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BW 1st 100 cover 2

Originally posted in October 2016, this is the first Bill Wynn outtake.

Bill was on probation. He got three weeks in the workhouse and a two hundred-fifty dollar fine. He actually  spent seventeen days in jail and they waived the fine, but he came away from it all pretty broken and with a police record to boot. The police record meant he couldn’t get a job so he had no money, no prospective income, nowhere to turn for help except his probation officer.

Those days, the probation officer determined how often you had to report. Bill reported the week after he was released from the workhouse since that was required. Bailey, his PO, made the next face-to-face for four weeks away and decided regular visits were to be monthly. Bill wasn’t exactly a flight risk or a danger. He was busted at an anti-war protest and still insisted he hadn’t done what they said he did. It reminded him of a character in a story who said they had the papers on him so he guessed he did what they said he did. Then he said he didn’t really remember and it didn’t matter  anyway.

That first monthly visit changed Bill’s life. He just didn’t know it at the time. That’s when he met Robert, the guy in workhouse blues who looked like he was going to cry. Bill offered him a cigarette, but he said he didn’t smoke. Bill told him he didn’t have any money otherwise he would have given it to him for his commissary. Robert asked him how he knew about the commissary. Bill told him he just got out a month ago.

Bailey was sympathetic to Bill’s plight. Bill wanted Bailey to help him get a job. Any kind of job, Bill told him. “I don’t care what the hell it is,” he said. “I can’t pay my rent.” Bailey said he’d do what he could.

Bill didn’t have much hope. He didn’t have much hope about getting a job or about Bailey helping him. He lay in bed at night remembering. The judge banged down the gavel and then he was clad in shackles on the bus to the workhouse. He had that sick feeling deep in the pit of his stomach. That feeling would never leave him again, never, although sometimes it would go on hiatus for different periods of time, some of them even longer periods.

“Policemen don’t lie,” the judge said. The judge’s name was Shul. They called him “hang ’em high Shul,” because he was the toughest, most conservative judge they had there in Columbus. The town itself was quite conservative once you were away from the university area. Bill had  been walking downtown and a cop singled him out from about fifteen people who were crossing in the middle of the block and not in the crosswalk.

“Giving you a jaywalking ticket,” he said.

“What about all the others who were with me?”

“Shut up you goddamn hippie.”

Bill started to say something but the cop cut him off. “Say another word and I’ll run you in,” he said.

Bill didn’t go back downtown again until he was visiting his PO. By then, after the workhouse, you’d never have known he was a hippie.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.

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A-Different-WorldIf you’ve made it into adulthood with both parents still alive, you’re pretty lucky. If you were born into a family that is fairly well-to-do, where both parents are in the home and where church values prevail at least somewhat, you’re pretty lucky. If your family actually goes to church, or synagogue, or wherever your faith takes you to pray, you’re even more lucky.   But if you’ve had a parent die overnight without any warning or any inclination that such a thing would happen, it’s a different world. If your parents are divorced or you’re born into a single-parent family that is struggling financially, it’s a different world. When all is said and done, everyone’s reality is somewhat different, and although there are certain similarities and certain patterns which tend to prevail among  the different groupings, there are also certain statistical realities which go along with the group to which you belong.

The studies are pretty convincing. Children in families with both parents in the home and a middle-class income tend to fare better than those in single-parent families that struggle financially. In general, the kids in two-parent families do better than the kids in single-parent families altogether. This applies across the board. It means they do better in school, they are more likely to get post-secondary education to establish themselves as middle-class wage earners, and they tend to have less teenage pregnancy as well as a lower crime rate. When you add in going to church at least once a week, these children do even better making the achievement gap even greater. On top of all of that, their substance-abuse rate is much lower too.

Overall then, on the other hand, those kids who come from non-traditional families, no matter which way their family is non-traditional, who come from families that struggle on a daily basis just to make ends meet, where there is no father in the house and the mother is working-class with little education, tend to have much more difficult lives. Their substance-abuse rates are much higher, their high school dropout rates are much higher, their likelihood to be arrested is much higher and their likelihood to make it into the middle class is much lower. Their suicide rates are higher and their life expectancy rates are much lower.

Did you know that the nuclear family is dying? Well, not really, but did you know that nearly forty percent of all children are born to single mothers? Would it surprise you to discover that the rate is much higher or lower based upon your ethnicity? For example, whites have about a twenty-five percent rate, Hispanics about a forty percent rate and non-Hispanic blacks about a seventy percent rate. It’s a different world.

What does all this mean? Altogether, it’s nothing new. It’s nothing that’s not common knowledge. It’s nothing that can generally be disputed since it is factual, at least as presented here. Where the difficulty enters into it is in the interpretation of the facts. Pretty much no surprises there. One finds that the Democrats and the Republicans interpret these facts quite differently. One also finds that the lefties and righties depict the effects of these facts on our society differently as well. So, who’s to be believed?

Therein lies the real problem. Rather than arguing over the interpretation of facts and the effects on our society both sides should be working together to find ways to lessen the apparent gaps so that for the one and for the other it’s not such a different world.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.


my fathers eyesI generally stay away from using first person. It’s a tricky form overall. It very often leads to lies, certainly to overstatement, and it woos users of it into bragging and overestimating themselves. For example, we have that “master politician” Nancy Pelosi. Need I say more?

First person, if one isn’t the bragging type, can lead to self-flagellation or public apology, and that’s a tough one too.

In one of the high-level lit courses I took in graduate school, I remember once being told that writers were notorious liars. That seemed about right to me since that’s what they do for a living, or at least what fiction writers do anyway. I think our politicians do it these days too, and certainly our would-be journalists are busy at it as I write this. Too bad so many people believe their lies as truths, believe our politicians’ lies as truths too.

So here we are. I generally don’t talk about myself per se. As it is, most people don’t know too much about themselves anyway. They have their notions and ideas about themselves, but it’s difficult to get a full and clear perspective of oneself. I know for a fact that since I was about fifteen all I ever wanted to do was write. After that, things get cloudy.

I believe I’ve mostly been strongly opinionated. I believe when I was younger I thought I knew better than my father, but as I’ve grown older, I’m sure now I’m not sure and probably didn’t. I know I was much more liberal back when I was younger, and I was sure those Beatles’ songs were right, you know, Imagine and All You Need Is Love. I think I really would like to be in an Octopus’ Garden. (Yes, I know Imagine is John Lennon’s.)

I’m in my late sixties now and I see all these young, pretty people all over the place giving opinions and leading things as if they actually know what they’re talking about, as if they know what they’re doing. But here’s a little secret. They don’t! The young ones lack perspective and context and the liberals who empower them only do it for their own self-serving purposes. In part, that explains the current state of our inner cities, our education system, and our national debt.

So I look back at my father’s perspective. His parents were legal immigrants. He spoke three languages. He lived through The Depression. He fought in World War II and spent three and a half years as a POW in Nazi Germany, in Stalag III B Furstenberg. He was a working-class stiff who worked all his life, a Jimmy Hoffa Teamster when Labor Unions were relevant and not self-serving political animals. The Government did not give him a disability and denied that his rheumatic heart was related to his war/POW experience.

He had it pretty rough.

Compared to our lives today, he had it really rough. Still, he maintained certain beliefs. He believed in America, in right or wrong, my country. He believed in hard work and in education. He scoffed at stupidity. The idea of hugging and coddling an enemy that would kill you without hesitation was anathema to him. He believed one should work for what he gets; he didn’t believe in freebies. He believed in helping people who needed help but not in entertaining or supporting scammers. He did not believe in a welfare state. He believed in marriage between a man and a woman, in two genders, not thirty-two. He believed in God up until his war experiences, then I think he doubted but believed his children should be brought up with God, with Judaism, and with his and their heritage.

That’s not all his beliefs, but it’s a good sense of them. He warned that our liberal government was crazy, that it was ruining our country by destroying work ethic and supporting freeloaders. He feared that being soft on enemies would destroy us. He understood a budget and the consequences of not living within your means.

My father’s beliefs were simple and straightforward. Sometimes, more often now, I think we should revisit some of them and consider that from his and many people’s perspectives we’ve gone way astray and should head back to simpler, more concrete approaches to our modern times. All that liberal, intellectual, smarter-than-thou, I-know-better hogwash is just that, hogwash.


American flagThe shooting yesterday was tragic. Make no mistake about it. But it is a true metaphor for where we have come to in our society. It should be a wake-up call, but as our past performance indicates, more than likely it won’t be.

As it is wont to do, the media has already run with the event. The blame game started almost immediately and the media quickly assumed its current role of aiding and abetting their political favorites in assuaging their consciences and casting aspersions on their opponents. Isn’t that what got us here, to this shooting, in the first place?

Meanwhile, as Steve Scalise fights for his life, our illustrious leaders do what they always do which is talk BS. They speak in platitudes and make symbolic statements and gestures. They play, not a baseball game, but the jockey-for-position game. They fight, not to serve the American people but to be first to appear as if they really care about the American people and the country. Their past performances, pick a side, right or left, show that to them appearance is everything and they are engaged in not working for the American people but in putting forward the appearance that they are.

Wow!

Some reality exists behind the façade. First, their reality is not our reality. Not too long ago in the scope of history the United States was formed as a government for the people and by the people. Intrinsically, that meant the people were supposed to run the government for the benefit of the people. With the advent of career politicians, those whose lifelong job is being politicians, the government of the United States shifted. Our leaders forgot about serving the people and began the quest to stay employed. Or, like the paramount premise of evolution, they took on the notion that staying employed was their first priority and a matter of survival of the fittest. It’s called Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is the greatest corrupter of our institutions, our governments throughout the world, and yes, of humankind, for man is by nature selfish and greedy.

Another reality behind the façade our leaders are putting on for us at this moment is that they have never before been so far apart in their fight for control that they were willing to usurp the power of very government they are supposed to serve. Never before has one party colluded with the media to destroy a duly-elected president. History, if not overcome by revisionist history, will write this chapter. It is one thing to not support a president’s policies, or his party’s policies. But it is quite another thing to assume that your own party has moral superiority and the will of the people when the will of the people, like it or not, elected a different candidate. Or, obstructionism is one thing. Attempting to bring down a duly-elected administration is quite another. Factually, impeachment of the new President was being talked about prior to his inauguration.

Symbolically, our leaders talk about the importance of unity, the importance of coming together now and playing this baseball game tonight to show the American people how strong we (they) are and how much they care about our government and its moving forward together. Behind the scenes, our politburo leaders are discussing the same old same old which is how to keep themselves safe and keep themselves in office. It’s shameful and it makes one as queasy as Comey.

This shooting is tragic. All our hearts and best wishes for a full and swift recovery go out to Steve Scalise and the others injured. Nothing more important can be said than that. But make no mistake about it. The shooting event itself is metaphoric for where we have come to in our society and the response to it is metaphoric for the true nature of our leaders and their lack of real concern for the best government,  society and country in the world.


African beheading sword

African Beheading Sword

When he kissed her, she slapped him. He thought that couldn’t be right. So he kissed her harder. This time she punched him and blackened his eye. Love wins out in the end, he thought, so he gave her flowers and candy. She gladly accepted these. Then he went to kiss her again and she shot him. She ate the candy, stole his wallet and threw the flowers on his corpse. She walked off laughing at his silliness and naiveté.

My father was a POW in Nazi Germany in WWII for three and a half years. Lots of people today don’t remember that war. When they study it in school it is simply part of a Social Studies unit, something in a book with pictures and statistics and even disputed theories of how it started. The Iranians would have us believe that The Holocaust never happened, and many others want to believe that too. Try telling those few remaining survivors it never occurred. Try telling it to their families, those survivors lucky enough to have been able to salvage a family or create a new one.

Hitler wanted “to cleanse” the German race. Jews were only one of their targets. Does Will Smith ever wonder when he talks about America “cleansing” itself of Donald Trump that he might not even be here if we had offered the Nazis love and jobs instead of fighting them with bullets? How insulting of Mr. Smith to invoke that comparison. How utterly shortsighted and equally insulting of him and the liberals to make Hitler comparisons and Facist intimations.

So let’s talk about that liberal idea of offering the terrorists love and sanctuary and jobs. Did the Nazis worry about such things? They took whatever they wanted. The Red Cross sent aid to the POWs, but the Germans stole anything and everything. Hitler let the world appease him at first and then he used that appeasement as a sign of weakness or reticence or both and went on to kill eleven million people. Oppressors will take every act of kindness and charity and love with a smile and then they will kill you. If you’ve never been in jeopardy or have not intimately known someone who has faced oppressors, you can believe a hug and a job will work. If you understand that oppressors, especially ideologically driven ones, are intent upon having only what they want and will not stop until they get it or are dead, you better have a weapon and be prepared to use it.

When the Nazis were being overrun and the Russians were closing in on them, they took the POWs on The Death March, marching them in blizzard conditions toward Berlin so the Russians and the rest of the world could not see what they had done. They had stolen everything of value from the POWs.  Some POWs had no coats, no shoes, no hats or gloves. Many, many POWs died from frostbite. Those who fell were left to die, the Nazis not even wasting bullets on them. This is the Islamic Jihadist Terrorist mentality and MO.

Love thy neighbor is meaningless when thy neighbor is beheading thy brothers.

 

Butterflies cover final

Coming in the next few days 


two women and a horse

picture from Dreamtime

Since when did big business decide what laws should be enacted, and since when did money interests dictate what people should and shouldn’t do? That’s how it is now, on that level, right out in the open.

We know it’s always been this way behind the scenes, but now there’s simply no hiding it, not even attempts at masking it.

Big business is now working to dissuade Missouri voters from passing legislation that would allow religious freedom protections to its citizens. Wait a minute. Didn’t people already have have religious freedom? Aren’t people in America supposed to be free to practice their religion and act according to their religious beliefs? Why all of a sudden do people need protection to exercise their religious beliefs and rights?

Oops. Maybe something is wrong here!

The changing of the definition of marriage has upset the proverbial apple cart. It has caused what some people refer to as freedom in one realm to deny freedom in other realms. With proper forethought this probably could have been worked out. Instead it has allowed the PCP, Political Correctness Police, license to mess with the institutions we once deemed sacred.

This is progress, so they would have us believe, but really it’s mishegas. Yes, it’s meshugah. Or, if you don’t know what those words mean, it’s mixed up, crazy. Next stop is throuples, something written about here earlier, three-parent families. Throuples, the next thing in marriage, is on the road to polygamy, and all that is okay except what they did was whimsically change definitions of institutions without consent or consensus and without ever considering the ramifications of their actions.

Upsetting our sensibilities is one thing. Our paying for what they’re doing is a different issue. How many parents in a marriage will be able to get Social Security benefits? What about my horse? I want to be married to two women and a horse, and I’ve said this here before too when talking about throuples. Nothing kinky or strange. Just because it’s my right and would make me happy. Can my horse get my benefits if I kick the bucket? Maybe on the day I feel like a horse is when I should marry my horse. That’s what the progressives say: if I identify as a horse, I am one. Ergo, I can marry one.

The progressives have done it this time, and they have no clue as to what they’ve done. The same big businesses that are pressuring in Missouri, and other states, do big business throughout the world in countries where women are veiled and practically enslaved. So who are these hypocritical businesses kidding? And what’s their real game here?

Oh! We know. Next they’ll want to tell us that if we feel like a girl on any given day we can go into the girls’ bathroom, or locker room, or the showers in the locker room. That’s the progressives’ way of breaking down the genders. Why would they want to do this? That is the salient question and you can bet your horseshoes it has to do with power. A good bet is that in this case it’s from their playbook: create chaos and use the chaos to regulate, hence grab power. Here’s an idea! Any school district in the country that doesn’t comply with the Lack-Of-Justice Department’s open-to-anyone bathroom policy should be denied Federal funds. In our anti-bully policy world, that’s the way to get what you want and set the no-bullying example.

We are in the midst of insanity and idiocy. It would all be hilarious if it weren’t so dangerous to the very freedoms and foundations this country was founded upon.

since when

 


spaghetti eaters 2When he was first captured, my father was sent to an Italian prison camp. My father, as I’ve said before, never really talked about being a POW and  he didn’t tell stories except for two. The first was about after the Italians fled and he was recaptured by the Germans. When he was received in the camp, Stalag 3B Furstenberg, the two people in front of him lied about being Jewish. My father, because he’d already been in an Italian prison camp, told the truth because, as he told us, by this time he didn’t care if he lived or died anymore. The following morning the two men who had been in front of him were shot.

The other story was about Aunt Matilda.

As I think back upon my family, particularly the Aunts and Uncles on my father’s side, they were a pretty serious bunch. Aunt Minnie and Aunt Bella, at least as I remember them, were almost always serious. They laughed and joked around, I think, when they were amongst themselves or when at a gathering and the kids were all gone outside to play ball. But I don’t remember them being really silly or fooling around with me or my brother. I remember my father-in-law once putting his tongue through a paper napkin at the Christmas dinner table and then making faces and noises. That was silly. I don’t remember my aunts on my father’s side ever being silly.

Aunt Matilda and Uncle Martin were the funny ones. Uncle Martin always told the truth as he saw it and very often his total candor led to awkward moments where we laughed because we felt he couldn’t possibly be serious about how critical he was being. Aunt Matilda would say he was joking, but I gather very often he was serious. Whether witty sarcasm or unbridled criticism, who knew?

So being-funny Aunt Matilda wrote her baby brother, my father, a letter that was received by the Italians in the prison camp he was he in. Of course the Italians (and the Germans too) censored all mail, so they received it instead of him. He was called into the commandant where they proceeded to read him the letter.solitary confinement cell 1

As my father told the story, the letter started off “Congratulations, you are now in the hands of the spaghetti-eaters,” and it went on and on about the Italians. The more they read, my father told us, the more he laughed, and the more he laughed, the madder they got, and the madder they got, the longer they left him in solitary confinement.

Aunt Matilda was a pip. As another story about her has it, she was once being blocked by a tractor-trailer truck whose driver was apparently having a hard time moving the truck out of the way. My aunt, after honking and waiting, got fed up enough to go give the driver a piece of her mind, telling him that if he couldn’t move it, she would do it for him. The driver made the mistake of accepting it as a dare. Aunt Matilda moved the truck for him. She was very proud of that.