Friday, April 18, 2014

NBA Playoff Picks!

Ok basketball fans. The playoffs begin tomorrow! These are my picks for 2014, along with my reasons for predicting as I am.




In the West, San Antonio takes on Dallas. Though the Spurs swept the season series, I don't think it will be so easy in the playoffs. Between Dirk,  Monta, and a rejuvenated Vince Carter, I see the Spurs losing 2 games, and winning in 6.




Houston will play against the Blazers. Portland comes in winning 9 of their last 10 games in the season, and have a reputation of putting W's together in bunches. They each have identical records of 54 wins, and I trust the Blazers health more than the Rockets. This one goes to 7 games with the Blazers moving on.




The Clippers will have the home court advantage over the Warriors, who will be without Andrew Bogut in the playoffs. Griffin's back is questionable, but Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league. Jamal Crawford is back to give the Clips some extra punch. I see Golden State going down in 6.



OKC and Memphis. Kevin Durant will win this year's MVP award, and I find it hard to believe anyone on the Grizzly's team can check him. Tayshawn Prince is too old, and Tony Allen is too short. The best you can hope for in this series is a few dust ups, with the Thunder taking it in 7 games.


In the East, Indiana takes on Atlanta. If Larry Legend can get his mojo on, as I suspect he will, the Pacers shut this down in 5, with the Hawks winning a game at home.


On the same side of that bracket, Chicago faces Washington. The Bulls won 48 games despite the loss of their best player early in the season. Joakim Noah has proven to be an inspiration to the team, and will lead them to a first round win over the Wizards in 6.


Toronto plays Brooklyn in a series I predict will go 7 games. The Nets are the highest paid team in the league, but all those millions won't win them a championship. They also are one of the oldest teams in the playoffs, and it won't surprise me if after winning this series in 7 games, literally fall apart.


I hate the Heat! Had to say it, 'cause it's true... LeBron and company will knock off the Charlotte Bobcats, in moving on to the second round. Chris Bosh shouldn't have been an All Star, and Wade has only played a handful of games in the second part of the season. The question in my mind is who falls apart first, the Nets or the Heat?


Second round...


Spurs and Blazers. Blazers and Spurs. My heart wants the Blazers to take this series, but my head tells me otherwise. the Spurs didn't win 62 games this year by accident. Greg Popovich is probably the best coach in the league, even if he doesn't win the award this year. He should! I think the Blazers will give the Spurs all they can handle, but will go back home after losing the 7th game of the series in San Antonio.


Clippers vs. the Thunder. These teams don't get along. Ibaka seems to genuinely detest Griffin. Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul don't seem to be buddies either. This one could get ugly if the refs let it. Talent wise, I think they're pretty evenly matched. What remains to be seen is how the Clips will do shooting free throws at the end of games. It's pretty much a toss up, but I give the nod to LA in 7.


Indiana plays Da Bulls. Roy Hibert has played like he's forgotten how to in the last month and a half. He'd better remember, if the Pacers want to move on. The pesky Bulls will be hassling Paul George as much as possible, so he too had better be ready for a hard fought series. Because Indiana has home court advantage in this series, they'll win it at home in 7 games. Probably...


Heat and Nets. Break out the ice and bandages. These teams will be tired when they meet. Although the Nets are the first team to sweep the Heat during the regular season (first team to do so in 3 years), I don't think LeBron will let the Heat lose (quite yet). Heat in 7.




Western Conference Championship...


Spurs and Clippers. Did I tell you that Tim, Manu, and Tony all want one more ring before they close it down for good? It's now or never for the aging Spurs. They know it. They've been a special team ever since Duncan came into the league. The Clippers, on the other hand, are still pretty young overall, and Doc Rivers can lead them to the promised land as soon as next year. This year, I don't see the Spurs being denied, and will take it in 7 (maybe in 6?).


Eastern Conference Championship...


Featuring the Indiana Pacers against the Miami Heat. Did you watch the series between these teams last Spring? It was excellent sports viewing, with Miami coming through in the closing seconds of game 7. Indiana remembers it. They want to beat the Heat, but will need solid play from 3 or 4 guys in 4 games in order to do it. Lance, D West, and Paul George may be able to do it. Lance led the league in triple doubles this season, and he will get at least one in this series. The tables have turned. So long Heat...


NBA Championship


Spurs vs. Pacers. The Spurs will have home court advantage over the Pacers, and will take home the trophy at the end of game 7!



























Thursday, April 17, 2014

This Aint Al Bundy's Ranch

I've been reading and seeing in various "news" sources that the people involved in protecting the Bundy Ranch are "terrorists" or off the wall "Tea Partiers" lately. This disturbs me for a few reasons. I'll go further into that in a few moments. I just want to go on record as suggesting that maybe they are neither.


It's obvious to me and other people uninterested in pretending things are fine in our country, that there are very few levels our government WON'T stoop to. I get the feeling in my gut that once again they are experimenting with their citizens, to see how tolerant we are. "If we LABEL people in a negative light, will the sheep follow the leader?" "Maybe this will work to get their guns..."


There's more than a few folks who are sick of the government pushing us around. Maybe these are good hearted people who are simply fed up with being constantly bullied and lied to. It's very possible that they see the government as terrorists, who want to monitor and limit all their actions, like the government did in the book "1984". Honestly, I get to feeling that way, more and more frequently these days, and I'm not naïve enough to believe I'm alone.


I personally believe that any time the government puts on their brakes, like they have in Nevada; that's a good thing. It shows that they haven't COMPLETELY lost the ability to weigh things out, instead of steam rolling through, in order to have their way.

Monday, March 31, 2014

One Liner

March came in like a lion in Portland. May have been a lamb somewhere in the middle, but it's also going out like a lion!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thoughts on the Ukraine

I'm not a particularly religious guy, but I'm fairly sure I've heard the President and John Kerry describe themselves as Christians. They believe they are following the example(s) Jesus gave us for our earthly walk. Perhaps they need a reminder of one of those examples.


Jesus walked in on a scene where they were preparing to stone a woman to death for committing adultery. I don't remember all the details of who said what; etc., but I do know that what he ended up saying to the crowd was something along the lines of "Let those of you without sin, cast the first stone", which no one did.


Fast forward to 2014. Kerry comes out with "Who does Putin think he is, invading a country which has not provoked him?" Well, let's have a look back at what the US has done in the past 40 years... all UNPROVOKED.
(1) Grenada (1983-1984), (2) Bolivia (1986; ), (3) Virgin Islands (1989), (4) Liberia (1990; 1997; 2003), (5) Saudi Arabia (1990-1991), (6) Kuwait (1991), (7) Somalia (1992-1994; 2006), (8) Bosnia (1993-), (9) Zaire (Congo) (1996-1997), (10) Albania (1997), (11) Sudan (1998), (12) Afghanistan (1998; 2001-), (13) Yemen (2000; 2002-), (14) Macedonia (2001), (15) Colombia (2002-), (16) Pakistan (2005-), (17) Syria (2008; 2011-), (18) Uganda (2011), (18) Mali (2013), (19) Niger (2013), (20) Yugoslavia (1919; 1946; 1992-1994; 1999), (21) Iraq (1958; 1963; 1990-1991; 1990-2003; 1998; 2003-2011) (22) Angola (1976-1992).

Perhaps they should do what Jesus would have them do, and put down the stones.



Friday, March 14, 2014

Good Lord He's At It Again...


White Entertainment Television Network (WET)

Television Lineup for 3/14/14…

7:00 AM- The Brady Bunch

7:30 AM- Cooking With Martha Stewart

8:30 AM- Infomercials Only White People Can Appreciate

9:00 AM- Morning Movie: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

11:00 AM- Jerry Springer

12:00 PM- The 700 Club

2:00 PM- The Steve Wilkos Show

3:00 PM- Afternoon Movie- “A Very Brady Christmas”

5:00 PM- Cooking with Paula Deen

6:00 PM- Full House

6:30 PM- The Andy Griffith Show

7:00 PM- Evening Movie: “The Great White Hope”

9:00 PM- “Sports On WET”: Lacrosse- Alabama Vs. Texas

11:00 PM- Infomercials Only White People Can Appreciate

11:30 PM- Infomercials Only White People Can Appreciate

12:00 PM- Infomercials Only White People Can Appreciate

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beyond My Pay Grade...

Now I've seen EVERYTHING! Have you heard about the rich people's disease that was recently used to keep a rich kid out of prison? It's called Affluenza, and was successfully used as a defense in a Texas courtroom, to defend this kid who killed 4 others while driving drunk. You can't make this shit up...


I heard about it this morning while watching "Democracy Now!" on TV. From their website... "A wealthy teen who killed four people in a Texas drunk driving accident will not go to jail after a judge ruled this week that instead, he must attend an expensive rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The driver was 16-year-old Ethan Couch. He was speeding, with a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit.


 Couch has admitted to his crime, and in a case that went before a Texas judge, prosecutors sought a 20-year sentence. Instead, Couch was sentenced to 10 years’ probation after a psychologist claimed he had "affluenza," and testified that his cushy upbringing prevented him from connecting bad behavior with its consequences." What follows is part of a transcript they played on the show...


"911 DISPATCHER: And how many people need EMS?
CALLER: Ma’am, I’m telling you, it’s dark. There’s four or five kids. There’s kids laying in ditches and street.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was a 911 call from last June, when four people were killed by a drunk driver. The driver was 16-year-old Ethan Couch. He was speeding, with a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit. Couch has admitted to his crime, and in a case that went before a Texas judge, prosecutors sought a 20-year sentence. Instead, he was sentenced to 10 years’ probation after a psychologist claimed he suffered from "affluenza," which he described as growing up in a house where the parents were preoccupied with arguments that led to a divorce. On Wednesday, a judge ordered him to go to an expensive rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents."

Am I supposed to actually believe this bullshit? Is this the REAL story of "the poor little rich kid"? I AM DIS GUS  TED!!!



Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Another Open Letter to the Portland Trailblazers

Dear Blazers,


I wrote an open letter to you back on December 5th, 2013, where I apologized to you for taking your team too lightly. I pointed out the many surprising strengths the team had displayed since the start of the NBA season. I singled out how I felt about individual players, and complimented the team on having a 16-3 record on that date.


Well, here we are, a little more than 1/2 way through the season, and I'm back to writing you yet another open letter. I hadn't planned to do so, but I feel the need to "reconnect" before the upcoming All Star break. Having both Damian and Lamarcus represent your team and our city as players in that game is impressive, but it's looking like that's where all congratulations end.


Your record is now 34-14, which is not disrespectable, if you want to make it to the playoffs in the Western Conference. However, you have begun to lose games you really shouldn't lose. Last night it was the Wizards, a 24-23 team, and after squeaking by Toronto the other night, you were up-ended by Memphis and Golden State. In other words, you've lost 3 of your last 4 games. In fact, since I sent you my original letter, your record is 18-11, which is slightly better than average; around a "B" in letter grades.


Once again, that old feeling in the pit of my stomach is beginning to grumble. There are several important games with good teams coming up in February, and I'm not convinced you're going to sail through the month. In my humble opinion, it's time to take a look at yourselves, and get back to work! When I've watched you lose (many times now), I've taken note that the only player who truly looks pissed off is Wes Matthews. What about the All Stars?


I'm sure that when you see this, you'll likely think; "Who the hell does that dude think he is"? The answer to that question is simple. I'm just someone who lives in Portland, loves basketball, and has followed this team since 1982. That would be 32 years where the Blazers were in the Finals twice, losing both times. I WANT A CHAMPIONSHIP ok?


1 and 1 since I wrote this... jus' sayin'







Monday, January 27, 2014

I Aint Goin'!

Today is my nephew's annual ISP review. For the uninitiated, ISP stands for Individualized Service Plan, but let me assure you, it's anything but "individualized". I've been "participating" in this for 13 years now. Always with the same results that nothing will ever change in his life, other than his address.


I made a major decision this morning. I aint goin'! The plan is, that soon as I finish here, I'm going to call his case manager and tell her. She knows Suzanne and I well enough to realize what we want for him. INDEPENDENCE... the one thing he'll never get in the system.


Last night I was thinking I'd go and give the "team" a piece of my mind. I wrote down what's troubling me about this process, and planned to read it out loud, leaving each team member a copy. The more I thought about it, the less I felt like actually doing it. As I get older, the less I want to fight. That's the reality. My God, I've been fighting this monster for over 1/2 my life! Time to give it, and me a break. Instead, I've decided to talk about it here; sharing what I wrote, with Suzanne's help last night...




"I’m here today to make a statement about my nephew. For at least 10 years, we’ve been meeting with this team , making suggestions of what we believe would make his life better. Better meaning some kind of PROGRESS. Progress towards independence – like an adult, which he is. Suzanne and I feel that we AND our nephew have been [jerked around] led on a bridge to nowhere – a bridge to continuous dependence, by all the rest of his “team”.  


I have to wonder if there is real sincerity among his *team* members to see him move forward in his life. Yes, he understands when he’ll burn himself when the water is too hot. And, of course, he knows how to leave the house if it’s on fire. He won’t *choke* when he is eating, and his *hygiene* is appropriate. THIS part of the ISP meeting – I have always HATED it. It’s demeaning, it’s stereotypical, it has no respect for the individuality of who HE is, and it subjects HIM to a degrading --- uh, I hate it. Please, Case Manager, you KNOW us and you KNOW him. Just STOP it. I will NOT answer any more if he needs *assistance* with his hygiene. If you need to fill out your form for the authorities, Pllllllllllllllleeze do it on the time you are paid for by the STATE. 


Approximately five years ago, we as his ISP team figured out a *person-centered-plan*, which was paid for by the state. Everyone was in agreement – or so they said -  that this plan should happen. What happened? A few years later we were told that he needs watching 24/7, so that his provider could be paid as much as possible. 


He’s still doing the exact same things, in the exact same places, at the exact same times that he was 5 years ago. I never would have participated in such a planning process if I had known that it was all for naught – at least for him. 


I will no longer go along with this silliness. How many times have we heard from Goodwill, he’s not ready to move along to another job opportunity *in the community*? How many times have we continually heard “not yet”? It’s been years of pestering for speech and language services using his own damn money to pay for it. HIS OWN MONEY???  


You may surmise that I am angry about how he is dealt with in these meetings. You are 100% correct. It is a waste of his, and everyone else’s time. You can go on and finish this meeting, to satisfy a broken system, but it will be without my “participation”.





Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Untitled Poem


I don’t have health insurance

But I sure have heart disease

And the people in our government

Want to hear me beggin’ “please, please, please.”

 

I’ve worked here in the USA

Paid taxes, felt the squeeze

Taken care of others , without ever asking

For “please, please, please”

 

Social Security is a lie

Leaves you dangling in the breeze

It chews you up, and spits you out

Till you cry “please, please, please!”

 

Well I’m a man who’s dignified

I won’t get on my knees

I want what’s mine; I earned it

No damned “please, please, please!”

 

So when this story and I come to pass

Tell 'em this man disagrees

With the idea that we all should bow

Asking “please, please, please”

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

People Having Illegal Sex With Food... Again??

Sure, this is a scurrilous tactic to draw folks into your blog, but it works, or you might not be reading this! Right??? Okay, now that you're here to read about something all together different than what the writer is writing about, you may as well stay, and see what I consider the "year in review", on New Years Eve, 2013!

It's been an interesting year alright. With the prediction that something would change the whole worldly picture on 12/20/12 (remember that?) behind us, we've moved into what I like to refer to as "The Golden Age of Mass Confusion", both here and abroad. In other words, nobody has any idea what's going on these days. Not really.

In a speech at the UN, General Admiral (Admiral General?)  Aladeen from the movie "The Dictator", asked the American people: "Why are you guys so anti-dictators? Imagine if America was a dictatorship. You could let 1% of the people have all the nation's wealth. You could help your rich friends get richer by cutting their taxes. And bailing them out when they gamble and lose. You could ignore the needs of the poor for health care and education. Your media would appear free, but would secretly be controlled by one person and his family. You could wiretap phones. You could torture foreign prisoners. You could have rigged elections. You could lie about why you go to war. You could fill your prisons with one particular racial group, and no one would complain. You could use the media to scare the people into supporting policies that are against their interests." He also referred to a bungling Anna Farris as "democracy", which has almost become deluded to a point of no return.

Now we have a Tea Party, a Me Party, and a Please Don't Pee on Me Party calling the shots in our country. I don't know, maybe I should just get back to the task at hand here, I'm pretty sure you know what I mean.

The month we're in now has shown me exactly how confused people are. The ACA (Affordable Care Act) enrollment date has been pushed back once again. I fear that soon there will be millions of other Americans, like myself, who will be uninsured when something catastrophic happens in their lives. I hope that if and when that happens, the government will show some compassion and understanding. On a more positive note, the Ducks won their bowl game last night, and the Blazers continue to baffle all the know-it-alls in the NBA world!

November wasn't bad. Gathering with family is always joyous; even when they see it as an obligation. I never do. I think experiencing my sister's death back in '99 taught me a lesson about the fleetingness of life. As the Buddhists say the "impermanence" of life. A brief warning here... Don't be too casual about showing those you love how you feel. 'Cause you just never know!

Ahh... October. I found myself getting fumed up over the treatment of children receiving special education services in public schools. This subject has been near and dear to my heart for several years, and I wrote a pointed piece on here about what I believe is happening throughout the country. I also was exposed to a story on Sports Center about a Hawaiian surfer who saved thousands (that's right, THOUSANDS) of lives as a lifeguard on a beach where many of the largest waves in the world grab and have their way with people crazy enough to believe THEY would be safe swimming there. Yeah... right.

After a conversation with my brother in mid September, I decided I'd have a hand at writing a book about my experiences working with people having developmental disabilities. After getting to my 5th year of service (no one's ever thanked Me for MY service...), I developed some writer's block in November, but I resolve to get back on it and FINISH it in 2014! Once again Sports Center got me with a story of a weight lifter having Down Syndrome that compelled me to write about him. Started out the month teaming up with Suzanne to produce a video about THE REAL state of the union, following the President's own slightly different version. It's right below here if you missed it.


August found Suzanne and I celebrating our 13th year marriage anniversary. I honestly don't know where I'd be without her! She is my rock! I pondered my own existence in another post when I had one of those days where you realize how small and insignificant you are in the scheme of things. Ever have those kinds of days? I also exploded at Monsanto for the serious damage they've caused throughout the world. Those people piss me off!

In July, I wrote about my nephew, Joseph, who has autism, but has managed to do more world traveling than most of the people I know. The way he's done it is by working his ass off, and saving for his trips. Good for him! It was also the month where it was decided that George Zimmerman was innocent of murdering Trayvon Martin. Of course since then, he's been in all kinds of trouble with just about everyone who crosses his path, but at least his innocence was decided by a bunch of white people. Paula Deen was also exposed as a racist in July, though I hear she's doing well these days too. Maybe George and Paula could hook up and start a band...

I spoke up (no kidding...) about my feelings regarding drug testing poor people who receive government assistance back in June. The people who cry out for this seem to be too chicken to require the same thing from politicians who wear ties and suits, and are paid employees of the government. Go figure... I previously had written a "Manifesto" about poverty and wealth which I stand by today, where I explain why I believe as I do.

I wrote about the little problem I had with being involved in fires as a little kid back in May. It just seems like I was in the wrong places, doing the wrong things, at the wrong times. But I can assure you I've since changed my evil ways. I told y'all about a dog who helps kids with autism and returning veterans. Ricochet's his name. Maggie Thatcher died last May, and I shared my thoughts on her. I also wrote about Hill County Farms, and how they not only exploit people with disabilities, but have caused some of these folks to die. And I started the month off talking about how hard it is these days to get REAL news.

April was an interesting month this year. We had the Boston bombing where once again people found a reason to hate other people. I wrote about West Texas, which was destroyed by a tornado that people were unable to hate, so they all but ignored that story. I explained the back problems I was having then as being almost incapacitating. Guess what? I'm having back problems again! Grrr...! I ended the month writing about how Suzanne and I had pulled off a rarity by suing a school district on behalf of our nephew without a lawyer and WINNING! I'd found the story on the internet of all places...

In March I celebrated Saint Patrick's Day with recalling my memories of going to Ireland with my mom in my mid twenties. What a trip! First I wrote about death. The death of Hugo Chavez (one of my political heroes), Alvin Lee (one of my rock heroes), and the "R" word (one of the most vulgar words in the English language). May they all RIP. I wrote about a very cool film I saw called "Compliance", which I highly recommend! I spoke about the Nazis who read my blog in secret. I finished off the month reflecting on the Prison Industrial Complex, and its' use to continue making rich people richer, while successfully keeping the poor man down.

I began February by talking about something so private to me that I'd held it in for 40 years. My undying devotion to... BASKETBALL!! Later I told the story of what happens when you ask questions from those considered "beyond reproach". It can blow up in your face, but don't EVER let that stop you from doing what is right. It's a spiritual thing I believe in. On my birthday I wrote about the craziness that goes on in the worlds of entertainment, news, and stuff we're not exposed to unless we seek it ourselves. That was some strange stuff, to realize these worlds are all a part of each other now.

On January 14th my daughter turned 28, the same age I was when she was born! I wondered then, as I do now... where's MY grandkid(s)? I also wrote about the Newtown school massacre after watching a speech about gun control by the President. I know my position on the subject is probably controversial, but as a friend once told me; "The truth will make you sick BEFORE it sets you free". I ended the month with my most popular post of the year (over 500 page views). It came from an article I wrote months earlier which was published by John Hopkins University Press.

And that wraps up my year in review. Hope you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading my blog, and may you have a Happy New Year!! It's almost time to dig into some fondue and shrimp cocktails! See ya next year...







Friday, December 20, 2013

Catharsis

I just had a cathartic moment, and decided to write about it here. It was very powerful, and I want to write down what it was about before I loose touch with its' power. These moments are rare in my life.

I was watching a Beach Boys 50 year anniversary special on TV. I was taken by how old the members of the band had become, and was particularly drawn to Brian Wilson, as I'm familiar with the story about his collapse as well as his rise back up.

They played his song "Heroes and Villains", and I found myself almost entranced by the layers of beautiful harmony he'd created. I've heard it before, but not with the whole band involved. What a truly beautiful song!

Right after, that they played a song I grew up listening to that I always liked a lot. "Wouldn't it Be Nice" is a song I remember listening to as a small kid. Something about that song has always made me feel like it was written about me and my life.

Half way through the song I could feel tears beginning to well up in my eyes. Before I knew it, I was crying like a baby; literally sobbing and groaning. I realized that my whole life has been an adventure. I've lived almost 58 years without really understanding life, and the highs and lows we all deal with. It's all been an adventure of who each of us are as individuals and community. When you "get" that message on a cellular level, it almost feels like enlightenment. That was my catharsis.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

An Open Letter to the Portland Trailblazers

Dear Blazers,

I'm writing this as an apology to your basketball team. I've watched 5 or 6 of your games so far this season (all wins), and feel a need to say I'm sorry. Without a doubt, I have underestimated you.

As I looked at your roster before the season began, I admit I was depressed. I picked you to be no better than the 9th or 10th best team in the Western Conference. If I had bet on you back then, I would have surely predicted that you wouldn't come close to making the playoffs. I figured that winning 35 games would be a stretch. Well here you are... with a record of 16-3! Your best start since 1998/99.

When I noticed you got rid of JJ Hickson (one of the brighter spots on last year's team), and brought in Robin Lopez to play center this year, I thought that was a big mistake. I was wrong. Robin has come a long way since being drafted #18 in 2008. His numbers are not far off from JJ's, and he's a MUCH better shot blocker/ defensive presence.

I remember seeing a replay of Nicolas Batum purposely whacking a Spanish player in the nuts during the Olympics. I figured he was a dirty player trying to get an advantage due to his inability to play well. He already has 2 triple doubles this year, and has proven that he can give fits to all the small forwards in the League, both defensively and offensively.

Wes Mathews... I always liked his game, but thought he was far from being one of the best shooting guards in the league. Wrong again! He's averaging over 16 points a game this year, and is tough as nails defensively. Nightly, he's guarding  all stars successfully. He's only 27 years old!

Everyone knows that Damian Lillard was Rookie Of The Year last season, but many people (including myself) waited to see if he is for real. He IS for real! He's averaging 20+ points and a shade under 6 assists a game so far. He's also playing fewer minutes this year due to the acquisition of Mo Williams. The sky's the limit for this kid!

Lamarcus Aldridge... is probably the best Power Forward in the game right now. He's averaging 23.5 points, and 9.7 rebounds a game, good for 6th and 14th (3 guys in front of him in rebounding have 9.9) respectively. NO BODY wants to have to guard him in the league! He's a monster.

You have the best record in the Western Conference. Better than the Spurs, the Thunder, the Clippers, and the Rockets. Other than the Pacers (who you beat 2 nights ago), you have the best record in the league! No one's taking you lightly any more . And that definitely includes Yours Truly.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Teachers Leave Those Kids Alone"

I need a mantra in order to write this post. Something meditative  and relaxing seems to be in order. Fortunately, I took my blood pressure med this morning, so I should be ok. However, if I start using profanity, please forgive me.

A few hours ago, I came upon this video on my Facebook news feed. A friend posted it, and immediately I watched it. The video is a little bit longer than 6 minutes, and contains a world of deep thought regarding right and wrong. Some of the comments I received (as well as those on my friend's post) show me just how much abuse of people with disabilities effects community.

As is often the case, I have strong opinions myself. Watch the video, and then I'll go on with how I see things.  http://www.upworthy.com/something-sickening-is-happening-to-some-of-our-schoolchildren-and-you-probably-have-no-idea?g=2

I'm going to assume you watched the video now. At the 2:10 mark, the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS (Mantra David...), Daniel Domenech really spells out the problem. People like HIM! Who mistakenly believe they MUST restrain kids so they won't "hurt themselves". That is a crock! He's REALLY concerned about teachers being injured. And he's right, before he's done spinning the situation to suit his agenda... he IS a barbarian!

Then you have the story of Corey Foster in NYC which begins at the 3 minute mark, where 5 ADULTS dogpile on a kid because he doesn't want to stop shooting baskets. They KILLED him! The coroner can call it "Cardiac Arrest while being subdued" if they want, but I call it murder!

Later in the tape when they interview the group of kids who HAVE EXPERIENCED this "restraint" themselves, their heads simultaneously nod "no" when asked if THEY believe this works. If THEY aren't the experts here, I guess we should go along with what the self admitted BARBARIAN tells us.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Eddie Would Go

I'm fully aware that my writing on this blog has slowed down recently. I've just had other things I've been working on which have pulled me away from here. However; I just watched a movie from ESPN about a hero that inspired me to jump on here and at least link to it. The man's name was Eddie Aikau, a royal Hawaiian who saved at least 1,000 people as the first lifeguard at Wiamea Bay. That's not where his story ends... (copy and paste the link into your browser)

http://espn.go.com/30for30/film?page=hawaiian-the-legend-of-eddieaikau

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You Never Know Unless You Try!

I just got off the phone with my second eldest brother, who brought up a good point. He suggested that I write a book (not a blog) about my experiences in the field/world of developmental disabilities. I think it's time I did.

My perspective would likely be different than 99% of the other books on the same topic. Why? Because I am different in the way I see the whole thing than 99% of the people I know! I'm not better than them, but I've never been on the same team as them.

There are enough folks who look for adoration and accolades in their writings about disability. I want to tell the truth! How will this effect my putting time into this blog? I don't know. I guess we'll have to see...

Monday, September 09, 2013

Overcoming Labels

I LOVE this kind of story! I think it has something to do with the work I do. I'm sure this blog never would have come to be if it wasn't for people like Jon Stoklosa. He might be considered by some to be an "underdog" in life. Let me tell you... he's anything but!

Sure, he has a label, but he is so much more than any label! To watch the video, click on the arrow at the bottom.

 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

State of the Union- Labor day 2013

My wife and I were talking yesterday about what's going on in the world and America right now. The truth is that no matter how you see things, we're undeniably in some turbulent times. We decided to create a video that would reflect what's going on, both positive and negative. This is our finished product with a sound track by Blood Sweat and Tears...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monsanto V. Crocodiles

On 60 Minutes last night, they did a piece about crocodiles along the Amazon River in Africa. Did you know that each year 100 people are eaten by these monsters? Of course there are countless other creatures who are also predated by crocodiles, but my own opinion is that 100 people are a lot!

Watching this on my TV brought up thoughts about other monsters that exist in the world. Of course there's those great white sharks that have been known to kill man as well as other creatures. And you also have Grizzly Bears, often referred to as monsters too. But in my book, Monsanto is a much larger and scarier monster than all of natures' combined!

Of course they are much more subtle, and there are many who don't even believe they are a danger, but don't be fooled! Aunt Jemima, Aurora Foods, Banquet, Best Foods, Betty Crocker, Bisquick, Cadbury, Campbells, Capri Sun, Carnation, Chef Boyardee, Coca Cola, ConAgra, Delicious Brand Cookies, Duncan Hines, Famous Amos, Frito Lay, General Mills, Green Giant, Healthy Choice, Heinz, Hellmans, Hershey’s, Holsum, Hormel, Hungry Jack, Hunts, Interstate Bakeries, Jiffy, KC Masterpiece, Keebler, Kelloggs, Kid Cuisine, Knorr, Kool-Aid, Kraft/Phillip Morris, Lean Cuisine, Lipton, Loma Linda, Marie Callenders, Minute Made, Morningstar, Mrs. Butterworths, Nabisco, Nature Valley, Nestle, Ocean Spray, Ore-Ida, Orville Redenbacher, Pasta-Roni, Pepperidge Farms, Pepsi, Pillsbury, Pop Secret, Post Cereals, Power Bar Brand, Procter and Gamble, Quaker, Ragu, Rice-A-Roni, Schweppes, Smart Ones, Stouffers, Tombstone Pizza, Totinos, Uncle Ben’s, Unilever, and V8 are all companies under the Monsanto umbrella.

You'd need to be some kind of scientist to know which (if not all?) of these companies use genetically modified organisms in their products, but Monsanto has a long standing reputation for using them. If that's the case, no one in America is safe from this monster!...What to do?

For one thing, maybe it's time to rethink your idea of what a "monster" really is and isn't. Maybe the "monsters" we REALLY need to fear are not made by Mother Nature, but by Man himself.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reflection and Projection

I've been feeling a bit melancholy lately. I go through these periods every so often; feeling like I haven't yet left any real mark of significance on this world, and realizing I'm not going to live forever. I used to make light of it when I was younger, but the meaning now seems to walk beside me as I age.

I just want to know that my existence wasn't in vain. I want assurance that the challenges I've faced and the battles I've fought meant something to someone beside myself. Maybe my real problem is that enough is never enough for me. Insatiable ego. I also find myself wondering if other people feel the same way. If they do, I think they mainly keep it to themselves, rather than plastering it on the internet for the world to see.

What brought me out here today was the song "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks. As I listened to it, an overwhelming feeling of longing swept over me. Flashing on many of the people who have come and gone throughout my life, and others that remain in it. I want to tell them all that I love them and think of them often. That's the truth. I know there are some people I've hurt, but that was never my intention. I'm just a lumbering human who has pushed some people around.

There is some solace in knowing that my writings have produced almost 40,000 page views of this blog, and my hope is that it's inspired some people somehow.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The DAWG Days of Summer

I haven't written on here for a few weeks. Is it that I finally don't have anything to say? That would be highly doubtful. I thinks it's probably more like "the dawg days of summer" have caught up with me.

Some news in my personal life, is that after a 7 year absence from the work force that other people participate in, I've once again joined in the fun. It's taking some time to get used to letting people tell me what to do, but so far, so good.

The family's well. At least the ones I know about are. Those who don't like me so much, I'm not sure of, but I think they'd still let me know if something bad was going on in their lifes (or is it "live"?)

Been eating lots of berries. Been getting my fiber fixes daily. Lots of legumes and other healthy vegetables. Have kind of a "Moses" thing going on with my long beard. Lost some weight over the summer. Back still hurts but I'm used to it. The people at Social Security decided I'm not disabled after all. Thank God! I was scared for a while there. Life's pretty good.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Travels of Joseph

Seattle twice to watch the Mariners play baseball. Tucson Az. to watch Spring training. Disney Land in California. Disney World in Fla. Graceland in Memphis. Dolly World in Nashville. Branson Missouri for country music. Las Vegas (What happens in Vegas...) Two times in Hawaii for sunshine. Alaska for cold weather. San Diego for Sea World. Washington DC for politics. A 5 night stay in downtown Portland at Christmas time.

Mexico for Mexican food. Greece for olive oil on the beach. Portugal for adventure. Russia in August. Polynesia next summer.

That's some pretty good traveling in 10 years! Especially for a man with autism.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Time to Riot??

By the title of this post, it probably looks like I'm talking about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Although I'm EXTREMELY upset by the decision the 6 non-black women jurists made, that's not what I'm going on about this morning. I had a thought earlier today that inspired this writing.

Want to get pissed off? How about our government's total lack of empathy for the people and city of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina? Or the billions given to banks in what was called a "bail out"? Guantanamo still open, while force feeding innocent detainees? Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and all the other whistle blowers persecuted for telling the truth? The killing of civilians by drone throughout the Middle East? There's plenty to be pissed off about. Trayvon Martin's murder is just the flavor of the day in reasons to riot.

A riot (/ˈraɪət/) is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. (Wikipedia... not to be confused with WikiLeaks) Maybe the keyword here is "disorganized." The 3% (1% my ass) and their minions count on disorganization. They know that unless the people can STAND TOGETHER, disorganized riots is all that can be accomplished. And it's highly doubtful that any violence would occur in their gated communities.

So what are we gonna do? Awaken, that's what! If you are STILL unable to see the game being played on you, simply start asking questions, then weigh the answers you get. If you dig deep enough, you'll surely find that the ultimate beneficiaries of the suffering of ordinary people are those who have the most. I'm done.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Berry Good!

One of my very FAVORITE features about our yard is the wild black berries we inherited when we moved in a few years back. The vines grow out through our hedges, yielding the sweetest of crops every July and August. Last year we harvested over a gallon of sweeties. This year promises to be even way more productive! I LIKES!!

Monday, July 08, 2013

This is FANTASTIC!

 

Mentally disabled NY newlyweds find home to share

July 2, 2013, 2:24 p.m. PDT
AP
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) — Who could blame Paul and Hava Forziano for celebrating Independence Day a few days early?
The mentally disabled newlyweds, who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against group homes that refused to allow them to live together as husband and wife, held a joyous moving-in party Monday at their new apartment after another agency sympathetic to their plight stepped forward to offer them space in one of its facilities.
"We can be together all the time now," Paul Forziano said. Added his wife, "Happy, not sad."
The newlywed couple beamed with joy and frequently hugged and kissed as they welcomed their parents, attorneys and reporters into their freshly painted one-bedroom apartment. Their new place is inside a large group home, already occupied by eight men; the newlyweds will live alone in a second-floor apartment, although the group home is staffed day and night should they need any help.
"It's more independent," said Norman Samuels, the father of the bride who walked her down the aisle at a ceremony last April at a Long Island catering hall. "Here it is July 4th is coming up. It's not quite that type of independence, but it is more independent."
Despite the happy developments, the lawsuit filed earlier this year will go on. The couple and their parents want a judge to order that all group homes in New York make facilities available for mentally disabled married couples.
Legal experts are watching the case closely as a test of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which says, in part, that "a public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures ... to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability." The group homes are licensed as nonprofits by the state and receive Medicaid funding on behalf of their clients.
"You don't know what's going to happen in the future," said attorney Martin Coleman. "People like Paul and Hava have to have the ability to move around if they want to. There's only a limited number of providers. We need to be sure they're not closed out of places."
Paul's mother, Roseann Forziano, said her son and his new wife likely would still be looking for a new place had it not been for the legal action.
"I don't think it would have happened without a lawsuit." she said. "All of a sudden once you file a lawsuit there's a whole lot of cooperation. I don't want that to have to be the norm."
The facility where the former Hava Samuels lived has declined to comment because of the pending litigation. The group home operators where Paul Forziano lived said they didn't have facilities available for a married couple.
Also named in the lawsuit is the state Office of Persons With Developmental Disabilities, which the couple claims sided with the agencies in refusing to accommodate their wishes and has not done enough to find a solution. The office has declined to comment.
Forziano, 30, is classified in the mild to moderate range of intellectual functioning, with limited reading and writing skills. His wife, 36, is in the moderate range, with significant expressive language disability.
Gus Lagoumis, director of programming at East End Disability Associates — operators of the facility the newlyweds now call home — said his agency has no objections to mentally disabled people living as married couples.
"Gone are the days where parents are told a kid has a disability, institutionalize them and forget they ever existed," he said. "Now we have people growing up in the community and they want to do things just like everybody else does and getting married and possibly getting divorced is one of the things that goes on in a community."

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Thank You Paula Deen

I want to go on record as thanking Paula Deen. She has been the most recent catalyst in bringing out the more subtle (can't think of a more apropos word for it) forms of racism in the US. The George Zimmerman trial has brought it all to light for me.

Many white people find it easy to "like" certain types of black people. If you wear a shirt and tie, and speak the same as what I believe to be an educated white person, I "like" you. Thus I can't possibly be a racist. If you DON'T wear pants that sag, or hoodies, when I decide the weather's not right for it, I "like" you. If you're more Bill Cosby than Cornell West, I "like" you.

It's usually the more in-your-face black people that I don't "like". Those ones who speak in Ebonics, or those people who don't give a shit what white people think, that I don't "like". And I'll find any reason I can to point this out. Just look what Paula Deen has shown us lately.

People who really don't believe they're racist have come to her defense from out of the woodwork. "How can you blame Paula Deen for what she said so many years ago, and not blame rappers and other "unlikeable" blacks for what they say or said?" is their battle cry.

These white (and sometimes black, if you can believe it) people will NEVER understand the level of hurt black people have experienced in this country. They are incapable. They will go through their lives in search of the new reason they can get to display their subtle racism. Trayvon Martin could probably attest to that, if he were still alive to do so.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Drug Testing the Poor

I've been hearing a whole lot of verbosity about how poor people should be drug tested, if they receive money from the US Government, lately. Staying true to their colors, middle class Americans are falling for whatever their wealthy MASTERS want them to fall for. I used to think it was a conservative/republican phenomena, but now I'm convinced it's a mental thing; as in "where the hell is your brain?"

There's also been a of of talk about "bullying" at this same time. Seems to me these loud mouths are little more than bullies themselves. Afraid to question what the wealthy want them to believe, they resort instead to going after the lowest possible hanging fruit. Poor people with no discernible voice, and certainly no one to speak up on their behalf. They are exactly the kind of people I've grown to despise most my life.

They take the talking points from CORPORATE MEDIA, and espouse them as their own. They never use their brains to wonder who is behind corporate media... instead they spend their time watching reality TV (also put out by CORPORATE MEDIA) to deaden any sense of compassion and common sense they once had.

Tell me... who effects your own bottom line more... a corporate thug who accepts billions of tax payer dollars for their screw ups, or a low income person who sells their food stamps to buy alcohol or lottery tickets in an attempt to escape the hell they live in? Use your fucking heads! It's not rocket science. How about the CEO who gets millions each year in salary and bonuses, and hasn't paid any taxes themselves for the past 5 years, vs. the poor individual who sells their blood to supplement what little assistance they get from the state to help them feed their children?

Ever live in a city where finding a job is almost impossible? No? Then shut the fuck up! Ever been born in the ghetto where survival is a full time job? No? Then shut the fuck up! Ever had to sacrifice by deciding whether it's utilities, rent, food, or medicine this month? No? Then shut the fuck up! Tired of all those stupid fucks thinking it's their job to decide who should get nailed and who deserves a pass.

Maybe someday I'll develop a better understanding of the type of people I've described here. Maybe not. Maybe if I was a more spiritual being, I could see beyond their outward exterior to embrace the God in them, but as I am today, I can't. I just don't get it.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

"Pull Yourself Up by the Bootlaces"

I've always been mystified and angry with the idea that somehow poor people will also thrive along with the rest of the populace as the economy improves. That is purely a myth. Poor people are ALWAYS an afterthought! They (we) are constantly fed the poisonous foods of lies and betrayals as we struggle to survive in America.

I AM NOT an afterthought! For more than 40 years of my life, I've been dedicated to trying to change this stupid belief. First, for others less fortunate than me, and now for myself also. Why should someone who has DELIBERATELY chosen to take lower paying jobs (caring/working for people with disabilities) because they recognize the need the REST OF SOCIETY ignores, suffer later in life, rather than be REWARDED for making that choice?

For me (and countless others) it's always been about SERVICE to humanity. Never made any difference who you were. Black, gay, disabled, etc. If you were struggling to survive through no fault of your own, I was there with you... in the trenches. In fact, even if you struggled in part, through your own mistakes, I passed no judgment on you, because I was taught people deserve a second (and sometimes third) chance!

Now that I'm older, and wiser, I'm able to see the choices people make to BEAT THE SYSTEM. Making choices much different than mine, they do, and will thrive as the financial situation in our country improves. Am I jealous of them? HELL NO! Their choices to "look out for number 1" and to hell with the rest, don't impress me in the slightest. All that shows me, is that they excel at being selfish. Not something to be real proud of.

So there you have MY MANIFESTO. I may not have built a legacy that many will recall years from now, but that's not what it ever was about in the first place. It was (and is) about pulling for the underdog in this fucked up capitalist country. And THAT, although I too am a poor person, makes me proud.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Cleansing Flames of Confession

I'm gonna share something with you, but you've got to swear to keep it to yourself! I think the statute of limitations is probably up for this stuff, but I'm not exactly sure. I don't want to go to prison at 57 years old (don't think I'd survive with my cute little tushy), so I'm counting on you to keep your lips sealed...

When I was a little kid I was a pyromaniac! I know what you're thinking, but please hear me out. At around 8 years old when my family lived on Jennings Avenue, there was a small field next to our house, on the other side of the driveway. One day I was smoking a cigarette in that field, along with Peter Junker (pronounced Yunker) who was a few years older than me. The abandoned field was fairly over grown with a few small trees, tall weeds, and such. It was in the summer and was very dry. I guess we didn't put our smokes out properly, and an hour later the field was up in flames!

I don't know who called the fire in, but my mother and I watched the big red trucks as they pulled in. One of the firemen approached us, asking if we knew anything about how this fire was started. Actually, they were asking mom, who honestly said she had no idea. I certainly didn't say I knew EXACTLY how the fire started, they put it out, and left. I never confessed to it, and I'm sure no one remembers that fire by now.

A few years later we had moved to Moses Lane. I was about 10 or 11. We lived on a long driveway, shared with two other houses. One day I was out exploring in the neighborhood with... a future facebook friend, who shall remain nameless, lest he also face charges. At the very end of the driveway is where Lynn Klemuk (pronounced Klemuk) and her single mother lived.

They had an old garage which they never used. Along with my co-pyro, I snuck into the garage one summer's day to see what we could see. It was very dark in their, but early on, we came upon some candles, and found some way to light them. As we rifled through stuff, we came upon a stack of old Playboys! We immediately sat down and began "reading the articles" as they say. For a couple pre-pubescent teens, this was a real treat!

As we sat there gawking, we suddenly heard the sound of a car coming up the driveway. Not wanting to be caught, and feeling embarrassed and ashamed of ourselves we made a hasty exit out the back door. Later that night, I heard firetrucks once again. There was in fact, lots of noise and flashing lights going on in our driveway. The whole family threw on some clothes and went outside to see what was going on. The Klemuk's garage was on fire! Must have been the candles we were burning earlier.

This time things seemed a lot more serious than my other guffaw a few years back. In fact, I recall a fireman asking my mother if any of her children could have been involved in starting the fire. She reacted strongly to this querry, acting like instead it was a suggestion. She told him ALL her kids had been home and in bed when this fire started, which was true. She went on to tell him that she wasn't pleased to be asked such questions. It's a good thing it went on no further.

So now you know about my secretive criminal past. I was an evil kid, but those days are long behind me. Now I'm an upstanding citizen in my community! Where fire is concerned, I'm much more aware and careful than I was back then.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Simply Titled "Ricochet"

I'm excited this morning! I just watched a story on Sports Center (ESPN) that truly inspired me. It's about a dog. YES, a DOG! A golden retriever named Ricochet, who works with people who are "differently abled" in California. I connect with this story on 3 maybe 4 levels. Kinda like God put this story before me to blog about. Something VERY positive . In case you're wondering, or have your doubts, there IS good in the world!

Ricochet is a kick ass surfer! He gave up the typical service dog roll when he was very young, opting instead to spend his time at the beach (smart dog). Like myself, when I was younger, growing up on Eastern Long Island, he recognizes what's really important in life... being in the ocean! AND... he simultaneously does the noble work of assisting people who need help in accessing the ocean! Totally cool!

The fact that he's a golden retriever makes him all the more special to me. I've always wanted one of them, but never felt the timing was right, where I'd be able to give a dog the kind of attention they require. Having a kitten/cat is plenty enough for me. I'm including a link to the story right here. http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9291324 You may want to grab a few tissues before viewing.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Did I Hear the President Say How Great Margaret Thatcher Was Lately??

I don't know why it took me so long to connect these two, but I finally did. It's looking more and more that what Margaret Thatcher did in imprisoning Irish dissidents in the H-Blocks, is now happening in Guantanamo Bay. Only this time it's not the British running the show.

There are some differences and nuances which make the two appear to be unrelated, and the Americans are force feeding the hunger strikers (by forcibly placing tubes in their noses in order to MAKE them eat), the results are similar. I recall many throughout the world disgusted with what was happening with the prisoners right outside of Belfast.

Lately I've been hearing similar grumblings here in the US and abroad. After half hearted attempts to close Guantanamo went nowhere, folks are getting fed up with watching the 160 (or so) men still there endure being imprisoned for over 10 years without being charged with a crime. 6 of these folks have already succeeded in taking their own lives.

I don't think the government wants the kind of bad PR that Britain had in the 70's and 80's, or do they? It's kind of confusing really. You always hear politicians spouting off about the "allies" we can count on, but it's looking like those days are coming to an end. I'm thinking that the black eye the US is getting from Guantanamo, will soon be worse than the world view of the Thatcher administration in 1982.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Hill Country Farms and Their Slave Labor

Yesterday, I put up a link which talks about Hill Country Farms, and their abuse of the developmentally disabled people who work there. A link to someone else's article doesn't quite do it for me. I decided to do some research into the situation to see if I could find out more. After all, DAWG Oregon would not exist without the inspiration I get from this class of folks.

Their own "description" of what they call a "program" can be traced back to 1980, where on page 3 of a booklet they had produced, it says the "description" was based on materials gotten from the staff, as well as the observations of the author. Next, I found out there is not just 1 farm in Texas, but they also have farms in Iowa, South Carolina, Kansas, and Missouri. Another discrepency I came up with, is that it's not just 37 men involved, but 132! Big difference....

In their "description" of their "program", they tell us "These sites also have bunkhouse facilities, which include modern kitchens and recreational areas". Yet, in another article we're told they had to close down the "bunkhouse" in Iowa because investigators found substandard construction and other unsafe living conditions, a leaky roof and insect infestation. It gets worse.

In addition to the workers being paid substandard wages, hit by fellow employees, called names, confined to rooms, denied bathroom breaks and prevented from seeking medical attention, the EEOC's lawsuit, alleges that the men faced a hostile work environment, harassment, verbal abuse and other "adverse terms and conditions of employment" because of their disabilities. Many of these men had worked for $65 per month over the course of 30 years. Can you believe that? For the life of me, I can't figure out how they got away with this...

Modern day serfs you ask? Exactly! Because the owners of these farms, Kenneth Henry and Jane Ann Johnson found the perfect way to take advantage of other people to meet their own greedy, illegal, and hurtful desires. I don't believe that any amount of money makes up for the crimes they committed!