Monthly Archives: February 2013

Five Two

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Yesterday marked the 52nd anniversary of me being on this planet.  I’ve stopped celebrating birthdays essentially since my 50th so I didn’t really have any big plans.  I worked during the day, got off at 5pm and my 16 y/o son said he’d take me to dinner.  He treated me to an awesome dinner at Famous Dave’s, where he experienced bread pudding for the first time and we both ate so much we got sick…he was kind enough (and knows me well enough) to not alert the staff to do the birthday song.

What this post is about however, is the birthday card my son got me.  Mind you, his efforts to-date in this realm have been admirable…generally he would contribute to a card his older sister got me with a short but genuine birthday wish and expression of love.

This was the first year he actually had to get me a card on his own.  I got home from work and he was palpably excited for me to open the card (which by the way included a Starbucks gift card–my second home during college)…

In the interest of bandwidth, here’s what the front of the card read:

“Here’s the deal, Dad.  You don’t like hearing sappy things, and I don’t like talking to you about feelings and stuff like that.  But it’s your BIRTHDAY and there’s not other way to really say it, so here goes…”. (see photo above)

I opened and read the card and was so stunned at his expression of feelings…of the perfection of the card and its message…and of his expression of gratitude, that before I literally burst into a sobbing pile of tears I managed an awkward “that was the best card I have ever gotten” before I stood up and we embraced into a long hug…

And then in an ancient tradition of “dudes” everywhere, we changed the subject and hit the road for dinner.

So let this post reflect what I didn’t say to him:

Thank you for being my son.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to call you my son.

Thank you for being, without question, the best man I could have EVER hoped for.

Son, you have become the kind of man I could never have hoped for beyond my wildest expectations.  You have overcome challenges that most men your age don’t have to and you have learned to thrive despite them.

You are strong, kind, tenacious, courageous, and way too damn good looking.  You literally are everything I wanted to be at your age…smart, physically strong and handsome, popular and passionate about where you want to go in life.

It’s a cliché, but I truly could die tomorrow and in my last moments, be totally satisfied and proud at the people who you and your sister have become.

Thank you son.

I love you pal and will forever be on your side…

 

 

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Dorner Dies…and So Does Journalism

This post is likely premature considering the scope of journalistic malfeasance that is continuing to develop around the story concerning former LAPD cop Christopher Dorner.  The case itself raises multiple cultural, procedural and institutional questions.

Reports as of 8:15pm PST indicate that Dorner did in fact die in the cabin where he was suspected of hiding.

What also died today was the last vestige of journalistic integrity.  During the early stages of this incident, according to multiple sources, law enforcement authorities asked journalists to not only clear the airspace above the incident (a relatively routine request) but to stop disseminating information, specifically via Twitter.  Reports also indicate that law enforcement radio traffic  broadcast via the internet was also cut off.  Tactical safety of the officers was the reason given.

Operational safety.  That’s why the hordes of reporters simply complied with this request.  Hmmm.  I used to work in public safety so I know a little more than the average Joe about these kinds of scenarios.  I was also a trained and certified Public Information Officer…in other words the guy the agency put in front of the microphones to release information.

Here’s the deal…there’s a little thing called the First Amendment that guarantees free speech and a free press.  What that means kids is that the government shall not abrogate that freedom.  In other words, all the requests made by law enforcement today flew in the face of said amendment…and the organizations who should have been screaming the loudest in protest…meekly complied.

A very dangerous and ominous precedent.

There are operational and tactical safety issues that should be taken into account when a news organization covers a story.  But most public safety agencies have a multitude of ways of policing this issue themselves (not releasing information, back channel “coded” radio  frequencies not available to the public/media, etc).  Look, it’s not okay to televise the tactical movements of officers during a live operation if it’s possible that the suspect could take advantage of that information.  But to immediately, and apparently unquestionably conceded to these demands is outrageous.  There is always a healthy give and take…a dance if you will with the facts between these competing interests.  In this case, one of the interests quit dancing altogether.

I was not there.  I do not have access to all the facts.  I am simply stunned however, that based upon all the fact available to me at the moment, that the press rolled over so easily.

Folks…this is how democracies fall and we need to get off our lazy butts and start paying attention and demanding answers.

RIP to all those killed by this sociopathic coward.  Let’s honor their  memories by demanding more from our government and from our democracy.

 


Time Management

Priorities: Work…Study…Exercise…Sleep…Repeat

These things have been weighing heavily on my mind lately.  Working full-time and restarting school have mandated a reevaluation of my time management (skills?).

I know I’m whining here, but I am not used to jamming this much activity into my life.  I’m lucky to have a job that for the most part I don’t have to take home, but nonetheless it’s a physically and emotionally draining 40 hours out of my week.  I need to continue to focus on my recovery (12 step stuff) so there’s another time commitment.

The new wrinkle is school.  I go twice a week at 3 hours a pop.  Relatively easy classes so far but a mountain of reading and until I get into the flow of the class and understand what the instructor expects, I have, simply, a boat-load of reading to do.

Oh yeah, then there’s plain old life…you know: exercise, doctor visits, laundry, grocery shopping, ironing…spending time with my kid.

Dating?  HA!  That’s a good one…

Writing? Blogging?  Those have become luxuries…

Pleasure reading? LMFAO…THAT I will miss and need to schedule some weekly time for.

The point is…wow…are humans normally functional on this little sleep?  Up at 6 (which is WAY too early for me) and down at midnight after a FULL day.  The challenge has been to find enough coffee and take enough breaks that I’m actually comprehending what I’m reading.

So to those who have gone before me…I salute you.  This is harder than I thought but I love every minute of it…and I am truly blessed to be able to participate in these activities.  Lot’s of folks don’t and I certainly don’t take it for granted…


What My Kid Does On Friday Nights

Crimefighter...who knew?

Crimefighter…who knew?


Stop The Planet, I Want To Get Off

The madness has arrived in earnest and I simply can’t wrap my head around it.

Earlier this week, a sociopath (who shall remain nameless) murdered in cold blood a beautiful young couple in Irvine, CA.  The young man was the friend of a co-worker of mine who is understandably devastated.  The sick f*%# who killed them is now being celebrated on numerous social media sites.  Celebrated.

He published an online “Manifesto” that was simply too good for the media to ignore.  Nevermind that it’s the ramblings of a sociopath, and has little to no social value:  those who argue that he makes legitimate points need to step back and consider the source, a crazed madman who murdered two young people, and a police officer, in cowardly cold-blood…to me that negates any of his arguments.

There are reforms needed in institutions like LAPD without doubt, but for the media, and social media in particular to champion the thoughts of a man so clearly mentally ill, is beyond reprehensible in my mind.  The ends DO NOT justify the means.

Also:  I’m at work yesterday and read a tweet saying that this nutcase has sent a package to Anderson Cooper at CNN.  FOR A SECOND, I naively thought that CNN might do the right thing and ignore this.  Hahaha…what was I thinking…as I walked by a TV at work, there was Anderson showing a photo of the shot-through coin.  Exactly what news value does this contain other than to garner ratings and fulfill the dark wishes and desires of a madman and encourage other weak and ill minds to follow suit?

And last night I’m driving home and the last bastion of common sense, local news radio, failed me.  Yep, there it was, a 15 second promo promoting their “round the clock coverage” of the manhunt.  The CBS affiliate was using this tragedy as a teaser.  God help us all…I know this isn’t going to change, we’ve long since passed the point of outrage at this kind of “infotainment” but it still shocks me.

Ignorance truly is the most dangerous aspect of our society.


How The N.R.A. is Taking Our Guns

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Some form of assault weapon ban is likely to pass at the federal level in the next few years.  Semi-automatic rifles that have certain characteristics will be banned.  And more people will die.  This well-intentioned yet ill-conceived and uninformed law will NOT reduce the kind of violence that ironically was its catalyst.

We as a society, suffer from a lack of will…a dearth of the collective ability to critically and dispassionately analyze a problem and offer cogent solutions.  And if  by some miracle we were to do so, we lack the political vision to exercise a concept called compromise.  And this is why the N.R.A. will be largely responsible for the very ban they are screeching to halt.

Of the current knee-jerk responses to Sandy Hook, one actually makes real sense.  Universal background checks for potential gun owners.  I have them in my state and didn’t blink when I was asked to submit to the process and wait 10 days to get my gun…it simply made sense and I saw the societal value of the regulation.  Any law-abiding gun owner should easily be able to wrap their head around this concept.  Let’s not let criminals buy guns.  Let’s not let folks with documented mental illnesses or those under restraining orders buy guns.  Pretty simple concept at its core, yet to the N.R.A., this is apparently an invasion of privacy of epic proportions and a sure sign that Uncle Sam will be knocking on your door to take your guns away someday.  That the evil empire will have access to your name, address, and that fact that you legally own a firearm.  God forbid they have that stuff…oh wait, other than the owning a gun part, they already have that you neanderthals…it’s called income taxes, but then again some of your ilk aren’t big supporters of that either, so you’ll forgive me for calling out your dysfunction.

Comprehensive mental health, public safety, and firearms regulation funding are the only solutions that offer some common sense solutions to the firearm related tragedies we too frequently read about.  Sadly, these things cost money, require political courage, and frankly aren’t sexy.  It’s too easy for the left (of which I am a proud member) to ignorantly decry that the guns are the problem while the right petulantly and dangerously oppose background checks while screaming that the sky is falling.

I honestly was  hoping to pick up an AR style semi-automatic rifle someday.  If you are a firearms enthusiast like me, it’s a cool weapon and a great addition to a collection.  If I’m not allowed to own one (currently I can’t really in my state anyway) as the result of common sense and multi-faceted legislation aimed at reducing gun violence, I’ll be disappointed but am willing to make that compromise.  I don’t think these weapons should be banned as they are not the issue, but if they are…I will have Wayne LaPierre and his cronies at the N.R.A. to thank…

Nice job Wayne…


Liebster Award

Thanks Unlost in Translation for the honor of nominating me for a Liebster Award.  After some confusion on my part (par for the course) I finally understood what it’s all about.  As such, here’s 11 Random Facts about me followed by 11 questions for my nominees:

Facts:

  1. I seriously LOVE the dark
  2. I’m nearly 52 in chronological age, but still in my teens emotionally
  3. I’m still trying to touch my toes while standing
  4. I started shaving my head about 20 years ago to avoid the “Trump” combover
  5. Chicks dig me (see #2)
  6. I’m a former Ice Hockey player
  7. When I was 15 I was saving lives in South Central L.A. as a Fire Dept. Explorer
  8. I became a cycling fanatic at age 45
  9. I blog therefore I am
  10. I let the dogs out
  11. Single and ready to mingle (again, see #2)

Questions:

  1. What two books can you not live without?
  2. How old are you emotionally?
  3. Do you know your suit/dress size?
  4. Can you tie a tie?
  5. Color eyes?
  6. What is your favorite sport?
  7. Do you play any sports?
  8. If you could change careers, what would you do?
  9. Do you have a college degree and if so, what level?
  10. If you could own any car, what would it be?
  11. Who is your dream woman/man?

Check here for Liebster Award rules…and thanks again Unlost in Translation for the shout out!

Here are my nominees:

King Midget

eryn b good

I’m still new to the blogging community and I was only able to nominate the above two worthy candidates (that and I’m pressed for time…first day of college)…enjoy!

OK, I’m going to be seriously late but I almost forgot to nominate the woman who turned me onto WordPress in the first place:

Busaba Boudoir  Thanks Brenda!!!


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