This experiment is still on-going.   Class is still in session. It will continue, hopefully, for another forty or fifty years or so. God willing, that is. It’s marked with milestones, events, timelines, accomplishments, ceremonies, tears and laughter. Hopefully more tears of laughter than tears on their own. It is the road I have chosen. It is who I am. It is the essence of my soul. I have sixteen years behind me but I cannot, will not, rest. She is sixteen. Sweet sixteen. Happy birthday honey; Dad loves you.

no matter what mountain she has to climb...

no matter what mountain she has to climb…

I have stood beside her. I have stood behind her. I have pushed her, pulled her, picked her up, brushed her off, applauded, scolded, rewarded, reprimanded, laughed with her, cried with her, cried for her and cried over her. Things I could fix, I fixed. Things I couldn’t, I agonized over with her. I got things right; I got things wrong. In the end, I hope I was right more often than not.

She stole my heart when she came out on stage in her tutu. I couldn’t find my breath, finally gulping air in hitches and jerks, struggling not to bawl in front of all the other audience members. Maybe some of them were going through the same thing.

She broke my heart when she came to me with tears over the inverted goldfish bobbing queerly on the surface of the small globe of water she called his home. Just another one of those things I couldn’t fix, a small pain I couldn’t erase, one that would keep me up for weeks, her small face appearing nightly as I drifted off to sleep; big blue eyes, glazed over with tears, tears that were staining her bright cheeks. Cheeks tinged the color of fall apples. He rests in peace at the foot of a large hickory on the front lawn, the family plot, near the others who replaced him only to end up bloated on the surface or lying still at the bottom near the small coral structure they “lived in.” Harsh realities for one so young; life is hard to understand when you’re a child. Death is hard to understand even as an adult. Lesson one for dad; some things you can’t change. They are ordered and will be.

The first school dance was ordered as well. As was the first boy who dared to compete with me for her. I won this time. Next time, I will not be so lucky. It, too, is so ordered. It will cause me just as much pain if he breaks her heart, but I cannot forbid her from eventually falling in love no more than I was able to forbid or deny her the small pink colored beta that she fell in love with at the pet store. I know someone will come by and puncture her soul, cause her anguish and self doubt. And still, I will struggle to say the right thing, if I should even say anything at all. And I will hurt right along with her. Not the same level of pain that she experiences; different but still intense. And I will dam myself for not having been able to shield her from it, telling myself that I should have done something to prevent it. Didn’t I strap a helmet on her, teaching her to ride her bike?   No you can’t roller blade without your pads. No you can’t go to the mall alone, I’ll go and keep an eye on you. How could I have protected her from the death of a small pet when I couldn’t break her heart denying the purchase to begin with? How will I say no to the man who I just know will break her heart? How could I deny her the chance to find love? I cannot. It is so ordered.

I still believe that this is what I was born to do; the only reason the good lord scraped a useless pile of dust from the earth and formed my person between his hands and set me on this path. To be a father. Sixteen years of the greatest adventure I could ever imagine. The most intense joys, the deepest fears, the lowest sorrows and the most unimaginable sense of pride and accomplishment.   I often think of what I wrote the day she was born;

I only want to be a good father. No greater responsibility can be placed on any man’s shoulders; No greater reward can be had.

I may fail in my attempt. But I will go to my death still trying to meet that ideal. I can never repay my beautiful wife for bringing me the two greatest joys in my life. And as an imperfect man, I am still wiser than I ever imagined myself to be; wisdom that I gain in small increments on a daily basis every time I hear her call me dad.

The hugs now are fewer. Kisses are far and few between. I tell her I love her everyday; she does the same. The same goofy things I used to do to make her and her friends laugh now embarrass her. She still loves to kayak; we love to hike together. We don’t have many of her formative years left. College is now looming; we have to road trip colleges soon. But she still loves to have me at her practices. I think she’s proud to be able to have her doting father in the crowd; a place I must confess which is painfully short of other doting dads. No judgment; an observation. One that she noted herself.

So I’ll kiss her, hug her tight and wish her happy sweet sixteen. I’ll have the proud face and try to look away so she doesn’t see the welling in my eyes. She’s gotten to be such a beautiful young lady. And I’m proud to be told by others that they find her just as beautiful inside. I knew I couldn’t keep her an infant; I knew I couldn’t keep her a toddler. And I know someday, I’ll pass her hand to someone I’ll never truly trust because I will always, always be her father. I don’t wish to seem maudlin or melancholy. I’m more a realist. Sixteen is the timeline, the milestone that tells me, tells all fathers, that I now need to start preparing myself for her departure. I’ve been doing my best to prepare her to be independent all her life. Her leaving is so ordered.

But like the pet-store goldfish where I never prepared her for their eventual exit from her life, I have not prepared my self for her exit from mine. Again, there are some things dad cannot fix. And there are some things dad can never prepare for; no amount of planning or steeling myself against it. And I get to go through it all over again with my youngest.

My only wish now is that when I hug her and whisper happy sixteenth birthday I can pull it off convincingly. For her sake, of course….



Living next to the great Bay State, one can’t help noticing events and issues that drive Massachusetts in one political direction or another. The death penalty has been one such issue that periodically raises its head, only to get tamped down again like the wayward nail that pokes up from the middle of the third step in your basement stairs. Pound it down again and you’re good for another six months or so until the underlying issues of why it pokes up in the first place forces it back in front of your inattentive step and hooks on your slipper, sending you sprawling on your ass, determined that next time you’ll put in a dammed screw instead.

Mass DCF; Losing your kids since 1969.

Mass DCF; Losing your kids since 1969.

Just who does the state sentence to death if the punishment isn’t on the books? And what might be the justification? Well, to begin with, the death penalty as applied to the good citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts isn’t applied by the legal system. No, it’s administered by the ruling political class, those elites who huddle in Boston, safely elected by those who want nothing more than to be lead like sheep to the slaughter. Ye reap what ye sow.
The Department Of Children and Families was responsible for over ninety-five children who have died while in their care since 2001. The numbers could be higher though, as the department has not released details since 2011. Of course, we don’t have a body yet, but one must sadly add Jeremiah Oliver to the count. Last seen in September, he wasn’t reported missing until December 2nd when his seven-year-old sister told her school counselors that she and her siblings were being abused by her mother’s boyfriend and she hadn’t seen her little brother for weeks. DCF was involved with the family but failed to make monthly home visits to ensure the well-being of all the children. No one can adequately explain why those visits never took place; I’ll bet that if the DCF had more money, everything would be hunky-dory. Right. Wait for it, it’ll come.
Jeremiah is not unique.  Five-month-old Marlon Santos is missing too. Like Jeremiah, Marlon was missing for months before anyone noticed he was gone. His foster father who already had a criminal record was later convicted of abusing other foster children. Makes your head spin doesn’t it. Criminal record, but DCF doesn’t monitor the home. Child goes missing and yet, this cretin is still allowed access to other foster children?
Fast forward to Justina Pelletier. Massachusetts Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Johnston awarded custody of Justina to the state yesterday; in effect, awarded her custody to the DCF. The ruling means that the DCF gets to “decide whether or when Pelletier should be returned to her West Hartford, Conn., home.” Thank goodness she’s confined to a residential facility in Framingham or the DCF might not be able to find her. Hopefully, they have the location entered into their GPS. State privacy laws being what they are, I cannot determine on what basis Judge Johnston made his decision to turn her over to the incompetent political hacks at the DCF. He may know something about the parents that we don’t. Okay, point conceded. But why DCF? The child is a resident of Connecticut; why not send her to the authorities in her home state? Does he know something about Connecticut’s department of children’s welfare? Could they possibly be any more dangerous to the welfare of their charges than DCF has been to the children of Massachusetts? In fact, he faulted Connecticut’s child protection agency for failing to get involved in the case in the first place. He never posits why they would need to any more than why Massachusetts DCF should now have custody. Wonderful things those privacy laws. The general public has no right to know why the Connecticut DCF is sub-par, while he considers the Mass version to be far superior, even given the fact that Mass DCF loses children on a regular basis with many ending up dead. Really, this isn’t like a messy divorce where the dissolution of the marriage and the facts of the proceedings have little to no impact on the population at large. We don’t need to know the sordid details of the Jones’ messy divorce. But here we have a rather renowned hospital legally kidnapping a child over a diagnostic dispute, leveling vague charges against the parents, supported by the state through the power of the DCF all supported by a juvenile court judge. He did throw out this tidbit of information though. He faults the parents “for being verbally abusive and their poor decision-making that has sabotaged efforts to move their daughter back home.” Sorry, but if my daughter had been diagnosed by another renowned hospital and you withhold treatment, then limit my access to her to one hour a week, chances are pretty high I’d be verbally abusive too.
What we are seeing here is an over-reach, a display of raw, arrogant power of the state. By all accounts I can find, Justina’s health is failing every day. This judge has sentenced her to a slow painful death so the Boston Children’s Hospital can maintain their argument that her issue is psychiatric. He supports BCH’s and DCF’s claims that her parents and Tufts Medical Center were subjecting her to medical abuse. And of course, her parents are verbally abusive to DCF and BCH as well, so there you are.
Be afraid Boston, be very afraid. When you next bring your child to the hospital, any hospital, any previous diagnosis can and will be held against you in a court of lawlessness. When will the state move against Tufts Medical Center for their complicity in this case? Is Tufts not aiding and abetting these parents in the horrible abuse they’ve inflicted upon their daughter? Or does the state not wish to get into the middle of a dispute over a diagnosis? Oh wait; haven’t they already taken sides and accused Tufts of a crime?
If she dies and God hope she doesn’t, who will be held accountable? The parents who no longer control her care? Tufts who originally diagnosed, or misdiagnosed her condition? BCH who now assumes that it’s all in her head? Or DCF, who probably as of this writing doesn’t have a dammed clue as to where she currently is?
So the nail of incompetence and power of the all-knowing state pops back up on that third step of the basements stairs. The great people of Massachusetts will pound it down again without caring to get to the root of the problem; the state agencies that are out of control and wield far too much power, never held to account legally, or politically for that matter, for the death and destruction they cause. And in the meantime, children like Jeremiah and Justina stub their innocent toes on the exposed nail of arrogance and tumble headlong into the dark abyss of Massachusetts’ basement known as the DCF.

Oh the irony.  What does one have to do to get excommunicated from his own hate-filled, inbred cult?  One wonders.  Well, one really doesn’t wonder that long, if one does at all.  The less time one spends trying to understand the hate filled rants of a hundred or so of the worst examples of human effluent to inhabit the planet, the better off one is.

The Phelps Family Plot...

The Phelps Family Plot…

Seems as if Mr. Fred Phelps Sr. will soon be coming to his rewards.  Sorry, but he can’t get there quick enough for me.  The head of the Westboro Baptist Church appears to be on his death bed, hopefully each painful breath filled with the death rattles of someone consumed by their own utter hate and depravity.

Rumours abound.  Will his funeral be picketed?  Probably not.  While we all would have loved an opportunity to wiz on his gravesite, we’re better than that.  His hate emanated from a deep blackness in his heart that no other human should try to emulate.  We gain nothing displaying the same behavior.  We should wipe our hands of the dirt from his grave, shake the dust of his existence from our shoes and walk away, towards the love and understanding of one another.  Let his family/followers/cult members/children mourn at the passing of such a hideous creature.  For they too, are just as depraved as he.  Why oh why couldn’t he have convinced them that they all needed to exit this world together; I would have gladly purchased all the kool-aid.

Will this cesspool of degenerate thought survive?  Most likely, yes.  Alone, one at a time, none of these damaged individuals would survive on their own.  They are bound together by their destructive, cancerous dementia, hiding and excluding themselves from a world they would never belong in.  Their pathology is the only thing they share; well maybe other than a blood-line.  Forced to face their ugliness alone, it wouldn’t be long before each one drew a slow, dull blade across their own wrists, trying to escape the self-hate that consumes them, keeps them from ever entering society at large.

Speculations abound as to why he was ex-communicated from his own church.  Laughable really.  “You’re not hateful enough, you need to leave.”   That must have been one hell of a funny conversation.  We’ll never know what transgression is bad enough to be thrown out of the Westboro Baptist Church.  Maybe I’m a little warped, but there’s gotta be a world record in that statement somewhere.  Maybe he lost the will to hate.  Maybe when he found out how ill he was, he started to ask for forgiveness.  Maybe, just maybe, he thought about the type of human he really was and decided that if he was to be judged, it might not go well for him.  Maybe impending death brings an acute clarity of one’s life.

Poor Fred, seems his dogma got run over by his karma.

Seems like the Middlesex jail in Cambridge is a nasty, over-crowded facility, or “cramped and isolated”, as Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, describes it.  Such a shame.  Can’t really expect our penal colonies to perform without ceiling to floor windows, central air and a day spa.  What’s a perp to do?  Almost makes one want avoid the place at all costs.  Go figure.

Yes, but was it a clean sheet?

Does protocol require a clean sheet?

John Burbine was one such visitor.  You remember ole’ Johnny, don’t you?  He’s the level-one sex offender who worked in his wife’s unlicensed day-care, raping thirteen children including one who was eight (not a typo) days old.  Seems ole’ Johnny won’t be down for breakfast after reaching room temperature last Friday.  Mr. Burbine was awaiting his trial, scheduled to start May 1st this year.  When he was originally incarcerated, his lawyer informed us that the sensitive Mr. Burbine was suffering greatly, distraught and often in tears.  Guilt has a way of doing that you know.  The only amenity the place had was probably the bed sheet which Saint John wrapped tightly around his neck.  Karma reared its ugly head and John took his last breath ten hours later after being rushed to Mass General with his wife and accomplice, released from house arrest, at his side.  Pity he never regained consciousness; maybe he could have given her some tips.

And now of course, we need to investigate how such a tragedy occurs.  Can’t really have those who should be executed offing themselves against our better judgment now can we?  Cambridge city councilor Nadeem Mazen wants to get to the bottom of the issue.  Mazen is concerned with overcrowding at the facility and feels that these are not “unrelated issues.”  He’s hoping for answers and transparency about the incident.  Neat-o.  I wonder if he’s had any thoughts on transparency and answers about DCF lately.  You know, the agency that can’t seem to keep kids alive, let alone locate them once they’re in the system.  We must protect our level-one sex offenders from themselves dammit.  The kids?   Shit, let them fend for themselves.  Don’t look too deeply into DCF; you might cost someone their well-connected political appointment.  Yeesh Massachusetts, get a friggin’ clue.

Let’s see if the protocol at the Middlesex lock-up wasn’t followed.  Or is it even in place?  Once we figure this all out, will heads roll?  Am I reaching here?  The intersection of the DCF and the Middlesex jail protocol may be vague; I don’t see it that way.  In a state that can’t even track its level-one sex offenders, to the point where they’re fully employed day care providers, to the DCF who employs convicted sex offenders to mentor at risk children but can’t locate a missing five-year old in their care, one gets the feeling that legislators and city councilors have some serious issues with priorities.  In all seriousness, awaiting trial shouldn’t put you at risk.  Even at your own wretched, child-abusing hands.  But if we’d have thrown this miscreant butt-nekkid into a concrete box with only a slab of steel for a bed and a hole in the floor for his waste, some concerned city councilor would still be looking into “protocol” and hoping for “answers” and “transparency.”

Meanwhile, five year-old Jeremiah Oliver, who was missing for months before the DCF even noticed, is very likely dead, probably at the hands of someone quite like Mr. Burbine.  Therefore, we must investigate how Mr. Burbine was able to give himself a bed-sheet neck-tie and hold someone accountable.  No one was held accountable for his ability to slip through the cracks and abuse a days-old infant in the first place.  No one is being held accountable for the death of Jeremiah Oliver.  Indeed, the citizens of Massachusetts don’t seem too particularly alarmed.  I could be wrong.  But I haven’t seen any protests, let alone torches and pitchforks.  Where is the outrage?

If it takes Mr. Burbine playing the part of the Middlesex jailhouse Piñata to get justice in this world, well it works for me.  There are however, bigger issues in the state than protocol and transparency over the suicide of someone who pretty much did us all a favor.  Let see which way the political winds blow in Boston.

Who is Rachel Canning’s real father?  Not in the biblical sense mind you.  That’s not in dispute.  From a purely financial aspect, parental obligation, who now is responsible for her well-being?  For her bills?  For her food, clothing, wants and desires?  At what age does a child legally become fully emancipated?  Is it situational?  Is there a law regarding interference with the rights and responsibilities of a parent by another parent?

Tell us Princess, who's your daddy?

Tell us Princess, who’s your daddy?

New Jersey has no set age that legally qualifies automatic emancipation.  Reaching the age of eighteen only provides the court with prima facie proof of emancipation.  However, this presumption can be defeated if evidence suggests that the child has not reached fully independent status.  Rather vague, wouldn’t you think? Normally, the court does not assume a child is emancipated at eighteen if the child is still in college or relies upon parental support.  The court will need to consider all the facts surrounding each individual case to determine if the child is truly independent and has moved beyond the influence and responsibility of the parent.  Maybe something like the note Ms. Canning left for her mother for example;

“I (expletive) hate you and, um, I’ve written you off, so don’t talk to me,” she said, according to the documents. “Don’t do anything. I’m blocking you from just about everything. Have a nice life. Bye, mom.”

Pretty much says it all.  Or does it?  Seems pretty cut and dried to me.  This young lady makes it pretty clear that she doesn’t want nor need any influence from her parents whatsoever.  Well, at least outside of their money that is.  Sweet.  I pity the boyfriend in all of this.  Apparently, his presence played a role in her decision to walk away from her family. Young love no doubt.  Run like hell buddy.  Trust me; this isn’t the kind of girl you’re looking for.

John Inglesino has some dough though.  Enough apparently that he can front the legal bills to sue her parents for tuition and support.  Interesting.  Why doesn’t he just front her tuition?  One wonders.  Is he now assuming responsibility for this child?  Just who is she calling “Daddy” these days?  Sugar daddy John the lawyer allowed her to move in and fronted her the twelve thousand dollars she needed to bring her real parents to court.  Yup, who’s your daddy?

Rachel’s complaints are numerous, some quite odious.  If she truly has an eating disorder, she blames it on her mother’s abusive parenting style.  Apparently, her mother chided her as being “fat” and ‘porky”.  Oh the horror.  And of course, there’s the old standby, hints of sexual abuse.  You know, the kind of claim that you don’t really need to prove to totally destroy someone in the public eye.  If her father was abusing her, why doesn’t John, the super concerned “lawyer daddy”, help her to get him arrested for being “inappropriately affectionate?”  Might it have something to do with the fact that the Department of Youth and Family Service found no evidence of wrongdoing, on the part of either parent?

Ms. Canning is taking a real drubbing in the press, being dubbed a spoiled brat et al.  Not sure if I concur, she may have some real psychological issues at play.  Which makes Lawyer Daddy a little complicit in her self-destruction, one would think.  And even if she is a spoiled child, the Cannings were the Dr. Frankenstein’s who created this little monster.  We weren’t there however; we can’t truly say what type of parenting they gave her other than when they decided to put their foot down, all hell broke loose.  Maybe they didn’t like her boyfriend.  Maybe they didn’t like the fact that she was suspended twice from her beloved high school, once for skipping classes and once for the suspicion that she was drunk at the homecoming dance.  Who knows, maybe the Cannings weren’t enforcing enough discipline. It’s hard to tell.  They are, however, part of a culture of greed, entitlement and excess; This we know because the ever humble, non-entitled Rachel tells us so;

“Suburban baby boomer types are the spoiled lot, they make massive amount of money a year, they are used to flying to luxury destinations when they want, and buy things that they don’t need, people should be inclined to see things my way,” someone claiming to be Canning wrote in an early morning outburst on Friday.

Who’s words are these?  Are they her own? One wonders.  Maybe her new daddy helped her with her writing assignment.

It will be interesting to see how this family implodes before our eyes.  What type of life will this young lady have after this? Mr. Inglesino, if this was truly your daughter, would this be the path you would direct her onto?  Encouraging her to defame and destroy her parents, not encouraging her to reach out to them to salvage their family?  How is this not abusive?  What type of father tells his daughter that yes, a whole generation of people are greedy, self-centered narcissists; you be one too?

When her life falls apart and she finds herself utterly alone and ostracized, will you be there to foot the bill, financially and emotionally?  Tell us, daddy, what is the future for your new daughter now?

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