Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Catching Up....

Its 9:33 pm

     The sun is gone and once again,its night time here in my house. Derek is almost back to his old self and is currently sleeping on the top of the staircase. The only sounds are the sound of my typing this entry. My mind is pretty clear for a change...I got off my duff and went outside to run some errands....got a haircut,did some light grocery shopping and made a run to our go-to store,Dollar Tree. They got in a shipment of new books so I picked up a couple more to add to my stack.
  Lori and I never really played the lottery much. When the jackpots went over 100 million,we would play a couple of quick picks. No biggie...but about a year ago,she suggested we pick out 3 sets of numbers and only play them. We sat down and proceeded to pick out numbers that meant something to us. She wrote them down and I carried them in my wallet.
  Now I haven't played a number in months...but as I headed in to do my shopping,I saw the pot was 196 million dollars and decided to play our numbers. I got in line,pulled out my paper and just stared. On the last set of numbers,we picked these 1,5,20,28,47 and the powerball number,13.   5-20-13. ...I mean really? I just shook my head sadly and walked away for a minute to compose myself. I then went back and played our 3 set of numbers. Then I went shopping.

So tonight marks the return of the band Save Ferris back on the live stage. Its been a long road back for singer Monique Powell,she herself had a serious health crisis to overcome which included major surgery on her neck. But she is back and ready to display of the prettiest voices I have ever had the pleasure to book.
I know I'm not alone in wishing you a great night tonight,Mo! Knock 'em flat! Below is a picture of the stadium where the band will be shredding it up tonight.

(Photo by Joe Berry)

   Derek seems to be doing much better,he is a little upset at me because I have stopped giving him wet food for a few days as he seems to have recovered his legs. Instead of giving him wet food with his med,I put the med on his paw which he wasn't too excited about. Didn't stop him from curling up next to me and sleeping however. Thank you all for your support for Derek. I was pretty nervous I can tell you...

I finished my latest book, "Chief of Station,Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone by retired CIA officer Larry Devlin this week and it's one of the most interesting books I have read in a long time.

The following is from Wikipedia:

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga - bornJoseph-Desiré Mobutu; 14 October 1930 – 7 September 1997) was the President ofRepublic of the Congo (Léopoldville), which Mobutu renamed Zaire in 1971, from 1965 to 1997. Installed and supported in office primarily by Belgium and the United States,he formed an authoritarian regime, amassed vast personal wealth, and attempted to purge the country of all colonial cultural influence while enjoying considerable support by the United States due to his anti-communist stance.
During the Congo Crisis, Belgian and US-backed forces aided Mobutu in a coup against the nationalist government of Patrice Lumumba in 1960 to take control of the government. Lumumba was the first leader in the country to be democratically elected and was killed by a Katangese firing squad; Mobutu soon became the army chief of staff. In a second coup (1965), he assumed the office of Prime Minister in 1966 and then established a presidential form of government headed by himself in 1967. As part of his program of “national authenticity”, Mobutu changed the Congo's name to Zaïre in 1971 and his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko in 1972.
Power was concentrated in Mobutu, who established a single-party state and a cult of personality. During his reign, Mobutu built a highly centralized state and amassed a large personal fortune through economic exploitation and corruption, leading some to call his rule “kleptocracy”. The nation suffered from uncontrolled inflation, a large debt, and massive currency devaluations. By 1991, economic deterioration and unrest led him to agree to share power with opposition leaders, but he used the army to thwart change until May 1997, when rebel forces led by Laurent Kabila expelled him from the country. Already suffering from prostate cancer, he died three months later in Morocco.
Mobutu Sese Seko is notorious for corruption, nepotism, and the embezzlement of billions of US dollars that took place during his reign, as well as extravagances such as Concorde-flown shopping trips to Paris. Mobutu presided over the country for nearly four decades, a period of widespread human rights violations. As such, he has been described as the "archetypal African dictator".
Not exactly a guy you want as a neighbor is it? The fact is the United States not only put Mobutu in power (stop me if you have heard this before) as way to stop Soviet Russia from establishing a foothold in Africa in 1960. Devlin writes of his considerable efforts to support Mobutu when he started his rise to power. The US was willing to do anything to keep Congo on the side of the Allies,including killing the first elected president,Patrice Lumumba. Reading how Devlin was approached and asked to kill Lumumba is chilling but also a sign of the times. To his credit,Devlin refused to fulfill such a act but Lumumba was killed nonetheless.
  The hardships that he and his family went through are extraordinary,be it rebel Congo soldiers playing Russian roulette with Devlin or having a mercenary threaten his family,Devlin endured it all with relish and gusto. His attempts to justify some of our actions there in regard to helping Mobutu in power is more then astounding. The inner workings of a CIA officer is shaping and controlling events in order to further impose Washington's will is a must read for any real world history student. It gives one pause to ponder about the leaders we have put in place...Mobutu.Castro,the Shah of Iran,Saddam,Noriega,Mubarak and Karzi...and how have those leaders have in turn been such terrible men who oppressed their people ruthlessly. The US has so much more blood on its hands then the average American can fathom. Devlin's story offers a glimpse of how the Cold War was fought back in its heyday...

Its 9:04 pm

   This is going to be a "rolling entry",a blog written over several days.
My week of cat sitting ended on Sunday. Marlene and Dylan came home from Washington D.C. Sunday afternoon. I didn't know until I opened the door and saw Marlene...she laughed because as I was opening the door,I was saying "hello" to Crash.
   They had a great time and saw a lot of attractions including a baseball with the Nationals where Dylan discovered gelato for the first time. They very generously bought me a book called "Planet Cat" which is so me.

They said that Crash meowed for a hour when they got home...he was glad to have his people back but curled up and nestled with me when I sat down.

Someone gave me a heads up that the person who slammed me for my joke about Cory Monteith wrote a blog about defending the dead. It was a interesting little piece that really proved my point about choice and what we do with it. She herself writes that she became a addict through a wrong diagnosis. And while she suffered greatly on a personal level,she took a stand and fought to be sober which she is today. I told her then and I say it now,I have more respect for her then I do Cory. She had a much larger mountain to face then he did in my opinion and not nearly the same resources he had either. The difference was she CHOSE to live and he CHOSE to inject heroin in his arm.
   She say we should remember that Cory had a family,friends and loved ones and they miss him terribly. Oh,I never said he didn't...I am sure he does. Its just a shame that he chose to forget them in his moment of need. We look at the problem of addiction through two different point of views,she looks at it as a addict and I see it as someone who never used. Addiction has many pathways,peer pressure,stress,boredom,lack of order in a life,economics. I understand this,many very good people sometimes become a addict or a alcoholic very slowly or even unaware until a crisis that forces them to face what they have become....but it is still rooted in choice. Just as it is to overcome addiction,its all about choosing life over death.  Sad that the person attacking me can't realize she has achieved more in her choices then Cory did his.

  Today was fun....I was able to do something totally fun for Melanie and Terrie,Lori's two angels at the U of M Infusion Clinic. I went to Tim Horton's and bought them large iced teas. I felt Lori with me on this trip,I know she is happy that I did it.
  The clinic was pretty busy when I walked in....I saw Melanie working on a chart and it is clear of one thing,she has really enjoyed her summer! She was looking so tanned that she could have been from California! We walked over to see Terrie and surprise,Karen was back form her stint in Ann Arbor. It was nice to see her as well...Terrie was looking very cute with a new hair style and had just completed the party of the summer for her daughter who graduated from high school. It was great to see all three of them working hard with their patients.
  Karen says they talk about Lori quite a bit,the very special patients who fight so hard and are such sweet spirits are never forgotten she said. This made me feel good,that my Lori is still remembered in such a beautiful way. I actually smiled and didn't get choked up....I said good-bye and headed out for errands.

The last two days here in Michigan have been more fall then summer as we have had two cold days in a row. But it feels rather nice and as I headed to Target,a light drizzle fell from a overcast sky. Before I went into Target,I decided to drop by the optical department at JC Penny's because I think the coating on my glasses is warped or worn off...I am constantly having to clean my glasses. I haven't been here since Lori and I were last,it felt sad as I walked in and remembered the times we shopped here. I found myself talking to her in my head as I walked to the back. The store never looked better or more empty. I saw 2 customers and no workers,not even a greeter.
   I got back there and saw the store was dark with a crowd control barrier across the section,however there was a lady back there anyways. I looked at the sign,the worker said she would be back at 12 noon and it was already 1:00 pm. I asked the lady if she had seen the worker,she shook her head and said she didn't there was anyone working at all....that one girl had quit and the other worker was talking that way as well.
 I said I would check with a JCP worker as the optical store is separate from Penny's.

This time when I walked back up front,I saw no one at all until I almost reached the front of the store! I saw nary a soul! Finally found someone who didn't know what was going on but was kind enough to see if the Westland store was up and running,she thought maybe they were closed on Monday. Maybe so but there was no sign up and the only sign said that they would be back at noon. Sort of surreal....
  And as empty as Penny's was,as always,Target was busy with families already hitting the Back to School sales. I walked in,grabbed some litter and canned food and zipped out.

Got two new "8 Questions with....." interviews upcoming. Tyler Beltz is a local teen who is aiming for the stars and is working very hard to get there. I wanted to see how a young adult is seeing the world and since Tyler is always on the go,I thought he would provide a telling glimpse of where we are going.
  And on the other hand,I am interviewing a old friend from my San Jose days,Ken Helwig. Ken is a very talented musician and after a long lay-off,has a new band,The Empty's who recently played their first shows. Its going to be fun catching up with a veteran of the San Jose music scene.

Had a nice chat yesterday with Aaron R. Smith who is a write-in candidate for the Detroit City Council-District Two. He asked to join my group on FB and then shared his platform. I have to admit,it was really cool to see a politician come in like that and then be willing to talk about the many issues that are plaguing Detroit. While Aaron and I didn't see eye to eye on some of the same issues,I did like the idea he has no ties to any of the old boy networks that hinder Detroit's progress.
  I like also he was pushing the removal of the 78,000 abandoned buildings that make Detroit one of the ugliest places in America. His fire and compassion as lifetime resident of Detroit gives him a up-close look at the many problems here but he doesn't dismiss out of hand anyone's opinion "if they ain't from here" that too many other so called leaders do. Its a broken record,you don't have to grow up in Detroit in order to see

that its a broken city....and that it needs people who are willing to go through the wringer like Gary Brown did to help repair it. Write-in campaigns are the hardest way to get elected and while I don't think Aaron has a chance THIS time,I feel that by the next election,he will have built a name that will attract voters and encourage them to give this man a real chance to make a difference.
  I personally like to thank Aaron for chatting with me yesterday.it was a education and a honor. I think your political future is very bright and look forward to talking with you again.

And on that...I better scoot and post this. I'm very grateful for the comments the last two entries. Makes writing that much more rewarding to do.

A couple of shout outs

Susan - Sad to see Hercules getting ready to cross over the Rainbow Bridge,he has been such a great friend to Chris and you. I am sure Oliver will be there to meet him and show him the ropes.

Kim aka Fluffy - I am sure the MRI will come back clean and that we hope you get to feeling better soon.

Melanie and Terrie- Thank you for letting me do the tea run....it feels good to give back just a tiny bit.

Follow me on Twitter @Jinzo_2400

Thursday, July 25, 2013

25 July - Lori's birthday

It's 10:00 pm

  Decided to try doing a video blog for a change...be gentle,it's sort of weird to film oneself and I ain't
much to look at in best of times but despite being tired,I thought this might be worth doing. At least I
am no Carlos Danger...

Friday, July 19, 2013

What Is Honor? (plus a Derek Jeter update)

Its 8:12 pm

    Been in a grip of a terrible heat wave here in SE Michigan. Our temps have been hitting anywhere between 95-100 with the heat index adding 5-7 degrees each day. Add in the humidity and its very damn hot.

   Our store is doing what we started last year,when its this blazing hot,we pass out free water to folks who are shopping. It fosters goodwill and ensures that no one will go thirsty while shopping with us.

Seems like so much has happened since I last posted a normal entry....Detroit is declaring bankruptcy,George Zimmerman got away with murder,the black community is targeted fixated on this one case while black on black murder rates soar in Chicago and Detroit. The media continues to drive a wedge between America both racially and economically. Folks continue to struggle in just trying to live a normal day to day life. The storm clouds are gathering....

So Derek Jeter is sick. What I thought was possible foot problems has turned into something more serious. Last Sunday I came home and he could barely walk....I called Marlene and asked her if she knew any 24 hour vets in the area...she wasn't aware of any so I turned to Google and started looking. The only one I saw listed was in Pittsfield Township which is slightly beyond Ann Arbor. I posted on my FB page about that and Michelle Ball was kind enough to direct me to a clinic in Plymouth.
  I got Derek in his carrier and head out to the ER at 9 pm. I can tell you,I was pretty scared for my buddy. He is my last family member and the thought of possibly losing my entire family in a mere 2 months time was just awful. I found the clinic and after 15 minutes we were seen. Derek was a perfect gentleman,came out of his carrier with little coaxing and buried his head in my arms. His weight was only 15 pounds,he has never weighed less then 18 during his adulthood and as much as 20 during the winter months.
  As the tech left and we waited for the doctor,we heard a man and woman crying outside our door. Their dog had a incurable illness and the time had come for him to cross the rainbow bridge. It was sad hearing them both crying...I stuck my head out and told him how sorry I was for their loss. The dog was pretty cute but skinny,I don't know what he had but I know Shelby was loved very much.
  The vet came in and gave Derek a quick check up....he started outlining treatment options,X-rays,meds,etc...by the time he was done,he had no idea what Derek had and wanted me to pay 750.00 just for him to share that with me.
 The only thing asked,was he in mortal danger? The vet said "no" and I packed Derek up,paid the bill and headed home. The next morning saw us in Dr. King's office...she was the vet that treated Ginger's kidney failure. Now we back with her again as she examined Derek. She couldn't tell right away but suggested we run blood and I agreed. Turns out that Derek's potassium and red blood cell counts are low. Dr. King has started him on Renal K and we will go back in 10 days for another check-up. Dr. King also waived the rabies shot requirement for any future nail clipping we may have need of.

This week saw me see Pastor Debbie Miller for the first time since Lori's passing away. Despite some really bad days,I seemed to have gotten a firmer grip on things and I felt okay when I walked in. So I was pretty surprised at how much pain was so close to the surface. It will be two months tomorrow that my Lori has left me and I am still just as lost and confused as day one. I do function better and am putting the bridle in between my teeth for a good pull. Seeing "Pacific Rim" tomorrow with my fellow fanboys,Dom and Rome,giving blood Sunday afternoon at St. John Neumann's. Our store is also having two volunteer projects that I signed up for,we are working to restore two community centers in Wayne and Inkster. We did really well on our car wash and with our new ASM spearheading and cheerleading our way to new projects,its a nice way to pay it back a little bit! Can't wait to get the ball rolling.

  One thing I have doing as of late is clearing my life of toxic people. Some people may have appeared to have cared about my situation but I can see that they really don't at all.Sometimes its take the most unlikely event to show someone that.
  Honor. What does honor mean? It means different things to many people,doesn't it?
So actor Cory Montieth overdosed this week. Locked himself in a hotel room with booze and some heroin and ended up dying a very empty,senseless and dishonorable death. And just like most famous deaths,you had people rushing to his defense,saying how talented he was,how he had a bad childhood,was sexually abused,etc,etc...the same yada,yada we heard when Amy Winehouse or any other "name" dies so early.
I posted the following on my wall:

Cory Monteith is leaving Glee for a new exciting role on The Walking Dead where he'll play a singing zombie who helps Rick form a choir...

I admit,maybe it was a little soon but honestly,seeing this happened made me mad. Now my brother Phil or any of my friends in the music/nightclub business can tell you,addiction sucks. I already related how my friend Larry got caught up in crack(but is in recovery as of this writing),my pals Sean and Johnny,both very good artists,got caught up in speed,my booking mentor,Nancy,became a alcoholic. I just posted about my friend Javier,whose brother and sister are both heroin addicts. To me,its about choice,freewill. We choose to abuse narcotics,alcohol or street drugs. Well,it used to be that simple....with so many doctors simply writing heavy pain meds instead of treating the patient,the next generation of addicts may rightfully be able to say "Its not my fault". Maybe....but for now,anyone who chooses to shoot heroin,crack,meth...you do it at your own peril. I don't have any sympathy for this Cory. To this I was accused of being judgemental and having anger issues. Simply because I stated that yes,I am angry at this dude who had everything going for him,a good career,a loving girl,respect of his peers..the world was his. I know he had issues and I respect that but to come out of rehab and say "fuck you all" as he slid the needle in his arm,yeah...I have a problem with that.
He threw his life away so easy while good people like Amy and my Lori,fought so hard against a illness they didn't ask for and wanted to live so much. I talked to Amy's husband Don about this and he agreed how this kind of story upsets him as well. Cory had a choice to live,not to let his past define him,to control him...he said "nope" and now he is dead.
  I had been invited out to lunch to discuss a chance to write for a website....but when the person saw this,she attacked me for not having compassion. She herself is a great example that Cory could have looked at and modeled his recovery after. This person had a problem herself and had to overcome it and everyday she has to WORK very hard at it....and that is good. Might have been better not to have ended up there in the first place but that was again,her choice. The difference is she realized that her choice was not healthy and decided to get help. She looks at Cory through the eyes of a addict,I look at him through the eyes of someone who never used drugs or drank barely anything. Looking at the glass differently.
  Soon after,I saw the following posted on her and her partner's FB wall "a code of honor". Soon after I got the following letter. Its actually pretty classless and again,attacking me and questioning my "honor". All I can say is this....my friends and co-workers know who I am. They know exactly how I conduct myself in regards to people and situations. Because I won't enable or condone the fact this kid tossed his life away like a empty Slurpee cup,doesn't give you or anyone else the right to question my "honor". I don't need cancers like this in my circle and that is why you're no longer welcome in it.

  • Conversation started Thursday
  • 4:0

    TPE has just implemented a new code of honor that has a level of expectation for all people to be accorded respect. In light of your recent comments on Facebook, Trish and I feel it's best, at this time, to not forge ahead with any business relationship. We both understand you are going through a difficult time and we respect that, but we also believe you need time to get a hold of of your anger towards those who are not the reason for it.
    We would like to reassess a writing position at the start of 2014. We are still your friends and hope you understand we are fostering a community of respect and concern for all - please see our code of honor.
    1. Never desert a team member in need, danger, or trouble.
    2. Communication is key and expected. Respond to all emails, messages, phone calls, text messages and online messages, etc . in a timely manner or let them know when you will be available.
    3. Follow through on your commitments. A deadline is a deadline, if you need more time communicate why and how much more time.
    4. Always use honesty to resolve a dispute and good communication practices.
    5. Never desert an individual or group to which you owe your support.
    6. Never discredit your ability, but acknowledge when you need help.
    7. Never need praise, approval or sympathy.
    8. Realize that outside relationships and actions could harm TPE. Always keep TPE in your best interests.
    9. Never regret yesterday. If you make a mistake fix it. Don't dwell on it or make excuses.
    10. Don’t desire to be liked or admired.
    11. Set and complete your goals
    12. Keep all confidences with those working with you and toward the greater good.
    13. Respect those you work for and with by asking fulfilling your obligations.
    14. Help others, and if you can't, at least don't hurt them.
    Adam Zientarski
    General Manager TPE
  • MichaelNot a problem.

Now that felt pretty good....and speaking of honor,got a from the world of horror conventions. A couple of weeks ago,a actress friend of mine attended a show in California. She was one of the big name guests and posters and other PR went out hyping her involvement. Tickets were sold,promises in terms on contracts and hotel accommodations were given and all seemed in order.

My friend packs her table with her usual convention fare,pictures,DVDs,chainsaws and blood and heads north. She even posted pictures of the trip and how excited she was getting to meet a lot of fans.
 Well,she got there and the promoter turns straight up shady. My friend doesn't get paid,she was locked out of her hotel room (most likely because the deposit check bounced) and she had to pay for her meals....all things that a professionally run convention handles. I was pretty shocked to say the least...I thought conventions were booked like a live music show. You know,you call the artist you want agent or manager...they send you a contract w/a rider. You send back the contract along with a deposit and after the show,you settle with the artist or the artist's road manager. But I guess they do things differently and my friend expected a honorable settlement and it didn't turn out that way. Which is a damn shame because my friend is one of the sweetest persons I have come across. Out of respect for her,I am not naming names but if this janky wannabe tries to pull out another scam....we'll be dropping names for sure!

  This week is Lori's birthday week. She would have turned 54 on the 25th of July and I got a nice gift from Arbor Hospice,a 3,000.00 bill. I knew this was coming and I have been dreading this...I had hoped our insurance would have covered this but nope...its all on me. I wonder if anyone would help me set up a Kickstarter to help raise some money for this. I really hate how they sent me this bill THIS week. I mean,really?? Just another hurdle to overcome,right?

All is not lost as I will be cat sitting for my neighbor Marlene as she and her son go on vacation. It will be nice to chill with the famous Crash again. He is the most talkative cat this side of a Siamese and I'm sure he has an opinion on the state of Detroit and other current topics.

All right.....I'm outta here. Be safe and keep the faith,baby!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review : Running For My Life - Warrick Dunn and Don Yaeger


Running For My Life
Warrick Dunn and Don Yaeger
Harper Entertainment - 2008
274 pages

   What I knew about Warrick Dunn was that he once starred at Florida State and played for both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. I really never followed his career and only remember that his running back partner Mike Alstott and Dunn were a dynamic running duo that reminded me of Franco and Rocky back in the 70s when the Steelers were racking up Super Bowls wins.
  I also recalled that Warrick signed with Atlanta and the following year the Bucs pounded the Oakland Raiders to win their first Super Bowl. The media covering the game commented about that because Warrick had so much for the Bucs,both on the field and off.
  So when I saw this book sitting in my Dollar Tree,I snapped it up..and so glad I did.
Because this was one amazing read about truly one amazing human being who just happens to have played football.
  Most sports bios always start with the athlete recapping winning a big game or match and then going back to share how they got there..Warrick starts with a visit to see a man on Death Row and how this man has guided him on a hard journey full of loss,pain and triumph.
  The story starts with Warrick's mother,who was a police officer,being ambushed and killed during a robbery attempt. Warrick,then only 17,not only had to overcome that while chasing a education but also look out for his 3 younger brothers and 2 sisters.
  Instead of the usual blah,blah,rah,rah of typical bios..Warrick shares his bond with his mother,how much she influenced him to be the best he could be. While the story does mention his days at Florida State and the NFL,its more telling that Warrick started a program called "Home For the Holidays" that he started in his rookie season. Home For the Holidays worked with Habitat for Humanity in finding homes for deserving folks. While Habitat and the family work on getting the home,for many families,they don't have to properly furnish it and that is where Warrick stepped in. Instead of sharing big game highlights,he focuses on the people who have worked hard to overcome their situation and how they came to meet Warrick when they got their new home.
  The long journey for Warrick to learn to cope with the loss of his mom is the central theme in this book and its not a easy one to read.You get a real sense of just how hurt Warrick was (and still is) at what happened to his family but instead of letting it destroy him,he (with a help of a good therapist) learns to breath and open his heart to other people.
  I loved this book....and so happy I found it. Warrick Dunn is an amazing man and with his love for people and overcoming long odds...you forget that he was a great NFL player as well!

Highly recommended.

To get a copy of this book,I suggest Amazon but the 4th person who leaves a comment will win my copy free!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

All over the place on a Monday

Its 5:42 pm

    Good evening....its a warm,wet and humid Michigan summer day. The rain has been falling since early this afternoon with several thunderstorms racing across the sky. Guess we're supposed to be dealing with storms all this week...which isn't a bad thing,mind you,we really need the water. So glad I cut my grass after I got home yesterday,there would have been no way I could have done it today...

Like to thank my guest blogger Jessica Clackum for writing such a interesting column and I really like the guest blogger idea quite a bit,so much so I have already invited another guest writer to drop something hot in the near future....no pressure Rich but you are now on the clock...

July 25 is coming up very rapidly....it seems every month there is a emotional hurdle for me to clear...Lori's dying in May,our anniversary in June and now her birthday on 25 July. She would have turned 54 this year. Only 54....its very sad to think about this,I know I am a strong person but sometimes this really overwhelms me and I just lose it for a while. The tears come and I just sit and weep. Every day feels like 20 May....every single day. I bounce off the walls here or I go walk around the block 2-3 times. My sleep pattern is still very scattered,my CPAP machine works when I turn it on but my mind is racing with memories,things we did,places we visited and dreams we dreamed but won't be realized on this Earth. I am thankful for my friends who even now,despite their own problems,still support and care for Derek and myself. Its a saving salvation I can assure you and I do my best to pay it forward...because its the things we do for others that help define who we are as human beings...a kind word or email or phone call. Its when times are darkest that we need to reach out and give back. Doing a kindness with things are flush is easy,its when you are in that dark room that you help guide someone first to the light. Its what I'm working very hard at doing now,it really surprises people,good people,to find out that they still have a lot of love in their heart to give when they seem to have nothing left but tears to share.
  I got a call about 10 days ago from a old friend (hell,he was almost like a brother to me) whom I had not seen or heard from in about 28 years(!!) When I answered the phone and heard him start to talk...I met Javier back in Ontario when we moved into the neighborhood. He was a very quiet but a avid fanboy in the fact we loved to read comic books,sci-fi and fantasy books. We went everywhere together,church,the bookstore,just knocking around. His home life was pure dogshit,no father,a mother who really wasn't around..a little brother who you see was already in the grip of the gangs and drugs that were always lurking around. His older sister was beautiful but she had no ambition other then to party...which led her getting pregnant by the time she was 18. She hung around gangbangers as well because it was almost expected.  Javier never was approached,the loco vatos knew he was different and left him alone.
  Soon Javier moved in with us after my older brother left for the Navy and he became part of the family.
As we got older and saw all of our friends slowly being destroyed by the neighborhood,we decided to try and join the Army. Javier was accepted but because of my poor eyesight,I was denied. Javier went in on a delayed entry program so we were able to hang together for a while...which almost proved our undoing.
His now 17 year old brother had been messing with a girl who he thought was 15 but in fact was only 13. He was facing some potential serious trouble. As we drove one night,Javier and he started arguing about what was happening,his brother became very upset and started crying while driving. Not a good thing as he started talking about crashing the car....I'm in the back seat scared out of my mind and asked him to pull over so I could get out,I wanted no piece of this. He refused and sped up....as Javier tried to calm him,I watched the speedometer and when his brother hit a turn at 25 mph,I jumped and rolled out of the car. I felt my glasses fly off my face as I tucked and rolled over and over.
 That brought his brother back into his senses as Javier screamed at him to stop. The car stopped and backed up...both brothers got out and asked if I was okay...I only had a small cut on the back of my hand. I picked up my glasses which somehow survived and put them on. I turned to Javier's brother and shook my head and without saying a word started walking the 3 miles home. Javier walked with me and he kept on apologizing .
  I soon moved to Santa Clara and Javier went to bootcamp. We exchanged a few letters but soon we lost contact. I knew he moved with my family to Washington and that he went AWOL but I never talked with him. And soon after he moved back to California and that the end of any contact we had with him.
  Until about 3 weeks ago when he called my mother in Washington...they talked a couple of times and she gave him my phone number.
  I was surprised to hear from him...I told him briefly what had been happening and he then shared his story.
My friend is homeless. I mean,really homeless,as in sleeping outside in the park homeless. He is married and has a 3 year old son and they are homeless. It wasn't always that way,he said he had worked for DHL for 17 years before taking a chance to live with his older brother (which I never knew he had!) in Colorado..he quit DHL and went to Colorado. It didn't work out and he came back to California where he was out of work for two years before landing another job with a subcontractor with DHL. That lasted two years before he had a mental breakdown and took a medical leave. Of course once he came back,they dropped him as fast as they could and with his wife also losing her job,it quickly fell apart for them.
  He turned to his younger brother and sister....but that pointless,both siblings while making it out of the neighborhood,took along a pet with them as a reminder of their time there,a pet Horse. Yep....both his sister and little brother are heroin addicts. When things were good,he had let both of them stay with him while they struggled with their lives and addictions. But it wasn't the  same now that he needed their help,his little brother let him stay but at the first fight,he kicked them all out,including tossing their clothes and other items on the street.
  He never asked me for a dime,he just wanted to "have someone to talk to". 28 years and I am now the person he wants to talk too....I know he had burned up and used every social resource to him. His wife called the local VA and they told him to come out to see them,he didn't have the busfare to even get out there...I volunteered at 2 homeless shelters in San Jose and I can't ever recall seeing a whole family out on the street like this. My heart ached for him but I could offer him advice,when he said his mother-in-law had gotten them two days at a fleabag motel...I just didn't know what to say,I have no money to spare him,not with my own sketchy situation here..I am so hard pressed myself. But I told him to go to the largest Catholic Church and simply ask for the bus fare to the VA. Simple and small requests go a long way to getting more help. You have to be willing to take anything and everything that is offered to you jobwise. You can't say no...with no transportation,this will be hard but as I told Javier,just get there...you can always walk home,I used to walk everywhere before I moved to Michigan and learned to drive. I used that logic when I started working in San Jose,just get to the job and worry about getting home later.
  I know of one friend in Ontario who might be able to help but I have no way of contacting Javier...so now I wait and pray.

  Our neighbor just rang my doorbell,she brought me 4 homemade sugar cookies. She said she wanted to go into business for herself but didn't want to go through the hassle of getting health permits. I may have to rethink eating these cookies....

I got a nice email from famed blues singer Candye Kane. I was blessed to have worked with Candye on a couple of shows at the Agenda Lounge. I had first seen her sing at the Cactus Club and was completely blown away by her voice,its a beautiful and bouncy voice with matches Candye perfectly.
Candye herself has been battling cancer for almost 5 years herself,she has undergone several major surgeries yet has still managed to tour and put out new music every year. She is a true warrior in so many different ways.

This was her email to me

  • I hope you are doing okay. I wanted you to know that i read your messages and i think of Lori and Lori often even though I had never a chance to meet her. Cancer sucks and I mourn for every person who has to endure it as a carrier or a caregiver. sending love xo - Candye

Last Friday I was blessed again to have lunch with Lori's Angels,Melanie and Terrie. I can't tell you how much I love these two,how they do such a great job helping cancer patients each day cope with their chemotherapy and the side effects of it. Its a grueling and taxing job but they do it with a sense of humor and compassion. There is never a faster hour then having lunch with the girls..but next time,please allow me to pay....*s*

My neighbor has gotten serious about defending his garden from the rabbits this summer. He has put posts up and chicken wire around the posts. He then put several heavy stones around except for one weak point where he set up a live trap...I had to laugh when I saw this but when he mentioned he was going to get rid of them for good,well.....that is how his cage got sprayed with animal repellant. I can respect his not wanting to share his cabbage and carrots but not at the expense of killing our bunnies. Its one of summer's biggest highlights,coming home and seeing a couple of rabbits on the front lawn.

Last but not least,so my good friend Monique Parent has put out some new SortaHealthy videos on YouTube. A couple of summers ago,I made her chimchurri sauce and it was amazingly good. She comes up with several great ideas built around the VitaMix blender and they are pretty much all winners.
But she launched this one today and I am finding myself completely torn about trying this:
I'll let you know how it goes!

Getting pretty jazzed for the huge Save Ferris show on the 27th. Despite some inner-band fussing and feuding,the show is going and by the look of things,the fans are siding with vocalist Monique Powell as tickets are selling at a nifty rate..

I am still holding out hope that someone will record this show...and post it on YouTube or maybe the band will sell some CDs of the show. One can hope anyways.

I like to wish my friend Sheri some inner peace and healing during the next 3 weeks.

Went to renew my tags for my car today at the Secretary of State. I got there at around 10:30 am and the line moved quickly until the customer two persons ahead of me,then the line stalled. I waited 20 minutes for just that one person to be helped,the line behind was curled up and through the front door.
Finally it was my turn....I brought all the paperwork except the title. See,we  registered both cars under Lori's name. It wasn't planned that way but since it made things easier,we never changed it. Now I have to change my tags to my birthday.
   They gave me a form to fill out,I was number 87 and they were at number 64. When I walked in 30 minutes earlier,they were on 62. I decided to bail out,come home,get my title and come at it again tomorrow. Save me some sanity to say the least.

Caught this song while surfing YouTube. The band is Nikki Sixx's new band called Sixx AM and this song is called "Van Nuys". This is a great song and I hope you like it as much as I do.

New "8 Questions with....." coming very soon.

Renee,glad to have you back. Loved your story today.

Feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Significance of the Declaration of Independence has not been diminished- by guest blogger Jessica Clackum

Its 10:30 pm

  Happy Independence Day. 
While the air around the house is filled with hundreds of fireworks going off,I am sitting inside drinking a iced coffee and watching Derek sleep on the cool tile in the bathroom. While I'm not into celebrating so much this year,watching a huge fireworks show was something Lori and I enjoyed doing.
  When we lived in Northville one year,we went for a Starbucks coffee and sat in the parking lot with another couple whom we didn't know and watched 3 different cities put on their firework shows. It was one of our favorite 4th of July that we enjoyed together.

There is a trend now among the blogging community....its called "guest blogging". Basically,if you see a writer you admire or have respect for..you ask them to come submit a guest column/entry. It is supposed to bring some fresh air in terms of both readership and content (because really,don't you get tired of just reading my words?)
   So with that in mind,I reached out to fellow blogger Jessica Clackum who writes her blog here on Blogspot called "Release the Clackum". I admire Jessica's writing style very much,her point of view is very strong and covers a variety of issues both current and historical. While our politics may be slightly different,its doesn't take away from the fact Jessica can seriously "bring it" when it comes to blogging.
  I asked her to submit anything she felt a mind to write about and she sent the following column,I hope you enjoy it and thanks again,Jessica! I would love some feedback on this guest column and if you,the reader,like the idea of seeing a guest writer once in a while here.

It was a hot and balmy summer in 1776 when a group of fifty-six delegates from the thirteen colonies convened in a meeting hall in Philadelphia to discuss, among other things, the drafting of a document to the King of England, declaring once and for all, in no uncertain terms, the intent of the colonies to form an independent and sovereign nation.

The delegates chose five men to write this document; Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Thomas Jefferson and it took nearly one month to come up with a draft to present to Congress and several days to amend and eventually ratify it. To show a unified stance against the King, the ratification of the Declaration had to be unanimous. In the end it was all or nothing, there could be no dissenters. When the fifty-six delegates signed their names to this document, they essentially placed a bounty on their own heads for they knew should the war for independence be lost, they would surely be hanged.

The Declaration of Independence is often criticized because of the alleged hypocrisy of the statement "All men are created equal" at a time when slavery was prevalent and women's rights did not exist. However, this document cannot be judged by applying modern standards. A good historian knows that historical events must be viewed within the context of their time thus while the Document may seem incomplete, hypocritical, or flawed in 2013, it was not the case in 1776.

To understand the significance and impact of the Declaration of Independence, one must take into account the events of the time in which it was written. Take for example the issue of slavery which is one that is brought up time and time again when discussing the Declaration. The Declaration of Independence initially included a paragraph related to slavery however in order to ensure ratification by the Southern colonies, Jefferson had to remove it. While slavery was an important human rights issue, independence was an even greater issue at that moment and needed to be addressed first. There is no question however that while the Declaration did not address specifically the issue of slavery, it was symbolically important in later years in the quest to abolish slavery in the United States.

The Declaration of Independence is a testament to the human spirit and man's desire to be free. Consider for a moment the Continental Army which was essentially a ragtag collection of poorly trained and under-equipped men who left their jobs, farms, and families behind to fight against the most powerful military force in the world, knowing full well the odds against them. These men fought tirelessly in the most horrible conditions and thousands died from pneumonia, malnutrition and disease. Despite the odds, the Continental Army persevered. This was not just due to amazing leadership, it was that the desire to be free was so overwhelming, it gave the men something to fight for. There was so much at stake that failure was not an option.

The Declaration of Independence and the brave men who risked their lives by signing it and the sacrifice of the brave men and women who gave their lives and fought for the principles outlined in it still continues to serve as an example to millions of oppressed people around the world who yearn for freedom. Two hundred thirty-seven years after the signing, the significance of the Declaration has not diminished. If anything it has only become more important.

To follow Jessica's blog,just click on the link below or Blogs I Follow.