Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Re: Forgiveness

I am thinking about forgiveness tonight as I call it an evening.
In fact, I'm not just thinking about it, I am obsessed with it.
Because there are far to many angry people populating the planet.
Forgiveness is nowhere near as hard as you think as long as you keep in mind you never have to forget in order to forgive.
Personally, I don't believe I could ever forgive someone who murdered someone I love.
However I know most of the things we get angry at others for are mistakes, stupid statements, bad judgment calls.
I truly believe we are all much better than our last bad act.
The You Tube cut that follows below is tough to watch...
yet so profound and cathartic when you can see it through.
If you have found your way to this blog post, consider finding your way to forgiving one person today.
Remember, you don't have to forget, just forgive.
And by doing so the one you actually liberate....
is yourself.

Forgiveness - The Greatest Gift

Monday, December 27, 2010

Octomom Update

As much as I want to throw a few one-liners out about Octomom, the humor never makes it to my keyboard because of her kids.

Octomom's needs/compulsions, which I believe are either narcissistic, delusional or a combination thereof....
and her doctor's willingness to comply with implanting one so young and already over-burdened financially, emotionally and physically with children...
created a media frenzy that failed to focus on the most important players here.
There was more attention directed to Octmom's lips and her eerie resemblance in  to Angelina Jolie than those babies.

I'm wonder what Octomom's true motivation was.
Allegedly the babies have a father, he's married, so maybe she figured having his kids would win her mystery lover over.
Bad tactic.
Failed Miserably with Oksana and Mel.

Maybe she figured she could survive on state benefits. Kids mean money to someone who's in the welfare system. Often, the parents use it on cigarettes, booze and silicone implants.

Maybe Octomom wanted a "John and Kate Plus Eight" gig... however, that turned quick to " Kate Plus Eight" and a whole lot of Kate haters.
Now, word in the wind is Octomom's parents aren't too thrilled with the idea of all those kids in their their own lives at what was supposed to be their blissful, golden retirement years....
let alone a reality TV show crew in their home.

Maybe... just maybe... Octomom's addicted to being pregnant and having babies the way others are addicted to smoking, drugs, shopping, gambling. Maybe there's a biochemical baby imbalance in her brain.

Maybe... maybe.... maybe. It's all hypothetical and speculative.
And way beyond my ability to figure it out.
Instead, I direct you now to a higher power... the Associated Press.

(And when you look at the picture of Octomom, tell me if you can figure out the point of her t-shirt because I sure can't.) 

'Octomom' faces eviction from Southern Calif. home

The man who sold his Southern California home to "Octomom" Nadya Suleman said Sunday that he's going ahead with eviction proceedings because she hasn't made a long overdue $450,000 payment.
Story Updated: Dec 26, 2010 at 6:17 PM PST
'Octomom' faces eviction from Southern Calif. home
"Octomom" Nadya Suleman
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The man who sold his Southern California home to "Octomom" Nadya Suleman said Sunday that he's going ahead with eviction proceedings because she hasn't made a long overdue $450,000 payment. Amer Haddadin said he'll evict Suleman if she and her lawyer Jeff Czech don't pay the balance on the house by Friday. A balloon payment was due Oct. 9.
"I think they have money, but they are hiding the money," Haddadin said.
Suleman and Czech were served notice on Dec. 2 by mail and by hand, Haddadin said. He expects the eviction to be speedy.
Suleman and her 14 children have lived in the 4 bedroom house for nearly two years, ever since she brought her octuplets home to the quiet cul-de-sac in La Habra, about 25 miles east of Los Angeles. Her father purchased the home for $565,000, including a $130,000 down payment.


 File photo shows the house in which Nadya Suleman, mother of octuplets, has been living in for nearly two years in La Habra, Calif.
Suleman's father, Ed Doud, cut a deal with Haddadin for the house because a traditional bank loan wasn't available to Suleman, who is unmarried and unemployed. She previously lived with her mother in a small Whittier home before that house was foreclosed on.
In April, Haddadin granted a 6-month extension on the remaining balance, and says that as a Jordanian, he took pity on a fellow Arab in a tough spot, and pledged to help Doud, who is Palestinian.
Haddadin said Czech and Suleman became joint owners of the house in August, after her father transferred the deed from his name.
Reached by phone Sunday, Czech said he had no immediate comment except that Suleman has been making $4,000 payments every month.
Suleman already had six small children before giving birth to the octuplets. All 14 children were conceived through in vitro fertilization.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holidays 2010

Looking at the posts below, I am thankful today for not just a day off work. And that I have work.
I'm thankful for You Tube.
Without You Tube, I'd have nothing to say this hoiliday.
Because I have nothing to say now that fits in the framework of words from my point of view, which is not, necesaarily, fa la la, this time of year.
Or bah, bah, bah.
Nor am i into blah, blah, blah.
It's more ha ha! ha!
and rah rah! rah! rah!
So if for some reason you found your way to this blog, consider the You Tubes below and blogs following them... a Holiday soundtrack of sorts.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Treasure every moment...
because life can turn on a dime.

The Annoying Orange 4: Sandy Claus

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Robert Downey Jr.-RIVER- with thanks to Laura

Street Family

I found them living under tarps on a hillside around this time last Christmas.
It was an area known as a homeless encampment and I had been directed there with the help of a picture of the people I was looking for from the newspaper.
They were witnesses in a case I was working on.
They were important to find because they were "independent" witnesses... a man and woman who allegedly witnessed someone get hit in a crosswalk and had no connection to the person hit or the person who hit him.
The insurance company was giving the injured person and his attorney grief, claiming the attorney's client wasn't in the crosswalk.
And even if he was, the light to cross was red.
And, besides that, claimed an obviously deluded insurance adjustor,  the pedestrian jumped on the hood of the car that hit him and fractured his leg and hip.
I kid you not.
The insurance companies try that stuff.

Thankfully, there are personally injury attorneys willing to invest their own money in cases where people are really hurt and need help.
Then they pay P.I.'s like me to find evidence to help the clients they hope to get a settlement for.
So I was hired to find the witnesses.
They were a couple.
I asked if they were married.  He said unofficially, but on the streets they were husband and wife.
They'd been on the streets 11 months.
They'd both lost their jobs. Then homes.
And they introduced to me to  a young couple, they called their kids.

That's the way life on the streets works.
When your own family rejects you, you look for a second one.
That's the street family.
They lived under a blue tarps in an area near the University where a lot of homeless people live under randomly spaced plastic and cardboard roofs.
 
We do have a more organized tent-city in Seattle for the homeless called Nicklesville. It moves every few months for a number of reasons.
These folks I met chose a different path, living on their own in the woods with their street family.

People ask me if I am afraid approaching certain people or environments.
I wasn't then.
You do this job long enough and you develop that sixth, seventh and eighth sense.
There was no danger there for me other than looking in the mirror image they could reflect right back at me....or any of us....who lose our jobs... or our homes... our families.
There are so many people on the streets now who are good people who have not just fallen on hard times....
They have had the hard times dropped on them.
And while they get easier to ignore begging for money on street corners over time...
and while your eyes watch them sleeping in doorways or under trees as if it's a movie and not real life....
they are all around us.
And they need more than a hand or a hand out.
These poor folks need a break.

So this post is dedicated to the nameless man with the soaking sign I  pass almost every time I turn onto Aurora after exiting the ferry.
And this is for the "Homeless Mother Of Two Who Needs Help" in the raincoat on the corner of Mercer and Westlake, just heading onto I5.
Yesterday, I sat parked at long red light in the heart of Seattle and was fascinated by the lady on the park bench next to my car.
I dedicate this to her too.
She was homeless, surrounded by overflowing shopping benches filled with the cast offs of others. She had a huge smile on her face while she sang Amazing Grace. For a few brief seconds our eyes met and i felt like she was singing to me.
I could not, still can not, fathom how she could land in such a place and still smile.

Now... to the point of this blog post.
I got the hand-written statements I needed from the man in woman in the woods and we parted ways.
The attorney was happy, the case was won, it was another score for the home team.
Still, I can't pass that street and that stretch of woods without remembering, wondering... and feeling... this overwhelming sense of gratitude for my life.
Lesson learned?
Take nothing and no one for granted.
Every one has a story.
And just because they have less money than you do, does not mean they are  less than you are.
In my humble opinion, those people wear their sense of entitlement like a crown...
could use a good de-throning.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Leona Lewis-Homeless w/Lyrics

Dark Days

I made myself a promise.
I could not return to this blog or Facebook until I wrap my most urgent cases before the holidays.
Mission accomplished.

For me, recent days have been like running a wet marathon while avoiding black ice and grabbing sleep  only when sleep overtakes you... because this is an investigator's busy season.

When the clouds and rain come, the moods darken. A legitimate diagnosed medical condition called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) strikes many who either migrate to the Pacific Northwest from sunnier climates, or those prone to depression when the sun goes away.
Some people are just plain miserable during the long months of zero sunlight.
I thrive on it.
A good winter storm does for me what being on a lounge chair by a sunny poolside does for others.
.
Here in  Western Washington ( the west being the side of the state with mountains on one side and open seas in the other), when the rain descends... the world becomes dark and waterlogged. The sun has gone elsewhere.

And because we are so close to Alaska we have these endless nights, nowhere near as long as Alaska's, but long enough.
Winter in the Northwest is a more rugged, primal, visceral time that has a definite effect on the psyche.
The sun sets close to four, the wind chills, the waters freeze, the streets become ice rinks... and those prone to depression become more depressed. Those prone to being crazy become more crazed.  For some, darkness brings a descent into decay, desperation and/or decadence.

I have longed to write about the the things I have seen lately. Perhaps I have conned myself into believing that writing about them will help purge me of the images.... the things I have heard, seen and photographed recently.
Almost every day, there's something and someone new... and often someone living a life so intense, it is an epiphany for me.

Recently, I've been having many dialogues with a homeless man who does have family, yet they won't take him in. He was a passenger in a bad wreck and I will have to leave the details at that to protect his identity and privacy.

Suffice to say he has one crushed leg from ankle to the top of his thigh, even his knee is in pieces. The driver of the car he was in has been arrested for DUI and it in unknown whether there is any auto insurance. He has no health insurance, so no hospital will give him the surgery he needs. The homeless shelters are filled to overflowing and because of his broken leg, he hobbles about on crutches  and can never get to a shelter in time to get a bed because the lines, then waiting lines, are so long.
On the rare occasions he's gotten into a shelter, he's had to sleep sitting up on the floor. He said the mentally ill people in the shelter keep kicking the cast on his leg on the way to the bathroom on purpose. He said 60% of people in shelters are mentally ill.

His sister gave him the cell phone and the minutes he calls me on.
She will not, however, give him safe harbor.
I ask him over and over...
you have no one, nowhere to go?
No one? No where?
I keep repeating it because I can't fathom it.
Always, he says "no."
I list the usual litany of options.
Been there, done 'em all.
He's bottomed out, he said. He sleeps on the streets every night since the accident.
And while the thought occurred to me, I certainly can not bring him to my home.

So I just tell him how sorry I am for what he's going through, how I wish I could help... and how an investigator can't bring their attorney's clients home. That seems to be a good enough explanation for him.

He told me last weekend if something doesn't change, he's probably going to kill himself. I told his attorney I suggested he go to a specific psych ward via a hospital ER and tell them that. At least he'll get three days respite from the rain.
He tried that and after a brief exam and discovery of no health insurance, the security guard escorted him out. 

And then there is the woman I just met, who physically could be the mirror image of me.
Except she was in a wheelchair and had a huge brace on her broken neck.
She said she was crossing the street, when the little white man in the crosswalk indicator said to walk, then KABOOM! She was hit by a DUI who drove off into the sunset and she flew down the road,  like a rag doll,  landing on her forehead, the frontal lobe hitting the concrete first.
Her brain injury was obvious as were her other physical injuries.
She just moved here from another state to work at a casino.
It will be a wonder if she ever works again.
She is now stuck living in a situation she was trying to move out of -- with a hostile boyfriend and his son who just got out of jail for the second time for dealing Meth. He, the son, has been stealing her pain meds she said.
She asked if I had a spare room.
I said, "I wish" and left it at that.

When you're a P.I., you often work for.... or on behalf of.... someone who is hurt, in crisis, in trouble, may need evaluation, evacuation, salvation.

There are also those clients who seek something simpler --  solutions, answers, missing pieces to puzzles in their lives. It's the latter group that's the easier to work for.
If you don't find their answers, they're not happy, but they'll be just fine.
But the former, the ones in true crisis.... they are either going to make it or they are not.
And unfortunately, many do not.

Last night I went to a holiday party filled with nothing but nice people. I didn't sense a single psychopath in the bunch. Everyone was happy, smiling, the food was gourmet, the beverages free flowing and there was a white elephant gift exchange. I think I won the most unique gift. A pair of fingerless gloves made out of mens underwear. Very classy.

On the ride home, my hunger satiated, gifts in hands, conversation flowing.... my cell rang.
I looked at the number.
It was the homeless man, the one the lawyers asked me to disconnect from.
The one living on the streets.
With just a little more than a moment's hesitation, I slid the phone to "ignore"...
I wanted "normal" during the car ride.
I was selfish and knew it.

I listened to the voice message from his ignored call when I got home.
It said he was almost out of cell minutes and his sister is not returning his calls for more.
He said he has been sleeping in doorways and under bridges and doesn't think he can hang on much longer. The hospital, the churches, the mission, everyone is turning him away. His cast is soaked.
He said he went to two ER's and they turned him away.
He wished me happy holidays.
Then the phone went dead.

When I walked with the dogs out in the freezing cold last night after listening to his call, they quickly did their business and ran back inside by the fire to warm up.
When I  climbed into bed, under a fluffy, warm comforter, the rain had kicked in.
I listened to that rain pounding on the roof, the wind howling, and thought of the homeless, broken man on the end of the cell phone.
I wondered where he was... how.... and if he would make it through the night.
And I thanked the higher power of your choice that night, that it wasn't me.
Or one of my kids or kin.
I don't know if it's genetics... nurture.... or simply the luck of the draw.
Or, is it a matter of, "There but for the grace of God go I?"

Either way.... I say today is a good time to count your blessings...
There but for the Grace of God go we.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Collateral Damage

As a a P.I. who often works fraud cases, I am fascinated by the the well-named Madoff case... which did so much damage... it goes way beyond numbers and digits, to hearts and souls.
I really believe his son Mark had no clue what his father was up to.
I think what drove him to the brink was the fact that no one, or few, believed him.
This is what I  call the ripple effect...
Bernie threw a pebble in a still pond that rippled outwards to thousands of people and millions of dollars and countless lives.

The best stories I've ever read on the Madoff case were  in "Vanity Fair." These stories are now years old, however, so valuable in providing insights into the Madoff Family dynamics, Bernie, and the Ponzi scheme... the extent of which went way beyond what anyone imaged and at first, could believe.
There are a lot of links out there to the "Vanity Fair stories," so look for them when you have time -- especially one by his personal secretary. It's a great source of information.
Right now, this link will take you to to a more accurate and current story on Mark's early and unnecessary demise.
http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/article/2010-12-13-mark-madoffs-suicide-no-point-asking-why

I know this may sound extreme..... and to those who know the law, pointless and/or absurd....
but why not bring Madoff up on murder charges?
Had it not been for the actions of the father, I believe the son would still be alive.
And that son had a son... a wife... a life... until dad got hungry for "things" and the envy/prestige some people feel comes with those "things".
It's all such an illusion or delusion.... depending how deep you buy into the myth that money equals success.
This latest news comes as no surprise.
Bernard Madoff won't attend son's funeral

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kiss Off!

You got to read this article for yourself to believe it.
I've got catch a ferry and work a couple cases today so.... I figured this would be something good, bizarre, definitely strange to leave you with.
It proves a point.
No matter how bad you think you got it, life could be worse.
You could be him.
Or her.
 http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20101207/SHE0101/101207006/Karen-Lueders-of-Sheboygan-charged-with-biting-husband-s-tongue-off

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Backgrounds

It is  a quiet morning in the Great Northwest.
I do not have to leave our beach house, my safe house, for the next 24 hours unless an urgent case case beckons.
And my gut tells me that is unlikely.
However, that does not mean I will not be working.
Mine is as much a job of phone and computer work...and the computer is almost always the key that unlocks the doors to rooms of hidden truths.
I could get on a computer at 6am and not get off until 3am the next morning.
I search internet nooks and crannies that expand just like the universe does.
Still, there is a life to be lived, family and friends to love back, a home to clean, animals to tend, life needs to be lived.
Lately though... it seems to be.... as it does to most people I know....
that life is a tedium.
One long string, or chain.... of reluctantly waking up, leaving our quilted wombs, stepping into icy rooms..... and then beginning or enduring the day until we climb back into those beds and it all starts all over again.

Just before blogging this, I wandered to the coffee, which has had already been started for me.
For that, I am eternally grateful.
I listened to the TV in the background and tuned into a car commercial.
"We are a nation of wayfarers, wanderers and nomads...." the announcer says.
And I think, "how true."
I think how I am a wayfarer, wanderer and nomad professionally.
Aren't we all in some way or another?
Even when our bodies are stuck in one space....
our minds take flight to another.
I've often wondered what it would be like to be Steven Hawkins, to have a  mind like his, trapped into a body like his.
My wise  mother raised her five children with the assist of quotes while growing up.
The one I heard the most often is "there but for the grace of God, go I."

In each case I will be working today, someone has been victimized by someone else.
The victim wants the perp, or the Defendant (as the case may be) held responsible or liable (as the case may be). It is hoped that ultimately, some closure to the case will be found.
The thing is this.
There is no such thing as closure.
Once you have been ripped off or hurt in some way by another, there's no do-over.
Once you've been scarred, you are scarred.
If you've been burned, you're burnt.
If you've been robbed, you may catch the bad guy but not until after he sent the profits from your robbery up your nose.
To me, the strongest offense is always the best defense... being, BEFORE the defense has a chance to launch its missiles.
I believe its best to begin by trusting no one and then.... work from there.
Trust must be built, acquired, proven....THEN granted.
It can not be faked or forced.
Just because someone presents themselves as good looking and/or affluent does not mean they are so.
Falsely building your trust is the way bad people enter your life....
they will pretend to be good people (AKA wolves in sheep's clothing.)
That's why so many people didn't have a clue until too late, that there was a monster who was behind the mask of their alleged friend, caretaker, companion, neighbor, suitor, spouse.
Today is a day of after-the-fact backgrounds for me.
Offenses all committed.
All I am doing is digging up records on someone who already hurt or ripped someone else off.
The key of course, would not to have hired the bad guy in the first place
Any recovery of a damages is unlikely or at least questionable... unless an  insurance company legally accepts liability.
A DEF can declare bankruptcy on all his assets and you may never collect anyway.
For instance, I don't think it takes a brain surgeon to figure out OJ killed Nicole and Ron.
And any observer can witness that the civil judgment against OJ awarded to Nicole's and Ron's family has not and is not likely  to be paid.
So the point of this blog is this -- if someone is entering your life and they are moving in on you fast, slow things down.
Do your own investigation.
Check them out.
There is a reason why they want to move into your home so fast.
There is a reason you have suddenly because the 24/7 focus of their life.
You may think it true love, though you could be a target.
If you have children, they may be the true target.
There's a reason why these new people in your lives are not paying at least half the expenses on their date.
Or falling madly in love with you after a few emails.
Just because they're handy or dandy... does not make them decent.
Do your homework BEFORE bringing anyone home.
Remember, bad guys and  bad girls can and will monitor your computer, cell and put GPS on your car.
Once they enter your life, they are very hard to extricate.
So do your homoework before the fact.
Run those backgrounds.