March 2014 Archives

Rad note � The text in this entry originally came from another entry. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate entry-page.

At the end of this entry (that you are now reading) I provide a link to the exact spot from where this entry originated.

Here you go...

Some So-Called Christians Give Christianity a Bad name

Speaking of the moral judgment of some so-called Christians, note that scripture says � "by their LOVE shall all men know."

Fred 'God-Hates-Fags' Phelps (1929-2014) of the Westboro Baptist church in Topeka, KansasNot by their vitriol. Or their cruelty. Or their nastiness.

So it seems that not everybody got the message. The memo.

Where's the mercy and compassion in 'God Hates Fags'?

Paul says that "the standard of sound words" are in � faith and love. (You know Paul.)

I see no love in the cry of '� God Hates Fags'. I see only judgment and hatred and condemnation and xenophobia.

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I was thinking about young Edward Snowden recently (.. who was beaten out for Time Magazine's Person-of-the-Year by the Pope)  ..

.. and who now lives in Moscow, where he has asylum, and who himself was a CONTRACTOR .. working for various government intelligence agencies known better by their acronyms than by their official names.

And I thought about how .. after I got out of the Navy (minimum 6-year enlistment) .. I interviewed at a few nuclear power plants in the NorthEast .. including Pilgrim in Plymouth ..

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants on the Hudson River in New York.. and Indian Point plant (the state-owned Country Club side) .. there in New York ..

.. on the scenic Hudson River (.. let Billy and Bruce tell you all about it) ..

.. where I later worked as a contractor .. but on the other side, on the ConEd side. The bad boy side ..

.. for a year or so .. where the ConEd boys would sometimes come to the plant to work from Brooklyn. The plant is located some 30 miles north of "the city". Very entertaining, these Brooklyn guys. I found them downright fascinating.

Life as a Rad Whore Contractor

And their accents. Interesting how the presentation can come off as uneducated, but you can quickly see thru to their sense of highly developed street smarts .. and how to deal effectively with people .. of all types and under all circumstances. Smooth operators. Very smooth.

I enjoyed my time there in New York very much. Yes, it is ridiculously expensive to live there. But I jibed with those guys very easily. The culture. They even asked me to pitch for their softball team.

Cracking a Stand-up RBI Triple Off the Junk-Throwing Megavar Pitcher

We kicked much ass, but got beat by the stupid Engineers [ nuclear engineers � the "Megavars" ] in the play-offs.

They had the best softball pitcher I've ever seen. He could actually throw junk underhand. The rules for pitching were that � your arm couldnt go past horizontal on the backward arc.

He was a tall, lanky dude, with long-ass arms. His pitches would come wizzing across the plate and even pop when they hit the catcher's glove.

But I cracked a beautiful stand-up triple off that dude .. out past left-center field .. and brought in our first RBI.

I simply took the first pitch to determine his rhythm .. then � crack-o. "How do you like THEM apples Mr. Junk-Throwing Megavar-pitcher?"

The harder they throw, the more easily you can turn ball-speed into hit-distance when you connect.

My point here in New York is that � I was there as � a contractor. A rent-a-tech. A purveyor of a military-grade set of skills. Not working for "the house" (directly). A rad whore. Selling my body's federally-allowed radiation-exposure for Rad dollars.

Contractor vs House-Tech Relations

Remind me to tell you about the house-tech there who I found fascinating to talk to. Sometimes house techs have a shitty opinion of contractors .. because some contractors are pieces of shit. So you have to feel out each one individually.

But there was a guy there who I often had lunch with (there in the site cafeteria). He was not only smart, but also articulate, with a strong, opinionated personality.

At work, I am attracted to competence .. and competent people often have strong, opinionated personalities.

Generally, during a refueling power-outage, house techs move into management positions (.. such as supervisors and administrators) .. while contractors do the actual (radiological) work. 

He came from a police family and told me fascinating stories. I totally stretched my lunch breaks whenever I ate with him. The time just flew.

I am referring here to non-technical, non-nuclear discussions. Stuff that I would call � personal. I mean, you are learning about the real person behind his technical qualifications. And yes, he was technically proficient. So I had nothing against him there. If you went to him with something, you knew it would be handled right proper.

Regarding technical aspects of the job .. contractors are generally given the hardest, shittiest jobs .. so they generally have more experience with really nasty shit. Radiological shit. Involving how radiation areas. High dose. High exposure jobs.

You are there (almost by definition) there to > burn dose. The feds give you both quarterly and annual limit.

I have a respectable lifetime exposure. Enough to make any Rad whore proud. So when the Bug came out okay .. I sighed a little sigh of relief. Said a little prayer of 'thanks'. You know.

But this is not really what I want to talk about. I do not want to talk about "whoring myself out for cash" (as lauren says).

Tho it is not possible to draw many hard-n-fast conclusions .. when comparing your house tech to your contractor .. seing that many utilities hire contractors to become house techs .. and they only hire the best. They can have their pick.

So they do indeed have quality people. But contractors go from one nuclear plant to another .. from refueling outage to refueling outage .. where all the really nasty (radiological) work is done.

While house techs only see a few months of outage (12- or 13-hour work-days, 6-days a week) every 18 months or so. While a nuclear plant is up-n-running .. while the reactor is operating .. this tends to be boring (8-hour work-days, 5 days a week).

But the thing about being a contractor before becoming a house-tech .. is that � you understand contractors. So you know better how to deal with them. (As a supervisor or an administrator.)

If you treat your contractors shitty .. they will stop coming to your plant. Or worse � you will only be able to get shitty (less-experienced) contractors.

 An experienced true-stud contractor is worth his weight in plutonium .. because he has seen the same job done many different ways. So he knows what works and what doesnt. (And he can even tell you WHY .. if you ask him nicely.)

And generally speaking .. better pay buys you a more-skilled technician. Which can make your (house-tech) life much easier.

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Solitary Confinement

� I hesitate to use the term "solitary" to describe the time I spent in jail .. because I did such a short span. (Four days. Friday to Tuesday.) In other words, I dont want to insult the man who has done decades. (Yes, decades.)

Man sitting alone in a jail cellBut if you go back and read my old Incarceration entry, you will see that I left myself a spot ..

.. to fill in my thoughts and observations under that very heading ..

.. because I could see that it was a topic of much consequence. For many people. Powerless people. Helpless people.

I sense that today would be a good day to discuss this topic in greater detail. And I have a few nice spins that my fingers are itching to twist.

And also because you might consider life aboard a nuclear submarine anything but private. Anything but solitary. With 150 dudes .. up close & personal. So that represents the expanse of my experience. My range. Respectable, no?

I would feel comfortable sitting around a campfire in Yosemite or Big Sur, discussing the topic of solitary with pretty much any intelligent person. (Long as it wasnt too cold out.)

So I feel like I can provide nicely nuanced perspectives. Either way, I am stoked about it.

Go to Jail | Go directly to Jail | Do not pass Go | Do not collect 200 dollarsCuz even if it suks, the illuminating quality of intelligent dialogue will be therapeutic.

[ Oh, this is an interesting development, no? ]

Yes, I was alone during my most recent visit, but I would call that 'isolated,' not alone.

Yet I specifically tried to monitor myself .. to observe how the isolation was affecting me ..

.. to be aware, conscious, whatever term you care to call it when you are checking up to see whether you are freaking out ..

.. especially after what that dude told me about his experience.

"When They Opened the Door I Exploded Out & Started Crying"

So let me tell you about the dude I met during my first time. To be honest, I forget his name. He had been in before, and he was sorta showing me the ropes, which is nice. Cuz he was good at it.

Tho he snored like a volcano for 20 hours a day. And when my coffee headache came, it was not pretty. Not in that concrete-n-stainless echo chamber. Not hardly.

If a representative from the Guinness Book of Records had been walking by our cell during that time, I am confident that he would have felt compelled to award us some certificate-of-achievement.

He told me how he had previously done six days in solitary and he was so freaked out by the experience that when they finally let him out .. he "exploded" out and started crying. Like it fucked him up.

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Rad note � The text in this entry originally came from another entry. It was lifted and moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate entry-page.

At the end of this entry (that you are now reading) I will provide a link to the exact spot from where this entry originated.

Here you go ...

The Misprioritization of Profanity in Polite Society

� This might be a good place to mention my thoughts on 'profanity' .. on language that some in polite society might term 'profane'. (Especially the self-righteous... like I used to be. So I know.)

Yes, I have already expressed myself on this topic .. like a diligent essayist. But dont you wanna know what I really think?

Kelly Thomas Getting the Shit Kicked out of him, July 5, 2011Maybe not.

Because I find it a 'misprioritization' (.. the nicest way I can put it) ..

.. for a person to cringe at the sound of a heartfelt expletive ..

.. yet who seems little-fazed by the pleas for mercy ..

.. coming from a boy who is being [ quite fucking literally ] � beaten to death. Snuff-flick style.

Who is crying out to his dad for help. (Yes, as he is being beaten to death.) Talk about the worst day of your life.

These members of polite society are offended by words they consider profane .. but the cries-for-help and pleas-for-mercy coming from the most vulnerable parts of our society � eh, not so much.

[[ Along these lines, check out � this article and see if you feel like they are saying � "Profanity is unacceptable .. but murder eh, not so much." ]]

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Did you see the Frontline special on the Vatican? (Released Feb 25. Two weeks ago.)

Pope John Paul II Gives a Warm Papal Embrace to Marcial MacielOh. My. Gawd. I was raised Catholic and I never knew this.

[ Yes, I knelt down and kissed the ring. ]

Pope John Paul II .. not cool, dude.

That's him with arms wide .. embracing Marcial Maciel, the pedophile.

"Come here and get your warm papal embrace, you beautiful coffer-filler, you."

Why would a pope embrace a known-pedophile, you ask?

That's exactly the question I had myself. Watch the video, yourself. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.

This gives new meaning to the phrase � the system is about the money. I did not think that the sentiment in my earlier entry could get any uglier. I was wrong.

And all this has an interwoven narrative that involves the new pope. The job .. is to put the child-abuse scandal behind. But old ways are entrenched. It is really a battle of epic proportions.

And the side of good has been getting its ass kicked for one decade after another. And this last pope, the one who quit (.. Benedict, real name � Joseph Ratzinger, a German) something that hadnt happened in 600 years .. it was *his* job the bury that thing.

And he failed.

Pope Francis Does Not Judge GaysThis is why I feel that such a radically different pope was chosen.

The first-ever Jesuit. The first non-European pope in many centuries.

It is as tho the Catholic church is saying, "We're willing to try pretty much anything right now. Cuz we been getting our ass kicked by this child abuse sex scandal for so long."

When I heard what the new pope said about gays .. it made me think about what Peter said � here.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

� Today being the Ides of March (.. something that probably means little to anybody but me) .. I feel compelled to at least mention the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)Beyond the grief that comes from the loss of anyone at such a young age (he was 46; my mom was 47 when she died) ..

.. and who was a father with such young children at home .. in which the word 'tragedy' always comes to mind ..

.. he was considered among the most talented actors of his generation .. if not thee most talented.

It seems somewhat ironic that I see similarities between the actor and the Dog .. which I will detail shortly. (Both are NYC boys for starters.)

But basically it is his honest straightforwardness that makes me see the Dog in him.

I am talking about interviews that people have done with him. Especially the 2006 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft where they meet in Greenwich Village at 8AM.

So the fact that PSH is/was an ACTOR .. portraying masterfully something that HE IS NOT .. that seems to me to contain an interesting paradox.

The folks at 60 Minutes must have also been struck by this paradox because they lead off their segment with Hoffman saying � "If I can make you believe that this thing that is NOT happening is really happening .. then I've done my job."

This paradox that I am referring to does not seem easy to put into words. I have been waiting for my thoughts on him to form .. to gel .. to take form. At first, there was just lots of emotion. Confusing emotions.

He died February 2nd. Groundhog day. (You gotta be kidding me.) Some six weeks ago.

Part of me has been secretly hoping that my feelings on the subject would pass, so I could just forget the whole (unfortunate, sad, depressing) thing. (It's not like I don't already have plenty of compelling things to write about.) But this was not to be.

Going to See the Commodore (the Wizard)

A commodore is a guy who is in charge of a bunch of Captains .. who are themselves guys who are in charge of (responsible for) an entire Navy warship. And everybody on it.

Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarineAdmirals are in charge of whole fleets ..

.. such as the Atlantic fleet or the Pacific fleet.

A commodore is in charge of a part of that fleet.

Do you recall that scene in the Wizard of Oz ..

.. where Dorothy Gale and her three friends (the cowardly lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow) walk down that long hallway to go see the wizard?

Well, that is close to what is was like for me when I had to go talk to the Commodore. Because his office was at the end of a very long hallway. And I was shaking like the tin man.

Not really, but I was definitely on high-alert. There was much on the line for me as Master Chief and I walked down that seemingly endless hall. Much in the way of the future of my career.

I think it was better the way that the Master Chief did it. He just came and got me one morning (in the cafeteria, which was kinda my office) and said, "Come on, let's go talk to the Commodore."

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