PechaKucha tonight!

Pecha Kucha pronounced various ways- to keep yourself out of trouble “PK Night” is fine, comes to South Park tonight.
It’s FREE! and fun.

To answer the pronunciation question, it literally means “chit chat” in Japanese, I used to turn to the world renowned experts on pronunciation, from Sesame Street with this fun video:

But there is another video that claims this is wrong- I skipped the beginning – where he nails the video above- and says it’s PE- CHA KUCH HA. All evenly accented.

Here is from the PK official site-

PK Dayton stays home. We’ve got one more volume before the year is out, and we’re holding it at our place, Historic South Park. That’s where Matt, Shayna and Jill live.

Thursday Dec. 18th, 7:30pm relax with us between the parties, hangovers, cracked nuts, shopping frenzies and general holi-daze. And yes, you are welcome to lounge in your silk jammies, like this South Park Lady.

Volume 21 has 8 great 20×20 visions–imaginative artists, provocative thinkers, inspiring outsiders and creative stuff that’s impossible to categorize. We’ll be at Hope Lutheran Church, 500 Hickory St Dayton OH 45410. (Careful not to spill beer in the sanctuary). Enter at Hickory & Perrine–park east of the church or in the Emerson Academy lots on Hickory.

Special beer break treat! Dayton’s Original Pizza Factory is bringing us a tasting of their specialty pies. You will love!

Thank you to PKDayton Vol 21 sponsors Dragonfly Editorial and Pizza Factory.

via PechaKucha 20×20 – Dayton – Vol. 21 – We Entertain at Home!.

Donations accepted- and food items are being collected as well.

So far- the only announced speakers are my neighbor Bridget Bogel who is a phenomenal artist who teaches at Sinclair and Amelia “smart mouth” Robinson from the DDN.

Parking is available in the big lots of Emerson Academy if the church lot fills.

These are always a lot of fun- see you there tonight!

Dealing with a neighborhood cancer

Note, this is a long read. This is about a lot more than a demolition derby and a crime clan. Please take the time to read.

Friday, Dec 12, 2014. I had just settled into bed after playing hockey. Our game started at 10 p.m.- and we left the ice at 11:30. By the time I’m home, gear put up- showered it’s 12:15. I had watched about 15 minutes of TV when I started hearing an engine revving, and things going boom- soon followed by a car alarm going off.

Out the window I see little Brandon Crouch’s “new” Chevy pickup- sitting in my neighbor Marilyn’s front yard- facing my house. Her friend Doyle’s Hyundai Elantra is already sounding its alarm and flashing lights. I try to call 911 from the house phone- and must have misdialed, it wouldn’t connect- I run out the front door in my shorts (it’s 20 degrees out) and take a photo of Brandon’s truck now in the middle of the street- sideways- facing my house and me. He’s crashed Doyle’s car and is in the process of backing up and ramming one of my neighbor John’s VWs.

Branden Crouch driver of the one-man demolition derby

You don’t drive sideways on a side street (sorry about the sideways pic- no time to trouble shoot)

He then goes forward- ramming Marilyn’s Chevy Blazer that’s in front of my house. I go to open the passenger door, slug the little shit in the face- and pull the keys out of the car. Doyle, in his bathrobe- pulls him out of the truck- and he proceeds to run away from his house toward my office- I give chase and tackle him and hold him down on the pavement where he keeps fighting me- as I try not to kill him.

Brandon Crouch's truck after he hit 4 cars and 2 wrought iron fences

The final resting place of Brandon Crouch’s truck

Doyle and Marilyn gather around- and after holding him squirming on the ground for a couple of minutes he starts to calm down- and is talking about how he got hit in the face with a baseball bat. I’m covered in his blood and freezing my butt off- and am sick of doing a cop’s job. He won’t stay on the ground- but stands up and stays put for a minute or two- before he takes off again. I know who he is- and don’t feel like chasing him again. I call 911 from my cell- Doyle is calling from his house phone- I have to assume others have called- but who knows. People have come from blocks away to survey the carnage.

He had jumped the curb in front of John’s house- hitting the front of one of John’s 4 VWs- doing major damage to the car- then destroying all of John’s incredible wrought iron fence- as well as Marilyn’s fence. He had then rammed Doyle’s Elantra- to get back onto the street. This was the point where I had come out and the story started.

Fences at 108 and 114 Bonner after Brandon Crouch destroyed them

2 people lost their wrought iron fence because of Brandon’s criminal acts

When the cops and the medic showed up- Brandon was gone. The cops asked me why I hadn’t kept him there, as if it’s my job to wrestle with an 18-year-old for 10 minutes while they take their sweet time showing up.
The next morning- when I saw him pull up to the house and go in- I called it in, but he left again before the cops could get here.

I had a busy day- operating on about 4 hours sleep. And in the afternoon I called the Chief of Police and asked for a call back. To date, he’s not called. At around 6- a cop car was sitting on the street- they had just come out of the Crouch house. I asked if they’d arrested him- and got attitude from the cop- after he said he’d talked to Brandon, and it was up to the detectives. He wasn’t going to arrest him, just a traffic ticket. I wanted him arrested and screened for HIV and Hepatitis, the cop said he wouldn’t do that.

Yes, you and I get a traffic ticket for hitting another car- then we stop. We don’t plow through neighbors’ yards- then try to ram our way back to the street. I call and ask to talk to a supervisor- who basically says the same thing- it’s a traffic ticket, that’s all.

Unbelievably, he had insurance, but, that’s not going to replace John’s fence with anything like what was there before. It’s also not going to pay for misery this punk has brought to our block.

I wrote most of this Saturday night and started preparing the rap sheet of the Crouch family from the county’s websites, real estate taxes, purchase dates, criminal records. Doyle and Brandon’s uncle- who has lived on the block for 20 years and is the one Crouch who isn’t a criminal – told a story that goes something like this-

Brandon had bought an expensive video game (system?) for his little brother Cory- and his older brother, Tony Jr., had stolen it and sold it for $50 so he could buy heroin. Tony Jr. has a long list of turns in prison for a year or less for theft, burglary and receiving stolen goods. Brandon took Tony Jr. over to the guys who bought the game- and Brandon wanted to buy it back for $50- they proceeded to beat Brandon with a ball bat (Brandon stands 5’5″ and weighs in at 128; Tony Jr. is much bigger). Then supposedly they jump in the truck to return- “being chased”- and as they turn onto our block,  Tony Jr. hits Brandon again in the face- causing him to careen onto the sidewalk after clipping the VW-  Tony bails out (no video confirmation of this- his Uncle has all of this on his security system DVR- including our tussle in the street).

Sunday morning I wake up to see a long thread about an arrest of a Crouch. Yep, DPD has Brandon (misspelled “Branden” on the Sheriff’s site)  in lock up after there was a dust-up at 629 Oak St.- or nearby. 629 is owned by Christianna Crouch (unbelievably no relation) – and she owes $3,013.07 in back taxes. Oddly- this house has no record of purchase date. She lives on Beatrice.

Mugshot of Brandon Crouch

Brandon Crouch, just turned 18 and starts his life of crime

Branden Crouch 11/6/1996 is being charged with:

  • CARRYING CONCEALED W
  • USING WEAPONS WHILE
  • SALE LIQUOR UNDERAGE

Only the liquor charge has a bail at this point of $1,000, the other two are not entered.

There were some posts about gunfire in this area last night as well- but at this point I can’t connect the dots.

Brandon Crouch and his family of criminals entered our lovely neighborhood 18 Aug. of 2008. I had just moved my elderly parents down from Cleveland in June of that year almost directly across the street from their house, 121 Bonner St. The house had been owned by the Bowling family for years- their daughter had married the Crouch kids’ good uncle and lived at 105 Bonner peaceably for years. The Crouch home, 121 Bonner,  went into foreclosure and was bought by a Florida investor- who was paying me to maintain the yard that summer. I’d asked him about purchase price and he was evasive.

Turns out he sold it for $14K to Anna Lockhart- the baby momma of Tony Crouch Sr. and parents to a gaggle of kids- including Cory, Dillon, Brandon, Dustin, Tony Jr. and 2 daughters, Casey and Candace- who left the house early- getting hooked up and pregnant.

Anna currently owes $1,864.82 in back taxes on the house.

They were able to buy the house because someone won a judgment in a worker’s comp case. Anna already had a judgment out against her for $85K after her youngest- Cory, burned down 27 McGee Street back in 2004. She was arrested in 2012 for possession of cocaine- but the case was dismissed.

Tony Sr. did an 8-month turn for domestic violence back in 1999. But, generally, other than being drunk and obnoxious, he manages to stay out of trouble and works as a mover when he can.

Can’t say that for the boys.

Tony Crouch Jr. born 24-MAY-87

  • BREAKING AND ENTERING (unoccupied structure) 7 Months 17-MAY-06
  • ATTEMPTED GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 7 months each count- 2 counts 17-MAY-06
  • BURGLARY 7 Months 17-MAY-06
  • BURGLARY (habitation/person present or likely) dismissed 19-NOV-09
  • THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY) 12 Months 24-FEB-10
  • THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY) THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY)
  • RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY ($1000 but less than $7500) 7 Months + 12 Months 02-JAN-13

Dustin Crouch born 12/18/88

  • RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY (MV) + ATTEMPTED GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 9 months 25 Aug 08
  • THEFT ($500)(WITHOUT CONSENT) AGGRAVATED ROBBERY (deadly weapon) + ROBBERY (use of force) 10 Months 14 Feb 11
  • GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 7 Months 20 Sept 07
  • BURGLARY (occupied structure/person present) + AGGRAVATED ARSON (harm to person) NO BILL 13 Jun 08

And now add Brandon. Note, he’s only been eligible to be in the big boys’ jail booking for a month and a half.

There are still 2 more in the pipeline to enter the system- Dillon and Cory.

Since they’ve moved in, we’ve experienced a crime wave. The police have responded to that house at least 20 calls a year every year (I’ll be collecting the exact reports this week). We’ve had drug overdoses, fights, truancy, searches for Tony Jr. or Dustin the works.

[update] 16 DEC 14

I’ve received the crime stats- in the three years previous to the Crouch’s moving in, one police call;

DateIncident AddressPriorityInc_Dsptch_Code_DescInc Dispo
6/3/2008121 BONNER ST4BURG2

Note- this was when the house was empty- and someone broke in and stole the copper etc. Might have even been the future homeowners for all we know, since the DPD has a lousy record of catching and prosecuting scrappers.

In the three years after they moved in 49 and counting-

DateIncident_AddressPriorityInc_Dsptch_Code_DescInc_Dispo
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST2911U1
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST4FT1
15-Sep-08121 BONNER ST9THEFT1
15-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
21-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FT1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST8MISC1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV2
08-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV1
23-Oct-08121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
08-Oct-08121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO2
26-Jan-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
01-Mar-09121 BONNER ST1DIST2
06-Jun-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
17-Jun-09121 BONNER ST1OD1
09-Aug-09121 BONNER ST1OD2
16-Sep-09121 BONNER ST3DIST3
20-Aug-09121 BONNER ST4WANTED1
22-Oct-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
14-Oct-09121 BONNER ST4ASSIST1
14-Jan-10121 BONNER ST7TRANS1
12-Mar-10121 BONNER ST1OD1
16-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISSJUV2
11-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISSJUV2
12-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV2
18-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISCINV1
11-Mar-10121 BONNER ST4MALARM2
03-Jun-10121 BONNER ST4FT1
18-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED1
09-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
11-May-10121 BONNER ST4FT2
24-Jun-10121 BONNER ST4ASSAULT2
10-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4FT1
12-May-10121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
12-May-10121 BONNER ST4DWI3
17-May-10121 BONNER ST4DRUGS2
19-May-10121 BONNER ST4MISCINV1
03-Jul-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
24-Jul-10121 BONNER ST3FIGHT1
05-Nov-10121 BONNER ST6DWOC2
20-Oct-10121 BONNER ST2911D1
11-Dec-10121 BONNER ST4BURGN
24-Dec-10121 BONNER ST1MEDICPF
30-Dec-10121 BONNER ST4WANTEDL
20-Feb-11121 BONNER ST3SCL
09-Mar-11121 BONNER ST2911N
24-Jun-11121 BONNER ST2911N
06-Jul-11121 BONNER ST8MISCF

[update]

I moved to 113 Bonner on Jan. 28, 1986- the day the first Space Shuttle blew up. In the 22 years before the Crouch Criminal Clan arrived, I’d had my garage broken into once- with very little stolen. A walk board stolen off scaffold at my office. My contractor’s tools stolen out of the cottages that were being rehabbed in 1998 and that was it. Since the Crouches, the house and my office have been broken into, the garage has been broken into twice, and cars on the street broken into repeatedly.

The reason I bought the cottages across the street was to provide a good place for my parents to live- and to get rid of crappy tenants who were also constant problems- but not thieves. From 1998 to 2008, this block was quiet and peaceful. After the arrival of the Couch clan- it’s been hell.

The house next door to them had been bought and rented to UD Law students for a number of years- they were getting broken into regularly. The next tenants, some hearty good people with kids- got sick of the BS after about a year and a half and left. The turning point? A major ruckus ensued when one of the Crouchs’ compatriots- who drives an older red Jeep Cherokee kept drag racing down the street. The tenants asked him to stop- and the Crouch Clan all piled out and threatened to fight the tenant. They left- despite their older kids just renting a house behind them.

The crazy thing was that even Tony Sr. agreed the next day that speed racer was being a jerk, the next day- but, in the mob the day before, was egging the fight on.

Other neighbors live in fear and don’t come out much. They’ve come to think this is the status quo- and that there is nothing they can do. The cops claim that unless prostitution or drugs are being dealt, they can’t nuisance the house. Housing inspection doesn’t cite them for broken windows. Amazingly, they take pretty good care of the front yard, but often do open burns in the backyard- mostly melting plastic off stolen air conditioners to separate the metal from the plastic.

I believe we can take the crime stats, the calls, and the latest fiasco, and file a civil suit against them as a neighborhood. This is the plan of action we will begin to proceed with, if they won’t accept an offer to buy the house on the condition they leave South Park.

The city would be in better shape purchasing and moving them out- considering the cost of the constant police calls and ambulance runs in and out of this house. For all the work the people of South Park have done to improve our properties and make our neighborhood so desirable that our property taxes have gone up, you’d think that they could find the money. They didn’t have any problem pouring millions into Wright Dunbar to achieve less.

The preamble of the Constitution clearly states that the reason we have our government is to:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,  promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It’s time to establish justice and insure domestic tranquility on Bonner Street. This is the first responsibility our city government has- not the tax-seeking behaviors they call “economic development” or “job creation.”

I sent an email to the Mayor, Commissioners Williams and Mims- and haven’t heard back. (note- Mims and Williams reached out on Sunday – still no call from the Chief or the Mayor)

The demolition derby was the last straw. It’s time for peace and safety to return to South Park and to Bonner Street.

To be continued…

Retraining America, not just the police

Photo of a taser body cam with a red circle slash on top

Body cams aren’t the answer

If you and I have similar friends on Facebook, hardly a day goes by without seeing an example of a cop behaving badly caught on film. Yet, despite film of the choke-hold killing of  Eric Garner, for what couldn’t amount to more than a misdemeanor crime, the cop walks.

There is the video of a guy turning to his car to get his ID as the cop instructed him to- and ending up with a newly perforated body- caught on film by the officer’s own dash cam.

There is the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice on a Cleveland playground, within 2 seconds of the cop’s arrival- all caught on film.

The president and the family of Michael Brown think that body cams will somehow solve the problem. Ask Eric Garner how the camera worked for him?

Shooting as a solution has been programmed into the mindset of Americans for the last 30 years- on camera- via television. College kids have a drinking game – drink a shot every time Jack Bauer kills someone in an episode of “24.” Long gone are the days of Sheriff Andy Griffin, who wouldn’t let his deputy have more than one bullet.

The art of diplomacy as practiced as part of the job of “peace officer” has been replaced with SWAT gear, body armor and tanks. Yes, tanks.

Take a look at how your local beat cop dresses. Thirty years ago, he wore a white shirt, a tie, jacket, shiny dress shoes and a dress cap. Now, we’re seeing cargo pants, polo shirts over a bullet proof vest and a baseball cap. The shiny shoes, replaced with combat boots. The six-shot .38 revolver, now a 13-round .40 cal. automatic, plus a taser. We’re putting soldiers on the streets to do police work. Look in the trunk of the cruiser- where there used to be a shotgun, there’s also an AR-15.

You only need these kinds of tools in war. In fact, long ago, our government saw the danger of using a military to enforce local laws.

In June of 1878, at the end of Reconstruction, Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act, to prevent an army from enforcing state laws. Yet, when President Nixon began his “War on Drugs” in June 1971, we declared war on our people and started putting ridiculous numbers of them in prison- tearing apart basic family structures and creating an entire subculture of perpetually underemployed people in our country. The country where “all men are created equal” began to come apart.

The funny thing is that this all started happening after we got done patting ourselves on the backs for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, where we stopped looking at blacks as some sort of sub-human underclass. Folks, note, this was only 50 years ago.

I was just reading about how MLK and his captains, planned to manipulate the media in Birmingham- how they wanted to overload the jails, how they wanted the water cannons turned on the protesters- and the dogs set loose. The use of children as protestors had some people worried- Robert Kennedy, who was the Attorney General was quoted as saying “An injured, maimed or dead child is a price that none of us can afford to pay.”

How do we reconcile that with the dead Tamir Rice? Michael Brown? Trayvon Martin? The list goes on, and we don’t even think there is a price connected to these acts anymore. We came together on Sept. 11, 2001 in horror, because a few dozen idiots managed to kill 3,000+ “innocent Americans” in an act of terrorism, yet every day in America 32 Americans die by gun violence- meaning that every 100 or so days- is the equivalent of a World Trade Center attack.

We’re numb. We’re dumb and we’re naive if we think the problem is going to be solved with body cams.

The first step has to be a re-evaluation of what constitutes a crime in America. Eric Garner was getting harassed for selling single cigarettes “illegally” on the street. He ended up dead. The Wall Street bozos put millions of people out of work, out of their homes, and collapsed our economy- yet, none of them spent a day in court.

We spend more incarcerating people involved in illegal drug sales than we spend on education in this country. What happens if we paid for college instead of paying to turn people into unemployable x-offenders? What happens if we treat drug addiction with health care professionals instead of by warehousing them in prisons?

Decriminalizing pot is long overdue. Why is methadone treatment an ok substitution for heroin, even though it barely works? If someone wants to be drunk it’s ok- but high, oh, no? If they want to smoke cigs OK- but shoot heroin no- even though nicotine is a harder drug to beat?

We put our police in impossible situations daily- asking them to do things they aren’t really supposed to do. Now, they carry narcam to save people from OD’ing on opiates- what happened to making sure people didn’t speed on the streets, or steal porch furniture?

We can’t expect better police until we have a better understanding of what their role in society is. If it’s to be engaged in a war on drugs, and we continue to militarize them- we’re going to get more of the same. If we do a reset, and get back to keeping the peace and instilling a sense of safety for all- we might get back to the time where talking first comes back in style.

I’ve purposely stayed away from talking about the John Crawford murder in Beavercreek. And while I think John Crawford was an idiot, who had no clue on how to act in public while holding something that resembled a gun, the cop, Sean Williams, had no clue on how to appraise and defuse the situation.

When he arrived, with his limited information as relayed by the dispatcher, from an unverified source (the 911 caller was a completely unreliable idiot), he entered a Wal-Mart expecting an “active shooter situation.” However, there were no crowds of people heading for the doors in a panic, there were no people screaming- that all was caused by the cop failing society and shooting a guy with a pellet gun who was talking on his phone. A woman, leaving the store in the cop-caused shooting panic, died. Two people died because of a cop operating with training that was fundamentally flawed. Training that allows us to easily “afford” to justify shooting people in the name of protecting the peace.

We’ve become so accustomed to violence in this country, that the photo of Bull Connor’s dogs and water canons barely would register as a violation of our social compact. Those images were tame compared to the video of the murder of Eric Garner- an unarmed man, choked to death by a bevy of “peace officers.”

No, a retraining of police isn’t the answer- we need to retrain our entire country. This is not how we should treat each other. This is not America the beautiful anymore, where all men are created equal, land of the free and home of the brave.

We live in a police state that’s run amok. You can watch the video anytime you want.

 

 

 

 

A prepper’s holiday season

The patches and crest of the US Army Special Forces- the "Green Berets"

The patches and crest of the US Army Special Forces- the “Green Berets”

The United States Army spends at least a million dollars on every guy (and yes- it’s still a guys-only club) they train to wear a green beret. Don’t get caught up in the Rambo fantasy- the Special Forces isn’t the same as SEAL Team 6, Delta, the Ranger Battalions or Marine Force Recon.  Sure- they can go in and do amazing damage relative to their size- since they are highly trained, well equipped and typically well supported, but direct action isn’t their main mission.

Their main mission is to train and organize others to go overturn their government, or to keep their government in power- depending on which way the political wind blows.

Send in an A Team of 12 guys (no, it’s not anything like the “A-Team” TV show either) and out should pop a well trained, organized and equipped group that’s anywhere from Company to Battalion size – depending on where and what the team is given to work with. Translation- give them a literate group of French young men behind German lines in WWII (pre-Special Forces example) and you could have a team easily run a battalion- give them a bunch of semi-literate dope farmers in Afghanistan- and they’ll be lucky to have a few effective squads. Garbage in- Garbage out.

We have no problem at all sending these men all over the globe to “take care of problems” in third world nations where elections are non-existent or questionable, or where “civil rights” are being violated, or where plague and famine are winning a war caused by poverty and disconnected economies. We’ll even send them on humanitarian aid missions- where SF medics do dentistry and demolition guys blow up things to make damns, or set up water purification systems.

My question to you- is at what point is some other country going to look at our country- at Ferguson MO, or the latest shooting of a black kid with a pellet gun, and decide to send their Special Forces here to organize the disowned underclass to rise up and fight? Sounds crazy right? What makes it any different when we do it in places from as far and wide as Nicaragua to Somalia? Liberia to Libya?

And, why do we think that one day, one former Green Beret isn’t going to decide to do it in his hometown?

I look at the insane peaks of the U.S. stock market- and know that the company’s values aren’t rising because of higher real wages, higher real employment, higher standards of living, a better or stronger economy- and think, didn’t we learn a damn thing since 2009- or even since 1928?

Is the real reason “Black Friday” sales were down because you could shop on Thanksgiving? Or is it that people sense something isn’t quite right- and it’s not just riots, gas prices swinging, or temp jobs pushing numbers in the right direction.

All those people who laugh at “preppers” stockpiling water, fuel, guns and ammo? Do you really want to bet on you an economy built on lies anymore than a democracy that’s elected by a minority well schooled in stupidity?

When the mountains of cash printed and shoved into the economy for the rich to use to fill their bank accounts, which then purchase the best politicians money can buy, all become semi-worthless (which is what typically has happened when money supplies grossly outstrip the actual needs by real users of it)- you end up with the only real value being in things needed to survive: clean water, fuel, food and bullets.

We are not facing a zombie apocalypse- which is made up of mindless dead people roaming the streets- we’re waiting for the mindless sleepwalking wage slaves to wake up and demand to take back the streets.

You are free to return to your holiday cheer. Don’t say you’ve not been warned.

note: For the record, I don’t think most preppers really have a clue on how to survive. I lay better odds on those who live in a tight-knit community, than any people thinking they will make it alone. Also, while I only served with Special Forces units while in the Army and the Army reserves, I never completed the Q-course. I have never served in a line unit- or with anyone who wasn’t at least a paratrooper. My official Army MOS was 05B-1A4P, which means I’m a radio operator, who knows morse code and is Airborne qualified.  I  served on an A-team for over a year in the reserves while in college. I have the utmost respect for the training, the mission and the Beret.

 

 

We once rioted over a tax on tea

Michael Brown didn’t deserve to be shot dead.

Darren Wilson shouldn’t have had a big guy tussle with him while still in his cruiser.

People taking to the streets rioting, looting and attacking cops isn’t the answer.

“Leaders” like Al Sharpton screaming injustice over this small piece of stupidity in the corner of the insane asylum shouldn’t be given a microphone.

The President should have been there to read the Grand Jury release- and continue on to talk about the real problems this country has- and not the ones that the media is turning into a circus.

If you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice- it’s time to take a good long look at how Michael Brown and Darren Wilson ended up on Canfield Drive.

These two losers in the lottery of instant fame by accidental stupidity are products of a country that’s lost its moral compass and its right to call itself the land of liberty, home of the free, brave or where all men are created equal.

This country is ready for another revolution, but this won’t be it. Michael Brown isn’t Rosa Parks. Michael Brown, if not by Darren Wilson, would have probably ended up just another statistic at another time. We live in a country that thrives on fear- fear of black men, fear of drug dealers, fear of bringing a knife to a gun fight. And one in six lives in fear of keeping their home, finding their next meal, or keeping their second job, which still doesn’t provide enough for them to safely raise a family.

There is a Mark Twain quote from long ago, that’s as applicable today as when it was written: “Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.”

And our country is starving. For food, for substance, for leadership – that knows the difference between right and wrong. That understands what true equality means. We’re headed to a throwdown where many think that those with the most ammo think they will win. Yes, a real live shooting war on the streets. The people rioting in Ferguson when the first riots broke out, didn’t take the hint when that they were seriously under-armed and over-confident.

The real crimes in this country are being driven by less than 200 extremely rich people who are buying elections. The real crimes are taking place daily on Wall Street where legalized theft is legitimizing the theft of trillions out of retirement funds, real estate mortgages, and through funny money pyramid schemes where the Federal Reserve keeps printing money- and rich people keep stockpiling it- while the dumb maybe-voters go out for a smack down by the cops in Ferguson.

Our prisons hold more black men, indited for stupid petty theft, that cost us billions to keep away from their families- while Wall Street invests in private prisons, private armies and lives in a world so far removed from Canfield Drive that you need NASA to build a rocket to bridge the gap.

Michael Brown and Darren Wilson aren’t even pawns in the game of chess that’s long been played out in this country. Big money could care less what happens to justice because they already own it. Didn’t you get the hint when OJ got off? The only person who’s managed to give them a scare was Bernie Madoff who made off with a bunch of stupid rich people’s money.

Injustice is happening all over this country, but the people rioting don’t know who their real enemy is.

Remember this is a country that once revolted over a tax on tea.

Ignorance is the enemy, and he won long ago.

note: I’ve been avoiding this and the WalMart shooting of John Crawford in Beavercreek for a while. I’ve been waiting to spend more time to write an analysis of what went wrong here- not in Ferguson. As I sat at dinner with a friend, watching the reading of the Grand Jury findings on a phone, in the Spaghetti Warehouse, the question came up- “what is the trigger for a revolution” and how far off it would be. Only history will know, because while it’s happening, it’s never that obvious.
This may not be my best writing- or the most coherent essay- but it’s what I’m thinking now- and it may evolve over time. I ask that you go easy on me- and stick to the ideas that you are having as this mess unfolds into the pages of the history books- or not. Many better people have died for a cause, the President just awarded the presidential freedom medal to the “Mississippi Burning” heroes, 50 years later.
I look forward to your thoughts.

How to get fast affordable business internet in Dayton

Hint- it’s not from Time Warner, it’s not from AT&T and it’s not Cincinnati Bell (they use AT&T’s pipes).
In Dayton- the city- you can’t and won’t get fiber from any of the standard providers.

T-1’s and fractionals are expensive. DSL is dog slow. And you can’t get real upload speeds from cable.

What’s a small tech firm to do?

Call Norm Wentland at Dayton Digital Development (937) 371-3192- and hope and pray you can get an antenna outside your building that can go line of sight to Downtown. Norm is running a peer to peer network over radio waves- and will give you a fixed IP and at least 8Mbs symmetrically up and down for $100 a month.

I mounted my antenna yesterday on the chimney- hooked it up- and got this from www.speedtest.net

Ping 25, download speed 41.43Mbs and upload of 29.64Mbs

Speedtest screen shot from Dayton Digital Development

Yes- the ping is high – most of the time it’s around 19- but the download is a good 10mbs faster than what Time Warner does on downloads and the upload is 6x faster.

Finally- uploading video to YouTube won’t take an entire weekend.

My client at the Dayton Mall with the 3d scans and prints- is struggling with the DSL that’s available there from AT&T. He needs at least 5MBS up- and they are only able to deliver about half that.

How are we supposed to attract business with our water, when our internet flows like frozen molasses? Why are we building parking garages for real estate developers on Water Street when we should be building internet infrastructure for online businesses everywhere? This is the infrastructure of the future- who will need a parking garage after Google perfects the self driving car?

Watching the people from Miller Pipeline destroy South Park streets to put in new gas lines- I’m wondering why we haven’t demanded that all new utility work includes adding fiber to the home? Why should we have to dig everything up again? Unfortunately our digitally delayed politicians have no clue how important basic internet connectivity is.

I posted this on Facebook this morning and already a friend has called Norm. I’ve known about this technology and Norm for years- I’m not sure why I suffered slow internet for so long.

Say good bye to the telco and cable crooks- and get your business up on the fast track.

Here is the real facts on what you get from Time Warner- warning- not quite safe for work:

 

And as a side note- almost all of TW cable and internet was out most of today in South Park because it was windy. Why do we allow ourselves to live in third world internet land?
When Estonia and Vietnam are almost entirely covered by WiFi- and S. Korea has access speeds 20x faster than us, our leadership should have some explaining to do.

In the meantime- you can call Norm.

Tax dollars chasing tax dollars for no tax dollars

If the headline sounds stupid, think about this:

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority owes $1.1 million in back taxes on the parking garage on Patterson Boulevard next to the CareSource building at 220 E. Monument Ave. The 220 E. Monument Ave. building is current on its taxes, but the garage is behind.

via Delinquent Downtown Properties – Dayton Business Journal.

Your tax dollars built the Relizon/WorkFlow One/CareSource building and now CareSource- totally funded with your tax dollars- isn’t paying taxes on the building their people are undoubtedly parking in.

But, it just gets more entertaining.

Despite, being literally right across the street from the garage that’s technically owned by the taxpayers- the taxpayers are being stuck with the bill for another parking garage:

The city of Dayton is moving forward with the financing to pay for the new downtown garage for Water Street.

Commission approved Wednesday a bond purchase agreement to borrow $6 million from the Ohio State Transportation Infrastructure GRF Bond Fund Program. Of that, $2.5 million comes through state loan proceeds and $3.5 million from state infrastructure bank bond proceeds. The funding will help pay for the acquisition and construction that supports the three-story 429-space garage that will serve the Water Street development.

via Dayton to borrow $6M to pay for Water Street garage – Dayton Business Journal.

The first article pointed out that almost one in four properties downtown aren’t current on their taxes- but, there have been no cuts to the “Downtown Dayton Partnership” which is supposedly funded with property taxes in the “Special Improvement District” or SID. Never mind the fact that buildings are dropping in value like rocks- as businesses move to Austin Landing where your tax dollars built a brand new mega intersection and funded development in an unincorporated township- where mysteriously, only the little people pay income taxes (people working at Kohl’s and Kroger and Five Guys pay taxes- people working at Teradata or Thompson Hine- do not).

One must also wonder if the closing of all the downtown Dayton exits on I-75 just after Austin Road was built wasn’t an attempt to squeeze the last life out of downtown- so it can turn into more wrecking bills for Steve Rauch and company? Because one way to cut vacancy rate is to just tear down buildings.

In the meantime, getting a police officer to solve a crime in Dayton becomes even more of a pipedream, as the force continues to dwindle because of budget cuts, retirements and a lack of money to pay cops – because, well, parking garages are more important.

I’m just wondering when the city is going to start building garages for people who are still stupid enough to buy houses in our city? Oops- they tried doing that in Wright Dunbar and it hasn’t exactly taken off.

At some point voters need to wake up. There is no silver bullet to save downtown or your neighborhood. If we focus on the basics first- like snow removal, police response times, solving petty crime, cleaning streets- and making the city building department business friendly- we’d see a lot more progress than these Hail Mary moves to “create economic development.”

We also need to take a hard look at what has occurred at Austin Landing- and stop this idea that we can have these tax dodge havens. Those were all Dayton jobs- maybe the answer is to expand the south airport and annex the whole area into Dayton and turning it into an “enterprise zone” (like at the airport- because, well, that’s been so successful).

Heading into the new year end tax time, I’m looking at our whole screwed up multi-jurisdictional taxing mess and thinking of it as a design problem. How would we simplify the collection of taxes in the region and cut the amount of time wasted on fining and forgiving small businesses who can’t keep up with this rats’ nest of jurisdictions?

It’s really pretty simple- one single income tax rate. A single property tax levy. And an absolute limit on numbers of elected officials per people per square mile. And put a complete stop to investing public tax dollars into private developments- that’s not what we pay our taxes for.

But then again- it’s becoming really clear that only little people are expected to pay taxes anymore.

Thanks to a man named Shirley

Photo of Shirley Gossett

From the left: Shirley R. Gosset, Staff Sgt. Joshua L. Brady, and retired Lt. Col. James L. Pritchett, all 82nd Airborne Division veterans, join to place a wreath honoring fallen paratroopers in front of the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial May 26. Photo by Pfc. Mike Pryor, USA

For the life of me, I don’t remember how I got invited, but at age 22, freshly out of the Army on Temporary Disabled Retirement Leave, I found myself in a basement in Vandalia with a bunch of superheroes.

Most of them, gray haired, and close to, or recently retired, they all shared a common bond- jumping out of a perfectly good airplane for Uncle Sam.

I have never met a bunch of strangers that I was so instantly embraced by. Within a meeting or two, I was “elected” their Sgt. at Arms. They were the 82nd Airborne Division Association, General Matthew B. Ridgway chapter. And although it was the 82nd- and I’d only served with 7th Group down the street- the bond was the ownership of a pair of jump wings.

The basement, belonged to a man who always had a smile on his face- and gleam in his eye, a man named Shirley Gossett.

His obituary appeared in today’s paper- with a perfunctory summation of his military and post military pride in being a paratrooper:

Shirley graduated from Parker Vocational High School in 1941 and was on the Reunion Committee for 40 years. He served in the U.S. Army 325 Glider Infantry of the 82nd Airborne Division in Holland, Belgium, and Germany as a Scout & Runner in WWII. Shirley earned many ribbons including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He retired as a sheet metal worker from Local #224 after 40 years. He formed their Retirement Club in 1985-6 and served as their President for four terms.

In 1970, Shirley formed the Dayton Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, which was later renamed after General Matthew B. Ridgway. He served on the Board of Directors of the 82nd Airborne Association as Secretary, Assistant Executive Director, Executive Director and was elected as National President in 1981 and 1986. In 1990, Shirley received their highest award, “All-American of the Year.” He was certainly the most active veteran in this association, holding raffles, selling VCR tapes and books will all profits going to their Educational Fund.

In 2000, 82nd Airborne Commander, MG Dan McNeil presented Shirley with the “Commander’s Award,” an award given to a civilian for his dedication to the Division.

via Shirley GOSSETT Obituary: View Shirley GOSSETT’s Obituary by Dayton Daily News.

He died November 13, 2014, in an odd twist in obituaries, it didn’t have his age or birthday. Doing some math- based on graduating from high school at 18- he was born in 1923, and was probably 91.

Tom Brokaw dubbed men like Shirley our greatest generation, and to have known him, you’d understand why.

Those meetings of men, from all walks of life, all social strata, that were held in Shirley’s basement, told a story of the resiliency that they brought to battle, on foreign soil, for a cause that was as clearly just as any in history.

I remember hearing stories from these fine gentlemen of having more combat jumps than training jumps (5). Of going off to war, with no guarantee of coming home after a “tour”- unless you were severely injured or in a casket. Some of them had served in the 101st at Bastogne in the “Battle of the Bulge” – facing incalculable odds and horrendous weather. Many had put behind the horrors of war, and come home to raise kids, have careers and live a life that was considered “normal”- without the respect and appreciation they deserved for their sacrifices by a country that seemed to turn its back on those who served.

All of them, were welcome in Shirley’s basement, its walls covered with memorabilia- a shrine to the “All American” division. All of them brothers from different mothers.

I drifted away from attending after my term was up. Taking on battles with the city over garage doors, running for office and later starting my own band of brothers- VOB 108, a group for Veteran Business Owners. But, every so often, I’d stop by an 82nd event, and get the same big smile from Shirley and a welcome hand from the brotherhood of paratroopers, and some ribbing for not winning election battles.  If there is a reason why my license plate has the army jump wings on it- it’s because of Shirley, who put a higher value on the fraternity than I ever would have imagined. It’s not about my accomplishments, but about that of those who came before me and after me

As I ran around the track at Ft. Benning, during “tower week,” past the c47 painted in Normandy invasion stripes, we would chant a cadence about the perils of parachuting…

Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door.
Jump on out and count to 4,
and if my main don’t open wide,
I’ve got another, by my side.
And if that one should fail me too,
lookout ground, I’m comin’ through
Tell my girl, I’ve done my best-
Pin my medals upon my chest
bury me in the front leaning rest…

Thank you for your service Shirley Gossett. And for being a prince among men. Those who have had the honor to shake your hand, and share in the Airborne brotherhood will miss you. There isn’t anything more you could have done for us, your family, our country.

Airborne, all the way.

 

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 19 at the Morton & Whetstone Funeral Home, 139 S. Dixie Dr., Vandalia with Pastor Dennis Phillips officiating. Interment with military honors will follow at Forest Hills Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. until time of service.

 

 

 

The ultimate gift for the holidays – your doppelganger!

There is a reason Esrati.com hasn’t been posting as often over the last month- it’s a new kiosk in the Dayton Mall, and they are my client.

On Oct. 15th, a local entrepreneur contacted my firm, The Next Wave, looking for help to open the first of its kind business in North America. The business makes scale sculptures of you- by taking thousands of photographs of you in a 12-second span. The photos are interpolated to build a 3D model, that can be printed in a 3D printer- and delivered to you in about a week.

Great idea- huge success in an ASADA store in Manchester England (ASADA is the name Walmart uses in the U.K.)- where they did gobs of them in the first month they were open. Only thing was, he was to have the machine delivered and installed on November 1st.

Photo of the booth for Doppelganger Labs

Designed and built in a week by The Next Wave for Doppelganger Labs at the Dayton Mall

Normally- naming, branding and marketing plans take months to prepare- but we worked a crazy number of hours- and “Doppelganger Laboratories” was born. Unfortunately, shipping the scanning booth took a bit longer, and while we had the booth ready to go on the 2nd, the scanner didn’t make it here until the 8th (last Saturday). The assembly took 3 people almost 2 days- and at 9 p.m. last night the first scans were completed.

Here is what a scan of Howard from the Big Bang looks like online in the preview, note, the software prefers Firefox or Chrome for the full webGL experience:


And here is Dayton’s finest miniature painter, in full reenactor garb:

The figurines are pretty cool- even though they are made of a melted plastic powder (laser-sintered polyamide to be exact) – that’s colored to match the scan. It comes out feeling like sandstone, and must be handled much like a porcelain figurine would be. Oddly, the statues aren’t waterproof- if they get wet, the colors may bleed.

The actual sculpting/printing takes around 9 hours and isn’t done locally at this point. Turnaround is about a week.

Photo of a graduate with his doppelganger

Memorialize a special event in your doppelganger

As always, people ask how much they cost, and they start at $149 for a 1:12 scale model going up to $249 for a larger 1:8 scale one. How big they are – depends on how big you are. My old friend, RIP, Dan Obravac who was a bit over 7′ would be 7″ for the “small” 1:12 scale and  10.5: for the large 1:8 scale. Vern Troyer- the original MiniMe – who tops out at 2’8″ would make a real small model of about 2.6 inches for a 1:12 scale. The prices for all the versions are here: DoppelgangerLabs shop

The first 150 people to order a Doppelganger will also get one of our cool shirts- which say “Say hello to my little friend”

What I find most interesting is the what is old is new again. Before photography, people had basically three choices to be “memorialized” for others- a drawing, painting or sculpture of themselves. The little sculptures Doppelganger Labs produces are a return of the sculpture as a way of sharing your likeness.

Some of the coolest things we’ve seen are some of the double scans- there is a large model of a guy with his girl getting a piggy-back ride that’s just awesome. Of course, the pregnant sculpture is a way forever to remember the nine-month miracle of birth and share it later with your progeny. Wedding cake toppers are also popular- although big, poofy gowns with lots of lace and super long trains aren’t the best for scanning.

A few things to avoid when heading to the Dayton Mall to get scanned:

Wear big prints or solids. It doesn’t like shiny shoes, shiny belt buckles or earrings. Glasses are a no-no. Fingers do best when held clenched or touching a flat object like the side of your leg, or crossed arms, especially on the smallest scale builds. And remember, the output is more like an artist’s rendering- not a 3d model avatar to play you in Hollywood. Check out the selection of samples at the booth.

There are photos of people holding their statues on the site- I think the ones where the people are wearing the outfit they were scanned in are the coolest. We’re encouraging people to come back in the clothes they wore to be scanned so we can take a photo with you and your Doppelganger. Happy scanning people!

 

 

Another blow to the American dream

Come to America, where everyone can become a millionaire.

Thing is, a million ain’t what it used to be.

It’s been a long time since I served with the U.S. Army Special Forces. We liked to think of our special operations units as the “quiet professionals.” We didn’t like to have our pictures taken, we’d keep a low profile, identifying marks on our bodies that weren’t put there by god weren’t approved of. (A friend, Tim G., got busted 2 ranks and put in a shit job for getting “YANKEE” tattooed across his chest just before being shipped to Nicaragua to train people we had no business training). When “Mark Owen” wrote the book “No Easy Day” about the operation to get Bin Laden, I pre-ordered it and read it the weekend I got it.

I didn’t see anything that even remotely seemed like a security leak, or disclosure of classified info or special ops weapons or tactics. I’d read most of Dick Marcinko’s “Red Cell” books- and gleaned a lot more there.

And while it’s OK for Hillary, Bill, and Barack to make millions from their books- apparently, it’s not OK for an enlisted man to make a dime.

Matt Bissonnette, a former member of Navy SEAL Team 6, will probably have to forfeit at least $4.5 million in book royalties over his failure to allow the Pentagon to review his best seller on the Osama bin Laden raid for possible security breaches, according to court documents filed by his lawyer. The documents say Mr. Bissonnette would also have to give up movie rights to his book “No Easy Day,” worth at least $900,000, and would lose the security clearances needed to do military-related consulting work.

via Former Navy SEAL, Author of Bin Laden Best Seller, May Face Costly Penalties, Lawyer Says – NYTimes.com.

Let’s see the differences:

Bissonnette signed a blank check to the people of the United States guaranteed with his life. He trained harder than 99.99% of Americans. He risked his life many times over.

Hillary, Bill and Barack- got elected. They smiled and waved at cameras, told people what they wanted to hear, and took billions in donations to reach their goal. Hell, even Monica Lewinsky got paid for her near toppling of our government over her sloppy blow job.

Charlie Sheen pretended to be a Navy SEAL- and got paid millions. Why shouldn’t Bissonnette? He’d even promised most of the proceeds to go to families of Navy SEALs who were killed in action, although the foundation refused his donations according to Wikipedia sources.

Generals have made millions from their book deals- I’ve got a signed copy of General Tommy Frank’s book, Colin Powell has a book, McChrystal has a book- after he had to resign for talking to Rolling Stone while still on duty. Look at what all the generals get to do once they retire- sit on boards, work for defense contractors, lecture tours.

Guys like Matt who did their dirty work, make up the largest segment of America’s homeless.

The American dream isn’t what it used to be. Even the guys who make it possible for it to continue to survive- have to fight tooth and nail to get their share.

I hope the Pentagon drops this stupidity before they make bigger fools of themselves.