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Snickerdoodle Dad

Rad note � today's entry was lifted from another page. I transferred the following text here .. to its own separate entry because the subject (I'm sure you would agree) seems so different.

This is something I would consider a special treat. Here ya go...

Where have you been my blue-eyed son?Snickerdoodle Dad

"Those high school girls are checking you out, punkin'," I said.

He lifted his still-sleepy head and looked over there weakly for a few secs ..

.. then gently set it back down on my shoulder and said, "Can we get a snickerdoodle, dad?"

It struck me how he was more interested in a cookie.

And the way that he says the word � snickerdoodle .. is just so adorably cute that I can hardly stand it.

And I say, "Punkin', please dont be so cute. I cant stand it when you say such cute things."

He obviously has no clue why I think he question is so cute. Nor does he care.

Because there is a pause before he says (with a touch of morning eagerness in his voice) "Does this mean we can get a snickerdoodle?"

But I don't want to be the pushover-dad that I am .. so I said, "We got a snickerdoodle last time. Can it be my turn to choose this time?"

He took surprisingly long to decide, but finally said (rather disappointedly) � "Okay .. you can choose."

I mean, there came a point when I thought he simply wasnt going to answer.

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Sex with Powerful Women

Rad note � This entry contains text that was lifted from another entry and transferred here .. to its own, separate entry-page .. because the subject seemed so different (.. I think you will agree).

At the end of this entry (that you are now reading) I will provide a link to return you to the exact spot from which the text in this entry was lifted.

Here you go...

Strange After-Thought Sex with Powerful Women

Certainly you are familiar-with the way that one-thing can trigger thoughts of another. (� I've always wanted to begin an entry with that sentence.)

Now I admit that it may simply be the result of reading Stendhal [ Le Rouge et Le Noir ] .. but I have been thinking .. about what it is like to have sex with a powerful or influential woman.

Indian Point Nuclear plant, New York, Hudson RiverWhich reminded me of when .. I was working in New York ..

.. where there was an engineer-girl .. who ran a crew of guys.

A half-dozen guys. All smart. Playing with reactor fuel. Shit like that. Sharp cookies.

Myself, I was living on a blow-up air mattress in the living room (yes, in the "living room" .. more people = less rent per person).

We were all working 12-hour days, six days a week. Sharing a place with 3 or 4 other people I'd only recently met.

Different people from different states working different shifts with different days off. Some guys, some girls. Now you might think this a challenge, but I had such a great time with these people ..

.. who I rarely saw at home, but who both laughed and cried with me. Both girls and guys, and their friends and lovers.

Almost like family. Strange to be treated with such care by people you barely know.

You havent lived, dawg, let me tell you, until you've blown up a leaky air-mattress after a beer or two. Every night before you go to sleep. (On plastic.)

Your head feels like it's gonna come off .. and now it's time to go to sleep.

The place was a dive. A total dive. But even dives in New York are expensive.

[ Here's what I learned � when people are kind and courteous, life in a dive is better than living with someone who hates your guts. No matter how nice that place might be. ]

But this engineer-girl (and her crew-of-guys) were PUT UP at a very nice resort-like place. (If I said the name of their company, you would definitely know it.)

Now I did not WORK FOR this girl .. but she did not want her (crew of) guys to know about our thing. Which I could totally understand. In the mornings, she would get me up extra early .. and "check the coast"

Nuclear reactor spent fuel cell being moved in a spent fuel pool (of water)"Coast is clear," she says .. motioning with her hand. "Go!" A pat on your butt as you slip out the door and sneak quietly down the hallway.

I liked her. An athletic girl. Looked like a sports-model. Loved all kinds of sports. Great skin. Late-twenties.

Sporting a Sexy Tan in the New York Snow

She had just arrived from some island somewhere .. sporting a gorgeous bronze tan .. in New York, no less ..

.. where everybody else is pale-white .. winter, with snow on the ground. Early March.

Talk about making a nuclear-grade entrance. Yes, she got my attention right away.

I normally saw her dressed in baggy anti-contamination clothing, hood and all. But when dressed up (.. in girly clothes) she was a sight. Have mercy. Downright intimidating.

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� The best party I ever went to was held up in Los Angeles .. at the home of a professor at USC's School of Cinema. It was billed as a � Valentine's Day Lonely Hearts Party. (Or something like that.) So I admit that my expectations were not very high.

The Famous Hollywood SignI had never heard of such a thing and found the concept more than curious.

But this professor, who was a surprisingly youngish woman, and who had helped the Film school girl get into Film school ..

.. opened her home to her students who might not have anyone special to spend the holiday with.

It became a popular thing. Other professors showed up, too. Yes, you could bring a date .. but you didnt have to. (That was the whole point. And most didnt.)

My point � you could *feel* the creative energy there. There was much outdoor decking in the back.

Lots of trees back there .. and undulating hills. Lovely neighborhood. (I did not know that LA had neighborhoods like that.)

The most striking aspect of this particular home .. was how dramatically the front hid what was out back.

I mean, you felt like you had entered another world soon as you came thru the front door .. but especially as you stepped outside out back.

"That's a good trick," I thought. Almost like an optical illusion. Front � plain, sparse. Back � lush, tropical. Like you were living on a hillside that sloped away from you.

So, right from the git-go I was intrigued. "I may not be totally sure what it is, but I definitely like this place."

Just a nice place to hang out, even without all the cool people. Very inviting. Like the kind of place � you dont want to leave.

I was loving it. I mean, the atmosphere itself there was like drinking nectar.

And I myself have a very different background .. from all these creative-types. So they seemed to find me different, and maybe even interesting.

Drilling Down One On One

I am a one-on-one type of guy. In group settings, I tend to let others talk while I just listen. But one-on-one situations let you steer the conversation into more arcane directions .. where you can � drill down .. into some very interesting topics and subjects. (Which is where I like to go.)

So I was making the rounds, and everybody there looked like they were interesting to talk to .. but I found myself in the kitchen ..

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The Wow Girl

Rad note » this entry consists of text that was lifted from another entry and transferred here .. to its own separate entry-page .. because the subject is so different.

At the end of this entry (that you are now reading) I provide a link to return you to the exact place from which this text was taken.

Here you go...

» The Girl at the Gas Station in San Clemente at Midnight

I know only ONE person .. who ever had a Confronted-Parent respond in a way that brought any degree of comfort or healing. A girl, tho I am not talking about the Film school girl. No. (That's another story, entirely.)

City of San Clemente, CaliforniaAnd I must say .. this girl who confronted her dad about shit that had fucked her up ..

.. she was definitely a wow-girl.

Very interesting. Very sexy. Very different.

She had been to galaxies that I didnt even know existed. (And to some cold and desolate planets).

Irresistible chemistry. Made my hormones do things I did not think possible.

Electricity in her fingertips. Like she had the combination to my safe. So intuitive.

"How can such a thing be possible? How do you know me so well? Who are you, really?"

I will tell you a secret if you promise not to tell anybody » this girl *is* the nuclear-grade lace-top thigh-high girl. Well .. she was the original, anyway.

She opened my eyes in many ways. She was bi-sexual. And older women were craving her stuff (she once lamented).

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� This page is PART THREE, continued from � Part Two. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

� Young Ed Snowden: Courageous NSA Truth Teller (Verax)

You shouldnt be surprised to learn that I feel a sense of kinship with Ed Snowden. Yes, there are the obvious reasons ..

The Whistle of Truth.. such as a distaste for the government snooping up my butt and peeking over my shoulder.

.. but my sense of brotherhood goes beyond the obvious.

First, I like that he is (only) 29. Aaron, who was martyred for the cause earlier this year, was 26. So was Bouazizi.

Jesus was only 33 when the government nailed him to a tree. Young, no? (Young and strong. Lots of hiking .. and deep knee bends.)

[ Bouazizi is the young man who torched himself in the streets of Tunisia ..

.. over frustration encountered there, dealing with a corrupt government bureaucracy.

That was (quite literally) the spark that ignited the Arab Spring Revolutions ..

.. fires which continue to burn in the Middle East today, and which continue to spread to other nations.

Here is a pattern that you will, I'm sure, see more of � poor young boys getting fucked by rich old men produces social unrest.

Speaking of social unrest .. if Bush sent us into Iraq .. in order to bring 'democracy' to the people of Iraq (.. one of his many-splendored reasons) ..

.. then why wouldnt we want to help the people in neighboring Syria .. to help them liberate themselves .. from an oppressive regime ..

.. lead by a dictator who uses chemical weapons on his own people? (another one of the infinitely varied reasons that we used to invade Iraq and depose Saddam)

Or maybe we didnt go into Iraq to bring anything to anybody.

What's that smell? (Sniff, sniff.) Smells like .. the dung of hypocrisy. Must be a farm nearby.

Dr. J Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) | Father of the Atomic BombUpdate .. I have looked into the Syrian conflict a bit more and it seems very tricky.

Proceed with caution. Both Russia and China are standing up for the dictator ..

.. tho he seems far too soft-spoken to be a dictator. So I suspect others are running the show in Syria.

Dude, I looked up the Biblical term � Armageddon, and Google maps shows it being a mere 25- or 30-mile bike-ride away to Syria. For what it's worth.

But there has definitely been 'convergence' there. Rather global convergence. Coincidence?

In the context of Snowden, anyway, China and Russia appear to be on the SAME SIDE. No? I mean, regarding both Snowden and Syria.

Dear Goverments of the World (the 'nations'), we do not want to live in a post-apocalyptic world .. like the kind in that movie � Book of Eli with Denzel.

That would suk. Really suk.

The greatest mathematician of all time ran the numbers and said that we're good to an absolute maximum of 2060. In other words, 47 years.

He ran those numbers more than three centuries ago. </update>

Do you notice any patterns? All three men were/are in their twenties, all taking a stand in the name of their generation .. in the only way left them.

Since I have a second grader .. I am naturally concerned about the world we are leaving for our next generation.

My generation appears to be living high on the hog .. with its record level of debt (growing every minute .. of every day) and leaving the bill for our kids to pay.

The Aloha Spirit on a Sportster in Paradise

Snowden lived in Hawaii. (He even pronounced the name of the state like a real Hawaiian.)

Diamond Head, Waikiki, HawaiiI lived in Hawaii (the Aloha State) for two years (.. tho half that time was spent underway).

So "the Aloha spirit" is something to which I can relate.

It was while I was in my twenties, also, when I was there. (I landed at Honolulu International one week after my 21st b-day.)

I had my Sportster there in Hawaii. [ The military shipped it from Hemingway's Idaho. ]

The Dog liked to ride it, too. (.. my roomie, who went on, a few years later to study at Columbia (.. Industrial Engineering).

Most impressive however, is what he got from reading the Core curriculum. The Dog can handle himself with ease in just about any discussion. With grace. Even when disagreeing, he shows how he can see your side, and makes you feel intelligent.

Some years later, the Dog earned a Masters degree from USC .. in Safety. Which cracks me up .. cuz, if you knew the Dog when *I* knew the Dog .. uh, safety is not something that readily comes to mind. Feel me? =)

[ Young Ed Snowden reminds me of the Dog, because they are both thoughtful and articulate. ]

I replaced the Sportster's stock wide-grip handle-bars with 'suicide' bars (handles closer together). Stick both your arms straight out and there are your grips. 1,000 cc's. Black.

Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarineLots of torque. Soo much torque. Not so much speed, as � power (torque).

When I reflect back on the glory days of my youth, when I was both bulletproof and invincible ..

.. I see myself on a black Sportster, cruising Kam Hwy in Oahu, on my way past Ala Moana ..

.. having just returned from operating a nuclear reactor on a military-grade ballistic missile submarine.

Not to mention running reactor water chemistry control there. Ego's ville.

"Who's your daddy?" I say to the Polynesian girl sitting in the convertible Ferrari next to me at the light.

"You are, of course," she says as I speed off down the road.

"Correct answer," I think to myself.

I won't even mention the sunglasses or the golden Waimea tan.

On the Sportster, my rice-burner friends would invariably leave my ass in the dust ..

.. but they always wanted to take the Sportster for a spin.

"What is this I keep hearing about Harley's legendary torgue? This putt .. that I keep hearing so much about?"

And I found their rice-burners dangerously-fast. You are at freakish speeds in 2 or 3 seconds .. not unlike you find with a Porshe 911/930 turbo. I call it "the slingshot effect".

[ Update 04 Dec - Certainly understandable how the death of Paul Walker occurred. He had a Porsche Carrera GT.

Dude, Porsche does not need to add any extra letters to the names of their cars. When they start adding extra letters, it's a warning.

It's like signing a waiver that you understand this thing is loaded .. and that you release the manufacturer from all liability.

When I returned the keys to my buddy's (George's) 930 Turbo .. I said, "Nice. Very nice. Too nice."

I could see that the thing would be so easy to get away from you. It was like a missile. A freaking rocket-powered missile.

Paul Walker (1973-2013)And you know how much I like performance.

George said that the guy he bought the car from used the phrase, "It's like driving a backwards dart." .. to describe the experience.

Because the heavy engine is mounted in the rear, and the light front end feels like it comes up off the ground when the slingshot kicks in.

It genuinely feels as tho the front wheels are NOT ON THE GROUND.

I could see right away that the car was too fast for me .. just like those rice-burner motorcycles that friends let me take for a spin around the block.

Something seemed to say � "Dude, owning one of these is like asking to be a grease spot" (.. to borrow a phrase from Vincent Vega).

But the fact that Paul Walker himself was not the one driving when the GT crashed .. reminded me of � Julie Allen.

In other words, you have to give him credit for that.

Paul's car was a half-a-million dollar car. George's car was not nearly that expensive, but still rediculously fast.

George ended up putting a lot of money into that car. Maintenance & repairs.

</end_04dec_update> ]

Thought I had died and gone to heaven there. (Paradise, literally.) Watching the sun rise over Diamond Head. "Pinch me."

I have always appreciated performance technology. I mean, it is a very cool thing .. for a young man in his twenties .. to start-up a reactor plant on a nuclear submarine (military-grade) ..

.. with a crew of 10 other dudes in their early twenties, from all over the nation, operate it as necessary, and then shut it back down when the ship returns to port. Flawlessly.

The reactor plant felt like MY reactor plant .. like OUR reactor plant .. turning mass into energy .. in accordance with � E=mc2. You can FEEL the power. The humming. The vibration. The noise. The roar. Home sweet home (.. for 4 years, anyway).

Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski in The Terminal (by Steven Spielberg) A Thoughtful & Articulate Young Man

But mostly .. I relate to Ed Snowden because he is thoughtful. Obviously thoughtful.

And articulate enough to convey that thoughtfulness.

Intelligent. Principled. And courageous enough to confront the enormity of another government bureaucracy run amok ..

.. even tho an execution [ "He slipped on a banana peel, honest. And he apparently landed on a bullet. Three times." ] would really surprise few honest souls.

[ How many of our government officials today do you think would be willing to die for our country? Precious few.

Heck, they won't even take responsibility for their oWn fuck-ups. "Blame it on the little guy. Find a private who we can pin this on." (Because we can, and because we don't take responsibility for our own fuck-ups.)

"And we do everything we can to avoid serving in the military when our own number comes up." ]

Nietzsche was thoughtful. Dostoevsky was thoughtful. Tolstoy waas thoughtful. Einstein was thoughtful. Aaron Swartz was thoughtful.

Snowden also seems to have been a migrant-worker of sorts. I myself was a Migrant Nuclear Worker for many years. Snowden appears to have been a Migrant Intelligence Worker. (Intelligence sounds much cooler than nuclear reactors.)

� The electronics revolution [.. a vital precursor to our own digital revolution of non-physical, non-atomic bits-n-bytes ] .. began with the invention of the triode vacuum tube in 1906 .. about the same time that Einstein discovered E=mc2 .. and some three years after George Orwell was born.

First transistor (1947)The solid-state transistor [ widely recognized as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century ..

.. and an even more vital precursor to our digital revolution ] was invented in 1947 ..

.. same year that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Brooklyn .. and three years before Orwell died.

So George was there .. when it began. In other words, he was in position to see it coming. (Certainly he could feel it coming.)

Another, really-big, pre-digital-revolution invention came a decade later in 1959, with the microchip .. the integrated circuit. Unfortunately, George didnt live long enough to see that.

Another big invention came in 1971 with the Intel 4004, world's first (commercially available) microprocessor, which led directly to the CPUs you and I use today.

Speaking of CPUs .. you may be interested, by the way, to learn that today's processors from Intel contain 2.5 billion transistors ..

.. while graphics chips from nVidia contain 7 billion transistors. And you can be certain that tomorrow's processors will contain even more.

How big is 7 billion? Answer � if you start counting right now [ "One, two, three..." ], one number per second, it would take 222 years to reach 7 billion (.. counting 24 hours a day, with no sleep).

Tubes Superseded by Transistors

Speaking of vacuum tubes and the solid-state transistor .. I had a friend growing up who purchased an old, used tube-based McIntosh receiver.

Vacuum tube[ His real name was Bob, but his Italian skin was such a dark shade of olive that everybody called him 'Julio' { 'WHOO-lee-oh } .. a popular Puerto Rican name. "Hey, Julio!"

Some audio enthusiasts feel that digital music loses 'warmth' that is present in analog recording. ]

McIntosh receivers [ not to be confused with the Macintosh computer, which we will touch upon later ] were never very stylish, but they still manufacturer some of the world's finest consumer audio electronics gear.

Julio cut off the metal top of his retro receiver and replaced it with a plexiglass cover .. so you could look down into the electronic guts and see the TUBES glowing.

It took a minute to warm up but produced marvelous audio fidelity. Very cool, specially for the vintage audiophile.

Flexing Orwell's Muscles

George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (pub 1949) and his novella Animal Farm (1945) together "have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author."

Nineteen Eighty-Four is ranked #13 on Modern Library's list of the Hundred Greatest English Language Novels of the Twentieth Century. (Yes, of the entire century.) Animal Farm is ranked #31.

On the Reader's List, Nineteen Eighty-Four is ranked even higher at #6 and Animal Farm moves up eleven notches to #20.

Le Monde, which includes languages other than English, ranks Nineteen Eighty-Four at #22.

Big Brother looking over your shoulderNineteen Eighty-Four is even found on the list of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Tme. (In any language.) Ever.

Tho these titles are not listed numerically.

But who really cares about seating arrangements .. when you get to be in the same room with the likes of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Kafka.

Even today, more than 60 years after its publication, Nineteen Eighty-Four is still selling like crazy .. bouncing around Amazon's Top-100 Best Sellers list. Remarkable, no?

The CIA, the FBI, the NSA & Establishing Secure Communications

Moving on to more current issues .. do you remember six months ago, when David Petraeus, then director of the CIA .. was discovered by the FBI to be engaged in an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell?

Now, you might think that the head of the CIA would know a thing or two about how to establish secure communications.

Paula and her baby pythonsMy understanding is that they opened a web-based email account together .. but never actually sent any mail to or from this account.

They merely saved their composed messages as drafts ..

.. and each secret lover read what the other had written by logging into the account and opening the drafts saved there.

"Meet me at the love shack at sunset. Bring snorkel gear and pretzels. We shouldnt need much more."

[ If you have more details, such as which email service they used, let me know. ]

It wasnt until Paula sent a nastigram to that socialite-lady in Florida [ .. "Find your OWN general, b**ch. This one is mine. Don't make me unleash these baby pythons on your froufrou ass. Don't make me bust-open a can of military-grade whup-ass." ] ..

.. who knew somebody in/at the FBI .. who was able to trace the email. That's how they got caught. [ My sources tell me. =) ]

Whatever the gory details .. my point is � the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency was NOT ABLE to keep his most intimate and damning communications secure (private, confidential, secret, on the down-low).

[ I do not judge these people. No, sir. Who among us has not done scandalous things to our regret?

Honestly now .. what 60-year-old man (general or otherwise) would not be absolutely thrilled (tickled pink) to discover he is desired by a 39-year-old hard-body? ..

.. that he is found physically attractive .. by a former homecoming queen and valedictorian, no less? (Not just another pretty face.)

So we need to cut the General some slack. Have mercy, child. He's only human.

Paula was so attracted that she was willing to risk and put up her marriage .. as earnest of her flaring passions. (Guess we could say the same about him.) ]

Now, we also know that it was Paula who sent off the email(s) that led to the former general getting caught (.. with his 4-star fingers in Paula's impressively muscular cookie jar). A mitigating circumstance?

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� This entry is PART THREE, continued from � Part Two. It was split into three pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

The Two Sides to the Denial Method of Coping

It may seem easier to simply deny the presence of a faulty circuit in our lives, and indeed, for the Fifth Grader, that may be his only option � to lock the sparking monster-of-pain in his closet and hope the ugly beast doesnt try to escape.

Monster hiding in the closetBut my experience has been .. that these sparking monsters, if not dealt with, continue to zap us thru-out our lives .. that these monsters never stay put.

They always escape .. and affect our lives (.. usually when we are least able to deal with them).

Then we grow up and develop skills, but we forget about the sparking monster that we stuck in the closet ..

.. or we simply get accustomed to him .. cuz he has been there so long .. even when he causes trouble and misbehaves.

They are never as scary as they seem. Tho they do indeed seem scary (.. especially for little people). But as adults, we now have SKILLS to deal with these things (.. and friends, and people who love us) .. that werent yet developed when we were small.

Some people simply rename their monsters, giving them adorable pet-names.

Me: "What the hell was *that*?
Them: "Oh, that's just Pookie. Isnt he cute?"
Me: "Uh, he looks pretty damn scary, if you ask me."
Them: "Oh don't worry. You'll get used to him. We're the best of friends. I've known him like forever."

Now yes, people can wallow in their misery. Yes, I've seen that. But I think you'll find it is rare, compared to the number of those who partake of the blessings of Denial.

I am not talking about the wallowers. Because far more people are in denial about their limiting problems than those who wallow in their misery, and all wallowers have much bigger problems than their wallowing.

[ There is a ditch on BOTH sides of the road .. that we need to avoid. ]

In general .. if you follow-the-fear .. follow the sparks .. it will lead to your monster .. to your bad, faulty circuit. Most people plant flowers along the path to their ugly monsters .. so it doesnt seem so bad.

Once you've found it, you can reach out touch it. Consciously. It's a conscious thing. Usually involving much emotion. But it's not about the emotion. That is simply a related function.

Don't wrestle with it; rather just reach out and touch it. Yes, it will zap you .. but that will be the beginning of its end. The rest will come intuitively (.. and Dostoevsky will suddently start to make sense).

[ What is the difference between denial and forgetting? ]

� This entry is PART TWO, continued from � Part One. It was split into three pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

Purpose of Jail � Convey the Message

Now you might think, as I once did, that the purpose of jails and the purpose of prisons is basically the same � to incarcerate (warehouse) inmates. And you'd be wrong.

Rotting in a jail cellWhile it is certainly true that jails do indeed incarcerate inmates .. that is not their primary purpose.

Prisons incarcerate, yes. Prisons warehouse. But the primary purpose of a JAIL is to � convey a message. And that message is [ drumroll, please ] � "You do not want to be here."

Jails (at least from my admittedly limited experience) do a good job at conveying this message. Very good.

They have a variety of methods and techniques at their disposal by which they communicate their message. (More about this later.)

Seems that JAILS are designed to warehouse inmates up for to 1 year. PRISONS, on the other hand, are designed for longer-term storage (> 1 year).

Now, you do not have to tell the man-in-prison that he "does not want to be here." No, sir. Because � he already knows. [ He GETS the message, which he has had plenty-of-time to ponder and interpret. ]

That is why inmates who come down to jails from prisons "upstate" (.. at least, the ones that I talked to) .. hate life in county jails. "They treat you like shit here," they say.

And treat you like shit they do. As a matter of policy .. sort of what you might imagine how slaves are/were treated.

And the younger kids are treated worst of all. So it seems that they obviously want to convey the message to them most clearly.

Conveying the Message | Conveying it Clearly

The Sheriff Deputies, who run the jail that I frequent, admittedly have a tough job. I can't imagine anyone actually enjoying it .. cuz the environment suks. The polar opposite of a park ranger stationed at Yosemite.

Nelson Mandela, who spent 30 years in prisonAnd they do an admirable job at executing their duties. Professional, given the circumstances. Tho nice they are not. Not hardly. Oh, contraire.

They are mostly large men .. fit, muscular. Some are VERY large.

Now, in public, they bark orders and ride inmates. For example, I saw one deputy tell an inmate to slide down the bench ..

.. at the nurses' processing station .. in order to make room for more inmates who had just arrived (.. they never stop arriving).

The inmate STOOD UP in order to move down (3 or 4 steps). "Did I tell you to get up?" the deputy yelled.

He then went to considerable length to stress upon this man the importance of following orders. "Is this your first time in jail?" he inquired. "That's your last warning."

I must admit, he was good at what-he-did. I mean, he only had to tell that one guy and all those other new-recruits (inmates) got the message.

The volume of inmates they deal with remarkable. So the multiplication factor becomes the key to efficiency.

I am totally impressed every time they return my clothes (.. when it's time to get out). If they said, "Dude, we lost 'em. Sorry." .. I would certainly understand. Jails are a serious machine.

But in private they can also be surprisingly kind, even tenderhearted, trying to find a solution to your legal dilemma. [ Everybody wants to know why you're there. ]

How they can go from one mode to the other .. interests me. Cuz I don't think I could do it. And they seem to do it so effortlessly .. like sipping a Coke .. or not sipping it.

One of the ways they communicate their message .. is by taking ALL NIGHT to get you into your cell. So you spend all night moving from one temporary holding cell to another. By the time I finally got to my cell, they were serving lunch (.. the next day).

So you're pretty much up all night. Interview with the nurse, fingerprints, mugshot, chest x-rays, classification interview (my favorite part) where they give you your hospital-like wristband, assigned jailhouse duds and bedding.

No medals would they win for speed. No way would the Hilton, the Marriot, or even Motel 6 hire them. Imagine arriving at the check-in desk at two or three in the afternoon .. and finally getting into your room around noon the next day.

What happens to the avalanche of feelings that engulf the boy who is suddenly confronted with things too terrible to handle? .. by things too confusing and too overwhelming for a little guy to deal with?

I'm talking about [ for example ] the Fifth Grader .. who learns that his parents are divorcing .. that his elementary little world is coming apart at the seams ..

Wolf howling at the moon.. the very same boy .. who learns that the guy who he *thought* was his dad .. really isnt.

.. that his REAL dad (.. who he now realizes that he never knew, that he never met) .. never-never wanted anything to do with him. (His own flesh-n-blood.)

Those kinds of feelings.

Perhaps the boy, in an attempt to salvage what's left of his family life-as-he-knew-it, courageously adopts a position (.. not unlike what you or I might attempt) ..

.. with a cri de coeur that says � "This man will always be my dad," [ regardless of the divorce ].

It aint long however .. until the only-dad our fifth grader ever knew .. wants nothing to do with him (either). Both the dad-he-never-knew .. and the only-dad-he-ever-knew. Neither one .. want anything to do with him.

Those kinds of feelings. Psycho mind-fuck feelings. One piled ruthlessly atop another .. in rapidly-devastating succession.

[ Lance's Dad Dies of Cancer at an Early Age

A dying parent is bad enough. I grew up across the street from a boy (.. who later became an All-American wide receiver) whose dad died when we were young. It was obviously difficult. For everybody (us friends included).

I remember wanting to, but feeling powerless to comfort him (.. while he was crying, as all us kids sat silently, watching cartoons) .. that morning when all the neighborhood parents had left to go to the funeral ..

.. cuz I was a little freaked out myself. (Death has a way of freaking out the living.) We're talking grade-school age.

Over the years all the other neighborhood dads tried to pitch in here-n-there .. to compensate. For example, they took him on vacations with them. And when we were going for pizza, a parent would usually say, "Run across the street and see if Patrick wants to go."

Utopia ManBut a dad who doesnt want anything to DO with you .. with his own son. I cannot quite wrap my head around that ..

.. I can only imagine what it must be like (� crushing).

That must really mess with a boy's sense of self-worth, no? His self esteem. His self image. His very sense of self. ]

The kind of shit that can eat you alive .. little by little .. by gnawing away at your soul. Until you don't even know that it's gone.

Until you don't even remember what it's like to have one. *Those* kinds of feelings.

I am not talking about the emotionally-distant concept of 'abandonment' and its associated 'issues'. No. I am talking about real-life emotional trauma .. the kind that can crush a 10-year old beyond all repair. [ Only the truly fortunate don't know the difference. ]

I'm talking about the particularly vicious storms-of-life that are too much for anybody to handle .. even the most mature adult .. which makes the prospect of our 10 year-old weathering such a storm .. seem sadly remote.

Things that most Americans, I suspect, would be hard-pressed to even imagine (.. much less be prepared to walk-a-mile in-the-shoes thereof). Because these are wounds that cut deeper than any knife. No stitches will sew up those wounds.

We'll return to our Fifth Grader and his newfound life-in-a-whirlpool .. but right now, let's shift gears .. to something a bit more cheery. =)

My Dream Second Grader

� Every parent, I would imagine, who happens to be raising a child that is a product of a broken home .. hopes and prays that their break-up does not affect their children ..

Baloo and Mogli | Jungle Book.. that parental discord and an inability-to-get-along .. does not infect the development of their vulnerable little lives.

For me, at least, this has been a major concern.

I mean, how can you not feel responsible? As a parent. They not only get your genes, but you nurture them for a couple decades ..

.. before sending them off to fend for themselves in the big, bad world.

In other words, no matter which side of the nature vs nurture debate you prefer .. it's still YOU. You the parent.

And who wants to be responsible for screwing up the life of another? Much less the life of a child ..

.. children who have not yet developed the skills necessary to defend themselves .. from the wiles of bad parents and their bad parenting. (Not to mention screwing up the lives of your OWN.)

If you've read the Parenting literature that's out there, then you know that such 'infections' are not unusual. Not uncommon. Not at all.

Back in my early days of parenthood, people (experienced parents) told me �

"If you're going to break up, it's best to do it when they're still young. This way the kids dont feel like it's their fault .. and they'll know nothing else."

The Bug had not yet completed a single trip around the sun when his parents separated. (Not even six months old, actually.)

Pooh & Christopher Robin walk off into the Hundred Acre sunsetSo .. he knows nothing else .. other than going back and forth .. between his mom and his dad ..

.. who are naturally very grateful for the time they get to spend with him. (He *is* the coolest kid.) Absense does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

Myself, I try hard to give him all the love and affection and attention that I can muster .. in order to [ try to ] compensate .. for the things he has been thru .. as a result.

[ How can you ever really make it up, tho? Real-life Mission Impossible. But it would be a sin to not even TRY. No?

How else can a parent ever LIVE with themself? .. to look themselves in the mirror and not be disgusted by what they see staring back?

Even if you might crash-n-burn or die trying .. you still gotta mount-up Sky Ranger. ]

I get down on his level. I look him in the eye. I try to be present (.. without smoothering).

I go to great lengths to make sure he knows that he's important to me. Very important. "You're the BEST thing that ever happened to me," I tell him .. countless times. (And I meant it every time.)

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