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September 18, 2007

Bob's Thursday Rule

Ever been around somebody who says they love you, but every action they take, everything they actually *do,* fairly screams “I hate you!”? Well, I mean, I guess that’s what marriage is actually all about, but I’m talking about a church pastor. A guy who finds fault with everything I do, takes issue with every opinion I have, blocks every initiative I make, and generally goes out of his way—I mean, to great lengths—to make me look incompetent and stupid every chance he gets. Then says, “I love you, brother.”

This is where I’ve been.

After a year of trying with this guy, a year of prayer and soul-searching, I finally decided it was time to go. There was just no talking to him. He’s one of those guys where you sit down and say, umm, a sentence or two, and then he jumps in and talks for half an hour, his mouth going dry and eyes glazing over as he rambles through any number of rehearsed speeches, not realizing he hasn’t allowed you a word in edgewise in the past twenty minutes. Trying to talk to this pastor about anything was simply excruciating. He is, hands down, the most stubborn individual I’ve ever met. Every time I left his office, I felt like a moron. Hint: if you feel like a moron every time you leave your pastor’s office, you’re in the wrong church. The pastor’s job is not to make you feel like a moron.

After sharing my struggles with him for a year, after trying and trying and trying again to find some formula to make that marriage work, God finally released me from that ministry, and I left about six weeks ago. Since that time, this pastor has mounted an unprecedented, cheap smear campaign, accusing me of theft, of lying, of unprofessional and immoral behavior, and demanding that I return every dollar of the salary the church paid me over the previous 54 weeks. Which misses the point that the church didn’t pay me a salary. They gave the ministers a small housing allowance. Not nearly enough to actually provide housing, and it certainly wasn’t a salary, but I digress.

The crux of the issue is the church’s website, which I designed and built before I was installed as co-pastor there. The senior pastor now says the housing allowance was pay—apparently some kind of installment plan—for the website. Which is news to me, since none of this was ever discussed. Also, as the church’s musician, I played for the service and rehearsed the praise teams and other groups for 51 weeks, so I’m wondering how that figure breaks down or why he suddenly thinks web design was all I did around there. He maintains that any creative design work I did while I was “employed” there is their property by default. Which, again, was never, ever, not once discussed. It is a rule this guy made up about three weeks after I left. It’s Bob’s Thursday Rule.

Bob’s Thursday Rule goes something like this:

Thursdays, there shall be no green M&M’s in the dish!
Makes this rule up on Friday, blames you for not being clairvoyant.
Rescinds it on Saturday, chastises you for still following the Thursday Rule.
On Sunday, he creates Bob’s Friday Rule, makes it retroactive to the previous Tuesday, docks your pay for having broken it.

This is what I’ve had to deal with for the past year.

Continue reading "Bob's Thursday Rule" »



Ok, where do I start.

Once again I’ve vanished into the Ether and the spammers have apparently gone wild over here. Meanwhile, Hillary is pimping health care reform and OJ’s been arrested, so I don’t even know what year it is anymore. The list of things that truly annoy me seem to grow each day. My latest obsession: people who buy scratch-off lottery tickets, making you stand and wait at the 7-Eleven to buy your newspaper and Hershey bar while they fog up the counter glass going, “Umm, let me try a Pink Horsy and two Gold Bananas.” Memo to 7-Eleven: you’re a convenience store. CONVENIENCE. I should be able to get in and get out. That’s the only reason anyone pays $5 for a gallon of milk at places like that. 7-Eleven needs to install a No Idiots lane, so all the heavy breathers can take their time staring at the rolls of colorful scratch-off tickets, wondering which one to waste their money on.

I have to wonder if these folks are compulsive gamblers. I mean, how much fun can that be, really? And I’ve run into some doozies, mainly redneck white men buying a couple dozen of these things at a time, sweating over the selection process. And always, ALWAYS, when I’m in a hurry. So we’ll add People Who Sweat Over The Selection Of Scratch-Off Lottery Tickets While Keeping Other People Waiting In Line to my ever-burgeoning list of People Who Should Go To Hell.

Which is a long way of saying, sorry to be gone so long. Hope everybody’s okay.


September 26, 2007

Juiced In

O.J. is, in the most positive aspect, a deeply immature individual who’d rather play Batman than simply call the police and bring the cops instead of his gun-toting goofball pals with him. I mean, if there’s even a shred of truth to his story, that’s what I (and, I presume, most anyone reading this) would do.The likely truth is there’s something shady going on here, and Simpson, like so many of our pro athletes, simply believes he is well above the law.

I get really angry when I hear folks—usually white folks—call the Simpson murder jury stupid or accuse them of acquitting O.J. simply because he was black. That really irritates me (and, I presume, them). Given the judge’s instructions, that jury had no choice but to acquit Simpson. Convicting him just because they know, in their hearts, the man is guilty—now that would make them as ignorant as many white folk seem to think they are.

These were intelligent, informed, thoughtful people who made a painful decision under extreme duress. Given the rules of evidence and the instructions from the judge, given the prosecutor’s failure to offer alternative charges they might have convicted on, they had no choice but to admit that key evidence had been tampered with and the LAPD’s lead investigator had been caught flat-footed in a lie.

By law, they had to acquit Simpson. Which doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, it just meant that God spared his life. Spared it for better things than shockingly exploitative books, trying to cash in on a heinous crime. Spared it for more than golf games and autographing memorabilia, skating around the civil judgment and causing more suffering to the families of his alleged victims.

But, instead, O.J. kept on his path. Kept up his foolishness. And now, incredibly, he is charged with enough felony counts to keep him in prison the rest of his life. Charges hurled at him not on the merits of the case but on the notoriety of the defendant. This Vegas prosecutor wants him so bad he can taste it, wants him so bad he’s making deals with liars and, like Detective Mark Fuhrman, zealously prosecuting the case to the point of obsession. To me, this prosecutor is exactly what many if not most whites accuse the Simpson murder trial jury to be: biased. And, perhaps, a less intelligent and less dutiful all-white Las Vegas jury may likely ignore their conscience and the law and send this guy up, not for this nonsense about the footballs, but for what he should have been jailed for in the first place.



Today, this pastor hacked into my registrar account and changed the ownership info for my account to him--his name, his address, his email-- changed my registrar account password, and changed ownership info for the domains he's been demanding I give up to him (see post below).

A pastor. A "Christian."

Unbelieveable. I've changed everything back and the registrar is going after him now for fraud.


September 27, 2007

Breakfast In Jena

Last week, thousands of protestors (I’ll assume rallied by The Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Operation Push among others) descended on Jena to voice their opposition to the treatment of Mychal Bell and the five others. This kind of blatant discrimination is bread and butter for Jackson, The Reverend Al Sharpton and others, whose well of racial complaint appeared to have lately run dry. These men always seem to be within lurching distance of a podium whenever race-based issues assert themselves. I have mixed feelings about their line of work, legitimate concerns about men whose income, fame and prosperity is so linked to the misery of others, but I also realize this is work that needs to be done and which can only be done effectively by men and women of high enough profile to warrant the media’s attention. Thus, it’s a double-edged sword: we certainly need these reverends, even if the notion of their profiting from this tends to upset my digestion.

My larger concern is this, given all the black-white unity we saw in the marches, all of the cross-cultural investment in this case we witnessed: what happens after the march is over? I don’t mean with Michal Bell and the five others, but with the army of the righteous, now returning to their normal lives? How many of them will actually attend the same church on Sunday? With all of this hollering about racial divides and discrimination, we still continue to gloss over the point that Sunday remains the most segregated day of the week for Christians.

I have no way of knowing if any of that was addressed by Reverend Jackson and his allies, but I tend to doubt it was. A bunch of folks jumped on a bus and ran down to Jena to holler and shake their fists, then went home and split to their severely segregated churches and social clusters.

In many ways, we all live in Jena. Just, perhaps, a more polite version of it. Our impulse control is a bit better, and we give lip service to tolerance and equality. But, my goodness, we hate gay people. We look down our noses at broke people. And, Sunday morning, the vast majority of people in our churches tend to look like us.

I believe, if we really want to do something for Jena, we can start by ending the bigotry in our own hearts. We can start there. Because, until we start dealing with the underlying problem, all the bus trips in the world one make one bit of difference. It’s all just glossing over the real problem while these reverends get a check.


September 28, 2007


Maybe I’m misunderstanding something… Most everybody I know now is getting a “widescreen” monitor. And, they don’t want a 15-inch or even a 17-inch, both of which are in danger of becoming extinct. No, the minimum most people I know will accept is a 19-inch widescreen “flat screen” (what they mean is TFT) monitor. The main reason given: “So I can see,” these folks complaining of hard-to-see text on small monitors.

It all strikes me as absurd and stupid. I guess most people have no clue that monitors can be adjusted, and the text made whatever size they are comfortable with. The other argument, less used, is that they want “more space”, presumably to open more windows or programs and see them at the same time. When they tell me that, I tell them what they want is not a WIDE screen but a second monitor. Because, inevitably, these folks plunk down their money for this widescreen display, and open their Explorer window the full width of the screen, blocking out all open windows. These folks don’t know how to use a widescreen monitor effectively, and therefore render the extra pixels moot the second they plug the thing in.

As for the size thing: native monitor resolutions seem to run higher as the screens get bigger, the goal seems to be to make everything look abut the same size regardless of what size your screen is. Since 99.9% of the people I’ve met never even *consider* adjusting their monitors (they just pull them out o the box and plug them in), buying a “bigger” monitor is an utterly useless gesture, as the text on-screen will appear the same size regardless of the size of monitor they select.

I don’t own a widescreen monitor, but I suspect my next monitor will almost certainly have to be, as manufacturers are riding this wave of stupidity and the market is driven, as it always has been, by the masses—most of whom really are kind of dumb.

As I grow older, I’m slowly learning to make peace with the fact that almost no one actually listens to me. When I got a lady a hot deal on a Sony TFT closeout, she sniffed haughtily and instead bought a no-name widescreen. I own the Sony model I was recommending. It has outstanding clarity and focus. The monitor she bought instead cost $100 more and looks terrible. But she got her “widescreen.”

I’m just drowning in idiots.



About September 2007

This page contains all entries posted to According To Me in September 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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