Friday, December 5, 2014

Cancer Recovery: Week 9

I haven’t been posting much lately because the effort of typing is prohibitive.   Instead of typing everything I now have a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking.  It’s not perfect but it’s better than typing by hand.

My health and well-being vary from day to day.  Today is one of my better days but I don’t know anything about tomorrow.  I have an appointment in a couple of weeks to get my feeding tube removed.  My doctor tells me this will resolve most if not all of my nausea problems. 

Last Wednesday found me in the emergency room again.  I was rehydrated and generally treated poorly.  My electrolytes were all okay with the exception of potassium.  I now have potassium pills that I’m taking.  

Believe me when I say that the cure is worse than the disease.  I have it on good authority that it will take one year for me to recover completely.  I have a strong feeling that it’s going to be a long year.  So I’ll make use of the time as best I can and continue writing.

My thanks to all of you for your prayers and positive thoughts.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cancer Recovery: Week 5

I spend my time eating through my feeding tube and trying to find something interesting on the idiot box.  Neither is much fun, but life took a turn for the worse last Monday.

I'm a lazy person by nature.  I'm suffering from exhaustion which exacerbates this condition, but that's neither here nor there.  A month or so ago I decided to see how much pain was being masked by my morphine, and so I skipped my morning pill.  By noon I had my answer - a lot of pain was being masked - and so took my morning Morphine pill and a shot of my emergency booster morphine liquid.  So far, so good.

Last week I repeated this experiment and discovered I no longer needed the morphine and so stopped taking it.  My logic is that if I'm not in pain, why take the meds - right?  So I stopped.

This was a mistake.  Big time.

The nausea got worse, then it got a lot worse.  I became light headed and my hands and feet felt numb (I'm told this is called neuropathy).  Then the vomiting started.  I called the emergency number I'd been provided with and spent two and a half hours playing telephone tag with non-medical personnel who individually assured me that someone would be calling me back.  I finally got the message and dropped into the ER, there to saddle them with my symptoms.  Thankfully I was able to get Main Lady to drive, as Mom does not do well driving at night and her head is full of dust bunnies.

So we get to the ER and taken to a room where I'm eventually given anti-nausea medications.  In the middle of all this I get asked the standard questions about what I've ingested and when, and I let it slip that it's been two days since I took the morphine.  Main Lady jumps on it, beating the ER doc by a mile.

"Jack, you're suffering opiate withdrawal.  You can't just go cold turkey on an opiate; you'll get sick." 

So that was that.  I saw Dr. Deathray the next day who set up a program to taper off, which is what I'm doing.  For her part, Main Lady is a licensed clinical psychologist who used to work for the State, and so has seen a lot of this type of thing.

There should be a warning about this stuff.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Cancer: Recovery Week 3

Monday night was devoted to nausea and vomiting. I flashed until I couldn't stand up, and let me tell you there is nothing worse than vomiting up the artificial food I have to eat via my feeding tube followed by dry heaves.

Tuesday my radiation oncologist (Dr. Rubin) stuck a fiber optic tube up my nose to look at my throat. This procedure is no fun, by the way. He followed this examination by trying to find the tumor in my neck that had started the whole business, and declared the tumor to be gone. 

Result: I am now cancer free.

Dr. Rubin has no idea why I'm still sick and unable to retain food. I explain that I'm depressed and need some sort of anti-depressant, which Dr. Rubin cheerfully prescribes. Everyone in the know says the pills will help, but I'm doubtful.

Wednesday my chemo therapy oncologist (Dr. Muler) ordered hydration and 2 grams of magnesium. Dr. Muler thinks the problem is with the tube feeding and blames the dietician, Marcia, for my problems.
Marcia changed me to a brand new artificial food and slowed the intake rate to practically nil. Marcia wondered if I might have picked up a nasty little bug from the hospital, which is very likely. My immune system is compromised.

Thursday I begin to feel a little better and spend the day eating from my feeding tube and watching The Sopranos on DVD. I'm depressed. I force myself to get cleaned up and think positive thoughts.

Friday, today, I'm fighting off depression with everything I've got.

The bottom line is that both doctors are good at their profession, yet neither one can tell me why I'm so sick.  I'm exhausted all the time, I'm almost always nauseated and I'm depressed.  I don't see that there is much of anything worth living for.

Still and all, I keep marching.  One foot in front of the other, one hour at a time.  I hope the scenery changes.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cancer: Recovery Weeks 1 and 2

Now that the therapy has concluded with an appropriate fanfare (Puccini's Tosca belting out Saint James Infirmary) I can relax and recover.  Right?  Wrong.  Real wrong.  I've spent most of my days in the hospital hooked up to multiple bags holding various concoctions which are guaranteed to keep my electrolytes in balance.  We hope.

The real blessing is that the constant nausea is gone or is under control.  The stomach being a small part of the digestive system, the intestines are free to give me one form of hell or another, and I now know that my mother's favorite son can have constipation and diarrhea at the same time.

Right now I'm getting nutrition from a bag of slop hooked up to my feeding tube and being fed into me by a pump.  If not for the pump regulating the flow, I would truly be up against it.

I want to thank all of you for your kind words, prayers and patience.  This is a bad road I'm on and every single prayer helps.  Just this afternoon Main Lady stopped over with a small bowl of yellow squash soup, and wonder of wonders I could actually taste the soup.  I am overjoyed, literally.  Everything else tastes like sawdust, and because of my dry mouth condition most foods are off the menu - I need soup or something the consistency of soup, not too spicy because my throat has the same feeling you get right after a tonsillectomy.

The pain medications are making me paranoid and hallucinate.  Not badly, mind you, but hallucinations are what they are.

Well, thanks to all of you. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cancer: Last and Final Treatment

I had my final treatment today.  As of today, no more chemo therapy and no more radiation therapy.  I'm officially done.

Now the tough part starts.  All that collateral damage has to be repaired, and the urban renewal process is tough and takes time.  For instance, Monday night I landed in the ER with my electrolytes out of balance to the point of magnesium being critically low.  I was unable to move my arms and legs, I was hallucinating and generally incoherent.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and Divine intervention, I'm still alive and with us. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cancer: Week 7 Day 4

Today is my birthday and my final chemo therapy treatment.  Of better news is that I was given a pump to use with my feeding tube.

The deal is I have a feeding tube.  In theory I take a can of highly concentrated, high caloric liquid food and poor it down the tube and into my stomach.  The trouble is and likely has been, is that the stomach can't handle it.  Think: you go from a diet (diet?  you call that a diet?) diet of junk food and gin to something that any triathlete would call desirably, disgustingly healthy and you wouldn't know what to do either.  So the stomach threatens an abrupt return to sender until the mystery substance can be identified and dealt with.

Enter the pump.

The pump accepts a huge bag of this health slop on one end and dispenses said slop into the stomach one tiny teaspoon full per minute.  The stomach gets used to getting a nutritious substance in this fashion and doesn't act up.  Much.  So now the nausea is, we all pray and hope, a thing of the past.

Prayers answered, and we may all thank the Lord for this one.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cancer: Week 7 Day 3

I woke up yesterday afternoon and discovered that I've lost my voice.  I cannot talk at all; only whisper.  I'm told this is an expected side effect of the radiation therapy.

The skin on my neck and throat is burned and the nausea continues.  I can't eat anything without becoming nauseous, and the medication for nausea is not all that helpful.  The only real cure is time. I'm supposed to consume 2000 calories per day; I'm doing good to eat 1100.  Yesterday I managed about 1800 or so, which took a Herculean effort on my part.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cancer: Week 7, Day 1

Seven weeks of treatment.  My final radiological treatment is one week from Tuesday (tomorrow); my final chemo treatment is this Thursday.  Then I'm done with therapy and things will get worse for three weeks.

Nausea comes in waves.  I've never been so sick in my life. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cancer and Rock Bottom

Last night, Wednesday, I hit rock bottom.  My digestive tract was malfunctioning in ways I couldn't believe were possible.  Nausea came in waves, accentuated by a spike in my fever.  I was so miserable I wanted to die.  Why should I live through this?  I couldn't come up with a good reason, but the effort of assembling myself, my pistol and a conveniently private place where my remains would be guaranteed to be discovered by the authorities was just too much effort.  So here I am.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cancer, Week 6

I'm still alive.  My dietician tells me I'm not eating enough, which is probably true, so this week is going to be food week.  The problem is that my mouth is so dry that anything resembling a bread product is automatically rejected.  My sense of taste is, for all intents and purposes, gone.  Everything tastes like low-grade sawdust.  My energy level is down, which isn't helping.

The team on the radiology side have got their act together and are handling their set of side effects very well, meaning my pain level is easily tolerable.  The chemo side has been a different matter up until I switched oncologists; I picked the one the nurses feared, respected and universally disliked.  I met him and consider him a good, regular type guy who happens to be a whole lot smarter than everyone else.  Question: how would you handle it if the people you were forced to work with were all retards?  Let me amend that question: how do you handle it?  Because we've all been there, right?

This morning things aren't too awful bad.  We'll see how the day shakes out.

One good thing is that I no longer need Lorazepam (Ativan) to get through my radiology treatment.  I'm happy with that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Status Update

I'm too sick to write.  Most of the medical staff tell me I'm doing real good.  One reminded me they never said this would be easy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thank You

My sincere thanks to everyone who has prayed for me or who has left a comment.  You have no idea what a line or two of encouragement means, so I'll tell you: The lift is enormous.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Still Alive

To those who can't tell from the next post, I'm still alive.  I'm sick as a dog, but I'm alive and I am not giving up.  For one thing, there's all those anti-freedom moonbats out there who would celebrate my demise - and I'm not going to give them the satisfaction.

English As Our Official Language

What's the problem with making English the official language of the United States?  This comes up every few years and every time it does, the media is flooded by moonbats who rant, rave and screed about racial prejudice and other bad things.  You know what?  I no longer care.

Keep reading for my own somewhat profane rant.  Warning: politically incorrect.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Condition

Don't get your hopes up; I'm still alive.  My treatment begins in the next 10 days, and will consist of both radiation therapy and chemo therapy.  The primary treatment is radiation, which will happen five time a week for seven weeks.  The chemo therapy, which uses Cisplatin, is used to kill whatever squamous cells the radiation therapy breaks loose and that try to take up residence in another part of my body.  Think of this as bayoneting the wounded.

At the terminus of my last meeting with my treatment team, my doctor told me in all seriousness that in terms of undesirable side effects, this particular regimen was the toughest they had to offer.  In his entire career he's only seen two men continue working at their regular job all the way through treatment.

I don't intend to set any records, but neither do I intend to wimp out.  I'm going to get through this and come out the other side just as grouchy and ill-tempered as ever.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Still on Hiatus...

Pick one letter out of the alphabet.  Hint: it's the one between B and D.  Okay, you in the back of the class, get your hooter out of that girlie mag and pay attention.


That's the letter, and that's what I've got.

Back to School!

Well, the brilliant minds that comprise the Sylvania Board Bored of Education have just cost the hoi polloi a bundle of money.  Keep reading for my somewhat disjointed rant about our elected officials and our no-fault system of government.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

On Hiatus

I'm taking a leave of absence for a few months due to poor health.  I'll resume blogging with a vengeance in a month or two.  Keep reading for the details as it amuses you to do so.

Monday, June 2, 2014


My sincere congratulations along with a hoist of the morning bourbon glass and a tip of the old fedora to Sollecks, law enforcement officer extraordinaire, and his wife Mrs. Sollecks without whom this event would not be possible.

Sollecks is the brand new father of a baby boy.

For those of you who don't know the players, Sollecks provided me with a police ride along which I wrote about in Cops: My Ride Along. He is an excellent police officer and will be a great father.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Restaurant Review: Hot Pot & Asian Grill

Hot Pot and Asian Grill
4038 Talmadge Rd.; Toledo, OH
Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm; Fri: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sat: 12:00 pm - 11:00 pm; Sun: 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Phone: (419)214-0600
Northeast corner at Talmadge and Sylvania

The Toledo Blade did a review of the Hot Pot Grill, which I will not link to here.  The restaurant reviewer didn't know what she was talking about, mainly because of her worldly experience (none), which was inversely proportional to her attitude - if the food doesn't look like a burger and fries, then what's it doing on my plate?  I couldn't let that one slide, so this afternoon I went over to see for myself.  Keep reading to get the straight money story on the Hot Pot and Asian Grill, and why people would want to eat there.

Sylvania Ohio Busybodies

I am, generally speaking, a live and let live sort of person.  I take pains to avoid irritating my neighbors.  I don't play loud music, I stay off their property and I don't get into loud, extended brannigans with friends and relatives at 3:00 AM (otherwise known as three in the damned morning) that involve the local constabulary.  I don't make comments about the length of my neighbor's lawn and wonder aloud if he's ever going to get off his dead ass and cut it. I don't offer him beer or wine in an effort to be friendly and sell him my current political agenda.  I figure the poor bastard has enough problems of his own.  I know I do.

Likewise, I expect the same from him.  I've found that most people will let me alone, excepting a few minutes of casual conversation now and again.  The only help from my neighbors that I would ever hope for is for them to call the fire department should my house ever catch fire, and if they see some low-life breaking into the house they might call the police and deliver an anonymous tip.  I don't expect them to ding the intruder while he's halfway in through the window.  For one thing, it might be me, as I've been known to lock myself out upon occasion.

This, then, is how good neighbors ought to act, and if we all did this, we'd all get along just fine.  We don't, but that's a topic for another day.  What happens in the middle of this pastoral scene is government.  Federal, State and Local, every single branch is populated with people who are convinced that they can run your life better than you can.  The city of Sylvania, Ohio is no exception.  Keep reading for the latest regulation to float to the surface.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Toledo Police Officers Falsely Accused of Racial Profiling

Back in April Toledo City Councilman Larry Sykes was stopped for a traffic violation by Officer Derek Cranford and Officer David Sprott of the Toledo Police.  If you believe Larry Sykes there was no reason for the stop, and in fact since Councilman Larry Sykes knew he wasn't doing anything wrong, he took his time pulling over.

The officer tapped on the driver's side window, startling Larry Sykes, who rolled down the window and cooperated fully with the officers.  The police officer asked the councilman where he was coming from, where he was going and if he had any weapons, liquor or drugs in the car.  The officer told Mr. Sykes that the reason for the stop was that the rear license plate was difficult to read, which prompted councilman Sykes to reply that it was probably dirty. The officer forced councilman Sykes to wait while the officer checked Mr. Sykes's license for any outstanding warrants, which took about 20 minutes.  Finding no warrants, Mr. Sykes license was returned to him and he was allowed to go on his way.

No citations were issued.

Toledo City Councilman Larry Sykes believed he was the victim of racial profiling, so he wrote a letter to the chief of police alleging police misconduct and abuse of authority.  The department of internal affairs started (and completed) a high priority, extremely thorough investigation into the matter.  Smelling offal in the water, the Toledo Blade started their own investigation.

That's when Toledo City Councilman Larry Sykes's story started falling apart like a cardboard box in a monsoon rainstorm.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

This Sucks Pond Scum

On Wednesday I get a call from someone I've never met informing me that an old friend just passed away of a heart attack.  I've known PartyMan for about 40 years, and although we'd lose track of each other from time to time we'd eventually make contact again.  About five years ago PartyMan called me up because he needed money.  I sent him three bills, and he paid me back several years later, with interest.

Five years back PartyMan calls me and says he's been to see the sawbones, mainly because he was too sick to walk to the bar.  So the sawbones runs a bunch of tests, and delivers the news.  And it isn't good.

Bad News: PartyMan has cancer.
Good News: It's cancer of the kidney, and it's operable.  So, with a little snick-snack-chop, PartyMan will be cancer free and all that implies.
Bad News: At some point in the past, PartyMan suffered a heart attack.  His heart is at 60% efficiency, and if there were any choice at all the sawbones would not take a knife to him, because, well, PartyMan is not a good bet.  PartyMan has no memory of suffering a heart attack, and that should tell everyone a little something about PartyMan.

PartyMan needed money for medication and to live on during recovery.  He asked me for $150 and I gave him $300 with the stipulation that:
  • He understands that the money does not come from me, it comes from the Lord.  Were it up to me, things would be a little different.
  • He would not spend the bread on liquor or other recreational substances.

And that was that.  So PartyMan survived the surgery, recovered and paid me back with a little interest.  Like I said, that was five years ago.  Since that time PartyMan went on disability and got inside a Section 8 apartment in a building downtown.  About a week ago last Wednesday he dialed 9-1-1 and the paramedics found him inside the apartment.  He'd stopped breathing.  He was comatose.

So they got him going again and took him to Saint V's in Toledo (Ohio), where he was hooked up to various machines that kept him breathing.  He lasted about a week and never regained consciousness.

In the meantime some people, whoever does these things, managed to find and contact a living relative (the dead relatives are ignoring the whole business), and PartyMan's brother and sister showed up to clean up the mess.  One way or another, they discovered Yours Truly, and I became involved.

I started calling people we both knew and discovered that another old friend, SunnyGirl, that I hadn't seen in a while was also deceased.  She had a four line obituary in the local rag and that was that.  No other information, not even the names of survivors.

Then I called a mutual friend, Big Daddy Fastbucks, and when I couldn't raise him I started to wonder just what was going on.  He finally called me back, and that's a relief.  He's doing well.

PartyMan was 60 years old.  SunnyGirl was 71.  Seventy-one doesn't seem all that old to me, but I guess it isn't the age so much as it is the mileage.

I caught myself making a list of dead friends, associates and casual acquaintances.  I think I'm depressed.

Mother's Day is this Sunday.  I think I'm going to work extra hard at giving my own dear mother a very nice Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Death Penalty and Vindication

My Internet buddy Jeff Gamso over at Gamso - For the Defense is against the death penalty.  So am I, generally speaking, mainly because we've all seen the results of our government in action in many other areas and We the People are willing to believe that Our Government would never send an innocent man to the gallows, or to prison, or pretty much anything else that could be construed as a gross miscarriage of justice.

Just how gullible are we, anyway?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 6, 2014 ballot: Victory!

Here's a message to the Sylvania Board of Education from me, Mad Jack.

You Lose!

From The Blade: Unofficial Results of the May 6, 2014 Election as of 5/7/2014 9:02 a.m.

Sylvania schools 3.8-mill continuing permanent new tax levy for operating expenses
FOR              4,357
AGAINST     4,864

We the people, the Great Unwashed, the hoi polloi, the commoners that you and your ilk look down upon from the dizzying heights of your ivory towers, we've had enough of you and your demands for more, more and still more!  You're nothing but a bunch of chazzers.  You've been eating at the public trough for so long that you don't fly straight anymore.

In spite of you and your best efforts, your demand for more money failed.  Now we'll get to live in Sylvania Township for a while longer, no thanks to you.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  On this day back in 1862 the Mexican army kicked the snot out of the French army in Puebla, Mexico.  Contrary to popular belief, this is not about Mexico's independence.  This is about celebrating the culture of Mexico.

The Mexican war for independence started with Grito de Dolores (Shout of Dolores) on September 16th, 1810 and ended 11 years later on September 27th, 1821.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May 6, 2014 ballot: Sylvania School Lawbreakers

A few days ago I wrote about the upcoming election.  You can read about it at May 6, 2014 ballot: We're Broke, or not as it amuses you to do so.  Since then the arrogant administrators that comprise the Sylvania Board of Education (BOE) have given raises to a host of school employees, all of whom make well over the median household income (2011) of $58,720 per year, and about three times the estimated per capita income (2011) of $31,187.  Additionally, all these people enjoy full teacher benefits, retirement and perquisites.

Ask yourself if a person could live on $58,720 per year, then look at what we are paying these people and decide if they truly need a raise.

As published by the Toledo Blade on Tuesday, 4/29/2014: Sylvania School Board Approves New 3-Year Employment Contracts

Southview High School's athletic director Susie Felver, whose salary increased $4,757 to $90,314
So now we're paying a gym teacher $90 grand? WTF?!

Director of disability services Michalene Sujaritchan, who got a $5,483 raise to $104,113
Just what does a director of disability services do, anyway? I mean besides suck up money from the public trough.

Assistant principal at Northview High School, Kasey Vans, whose new $88,761 salary includes a $4,681 raise.
$88 grand for an assistant principal? What are they, nuts? What did Vans do to deserve a raise, anyway? Besides show up for work everyday. Here's a few more, again from The Blade.

Employees whose contracts were renewed for three years and their salaries are:
Joseph Shamy, food service director, $78,391
Julie Sanford, assistant curriculum director, $88,761
Amanda Ogren, assistant principal at McCord Junior High School, $87,881
David McMurray, Southview High School principal, $110,403
Chad Kolebuck, Hill View Elementary School principal, $96,371
Karen Hehl, Timberstone Junior High School assistant principal, $87,881
Darren Estelle, assistant director of information technology, $90,926
Edward Eding, Maplewood Elementary School principal, $96,371
Jeremy Bauer, Stranahan Elementary School principal, $96,371
Michael Bader, Timberstone Junior High School principal, $104,113
Alan Bacho, director of facilities, $104,113

Director of facilities, over $100 grand. For what? Fire Bacho and let the assistant principals do his job. The seem to make about as much.

This is why the Sylvania BOE is demanding more money. They spend money that doesn't belong to them like there's no tomorrow.

Keep reading, because here's the best part.

Chris Myers over at SwampBubbles posted this on Tuesday, April 29th. It seems that members of the Sylvania school system are using school resources paid for by our tax dollars to promote the new levy they don't need.  As Chris points out, this is in violation of Ohio law.  Here's a link to the article and another to the Ohio law.

SwampBubbles: Is Sylvania schools using district resources to promote the levy? The answer is yes, the question should be to what extent?

LAW Writer® Ohio Laws and Rules: 3315.07 Instructional program for employees - supplies and equipment for local school districts.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in division (C)(2) of this section, no board of education shall use public funds to support or oppose the passage of a school levy or bond issue or to compensate any school district employee for time spent on any activity intended to influence the outcome of a school levy or bond issue election.

Chris bases his accusations on email that he, personally, received from the Sylvania school system and that he displays on SwampBubbles.

This is a brand new low, even for the Sylvania BOE.  Hand out raises, demand more money from the taxpayer and use school resources to promote the tax levy.  Typical politicians.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Being Railroaded, Part II

First and foremost, here's a hoist of the bourbon glass and a tip of the old fedora to Bud Love, owner of Power Recruiting in Toledo, Ohio.  Should you have need of his services, you'll find him at:

Bud Love
Power Recruiting
6029 Renaissance Place
Toledo, OH 43623
(419) 720-8708

Reading through the local bird cage liner, what should my bleary, red-rimmed eyes fall upon but a local dog story.  Well now, would you look at this. I wrote about this last month here, in Being Railroaded. Tickets can be a bit expensive.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

May 6, 2014 ballot: We're Broke

Times are tough all over according to the Sylvania Board of Education.  The Sylvania school system needs more money.  A lot more.  There's only one place to get that money, and that's from property owners in the school district.  Never mind that we're already over-taxed.  What matters is the school system, because it's for the children.

This all came about because of greed and the path of least resistance.  Greed, because if you're on the Board of Education your job is easier and a lot more enjoyable if you can fund some kind of program without cutting the funding for something else.  That way, everyone with their own personal agenda is satisfied and the board members will get re-elected next term.  This dovetails nicely into the path of least resistance because it's a whole lot easier to explain why the school system has no choice but to put another levy on the ballot rather than cut unnecessary services and eliminate extraneous personnel.

It's tough to get solid information about school funding and this levy, but I've found some.  In an article from the Toledo Blade, Sylvania Schools Levy Supporters To Greet Voters At Polls

According to the article, the school system has recruited volunteers to greet the voters and encourage these people to support this brand new levy, which is a 3.8 mill continual-operating levy.  That means that once it's voted in, we can't get rid of it.  There is absolutely no way to get a levy revoked.

What voters don't realize is that up until recently, the State of Ohio was picking up a portion of those property taxes, but as of July 2013 that activity is discontinued.

From the Toledo Blade on Monday, 7/29/2013:

Ohio Cancels Property Tax Rollback - Existing Levies To Get Funding Break, But New Ones Will Not

Many Ohioans didn't realize the state was picking up as much as 12.5 percent of their local property tax bills, one Senate Republican recently said.
Which is very likely the truth.  Most people get sick when they write that check for property tax.  How many taxpayers would take the time to see how the amount is calculated and if it's correct?  Not many, I'm thinking.

Local governments and schools heading for the ballot in November to ask voters to support new or replacement levies will have to tell them that the price tags attached will be higher than they were previously told. The taxpayer will pay the entire tab for any new taxes approved.
Which is only partially true.  Up until I found this article, I hadn't been aware of that particular circumstance.  All I'd heard was the usual mantra about needing more money and how none of this was the BOE's fault.  It was the Federal government, the State, the economy, the falling property values... anything but uncontrolled, irresponsible school spending.  At the root of this is the State of Ohio making cuts to education - except that it isn't.
The recently passed [Ohio State] budget contains $717 million more in basic per-pupil subsidies for K-12 schools over the next two years...
The State of Ohio is continuing to subsidize K-12 education.  That includes Sylvania.

One item that is never spoken of, and I kind of think might be the dirty little secret that the Sylvania Board of Education wants to suppress is the current tax rate.  Information on this is hard to find, but what I did manage to find is worth reading. From the Toledo Blade on Monday, 1/27/2014:

Auditor Gets Sylvania Tax Measure - Schools To Seek Additional $4.9 Million Levy To Avoid Deficit In ’16

The article states that the school system doesn't need the money right this instant, which is what they would have us believe.  No, they say they need the additional money to avoid a deficit in 2016.  In plain English, they say if they don't get more money now, right now, in 2016 they'll be spending more money than they are taking in.  Running in the red, so to speak.  To my way of thinking, this gives them two years to decide just which expenses they'll cut back on.

So how much are we taxed right now?  According to the article:

The Sylvania schools now collect 44.98 mills of operating levies, all continuing.

Compare that to the measly 3.8 mills they are asking for now, and it doesn't seem like much.  It's only an increase of 8.44%, but that's how levies work.  Just increase the tax a little at a time and maybe no one will notice.  Until they try to buy groceries, that is.

We've been through this entire business before.  Again, according to the article:
Its most recent new levies were 4.9 mills each, passed in 2004 and 2011.
Just three years ago a new levy barely passed, and they had to hold a special election to do it.  That levy was supposed to 'stabilize everything', according to the school board.  But now they're back again, asking for more money.

So how much will a property owner be paying?  If your property is worth $100,000.00, you'll be writing the Sylvania school system a check for $4,878.00, and because the State of Ohio is no longer covering a part of your property tax, you'll be paying the entire amount.

There is still a significant portion of retired people in Sylvania, or people who have moved here and are not wealthy.  An extra $5,000 a year goes a long way towards a nice life.  You can forget that, though, and it's because of the school system.  They don't care if you're poor, if you're retired or laid off or have other expense.  Their attitude: Too bad.  Pay me.  Just be thankful I'm not asking for more.

My family has lived in Sylvania for over 50 years, but it's getting to the point where we are being taxed out of our own home, and we're being forced out by an elite cadre of elected officials who don't give one final damn whether we stay or leave, so long as their hog trough is full.

If you would like to write these people and share your views on lower taxes and responsible government, here's a list of email addresses:

Sylvania Board of Education

Jim Nusbaum, President

Julie Hoffman, Vice President

David Spiess

Vicki Donovan Lyle

Stephen Rothschild

Sylvania Township Trustees

John Crandall

John Jennewine

Neal Mahoney

All three turncoats trustees have publicly supported the new school levy, I suppose because it means more money for the government.  Never mind the constituents that have to live with it.  They'll get along just fine.

The real truth is that if this levy fails two things will happen.  One, there will be a special election held at a time when voter turnout opposing the levy is likely to be very low.  Two, there will not be any change in the performance of the Sylvania school system.  Of course you can't convince the school board of that, but it's true none-the-less.

Vote no.  Tell them that they've got enough money already, and that they can learn to live within their means.  Like the rest of us.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

So Long to XP

Well, today is the day.  My OpSys is officially orphaned, kicked to the curb and treated like last week's fish wrap.  I'm not worried, nor do I intend to upgrade to anything else.  I've got several layers of protection and I perform regular back ups of my data.

While I'm usually against all forms of government regulation, this might be one area where the government should get involved.  If the Federal Government could rise to the level of mediocrity, that is.  The government might consider forcing Microsoft to support XP for another 10 years or so, but given the past performance of the government... I don't think so.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Being Railroaded

On the morning of May 2, 2013, on her farm in Lambertville, Michigan, Stephanie Sonnenberg swears that she saw two dogs kill two show pigs inside her barn.  Sonnenberg says one dog attacked her, but she was able to defend herself with a wooden board and overpower the dog, holding it for animal control.  One dog is a husky, weighing in at 60 pounds.  The other is a husky mix, weighing about 30 pounds.  The two pigs weigh approximately 100 pounds each.  The two dogs are owned by Janni Juhasz who resides just across the border in Ohio.

By Michigan law, the dogs must be destroyed and Sonnenberg must be compensated for her loss.  Sonnenberg claims the pigs were worth $45,000, or about $225 per pound.  Another source states that Sonnenberg was offered $9,000 ($45 per pound) and turned it down.  These appear to be pretty expensive show pigs.

The first time I read about this insanity I wrote it off as just another filler for the birdcage liner, but then I got to thinking.  Pigs are tough customers and have an irascible disposition.  They are not anything close to Arnold from Green Acres.  If the dogs actually did mix it up with the pigs, why aren't the dogs all torn up?  As it turns out, I'm not the only one asking that question.  Keep reading to see the latest news.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hines Farm to Reopen

Thumbing through the local bird cage liner, I fat-fingered the keyboard and discovered the following:

Historical blues club to reopen
From the article in The Blade:
The original owners, Frank and Sarah Hines, died in the 1970s and Henry Griffin, who grew up near Hines Farm, bought the property in 1978 and patiently worked to restore it over the years.
He continued to host occasional blues concerts in the club, and a yearly blues festival in an adjacent outdoor venue called the Pavilion until his death in January, 2013.
Steve Coleman, the new owner of Griffin Hines Farm, said he knows rumors have been swirling about the legendary blues club near Swanton since his father, Henry Griffin, died more than a year ago.
Steve says he's going to reopen Hines Farm and have it operating by this spring.  There's more information on the web site: Griffin Hines Farm

I like Hines Farm and I intend to make their very first show.  I'm hungry for ribs, whiskey and blues. I wrote about Hines Farm several times.  Here, in The eagle flies... and another article here, Griffin's Hines Farm Blues Club - Revisited. There are plenty of photos so you can get a feel for the place.

Here's a hoist of the morning bourbon glass and a tip of the old fedora to Steve for getting the place open and running again. Here's how!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Stand Your Ground and The Bully Pulpit

One way or another I stumbled across Lethal Lessons from Florida, a post on a blog by Jeff Gerritt and sponsored by the local bird cage liner.  For a solid explanation of stand-your-ground law, read Much Confusion Around Both Stand-Your-Ground and Castle Doctrine by Andrew F. Branca.

I wrote a brief response which will probably last until the censors see it, and so was inspired to write a more lengthy response here.  Keep reading to find out why I disagree with Jeff and his anti-freedom agenda.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Foster Care and Violence

You may remember that my brother, Shotgun Bob, has a houseful of critters to include three or four dogs and an equal number of cats.  He also has a wife, The Girl, and a son, Albert.  You'd think this would be enough to satisfy, but The Girl wanted to stay in the foster care business (Albert is the result of foster care) so Shotgun Bob acquiesced for reasons I neither know nor care about.  The latest foster care child is a 13 year old boy we'll call Dim.

Things went along pretty smoothly for six months or so, then yesterday Shotgun Bob found out just what had been living in his house.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Robert Burns Dinner 2014 - The Review

I first attended a Robert Burns dinner in 2012; I wrote about it here: Robert Burns Dinner in Review. The Burns Dinner is held at Barley's Ale House, an excellent restaurant which I reviewed here: Restaurant Review: Barley's Ale House No. 2.

Somehow or other, and I'm not sure just how this happened, we missed the Robert Burns dinner in 2013.  I know - heresy,  heresy, devil worship, witchcraft, no new taxes and other unspeakable perversions.  To which I say: Bite me.  I made it this year, and to atone for this incredible faux pas I'm posting a much longer review than I'd planned, along with interesting pictures of a few notable guests and staff.

Keep reading to see what you missed at the Fifteenth Annual Robert Burns Dinner and find out why you should attend next year.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Robert Burns Dinner 2014 - Hospitality

I would be sorely remiss if I failed to thank my brother Big Mike for his excellent hospitality.  Should you ever be so fortunate as to be a guest at Big Mike's house, know that he feels a great deal of responsibility for your personal comfort.

Keep reading for a few highlights and photos.

Robert Burns Dinner 2014 - Road Trip

On Friday afternoon I packed my bag, put my car under me and headed South on US 23 with a great deal of enthusiasm and anticipation of an excellent weekend.  I was going to enjoy three days of my brother Big Mike's hospitality and the Robert Burns Dinner at Barley's.

Keep reading for a restaurant review and general highlights.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Another Government Screw Up

On February 12, 1989 Dennis McGuire killed Joy Stewart and her unborn baby.  On Thursday, January 16, 2014 McGuire was executed by lethal injection.  By all accounts McGuire spent about 14 years in the justice system, ended up on the go to Jesus cart with a needle in his arm and took 25 minutes to expire noisily from a botched execution.

The citizens of Ohio should be marching on the State Capitol with torches and pitchforks, tar and feathers and effigies of every single elected weasel in State government.  They aren't, and here's why along with a nice diatribe on why they should.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pain, Sweat and Hose Draggers

If you think being a fireman (firefighter? fireperson?) is anything close to easy, here's a post that is required reading for you: Pain, Sweat and Grunts. The author is a retired fireman and has produced a very high quality photo essay about one training session involving the fire department and Pops, a bigger dummy than I am.

Well, a dumber dummy anyway.  Do yourself a favor and read this one.

Curtis Reeves and Chad Oulson Shooting

Curtis Reeves is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Chad Oulson.  You can read all about this story in any number of places.  Here's one that better than most - From CNN: Dad'S Texting to Daughter Sparks Argument, Fatal Shooting in Movie Theater, By Steve Almasy.

People are astounded by this, and in retrospect, arm chair quarterbacking it all the way, I'm not.  Keep reading to find out why, with the usual foul language warning coupled with a standard politically incorrect and unpopular opinion disclaimer.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snow Crises - January 2014

We've had a big snow and now we're getting below zero temperatures. Here are a few photos I took along with some commentary about our stupid local government.