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

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