Hear I Go Google!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

U.S. History: Am I a Dunce, or what?

This a very short summary of America's History. I was looking at Gustavo Sosa's recent history of Uruguay and thought this was a nice topic to broach....aside from the lingerie models and beautiful woman postings....

Origins: about 500 years ago - a flurry of expeditions to seek out a spice/trade route to China. A century passed before Jamestown (1607) and Plymouth Rock (1620) established the first permanent settlements. During the next 150 years, the colonies grew less self reliant on the British and other Europeans because the US had more natural resources than all of Europe put together!!! The only thing they lacked was people. (And eliminating that pesky Indian problem - was just a way to rid the area for proper utilization.)

Revolution: The American Revolution was a guerilla campaign fought by terrorists (if you look at it from a British perspective.)

The reasons for the war were tied up in the economic powers desired by the Mercantile class that were restricted by the Brits. Also, the growth of new political philosophies such as Democracy and Republicanism were making the rounds among the elite minds of the time. Educated folk in America also saw an opportunity to be rid of the Brits – because this land had everything Britain never did, both economically and socially. Other European powers wanted a slice of the New World pie and fought wars against the British to get it. France for one, who became an ally during the Revolution, wanted to upset the apple cart of British supremacy. The Declaration of Independence, Continental Congresses and Common Sense were amongst the documents and meetings that forged resolve in the ever rising feud between colonists and Brits that started in the 1760’s. Many colonists disagreed, but that was often due to perks offered by the British Crown and old connections to the Europeans.

A Growing Nation: After the war, the meager government of the Articles of Confederation was found inept. The colonies needed a structure and several plans came forth – the New Jersey and Virginia Plans amongst several proposals. With the compromise on a bicameral legislature, an executive leader and an ultimate Court of the People, the U.S. went into uncharted waters for politics and government. Unfortunately, the idea of “all men are created equal” was more lip service than reality as Slavery was condoned and taken to new heights during the late 18th century. And soon after the American Civil War was to be waged by the North versus the South. (And still is even today, but just not as clear cut as far as sides are concerned.)

After the formation of the Constitution, the U.S. still needed a way to pay off everything. ‘Taxation without Representation’ was a catch phrase of the Revolutionary march, and people didn’t see it any different in the future of the country. But once the economic engine of America got humming, and the expansion west became a necessity, convenient policies were the mantra that drove this country. Manifest Destiny – the idea of one nation from sea to shining sea – became the ultimate democratic policy. After peacefully acquiring the Louisiana Purchase, the United States did fight conquest wars to rid the area for further colonization. When not fighting Native Indians, we fought Mexicans, the Spanish, and the British again, and laid claim to various areas to increase the power of the country.

The Superpower: At the turn of the 20th century, the USA was nearly complete. It had outstripped European nations in terms of production, had a busy population of immigrants and growing everyday. Isolationism in the Western Hemisphere had ruled for 50 years. Now, with two World Wars approaching, a shift to a world spotlight became a necessary and a fruitful reality. After WWII, The USA was the ONLY powerful nation left standing – due in large part to the lack of homeland attacks that everyone else got.

The Future: As we stand in mid-2007, this nation has squandered many opportunities to set a better example in leadership. Its growth has been historic; its people innovative and steadfast; yet we’ve grown fat, lazy, uninterested and uninteresting.

What was the point? To become a world leader only to go the way of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and the British Empire? Soon, China will finally be the next world power. And only because this country has failed its credos and convictions.

I wrote this off the top of my head...and linked the terms afterwards. American History in a nutshell...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hey You!: Stop Reading this Garbage!

Yeah, that's right. I'm talking to you the reader of this tripe. The last few posts have been inspired by that insipid urge to share feelings and imagery from the great poets and the lowly, bilge pumping, lunatic inside of me.

No more! I say, like Stewie Griffin would say, ""By all means, turn me into a child star. Perhaps I can move to Californ-i-ay and wrangle me a three-way with the Olsen twins!" Wouldn't that be... awkward!!!!

I've gotten off track again...Damn you! (Not the GD or the MF or the SOB type, just you're regular old Damn. Damn.)

But I digress...oh, fiddle sticks!
The purpose of this blog, if ever one can actually relate a purpose persay, is to talk baseball, try not to go insane in the process, and relate a Jim Carey Pet Detective era like persona via a blog.
It has been a miserable failure much in the vein of Bruce Willis's recent career choices. ENOUGH with Die Hard!!! We get it! You are one bad ass mofo! Just couldn't keep Demi Moore around!

Speaking of bad Hollywood, Holly Hunter. Hello? You're not cute anymore! The southern twang went out with Vogueing and shall not return. You're not Kyra Sedgwick - Kevin Bacon's better 6th degree of seperation, Will Smith's attempt at serious acting, partner - and not a real closer.

Don't you hate when they see a show, and it's good and everyone is watching and they say, "why don't we find another actor that looks the same and just plug her into a script that has ultimately a connection to some higher purpose."

Ding! Ding! Holly Hunter time to resurrect your career. And we have just the part. Saving Grace! Like saving a career! Please! I feel like I'm on the deck of the QE 2 barfing up some $200 per ounce fish eyes whilst El Captain is calling out, "Hard a starboard and full astern!" hoping the Titanic will avoid that fucking iceberg.

It takes talent and talent is what Stewie has....My alter ego, in technicolor.

Put me in a show, like "PI Stewie" where Mike Spillane's Mike Hammer brutality meets a dosage of Elmore Leonard lyrical lines, with Sydney Sheldon's Other Side of Midnight thrown in for good measure.
Hell, I'll kill them!
When it's all said and done, and pilgrim, I'd say we are about there, the baseball game is at the heart of it.
"The one constant through all the years has been baseball," James Earl Jones whose stuttering was cured by being an actor of all things, put it right in Field of Dreams. A field of dreams that reality has to believe can come true.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Famous Poetry: Langston Hughes and ee Cummings

Here are a couple of verses that stick out. In A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes, I think this aptly describes the Negro League experience. Many players were "dried up" due to their age and the policies of MLB in the early 1900's. But when they did "explode" the game changed forever.

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fest like a sore-
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over –
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I just like ee cummings. He was a fairly interesting sort, though I could never have kept up with his ideas... His "normal poetry" to me is better than the images he makes in some of his more creative work...Understanding it probably has a lot to do with that.

I like the parallels between the three verses in this one:

what if a much of a which of a wind by ee cummings

what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer's lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)
-when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man

what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
-whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,
it's they shall cry hello to the spring

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn't:blow death to was)
-all nothing's only our hugest home;
the most who die, the more we live

Short Story: Flawless Tangos

“Beep-Beep! Beep-Beep! Yeah!” an appropriate Beatles’ song plays on the car radio amidst the long traffic jam on I-65. On the day before Thanksgiving, an unending trail of cars, minivans, SUVs and semis are piled up like dominos waiting for a push.
The snow started around noon. It’s 3 PM now and six inches of fresh wet snow lays packed firmly on the highway. With the thousands of vehicles struggling hopelessly to the far reaches of the Midwest on a holiday eve, and at this juncture, twenty-one miles south of I-80/94, the choices north branch to love ones in Ohio and Michigan to the east, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota to the west. The snowbound vehicles nearly touch each other in many places along the 50-mile long chain of metal and humanity and unfortunately have intermingled too closely in a few spots, like shy, inept dancers stubbing each other’s toes while in a slow waltz for the first time. Neither feels it is their fault the other can’t dance.
Sam sits in drive, a glazed over look on his face. The destination of Minneapolis is implausible by 6 AM tomorrow. In coming back home from Indiana University, he has never felt emptier in the fruitlessness of this journey. It’s the final holiday season to drive back from campus in the 79’ Regal, that has survived 275,000 miles of abuse and typical college neglect, and to see his folks, who are in the crutch of a midlife crisis over Caribbean cruises, European vacations, expensive vehicles, mortgage rates and IRA planning. All apart of growing up and older, moving forward and planning a future, Sam surmises apathetically, watching large flakes pelt the windshield without foreseeable end or remorse.
In the past five years, making his way through an accounting major via switching from marketing and political science, flunking a few courses, working at Chili’s, tending bar, drinking after work too much and dating a few intelligent, beautiful, if emotionally-detached from reality, women, who just never worked out, he felt sapped by all the time spent and hollowness left inside. The highway of his life kept slowly trudging forward like the clouded skies producing typical Indiana weather.
His high school friends at other universities, most of them closer to home at the University of Minnesota, will be more difficult to find this holiday. The cock-and-bull stories have waned in excitement and entertainment value from his bright-eyed freshman year when they all charmed. Sam will still see the old stalwarts: Jim, Tommy P., Jessie, Becka and Hog. They will go out to the Mall of America and drink till the closing time of 1AM at the 4th floor, five-dollar-a-head watering holes. Sam will play double-dee for the group, since guilt finally has won out over the binge drinking and frequent blackouts in his final year of school.
They will laugh, dance and toast and horseplay throughout Friday and Saturday night. Hog will moon some old couple out of the back of the Ninety Eight’s rear window on I-694; Jessie will flaunt her perfect chest in a snug red top with cleavage exposed, but just to leave some frat guy anxious and excited, yet unfulfilled as always; Jim and Tommy P. will argue over sports teams past, present and beyond, as they have since 5th grade at Thomas Edison Elementary; and Becka will be Becka. The quiet blonde girl that takes two beers to turn into a bounce-me-off-the-wall and throw-away-the-key all-night, party girl. Strange how life changes for those two nights of the year. Or so it seems to.
In the past ten minutes, the wall of cars has moved 500 feet. Mile marker 239 approaches. The Honda ahead is from Iowa. It has been in front of him since Lafayette. The wipers click by in delay mode. Eyes close for a prolonged second under the overcast, snow-filled sky.

“The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the northern Illinois and northwest Indiana…Twelve to eighteen inches are expected in northwest Indiana and ten to sixteen inches in northern Illinois… Travelers should seek shelter and lodging as soon as possible. Winds will increase throughout the night to forty miles per hour. Temperatures will fall near zero degrees with wind chills nearing sixty below. State Road--,” Sam pushes in the CD on the player. Damn. He selects a track and the first chords of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” begins to play.

Diana peers backward through the rearview mirror for a moment as the rear wiper sweeps off the heavy snow. The handsome guy behind looks annoyed. Probably heard the dreadful forecast. Only one mile to go, she gratefully thinks. A bit of relief comes in the form of a brief smile. But sadness weighs inside, for others, who have long journeys ahead in an unrelenting snowfall.
Diana hopes Grandma Johnson does not go to too much trouble. She will. As grandmas do. Once again this year at Thanksgiving, Diana drives to her new home in Lowell. Her mother and father died a little more than a year ago in a car accident on I-80 heading back from Purdue after dropping off their only child at the dormitory for the start of the fall semester. It’s been hard ever since. The last close relative is Mary Johnson. Her once close high school friends are scattered about and Iowa no longer feels like a home.
The quiet little engineer is what her snobby roommates, Yvette and Maria, at Duhme Hall call her. Toiling away for hours on Calculus, Statics, Thermo, Optics and her blow-off course, Cost Accounting, she is expecting all A’s in three weeks, after finals. Then off to Indianapolis for a mechanical engineering co-op with General Motors at their Allisonville plant.
She ponders back to when mom, dad and herself watched the Oklahoma-Nebraska game and ate homemade pizza; or when dad checked over the MG or Cadillac Seville, while she watched intently over his shoulder the mechanic’s magic he applied to every vehicle he ever touched. Or Mom dressing her up for Sunday school and church at St. Thomas Aquinas, where she fidgeted and squirmed in her dress on the pews. ‘Cute as a button’, the little old parishioners commented every Sunday in the vestibule, as Diana blushed. Their vacations to the Grand Canyon and quick trips up to Las Vegas afterwards sparkle again in her thoughts, captured in pictures forever kept in her heart.
A single tear flows down her cheek. More flakes drop on the windshield. A heavy gasp of air from the semi exhales from beside her. Bump. Bump!!!

She looks over her right shoulder to see that the guy behind her has hit her Civic. She stops the car, puts it in park, unfastens her seatbelt and proceeds to get out of the car. He is all ready out.
“I’m so sorry, I got in a daze and bumped into you,” Sam apologizes in a rush. Diana instantly warms to this.
“It’s ok. Probably there isn’t even a mark,” Diana adds.
“Yeah, but I shouldn’t be such a goof. I’m from Minnesota and should know better how to drive on this stuff.” Sam looks down into Diana’s brown eyes and sees true innocence and striking beauty in that brief moment.
“Well I used to be from Iowa, but I still can’t get the hang of snow driving. First snow, anyways. You know how people are, they forget after seven months without it,” Diana tilts her head up slightly towards Sam and feels something too.
“Maybe you’re right.” Then, they both glance awkwardly down at the bumper that has a softball size dent in it.
Sam hesitates, then says,”I feel so bad. Hey, I could buy you a cup of coffee at the next exit and we can handle this?”
“I am getting off there anyways,” Diana says.
“I thought you were from Iowa?”
“I was. My folks passed away---”
“Oh, I’m sorry---”
“Hey! Lovebirds!” A rude middle age man yells from behind Sam’s car. “Move your ass! The highway is all ready a winter fucked-up wonderland!” He revs the engine in park on the 99’ Corvette, while the window shoots up.
“Ok, Ok,” Sam places his hand out in an easy-does-it manner to the old prick. Diana looks over at the angry man with a small bit of contempt painted on her face, but them turns back to Sam, unflustered once again.
“Well, I’ll meet you at the next exit. There’s a Grandma’s close by to the right.”
“Sure, I’ll be there. You don’t have to pay for a thing. I’ll take care of you.”
Diana blushes slightly, “You will?” Sam stumbles out, “I mean--”
“I know what you meant.” she smiles.
“What’s your name?”
“Diana.” They shake hands for a prolonged second. The snowflakes seem to stand still. A piece of the hidden sun finds the interstate around them in a spotlight. The remaining souls sit in idle, while they proceed onward.
They both head back to their cars and make the long journey one mile down the interstate. It takes twenty minutes to drive to Grandma’s restaurant.

In the nine hours of chatting at the restaurant, many things are decided forever by the couple. A future planned via an interstate mambo on snow. The blizzard, the holiday blues, the loneliness and the fears vanish under a cup of Joe or two bought for Diana Johnson Walker by Sam Walker.
And all the snow and growing wind on a jammed interstate dance floor could not stop their flawless tangos for the next 68 years.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Art imitating life: ADM to purchase Brazilian Ethanol company

In my recent short story (Not Always Part 1-3) yet to be completed, I tie in the idea of Ethanol, Brazil and the United States. Today, in real life, Archer Daniels Midland, the largest ethanol producer, has decided on the idea of partnering up with a Brazilian Ethanol Producer.

The story is here.

Now, I did not tie in directly to the names of the ethanol producers, rather I used the oil patch big wigs, Petrobras. No matter. It was to reflect some issues currently ongoing in society and sure enough, the deal was being tossed about. ADM has another bioethanol plant that was begun in Rondonopolis, Mato Grosso, Brazil in late 2006, to come online in 2007. Too bad I didn't have money to invest in Cosan S/A because I'm sure that stock went way up today upon the announcement.

Back to Bad Art. Not Always will be 22 parts. (So far you've got 7.) Monday will see Parts 8-12 published. Hopefully by July 15th, you'll get the whole thing.
Have a Great Weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Poetry: On Park Avenue

Another blustery night on Park Avenue
How many lies told slipped my mind today?
My assistant, a leggy looker from the finest MBA
Takes a moment, calculating like an ROI, to say:
“I’ll give you more than you ever dreamed.”
She will. But at what price?

We crawl out of a motor home of a black limo
Wobbly after half a dozen Martinis
The white gloved entry man smiles routinely,
“A good evening to you, sir.”
Knowing what I expect, as all execs

Pleasure derived from business
As countless backs of small people hurt
From the appetizer plate at the grand opening
Of a glass behemoth, Wall Street reports, winningly.
Fawning, eager, young ladies, “Oh, that’s you!
How important you are! God must have you on his cell listing!”

We meander through the ornate lobby
The elevator greeter has more cheesy lines
Than Velveeta – I wonder how Kraft did overnight?
My Wharton lady, of this evening, perfect and pert,
As the day I hired her.

“Mr. Johnson, how are you this windy evening?”
I am as all 8-figure people:
Mired in self-assured extravagance and loneliness,
A quiet, professional snobbery hiding
Utter disdain for my choices. Yet I do it.
Thus I say, “couldn’t be better.”
The liquored lolita loquaciously laughs –
Slurring out a dozen adjectives that
Don’t describe me.

In the high digs of the 10 mil Trump condo,
the door is flung open,
As now we are too giddy for ourselves.
She snaps a heel, ‘oh well’, I stumble her
Along to the satin sheets replete
with all the conquests of a decade
On top – yet the women always are –
On top.

My vows, broken, once again.
Second wife lives in the Hamptons.
I send her payments via an accountant.
The kids go aimlessly to boarding schools.
That ROI turned south in a market flash.

After Jill falls down the hill,
Of a drunken dream and giddy moans
I stare out on the massive sameness
Concrete below, steel girders and glass above
And the bright lights of the never contented.
The same old routine: trite night with a smart snake,
That will fake all the woe of that stand.

I’ll settle because it’s cheaper
Till someday comes to pass by
Like those subway cars taking a destination
with countless lost people, I’ll never meet,
Never winning – yet, I was.

I am 45. Have 15 good years at the top, at least.
I’ll be measured in tenths of a stock price, splits and revenues
And quarterly earnings report, as either savior
Or a goat. Makes no difference –
A gold parachute awaits;
To the next CEO job I’ll go.

Passing the baton
And the race, never ends,
For the rogue mogul.

As the crack of day encroaches
My hangover helper kicks in,
Served by my senorita bonita from green card country,
The sexy MBA stirs slightly,
Her locks all frazzled,
But lovely, nonetheless.

The laptop is on Market Morning,
Across the other side of the world
Another exec sleeps or does the same,
As I did.
My NY Times is opened, Journal is near at hand –
All likely to mean:
Just another day, has come.

Note: Just a bad poem about what you all ready know....

Poetry: The Mask

Hurt. I think it all hurt;
Those eyes gleam and flicker and search
onward; Hidden views and painful dues none so curt,
And below the frown, a clown with a shadow torch made of birch.
Willed-frame expression gave over,
to a dreary landscape; Wonder how I do come back
Such ill-fated dreams and streams and clover,
I run over and over till ground is black.
Terrace face with a destiny somewhere found,
Pretense that I make or break while I shift
As built on high, a domed filled palace sound.
Borders build borders- none suspect I lift.
The rows of tears flow to and fro,
Irrigate and irritate the facade of my mask
To this moment-dark eyes give a hollow glow,
Formation of rock- it really doesn’t ask.
So teeming with clouds it is a thought,
Phantoms burst out laughter for which is absurd
To torment is what can soundly be bought,
“Rush away all the rush away”- never far away they heard.
So I command this realm of mask and dirt,
Graveled and traveled on none spy I suspect
Patted down and ran aground, as death not so curt,
Slow to wear as none compare quite too direct.
A blood spun face I give to bear,
To sinewy clutches lost freed up in this mask,
I bear to wear this solemn affair,
Renew the hold- God on my soul-This Is All I Ask.

Note: I wrote this on Christmas Eve after a car repossession 10 years ago. It wasn't the car that inspired it.
I'll try to lighten up in the next few posts...It's summer for crying out loud!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Forgiveness: The Unholy Trinity in my life...I should accept

After blogging for these oh so many months, it is sometimes really difficult for me to avoid just who I am and how I got to today. Many of the things that shape your life are unavoidable; you just weren't given much of a choice in the matter. Likely the hardest thing is to forgive it - or them - because as a person, we expected better. So, given that others have the courage to delve into that path in ways that are beyond me, I'd like to relate where I've come from and undoubtly will lose some of you on that journey...But if honesty does that, what of lies?

Note: This is told in the shortest way possible --because it's a book.

#1. I grew up in Tennessee until 10. My father was someone who always had that potential to do more, but got in his own way. And I know why to some degree. As the 9th out of 10 kids, in a family where his dad was a State Pen guard and his mother was a half-Cherokee, tough as leather on a 100 degree day caregiver, love was not in much supply. His dad was provoked into strange disciplining of the kids. The worse you did, the easier the punishment. Break a glass, get your ass beat.

At 14, my father finally stood up to grandpa (not William L. Clark, a different grandpa) in calling his own mother a bitch. My dad got more than a beating, it was a one-sided fight, but as the story went, he called out his dad, "Is that all you got, old man!" After that, it was all downhill.

My dad carried that into his marriages, 4 of them to be exact. My mother was wife #2 when they were both 20 and 21. I was born on a military base, but I should not have been. Whatever my mother saw in my dad, it turned pretty violent, pretty quickly. She as a fairly devout Catholic struggled to make a marriage work to a Christian Fundamentalist, that was neither Christian nor very fundamental in his life. My dad jumped from job to job, ran around with loose women and drank, did Columbia dancing dust and worked a bar, the 64 Club, that I became acquainted with.

When I was 9, my mother after a long night at work got a ride home from "Chuck Baker," some employee of the same place. My dad was high and was mad at her for everything. So the beating commenced. It went on for an hour, I guess. I was scared to death, in the closet of my room, paralyzed with fear. Then my dad called me out, "---, come here!" I panicked..."---, come, here!" So I did.

What I saw was a mess. Aside from the kitchen, my mother was black and blue and wet all over. She did not look like mom. My dad had a knife, and he wanted me to kill him. My mother wanted me to kill him, in her eyes. He handed me the knife and asked me again. In a split second I could have done the entire world a favor...

After their divorce, the problems were just as bad...My dad OBSESSED like no other about my mom. He stalked her. He threatened me more than once if I did not ask the questions he wanted of her. So I lied to keep him happy. GOD became an obsession like no other..too. Between Revelations, John and Jesus I got so tired of listening as a 5th grader.

My mother left me behind. It got too much for her. So she moved North. I stayed in Tennessee for 6 weeks, until my dad couldn't stand me around and the leverage I was to him, faded. My mother's family, William L. Clark and Co., came to the rescue once again. But one did not care a lick.

#2. aunt, my mother's only sister, is a damaged human being. She's a perfectionist, that could not perfect a normal life. I do feel sorry for her biggest secret: the ones that destroy as a child. But she hates children. She couldn't stand me at age 10-11. I was no picnic, after the last 18 months of my life had seen a dozen places to stay, threats, violence and even a night in a jail cell under, "for his protection." Really?! While my dad roamed free...

My aunt took to harassing me with mocking my words, always suggesting I was stupid. She talked about my mother's failure of a marriage as, "See, that what happens when you leave home." My aunt has never left home on her own. Her dad William once got her an interview at US Steel just to see her sabotage herself by bringing another lady along to the Interview!!! That's how she thinks...and it pisses me off to no end.

Once my mother and I could move to a 1-bedroom apt. across the street, we did. But my aunt was always chided me. He plays too much. He won't work. He won't do enough around here.

I got a paper route at 12. Mowed lawns all summer. Played baseball whenever I could. Wanted to go to instructional camps on the sport, but could not ever afford it. So I got a dishwashing job at age 16, two days after I became 16. I work 30 hours a week while going to school. Not good enough.

I scored in the 98% on the SAT Math section. I was in advance courses and accepted to Purdue. My English sucked though. But my actions were selfish according to her. She felt cheated...not enough attention.

I moved to college, nearly permanently. I would only come "home" to see my mom, who now lived back with her sister after both grandparents passed away. My mother owned a consignment shop for clothes, a good little business that I could only give some help to, but my aunt found ways to avoid the shop, doing only work behind the scenes... She only works with her relatives, namely my mother now, and has a flair for the DRAMA of any situation.

Upon graduation from Purdue, the only one who cared to show was my mother. My aunt had "foot issues" and did not show up. That was expected...

In 1997, I had worked as an Industrial Engineer for a year, but the money I took could not pay bills. I tried to get a 2nd job, but 60 hours in one place doesn't get it. I got mad, went to a better paying, but horrible job for Navistar. After 3 weeks, I found I couldn't stand my boss. So I quit.

I drug my ass "home" to hear the music. It took about a month. One night, I overheard my aunt, "When is he ever going to get anything right? He's just stupid." My mother did not defend me, "He's like his father sometimes..."

My father in 1988 was convicted of the worst crime you'll EVER read about. He spent 9 years in Ft. Leavenworth, since he went back to the Marines, and had remarried again and hurt his own stepdaughter in ways I don't know about...but I know.

I joined the U.S. Navy about 3 weeks after that overheard conversation. It was a mistake. College educated as an enlisted bloat. The people are fine if you can handle your alcohol. I can't...it makes me a far worse person than I really am. And I have the criminal record to prove that....see below.

On March 6, 1999, after boot camp, A-school, and an OCS application that got derailed due to my weight (I was put in a remedial gym class, even though I completed my PRT (Physical Readiness Test)with an outstanding), I got drunk and stupid. I tried to commit suicide.

My aunt is a person you would think is nice, unless you heard her talk away from you. It has rubbed off since I am talking about her. But that's my choice...

#3. Another woman. For some reason I fell in love with her. After my honorable discharge due to alcohol rehabiliation failure, I managed to convince a warehouse to hire me as an Industrial Engineer. And I dried out on my own. 19 months I did not drink- without AA or BB or the AFL-CIO help. I actually began to do what I should, like make a difference at work. I joined a community organization...and meet another woman.

It took awhile for me -- never been a ladie's man, go figure, so I was afraid to come to it. I pretended to be confident, secure (like now) and tried humor often. She took notice. Not hanging all over me notice, but notice. But I was hooked.

After a few months, and quite a few emails, I thought she might like to go out with me. She rejected politely, but encouraged me in ways I just did not understand...Never have understood. I told her my own personal secrets--the drinking and suicide attempt --and she was supportive sort of... like a pat on the head for being a good boy.

Then I told her about my father. That did it. She gave me a book - Legacy of the Heart --about dealing with a bad childhood and forgiveness, and thus the reason I am writing.

Within 24 hours, the tone changed.

She threatened me with legal pursuit (mission accomplished) and bragged about her life. Calling herself a conceited bitch, that she could tell if a man was gay or straight, that I acted if I deserved her and that I was a child of God that she did not want to know...

I did not respond rationally...I was pitiful actually. I cried all the way to Kansas as I drove.

After that, I tried to apologize via email!!! Yep, I was apologizing for being a failed person, with secrets and things I'd rather forget every single day of my life. But I can't and people that I barely know now, know it.

When the police came to my door that did it. I wrote the worst email in human existence that did not include a single threat in it. But it did include this line: "The gall and audacity of a self-righteous, self-centered poor-excuse-for-a-babymaker bitch..." I was drunk for the first time in 19 months...writing no less.

My best friend in the world of a decade got this letter, along with others. We'd met at Purdue and bounced around our lives like twenty-somethings typically do. He did not respond. I called him later -- and he was worried, so worried he forgot to write, call or otherwise put two cups and attach them to a string.

A protective order was enforced. I never saw her again...until court.

I felt guilt like you can barely imagine. I OBSESSED over it all. I wrote volumes of "I'm sorry" sent to no one.

I moved away from the area - 100 miles away in another state- taking a job that I had talked to her about. (Soon to be important.) About a month after the final nail in the coffin, I got a warrant issued for my arrest for Invasion of Privacy due to that email sent to her and others. Funny, it was not mentioned at the hearing that enforced the Protective order.

So, I stress over that. For 3 months, I worked and avoided the State. I called the lawyer I had hired. He filed a motion to dismiss. Failed. I wanted to go to jail because I DESERVE it. I called her a bitch and ruined a friendship, because that is all it really was, after all.

For some fucking reason, I cared about her. Maybe she reminded me of my father not seen in 20 years or the better parts of whatever was my aunt. Had to be something. We shared a bunch of similiar interests, even the fucking LAW. (I took the LSAT and scored pretty well.)

In early spring, I finally turned myself in and was OR out. But I lost my job as a consultant because I was too scared to admit I was in the wheels of justice. (They had hired me to replace a foreign worker whose VISA ran out...)

After nearly 6 months, I wrote her again another silly, drunken apology. You can imagine how I pleaded.
I offered her things and money I did not have.

After another very long email to anyone I ever knew, I turned myself in. Big mistake. I spent 27 months behind bars - 3 for the Invasion and 24 for the new Stalking charge. I GOT WHAT I DESERVED.

At the sentencing hearing, the victim wrote a 9 1/2 page, single spaced statement to the court. She lied a lot.

She compared me to a rapist, a murderer, a robber and a child molester. She used the word Stalker 20 plus times. It was a good piece of fiction. According to her:
  1. I robbed her 93 year old grandmother in the state I moved to
  2. Broke into a U-lock
  3. Had 3 black men follow her around in beat up cars
  4. Use peanut oil to pick her lock
  5. Read her diary
  6. Watched her cook breakfast

And plenty more I don't remember off hand. Course I never did those things--and was never charged, or saw a police report to any of that. By the way, she worked for a top security company that has a history tied to the Presidents. And she said they could not protect her. That my one year of Naval Service as a technician was a danger. (I've shot a gun twice - neither time in the U.S. Navy.)

Why I tell this? Because I no longer have any more chances. After Prison, I have applied to over 400+ jobs. No one wants a convict. I don't want a convict.

I live at home with mom, using the library to post these blogs. My aunt is ever a thorn in my side. I avoid her like the plague, she does like wise.

I try to think positive thoughts...If there is a God, he knows.


THE OTHERS, I understand. You don't need the drama. I wish you the best in your journeys.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Take you back: My first ever blog entry

In reading Wonderland or Not, an excellent blog that tagged me recently :) , it reminded me of the first post I made at another blog. So this is a Back to the Future sort of post. Hopefully the story is worth the internet storage space.

My first blog: Funny thing this morning, I didn't set out to discover blogging while driving on a delivery route. It just came to me as a way to share what I feel is important to me, and hopefully, others. The day before the 4th of July has always been a bittersweet reminder of my Grandfather's passing in 1986 on the 4th.

I started writing a significant journal on July 4, 1997. Since then, my ability to write has gotten me into trouble at times, but also benefited me, at times too. But to further that premise, here's a true story about my Grandfather, William L. Clark Jr.

My grandpa was involved in WWII like most other people's grandfathers. He was a Boatswain's Mate from late 1942-1947, driving an LCVP (landing craft vehicle personnel) similar to the ones in 'Saving Private Ryan' except around the Pacific Ocean. Before he reached active duty, in the latter part of basic training, his younger brother Harold died in a drowning accident near Paris, Illinois. Harold was 9 or 10 at the time and travelling with his boyscout troop on some outdoor expedition.

My grandfather went back on emergency leave to pay his last respects and see to the needs of the family. I am sure that wasn't easy and his being involved in a war training only heighten the dreaded aura of possibly losing one's life fighting the Japanese and the Germans. After his 72-hour leave, he went back to Pensacola (I think) to ship out with his group. Upon returning, the group he was assigned to had all ready 'shipped out' on another LST, heading out to the Pacific. (I don't recall the LST #, but his was #838..)

After a short while, he heard back that his former 'mates' had been engaged and sunk by a Japanese submarine in what was called 'The Slot', a piece of ocean in the Solomon Islands containing Guadalcanal. Most of the sailors on board went down with the ship. As he told me this, my grandfather said, "I'm lucky...because of Harold's death. You wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for him."

Harold was quite a boy. He was also was nicknamed the 'Firecracker' because he was born on the 4th of July. My grandfather passed on July 4th due to respiratory arrest resulting from complications of lung cancer.

William L. Clark Jr. loved baseball, especially Ted Williams, and Westerns, especially John Wayne. He tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers (Leo Durocher was their HOF manager and future Cubs skipper) ,and before he enlisted, made their Minor League roster. He could have been quite the ballplayer I am sure, but timing IS EVERYTHING in this life. (Luck or fate or whimsy of chance...)

My future thoughts will revolve around my baseball opinions, discussion of Bill James and the reality I feel exists. But I will always try to tie that into the grander scheme of life. I hope.
This entry is for you GRAMPS!!! You are the best man I've ever known!

Note #1: Not Always will post sometime next week.
Note #2: SBwrites, Elaine, Wonderland, Rogue and many others, I'll be by soon enough!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Baseball & Society: Why It matters

I have received a comment or two on why people would not typically read what I post because their interests do not include baseball. I can understand that, being they are women, and sports seem mundane and related too much to testosterone. Well, here are a few reasons you should give professional baseball a looksie:

The founding of the oldest professional league took place in 1876. The centennial of this nation. The National League survived due to William Hulbert taking his business sense and strictness and showing little mercy for gamblers, players on the take and bad behavior.

Baseball turned into a profession shortly after the U.S. Civil War, but left behind men of color until 1947. Several black men played professional baseball (Weldy Wilberforce Walker, Moses Fleetwood Walker (see picture above) and George Stovey, for example) played up until 1887, when Adrian Constantine 'Cap' Anson , legend of the Chicago Cubs refused to play with black players. His racist example, led to a 60-year moratorium on equality for all players.

Baseball for over 80 years has merited antitrust exemption. In 1922, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, considered by many amongst the greatest Jurists in American History, wrote "baseball is a sport, not a business" and that baseball played across state lines was not "interstate commerce" and thus did not fall under the perview of regulation by the U.S. Revocation of this was still being bantered about in 2002. Baseball has been "redefined" over the years, even the stingy Phil K. Wrigley, said, "Baseball is most definitely a business." In 1950!

Baseball has produced plenty of greater writers, historians and novelists. Grantland Rice, Roger Kahn, George F. Will, Leonard Koppett, Sam Lacy, Wendell Smith, Lee Allen and Bill James are just a very few that have shaped the way baseball is viewed. They have plied their craft so well that their words resonate on until this very day.

In 1947, nearly a decade before the Civil Rights Era sprung to life under the small, but determined spirit of Rosa Parks, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson took the field and changed baseball. Jackie played four sports at UCLA, not including tennis, and was spirited to say the very least. He survived a court martial as a commissioned officer in the Army - a rarity once again - to just become the 1st black in sixty years to play in the Majors. He suffered through plenty of hardship and was treated uneven by his teammates and opponents alike. But his is the only MLB number retired on every team . (#42)

Free Agency. Though often misinterpreted as "baseball players getting rich" , free agency was a basic right all people in the workforce strive for. In baseball, for nearly 100 years, a player was attached to a team "for life" unless he retired or otherwise did not play. Owners had the option to never release a player and could pay him whatever the owner determined. (Unlike you and I, who can shop our services to the highest bidder...) Curt Flood started the ball rolling, when he refused a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies. After writing a stirring letter (though legendary legal man Marvin Miller likely helped) to Bowie Kuhn, commissioner of baseball, Flood's case went before the U.S. Supreme Court, argued by former Supreme Arthur Goldberg, only to lose. However, within 4 years, his actions would gain traction and bear fruit for hundreds of MLB players.

These are only a few reasons to be interested in baseball. It is more than a sport, more than a pasttime, and more than just grown men hitting a ball around the field. It has influenced culture, legal issues, the backdrop of society's struggles and has kept its place through tumultuous times in America.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Not Always: Part VI and VII

Part VI – Blame it on Rio

The fight had begun 500 years ago. When the Spanish ruled the seas and had visions of dynasty dancing in their heads. They landed ashore in the Caribbean, ran into foreign plants like sugarcane and tobacco, and were semi-disappointed they had not reached the Spice Islands where explorer Marco Polo had brought back from China plenty of wondrous things just two centuries earlier.

As the curious Conquistadors when forward into the continent searching for treasure and immortality, they found the Aztecs, Mayans, Incas and a few other worthy cultures of note. Is wasn’t long before they were fighting them for their treasures and plundering their great civilizations for booty. Their greatest weapon in this cause was their biology. Bringing foreign diseases from Europe, the Native Americans were soon dropping like flies and made it so much easier to conquer them. In a century, the once great societies of the Central & South America were decimated and offered little future resistance.

But the Spanish gradually lost their mistaken empire as the British, French and Dutch came on short word that plentiful booty, warm climate and enormous natural resources existed just across the Atlantic. After the British defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, the scales of power tipped to Britain. Leaving the Spanish to scramble to South America to retain the most influence until Simon Bolivar brought about independence.

Portugal had its foray into the area. Pedro Álvares Cabral explored the New World, founding Brazil. Unlike the rest of South America, Portuguese is the main language, but that is of little consequence.

But once the exploration phase of the New World petered out, and the founding of the most powerful nation in the world history took place, the cards were reshuffled yet again. World Wars, Civil Rights, The Industrial Revolution and The Information Age brought them to the present.

Those abundant natural resources had rapidly dwindled, pollution increased and economics of the world lay in the hands of those that still had resources and nerve to use them.

Juan Pablo Calderone was such a man. As the new leader of Petrobras, he saw the short-term future of Brazilians tied to the bioethanol market and the exportation of its product to the highest bidder and largest user of fossil fuels, the United States.

Currently, that did not seem possible. The United States placed $.50 per gallon tariffs on Brazilian ethanol because the sugarcane processing in Brazil was cheaper by $.25 US, not counting the substantially subsidized part of the U.S. corn ethanol market. Worse was the inefficient nature of corn produced only produces 1.3 parts of energy for each one used, whereas, Sugarcane produced ethanol produced 8.3 units of energy to one.

This was completely due to the byproducts of sugarcane-to-ethanol process being bagasse, vinasse, and carbon dioxide. In modern sugarcane ethanol plants, bagasse is used for production of steam and electricity. Vinasse is the left over liquid after alcohol is removed (stillage). Vinasse contains nutrients such as nitrogen, potash, phosphate, sucrose, and yeast which could be applied to cropland as a fertilizer. Carbon dioxide could be collected for sale to beverage companies.

Bagasse is the real mover. The amount of electricity produced is then sold off to utilities. A very profitable residual benefit.

Petrobras currently produced 4.5 Billions gallons of ethanol. It provided 40% of the Brazilian motorist fuel in their endeavors. This though could be ramped up to 30 Billion gallons in five years, under the right market conditions and proper investment from outside.

Currently, the United States, as Juan Pablo saw it, was facing a two-fold dilemma: 25% of the worlds oil was being used by the U.S. but the production from non-OPEC countries would not increase in the future. OPEC had power because it was sitting on huge oil reserves the United States needed to get at. So now the United States would go on its exploration into the Middle East for oil (and war) – and the Middle East knew that. The Middle Eastern countries suspiciously eyed any U.S. involvement in their affairs, since the only substantial difference from them and African states was the oil in the ground. To get at the oil, ‘wars of economics’ were being fought. The terrorist attacks in 2001 were likely motivated by a fearful concern over the U.S. encroachment on sacred lands that just so happen to contain oil.

The nation founded by accident, abundant in a wide array of materials, was now out on the prowl for replacement resources.

The second dilemma was tied to the Heartland of America. Corn was abundant there; and could be converted to ethanol, as 15% all ready was, but only provided 2% of the gas needed. The input costs were going up and the crop yields at 130 bushels/acre were driven by over fertilizing, and thus not providing the environmental benefit the watchdog groups supported and were gaining traction in enforcing. Immigration workers were soon going to be hauled back in greater amounts, as the population was growing increasingly worrisome over people that don’t speak English thanks to the terrorism scare.

The U.S. Sugarcane crop is produced in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Hawaii. Climatologists predict more hurricanes hitting the Gulf regions where the sugarcane was produced, reducing yields, and nixing the benefit. On top of that, the operating cycle of Gulf sugarcane is only 3 to 6 months compared to 9 months for the tropical Brazil. Hawaii’s climate would be optimal; but for the land acquisition price that has shattered that market option.

So, the United States could not produced more bioethanol without significant cost barriers, and Brazil still had one more ace-in-the-hole: The Amazon Rainforest.

Juan Pablo Calderone had convinced the recent advisory board of Petrobras that expanding operations into the Cerrado portion of the Amazon made sense. That the new deal with Nippon Alcohol Hanbai, the Japanese supplier of ethanol to all of Japan, the ability to supply them long term would require it. He smoothed over the environmental concerns with a wit and charm only a former street person could muster. Living in a Favela, he survived outside overcrowded Sao Paulo in his formative years and made his way out through the grace of God, prayers to Maria and killing when necessary.

Now at age 44, twenty years removed from that fray, Pablo could envision gas prices in the United States of $5.75-$6.50 a gallon, forcing them to take on 10 Billion gallons of Brazilian ethanol, if only they reached the tipping point quickly.

Waiting for the come on the river was not Pablo’s style. He’d rather fix the game and get the money and leave.

He did not care if the reports showed the Amazon was a key component to water vapor cycle in the world, and thus attached to all Global Warming projections. Or that the damage could tip the world’s climate so drastically that people in the freezing cold would be too warm and people in comfortable climates would face starvation. To him it was all too scientific and too much conjecture. By the time anyone really knows for sure, he’ll be somewhere else and rich enough not to give a damn.

Part VII – Taken

Bobby was silently considering just how it had all went so wrong. At that moment, the years behind him came rushing back to the present. It didn’t matter that a naked woman with perky ice cream cone pre-fabricated boobs was gyrating to ‘Fergalicious’ just 3 yards away. Or that Manny kept on asking him about Veronica, the new girl, as if he could give a damn about another lost soul at the moment.

No, Bobby had been doing fine until two hours ago. Now, he suspected it would be all about just how far he was willing to take his life of immorality and leeching off the shattered, confused and stupid. The money was there, all ready $250,000 placed in the bank, with $1 million upon successful completion of kidnapping. Kidnapping. That was the flaw to him.

He had never killed or directly robbed anyone. Assaulted and threaten, sure, that came with the territory. He’d made a living off of weaker people since he was 12 years old. He’d been an imposing kid and used his fists and tone of voice to get people to do things early on. Now 6’5” 245 lbs with old Hollywood looks, and considerable reputation, Bobby could just suggest things and people would dance. Being nice, initially, worked. There was an art form to getting your way.

Bobby could remember a more innocent time. He had loved art and could paint a passable copy of Renoir’s Mme. Charpentier and Her Children by age 16. He spent his “off hours” cultivating that knack for painting and found the innocence of it refreshing from the bullying of weak people. If only that had been his path, but artists did not get paid in accolades until after their death.

“Hey Bobby! How’s this one?” Manny, a low-level mob thug, was pointing out the strawberry blonde next to him. She had a nice face if the makeup wasn’t so damn hideous.

“Manny, whatever. I’m busy.” Bobby replied annoyed.

“Sorry Bobby. You letting that broad get to you?”

Bobby bolts up, and in a fraction of second is in Manny’s face, “What the fuck do you know? What the fuck?”

Now petrified, “Nothing Bobby! Just that call and your mood, that’s all.”

“What it is… is none of your concern.” Bobby breaths heavily on Manny, then backs away. The strippers are standing as far back as their other customers will allow. “Get me a fucking drink.” Bobby turns away and plops down again, as the song switches to Akon’s ‘I Wanna Fuck You.’ As the base kicks in, Manny heads up to the bar for Bobby’s vodka concoction.

Bobby is now determined to do it.
Coming Soon...
Part VIII - Tom & Marissa Dance Their Tune
This is a work of bad fiction.... it in no way represents people, companies, acts or otherwise portrays a real situation...It's fun, leave it that way.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Not Always: Parts IV and IV

Part IV - The Indy 500 of Business

It lasted only forty seconds. The same amount of time it takes an average Indy car to circumnavigate the 2 1/2 mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While the thrill of reaching 240 miles per hour in the back straightaway reaches nirvana for those special drivers, this round of emotionless sex was becoming more a chore each time performed, Tina thought. But it had its uses.

Tina DeBois had grown up dirt poor in the backwoods of Tennessee. Her uncle ran moonshine, bought off sunglass-laden sheriffs and been too friendly with her. But she fixed him - Bobbit style - and escaped to the North, like a runaway slave on the Underground Railroad. After bouncing from shelter to shelter, passing through a dozen cities in three years, Tina met Bobby in New York.

Bobby was a semi-handsome, Gregory Peck look-a-like pimp, but a nice one, that took considerable interest in Tina for more than sex. She got a better deal than the rest of Bobby's "non-exempt" employees in getting an opportunity to attend community college during the day. Majoring in business, Tina went through an associate's degree at SUNY in a year with all A's.

Her going rate at night was 1,500 dollars up front, 500 extra for kink, another 250 for special dress, the cop, nurse or cheerleader fetish. Bobby only took 10% back from her; his usual kickback was 25% to 35% from 50 different girls of lesser quality. Before long, she had a considerable bank account and a closer relationship with Bobby than anyone else in years.

After nine months, they parted ways semi-amicably. Even after their sexual-symbiotic relationship climaxed and faded away, Tina could call on Bobby. He no longer made attempts to get sex from her; only wondered when she would be running the place.

Tina finished up her bachelors at City University of New York's, Brooklyn College, once again getting all A's. With that, she opened the door to Wall Street's Hass, Zitters & Moss Mergers & Acquisition Department as the international finance secretary for Mr. Hyrum Hass, an overweight legend from the 1980's when Wall Street hummed along under the depraved dealings of Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken. Hyrum got his success the old fashion way: piggy backing on other peoples' money train. Though never caught, he was making the most of the inside information game. And nothing ever really changed.

As Hyrum rolled off Tina, and the satisfied and contented man came back to his real purpose, Tina leaned over to the night stand, got a pill and swallowed.

"So you think she heard our plans?" Hyrum reached for a snifter of double malt scotch.

"Enough, I suppose. But not enough to do anything about it. When you want me contact Bobby?" Tina was gently massaging the salt-n-pepper hair on Hyrum's chest.

"Won't be too long -- the Arabs are anxious to get this deal done."

"I don't like using her child in this -- even as a bargaining chip -- but we'll do it all right."

"It has to be done. Preoccupied people are careless people." Hyrum reflects pensively. "Those Arabs are doing much worse."

"Yeah, they really have a knack for chaos. Thousands of years of practice, I suppose." Tina adds.

"Well, it will be worth it. It always is on the street." As Hyrum closes his eyes to snooze, Tina smiles almost innocently.

Part V- Texas Tea

Thousands of miles away from New York in a bright midday sun rides a fully-loaded silver Binz S-class limousine at high speed down what would be considered an immaculate freeway. The temperature in the car was a comfortable 66 degrees, 40 degrees cooler than a normal Middle East day.

The tall, tan, athletic 40ish man in the back was dressed impeccably in suit costing five thousand dollars, without the shoes. He was a renegade in his world - a world filled with renegades. He had the discipline of very few of his ilk. Spent days thinking out things, that others made snap judgments in minutes or hours. That cost them their lives or the lives of others they cared about.

The misconception in the world is that all Arabian Muslims don't care about life. They do. Even more than many Christians or Jews. The problem was the various sides were starkly influenced by religion, national pride and secular concerns that fiercely divided the people from Algeria to Bangladesh. And the warring factions made and broke treaties in such short order that trust and understanding was no longer a realistic option. Yet they survived in the most inhospitable lands, while controlling what every other country wanted: oil.

Suresh Mamghatti Husam's father was a successful bazaar owner in India. Through the marketplaces, Suresh learned plenty from his father. Patience and neutrality in business being the most important. Because of that, Suresh did not let religion or country of origin bother him. He made deals. And smoothed over the minute differences he had with others by knowing their hearts and their ambitions.

He adapted to the scenario, even learning languages and dialects to fit the purpose. Even though Suresh never went to a university, he incorporated his father's advice and his innate talents for language and a photographic-like memory to met the tasks at hand.

This task though ran counter to all of that.

His cell phone rang, after a brief conversation in Hindustani, Suresh tapped hard with his cane on the bullet proof dividing glass between him and the driver. The Iranian driver answered in very good English over the intercom, "Where to sir?"

"Head to Mahtenash Corporate. Call ahead to the switchboard for Mr. Yuri Gomach."

"Yes sir."

Suresh had finalized the details - 200 trained men, armed and loaded with explosives - were his to command. 500 million dollars was a conservative take on his “minor role” in this scenario. Suresh Mamghatti Husam was now in charge of blowing up the largest oil pipelines and refineries in the Middle East and Russia.

Coming Soon...

Part VI - Blame it on Rio or "Taken"

This is a bad work of fiction...no events, places or people exist as far as this blogger knows. Keep that in mind...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Danny Brown: A Victim of the United States Judicial Process

I guess today we saw the quick release of one Ms. Paris Hilton. Due to her peticulant eating habits and whining (likely), she got out. If it were only so easy for others...

I posted a story a while back on another blog, and discussed it today at Girl in Short Shorts because she posted about Paris and the cases of Julie Amero and Gernalow Wilson. The two cases she reflected on are instances where the U.S. Justice System shows it's most dastardly side, echoing Dred Scott (right) and the fight for freedom he lost, but touched off a struggle that has only begun in reaching equality.

The case I speak of is that of one Danny Brown. (right) Since I cannot tell the story any better, I'll let Mr. ">Michael Brooks reflect it.
Danny Brown stands next to my police-like Crown Victoria as we survey an apartment building in the Toledo's Birmingham Terrace, which is not one of the East Side's tonier residential complexes. Circling teens on bikes and noses pressed against the apartment windows speak of a curious neighborhood. The irony of being mistaken for an undercover officer is not lost upon him.
"I'll bet they have us pegged as narcs," he laughs, crushing a cigarette butt under his shoe. Little do they know that Danny is a man who spent 19 years in state prisons, convicted of a horrible crime.
The faces in the panes continue to peer out, wondering what these strangers are doing in their neighborhood.

December 1981
In December 1981, Ronald Reagan was finishing his first year in office. Joe Montana was emerging as a star in his third season with the San Francisco 49ers, en route to a victory in Super Bowl XVI. The top pop single of the month was "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John, and moviegoers turned out en masse to view Stephen Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
In December 1981, a woman named Bobbie Russell was raped and murdered in the Birmingham Terrace apartments. In the late evening hours of a frigid night, after her children were put to bed, an assailant (or perhaps, assailants) entered her home, raped, and strangled her with an electrical cord pulled from the newly-decorated Christmas tree that stood silent sentry over the brutal events in Bobbie Russell's living room.
And also in December 1981, Danny Brown was arrested and charged with this hideous offense.
Mr. Brown was tried and convicted by a jury of his peers, and sentenced to a term of 15 years to life. A gruesome crime had been committed, the public demanded justice, and the system delivered a guilty verdict. Another open-and-shut case drew to a close, having wound its way through the criminal justice system like a custom-ordered Jeep from the assembly line.
In the automobile business, however, vehicles are occasionally produced with serious flaws; in common parlance, such a car is a "lemon." While an inconvenience to the consumer, remedies are available to address the problems.
In Danny Brown's criminal case, there was also a significant problem: he was convicted for a crime that he didn't commit. The justice system in Lucas County, Ohio manufactured a lemon. Unfortunately for Danny, there are few legal procedures to mend his shattered life, and the roads to rebuilding his life are strewn with state-imposed barriers and outright government interference.

The Production of a Judicial Lemon
Danny Brown awoke on the morning of December 6, 1981 and looked outside the window of the house of a high school friend; the party from the night before had ended rather late, and Danny chose to spend the night rather than walk back to his parents' house on Detroit Avenue. The frost on the windowpane sparkled in the morning light, creating a sense of peaceful tranquility that would stand in stark contrast with the shocking scene across the Maumee River at the apartment of Bobbie Russell. The yellow police line tape restricted access to the place where the young woman's brutalized body had been covered by a starched white sheet.
Bobbie and Danny knew each other and had dated a few times in the months preceding her murder. Thus, word of her death on the noon news saddened Danny, and he, like the rest of the public, was outraged at the savage killing.
As an acquaintance of Bobbie's, Danny was not surprised that the police would want to talk with him. He went to the police station on his own, and waived his right to an attorney during questioning; he felt that he had nothing to hide, and wanted to help the police in any way that he could. However, it was clear early in the investigation that the detectives had a very short list of one suspect in the murder of Bobbie Russell: Danny Brown.
Although lacking physical evidence tying Danny to the crimes, and faced with over twenty possible alibi witnesses able to testify on Danny's behalf, the prosecution built a case upon the testimony of Bobbie Russell's six year-old son, Jeffrey. While his version of the events of December 5, 1981 were riddled with inconsistencies, factual impossibilities, and outright fabrications, it was Jeffrey's insistence that "Danny did it" that led to the conviction of Danny Brown.
Jeffrey changed his story several times during the investigation and trial. For example, the number of assailants began at one in the initial interview, went to two men during the investigation, and reverted back to one man during the trial.
In his testimony, Jeffrey described events that could not have been witnessed from his location. For example, at a point where he was supposedly hiding under a bed, he described in great detail how the killer attempted to strangle his three year-old sister with a coat hanger. He also described seeing Danny kicking at an outside door; unfortunately, a concrete awning covered this door, and anyone kicking the door could not be visible to someone on the second story.
A national debate over the reliability of child witnesses is occurring in the legal world. The suggestibility of and ease with which young children can be "coached" has created an environment where children are often perceived as unreliable in their testimony. In New Jersey v. Michaels (1994), the court ruled that "the questioning of the children was so suggestive and coercive that they were rendered incompetent to testify." In another case, Hawaii v. McKellar (1985), the judge discounted the testimony of small children, arguing that their responses were the result of "layers and layers of interviews, questions, examinations, etc., which were fraught with textbook examples of poor interview techniques."
It is possible that Jeffrey, in his zeal to help the police catch his mother's killer, unknowingly helped convict an innocent man. The possibility also exists that the interrogative techniques used by detectives may have improperly influenced Jeffrey's recollection of the events.
There were numerous attempts by the prosecutors to secure a plea bargain from Danny Brown; the complete lack of physical evidence and shaky testimony of the sole witness must have seemed to be a weak case. At one point, Danny was offered a sentence of one to ten years at Mansfield Reformatory in exchange for a plea of involuntary manslaughter while in the commission of a misdemeanor; with time served, Danny could have been out of prison in one year. However, Danny Brown knew he was innocent, believed in the ultimate power of truth, and wanted to go to trial to clear his name.
The guilty verdict rendered by the jury on September 24, 1982 shocked Mr. Brown; how could a man be sent to prison for a crime that he did not commit? Brown says: "I stood there, dumbfounded. I could not believe that the system could fail so miserably."
This question has no easy answer. However, two important factors were in the favor of Lucas County prosecutors: Danny Brown was poor, and Danny Brown was black. In America, these two attributes will bring about a different source of justice than that received by more affluent white defendants. Figures from the U.S. Department of Justice illustrate this point: African-Americans are incarcerated at a rate 5 times higher than whites, and an estimated 32% of all black males will enter state or federal prison in their lifetimes.
Danny did time in some of Ohio's toughest prisons: Mansfield Correctional, Richland, and the infamous Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville, where nine inmates and one correctional officer lay dead after 11 days of rioting in 1993. He does not like to talk about his time behind bars, but one gets the sense that some things just do not need to be told.

Wrongful Convictions in America
Quantifying the extent of the problem of wrongful convictions in American prisons is a difficult proposition; given the fact that the current U.S. incarcerated population has crossed the two million threshold, the sheer volume of cases makes thorough examination a Herculean task. However, in figures compiled by the Law School of Northwestern University, 17 out of 298 convicted murderers facing the death penalty in Illinois have subsequently been exonerated since capital punishment was reinstated in 1977; this translates into a wrongful conviction rate of 5.7%. At this level, there could be over 100,000 wrongly convicted citizens in our nation's prisons.
The reasons for wrongful convictions are varied. Figures complied by the Innocence Project, a Cincinnati-based non-profit organization, show that the top causes of improper incarceration are mistaken identity, serology inclusion, defective or fraudulent science, and police/prosecutorial misconduct. The Danny Brown case is but one of thousands of cases of wrongful conviction in America.
"What happened to me could happen to any citizen," Brown says. "If you cannot afford the elite lawyers and the associated costs involved with proving innocence, you run the risk of being falsely imprisoned."

Freedom, Justice, and Other Things
Danny Brown was freed on April 9, 2001 through the efforts of a Princeton, New Jersey group known as Centurion Ministries. Founded by James McCloskey in 1983, the group has successfully obtained the release of 26 wrongly convicted persons throughout the United States.
The Lucas County Prosecutor's Office was satisfied with the one-assailant theory for nineteen years, until the point when DNA evidence proved conclusively that Danny Brown could not have raped Bobbie Russell. The testing not only eliminated Brown as a suspect, but also identified a man named Sherman Preston as the person from whom the semen originated. Ironically, Preston is incarcerated for the 1983 murder of Toledoan Denise Howell, in a rape-murder case that shares many similarities with the killing of Bobbie Russell.
After the bombshell of the DNA testing, and Brown's successful passing of a polygraph test in 2001, Lucas County prosecutors suddenly dusted off the two-assailant conjecture. They have steadfastly refused to eliminate Brown as a suspect, referring back to the phantom "second man" in Jeffrey Russell's vacillating witness statement to police in 1981.
In an interview with John Weglian, division chief of the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office, the county is committed to bringing this case to a close. Weglian insists that there remains an "active investigation," although he would not disclose any details of its efforts to prosecute those responsible for the death of Bobbie Russell. The County contends that both Brown and Preston are suspects.
This statement comes as a surprise to family members of Ms. Russell. Betsy Temple, niece of the murdered woman, says that there has been no communication between family members and the Prosecutor's Office in "years." The idea that there is an active investigation on the part of the county strikes family members as a cruel "joke."
The family feels that justice was served in 1982, and does not understand why, if the county believes that Danny Brown killed Bobbie Russell, the prosecutors do not retry the case. In addition, since no one is jailed for the crime, it is possible that the killer remains at large; as a result, Ms. Temple indicated that family members fear for their safety. They long for a day when the nightmare will finally end, and the family can achieve some sort of peace.

Danny Brown Today
A large part of Danny's life has been stolen from him, and a cloud of seemingly infinite suspicion continues to hang over his head. A young man in 1982, he is now 49 years old; while freed, he has not been officially exonerated. For the State of Ohio to admit that Danny was wrongfully convicted would make a civil suit seeking damages something of a slam-dunk. Danny Brown has filed a civil suit against the State of Ohio, naming the State, the County, and the City of Toledo as defendants (John Weglian refused to comment on the civil litigation). The State continues to throw up obstacles in the path of Danny's attempts to gain three major goals: apology from the state, complete exoneration, and restitution. In fact, one can still view Danny Brown's Ohio Department of Corrections file on the Internet; in the eyes of the State, he is simply an ex-convict.
Danny says that one of the most difficult aspects of the entire ordeal has been the cloud of suspicion that continues to hang over his head. "Even though I am released, I am still looked upon as a criminal," says Brown. "At what point can I reclaim my name?"
In nineteen years, Danny could have earned many hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages. In addition, what value can be placed upon the pleasant things most of us take for granted in our daily lives, such as watching a child birth, enjoying a basketball game, or attending the wedding of a family member? While an exact dollar figure for the damage done to Mr. Brown's life may be complicated to obtain, any amount would be better than what was paid to Danny Brown upon his release in 2001: $0.00.
In a gesture that borders on the Kafkaesque, Danny Brown was not even paid the normal release stipend, or "gate money," that prisoners traditionally receive. The State of Ohio normally supplies released inmates with "one set of clothing suitable for weather, plus three sets of underwear and socks and other accumulated clothing; from $25-$75 and personal, accumulated funds and property; applicable papers." He walked out of court on April 9, 2001 after nineteen years in prison with nothing but the clothes on his back. However, his release was bittersweet: "I was elated to be free, but somewhat resentful to be jailed for a crime that I did not commit."
Today, Danny's life has taken some turns for the better. He has married, and considers his wife Rhonda to be a blessing. He has worked several unskilled jobs since his release; the Associate's Degree he earned while incarcerated has not yet opened doors to a rewarding career. He is also taking classes at the University of Toledo, hoping to get a degree in a criminal justice-related field.
For a man treated so poorly by the system, Danny is surprisingly upbeat, positive, and does not exhibit bitterness.
"I want to change the system; I'm not angry at any particular person," he says as we look at the building where Bobbie Russell was murdered almost 23 years ago. "I hope to spend the rest of my life working to prevent this type of injustice from ever happening again."
The children in one of the apartments continue to stare at the odd pair of strangers standing on their grass. The muscular black man and the gangly white dude must be cops; why the hell else would they be snooping around this neighborhood?
End of Michael Brooks piece....
If you read enough, you will find hundreds of these cases circulating in the system. The people in charge of prosecution and arresting people are neglectful of their duties in putting the right people in the right places. They are so caught up with dispensing justice, often with little regard for whom they put away (and thinking no one would obfuscate the situation, or often, they lie to get their convictions) and do a grave disservice to the American Public.
I am aware personally of the legal missteps legal authorities make and rarely ever confess that are done. It is hardly a wonder that many who commit crimes or make poor judgments in seconds or minutes will not fess up to their errors and crimes. When people of supposed character, integrity, intellect, judgment and power, most of all, refuse to admit errors, and outright crimes, well, we are only the poorer as a nation for their purposeful crimes.
Danny Brown on March 26, 2006 was denied a retrial on this conviction by 6th District Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 vote, it denied his petition to force the Lucas County prosecutor to either retry or exonerate him.
To write the prosecutor, this courtesy of Michael Brooks' blog:
Prosecutor Julia Bates
Lucas County Courthouse
Adams and Erie Streets
Toledo, OH 43624
(419) 213-4700

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Not Always: AKA when it all feels like chicken

Part I

Not always, does it go so wrong, so fast, but just when the frail brightness of a supposed happiness longed for daily seems to dwell more around you, more consistent, much longer than ever before imagined, and the failures disappear for a prolonged instant, that is when BAM!!! CRASH!!! Everything goes black, and to dread, and you feel so much the foolish soul for the prolonged effort in trying…to get it right, finally, again. Turning over and over events in your head, in a proverbial irreversible grave if you will, the errors discovered in a life that was… not going right at all. This is technically is called: the point of realization that you fucked up royally. And the place where all stories begin.

I was 18, going on 40, or 35 going on 12…it doesn’t matter what age I was. I was working the 9-5 for quite a few years, making people things, selling ice cream, keeping the boss happy and the like. The time was also filled with tons of restless sleep, socializing with bar buddies at local watering holes and bad women picked up at the 'last chance' gully of despair. My biggest goals were to keep the rent paid, the ‘rents out of my hair, a fairly healthy appearance (so I could dwell on the glory days) and someone coming around to satisfy those other needs, we all have. After all, what is a person to do if they are not focused on other things: like community service, long-range security, kids or 401Ks.

I met people like that. Some I could understand their points, and agreed wholeheartedly with their beliefs, until, when I saw them slamming down 151, Hot Damn or Stoli or gossiping excessively about some Jennifer so-so, then I heard the truest words they ever spoke about themselves, "I'm am so fucked up and I don't know where I am going." I kept that in mind, and decided those other goals don’t carry weight, much, after beer thirty and liquor lunch. Rarely, but it happened, as you approach milestones, those fated anniversaries of emptiness, you ponder harder on those issues because you never thought time would catch you by the short and curly ones.

It had in my case and the pull was painful.

The experience of life is not connected by just days, turning months, then years marked by candles, liquor celebrations or mid-life crisis, but the relationships we settle into out of desire, necessity or the convenience to not be alone. And not just any one relationship; most of us see our problematic situations for years and years, we bottled them up in neat little packages of anger, frustration and insecurities waiting for a solution to come out or about, usually, and instead, we crave an insincere apology from the other side of the divide. We seek our due penance through new relationships- trying to exercise the demons of old- hoping this friend is better than our family was, or our teachers were, or some other missing element of growing up, or the lagging development of being an overstressed, under appreciated, near-do-well adult.

God calls too. The Big Man. The Creator. His Most High. And all the
futile pleas to find out why we wake up wishing we weren’t us. Some
people don’t have this, and I truly envy their positivism in the bleak world it often is. I bid them do great things. Fine a way to solve all the hunger, and violence and end all the suffering everywhere. We all should be so lucky. But the remaining persons (like you and me) have to wonder why Billy Joel’s “Captain Jack” speaks to us vividly and resonates loudly, and we laugh and cry along with Billy, for a brief moment. Then we just ponder it all. Just like God (or Billy) expects us too. And He (GOD) sees this whimsy moving in our heads like a fat hamster on the wheel, and probably appreciates it in us. Just hoping action follows bloated thought.

And for the countless times I thought it out, that I’ll put my better soled foot forward, and find a real way to make the right choices and forge new beliefs, using the infallible guidance of the Creator or what I thought was his calling to some goodness that must exist inside of me. (It must, or I’ll be damned to understand why the game.) True to form, I wander away after a few weeks, or someone comes around to “tempt” me back to the consistent B.S. I got a post doctorate thesis working towards. But the song gets play again, by another artist, and that is the depressing part of this story. (Note: The Bible was a source of inspiration too. But for artistic purposes, utilizing the symbolism of a song just works…or not.)

Later, if the same year, I don’t think so, the finally resting place of the
old, cynical, crab ass happens. A different inhabitant begins to take form. The first of it is to ditch the beer buddies. They are quick to exit and easier to contend with once I just don’t go to their bars. I lose my controlling interest in MGD incorporated, and find faith in something more useful: jogging around my neighborhood every night. I can hear you say, “I thought it would be the church, or AA, or community service.” Grand leaps of faith are a glorious thing. Just they are not for us all. Commitment is a freckled and fickled thing. But for anyone managing it, I commend it. Enjoy your 12-step program to enlightenment.

Next came the rush to find a new job. Pulling out a different mask: the
considerate, kind, energetic, team player, all that you wanted to be and should be, only practicing it takes time. Discouragement happens, but rebounding is easier without the negative vibes in life. Hangers-on to the old self are damned, and the better part of rejection is the knowing the right person is still available for that dream job: me. But it came, and the fruits came with it. You like what you do. The boss does not bother you. I make the effort to stay later and get in earlier. Hours in my life seem like minutes. Days click by. Projects never done, get done. The hum and drum start purring and soothing over me like a waterfall hitting rocks and enticing me to relax, take it in, see all the good stuff.

Finally, the best part of it all: a relationship that counts. By the way: I met others that counted on the way to this. Just the relationship that matters, is the romance lost in the gloaming of the springtime of youth.

Part II

She was once a curvy Hooters waitress where all the girls are measured by bra size first, panties second and intelligence fifth. Marissa was a total babe, the package magnificent, body taut and mind razor-like. She utilized her girlish assets under 21 to get a sugar daddy for 12 months. Fifty large, a black Lexus, cute kid and $2,000 a month in child support later, she was out the door to make her way in the nefarious power-drunk world.

After getting through the 6-year torture session that is college, with professors that drone on, and on, and on about their ideas, while never applying a lick of them, Marissa finished up near the top of the 2004 Kellogg Business class at Northwestern. She was out to make a name for herself – willing to set aside principles and morals for bullshitting and cash receipts – if only to have what others desire, but won’t pay the adequate price for.

I met her during the company introduction of new ‘imps’, as the H-N-I-C was apt to say, which usually comprised of quick run down of a resume of useless information, since none of it usually true or leaves out the real juice to squeeze. Somehow, she noticed me. Or at least wasn’t repulsed by any ogre-like tendencies most men carry around like their penises.

“So what do you do here?” she asked.

“I wash the cars of big wigs, maybe get them a call girl for the evening.” I nonchalantly replied. (At least I think I did.)

“That’s nice, at least the sexual innuendoes are out of the way. What do you really do? All these others are pretty staid.” The bullpen was nearly empty after the 9AM meeting discussing numerous particulars relevant to particularly no one.

“Gather and process information. Make someone happy by knowing
something they don’t, or anyone else does for that matter. Inside… it’s all pink.”

“So you think you know stuff?” Marissa asked.

“I know…lots of stuff. And little else.” As we finally packed up to leave
the bullpen of the 58th floor high rise.

“Guess I have a few nuggets to share…soon with you.” She strolled out
the door in a way that spoke to me. The magnetic pull of her ass to my privates was something of an embarrassment. I jerked it off to her before the clock struck midnight.

As the months went by, I saw Marissa manipulate her way into projects – with success and praise soon to follow – and soon she was my equal in everything. Our banter revolved around sex, numbers, Buddhism and lingerie models’ weight. At 5’7” and 115 lbs., her lithe body was toned on a Stairmaster workout midday. I’d smack a handball around with the H-N-I-C because I knew his ass was ample to kiss. Soon though, 7 PM meant we would recap some parts of the day, and talk sweetly about what little direction we actually had. (Or, I at least did.)

“Tom…Are you happy?” Sucking down her 3rd screwdriver without
skipping a beat.

“I wonder until the paycheck comes. Then the cycle repeats.” I take a
swig from my 4th Long Island. “How about you, expert mountain

“Hey, I utilize my exceptional assets in a talent-poor market to increase my bottom line.” She half-stands, smacking her ass. I only wish I was the hand.

“Not at all against free-market…Milton Friedman, God rest his soul.” We clink our glasses.

Later, as I nestle her close in my bed, I feel something unreal – more
pressing than ever – the desire to profess my love to her. She lays asleep, or I think she is, or know that I must be crazy to think this smooth worker is actually interested in my 6-figure ass. She mumbles something in her dreamy state that sounds like a call order. I must be nuts…

We’ve spent the last 5 months figuring out the language of love and manipulation. I work overtime figuring out what she is trying to accomplish, cause that is what you do when you never speak the truth of your hearts. We fuck a lot. Not so much as to interfere with her ‘plans’ I suppose, but enough. We’re not exclusive…

As the year-end bonuses come, I am hoping to lock Marissa up for the
long-term. Her daughter Kate is a pistol at 5 years old. Always talking and saying something that matters. I wonder if Marissa was talking to her daughter in the womb.

Marissa knocks at the door, “Tom, are you ‘bout ready to go?”

Closing up the laptop, “Yeah, I’m done. How did you do?”

“Got what I needed…” Marissa doesn’t sound happy.

“What’s wrong? They leave off a zero?”

“Let’s talk about it at Breakers.” Referring to our bar in the financial

Part III

We stroll north down the thinning evening crowd of haggard business types, young college kids out for a summer stroll and the dust they travel through at night while
those particular creatures look to same dreary tomorrow. The uneasiness of the trip reminded Tom perversely of the cartoon with

Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny engaging Elmer Fudd in the “shoot him now!” or “wait to you get home” scenario. Each step seemed better made if the impending conversation could have been just the caricature of that episode. “Just shoot me now,” kept running through Tom’s mind.

We enter Breaker's and head to a table at the back.

“So what is it?” Tom asked, as they sat down in the back of Breaker’s, an Irish pub, with scantily clad waitresses wearing of course green tapered outfits and kilts. Before Marissa started, a redheaded waitress comes over, takes the order for two scotches straight up and water and leaves us.

“I don’t know where to begin.” Marissa said meekly.

“Anywhere you like.” Confused by her fear of trying to do something she had done plenty in her life.

“It’s not that easy, because it…will change everything.” She rests herself closer to Tom, making eye contact that drew and repel him at the same time.

“Marissa,” taking her hands, “I can’t tell you anything that will change us. I truly care about you and am willing to do anything for you.”

Marissa perks up, but shakes her head, “Tom, it’s not that. I wish it was only that, but…” she trails off.

“Then what are you being so weird about?” Tom asks.

“I overheard something that affects the firm, us specifically,” Marissa takes a sip finally from her drink.


“We’re being set up for a fall, and I can’t think how we’ll avoid it.”

“Why? How can it work now?”

“They’ve been watching us and Mr. Zitters is furious about our recent success or something.”

“So what are they planning?”

“I only heard so much – I was in the woman’s bathroom and that secretary of Mr. Hass came barreling in, making too much noise – and I ran out to my desk quickly to disguise my whereabouts.” Marissa pauses, then continues, “I think they’ll try to put an unusual trade or two on our accounts which they know will work out too good for someone they are targeting.”

“So what? We have control of the trades we make.” Tom feeling too confident.

“Do we? We make them, at the behest of clients and the partners, sometimes, but only if we stop trading are we completely safe.”

“Will go to the SEC. Tell them about it.”

“Tell them what? I got a hunch Hass, Zitters & Moss are setting us up, but don’t know what the stock is or when I am suppose to be in that large position. Not much to go off and why would a firm setup its own brokers?” Marissa explains matter-of-factly.

After a drag from his drink, Tom queries, “Are you sure about this?”

“Yes!” Marissa whispers an exclamation. “It just is too hard to believe Tom. Why us? Because we have sex?”

Trying to take it all in, Tom reflects finally, “Well it is not about why, it now about what we going to do to stop it from happening to us.”

Part IV coming soon....(like a week)