Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You think your Christmas was rough...

From the Daytona Beach News Journal

December 30, 2008

2 Face Charges for Penis Tattoo on Fellow Inmate
Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- Lempira Norman had a lousy Christmas.

Not only was he housed at the Volusia County Branch Jail on Dec. 25, he also, by force, got a penis tattooed on his back by two fellow inmates, a report shows.

Norman told sheriff's deputies that Justine Harris and Ryan Collina had been harassing him all day because they wanted him to join a club they were forming. An annoyed Norman refused and went back to his room.

A few minutes later though, Harris and Collina showed up with a blanket and ordered Norman to get on the floor, the report shows. They threw the blanket on his head and began pummeling him.

The men threatened Norman, saying he would get a worse beating unless he allowed them to apply a tattoo, the report shows. Harris told Norman the tattoo would be of a capital and lowercase B, the report said.

But instead, as Collina held Norman down, Harris -- equipped with a makeshift tattoo kit -- applied a drawing of a penis on the back of the victim's right shoulder, the report shows.

When Norman reported the ordeal, the tattoo kit was confiscated, and Harris and Collina were charged with aggravated battery to a detainee, by a detainee.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

To Al, from Cathy

I've been sitting on this for a couple of weeks now. I recently went through a trunk of the last of my dad's possessions. Well, actually most of the things, including the trunk, weren't really his possessions. For a couple of years before his stroke, he bid on random storage unit lots that were being auctioned for past due rental fees.

I'm not quite certain what he hoped to accomplish. For the most part, the stuff was the kind of junk that you would let go rather than pay what you owed. Occasionally he'd find something, like my antique brass theodolite, that was really worth something. So I went through everything, piece by piece, separating out my dad's things that I wanted to keep and discarding the rest.

And then I came upon this in a wooden box:



Thirty-four years ago tomorrow, Cathy sent this postcard to Al at the Ohio State Reformatory. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Since my dad found this in Daytona, I have to believe that Al came to Florida after his time in the big house in order to get back together with Cathy.

The fact that Al kept this for so many years makes me think he couldn't have been all bad. But that he did leads me to believe that she ended up being the one that got away... That this postcard, received at a down and out part of his life, was the only part of her he had left to hang on to.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

How Old Is Too Old?

I'm not one for Christmas songs. As a matter of fact, it's just about this time of year that I want to go all Falling Down on people when I walk into a place and find Christmas music blasting. There are exactly two Christmas songs that never elicit this response... Snoopy Vs The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen and Father Christmas by The Kinks... two rather diametrically opposed approaches to the holiday season.

In fact I often find myself singing Father Christmas... in front of the kids... which has prompted strange looks from them.

When I was small I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my dad
And I would hang up my stocking at Christmas
Open my presents and not be glad...

See... we've never had The Talk with Fletcher. We almost did last year. We almost did this year. I don't think he really believes any more, but he also hasn't given us the "I'm in on the joke" thing when Blythe talks about Santa.


It's strange for me, because I had older brothers, I was disabused of the notion of a fat guy in a red suit coming down the chimney rather early on. That and the fact I'm sort of a pragmatist deep down. Fletcher is a dreamer. But he'll be nine in January and frankly, if he does still believe in Santa, I'm concerned about his gullibility meter.

So now I'm left in a quandry. Do I let it go? Or do I take him to the park where I told him that my dad died and that Arthur died and tell him Santa Claus is dead too?

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Originally uploaded by coleopteranpress

The Crimbo Tree

Pear Shaped Tree

We went to a cut your own place in Gr... No... I'm not telling you where because they had awesome trees and I don't want everyone going there.

I felt like Clark Griswold when I got it on the car, and especially after trying to get it in the house. Somehow it doesn't translate here, but the tree is about 8 feet in diameter at the base. If we didn't have such a big living room, we'd be in trouble. As it was, we had to rearrange the room more than ever before.


And you might notice that thing at the top. No, it's not an angel. It's the Elf on the Shelf, a tradition we started a couple of years ago after getting the book. The elf reports back to Santa nightly and finds a new place in the house to watch for the next day. It keeps the kids on their toes.


No, this is our angel... for sweet, sweet Arthur.