Archive for Uncategorized

Teens and Race, Part II

1921 Tulsa Race Riot

My Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma

This was my city of birth, in a state whose name translates to “Land of the Red Man” in a native American language. I spent my first 14 years there and can’t recall ever meeting a black (or, for that matter, an Asian or Hispanic one) person.  I did occasionally see some of them from a distance and the “n-word” was widely heard.

Oklahoma became a state in 1907 and a couple of years later oil was discovered and Tulsa became a boom town.  I can recall seeing “Tulsa, Oil Capitol of the World” signs in my childhood, back in the 1950’s, an idea that seems absurd today.  A positive side effect of this boom was that many new oil field workers were needed and hundreds of black workers filled the void. They lived in a section of Tulsa known as Greenwood and it soon became known as “The Black Wall Street”-the most prosperous black district in the nation (see link at the top).

However, by 1921 oil prices had fallen, the entire nation had been through a severe post-war recession (actually a far more serious one than that of 2007-2009 that the media exaggerates so heavily) and the hard times lead to increasing tension between poor whites and the blacks of Greenwood.  I never heard of the “race riots of 1921” while I lived in Tulsa and the media has consistently ignored it over the last century.

As one can see in the link, it took till the 1990’s for the local government to research the history of the event and to learn that approximately 300 people died and that probably 200 or more of them were black (last month’s Orlando massacre thus was NOT, as the media incessantly insisted, the biggest American mass shooting ever). In fact, Wikipedia refers to the 1921 riots as a “pogrom”, a term usually associated with Jews in Medieval Europe.

My son has been able to become friendly with both African Americans and Hispanics thanks to my girlfriends of the past dozen years but his school in small town NE California is, as was said in MY childhood, “lily-white”, with only a couple of Hispanics and Indian-Americans thrown in.  Therefore, he really needs to read this so he can, at the very least, refine his media BS detector.


Leave a Comment

A Day to Ponder Families and Relationships

On a day in the US when we had the worst mass shooting in our history, it’s a good time to reflect on the importance of the people in our lives.  This young woman, to her great credit, was able to take a horrific, long term, governmentally-funded atrocity and offer hope to millions of other children around the world.  Not many 17 year olds have the courage and verbal skills to address their nation’s parliament on a personal matter and I it would be just as rare, if not more so, here in the US.  In my own case I had to wait 14 years, not just nine, to achieve equal custody, but in my case I was merely treated like a criminal and didn’t actually become one like the father in this case.

Leave a Comment

Parenting and Football Part IV: Concussions

I. Chronology of Concussions and the NFL

  • 2009 Boston University holds a press conference on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
  • 2010 TIME’s cover story: “The Most Dangerous Game”.
  • 2011 More than 4,500 NFL former players sued the NFL for hiding concussion dangers.
  • 2012 NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the league was donating $30 million (its largest donation in its 92-year history) to the National Institutes of Health for research on athletes and brain trauma.
  • April, 2015 The NFL settled the 2011 lawsuit for $765 million.
  • October, 2015 PBS aired “League of Denial”, a documentary on the league’s concussion crisis.
  • December, 2015 The film “Concussion”, based on the story of a Nigerian physician, Dr. Bennet Omalu, opens.  It stars Will Smith, but earns only $11 million in its opening weekend and $39 million through January on a budget of $35 million (In stark contrast with the recent Star Wars which had figures of $529 million, $2 billion and $200 million respectively).
  • January, 2016 The NFL admits that the number of concussions in 2015 was “way up” over 2014 and that a record number of players aged 30 and under were retiring.  One recent retiree, Jeff Saturday, of the now-Indianapolis Colts, is quoted as saying that he allows his 9th grade boy to play the game but strictly forbids his 3rd grader from doing so.

II. Other Sports

  • In reviewing research it appears that they fall into three tiers regarding risk of concussions:
  • Tier One (most risk): Boxing and football.
  • Tier Two (intermediate risk): Hockey, rugby and soccer (especially playing goalie and doing “headers”).
  • Tier Three (low risk): Baseball and basketball (ironically the only sport in which this writer received a concussion).

In conclusion, it’s worth noting that, according to the NIH, the age-adjusted leading cause of death in the U.S.  is coronary heart disease and that in a 2012 study  NFL players were found to be 32% LESS likely to suffer from it.  The result of children avoiding all the sports listed above is often obesity, whose consequences remain significantly worse than those of playing sports, including collision sports.






Leave a Comment

Christmas Message

My daughter, Charissa Sims, has published a book, Kinley the Water Dragon, which would make a great Christmas gift for kids aged three to seven. Copy and paste the URL to go to her website:

This is a fantasy book that teaches kids the importance of water in the world. It is about a young dragon in the Himalayas that is raised by hawks in a village suffering a drought. Kinley has a dream of a big lake and decides to leave his village in search of water! He discovers that he is a water dragon and that bringing water to the world is his true purpose. He meets many friends and challenges along the way, including fairies and other dragons until he finally reunites with his dragon mom, brother and sister! The story is meant to teach children about water conservation and the importance of water in the world. It is also a story of accepting others for who they are and finding your purpose in the world.
Check it out:
Charissa Sims is an entrepreneur and first time children’s author.
She is passionate about water conservation and helping educate others about ways to conserve water and funds projects that provide water for people around the world. She has her own ergonomics consulting business and loves to meditate and empower women. Mrs. Sims is a mother of two children and lives with her husband and family in Los Angeles, CA.

Leave a Comment

Explaining Terrorism to Children

This week we all witnessed the worst terrorist event in the nation since September, 2001.
Photos of the victims showed that the local community was clearly one of immigrants and children of immigrants. It’s appropriate then to listen to the sage advice from another immigrant, Dr. Manny Alvarez, who has been active as a volunteer for autism and Alzheimer’s and professionally has been noted for his OB-GYN work in drastically reducing the rate of early-term deliveries.
Dr. Alvarez I’m sure has great empathy for the San Bernardino victims and their children in that his own childhood included a birth in Batista’s Cuba and being taken in by an American foster family while he waited five long years for his father to be released from one of Castro’s prisons.

Leave a Comment

Irish Divorced Dads

Last week’s post covered parents in France and Belgium who must be constantly vigilant in regard to their teenagers’ choices of websites. The above link refers to another European nation, Ireland, one I know far better than those two francophone countries. Three quarters of my ancestors are Irish and I was raised Catholic, as were over 90% of the citizens of the Republic of Ireland (as opposed to the Protestant Northern Ireland, which is , for the most part, proudly part of the United Kingdom).
Most Americans don’t realize the huge impact the Irish have had on the USA. We are the #2 ethnic group, behind only the Germans. The Irish have become secularized, as have virtually all Americans, but the Catholic Church has yet to fully liberalize divorce and remarriage, so there remains a bit more stigma to single parenting than that found among the typical American. One of the most interesting statements from the article is that divorced dads can help their ex-spouses pursue their careers by helping with childcare.
This points out the #1 difference with life here because in the US 75% of custodial mothers move within the first four years after a divorce, often making such arrangements impossible. Ireland is like the Scandinavian nations featured in last years fantastic film, Divorcecorp, where childcare is easily shared because up to half the population lives in one metropolitan area.
Speaking of films, I should point out the wonderful Irish father-custody film, Evelyn. It stars Pierce Brosnan, who ironically was the bad-guy in perhaps the most famous father-custody film, Mrs. Doubtfire. In that he portrayed that archetypal villain all divorce dads hate, the suave, handsome, wealthy suitor of one’s ex. Brosnan really makes amends for that role by being a loving father of three who loses custody of his three kids, partly due to that bete noire of the Irish, alcohol.
It is based on the true story of a man who takes his case to the Irish supreme court and won. As one who wrote his own brief to the California Supreme Court, won, and received no benefit whatsoever, I can only congratulate that hero, Desmond Doyle, on having the luck of the Irish!

Leave a Comment

Fatherlessness and Mass Murders

Having a masters degree from UO and having lived within a 100 miles of Roseburg, Oregon for a decade, I have a particularly strong interest in the shootings at Umpqua CC last Thursday.
Unfortunately, the media has been particularly slow in bringing out the shooter’s background, perhaps because he’s of mixed race, which makes it harder to plug him into the usual PC pigeon holes. So, I’ve decided to link to an article that covers this week’s topic from the perspective of the previous mass murder, in South Carolina last summer:

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »