inevitable flight delays. 

We were boarded and ready to push back when the captain announced LGA was shutting down for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes he said they would not be accepting flights for at least another 60 minutes and so we would be de-planing. That closed my connection window so I called Delta reservations. Waited on hold and finally got through and got a reservation on a flight 4 hours later. But she could not issue the ticket because the gate agents had not yet updated the system to let them know were we de-planed. So we argued for a bit. She wanted me to hang up, go get in the queue of around 75 people waiting to talk to the gate agent, and ask them to release me from the flight. I declined. We stalemated. Eventually she blinked and made some calls and I got re-issued. 

The Crown Room on that side of Terminal A looked like a frat house on homecoming night; there was a line going around the corner and down the stairwell just to get back in. So I walked down the corridor to the other Crown Room and there the agent wasn’t going to let me in because I was more than 3 hours early for my flight. I gave her a harsh glare and she stared into her terminal and must have found some gumption because she then waived me through. So I’m now propped up at the end of the bar, settling in for a 4-hour stint of whiskey and wine.

Two young guns from Deloitte are sitting at a table near me arguing about who has the biggest Skymiles Dick. One says he hit Diamond in May. The other says he already has 70 segments this year and will probably get double Diamond. They’re both all jacked up on free IPA and goofy as fuck. 

The CEO of UMass Memorial sent a lovely note to all staff and contractors today in recognition of Juneteenth. It was well done. I am happy this important event is finally getting mainstream.

No other news of note.

Humbly submitted.

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