Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Bucket List Daytrip to Presque Isle Downs and Casino, in Erie, PA.

Well, hello again. As my regular readers know I am in my last couple of weeks of school. This experience is sitting in my head just waiting like an impatient child to burst forth on to my screen. I need to write this so I can clear my mind for school work. This was my first time to visit a casino and there are lots of thoughts I want to share.

Just a little background. I am not, nor will I ever be, a gambler. I need to have control over the outcomes of events in my life with much more certainty, to leave things to chance. I offered my driving services to someone close in my life who is partial to casino's. She is, in the final stages of a battle with cancer and this was an opportunity to aid in a bucket-list type wish fulfillment event. Surely, they could have found other modes of transportation but I offered, and I am glad that I did.

There was some question about going the 90+ miles given the rain on Friday morning. This was not going to stop us from completing this mission. As we headed east on I 90 the rain gave way to fluffy clouds. Upon arrival we availed ourselves of the valet parking service and off we went. The large brick monolith was seemingly dropped into a vast expanse of acreage sitting back off the road surrounded by parking lots and shuttle buses. The building obscured the horse racing track placed further east from the road. I waited for my fellow travelers to join me at the door and in we went.

The second the door opened I was reminded of the days in Ohio before the smoke-free law was enacted. The smell was overwhelming. The next sense to get bombarded was my sight. The sheer number of lights and signs all attempting to lure me over with the promise of winning big was everywhere. Sadly, this is a promise rarely kept. I could almost feel the despair of previous visitors who had come before me and lost hard earned money. Lastly, the sound of electronic, pre-programmed audio files being dispersed via high end speakers built into the rows and rows of slot machines was deafening. Their constant repetitive theme music and artificial bells pierced the normal orderly input of information entering my brain. This was all in the first three seconds.

I quickly pushed aside my misgivings about my surroundings and strolled along behind the guest of honor. She made her way to a black jack table and just wanted to be left alone, in the moment. My other traveling companion and me wandered still deeper into the labyrinth of bright and loud machines. I felt like I had entered into a chapter in my psychology book, where lots of the lessons learned were on display. Surprisingly, there was no type of person who fit a "gambler" profile, and Kenny Rogers was nowhere to be found. All levels of the socioeconomic strata were represented. I felt like I was in another world. What was I not getting? Was I just too uptight? Why was I not feeling this sense of release? Perhaps, a few years of struggling through school trying to keep the lights on and food in the cupboards had built walls that could not be breached by any lights or sounds. I see this as a fruitless pursuit where resources are squandered rarely to become greater than their sum total upon entering such a venue. Sorry, that is just my opinion.

I was able to find comfort at the Southend Bar where I discovered they gave out "free" cups of coffee. Free in a casino is a myth. I was given $20.00 dollars to use in pursuit of the elusive jackpot, which I judiciously spread around several of the penny slots. It was eventually consumed by the machines never to be used by me or anyone else in the productive economy again. I imagine the payroll of the monolith does have some multiplier affect for utilities and mortgage payments and the like, however, I do not believe it creates much wealth. At least for the hourly wage earner employed there.

The guest of honor had her fill of casino action by 2:30 PM and as we were sitting on a bench out front waiting for the car to be brought around she summed up her experience by saying, "As far as casino's go this one is unnh." She had lived for a time in Las Vegas and had become accustomed to their venues. The trip home was highlighted by a stop at the TA at exit 235 on I 90 in Ohio, a "real truck stop." She liked to visit them and look around at the items truckers use, to make their lives a bit easier. I could relate to that having been a long haul trucker myself for some years. I had a chicken fried steak and my partners had biscuits and gravy and a huge Michigan burger (mushroom and Swiss) served on a huge hoagie bun.

The truth is I could of found any number of things to do yesterday. I choose to give my time to someone who doesn't have much left. For all of the things that bothered me while at the casino I did enjoy watching her escape the inexorable hell cancer has in store for her, even if just for a few hours. To the people who work and enjoy Presque Isle Downs & Casino I have no ill-will. It is just not for me. I was treated like a guest and appreciated all your hospitality. I have included a like to their web site for you to get a better idea of their facility.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Eagle has Landed in true American Spirit

Earlier this month I posted an article on my other web site It is a site where I sell customized wood burned animals. I would normally never post a opinion oriented piece on that site, however, the bald eagle shown above was in the middle of its creative throws and played a central role in the posting.

I basically spoke of the current strife our lawmakers are dealing with in Washington D.C. and drew a correlation to the eagle and not knowing how it would turn out. This piece was not pre-ordered it was just something I started to ease my stress level. I was going to keep the piece for my own collection.

Yesterday, after a week or more of kicking the design around, I finally decided on a nice star and a simple blue background. I was in the home stretch. I took a break and was pleasantly surprised by a visit from our friends and Neighbors, the Schmidt's. They have been busy with summer things like helping setup for their oldest grandsons graduation party in the oppressive heat Sunday.

We were talking for a long time when Joann's face went pale. She remembered that her son's birthday was today 7/27. I knew that feeling well. And by feeling I don't mean forgot but rather how can we afford a gift at this late date in the month. They are retired and have just had work done on both home and car air conditioning and a few other unexpected expenses this month. 

I would normally never reveal my good deeds, but this is too important to keep to myself. Normally the Schmidt's are first in line to give anyone a hand. So, my path was clear, I did not hesitate for a second when I offered to give the eagle to them to use as a gift for their son. He is a chip off the old block and has braved the cold while putting breaks on my wife's van. In all of this the true meaning of what the eagle and the star mean. They symbolize the true American spirit. When you can lend a hand you do. You do not have to but it feels good to give of yourself and your time or talents.

I cannot tell you how happy it made me to give this to the Schmidt's who I wrote about in a previous posting. As long as we care for one another we American's will survive anything.  

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekly discussion in my computer forensics class about email scams I wanted to share.

This was the question:Many crimes involving e-mails have e-mail accounts set up in countries that are unwilling to cooperate with the United States (for instance, Ukraine.) Recommend how you, as a forensics professional, would handle this kind of situation?

This was my reply: Sadly, there were millions of results with just some cursory searching of Google on this topic. As I focused in on the specifics of the weekly question I found a link supplied by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 

They point out, in their article, that there are millions of victims of these crimes. Moreover, they make the case that the majority of these crimes are carried out with organized crime groups. I believe there are segments of any population that are going to fall for these tactics. As a forensics professional I would keep in mind that education of the public at large will be my best weapon in this fight.

There needs to be an effort, like the one mentioned in this article, that selects a day and pushes a national campaign trying to make everyone aware of the scams out there. Secondly, I would try to devise a special domain reserved for government officials that would allow for mass e-mailing in conjunction with the major ISP's. This would be like reverse 911 when the police can call you in an emergency and make you aware or a specific scam underway. Of course, this runs the risk of crying wolf but the awareness gained in the first few emailings would at least put the risk's into the public sphere.

As we all remember TCP/IP depends on a message not being filtered to arrive in an inbox. I would think that certain times should allow ISP's to take directives from homeland security or the like, and filter out mass e-mails. This is going to be met with fierce privacy backlash, I admit. However, the lost funds which are taken out of the productive economy and stolen by overseas criminals will not be made available for creation of additional wealth or tax revenue. So, I think this is an issue of national security especially given the current state of debt our country is facing. 
Let me know what you think. My comments section is open with no authentication so feel free to respond. 

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Fun with The four Seasons

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Parents needing PC's for back to school / Read This Before You Break The Bank

Below is a copy of the weekly reflection I had to turn in last night. I am taking an online class (my last one) on computer forensics. This is just like the way CSI does it on TV, except for just about everything. The  TV version would be tossed out of court so fast, but I digress.

One main point of the class this week was to learn that Apple software is all built on top of Linux-like Operating Systems. They seem no worst for the experience.

I have been aware for a year or so about Linux software. The reason I am letting you all know is that it might be a huge help for anyone who is on a tight budget. I had to work with this Operating system and find it very smooth and responsive. The various distributions are freely given to anyone who wants them. This would fill the void if someone had an old computer with no current version of Microsoft Windows. It could more than handle any school work a parent might need done at home. This open source software would allow you to get online, access all of the updates, install open-office a free software package, and millions more free software programs. You could get an older PC and use this Linux software since the size of the program is much smaller than a comparable Windows platform. You could get a $50 PC at Good Will download this software (which all fits on one CD) put it in the drive and be in business. There are as many free sites out there to offer advice. If your child could master this software on the terminal (command-line) level they would be sure to have a job. Most every App in the App store is made on a Linux work station.

The reason for the weekly reflection below is to share the links mainly. I will try to provide more information as time goes on. A quick visit to WikiPedia searching for Linux would be a good starting point.

This week the discussion about BSD UNIX and Apple started me down the path of fear and denial that *NIX exists. I have an irrational fear of these OS's, which I worked on and found some new comfort in using. I took a lot of time reading both chapters and especially number eight this week. I feel like my mastery of *NIX is at least in the same galaxy now.
The book I am referring to ISBN: 10- 1-43549883-6

The topic lead me into Apple's core (pun intended) where I found a treasure trove of interesting documents freely available. I will say that my classmates were also impressive in their ability to digest and form cogent points about BSD. The book was paced just right for me to get a much better grip on the whole OS. I found the SANS link useful again; they are permalinked on my blog page. I followed a link from their forensics tab and found the blog posting interesting. I have offered a small portion just below.
Sans Institute had this link on their blog:
Mac Memory Reader™
Mac Memory Reader is a simple command-line utility to capture the contents of physical RAM on a suspect computer, letting an investigator gather volatile state information prior to shutting the machine down.  Results are stored in a Mach-O binary file for later off-line analysis by the investigator.
Mac Memory Reader is available free of charge.  It executes directly on 32- and 64-bit target machines running Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5, or 10.6 and requires a PowerPC G4 or newer, or any Intel processor.
The lab was useful but left me with some questions. I wondered if the deleted file was just to be listed in recycled items but could not be recovered. I thought this will provide little cover if a defense attorney is shooting at your evidence. I am hopeful that the lab instructions were just to recover the listing of deleted files. There has to be a method of recovering those files.
I found the links below helpful in gaining more context with Linux based OS's. The world of *nix software is there for a dedicated person who is willing to spend their time using it. Cost is not a factor since most study materials and OS's are free for distribution.
I am eager to read on in the next weeks of class and have a fuller understanding of the subject matter.

Retrieved 7/16/2011 from:

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Translate Feature Just pick the language and the rest is automatic. Enjoy everyone

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The philosophical bee encounter

     I was all alone for the moment or at least I thought I was. It was a hot, dry, and dusty day and if you looked straight up in the air, you almost felt as though you were in the middle of the desert. The sky was rich with blue tones that faded slightly as I scanned the horizon for approaching aircraft wondering if they might spot me from their eagle like vantage point. I was certain that nobody was looking down at me and doubted if anyone even cared at that point. As it turned out, I was not alone. I was sharing the small 18-foot round pool in my backyard with someone who was not invited, and truth be told probably had no desire to be there in the first place. The party to whom I am referring was a large bee that had errantly wound up, on the surface of the pool with me. 
     As I approached with caution I could see his/her wing beating furiously and knew that without my intervention the surface tension of the water on this bee's wings would prevent lift off and would seal the bee's fate. I was determined to provide aid to this bee and wait it out like a nervous parent hoping that my rescue efforts would not be in vein. I chose to put aside my own preconceived notions about bees, hold him/her in my hand, and have faith that recovery would happen. I had no way of knowing then that this simple act would have a profound effect on my life.
     In the ensuing ten or fifteen minutes while we were still alone, I got to see this bee up close. I saw the little hairs that lined the body of this little creature in their trademark black and yellow rings. As the wings were beginning to dry off and separate from the body, I was all but certain this bee was going to make it. The fear of a bee sting was replaced with a belief that the bee was going to be so thankful that I saved it that he/she would not sting me. It was this belief born out of my own sense of humanity and how I thought a human in the same circumstance might react. I cannot be sure however, I do try to find the very best in myself and in others. I hoped that I would not be wrong. I knew that I was the only one that knew of this act and felt it proper to keep this story for my own reflection. The statute of limitations of that act five or six summers ago has run out so I believe this is the right time to share this experience.
            The reasons for my actions that day are a philosophy that I have constructed my life around more or less. Some of them include, if you can do something that will aid another and is of a reasonable expense in either money or physical harm to myself then I will choose to help. I am sure that having my Father pass away while I was several hundred miles away left me feeling as though I had to try to render aid to those who are in my proximity. Lastly, I do believe there is a scoreboard somewhere that will flash your good to bad deed ratio upon your death. I would hate to have a bad deed ratio. The problem that this type of list inherently confronts is that there is no way to quantify the results. For me, the good feeling I get when I do a good deed is real and that personal proof, plays into my definition of ethics.
    Well, I am sure that you are poised on the edge of your chair and want to know what happened to the bee. I can tell you that after fifteen minutes in my hand he/she just flew away with no fanfare. It was a moment that imprinted on my mind. I could change the world with the flap of a bee's wing just as Margaret Wheatly suggested about butterflies. The compass that directs my life is one of morality and of seeking goodness in my fellow persons and insects. I am fortunate to share this world with them. Since it is in the 80's outside and the pool is vacated much more often now that I am in school I was forced to hang a sign near the pool that says fly at your own risk no lifeguard on duty.  

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A sight for sore eyes, lovely flowers I've come across in the last few weeks

Summer is such a feast for the senses. I have tried to make a point of "Stopping to smell the roses" and it has been a nice treat. I hope you all enjoy these and take a minute to appreciate the natural beauty you come across.

My Mother-in-Law's front flower garden

Hasta's out front

Tiger Lilly's 

Saw this at the BP in Strongsville at 82 and Howe Rd.

This was at my Mother-in-Laws

Day Lilly out front
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Perhaps your mood would benefit from unplugging some "STUFF" and will save more than your electric bill.

Hello again everyone on this beautiful Monday afternoon. I was thinking or pondering the general feelings of unease that seems to have overtaken the mood of many and even motivated some to make wild claims in venues all across this country. I try to steer clear of the political topics here and do not plan to change that anytime soon. However, I would like to point out some observations and perhaps put this discontent into context using electrical power as my metaphor.

I was taking my time last night closing up the pool. In fact I was just floating while using the ladder as a pillow and looking up at the moon when a thought came into my head. I was thinking about my Grandmothers house in South Euclid, OH. I lived there with Gram, for three years, between 1995 and 1998. I learned many valuable life lessons in those three years. The austere method she used managing her lifestyle rubbed off to be sure. She purchased the house in 1946 new for 12,000.00. She made few major upgrades and was content with the old fashioned decor.

I can remember her neighbor showing me how to change a fuse (15 AMP) in the fuse box. It was one of four that powered the entire house. Having fuses and not circuit breakers meant there were real consequences for over using the electrical supply.  Now with circuit breakers in our homes and even on Wall Street have we over-mitigated our risk? I remember him saying "All of the stuff I was plugging into the wall sockets was simply too much for the 1946 knob and tube wires to handle." Of course, I thought he was nuts and plugged in my computer, fax, TV, VCR, cell stuff. I was at least aware of using too many plugs at once. This planted a seed then in 1995, that just now bloomed.

Fast forward to the present where most homes have minimum 100 AMP and new homes have 200 AMP service lines. The amount of stuff has has grown exponentially in the last 20 years starting with the microwave oven. Stop for a minute and think of all the appliances that are plugged in at your home. I am by no means exempt from having stuff. My point is the change in what normal is these days.

So, now back to the people who are telling anyone who will listen that our country is falling apart, that we are losing our edge, our country is going over a cliff. To this I ask compared to what or who? This is by no means an indictment on any group or political party. It is just an observation. I will site one of my favorite movies Back to the Future when Marty wakes up and joins his future mother and grandparents for meatloaf. They were all excited about the new TV. "Whoa ha ho, look at it role now we can watch Jackie Gleason while we eat!" The little brother asks Marty if they had a TV and Marty replies "Ya you know we have four of them." The mom says "Oh honey, he is only joking, no one has four TV's." How many TV's are in your home? Do they prevent real interaction or buffer the time?

My point is not to talk down the American way of life or consumerism. I would just like to have you imagine what you could unplug from your life? What would you fill that outlet with? Perhaps some meaningful conversation, a walk in a park, a fire in a fire pit in the back yard. We have structured our lives to be like the holidays and special occasions, everyday. When the slightest need to downsize our daily routine shows up, it feels like the end of the world since our lives are on such a lofty perch these days. Credit and debt have allowed us to erect mansions made of cards.

As a 39 year old college student my wife and I have had to give up many creature comforts to allow me to be a full-time student. At first, it was hard but now the laughs seem more genuine, the talks are deeper, and my mind is clearer than ever without so many comfortable distractions. My goal is not to live like it's 1946 again. I have just accepted that what goes up must come down. The items which are most likely to be made in America revolve around old fashioned entertainment. Swing-sets, camping gear, lumber for making a deck to sit and enjoy your friends and family. No need to plug in a gazebo. I know this is why I love working with wood and use only hand tools no plugs needed (except for my wood burner.)

Do you see it differently or agree? Let me know what you think please.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

You can now include a presentation right on your LinkedIn Profile made with Google Doc's

A screen shot from my LinkedIn Profile

I just wanted to put this out there to try and help job seekers. If you are not familiar with LinkedIn it is a social networking site that offers profile posting, resume listing, and networking with other people you might know. It is aimed more for work related networking and potential job acquiring. 

As part of my degree program it was strongly advised to open a free account and take the time to fill out the fields. This profile you will be making will become part of the searchable database for prospective employers. They might also check this site as part of the hiring process. Any additional information they can gather on a candidate would help them in making a hiring decision. 

One nice feature is that respected peers can write recommendations on your behalf that become part of your profile. It allows for others to aid your credibility. I was on there adding a recommendation from one of my professors when I saw a new tab titled applications. As I looked down the list of extra "stuff" you could add to make you profile stand out I saw "Add a presentation to your profile".

This could be as simple as adding a Microsoft Office Power Point file ending in .ppt to creating one on Google Doc's my preferred method. I have been using a site called, which allows users to make presentations online and shows the whole field of the presentation flow from point to point. It is almost like flying around in a virtual world while sharing information. I have several on my blog under their own tab. Using the Google Doc's method I simply used one slide to label and post the link to I made sure to  select the share option on Google doc's to public and a changed the background to look like a chalkboard. Anyone who sees this link on my LinkedIn profile can go straight to Prezi and see my Internship Prezi I just completed. If you do make a Prezi I would advise reading through the help section and make sure you select the public button under the prezi you make. This will allow you to share it with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter too. One other nice thing about Prezi is that you can work as a team on them at one time. Two or more people can access the same presentation at once. I will post another time with more information on Oh just one more quick thing you can embed YouTube files in a prezi but they have to be in .FLV format. If you have another movie type like .gif or mpeg it will not load so you will need to go to or another site you choose and convert the file type and have them e-mail you the converted file. This is a free service also. All of this is located in the help/ learn part of Prezi.

Good luck and email if you get stuck. Hope this helps!


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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hello Morning Journal Community Media Lab Readers

I wanted to just say hi and introduce myself and my blog page to you. My name Richard Pryor Jr. and I am a 1989 graduate of Clearview High School. You might remember my parents Dick and Barb Pryor who ran Accent Kitchen and Bath on Elyria Avenue until 1993. I look back often on my childhood years and remember so many fond memories of Lorain.

Since then I have been living in the Cleveland area, Parma to be specific where I am married to a wonderful nurse and my best friend Lisa. We have two dogs Eddie the boxer and Billy our black pug. They were the inspiration for my wood burning site.

Since I was laid off in August of 2008 I have been on a journey of renewal trying to find ways to become as productive as possible. I set my sights on a career in the IT field working with security. In recent months web site design using Google Blogger and other research tools have allowed me to design this site from scratch.  I have been attending Bryant & Stratton College in Parma since January of 2010. I can proudly say that I will be graduating in 4 weeks with my first degree.

Along the journey I had to take an English composition course where I discovered my love of writing. I have been writing ever since. You will find my blog to be mostly a reflection of life as seen through my eyes. I do post lots of information about computers and how they work. I try to give information in a way that will not intimidate the reader but empower them. I suppose I am mostly a Google advocate trying to help spread information about all of their free products and how they work.

I also try to offer my two cents about current events. It is common for me to write when I am inspired by a meaningful event. I would like to thank Mr. Tom Skoch for allowing my page to be seen on The Morning Journal Web Site. I look forward to hearing from anyone who might have a question or comment.

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This is dedicated to the memory of my friend Bette Joanne Brewington, You deserve an obituary and I will do my very best to honor your Memory

As many of you have read before or know to be true I was last employed as a truck driver, hauling US Mail. My travels took me, with few exceptions from Richfield, OH. to Des Moines, IA. twice a week. The work was all done at night. After refueling the slip seat truck I happen to be driving I would proceed south one block where I would remove all of my belongings from the truck and head into the Travel Lodge Motel to the same room where I would finally get some rest after the 687 mile journey.

Hauling mail, or most other jobs in trucking are all about routine. In this case part of the routine was to sign in at the front desk and wait for the driver who was relieving you to meet you in the lobby. This allowed for some time to grab a small breakfast. It also "could" have led to an awkward silence with the front desk clerk. I say "could" because when Joanne Brewington was on duty, seeing her spry 74 year old smile and loving way became the highlight of the trip for me.

I can safely speak for every driver who ever had a layover there, Joanne was a treasure we all cared about and enjoyed seeing. Personally, Mrs. Brewington, as I called her sometimes, joking that her name sounded like she should be a royalty somewhere and I developed a true friendship. I got to know the in's and out's of her daily life and she knew all about my Lisa and our dogs. Our friendship was cemented in stone when she brought me an assortment of goodies on Christmas Morning, since I would be spending it in the motel, alone. 

I remember thinking how hard it must be for her to mop the lobby, get the breakfast ready, try to fold sheets, and work all night long with just one lung, severe back and knee pain. She never complained. I held her in high regard and always will. Sadly, her husband had died some years before and she only had one child who died in 1973. She did live with her brother in a mobile home where she looked after him as his health was in decline. That was until the great 500 year flood of 2008 that had most of Iowa, under water that year. It was so bad that I 80 was closed for 2 weeks and I had to travel north 60 miles to detour around the affected area. Iowa City where the Hawkeye's play was just devastated. 

She moved to higher ground and outfitted another home as best she could. I felt helpless since I had no vehicle to help her but she appreciated me taking the time to listen. 

I was laid off in August 2008 and got her address on my last trip. The company I was working for was suffering from the $5.00+ price of fuel and did go out of business. I will not mention any other business practices that led to their demise. 

I sent her a Christmas Card that year and got one back. We did speak for the last time in June of 2009. She called me to tell me of her brother's passing and to give me her new address. She was now living in an assisted living apartment. I got the impression she was very lonely and missed her brother. We talked for an hour until she had a doctors appointment. 

From my phone contacts
As time and proximity always do I did not keep in touch as well as I should have. I was looking through my phone on June 28th a couple of weeks ago and saw her name and address so, I mailed her a letter. I wrote three pages typed with pictures and hoped she would have someone who could show her my web sites. I thought this would make her happy. The last thing I wrote was call me to let me know you are OK. Last night as I sat down with the mail.  I received the letter back and it said NOT DELIVERABLE AS ADDRESSED UNABLE TO FORWARD.     
I never thought I would see this letter again, I guess you cannot forward mail to the great beyond.
I quickly did some looking online and discovered that she had died in April this year. I was sad and felt bad that I had not written sooner. Then I saw the Hamilton's Funeral page with her details and I was in tears.
The page that truly upset me.


The page said that she had no service, obituary, no flowers, or even a comment on their online guestbook. Well, I was simply beside myself. She deserved some public acknowledgement that she had lived on this planet. She was all alone, I am understanding, and this made me feel so very sad. I wanted to tell the world of her kindness, loving manner, and true friendship. Nobody deserves to leave this world alone. Bette Joanne Brewington was a bright spot in my life and in this world. Please pass this along near and far and I pray that you will not be alone on your last day on Earth. Good bye for now Joanne, I will see you again someday.

Your Friend,

Date of Death

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Patriot Act Discussion for School I thought I would share my Post with you all

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
  • This was written by Franklin, with quotation marks but almost certainly his original thought, sometime shortly before February 17, 1775 as part of his notes for a proposition at the Pennsylvania Assembly, as published inMemoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin (1818). A variant of this was published as:
    • Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
      • This was used as a motto on the title page of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. (1759); the book was published by Franklin; its author was Richard Jackson, but Franklin did claim responsibility for some small excerpts that were used in it.
At this point it is almost impossible to devine what Mr. Franklin would make of our system of laws. I would imagine he would find The Patriot Act as foreign a law as the idea of people flying huge aircraft into buildings that were over 1000 feet tall. That is who we have become and the reality we all live in these days.
I am not willing to praise or critique the passage of this controversial law. I can tell you what some of my findings were. 
The paper I found online listed below had the information I was seeking, so I used it. I did take some notes as I read their findings covering the act. First I noted their discussion of section 206 of ECPA which is a much higher standard for issuance of a warrant than FISA. Section 206 allowed for FISA standards to be used domestically. 
Section 225 Provided ISP immunity for cooperating with authorities. It requires ISP to keep records of temporary network addresses and browsing activities. It also made the means of payment (credit card info or Banking records) easily available to law enforcement with a FISA warrant. 
Section 215 Expanded the scope and reach of records the FBI could request with the FISA warrant.
Section 216 Was highly controversial since it allowed for pen register and trap and trace to to be used for the same warrant anywhere in the United States. 
The challenges were many and often as you can imagine a law like this would ruffle the feathers of privacy advocates. The case (Doe vs. Ashcroft-2004) ruling found that section 505 was unconstitutional. 

"Section 505, regarding NSLs, was one such expansion ruled unconstitutional,
in Doe v. Ashcroft in 2004. The plainti, referred to as \John Doe," was
an Internet access rm that received a National Security Letter under Section
505. Due to the gag order clause in the section, the Internet access rm was
prevented from disclosing any information about the requests, and had to pursue
the lawsuit anonymously.
The plaintis challenged the section on its face, and argued that the wide
subpoena power violated the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments, and the
gag order provision violated the First Amendment. The Court agreed, stating
it \violates the Fourth Amendment eectively bars or substantially
deters any judicial process to pursue such a challenge to the propriety of an
NSL request... Ready availability of judicial process to pursue such a challenge
is necessary to vindicate important rights guaranteed by the Constitution or
by statue... the Court also concludes that the permanent ban on disclosure...
operates as an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech in violation of the First
Amendment" (United States Telecom Association v. Federal Communications
Commission, 2000).
43Because of this ruling, the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization
Act, passed in 2005, made substantial changes to Section 505. First, the blanket
gag order was replaced with a case-by-case determination of when a gag order
is required. Additionally, the new act provided for an NSL recipient to petition
a district court to modify or deny the request. If a petition is led within
one year of the NSL request, a senior FBI o cial merely has to certify \that
disclosure may endanger the national security of the United States, or interfere
with diplomatic relations," (Doe v. Ashcroft, 2004), and this was enough for
the petition to be denied." (Bassett & Buckley 2010)
The next challenge of note in the paper was of the Bush Administration TSP Terrorist Surveillance Program. It was also found unconstitutional since it violated the Separations of Powers Doctrine and the First and Fourth Amendments to the Bill of Rights because the program was carried out domestically. The case was (ACLU vs. NSA- 2006). 
The 2004 finding in Doe vs. Ashcroft sent the Law back to Capitol Hill for an extreme makeover. It has been back several times since. The crafters of the Law in 2001 who hastily drafted it did have the foresight to make wholesale sections contain sunset provisions which force Congress to vote to continue them or amend them or let them expire. 
The 2004 case allowed ISP's to file legal action in their own name instead of the gag order format. I think as an investigator preserving the Disk and RAM are vital. However, they must take some comfort knowing that the records they might need will also be contained at the ISP and at Google or Yahoo ect. This has played out on TV over the last few weeks in the Casey Anthony trial has featured Google search records. Missing from the court has been Google since the Patriot Act holds them harmless from any legal liability. I imagine requesting ISP/ Google record is a standard part of any investigation these days. 
I would just quickly like to speculate the next round of court challenges will be from smart phone tracking and GPS. I think that if recent history is any indicator the Verizon's and AT&T's have little to fear from angry customers who will try to blame them for inplicating them in a crime. 

An Examination of Internet Privacy in
the United States
An Interactive Qualifying Project
Submitted to the Faculty of
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
in partial fulllment of the requirements of the
Degree of Bachelor of Science
Submitted by:
Jesse Bassett
Kara Buckley
Date: March 4, 2010

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Friday, July 1, 2011

You cannot imagine driving a mile on these tires; one of my favorite essay's I wrote in English Class.

You cannot imagine driving a mile on these tires
Richard Pryor
Bryant and Stratton College
ENG: 100
Mrs. Vaughan
February 8th, 2010

The January shift started out much the same way as you might expect, the frigid air was all encompassing with its indiscriminant bite that was inescapable. There was a deceptive calm that greeted me at five P.M. when I arrived in Richfield, Ohio. This familiar site is where my typical 678-mile westbound leg of U.S. mail run 802Y4 began. At this point I had no way of knowing what lie ahead of me on interstate 80. What I did know is that the trailer I was hauling was empty and not an ideal run for any driver to make. The contract required the trip be made to make the trailer available for the Denver mail center. The CB radio was abuzz, with tales of horrific accidents witnessed by the oncoming eastbound drivers. These tales were generally exaggerated and dismissed, especially because as a mail contactor pulling over for the night was not an option. The driver in Des Moines, Iowa needed this truck for his return trip to Denver, and like all the trips before I was not going to let Steve down, no matter what I might encounter.
The trip, which usually took ten to eleven hours to complete by this time, was well under way. The comforting signs, "Welcome to Indiana the Crossroads of America" and "Welcome to Illinois the Land of Lincoln" were as they say in the trucking business in my back pocket. Heading still further west, about the 82 mile-post, is where I first got a preview of the tale I had dismissed earlier. This gust of wind was no worse than many I had felt before, but it did cause me to sit up in my seat and grip the steering wheel just a bit harder. Since I worked the night shift having the road all to myself, was a blessing and a curse. Closing in on the state line the lights of the interchange where interstate 80 and interstate 74 intersected were on the horizon. They were a welcome sight but there was something different about the glow this time. The glow seemed dull and obstructed by a curtain of blowing snow.
The bridge across the Mississippi River is usually a welcome break from the seemingly endless expanse of snow-covered farmland. This curtain of blowing snow was like the wave action you might expect from a strong storm if you were on a boat out in the middle of the ocean. Heaving you to and fro on its own terms, the wind, which came from the north, was unrelenting. The "Welcome to Iowa" sign was in reality only one mile away. As I approached the descent nearing the east end of the bridge, the blinding snow had removed all usual landmarks and ostensibly, I was alone. I took my time and skillfully made the crossing. This was all well and good but I still had 173 more miles of "The Hawkeye State" to negotiate. This was going to be on the roads terms and not the 70 miles per hour, I was used to traveling.
The next thing to wow my senses was a virtual cemetery of abandoned ill-fated cars and other semi trucks strewn about the shoulders and medians all along my route.  The pace was slow and the wind constant still from the north just leaning on my empty trailer daring me to soldier on. This empty trailer could prove to be the albatross around my neck, which would force me into the gutter. The only thing for miles holding my tires in line on the all but abandoned highway were the grooves carved in the unsalted roadway by the brave souls who had already traversed this God forsaken place.  I now knew what the phrase "The Fear of God" really meant. The usual calming feeling from a freshly lit cigarette was nowhere to be found. The more I smoked, the more nervous I felt. The magnitude of the snowdrifts on the westbound side of this road could not be overstated, twenty feet was a minimum.
Finally, I was at the brink, all of this wind and snow had taken its toll on my usually unflappable nerves. The time was now five thirty A.M. and I had 52 miles to Des Moines. I knew that seven A. M. was the deadline like always, yet here I sat on this exit ramp. I was totally alone, just me and my thoughts . The fear was palpable. My heart was in my mouth and tears welled in my eyes, how was I ever going to make the last leg of this trip? What happened next was something I will never forget. I cried out for this God of mine wondering where he was. Did he forget me? Was this the end? Just then, I felt something that had eluded me since the curtain before the bridge. Calm, that moment is when the wind was just gone. I can tell you now that there was a miracle there on interstate 80. Was this a private miracle just for me? Sometimes I get annoyed or scared with the enormity of a task at hand and then all I have to do is think back to the miles on those tires. I did make Des Moines on time and in one piece with enough time to spare that I could down play the events with Steve.      

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With Practice comes experience Check out my new Scarlet Macaw I wood burned

Please follow me on Twitter @RichardLPryorJr!/RichardLPryorJr Please visit My new Custom Pet Portrait wood burning venture.