Musical Interlude 7/30/2011

Pink Floyd is one of those bands that I nearly got burned out on from it’s overexposure as a classic rock radio station staple.  There is a host of songs by them, especially Another Brick In The Wall, that I can no longer listen to due to repeated playings ad nauseum on classic rock stations.

But this is one tune that I never get tired of, and I still consider to this day my favorite Pink Floyd song.

And I’d like to dedicate this Musical Interlude to Pam’s 12-year-old grandson Tyler, who just completed his first flying lesson.  (What, me jealous?  Noooo…)  Go Tyler!

Learning To Fly (live), by Pink Floyd

Church Bulletin Bloopers II

The other day I got a comment on an old, old blog post.  After further thought I decided that perhaps it needed a sequel:

(found in various places around the Internet)

Sermon Blooper: “Let everything that hath breasts praise the Lord!”

Janet Smith has volunteered to strip and refinish the communion table in the sanctuary.

If you need to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly.

Thursday at 5:00PM there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please see the minister in his study.

Illiterate? Write to the church office for help.

The class on prophecy has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.

The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Jones to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

Ushers will eat latecomers.

The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.

The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.

Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on “It’s a Terrible Experience.”

Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.

I was a church secretary for a year. Another secretary there was in charge of the bulletin, but she always had me proofread it for her. She swears that, when she was a secretary for another church, she let “Do You Like to Sin in the Shower?” get through to the real bulletin.

Church sign: The good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.

Over the massive front doors of a church, these words were inscribed: “The Gates of Heaven”. Below that was a small cardboard sign which read: “Please use other entrance.”

Stewardship Offertory: “Jesus Paid It All”

The music for today’s service was all composed by George Friedrich Handel in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.

A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.

Today’s Sermon: HOW MUCH CAN A MAN DRINK? with hymns from a full choir.

Hymn 43: “Great God, what do I see here?”  Preacher: The Rev. Horace Blodgett Hymn 47: “Hark! an awful voice is sounding”

On a church bulletin during the minister’s illness: GOD IS GOOD Dr. Hargreaves is better.

The 1997 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.

Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.

Attention-deficit caregivers

Yesterday I was reading a post by Bou about her challenges raising three teenage boys, her youngest with severe ADHD.  Included in her post was a link to an article about the difficulties raising ADHD children and the stress it causes on family bonds and relationships.

Reading Bou’s post and the article she linked to made me think of nephew JJ, about who I may or may not have mentioned is mildly to moderately ADHD.  Because much of what I read about applies to him and the relationships he has with other family members.

I trust that most of these parents love their ADHD children unconditionally, do and keep doing whatever is needed for their child as far as therapy and medication is concerned, and soldier on despite the challenges and frustrations.

I can’t speak the same for JJ and his caregivers, though.

The main reason I’m focusing this post on him (other than because he’s been a valuable source of blog fodder) is because we’ve been watching him over at our place most of the summer while his caregivers are working.  And we’ve been getting a better idea of what it’s like to have him in the household and deal with him on a nearly daily basis, as well as what he has to deal with when he goes home.

Like I’ve said before, one of JJ’s problems is that nobody really makes him and his needs a priority in their lives.  He does have medication and weekly therapy, but his meemaw is inconsistent about seeing he has both on a regular basis.  Especially since we’ve been watching him, it seems that she’s decided better us to deal with his ADHD than her.

A lot of selfishness in Yes Dear’s family, which I will probably cover in a later post, but not here.

As much as I dearly love JJ, there are times where he isn’t very enjoyable to be around.  The most prominent manifestation of his ADHD is his tendency to argue about almost everything, with occasionally transgresses into the disrespectful to adults territory.  I had to have a stern talk with him a couple months ago about such behavior towards Yes Dear, and I think the idea of his biggest supporter being upset with him has helped alleviate that situation.  But I’m currently working nights at my new job (and will be for the foreseeable future), so I have to sleep on days now and I don’t always have the time (or sometimes the patience) for him that he needs.

What distresses me is after reading the aforementioned posts, I see exactly how JJ’s ADHD affects his relationships with family members and their reactions towards him.

And how his primary caregivers won’t implement a single one of the commonly recommended strategies for dealing with ADHD kids.  And, given past patterns of their behavior, never will.

All they do is medicate him (when they get around to getting his meds), send him to therapy (when it’s convenient to take him across town to get him there), and punish him for his transgressions, real or imagined (which is the path of least resistance, but makes his home into the family equivalent of a concentration camp).

I’ve already talked about the cold indifference that his papa shows towards him, except when punishing him (and, once again, he was conspicuously absent at JJ’s 10th birthday party a couple weeks ago).  His meemaw does show love for him at times but is often too harried to deal with him.  They’ve had a parade of boarders come live with them, who almost universally treat him like garbage, including the current one (something that would never be tolerated in my home, it would be written in your lease that crapping on my kid would be grounds for eviction).  One of his aunts who’s away at college (the youngest of SIL’s three daughters) treats him like absolute shit when she’s home.  His uncle (Teen Nephew, who just turned 18 so I may have to change his name) doesn’t have the patience for him anymore.  Aunt Stevie barely has the patience for her two, so she rarely has him around anymore.  Even our daughter PBJ, who we’re having a few issues with right now, tends to yell at him over minor transgressions, something we’ve had to get after her about.

Keep in mind he’s already got a host of other issues because of his egg donor, The Chunt.  Who finally has been permanently barred from his life, but about ten years too late.

The only ones that seem to be able to maintain any patience with him at all is myself, Yes Dear, and his surrogate dad Big J (the father of our other nephew and JJ’s brother Mark).

Little wonder that JJ was telling my wife the other day that he wished he could live with us and cousin AJ full time.  Plus the fact that he’d get a lot of time on our computers, but that’s another story.

It’s frustrating because I seem to be one of the very few people that can see his life through his own eyes, which is probably why I relate to him so well, and put an adult perspective on it so I can help him.  Yes Dear is able to as well, but almost everyone else would rather punish him or put him down or push him to the side than listen and get to know him and how he thinks.  Because it’s the path of least resistance.  Seems like everybody’s lives are too busy to make time for him.

I truly fear for this kid’s future.  I would so hate to see him go down the path of ruin that too many other family members have taken, particularly his egg donor.  All we can do is give him a place of unconditional love that he can stay with on occasion.

But I’m afraid it’s not enough.

So any of you that have ADHD kids or have to deal with one on a regular basis, remember that they are people too.  They are just as deserving of love and positive attention as “normal” children.  Try to see things the way they see them.  Find ways to deal with them that don’t involve constant yelling or punishment that’ll still maintain your authority and control as a parent.  And take advantage of any break you can get from them for yourself, because they can drain you.

But above all, love them and let them know they are loved.

Beginnings

My first introduction into the blogging world was somewhere back around 2004, when I  read a local newspaper article about blogging and bloggers in the area.  One of the bloggers mentioned happened to be a local, just a few miles across town from where I was, so I dropped in on his site to have a peek.  The very first post of his I came across had me literally on the floor in screaming laughter.  I probably spent the next month going through his archives, and links to other blogs as well.  Some I commented on, others I passed on by.  But I was hooked.  I had discovered a whole new online world.

At this point I was still a long way from taking the plunge and starting my own blog.  But I was gaining some confidence in my commenting, always trying to have something relevant to say other than the spammy “nice blog” crap.  At one point, I even got a chance to do a little guest blogging, where I related a humorous story about a boy crawling into one of those claw machines you find at arcades.

I also got wise to the etiquette of commenting and how private bloggers practice moderation of their comments.  I was happy to see that, unlike major news outlets where comments aren’t moderated or censored, that private bloggers were able and willing to take control of their commenting threads, weeding out spammers and trolls, and just making sure that people kept their discussions civilized and on track.  (I also found out hilariously what a troll edit was, as well.)

It was a few years more before I found the courage to start blogging myself, to see if anyone out there might find interest in my mundane writings and life.  I started out with no real goals, other than to share whatever struck my fancy (within reason) whenever I felt the urge to do so.  And I’ve pretty much followed that policy ever since.

Let me share with you (with permission, of course) that very first blog post that I read, the one that still makes my sides ache with laughter to this day.  This post was courtesy of Jim Peacock, formerly of Snoozebutton Dreams, a source of much of my early inspiration.  A handful of you out there may even remember his blog from a few years back.  Sadly his wife’s passing a few years back, and the challenges of work and being a single father to his three growing boys have pretty much removed him from the blogosphere.  But I’ve tried to convince him to leave an online archive of his writings, even if he don’t contribute to them anymore.  He did dig this one up just for me and allow me to post it.  Enjoy, and don’t choke on your coffee/Pepsi/food while reading.

And while you’re at it, care to share your beginnings or introductions into the blogging world?

Disclaimer: not safe for kids, old-fashioned grandparents, ministers, blah blah blah, or those prone to adverse health effects from laughing.  Read at your own risk.

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Miscarriage of justice?

Okay, after a week of laziness and extreme heat (and watching too many kids to be able to blog effectively), I’m going to throw in my two bits about the recently concluded Casey Anthony case.

Before I continue, let me make it clear that I consider Casey Anthony to be one of the most wretched, pathetic examples of the human race at its worst.  She is a horrid excuse of a human being, let alone a parent.  I have exactly zero sympathy for her and would consider it street justice if I were to read about her public lynching shortly after her release from jail.  And the rest of her family, in aiding and abetting her, isn’t a whole lot better.

That being said, I think the verdict in her case was right and just.

Why?  Because there was no real tangible evidence presented that conclusively linked her to Caylee’s death.  Just a few circumstantial pieces here and there, and a torrent of lies and coverups from Casey and her family.  Enough to make her look bad, enough to perhaps declare her guilty in the court of public opinion.

But not enough to find her guilty of murder in a court of law.  Too much reasonable doubt.

From what evidence I’ve seen, I could just as easily conclude that Caylee died an accidental death, and the family decided to cover it up and Casey decided to party down, being relieved of the terrible burden of being a mother. {insert gross sarcasm here}

Despicable, yes.  But murder?  Not enough.

This wasn’t another OJ Simpson case, which really was a miscarriage of justice.  There the evidence really was there and it was overwhelming, the jury just chose to believe the defense claims of being framed by racist investigators.  This time there just wasn’t enough of a provable chain linking Casey to her daughter’s death.  They couldn’t even conclusively prove the time or cause of Caylee’s death.

Believe me, I’m not trying to stir up any sympathy for Casey Anthony.  Rather, I’m trying to stir up sympathy for our justice system, which all too often gets it wrong but got it right this time, which is in danger of being hijacked by people who want the system changed every time one of these rare cases come up where the possibly, even probably, guilty go free not because of an obscure technicality, but because the prosecution failed to prove it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.  I’ve even heard suggestions that maybe we should do away with the Constitution’s double jeopardy clause.  Such an idea would be so repugnant, so horrible on so many levels I couldn’t get my mind around it.

The trouble is, cases like these stir up so many emotions that people, in their zeal to see what they think should be justice served, end up coming up with many bad ideas and bad laws whose effects go far beyond what was ever intended, and rarely function as they are originally envisioned.  Which is why I would oppose, in principle, this Caylee’s Law that’s being proposed.  Because as well-intentioned as it may be, I can see some possibly innocent parents mugged by overreaching prosecutors who are unable to secure a murder case, so they throw whatever they can that’s on the books at them.

Sadly enough, I’ve had just enough negative experience with the legal system to discover that it isn’t about finding the truth, or even justice.  All too often, it’s about winning and losing.  Usually at the expense of those that can’t afford top-notch counsel.

Even worse is that I’ve heard there is a law in Florida, and possibly some other states as well, where the courts can order that acquitted defendants pay back the state for incurred legal costs.  If you don’t get screwed at one end, they’ll rape you from another.

So we need to think very hard about if there should be more laws on the books, or just better use of the ones existing, and better investigative work by DA’s offices so they can prove their cases with a reasonable chance of success, rather than harass defendants with flurries of minor charges because they can’t get them for the big ones.

And keep something else in mind.  Casey Anthony, whether she did or didn’t murder her daughter, was no doubt somehow responsible for her death.  As has been pointed out several times, she was by no stretch of the imagination found “innocent”, just “not guilty” due to excessive reasonable doubt.  And sooner or later, she will face the justice that the courts were unable to give her.  Not just in the next life, but likely in this lifetime as well.  People like her sooner or later screw up again somewhere, and the hammer finally falls on them (once again, look at where OJ is these days and how he got there).  Not to mention, she’ll be unable to show her face or use her name in any civilized society for the rest of her life.  She’ll be forever a pariah, an outcast by all decent and semi-decent people.  That alone may be justice enough.

We all grieve at the death of little Caylee, and wish hellfire and brimstone on her irresponsible and cretinous family who lied and covered up her death, and possibly had something to do with it.  But we aren’t doing society any good with knee-jerk responses and laws passed for public opinion and passion.  And even though sometimes I have to hold my nose and gag while saying it, I still believe it’s better that ten guilty persons go free than to let one innocent person hang.

Heartbreak

Child abuse stories, particularly those where the child died, are absolutely heartbreaking.  Yet many of us, myself included, have become so numbed to such stories that all too often we just shake our heads, mutter “What a pity”, and go about our lives, unable to comprehend or understand such a tragedy.

This story, though, really got to me.  To the point where I went to bed with it on my mind all night.

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Today’s gross news

Ever read something in the news that’s so disgusting you nearly go into convulsions while your “ick” meter goes tilt?

Well, this one did it for me.  A story about a woman drowning in a public pool and nobody noticed for two days.

You heard that right.  People continued to swim in the pool and nobody, not swimmers or lifeguards, noticed that there was something (someone) floating lifelessly in the pool.  Decomposing.

If I found out that I had been swimming in a pool with a decomposing body, I’d likely spend the next three days fully immersed in a bath full of jet fuel.

Something was said about the water being cloudy.  Well, if a public pool’s water is that cloudy, it needs to be shut down and cleaned or shock-treated.  Call that one a no-brainer.

Even bigger mystery: she apparently was swimming with a little kid and his family, went down a slide together and collided with each other, and never surfaced.

Didn’t the kid notice his adult swim partner missing?  Didn’t the parents?  Did ANYONE raise the question of where did this woman go?

Tragic.  And shocking, that nobody noticed anything was amiss.

And just… ewwwww.