Monday, December 16, 2013

Medical Marijuana, in case Oxycontin isn't doing it for you

I suppose if you live long enough you will have seen just about every liberal and demeaning piece of legislation there is roll through our state houses. Now we come to the legalization of marijuana in Florida. Apparently our chameleon friend and former Governor, Charlie Crist, is all about prescribing the benefits of Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC). As a morphed Democrat now he is all concerned about end stage cancer relief and glaucoma patients. Doesn't it just warm your heart? It is fitting that one of the foremost ambulance chasing law firms in the state, Morgan and Morgan, is squarely behind him.

I will admit that probably 9.9 people out of every 10 in Florida most likely light up a joint a couple times of month. It is extraordinarily common. However, it remains on the Florida statutes as a no-no. For my  money that should remain the case. There are far too many impaired people driving our highways presently. Do you really want to aid and abet more people in that regard?

Florida would become the 21st state to join the ranks of those who allow people to be prescribed marijuana for everything from glaucoma to fibromyalgia. However, guess what, prescribers can already dispense THC. Under the current DEA guidelines THC is a class 1 scheduled, controlled substance. Which means that a licensed prescriber can use it in an experimental fashion on a patient right now.

I promoted a product branded Percodan for many years. It is a schedule 2, controlled substance and is most likely the most qualitatively effective pharmaceutical product for pain available. The generic name of this product is Oxycodone. You have to go to the needle to find something that will make your pain go away more effectively. Along came a delivery system that got it into your blood stream a little better in the form of Oxycontin, marketed by Purdue Frederick. It was marketed to oncologists primarily for pain associated with cancer. Fast forward a few years and you see a glaring problem all over the country. Pill mills in various Florida locations have sprung up everywhere so the prescriber can make money and the consumer can get high. Many people die as a result of this widespread problem.

Back in the 70's there was a drug called LSD that the drug culture used to abuse.Lysergic Acid Diethylamide was used to induce a psychotic state in laboratory animals so that antipsychotic agents could be assessed as to efficacy. PCP, phencyclidine HCl, was used as an animal tranquilizer. The drug culture discovered it and it became a widespread problem. People are weird about looking for the next magic elixir. Now you make THC more available and what do you have? A bigger and wider generation of zombies to drive domestic disputes, fill up the emergency rooms and populate the pshyciatric hospitals.

The Florida Supreme court just approved a measure that will put it on the ballot in November. Those who vote will decide whether or not it is a good idea to put medical matijuana into the hands of Florida citizens. Polls indicate that such a measure would pass by 80% or more.

The apostle Paul did his own poll. He said in 2 Timothy 3: 1-4: " This know that in the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good."

So the world is ripe for medical marijuana. May the God of heaven help us all.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Log on to Craigs List and Lose Your Soul

I have had an interesting experience over the last 2-3 weeks. I have had a piece of rental property for lease and decided to post it up on Craigs List. I had great return with numerous calls and interested parties. However, for the number of interested parties I had an equal number of indecent proposals. I made the mistake of adding my e-mail to the post and had to endure being the target of phishing operations.

They all came to my e-mail in-box at odd hours of the day and night. They all sounded the same. The net result was that someone of the female persuasion was interested in me and that I should log on to a web page or call a phone number to pursue the relationship. Some even had unsolicited photoes of themselves in thier signature section or attached to the e-mail with anatomically correct images of their anatomy. Or rather someone's anatomy. I doubt that the phishers were all that attractive.

It made me recall a debate I once saw a brief sketch of between Jerry Falwell and Larry Flynt. As you may recall Jerry Falwell was the minister of the church in Lynchburg, VA who founded the Moral Majority. He was very prominent on the minister circuit. Larry Flynt was the publisher of Hustler magazine which was pronounced pornography. The encounter I saw had Flynt inquiring of Falwell how he could refer to his magazine as pornography when he admittedly had not ever read it. Falwell responded that he did not need to take the lid off of a sewer and stick his head down into it to know that it was a sewer. Score one for the preacher.

I sat on a jury sometime back in which a young man had contacted what he thought was a 14 year young girl for sex. His point of contact was, you guessed it, Craig's List. We found him guilty and he ended up facing a 5 year prison term for his pernicious activity facilitated by Craig's List.

What a shame that an internet service so widely used and successful as Craig's List should be used by the nether world of the morally and ethically challenged to trap well meant people.

Caveat Emptor indeed. You could lose your freedom, money and possibly your soul for taking the wrong turn on Craig's List.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Smack me in the head, PLEASE !

I am intrigued by the new direction in football. All of a sudden you have to be very careful how you hit someone. Otherwise you can be assessed a targetting penalty and be ejected from the game. That is just peculiar on the merits of the awareness.

I remember being knocked unconscious on a football field when I was about 15. That is the only time that I have ever been unconscious outside of balanced anesthesia. No one expressed any concerns for that episode in my life. I am not sure that my parents even knew that I was unconscious. The coaching staff wanted me off the field so they could continue the game. The referees wanted the same thing. I do not think that there was even a penalty assessed for someone knocking me out. As I recall I was doing the tackling and I hit someone incorrectly and the lights went out. Shortly afterwards I gave up football in favor of baseball and basketball.

Now, call me old fashioned, but is it not a part of playing football that you are going to get hit on occassion? Furthermore, you are coached to hit quickly and efficiently to stop the offensive player from gaining yardage at your expense. So nowadays you have to process the hit a little more deliberately. As you process that decision your opponent may run over you, possibly knocking you out, and scoring a TD on you. However, there is no penalty assessed for that occassion.

I am mystified. No, I am kidding. I am not mystified in the least little bit. You have to back up this sequence of events to incorporate the tort system. All of this concern for the safety of the players is tied to the series of successful law suits being brought against the NFL and the NCAA for player injuries. You see, football is a business first and a game second. You get a couple of multi-million dollar awards to consider and you have to react. A hefty judgement can eat into the revenue produced by your football team pretty quickly. Therefore, the leagues have sanctimoniously reacted in grave concern for the safety of players. Bull feathers ! Where were they 52 years ago when I was knocked out? Simply stated my getting knocked out in a JV game being played in Union, West Virginia was not relevent. However, had I been knocked out on a playing field in Death Valley in Clemson, SC before a national audience now that is a potentially crippling tort action.
That could negatively impact revenue flow into the ACC.

It is almost like the tobacco tort actions of twenty years ago. It is not about if I have the lack of judgement to chain smoke unfiltered Camels for twenty years. It is all about my capability in having done so, to hire an immensely talented and slimy law firm. All that has to be done is to make the case in front of a jury as to whether my poor judgement is at issue or not. The makers of the product put me at risk due to their negligent manufacturing process.

It would seem to me that if I did not want to get knocked out then perhaps I should spend my time in the stands eating hot dogs and ogling the cheerleaders. If I don't strap on pads and a helmet and go out and line up against Jadavean Clowney then I am most likely going to be in safe harbor.

The same goes for getting in the ring with Mike Tyson. How come we can continue to condone men, women beating each other up in a boxing arena and not unnecessarily change those rules? Answer is simple. That is certainly an assumed risk. The lawyers down at Velociraptors, PA, have not worked out the legal approaches on that one.......................yet.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Seeing the ads for Man of Steel carries me back to my boyhood. I can remember seeing the weekly episodes of Superman in black and white on our family TV which was the size of an upright Amana freezer with a 10 inch screen. I would sit on the edge of my chair and watch the trailer that would announce: “ Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. Look up in the sky, it’s Superman.” Clark Kent would rip off his glasses and duck into a phone booth and next you would see him taking off into the sky to rescue some poor wretch in distress.

My little five year old grandson, Benjamin, suffers from multiple personalities. I will see him on a particular day and I will greet him with a hello, Benjamin. He will respond with “ I am not Benjamin.” Well who are you? “I am Green Lantern.” On another occasion it’s hello Green Lantern. “ I am not Green Lantern, I’m Batman.” Lately he has been assuming the personality of Mario, from his addiction to Super Mario Brothers. Never do I hear him say “I am Superman.” I remember being his age and tying my Mother’s dish towel around my neck and climbing up a tree and leaping out on my younger brother when he passed underneath. Fortunately I did not hang myself nor harm my younger brother. I would always explain my intentions as trying to save him from harm or evil. He would respond that he did not want to be saved.

In my opinion, Superman has sort of gone out of style. Not enough people believe in him any longer. I would guess that it has to do with his fake identity of Clark Kent. Now, I was a dumb little seven year old kid back in his heyday but even I could determine that Superman looked just like Clark Kent without glasses. That gullible Lois Lane was in love with Superman, but she did not have the time of day for poor, hardworking Clark Kent. You talk about issues she had to have had some. Today she could be cited for some sort of political correctness impropriety. Lack of respect for sight impaired people or some such.

I keep trying to talk Benjamin into assuming the identity of Tim Tebow. This would make his father, Galen, deliriously happy. Benjamin always asks the same question when I suggest that he be Tim Tebow. He always asks, “ Who is Tim Tebow?” I can see the look of derision in his father’s eye when he makes that statement. Galen is one of Tebow’s most ardent and  fanatical supporters.

I think that Tim Tebow has the same problem that Superman does. You take him out of a Bronco uniform and put him in a Jets uniform. He still looks the same. You take him out of the Jets uniform and pour him into a Patriot’s uniform he still looks the same.

Maybe if the makers of the Man of Steel can cause there to be a resurgence in the popularity of Superman then Tebow’s agent should look into producing a movie about him. Man of Jump Pass.

Being a super hero is a treacherous business. You just cannot take your fan base for granted. One day you are cruising and the next day you are a crumpled, shell of a man wearing Kryptonite underwear.

Perhaps if Tebow makes a resurgence in Boston, Superman should hire his agent. I think it is all about promotion and the public’s willingness to believe in you and your super hero powers. I want to tell Superman, that I have always believed in him and always will. I think it was him looking over me that kept me from hanging myself with my Mom’s dish towel.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1980’s Visitor to North Florida

I want to say it was early in the 1980’s. It was a typical work day for me. I was working in my territory as a pharmaceutical representative and had planned on visiting the physicians, pharmacists and hospitals in the western-most part of my territory, Chipley, Bonifay and Marianna. It was to be a day trip. I would drive into those areas visit the customers and be home by 7:00 PM. There was an hour differential in time zones.

It was a very nice spring day. As I was driving west I saw standing on the side of I-10 an attractive blonde. She was well dressed and looked to be in her late 20’s or early 30’s. She was hitch hiking. I thought how dangerous that was and I almost picked her up just to help her be safe. I was forbidden to transport anyone other than my family in the DuPont owned company car that I was driving. I, therefore, passed her by.

The morning paper I picked up in my driveway the next day revealed the fate of that young lady. Someone had picked her up. They took her to a remote area of Tallahassee bound and gagged in the trunk of their car. She was savagely raped and then beaten in the head by a concrete block and left for dead. To my knowledge the perpetrator was never arrested.

The young lady was discovered and taken to our local hospital and admitted. The story developed that she was a nurse from Sweden. She was innocently hostelling across Florida. This was a common practice back in her country. So here she was alone and hanging on to her life and in eminent danger of dying.

I, personally, felt regret in not having picked her up and given her a lecture on how dangerous of a practice she was involved in. However, it was too late. I also felt regret that she was so savagely attacked in my home town. I was embarrassed and saddened that she had that experience here in our back yard.

What ultimately happened was nothing short of a miracle. Tallahassee, literally, adopted this young lady. A medical fund was begun to cover her medical expenses. Enough money was raised that her parents were contacted, flown here and sheltered and fed by the good people of Tallahassee. She rallied from her injuries and was ultimately able to return home with her parents.

The news became nationwide. The national press picked up on the story and Tallahassee was painted as the All American city with a very large, compassionate heart. Our sheriff, Eddie Boone, was invited onto Good Morning America to tell the story of what it was like to be the sheriff in such a place. He had all sorts of glowing things to say about the people comprising the populace of Tallahassee.

A dastardly, criminal act was overcome simply by people being kind to a stranger who was abducted and almost killed in their town. That is part of why I have lived here for 41+ years. I do not think there is any place quite like Tallahassee. Working for a world wide corporation I was offered numerous moves to other places. I chose to stay here, because I would have been wifeless had I elected otherwise. My children live here right around us today. All three of them with their spouses with their seven children love this town.

We have our share of challenges with political conundrums, homelessness, too high taxes, moderate traffic problems and the weather. I, however, will live out the rest of my life here and be buried in a little burial plot on a little hill in Quincy one day. I am proud to be able to rest quietly with that decision. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

My first love

Annette Funicello Former Mouseketeer 1975.jpg

I was 9 years old and lived on a small farm in southern West Virginia. I attended elementary school in Union. The sum total of students in my school could not have been more than 150. Television had not been a part of my life for all that long when I discovered the Mickey Mouse Club. It was in black and white and came in fairly clearly on the affiliate broadcasting out of Roanoke, Virginia. I used to go to sleep at night thinking about Annette and would often dream of her. My infatuation puzzled me. It invoked in me yearnings and feelings that I had not beforehand experienced. As I think back on my borderline obsession with her I realize, in retrospect, all women that I was forevermore attracted to had her dark, dark eyes and her dark hair.

The theme for the MMC was well directed and entertaining. They knew just what they were doing with the music and the story lines and the dancing and just general happiness. For a poor West Virginia hillbilly, her life represented something that was so far out of my reach that she seemed like a representative from heaven, an angel of sorts. Such is the fancy of a nine year old boy.

I will celebrate 40 years of marriage to Nancy in 6 days. She had dark, dark eyes and dark hair when I first met her. I thought she was pretty and was attracted to her immediately. She passed the Annette test. Annette brought happiness to me as a nine year old boy. She was the older woman because she was twelve at the time. Nancy is now 65 and has given me 3 terrific children who have in turn given me 7 precious grand children. Nancy still has the dark, dark eyes but the hair is beautiful silver. She possesses my heart like no other ever has and ever will. Ah, but there was Annette.

I learned today that Annette Joanne Funicello has died. She was 70 years of age. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1992 and rode a wheelchair into her last years of life. I feel a funny longing in my heart. I would love to see an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club and watch her dance and sing and flirt with Spin and Marty. Perhaps I will "You Tube" an episode. I wouldn't mind seeing myself at 9 years of age and reflect on how far I have come in life. Life changes us all over its winding course of serendipity. I hope Annette had a happy life. I see she was married twice for a total of 43 years. She had 3 chlidren the oldest would be approaching 47 years of age. I hope she had grand children to make her smile and cause those dark eyes to sparkle and dance.

I will have Nancy for eternity. Even though we might be separated for a brief period of time, our marriage was pronounced by one having authority in the temple of the most high God. That makes the yearning and sadness of anticipated loss easier. Much, much easier. For time and all of eternity were the words spoken by the man who sealed us as husband and wife.

Good bye Annette. This world is a little sadder and more dismal with your passing. However, the next world is a little brighter and happier with your arrival there. Surely there must be those there that hold you dear. Some famous and some just regular, normal people, like a little 9 year old hillbilly boy from southern West Virginia. I thank you for the respites and joy you brought to me amidst a life that was challenging and filled with disappoinments but has blossomed into one filled with joy, love and happiness. Those feelings that you invoked in me were indeed attainable and I thank you for helping me see the future.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Cab Ride

I arrived at the address and honked the horn.
After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked.

'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice.
I could hear something being dragged across the floor..

After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 90's stood before me..
She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it,
Like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years.
All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters.

In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said.

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb..

She kept thanking me for my kindness.

'It's nothing', I told her..
'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated'.

'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked,
'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said.

'I'm in no hurry.
I'm on my way to a hospice'.

I looked in the rear-view mirror.

Her eyes were glistening.
'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..
'The doctor says I don't have very long.
'I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city.

She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived
When they were newlyweds.

She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once
Been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner

And would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing..

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said,

'I'm tired. Let's go now'.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home,
With a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up..

They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.

The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?'
She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.

She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said.
'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.

Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift.

I drove aimlessly lost in thought.
For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.
What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,
Or one who was impatient to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once,

Then driven away?

On a quick review,

I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully
Wrapped in what others may consider a small one.



Saturday, February 23, 2013

On being a Salesmun............

February 23, 2013

Anyone out there remember the old cartoon that went something like this, minus the toon? “ A week ago I could not even spell salesmun, now I are one.” I Blog today about the world of being a salesman. Are you aware that there are no universities, anywhere, that can grant you a major in salesmanship? You can get a major in marketing. You can get a major in communication. But getting that sheep skin in salesmanship? Forget it.

Growing up in a small community I remember my first gig as a salesman. It was along about the third grade at Union Elementary school. The school fundraiser was sponsored by the American Seed Company. Yes, the product was seed, mostly vegetables for that spring garden. I remember walking around my community knocking on the doors of my neighbors and pitching the product. Most likely a simple pitch: “ How ‘bout buy some of my seeds for your garden.” I was 8 years old. I looked like a waif member of the play Oliver and heck if it took pity to close the sale , so be it. I was successful in my own right. I sold enough seeds to earn a wristwatch with a genuine pigskin band.

As I moved on in life I made it to high school and worked for Kwik Chek, a Winn Dixie, type of store. It was then that I learned the art of schmooze. I was a bag boy and I was paid .75 an hour. I learned to bag the groceries proficiently. If I worked 20 hours a week I made $15.00. I soon learned that if I engaged the customer with a little razamataz on the way out to put their groceries in their station wagon that I earned a tip. A good tip was .25. Many people would toss a dime your way and if you got someone who was just on their way home from a cocktail party sometimes you were handed a dollar bill. There were many times when my tips outpaced my minimum wage. Add $20.00 in tips to the $15.00 paycheck and now you were talking some serious spending money.

On to college and earning a degree in Business Administration. I was fortunate enough to land a job in college working for a milk distributor, Farmbest dairies, formerly Foremost dairies. I was engaged as a numbers cruncher working in the office. After graduation I stayed at Farmbest because they wanted me. A job in management. I was the office manager eventually and placed in charge of payroll with a lot of other responsibilities. I was 24 and fairly smart. Smart enough to figure out that the guys who got up and went out on a milk route selling and delivering milk door to door were making considerably more money than I. Of course I had a title, Office Manager. I had a dozen post menopausal women reporting to me. They all hated my guts and made my life miserable.

Along about that time I decided to seek part time employment. There was an ad in the local newspaper concerning going to work for Alcoa aluminum. I showed up at a dank and dark hotel along with 5 other people. We all got hired to sell Cutco knives. We followed up on leads that were produced by people in malls with clip boards signing up young ladies, primarily, to receive a gift and a presentation about our fabulous knives. These were perfect for hope chests. By this time I was dressing better. I was 24 about 5’11” tall and weighed about 160. Put a tie on me and some pressed slacks I made a decent appearance. The very first weekend on my own in this job I put $300 dollars in my pocket. This was part time work. The office manager side of me was rapidly getting an ulcer from the PMS crowd and I was making $200 a week.

It was all about the schmooze. I found that I could do it as well as anyone. I tendered my resignation and soon found a job selling educational courses for Bell and Howell schools for their Devry Institute of Technology. I worked all of the leads sent my way and as the dust settled on my first month I had earned $1600. That was eight weeks of Farmbest pay earned in 4 weeks. I learned that this was my career pathway and I never looked back.

I went to work in the pharmaceuticals business in 1972. I received a paycheck of $900 a month, a company car, benefits and all expenses paid. I loved being a salesman and it showed with the raises and the bonuses I earned. I respected my products and I took care of my customers and I was promoted to the guy who taught other people to sell the products. Eventually I was in charge of sales training for 13 southern states and Puerto Rico. I made 1000’s of presentations to small and large groups as well as one on one training sessions. I trained people who were all smart and had degrees. I noticed one common theme among those who succeeded and those who failed. What was it? Simply stated, it was the schmooze.

I eventually went on to be in public affairs. I was in charge of lobbying and association work and worked issues all over the country. Lobbying is no different than selling. There are just more seeds in the package and more outcomes at risk. That is where I retired after 30 years of getting up every day and not being able to wait to get in front of a client or customer.

The bottom line to being a successful sales person goes beyond the schmooze. You have to like people. You absolutely must have people skills. People have to like you back. Some never will. Most will eventually accept you and who you represent.

Is it possible to learn to be a successful sales person? I don’t care what you do for a living. Physician, politician, teacher, police officer, and so on, you must have people skills to be successful. There is a very good reason why universities do not offer degrees in salesmanship. It is a very simple conclusion that successful sales people are born to the role. You can be oriented and made to improve but if you don’t like people and they don’t like you back a PhD in anything you want will never make you successful. The people skills must follow at some point.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Snakes !!!

OK, I am going to admit that I have ophidiophobia, or fear of snakes. I am not so sure that I am unique in that regard. Heck even Indiana Jones had a fear of snakes. Let’s face it, he wasn’t afraid of much of anything even the ark of the covenant. The ark floated around at the end of that movie making all sorts of eerie sounds, spewing forth ghosts and spirits and melting Nazi’s faces. He was more afraid of snakes than he was that.

Word comes in this morning’s paper that the open season on Burmese pythons has ended. I think the sanctioned hunt went 45 days or so and paid some prize money for most snakes caught and the biggest python. Out of 1600 hunters there were 68 pythons harvested. One was over 14 feet long. That extrapolates to a 4.25% capture rate. Process that for a moment. These 1600 bravest of the brave men and women spent many days camped out in one of the spookiest places on earth, the Everglades, and only 4.25% of them caught a snake. That does not seem to be an effective expenditure of time and resources.

I have the impression that there are millions of these snakes in the glades. Every female lays 100 eggs per year. The story goes that hurricane Andrew, circa 1990, caused the release of a cache of these pythons from a serpetarium and they have been making whoopee and baby snakes for over 20 years. Just one snake could have produced 2000 in that time. Imagine if you would the geometric progression of the index population that slithered off into the Everglades those 23 years ago.

Now I have never been all that crazy about visiting south Florida. This is mostly because you have to be able to speak Spanish to order anything from a restaurant down there. Now you add in the fact that you could be eaten by a python whilst you are sitting at Joe’s crab shack trying to eat a blue crab. That is just more of an external stimulus than my 66 year old central nervous system can stand. I live in Tallahassee, 700 miles north, and I am going to have trouble sleeping tonight because the python hunt was a flop.

I am not rational on this subject. There used to be a black snake that lived in our grainery back on the little farm I grew up on back in southern West Virginia. It was my duty to place our two dogs Rex, the beagle, and King, the border collie in that grainery, every night. This was to keep them from roaming the country side and eating the neighbor’s chickens and their eggs or worse. I remember with perfect clarity, now 60 years later, the first time I ever encountered this reptilian monster. He was blacker than black, thicker than a strong man’s arm and made a creepy hissing noise. My brother and I plotted the detestable creature’s demise using missiles of stove wood or a hoe. However our father pronounced an edict that we were never to interfere with the coming and going of that snake. You see this snake ate his weight, many times over, of rats and mice that were set on eating our corn, wheat and rye in that grainery. I still get goose bumps worrying about encountering that snake.

After I was a full grown man my son, Drew, moved a water snake INTO MY HOME !!!! His grandparents had taken him to a pet store and promised to buy him anything he wanted. He came home with a 6 inch Florida water snake, an aquarium and a supposedly escape proof latched top. The first night that miserable snake was in my house I hardly slept. I felt him crawling into bed with me all night long. The snake lived with us for a year or more. And over time I came to accept him and his reptilian little habits, like eating live gold fish. After what seemed an eternity my son turned Patrick the water snake loose in Little river. My life began anew free from my fear of the little snake.

Now I come face to face with the invasion of Florida by millions of pythons. I strongly believe that the use of nuclear weapons must be meticulously calculated. For my money, however, it is quite acceptable to me for them to drop whatever megaton nuclear device in the glades necessary to send those pythons to a vaporized form of snake chromosomes.
Otherwise, I am going to have give up sleeping.   

Friday, February 1, 2013

Jury duty always eye opening

I was tapped to serve on a jury here very recently. The case was a result of the task force ICAC ( Internet Crimes Against Children ). This task force operated very close to my home in October of 2011. This was a multi agency cooperation to snare pedophiles and other deviants who prey on minor children through the internet.

The set up was done through chat rooms. The perp would engage a supposed minor via a chat room and then drive to their home to engage in sexual activity with them. Meeting them at the door was a big, burly cop. They would be arrested and charges brought against them on two or three counts. One was using a computer to solicit sex from an underage minor child. Two was traveling to meet a minor for the purpose of sexual activity. Three was conveying images via a computer to a minor child.

That is absolutely unbelievable that someone would be mentally challenged enough to not sniff out a sting like this. Yet almost 40 people in our home town were snared and arrested. I think that speaks to the extent that these kinds of people are strung out in their prurious addiction. It is like asking the junkie why he sticks that needle into his arm. They are just hopelessly lost in this world of sickness and evil.

The fellow who was the subject of my particular case was a teaching assistant, grad student at one of the universities here in our town. He is in his mid thirties, unmarried but into a continuous relationship with a very pretty woman. She sat in the back and cried along with his Mother when the verdict was read that he was guilty on all three counts that the state of Florida was bringing against him. He even cried when the verdict was read.

His life is forevermore changed. He will go to prison for 4-5 years. He will remain on probation for that same period of time and he will be listed in the FDLE database that maintains a location of and a qualification as habitual, sexual offenders for the rest of his life.

Some of my peers on the jury felt compassion for him and wanted to soften our verdict. Unfortunately for him there was just no way to discount the weight of evidence brought against him.

You question me as to whether I felt that we were too hard on this fellow my clear and concise response is absolutely not. I use as my barometer to that effect the 18th Chapter of Matthew, verse six, “ But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

 Great work ICAC. Go haul in some more of them. Bad choices beget bad outcomes.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Media Drinks its Own Poison

On the Manti Teo phenomenon. I am sure that you are like I am, tired of the obsession. I have been a Manti fan, while remaining a strong Crimson Tide supporter. I am not at all surprised that Manti was neutralized in the BCS Championship game by all Americans Warmack, Fluker and Barrett. His performance was a result of just flat being out manned by top level talent.

The media side show was an entirely different matter however. The media’s fawning over Johnny “ football “ Manziel ( gag !) up to the awarding of the Heisman was enough to deal with. Then they interject the whole scenario with the schmaltzy saga of Manti’s almost simultaneous loss of his grandmother and his girlfriend. This media driven Heisman circus is at its best nauseating. It seems to highlight America’s schizoid, delusional thinking that football players are Gods on Mt. Olympus. Surprise, they are not.

I know a little about Mormons since I have been one for 50 years. I also have had friends from the Hawaiian and Samoan cultures. Both cultures have a tendency, in my experience, to be driven to spiritual matters and romantic notions on many fronts in a natural fashion. I am not saying that is a bad thing, as I hope a 400 pound Samoan, NFL playing Mormon does not show up at my door. I am just saying that it is a natural sequence for many from that arena.

It is not at all shocking to me that Manti would have a strong affiliation to someone he met online. So much so that he would declare them to be his significant other. You throw in the time constraints and demands on top level division one athletes and you can relate to his limited ability in developing a face to face relationship. So I feel that this girl was as real to him as most other Facebook, Linked-In, My Space, Twitter friends are to the cyber-culture that many people live in. After all is that not the arena that breeds state and federal law related to cyber-bullying?

The matter that is fodder for observation to me is the media itself. In this scenario the media is currently drinking its own poison. The media created the obsession. It is apparent that someone along the way did not perform their due diligence. After the fact  that this girl was the playful, practical joker, dastardly deed of someone else’s creation comes to light, the media does an about face.  They report every nonsensical facet of this peculiar event to us, non stop, whether or not we want to hear it.

May we be spared the constant harangue of the ever present media. The only way to be saved is to save ourselves. Turn off the TV. Disconnect from Facebook. UnTwitterate yourself. Who knows, perhaps your blood pressure will go down a few measures. Choose to read a book, take a walk, call up someone you like and have a nice conversation with them. The only guideline I would suggest is to leave Manti, Johnny football, American Idol and Honey Boo Boo out of the discussion. Otherwise we are all doomed.