Folks we all know that America’s citizens are honest, hard-working folks; just ask any politician. Conversely, we all know that our leaders would sell-out their dear old granny for another term in office. Stuck in the middle are America’s families.
Families are faced with the question of where to send their child/children to college. I know this process can be a daunting task. My son is looking at a college with an annual tuition of $50K plus room and board. Given the high cost of college, perhaps you should rethink college.
Why, you may ask? We have solid proof that college is a waste of money.
How? We have data from people without four-year degrees self-reporting their 2019 earnings to the government. If widely circulated, the data we are about to present would shatter the myth that college is the path to wealth. The data that we are about to present is not manipulated by government bureaucrats or defenders of college. Why encumber yourself with debt when you can earn the wages that we are about to present for more menial jobs?
What you are about to read is data that was randomly collected during a one-week period processing unemployment claims at California’s Employment Development Department. You may ask how I know this stuff is true and all I can tell you is that the following wage information was visually verified by our blog’s staff.
Beauty Operator Apprentice
Bone Cooking Operator
Retail Area Supervisor
Retail Area Supervisor
Retail Area Supervisor
ASC Certified Auto Tech
Business Office Cashier
Account Information Clerk
There it is unequivocal proof that you don’t need college.
Gospel truth, the highest paid person in our list was a maid who made $950,000. I guess that she learned from Al Capone that if you report illicit income, they can’t send you to prison for tax evasion.
The Beauty Operator Apprentice was one that I didn’t recognize. I had to ask the wife. Her understanding of the job is that this babe is the one sweeping up the hair clippings after you get a haircut. I never knew people pushing a broom were paid $65,000.
I tried searching for Abstract Manager on the Internet but came up with nothing that made sense. Given the wage scale, you’d think they were government employees, but we all know that government never lays off anyone. With a pay range of $83K to $300K, it must be a good gig.
The last job that needs special remarks is the General Maintenance/Janitor gig. Please note the wage of $150K. Folks this person claims to have earned this wage in Nevada County California. Per Nevada County statistics, the per capita income for this county in 2018 was just over $37K.
Hopefully by now, you are suspecting that I have withheld some information. If you think this is the case, then you are correct. Remember that I said that these wages were self-reported. This is true but I didn’t say why and therein is the rub. These wages were reported by people applying for California unemployment. The State category in my list is the state the person lives in now. Oh, none of these folks had any reported income on record with the State of California.
Who said crime doesn’t pay? These folks are doing all right or so they would have you believe.
Final thought, I hope this small widow into the fraud making its way thru EDD would be of interest to our readers.
This week marked the beginning of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for my wife. She still maintains that her treatment will result in being cured and that come sometime in February, she will be able to resume her life.
Let me break this down in a little more detail.
First, chemotherapy is being used because leeches are like so Middle Ages. Chemotherapy is the purposeful injection of poison into your body that works much like the theory of the game “chicken”. You hope the “bad” cells are killed before the “good” ones. Depending on the dosage and frequency of treatment this may or may not work. However, it turns out, your body and immune system take a beating. Oh, to get your body to tolerate the chemo drugs, they give you other stuff before and after.
Radiation is more of the same. It is trying to concentrate a lethal dose of this unseen killer at a particular point or points in the body. As mentioned in a previous installment, the radiated tissue must be removed in a window five to ten weeks after “treatment” ends. Also, they forget to remind you that all the tissue which the radiation passes thru to get to the cancer takes a beating as well. The military would call this collateral damage but guys in white lab coats call it medicine.
Oh, my wife’s new basis for claiming that she will be cured is that the doctor filled out her initial disability application and said that the soonest that she could return to work would be February 2022. In her mind this means that she will be cured by February. Is this an example of childlike faith or utter delusion? I think the latter. In my opinion, my wife’s optimism is that of a five-year-old aspiring to be the next Disney Princess. This may be cute when looking at five-year-old children but in adults its disturbing.
As to the actual treatment. We were at the hospital for just over seven hours for the first round of chemo instead of the expected two and a half to three hours. My wife had a reaction to the drug, and it took much longer than advertised. After a few hours at home, she had a horrible headache and was not allowed to take any medication for the pain. (The following day she was told Tylenol would be ok to take.) In addition, while she has no fever, it looks like she spent 14 hours in the sun yesterday as her skin is a very bright shade of red; especially her face.
Two days later, my wife is lethargic and had some nausea. There is a prescription for that if she remembers to take it. She also spent a few hours in bed but was unable to nap so she opted to read a book.
The treatment train has left the station. I plan to post another update in about a week as we travel thru this journey.
Sad stories aren’t typically reserved for a Friday afternoon, hopefully this blog airs some other time. But this blog will showcase alcoholism and how it affects a person, a family, and their inner circle.
A close friend of mine from back in the day used to live kitty corner from us. We were thick as thieves, the two of us were. Best friends, our parent’s best friends as well. It seemed we did everything together or were always with the other one’s parents going/doing something. My mother hired his mother, and my dad and his dad were always working on a project or working on a 12 pack. Everything was great until I went off to college. Suddenly his parents were having major relationship issues. I never really understood it, but in a sense, I chalked it up to him being a hot-headed prison guard and her being a strong woman. Anyhow the relationship started boiling over very quickly. Suddenly the arguments almost came to fisticuffs, nasty exchanges were the regular. He could not get away from her quickly enough or stay away long enough. I never really understood it. They eventually had the world’s messiest divorce, literally fighting over the smallest things.
Things started becoming clearer after a couple years, my mom would never be able to see her because she was “sick all the time.” Literally plans made weeks/days/months in advance were cancelled, at the last minute…. sometimes literally the last minute. There were rumors of heavy drinking, but in all honesty, the household and groups I grew up around, most parents enjoyed a drink or two after work. Nothing out of the ordinary. I found out later she was actually guilty 3 separate times of taking a break at work, going to her car and sipping on a flask. Keep in mind she worked for my mother. She was caught all 3 times by parents at the school, never once was she disciplined.
The last-minute cancellations continued but things took yet another turn for the worse. She had moved in with her mother to save money and continued her drinking ways. Worse yet, hiding it from her 87-year-old mother. When my mother and I would visit, it was not uncommon to see her taking bathroom breaks or pouring something from behind the cover of the fridge door directly into a coffee cup. Clearly this was the rule not the exception.
My friend came home for a long weekend, flew in from out of state (upper Midwest) to visit his mother, he knew it wasn’t great, but felt obligated as any son would. I dropped him off, and saw his mother on a small trike, as she had broken her foot from falling (likely alcohol induced, but I cannot say for sure.) She fell repeatedly off her trike, and I decided after about 15 minutes, that it was time for me to leave. It was 9 AM. Not long after, my mother received a call as my friend had “disappeared.” I called him and he was driving (his own car was left here) back to the upper Midwest. Yeah, he had seen enough after a short stay.
The DUI charges also began racking up, with 4 happening over a 20-year period. She called me once to ask for a tow company while not knowing where she was saying only “I’m on the side of a freeway.” Folks Sacramento doesn’t have too many freeways, the northeast corner has even fewer. I cannot recall a time when I didn’t know where I was whilst stranded on the side of the roadway. This story led to bracelets around her wrists and a trip to the blue roof inn to detox.
She has been in and out of rehab more times than anyone can count. When my mother would visit, she would routinely smell booze on her breath and be told, “there is more being drank inside these walls than outside.” Sad but there is far more, and it only gets worse.
After about 3 years, my mother finally figured she just had to show up unannounced. She did, and likely regretted it. Her friend had the front door open only the screen closed, it wasn’t locked. She found her friend on the couch, half clothed. Jack in the Box burger and partial order of uneaten fries on the table. She claimed it was her lunch, the time was 3:45. Two drained bottles of wine rested not far from where she was seated. My mother inquired as to how she obtained the beverage and food. The response was door dash for the food, and AM PM delivers wine. Most disturbingly, she said she just can’t help herself in regard to drinking. Her friend had finally lost her license after several major surgeries and DUI’s. She had bruises on her body, from falling. Her friend used to be a well-built woman, not fat or heavy by any means, and was always on the cutting edge of fashion. Now she ambles around with a walker, and likely weighs 100 lbs. while being 6’3. Her legs are the size of golf balls, she is all skin and bone. She refuses additional help, or rehab, and my mother was quickly whisked away. Her son does not wish to see her again, but she wants to leave all kinds of money behind for him so he can love her.
In conclusion this is what addiction does to the human body. My mom’s friend likely won’t last until Christmas, and it is no fault of anyone but her own. She didn’t want to work for the State anymore despite being only a few years way from being fully vested, instead she went to work for my mother. She became parttime worker, fulltime drinker. Any amount of the grape or beer or hard liquor will eventually cause major damage to the human body. The DUI’s just put the toll in real dollars as opposed to physical appearance. She ruined her marriage, her relationship with her son, and all her friends because her world revolved around drinking. It’s sad but it happens quite often. She couldn’t even slow herself down when her son visited …because like any other addict, they do not care. Most disturbing was the comment about having AM/PM, a gas station by the way, delivering your beverage of choice. If there is such thing as a rock bottom, that has to be scraping pretty close to it.
At 74, I’m sure this was not her idea of the glory years unless happiness is staring at a bottle and hoping to drain it in one night. College days are over, and you have ignored warnings from the health community, you had parts of your colon, and stomach removed, and you are still refusing to change your ways. Lunch isn’t served at 3:00, that only happens after passing out from drinking on an empty stomach. The empty calories “filled you up” and your body is lying to you as far as being full. The going to sleep isn’t because you need rest, it’s because your body can not take it any longer and needs a shut down. DUI may be a badge of honor at 25; it’s a sad story after 35. It’s flat depressing after 55, and unconscionable after 65. A lesson never learned. Now you are in serious peril of not making it to the next year. Friendships, marriage, and your only child, all lost because you couldn’t put the bottle down, even after several trips to rehab. It’s so bad folks that even her only brother is done with her, she moved in with her niece and was kicked out after 90 days due to you guessed it, her drinking. Addiction kills, sadly for this person. At least without a driver’s license, it won’t make her kill anyone else.
People get fooled by con artists all the time. It must work or why would so many people be trying to hustle us? Some of the best know Internet cons include: the Nigerian Prince promising you millions after you send 4 installments of several thousand, or your friend that has been robbed in some other country and turns to you to wire them money, or the person threatening to send your internet search history to your wife. The cons exist everywhere and prey on those unsuspecting. Corporations sometime get fooled as well; it happens, although no one gets fooled like ESPN did a week ago.
Check this story out.
ESPN a Disney subsidiary has been televising high school football games on Friday/Saturday and Sundays for several years now. These games highlight matchups of high school powerhouses traveling across state lines to play one another. In addition, they showcase junior and senior athletes that are some of the most sought after prospects by colleges across the country. These games are very popular as college recruiting has taken off in the last seven years. These games attract quite a few eye balls, and the matchups are intriguing. Also there isn’t much else to watch during this period on ESPN so it fills a time slot.
Now the con job comes into play.
One of the matchups featured Florida powerhouse IMG Academy vs Bishop Sycamore a school out of Ohio. The game was played and IMG won 58-0. IMG Academy is a school boasting between 15-20 players who will play high level Division 1 football upon graduating, including 7 in the top 100 of ESPN’s own ranking database as seniors. Bishop Sycamore claimed to have several Division 1 caliber athletes….emphasis on claimed. In the 3rd quarter with the game out of hand, the commentators wondered aloud why this game was being played and at one point even called into question player safety. Yes the game was that lopsided. Here is a quote from ESPN about this… Paragon who is referenced apparently is a broker in finding these matchups to be aired.
“We regret that this happened and have discussed it with Paragon, which secured the matchup and handles the majority of our high school event scheduling. They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward.”
So what happened exactly here? These same 2 squads matched up a year ago. Another quote regarding the “so called top players on Bishop Sycamore”
“Bishop Sycamore told us they had a number of Division I prospects on their roster, and to be frank, a lot of that, we could not verify,” ESPN’s announcers said during the game “They did not show up in our database, they did not show up in the databases of other recruiting services. … From what we’ve seen so far, this is not a fair fight.”
Well it isn’t hard to discover Bishop Sycamore is a fake school. First off, the term “Bishop” usually has an association with the catholic church/diocese in the area. The Columbus area diocese has no record or affiliation with this school. Ditto for the governing body of high school sports in all of Ohio. Bishop Sycamore claims they are a charter school but can’t claim a sponsoring entity. Maybe the following is why.
Bishop Sycamore is a scam, they are run by 2 men, Roy Johnson who has warrants out for his arrest for passing bad checks, among other things, and Andre Patterson a former Ohio State football player. Patterson is listed as director, and assistant football coach. (Update: Johnson was fired, now Patterson is in charge.) Patterson for his part continued the con job by saying the following about the talent on his “team”
“I try to defend when people who say, ‘Oh well, yeah, you lied about kids having Division I offers?’” Peterson said. “Well, I guess the best way for me to fight against that is having you sit down with us on signing day.”
Signing day is the day high school seniors make their decision of where to play in college. Mr. Patterson is either delusional or has lied to himself so much he actually believes his schtick. Bishop Sycamore had the wind taken out of its sails by a couple former “players” who said the class room consisted of just a building where we were told we could do classes, emphasis on could. The classes were allegedly put on by a prep school online. There was no practice schedule or field. They played in abandoned parking lots (yep) or fields at a local park. When I tell you “tuition” (I use that term loosely) was $2,000 a year, it may start to come into focus. This wasn’t a school; it was a glorified travel ball team. When they traveled to the host team’s site, they would stay in a hotel, several to a room, with fraudulent check writing Roy Johnson “fitting the bill.” One parent even said he wound up paying for the whole team once, as when he went to check-out, the front desk lady said no one had paid, and the credit card on file was rejected. My favorite was the team was evicted from its own “team lodging apartment complex.” The school has no address. It uses a PO Box and the website is too damn funny, it was taken down prior to publishing of this blog. My favorite part was under each school centric tab, the drop down menu would say coming soon. Here is the check writing shenanigans…
Canton Police Lt. Dennis Garren confirmed Wednesday that hotel management reported the team stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Canton South, 4025 Greentree Ave. SW, on Friday and Saturday, renting 25 rooms.
According to police reports, the hotel reported two invalid checks totaling $3,596. Garren said they were written on an account listed to Education Resources Group of New York, New York.
To further the con, the members of this team were a who’s-who of undesirable folks, and by saying that I mean no racial bias. Some of the players were 19 or 20 year olds making this squad a danger to those it played against. Additionally some had criminal records and would have been found ineligible just like the other “young adults.” These players were from all over the country and would have been impossible to track on a database.
Just check out what Coach Tayven Jackson has to say about the school his team “plays for”
Jackson spoke with NBC4 in Columbus, Ohio over the weekend and answered questions about Bishop Sycamore, providing a fairly blunt assessment that actually seems to line up with what most people assumed in the first place.
“We do not offer curriculum,” Jackson told NBC4. “We are not a school. That’s not what Bishop Sycamore is, and I think that’s what the biggest misconception about us was, and that was our fault. Because that was a mistake on paperwork.”
Jackson later refers to Bishop Sycamore as a “post-grad football academy.”
NBC4 notes that when they pressed him on what that mistake was or entailed, Jackson didn’t provide any further information and said he didn’t know much about the paperwork, which was submitted to the Ohio Department of Education before he was hired.
They also pressed him on the fact that the “school” had reported a bell schedule for the prior year, beginning at 7:10 a.m. and going until 3:05 p.m. As for why a school that is not a school would have a bell schedule, Jackson had no answers. Bishop Sycamore head coach: ‘We are not a school’ but a ‘post-grad football academy’
Stunning. These schools pop up all over the country, some like IMG and others are legit, and can make your son/daughter into a much better athlete and earn that scholarship. Others like this Bishop Sycamore are also common, and they are a scam. This school didn’t even have an away uniform, so when they played IMG both schools were wearing black uniforms. They even started a gofundme.com page to raise money for their uniforms. Roy Johnson, Tayven Jackson and others all talk a good game, but it’s a load of crap. Check out this comment by a former player “lunch and dinner? Whatever we could steam from Walmart or a convenience store, they didn’t provide us with anything. What a fecal blizzard this whole thing is. ESPN is exclusively at fault here, they could have done some due diligence, even a little and it would have turned up this whole thing didn’t pass the smell test. By the way Sycamore played a game the Friday night prior to the Sunday game against IMG, this is dangerous on a whole nother level. These folks have zero regard for player safety. Folks football is glorified gladiator, I played it in High School, there is a reason the games are held once a week, it does a toll on your body. More crap from this scandal:
It was revealed that Johnson recruited the students with the prospect of “practicing at Ohio State‘s facilities.” In reality, they held practice outside of an apartment complex that housed students at Ohio State. The team also did not have athletic trainers, which resulted in the athletes playing injured. The apartments housing the students frequently evicted them after Johnson failed to pay rent. Many players already graduated from high school and there “were four or five kids that were 20, 21, [and] had children of their own.” A number of players had legal issues; at one point so many players had active arrest warrants that the team couldn’t fly to away games. One player actually joined the team immediately after being released from jail. The team also struggled with camaraderie; a former player claimed there were at least five fights at every practice. Heads should be rolling at ESPN but I mean does anyone even have cable anymore? I found out this story on the website awfulannouncing.com I visit every so often. I used to think the cable companies were a con job, turns out it’s the cable companies getting conned by a school, who in turn cons you the payor. Ouch. Glad ESPN could not be bothered to check the top high school player rankings they literally have on their website…ouch. Or maybe a Google search to see this school used to be called Christians of Faith Academy, which folded under the same scenario. Or their story about being affiliated with the third district of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, another lie as the church claimed to have zero affiliation with this group. An investigation showed money did exchange hands between the two…no shock most churches would take money from Satan himself today. Roy Johnson also used the church’s name and the school’s name when he was selling life insurance in another scam…. FACEPALM. there is a lot more out there folks. But man is this fun to write about. The worldwide leader in sports scammed by a group of guys who toss a pigskin round on a green belt. Only thing this story is missing is uncle Jimbo who could thro ball over them thar mountains, or stories about multiple DUI’s.
Folks if it sounds too good to be true it likely is.
PS: The name Bishop Sycamore Centurions I will say is a pretty scary sounding team to play against so I will give them some credit here. I however do not remember a bishop named after a tree in the Bible but oh well.
Treatment is finally scheduled. I should be happy about that but…
We finally have a start date for chemo and radiation in mid-September. The radiation is the heavy lifter in this treatment plan and the chemo is supposed to make the radiation more successful. This is penciled -in for five weeks. This will be followed by four to six weeks of waiting and then will be followed by surgery. Said surgery is just in time for the beginning of the holidays. And then everything is all better, or so my wife claims. (She keeps using variations of the word, “cured”.)
Folks, if having esophageal cancer was really this easy, then why are half of all patients diagnosed with this cancer, dead within 13 to 18 months of diagnosis? I guess in polite company we don’t ask, and they won’t volunteer it.
For those willing to listen, the talk with the radiologist was measured and cautious. No, “you probably won’t get burns on your skin” and “your hair probably won’t fall out”. Then the comment about “if you’re healthy enough, you can have surgery.”
Of course, the treatment is to shrink to tumor and then allow for surgery. “Yes, radiation shrinks the tumor, but you may develop sores in your esophagus that prevent you from eating what you want.”
The chemo/radiation treatments will decimate my wife’s immune system and necessitates locking down all household members in a manner that sounds suspiciously like the two weeks to flatten the curve nonsense inflicted on us during the spring of 2020. However, unlike then, wipes and toilet paper are easily obtainable. During this time, our son gets to go to school and back, while I’m the designated grocery shopper. My wife is expected to lose 20 to 25 pounds during this period of time and that’s without the doctor knowing that I will be the designated cook for much of this time.
As for the surgery, my wife has it in her head that it will be laparoscopic in nature and over in a short period of time. Color me skeptical. We will know in a few days when we meet with the surgeon.
Update after meeting with the surgeon.
The surgeon says the procedure must be performed between five to ten weeks after the end of the radiation treatments. Five weeks is to allow the presence and effects of chemo to dissipate and probably allow the immune system to recover slightly. The ten-week limit is due to the fact that irradiated tissue will become scare tissue making the success of the surgical procedure unlikely.
Now for the procedure itself. Here are some quotes related to what is scheduled to happen.
Surgery to remove some or most of the esophagus is called an esophagectomy. If the cancer has not yet spread far beyond the esophagus, removing the esophagus (and nearby lymph nodes) may cure the cancer. Unfortunately, most esophageal cancers are not found early enough for doctors to cure them with surgery.
Often a small part of the stomach is removed as well. The upper part of the esophagus is then connected to the remaining part of the stomach. Part of the stomach is pulled up into the chest or neck to become the new esophagus.
How much of the esophagus is removed depends upon the stage of the tumor and where it’s located:
If the cancer is in the lower part of the esophagus (near the stomach) or at the place where the esophagus and stomach meet (the gastroesophageal or GE junction), the surgeon will remove part of the stomach, the part of the esophagus containing the cancer, and about 3 to 4 inches (about 7.6 to 10 cm) of normal esophagus above this. Then the stomach is connected to what is left of the esophagus either high in the chest or in the neck.
The surgeon described the procedure as a transthoracic esophagectomy. This method is also known as the Ivor Lewis Esophagectomy. The technique was originally developed in 1946.
A transthoracic esophagectomy, also known as an Ivor Lewis esophagectomy, is a procedure in which part of the esophagus is removed. During this surgery, small incisions are made in the chest and another is made on the abdomen. The cancerous portion of the esophagus is removed, along with the surrounding lymph nodes and a small margin of healthy tissue above and below the tumor. The stomach is made into a cylinder, pulled up into the chest and connected to the remaining section of the esophagus.
The surgery has a few points of deciding go or no-go on going thru with the procedure.
Is patient physically able to undergo the surgery after the pounding their body endures from the chemo and radiation?
Does the presurgical PET scan show any spread of the cancer since patient has had the chemo and radiation treatment?
When surgery begins, following the incision into the chest and stomach area, the doctor does a visual inspection of tissues surrounding the cancerous area. If cancer has spread, then the surgery is aborted before it proceeds further.
The operation begins with an esophagoscopy to confirm the extent of tumor. On opening the abdomen, the right gastroepiploic artery is palpated and its fitness as the blood supply for the gastric conduit is confirmed. Abdominal exploration should confirm absence of liver metastases, extensive nodal disease, omental metastases, etc.
Comparison of complications reported in a recent series is hindered by the lack of uniform definitions of complications, the nonreporting of events, and the mixture of surgical approaches in some of the reports. The incidence of pneumonia has varied from 8% to 26%. Anastomotic leak has been detected in 3% to 8%. Mortality has varied between 1.4% and 10%. It is also known that esophagectomy is a procedure that is affected by hospital and surgeon volumes.
The surgeon said that a hospital stay of 7 or more days was common. Per reading that I have done, some post operative complication is likely. Per the American Cancer Society, here are likely risks:
Short-term risks include reactions to anesthesia, more bleeding than expected, blood clots in the lungs or elsewhere, and infections. Most people will have at least some pain after the operation, which can usually be helped with pain medicines.
Lung complications are common. Pneumonia may develop, leading to a longer hospital stay, and sometimes even death.
Some people might have voice changes after the surgery.
There may be a leak at the place where the stomach (or intestine) is connected to the esophagus, which might require another operation to fix. This is not as common as it used to be because of improvements in surgical techniques.
Strictures (narrowing) can form where the esophagus is surgically connected to the stomach, which can cause problems swallowing for some patients. To relieve this symptom, these strictures can be expanded during an upper endoscopy procedure.
After surgery, the stomach may empty too slowly because the nerves that cause it to contract can be damaged by surgery. This can sometimes lead to frequent nausea and vomiting.
After surgery, bile and stomach contents can back up into the esophagus because the ring-shaped muscle that normally keeps them inside the stomach (the lower esophageal sphincter) is often removed or changed by the surgery. This can cause symptoms such as heartburn. Sometimes antacids or motility drugs can help these symptoms.
Conclusion … for now.
Now that I have described what lies ahead, I have a few closing comments.
My wife continues to display signs that the cancer is still growing. She has more difficulty swallowing than a few weeks ago and each night she is now afflicted with lots of acid reflux after going to bed. She believes (and based on what I see, I agree) that her stomach is no longer sealing, (sphincter muscle is no longer closing her stomach). She believes that her tumor is preventing this system from working correctly.
I will update you further as we progress thru this treatment. I still remain pessimistic, but as I am but a spectator in the drama, which is about to unfold, my opinion is of limited value.