The trouble in Ferguson, Missouri has once again brought out a lot of emotions and opinions regarding race in the United States. Some of the opinions and recent actions are disturbing, and I’m talking about people on both sides of the argument. Anyway, it got me to thinking . . .

I think a lot of white folks have sort of been patting themselves on the back regarding race and the progress we’ve made over the past 50-years. Shoot, I can remember driving through the south with my family in the early 60’s and my dad pointing out the “coloreds only” signs on the restroom doors and drinking fountains. He also pointed out that it was terribly wrong.

So we have come a long way regarding racism since then, there’s no denying that. Hey, we have a black president! We can’t be a racist country, right? The answer is of course we can. As Ferguson has shown us, it’s still there.

Want to hear a thought-provoking stat?  A 2011 study by scholars at Harvard and Tufts found that whites, on average, believed that anti-white racism was a bigger problem than anti-black racism.

What the hell? For me, that’s almost impossible to believe people would feel that way. Sure, there’s racism on all sides but that’s just ludicrous, not to mention ignorant.

Want some help understanding the gap between whites and blacks in America? Check out these stats I found in the New York Times:

  • The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.
  • The black-white income gap is roughly 40 percent greater today than it was in 1967.
  • A black male born today in the United States has a life expectancy five years shorter than that of a white male.
  • Black students are significantly less likely to attend schools offering advanced math and science courses than white students. They are three times as likely to be suspended and expelled.
  • Black men in their 20s without a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated today than employed, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Nearly 70 percent of middle-aged black men who never graduated from high school have been imprisoned.
  • The dollar value of that gap has grown, as well. By the most recent data, the average white family had about $632,000 in wealth, versus $98,000 for black families and $110,000 for Hispanic families.
  • African-Americans comprise 13% of the U.S. population and 14% of the monthly drug users, but 37% of the people arrested for drug-related offenses.

Pretty mind-boggling, huh?

Folks, if you read that and think “it’s a black problem” you are incorrect. It’s an America Problem. To me, those facts are absolutely shocking and right-thinking people of all races should be alarmed by them. People will argue that black kids commit more crimes, but I’d argue that we failed them long before they failed us. Plus, it’s obvious that when all else is equal blacks simply aren’t treated as fairly as whites.

You know, as a teacher with over 30-years experience in rural southern Ohio districts I can attest that racism has greatly declined over that time. Kids don’t really think in those terms for the most part, in spite of what they might be hearing from a racist uncle or other relatives. Kids today see mixed-race couples all the time and don’t give it a second thought. That’s a big change from when I was a kid.

Of course, clearly racism is taught and is not inherent. If you don’t believe that, put a bunch of 5-year olds from different races on a playground and see if they segregate themselves. Of course they won’t.

Do I have any answers? Hell no, other than I’m sure that education on all sides is key.

I guess the only point I’m trying to make is that although we’ve come a long way, we still have a long, long way to go.

Note: One of the best books I ever read was “We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi” by Seth Cagin and Philip Dray. Highly recommended. CNN also has a pretty good segment on the movement in their “The Sixties” series called “A Long March to  Freedom.” 

Death will inevitably come early for this man.

Just felt like that needed to be pointed out.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Twinkie stuffed with a Twix Bar, wrapped in bacon and topped off with some powdered sugar. Oh, and it is deep-fried. That is all.


Everyone knows I’m a big animal guy. When I was little I wanted to work in a zoo, although that’s sort of what I ended up doing anyway. Anyway, I love weird-looking animals and am endlessly fascinated by them. I’ve posted a couple of these before, but because of public demand I’m going to list my Top 10.*

*There was no public demand. I just felt like doing this.



Angora Rabbit.

What the hell? It looks like a giant gremlin has swallowed a kitten. And use some conditioner, Angora Rabbit.


The Hagfish.

The Hagfish.

Number one, that’s an appropriately named fish, amirite? Number two, that’s a fish? Number three, I have an amazingly funny joke to insert here that is way too inappropriate for publication. So yeah, we here at Shoe: Untied do have standards. Sort of. Sometimes. Hardly ever.


The Emperor Tamarin.

The Emperor Tamarin.

Check out this gentlemanly looking monkey-thingy. Dapper, ain’t he? Hey, you don’t have a mustache like that without a lot of effort. His name is even stately – “Emperor Tamarin.” Fitting. In addition, if he could talk I bet he’d have a British accent. Not even kidding.


The Leafy Sea Dragon.

The Leafy Sea Dragon.

Yes kids, there’s an animal in there. He’s leafy and he’s a Sea Dragon. See it’s eyes about 2/3 of the way up the photo in the middle? He’s looking right at you. Looks sort of like a horse with Sideshow Bob’s hair. I know you see it.


The Saki Monkey.

The Saki Monkey.

Yes, friends, that is a monkey. And he looks pissed. But wouldn’t you be upset if you sort of looked like a cross between Gene Simmons and a coconut?



The Tarsier.

You lookin’ at me? Huh? You lookin’ at ME? The Tarsier looks like some of my friends in college who partook in some uppers on occasion. Or so I’ve been told. Because I wasn’t around when this happened. Allegedly. Moving along now . . .


The Axolotl.

The Axolotl.

The Axolotl is a Mexican Salamander and he looks pretty happy, amirite? Check out that wide-eyed expression and goofy grin. I’d like to hang out with an Axolotl. Looks like a party waiting to happen.


The Proboscis Monkey.

The Proboscis Monkey.

I’m not sure what “proboscis” means, but if I had to guess I’d say “probing nosed.” Good Lord, that’s just unfortunate. Also known as the “Bulbous Limp-Schnozzed Chimp.” I have no idea what I’m typing right now.


The Aye-Aye.

The Aye-Aye.

Oh sweet Jesus. The Aye-Aye is apparently the result of a bat mating with a Chihuahua. On a related note, somebody just told this Aye-Aye he’s the offspring of a bat and a Chihuahua.


The Star-Nosed Mole.

The Star-Nosed Mole.

WHAT THE HELL? Sweet Mother of God, what happened to that mole? Looks like it was stopped up and let loose with a colossal sneeze, resulting in a nose explosion. Incidentally, that the first time I’ve ever typed “nose explosion” in a sentence.

My work is done here. Thank you and have a great day.

Am I the only one who finds this kind of stuff fascinating as hell?


Helmet: Check.

Elbow guards: Check.

Shin Guards: Check.

Facemask: ______

That is all.

So I guess somebody had a guest room that they’d kept closed up for a few months, and when they were expecting a visitor they went in to tidy up and found this. Yes, kids, that’s a wasp next of epic proportions.

Somebody’s gonna need a can of Raid. Or three. Jeebus.

What the . . . RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

What the . . . RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

Kid is so America it hurts.

Eastern Michigan introduced their new tradition Saturday of busting through a wall of cinder blocks to enter the field. It didn’t go well. Perhaps legos next time?



Unintentional comedy is always the best.

The Ride.

Posted: August 31, 2014 in Adventure, Humor
Tags: ,


Not Army, but this is how it looked. At least in my memory.

Sometimes incredible, amazing things happen when you least expect them.

I love summer, I love the beach, and I always spend time there during June, July or August. Hell, sometimes an October or April visit is in order. And maybe because summer is winding down, an unforgettable incident that happened a few years ago recently popped into my head.

It happened in the Outer Banks. I was with some family members, including my nephews Josh and Canon and my brother-in-law Army. We were down at The Point, where if you have a 4-wheel drive there you can drive right out on the beach.

Let me say this straight out –  if you happen to know Army this story will be infinitely funnier, because he’s at the center of the action and well, he’s Army.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continuing with my map theme, today I bring you “The Most Famous Brand Originating from Each State” map. Ohio gives us Wendy’s, which I suppose could be worse. Hey, it beats South Carolina and Denny’s I guess. South Dakota can’t be real proud either. And hey, check out Florida. That’s sort of perfect, amirite?


For our second educational lesson of the day I give you the Economic Wealth Map, in which the countries are sized according to how much money we have.

On a related note, poor Africa.


As many of you know, myself and my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied aren’t just bent on posting blogs about humor, music or sports stuff. Hell nah. From time-to-time we come across something educational and throw it right up there without a second thought. Hey, I know my readers are a sophisticated lot. Well, most of them,

With that in mind I came across a cool map yesterday showing what parts of the world have the internet. What you can see is that it’s not quite the “worldwide web” yet, is it? I’d have guessed the usage to be far more vast than it actually is. And did you know that only 7% of Africa is online? Never stop learning, kids!

Anyway, I give you the Global Internet Usage Map. Pretty cool, amirite?


[Story is below the slideshow]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As many of you know, I’m a dog guy. I’ve always had dogs in my life but never a true “inside” dog until I had Poe, a Scottish Terrier my ex-wife and I had for 15-years. Along with Poe we had Delaney and more recently Sandy. All were Scotties, a breed of dog that, shall we say, is independent to put it mildly.

Since last January I’d kind of had it in the back of my mind that I’d get another dog, but I wasn’t sure what breed I wanted. I love Scotties but was pretty open-minded about getting another type of dog. Well, as luck would have it a little Jack Russell Terrier came bursting into my life out of nowhere. He belonged to the neighbor of a friend and, well, you know the rest of the story.

Read the rest of this entry »

Enjoy, kids.

images8FC5PT65So today I get a text, and I don’t recognize the number. Here’s how it went down. The texter is in italics:

“Guess what honey? I figured it out!”

“Who is this?”

“Your dad! I’m awesome!”

At this point I know there’s been a mistake. Number one, my dad doesn’t text. Number two, he’s never used the word “awesome” in his life. Still, I thought I’d play along . . .

“What did you figure out?”

“How to text! Aren’t you proud of me?” 

Dang, the guy seemed so happy I hated to let him down by pointing out the obvious – that he hadn’t quite “figured it out.” Still, I tried to do so gently . . .

“I’m sorry, but I’m not your daughter. You must have the wrong number. It happens.”

“HAHAHAHA! You’re funny.”

“No, seriously. Not her.”

“HAHAHAHA! Stop it sweetie.”

“My name is Dave.”

“HAHAHAHA! You’re proud of me, right?”

Well, now I was really perplexed. He was very proud of himself. I mean, he actually put an extra “HA” in there that last time. I was trying to convince him, but he wasn’t buying it. Should I just play along and say something like “Congrats dad, see you soon!”?

Nah, that would have caused w-a-y too much confusion on their end the next time they saw each other. Finally I ended it like this:

“Sir, my name is Dave Shoemaker. I coach basketball at Paint Valley. I have a son named Kip and a dog named Sparky. My father’s name is Ralph. Glad you learned to text but you need to re-check your daughter’s number.”

There was a long silence between that text and his response. But finally . . .

“O.K. Sorry.”

And a few minutes later . . .

“Good luck with the team this year. I hear you guys are going to be pretty good. Sorry again.”

“Thanks and no problem.”

What can I say? Some folks are still getting used to this whole technology thing.

Anyway, confused texting father, welcome to 2006.

Wow. I did not know.

Beat that, suckers.


Remember when you were a kid and the more dangerous something was the more fun it became? Isn’t that why we climbed trees or balanced on a fence post or rode our bikes really fast down hills?

Of course it was.

Kids today have zero idea what they’re missing, mainly because everyone is worried they might get hurt. Back in the day we had some amazing, fun toys, and they were fun because they could kill you.


I guess our parents realized that getting hurt was a learning experience. Hey, if you’re dumb enough to shoot yourself with that pellet gun it’s your fault. Be more careful next time, dummy.

But back to the toys. Here are a few of my favorite toys from the past that could cause extreme pain or yes, even death if used improperly. Hey kids, be sure and read the directions!

Read the rest of this entry »

There. Now you’re happy again.