Reverse Rapture

I can remember exactly where I was when I came up with the concept of, and name for, what I call the “The Reverse Rapture.” It was sometime after 9 PM on a July evening in 2009. Even though I wasn’t keeping a journal back then, I can get close to the date based on a paragraph in an e-mail dated July 15 that I sent soon thereafter to one of my best friends.

I was the owner of a franchised business at the time. My one remaining store was in a 5-parcel strip center. I was doing what in the army was called “a police call” of the parking lot. Most days that I was at the shop I would pick up litter when I first arrived or after we had closed….or both.

I have always detested litter bugs. Why do these lazy, inconsiderate assholes think the planet is their trash can or ash tray??
That night, in addition to big gulp cups, empty aquafina bottles, and macdonald’s bags there was this trifecta of trash: (1) a soiled baby diaper; (2) a used condom; and (3) a truck tire.

I grumbled at the sight of the first; didn’t touch the second; and spewed a string of profanities when I spotted the third…words that I’ve never uttered in front of my parents. There is no doubt that I called these cretins “god damned mother fucking assholes” out loud, even though there was no one there to hear me.

As I was lugging the tire to the dumpster I flashed on it: my version of “the Reverse Rapture.” It has nothing to do with religious beliefs. It does not result in anybody being caught up in the clouds or in a fiery pit. I don’t know where shitheads would go. They’d just go away.

In the Christian rapture the “saved folks” vanish. They would be lots of car wrecks because of cars without drivers, planes without pilots, people waking up in their house as the only person left behind, yada yada.
The same thing would happen in my Reverse Rapture. The cretins dematerialize. Poof.
Here’s what I wrote in the 7/15/2009 e-mail: “it would be like the rapture, except people would look around and the people missing would all be cretins….churches wouldn’t be empty…prisons would be. pimp mobiles wouldn’t have drivers….and the offices of dewey, cheatum and how (and most other law firms) would be short a lot of people…” [Note: At that time I was in a legal battle with my greedhead franchisor. The Faux Cowboy and his scumbag lawyer were total cretins. Eventually my lawyer and I kicked their ass. 🙂 ]

I know this “Reverse Rapture” concept is very judgmental of me. Tough. Whether it’s my version or the biblical version, I’m a leftover….

Yeah, I know it’s a stretch for the litterbugs and those who routinely speed through red lights at busy intersections to get vaporized along with murderers, pedophiles, people who prey on the old and the sick, greedheads, gang bangers, wife beaters, ISIS, and flimflam men.

But I sure do like the sound of waking up one day on this big blue marble to a much smaller population, especially when those who vanished were the cretins.

Be. Just Be.
But don’t litter and don’t be a shithead.

Two daughters and a beautiful wife…

Yesterday evening we attended the 25th annual brick-laying ceremony at the Victims Memorial Garden in Phelps Grove Park. New engraved bricks were added to the garden to honor victims of violent crimes, their families and those who serve them in the Springfield community.

I always experience a range of emotions while listening to the words of those dedicating bricks. There are stories of heroes and stories of heinous crimes; stories of people who counsel and support victims; stories of those who track down and prosecute the perpetrators. The folks in blue who keep us safe are out in full force….at least 40 in dress uniform.

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I need a short break…I need to sail away

It wasn’t the first thing I did when I got out of bed this morning. First I got the coffee going.

But even before I put on some music, I unfollowed all my “news feeds” on Facebook. I need a short break.

I didn’t unfollow any of my friends.

I have never been a fan of resolutions, but I’m making some “Valentine’s week pledges” today. I’m gonna do my damnedest to follow through on them for a minimum of one week.

1. I’m limiting my time on Facebook to 15 minutes in the morning and fifteen more in the evening.
2. I’m gonna use the stop watch on my phone to make sure that I abide by the limit.
3. I won’t be launching any of the political items that my friends share on FB.
4. I didn’t unsubscribe to any of the items that hit my e-mail inbox….but I won’t be reading them.
5. I’m gonna spend more time reading the 8 magazines that I subscribe to.
6. I’m gonna write more in my journal.

I just need an online break. A short break….for now….

So if you are one of my FB friends, I may still give your post a “like” but I won’t be commenting on any political items for at least the next 7 days.

Last March I wrote a piece rooting for Villanova in the NCAA tournament. I really did want the Wildcats to win it all….but what I really liked was the idea of “brotherly love.”

The piece was really a commentary on politics in America. I didn’t think it could get worse. But it did. And there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

I still believe that Love trumps hate, and that: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

I still believe that we need more of the Beatitudes and less of Leviticus. More “red letters” and less bluster.

I need a short break….I just need to sail away for awhile.


Basketball, Philly, & the Sermon on the Mount

Today i’m thinking a lot about hoops, the City of Brotherly Love and The Beatitudes.
Hoops? I have been a basketball junkie for as long as I can remember. A music junkie too. If I had to pick between them, it would be a tough choice…a match-up of two great teams playing to a packed gym or an artist who is on my bucket list playing in a great venue?? I can’t commit without more details…

But it’s March Madness for the next three weeks, and I don’t see anything on JamBase that’s gonna require me to wrestle with a hoops vs tunes decision anytime soon….

Get the ball in the air. Let the fun begin!
City of Brotherly Love? My best friend from my days in Cape Girardeau has lived in Philadelphia for a long time. It’s always great to see Don, no matter where we are when our paths cross. Several times that has been in Philly, where he serves as the ultimate tour guide and host. Good times with a dear friend in a great city…it doesn’t get much better than that.
The Beatitudes? The meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers…and more and more….
I was one of the early adopters of NCAA bracket contests. There are a couple of stories I could tell about NCAA tournaments in the past, and maybe I’ll write some of them down over the next three weeks while I’m glued to the tube, avoiding commercials and anything remotely political, and flipping between games hour after hour.

This particular post will be short as I need to pour thru USA Today’s bonus section, surf the net a bit, and pull my brackets together. Of course I’m excited that my Oregon State Beavers made the tournament for the first time in Caroline’s life…she was born 5/30/91. It has been far too long since my team made the tournament…

I can even be excited that the quackers from Eugene, Orygun got a #1 seed. But I’m rooting for them to lose their second game, when they most likley will play Saint Joseph’s, which is from Philadelphia.

I’m hoping that Villanova, another of the Philly Big 5, takes the trophy back to the City of Brotherly Love on April 4. I like Jay Wright’s team, and have since I saw them several times when they came to Tampa to play USF…but the key for me this tournament is where the Wildcats call home, and what that city represents.
Lots of people aren’t happy, or even worse, they’re angry. I get it. But there is too much noise about building walls, carpet bombing, that “torture works,” and that we need to “take out their families.” I can’t guarantee it, but I’m pretty sure that none of these are WWJD to improve the living conditions of Americans.

And when I thought it couldn’t get worse, there were these:

“Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK, just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.”

“I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.”

We need more of the Beatitudes and less of Leviticus. More “red letters” and less bluster.

So I’m gonna pull for teams from the City of Brotherly Love in this year’s NCAA tournament. And for more people who want to build bridges to the future rather than build walls, drop bombs, waterboard…and worse, including helping the rich get richer while the middle class vanishes.

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”—Henry James

And this:

Go Beavers!

What I learned in the Army…

I was drafted into the Army 2 days after I turned 22. I was discharged 1 year, 6 months and 6 days later. Thanks to Tricky Dick’s Vietnamization military draw down, “early outs” were the norm…and the lifers definitely wanted people like me gone.

The copy of Robert Sherrill’s “Military justice is to justice as military music is to music” that I prominently displayed at the head of my bed in the barracks might have had something to do with it. Or maybe it was the fact that Senator Stuart Syminton and Senator Ted Kennedy each contacted my commanding officer in response to letters I sent to DC. Maybe it was because I had the song that’s at the end of this piece “on repeat”…playing it morning, noon and night.  (And playing it LOUD!)

The Army is not too happy about squeaky wheels…and man-o-man, looking back at it, was I ever a squeaky Spec 4!

Apparently the 1/6/6 time commitment was magical as far as being entitled to full VA benefits. (Which are still hopelessly inadequate, especially after Iraq and Afghanistan…) I took full advantage of the GI Bill during my extended time in college after the service…i was on a campus in either Missouri or Oregon for 6 of the next 10 years after my discharge. (I LOVED college….)

While I wouldn’t do it all over again if it was my choice, I don’t regret my military experience in the least. In fact, I’d support required public service for every citizen….there are lots of ways that people could serve their country without being in the military. (Note: for most elected officials these days I don’t consider what they do “public service.” More accurate for far too many would be to call it “disservice”!!)
My time in service was beneficial in several ways:
I grew up. (although 40+ years later, i’m still not all that “mature”…);
I got in good physical shape;
I got very lucky and never went to Vietnam;
I sobered up and dried out. (I was drinking entirely too much before I was drafted…);

And I learned some things.

What did I learn in the Army?

1. Clean as you go.

2. Do it once and do it right and you won’t have to do it twice.

Those are the two most important things that I learned while wearing an OG-107 uniform. That’s it. 2 platitudes. 2 simple phrases.

But don’t get me wrong. Those are both BIG deals. Really. I probably don’t go 48 hours without thinking of one or both of them…and maybe even saying one of the phrases out loud….but usually just to myself.

Oh, I did learn some other stuff.

3. Wear sunscreen…lather up. Especially at the beach. (“Breaking starch” when you’re blistered from a weekend at Myrtle Beach is VERY unpleasant!)

4. Marijuana is not a gateway drug. If there were more potheads and less alcoholics, the planet would be a much nicer place.

5. This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for shooting, this is for fun. (I also learned the definition of a buddy…)

5a. Have lots of fun.

5b. Listen to lots of music.

(Some people might look at the 5’s as “sex, drugs and rock&roll. Just sayin’)

6. I learned a lot about myself. (The learning continues…)

All the lessons from my Army days have people and/or stories attached to them.

Maybe someday I’ll tell some of ’em.


Ticketmaster is The Devil

Well, that was lots of fun.


I just spent 2 hours and 25 minutes trying to get tickets to see Adele in either Chicago or Denver.

She’s playing 3 nights in the Windy City, so i had three tabs open…one for each night. I didn’t even get a countdown like with Springsteen last week. Just a spinning wheel…an interminable spinning wheel. After 35 minutes of that ugly little wheel, I was able to attempt to place an order. That’s when the fun began….NOT.

I got a phrase that I was to enter to confirm that i was person and not a bot. Sometimes these phrases are hard to read. Not this time…they were easy. But every time, it said my entry didn’t match…and displayed another phrase. In a word: Bullshit!

After numerous failed attempts, with me matching the phrase but being told I hadn’t matched, they hit me with a bunch of images. I was to pick all of the ones that included street signs.

I “passed”…and was promptly told that all seats were gone.

Fuck me!

The seats in Denver were not available thru Ticketmaster. I was hoping this was a good deal, since Ticketmaster is the Devil.

I learned the the ticket ordering system for the Pepsi Center in Denver is Satan’s sibling.

Their system puts you in a queue that “helps you get up-to-the-minute information regarding your event availability while keeping your place in line.” It includes a progress bar with some little guy walking from left to right. Actually, he was walking in place. Glaciers move quicker than this image did.

After 1 hour and 22 minutes I was informed that only single tickets were available. Just for grins I thought I’d try to order a single ticket. I was curious as to what single tickets remained. If they offered me an assigned seat, I would just pass.

No single seats available either.

Last week I checked out Stub Hub as soon as my attempt to get Springsteen tickets was a bust. I didn’t waste my time with that exercise today, as I was pretty sure what my response would be: Scalpers are scum.

And this: Fuck Me!!

Andy Borowitz….well, not really.

Here’s the background to the following: a few e-mails in a thread preceded the e-mail below, starting with some Facebook status posts by Andy Borowitz pasted into my originating message….sent to my friend to give her some laughs as she recuperates.

Primary topic of the thread: terrorism….foreign and domestic, her health, my health.
Auxiliary topics: her TV viewing while recuperating (including TMZ Live), the American Taliban, candidates for POTUS, “radical Islam,” “well-regulated”

the thread was getting too serious, and requiring too much thinking!! so I sent the message below….

From: Steve Weiss <>
To: a friend <—>
Sent: Friday, December 4, 2015 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: andy borowitz…

too much politics….it’s giving me a headache!!

can’t do anything about it anyway.

but i do have a few minutes of fun each day jerking people’s chain on facebook, and pretty much all of it is politics related. i like to hit people with facts…occasionally i’ll poke and prod. yesterday i was referred to as a libturd. i chuckle thinking about it…all i said was “so that’s what ‘well-regulated’ means, eh?”

i’m a binge watcher…or a binge listener. usually it’s the latter. the latest album by dawes has been playing a lot this week. two songs in particular are my favorite from their latest CD…since i’ve been back in springfield they have become one of my favorite bands.

{the e-mail included links to “things happen” and “i can’t think about it now”…see “Never use a big word…” for active links…}

binge watching usually involves dvds on loan from the library, with shelly here too. (unless we’re house-sitting for someone with netflix or an ‘on-demand’ service.)

i’m a believer in what norman cousins wrote about laughter. i can watch seinfeld repeatedly. ditto andy griffith. we recently binge watched 2 seasons of ‘game of thrones’….not a whole lot of chuckles there.

we started season 1 of “breaking bad” earlier this week. shelly had always turned up her nose when i asked her about it, so i finally went ahead and put it on hold. she didn’t expect it to produce any laughs, but we both find parts of it hilarious. i watched most of the first 2 seasons when I was still in Floriduh, but only an episode here and episode there after moving to mo.

i don’t think i’ve ever watched a complete episode of tmz…but i do stop sometimes when i’m channel surfing and watch snippets.

so this:
stay away from “news.”
watch/do more things that make you laugh.
read when you can.
move around some.
if you’re moving to music it’s even better.
listen to music.
(lots of it for me….)
keep in touch with people that matter to you.
hug ’em when you see them.
tell the ones you love that you do.
(in your case, several of the above apply to your boys…) [Note: the “boys” are her 2 rescue dogs]
be. just be.

take care. get better. hello to —. laugh a lot.



my friend replied: “Ok…well, I love you, and, you make me laugh! Thanks for being my friend.”

from me: “back at you. and thanks for having my back.”

I left something out in the e-mail to my friend:

Life is good. Enjoy every bite of every sandwich.

Be.  Just BE.