Friday’s Odds and Ends

The most talked about news story this week has been about the Cleveland kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michele Knight who were allegedly subjected to years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of suspect Ariel Castro. This happened in a populated area of the city, not in some remote rural area, and questions have been raised as to why the police were not on some kind of alert since Castro had been charged with abusing his wife in 1993 and had other run ins with police. People also wonder how the neighbors did not hear sounds of the horrible abuse the girls endured, and if they did, why didn’t they call the police? If this were fiction, an editor would poke holes in the plot line. How could this have gone on for so many years and nobody heard the girls screaming or crying? Were the neighbors deaf? Did the man never leave the girls alone and give them an opportunity to escape? 

We won’t know the whole story until the investigation is complete, but it is another example of “truth is stranger than fiction.” (Pardon me for using the tired old cliche, but it is so appropriate.)

Residents of Mayflower, Arkansas who were victims of Exxon’s Good Friday tar sands spill that coated their neighborhood in toxic tar sands recently traveled to DC to hand-deliver a letter to Secretary Kerry asking that he reject Keystone XL. The members of the Remember Mayflower Coalition stood in front of the State Department to appeal to Secretary Kerry to consider the recent spill—and the subsequent devastation—and listen to the Vice President’s opinion on the pipeline as he makes his final analysis of Keystone XL.

Here is an excerpt from the letter they gave to Kerry: Before you issue your final evaluation of Keystone XL, we ask that you and your staff come to Mayflower to see what happens when a tar sands pipeline ruptures in your backyard. We ask that you observe the remnants of black tar, smell the toxic chemicals that are polluting our air, and ask yourselves whether you can in good conscience inflict this same devastation on families along Keystone XL’s route.

Now for some fun. This is from the strip Baby Blues. Hammie is on the couch with a notebook and pencil and Zoe climbs over the arm to check it out. “What are you writing?”


“Come on, tell me.” Zoe takes the notebook from him.

“It’s a list of things to avoid this summer.”

Zoe is reading the list. “I see ‘thinking’ topped the list again this year.”

Hammie leans back on the sofa pillow with his hands behind his head. “Yeah. It’s kind of a tradition with me.”

Literary Lesson

This one didn’t come from a book written by the author of the quote, but I read it in the book, The Woman in the Photograph,  a memoir written by Mani Feniger that I am currently reading. Then I saw it on Susan Swiderski’s blog, I Think, Therefore I Yam.  I thought it was a neat coincidence to read the same quote in two places on the same day. Perhaps I needed the message, so, without further interruption, here is the quote: “We all possess certain talents and gifts that are unique to only us. You already have everything that you need to start living an extraordinary life. It’s up to you to turn the switch and let your light shine.”   [Randa Manning-Johnson]

Everybody, all together now, lets sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” 

One last note. My historical mystery, Boxes For Beds, will be free this weekend as a Mother’s Day special. 

5 thoughts on “Friday’s Odds and Ends”

  1. I find it depressing that such incidents of female abuse can take place under everyone’s noses. Too many people pay too little attention to what goes on around them.

    Perhaps we need to be more alert to real life, and less to our devices.

  2. Good point about being alert to real life, D.G.

    Jeremy, it will be interesting to find out how this man managed to kidnap the girls in the first place. You are right about parents needing to be vigilant and teach their children about safety.

  3. One of the kidnapped girls was a friend of Castro’s daughter, so she probably trusted him to a certain extent. And since he used to be a school bus driver, maybe the other girls knew him and initially felt comfortable with him, too. Purely speculation, though. I reckon we’ll find out more of the story in time.

    Glad you liked that quote. I should be going to bed now, but now you’ve got me singing that song.

  4. LOL, Susan. If I think too long about that song I can’t get it out of my head.

    This case of the kidnapped girls is the stuff we mystery writers like to speculate about, that’s for sure. News stories prompt most of my story ideas for my books.

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