Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Working the Primary

Its 9:38 am

    Its a cold grey morning ...still recovering from last night when Lori woke up with a terrible leg cramps. Leg cramps can be a real nasty and a really painful ordeal and you have to know how to react to them in order to end them quickly as possible. I went from a dead sleep to working those cramps out in 2 seconds flat. The cause could have been lack of liquids or a reaction to a dream,who knows...but it hurt like hell. Was able to work the cramps out and have her back to sleep in 20 minutes.

  Pretty jazzed up again as I have picked up another reader and someone is starting to repost some of my entries via Google+. I noticed that with my Falkland Islands entry and now my newest entry also has been liked that way. Slowly making progress....and pleased as punch to see so many of Paul's friends are still coming over to read my entry and sign his petition over at Thank you so much for supporting a true pioneer who is just trying to hang on to his home.

 Still working on my first two "8 Questions with...."stories. Joan Lemon is currently in a middle of a move and I'm still awaiting for social activist John Cromer to send back the interview. John is an amazing story. He has overcome a nasty crack addiction and a 13 year stretch in jail to become of one Detroit's bright spots in help the young men in Detroit get jobs,training and encouragement to overcome impossible odds and make real difference in the world. I'm excited to share with his voice and as soon as I get the interview ready,I'll post it here.
As I posted on Monday,I worked the Michigan Primary yesterday. It basically turned from a 4 man race to just Mittens and Insantorum. The Lizard and Ron Paul quit running in Michigan a while despite making a few in-state appearances,they didn't run any TV ads and we nary got a single robocall from them either.
  I drove to my post at 5:45 which was based at our main fire station. From 6 am to 7 am,we set up the precinct and got it ready for action. We had a crew of 5 which turned out perfect. Our chair was a delightful charming Virginia transplant named Bettie,our vice chair was a lady named Ginger who could pass herself  off as a Molly Shannon double,a very wise man named Bernie and a plucky woman named Becky.
  Now when you are going to be working together for almost 14 hours straight,its really helpful that you have a nice crew to work with and I have to say we had a blast. We had our station up and ready at 6:40 for a 7 am start. Bettie and Ginger were old hands at this while us other three were rookies so that helped in getting us ready so quickly.
  Now our precinct has 1,272 registered voters and before the day started,we took a guess at how many voters would actually show.
Bernie said  75
Bettie said   110
Ginger said 183
Becky  said 251
and my guess,based on the calls and media coverage,was 597.

  I know,goofy,but I really did expect a very heavy turnout based on all the teapublicans who say they can't stand President Obama.  Our city clerk has predicted a 30-32% turn out  so could say for sure.
Now there are certain rules for working a ballot station and the first rule is ,NO TALKING POLITICS while voters are around. We are not allowed to comment or even say the name of the parties because of the possible influence of altering someone's vote.Even among ourselves we had to use of course we came up with code words....I threw out "Mittens" and Bernie offered "Sanitation" . Turns out we barely talked about the primary,we talked more about families,jobs,kids,cats and our city.
  We listened to the fire station calls which a included a 3 year old who managed to get a bead stuck in her nose. Voters started straggling at a time,sometimes 2 or 3 at a time. By 9 am,Becky,Ginger and myself knew we weren't going to win.
  We all turned out to have a love of reading and had brought books..Ginger read hers on a Kindle while the rest of us read via the old fashioned way.
  We each took an 40 minute lunch break while the voter still trickled in. The city clerk came by and we when asked how everyone was doing at 1 pm,she shrugged her shoulders. While we had in 49 ballots cast,another station only had 16! Less then three voters per hour....
When folks asked us how many had turned and we told them,many of them were angry to see such a low turn out,the teapublicans felt they needed a large vote to prove that their candidate,no matter who it is,should feel they have a real shot at carrying Michigan and a low turn out would show apathy.
  The afternoon was pretty quiet,I finished the book I brought got ready for the last two hours. From 5 to 7 pm ,we saw the heaviest rush as people coming from work dropped by and voted. The last two voters can in at 7:55 pm and at 8 pm,the polls were closed.
  We shut the doors and proceeded to break down our equipment,we had actually started that at 7:30 pm so we could leave as soon as we could.
  Our final tally over 13 hours was 105 voters (out of a possible 1,272) We don't know how many were absentee voters but we didn't think it was that many. The breakdown of who got the votes:

Mittens  42
Insantorum  36
Ron Paul   17
Obama    5
The Lizard 4
Undecided 1

 We said goodbye to Bernie and Becky as I went with Bettie and Ginger,wheeling the heavy gear back to city hall and the counting station. Then off I headed to home.
 All in all,I enjoyed the will I work the general election in November? I don't know yet,hopefully I'll be working but even if I am,I might just ask for that day off because I really liked the folks I worked with.
   And starting tomorrow night is my CERT class. This will be a 2 month course where the city will train us to help our First Responders in case of a major emergency,much like what Elizabethtown,Kentucky is going through after being hit with a tornado today.
  Friday will see us in Ann Arbor for an appointment so no entry about CERT til Saturday.

Tomorrow I'll share what happened after I got home last night....its one for the books.

That is all I got for now.....thanks for reading!
Again,thank you all so much for dropping by and reading this. It means a lot.

Congrats to Wendy for winning a Shorty Award and happy birthday as well!
Happy birthday to Mocha's mom,the wonderful Camille!
And bittersweet to see of our best journalists to retire,Bill Gallagher,we salute you!
Zorro,don't bite the hand that feeds you...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Musings

  Its 8:18 am

    Its another beautiful chilly morning here in Michigan. I saw my buddy Aaron has posted a new blog entry and that my friend Max has joined my blog. I'm pretty excited for this because I know for sure there will be at one person tossing comments on my politics entries here. And when you are trying to re-establish your blog and readers,every comment is welcome aboard Max!
  Lori and I watched the Oscars last night. We did a repeat of our Grammy night and had a home cooked dinner while they were showing the red carpet. Had a nice roast,mashed potatoes and tried a new twist on the green bean casserole that we saw on Ree Drummond's show on the Food Network. While I will say I enjoyed it very much,sadly the dish really made Lori ill,a small reminder that we still have a unwelcome friend in the house.
 Eating certain foods after gall bladder surgery and then chemo/radiation is like walking a mine field,you really have to watch your diet else you are in for a world of problems. Changing a diet is a slow process to be sure.
One of the things we have really missed is the Maurice salad over at Macy's. Before dinner last night,Lori mentioned she would love to have a salad from there but after yesterday,we have pushed it back a few weeks.
   The normal time frame for a radiation patient to get their full range of appetite back is on a average of 3-4 months,we have just crossed the one month mark. The fact that Lori is enjoying a lot of her favorites is pretty remarkable and Dr. Johnston has commented on that is good sign. And speaking of the doctors...we will be back in Ann Arbor on Friday for a follow-up visit with our pals in Radiation. Fun and adventure to be had for sure...
  Thought the Oscars was so-so..holy crow,who knew Hugo was so good? The only thing I knew about the film was that Guy Pearce was in it. And then it started cleaning up on all the technical awards,I thought "Harry Potter"would get a couple of those as a way of saying "thank-you"after a great run of movies but nope,that didn't happen.
   And what the hell is a "Rango" and how did it beat out "Puss In Boots" for best animated film?
Was happy to see "The Artist" clean up on all the big awards,everyone I know who has seen this movie has been enchanted by it and its star Jean Dujardain,has been so humble in all of his interviews,its refreshing to see new unknown talent rise into the spotlight to be sure.
  Now while I enjoy watching Meryl Streep,I thought it was a big mistake that she won for "The Iron Lady" a film that was roundly panned by both critics and moviegoers alike. Her performance was excellent but when the movie is does that equal Oscar? "The Help"'s Viola Davis should have won hands down last night for her moving performance as a maid in the deep south during the '60s.  Maybe it a back handed way of rewarding Meryl for her role in "Julie/Julia" which was very charming.
  It was a so-so show overall,one that won't really stick after its all said and done.

Tomorrow is our state's primary and I'll be working a very long day...I'm scheduled to work from 6 am to at least 9 pm and I am so damned happy to be doing it. A chance to actually a few bucks is most welcome. Our polling station is at a active fire station,its going to be a little strange hearing engines going out on calls while helping folks complete the ballot process.
  The best thing about this primary season being over is the ending of those damn robocalls. We get about 10 a day from Mittens and Insantorum who spending 30 seconds talking shit about each other. Its the one thing that I agree about both men...they're both full of shit. Mittens is a outta touch multi-millionaire who instead of coming together with Obama and tweaking his healthcare reform that he started and Obama advanced,he is now spouting ads that he would overturn the reforms!!
  And Santorum looks and sounds more and more like an American Osama bin Laden,a foaming at the mouth mad dog who is promising everything to anyone at everyone's expense. Politics as usual....I'll blog about I experience tomorrow on Wednesday.

Actress Sean Young was arrested last night at a party in Santa Monica. That is sad to hear,because of her drinking issues,it seems like Hollywood has turned their backs on her and she really can't seem to find any roles these days. Which is a shame because she really is a good actress. The good thing the report didn't mention was that she was drinking and that it was a "citizen's arrest" which probably means she was trying to crash a party. Of course we'll all know the scoop once the stalkerazzi shows come on tonight...just hope it was a just a misunderstanding cause I'm still a fan of hers and I would like to see her work again soon.

Okay,that is all I got for today....enjoy your day and I'll be on Wednesday.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

21st Century Battlefield: Detroit

Its 11:45 am
     Greetings the time of this entry,I thought I would be writing about our big snowfall of the season. Instead,I can say that we didn't even get a inch of snow,the storm bypassed us and dumped its snow further north of us. Which was a bummer of sorts because we were looking forward to being snowed in for a day.
  With those plans out the door,we ended up doing our usual running around. We decided to take a run over to the little Eastern Market meat store that had recently been bought by a family who has a few other stores. The new manager,a guy named Marvin,had really welcomed us the last time we visited,it was a very pleasant experience and we had decided to do all of our big meat purchases there.
  As many of you know,meat prices are skyrocketing up as of late,basic ground beef prices are really high and even the steroid chicken is inching up as well. So you know we were pleased to find Eastern Market's prices were actually a lot cheaper then our usual supermarket we go to.
  But as we pulled in,we were greeted by a boarded up store. At first we thought they had already folded but since the doors were covered by boards,I said "They had a fire". I got out of the car and went inside the Papa's Pizza and asked the counter girl what had happened,sure enough,she said it had been a fire.
 So back we went to our side of town and thinking we'll have to make a trip to the Piggly Wiggly in Detroit before too much longer.
 I'm watching Fox 2 News at 10 as we always do when a story by journalist Alexis Wiley catches my eye.
It seems that a pizza chain has recently come under attack by a very dedicated arsonist. Since the Super Bowl,3 of this small chain's stores have been hit,2 stores suffered major damage and one store was saved before any serious damage was done.
  The owner says that maybe someone who is jealous of his chain's little growth in business now has a vendetta and is trying to burn him out one store at a time. The chain's name? Papa's Pizza...the same one who has a store right next to the Eastern Market store we were going to shop it. The report didn't mention this store in Canton in the story most likely since it wasn't affected but after hearing this story,maybe the arsonist just hit the wrong target in the dark and Eastern Market suffered for it.
  Who knew being a pizza store owner would be such a pain in the ass? We have heard many stories of different pizza joints going to war with each other....arson,vandalizing and even going so far as to put mice in a rival's store in hopes of the health department closing it down.  Just makes you shake your head...its hard enough competing with the major chains but then to try and take out any guy who is just trying to make a living...
   The shooting death of little Delrick Miller has been the talk of the week. I touched on this story in my Free Speech entry that you can scroll down the page and read.
 Delrick was a 9 month baby who was murdered by 2-3 men who opened up on the house and put 40 AK-47 bullets into it in the middle of the night. At first,it seemed that it may have been gang-related but upon further investigation by the Detroit Police department,the shooting may have tied to a baby shower at a local meeting place. Seems like there were 3 baby showers scheduled and a beef broke out over seating. This being Detroit,you know how this problem was going to get solved....with violence and a fight. And sure enough,that is what happened. A fight broke out among two sets of people who were supposed to be celebrating a pending birth.
  But someone must have followed Delrick's family back to their house and decided a little ghetto payback was called for. You just gotta love Detroit....a van creeped up,2-3 fellas jumped,cocked,rocked and shot 40 rounds into the house.
  Now of course (and this is the part that always me laugh) you get the local media all pumped and asking "What can be done to stop the shootings"? Its almost like a bad grade Z SyFy movie....watching everyone running around with their hands up in the air....
  And sure enough on the local Let It Rip program,they featured one of the city's few bright spots,Raphael Johnson and Angelo Henderson of the Detroit 300.  The Detroit 300 is a volunteer community group that works hard to make this city safe. They are able to go where no cops can and glean information from folks who are afraid or don't care enough to tell the cops what they know. The 300 has helped catch at least 10 very dangerous felons so far.
   The Let It Rip panel talked about the shooting in depth and what can be done. Now while I have never met Raphael Johnson,I think of him as a real hero. He once killed a man and served time for his crime. But he has working very hard,every day,to make amends for his awful crime by forming the 300 and trying to change the black man's mentality for pure violence. His impassioned plea for his fellow men of Detroit to take back the street is from the heart,he really wants to make a difference.
  But on Thursday night,he completely (excuse my pun) misfired. He was addressing the shooters of little Delrick and said "We know you didn't MEAN to kill the baby. Turn yourself in,we know that you are not the person the world thinks you are".
Uh,Raphael.....I hate to disagree with you here but you are so wrong. You don't grab a AK-47,drive down with some homiies,get out and pump 40 shells into a house unless you are aiming to kill anyone you can. This was a premeditated act of cold blooded murder and the real miracle is no one else got blasted as well.
You are feeding into the no accountability that seems to have gripped our society,there is no excuse for this action...none. Yes,these killers DID mean to shoot Delrick,they meant it every time they squeezed off a round.
   But back to the hand wringing....why is it that no one ever mentions banning the fucking weapons that are awash in our streets. Lets break it down....poverty has eroded our self worth. Think about it,what does a person with no real prospect in life have to lose in turning to crime and the gun? Broken schools,the broken one to show a child that their live means something other then a chance to get a bigger food stamp check,to become another pawn in a gang,,no real chance to gain a real skill.
 When you have nothing to aim for,then grabbing a gun as problem solver becomes a no brainer. When you have a goal,a dream,someone to become precious,doesn't it? Somewhere in Detroit,this vital connection has been lost.
   They showed a clip of Let It Rip's legal gadfly,Charlie Langton,asking about what could be done to stem the violence and he talked to 3 young black males who tried to claim their block,warning people not to come to Detroit...but instead of coming off as tough and OG,it sounded more like a plea. That you take your own life in your hands if you venture anywhere but downtown.
  We know what must be done but until we as a nation,rise up and say enough,kids like Delrick are just merely target practice.
  One more Made In Detroit story....yesterday morning,while Mitten Romney was getting ready to speak at Ford Field (I noticed how the teapublican candidates didn't venture into the 'hoods) a 86 year man went to get gas at a BP gas station at 10:30 in the morning. As Aaron Brantley,a World War II vet started filling his tank,a young thug jumps him from behind and throws him down on the ground and carjacks Aaron's car.
The gas station's camera shows Aaron crawling on his hands and knees towards to store and people walking by him and offering no help to him at all...after what might have seemed an eternity,Aaron manages to reach the store where the cashier calls 911.
  But this being Detroit,no cops or EMS roll out and Aaron is now feeling a lot of pain and he asks someone to drive him home. Shockingly,someone agrees and drive Aaron home. Somehow he ends up in the ER where it was found that Aaron had suffered a broken leg.
 But gets better. Turns out that Aaron had just gotten his car back four days before this befell him. See,someone had stolen Aaron's car and stolen his radio and tires. He had just gotten it back from the shop when it taken from him again.
Made In Detroit......

Aaron Brantley's story

Let It Rip: How Do We Stop the Violence?

Thanks for reading

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Falkland Islands,revisited.

Its 9:10 am...

   Good morning everyone....hope everyone is doing well today. I see so many of Paul's friends came over to support my entry on his situation,some of you signed his petition over at and my dear friend Marselle even reposted it on few Occupy groups. Like I told Paul,I wish I had the 10,000 voices/readers to carry his story forward but I am very grateful for the people who came by and supported him. I'll be posting updates on what is going on as well...
   Looks like our streak without a major snowfall is going to end. The weather folks are saying we going to get hit with a 4-8 inch snowstorm tonight going into Friday. So this means I'll be saddling up the iPod and going to walk to our local gas station to get some fuel for our little snowblower. Of course,I'll have to shovel first before Rusty can be anywhere effective.
 Lori and I enjoyed a nice day off yesterday...we ended up in Ann Arbor because she had forgotten a package in a store where she was training a new store manager. So we had to venture out to get it and decided to chill at the huge Barnes and Noble for a couple of hours of lounging and enjoying a coffee.
 This store is so beautiful,maybe a shade behind the store in Royal Oak but its still very impressive. I read that sales have really improved for BN...all those people who liked Borders had to go somewhere to get their book fix,right?
 I was happy to see the store had both Combat Aircraft and Military Combat magazines in stock,it has been a while since I have been able to check them out. And so glad I did...been sort of keeping a eye at the rising tensions once again between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. These two fought a war back in 1982 after Argentina thought Britain was too weak to retake the Falklands after they invaded.
The Brits proved them as they pretty much destroyed most of the front-line fighter aircraft of the Argentine Air Force and sunk the navy's flag ship,the light cruiser,General Belgrano. The Brits paid a steep price with heavy naval losses including the destroyer the HMS Sheffield.
  After the war,Argentina was pretty much cut off from the world and their economy went into a major tailspin. But they worked hard to regain their international status and repairing relationships,helping out with support during the Iraq war and several natural disasters. The U.S. helped rebuild their air force by selling them the AR-4 Fightinghawk. The relations between the countries also have improved.
But flash forward to today and a dull drumbeat can be heard as Argentina once again is pressing claims that the Falklands is theirs. They are once again thinking the UK is too weak and spread out to perhaps defend the islands.
  This is a mistake on Argentina's part. While it is true that Britain is in an even worse military position then in '82 in regards to defending the Falklands,I think while the US and NATO stood aside while these two fought,it won't be the case this time. The UK has been at the US's side in both Iraq,Afghanistan and Libya and that will put the US in Britain's debt. And they'll need the help as the Royal Navy no longer has any active aircraft carriers and they sold their 72 Harrier jets to the Marine Corps. While the Brits are building two carriers,they won't be ready til 2020 and the jets they are going to use on them,the F-35,is still years away from being ready.
  The Brits do have much improved defenses after the war. They now have a patrol ship that is permanently stationed there,the HMS Clyde along with a Type 45 guided missile destroyer,the HMS Dauntless which will take up station this month. And despite signing a treaty that states no nuclear submarines will allowed in the area,the Brits do indeed have a submarine in place as well. It was a nuclear submarine,the HMS Conqueror,that sank the AFA General Belgrano during the war.
  The RAF now has Flight 1435 on a new airbase they built after the war...4 Eurofighter Typhoons are there along with 4 support aircraft. But if a shooting war started,the RAF would need help in sending reinforcements because its a very,long flight from the UK to the Falklands and with no carriers other then a helicopter carrier,the HMS Ocean,the Royal Air Force would have to conduct several inflight refueling missions. This would add additional stress to the pilots who would be stuck for those hours and then be asked to perform a potential combat mission...a tough job.
  While I think what the Brits have in place will be enough to keep the peace,its just another hot spot that bears watching.
    After we left the bookstore,we had a nice lunch at Olga's and then headed back home and made a stop at the Dollar Tree where I got my book fix by picking up two new reads.
 At home,just had a relaxed evening.....Lori was played Slingo and I continued to load the iPod with a lot old favorites. So far I've been uploading whole albums but I think I'm done,I'm going back and deleting the songs that don't really grab my ear. But I really do enjoy is listening to iTunes while I job search or write a blog entry. I hit shuffle and off we go....I find music really helps with the flow of my writing,well that and seeing Derek curled on the couch watching me.
  Unless I'm trying to read.....once he sees me reading,then its all about jumping on my lap and wanting to bury his face in my arms. He'll warm up for about 20 minutes then jump back down...until he sees the book open again.
  Speaking of animals,I was going to write about a different topic today but I have decided to wait til either Saturday or next week to talk about the Zanesville Zoo incident. Lori had signed me up to get Esquire magazine and my first issue came yesterday. Included was perhaps one of the saddest stories I have ever read. Its extremely haunting and a lot worse then most folks know about. Two men at odds sparked such a senseless tragedy.....and knowing me,I have some thoughts that I'll share on this.
  Like to extend a warm welcome to my new follower Stella and her grumpy iguana,Zorro. If you take a peek at the blogs I follow,I have added Stella's to the list. Its a very fun read and I hope you take a minute to go check her out.
  Okay,that is all I got time for,I have to go do some errands and get ready for the snow storm. I will return here on Saturday,hope you will also.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

For my friend Paul...

Its 10:45 am

   Woke up to a mini-blizzard of snow this morning..which we weren't expected to get. The weather gurus here said it would just be sort of rainy but I guess they misfired.
  I have often touched on my past in San Jose where I worked as a talent buyer at various clubs. One of the best things I can recall is how being a outsider to the music scene when I started at Marsugi's was how quickly I was accepted. As I started to learn about the history of San Jose's music legacy,I always heard of one name....Catflinger. I know,I did a double take when I heard that as well....because Catflinger doesn't exactly sound like a name of a very nice guy. My first couple of years I heard the name but never met the man.
  Then I heard his real name was Paul Goeltz and that he used to book shows at the Pub at San Jose State. Now I had been to a couple of shows that a pal Brian had put on and I can tell you,the Pub was sort of smallish but the shows Paul did...well they still talk about them today,decades later. He booked bands like Primus and Faith No More when they were just cutting baby teeth as bands,before they became major players in the music business.
 A new club opened up downtown called Toons,which was owned by a guy named Steve Hoey. Steve was a very funny guy and he liked the nightclub business as well. He thought a dueling piano bar would do well in downtown San Jose...and about 3-4 months later,he found it wouldn't. That happens in the club world,sometimes a format you think will work,will but you have to be ready if it bombs.
  Toons soon changed it format,out went the pianos,in came the cover bands and cheap beer to draw the college crowds.  Soon the club began to draw a good crowd and a couple of us ventured down to see how Steve was doing it. And it was on that night,I met Paul in person for the first time. I had always saw him as a older,heavier guy with a smoke in one hand and a beer in another wearing a old leather jacket. I could see him with a old Germs or Flesheaters t-shirt,talking Flipside or BAM magazine. But that wasn't the case at all...Paul looked he lived in the mountains,a throwback to Woodstock. He was doing the sound for Toons and it was a pretty easy gig since a cover band was set up,you really didn't have much to do.
 Before I could introduce myself,Paul said "I know you,you're Eddie's new booker. You have done some great shows". Now I worked every show and attended the shows that I didn't work and I had never seen Paul downtown. But the guy knew what bands I had booked? I was pretty humbled because this was the guy everyone talked about...without him,there may not have been a SoFA area but because he proved there was a market for live original music....the club owners took a chance and soon Red Light district gave way to a little thriving club scene.
   But what really surprised me about Paul was his music wasn't punk,alternative or even rock....Paul loved the Grateful Dead. And still it turned out,it was the reason why we never really saw Paul downtown,he was a Deadhead. A Deadhead was a fan who traveled with the band while they toured. Since the Dead had several side bands as well,Paul went on though tours as well.
  As we became friends,I asked him how he picked his bands and he said he couldn't explain how he knew only that he had a feeling when a band was hot.  Remember,this was waaaaay before the internet and massive media that provides bands with mass exposure. Many times,you would get a cassette tape or a 7 inch record or perhaps read about a band in a little fan zine that you picked up in a record store.
  Now I am not a Grateful Dead fan....but I would like to hear the stories Paul told about selling brownies or different oils to the throngs of fans who traveled with him. There would be long stretches when Paul was gone from Toons and Steve would doing sound. He would stand outside and say "I wish Paul would hurry the hell back home". Steve never replaced Paul,he knew he had a great guy and he trusted him like no other.
  After my first rocky stint at the Club Oasis didn't go as plan,I felt pretty down....Paul had heard and looked me up and talked to me. Not every job is going to work,especially in the live music business is what he told me. You just have to stay focused,keep listening and be ready to go when the time comes to book again. Through Paul,I was able to do a few local shows at Toons before I moved to Mountain View.
  I didn't see my friend for a long time since I wasn't downtown much anymore but I always held on to his words and when a local showcase I was doing at a local coffee shop went really well,I got a chance to work at the Agenda Lounge...I had taken his advice to heart and it paid off.
   Flash forward to today....
How many of you know of someone affected by this recession...besides me? No job,poor health,lost a job,lost savings,a 401k or a house? I know of several people who have had this happen to them and it sucks.
Foreclosures in Michigan are just awful....just as they are everywhere and when you hear about folks who have lost theirs homes to banks which needed and cried so badly for a federal bailout,its even worse. Of all the people,those banks,like Bank of America or Chase should have the most compassion because they themselves were on the edge of losing it all.
 I bring this up because I have discovered since reconnecting with my friend Paul on here that he has fallen on some very rough times. He has suffered a crippling back injury that has left him unable to really work. He is going through a divorce which in California,means you have to split your assets. Between the injury and this,he has lost his savings and now is looking at losing his home.
  He has tried to contact Bank of America to get a re-fi but to no avail....the new government bail out plan will come online too late for him,by the time it does,the bank will have foreclosed on him.
I can understand his fear,being slowly squeezed dry with no where really to turn...all Paul wants is just a chance to sit down with a banker and see what he needs to do to save his home,that is all he or any of us wants. Just a fighting chance,just as they got when the Fed bailed out their asses.
  Paul has started a petition on in which he is asking you to sign in support of him. I myself have signed it and I hope a few of you will also do so.
  When Paul asked me to blog about this,I said I would be happy too,to give back in a small way to man who made a lot of bands,artists and lovers of good help a raise a voice for him.
I wish I had 10,000 readers who I could have forward this entry all over but I don't. So I'm asking whoever reads this to reach and forward this entry among your own circles.

To sign Paul's petition....

Thanks for reading.

Paul- Hope it helps
Renee- breathe *s*
MM- don't be a stranger

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book List 2012 - Updated 20 Feb 2012

Just a list of the books I have read or are reading in 2012.

NF is for Non Fiction
* means I'm currently reading it.

Feel free to share your list or recommend a book that you really enjoyed.

1. A Cold Heart - Jonathan Kellerman -  413 pages.
2..Detective - Kathy Burke (NF)   - 334 pages
3. Schuyler's Monster - Robert Rummel- Hudson (NF) - 276 pages
4. Wicked Prey - John Sandford  - 435 pages
5. Constellation of Cats -edited by Denise Little - 307 pages
6. Iacocca - Lee Iacocca and William Novak (NF) - 358 pages
7. Memories of World War II  - edited by Kelly Smith and others (NF) - 175 pages
8.  The Book on Bush - Eric Alterman and Mark Green  (NF) - 419 Pages
9.  Glove Stories - Dave Kindred (NF) - 276 pages
10. Plum Lucky - Janet Evanovich  - 230 pages
11.. Dangerous Waters (NF) - John S. Burnett - 296 pages
12. Hollywood Monster (NF) - Robert Englund - 298 pages
13. The Devil's Right Hand Man (NF) -Stephen Michaud and Debbie Price - 277 pages
14.  No Retreat,No Surrender (NF) - Tom Delay w/Stephen Mansfield - 179 pages
15. The Game Within the Game  (NF) - Walt Frazier w/Dan Markowitz  - 152 pages
16. Pussycats (NF) - Hulton Getty - 108 pages
17. Top 50 Plays in Iowa Hawkeyes History (NF) - Mike Maxwell - 217 pages
18. Four Blind Mice - James Patterson  - 377 pages
19. For One More Day - Mitch Albom - 180 pages
20. Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul (NF)  - various - 384 pages
21. *The Conquerors (NF) - Michael Beschloss - 292 pages

Free Speech and other sprack on a Monday

 Its 12:32 pm

     Got iTunes on shuffle.....James Horner's score to "Braveheart" is the first song up. Got some coffee (my first cup in 3 days) and Derek Jeter is sitting on the couch reading my George Bush book. I know when he reads something good because he'll let out this low "meow" or a "pffft". Yeah,my cat likes his politics.

  Was wondering if anyone outside of the metro Detroit area heard about the 56 year old writing student who was suspended for writing a essay called "Hot For Teacher"which was based on his college teacher?
 Joseph Corlett,who is married,wrote his essay based on his teacher's looks. He used several sexually charged words in describing how his teacher appeared to him each day in class.
  Corlett,who attends Oakland University in Rochester,Michigan,is a aspiring writer and has received As from the same teacher about his other works in regards of his attraction to women. He said even his own wife didn't seem to have a problem with what he wrote. He also says he had never gotten so much as a warning from any faculty member in regards to his writing. Now he says that the university has violated his 1st Amendment rights and he is upset that school has suspended him for a year.
   Really....I mean,really? A 56 year married man is going to sit there and write a sexually charged essay about his professor and he has no problems with that? And of course he has given no thought to the teacher's rights and feelings. If she was upset enough to turn your ass in Joey,then you should have been talking to her and apologizing for acting more like a 13 year old junior high student. The fact is,you come across looking more like a potential stalker and rapist then you do a writer and a married man.
  The fact you are on every local TV station crying over your rights being "stepped on" and not once,even ONCE,saying that "Yes,I may have crossed the line with my teacher and I am deeply sorry for that" says everything that we need to know about you. And using the lame excuse that you based your story on a old Van Halen song is even more stupid,doesn't ya think Joey?
  I think the university had every right to suspend you and to protect the teacher's right not to have a student sit there and rape her with his thoughts and deeds. As Lori said,"If this had been on a job site,we wouldn't even  be having this discussion,because this would be a open and shut case of sexual harassment".
  I guess what really sort of creeps me about this...I wonder if this guy has daughters,one sort of shudders thinking about that given his self-admitted obsession with women.
  As for his "rights",free speech doesn't give you free reign to trample on someone's else rights. Maybe instead of a writing class,Joey might do well to sit in with a therapist or a women rape survivor's group and learn that they are people,not objects.

  Just heard on the news that a 9 month old baby was killed by two men who shot up the house with 2 AK-47s. Now I wonder if the local media will cover this story like they have Jane Bashera's murder,you know,24-7 coverage,prime-time specials. Hell,Fox 2's ace reporter Amy Lange was there so much on the Bashera case the Gross Pointe Park police made her a honorary cop!
 But for some reason,I don't think we'll get that...but I do like to think the community in Detroit will speak the hell up and turn these guys in. Neighbors said the two killers were in a grey van and stopped in the middle of the street. They calmly and slowly got out,armed themselves and just shot the shot out of the house. They then got back in their van and with no hurry,drove away leaving that baby broken and dead on the floor.
Good ol' Detroit strikes again....just praying that justice strikes back....

Okay.....let's go a little softer,shall we?

Lori's Aunt Emma turned 100 yesterday.  Just amazing....but the real bear is as it always is when shopping for Emma,just what do you give a person who turns 100??? My suggestion was a blind date with Justin Verlander but for some reason the family shot that down....
   I have a secret.....I think Il Divo is one of the coolest vocal groups ever.

Today is the first day of Spring Training for baseball. And of course the fans of the mighty Yankee Nation are once again excited. While we're sort of bummed that our team is still getting older without much youth coming in,the pitching staff is looking very strong and my early opinion of fighting the Red Sox for 3rd place may have been a little premature. If the Yanks can find a couple of good long men in the 'pen and lighten David Robertson's workload,the Yanks could definitely challenge for 2nd place. "Well Michael,why not first place?" I can hear some of you asking. Because Tampa Bay is loaded with excellent arms and with the Yankees getting out of the gate a little slower each year due to older players still finding their groove,Tampa will strike first and should be able to get nice lead in the AL Beast. Of course if Tampa struggles on the road,the Yanks can stay close and could contend.
  And yes,the Subway Series bet I have with my good buddy and New York Mets fan,Tom Leyden will take place for the 3rd year. And once again,the hunt is on for a cheap Mets cap...or hell,even a t-shirt. If any of my   readers can score me a cheap cap,I will gladly pay for long as its not more then the payroll of the real Mets team,you know....3 or 4 bucks should do it.
  The Tiger ownership has just installed a huge new big screen just in time for the season. While fans think it was installed to help the fans see the game better,it really installed so they could fit Prince Fielder on it for the TV feeds.
  Now as for the Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants.....

Well that is all I got for now......Derek has started chewing his Bush book....

Thanks for reading

Renee- thanks for the kind words.
Brad,Adrian and Sharon J - pfffft!
Slade and Coco- Can you help a fellow baseball pal with that Met's cap THIS year??
Tom- Not to worry,I won't be actually wearing it this year!!
Smokey Myers - home at last!!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Its 11:05 am

     Today is the first day of Spring Training.....of course you know ESPN will have live coverage of the players getting fitted for their jockstraps.
  I really don't have anything worthwhile to post today,you would think with all the madness in the world today,it would be easy to write something but the fact is,I really don't.
 I'm heading out to enjoy the day,play with Derek Jeter a little bit and do some chores.

Have a great Sunday everyone...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Never Forget and saying goodbye to a real legend

Its 8:51 am

    Its a little hazy this morning...while the weatherman says we might get some snow flurries,I am thinking we'll will not be any part of that...just another mild-ish winter day here in SE Michigan.
 Pretty excited that I have gotten my 5th person to follow this here blog. Growing pains are the roughest part of getting a good blog off the ground. But I know its working because of all the visitors from all over. Some folks I know are reading this because I recognize the towns on the list (hello Chris,Kerri,Michelle) and of course I am reading the feedback on the original IC page as well. Thank you all!
  Yesterday Lori and I went to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington. We have often passed it while on different outings and had always wanted to check it out but the subject matter had really sort of stopped us. Unlike going to a art museum where is there beauty and brightness,we knew what was in the Holocaust museum would be anything but beautiful and colorful.
How did the Holocaust Memorial come about? This is from the HMC's website,I'll be posting the link at the bottom of the entry.

The Holocaust Memorial Center (HMC), the first freestanding institution of its kind in the United States, was the fulfillment of a dream nurtured by Founder and Executive Vice President Rabbi Charles H. Rosenzveig and embraced by his fellow members of Shaarit Haplaytah ("the Remnant," survivors of the Holocaust).  It was first proposed twenty years before its construction.  Through two decades of planning, community support grew, and the Center’s objectives expanded beyond simply creating a memorial.  
Ground was broken for the Holocaust Memorial Center on the property of the Jewish Community Campus at Maple and Drake Roads in West Bloomfield, Michigan, on December 6, 1981. Almost three years later, in October 1984, the Holocaust Memorial Center was dedicated and opened.
The exhibits, at this location, were designed by internationally known museum designer James Gardner of London, England.  He also created the Museum of the Diaspora in Tel Aviv.  Gardner brought together the finest artwork and modern technology to create a facility that was, at the time, unmatched anywhere in the world.  Through audio and video displays, the visitor could see the Holocaust as never before.

We had made plans to see the museum last week and normally when we go out on this type of outing,we get up early and go. There is a sense of excitement but I'm going to be honest here,we dragged our feet yesterday. We really want to go but the sadness knowing what was behind those walls was daunting to face.
 We had our family meeting,breakfast and then ran a couple of errands before finally heading over to Farmington.
  We got there at 11:30 am. The parking lot was pretty empty as we pulled in. As we parked,we saw what the new piece of history that the HMC had received that made me want to come. The museum had gotten a boxcar that had been used by the SS during the war. The boxcar was sitting outside in a small display,the museum had yet to formally set up a proper display but just seeing it was sobering enough.
  We walked in and paid our admission just as a small group of kids were leaving. The two guards who acted as admissions clerks were very professional and respectful.
  The building outside is different then from any museum you'll ever see. Its a two story building and when you drive by you'll see it looks like its wrapped in barb-wire,a symbol of the concentration and death camps that the Jewish people endured.
   Sadly,they had a "no cameras" policy so I am unable to post anything inside of the Center but then again,I don't think I would because its a museum you and your family need to see in person. 
 We started our self-tour reading about the history,traditions and artifacts about Jewish life. There was a massive timeline on a wall with important events both in the Jewish world and the rest of world. We saw that Germany was by no means the only country to attack the Jews,anti-semantic actions have been conducted against the Jews by other European countries as well as the United States.
  After reading the timeline,we started looking at the artifacts of the Jewish faith and were working towards the contributions that the Jewish people have made here in America.
  We were interrupted by a guide who asked if we wanted to take part in a guided tour,we said yes and joined about 15 other folks in a large room. 
  The speaker told us about the background of the HMC. It cost 17 million to build the center and its all privately funded. One very gracious man donated 10 million himself  make sure future generations see what so many people went through just because of who they are.
   The tour started with display on a wall of all the camps and the countries where Hitler had the Jews killed.
Hitler killed over 12 million people in the Holocaust,6.3 millions were Jews. I had never seen the national breakdown of how many Jews were killed by country but the research of the HMC now showed that.
3 million Polish Jews were killed by the SS in Poland and Russia suffered 1.5 Million dead.
Other counties also suffered greatly while some,like the Jews in Africa,only had 526 killed. A African-American lady asked why only 500 were killed,the guide said that when Hitler asked the King of Morocco to send Germany their Jews,the king said,"We have no Jews here,only the people of Morocco",thus saving countless lives.
   And there was another reason as well...the German Army of North Africa was very small and the Germans were having a devil of a time just trying to get supplies to Edwin Rommel. The Royal Navy and Air  Force were playing havoc with German and Italian shipping and they just couldn't afford to waste any resources shipping anything but military aid. Of course we didn't know this until after Germany was defeated. 
  The speaker then took us back where Lori and I first started and we decided to leave the little tour and forge ahead.  We went back to where we were,turned a corner and were greeted by the horror that was the Holocaust. Its times like this that you really have to fight for the right words to describe what you are looking at. And I don't know if I'm that writer......
  It starts with a timeline of Hitler and the rise of the Nazi Party,how they gained power by blaming their problems on the Jew,homosexual and the "sub-human"Slav races. The rise of anti-semantic attacks increased,book burnings,people being driven from their homes,The Night of the Broken Glass on 25 Nov 1938.  Of course they have pictures and displays of these events. 
  You can see the other major events that took place leading up to start of war in Poland in 1939. After that you see the pictures of the Jews being herded into boxcars,sometimes they were just shot dead. You get the very uncomfortable feeling that those poor souls were actually the lucky ones.
  The rest were marched into camps and either killed by gunshot,gas or worked/starved to death. So many terrible times were done. There was a story of how the striped PJs that the prisoners were forced to wear were often re-used time and again after the original owner was killed. 
  Lori has actually been to Dachau and she said one of her strongest memories that her tour guide shared was that before the Jews were put into the gas chambers,they were told to take off their shoes and that when the Allies liberated those camps,they found a big room filled to ceiling with pairs of shoes.
  They had a section that included the Warsaw Uprising...this brought tears to my eyes because my old friend and boss Jacek Rosicki lost members of his family during this time. They actually visited the area when they were on vacation and his wife Ann wrote me and told me how moving and haunting it was. 
I had never even known that in all the years I had known Jacek,he had been affected by this terrible event. 
The further you went into the center,the darker it got...and they had made a gate to Auschwitz  so you felt like you were entering it...and they also had a replica of that boxcar where you could just imagine being stuffed in it with hundreds of others and then stepping out to be met by the SS guards.
  You can't help get a sick feeling in your stomach and thinking how today we are marching towards the same thing with the NDAA and Patriot Acts being put into play. And the new internet,cameras and allowing UAV to fly overhead and yes,Renee,I can see and understand your fears and concerns.
  As were finished our tour,we were encouraged to hear a Holocaust survivor speak. It was a woman who lived outside Minsk in Belorussia was only 5 years old but remembered everything. Her accent was very heavy and she was very hard to understand at first but as she went on,she got stronger as she recounted her sad story.
  She lost a aunt,a brother and a father. Her brother was only 12 years old when he was killed trying to sneak some extra food back to the family and her aunt was killed for breaking curfew by 10 minutes. Both were shot dead and their bodies burned.  She spoke for about 30 minutes and you could have heard a pin drop in the room.
 She was gracious enough to answer questions and since the museum closes at 3 pm on Friday,we had to go since it was now 3:30 pm.
 The Jewish people have a saying in regarding the Holocaust and its one that we Americans would be remember,"Never Forget".
  Because if we can happen again and it can happen to us.

I like to say goodbye to real legend....a voice and a life that was cut down way to soon. A person who brought great joy with their gift,who gave so much to their craft and was still doing so when they passed on.
And hell no,it sure ain't Whitney Houston.....

Its Gary Carter,who played baseball for the Montreal Expos,the San Francisco Giants and of course a member of the mighty 1986 New York Mets team who beat the Boston Red Sox.
 I loved watching Gary Carter play,other then Thurman Munson,Carter was my favorite catcher when he played BECAUSE of the play he loved the game.
  Despite playing in that hellhole called the Montreal Expos,he gave them his best for 10 years. After that,he moved on to the Mets ,which he helped lead to that championship in '86.
   Gary was a 11 time All-Star,twice winning the MVP Award in that game,he won 3 Gold Gloves and 5 Silver Slugger awards and hit 324 homers in a 21 year career. And 2003,Gary was elected into the Hall of Fame. Soon after that he moved into coaching. After coaching in the minor league ranks for many years,Gary decided to take the head coaching job at a small Division II school,Palm Beach Atlantic.
Last May,it was discovered that Gary had developed a stage IV brain cancer and it was inoperable. Despite that,Gary fought on and managed to coach his school's Opening Day this year before dying peacefully at 57 years old.
   Its sorta of pathetic that while Gary did it the right flag will be lowered at half staff (and I do believe he wouldn't had wanted that anyways),no live coverage of his funeral,no cover of Sports Illustrated will remember Gary Carter. We,who honor a drug addicted singer who hadn't done anything to help anyone including her own daughter,is having two hour specials on her life and unending media coverage,while a true man of the people,who loved a simple game so much he was nicknamed "The Kid",is gone with almost nary a peep.  Shame on us.
Thank you Gary Carter....thank you for all the great memories and of course,thank you for beating those damned Red Sox!!

To learn more about the Holocaust Memorial Center:

Okay,that is all I got for now.....thanks for reading!

bear- Thank you for your prayers,you know we adore you very much!
Jacek and Ann- thank you for letting me share my feelings about your trip.
Amy - hope you are home today rather then tomorrow,hospitals are no fun!
Brad,Slade and Tom - I hope I did Gary proud.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Randomness and finally the return of a old favorite!

Its 11:21 am

   Just a fast little entry....
I know what is a weak point here in blogging at Blogspot. The comment cannot comment here very easily unless you have a Blogspot/Blogger account or a Gmail account. Which makes sense since Google owns the site,hence why you can't post any videos unless they are on YouTube.
 I have gotten several notes and comments in the old group that they liked/disliked the entry but hardly any comments here itself. Sort of sucks...but blogging here overall is pretty fun and there are a TON of good writers on here that you can explore so signing up for a account may not be such a bad thing.
   The second bit of news I have is finally bringing back a interview series I ran over on DeadSpace called "8 Questions with...." which garnered a lot of traffic. I interviewed just about everyone I was inspired to ask some jazz singer Jane Monheit,Gretchen Peters,journalist Stephen Clark and many others. Many were just ordinary folks who had no claim to fame but were interesting people nonetheless.
 I have been wanting to bring back this series for a LONG time and now I have done so. So don't be too shock to get a message from me asking you for a interview!
   The first person that will be featured in the 8 Questions series will be author Joan Lemon,who has written a very nice horror anthology called "Night Shade". So I will post that interview pretty soon and see who else we can talk to.
   Has anyone checked the new show on the National Geographic Channel called "Doomsday Preppers"?
The show features 4 different families who are preparing for a major event that will cause our society to erupt in a earthquake,EMP event,depression and even a super volcano! You get to see how these folks store food,weapons,resources in constant readiness for that event. Some of folks are hardcore,some are just a little goofy but their belief in being ready is interesting to watch.
  Now while in no way are we prepared for anything that major,we do have a pantry in our basement where we have stocked up on a few items because of my not having a job as of yet. We have a deep freezer along with shelving that we store food and basic needs on. Many times we have shopped our pantry in making our weekly menu.
 But these folks take this to a whole new having over 100k in food put away. Some folks have turned their homes into compounds and have built defenses,including fall back (or in Prepperspeak.."bug out places") positions in case the compound is threatened with being overcome by invaders.
I know it sounds a little far-fetched but when you look at a place like Haiti that even today is completely wiped out from that earthquake,these folks make more sense then one might give them credit for.
The show airs on Tuesday nights....worth checking out.

Well that is all for now....Lori and I will be going to the Holocaust Museum in Farmington tomorrow. Lori has actually visited the real camps when she and her friend Shawn went to Europe years ago. But this will be our first time to this scared place. I will blog about our visit on Saturday.

Thanks for reading!

Tracey and Dawn.....thank you so much for your feedback!
Scorpion- Will we see you on Preppers??
Brad - My thanks to the Pirates for taking A.J. off our hands.
Lisa Ann- Hell yeah is right!!
Alyce- stay strong!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So you're Pro-Life? But are you really?

Its 12:14 pm

Sitting here with the mighty Barbara Manning ripping shit up on the iPod....its 40 degrees outside,the snow we got is slowly heading into the curbside.
  Today was my volunteer day for the TEFAP program my city runs. I stayed almost 3 hours helping out. I helped about 25 guests with their packages and broke down the boxes that the food came in.
The guests were chatty today,a lot of times they come in,we load the bags up and head out to the cars. Most,if not all,always say "thank you" or "have a blessed day". But today they  wanted to I took a few extra minutes to to listen while they talked. Its the least I can do....a guest told me that one of the two food giveaways in Westland has been closed due to the lack of funds. The other one is so swamped,they have have about 300+ that wait in line. Westland also has a police car stationed at the site and she said they are so unorganized compared to our program. Of course we are only helping 70 people on a regular basis so it allows us to work fast and as a well oiled machine. But if we were suddenly hit with with hundreds of needy folks,I like to think we could handle it as a team.
  So of cool to come in today and see my visitor tracker filled with different people from different places,including Russia. Now I don't know if they are really reading my blog or spambots but since I haven't gotten any goofy comments,I am thinking they are real folks and I'm here to say "welcome".

So....the gist of today's entry. As you all know the recent Obama decision to make churches offer birth control on any health insurance they offer is causing a little uproar. And I have to ask,why so serious?
The Catholic Church (and if I offend any Catholics...well,sometimes the truth does hurt) is leading voice against abortion rights as are many right wing teapublicans. But why are they? Why is a unborn fetus so much important then a living,breathing child or adult?
Nolan Finley is the editor of the editorial page and his voice is the voice of the Detroit News. And Nolan is about right wing leaning as they get,he is always taking potshots at any Democrat he sees fits that deserves it.
He is a frequent guest on the Let It Rip show that Fox 2 hosts on Thursday nights. Now I disagree with most everything he says...but after following the birth control flap and reading that 40 of the 50 most violent cities in the world are in Catholic countries,it got me thinking....are Pro-Lifers really pro-life?
  Let me ask you,what is your idea of life here in America? Go to school,go to college,get married raise a family,own a home,have a pool,retire somewhere nice.
  The American Dream,right? We all should be able to shoot for the dream,right? Not if you're a Pro-Lifer.
Nolan Finley,a teapublican,wrote a sobering editorial that bears to be read and talked about.
He writes in that if we here want to reduce violent crime,help kids quit dropping out of school,fight poverty...we need to really push the birth control here in Michigan. Michigan is awash in babies.
Nolan says "We have a baby problem here in Michigan. Too many babies are born to immature parents who don't have the skills to raise them,too many are delivered by poor women who can't afford them and too many are fathered by sorry layabouts who spread their seed like dandelions and then wander away from the consequences".

A joke I once heard "Whats the most confusing day in the ghetto? Father's Day". Yeah,some joke....

Back to Nolan's column:
"Last year in Michigan alone,43 percent of the babies born in Michigan were to single mothers. And though Medicaid pays for birth control,half the babies were born to mothers on welfare. 18% were born to teenagers who already had a child. And almost 20% were born to mothers with no high school diploma.
In Michigan,poverty is as much a cultural one as a economic one."

But lets be honest here....the Pro-Life movement is a racial attack on minorities,especially on the black and Latino communities. And of course,hiding behind the Bible to try and justify their hatred. Because how a so called man of God condemn a President for wanting to prevent anyone being born into abject poverty and call it murder yet stay absolutely quiet while this country drowns in a sea of app. 260 million privately owned guns. "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is not a subjective scripture to be applied at anyone's whim. And as we know,death comes in many shades and a murder,a drug addiction,being born in a society in which there is NO chance to live a worthwhile life. You see the PSAs of the guy showing poor kids living with no clean water,no food,no schools,no future....and you tell,how is he better being born then not. Instead of sinking our funds into welfare and encouraging the cycle of poverty to continue,by teaching and not rewarding these types of unwanted births,wouldn't be better to sink those funds in schools and colleges,allowing the kids we have now to be able to afford to go the school and improve both themselves and their communities?
 But see,that is what the Pro-Lifers are scared of....they WANT the unwanted births,the baby mama drama,the shows on Springer where a mom is DNA testing 9 men to see who is the baby daddy is.
They WANT the poverty,the continued cycle of violence and death,all the more for their own kids to have less competition for the classrooms,colleges and jobs.

From Nolan's column:
"I spoke to a educator who is dealing with a single mother in her 30s who has 12 kids with a 13th on the way. The kids have a assortment of fathers with one thing in common,no one wanted to marry their mother. This woman's womb is a poverty factory.
And who is supporting these kids? We,as taxpayers,are....the roughly 45,000 kids born on the welfare rolls is a major reason why Medicaid will eat up 25% of Michigan's entire budget for the YEAR!!!!"

That comes out to 16 Billion spent on these babies. 16 Billion that could be spent on better schools,equipment,AMBULANCES,job programs,road improvements,etc....instead we are losing these funds to so called Pro-Lifers who then sit back in their teapublican palaces and order cuts to the same social programs that these folks cling too to survive and call it an "entitlement". Aye,the snake has a forked tongue indeed,doesn't it?

Again...Nolan Finley writes:
  These kids are more likely to grow up to be a strain on Corrections spending or become welfare recipients themselves. They will drain money from the schools and universities that could break this cycle.  In the 1990s Michigan considered penalizing women who had more babies while on the welfare rolls but PRO-LIFE groups killed that idea out of fear it would lead to more abortions".

But not because that would have been unfair to the women because it takes two to tangle. Pro-Lifers don't care about women or their rights....never have,never will. And you are telling me there couldn't be a system designed to stop a woman from abusing the abortion process? Its not birth control and should never be considered as such.

Nolan,one more time.
   Now the state is trying other measures,including attacking school truancy and the new 4 year limit for welfare benefits. (After an initial outcry about that 4 year limit,there has been a upsurge in job training programs participation).
Now,says state Human Services Director Maura Corrigan,the state is trying to get at generational poverty. "We're studying positive incentives to change."
But she says the cultural breakdown is a strong tide to row against.
"We watching marriage move from being part of the social fabric to being merely optional",says Corrigan,who devotes her personal time to working with disadvantaged children. "The kids I mentor don't know people who are married".
They do know people whose irresponsible behavior is being subsidized by their neighbors. And as long as taxpayers of Michigan keep paying for them,those babies will keep coming.

So apply this column to your own state,your own inner cities and the next time someone says they are Pro-Life,ask them "Are you really"?.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

3 Days (includes a medical update)

Its 8:40 am
   Never fails....I go away for three days and the world changes on a dime. Where to start,what to say?
First,thank you for reading my last blog about Verily Vereen,I'm going to be pushing that entry a lot...I forwarded it to both Rep Hansen Clarke and to the White House. And based on my little visitor tracker,someone was paying attention. So who knows,maybe one voice can make a little difference...

 Its a snowy day here in SE Michigan here on Valentine's Day. Got iTunes up and on shuffle,blogging to music is one of my favorite ways to write and listening to Kristy MacColl (you are so sorely missed!) while Derek is camped out on the big comfy chair behind me. Once I get some coffee,we'll be ready to turn this mutha out...*s*

First,the big news....
  Yesterday was our re-scheduled appointment in Ann Arbor with Dr. Johnston. She talked and examined Lori and again expressed just how remarkable Lori is doing. She did indeed schedule us for another PET scan but it sounds like she looking a clean scan this time around and while she didn't say the "R" word,she has never sounded more hopeful. Of she did temper it a bit by saying if we needed to continue,they would have a next phase already mapped out.
 But Lori is feeling so much better and stronger,she says this is the best she has felt in two years. A great sign indeed! Of course once again,we turn our eyes to the PET scan and await what the results will be.

But of course the big news is the terrible loss of a major talent that was taken away much too early.  Last weekend author and speaker Jeffrey Zaslow was killed in a car accident while promoting his latest book.
Jeff was a best selling writer who co- wrote "The Last Lecture" w/teacher Randy Pausch who continued to teach while dying of cancer.
  He also wrote about Gabby Giffords and Captain Chesley Sullenberger,both books which are major bestsellers. He traveled everywhere to promote his work and was very well known for staying way past his signing time to talk to his readers and fans. Now while I had heard about the books and subjects above,I didn't know it was Jeffrey who had co-written/written these works. But thinking about it and listening to all the wonderful tributes pouring in on his death,I am not surprised. Thinking how compassionate one would have to be to sit and talk to someone dying,another who almost died and had suffered greatly and a man,who along with his aircrew,brought down a jet safely in a major river with no loss of sit there and gently coax into words what these folks were feeling,thinking and remembering.
  It takes an extremely gifted writer to do that and by accounts,Jeff was such a rare writer who could do this.
 Now while we didn't know Jeff,we do his wife...we watch Sherry Margolis every weeknight on the news on Fox 2 here in Detroit. Sherry is a very good anchorperson who isn't afraid to show her personality when she reports the news. Far too many times,you get anchors who act more like robots then really care about the people and issues they are reporting on. Sherry isn't like that at all and is one of the main reasons we watch Fox 2 on a daily basis.
To learn more about Jeffrey and his career:

 Saturday saw us taking a trip to Westland to get our taxes done. We had planned for a 10 am appointment but we had to go in later because we had to get our medical receipts in order....another fun fact of having a serious illness,you must be track of every slip of paper so you can claim it.
 We headed to the tax place,it was so bitterly cold. We passed several little malls and some of the businesses have people dressed up and holding a sign promoting their businesses. The local ordinance says you can't place a stationary sign on the sidewalk,so if you want a sign,it has to stay in motion. Hence why the folks are out there moving,sometimes in goofy costumes. But Good Lord,it was so cold last felt like doing one of two things....buying the sign holder a hot drink and/or driving to the shop,ask to see the owner and punching him in the throat for making these guys stand out there in the cold.
  Traffic was pretty thick and we eased our way to the tax office. While we were there,different workers were calling folks to say that the IRS was saying return checks would be late. Seems like a whole lot of fraud and ID theft was in place this year and combined with a new IRS computer program,its been hell for some folks.
 And of course you know Detroit had to get in the mix....seems like some tax workers at a local office decided to steal and cash some of the folks they were paid to help. The owner suspended 4 of his workers for the thefts,seems to me,he should be seeking to have them arrested and refund the victims not only their returns but the fee they were charged as well.
  We ended the day with some grocery shopping and headed home.
But in watching the news,we found out why our traffic was so heavy,a woman was killed on I-275 by the Michigan Ave. overpass. She had hit a patch of ice,spun her car,hit a barrier and then was t-boned by a Jeep. This caused a massive traffic backup and thus the above average traffic. The roads are icy because of last weeks snow. Add in today's snow PLUS we're expecting rain on Thursday and accidents will be plentiful if folks aren't careful.
  Sunday saw us heading to Taylor to one of our favorite little places,the Christmas Tree Shop. This is a deep discount store owned by Bed,Bath and Beyond. It really is more of a old fashioned General Store then anything else. You name it,this store has it. We picked up some pantry items,new kitchen gadgets,some tablecloths,a beautiful pasta cookbook and I even found a fun looking Blu-Ray movie for only 5 bucks.
Now we had a coupon that saved us 10 bucks on 50 spent. We thought we had 30 bucks in goods but when we had 40...we decided to get a few more items to take advantage of our coupon. We had a good laugh at that because that is how we are now.
   Came home and cooked a roast and baked a cake. And then we did something we hadn't done in years...we watched the Grammy Awards. Normally I avoid this show like the plague but Lori and I wanted to watch Adele collect her 6 trophies and sing live.
  We set up our little coffee table up and had dinner in there while the show was on. While the awards were predictable (they are based on SoundScan sales),the live performances were pretty good....enjoyed Bruno Mars channeling a little Morris Day and Taylor Swift is pretty spunky as well. One can't get the feeling that little Taylor carries a mean streak in her when she gets crossed. The Foo Fighters tore it up as well and of course Adele was amazing. I really hope she takes care of that voice,it really quite lovely.
 But there was bad moments as Katy Perry,wow,did that suck...and just when I was thinking of getting into Nicki Minaj,she gave us that mess? Coldplay? More like Snoreplay....
And I guess Whitney Houston finally cashed in her chips....I used to have her on my Celebrity Dead Pool list 4 or 5 years running. I know she was supposed to be making a comeback but drugs and a heavy smoking habit had robbed her voice YEARS ago. I don't think people are mourning her today as much as they are mourning what she USED to be years ago.

    Monday saw us in Ann Arbor and then we came home. Had a great lunch and did more bill paying and other exciting stuff like that. While Lori took a nap,I downloaded enough songs to get me past 1,000 on the iPod. We ran more errands and finished our day by watching the rest of Season 2 of the Mary Tyler Moore show.
   I stayed up to catch Kevin Dietz's report on Channel 4 on how people talk about Detroit via hidden cameras. It was interesting but pretty flawed when they had a local shrink try and say anyone putting down Detroit is the one who has problems. Really? So I guess the 9 people that shot in a 24 hour period are only to considered a source for a "Pure Michigan" ad? (4 people,including a 17 year old died,5 were wounded).
But look at the report yourself and decide.

And on that note.....I'm outta here for now. I have a class to get ready for today. Thank you for reading and take a second to to become a Follower or drop a comment!

Happy Valentine's day to everyone...

John/Dayle - Thank you for reading
Paul G - I agree and I will do just that-thanks for following me here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

24 May 2011

Its 9:06 am

   Its a cold overcast morning,looks like the Queen of Snow really must have been dancing hard last night because it sure LOOKS like snow. We are still on track to get a inch or less starting around 4 pm-ish.
I see another of the original IC has followed me here....I thank you a lot for that,Paul. Sort of cool to check in and see another reader has joined up. We're up to 5 now....and very thankful you are all here.

  24 May 2011

   Last year on that day here in Detroit,a fight broke out on a neighborhood street. Yelling,screaming..who knows what the beef was but in typical American style,someone had enough and went to get a problem solver.
   You all know what which kind of problem solver that was grabbed. So now here is a young woman brandishing a gun and pretty soon the bullets start flying.
 26 year old Verily Vereen,a mother of two is on her front porch minding her own business with her family. Street beefs are nothing new in  neighborhoods,they happen and most are settled quickly and peacefully.
But Detroit is different,far too many times people in Detroit hear someone yell "I'm getting my gun" and in this city,it isn't a empty threat,its a promise.
  And so it was that day and Verily Vereen started shooing in her family into the house,out of harm's way. Except that she was just a heartbeat too late to save herself. As she turned away and got the several small children into the relatively safety of her home,Fate came calling in a form of a wildly shot bullet.
 Again,Verily,had no part in this fight,she was just a innocent by-stander here. But when people pick up a gun and fire it,it doesn't give a shit if you're innocent,guilty,red,black,white or brown. It only knows what it was designed shatter lives. And in this case,it achieved it goal ever so well...
  One second Verily is a strong loving mother of two...the next,she is bleeding from being shot in the neck. She falls on her porch,her first thoughts must have been..."please,don't let any of my kids or cousins be shot" because that is how a mother's brain works. No,it was just Verily lying there,blood pouring out.
Calls go to 911...a neighbor,Sonja Bennett rushes over and applies pressure to help stop the bleeding.
People gathering around,shocked at what happened. Waiting for the help to come to help Verily.....waiting.....still waiting,more calls to 911. Where IS that ambulance????
  The people of Detroit know how bad the EMS system is,they live with it every day. Half of the 24 rigs are out of service most days,they are under-equipped and stressed to the max. I blogged already how the new Fire Commissioner said he was ordering brand new ambulances but the city is so poor,it can't afford them and its credit is bad,no one will loan the money.
  But even for Detroit's hardened citizen's,this response time is beyond bad....more waiting as Verily blood seeps into Sonja's hands. Kids are crying for their momma....people wondering where the ambulance is at.
 Someone says "Lets take her ourselves! She'll die here if she doesn't get help!" But Verily can't be moved,she has no feelings in her arms or legs. If they and move her,no matter how well the intention is,they'll finish what that gun has started.
  After 30 hellish minutes a Detroit EMS unit arrives on scene and after stabilizing Verily,transport her to the ER.
  The police also come and they arrest the woman who fired the gun. Whose anger and mindset had conditioned her to solve her issues not with a brain but with steel,American style.
 But in the ER,a bitter irony unfolds...because IF you are going to be shot,being shot in the D isn't such a bad thing. Why? Let's put it this way kids,you know the US is involved in two wars and many of troops got shot to shit or blown up by IEDs. You hear about how our troops survival rate is so much improved because doctors are able to treat them so much better now. Well that is because the trauma doctors get their training by working the inner cities shootings in Detroit,Philly,Chicago and Baltimore. They see so many combat type bullet wounds that they are able to practice new techniques in the operating rooms!
 So when you are shot with a gun here,you have a much better chance of making it out alive! Provided you get a ambulance to get to you in 30 minutes or less.
 Verily is operated on...and on....and on. The bullet has left its terrible mark on her,she has gone from a strong woman to becoming a quadriplegic.
 All over something stupid.....
But Verily is a fighter and so is her sister,Denita. Denita throws her considerable might into the fray,taking care of Verily and her kids. Bathing,dressing and encouraging Verily. She is responding well,she has some movement in her hands,she can somewhat hold her kids. Denita quits her job to help her sister,she can't afford to hire a 24-7 nurse for her. The problems they face are incredible. The house they have (I don't know if its owned or rented by the sisters) isn't equipped for a handicapped person. The daily washing of Verily is extremely hard and sad. Because Denita was caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of taking care of her sister and working and leaving her job,the insurance is about to run out and then what?
  One small bullet.
The average cost of treating a gunshot victim like Verily can cost a million dollars over the victim's lifetime.
A million dollars. Not all cases,a lot of quadriplegics don't live a long life,their bodies are so broken in so many places that a mere cold can kill them if it develops in pneumonia.
  Fox 2 Detroit ran an update on the sisters last night and I'll post the link to the report in a minute.
I don't know the Vereens but in a sense I do. Because once gun violence touches you,be it the shooter or the victim,it really changes everything. The woman who shot Verily was arrested,charged and convicted for her crime. She is in jail,locked up. But you tell me,who really is the prisoner here? And to top it off,she shows no remorse to the lives she altered so sadly on 24 May 2011.
  If you like to help.....please repost this story to your friends and neighbors.

If you feel like donating anything....

P.O. Box 2000
16550 West 9 Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48037-2000

Attn: Andrea Isom- Verily Vereen

This will link you to Andrea's report.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Primary Day

Its 1:57 pm

    Its a crisp cold day but the sun is out and shining. I can hear my tennis shoes calling me for a nice long 30 song walk. Looks like you know what I'll be doing shortly.
Derek Jeter and Ginger are camped out together on our bed buried under our blankets,they must be sensing the snow that we are supposedly getting tomorrow. Going to have wait on that....
  So I signed up to work the presidental primary on 28 Feb here in my city. To be able to work the primary,one is required to attend 2 workshops to be trained. My first one was today at 9 am. I drove down and parked my car in the City Hall lot and went inside and down the stairs to a nice size room.
  Inside was a polling station set up and about 12-15 other folks waiting for the shop to start. Some were new like myself,others were battle tested veterans who know what to expect..
 The city clerk kicked off the meeting and we were introduced to the balloting process. Who knew what all went into a day at the polling station?
  The clerk went to explain how many steps there are in getting a voter through voting and on his/her way. While the city expects the voter turnout for the primary to be light,about the 30% of the registered voters will show,the last Presidental elections had a 88% turnout. Of course you also had a election on a school issue that had only TWO voters show up! And polling places are open from 7 am to 8 pm. That is not counting the other 2.5 hours it takes for the workers to set up and break down the station.
  But what was a smooth class turned into a extra 90 minutes of madness when the clerk started talking about write-in candidates. Now unless you register with a county clerk's office as an official candidate,if you are voted in as a write-in,it simply won't count. The clerk explained that they RARELY see this happen anymore but all of a sudden for the next 90 minutes,that is ALL they talked about. I could see the veterans start to shake their heads in frustration as the same basic questions kept getting asked 15 different ways.
 I had told Lori I would be home in 90 minutes so I could make her lunch for work,instead it turned out to be a 3.5 hour ordeal from hell.
   Our second class is a scheduled 4 hour class on how to use the electronic poll book but based on what I saw today,I'll be bringing a sleeping bag and a pillow. And what makes it worse? It falls on Valentine's Day. Uggh....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thoughts on Subway,Syria and other stuff.

Its 3:01 pm

   Another nice day here in our slice of the world. It IS getting a little nippy and we might get some snow on Friday. According to local weather guru Chris Edwards,at this point in time year,we had 54 days with at least a inch or more of snow on the ground compared to just 14 this winter.  As of today last year,we were sitting here with a foot of snow on our yards. But nothing like that this year...
   We have discovered the one food that Lori can handle without risking a stomach issue. Tuna fish. That is right,tuna fish sandwiches. We don't know why but for some reason as long as its not crushed with fresh veggies and is on white bread,she can eat this with no problem. She likes Jimmy Johns and Subway so that is what we get at least once a week. Her stomach is getting better each day and she can eat just a little more variety as well but still no dairy or coffee as of yet.
  Being that we live in the burbs,we can drive a mile or so in any direction and get a fast food joint. We don't but its nice that we have a excellent Subway about a 1 11/2 miles away by our church. As some may know,a lot of Subways are privately owned and run by their owners or a group. The one we go to is such a shop.
In the four years I have been going to this place,it is without a doubt,the most professionally run fast food place I have ever been in. Now think about that...a fast food place is staffed by youngsters or college students,it has a high turnover rate and lets face it,a lot of these places are filthy! (Hello Burger King!).
 But this shop,located in Canton on the corner of Lilley and Cherry Hill Road,is clean as a whistle despite being very busy. The staff is ALWAYS cheerful,polite and matter who is working or when.
The reason is the owner,a very nice guy named Ed Barton. He will take a few minutes and talk to a customer and make sure they are getting everything they need. I can't tell you how many times I have heard a guest comment how they like his store the most and yes,that includes us.
  Its just a very pleasant experience to go to a fast food shop and get 4 star restaurant service or to see the loyalty and respect his staff shows him even when he is not there. They know they have a great reputation and they work very hard to keep it.
  Been following the Syrian uprising...its pretty interesting to see how the mainstream media is now clamoring about this new hot spot even as the Egyptians are now sliding closer to civil war and as is Libya.
Americans are being detained and even roughed up a little in Egypt as the Muslim Brotherhood is fighting for power the military and tramping on everyone's feet. Riots,mass beatings,rapes and wholesale murder is now happening in Cairo and other places.
   Libya is no better and even now loyalists to Gadhafi are still fighting back,even recapturing some towns. The uprisings have done nothing to improve life for the vast majority of the people affected. And now to hear some of the right wingers try and sound the saber rattling not only with Iran but Syria is just madness.
 Especially since the Syrian crisis seems to be fully pushed by not only the CIA but other allies like our old 9/11 murdering pals,the Saudis along with elements Al Qaeda to overthrow the Syrian regime.
 There have been several videos posted showing how brutal Assad's forces have been against the protesters but as in all conflicts,not everything you see should be believed.

  We really need to watch how change has transformed Yemen,Libya and Egypt before we start banging the war drums. We are not affecting any real change here,only trading one monster for another. I don't see any of the new governments in these places calling for a democracy,only enforcing a new round of terror.
 President Obama has said that if Americans were still were going to be mistreated,he would suspend the 1.3 Billion dollars in military aid to the Egyptian armed forces. Actually,he should have done that the second the Muslim Brotherhood came into power.  Once again,its American weapons (the number one arms dealer in the world) who being used to slaughter innocents. And do you really think these folks are not going to forget this going forward?
  Let the Syrians find their own way be it good or bad...they don't need our help and I rather not see anymore American soldiers lives be put in harm's way for nothing just as they were in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now being considered in Iran. We don't need the heartache by folks who really could give a rat's ass about us.
  My buddy Brad in Minnesota is getting a puppy next week. Now I could lower myself to his level and poke fun at him like he does in making cruel comments about cats. I could mention about the best places to go to get a flea dip or which shovel can pick up the most dog poo. If I was him,I would come up with clever names for his new dog like Speedbump,Muttley or Snoopy. I could point out that Hitler owned dogs and look at how that turned out. But being a cat owner,I can rise above this sort of thing and offer him a hearty congratulations on his new slave,err,pet...
 Well that is all I have for today......back to the grind.

thanks for reading!

Brad- had to do it,Derek Jeter made me!
Alyce- We're praying for you and your family.