4 years, 7 months, and 7 days. Read and learn the lessons of those who came before us.

https://i1.wp.com/rlv.zcache.com/newton_standing_on_the_shoulders_of_giants_napkin-rb73b9f1d9c0042bd9c980c46d7598cd5_2cf00_8byvr_512.jpg

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Shosh, when you were young, you were a voracious reader.  Your mom did one thing right: she read to you constantly.  As a result, you had a huge vocabulary and were a smart little tyke!

Unfortunately, Jaialai, when you were about one, I lost my job as a result of blowing the whistle against the Enron of Healthcare and your mother had to go back to return to work because no one wanted to hire a whistleblower.  I stayed home to watch you, but was also occupied with the lawsuit against crooks who were ripping off the sick and dying; thus, I failed to read to you as often as your mom did for Shosh.  But, you still ended up being brilliant!!!!

That said, we tried to read to you both when we had the opportunity.  I hope you continue to read voraciously in my absence.

Books are wonderful things.  In addition to exposing us to far flung places in distant lands, they also introduce to us ideas that help shape our understanding of the world in which we live.  The wisdom of those who came before us is passed down in stories captured and preserved in those great instruments of knowledge: books.  Appreciate them.  Be kind and gentle to them.  Be grateful for the knowledge they bring and the authors who made such transfer of knowledge possible.

The lessons of yesteryears remain amazingly relevant today.  For example, today, I finished Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, and found a quote towards the end of the book that captured well current events of the day.  Speaking to the protagonist (a journalist who had managed to spend years in Indochina to cover the conflict there without investing himself in any side), one of the characters said, “[O]ne has to take sides.  If one is to remain human.”  Page 166.

Life requires us to choose.  Will you side with might or right?  Will you choose to help the oppressed or the oppressors?  To do nothing in the face of evil is to give tactic approval to that evil.  Don’t.  Choose wisely.  Read voraciously and gain the wisdom of those smarter than you or I.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

4 years, 6 months, 27 days. Nothing worth having comes easy.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1f/8d/76/1f8d76a02e392395518cbb2dee583567.jpg

https://fitbitstats.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/image-90104.jpg?w=629&h=629

https://shoshandjaialai.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/f380b-banksy-dreams_00349040.jpg?w=656

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Heed the words of the wise.  In life, you either work hard and try your best to achieve your dreams, or suffer the pangs of regret later in life for having never tried.

Look around you.  How many do you see falling into the latter camp?  Look at your cousins, aunts, and uncles on your mom’s side?  They are roofers, fast food workers, warehouse laborers, sanitation department workers, etc.  Those are honest jobs and there is nothing wrong with those types of jobs in and of themselves.  But, the question is what else could they have made of themselves?

Life isn’t that difficult, really.  The rules are fairly simple:

  1. Do your best.
  2. Be true to yourself.
  3. Treat others as they want to be treated.

You will find that many people in life are “minimally exceptional” not because of their abilities (or lack thereof), but because of their lack of efforts.  They’d rather complain and blame others than strive to improve their lots in life.  The good ones who do will rise to the top while the rest will gravitate towards their rightful places in life.  The good ones will leave healthier legacies for their children while the minimally exceptional will leave their children the minimally exceptional.  I introduced you to Mr. Ted, one of the best in our field.  Who has your mom and her siblings introduced you to?

Where will you be in 10 years, boys?  I know what your abilities are, but will you put in the effort to get yourselves there?  I pray you will.  That is how I taught you to be.  Don’t be like your mom, who would rather veg out in front of the TV instead of taking you to the park, the library, the beach, or other places where you can exercise your bodies and your minds.  Strive to be the best you.

All my love, always,

Dad

4 years, 6 months, and 26 days. 1668 days. 40,032 hours. 2,401,920 minutes. 144,115,200 seconds. Too long!

https://i1.wp.com/nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/Echinos/Pisaster%20ochraceus/P1120871b.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/www.lifesweeadventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Leather-Starfish.jpg

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I had a dream about you last night, Shosh.  I was helping you with your homework assignment on sharks.  We caught a baby shark, and I tried to put a nose ring on it to keep it on a leash.  Note to self: sharks hate nose rings.

Remember how we used to draw pictures of dinosaurs, construction equipment and starfish?  You used to have an immense curiosity about those things and we constantly read about or talked about them.  Once, when you were about 3 1/2, we were at the aquarium and looking at the tide pool/touch pool where a number of different starfish was on display.  You pointed to a starfish and said that it was a leather starfish (the second one above).  The aquarium guide “corrected” you and said it was an ocre starfish (the top one above).  You disagreed and tried to explain to her that it was a leather star.  She wouldn’t have it.  I smiled and told her that she should listen to you.  She decided to go off and consult her books.  Shortly thereafter, she returned to apologize and confirmed that it was a leather star.

Three lessons reveal themselves here.  First, don’t believe in “experts” just because they are experts.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Sometimes, “experts” are too smart for their own good and can be blinded by their own “expertise” and blinded to the data confronting them.  Second, always pursue what you love.  Be curious. Be intensely curious.  Life is an unlimited buffer if you nurture that curiosity.  Third, trust yourself.  Be willing to entertain other ideas, even opposing ideas, but never jettison your thoughts because it’s expedient, because an “expert” said you’re wrong, or because others disagree with you.  If you are right, you stay right even if everyone disagrees.  If you are wrong, you remain wrong even if everyone agrees.  Don’t worry everyone else.  Trust in yourself.

All my love, always,

Dad

4 years, 6 months, 25 days. Think for yourselves.

https://shoshandjaialai.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/e63a5-10commandments.jpg?w=1183&h=947

https://i1.wp.com/www.sundayschoollady.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/important-command-color.jpg

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I wonder what you’re like now at 16, Shosh.  Has your voice deepened?  Have you put on weight?  Are you still biting your nails?  (That’s a very unhealthy habit, and I hope you’ve long outgrown it.)  Do you own the room upon entry?  Do you think for yourself, or allow others to influence you?  How are you doing in school?  Who are your friends?  Have you made plans and preparations for college?  (You should be, if you are not already doing so.)  I have million and one questions.  But, I can’t engage in this exercise often for it reduces me to a useless lump of flesh that must will itself to breathe.  I hope that you are well, and that you are well along the path I laid out for you during our time together.

Boys, remember how I used to always say that your greatest weapon and tool is your brain?  It is.  With a sharp wit, a keen eye, and sound knowledge, you can extract yourself from most unpleasant situations.  Success may not be immediate, but it will come with time and perseverance.  I hope you’ve continued to use and sharpen those great tools of yours.

https://i0.wp.com/www.thesleuthjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/thomas-jefferson-government.jpg

Think for yourselves.  Don’t EVER allow others to do your thinking for you.  That never bodes well.

Note above how specific and detailed the 10 Commandments are.  God gave them to the people at a time when the latter were enslaved and uneducated.  However, when Jesus came much later, the people had been freed and educated.  Thus, he reduced the 10 commandments to only two: love God, and love your neighbors as yourself.

Jesus’s two commandments are the thinking man’s version.  A smart man can think for himself and figure out how best to live and to express himself.  He knows being a good person is about more than simply not killing, stealing, cheating, or bad-mouthing others.  A good man is also kind to those in pain, generous to those in need, firm with those who are unruly or unethical, etc.  Thus, the list for the uneducated and the unthinking is not sufficient.

Think for yourselves.  Never let anybody — not some hired marketer, not your teachers, and certainly never any government official —  tell you what or how to think.  Beware when they try.  Bad things follow.

Think for yourselves and arm yourselves with knowledge.  Don’t allow others to disarm you with empty promises, falsehoods, and lies.  Take care of yourselves and each other.

Until we reunite, I send you all my love, always,

Dad

 

 

4 years, 6 months, and 20 days. Avoid fake stuff (including processed foods and false friends).

https://i0.wp.com/alivebynature.com/june/wp-content/uploads/probiotic-foods.jpg

https://draxe.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ProbioticGraphic.jpg

https://cdn.eatdrinkbetter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/probiotics1.jpg

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.

Probiotics are naturally found in your body. You can also find them in some foods and supplements.

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics#

 

[I]t is the microbial content that has got health types excited – because bacteria are big news these days. More specifically, the 39tn microbes, weighing about as much as your brain, that live happily in your gut, the makeup of which, some evidence suggests, may have a significant effect on everything from your long-term weight to your current mood.

Unfortunately, the typical modern western menu does little to nourish this “huge alien ecosystem”, as Dr Michael Moseley puts it, under siege as it is from antibiotics and a deluge of cleaning products designed to sterilise every part of our existence. However much we may like junk food and chemical additives, our gut bacteria does not – and our increasingly narrow diet has led to a similar lack of diversity in our gut. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and the author of The Diet Myth, explains that if we “wipe out our gut microbes, then our immune system goes into autodrive and starts attacking us with autoimmune diseases and allergies”.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/26/does-kimchi-and-other-fermented-foods-give-you-more-fizz

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Remember the meals we used to have as a family?  I loved that you guys helped out in the kitchen — even when young — and made meal time a family affair.  That is what life is all about … time spent with loved ones, even tie spent doing the most mundane of activities.

These are the stuff good memories are made of.  No one remembers with fondness the hours in front of the TV eating microwaved food.  But, that was not your childhood with me.  We cooked together, ate together, and shared many good laughs.  I miss that. I miss it everyday.

Your mother was a lazy cook and was more prone to instant noodles than real meals made of fresh vegetables and proteins.  (For most of my marriage to your mother, either I or your grandmother cooked our meals — yes, I cooked more family meals than your mother despite my long work hours as a lawyer and consultant.)  Thus, because I’m no longer there, I want you to take charge of your eating habits and eat healthy.

Eat natural cheese, miso, pickled olives, yogurt, kimchi, and other food items that are rich in probiotics.  Avoid chips, instant noodles, canned food, frozen food, and other processed food items.  Too often, instant food are full of preservatives and chemicals — added to make the food last longer in the freezer, in the can, in the plastic bag, etc.  Eat fruits, vegetables, and other natural food.

Remember our many trips to the farmers’ markets?  Do that.  Drag your mom along if necessary.  Go outside.

Spend time outdoors.  I know your mom used to plant you guys in front of the TV and bought hand-held video games to babysit you.  But, now that you’re older, take charge of your lives.  Go outside.  Go with each other and watch out for one another.  Remember how we used to spend time at the neighborhood park almost every day with our friends and neighbors?  Do that.  It’s not only good for your health, but is also the stuff good memories are made of.

Finally, remember, all things will come to pass.  Even the successful and the great have no assurances that their futures will hold the same.  Let F. Lee Bailey’s story serve as a reminder of that. http://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/a10284185/f-lee-bailey-oj-lawyer-interview/.  Let the fates of the former president of South Korea, Mrs. Park, the former prime minister of Pakistan, Mr. Sharif — both forced from high office for corruption — serve to remind you that money and power are not the end all.  See, e.g., http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/17/asia/south-korea-park-indictment/index.html; https://www.ksl.com/?nid=235&sid=45193281&title=disqualified-by-court-pakistans-prime-minister-steps-down.

Wealth, power, fame, etc., are for naught if you are not true to who you are.  Be true to yourselves.  Be you, but be the best you. Avoid false friends, and those who don’t tell you the truth, but only tell you what they think you want to hear.  Beware of such “friends” for they are anything but that.

Until we reunite, I send you all of my love, always

Dad

 

 

 

 

4 years, 3 months, and 16 days. Be nice.

https://i1.wp.com/www.todaysthebestday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/The-real-test-of-your-character-is-how-you-treat-the-people-you-dont-have-to-be-nice-to.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/livehappy.livelifehappy1.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/be-nice-to-people.jpg

 

In one study, Dr. Prinstein examined the two types of popularity in 235 adolescents, scoring the least liked, the most liked and the highest in status based on student surveys. “We found that the least well-liked teens had become more aggressive over time toward their classmates. But so had those who were high in status. It was a nice demonstration that while likability can lead to healthy adjustment, high status has just the opposite effect on us.”

Dr. Prinstein has also found that the qualities that made the neighbors want you on a play date — sharing, kindness, openness — carry over to later years and make you better able to relate and connect with others.

In analyzing his and other research, Dr. Prinstein came to another conclusion: Not only does likability correlate to positive life outcomes, but it is also responsible, he said, for those outcomes, too. “Being liked creates opportunities for learning and for new kinds of life experiences that help somebody gain an advantage,” he told me.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/education/edlife/be-nice-you-wont-finish-last.html?_r=0

My Dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Be nice, my sons.  It costs you little, but the impact on others may be great.  Everyone has his or her own cross to bear.  Why worsen the burden when it could be lightened with kind words?

Our forebears say, “Twirl your tongues seven times before you speak.”  That is sound advice.

Don’t worry about being the most popular.  Studies show kids who peaked in popularity in primary and secondary schools tend to be stuck at those stages and do worse later in life.  Be nice.  Learn to work with others.

Help others.  You’ll find that it will make you happier.  This is why I have often volunteered when I have time.  My one regret is that I didn’t involve you in my volunteerism while I had the opportunity.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

 

 

4 years, 3 months, and 2 days. Anonymous exposed the fraud and harms caused by Oregon CPS and other states’ CPS.

 

http://www.opexposecps.anonresistance.com/

Oregon CPS couldn’t even safely care of the hundreds of thousands of children it had ripped from families at the slightest anonymous report, yet it continued to destroy more families and to destroy the very kids they are charged with protecting.

On Sept. 28, a former Give Us This Day staff member, Rachel Rosas, told the Senate interim Human Services Committee that children entrusted to the organization went hungry, slept in filthy beds that lacked sheets, and were regularly neglected. That treatment came in spite of state contracts that paid Give Us This Day a minimum of $118 per day per child.

“There was no budget for groceries,” says Rosas, who worked in a group home for 15 girls. “It was disgusting.”

http://www.wweek.com/news/2015/09/30/documents-show-a-portland-foster-care-provider-wasted-2-million-on-lavish-expenditures/.

The latest lawsuit was filed Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The three plaintiffs are seeking $16,320,000 in damages that could be trebled upon a guilty finding.

The lawsuit alleges the three victims – identified only as “AA,” “BB” and “CC” – are 9, 8 and 7 years old respectively and that they “suffered severe permanent and progressive personal injuries and traumas.”

DHS is accused of falling below the applicable standard of care.

The lawsuit claims the agency was negligent by:

  • Failing to adequately perform reasonable screening of the victim’s foster placement
  • Failing to adequately perform reasonable home study, certification and other background checks on the foster home, the people in the foster home and other children in the foster home.
  • Failing to detect the presence of a potentially abusive environment
  • Failing to protect the children when “DHS has actual or constructive” knowledge that there was an unreasonable risk of harm.

The children, the lawsuit claims, have been abused physically, emotionally and sexually.

“They have been exposed to pornographic material and sexual touching,” the lawsuit asserts.

Other allegations made in the lawsuit include:

  • The children received “inferior” care and hygiene.
  • DHS has “actual knowledge” that the children were being abused and neglected.
  • DHS placed the three children in the care of parents who did not speak English.

http://koin.com/2016/04/01/dhs-lawsuit-foster-children-exposed-to-porn/

 

Lawyers for two children in Oregon’s foster care system filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state Tuesday, alleging the Department of Human Services’ increasing practice of housing some children in hotels and offices violates federal and state laws.

A disproportionate share of the foster children parked in temporary quarters have mental disabilities including behavioral and psychiatric impairments, and the state has described them as “hard to place” with foster families and programs, according to the lawsuit. By housing these children in hotels, offices and even a juvenile detention facility, the state denied them access to the family-like environment and stability that it’s supposed to provide for all children in its care, it says. 

That violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state anti-discrimination and child welfare laws, the suit says.

“These children are disproportionately denied — by reason of their disability — the opportunity to benefit from a state program to provide safe, nurturing homes for children and from the mental health services offered by (the state),” lawyers wrote in a court filing.

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/09/suit_slams_dhs_for_parking_ore.html#

We need not look far for human rights violations.  We have human rights problems in own back yard.  Let’s clean up that mess first before we look overseas.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7: 3-5.