Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reflections,Candye Kane and baseball

It's 4:26 pm

   Looking outside at a nice day...its a bit overcast and muggy. The last 5 days have been like this,we get humid and steamy,storms pop up,it rains and then goes away. It is almost like being in Florida. Guess we might get a bit of a summer yet!!

  Past week has seen its highs and lows. Had a real sad patch of 3-5 days of feeling like Lori just left me. It felt like the day of her death and I really started to flounder badly,lot of tears and wanting to pack my bags. I always wonder if I am the only one to feel that way,are feelings solely my own. Am I the weirdo widower in the room? I am both saddened and relieved to know that these feelings are natural and not uncommon. Saddened to know others are feeling this terrible and desperately wanting to go home by any means possible and relieved that I am not alone in feeling this way.

  The trigger was trying to clean up our spare bedroom. I really hadn't been in the room for about a year other then put my winter bedding away. Otherwise I have not gone into the room for any reason. So I started looking in the top drawer when I saw a card with two tiny birds and the word "lovebirds".
The card was was from 2005 Lori and I went to Washington D.C. for vacation,she wrote how much fun we were going to have and how we were going to have so many more in the future.
 That was all I could handle and I started to cry. I put the card back and walked out of the room about 60 seconds after I walked in.I was pretty saddened at this,that it still absolutely like she passed that day. I tried to de-stress by going down in the basement and cleaning Paladin's box and doing some laundry.
But my week was shot,just beyond sad and missing Lori....struggled hard to finish my last week of overnights at my job. We were doing inventory prep and only had a 6 man team to prep a huge store....

  Saturday presented a new challenge for me....a co-worker's brother had died and his viewing/funeral service was being held on Saturday afternoon. My friend Sue and I drove over to pay our respects. As we got closer Sue told me about the funeral home,it was one of the smallest ones she had ever seen and as we pulled up,she wasn't just whistling Dixie,it was incredibly small,it was there first and the city built around it. A apartment complex was directly behind it as well as a pre-school right next to it. You could only drive in one way to park and parking lot was pretty narrow.

   Sue and I got there just as the service started...the little chapel was packed,my co-worker's brother was a popular guy,well loved. It felt surreal to be standing many fresh memories and emotions. We stood outside in the hall as the chapel had no seating left. The pastor gave a nice service,listening to little stories and tributes sort of gave you a idea of what he was like. While laughter was there,tears were the order of the day.
  Two of our fellow co-workers came as we watched,I could feel myself start to hurt inside,the room was getting smaller and the sound of crying was starting to effect me. Well Sue got a urgent call and we had to go about 5 minutes before the service did.
  I was both happy that I had lasted as long as I did and didn't waver. I was only sorry I didn't see Linda,my co-worker,who supported me during Lori's cancer. She too,lost her spouse only a short while ago..and now this...
So while I was wrestling hard with this,I made plans to attend my first concert in forever. I missed seeing Dave Alvin in July but another of my favorite singers was coming to Ann Arbor.
  I first saw Candye Kane back in 1992 when she opened for a great roots rock band called The Blazers at the Cactus Club. I was completely blown away and went on to maybe 12-15 shows in San Jose,Santa Cruz and San Francisco. One of my last shows at the Agenda was a Candye Kane show which was really well attended and just a great vibe all the way around. I helped the band load out and thanked her for a great show,she kissed me good-bye and that was the last I saw her,that was in 1998.
  Flash forward to 2008...Candye breaks the news she has pancreatic cancer and is facing a life and death struggle. I started to write her via social media and sent encouragement just as thousands have done. She has multiple surgeries, including one where they used 150 plus stitches to sew her up.

She tours,undergoes chemo,records,more chemo,flies to Europe,huge medical bills starting to pile up. Fans rally around her as she undergoes more treatment,she was once weighed around 270 pounds,not anymore she writes.
   Lori gets sick,my writing to her becomes less and less as Lori gets more and more ill. Candye is fighting so hard as is my Lori but Lori is fading now,no letters now,just blogging here. Candye writes me,wondering how we are doing,I sent her my blog.
  2013....Lori is gone in May...a cancer that was preventable has taken her. Candye,with a cancer that normally kills within two years,is still alive and shining brightly. I write her twice in the past 18 months,once to tell her Lori has died.

 But now Candye is coming back to Michigan,playing the Ark. I haven't seen a live show in 5 years,haven't been to the Ark in years when Lori and I saw Kim Richey play. I reach out to my friend (and frequent guest blogger) Susan to see if she would like to see Candye. She is game and we make plans. I also ask my other Sue who is also game for a show.
  So here we are last Tuesday meeting at my home to carpool to Ann Arbor. It looks like a thunderstorm type of night as it starts to get ugly. Paladin the cheetah is sitting in the windowsill which is open...when a huge bolt of lightening flashes and thunder cracks across the sky. Does the cheetah run? Hell no!! Paladin sits there and meows good-bye at us....

   The rain dies out as we leave our town and head to Ann Arbor,we went via Michigan Ave. so it was mellow as far as going into town,no passing the UM Hospital.
 Downtown Ann Arbor was buzzing with life as we headed to Main St. Lot of places to eat,drink and be merry but not so much in terms of pure shopping. Last time Lori and I were downtown Ann Arbor  was about two years for the art fair. We had a good time but we couldn't stay very long as Lori got tired pretty fast back then.
  But the same kind of buzz was still going on....tons of foot traffic and construction cranes all around.
Parked our car and walked to the Ark,got our tickets and seats. The Ark shows pretty much start dead on time and so at 8 pm,her band,led by the amazing Laura Chavez on guitar,hit the stage.
  They played two instrumentals and then Laura introduced Candye. Wow....I knew she lost some weight during her cancer journey but I wasn't ready to see how much she had lost....and she looked GREAT!!
The voice was still quite strong but the Ark's sound system leaves a lot to be desired so her vocals were bit muted. The small mid-week crowd was fully into the show and Candye sang a lot of her favorites "I'm the Reason Why You Drink", "Toughest Girl Alive" and "Superhero".

 But something started bothering me as the show went on,in between songs,Candye shared her journey on how she was so happy she was still alive and how blessed she was .While I am happy she is doing so well,a miracle in fact,I found myself feeling more and more upset....bitter and resentful,something I never expect to feel when talking about about a cancer survivor. I mean,I harbor no ill will towards Candye herself,no one thinks that of course. It is the whole another widower said when he mentioned he doesn't go to any of the cancer events (Relay For Life,3 Day Walk,etc).
 "It isn't because of the people,it is because of the sheer greed of the medical field in treating this. Billions in research,drugs and fund raising and there isn't even ONE cure for any one cancer. It is always hope for a cure but never any real answers. People and companies get wealthy off our blood,loss and broken souls but won't even allow for one cancer to be cured".
Caught this wonderful and telling blog entry that is very worth checking,just click the link to check out the blog.
  Taking a quick run through some search engines,I find this emotion is not publicly talked about,but it IS talked about. I have discussed this with at least six other widowers,widows,parents,children who have lost someone to cancer but have a hard time being around survivors/events. The feeling of "why only some but not all" is a strong feeling to feel but as you are reading this,much,much harder to express without being criticized for it. Personally,I don't care if I am or not...I am just sharing just another part of my journey. I'm saying its a normal feeling to feel anger and resentment but to make sure you know who you really directing that to.

   Back at the Ark,the show was a extremely good one and Candye played two encores as she received a standing ovation (which she deserved).
  One very sweet part about Candye's show,while she is tries to push her latest CDs and shirts,she also has a CD, "The Power In You" which she sells but knowing a lot of folks may have just enough money to see a show but not afford a CD,she gives those away. It depends solely on the honor system that if you can't afford a album,you can either pay what you can or get a free CD. Very sweet gesture indeed.
  We hung around as I wanted to say hello....and playing thousands of shows since 1998,I didn't think she would remember me at all...which she didn't until I mentioned the Agenda Lounge show. Then her eyes opened wide and she smiled. She said Laura was from Mountain View,then she really remembered when I mentioned Lori. She whispered she was sorry in my ear,grabbed the CD and signed it for me. She had a lot of fans to meet and greet so I let her go. Laura and I talked as we talked about the EDGE and she had been in a band that opened during one of Jimmy's Y&T shows.
   We said our last goodbyes and headed towards home. Both ladies loved the show and said they were glad I shared Candye with them. I was just glad to be able to see a live show again. I don't know who I will be seeing next,only that it won't take 5 years to see it.

  Seems like Dollar Tree Theater is catching on....had a couple of people both mention Dollar Tree Theater in telling me about a couple of new (to me anyways) discount stores in our area,a chain called "Ollie's" and a store called "Five Below".  Said they had some very low prices on books and DVDs.

  So took a ride to Ollie's last week and took a peek. It wasn't too bad but you have to pick and choose as not everything was that cheap. The DVD section was so-so but I did find a couple of Dollar Tree class deals,20 war movies for 2.99 and the short lived "Lonesome Dove" series for 7.00. Also picked up Terry Francona's book about the Boston Red Sox 2004 championship year for 2.99. Thought it was worth going but you get the feeling the turnover isn't very fast and that in 3-4 months,you would be looking at the same stuff.
   Haven't been to Five Below yet but I aiming to venture there this week to take a peek.


   Heading to Detroit on Thursday to watch the Yankees-Tigers play. While the Yankees season has been plagued by injuries to the pitching and termites eating the bats,the Tigers zoomed ahead in the AL Central. The Yanks were at one time in 4th place while the Tigers had a commanding lead in the Central....but suddenly the Tigers have started to crumble,stumble and bumble their way out of first while the Yankees have moved to second place in the East. Now as this writing,the Tigers and Yankees are fighting for the last wild-card spot,the Tigers are a half game back while the Yanks are hanging on (barely) at 3.5 games back.
 This series not only will help figure out the wild card but marks Derek Jeter's last regular season game against Detroit. This will be my first game in 4 years,Lori and I took her Aunt Jo to see a game against Tampa Bay back in 2010.
  This time I will be seeing it with our friend Deb,who got me a ticket for my birthday next week. I am very grateful that so many people have shown me kindness during this time. I never take such acts lightly or for helps me stay grounded here. And paying it forward is a common theme here in my blog and so I will be looking for a new Pink Hat mission come September,don't know what it will be yet but it will happen.

Well that is all I have in my tank....I am heading out to do a little walking. I am re-joining the gym this week so I want to start walking before winter gets here.

If you are on Twitter, follow me @Jinzo_2400

Shout outs

Candye  - May your miracle continue!!
Susan and Sue - Thanks for allowing me to share Candye with you
The Fluffy Twins - just because!
Deb,Cheryl and Marlene (Crash's mom) - thank you for the birthday goodies!!
John,Justin,Darryl - thanks for talk.
San Jose State football - Beat North Dakota
Bene Benwikere - Spartan Strong!
Monte - thanks for the phone call!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What my heart is feeling.....

It's 7:50 am

Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still

Its been a year since last we met
We may never meet again
I have struggled to forget
But the struggle was in vain
For her voice lives on the breeze
And her spirit comes at will
In the midnight on the seas
Her bright smile haunts me still
In the midnight on the seas
Her bright smile haunts me still
I have sailed a falling sky
I have charted hazard’s path
I have seen the storm arise
Like a giant in his wrath
Every danger I have known
That a reckless life can fill
Though her presence is now flown
Her bright smile haunts me still
Though her presence is now flown
Her bright smile haunts me still
At the first sweet dawn of light
When I gaze upon the deep
Her form still greets my sight
While the stars their vigil keep
When I close my aching eyes
Sweet dreams my memory fill
And from sleep when I arise
Her bright smile haunts me still
And from sleep when I arise
Her bright smile haunts me still

- traditional,American.

After the week I have had,I am living but I am still not alive.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thoughts on "Firefly"

It's 11:00 pm

   Thank you for reading my last entry and also for both commenting on it and sharing it. I was sort of expecting some sort of blowback to this entry but I really didn't...I got a lot of positive feedback actually and I am grateful. I would have been understanding if I had indeed been accused of being a tad too sensitive.
But what made me feel good were a couple of comments who said they were not aware of going to a training hospital for treatment,hey,if one person can be helped then I am happy with that.

   So lately I have been watching DVD sets when I come home at night. Oh I still do Dollar Tree Theater but lately its been all about watching TV series.  The prices are very good for older series and older seasons of current shows. I actually had started getting a few of these years ago and had intended to collect whole series like "Monk" and "Lost" and then watch them so I didn't miss anything.

  While getting individual seasons is a bit a of crap shoot because the lack of shelf space at your local Target and Wal-Mart,I don't just look for those. I keep my eye out for short run series as well...which is how I found "Daybreak" at Dollar Tree. Also found the first season of "Wanted: Dead or Alive" which starred Steve McQueen and during one Dollar Tree run,I found a season of "The Greatest American Hero" and also a specially selected 10 episode discs of "Friends" and "Thirtysomething" which I got for Lori.

   I had heard and read many things about a very short lived series called "Firefly" that had debuted on Fox. I never got a chance to see it as Fox canceled it after only 11 episodes had aired. I only remember reading the Joss Whedon,the producer of Buffy and Angel had created it and at first glance seemed to be a hit. But the ratings sharply fell and as per the Fox way (which is still true today),gave it the hook.
  But a funny thing happened....Firefly did not go quietly in the night,it slowly became a cult favorite among fanboys with conventions being held around a show that last a mere 14 shows (11 were shown,3 were unaired).

  The cast of course scattered to do different projects and have attained various degrees of fame...but they almost always did the cons. I still hadn't seen any of the episodes,because its run was too short,most TV channels wouldn't buy the series to run and so I read glimpses of it in various mags like Starlog.
   Then somewhere in Hollywood someone had a bright idea,what if we packaged these short series as sets,add some new content like a gag reel or fresh interviews and priced them smartly to encourage a steady sales stream?

  Because until recently the only series sold on DVDs were established series with a few seasons under the belt. Of course you paid a hefty price as well,new seasons cost anywhere between 50 to 70 bucks. And for a long,long time that was the rule. But again someone got wise and noticed that sales cooled off rapidly after the initial release. People just couldn't afford to buy every new release at that price point and every year a TV series got older,the previous seasons sales dragged.
   They kept hearing from fans about releasing older series from the 50's,60's and 70's but when the studios rolled out the DVDs at the same price as the current TV series,fans balked again. The studios started lowering the prices,slowly at first but when they saw how quickly the sets became to move,lowered them even more...
  I only know from watching the shelves at Target,Best Buy and Costco that this was happening,there were a lot of shows Lori and I would want to see but just couldn't afford nor would we want to pay such high prices. So we waited and watched...

  Maybe about 2.5 years ago while in Target,I spotted the Firefly DVD set,it surprised me because it was the first time I had seen a set from a show so quickly canceled and secondly,it was only sale for only 12.99. That was by far the best price I had seen for a set and so Firefly because my first buy...
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum,I never opened it...this was a weird habit I picked up from my music days. I would get CDs from labels and from local bands which I never got to listen to. I know folks who came over would look at my CD rack and 40-50 brand new CDs would be looking back at them.
  This translated to DVDs, starting with Firefly. I bought and put it downstairs until last week. So while I have tons of Dollar Tree Theater movies to watch,I keep my eye out for cheap sets at Wal-Mart and Target.
As I went down to my basement,I caught the Firefly set and brought it up. I put it on and sat back to watch it.

  I can completely understand why this show is so loved...Joss just is gifted beyond belief when it comes to casting a show (except for casting Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy). Angel was the first show I saw of his and I thought it just rocked. I challenge any fanboy to tell me that they didn't cry when Fred died and then Wesley do the same on the series's last episode!!

  It wasn't surprising to see Adam Baldwin on Firefly,if Joss likes you as a actor,he will cast you in most anything he does. Its why you see so many familiar faces in his shows,a modern day Jack Webb if you really look at it. Webb did the same kind of casting in his shows,he used the same troupe over and over.
Same as Joss does. Adam played the heavy in last season of Angel and quite honestly,I am not quite sure he still wasn't in Firefly as he played the mercenary Jayne. Between questioning Malcolm's every move to almost betraying Simon and River,you just know you could never trust him...

  Seeing Ron Glass in this was a surprise as I really hadn't seen him since his old show Barney Miller but seeing on screen as the Shepherd Book was a delight...even though there were a couple of episodes where he never appeared (hard to do on such a small ship!!) I thought he did a fine job...

     Gina Torres.....I have been a fan of Gina's for a while....she did a stint on Angel and starred with Victoria Pratt in "Cleopatra 2525" which was a hoot to watch. Now that is a series I wonder if its been released as of yet. She played Zoe on Firefly and had fought with Malcolm in the civil war. As his second in command,she had the respect of the entire crew. She was married to...

     Alan Tudyk,who played Wash,Serenity's pilot. You might remember him as Steve the Pirate in the movie "Dodgeball". He loved his wife more then anything else in the world and collected dinosaur figurines. His piloting skills saved the crew's bacon more then once....but every ship needs a ace mechanic and that would be Kaylee,played by the ultra adorable Jewel Staite.

    She not only could fix the any engine but never forgot that she was a lady as well. Sometimes the men on Serenity forgot that and took Kaylee for granted. Which is a shame because while Kaylee made no bones about her feelings for.....

   Simon,the ship's doctor and River's older brother,his attention was pretty much on helping his sister recover from the damage the government did to her. He also at one time or another pretty much patched up everyone at least one during show's run,including himself!  Simon was played by Sean Maher,who later starred as a closeted gay man in another short lived series called "The Playboy Club". Sean used the role as platform to come out in real life. This is where I first saw Laura Benanti but that is another entry for another day....

  The center of Firefly's plot was the mystery surrounding Simon's sister,River,played by Summer Glau.
The government aka The Alliance,operated on River in trying to create a perfect assassin. She could read minds and emotions but just was barely making progress when the series ended. But the operation must have worked because Summer starred as a Terminator in the "Terminator:The Sarah Connor Chronicles" for two years. She remains a huge fanboy favorite as she starred in two superhero series, "The Cape" (yet another short lived series) and "Arrow" as well as many other sci-fi/action roles.

  Morena Baccarin played Inara who was a Companion. In the world of Firefly,a Companion was a highly sought after,affluent profession. Being seen with one elevated one's social status but others just considered them whores. Malcolm rented shuttle space to Inara which helped them gain access to places the crew wouldn't be able to..Malcolm and Inara seemed to be moving towards a relationship but when he sleeps with a old friend of Inara's,she plans to leave the Serenity.
 I saw Morena for the first time on the remake of "V" a few years ago. Only saw parts of a couple of shows and read that the producers had invited the original Diana,Jane Badler,back in a different role. Morena's Inara  is whip smart with a soft heart and often acted as Malcolm's moral center which he fought against at times.

  I have to comment on one guest star who was just amazing her role as a ruthless con artist and that was Christina Hendricks,most people know her from Mad Men but her turn on Firefly is very,very good.
   I may catch some heat here but I am still going to say this....I have watched Nathan Fillion in "Castle" four or five times. It's a cute show and I also watched him in James Gunn's "Slither" which also was a fun movie.
 But after watching Firefly,I can say that Nathan Fillion is incredibly underused and unchallenged in comparison to his role as Malcolm Reynolds. His portrayal was so well rounded,harsh,kind,loyal,crass and deadly when needed to be.

  The rest of cast...Summer Glau,Sean Maher,Gina Torres,Alan Tudyk,Ron Glass,Morena Baccarin and my favorite,the incredible sweet Jewel Staite was such a perfect blend. Making a Sci-Fi western was also pretty inspired and well thought out.
  I thought every episode was extremely strong and watching the bonds among the crew develop each episode,while connections were made quick,the one key element,what exactly was River Tam (played by Summer Glau) fully capable of was never answered in the series but was explored in the fan driven follow up film "Serenity" which for some reason came up short at the box-office and most likely will end any further adventures of the Serenity crew. One can hope that with clout that Joss now has with the Avengers movie and soon the new Star Wars film,that he'll get another chance for one more voyage.
  I am currently looking for a copy of the movie Serenity which I am having zero luck finding at my usual places....

How about you? Ever watch Firefly or any of the series I mentioned? What short lived TV series would you like to see on DVD??

If you are on Twitter,follow me @Jinzo_2400

Shout outs

Joss and the Firefly crew - Thanks for some amazing stories and unforgettable characters!
Michelle C- Happy birthday!!
Val - Glad you had a awesome night out!
Mike White - I have Twin Peaks season two,unopened....after hearing your podcast,it may never be opened!
Twilight - I am still alive and kicking!
Amy - Wow,a jump with the Golden Knights!! How cool is that????
Summer,you are not allowed to leave yet,I haven't had a chance to enjoy you!
Robin Williams - Thank you for your talent but sad your demons got the last laugh. You will be missed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sometimes kindness is not always seen....

Its 1:10 am

     Listening to Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars"...settling my mind before I start this entry. It is hard because I am missing my Lori so very much....and I am pissed off.

I debated long and hard about writing this blog entry,talked to many close friends and weighed the pros and con of what I am going to write,that kindness only matters might take a bit of a hit today/tonight after I post this. But the more I thought about this,the more it seems like the thing to do because there is no excuse for unbridled arrogance and malice that I received for actually trying to show that kindness does matter.
  I have taken to promoting my blog and my regular readers might have picked up on that my traffic has grown,there are many reasons for this.....superb guest bloggers,doing more interviews and doing a lot of commenting on other blogs. All has led to a sharp increase in readership,especially from Ashburn,Virginia!! (howdy Ashburn!).
  This has led to a number of folks who leave comments as well on my various entries which I am very thankful for. There are a lot of fine writers out here and even if they are a average writer like myself,the topics covered often make for good reading and are thought provoking.

   One of the blogs I came across in a blogging group belonged to a woman in Australia. She has a half and half blog...half shilling for different products and half of it personal. While I don't really know much about half the stuff she was pushing,I reserved my comments for her personal ones.
  The first one I commented on was how Dannie (that is her name) was still trying hard to quit smoking and her struggles to do so. We all know people like that,trying to quit and needing support. A bunch of us bloggers dropped encouragement to Dannie. And soon she started came by and commented on some of my entries that I shared about Lori and I.
   There weren't a lot of these exchanges as I had found a much active group and had been posting there more often but one in a while I will still post in this group. It happens that Dannie had posted a blog talking about "Fear".
This is the blog entry and includes my comment and as I wrote,she already knew about I have gone through.
  Her entry really concerned me because I have seen folks with the same kind of fear about the dentist and have even helped two folks by sending them to the dentist we used and they were able to be treated after years of not seeing a dentist.
   I admit,this entry really haunted me...five teeth rotted to the gumline PLUS a smoking habit,this is not a good combination to have. Plus who knows what other illnesses she could be suspect to getting? I actually reposted her blog around and asked folks for advice on how to help someone like this because quite frankly,I had never heard of anyone who wasn't a drug addict let their teeth go that badly because of the fear of the dentist.
   Now while I know what I would suggest to someone here in the US about seeing a dentist,I don't know if those tactics would work in Australia...but I decided to reach out and write to Dannie with a couple of suggestions...

Dannie, Just curious,you live in Australia,right?

Yes I am . But my business is everywhere in us New Zealand Canada South Africa and more... What business are you in? Where are you
I am in Canton,Michigan

Oh ok what business are you in?
You have been in my heart these past three days,Dannie. I like to try and offer some encouragement
I work for a home improvement store called The Home Depot
May I ask what city do you live in?

Lol sorry I'm married very happily and only interested in my Yiah cooking business Please stop thankyou bye
No,I am talking about your greatest fear
the dentist
Your blog entry you wrote....
I have a idea that may work for you

Above is our "discussion" mind you,this is coming from someone who knows I have lost Lori and has commented on some of my blog entries.

    Now if I had come at her out of the blue with absolutely zero history,this would seem a bit humorous to me. 7,000 miles away and yet somehow this was taken as being hit on...
But the fact she knew better and thought this is very insulting and arrogant. I sat on this for a few days and was perplexed by the sheer gall by it. You know by reading my comment I was concerned as were others that this issue left untreated will walk in and take away your happiness and your family. You can't walk around with five rotted out holes in your mouth and expect to stay healthy. And I know this may seem mean and petty but seriously,what man,after reading that blog,is going to be beating down your door,married or not?
   No,I am upset that this person would ignore and slight MY happy marriage and love for MY wife by implying I was hitting on her.

I know some of the folks here also read Dannie's blog and if you are one of those folks....this was my suggestion

1. Look for the largest university nearest your home
2. Contact the university and see if they have a dental school or a teaching medical wing (We have two where I live at the U of Michigan and U of Detroit-Mercy)
3. Set up a appointment to talk to a dentist there...why there instead of a normal dentist office? Easy answer,they have more TIME to spend with you and can discuss a lot of options. Most private dentists have the skills but not the time (or patience)
4. The cost of treatment will most likely be lower plus in case something does go wrong,well,you are already at a hospital.
5. Having open cavities in your mouth can increase your chances of getting oral cancer and that is nothing anyone ever wants to deal with.
6. If not for you,overcome your fear for the love of your family.

Am I wrong to express this kind of emotion for anyone? Was I out of line? Am I overreacting? Please let me know what you think about this exchange....

Went out to dinner with my friend Sue last night to a local restaurant,Antonio's for some pizza. We didn't mean to end up there as I was dressed in my fat man pants and a old UConn t-shirt that was covered with cheetah fur.
   We walked in after the main dinner rush and were seated. Service was fast and friendly as we each ordered a small salad for me and some pasta for Sue. The pizza got there quickly and was very tasty. As we were talking,I took a drink from my Coke and felt a sharp pain on my lip...I looked and the edge of my glass was badly chipped. I felt for blood but the sensation was was fleeting and I moved the glass away so fast that I was spared getting cut.

  I did ask for the manager and shared with him what happened...he looked very young and not sure on what to do...he took the glass and brought me a new one. We continued to eat when another,older gentleman came was the owner himself,Antonio. He looked at me and said he had seen me in before..which is true...Lori and I used to enjoy eating there quite a bit but as cancer generally does,it slowly made it impossible to eat there after a while.
   The truth of the matter is I have only been there 3 times in the past two years but I wholly believed Antonio because as my fellow night club co-workers can attest,we knew faces but rarely just see too many people all at once for that to happen...

  But I did share the story how I helped his mother at my job on a late Sunday night with a plumbing issue. His face lit up as he remembered that from last year...I introduced Sue and myself properly and where we worked at. We made small talk and he apologized for the glass and said it should have never made it on the floor. Sue and I made sure that our waitress wasn't going to get in trouble and proceeded to finish our dinner.
 The waitress came over and said Antonio was picking up our tab for the meal which was very kind of him. While I had some homemade gelato for dessert,I thought how a act of kindness in helping his mother stayed with the owner and how blessed I was to be able to be in a place to help.

I like to thank my readers for showing such great support for guest blogger Susan Smiley entry,it must have touched a serious chord with many of you as so many have dropped a comment about the state of journalism both here and around the world.

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Shout outs:

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Guest blogger Susan Smiley - "The Death of Journalism"

It is 11:22 pm

    I am glad to welcome back guest blogger Susan Smiley who has graced my blog with stories about running,owning the best dog ever and sharing her life with an amazing cat who brought our worlds together.
She is also the pro who guided me through my interview with Karen Dumas...

                                                     The Death of Journalism

   I was one of those kids who spent the summer between junior high and high school glued to the television watching the Watergate hearings unfold. I read the related stories every day in the newspaper and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein became the people I most wanted to emulate. It was that summer that I knew I wanted to be a journalist.
   I learned to read at a very young age and always liked to write. I was constantly crawling into the chair by my mom’s typewriter and penning stories about my cats, my pet ducks and chickens and our family dog. Following the stories of Woodward and Bernstein sparked my interest in a different kind of writing; journalism. I could break important stories. I could investigate things and write about them to increase public awareness about various situations. I could even write about people and become a great interviewer who could unearth information that had not yet been revealed to anyone else. I could help my readers feel as if they really KNEW the subject of my profiles.
   I did become a journalist after earning my Bachelor’s Degree from Wayne State University. I had internships at a now-defunct Detroit magazine and did a fair amount of freelance writing for the Metro Times. I worked in radio – first in the newsroom of a music station and then as a producer at a news radio station. While at the music station I produced a public affairs program, covered Detroit City Council when Coleman Young was the mayor of Detroit, and – because the other two people in the newsroom had zero interest – covered all sports-related stories. Although I had no experience in radio, I snared the internship because the news director was looking for a writer.
    “We can teach you the technical stuff,” she said. “But we can’t teach the passion for writing.”
Many interns had worked in that newsroom who really aspired to be on-air talent spinning tunes and talking about music. I was the first whose number one interest was writing and reporting.

My first print job was with C&G Publishing. At the time the company had 13 weekly and bi-weekly newspapers in various suburbs of Detroit. I started covering city council and schools as well as writing
 ideas would be chosen and sent to the event with a photographer. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m proud of the work I did as a journalist for that event.
     After eight years, I went to a small daily paper as a sports writer. While it wasn't like busting open the Watergate affair, there were so many great stories to tell. For the most part I covered prep sports and I became an expert in wrestling. I loved what I did and felt like I was, in some cases, really impacting the lives of the people I wrote about as well as my readers. Although sports writing tends to be upbeat most of the time, there were also serious topics to tackle. One of my state champion wrestlers died of a heroin overdose some 18 months after graduation and I wrote a column about it. It won an award and the wrestler’s parents told me they displayed the story at their son’s funeral because the story gave them some sense of peace.
    In 2000 I moved to Boston and wrote for the Boston Globe for two years before getting laid off and moving back to Detroit. Since them I have not been able to find a full-time job as a journalist. Papers are cutting back and whey they DO hire people, they prefer to hire younger writers who do not command such a high salary. I did a good amount of freelance work for the Detroit Free Press for awhile until budget cuts eliminated most freelancers from the Freep’s regular assignment list. I did continue to string for my old paper, The Royal Oak Daily Tribune, because after all this time I still loved to write and tell a good story.
    What I didn't understand until recently is that no one cares about good writing anymore. That’s not what journalism is about these days. It’s about Twitter and Facebook and how many clicks your story gets on the newspaper’s web site. Photos are important. The photos do not necessarily have to be good photos, there just have to be a lot of photos to entice readers to click through the entire slide show.
    Today’s “journalism” is less concerned with accuracy and more focused on being first and being sensational. Stories that even 10 years ago might not have been considered newsworthy are now touted as “breaking news.” features.
    After I had been there a couple of years, the sports editor approached me about coming to work in his department. He liked my writing and thought I could add something to the sports section that readers would like.
  Although small papers like the Warren Weekly, the Troy Times, the Fraser-Clinton Chronicle and all the rest of C&G’s papers don’t have the cache of The Washington Post, this was a great atmosphere for a young journalist to blossom. I wrote a lot. I learned how to ask the right questions, how to make interview subjects feel comfortable, and how to write with an edge when the situation called for it.
   I had the opportunity to interview Jim Bouton, former pitcher for the New York Yankees and the author of "Ball Four, the book that gave readers a glimpse into the then-secret world of professional baseball. Bouton had just written his first fictional book and was touring the country. We talked about baseball, of course, but I also asked him about the differences between writing an autobiographical piece of non-fiction and a novel. Bouton told me that he battled writers block by going into his yard and building a stone wall. He confessed that at the time he probably watched more hockey than baseball because he felt like at the time, hockey was like baseball was when he played – a lot of down-home players who were gritty and playing for the love of the game. I wrote the story and was shocked when a couple of weeks later Bouton called my office at C&G to tell me that mine was, he thought, the best interview he had done.
  “You were the only person who asked me about anything other than baseball,” Bouton said. “I loved that you asked me about the craft of writing. And your story made me sound so interesting!
  Also while at C&G I was able to go to Washington D.C. to cover Bill Clinton’s first inauguration ideas would be chosen and two writers were to be sent to the event with a photographer. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m proud of the work I did as a journalist for that event.
After eight years, I went to a small daily paper as a sports writer. While it wasn’t like busting open the Watergate affair, there were so many great stories to tell. For the most part I covered prep sports and then a  couple of months ago, freelancers at The Daily Tribune were informed that instead of being paid $50 per story – which is very low by industry standards – we were going to be paid $20 per story. If we wanted to make additional money for a story, we would be required to take and submit photos – at least 50 of them. When I talked to one of the editors about the new decree he said: “Honestly, the writing is just not important.”
   After agonizing for several days, I made the decision to stop writing for the paper. Despite being passionate about writing, I just felt that I had to put my foot down and say, “My work is worth more than that.”
   It disturbs me greatly that people don’t read newspapers anymore. It also disturbs me that important news stories are often ignored by editors and reporters in favor of sensationalism. The latest antics of Ray Rice take precedent over investigative pieces or even an in-depth profile of Rice that is more than a couple of paragraphs that really say nothing. Print reporters are stretched thin as papers cut budgets and demand more work from fewer employees. It is not enough anymore to write a good story, cultivate reliable sources and localize important national issues. Print reporters now must take video, take photos, tweet and post to Facebook. While Twitter and Facebook can be great communication tools, they don’t replace the bona fide newspaper story that gives readers background information, input and response from various sources and detailed information they otherwise might not know.
   If Woodward and Bernstein had been covering Watergate today, I wonder if they would have been able to cover the story the way they did back in the 1970s or if they would be required to also produce a slideshow and quiz: who is the hottest member of Nixon’s staff – Vote here! 

If you are Twitter,you can follow Susan @leglace19 and myself @Jinzo_2400

Thank for reading and feel free to drop a comment!