Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gentlemen Like You Are A Rare Breed

The Strip in Las Vegas reminds me of Universal Studios in Orlando. In a walk about a mile south of my Family Motel one's vision is overloaded in a short space with impressions of various eras and countries: A fake ancient Egypt, a pretend Paris and a hi tech gambling hall built to the glory that was Rome just to mention a few attractions. Thus one is put in a movie studio frame of mind and can think oneself an extra in an epic motion picture saga of greed, lust and drunkenness. This is what the Vegas going public wants and the management here happily provides it even to the point of allowing massed battalions of illegal Mexican immigrants on the street passing out advertisement for call girls. What a deal this week! If you act now mister you can get a beautiful college co-ed for $69.95 plus tax to be your slave girl in your private hotel room for half an hour and a full hour for a low $139.95 that include the whip. I understand many of these girls came to this part of the country to be actresses in Hollywood, but end up as whores in Sin City. I suppose that college acting classes do come in handy to fake pleasure being with fat old men.

Today is a beautiful day. The sky is clear blue and from one direction I can see mountains and from the other the busy airport where planes take off and land regularly like intelligent dragon flies. I look across the street to awesome Mandalay Bay in its golden charm. I went over yesterday and took the tram up to the Four Seasons. The passengers in my car were mostly business people talking about how fast the economy was going south and hoping they wouldn't lose their jobs. I pulled a Buttinski and told the group the truth as I saw it

“You ain't seen nothing yet, folks! President Obama is a neo-Marxist who intends ditch capitalism. In a few years you'll all be living in a shack eating beans if you're lucky. Obama and his socialists have absolutely no use for the business class. I'd say your best bet is to jump ship and become bureaucrats.”

The silence lasted about a second, but seemed longer and then a well dressed businessman, perhaps a senior vice president of some soon to be bankrupt company, with grey hair and a well fed look spoke up, “Well fella you're preaching to the choir. The SS United States has hit the iceberg and its cut her open and we are sinking fast. The future looks bleak. The best we can do is head for the life boats and hope to land on a fertile shore.”

The audience cast down their eyes and did a collective sigh as the doors opened and the trip ended.

About noon I ended up at “The Irish Pub” on The Miracle Mile as some call Las Vegas Blvd. I think the miracle is so many people from so many different parts of the USA and the world keep coming to this piece of sandy desert that only offers opportunities for bankruptcy, AIDS and liver cancer. I take a seat at the bar and Fred the bartender informs me that Coors draft are on sell today at $2 per glass. I accept the offer and give him two Yankee dollars for what I'm sure will turn out to be a number of bewskis. The afternoon wears on and I have seat with a grand view of the heart of Las Vegas Blvd. and the sea of human beings of walking by on the street or coming into this pub, which has wall to wall slot machines and gaming tables.

Then someone takes the empty bar stool next to me and I turn to look – It's Ronbo and he's gotten younger than the last time I saw him. He is wearing the regulation combat uniform with matching boots. I notice the patch on his shoulder is Military Intelligence and the rank on his collar indicates the rank of staff sergeant. I offer him my hand, “How do you do it, Ronbo? The last time I saw you were 30 something and today you look about 25. Do you get younger as time goes by”

Ronbo smiles with perfect teeth like I had about 35 years ago and offers, “Didn't you once say that the perfect soldier was about 25 years old with a least five years service? Aside from the different uniform I'm what you used to look like in your middle 20s.”

I knock back about half a Coors and look at the two of us reflected in the mirror: the man on the right who is old, grey, fat, and wearing glasses; and the younger man in perfect fitness and tanned with intense bright brown eyes.

I say to Ronbo, “Did I ever really look that good?”

Fred walks around the bar to take Ronbo's order, “The policy of this establishment is one free drink to all military personnel in uniform and on a personal note let me thank you for your service to our country.

“Da nada,” states Ronbo, “It is an honor to be allowed to serve the Republic. I'll take a Coors like my dad here.”

“I thought I saw a family resemblance. So you're this soldier's father,” says Fred.

I smile and wink, “Yes, it is the truth. I created Ronbo.”

Fred goes off to get Ronbo his beer.

“Dad? What's this dad nonsense? You're a fictional character that I created. What the heck are doing in the flesh?”

Fred returns with the beer and Ronbo takes a sip, “Well if Death can appear in the flesh then I'd say its fair dealing for a fictional character to become real. And you are my father who created me out of nothing.”

We are interrupted by loud bells and whistles: someone has won the daily jackpot on the slot machines. This person turns out to be a large fat woman with a terrible dye job on her hair who keeps saying over and over as security escorts her to the paymaster, “I never won anything in my life before this day.”

The jackpot is $20,000 and I say to Ronbo as she passes us, “I hope she spends her money on a good dye job and loses about 50 pounds.”

Ronbo takes in the scene, “The usual course of events is for the winner to blow the pot of gold. It's mad money, so you go crazy with it and have stories to tell your friends and families.”

I finish off the brewski and motion Fred for a refill.

Ronbo says, “Slow down, old man, the evening is young.”

Fred serves me my beer, pulls two dollars off the pile and retreats to the cash register and rings it up. Fred is an honest bartender; with all the security hosts and cameras watching employees every move. Honesty is the only policy in Vegas.

“What's the deal with you Ronbo? Did you do this metamorphosis just to tell me to quit drinking? I have been officially diagnosed by the best doctors at the Veterans Administration as being a Periodic Alcoholic, This means in layman's terms that I can be sober for months or years and then return to the booze when I undergo a life crisis like throwing everything in the car and heading West."

Ronbo takes a tiny sip, clearly he's nursing the beer, “It was a rational thing to have done at the time what with being fired from your job and having information the Secret Service was going to arrest you. However, it would appear this dark cloud has passed and the warrant withdrawn for whatever reason. Maybe they like the idea of you being way out West and thousands of miles from Caesar's Throne in Washington, D.C.? At any rate, here you are in Vegas, as Bill Ayers the Mad Bomber would say, 'free as a bird and guilty as hell.'”

I kill some more beer and say to Ronbo, who has spotted a very attractive street entertainer dressed like Mary Poppins and passing out flyers in front of the pub on the street,

“I didn't try to assassinate Clinton back in 1994. I never came within a country mile of the Slick Willie.”

Ronbo turns his attention back to me. “No you didn't, but you did plan it out all in your head. The idea was to shoot Clinton when he was jogging. This you thought was his weak link in his security. I would note you were armed at the time period in question with .45 colt automatic pistol. Then you traveled to Washington, D.C. in January, 1994. The plan was to wait and watch for as long as it took. Then for some reason you got cold feet and returned to Florida where you sold the gun for beer money.”

I finish off my second beer and wave the empty glass at Fred.

“Et tu, Ronbo? So you join my legion of critics? As is well known thoughts do not actions make. Yes, I did plan in my head a presidential plot. I'll even admit to some role playing as an assassin, but it was all done for the purpose of good literature. Take Steven King for instance and all the gory murders he's done in his books? The guy is harmless; he wouldn't hurt a fly. He just writes down all this crazy stuff which is published for a handsome profit. The secret to writing good stories people want to read is for the author to put himself in the mind of the protagonist: If you intend to write a story about an assassin engage in harmless role playing.”

Ronbo is watching the Mary Poppins 20-something girl is working the crowd in front of the pub. The weather has become warmer and the establishment has pulled back the glass doors and the crowd walking north on The Strip can flow into the pub, as no barrier exists. The bar stools quickly become filled with happy tourists throwing down vast amounts of cheap Coors beers.
I tell Ronbo, “Since you're in the flesh for the day, why not ask Mary Poppins over there for a date. I'll wager there a pretty girl under the disguise and an honest, intelligent hard working young woman willing to do what she has to do while waiting for the big break. I'll bet she's an incurable romantic who likes handsome young men in uniform.”

Ronbo looks thoughtful, “I think you're on to something there. I do feel a pull towards her. But back to the main topic under discussion, the famous Clinton assassination attempt of 1994. If you had put your thoughts to paper in fictional form, or kept them to yourself you'd been okay, however, you gave them voice at The Party. You do know this is the 15th year since the famous party at your apartment in Orlando where you gave a version of these thoughts to your brother, Jack. At the same time a part time snitch for the police was secretly taping you. He would take this audiotape home and modify it make you say you were actually gunning for President Clinton. The next stop for the snitch Stacy Harris was to take the tape to the SS and placed them in the hands of a very ambitious and not very law abiding agent by the name of John McKenna who told Harris he'd receive a $100,000 tax free dollars for his testimony and tape from a grateful federal government. The rest is history and official records – You took the case to court and lost. This meant a four year cruise on Club Fed where you had many adventures which could have made excellent books of great profits; however, you're a writer who won't write for profit – you just publish on the Internet for free. Why is that old buddy?”

I'm drinking Coor Light Draft Number Four. Fred the bartender has now been reinforced by Joe, a younger guy with bad teeth and has just served me with a $2 profit for himself by way of breaking the ten and thinking I won't notice being well on my to a good drunk. I don't say anything. So what if Joe the Bartender is a crook? The savvy drinker can turn a crooked bartender to his own direction and get free drinks from the House.

I answer Ronbo's question, “There is no chance of rejection. I have a track record for failure. I don't need more.”

Ronbo takes a tiny sip of beer. We have talking over an hour and he's not drank more than half the glass. “What would one more failure in a life of train wrecks matter? But I don't think you'd fail if you really gave the writing gig a serious try? God gives everyone a special gift to survive. You are a born storyteller who in the old days would earn his living by telling the warriors in the Meade Hall the adventures of Beowulf in his epic struggle against Grendel the monster. Am I not a latter day Beowulf? The hero with a conscience who fights against fearful odds for the greater glory of mankind? The only difference between then and now is the technology – mankind is the same – always an audience for a good story and a soft spot in even the hardest hearts for a good poet. Do you remember that story about the American who gets thrown into a Russian concentration camp just after WW II? He only had one talent; that of a natural storyteller and he earned his keep and ensured his safety by telling stories to Russian crooks closely based on movies he had seen. By the way, after this guy got released and returned to the USA he wrote a best seller and lived happily ever after on the profits.”

Joe Rotten Teeth, the dishonest bartender, serves me another beer, the stack of change from the $50 bill I started with when I came in many hours ago? getting quite small and all one dollar bills. The evening has suddenly started and poor Mary Poppins is looking a bit wilted; it's the high heels boots they make her wear, but she's a trooper and will hang tough until the relief shows up.

Ronbo says, “The bartender is a crook.”

I smile at Ronbo and reply, “You just noticed Sherlock? I've been on to him since the first order. Do you want to do some street justice later?”

Ronbo smiles, “I've got your back, fire team leader.”

I kick back most of the brewski and return to the topic of storytelling, “You have a valid point, I am a storyteller, and I can meet a total stranger and tell him or her a tall story they usually enjoy. You talked about that American who survived the most brutal prison system in the world by telling tales to hardcore criminals. I had the same experience in our less brutal and cleaner American federal prisons. I remember one boring transport in a prison bus from one prison to the next telling stories to dozens of hardcore federal prisoners. When we finally arrived in a jail someplace to stay overnight, they ask me to keep talking well into the night. When we finally arrived at our destination, I started life up a leg up.”

Ronbo finally puts his one beer of the day out of its misery, “You aren't a failure. Prison didn't kill you, drive you insane, turn you into a pervert, or made you a criminal. You are still the same decent guy you were the day you went behind bars. Many others faced with the same set of difficulties wouldn’t have survived, or if they had would be reduced to bowls of jelly. The only thing changed was that you were made stronger by the experience. This strength is reflected in your long struggle with the SS. How many people in this country would resist them? The usual response is cooperation with a shadowy organization that has vast powers. The very initials of the Secret Service – SS – brings to mind the Nazi SS of the 1930s and 40s. I’d say the fear factor on the part of most Americans explains the almost universal cooperation received from the public.”

I take another drink of the Coors and observe the crowded Irish pub/gambling hall. It was become almost wall to wall people. They cluster thick around the gaming tables and slot machines. The noise level has risen to a high level and one must shout to be heard a foot away. The day shift waiters have been replaced by leprechauns. These leprechauns are dwarfs dressed in green uniforms who deliver large trays filled with free drinks to the gamblers as long as they keep throwing the dice. Then a leprechaun climbs on top of the bar with some sort of green drink in a large narrow glass. He asks the customers at the bar to lean back and he fills their mouth with whatever is in the glass. The women in particular are pleased to be served liquor in these manner and the leprechaun is pleased to serve them this way. Ronbo and I continue our conversation and are ignored by the leprechaun who seems to have a thing for the ladies and ignores the men patrons.

I respond to Ronbo, “Yes, it’s true I haven’t struck my colors. But I wonder if the game was worth the candle? I’m pretty much reduced to poverty. At this moment I have no idea how I’ll survive after my money runs out in a few days. I have no job, no savings and no pension. I suppose I can walk into the desert and keep walking until I drop dead. I noticed driving into Las Vegas that after you get out of town about 20 miles it’s the wide open desert. A person would get lost very quickly in that vastness. I would imagine that when you drop and die, the buzzards pick your bones. I must say this type of an ending has a great attraction for me. I mean strictly speaking it wouldn’t be suicide – just another tragic hiking experience in the great Southwest gone bad. These things happen all the time out here – hikers freeze to death in the winter and die of thirst in the summer.”

Ronbo settles his empty glass on the bar, “I see you have been talking to Death again. I hope you understand that Death is one of his many names. My favorite is The Devil – Yes, he appears to you like that actor in the Bergman film with the medieval dress and a pasty white face. He does this because he knows his appearance and the use of rational thought would be most pleasing to you – It is how you view death.”

I respond, “Ronbo you aren’t going to go Christian on me and say there is a Good Lord who stand in opposition to Satan?”

Ronbo looks me directly in the eye and says, “Can you prove there isn’t? After all, we humans are given free will to believe or not to believe in God. Yes, the Good Lord can guide you, but first you must give him an invitation. So far you have never asked. Thus all you have as advisors are the world, the flesh and the devil.”

I observe the near Roman orgy of the Seven Deadly Sins going on all around me at the Irish Pub,
“Ronbo, I’d say you picked a very poor place to deliver a sermon.”

A bell rings and the crowd cheers: some high roller has just beaten the house and won a small fortune. I notice a squad of security hosts moving towards the lucky individual, a red faced bald man in his 40s.

I continue, “Quite honestly I just don’t know if God exists. I am officially a Christian, but I have strong reservations about there being a personal savior. I think if God does exist he is too busy with the big picture in the universe to be worried about small mortal beings on a tiny planet that orbits a small star.

Ronbo thinks for a moment, “I’d say doubt is a good place to start. At least you don’t rule out the existence of God. I would advise to search in your mind for the good with the same effort given to your chess games with Death. A quest for life affirmation is sure to be more productive than walks in the desert without food or water.”

I notice that on the street Mary Poppins is finding few customers for her flyers as the night wears on – It’s a tough crowd to work as they are not interested in wholesome family entertainment, but she hangs tough like the trooper she is with a friendly smile for one and all. She senses me and Ronbo watching her and she gives us an Academy Award winning smile . I notice for the first time now much she resembles the young Julie Andrews of the 1964 movie. Ronbo pulls off his black beret and bows in her direction. The girl laughs and waves. Then it’s back to business and passing out flyers.

“You just made a friend, Ronbo. When her shift ends ask her for a date.”

Ronbo puts back on his beret, “The thought had crossed my mind. The relief will be coming by soon. What about our street justice? This crooked bartender is ripping people off left and right.”
I finish my beer, “Sounds good to me.”

I motion over him of the bad teeth over with my empty glass, “Another Coors, sir?” asks Rotten Teeth.

“Actually not,” I say in a grim steady voice, “What I want you to do is give Fred $100 of the money you stole from the customers tonight.”

“What are you talking about?” asks Rotten Teeth.

Ronbo says in his best sergeantese, “Buddy we have been watching you rip off the customers left and right all night. I will grant you the amounts are mostly small, but you have stolen most of $50 from my pal here. So the deal is you give Fred a $100 tip and tell him it’s from me, or I yell for security and make a big scene. What’s the decision?”

Rotten Teeth attempts to negotiate, “How about free drinks?”

“No” states Ronbo. “How about you pulling out $100 dollars and giving it to Fred right now?”

Rotten Teeth says nothing and Ronbo tries to get the attention of security host and he speaks,“Okay soldier. You win. $100 to Fred.”

Rotten Teeth walks up to Fred at the end of the bar and hands him money. Fred looks over and Ronbo waves. He comes down the bar and says to Ronbo, “The $100 is very generous but far too much.”

“It wasn’t nearly enough, Fred. You’re a good man. You give excellent service with a smile and conversation. Never change.”

Fred puts the money in his pocket, “I’m too old to change.” He walks away to service his end of the bar.

Mary Poppins' relief finally shows up and soon it will be time for Ronbo’s attempt to get his first date with a real live girl.

“Well it’s about time for the Combat Assault, sergeant, are you sure you’re ready? This is a tough target, a human female.”

Ronbo is looking a little nervous, “You’re the writer, so how about a pick up line?”

“Could I buy you dinner?”

Ronbo looks disappointed, “I was looking for something better."

“How about, greetings Kate, how about a date?”

“Never mind,” Ronbo says, and starts walking towards Mary Poppins who is waiting for the light to change at the intersection only a few feet from where she was standing. I follow along to watch the exchange. Mary Poppins senses our approach and turns to Ronbo who says, “May I have a dinner date with Mary Poppins?"

The girl smiles, “I’m actually Stella Jones of Phoenix, Arizona, and I’ll agree to your offer of dinner if you allow me to offer desert.”

A taxi pulls up to the curb empty and Ronbo opens the near door for Stella, “Thank you, sergeant. gentlemen like you are a rare breed.”

The light changes and the taxi turns north along The Strip with its neon lights and high definition televisions to a night of romance.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ave imperator, morituri te salutant!

A person wouldn't know these are bad economic times by walking the The Strip in Las Vegas lined with one gambling palace after another. My favorite will always be "Caesar's Palace" with its Roman Empire theme and its statue of Julius Caesar with the right arm pointing at the main entrance. This is very good advice for those walking into arguably the most famous gambling palace in the world -- "Take a look pilgrim at this wealth on display and leave. This display came from the hard earned money from losers like you." Perhaps the owners of Caesar's should add a line by Dante to the pedestal of Caesar's statue, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here."

I doubt such a warning would have any effect on business here at Caesar's or any other gambling joint on The Strip; the crowd almost pushes you inside as you approach the entrance. Don't these people understand the odds are so much against them? I think they know. I also think they don't care. I think at some level they see their trip to Las Vegas as a metaphor for life -- life is after all a gamble. If one successfully is born and escapes death by the high rate of abortion that in some areas of this country rivals the birth rate, then one has won big time at the lottery of life's first big wager.

Death who taking a holiday with me here in Las Vegas and walking at my side dressed in loud clothes and looking like a used car salesman from Phoenix says,

"Whether they win or lose, all these thousands of people you see today will be my clients. I daresay most won't be the 50 years of hard sales like you. I don't even have to say a word to them. I simply show my face and they follow me to the dark shore without resistance. I even sense happiness and bliss from the majority of my clients! I think they are pleased: They want to rest."

I walk over to a bar in the middle of sea of gaming tables and slot machines. I set down and order a Coors, and Death sets down beside me and orders a Martini telling the very attractive and very blond young female bartender, "shaken not stirred like the ones James Bond orders." The bartender "Sally" by name tag takes our orders and you can almost hear her thinking, "A couple of born losers here -- an old man too cheap to buy mixed drinks and a creepy washed out salesman trying to be cool."

I turn to Death and say, "I talked to the Secret Service (SS) this morning."

Death, who is looking very pleased being in the middle of thousands of soon-to-be clients replies,

"I know all about your conversation. I was there in the motel room when you called the agent in Orlando, Florida. I don't think it was a good idea. They like you not. This is especially true when you pop up out of nowhere. These guys are like the old Stasi in East Germany -- They come to see you at the worst possible moment, you don't surprise them. This is not how the secret police game is played and you ruined their sport for the day."

Sally the bartender returns with our drinks and I ask, "I'm wondering if I could start a tab?"

She smiles with visions of a good tip dancing in her pretty blue eyes, "No problem honey if you give me your credit card in advance and a minimum order of $20."

I hand her my American Express card and she departs to open the tab. I take a sip of my Coors brewski and Death knocks back the entire Martini in one fell swoop.

"It must be great to be Death and not have to worry about things like hangovers, liver cancer and heart attacks from excess drinking."

Death smiles at me with pearl white teeth and states, "My job does have its upside. When I'm posing as a mortal I can actually taste the drink and feel the effect to some degree. I can't get drunk. Death must always be cool and rational."

I change the subject, "But back to my conversation this morning with Agent Smith of the Orlando SS -- He seemed quite friendly and even said he knew me by reputation. I felt somehow flattered; I mean out many people can ring up the SS and be told they are known by the stranger answering the phone 3,000 miles away? I told him I'd heard they were asking everyone I knew in Melbourne, Florida where I'd got off to and these people were calling me on my cellphone asking me what the heck was happening, and since I didn't know the deal , I'd thought I'd go right to the source and ask the horse -- am I to be arrested? Agent Smith replied there were no warrants outstanding; they just wanted to talk to me to see how I was doing."

Death looked past me to watch a man in an electric wheel chair move in front of a slot machine and appeared very pleased; no doubt another client in the making,

"Agent Smith speaks from a script. He was the Duty Officer that day in Orlando. He has nothing against you personally but it's war and you are the enemy. I wouldn't believe anything he said. Did you know you're the only Class III type at liberty in the country? The others are all locked up or dead. At the higher levels of management it is personal as well as professional. If it were up to these SS officers, you'd be dead along time ago. They feel you're a threat to national security just by your continued existence. However, they are bound by federal law and dream of the day when they are the law. This day may be soon coming."

I kick back another large sampling of Coors and ask, "I should have talked to you before about the SS." (By the way, the Secret Service hate to be called the SS: I understand it reminds them of the German SS. I would note the other federal security agencies are called by their initials: the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the FBI, the National Security Agency is NSA, and the Central Intelligence Agency is the CIA) Death shows me his empty Martini glass,

"It'll cost you," he states.

I motion Sally and point to Death's empty glass. She starts to mix another drink for him. Business is slow at the bar at 7 P.M. , the public is busy gaming and losing fortunes to Caesar. "What would you like to know?" asks Death with his white smile.

I take a big sip of Coors and ask, "Will they ever stop dogging my heels?"

Death looks at the approaching Sally with the Martini in hand,

"You know the answer: never as long as you live. You're too important; too many reports written about you; too many careers on the line. Also, for some important SS officers it has become personal -- You do recall Agent McKenna? He's a senior SS agents now. At one time he was case officer and you insulted him by saying he committed perjury when he gave testimony at your trial."

Sally places the drink in front of Death and says, "Honey I don't what your problem is but you give me the creeps. I think you're had enough."

Death takes a drink and replies, "Men giving you the creeps never stopped you from serving them before." Sally steps back from Death and becomes upset,

"What do you mean?" she asks in a nervous voice.

Death smiles at her, "You know exactly what I mean."

I jump into to the confrontation and try peace making,

"Don't let my friend bother you, Sally: It's just his way. He can tell jokes as good as Jerry Seinfeld when he's in a different mood.

Sally calms down a bit and says, "You're okay, but your friend is weird. One more Coors for you and both of you cowboys are out of here. If you two try to stay I'll call security. Do I make myself clear? If not security will explain the situation. I can '68 anyone at anytime and you're out the door."

Sally walks to the end of the bar and motions over a security host, a large black man who looks very mean and he stares at us with concern. Death smiles and waves the Martini. This is a declaration of war. The security man takes up position a few feet away arms crossed and eyes daggers, I look at Death and say ,

"You have a very negative effect on people."

Death kicks back the Martini in one gulp, "They can sense me. It's not a wonderful feeling, especially if you are young and healthy like our pretty young blond bartender. The gut feeling is to get me back to the shadows, or at least out of Caesar's -- I'm bad for business."

I take a healthy mouthful of Coors knowing that our time at Caesar's is limited and pick up where I left off,

"Agent McKenna did commit perjury!"

Death smiles his pearl white smile, "Of course he did, but only under orders and for the greater good of the nation. He didn't expect to be called on it. So what else would like to know about the SS? They have you screwed, blued and tattooed, so you may as well give it up and take the sleeping pills. If you wash the pills down with Coors and put a plastic bag over your head you'll be at the dark shore in no time. Many of my clients do this in Vegas, especially after losing at the tables."

Bartender Sally and Mr. Black the security guard approach our seats. Sally hands me back my credit card, "The drinks are on the house. I think you're good people, cowboy, but your creepy side kick reminds me of death warmed over. The deal is you can come back after you lose the grave digger and sober up, but El Creepo is banned from Caesar's property forever."

Death smiles with white teeth flashing, "I don't think you can do that, but I'm on holiday so I'll leave with my good friend Ron."

Mr. Black speaks, "Okay you two birds, let's all march to the door. Ron say goodbye to the lady,

"Departing is such great sorry. But I'll be clean and sober tomorrow," I say.

Sally laughs and feels her sunny self again, "A poet and you know it, Honey! As we say out West hasta la bye, bye!"

We three dog soldiers literally march to the entrance of Caesar's and for a moment the gamblers stop in the process of losing to watch the weird threesome: A large black man dressed head to toe in black with SECURITY painted in white letters on the back of his shirt closely following two white men; the loudly dressed one on the left sensed as very bad news who as the trio passes the statute of Julius Caesar on the way out the door gives a stiff armed Roman salute and yells in loud voice that echoes all over the Casino,

"Hail Caesar! We Who Are About To Die Salute You!"

I look back as we pass the doors -- for a moment the crowd has been frightened to the core of their beings and each of the hundreds of hearts at the gaming tables and slot machines have felt the icy grip of death for a moment-- but they soon recovery and continue their personal gladiator game with death at Caesar's Once And Forever Palace.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ronbo At Las Vegas

I made it yesterday after an epic journey that began in Orlando, Florida and over 3,000 miles ago. All trips must have an end. I had planned to end my transcontinental road Odyssey in Salt Lake City, Utah, The City of Saints, but upon reflection, I've decided that I'm more of a sinner, and hence Las Vegas, The City of Sinners, is more my style and the theme is reflected in the motel I checked into with porno movies provided free on the television and mirrored walls so the guests can watch themselves in action.

This is a "Clean Family Establishment" on the Strip not far from Caesar's Palace. I can just imagine what you get at the "Adult Establishment" next door -- 24/7 hookers as room service? "This is Ron Barbour in room 101, I'll take your Swedish Orgy Special, however, three members of the Swedish Swim Team would be a bit much for this 60 year old timer with a heart condition -- two sounds fine and English speakers are not required. How you folks do this for $99.99 a day plus tax is beyond me? What? The girls do it for free? They are recruited at Pervert Dot Com?"

I guess things get boring in Sweden during the winter.

It is amazing how quick Las Vegas pops up when you're driving in from the desert: At the top of a hill about ten miles from the center of the city on I 15 South you see Sin City laid out at your feet. I couldn't help but think of the old Country & Western song where the cowboy stops at the hill overlooking El Paso and sees the saloon where he will die for the "love of a Mexican girl." My second thought was of the very dark movie, "Leaving Las Vegas" where the protagonists kills himself by way of drinking himself to death. This process takes a couple of weeks and the help of a "hooker with a heart of gold" and in the end of the movie the old boy comes as he goes. My observation was that drinking ones self to death took too much work and was very expensive. It was also very painful. If I'd been the director of the movie the leading man would have washed about 500 sleeping pills down with some good brandy and went at it until he passed with the Swedish Swim Team at the Adult Motel next to Caesar's Palace.

I have no doubt reading the paragraph above will see me gloomy Gus, what the doctors call it "clinical depression." I confess guilt to that charge. At a very early age I was introduced to Death and he always stood at my side waiting and looking. Death talks, did you know? He told me as a 12 year old boy, "Why try to be successful, happy, or produce children? At the end of your life I won't let you take any of it with you. And no matter who famous you become and how much loved in the matter of a hundred years the odds are you'll be forgotten." This little speech by Death, who looked just like Cromwell, my Southern Baptist Minister, he of the famous "hell fire sermons", turned me into a pew warmer for the next six months. My career as a Southern Baptist Ministry Recruit came to an end one Sunday morning when I was discovered in the "Prayer Room" tender embrace (not the first time either) of Kay, Cromwell's 14 year old lusty daughter, who couldn't resist adding another 12 year old male virgin to her already impressive middle school resume. Kay said the Gospel made her horny and wasn't Christianity all about being fruitful and multiplying? I think her take on the Gospel was different from Cromwell's who became very angry and told my dad to give me 12 licks of the leather belt well laid on in order to teach me the proper thing to do in church is strictly spiritual.

But I digress. I was talking about my pal Death whom I've been on speaking terms for almost half a century. I have to admit that I'm afraid of him, I should say my flesh is afraid of the pain necessary to get to the other shore, yet I have on many occasions done things to court entry into the dark regions where no reliable report comes. This expedition to Las Vegas is a case in point -- An individual who cared about his future and decided to relocate out West would have checked on things first like jobs and residence. I did none of these rational things, but hopped in a rental car, a Toyota 4Runner, and drove over 3,000 miles to Vegas with stops in Orlando, San Antonio, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Ely, Nevada. Thus this morning I sit alone in my underwear typing this article (maybe my last article?) into my Dell laptop in the Family Motel on The World Famous Strip in Sin City.

I think I pretty well burned my bridges behind me. Did you see the movie, "Kelly's Heroes?" I'll never forget the theme song, "Burning Bridges," this song is the story of my life for the last ten years. I blow into a place with hardly a penny to my name and no shelter. I find someone of some organization to take care of my physical needs while I look for a job. I find employment and work. I save money and make friends. I have a schedule and daily routine. I have a life, as they say. But then after months or years, my old friend Death talks to me and invites me to the dark shore. He's always makes good arguments in favor of giving up and dying -- The one I like best is giving up your conscious -- when the brain dies there are no more thoughts. Death says, "Don't be afraid of me. How can you be afraid of nothingness?"

So you see intellectually Death makes a pretty damn good argument! What person when he understands Death wants to go on living? I know the Baptist Church and all the others say that suicide is the ultimate sin. I think they say this to congregations full of old people (endlessly replaced by old people) to give them hope and meaning to lives soon forgotten when Death takes command. And Death always takes command in the end, no matter how well the soldier dodges the bullet. I had an uncle who survived until 95, the last ten years of that mostly in hospitals, before asking my cousin for the cup of hemlock to end it. My mother fought Death like a real trooper for her last five years spent in pain before begging me, her caregiver, to mix her the hemlock. Like I said before, Death makes good arguments, although for most people not until the endgame. I differ from most people because I have Death across from me on the chess board playing black. I've always been able to win or at least get a stalemate...

I don't think this game ends in my favor. I think this is endgame for Ron Barbour. My alter ego, Ronbo would figure a way out. If not that, he would at least plan and carry out some glorious exit that would give the crowd their price of admission and perhaps meaning to his life. Alas! I'm not largely fictional character and action hero. I am only a tired old dog soldier come to the end of his warpath who wants no witnesses to his end, or even a body discovered.

"The desert is silent, dark and deep."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ronbo In Galt's Gulch Colorado

I arrived there early this morning after an epic road trip across much of the USA hunted by the dread Secret Service (SS). "There" being Galt's Gulch Colorado. The Rocky Mountains surround the Gulch and only a few know the narrow dangerous gravel road into the mountain fortress. After miles of white knuckle driving threading carefully around hair pin turns the driver comes to the golden dollar sign marking the entrance. The road improves from gravel to a well built four lane road...

I discovered Galt's Gulch by way of a conference with Mr. Big of the vast right wing conspiracy. I should note that Mr. Big really is a large man over six foot tall and three hundred pounds. We met years ago by way of Emails and phone conversations but this was the first time in person. Mr. Big is a man of about 55 years who was once a criminal lawyer and state judge in Colorado. The face reminds one of Sir Winston Churchill in his prime and the love of a good cigar and fine brandy reinforces that opinion.

The location picked by Mr. Big was the restaurant of a ski lodge near Aspen, Colorado. It was instructed to introduce myself to the manager of this establishment and ask to be directed into his presence. This was done and within minutes I was shown to his table in a private room with large picture windows with the Rocky Mountains framed above and the ski slopes below. I don't think I've been in more beautiful or expensive room in my life. I was dressed in my traveling clothes - blue jeans, sweat shirt and boots. Everyone else at this establishment was dressed to the nines, especially the staff who treated me with the respect given to a rich Saudi Prince with a limitless bank account. In marked contrast my bank reserve was down to the last hundred bucks.

I followed the manager, a man that reminded me of a young David Niven complete with an English accent, over to Mr. Big's table (I should note Mr. Big was typing something into a laptop computer and didn't see us enter) and he made the introductions, "Mr. Big, this is your friend, Ronbo. Ronbo, this is Mr. Big, a former state judge, lawyer and real estate baron. Ronbo this is your menu and you can select anything at no charge. I'll be back later to take your order. How about a drink now? This is our wine list. Choose anything. No charge." I said, "This being Colorado, I'll take a Coors beer." The manager said, "An excellent choice, sir! I'll send the waiter with a bottle immediately."

Mr. Big put away the laptop and looked at me across the table and said in an educated Mid Western voice , "Ronbo you look so damn common. You could be most men in this country of your age. I like that." I replied, "Why so?" Mr. Big answered, "Because the people who count in this country want a seasoned citizen as a leader. They would suspect a young man of having personal ambition. A man of years would come across as a leader with only the best interests of the country at heart. You'll do."

"I'll do as what? I'm down to my last hundred bucks and have no job, no home and I'm on the arrest immediately roster. Do you have a job and a false identity in mind. Like you say, I can pretty well fit into any job." Mr. Big looked at me with pale green cat eyes and said, "The job I have in mind for you is the organizer of a revolution to overthrow the federal government. I think you have built the best resume of anyone for the job over the last fifteen years with your difficulties with the Secret Service, prison, parole and surviving on less than nothing has served to train you as the best right wing revolutionist in the country. You have a fire in your belly. I know this from reading your writings and talking to you over the phone. You are like Sam Adams in the First American Revolution, the spark that will light the fire. I have vast wealth from my days as a real estate developer and a circle of friends here in Colorado with millions more but all our wealth and power cannot do the job that needs to be done. We need you. You need us. This meeting can be the start of a Second American Revolution. What say you?"

The waiter appeared with my Coors and Mr. Big went silent. He took the cigar out of his mouth and took a gulp of his brandy. The cigar was returned and he took a deep pull on it and exhaled a cloud of smoke. I took down about half the glass of Coors, my throat suddenly dry. Mr. Big stared deep into my eyes, into my very soul. I said, "I agree. But only on the condition that I am, indeed, the CEO. I don't want find out later that I have to report to some sort of committee or be overruled on any matter. If you agree and provide me with a large budget I can start a revolution, and God help us all."

Mr. Big was silent for a moment and then he began to clap his hands and said, "Bravo! Bravo!" with a big smile. "I like your style. No hesitation. No speech. No demand for a salary and perks. Just a simple acceptance and one key condition. Yes, you will be the man. No one will second guess you; there will be no committee looking over your shoulder. The buck ends on your desk. I only ask that you provide an account for the funds expended. These are considerable funds but not limitless.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ronbo And The Texas Ranger At The Alamo

A hundred and eighty were challenged by Travis to die
By the line that he drew with his sword when the battle was high
Any man that will fight to the death cross over
But if you want to live you'd better fly
And over the line went a hundred and seventy nine

Ol' Bowie lay dying his powder was ready and dry
Flat on his back Bowie killed them a few in reply
And young Davy Crockett was singing and laughing with gallantry fears in his eyes
For God and for freedom a man more than willing to die

They sent a young scout from the battlements bloody and loud
With the words of farewell from a garrison valiant and proud
Grieve not little darling my dying if Texas is sovereign and free
We'll never surrender and ever with liberty be

What does a freedom fighter do when on the run from the government men? If you're Ronbo you visit a place of honor for some of the greatest freedom fighters of the 19th century -- the defenders of the Alamo -- and stay at the Crockett Hotel with a view of the historical site.

The facts about the battle are well known to all American school children: In early 1836 the main Mexican army under the personal command of the tyrant Santa Anna, the self appointed, "Napoleon of the West," invaded Texas flying the "Red Flag" that meant no mercy would be given to those opposing the dictator's army. In an old Spanish mission in today's San Antonio, a small band of rebels led by Texas Republican commander Travis, that included the legendary Davey Crockett, refused the orders to surrender to the Mexican tyrant's much larger army and all went down fighting to the last man shouting "Victory or Death" at the swarming Mexican soldiers.

Today the small old mission/fort sets in a square in downtown San Antonio surrounded by tall buildings flying the Lone Star flag of Texas, as well it should because the Alamo is a shrine to honor Texas patriots and patriotism. Texas patriotism and American patriotism go together like a glove over a hand; however, Texas patriotism takes the concept to a whole new level -- It's rather like a young person who wants to serve the American Republic by service in the Armed Forces and chooses the U.S. Marine Corps. All branches of the Armed Service are equally honorable, but the Marines are more so. If you don't believe me, ask a Marine! Likewise if you don't understand Texas patriotism, go ask any Texan.

My first impression of the Alamo was, "What a small building to have had such large historical things happen in it." The Texas Ranger who stands guard outside turned to me and said because I had spoken out loud to myself, "This is not an uncommon reaction from first time visitors but you have to understand that the defenses included more than just the mission building, and there were no other structures around. In 1836 the land surrounding the mission was flat and barren. In front of us you would see Travis with his spy glass looking at the approaching Mexican army of thousands marching up and forming ranks. These are hardy and well trained soldiers who are seasoned in combat and survivors of a long march from Mexico by horse and foot. They wear Napoleonic style uniforms and are armed with smooth bore muskets that are very deadly when fired by volley at close range and fitted with bayonets. Then take another look at the defenders: they wear what's most comfortable and practical, the only uniform visible is wore by Travis." The Ranger pointed to right, "I see the artillery is in place and the band is playing a tune that translated into English is "Cut Throat" which is to say no mercy will be given. Then a cannon fires! The battle is on...."

I said, "You make it sound like it happened yesterday." The Ranger pulled off his hat for a moment to wipe away the sweat and exposed his grey hair. I continued, "It must get boring telling that same story to tourists all day every day you're here. The Ranger smiled, "I only tell that story to people I hear comment, "Gee, it's a small building." I replied, "My apology." The Ranger smiled and said, "Never apologize, it's a sign of weakness." I smiled back, John Wayne said that and I do believe he played Davey Crockett in the 1962 movie about the Alamo. I must been about 14 years old when the movie out and bet saw it dozen since then."

"Where are you from?" The Ranger asked. I heard some voices and noticed a party of chattering Japanese tourists were taking pictures of me and the Ranger with the Alamo as background. "The last place was Orlando, Florida. We call it, MOUSETOWN, USA because of Disney World."The Ranger thought for a moment and related, "I've been there with grand kids. They loved it. I hated it! It's too expensive and too perfect to be true. I think Disney World should be renamed, "The Money Pit."

I laughed and, "All too true! But don't you think you get your money's worth? You're buying a wonderful memory for your grand kids. I mean on the KID CALENDAR a trip to Disney World is up there with Christmas and birthday parties." The Ranger chuckled and said, "You must work for Disney, or the Orlando Chamber of Commerce." I saluted him and said, "I serve the United States, sir! I mean once a soldier of the Republic, always a soldier." "I see," said the Ranger, "You're retired U.S. Army. What's your name?" I replied, "Ronbo" The Ranger repeated, "Ronbo. This sounds like an alias. What your real name?" I smiled and said, "If I told you that, you'd have to arrest me. I understand there's APB out on me courtesy of the U.S. Secret Service."

The Ranger put on his war face and looked at me with steady blue eyes. A woman tourist with a map was approaching the Ranger, stopped dead in her tracks by his glance. Even the Japanese tourists stopped their chatter and looked at the two of us with questioning eyes that said, "What's happening?" He said, "Now I remember: Ronald Barbour! The Presidential assassin and terrorist. Wanted for questioning by the U.S. Secret Service. May be armed and dangerous!" The Ranger started to key his mike but stopped and said. "No way! This is not my first day at the rodeo! There ain't no way no man on the run is gonna talk to a Texas Ranger in front of the Alamo at high noon! No siree! A desperate man in gonna steer a country mile around a Ranger in full dress uniform and armed! Tell the truth -- the boys put you up to this? I bet you're retired Ranger and when I call for back up and take you in everyone is gonna laugh like hell at the station."

I looked around the plaza in front of the Alamo. I would lay a bet the viewing public to this was like being on the highway and seeing a police unit with it's emergency equipment on and the officer talking to the driver of a car he just pulled over, you know how serious the problem is and you can't hear the conversation, but you're thankful its not you getting the ticket or about to be thrown into a tiny underground cell, so you look the other way and move on, which started to all around the two of us. I said, "Why don't you just ask to see my driver's license? I rather doubt your friends would be going to that much trouble." The Ranger looked at me and shook his head and replied, "Let's pull over to the side and have a one on one, this is getting too public." We both moved over to the monument to the Alamo defenders. The public continued to do their tourist things, the emergency lights were off.

We walked over to a bench opposite to the monument to the defenders of the Alamo, "Have a seat, " the Ranger said indicating a space next to him, "Do you smoke?" "Nope." I said. "A nasty habit, " the Ranger testified and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. The smoke break was soon in session. He continued, "I'm not going to ask you for I.D. If it did and if you turn out to be Barbour, I'd have to take in custody. My radar tells me you're good people, and in over 20 years of law enforcement work my radar has never been wrong. I would suggest you get out of San Antonio soon, like today."

The Ranger pulled his cigarette out his mouth and ground it out under his boot. He looked at me and said, "You know I don't think you had any fear of me arresting you...I've never had a desperate man as cool and collected as you are..Don't you have nerves?" I replied, "Yes, I have nerves, but my radar told me you wouldn't arrest me." The Ranger smiled, "You have human radar too? You know what I mean -- the ability to size up a person in an instant -- to separate the good from the evil. And it's never wrong. NEVER! " I said, "Truly a gift from God. There is another reason why you didn't arrest " I rose and looked at the statute to the Alamo defenders, "If the two of us had been alive then we would have stood shoulder to shoulder against Santa Anna. We are patriots. What is Texas?...What is the United States?...But a wonderful dream. An Ideal. A dream worth fighting and dying for...A dream for the ages...Those men who fought at the Alamo would have died anyway. We all die someday. I think it is much better to die for a noble Ideal on a field of battle than to die in bed of natural causes.

A group of laughing young Mexican-American school kids dressed in the uniform of a Catholic school came marching past on their way to a school bus and one handsome boy with dark hair and flashing white teeth shouted at the Ranger and me,

"Remember the Alamo!"

"Victory or Death!"

"Down with Santa Anna!"

"Up with The Lone Star!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Well Done Trooper Howard of The Florida Highway Patrol!

Dear Sirs:

First of all, I want to send a “well done” to Trooper S. Howard (#2073, Troop G) for his outstanding performance in handling what could have been a very serious situation.

On January 19, 2009 I was driving north on I 95 near Jacksonville, Florida when Trooper Howard was wrongly advised by the U.S. Secret Service that I was a potential assassin of the new president and had a van full of weapons. I was made aware of this information on January 21st by way of a reliable confidential informant in the federal government.

When Trooper Howard heard this bit of disinformation and thinking it was the gospel truth, he immediately swung into action when he spotted my vehicle traveling north on I-95 at about the same time I spotted him. Trooper Howard then turned on his emergency equipment and I pulled over to the shoulder of the road. The next thing I saw was a puff of smoke that smelled like burning rubber, and I braced for an accident, as I thought someone was going to rear end Trooper Howard's vehicle and push it into my car.

I should note traffic was very busy that day – three lanes of I-95 traffic moving over at speeds in excess of 60 miles of hour. Upon reflection, I think the “brake smoke” I saw and smelled came from a marked Florida Highway Patrol vehicle parked on the left side of the busy highway driven by a middle aged female Trooper who came charging across three lanes of busy I-95 traffic at great risk of life and limb to back up her fellow Trooper she thought was a potentially serious incident with an alleged presidential assassin.

In the course of the traffic spot I spoke to both officers who remained calm, cool and very professional. This was especially impressive based on the Secret Service disinformation – many officers would have come at me “locked and cocked” but I didn't observe hands on weapons by either officer, but as a former military policeman (95B U.S. Army Reserve, Melbourne, Florida 1971-72) I know that even routine traffic stops can turn into combat situation, so I know both officers were ready.

After asking for my license and registration, Trooper Howard and the female officer went back to Trooper Howard's vehicle to write a citation. I observed the two officers in my rear view mirror for about five minutes. I don't know what was discussed, but I can well imagine – they both realized the truth obtained from my demeanor, conversation and what they could observe of my cargo – this was a bogus report and they had been used by people they thought were reliable and co- law enforcement officers – I refer to the Secret Service – and I'm sure they both also understood they could have been killed by the heavy traffic running only feet away.

The female officer then approached my vehicle and we had brief conversation about the merits of the vehicle I was driving. Clearly from her demeanor and words I drew the conclusion that the FHP did not view this as a serious situation and this was confirmed by Trooper Howard a few minutes later who gave me a warning instead of a citation for the traffic stop. He cited my superior driving record as the authority.

So departed from the traffic stop and the Sunshine State of Florida. Today I'm somewhere in Texas. I like Texas, the Lone Star State and former republic, the scene of the Alamo and the gallant stand made by greatest freedom fighters in the 19th century against the tyranny of Santa Anna, the dictator of Mexico and “Napoleon of the West”...Also, Texas voted against the latest chapter of the Santa Ana theme. Yes, in the great state of Texas one breathes the air of liberty and rubs shoulders with serious men and women who love liberty more than life itself. It is no wonder that the most decorated soldier in American history was a Texan, Audie Murphy.

Sincerely, Ronbo


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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Letter To Detective Miller

Every Street
Every City, USA

Detective Dennis Miller
650 North Apollo Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32935

Re. Phone call on 01-16-09

Dear Sir:

In reference to our phone conversation on this day, I was only joking when I said I'd be going to Washington, D.C. to watch the installation of The New Lincoln to the office of President, United States of America. The truth is that I don't want to be within a 1,000 miles of this subhuman filth and threat to the U.S. Constitution. In fact, I can't even bear to hear the ape grunt on TV and the radio, although the corrupt and degenerate majority who elected this vile slime to office have Obamagasms anytime the monster opens what appears to be a mouth.

I agree with Ibsen, the great Norwegian playwright and critic, who once said, “The majority is always wrong.” Ibsen knew his history: It was by majority vote both Jesus and Socrates were condemned to death. In our era we have seen Hitler and Obama – both foreigners to their nations – placed in office by majorities. The lesson is that if you allow the gutter to have the vote; the gutter will only elect manure to office. I thank God for my rugged individualism and rational mind! I have always been a Patriot and above the low I.Q. emotional masses who stand for capitalism and liberty one day and the next day embrace socialism and slavery based only on what some demagogue said the hour before.

But I digress. The reason I'm writing you is to request you and your merry men of the Melbourne, PD cease to interrogate my friends and co-workers concerning my whereabouts, as it is unproductive. I've only told them things I wanted them to pass on to the authorities. I did tell you I'm a chess player? And as is well known to chess players, white always makes the first move, so that if the players are equal white is always one move ahead and will likely win the game.

“What's the name of the game?” It has been called different things by different people, but the Irish blood in me likes to call it, “The Patriot Game” and I like to think of myself as the charter member of the “American Republican Army.” I will grant you that at this moment this army is little more than an idea in my head that at the end of the day may come to nothing but discussion; however, if events go the way I expect them to go something like an ARA may develop, because a large minority of patriotic Americans will not allow their Revolution to go quietly into the night.

If it does come to bloody civil war in the next few years where will you stand, Detective? Will you stand with the Republic, or the gutter calling itself “Democracy?” I would counsel you not to wait too long, or to come down hard on the Patriots.

The Patriots have long memories, long rifles and long lists of traitors.

"The Ides of March are come. "

"Aye, Caesar, but not gone."

Cheers, Ronbo

Come all ye young rebels and list while I sing
For the love of ones country is a terrible thing
It banishes fear with the speed of a flame
And it makes us all part of the Patriot Game

Sunday, January 11, 2009


On December 30, 2008 I was called to the office of the Director of the Veterans Transitional Facility (afterwards referred to as the Facility) and was told that my services as Assistant Manager were no longer needed. I was also informed that I would be asked to leave the Facility on January 30, 2009 by Mr. Paul Whitmore, the Director. The reason given for my dismissal was allegedly “Lack of Initiative.” The reality is that if anything I have too much initiative. I think my job performance since taking the job in late August 2008 could be described as “110% of requirements.” I'm quite certain there are other reasons why I was dismissed and asked to leave by Mr. Whitmore which have absolutely nothing to do with my job performance. I will address this issue in detail and expose the real reason for my dismissal.

My termination came as a surprise even though I had heard rumors to this effect several days before the event. I cannot began to tell you the negative effect this had on my morale, since Mr. Whitmore and I had a verbal agreement of a one year stay made on August 30, 2008 when he asked me to become the Assistant Manager of the Facility. I would note he had not once given me a counseling session, or anything in writing that would have allowed me to correct matters he felt were a problem area. In fact, Mr. Whitmore talked very little to me on any matter except to issue angry orders to do something or other IMMEDIATELY as if this were BCT (Basic Combat Training) and he was my Drill Sergeant.

The wrong person was terminated from employment at the Facility that day. I think a much stronger candidate would be Mr. Whitmore who over the last four months of his term of office has established a track record for a management style best described as a dictatorship with himself in the role of tyrant. In the following pages the reader will be presented with the facts to back up my thesis that Mr. Whitmore is a troubled individual with mental health issues and personality disorders which make him unfit to remain in the office of Director of this Facility. I will relate my complaint in a series of “Incidents” with the most serious infraction related first:


This happened on December 16, 2008 at the Facility. Mr. Whitmore had arranged for all the apartments to be repainted; however, in his mind he thought it could be accomplished in only two days.

On Monday, December 15, 2008, my apartment was the first to be painted. The painters started at 0800 hours and by 1300 were finished and started on the next apartment and just finished it at the end of the day. I could see at the rate of two apartments a day it would take approximately six days to paint the twelve apartment complex, so I saw no reason to make the people in the east building (The complex has six apartments in two building opposite one another across a narrow courtyard: an east building and a west building) move their furniture into the center part of the room, since it would be days before the painters could paint those apartments. I should note that I stayed with the painters and clients the entire day and moved furniture as required. I would also note that the painting went as quick as it could given the lack of energy on the part of the painters who took frequent breaks and a long lunch hour.

The next day, Tuesday, December 16, 2008, Mr. Whitmore came to work and discovered that only two apartments out of twelve had been painted. I was called into his office and royally chewed out. I attempted to explain what had happened, but he wouldn't listen. Then he said, “Did you have the furniture in all the apartments moved to the center as I ordered last week?” Before I could respond he said, “Barbour, follow me with the pass keys.” I did so and followed the extremely angry man across the courtyard to the east building (where the clients had been told to wait until Wednesday before moving furniture by Mike McCreary, the Complex Manager) to apartment #10. The only reason I could fathom for Mr. Whitmore to go to that particular unit was because it was the only one with a door not open and clients busy doing one thing or another to get ready for the painters. Mr. Whitmore pounded violently on the door, but no one answered. He turned to me and shouted his face red with rage "OPEN THE DOOR WITH YOUR PASS KEY!”When I couldn't get the lock to open, I said, “Maybe I have the wrong key?” Mr. Whitmore pulled the keys out of my hand and in fury got the resisting lock to open and marched into the apartment, which had all the furniture still in place. Almost howling in disgust he stormed into the bedroom and grabbed a sleeping form, Mr. Jay Richardson, and woke him up. I tensed up expecting a fight because people rudely awakened from a deep sleep frequently attack the person trying to wake them up. This happened to me once in the Army when I was on CQ and attempted to wake up a guy early in the morning for KP. However, Mr. Richardson stayed cool and advised Mr. Whitmore that the Manager had told him to move the furniture on Wednesday. Of course, I could have told Mr. Whitmore that earlier, if he had listened.

I should note this event, which is clearly a Whitmore Incident, was in his mind a case of “lack of initiative” on my watch and grounds for dismissal. Mr. Richardson is still a client here and can give verification of Mr. Whitmore’s rage verbally or in writing. I think other clients were witnesses too, but I don't have their names. I talked later to Mr. Richardson and told him Mr. Whitmore actions that day were totally unprofessional and unacceptable. Mr. Richardson said that Mr. Whitmore had given him an apology. I would note it was a private apology and not a public one. My standard is that if I unjustly go off on someone in private – my apology is made in private – vice versa for a public display of anger. Mr. Whitmore lack of a public apology tells me he's not really sorry for his public display of anger; that he wants it well known he's “not to be messed with.”


The first time I was exposed to Mr. Whitmore’s dictator personality was approximately two weeks after he hired me as the assistant manager. I am not a supporter of Alcoholics Anonymous and I know many of the clients here aren’t as well. However, like me, they honor the contract signed when they were admitted to the Facility – This is attendance at Tuesday night AA oriented recovery group and an AA meeting at a local church on Thursday. The most common complaint is that AA is a religious cult and most what goes on at AA meetings is to advance the agenda of an AA Cult. My response was to ask to host a Rational Recovery (RR) Meeting on Wednesday night. I have read much of their literature that contradicts AA on about every point and thus offer an avenue to recovery closed by those who aren’t cult minded.

I knew before the meeting that what I had to say was controversial, I knew that Mr. Whitmore allegedly had a drinking problem at one period in his life, but I was not prepared for the extreme anger displayed by him simply because I was asking to conduct as an unpaid volunteer a class on recovery that may encourage many rational thinkers to reject the “mysticism of recovery.” I think any rational Director would have pleased one of his client had taken the initiative to offer his ideas concerning recovery, I know Mr. Merkle, the Director before Mr.Whitmore, enjoyed talking to me on this subject, although he politely refused to allow classes conducted here.

This meeting was typical of most I had with Mr. Whitmore. He would allow me to say a few words to enable him to learn the topic and then the storm would start and he simply wouldn’t allow me to talk. I remember an old movie, I think it was called, “The Bunker” and was about the last ten days of Hitler’s life. When any of Hitler’s officers would tell him bad news, or anything he didn’t want to hear he would launch into a rage and not listen to them any longer. I’m not saying Mr. Whitmore chews the carpet every time he talks to someone, he can be very charming at times, but I’m saying every time something is said that goes against his core beliefs or plans; you’ll likely see acting out of a Hitler rage. This is, of course, only true if the individual is ranked below Mr. Whitmore; those who are equal will still get the charm; the rage he feels goes to the next subordinate in the office.


In late August when I was hired as assistant manager by Mr. Whitmore he asked me to find a replacement for Mrs. Merkle who had quit her job as the Facility cook. I fortunately did know of a cook at The Daily Bread who was looking for a better job by the name of Glenn Champion The next day I made contact with him and suggested he interview for the position. He did so and was immediately hired by Mr. Whitmore. The meals he cooked for the next several months were an improvement over the former cook's excellence. The clients were also impressed by the fact he frequently polled them on what meals they would like him to cook. Mr. Champion has an outgoing personality and made friends easily. In summary, Mr. Champion appeared too good to be true.

He was as it turns out.

In late November, 2008 I was informed by a reliable source that Mr. Champion was a criminal under indictment for fraud, forgery, Grand Theft and exploiting the elderly. When I expressed doubt about this alleged indictment my source handed me court papers from the Circuit Court which I have included as an enclosure.

My source when on to say that Mr. Champion was a cocaine addict and was selling drugs to unidentified individuals at the Facility and was using his staff bathroom off the storeroom as an illegal drug storage area.

I was shocked to hear of these charges about a co-worker who seemed to enjoy his job and cooked very nice meals. However, when I looked closely at Mr. Champion’s job performance I immediately spotted a very troubling pattern that included boxes of food and clothing being taken out the back door and loaded on private vehicles, the staff bathroom always locked with Mr. Champion having the only key, and Mr. Champion using the Day Room – which is closed at 2200 hours -- as a private bedroom.

Thus with the information obtained the next step would have been to talk to Mr. Whitmore. This I didn’t do because by then I was well aware of his nasty temper and I felt he would disregard anything I told him. Instead I went to Craig Russell – my supervisor at the Daily Bread Warehouse where I work – who, as it turns out, had a wealth of information about Mr. Champion who was a volunteer weekend cook at the Daily Bread Kitchen. Mr. Russell then contacted his supervisor the Executive Director of the Daily Bread, John Farrell, and we three had a conference the next day and compared notes on Mr. Champion. The decision was quickly made to exclude Mr. Champion from all property belonging to the Daily Bread as he had been noticed selling drugs on their property. Mr. Farrell asked me to ask Mr. Whitmore to contact him concerning Mr. Champion and arrange a meeting.

My next step was to brief Mike McCreary, the Manager of the Facility. As I have said before, I didn’t want to talk to Mr. Whitmore because of his bad temper. Mr. McCreary expressed shock and outrage when he heard the results of my investigation of Mr. Champion and said “he had a bad feeling about the guy from Day One.” He said he would pass on the information to Mr. Whitmore without naming me as his source as I had requested.

Several days passed without action, so on December 1, 2008 I sent an Email to Mr. Whitmore, as Mr. Champion appeared unaware and untroubled by anything. It was at this point I finally did go to Mr. Whitmore who, true to form, let me speak about one paragraph before saying my allegations were based on rumor and he refused to listen to me. I thought, “Well I did my best; what will be will be.” Mr. Champion was finally fired by Mr. Whitmore in early December, 2008. The story I heard was that Mr. Champion tested positive for cocaine, but in truth I really don’t know. Mr. Whitmore’s Byzantine decision making process rivals that of the U.S. Senate.

I think this incident alone speaks volumes about the poor quality of Mr. Whitmore’s abilities as Director of this Facility. Surely the first thing to check is a new employee’s criminal record. Mr. Whitmore has a computer in his office and brags about his high level of Internet excellence. If this is true the why not go to the State of Florida Corrections website were mountains of information are available for free? Also, I’m wondering if he bothered to check Mr. Champion’s references, job history, educational accomplishments and other matters connected with employment. It would appear from future developments that Mr. Whitmore did none of these things.


To: Mr. Whitmore

Fm: Ron Barbour

Re. Incident Report On Joseph Robinson

Dear Sir:

December 20, 2008 at approximately 0800, I was involved in a incident with Mr. Robinson. The incident started when I asked Mr. Robinson why he was behind the counter in the Day Room when he wasn’t on duty. He responded that he was putting away the breakfast items. I informed him that putting away the breakfast items was part of my duties for the day, and I also told him that only the person on duty and staff were allowed access to the kitchen unless some type of activity was going on that required additional help.

At this point Mr. Robinson became very upset and said something like, “Well you weren’t doing your job so I stepped in and did it.” He said some other things like, “I’m going to call Mr. Whitmore about you, etc.”I informed him that if he couldn’t control his temper he should leave the Day Room. Mr. Robinson then became silent and moved over in front on the television almost in tears and a person present put his arm around in shoulder as if to say, "It's okay." I departed the Day Room at that point, since things had clearly calmed down.

During the course of moving the property from the Old Storage Area to the new one, I noticed that Mr. Robinson had appointed himself the team leader. I will acknowledge he had an unusual high level of energy and worked well, but his constant giving of orders was most distracting to me, the supervisor of this move. I thought of calling him to the side for a conference, but having seen his emotional state earlier, I decided to hang back and work along with everyone else – My observation in life is that a work team doesn’t need two supervisors. The upside to Mr. Robinson’s high energy level was that the job was completed in what I judged record time.

There was one other behavior that day by Mr. Robinson that I found to be out of the ordinary. I was leading the van that he was driving (This was done because I had the keys and combos to the gates and facilities) and on the second run back to the Old Storage Area, Mr. Robinson took a left before the traffic light on US1 at Sarno Road. This attempt at a shortcut came to nothing because the street ended at the Eau Gallie River and Mr. Robinson had to double back. The only reason I can think for a potentially risky maneuver like this (the traffic is heavy in that area of Sarno Road that only a short block from US1) is because he felt the need to get ahead of me.

In my opinion, based on my experience as drug counselor and driver at Central Care Mission in Orlando, Florida (2003-2007) Mr. Robinson is showing signs of either drug abuse or someone in denial concerning his abuse of drugs; the dry drunk. My terminology is, “The Perfect World Delusion”. This is the common world view held by many addicts and those in recovery that if they can “Be in change” of people, places and things everything will be okay. Thus such persons look with a critical eye at the actions of others and find fault. They frequently jump into situations to take command, because they feel; “Only I know best.” In a recovery program such individuals attempt to “subvert” the chain of command in order to obtain more power “to make things happen.” Mr. Robinson’s first comment to me was, “I used to be assistant manager here and I lived in your room.” I suppose this was his way of saying, “I can do your job and replace you.” Then his next remark was to ask, “How is Mike doing? You know I know Mike from way back.” The third remark you have no doubt guessed, “What do you think of this new guy, Mr. Whitmore?

Other entries into “The Perfect World Delusion” of Mr. Robinson would include his behavior during the painting of the apartments last week which bugged the heck out of the poor guy because things did not go perfectly as planned. (I like the old Army axiom, “The Plan goes out the window when the first shot is fired) I cannot did not keep count of how many times Mr. Robinson knocked on my door about something or other that was not of his concern. I finally asked him, “Why is this bothering you so much?” Alas! He was too busy running off on another self imposed mission to answer.

Finally I think Mr. Robinson is spending too much time around the Facility. I was under the impression that clients without physical problems should be out looking for work. In addition, it is my opinion that Mr. Robinson could learn some valuable information for the Tuesday night Recovery Class and mandatory AA attendance while here. If he is an addict he will be encouraged to stop; if he is on a dry drunk he’ll learn how to cope with that problem. I would encourage you to have a special counseling session with Mr. Robinson on this issue, as he may well be totally in the dark about a personality disorder that has caused him unnecessary pain and suffering in life. The proof is that he’s ended up here. The guy appears to be quite intelligent and has an excellent work ethic and appears to be a devout Christian – all that is needed is an “Attitude Adjustment” – and who better to give an attitude adjustment to a “troop” than a CSM?


October 31, 2008

To: Mr. Whitmore

Fm: Ron Barbour

Dear Sir:

I've received a complaint about Charles Cox from Thomas McDonnell. At issue is the "knife incident" in which it was alleged by someone, perhaps Cox, that McDonnell allegedly said he had purchased a knife and threatened harm against someone. At any rate, McDonnell once again stated he had no idea how such a rumor got started but he seems to think that either Voss or Cox was the source.

As you may be aware, I was the roommate of McDonnell in #10 for a couple of weeks and I formed the opinion that the guy was harmless and was serious about Recovery. I understand that McDonnell attended successfully the substance abuse program in Tampa. While here at the Facility, I've noticed that McDonnell does what is expected of him and minds his own business.

Therefore, it was a shock to me when you told me about the "knife incident."

But I digress, to return to the subject of Charles Cox -- The day that we searched McDonnell's apartment Cox stopped me while I was walking to my apartment saying, "Hey Ron! You remember the dispute you got into with McDonnell on the van? He said he was going to cut your throat! Don;t you remember that?" Yes, McDonnell and I did have an argument on the van on the way to the Thursday night AA meeting over a month ago. This much is true. However, at no point in this heated exchange did McDonnell make threats.

The dispute was over McDonnell's unhappiness with being made to go to AA. This was his first day at the Facility. Lonnie who was driving the van and in charge that night returned to the Facility where Mr. Merckle talked to McDonnell. After about five minutes the issue was resolved and McDonnell never again objected to attendance at AA. In fact, he told me last night when he got his car he would attend many more meetings on his own!

In conclusion my opinion of Cox is not high. He seems to do nothing all day except to smoke and drink coffee and bad mouth all those not present to include staff. I've told you about him going delusional and emotional during a Sunday meal because he didn't think enough drinks were available? On that occasion he was extremely insubordinate.

Yes, I'm aware that Cox can be calm and rational most of the time, but I get the impression he's pumping people for information about other people he can use in his production of rumors. I think with his statement to me over McDonnell and perhaps his creation of an entire fictional incident, Cox has moved into a high level contention that could result in legal action directed against him in civil court.

Sincerely, Ron Barbour

Date: November 1, 2008


Nature of the Incident: Verbal Abuse, Insubordination, Use Of Profanity.

At approximately 1815 hours, Charles Cox became enraged and abusive in the Day Room Chow Line because, he said, "The food was cold." I think his reference was to the main course that wasn't cold but had became warm due to the lack of hot lights found in cafeterias which keeps the food as hot as it comes out of the oven.

When I attempted to explain this matter to him, Mr. Cox started yelling the a very loud voice, "I'm not going to take anything from you! I had to take crap from Mrs. Merckle and I'm sure as hell not going to take it from you."..and you're a chicken shit motherfucker and lazy as the day is long"....I'm going to write your ass up on an incident report"...."I'm going to call Mr. Whitmore"...etc.

My response was to ask Mr. Cox to leave the Day Room unless he could control his temper as he was disrupting the meal with his irrational polemic. At that point, Mr. Cox did leave after taking all blank copies of the Incident Report with him. Then I called you to give you an outline of what happened.

After I finished talking to you, Mr. Cox returned saying, "You don't have the authority to tell me to do anything" and attempted again to engage me in an argument. I told him to see you as soon as possible and write an incident report if he wanted. At 1830 I shut down the Chow Line and put the food away. I should note that food was available to Mr. Cox but he made absolutely no effort to eat. Mike McCreary was present during part Mr. Cox's outburst, but said nothing even after I asked him to say something to calm Mr. Cox down. I did inform him that you wanted him to write an Incident Report on the affair. He said he would. Others present include Danny & Marissa Brannon. I should note that they are friends of Mr. Cox, especially Danny, who told me that Mr. Cox's anger was, "no big deal." Daniel Carlow, Arthur Dury and Thomas McDonnell may have overheard Mr. Cox's tirade, I'm not sure. People were going in and out with food while Mr. Cox was shouting.

My deportment during Mr. Cox's outburst was firm, but I did not use foul language and I called him, "sir." I should note that he somehow found this threatening. This I do not understand unless he was projecting his own anger on me. In fact, if I didn't have considerable experience working with people in rehab, I would have felt a physical threat due to the fact that Mr. Cox is rather large and was yelling a couple of inches from my face.

In summary: This is second time Mr. Cox has went off on me. The first time was "The Chicken Incident" about a month ago which at the time didn't involve chicken at all, but was over the drinks that Mr. Cox said weren't full (They were three quarters full). It would appears to me that Mr. Cox has developed an intense personal dislike for me (The former dislike for Mrs. Merckle transplanted) and takes his spite out on me on Saturdays when he knows I'm usually the only staff member around.

I'm not a medical professional, but based on my experience working at Rehab, Mr. Cox seems to be displaying, among other things, a burning need to control people by the use of anger, so that his victims will give into him if he becomes angry. In international relations this is called, "appeasement." Appeasement never works. Hence, I will present a firm but fair attitude towards Mr. Cox and never again ignore one his outbursts, because he will view this as weakness and make further demands that will never please him. I won't play his game.

Persons Notified: Mr. Paul Whitmore

Sincerely, Ronald Barbour

November 2, 2008

To: Mr. Whitmore

Fm: Ron Barbour

Summary of problems encountered in dealing with Mr. Charles Cox.

1. Insubordination -- Mr. Cox seems to resent authority. I've noticed around you he is very diplomatic, but this could be an attempt to sway your decisions in his favor. As I've noted earlier on the weekends I see a different Mr. Cox who often is irrational and angry. This anger, I believe, is an attempt by him to let him have his way, lest I make him angry.

2. Lying - I've told you already of his apparent attempt to get Thomas McDonnell removed from the Facility by way of planting the story that he purchased a weapon at a Knife Show. Also, Mr. Cox attempted to enlist me in his conspiracy by floating the idea of words of threat never spoken by Mr. McDonnell. I should note that Danny Brannon was present when this conversation took place.

3. Rumor Control - Mr. Cox seems to have appointed himself President of Rumor Control here at the Facility. He seems to do nothing except to sit all day long and drink coffee and smoke and listen to conversations, which he often spins to his own version of the truth. This legend is then told over and over to persons not a witness to the fact who often add and subtract to the original inaccurate version of the truth. The final production then makes its way to you and is full of sound and fury about something that in reality never happened the way it was presented.

4. Lack of attendance at AA and the Tuesday Recovery Group - Mr. Cox, who brags about a life of drug addiction and says he's in total agreement with the twelve step program of AA is seldom to be seen at the recovery meetings on Tuesday and Thursday. He often cites, "not feeling well" as a reason for non-attendance, but is usually seen just after the meetings break up in good spirits and health talking to persons who have just been released from those meetings. Mr. Cox may talk the talk about AA and Recovery; however, his actions and words indicate a 180 degree back azimuth from AA Ideals. In AA terms, he is on one heck of a bad "dry drunk."

5. Mental/Personality Disorder Problems - I'm no psychologist but in my humble opinion Mr. Cox suffers from numerous personalty disorders and perhaps from brain damage caused by excessive use of drugs. Then there is the possibility that Mr. Cox is a psychopath and suffers no mental defects, as he has exhibited psychopathic traits on more than one occasion.

For example, the way he uses anger to control people. This is a common trait among psychopaths. Former President Clinton is the classic example of a psychopath who can be very charming and very angry in order to get people to do what he wants done. If this theory of mine has merit, then it would explain Mr. Cox's lying as well, since the psychopath has no conscience. I noticed when a counselor at Central Care Mission that about one in ten of our clients were raving psychopaths and more than once I was subjected to the same "anger treatment" as Mr. Cox has given me on two occasions.

RECOMMENDATION: I strongly recommend that Mr. Cox be removed from this Facility as we lack the resources and manpower to address his many issues that have only grown worse in the seven months he has lived here. I think Mr. Cox's problem could be better addressed by medical/mental/psychological professionals at the VA hospital in Tampa that has excellent resources. Until resolution of this matter, I request you tell Mr. Cox in forceful terms to contact you with any question he has about my job performance instead of throwing a fit in public every Saturday meal.

I am very serious about my employment here and feel very honored that you have given me this position as Assistant Manager. When Mr. Cox throws one of his very public hissy fits against me he also disrespects you, the person who has appointed me to office. I'm not perfect, but my mistakes are made for reasons other than by design. I submit this "Cox Problem" to you for resolution.

Sincerely Yours, Ron Barbour

Please note that Mr. Whitmore did not remove Charles Cox from the Facility for another thirty days. It is fortunate that Mr. Cox did not assault clients or staff in the period when he was clearly out of control. This is yet another example of Mr. Whitmore's terrible judgement on potential threats.


January 7, 2009

To: Mr. Whitmore

Fm: Ron Barbour

Re. Incident Report.

At approximately 0600, I was alerted by a loud banging at the door.

It was Danny Brannon who ranted and raved something about "Cheerios all over the bleeping floor" that allegedly happened when I got my breakfast this morning. This did not happen, as Mr. Brannon well knows being present in the Day Room when I picked up my breakfast at 0545.

It would appear Mr. Brannon dumped the Cheerios on the floor (I observed no others awake at this early hour) simply to play some sort of weird power game as a newly minted assistant manager.

Despite the unjust nature of the charge, I grabbed cleaning tools and swept the mess up, which was quite extensive.

In the future I wll not take the breakfast available in the Day Room, so that I cannot be unjustly accused of spilling things on the floor. I will try to appear in the Day Room only when other people are present.

I will take this opportunity to inform you that I will be discussing with Fran Cendowski and other interested parties to include the VA and your superior, Joe Clark, the serious issues that have become apparent to me at the Facility over the last four months in large part caused by your leadership model.

Sincerely, Ron Barbour

My first impression of Danny Brannon was not positive. I knew nothing about the individual but immediately I got the idea he was a criminal. I think the tip off was the excessive number of tattoos on his arms and his demeanor. I noticed too that he was always watching me and the next thought was, “I’m the guard and he was the inmate.” My radar was dead on target; Mr. Brannon is a certified offender and appears in living color on the Florida Department of Corrections website where he listed as “Probation Felony.” I understand such individuals would normally be in the State prison system but because of overcrowding are placed on a strict parole and watched carefully.

This brings to mind a question: What the heck is Mr. Brannon doing here? Would not this be a case of the VA acting as an enabler? The idea of having a Department of Corrections is to do just that – correct an individual criminal behavior to bring it up to community standards. How is this supposed to happen when the message received by such an individual given an out from prison by placement in this Facility is, “I can game the system?” If a criminal gets this idea then the entire criminal justice exercise come to nothing and can easily result in more severe crimes being committed.

Another problem I have with Mr. Brannon’s placement here is the reason for arrest and conviction in a court of law – His offense is felony battery. No details are listed, but this Facility can offer incidents were physical assaults can happen if individuals lose their cool. For example, we recently had a client here by the name of Charles Cox who attempted to provoke other clients by the use of fighting words. It is fortunate that Mr. Cox did not provoke Mr. Brannon as a tragic result could have been the outcome, perhaps even manslaughter. I’ve noticed clients like Mr., Cox assume they are in a controlled environment and can get away with provocations of other clients and not be aware that potentially violent offenders are in their neighborhood.

I should note at this point that Mr. Brannon is my replacement as assistant manager by Mr. Whitmore’s appointment. I well remember a classic movie entitled an “A Clock Work Orange” in which a sub plot featured criminals in a future society being made policemen. Mr. Whitmore’s decision to make Mr. Brannon assistant manager is tantamount to the movie scene, because surely a criminal would want to be in a position of authority – how better to get away with crime? It would appear the departure of one criminal – Mr. Champion – is quickly followed by the entry of another to authority. I wonder if Mr. Whitmore favors criminals over the honest as staff members? The record so far would indicate he does.

I could relate a number of incidents that indicate Mr. Brannon is not even attempting a reformation of his attitude. I noticed during my tenure as assistant manager that whenever work was to be done; Mr. Brannon was nowhere to be found. I also noticed that his best friend until this individual at last departed the Facility was none other than Mr. Charles Cox. It was interesting to me that Mr. Brannon would often attempt to provoke me while in his presence, perhaps in an effort to gain his favor. Why would any normal person be friends with Mr. Cox who was disliked by nearly everyone at the Facility due to his hate filled language, paranoia and his implied threats of violence unless they were “birds of a feather?”


The only logical conclusion I can come to is that Mr. Whitmore is unfit to command.

Mr. Whitmore is a very troubled individual who has a track record of highly questionable decisions, actions and serious personality disorders that should be addressed by mental health professionals. This would be a long process and it would be unfair to subject persons who themselves are in need of the help of a compassionate leader. Instead, it would appear they get a Ft. Jackson style Drill Sergeant who marches into apartments after first trying to beat down the door to order men out of bed for oversleeping by a few minutes.

I have not yet made a decision whether or not to engage the services of an attorney, but I will fully brief officials of the Veterans Administration on my complaint against Mr. Whitmore. I will not confirm or deny that audio recordings were made of my many interactions with Mr. Whitmore. I would hope the introduction of audio recordings into the record would not be necessary, and that Mr. Whitmore be candid in his response to my allegations and take full responsibility for his many negative actions.

The "full responsiblity" I have in mind is his immediate resignation as Director of the Facility.


Joe Clark

Fran Cendowski

Danny Brannon

William Walters

Joseph Robinson

Jay Richardson

Mike McCreary

Floyd Merckle