And the next president is…

7 May

…no one you know. We’re still three years out from the next presidential election in America, but that doesn’t keep people from placing bets on it. However, I know that all of these are sucker bets.

Just for the record, you can’t bet legally in the US on political races. Lawmakers put that under the list of “bad things” that casinos can’t do, but the UK has no such scruples. The belief that voting odds can change elections is… not unprecedented.

Of course, the big question will be “Is Joe Biden running again?” The smart money says no, because he’ll be 81 and is already looking like he’s not sure where he is. So common belief is that he will step aside in favor of his VP, Kamala Harris. Despite all the hoopla that she gets for being the triple threat (black, Asian, and a woman), she’s not that impressive when she’s actually running. She didn’t even make it to Iowa. So despite the great step-up that gives her, she’d get trounced in the primaries.

The next question is… is Donald Trump running again. Despite his massive negative backlash, he’s still got a solid positive rating among Republicans. Compare to him to the list of “who cares” in the Republican primary and he wins easily. Whether he could win the big race depends on whose running against him. However, Trump himself will be 77 years old, and he’s starting to look his age. So I doubt he’s going to do it again.

Then this UK list hits names that are exciting, but doubtful. Nikki Haley is exciting, but front runners rarely win the primaries, because they appeal to a wide range of voters… not the diehards who vote in the primaries. Mike Pence appeals to Christian fundamentalists, but only in a “yeah, he was VP to Trump, right?” sort of way.

But the list gets more difficult to put your finger on. Ron DeSantis (governor of Florida) I believe could run, and he’s got a good track record, but he’s not very exciting. Alexandra Osasco-Cortez certainly has a huge Twitter presence, and shouts a lot, but I think she will fail in more conservative places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Then you get the first ladies–why on Earth would they run? They know what a presidential campaign is like. Then they list celebrities; again, they have enough money to run, but the second they announce, every single bad mistake in their lives will be scrutinized. I think Dwayne Johnson likes being everyone’s favorite uncle; why would he give that up? Jeff Bezos would have to give up his comfortable billionaire lifestyle to have people yell at him for being a rich bastard? Nah…

The ones at the end of the list are the most likely. Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, recently making a name for herself among Republicans. Tim Scott, senator from South Carolina, a black Republican who gave the response to the presidential address… very articulate. For the Dems, Pete Buttigieg, current Secretary of Transportation, might make another shot. He’s more experienced, gay, and Midwestern. Not quite the same triple threat as Kamala, but a lot more appealing on the stage.

But it’s just as likely at that point to be some governor or senator you’ve never heard of, which is why it’s foolish to speculate at this early in the process. But election pollsters have to eat just like the rest of us. What do you think? Is my analysis missing a critical point? Let me know in the comments below! Then vote with you wallet and buy one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too much for your vote, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. I’m Marcus Johnston and I approve this message. 🙂

Equity Is NOT Equality

6 May

You hear the word “equity” a lot. It sounds like “equality” so how could anyone be against it? “Equity” means equality of outcome, versus equality of opportunity. Why is that bad? Because humans don’t work that way.

You’ve seen the cute graphic of three kids trying to look over a fence; how equal opportunity (represented by boxes) still leaves one kid unable to see. But if you give the smaller kid two boxes, and the big kid no boxes, everyone can see just fine. Looks correct, doesn’t it? After all, everyone should be able to see the game, some people just need more help.

One of the books I keep on my bookshelf from my grad school days (and most of them have been exiled) is “Declining by Degrees,” which is the PBS companion book to the documentary they did fifteen years ago. Because it’s been out so long, you can watch it for free. However, what interested me was the book was full of essays from different educational experts and journalists, all asking the same question, “Why are standards declining in our universities? Why are graduates able to do less than those who graduated a generation before?” Many reasons were given, but the solution was always the same: “You need to give more money to schools.”

Hmmm… that did not sound right. After all, LA Unified School District spends $18,788 per student, and as anyone in LA will tell you, never send your kid to a LAUSD school. New York City spends $25,199 per student, as compared to a nationwide average of $12,201. Now that may just be because LA and NYC are simply more expensive. However, that still doesn’t completely explain why there worse test scores in places that the spend the most?

Maybe it’s because money has nothing to do with outcomes.

Another lifetime ago, I taught at a private boarding school overseas. So our student body was a self-selecting sample; parents who wanted to pay a LOT of money to send their kid to an isolated location for an American school in India. They wanted their kids to either a) get into a Western university and/or b) have a unique international experience. As a teacher, I could always tell which students would succeed and which wouldn’t. What was the difference? How often their parents checked in with them.

The best students had their parents calling every night… or every other night, checking on their homework, they showed up at the parent-teacher conferences even though it was a serious pain to get to twice a year. They came to take their kids out on the weekends every so often. The parents made sure they were still in their lives. The worst students had no contact apart from holidays. The saddest example was the student who didn’t want to go home because all they would be doing is sitting in an empty apartment with a maid to take care of them.

No amount of money will turn a failed student into a successful one. The only thing that will is having that student find someone else who gives a damn. It doesn’t have to be a parent; it can be a coach, a teacher, a challenging friend. Putting up more boxes to lift someone up doesn’t convince the kid to actually stand; what it does do is give money to people who make boxes.

But what do you think? Am I just too jaded? Are there worthy charities that really just need more money, but get diverted to less worthy ones. (Of course.) Let me know in the comments below! Then if you need a worthy place to put your money, buy one of my books! However, if $1.99 is if too much to “donate,” go ahead and download one of my stories for free. Thank you for your support.

Let A Platitude Be Your Attitude

5 May

What is the difference between a quotation and a platitude? How can one person hear a cute saying and think it’s profound and another think it’s insipid? Does it have something to do with how it’s communicated?

I was listening to the radio and the same PSA came on for the umpteenth time. It sounds like Amanda Gorman, the current poet laureate, but it’s not be her; someone who is imitating her style. It starts off with “A return to sanity, could it be?” It goes into this poetic reading of the benefits of getting the vaccine and how it will help us get back to normal.

I really hate it.

However, let me do a little metacognition–that means I’m pretentious–thinking about how I think. Why do I hate this PSA? The first thought is my same thought about all PSAs; why do we need this commercial? Do you think people haven’t heard about the vaccine by now? Don’t you think people have already made up their minds about this vaccine? They’ll either get it or they’re waiting for availability or they won’t.

Who will hear this well-drafted poem that hasn’t heard the message already? “Click it or ticket” has been around for decades and yet I still have a friend who will never put a seat belt on. Ever. He’s the only one. The message is out there; you won the argument! Accept 99% compliance. That’s a win.

I think another reason is the repetition. I’ve heard this commercial five times a day; it’s played on this radio station every hour… maybe every half hour… because radio stations are required to play a certain percentage of PSA’s in their ad stream. Also because iHeartMedia charges companies differently for live streams than broadcast frequencies. There’s less advertisers who want to pay that, therefore, more PSA’s to fill the void.

I think the best example of this is music. I like the song “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” by Nine Days; everyone else of my generation hates it. Why? Because it was played on a high repetition when it came out in 2000. I love the lyrics, I love the tempo… but I also haven’t heard it a lot. Even now, I’m reluctant to actually play it, because it’s such an earworm, I can play it in my head easily.

My wife suggests that part of the problem is that it’s an unfamiliar style. Then again, she’s bought critical race theory whole; that doesn’t mean she’s wrong in this case. It’s an African-American doing a “performance poem,” which my lily-white ears aren’t comfortable with. The “other” does make things more difficult to accept. I never listened to rap growing up, so when my drinking buddy wants to crank up the rap from my generation, I can’t share the joy that he has about the genre. So I’m not down with it.

So this PSA fails on message, repetition, and style for me. You could judge it yourself. However, I think you remember something similar. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. This post brought to you by Albigensia Press and the Ad Council. 🙂

Better Than They Needed To Be

4 May

I’ve recently come across a new category of films. These are films that turn out to be great–deep and moving and philosophical–but are at their core, simply a cheap franchise. Why are they better than they need to be?

So me and my son watched the first two Hunger Games films together, after my friend introduced me to them in Tucson. At their face value, the story is rather simple. Teenage girl, dealing with teenage problems, now has to balance her love triangle in a deadly situation. Okay–since your audience is teenagers, you have to keep the rating down to PG-13, otherwise, they can’t get in the movie theatre.

You’re asking the director to make a film about a battle to the death… without showing blood. This sounds like a box office nightmare.

And yet… you watch it and… it’s unbelievably brilliant! It compares economic disparity, elaborates on the falsehood of television, deals with PTSD… all of this through something that was supposed to be a throw-away blockbuster. The story writing is amazing, there are NO bad roles or bad actors in this film, and the costume and makeup are insanely good.

Then how did they get around showing a blood bath without blood? Simple camera tricks; in the first film, they had shaky cam work. The second one was even more clever–having the camera leave the focus for a second or have something else move in front of it. Better yet, do it off screen! The scariest part of the second film had no blood in all, just the screams of the people of they loved… (shiver)

Similar thought about the Lego Movie. Lego had been making movies for years–usually 5 minute clips with no sound showing off how their playsets could be used. So they knew it could be done well. However, no one was expecting anything hilarious and brilliant. The writers realized that, “Gee, no one’s expecting to take this seriously, so why not just go all out with it!” And they did.

Once they had a great script, they could bring in a serious amount of voice talent with known names to do the roles. (Of course, you could say the same about the Emoji Movie.) However, they had access to all the franchises that Lego has ever done (DC Comics, Lord of the Rings, NBA All-Stars), which helped up the ridiculous factor. What came out was an amazing film that has great quotes, great earworm music, and a plot that made you laugh and cry with these animated characters.

In the end, way better than they needed to be. Is there another example that fits this category? Should it be it’s own subgenre? Let me know in the comments below! Speaking of better than they ought to be, check out one of my books. 🙂 However, if you’re not convinced that $1.99 is worth losing to chance, go ahead and download one of my stories for free! Then I’ll see you at the movies.

Hang ‘Em High

3 May

Here’s a weird topic; despite all the films to the contrary, legal public executions went out of fashion over a hundred fifty years ago. It’s much easier to kill someone in private. So a lot of the technical details behind them has been forgotten.

Why does my mind go to places like this? Well, I came across an article about Mary Ball, the last person to be publicly executed in Coventry, England. She had murdered her husband by poisoning him, because he had been sleeping around, and had confessed to it. It was August 9th, 1849, and more than 20,000 people showed up for her hanging… which kinda tells you that it was such a rare occurrence that people came from all around to see it.

In this case, they build a gallows for the event–usually it’s a temporary structure that is simply a platform with a sturdy place to hang the rope. It’s important to be high above the ground so that the trap door will open and snap the person’s neck… which is actually what kills them, not strangle them, which takes a lot longer and becomes “cruel and unusual.”

The picture I found for this gallows come from the historic site in Fort Smith, Arkansas and it’s a replica. In the Wild West, where there wasn’t as much law and order (and there was a “hanging judge” by the name of Parker), this was a quasi-permanent structure. However, even in this lawless area, it was considered an eyesore, and torn down in 1897.

Because I love local history, I always try to find out about the town I’m living in. In my hometown, they actually planted a “gallows tree.” Because it is the county seat, that’s where executions would be done. They only ever used it once; a man named Christian Riebling in Lyndon who got drunk on Christmas Eve 1883, had a shouting match with a younger man, and mortally wounded him. On May 6, 1884, Riebling was sentenced to death and got a crowd of 350 people who watched his execution. The tree was cut down the next year; apparently it was one of those things that sounded better than it actually was. In nearby Carroll County, they simply dug up their tree in 1878 and stored it in their courthouse, saying that it would grow again if you planted it.

It was there as of 1960; I’m very curious if it’s still there.

I found it interesting that there is a lot of tradition behind a gallows tree. In Scotland, they called them dule trees, and sycamores tended to be preferred, because they could hold the weight of a man being dropped from it. However, it could be any type of tree. However, gallows trees–or gallows in general–went out of fashion because of the “oogie” factor. People believed that nothing would grow where a gallows stood, So as people became more “civilized,” they didn’t want that constant reminder of their barbarity.

Okay–this was a rather dark subject, but I was curious. What do you think? Should we restore public executions? Is lethal injection more humane? Let me know in the comments below. I don’t execute characters in my books, so you’ll enjoy them. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

Once We Win, Kill Our Allies

2 May

After winning any revolution, the new victors first step is to kill their allies. Not all of them, but enough that they don’t have to share the power with them all. If they can’t, this leads to civil war. This is also true in any election, though not as bloody.

What do I mean? Let’s start with the bloody examples first. In Germany, Hitler came to power on the backs of his party apparatus and his paramilitary, called the SA (Assualt Division) but better known as the Brown Shirts. It was the SA that beat up people at opposing political rallies, caused Kristallnacht, the destruction of so many Jewish businesses, and the Reichstag Fire, which finally gave Adolf his emergency powers. How did Hitler reward them? With the Night of the Long Knives; where he sent his more trusted goons (the SS) out to kill every single leader of the SA on charges of sodomy (which were true) and treason against the state, and then dismantled the SA entirely.

Why? Because Ernest Rohm was a threat to his leadership; an alternate charismatic leader with whom he didn’t want to share power. So he and hundreds of his followers had to go.

When you don’t do this, you get something like the Irish Civil War of 1922-3, where the former revolutionaries, united on the cause of Irish independence, suddenly couldn’t agree on the form that independence would take. Eamon De Valera and his Fianna Fail refused to accept the “limited sovereignty” that Michael Collins and his Fine Gael had negotiated from the British. So Eamon withdrew his support, and eventually, his followers (the second version of the Irish Republican Army) started fighting the Irish Free State. Collins was killed, De Valera was defeated, and Ireland… eventually became a republic anyway ten years later.

On the whole, it seemed like a pointless exercise–except it wasn’t. They winners couldn’t afford to let their allies get in the way of ruling. They didn’t want to, but egos get in the way, and… well, as James Madison once said, “If men were angels, there’d be no need for governments.”

On a less bloody version, voters often wonder why politicians go back on their campaign promises once they get into office. The truth is… because they can’t. They promise so many items that they can increase their voter bases, because something they say will have to appeal to you. However, once they get into office, they finally understand the limits of their rule. So when a politician gets elected, they can either a) conveniently ignore that promise, b) give lip service to that promise, or c) fulfill it to some degree, because that ally’s support is still useful.

So “killing your allies” in the modern sense is simply cutting them off from your support. Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland, was perfectly happy to let the Antifa protestors burn his city to the ground… until the election. After all, they were on his side, right? But once he was reelected, defeating the opposition (who said, “I am Antifa”), suddenly the protests weren’t as charming anymore. After the New Years’ Eve Riots, they are being put down a lot more harshly. He didn’t need them anymore AND he realized that they weren’t on his side. BLM is getting tired of Antifa at their rallies, the moderate Democrats are tired of the progressives, and the whole cycle of purging your allies begins all over again.

Of course, I could just be talking about speculation, not facts. What do you think? Are the parties more unified than I believe? Is there coalitions that stay functionally together after victory? Let me know in the comments below! Then vote with your pocketbook and get one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your vote, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. I am Marcus Johnston and I approve this message.

Island Hermit, Still Has Wi-Fi

1 May

I came across this article about a hermit getting kicked off the island he has been a caretaker on for 32 years. What caught my eye was the fact that he said goodbye on a Facebook post–which means the hermit had a smartphone.

I’ve dreamed about moving to remote and difficult to reach locations since I was young. This guy happened to be sailing and his ship crashed there; there just happened to be a job opportunity and he took it. Fair enough–life takes you places you weren’t expecting to go. However, I strangely feel less sympathetic to a guy who obviously gets off the island once and a while. I doubt Amazon delivers to a place with just a hut. That’s not the definition of “hermit.” That’s just like being a lighthouse keeper–it’s just a remote job.

I’ve thought about moving to Pitcairn Island several times, which is about the most isolated place you can get to that still has the semblance of civilization. The only town, Adamstown, has about 55 people. First obstacle is the serious difficulty of getting there; fly to the French Marquesas, wait for a boat, and then take a two night boat ride to get to the island. After that, the New Zealand Government wants some assurances (like any immigrant) that you won’t be a drain on their economy. So you’ve got to have around $30K NZD per adult ($22K USD) in your bank account.

However, they also have satellite internet. It’s occurred to me that if I worked in Adamstown for my soon-to-be late employer as a consultant, I could easily make that amount in a yearly salary and prove that I would be a contributing member of their society. Of course, I’m married and have kids, so abandoning them… or asking them to move to the end of the world is kind of a non-starter.

So I like the idea that “you can work from anywhere” can be extended to incredibly remote areas. I think I’ve written about the consultants I worked with who spent half the year in Ghana or Brazil; if you get paid well enough for a job, you can live simply and simply not work. I’ve met travelling consultants who own a farm in North Dakota and this was how they paid the bills. For that matter, there are veterans who retire from the US military and live off half pay in Mexico. (As strange as it sounds, there are multiple American Legion posts in Mexico.)

Of course, that also redefines the concept of “hermit.” Can you still be a religious isolationist and still post a blog about your concepts of the infinite? I guess even priests have private lives. 🙂 But what do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 cuts into your moving budget, go ahead and download one of my stories for free!

If We Pay Them, They Will Come

30 Apr

The 2020 US Census came out and showed how the American population is moving–to Texas, Montana, Colorado, and Oregon–so how does places that are losing people get them back? Simple–pay them!

In the same breath as hearing about the census results, the radio show I listen to mentioned this cool website called Make My Move. This is not an ad for this site, but I’m fascinated by this idea, especially because most of the towns listed are… not small. How do you convince new people to move to a place no one wants to go to?

This has been tried before. A lot of small towns in deep rural areas are offering free lots to anyone who wants to build on them. Although people are surveyed every year on the best places to live, and people talk about moving to… wherever your heart lies, they don’t do it. Why? Because once you get there, you need to be able to live. There is often no jobs in your field. So I might want to move to Lincoln, Kansas, but unless my job is remote (which it has been for a while), good luck paying for the new house when you don’t have a job.

That’s why this new website is so fascinating. These are not small towns. Places like Morgantown, WV–that’s the home of West Virginia University, it’s on the commuter rail to Washington, DC, it’s a beautiful place… yet they are offering $20,000 for people to move there, half in cash, half towards a house down payment. Benton Harbor, Michigan–a beautiful place–offers $15,000. Augusta, Maine–the capital of the state–same amount.

I would love to move to a lot of the places on this list. Montpelier, Vermont offers $13,000. Sure, come for the beauty, stay for the socialism, so maybe that makes a little more sense. Tulsa, Oklahoma though? A sizeable chunk of cash for people who want to move there. The smaller towns make more sense–Newton, Iowa; Bemidji, Minnesota–small college town and regional centers. But even Baltimore, Maryland offers $5,000!

The main obstacle to a lot of these offers is… hearing about the offer in the first place. The couple times in my life when I chose to live in a location, I never bothered checking to see if there were incentives, or… even having a job in hand before I moved. I had this crazy idea that I could afford to live as a substitute teacher in Portland, Maine about twenty years ago. I lived there for three months, during the winter, and absolutely loved it. Of course, I couldn’t afford it, and what I learned was that most poor folk lived in Lewistown for a couple years (much cheaper, 45 min commute) and worked in Portland. Moving to Cincinnati worked, but we had a good nest egg, and it didn’t take long to get some temp work to get us on our feet. But if I hadn’t gotten my good job after a year, we would have gone back to Illinois.

So… I’m not sure if these incentives work, but it might get people thinking about moving in the first place. Then thoughts might become the mover of our actions. But what do you think? Is this a good idea whose time has come? Or is this the last gasp of a failing city? Let me know in the comments below! Then move out to a new world with one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your moving budget, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. It’s worth the trip.

Country Club Judaism

29 Apr

Yesterday, I was talking about what I call “transactional religion,” the pay-for-play deal that you make with your local priest so that you get your lifecycle event. If that’s important to you, then you’ll pay. Now let’s take it to the nth degree.

I mentioned that my wife’s home congregation wouldn’t let us have our wedding at the synagogue. At first blush, that sounds fine. I’m a member of a veteran’s organization that runs it’s own bar. If you’re not a member there, you can’t drink there. Perfectly understandable. However, you can rent out the meeting space, because they’re bringing in money.

In our case, our son should have been bar mitzvah’d last year, but a little disease came through… maybe you heard about it. Despite being members of our current congregation for six months, they refuse to let him have the ceremony unless our son goes through another year of Sunday school, do a project, and vow to be a member for the next three years. Just like everyone else.

Now in fairness, we understand this, because traditionally American Jews only show up for the High Holidays, bar mitzvahs, weddings, and funerals… the lifecycle events. So you want those people who come through to actually be willing to support the congregation and be good Jews. So there are tickets sold to attend the High Holidays, because people will actually buy them. They want to make sure the bar mitzvah has actually had the training before they get up in front of God and everyone.

But that’s not the case here. They didn’t take our attendance in consideration. They didn’t take the fact that he’s a year late in doing the ceremony due to COVID into play. They didn’t care that he’s been working with a cantor for TWICE the normal time. All they cared about was that “this is how we do things.” They didn’t trust us to attend after my son’s bar mitzvah, they wanted it in writing that we would. They didn’t think, “gee, they have a daughter who will need this same thing in three years.” Nope. Pay the money or leave us alone.

So… screw ’em. This is what is known (not just me) as Country Club Judaism–sign the membership fee and you get to play. We have never been rich; in our lives, we’ve hovered between paycheck to paycheck to comfortably middle class. We’ve gone down a little since I stopped travelling for consulting, but still not worrying how we’re going to pay the bills. We also live below our means. We can pay the money.

But at this point, it’s not the money–it’s that lack of trust. They don’t think enough of us to be flexible. They’ve been burned too many times to even give us consideration. Because all we are to them is faces on a Zoom meeting; we’re not real. And that’s the most damning thing of all. We’re not part of this congregation, and the truth is, unless we’re bringing in enough money, we never will.

That’s what hurts the most; they don’t want to know us. They want our numbers, they want our money, but they could care less what we want back from the congregation. And that’s an organization I don’t want to be part of. So we’ll find another spiritual home. I doubt we’ll find anywhere willing to let us perform the bar mitzvah, it’s less than three months now. But we’ve got plenty of time to prepare for Eliza’s bat mitzvah, but are we willing to go through their half-ass preparation? Go through the hoops for her somewhere else? I might… but I doubt my wife will.

We’ve been burned before, too, and unfortunately, we’re running out of options. Apart from simply doing the ceremony ourselves, I don’t think there’s anywhere we can go where we can get what we want. So we’ll probably attend somewhere… and then just never bother getting our daughter bat mitzvah’d in a shul. Or ever have a funeral or anything… just paying month-to-month to support things, but never voting, because this pay-for-play system is not what we believe. But what do you think? Are we too up our own butts? Are we absolutely right? Let me know in the comments below! Then, if you feel like this congregation is worth supporting, buy one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too expensive, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. We want you here, money or not… and if you read up to this point, I love you, reader. May we have many years together.

Transactional Religion

28 Apr

I believe in God. I’m also changing congregations for the second time in a year because my wife and I are not willing to pay the price their board has demanded. No negotiation, no understanding, just… this our policy. This is why believers stop going.

This is what we have decided to call “transactional religion.” I accept the fact that when you join a congregation, someone needs to pay for the building, someone needs to pay the priest, and all the little things that people don’t take on credit. That’s fine. However, that’s not what I’m talking about.

Congregations wants people to show up; after all, if two or three don’t appear in His name, why did I bother showing up? Services are free; you are donating your time and activity to better the congregation. (Now I’m using the generic term “congregation” to apply it to all American religions.) However, when you want something back from the congregation, they want you to pay.

Now most of the time, you can accept that transaction. You ask the priest to come out for a wedding or a funeral, they usually get a donation or an honorarium… which means money. You ask a group of Buddhist monks to come out and purify your house, you’re going to provide food, drink, and cigarettes. (The monks who came to our neighbor’s house smoked like chimneys.) You got to a temple, you leave a donation.

However, that’s an accepted transaction. It’s also based on the willingness and ability of the person to pay. If two poor people want to get married, but they can only offer $100 instead of $300 to the priest, the priest might show up anyway. But they won’t get married in a church, because they can’t afford the site fee. My wife and I wanted to get married in her “home” synagogue, the one she grew up in, before she left for Nebraska and India. So she hadn’t been members for a while. We were poor but we were willing to pay the site fee. But because we weren’t members, the board refused. So we got married in a park, the rabbi came to us, and we paid the honorarium.

That was 15 years ago. It’s not like there was a monster truck rally at the shul we were interrupting, or trying to bump off another wedding, or even interfering with a regular meeting. The shul was empty, they were open on a Thursday, but because we weren’t members… screw you. You don’t get to use our building.

I fear my kvetching is going to take longer than a single post, so I’ll finish this tomorrow, but have you run into this before? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then since we’re talking transactions, the post is free, but the reason is not, so buy one of my books. 🙂 However, I want you to be a member of this congregation, so if $1.99 is too pricey, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

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Joy Passion Desire

How to feel better

Looking to God

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

We may see things that we don't even imagine.

Decaf White

No sugar