Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Jobs In Jeopardy February 2015 Episode II

How exciting is this! Two episodes of Jobs in Jeopardy in the same month!! We can hardly contain ourselves. JIJ returned earlier in February with a daring prediction about Darrell Bevells, the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. Or should we say, the future former offensive coordinator for the Seahawks. Bevells, who made the absolute worst call in NFL history -- failing to score from the one yard line with three downs to do it and Marshawn Lynch to carry the ball -- will no doubt have company in the unemployment line after this next imminent firing occurs. 

And just who would JIJ's next candidate for job loss be? Why it's none other than the Secretary of the Veterans Administration, Robert McDonald, who lied about serving in the Army Special Forces. To a homeless veteran, no less. In front of news cameras. His casual slide down the slippery slope from truth to fabrication was caught on tape and vetted faster than you can say Audie Murphy. 

Of course, that's the risk you run when you hire the former head of Procter & Gamble, the company which promises whiter teeth, whiter clothes, whiter woodwork, and a general whitewash of your entire lifestyle. He's a white guy in a suit. A political appointee hired to wipe clean the problems of a very troubled agency. How ironic that this white knight fell into his own pile of poo. He flat out lied. He didn't make what the spin doctors are calling a "mistake." He was infected with a classic case of hubris, which caused a major brain fart that stinks of stupidity on his part.

The guy graduated from West Point. He actually got through Ranger training -- earned his tab -- but instead, served with the 82nd Airborne Division, a legendary group itself. And he served honorably, we might add. So why does he go and embellish his record with the Special Forces claim on camera? Ours is not to question why. Ours is to post this meme which is making the rounds of the internet.

He will apologize. By all apearances he will be forgiven. But one of these days, he will go his office, make a few calls, write a few emails. And, then, he will leave and never return. 

You can read the exciting story of this latest Job In Jeopardy HERE:  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

We Had Some Good Times

After a long battle with cancer, my friend, Michael V. Metzger, died around 3:00 AM last night with his daughter, Lauren, holding his hand. His very good friend, Jennifer, who spent the last twenty years as a huge part of his professional and personal life, wrote a touching tribute on Facebook about her loss: 

With Lauren holding his hand, telling him stories about visiting New Orleans and the three of us hiking in Telluride, he passed quietly. Our hearts are broken. I already miss his very large presence in my life. Michael was many things to me for just short of 20 years. I will love him and hold him close to my heart forever. We are planning a celebration of his life and I will post on here the information and attend if you loved this incredible person.

Educated as an astrophysicist, Michael became a well-regarded photographer with a wide range of interests. He was easily one of the most interesting, fun-loving people I've ever known. One year, I invited every woman in the area that he'd slept with to join him for a birthday lunch. I think there were over twenty who came for the celebration. We had loads of laughs and a lot of fun. Plus, I don't think any of the ladies realized their shared experience. Even the woman he was seeing at the time. 

Everyone called him Michael. The older we got and the longer I knew him, the more I called him Mike. It probably annoyed him. But then, he absolutely abhorred Obama and that annoyed me. 

Coincidentally, this morning, a high school classmate posted this poem, Sonnet XLIII, by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The sadness and melancholy it evokes resonated with me, remembering the highs and lows of the more than fifty years that I knew him. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Numbers Game

One of my relatives is big into Chinese numerology. He also wears aluminum foil hats to repel the people who are trying to end his life with microwaves. Coincidence? I think not. Apropos of that, I have noticed a strange alignment of numbers in my life.

Today, for instance, would have been my 45th wedding anniversary. After the wedding and reception, my ex and I drove East to visit relatives so I could show him off. On our way we spent the night at the George Washington Motel somewhere in Pennsylvania, on February 22nd, George's birthday. I just threw that in there for entertainment.

Turns out one of my cousins just passed away. And I noticed his birthday was listed as February 21st. Same as my anniversary. Ooo. Cosmic.

Other coincidental numbers -- my dad died on the 8th of August. My sister's birthday is the 8th of August. My daughters were born on the 11th of their respective birth months. One of their grandmas was also born on the 11th of the month. My grandbaby was born on the 3rd of her birth month. Like one of her grandads. But the trifecta occurs on November 24th. My dad and stepma got married that day. One of my half-brothers was born that day. And my uncle died in a plane crash during Army Aircorps training on November 24th in the 1930's. Every seven years, it is also Thanksgiving. So it's a quart taffeta -- LOL, thank you auto correct. Quart taffeta beats quarenta-fecta, which showed up as square festa the first time around.

But wait! There's more! One of my daughters got married on the 14th of the month (not this one) and their baby was born in 2014. And I know four people with same birthdate as mine.

I think I should sleuth around some more. I may discover even more numerical coincidences.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Aftermath of Child Sexual Abuse

Apropos of the recent Bill Bricker pedophile arrest, a reminder that the fallout from child sexual abuse is one that stays with children as they became adults. Dr. Phil posted a number of articles on his website to help the uninformed understand the aftermath of abuse when no intervention is provided. Victims can't undo the damage alone. They don't just grow out of it. Sadly, abuse can follow them to their graves without help. 

Here is a screenshot posted by Dr. Phil on the lasting damages to victims caused by child sexual abuse.
Below is another screenshot of more additional titles of informative articles about child sexual abuse, also posted by Dr. Phil on his website. Here's the LINK you need to reach that page. Once at the page, you can click on each topic to read the full story. The links below will not work from this blog. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Something for My Grandbaby To Play Along With

Okay, "Blurred Lines" may not be the most kid appropriate tune, but aside from the explicit lyrics, which are nearly unintelligible, the music is just perfect for an almost year old baby to enjoy banging on her colorful Babies 'R Us xylophone -- while bobbing her head from side to side and kicking her feet in a way I cannot begin to describe. 

Just think how much she can learn from watching someone else play the same instrument she plays. Think of the hours of fun her parents will have trying to explain Grandma's idea of educational experiences. 

Just so you know I'm not entirely off the grid, I posted Idina Menzel's [Adele Dazeem to some of you] G-rated "Let It Go" on Facebook, so my talented grandbaby can have not one, but TWO tunes to bang on her xylophone. 

By the way, when I Googled John Travolta's version of Idina Menzel, I also found this handy Travolta name generator HERE. 

I couldn't wait to see my name after it had been put through the Travolta machine: 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Jobs In Jeopardy Returns

I'm a little rusty, so Jobs In Jeopardy didn't get here fast enough to predict the end of Brian Williams' career on NBC nightly news. Not only that, he took himself down faster than the internet could pull the plug. But don't let that temporary hiatus stuff fool you. He is gone boy, gone. 

So that means I have to look around for other likely candidates. The ones who may even seem safe from the fickle finger of firing. Not the obvious ones like the congressional assistant whose racist blatherings on social media prompted him to execute himself just a few days ago. No, I want fresh meat. Say, for instance, the offensive coordinator for the Seahawks. He is still sleeping peacefully at night. But his career will be toast in a few months. It will be quiet. It will be discreet. But he will be gone. 

Fresh from the Super Bowl, with Pete Carroll gamely taking the blame for the absolute worst call in football history, Darrell Bevell's reason for making the call is almost as bad as the call itself -- let's make a pass on the one yard line to kill the clock. WTF you pussies. Too afraid to risk a kick off return? Just get the damn touchdown.  If this 71-year-old grandma can make the call, anyone could have done it. 

When there's 26 seconds left and you're on the one freaking yard line with three more tries to score with an MVP player carrying the ball, you don't freaking throw. You give it to the best back in the league. Why? Because he's so good? NO!!! Because he is SO-O-O pissed that he didn't get the ball into the end zone on his first try, nobody's going to stop him. Now he's got three more tries. I guarantee NOTHING was going to keep Marshawn Lynch from scoring. You want to get fancy and go for two points after that, go ahead and let 'em think you're going to throw. But give it to Marshawn so he can run it in again. 

Then, don't be afraid of the kickoff. Killing the clock was an egregious example of hubris. Putting the cart before the horse. With all due respect to a great player, how could anyone assume that one of Russell Wilson's passes wouldn't be intercepted? Darrell, did you see the Green Bay game?

Hasta la bye bye. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Ten Day Weekend Trip to NYC

I flew to NYC for the weekend ten days ago. It was a great day to fly for those of us who love to fly. Plus, I had the entire row to myself, a bonus for those of us who hate to sit next to people who might decide they want to talk to you.  

I also got some nice iPhone pictures of the view from the 17th row. 

I would happily point out local landmarks, but this view coming in for a landing was nothing I'd ever seen before, so you tell me what I was looking at.

After a wonderful, but too short visit with family, it was time to fly back home. The first time I made an attempt was on Monday, January 25th, the day that Mayor DeBlasio and three governors shut down their cities and states in a pre-emptive strike to prepare for the storm of the century. It may have been nasty for Long Island and the Northeast. But here's a picture of what that allegedly hellacious storm looked like when it hit New York City [ho-freaking-hum]:

After the third day of rescheduling flights, only to have them cancelled, I decided just to stick around until I was sure it would be safe to head back to Chicago. {What was I thinking? You can NEVER count on the weather.]

But I was optimistic. Especially if I left about five days later. Say on Monday, February 2nd, Groundhog Day? I could stay to watch the Super Bowl with friends and family on Sunday, Feb 1. Eat myself into a stupor. Then head home Monday, Harold Ramis' national holiday. What could be easier? 

I mention Groundhog Day, referring to the movie, not the rodent. Because the film is all about repeating the same day over and over again. Until someone gets it right. 

I should have known better. In a repeat of the previous Monday, my flight was. . .wait for it. . . cancelled. 

I woke up with the Groundhogs in the morning, knowing there was 19 inches of snow in Chicago, but the airports at both ends were trying to pretend things were normal. Chicago was trying to stick it to New York. Snow? Hell no!! We are flying today, people -- get your butts to the airport, because the planes will be taking off for the Windy City!!!

While standing in line for my boarding pass, I watched as the departure board changed my flight's status from ON TIME to CANCELLED. I informed the agent that my flight had just been cancelled. He said, oh no, it ha -- oh, wait, yes, it has. I could stand by on the noon flight or the 4:15 flight. Having been snookered by that trick before, I decided to leave on Tuesday. 

Good idea. For once. All the flights from LGA on Monday had been cancelled, it turns out. Stand by got stood up. Hanging around at the airport did nobody any good. So I got some more family time.

Of course, getting airborne will always test the theory of relativity. Fortunately, my flight on Tuesday was relatively on time. Only delayed for two hours. 

Here's my view to Chicago from seat 7D. Not as picturesque as the flight out -- cloudy with a chance of more bad weather. 

But I did get home on the second try, the third or fourth time I tried. Got my abandoned cat out of hock. Thanked my neighbors for snow-blowing my driveway and sidewalk. Stopped by the Post Office to pick up the mail that had been piling up. And played catch up with my life. The usual.  

[Actual, un-retouched photo of the aftermath from Chicago's fifth worst snowstorm on record.]

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Time to Give It a Rest

In 2007, when he was 87 years old, I Googled Bill Bricker and found a flattering profile written about him, previously published in the Glen Arbor [MI] Sun in 2005. [If only the article had been written twenty years earlier.] 

I posted the article on my blog, because a friend of mine told me years before that he had been molested by Bricker during scouting overnights. I made a cryptic remark at the end of the article, wondering why Bricker left his teaching job, hoping to see what kind of comments my query and the profile would generate. Thus began the long and winding road to Bill Bricker's arrest seven years later for inappropriate behavior with three minors. 

Over the next several years, lots of people began to comment for and against Bricker on the blog. Always anonymously. 

One victim, who never told me his name, decided to get a Chicago attorney involved with an eye toward criminal or civil charges against Bricker. He even called me on the phone [anonymously, with the number blocked], when I was discouraged by the lack of people coming forward at the time. Ever hopeful for a result, I tried to help out by posting the lawyer's information.

In 2012, I was contacted via this blog and my email, by a detective with the Teton County, WY, Sheriff's office. She wanted me to list her contact number on the blog for anyone who had been molested by Bill Bricker in Wyoming. With help from comments they found on the blog, there was an active, open, ongoing investigation against Bricker. After the years of whispers, I was very pleased to hear that an investigation was under way in Wyoming which, unlike Illinois, didn't have a statute of limitations. 

However, a year later, she called back wondering why she hadn't heard from more victims. 

It became clear that the shame and humiliation of sexual abuse were too great for the victims, both boys and girls, to feel comfortable revealing themselves, no matter what I, or anyone else who tried to help, could do.

Finally, at the end of September, 2014, the ailing, now 94-year old former teacher/scoutmaster/camp counselor was arrested. Three credible victims had come forward. His double life was over. His decades of depravity had been revealed. He was arrested and taken from his medical re-hab facility and put in a cell before his arraignment. The press perked up and took an interest. 

The years of rumors became a moment of truth for Bill Bricker's victims. More victims felt empowered to come forward. More papers carried the story.

The arrest was then followed by weeks and weeks of lawyers fighting for Bricker's extradition.

Followed by Bricker's death.

With Bricker's passing, this chapter of my life is over. I am on to other things. If there are postscripts, I will share them.

But for now, I'd like to give it a rest.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Illinois Child Abuse Law Not Good Enough

I wanted to know the statute of limitations in Illinois for charging someone with sexual abuse of a child. As you can see, even the criminal statute has all kinds of exceptions. You can view the website where I found this info HERE.

Frankly, I think there should be no statute of limitations for any kind of child sexual abuse. I think we can take a lesson from more forward thinking Wyoming on the value of removing the statute of limitations to protect our children. Bill Bricker would have gone to his grave with his reputation bright and shiny without Wyoming's invaluable help.

I was hoping that the Illinois statute of limitations for people who enable sexual predators [i.e., ignore complaints] was unlimited. But, you'll notice that the statute runs out eighteen years after a victim's 20th birthday. 

Meanwhile, Wyoming is apparently going after the people who chose to ignore direct complaints from Bricker's victims.  

Because, thanks to their unfettered statute of limitations, they can. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Requiem for Molested Children

The murder of a child is the cruelest death of all. Our hearts break. The loss feels incomprehensible. Trying to cope with the murders of multiple children can overwhelm the emotional reserves of an entire community, a whole city, even a country. 

While the world never knew them, no one will ever forget the nineteen babies and toddlers of Oklahoma City. Or the twenty school children of Sandy Hook Elementary School. We are also reminded daily of the ongoing, never-ending mass murders of children all across the world. 

In the wake of these kinds of deaths, we struggle with the horror as we attempt to honor their memories. How do you celebrate a life un-lived? The years of promise unfulfilled -- all gone in an instant? 

To assuage the emotional upheaval caused by these unimaginable losses, memorials have been held. Monuments have been built. And requiems have been written. 

But what about the children whose souls have been silently and slowly extinguished by sexual predators like Bill Bricker?  The children who die slowly, gradually over the passage of time, left to live with corrosive memories of abuse that eats them from the inside. The children who become alcoholics or drug addicts. The children who begin to suffer from mental illness. Or the children who can no longer bear the pain and finally commit suicide.

Who will honor the dozens and dozens of boys and girls abused by Bricker, who have suffered alone, tortured for decades with the nightmares of remembrance, dying a thousand times each day, crushed under the weight of shame and humiliation, molested by someone they trusted? 

Each one of these children was enthusiastically sacrificed to the respected teacher, scout leader, and camp counselor by the same adults charged with their protection. He was a war hero. So they ignored the complaints. He was popular. So they refused to believe the victims. He had powerful friends. So everyone looked away while Bricker cut the hearts and souls out of three generations of defenseless children. 

Who will write their requiem? Who will build a monument worthy of their memories? 

• • • • •

An anonymous, handwritten note in Bill Bricker's Winnetka school file estimated that he had molested at least 100 children during his decades as a school teacher, scout leader, and camp counselor. These are lives that Bill Bricker destroyed in countless ways. He took away one child's unbridled eagerness, happiness and joy. He ended another child's future dreams and smothered his innocence. He wreaked havoc on dozens and dozens of other children, with psychic devastation that followed many into adulthood.  

He could have been stopped years ago. He should have been tried and he would have been convicted.  

But despite what Bricker did, many of the boys and girls he took advantage of became productive, successful members of society. They survived, albeit wounded. As one of Bricker's survivors pointed out, "I don't know how the molestation affected me, but I know it affected me." 

Bill Bricker died a few days ago, having squeezed every possible accolade and honorarium he could out of his undeserved ninety-four years. Thanks to law enforcement in Wyoming, Bricker's enablers in Illinois could no longer protect him. His illegitimate legacy has been erased with his arrest in September of 2014 for inappropriate behavior with three minors. His public humiliation encouraged of some of his silent victims to finally come forward and speak out about what he did to them. 

A newspaper account of Bricker's passing noted that he would be cremated. There would be no services and no burial. 

Hearing this, someone suggested that his ashes should be flushed down a toilet. I thought the idea was worth mentioning.