Do Not Blame Me

As the husband/father here, I deserve more than my share of the blame for things.

Blame me for making the non-refundable hotel reservation for son's soccer tournament when there is a chance his team could be eliminated on Day 1 and we would have no need to stay for Day 2.

Blame me for the pile of papers and football magazines hidden under the living room chair. I don't feel like walking upstairs every time I "need" them.

Blame me for the mustard stain on my t-shirt; as well as the mustard stains on 5 or 6 other shirts in the Dad closet.

Blame me for the milk stain on the ceiling in the kitchen. Who knew that liquid from a gallon jug could explode so high when simply dropped at waist-high?

Blame me for the foot odor. I don't need to add anything to this one.

But there is one household problem that Dad cannot be held responsible for.

An ick that needs to be remedied every 4-6 weeks.

In what situation could Dad be totally innocent?

Clogged shower drains.

Specifically, clogged shower drains due to hair.

This "follicly challenged" guy knows the cause of the clog since I am the one summoned every time to fix it.

Nope, that problem is attributed to the two females with long straight hair that reside here.

All their fault.

Now after reviewing the first part of this post, I just need to think of some more problems that I can be removed of as the prime suspect to better balance my scorecard.

Hmm.

This will require some prolonged brain exercises.

I'll go get my Mountain Dew. The one with the screw-on cap to prevent spills.

Isaac Lee Roberts

For my Missing Person Monday post, the following is on a man who disappeared from Oregon last year.
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On July 27, 2012, 40-year old Isaac Lee Roberts of Coeur d'Alene (OR) traveled to the Chief Joseph Days celebration in Joseph, OR. He planned to spend that Friday at event, and then go back home late the following day.

After he failed to return, his wife, Shawna Roberts, contacted police.

Initially, law enforcement looked at Isaac's disappearance as a missing person, but then changed the investigation to that of a homicide.



What made authorities suspicious that a crime had been committed?

Because it is an ongoing criminal investigation, the public never gets the full story, but here is what can be pieced together from multiple sources.

Oregon State Police Detective Greg Retherford told the press that he believes that Isaac and an unnamed man had left Joseph to purchase meth in a nearby town.

Police interviewed the unidentified man who was reportedly with Isaac, and he stated that the pair had run out of gas on Saturday. He said he left Isaac with the vehicle while he went to get fuel. When the man returned, he said Isaac did not want to travel any further and began to walk.

Allegedly, the missing person had asked this individual to take care of his motorcycle and belongings (he had left those with a friend in town).

Strangely, Roberts' brother Shiloh said that Isaac was not in the best of health and had respiratory problems that would have prevented him from walking very far.

It was also reported that Isaac had recently sold a truck and was carrying several thousand dollars prior to his disappearance.
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So an adult male disappears who may have been trying to purchase meth, the person he was with tells a story that makes little sense, and the missing man was carrying a large amount of cash?

It is understandable why police are thinking homicide.

With police dissatisfied with the quality of the information from the unnamed man and finding a body in that rugged area where Washington, Idaho, and Oregon meet is difficult, authorities needed another approach.

So this weekend, police tried this--talking to people and distributing flyers about the missing man at the 2013 Chief Joseph Days.

Time will tell if their efforts are rewarded and I hope the find a new lead; the missing man's family deserves at least for the case to be solved.
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For more of my missing persons posts, you can go here.

Dad Rule: Hide and Go Seek

DAD RULE:

When playing outdoor or indoor hide-and-go-seek, all kiddo participants are required to take a pre-game bathroom break.

This rule is not mandatory for adults playing, but only suggested.
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I was reminded of the need for the above precaution recently while playing a game of hide-and-seek with my crew of kids and my young nephew and niece.

The silence of me searching for some clever hiders was pierced by a nearby yelp, the pitter-patter sound of running feet, and then a little 4-year-old boy screaming "I GOTTA PEE!" as he bolted toward nearest the bathroom.

So today as well as life in general, make sure that you take care of all your bodily functions before becoming fully engaged in fun.
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Enjoy your weekend.



Funding a Trip to Dollywood?

I am usually supportive of a performance-based pay for employees, but not in every instance:
NEWPORT (TN) - Leaders in Cocke County are considering reexamining the county's constable system.

Constables are elected law enforcement officers. They don't draw a salary.

Instead they're paid based on the number of tickets they write or warrants they serve.

The scrutiny comes after at least one complaint to the Cocke County Legislative Body.

Harold Cates owns a gas station at the Hartford exit on I-40 in Cocke County. Cates says constables Derek Wright and Jimmy Roach have set up speed traps and issued citations on a stretch of the interstate between the Exit 443 and the North Carolina border.

"That's where the speed limit is 55 miles per hour and there is no car that goes 55. Every car that goes on this interstate will exceed 55 miles per hour, and they can catch them as fast as they can write tickets," said Cates.

By law, constables get a partial kickback for issuing citations, making arrests, and serving court summons. A constable in Tennessee gets $27.50 for writing a speeding ticket...

Now, I think it makes sense for constables to receive compensation for warrants served.

Prosecutors and/or judges are waiting for criminal and civil warrants to be delivered so that the court cases can be moved forward.

But for traffic citations?

Do citizens really want Constable Bubba high-fiving himself at the end of a long day of ticket writing because he now can afford that Ranger Z522 Comanche bass boat and a trip to Dollywood with his sweetie?

Paying officers per traffic citation makes about as much sense as compensating college professors for each "A" grade earned by a student in his/her class.

Wait..

Maybe, that might work for those teaching in college.

Just give everyone an "A" and collect the big check.

I wonder if the Mrs. would like the Wild Eagle coaster at Dollywood?

Hmm.

On Morgan Harrington

In the past, I have used my first post of the week to publicize missing persons or other crime cases.

The following started as the search for a missing person, but ended tragically--with authorities determining that the victim was murdered.

I have been reading about the case and hope to offer my perspective in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here is a summary.
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Morgan Harrington

On October 17, 2009, 20-year-old VA Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington attended a Metallica concert with friends in Charlottesville, VA.

During the opening act, she reportedly told friends that she was going to the restroom. A short time later when she had not returned to her seat, one friend called Morgan's cell phone. Morgan answered and told the friend that she had inadvertently walked out of the concert venue and security would not let her return.

Camera footage at the concert viewed later by police showed her unsuccessfully trying to get back into the seating area.

She told her her friend not to worry and that she would find her way home.

They never saw her again.

The following day, Morgan's purse was found in an overflow parking area near the concert arena. Her cell phone was with the purse, but the battery had been removed.

Massive searches were organized, and authorities evaluated several possible sightings of the missing woman.

Morgan was not located.

On January 26, 2010, a property owner checking fencing at the Anchorage Farm found Morgan's body. The recovery site is described as rural (700+ acre farm), is about 10 miles from where the woman vanished, and is over 1.5 miles from the closest road.

In April of that same year, police confirmed that a shirt found a mile from the arena had been matched to the missing woman.

This missing person case sadly became a sexual assault and murder investigation.

The case remains unsolved, but authorities still hope to find new information.

Evidently, forensics tests in this case match to another unsolved crime--a kidnapping and rape in Northern Virginia. The released person of interest information is that he is described as a black male, 25 to 35 years old, approximately 6 feet tall with a medium build, with black hair, a beard and a mustache.

A sketch of the individual can be seen here.

In memory of their daughter, the Morgan Dana Harrington Educational Wing was constructed at a facility for orphans in Zambia, Africa and a memorial scholarship was established at VA Tech.

You can read more about Morgan and the good work being done by her family by going here to the Find Morgan website.

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My prayers are with the victim's family, and I'll have more on this case soon.

For more of my posts on those missing, you can go here

Senseless Home Repair Violence

I am not Mr. Fix-it, but I do my best and am making headway on my summer home improvement to-do list.

After wrestling with a toilet flush valve replacement and installing some new parts so a bathtub faucet would stop leaking, I am on project #3: sanding the wood around our garage doors as well as the post on our porch so that I can repaint them.

For the past month. the temperature has been mild here, so leave it to me to save the outdoor project for this week's heat wave.

Anyway, coming in the front door after I had been sanding on the porch post, I noticed little boy giving me the evil eye. He was sitting at the computer desk in front of a bay window overlooking the porch where I was working.

"Are you being good over there?" I asked.

Little boy frowned.

"Dad, why are you hurting my house?"

Not exactly a vote of confidence for dad's work on the home improvement list.

I'll have to tell him how I tried not to "hurt" the toilet only to realize while testing it, that if the adjustable pin is not firmly locked into place, lots of unwanted water sprays into the air.

In essence, being soft was repaid with "yuck."

Good thing this "appliance and building materials torturer" always carries towels with him.
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Have a good weekend everyone.



On Being a Good Neighbor

And from the crime blotter:

Police in Crossville (TN) are still searching for the woman who skinny dipped in a neighbor's pool to distract him while her husband stole from the man's home. ..The incident occurred on the afternoon of June 27 at the victim's home on Canterbury Lane in the Camelot subdivision in Crossville, about 100 miles east of Nashville.


The 54-year-old victim told police he was approached by the couple, who live nearby, and the 30-something-year-old woman asked if she could swim in his pool. According to police, the husband left after his wife asked him to retrieve her cigarettes.

She then asked the victim if it would bother him if she swam naked. He said it would not.

While the woman's husband was gone, he burglarized the home, stealing a handgun, jewelry and medication. The stolen items amounted to $1,195.

During the theft, the woman kept the neighbor distracted for 20 minutes by skinning dipping in his pool. "I went and got her a towel, she dried off and all of a sudden she was soaking wet again.

I escorted her outside and invited her to church, but she said she didn't have time for that, she wasn't ready for that," victim Stephen Amaral told Nashville's News 2...
And where do I go with this story?

Investigative insights?

Burglary prevention tips?

Skin care suggestions for over-exposed swimmers?

Not even.

After reading the end of the story where the alleged accomplice was wrapped in a towel, Chevy Chase's line to a toweled Dana Wheeler-Nicholson when she answers the door in the old movie Fletch pops into my brain:

"Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo."

Whoa, I think I need more sleep.

I'll work on something more substantive to say regarding these crime stories, and I hope Mr. Amaral doesn't allow any more naked residents of his subdivision in his pool--that activity is not included in the accepted informal "good neighbor" agreement.

In the meantime here is the video clip from Fletch quote described above...


Alien Abduction

So this weekend the news was diverse, but I want to focus on one of the themes that you may have missed.

Alien Abduction.

Former professional basketball player Baron Davis revealed in an interview that he was the victim of an alien abduction. The incident allegedly occurred two weeks ago while driving in Nevada, but when he awoke, he was magically in California.

Then I read a story from across the pond about a politician from North Yorkshire named Simon Parkes who states that he is romantically involved four times per year with his alien kidnappers.

Naturally, these stories got me thinking.

Is this the sign of something? How should I prepare?

But my most important question is this:  Why haven't I been a victim of an alien abduction?

After some honest self-reflection, here is my list of "Top 6" reasons in quasi-David Letterman fashion:

6) Introvert: Since I enjoy solitude (and certainly like all parents lack such opportunities), I am less appealing. Why not grab Perky Paul or Paula and study why he/she is attractive and appealing to other humans?

5) Smelly Feet: If I am visiting your residence and you have a "guests remove shoes when entering rule," you really should give me an exemption. There is little chance that what I may track in your house will be worse than the scent my sock/bare feet will leave behind.

4) Projecting Voice: I regularly startle the Mrs. when I enter a quiet room and initiate a conversation. She insists I need to master voice modulation. I am going to Google that term sometime so that I know what it means.

3) Lack of Fashion Sense: When visitors from outer space look at my wardrobe choices and know that, well, mistakes are repeatedly being made, my appeal to them for additional study plummets.

2) Lousy Dancer: How can a civilization expect to advance if the examined subject lacks rhythm?

And drum roll please...

1) Bald: Need I say more? I mean the spaceship may have tried an abduction 2 or 3 times on me when they had to abort the mission due to the sunlight or other lights reflecting off my shiny noggin and blinding the poor creatures.



Beyond the Sunset

After listening to friends discuss an unusually vivid sunset over Winona Lake, Indiana in 1936, a blind man named Horace Burr remarked that he had never seen a more beautiful sunset.

There was a pause in the conversation when one of the others in the group addressed Horace: "People are always amazed when you talk about seeing."

"I can see," Horace replied. "I see through other people's eyes, and often I think I see more; I see beyond the sunset." *



Photo Credit: The Mrs. (near the beaches of Corolla, North Carolina 2013)

Have a good weekend everyone.
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*Source: Author Kenneth Osbeck in the book Amazing Grace recounting the story behind Virgil Brock's hymn  "Beyond the Sunset."

What I am a Sucker For

I admit it.

I am a sucker for an inspiring story.

I can't read enough of them.

Tell me about the individual who everyone gave up on. The overlooked competitor. The one that was a sure thing to fail. 

And then a funny thing happened along the way. The person wins. He or she achieves greatness. 

Everyone stands in awe and cheers--even the opposition and the vocal critics. 

Like this story. 

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Yeremiah Bell is not a familiar name to most, but his story is worth hearing.

Bell played high school sports, but went unnoticed by recruiters at the next level.

While many of his friends lacked direction after high school, Bell was driven to succeed.

With no funding for higher education, he worked for a local steel mill near Winchester, Kentucky. He started on the night shift and then eventually moved to daytime hours.

The hours were long and required physical strength--making guardrails is certainly no easy task.

When not working, Bell would spend time with his family.

After he saw a friend on a weekly talk show with Eastern Kentucky University's head football, he became inspired and told his mom that he would play there some day.

That moment his journey began.

He combined the physically demanding job with his own training to get into shape.

Two years later he had saved enough money to enroll at the university and began calling the football office inquiring when open tryouts would be.

He admits to "bugging" the coaches "to death" for an opportunity, but his persistence paid off and Bell and 24 other students were given a chance.

In borrowed shoes that were two sizes too large and competing against 18 year-old graduates whose skills were sharp from playing football, Bell wowed the coaches with his strength and running speed.  He was invited to join the team as a non-scholarship player--not bad for a young man who was diagnosed with clubfeet as a child and told he would not be able to run.

Despite multiple injuries and hospital stays during his athletic career, Bell excelled in college and was eventually drafted by the Miami Dolphins. A decade later, Bell is still playing professional football.

An unknown working in a factory who would become an NFL veteran.

I admire folks like Yeremiah Bell, and certainly have much to learn from his story.

What dream is waiting there for you to make a reality?
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You can read the Bell's full story by going here.

Connecting Despite the Xbox

Oldest son is entering the middle school years. As such, he is becoming adept at tuning mom and dad out to focus on what is more important to a teenager.

Like raiding the fridge, Xbox, television, bickering with his little sister, etc.

After dropping the little crew off at their every-other-day-summer camp last week, I returned home and failed to engage older boy in a traditional conversation. The fruits of my labor being several "uhuhs" and a couple of unintelligible grunts.

So, I changed my approach:

"Son, a battalion of Pharaoh ants has breached the interior of the garage compound again. I just acquired airborne weaponry so that we can repulse the invaders and launch a counter offensive. 

Now, this situation requires the utmost in discretion as the Commandant of our humble abode needs not to be informed or concerned about this development--creepy crawlies that close to living areas are definitely not her thing.

So what do you say soldier, can you be locked and loaded; ready to implement the attack at 0930?"

My son gave me the just-embarrassed-my-classmate-by-thumping-him-at-Call-of-Duty smile, laughed, and said: "Sure dad, I'm in."

Too bad that since I used this approach on a simple task and eliminated it's unique appeal, I am sure it won't work next time.

One day at a time as a parent, right?

Happy Monday.



Happy March

Glad to be back blogging here on the first week of March just as I promised.

Wow, it sure is hot for March.

JULY? JULY WHAT?

Dude!  So my hiatus was longer than intended.

In any event, I'll try to remember how to blog, and I hope your spring was enjoyable and that your summer is relaxing.