Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Present Left Under the Tree

It was four days after Christmas and the present was still under the tree.  The question wasn't why it was there but rather what to do with it.  It's funny, I can still remember the shape of the package but I can't remember the color of it nor what was even in it.  It was there one day and gone the next.  I don't even know what happened to it.  I do know there was no joy in opening it nor watching someone open it.  The gift that I speak of was for my Grandma Clara who died on 12/20/1991, twenty years ago this past Christmas.  That present left under the tree is a grim reminder of how precious life is and how brutal  but necessary moving on is.  Merry Christmas Grandma, someday I will bring you a new present.--Your loving grandson

Monday, December 26, 2011

Occupy My Brain

Not too long ago, I had ask my facebook friends for some blog ideas.  The following is my attempt to blog about those ideas.

Death of Kim Jong-il (Kevin Fradelos)

The death of the North Korean leader occurred on December 17th, 2011.    He had received power after his father died in 1994.  Under his rule President Bush referred to North Korea as part of the Axis of Evil. Now power has been passed to his son Kim Jong-un.  I can't say that I know a lot about North Korea. I wish I did know more because our next war may be there. We have "fought" one war there before.  Rather than fight to win, we fought as peace-keepers.  A mistake we would repeat a couple of times.
Has or will Kim-il's death change anything?  I doubt it.  I'm sure he trained his son how to rule with terror, take away human rights and keep his people in poverty and hunger.  I pray our troops do not get sent to that hell hole.

Person of the Year (Kelly Beckett Ellis)

At first, I balked at this one.  I thought choosing one would be difficult and it was.  There was so many people I could choose and the one that I did choose won't be popular.  But it's my blog  and I don't care. 

I'm choosing Tim Tebow as my person of the year.  Before you start booing and throwing things at the screen let me explain.  1)Tim Tebow is proud of who he is.  He's is a Christian and not afraid of letting you know.  Some people find it off-putting.  I find it refreshing.  2)  He has answered every question asked of him.  He has smiled through every negative thing said about the way he plays football.  3)  I don't care if he is a NFL quarterback or not.  The kid is a helluva football player but even better person.
I know choosing a sports player as a "person of the year" seems kind of cheap.  I see Tim Tebow as someone who transcends sports.  Right or wrong, kids choose sports figures as role models.  Even as a die hard Raiders fan, I would hope my kids would choose Tim Tebow over someone like, oh I don't know, say Albert Pujols.

A Look back at 2011 (Brett Minor)

When I look back at 2011, I think about the different movements around the world.  Everyday Joes are tired of the same ole crap.  Voices are being heard and with cell phones, Internet and YouTube, they are being heard farther and faster than ever before.  I think it's great but we have to remember not to believe everything we see or hear.  There are always at least two sides to every story.  We have to gather information from all sides and make intelligent decisions on what to believe as fact or not.

***Bonus*** (Kelly Beckett Ellis)

It seems to me that battery companies could do a better job in using ohmic measurements to make batteries last longer.  Using the ohmic measurements while studing their effects on batteries while in different devices could help create more efficient batteries and in turn help make a greener Earth.  And that is my blog on my "Words With Friends" word "Ohmic".                   :-P

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Andy and the Holiday Dinner

Andy was the seventh born of eight children.  He lived at home with his mother and younger sister.  Holidays were very special to him, as all of his siblings would often come home to celebrate.  Since many of his siblings were quite older than him, he had nieces and nephews that were around his same age.  One year, Andy made the holiday dinner unforgettable.

It all started with his family coming together.  Each bringing their inclusion for the holiday dinner.  Hugs and kisses were exchanged and pictures were taken.  All made for a happy day.   That was until it was time to eat.  It was all there: ham, deviled eggs, baked beans, and an endless row of pies.  Andy's eyes couldn't believe and the delicious goodies that awaited his partaking.  And then it happened.

 The decision had been made.  The ADULTS would eat first.  Andy could not believe his ears.  He would have to wait until the adults finished before he could eat.  "No, no, no," Andy thought to himself. "This will not do."  He began to make his case of why the younger people should eat first but it fell upon deaf ears.  Soon his rebellion became a nuisance and the elders had heard enough.  A new decision was made.  No the "kids" would not eat first.  The "kids" would now have to wait outside until it was their turn to eat.  The "grown-ups" herded the younger ones like cattle and forced them out the back door, which was about four feet from the feast.  Andy couldn't believe it.  He was getting kicked out of his own house by people who didn't live there.

Andy peered though the glass of the back door.  He could see everyone filling their plates until their plate held mountains of food.  He started to knock on the door but knocks went unanswered.  He began to bang on the door but a few dirty looks were all that he received.  Andy resorted to pounding on the door.  One, two, three pounds were enough.  The third pound had finally gotten their attention.  The third pound  shattered the glass of the back door, covering the feast with pieces of all sizes.  Not one dish was spared from the fallout.  Silence and shock overtook the whole family.

The adults then blamed Andy for ruining the holiday dinner but Andy saw it as their fault.  They had ruined the day by turning the happiness into sadness by their greed.  Despite the disaster that sat before them, a new decision had to be made.  What were they going to eat now? 

An extra ham that had been left in the refrigerator was placed in the oven.  Andy was sent to the neighbor's house to ask for a loaf of bread.  Ham sandwiches and humble pie were all that was served that day as dish after dish of delicious food was thrown away.  Andy had indeed made this a unforgettable holiday and after a lot of thought, a new decision was made.  From now on, kids would eat first.

Based on a true story.  Thanks for everything, Dad. (aka Andy)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

F-Bombs and N-Words

"Cuss words just let 'em know, ------- ----, God ---- --- ---, Cuss word just don't quit ------- you ------ ------ -----,"  a verse from Too Short's  "Cuss words".  Sometimes I wonder if TV and radio execs think that we are so dumb that we can't figure out what word they just changed to protect us.  A lot of time, it's just plain silly what they change it to or edit out.  If the above song was played on the radio, there would be a lot of bleeps or a lot of silence.  Either way I would be very annoyed at that.  Sometimes they take it way too far.  Take for example this line from Green Day's "American Idiot" "maybe I'm the ------ America, I'm not part of a redneck agenda."  Uhhh the bleep or whatever they call the edit of silence, ruined the line.  What kind of America?  The line is  "maybe I'm the faggot America, I'm not part of a redneck agenda."  the word edited out isn't there to be a gay slur, it's there to prove a point.  If the executives did some research they would know that Green Day is very pro gay rights and even had Pansy Division, an openly gay punk band, be their opening act on several occasions.  Changing the lines is like putting a loin cloth over Michelangelo's "David".  You can cover it up, but you know it's there.

The other day.Me and my boy, Eron, were quoting lines form the movie "House Party"   It's probably the funniest movie made in the 1990's.  One line he mentioned from the TV edit is absolutely absurd.  It goes like this "I guess we would smell like sissies, to a bunch of jerks.'  Ughh.  The real line,... well you'll just have to watch the movie.  Anyway, back to the executives.  What purpose does it serve to change the line of a song or a movie?  Are they afraid that they are going to offend someone with a word like "asshole."  Really?  'Cause last time I checked we all have one.  Writing this, I had to check on "Carlin's 7 Dirty Words."  Yup, they're dirty all right and I pretty sure I have used them all at some point in my life.  So, yeah, you're not going to offend me by letting a shit or piss slip out.  By the way and off topic, but it is kind of funny when I watch Gordon Ramsey on BBC.  Almost everything that gets bleeped out here, plays over there.

I am an advocate for vocabulary.  I would like for people to be able to explain things to me without ----- this and ----- that.  How can one word used as a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb all in one sentence.  And yet, after all of the swearing I still don't know exactly what his or her problem is.  Use real words and try to sound intelligent.  It will get you much farther than a cussing fit that makes you look like a dumb inbred hick.

Now, on to radio edited Rap music. "Straight outta Compton, it's a crazy brother named Ice Cube From the stupid- dope gang with an attitude."  Ummmm.  No.  Come on fellas. Really?  Gansta rap was born from inner city anger and we get "stupid- dope gang with and attitude"?   It's actually "From the gang called Niggaz With Attitudes"  That is the name of the group.  Why are they protecting us for the harshness of their words?  Give it to me straight and let me choose how I'm going to do it.  Once again we are censoring an art form.  Yes, you may not like it and you can choose not to listen.  But give me that choice.

Writers and artist, you can help as well.  I wonder what Eminem was thinking when we wrote "Will Smith don't got to cuss in his raps to sell records,  well I do so ---- him and ---- you too."  Uh? Okay.  So, you have to cuss?  There are no other words to use ?  There is a dictionary of words that you can attempt to use.  How about a thesaurus?  You're going to dis someone because they choose to write a different way?  Come on Marshall, let's play nice.

The whole vocabulary issue can be blamed on the school system.  Our schools teach kids to do well on standardized test but don't teach kids how to think.  So they learn from what they hear on TV and music. Both of which will not give a poetic image of a woman's face glistening in the candle light, her eyes ever so soft, as her and her lover's lips gently come together, as knees buckle and tiny hairsrise on the back of their necks as hearts race from the passion felt between them .  Nope we get stripper poles and direct uninteresting body part slang words and what they are going to savagely do with those parts.
In summary, I have never heard someone use the word "fargin" in my life.  Don't treat me like an idiot and put in a TV edited movie.  I can read lips pretty well.   And awkward silences should be saved for ill timed words in open conversations with mixed parties.  Writers, use poetic words to provoke thought and images.  You don't have to be so blunt and vulgar.  With all of that said, a well placed cuss word can bring a good laugh but be smart about it. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Snooty Bitch

"Snooty Bitch" was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the words,"I don't read blogs."   Huh?  "I don't read blogs," what the hell does that mean? Yeah, I know she doesn't read blogs.  But why?  It's not the first time I have heard something of that nature. 

I guess for starters the word "Blog" isn't a very pretty word.  Sounds a lot like blah.  I know some of you are already thinking it, "Shane your's is a blah blah blah blahg."  Ha ha very funny.  Regardless, I do take my writing seriously.  Now where was I?  Oh yeah.  Blog.  I wonder who created the word.

If the aforementioned person was handed a magazine and she read an "article," would she be okay with that?  Blogs seem to get a bad name.  I suppose it's because there is really no definition of what a blog is.  There is a button at the top of this page that says "next blog."  Try clicking on it.  Be prepared.  There are some good blogs but there are some bad ones.  There are a lot of family blogs out there.  I can see why someone wouldn't want to read those unless you know the people.  There are a lot of Christian themed blogs as well.  I've found that some are uplifting while others are just downers.  I guess how good the blog is depends on the blogger. I find Brett Minor's blog very entertaining.  You can go to his blog by clicking on it on the left side of the page.  However, there are some that I find hard to read.  It's probably because I don't know the person.  If the first blog post of mine that you read was " The Return of Bitchy Shane" I could see why you might not want to read my blog again.   Who wants to read somebody bitch all time?  But as you know that's not what my blog is. 

In the end, blogs are hard to define but it is easier to say "this is my blog" rather that to say "these are my articles."   There are some talented people out there.  I suggest you seek them out and become a follower of their blog or start your own blog and make it how you want it.  Becoming a follower, shows the blogger that  you support what they are doing.  By the way, you can become a "friend of my brain" on left side of the page. 

And to the Snooty Bitch, don't be so snooty.  We bloggers are just writers looking for a home.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Middle Class: Pissed On or Pissed Off

I am writing this with the assumption that I am middle class.  I guess I really don't know.  The membership card hasn't arrived yet.  I am really tired of politics.  All you hear about is the rich and the poor.  The majority of us are in the middle.  If politics was a game of tennis, we would be the net, catching all the crap the other two hit. My wife and I work hard to provide for our family.  But lately I have been asking,"Why?"  It seems that people that don't work seem to get by better that me.  Free food, free health care, housing assistance, utility assistance, daycare assistance, school assistance, shall I go on...  and then they have more expensive cars, clothes, furniture, etc.  Am I jealous? No.  I'm happy with what I have but I'm tired of struggling. 

I hate it when I hear, "Well I'm going to get (fill in the blank) because it's free."  No, it's not free.  Someone has to pay for it.  Our system is so screwed up.  Our government keeps throwing money at taking care of some of it's citizens, while destroying others.  As the middle class shrinks, more hands will be held out looking to be filled and less hands will be doing the filling.  And then where will be?

I believe that there is a certain amount of government responsibility to its citizens, but there has to be a limit. With all of the different agencies, its no wonder people can "live off the government."  The government should help you when your down for a period of time not support you indefinitely.  Now there are special cases that I won't get into.  I am talking about able bodied citizens.

We need to combine all of these agencies under one roof, distribute more economically, and set more effective restrictions.  Cases of need should determined by the following: financial standing; including net worth, drug testing, and a government forced to balance it's budget.  Imagine getting one check and the government tells you, "Based on your household need, here is your help.  Spend it how you like, but remember, this is all you get.  Oh, don't forget, buying material things will increase your net worth and thus lower future government help." 

The rich have one thing right.  It's not their responsibility to support everyone else.  I have blogged about the rich before (Dollars and Sense).  What upsets me about the rich is that our government sets tax laws and the rich do everything they can to get around the tax laws.  It's all legal,  but as I said before: "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."   A new tax system needs to be created.  I am very much for a national sales tax.  You are taxed on what you buy.  It's fair and not class based.  If all of this could be accomplished, a "more perfect union" would be created.  I'm tired of being the tennis net.

To sum it all up:  I'm pissed off about being pissed on.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Disappearance of Megan Maloie--cont

Chapter 1 
Chapter 2

As Deputy Bain drove home he couldn't get this puzzle out of his head.  He was missing pieces and he knew it.  He pulled to the side of the road and reviewed his his notes.  "He got killed in a car wreck", Janie words about Megan's father "Seems kind of cold," Deputy Bain thought out loud to himself.  "Where is his name?", he questioned as he flipped through the notebook.  "I didn't get his name?  What is this amateur night?  He reached for his cell phone and called Janie.  "Janie, Deputy Bain here.  I am sorry to bother you but I didn't get Megan's father's name. "  After what seemed like an eternity, Janie voiced softly responded, " David Flannery. His name was David Flannery.  He died just south of Ottawa, Ontario."  Deputy Bain trying to show sympathy, "I'm sorry that I have to bring these things up.  Was there anything more that you would like to tell me about the accident?" Janie responding rather resentfully, "His wife died too."  There was more silence.  Janie sounding exhausted added, " There's more to Megan's birth but I'm tired.  Please come by tomorrow and I will tell you."  "Sure Ma'am," said Jerry "I will see you tomorrow. Goodnight."   Deputy Bain sat along side of the road for a moment.  Instead of driving home, he went back to his office to research the wreck that killed David Flannery.

The title read "Local Couple Killed in Fiery Crash".  The article went on say that for unknown reasons the car veered off the the highway and crashed into an embankment, bursting into flames killing David and Mary Beth Flannery instantly.  Further investigations could find no mechanical reasons for the sudden veering of the car. It was also ruled that the cause of the crash was not considered suicide.  "Well, no real help there," announced Jerry as he once again spoke to himself.  He was used to being alone.  His marriage didn't work out and lasted only 3 years.  He was devoted  to his job.  Rubbing his eyes, he got up and walked towards the empty cells.  He opened the door on the first and crawled into the cot.  He was very familiar with this cot as he had slept here many times.   Closing his eyes, he hoped tomorrow would bring him the piece of the puzzle that he needed to solve the mystery of  what had happened to Megan Maloie.   

The next morning Deputy Bain drove to Janie Maloie's house.  Upon entering Janie offered him coffee, which he gladly accepted. "Look," Janie started. "I know how it sounds but it wasn't like that at all.  Mary Beth was unable to conceive children.  I answered the ad that they had placed for a surrogate.  Out of 7 candidates, they chose me.  They paid $150,000 plus all expenses including an apartment behind their home to be in-vitroed with David's sperm.  I thought that since they were Canadian that I wouldn't see them after the birth and the I could use the money to go to school.  The one thing that I didn't expect was how close we all would become.  Anyway, the crash occurred during the seventh month.  After the funerals, I stayed in the apartment until a little after Megan's birth.  I moved in with a friend for about a year and then I moved here.  And before you asked; yes I kept the money."

Jerry sat and listened.  This wasn't the story that he had expected and he felt a little embarrassed as to his presumptions.  As he finished his coffee, he asked, "How did their families feel about the idea of surrogacy?"  Janie responded, "Both sides were overjoyed.  Especially David's mother.  She was a little overbearing.  I always got the felling that she thought less of Mary Beth because of her condition."  Deputy Bain leaned forward and ask, "What do you mean?"   Janie thought for a moment and then responded. " Well, I don't know.  It's kind of like she wanted David to have a child... like to carry on the bloodline or something.  I don't think she cared who the mother was and since it wasn't Mary Beth, she had no use for her."  "Interesting," Deputy Bain thought to himself.  "Janie thanks for your time," he said as he got up to leave.  As he reached the door, Janie said, "Please bring her home."  "I will." Jerry responded.  It was the fourth day.  He knew the trail was getting cold. The deputy went back to his office.  He wanted to review everything he had with Sheriff Wallace.  He wondered if he have enough pieces to solve the puzzle.

Chapter 3
to be continued

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Doggie Styles

I am sure the title of this blog can bring certain thoughts to mind such as: sexual positioning, maybe a new rap artist or even a salon or clothing line for canines.  But today, I'm talking about pets.

When most people hear me talk about animals, they think I am an animals hater.  I'm not. I actually love animals. When I was a kid I wanted to be a Veterinarian.  But due to my lack of interest in science, that dream quickly ended.   No, I don't hate animals but I have opinions regarding them that may confuse you. 

Here is a brief list.

Number 1: Animals belong outside
There are no clean pets.  Every pet makes some kind of mess:  Birds-gotta clean their cage and they throw seeds everywhere;  Fish-gotta clean their bowl or it stinks the joint up; Cats- two words "Litter Box" etc.  The  biggest problem with inside pets is that we allow them to get away with stuff that we don't allow our kids to get away with.  For example, when is the last time your kid peed on the couch, puked on the floor, chewed up a shoe and nothing was done to correct them but with our pets, all is forgiven.

Number 2:  Animals dont' love
People often treat their animals better than kids.  I have heard people say how terrible their kids are and turn around and say how wonderful their pet is.  Huh?  What makes a pet great?  He doesn't bark or bite; she licks your face; maybe shows you "love."  My take is that most animals are selfish.  The "love" they show is because they want something, like the Hamburger in my hand.  I'd wag my tail for you too if I was depending on you to get fed.  I do believe that they have a sense of wanting to belong and in turn don't like to be left alone.  I think people like the idea having control over animals.  They don't talk back, when you yell at them they cower down and they are happy to see you.  Kids? Eh. Not so much and that disappoints parents,

Number 3:  Animals are not a attire
No live animal should be used for fashion.

Number 4:  Animals die
How much money is spent on vet bills or insurance for pets.  I know sometimes they have to go and that's fine.  But to spend $6000 on a 12 year old dog because they have cancer is, to me, obscene.  Sorry.  I know Sparky is part of the family but that money could go along way for more important things in this life.  Sometimes it's as if we value animal life more than human life.

Number 5:  Other Bitches

Sharing animal custody- Please!!  Just go get another dog that looks just like the one you had, give him the same name and you'll never miss him.

Clothing for animals-  They have fur, or scales, or feathers.  Don't waste money on pet fashion.

Do not drive with animals on your person.  They can sit in the back seat.  It won't kill them but the wreck they might cause could as well as you and the other driver.

Do not bring them into public buildings.  If they can't stay in the car, then leave them at home.

Lastly, my yard, public parks and sidewalks are not public toilets.  Clean up after your pet.  Letting him out the front door to squat wherever he pleases is not acceptable civilized way of life.

I often hear about the over population of dogs and cats and that they have to be euthanized.  My thought has always been to send them to countries that eat these animals.  Most people are grossed out by that thought but what is the difference between eating a pig and a dog or a rabbit and a cat.  I have not eaten either one but if our society had accepted this cuisine long ago we might be saying "Mmm mmm taste like Cocker."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Taking a step back

I've had to take some time to rethink this blog.  I had some unexpected eyes checking up on it. Not that I really care but I still had to make sure there wasn't any "questionable" material.  I often get asked what my blog is about.  I find that this is not an easy question to answer.  If you are a regular reader, you know what I'm talking about.  I usually answer "Whatever's in my head."  That's about all I can answer. When I attend an event, some people will asked if I am going to blog about it.   I usually answer "I don't know," which is true.  I don't know what I am going to write until I sit down at the computer.  Other's have ask me how do I come up with topics.  Again, I don't know.  Anything I write: this blog; poetry; short stories; or novels, just come to me.  My brain creates it and I write it. I wish I could explain it better but that's just how it works.  I used to keep a pen and paper by the bed so that when I woke up in the middle of the night I could jot stuff down.  I have forgotten many a poem and now many a blog by not being better prepared.   Incidentally, I only have so much time to write and I usually use it to blog.  But last week I had a short story pop into my head and it took all of my free time to write.  Of course, if I could type better I could probably cut my time in half.  The title of the story was "The Book of Xi Su."  I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it but I'm am very proud of it.

I have some blog topics bouncing around in my head that I might get to some day but who knows what will be in my head next time I sit down.  As far as stepping back, I did it for about a week.  I thought about and going forward, nothing is going to change. "Inshanesbrain" will be same: thought provoking, story telling, and nostalgic with an occasional poem and maybe some short stories.  By the way, I am open to suggestions because I do struggle thinking up topics.  I also, want to take a moment and thank those who read this blog,  especially those who comment regularly:  Gretchen Morgan, Brett Minor, Kelly (Beckett) Ellis, Lela Bremen and Kevin Fradelos.   Comments really do help.  They let me know when the blog is good and when it's bad.  I do not delete any comments.  They are all there for anyone to read with one exception.  If someone comments "Your dumb" or "This is pointless" or anything like it, I will delete those. If someone puts those same comments and then explains why then I will leave it because it helps provoke thought. But to say that I am "dumb" doesn't add anything to the conversation and thus will be deleted.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

I had to take my son my for tests at the hospital this morning.  During that visit, I had flashbacks of a trip to the E.R. and the week long stay in the hospital that followed; that occurred when I was 15 years old.  These two events had a lot in common.  I will begin with my story.

It was November, 1988 and I was having some stomach pain.  I had incurred a similar pain only 6 months earlier but was deemed healthy and sent home.  Now the second occurrence was much worse.  I "walked" hunched over with both arms on my stomach with most of my weight pushed on to mother who was doing her best to keep me off of the ground.  We drove to the doctor office and after a short stay were sent to the hospital but only after a shot of some sort of pain killer.  By the time we had reached the hospital, which was only minutes away, the meds had taken over.  I was higher than helium filled kite.  I can remember the following through my drug induced haze:  they sat me in a wheel chair and wheeled me into a room, I hopped out of the chair and onto to the table like a king taking his throne, I don't know how long I slept but they then put me on a gurney/bed and wheeled me for x-rays. I can remember looking up and watching the ceiling lights pass. The bed was cold and the room was freezing.  The proceeding caused me to start shivering.  About 2 minutes or so into these shakes, my dad arrived.  Now, I couldn't imagine his shock and fear upon walking in on this until 14 years later when my second child was born.  (That story is for another day)  At some point I was taken to a regular hospital room that became my home for the next 5 days.  I don't know where my dad was at this point and maybe I have gotten things out of order but what was to occur next is forever ingrained in my head.  As I lie in my bed, I decided that I needed to go to the bathroom.  I was still under the influence so my mom helped me up and into the closet size restroom.  I took my seat and began the largest gas release known to man.  It started normally but then then quantity and intensity sky rocketed.  Loopy from the drugs, I began to giggle this only to help put more pressure my stomach, which led to even more release.  The aforementioned restroom had such great acoustics that it probably rivaled those of the Sidney Opera House.  I'm not quite sure how much my mom heard but she definitely got a show. I imagine it sounded something like 100 tubas playing "Three Cheers For The Red, White, and Blue."  Soon the giggles turned into a full laughter, causing even greater percussion.  Alas, the reserve emptied.  And that was that.  They could've let me go after that episode but they kept me around for days running test and scaring my family with words like "Crohns."  No diagnosis was ever given and I haven't has any issues since.

This morning, I had to wheel my "drugged" son through the hospital in a wheel chair.  When we were waiting, he was falling out of the chair and staring at lights.  Upon hearing a television, he perked up and attempted to turn his locked wheel chair around to watch.  We were then instructed to take him into an examination room.  The room was decorated for kids.  It was a scene from under the sea.  It had fish, octopi, and dolphins.  My son kept telling us that the vent had a camera in it.  So much so that I actually looked to see.  Then he started to reach for the fish on the wall.  After several failed attempts, he succeeded and proceed to pet the fish, while saying "good fish."  He then asked why there weren't any boats.  It was quite amusing but I resisted the urge to video it because I wouldn't want that done to me.  His test came out fine and his parents are relieved.

So,whether 1988 or 2011,  the hospital can be both scary and hilarious.      

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fear of a Black Planet

Happy birthday to the 7 Billionth person on this Earth.  No one seems to know when it was but apparently it has occurred.  I recently read the latest estimate is that this world will surpass 10 billion people by 2050.  What really concerns me is that nobody cares. 

10 billion people will be a bigger threat to the human race than any other force.  10 billion people to feed, water, shelter, doctor, and clothe.  10 billion people creating trash and human waste.  10 billion people needing to breathe. 10 billion people to bury. The world only has so many resources and 10 billion people will push those resources to the brink. 

Roughly, 75% of the Earth is water.  I don't know what percent is drinkable but 98% is salt water and we pollute our fresh water, so who really knows.  We continue clear cut our forests to make room for more people.  Those forests house many animals that are endangered and once they are gone they aren't coming back.  Look at our metro areas.  They continue to grow as urban sprawl eats away at our farm land. 
Water, food and oxygen are three MAJOR concerns.  We are going to need material for clothes and without farm land where will it come from.  Animals? No we already killed them all for food.  So now we have no animals to eat and our farm land is gone or used up.  This leads to 2 things: famine and war.

If we somehow manage to survive past those concerns, we still have our waste issue.  What are we going to do with our garbage?  And what are we going to do with our human waste?  We can't flush it out to sea because we may have to drink it. Yes, I know we have devices that can clean the water for consumption but not everyone has those.  This will lead to disease and death.  And without our forest, new medicines will be hard to find and create. Which leads to the last question.  What are we going to do with our dead? Cremation seems to be the answer but many believe that we should be buried and you need land for that.

I know that I have painted a very bleak future for our planet.  However, I don't think any of it is far fetched.

A barren Black Planet filled with polluted air and water is a very real possibility.  But if we start now, maybe just maybe we can save ourselves.   "Start what?" you say.   Okay I will name a few.

1)  Respectful and responsible reproduction
2)  Energy conservation
3)  Control Pollutants
4)  End Clearcutting

Many of you may think this sounds like a left wing agenda.  Okay, maybe it does.  BUT I'm not from the left wing.  My presidential voting record is Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, McCain.  I think it should be considered a human agenda.  We need to stop polarising issues and do what is right.  And if the people in office can't do that, then it is time for them to go.

The American Eagle flys because it has a left wing and a right wing.  But they work for the greater good of the whole body.  We should too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Hollowdays

Is there anyone who wants to celebrate holidays one at a time?  There are 3 "holidays" coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Maybe we should just call them Hallo-anks-mas because that is how our shopping centers treat them.  One aisle is Halloween the next is Christmas.  Poor Thanksgiving gets no love.  The other day at McDonalds my wife wanted a carmel apple sundae for the nice fall weather we were having,  Nope! Sorry. They have moved on to peppermint.  I guess they feel you gotta get in the
"Christmas Spirit."

I like Halloween.  It's fun to get creative, dress up, have kids trick-or-treat and go to Haunted Houses that don't dwell too much on gore.  So why do we want it to fly by so that we can move on to next obstacle to Christmas: Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving, the holiday thanking the natives that helped the illegal aliens keep from starving to death.  Only to have the aliens turn on the natives, kill most of them and take their land.  I remember Thanksgiving at my Grandma's.  We had such great food.  I would get to see all of my relatives that I rarely got to see.  There was football for the men and women hung out talking in the kitchen.   Now it seems that the Thanksgiving meal just gets in the way of the retail markdowns so after everyone eats they head off to worship in the house of their lord, Walmart.  As as kid I wrote a poem about Thanksgiving and finished in 3rd place.  If I wrote one today, It would be "We came, We ate, Then everyone left." 

Lastly, what happened to Christmas.  A member of the President's cabinet said he thought that Christmas was "too commercialized."  He was on President Lincoln's cabinet.  Geez, I wonder what he would think of today's.  We should just rename Christmas to "The Year End Push to Meet Company Profit Projections to Make the Stockholders Happy."  Try getting all of that on a greeting card.  Christmas is supposed to celebrate the birth of Christ but some reason he doesn't get any gifts.  When is the last time someone sold her hair to buy a pocket watch chain?  Yeah, right.  We buy what ever we want whenever we want so when Christmas comes around we have no need of anything.  So we will buy any piece of crap and pawn it of as a gift.  Some families have resorted to giving gift cards.  Ugh.  Gift cards are a great surprise for someone who isn't expecting them.  But just trading gift cards?  You might as well just swap cash.  What?  Not appropriate?  Neither is spending $500; $1000; $10,000 on your kids because it's the only way you know how to show them that you love them. 

So Happy Hollowdays to those who have ruined them.

And Happy Holidays to those who do it right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Disappearance of Megan Maloie--cont

In the days that followed, "Missing" posters were stapled to every telephone pole in town.  Megan's face was hung in every shop.  Janie had tried her best to stay out of the public, refusing every interview requests and TV appearance.  She opted to let Deputy Bain talk to the media.
 Deputy Jerry Bain had arrived on the seen first and had taken ownership of the case.  Most considered him the sheriff and he probably would have been if not for his loyalty to his 72 year old mentor Sheriff Leroy Wallace.  The deputy was bothered for an unknown reason.  Something just wasn't adding up but he didn't know what it was.
It didn't take long for the town to start looking at Janie as the main suspect.  Smithton was a small quiet town.  Janie and Megan had moved into their tiny house less than 18 months ago.  Janie had made sure they kept them themselves.  She had taken a job at a local antique shop that allowed her to bring Megan to work.  Not much was known about her.  Rumors and whispers began.  Most believed she had a dark secret that she wasn't telling.
Deputy Bain had asked about Megan's father.  Janie answered "He got killed in a car wreck."  And that was that, nothing else was ask or said about the father.  The truth was that Janie did have a deep dark secret but she had no idea that that secret may have been the cause of Megan's disappearance.

Chapter 2.
to be continued...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Island of Misfit

I would like to say that it didn't  bother me when someone claimed that my last post was "mindless rambling."  But it did for a brief moment.   Rambling? Yes, I've said that before.  This is how I write.  Mindless?  No.  Pointless? No.  I know not everyone if anyone is going to like what I write.  That's fine.  But I do have a mind and I do have a point.  Sometimes I think people get blinded by an opinion and can't see past that to find the point. Or, they create their own version of what was written by addding by assumption or maybe even consumption.

I have never been one to go with the crowd.  I march to my own beat.  I stand as President of my own Island of Misfit.  I'm cool with that.  I have my opinion on life and everything around me.  Too many people just go along with the status quo because it's much more easy.  Sometimes I wish I could do that.  But my mind questions everything.  Why this and why that? 

Some may be confused as to where I stand politically.  Well, I stand for equality.  I stand for common sense.  I hate greed.  I hate income tax and all of it's loop holes.  I don't hate the rich.  I don't hate the poor. 

This blog was created to make people think.  Everything we do affects someone or something. When I write I don't care who I offend.  I hope they take a second to see that I'm not insulting them.  I'm just stating how I see things.  And maybe I'm wrong.  But maybe I'm right.  If I can get one person to stop and think, then I was successful.  I know my opinions are not popular and I really don't care.

For instance, unfortunately what makes America great also drags us down.   Capitalism has led to greed.  Freedom of Speech has led to vulgarity and pornography.  A country born with the desire for freedom of religion has dismissed Christianity.  The rich get richer, the poor are still poor, and the middle class is almost extinct.  Not excactly the American Dream. 

We live in the greatest country in the world.  But we are not perfect.  I will continue to bark at anything that I see is unjust or unfair.  I will point out stupidity and hypocrisy.  I will continue to profess what I believe.

This is my Island and I start it with I.   

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dollars and Sense

If your stranded on a deserted island, what would you want to have with you?  I bet you would want a $100 million Van Gogh or a $18 million Faberge egg. No?  How about your $100,000 BMW? No? Hmmm.  Oh, I know, you would want your 45 pair of $200 Jordan's and your 30 inch $9,000 Asanti Rims.  No?  That's really odd because right now those items are what we place such high esteem and value on.

This blog has been in the making for sometime now.  Rarely do I take time to think out what I want to write, I just sit down and do it.  But, this one is different.  I want to make my point very clear. 

I once knew this guy who owned a BMW.  Yes, it was a nice car.  His comment about it has stuck with me for a long time.  He said, " Yeah, I could've bought two Fords for what I paid for this, but nothin' can beat the ride."  Now I know my brain works differently than most people's but if he could indeed have bought two Fords, then apparently he overpaid or chose the wrong car.  Had he bought a Ford (Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, etc.) he would have had more money in his pocket.  The Ford would have driven him to the same places, gotten there in the same amount of time, and most likely cost less to maintain.  This story came back into my mind about six weeks ago when I saw a guy driving a new very nice BMW and I have been in a strange mood ever since.

I've began to notice how much money we (everyone) waste.  The more money people have, the more they waste.  Take for instance, how many DVDs do you own?  50?  Did you own the VHS version, as well?  What about record albums, cassette tapes, cds, and now digital copies?  Would you like all that money back or do you think you've gotten your money's worth out of them.  All of that stuff is pretty petty but it does add up.

Who I'm really talking to/about are the rich.  Millions of dollars spent on collecting so called "priceless" artworks, buying ridiculous size yachts, owning countless cars and multiple homes.  Why?  Does your greed have no end?  Have you ever stopped to think what passing on that one new car and giving that money to someone in need could do?  I doubt it.  We are all so selfish.  We want what we want and no one or no thing will stop us.  What if, instead of a car you passed on the $100 million Van Gogh or Pollock and donated that money?  That money could be put to much better use like to help human kind and better this world.   No one has ever said, "Boy, I'm glad I bought those Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire homerun balls. They really saved my life!"  Nope, those balls are sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust and not making a difference to anyone.  (Going off topic for a bit)  Why is it that when it comes to raising money we have to auction off things? It's just more crap that we don't need.  But, our greedy nature won't let us donate the money. Nooooo.  We gotta get something for our buck.  Every year ESPN auctions off days with their TV personalities.  People pay $10,000+ to go hang out with them. Don't get me wrong, it's a great way (in our greedy world) to raise money.   If the person has $10,000 to give just to hang out, how much more could they really give.

You can look up who the richest people in world are.  You can also see the biggest donaters are.  I always laugh when the millionaire donates $5000 and gets a standing ovation but the chap who makes $35,000 a year donates $500 and gets no recognition at all.  Percentage-wise the lower mid classer donated a higher percentage but all we see is the top dollar sign.

Lately, I have seen commercials stating that "Gold is at it's all time high and we're buying!"  It makes me wonder when and why did gold become so valuable.  The Europeans' greed and lust for gold about wiped out entire populations of native people in this hemisphere.  What purpose does gold or silver serve?  Okay, they are shiny metals that make nice looking jewelry.  Does that mean we should kill each other so that we  can get all Bling Blinged or Iced up?  "Of course not , Shane.  Don't be silly."  Uh okay.  Without our greed and lust for our neighbors property, there wouldn't be things such as theft and murder.  Sound familiar? Yeah, it's in that black book covered in dust some where in your house.  It has the words "Holy Bible" on it.  It's a good read you should try it sometime.      

Boy that took a left turn, didn't it?

Anyway, speaking of Christ.  Christmas is coming up.  Nothing like celebrating the birth of God's Son, The Redeemer, the Bread of Life, The Alpha and the Omega, The Prince of Peace, than to trample, stomp and fight people over cheap TV's and Tickle Me Malibu Furbies.

Let's get back to my point.  The way we are living our lives, shows what we value most in this world.  Your buying your kids the most expensive clothes, cars, cell phones.....meanwhile the kids at the other end of the cafeteria table are eating their one and only meal of the day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Geminis under Gemini

I often hear people claim how much they would like to have twins.  Being a twin myself I always ask "Why?"  I'm always curious of what their reasoning is.  They have no idea of what being a twin is, nor do they care.  However, I usually inform them anyway.  Having a twin has it's good and it's bad.  The following blog is my life as a twin born under the Gemini stars.

First of all, let's get it out of the way.  NO, we do not have ESP!  We can not communicate telepathically.  Yes, I know you are laughing, but I have been ask that a million times.  I guess as babies we had our "twin talk." so I'm told.  We would jabber with one another.  We apparently knew what the other was saying but no one else could understand.  We look nothing alike, as we are fraternal. (that means we come from two different eggs) We were dressed alike quite often as infants.  I guess that's cute.   I hear people use that as a reason for wanting twins.  My thought on that is "okay, but their not baby dolls."  Twins are often given similar names, ours are Shawn and Shane.  I have no problem with that but I will have more on names later.

Growing up with a twin means someone is always there.  I think it may be little different with girls but with boys, your twin is your best friend and your worst enemy.  We would be playing together one minute and beating the crap out of each other the next.  You learn a lot from each other.  We had different interests but whatever those differences were the other had some interest in what the other was doing.

The worst part of being a twin is that people will treat you like one person.  People don't get your name right and when you correct them, they just laugh about it.  Cheap ass people will get you one gift an expect you to share it.  Yeah, right!  That's like expecting two lions to share one steak.  It ain't happening.  Now, back to names.  Shawn and Shane, Shane and Shawn.  Two different names for two different people.  "I can't tell them apart." is an excuse people have used for years.  Really?  Shawn was always about 3 inches taller than me and had brown hair.  I had blond for the first 8 years of my life.  I have a cleft in my chin and he doesn't.  And you can't tell us apart?  Bullshit!  People are just too lazy to even try.  Smart people will get twins alike gifts so they don't have to share one or fight over them.  I remember an instance in grade school, a kid was handing out sticks of gum to everyone and when it came to us he torn a piece in half for us to share.  What a dick! 

Another crappy part of being a twin is that people are always comparing you to one another.  Grades, sports, height, weight, attitude, looks, ... the lists goes on and on.  My thought on that is "DON'T do it!"  It's hard enough to find your own identity in this world with out all of this other crap.  Just congratulate each individual on their respective accomplishments.  We are each our own person.  We are good at different things.  I am never compared to my older sister.  Why compare me to my other sibling?

The good part of being  twin is there is always someone to play with, talk to, and get in trouble with.  I remember one game we would play.  We called it "cussing war."  We would crawl under our beds (we shared a room) and start cussing at one another.  We would say the most foul things we could think of.  Who knows how many times we played it but it ended abruptly one summer day when an extra set of ears overheard what was being said.  Later in life we created the "gross out game."  Again some of the grossest things you can think of was said to the other.  This game still rears it ugly head occasionally.

We probably look more alike now than ever. We are the same height and both have greying brown hair.  I get strange looks when I'm back home.  People seem to think they know who I am but give me a second look before they speak.  Sometimes they are right sometimes they are wrong.  I always forgive them.  If I feel they should know who I am then I get a little irked inside.  How would you like to be continually called Fred when your name was Steve?  Exactly. 

Here are a few other irritating questions people often ask: 1) "Where's your brother?"  I don't know we're not Siamese twins attached at the hip.  2) "Are you the one married to Gretchen or Jennifer?"  I have a name, It's Shane.  3) "Tell your brother .... when you see him."  Uh. Okay.  Hope it's not important, it may be awhile.  4) "What was your brother doing the other night when I saw him?"   Refer to number one  5) "Do you guys live next door to each other?)  Yes, it's called The Morgan Compound, where we run around naked, shares wives and have our own cult following.  In other words, "No."    

I could probably go on forever but I'm going to wrap this up.  If you are wishing for twins, ask yourself "is it for them or is it for you?".  Having a twin can be great and horrible all at the same time.  I can try to explain it to you all and when I'm done, you still won't understand.   It's a twin thing, you wouldn't understand.   

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shipwrecked Dreams

The story of the finding of the SS Gairsoppa, has me thinking of my childhood.  I know' "What a strange sentence", but I will explain.  As a child, I was enthralled with the idea of going out and finding lost treasure.  I remember watching "Popeye's Treasure Hunt"  as well as others that I have long forgotten, thinking that's what I want to do.   History was always my favorite subject and as I learned about Magellan, Cook, De Leon, Balboa and Drake, it fueled my desire to go treasure hunting.  Somewhere between Saturday morning cartoons, "Duck Tales"  and puberty, I lost that desire.  I guess I dismissed it as childish nonsense.  But with more and more shipwrecks being discovered, I wonder what would have happened if I had followed through with the childish nonsense.  Would I be on the high seas, fighting with Barbary pirates, racing to claim the loot?  Who knows?  Maybe I would be bored to death working an ocean grid, back and forth, North to South, East to West.  Maybe I would have my head over the rail decorating the side of the boat with the contents of my stomach, which is what happened during my one and only deep sea fishing excursion.  Alas, my shipwreck dreams have  passed me by.  An old man and the sea adventure is not for me. 

That childhood dream lies with the others of becoming a veterinarian, meteorologist, tornado chaser, history teacher, sports hero and famous writer.  Some of those I still have hope for but for now I enjoy listening to my kids' dreams.  I encourage them to follow through no matter how far out there the dreams are and not to dismiss them as childish nonsense.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vacation Scenes

Two days of my vacation are over.  We spent the weekend in the hot tourist trap of Gautier, Mississippi.  The place, while secluded, was nice.  We have stayed at some interesting places over the years and this was no different.  I always see so much potential in these little places.  It looks like they were trying but they can never quite get updated.  I'm sure money is the issue and who can blame them.  We all want to make money.  But I as said the place was nice. 

Two things will stand out from our mini-trip and both occurred at the pool. 

Number 1:  I was somewhere between consciousness and dreamland lying in my lounger, basking in sun, when all of a sudden, I hear, "GRGFHRG" and then a second "GRGFHRG" out of my haze and out of the chair I bounced and then two steps and then into the pool.  During that same brief moment I hear Gretchen exciting say "I'll GET HER."  So into the pool we both went.  It's a little amazing how I was totally out of it but my brain snapped into life saving mode so quickly.  Gretchen and I arrived at the little girl at the same time and I allowed her to grab her and pull her to safety because she wasn't in extreme danger and I didn't want to look like an old pervert.  Now the whole time the grandfather, probably in his 50's, was sitting behind us and I'm not even sure he got up.  5 minutes later, after the girl's mother and grandmother had arrived, Gretchen had to pull the girl out again.  What's wrong with these people? 

Number 2:  After I left the pool, I began grilling some burgers.  Gretchen and the kids stayed at the pool.  A lady ask Gretchen where she was from and they started talking.  Turns out the lady was originally from Nashville, Il and was a second cousin to girl in my graduating class, which is having a reunion this coming weekend.  It is a very small world.

I have a week left on this vacation and I'm sure there will be plenty more to write about.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Strays

A tale of two strays who had lost their way.  Both had blue eyes and grey hair.  A family felt sorry for first and gave him some food and walked on.  After a while, the family returned and took him home with them and he became part of their  family.  The second stray was ignored and left with no food.  Person after person, family after family walked by and paid him no attention.  With his dog taken from him, the man died hungry and alone.

Just think about it for a while.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Collector's Cup My Ass! or Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?

After moving twice in less than a year, a strange development has occurred. We have began going through our stuff and discovering that we really don't need or want this stuff.  Which has led to question of why did I save all of this?  Now "this" probably means different things to different people.  For example we have 8 high school year books and 4 college year books.  I have looked at these once in 15 years.  Yet we've held onto them and moved them with us over the years.  All together they may weigh 50 pounds and take up space in a whole footlocker.  They are signed by people I may have met or knew in 1 class and never saw again.  Some signings are by close friends or ex-girlfriends and some are just profane.  Nothing of any real importance.  So why have I kept these?  Out of some sentimental attachment?  Maybe.  But after moving, that attachment seems to have been broken.  Which brings me to collections.

Over the years I have collected different things.  The biggest collection, of course, are my baseball cards.  I loved collecting them in my younger days.  I remember going to my Grandma Clara's on 22nd Street and running 4 doors down to Bolerjack's and buying packs of fifteen cards for $.35 each.  I loved opening them and finding "stars" that I would put in plastic sheets in a binder.  The "commons" would go into shoe boxes and placed into another footlocker.  Still today, when you open that footlocker, you can smell the bubblegum that has been long gone for 25 years. 

After this last move, the thought of selling them crosses my mind all the time.  The joy I had as a kid is gone and the thought of moving them again is less than exciting.  Actually, letting them go may be a little tougher than I thought.  The main problem is that the greedy card companies flooded and killed the market after I had quit collecting.  So their value has dropped so much that in an article I read claimed the collapse of their value was worse than the real estate collapse.  Most of the research I have done recommended that you just keep them and give them to your kids.  That was my plan all along.  But moving change that.

Moving also changed how we looked at keeping extra stuff such as serving platters, picture frames, knick knacks, furniture, and holiday decorations.  None of this stuff we never really needed.  One additional thought is all the money we spent on this crap. Ugh.

 So, my advice to you all is to take a look at what you have, imagine having to move it all, re-evaluate your needs and wants and start making smart decisions.  Do this and you could start collecting cash instead of worthless and /or useless crap.   not to mention, you could cut your moving time down and keep yourself off of "Hoarders."  It's like hitting a trifecta.                                     

Friday, September 16, 2011

George Jefferson Meets Barack Obama

As I was flipping channels the other day I came across an episode of "All in the Family."  I stopped to watch for a few minutes.  I ended up watching the whole show.  The next day I watched a "The Jefferson's" episode.   This morning as I lay sick on my couch, I watched Robert Redford in "The Candidate."  All of three were filmed in the 1970's.  And what I got from watching these were:  change the clothes, change the hairstyles, update the decor and autos and all three could have been made yesterday.  Forty years of politics and we are still talking about the same issues.  Saving trees, over population, unemployment, race relations, oil, and big money.(just to name a few)

I would recommend watching "The Candidate."  There is a lot of symbolism in the movie.  Mostly in what a candidate wants to do and what he is allowed to do.  A lot of what he says gets lost in background noise and TV cameras looking for exciting things to record.  When there was a major issue to be dealt with, money was thrown at it and everyone was happy, even if it was just hush money.

I have lived under eight presidents. I guess Reagan was my favorite.  He was likable and everybody seem to have a job during that time.  But forty years have gone by and here we are spinning our wheels on the same worn out issues.  Every election we are told of how changes are coming and after every term we here how they failed.  It's no wonder why Americans don't take time to vote.  The ole adage of "my vote doesn't matter" seems to be true in many eyes.  It's not the vote that doesn't matter it's the candidates.  311 million people live in this country.  We elect roughly 600 people to represent us at the federal level.  Who really gets represented?  I bet I have a better chance of talking to George Jefferson than I do talking to President Barack Obama.  They only time someone ask my opinion on issues is during a phone survey.  But asking me a handful of questions doesn't get to the heart of what I believe.  I can sit here and write my little blog, record a webcast and reach about 50 people, maybe.  With that 50 does anyone care about what I say or do they read to see what the idiot says this week?  Either way is fine, as I said before I enjoy doing this and I will continue.  However, it's so frustrating trying to get issues brought forward. 

Let's look at crime.  "The crime rate is up."  Okay we will hire more law enforcement to help lower it.  That's reacting to effects.  What about looking at what's causing those rates rates to rise?  Looks like we are back to the right vs. the left.

40 years and the issues are the same.  The parties are the same.  There are some groundbreaking ideas out there such as a national sales tax.  We rid ourselves of income tax and all of it's loopholes and pay tax on what you buy.  But they will never get a chance. We keep our status quo.  And in 40 more years, I can watch the aformentioned shows and they will just as viable as they were 80 years before.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pushing My Boulder

I began pushing my boulder up the hill long ago.  Just when it started getting easier, I tripped, stumbled and fell to the ground.  My boulder paused, then started backward.  My boulder ran me over and flattened me into the ground.  It continued to roll.  My boulder reached where I had begun and then beyond.  It came to rest in a giant canyon.  I lay there stunned for a brief moment.  I crawled all the way to my boulder.  I stood up and began to push again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Customer Circus

I just spent the day torturing myself.  I had the day off and I spent it doing various things that grown-ups have to do.   Fine, they have to be done. But they don't have to be such a freakin' nightmare.  Among the places that I visited were State Farm, OMV(Office of Motor Vehicles), Regions Bank and Save-A-Lot.

Let's start with State Farm.  I needed to insure a car.  They needed my and Gretchen's La license numbers, make and model, and address.  Now I have been with State Farm since I was 16 years old. I thought this would be a 10 minute process.  Nope.  I didn't time it because it was early in the day, however, it was much longer than 10 minutes.  I was informed of how much it was going to cost.  FYI, Louisiana has the highest car insurance rates in the country, thanks to all of the uninsured motorist.  After the initial shock, I had her reduce the coverage.  I was also informed that because of an accident in January of 2009, that I was losing the no accident discount.  Okay, I had the accident but it was 2 1/2 years ago and now you choose to take off the discount.  Whatever, fine just give the papers and I will be on my way.

Next stop OMV.   Actually, the OMV is pretty speedy here.  But because I brought in what the internet page to me to bring in, I didn't get done what needed to be done.  When I mentioned that the web page didn't say anything about the extra paper, I was told "The web page needs to be updated."  Uh-huh.  I guess it does.  What really gets my goat is that I had also called the OMV about a month ago to find out what I needed.  The "lady" who answered my call treated me as if I was the dumbest person in the world.  I have no doubts that she gets a lot of calls from idiots, but I'm not one of them.  My thought is if you hate your job that much then quit, otherwise, get your attitude straight and treat people right.  Looks like another trip to the OMV is in my near future.

My third stop I knew was going to be bad.  How did I know?  Every time Gretchen and I have gone to Regions Bank, its been a nightmare.  The only exception was when we opened our account.  So today's trip shouldn't have been that hard, an address change and check order.  We tried to do it online but it wouldn't go through.  So into the bank I go.  I hadn't been to this branch before but Gretchen has and it wasn't a good experience.  There was no front desk so I went to the teller line.  Surely a teller could do these two small items.  I remember my banking days, we could.  Nope.  I would have to take a seat and wait for a representative.  (Deep sigh) Okay.  So I take my seat.  There is one gentlemen already waiting.  This is when I look at the time.  I knew what time I came in because I had called Gretchen as I was going in.  Sitting there, I watched a lady join another already working with a customer.  I could overhear something about a promotion that was getting ready to take place.  They were laughing and having a good time.  Meanwhile back at the sofa, I watch the workers.  They finish up with the customer that they were helping.  They all depart the room and one young lady tells me someone will be with me shortly.  "Yeah, right.", I tell myself.  "I know better."  As I continue to watch, I see employees going outside.  I thought it must be their break time.  Nope.  They went out their to see a giant green bicycle be delivered to the front of the building.  ( the big promotion)  The girl that would eventually help me was first on the scene out there.  I don't know what a giant green bike has to do with anything but apparently it was much more important that helping a customer. Finally, 17 minutes after I walked through the doors, I get taken into the half of an office thingy.  Two minutes later I'm walking to the car.  My business had been completed.

I don't have much to say about Save-a-lot.  It was my first time there.  I couldn't find the items that were in their ad.  I'm guessing they were out but there were no employees to ask.  When I checked out, I let a women with 2 items go in front of me.  (I'm not completely heartless)  As I was getting checked out, I continued to load things onto the conveyor belt when the guy behind lets out an "Oh geez" maybe it was an "Oh, Jesus" I'm not for sure.  I turned an looked at him for a second, turned back around and continued to load my items.  It's not my fault they only had 1 cashier.  As I was finishing up, the cashier says "I don't know why they do this to me."  I turned and looked at the line that had amassed behind me.  I said in a comforting way "I hope they get you some more help".  Her reply was "They are all helping unload the truck."

The last stop was at Walgreens to drop off a re-written prescription.  (say that 5 times real fast)  It had to be rewritten thanks to a less than cooperative insurance company that I won't get into today.  I pull right up to the window and explain what I was doing.  She takes the prescription and says she needs my ID.  I just did all of this in 3 days ago.  Okay, here.  "Let me check to see if we have this in stock." Once again, we just did this 3 days ago.  She comes back and stares at the computer.  She then says  "Is he taking two kinds?"  NO SHIT SHERLOCK!  That's why there are 2 prescriptions.  Oh, don't make me come in there!  Not today.  I answer politely "Yes"  She replies, "It will be ready in about an hour and a half."  I drive home.

I work in customer service everyday.  I never treat my customers this way.  My company sends every customer a survey of how my service was for them.  The survey rates as follow: 9-10 is a 100%, 6-8 is a 0%, and 1-5 is a -100%.  Most of my score rate in the 100%.  Some people give me an 8.  Every once in a while i will receive a 1.  Not because of my service but because they are pissed at the company.  Okay whatever.  The point is that at State Farm, I was treated like a total stranger even though I have never had any other insurance company.  At the OMV, she didn't care that I had wasted my time calling in, looking at their website, and coming to the facility.  I understand rules are rules but don't disregard my time.  Regions, I have decided, is hopeless.  The only reason I haven't switched banks is that it's a pain in the ass getting all direct deposits and auto withdrawals changed over.  The main issue with Save-A-Lot is the same with many stores.  They just don't have enough workers.  Gotta maximize that profit.  Who cares if people wait twenty minutes to get checked out.? What I don't understand is why they have all of the other check out lanes when they don't use them.  Lastly, Walgreens.  Maybe it was because I hadn't eaten yet or maybe it because of the prior experiences there but it just hit me wrong.  I'm tired of places wasting my time.  I'm not there to chat, I'm not there to listen to workplace drama and I'm not there to spend all day waiting.  Just get me in and out.  Don't make me feel like I'm in a three ring circus.  That's all  I ask.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Drinking Game

I have had a case of blogger's block as of late.  I wanted to write today and I have had some ideas but nothing that would cause my fingers to bounce on the keypad. And then, there it was as soon as I logged on to Facebook.  I could spend days writing on Facebook.  However, a fellow blogging friend will be writing about that soon so I won't be stepping on his toes or his fingers as it may be.  So what was on Facebook that caught my attention?

Post:  "Long Day!!!" The first response was "You should have a drink!!!"
Really?  Not  "Anything I can do to help?" or "It will get better tomorrow."?

Nope.  Nothing can fix your day better than a drink.  I can only think of one situation where that would be true.  And that would be if you were lost in the desert and the drink that you were referring to was water. 

Day after day I read on Facebook about "adult beverages", "needing a drink", or "I'm still hung-over, LOL"  What makes these post even worse is the fact that they have kids as "friends".  As the kids grow up are they going to think that they'll need a drink?  What a fine example we have decided to set for our youth.  Yes, its your Facebook page and you can put on it whatever you like.  But it's like drinking a gallon of gin, just because you can do it doesn't mean you should.

Using alcohol or any other substance to numb yourself to the world's daily grind, your own personal problems, or because your kids drive you nuts, doesn't solve any of the issues  As soon as you awaken from your haze, you will see that those problems are still there and that you will have to deal with them.  And then what should you do?  Drink more?

You offering your friend a drink in the above situation reminds of the old pot commercials where the kid would tell the other "It'll make you feel good."  It's like a bucket of crabs.  Crabs can't get out of the bucket because the other crabs keep pulling them down.  Instead of pulling people down how about lifting them up or give them a helping hand and help get them out of that bucket.  But no.  We choose to waller in our misery and we want partners to waller with us.

Can you name one time where alcohol actually helped in history?  I can name a bunch where alcohol made a mess of things but none where it helped.

I have nothing against drinking a beer or getting your self a margarita.  My problems are bragging about it as grown adults or using it to solve your problems.  First of all if your a grown adult then you should know that all grown adults could have a drink. So what is there to brag about?   I don't know but these Facebook post seem to think there is a reason.  Secondly, it doesn't solve any issues but it sure can create some new ones.

My last thought is that alcohol doesn't make a party more of a party, it doesn't make fun more fun, and it doesn't make what you did wrong any better.  So have a drink if you want to but not if you need to.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A funny happened on the way to find Jesus

Never would I insult or belittle the way others worship.  With that said, I have two things to say about the last two weeks; "Holy Shit." and  "Oh my GAWD".  We have attended two new churches in past two weeks.  We really loved out old church but since moving we haven't gone because it's too far away. (that perception will probably change.) 

Okay, church number one.  It was in it's temporary location.  They are getting ready to build a church.  We thought that was a good sign.  Good churches are always expanding.  So we arrive a tad bit early. (35 minutes)  We are confused from the start.  From their webpage, we assumed that it was non-denominational but the Baptist Association's office was there as well.  We have nothing against Baptist, it just wasn't what we were expecting.  We go in and I immediately see the "coffee shop".  I really don't care if a church has coffee shop.  But don't call a coffee pot with some flavoring set out a coffee shop.  Thanks for the coffee and the false advertising.  I don't know why churches now need coffee shops anyway.  My Bible must be missing 1st Seattle's Best and 2nd Starbucks.  To me it would make more sense to have a winery.  Since that is more biblical than coffee.  And it might just bring in more sinners to save.  Uhh where was I.  Oh yeah, since we were early most people were in Sunday School.  We walked around, read the bulletin and found a seat.  The service began.  It was okay.  I felt like I had gone to church in someone's living room and it was Uncle Bob's story time.  The preacher read off his papers the whole time, rarely looking up.  It reminded of speech class.  The singing was the greatest either.  It just wasn't for me. 
The second church was recommended to us by a neighbor.  Which by the way I will have to avoid now because I won't know how to answer "What did think you about our church?"  This time we arrive right on time.  We shuffle in not knowing which direction to go.  A lady tells us how they are going to need more chairs.  Okay but why are you telling me?  We make it inside and find a seat.  It's a packed house.  This must be the place to be.  The music starts and 30 minutes later is still going.  Uh-oh, this isn't going to be an hour is it.  Tick tick tick. The music ends and they bring in a guest speaker. Tick tick tick.  Then there was a baby dedication.  Tick tick tick.   The preacher starts talking and I think "Oh, he must be wrapping things up."  Uhhhhhhhh, no.  He begins to preach.  Now the website says non-denominational but I'm pretty sure that was a Baptist sermon.  That's fine, it's good to have a change.  Tick tick tick.  We have now hit the two hour mark.  Two hours may be the norm for some but 75 minutes is about all I can last.  Wait, didn't he say something about baptisms today.  Oh yeah, and here comes that train of people now.  Tick tick tick. Having me sit in one place for two hours is like putting a puppy in cage and expecting him not to bark.  We got to go.  We leave before they start dunking people.  I feel a little bad but this wasn't for me.  

During the last service, Gretchen and I had the same thought.  We miss our old church.  We will probably return to it.  Although we might give the Catholic Church another try.  I don't know but I never thought finding a church to attend would be so hard.

I guess to way to explain how I felt during the last two weeks is:  Have you ever been invited to a someone's house for a party and when you get there you find out that it 's for Amway.  Yeah, that's how I felt.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Parenting ADHD

People often joke that they may have A.D.D., using it as an excuse of why they are forgetful.  If they only knew what it was really like, they wouldn't think it was so funny.  If there are any nay-sayers that want to claim there is no such disorder, that it's just children misbehaving, I'm here to tell you that it is REAL. Also, more research should be done to find out why it exists and to find a cure.  There is no ribbon to wear, there are no big media events, and when Tom Cruise is your poster boy, ADD/ADHD gets forgotten about.  By the way, if there was a ribbon, it should be a multi-colored pinwheel because that how an ADD/ADHD brain works.  It's goes a millions miles an hour in a million different directions.
My oldest child has ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  It is a disability.  I think most people have no clue of what it is like.  However, if you think you have a clue, multiply it by 10.  I started to name famous people with ADHD but then it wouldn't help the point I'm trying to convey about how hard it makes life.

We first started seeing Noah's symptoms in preschool.  ( Pre-warning-The following stories piss me off so far beyond belief that if I rattle off some rather choice words please give me)  Noah's first year of pre-school was fine.  He liked sitting on the teachers lap and getting the extra attention.  We weren't concerned about that.  The next year started off a freaking nightmare.  "Noah's not doing what is suppose to be doing"  "Noah doesn't stay on task" "Noah ... Noah ... Noah..." Then came, "Noah is biting the other kids."  Now we had had issues with Noah biting is older cousins.  It was his way of fighting back, but biting the other kids, I'm still not convinced.  But what really brought us to the brink was that Noah was being sent to the principal office everyday.  And when I say everyday I mean EVERYDAY.  It became part of his routine.  We finally sat down for a parent/teacher conference where it was more of "Noah does"  when we ask his teacher and her aide what they were doing to help him and his behavior; we were told, and I quote verbatim,  "We have 15 other kids in the class, we don't have time to give him any extra attention."  Silence followed.  As the conversation continued and we discussed with the principal ideas to help Noah, it became more apparent that his teacher (hereafter referred to as "that bitch" had no inclination to help and that Noah's daily trips to the purple chair shaped like a human hand, that sat in principal's office, would continue. We then requested that Noah be moved to another class.  It took a few days but Noah was moved.  His new teacher was hesitant but accepted the transfer.  Who could blame her for being hesitant about receiving a child who won't do what he is told and bites other kids.  Well from day 1 that clouds lifted and sun shined.  Noah did not have any problems for the rest of the year.  Hallelujah!  Now I won't say that "that bitch" lied but a child's behavior just doesn't change instantly.  And Noah's supposedly did?  I will never buy it.  It was during this time that I went to a seminar about ADHD.  However, Noah really did not show all of the signs.
Two years later in first grade, little things started occurring.  Noah would come home with his white polo shirt covered in food everyday.   EVERYDAY.  Another thing was that he was chewing is pencil until there was nothing left of them.  Then came second grade.  He wouldn't stay in his seat, he would walk around the room and he would sharpen his pencil 20 times a day.  The biggest issue was that he wasn't getting things done in class.  So we had him tested.  Our doctor would not diagnose him without the school testing him first.  And so began, the meds.  More on those later.
Fast-forward four years.  We had moved to Louisiana from Illinois.  Noah began middle school.  He had been placed in the advanced gifted program.  Another freaking nightmare.  He would come and do homework until 9pm. The poor kid had no life. Back to school we went for a conference with all of his teachers.  Again, all but 1, claimed they didn't have time to help him and that this was middle school and kids needed to be more responsible.  Blah blah blah. The conversation escalated and I thought Gretchen and the young English teacher were going to go at it right then and there.  The fall out from the meeting was once again nothing was done to solve any of the issues.  Two weeks later, I went to his school and pulled him out of the advanced gifted program.  He was move to the gifted program.  Problems solved.   This year he is at another school and with two weeks in I can happily report no problems. 

Two other problems that we have to deal with are problems at home and social problems.  At home, we have to take extra time making sure that Noah does everything he has to.  Brush his teeth, get dressed, find his shoes, eat, and take his pills.  Those are just a few.  If you tell him to do something like go get some socks.  Two minutes later he will be playing with something and has totally forgotten about the socks. The extra attention takes time away from our other kids and I often feel bad for the other but for peace within the house, it has to be done.  It doesn't matter how much you scream and yell, it won't cure the disorder.  Believe me, I have done my share of screaming and yelling.  Another thing you have to learn to deal with is the impulsive behavior.  While most of us might think, I wonder what this does, or I wish I had that $100 bill, or I'd like to punch him in mouth, we don't act on it because our filter tell us not to.  ADHD kids don't have that filter.  They know right from wrong and do mostly right but there are times when you just want to pull your hair out and ask "WHY DID YOU DO THAT!?!"
All of these little quirks affect his social life.  ADHD kids usually act more immature than other kids.  Noah will argue about anything.  If I say the sky is blue, he will argue that it is green or vice-versa.  It doesn't matter what the topic is he WILL argue with you.  Those two qualities make it hard to make and keep friends.  This leads to hurt feelings and "everyone hates me."  We are getting ready for the teen years and I fear this may get worse.  I wonder sometimes if moving to Louisiana made things worse for him but with no jobs in Illinois we really didn't have a choice.  We comfort him the best we can and pray that things will go his way someday.

There is no magic pill to make all of this go away.  If you are new to ADD/ADHD you will find that it is all trial and error.  What works great for one kid may be a nightmare for another.  The following is a list that we have tried and what effects they had:

Concerta - Worked ok.  Significant loss of appetite. Noah almost refused to eat.
Straterra - we don't remember
Adderall - A complete disaster.  It caused Noah to be mean and hateful. He even threatened to stab a kid with a pencil.  This one lasted only 2 weeks.
Focalin- this is what has worked best for us.  Some loss of appetite. But he eats pretty well now.

Other side effects have been that he becomes extremely worried about the safety of his brother and sister, almost to point of being paranoid.  "Coming down" off of his meds at night he can become extremely emotional and/or confrontational.  Too much medication will "zone" him out.

First of all, you need to know that none of your child's disorder is your fault.  We all want to do what's best for our kids and placing them on medication is the last thing that we want to do.  If you do decide to medicate, watch your child behavior closely.  You will have to find a balance between good and bad side effects.  You have to be ready to fight for your kid at school.  Some schools/teachers are great and some are just terrible.  Some schools do not like to give kids their meds.  Often they will try to place the responsibility on the child to remember to come take their meds.  That's ridiculous.  Sometimes Noah can't remember what I told him do a minute ago, how's he going to remember to go take a pill in the middle of the day. 

I think some teachers get into teaching just for the power of telling kids what to do or they expect all kids to act like perfect little angels.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but ADHD kids march to the beat of their own drum.  I suggest you find ways to accept that and incorporate methods that benefit those kids.  If a kid was in wheelchair you wouldn't punish them for not climbing the stairs, so why punish a kid who can't focus on the task at hand. 

There are several websites out there on ADHD.  I found this one today (  It seems pretty good.

Finally, to the parents of ADD/ADHD children: you are not alone.  There are countless parents just like you in this world.  If you need help, Gretchen and I are more than happy to talk about our experience or give you some advice.  You can message us here or on Facebook anytime.

So the next time your at the store and your kid is out of control and people are staring at you like your the worst parent in the world, you can hold your head up high and know that you are some of the best parents in the world.  And for those who stand there judging, you all can go to Hell.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do I make you uncomfortable?

Why do the words "I'm a Christian" make some rooms uncomfortable.  I have heard conversations that would make the devil blush, but the moment Christianity is mentioned the room goes silent.   Are the people just embarrassed about how they carry themselves or are they afraid that they may offend the professing Christian.  I once read that NFL quarterback Kurt Warner had a party for his teammates and hardy anyone showed up because they thought they would feel uncomfortable.  To be a Christian means you admit that you follow Christ.  No where does it say that Christians are perfect.  People that get labeled as "Holy Rollers" or "Jesus Freaks" usually aren't considered "cool" outside of the Church setting.  I don't get it.  I am a Christian.  I don't feel uncool about that.  I like the same things others do: books, movies, music and sports.

 About the conversations I mentioned earlier, people will tell you every last detail, disgusting or not, about any and every part of their lives.  But talking about Church is off limits?  It's okay to put a number 3 on your car in tribute to a race car driver but a cross or fish in remembrance of Christ is over the line?  A think a lot of it comes from the separation of church and state.  What most people don't realize is that the Christian founding fathers' idea was to keep the state out of the Church not vice-versa.  These days you see God be taken out of everything including, schools, government, and even the Christmas Season.  Enough!

Christians are just normal people who believe.  No one is making you do anything.  I'm sorry that what you do embarrasses yourself.  Maybe instead of rolling your eyes at those who preach and profess, you should stop and listen. But until then why don't you just treat us normally and move on. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Little Miss Gretchen sat on the toilet

Yes, two blogs in one day.

At precisely 5:49 a.m. I was awakened by "SHANE, there's a big spider in here!" (the bathroom)  Now, I have seen Gretchen's "big spiders" before and they are usually not that big.  So, I climb out of bed and go into the bathroom and to my surprise she's on the toilet.  No, not standing on the toilet, on the toilet.  "The spider is under those rugs."  "Grab a shoe."  I went and got a shoe.  I pulled the rug back and yes it was a rather large spider.  He must have been out for a morning stroll because he was just going about his business.  He never knew what hit him.

I'm not really scared of anything but, I have a huge dislike for spiders and snakes.  If a spider is outside he gets a pass.  Eat all the bugs that you want.  A snake doesn't get that lucky.  I know snakes have a place in the ecosystem, it's just not around me.  I will kill any snake that I see.  The problem with spiders and snakes is that they are always where they shouldn't be.  And they feel it's our fault when we stumble upon them.  If either startle me, it's over for them.

This wasn't the first time Gretchen has called me to kill a bug.  The first time, I was 17 or 18 years old and she called me on the phone because there was a cricket in her room.  I came over and found her standing on a milk crate and a tiny cricket in the floor.  It was a comical scene, as was this morning's scene with the spider catching her with her pants down.

Civic Dooty

While I will always love my hometown of Mount Vernon, there are reasons I don't live there anymore.  And while I could rant for days about numerous topics, I only going to blog about one.  Apathy.

For a town that cries about not having anything to do, Vernites sure don't do anything about it.  Recently, the Jaycee's cancelled their House of Horrors, a forty plus year tradtion.  It was cancelled because no one wanted to help.  I imagine it was a lot of work getting it put together and people have too many other things to do like play Farmville or Mafia Wars on Facebook.  It takes a team of people to get things like a haunted house done and made enjoyable.  However, the people of Mount Vernon, when ask for help, just shut their doors.  People are too busy watching Jersey Shore or Real Housewives to do anything productive.  In my last blog, I questioned what kids would remember from their childhoods, now I wondering what young adults will remember 20 years from now "Hey remember that time when Pauly D...." rather than "Hey remember when we ran the haunted house and....."  Stop living vicariously through TV characters.  Go out and make memories of your own. 

This coming Halloween will be the 10th year for Trunk-or Treat in Mount Vernon.  Guess who started it.  ME! (with the help of Gretchen)  I got the idea from a church in another town and brought it ours.  I was Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus at the time.  (Back in the 10 years that I was Catholic)  I brought the idea before the council and received blank stares.  I ask about starting a committee.  I was told we didn't need one.  I was also told that it wouldn't work.  Did anyone volunteer to help?  Nope.  So Gretchen and I did it.  I worked my ass off and made it successful.  The next year when the Methodist Church made the front page of the paper with their Trunk-or-Treat, I thought "Hey, what about me?" Oh well, I'll just toot my own horn.  Now, at last count their were 6 different trunk-or-treats in Mount Vernon.  My gift to you.

The problem is that no one in that town wants to help do anything.  What the "Leaders " of Mount Vernon should do is go to Highland Il on August 27 and 28 and witness Kichenfest.  This is how a community should support itself.  Games, food, drink,and music.  Oh wait.  it's put on by the Catholic Church, so you anti-Catholics living in Mount Vernon (and you know who you are) might not want to go.  But I was blown away by how good this event was.  I while I was there, I realized why it was so good.  It was because everyone helped.  Everyone took their turn(young and old): cooking, running games, picking up trash, etc...

Let's compare that to events in Mount Vernon. umm lets see  ummmm  oh.  Cedarhurst Craft Fair.  You go and look at items others have made.  Okay that's part all right.  Civic originations have food stands, reasonably priced.  That part is okay,  But parking has gotten way out of hand.  Everybody trying to gouge their fellow neighbor.  I remember when the only the high school's Youth and Government raised money by helping park cars.  Then the whole town got greedy.  This is our success story?  Cedarhurst?

Let's look at our failures.  Sweet Corn and Watermelon festival.  Neither had anything to do with our town that I'm aware of.  It's now gone.  County Fair at the Fairgrounds. Gone.   Santa's Cottage. Gone.  BBQ and Music festival should have been successful.  It wasn't.  All of these could have been successful.  It only takes a two things:  Volunteers and Community Support.  That's all. And Mount Vernon will give neither.  But we can sure bitch about having nothing to do.  We should have a Apathy Parade.  No one shows up for it and no one cares that no one shows up.  Wait, that's everyday in Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon's civic originations are dying or already dead.  The death list includes, The Optimist Club, The Lions Club (I think), and now maybe the Jaycee's. Part of the problem is apathy the other is the current members.  When I joined the Kof C, I had all sorts of ideas.  One by one were shot down and eventually I just quit.  Too many people saying we can't do that, that will be too much work or they just wanted to go with their buddy's idea.

The Jaycee's had a bad reputation when I was younger but, I understand that things have really changed since then.  If I still lived there, I would join.  But alas, I escaped that black hole 14 months ago and shan't return.

Now, if you are interested in making a difference and getting involved.  The Jaycee's really need your help.  Contact Dan Voyles on Facebook or at  or visit the Mount Vernon Jaycee page on Facebook.

Come on Mount Vernon!  Get off your lazy asses and do something.