Charlie's Blog: July 2023


Unpopular Opinions 3

Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible, and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.

Like an overdone movie franchise, here is the third installment of Unpopular Opinions. Hopefully, it will be better received than Jaws 3.

1. I read Lord of the Rings. I will not read it again. It is an overrated book.

I don't like the fantasy genre of fiction or films. LOTR is one of those things that is required reading for Catholics because Tolkien was a Catholic and put those themes in his book. LOTR is to literature what King Crimson is to rock and roll. It is something good overdone to the point of being bad. Nerds like this sort of stuff, but I am not a nerd. I endured reading LOTR just to say I did it and assure to myself that I could have gone my whole life not reading this thing with no ill effect.

2. Radiohead makes awful music.

Radiohead takes an awesome three minute pop song and turns it into a pretentious load of progressive rock garbage. All their songs are flashes of brilliance encrusted into noise and whiny lyrics. I have wanted to like this band, but I can't.

3. Caving/spelunking is a dangerous and stupid activity.

In November 2009, John Edward Jones went caving into the Nutty Putty Cave. He is still in there. The guy got trapped, and they could not remove him even after he died. That cave is now his tomb. The cause of death was being an idiot. Don't go caving. Caving is dangerous and stupid.

4. Meditation and mindfulness are garbage.

Meditation has been shown to be no more beneficial than taking a nap during the same time period. So, why does meditation have such buzz? As always, marketing! You need coaches and instructors to meditate properly. You just need a bed or couch to take a nap. Mike Lindell from MyPillow has done more for people than any meditation guru or smartphone app. Plus, meditation opens you to the demonic. Leave this crap to the New Age heretics.

5. Cryptocurrency is crap.

A bunch of people have made or are making a ton of money from trading cryptocurrency. Once upon a time, people did the same thing with tulip bulbs and beanie babies. These things had no intrinsic value. Yet, the mania whipped these things into bubbles that made some fabulously rich before making many others fabulously broke. Cryptocurrency is in that same category. As for paper money, most folks trade their bitcoins for dollars at some point. The same applies with gold. When you can buy a Big Mac with crypto or a gold coin, then you have something. As a long term store for wealth, gold beats crypto.

6. I hate the term "side hustle."

A side hustle is a second job which you take because your day job isn't paying enough for you and your family. Calling this second job a side hustle is just a spin job to make a negative sound like a positive.  Our nation has gone from one earner to two earners to two earners with side hustles. Meanwhile, the credit card debt goes up. The reality is that the middle class is over. You are the working class. Instead of calling it a side hustle, cut up those credit cards and live a simpler lifestyle.

7. I hate everything Robin Williams did in life including killing himself.

I never thought Robin Williams was funny. Improv comedy is the worst. It is the comedy equivalent of jazz which I also hate. Good comedy requires thought which means writing good jokes not spazzing out for five minutes. As for suicide, no one should do that. This includes bad comedians.

8. Running is bad for your knees, but no one will come out and say it.

"It's complicated," they say when asked. You can't get a straight answer, but you get advice on proper footwear, proper form, getting sleep, taking rest days, and blah blah blah. I'll give you my anecdotal evidence. When I ran, my knees hurt. I walk now. My knees don't hurt. They actually feel better. Give up running and go for a walk. Your aging knees will thank you.

9. I don't listen to or collect vinyl records because vinyl is a terrible format for music.

I buy CDs instead of vinyl. CDs are awesome. Vinyl records are not. I am old school because I don't listen to mp3 music on a smartphone or buy the music in that format. I also do not pay for streaming. I am very happy listening to CDs. Vinyl is just something that gets scratched too easily. I have never liked vinyl.

10. I hate athletic wear and athleisure wear.

When I go for walks or exercise, I wear work clothes. I sweat in those things already, so I don't see the point in having an entire other outfit of a T-shirt and shorts to sweat in. I am comfortable wearing work clothes. I don't feel comfortable in athletic wear. I also don't understand the athleisure trend where people dress all day long like they are headed to the gym or headed home from the gym.

This completes my trilogy of unpopular opinions. I can tell you now that I still have more opinions in the tank. Stay tuned for the fourth installment.



Sometimes losing a pet is more painful than losing a human because in the case of the pet, you were not pretending to love it.

I know people who have grieved more over the pets they have lost than over the people they have lost. I am not one of those people. I love animals. For some odd reason, not eating meat has made me love them even more. I have owned pets, but I do not own any now. This is because I can't afford pets.

I can't say that I am for or against pet ownership. It is not so much the pet as the person. I think a seeing eye dog is good for a blind person. I despise the idiot boomers who bring their "emotional support animals" to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I wish I was making that up, but I have gone to Mass and seen people in the pews with dogs in their laps. It just boggles the mind.

I know an old lady in very poor health and little money. Yet, she adopted a blind dog from the animal shelter she cannot afford to feed or look after. Her family was not happy with this decision knowing that the animal's care would inevitably fall on them. And, it has. Without a doubt, the dog is a joy to its owner, but I think it is an injustice to the family and to the dog itself.

I despise the breed of dog known as the pit bull. Pit bull owners are the scum of humanity. The idiot who put me in the hospital is a pit bull owner. These dogs were bred to fight other dogs and will kill each other in the kennel long before they are let loose in the pit. As for people, pit bull attacks are common. One woman in my state was mauled so badly that she lost both arms. I believe that all pit bulls should be euthanized out of existence. As for pit bull owners, they deserve to be mauled and devoured by the monsters they own.

Pet hoarders are also despicable. I have heard many stories of cat ladies living in the worst filth. When they go in to force a clean up, they almost always find cat carcasses in the filth. That is a level of nastiness that I cannot comprehend.

I think pets are luxuries. This hit me when the apartment complex told me that I could have a pet if I was willing to pay a sizable deposit and an extra $100 a month to keep the animal. I thought this was highway robbery until I heard the horror stories of tenants who let their animals poop and pee all over the place with no effort to clean it up. The reality is they don't charge enough. Naturally, I knew a nice old lady there who struggled to make ends meet. She owned a dog.

I just keep my mouth shut when it comes to other people's pets. I think the vast majority of pet ownership is stupid. If you can afford your pet and be responsible with it, I am fine with that. But that is becoming harder and harder these days for people trying to afford the increasing cost of living. Pets are luxuries that most people can't afford now. If you can't feed your kids, don't buy a dog or a cat. By the way, it is estimated that it costs $150 to $300 per month to feed and care for a dog. You can do the math from there for additional dogs and annual costs and lifetime costs.

I reserve a special disdain for horse owners. Unless you are a cowboy tending cattle, you don't need a horse. Horses are in the same category as boats and airplanes as far as I am concerned. You are better off renting than owning.

I understand the love for pets. Pets don't cheat on you or lie to you or try to murder you except for those pit bulls. They love you unconditionally as long as they get fed. They will never judge you or criticize you. In many ways, pets are better than people. But they are not a substitute for people. Excessive love for animals is a mental illness in my book.

Finally, I don't believe pets go to Heaven when they die. I think they just die. If all animals went to Heaven, it would be Hell. The sentiment that all dogs go to Heaven is just nonsense. It would behoove one to care more about their own final destiny than to worry about Fido getting to chase cats and cars for eternity in the afterlife. When I hear someone bring up the question, I have to stifle the urge to call them out on this idiocy.

What do I do in the absence of pets? I pet the neighbor's dog when he scoots under the fence. I watch birds. I chase the rabbits out of my garden. None of this costs me anything. And I have made a trip or two to the animal shelter to pet a cat when I feel the urge. But I am not adopting a pet. And if some fool gives me a pet on some idiotic impulse, I will get rid of that animal. I am at the point in life where pets bring more pain than joy.


Unpopular Opinions 2

If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

I am back with the second edition of unpopular opinions. These are fun to write because I don't think about them much. You probably won't think about them much either.

1. People who smoke dope are dopes.

I have never smoked dope in my life. I truly believe that it is the gateway drug. I think communities and states that legalize weed are asking for problems as seen in Colorado and Oregon. As for Amsterdam, they want to outlaw marijuana again.

I do not believe marijuana does anything positive for anyone except give you an appetite for Dorito's which might help someone on chemo. The overwhelming negative is that smoking weed on a regular basis makes you profoundly stupid. This is why those Cheech & Chong movies are so funny. Stoners are dummies.

2. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail isn't worth it.

Hiking the AT only gives respectability to being homeless and unemployed for 3 to 6 months. It's not fun. You could die. And when you get it done, you get to brag about walking really far. Other than that, you get more enjoyment from a day hike without having to give up your day job. Don't ask the people who have completed the AT. Ask the people who quit the AT. You will get more honest answers from the quitters about what to expect.

3. The Andy Griffith Show was and is the best.

I despise Seinfeld. I find people are either Seinfeld fans or Andy Griffith fans. Are Andy Griffith watchers a better class of people? Absolutely. If you hate the AGS, I know to put you on my Bad Person list.

As for the show itself, it was only good when Don Knotts was on the program. They continued to make episodes after Knotts left, but those shows aren't worth watching. Andy got the top billing, but Don Knotts was the real star of the show.

There are other shows like Happy Days and Gomer Pyle, USMC. I don't really like those shows, and I don't watch them. I'd rather watch Andy and the gang in Mayberry. That show was something special.

4. Automatic dishwashers are junk.

I don't use dishwashers despite having them everyplace that I have lived. They don't clean the dishes. They do clean the dishes if you wash them before loading them in the dishwasher. Why not wash the dishes and put them on the rack? Ultimately, the automatic dishwasher has yet to be invented.

5. Boxers are the best underwear.

Briefs aka "tighty whiteys" are the worst underwear. I don't know the advantage of those things. They look awful. Boxer briefs are just really tight boxers that wear out rapidly in the crotch. That leaves boxers which are the best underwear. They take longer to wear out, and they look better than briefs. Boxers are classic.

6. Buttons are awesome and need to come back. Touchscreens are terrible.

Cars have touchscreens now which means you will be totally distracted changing the station on your car radio because you have to look at the screen to operate the thing. The only advantage of these screens is that it saves money for the automakers who don't like buttons anymore. Buttons are safer, morons!

The touchscreen thing is why I hate smartphones and iPads. I never had a BlackBerry, but I think it was the best smartphone ever made because of the keyboard. The buttons are why I love my flip phone. As for tablets, they are not real computers. Their biggest accessory is an attachable keyboard with buttons. Just get a laptop.

7. A polo shirt is just a T-shirt with a collar.

I wear a T-shirt and a button down overshirt. This is my standard uniform. Sometimes, I take off the overshirt and go with the T-shirt if the situation calls for it like washing dishes. Otherwise, I like having a collared shirt because it makes you look more like a grown up.

If the T-shirt and the overshirt mated, they would give birth to the polo shirt. It promises the best of both worlds but leaves you with the worst. It's too relaxed to be respectable, but it is not as comfortable as a T-shirt. Since the polo is worn by itself, you always feel underdressed. You could pair the polo with a button up like Steve Bannon, but this opens you to ridicule and derision.

I got rid of my polo shirts years ago. I have not missed them.

8. I despise Apple, all of their products, and their cult.

I grew up with Apple in high school. Being a liberal arts major, I favored the Apple stuff in comparison to the Microsoft based PCs. But I couldn't afford Apple products. Some things never change.

A friend of mine who was into gaming steered me away from Apple in the 90s. My engineering brother also recommended I not invest in Apple products. I bought a Compaq laptop which was frustrating at the beginning for me, but I came to love it after I adjusted to Microsoft Windows and CTRL+ALT+DEL. Needless to say, the advice to eschew Apple was solid. I watched the company go from some hippy outsiders to a cult of idiots.

I use an HP desktop. My wife uses a Chromebook. We use flip phones. We don't own Macs, iPhones, or iPads. If I had to buy a smartphone, it would be an Android device.

My top reason for hating Apple is economic. They charge too much for their shiny products. They lock you into your ecosystem. They brick your stuff and force you to upgrade to newer and expensive products you don't need. And the Apple customer base thinks this screw job is awesome. What idiots!

9. The Beatles were overrated. Nirvana, too.

I have never been a Beatles fan. I like a few of their songs, but I like the Stones more. I'd rather listen to Pet Sounds from the Beach Boys than Sgt. Pepper. I don't understand the appeal of this band. I can think of ten groups from the sixties who were better.

I also don't understand Nirvana. I like none of their songs. NONE.  The rest of the grunge acts out of Seattle were actually very good. The Foo Fighters are a better band than Nirvana. Ultimately, Nirvana was a sick individual who appealed to other sick individuals. I wonder how many people were inspired to kill themselves after Kurt Cobain blew his brains out. Why did so many people find his music appealing? There's no accounting for taste.

10. Gen X is a better generation than the Baby Boomers or the Millennials.

I am a member of Generation X which may bias my opinion here, but I think I am totally right on this one. The problem with Baby Boomers is they had it too good courtesy of their Great Depression/WWII survivor parents. Millennials also had it too good because their Baby Boomer parents let them stay at home and do whatever. Gen X got kicked out of the house during a lousy economy. Ironically, that forced hardship turned Gen X into a better class of generation. Gen Xers have more in common with their grandparents than their parents.

Gen X is middle aged now. I think we are doing pretty good all things considered. But Gen X is not righteous. The tough times did not inspire faith and optimism so much as cynicism and nihilism. We are a self-reliant bunch, but that's because we know that no one else is coming to save us.

Boomers are out of touch. They don't live in the Gen X world. Millennials entered our world and are a bunch of whiners. Their first brush with reality was more than they could bear.

That's ten unpopular opinions. I stop at ten because it is a nice round number. I'll have more in Unpopular Opinions 3 in 3D. Bring your special glasses.


Know Your Place

A person can't help their birth.

I remember a time when I was between high school and college when I was snubbed. I had two friends at my church who were getting married. They asked me and another fellow to help out with setting up for the wedding. Basically, we were tasked with the dirty work of moving tables and furniture for the reception. We did this work gladly and thought no more of it. Then, someone asked if we were going to the rehearsal dinner.

"We weren't invited," I told the someone.

"What do you mean you weren't invited? You're setting up for them. You're friends with them. You're invited."

That someone was wrong. We were not invited. Being naive, we went to the rehearsal dinner. Each place had a name card, but neither of us had one of those cards. I remember the bride turning over one of the cards and seating me. She was embarrassed over the situation. She was not a snob, but her parents were. We were good enough to slave for the wedding but not good enough to attend that dinner. It was my first taste of learning my place.

Now, the Gentle Reader may think I was angry over the snub, but I am not. I had made a huge mistake. I did not know my place. My friend and I were nobodies. We weren't good enough to be in the company of those people. I should never have gone to that rehearsal dinner uninvited. That was my fault. But my other mistake was thinking that I was actually friends with those people and helping to set up for the event. Those people were not in my social class, and I was not in theirs. They thought they were doing me the favor of letting me be their slave. I should have done them the favor of declining the "opportunity."

The Gentle Reader may confuse me as some sort of egalitarian, but I am not. I am an elitist. I don't know if it is because I grew up in the South or read too much English literature, but I believe in the class system even if my place in that system is closer to the bottom than to the top. People with low status but ambition and aspirations resent the class system. I find the class system liberating.

American society is more egalitarian than English society with its class system. We don't have royalty on this side of the pond. But if you think we don't have a class system here in the States, you are mistaken. The way I see it, there are four basic classes here in the USA.

1. The Elite

At the top of the pile, we have the elite. These are powerful politicians, CEOs, celebrities, and on and on. Financially, these people are wealthy, and you have to be a millionaire or belong to a millionaire family to be in the elite. Being a billionaire is even better.

2. The Middle Class

Underneath the elite, you have the middle class. These are people who belong to respectable white collar professions like lawyer, doctor, dentist, and businessman. There are others lower down the scale like teachers and librarians who don't make much money, but they have the luxury of not getting their hands dirty with manual labor.

3. The Working Class

Underneath the middle class, you have the working class. This would be the plumber or the yard man to the doctor and the lawyer. They work low status jobs for whatever they pay these days. When quitting time comes, they go home and pop a top on a can of cheap beer and watch sports highlights on TV.

4. The Trash Class

This is the bottom of society. These are the homeless, the criminals, the meth addicted rednecks, the drug dealing ghetto thugs, and the like. These people rarely work and opt for crime or welfare to make it in life. Their class is not tied to some accident of birth but a lack of virtue and character. This is why people can feel comfortable looking down on these people. With a work ethic, they can belong to the working class at any time they choose. They choose not to do this.

Now, we have lots of social mobility in the USA. A thug hoodlum can go from trash class to elite with a basketball scholarship and going to the NBA after he drops out of college. But we all know that he is trash. Money does not give you class, and it cannot buy you class. You discover this when that NBA thug gets arrested for beating his girlfriend or gets caught smoking dope.

A similar thing happens when a person from the working class enters the world of the middle class. He thinks he has arrived, but he can't understand why the HOA gets upset when he parks his pickup truck in the street instead of the garage. He can't understand why the country club has turned down his membership application. Our working class man is not a bad guy. He just doesn't know his place.

I am a working class man. I know my place. This locked into my mind by my late twenties as I went up one rung on the social ladder, hated it, and went back down to where I truly belong. I do not belong in the white collar world. This realization ended up making me very happy.

The reason I love the class system is because it liberates you to be who you were meant to be. Ultimately, your class is not about wealth but attitude, values, and mindset. A plumber typically makes more than a school teacher, but the school teacher is firmly in the middle class. The plumber is working class even if he becomes a millionaire doing it.

Knowing your place in the class system allows you to be a plumber. It lets you be a diesel mechanic or a landscaper. You don't have to live up to any expectations except to be honest and hard working. It also lets you drive a 20 year old pickup truck, wear comfortable work clothes, and eat at the Waffle House. It also saves you time by not applying to the snooty country club because you know you don't belong there. You can't afford it anyway.

I don't have any problem with people who belong to a superior class. Sometimes, they invite me to things, but I always decline as I recall that rehearsal dinner incident. They never ask why I decline the invite, but I am always ready to tell them that blue collar people like me shouldn't mingle with white collar people like them. I know this will provoke some pain in them because they like to believe in that egalitarian myth we have going here in the USA. But it is a myth.

In my town, we have the snooty country club and the blue collar golf course. I don't know why any working class person would play golf. Bowling is the game for them. Yet, despite sharing a love for the same game, these two classes of people choose separate places to play that game. Similarly, we have two different types of neighborhoods. One type is the white collar neighborhood with a tyrannical HOA, and the other is the blue collar neighborhood with pickup trucks parked in the driveway. These people choose to live where they live. They do not mingle.

We are not equal. Some people may rise to a higher station, but that system remains regardless of the social mobility. Likewise, if your change in status doesn't come with a change in attitude and values, you are not going to belong in your new social class. You will be a misfit hated by your peers. I have seen this happen, and it is tragic.

I do not belong in the NBA. This is because I am 5'7". Consequently, I never think about it. This is how I think about class. I was born working class, and I became what I was born to be. These things only trouble you when you think this arrangement is unfair, and you have been deprived of something that belongs to you. I know they don't belong to me.

Most people aspire to rise to a station that is higher than the one given them at birth. This explains why so many kids still pile into universities while accumulating sizable debts to train for jobs that are either non-existent or not worth the student loan debt. This problem doesn't exist at trade schools that offer cheap education for guaranteed jobs with great pay. People go to college for status not education or training. These people would be better served if they knew their place.

Knowing your place is just another way of saying be humble. I like using the phrase because it stings the pride. People will find life more agreeable if they simply knew their place and accepted their place. From the mouth of a snob, this would sound repugnant. But I am a nobody, and I have found it to be true. I like being working class. From my mouth, it is truth. Know your place and accept it.

Some people think they can find satisfaction in good food, fine clothes, lively music, and sexual pleasure. However, when they have all these things, they are not satisfied. They realize happiness is not simply having their material needs met. Thus, society has set up a system of rewards that go beyond material goods. These include titles, social recognition, status, and political power, all wrapped up in a package called self-fulfillment. Attracted by these prizes and goaded on by social pressure, people spend their short lives tiring body and mind to chase after these goals. Perhaps this gives them the feeling that they have achieved something in their lives, but in reality they have sacrificed a lot in life. They can no longer see, hear, act, feel, or think from their hearts. Everything they do is dictated by whether it can get them social gains. In the end, they've spent their lives following other people's demands and never lived a life of their own. How different is this from the life of a slave or a prisoner?


What Is It To Thee?

Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? follow thou me.

This verse has fascinated me for years. Most readers will focus on Peter and John and their respective fates. For me, the fascinating part is when Jesus responds to Peter's question with a question. What is it to thee?

I am no theologian or learned scholar. I am just a blue collar guy reading a Bible. I could be totally wrong on this interpretation. But I think Jesus was telling Peter to mind his own business. By extension, I think our Lord is telling us to mind our own business.

I am someone who has always been in the business of minding his own business. I don't care to stick my nose in the affairs of other people. The only exception I make to this rule is when it is my business. If my priest is a pervert, I want to know because I have a right to know. For too long, pewsitters looked the other way as priests and bishops have done disgraceful things. I believe you forfeit the right to this level of privacy when you become a shepherd.

When it comes to politicians and political leaders, I think the same rule applies. I think you forfeit your right to privacy when you elect to run for public office. This is why I will never run for public office. I don't want my personal life to be offered up for public consumption.

When it comes to celebrities, I have zero interest in their personal affairs. Their lives are fodder for the likes of TMZ and the National Enquirer, but I don't read that stuff. I am not immune from hearing about it because gossip is everywhere. I don't think someone should lose their privacy because they choose a career in acting, music, or sports.

Calumny and detraction are sins, so I am careful to not engage in them. When I do write about others, I give them a nickname as a loincloth to the reputation they have earned. For instance, we have President Bribery and Bishop Nighty Night. My mistake. That is Cardinal Nighty Night. He has a red hat now. He may become Pope Nighty Night.

Jesus referred to the Pharisees as vipers and snakes. I tell people this when they trot out that claptrap when they say I am being uncharitable with my insulting nicknames. I don't recall Jesus ever referring to any of the vipers by name in the Gospels. As for nicknames, "Sons of Thunder" has to qualify.

I think I am doing well on the gossip thing because so many people over the years have felt compelled to confess so many personal things to me. This would include things like adultery and abortion. I have had to warn people to not tell me about criminal things because I have a duty to report this to the police. I am not a priest. I just tell people that they should go to a priest, and I will pray for them. But their secrets do not go beyond me. Actually, I would prefer not to know any of this. I don't ask, but people love to tell.

When it comes to professional Catholics who make a living off of YouTube, blogging, and social media, I address their public statements but leave their private lives out of the discussion. For instance, I have pointed out that Rod Dreher is a schismatic, but I don't talk about his marital affairs even though Mr. Dreher has done so publicly. Likewise, I have discussed the apostasy of high profile Catholics like Steve Skojec and Audrey Assad. I have not discussed their private lives. With Mr. Skojec, I am actually privy to some of those details, but they dead end with me. What I can say is that you should decide between your faith or your living because you can't have both.

When it comes to pewsitters, I mind my own business. Unfortunately, this is a one way street as so many pewsitters have a tendency to be unable to mind their own business. One person I know has become so upset with this that she has stopped attending Mass altogether to get away from these busybodies. That is the wrong strategy. The right strategy is to tell these people to buzz off and mind their own business.

Everyone has their own relationship with the Lord. The Lord deals with each of us on an individual basis. What happens in that relationship is none of my business. I can dress up being a busybody as charity the way some folks dress up gossip as the prayer chain. But I don't need to know anything to pray for someone. God knows everything, and He is the only one that needs to know.

My wife and I have a little phrase that we tell each other all the time. Eat what is on your plate. Basically, we focus on what we need to do for our sanctification and salvation and leave it to others to focus on what they need to do. It can be difficult watching people make a mess of their lives without saying anything, but we say nothing. We focus like a laser on being a good example which speaks louder than words. The easiest way to not be a hypocrite is to close your mouth.

We always stand ready to help people who ask. No one ever asks. The irony is that people we know appreciate this about us. As one friend told us, "Never change." We are still puzzled by this, but I think she appreciates that we are the friends who don't preach to her. We need you to pray for her. You don't need to know anything more than that. Thank you.