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Monthly Archives: November 2015

I would suspect that there are a number of people out there that think that I am celebrating the announcement by Thomas Olsen that he is turning himself into the Santa Rosa court tomorrow to account for his actions over the past few months.

I am not.

pops1pops2.pngAlthough I have serious issues with the one we know as “Pops” I would not wish what he is about to face upon him. He had good intentions although they  were mistaken ones when engaging me in the disputes we had between each other. He was doing what he felt was right although I feel he was wrong.

His actions were based on biased and untrue information given to him by someone he admired and considered a friend. At least he was loyal and for that I give him credit.

His going to jail will change nothing. Instead the life of a bright young man will be wasted because of a decision he made in January of this year.

There is at least the hope that he will make the best of what will be a tough time ahead. In time, he just might emerge a much better person.

He has friends out there that will be wishing him the best. To the surprise of some out there, I will be one of them.

Stay tuned

MURT

dogtapeIn less than 24 hours a woman from Daytona Beach, Florida is learning that what someone posts on line can come back to bite you in the ass. A remark she alleged to have posted on Facebook has resulted in an uproar that will likely make her life a living hell for a long time to come.

A lot of people, including myself have a dim view of those who are cruel to animals. When they can, people will expose those who engage in the kinds of acts this woman is alleged to have posted.

dogtapetwoWhat makes this action infuriating to people is not only the fact she was cruel to the animal but is bragging about it and defending her actions. I doubt at this point that even if she were to apologize for her actions, that this would make people move on.

This should serve as a warning and as an example of how people on line react to what is posted there.

Stay tuned

MURT

snowyroad

It was one of the coldest and worst winters that I have driven through in my 40 years of over the road trucking. The wind was blowing hard and the snow drifts were high alongside  my semi as I progressed north toward the Canadian border. It was late in the evening sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I had the heater up as high as it would go. A large piece of cardboard was held in place with elastic straps to help keep the water in the radiator warm so that I could have at least a little protection from the bitter cold winds in the cold cab of the  Peterbilt I was guiding through the night.

Then, the one thing that all truckers dread happened. The engine started to run rough. It started to misfire which is a real bad thing for a diesel engine to do.

For almost an hour, I nursed the truck along as best I could. The truck began to go progressively slower as whatever was causing the engine to act up got worse. Since it was well below zero outside, it was certain that water was in the fuel and was starting to freeze. I was in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It had been what seemed like been hours since I had passed any kind of building. There was no place to pull over. This was not an interstate I was on. It was a narrow two lane road going through a sea of snow on either side.

Then, I had a bit of good luck. Off in the distance was a light, faint at first, but gradually growing brighter as I continued to struggle to keep the truck going.

Soon, I got close enough to make out a small square building with what looked like a parking lot in front of it that just might be large enough to pull the truck into to get it off the road.

I finally made it, barely and set the tractor brakes. I kept the trailer brakes charged since if they got set, they might freeze up and it would take forever to get them released.

I knew that I was going to have to call dispatch in Florida and tell them that I was not going to make my delivery. The truck was broken down and they would need to send a mechanic. My only hope was that there was a telephone booth outside or barring that, the place would be open in the morning so that I could call my soon to be angry dispatcher.

This was back in the days before cellphones or widespread public access to the internet. This was before Facebook, Twitter, Skype and so on and so forth.

I braved the cold and trudged over to the entrance to the building. It turned out to be a general store that was closed, naturally. There were no hours of operation posted, just a closed sign and no outdoor phone.

I resigned myself to crawling up in the sleeper and inside my sleeping bag to see if I could get some sleep. That was going to be something of a miracle since I could not get the engine to idle fast enough to keep the water hot enough to be comfortable. I considered myself lucky if I did not freeze to death in my sleep.

I had been sound asleep for I do not know how long when a loud banging sound scared the crap out of me and woke me up. I looked out the driver’s side window into the rear view mirror to see red lights flashing and the silhouetted figure of who I thought must have been a highway patrol officer.

As the pounding on my cab resumed, I crawled into the driver’s seat and rolled down my window. I asked the officer ” is there a problem, officer?

As it turns out, the officer was a local fireman who had been coming back from a call and noticed my truck parked alongside the road. He asked me if I was ok and I said yes and told him that I was having mechanical problems and needed to wait until morning when I could try and find a phone to call dispatch.

The fireman told me that the owner of the store was in Florida for the winter and that the place would be closed until spring. He then offered to take me the short distance up the road to the firehouse where I could sleep on their spare bunk and keep warm.

It was an offer I could not refuse and in short order, I was sitting in the nice warm cab of the fire engine watching the clearance lights of my truck fade in the distance as we proceeded toward the firehouse.

You have not lived until you have had coffee made by firemen. It hit the spot in short order and I was soon warm as toast. There were five of them on duty that night. They were not real busy this time of the year. Sometimes there would be the occasional call to rescue a stranded motorist who ran off the road into a snow drift. One of them would patrol the roads every so often looking for someone who might be in trouble. This night, they found me.

We all soon gathered around the enormous round stove that was heating the main room next to where the firetrucks were housed swapping stories and enjoying each others company.

During our conversation, I happened to glance over at a large box that probably once held a washing machine or other appliance of a similar size. It was open at the top and covered around the sides with Christmas themed wrapping paper. To the left of the box was an enormous Christmas tree that was elaborately decorated.

On one side of the box was a small square sign that read “for the kids.”

One of the fireman explained that they collected toys to give to the kids who might not otherwise have a Christmas. The box was half full so apparently they had done fairly well this year. There were also a couple of bicycles near the tree.

One of the firemen showed me the bunk I would be sleeping on and said they would all be turning in and would turn the lights off so that I could get some sleep.

It was about this time that the sound of a car with a bad muffler could be heard approaching the firehouse. The car pulled up the to the entrance and someone got out. The driver went to the back of the car and pulled out two large cloth bags. I sort of imagined it was Santa Claus. That illusion did not last long since it soon became apparent that it was a woman dragging the bags on each side of her toward the door of the firehouse.

One of the fireman went to the door and opened it so that the woman could enter. I felt that something odd was going on. The once happy expression on the firefighters face was replaced by one that was profoundly sad.

The same sad faces appeared on the other firefighters faces as they came toward the woman. Nobody said a word as the woman unpacked the bags and placed the wrapped presents into the box. I stood next to the firemen watching the woman as she put the last present in the box.

When she was done, the woman turned around and looked straight at me. Nobody said a word, not me, not her, not the firemen. Then, without any warning, she hugged me and started sobbing. It soon turned into an intense crying. All of the firemen surrounded the woman and hugged the both of us. I looked out the window, watching the snow fall and was completely confused.

Soon the woman stopped her crying, backed away and offered me a half hearted smile. She then turned and left. In all that time nobody said a word. She hugged each of the teary eyed firemen in turn and then left.

I sat down on my nearby bunk and tried to absorb what I had just been a part of. The fireman who had met me at my truck sat next to me and told me the story of the woman.

She was the mother of three young children, 8 year old twins and a 10 year old daughter. Two days ago, her husband had taken the children into town some distance away. It was a ruse so that the woman could wrap all of their presents and then hide them in the attic of their house until Christmas day.

The children would not get to see their presents. They would not spend Christmas with their mother. Neither would the woman’s husband. As he and the children were coming home from the movie, their car was hit head on by a drunk driver going way over the speed limit. The accident had happened in front of the store where my truck was parked. The woman lived close to the store.

It was these firemen who had responded to the accident and it was these firemen who had broken the sad news  to the woman that her loved ones would not be coming home.

The two bags had contained the presents she had lovingly wrapped for her children. Their presents would now go to some other children to make their Christmas a happy one.

There is not much to tell after that. I went to sleep, finally, after running the story of the woman and her family through my mind. The fire station had a phone and I had called my dispatcher. By the afternoon of the next day, I was on my way north to deliver my load.

This, however, is not the end of the story. A couple of months into the next year, I was on my way north once again and saw that there was enough room to pull off the road and say hello to the firemen who had been so kind to me that last year.

We had a friendly chat over some of the good warm fireman’s coffee. I then noticed a photo that I recognized as the woman who had delivered the presents. Under the photo was a small table and a vase that contained a dozen roses.

I turned to ask the fireman about the photo, but I did not have time to ask the question before he spoke.

He told me that the woman had committed suicide on Christmas day.

Every year around this time, i remember the events of that holiday season. The story of the woman reminds me that no matter how bad our individual problems are, there are others who have things much worse.

I have learned from that experience, to be thankful for the good in my life and to hope that things get better for those who are worse off than me.

MURT

 

pbombWe live in a “Polaroid” society where we want quick answers to the reason certain events occur. Most of us tend to jump at a simple, detail free answer to the various questions about the cause and effect of the important things that happen everyday.

blmWe live by the headline. We accept the sound bytes that we see on the evening newscasts. Rather than take the time to study in depth the why and how things happen, we look for the quick and short answers.

isis.jpgThe consequences of this kind of thinking can have profound ramifications if it continues. What makes an event significant is generally due to a build up of a multitude of ordinary events that lead up to it.

It is these underlining causes that must be examined in order to fully understand why things get to the way they are. There are many examples of why people need to take more time to understand why certain things are happening in the world.

congress.jpgThe recent terrorist incident in Paris is a prime example. Most of the ongoing debates taking place are due to the simplistic conclusions made by those reading about what happened over there. What they are NOT doing is engaging in fully informed debates.

My intent here is not to detail what I feel led to the Paris incident but to point out that it might be better if people take the time to study in detail the why and how things got to the point to where 130 people died for what seems no other reason that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

pcanadidatesWe will be electing a president next year and it is important that in doing so that those few of us that will vote make an informed decision. The fate of the world will be decided by whoever is elected to spend the next four or eight years in office.

There are other decisions being made right now based on what I feel is a rush to judgement. Not enough time has been spent studying what led us to this point and the potential for serious mistakes is there.

This is not only in the area of the Refugee situation or the problem with ISIS but in many other areas as well.

We may lose some of our liberties because of the decisions made by those in government who decide that one course of action or other is necessary in order to protect our way of life.

There is the issue of gun control, stepped up security at airports, bus depots, train stations and so forth.

There is the danger of increased monitoring of internet traffic and other means of telecommunications.

Because of the strained relations the public is having with law enforcement, other decisions are being made as well, many of which are rash and are attempts to make quick fixes to a long term problem.

We want fast answers and fast solutions when the answers should come slowly with a thorough examination of all the relevant factors. The decisions to be made should also be done thoroughly and over time.

This will likely not take place and some time down the road we will make the same mistakes as we continue to seek the simple answers to significant events that are not so simple.

Stay tuned

MURT

signalchartThere has been a centuries long debate about weather or not we are alone in this vast universe. The question has been asked many times over “are we alone?”

My answer is, no we are not.

There are countless stars out there being orbited by countless more planets. Among those countless planets are those planets able to support life. Thus there are countless planets that ARE supporting life.

So, why hasn’t ET phoned?

The answer is quite obvious, we are on their extraterrestrial do not call list.

marconi.jpgConsider this. We have been transmitting our various radio and television transmissions since the first wireless transmission was sent around 1896 or so. Depending on the frequency being used when making wireless transmissions, those signals will leave the Earth and continue out into space. That means that any planet or object in space will have picked up these signals if they were within a 120 mile wide radio bubble. One has to think multidimensionally,  remember.

galaxy

Just think of what we have been sending out there for the past hundred or so years.

atomboomb

All of the wars, all of the hate, the racism, the bigotry. All of our little squabbles and all of our dirty laundry is being sent, right this second “out there” for all to see.

kkk.jpg

Put yourself into the mind of what would obviously be an advanced civilization receiving all of these transmissions. They must be asking themselves “who the hell are these people?”

Some committee out there would certainly come to the conclusion that we are not the kind of people they need to be having anything to do with.

There is probably some kind of intergalactic quarantine memo being passed around among some federation of planets to stay the hell away from here.

So we will remain alone and ignorant here in our little galaxy fighting among ourselves while the universe laughs at us, pities us and ignores us.

Stay tuned

MURT

missgirls

Once again proof has been offered that one should never lose hope that a missing child or person will be found alive. Two teenage sisters who had been missing have been found alive on a remote ranch in western Minnesota.
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/police-2-minnesota-girls-missing-since-2013-found-at-farm/ar-BBnd4tD?ocid=st

whitehorseranchhttp://www.startribune.com/police-on-trail-of-missing-girls-search-western-minnesota-horse-farm/351459281/

What is strange is that there is a  Florida connection as the girl’s mother was arrested in Florida.

teensmom

In the article, it was pointed out that there is an “underground network of family court critics” who may have helped hid the now teenage girls due to an ongoing custody dispute.

There are at least two high profile missing child cases here in Florida who were the subject of custody disputes. The children are Trenton Duckett and Haleigh Cummings.

haleightrenton

Could there be a connection between these missing children and the court critics network?

Stay tuned

MURT

french model

In surfing the various social media websites recently I found myself somewhat surprised that a lot of people will take at face value what is posted on line absolutely without question.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiIg7R4l5x4

It is amazing the kinds of outlandish things that get posted on line that people will believe without so much as a minor fact checking effort. Things that defy common sense are taken as fact almost instantly.

itmustbetrue

There are, of course, fact checking websites out there that track down these falsehoods and publish proof as to why these things are false. The problem is that by the time the proof is cited to debunk this nonsense, the damage has already been done.

The recent significant events throughout the world as well as the heated and unusual political election season has provided the fodder for the generation of pure nonsense that has polluted the various social media websites.

This all reminds me of the State Farm “He is a French Model” that pointed out how gullible people are who view the massive amount of false content on the internet to this day.

It is unfortunate that people have yet to learn the basic lesson that one cannot believe everything they see on line.

Stay tuned

MURT

It is not uncommon to see images on the internet along with a caption accusing the subject of the image of making a comment, doing something or displaying something the subject subsequently denies.

Since the content, in some cases, is so extremely convincing, the person denying what is posted is often mocked and derided because he/she “cannot face what is clearly shown to be the truth.”

In the case cited in this blog article, a man is shown holding a copy of the Quran. The subject is also wearing a suicide vest.

In addition, the image was used in a European television station video thus giving the impression that the image of an alleged terrorist was fact checked by the mainstream media outlet.

It turns out that it was an elaborate hoax that was so convincing that it fooled a mainstream media outlet.

https://twitter.com/SkyTG24/status/665627398138929152

Fortunately, there is at least one website that is taking the time to investigate stories like this and who publishes the truth of what is being posted on the internet.

https://twitter.com/grasswirefacts

It is, of course, not uncommon for these kinds of hoaxes to be pulled by those who have the skills to make such convincing material. The problem is that now there are hundreds of copies of the “terrorist” image floating around thus fueling the increasing anger in the world over the terrorist attacks in Paris.

It is quite likely that there is at least one idiot out there who may know who that person is and where he lives or works who would exact revenge for the killings in Paris by who they perceive as one of the members of ISIS.

There are those out there who do not use common sense and who either do not bother to check out the facts or who do not have the skills to do so who are convinced when these kinds of frauds find their way on the internet.

In most cases they  trust the sources of the false content or allow their various biases to take over and refuse to consider that what they are seeing is a lie.

It is because of people who are too lazy to think that the life of the man in that image may now be in peril.

Stay tuned

MURT

An open letter has been making the rounds, mainly on Twitter, addressed to a Canadian woman who has been alleged to have been behind many acts of cyber abuse for at least the past decade. In recent months there have been some strange “sock twitter accounts” posted targeting a large number of known critics of the woman and a charity that has been alleged to be a fraud.

http://vegantruckerca.tumblr.com/post/133058592720/open-letter-to-brainne-patterson

What the open letter does demonstrate is the kind of damage that can be caused by the circulation of false rumors on line. The author of the letter claims to have lost a high paying job due to the actions of the woman.

“Your online harassment has directly costed me an $80,000 a year trucking job as well as made it impossible to find work because of the damage you done to my name online that will follow me for the rest of my life. You’ve been posting pictures of extravagant dinners while I have had to go to the food bank many times and have had to go hungry.” The author stated.

This is just one of many examples of what can happen when internet trolls seek to destroy the reputation of their targets simply because they have the power to do so.

It is way past time that something be done to put a stop to the kinds of abuse as cited in the open letter. Both the passage of strict laws plus stronger regulation of websites such as Twitter and the various blog sponsors that would require them to remove what is clearly abusive posting needs to take place.

Freedom of speech should not include freedom to destroy the innocent.

Stay tuned

MURT

It is amazing how quickly someone can get into trouble on line. It was only four hours prior to this writing that a post was made on Twitter about the fan who recently died (within 24 hours) when the backlash against the poster started.

http://time.com/4107234/ken-jennings-tweets-insensitive-joke-about-dead-star-wars-fan/?xid=time_socialflow_twitter

Those responding to his twitter post expressed their outrage. As of this writing, there has been no response by the poster regarding the outrage expressed against him.

This demonstrates how quickly ones words can be used against them and how careful one has to be when interacting online.

Stay tuned

MURT