Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kitty Christmas

How many times have you wanted to give someone a cat for Christmas, but just didn't know how to wrap it? What perfect gifts they make. They eat less than dogs, they don't chew up your shoes, and for keeping your lap warm on a cold winter night, there's nothing better!

Well now, thankfully, someone has found out how to gift wrap a kitty, and has made this video to show us just how easy it is. Yes, wrapping cats is so much easier than wrapping dogs, rabbits, or porcupines. And after you see this, you may want to give a cat to everyone on your gift list!

But don't send me one, please. I already have a cat, and we're very happy together, thank you very much!

Now here is a must-see cartoon from "the Oatmeal."

My cat Lydia and I have written a song for us, to celebrate Christmas and to remind us how special cats are.
To the tune of "Holly Jolly Christmas," we present...

Pretty Kitty Christmas

We'll have a pretty kitty Christmas
and in case we have a storm
I'll take a nap upon your lap
and help to keep you warm.

We'll have a pretty kitty Christmas
and I'll let you stroke my fur
you can pat me all you want
and listen to me purr.

Ho Ho! It's gonna snow!
What you think of that?
It's good you got some wood
to keep warm with your cat.

We'll have a pretty kitty Christmas
and in case you didn't hear,
Oh how giddy, we'll have a pretty kitty
Christmas - this year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Every year some radio station or TV news station takes a poll to ask people if we think we should wait until after Thanksgiving to display Christmas decorations.
And every time they do this, most of the people who respond say 'Yes" we should celebrate Thanksgiving as a separate holiday without having it being overshadowed by Christmas.

But the merchants always want to push Christmas even before  Halloween, and sometimes even as early as August. I can remember when the Town of Chapel Hill had to pass an ordinance against displaying Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. At University Mall in Chapel Hill, I was told that the Christmas decorations are hidden in the ceiling, and after closing time on Thanksgiving Day, they come down to the floor on elevators. Then, so they say, a crew works on the decorations through the night, and have everything ready when they open again in the morning. I was Santa Claus there one year, (a really fun job, let me tell you!) and that's when I heard this.

I like the idea of giving thanks for the good things we have before we celebrate having them, as an appropriate start to the Holiday Season.

I hate the idea of people killing each other on Black Friday the very next day.
That is one tradition I do not observe.

Some don't want to celebrate Thanksgiving at all, in sympathy with our Native American friends. (Which is why I don't tell the Pilgrim story!) Then there are the Jehovah's Witnesses, who don't celebrate any holidays, not even birthdays. (those poor kids!)

When a loved one goes missing or is murdered during a holiday time, it tends to put a damper on the festive occasion, and the reminder keeps coming back around every year.

For those who came late, Debbie went missing the night of November 30, but as it was after midnight, and before daylight began, the date is also considered December 1. That year (1997) Nov 30 was the Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend.

But I love the holidays, though it may always be a challenge to celebrate it the way I think it should be. But, you know what?, that is a challenge I always accept!

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

15-Year Anniversary

By the end of this month, we will be observing the 15-year anniversary of when Debbie Key was last seen. The 10-year anniversary got a lot of attention, which I am still thankful for. (see slide show at the bottom of this page) This time around, I would like to point out some other significant events that have occurred in 1997.

1997 - Deaths
Perhaps most memorable are Mother Theresa and Princess Diana, but also were comedian Red Skelton, poet Allen Ginsberg, and the lovely Nicolette Larson.
Carrie Slaughterbeck may have become the first person to die from blue-green algae.
Not as well loved but also remembered is Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan.
Let' not forget the entire congregation of Heaven's Gate, with the appearance of the Hale-Bop Comet, on March 26, 1997

Other Anniversaries in '97
Vampire fans in the US and UK have observed the 100-year anniversary of when Bram Stoker (a favorite author of mine) published "Dracula," the novel that made him famous. (1897)
And in Roswell, New Mexico, a festival was held in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the alleged UFO crash that made that town famous. (1947)

Other Events
Another favorite author of mine, Kathy Reichs won the Ellis Award for her first novel, "Deja Dead." This author's work was the inspiration for the TV series, "Bones."
The first mass protest against Scientology took place in Clearwater, Florida.
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (the TV series, not the movie) began in 1997 and continued through 7 episodes. (1992 for the movie)

We do not live in the past. We get on with our lives and strive to progress. But one of the best ways of doing this is by learning from our history.

As for Debbie Key, at the present time I am not aware of any plans to commemorate the coming date, but I would not be surprised if any of our friends were to show up at that parking lot across the street from the Jade Palace Chinese Restaurant on Main Street in Carrboro, NC. It's been known to happen before around this time, and if you ask me, I'd say to enjoy a good Chinese dinner at Jade Palace is a good enough reason to go there anyway. Should an impromptu gathering occur, that's likely where it will be.

Holiday Season is approaching.
Peace on Earth. Good Will to People.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Smell the Coffee

We have established that the world is round, and it revolves around the sun.
We have established that there were dinosaurs, and the world is millions and millions of years old.
We have established that mental illness is caused by chemical imbalance, and not by evil spirits.
We have established that Negroes are human beings, and that people who are not white are not necessarily inferior.

Yet today some of us are still struggling with the misconception that the way to deal with poverty is to give more money to the rich.
Can you say, "Duh"?
Now seriously, Folks, let's get our brains in gear. The "trickle-down" theory does not work. To overflow a glass that is already full does not fill an empty glass. This shouldn't be too hard to comprehend.

Mitt Romney wants to rob our senior citizens of  Medicare and Social Security benefits in order to give tax breaks to the millionaires who can already afford things as they are. Now I ask you, does this make sense? What kind of president wants to rob from the poor and give to the rich?

So now you're probably wondering what this has to do with the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. I will get to that, I promise. Let me explain.

Since childhood, my fictional heroes have been the ones who rob from the rich and give to the poor. Such heroes include Zorro, Robin Hood, the Scarecrow, (of course) and, more recently, V for Vendetta. I was an especially big fan of Zorro when I was a little boy. (Yeah! That's what I want to be when I grow up!) The gallant defenders of the poor and oppressed have always scored the biggest points in my book.

Masked bandits do not win the approval of everyone, and many tend to frown on those who break the law, even for very good reasons. But during the 1960s, most parents seemed to think it was okay to let their children watch anything endorsed by Walt Disney. This I am glad of. (It was shown on the Wonderful World of Color.)

But how many of us baby-boomers remember when this show was on TV? About a month ago I posted the above video on my Facebook wall, asking how many of us remember it. I never got a response. I'm hoping that was because it wasn't showing up on News Feed, where most of us go when we sign in to FB. Among my neighbors, only one person I have asked remembers. (better than I do, even!)

It is debated whether this story is true or fiction, or maybe a fictional story based on a real person. (like Zorro) Legendary heroes often appear in times of oppression, and Walt Disney himself seemed to believe the Scarecrow was a true story.

So why am I seeing the opposite today? Since when did it become acceptable to rob from the poor? I keep on wondering when the Republicans will wake up and smell the coffee.

President Obama, on July 19 of this year, in Jacksonville FL, said;
"It's wrong to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare just so millionaires and billionaires can pay less in taxes."
That's what the man said. Won't you listen what the man said?

This Halloween, let there be more scarecrows to haunt those who haven't been awakened yet.
Remember to vote, and remember that the road to Hell is paved with Republicans.
Take care!
"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men."
-- T.H. Huxley

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Human Trafficking in NC

Are the days of slavery really over?
Or is slavery just wearing a different outfit now?

Human trafficking is no longer something that happens "somewhere else" but is going on right here in North Carolina.  In fact, NC is now in eighth place in the US in number of cases reported. (That puts us in the top ten, Folks!) Trafficking victims have been reported in Greensboro, Charlotte, Greenville, Raleigh, and Durham. That brings it pretty close to home for us here in the Chapel Hill/ Carrboro area.

Senator Ellie Kinnaird, our former mayor of Carrboro, (we are so proud of her!) sponsored the first anti-human trafficking law in our state in 2006. She is currently working to raise awareness at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

An estimated 18,000 to 20, 000 victims of  human trafficking are in the US today.
The US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines human trafficking as;

"the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or commercial sex services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery."

Last year NC became one of the first states to introduce mandatory training in human trafficking for law enforcement. NC Coalition Against Human Trafficking, or NCCHAT, (shouldn't that be NCCAHT?) and the Carolina Women's Center pushed for and provided training sources for this effort.

Last August the Salvation Army of Wake County opened its anti-human trafficking program, and since then have worked on 19 cases assisting victims. They still have a heavy case load.

What can we do to help? Glad you asked! First we should learn what human trafficking looks like, and how to read the warning signs. For that we have Polaris Project.

Learn how we can take action.

And here is the Polaris Hotline, a toll-free number to call for more info, training, or to report a case.

Special Thanks to;
Amanda Keener - news correspondent
Andrew Castle - director for World Relief Durham
Claire Chu - spokesperson for Polaris
for calling the news to our attention, and providing us with this information

Here are some more news stories you may want to see.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Searching for Brittanee

Since April I have not been able to get Brittanee Drexal off my mind. Could this be some dreadful obsession I should seek help for? I'm sure there are plenty who would say so. I had taken such advice before concerning wanting to do a website about Debbie Key, and found a pretty good therapist I got along with. It may not surprise you to know I was told I was already doing something positive to help me deal with it, and should keep it up. Doing a website is better than shooting people or jumping off a bridge, and it actually does some good.

I tried to explain to some well-intentioned friends that when you actually know someone who goes missing, it tends to change your perspective a whole lot. Alas, I find that only a person who has been there has any idea what it's like. So I now have some new friends who deal with the same thing.

One could very easily get overwhelmed with so many missing persons out there, no matter how devoted one is to the cause, and so I tend to pick "favorites" to focus attention on.

Why Brittanne Drexal? Good question. I've been asking myself that a lot. Is it because she's so young and pretty? Don't think so. There are many who fit that description

The answer I came up with was Myrtle Beach, SC. A familiar place, and one not so far away from here. That's where Brittanee went missing. Anyone who has ever been there tends to go back again. It's a very groovy place.

When I think about Natalee Holloway, I wonder why an Alabama high school would choose a spot so far away to celebrate graduation, when we have so many good beaches here on the Atlantic coast. (Especially the Carolinas and Virginia) But unlike Aruba, Myrtle Beach didn't try to cover up the fact that  a teenage girl went missing there, but have been very supportive of the efforts to find her. Perhaps they have no need to fear a loss of tourists, as it continues to be the favorite vacation spot it's always been. A neighbor of mine has already been there half a dozen times before summer officially began.

Nor has Myrtle Beach ever tried to exploit the tragedy. You won't find any vendors there pushing Brittanee souvenirs. If you want a copy of the poster, you can download it for free off of her website.

Heading south from Myrtle Beach on 17 brings you to Charleston, SC, where Brandy Hanna went missing, and north on the same highway takes you to Wilmington, NC, home of the CUE Center for Missing Persons.
What to do for summer vacation this year?  You can look for missing persons, and take in our beautiful Carolina coast at the same time. Does that sound like a good plan?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Not Brittanee's Bones

Sometime around the anniversary of when Brittanee Drexal went missing in SC, some bones were found that were thought to be hers. A link was sent out, but the link was dead, so we had to wait awhile to find out what was up with that. Then we learned the bones were not human.

It appears the first news story got pulled. Perhaps out of embarrassment? You would think it wouldn't take a professional to tell human bones from deer bones. But before we start making fun of the examiner, let me share a story with you.

Once upon a time, in Orange County, NC, there was a group of friends who went searching for the remains of a missing friend. These people weren't professional searchers, they were just concerned friends. One of these friends found some bones and some brown hair, and called out to the other friends to see what he had found. With hearts pounding and adrenaline rushing, the rest of the skeleton was quickly uncovered to reveal it was a skeleton of a deer. There was a mixture of relief and disappointment. Once the whole skeleton was seen, there was no question it was that of a deer. No official report was ever made of this find.
By now you've probably guessed who I'm talking about.

I know very well the excitement that comes from a discovery like this, as do some of my friends here in NC, so we may not be so inclined to make fun of anyone in this situation. (except to say we did know it was a deer) We should assume it wasn't the whole skeleton they found in SC.

But since then there was more news about the Brittanee Drexal case, that is probably more important. (But I couldn't resist throwing in a personal account.) It seems we now have a POI.

Which brings me to another subject, a personal issue, if you will.
This is just my opinion, mind you, but I believe that any person who would rape a child should NEVER be released! Not for any reason!
There, I said it.

Ordinary, everyday people searching the woods for human remains, just outside of Chapel Hill, NC?
Yep. It happens.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

FDK now 5 years old.

Friends of Debbie Key first appeared on the Internet on June 1st, 2007.
The first website about Debbie was called "Debbie Key - Murder Victim" and was done by Jackie Helvey in 2006. Jackie is probably known by every musician and artist in the Chapel Hill/ Carrboro area, but is best known for the website Carrboro.Com.

I thought Debbie's story deserved more than one page, and so in May of 2007 I bought the URL and hired Judith Gadd of Star WebWorks to create FDK.
I am very grateful to Judith for all the support and encouragement she has given me.

Our first year got off to a very good start with the news coverage of NC Wanted, and the 10-year anniversary candlelight vigil. But more than anything else, it was the blog "Who Killed Theresa?' by John Allore that really got it off the ground. There is a rather uncanny parallel between the stories of Debbie Key and Theresa Allore that got everyone's attention. From there the website seemed to take off on its own momentum.

The most rewarding thing for me about doing this was connecting with people like John Allore, Todd Matthews, Doreen Prior, Monica Caison, and our special friend 'Anon', who have each been a blessing to me. Through these new friends I have become more aware of the plight of missing persons, the heartbreak of victim's families, the people who are doing something about it, and the insane laws that fail to keep dangerous people locked up.

I really hate it whenever I hear people say, "I don't think there's anything we can do about it." before they even try. If I can make a positive example to anyone, I will consider it karma payed forward for all I have received.

Special thanks to everyone who has helped me along. I hope you know who you are.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bin Laden - 1 Year After

'May Day' has taken on a new meaning for us on May first of last year. Can anyone remember the last time Americans celebrated a death? I was a bit surprised that not everyone was excited about it. There are those who said, "They'll only replace him with someone just as evil." But still, it's one less evil person in the world. Some would say that people would use any excuse to get drunk and raise hell, and, for sure, there was a lot of that going on. But I thought it was something worth celebrating. I'm glad I wasn't the only one. I thought of the Munchkins singing "Ding dong the witch is dead..."

Besides that it took 10 years, I was sorry they didn't take his head. That's a tradition that goes way back. David took Goliath's head after slaying him to present to the king, as knights have done for their kings through the Middle Ages, and the head of Blackbeard the pirate was presented to the people of Virginia as proof that he was dead. Why not this time? Because, they say, we don't want any kind of shrine to him. I'm sure a lot of people would have liked to have seen such proof, but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits at the time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jessie Foster 6 Years Missing

March 28, 2009
Today is the six-year anniversary of when Jessie Foster went missing.
Her mother, Glendene Grant, is a Facebook friend of mine, and we have shared a few messages between us during the last few years. She has never given up, either in hopes or in efforts. She has been an encouragement to other parents of missing persons.

This video is a couple of years old, but this news article is from yesterday.
In other news, Britanee Drexel, who went missing April 25, 2009, is still being searched for in South Carolina. Today I have found claims that bones have been found that may be her remains, but I can only get error readings when trying to access the news story. Sorry to say, I don't know what's up with that at the present time, but I'm eager to find out.
This just in on 4/11/2012
An update on the Sharron Prior Case

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Sharron Prior Video

Well, it's new to me anyway.
I just discovered this in Facebook, and decided it should go here too.
Among my special friends in Canada are the Prior family. I have written before about Sharron Prior, and posted a video a few years back about her. When I saw this, I thought it was just so beautiful it must be shared.
After St. Pat's Day I start thinking about Easter.
Sharron went missing on Easter weekend, and was found dead shortly afterward.
I'm pretty sure the Easter Bunny cried that year.
This is a different subject now.
It has come to my attention that a news story I had completely missed was caught by John Allore. This is a must-read for anyone keeping up with Debbie Key's story.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Do You Remember?

Yesterday (March 5) was the anniversary of Eve Carson's demise.
I wonder how many of us remember that?

And how many of us remember St. Patrick's Day on March 17th?
If you ask me, around here, not enough! That's why I make such a big deal about it. I'm hoping to compensate for those who don't even know it's a holiday.

You would have to be of my generation to remember Darby O'Gill and the Little People. But did you know that before playing as James Bond, a young Sean Connery played in this movie?
And did you know he could sing?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Valentine

This is to a very special friend in Montreal, who chooses to remain anonymous, but, no doubt, there are those of us who know very well who she is.
Thank you for all your support, and for always being there for me.
Happy Valentine's Day! (one day late.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tribute to Eve Carson

'Twas the week before Christmas when I got the news that Lovette had been sentenced to life w/o parole. Somehow the news seemed to brighten my holiday. It's kind of strange that putting someone away can make someone happy, but sometimes it does.

When it comes to prosecuting dangerous offenders, there are three things that piss me off more than anything else.

ONE - The totally outrageous excuses the defense comes up with, that a self-respecting individual would never think to use for himself.
"He wasn't raised properly, badly toilet trained, didn't get enough chicken soup, etc. This is the one we should feel sorry for, not the victim."

TWO - The equally outrageous attitude that says the "rights" of such offenders are more important than the lives of our children.
"Yes it's too bad your daughter was so brutally murdered, but the important thing now is to make sure the killer gets another chance in life."

THREE - Blaming the victim.
"She shouldn't have gone out dressed like that."

During the trial of Eve Carson's killers, I didn't see much of that.
Not that I'm complaining, but I wonder why.

Perhaps because unlike so many other murders that have hit the news, the victim was a person already known in Chapel Hill before she was murdered.
And no one dared try to suggest she might have been at fault.
It seems if you know anything at all about Eve Carson, it would be very difficult to find something negative to say about her. You will find proof of this in how well she is being remembered.

When Atwater was at trial, he pleaded guilty. This may have been the first smart thing he had ever done. The most surprising thing to me about it was that he had shut up his lawyer who was trying to gain sympathy with a sob-story of his life. Even the defendant was tired of hearing it, it seems, and he wanted to get it over with. "I'm guilty, dammit!"

But when Lovette went to trial, he pleaded not guilty. That didn't work for him.

This was one murder I have taken very personally. Although I now live in Chatham County, I still consider myself a Chapel Hillian, having lived in this town longer than anywhere else. Eve Carson was "one of us."

Some fiends came into our town and killed one of our people. They must die.

My feet have tread on the pavement where Eve's body was found. I know that neighborhood very well. This was too close to home for me not to take it personally.

Whenever I'm in Chapel Hill, I always like to walk across the UNC campus. The Student Union is a fun place to hang out. You can pick up a copy of the Daily Tar-Heel there, and read posters about upcoming events. I couldn't swear to it, but I think I once saw Eve there. Didn't she have an office in that building? Eve was the kind of person who tends to get noticed.

I recall someone saying how unfair it is that the pretty missing and murdered persons get so much more attention, when it's just as tragic when it happens to someone not so attractive. I agree, this is true, but to that let me say that every cause has their poster children.

Oh, and there's one more thing to consider.
Eve Carson was also beautiful on the inside.

I don't think it's very likely I'll ever find anyone who will disagree with me on that.

I was walking across the campus the day after her murdered body had been identified. I saw a lot of people crying. I saw grown men with quivering lips and tearful eyes.
I felt an impact I will never forget.

Now there's a memorial garden to Eve on the campus. It's between the Student Union and the Campus "Y." I like to go there. It feels good to know Eve Carson will be remembered.

It's hard to think about this when reading about the trial of her killers, but then again, it's hard not to. (Does that make sense?) It seems to me that people who used to be opposed to the death penalty were now for it. Some thought that maybe just this once we should bring back public hanging. Speaking of poster children, Atwater and Lovette were said to be the perfect pair to campaign for this cause.

Sentencing Lovette will not bring Eve Carson back to us, nor will it un-do any of the pain we had to bear, but it was the best thing we could hope for.

Do I dare believe that our society has evolved to the level where we finally have a reasonable sense of priorities when trying a killer? No one pleaded this time for a second chance, as we all know how many chances have been used up. They should have already been in jail on the night of the murder. It was this very case that prompted our state governor to write the Probation Reform Bill. This much needed improvement came at the cost of a promising young life.

Is there anyone who knew Eve who did not love her?
I don't think so.