Harkening: The Returning

The rain had stopped by the time daylight came to the deep forest. In its place floated a heavy mist that danced among the treetops.

‘Lives in Woods’ crawl out of the hollow and stretched. He had slept wee despite being unable to lay down.

Embers still glowed lightly below the layer of ash in his fire pit. Instead of adding wood to the, ‘Lives in Woods’ stretched again, then proceeded to urinate on the blazes’ remains.

He quickly found two limbs and cut them from the tree, stripping them of any branches so they were bare. Crossing the skinnier ends of the limbs, he tied them together, then knitted his hemp rope back and forth between the branches.

Finally he carefully laid the wrapped remains on top of the rope, picked up the two ends that weren’t lashed together, and headed on to the trail. If he moved quickly, he could be back in town by nightfall.

‘Lives in Woods’ thought back to the night before, wondering still how the bones came to be inside the tree as they were. It surprised him when he realized the man was sitting upright, and that the skull was half hidden in a small ledge where it had rolled after death.

In the morning light, ‘Lives in Woods’  could see the bones were heavily yellowed, meaning they were old. Furthermore, the fact that the bones had not been dragged away by hungry beasts long ago, mystified him.

“Perhaps,” he pondered, “It is his clothing.”

After all the man’s hands bore remnants of gloves and a think layer of clothe, much like a burlap sack.  His feet also had the same kind of wrapping that covered what at one time had been boots.

And while the fire glowed, he again lifted and examined the square box. During this period, he sudden became aware of how simple it would be to open it as it had only two tiny latches that held it closed.

Though again tempted to open the box, he thought better of it, fearful he might let loose an unwanted spirit, like the ‘bleeding disease,’ that killed millions around the world, before ‘the new time’ began. “Best leave that to the Elders,” he concluded.

‘Lives in Woods’ took note of his surroundings, wanting to be able to find his way back if called upon. He was sure the Elders would want to see where the bones were found, so they could better understand why the man was in the tree’s hollow.

By the time the sun set, ‘Lives in Woods’ stood in front of the Elders lodging.

Why I’m Voting for Chuck Allen

With two ‘Chuck Allen for Washoe County Sheriff’ signs in my front yard, it is hard not to tell who I intend to vote for in the upcoming election. I know, have work with and genuinely like Chuck and that helped me come to my decision.

But there is more.

While I do not know ‘Trooper Chuck’s’ opponent, Undersheriff Tim Kuzanek, I do know he has the misfortune of being endorsed by our current sheriff, Mike Haley, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini and Reno’s Mayor, Bob Cashell. This trio is problematic for me.

Last year the Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Haley wanted to “control access to assault weapons,” and “limit access to high-capacity magazines.” As for Cashell and Martini, they decided at the last-minute to endorse the ‘Sycophant of Searchlight,’ Harry Reid in his 2010 senate bid, thus helping to stick the U.S. with another six-years of ‘Pinky’s’ political treachery.

While I am able to forgive – I cannot bring myself to forget.

Harkening: The Ending

What has actually happened, none of us really know. We’ve been cut-off from all outside information for days now.

I jus’ know we are suffering the effects of an E-M-P – an electrical magnetic pulse.

It started while I was sitting at our computer, typing a story for my blog. I had the television on in the living room as I was listening to the Glenn Beck show.

Suddenly everything blanked out. At first it didn’t seem like a big deal, power outages happen and I figures NVEnergy would have the problem solved in an hour, if not in a few minutes.

I was so wrong.

My wife, Mary, was in town and when the power hadn’t returned after two-hours I decided to call her. I don’t really like having a cell-phone, but I keep one with me incase I need to get a hold of her, my son, or our friend Kay.

Unfortunately, my cell wasn’t working either. So I pulled the old ‘Princess’ phone out of our closet and plugged it into the phone jack since our other home phone’s operate on electrical power.

It didn’t work either. Then it dawned on me, her business phone operates on electricity too.

And even though I knew it wouldn’t work, I dialed Kyle’s cell-phone and then Kay’s. I had no way of knowing exactly where they were as Kyle was working for a temp agency and Kay was visiting family in Las Vegas.

Soon I became worried about Mary, scared for her safety and wondering where she was at since I was certain she had left her shop hours. So I grabbed my truck keys and with the intent of going to look for her, I tried to start my truck.

Oddly, it was dead. So I went next door and knocked, wondering if I might borrow one of their cars.

Bridgette told me Mike had not made it home and she hadn’t heard from him as of yet. She also tried to start her older model VW bug and it too, wouldn’t start.

Luckily, she had picked their son up their son from school before the power went down. So she didn’t have that worry to contend with.

As I walked back to my front door, Tom from across the street hollered to me, asking, “Can you get your truck to start?”

“No,” I answered.

Quickly we were joined by Bob, who lives across from Tom on the corner and Gary who is my next door neighbor on the other side of me from Bridgette and Mike. We all compared our situations and found they were nearly exact.

Only Bob, who has an old 1927 coupe, could get his vehicle to start-up. It was at that moment that I realized what had happened and decided to voice my opinion.

“Can I borrow your coupe,” I asked Bob, “So I can go pick up my wife and perhaps find my son?”

Bob hesitated; he had to think about it, which I don’t blame him in the least. Finally, he handed me the keys.

Within 20 minutes I was driving through the streets of Sparks, which were littered with cars and trucks. I found the same thing on Kietzke as I headed towards Mill and Mary’s business.

By this time it was dark and devoid of people as I wheeled into the parking lot. I pulled in front of her shop and banged on the front door.

At first I figured she was no longer there, but then I saw her press her hands on the glass, cupping her face to see outside and into the darkness. I could see the fear in her face and her swollen, red eyes from crying.

Isolation can do this to a person, no matter how strong they might be.

She turned the key in the door and stepped out. We stood there hugging each other for at least a minute.

Soon we were dodging vehicles left in the roadway, abandoned where they died. We were on our way to Kyle’s mother’s home, where he lives.

Once parked in the driveway, I rushed to the door and banged on it. No one answered and I returned to the vehicle, puzzling over what to do.

Mary suggested we jus’ head home and I agreed. It took us no time to drive up into Bob’s driveway and park.

While Mary and I set ourselves to work right away, going into our back yard and digging a large hole. The ground is hard and by the time we finished, both our hands were raw and blistered.

The next morning, we lined the hole with the rocks we’ve had in our yard since we first moved here and which I’ve been too lazy to move or get rid of. Then we pulled our old metal ice chest out of the rafters and filled it with the frozen food from our freezer.

It took us less than half-an-hour to bury the hole with the hope of keeping the food from rotting. I knew that it might not work, so soon I might have to go out and find some fresh meat.

As we were covering the hole, it occurred to me that I might be able to communicate with someone beyond our neighborhood. I had forgotten that at one point I had studied to get my Ham radio license, and I still had much of that equipment, including a telegraph key.

Within an hour’s time, I had my crystal radio set out and I was working to tune it to anything, a voice, music, Morse code or even static. I found a voice, though faint and fading in and out, that told me what I had already suspected.

It was a worthless message, obviously pre-recorded and left to repeat in an endless-loop. Though it wasn’t what I had hoped for, it did bolster our spirits to know there was something out ‘there’ beyond jus’ us.

Harkening: The Finding

This series of five short-stories is based on reoccurring ‘night terrors’ I’ve been having for the past few months. The way I’m figuring it — maybe, jus’ maybe — if I write it down and share it then it’ll go away.

‘Lives in Woods’ looked up at the gray sky as droplets of rain fell on his face. He’d been hunting for a day and a half now and hadn’t seen one deer or elk.

“Perhaps, I’ve gone to high,” he thought.

He could tell that the light would soon be gone as it filtered through the giant trees. He decided to it would be a good idea to look for shelter before it grew too dark and he’d have to set up camp in the rain.

As he silently, but swiftly moved amid the high ferns, he looked for tracks, eaten ends of plants and a possible place to get in out of the rain. ‘Lives in Woods’ was even willing to use a dead-fall log to get in out of the chilling event of the wetness as it continued to fall.

It was jus’ off to his left that he saw what might be an even better place to hole up than under a log. He could see an opening in the base of a huge Redwood, that was hidden by a growth of ferns.

“Hopefully, there’s no bear inside,” he muttered as he worked his way to the tree.

He thrust his spear forward into the opening. There wasn’t a bear inside the hollowed out tree trunk as he had first feared – it would make a good shelter for the night.

After gathering wood, he knelt and began the task of creating fire. He used the ancient technique passed down through the generations of spinning the end of a stick in the notch or a board, which he carried in a bag that hung across his body.

Even though the weather was wet, his board and stick we dry and he made fast work of making a glowing ember. He quickly added it a bird’s nest he also had in his bag, found days ago and soon he’d built himself a fire by which to dry himself and stay warm.

It had been a long day, so after eating some jerked salmon, he moved to the back of the hollow and stretched out. As he lay there, he felt something, perhaps a rock, poke him in the back.

Absent mindedly, ‘Lives in Woods’ reach under himself and dug at the object. He pulled it free from the compressed earth and looked at it.

It didn’t look like a rock at all. He studied it some more, turning it over again and again.

“Bone,” he concluded.

Rolling over and getting to his knees, he probed the area on which he’d been resting. To his shock he found another bone, this one long and slender.

Next to it was another long, bone, about the same length, yet thicker. That lead up to what ‘Lives in Woods’ knew to be a human thigh bone.

Before long, he had uncovered a nearly complete skeleton. While others of his people would have run away, terrified of such a thing, ‘Lives in Woods’ knew he must collect all that he could and return with them to town.

Along with the bones, he also pulled from the ground a large square object, made of a material he didn’t recognize. It looked to be wrapped at one time inside pieces of clothe that had long since rotted away.

It was hard to see through the square, like a heavily fogged over afternoon, yet he could tell it held something inside it. What it could be, he didn’t know, and he felt it best not to investigate it any further.

“I’ll let the Elders do that,” he thought.

Then much to his surprise, he noticed an object leaning in a crevasse of the tree trunk. It was long and made of metal, with a wood handle.

‘Lives in Woods’ knew it a gun when he saw one, though he never held one before. He gathered these items too and wrapped them all in a piece of deer skin he had planned to use to keep warm with.

In the morning, at first light, he would rig a travois and return to town.  ‘Lives in Woods’ was certain he had found one of the ‘Last Peoples.’

Poor Monica’s Dilemma

It occurred to me as I listened to Monica Lewinsky speak about her sexual escapades with former President and current Democratic rock-star Bill Clinton. In her talk, she blamed the Internet, Matt Drudge and the media with bullying her.

But not once did I hear her during her monologue, take true responsibility for her actions. After all she said she was 22-years-old at the time and therefore old enough to know better.

Nor did she blame Bill Clinton for what happened to her. As for Bill, I never thought it was about sex – rather it was all about power and then in the end it was about lying to Congress.

Three Books

Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, “was unable to name three books that influenced his life…and blamed his lack of an answer on being ‘brain-dead,’ reports the Washington Free Beacon. The same thing happened to Sarah Palin when asked what newspapers or magazines she reads, “Umm – all of them.”

If put on the spot, very few of us could name three books that have truly influenced our lives. In fact, I doubt most of us could honestly claim that the Bible has been a real influence, since many of us have yet to study it’s content fully save for a few verses here and there.

It took me about ten minutes to think my list of three books. And I believe I read them all before I was nine years old.

The first one was given to me by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Helen Puls. Called “The Puppycat,” it was first published in 1953 by Nora Sanderson and Eileen Mayo and centers on a pet that was half-dog and half-cat.

I say it influenced me because it’s the first book I read on my own.

Next is “Goops and How to be them,” by Gelett Burgess. Described as “rude creatures devoid of beauty and grace,” and each Goop adventure in the book is a lesson on ‘good manners.’

First gone to press in 1900, I found the rhymes fun to read even though I was tongue-tied as a kid. For instance:

“The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives,
They spill their broth on the table-cloth–
Oh, they lead disgusting lives.”

(Now maybe Kyle will understand when as a little boy he made a mess, I’d call him a ‘Goop.’)

Finally, I enjoyed “Catcher with the Glass Arm,” written by Matt Christopher in 1964. I begged Mom to let me order it from some fundraiser we were having at school.

‘Glass arm,’ is more than jus’ a baseball story to me – it’s a template for building good character. The story builds upon good sportsmanship, adapting to situations, hard work and never giving up.

Raking Leaves

As I continue to watch the leaves drop from the trees, I’m reminded of a book given to me by our neighbor and my sisters’ God-mother, Margaret Keating, when I was 16 years old. Printed in 1903, it contained hundreds of Haiku and assorted short stories.

A few years later, it disappeared, stolen by former landlord. Anyway, one story I remember was about ‘raking leaves,’ and though I can only paraphrase the original story, it went something like this:

A young student was in charge of a garden, where he meticulously raked up all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, his teacher watched him with interest. 

When he finished, the student stood back to admire his work, calling out to his teacher, “Isn’t it beautiful?”  

“Almost,” replied the teacher.

The student watched as his teacher walked to the tree, grabbed its trunk and shook it, showering leaves all over the once raked garden. The teacher then walked back to where the student stood, unable to speak and said, “Now, it’s beautiful.”

With leaves scattered around our backyard, I told Mary the story. She then brought me back to reality.

“Nice story,” she smiled as she handed me a rake.

Arcata Resident Randy Markin Missing

The Arcata Police are searching for Randy Markin, who disappeared last Friday afternoon. A friend told authorities that he saw him at the Intermodal Transit Facility between two and three.

Randy graduated from Del Norte High a year before I did. He is a decorated U.S. Coast Guard veteran and is trying to collect a ‘Guinness World Records,’ number of lava lamps.

Randy’s 55-years-old, white, 6’3” tall and 230 pounds with long grey hair, brown eyes and wears glasses. He was last seen wearing a tie-dye T-shirt, long leather jacket, and jeans.

He’s a diabetic and need medication and left both his cell phone and wallet at home. Randy uses an electric wheelchair at times due to his osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, but didn’t take it with him when he left.

If you have any information or see Randy, you’re urged to contact APD at (707) 822-2428.

UPDATE 12/03/2014: Randy’s body was found in a creek near Heather Lane in Arcata on December 2nd.

Sam Jacobi’s Turn

His head throbbed beyond belief and he was certain that if he could see in the dark, where ever he was, it would be spinning. The air hung heavy with the stench of dried blood, vomit, human feces, fear and death.

Sam Jacobi also realized his wrists were clamps in metal bracelets and attached to a chain and then attached to a wall. The chains were not very long and were attached lower than he could stand up straight.

His knees buckled and he dropped to the smooth stone surface, banging his already aching head against the wall jus’ above the chains attachment. He couldn’t help it and though he fought hard against throwing up where he was kneeling, the urge over powered him.

That was two years ago, and Jacobi’s conditions were jus’ slightly better. At least he had several shafts of light that filtered in from where ever he was being held captive.

This morning he was unbuckled from the wall and given an orange silken robe and pants to put on. He was also allowed a cold-shower, something that only happened when he was to appear before the jihadist’s cameras.

Within an hour his head was covered with a black bag and he was loaded into a small vehicle, bouncing along a rock strewn road someplace in the never ending desert of the Middle East. Jacobi listened intently to chatter among the four men who held AK-47s on him.

Though Farsi was not a language he knew well, he had been deprived the sound of any English speaking people since he was taken prisoner while trying to take video footage of Islamic Militants battle their way through Baghdad. And what words he picked up and only slightly understood, made him feel ill to his stomach.

One had said something about, ‘one way,’ while another laughed at the words Jacobi was certain meant, “chopped off,’ and ‘headless.’ By the time the ride ended, Jacobi was sure he was being taken to his place of execution.

It was the fifth or sixth time he’d seen men, who were also prisoners, given clean orange clothes to wear, before being taken away, never to be seen again. After each time, rumors swirled down the row of cells that that man was dead.

Rumors, then but now it was Sam Jacobi’s turn.

“I’m not gonna beg for my life,” he thought as he was dragged from the vehicle and the heavy black covering yanked from his head.

They were nothing, if not efficient, with three video cameras set up, a sound man ready for recording and a knife-wielding man garbed in black, whose dark, ugly eyes were showing and a leather holster with pistol hanging from his left side. Jacobi felt the bile rise to the top of his throat and rather than swallow, he spit what he could in the direction of the man wearing black.

No sooner had he spit, than he felt the crack of a rifle butt smash into the right side of his head. The blow wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but that didn’t mean it did not hurt all the same or cause him to topple over.

“No!” shouted the man in black, “Do not damage his face.”

Jacobi lifted his head from where he had been knocked down, surprised at the crisp British accent that came from the man in black. The sound of English being spoken meant his captors spoke it too after all.

As he looked towards the voice, two others jerked him from the ground and dragged him, his feet dangling, to beside the ominous figure with the knife. He was forced to his knees in the hot sand, where he looked up at the man whose hate-filled eyes glared down at him.

“Read the placards,” the Brit ordered, “and perhaps I’ll spare your life today.”

Jacobi looked at the first card. It reminded him of the last two times he had been forced through acts of torture, to read threats directed against the United States, the military and other Americans.

This one was different – it read like an apology for forcing the extremists to do the thing they were about to do. Jacobi knew at that moment he was as good as dead whether he read it or not.

Looking up at the man the media had dubbed ‘Jihad John,’ and said, “Go to hell.”

Without a word, ‘Jihad John,’ twisted the knife as Sam Jacobi felt the bite of the blade against his neck. He had jus’ enough time to cry-out, “Jesus save me!”

When Tree’d

About half-an-hour into one of my favorite movies, “Big Trees,” ‘Yukon’ Burns, played by actor Edgar Buchanan, interrupts an outdoor church service. He politely listens as the church elder quotes Luke 10:27, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might,” to which Burns calls out, “Amen.”

Burns then explains that when God uses the word ‘might,’ He’s speaking ‘fighting talk.” And though the Elder disagrees, claiming it goes against their belief system, Burns continues: “I believe in turning the other cheek, but you’re jus’ about run out of cheeks,” he then adds, “It’s time you start growing some religious muscle.”

He finishes his testimony by pointing out, “The Lord didn’t make strong backs jus’ to let the wicked seize the Earth.”

There have been many times when I’ve thought about this scene and how it measures up to my faith – which has taught me to ‘turn the other cheek.’ I don’t want you to mistake this for doctrine, but when enough is enough, maybe we need to up our dukes and defend ourselves and others too.

A Possible Paiute Story

The story, “Tribal Memories of the Flying Saucers,” written by Oge-Make, a Navaho Indian, recounts a Paiute story about flying saucers and extraterrestrial beings, and appeared in a 1948 issue of FATE magazine. Interestingly enough the same story appears in a book by Bourke Lee, called “Death Valley Men,” published in 1932.

There is very little information on Bourke other than publisher ‘Macmillian,’ acknowledges he had at least two book printed by them. Also, Richard E. Lingerfelter, in his book, “Death Valley & the Amargosa: A Land of Illusion,” describes Lee as, “a talented writer-publicist and former Navy flyer Thomas Burke Lee,” who used “the pen name Bourke Lee.”

Oge-Make is actually science fiction writer L. Taylor Hansen, who contributed a lot of material for Amazing Stories in the late 1940s and probably used the pseudonym to further give the tale an aura of mystery. She passed away in May 1976.

Stranger still is the fact that most Paiute elders in the Northern Nevada area know of this same tale. Many of them were young children when they first heard it from their elders.

As one woman, who lives on the Hungry Valley Reservation, jus’ north of Reno, Nevada said to me: “This could be a White-man’s tale that has found its way into our lore, since most of us were kids back in the 30s and 40s.”

Life Lesson #8

Stop beating yourself up over old mistakes.
We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.
We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.
But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.
Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.

Skyward

While hanging out in the backyard, early Sunday morning, trying to catch a view of the comet named ‘Siding Spring,’ I recalled an event from July 1995. At the time Mary, Kyle and I were living in an apartment on Sutro Street in Reno.

During the evening of the third, I sat outside with my friend Gene and his three girls, Elyse, Renee and Lauren. The five of us lay back in the grass watching the sky.

We were looking for the U.S. and Russian space ships to zip through the darkened night. The two ships were docked together and visible for only a few minutes as they were traveling so fast that they were out of sight in no time.

It was such an amazing sight that wrote about the event in my private journal that night: “I am still in awe of the space program, knowing that man can leave the gravity of this Earth and go beyond the limits of what was once considered imagination…”

It’s those small bits-and-pieces of memory that make life worth living.

What Would My Final Message Be?

Sitting on my front porch, enjoying an autumn zephyr that felt more like a winter breeze, I got to thinking about what wisdom I could impart if we had no more time left.  Politics, civil liberty, historical essays, family stories and old photographs would no longer matter.

So what’s left?

Then that tiny voice, I often call my conscience, but is really the Holy Spirit we each have, whispered in my head. Despite the rushing of God’ breathe across the valley, I heard His message loud and clear: “Love and care for each other.”

The Better Mouse Trap

For the past month I’ve played ‘cat and mouse,’ with a couple of real mice. That leaves me in the role of the cat.

Because I have dogs, I don’t use poison bait to kill the mice. In fact I prefer to live-trap them, then release them far away from the neighborhood, deep in the desert scrub.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mouse and his buddies are too smart for their own good, evading every live-trap I’d set to capture them with. So, I finally had to resort to a few good old-fashioned mouse traps.

The end of the first mouse came at around four in the morning when Mary woke me saying, “I jus’ heard the trap go off.”

She left for work shortly afterwards and that’s when I got up and disposed of the now broken dead mouse. All my other traps remained unsprung even though the bait of peanut butter I left on them was gone.

Since that morning, I’ve managed to get two more mice — and as counter-intuitive as it might sound — killing mice should be easy to do, but on the contrary, it upsets my tiny universe and leaves me out of sorts.

My Neighbor’s Tree

Realized I should take a picture of my neighbor, Tom’s tree in its full glory of fall coloring and before the wind and chill release the leaves for the year.

001
It will go bare before anyone knows it and will remain so until next Spring. It’s such a shame that we often take for granted the small but elegant views of our world.

Workplace Violence — We’ve Heard this Before

Angry about being fire when he refused to stop trying to convert coworkers to Islam, Alton Nolen decided to return and cut off the head a former coworker and stabbing another former coworker at a Oklahoma business. Nolen is now charged with first degree murder and assault.

Authorities say Nolen converted to Islam and radicalized while in prison. However the FBI and the Department of Justice is treating this as a case of ‘workplace violence.’

Unfortunately, he wasn’t employed at the time so the idea this was ‘workplace violence,’ is absurd. This was an act of ‘terror,’ plain and simple.

Political correctness is going to get us all killed.

Arguing Semantics

In an appearance on MSNBC, Florida Congressman Dennis Ross said banning flights from West Africa to the U.S. makes sense and said he plans to introduce a bill doing so once the House reconvenes in November. However a self-righteous journalist has to score points by being exact, arguing semantics.

“There are no direct flights that come to the United States from West Africa,” rebutted New York Times reporter Jeremy W. Peters on the same program.

Meanwhile, sick people from West Africa are still making their way to this country. Peters behavior reminds me of the old joke where two hunters stood around arguing about what sort of tracks they had found, meanwhile a speeding train comes along and kills them both.

But go ahead — ignore the ABC News report the says health officials in Senegal credit border controls in aiding that country in declaring itself Ebola free.  Senegal implemented border controls in August.

We could learn something from this — but our leaders are too pretentious to listen.

Moving Forward

Please explain to me again jus’ how ‘conservative’ Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval is. Back when he was first elected I wrote that he is really a ‘progressive,’ pretending to be something he’s not.

Dogs, etc 003
Recently, as I drove along Mill Street, approaching Kietzke Lane in Reno, I saw a billboard for his re-election as governor. I couldn’t help but make the link in my head…

Obama-moving-forward
I’ll let you finish connecting the dots.

Am I Crazy or Living a Bad Dream?

Oh, fuck me! I jus’ put Kay on an flight so she can meet her sister for a cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, then I hear this…

“A health care worker who may have handled a specimen from the Liberian man who died from Ebola in Dallas is on a cruise ship in the Caribbean,” reports USA Today. “Industry giant Carnival says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified it late Wednesday that a passenger on the Texas-based Carnival Magic was a lab supervisor at the Dallas hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan died from the disease earlier this month. Carnival says the unnamed woman has been placed in isolation on the ship and has shown no signs of illness.

Then I saw this from the NY Post:

“A passenger died on a Nigeria-to-JFK flight after a vomiting fit Thursday — and a top lawmaker said officials gave the corpse only a “cursory” exam before declaring that the victim did not have Ebola. Rep. Peter King said in a letter to Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection that the handling of the remains exposed serious flaws in airport preparedness for an Ebola outbreak. Between 70 and 100 passengers a day arrive at JFK from the Ebola epicenter countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, King noted, and they have access to public restrooms and mingle with other travelers before their first screening.”

And now President Barack Obama is naming Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and a trusted adviser at the Obama White House, as the point man on the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola crisis. What the hell does a political insider and lawyer know about controlling a possible pandemic?

I swear I’m about to go bat-shit crazy as I can’t figure out why this is happening to us – the U.S.

Wrapped Up

So often anymore, people get wrapped up in the politics of a subject that they miss the actual message and thereby the real threat of the matter as is the case with Ebola. It doesn’t matter if an infected person’s spittle when sneezed or coughed is considered ‘airborne,’ or not!

I don’t care if the CDC claims it is transmitted only by contact with bodily fluid, they’re arguing semantics and creating chaos with their double-speak.

What matters is the possibility of transmission. And because it is not know for certain if Ebola can be transmitted via ‘airborne transmission,’ it is best to err on the side of caution.

That means the message needs to be about is what sort of protective equipment healthcare workers are using and the training needed to use that equipment. The message should also help calm fear, but that’s not what is happening.

The message needs to be simple and I think the UK Guardian got it right: “The Ebola virus is transmitted in the bodily fluids of people who are seriously ill, who are likely to be vomiting, bleeding or have diarrhoea. Blood, faeces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, and in late stages of the disease even tiny amounts can carry high loads of virus.”

“But a nurse who got a patient’s blood on their hands could wash it off with soap and water without any ill-effects,” the report continues. “He or she would become ill only if they had a cut or abrasion on their hand or touched their mouth, eyes or nose, which would allow the virus to pass into their bodily fluids.”

They add, “It can take two to 21 days for symptoms to show, although usually it is five to seven days. Typically, the first signs are a fever involving a headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat and severe muscle weakness.

“Many of those symptoms are similar to flu, so Ebola is not immediately obvious, though it should be suspected in anyone who has been in west Africa recently. After that come diarrhoea, vomiting, a rash and stomach pain,” says the Guardian.

See, simple!

Reno Becomes Part of National Petri Dish

A passenger from Frontier Airlines flight 1143 flew into Reno-Tahoe International Airport and was checked for Ebola. That is the flight the second nurse diagnosed with the deadly disease was on before being admitted to the hospital.

Officials say the individual does not pose significant risk and was released. What the hell does ‘significant’ mean and are they a risk or not?

“We currently have no reason to expect that this individual poses any risk to the community,” said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “The individual reported to a health care facility, was screened and released according to CDC directives. The CDC determined that this individual did not pose a significant risk.”

The second nurse shouldn’t have traveled on a commercial flight due to her exposure to the virus before her diagnosis, said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. It was later confirmed that the CDC gave the nurse permission to get on the plane because she was showing no symptoms and her temperature hadn’t reach the threshold of 100.4 degrees.

First the CDC said Ebola wouldn’t come here, but it did; said it was hard to get, which it isn’t; said it wouldn’t spread, yet it has; and that they’re prepared for it, they’re not. Somehow — with the CDC involved in Washoe County’s decision making process – I don’t feel very safe.

The Lunatics are Running the Asylum

It was Friedrich Nietzsche I believe who wrote: “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”

While Nietzsche is one of my least favorite quotable people, his remark does sound like the world we are living in now. We were a nation that did not — and never did have the Ebola virus between its shores, and in less than 90 days not only has a patient died, two healthcare workers are ill with the disease and hundreds – if not thousands are at risk for infection.

Now we ‘re threatened with a disease for which our country is obviously and woefully unprepared to deal with, but now there is no way to stop it from spreading. This is because, due to political correctness, the U.S. failed to seal its borders and stop incoming flights from western Africa.

The first nurse had contact with only one person. Unfortunately that one person works in a place that employs around 23,000 people and only 16 are being ‘monitored’ by officials — whatever the hell that means.

Her dog remains quarantined at a nearby naval base.

The second nurse, now confirmed to have Ebola, flew from Ohio back to Texas on a commercial passenger jet, while she had a fever. The CDC wants to interview all 132 passengers who were on Frontier Airlines flight 1143.

No one is talking about the October 8th flight she took from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Cleveland or where she stayed or who she visited, etc. And if she spent the night in a hotel or motel – is anyone thinking about the maid that removed the sheets from her bed?

It’s now estimated that if this scourge isn’t contained and killed, 980,000 people will be dead by the middle of January 2015. How many of us – you and me included – will be on that long list of nearly a million names?

Political correctness is not worth anyone’s life.

UPDATE 10/15/2014: A passenger on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 traveled to Reno, Nevada and was screened for Ebola. Officials say the individual does not pose significant risk, and was released. Fucking great!

Add this to My List of Daily Blessings

At first I thought, “Now, who did I piss off and what did I say that caused this?”

Such is my first reaction to finding both my Facebook page and my WordPress site unable to load from my home computer. Aarrgghh!

My ‘outage’ began last night as the wind whipped through the Spanish Springs valley sending small rocks and tons of sand blasting into the side of the house – so much so that I was sure the paint would be gone by the time the sun rose. Fortunately, the paint held up – but now I need to find out where the wading pool came from and return it.

Turns out it wasn’t really an ‘outage’ nor is anyone angry with me (at least that I know of.) I figured this out by going to the local library and using one of the county’s computers to sign in to both sites this morning.

Once I was able to sign on there, I knew the problem was with my home computer. I ended up having to delete all my ‘cookies,’ ‘passwords’ and ‘content,’ then reapplying to all the websites (including WP and FB) that I usually visit daily.

So I will add this minor victory to my list of blessings for the day — you know the one that starts with, “Hey! I’m still alive, breathing and am able to stand up right.” Another blessing is the fact didn’t have to call my son to come save my ass from what I thought was going to be an eventual ‘blue screen of death’ situation.

Yay me!

Remembering Harley

001
We received this nice condolence card in the mail from our veterinary clinic:

Dear Darby Family –

We are sorry for your loss of Harley. We hope his paw print on the front of this card will serve as a small reminder of how much he meant to you.

Very sincerely –
The Staff of Baring Animal Hospital.

Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

The New Greatest Threat

During the early 80s Rush Limbaugh wrote his list, “The 35 Universal Truth of Life.” The first of these are “The greatest threat to humanity lies in the nuclear arsenal of the USSR.”

Back when he first put his list together ‘social media platforms’ like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the myriad of blogs did not exist. In the early 80s, believe it or not, we still wrote letters on paper using pen and ink, mailing them at the post office, homes had ‘land-line’ telephones and only two or more TV’s per household.

These have been replaced by personal computing, email, instant messaging, blogging, cell phones, tablets and mobile apps. Likewise, the USSR no longer exists in the form we knew during the ‘Cold War’ years.

If I had my way I’d update that very first UTOL so it would read: “The greatest threat to humanity is political correctness as propagated by the social media.”

Plan not to Plan

People often talk about the benefits of planning. This includes preparation and foresight and a bit of cautiousness too.

And while all these things are important in one aspect or another, we are also ‘planning,’ to miss out on life-events if we don’t jus’ sometimes ‘go for it.’ So plan not to plan and throw caution to the wind – at least for one day and see where the breeze takes you.

Human Nature

(1996)

It’s human nature, I guess that people feel the need to complain. I do it all the time.

One of the best examples I can call upon is the weather. We are never happy with the condition that presents itself during the day.

Recently, I heard a newscaster complain that it was “too hot today.” I also remember that same newscaster, a few days ago, whine that it was ‘too cold,’ and that he could certainly use some ‘warmer weather.’

I, myself would quit complaining in an instant — but then I wouldn’t have anything to talk about.

Goodbye, Columbus

The Seattle City Council is replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day in the city. Meanwhile the Bellingham City Council is also considering an ordinance to recognize the second Monday in October as Coast Salish Day.

It appears that the possibility of an Ebola epidemic in this country jus’ might fit the Progressive movement’s plan to end this nation’s supposed colonial/imperialistic domination of the world. Could this be why the Obama administration refuses to close down air traffic between Africa and the U.S.?

After all, as USA Today reported April 1st, 2010, “The Obama administration has quietly scrapped plans to enact sweeping new federal quarantine regulations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention touted four years ago as critical to protecting Americans from dangerous diseases spread by travelers.”

Like they say: Never let a crisis go to waste – even if you have to manufacture it yourself.

The Whore in the Church Closet

It began the night before with Crystella standing in her usual Saturday evening spot, a street corner. She was hoping to earn enough to keep her pimp, Geoff happy, if not if would mean yet another beating.

“You lookin’ to party?” Crystella asked as the mini van rolled to a stop.

“Yeah,” shot back the male voice as Crystella stepped up to the side of the vehicle.

After more talk, she clamored into the passenger seat. The minivan then disappeared into the city lights.

Less than an hour later the same mini van pulled up to the street corner. That’s where Crystella got out without looking back as the van pulled away.

As she straightened her tube top, Geoff stepped from out of the shadows and grabbed her by the arm. Crystella knew better than to struggle as the man dragged her further down the nearby side alley.

He cuffed her across the face nearly knocking her down.

“Let’s see it, Bitch,” he demanded as she struggled to pull the cash from the small purse that once hung from her shoulder.

Geoff grabbed it from her as soon as he saw the money. He quickly counted what was in his hand.

“Where’s the rest of it?” he shouted as he slammed a first into her face.

The blow dropped the small framed woman to her hands and knees. Before Crystella could answer, Geoff kicked her in the ribs, sending a stab of pain through her body.

He stood over her as she tried to get back up on her knees. He continued to yell at her, demanding the money Crystella owed him.

In the distance came the sound of police sirens. As they grew closer, Geoff moved towards the alley way entrance to see how close they were.

Once he knew they were farther down the block, he turned his attention back to Crystella. However she was no longer on her hands and knees, neither she was jus making the corner at the far end of the ally.

He was already planning what he would do to her as he took off running after her.

By the time he reached the end of the alley way and raced around the corner, Crystella was now where in sight. Geoff continued rushing down the street towards a cluster of businesses on the corner ahead.

Crystella had found a hiding spot behind a low garden wall. She remained there curled in a fetal position under a wood deck, hidden by a large plastic garbage can.

For the next hour Geoff stomped his way back and forth looking for the woman. Crystella lay there another hour after hearing Geoff one final time.

Cold and stiff Crystella eventually decided to chance it and leave her hiding spot. She ventured up the stairs and tried the door knob.

It was locked; she stood still, wondering what next she should do before returning to the sidewalk. Crystella felt her heart leap into her mouth when she realized the darkened figure she was looking at was her pimp Geoff.

He recognized Crystella at about the same time she saw him. She turned and sprinted between the buildings as Geoff came rushing for her.

Then she saw a set of steps off to one side and having nowhere else to go, ran up to the door. It gave and she slipped inside slamming and locking Geoff outside the building.

Through the darkness, Crystella searched for a place to hide as Geoff continued to beat on the door. She rattled one door after another before finding one that was unlocked.

She huddled in the corner under what she believed to be table clothes hung up for storage, listening to Geoff pound at the door and call her vulgar names. Her fear of him refused to allow her to relax until after several hours of no longer hearing him.

Slowly the night-time melted away and small streams of light floated in from under the doorway. By this time, exhausted and hungry, Crystella had fallen asleep.

At first she thought she was dreaming as bit of song reached her brain. As she came more and more awake, Crystella recognized the music as a church hymn.

She struggled to get to her feet and feel along the wall next to the door frame for a light switch. The tiny uncovered bulb spread its brightness through out the small room where the choir stored their robes meant for special occasions.

Crystella laughed the thought, “A whore hanging out in church’s closet.”

Her thought was interrupted by the sound of a man’s voice. She sucked in her breath, fearful the voice she heard was that of Geoff’s.

But it wasn’t. Instead the tone was forceful yet comforting.

Crystella moved closer to the far door to listen. The man was talking about how everyone who enters the house of the Lord is welcomed.

She heard herself doubt what she figured was the pastors words. Still she couldn’t help but listen and feel that there was truth in what he was saying.

All too quickly the service came to an end and that’s when Crystella concluded she needed to leave the closet and find the front door of the church. No one seemed to notice as she slipped out the door and ducked behind a large curtain that emptied her onto the church floor.

Slowly she started towards the preacher, whom she could see was shaking hands and speaking to church goers. As she searched out to tap the pastor on the shoulder, she recognized the man he was speaking with as the ‘John’ she’d had sex with the night before in his minivan.

“Oh,” she thought, “it’s that kind of a church.”

Crystella stepped past the preacher and headed towards the double doors. She noticed some of the church goers looking strangely at her.

”Well what do you expect, dressed like a whore in church?” an internal voice exclaimed.

Not wanting to seem to be in a panic, Crystella calmly walked passed the gazing eyes and small whispering voices. She could hardly breathe as she pushed open the doors and stumbled out into the sunshine of a Sunday morning.

At the bottom of the steps she looked up only to see Geoff standing across the street from her. He had a menacing gaze in his eyes that caused her to tremble with fear.

That fear nearly caused her to scream when she felt someone touch her shoulder gently. Could Geoff have a henchman laying in wait for her to exit the church?

Crystella spun on her heel and jumped back. She came face to face with a woman who was holding the hand of a young child.
“I’m sorry,” the woman said, “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“It’s okay, I’m jus’ a little jumpy is all,” Crystella answered as she continued walk backwards.

“I’m Claire,” the woman offered, “I tried to stop and introduce myself to you when you came out of the closet, but you were too fast.”
“You saw me?” Crystella asked.

“Oh yes!” Claire, replied, “I see a lot of things people don’t realize.”

Crystella followed Claire’s glance across the street where Geoff was still standing. She was right — Claire’ saw more than Crystella realized she would.

“We want you to come to dinner at our home,” Claire stated.

Crystella shook her head from side to side, “No I can’t I can’t put you to the trouble.”

Claire smiled, “You’ll be no trouble. You can take a warm bath, I’ll get you some clean clothes and we’ll eat and have a nice chat.”

“Thank you, but…,” Crystella tried to refuse.

Claire cut her off mid sentence, “Besides, my husband knows how to handle trouble.”

Jus’ then the child screamed, “Daddy!”

He let go of his mother’s hand and dashed passed Crystella and into the waiting arms of a policeman. Claire moved towards him refusing to let go of Crystella’s elbow and kissed the man in the uniform.

“Crystella,” Claire started, “let me introduce you to my husband, Joe.”

As the two shook hands, Crystella glanced in Geoff’s direction. He was no longer anywhere to be seen and jus’ knowing that left her with a feeling of hope.

I Have to Put Harley Down Tomorrow

Harley
The news ain’t good. Harley, our Jack Russell mix has cancer and while he’s not in pain, tomorrow I will return to the vet clinic and have him put down. Oh, and he’s such a good dog too.

Yes, my heart is aching, though not fully broken yet. Ending the life of a family pet, however humanely, doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you’ve been through it.

Harley came to us as a puppy, somewhere between three and six-months old. I was getting gas in my truck when he fell from the back of another pick-up, hitting the asphalt so hard I figured him for dead.

The asshole driving the truck simply looked back and kept on driving. So I picked his little body up and placed it in the cab of my vehicle.

Much to my surprise, by the time I finished pumping my gas, he was awake and trying to hide under the passenger seat. Then he threw-up, that when I first took him to the vet.

After the doctor gave him a clean bill of health, I brought him home. That was eleven-years ago.

While he is a very intelligent dog, Harley has always been a little mentally screwed up  (from banging his head falling from the truck.). He sometimes forgets who we are and barks furiously at us and he’s scared of the washing machine so much that he runs and hides in the bathtub if the door is left open.

Harley has barked at his shadow and his reflection in the mirror at times. He’s managed to get both his head and leg stuck in our fencing and somehow got atop our shed.

Admittedly, I have grown closer to Harley than any dog I’ve previously been privileged to live with and know. After all, he is as fucked up as I am and I think that’s why we bonded so well.

Frankly, I will miss his happiness each morning, every time I come through the front door, and how he thinks he’s helping me get dressed by getting under foot. Jus’ the thought of his not being here makes me cry and snivel foolishly.

This evening, Mary, Kyle, Kay and I will gather to pet Harley lovingly, tell him how much we love him and assure him that he’s a ‘good boy.’ I know – it’s for us people and not really him – but it might make us feel better anyway.

Nine o’clock in the morning comes early – much too early for such a task. I jus’ hope and pray that when I die, Harley will be on the other side waiting.

Is it okay for a man to cry over the death of a dog?

UPDATE 10/09/2012: Harley passed away comfortably and quietly in my arms at 9:20 am today. He was a VERY good dog and an even better companion.

My Hillary Prediction

Generally, I don’t do predictions, especially regarding politics. But I have to go out on a limb — complete with a saw in hand.

Hillary Clinton is going to run for the presidency in 2016. I based this on the fact that Leon Panetta in his new book, “Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace” is criticizing President Obama’s administration.

After all, Panetta is a lapdog for the Clinton’s and the timing of the book is aimed at distancing Hillary from the Obama Administration. I think her 2016 campaign is gearing up to feed us the pabulum of “how great the Clinton era was for the U.S.”

I hope I’m wrong.

Iran’s Wish Fullfillment

When I went to bed one evening, the U.S. was going to bomb ISIS/ISIL, but by the next morning it was a group no one had heard of, that had been attacked. In essence the U.S. made a gift of the Khorasan to the Republic of Iran, in hopes they will help fight ISIS/ISIL.

As this was happening Iranian officials were in New York for negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program. Talks were dragging but following the bombing the negotiations suddenly improved.

And don’t be surprised if following the mid-term elections that the U.S. shares technology with Iran to help their nuclear program. After all a November 2013 agreement says, “The U.S. administration…will refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.”

After all, Israel remains a stumbling block to overcoming the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement and all part of a plan to “organize the Middle East.”

The Crossroad

America’s society is at a real crossroads. And I’m afraid the outcome is no longer in this generations hands.

In Hong Kong, people are risking their lives protesting against the Chinese Communist government which wants the final say over who can run for elected office. Meanwhile in Denver, Colorado, high school students are walking out of class after being ‘forced’ to take a history course that teaches ‘conservatism.’

Remembering Paul Revere in Reno

Roger Hart, manager of the popular Reno casino showroom act, ‘Paul Revere and the Raiders,’ says Revere died Saturday, October 4th at his home in Garden Valley, Idaho, from cancer.

In July 2014, Revere posted on Facebook that he was dealing with some ailments. Despite doctors’ request that he take a break, Revere and his Raiders still booked shows well into 2015.

Born Paul Revere Dick, he became known as “the madman of rock and roll” for his colonial wardrobe and onstage persona. The group launched its career in 1963 with its biggest hit coming in 1971 with “Indian Reservation.”

My first recollection of that song was in 5th grade at Margaret Keating School. My classmates and I were doing somersaults on a mat in class while the song played over and over much to Mr. Escola’s dismay.

Seventeen years later I would meet Paul Revere and the Raiders during a radio event the station I worked for at the time was hosting. Life has funny little interconnections like that from time to time.

Paul Revere and the Raiders served as the house band for “Where the Action Is” and made appearances on TV’s ‘Batman’ starring Adam West, ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ ‘Happening ’68’ and ‘American Bandstand’. From the 1970s through the 90s Revere was a staple at the Harrah’s Reno cabaret.

In 1988, Paul Revere and Bill Medley (of Righteous Brothers fame,) opened ‘Kicks’ in Reno, Nevada in March following a $400,000 make-over inside the National Bowling Stadium at 300 N. Center. The club got it’s name after the band recorded a song by the same name, releasing it as a single in 1966.

According to Wikipedia, “Considered one of the earliest anti-drug pop songs, “Kicks” was composed and released during an era in which pro-hippie, pro-experimentation, and other counterculture themes were gaining popularity on U.S. FM radio stations.” In 2004, the Rolling Stone’s list of ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,’ ranked the song at number 400.

As for clubs décor, it included the rear end of a ’59 Edsel jutting out of a wall, a guitar signed by Chuck Berry hanging from the ceiling, 200 framed photographs of the Raiders in action and tabletops that were over-sized replicas of the group’s hit albums. There was also a black-tiled bar lined with gold singles, flanked by large TV monitors showing old snippets from the shows they appeared on.

In the back was the ‘Junk Rock Cafe,’ claiming they had the second best hamburger in town. The only dessert available was Revere’s personal favorite — Hostess Twinkies — at 25 cents by themselves or a buck-25 with a glass of ice-cold milk.

Paul Revere was 76 years old.

Life Lesson #7

Stop being scared to make a mistake.
Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.
Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.
You end up regretting the things you didn’t do far more than the things you did.

The Brilliance of Thomas Duncan

The guy who came to the U.S. with Ebola did it on purpose. After all, where is the best place in the world to get treatment for the disease?

Yeah, the U.S. — and all Thomas Duncan had to do was get here.

He helped a woman by transporting her to a hospital in Liberia, and when she couldn’t be admitted, he helped her get back home. She died later that night.

Once he learned this, he quit his job with ‘Big Brown,’ without notice and headed to the airport after packing up a few items of clothing. Once at the airport he ‘failed’ to honestly answer questions on a form about Ebola.

And because our government refuses to halt flights from West African countries, more people will figure this out and soon we will have a bunch of Ebola-carrying people in the U.S. Hopefully, our European neighbors will stop accepting flights, thus helping to shield the U.S. from a possible pandemic.

Things would suddenly change if a flight from Liberia landed in Washington D.C. with an Ebola-laden person aboard. After all you can still buy a $1,386 direct-flight ticket from Monrovia, Liberia, to our nation’s capitol — or pay as little as $554 if you don’t mind landing in New York City.

I know — I’m such a cynic anymore.

UPDATED 10/04/2014: A person with Ebola symptoms, who traveled to the U.S. from Nigeria, has been hospitalized at Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C.

Crescent City Stump Fire Leads to Barn Fire in 1958

Looking through several old newspaper clippings from an online data base, I happened upon a story from August 1958 about a couple of suspicious blazes in Crescent City, California. Unfortunately, the clipping fail to identify what paper the clipping are from or the exact date of the report.

“Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the possibility someone deliberately set fire to a large pile of stumps on Redwood Lane, the sparks from which ignited a barn filled with cattle and horses a short distance away. Fire Chief Lyle Griffin, whose men battled the blaze for five hours, said “the fire was definitely set.”

The first alarm was turned in by Mrs. Lloyd Noffinger, who first saw the stump fire near the drive-in at 1:30 p.m. One truck was dispatched to help extinguish the blaze, but more equipment had to be called out when Mrs. Noffinger reported C.L. Nichols’ barn ablaze more than one block away.

Griffin said firemen worked rapidly to lead the cattle and horses to safety and to halt the fire before it spread to bales of hay stored inside. Thousands of gallons of water were poured onto the burning stumps, which had been there for a number of years and were on the Huffman property on Redwood Lane.

Firemen finally returned from the blaze at 7 p.m. Griffin reported he checked the area again at 11 p.m. and that all seemed under control.”

NYC Mayor Implicated in Death of Staten Island Groundhog

“New York’s Staten Island Zoo attempted to cover up news that the groundhog accidentally dropped by Mayor Bill de Blasio during the 2014 Groundhog Day celebration died from internal injuries a week after the fall,” reports The New York Post.

News like this is so hard to take, not because of the death of a rodent, but because it is so ridiculous. But it does remind me of a joke I heard when I was kid:

A Redhead, a Brunette and a Blonde find themselves standing in front of the Pearly Gates with St. Peter. He tells them that before they can enter Heaven, they must tell him what Easter is about.

The Redhead says, “Easter is so we can have fun searching for eggs and eating candy.”

“Not even close,” says Peter.

The Brunette tells Peter, “It’s about the birth of Jesus.”

“Not quite,” he tells her.

Then the Blonde says, “It’s about Jesus’ crucifixion, the forgiveness of sins and how he was buried in a tomb with a huge stone in front of it.”

“That’s good,” says St. Peter.

“Now, the Jews roll the stone away each year and Jesus comes out,” she continued,  “if he sees his shadow, we have six more weeks of basketball.”

Answer the Question

The CDC’s website warns saliva, sweat, and mucus can transmit Ebola. However the agency’s head, Dr. Thomas Frieden seems unable to answer if sneezing can cause the disease to be passed between people.

Dr. Thomas Frieden: Well actually, Sanjay and I, if one of us had Ebola, the other would not be a contact right now. Because we’re not in contact. Just talking to someone is not a way to get infected. It’s not like the flu, not like the common cold. It requires direct physical contact.

CNN host Michaela Pereira: But if he sneezes on you, it’s a different story.

CNN’s Sanjay Gupta: I am within three feet of you. Wouldn’t I be considered a higher risk? My understanding reading your guidelines, sir, is that within three feet or direct contact — if I were to shake your hand, for example — would both qualify as being contact.

Frieden: We look at each situation individually and we assess it based on how sick the individual is and what the nature of the contact is. And certainly if you’re within 3 feet, that’s a situation we’d want to be concerned about. But in this case, where we haven’t hugged — we haven’t shaken hands — we have not had any contact that would allow either of our body fluids to be in contact with the other person.

Gupta: So, to Michaela’s point, the reason we talk about coughing and sneezing not being a concern — if you were to have coughed on me — you’re saying that would not be of concern?

Frieden: We would look at that situation very closely…

If it can be spread by a sneeze (or a cough,) than it’s technically airborne. Simply washing your hands won’t keep you or me safe should this becomes a pandemic.

My Employment and Education Advice to You

Whoever said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life,” is a liar, especially when it comes to education for what one loves. I cannot stress enough to you that your education has to be practical and not a love-affair.

Community college courses, vocational schools and on-the-job training are invaluable tools to keep you employed. I wish I had known this before I headed down the educational road I selected.

I have a doctorate in theology — the study of man’s relationship with God — and for all intent and purpose, it has done me no good at all as I cannot find work in my chosen career field of radio news.

Besides, terrestrial radio as we know it today will be obsolete within the next five to 15 years, replaced by the Internet and personal devices. So jus’ remember – whatever you decide to study, be of a practical mind about it.

Believe me, life is so much better when one is working – whether you love the job or not. And at the moment, I’ll take any job I can find.