Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope you're all enjoying this wonderful and most quintessential of all American Holidays.

May you have a great one.

Now back to the family day stuff.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

They're Growing Quite The Crop Of Special Snowflakes at University of Michigan


Tuition at University of Michigan is quite expensive, and as much as it's touted as world class for education it seems to have completely failed to teach these students both critical thinking skills and to question a media narrative.

The Detroit Free Press: Ferguson jury's decision stuns Ann Arbor, Detroit crowds
A crowd of more than 40 University of Michigan students and faculty sat almost completely still as the news flashed across the two large television screens in front of them – Darren Wilson was not going to be charged in the shooting of Michael Brown.
Then, an audible sob was heard. Many in the audience – both black and white – wiped away tears as they began processing the news.
The group then paused for four-and-a-half minutes of silence. Most in the crowd sat with their heads bowed or eyes closed tightly. One student pulled her hoodie up over her head.
Even after the official time of quiet was passed, most in the audience sat quietly, still trying to process what happened.
 Seriously? They were so invested in a faulty media narrative and their own race-based worldview that they can't process evidence or even consider the facts of the matter?
Then, the dams burst. One very emotional student said, "What is it going to take for my life to matter? This is so confirming of what any black person has fear of."
Here's a quick tip: In order for your life to matter, don't rob a store, don't assault a cop and don't grab his gun.  Especially don't grab a Black cop's gun as he's going to shot you even faster as he won't have to worry about a grand jury investigation and allegations of racism and rioting if he defends his life. 

Don't be a thug and you'll do just fine - but of course they apparently don't teach that truth at the University of Michigan.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Abby's Birthday Present


We decided to give Abby an unusual birthday present.

We got up early this morning and drove an hour and a half from Orlando to Crystal River, Florida and went to River Ventures.

For Abby turning 11 we booked a tour to swim with Manatees.

After a safety and rule briefing we got on our wetsuits and headed to the boat.  Everyone had a mask and snorkel and was required to carry a noodle for flotation (and also to differentiate you from all the other snorkelers on the river at the same time) as the idea isn't as much to swim but to do a dead man's float breathing through your snorkel and watching Manatees.

Thumbs up and Abby's 11 and ready to go.
Both kids did great getting used to snorkling very quickly, and along with another family on the boat we got ready to swim with manatees.

So we headed over to observe a manatee in the river.  It was a large male that was named Hugh.

Oh, the Hugh Manatee!


The kids were amazed to come face to face with a sleeping Manatee.  Every 15 minutes or so, he would rise to the surface, take a breath and go back down to sleep on the bottom.  Basically you let sleeping Manatees rise (and don't get in their way or bug them). Very big and very cute but not very interactive.

Then we moved on toward the Manatee Sanctuary to get a more interactive experience than just one sleeping Manatee and we were not disappointed.



There were many manatees in the sanctuary, where we could not go - you couldn't even touch the boundary ropes, but there were many manatees that went swimming out of the sanctuary right by us and it was amazing to watch.  Note that as endangered species, you can't reach out and touch or chase a manatee, they have to come to you, and these ones swam right by.

How close do they come by? Very Close indeed.

Leah and a Little Manatee
Here's a video of a close pass.


video

A cute baby swam by along side its mother as well.  Cuteness factor was off the charts.



It was a great experience to snorkel beside these gentle giants.

Abby announced it was the best birthday ever.

Happy 11th Birthday to Abby


One of the main reasons we took this trip now is it coincides nicely with Abby's Birthday!

She turns 11 today, which is simply amazing.

She's a darn good kid - smart, dedicated and hard-working, a great reader, well behaved and very observant.

Even at eleven, she still has a great capacity for wonder and excitement, without cynicism even as she often has a perfectly timed sarcastic or ironic line.

She was luckily picked to be the new wizard for the Ollivanders show, and she was the wizard to whom the wand called.

It was so very well done with the actor behind the counter doing it perfectly like the scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - having her cast spells at objects that then moved and had effects in response as he worked to find the right wand for her.  She loved every minute of it and believed it.  Of course, she had to buy the wand that selected her, and so it was done.


Even as she turns eleven and just lost a tooth, she still believes in the tooth fairy or at least she believes in the money that magically appears when she puts her tooth under her pillow.



Happy Birthday Abby, and we're going to do something special for you today on your birthday as well.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Yes, We Took The Kids To Universal Studios In Orlando


After driving for two days we made it to Orlando in pretty good time.

We had made it from Michigan and to Chattanooga, TN on the first day.  On the second day we stopped and had lunch  at Keith-A-Que in Ashburn, Georgia - the best BBQ on I-75, period.  Friendly service, good conversation and BBQ to kill for, or at least seriously maim for - truly not to be missed.  They also helpfully pointed out that I should go for the half sweet tea (sweet tea mixed half with unsweetened tea) rather than the full sweet tea - and they were right.

We arrived in Orlando that night and the next day hit Universal Studios theme parks and began having a blast.

Since both kids are Harry Potter fans, they had a great time, and we had to take the Hogwarts Express between the theme parks to make sure they got the experience and got to see both Harry Potter locations.  The level of detail in both Potter worlds was fantastic.  Then there were the rides.

video



In short, Universal knows how to make some very wicked and realistic motion simulators.

Lots more to follow.  Just finished up another long day at Universal and will have more to blog on later.

On Family Roadtrip Vacation


One quick movie to help you guess where we've taken the kids:

video

Good journey here, some minor snow-squalls on the way through Ohio, but otherwise really trouble-free. The kids are having a blast.

Monday, November 17, 2014

His Time Was Up

In the Detroit News, the latest reported murder victim in the Detroit area had quite an unusual name:

Rolex Dior Johnson

Looking at him, they could immediately tell the time of death because he stopped at 2 am.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Must Be A Magic Vest

Another Ebola-infected patient is brought to the US.

He's a native of Sierra Leone but also a US permanent resident so flying him here for treatment was apparently the thing to do.

NBC: Ebola-Stricken Surgeon Dr. Martin Salia 'Extremely Critical'

The article notes he's in very bad shape, however the most interesting part is this photo of him being loaded onto and ambulance upon his arrival for transport to the hospital:

Notice how everybody involved in the transport is in protective suits, masks and goggles except one guy.

The guy in the chatreuse vest that reads "Safety Officer".

Ok then.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Who's Paying For That? Oh Yes -- You Are.


And so am I for that matter.

In the course of events I often do court appointed work as a Guardian Ad Litem.  This is mainly investigating as to whether a guardianship or conservatorship is appropriate as is being requested by the person filing the petition for the alleged incapacitated individual.

Sometime the determination is real easy.

Take Y, for instance. A 50-something female that looks like she's 70.  In hospital for an infection brought on by being homeless and a list of maladies a mile wide and a list of current medications a mile longer.

Oh, and Y's been a heroin addict for a good long time. 

When the hospital social worker notes Y has been a repeat customer and both she and the doc on the floor indicate she can't make any decisions for herself and badly needs a guardian, the determination is damn simple to make, and after talking with Y its even simpler.

Now, as to who's paying for this?  Well, Y's sole source of income is Social Security Disability.

Even better, Y's drug dealer apparently has direct access to her checking account.  This clearly helps his cash-flow situation and assures he gets paid, and it is interesting to see that ACH isn't just for law-abiding businesses anymore.  Until a guardian is appointed this apparently cannot be just shut off as Y has sole control of the account and the bank won't give the proposed guardian any info until they are appointed.

To put it plainly: the US Government is paying a drug dealer for heroin with your tax dollars, courtesy of SSDI.

The government is, of course, also footing her quite extensive and expensive medical bills with those lovely tax dollars as well.