Monday, September 30, 2013

The Most Horrific of American Crime

As I was flicking through the TV guide this weekend, I came across a 2009 movie that I had never heard of and, after reading the description, thought I'd give it a go. "American Crime," a true story,was one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen.  The focus of the movie was on extreme child abuse in America in the 1960s.

Without going into detail about the graphic depiction of child abuse portrayed, I can say that whatever you could possibly imagine with respect to this despicable crime was shown and then some.  It made me sick to my stomach.

The little girl who was guilty only of being truthful, caring, and protective of the others in this household was mistreated beyond belief.  To say that the mother who initiated and then perpetuated such horrific torture was weak-minded and perhaps treated badly as a child herself is simple not an excuse we should accept.  She was the adult; she knew what she did and what she allowed the rest of her children to do was wrong.  She relished the control she had over the victim as well as the control she brandished on the victimizers.

When this child finally succumbed to the inhumanization she was subjected to on a daily basis, the mother was brought to trial.  She, of course, denied that she inflicted any pain of the girl, complained she was not in good health, and couldn't supervise her six children every minute of the day and night.
She accepted no responsibility for the child's death.

I pray that such evil no longer exists in America.  But, I know it does.  My heart bleeds for the children who endure horrible torture day in and day out even in the year 2013.  Many of them just don't have the courage to speak out; many of them have no one to tell.

As an educator for all of my professional career, one of my priorities was to be vigilant with respect to the physical, mental and emotional status of my students.  If a child came to class, dirty, hungry, and/or bodily marred, I made it a point to investigate and report it.  Later on as an administrator, I encouraged all of my staff to execute due vigilance as well.  I know we did what we could; I also know we didn't do enough and that such abuse continued right under our very noses without detection.

Ultimately the mother was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.  However, after serving only 20 years, she was released in 1985.  She died in 1990.

The people who commit such vile actions should be put away for life without the possibility of parole.   Yes, child abuse is perpetrated throughout the world, but to still run rampant in America where we pride ourselves as a civilized nation who value our young, it is a crime! It was a crime in the 1960s; it's still a crime today.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Few things in life have the power to take away my generally happy disposition.  Cold coffee, ear-splitting sound at the movies, and of course, being constipated for three days can cause me to frown or scream until the situation has been rectified.  I yell my fool head off when I'm constipated!

But the one thing that can make me downright GRUMPY is poor execution of a pro football team when that pro football team is none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Their record for this season is 0-3.  If you consider the exhibition games, it's 0-7.  Since August my blood pressure is through the roof!

And when I get GRUMPY, it's time to start pointing fingers.  Pointing fingers seems to calm me down somewhat so here goes.  When a reporter asked Coach Tomlin what needs to be done to turn their season around, his prophetic comment was, "Nothing!"  NOTHING, that's right, this wizard of the game said NOTHING!  ALL THEY NEED TO DO IS EXECUTE!  DAH! And DOUBLE DAH! I'm sure you know what finger I'm using to point in Tomlin's direction these days.

Now, let's throw some blame on the offensive coordinator, Todd Haley.  He's a blunt sort of a guy so I feel I can be blunt as well.  His game plan stinks!  RUN, RUN, PASS.  And when that doesn't work, then RUN, RUN, PASS again and again and again!  I'm pointing the same finger at Haley that I use on Tomlin.

Big Ben deserves some finger pointing, too.  He does have a huge heart and is truly involved in keeping his team together.  For that reason Ben is spared the above-mentioned finger.  But his slow starts and less than accurate executions along with two fumbles of late is aggravating to say the least.
I know his line is horrible, but he has to find a way to get the ball to Miller, Brown, and Sanders.  He's done it before with a horrible line; he must do it again!

Oh no, LeBeau, if you thought you were off the hook, think again.  I don't know who's ranking defensive lines these days, but the Steelers' defense is pitiful.  Not being able to hold the other team's receivers and running backs for a few yards in order to avert another touchdown is ridiculous.  Sorry, Dick, I'm pointing my finger at you as well.  You need to reassess and revise an all-too-obvious defensive plan.  Maybe it's also time for you to reassess and revise your own career plan before you go down as so many have as not knowing when to say when is enough.

Wait, I feel something happening.  My dark mood is beginning to clear.  I'm slowly beginning to return to my happy, sweet self.  I think my finger pointing just might have had something to do with lowering my blood pressure and raising my spirits.  Ah, that feels better!

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Superhuman" Seniors?

Okay, so maybe we're not "superhuman" in the true sense of the word.  But we're pretty damn close.  We've been engaged in a major renovation project in our front yard for about two weeks now.  We had a company come in, tear down the existing wall, erect a new one, and reconfigure the entire ground area.  Once completed, my hubby and I took over.

While hubby is 77, I'm a mere 69 years old.  No walkers, oxygen, or rocking chairs for us!  No way, no how!  First we dug seven holes 2'x2'x2' in hard rock and clay for the seven mature plants needed to be hauled from the back via wheelbarrow.  And let me tell you, those suckers were heavy!

After finishing the transplants, we dug 15 more holes in the same unforgiving medium to accommodate the new shrubs and perennials.  All of the holes and planting were done on a slope; keeping our footing while shoveling and bending was similar to doing aerobics while perched on a Mt. Everest shelf.  Are you amazed yet?  If not, you will be after I'm finished with this daunting tale.

To add to the esthetics of our new project we created an island in the grassy area of the yard.  We piled three feet of top soil to construct a mound, tamped it down, piled again, tamped again, piled, tamped until the desired size and shape were achieved.  Next we had a tree planted in the center by the landscapers only because if they do it and the tree dies, they'll replace it free of charge. We completed work on the island by planting 14 liriope, and a "little lime" hydrangea bush, putting down weed protection material, and finally topping the whole shebang off with 8 bags of mulch. 

You say we should be exhausted, well you haven't heard the best part yet! The landscaping company delivered 10,000 lbs. of stone, yes I said 10,000 lbs, dropping it at the corner of the newly-erected wall.  Now hubby and I really had to go to work.  We were using stone as mulch to cover the  extensive area between the plantings.  We filled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow with tons of solid rock, moved wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow to designated spots, dumped the stone, returned to the seemingly ever growing mountain of stone, and begun the process all over again.  We also hauled 10 bags of lava rock that we used to effect "trickles" intermingled with the mocha stone.  When we finally finished, we looked on with pride at the beauty our "superhuman" efforts had created.

I relate this story to all of you youngsters out there for one reason.  Seniors are perhaps the most unsung heroes in our society today.  But I implore you to remember that we were born before and during World War II.  For the most part, our parents were hard-working people who made little money yet managed to feed, clothe, and house their families. They didn't expect government to do that for them. They would have been extremely humiliated if they had to live off handouts from the state. 

More importantly, our parents instilled in us a strong work ethic.  If something needed to be done, we did it and completed the task no matter the toll it took on body and soul. We were and still are proud of our accomplishments.

In conclusion, I hope my tale has given you a newfound respect for the seniors in your lives.  Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from them.  They can help you develop the work ethic you will need to succeed in every aspect of your existence.  And if you play your cards right, they might even offer a helping hand in major projects around your homes as well!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Against All Odds

What are the odds of a newborn surviving, who in 1944 was birthed at home, turned blue and stopped breathing less than 15 minutes after entering this world?  Would you say a million-to-one? Maybe a trillion-to-one?  Whatever the true figure is, after 69 years today I am still alive and kicking.  Happy birthday to me!

On Saturday, September 9, 1944 my mother went upstairs to clean up before dinner.  My baba was making steak and potatoes which happened to be mom's favorite meal. Unfortunately she would never get to enjoy that savory dish. 

Her water broke and I was coming fast.  My dad ran to the neighbors who just happened to be doctors. Lady Dr. Stimetz, I never knew her first name, answered the call.  I'm told she delivered me at around 6:30p.m. 

Once the cord was cut, the good doctor handed me to my baba and directed her to wash away all the afterbirth from my body.  Baba dutifully took me downstairs, filled her favorite mixing bowl with warm water and began the cleansing process. 

Baba noticed that I sounded somewhat congested.  She went to the pantry and secured a jar of vaporizer.  She then rubbed an ample amount into and under my nostrils.  I immediately turned blue and stopped breathing.  Frantically she screamed for help.  Dr. Stimetz was still attending to my mom, but upon hearing the urgency in baba's voice she ran to assist.  She wiped the gunk from my nose and administered CPR.  Within a minute or two my color returned to a healthy pink and my breathing became normal.  Against all odds, Dr. Stimetz, the heroine, saved my 15 minute old life! 

Ever since that day I've been a survivor.  I'm also a risk-taker.  I guess you might even call me a gambler.  I personally think these traits are blessings that have served me well throughout my life.  If it hadn't been for my baba's well-intentioned mistake, I might have never become the person I am today.   Actually, I might not have become the person I am today BECAUSE of her well-intentioned mistake.  And as far as Lady Dr. Stimetz, well without her intervention, I know I would NOT HAVE BECOME AT ALL!

Against all odds, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!