Thursday, April 25, 2013

You Find The Darndest Things Online!

No kidding! I just found this online! It's the actual transcript of the Due Process Hearing for my nephew where my wife and I represented him vs. Portland Public Schools back in 2001. This is one of the crowning achievements of my life, and it's online for the whole world to see! It's extremely lengthy, so unless you have a legalistic mind, or are just plain curious, it may not be up your alley. We won!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Visit To West, Texas

I've never been a big fan of the state of Texas. In fact, right here on this blog I took a shot at them back in August of last year.
But I've come here today not to bury Texas (or praise them either), but to say I can understand why they are so pissed off with the rest of the country.

If an entire town was blown up (like West, Texas) in my state, and the national media payed as little attention to that town compared to big 'ol Boston, I'd be pissed off too! Sure, they have loud mouthed Rick Perry as governor, and the president doesn't like him, but does that justify not even GOING THERE to grieve with the citizens?? It's been 8 days since the explosion, and he still hasn't gone there!

I read today that he plans to stop by either tonight or tomorrow for a memorial service, but was SCHEDULED to be in Texas to raise money for the Democratic Party and to be a part of the dubious dedication of George Bush's spankin' new Library anyway.

God! These people and their willingness to look the other way when called upon to do what they were elected to do! Anyway, I'm glad I'm not from Texas, for several reasons. And if the people who live in Texas want to distance themselves from the rest of America, I for one, don't blame them.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

They Did It!! (part ll)

The more I think about what I merely BEGAN to write about yesterday, the more questions and observations come to mind. Answers and thoughts are most welcomed, however you choose to comment...

1.) Whatever became of the carjacking victim? No follow-up interviews, no requests for interviews that were denied, even because the FBI isn't allowing it?

2.) What about the rest of the citizenry? As the governor of Massachusetts reported on Face the Nation this morning, "millions" of people in the greater Boston area were locked down from Thursday night until sometime Friday afternoon. I find it would be impossible for there to not be any resistance to the order, people arrested or harassed for refusing to comply, people not allowing police entry to their homes. Why haven't we heard from anyone who resisted or was detained and had any trouble with police?

3.) Why was the stay-indoors "request" lifted before the suspect was apprehended? If you are going to lockdown a city for the reasons stated it makes no sense to lift that lockdown before you have the suspect in custody. Either that, or, you've realized that locking down an entire city to apprehend one suspect never made any sense in the first place?

4.) Where were Boston's homeless during the lock down? Were they given homes at last, or were homeless camps rifled through and people swept off the streets and out of the city by the "authorities" and we just didn't hear about it? If I were on the run, I think I might consider hiding out in a homeless camp.

5.) Why the hell is Wolfe Blitzer still on the air?

None of this makes sense. I've seen action movies with stronger plot lines.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

They Did It!!

How many times must Americans be reminded that the modus operendus of today is that of a football game. Seems like they just fell for one of the oldest plays in the sport. The "End Around" has just played out in the media with the desired results. America fell asleep (once again) praising their own country while the REAL SHIT escaped without ever hitting the fan! That's what the Boston Bomb All-The-Time news has accomplished.

While people have actually been pleased with the shutting down of a city, to find and arrest 1 person, they magically seemed to forget about the proposed Social Security cuts getting ready to go into effect. These cuts will surely cause the deaths of thousands of seniors, people with disabilities, and others who depend on this money! We don't care, they got the bad guy.

Then you have the CISPA fiasco, which people would have been up in arms about, if they weren't clapping and saluting the people who made the arrest. Pay attention sheep...err... people! Big Brother is watching...

Finally we have the (much larger) explosion that occurred in West, Texas, which has claimed the lives of at least 35 people (including 10 first responders), with at least 160 injured and many left homeless. Did you forget about that?
Of course there's no need to shut down the city to find those responsible. There IS NO TOWN to lock down any more!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Everything Is NOT Jake

HOMELESSNESS SUCKS!! Glad I got that off my chest. I hope I said it loudly, and strongly enough.

Last night Suzanne and I watched the film "Everything's Jake". To say we were "disappointed" in it would be a large understatement. It's more like "Why are these people trying to bullshit the public"? The movie was supposedly about a happy-go-lucky homeless guy teaching a newbie on the streets the intricacies on being homeless, and how to enjoy the experience.

30 years ago I moved to Portland with virtually no supporting resources. Being 27, I believed I'd be fine. Uh uh... I was not fine. I too ran into a savvy homeless character, who was kind enough to teach me how to survive. I wrote about our relationship on this blog 3 years ago.
Upon reading the post, I think it's clear that the experience I had was anything but pleasant.

If their misrepresentation of homelessness wasn't bad enough, their story line was possibly even worse. They are telling us how Jake (the happy homeless man) plays bongos on the street to get enough money to buy food and keep cardboard over his head in New York City. Granted, the film was made in 2000, but not much has changed in 13 years in the NYC homeless scene. It's a dirty, dangerous existence for the 50,000 plus people living out there. He also spent much of his time playing chess with his alcoholic peer, who obviously also experienced mental health issues. When Ernie Hudson (the actor who played Jake) was interviewed about the film on The View, he said he was trying to live the homeless life for 4 days, but could only do it for a few hours.

Then you have the other guy; an Englishman who was somewhat picky about his life of homelessness. He slept in trees in the park, hiding from what they called "The night patrol". When Jake showed him how to eat from garbage cans (I've been there, done that), the fellow couldn't bring himself to join in. As if he actually HAD A CHOICE! He was able to pick up rich people's dog shit and charge them $5 for doing so... yeah right.

Here's where it got REALLY weird. Toward the end of the film we find out the Englishman was only faking homelessness! In reality he's an author who takes on various characterizations to write about the experiences. Darn!; they had me fooled. And guess what? Jake had at least $10,000 hidden away! Those rascals! They only pretended to be homeless, so they could have fun on the streets! It was all a joke! And neither one knew about the other!

That movie is a joke. Although there were scenes where they showed some pain involved in being homeless, for the most part it was STUPID! My concern is that there are some people who probably believe other people become homeless on purpose. Believe me. They don't.

Monday, April 08, 2013

"Back" Again, So Soon?

Today I'm going to write about something very personal, that I've been hoping would eventually go away. It hasn't. What I'm writing about is my failing health. I know there's other folks out there with similar situations, and I hope this is helpful to you too.

I have to go back in time, around 35 years, to give you the full scope of how my health problems began. When I was 19 years old, I was in a bad car accident. A carload of friends, including myself, had a head on accident with an extremely large tree. I was in the back seat and smashed head first into the seat in front of me. I broke my nose, and my upper front teeth came all the way through my bottom lip. Though I didn't realize it at the time, I also messed up my neck. Some of the other kids in the car were hurt much worse than me. One girl was in a coma for around 2 months, so who was I to complain?

10 years later, I began my career working with people having developmental disabilities. I was in pretty good shape, so transferring folks from wheelchair to various tables, toilets, and chairs was no big deal (so I thought). I was always one of the stronger people in my different jobs, so I'd inevitably be counted on to lift more than my co-workers. It was what it was. Sometimes, when you lift dead weight, like another human being, they will tend to slip out of your hands, and I'm extremely proud that I never let one person fall. I had no idea at the time, the price my back was paying. That's the type of work I did for the next 25 years.

Eventually, I began having less lifting, as part of my work day, but it was too late. My back began bothering me. It's hard to point at exactly when it started, but I would say it was 7 or 8 years ago. At the time I was involved in installing portable (yeah, right) air conditioners in the homes of people with disabilities. One day, as I was installing my third air conditioner of the day, I felt something tingling then hurting in my lower back. When I tried to get out of bed the following morning, I realized I was truly injured. I stayed in bed for 3 days, before I was able to get up and move.

Slowly my back began to feel better, so I didn't go to the doctor. Big mistake! Within a few weeks the pain was back, and I was forced to go. They recommended some stretches and exercises, but they didn't do much to help, so I stopped after a month or so. I began hoping that with rest, and being careful, my back would get better on its' own. No such luck. Now I'm at the point where in order to do the dishes, sweep the floors, cut grass, or go up and down the stairs to do laundry must be done in 10 minute shifts. It's frustrating, but there's shit I gotta do!

Will my back ever get better? Highly doubtful at this stage of the game. I'm getting older, and doing the simplest of tasks has become a burden. If only... If only I'd taken better care of my body, instead of using it as a work tool. If only I'd started with some serious rehab. sooner. If only I'd paid better attention to the signals my body was trying to send me... I'm pretty sure it's not. My looming question? What do you do at 57 for work when you can't do what you've done for the past 27 years??