Divorce of an Old Friend

I wasn't quite sure how to handle this title on this blog entry.  It is not about me "divorcing" my friendship with an old friend.  It is about an old friend who is facing the same thing I did about seven years ago;  divorce.  Jake (not his real name) is a lifelong car salesman.  He's made a decent living out of this line of work.  But, at age 60, he still has to work instead facing retirement in which I am safely ensconced.  Jake and I are the same age, have known each other for about 25 years now.  So, we are basically brothers in one sense of the word.  We have had our ups and downs over the years.  But, despite it all, our friendship has endured.  That is why I was greatly saddened to learn last Saturday that Jake and his wife of 32 years were getting a divorce. 

Stunned is not the word I would use.  Astonished might be more applicable.  I always thought that he and his wife got along splendidly.  I suppose outward appearances can be deceiving.  I know that when people found out that my wife and I were divorcing (less than a year after my retirement), the news was greeted with shock and awe.  Of course, I knew our marriage was in trouble at the time of my retirement.  I had a feeling things would get worse since we would be spending so much time together.  Turns out I was right.  But, there was no inkling that Jake and his wife would be heading to divorce court.  I did not ask Jake what was the reason.  He voluntarily told me that he and his wife had been drifting apart for the past 5 years.  Both their children (boy and girl) have left the nest,  have college degrees and good paying jobs even in this troubled economy.  I could see the pain in his face as he told me this terrible news.  I completely sympathized with him as he became emotional.  I told him the same thing he told me when I broke the news of my divorce;  anything I can do, just let me know.  I'm here for you.  And, basically, that's all you can do at a time like this for your friends or family.  Just be there for them, give them a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board to hear their lamentations.

Jake and I will be going to dinner tonight.  No, there will be no chasing of women in nightclubs for these two old geezers.  We are far past those days.   Instead, we will eat at our favorite steak restaurant,  reflect on life, family and, of course, our enduring friendship. At times like this, you find out who your real friends are in life.  I found that out 7 years ago after my divorce.  I suspect Jake is going to find out the same thing. I hope he realizes that I'm one of those friends he can depend on, just as I depended on him 7 years ago.


Chasing UFOs Series

Chasing UFOs is a new series on The National Geographic Channel.  I have a relatively mild interest in the UFO phenomenon that has perpetrated itself since, at least, the end of World War II.  The Chasing UFOs series focuses on three UFO chasers who seemingly come across UFOs each Friday at 10PM (Eastern).  That makes me a bit suspicious of this series right there.  Anyway, the three people come from a variety of backgrounds.  Ben McGee is a Physical Scientist who is the skeptic in the series.  He seems to catch a bit of flack from the other two on the show.  Erin Ryder is the so-called "undecided" in the series.  But, I notice that she is leaning more and more in the "UFO believer" category.  There is no specific background for Erin Ryder.  She is a noted adventurer and explorer of sorts.  She is attractive and tough all at the same time.  The true UFO believer is James Foxx, the purported UFOlogist of the series.  He is a bit over the top in my opinion.  If a star twinkles in the night, he tends to automatically insinuate it is a UFO.  James has been chasing UFOs for over twenty years.  So, this is truly a quest for him.  I find the entire series a bit interesting and amusing.  They show some UFOs that are, quite simply, unexplainable.  But, it is hard to take this series seriously when each show finds a UFO in virtually every episode.  Of course, the argument can be made that if there were no UFOs, there would be no show.  I suppose that is true also.  The question then is how credible can this series be?  I have no answer for that question.

I place myself with Erin Ryder in the "undecided" category with leaning toward skeptic.  Now, having said that, I have my own experience with a UFO.  In September of 1989, I was on a trip to a place called South Lafourche, Louisiana.  I was going to pick up my insane brother who was working as a roughneck at an oil drilling site in that area.  He found out our mother was right; this work was too tough for him.  So, he called wanting a ride back home to Mobile, AL.  I arrived in South Lafourche about 11PM on a Friday night that September in 1989.  I picked my brother up and headed for the long trip back to Mobile.  After about ten minutes of driving, I realized I had missed the turnoff that would have taken me to I-10 East.  So, I turned around and after about ten more minutes of driving, I realized we were lost.  Cussing myself and blaming my brother, I stopped on an embankment off the two-lane highway to read my map.  Trying to read the map and listening to my brother tell me we should have taken the last road on the right, I noticed a bright, blueish light just to the north of us.  We both saw it at the same time.  We were witnessing some sort of cylindrical object in the sky giving off a blue light.  It would hover to about a mile up in the air to about, maybe, half a mile.  It would alternate this pattern constantly, up and down, for about two or three minutes.  It did not make a sound.  Just as suddenly as it appeared, it was gone.  We looked at each other in disbelief.  My  brother shouted, pointing  to a sign for I-10.  I took off for the interstate in record time.

I admit, that incident made me think about the whole UFO issue.  But, as the years have gone by, I am still not sure what I saw that night.  I still think it was something the military was experimenting with that night.  My brother, to this day, is a hardcore UFO believer due to that incident.  I don't recall us even discussing UFOs prior to that night.  But, there it was upon us.  I don't know if the "Chasing UFOs" series adds or subtracts from the UFO issue.  I think they bring up good points.  But, even with the above incident, I would have to see hard evidence before I become a UFO believer.


Sex Crime Victim Facing Jail Time

You can only imagine the outrage of Savannah Dietrich, age 17, when she found out the boys who molested her were given a light sentence.  She was passed out at a party and, apparently, was passed around by these boys.  Now, some will callously say she got what she deserved by being so drunk that she could not fight off these scum.  To me, that is all beside the point.  Her condition did not give these boys the right to abuse her in the fashion they did.  In fact, in an equally callous act, the judge put a "gag order" on Dietrich so she could not repeat the boys names.  Who was the victim here?  Apparently, the judge was more interested in protecting the sexual fiends than she was the sex-crime victim.  Savannah decided to defy the judge and tweeted the names of her sex attackers.  She is now facing time behind bars for defying a judicial order to not revel the names of her attackers or even talk about what happened to her.

I have to say I had to read this article twice (linked above) before I could actually believe it.  This is a case of judicial activism gone wild.  Yes, some will say she defied the judge.  So what? This girl has been molested by numerous sexual predators at a party! The article did not reveal what the "light sentence" was that outraged Savannah.  But, what does this say about our court system when preference is given to the attackers over the victim?  I don't blame young Savannah for defying the judge for ignoring her plight. It almost sounds as if the judge knew the attackers and is protecting them.  That is just my opinion.  I have nothing to base it on.  But, it sure as hell sounds like the judge is actively protecting the attackers of Savannah.  Meanwhile, another sex-crime victim is being ignored. Sexual predators are being coddled.


Fiction eBooks Outsell Hardcovers

It was announced yesterday that electronic books (ebooks) outsold hardcover books for the first time in fiction.  That is a milestone, but not unexpected.  Amazon reported ebooks outselling paperbooks last year for the first time in history.  In fact, ebooks more than doubled in popularity in 2011.  There is no reason to think those sales won't continue to double and maybe even triple.  Ebooks now account for 15% of the popularity of book sales compared to 6% in 2010.  Ebooks accounted for just over $2 billion in sales.  That is still far less than the $11 billion that still come from print books (paperbacks and hardcover).   However, adult ficiton ebooks accounted for 30% of net publisher sales.  That's compared to just 13% in 2010.  That is a remarkable statistic. 

Of course, ebook readers, such as Kindle, are a major factor in the popularity of ebooks.  Tablets, such as iPad and the new Kindle Fire, are another reason ebooks are just taking off as technology is slowly edging out the old, cumbersome printed form of publishing.  Now, I'm not saying that the printed word will disappear completely (not yet anyway).  People still like the idea of holding and feeling a book in their hands.  It seems more intimate to the reader and I can understand that.  The Publishing Industry is reeling from the affects of this new technology of ebooks and ebook readers, tablets, etc.  Publishers were slow to accept the new technology.  In many respects, the traditional publishers only have themselves to blame for their own demise.  Publishers have hurt so many writers and their careers because they don't fit into a certain criteria they established for many years.  A recovering addicted Hollywood star gets far more attention than a promising writer these days from the traditional publishing industry.  I lump literary agents in this problem area also.  Now, writers can completely bypass these two obstructions and publish on their own, thanks to the ebook revolution.  I, for one, welcome this change. 


Retirement Questionaire

As I've stated many times in this blog, I am retired from federal service.  I retired on November 13 (Friday the 13th, in fact) 2003.  I retired with trepidation.  My marriage was on the rocks and I wasn't sure it would survive my retirement.  As it turns out, I was right.  Be that as it may, I was able to plan effectively for my retirement.  But, not everyone does that.  A case in point was an old friend (who I had not seen in years) I came across this past Saturday at the local park.

 I like to take my four-year old beagle, Ralph, walking on Saturday mornings.  It just so happens I met a former co-worker of mine (who I consider a friend) at the park.  He was selling peanuts.  Yes, he was selling peanuts.  Of course, we exchanged pleasantries and talked about old times.  But, I had to ask, why are you here early on a Saturday morning selling peanuts?  He looked downward and said, "Because I have to do something to make ends meet." Long story short, this is one of those people who did not take retirement planning seriously.  Sure, he has a pension from the federal government. He squandered his meager 401K equivalent (in just 2 years).  But, he can't make it on that pension alone.  He's not eligible for Social Security for another five years since he is now 57 years old.  He said his daughter helps him out.  But, he admitted he is living hand to mouth now.  Yeah, I bought a couple of bags of peanuts from him.  I felt bad for him.  He was one of those "live for the moment" type people.

If you are one of those types that "live for the moment," may I suggest you take this brief retirement questionnaire?  It's only five questions.  It's one of those 1-10 things where you feel most correctly describes your feelings on a particular question.  Yes, it's a home page of a retirement planner (Ameriprise).  That's all beside the point. You need to prepare for your retirement NOW.    


Penn. St. and Jerry Sandusky

This may be the only time I comment on this horrible mess concerning Penn. St. and Jerry Sandusky.  I might have made a post back in November.  I don't recall doing that.  But, suffice it to say this entire issue is disgusting.  Yesterday, former FBI director, Louis Freeh, issued his report that categorically states, "...former officials "empowered" Jerry Sandusky to continue his abuse, and investigators say legendary head football coach Joe Paterno could have stopped the attacks had he done more."   That is simply unconscionable to me.  How in the name of God could anyone ignore children who were in harm's way of a sexual predator?  Joe Paterno's name, image and legacy is now in tatters despite the best efforts of the Paterno family to protect.  But, that is what led to Paterno's ultimate downfall.  He was more concerned about his image, and his program than he was innocent children.  In fact, from emails from CNN, it was apparent Joe Paterno was complicit in the coverup.  I have to believe Joe Paterno was aware of what was happening on the Penn. St. campus with Jerry Sandusky and the children he brought there to the showers.

I won't rehash everything in Louis Freeh's report.  To put it mildly, it is damning toward former President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz, Paterno, and former athletic director Tim Curley.  It was a culture of coverup and dismiss at the Penn. St. campus.  I ask myself one question; what would these men have done if this had been their children or grandchildren who were being sexually molested by Jerry Sandusky?  Would they have taken the appropriate action and gone to the police then?  Of course they would have.  But, the fact these kids were from broken homes, at risk kids, they did not matter.  The fact Jerry Sandusky took advantage of these poor children't plight is despicable.  But, just as despicable, in my opinion, is the non-action of the above individuals, in positions of leadership, who stood by and did nothing.  At Penn. St., under Coach Joe Paterno, the program itself superseded the welfare of children.  What does this say, not only about Penn. St. officials, what does it say about our society itself?


DNS Changer Virus

The FBI has been warning for several months about a virus that will change your DNS.  If, for example, you typed in yahoo.com, it would send you to another site (porn or gambling site most likely).  It sounds remarkably like the Google Redirect Virus which I have personally had problems with before.  The DNS changer can possibly kick you off the internet.  So, if you have one computer that you can't get online with this morning, it could possibly be due to the DNS Changer virus.  If you want to see if you are infected, click HERE.   If you see green, you are ok.  If you see red, chances are you have an infected machine.  If you are infected, don't panic.  They have some software you can download to take care of this virus.  Of course, if you only have one infected computer, you will have to use another computer to get the software.  Several hundred thousand computers are now infected.  Most computer users have probably been infected with this virus for years and not even know it!  So, hit the link above to see if you are infected.

If you have a firewall and anti-virus software protection, then you probably going to be ok.  Most people think "Well, I have a router.  Isn't that a firewall?"  Well, yes, it is.  But, it is far from being the cure-all against threats.  I suggest you get zonealarm firewall which is a free download.  For you Mac users, you are also vulnerable to this virus.  So, I strongly suggest you check out your computer at the link I provided above.  I would hate to be working computer troubleshooting at places like Dell, HP, Toshiba and a host of other service centers.  I suspect they will inundated with calls today.


Caffeine Made Bus Driver Attack Teen Girls

Place this one in the "run out of excuses" file.  A school bus driver told a judge at his sentencing trial that an excessive amount of caffeine made him sexually grope and fondle teenage girls and some women.  At a volleyball game, he grabbed a 15-year old girls butt, then slapped a 16-year old girl on the butt as she walked by him.  But, that wasn't enough for Ken Sands, 51, as he watched the game as a spectator and not as a bus driver.  He then allegedly touched a 46-year old woman's breasts three different times.  Sands stated at his sentencing that the excessive amount of caffeine that caused him to act "out of character."  The judge was not impressed.  Sands was sentenced to thirty days in jail for each count (5) charged against him.

The story did not state if Ken Sands got the "excessive amount of caffeine" from coffee.  That would be the logical assumption.  I have been drinking coffee since I was in my early 20s.  I never felt the overwhelming desire to act a complete idiot.  I doubt anyone else has had that desire after drinking a lot of coffee also.  The only thing that coffee has influenced me to do is go to the bathroom an excessive amount of times.  I would wager that is the case with most people.  Mr. Sands, once he gets out of jail, might want to look for another excuse for his deviant behavior.  This one didn't make sense to me or to the judge.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Please help the costs of this blog. Please visit our Sponsors on right side of the blog. Thank you!