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Tue May 05, 2015 at 04:19 PM PDT

Riding with Reagan - Part II

by twigg

Dirty motorcycle!When we left our intrepid hero he was somewhere in darkest Texas, asleep at a Loves gas station. The day is long, and the night short. Yesterday he covered one thousand and fifty miles in a variety of climactic conditions during twenty hours of riding.

The previous day had gone very well right up until the last few hours, when fog, rain and hail had descended to cause a two hour delay, and cause him, more than once, to question his sanity.

There is a strange ... pointlessness to these events. No one but the rider knows what resources are brought to bear to complete one in a timely manner, and no one but the rider and a few other, equally crazy people, cares very much.

It's in the sphere of personal challenge. It's not really a competition against the other participants. For me it is all about can I plan this thing, and can I then make it happen.

If I do that better than the others I will win. If not, someone else will win and I'm good with that.

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Mon May 04, 2015 at 07:42 AM PDT

Riding With Reagan - Part I

by twigg

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

In many areas of human pursuit, that which gladdens our hearts and fills our spirits with joy can also bring the greatest of sadness, often when least expected. This was the case for my wife and I when we learned, last December, of the tragic death of Reagan Walters (above).

Reagan died in a motorcycle accident. She was out with her husband Brian, riding her new motorcycle, and doing what she loved to do. That it was her last outing will remain an enduring reminder that we practise a pastime that carries some inherent risks. I am left thinking that there is a risk/reward curve and we simply place ourselves on it at a point we feel comfortable. Nonetheless the risk remains and tragedy can be as close as the next bend in the road.

Reagan was cherished, not least by Brian who was also joint Rally Master for the Heart of Texas Rally 2015. The event this year was dedicated to her memory, and she will remain in our memories long after the trophies are awarded and the riders have gone home.

Let's Ride with Reagan through 54 hours of Texas!

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There are many lists produced annually, ranking states in merit order for a variety of topics.

When it comes to the good ones, Oklahomans don't start at the top of the list looking for our state, because the top of the lists are not the places you will find us. No, we are hardy souls, well-versed in lists and we therefore work from the bottom up, and rarely have to look very far!

Just for a change, we are going to be first. FIRST I tell ya. We are poised to become the first state, indeed the first in the world and presumably the Universe at large. A cause for much rejoicing?

Well yes, if capital punishment is your thing and those commie Europeans have refused to sell you drugs.

Awaiting the signature of Governor Mary Failing (R - What Else), is House Bill HB 1879

This particularly odious (even for Oklahoma) piece of legislation authorizes execution by use of Nitrogen Gas.

Of all the bills, in all the world, that are needed to help Oklahoma, this one will not be top of any list.

Shame on you!

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Thu Jan 01, 2015 at 12:38 AM PST

I Have No New Year Resolutions But ...

by twigg

From Melissa Harris-Perry I offer this:


"The struggle continues ... Daddy"

Happy, Prosperous and Successful New Year to all our friends

The Twigg Family

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Sun Dec 21, 2014 at 10:59 PM PST

F*ck Cancer!

by twigg

Muddy Kids

Dear God it's only ten weeks since I wrote this awful Diary

This morning my wife and I had to tell those three beautiful children that their Daddy died last night.

Fuck Cancer!

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Bank of America

As a couple, Mrs Twigg and I are keen to take on only commitments we can manage, and thereafter meet those obligations. One such commitment was a mortgage to buy a family home back in early 2008. It was a modest loan on an equally inauspicious home, but a place where we hoped we might raise our family.

In early 2009 it became clear that we might qualify for a mortgage modification under the HAMP scheme. Being a family of limited means, and growing children who, rather unreasonably I thought, wanted feeding more than once a day, it seemed like an opportunity we should explore.

What happened next sent us spiraling into foreclosure hell, and a five year battle that ended last week.

Cliff Notes ... We won!

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Sun Nov 30, 2014 at 10:06 PM PST

"Tasteless, Offensive, Inflammatory"

by twigg

Rams

The title does not refer to the St Louis Rams who simply voiced the feelings of a broad spectrum of American society, but to the St Louis Police Officers Association, who described their actions thus.

Lest they have forgotten, the job of the police is to protect free speech, not criticize it and their statement merely serves to underline that they have learned precisely NOTHING from the last few months.

So let me spell it out for them ....

Killing an unarmed teenager is tasteless and offensive.

Murdering a child with a toy is tasteless and offensive

Protesting when this is pointed out is tasteless, offensive and inflammatory, and it is high time the police associations quit excusing murder on our streets.

If you have a strong stomach you can read the entire statement here

--

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Tue Nov 18, 2014 at 06:01 PM PST

The Future is Bright - Plumes and Music

by twigg

With the assaults on education becoming a fashionable part of mainstream political agenda, good things can be hard to find. While we rightly criticize the cuts and the growing drive for private profit entering the sphere of public education, teachers are still out there, still working and still striving to draw out the excellence that resides within students in schools and school districts all over this country.

I live in Oklahoma, where Governor Fallin and her sidekick, State Superintendent of Education Janet Baresi have conspired to run down both the staff and the institutions, so we feel the pain as much as anyone.

Yet even here, even in this benighted "flyover" state, where expanded Medicaid is but a dream, where they don't count the Republican vote, they weigh it; even here there are good things happening and lest we are to become mere merchants of doom, we should share them.

Our kids are our future, and when they show that they are growing up positively, despite the best efforts of some to deny them a future, we should sing it out ...

So let me introduce you to the "Pride of Owasso", the marching band of Owasso High School.

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Fri Oct 10, 2014 at 06:04 PM PDT

"How Many Stages Are There, Steve?"

by twigg

As my step-son came through the dining room on his way out for some fresh air, he was leaving his sobbing sisters in the girl's bedroom.

He stopped when he saw me, this thirteen-year-old boy who I have cared for since he was three, and with tears running down his face asked me .... "Dad has Stage 4 lung cancer, how many stages are there?".

I choked a little and told him, "There are 4 stages, Mikey", then gave him the longest hug I have given him in these last ten years. Meanwhile, my wife and the girls were still in tears. The youngest is only eleven, and her Dad is only forty six.

Let's go back a few weeks ...

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Following the hoped-for, but unexpected decision by the Supreme Court to refuse to hear an appeal from the 10th Circuit, five states, including (snigger) Oklahoma, just embraced marriage equality.

This is a time to celebrate the extension of civil rights, yet a bit of me is simply sad that it has taken so long. While the new right is to be welcomed, it is worth noting that discrimination against the LGBT community is still protected by Oklahoma law.

I believe that is true for about 29 states ... shame on you all.

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Sat Sep 20, 2014 at 11:48 PM PDT

The "Victim Blaming" Has to Stop!

by twigg

I read the brief Diary on the latest round of Celebrity Nude Photos here:

http://www.dailykos.com/...

It was as I suspected before clicking the link .... More pictures that prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that underneath the clothes of women in the public eye, are naked bodies. They have boobs, and other parts that I guess hold a fascination for those who forgot to buy x-ray specs when there was a BOGOF offer at Radio Shack.

Whether it be Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lawrence, or the girl who lives next door to you, or the high schoolers, it matters not. My guess is that were you to manage to confiscate 100 cell phones from unsuspecting women you would probably find embarrassing pictures on about half of them.

I had an interesting time at school this week. A young lady was sent to ISP (In-school suspension) for three days. When I asked why she told me that she had used the school photocopier for something "inappropriate". It turns out that as well as copying the school project, and activity that met with the full approval of the Principal, she and a friend had also copied their cleavages, which did not meet with any kind of approval at all.

Now these are two very nice, polite students who make good grades and have never been in trouble before. They are also in the 8th Grade!

There are two things going on here and it would appear from the comments in the above linked Diary that commenters are having trouble separating the issues. Indeed, the standard of commentary falls so far short of acceptable that I worry about it. If we, here on one of the biggest Liberal websites in the known universe are unable to see the issues clearly, and comment appropriately, what hope is there for the women suffering this kind of abuse. They certainly can't count on us for support.

There are two issues. Notwithstanding the feeling that it was probably ten seconds between the camera-phone being invented and the first pornographic picture being taken, and the fact that photocopiers have been subjected to anatomical exploration since time immemorial (even if 8th Grade is a bit too young), we still need to accept that the private actions of individuals, and the crimes committed against them are two different things.

Is it wise to take photographs of your naked body, or anything else that you wish to remain private, on an internet connected device? Well no, it probably isn't. If you want to do this then you should use a camera, then immediately transfer the images to a computer and encrypt them behind a very strong pass-phrase. This would give you a modest amount of peace of mind. Absent a super-computer, some specialist tools and a great deal of time and expertise, your pictures are probably safe, especially if you also destroyed the SD Card you used. Photocopiers used to be safe, by the way, but that is no longer the case and if anyone chooses to examine the log files of a modern copier they can probably recover your boobs.

That is simple, cogent advice. If ya wanna have fun, go ahead because ... it's fun. However, if you want to keep your fun private, then don't use your cell-phone or tablet, don't EVER send pictures by text or email, and don't use the school copier!

The more serious matter is the hacking and distribution of the private images of other people. This is a crime, and the victim of the crime is not to blame. It does not help to suggest that these women should have been more careful, or that they were "asking for trouble", they were not. I have seen no quotes whatsoever from any of the victims that have suggested that there was trouble around, and they wanted to share it. In every case, these victims thought their material was safe. If on a remote server it was secure behind a password, and in some cases they had "deleted" the images a long time before they were exposed to the glare of the pre-pubescent youths, and others, on 4Chan.

The fact that they were lulled into a false sense of security is not the fault of the victims, who in truth were subjected to a determined effort to hack their accounts, or the servers that held them, and that is a crime carrying a long prison sentence for anyone convicted.

While this may very well identify a need to better educate the entire population about data security, and school photocopiers, the fact remains that it ill-behoves any of us to point a finger at the victim and make them feel worse than they already do. They did not leave their credit card in a public place with the PIN# written on the back. They did not leave a pile of cash on the sidewalk. They did not leave their car keys in the ignition while they shopped in the gas station, and even if they had, so what. We are not insurance loss-adjusters, and stealing any or all of the above are still serious criminal offenses.

So if you want to write about data security, please do so. If you want to offer support to the victims of crime ... great. What you really should not be doing is suggesting that the latter was invited simply because of an ignorance of the former.

Thanks for listening.

Discuss

Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 09:57 AM PDT

Just an Everyday Tale of Ordinary People

by twigg

Mrs Twigg and I are the eponymous "Ordinary People".

We both work fulltime at skilled and necessary jobs. We have a modest home in a cheap state, a home we have been fighting Bank of America over for six years, but that's another story.

We have three school-age children who do ordinary stuff. They get straight "A"s, they play soccer and do well in things like Band. They have regular social lives and we don't have vacations. Well not many.

We have two cars and one motorcycle, the newest vehicle is the motorcycle, a 2005. We are not extravagant in the vehicle department.

Our monthly incomes are modest. Mrs Twigg is a High School teacher and I am a Paraprofessional with a specialism in Emotionally Disturbed children. As I said, they are jobs worth doing and we try to do them well.

Today we both were paid. Mrs Twigg about three times more than me, and for me it was my first "regular" paycheck and I now have Health Insurance for the first time in ten years.

So today I was able to switch our cell phones and internet back on.

Today I was able to switch our lives back on .... at least until this time next month when again we are likely to be worrying if we have enough gas in the tanks to make it to pay day.

This is life for a family in the Heartland; for a hard-working family. This is normal life, we are not unusual and we do not complain about it.

This is America, and we are Ordinary People.

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