Homelessness, Land of Uneven Surfaces

Sir, can you spare some change?

No, but I will buy you something to eat if you are hungry.

Three minutes of trying to get her act together, finally entering the Fast Food Place where they were standing six feet from the door.

Semi dirty hair, dirty hands, face, and skin areas, clothing and bags dirty.

“I just got out of an abusive relationship…referring to meth scabs maybe?

My Daughter is with a sitter today. Okay…

It’s my day off from work today…..

I stay in a hotel, it’s forty-two dollars a night.

I’m getting section eight housing in one week ten days…eighty-five dollars a month, I can swing that.”

I place my order, less than $3.00. Their food bill adds up to $9.86!?

She suggested, “Let’s sit here?” Okay.

I sit down, she leaves to fill soda from machine. Minutes click by. I wonder if she forgot what she was doing. Her number is called, called again, called a third time.

She comes back to the table. I say, “You order is ready, they called your number.”

She gets her food, three large drinks and a sausage biscuit and sits down.

Easy slide to the bottom when you are homeless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Some Woman told an employee, they can’t believe they let people like me in here. Then she tells Me, ‘I am filthy and I stink’. Why do people think they can talk to me like that, like I’m a piece of trash, and not human?”

I am thinking to myself, well the filthy comment fits, I’m in agreement with the woman about the comments. However, there is no excuse for people talking like that to anyone like that, true or not.

She takes large drink of one large shake, then another, and nods off.

“You okay?” She wakes up, starts spreading jelly on her biscuit and her hands….Nods off again. Drooling this time.

Hello?

Opens her eyes, repeats section eight housing story. Nods off again. Opens eyes, “I’m so tired.”

I say, “It appears to me, whatever you have doing isn’t working to well for you, have you heard of “shelter name”.

I won’t go there! I won’t go to any shelter. They get into your business, and I don’t want that. I have been waiting two years for cheap housing, and I’m not going to blow it. I have to wait a week, and three days, and I’m in. Nods off again.

I wonder to myself if she has a week and three days left. I think it may be a coin flip.

I suggest (because she was nodding again), “Why don’t you use a different name? It would give you a chance to clean up, eat and get some real sleep.”

“Have you ever been in one of those places? You don’t know what they are like! (hmmm) How can you sit there and tell me what to do? I don’t want CYFD (Child Welfare) in my business. Why does everyone who gives me money or buys me food think they have the right to tell me what to do?

Maybe they care about you and your condition?, I’m thinking, if I were someone else, I may have paid you for other things, if I didn’t care about my health and well being….

“Are you from here, where did you grow up?”

“I was born in the xxx area, and grew up in the xxxxxxx area.” I’m getting housing in one week and three days, $85.00 a month. My own place. A bed for my daughter.” Nods off…

Opens eyes, “Did you hear a thing I said?

I repeat back what she told me, only one iteration though. “Are you sure about not getting some help, you look like you could use some good sleep.”

“I’m so tired….Why do you think you have the right to tell me what to do? I’m sick of people like you telling me what to do! Who do you think you are?” (I am thinking, ‘someone who is concerned about you doesn’t count I suppose’.)

I’ve had about enough at this point. This woman either hasn’t hit rock bottom, or she does not realize she has already crash landed, and they only place left to fall is to die. Frustration overrides my concern. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In her case, I’m not even sure, if she knows what is going on.

“Do you have some money you could give me? Anything will help.”

“I do not have any money to give you. I spent almost ten dollars on your food. That was a lot of money for me to spend on you.“

“I only need like twenty more dollars to get a hotel room for the night…for my daughter and me. I have almost half of it.”

“I do not have any money to give you.”

She starts falling asleep again.

“I have to go now, I have somewhere to be. I truly hope the next time I see you, you have your apartment, your daughter, and you are doing well. I hope I do not see you as you are now. Good Luck, and my best for you.”

No response, or perhaps that was the response. As I drive, the conversation slowly fades away, forgotten.

Today, I am getting ready to meet someone, when crashing into my thoughts is the woman I left at the table yesterday. Almost overwhelming thoughts of her. It’s not apparent to me why she has taken over my thoughts, and what these thoughts mean. Twelve hours later, and they still haunt me, coming in lingering waves spacing farther apart, and smaller with each arrival.

Perhaps it is because she isn’t the run of the mill homeless person I am used to seeing. Most homeless people are obviously homeless, but getting along somehow, semi clean and looking like they eat enough.

This woman was skinny as a rail, no fat on her. Dirty, and nothing worth anything on her person, worn out cloths and flip flops. She had a half pack of cigarettes, and a container of bright pink lipstick she wore above and below each lip. She like her clothes looked worn out. The one bag she had her possessions stuffed into was in worse condition.

I say more than a few short prayers today for this woman. If anyone ever needed at least praying for it is her. I know she is beyond anything I can do for her. I doubt she even remembers yesterday, the meal and halting angry conversation.

Tariffs and Embargoes, Oh My

Now that we are into the Tariff Trade Game, let’s take a minute and see what it really means. From the U.S. side, the cost of a new home on the northwest coast has seen an average of $7,000 increase due to the increased cost of lumber due to the imposed tariff.

Those not buying a new home, really aren’t effected, or are they? For whatever reason home sales are now a tight market. Prices for used homes have outpaced wages. It really doesn’t matter, what happens to the price of new homes from this perspective, in the short term anyway.

In the Midwest, Farmers are feeling the brunt of losing their largest export consumer of soybeans. Almost one-third of the soybean crop is exported and now faces a Chinese tariff. So far the U.S. Government has put up eleven twelve billion dollars to offset those losses. The American Taxpayer will foot that eleven million dollar bill. Unfortunately there will be fallout among the Farmers who for whatever reason will not see a dime of the these monies for one reason or another. More small farms will cease to exist.

Coca-Cola has announced it is feeling the rise in the price of aluminum for cans. Of course this will only effect Coca-Cola in the short term. These increased costs will quickly be passed on to the consumer. The downside of this price adjustment for the added cost of aluminum is the American Taxpayer is also the consumer.

General Motors and one of the Home Appliance manufacturers announced the rise in the price of steel has arrived at their door. Some of this steel was ordered months past. Once again, American Taxpayers will foot the bill as this cost is passed on.

Tariffs are not effective, and never have been.

Passing on the cost is what big business does. Generally these costs increased are in excess of what the additional or new cost of aluminum and steel will be. If challenged big business will claim they are adjusting prices according to projected future costs. To get a better idea of this, think of how gas prices at the pumps increase well before the holidays, or summer. The upward price rise is much quicker than any downward price adjustment. Why reduce profit if the customer is already willing to pay a higher price….

The Soybean Tariff reminds me of the Russian Grain Embargo of years past. The U.S. placed an embargo of grain sales to Russia. The grain market was in dismay, as they like to export wheat, but enterprising business started raising wheat fed chickens for export to Russia, informally reducing or eliminating the effect of the famous grain embargo.

In the moment, America will experience a temporary soybean glut. This will last until the excess soy is converted to a food China wants that is not subject to a tariff. Business creativity is the work around of Tariffs, Sanctions and Embargoes. Perhaps U.S farmers will start exporting soy fed beef and chicken to China offsetting or bypassing the soybean surplus and tariff.

America may shift production into soy based housing material, soda and food containers, cars and home appliances made of a soy product instead of metal. Let’s not forget more soy meals instead of beef, chicken, and fish, and perhaps soy based gasoline.

This alternate soy fantasy would cost billions in investment dollars. Of course the American taxpayer is more than happy to foot the bill. Generally the common man suffers the biggest burden when these unworkable policies are put in place, paying more for living day to day, and seeing a bigger tax bill which like the increase in production cost prices, will not be reduced when no longer needed. Tariffs have not worked as planned since they were first tried.

Of course following the current fake news line, ‘If you see it, and you hear about it, don’t believe it, it’s not true’. You can take that thought to the bank….

Gangs, Forced Labor, and Slavery in America

There are an estimated 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs criminally active in the U.S. today. Most of these Gangs feed the prison system with new or repeating inmates.

Afraid your child may be falling under gang influence? Check out the parents guide to gangs. Once gang members and other criminals are behind bars, they are eligible to become forced labor, or Legal Slaves. Some may work for a tuppence which is minimal.

There are about 2,220,300 inmates in state and federal prisons. Many of these inmates, survive just like the prison movies…Forced labor in all weather conditions, and armed Watchers ensuring no one escapes alive.

While an argument may be tabled that some of these inmates are paid for their work, it isn’t the same as a real job. These jobs are jobs are not jobs anyone not in the prison system would want to do. Hours are long, and pay is short or not at all. Average pay is a couple of dollars a day, with no benefits. Hardly an amount anyone would willingly work for.

Then there are the chain gangs. Dangerous work using the forced labor of about 870.000 inmates. With little or no pay, basically Convicts are America’s Legal Slaves. Many of these inmates are in chain gangs. Just like the movies…forced labor, all weather conditions, and armed Watchers ensuring no one escapes.

As out of sight,  is human trafficking, or Slavery in America. Hard to believe, but the United States is far from the bottom of the list of countries with a Slave population.

The Federal Government does appropriate monies to combat slavery, but with forced inmate labor, and other issues, the monies are little more than a splash in the bucket.

From the Office on Trafficking Persons, yes there is such a place, we have a budget:

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017.

Fiscal Year     Programs for Foreign National Victims   Programs for Domestic Victims  Total

2018              $17,000,000                                         $6,755,000                  $23,755,000

So, does forced labor start with Gang Members and other Criminals feeding the system, or is forced labor inherent in America, being a part of the American System as long as America has been around?

Possible Link Between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease

There is a possible link between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease. From what I read, the Herpes virus that causes cold sores which goes dormant appears to eventually move into the brain, and create what we know as Alzheimer’s Disease.

We all have a blood-brain barrier that stops almost all virus’ from entering the brain itself, but as we know, there are some brain issues that show some virus’ are able to make it through the brain-blood barrier and cause brain infections.

Here is a link from the most comprehensive article I stumbled across. There was another article commenting on this study, but I could not retrieve the link.

Possible Link Between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease

Personally, I hope this link proves to be false….

Veiled Racism in Advertising

If you watch network television or other media using general family advertising, it is likely you are unknowingly being sublimely influenced by well Veiled Racism. This current approach is so subtle, that unless you are doing the almost unheard of – thinking while watching – you do not even realize what is going on.

There are only a few of these commercials showing in the moment, but more are likely on the way. These few commercials are getting a lot of air time. These commercials are, “Family” scenario commercials, in that they take place using a basic family unit for the commercial. The family unit consists of a White Father, Black Mother, and a Black Child, a girl of course.

On the surface these commercials seem perfectly harmless. On the surface they are Family oriented commercials with a story wrapped around the selling of a product. We sit and watch these commercials, brain off, waiting for the show to resume. Turn your brain back on, and give these commercials some thought and you should become angry over what you are seeing!

Are your thoughts on Racism and the Family Unit being manipulated?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or perhaps and more to the point, angry about what you are not seeing. The family unit in each of these commercials is a White Father, Black Mother, and Black girl. Get it? Of course the White Father is the role model of all Fathers. The Black Woman and Child are of course, the perfect compliment to the perfect White Father.

In one commercial, the White Father is suffering some intestinal disease. The Black Mother and Black Child look on with dismay and concern as the White ignorant Father struggles with his dilemma. Really? Is this how it is in the real world?

I didn’t really ‘see’ what I have been watching in these commercials until today when something triggered how well Veiled Racism is alive and well, buried in these disturbing commercials. If these marketers are trying to break down racial barriers and further promote interracial relations while promoting their product, they are doing a rather poor job. If they are trying to reflect current reality, they are doing a worse job. That only leaves on other option, and it is ugly.

Why don’t we see a Family Unit commercials consisting of a Black Father and a White Mother, with a White Child who is also a girl? Are we only accepting of the idea of White Men and Black Women with a Child who may or may not be theirs together?

Do we see in our everyday day life any semblance of what we see in these commercials? I don’t. How about a commercial with a Hispanic Father and a White Mother and White Child, also a girl? How about an Asian Father and a White Mother and White Child, also a girl? Perhaps Marketers see this scenario in the same light they see a Black Father with a White woman and White child?

This idea of one acceptable racial family unit may or may not be influenced by the current President and his politics. However, we need to think about this and express the right and need to vote with our pocketbooks. Let these racially biased advertisers and the product they represent know without a doubt that making selectively, “approved” commercials needs to expand to other family units, and quick. Either advertise using mixed race combination of family units across all markets, or stop these types of commercials completely.

Every Race has outstanding Fathers, Mothers, and Children. Almost every community enjoys mixed race family units as part of their population. Except for some very shortsighted people, we do not think twice seeing a mixed race family unit during our daily activities. We must not be willing to allow advertising to reshape our view of what is acceptable, and what is not for a family unit?

Mixed Race Family Units is reality. Selectively using, “approved” mixed race families in advertising is just plain wrong. Take a moment, when you see one of these very slick, focused, White Father, Black Mother and Black girl family unit commercials, and let the the product manufacturer know you live in the real world, and they either need to get with the program, or you may prefer to purchase a competitor’s product, which may be better than their product.

Better Baseball Players

Many years ago I was a ski bum. I skied downhill on weekdays when I had the money. On weekends when the, “Flatlanders” arrived from Los Angeles and surrounding areas, I was out Cross Country skiing.

The two types of skiing are more different than similar. Downhill skis are shorter, wider, and stiffer. Heavy stiff boots are needed to manage the forces of gravity pulling you down the hill. High speed is the norm with lots of turns, small jumps, moguls, and such. One skies down the mountain and takes a lift back up the hill.

When Cross Country skiing, smaller downhill slopes are relaxation from the work not a having gravity assist to keep moving. Cross country skis are lighter, thinner and more flexible. Cross Country ski boots can be as simple as a pair of specially made tennis shoes.

It was surprising how much difference Cross Country skiing makes to downhill skiing. After a day or two on a skinny pair of Cross Country skis, downhill skiing feels like the downhill skis are three feet wide each. It would be as if it were impossible to fall.

Build your skills for Hardball using smaller bats and balls.

Stickball uses a, ‘Pimpleball’ or Handball for the ball. A cut off broomstick is all that is needed for the bat. Half Ball uses the same equipment except the ball is cut in half. Generally, the ball is tossed slowly towards the plate. Some players prefer a faster ball to be thrown.

Imagine the enhanced skill set it takes to hit an undersized ball with a broomstick handle bat. Hand eye coordination is higher for stick and half ball players, speed of the ball notwithstanding.

Players from Pre-Teen Private League Baseball to the American Legion hold baseball practice using the same Bats and Balls that are used in an ‘official’ game. What if Players used a smaller ball for batting and fielding practice? Players would enjoy increased hand eye coordination, and batting and fielding averages would rise.

Practicing with smaller practice balls and slimmer bats would hone skills. When batting in an official game, to the Batter it would look and feel as if an oversized ball was being used. Stickball or Halfball, both mostly inner city sports are good for a visual comparison.

Finally, confidence factor needs to be considered. If a Batter has a reasonable batting average with an undersized ball and bat, confidence is increased. The regulation size ball and bat would feel oversized to the batter and be easier to hit.

If Stickball or Halfball sound like fun, they are. The both can be played in the street, with no special equipment other than a broom stick and a ball.

Rat Fishing, Sport in the Inner City

“Rat Trap”, was a documentary shown on PBS tonight. “Rat Trap”, put forth a parallel between the preferred environment of rats, and some of the human population.

The documentary was very interesting, but its main point drifted right over me. What caught my focus was a sideline in the documentary. There were two ideas and two methods of Rat Collection which I found interesting. Firstly, it was established that when Rats overtake an area such as a neighborhood, the dynamics of harvesting the Rats changes.

You read it right. A new sport in the inner city.

Reducing the number of Rats is equivalent to increasing the food supply for the remaining Rats. Fewer Rats means more food for the remaining Rats, leading to a population boom. The environment can now support more Rats so the remaining Rats breed faster to fill the vacuum (food surplus).

Secondly, and perhaps unique to the location was the biggest Rat populations of present day are location identical to the largest Rat populations of the previous century. The most Rats lived in the poorest neighborhoods. Rat populations were also linked to the crime rate. More Rats meant more crime.

The first method of Rat collection was one that plays across YouTube until you get tired of watching. Shooting rats with pellet guns was a sport for some of the local residents. Nothing new there, except I wish I lived close to where I could go rat plinking, it looked like fun.

A second and more unique method of collecting Rats (and birds) was fishing for them! The ‘Fisherman’ had a normal fishing rod and reel, sinker attached, and two single hooks, that looked to be about size six. He would bait up his hooks with turkey and peanut butter, and cast to where he saw the most rats moving about. Keep the line tight, hook them, and reel them in in. The caught Rats were dispatched by his fishing friend who used a baseball bat. Think hitting a ball hanging from a string. Rat dispatch may need some work.

Unfortunately , the main point of the documentary was lost on me. The idea of rat hunting far outweighed the parallels of the economics of people and the number of rats in their environment.

Movie Worth Watching – Black Panther

If you can, Black Panther is well worth your time. One of the best thought out movies of its genre in a long while. Story flows, and you are sold on the story line in the first ten minutes.

If you have heard negatives about Black Panther, they are probably wrong. I know Conservative Radio claims the movie, Black Panther, “Aggrandizes Black Women”, like there is something inherently wrong with that thought. In my opinion, it is a small thought put out there for small minds,

Let me know if you enjoyed Black Panther. I am sure you will.

Social Isolation and Indifference is Killing Our Children

No picture today… This post is a plea about School Shootings and Teen deaths. Stolen from Wikipedia, this is their list of school shootings in the United States in the last few years:

“2018, 14 February – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shootings – (17 dead)
2017, November 14 – Rancho Tehama Reserve shootings – (6 dead)
2015, 1 October – Umpqua Community College shooting – (10 dead)”

Teen suicide for Males ages 15 – 19 is listed at about fourteen percent by the CDC in 2015. Teen suicide rate for Females 15 – 19 is listed at about six percent.

“According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there were 41,731,233 youth age 10-19 in the United States, 13% of the total U.S. population, in 2015″

As ugly as it reads, Teen deaths from school shootings is a drop in the bucket for any given year when compared against the number of other preventable Teen Deaths. Yet school shootings get the publicity because of the raw emotion involved, and the press over milking every possible angle of the story, playing on peoples emotions. Always first on peoples list is banning “assault” rifles.

I am not a fan of assault rifles. They were created for on reason, and we all know what that reason is. Let’s pretend we take assault rifles away. Now the next mass shooting will be done using a different type of firearm. Let’s pretend to take those arms away too. And so it goes, so on and so forth. Banning one gun after another until they are all gone.

Wait. There have been mass killings attempted with vehicles too! Let’s start banning vehicles. We’re not done yet. There was killing that took place in England recently where the weapon of choice was machetes. We better ban machetes too. Let’s not forget drug overdose, poisoning, and the multitude of other ways people use to kill each other.

Kids who plan to kill or kill on a large scale, as in school shootings seem to have certain characteristics in common. First and foremost, someone or several someones knew about the planned attack before it happened, and Parents were oblivious in a few cases (discounting Parents who knew their Son was a danger and no one would or could help). Secondly, it seems these kids were loners, either by choice or as a result of being bullied through their school days and years. All were unstable, and NO ONE (really cared or) payed any attention.

I do not wish to point fingers only at Parents, because kids, like adults can be secretive when need be. But, why in the world if a Child is having emotional or psychological problems, does that same kid have access to Dad’s or Mom’s gun(s)?

Two main issues here. Does Dad and Mom pay enough attention to their Child to know their Child is being bullied and/or has been ostracized from all social interaction at school? What about their Child’s behaviors? Children usually give off several types of warning signs or signals.

Transformation into wanting to kill does not happen overnight! Are Parents even aware if their child has serious emotional issues and may be unstable? Do Parents know their Child may fantasize about killing those Kids who make his life at school a pure hell? What about other family members? Do they pretend it’s not their business, or ignore the signs as just another rant? Neighbors, friends, does anyone pay attention? It doesn’t feel like it. If they do they don’t care enough to take action.

Kids killing Kids is a horrible thing. Until we start caring for our own Children and our neighbors children these mass killings are likely to continue. Guns are not the issue. Lack of Family and Social support and caring seems to be the major issue. Where is the Social Structure and support for these troubled Kids?

In each of the recent school shootings after the fact, one or more fellow students and  adults stated they were afraid this was going to happen. Yet they kept quiet!? It’s possible that some of those murdered in school shootings were the problem that caused such a violent reaction to begin with? We may never know for sure, but we allow bullying and social isolation to continue.

My admiration for the Grandmother who knows she should go through her Grandchild’s room, who found a diary where he was planning a school shooting of his own, and then found an assault rifle in his guitar case!

Why aren’t we involved in the lives of our children? Why aren’t we involved in our neighborhood and the children in it? You and I may be partially responsible for the next school shooting because we are indifferent and pretend we are too busy. My heart goes out to those who admitted they knew these school shootings were going to happen. They have to see themselves in the mirror every day, and know they did nothing.

Teen suicides are my fault and your fault for not being a responsible Parent and Adult in our own home and Community. A dead Teen, whether from their own hand or that of another, is a death that could have been prevented – if we only really cared and took action. The Government does not own School Shootings or other preventable Teen Death…we do.

The “Man in the Van” is not the problem, we are the problem. We have isolated ourselves so well, we do not know our own children, or our closest neighbors. Grow up! Be sociable and teach your Kids how to safely socialize. We can not help each other if we remain indifferent strangers to each other while living feet apart from each other.