SALLY CRAGIN : FITCHBURG — THIS SEASON, IN TRI-TOWN

 

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We are now the envy of America — the trees are going pyrotechnical, and soon the leaf peepers
will be roaring up the shady lanes to admire the flaming trees. Meanwhile, we are looking at our
rakes and wondering, “what’s the point.” The acknowledged method for dealing with leaves, by the way,
is now just to run them over with a mower at the end of the season and let the compost break down
in the soil.

This season in Tri-town, there’s plenty of educational and musical offerings as well as the
annual Greek Festival. I was on “Barbara and You,” the local cable access show (the longest
running interview show in New England) and Barbara Foster was interviewing folks from the
Greek Church before I went on with my cat Wendle to talk about the Sept. 28 Rabies Clinic. They
were on first and they left — no joke — a table’s worth of Greek pastry real estate for the
crew. Homemade Greek pastries, baklava (paklava for those of us who are Armenian), kateouf (there
are many spellings for this; it’s the shredded birds’ nest pastry) and various honey cakes were
amazing. They’ll be making lots more for their festival this weekend.

The Free Rabies Clinic is open to anyone; you don’t have to live in Fitchburg. I’ll be there
with my friends from ACE Central MA (need a cat or dog? check us out…). And if you look at
fitchburgfun.blogspot.com, you’ll see a very, very, very special offer for those folks looking
to get a cat for a BARGAIN price.

See you under the leaves
Sallycragin@verizon.net

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

“A History of the Fitchburg Fire Department” by Phil Jordan, Official Fire Historian for the
FFDFriday Nights in Fitchburg History Club, 6 – 7:30 pm, McKay Campus, 67 Rindge Rd., in Bldg. C.
Phil is the author of “A History of the Fitchburg Fire Department” published in 2012. He
exhaustively planned, researched and prepared this “labor of love,” now sold out. The book
begins in 1674, when Fitchburg incorporated as a town and traces its fire history through the
years. This program will show many historic slides that relate to the stories of famous fires
as the history progresses to the present time.Jordan presents a fascinating look at the amazing
fires fought to save lives and property, with dedication and sacrifice, by our brave heroes –
Fitchburg Firefighters! FREE, refreshments. It is handicapped-accessible, with plenty of free
parking. Contact Dot Cassady at 781-245-1516 or lineardot@gmail.com for more information.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

GREEK FEST 2013, 11 am – 10 pm Rain or Shine! Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 1319 Main
Street, Fitchburg, 978-342-1216. Enjoy All Your Homemade Greek Favorites: Souvlaki, Gyro,
Pastitsio, Mousaka, Spinach Pie, Baklava, Galaktombureko, Loukoumades, and Other Great
Desserts, Coffee, Beer & Wine and Much, Much More!! Music and Dancing, Music by DJ George
Regan. Performances by our own Floga Dance Groups at 2 pm and 7 pm. Children will enjoy the
activities of our expanded children’s booth! Shop for Unique Gifts at our Agora and Vendor Market.
Raffles, Chinese Auctions, Gift Baskets, TONS of fun prizes! Church tours at 1:00pm and 6:00pm
Enter our Grand Prize Raffle-You could win: Grand prize -$5,000; 1st Prize – $1,000; 2nd Prize –
$500; 3rd prize – an Apple iPad Tickets are $100 ea.- Only 250 tickets will be sold! To buy
tickets or for more information call the Church Office: 978-342-1216. Buy Yours Now Before We
Sell Out!

Drawbridge Puppet Theater”s  “Rapunzel” every weekend in September – as well as each Wednesday
of the month. This production, using marionettes, hand puppets and shadow puppets, is suitable for
children 4 years of age and older. Weekend shows will be Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 AM & 12:00
PM. Storytelling with Lisa Thompson. This will take place on September 21st from 11:00 to 11:30,
and is free with your ticket to the puppet show that day.Ticket prices for these weekend public
shows are $6.00 per person. Please note: We can only accept payment by cash or check, though you
may pay online using PayPal if you wish. Drawbridge Puppet Theater, 1335 Massachusetts Ave
(Rt. 2A), Lunenburg, 978-582-1578

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

Historical Piano Concerts from The Frederick Collection of Grand Pianos at 4 pm at Ashburnham
Community Church, Ashburnham. 978/827-6232. piano.fred@juno.com. SHUNSKE SATO, violin
and SHUANN CHAI, piano by Joh. Nepomuk Tröndlin, Leipzig (ca. 1830) play Felix Mendelssohn Sonata in f for piano & violin, Op. 4 (1825); Franz Schubert Sonata in A for piano & violin, D.574 (1817) “Grand Duo”; Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata
in a for piano & violin, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”.

Drawbridge Puppet Theater”s  “Rapunzel” every weekend in September – as well as each Wednesday
of the month. This production, using marionettes, hand puppets and shadow puppets, is suitable for
children 4 years of age and older. Weekend shows will be Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 AM & 12:00
PM. Ticket prices for these weekend public shows are $6.00 per person. Please note: We can only
accept payment by cash or check, though you may pay online using PayPal if you wish.
Drawbridge Puppet Theater, 1335 Massachusetts Ave (Rt. 2A), Lunenburg, 978-582-1578

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

BASIC RIGHTS In Special Education. A Workshop for Parents and Professionals Fitchburg Special
Education Department In Collaboration with the Federation with children with special needs. The
Basic Rights workshop provides families with an introduction to their rights and responsibilities
under: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Massachusetts Special Education
Law. This workshop is designed to help parents learn to be effective partners with their child’s
school to decide their child’s eligibility for special education, and to plan, make decisions
and monitor their child’s progress in school.at South Street School, 376 South Street,
Fitchburg, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Contact: sheela_vadrevu@yahoo.com for questions.
A presenter from the Federation for Children with Special Needs will conduct this workshop.
Federation workshops are free and open to the public.  You are welcome to attend any workshop
in or outside of your immediate community. Join us!

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 26

LET’S PLAY! MOC Community Partnership for ChildrenParent/Child Play Group, Thursdays, 10:00-11:30AM,
Cleghorn Youth Center, 40 Fairmount St., Fitchburg, FREE. “Family and Friends”
theme.Always: easel paint, sand or water play, blocks and trucks, stories, play dough and
more!BI LINGUAL, NO RSVP NEEDED FOR MORE INFORMATION email llee@mocinc.org or dperez@mocinc.org
Or call 978-345-8549 x325 or x326A program of the Massachsuetts Dept. of Early Education and Care

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

FREE Rabies Clinic/$5 Distemper (covers a variety including parvo) clinic sponsored by Second
Chance, from a generous grant provided by the ASPCA, assisted by FAShelter and ACE Central MA
at Fitchburg Fire Station, 20 North St. Fitchburg. For more, visit ACE Central MA at ace4animals.org.

FINNISH BREAKFAST, 8:00-10:30  a.m.  Bacon, sausage, pannukakku (oven pancake), fruit, juice,
coffee/tea, Finnish coffee bread.  $6.00.  Saima Park, 61 Scott Rd., Fitchburg MA 01420.  978 582-7717

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Historical Piano Concerts from The Frederick Collection of Grand Pianos at 4 pm at Ashburnham
Community Church, Ashburnham. 978/827-6232. piano.fred@juno.com. THOMAS PANDOLFI, Frederick
Collection premiere of a piano by Erard, Paris, 1928 plays “Gershwin & the French Muse.” George
Gershwin/transcr. Grace Castagnetta Concerto in F (1925); Three Preludes (1926); Rhapsody in Blue
(1924; solo version 1927); Claude Debussy from Suite Bergamasque (1890-1905) 3. Clair de Lune;
from Préludes, Bk. 1 (1910) 10. La cathédrale engloutie; Francis Poulenc Trois mouvements
perpetuels (1918); Marie-Joseph-Alexandre Déodat de Séverac Grande valse brillante in Eb, Op. 18
“Pippermint-Get” – ded. to distiller Auguste Get père; Maurice Ravel from Le tombeau de Couperin
(1914-17) 3. Forlane (Allegretto).

Drawbridge Puppet Theater”s  “Rapunzel” every weekend in September – as well as each Wednesday
of the month. This production, using marionettes, hand puppets and shadow puppets, is suitable for
children 4 years of age and older. Weekend shows will be Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 AM & 12:00
PM. Ticket prices for these weekend public shows are $6.00 per person. Please note: We can only
accept payment by cash or check, though you may pay online using PayPal if you wish.
Drawbridge Puppet Theater, 1335 Massachusetts Ave (Rt. 2A), Lunenburg, 978-582-1578

—- Sally Cragin / Fitchburg

INTO THE ABSURD WITH “MOLLY”

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BOSTON, MA —- Until about two weeks ago we had no idea that “Molly” was something more than a girl’s name. Likely you didn’t know that either. Turns out we were missing the point.

“Molly” is the user’s slang for the drug MDMA, an amphetamine that has been used beneficially in some mental health therapies. How it came to be available, often in pills poisonously assembled by black market makers, we have no idea. How do any of these drugs, which doctors use under strict supervision, come to the street ? Yet they do.

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In the past week overdoes of “Molly” have killed several dance music fans, injured others, and caused the shut down of two major dance music clubs, the House of Blues, on Landsdowne Street, and Ocean Club in nearby Quincy.

Do NOT blame the clubs. They have a hard enough time dealing with unruly patrons, underage kids, acts with attitudes, and “promoters’ who want more favors than a club can afford to grant. The clubs area to be congratulated for forging ahead through an atmosphere full of ego, muscle, bling, and intoxicants.

One can blame the users of “Molly,’ and certainly those who sell versions of it ; the makers too. Criminal penalties exist, and they should. Anyone who makes and sells bastard versions of a drug that kicks up fake joys and imposes long and various after-effects — drugs that change the serotonin component of our chemistry —  deserves punishment indeed. Yet punishment can hardly halt the impulse in young people to seek out chemical unrealities. Unreality is the deity of the young. It was so for my generation, too.

The desire to intoxicate oneself is strong in the young.  Youth gathers in cliques and social circles, seeking reinforcement from each other of each other’s worth, attraction, belonging. Young people live among insecurity and absurdity. How can life not feel absurd when one doesn’t yet know who one is, or where one belongs, or what one is going to do after the intoxicants wear off ?

Absurdity, ah yes… It chases us relentlessly. It clings to our joys. We should have joys. Should celebrate them ! As Charles Baudelaire wrote 150 years ago, one can intoxicate oneself of poetry, or of virtue, of wine.  “it is necessary to intoxicate,” he proclaimed.  “At your choice. But intoxicate, always !” In other words, do not be unexcited by life. Do not be bored or indifferent.

Yes; but intoxication should lead to something higher than an upset stomach, nobler than a quack death. Who gains by those ? Absurdity only.

But the music of “Molly” life itself expresses absurdity in its shapes, its tones, its progressions. The music knows us so well. It mirrors to us our need for intoxicates; the need to find “Molly.

Dance music fans know very well that “Molly” is dangerous to imbibe. They know now — if they didn’t know it already — that it can kill you. Especially the street-made bastardizations of it can getcha. Yet the fans imbibe it anyway.

Do not be surprised at this. My generation knew that getting dead drunk on beer was not a good outcome, that it could set you way, way back, yet most of us got dead drunk anyway. It was a cool thing to do, for many. It was there. It was what we all talked about — that and fast cars — which were plenty dangerous, too. Cars and beer. were we  any different ?

Still, cars and beer did not stop the music. Today’s drugs might very well stop the music. Do not be surprised if some clubs find it not worth their while to re-open and thus risk more “Molly” overdose deaths and the huge liability that ensues. The profits to a club from a major DJ show are enormous, yet it’s just not practical for clubs to strip-search everyone at the door; indeed, it’s probably a violation of civil rights, not to mention that few people are going to go to a dance music club if they’re going to get strip-searched. Thus the music may well disappear from club performance.

If that happens, there’ll be a lot less “Molly” overdoses -=- and a lot less dance music. As for the absurdity of young life, out of which arise both dance music and “Molly,” it will continue. Full force in the souls and bodies of the young. Life is not only absurd; it is dangerous.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

LABOR DAY : LET’S WORK TOGETHER

Wilbert Harrison’s great song really does say it all.

“Together we’ll stand; divided, we’ll fall. Come on now, people, let’s get on the ball ! Let’s work together, every boy, girl, woman and Man !

“When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, the road to travel is all of you !”

On this Labor Day, when so many loud voices are abroad in the hand decrying those who suffer, those who want, those who work for wages so cheap that they must have public assistance to make do; when politicians think it good and proper to demean people for the lifestyles they live; when talk show charlatans insult everyone and get cheered for doing so; when governments in so,me states resolve to deny people they don’t like the right to vote and to make women’s health care their choice rather than the choice of those women actually being cared for — when all of these events seem impossible to excise from American civic life right now, it is good to recall that the saga of work and workers in our nation reaches its highest achievements when all have worked together. Businesses too. Shoulder to shoulder and one for each other, knowing that, indeed, divided, we will fall; and that together, we will stand. And prosper — every boy, girl, woman and man.

Note that Harrison says “every.’ He doesn’t distinguish between citizen and immigrant :

“Make someone happy, make someone smile; all work together and make life worthwhile.”

Let’s do this. we CAN do this.

All of you. all of us. So yes : let’s work together.

— The editors / Here and Sphere

“SECRET LETTERS To Home One Stop-Loss Soldiers story Letter#3

STOP-LOSS3

“SECRET LETTERS” to home one stop-loss soldiers story LETTER # 3

According to Wikipedia, the Stop-loss definition is:

“Stop-loss is a term primarily used in the United States military. In the U.S. military, it is the involuntary extension of a service member’s active duty service under the enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service (ETS) date and up to their contractually agreed end of obligated service (EOS). It also applies to the cessation of a permanent change of station (PCS) move for a member still in military service. Stop-loss was used immediately before and during the first Persian Gulf War. Since then, it has been used during deployments to SomaliaHaitiBosniaKosovo and after the September 11 attacks and the subsequent War on Terror.”

The policy has been legally challenged several times. However, Federal courts have consistently found that military service members contractually agree that their term of service may be involuntarily extended until the end of their obligated service.

However, in real life it is much more than that. The term and its definition are minimal at best. Truth be told, even a cynic can not sit back and agree that such an act by OUR government is that of a free country — let alone a “free-man / soldier, who has served his country — and his term.

Through the years stop-loss has become much more “in our faces”, as undeclared “wars” have called many a soldier back to a place to which they barely survived — once, never-mind a forceful twice-go-round. In a 2004 Campaign speech by the then presidential candidate John Kerry — stop-loss was described accurately as a “back-door draft”. At that time, both politicians and war activists insisted and proclaimed its use an abuse of the law. Since Congress had not officially declared a war — the basis for using stop-loss was to them as well as those affected just that : “abuse”……

Much controversy, political agenda, hype, and inaccurate depictions of this “injustice” surround the topic whenever it is brought to our attention in any form. So how do we as Americans differentiate between fact and fiction — media agenda, propaganda, misguided citizens, and hoaxes — and how do we get the real stories, the guts and grit of the truth without literally being in that situation ourselves ?

In a weekly editorial, Here and Sphere will cautiously report one brave, wounded, forgotten, scared for his life, stop-loss soldier’s story. Though we can not completely vouch for it’s full accuracy — we will deliver this soldier’s encrypted letters, each with all its content — and let you, our readers, decide for yourselves. Our job is to report the news, and bring you the stories that matter to you. In “TOP SECRET” Letter to Home — One stop-loss soldier’s story — we will do just that.

Letter #3

Today was a good day all things considered. Normally that would bring about a smile or sigh of relief — but a good day here is a nightmare at best, back on American soil.

Today my team lead by a “new guy”. The sapling of a superior was freshly dropped here in the middle of yet another cold sand-swept night. Meeting him first thing this morning — all gung-ho, and clueless as to what he would soon become a part of — was almost stomach turning. Much like a doe eyed child full of innocence about to learn something horrific and life-altering. Today our mission was “simple” — cut off water supplies and all aid to the “local threats” one town over.

When I say the word simple, I mean only that it should if carried out correctly be a mission easily achieved — without casualties, and senseless violence. Though we were lucky enough to not lose one of our own — the casualty-less mission I hoped and prayed for — did not play out as I had wished.

Before the desert sun even peaked at us,we geared up and were on our way. All orders had been given — subject to change upon arrival, if our calculations were off even the slightest — and of course they were. I took my post at the highest point of the village, finding my spot was easy — I gained access without harm to myself or anyone else. Once our team was fully in place, orders previously given — went into effect. For the sake of those that watch movies and T.V. I will use familiar lingo — as to paint a picture that may be relatable — but here it is somewhat, okay very different.

Alpha team we will call that me and my 4 watchman — steady handed and sighted on targets pre-assigned we sit and wait. Bravo team began their slow and careful descent into the village as not to awaken the chaos. Delta team came from their angles to help surround the main water source and medical tent — therein began our problem.

Previous recon missions of the medical tent had shown no guard during this particular time — on 4 separate missions, not once had one been spotted. With the main valves off — and “our equipment” that once supplied this village back in our possession — they would have no way once sealed to re-establish a water supply. Bravo team had done their job and were regrouping back at the predetermined zone before hitting target 2. Delta stayed positioned waiting patiently to assist in retrieving, or destroying the medic tent — once Bravo gave the order.

As I looked at the tent I realized that this time WE WERE WRONG… A heavily armed guard paced by the hindquarters of the medic tent — searching for any sign of attack, or threat. Intently I watched as he paced in an almost eerie nazi reminiscent fashion — 4-5 steps one way — full turn — 4-5 steps back in the previous direction. Then it happened — SPOTTED –the last of our Bravo members to get close enough was seen. The foot soldier raised his weapon and aimed as steady as he could, getting ready to summons help…………..THEN ( shot fired ) one single perfectly aimed silent bullet — a few more minutes, enough time to be ghosts, and a fire that took down a whole tent and all its supplies erupted in seconds. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!! (Disgusting)

Back on base Alpha team leader newbie sat crying like a baby — AND JUSTLY SO. I felt connected to him, I knew his disbelief and pain, anger and more. But just like he came to us — HE WAS GONE…

Why him? I am broken too, why can’t I disappear into the night and sand and cold? Why can’t I come home? — Perhaps I’ll never know, PLEASE PRAY THAT I WILL.

Signed: One stop-loss missing home soldier.

As told by:Heather Cornell

PA WOMAN CHARGED AFTER KILLING NEWBORN IN SPORTS-BAR BATHROOM

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 Born ,wrapped in a bag right out of the restroom garbage can, then carelessly discarded in the tank of a sports-bar bathroom — and left to die! That was the quick and atrocious beginning of life — right to the tragic death — for this Pennsylvania newborn boy.

screenshots of the bathroom

26-year-old Allentown Pennsylvania resident, Amanda Catherine Hein — went out with friends on August 18th to watch a pay-per-view wrestling match, at Starters Pub in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. While sitting with her party at a booth in the bar, she began experiencing severe back pain and excused herself. According to witnesses including her friend “Rivera” — she was gone for a lengthy period of time, possibly 40 minutes or longer — before returning, grabbing her purse and heading outside. Hein smoked a cigarette before returning to the group to finish watching the rest of the wrestling match. Say’s District Attorney: John Morganelli.  At some point “Rivera” noticing a fairly large amount of blood on the seat asked Hein “if she needed to go to the hospital?” — to which she replied ” I have no insurance”, at that point Hein was dropped off at home.

starterspub side view

Starters Pub a sports bar on Route 378 in Bethlehem Pennsylvania — an estimated 30 miles from Philadelphia — is now the admitted crime scene of the baby boy’s disconcerting death.Bar owner Dave Rank was still in disbelief, and clearly still in shock as he explained that — A cleaning crew for the pub found the baby boy the following morning August 18th, in the tank of the woman’s bathroom toilet, after attempting to flush it repeatedly with no result — they lifted the tank’s top to find a hellish scene.

starters pub route 378 back door

When D.A. Morganelli was asked his thoughts on what Hein was thinking he answered — ” I have no idea what goes on in her head”– noticeably unnerved, he said ” I have no clue.”‘

starters pub heins

According to the Northampton County coroner, the newborn was at least 33 to 36 weeks gestational age — meaning he was fully viable, able to survive outside the womb . Court records also indicate that the baby was born alive and healthy.

survival rate

After learning the gruesome details — Amanda’s stepmother Louiseanne Hein clearly heartbroken and appalled told reporters that she had no idea Amanda was even pregnant. She said that looking back a planned parenthood letter addressed to Amanda now makes sense. Through teary eyes and honest transparent expression — grief-stricken Louiseanne exclaimed through sobbing sentences: “We told her she always had a home here” and that ” we would have worked something out!”

Via Amanda Hein's Facebook

Via Amanda Hein’s Facebook

Even neighbor Victor Rosario reinforced the theorized “Secret Pregnancy” by stating — “I didn’t even know she was pregnant, she didn’t look pregnant!”

On August 20th Amanda Hein was interviewed by authorities. She admitted giving birth to the baby boy in the bathroom, and disposing of him.  This gut wrenching confession, has earned Hein the rightful charge of Criminal Homicide. In Pennsylvania, “intentional murder of a child under the age of 12 is a Capital Offense — punishable by way of the death penalty. On Monday Hein was charged with one count of Criminal Homicide — thus the possibility of imposing the death penalty looms, if Hein is proven guilty.

Hein is being held without bail — as of last week no representation had been officially listed. The  authorities are still searching for the father of the baby.

Educate others safe haven

This incident has resurfaced the topic of SAFE HAVEN’S — as New Jersey and Pennsylvania both have “Anonymous drop off laws.” The Safe Haven laws, and places are now pushing harder to educate people about the State’s laws regarding Safe Haven’s.

safe haven sign

Established in 2002 after an infant girl they called “baby Mary” was discovered in a Sunbury Pennsylvania trash compactor.  EVERY hospital in P.A. are Safe Haven’s only needing to meet minimal criteria.

  • The child must be a non-injured, non-emergent newborn.
  • The newborn must be under the age of 28 days in Pennsylvania.
  • The newborn must be under the age of 30 days in New Jersey

If those criteria are met — the newborn will be accepted and taken in — NO QUESTIONS ASKED — and completely anonymous if the person dropping off the child so chooses.

safe haven incubator

With help in place like Safe Haven’s and a multitude of other resources — there is NO NEED for the senseless and horrifying deaths of any healthy newborn. Educate yourselves, and those around you — IT MAY SAVE A BABY’S LIFE.

Written By: Heather Cornell

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AUTISM LETTER NOT CONSIDERED A HATE CRIME? But charges may be made against the author ???

max begley

As we posted Wednesday about the despicable letter that had circulated everywhere, and asked your opinions in the link below — we would like to follow-up, with the new developments we have uncovered — and become aware of since.

http://coffeeorvodkaparenting911aparentsguide.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/autism-awareness-and-the-viral-letter-of-an-abusive-nature/

The anonymous, yet nonetheless reproachfully loathsome and detestably cowardice letter was received Friday by Brenda Millson, in Ontario Canada. Since then it has incited quite an outbreak — of both outrage and concern. At first it was the family and neighborhood that was infuriated and probing for answers. Then via media and social networking the vile and poison spewed paragraphs went viral. Reaching everywhere. Throughout Canada, the US, even around the globe.

The letter was in regards to a thirteen year old autistic boy, Max Begley from Oshawa Canada — about 50 miles from Toronto.

Arrogant and irate statements that describe Max as a “nuisance” and a “retard” are just some of the despairing and abusive names the author called this boy. The Author goes on to state things like ” That noise he makes when outside is DREADFUL!” then goes on to say “It’s (sic) scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!”  It talks of “donating his normal parts to science”– even encouraging the family to move their “wild animal kid” to a trailer in the woods and “do the right thing and euthanize him” — and — “Either way we’re all better off.”

Max Begley, diagnosed with autism at age two. Defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary —

Au-tism : a variable developmental disorder that appears by age three and is characterized by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by stereotyped behavior patterns.

MEDICAL DEFINITION: A developmental disorder that appears by age three and that is variable in expression but is recognized and diagnosed by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by stereotyped behavior patterns especially as exhibited by a preoccupation with repetitive activities of restricted focus rather than with flexible and imaginative ones.

Max’s grandmother Brenda Millson, who received the letter told reporters ” I was shaking reading it, it’s awful words. It’s terrible you don’t know why anyone would ever do such a thing.”

Max’s mother and father both suffer from MS ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ms# ) also had a few things to say to the media — in hopes that it may also help draw out the culprit, if nothing else — let their voice and how it has affected them, BE HEARD.

Max’s mom who suffers from Secondary progressive MS was more than choked up, as she read excerpts of the letter to the media. Teary eyed and raspy throated she uttered quotes from the letter before explaining — that with her condition she is no longer able to run or even walk to keep pace with Max — his tendency to take off running at parks, and on outings — make it near impossible for her to bring him to these places alone. The father also having MS and working full time, means that Max is entertained and cared for by his grandmother 3 to 4 days a week. The back yard is his safe haven — it’s where he gets to be a kid and play outside, exercise — and learn.

maxes mom

His father James Begley told the media “A person that is that crazy and demented, to — you know fabricate something like that, leads me to believe — that they are very dangerous –and right now I’m scared for my sons safety.”

max and fam

Even with all the cruelty expressed in that letter Canadian authorities are still unsure on how charges can and will be brought up and filed — if they do actually find the audacious author. One would think it would be as simple as an open and shut hate-crime case — but that is actually not so feasible. “At the moment the authorities are contemplating criminal charges — “however: there are other code issues being considered.” Said police.

At present the actual letter is in the custody of Durham Authorities — who will now figure out exactly where this letter falls — under the multi-possible criminal charge categories. Many across Canada, America and beyond are labeling this a HATE-CRIME — and according to former Crown attorney David Butt — it mostly does, yet cannot be considered one.

“There is good reason why charges couldn’t be laid.” as a hate-crime says Butts.

Canada’s hate-crime legislation has three requirements — to which all three must apply to be considered and chargeable as a hate-crime. Although this vulgar letter meets 2 of the 3 requirements being:

  1. It has to be wilful promotion of hatred — “the letter is clearly that.”
  2. It has to be the promotion of hatred against an identifiable group — “the letter is also clearly that” Butts says. “Because Max the boy the letter is about has a disability — autism — which makes him part of identifiable group”

However the third is key, and the letter does not fall under this hate-crime guideline. The third requirement is that It MUST be done in a public forum — Since it went from writer to recipient it dismisses the letter as ineligible for a hate-crime label and/or charge.

As of today Max’s neighbors, community and all those his story has touched have bound together in an outpouring of love and support for the teen and his family — and are hoping to help find out the coward hiding behind the pusillanimous penmanship, and see justice served.  In the meantime Max find’s all this attention a wonderful thing, and is laughing and enjoying the good vibes and positivity surrounding him.

max and neighbors

Written by: Heather Cornell

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STRIPPING, FACT AND FICTION REVEALED THROUGH THE MEMOIR’S OF A SIN-DUSTRY NEWBIE…..Part 2 “The man called Stan”

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Day 2 — Stripper Hell — and a man called “Stan”

Days had passed since my ” premier” at club ( “stripper-hell”), I had struggled and thrown up and struggled some more. The decision to return was made from necessity not desire. When your older kids need clothing , your infant has no diapers, and formula is running low — not to mention “the sperm donor” is virtually M.I.A. the lengths you will go to just to provide — are astounding. 

Again I found myself in my car, circling the lot and reflecting on” HOW THE HELL IT WAS THAT I GOT HERE?”…. Marriage….Vows…Happily ever after’s….. WAKE UP HONEY — not in this story book. TEN years dedicated to “serving my husband”, “bearing his children”, “enduring his wrath and daily beatings”. But… Was I truly better off? ” Look at where you are I thought to myself”. You feel dirty, used, and un-human — despite the stigma of the “sexy “exotic-dancer / pole-goddess” — truth be told I felt like shit. Eye candy for some shmuck with too much money, and no real life. “DADDY ISSUES” HAH …That took on a whole new meaning for me, on this particular day.

Remembering my “outfits”, makeup, and all other stripper friendly materials, my “stripper-in-a-box” was more like roll away luggage, than a backpack of items — perhaps because I had yet to learn of the lockers in the changing room. You guessed it — put there to help us out  — although I believe so it didn’t seem like every dancer was slowly moving in.

I checked in at the desk, made my way to the locker room, and began the extravagant task of morphing into “pole dancing Barbie”. Then off to the stage to practice on the pole.  There was a 2 hour break between opening and closing of the club — during this time “we” could practice — though I seemed to be the only one needing it. Yet another half-clothed veteran of displayed nudity — offered some pointers to my sad,ok down right embarrassing excuse for pole moves and “dancing”. DAMN she was good. I watched in amazement as her body movements were fluid — flipping and swinging, ass over head, and reversing in one stealthy, sultry, swing of her perfectly toned self. “AWE SHIT — I’m so screwed” I thought to myself, as she slowly ushered me toward my personal Mt. Everest. Surprisingly I managed to learn quicker than I thought, and not half bad according to my “teacher”.  A glance at the clock and my stomach turned like I had guzzled sour milk — the doors were about to open…… TO THEM…….Gulp…Wave of nausea…Gulp number 2 — yeah sure I was ready — or not.

Ready or not they filed in like children after recess, each taking a seat and grabbing a stiff drink — pun intended. After my first 3 stage go-round, it was off to the floor to attempt some lap dance cash. But was I really ready for that? What would I do? How would I move? The rules were strict and important — last time I just swayed to the music and bent over a few times — feeling as though I might fall head first into god knows what. Well it was time to find out — it was time to really step-up my game — after all the whole point is to make money right?

As I scoured the now near capacity small side room,  I was summoned by an “interesting” looking guy — okay honestly — an overly attractive man who had NO earthly business in that place. He ordered me a drink, and we sat and chatted for quite a while. He wasn’t trying to get me to sit on his lap, play with his hair, or even talk me into some kind of extra’s. (sidenote you hear a lot of that type of thing, with 5 other dancers within ear-shot.) But “Stan” as he was called tried none of those tactics. He simply wanted to talk and know a bit about you before shelling out whatever dough he was wanting to spend that day. “Hmmmm a bit about me” I thought. EVERY girl had a “fake-back-story” — the favorite was I’m putting myself through college — HA- you’re 47 and done this your whole life. College???Really??? But whether ignorance or lack of interest in the truth — those women were never really questioned, or called-out on their bullshit. Me of course like an idiot I tell the truth. Why not it has to be better than some of these ridiculous stories right?

Finally Stan agrees to a special performance — a champagne room performance –“WAIT…WHAT”??..” What in the holy hell does that mean”? “Oh wait I’ve heard of these rooms” Petrified I lean in and softly say “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND”?????? “I WILL NOT have sex with you”!!!!! “Oh my God, I can’t even believe you would”…… Then I was shushed by a bouncer, and he and Stan the man had a great old belly chuckle at my expense. Finally my look of bewilderment and confusion must have caused a synaptic connection for Stan — only then did he finally let me into the circle of “Bubbly room knowledge”..,….ASSHOLES………

Here are the Champagne Room Guidelines

  1. You have the allotted paid for amount of time — anywhere from 1-4 hours.
  2. They must purchase a bottle of champagne off of the list supplied once in the room — the list goes according to time purchased.
  3. You must dance — though not necessarily straight through if it’s 3-4 hours — but also keep them company.
  4. The customer can decide how clothed you are and at what points throughout your “Room time”.
  5. You make A SHIT TON OF MONEY the happier they are with the visit.

Once in the room — after an hour of dancing — and several glasses of bubbly — did the most unexpected thing happen…

STAN BEGAN BAWLING LIKE A FREAKING BABY…..For the next two hours I consoled his giant whiney ass, reassuring him he was not a pig, or a slime ball — thinking to myself “Is this guy for real”?

THEN the truth came out — Stan was a regular, who also had a family — a struggling family of six. Stan lied about how much he really made a week to his wife of 8 years– just to feed his sex/ porn/stripper addiction.

I cannot begin to explain my anger and disappointment, I felt guilty taking the 450 bucks. But then again — like Stan’s clueless wife — at some point we learn the hard truth, often it hurts us beyond imagination — sometimes beyond broken. But you will never pick yourself up, and start gluing yourself back together, if — you don’t learn how to TEACH YOURSELF TOUGHNESS. This day — this man — this incident — was lesson one, in my journey to learning that very thing. As I walked bouncer guided, back to my car — I glanced back at the building — and challenged it AND it’s nut-job clientele to another day.  A day in the life of Sin-Dustry I guess — till next time.

Written By: Heather Cornell

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DJ MUSIC AND THE “SELFIE” SOCIETY

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^ selfie music

—- —- —-

We have watched house music and techno develop, as pop music genres must, over the past 27 years or so since these genres first grew a name. Of everything that house and techno first came to me, however, nothing remains except for one aspect : it’s solo stuff. Yes, there are DJ duets, a few of them superb. They are exceptions. To probably everyone who imagines a DJ, the image is of one person, earphones on, commanding equipment that sends out good vibrations, good rhythms.

It was not that way in rock and roll, nor, for the most part, in jazz. Rock and roll was played by bands — mostly three or four musicians, sometimes five or more. If a rock band featured a soloist — and many did — he or she was always, always of that band, never by him or herself. In jazz, the small combo and the big band were the rules. Solo performance arose from ensemble performance and took place within it.

As ensemble genres, rock and roll and jazz signified community, demonstrated common interests, rose above the glitter of self, its smell, its gimme’s. Yet of course the urge to spotlight rumbled within the music and often burst through it. Stars arose aplenty and took over, nailed the fans, made their names immortal — backing band or no backing band. Yet even then, even with Elvis or James Brown, as elephantine as any egos that have ever walloped an audience, the music needed several players to build its arc, give context, outline the star’s temper and contours.

With DJ music there’s none of that. the audience is the context the setting the temper. There is one music maker and one only; he or she does it all. No previous pop music, except maybe the blues, has ever presented so singly. Yet the blues is best played within four walls, or on a front porch. It is also music of pain — maybe joy and pain (in the immortal phrase of a great song by Maze) — and of one person and nobody else. Blues is as personal as a toothbrush. DJ music, on the other hand, though almost always solo, is hardly ever singular, and though much house music cries pain as often as not, the pain it cries is the fans’ pain. (It may also be the the DJ’s pain, but only as he or she is of the audience as much as at the mix-board.

The art forms closest to what DJ music does are painting and photography. Here the presentation is exclusively the artist’s — hermetically so. If it speaks to those who look, it speaks to them all, equally; or to none. Paintings and photographs do not — cannot — send a message only to one fan, or a few. For how can the photographer or painter know who will look ? The most popular DJ music does the same. It sends the DJ’s message — and his or hers only — to everyone everywhere. There is no locality in big-arena DJ music, no observable bounds, no contour or temper. It contains no private messages, no communal come-ye’s.

If the most popular DJ music has no definitions, why does anyone like it ? Yet a lot do. All over the world millions love big, beachy, smiley DJ music. Why ? There is, of course,. never a simple answer to why anyone likes a work of art, expression, entertainment. Some like them because their friends do. Some are snagged by the rhythm, the squiggles, the giddy glee. This writer is tempted, however, to conclude that people who like big-name DJ music do so because the music is its own mirror, its own photograph; a “selfie” sound track.

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^ selfie at work

The “selfie” — a smartphone snapshot, usually, of the person taking the snapshot, usually holding the smartphone up to her or his face — is as much the watermark of DJ society as the hot rod was of rock and roll, the two dancer twirl and leaps of jazz, the packed-tight dance floor of disco. At the disco, no one thought of being just a self; one melded into a crowd, sweat to sweat, thigh on thigh. People went to jazz dances in pairs, foursomes, whole busloads. Rock and roll was rebel music, but a soften as not, the rebel of it was an entire generation of young people. At huge DJ gigs, however, the fans exult the music by taking “selfie” of themselves — all of them the same “selfie,” but who’s counting ? The only number that matters in DJ music is ONE. Sound familiar ? it’s the politics we live in, the music we live by.

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^ the selfie icon ?

This is not to say that there are no DJs who play to contours and communities. What today is called the “underground” features plenty of masterful DJs who play joy and pain, message and aspiration, struggle and stride, and a vast dome of images frightful, mechanistic, bellowed and screeched. It’s solo music, but solo is not the message. Friends, competitors, alliances, imagination — these are the messages often carved by “underground’ DJs. Still, the “underground” gathers a fan base maybe one-fiftieth as big as the solos who populate big DJ gigs by the tens of thousands. Is it surprising that one encounters hardly any “selfie” snap-shooters at “underground” DJ sets ? When you are one of 20,000, it is you and only you swimming in a sea of bodies. You’re very, VERY much alone, and you know it; and the “selfie” is an icon of aloneness as lonesome as any such this writer has ever seen.

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^ a selfie = alone = lonely

On the other hand, when you’re on a dance floor with less than 200, every shoulder next to you and leg on the other side of you become real people who matter. There the self has allies warmer than a selfie pic.

—– Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Heather-Isms

AM I WRONG FOR THIS, SHOULD I APOLOGIZE? OK seriously :
It is before 6 AM, I am up but that is not the point.
The point is WHAT BUSINESS does a frickin’ telemarketer have calling me before the looser birds start singing? Oh let me guess it’s afternoon in your cuntry right? F U
….so here is how this convo went…..
Telemarketer: ((in annoying peppy voice))—- “HI is this Hayther Cornwall”?
Me: (( unimpressed i haven’t even had coffee yet voice))–“NO IT IS NOT , this is Heather Cornell” …and proceed to spell it…”H.E.A.T.H.E.R as in ARE YOU SERIOUS????”….You get the idea I’m sure.
TELEJERK: “WHEEL I HAVE AN EXCITING EDUCATION OFFER FOR YOU,” (begins to ramble about continued education at some random school I’ve NEVER heard of….)
ME: “Excuse me cheer captain, can I ask you a question?”
Teleasshole: ((Cheery as ever))” WHY OF COOOUUURSE.”
ME: SOOOOO your a telemarketer correct?” ” how long?”CheeryB’***: “Why yes I am” “and 12 years this July” ( clearly proud of herself)

Me: So then if this” college’ish thing you speak of is so great, WTF are you calling me for from your minimum wage job?” ” shouldn’t you be all rich and ha I (stuck it to the man) by now?”…

.” P.S. it’s 6 am where I am!!!!”Slightlylesscheerychick: ((((SILENCE)))

ME: ” MMMHMM that’s what I thought” ” HAVE A FKTABULOUS DAY” (( IN MY CHEERIEST 6AM VOICE))
(((CLICK)))))
Facepalm WOOOW happy Sunday face people !!
— Heather Cornell , direct from sleepy bed
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THE WAY HOME : EXITING SUBSTANCE ABUSE, PART 1

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FIRST STEP : TOWARDS A CULTURE OF TREATMENT, NOT PUNISHMENT

We see them on a daily basis — the disheveled, homeless person wandering the streets. For most of us, a first reaction to seeing our fellow human being in such a state is, “what set of circumstances brings a person to this condition?”

Or, “I have heard that this is a lifestyle choice. But why would anyone willing choose to live this way? “

This to many of us is the face of addiction and alcoholism.

Living on the streets and not seeking shelter is a choice often made by those who use drugs or alcohol.   Most shelters turn away people seen to be under the influence; yet to those who continue to “use,” enduring the perils of nature and dangers of living on the street is a price worth paying .

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those who estimate the cost of drug and alcohol abuse peg it at over $600 billion annually.  Breaking this huge amount down, we find $ 193 billion spent for illicit drugs, the same amount for tobacco, and $235 billion for alcohol.  From these immense dollar totals alone, we can conclude that substance abuse is not limited only to unfortunate men and women living on the margins of our society.

About drug and alcohol abuse, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service states this:

“Many Americans believe that drug abuse is not their problem. They have misconceptions that drug users belong to a segment of society different from their own, or that drug abuse is remote from their environment. They are wrong. Almost three quarters of drug users are employed.

“A majority of Americans believes that drug use and drug-related crime are among our nation’s most pressing social problems. Indeed, about 45 percent of Americans actually know someone with a substance abuse problem.”

Imprisonment dogs the substance abuser in America. Our nation’s Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the free world.  We imprison 743 of every 100,000, compared to 96 out of 100,000 in England and Wales and 71 per 100,000 in France.  The Center for Economic Policy Research says that 60 percent of all US prisoners are incarcerated for non-violent crimes.

Much of that 60 percent goes to prison for relatively minor crimes – because “three strikes” laws require lengthy mandatory minimum sentencing no matter what..

A criminal-system response  to the disease of addiction arises from our society’s perception that substance abuse is a moral failing rather than a medical condition.  By no means am I suggesting not holding people accountable for their actions. But accountability in the case of substance abuse should emphasize treatment and recovery.

The cost to our society  of substance abuse goes well beyond dollar figures.   Those afflicted with drug problems fill our emergency rooms, kill people through accidents and contribute towards violent crime.  Violence often arises from the intoxicating effects of drugs and alcohol.

We need to seek out and find alternatives to the familiar but wasteful, crime and punishment approach toward the scourge that substance abuse puts upon our civil society.  We do not punish people with diabetes, lactose intolerance or cancer.  We treat them.   Addiction is recognized as a mental illness, and often, in some cases it is a combination of both mental and physical ailments..

There are many collaborative efforts being forged to create a culture of treatment for drug abuse as a  chronic condition rather than one of punishment.   In upcoming blogs I hope to highlight and bring attention to those who are pursuing this course.

— John Shea III / The Way Home