Something Stinks in Oregon’s Malheur County

It’s odd how Bill and Hillary Clinton’s names pop up in the strangest places. This time in connection with the now-besieged Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Pulled directly from the BLM’s website:

“In September 2011, a representative from Oregon Energy, L.L.C. (formally Uranium One), met with local citizens, and county and state officials, to discuss the possibility of opening a uranium oxide (“yellowcake”) mine in southern Malheur County in (emphasis mine) southeastern Oregon. Oregon Energy is interested in developing a 17-Claim parcel of land known as the Aurora Project through an open pit mining method. Besides the mine, there would be a mill for processing. The claim area occupies about 450 acres and is also referred to as the “New U” uranium claims.

Now couple this April 23, 2015 headline in The New York Times, “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation amid Russian Uranium Deal,” and you have the making of a great conspiracy. In a nutshell, the Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation, Rosatom wanted to expand their operations into the U.S. and needed a way in.

So, in 2013, Rosatom acquired a Canadian company named Uranium One as part of a deal which involved multiple parties. This is the same Uranium One that is now known as Oregon Energy, LLC, according to the BLM’s website.

There is more to this story than meets the eye.

Page 209, Sentence Six

Recently, someone sent me a post on Facebook inviting me to pick up the book nearest me and thumb to page 209, then share the sixth sentence on the page. I followed the instructions verbatim.

The closest book was to the left of me; Glenn Beck’s top seller, “It is About Islam.” I’ve found this is not a book to be read before bed time.

As quick as a wink, I opened the paperback to the specified page and drew my pointer finger down the required number of sentences. I quietly closed the book and set it aside, deciding not to play along.

Instead, I simply sat there and pondered the single word my sentence provided: “Apocalypse.”

Exercising My Insomnia

Insomnia is a real son-of-a-bitch! I hate it when I get so tired I cannot sleep because it causes my mind to trigger and I fall into self-pity.

Honestly — this writing is nothing but an exercise in wasted time, meant only to help me clear my mind of the clutter which ails it. Being alone much of everyday gives one time to think and re-think, then eventually over-think everything.

Late night and early morning darkness doesn’t help either. Thus, I write whatever pops into my pea-brain.

A friend told me that ought to look to the future. Unfortunately this person has little to no idea that with nothing to look forward to, the past is all I have at present.

And time is running out on me. I have lost all avenues of escaping the hole I have found myself in as I struggle to hold on to what structure remains in my miserable life.

God knows how angry I am at the destruction on of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” My anger turns to fury when I encounter idiots that are a part of the destruction.

Being easily prepossessed towards melancholia as I am – I understand how loneliness and a lack of success have worn on me. I’m tired of acting as if everything in this effed up life of mine were okay.

Obviously, it isn’t or I would be asleep now and not worried about my present state of being. And worse yet, it pisses me off that when a fracture appears in my public façade and I mention it, I hear, “It’ll be okay,” or “It can’t be that bad.”

And all I can think is, “Oh yeah?! Wanna bet?! You’re life looks pretty damned great from where I’m standing – mine’s in the shitter and worse yet – I’m the toilet paper!”

The whole damned thing makes me wonder what I’ve done wrong. In the end, I know there is really nothing wrong – I’m jus’ exhausted from a lack of sleep and I feel like bitching.

Now that that is all out of my system, perhaps I can get some shut-eye.

Getting Identified

Perhaps everyone should get themselves arrested at least one in their lifetime, that way authorities will be certain to identify you should you be found dead alongside a random roadway.

Here’s a recent article out of Northern California:

“A body found in Southern Humboldt has still not been identified. Last Thursday, on Alderpoint Road near Dyerville Loop, a resident in the area walking their dog, discovered the body alongside the road.

No identification was found on the male victim and a fingerprint test was given. Unfortunately, no name has come up in the data base and law enforcement needs help in identifying the deceased.”

Yes, I know it is a sad story– but see how my mind works?

Strongest Suites

This is my ‘ego’ speaking – but I think a couple of my strongest suites when it come to writing are ‘headlines,’ and ‘conversations.’ Some times I come up with both and nowhere to use them.

For example, I came up with a headline that I doubt I will ever use: “The Politics of Stupid.” It can easily be applied to anything life, but after several months, nothing has come to mind where I could use it.

Then there is the case of coming up with random conversation – something that generally pops into my brain while I’m doing something else and it get stuck there until I can write it down. Many times these bits-and-pieces of conversation have nothing to do with nothing.

My most recent masterpiece spawned itself while I was taking a shower. Yeah, most folks sing in the shower – I talk to myself, sometimes in the third person.

“I’m chief among morons,” he said.

Puzzled, she looked at him and asked, “Why would you say that about yourself?”

“Because it’s true,” he answered with flatness in his voice.

She didn’t respond, knowing he was in another one of his moods.

But then there are also those times when I sit at the kitchen table, cup of coffee near by and stare at a blank page in my note-book, waiting for my muse to come and tap-dance across my forehead. That’s when I come up with some of the more interesting thoughts about myself and life in general.

“All my adult life I did every manly thing I could to make up for being an overly emotional child. Now look at me – I’m physically bankrupt,” or “The more skeletons we expose from our personal closet, the more we tend to create.”

These are the times when I think, “I’ve spent way too much time alone today.”

Animal Crackers

Mary brought home some Animal Crackers. Mind, you I hadn’t tasted one in a very long time, so I couldn’t wait to pop one into my mouth.

The little biscuits come in a bag now and no longer the rectangular box with the string handle. But that didn’t matter to me as I dug into them.

A hippo – that was the first animal out of the bag. But wait I thought, “Are my hands that much bigger since the last time I had one?”

Never mind, I tossed the cracker in my mouth and started chewing. Instead of the sweet delectable goo, I found myself with a mouthful of flat, sticky dough.

This wasn’t anything at all like my childhood memory.

Alas, like so many things from kid-hood, someone in the hope of making a better, healthier or profitable product had vanquished another small pleasure in life. Half-chewed, I pulled the paste from my mouth and offered it to our chow-hound Lab.

Even he turned his head away, not willing to sample the food he had been so heartily begging to be given. So I dropped it, along with the remaining bag of cookies in the garbage can.

Being a grown up shouldn’t have to be so disappointing.

Rain Showers of Success

Thank goodness for notebooks. My mind is a cluttered mess and if it weren’t for spiral notebooks, I’d really be jammed up in the thought department.

“I…I…I…,” is how I want to begin every sentence as I write. I don’t want to sound conceited – but at this hour of the morning I am being very single-minded.

Last night I went to bed very depressed. A friend of mine has moved forward with light speed into broadcasting, while I’ve languished over the past two years-plus without employment.

It is beyond my understanding how all this works. Some people find success or it finds them – while others like me seem to fail at every turn.

Then I have a friend, who out of her kindness reminded me that God has a plan for me. She instructed me to talk to God about this situation.

This pissed me off even further. I cannot for the life of me fathom why God wants me to sit on the sideline like this when he knows a man must work to be worthwhile to his family, society and himself.

It is my nature to see the rain clouds before it begins to pour. But once it starts pouring, I cannot help but notice that which is affecting me the most; the rain.

So far, in the last couple of years, all I have are rain showers when it comes to success.

Broken Diving Watch

In a junk drawer, I found my old diving watch from my service days. Odd how an inanimate object can make me feel so nostalgic.

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Damned thing’s broken, useless, has been for years. But I jus’ can’t seem to throw it out.

Reminds me of my younger, bolder days. Reminds me of the person I was and the person I want to be.

 

It reminds me that I’m out of my depth.

Its Fear Which Leads to Loss of Liberty

It is both interesting and sad to see people willingly giving up their civil liberties when they have done nothing wrong. For instance, a man, who was openly carrying a weapon in a Bridgeport, Connecticut restaurant and store, recorded a confrontation with police officers requesting his gun permit which he repeatedly refused to produce.

The site hosting the video asked if it were harassment by law enforcement. After watching it, I felt compelled to respond.

“The question comes down to ‘probable cause.’ What probable cause does the officer have to even ask such a question,” I wrote. “Did the permit holder do something that can be construed as illegal? If not, there is no ‘probable cause.’ Thus, this technically violated the 4th Amendment as to illegal search.”

Immediately someone chimed in, “It is like asking for your driver’s license…I don’t think it is harassment.”

I replied, “An officer can only ask you for your driver’s license if they have pulled you over for a suspected violation or if you are involved in an investigation and they need to verify who you are.”

“What about road side checks? Might want to brush up on your case law,” some one else posted in response to my comment.

Another commenter posted, “He didn’t ask to search him, no different than being asked for ID! Wake the hell up! It needs to be done!”

No, but they asked him to produce the permit under the color of authority. So the word ‘search’ in this case is, “An examination of a man’s house, premises or person, for the purpose of discovering proof of his guilt in relation to some crime or misdemeanor of which be is accused.”

It’s obvious that when it comes to protecting one’s civil liberty, many people are too fearful to stand up to authority. The idea of being detained/arrested is too much for them to handle.

As Benjamin Franklin stated, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

When Obama Mocks

“As we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands.” – President Obama, SOTUS, January 12, 2016.

So that we are very clear on this, it’s like when he mockingly said, “The 80s are calling and they want their policies back,” to Mitt Romney during the 2012 election cycle and a few months later Russian invaded Ukraine. And the day before Daesh (ISIS) claimed responsibility for killing 130 people in Paris, Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos the terror organization had been “contained.”

“From the start our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them,” he said, adding, “What we have not yet been able to do is to completely decapitate their command and control structures. We’ve made some progress in trying to reduce the flow of foreign fighters.”

He has made fun of those who’ve been against his position and policies from the very start of his presidency. Things like closing Guantanamo Bay, supporting the Arab Spring, continued relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that Islam is a religion of peace and claiming that a video started a riot in Benghazi which left four American’s dead.

“Here’s what happened. … You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character who — who made an extremely offensive video directed at — at Mohammed and Islam,” Obama told former show host David Letterman.

And as we’ve all learned as these last seven years have churned along — that when Obama mocks something – it is either going to or already has begun. Make no bones about it, World War III is underway.

The Pitfalls and Pratfalls of Roof Repair

Following the last snowstorm we experienced, Mary discovered a water stain on our ceiling in the living room. That night I went to bed with visions of handing over bags of cash to whatever construction company we hire to do the repairs.

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The following day, while waiting for return calls from the three leading roofing repair companies in the area, I decided to get up on a ladder to have a closer look at the stains. I positioned the ladder right behind our couch and started up.

Because we have a vaulted ceiling and I’m short, I used the step on the ladder that you’re not supposed to stand on. I only needed a few seconds to inspect the area, so I felt I’d be okay.

Wrong.

Our Pit Bull, Roxy, became curious, so she decided to place her 60-pound plus frame, paws first against the legs of the ladder to take a closer look with me. Her action caused the entire ladder to shake and before I could get down, it toppled over.

Realizing that I was falling, I concluded my best bet was to jump. With only milliseconds to react I had to decide where to jump.

If I had landed on the couch with my 200 pound body, I am certain I would have broken the frame. I also had to avoid our two foot stools, as I knew impacting them, would hurt more than help.

Unfortunately, my jump became an extremely uncoordinated affair. Instead of landing on my feet after a tuck and roll as hoped, I flopped onto my right side with a horrific thud.

At that moment, Roxy sprinted out the doggie-door to disappear into our backyard. Our Black lab followed her, concluding that if she was running; he’d best do so too.

Our Yorkie terrier jumped up from where ever she was sleeping and ran to the front door to bark at it, thinking someone had knocked. She is so deaf that all she felt were the vibrations and not the real sounds of the ladder and I falling over.

As for me, I laid there assessing whether I was still alive and if I were, what was now broken and how long I would have to lay there until Mary got home. It only took a couple of minutes to figure out I was neither dead nor broken.

A day later I find myself to be one hurting unit. My right shoulder is giving me so much of a fit that I’m typing this using jus’ my left hand because I don’t want to lift my right hand any higher than I have to.

And though my curiosity about the water spot’s on our ceiling still hasn’t been satisfied, I’m satisfied with paying bags of cash to whatever construction company we hire to do the repairs.

The Problem with ‘Free’ Toilet Paper

“What are you gonna do with all that?” I asked Mary.

“I’m taking it to Good Will,” she answered.

“No you’re not – we can use that!” I heard myself demand.

“Well, then here, do something with it,” she retorted.

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It was a large plastic bag of toilet paper that Mary’s sandwich shop had accidentally received in its latest shipment. The rolls, some 50 of them, are for restrooms that do not need ‘tubed dispensers,’ and not surprisingly the supply company didn’t want them back

By now I sure you’ve heard of tubeless toilet paper, the latest fade for those who are truly eco-conscious. However, these rolls don’t have enough opening in the middle to insert a regular cylinder on which to properly dispense the product next to the can.

In fact, the rolls Mary’s shop received have barely enough of a hole from side to side to insert a large grade-school pencil. And that’s why Mary was going to give the stuff away.

But she forgot how cheap I am from time to time, and that propensity to be ‘Scrooge McDuck’ popped out of my mouth before I had thought out the literal inconvenience of such derriere wipe. And not wanting her to know this, I set about stacking in under the sink in our front bathroom.

Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to find a simple – though highly ‘red-necked’ — way of solving my problem. As soon as I got the last roll put away, I rushed out to the garage and my tool box.

There I located a large flat-head screwdriver. Back inside the house, I raced to the bathroom and slipped the tool through one end of the roll and out the other.

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The upside is that with the problem solved and I’ve managed to cut our toilet paper budget in half for the time being! The downside: Only 49 more rolls to go.

Snake Charmer Pest Control

Rebecca was in the sun room, when Trevor heard her scream. He dashed from the back of the house to find his wife trembling from fright.

“What is it,” he asked.

Having caught her breath, she answered, “There’s a rattle snake out in the sun room.”

Relieved that it was something he could take care of, Trevor rushed to their garage and grabbed a shovel. He returned to the door leading into the sun room, when Rebecca stopped him.

“It might be scary to me,” she launched, “but you are not going to kill the poor thing!”

Frowning, Trevor asked, “So what the hell do you want me to do about it? Go talk to it and say nice snaky-snake, will you please leave our sun room and don’t scare Rebecca again?”

“Don’t be a smart-ass,” Rebecca scolded. “Call that pest company we keep seeing on TV.”

“You mean the one with the redheaded Irish gal?” Trevor wanted to know.

Rebecca shook her head, “Yeah, that one.”

Trevor pulled his smart phone from his back pocket and started thumbing through the apps until he found the one he wanted.

“‘Snake Charmer Pest Control,'” he demanded.

“I’m off to work,” Rebecca exclaimed giving Trevor a quick peck on the lips. “See you this evening!”

Trevor watched as she backed out of the driveway, waving. His mind quickly raced, “I could kill the damn thing now and she’d be none the wiser.”

Instead, he rethought the situation.

He had memorized the pest control company’s name because he thought the woman in the commercials was super attractive. The phone began to ring at the other end.

“Hello, Snake Charmer Pest Control, Fianna speakin’,” the breathy sound of a female Irish brogue answered.

‘Uh, hi,” Trevor started, surprised that the woman on the phone sounded remarkably similar to the woman on the commercials, “I have a snake in my sun room and need help getting it out.”

“Do ya know what kind of snake tis?” the woman asked.

“I think it’s a rattler,” he replied.

In return Fianna instructed him not to go near it as it could bite him and being very poisonous, it could make him sick or even kill him. Instead, she told Trevor, “Jus’ keep an eye on it, watch where it goes, don’t try to stop it and I’ll be there in less than half-an-hour.”

For the next 23 minutes, Trevor did exactly as instructed. He left his post only long enough to answer the door and invited Fianna inside.

She was a petite uniformed woman with a knockout body, beautiful blue eyes, dazzling white smile and flaming red hair. He invited her inside and directed her towards the sun room.

He could feel his pulse pick up as she gently slipped by him and into the sun room.

“Ah, how cute, he’s sunnin’ himself,” she quipped, adding, “Soakin’ up the sun helps their metabolism.”

Fianna turned and left the way she came. In less than two minutes she was back, carrying a long pole with a slight crook on one end, and a large plastic bucket with a lid.

Without a word she went to work. In no time at all Fianna had the snake in the bucket and the lid sealed.

“I’ll be right back,” she chimed as she headed out the door again.

Trevor couldn’t help but stand in the door way watching, feeling smitten with Fianna. She was so much prettier in person than on TV and she nice to boot.

She looked up and smiled at him from the back of her suburban. He looked away, slightly embarrassed but also turned on after she caught him and she winked at him.

Trevor didn’t know it at the moment, but he was trapped. She came bounding into the house and held out her hand.

Mesmerized, Trevor found himself leaning his head towards her, feeling her soft, warm skin against his face. It felt so natural, that he didn’t think twice as he drew closer, feeling her arm as it drew him into her.

Trevor kissed her shoulder, and then flicked his tongue wildly against the pale skin of her neck. The act frightened Trevor and he instantly recoiled in horror as he felt Fianna’s hand clamp down on him.

But it was too late, as Fianna coyly hissed at him, “Oh, silly man – you were too easy to read and now you be no longer harmin’ women’s hearts.”

In a matter of seconds, Trevor found himself locked inside a bucket, the lid tightly closed, containing the snake that he had become.

‘The Revenant’ and Jed Smith

The film, “The Revenant,” is an epic tale on a personal scale. It’s based on the true story of Hugh Glass, who while hunting beaver on the Missouri River is attacked by a bear, left for dead by fur trappers and finds the strength to crawl 200 miles in pursuit of his faithless friends.

It was 1971, when I first learned about this event. My mom and dad loaded up the station wagon with us kid’s and we drove to Brookings, Oregon and Red’s Drive-in to see the movie, “Man in the Wilderness,” starring Richard Harris as ‘Zachary Bass,’ and John Huston as ‘Captain Henry.’

But what few people know is that Hugh Glass’ story has a parallel to one of the most important explorers of Del Norte County, California’s history. Glass was not only a contemporary of Jedediah Smith, but the two were a part of the same expedition when each was brutally mauled by a Grizzly.

In 1822, Smith and Glass responded to an advertisement in the Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser placed by General William Henry Ashley, which called for 100 men as part of a fur-trading venture. Many other soon-to-be famous mountain men also joined, including James Beckwourth, Thomas Fitzpatrick, David Jackson, John Fitzgerald, William Sublette and Jim Bridger.

In August 1823, near the forks of the Grand River in present-day Perkins County, South Dakota, while scouting for game, Glass surprised a grizzly bear with two cubs. The bear charged, picked him up, and threw him to the ground.

Glass managed to kill the bear with help from his trapping partners, Fitzgerald and Bridger, but was left badly mauled and unconscious. Ashley, who was also with them, became convinced he would not survive his injuries.

He then asked the pair stay with Glass until he died, and then bury him. And as the rest of the party moved on, they began digging his grave.

They were interrupted by attacking Arikara, and grabbing Glass’s rifle, knife, and other equipment, ran for their lives. Both men later caught up with the party and incorrectly reported to Ashley that Glass had died.

Glass, however regained consciousness only to find himself abandoned, and without his rifle or equipment. By this time had festering wounds, a broken leg, and cuts on his back that exposed his fractured ribs.

Glass set his own leg; wrapped himself in the bear hide Bridger and Fitzgerald had placed over him as a shroud, and began crawling. He headed south toward the Cheyenne River, where he fashioned a crude raft and floated downstream to Fort Kiowa.

It took him six weeks.

During that time, he survived on wild berries and roots and was even able to drive two wolves away from a downed bison calf, and feast on the meat. Glass was eventually aided by friendly Indians who sewed a bear hide to his back to cover the exposed wounds and provided him with food and weapons.

After recovering, Glass set out again to find Fitzgerald and Bridger. He eventually traveled to Fort Henry on the Yellowstone River, but found it deserted.

A note indicated that the company had relocated to a new camp at the mouth of the Bighorn River. Arriving there, Glass found Bridger, forgave him and re-enlisted with Ashley’s company.

In early 1824, Glass, along with four others, were sent to find a new trapping route, by going up the Powder River, then across and down the Platte River to the bluffs. Near the junction with the Laramie River, they discovered a settlement of some 38 lodges.

Initially, they thought them to be Pawnees, but after going ashore they realized they were Arikara. The men quickly got in their boat and paddled for the far shore, with the ensuing chase ending with both parties landing at the same time.

Two of the men, Marsh and Dutton, escaped, however E. More and A. Chapman, were quickly overtaken and killed. That May, Dutton and Marsh reached Fort Atkinson, where they reported that Moore, Chapman and Glass were all dead.

Glass, though had managed to hide, laying low until after dark, where he slipped away, falling in with a party of Sioux, traveling to Fort Kiowa. From there he descended the river to Council Bluffs, where he was reunited with Dutton and More.

Glass later learned that Fitzgerald had joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Atkinson in present-day Nebraska. He traveled there, where Fitzgerald returned his rifle.

Glass was eventually killed by the Arikara along the Yellowstone River in the winter of 1833.

In the fall of the same year that Glass was mauled and left for dead, Smith and16 men traveled downriver to Fort Kiowa to make their way overland to the Rocky Mountains. While looking for the Crow tribe to obtain fresh horses and get westward directions, Smith was attacked by a grizzly bear.

By the time the attack ended, Smith’s ribs were broken and his scalp and ear were nearly ripped off. He had to convince his friend, Jim Clyman, to sew it back on while giving him directions.

For the rest of his life, Smith wore his hair long to cover the large scar that remained from his eyebrow to his ear. On May 18, 1828, Smith and his party entered what would eventually become Del Norte County, setting up camp along Klamath River.

Noah

Over the past three months I’ve been struggling in my prayer life. I haven’t felt the presence of Holy Spirit in a very long time and I am not used to this.

Rather then dwell on it; I’ve redoubled my efforts by praying every opportunity I get. Furthermore, I returned to taking daily walks around the neighborhood, to not only get some fresh air and exercise, but to allow myself time to think.

For me, thinking is a form of prayer – depending on what I might be in thought over. I generally don’t have a specific subject in mind, instead I simply let go and mull over whatever randomly pops into my noggin.

During a recent walk I was summing up the human condition, “People have been stupid since before Noah hung up his hammer to become a sailor — and I’m no different.”

As I finished the thought, I noticed a woman walking a dog on one of those long-lead training leashes. Upon seeing me, the dog ran half way into the street trying to get over to where I was walking.

“Noah!” she shouted at the dog, “Get back here!”

My heart skipped a beat at the realization that God had to be listening to me. I couldn’t help but look up and quip, “Out of everything I’ve said — that’s what you decide to respond to?”

It’s also hard not to notice that ‘dog’ spelled backwards is ‘god.’ Sometimes I find His sense of humor more than a little dry.

Mr. Jones, Hero

Jonesy stood across the street, in the shadow of a doorway. The 22-year-old had been there for a couple of hours, casing the liquor store, waiting for street to grow empty.

It wasn’t like this was the first time he’d knocked off a place for money. Less than 10-hours before, Jonesy had held-up a gas station in Vernal, Utah, locking the old man in the supply closet, grabbing 30 bucks and stealing his truck.

That’s how he came to be in Reno, Nevada, planning yet another robbery. This time, the mom and pop liquor store, which he now stood across the street from.

“Odd,” he thought, “I don’t seem to be scared to do this shit anymore.”

Jonesy reflected back on the one time in his life that he’d been really scared, so scared he was nearly paralyzed – uncertain if the Gooks would kill him first or if the weather would. It was also the only time in his adult life that he prayed to God for mercy.

It was also the first time he’d ever been outside the United States, and he found himself in what he believed to be a god-forsaken country, fighting jus’ to survive. Chosin wasn’t even on most maps and yet he and his Marine buddies were trapped there, freezing and dying.

When the order came to move out, Jonesy recalled being relieved, “At least we’re gonna do something besides sit on our asses and die without a fight.”

The 78 mile trek from the reservoir to Hungnam left a lot of men dead, and those who had survived, emotionally damaged. That was nearly six-years ago and Jonesy still couldn’t get over the nightmares that terrorized him when he fell asleep.

He looked at his watch. Jonesy had it all planned out: hit the store, locked the woman behind the counter in a back room, grab the money and maybe a bottle of booze and then rush to the Mapes Hotel down the street, buy a ticket to San Francisco and hop the Greyhound jus’ as it pulls out of town.

Stepping out onto the sidewalk, Jonesy felt for the .45 in his waist band. He knew it was there, but it helped reassure him that nothing would go wrong with his planned heist.

The pistol was a hold over from his time in Korea. In fact, besides the boots he was wearing, the old rattle-trap was the only thing he’d managed to hang onto from that awful period in his life.

Up until that time, he’d never killed a man. But after wards, he could never say that again.

The pistol played a crucial role in keeping him and five of his buddies’ alive one night.

It began with the Skipper getting killed by a sniper. The ‘old man’ as they liked to call him never heard the rifle report or felt the piece of lead that slammed into his forehead.

He was dead before he hit the icy ground.

Jonesy was the first to react, grabbing the Colt from the dead man’s hand and firing into the rushing Chi-com’s as they tried to over run their position. Nine shots, nine dead Chink’s within a matter of seconds.

By that time, other Jarhead’s had begun blasting away into the darkness, ending the sneak attack that had killed the young officer lying at Jonesy’s feet. It wouldn’t be the last charge of the night – nor would those nine dead Slant-eye’s be the last Jonesy would send to hell during the fight.

Jonesy was a natural with the .45 and with the Gunny’s blessing, he kept the pistol even after shipping back state-side. Reassurance, that’s what the gun meant to him then and it meant the same now.

He crossed the street, pausing to look up and down the sidewalk. Jonesy saw only one man and the fellow was walking towards him at a fast clip and this concerned the Marine-turned-criminal.

“Something’s wrong,” Jonesy mumbled, as he watched the lone figure dart into the liquor store ahead of him.

Jonesy slipped the pistol from his waist band and thumbed the hammer back. He knew at the first sound of gun fire, that his plan had gone to hell in a heartbeat.

Suddenly, the door swung open, the little bell attached to door frame above it, ringing violently and Jonesy found himself standing face-to-face with a man pointing a revolver at him. Instinct kicked in and Jonesy leveled his .45 at the guy.

Flames erupted from both weapons simultaneously. He tried to side step the muzzle blast but instead Jonesy found himself falling backward as if in slow motion.

He dropped hard onto the sidewalk, the force seeming as if he’d been struck by a baseball bat. Still in combat-mode, Jonesy raised his pistol and fired three quick rounds into the man who was still holding the gun as if he planned to shoot again.

The bullets smashed into the man’s chest and he stepped back against the brick wall before slowly sliding sideways and down to the sidewalk. He was dead, staring off into the great void that only those passing from the living world would ever know.

A searing pain burned through Jonesy’s entire body as he lay against the cool concrete. He brushed his hand over his stomach, finding a hole jus’ below his navel.

Jonesy knew then that he was going to miss the 9:45 to Frisco. And for only the second time in his adult life he prayed to God, this time for grace.

“How long have I been here?” he choked out the words to the nurse as she hovered beside him.

“Four days,” she smiled as she offered him a sip of water.

“Where am I?” Jonesy asked.

The nurse smiled kindly, “You’re in the hospital. You were shot and you lost a lot of blood.”

The memory came to him like a jolt. He looked around the room puzzled, wondering why there were no cops around, but instead the room was filled with floral arrangements.

He waved a hand in a half-circular movement and asked, “What’s all this?”

“Flowers from well-wishers,” she responded.

“I…don’t…I don’t’ understand,” Jonesy replied.

“The man you who shot you,” she explained, “and whom you shot and killed – he was a very bad man – a baby-killer even. You’re a hero, Mr. Jones.”

She quickly fluffed the pillows under his head and shoulders, and stated, “I’ll be back. I need to let someone know that you’re awake.”

Sometime later a man wearing a stained trench-style coat, a weather-beaten fedora and smelling of stale cigars and strong coffee entered the room. Right away, Jonesy knew he was a police detective.

The man identified himself and explained what had happened and how it had been touch-and-go with Jonesy, but the doc’s were able to keep him alive. He also explained how the man that shot him had killed an entire family jus’ over the hill in California.

“You’re a hero, a genuine hero, Mr. Jones,” the cop stated. “We ran your background, a decorated war vet and now this.”

“But…” Jonesy started, “You don’t understand…”

“Ain’t nothing to understand,” the cop interrupted. “You killed a murderer right after he robbed that liquor store and shot Mrs. Pavlovich to death in cold blood.”

Jonesy shook his head, “No – you don’t get it. I was planning to knock that store off myself. I’m a crook!”

The ex-flat-foot didn’t look the least surprised, “Not today, you’re not.”

Jonesy looked up at him, confused and speechless.

The cop chuckled, “Enjoy it while you can,” adding, “You’ve earned it,” as he slipped out of the hospital room.

Harry Reid Wants to Retire With ‘Slush Fund’

Senator Harry Reid wants the Federal Election Commission to create an exemption allowing him to spend $600,000 in unspent campaign and PAC funds on personal matters as he retires from office. The FEC deferred action on the request.

Reid also wants to hire a full-time assistant to help in this effort. Part of the assistant’s duties would be to “schedule and organize appearances in which Senator Reid will discuss his tenure in office…”

Democrat commissioner Ann Ravel defended the request during the open meeting, stating the use of the funds in such a way would be the “appropriate mechanism for a person who will continue to be doing a public service as a historic figure in our country, to achieve purposes that are important to the American public.”

Reid has been in trouble with the commission over the personal use of campaign funds in the past. In 2006, Reid used campaign funds to pay $3,300 in bonuses to the doorman and other support workers at his residence at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.

In March 2014 he agreed to reimburse $16,787 his campaign gave to his granddaughter Ryan Elisabeth Reid in 2013 for what was described as payments for “holiday gifts.” At the time, the federal disclosures showed the campaign paid another $14,481 to Reid’s granddaughter in 2012, bringing to $31,268 the total paid to her in 2012 and 2013 to purchase gifts for Reid’s support staff.

Transistor Radios and Ear-plugs

It was the only time that Judge Hopper called me by name. It surprised me as I didn’t even know the stogie-chewing old man knew who I was at the time.

“Tommy,” he shouted.

Shocked or not, I knew to answer him right away with a quick, “Yes, sir,” as I didn’t want it to get back to Mom that I was being rude.

“Come here, son,” he growled, “I got something here for you.”

Up the driveway I ran to the entrance of his garage. It was one of the few times I recall seeing it open.

He came shuffling out with a small red and white rectangular object in his hand and held it out for me to take. He frightened me, so I hesitated.

“You want it or not?’ he asked.

“Yes, sir – I do,” I respond though I still had no idea what it was he was giving me.

Taking it from him, he turned and shuffled back inside his garage, disappearing into its darkness.

“Thank you,” I called out to him as the garage door started down and he disappeared into his house.

Looking down, I quickly realized it was a transistor radio that he had given me; one of those people got for smoking cigarettes. This one read, “Marlboro,” and I was as pleased as punch as I turned it on and it worked.

Mom had an ear-plug for jus’ such a radio, but I had to get it on the Q.T., as I was more than certain that if she saw what it read, I would have to give it back. (Odd, since Mom had been smoking unfiltered Pall-Mall’s in the red pack since she was 12.)

Back then an ear-plug was what is now known as a ‘monaural earpiece,’ that fit inside the ear and came with a plastic-shrouded piece of wire that fit over the backside of the ear. Today, it’s known as an ear-bud and they are a thousand-times more comfortable.

So being sneaky, I took it to my room and tucked it under my pillow. Next, I rummaged through what we called the ‘junk drawer,’ until I found the ear-plug – and returned with it to my room.

That night I began my life-long ‘love affair’ with radio as I listened to one of the only two AM radio stations I could get on the little transistor radio. From then on throughout the rest of winter, every chance I got, I had the radio on and my ear-plug in.

Summer was no different, only I would take the little radio outside and listen to it without the ear-plug. Life was grand and I knew it.

Then it happened, I left it sitting on the back bumper of Dad’s truck and it disappeared, never to be seen again. But by then, the broadcasting-bug had hit me and I knew that I wanted to give it a try.

It’s also the only time I’ve owned anything that advertises a tobacco product.

Goodbye 2015

New beginnings, fresh starts, reaffirmation of love and promises for a brighter future all come to mind as we ring in a New Year. There are the superficial, yet purposeful, promises we make to ourselves.

We resolve to get in shape, lose weight, improve career paths, and the like. Then, there are the heartfelt promises we make to others, whether aloud or in our minds.

We want to care more, express love more, reverse bad feelings in old relationships or seek out new loving relationships. We try our very best to put these desires into words.

The year 2016 is like a blank page, and the pen is in your hand. It is your chance to write a beautiful story for yourself.

With a heart full of love and gratitude, I wish you a very Happy New Year.