plenty more blackboard and other alien nation jungle rot, and a few rays of sunshine – Florida Keys and way beyond

Earth
Revisiting the local blackboard jungle for a spell, despair not, after these dung heaps what Larry Murray done went and stirred up yesterday is plenty more jungle rot news from other alien nation outposts:
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Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2013 12:44:29 -0800
From: citizenlarry007@yahoo.com
Subject: Fw: Public Records Request XIII – Reports From Ethics Point et. al.
To: mark.porter@keysschools.com; captecoed@aol.com; robin.smith-martin@keysschools.com;
ron.martinsb@keysschools.com; John.Dick@KeysSchools.com; andy@fishandy.com
Gentlemen:
If you have not read Sean Kinney’s article, “School District hotline reports not forthcoming”, I strongly suggest that you do so. It did not appear in the print edition of Wednesday’s Keynoter, but it is available in the online edition. It was posted January 2, 2013 at 11:00 am. I believe that Kinney’s article clearly lays out the issues and problems that I have had with the School District in attempting to obtain records about the operation of the Hotline, specifically all reports provided by the vendor, Ethics Point. My original request dates from October 17, 2012 and I expanded and clarified that request on December 13, 2012. The December 13, 2012 Public Records Request follows for your information. I have engaged counsel to assist me with this matter and I will have no choice but to litigate if the documents are not provided to me by the end of next week, Friday, January 11, 2013.
Larry
Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Lawrence Murray <citizenlarry007@yahoo.com>
To: Mark Porter <mark.porter@keysschools.com>
Cc: Dirk Smits <dsmits@florida-law.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 1:57 PM
Subject: Public Records Request XIII – Reports From Ethics Point et. al.
Superintendent Porter:
The following is a Public Records Request in an effort to clarify an earlier PRR, “Hotline Reports”, sent to the District on October 17, 2012. Specifically, what I would like to obtain are the following:
1. All reports from Ethics Point, the District’s “Hotline” provider, for each of the 50+ cases made to the Hotline since its inception. Ken Gentile reported to the Audit and Finance Committee on December 3, 2012 that there were in excess of 50 cases or complaints that had come to the District through the Hotline. Again, I would like copies of the reports for each of those cases which were prepared by Ethics Point. Additionally, I would like copies of all District Hotline internal reports for each of those cases and the disposition of each of those cases.
2. All reports from Ethics Point of cases brought to the Hotline that specifically refer to or name Ken Gentile, the former District Internal Auditor and now Chief of Staff and Director of Finance, or his wife, Mrs. Donna Gentile, in a complaint. I segregate this request because Mr. Gentile informed the Audit and Finance Committee at its December 3, 2012 meeting that cases in which his name is mentioned are handled procedurally in a different manner by the District. I have reason to believe that Mr. Gentile and Mrs. Gentile have been the subject of cases brought to the Hotline, but I do not know if those cases are included in the 50+ that Mr. Gentile identified at the AFC meeting.
3. A list of all School District personnel with access to the Hotline and its contents. That is, I am looking for the list of names of all individuals who have been provided by Ethics Point since the inception of the Hotline with access codes and passwords that enable an individual to access the Hotline and the information contained therein.
Larry Murray
Dr. Larry Murray Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate
===========================
By SEAN KINNEY skinney@keynoter.com
Posted – Wednesday, January 02, 2013 11:00 AM EST
Ken Gentile, the Monroe County School District’s chief internal auditor turned director of finance, eagerly rolled out a hotline in August 2011 to allow anonymous tipsters to report waste, fraud and abuse in the schools system. Meticulous tracking reports from the hotline provided to the School Board and autonomous Audit and Finance Committee followed the launch of the hotline, estimated to cost $5,000 annually. Now, it appears those reports have stopped. Since October, Big Pine Key resident Larry Murray, a former member of the Audit and Finance Committee and an unsuccessful candidate for School Board, has been asking through public-records requests to see the reports. He’s gotten nowhere — even through School District attorney Dirk Smits has assured him the material would be forthcoming. Murray said he is considering filing a lawsuit to seek compliance. Murray even took his fight to Superintendent Mark Porter. On Nov. 20, Porter told Murray: “I am in a position where I must rely on the efforts of others to produce the requested information, which apparently does not currently exist in document form. “Until your request for information associate[d] with the hotline, I was not aware there was such a thing.” Oregon-based company EthicsPoint manages the system, which went live in September 2011. There’s a phone-based and Web-based portal that essentially assign the tipster a password and username allowing him or her to answer questions detailing his or her complaint. That information is then compiled and transmitted to Gentile. After its initial launch, one complaint prompted a criminal investigation into Key Largo School teacher Jose Zepeda, who was ultimately charged with battery on a 12-year-old female student. Another confirmed complaint came from Gentile’s wife Donna, who applied for a district staff position but said her application was intentionally not processed by the Human Resources Department. On Dec. 6, Smits told Murray, “As always I will continue to work in the face of your criticism, so if you are aggravated can you imagine how frustrated we are? I will send you an update later if I can get the information on the company reports.” Then on Dec. 18, Smits pleaded with Gentile to produce the documentation. From that e-mail: “From the attached PowerPoint slide it appears there is some paper trail with respect to EthicsPoint. I need anything document-wise that is generated by the vendor. I really need to get this out of the way.” Then, after schools had closed for the holidays, Smits told Murray, “It was not done. That is what I know. I do not know why. Things that I have direct control over I can make happen. Things that others need to work on I cannot.” While Murray was going back and forth with Smits in December, Gentile served a weeklong unpaid suspension meted out by Porter. That’s because Gentile represented himself as a Florida certified public accountant on his resume despite not holding that designation. Some speculate the hotline received calls addressing that situation. Gentile couldn’t be reached for comment.
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From: keysmyhome@hotmail.com
To: citizenlarry007@yahoo.com; mark.porter@keysschools.com; captecoed@aol.com; robin.smith-martin@keysschools.com; ron.martinsb@keysschools.com; john.dick@keysschools.com; andy@fishandy.com CC: skinney@keynoter.com Subject:
FYI – RE: Public Records Request XIII – Reports From Ethics Point et. al.
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2013 08:29:17 -0500
I have two Public Records Requests the School District had yet to answer, either. 1) the Sunny Booker EdOptions abuse investigation; 2) the heads that rolled as per John Dick’s claim to Bill Becker on US 1 Radio. Please add those to your list, Larry. My recollection is, I wrote to you, copied to the School Board members and Mark Porter, and published to my websites, that a Florida Statute requires Judges to put Public Records Requests at the top of their dockets, and requires payment by the requestee of the requestor’s legal costs. Sloan
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Date: Sat, 5 Jan 2013 17:44:47 -0800
From: citizenlarry007@yahoo.com
Subject: School Board Agenda Issues
To: mark.porter@keysschools.com; captecoed@aol.com; robin.smith-martin@keysschools.com; ron.martinsb@keysschools.com; John.Dick@KeysSchools.com; andy@fishandy.com
Gentlemen:
Once again, it appears that there are a number of issues associated with a confusing agenda for next Tuesday’s gathering. The session is billed as a WORKSHOP & SPECIAL MEETING. It is not entirely clear from the agenda when the “Workshop” ends and the “Special Meeting” begins and why this meeting is “Special”. I guess the Chairman will make that decision on the fly.
While I will not be in attendance and will be viewing on television, I would like to go on record in opposition to Superintendent Porter’s position that public input should not be accepted during a Workshop. I believe that public participation in a Workshop is as important, if not more important, than during a meeting.
I fail to see what is so “Special” about the “Special Meeting” other than that it is designed to compensate for sloppy staff work. For example, a “SPECIAL ACTION ITEM” for the “Contract Renewal with Envisions Pharmaceuticals Services, Inc.” has been pending for several months. By all rights, the contract should have been rebid long ago with the expectation of considerable savings in the six figure range. Instead, the can is being kicked down the road once again as the Board is presented with a fait accompli via negligence.
Today’s Keynoter article by Sean Kinney expresses my point of view on the subject better than I could have said it.
Tuesday’s “Special Meeting” is reminiscent of the “Special Meeting” in September, 2012. At that time, the Board was hurried in to approving a Tax Anticipation Note as otherwise the District would have run out of cash in two days. Again, I would suggest that the “Special Meeting” to approve the TAN is a mechanism for compensating for incompetent staff work. The Board is presented with an eleventh hour fait accompli via negligence.
The agenda also includes eight Special Action Items. Four of these items are not linked to any background information to explain what they are and why they are on the agenda. Should I assume the traditional strategy of last-minute linkage will be the order of the day, or should I assume that the public will be in the dark until the issues are raised? By routinely having “Special Meetings” and “Special Action Items” at its first monthly meeting, the Board is violating its own advertised policy of devoting the first session each month to a workshop and the second session to a general meeting.
The net is that there is no real difference when the School Board gathers as the Board will no doubt take action on something and the public needs be aware. As the old saw goes “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”
Larry
Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate
==========================

By SEAN KINNEY

skinney@keynoter.com

Posted – Saturday, January 05, 2013 10:30 AM EST

        Monroe County schools Superintendent Mark Porter needs to play by the rules — and the law, says a School Board member.

Even though it’s saving the School District money, in approving the downsizing of a contract on the rebuild of Horace O’Bryant Middle School in Key West, he didn’t do that, School Board member Ed Davidson said.

Under board policy, the board decides changes to contacts and expenditures exceeding $25,000. Below that threshold, the superintendent can act unilaterally without board input but still has to report the change.

In the Horace O’Bryant case, Porter approved a change order for Coastal Construction that would reduce the cost of the $38.6 million rebuild by $608,755 due to a reduction in the scope of the work.

Of that, 60 percent of the savings would be on the district’s ledger and the rest would be savings to Coastal. Porter’s rationale was that although the dollar figure exceeds $25,000, the savings didn’t prompt board approval.

Board members disagreed and called for discussion of the issue at a workshop set for Tuesday beginning at 3 p.m. in Coral Shores High School in Tavernier.

Davidson said state law and board policy require all contract changes to at least be reported to the board for the purpose of having the information in the public record.

Referencing state statute, Davidson said, “Each and every change shall be reported by the superintendent to the board and entered into the minutes. And it hasn’t been done.”

Drug costs

Also Tuesday, the School Board will consider approving a $175,000 monthly contract with Envision Pharmaceutical Services Inc. to provide prescription drug coverage for district employees.

A contract with Envision was originally signed Jan. 1, 2010, and has not been put out for competitive bid since.

In October, Stuart Kessler, then chairman of the district’s oversight Audit and Finance Committee, criticized Porter’s administration for not seeking a better price.

Kessler prophetically told board members: “By the time it gets to you, you’ll have no other reasonable choice. The board should be given a meaningful opportunity to make this decision.”

That never happened and the contract technically expired on Dec. 31, leaving board members no choice. It’s now automatically renewed until Dec. 31 of this year.

==========================
From: keysmyhome@hotmail.com
To: citizenlarry007@yahoo.com; mark.porter@keysschools.com; captecoed@aol.com; robin.smith-martin@keysschools.com; ron.martinsb@keysschools.com; john.dick@keysschools.com; andy@fishandy.com
CC: skinney@keynoter.com
Subject: RE: School Board Agenda Issues
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2013 08:18:50 -0500
The last School Board workshop I attended, at Marathon High School, as the workshop wound down early, I asked to be allowed to speak to something that had been batted around during the workshop. There obviously was not enthusiasm from the School Board, but I was told okay, if I was brief. There had been considerable fanfare re how great the School District is compared to other Florida school districts, and I addressed my remarks to the vision statement, having high school graduates college and/or career ready upon graduation. You were there, Larry. I told the Board and Administration they had ignored the career ready part of the vision statement, had sold out over half the students, and had gotten an F-minus grade on that part of the vision statement. I found myself wondering last night, after reading your email, Larry, if the F-minus grade had something to do with this move not to have public input at School Board workshops. I have attended many public meetings in the Keys. Key West City Commission meetings, Monroe County Commission meetings, Florida Keys Aqueduct Meetings, Keys Energy Services meetings, various town hall meetings, and School Board meetings. All other agencies in the Keys allow the public to chime in on each issue on the agenda. The School Board allows the pubic to chime in one time during School Board meetings, for three minutes, unless the speaker represents an organization, which gets five minutes. What’s wrong with that picture? If I had to hazard a wild ass guess, in play is The Griffiths Rule: “Praise in public, criticize in private.” They don’t like the public watching on TV, or online, to hear criticism of the School Board or the School District.
I would add that seldom does the local press report, in my experience, critical citizen comments made at School Board meetings. And, I would further wonder if The Griffiths Rule is why you have had so much trouble, Larry, getting the School District to provided information about the Hotline.
I fell far short at the the last school board meeting I attended, at Marathon High School. I also should have given them an F-minus on answering Public Records Requests, operating in the sunshine, and teaching to standardized tests. I still feel, Larry, that you should start a county schools issues website, where you keep the public up to date with all the school news they ain’t always gonna read about in the newspapers. Ciaosky
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Re other alien nation jungle rot news:
I was told in nap dreams yesterday to repeat this from the tail end of yesterday’s the work of the Devil in America post, which I sort of doubt will get me invited to speak at the next Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting:

From mi Lower Keys amiga Jan:

~Messages people forward to me about God and the Bible in schools are twisted to hell and back, passages are cherry picked out of context, agendas are pushed, and sometimes I reply to those forwards and sometimes I delete them, despite the predictable challenge at the bottom to forward it – otherwise, I am a devil-worshipper.
I couldn’t agree more.  So true and so ridiculous.  I generally erase those “forward me or else” comments before I forward them.
~I would be fine with the Bible, Old and New Testaments, and the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Koran, and the Buddhist and Hindu Scriptures, and the Taoist Scriptures, and other Scriptures being taught as history course in public schools, and being discussed in the workplace, if presented as history and not in the way Christians, in the main, today want to present the Bible in public schools and in the workplace. In all religions are admonitions against evil-doing, but you can bet Christians, in the main, believe all but they are going to die and burn in hell, and on they, on the other hand, will die and go to heaven. That horse shit I will never be okay with in public schools on in the workplace, nor will I ever be okay with public money being used to fund Christian schools.
Again, spot-on!  I remember as a kid hearing my mom say that the family across the street were Catholics and they didn’t interpret the Bible “right” and were not going to heaven.  So, let me get this straight.  Depending on which continent, in which country, in which state, on which street and on which side of the road you grow up on and then, accepting what your parents told you is “the truth” makes all the difference.  On another note, you’ll find this funny.  On visiting Vatican City (OMG what a bunch of extravagant use of pilfered money that is!)  hall upon hall of georgous carved marble statues had their penises whacked off.  Some priest decided that they were sinful and took a sledge-hammer to them all.  Made me chuckle at the ignorance at the time.  Hey, it’s just all skin people.  But, what a shame to destroy all that art.

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I also was told in nap dreams yesterday to include this, which I had sent to Jan day before yesterday but did not include in yesterday’s post:
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An author named Michael Gruber recently crossed my bow, clearly arranged by the angels mentioned above. I read four of his books now. [Tropic of Night, Valley of Bones, Night of the Jaguar, The Good Son]. I would love to see those four books be required reading in every American school, but Christians, in the main, would not stand for it, which you would understand why, if you read those books. Here is email correspondence with Michael today:
Me to Michael:
Re: The Night of the Jaguar Is there, or will there be, 4th Jimmy Paz novel?
Michael replied:
Probably not. I never intended it to be an indefinite series, and much beyond three one essentially writes the same novel over and over. I find that tedious. I did it with the Karp & Marlene series of 15 novels and that was enough of that. Best
I replied:
I guess we’ll never know, then, if his [Jimmy Paz’] psychiatrist wife ever became sane. I found all too familiar and all too amusing in that trilogy, and in The Good Son, how a few actually saw, and a few saw but denied they saw, and most saw and double, triple or even quadruple denied what they saw, to the extent they forgot they saw it. Am in correspondence recently with a North African shaman, perhaps French Morrocan extract, who eventually settled in Brazil. Have been thinking of asking her if she read The Night of the Jaguar, or can obtain it, and her response. You seem to absorb all you read and hear and are gifted at spinning intricate interesting yarns from it. Don’t know how you wrote someone else’s books, but then I suppose I do that myself and gather to my “pedigree” various labels for not saying it’s fiction. No reply requested or expected.
========================
The Good Son might be the best non-Muslim treatment of Islam ever written. Perhaps it earned Michael Gruber a seat beside Salman Rushdie, whose The Satanic Verses got death warrants issued on his life by Muslim clerics. Except, no Muslim cleric who had even a smattering of experience with the hand of God would fault what Gruber paints in that novel, which anyone interested in Carl Jung and Jungian Analysis also would do well to read. All of Islam should read the novel. LOL All humans should read the three Jimmy Paz novels, which cover indigenous shamans and Santeria in ways I seriously doubt you will ever find in school or church libraries. I found those novels in the Monroe County Library. Read them in the order they were written, as they are a continuing unfoldment around the same man and his human relations, among whom he is the person most affected and changed by what mainstream humanity cannot presently fathom. I told Sandy Downs when we were wrapping up our talk day before yesterday, as reported in yesterday’s post, that I felt awful, there was an awful poison coming in, into which I would be writing; I didn’t know yet what it was, but it was seriously big Evil. Then, I wrote to Michael Gruber. Then, I started this reply to your forward re Ben Stein, and then I knew what the awful Evil was. Not Michael Gruber.
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jaguar
I sent this yesterday to the woman shaman living in Brazil:
“Have you read The Night of the Jaguar, by Michael Gruber? In it is an indigenious shaman from the rainforest of Columbia, who via some plant remedy he ingests becomes a 450 pound jaguar, a projection of the Jaguar Spirit into human form, to do some pretty rough work among Norte Americanos who want to cut down the rainforest where the shaman lives. Gruber is a very interesting author. He wanders into the other realms pretty well, in the four novels I have read. Jaguar is the third novel in a trilogy, and another novel is The Good Son, which is about Islam and Jungian Analysis and Sufism,  mostly set in the Kashmir area. I don’t know how Gruber came to know so much about so many different facets of human spiritual practices and psyche workings.”
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The awful Evil is, yep, American Chrisitianity. Yep, I imagine people will think I’m nuts, flapping my gums. That’s their choice. However, consider what kind of Christians would start a new country based on the notion that all men are endowed with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and in the same breath practice slavery and not let women have any say so in their own government. Consider what kind of Christians would start a new country and proceed to slaughter indigenous peoples and the buffalo. Consider what kind of Christians would take Spanish lands, which had been populated by descendents of the early Spanish explorers since before the first English man set foot on America’s coast. Consider what kind of Christians would back and fight in the Vietnam War, and every stupid, runious America war since then. If you think the cumulative karma from all of that is crushing, you are right. As you sow, you reap, that is the law. If you don’t believe me, ask any Christian minister you know.
I know Ben Stein means well (see yesterday’s the work of the Devil in America post), but he needs to rise up above a few pet peeve trees and look at the entire forest. So do all Americans, especially all Christian Americans. For by holding themselves out to be saved by Jesus, they require of themself a much higher standard of behavior than do people who do not hold themselves out to be saved by Jesus. You cannot compare American Christianity to Islam, they are two very different religions. You cannot expect Muslims to behave as Christians should behave, if they are saved by Jesus. For that is how salvation through Jesus comes: by how well Christians live as Jesus lived and taught others to live. All other theories of salvation through Jesus are the work of the Devil.
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In much the same vein, received this solid beaut very early a.m. today from a Key West amigo. I supplied the pic.
Christian crusades
Sloan: Just a comment about the celebrity complaining about a so-called war against religion in this country.
I must tell you, the argument that Christians are under fire or that there’s a war on Christmas is exactly like saying that liberals are waging a culture war. It’s actually the same tired, false argument. The truth is, the culture war is an invention of the right. The war on Christmas, which Fox News and O’Reilly yap about every December, is a ridiculous argument.
Here is where Americans should pay attention, in my humble opinion.
This is a report on fanatical Christians messing with our military academies.
You know, since 9-11 our military has become quite the religious cult. A cadet quit West Point two weeks ago because he faced the same issues this article from “Truth Out” describes.
“An anonymous cadet at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA ) spoke out against alleged religious discrimination at the school last week, saying that some cadets must pretend to be evangelical Christians in order to maintain standing among their peers and superiors. In an email to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the whistleblower stated that he is part of an “underground group” of about 100 cadets who cannot rely on proper channels to confront evangelical pressure.
The email, published by Veterans Today, applauds the MRFF from the “underground” and indicates that the academy is “literally overrun with Christian conservative fanatics.”
The MRFF and allies from a myriad of civil rights and interfaith groups sent a letter Tuesday to the Department of Defense (DoD) detailing the cadet’s email and other startling complaints, including testimony from the parents of an academy graduate who believe their daughter was “methodically brain washed” by a fundamentalist group there, demanding an investigation of the academy and the evangelical academy ministry Cadets For Christ.
The MRFF is also demanding the DoD pressure the USAFA to publicly release the results of a study of the religious climate at the academy.
Academy leadership announced last month that the results would not be released, which angered the anonymous cadet who contacted the MRFF.
Results of the so-called “Climate Study” leaked to the press, and “353 cadets (almost 1 out of every 5 survey participants) reported having been subjected to unwanted religious proselytizing, and 23 cadets (13 of them Christians) reported living ‘in fear of their physical safety’ because of their religious beliefs,” according to the MRFF.”
So there you go, Sloan, scary isn’t it? George Washington prayed before battle, OK, that’s fine, but building an Air Force (with planes that deliver nuclear weapons to targets) led by fanatical men who believe the Biblical end times are upon us IS NOT GOOD. Might they disobey the president and launch anyway because he’s a God-less liberal who doesn’t believe as they do?
So, to the right wing, once again: You are endangering liberty, American values, and our future. It is un-American to build a military whose leaders must embrace Christianity.
The belt-buckles of Wehrmacht soldiers read “God is On Our Side” even as the troops shot their way across Europe, burning buildings, slaughtering innocents, and hanging “spies.”
The only cross (I believe) allowed on American military uniforms is a simple cross for chaplains. Rabbis get a Star of David and muslim clerics get a crescent-shaped pin. Let’s keep it that way.
God is on their side.
–john guerra
======================
I replied:
Hi, John. Well, that’s all news to me, but maybe I’ve been sound asleep. And it is indeed scary news. In some ways, it reminds me of something I experienced growing up.

My parents were born Southern Baptists, both of my grandfathers were Deacons at Southside Baptist Church in the Five Points South area of Birmingham, which is where I like to hang out when I’m there. In fact, during an intermission in the Compass Bowl yesterday, played at Legion Field in Birmingham, there was a flim shot of the fountain and a restaurant at that 5-street intersection, and I wondered to myself what that might portend for me?
Anyway, when I was eleven, or so, my mother, who did not attend the Baptist Church discovered a young Episcopal priest who had started a new church near where we lived “over the mountain” in Mountain Brook, a wealthy white municipality a little south of Birmingham. For all I know, my mother fell in love with the priest, but he was a straight arrow married man.
By and by, my mother started telling my father, if he didn’t get more involved in the Baptist church, she was going to join the Episcopal church and take their three children with her. Every Sunday morning, my father and I took a drive before church, and then we went to Sunday school. We didn’t attend church services, which I didn’t like, but I liked the Sunday school class. Driving home my father asked me what we talked about in Sunday school, I told him and we discussed it. This was a meaningful father-son  Sunday ritual. But we did not increase our participation in that church.
So, in a grand display, my mother followed through on her promise to join the Episcopal church and took her three children with her. All hell broke loose. Her parents and my father’s parents and the minister at Southside Baptist were all over her. But she held fast. Before long, she had me and my younger brother and sister Christened. By then I was maybe 12. I did not attend Sunday school there. My mother made me sit through the morning services, which I seriously hated and day dreamed I was somewhere else doing something else.
One Sunday night over dinner, my father asked me what the priest’s sermon was about that morning? I didn’t have a clue. He gave my mother the look, said I always had known what Sunday school was about at the Baptist church. My mother was inflamed. With the assistance of the priest and his curate, she forced me through Confirmation, which required spending Saturday afternoon in a class at the church. I seriously hated it. I hated school, too, and to be required to give up half of Saturday to be schooled in the Episcopal rites was child abuse as far as I was concerned, even though I’d never heard that term before.
All the while, I day dreamed through the Sunday sermons. When my mother then tried to persuade me to become an Acolyte, I dug in my heels. When she got the next curate to try to persuade me to become an Acolyte, he saw pronto that it wasn’t going to happen, and he told her that he wasn’t going to be involved in it. She didn’t like that, either. As time wore on, I rejected church as a way to God, although I never stop believing God existed. To the contrary, I was convinced God existed, even though it would be decades before I had the direct experience.
When the cancer came and took my mother very quickly the fall of my second semester in law school, I was unable to grieve her passing. I have never grieved her passing. Her life seemed such a waste, married to a church, instead of to life. As time passed, I came to understand her bolt to the Episcopal church was her covert way of trying to divorce her Puritan Baptist parents and my father. Many times she told me of her rebellion against her parents, but oddly, every morning she called her mother. When finally she told her mother that she was going to divorce my father, her mother said that would kill her. So the divorce didn’t happen. A few years later, my mother died and got her divorce from her parents and my father.
As far as I could tell, as far as I see today, church became my mother’s prison; she hid in it, instead of dealing with what was directly in front of her begging for direct attention. The angels never corrected me for having that view. It was a very sad thing, what happened to her. It ripped her parents to shreds. It ripped my father to shreds. It ripped my brother and our younger sister to shreds. But it did not seem to rip me to sheds. That had had already happened when I was younger, as I alluded in yesterday’s post.
She was a very tormented woman, and as her first-born, I received the brunt of her distemper in my early years. As I wrote to the lady shaman in Brazil yesterday:
My mother molested me in my crib, and then she entered me in a potty-training contest with her friends and their young children. She often boasted that her claim to fame as a mother was she had me potty-trained by the time I was one-year old. She would go berserk and beat me up pretty regularly, until age 5.
The beatings ended with the arrival of my father’s older brother from his medical training, he became my pediatrician, and with my beating a childhood bully within an inch of his life one day. I’d had all of his bullying I could take. My mother had repeatedly egged me on to stand up for myself. When the boy’s mother brought him back to our home, where I’d nearly killed him, I stood proud, expecting praise. My mother looked at the boy’s face, which looked like it had been stuck in a bee hive. I thought his face looked great. Then, she looked at me in horror and put her hand over her mouth, as if to stop herself from throwing up, and hurried to her bedroom. I was crushed, squashed like a bug.
Many years later I understood that my mother saw in that boy’s face what she had been doing to me, and she never laid another hand on me. I also came to see that she found another way to torture me, which was the Episcopal church. All the while believing God was on her side, when nothing could have been further from the truth. I wonder what she thinks, wherever she is, of her son who refused to be an Acolyte and later stopped going to church? Like, when am I ever not in church?
Nice Sunday morning story, huh?
Yours, too.
Sloan
====================
I wonder, if at a deep unconscious level, my never not being in church is a covert carry forward from my mother’s attempts to turn me into an Episcopal priest, who are ordained as priests after the Order Melchizedek forever. Maybe at a deep unconscious level she knew my soul’s course, but in her tortured human condition she had no clue how to nurture it along. I have treated many people with similar deep troubles, including psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, Jungian Analysts and Christian ministers, spiritual healers, etc. I never met anyone who was not shredded in childhood and as an adult was unconsciously operating out of that shredding.
You can bet the farm that President Obama continuing G.W. Bush’s two ruinious, stupid wars was the product of being shredded in childhood, and Bush launching those wars was the product of being shredded in childhood. Ditto for the military religious nuts, and their victims, described in John Guerra’s report. Maybe I should get credentialed to be a school teacher. Maybe I should teach history courses to children. Maybe that’s what I’m doing in cyberspace.
Sloan Bashinsky

About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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