Monday, March 31, 2008

Update on Writing Project

Hello there. Thank you to all of you with all your supportive comments about my writing. It has really motivated me to spend more time on my writing project. I finally completed going through two thousand pages of research and eliminated the stories and information that I don't really need. Then I organized the remaining stories. Now I am in the process of transferring those stories to computer files. I've also completed the Introduction, Chapters One and Two, the last chapter and the Epilogue. I wrote the last two chapters before Chapter three so that I can direct the story to it. I've also decided it is better to write the chapter that is my mind at the time rather than to spend mental time thinking about the next chapter when I already have a chapter ready to go to the paper. I figure any chapter is better than none and that I can organize the chapters after getting them on the paper.

I am hoping to have the first draft done by May 1st. You folks really have been a boost to my confidence and when (notice not if) I complete the first draft you will all have been an important part of it. Because of you I am actually enjoying writing again and the last chapter and the epilogue is probably some of the best writing I've done. Thank you again!

May this be a great day for all of you!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Need Prayers, Good Thoughts, and Advise.

The prayers and good thoughts are for one of my nephews. The advise is for me.

My Brother-in-law's son is heading to Iraq. I just got a letter from his wife yesterday that said he would be in Iraq for six months. Counting their own children and children from previous marriages they have six children from ages 6 to 15. I pray for their father's safe return so that the children don't end up fatherless. Please send all your prayers and good thoughts in Robin's direction. They are appreciated.

Now on to the advise. I want you to be as honest and brutal with me as you can, I am a big boy I can take it. The advise has to do with of course my Mom. I'm typing this from my Mom's house as another caregiver quit. She quit because Mom treated her like crap. They had a huge argument over a stupid garbage bag. Mom was yelling and screaming at her. The caregiver called me and I went over there. When I got there Mom was still screaming and the caregiver was in her bedroom crying. I settled everything down but the next day the caregiver quit. The argument was totally unrealistic from Mom's standpoint. This bother's me from several standpoints.

1. Mom's personality is changing, she has never yelled before that I recall. That is a sign of dementia because she is becoming a bit more violent. Not physcially violent but emotionally abusive. I go anywhere from being the best most thoughtful son in the world to being a disloyal selfish human being.

2. Mom's memory is declining. She is having trouble concentrating.

3. Mom's life has basically become sitting in a chair all day staring out the window. It breaks my heart to see that her life has become so narrow.

That is the background on Mom. Now where I am at. Portland often gets a bad weather rap. Cities that have more average annual rainfall than Portland include Memphis, New York, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, etc. However, this winter was brutal and still is brutal. We had snow this morning and it was very cold. Since November it has rarely got above 40. It has been long and tiring. I am seriously considering finding a winter home in another city where I can live from November through April. After several discussions with my sister and myself Mom has agreed to go to respite care for the Month of May. She can try out an assisted living facility without making the move permanent. I am going to take a couple of weeks in May and travel to the L.A. area to check out property and job possibilities. I have either friends or ex-employers in Belmont Shores, Seal Beach, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Palm Springs, etc. Part of me is wondering if I am considering moving during the winter months to run away from my responsibilities with Mom. After reading my reasons if you think that is the case please tell me.

Here are my reasons for considering the move:

1. The pay for per-diem tax season work in the LA area is double what it is in the Portland area. Even after factoring the cost of rent, a house payment, or a hotel I can come out ahead. Working for just ten weeks of the time that I am down there combined with the royalties of the business that I sold here I can not only sustain finances but probably save a little.

2. I've come to the conclusion that as long as I am living close to Mom she will not find a caregiver she likes nor will she move to a facility. She knows I will continue to bail her out. I know in my heart a retirement home is best for her (and me to have her there) because it will increase her social life. When she gets depressed she can walk down to the lounge area to talk to people, participate in games, have somebody to share meals with, a bridge club, etc. If it is a tri-level facility she will never have to move again. Maybe I am seeing it through selfish eyes but I also see her being more active.

3. The signs Mom are exhibiting towards dementia are the same dad exhibited before a fall brought his on full force. Mom is also falling more. There just are no words to express how hard it was to go through dementia with dad. Watching a really good man become so different, holding his hand the day he died, trying to emotionally support all the other family members; I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy. I'm not sure I am strong enough to go through that experience again.

I haven't yet decided to move, just to explore the possibilities, but if I do decide to take a six month break from Portland/Mom every year am I running away from my responsibilities?

Thanks for your input.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm Pregnant

Well I am not but a Bend, Oregon resident who says he is legally male is five months pregnant. According to an article in the Metro Section of yesterday's Oregonian ( Oregon's statue doesn't detail surgical procedures needed for a legal gender change. The crux on the decades old gender change law is one sentence, "may order a legal change of sex and enter a jdugment indicating the change of sex of a person whose sex had been changed by surgical procedure." There isn't even a requirement in the law that there be a letter from a surgeon confirming the procedure. One attorney that specializes in sex-discrimination cases, James Perriguey, says he knows of a case in which a person received a legal change of sex on the basis of facial reconstruction.

In the case of the Bend, Oregon pregnant man, Thomas Beatie, Beatie says he was born female but idenifies as a male. He says he legally changed his name and sex ten years ago in Hawaii. He underwent a double mastectomy, started testosterone injections but kept his female reproductive organs.

After moving to Oregon Beatie and his wife, Nancy, decided to have a child. Because Nancy couldn't conceive, Beatie told The Advocate, a gay publication, that he stopped taking testosterone to allow his menstrual cycle to resume and became pregnant through artificial insemination.

According to today's article in The Oregonian, believe it or not, Beatie is not the first male to become pregnant. The paper failed to list the names of other men that became pregnant.

What does everyone think of this story? Personally, I think one of the benefits of being male is we can't become pregnant but that is just me.

May this be a great day for all and a weekend filled with happiness for all of you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pat, Lady Vols, Dancing, Top Chef

Everyone wish Pat good luck. She posts here often and is having surgery on her ankle today. Wishing you a successful surgery Pat!

Congrats to the Lady Vols on making the final 16 of the Women's NCAA Championship tournament. Rumor has it that Mary Z is a big fan of the Lady Vols.

Still on basketball. The March Madness Men's bracket had a ton of upsets. Of the 3.6 million that entered the ESPN's March Madness Bracket Challenge on two picked all sixteen teams that made to the final 16.

Penn Jillette was eliminated from Dancing With The Stats along with tennis pro Monica Seles. For the first time ever they eliminated two in one night, one man and one woman. They got the woman right but the man that should have been eliminated is Adam. Next to be eliminated in the following order are: Adam, Marissa, Steve. I was really sorry to see Monica go because she was doing something so different for her and enjoying it.

Top Chef, season four week three is on tonight at 10 on The Bravo Channel. Tonight the culinary artists dish up fare at a neighborhood party, overseen by chef and Mexican cuisine master Rick Bayless.

May this be a great day for all of you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dancing With The Stars Recap

Two posts today, one for the dancing fans. The way I rated the dancers:

Kristi - just amazing

Jason - Surprising how well he is doing.

Shannon - fan base may do her in but the woman can dance.

Mario - good dance but overscored.

Marlee - giving her the same score as Shannon was just wrong.

Pricilla - growing on me.

Cristian - Most improved from week one.

Marissa - props to Tony for being such a gentleman.

Steve - charming but would do better if he danced with his feet instead of his face.

Monica - it is a shame because I think she could really improve if allowed to stay.

Penn - Just doesn't have it.

Adam - Not funny, not talented, treats his partner with out respect, can't dance. Other than that I like him.

Who should go home - Adam and Monica

Who may go home - Penn and Shannon.


Still going over my two thousand pages of research for the novel. Thought I would share some of the research with you today, it is a way that I can share the project with you without giving away the story. I might not even use some of the research in the book. Of course some of it may not apply today as it is outdated but it is at the same time as the story takes place.

On the old Authors/Crime forum on CompuServe they used to have an expert of the week. One week they had a well-known litigation attorney, Chris Fisanick, as an expert. One of the forum hosts asked him if he had ever had a witness on the witness stand surprise him and his answer was amazing.

"The question should be have I ever had a witness take the stand and not say something that completely surprised me." The reasons are many:

1. Witnesses forget because they are human.

2. Witnesses get scared and can't testify.

3. Witnesses deliberately try to screw you over, i.e., snitches who are ratting out former compatriots.

4. Witnesses have been threatened or paid off.

5. Witnesses are small children or old and just can't remember.

6. Witnesses are just stupid - all the preping in the world won't help.

Sometimes you can overcome this because most jurisdictions allow you to impeach your own witnesses. You can often get their prior statements in evidence and then try to explain to the jury why they didn't testify the same way in open court. The mark of a good trial attorney is how well they handle this type of situation."

Now on to a different subject, from a Washington Post article that I read in November of 1988.

National stats on how often police are assaulted:


1988..........58,916................... 2,760.........1,368...........5,579.
1992.......81,252.......................4,455..........1,574.......... 7,551.

21 officers killed by knives in the previous ten years, 14,139 wounded.

May this be a great day for all of you!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Wallet Story

This is a story that a lot of you already know but it is a good enough story that some of you like Mary Z, Kim, Symply, Lisa, Janet etc might enjoy. Now that Shirley has posted here the story has an important part that would have been missing before she posted.

A bunch of us that were posting on the CompuServe Women's Issues Forum decided to have annual offline get togethers and have them in locations where one of the group could host them. The first location we chose for the meeting was Boulder, Colorado. As part of the visits we liked to do things that were specific to the area that we were visiting. One of the days we decided to do into Denver and go to the famous Tattered Covered Bookstore. A bookstore that is huge and rivals Powell's here in Portland. Diane Mott Davidson often uses the TCB as part of her culinary mysteries. On the day trip to Denver we spent a few hours in the book store and had lunch and then drove back to Boulder. When we got to Boulder we decided to stop at the Red Robin for dinner. After a enjoyable dinner when the bill came, I reached into my pocket and my wallet was gone. I had a vision that my wallet was back in Denver at the Tattered Covered Bookstore. Shirley loaned me the ten bucks to pay for the meal at the Red Robin and then she drove me all the way back to Denver. She didn't think the wallet would be there but she knew me well enough to know that I wouldn't be satisified until I went to Denver and looked for my wallet so she agreed to take me. There was one condition that Shirley put on the trip, if the wallet was there then I had to go to church the next Sunday.

Ok it is about an hour drive from Denver to Boulder, the dinner lasted maybe ninety minutes (there were over 25 of us) and then an hour drive back to the book store. We are talking three and half to four hours from the time we left Denver until we returned. We got to the book store's parking lot. There was a ramp with a slight incline coming out of their parking lot. At the bottom of the ramp, guess what was there? My wallet. All the money inside. Then to make the story even weirder, all of my credit and membership cards were strewn up and down the ramp. I guess whenever a car ran over my wallet it would spit out the credit or membership card. All my cards were there. Not one missing. What were the odds that not only would the wallet be there but that everything in it would still be there too? The next Sunday I kept my part of the bargain and went to church.

May you find anything that you lost today.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chapter One

Since you were all so nice about the introduction I am going to share the first chapter with you. What I am trying to do in the introduction and the first two or three chapters is first show the event the story is based on and then introduce some of the main characters. I have taken protection against someone stealing my writing not to mention that the blog has a time and date stamp. Of course I'm not worried about the regular posters/readers just someone that I don't know about. Here is chapter one, unedited, unreviewed, first draft form. Please forgive some of the language but it is how gang members talk. Single spaced again because that works better than double space on the blog.


September 21, 1989

Northeast 15th and Alberta, not far off of Interstate 5, where drug deals were so openly consummated that the corner became known throughout the North Precinct as "crack corner." Run down buildings, boarded windows, bars on store fronts, shots rang out nightly, the sound of sirens frequent. The two had to meet under the cover of darkness to hide from pedestrians and traffic. They could not be seen together. Their discovery was a death sentence for each of them.

From two different parts of society. One making a living by breaking the law. The other paid to enforce it. A quiet darkness surrounded by the softly falling rain on this Thursday night. Thursday, the night the drug dealers loaded up on inventory to meet the demand of the pending weekend.

Little Caesar, the leader of The Kirby Street Blues. Sixteen years-old, African-American, 6'1", 190lbs, strong and fit. A member of the gang since twelve, having already witnessed more shootings than a family of police officers would see in three generations. He had two marks on the bottom side of his blue bandana, each mark indicating a hit on a member of the Kirby’s rival gang, The Woodlawn Park Reds. He was trying to find a way out. A way out of the hood. A way out of the gang. Trying to find a future. He wanted to be the exception to the rule, leaving gang life before they found him in a pool of blood in front of parents, siblings, or fellow soldiers. Killed either in a revenge shooting by a rival gang or by a member of his own gang trying to move up from soldier to general. Death was the certain fate of a gang member, a funeral, a body left to be buried at to young of an age, leaving a message from the grave to have his death revenged by the death of another gang member to young to die. The man standing across from him was an enemy in every conceivable way but he was a means an end. His way out of the hood, out of the gang, and into a future.

Officer James O'Donnell. A sergeant on the Portland Police Force, working out of the North Precinct. His dad and grandfather had both been police officers. His career was chosen long before he was born. He was 49 years-old, in his twentieth year on the force. Beginning to show his age with light salt and pepper hair, he was 5'11", 215, with a small tire around the stomach. He was now making the maximum for a street cop, a lousy $36,336 a year. Hell the teenager across from him probably pulled in ten grand on a good summer weekend. O'Donnell had won many awards for bravery, doing the job well with integrity and honesty. A change had come over him the last three years. He was tired of watching crime go on daily in front of him with little consequences to the perp. His arrests were often back on the street in hours. He was no longer the gung ho officer that he used to be. He had become more violent, a product of spending to much time on the Gang Enforcement Team. After three years with GET he became desensitized to violence. After years watching blacks kill blacks, steal from each other, making more money in a day than he made in a month he had become filled with hate of blacks. He hated the man standing across from him but it was time for him to get a piece of the action. He was looking for a way out. A way to early retirement by supplementing his police pension. He was entitled to the money, a fringe benefit that cost the city nothing. In a few months he could buy that place on the lake in Coeur d’Elaine, Idaho, get the car of his dreams, travel to places a policeman's salary and pension would never take him. His father and grandfather were probably turning over in their graves. They certainly weren't above taking a few extra bucks to look away from a petty crime, prostitution or gambling, but they had never crossed the line to participate in a crime. The silent code of the old time cop. O'Donnell was operating under a different code. Times had changed since his lineage were operating on their beats. Criminals never shot at a cop, it was certain death or life in prison. Now the criminals would shoot at a uniform without hesitation if it kept their drug business operational. The money was greater now than it was then. The temptation overhwelming. The power that the police held was harder to ignore and even harder to avoid using. The public was so anxious to reduce crime in their neighborhoods that they looked away from a little excessive force some officers used to control the crime on their streets. Little Caesar, O'Donnell, and the general public were all operating with one frame of mind, a means to an end. Little Caesar wanted out. O'Donnell wanted a nice retirement. The public wanted neighborhoods safe from crime. Partners in a set up for disaster.

"Hey, Bro. I've got the stuff, have you got the cash?" O’Donnell said.

"Don't call me Bro, we aren't buds we are just here to do each other a service, man."

"Ok, asshole you got the cash? I'm not giving you the weekend supply until I see the cash."

"Hey man, I've got the cash, got to ke'p th'm niggers happy this weekend."

"Keep the parties indoors and out my precinct."

"Look man once the sale is made I'm out of it, no telling what the niggers will do on crack. Hey oink when are you getting the weapons we asked for?"

Officer O'Donnell turned red with anger and started to reach over to grab the teen by the neck but common sense took over.

"They are coming up from LA next week. We need ten grand for the first shipment."

“Same time, same place next week, I’ll bring the ten grand.”

Little Caesar disappeared into the night leaving O’Donnell standing alone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Movies, Dancing With The Stars, Top Chef

Movies that I have seen recently:

Definitely Maybe - cute movie, romantic, chick flick. Worth the price of admission.

27 Dresses - ditto except in acting ranks just a little behind Definitely Maybe.

Semi-Pro - Terrible movie, not funny, walked out.

Dancing With The Stars Review:

Adam Carolla stunk and I didn't like him at all, Penn was almost as bad.

This is how I ranked the performances:

Kristi Yamaguchi - terrific

Jason Taylor - surprised everyone

Mario - rated second by the judges but I thought he was overscored.

Shannon Elizabeth - might be voted off because of fan base.

Marle Matlin - amazing. Has music in her veins.

Christian de la Fuente - hunk factor for the women viewers.

Steve Guttenberg - if ranked by fun he would be tied for first. Hope he stays on because he is so fun.

Pricella Presley - Did really well.

Marissa Jaret Winoker - tied for fun factor first. She was a joy to watch. Like Steve, I want her to stay on because she was having so much fun.

Monica Seles - judges were way to hard on her.

Penn Jilette - If it wasn't one man and one woman going off and two men instead he would be gone.

Adam Carolla - To macho. To sexist to be taught by a woman.


They toned the swearing in week two and it made it more enjoyable. I really wanted them to eliminate Dale Talde because I really didn't like his attitude instead they elminated Valarie in week 2 after eliminating Nimma in week one.

My prediction is that a woman will win Dancing With The Stars but a man will win Top Chef. My guess is the Top Chef winner will be Andrew or Richard.

May this be a great day for all of you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
A peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father,
Brothers all are we.
Let us live with each other
In peace and harmony.
Let peace begin with me,
Let this be the moment now.
With every breath that I take,
Let this be my solemn vow...
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace and harmony.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

Sy Miller
Jill Jackson





September 1, 1989

“Don’t Shoot My Daddy!”

Five year-old Kevin Lane was having a hard time understanding all the activity in the front yard of his North Portland home. Minutes ago his dad, John, was loading up the family van with fishing gear getting ready to take Kevin and his fourteen year-old brother, Kyle, on a Labor Day weekend fishing trip. Now there was an imposing 6’ 3”, 200lb man with a gun standing in his front yard shouting at his 5’ 9” 160 lb dad.

“DROP THE KNIFE” Officer Westbrook shouted.

John Lane was standing approximately one hundred feet from Westbrook and on this cloudy and rainy day it was difficult for Lane to see through the thick mist that the man shouting at him was a Portland Police officer.

A confused John Lane shouted back, “GET OFF MY PROPERTY”


“GET OFF MY PROPERY”, Lane shouted once again.


Lane now seeing as the man moved closer that he had a gun threw his knife across the yard.

“GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!”, Officer Westbrook shouted as he pointed his Glock-17 at John Lane.

Young Kevin Lane with the quivering voice of a frightened child, shouted,


Mary Lane hearing the commotion in the front yard came running out of her house. Seeing a man with a gun in their yard she screamed,


“GET DOWN ON THE GROUND” Officer Westbrook firmly requested.

As he began to kneel on the ground John Lane started to glide towards the officer.



With his weapon still pointed at John Lane, Officer Westbrook shouted once again,




John Lane knelt on the ground, then made a motion forward.

POP, POP, POP, POP, POP, POP. Six shots rang out.

The cries of a young boy, the shrieks of a teenager, and the screams of a new widow could be heard for blocks as John Lane fell to the ground.

You have just read the introduction to the fictional novel that I am writing. Because I am often embarrassed by my writing I don't share it. Certainly not like this in its first draft, unreviewed, unedited form. To be submitted to a publisher the writing has to be double spaced but that doesn't work real well on a blog which is why it is single spaced. Be kind!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Spoken Word Quiz

Two questions for you today, what year were the following words spoken and name the person being quoted? After the quote scroll down for the answers.

"Our gross national product, now, is over $800 billion a year. It counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them."

"It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight riots in our cities."

"It does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play." "It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom, nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our country,"

"It measures everything in short except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

When we will ever learn my friends, when will we ever learn. The words were spoken by Robert F. Kennedy in a speach at the University of Kansas in 1968, two months before he was assassinated.

Read more in an amazing column written by Steve Duin in the Metro Section of Today's Oregonian:

I am going to end with words from another RFK speach within three months of his death.

RFK quotes Aeschylus "Even in our sleep, pain which can't forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

Kennedy then ends "Let us then contain the savageness of man and make gentler the life of the world."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Let The Dancing Begin

Tonight is the start of season 6 of Dancing With The Stars and I can hardly wait! It is just such a fun show. I love the elegance of the dance, the romance of men and women having to trust and depend on each other to succeed, the costumes, and that generations have a TV show that they can watch together. I can watch Dacning With The Stars with my 92 year-old mom and the only time I get embarrased is when mom says she would like to take Jonathan Roberts out behind the barn.

This is how I see the order of finish. Of course I base this on not having seen any of them dance and anyone of them could surprise me which gives me the prerogative to change my mind as the season progresses. I am basing this current selections on fan base and in some cases age because I think Pricilla Presley will have a hard time with the speed of the Latin Dances.

First elimination - Marissa Janet Winoko-Ton Dovoloni

Second - Penn Jillette-Kym Johnson

Third - Shannon Elizabeth - Derek Hough

Fourth - Adam Corolla - Julianne

Fifth - Marlee Matlin - Fabian Sanchez

Sixth - Christian de la Fuente - Cheryl Burke

Seventh - Pricilla Presley - Louis Van Amstal

Eighth - Steve Guttenberg - Anna Trebunskaya

Ninth - Mario - Karina Smirnoff

Tenth - Jason Taylor - Edyta Sliwinska

Eleventh - Monica Seles - Jonathan Roberts


Kristi Yamaguchi - Mark Ballas

Fourth - Adam Corolla - Julianne Hough


May this be a romantic day for all of you!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Iraq War

I usually stay away from controversial subjects because everyone has their entitiled to opinion and nothing I write will change anyone's mind, however, since we are coming on the war's fifth anniversary don't see how I can avoid the subject.

Two pictures of poignant signs at a war protest in downtown Portland just made me feel the need to write. A small child riding in a Radio Wagon decorated with a sign that said "War leaves every child behind." The other was a picture of a four year old holding a sign "This War is older then me."

The sad thing is, is that we may not even be at the half point of the war as some Pentagon officials are estimating that the war will last more than ten years. Already the war has lasted longer than the U.S. fight in World War II or Korea. Recently Lt. Gen James Dublik, who heads the Multi-National Security Transition Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that Iraqi Officials estimate they can't assume responsibility for internal security until as late as 2012 and won't be able to defend their borders until 2018.

The timeline:

March 20, 2003 - The U.S. invasion is launched.

May 1, 2003 - On a aircraft carrier under a "mission accomplished" banner, President Bush declares "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

December 13, 2003 - Saddam captured in a underground hideout near Tikrit.

March 31, 2004 - Four private security employees are ambushed and killed in Fallujah. Their bodies are hung from a bridge. US forces later attack the city in some of the first major urban battles against the Sunni insurgants.

April of 1004 - Photographs surface of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison.

October 6, 2004 - A top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq finds no evidence that Saddams' regime produced weapons of mass destruction affter 1991, discounting a main justification of the war.

January 30, 2005 - Iraqis elect a 275 seat National Assembly in the country's first national election since Saddam's fall. Shiite's win 48% of the seats, Kurdish 26%, and man Sunnis boycott the election.

November 5, 2006 - Saddam sentenced to death by an Iraqi court.

December 30. 2006 - Saddam is hanged.

January 16, 2007 - United Nations report that 34,452 Iraqi civilians were slain 2006, more three times the number reported by the government.

October 23, 2007 - UN Refugee agency says nearly 2.3 million people are displaced inside of Iraq and more than 2.2 million have fled Iraq.


As of last Saturday at least 3,988 members of the U.S. have died since the beginning of the war and more than 60,000 soldiers have been wounded.

According to the World Health Organization and the Iraqi government more than 151,000 Iraqis died from 2003 through 2006. Triple that number have been wounded.


WWII - 5 trillion

Iraq - 3 trillion

Vietnam War - 635 billion

Korean War - 445 billion.

God bless our solidiers may they return safely home.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Back From Conversation to Conversation

Hello everyone. I'm back from two days out of town. I've spent the last two days in Eugene, Oregon (about one hundred miles from here) at the high school boys basketball championship tournament. The tournament was held on The University of Oregon campus at the university arena, McArthur Court. While I loved being on campus, talking to the students when I walked on the campus between tournament sessions, the atompshere of the games, the basketball, the real reason I went to the tournament was to spend time with my nephew. My brother and my nephew have some serious issues between them and are in that place where they aren't talking to each other and haven't for a while.

I absolutely loved being in the role of pseudo-father and I think I did OK in the role of older male to a young adult. It did make me realize that one of my regrets is never being a dad because I really think I would have been a good one. I did have a great role model in my own dad, a man that I have talked about many times on my blog.

There are many issues between my brother and my nephew, some of which go all the way back to childhood. The main issue right now is the lack of contact between the two and when the two talk to each other the shallowness of the conversations. My nephew tries to have some serious talks with his dad but his dad changes to a meaningless subject like tv or football. My nephew wants to connect with his dad and in his mind keeps getting rejected. My nephew also has quit calling his dad because my nephew was always the one to make the initial contact and thought his dad should be the first to call sometimes. Of course my nephew was taking his dad's actions as very personal rejection.

What I tried to do is let my nephew know that my brother's actions weren't directed specifically at him but that my brother was being who my brother was and that was how he dealt with everyone. My brother (nor his wife) really don't call anyone in the family nor do they make any efforts to keep in touch with friends unless they need something from them. My brother and his wife married two days after they graduated from high school and have been together since. What they have done now is to create a world where only the two of them are in it and they seldom if never leave that world. They have no clue how many people their actions (or lack of them) effect. They also aren't aware how their actions are hurting themselves because as the age they will be two extremely lonely people. It is both tragic and heartbreaking. I told my nephew that my brother never calls Mom, never calls me, never calls his friends, never calls his sister and when he doesn't call him he is treating him exactly how he treats everyone. The lack of caring isn't just reserved for him. It isn't personal.

I told my nephew of a conversation I had with my brother in January. As some of you know I have been caring for an elderly parent since 2001, first my dad, and now my Mom. In January of this year I decided that for my own health and my own sanity that I had to back off of my caregiving duties and at least to attempt to have a life of my own. I really needed to focus on my future, date more, hopefully one day find that lovely woman to share the rest of my life with and finish the great American novel. In January I sat down with mom and had a heart-to-heart talk with her. About how much I really loved her but how for my on sanity and health that I couldn't really provide as much caregiving as I was anymore. That if I continued on the path that I was on I would go insane or die at an early age. It had really reached that point. Mom took it well and hired an additional caregiver so that I no longer had to spend nights at her house. The same evening that I had the talk with my Mom, my brother called. He needed help with his tax return. I told him about the conversation that I had with Mom earlier in the day. About my own health concerns, about Mom and how she was failing, and about what the choices that we had with her. His response? Who do you think will win the super bowl? For, God's sake it is his Mom too! Where was his compassion towards her or even towards me? I think the story helped my nephew understand his dad just a little bit more and that he feels better about himself. At least I hope he does.

When I left my nephew hugged me and I do think we felt really close. I told my nephew to call me any time. I also told him that sometimes you really do have to always be the one to make the first move and don't be so reluctant to call his dad. Start out slow. Talk about fishing, sports, his kids, and just remember who his dad is. Don't expect him to be someone he is not but if he wants a relationship with his dad he is going to have to be the adult. At 35 he is adult enough to handle it.

May this be a wonderful day for all of you. Call a friend or a relative today.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eliot Spitzer

Was a recent idol of mine now he has fallen into the world of crime and temptation.

Why was he a recent idol of yours truly? I really respected the way he went after Wall Street thugs. The accounting profession took a real hit with the Enron and Arthur Anderson fiasco. The reason the "public" was in the designation Certified Public Accountant was that when accounting firms audited and prepared financial statements on publically traded companies they were by law to represent the "public" and not the client. By representing the public instead of the client there was meant to be a level of assurance for investors that when they bought stock in those companies they were relying on accurate financial statements instead for financial statements that were basically company propaganda. Along comes Enron with Arthur Anderson who neglated their duties to the public by going along with whatever Enron wanted to do. People lost fortunes due to that neglect. The public accounting profession went from one of the most admired professions to one of the most tolerated professions. The Enron scandal also resulted in the Sarbanes-Oaxley Act that put additional restraints on accountants. When Spitzer went after the Wall Street thugs he was helping to restore the public's faith in our profession.

Now my idol, Gov. Spitzer, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month. Client 9 was captured by the wiretap confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, D.C. where he had reserved a hotel room. Client 9 was indentified as Spitzer. The cost of the day? $4,300.

The questions that I have are the same as many others have, Why do otherwise smart, sucessful people do such risky thnings? Where is their ethics? Why can't they do the right thing? Does having power make them think they will never be caught? To say I am stunned at the politician who campaigned as a model of moral rectitude is anything but is an understatement. Stunned and disappointed.

Another question that I have is why in the world is his wife standing by him at the press conference where Spitzer addresses his fall from grace. OK, I admit that I am extremely naive and idealistic but if you are in love with a woman why in the world would you want her to publically face that kind of embarrassment? If I loved a woman I would want to save her from that embarrassment and keep her from the press conference. I blew it, I need to face it and address it myself without bringing the woman I love into the story. I'd be spending my time begging for forgiveness instead of begging her to stand beside me.

On one of the blogs I go to most days they are discussing why the wife would be there. Here is the link: . It is under the subject line Julie: First Lady's Desk. Interesting post and comments, check it out.

May this be a scandal free day for all of you!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Top Chef

One of my favorite shows starts Wednesday night at 10 p.m. (9 central) on the Bravo Channel. Sixteen chefs compete for a prize of a hundred grand that they can use to start their own restaurant. Top Chef Chicago. For more information about the show go to this link:

What is interesting to me now is the At Home Challenge which is according to the web page:


Attention Whole Foods Market shoppers AND Top Chef fans! Your At-Home Quickfire Challenge is to create a burger inspired by the word "audacious" with only 30 minutes from prep to serve. Your ingredients must include a protein, vegetable toppings, condiments, and a burger "bun."

Seems pretty doable to me. You have to submit it by March 31.

What would you want on a hamburger?

I am going to have to record the first week's show as my brother's son invited me to go to the high school basketball tournament in Eugene, a two hour drive from here. The last game Wednesday night won't end until until ten so I won't make it home until almost midnight. I really feel like I need and want to spend time with my nephew as his dad has kind of disappeared from his life and my nephew wants to reconnect with the family. Greg, the nephew, has been very good to my Mom and is just a really nice young man. He told me he is missing the older male influence in his life and if I can fill that void so much the better.

Top Chef starts March 12th, the same day as the high school basketball tournament. Then Dancing With The Stars starts March 17th (YEA, huh Lisa?). Then March Madness starts March 20th. I will watch more TV the next couple of months then I watched the last six months!

On another subject just wanted to mention that I met a nice lady yesterday afternoon. Meet her for coffee and it was a very enjoyable chat!

Hope this is a great day for all of you.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring Forward, Fall Back, Friday Night Plans

Yup, this is the weekend that we do that semi-annual annoyance of playing with time. Sunday morning at 2 a.m. is when we set our clocks forward one hour. I wish they would just leave the darn clock alone, I don't care if it is standard time or daylight time just pick one for heaven's sake and then leave it the same all year. There are recent reports that have stated that daylight savings time really doesn't save that much energy as people turn on their air conditioners earlier and keep them on longer. That defeats the purpose of using the lights less.

About daylight savings time from

"Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.

Arizona (except some Indian Reservations), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have chosen not to observe Daylight Saving Time. This choice does make sense for the areas closer to the equator because the days are more consistent in length throughout the year."

One of my favorite TV shoes is/was Friday Night Lights but with the writers' strike it hasn't been on for the last three weeks so it has created a void in my weekends. Tonight to fill that void I am considering going to Tonya-Nancy The Rock Opera. I've tried to go to it several times and each time one of Mom's caregivers called in sick and that did away with my plans. Tonya-Nancy the rock opera is an opera about the saga where Tonya Harding's ex husband and a gang of thugs whacked Nancy Kerrigan on the knee hoping to disable her and get her out of the competition for the Olympic's. I'm really hoping I can make it tonight.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hilliary Clinton & Brett Favre

Today's featured blog is Diane S's blog another well written blog that discusses several subjects. Today's entry is about books, kittens, and socks. Click on the link for a fun informative blog.

The top two stories of the day are that Hilliary Clinton is the new comeback kid and that the greatest quarterback in the history of the National Football League, Brett Favre, has retired.

First, Hilliary beat the odds and won the Texas and Ohio primaries. This means that the battle between Clinton and Obama rages on. The latest delegate count is Obama 1451, Clinton 1376. Either one can still win the nomination. Why did Hilliary have a super Tuesday? According to reports that I've read or heard those that had the economy as the number one concern on their list voted for Clinton, seniors voted for Clinton (health care?), those that had experience in the top three concerns voted for Clinton, and Rush Limbaugh supporters voted for Clinton. Rush Limbaugh? Yes, on a recent radio show the bombastic one encouraged GOP members to vote in open primaries for Clinton because she is "hated by half the country and if she is the candidate the GOP has a better chance to win." With John McCain having already sewn up the GOP nomination it looks that the GOP may be able to recover some of their followers by being able to campaign against the Democrats instead of each other while the Dems are battling each other.
I do think this campaign has been way to long already and think that something should be done to limit presidential campaigns to six months tops.

Second, after seventeen years Brett Favre has decided to retire. I saw Brett Favre play his rookie year when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. Favre was drafted in the second round by the Falcons and then the next year traded to Green Bay for a first round draft choice. In Favre's first year a freind was head of The Oregon Dome Team, an organization that was formed to attempt to bring an NFL franchise to Portland. As part of the process an exhibition scrimmage was scheduled here between the Seattle Seahawks and The Falcons. My brother and I watched this young man on the sidelines throwing the football seventy to eighty yards on a line and never miss his target. The young man was Brett Favre. Favre played seventeen total years, sixteen with the Green Bay Packers. He was more than a football player, he was real. Fans went through more than football with him. There was the day his dad died and that night on Monday Night Football Favre played to honor his dad and played perhaps his greatest game ever. Then there was the game after it was announced that his wife had breast cancer and was undergoing chemo. The camera went down to the sidelines to show Favre, he had taken his helmet off. His head was shaved in support of his wife who lost her hair during chemo. His wife is doing well and from some reports is in remission. Thank you Brett Favre for your career for sharing your life with us. You will be missed for more than football.

May this be a day filled with love and laughter for all of you.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Books That I've Recently Read

First, the blog of the day, , Comes to us from across the Pond. The blog is about life on a remote Scottish Island. Sian is an amazing writer with a terrific sense of humor and I know you will all enjoy her blog. The latest entry is about the upcoming weather in her neck of the woods. Click on the link at the beginning of the paragraph for a real treat.

Second, here is a list of books that I have read in the last three months:

Exhile by Richard North Patterson. Female Palestinian and a male Jewish law students that have an affair in college and then meet up several years later. She is now married and arrested for a terrorist attack. He defends her at her trial. The story is amazing in that it really gives a clear understanding of the troubles between the two cultures and does a very good job of dealing with the history of the Middle East.

The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch, a LA Detective, investigates a crime. The book is very good about police procedures and investigative techniques. Connelly has written dozens of crime novels including Blood Work that was made into a Clint Eastwood movie.

The Dark Eye by William Bernhardt. A police profiler and an autistic teen work together to solve a serial killer that has the City of Las Vegas terrified. Deals really well with autism but the killings are graphic.

Art of Deception by Ridley Pearson. Seattle Police forensic psychologist Daphine Matthews is haunted by an apparent sucide by a pregnant teen and investigates the past of the victim. Great story.

The Innocent Man by John Grisham. A true story. An out of control small town Oklahoma prosecutor trys to pin the death of a local woman on two men. A story that will make you angry and think. His best work.

The Collectors by David Baldacci. The second in a triology about the Camel Club, five retired government workers that work to keep the government honest. The Club is lead by a man known only as Oliver Stone. Baldacci introduces a great character in The Collectors, Annabelle Conroy. Conroy is an extremely talented scam artist that has designed a scam to avenge her dad's death by conning a casino owner out of millions of dollars. Great read!

That is it for the day. May all your dreams come true and may this be a day filled with love for all of you.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I'm Feeling The Guilt

First, the blog of the day is the Blog of the blogging guru, the bloggers' blogger, the blog of my friend Bev Sykes, Bev has been blogging for seven years and has been helpful to a lot us with little hints about blogging, like how to delete comments on a blog, for example. She patiently answers all our questions. I've been fortunate enough to meet Bev and her husbannd, Walt. Bev's blog covers a ton of subjects including theatre reviews in her part-time job as theatre critic. The last entry on funnytheworld is one in which Bev expands her review responsibilities and reviews the documentary film, Moving Midway. Bev writes extremely well and her blog entries will go between making you laugh, think, cry, and will result in numerous other emotions. Clink on the link in this message for a real treat.

Second, my entry today is about guilt. I've been suffering from the emotion a lot lately. As a lot of you know I've been caregiving in some fashion since 2001 when my dad suffered a stroke which brought on his full fledged dementia. A couple of months before dad died in 2003 my sister and her husband temporarily moved here to help with dad. Although I did some form of caregiving every day dad was alive I backed off a little bit and didn't have to stay nights at my parents house. When I backed off, dad got worse. When I was totally involved he pretty much maintained and some days got just a little better. With me out of full time caregiving dad declined at a amazing pace and died within in two months. I've often felt guilty about not stepping back in when I saw the decline and have always felt partially responsible for his death. Was it just a natural decline or was it because he lost, in his mind, the emotional support of the person is was emotionally the closest to?

Now I am facing the same situation with my Mom. As some of you know at the end of January I backed off of the caregiving duties with my Mom when we hired another caregiver to spend nights there. Except for the occasional fill-in when one of the caregivers is sick I no longer give up sleeping in my own bed. I still go over there most days, I do all her shopping, get her out of the house for dinner or lunch, take her to doctor appointments, bridge club, cook some meals for her and the caregivers, etc. I just don't do the intense caregiving that I used to. Now just like dad, Mom is getting worse. The decline has been traumatic and parallels Dad. It doesn't help much with the guilt emotions when Mom tells me that she feels so much better when I am there. Now again I am feeling guilty about backing off and am fighting the temptation to step back in. How do I balance the need to have my own life, the right to be healthy (I'm much healthier and less tired than when I was fully involved), the want of time to find that lovely woman to spend the rest of my life with the guilt of maybe accelerating Mom's illness if I don't step back in? I also wish I could suppress the thoughts that maybe I am being manipulated into feeling guilty so I will step back in. The women in my family tend to be a tad controlling at times and my independent nature fights that tooth and nail.

Just some thoughts about the responsibility of having an elderly parent. Any advise that anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

May this be a great day for all of you!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Blog of The Day, Guest Blogger, & Tuesday's Primaries

For the next few days I am going to feature a blog of the day which will come from the blogs that I visit. Today's blog is Mary Z's blog. It is a very well written blog that talks about many different subjects the latest was about the oscar winning performance of Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose. You can click on the link here for a real treat:

Another note about my blog is that I am so pleased that someone took me up on my offer to to be a blogger for a day. I'm also pleased that it is Janet and of the subject that she is going to discuss as it pertains to all of us. Janet is a very busy lady so we may have to wait a couple of days or so for her entry but I am so excited about it!

This next Tuesday could very well determine who the next President of The United States will be. The signs are there for a Democrat sweep this coming November. Both Obama and Clinton have each raised at least 20 million dollars in the last couple of months while John McCain raised just barely twelve million bucks over the same period of time. Combine the fund raising advantage with the voter turnout and there appears to be trouble ahead for the GOP. The voter turnouts in the previous primaries has favored the Democrats by almost 3-1. Democrats are energized by their candidates, Republicans are not.

If Obama wins both the Texas and Ohio primaries this coming Tuesday the battle is over and he will be the nominee. If Clinton wins the two states Tuesday the battle rages on. Hilliary will be on a comeback.

The number one issue among Democrats is now the economy, replacing the Iraq war at the top of the list. Economic policies favor Clinton by a nose over Obama. The economy also is the number one issue for yours truly. For the first time in my lifetime the Canadian dollar is worth more than the American dollar. Countries all over the globe are trading in dollars for euros. Fortunately, right now one of those countries isn't China. If China follows suit we may be in big trouble. Additonal concerns are the value of the dollar, the deficit, and the national debt. Often people confuse the deficit and the debt as being one and the same but it really isn't. A deficit is created when spending exceeds income, a debt is created when we borrow money to pay for the excess spending. The national debt is so large right now that just the interest on it could solve the Social Security problem and among other things pay for the defense budget.

Right now I am not sure whether I want Clinton or Obama to win. It is long past time for a woman president but I am afraid that her presidency will lead to four to eight more years of division and that just isn't what we need right now. We need a true uniter. It will be interesting to watch.

May this be a wonderful day of family friends and happiness for everyone.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Nice Day

I had a really nice day yesterday. Worked until ten o'clock in the morning then decided to go to downtown Portland for the day. I haven't been to the city for a while now. I love downtown Portland just a fun place to be. A great place to people watch. I got to downtown a little before eleven then did some ultimate window shopping.

First, I went to Nordstroms to look at some dress shoes. Nice shoes but expensive so I am going to wait for a sale or try Macy's at Washington Square closer to where I live.

Second, I hit a Starbucks and read Willamette Weekly which is a weekly newspaper with a different slant than our local daily. One of the ads in the W.W. was for a concert that is going to be in late April here at the Keller Auditoriam. THE STARS OF ONCE! Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are going to be here to perform a concert. There is a concert I won't miss. Here is a link to their concert schedule .

Third, there is a new Brooks' Brothers store in downtown Portland. I wanted to check out their suits. I have a couple of really nice suits but I wanted to see the difference between the suits I am wearing and a Brooks' Brothers. I tried one on and whooaaaaa Nellie. I don't look bad in a suit but in a Brooks' Brothers suit I might even want to date me. As soon as I reach my fitness goal I am buying one.

Fourth, I met up with a friend and we walked down to Powell's. She gave me some tips one some authors that I am going to try out. We had coffee in the little coffee shop inside Powell's. Then walked back to our origins. On they way back it rained. She seemed a little to worried about me getting wet. I love the rain and it doesn't bother me to get wet. It just feels cleansing to me. She had an umbrella but us true Oregonians never use umbrellas, it is how we tell who the tourists are. It was so nice to have the company of a very nice lovely lady. Now I have to hit a closer book store to buy some books by those authors.

On the way home from downtown Portland my Mom called and the caregiver was sick so didn't show up. That meant Bill as the fill-in again. Came home got my night bag and spent the night at Mom's.

A great day!