Thoughts About Thoughts and Prayers

In response to the recent murders at the newspaper in Annapolis, Donnie reverted to the reflexive, trite, automatic and by now meaningless phrase “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims …”

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau was marginally better, saying “our hearts go out to …”

Maybe people don’t realize that when everyone says “thoughts and prayers” it’s the same thing as no one saying “thoughts and prayers.”  For a long time it was a handy thing to say because a.) you didn’t have to confront unpleasant feelings in response to some tragedy and actually think about how to express yourself and  b.) it sounds kind of religious, but not in some kind of pin-you-down way.  In other words, it’s better to say nothing at all than to say “thoughts and prayers” because even if you actually do mean it, it doesn’t come across that way.

So as a service to everyone who finds themselves using this phrase in response to something horrific, I am providing some words you can use, free of charge. They will be fake if you use them because you still can’t think of anything original to say when confronted by tragedy, but at least it won’t sound so abysmally fake as “thoughts and prayers.”

  • How awful!
  • I am heartbroken.
  • I can’t imagine how the people involved in this feel.
  • If there is something I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.
  • It is sickening when evil like this pops up in the world again.
  • We all need to hug the people we love right now (This one not so good for Donnie because he doesn’t seem to love anyone but himself.) 
  • I wish I had an answer for why people do things like this but we need to keep trying to know.
  • I hope those affected by this tragedy can find a way to heal.
  • And how about good old: May God be with you (Vaya con Dios, etc etc etc)

© 2018 Joseph Galligan

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva Are Really Pissed Off and Buddha is Seriously Unhappy


Some time ago I had a conversation about what if American foreign policy were based  on esthetics? U.S Marines would be deployed to protect elephants and rhinos in Africa, for instance.  Here is another example of how that would work. We would form an international coalition to declare Everest closed for 10 years due to the disgusting conditions that exist there and then allow extremely limited access to it after that. A fund would be created  to pay everyone for their lost revenue, especially the Sherpas and other native Nepalese and Tibetans.  The fund would also pay locals to go up there and bring down all the crap (a lot of it actually human crap, not to mention dead bodies).  This would be very respectful to the place on earth closest to what some people call God. It can’t hurt, and it might change the way things are going.

On another subject, the same idea domestically would be to pay coal miners to put the earth back together with the same equipment and knowledge they used to tear it apart with the idea of creating recreation areas that bring tourists and vacationers in.

© 1918 Joseph Galligan

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The sins of commission (Ryan, McConnell) sit down with the sins of omission (Schumer, Pelosi). In their own ways, these four are equally responsible for a man who despises all four of them ending up the President of the United States. A majority of Americans, the British, the French, the Germans, the Japanese and, yes, the Canadians say fuck you very much.

© 2018 Joseph Galligan

ryan pelosi

Shake Your Money Maker

blazers dancers

The title of this post does not come from me. It comes from a song by blues legend Elmore James covered by Paul Butterfield and George Thorogood, both of whom made far more money off the song than Elmore James ever did, but that’s a different old story.

This story is about the “[Portland] Blazer Dancers,” five of whom from an unknown year are pictured above. Every NBA franchise has an exact clone of the Blazer Dancers … well except for one beginning next year. That one franchise is the San Antonio Spurs. From USA Today: “the NBA team is replacing the all-female squad with a “family-friendly” co-ed ‘hype team.’ The move comes as a number of pro sports teams have been embroiled in controversy surrounding their cheerleading squads, some resulting in official complaints or even lawsuits.”

The Spurs have a coach, Greg Popovich, who speaks eloquently of the degradation of American culture and speaks up for black people, who make up the vast majority of NBA rosters. He has not commented on the demise of the Silver Spurs (who actually had a camp for young girls aspiring to shake their money makers some day!) but if he does, it will be right on.

spurs dancers

If what’s going on in the photo above is the only way to fire you up about what’s going on in the photo below then you don’t really appreciate basketball at its finest and you are actually enabling the exploitation of women, especially pretty young ones who find out that shaking their money makers doesn’t actually get them very much money, which is another old story.


© 2018 Joseph Galligan

Samantha Bee Gets a C

Samantha Bee gets an F for calling Ivanka Trump a cunt in the context of her show (save that for a private conversation). It pushes the envelope offensiveness-wise, plus it’s kind of stupid to call the President’s daughter a cunt the day after the Roseanne Barr Planet of the Apes fiasco. It just creates whataboutism for the Trumpskites. However, she gets an A for her use of the word “feckless,” defined as “lacking initiative or strength of character.” Dictionary gives “feckless mama’s boy” as an example of use of the word, indicating Samantha was right on with her use of this word. So “feckless cunt” is an F plus an A, which averages out to a C.

Update 7/8:  Salon magazine referred to Donnie’s Mr. Burns lookalike Stephen Miller as an “unctuous factotum.” This gets an A+. From my dictionary app: unctuous: .1 (of a person) excessively or ingratiatingly flattering; oily: he seemed anxious to please but not in an unctuous way. 2 (chiefly of minerals) having a greasy or soapy feel. Factotum is a kind of demeaning synonym for “employee.” 

© 2018 Joseph Galligan

Minor League Parents


This piece has an interesting cultural take on what kids’ sports used to be about/for and what they have devolved into. There are many parents involved in kids’ sports who don’t confuse what is happening in front of them with the World Series/Super Bowl/Stanley Cup finals/NBA finals or even the outcome of a game between two local high schools. There are many parents who don’t see berating an 8-year-old as a way to get him/her to improve his/her “performance.” But there are also many parents who have no perspective, who live vicariously through their children, who know so little about sports that they think being on a baseball team that defeated another baseball team 20-17 in a game featuring 15 walks ensures some kind of success “at the next level.”

A former colleague of mine was the MVP of his college basketball league one season and became a varsity high school basketball coach. He said the best way to teach kids to play basketball was to play three-on-three half court at several different baskets with one or two adults roaming around to  point out errors such as traveling and double dribbling and to resolve disputes over fouls. He said you can teach them to play full court five-on-five later on. They’re kids. They learn fast.  No score board. No score. No stats. No parents present.

I coached girls’ YMCA basketball for several years and found actual Christian principles alive in this program  thanks to a woman (former Division I college basketball player) who ran an excellent workshop my first year. Later on, my oldest daughter was exposed to Little League softball at its worst. I felt the coach of her team should not be allowed around children at all (and this was not about sexual predation, although it wouldn’t have surprised me to hear that was going on) and the next year he was president of the entire Little League.  Bye bye Little League. During the time I coached basketball, only one parent called me after the season and thanked me for the way I coached and how I dealt with his headstrong daughter. He was the father of a future Hall of Fame athlete who, by the way, came to every one of his sister’s games when he was in high school and didn’t say a word.

I had occasion to be at a party where a lot of men involved in youth sports were present, and the consensus was that the kid who is going to be that Hall of Famer from my hometown  or even the kid who gets a scholarship to a Division I university, does not need super-organized, super-intense youth sports. The reason is that the high level athlete has something a lot of other kids have — talent — but he/she has something else that few other kids have — drive. He/she is the kid who shoots 100 free throws outside in the middle of the winter, who shovels off a patch of ice and shoots pucks into a makeshift goal for hours, who fields ground balls by throwing a tennis ball against a wall all afternoon, who doesn’t leave the putting green until he/she has made 45 out of 50 putts from ten feet, even if it’s getting dark.  The best player on one of my girls’ teams dribbled a basketball everywhere she went at 11 or 12 years old. Turned out to be a really good ball handler in college. This high level of drive is what everyone who is around a Michael Jordan or a LeBron James or a Cal Ripken or a Tom Brady remarks on — they are maybe somewhat more talented than everyone else, but they work way harder than everyone else. And they have been doing that all their lives. Some ignorant, bossy wannabe in youth sports did not instill that in them.

A glimmer of hope has arisen in my world, though, as more people with small children move into my apartment complex. When the weather improves I notice that a lot of them are playing soccer on the largest patch of grass in the complex. There are no adults around. There is no scoreboard. The littlest ones learn a lot by playing with the bigger ones. These are mostly Latino kids. They don’t have uniforms or play in organized leagues or on perfectly groomed fields with referees and parents on the sidelines. But they do have fun. All the time.

©  2018 Joseph Galligan