Sunday, July 20, 2014

One Man's Eulogy for His Longtime Friend

[In July, the following edited remarks were made by a high school classmate of mine at the memorial service for his best friend, another one of my high school classmates, at the famous Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. One was president of the student council, the other president of our senior class. One became a Top Gun pilot, and later, a rear admiral and an airline captain; the other became a renowned neurosurgeon. Both are proof that good guys don't always finish last.]

. . .We are here to celebrate the amazing life of my best friend of fifty-seven years. I’m M*** S****, retired Navy Rear Admiral and fighter pilot. My call sign used to be “Red”, but these days they call me “Pink” or “Whitey” or worse.

As a fighter pilot and a Top Gun graduate, I AM familiar with strong personalities with egos bigger than the Goodyear blimp – in fact, on the all time list of overinflated prima donnas and divas, I think it’s a dead heat between fighter pilots and surgeons.

How many of you have read “The Great Santini” or saw the movie with Robert Duvall? I think Pat Conroy summed it up most politely about his father, when he said he possessed “unassailable self-esteem.” Correct? Yet, despite all of J**'s achievements as a surgeon, all of his patience in teaching and mentoring young neurosurgeons over his career, he was never boastful, he did not create scenes, he was never so full of himself that others winced or recoiled, and he continued to perform at the top of his game, steadily, modestly, AND without uttering many unnecessary words, right?

He didn’t have time for the petty arguments and turf battles among his fellow surgeons that he endured and adjudicated as head of the department. Once when forced to settle some recreational bickering between two surgeons in his department, he listened carefully to each of them, poker-faced, showing no emotion of any kind as he listened, “Uh-huh. . .uh-huh. . .uh-huh. . .um-hmmm, etc.” Then he announced his judgment, and I quote rather liberally, “Dr. Jones, Dr. Smith – no dessert for either of you for a week!”

I am here to testify that J** H*** has always been a humble, modest, soft-spoken [most of the time] consummate pro. . .one of those stealth overachievers who does his homework, and follows through on the decisions he makes. And he nearly always made good ones.

I met J** in the 1956-57 eighth grade year, when his family moved to Wilmette from Kansas City – it was Ike’s first term, the start of rock and roll, Dick Clark, Elvis, Sputnik, and tailfins on cars.

I tried to be a friend to the new guy. We hit if off for a lot of reasons. His dad was a WWII bomber pilot and my dad was a Marine who was on Guadalcanal when I was born. Both our dads exhorted us to NEVER GIVE UP – the quotation made famous by Winston Churchill.

Our dads never talked much about their wartime experiences. They didn’t express much emotion and they certainly didn’t consider themselves heroes. But they were heroes – to us.

As their sons, we wanted to measure ourselves against their incalculable record of winning the war and making the world a safer place. But J** and I also wanted to be different kinds of dads – expressing our emotions and letting our families know how very much we loved them and would protect them at all costs. I know how much he loved and enjoyed being with his family. How proud he was of his daughters and sons-in-law and his grandkids. He and his wife, R********, shared a deep mutual love and respect throughout their years together.

J** and I were both active in scouting – in fact, we nicknamed each other “Scout”. Every phone conversation, letter, or email would start with “Hi Scout” for 57 years. We went to scout camp Ma-ka-ja-wan in Wisconsin for several summers as both campers and counselors. That experience probably started Jim’s lifetime fascination with water, boats, diving, kayaks, and all.

We strengthened our friendship at New Trier High School. We both played second or third string football. I played baseball. J** was a leader on the gymnastics team. For a YouTube moment, can you imagine J** in white stretch pants?

We were probably the straightest arrows in the school, partly because of our upbringing and partly because of our experience in Explorer Scouts, trying to be good examples to younger scouts. We all know that kids ignore much of what their parents ask them to do, but let a high school or college kid make the same suggestion and they will  do it, instantly and enthusiastically, right? Jim and I tried to live up to the expectations of those leaders we admired.

At New Trier, I was elected president of the Student Council. And J** was elected president of the senior class. 
At this point in our formative years, the game plan went something like this: I wanted to go to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and J** wanted to go to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After graduation, I would become an Admiral and he would become a General. Then we’d become co-Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs. If that didn’t work out, we planned to go to law school.

Unfortunately, during the spring sports season, J** broke his collarbone and couldn’t pass the Army physical. So, he chose Dartmouth instead. And decided on medicine over law. That decision meant spending long, brutal summers taking science courses to get into med school. But his NEVER GIVE UP attitude and effort paid off when he got into Tufts Medical school.

There is a picture in the yearbook of J** with his busted collarbone sling on, working at carving the head of a giant totem pole – our high school class gift to New Trier. Doesn’t that look of intense determination provide a sneak preview of the ace brain surgeon J** would become?

Meanwhile, I’d gone off the Pensacola to become a Naval aviator – the last hurdle was to make six successful carrier landings and six successful catapult launches to get my gold wings. The night after qualifying, I phoned him in Boston, very excited about my experience aboard the aircraft carrier. J** was just as excited. As an intern at Mass General hospital, he had removed his first bullet from a gunshot wound victim!!

In 1974, when I had resigned my commission, joined the Naval Reserves and become an airline pilot, Jim picked me up at Detroit Metro airport and took me to his home in Ann Arbor. He had almost completed his residency and expressed disappointment at my career choice.  Now I understand that flying airplanes is not brain surgery [to coin a phrase], but flying is what I loved as much as he loved being a doctor. He dropped me back at my hotel and I couldn’t help but feel that I had disappointed him, something I never wanted to do.

A few years later, we got together again, when I was in D.C. for Navy duty. J** took me aside and said, “Hey you know that conversation we had and what I said about your flying career? I was all wet and outta line about that – stick with what you love.”

J** was always a very smart guy, but he had the rare ability to change his mind when facts and circumstances changed, the mark of a true thinker and a generous spirit.

We both fought hard to achieve success in our careers and in our lives. We were both tested by adversity on several occasions. Either because of events not totally within our control or caused by our own buffoonery. We had to start over a couple of times, but Churchill’s famous words came tumbling back, “Never give up!”  

J**’s wicked sense of humor often lightened the mood in facing those setbacks. Do you remember his laugh? I loved it! He laughed, even as he tried to project a formal, almost stern, professional self. And when he did, his face relaxed and creased with a great smile. He would sort of snort to begin with, then start out with a quiet laugh, then beam with enjoyment as he savored the joke, the irony, the moment.

J** had eclectic and catholic tastes in music. He loved it all. We sang Kingston Trio and Brothers Four songs in high school, camp songs, and dreamed of second careers as doo wop singers early in our journey together. He could sing harmony to “Cathy’s Clown” and “Runaround Sue” as well as burst into an operatic aria with no forewarning. Me? I like both kinds of music – country and western.

I was taken by John Denver’s poetic "Country Roads" and "Rocky Mountain High", among others. When he emailed me with his diagnosis [stage 4 pancreatic cancer] in June, I was in Aspen, Colorado on vacation.

There is an amazing memorial to John Denver there with lyrics from his songs carved into the rocks along the Roaring Fork River. As my wife and I walked away from the memorial I passed a huge stone engraved with this quote from John Denver:

“Death is not an ending, but a symbol of movement along the path we are all traveling. As it may be painful to lose contact with the physical aspect of one we love, his spirit can never be lost. We have been and will always be a part of each other.”

Scout, it’s time to say goodbye. You were always my lifetime best friend and my best example to live up to. You will always be part of our hearts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Do I Have A Stalker Now?

So. Like I said, every guy except one has come back into my life no matter how horrible our break up might have been.

However, this time around, it looks like I've got a problem with someone I haven't seen in ten years. That I haven't wanted to see for ten years. Who apparently can't take a hint that I don't want to see him for another ten million years. Read the back story HERE.

I sent a one word reply after receiving this guy's out-of-the-blue email followed by a snail mail delivery. The one word was "RECEIVED." To let him know -- per his request -- that I got his communications. It was also to prevent him from coming to my house with the excuse that he hadn't heard from me. 

If anything says "You must have me confused with someone who gives a shit," it would be that one word response to his entreaties for forgiveness. A sign that I never wanted to see him again.

But no. He took my one word response as an opportunity to email me AGAIN. 

Yep. Today he stepped over the line. 

Only someone with serious boundary issues could mistake my message for anything other than GO AWAY. 

Sadly, what I was afraid might happen has happened. That one word was enough encouragement for him to send today's email [my comments added]: 

I am without doubt dead to you. YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!


While resurrection might be too much to ask for, in case it might matter, I hope to report that there’s been some adult-onset maturity in the past five or so years. Maybe even more than just some. SORRY. SENDING THIS LATEST EMAIL SAYS OTHERWISE. PLUS, I JUST DON'T GIVE A SHIT.

While it might not seem that there’s anything in it for you, and it might be easy to simply continue (as it were) as we’ve done, I would like to ask you to please consider the possibility of accepting the heartfelt apology of a grateful, loyal, chastened friend, who is completely more painfully aware of the magnitude of the loss of your friendship. (And a friend who’d be more actively protective of that friendship should it chance to be restored.) YOU'RE RIGHT. THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS FOR ME. SO. GO. AWAY.

I sincerely hope that this will be enough to merit even the smallest step forward. I know that if it's even possible, I will have to earn your trust back, a step at a time. NOT HAPPENING. I AM NOT THAT STUPID.

Do you think you could find it in your heart to meet for coffee or other beverage and let me apologize again and beg for forgiveness in person? NO. NO. NO. NO. DID I MENTION I AM NOT THAT STUPID?

This time I won't respond to his email. Except for what I've written here on the blog. 
UPDATE: No, not another email. Just the passage of time. I have had a chance to think about how this mess could have gone so much better. First, the whole apology thing.  WTF? Nevermind that ten years is way too long to wait. [On the other hand, if a felony had been involved, there's no statute of limitations.] But, his obsequious attempt to apologize after a decade was cringe-worthy at best. And begging for forgiveness just upped the EEEEWWWWW factor. 

Because I am nothing if not a helpful [former] friend, here's what he should have said -- "Dear Mrs. Linklater" [and that's what he should have called me, by the way], "As I recall, our last conversation didn't end well. If only I'd realized the error of my ways sooner and just offered to go fuck myself, our friendship might have survived that unfortunate event. Too bad I can't un-ring that bell. However, on the chance that anything is possible, here's my phone number in case you ever need a friend. Again."

At least I would have thought about calling. Unfortunately, there's two chances of that happening now -- slim and none. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

They Always Come Back -- Unfortunately

A long time ago, I discovered that it didn't matter how badly any of my relationships might have blown up, the guys always came back, whether I wanted them to or not. Except for one. 

Just an FYI, this isn't the one. 

As I recall, the night it all ended, we were on the phone, so I could hear about his latest whatever, and I made the mistake of thinking it was my turn to talk, like people do when they're having a conversation. And he proceeded to act like a complete ass, which I found disturbing, since I'm supposed to be his friend, not his fucking therapist. So I reminded him, "You know I can easily walk away from this and never see you again?" He said something I don't recall. But my final words were, "Good bye. Have a nice life." And. I. meant. it. After twenty years of whatever it was we had, I was D.O.N.E.

On May 20, 2014 -- I received an email:


It's been an ice age since we last spoke.

I'm writing to acknowledge and take responsibility for my unfortunate, disappointing behavior, which led to the lack of communication, and sincerely apologize for it. I was a bad friend. You deserved, and deserve, much better.

Whether you can forgive me or not, I just wanted you to know that I know I let you down. And I completely regret it (and my lack of maturity).


NOTE: I did not reply to his email. I thought that would be message enough.

On June 2, 2014 -- a large white envelope arrived at my home with a note written on graph paper, the kind you use for anything but letters of apology.

Mrs. Linklater [actually, he used my first name, but by now you must know the drill for this blog],

I'm sending this on the heels of the email in the belief that one can't apologize too often for regrettable bad behavior, and to ensure that this message avoids the bulk mail folders and other pitfalls of the internet.

I'm writing to acknowledge and take responsibility for my unfortunate, disappointing behavior. I sincerely apologize for it. I was a bad friend. You deserved, and deserve, much better.

Whether you can forgive me or not, I just wanted you to know that I know I let you down. And I completely regret it (and my lack of maturity).

If you'd like to hear this apology in person, I'm at your disposal. [EMAIL ADDRESS AND PHONE].

To avoid the unintended appearance of stalking, if you wouldn't mind, please acknowledge receipt of this message so I can stop trying to make sure it arrived.


I didn't want to reply to this either, especially because of his lame attempt to control my behavior. Not to mention the graph paper. However, knowing him, I was concerned he might decide to show up at my house as a last resort, and I wanted to prevent that. So I responded to his original email with one word, "RECEIVED."

What's amazing to me is that he was so determined to apologize for that one incident and there had been a boatload of others he could have included. And it wasn't like I'd asked him for a favor and he'd let me down. Nope. He'd just behaved like a complete jerk during our conversation and frankly, I got tired of it. Locally and globally. Plus it was the kind of behavior that requires an apology the next day or so. 

Not ten years later. Yep. You got that right. 

At my age, he's lucky I still recognize his name. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

And Now For Something Completely Different

With all the hoo-hah about women and salary equality, I want to share a couple of anecdotes to dispel the notion that women don't know how to ask for what they're worth. All these tales are about ME. 

Mrs. Linklater [R] with some of her JWT chums, including Ralph and Tom

As usual, most of what I read blames the victim. Mainly, we hear that women don't make as much because they can't negotiate. This is confirmed in the media with timely articles placed by employer PR firms, which claim that the reason women make less is because it's their own fault. We don't hear that employers keep offering women [and minorites] less money than men. Or threaten to fire them for comparing salaries. [Lilly Ledbetter, anyone?] And they will keep paying women less with impunity, because nothing and nobody has been able to stop them. 

Let's be clear -- I think we women are well aware of our value. And we're quite capable of asking for what we want. It's the people we're negotiating with -- male OR female -- who bring their gender biased [and racial] baggage to the meeting. And it hangs over everything like a bug bomb at a mosquito party.  

Yes, it's 2014, but men in a position to decide what a woman can earn continue to devalue a woman's worth. Women in that position do, too. I call it the Stockholm Salary Syndrome. 

Both types enter into negotiations with a preconceived notion of "what a WOMAN deserves to earn." Or make decisions based on how little we can get her for. These are the people who [in my case] negotiate in bad faith. Or, because they're so shocked that a woman has had the temerity to ask for a "man's salary", they forget how to negotiate at all. 

Some back story.

My first ad agency job came after two years of writing retail ads at Marshall Field's & Co. Back in the Jurassic Era. My roommate worked as a secretary for Tom, a writer/producer at JWT. He had a five-minute side gig as an Andy Rooney-type commentator on local CBS-TV.  Between the two late movies he'd make wry observations about linen sales, new car smells, the first day of Spring, things like that. And he needed a script writer to reduce his load. So I wrote up some samples and got my own side gig working for him at $20 a script.  Years later I found out he was getting $50 for my scripts. 

The good news is that writing those TV scripts got me an interview with another JWT creative, Ralph. He hired me in a cab ride after we attended a Reader's Digest media luncheon [known as a "freebie" by ad types]. After Ralph got back to the office, he asked Tom, "Can she write?" 

I started my first stint at JWT [there were three] on the same day as John, a recent college grad. I found out, soon after, that he had been hired for 20% more than I had. [The HR department had set the salaries, not Ralph.] John also got business cards. Same job, different genders. I had two years' experience. He had none. You do the math.

This is why I have written to my Senator to ask that Social Security payments be adjusted to compensate for the 20% discrepancy in pay. Women should get 20% more. Or men should get 20% less. It's my form of reparations. 

Not ballsy enough to ask for a raise at the time [I know, quelle surprise!], I went to the office manager of the creative department [a woman] and asked for business cards. "Why do you need them?" "Because John got them." We both knew the only reason he got them was because he was a guy. At this point, the office manager didn't have a reason to turn me down. I got my business cards. Six months later I also got a 20% raise to match his starting salary. I am also sure that John got a raise, too. 

Lesson learned.

Twenty years later [after ten years out of the biz for marriage, kids, and divorce],  I was on my third tour of JWT, this time as a VP/creative director. One day I got a call for a job as creative director at the headquarters of a medium-sized ad agency in Pennsylvania that later moved New York. 

After a whirlwind courtship and interview, where I flew out to meet everybody and demonstrate my presentation skills, I was offered $20,000 over my current salary. What a joke. I was also expected to fire someone I knew from my early days at JWT. A friend. Over the phone I said these exact words to their negotiator, "You are not even in the ballpark." When he asked, I told him I wanted double my salary. Plus, all my moving costs. And the $20K was my signing bonus. I also asked why they couldn't fire my friend themselves. 

Without even taking a breath, he said, "Okay" to all my requests. You might think that's a good thing. But his quick response is right where negotiations broke down. 

When he said "Okay" so fast, that's when I knew these people hadn't been negotiating in good faith. They were willing to seriously lowball their offer because I was a woman. Man to man I am convinced that wouldn't have happened. It made me wonder what else would they be willing to do later. On the other hand, if I hadn't had to move to another city and disrupt my kids' lives -- if I'd stayed in Chicago -- I might have taken the job. Despite the risks.

Another lesson learned.

Several years later, now on my own, I was hired as part of a SWAT team to help the Chicago office of a Canadian ad agency save their largest account. The person in charge of the pitch called me and said, "I need a loose cannon and your name keeps coming up." Best compliment I ever got.

The first day I showed up for work, the owner of the agency was in town and asked me to write a :60 radio spot for a Toronto jewelry client. I had one hour to do it. Done. The next day he called from Toronto to say the client loved the spot. That was the good news. The bad news? He needed three more in three hours. Done.

Then we saved the account I was hired to work on. Afterward, I was asked by the owner if I would consider becoming the Chicago office's creative director. Although I enjoyed having my own clients and doing my own thing, I was tempted. I waited for the head of the office to formalize the offer. Weeks went by and I continued working on assignments, but nothing.

Finally, I took matters into my own hands and scheduled a meeting about the creative director offer with the guy in charge -- not to be confused with the owner, by the way. During the meeting he never mentioned a salary. So, when things were winding down [i.e., going nowhere] I just told him the salary I wanted. I based it on the lower end of what I knew Group Creative Directors were making at JWT. It was more than I was getting as a freelancer, which wasn't inconsiderable, but the job was much bigger, duh. 

Along with the salary, I asked for a membership at a local health club since I would be expected to spend long hours at work. The guy never batted an eye. He said, "I see no problem with that." So I figured we had a deal. I think we even shook hands.

The next week, a creative director I know is in the waiting room. I say hi and ask him what he's there for. To talk to the head of the office. I play dumb. And it becomes clear that he's interviewing for the job I thought I had.

Two more weeks pass. Finally the head of the office says he needs to talk to me. But he never sets a time. I know he plans to break the news to me, but the guy is such a chickenshit he can't do it. Especially after agreeing to my terms. He's not about to sit down and admit he's screwed me over.

So he keeps making and breaking plans to talk. Until there's only the weekend left before I know the new guy is supposed to start. Will I be home over the weekend so we can talk? Sure. He doesn't call.

So I call his bluff. I don't show up for work. Ever again. I do call the new guy, who says he's looking forward to working with me. But I tell him that he's got the job I was offered. And I won't be coming in again because of the way I was treated. 

He's amazed, since the head of the office told him that I would be working for him. Too bad he didn't tell me, I respond. 

All the head guy had to say, when I made my salary requirements clear, was "I was hoping you could work for less." Or, "I was just assuming we could continue paying you at your freelance rate." It's called negotiation for a reason. But, he ran into a woman who knew what she was worth and couldn't deal with it. He froze in his tracks. 

Then he failed to send me my last paycheck. Payback, I guess. I called the owner and told him the whole story. And got my paycheck.  

The Chicago office closed within a year. 

So don't tell me women don't know how to negotiate for decent salaries. 

We just aren't the lying, cheating bastards so many employers are.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Boy Scouts' Perversion Files Make the Catholic Church look like Choirboys

Google Perversion Files -- you don't even have to include "Boy Scouts."  Lots of articles come up. In the NY Times. LA Times. And then there's the actual files themselves. Totally creepy. Here's a LINK to twenty years of BSA files they kept on pedophiles. Only a court order has made them public. Like the Catholic Church, the BSA likes to keep their dirty laundry out of the public eye. I noticed that some of the people complaining about a creepy scoutmaster don't know the difference between a homosexual and a pedophile. I'm not sure the BSA knows either, considering their ongoing ban on gay scoutmasters. And history of reluctance to report pedophile scoutmasters to the authorities. 

Click on any PDF file provided for one of the listed perverts and be appalled and some of the behavior. 

The Perversion Files, if you still don't know, are the files kept by the Boy Scouts' on their INELIGIBLE VOLUNTEERS -- often scout leaders with a history of sexually inappropriate behavior with scouts. 

When push came to shove a generation ago, the Boy Scouts purged thousands of their Perversion Files. Like the priests, they tended not to report perverted behavior to the cops. They just tried to control the problem from headquarters by making these criminals "INELIGIBLE" for scouting. Except when they forgot to inform the local scouting organizations. 

I read an estimate which claimed that, at one time, there were files on over 20,000 people who had been put on the INELIGIBLE VOLUNTEER list -- before the purge. Now there's only 6000. 

Speaking of which: UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE on the Bill Bricker case. No arrest yet. I don't plan to hold my breath. Of course, it would help if more people abused by Bill Bricker talked to Detective Danielle Spence in Wyoming -- [307] 733-4052.

The Northeast Council of the Boy Scouts here in Illinois has not been helpful answering my questions. I asked whether there is a list of every scout who was ever in Bricker's Troop 18? Sorry. Too long ago. Oh darn. We don't have that information here on the premises. How about just TWO names? Sorry. Can't find them. 

The Winnetka cops pretty much stonewalled my FOIA request for the records that the BSA sent them. They are also truly culpable, with a uniformed officer not even writing up a police report, when I came in fifteen or so years ago to report what I had been told by victims.  

This time around, I got nothing from my FOIA request to them, except for one paragraph in a monotonous three page phone log which confirms that the BSA called the cops in February of this year, a fact I found interesting, since I didn't call the BSA until later. 

That call between the BSA and the Winnetka cops notes that Bricker was allegedly accused of alleged inappropriate sexual contact with alleged juveniles at Teton Valley Ranch Camp as well as in Winnetka. Allegedly. Have I said allegedly enough? Remember, Bricker allegedly retired from scouting in the 80's. So why was the BSA calling the cops in February? Hmmm. Probably because the detective in Wyoming had been in touch about the case out there. The first one ever filed as far as I know in 50 years. Fortunately, there's no statute of limitations out there. 

A few weeks ago, when I asked the Winnetka Cops for the entire BSA file on Bricker they told me to my face that I could expect to get the file with the juveniles' names and addresses, ages and dates redacted. I got nothing. 

Someone else answering the phone at the BSA office in Texas promised to have her supervisor call me back about another question I posed. They haven't. As mentioned earlier, they did confirm in an earlier phone call that Bill Bricker is on their IV -- INELIGIBLE VOLUNTEER -- list, otherwise known as the Perversion Files. This is a name not only used by the Boy Scouts, but by the attorneys who have sued the BSA successfully, and the reporters who have written about those suits HERE in the NY Times. 

I don't know why Bill Bricker's name doesn't appear in any of the perversion files that have been made public, even though he's considered an INELIGIBLE VOLUNTEER. 

He has been under the radar for decades, because most of the people he molested have kept the experience secret since the fifties. 

It makes me wonder whether there are very powerful North Shore scout leaders or parents who kept information about Bricker suppressed. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Eyes of March -- The Noise from Mrs. Linklater's Seat at Starbucks

Found this riveting, as yet unpublished, entry from March. If you're having trouble sleeping, I highly recommend it. 

Now that I'm a new grandma, you might expect me to temper my outre ways a bit. Maybe say nice things about people. Think good thoughts. Naaaaahhhh. 

But, before I begin any rants, here's a random grandbaby picture I can add -- guess who is now almost longer her little newborn basket? She's already doubled her weight and grown four inches. And she's only two weeks old. Okay. I kid. 

And now for something completely different. . .

It's March Madness time [NOTE: It was when I wrote this], which means it's time for Mrs. L's cockamammy prognostications about who's going to win the whole thing. Unlike football, where teams win wearing red or black or accessorized with silver or gold , Mrs. L thinks that whichever basketball team is wearing [boring] home team white has the best chance -- once they get to the Final Four.


On the other hand, in the ramp up to the fearsome foursome, home teams in white haven't got a prayer without the most awesome uniform mojo. Or they're guaranteed to lose. For instance, last night at the Big Ten Tournament, [#1] Michigan had some visiting team mojo cooking, no doubt allowing them to pull off a one point squeaker against [#9] Illini's whites in a game Big Blue [or  should have owned going away. Of course, this time of year, it doesn't matter what the rankings are, all uniform bets are off during March Madness. Speaking of home team mojo -- that's the only reason for Ohio State's lucky escape in the first round. Musta been the shoes.

Continuing with the underdogs, how 'bout Chris Collins and his [#11] Northwestern Wildcats taking out Iowa? With 28 seconds left, and only 2 points between them, NU could have totally choked. This is when they have choked before. Instead, Mrs. Linklater choked. She couldn't stand hearing NU going up by seven, then handing back four points with a stupid foul [about a million times]. 

Tonight [Friday] it will be considered a miracle if NU wins against Michigan State. Last night NU played way over their heads. The team's normally dismal percentages went to the stratosphere -- in the Top Five nationally if last night had been regular season play. Against MSU, which has enjoyed four days off, NU's legs are going to feel heavy and tired. So. No miracles tonight. Not going to happen. Even if Chris' father, Doug, is talking into a secret earpiece to help his kid with the coaching. [PS Mrs. L was sooooo right about the game.]

Did somebody want to take a long weekend in the Maldives or something? Sorry, not funny. But the Malaysians aren't making any points with their keystone cops routine. There's absolutely nothing that makes any sense. But, of course, we're still getting 24/7 updates. 

Earthquakes all over the place. Looks like Ohio had a couple of serious ones. Wait till they get into California and start sucking up the gas while sitting on top of the San Andreas fault. 7.8 anyone?

And one more baby picture. Because I can.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Blog Analytics Since 2014

The number of monthly hits on this blog has doubled since I was contacted by a detective in Wyoming and posted her information here so victims could contact her about the criminal case against Bill Bricker.  

Something else I've noticed is that most of the hits this blog is getting are from Spain, not the U.S. I would have expected that most interest in this case[s] would be generated from inside the US, although I know there are victims who now live outside the country. But I have no idea why Spain is checking out what goes on here in ever increasing numbers. More than in the U.S. Unless it's some kind of porn thing and this case shows up in their Google searches. Several other countries are also checking in with greater numbers than usual. 

Meanwhile, many other things are happening, none of which I feel like sharing, all of which are serving to make me even more cynical about the BSA, the emotional paralysis victims have, the failures of our justice system, the uselessness of anyone who claims to be an expert on suicide, and how far up the food chain a pedophile's protection can go. 

No good deed goes unpunished. Lesson learned. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What Did Bill Bricker Do To You? Please Tell Someone.

Shame and silence. For 50 years. Read today's story [5/13/14] about another trusted teacher who abused kids for decades before he was outed HERE

Bill Bricker Update:
There was a comment left just a few days ago on an earlier blog entry written about Bill Bricker. That comment was the first time that anyone has left his real name. It is reprinted below with just his initials. I hope this will encourage more people to come forward. 

PK said...
I attended Crow Island School. In 4th or 5th grade I became a member of Troop 18 led by Bill Bricker. I attended a weekend trip to the Amaquansippi Trail and during that weekend Bill Bricker sexually molested me. I left Troop 18 not long after that happened and never saw Bill again.
         I have moved on in my life, married, had two children and now three grandchildren.
         Bill Bricker should be prosecuted, no matter how old he is and no matter how prestigious his exterior reputation is. He was, and probably still is, a pedophile.

There is an active case in Wyoming, with preparations underway to file criminal charges. This is a first. The more people who can corroborate the stories of abuse, the stronger the case will be. Bill Bricker worked summers at the Teton Valley Ranch Camp, where kids came from all over the country. Call Detective Dani Spence in Jackson, WY @307-733-4052, if you experienced or witnessed any crimes by Bricker. Or know anyone who went to camp at Teton Valley Ranch. 

Boy Scouts who were victimized in Bill Bricker's Troop 18 in Winnetka or girls who attended Hubbard Woods Elementary School, where he was a teacher can contact Marc Pearlman in Chicago. His contact info is embedded in this paragraph sent to the blog from someone who decided to do something about what happened when he was a boy:

          I was sexually abused by Bill Bricker many decades ago.  This has preyed on me for a long time and I have finally decided to do something about it.  I would appreciate your contacting Chicago attorney Marc J. Pearlman of Kerns, Frost & Pearlman at his private direct line of 312-261-4554 or via email at and sharing with him what you may know about Bill Bricker and his victims.  After speaking with him, it might be helpful if you could let other victims know about this and suggest to them that they might want to contact him.  Their identities would be known only to him. If you know of circumstances, dates, or places of instances, it will be helpful. This is the website of the law firm:  Thank you very much.

IV. For boys and girls in Wyoming and Illinois, you can also contact Jason Sipe, litigation assistant at 503-274-1176. He does client intake for a law firm in Portland, OR that specializes in the litigation of civil sex abuse cases -- quite successfully against the BSA and the Catholic Church, in particular. He can be reached at O'Donnell Clark & Crew LLP • 1650 NW Naito Parkway • Suite 302 • Portland, OR 97209-2534. 

V. It isn't much, but here's a screenshot of some confirmation I got from the police:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Comments About Bill Bricker from the Glen Arbor Sun

I pulled the following comments from the Glen Arbor Sun archives. They may have been overlooked in the crowd.  They were written in response to the article in the Sun about former boy scout leader/gym teacher Bill Bricker. I thought it would be easier to read them in their own separate post. I think it's interesting to note that there are people who claim that girls were also victims, something I didn't realize.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

No Statute of Limitations in Wyoming for Pedophilia

I got an email today from a detective in Wyoming about Bill Bricker. He lived and worked as a gym teacher and boy scout leader in Winnetka, Illinois. He spent 50 summers working with kids at Teton Valley  Ranch near Jackson, WY.
          Here's the information that the detective asked me to post. The second sentence is important to note.

Anyone with information about crimes committed by BIll Bricker, please contact the Teton County Sheriff's Office at 307 733 4052 -- Detective Spence. This is an active criminal investigation and there is no statute of limitations for the crimes that occurred in Wyoming.  

In a second email, she added, "I can only investigate and file charges for the crimes committed here in Teton County Wyoming.  However, I will get any victim who comes forward connected to the right agency for the jurisdiction in which their crime occurred.  I can’t however promise they don’t have a statute of limitations as every state can be different.  But I will do what I can to help."

Call her. It's time. 

[You can read the story I reprinted from a Michigan newspaper about Bricker's background as a WWII recipient of the Silver Star, HERE. ]