Take the Long Way Home

Some things never change.

“That boy was NEVER where he was supposed to be!” That was Mom’s mantra whenever telling her favorite stories of our childhood.  Invariably they involved Bob. (It sucks to be a late entry into a big family.)

“People talk about the ‘terrible twos!” she’d say.  “Well Bob was “a terrible two” for five years!”

Everybody agreed that Bob was quite a handful.

If you believe the stories, even before he could walk, Bob could escape:

  • His crib
  • His room
  • The house

He would leave the house, and appear at local businesses in his jammies.  He went to the local bakery where he was given donuts, at the local restaurants where he was given pancakes, and at the homes of relatives who lived in the neighborhood.  Usually before they had started their day.  He was a friendly little tike.  Or else he was hungry.

“I’m sure the whole neighborhood thought I was starving that kid!” Mom laughed. “I was mortified, and terrified that somebody would call the police on me for neglecting my son.”

Well, somethings never change.

Bob, after his death, escaped. And it cracked me up.

Bob was supposed to be sent to one funeral home, but he was sent to a different one.  It took nearly 24 hours to get him to the correct place.

I love the idea that Bob wandered around town, one last time.  I hope someone gave him a donut.

Some things never change.

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Blue Eyes Crying

We all have them.  All five of us were born with Mom and Dad’s Irish blue eyes. They light up with laughter and mischief.  Especially when we were all together.  The last time all seven of us were together, the jokes ricocheted around the room as if shot from an AK-47.

Eva Cassidy.  Bob gave her to me.

It’s one of my first memories.

We headed up Wells Street.  Bob, my eldest brother who is seven years older than me, was riding me on the bar of his bike.  I was about 3, and I sat happily on the bike, watching the baseball cards that were clothes-pinned to the spokes of the front wheel click.

“Lease,” Bob said, “Make sure to keep your feet out of the spokes!”  He didn’t tell me why.  Maybe he should have.

We turned onto Charles Street, next to St. Pat’s School.  Our brother Fred was standing there on the corner.

“It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen,” Fred has said 3,428 times in the intervening years.

It had never occurred to me before Bob mentioned it, but I was suddenly curious as to what would happen if I DID put one of my feet into the spokes. So I just put one little piece of my sneaker in.

“You guys came around the corner, and all of a sudden, the bike just STOPPED! In slow motion, Bob flew over you and the handlebars, and then you, Lease, flew over too, and landed on top of Bob.  The bike followed, and there was a big pile on the corner,” Fred has said, often.  “I laughed and laughed.”

The lesson I took from that experience was that if somebody tells you not to do something, think about why they are saying that.  They might just be right.  It’s possibly one of the more important life lessons I’ve ever learned.

Of course, he taught me many other things.  Big brothers do that.

Another lesson is that slapstick is hilarious.  Unless you’re the one slapped.

As I write this, my big brother Bob lies in hospice in Florida, dying.  His illness and deterioration happened incredibly quickly, and I can’t get there for a few more days for medical reasons.  Fred is trying to get there to be with him.  Bob is unresponsive, incoherent.  Mentally gone.

As Bob is unmarried and has no kids, the decisions for his care have fallen to me, as I was named his medical proxy, and I’ve shared that responsibility with Fred, just as the three of us shared the burden (along with Beth’s sons) when our sister Beth was in Charon’s boat.

Writing comforts me, and you are all my friends, who have read the stories of my childhood, my family. Bob hasn’t appeared in many of my stories, as he was much older.  He doesn’t fit into the narrative too often.  Moreover, as an adult he has been a difficult guy.  Reculsive, introverted, angry. His has been a difficult life.

But he was also a sensitive man, with a big heart that he kept well hidden.  A writer’s eye for detail, and a love of eclectic movies.  Like the brilliant comedy, What We Did On Our Vacation

Appreciate the folks you have who love you, and whom you love, no matter the differences.  No matter how big a pain in the butt they are.  Because you just never know.

 

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Ripley’s Believe it or NOT!

Sunday mornings in my house growing up were dedicated to the Sunday Funnies, the comics, in the Bridgeport Post. While my dad always tried to convince me that Lil’ Abner was funny (it wasn’t), I loved Ripley’s Believe it or Not!  I read it faithfully, for years.

It’s been years since I read it though. I chalk it up to reading the news online instead of on paper.  The Funnies are not as easy to find online.

But just today, the Funnies made it to the “Real News”!  Or it should have. You see, this story is A FRONT-PAGE-WORTHY story.  A Believe it or NOT! classic.

Bigfoot Porn Has Become A Major Controversy In A U.S. House Race. Seriously.

Sigh.

In my adopted home state of Virginia, in the 5th Congressional District which includes Charlottesville, the GOP recently put forth Denver Riggleman to run for Congress.  This change occurred when the incumbent, Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, retired following allegations that he and his wife made his staff do menial tasks including walking the couple’s dog.

But with Riggleman, the fur really starts to fly.  You see, he, ummm, put his Big Foot in his mouth with his Instagram account:

That question has been inspired by Leslie Cockburn, a Democrat who’s running for Congress in Virginia’s 5th District. On Twitter this Sunday, Cockburn accused her Republican opponent, Denver Riggleman, of being a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica.” Her tweet included a crudely drawn image of Bigfoot — with the monster’s genitalia obscured — taken from Riggleman’s Instagram account. She added, “This is not what we need on Capitol Hill.”

After showing that image, I promise to not comment on the Democratic candidate’s name.  I promise.  Anybody got any duct tape??????

I agree that we don’t really need someone in the United States Congress who believes in Big Foot but not climate change. Who doesn’t realize that this is not an issue that Virginians care about.  Who believes that there are women who want Big Foot — although if it weren’t for the small hands, that might explain Trump’s allure.

So, My Fellow Americans, in 2018 we find ourselves as a nation drawn into the Sunday Funnies.  Into Ripley’s Believe it or NOT!

I can’t wait to hear how the Evangelicals will spin this one!

***

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So as not to let you down …

I have failed in my mission to keep you up to date on all things poop.  I hang my head in shame.

Perhaps this clip will make up for it:

 

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Save the Children

You’ve probably read that the U.S. government has, ummm, lost, nearly 1500 children. Oops. Out of 7,635 children taken from their families, they’ve lost a whole bunch.  Nearly 19 percent.

So what does the Trump Administration do?  It decides to brutally separate more children from their families.

A fellow blogger, Tokyosand, has helpfully beat me to the punch in giving information about this horrible situation, and how each of us can help.

#WhereAreTheChildren: How to Help

How You Can Help

  1. Contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives. Their job is to conduct oversight of DHS–they must hold DHS accountable. Simply say, “I am outraged by how our government is treating children at the border. What is my Senator/Rep doing about this?” Find your Senators here. Find your Representative here. If you use 5 Calls to contact your reps, they have a script on their system for this issue already.
  2. The ACLU is gathering signatures to petition Kevin K. McAleenan, Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection to stop the government from abusing immigrant children. You can find the petition here.
  3. You can contact ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) directly. Write to them here or call them at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
  4. NEW: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has recommended guidelines for human rights at international borders which you can read here. The reported actions our DHS is taking do not comply with these guidelines. You can contact the UN Office for Human Rights here.
  5. NEW: Amnesty International has been calling for an end to the U.S. policy of separating children at the border. Their call to action can be found at the end of this post here.
  6. NEW: Americans of Conscience has a list of 7 other U.S. officials who need to hear from us, plus a script to use. That list is here.
  7. DEVELOPING: There is a nascent effort to organize #WhereAreTheChildren marches for June 14. Check here for more information.

I’d like to add another one.  VOTE. Vote in primaries. Vote in every special election. Vote in November. Elections matter. And the 2018 election is a must win for returning accountability to the evil people currently ruling our country.

Please help. Separating children from their parents is not what America is about. Not my America, anyway, and I’m pretty sure not your America either.

 

References:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/hhs-official-says-agency-lost-track-of-nearly-1500-unaccompanied-minors/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/aclu-report-records-claim-border-agents-neglected-abused-migrant-kids/

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/5/8/17327512/sessions-illegal-immigration-border-asylum-families

 

 

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Save Noura

Calling all folks with a twitter account, to help this poor girl

Chasing Unicorns

Noura Hussein lives in Sudan. And that’s likely where she will die. Very soon. At 16 years old, her family forced her to marry a man she did not want to marry. She refused to consummate the marriage, and so he raped her.

The first rape occurred with the help of his family. They pinned her down while her new husband forced sex on her.

He attempted the second rape by himself. Big mistake. Noura took up a knife and stabbed him to death. But this was a big mistake for Noura, also. She was arrested and charged with premeditated murder.

Now this young, underaged child, who was forced into marriage and raped, has been sentenced to death by hanging, by a Sharia court. Self-defense is apparently no excuse for women who are raped by their husbands, under Sharia law. Her lawyers have until May 25th to save her.

The…

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Seller Beware

It was my first time. I was a Craig’s List virgin. But I’ve given it up for life.  From now on, I will be a Craig’s List celibate – a “volcel,” you could call me.

John and I are cleaning out, packing up, and putting our house on the market. Naturally, then, it was time to sell the weight machine we bought for Jacob in 2008, when he was playing rugby.  A neighbor who bought nothing but the best stuff, sold it to us for a song.  Of course, nobody has used it since, oh, 2009, unless one needed an expensive piece of fitness equipment to “hold my beer” in Jacob’s man cave.

I listed it for $400. And I got a bite! Or maybe, I got bitten.

You see, a very busy man named (and I am not making this up) Scalzo McRoy from nearby Maryland wanted to buy it! In spite of his weird name, I was willing to sell it to him (or really, to anybody who would take the damn thing). Scalzo contacted me by email, offered the full price, and said he would arrange for someone to move it.

“I’m familiar with the make and model, and from the pictures, it looks to be in great shape,” he wrote. “My secretary will send you a certified check.  Is it OK if I write the check to you, and include the fee for the movers in it? Then you can pay them in cash when they come to get it.”

“You don’t need to give me a certified check,” I responded. He ignored me.

Friday afternoon, a certified check did arrive – for $1,550.00. One thousand, one hundred and fifty dollars over the asking price.  Now, the machine is big and heavy, and it will not be cheap to move.  But $1,150? Were they going to buy a new truck for the move?

“Scalzo,” I wrote him after picking my jaw up off the floor, “this seems excessive.” But it was a certified check in my name, so I needed to go to the bank with it.

“Fifty dollars is for you, for your help,” he informed me.

He was giving me a tip.  And who do you think was going to move it, Don Jr. and Eric?

Eric and Don Jr - SNL

SNL as you all know.

Scalzo then asked me to get the movers a money order that afternoon, send him a photocopy of it, and send the money order for $1100 to the movers in Texas.

No wonder moving it was so expensive! Scalzo was going to import movers from Texas to Virginia!

Now I’ve never heard of a bogus certified check. Nevertheless, I went into the bank and told them the story as I tried to deposit the money.

“There seems to be a problem here,” Amy, my bank teller said.  “Do you mind waiting for a minute or two?”

So I sat and waited while each and every bank rep looked first at me, then at the check, then at me again.

Aiden, the bank manager, called me over to his desk.

“The check is fraudulent,” Aiden informed me. He asked for the story of how I’d gotten it. I told him about Craig’s List, Scalzo, the extra money (including my tip), and the request to send a $1100 money order to guys who were going to come from Texas to move a weight machine from Virginia to Maryland.

We contacted the police, and filed a report. Apparently, this sort of scam is not at all uncommon. And because the seller receives a “Certified” check, lots of people fall for it.

I did not send a money order to Scalzo’s Texas connection.

The moral of this story is:

“SELLER BEWARE”

Anybody need a weight machine? Cheap? You haul …

Hoist 1

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