Living on the edge of Gotham

28 09 2013

Titt River Sept 25

I live in a pretty great place.  It is beautiful surrounded by forest and farms.  The colors and smells are amazing as they change with the seasons.  My neighbors, as few as they are, are kind and generous and lending a helping hand is the norm, not the exceptin.  The calm and quiet is therapuetic.

I leave this serene world each morning as I head to work.  I pass the forests and the farm fields and clumps of houses scattered about.  As I take the gentle curve to the north and I come to the river (photo), this is when I know I am getting closer .  Closer to a world that is darker.  A world not unlike mythical Gotham that needed a super hero in Batman to protect it.

Beautiful isn’t it?  The sky was ablaze with color as the sun was coming over the horizon.  The river was calm with a touch of steam.  Calm, serene, peaceful are a few words to describe this idealic setting.  This is one of my favorite sights each morning as I make the commute in to work.  From farm fields to here at the river things are great, and then…

One mile to south you will find farm fields, farm houses, a big nursery filled with plants and trees and a National Wildlife Refuge.  One mile to the north you find a middle class neighborhood filled with families, a little league baseball complex and surrounded by duplexes and apartment complexes.  Across the street is a convenience store that gets robbed on a somewhat regular basis by shady characters not from these parts.

I continue down past the subdivision and a mile later I find myself driving by a couple of bars with cars lined up at 7am.  One, at least was shootingthe scene of a fatal shooting in the last year.   As I round the bend now four  miles from that beautiful river scene I am diverted to an alternative route by six police cars lights ablaze, crime scene tape across four lanes of road, EMT and fire fighters on hand but no one is working on the white, still, lone body bag that is left laying in the front yard.  I came to find out it was one of three who died.  This is the second time in the last few weeks I have been that close to a crime scene that involved shootings, the other wasn’t very far away and fortunately we were a few minutes late for the action.

What is our town/world coming too?  Kids are running amok, bad people are shooting people(no the problem is not the guns, people kill people, not guns), crime is running rampant and it seems like nothing is being done to protect the innocent.

Parents are growing their children instead of raising them.  There are no repercussions, no accountability.  We are a desensitized generation.  You only have to watch a show on television to see that.  Vulgarity my generation would have had their mouths washed out with soap now are common on TV.  Where’s our Batman?  Where’s the parents in a child’s life?  Where does it end?

Gotham CrimeGotham City to me was deep dark place.  It was filled with evil and bad people doing bad things.  Concerned citizens cowered and hid in fear.  No one lifted a finger until Bruce Wayne had enough and became Bat Man.  Bat Man saved Gotham, over and over as the movies made money so sequels made good sense.

Hey Mid Michigan, where’s our Bat Man?  I am in  no way condoning someone putting on a pair of tights, tieing on a cape and becoming a vigilante, that would be foolish.  Inside all of us is a super hero, we can start by teaching our children to be respectful and kind.  We can lead our community by example and stand up for what is right and shun what is wrong.  It starts with you.

Fighting Dracula in the hospital cafeteria

24 09 2013

cartoon-drawing-dracula-20743810Yeah, I know but it really happened….sort of.

Dreams, you know those images, ideas, sensations and emotions that happen in our mind while we sleep?   Have you ever had dreams so vivid that you awake and think what you dreamed had actually happened?  Or perhaps, the detail is so clear it is alarming or humorous.  Some have found dream world to be frightening, amusing and even amorous.

I am not sure if anyone knows what causes dreams.  They can last for seconds or as long 20 minutes or more.  From what I have read we are more likely to remember dreams if we are awaken during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, our deepest sleep with the highest brain activity.

Some shrinks (head doctors) think they can interpret dreams.  Sigmund Freud considered dreams as kind of a unconscious dream fulfillment, but then again he had a thing for his mother.  There are others who think they can interpret tea leaves and chicken bones and I will leave it at that.

So anyway back to the kung fu fighting, in  my dream.  It turns out Dracula, who’s first name is Peter by the way(I always was skeptical about Vlad), works at the hospital with my wife Kitten.  Strangely enough he does not work as a phlebotomist even though they have a nick name in most hospitals of “vampires”.  I digress, turns out Peter Dracula wants my wife and my unborn baby boy named Keegan.  A few interesting points here; 1. my wife is pregnant, I didn’t know. 2. The kid must be special as Dracula wants the tyke. 3. Keegan….really?!  Jack would be more fitting.  So Drac makes the demand to meet us privately in his secret attempt to abduct my child bearing wife.  I being a pig headed and dream land super hero say no way Pete and we meet in the….wait… for.. it… hospital cafeteria.  Old Dracula is not amused and pretty ticked off, which I find amusing in dream land.  He goes all fiery eyed and smoke coming out of his ears (seriously) screaming about if this is the way you want it and for some reasons I remember all the security cameras (ironically in today’s world of security I am fairly certain at this moment that I wasn’t able to sneak in any silver bullets or wooden stakes, just my luck), but anyway I refuse like any knight in shiny armor to turn over my fair vixen to the dark lord.  He hauls off and smacks me.  At first I am shocked and then I laugh at Pete and mention for the powerful Dracula he hits like a girl and I knock him on his ass.  As I laugh at this enjoying my fun, he takes the opportunity to exit, stage left with Kitten and I see the elevator door closing as my wife is screaming for me.  This is when I wake up.  Dazed and confused but laughing at the absurdity.

Kitten and baby Keegan?

Kitten and baby Keegan?

Who knows why we dream.  Who knows what caused this little midnight mischievous.  I think it was probably something I ate or drank.  Maybe the really yummy steak, onion & feta wood fired pizzas we made, or perhaps the glass of Beugolais we enjoyed with our pizza.  Could be Im just goofy and was looking for adventure and to save damsels in distress.  Perhaps forks in our roads of life that closed some doors and opened others.

Just for fun, I tracked down a hand ful of tea leaf and chicken bone readers and had them meet with Fruedian scholars to see what they come up with.  The image on the left is the best they can do, sort of a police sketch of what Peter Dracula was after, a photo rendering of Kitten holding what they deem a baby Keegan would have looked like.  Handsome little devil if I don’t say so myself.

Like I tell Sydney, dream big and dream often.

Our fleet has lost its Dad

15 07 2013

Our fleet has lost its Dad.    -Sue Alexander

I think Sue summed it up perfectly in her brief statement upon hearing of the loss of our friend Joe Dissette.  To understand this 00000005statement you would have to know Joe or about Joe.

Joseph C. Dissette, 91, of Midland, MI died Tuesday July 9, 2013.

Joe was the Patriarch of the Bay City Yacht Clubs Lightning Fleet (Fleet 216) and in many ways of the Club itself.  Joe joined BCYC in 1953, as one of the founders on this new sailing club on Saginaw Bay.  At that time Joe  had the only Lightning at the Club which had  a fleet of 110s which Joe was encouraged to buy.  Instead he went out and found a couple more Lightnings and started Fleet 216.  One of my favorite quotes of Joes “I would like to be remembered for resisting the temptation, back in 1953, to sell the only Lightning at BCYC, buy a 110 and join their active racing fleet”.  I would imagine the more than 150 crew Joe trained would agree.

Joe’s love affair with the Lightning began in 1938 after he saw an article in Yachting about Olin Stephens and a new one design class he called “Lightning”.  Joe mentioned to his Dad that he would own one someday.  Joe bought his first Lightning in 1945 and owned 38 more Lightnings with his final being Carousel 35.

Joe’s leadership was evident in many aspects of Lightning sailing.  He always had his hands on the pulse of the local fleet but also was active in the District and National levels.  He set up a business, Dissette Sail Yacht Sales, as a way of bringing more people into the class by buying new and used Lightnings and brokering them to prospective sailors.  Many of the boats currently in Fleet 216 were originally one of Joe’s personal boats, or one bought from Joe’s business.  Joe and his wife Ann, were the gracious hosts to Fleet 216′s annual spring meeting which was held in their basement which is an incredible shrine to Lightning sailing.

Joe was also the teacher.  He was always calm and composed and had the patience of a saint.  He taught many the art and joy of sailing.  Many of his students would go on to own their own Lightning and many went on to become champions.  We honored Joe many years ago as a tribute to all he had done for our Lightning Fleet by renaming our series the Joe Dissette Championship Series.

Joe has been my friend for 22 years.  I am one of his new friends, many have known him much longer.  I will miss his wisdom and kindness and the phone calls out of the blue just to say hi or inquire on the family and to make sure I keep him on the Fleets email list so he can read about our antics.  Many stories have been shared this week about how Joe touched our lives and one memory that is brought up by many is Joe’s bugle which he would play leaving the dock followed by his crews emphatic “Charge” as the battle cry.

Joe will be missed but never forgot.  I think he is now sailing Carousel 36 with a huge grin on his face.


The shadow of an empty chair

23 11 2012

a beautiful post on Facebook from my friend Denise


the shadow of an empty chair. we all have them at our tables during the holidays.. for those that are gone or not able to join us as we gather with family and friends… May the shadow’s of those we have loved be ever present in our nows. Childhood Thanksgiving’s spent around big tables loaded with all the good recipes we still cherish today. Giving thanks to all today Past Present and Future… God Bless you all….
the shadow of an empty chair.  we all have them at our tables during the holidays..  for those that are gone or not able to join us as we gather with family and friends...   May the shadow's of those we have loved be ever present in our nows.    Childhood Thanksgiving's spent around big tables loaded with all the good recipes we still cherish today.  Giving thanks to all today  Past Present and Future...  God Bless you all....

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Color my world

19 10 2012

As the 12-year-old bundle of lanky arms and legs continued to giggle in the seat next to me she offers an apology “sorry Daddy, you wouldn’t understand what’s in my mind”.  We had just finished discussing how she is always the middle (in age) with the boys around her like her cousins and two boys that she goes to school with and also confirmation classes at church.  So like any respectable father of a young daughter I immediately panic (loud noises in my head, please don’t let it be about BOYS!).

Relief was the next sentence that came out of her mouth after the awkward question I had to ask about a crush.  “NO, it’s just all the things bouncing around in my mind I wonder about”.  Whew!  “Like,” she continues, “why is the sky blue and not purple, purple is a cool color”.   So began our discussion on wonderment.

I told my daughter how happy I was that she was coming into her own goofy self.  I really enjoy our goof ball moments and see a lot of me in her sense of humor and wonderment.  I am pretty happy about that as my humor is a bit off and it is nice to have someone to share it with.  It is also really great to understand her at a different level.  I told her I was  curious by nature as well and that is how Deep thoughts and mindless rants” came about.

So we dug into color.  We talked a little about color and moods.  She asked why grass is green.  Why blood is red.  I mentioned mood rings (who is the adult here?).  We mutually decided we needed to get our crack research team on this to feed our need for information.  Many of our talks come up after a fairly deep conversation or presentation and this was no exception as we had just left Sydney’s confirmation class at church.



The blue color of the sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange and yellow light is affected by the air.

However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue.

From Wiki Answers

Blood is red due to hemoglobin (the molecule that carries oxygen around) which is held in the red blood cells. In the hemoglobin are four atoms of iron which can be in an oxidized state, i.e with an atom of oxygen attached to it, making it red, or in a non-oxidized state, when it is dark red-blue (maroon).

Sunlight gives off UV rays, which plants absorb to turn into energy. This energy that plants make is called ATP. In order for photosynthesis to occur, ATP must be present (Photosynthesis is how the plants make food) Because light is all the colors of the Visible Light Spectrum, or Rainbow. All colors EXCEPT green are absorbed in the chlorophyll. Green is the color reflected and transmitted back, and that is why we see green in plants.

Of course I just spit out these answers off the top of my head.   You weren’t there, you don’t know.

And for the finale:

How do specific colors relate to moods and emotions?

Red is all about energy and vitality, but it can also indicate anger. And of course it’s associated with sexuality as well. Pink, though, can provide a sense of being cared for; it’s more about nurturing and maternal love.

Orange is stimulating, good for times when we just can’t seem to get started with something. Its lighter version, peach, may be useful for exhaustion due to stress.

Yellow is good for mental activities like reasoning and analysis. It can promote self-confidence and is helpful in situations when you need to be more optimistic.

Green tends to make most people think of nature, since so much of the natural world is green. It’s about connections – with nature, or with our fellow humans. It’s also good for general stress, since it can help balance emotions.

Blue is soothing and relaxing. It can stimulate creativity. Light blue can denote quiet, and dark blue can be sedating. But too much dark blue can be depressing.

Purple is related to imagination, intuition, and insight. In some situations it can also be very peaceful.

White is definitely about peace. But it’s also associated with purity, which makes it good for “cleansing” – which could mean purification, or maybe just clarification.

Black may make some people think of depression, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a very dramatic color; many artists wear nothing but black. It can denote mystery, something hidden – or maybe an introvert who’s been around crowds too long could use it to “hide” from people. In this sense, it can be a very protecting color.

Gray is a common color for business suits, and in those instances it can indicate independence, self-control, and self-confidence. But some color specialists think it’s also about ambiguity and indecision; after all, it isn’t black, and it isn’t white, either.

Brown is the color of earth, and be just as “grounding.” It’s good for introducing stability to an otherwise insecure situation. But too much of it can take stability to its extreme – stagnation.

Sources: Personal experience and

Sweat the small stuff

21 09 2012

“Hi, Pops”(not sure why I called him that as I never do) I answered when my high-tech droid cell phone rang and the caller I.D. indicated it was my Dad.  “Hey,  happy birthday you old fart” dad replied.  He continued “it is 6:30, the doors are locked, everything is shut down and I’m sitting in my office with a cold beer”.  “That sounds nice” I said.  “This is when I used to call my dad” my dad replied.

Have you ever heard the saying “don’t sweat the small stuff”?  In today’s high-tech world I think it may be wrong.  I think the small stuff might be the big stuff down the road.

Take my conversation with my dad.  For one, it floored me that in my 40+ years I never realized that my dad talked with his dad like I talk with my dad.(confusing isn’t it?).  I am not sure why I never thought of this.  I take for granted (small stuff) that in today’s world I can just pick up my cell phone from practically anywhere in the world and call my dad.  In a car, in a bar.  On a plane or boat and any of the other Dr. Seuss things I can’t recall.

The act of calling has become blase and thoughtless really.  Think about it,  you don’t have to plan to make a call.  Alright kiddies, back when we were children nobody, I mean NOBODY, had a cell phone in their pocket (We will discuss cable TV some other time, you can only handle so much at one time).  You may want to sit down.  No one had a cordless phone to wander aimlessly around the house and yard while babbling like the children you are to your little girl friends for hours on end either.  Phones were actually attached to the wall (in the kitchen) on set on a desk or night stand elsewhere in the house.  You actually had to plan to make a call because it was like a short trip, a destination, you had to decide which location  you would choose to make your call.

Sometimes duration of the upcoming call would dictate the phone to use.  Say grandma is the intended caller and it’s Monday.  Mom
would use the kitchen phone so she could sit as it would be a longer phone call and often involved lists so writing was easier sitting.  Other times it would be the phone by the bed if mom or dad wanted to call one of the girls at college to wish them good night or good day.  Maybe it was the phone in the hallway with the really long cord that you could stretch through the bedroom door and whisper quietly to your girl friend(so I’ve heard) and no one could over hear.

Small stuff.  Thoughtful planning vs spontaneous mobile dialing.  Patience vs instant gratification.  Rotary dial (what?) vs touch pad.  A thoughtful phone call that means a lot.

I wonder what dad and Grandpa talked about.  I bet it was similar to our conversations, with less background noise and fewer dropped calls.

I love you SO much and Jesse too

31 08 2012

To the real friends and family of Milton Hall I wish to express my deepest sympathies to you.  This tragedy needs some answers and a time of healing.


July 2, 2012 Milton Hall was shot to death in Saginaw, MI.  It has been on national news since.  Reports say Mr. Hall was acting aggressively and wielded a knife.  Mr. Hall was known to have a record of aggressiveness and mental illness and was homeless.  Police from various departments shot 46 rounds at Mr. Hall striking him 6 times and ultimately killing him.

The media circus began instantly.  Outrage and community concern.  Police brutality opinions were voiced and television and news agencies blasted stories about this tragedy.  Family, friends and his church officials were crawling out of the wood work demanding answers and accountability.

This leads me to the big question.  You know the big question?  This is addressed to Mr. Hall’s “loving family, friends and church officials”.  Where were you?  Where were you when Milton needed you most?

I am not talking about when he was shot.  I am asking where were you in his life?  He was aggressive, mentally ill and homeless.  Where were you?  You loved him and cared for him so much that you were helping him with his behavior and mental issues?  Nope.  You loved and cared for him so much you gave him shelter and a home? Nope.

To my children, you don’t have to worry.  I won’t love you so much that I let mental illness lead you astray.  I won’t love you so much that I will let you be homeless and lost.  Our love is real and not for show or publicity as is our faith.

Mr. Hall’s mother is considering a lawsuit.  Imagine that.  “Milton” I can hear her say, “I love you so much that I won’t help you but I will act sorrowfully after your death and try to cash in on the publicity”.  Yup, I love you so much….when there are dollar signs.

Let’s not forget Jesse.  Rev. Jesse Jackson is coming to join the circus.  Perfect, would it be complete without him?  Another media spotlight stealer who will come in with camera’s rolling and demand justice.  Uh, Jesse…we are already demanding  justice, you can go home now to your church, does he have a church, and what is he a Rev. of?

Rest in Peace Mr. Hall.


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