Thursday, August 30, 2018

There's no brakeman on this train

I smell a dirty rotten rat. Its a smell we've learned to live with because we have been told that smell is normal. I think its high time we decided it is not. The issue involves the stranglehold Harris County has on the Baytown jail. Something here defies logic and yes, logic is always a conundrum when it comes to the rules.

Here is the big question: Why doesn't Harris County pick up the prisoners in the Baytown jail? Why do Baytown police officers make the 2-3 hour round-trip visit to Houston 2 to 5 times a day to transfer prisoners when they could be working our streets? Why didn't our "new" jail of 15 or so years qualify as a Harris County jail annex when most of us thought it would?

How come the 65 million dollar future police department building doesn't include this resource-robbing issue? Over the years I've asked this question and it has always been explained that there is nothing BPD can do to alleviate the problem. I'm patient, but does it seem logical that we continue this practice to the waste of our police patrols and citizen's tax dollars.

I do not blame BPD. I blame the current system and Harris County and personally, I do not care how other Harris County cities handle this constant drain. We are on the far side of the ship channel and I believe our resources are better managed when we have trained officers on the beat; not taxiing prisoners up to 5 times a day.

I am a fan of our city and our police department. Since 1974 when I moved here after leaving the Service, I have never had a negative instance with BPD. I also support our city and wish it to be a great place to raise a family. Our police training programs are top notch and we train cops from all over the country. I want it to continue to be professional and leaders in law enforcement, instead of prisoner Uber drivers.

Maybe this is just the way it is done. Everyone under Harris County and Sheriff Ed Gonzales do it one way and that's just the way its going to be; I don't know. Maybe it can't be done another way, but let's get real. We just tragically lost 2 top cops with many years experience. They cannot and will not be replaced using "shake and bake" cops, which is something only little towns do anyway. No, it takes years to get cops like these replaced, so why are we toting prisoners up to 5 times a day to Houston?

Maybe our police chief and Mayor need to sit down with the honorable Sylvester Turner and get the skinny on what Baytown needs to do with its jail to stop this waste of resources. Maybe the citizens of this great city need to let their voices be heard. Maybe that 65 million bucks needs to include some provisions that aren't planned. If our jail is certified as a Harris County jail annex, we would suddenly have 2 to 5 more cops free to patrol the streets and stop all this red light running and car stealing. Does all of this sound unreasonable?

Look. I am not suggesting we all gather at city hall with masks, signs, and throw smoke bombs. I am suggesting each and every person contact your councilperson and inquire why we are continuing this at tax payers expense. It is illogical and should be addressed by citizen input.

I love this town. I do not ever plan on leaving. I am asking for your help to set this situation to the advantage of Baytown and its LEO's.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

If this house is rockin', don't come a-knockin'

 I don't think I am alone when it comes to uninvited guests suddenly appearing at my door. Gone are the days where people opened their front door to strangers. If you haven't heard, this is the new hospitality. With a few exceptions, I will welcome you to my front door under a couple or few conditions.

One, if you are family (and we are not fighting). Two if you are a neighbor in need (and I have to recognize you as such). I say this because these days a person can live 2 houses down and you never see them face to face. This would seem odd that a person can live close by for 8 years and you have never talked to them, but that is why the old rules are obsolete. People drive in from work and pull into their garage and close the door. You may see them leave to grab a bite to eat, or to drive to work the next day, but no one waves because we don't know each other.

Three, I will welcome you to my door if you call first. Apparently this is not an obvious consideration. Four, if by chance you do call, be punctual. Arrive when you say you will arrive. From the time I was a teen old enough to catch a ride with a buddy, I have hated standing by the front door waiting for my friend who is "on my way". After an hour of standing on first one foot than the other, they finally arrive even though they live 5 minutes away.

An exception to these rules are children accompanied by their parents selling cookies/candy as a fund raiser. I have also opened my door for scavenger hunting teens.

Back in the day before all rules changed, visitors were acutely aware they were visiting. Punctuality still applies believe it or not. If you show up to visit, be aware that your host might not be keen on you burning up 3 hours while you wait for the next folks to get home, so you can surprise them with a cordial visit.

If you are selling something (or swearing you are not selling something), I won't open my door. Sorry, times have changed. Like my dad used to say when a salesman came to the door, "I wasn't shopping". I really won't give you consideration if you want to argue that I should listen to your sales spiel. The same goes for the salesman attempting to gain entrance via the telephone.

The telephone is the modern day salesman at your front door tactic. I would like to think all of us know this, but the programs and robotic voices are getting more difficult to detect. The latest one sounds like a human and calls from "Dealer Services". Dealer services? Really? That is all the better they can do? I blatantly asked them what they were dealing. "Dope, drugs?" I asked and yelled out to my bride, "Honey, I have a drug dealer on the phone," and then hung up. I don't know if the robot responded as I wasn't shopping.

Here is the real poop on this whole front door thing. My home is my sanctuary. Please see it as such. Don't make me install a moat and a draw bridge; just take the hint. If you want to visit, give me a ring. We all have phones strapped to the sides of our head, so I will answer, or not. The "or not" is a subtle message that I will call later or never. If no one answers, don't come over. I may be sun worshiping my pale body with a mankini on in the back yard. I may be in a bad mood and bite at you and that's why I don't answer the door. Yes, sometimes I am anti-social to the point I simply don't want company.

In this complicated time of political and racial unrest, my home and yard are where I go to avoid conflict. If a casual visitor would like to join me, I simply ask that they warn me first. Is that weird, or am I just an old fossil that is not in step with the slippery times? I am not in a bad mood, give me a call. I may answer.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Ball of confusion revisited

I proclaimed for many years that we as a country would never experience the level of unrest we faced in the 1960's... but I was wrong and it is getting worse. I first noticed it on the federal level when it appeared no elected official was concerned with anything other than keeping their lofty aerie secure. Every action was meant either to further their career, or attack the opposite party and members. Never mind that privately they sit down and dine together and giggle like love-struck teens. Maybe that is what good politics is all about; I don't want to know. I just want all the fighting to stop. Its childish and frankly, embarrassing.

I read today that the Republican party is running scared because they may lose some seats to Democrats and I thought, "What's the difference?" The Republican's for the most part won't support their own Republican President because he won't play ball the way the other two parties like to play. None of the incumbents care how many of the opposite party occupy a position as long as they don't lose theirs. Business as usual will continue and it appears it matters not to any of their ilk if the country goes to hell in a hand basket.

After Hurricane Harvey flooded us, everyone regardless of their political views now realize rain/flood abatement is the most important issue and we want politicians that make it the number one priority. Handling the many important issues like security, education, veterans benefits, Social security, Medicare/Medicaid, and immigration should be what we are reading in the news, not looking for Jimmy Hoffa's shadow. I can't hardly bear to listen to the news in rapidly disappearing 2018.

Networks and publishers keep the whole country in a massive state of confusion clouding anything that will actually benefit the true citizens of this great country. I'm sick of it, but then there is state, county, and even city level squabbling going on and this is why I think it is worse than when we were in the Vietnam War, seeing the president and his brother and Martin being gunned down, race riots, and the expanding drug culture that defined the 1960's.

I never thought I would again see so much confusion, but guess what? Its here baby. All we need now is to witness our Senate and Congress get into a mass fist fight and we can all check off living in a Third World Country from our bucket list.

"People movin' out, people movin' in. Why, because of the color of their skin. Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Vote for me and I'll set you free." Yeah, they will set you free alright, just like affordable health care. What a shocker that was for all those who giddily help get it into law. There are no free lunches and the sooner people wean themselves off the government teat, the sooner they will truly be free.

"Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation. Ball Of confusion that's what the world is today. The sale of pills is at an all time high, young folks walkin' 'round with their heads in the sky. Cities aflame in the summer time, and oh the beat goes on. Eve of destruction, tax deduction, City inspectors, bill collectors, Evolution, revolution, gun control, the sound of soul, Shootin' rockets to the moon, kids growin' up too soon. Politicians say more taxes will solve ev'rything, and the band played on." Incidentally, these lyrics were published over 45 years ago.

Right here in Baytown, we have the school Board debacle which is dividing the city. We have a firefighter under the microscope over insurance eligibility and its my understanding whatever happens here could have national repercussions. It's as if no one can be happy. Now my friend and veteran law enforcement professional has tragically taken his own life.

Whatever happened to Mom, baseball, and apple pie? How about opening the door at the Post Office and let a few people through for starters? Maybe push a grocery cart in from the parking lot instead of grabbing one at the door? Charity starts at home and if we are truly going to make America a place that is what we all want, then all of us need to pitch in a little. We need to contribute, not argue. Stop fighting and work on solutions.

I want to offer my deepest condolences to Stewart Beasley's family, coworkers, and his many friends.

Note: Lyrics The Temptations - Ball of confusion

Thursday, August 02, 2018

My pain in the neck saga

In March of 2017, I suffered with what was diagnosed as spinal stenosis and for clarity, I'll add the definition. "Spinal stenosis in the neck is a common source of chronic pain that is caused by a gradual narrowing of nerve pathways in the cervical (upper) spine." I awoke with a stiff neck and 4 hours later, it was blinding pain. I learned a lot about pain from this malady.

I wrote about it before so there is no sense beating my neck against a dead horse. To sum up the journey since this prognosis is easy. I took a lot of pills. Pain pills which barely took the edge off, followed by massive treatments of steroids. Then my blood pressure spiked dangerously high to the point that I was living on the edge of a stroke. This went on for months and no matter what I did or ate or drank, it stayed up around 180/110.

I went from being on blood pressure medicine to taking 13 pills a day. I finally said stop and I did. I went cold turkey for a month and opted for acupuncture, which of course is alternative medicine. I experienced instant results and after the first treatment, I could actually turn my head side to side. Have you ever tried to drive a car without turning your head to check behind or beside you? It is challenging, as you have to turn your entire body to see.

You do not feel the needles; they are that small. What a difference it made and it sure beat sitting in a waiting room with all the sick people. I went 2 times a week and with each visit, I became more flexible and was slowly moving away from the constant pain. I used Fusion Acupuncture & Holistic Healthcare off the North 610 loop.

I now wanted to try and realign my spine and through the VA, I requested a chiropractor. They sent me to San Jacinto chiropractic on Massey Tompkins which suited me just fine. It sure beat a 30 mile one way drive to the VA. While on about my 8th treatment, I came to learn that Dr. Lindberg had been tragically killed in a car accident. I was making excellent progress and was transferred to a chiropractor in La Porte named Victor Peres. I finished my allotted treatments under his skillful techniques. At this point, pain was not really the issue. It was learning to live with stenosis and what I could and couldn't do.

I am most likely never going to be neck injury free and I have some days where my neck lets me know I over did it yesterday. Most all of it is self-inflicted I might add. You and I are probably on the same page as all of us have an issue of some kind and the point of this column is not really about my particular injury, as much as it is my quest to use alternative medicine rather than taking a fistful of pills.

Bill Daley has been after me for months to try reflexology and I finally agreed to 4 treatments. Bill also does bee sting and honey therapy and I may try that next. Bill treated his wife for many years with reflexology and the stings and I think he told me over the years, he had stung her 40,000 times. He has the exact number recorded of every sting of all his many visitors.

So, after 4 treatments, I have arrived at a very favorable conclusion. Reflexology deals with the manipulation of your hands and feet through pressure and massage. Bill explained everything in detail and gave me laminated cards to keep for reference. The first treatment was 2 hours and the others were more like 1.5 hours. He doesn't like to do them until 3 full days have passed since the last one.

During the first treatment, I was very aware of every squeeze and massage point. Some hurt, some didn't, but none of it was really painful. He can feel stuff there that he knows will hurt and you simply confirm it as he draws conclusions about what he is affecting. Push here for your pituitary gland. Push there for your colon. All of it is pressure on your hands and feet.

The next evening, I looked in the mirror and I was as red as if I had suntanned. It was very noticeable. I also slept like a log and I was very thirsty. Now I lived in Missouri, the show me state and I don't do so well when someone tries to use The Force on me or some other trickery, but I truly felt better. On top of that, my bowels appeared to work better and have now for the last 3 weeks.

This past Monday I had the 4th treatment and I all but fell asleep in the massage lounger I sat in. I was no longer concerned with what exactly he was doing and it magnified my experience. I have now scheduled my bride for 4 sessions, even though she swears she doesn't need it. I want her to make that statement after 4 sessions. Most of us recognize the benefits of a real massage, so why would we have an issue with deep tissue massage of the hands and feet? Like I learned in acupuncture, the person administering the technique is sending a cry for help for the brain to release healing hormones to the area they've targeted.

Or you can simply take a pill and then another pill (to counter the side effects of the 1st pill) and then take another pill. Or you can look up Bill Daley at the corner of East Baker and Barkuloo and give it a go. After all, why live in pain and misery if there's alternatives?

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