I stopped writing about & voicing my political opinions back in 2008 or 2009 after J. Kevin Kelley & Kevin Payne got busted by the FBI for their corruption. At the time I tweeted something along the lines of “I can’t believe I worked on a project with these scumbags.” That project being a redesign of the County Engineer’s website that had languished for over a year, complete, but without sign-off to go live. The next day I got called into the Director’s office with my boss and syntax was structured that tangentially implied that further public commentary from me on anything job-related would affect my employment. That Director, Dan Weaver, later got sentenced to 3 years in prison as part of the same giant pile of corruption that infected the management of the entire County. I think the FBI stopped fishing soon after because everything left was small fry.
They scared me. I had a brand new infant, a mortgage, there were no job prospects in Cleveland, so I deleted the aforementioned tweet and kept my head down for another 5 years. The FBI burst in to my office because these criminals spat upon the same civil responsibility that I was honored to contribute to. Everyone at the County was implicated. I know how louche it is to voice personal opinions regarding one’s professional position, but some shit needs to be unequivocally repudiated. The following tweet is, as far as I can tell, the only one left standing from that time:
I’ve spent 7 years with my lips zipped — which is not an easy thing for me to do. I’ve tried to be as non-partisan as possible in my dealings with everyone. Going along to get along. I’ve avoided engaging in anything that might be politicized, but what isn’t these days? Ain’t nobody playing for low stakes.
I can continue to kibitz, or I can throw my two cents on the pile & see if anything shifts.
Mainly, though, I’m tired of keeping my mouth shut.
The boy and I went to a Frontiers of Astronomy lecture at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History tonight to learn about gravitational waves from Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann. Here’s a similar version of her talk:
For a quick run-down about the importance of gravitational waves: Top 5 Targets of a Gravity Wave Observatory.
I’d forgotten how much I missed hanging around a campus and going to random lectures and learning new things straight from the experts. That was one of the highlight of attending a university. Plus the snacks after!
It was my son’s idea to attend, and even though it was way past his bedtime, he learned a bunch, and even asked the astrophysicist an intelligent question about the “pressure” of gravitational waves that she was able to explain to a 3rd grader. It was definitely a more intelligent question than the one about time travel. I’m super proud of him for having the gumption to ask a question when he was the youngest in a room with hundreds of people in it.
After the lecture we went up to the observatory and got to take a gander at the moon. It was a first for both of us, and amazing! Then we had the aforementioned snacks, headed home, and he passed out in the car. I need to start looping myself in to the local lecture circuit. There are too many colleges around for me to continue ignoring the opportunities they provide.
I might even be able to haul along my son, since he seems to be into the science-related ones at least. I guess that runs in the family too.
When I was 7 or 8 I stole a packet of erasers from Mace’s Supermarket in Connersville, Indiana. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. I got caught. I do not recall the exact chain of events that thereby transpired, but I got hollered at by my mom, went to my dad’s workplace and got hollered at by him, was returned to Mace’s where I got hollered at by the store manager. I do not recall if the police were called, but I do remember that the threat was there. I learned a lesson.
Today, my son took two packets of Tic-Tacs from Giant Eagle. When I discovered this, I felt trifurcated; like I was that little boy again, and like my mom must have felt dealing with that little boy’s malfeasance, and also as myself, at 35, being both of those at the same time. We returned to the store, and I made him go to the service desk and ask to speak to the manager, and I made him fess up to the manager when he arrived. He got a lecture that I very much remember getting.
His punishment was losing all of his Halloween candy — if he feels the need to steal candy, he doesn’t deserve candy that was given to him. He was super upset about that and felt more than a bit of remorse — although it took him awhile to get there.
At one point he said that he knows he has “good deep down inside me” and I told him that it doesn’t need to be deep down inside, he should let that good fill him and flow out of him, so that he can be a good person to everyone.
We’ll see how it goes. Parenting is full of surprises — and déjà vu, too.