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Right to Work… for Less

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

Here in good ole Missou-rah, a debate has been hitting the chambers of the state congress – the fight over “Right to Work”.

RW1Now, if you live with someone that works in construction, you know what Right-to-Work is; if you don’t have a tradesman frequenting your abode, then chances are you view that “Right” to “Work” phrase as something you should get behind.

This is MY take on the so-called “Right to Work” and the toll it could take on our economy here in the Show-Me State.

First thing we need to remember is that in any type of market, be it the auto market, housing market and yes even the job market, the value of something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Remember that truth as you go through this. THE VALUE OF SOMETHING IS WHAT SOMEONE IS WILLING TO PAY FOR IT!

Okay, so a little background on what “Right to Work” is; Unlike the sound of it, it DOES NOT give anyone a right they didn’t previously have. There were no people that wanted to hang drywall or twist wire nuts and were told “No sir, you don’t have a constitutional right to WORK”. Nobody got shooed away because of color, religion, sex, etc., that necessitated this legislation.

“Right to Work” is to bust unions – plain and simple.

Anything that anyone spouts off in a speech or a column that says otherwise is the equivalent of a modern day snake-oil salesman. And just like those shysters of the past, these proponents of “Right to Work” are trying to sell you something that WILL NOT help you in any way, shape or form, and will leave you with less money than you started with.

So what exactly is “Right to Work”?

“Right to Work” makes it ILLEGAL for a company to hire exclusively union employees.  No more “closed” shops. Now, there’s nothing saying that a company right now, HAS to be union. No law what-so-ever. There’s no law that says if you wish to be non-union, that you can’t have a job.

So the question becomes, “Why?” Why have this legislation? What’s the motivation?

The reason is, to weaken the leverage of collective bargaining. Unions set the scale in the trades. They hire representatives to negotiate with business owners issues of pay, insurance benefits, vacations… you get the point.

Now of course, business owners want to spend as little as possible in an attempt to put more green in their pocket. Honestly, you can’t blame them for that. That’s business. That greed is the basis of capitalism.

RW2So, why do they agree to pay what they pay? Because ….. the value of something is what someone is willing to pay for it.

The union representatives are there to ensure that that value is reached.

Do they try to get more than what their guys are worth? Of course they do! Would they really being doing their job if they didn’t?

So business owners come to the table trying to low-ball, union reps try to high-ball, and through BARGAINING they meet in the middle. Voila! The scale is set. All business owners and workers in that particular field of occupation know what the going rates are.

If the business owner doesn’t want to pay that, he opens a non-union shop and hires people who ARE WILLING to work for less. They agree to it. No one forces them. Even if they only agree to it because they need the work, both the worker and the owner know that if the option to make more money or better benefits or whatever comes along, they’re probably going to take it.

So I ask again, “Why have this legislation?

If “Right to Work” passes, business owners can hire people… workers to come into union shops that aren’t IN the union.

Why – so that that person (who is NOT covered under collective bargaining) can negotiate their OWN terms. You think the business owner is going to accept ANY terms that are above what he is already paying? Why would they? The only terms they’re going to accept are terms UNDER scale.

When this happens, they can bring more and more people in for less and less. So much so that when the union rep’s go to the bargaining table, the owners KNOW that they don’t have to concede ANYTHING! If the union strikes, so be it. They have workers that can’t strike.

Now, the biggest argument I hear for the pro- RTW’s is that it will lower the cost of goods. Cars, houses, factory made gizmos….they’ll all be cheaper.

But why should the cost go down?

Customers have proven that they are willing to pay the already set price. Remember, the value of something is what someone is willing to pay for it. So, just because it costs that business owner less to provide whatever product, it DOES NOT mean they are going to charge less for it. It means they will put more coin in their bank.

Simply put.

RW3Now, will “Right to Work” create more jobs? Sure it will. Where one worker was, that made say…$30/hr., that business owner can now have two guys at $15/hr. Twice the labor for the same price.

What a deal… for the OWNER – but what about the worker?

The guy who used to be able to support his family with his skill now can’t afford to. Not only does he make less, the cost of things HASN’T gone down and due to other factors that cause inflation, as the prices go up, there’s less chance he’ll be able to get a raise to help pay for it.

This causes a state of poverty, when a person can’t afford to provide adequately for their family. It’s no wonder that of the ten states with the highest level of poverty, EIGHT of them are “Right-to-Work”.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Sure, more people are working. But chances are they are also working a second job because their main one doesn’t pay enough. They are made to work longer hours, because owners are willing to pay time and a half. It’s still cheaper than what is was before. These workers who bust their butts on a daily basis, trying to do nothing more than support their family, will have no choice but to succumb to whatever scale the owners decide.

Workers wanting to start their own company will be too indentured to open the doors of their own company. It might seem like I’m writing in outlandish “could be’s”, but look at Florida compared to Missouri.

Florida is a “Right to Work” state. The cost of living is higher in Florida and the average tradesman makes nearly HALF of what they do in Missouri. The cost is HIGHER, because…. people are willing to pay that price.

It’s not lower because it costs business owners less.

It doesn’t just apply to tradesmen though. It’s ANY field that has unions. Teachers and cops, butchers, car makers….all of them. Blue collar workers. Average people. People who want to simply live modestly.

“Right to Work” is NOT about helping Average Joe Citizen. It is nothing more than an attempt by Big Business owners for a chance to put more money in their own pockets by crippling the very people that work for them.

It doesn’t grant ANY rights. It’s a scam.

RW4I urge everyone to end “Right to Work” laws. Call your representatives. Tell them to vote “NO”. Protect our carpenters and electricians. Business owners as a whole have a history of treating their employees like third rate citizens. It’s the EXACT reason unions were formed in the first place – to keep business owners from taking advantage of employees.

“Right to Work” IS that dangerous. Your silence tells corporate big wigs it’s okay. It lets them know that you are willing to “pay” that price.

Is that really what you think our middle class is worth? Nothing?

Vote down “Right to Work”. Tell them loudly that that sort of legislation is wrong. If you don’t, well…..the value of anything is worth what you’re willing to pay for it.

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

Our Mission Remains

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

As I sat with my family this past holiday season, my kids began asking questions of my days in the Navy. What was it like? What kind of ship was I on? What was its name?

MR1I answered each question, reliving the moments spent away from them with my other family – a crew of not just fellow shipmates… but of brothers. A crew of men whose personalities were all completely different – with one exception: EACH man had the spirit of our great ship’s namesake – Henry Talmage Elrod.

Henry Talmage Elrod was born in Georgia in 1905. After high school he received degrees from the University of Georgia and Yale. He then entered the Marine Corps and became a pilot.  On December 8th, 1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese aircraft attacked Wake Island (Wake Island sits on the other side of the International Date Line. It was Dec. 7th in Hawaii).

Captain Elrod’s VMF-211 Fighter Squadron lost most of their 12-fighter planes due to bombing before being able to take off. “Hammering Hank” – as he was later nicknamed – was able to take off and, upon being airborne, SINGLE-HANDEDLY attacked a group of 22-hostile planes.

Odds be damned in Elrod’s eyes.

He shot down 2-enemy planes and then flew a series of low-lying strafing runs on Japan’s Imperial Navy. During one such bombing run, he sank the Kisaragi (A Destroyer Class), becoming the first major warship sank by a small fighter type of aircraft.

His aircraft was eventually disabled by hostile fire and upon Elrod’s return to shore he took command and reorganized remaining ground troops to defend the beach. For two weeks of intense fighting and being overwhelmingly outnumbered, Elrod and his fellow soldiers kept the Japanese at bay. On December 23rd, 1941, while protecting his soldiers delivering ammunition supplies, Hammering Hank was mortally wounded.

His bravery and tenacity led him to receiving the rank of Major and being awarded the highest military honor, the Medal of Honor.

The story of Elrod is gallant. It is the type of story that movies are made. While his bravery and unrelenting aggressiveness in the face of superior numbers is impressive, it was just his flesh. His true heroism and spirit was passed on to FFG-55.

MR2Named for Henry T Elrod, the USS Elrod (FFG-55) was commissioned in 1985. By the time I was assigned to serve on the Elrod in 1997, the ship already had a solid reputation. Known as “the little frigate that could”, this small warship was known by the fleet not to be treated like any other frigate during “war game” operations.

Although our technology, maneuverability and armament was vastly inferior to the Destroyers and Cruisers we were being matched up against, during these operations we held a winning record.

We were supposed to be a target for the Navy’s “true” warships. We were supposed to be used as training for the “big boys”.

But these ships forgot one important fact…

The crew onboard had the spirit of Major Henry T. Elrod coursing through its veins. There was no fight we couldn’t win. There were no obstacles we couldn’t overcome.

From the commanding officer to lowest ranking “paint scraper”, it was understood that the word “can’t” is NEVER an acceptable answer. If gear would break, you fixed it. Sometimes that meant, due to the scarcity of parts, you might have to “engineer” your own part.

You found a way.

Your clothes might not be the sparkliest and hell, could still be damp coming back from laundry …suck it up buttercup, there’s work to do.

I learned this within minutes of landing onboard. When the helicopter landed on the flight deck I grabbed my stuff and was ushered inside. A man cast a shadow over me and without my asking grabbed my nearly 80-lb sea bag and threw it on his shoulder like it was filled with cotton.

I’ve got this. I’m taking you to the chief; we’re having a problem with the SPS-55 (surface radar) that needs to be fixed. My name is Petty Officer Lenda. Let’s go.”

The sheer size of this man told my brain that maybe I shouldn’t question him, but as I tend to do to this day, I spoke anyway. “Am I going to be able to get my things in order and settle in before going to see the chief?

His response summed up the crew of the USS Elrod, “Do you think Hank worried about where his clothes ended up when there was work to do?

MR3In my mind I was thinking, “Hank? Who in the world is Hank, and why would I care about HIS clothes”, but I had poked the bear once and was smart enough not to do it again.

As my time spent onboard lengthened, so did my respect for fellow frigate sailors. There are life lessons to be learned here. Work hard, train hard, educate yourself, don’t turn away someone in need of help, FIND A WAY – they make great clichés for Facebook posters, but onboard the Hammerin’ Hank, they were the only option.

Seldom did a day go by that a member of one division not seek the help of another’s and it was NEVER not given. It wasn’t just all business all the time though.

Some of the best times were spent hanging out on the fan tail smoking cigarettes and pondering all of life’s mysteries. Listening to stories from the older salts.

GM1 always had a personal log of some of the oddest entries. Like how many times he ate peanut butter and jelly for breakfast because he refused to eat powdered eggs.

Conversations with ET2(SW) Warchol about our ex-girlfriends and their beautiful scandalous acts.

Watching GM3 McEntee (Mac) stand a knife in a freshly poured Guinness before taking a huge, well deserved drink.

Conversations and moments that weren’t just guys talking and hanging out… but strangers becoming brothers. The men of that ship and that time have had more influence on the person I am today than any others at any point in my life.

I don’t keep much contact with those guys these days but if any man, from plank owner to today’s crew were to ever show up on my doorstep, I would without question take them in, give them a soft bed and some warm food.

MR4I’ll always be thankful for my time on board the USS Elrod and its crew will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart.

On January 30th, 2015 the great USS Elrod will be decommissioned. Having spent 30-years serving the finest Navy the world has ever seen, the Hammerin’ Hank’s final mission will end. The Oliver Perry Class frigates are outdated and room must be made for the new style of frigate, the LCS (Littoral Combat Ship).

All things eventually grow old. Systems must be overhauled and replaced with newer designs and better equipment. The only constant is spirit.

Although the USS Elrod is being decommissioned, the men that manned the rails of the Little Frigate That Could are still alive and well. Either as civilians now or still serving, their attitudes and mindsets have been forever changed for the better.

They will take the tenacity and ability to adapt and overcome with them on every endeavor they may face. Hank’s courage will NEVER be sidled, nor will the honorable men who served his namesake.

My sincerest hope is that the powers that be will grace future Navy men the chance to continue Elrod’s legacy and name one of the new LCS’s for Henry Talmage Elrod. It’s more than just a name. It’s a standard that must be upheld. It’s a way of combining new technology with old-school grit.

MR5It would send a message to the entire Navy that “can’t” will never be tolerated. It will honor a man that died defying the odds, the men who took up his charge and the men of the future, lucky enough to embroider the command name on the shoulder of their uniforms. It will ensure that the spirit of Henry Talmage Elrod will live on.

If the Navy chooses not to name another ship after ole Hank, then it is up to the crew members of the USS Elrod to keep Henry’s story of heroism going. From the commissioning crew to the decommissioning crew. Tell your children his story. Tell the young men and women out there YOUR story. Keep that fight going. Never surrender it.

The mission is not over boys. The mission remains.

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

Oh Christmas Tree… You Glorious Ugly Bastard!

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

*This column is dedicated to all the mothers out there who orchestrate the chaotic Christmas season, and specifically to my mom and girlfriend. I love you both and truly appreciate your efforts. Thank you Mom for making my childhood Christmases so wonderful and thank you Mindy for doing the same for our children*

This time of year you can walk into just about any house in North America and you’re bound to land eyes smack-dab on a Christmas tree. From a huge spruce to a Charlie Brown tree, households place them on full display.

CT1Some folks like to go with intricately outfitted trees. Every branch, ornament, light, garland strand…..everything is perfectly where it needs to be. The colors match the existing living room décor. The tree’s location is placed so that the aesthetics are at maximum viewing potential.

To some, these trees are beautiful. They could be transported to the finest hotel lobby and not a beat would be missed. I call these “designer trees”, and while the price tag on them would disagree with me, they are – in my mind – worthless.

To me, their beauty is next to nothing; but then again – I view Christmas trees differently.

When I was a kid, I knew without a shadow of a doubt my mother would spend hours combing through every tree at every lot throughout the greater St Louis area to find the “perfect tree”.

That one is a little sparse at the bottom…..that one isn’t green enough….Excuse me sir, is this a ‘Blue Pine Spruce or a Marigold Fir’ ….You want HOW MUCH for that?!

Inevitably, she’d end up with the first one she’d seen or at least that’s what it seemed like to me as I caught frostbite. Finally we’d end up at home; the tree placed in its stand and the daunting task of stringing the lights was upon mom.

This was epic!

Us kids would sit on the couch and watch as she’d cuss her way through her chore. As she was losing her mind trying to find the ONE light causing the rest of the strand to not light up and arguing with others as the actual need for blinkers AND lights that stay solidly lit, me and the other kids would giggle our little asses off watching her turn five shades of purple.

This lead to our tree every year having spectacular lighting from the bottom to about the middle of the tree and more of a …. “fuck it” approach on top.

Then came the hanging of the ornaments…

There were some ornaments that anyone could hang on the tree and some that were firmly specific as to who could have the honors. Our ornaments rarely matched, mostly because whenever mom would buy a new set and place them on the tree, the set quickly lost members as our cat – seconds after mom threatened to take its life – would climb the tree and launch ornament after ornament from its branches.

CT2This led to mom’s battle cry “YOU LITTLE SONUVA BITCH!!!!” It was on. Mom barreled towards the tree and the cat – feeling the impending danger – would haul ALL ass, leaving glitter adorned glass shards in its wake. Only the truly strong ornaments made it to their sophomore Christmas year.

Now as mom unpacked the ornaments from the previous year, she’d sometimes pause. A small joyful tear would crest in her eye and she’d smile.

As I looked on, I would watch as she would pull from the box an ornament I had made years ago at school. It had a picture of me in it, wearing some God-awful shirt. I had placed the ribbon around it myself, so it wasn’t anywhere close to being even and you could see the spot where I had used too much glue, which had now crystalized into a dingy yellow glob.

Then she’d pull the teddy bear ornament I tried to make out of cookie dough the one year. He had long lost one ear to the cat’s antics. His face was barely legible when it was created and now resembled a Jackson Pollock piece.

His left bottom paw was also missing because one year I got curious as to what raw cookie dough tasted like…..three years after it had hardened. I never said I was the smartest kid.

This ornament to this day sends my mother into an internal struggle to hold back an onslaught of tears.

As a kid I never understood this, but as a father I get it. In fact, if you have kids, there’s no need for me to describe it further…you just know.

After sufficient time had been spent strolling down memory lane and all the ornaments had been hung, we’d debate on whether or not the tree needed tinsel. Some years got it; other years didn’t. There was never any rhyme or reason to it and could have just as easily been decided with a coin toss, but really, where’s the fun in that?

At long last, the tree was complete. We’d turn all the living room lights off and as a family, gaze in wonderment of the glow from of our tree. We were proud of our tree…always.

CT3It wasn’t going to win any awards on any home fashion show but that never mattered. Unmatched ornaments both of the store-bought and homemade variety randomly placed, uncooperative lights flashing in no apparent pattern and sparse branches that had been mauled by our family pets all led to one ugly ass tree.

This tradition holds true to this day. In fact, as I write this, regaling in my own childhood holidays, it is done so with the barbaric empty threats made by my girlfriend to our family pet for messing with our own tree.

Some things will never change.

Our tree has ornaments on it that make no godly sense as a collection to the outside world. Old mixed with new. A teddy bear sits beneath our tree with the year “2014” embroidered on the foot – a gift for our newest family member.

Our tree is indeed ugly, but it is ours. It contains both a mental scrapbook of the past and a wonderful hopeful future.

Go ahead and keep your designer trees, for me…I’ll take the ugly trees….The Glorious Ugly Tree.

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

Soul-Mates?….Not so Much

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

How do you know if the one your with is your soul-mate?

You find them attractive both inside and out. You’re best friends and rarely fight, and even when you do, it’s over silly shit that you know will pass because – over the course of time – ANY two people are bound to have an argument or two.

SM1But are they your soul-mate?

Well folks, let me give you the answer. …No. They are not your soul-mate, and the reason is….soul-mates DO NOT EXIST! It’s a made up phrase – made to make people feel all mushy and gushy inside. There’s no mystical force that makes you love another person, and – honestly speaking – would you really want there to be?

When people say that their significant other is a soul-mate, what they are really saying is that they have absolutely zero control over who they want to be with. If that person treats them like shit, cheats on them, abuses them mentally or even physically….they HAVE to stay with that person because some cosmic blue print out there will not allow otherwise.

When you got together with your “soul-mate”, it wasn’t because you did anything to make yourself attractive. Your ability to relate with the other person, mutual interests, humor, political and religious viewpoints, the way you dress, the way you handle yourself in public and private…y’know, everything you control that makes up who you are as a person …it means nothing.

Their soul is tied to yours regardless of how you treat them or how they treat you. If you believe in “soul-mates” that is…

Wouldn’t it be better if the reason you’re with the person is BECAUSE of the choices you make. You want to see them happy, so you do things for them. Not because some mysterious aura surrounds the two of you.

You care about their opinions as much as your own and as such you talk to them with respect. You want to see their face light up when they smile, so you joke with them, serenade them and pull them close when you dance.

The point is, YOU see to it that the mutual love between you stays strong, not some bullshit unknown force. You are the master of your own fate, and friends if you don’t fully embrace that fact, then you are going to be let down.

Relationships take work. If one person puts in all the work and the other puts in nothing, that relationship WILL eventually collapse.

People don’t break up because everything was good.

Show me a person that broke up with someone for the solitary purpose that they didn’t think the person they were with was their “soul-mate” and I’ll show you someone who is either trying not to hurt someone’s feelings or doesn’t want to admit just how shallow they are themselves.

Truth is, there’s a great many of us out there who are shallow.  Ever heard someone say “Yeah, he’s/she’s great. He’s/she’s got a really good job.  He/she treats me like a queen/king, he’s/she’s good-looking, loves kids/dogs/cats etc. , he/she challenges me emotionally and intellectually…..but there’s just something missing.”?

Yeah, you know what’s missing? Probably a decent sized cock or a nice firm rack. We are THAT shallow as people.

But you can’t say that and appear to be a good person, so we make up some horseshit not my “soul-mate” story. And as a listening public we’ll accept that too.

Look folks, it’s okay to take pride in your feelings for your “boo”. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that the reason you love someone is because even though they’re not as bright as you’d like them to be, they give great head.

SM2And having a significant other that knows their way around your jiblits is important to your simple ass.

Or if you’re with someone because financially it benefits you, then if that’s your thing, more power to ya.

But don’t give me this “soul-mate” crap. Call it what it truly is, which if you’re lucky, is two people that find each other attractive both emotionally and physically and as such are willing to be loyal to that person and take that each other’s happiness personal and ACTIVELY work on having a healthy relationship.

Something you can take real pride in….not something you had no control over anyway.

Stop with the “soul-mate” shit!

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

Riddle Me This…

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

There are a couple of things in this world that I truly love. One of them is music. Another one is the words that many artists throughout the years have put to that music. Still another – is the writers at this website.

RM1And lastly (as far as this article is concerned) is riddles.

They all have one thing in common. They stimulate my brain, my heart and if the beat is funky enough…my feet. So as we get closer to our KMFParty this Friday night, I thought I’d combine all my loves into a goofy ass riddle to send my fellow writers and especially the man who made it possible, a message.

See if you can figure it out, and if so leave a comment below with your guess. I hope everyone who reads the words of this website has a great Thanksgiving and good luck on the riddle!

 

  1. Someone told me long ago, there’s a “KMFP” before the storm. I know, it’s been coming for some time.
  2. All the roads we have to walk are winding and all the lights that lead us there are “Barbara Anne”
  3. Where you going, what you looking for? You know “KMFP” don’t wanna play no more with you. It’s true.
  4. Go on now go. Walk out the door. Just turn around now, ‘cause you’re not “Liberated” anymore.
  5. More than anything, my wish for you, is that this “KMFP” becomes all that you want it to.
  6. Throw your soul through every open door. Count your “Heili” to find what you look for.
  7. Everyone’s got to face down their demons. Maybe today, you could put “KMFP” away.
  8. “Mikey B” is a runaway train you can’t wait to jump on.

 

  1. I’ve listened to preachers. I’ve listened to fools. I’ve watched “Mommy Moments”, who make her own rules.
  2. With the lights out, Jen’s less dangerous. Here we are now, entertain us.

 

  1. From my heart and from my hand, why don’t people understand “KMFP”
  2. I can see it in your walk. Tell ‘em when you talk. See it in everything you do. Even in your thoughts You got the right stuff, KMFP
  3. RM2“TJ Aguilera”, why don’t you come to your senses, come down from your fences…and open the gate

 

  1. Be yourself. Give KMFP a chance. You’ve got to want to be free
  2. Will the real Life of Brian please stand up. I repeat, will the real Life of Brian please stand up. We’re gonna have a problem here.
  3. You are the “KMFP”. Young and sweet, only seventeen. “KMFP”. Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah!
  4. I wish I was special. So fucking special. But I’m Mike B. I’m a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here?

 

 

Okay folks, that’s the riddle. Leave your answer/guess in the comments section. I’ll leave hints daily for those who are actually as goofy as I am and will take on this challenge.

Or, just come to the KMFParty this Friday and ask me…I’ll tell ya.

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

Rearview Mirrors

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

I consider myself to be overall, a lucky man. Where others have had demons such as drug abuse, I’ve been able to sidestep these landmines. That’s not to say I haven’t had my share of troubles, in fact I’ve navigated my way through some valleys that might have ultimately consumed others.

RM1So why, then consider myself lucky?

Because of those struggles, I have been taught a life lesson that seems to be amiss from a growing population. The lesson is this, where a person is now in their life, is NOT the complete definition of who they are.

This last week, I witnessed a couple conversations that I found more than a little disturbing. While at an old friend’s house, I met a new friend/acquaintance of his. As we were being introduced my friend was explaining where this new friend lived.

He lives DOWN the street from blah, blah ,blah….I made the mistake from saying ACROSS the street once”.

With that, the new face decided to explain the need to be clear, “Yeah, I don’t live in those damn Section 8, ghetto ass apartments!”  Mild laughter ensued from two of the three standing there. I alone abstained.

Why? Because why do I care where this guy lives? Since when did someone’s address dictate their character?

To be honest, had I not lived in the very Section 8 apartments merely 4-years ago and had NOT been taught my lesson, I might have joined in the derogatory thought. But I had been there. I had been taught.

My first thought wasn’t “This guy has his shit together”, it was more to the effect of “Is THIS how I was viewed when I lived there? …Was I a joke?” and more to the point… “Do I want to be that guy who looks down his nose at someone based on where they collect their mail?

No one actively seeks out that behavior, and I’m no different. I think the problem comes when we get too far removed from certain plights in life. When I met my friend decades ago, he himself lived in a complex that wasn’t considered the best neighborhood. Yet here he stood, sharing the air of his new friend.

I wonder if the “Section 8” housing that centered our discussion had been the same that his parents had raised him, would the laughter have been solo? Now, I don’t write this as a means to show superiority in moral thought, instead as an appreciation for my own traveled road.

Later in the week, another friend of twenty plus years started a discussion, this time on social media, which centered on the “douchiness” of a person that wore a certain brand of shirt. A brand admittedly usually reserved for a younger crowd.

Our very own KMFP wrote an article a while back that explained the art of “judging” a book by its proverbial cover. I have openly defended his position on this subject, in that – the clothes we wear CAN give an insight into the person wearing them.

RM2In other words, if you’re say… in a store, and you see someone wearing a football uniform, you would reasonably assume that they were a football player. Or if they were wearing Harley leathers, that they rode a motorcycle.

There’s nothing wrong with that thought process. It’s human nature when encountering people to “size them up”, using the easiest clues that are given. If you happen to pass a NEGATIVE assessment on someone based on their attire, then so be it and as callous as it might sound, sometimes is the best policy… the key word being “sometimes”.

If you’re walking down the street and you see a man in a blood-soaked apron carrying a huge knife, he might just be a butcher who went outside to grab a smoke….he also could very well be a psychotic murderer looking for his next body to hack up. If you see this guy coming and decide to get yourself clear of the situation, I see nothing wrong with that.

Maybe he is a harmless butcher, but do you really NEED to find out?

The problem I have is when you start using the tag on their clothing to make your decision. If that same football player is wearing a rival team’s colors and you ultimately decide they are an asshole…then the TRUE asshole is you.

If the brand on the butcher’s apron is what sways your decision…you’re a dipshit. And, if the name on the t-shirt a guy wears is what you use to define “douchiness”, then you’re acting like a pompous jerk.

Again, if the “jeans and t-shirt” look is something that historically has brought you disdain and you wish to “judge” accordingly, right or wrong…more power to ya.  I’d be lying if I said there aren’t certain styles out there that don’t scream certain stereotypes.

I’m not saying that’s right, but stereotypes are based in samples of reality.

My issue is when you are okay with the “jeans and t-shirt” look, but ONLY if the brands on said “jeans and t-shirt” match what you deem worthy.

My thought is if you’re looking that close for a label, what do you think of me in my Gordman’s jeans? Are my Goodwill sunglasses what you use to sum up my character? Again, the friend who posted this was once a kid who was accepted into our circle, and – to this day – I could not tell you what clothes he draped on himself.

RM3Now I’m not saying I think less of these two friends. In fact, they are still two guys I admire for the fortitude of their character. They are both truly unique guys and both guys I am proud to call my friends.

Besides, how hypocritical would I be if I decided to condemn them for actions I don’t agree with, when both of them have seen and heard me at my worst and still stuck by me?

I know their true hearts. I know they are both solid dudes. I DO think however they should pause as they cruise forward down the highway of life.

Pause… just long enough to check their “Rearview Mirrors”.

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

The Jesus Claus

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

I have a picture on my fridge that shows my daughter at age five or so, sitting on Santa’s lap. She is reaching with her tiny hand and touching his nose, grinning from ear to ear, with an expression that screams “This is REAL!

JC1I keep it up year round for a couple of reasons. For starters, because she is my crotch fruit and why would I not splatter my household with pictures of her and the others? And secondly, to remind me of an underlying belief (at least for the purposes of this article), which is…Ignorance IS Bliss.

No, I’m not calling my daughter an idiot by any means. Just that she once had a belief that millions of other children her age have also had. A belief that every sane adult knows without question is NOT true. A belief that we will continue to allow our children to believe in and perpetuate.

Santa…is not real. Why do we do this? Simple. Because their belief in Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and the like doesn’t hurt anything.

By the way, don’t be the one to tell your kids the truth about these figures. Seriously, when you see the hurt in their eyes, it’ll scar you permanently. Think about it, do you hold a grudge against your parents?

Let the kids on the playground fill them in because – if we’re smart, we know that when our lie is eventually revealed to them, we’ll be able to use that to teach them the spirit of Christmas, Easter and ….the profitable market of selling used body parts.

It is with this mindset that I view the Christian world. Even though, I personally don’t subscribe to the belief of Jesus being the chosen son of God, or that the only way into a heaven is to worship him, I still agree with the overall sentiment of religious teachings.

Be a good person.

Are the lessons taught through Santa and Jesus really that different?

If you are good, you receive a present or reward of some kind. An incentive is given to a youngster to choose the path of “being good”. Consequently, if you are bad, you’ll receive a lump of coal. Or in the case of Jesus, an eternal afterlife being fried, sautéed and baked.

Kinda takes it up a notch, huh?

With this being said, if people want to believe the fairy tales of the Bible to help guide their own little ones into being morally acceptable adults one day, who am I to throw a monkey wrench into their system?

The end outcome will still be something that’s a positive for our society. If that was where churches stopped, I’d keep quiet.

But no. Where me and them differ is, at no point, from anyone ever have I heard them EVER tell their children, “If you don’t make a stand against other kids that aren’t like you, Santa will not give you a present”.

In fact, Santa’s mode of transportation is led by venison with luminescent schnozes! The whole moral of Rudolph is to accept those who are different.

The church must have missed the point here because they spend millions of dollars each year and circle the country and globe delivering sermons with the underlying agenda to keep the LGBT community from legally getting married.

What happened to the whole “treat people the way you’d want to be treated” thing?

Does the tooth fairy only collect dentures from children willing to infringe on the legal rights of others that do not affect them in any way? Of course not! Show me a single solitary holiday fable that advocates this kind of behavior.

You see folks, we don’t teach our kids these things. We don’t include them in our examples of why our kids should be good.

Why? Because we know it’s not right.

JC2We remember being a child. Our parents didn’t spew this kind of nonsense at us when they were directly influencing us. The religious argument against the LGBT community is one adults came up with to change and control the thoughts of other adults. They are mean and hateful.

If I’m wrong and Jesus is truly the holy messiah, do you think the kind and gentle-hearted character portrayed in the Bible would really be comfortable hating and being prejudiced against ANY group of people?

It’s time that Christians keep with the basic concept that “you should be a good person, capable of love and understanding your fellow man”.

Shed the hatred. Don’t let the voices of bigoted men that happen to wear the cloth lead you in a direction away from Santa.  Instead, ask yourself, “What would Santa do?

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

No On 3?

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

Let me start by stating that it is my sincerest hopes that Amendment 3 in Missouri was defeated. (This was written prior to the vote). No, I don’t want to see it defeated because of the “test” clause. I’m still a little “on the fence” when it comes to standardized testing and its implications.

MB1On one hand, I understand the argument that a teacher’s worth should not be reduced to the scores his or her students earn on these tests – but on the other hand, it IS their primary goal to educate our children to be able to at the very least read, write and do basic math.

Is there a better way to gauge that knowledge other than testing those students?

Look folks, it’s time we face some pretty harsh facts. When compared to other advanced countries, America falls drastically short. Where exactly we fall is up for debate; some put us as 17th out of 35, some put us second to last out of 52, some put us higher.

The one thing that is overwhelmingly true of all of these rankings though is that NONE of them rank America in the top ten. Not one.

So I ask, is this acceptable?  Is it okay for our average student to have less basic knowledge in areas of math and science than other countries and then turn around and tout America to be greater than all these other countries?

I’m a patriot and I love this country, but at some point we must come to grips with our own shortcomings. Blindly declaring to be the greatest at…anything is wrong – especially when there are mountains of research and data proving otherwise.

This isn’t a knock on teachers across the board, but let’s face it folks, something HAS to change. Our children ARE falling behind the learning curve when it comes to basic education.

That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact.

I have a deep respect for the elementary school teacher that delicately balances the lessons they’re trying to instill while also playing other roles on a daily basis. They are made to comfort the child who comes from a struggling family, police the kids bullying others, give special attention to the children that just don’t “get it” the first time around, and the list goes on.

A list that does not – and more importantly – should not fit into their job description, but sadly does.

Simply stated, our teachers are being overwhelmed with responsibilities outside their main purpose that … their main purpose, teaching, is being more and more diluted.

It is NOT the responsibility of our teachers to raise our children to be moral adults. It is NOT the responsibility of our teachers to ensure that our youth treat others respectfully and fairly. Yet they are being made to do so because at the end of the day, they feel they HAVE to.

MB2Put yourself into the life of a teacher. Make the decision of either ensuring a child’s wellbeing is adequate OR they can conjugate a verb. Which would you choose?

My point here is that our teachers as a whole are silently demanded by our society to give more of their day on basic life lessons, and the basic skills needed for a successful life are being left behind. We’re asking our teachers too much!

I’m all for accountability and I don’t think it should escape anyone, not even teachers. But it’s absurd to think that a group as caring as the world of teachers are, are also oblivious to our nation’s ranking or simply don’t care enough to do something about it.

So where does the fault lay? Who is to blame for the steady educational decline?

This might hurt to hear, but the fault is that of parents.

I say this and do so knowing that most parents will angrily allow my message to fall on deaf ears. No one likes to be told that they are the problem, but if you take an objective look at which group as a whole gives more readily and freely into the teaching of our youth, is it conceivable to believe that people who have dedicated their lives to such education, care less than the people who send their children to these educators?

Personally I believe that people whose children attend public schools, people who pay for this with through their taxes be accountable for their child’s success.

How do we do this?

By instituting a law that states that each child is given thirteen years of “free” education, meaning no parent should have to pay any more than what they already pay in taxes or other future taxes meant to pay for the educational institutions their child attends…for a term of no less than thirteen years (Kindergarten through 12th).

After that, the parent of that child should be made to pay each additional year it takes for their child to graduate.

This means, that if you’re child fails a grade, you have to pay out of YOUR OWN POCKET the added expense. Instead of putting all the blame on teachers for YOUR child not being able to pass a basic skills test, accept that responsibility.

Teachers should NOT be forced to take time out of their curriculum to implement anti-bullying lessons. That should be done at home. Teachers should NOT be made to instill respect for class and classroom decorum. That should be done at home.

MB3Teachers should not be made to parent a child! That should be done at home!

When it starts DIRECTLY affecting the pocketbook of parents, they will be more apt to be a part of their child’s education. They will be more inclined to not just wait for a report card. They will be more attentive to supporting a teacher’s lesson plan.

It will give teachers the valuable time they fight for to teach…reading…writing….math…and science, instead of giving it to basic social skills that should be taught at home.

If and only when this happens, will it be acceptable to grade teachers by the test scores of their students. In other words, take away all the added bullshit teachers have to go through; THEN you can start to criticize and judge the standardized test scores their students produce.

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

Blood Ties

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

Halloween never really interested me. Oh sure, as a kid I dug it.  I proudly wore my Batman costume, y’know the cheap ones from Walmert, that had the plastic masks that you couldn’t see out of and in an attempt to do so cut your eyelids all to hell? Until the thin rubber band broke, in which case you’d just tie the broken ends together until by the time trick-or-treating actually rolled around, your mask would be cracked and busted all to shit, tied onto your face with eight knots of a rubber band.

BT1No, I mean after I got older. If friends had a costume party, I’d wear jeans and flannel shirt, throw on a hard hat and go as a construction worker. Or have no costume at all. Just wasn’t my thing.

Horror movies? Screw that. The idea of spending two hours or so of my life to watch Jason hack up his fourteenth batch of college partygoers was about as appealing to me as walking into a salon specializing in waxing body parts, dropping my skivvies and demanding a “Telly  Savalas”.

In my dating years, when girlfriends would ask to watch scary movies, while other guys were happy to use such dates as a chance for a girl to smash her boobs against us for protection, all I could think was, “This broad is really dumb enough to get scared by THIS shit?…..for fuck’s sake”.

As I’ve grown older, I see now that women in their younger years aren’t exactly confident enough to unleash the power of their sweater kittens without reason. Older women (read, more confident) are in this way a ton more appealing.

It wasn’t until seven years ago that my mind changed and I accepted the frightful frenzy of October 31st.  Up until, 2007 my Halloween nights were pretty typical. I’d take the little ones around the neighborhood to beg for candy, come back home, “inspect” their loot, deem that any Whoppers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups looked fishy and set them aside for further examination….after the kids went to bed of course.

But that year was different.

I had just gotten separated from my now ex-wife and fate as it were, landed Halloween night in her custody. So after walking with the kids around my now ex-sister-in-law’s subdivision, while my then, still separated wife sat in her sister’s kitchen with her then new boyfriend, I decided that as joyfully awkward as that night was, I would seek my entertainment elsewhere when the candy begging was over.

This was tricky. All my friends had kids. They were all busy stealing their own kids’ best candies. I could have hit up the local bar and seen what drunken “sexy nurse” had to offer but, to be honest, I was still a little emotionally fragile. And the thought of picking up a random witch to have her come over and “bob for apples” just wasn’t going to work.

Then I remembered that my sister had said something about doing some sort of haunted maze thing at her house. She had told me about it weeks before, and had said she would like my help if I could make it, to which I always gave the standard brush-off response of “Oh yeah, I don’t know. Maybe. I’ll see what I can do…” In my head I was thinking “yeah right. Just after I firmly plant an ice pick into my taint, I’ll be there.

BT2See, back then, my sister and I weren’t that close. For one, we are ten years apart in age and second (more to the point) I still held a grudge against her for something that had happened years before. I won’t go into details here, but sufficed to say it was something that deeply hurt me emotionally and had followed with a five year stint of ZERO contact.

No calls. No letters. Don’t know where she is, don’t care….Nothing.

Eventually, we talked again but there was still an ocean of mistrust between us. So when I say I was less than thrilled to follow through with her invite, I mean I was ….well…less than thrilled.

But, I said screw it, I’ll go see what this maze she has is all about and if nothing else, get her off my back. I figured, I’ll go for a little while then go hit the bar and try to score with one of the slutty nurse outfits because fuck it, a nice hummer can cure a fragile ego.

What I didn’t account for was what ACTUALLY happened. This maze my sister had put together was ….pretty damn cool. Kids and adults alike were lined up down the street to get into this thing.

Looking back, the maze was simple. Roughly seventy-five yards of all one way isles. What made this backyard attraction so awesome was the passion displayed by my sister’s friends “working” it. They were just committed to their roles; they WERE the characters they portrayed. They morphed into creeps and ghouls and zombies.

Oh, and one more thing, it was free. Free to any child or adult. Go as many times as you’d like. It was done purely to give back to the kids of the neighborhood.

As I sat in the “backstage” area and watched my sister perform, I realized something that I hadn’t realized in at least a decade. My sister was human. Dressed in torn clothing, splattered with fake blood and a rubber attack rat strapped around her neck but still ….human. She was allowed mistakes. Allowed to feel remorse for those mistakes and most importantly, allowed to recover from them.

There she was, arms flailing, screaming and carrying on like a crazy person. Then a young child would come by, and she would instinctually dial down her rhetoric and soothe the kids that needed it.

It’s all fake sweetie. See? There’s nothing to be afraid of”.

BT3Seconds later the child that had their face buried in their parent’s waist was now laughing. My sister had brought joy to a community through Halloween.

At break time she came over to me and she had this smile on her face that was damn near indescribable. A mixture of pure happiness and pride. She was beautiful, in all her gore and half-eaten, rotten, fake guts. Beautiful.

We talked for a brief minute and she was off to the potty and to get a handful of chips before she went back to haunting the hood.  I expressed to her how impressed I was with what she had done with so little and then I was off.

When the next year rolled around and she asked me to help, I jumped in full bore. Together we built the maze bigger and scarier. Our relationship grew better as well. My daughter who was five at the time decided she was going to take after her Aunt Gina and wholeheartedly volunteered to be caked in makeup and costumes.

Every year since, my sweet innocent angel rushed through trick-r-treating as fast as humanly possible so she could get to her Aunt’s maze.

We are now in our seventh year running this haunted maze. The biggest differences being that we are no longer in her backyard, but in an ACTUAL cave in Crystal City, where in our first year (2013) running as a commercial haunt, we were ranked by the RFT as the third scariest haunt in the St. Louis area – which includes being ranked higher than Lemp.

Also came the personal satisfaction of my daughter being singled out by the reporter who wrote that she was “one creepy little girl”.

We also charge now. Hey, why not try to make a buck doing what you love?  After all this though, the greatest reward for me… is my sister. I’ve gotten to know her again. I’ve gotten to be friends with her again. We laugh and share the Halloween spirit together.

BT4To this day, she amazes me and I am awestruck in how she could repair our damaged kinship using fog and strobe lights and fake fangs. I love her like I always wanted to but didn’t think I could.

We talk all year long now, but around the beginning of September our calls become more frequent. Our conversations turn to spider webs and creepy clowns and yes still that “creepy little girl”.

Thank You, Gina.

Thank You for giving me Halloween spirit. Thank You for giving my daughter an outlet to be weird. Most of all though, Thank You for Us. I love ya, Sis – and I hope this year’s haunt will be the best yet!

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)   

Dick Pics and Fake Tits and Big Chicks-Oh My!

 

Written by – Mikey-B  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/mikey-b/)

We’re not in Kansas anymore. The days of Dorothy and her little dog too, are long gone. Sexuality and all its glory has exploded the last decade. With Hannah Montana completely off the grid, twerking and even flicking her bean on stage, is there any question?

DP1So with all this new “pushing the envelope”, is there really any surprise that dick pics are becoming an almost fashionable way to say “hello” to someone of the female gender?

I try to stay somewhat in tune with social media and a common theme now for the single ladies out there is an inbox full of schlong shots from random dudes. I gotta tell ya folks…I don’t get it. I mean, I guess I’m just a little old school in the charms of wooing a woman, but is simply saying “Hi” really THAT much of surefire way to kill any chance you might have of getting a date, or even a hook-up?

Look, I get that newly single women might not be ready to jump into a deep relationship right away. They might just want to knock out some one-nighters before they get back on the commitment horse but still…a dick pic? That’s your opener?

What’s the thought process here? A woman opens your special message and – upon seeing your package – thinks to herself, “Holy shit! If I never live to see another day, I just GOTTA have that dick up in my guts!”?

Fuck using any personality, swagger or style. Just show her your dick. Don’t even show her a face pic, just aim that camera phone right at Mr. Moby. That’ll do it.

The thing is though, some chick out there somewhere is perfectly cool with this approach. Seriously. Guys are hunters. Single guys hunt pussy. If certain bait works once, you try it again and again. I personally have never photographed Mike Hawk.  I guess I would if my woman asked me to, but I’ve never had that happen either.

I always figured it was because my looks, character and personality were of a high enough value that I could land a woman without resorting to a wide angle lens.

… I guess I’m just weird.

Men aren’t the only ones out there shoving their goodies in the opposite sex’s faces. Women are getting breasts implants like they’re an item on the endcap of their local grocery store. And they don’t get tits that fit their body. Oh no! If you’re gonna’ buy some boobs, you go buy the biggest on the shelf.

Seriously, are store-boughts even available in something under D-cups?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a dude, and as such I love me some ta-ta’s. If you have them, I will look, period. Fake or not. I’ll look. Low cut shirts, bikinis, wet t-shirts….you girls wear them to show off your tits. If we didn’t look, it would be …well….rude.

I mean, if you girls go through all that trouble to frame your boobs, or even spend a good couple thousand to have them sculpted on you, why in the world would we NOT look?

But here’s the thing. If you’re a woman who has fake tits or would like to get fake tits….can you really be upset if a guy sends you a dick pic?

Hear me out here. You get yourself some nice plump sweater kittens and then put them on display, basically saying to the opposite sex “Come ogle my body, boys!” Unless you’re printing your favorite passage from your favorite book across them, you’re not exactly doing so to “sell” your personality. You’re not portraying a woman who wants a “gettin’ to know ya” phase and if shit works out, live together, then marriage and so forth.

DP2By obviously displaying your goods out there you are being perceived by us as someone who is more worried about physically attraction.

So why then, should a single man trying to get laid waste time trying to hustle you with wit, when the message you’re sending, whether intentional or not, is one that seems like a dick pic would be warranted?

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that a woman dressing and looking sexy is free reign for the masses of men to send you “shutter-bug junk”.  I’m saying that men are dumb and don’t know the difference between a woman who is wanting to attract someone physically first, then learn about them emotionally and a woman on the “hoe-stroll”.

Now, a good portion of women claim they get their off-the-rack racks so that they can boost their self-esteem. I get that. I get with all the bullshit glamour mags out there, it can be easy for women in general to feel like they aren’t attractive enough. Which is a sad fact.

I can also tell you that most men out there don’t buy into all that crap. We think you girls are beautiful without “Vogue’s 12 Tips”.

While the boobs do help, it’s the confidence that comes with them that is most attractive. Trust me on that. The part I find the oddest of all of this is that the women out there with the most to feel insecure about are usually the ones that have the most confidence.

Who do I mean? Big girls.

Now before you ladies light your torches and come after me, realize that when I say “big girls” I DO NOT mean you.

Dudes don’t mind a little extra padding. Seriously! You girls are far more worried about it than we will ever be. That being said, there is a limit. If you’re rolling around town wider than Honey Boo-Boo’s mom….uhm….yeah, that’s too much.

So listen when I tell you this, if you’re a lady of that size, posting crap on your page that reads something to the effect of “Real men love a woman with curves”, stop.

Stop with calling women who weigh less, Barbie Dolls. They, just like you, have enough issues to work through without the Big Bertha Bunch berating them because you think they’re “stick bitches”. Seriously, that shit is just plain mean.

I promise you big girls, I PROMISE you, there are guys out there. Good looking fit guys who find you attractive. Just because the guy you had your eye on, decided to go after a woman NOT your size, doesn’t mean he isn’t a “real man”.

DP3It means you are a bitter bitch.

I know at least two separate guys who absolutely adore big girls. One in fact said “If she’s not at least 300-lbs, she better be shorter than 5’-2”.” Trust me. He’s out there. You just got to be able to find him. For starters, take a pic of your boobs and put them online. He will in turn send you one of his penis.

Love at first sight for both of you…so to speak.

And who knows, if you’re lucky you two will see beyond all the physical traits and fall in love….and then frequent All-U-Can-Eat joints together.

 

(Mikey-B ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/mikey-b/)    

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