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Wow. A great act of demonstration for a good cause…

It is so hard for an ex-con to turn their life around. Discrimination against people with criminal convictions is see as perfectly acceptable, by virtually all employers. Even having an arrest, not even a conviction, can ban a person from virtually all employment, for life. It is just horrible. It creates an underclass of people with no hope of a better life.

Before you laugh at my sentiments, imagine this: I recently spoke to a woman who had been arrested many years ago on suspicion of loitering for the purpose of prostitution. The charge was dismissed. But she now cannot get a job because every employer who sees that drops her immediately. It’s tragic. She has gained an education, gotten married, had kids. She is a church-going woman. Yet she can’t get a job.

Here is one guy doing a very personal, and brave, demonstration against this problem:


Happy play time!



The blood eclipse last night


Milestones: imaginative play


Laila’s pony was being a naughty pony. She hit her. So pony got a time out. Look at how sad the pony looks. Pony needs to be a good pony.
Similarly, Cyrus and Bella were playing with their toys in the tubby. Suddenly, they gave their toys names and started making up stories and acting them out. Ralph the turtle and Ana the fish like to play and swim.
It shows their intellectual development.
Also, one last baby story: I burped and from a whole room away, I heard Cyrus yell out, “Excuse you, Dad!” He’s 31 months old.


The living folk tradition of Mexican funeral music

The living folk tradition of Mexican funeral music

There are bands that hang out at places of mourning or celebration in Mexico, offering their live musical services. They are at restaurants, bars, public squares, and yes, cemeteries like this one. Their endless creativity keeps the folk tradition alive.


Milestones: Cyrus understands technology

Cyrus is so smart! When his Ipad ran out of juice, he asked, “Where is my charger?” He knows how to play his own movies on the Ipad. Wow. He is only 31 months old today.


Meet your average “drug dealer”

Meet your average “drug dealer”

I don’t meet the big shot professional dope dealers that the public imagines when they think of the profession. I can’t say that they don’t exist, but if they do, they rarely get caught and they don’t live in Bakersfield. The people I represent every week are, almost to a person, drug users who sell to their friends to support their habit. It is a far less exciting and romantic image than what you see on TV.

Your average drug dealer is pretty low end. If they are lucky, like this guy, they manage to just support their own habit. They are their own best customers. The big life, with stacks of hundreds and a fancy car? That just isn’t happening.

It is not perfect

Italy is a great place, but it is not without issues. This article neatly lays out the difficulties Italy has had in promoting tourism to the southern part of the country. Italy, unfortunately, has epic waste, fraud, red tape, and corruption, as well as huge disparities in income between the north and south. Unfortunately, those issues are holding it back from being the tourist powerhouse it could be.

Well, blow me down

I don’t know if anybody noticed, but I decided to stop talking about my CrossFit workouts on my blog. It’s boring. To me, it’s like brushing my teeth, but painful. Who would blog about brushing their teeth? It’s a necessary part of staying healthy. It’s not pleasant or fun. But I have been doing two workouts a week. Or some portion thereof.

I did want to at least record today’s workout: I finished the workout. Finally. It has been forever since I can say that. I did three sets of three weighted pull ups: my max was 35 lbs. Then I actually managed to do three sets of 10 cleans at 95 lbs., twenty wall ball throws, and then 150 rope skips. I really wanted to quit about halfway through, but I thought I might be able to actually finish a workout, so I gritted my teeth and did the damn thing. That was brutally tough.

Maybe, just maybe, this endless grind has been getting me in better shape. I am betting a little bigger. I weigh 200 lbs. now. And I feel like I am looking better. So, hey, progress is all I ask.

Get in where you fit in

I have wanted to play music with other people for a while now. I finally found a Celtic group willing to let me join them on their Wednesday night get togethers. Rock on! Hey, it’s music, and I want to play. I am not going to be picky about the instrument or genre.
So I asked what they needed: a mandolin player. You got it. The mandolin is cool and not too complicated.
(Don’t tell anybody, but I am still going to work on my drum skills too. I like pounding on stuff and making noise…)


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