From Tsunami to Flooding

Most residents know the facts, but for those whose families were not in Del Norte County in the early morning hours of that Good Friday: The quake that shook Prince William Sound, Alaska and generated the tsunami registered 8.5 on the Pasadena scale. At the time, it was the most severe quake recorded in North America.

Its waves reached Crescent City at 12:04 a.m. Police officers, deputies, highway patrolmen, firemen, U.S. Coast Guard and volunteer citizens saved many lives. In some cases, those rescued never knew who had helped them.

As the waves were wreaking havoc, some residents drove to the scene to help or observe, only to be caught up in the next wave. When the series of waves subsided in Crescent City, 11 had died and three were missing. A Klamath resident also died.

Seaside Hospital, then Crescent City’s medical facility, received 12 in-patient and 12 out-patient flood victims. The facility’s telephones were out for about four hours as frantic loved ones tried to locate the missing.

Although the newest part of the harbor in 1964, was in better shape, it too sustained extensive damage. Much of the damage came from huge logs and the concrete, 40-ton doluses that acted as battering rams as they washed like toothpicks through the town.

Assistant County Engineer Cliff Niessen reported that the maximum crest of the wave was 20.78 feet. The waves damaged a total of 289 homes and businesses, damage totaled $16 million.

Financial aid to families reached $51,876. One-hundred nine applications for assistance in Crescent City received $42,922. In Orick three applications received $858, in Gold Beach two applications received $1,265, and in Seaside, 13 received $6,831.

In the same year that a tsunami ravaged Crescent City, rising waters also ravaged other areas of Del Norte County. This time, instead of ocean waves pummeling the land, it was river currents rushing down the mountains and through the valleys that devastated the area in 1964.

During the Christmas months, storms rolling in off the Pacific combined with warm weather caused snow in the mountains to melt and the Smith and Klamath Rivers to swell to unprecedented heights. The 1964 flood was the second 100-year flood to occur in less than a decade.

In 1955, a flood forced residents in Klamath, Klamath Glen and Orick to evacuate their homes and convinced President Dwight D. Eisenhower to declare the area a “major disaster area.”

Hundred-year floods don’t occur every 100 years. Rather, the name is a statistical probability saying that any given year there is a 1-in-100 chance there will a flood of this size.

Though flood gauges were swept away during the 1964 flood, estimates suggest that the flood waters crested eight to 10 feet higher than they did in 1955. According to a Red Cross survey, nearly 850 homes were destroyed and 3,000 people left homeless after the 1964 flood.

Damages were estimated at $40 million. This time, on Christmas Eve, a new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, declared the region a disaster area.

Several bridges over the Smith River were washed away, as well as sections of the Douglas Memorial Bridge over the Klamath River (the bears stood their ground). The only way into Crescent City was from Brookings since the bridge over the Chetco River was not washed away with the flood waters.

Mud, sand and silt caked the roadways and covered the foundations of homes that no longer had houses. Logs and debris were once again stacked along the Crescent City beaches while the Klamath townsite was completely obliterated and abandoned.

The flood of 1964, coupled with the deadly tsunami earlier that year, changed the landscape and the history of Del Norte County forever.

Twenty years after the 1964 Tidewave , Wally Griffin published a book “Crescent City’s Dark Disaster,” chronicling the events and showcasing photos of the natural disaster that killed 12 Del Norte County residents.

From that night came a new moniker for Crescent City, the “comeback town,” coined by Bill Stamps Sr. Stamps Sr. was taken off the air when the waves shorted out the equipment.  “Dark Disaster” credits Mason and Virginia Dever of KPLY, who stayed on the air all night to broadcast the latest news to those who could hear them.

Bread and Butter

In this nation there are three political beliefs to be aware of; Libertarian, Conservative and Progressive. Each are a piece of bread and a bar of butter.

The bread represents the people. The butter the level of government involvement they want in their lives.

The Libertarian is nothing more than a piece of bread, left untouched. It in essence, is a void waiting to be filled by something or someone.

The Conservative is the piece of bread with a single layer of butter spread evenly across it. It is neither to little or too much.

The Progressive’s bread is hidden beneath the layers upon layers spread across it. There is so much butter, in fact, that time usually devoted to the bread is now being spent on the upkeep of the butter.

The Raid that Never Happened

It’s very difficult to believe anything the Obama administration says after the many times it has lied to the American people. The latest involves the death of U.S. journalist James Foley.

The day the world learned that ISIS/ISIL had beheaded Foley, Obama trotted out before the camera’s to speak half-heartedly about what a dastardly thing this was and how the terrorists would pay. Later it was learned that less than ten minutes later, Obama was back out on the golf course yucking it up.

Because of this and to avert detention from looking like a schmuck, the Obama administration went on the defensive. They released a statement claiming they had tried to rescue Foley, but because of ‘faulty intelligence,’ the top-secret raid into Syria failed.

This is where the lie begins. The administration said the raid, which killed several ISIS/ISIL members, was carried out with such stealth that the Syrian government never knew it happened.

Oddly enough, the Syrian government has remained quiet about the deadly raid. However, the second the Obama administration announced plans to over-fly Syria to look for ISIS/ISIL activities, the Syrian foreign minister threw a fit saying such actions would be considered an act of aggression.

It doesn’t make sense. That’s because its all smoke and mirrors meant to deflect any criticism Obama incurred from callously returning to the links instead of the White House.

Billy Myers, 1926-2014

The obituary read: “Wilma Rita “Billie” Myers born March 7, 1926 in Alliance, Nebraska passed away on May 5, 2014 in Crescent City, CA. She was a Del Norte County resident for 67 years.”

Every Saturday morning for years I delivered the Time-Standard to Mrs. Myers’ house in Klamath. She lived across the field from us with her husband, Vern.

When I was younger, rumors swirled around her and Judge Hopper, who live a few doors away and across the street from the Myers. I paid no mind to the stories because I never saw any evidence of any untoward behavior between the two.

About three years into the job I was attacked and sexually assaulted by a mentally ill man. At the age of 13 this caused me some confusion as to my sexuality.

Mrs. Myers always asked me in and offered me a cup of coffee, some bacon or sausage and perhaps a biscuit. Being a teenage chow-hound I accepted.

Over time we talked about all sorts of things including some personal stuff. I had grown comfortable enough to tell her about my assault and how I must have done something to have caused it.

On the Saturday morning following my 14th birthday, I knocked on her door. I heard her call out: “The doors unlocked, come in!”

The kitchen was dark and the curtains were closed in the living room which was uncharacteristic for Mrs. Myers. Once my eyes adjusted to the shadows, that’s when I saw her walking down the hallway from the back of the house.

She looked like a spirit as she moved towards me. She was wears a white translucent negligée with light pink ruffles and a pair of clear high heels adorned with pink fur on the strap.

As she drew closer, I stumbled back against the door. I had nowhere to turn to get away and by that time I wasn’t certain I wanted to escape what I believed was about to happen.

Soon her face was so close that she could have kissed me had she wanted to. Instead, she gently traced my eyes, nose, lips and neck with the tip of her nose.

Next she took both of my hands and placed them on her hips. She guided them up and down her body from her thighs to her rib cage.

I took her hand in exchange and placed it firmly on my groin. She jerked her hand away and smiled.

“Don’t you ever worry about your sexuality again,” she whispered, “You’re a one-hundred percent all-American, red-blooded male.”

I melted at that second.

Mrs. Myers turned and started back down the hall, “See you next Saturday.”

Behind You

Though Sue and I live only a few miles apart, as friends  we generally talk to each other using our computer cameras. It’s all part of living in the 21st century, I guess.

One evening while we were talking, I saw what I thought was an old man standing her hind her. I couldn’t make out any of his facial features as the lamp behind him cast his form in shadow.

No sooner had I realized I could see this man, he moved out of frame. It was somewhat of a surprise as I knew she lived alone.

“Whose that?” I asked out of curiosity.

She frowned, “Whose what?”

“The guy that was standing right behind you,” I shot back.

She spun in her chair to look, but there was no one there. She looked back at me and snorted.

“Must have been my imagination,” I finished.

I believe she had a spirit visit her that night, unfortunately I haven’t seen him again.

Life Lesson #4

Stop putting your own needs on the back burner.
The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.
Yes, help others; but help yourself too.
If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.

Del Norte County: 1957

In 1957, Chairman Bill Boone, announced that Crescent City was prepared for “One of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the city’s history.” It was the 28th year that Boone led the Fourth festivities.

He was the impetus for this major event. There is a monument to him in Beachfront Park as it was the heart of the community activities.

The newly formed Junior Chamber of Commerce created a float that took first place in the parade. Their red and white flowered float featured two bathing beauties, Sharon Jones and Mary Hallmark.

Other floats that received awards were entries by the Indian Welfare, the Foursquare Church, the Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority, the Moosehead Lodge and Jobs Daughters. A line of trucks called Industry on Parade was part of the fun.

The crowd of onlookers cheered the procession as it marched toward parade’s end at the beach. At that time, the area that is now Beachfront Park was a sand dune. It was used much as it is now with booths and attractions.

It was one of the warmest, sunniest days of the summer to the delight of the visitors. The major feature was a merry-go-round, where children lined up for this exciting opportunity.

Also during 1957, the redwood attraction Curly Redwood Lodge opened in July. Contractor Warren Richardson was proud to show off the unique features of the building.

The beautiful curly redwood came from trees owned by Tommy and Lucille Wyllie who were the proprietors. It was especially milled for this purpose by George C. Jacobs Company on Northcrest Drive.

The 26 units plus owner’s apartment featured television, electric heat and pure well water. It was the newest and most modern building in the county. All the redwood came from one tree that was felled in Klamath Glen in 1952.

It was a rare tree in that it was curly right to the tips of the branches. The tree was 85 feet tall, and over 18 feet in circumference.

It was a grand addition to Crescent City and a tourist attraction.

Finally, another asset to the area in July of 1957 was the Coast Guard Patrol Boat. The 83-foot boat needed a proper place and the harbor needed to construct a docking facility, electric power, water and a rain tight building for the personnel paid for by the community.

Commander Neilson of Humboldt Bay said that ten officers and men would work at the site. This was the culmination of many hours of work by The Triplicate, the Board of Supervisors, Crescent City fishermen and other groups interested in the safety of those who use the port.

The county coroner, Norman Weir, stated that a drowning that occurred recently was “uncalled for and could have been avoided.” The need was urgent and the Coast Guard was advised by Congressman Scudder to expedite the patrol boat’s arrival in the port.

Adam’s Dilantin

As far as I can remember, my brother Adam had always been hyper. Many times I recall my parents shouting, “Adam, sit down!” “Adam, be quiet!” or “Adam, pay attention!”

After a while it drove my folk’s nuts and they sought medical help at the recommendation of the Del Norte County Unified School District. Adam was perhaps seven or eight years old when he was prescribed a drug called Dilantin.

Initially, it turned Adam into a dull and lethargic boy. Later, as frustration built-in him over his condition, he grew angry and aggressive.

I had only known him up to that time as kind and gentle and it was hard for me to watch him change.

One day as we were standing in the kitchen where his meds were kept, he offered me his daily dose. Adam really wanted me to experience what he was going through.

Reluctantly I accepted, finding the two triangular-shaped pills tasted minty and not unpleasant at all. Less than half an hour later I had forgotten about the taste as the medication took effect of my mind and body.

Plainly put, the shit slowed my heart rate down the point I felt light-headed and dizzy. Meanwhile my mind was racing and I was unable to keep a hold of one thought or another.

The color of the sky, the grass, my skin all took on brighter than normal hues. Birds singing, cars zipping by on the highway and people talking all became an insult to my ears as they were so distorted.

Later, after the effects wore off, I told Mom and Dad about what Adam and I had done. I also tried to explain what I had gone through, but in the end all I got was a butt-whipping.

To this day, I don’t know if Adam disliked what the pills did to him, or if he came to enjoy his medicated world. What I do know is that my experience led me to fight to keep my son, Kyle from being medicated when the Washoe County School District recommended he’d be a god candidate for such a program.

Two Roses

Jus’ before bed, I took the dog outside. While standing by the garage door, next to our rose bushes, I was touched with the idea to clip one and take it into our bedroom for my wife.

Since she was already asleep, I grabbed a glass and filled it with water and placed the rose in it. Then I set it in our bathroom next to her toothbrush so she’d be certain to see it.

Mary gets up and goes to work early and is long gone before I claw my way out of bed to begin my day. Because of this, there are times when we don’t get much time to visit and the rose was my simple way of saying, “I’m thinking about you.”

When I got up the next morning, much to my delight, I saw there were now two roses in the glass. My wife let me know she was thinking of me too.

God Bless You

When I was a kid, our next-door neighbor, Charles Coke told me when a person sneezed that opened the body to invasion by the Devil. Therefore, it was not only polite but an act of faith to say “God bless you” or “bless you” to ward off evil.

I say it automatically anytime I hear a sneeze, even if I don’t actually know who sneezed.

Adding to what Mr. Coke told me, a 2009 article in National Geographic claimed that during the plague of 590 AD, “Pope Gregory I ordered unceasing prayer for divine intercession. Part of his command was that anyone sneezing be blessed immediately (“God bless you”), since sneezing was often the first sign that someone was falling ill with the plague.”

But now even publicly ‘blessing’ someone is politically incorrect as the Dyersburg, Tennessee ‘State Gazette,’ reports: “The incident involved 17-year-old Kendra Turner, a senior at the high school. Turner was in class on Monday morning and said ‘bless you’ after a fellow classmate sneezed. The phrase was listed on the chalkboard as one of several students were not supposed to say during class, according to Turner.”

Evidently, the phrase is one of several that the ‘respected’ 40-year veteran teacher doesn’t allow spoken in her classroom. This list also includes “my bad,” ”hang out,” ”dumb,” ”stupid” and “stuff.”

Turner may have broken the ‘rules,’ but I think was she being polite out of habit not being disobedient towards the teacher or her classmates. I think this is why it is up to parents to teach their kids ‘good manners’ and not leave it up to school teachers.

Our U.S. Media is Corrupt

Let me jus’ put it out there – the media in this country is neither fair, impartial nor ethical. It’s full of bigoted people whose points of view are continually on display, corrupting the truth.

An unarmed Michael Brown, a Black 18-year-old died Saturday, August 9th after being shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer with the Ferguson Missouri Police Department.  Two day’s later FOX News 13 in Utah reported the same thing happened on Monday, August 11th:

“A man is dead after an officer-involved shooting in South Salt Lake Monday night, according to Salt Lake City Police. Relatives of 20-year-old Dillon Taylor, the man who was shot, said he wasn’t armed.”

Seems as if we’ve all heard this before – but there’s a twist according to the Deseret News:

 “(Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank) also addressed speculation about the ethnicity of the officer who shot Taylor, saying the officer is not white.”

Grainy video released by Salt Lake’s KUTV shows what appears to be a Black officer confronting Taylor and two other’s jus’ seconds before the shooting happened.

So, a Black police officer shoots and kills an unarmed while man and no one comes to the defense of the dead man. Where are Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, attorney Benjamin Crump, the rioters and the looters?

They’re where the camera’s are, that’s where. Unfortunately, those same cameras ought not to be in Ferguson unless they’re also willing to report on what is happening in Salt Lake City too.

But since it doesn’t fit the national media’s progressive agenda, there isn’t one camera from ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX or NBC focusing on the Dillon Taylor case. After all, whoever heard of a white man falling victim to the racial prejudice of a Black man?

Acception or the Rule

Recently I heard a news story about how the ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ is offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man who kicked a squirrel off the edge of the Grand Canyon in a video that has gone viral.

Its acts of cruelty like this that make me think there’s no hope for the human race. There is a difference between killing for food and simply killing for pleasure.

When I was nine-years-old I threw a frog as hard as I could against a board all because a friend ‘dared’ me too. Afterwards I told myself I never do such a cruel thing to another living thing jus’ because someone said to do it.

Later while in high school and heading home on the school bus I thought it would be funny to place a sharpened pencil behind a guy as he was leaning forward so he could lean back and poked by it. My immature brain didn’t see how the pencil could have easily pierced his skin and damaged an organ.

Fortunately, the guy next to me thrust his hand between the pencil tip and the other guy’s back preventing a severe injury from occurring. To this day I’m embarrassed and ashamed of myself every time I think about that incident.

My sleep is often interrupted by jagged nightmares about the men I’ve killed in combat. Yes, though they tried to kill me, I still feel horrible for having taken their lives.

When I think about these three situations taken from my life, I wonder – when it comes to having a conscience – am I the acceptation or the rule. It scares me to think I could be part of the minority in this case.

Life Without Parole for Keon Park

“A 22-year-old man on Friday was sentenced to life without parole for killing his brothel boss in December 2010,” reads the lead sentence of the story from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

They are writing about my friend Keon Park who pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and other charges for killing Young Park and burning her body.  The two are not related.

It seems so cut and dry – the way the sentence reads — matter of fact and without emotion, exactly like a good news story should begin. But since I was present in the courtroom and was one of several people who for Keon, it is so much more emotional for me.

Here’s what I had to say:

“Thank you Your Honor for allowing me the opportunity to speak before this court on behalf of Keon Park. I have known Keon since 2006.

While I was his cross-country coach at Excel Christian High School in the Reno/Sparks area in 2007, I met Keon earlier through my son, who attended the same school.  He was welcomed and came to our home on several occasions.

As with most young men his age, Keon was interested in girls, money and especially cars — and we spent a lot of time talking about these three subjects as well as his home life, which left him unhappy.  While he looked up to both his father and his uncle, he left me with the impression that he was under a terrible strain to be perfect.

This internal void placed Keon, in my opinion, at a point where he was more willing to follow than to lead.  As his coach and later friend, I learned that Keon would do what was asked of him without question.

His ability to obey structured rules and direction was without question and he exhibited this feature on both the race course and in his personal life. Keon is also very intelligent, wise beyond his years in most cases and he knows and is known to our Lord, Jesus Christ.

When I heard Keon had been arrested for murder, aside from being heart-sick, I knew he had been lead into it. Furthermore, I knew it was in Keon’s nature to take responsibility for his actions no matter the outcome.

Keon has never been in trouble with the law until now. And knowing Keon as I have, he’ll take whatever punishment this court justly metes out — I just ask that you spare him from life without parole, allowing Keon to have a chance at becoming a productive citizen at some point in his future.

Again, thank you, Your Honor.”

When Judge Gonzalez handed down Keon’s sentence, everyone, including his defense team felt kicked in the gut. I’m not calling the judge’s decision into question – I’m jus’ saying I had never fully grasped what could happen until that very moment.

At present, my mind is a terrible tangle over what judgment is, what justice is and what mercy is. For now I’ll simply stay thankful that it was not death the judge imposed on Keon.

Secular

We think of our work lives as secular.
However or job environment is our ministry.
Everyday, every hour and every minute belongs to God.
Do everything for the glory of God, even the secular.
The secular is sacred if used to glorify God.
Culture is secular because is sin and man-made.
Meet sinners were they are.
Meet people where they are.
Engage culture through God.
Love culture through the Christ Jesus.
Rehabilitate culture through the Holy Spirit.

Being in Congress is Good Business for Nancy Pelosi

California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi directed more than a billion dollars in subsidies to a light rail project that benefitted a company her husband is a major investor in. ‘Salesforce’ paid $278 million for 14 acres in Mission Bay in 2010, from Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Pelosi’s husband Paul’s holdings in ‘Salesforce’ amount to between $500,000 and $1 million.

Pelosi first purchased the stock in 2000. When it debuted on the market in 2004, it was worth $3.75 per share; this week, it was trading at just under $53.

But this isn’t the first time her congressional dealings have been called into question.

In March 2008 she sponsored a bill allowing HIV-positive patients who do not have AIDS to qualify for Medicaid. Her husband owns $250,000 worth of stocks in ‘Amgen,’ which makes the only AIDS drug covered, thus benefitting her husband.

She is as crooked as her face is surgically altered.

Catharsis

The death of Robin Williams surprised millions. The fact that he died at his own hand came as shock to thousands who have lived through such deaths of a loved one.

I am one of those and through Williams’ death I have found a cathartic healing and am suddenly able to see my brother’s problems in life in a better light.

You see, Adam had the cards stacked against him when he was a youngster. While it would be years before it was called ‘Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,’ or ADHD, Adam was labeled as hyper and medicated as a result.

This forever changed my brother’s personality. Not only did he become more aggressive as the years progressed, he was also open to experimenting with drugs and alcohol, where I wasn’t.

It was while serving in the Army in South Korea, Adam would find a drug, that I imagine replaced the medicated feelings of his youth. Heroin would rule a majority of his adult life until his death from a self-inflicted methadone patch overdose.

For the four years between his death and Robin Williams’ passing I’ve been angry in one form or another at my younger brother. I see now though, that my anger isn’t the answer – rather its my forgiveness.

Adam was brilliant, an intellectual and gifted human with a grand capacity to empathize with others. Perhaps that empathic quality is what got the better of him and thus he sought refuge from the immense pressure and pain this gift gave him.

I can only speculate on this now – and that would be a waste of time.

But what I can do is forgive him for turning off his light long before it was due to burn out. I can also forgive myself for not being the loving brother and understanding how difficult his life had been since early childhood.

And thank you Robin Williams, you brought an understanding to me far beyond any of the laughter you’ve left behind.

What Soloman Said

It’s the beginning of the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes where King Solomon notes: “Everything is meaningless.” This is not a happy statement.

First off, ‘Ecclesiastes,’ roughly translates as ‘teacher.’ And ‘meaningless,’ is more or less translated as ‘completely temporary.’

The Book of Ecclesiastes suggests that human wisdom has its limits. The King goes even further to list what he finds meaninglessness in: wisdom, pleasure, folly, toil and advancement.

In some ways it is encouraging to know that people of the tenth century before Christ were asking themselves questions like ‘Why am I here?” It’s a question much of society is still asking all these centuries later and with no clear answer still found.

Unfortunately, we tend to try to answer this question with stuff — money, vehicles, friends, lovers, power and position. The unfortunate part of this is that none of it is ever enough.

So if King Solomon found ‘everything under the sun’ ‘like chasing the wind,’ and ‘meaningless,’ I am not surprised to drawn the same conclusion. After all we each meet that same ending, which is physical death and no one truly knows if it is Heaven or Hell were he’ll repose.

I think best to devote everything to God and in the end he’ll give me meaning.

Life Lesson #2

Stop running from your problems, instead face them head on.
There is no person in the world capable of handling every thing thrown at them.
We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made.
In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.
Because that’s the whole purpose of living — to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.
This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
And no, it won’t be easy.

Fugitive Diplomat May be in Nevada or California

A U.S. State Department diplomat suspected of killing his wife, mother and three sons in 1976 is now on the FBI’s list of “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives,” bringing new attention to the case.

William Bradford “Brad” Bishop Jr., is accused of beating his family to death in their home in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, and then drove to a wooded area in North Carolina, where authorities say he dumped their bodies in a shallow grave and burned them. They weren’t identified until a week later, giving Bishop ample time to plot a getaway.

Investigators say its possible Bishop, who would now be 77 years old, fled to Europe and is living there under a false name. A Yale graduate who later earned a master’s degree in Italian, is fluent in five languages.

While there is no evidence to show Bishop’s whereabouts, investigators are enhancing publicity efforts in the Western United States. Bishop, who was born in Pasadena, California, still has associations in that area, was also known to hike throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

There hasn’t been a confirmed sighting of Bishop since 1976, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, although three people who knew him have reported spotting him in Europe over the years, most recently in 1994.

There is a reward of up to $100,000 being offered by the FBI for information leading to the capture of Bishop.

Reflections on Robin Williams’ Suicide

The news left me so stunned that I literally heard myself gasp. I look around the room as Mary and at Kay, they too had their mouths open in shock.

The newscaster had jus’ announced that Robin Williams’ had committed suicide. It felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on me.

Reporting of his death instantly transported me back to 1981 and the overdose death of John Belushi. His much-lauded death stunned me too.

It also caused me to recall the fact that twice in 2002 I tried to off myself as well. The first time was alcohol-fueled and the second simply because I felt I couldn’t go on any longer.

Both attempts were foiled by people who should never have been able to find me. In the first I was amidst a nighttime cow-field, the next while swimming away form the Lake Tahoe shoreline under the cover darkness.

In my case I’ve concluded that God isn’t finished with me yet therefore Angels graced me by guiding people to stop me. As for Robin Williams, maybe God said, “Okay, that’s enough, time for you to come home.”

The Double Rainbow Object

double rainbow 003
While taking a few photographs of a double rainbow in Spanish Springs, Nevada, I captured several unidentified objects in one frame. And by the next click of the shutter, they were gone.

They’re unidentified because I don’t know what they are and there isn’t any others like them in any of the other pictures I took. The best I can do is describe them as white spherical-shaped light that appear to be moving upward and to the right as you look at it.

Kind of interesting, huh?

Switching Between Plans

Soon I should be suffering from withdrawals if I’m truly addicted to Facebook. I draw this conclusion based on the fact that I recently closed my account.

Facebook for me has been a way to get back and stay in touch with people I have known over the years — from grade school, through my time in the military right on through my years working in broadcasting. But after sitting in the dark, talking to God, it came upon my heart to disconnect myself from the Internet as much as possible for the time being.

For the last several years I’ve worked hard to find fame through my writing abilities. But it has yet to turn out as I’ve planned.

There in lays the problem — MY plan. None of this should be my mine, but rather God’s plan.

So to return to where I should be, I’ve left my online life behind for a while. I am now searching to fulfill what it is Christ has planned for me.

Brady’s Injuries Lead to Murder

The death of James Brady — President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary who was wounded in the attempt on Reagan’s life in March 1981 — was a homicide, a medical examiner has ruled. Brady died as a result of the injuries, the Office of the Medical Examiner for the Northern District of Virginia said.

That means gunman John Hinckley Jr. could be charged with Brady’s murder. It also means Lewis Powell, the attacker of President Abe Lincoln’s Secretary of State William Seward can be charged with the secretary’s death – even though he lived another seven- years following the attack.

How stupid!

The Klamath River’s Connection to the Cable Car

Born in London, March 16th 1836, Andrew Hallidie was a pioneer of cable railway transportation.  On January 28th, 1852, he and his father left Liverpool for America on the steamship ‘Pacific’ arriving in New York on February 12th, after a fifteen day crossing.

Following a 16-day stopover, the pair departed on the ‘Brother Jonathan.’ Thirteen years later, the Brother Jonathan would sink after striking an uncharted rock near Point St. George, off of Crescent City, while carrying 244 passengers.

After crossing the Isthmus the travelers reached Panama on March 15th. On the 26th they embarked on the ship ‘Brutus’ and landed at Clark’s Point in San Francisco 59-days later.

The younger Hallidie spent the next nine-years working mines in Mariposa, Calaveras, Amador, El Dorado, Placer, and Nevada counties. He also worked as a blacksmith along the American River, later building bridges across the Bear, Trinity, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne rivers.

In 1861, Hallidie constructed a bridge across the Klamath River at Weitchpeck, but had to leave it unfinished because of an uprising of Indians. Its completion didn’t happen until 1901, about a year after his death, with the construction of the Ash Creek Bridge in Siskiyou County.

Six years later, he took out his first patent for the invention of a rigid suspension bridge. He also patented the “Hallidie Ropeway (or Tramway),” a method of transporting ore and other material across mountainous districts by means of an elevated, endless traveling line, which he had invented.

Hallidie, in 1871, completed plans by which street cars could be propelled by underground cables, from Clay and Kearny Streets to the crest of the hill, a distance of 2,800 feet, making a rise of 307 feet. With his success, the cable railroad system spread to Oakland, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York, London, and Sidney.

At the age of sixty-five, he died of heart disease at his San Francisco home, April 24th, 1900. His name is memorialized by way of the Hallidie Building at 130 Sutter Street, between Montgomery and Kearny in San Francisco.

Poor Whoopi Goldberg’s Prayer Plight

During a discussion on ‘The View,’ August 6th, 2014 that centered on a story out of Georgia where a group of power-walkers were told by mall security that they were not allowed to bow their heads in group prayer, co-host Whoopi Goldberg went off on the subject saying:

“I’m sorry. I don’t necessarily want to trip over anyone who’s praying. I want you to pray. I want you to pray whenever you are. But I don’t want to know you’re doing it. I don’t want to know, because it’s your private business and if you do it everybody else gets the right to do it.”

Odd that even when making a negative statement about individual liberty like this that Whoopi could also be so right.

Jus’ so Whoopi understands, freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. In fact, in the U.S. there is a document that enshrines these rights called the Constitution. This principle is clearly expressed in the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

I feel sorry for Whoopi Goldberg, as it is hard to live and thrive under such intolerable conditions like she has.

Hurricanes, Cyclones, and Typhoons

With Hawai’i set to be battered by two storms, there seems to be some confusion over the different types of storms that affect our earth. So what are the islands going to be hit with?

From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s webpage:

“Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

The ingredients for these storms include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds. If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon.

In the Atlantic, hurricane season officially runs June 1 to November 30. However, while 97 percent of tropical activity occurs during this time period, there is nothing magical in these dates, and hurricanes have occurred outside of these six months.”

Life Lesson #1

A few months ago a friend sent me a list he called ‘Life Lessons.’ They are sound and now I want to share them with you.

Life is far too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.
If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.
You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.
Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.
And remember, it’s not the people who stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

In Imfamy

A date that will live in infamy is one that wasn’t particularly romantic or anything, but rather because it was embarrassing. I took a young lady named Linda to see the movie, “1941.”

The 1979 film was directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, and featured a cast that included Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Lee, Toshiro Mifune and Robert Stack. The story-line involves a panic in the Los Angeles area after the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor.

At the time I didn’t know the plot, I jus’ knew it had Belushi in it and therefore in my pea-brain it was compulsory that I see it. In the end, the movie wasn’t all that funny even though some people I know now claim it has risen to some sort of cult status.

Finally, the reason I was so embarrassed came down to one reason and one reason only — Linda is of Japanese ancestry.  We never went out on a date again.

An Unfolding Scenerio

One of the first lessons I learned as an Environmental Health Technician while in the U.S. Air Force was to stop the spread of life-threatening disease by containing it at or nearest its source. That means all contaminates, including people, had to be held away from the public in the area in which the disease was first noted.

But somehow this isn’t being followed by current medical staff either abroad or in the U.S.

From the L.A. Times: “An American physician who fell ill with the deadly Ebola virus while treating others afflicted in West Africa arrived back on U.S. soil Saturday and was to be whisked via a specially outfitted ambulance to Emory University Hospital for treatment in an isolated ward.”

This despite a November 2012 report by the BBC that reads, “Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the Ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species.”

Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control, which is overseeing the infected doctor’s treatment, says ‘don’t worry.’

CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden told NBC News: “It is not a potential of Ebola spreading widely in the U.S. That is not in the cards.”

However this is the same government agency that Newsweek, in a July article, stated: “In June, the CDC revealed what it represented to be an accidental anthrax mishap. But in the investigation that followed, shocking conditions at federal laboratories were revealed. Long-forgotten smallpox samples had been discovered in a storage room at the National Institutes of Health’s Food Administration campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and cross-contamination of harmless samples with a potentially deadly flu virus had occurred in the CDC’s infectious disease lab.”

We should worry, because it is a horrible way to die.

From the World Health Organization’s website: “EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.”

But the table may already be set for such a thing to happen, as Department of Religious Studies Professor James Tabor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, explained in the PBS ‘Frontline’ series, ‘Apocalypse!”

“If you open the Book of Revelation and simply begin reading it as an unfolding scenario, it goes something like this. There will be wars and famines and disease epidemics and heavenly signs that will alert the world to some sort of crisis.”

With all this said, I’ve decided to take a hold of Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman’s personal mantra: “What? Me worry?,” as I drop to my knees and pray in earnest.

The Chief of Staff of U. S. Army Europe isn’t a U.S. Citizen

He isn’t sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution like those he’ll command — so how can this be?

A German Army officer who recently served with NATO forces in Afghanistan is assuming duties as the chief of staff of U. S. Army Europe, the first time a non-American officer has held that position. Brig. Gen. Markus Laubenthal could report to duty as early as Monday.

Sources at the Pentagon say the first-ever assignment of a non-U.S. citizen to the USAREUR staff isn’t connected to the political trouble over the recent spying gaff committed against Germany.  Instead, USAREUR staff claim the appointment had been scheduled for several months prior as part of the Obama administrations effort to give a more multi-national flavor to its major overseas commands.

The Search for a Stolen Bicycle

At first I thought, “Do I have a sign on me that says ‘GUILTY’?” Then it occurred to me that I must simply look suspicious to every law enforcement officer in the area.

It was the second time in a week for being questioned by cops while I was minding my business. The first time was as I was walking around the block in my neighborhood and now as I sat in my truck waiting for a friend to finish with her appointment.

The guy on the bicycle rode by me and I nodded at him as he said hello. Seconds later three police vehicles with lights on came speeding down the street and cut him off as he started to cross the street in front of me.

Since my windows were down I couldn’t help but hear the exchange between the first two female officers and the cyclist. They demanded he step away from the bike and sit on the sidewalk in front of their vehicle.

Soon, there were five officers gathered around the now handcuffed guy. I laid my seat back as far as I could and closed my eyes and jus’ listened.

A command sergeant was one of the original vehicles to pull up on the scene. He soon left, leaving three female officers and one male officer behind.

Within minutes, they uncuffed the guy and let him go. I could tell he was happy to be getting away from the situation he had been in.

A moment later, they ordered me out of my truck, instructing me to put both hands on the hood. Taken by surprise I did the smart thing and complied.

That’s when it dawned on me, I had a bicycle in the bed of my truck, place there earlier by a friend of my friend, who had been kind enough to patch one of the bike’s tires. Duh!

They peppered me with questions: Who are you? What are you doing here? Why do you have a bicycle in the bed of your truck? Is it your bike?  After the first question I finally said, “If I’m being arrested, I want to speak to a lawyer before you continue questioning me.”

Finally, the male cop went over and pulled the bike from the bed and turned it upside down. He pulled a note pad from his pocket and checked a series of numbers against the serial number embossed on the bike frame, declaring, “It’s not the one.”

“Thank you for your time,” one of the women said as they started back towards their squad cars.

A second one then admonished me: “Next time jus’ answer our questions and it’ll go easier for you.”

I decided to jus’ keep my mouth shut as they pow-wowed for a few minutes before heading back to the nearby campus.

The entire situation left me rattled for the rest of the morning as every time I saw a squad car from then on,  I felt my heart jump and my mouth go dry. It’s horrible that I should feel so fearful of the law enforcement community as a private, law-abiding citizen.

One Book, Four Films and a Redwood Treasure

The novel, ‘The Valley of the Giants’ was written by Peter B. Kyne and originally appeared in Red Book during August 1918.  It has since been made into a movie four different times.

The stories hero Bill Cardigan is a lifetime resident of California’s Tall Timber country. When evil land-grabber Howard Fallon arrives with a team of lumberjacks to strip the territory of its trees, Cardigan tries to stop them, only to discover that Fallon has the law on his side.  Eventually, Cardigan finds an unexpected ally in the form of golden-hearted saloon girl Lee Roberts, who enables the forces of Good to triumph.

According to Warner Brother’s press material from the 50s, San Hedrin, the setting of the novel, is patterned after Eureka, California.

The film was shot for a fourth time in 1952 and retitled’ The Big Trees,’ with an emphasis shifted so that the Howard Fallon character, (now known as Jim Fallon and played by Kirk Douglas,) ultimately emerges as the hero. Aside from Douglas, the film also starred Eve Miller, Patrice Wymore, Edgar Buchanan, John Archer, Alan Hale, Jr., Roy Roberts, Charles Meredith, Harry Cording and Ellen Corby.

Students from Humboldt State University played members of the Quaker congregation as well as members of its choir. Locations included several places between Eureka and Orick.

Records show that Henry O’Neill tested for the part of McKenzie, Dick Foran and Allen Jenkins for Ox, John Litel for Sheriff, Russell Simpson for Hendricks and Gloria Dickson for Lee. The project was originally assigned to Ray Enright, who was replaced by William Keighley.

In 1938 the 79-minute movie ‘The Valley of the Giants,” was directed by William Keighley, with photography by Sol Polito and music by Adolph Deutsch. It starred Wayne Morres, Claire Trevor, Charles Bickford, Alan Hale, Donald Crisp, Frank McHugh, Jack LaRue, John Litel, Russell Simpson, and Jerry Colonna.

Warner Brothers  took over all three floors of the Eureka Inn and over the next four weeks of location work, the company went to a number places within 65 miles of Eureka. The fog and many visitors were often troublesome for filming, but the company worked out an early morning phone-in system from several locations so they could go to the sunniest location each day.

The dam that was blown up across the Van Duzen river took two weeks of work by one hundred men. Filming was done at Hammond, Holmes-Eureka, and Pacific Lumber Company locations.

The second filming of ‘The Valley of the Giants,’ took up seven reels and was directed by Charles J. Brabin, with cinematography completed by Ted D. McCord. The cast included  Milton Sills, Doris Kenyon, Arthur Stone, George Fawcett, Paul Hurst, Charles Sellon, Yola D’Avril, and Phil Brady.

The film company, First National, used the Scotia Bluffs and the Nanning Creek Bridge as background in the film during a six-week period. The Eel River, with the Scotia Bluffs in the background can also be recognized in scenes where passengers from the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Engine #132 are spilling down the hill.

The Carson Mansion, which served as Sill’s Family home, is another recognizable location used in filming. Many film historians claim the picture includes one of the greatest fight scenes of all silent films; also, a great love scene and a great runaway train sequence.

In 1919, the first ‘The Valley of the Giants,’ was directed by James Cruze, with the help of cinematographer Frank Urson. Stars included Wallace Reid, Grace Darmond, Will Brunton, Charles Ogle, Alice Taaffee (later known as Alice Terry) , Ralph Lewis, Kay Laurel, Hart Hoxie, Noah Berry, Guy Oliver, W.H. Brown, Richard Cummings, and Virginia Foltz.

The company, Paramount,/Famous-Players Lasky, stayed at the Hotel Arcata. They shot the film on location throughout Humboldt and Del Norte Counties as well as parts of Southern Oregon.

Many  stories were left when the crew and cast returned to Hollywood. The most enduring is while on a location, Reid was injured doing stunt work and received morphine injections for the pain.

This apparently marked the start of his morphine addiction, from which he died on 18 January 1923.

According to author and film historian Kim Morgan: “While traveling to their Oregon location…Reid and company experienced a near-catastrophic crash when their train fell off a bridge, rolled down 15 feet and landed on its side. (Reid) was seriously injured, suffering a deep laceration to his skull, a gash in his arm that cut to the bone and severe injury to his already weakened back. It was a harrowing, bloody calamity that would, today, stop production on any motion picture.”

In his 2011 book, “Wally: The True Wallace Reid Story,” David Menefee writes: “Alone and in the middle of nowhere, they were without any outside help… For the next twelve hours, Wally used his medical skills to administer to those who were injured… Rescuers finally arrived, but only after the injured had languished in isolation for half of a day.”

Considered to be lost until 2010, a print of the film was found in Russia’s state film archive and a digital copy was presented to the library of Congress in October 2010.  The film had been loaned to the former Soviet Union I the 1920s.

A Found Music List

Sorting through an unlabeled file in my office drawer I found an old type-written music list. While I vaguely recall typing it out — I have no idea when I did it or for what reason.

It had to be sometime in the early 90s as some of the songs are from 1992 or so. It was around that time I was trying to start a DJ business, playing music at weddings, bar-mitzvahs and wakes or what have you.
music list
Heck, maybe I was planning to make some cassettes or planning to see if I could figure out how to create a music CD. After all, the technology was pretty new at the time and I was working for a stereo and electronics shop during the time period.

Learning to Comfort from the Heart

The shadows were beginning to get long on the southeast side of our Klamath home. That’s where Goldie and I were at when things went horribly wrong.

With Goldie was her wire-haired terrier, Scotty. I had with me our next door neighbor’s Dalmatian, Daisy.

The neighbors were away for the week and had asked me to take care of her.  Aside from feeding Daisy, I also let her out of the back yard to let her run and play.

Goldie and I were talking when suddenly Daisy growled at Scotty. The next thing either of us knew — the two dogs were battling it out, teeth bared and howling in pain.

It seemed like minutes, but it was only seconds before my father broke the two apart, grabbing Scotty and sending me back to the neighbor’s to lock Daisy in her yard.

By the time I returned, Dad had Scotty laid out on the kitchen table, a large towel beneath his tiny battered frame. Dad, having trained security dogs for the U.S. Air Force, was examining the animal’s bleeding wounds.

Mom had ushered my sisters and brother outside onto the back patio. That’s where she sent me once I came in the front door.

Oddly, my siblings were very quiet, but Goldie was crying. I wanted to comfort her somehow because I felt certain that had I not let Daisy out of the yard, none of this would have happened.

But at 11 years old, I was too immature to react as I should have. It scared me to think that if I put my arms around Goldie and allowed her to cry on my shoulder it would only make things worse.

Jus’ as I was swallowing down my fright, Dad came out and announced that Mom had called Goldie’s folks and that they were on their way over. He also said the injuries were serious enough that Scotty needed to see a vet.

The moment passed and I missed an opportunity to behave as a young man should have in this situation. I took away a personal lesson from this, vowing never to forsake the chance if it ever arose again

Two years later as graduation from eighth graded loomed, our school suffered a shock as our basketball coach passed away unexpectedly. To honor his memory, our class dedicated our yearbook to him.

On the evening of our long-awaited exit from grade school, our classmate Lisa was to get up and read the dedication aloud to the gathered crowd of family and friends. Seconds after starting Lisa was crying so hard she could barely speak, so I stepped to the podium, put an arm around her waist and took up reading the dedication where she had left off.

Since I was having difficult time also, between Lisa’s sobs and the tears welling in my eyes, our soon-to-be former principal took over the reading. In coming to our rescue, and starting from the beginning , he allowed Lisa and I to take our seats.

In the end, I learned that a comforting hug is like a handshake — only in this case — it comes direct from the heart.