Tuesday, February 28, 2012


   24% of black children born out-of-wedlock
     3% of white children born out-of-wedlock

   73% of black children born out-of-wedlock
   53% of Latino children born out-of-wedlock
   29% of white children born out-of-wedlock

Out-of-wedlock rates:
   70% for high school dropouts
   51% for high school graduates
   34% for persons with some college
     8% for college graduates
   50% for women under 30

KKK Membership in Colorado sharply increasing

Number of white supremacist groups active in Colorado - 12

Santorum winning primaries

Monday, February 27, 2012


Green Day -  21 Guns  -  Cast Version

Do you know what's worth fighting for?
When it's not worth dying for?
Does it take your breath away
And you feel yourself suffocating?

Does the pain weigh out the pride?
And you look for a place to hide?

Did someone break your heart inside?
You're in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

When you're at the end of the road
And you lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul

Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn't pass
Nothing's ever built to last
You're in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

Did you try to live on your own
When you burned down the house and home?
Did you stand too close to the fire
Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone?

When it's time to live and let die
And you can't get another try
Something inside this heart has died
You're in ruins

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky

One, 21 guns
Lay down your arms, give up the fight
One, 21 guns
Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

Lyrics Provided By ZoneLyrics.net

H/T to Randy M

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Broken Trust in Amish Country



THIS village is as sweet as its name. Main Street climbs gently from a tidy railroad crossing, past a few gift shops to the simple brick First Mennonite Church.

Beyond the hamlet lie the farms and buggy-traveled lanes of the eastern Ohio Amish country, one of the largest clusters of Amish and Mennonite settlements in the nation. Craft markets, furniture shops and restaurants dot the county roads. Those businesses carry the names — Yoder, Miller, Troyer, Beachy — that fill entire chapters of the slim local telephone book.

This postcard from a gentler and simpler America is about as unlikely a place imaginable for the news that broke in September: one of Sugarcreek’s own, a prominent member of what some people here call the Plain Community, was under arrest, accused by federal prosecutors of running a Ponzi scheme that betrayed his neighbors’ trust and wiped out more than $16 million of their savings.

The news media made the obvious comparisons.

The elderly defendant, Monroe L. Beachy, had been a respected financial figure in his community for decades — just like Bernard L. Madoff, the master swindler.

As in the Madoff case, Mr. Beachy’s seemingly successful investment firm employed several members of his family. He, too, first attracted clients who shared his religious faith. And he, too, was accused of defrauding charities, congregations, even his own relatives. Predictably, headlines have branded Mr. Beachy “the Amish Bernie Madoff,” although he is presumed innocent as he heads to trial next month.

But the most intriguing aspect of Monroe Beachy’s story is how different it seems from Bernie Madoff’s — and from almost every other story with a “Ponzi scheme” headline over the years.

While victims of Mr. Madoff’s fraud, like most Ponzi victims, condemned their accused betrayer in court as a monster, many of Mr. Beachy’s investors have said in court that it is more important to forgive him than to recover their money.

While the Madoff case and others like it have inevitably created conflict between longtime investors fighting to keep their fictional profits and more recent investors trying to recover lost principal, some Beachy investors urged that their own share of his estate should be given to those in greater need.

And while Mr. Madoff’s wife and sons instantly became social pariahs in Manhattan, Mr. Beachy’s wife and children remain at his farmstead here, living peacefully with their neighbors.

But like the Madoff case, the Beachy case has left an indelible mark on the nation’s bankruptcy record.

It became the forum for a rare bankruptcy court battle over religious freedom, with Mr. Beachy’s Amish and Mennonite creditors insisting that the court’s way of dealing with his downfall could not be squared with their faith or with his.

“Monroe Beachy in his time of distress breached the trust of his fellow Amish and Mennonites” by entering an “environment of coercion and self-protection in the bankruptcy court,” a group of church elders told the judge, urging him to put the case into the hands of the church where it belonged.

That would accomplish three worthy goals, they said. It would allow a less expensive, more advantageous financial workout “based on Christian principles of love and care for the poor and needy.” It would create a setting in which “Biblical forgiveness and restoration can be found between Monroe Beachy” and those he is accused of betraying. And it would repair “the tarnished testimony and integrity of the Plain Community.”

The Beachy name is not only common in Sugarcreek but also notable in the history of the Plain Community, which encompasses a number of Amish and Mennonite sects. One is known as the Beachy Amish, a splinter sect formed in the late 1920s and named for a founding bishop, Moses M. Beachy.

Monroe Beachy, in his late 70s, is married and has five adult children, three sons and two daughters, all living in the Sugarcreek area. He and his wife, Alma, and their daughters live in a tidy home on a 60-acre farm near the muddy verge of Township Road 162, barely wide enough for two cars to pass. The two-story house next door, which he built for his family in 1988, is now a son’s home. Monroe Beachy does not drive a car; his only vehicle is a horse-drawn buggy, valued at $3,300, including the horse.

Under oath at a creditor meeting in August 2010, he described his background. He has an eighth-grade education, he said, and attended a few high school classes. As an adult, he took some tax-preparation courses with H & R Block. With an associate, he formed an informal partnership, A & M Investments, in the mid-1980s to operate an H & R Block franchise, but the partnership was dissolved in 2000 and the franchise was sold. Thereafter, Mr. Beachy retained sole control of A & M Investments but also set up his own business, Payrolls & More, which processed paychecks for small businesses.

He was clearly a trusted community figure. He served for 15 years as treasurer of the Amish Helping Fund, a nonprofit that collects money from the Plain Community and uses it to provide mortgagesfor the purchase of farms and homes in that community. He kept the group’s records in a separate fireproof file box at his modest office at 122 West Main Street, across from the First Mennonite Church.

His A & M Investments eventually took in about $33 million, paying investors a fixed return that was better than they could get at the bank. He kept a share of their interest earnings as his fee. He assured those who asked that he invested in only very low-risk government bonds, regulators said in court filings.

In a modest way, Mr. Beachy helped the local economy, making undocumented loans on a handshake to the owners of a bakery and a popular noodle company, who paid him back when they could. He invested cash for dozens of businesses — a general store, several furniture makers, two concrete companies, an electric supply company and at least one large Amish-style restaurant.

Word spread about his safe, steady returns. Parents encouraged their children to practice thrift by opening A & M accounts, too. By spring 2010, he was mailing his simple one-page, seven-line statements to almost 2,700 investors, largely Amish and Mennonite, in more than two dozen states from Alaska to Arkansas.

THEN, on June 30, 2010, it all came crashing down.

That day, Mr. Beachy abruptly filed for bankruptcy, declaring liabilities of $33.2 million and assets of just $17.9 million. Two of the region’s small newspapers reported that there was a note on the door of A & M’s darkened office: “Due to an investigation A & M Investments is closed.”

One of the papers, followed more closely by the Amish community, reported receiving a statement in which Mr. Beachy disclosed the bankruptcy filing and said: “I deeply regret the concerns caused in our community and the shortfall in A & M’s investments. I took this action to ensure that account holders are treated as fairly as possible.”

The first creditor meeting was held that August, in the banquet hall of the Carlisle Inn in nearby Walnut Creek, one of the few places within reach that could accommodate the estimated 600 people who attended.

Under questioning by the bankruptcy trustee, Mr. Beachy explained that some “bad investments were made” and had gone sour, wiping out roughly half of his investors’ savings. He said these losses were in dot-com stocks and other stocks related to the Internet.

What about his assurances that he invested only in safe government bonds? “If we misled anyone, we did not do it on purpose,” he told one investor who questioned him. He said he had relied on recommendations from several advisers, including a broker in New York named Paul Chironis, and had failed to cut losses and seek advice many years ago, when the losses occurred.

The court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, Anne Piero Silagy, pressed Mr. Beachy about when he had decided to file for bankruptcy.

“When the subpoena was issued,” he said.

When the trustee opened the floor to questions, a man named Ryan Miller asked Mr. Beachy the obvious follow-up question: What subpoena?

“A subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Mr. Miller persisted. “For what?”

“To examine the bank accounts,” Mr. Beachy said.

Lawyers with the Chicago office of the S.E.C. would not disclose what drew their attention to Mr. Beachy or why they served him with the subpoena that prompted his hasty bankruptcy filing. But by September 2010, the government’s concerns were emerging in court filings.

Daniel M. McDermott, the Justice Department’s United States Trustee for the northern Ohio region, asserted in one document that Mr. Beachy had been insolvent at least since December 2001 and probably as early as 1998, when his handwritten ledger showed his portfolio’s market value as $23.6 million, while investors were owed $26.6 million. Mr. Beachy hid these losses from his clients and continued to accept new cash, Mr. McDermott said.

Moreover, the ledgers for two entire years — from January 1999 to December 2000, a period that included the bursting of the dot-com bubble — were missing, without explanation, according to Mr. McDermott. Investigators believed A & M Investments had been a Ponzi scheme, he reported.

The portrait of Mr. Beachy’s financial career sketched out in a civil lawsuit filed by the S.E.C. last February contrasted sharply with the homespun biography he gave creditors six months earlier.

In July 1987, according to regulators, Mr. Beachy had passed the qualifying exam for a Series 6 securities license from Finra, the securities industry’s self-regulatory group. The license entitled him to sell mutual funds and variable annuities. Finra’s records show he was licensed through H. D. Vest Investment Services of Irvine, Tex., a national network of independent brokers and tax advisers that was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2001 and sold by the bank last year.

In 1998, according to court records, Mr. Beachy was among a handful of investors who paid $1.8 million to become preferred shareholders in W. J. Nolan & Company, a tiny brokerage firm in New York City. At the time, the firm was already in serious trouble with its regulators, and in October 2001 it closed its doors.

The preferred shareholders sued in state court in New York to recover their investment. In response, the firm sued two of its former brokers, contending that they had been responsible for misleading the preferred shareholders. One of those brokers was Mr. Chironis, the broker Mr. Beachy said had advised him in his disastrous foray into technology stocks.

In a telephone interview last week, Mr. Chironis denied that he had misled the preferred shareholders and said he did not feel that he had any responsibility for the losses Mr. Beachy incurred on those shares, or on any other investment he made over the years. “He was always in control of his own accounts,” Mr. Chironis said.

The W. J. Nolan litigation was settled out of court in 2004, the same year Mr. Beachy terminated his Series 6 registration with Finra. But Mr. Beachy did not terminate his relationship with Mr. Chironis, according to regulators. Mr. Beachy said at the creditor meeting in 2010 that not breaking his ties to the broker was “another mistake” he regretted.

In April 2010, less than three months before Mr. Beachy received the subpoena, the S.E.C. filed an administrative case accusing Mr. Chironis of defrauding the Sisters of Charity, an order of mostly elderly nuns in the Bronx. In January 2011, he was barred from the securities industry after he settled the S.E.C. case without admitting any wrongdoing and agreed to pay $350,000 to the nuns. Regulators would not say if their interest in Mr. Beachy grew out of the Chironis case.

Mr. Chironis said his dealings with Mr. Beachy went back more than a decade. But the assets Mr. Beachy still owned when he went bankrupt were certainly riskier than the plain-vanilla bonds his clients thought he was buying.

He had invested in various brand-name mutual funds, including one of the T. Rowe Price Spectrum funds, as well as the Pioneer Fund and Fidelity Magellan. He had $1.4 million in one high-yield mutual fund — also known as a junk bond fund — and smaller investments in other high-yield funds. And he had $350,000 in a margin account at the New York firm through which he dealt with Mr. Chironis.

Those holdings were at odds with Mr. Beachy’s assurances to creditors that he had turned away from riskier investments after his dot-com losses and had never traded on margin.

More than a dozen churches, church building funds, fellowships and ministries lost money in Mr. Beachy’s downfall. One family’s losses included the emergency savings relied upon by its daughter and son-in-law, serving as missionaries in Central America.

Many A & M accounts were small by Wall Street standards, but were crucial in a community whose citizens may have religious scruples against drawing Social Security benefits. The anxiety and confusion of many elderly investors is evident in the handwritten notes in the bankruptcy court docket.

“Greetings in the Name of Jesus!” one 76-year-old widow in the Miller clan wrote. “I had [$]4,327.80 in A & M Investments with Monroe Beachy. And I would like to tell you that I need it very badly.” She described her current ailments, osteoarthritis and diabetes, and concluded: “I hope and pray you can send me my money back. I need it. Thank you kindly.”

WITHIN weeks of Mr. Beachy’s bankruptcy, religious leaders were working on a proposal to handle the settlement of claims outside the court process, using the cash remaining in the estate, as well as donations from Amish and Mennonite communities nationwide.

In a document submitted to the court, the ad hoc committee organizing the effort explained the Plain Community’s feelings about the bankruptcy. “Bankruptcy is morally abhorrent and is not consistent with the values we hold,” the committee said. “It is a dishonorable discharge of debts.”

One passage in the document called for Mr. Beachy’s clients to seek reconciliation with him. Forgiving a brother does not require shielding him from his fate, it said. But extending charity “to those harmed, and to those that have done the harm is our testimony to the world of love and forgiveness.”

Wayne H. Wengerd, the committee chairman, said last week that he had known the effort “was a long shot — but it was important to provide a testimony to the world and to our own people about what we stand for.” He added: “We were willing to sacrifice to live out those teachings. The teachings are more important than money.”

The committee also sent out a letter of apology from Mr. Beachy:

“Hello: At A & M Investments our aim was to provide a decent rate of interest and for a number of years it worked. However some investments in stocks and bonds should not have been made and when they went bad I should have asked for advice from other people and the church. Instead I kept this to myself and went on hoping to recover at least some of the loss. But then we were forced to shut down at a low point in the economy and the loss is large. I am really sorry for this.”

He concluded: “I have made a confession to God and the church and feel I have been forgiven. I hope you can forgive me too.”

For the Amish plan to be put into action, the bankruptcy court would have had to dismiss Mr. Beachy’s case and turn back the clock to the moment before his filing. Only then could his dealings with creditors follow a different path.

The committee’s vigorous campaign to have the Beachy case dismissed, based on the First Amendment’s religious freedom protections and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, won wide support. More than 2,300 creditors filed form letters with the court endorsing the plan.

THERE may have been some practical reasons for that. The public’s fascination with the charm of the Amish is the bedrock of the tourist economy here, and the Sugarcreek scandal was an ugly scar on that landscape. A solution emphasizing fundamental Amish values might well neutralize any damage that the Beachy case inflicted on the Amish image.

But the campaign’s intensity left some non-Amish creditors feeling uncomfortable. One grandmother recalled attending a meeting at which supporters insisted on a “standing vote,” not a secret ballot. She opposed the plan, she said, but she remained seated because she felt intimidated at having her position exposed publicly.

No such qualms afflicted the S.E.C. legal staff, the United States Trustee’s office and the bankruptcy trustee. In court, they all stood firmly against the alternative plan. It would lack judicial oversight and protections against mismanagement or unequal treatment, they argued. And it could well be unconstitutionally unfair to a small minority of non-Amish creditors, who would be steered out of court and into a religious forum tacitly endorsed by the government.

Last March, Federal Bankruptcy Judge Russ Kendig in Canton, in the federal courthouse closest to Sugarcreek, ruled that “delegating insolvency proceedings to a religious body” would be unconstitutional.

Given the high constitutional hurdle, the judge said, Mr. Beachy simply had not “met his burden” for showing why his case should be dismissed after it had started moving through the court. Once “the rock begins to roll,” he concluded, something much stronger than a change of mind is required to stop it.

No part of this story contrasts as sharply with the real Bernie Madoff case as what happened next.

In the Madoff bankruptcy, virtually every adverse ruling has been appealed by the losing side, as have disputed decisions in countless other high-profile bankruptcy cases. But when the Amish leaders lost their passionate plea, rooted in their deeply held religious beliefs, they simply sent the judge a letter.

“We are agreed among ourselves to accept your ruling as the will of Almighty God in this matter,” they wrote, after thanking him for considering their point of view so carefully. “If there is anything which we can do as members of the Amish-Mennonite community to facilitate the bankruptcy process and help bring it to a speedy conclusion please do not hesitate to contact any member” of the committee.

On Sept. 15, 2011, more than a year after Monroe Beachy closed his office and made his fateful trip to bankruptcy court, federal prosecutors held a press conference in Cleveland to announce that he had been indicted on mail fraud charges arising from a “scheme to defraud” that they said dated back to 1990.

He is scheduled to go to trial next month in Youngstown. If convicted, he faces a possible jail term of up to 20 years. His court-appointed defender, a prominent Youngstown criminal defense lawyer, J. Gerald Ingram, did not respond to messages seeking comment on the case.

The bankruptcy case in Canton, meanwhile, is moving forward. The trustee, Ms. Silagy, is optimistic that up to 50 cents on the dollar ultimately can be returned to investors, according to her lawyer, Bruce R. Schrader. Some creditors have filed letters with the court expressing frustration with the delay, but he said that only about 400 creditor claims, out of 2,600, have not been pursued in court.

The criminal trial, scheduled to open on March 19, will no doubt generate new headlines in Sugarcreek — which would much rather tell the world the sort of news it had last month: the village will soon install one of the world’s largest cuckoo clocks.

Mayor Clayton Weller of Sugarcreek says he hopes the trial will not cause renewed rancor. “I personally feel that the people are accepting what has happened,” he said. “They are understanding, and most of them are forgiving.”

But as the church fathers see it, something of lasting importance was tried in Sugarcreek.

“A hundred years from now, what will be the difference about how much money we had here?” asked Emery E. Miller, a village resident and a proponent of the alternative plan, at the first creditors meeting. “But a hundred years from now, there will be a difference in how we responded to this from our moral being, from a moral level — the choices we made to forgive or not to forgive.”

Saturday, February 25, 2012


We spent the long President's Day weekend in Malibu, our hometown for a number of years.  We were able to walk the beaches, eat at some of our favorite restaurants, roam the old stomping grounds and visit with family and friends. Since our arrival time at LAX was around 6:30 pm, my original intent was to stop at the nearby In-N-Out for a double-double:

However,  we decided to head on out to the Bu, check in at the Malibu Country Inn and head down Westward Beach Road to the Sunset Restaurant.  As you will note from the pictures on the link, the Sunset is located along the beach at the base of a cliff - and on top of the cliff is Zuma Bay Villas where we lived for a few years.  If you watch the video, note Shearwater Lane, our road, and the steps to the beach that come right out by the Sunset.

Well, at the Sunset the DJ had the music cranked up so loud in the smallish bar area that we quickly exited and headed for Spruzzo, which is another close-by restaurant.  Hot wings and adult beverages hit the spot!

On Saturday morning, our plan was to walk Zuma Beach and stop in at How's Trancas Market for the best-in-the-west apple fritters and a cup of coffee.  Another plan changed - the Market has been closed and gutted and there is construction all around.  So we headed to the Point Dume Pavilion Market where we found some fine pastries and an in-store Starbucks.  As we were enjoying our coffee and rolls, a good friend from Pepperdine and Point Dume resident dropped by and we had a good chat, catching up on all of the news via the PeppVine. 

After coffee, we went on a whimsical quest looking for Malibu guest houses.  We found a wonderful place high above Zuma Beach - how high is shown in this picture:

The owner was most gracious, and introduced us to Air B&B, which is an international online community of folks who have homes, guest houses or rooms, and even houseboats for rent.  We have already found the Point Dume guest house that we will hopefully be able to rent for our next trip to Malibu. 

Saturday afternoon was spent wandering the beach below Malibu Road and then traveling over to Agoura for a visit to the Beadiac [Rhonda seems to know where all of the bead shops are located] and a shared tri-tip sandwich at Wood Ranch BBQ - one of my favorites.  Later we met my sister at Duke's for conversation and a bit to eat and then headed to Pepperdine for a men's basketball game versus Portland - Pepperdine actually won which hasn't happened a whole lot this year. 

Sunday morning we walked the length of Zuma Beach and had our coffee and pastries at the Trancas Starbucks.  We then headed west on PCH to the county line and got on Mulholland Drive to wend our way back.  It is a lovely road, winding through the Santa Monica Mountains, and is quite remote at times. As we slowed for a small settlement, we noted the hundreds of bikers who routinely gather at the Rock Store, and many were clustered around a fine old car - the folks were listening to its owner describe his gem, the owner being Jay Leno!  A bit further up the road is the Old Place restaurant, and we stopped for mimosas and a bit to eat.  Sunday afternoon I was able to play basketball at Pepperdine's Firestone Field House with several good friends.  I also met a student who is from Golden and is the nephew of a Boulder school teacher that Rhonda has worked with - small world.  And to top that off, the teacher and her daughter were also in Malibu visiting their nephew/cousin, so we met them all for a short visit at their hotel - the swanky Malibu Beach Inn. [I love the sounds of the ocean and birds that begin when you open their home page].  Then we headed over to a new-to-us restaurant, Cafe Habana, owned by Rande Gerber [spouse of Cindy Crawford].  Decent food, decent beer.

Monday morning we completed the Malibu Starbucks trifecta with coffee and pastries at the mid-Malibu shop.  We then headed across the street to the Malibu Lagoon State Beach for another beach walk.  After finding a few more 'gems' Rhonda dropped me off at Pepperdine where I met up with colleagues and friends.  Since I had lunch at Pepperdine, we stopped at Taverna Tony so Rhonda could have one of their great Greek salads. 

We were able to check out another guest house, this one on Broad Beach Road.  For dinner, we again headed through the canyon, this time to Calabasas to eat at a friend-recommended brew-pub, Wolf Creek.  We were struck by the name, mainly because Wolf Creek is a Colorado ski area, and when we looked at the menu, there were several Colorado brews including two from Boulder.  We never did learn of any Colorado connection, but the link to the Rocky Mountain West was obvious - photos of the Tetons, etc.

That pretty much wraps up our adventures - hope you enjoy all of the links!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Jefferson Wagner, aka Zuma Jay, surfing legend and surf shop owner, Malibu City Council Member and Mayor, and as reported here,  Ralph Lauren model, Marlboro Man, Clint Eastwood stand-in, explosive expert, and some-time rock and roller, among other things - but most importantly, Jay is a basketball player.  Check out the Zuma Jay link for more pictures of The Man dating back to the 70's.

And I guess this is one of the perquisites of being Mayor of Malibu.

But back to basketball.  I met Jay while playing Wednesday night open gym adult basketball at Malibu High School.  Jay was a regular, along with Downtown Scotty Brown, Doug-I-Am-Not-Related-to-Adam Sandler and his son Nick, Vinnie, Eddie, Pablo and Pedro, Dave and Big Dave, Justin, Philippe,Steve, Tall Paul, Crazy Mike, Doc Sam and gym custodian Sam.  While Jay was not the most talented player on the court, he certainly was among the most competitive.  He has good skills, good basketball sense, and an intense desire to win, particularly since winners stay on the court while losers sit. Smiles don't come easy to Jay when he is playing ball!  I much preferred playing with Jay than against him, particularly since he is quite good at exploiting any height advantage he might have.  His signature move is a fake shot followed by a drive to the basket, and his signature MO is calling a foul when he missed his shot - OK - I overstate just a bit, but would wager that Jay is among the leaders in calling fouls against players on defense.  

Jay spends most of his time at his shop on the land side of the PCH in mid-Malibu, close to the Malibu Pier, so if you are out that way, stop by and say hello.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


Love You Forever

by Robert Munsch 

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The baby grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was two years old, and he ran all around the house. He pulled all the books off the shelves. He pulled all the food out of the refrigerator and he took his mother's watch and flushed it down the toilet. Sometimes his mother would say, "this kid is driving me CRAZY!"

But at night time, when that two-year-old was quiet, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed; and if he was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The little boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was nine years old. And he never wanted to come in for dinner, he never wanted to take a bath, and when grandma visited he always said bad words. Sometimes his mother wanted to sell him to the zoo!

But at night time, when he was asleep, the mother quietly opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep, she picked up that nine-year-old boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes the mother felt like she was in a zoo!

But at night time, when that teenager was asleep, the mother opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep she picked up that great big boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

That teenager grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home and got a house across town. But sometimes on dark nights the mother got into her car and drove across town.  If all the lights in her son's house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed. If that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, "You'd better come see me because I'm very old and sick." So her son came to see her. When he came in the door she tried to sing the song. She sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always...

But she couldn't finish because she was too old and sick. The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my Mommy you'll be.

When the son came home that night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs. Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He picked her up in his arms and very slowly rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while he rocked her he sang:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Some of you may know that Glen Campbell has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and has released a 'final album' Ghost on the Canvas (official video) and is on an extended farewell concert tour (details at the Campbell link above).

A while back, I had the opportunity to chat a bit with Campbell.  He was attending the President's Reception for new students and faculty which is held each year at the Pepperdine President's Residence.  I believe that one of his children, Ashley, was an incoming student that year, and President Benton invited Campbell to join the President's Midlife Crisis rock and roll band for a couple of tunes including a rousing rendition of the classic Johnny B. Goode.  As he was awaiting his turn on the stage, I started our conversation talking about Ovation guitars because I knew that he played one on his TV show, the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.  In the 1960's, by way of a college friend connection (Henry Gleeson's dad worked for Kaman Sciences), I was able to get a very early production (#449) Ovation Balladeer, and as we chatted about his TV show and guitar playing, he reminded me that he has a line of Ovation guitars, designed by and named for him. Also, it turns out that Campbell was raised in the Churches of Christ, which is Pepperdine's affiliation.

Here are a couple of pictures of a 1976 Balladeer that is very similar to my circa 1966 guitar - the unique and ground-breaking feature was the single piece, molded composite back.  Charles Kaman was an engineer and a guitarist and along with his engineers, came up with the design as an acoustical enhancement.  Note the narrow neck - as I got older, my fat fingers have a hard time negotiating the frets, so I finally broke down and bought a wider-necked Martin.

As with all of us, time has marched on and Campbell had definitely aged since the halcyon days of the youthful guitar-playing singer.  

And like many celebrities, Campbell has a couple of mugshots, found here.  I would venture that you all can name a few of Campbell songs and perhaps even have a favorite that you would like to share in the comment section.  While I appreciate many of his tunes, I cannot say that any are on my Top 10, 25 or perhaps even 100.  However, among his many hits, this one is probably my favorite:

Written by Jimmy Webb

I am a lineman for the county.
And I drive the mainroad.
Searchin' in the sun for another overload.
I hear you singing in the wire.
I can hear you thru the whine.
And the Wichita Lineman,
is still on the line.

I know I need a small vacation.
But it don't look like rain.
And if it snows that stretch down south,
won't ever stand the strain.

And I need you more than want you.  And I want you for all time.
And the Wichita Lineman,
is still on the line.

And finally, for you old codgers [like me] here is a real blast from the past:


Friday, February 03, 2012


Much ado has been made over Blake Griffin's monstrous dunks, and they have become the benchmark for being 'posterized.'  For over a year, Griffin's dunk over Timofey Mosgov, then of the New York Knicks, has been the standard, and "Mosgov'd" became part of the NBA lingo:

Then, probably as a relief to Mosgov, Griffin's recent dunk over Kendrick Perkins has set a new standard - note how he uses his left arm to leverage himself right over Perkins:

And then last night, Mosgov, who is now a Nugget courtesy of the Carmelo Anthony trade, got the final word on Griffin.  At about the 30 second point in the video below, watch Griffin approach for another big-time slam, and watch Mosgov stop him cold.  From that point on, the Nuggets rolled and blew out the Clippers in LA.

But, the main focus of this post is a spectacular play by Rudy Fernandez of the Nuggets.  IMHO monster dunks should be EXPECTED from somebody who is 6 feet 10 inches, weighs 251 pounds, and can jump.  But Fernandez' play below requires a lot of skill, basketball smarts, and a bit of luck.  Time is running out at the end of the quarter, the in-bounded ball goes to Corey Brewer  who puts up a prayer that is way wide to the right - but watch how Rudy circles from the left, goes past the basket, and tips it in left-handed [Rudy is right-handed] with just a moment left on the clock.

Indeed, one of the best plays I have ever seen.