The death of singer Glen Campbell had a punch of losing a family member.
My mom was a serious Campbell fan and that meant us kids listened to a lot of his records. She thought he was handsome and his homespun Arkansas folksiness and wholesome music made her a huge follower. When the "Glen Campbell's Goodtime Hour" TV show ran from 1969 to 1972 us boys also watched it. Mom nearly wore out the groves in his records. Today when I hear "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman" or "Galveston," I am eight years old again.
What wasn't to like about Glen Campbell? Like his Dad once told a reporter, Glen was "just a good old country boy." He was downhome, friendly and genuine. I saw that firsthand during a 20-30 minute interview with Campbell in his RV backstage at the Stanislaus County Fair on July 31, 1984. Campbell was "on fire for Jesus Christ" after the career-damaging, drug-fueled crazy time and fling with Tanya Tucker. He inserted his Christian faith in virtually every sentence. He spoke about his personal failures, redemption, his new wife and children and mentioning how another one was "in the oven." The baby was born later as singer Shannon Campbell, Glen's son who performed on his farewell tour.
Anyone who watched the documentary "I'll Be Me" on Netflix (still available) knew of Campbell's struggle against Alzheimer's and knew his death was imminent. The disease is cruel and heartbreaking and growing in frequency in the United States. There is also no known cure. Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops the disease. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and by 2050 this number could rise as high as 16 million.
Why Alzheimer's isn't getting more attention I don't know. I suppose because there is less attention paid to our elderly, although Alzheimer's
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The news of Campbell's passing on Aug. 8 came within minutes of hearing of the passing of former Ceres pastor Rob Hidahl, 61.
I met with Rob many times over the years to talk about his church. When he told me that it was a "God thing" that moved the church out into the country he wasn't kidding.
The church was looking for a place to expand and the city was looking for a place to build a community center. The city bought the downtown church property for $1 million, an unheard of price. The church building did not suit a remodel so it was bulldozed and the Ceres Community Center was built in its place.
God indeed works in mysterious ways. Then the church bought the current 16.5-acre site on Roeding for $16,000 an acre! Rob negotiated for water lines to the site and an 18-month rent-free agreement for the church to stay during construction.
It's events like the death of Rob and Glen - and the retirement of people my age like Bryan Nicholes and Kay Dunkel - that make me feel like time is passing by faster than I would like.
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The country is nearly $20 trillion in debt, opiod addiction on the rise, literacy rates are still unacceptably high, North Korea rattling sabers and what are Americans obsessed about? Here are some items from social media:
• BBC worker caught watching nude scene behind news anchor;
• Vogue magazine to feature transgender traitor Chelsea Manning;
• The Ta-ta Towel solves your boob sweat problems! (from Positive News Network);
• Giant Donald Trump chicken appears outside White House.
• Gov't agencies warn about ‘Lizard Man,' ‘Bigfoot' sightings in SC during eclipse.
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Meanwhile, the misguided of America are concerned about removing statues of people they don't like. And I bet those who just pulled down the statue of a Confederate soldier in Durham have never bothered to read books on the subject. It was actually in memory of "the boys who wore the gray," the dead of one side of the Civil War.
This from "1984," George Orwell's book of a scary day in the future that I think is here: "Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered, and the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute, history has stopped, nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right."
We live in scary times with all this reactionary "non-thinking" that is running rampant.
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It seems stupid knows no bounds on social media. After you read these actual comments you may be as scared as me to know these people are breeding, driving and voting:
"Summer is my favorite month."
"We need to get off Lance Armstrong's back ... yes he did drugs but don't forget he was also the first man on the moon."
To a picture of Mount Rushmore someone posted this: "Crazy how nature made dat."
"So a buffalo is a kind of bull so how can you get chicken wings off it."
"Titanic must be fake how could someone record it because everyone was like dead and drounding?"
"omgg why did the civil war have to happen? It'd be one less thing to study."
"Are lights electric because my phone & iPad won't charge but my lights are still on."
"I can almost always tell if a movie doesn't use real dinosaurs."
"Goodbye America, hello New York!"
"Does anyone know if the air from a fan can blow away the particles from wireless signal? Having trouble in my room."
"It took me 10 minutes to remember how to spell water bottel."
"I. Need. A. Job so I applied at wal Mary in Sulphur. Springs. Cause. The. Short of Cart. Pushers and. I needed. A. Job so I applied. And at the. End. Of. My application. Thier was a. Lil quiz. And. I answered. It. Like. I thought it. Shld. Be.en answered. And. So I called. Today to see. If. They look at it. Well she. Did and. I didn't. Pass. Tht test they cldnt. Give. Me a. Interview. So screw. Wal Mart. Buy if. Any body know. Of anywhere. Hiring. Let me. Kno. I need a. Job and. Will work. Hard."
"Hello, could you post. Im really worried. I want to have another baby but had my placenta taken out when my son was born, does this mean I can't have any more children or do I need a placenta transplant?"
"I don't get it. If the lottery in America is $900 million and 300 million people live there why don't they just give everybody $3 million dollars?"
"I think the scariest part about having triplets is having to be pregnant for 27 months."
"Just because I'm dumb don't mean I'm stupid."
"Saw the dumbest elevator today, it had a button for the floor I was already on..."
"My teacher is so dumb. He thought the sun was a star."
"Some1 told me u can pay 4 stuff on the internet by putting ur credit card in the cd slot? Is that true?"
"Organic ketchup and turkey burgers.YUMMY!Guess I'm turning into a vegetarian considering the family I nanny for are:)"
"how did people no what roads to take before google maps was made??"
"Anyone help me find articles on Generation Y, or just how our generation is lazy, that are empirical studies?"
"Is 4th of July being celebrated on the 3rd or 4th this year? Cuz the 4th is a Monday..."
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My grandson started kindergarten last week.
It just seems like yesterday when we were accompanying his mother to her first day of school.
I wish I would have done more in her classroom.
I wish I had taken time off work to attend more of her school things.
Let that be a lesson to all of you parents today. Live to where there are no regrets later.
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I had a chance to roll through the new and improved intersection of Hatch and Santa Fe. With all the millions spent and years of planning, I was disappointed to see that westbound Hatch has only one through lane and there is no right turn lane for northbound Santa Fe Avenue. The county had an opportunity to take care of the westbound traffic streaming out of Hughson to Modesto jobs but didn't. The traffic will still stack up.
Talk about disappointing!
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On my recent trip to Minnesota I didn't see one homeless person yet there is not a town in this Valley where the homeless are not spilling out contents of dumpsters outside the container, sleeping in parks and scaring off taxpaying citizens, urinating in alleys, stealing shopping carts from stores and using them as mini-storages, rummaging through our garbage cans and standing in traffic begging for a donation for their subsistence.
Not all homeless are the same. But I'm going to focus on the crazies, the ones who abused drugs so much that their brains are fried and they're out yelling at traffic, talking to themselves on sidewalks, defecating in the bushes in plain view of traffic, or banging on the aluminum light pole with a stick like it's a drum set.
I don't know if your daily experience brings you into contact with these types but I came up with an idea since the state isn't interested in helping them. I know people are going to call me insensitive and heartless when I share my idea to build "Crazy Town" for all the drug-induced brain-fried.
Local communities spend millions on skate parks to give a small segment of kids something to do. I think Ceres spent $350,000 on the one at Smyrna Park. Oakdale is building one now for $3.4 million - funded by a state grant designed to create parks in underserved communities. The percentage of kids who use skate parks is low - few girls for example - yet cities feel the need to build such expensive facilities. I think we need to devote more attention for a population that affects more.
Hence, Crazy Town.
The concept is to remove the mentally fried homeless from our streetscapes and put them in a new setting where they won't notice the difference.
Let's relocate them to Crazy Towns out in remote areas of the state. Places like near Hornitos, Catheys Valley and Barstow maybe? The desert would do because they are already acclimated to our Valley, which is essentially a desert. It would include all the amenities to make them feel at home: abandoned houses to flop and do drugs in, alleys to pee in, bus benches and parks for sleeping, poles for banging on, grocery carts they can push all over the streetscape, some bushes to go potty in and a plethora of dumpsters to dive in. Taxpayers can fund construction (like they do skate parks) as well as minimal staff to hose down the concrete from time to time, and we benefit by removing them from our parks and streets and businesses.
Park the Crazy Town bus where they congregate in Modesto, Ceres and Turlock, open the doors and offer free rides.
Maybe I'm kidding but something creative and humane needs to be done.
I'm not kidding so much when I talk about the need to round up all the gang thugs and drop them on an island - let's call it Gang Battleground - with their weapons and let them fight to the death. The thought occurred to me after hearing about the 4-year-old girl shot by gang bullets in Stockton over the weekend. Better them killing themselves off than driving through neighborhoods firing into occupied buildings.
Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He will read it, promise.