The Other Door

Some of my better prayers are asked and answered while I’m in the shower. It’s as if the echoing sound of the water rushing from the spray head acts as a masking agent for a soft voice that otherwise is a feeling and not heard.

This is where I was talking to God about a recurring dream event that includes the imagery of doors, both hidden and in the open. I have sought the Lord’s interpretation of this and if it has any real meaning.

“Father,” I asked stood under the water, “What is the meaning of ‘other door? Is it a new beginning, something I’m overlooking or does it mean absolutely nothing?”

As I asked this, I passed gas – a loud, long, sneaky squeaker that made me laugh so hard that I did it two more times involuntarily. Because I was laughing so hard, I breathed in a snoot-full of water, which caused me to gag and begin coughing.

My laughing fit, coupled to my coughing jag, was so intense that I dropped to my knees in the tub. That’s when I heard that quiet voice hidden within the soft patter falling from the shower nozzle whisper, “The back door?”

Laughing even harder, I cried out, “No, God – the other door – not the back door!”

Sometimes the answer we seek isn’t the answer we’re given and sometimes we learn that God has an unexpected sense of humor.

The Night Amos Moses put the Lime in the Coconut

Last night as I laid in bed and failed to go to sleep, I decided to listen to some music from my nearby device. My taste in music covers nearly every genre available, so many times I end up hearing strange combinations of songs falling back-to-back.

Megadeth  pounding in to the mellifluous Platters, anyone?

Case in point, Harry Nilsson’s “Put the Lime in the Coconut,” played and was followed by the song “Amos Moses,” by Jerry Reed. What is so meaningful to me about this is that this isn’t the first time these two songs have played one after the other in my life.

It was mid-summer, 1971 and the family was visiting my cousin’s at their cabin along the Mad River in Trinity County. My older cousin’s Gary and Steve and my younger brother Adam and I were still awake listening to KATA 1340 AM blasting out of Arcata as we lay in the upper loft of the barn, which had been converted to a sleeping area, when the two songs came on.

Since it was an AM station, the signal came in like a powerhouse after dark, while fading to nothing more than static during the day.

The four of us sang as much of each song as we knew at the top of our lungs, laughing and giggling all along the way. We ended up getting so loud that Uncle Adam had to come out and remind us that we were supposed to be going to sleep and not engaging in horseplay.

“Turn off that radio and good night, guys” he called up to us. Steve reached over and the music came to an abrupt end for that night.

And I as I listened to last strains of ‘Amos Moses,’ fade from my device, I couldn’t help but marvel at the knowledge that I would one day spin records for that same radio station in the 1980’s.

The Dent Beneath Your Nose

Sue Skaggs was one of our many babysitters when me and my siblings were young. In fact, I was one of the only teenagers that I know of that had to have a babysitter because it was hard to trust me to not get in trouble.

While she smoked cigarettes like a chimney, Mom and Dad could trust her to discipline us when we got in trouble. Furthermore, if we were too out of hand she’s call her son, Vestal to come a set us straight – which if I recall only happened once — which was enough.

As a youngster of ten or 11, I was a chatterbox, even though I stuttered. Because of this, I drove Mrs. Skaggs crazy because I rarely finished a sentence without her feeling the need to complete it for me.

And no, I didn’t think of this as rude because it happened all the time – so if it didn’t happen, like in Mrs. Clauson’s speech rehabilitation class I got terribly frustrated and would shutdown. She would tick me off so badly at times that I would refuse to talk for a couple of days – mostly weekends since I saw her every Friday afternoon.

Finally frustrated with my constant jabbering and broken speech, when I was 13, Mrs. Skaggs told me that the little ‘dent under your nose,’ was a reminder to be quiet. I remember reaching up to feel it and realizing I had really never paid much attention to it before.

This caused me to slowdown and think about what I was going to say before saying it and is probably the reason I still have what radio commentator Paul Harvey referred to as ‘pregnant pauses,’ in my speech. Thus, I have never forgotten what she told me.

Three years later, as I studied for my Emergency Medical Technicians certificate, I learned that little dent below the nose and above the lip had a name: the philtrum or medial cleft. Medical science claims it is a hold over from an earlier time and serves no real purpose now days.

Jump ahead 23-years, as I was studying for my degree in theology, I learned where Mrs. Skaggs got the idea that the philtrum was a reminder to be quiet. Like most informant passed along by word of mouth the story changed in the telling.

In Jewish mythology, each child has an Angel teaching them all the wisdom in the world while they are in the womb. Once shared, the Angel lightly touches the infant’s upper lip to keep the them from telling them to the world and that this is the cause of our medial cleft.

Personally, I like the idea of keeping a secret better than I like keeping quiet.

Up All Night

In recent days it was suggested that I write about my experiences in the radio broadcast industry. This isn’t the first time such an idea has come up as a few years ago it was recommended and I took it so seriously that I even developed a title for a possible book, “Up All Night.”

Sadly, the title is a play on words. First, I spent much of my career doing swings shift and overnights; secondly, my career was also filled with a lot of debauchery, that I can honestly say is of immense embarrassment now.

So, needless to say, this tome would be filled with tell-all-sex romps, wild nights drinking and stuff that would cause my grandmother to disown me. Happily, all of that is behind me and I shutter at the thought of revisiting that part of my past.

Suffice it to say, I have done things no one should do. It has left me open to become the blame for things I didn’t do, and somethings I knew were being done – and that is damage that at this point seems irreparable to my earthly reputation.

Throughout my career, I have seen people who acted exactly as I did get promoted (one woman works for ABC News these days,) to better positions that came with better pay and other perks. I even know a guy who stole an entire sound/production board for which I got the blame of taking and he continues to prosper, making money hand-over-fist.

Between programmers, consultants and managers I’ve seen some real stupidity. In one case a lid of marijuana was found between the cushions of a couch in the station lounge and the General Manager decided to deal with the ‘drug issue’ by getting rid of the couch.

Sadly, the business is tough on some people. I’ve watched addiction get the better of people who showed real talent while others have taken their lives due to the heartache of a perceived failure.

No, I don’t wanna write such a tell all as I have no ax to grind with anyone in the business and I figure there has to be a better way to make ‘my bones,’ than grinding other people’s bones to dust.

Have a Shoe

The story I’m about to tell happened today and a part of me wishes it had not happened. It takes me back to a saying I heard once, “To love the world is easy – it’s the jerk down the road that’s the problem”

When I first saw him, he was at the far door, asking anyone who came out if they had any spare change. This man was what one may consider an aggressive panhandler, as I could hear him trying to shame people as he followed them to their vehicles in the parking lot.

Praying to myself, I hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with him. But true to God’s nature, he tasked me with exactly that the instant I opened my mouth and asked for deliverance.

My sense of humor is nowhere close to God’s and his idea of deliverance is a far cry from mine.

“Gotta quarter?” the panhandler said in a loud voice.

“Sorry,” I answered, trying to match his volume in both speech and character. “I don’t have any cash on me.”

Undeterred, he continued, “But you jus’ bought something – so you gotta have some money.”

“No,” I shot back as I readied my key to get in my truck with the idea of a quick escape.

“You’re a liar,” the guy declared.

Caught off guard by such an accusation, I glared at him and replied, “Tell ya what, I’ll give you one of my shoes – but only one.”

“What the hell do I want with a shoe?” he asked with great incredulity. “That don’t make no sense.”

I smiled, though I felt more like knocking his teeth out of his head, and stated, “I don’t know. It makes as much sense as calling a man a liar when he really doesn’t have money.”

There was a long pause before I added, “Like most folks, I only have a debit card. That’s all I carry.”

Angry with me, he snarled, “Fuck you, then!” He stomped off leaving me alone to get in my truck.

While I don’t know if my treatment of the panhandler was right or wrong, in the end his reaction did remind me of Proverbs 9:8, “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.”

Del Norte County’s Black Dahlia Case

The name written on the cover page of this address book was Lucille Blair, 4981 N. Jersey, Portland, Oregon. It was that of an unknown woman whose badly decomposed and mutilated was was found north of Crescent City on March 1, 1957.

Ten-years earlier Elizabeth Short was found murdered, her naked body sliced in two pieces, earning her gruesome death the infamous moniker, “The Black Dahlia.” The 22-years old’s murder is one of the oldest cold-cases in Los Angeles’ history.

The Del Norte County victim, without hands or feet, and cut in two, was discovered clad only in lingerie by a 15-year-old boy. Coroner Norman Wier said the woman had been dead for about a month before being found.

Among other items found in the swampy undergrowth were a woman’s purse and shoes found near the spot where the unidentified brunette was discovered. Also found were a pair of glass frames with without the lenses, believed to have been worn by the woman.

Del Norte County Sheriff Deputy James Smallwood was assigned the task of tracing the serial number on the frames to a possible manufacturer. Meanwhile, Sheriff Harold E. Scott inspected the purse while deputy William Mooney looked through the address book which contained the names of five women and one man from Denver, Seattle, Portland, Stockton, and San Francisco who may have been friends of the dead woman.

Using the address book Scott left or Portland, Oregon to interview Rhoda Nolestine, who had befriended the victim during a bus ride. Scott took Mooney along and Crescent City school art teacher Robert Harper went to the Rose City to to investigate and draw composite picture of the dead woman from a description furnished by Nolestine.

Nolestine was the mother of Ella Collyer, one of the names listed in the address book. When originally questioned, Collyer could offer no explanation about how her name came to be in the dead woman’s booth.

Then she received a phone call from her mother. That’s when it was learned that Collyer had given her daughter’s name to the then unidentified woman because she wished to order a purse she admired that the daughter had made.

The new lead was expected to set off a chain reaction, revealing the dead woman’s movement prior to the bus ride, who her friends were, and eventually lead to a solution of her murder.

“This is really a good lead, “Mooney stated, “Because bus passengers usually talk a lot during a long trip we’re sure to get many tips which will help tremendously.”

Unfortunately, Nolestine, was unable to recall anything concrete during the five-hour bus ride she shared the dead woman. The 73-year-old was able provide a reason as to why her daughter’s name came to be in the dead woman’s address book.

“I told her my daughter made them and sold them for $2.50”, Nolestine told deputies who were at her Seaside, Oregon home. She added that the woman told her, “I’m going to Crescent City but I’ll be back in a few months. I should like to help her market them. I think she can get more than $2.50.”

She then gave the murder victim gave her daughter’s address. Collyer’s name was the only one in the book which had the correct address.

Even the address of Lucille Blair found in the book and on the Surf Hotel register, where she stayed the night of January 2, proved to be false. Both the hotel clerk and manager stated they remembered the woman.

The hotel manager, Douglas Hepburn told investigators that he was certain the woman who registered at the hotel and the dead woman were the same. Douglas said he remembered chatting with her at check-in, adding she didn’t go out or have any visitors while she stayed the one night in the hotel and had a small suitcase with her.

R. C. Erickson, who was the clerk on duty when the woman checked out about 1:30 the morning of January 3, described her as between 35 and 40 years old, a neat dresser, about five-foot seven-inches tall, and 140 pounds. He said she was wearing a dark skirt with a while high-necked blouse and a dark a gray short coat.

A dark gray short coat and dark skirt were found in the area a few days after her remains were discovered. The items were later identified by the Erickson as those the woman was wearing when he last saw her.

Attempting to trace the her movements after she checked out of the hotel, Erickson recalled she had breakfast and left for the Greyhound depot presumably to catch a bus.

“She did not say what her destination was, but about 7:30 she inquired if she had sufficient time to eat since she had to catch an early bus,” Erickson said.

A part of a bus ticket was found inside a purse believer o have belonged to Blair.

During a Grand Jury probe a year later, it was learned that an Arcata couple were also questioned. The couple, only identified as Mr. and Mrs. Harry Albright were asked about an old letter addressed to Harvey which had similar hand writing qualities as were as found in the address book.

It was later learned that letter was written seven-years before and that the woman who wrote it and was using the alias “Lucille Brown” not “Blair.” It remains a mystery how the letter ended up in the possession of the dead woman.

There was also evidence provided that showed the address book may not have belonged to the murder victim as the hand writing in a letter was written by the woman found to be alive elsewhere. Handwriting experts in Sacramento said there was a 98-percent chance both the address book and the letter were written by the same person.

Albright later alleged that during questioning, an attempt was made to pressure him into admitting he had more than “a passing knowledge of the murder.” He accused Arcata Police Chief Arthur Larson; William Bowen; a Del Norte Brand inspector and former deputy under Scott; Daniel Nations, a Crescent City policeman; and Colan Henninger, a former deputy under Scott of coercion.

No charges were brought against four men.

The Grand Jury’s investigation also uncovered the fact that the dismembered body at one point believed that of Yvonne Conley, the “sweetheart” of George Cole. This came after San Francisco Police tracked a Cole to the Del Norte area during the preliminary days of the murder investigation of SFPD Sgt. Joseph Lacey on December 18, 1956.

Authorities believed that Cole, who had grown up lived in Orick, California had killed Conley rather than risk having her divulge his whereabouts to detectives. Furthermore, investigators learned that the address book, which gave a fake San Francisco address, also provided a name that was “genuine.”

Cole was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List on February 25, 1957. He was eventually captured two years later in Des Moines, Iowa after some identified Conley from seeing a wanted poster.

Lucille Blair was born June 11, 1916 in Cowlitz County, Washington and is believed to have died around February 10, 1957. She was buried as “Jane Doe” by the county in the West Lawn of the IOOF Cemetery, Crescent City, Del Norte County, California.

Like Barbara Short’s murder, Lucille Blair’s murder has never been solved.

Puppy Stuffing

It was right after New Year’s Day, 1965. Warm temperatures, continuous rain showers and snow melt has washed much of the township of Klamath away before Christmas.

By the time Dad decided to take Mom, Adam and I down to where our little house sat behind the Three Seven’s and Tony’s Market, men with heavy equipment had already began clearing away the mud, the logs and the debris of home’s that washed down from the Klamath Glen.

“Don’t leave my sight,” Dad warned as I scampered over a pile of fractured cement walls and sidewalks.

At only four-and-a-half, nothing looked the same to me and I had no real idea where our house had once stood. All I could do was remember back to the day I saw the water rise up, lifting the two room building off it’s foundation.

It took Mom and Dad standing near a low-laying crumbled wall for me to understand that this was once where the house stood. Mom was carrying Adam as I ran around inside the square outline of our former home.

Soon my parent’s were walking around, picking items up, looking them over then tossing them aside. I had no idea what they were searching for, but I figured I help by looking too.

That’s how I came to find the white stuffed dog that had been on my bed when we left in such a hurry. The dog was a gift given to me by my God-parents when we were still in France.

Excited, I raced back to Mom and Dad, to show them. Caked with mud, still wet, it smelled like mildew.

Dad immediately directed me to get rid of it, “It’s no good.”

Perhaps it was my bitter crying that prompted Dad to change his mind. That evening Mom pulled all the batting out of the toy and put it in a bowl of hot water and soapy suds, letting it soak over night.

Over the next few days Mom worked on cleaning, repairing and eventually re-stuffing the dog with clean cotton batting Ma Sanders had come up with. Then one evening when Adam and I were getting ready for bed, I climbed up onto the feather mattress, pulled back the covers and found my stuffed dog already tucked in.

And though I no longer sleep with it as I did as a child, I still have it tucked in a wooden box where I know it’s safe.

Dancing the White Line

It was early afternoon when I parked my truck in a vacant spot below ‘C’ Street in Virginia City. Every other door was a saloon or a gaming house and five different bands or jukeboxes blared five different tunes into the street as I hiked up the hillside.

The rattle of the music superimposed itself on the clinking jackpots being paid out, the coins crashing to the open pan below the one-armed bandits, the tumult of voices in conversation, all punctuated by laughter. Early as it was, the historic mining town was alive.

As I rounded the corner, there stood a woman, a multicolored scarf wrapped and neatly tied around her shaven head. She stood near the street, looking up into the sky, traces of wetness shining on her pretty face.

Immediately, I though, “She looks out-of-place.”

Not wishing to ask the obvious, I avoided wanting to know if anything were wrong. Instead I heard myself, “Can I help you?

She turned and smiled weakly as she answered, “Not unless you have a cure for cancer.”

Initially I took the sarcastic comment as her way of saying, “Go away and leave me alone,” it was so biting. However something told me not to allow this stranger to drive me off.

“What kind of cancer?”

“Breast, again.”

“That’s harsh. I’m very sorry.”

She frowned at me, “Why are you sorry? You don’t even know me!”

“I’m sorry you have to go through the fight again, the treatment, the pain and everything that goes with it,” I came back.

“You been through it before?”

“No,” I answered, “But I work for a company that transports lots of sick people to and from the doctor and the hospital.”

There was a long silence that fell between us.

“You’re kind,” she said, finally breaking the conversational stalemate. Shyly, and not knowing how to take such a compliment, I smiled and looked down at my boots.

“You know,” she continued, “There are so many things I haven’t done and I’m afraid that time is running out. Sad part is I’m only 56.”

A quick calculation and I knew she was 11 years older than me. While her age was of no real consequence, my nature was such that I couldn’t help but do the math.

“So, what is it that you haven’t done?” I asked.

Her face instantly fell blank, “I don’t know. I jus’ know there is so much more to do and I might not get the chance to do any of it.”

The smile on my face left her curious, “What?” she asked, adding, “Oh god…I hope you’re not going to ask me to sleep with you or something.”

“No!” I exclaimed, “But I do want to know if you’ve ever danced in a busy street full of cars and trucks before?”


“Well, would you do me the honor?” I asked as I took her by the hand and gently pulled her into the street.

With all the different music blasting from the bar rooms and much of it fast paced, I held this sad stranger close to me as soon as we reached the white line that cut the town north from south. And there, we danced until both of us were laughing like silly teens and a Storey County sheriff deputy asked us to get out of the roadway.

About that time a woman, she identified as her younger sister, came walking down the wooden sidewalk, grimacing at the woman I had been close dancing with, “Daphne? What’s wrong with you? You know better than that!”

Daphne laughed, “Oh Sis, I am having the time of my life with a cowboy.”

“Have you drugged her or something?”

Daphne gave me no chance to respond, “No, he didn’t – I’m high on life!”

She then kissed me hard on the lips and walked to where her sister stood. I smiled and pulling my hat from head, bowed as low as my stomach would allow as Daphne curtsied, then walked away arm-in-arm with her still suspicious younger sister.

Goldfish in the Cow Trough

Uncle Adam took me with him, to visit his mom, whom we called Grandma Ivy. She was a remarkable woman, double-tough, double-kind and who lived to be 105 years old.

It was nearing the start of summer when Uncle Adam decided to replace the old cow trough, dented over its several years of use and abuse by the critters that called the few acres above Fortuna, home. The old metal tub finally started leaking due to rust and could no longer be ignored.

Uncle Adam had the new tank in place and filled with water in no time. At nine-years-old, I thought of this as an adventure, and one I was certain to write about in Mr. Kirby’s class the coming school year.

What I didn’t know is that the adventure was only half-way over.

As a family, we headed to Eureka to do all of our school clothes shopping for the year jus’ before school began. It always started as a day worth looking forward too, but ended in a struggle. Looking back, I think fatigue and hunger caused us kid’s to meltdown creating a meltdown in our folks.

Anyway, these trips to the ‘big city’ usually ended with a family gathering of all us cousins and my Aunt Barbara, Uncle Adam, Mom and Dad sitting around the dinner table at my Aunt and Uncle’s home. We also spent the night, heading back to Klamath sometime the next day.

Before we headed out, Uncle Adam asked me to come with him to the local feed store. He said he wanted to buy a bunch of goldfish for the new cow trough he had installed three months ago.

Being a jokester, I figured he was kidding. But after buying a dozen inch-long goldfish, we headed up the hill to Grandma Ivy’s place.

At that moment, I became gravely concerned for the fish, asking, “Won’t they freeze to death?”

Uncle Adam laughed and explained, “No. Those fish will – well a couple of them – will do okay.”

“But what about feeding them?” I asked.

“They’ll eat the algae that is growing in the tank,” he answered, “And they’ll be big as a small trout by next year. You’ll see.”

As school started, I continued to worry about those fish, but managed to eventually forget them as the year pressed on. In fact, I didn’t remember them until Uncle reminded me that following June, when he invited me to go take a look at them.

He was right. While the majority of the goldfish had died as a result of being eaten by birds or perhaps a raccoon, two had survived to grow to the size of eight to 10 inches in length – a small trout as he said.

It wasn’t until years later that, for better or worse, I learned this was a common practice among ranchers and farmers raising livestock.

What Really Happened to Margaret Keating’s Husband

It’s been one of those searches that has left me puzzled – until today. When I was a kid, my folks told me not to ask Margaret Keating about her husband William, telling me it was impolite and that, “Mrs. Keating still misses him dearly.”

That left me unable to find out what had happened to Mr. Keating. Further,  All I knew was that he had died in 1947, which left me assuming that perhaps he had been severely wounded during World War II and died of those injuries as a result.

This theory made the rounds over and over again in Klamath, California, back when I was a child and as far as I know, continues to this day. Well, that ends now as found I the following news item on page 14 in the ‘San Bernardino Sun,’ dated October 9, 1947:

“EUREKA, Oct. 8 (UP) — William Keating, 64, veteran Humboldt millman was killed today by a log which rolled from the mill landing at the Klamath cedar mill.”

With that information I learned he was born October 10, 1882 at Elk River in Humboldt County, California. By finding this out, I also learned Mrs. Keating’s real middle-name, Ella. I’d come to believe she didn’t have one as everything I’ve ever read about her listed her maiden name of Morrison in that place.

Ironically, in November 1947, the same paper reported the barbiturate overdose death and suicide of Dr. William E. Keating. The fact that the paper reported his age as 28 and that, “The young physician was vacationing at Alpine resort with his wife, Dorothy, when he disappeared,” told me this was not the Keating I’d been searching for all these years.

Mystery solved.

The Bar

Should you lower the bar for yourself,
you’re less likely to accomplish anything that matters;
when you lower it for others,
there’s little advantage in,
or advancement from,
beating the competition;
if you raise it for yourself,
accomplishments set you apart,
and failure is something to dread and,
to avoid,
and when you raise it for others,
the benefits of achievement are reserved for those who have,
or choose to develop, ability.
This is because there’s no premium on mediocrity,
except in the mind of the Progressive,
who knows that the unaccomplished,
the unchallenged are easier to manipulate and control.


Here I am once again, the eighth day in a row, staring at a blank computer screen battling with myself over what to write. I have concluded that I don’t want to write about politics or the Constitution, because I cannot deal with the massive disappointment I feel about the direction this nation continues to move due to the idiocy in Congress.

With that stated, I am kind of at a loss for material, as I am relatively uninspired at the moment. And then that isn’t even the case as I’ve a couple of fictional story idea ricocheting around in my personal think-tank, but have yet to mold a real story line for either.

Stuck. That’s a good word for what I am momentarily. Stuck.

Part of me wants to go off and find some sort of adventure to dabble in for a few days. Perhaps hike through one of the nearby valleys, climbing a remote mountain to see what lays beyond.

But two things stand in my way of this: my back and the weather. I don’t think I need to explain the problem with my back – but the weather does need some speechifying.

In Northern Nevada, we are in the yearly pattern where the sunshine that is flowing from the heaven’s can suddenly shift to a blizzard. And the further back one happens to be in this rougher country. the greater the danger of getting caught and having to hunker down for a couple of days.

Stuck. Again, it is a good word for such a situation. Stuck.

So with no inspiration and no adventure, I turn to writing a sort-of-confession about why I haven’t been writing for the last eight days. It’s very simple – I’m stuck for the moment and am nickle-and-diming about the computer keyboard trying to get turned around from a proverbial dead-end, better known to fellow scribblers as writers block.

But I prefer the more dramatic word — ‘stuck…’

Trevor the Red

While on my walk the other day, I heard a bunch of yelling and laughter along with what I believed to be the sound of a body being slammed against something. I continued walking toward the noises to find four larger boys picking on a smaller, red-haired, freckle-faces kid, who was taking the thrashing without putting up any fight.

As I walked up on this, I cleared my throat and asked, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” one of the boys doing the pushing and punching stated, adding, “We’re having fun, playing around.”

I looked at the kid being pushed and kicked and asked, “You having fun too?”

His eyes darted back and forth from the kids to me. I letting him off the hook by saying, “I didn’t think so.”

It was kind of stand-off for a few seconds before I spoke up: “Tell you what, instead of pushing, slapping, kicking and punching Red there – why don’t you pick on me?”

Surprise registered on their faces and they look around at each other.

“Besides, I’m about your size and I’m old to boot,” I smiled.

The taller boy bent down and picked up a rock, holding it as if he were going to use it. I could see a slight tremor in his arm as he kept it at the ready.

“So,” I asked, “Whose the leader here?”

The second tallest quickly pointed to the one kid who was about my size.

“Good to know,” I continued, “Because I’m going to ruin any chance of you playing a professional sport when I break your knee.”

Again, they looked at each other.

“And you, with the rock, when you hear his bones snap, you’ll run for home,” I stated as evenly as I could, “Then I’ll only have to contend with one of you – because one of you two will high-tail it to mommy and daddy’s too.”

I wagged my finger in a pointing-fashion at the two boys I was speaking about. The stand-off ended with name calling and me walking Red home.

Along the way he explained that his parents told him he was not to fight, “Besides, I’m afraid to get hurt.”

“And they weren’t hurting you when I stopped them?” I voiced. That’s when I took the opportunity to instruct him about how to handle bullies: “Wrap your arms around the leader and start kneeing him in the groin, punch him in the throat, stick your thumbs in his eyes — it’s a fight not a boxing match, so no ref’s going to blow a whistle and make you go to a neutral corner. Rules don’t count.”

“How do you know all this?” he asked.

“I was small once myself — still pretty short in fact,” I answered, smiling down at him.

“Oh, and you’re going to get hurt either way. Might as well make him hurt a little too,” I added as an after thought.

“You mean beat up?” the kid asked.

“That could happen, but he’ll think twice about picking on you again if you cause him some pain,” I explained, “Besides you know at least two of them really don’t have a heart to fight, so you won’t have to worry about them.”

As I told this too him, his mother pulled up along side of us and asked in a rather concerned voice, “What’s going on and who are you?”

Telling her my name, I let her know that her son is getting beat up on the way home from school and that I stopped it this time. She thanked me for helping her child.

“You know,” told her, “far be it from me to tell you how to raise this young man there, but telling him not to defend himself isn’t doing him justice.”

“You’re right,” she shot back angrily, “it really isn’t any of your business!”

“Okay,” I replied, turning to leave, adding “Oh and by the way, there’s a difference between fighting and defending one’s self. You ought to think about that before he gets seriously hurt. Take care of yourself, Red!”

Today as I walked the same path I saw the bully-leader without his three-pack. I laughed loud enough for him to hear as he crossed the road to avoid me.

As I rounded the corner, I ran into Red. He had a smile on his face from ear-to-ear.

“How’s it going, Red?” I asked.

Still beaming, “I did what you said. Knocked him down even made him cry.”

“Good for you,” I responded, “What’re your parents going to say?”

“Oh, I’m probably grounded for life,” he replied, “but I don’t care.”

“I’m happy for you,” I said, adding, “and I’m proud to know you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions. By the way, what’s your name?”

“Trevor,” he answered.

“Well, Trevor,” using his real name for the first time, “I christen thee ‘Trevor the Red.’”

We both laughed as he held his hand out for me to shake, which I gladly did. I’m expecting to hear from either him mom or dad or both one of these days as I stretch my legs, but I’m not worried as I did right by Red.

The Embarrassment of Going Hollywood

Initially, I wasn’t going to post this as I don’t want anyone thinking I’m starting to blog endlessly about my dreams and night-terrors. However this is a good study of how my mind and guilt work on me.

A day or so ago I made a rather crude comment to a my friend Ana Alcala de Jimenez. It didn’t occur to me that I was being ungentlemanly until I dropped my head on my pillow; where much of the days events pour out keeping me from sleeping.

The following day, I apologized telling her she ‘deserves better’ and should expect better from me.’ Ana kindly accepted my apology, for which I am thankful.

The lesson in this – aside from minding my manners – is that should have made my apology right there and then. It wasn’t all that late as I generally turn in around 8 p.m.

That night I went to sleep with my planned apology rolling around in my thought-maker. It was during this time that my conscience caught up with me and let me know what a fool I am at times.

It was out back of my grandparent’s home where my mind created an imaginary corral designed with breaking rough-stock; horses that are not saddle-broke. My job was to break at least three ponies a day and that’s what I set about doing.

As I was getting on the first bronc, I noticed Ana sitting on the upper railing near the stacking post. She was a girl again – maybe 14-years-old and she smiled and waved, happy to see me.

That when I decided to go ‘Hollywood,’ (which is cowboy-speak for pretending to be like John Wayne) ride the breast by jumping in the storm-deck and not my normal technique of gentling the animal by building it’s trust in me. You can pretty well tell where this tale is heading, as I hopped in the kack and leaned back for a harder-than-it-has-to-be-ride.

Since the cayuse was saddled, and I didn’t have a single foot in either stirrup, I got gob-smacked in the face with the right one as the fender found its center of gravity – which was the opposite of mine. The blow knocked me right out of the seat and I crashed the hard dirt surface.

Having landed hard like that, in my dream I couldn’t breath, but in life I jolted myself awake. I laid there for a long while thinking about that dream before I finally fell back asleep.

In the end I drew the conclusion that I don’t need to be a show-off to impress my friends, including Ana; I need to be true to myself and do, not only what is right, but what’s expected of me as well.

One last thing – happily I learned this my dream and not out on the ranch. I am pretty sure having a stirrup smash me in the side of the head like that would have left more than a mark by stoving-in my personal think-tank.

Stupidity is never a pretty sight.

Playstation Possessed

Kyle brought home a Sony Playstation he was given by friend. We immediately set it up on our TV stand and plugged it in.

Over the next few months I would walk into the living room and notice that it was on even though nobody had used in days. This became a common event leaving me to comment to my son, “The damned thing’s possessed.”

We both laughed as we decided on what movie to watch using the console.

Eventually Kyle tired of the piece of electronics and he decided to sell it to a ‘used game’ store. He helped pay for his first cell phone with the money received.

With the recent Wikileaks revelation that the CIA — using proprietary software design by Britain’s MI-5 — hacked into the manufacturing process of Samsung’s Smart TV technology, I’m wondering how far off the mark I really had been in 2013.

What’s in a Word?

Our founding fathers were considered Liberal in their day. During Teddy Roosevelt’s day Progressives commandeered the word, ‘liberal’ and dispossessed it of its meaning as defined by Noah Webster.

This is about the same time the federal government began its encroachment on education. Thus, generations of Americans have no true knowledge of its definition or the Constitutionally historic meaning of the term ‘liberal.’

Obama’s Trail of Wire Tapping

The fake-news media not only suffers from a short attention span, but from an ingrained lack of long-term memory, forgetting that much of what it disseminates is available at the click of a mouse. Sadly, they truly believe the American people, at least those who are awake and interested in the truth, have the same memory-lapse that the state-run propagandist incline towards.

Wikileaks recently released a list of Obama Administration wire taps. These include the U.S. National Security Agency bugging a private climate change strategy meeting between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin along with the bugging of the Chief of Staff of UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Obama singled out the Director of the Rules Division of the World Trade Organization (WTO,) Johann Human, and targeted his phone for long-term interception.  Then President Obama also stole sensitive Italian diplomatic cables detailing how Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to help patch up his relations with Obama, who was refusing to talk to Netanyahu.

Obama intercepted top EU and Japanese trade ministers discussing their secret strategy and red lines to stop the U.S. from coercing them during WTO talks. He targeted another five top EU economic officials for long-term interception, including their French, Austrian and Belgium phone numbers.

The former president targeted the phones of Italy’s ambassador to NATO and other top Italian officials for long-term interception.Furthermore, Obama intercepted details of a private meeting between then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel and Berluscon as they discussed problems with the Italian banking system.

Additionally, Obama wire tapped various individuals in the U.S. media that were reporting information not flattering to the Obama Administration. In 2013, the Justice Department investigated members of the Associated Press and Fox News’ James Rosen in particular after paranoid administration came to believe government officials and journalists were the passing classified information.

And a year later, reporter Sharyl Attkisson had her personal computer and CBS laptop hacked after she began filing stories about Benghazi that were unflattering to the Obama administration. She had her laptop checked, only to discover that the hacker had used spyware “proprietary to a government agency.”

Eight-years of  U.S. Constitutional violations needs exposing, so there is no time to rest.

Bad Choices

Bad choices are not always the one’s we make for ourselves. Sometimes another person’s bad choice has a direct effect on our lives.

How we deal with the outcome though is our decision. Exchange bad for bad and the cycle continues.

Exchange bad for good, and the cycle’s broken, leading to happier, healthier self. And yes, I really can be an ass at times, but I know I have company when it comes to this.

Some know it, others are simply fooling themselves.

Finishing Mary’s Nightmare

A couple of weekend’s ago Mary screamed in her sleep. After waking her up, I learned that she was having a nightmare about being attacked by a man while she was asleep.

“And your trying to wake me up by shaking me,” she added, “made the attack all the more real.”

I apologized and eventually, we both fell back to sleep. Since then, neither of us have spoken of her nightmare.

Then last early this morning, the nightmare continued – not for her – but for me. Mind you, I’ve never finished anyone’s dream or nightmare before, but as the saying goes: “There’s always a first for everything.”

While I don’t specifically recall pulling into the driveway or walking up to the door and entering our home, I am aware of that feeling, as I do remember walking down our hallway. As I approached our bedroom, I could not only hear Mary scream, I could see the large male figure on top of her.

My action was swift and violent, as I grabbed and jerked him off of her and through our large closet mirror. Amid the smashing sound of the glass, I saw Mary scramble across the bed to the other side of the room and dash for the exit.

That’s when the guy sprang out of the closet and slammed into me. He evidently had a knife which he used to slice into my right thigh.

My reaction, as I look back on it seems almost super-human as I didn’t respond to the pain and instead, hoisted him off his feet and slammed him several times into the corner of the closet, where the door had been. He slid to the floor and fell face down.

A quickly as he dropped, I began stomping on his head over and over until his cranium cracked open like an egg. It was at that second that I jumped awake, covered in sweat and panting as if I’d completed a sprint uphill.

As I lay in bed, recovering from this night-terror, I discovered my right thigh was aching. It is possible I had given myself a cramp in my struggle and it worked itself into the attack.

Where these sort of night-terrors come from, I wish I knew. Furthermore, the violence I show in them is frightening.

Getting Off My Butt

This is not at all what I had planned to write to day — but…

Having gone for a walk today – twice – gave me plenty of time to think, and yes, too over think as well. I awoke this morning to the realization that I need to do something about my weight-gain and sitting around wishing it away isn’t going to work.

There are three things I know about my body. My back is never going to get any better and I must do something to keep it from getting worse; I weigh 215 pounds, which for a short man is far too much weight to be lugging around; and if I don’t get moving, I could be signing my death warrant.

So it was in that spirit that I headed out the door for a walk. Before I did though, I had to set up my device to measure my performance. It failed the first time because I forgot to save the program, so I had to take the same route a second time.

While it was only slightly over a mile and a half, I had a lot of time to think. One of the thoughts that ran through my noggin is that since God hasn’t answered my prayers to heal my back, that isn’t in his plan.

Instead, He has shut that door, which means He’s opened a windowed somewhere. It is up to me to find it and crawl through it – that is if He doesn’t direct me to it first.

The questions are: will I be smart enough or attentive enough to recognize that open window when it appears? Or might it be right in front of me and I’m simply missing it. This is a work in progress.

It also ran through my brain about how fortunate I am to have grown up where and when I did. For all their humanly faults, my parents did a pretty good job of raising me – and any moral-misstep I’ve taken since leaving their household rests squarely on my shoulders.

It was some of this raising of mine that has put me at odds with others. For instance, I won’t rat on someone (unless they’ve physically harmed someone,) even at the expense of myself. I’ve even blown two possible job opportunities because I refuse to tell what was done to me and I figure that if that company can’t understand this principle, then I wouldn’t want to be employed with them in the long run anyway.

Yeah, yeah, I know — ‘cutting my nose off to spite my face’ doesn’t put bread on the table — yet there are some personal rules one must never let slide.

Further, as a child, I had neighbors and friends of my parents and adults unknown to either they or myself, who’d set me straight when I had been caught screwing up. Most folk, regardless of knowing a kid’s parent or not will corrected a child publicly these days for fear of reprisals.

One last thought I had bouncing around in my cranium this morning is that I’ve come into a new season in my life, a course correction, if you will. There is so much more to life than politics and I NEED to write about that more than I’ve been.

So, as I work my way back into blogging daily, expect to read a few pieces that seem out of place; they’re there for a reason. This is my two-pronged attack at re-energizing my self-discipline, a ‘internal muscle’ which has been too long dormant.

To Tell the Truth

A politician was running for the California State Assembly. His advisor said, “Look you’ve got to head for Sacramento now or you could lose a lot of votes. They’re telling lies about you there!”

“I’ve got to go to Del Norte County first or I could lose even more votes,” the politician replied.

“Why? What’s going on in Del Norte County?” the advisor asked.

“They’re telling the truth about me!” the politician answered.

Season Pass

The Department of the Navy is now assigning women to quarters in a separate private “OFF LIMITS” area on all aircraft carriers.

Addressing all boat personnel at Pearl Harbor, CINCPAC advised, “The female sleeping quarters will be “out-of-bounds” for all men.  Anyone caught breaking this rule will be fined $50 the first time.”

He continued, “Anyone caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $150. Being caught a third time will cost you a fine of $500 and time in the brig. Are there any questions?”

A Marine Gunnery Sergeant from the security detail inquired, “How much for a season pass?”

DOJ Busted Funding Progressive Groups

Slowly but surely, the tentacles that the Obama administration left coiled in place to continue squeezing and choking our nation to death are being undone. The latest finding is that the administration secretly guided over $440 million to activists organizations through the Department of Justice.

While legal, this is an immoral act on the part of the DOJ because the agency is supposed to be impartial. So, in essence the Obama administration found and exploited a loophole in the law to benefit its pet-projects.

By law, when banks are sued by the federal government for things like discrimination or opening fake accounts in order to gin up profitability they usually settle the case by donating to what is called a third-party non-victims program, which doesn’t specify how the monies collected are to be used.

Under this DOJ-approved program, the banks are then incentivized to donate to certain non-profits. For instance, for Fiscal Year 2016, Congress allocated $47 million to Housing and Urban Development. Under the DOJ’s guidance, Citibank and Bank of America kicked in another $30 million.

During the same time period, the federal agency, Legal Services Corporation, which funds and monitors free civil legal aid in the U.S., was allocated $385 million by Congress. It also received an additional $412 million through the DOJ’s skillful manipulations.

Some of the organizations to benefit from these ‘donations’ include the National Council of La Raza, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the National Urban League. And hopefully, it’ll all come to a halt.

Recently, Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia submitted the ‘Stop Settlements Slush Funds Act of 2017,’ or H.R. 522. The bill that would prohibit the DOJ from keeping any of the of money is collects and further, prevents federal agencies from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of settlement agreements.

A Primer on the U.S. President’s Job

“My job is not to represent the world; my job is to represent the will of the people.” – President Donald Trump

When I first heard what President Trump supposedly said about his job, I got angry knowing that he was wrong in his definition. However, like most everything else in the fake-news media, his statement was misquoted and thus, why I triple check nearly everything I read, write and share.

The job description of the U.S. President is enshrined in Article 2, sections 2 and 3 of the U.S. Constitution and consists of only 322 words. Though short, it covers five areas:

1. The president is the commander-in-chief of the military.

2. The president is responsible for ensuring that the laws passed by Congress are executed and enforced as written.

3. The president is allowed to grant pardons for crimes other than impeachment.

4. The president can make treaties, but only if two-thirds of the Senate agrees to the terms of that treaty.

5. The president can nominate ambassadors, supreme Court justices and other officers, such as cabinet secretaries and federal judges.

That’s all the president is allowed to do by law. However it is nice to hear a President finally place America ahead of the world as we haven’t heard such a BOLD statement from the executive branch in a long while.

The City of Sparks Goes to the Movies

Time and again government bodies, from federal to state to local, are willing to spend taxpayer monies by selecting which business deserves a cash infusion and which is going to be left to struggle alone. It is frustrating to say the least, as it rarely turns out to be a good thing.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we were told that there were some businesses that are too big to allow to fail; banks and automobile companies. The trend has had a trickle down effect in to the states including Nevada.

A few years ago Nevada decided to cut Tesla Motors a big tax break in order to lure it to the state. More recently Las Vegas has been working on the same deal attempting to drag the Raiders from Oakland, using taxpayers money.

A couple of days ago, Sparks, Nevada, announced it had done the same thing by offering up $1.5 million in room tax money (earmarked for capital improvements) to Galaxy Theaters in order for the billion dollar corporation to renovated a recently closed theater on Victorian Avenue. As part of the deal Sparks is going to pay a million bucks up front for the renovation itself and the remainder in $100-thousand increments over the next five years.

Galaxy says it’s going to spend $6.1 million of their own money on the project. The deal also involves a 10-year lease.

As a side-note, I reported on Spark’s redevelopment project for the Victorian Avenue corridor back in 2005. Back then the claim was that the attacks on 9/11 had cause a downturn in the economy and that had dashed the hopes of city leaders and all the grand plans they had in the works.

Take a stroll south along Victorian, from Pyramid to the interchange at Kietzke Lane and El Rancho Drive where the three streets come together at East Fourth Street. There are at least 15 businesses that could benefit from a healthy infusion of a $100-thousand – after all as local members of the community, that room tax money, which is paid by tourists when they rent a hotel/motel in Sparks, is as much their money as it is the anyone’s.

In reality, that money doesn’t belong to the city. It belongs to the people who live, work and make up the city as it’s lawful residents. That means Sparks is handing out money that doesn’t belong to them – hence – taxation is theft.

As stated before, it is very rarely that any governmental body or agency chooses a successful business and the City of Sparks has been and will continue to be no exception to this rule. Perhaps if they tried creating an atmosphere inviting to the free market system, they’d find success – but then how would our so-called city leaders enrich themselves?