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Cops N Coffee

December 10, 2016 Leave a comment

SWBSoStupidHow did “Cops N Coffee” and up in “so stupid it could actually happen”?

Well, read on ….

But, let me bore you first by filling you in on a little bit about the writer (me): First, I was never military or a copy, or basically anything of legal authority recognized by a uniform. I did grow up for over twenty years next door to the Deputy Sheriff of Allegheny County and his sons. Some of his children became local officers and mayors of our community. The community I grew up in was Brentwood, similar to the one I live in now (Glen Osborne / Sewickley Area). Originally my wife and I did a little stint in Leetsdale after we were married, but opted to move into the Glen Osborne / Sewickley community next to us – not for status, but simply it reminded me of my old neighborhood (many people knew each other, the law enforcement and people in the local government were integral parts of the community, and it was a safe place where you want to raise a family … whether you owned a mansion or BMW or a small house and a Dodge {BTW, a little trivia note — there were more BMWs in the Brentwood/Whitehall area than in the Sewickley area when I grew up}).

Again …. I love my community because it was safe, the same as I love the one I live in now.

I also respected the police officers and other officials not because of uniform, but because they were tightly integrated with the community – there were no false arrests, or brutality, or abuse from police officers or other government officials towards people in the community … incidentally, the people in the community rarely ever had run ins with the law or otherwise.

So why did this work out so well?

Community … the officers were your friend’s dads or moms, your parents friends, your friends, your neighbors – yes, even the ones that lived outside of the community became part of it. The most effective safety system in a community is everyone in that community becoming an integral part of it and accessible in it – this it most critical with government representatives and officers of the law.

Why the long-winded explanation?

When I look at a community and see the local cops congregating at a local diner, convenience store, coffee shop, etc it communicates one thing to me … this place is safe – I would raise my family here.  Why? They are completely accessible to the members of their community, of which most communicate with them daily. This also shows me the connection created hampers things like police brutality (ie. why would you harass your neighbor if you just had Christmas dinner with them or simply shared conversation over coffee?), government corruption, etc. When I see officials from the local government hanging out in the local places being accessible, it lets me know I really can have a voice in the community (and a better chance to have their actions in governing reflect what the community really wants). When I watched this disappear from other communities I’ve lived in I’ve watch crime, police brutality, and political corruption become rampant and take over those communities … some being very well established, very wealthy communities. I not longer live in them because I no longer feel safe in them. Many left those communities feeling the same.

Why did this happen?

Complaints: “The cops aren’t doing their jobs because they are hanging out drinking coffee and eating donuts”, “The government officials aren’t doing their jobs because their hanging out talking to people in the communities”, “They should be out fighting crime (even when there isn’t any)”, “They should be cutting costs – not sipping coffee”, etc.

The summary after all of the boring rant:

When your community is safe because your police officers and government representatives are hanging out in your local businesses you don’t complain about their presence or the $3.00 they spend on a cup of coffee or take up parking spaces when these actions bring complete accessibility in your community simply because this brings to them the knowledge of the people they are protecting and representing – this is a gift, not a liability, nor an expense.

For the simple:  You don’t hinder your officers, borough managers, mayors, clerks, etc from hanging out together in your local businesses … because them being on the community’s payroll isn’t what makes your community safe – it’s those people becoming an effective, integral, and accessible part of it that makes your community safe.

Share this out if you support your local police offices, local government officials, and local government workers hanging out in the community and becoming part of it instead of folks you know see in the papers or on the news. In other words, share this out if you want “Cops N Coffee” to continue in your community or start in it.

So, why did this make “So Stupid It Could Actually Happen?” …. simply because it does, and then people in communities wonder why the cops can get away with abuse of power, local government clerks can steal, mayors can waste a community’s money …. all because those people that were initially accessible in the community are eventually pushed out of it into inaccessible offices and cars.

-LC

The Art of Photography While Driving and How it Pertains to Politics

September 17, 2016 Leave a comment

roadway091716A great low-res pic of the roadway in from my car.

As you can see, my fancy new windshield wipers are working flawlessly.

… or maybe you can’t see.  It’s taken with my fancy $10 Vivitar key chain camera bought at Rite Aide 5 years ago. Beats my $2400 Fuji Pro2 any day 🙂

So why post a really bad photo from a camera where it’s in high debate that it actually has a lens in it?

Well, a bit of nostalgia …..it really capture images like those very crappy film camera you bought in the gum ball machines in the 70s and 80s – a really distorted, although recognizable view of what’s really there.

BTW …. before we go further, a little clarification for the thin-minded: I really didn’t take this while I was driving the car, I was stopped in a legal area to do so with someone behind me for safety. Why do I have to clarify that? … Well, because I’ve been around long enough to know if enough people read this, some of the more dim-witted will buy a few key chain cams and start taking pics around the ‘burgh in their cars while forgetting to actually drive their cars. I would feel bad about any accidents(well, not that bad … they’re the stupid idiots taking pics while driving their cars), considering I’d already have to deal with dumb questions like “how do I get the pics off the cam, it doesn’t have a screen”. I get the same question from people that buy modern day film cameras, failing to realize they bought a film camera (you can’t make that one up).

Ok … now past the incoherent babble, what does this even have to do with modern day politics??

Well, it’s exactly the same thing … a view that looks like what our founding fathers created, blurred a bit so you can’t see the details, but cheap enough you’ll but it anyway (when I did an art project with keychain cams I sold some of the pics at shows for $30 a piece … more than I ever sold with shots taken with my pro camera).

It’s sort of like reality shows (I’m REALLY hoping you don’t think any part of those shows are real), which our elections are starting to get like – well produced marketing with enough blur so you think you are really getting what you ordered until you actually open the box and find a really crappy picture of a road taking with a camera that cost three times less that what you just paid for the picture.

The art of photography and how it pertains to politics … it’s really an unsafe stupid way to get a really crappy blurry image of reality.

Realize what’s around you, look at what’s around you, make informed decisions, don’t let modern day marketing make the decisions for you.

This is our political contribution to the 2016 reality show (ooops … I mean election).

-SWB

Out Of A Coma

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

We’re back …. or at least out of a coma.

Slightly after our little stint of “help” from the folks at Sophisticated Pittsburgh on upping our number of blog writers, they in fact lost many of theirs.  In other words people got real jobs, go married, or just disappeared of the face of the earth at SP.  As a result, we are coming back to our original self.

So, about our original self. The blog experimentally started in 2005, and was moved to .mac via the Apple iWeb.  We started writing around the time that PittGirl, CafeWitness, and others started and gained one of the top growing blog rankings ending up with 2000 readers per day, across 15 countries while on the .mac site.

That actually scared us, considering the amount of vomit we spewed out in those days along with the other rant blogs.  I’m not sure we’ll be as harsh these days, but we’ll try.

BTW – while we were hosting on .mac, Apple kindly asked us to move our site due to their product not being originally made for the amount of throughput we were getting.

So, around Spring of 2008 we moved to WordPress.

The Weasel is back, and we will be blowing word chunks as far as possible.

Cheers

-SWB

Forgetfulness and Steel – History Repeats Itself

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” … I hated my high school history teacher because he made a vow to fail us all (not a challenge, mind you, an actual vow) … but the above was his favorite quote, and it’s the one critical piece of life that I learned from him.  Unfortunately our country and our government is proving that taking on this attitude about history is really one of the keys to sustainability and survival.

The situation that lead to the current financial crater that is wall street can be blamed on ignoring the “forget history and you will guarantee it will happen again” advice.  Our current situation is eerily similar to one not too long ago … the plight of the steelworker.  You had two groups, both hard working, strong, and carrying large egos.  Neither would give in, neither would compromise … both had a fight until the end attitude.  Some say that represents honor. Some say that represents stupidity.

The end result was many losing homes, life long possessions, families, and what defined them as a human …. the steel industry. A few mentioned over the years that it wasn’t that compromise would not happen that made the steel industry fade away as we know it, but how long it took to get to a point where compromise could or would happen. By the time it progressed to the point of possible compromise, other countries took advantage of the opportunity to wedge into the steel industry, and quickly separated the bulk of the US steel mills from it.

It’s not that our financial situation as a country cannot be fixed, it’s that the egos of the politicians took so long to get to any kind of initial compromise that sever damage was done, leading way to loss of everything for those just hanging on, and loss of part of what defines us as a country.  So the question is, are our politicians going to wait long enough that our country going into sheriff’s sale and gets divvied up by the other entities of the world … or will they actually defend us, instead of their egos, and restore America where the dream of raising a family is possible?

Few people realize, much of wall street is now owned by outside investors, so defending American is really not in it’s top interested …….. making the bottom line, or at least cutting losses for it’s foreign investors is.  Main Street is no longer in a position to be helped by Wall Street, because we have some of the same interests … the only protection we can gain at the wall street level is from our politicians having enough pride in their country to protect it’s residents … but it seems that if they win and are rewarded with the right to say “I was right!” it’s OK if the American Dream is reduced to finding a better dumpster to dive into for dinner tonight.

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” ….

Translation: “Stupid is what stupid is”

-SWB

The Weiner Effect – and the lacking of spines in the world

June 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, this was a hard one (no pun intended ….. and if you thought it was, get your head out of the gutter!).  We had a difficult (better choice of word here) time figuring where to put this.  Should it be under Rants?  Should it be under Clueless Awards? Not sure …. hmmmm.  Finally we decided on “So Stupid it could happen”.

Are we going to get on Mr. Weiner (click here to read the related USA Today article if you are clueless on Mr. W) on his apparent bad choices in lack of appropriate coverage?  Nope …… got enough tabloids doing that (and they’re all thanking Anthony for providing the photos they don’t have to take hours photo-shopping).  So what are we going to do, you ask with a confused smirk on your face?

Get to the root cause, as SWB loves to do (we said we were going to clean up the blog a bit when Sophisticated Pittsburgh took it over, but we didn’t agree to look the other way when someone places a six-foot diameter lit up neon bulls eye on their own head).

The polititio’s (new word created by SWB this second … we’ll trade you for a BMW for the rights to the word once it gets popular), have been quiet around the world except for standard stuff … so we’ve been quiet. But …………. courtesy of Mr. Weiner (my wife giggles every time she’s hears his name …), we now have a reason to write.

Well, Mr. W (or whatever you are calling him now) made a mistake many are making.  That’s right, he’s human and made a mistake.  Unfortunately he didn’t have the common sense to realize that he’s under the view of a 3000 watt spot light at all times.  See …. we’re getting to a root cause of the problem, or at least a secondary root cause at this point … common sense.

Why is common sense only the secondary root cause to the problem of Mr. W having none of it to use while texting semi birthday suit pics on himself to someone other than his wife? Weight … lots of it.  The problem with weight is its controlled by gravity.  The only thing that keeps the weight of common sense from crashing to the ground and turning into a pool of single-celled useless sludge is a spine (of as us Americans like to call it … backbone).

A spine …. it’s that thing that keeps your body from collapsing to the ground.  Backbone … it’s that thing that keeps you life from crashing to the ground due to mistakes you make in life because they are corrected or contained by the common sense that the backbone holds up.

Where is one place we get that backbone?  School.  Yup. Early on in life many things started to build up our backbone, and one of then was our experiences in school. You made mistakes in school, whether it be to slander another and have to pay for it later.  You may have been made fun of and reacted in a bad way.  You may have done something inappropriate (which is the PC word for “you did something some parent of some kid didn’t like and complained about).  But …… you handled it, you learned from it, you build up a backbone from it, because those adults in charge around you guided you – but didn’t handle it for you.  You learned how to treat those around you with respect and courtesy and began to learn what was right to do and what was wrong to do by trial and error. That’s how a backbone gets built.  Nobody can build it for you … it has to be left to form by itself with guidance.  Forming a good solid backbone is not always meant to feel good.

So where is this going?

We may be wrong, but we’re going to say that Mr W is the product of one of those schools where students are meant to “feel good about themselves all the time” and every issue is handled by the adults in charge to make sure that the students know how to act appropriately and not make and other student not feel bad.  Yep … the “if Johnny goes home crying for one day, he’s going to be scared for life” attitude.

Great idea, but when a backbone is not allowed to develop because any learning via the normal “pain, hurt, and general unpleasentries of the world” is removed, a backbone will not be built, and if by chance it does get built, it will have so many holes in it the result will be eventual collapse. The collapse of a backbone leads to the definite collapse of a spine.

Where is this going? Well, if Mr. W had built up a better backbone early on in life, maybe he wouldn’t be bringing such shame to his family, spouse, political party, and adding to the shame of the country he is representing.

Our country a great one, not just because of the freedom, but because of the unique peoples it creates via the being the melting pot of the world. You get the development of top-notch technology, top-notch health care and more because of this.  Unfortunately many are beginning to see low-life politicians leading to the view of this country by others are a land now void of backbone … what people know and recognize as what built America, and one of the few things that can sustain it.

“So Stupid It Could Happen” is not the fact that Mr Weiner was dumb enough to do what he did, but the fact that people like him with a lacking of common sense to correct or contain the mistakes they make (in his case, the lack of ability to “Man Up” and deal with your mistakes before getting pushed into the corner and forced to do it).

Do we thinks that Mr. W is correct is apologizing and staying in his position so he can now try to build up a backbone?  Yes … second chances are necessary to build up character and even a backbone.  We’ll see where it goes.

Take a look at Mr. Weiner and you get an in your face welcome to the what is most likely the product of the now in fruition product of America’s new “feel good” education.

‘Nuff Said

-SWB

I *WILL* picket that funeral ….

March 3, 2011 Leave a comment

… even if I drive a whole family just trying to grieve into an endless spiral of depression.  I DON’T CARE how they feel.

Read The Tribune Review’s coverage on the courts giving the OK to picket military funerals and basically that is the underlying message from the people taking those actions.

Personally I am a huge supporter of free speech even when I strongly disagree with what is being said.  It’s how people get their opinion’s stated, work things out, and reason we don’t have a dictator as a leader. It is America.

But …

When you use the excuse of free speech to punish a family that only wants to bury a dead son or daughter, etc with respect, you are now into a level of hate crime – not free speech.  If you want to speak out against the military, you take that to the government that can do something about it, not the grieving family that has absolutely no power to do anything.

There are two main points to prove where these people are going wrong in what they are doing (and I make these point while saying I am not in total agreement with the wars we are in also):

1. For a Christian, turning someone away from God is the worst possible outcome of the use of your faith.  If you turn up at someone’s funeral picketing with hateful messages about the loved one that just got buried because they were in the military, you are doing exactly that – turning people away from God.

2. From a free speech perspective.  You’ve just opened the door to hate crimes being condoned due to free speech court decisions. This is a quote from the Tribune-Review:

“First Amendment advocates praised the decision, saying the right to free speech must be supported no matter how hateful the message.”

That statement is the key to showing this who attitude towards picketing a military funeral is simple wrong and completely against the grain of our country.  It’s an attitude you would expect in a place like China, not America.

So now with the statement above you’ve actually opened up the Pandora’s box on the issue.  You’ve now opened up arguments that it’s OK for someone like a white supremacist to say that a statement like “All Blacks Need Killed”, etc is free speech, not pre-hate crime talk.  Did the first amendment advocates think of this before being happy that they have now cleared the way for slander to rein over this country, and for hate to quickly consume our actions??

Probably not.

-SWB

This was written to get you to think about your actions before you take action.  Free speech is a true gift that NO OTHER COUNTRY HAS.  If we, as American’s drive it into the ground just because one group wants the “we are right, the courts say so” trophy – our country will be ruined (and the right to any type of free speech will be ruined).  Our parents were right when they constantly said “think before you do”.

** SWB was allowed to write this response to the Trib’s article as an editorial, etc.  The site that now sponsors the blog is not responsible for this posts content.

Super Bowl XLV – sounds like Fisher Price

February 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Again, The Rant Files cameo courtesy of a slightly understanding new blog owner and literary stiffler www.sophisticatedpittsburgh.com.

Well, you know me as Screaming Weasel, which is actually a pen name for a few writers for SWB.  The one writing this has been a sound tech for about 25 years.  Oh, on a side note, we aren’t actually going to pick on Fisher Price at all – we remember those little record players they made and think they were really cool.  Considering vinyl DJs still use them when digging for records, we still consider them cool.

Alllllllright …. having noted that we have a professional “on staff” (for the clueless, the quotes mean that we aren’t paid to write this stuff), we are slightly perplexed that the sound on about $40 to $60 million dollars worth of air time sounded like that kid next door that started doing sound for the next door garage band immediately after unboxing his new mixer he received from an Ebay auction.

Here is the deal … that tech probably got AT LEAST five digits worth of pay, not to mention a paid flight, not to mention probably triple what I make a year doing sound for his expenses alone.  I believe in some level of grace, but when you are paid that much and are working during that critical and expensive space of airtime, perfection is not only requested … it is completely required.

We’re not talking about a few little mess ups that could be effectively covered up (even with the quality of audio now on HD units), but total screw ups that even a novice doesn’t make.  I know this, because after 25 years of doing sound, and every one of those years being taught by someone that knows better than me, I still mess up, but have been trained well enough to recover in a way that most listeners or audiences don’t know it happened, and if  they do, the dignity and integrity of the performance is still maintained.

I personally know at least 100 or more techs that would have done that job to perfection FOR FREE just to be there.  They would have considered it their duty to the millions of people watching to do the tech work for that performance to perfection.  Nothing less would have been acceptable to them.

The low quality of sound tech work in Super Bowl XLV was a prime example of how pride if the quality of American work has been lowered in the current generations. We’re not saying we have proof it was the new whipper-snapper doing the sound work, but we think it’s a pretty good guess.  Our guess too is that he may not have a job or be able to get one after Super Bowl XLV.

-SWB

PS – Turning the channel ON is NOT brain surgery. What would have been both live and on TV one of the best Super Bowl half-time shows was leveled to “B” movie quality by a sub par tech one the job.

Oh – a quick Kudos to Fergie, The Black Eyed Peas, and all performers involved for not losing it and stringing up the tech during the performance.