Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturday/Sunday musings

Its 6:39 pm

     So how did it go from being a beautiful day yesterday to a grey overcast one yet again? The weather here is beyond goofy,no winter,then summer in March and now a spring that may be colder then our winter.

Haven't done anything worth while today other then pay a bill,put 20 bucks of gas in my PT Cruiser,do a little of pantry shopping (our local Meijer was running a great little sale so I got some stuff for the pantry) and switched our shovels for the rakes in the garage. Then I hooked up the hose because despite it being chilly,it hasn't translated into much rain and our trees need the water.
  Quickly cleaned up the old newspaper in the kitchen,had dinner and now am cranking this little entry out.
 Finished my latest book "leave the building quickly" by Cynthia Kaplan,thought it was brilliant in many places and definitely worth my buck at the Dollar Tree. Now its time to finish "House Poor" and then tackle Lisa Ann Walter's book. Can't wait to read it...even though I have had it since last October. I tend to read the books I get in the order I get them so that why it has taken so long to get here. Just had to explain that in case Lisa Ann drops by and reads this....

   We just now heard a terrible story that happened just about a mile away from our house. Seems like a woman had been very depressed as of late. Her husband was so concerned,he stayed home with her for a week to see if he could help her. On one of these days he went to to store to pick up a few items. The woman then proceeded to douse herself in fuel and set herself on fire. Her horrified neighbors tried to put out the flames but she ran into her house. They broke down the door and called 9-1-1. She was still alive when they got there but she died later at the University of Michigan's Burn Center. What a terrible way to die.
  Decided to take a chance on the IC group page and invited my entire circle,all 481 of them. So far we have kept about 420 which I suspect will continue to go down. But suddenly we have all sorts of activity on the page,mostly political but a couple of musicians posted show dates,one reader asked me about setting up a blog,while I love Blogspot,not really convinced its the best way to get readers,especially those who want to comment/follow but not sign up to Google. So while I don't think he'll land here,once he does get his blog up,I'll provide a link so you can check it out. Its going to a football blog about South Alabama football but as I'm also a fan of a "smaller" school in San Jose State,you know we have to stick together,we all can't be Georgia,Miami or Wisconsin fans,right?

Wonder what happened to Scorpion?

As many of you know,I'm a huge supporter of ex-Detroit police chief Warren Evans. Its no accident that since he was forced to resign,the crime rate in the city has just skyrocketed. Every day someone is getting blasted to pieces in the city. Charlie LeDuff opened a recent 10 pm newscast with a 10 minute report on just how bad the city as gotten....over 1,000 people have been shot to death and 4,000 wounded in just a 3 year window. And most of those have happened AFTER Chief Evans left.
  He and I have swapped messages and emails the past two imagine my surprise last month when he sent me a message asking me to call him to get together. Quite honestly,I was shocked. First because we have never talked but thru the computer and second,I'm dead certain his time is very much in demand. I sent back a note asking him for a good time to call...and when I didn't hear back,I wasn't surprised. The man is BUSY and to find time to talk to someone he knows only on the computer,well,I can understand. I didn't call him because I didn't know what would be a good time.
   I was explaining this to my neighbor Al and he asked me why I didn't call when he invited me to. He said "If Warren asked,he knew what he was doing...he wouldn't have asked you if he hadn't". Putting it that way made a lot of sense and so I called him up. He was in South Carolina but asked if he could call when he gets back so we can can get together. I'm actually pretty jazzed up to meet him,this area really needs a man like him to help turn things around. Finding good people who have no ulterior motives to run for public office is a rare animal these days. Most who run,run with purpose,for money,fame,power. Men like Gary Brown and Warren Evans run to help people,that is why they made such good cops.
My gut feeling is Warren is going to run for Wayne County executive and he is starting to get a grassroots campaign team assembled. Now while I have never actively been involved in one,I would for Warren Evans in a heartbeat and have told him that many times. We are going to talk this week so I'll keep you updated if I can.

  Been on a Ryan Downe kick lately.....wonder whatever happened to him?

Alrighty then...time for lunch and coupon clipping,then a little yardwork and a 2 mile walk. Busy day ahead so lets get cracking....see you Tuesday!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Second Chances

Its 9:44 am

   Its a overcast day here in SE Michigan. Still sort of chilly but yesterday was very spring like with warm temperatures. Still beats the Northeast where they got hit with a huge snowstorm that dropped up to a foot of snow.
  So it might rain a bit today..we'll see how it goes.

I saw the following on a Wall the other day:

"My friends getting higher then the Empire State (Building)".

  I believe in second chances,anyone who knows me either here or in real life knows I believe things happen for a reason,to get a second chance at doing something right is very priceless.
  The person who wrote that got a second chance this year. Seriously injured,he could have been crippled or even killed by his injury but because of his heart and God's good grace,he was spared. Spared to have a chance to do things right. Now he isn't a bad guy,on the other hand,on what little I know and it is a little,he seems very popular,a good student,a good son,a good human being.
  In our chats or messages we talk about his future....while he loves football,because of his injury,he can't pursue that anymore so he wants to become a coach instead. A teach,shape,LEAD through example what his coach showed him. Play smart,study hard,respect yourself. I personally am excited because I coached myself. Robert Beck from Ontario High School took me under his wing and taught me how to coach baseball. I was very grateful for the gesture and it still remains one of the best times in my life.
  But peer pressure is a bitch,is it not? You want to do what is right but when all of your friends are partying and hitting on women,you want to roll with the boys. Maybe even get a little high,quaff down a brew or three.
Soon those plans for college and coaching get a little further away but hey,don't sweat it because you got time to do anything,right? Maybe to the rest of the world but when you're strapped down with a halo on your head and not knowing what is going to happen,I am sure you laid there and promised God if He would spare you,you would make your life count for something.
   How many of you remember high school or college when there was a big star athlete who destined to become the "next big thing"? Their skills were going to land them a full scholarship to a big college or land a big pro contract? Their picture was in the local paper every week,or on TV or the subject of a blog,like this one? The "can't miss prospect"?
   Austin White was our local stud here in my area. Austin played tailback for Livonia Stevenson and yeah,he had skills. Set all sorts of school and league records and was attached the "can't miss" label. Adored by the student body,recruited by all the major schools,Austin had the world on the platter. Then came the big news...the University of Michigan had offered Austin White a full football scholarship! A free education and all he had to do was attend classes and play football! Life was he would have to redshirt but that isn't a bad thing,right? A chance to get bigger,to learn and adapt to the classroom,to handle the load that college would bring. But the trade-off would be worth it...still be able to chill with the fellas back home only 25 miles away,a chance to play in front of family and friends playing in the biggest stadium in the country.
Austin White had it all going on....
   But somewhere down the line,something with terribly wrong. UM fired the coach who had recruited Austin. Maybe the new coach wasn't into him as much,maybe the classes were getting too hard...but suddenly Austin White decided to transfer from the University of Michigan to Central Michigan.
  While CMU is also a Division I playing football school,it pales in comparison to UM. In Michigan,its UM,Michigan State and everyone else. But here,Austin White would get his second chance. To make his mark. To show people he was worthy of the hype. Of course because he transferred he would have to sit out another year but that was okay,he would deal with it and be thankful for that second chance.
  But too often as the story goes,this one doesn't have a happy ending. Austin White was first suspended by CMU for violating school and team rules and on 15 April,he was arrested for dealing drugs out of his dorm room. A felony drug charge. Serious weight if he is convicted. All of his dreams and hopes and a free college education are all out the door because he didn't take advantage of his second chance. He started hanging with the wrong crowd,thought his "friends" had his back even when in fact they were killing him by letting him deal them pot and mushrooms.
  Is Austin White a failure? Maybe to some people.....but to me,he may be a lifesaver. Because of his story and with this blog,I'm hoping that that young man I'm writing this for sees it and remembers the night he was handed his second chance. I really want him to stride forward and fulfill his promise because we as a society,really,really need people like him to help make a change in this world.
 So Number 44,this one is for you.....make wise choices and rise above. A lot of people believe in you,even complete strangers.

    Yesterday was a pretty active day of running about. Did some light shopping,dropped off a quilt and blanket at a consignment store,returned the Tigers cap we got Lori's dad (it was too big) and finally built a shelving unit we had bought in the fall. It turned out pretty good and helped us gain some pantry space. I did two loads of laundry,the coupon book and scrubbed the basement floor by the cat boxes.
  After I post this,I have to clean up the den and VACUUM the floor,Snacks has decided to shed and is dropping fur everywhere!! Its sort of strange,DJ never sheds yet he hacks up furballs and Snacks sheds and no furballs. You would think that it be reversed but much as I think I know cats,they always seem to hand a way to surprise me.
   Alright,that is all I got for today. See you all tomorrow!

Scorpion- Where have you gone?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Up North....

Its 6:40 pm - Monday

   Sitting here listening to the wind howl outside. Its been a cold and blustery day but at least we ain't Pennsylvania which is supposed getting over a foot of snow.  Its cold but at least its sunny outside.
My feet first from working at the new job....but its a good pain. I'm quickly adjusting to the workload and come this Friday,I believe I'll be on my own.
  Had a nice weekend,Lori and I left Friday night and went up to the in-laws to surprise my father-in-law who turned 90. Traffic was light and despite taking 90 minutes to travel 35 miles due to construction,once we broke free,we had a quick trip up north.
  We managed to surprise her dad completely as he was just expecting a home cooked lunch,he was tickled when he saw the bright balloons and Lori's brother start unloading massive amounts of food,chairs and a big cake. We ended up having 15 people over to help celebrate his 90th,lots of old stories,memories and laughs were shared.
  After we had cake,our company brother-in-law,his wife,Lori and myself cleaned up the house. Brian and Brenda had to leave early because they had tickets to see Eric Burdon and the Animals. (they had the tickets before we planned the party.)
   Left pretty early Sunday morning and had a relaxing trip home...even saw two deer and a wild turkey. Traffic was very light until we hit Birch Run. We made a stop at the outlet mall and saw a whole suite of empty storefronts. Lori said that people now realize that outlet mall prices are really no bargain and aren't worth the drive. We have seen the outlet mall Monroe fail and while Howell's shops are still active,we always notice they now have some empty fronts where as before they never did.
  But to see this at Birch Run was pretty surprising to say the least. People were shopping but we have seen it so much more busier,maybe the wind kept folks away...but I'm with Lori,I think people are finding better deals elsewhere.
    Drove home in decent traffic afterwards and arrived at 4 pm. Needless to say we were greeted somewhat coolly by the two cats who really don't like being left behind. They always give us the cold tail for about an hour  after we get home from a trip.
   Unpacked and cleaned up,did some paperwork and watched Chopped All-Stars. Lori went to bed afterwards while I stayed up and watched my buddy Tom's show before heading to bed.
   And that was my weekend.....I know,pretty exciting. But its okay....I would hope you rather be reading a mundane entry then a "medical update" one,right?

  Please keep praying for Amy Neilson,she is still fighting onwards and I believe in miracles and the power of prayer,so please keep praying! Her blog is being updated by a good friend and you can follow her progress by clicking on the link under the "Blogs I Follow" on the right hand side.

 Okay,that is all I have for now. See you all on Thursday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Its 9:30 am on a Wednesday

    Looking outside at a beautiful sunny Michigan day. The robins are again out in force chirping away while hunting grubs and bugs.
  Trying to sit here and focus my we are saying good-bye to our friend Carolyn. I have written about Carolyn before,she was Lori's old landlady who became a very close to Lori. She was the one who swept in and saved Oliver from the Humane Society when they lied about taking care of him.
  Sadly the years of smoking heavy caught up to Carolyn and about 4 years ago,she learned she had emphysema. She has been slowly dying since then and on Monday morning at 1:05 am,her husband called and said she had passed away. The last year was so bad,Carolyn didn't want anyone to see how bad she had declined. I feel relief for her husband,it must have been pure hell to see the effects of such a ugly and destructive  illness. But as he said to us,she is finally at peace.  And hopefully he can find some as well.
  The viewing is today and we'll be going this afternoon after Lori gets off work. Carolyn will be sorely missed by us.

   Work is doing okay,glad for it....and am pleased to see that what I hoped for is happening. Once I now have a job,places that I'm applying at are now calling me. Could never figure out that dynamic,you are out of work and are looking for a job...but if you are out too long,companies won't consider you UNLESS you have a job!
Seems to me the longer the person is out of work,the more grateful and hardworking they would be because they ARE what am I missing here?
  The one kid who I said wouldn't last,didn't. He was hooked about 10 days after he started for sexual front of witnesses. So far out of the 6 other people hired with me,2 are already gone. Attrition is rather high for this place but the chances for growth are also there for the taking. But until something else pops up,I'm just glad to have a job.

   Its now 4:24 pm on Thursday

         Went to the service last night,it was very well attended. Didn't really get to talk to Louie too much but saw his family and were greeted warmly and fondly. Lori was their tennant for many years and was very close to Louie and Carolyn. We stayed for about 90 minutes while several people stood up and said a poem,letter or a story about Carolyn,I asked Lori if she wanted to speak but she was too sad to speak.
 I loved this lady,I was always much closer to her because of she did for Oliver and myself. It helped she loved baseball but never watched games on TV,she only listened to them on the radio with the great Ernie Harwell. She actually attended a Tigers-Yankees game with us...and she was a pretty good trash talker and wasn't afraid to battle...which made the game so much more fun.
 But now she is gone...we assured both son and daughter we would help keep a eye on Louie. We know that he will be lonely with his girl,they would have been a couple for 50 years in 2013. Feel really bad for him yet at the time,a sense of peace as well. Watching a loved die slowly,painfully is just awful...
   But Louie is a tough old bird and well loved by the local soccer community because of his granddaughters who play on several teams. He won't be very lonely except at night and he was a night owl anyway.
  We decided to stay in town and eat at a local golf club which we had heard was pretty good....all I can say was the Dr. Pepper was pretty good.

  Our computer moniter died on Sunday one of my chores was to shop for a replacement. I zip down to Target and look at the "wide" selection of two different models they carry. One is listed at 129.00 and one at 159.00. Both looked the same except one was last year's model. I go ahead and select it and ask the clerk that if something goes goofy,can I bring it back....he sees no problem,just bring back the packaging the best I can. That should have my cue that something was up. But I take the moniter and head home. I have lunch and then start building and connecting it to the computer. I get it all hooked up except I can't the BASE of the stand its supposed to attached to. I look everywhere,I have Derek try and track it,its simply not in the box. I have to disconnect everything and put it back into the box.
  As I head to Target,I decide to take a gamble and see what Office Depot has to offer....and was I glad I did. I found a brand new HP for only 10 dollars more then I paid for the reshopped Acer I got at Target. I get my refund,zip back to Office Depot and pick up the new moniter which was even easier to get running then the Acer.
  Its one of the reasons I haven't posted as much this week. And after tomorrow,I won't have time to post until Wednesday because of the trip up north and work. How sort of cool is that??
   But the good news is that writer Joan Lemon is now working on my interview questions and hopefully I'll be to post that next week.
   A question for the weekend:

What is your favorite baseball related moment?


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thoughts on a hazy Saturday

Its 12:47 pm...

   In the mood for house cleaning so this entry also will be short and sweet.
Looking outside the window at a grey overcast day in SE Michigan. The Weather Service is calling for a crazy tornado outbreak in the Midwest which strangely enough,includes us. But so far its just drizzled a bit and got me in the mood to really attack the basement and declutter it. Most times I don't because I wait for Lori to help decide what stays and what goes....but I think this time Derek Jeter and I can handle it.
  We're a little on edge anyways because we got a notice from UM that Lori's PET scan which was scheduled in October has suddenly been moved up to June 29th. We're really hoping this is a scheduling error because having this new scan so soon is not normal for a remission patient based on the results we were read. We tried calling on Friday but since it was after 5 pm,no one was there to answer the question so I will call on Monday to see what is going on.
 This week sees us gathering supplies for out trip up north next weekend for Lori's dads 90th birthday. We are keeping it a surprise...Lori and her brother Brian are working together to make this one great birthday for him.
So far they have invited around 20 friends plus Brian's wife's family to come out and enjoy a day that will show her dad that he may be cranky,but he is loved.
 Since I was supposed to cook last night,we decided that it would be best to celebrate her dad's birthday before I blew up the kitchen so we headed out for dinner at Herc's Roast Beef. Herc's is a longstanding diner in Livonia that was once very popular. But now its simply ancient and it begs to be remodeled. So we were pleasantly surprised to see that someone has bought the place and is indeed going to give the old place a "Restaurant Impossible" makeover. They already have reworked the menu a bit but not sure if I am with that,the food is better and a lot more attractively plated but the portions are much smaller while the price stayed the same. Its sort of a wash if you ask me.Maybe this might work once the place is remodeled but now? Wouldn't go back until then...
   Now because we're supposed to bring the dinnerware/drinks to the party,we stopped at the local Dollar Tree,you know how much I'm addicted to the dollar books at Dollar Tree. We shopped and bought plates,napkins,cups and a even a party hat. After I helped Lori decide on what to get,I drifted over to the book section at this store.
  I got a big laugh as I looked into the face of Sarah Palin herself,her book "Going Rogue" has hit the dollar store level. Only took a little over two years for that to happen which may seem a long time but for a hardback book,that is very fast indeed. A lot of the books I get here are on average 3 years old,some are maybe a 1-1.5 years but that is because of a unknown author or a smaller publisher. But for someone supposedly has huge as Palin is,I'm sure this was a rude awakening. But I also pointed out that her books were among the last at the Borders closings as well. Now you too,can "go rogue" for a buck if you live near a Dollar Tree.
    Last night we got the good news that Detroit had reached its 99th murder yesterday afternoon. A 26 year old mechanic was gunned down by someone with a serious grudge. At first the police were baffled at the man's ID,he appeared black but because he had so many bullet holes in him,they thought maybe he was Swiss. So 99 dead in 3.5 months so far,yeah...I can see the good ol Detroit hitting the 500 mark this year with even a chance to hit 600 if the police cuts that are being forecast actually take place.
  But who really cares,right? Just more black on black media attention,no news vans from CNN,CBS,NBC...all we get are the same broken record:

"What can we do to stop this senseless crime?"
"When will enough be enough"?
"If you know anything about this,call Crimestoppers"
"What can be stop to end the shootings"
"Please,turn yourself in..." - that comes from various families that cops ask to speak because they have no leads or clues left to pursue
"You can go to any XYZ bank to make donations to help the family bury their loved one"

I swear,you could make up a drinking game every time you hear local anchorman Huel Perkins or any field reporter say one of the above. I was going to try drinking a slurpee every time I heard one of these sayings but I would be either broke,fat or broke AND fat.
  As for Trayvon Martin...the blacklash continues,last week on the Let It Rip panel,one of the guests pointed out how Al Sharpton had poisoned the country with his antics in this case.White America is done with being painted as racists and scapegoats for every single black on white shooting. I have seen so many people post,email or talk about the utter silence from the black community when one of their own shoots,maims or rapes a white person. This is what selective outrage will cause. We has a country should be united in protecting life but we don't. We only care about death as long as there is a way to make dollar off it Trayvon Martin,Anna Nicole Smith,any rock/movie who overdoses. We have come to profit off murder,the NRA is seeing a huge upsurge in membership,Skittles and Arizona tea sales have skyrocketed. Even here in of the best businesses you can have is a t-shirt printing company because after every shooting,you'll the family wearing t-shirts. Its pretty sad that life has been reduced to what you squeeze from,camera time on network TV,lawyers coming out of the woodwork all wanting to take your case (for 33% that is)
But as for me.....I'm headed back to the basement. See you on Monday.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Its 3:44 pm

     Just a short entry to say "hello" and have a great weekend. I'll be cooking tonight so if hear of a massive house explosion in SE Michigan,good chances  that its me blowing shit up and not in a good way...
Now,where did I put that Jet's Pizza phone number at?


I'll see you here on Sunday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Welcome everyone!

Its 1:29 pm

 The folks who got invited to the Inner Circle yesterday....this is why you are here. I merely wanted to share my blog with you and hopefully stimulate some thought,comedy,musings and whoever knows.
I pretty much just post updates when my new blog entry is posted but have and will encourage you to post anything in the FB group that you want to promote,like a blog,crusade,live gig,political opinion,whatever.
I know I am taking a chance on blindly inviting so many people all of a sudden but since we're all pals,its not that big of a risk now,is it?
  Its a cloudy day here in SE Michigan and its a bit chilly. How we went from having 15 days in March of 80+ degree days to snowflakes in April is pure Michigan. Last week was shorts and flip flops and this morning was coats and caps. I wouldn't trade it for anything...
   I was on the Yahoo sports pages last night when I stumbled across the story of a high school volleyball coach who was fired by a private Christian school for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Seems she violated the code of conduct that she signed in a contract to not do such a thing.
  Looking at the quick hook that the school made,you wonder why more universities (hello Penn State,Indiana,the whole SEC -except Vanderbilt) and high schools don't follow the same course with their programs. I find it sort of sad that a high school has more moral courage to actually fire a coach who broke her contract and is catching hell for it yet look over at Arkansas and all the folks clamoring for the school NOT to fire Bobby Petrino. Look at how long it took Indiana to summon enough courage to fire Bobby Knight and surely we all know about Penn State's mess.
  It used to be a contract meant something in America,it was a bond of honor. You signed your name on a contract,you did you best to fulfill it,not break it on a whim. The coach in Texas,Cathy Samford,knew what she was signing when she dotted her name on the contract. The school has every right to ask and impose a moral code for its teachers and if Samford felt she couldn't abide by this,she should have walked away.
But far too many schools are turning their heads away along as their teams WIN,baby,win. Winning overcomes many,many sins and far too many coaches get away with having a very questionable moral center.
   Coaches forget they are TEACHERS first,they are there to help young people learn about life,be it part as a team,to win with grace,to accept losing knowing there will be a next time. And this means leading by example,which is entirely reasonable for any school,public or private,to ask of its teaching staff. Growing up,I had many teachers who had honor and morals who lived their lives like a open book. A lot of what I learned as a person I learned from Bob Beck,a history teacher as well as our high school baseball coach.
I challenge anyone who ever was taught or played for Coach Beck to say he played favorites or ignored bad behavior by players just as long as the team won. He insisted that his players dressed neatly and professionally and to conduct themselves as gentlemen. Which is why you often saw players and other students often seeking him our guidance and advise. It would hard to be taken seriously if he ran a program like many schools run,sloppy and unchecked.
Whatever happened to Mary Chapin Carpenter?

   Look at these two wonderful two cats....this is Tweek and Boomer Kitty. They share a nice home with my dear friend Kerri and her husband Andrew. But something  has happened that must be addressed,it seems like Kerri and Andrew had stepped out and then came home to find a shredded teabag on the ground. Now at first glance,it may seem these two perfect cats may have done such a dastardly thing but I am thinking all the facts are not the fact that Andrew is English! And we all know how the Brits are when it comes to tea!! I daresay,if you threw a teabag,a TARDIS or a soccer ball on the field and told a Englsihman  he could only have one item,he would always rush to the teabag.
  I am thinking these cats are being framed by this Moriarty is disguise!!!  As president of the Black and White Cat Society,we want justice! Black and white cats are angels on earth and never do anything bad...especially shred a teabag or cough up a furball on the carpet.....

Lastly,I like to direct everyone to a nice interview that Tom Lawson did with actress Monique Parent.
I thought it was a nice interview and think you will like it,especially if you are a horror/thriller movie fan like I am.
You can read this interview by clicking on this link here.

Alright,that is all I have for now.......hope you enjoyed the read and feel free to drop a comment or two.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Poncho's retirement and other sprack.

Its 12:45 pm

     Got time for a quick entry before I have to run a slew of errands.

Last night saw Lori taking it easy while I went to our city hall for the retirement ceremony for Poncho the police dog. It had been scheduled for last month but was pushed back until yesterday.
The council's regular meeting was scheduled as well so the ceremony was tied into the meeting. It was very charming,about 30 other citizens along with K-9 units from several local cities came by to salute Poncho.
I got there about a minute or 2 behind and had to stand with the other police officers while our city clerk talked about the daring feats and service Poncho and his partner Brian had performed for the city.
The city gifted Poncho a new dogbed,a year's pass to our new dog park and also renewed his dog license.
The clerk then introduced the other K-9 teams who had come out and as they walked by me,Brian went to the nearest corner,looked up,did a double take when he saw me and said "Mike! How the hell are you?" We shook hands and I whispered back "I wouldn't have missed this for the world".
  The ceremonies were over and they had one last surprise for all the dogs,a huge dog cake in the shape of a bone. Each dog got a nice sized piece to eat while the cameras were brought out and pictures were snapped.
Finally Brian and I got to chat for a bit while Poncho chowed down. I hadn't seen Poncho in over 2 years so I was shocked at how much he had aged. He had a lot of grey around his muzzle and looked a few pounds lighter then when I last saw him.
  Brian is going to continue to be a K-9 handler and already is training his new partner,Hoss. Poncho is going to enjoy a sweet retirement just being a dog for a while.
We made small talk and then I bent down and patted Poncho on his noble head,I got choked up as I said "Thanks for keeping me safe ol buddy". Because its true,I always felt much more secure when I knew Brian and Poncho were in our area. And with that,I went home.
   And what did I come home to? A goofy cat who jumped on our bed while I was changing into my comfy clothes. He laid down while I was telling Lori about the nice stuff the city gave Poncho. I went to put away my jeans in my closet when Derek jumped down .....and left a wet spot on the sheet. Seems like he had eaten something weird and it caused him to have a messy bottom. And he had left it on a sheet and our comforter. *sigh*
   So I had to clean his bottom,wash the linens and see if he left any other "surprises" on the carpet.
Here I am,always talking smack about mutts and how messy they are compared to cats when this happens.
Of course after cleaning and remaking the bed,who pops up to curl up on my pillow?

 Had a sad and strange case happen a couple of days ago.....seems like two 13 year old girls were playing chicken on the road in front of the house one of the girls lived in. They were taking turns either lying down or darting in front of cars to see how close they could come. I think what happened was they were both lying down and whoever moved first lost the dare. Maybe that might have worked on a sunny day on a 15 mph speed limit road but at dusk with a 75 year old driver who never saw them,it turned out to be fatal as both girls couldn't move out of the way fast enough,were hit and killed.  Maybe they were doing a new version of "planking",I guess what really surprised me the most about this was it was girls doing this,most times,its boys doing dumb shit like this but death is no respecter of people,it can strike the stupid or careless anytime. And we are left to mourn the aftermath.

  George Zimmerman is going to be rightly charged for the shooting of Trayvon Martin. He'll be convicted of 2nd degree murder and nothing will be done about the NRA backed "Stand Your Ground"law. Gun sales will continue to rise,more Americans will die and Martin will join James Brady,Gabby Giffords,Martin Luther King and JFK as mere footnotes in our history that had one thing in common,get killed by a gun.

Thank heaven baseball is here.....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Its 12:45 pm

     Remission. Has there been a sweeter word then remission to a cancer patient,their family and loved ones?
Well with tears in my eyes and heart I can answer that question....

oh hell no,there isn't!

Remission.....the sound is so awesome to hear.....can't say enough about the bravery and courage of Lori in overcoming the incredible odds against her....uterine cancer patients only have 35% chance of living 5 years once the cancer is discovered. Now we both know this isn't quite over,for the next year we'll be doing lab work and in 6 months we have to get another PET scan but the odds are now in our favor and we intend to keep them there.
   Lori was saying how much the prayers and support really helped her and I couldn't agree more. I told her she had no idea of just how many wonderful people were praying for her. And sending me encouraging letters and notes. I am so grateful to have made this ordeal so much easier to cope with. Being able to blog here and let my fears and unknowns out in the wind was exactly what I needed.
  We got to Ann Arbor at 11:30 am and went upstairs to our appointment. Now normally they do a exam first and then call me in but this time they gave us the results of the PET first. When told it was remission,we both sat there and said nothing for a minute. Lori started crying,I held her and then let Dr. Johnston get to work. I walked back out the waiting room. I said nothing nor showed any emotion as you are sitting among cancer patients who are still fighting and are not in remission. You want to stay respectful of your surroundings. So I read my Jason Bourne novel and waited for 25 minutes.
  We then did some labwork and then had lunch at the Gandy Dancer. Now we have been to Ann Arbor countless times and have always had a running joke about eating at the Dancer. In the 13 years I have been here,we have yet to eat there....until yesterday.Yesterday was our day and so we went. Now Ann Arbor is a parking meter town,you want to park,you have to pay and that included the Gandy Dancer. We had no change so while I stayed with the car,Lori got change.
  While I am standing there,a fat squirrel came down a hillside looking for food. He was very used to people and wasn't scared of me that much. But I could see he was very much into crossing the busy road so I had to run some interference on him as to discourage him from doing so. I didn't our celebration of life to have a sad ending of this cute furball getting squished .
  Lunch was great....very elegant and refined. We had huge salads,homemade bread and rolls. Since the diner was next to a train track,we saw a Amtrak train come by with the driver and engineer waving at us.
 After lunch we headed back home....enjoyed some coffee and watched American Pickers. All in all a perfect way to end a day blessed by God.
   I noticed very little traffic to the interview I did with school teacher John Bond,I really hope you will take a minute and go back and read it. John is a very cool dude and is someone I think you all would like meeting.
  I am hard at working at the next interview and hope will have the new one posted soon.

Please keep Amy Neilson high in your prayers along with Mazie Lange who ended up in the ER and the very sweet Joey the Garden cat who has a tumor in his leg and will be having surgery in a week.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

8 Questions with........John Bond

Welcome to the first entry of my interview series called "8 Questions with.....". Had a hard time getting this restarted as the first two folks sort of got lost in the falls with moving and working. I hope that I can get their interviews posted here really soon.
 "8 Questions with....." got started a few years ago and as I wrote before,had a great response. I interview people whom I think are very interesting and have something to say. It doesn't matter who we are,what color we are or where we live,we ALL have a opinion and voice....and this series will give you,the reader,a chance to get to some very engaging folks.

   I met John Bond on FB because of our love for college football. He follows the U of Miami Hurricanes and also the smaller black colleges and universities like Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M. I went on the Hurricanes board and was poking good nature fun at the Canes fan as San Jose State once played them and gave them a decent game before fading.
  But soon after we met,we started talking less about football and more and more about social issues. With John being black and myself being white,we started asking each other questions about how we each see things and how it affects lives. John is high school teacher,a very important job if the teacher can reach his/her students and install within them a desire and thirst to learn.
 Its not a easy job and far too many teachers have been reduced to going through the motions and getting paid because they are either burned out or just don't care. 
   I have have several great talks with John as we have talked about the Penn State scandal,the hazing incident at Florida A&M that resulted in the death of a band member and of course the politics of the day.
  I had wanted to ask for a interview but in today's world,putting your name online isn't always so safe. That said,I'm so very happy to have gotten this good friend as the first interview for the relaunching of my series.  I hope you like it

And now....."8 Questions with.......high school teacher John Bond"

1. What was your childhood like? What 3 events carried with you even to this day? 

JB:   My childhood, although a few bright spots, was mainly one that was not very pleasant.  This was mainly due to the fact that l was teased relentlessly for stuff like stuttering (l had a bad one and speech therapy really didn't work), speaking proper English, and doing well in school.  I was often accused of acting white.  I didn't have that many black friends growing and it hurt deeply because l didn't feel connected to anyone in the community.  What also contributed to this was the fact that my parents (specifically my dad) were very overprotective.  Every little thing l said or did came with a lecture and most stuff l tried to do for fun ( l liked) was dismissed as thug/gangbanging stuff.  I had to hide tapes l bought so that l wouldn't get a lecture about this.  About these events:

1) the first spanking l received - me and my brother were jumped coming home from school and l had to fight the bullies off, when we got home l got beaten because all my dad heard was that l was fighting (my pleas were to explain were ignored); after he found out what happened, all he said was "you know l love you right"....l never really looked at him the same way again.
  2) grounded on vacation - we had a timeshare in the bahamas and we generally played around (we were kids and we all knew each other), anyway l was hanging out with this white girl and we were just swimming together (not doing anything risque or anything like that) when l got back to the villa, my dad said that he didn't want me hanging out with this white girl anymore.  I didn't understand since l saw him talking to white people all the time.  He saw me talking to her later and l was grounded for the rest of the trip....all he could say was "well i'm the dad".
 3) receiving my scuba diving license - l remember this because this was one of the only bright spots l ever had growing up.

 2. What was your first car and how did you get it?

JB:  My first car was a 1995 Dodge Neon.  I got this car from a bet.  This was during the time I had pledged my fraternity.  My dad didn't want me to pledge anything and he continued to give me grief over it.  So l made a bet, l told him that if my grades slipped then l would give up my letters but if they went up l would get a car.  Needless to say l got the car (although l knew in advance that my grades skyrocketed).

 3. What three  people besides your parents influenced you the most and in what way?

JB:  Three people - My fraternity brother Jamarkus (he was the first person l met when l got to college and l saw someone similar to me in that he stuttered and played an instrument, it was good to see someone who looked like me taking their education seriously).  My Pre-Calculus professor Mr. Douglass (he taught me to seek help no matter the circumstance and not to let pride get in the way of being successful).  My M.S. Co-Advisor Lewis Johnson, Ph.D. (he taught me the importance of research and how to be patient while working with a sense of urgency, l also think of him as a friend and confidant)

 4. What made you decide to become a school teacher?

JB:  I see people complaining about the education system and how our children are not being adequately prepared for the future.  Instead of complaining, do something about it.  The field of Education was not my major in college but l saw a need and l made myself available to fill this need.  I also saw how minorities are under-represented in the sciences and although it's one thing to tell them that they can be a scientist, it's another thing to see someone that looks like them telling them this instead of being an athlete or rapper.

 5. What are three ways teachers can improve schools and what are three ways parents can help their children education wide?

JB: Three  ways teachers can improve schools - go the extra mile to help kids (i.e...tutoring, going to their extra-curricular events), keep a positive mental attitude, and enforce the rules no matter how small they might be (and be consistent as well).  3 ways parents can help their children - take an interest in their education, hold their kids accountable in everything (from grades to conduct), be their PARENT and not their friend, buddy, etc...

 6. What was the last book you read and what made you choose it?

 JB:  The last book l read was "God's Gift To Women" by Michael Baisden.  l chose to read this because l received it from a friend and l wanted to read something different from the history & non-fiction books that l generally read.  I must say that this thriller kept me glued and l read every page within a couple of days (l must say that l even pictured myself as the main character in a movie adaption of the book)

7.  What do you like best about teaching?

JB:  The thing l like best about teaching is the ability to reach new minds and give my kids some real world experience to go with the textbook material they receive.

 8. Tell us about the city you live in?

JB:  I can't really answer this one because l just moved here in January and l still have yet to explore.  I've been to a few hockey games but that's about it.....GO LIGHTNING!!!!

(Editor's note - we'll have to re-ask this question after the summer!)

9. Can this nation be saved?

JB:  I think about a question that l asked at a lecture a few years ago.  The question that l asked was:  They say that the difference between man and animal is the ability to think and use reason.  With the current nature & tone of politics in this nation, is this still true? (needless to say l got a few chuckles from this).  The speaker said a few things.  The first thing he said was to remember that politicans care about no one but themselves and their next election.  The second thing he said was that no one in the media (left & right) is held accountable for anything that they say and that until this happens no meaningful change will occur.  In reference to this question, l think this country can't be saved until people are willing to be truly honest with themselves about what needs to be done to fix things.  People need to stop voting against their own interests because of party affilation or what they think they should do/have always done.  Times are tough and people need to realize that answers to these problems are not going to be solved in 2 year election cycles & 15 second sound bites!!!

Thanks for always,feedback and comments are most welcome!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Its 2:57 pm

For brave men and women who go in harm's way for us.

When you go home,
Tell them of us,and say-
For your tomorrow,
We gave our today.

- J. Maxwell Edmonds

dedicated to Sgt Louis E. Weirton,USMC
Semper Fi

Monday, April 2, 2012

A death in the family

Its 11:07 am

   Sigh. Its a depressing day in our house....we have suffered a terrible sadness,a loss of a beloved family member. One was loved almost everyday,whose name we spoke aloud with adoration,affection and longing.
 Everyday either Lori or I would slide over and gently wash,rinse and make sure our loved was filled with only the best of the best. Starbucks, 8 O'Clock,Tim Hortons,Dunkin Donuts.
   And while their history may not of always been so noble,their redemption of today helped overcome their not so glorious past.
  Of whom am I speaking of?  Our beloved Krupps Coffee Maker died this morning after 8 years of loyal service. The mighty maker of both hot steaming cups of coffee for Lori to huge Jimmy cups of iced coffee for me.
  It fueled many of writing sessions,brewed up enough coffee for those long trips to Ann Arbor or "Up North" (my Michigan readers will get that). Many of days we would wake up to heavy snow and instead of going "holy cat poo",we would happily gear up knowing that after shoveling 8 inches of snow,we would have coffee waiting for us.
  And while we did have to to replace a filter and a coffee pot,the machine itself went of brewing steadfast for the 8 years we had it. It was a wedding shower gift to Lori from her friend Karen. Now I might be hard pressed to name a wedding gift we received but never have forgotten the mighty coffee maker. And now its gone,suddenly and with no warning. I am mourning our devoted friend and I ask of you to raise your cup (or in Debbie Rochon's case,several cups) and give a toast to our coffee maker.
  That said,we're heading over to Bed Bath and Beyond to see what new models they so we can brew up a fresh cup tonight.

   Going to give a hearty shout out to my friend and fellow blogger Slade Wilson for has made the trek over from FB and is following me here. Will is one of my favorite people and another die-hard baseball fan. Sadly he follows the Mets and hates the Yankees despite my best efforts to get him to come over to the Dark Side (we have cookies!!) he shrugs off my best efforts and stays loyal to the "other team". He is a gifted writer in his own right and his takes on the current state of TV allows me to know what or not to waste my time on.
  I'm just tickled he has joined the growing (11) number of folks who are starting to read me here. I'm closing in on 2,000 views already and its only April.

Speaking of baseball,its been rather amusing to listen and read the local Detroit sportswriters this spring training. The Tigers have a massively talented looking team and one that could reach the World Series and the biggest question? What will happen to erstwhile 3rd baseman Brandon Inge? Inge,who was a Tigers fan favorite until his selfishness reared its ugly head (refused to play catcher,refused to go on the DL for a injured knee which not only cost Inge at the plate but the Tigers as well).
  Guy has never hit well (.235 average),shown so-so power with 139 home runs but has played great defensively. Last year after scuffling along and barely hitting his weight,he agreed to go the minors instead of becoming a free agent. Came back up in Sept and hit .321 before fading badly once again in the playoffs.
 When the Tigers signed Prince Fielder and moved Miguel Cabrera to 3rd this past off season,instead of asking for his release or a trade,Inge said he wanted to compete for the 2nd base job despite the Tigers having  many better players who have earned a crack at a starting job. Instead of stepping aside for a younger player who might really help the team,Inge is bringing  his .181 spring training average and is seriously being considered for the team. Brandon Inge has gone from a player who used to care about his team to becoming a cancer in the locker room. It has the baseball fans talking a mile of minute and where a couple of years ago,this would have been a 50/50 topic (50% love Inge,50% hate him),its now more like 85/15 against him,Inge has burned away almost all of his old support due to his hanging on despite not helping the team. Its pretty interesting to see this little drama unwind and I'm sure the other teams in the AL Awful,err,Central division are pretty happy to see this.

  Sort of weird to be typing this entry and hearing James Taylor singing Christmas tunes on iTunes. This must be my signal to wrap this up and go cut my grass!

Will share our hunt for a new coffee maker tomorrow.  Pretty exciting,isn't it???