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. 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!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

And Now Ladies and Gentlemen... The Newses!!

There is definitely more than one news. First you have the mainstream news. These are 3 stories done today by the local news team from channel 12 (FOX) here in Portland. Obie The Dachshund to Undergo Surgery , Man Lost Life Savings Trying to Win Xbox, and Law Enforcement Recruits Prepare and Train For Busy Water Season. I also was treated to the weather and traffic every 12 (get it? KPTV 12) minutes.

In order to get my blood pressure back to normal and slow down my pulse after watching, I changed the channel to Free Speech TV where Democracy NOW!! was on. I saw these reports there.
Bolivia Orders Expulsion of USAID,
Disabled Turkey Plant Workers Awarded $240 Million in Damages for Abuses, Discrimination, and
Muslim Taxi Driver, Iraq War Veteran Accuses Aviation Exec of Assault, Hate Crime. But they seemed to refuse to give me the weather or traffic.

Amazing what you find on the different newses, aint it?