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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Whatever. Nevermind.

No? Okay...


This is my favorite time of the year. It doesn't have much to do with the calendar, although Spring is always welcome after the rigors of a Michigan winter. It has to do with how high in the sky the sun is. The warm weather surely does make this old body feel better, looser, younger.

It just coincides with, y'know, baseball season. They always call the ballplayers "the Boys of Summer", but Opening Day is in early April, and they don't wrap up the World Series until sometime around Halloween.

Sometimes the tri-seasonal warmth stays around that long, too... Those hot, hazy days that can rise up even if there was frost that morning, even if it gets cold again when the street lights come on. They make you lazy, those days do. They make it hard to get much of anything done.

Baseball is timeless, not just in that sense but also because it is a game that does not abide by any timekeeper. It's a matter of innings, not quarters or halves or periods. (So is golf, technically, but golf involves a frustration level that is not often found in America's Game.)

The season is long, see. It wears down the players, the press, the fans, weighing on them all in humid languor, especially in the long haul when the buzzing cicadas compete for one's attention with the ballgame on the radio.

How long does the season last? Hey, it ain't over 'til it's over... When one team wins. If Game Seven of the Fall Classic is tied at the end of the ninth inning, they keep playing.

Yep. 'Til it's over. If your team wins the pennant, and then the championship, you're lucky. If they don't, you're just like everybody else.

Then, the smile finally slips a little, as you realize that the warm days are over, too. The cold nights will stop yielding the mercury to the daytime, and Spring Training seems like it's not just on the other side of the calendar, but on the other side of the world.

Something worse, something less desirable, than hibernation settles in. We go back to our indoor beehive lives. Whether we like them or not...

But everybody loves beisbol.

Even if maybe you lose some of that warm, magical feeling when you stop being a kid... Even if some of us will never stop being kids.

pH 4.27.17


Monday, April 24, 2017

An Open Letter to the Kalamazoo County Corporate Counsel

Dear Sir,

I have read your proposal, which was emailed to Charlie's mom's attorney, offering to change the cause of death determination on his Death Certificate. His mom's attorney will let you know what she thinks about that, but my guess is that her son would not want her to trade away her Constitutional rights in exchange for "Indeterminate". Although such a swap would alleviate Kalamazoo County of their official indecency in this matter, it is hardly what I would consider a fair or reasonable offer.

I'm only sticking my big beak into this because you have grabbed ahold of it so firmly. Of course, I am talking about the part of your offer which includes me also giving up my right to free speech, representative government, etc... And also taking down this here blog.

In a much better world than this one, I'd be flattered. You want this thing? I know it's shiny, and it sure goes fast, but are you sure? I mean, it requires near-constant maintenance, and has awfully high mileage for being only a year old. I don't know.

My first response was to fish for estimates from Viking and Penguin, because what you're really doing is asking to purchase my publishing rights. I always thought it would be a hard sell, myself, as the subject matter is generally unhappy and besides that I've already given it away for free.

Anyway. I understand that Dr. deJong and the others on her island want it gone. Of course. I understand that Charlie's mom's attorney told you he doesn't represent me, and that I obviously wouldn't be too keen on your offer. Actually, I authorized him to make you a counter-offer.

I gave him the outline of a deal - basically, you'll have to sharpen your pencil. Here are my terms much more specifically. (I know that the usual office protocol would be to communicate this via back channels, but it's all part of my public inquiry, so I'll ask you to forgive me for that.)

I am willing to delete this blog and its fellow Paulie Leaks blog in exchange for a change to Accidental on Charlie's Death Certificate. That's it.

No other conditions. My right to seek redress of grievances in court, my right to speak freely, my right to contact my representative, my right to file complaints to regulatory boards and/or agencies... Those rights are not bargaining chips to be splayed out on a cold metal table under blue fluorescent lighting.

American soldiers are, to this day, fighting and dying for those rights to even exist. With the number of veterans in our family, I would never dishonor their bravery and their service, which is what I would be doing if I considered your cynical offer for even one second. So just as I asked you to forgive me for this public demonstration, I'll forgive you for passing along the County's insult.

My offer is, in plain Latin, quid pro quo... with no strings attached. If the Medical Examiner has committed no wrongdoing, as you so stridently assert, then there should be no concern about future litigation. In any event, since the taxpayers will be footing the bill for her defense, I'm not sure why you or she is worried about it. The same goes for filing regulatory complaints, or asking the County Commission (they already know) to have Dr. deJong removed, or really anything else the law allows.

Please accept my offer. It will bring peace to my family and to my soul and to my keyboard. I am glad to know that you people have finally learned to understand how it feels to want something so badly, and to not be able to get it, even though it could so effortlessly be given to you by the one who has it. Finally, we're on the same page.

If you turn me down, the Book of Charlie will come off the table and will never return to it again, ever; not ever. And, as you might well expect, I will turn it up to 11.

Rest assured that I really have taken it easy on the M.E.'s office so far in this space. I have had to take into account the sensitivities of my family members and friends who read it. That can change...

You all think it over. You can have what you want. But what you desire has great value to me, to Joyce, and to the public in whose name this has all been done. My asking price is high, and is not negotiable.

As for non-disparagement and non-contact agreements on my part, sure, that's no problem, Thom. Write it up. Send it to Charlie's mom's attorney. Get it over with...

Or get ready for another long, hot summer.

pH 4.24.17


NEXT WEEK: "Barbecue Kai Chicken"

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

More Random Notes from a Declared War

It has been suggested to me that I should take advantage of this amazing digital platform, this Internet, and monetize the story of my nephew Charlie. It would only take a few clicks to do it; Ma Google makes it easy.

And that is tempting.

But I don't want money.


David Ferris wants money. In that lawsuit, the honorable Judge Robert Jonker has seen enough of the paperwork dump. He responded to flurries of motions by setting a hearing date (May 25th) to put a stop to the Whack-a-Mole game being played by the defendants, M.E. Joyce deJong among them, in this important civil rights case.


The charity founded in memory of Charlie Wolf is thriving. We have connected with Random Acts of Flowers, Meals on Wheels, Meijer, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 98, 107.7 WRKR, Midwest Business Exchange, Domino's Pizza, River City Foods and so many others, some of whom we will never get to meet.

We are uplifted by the people of our community.


Charlie had a birthday party, literally, every year of his life. And he'll have another one this year, too, at the end of May. He would be turning 14. We'll have family over, some friends, some neighborhood kids. We'll do the same fun stuff the kid would want to be doing: Fireworks, lawn darts, target shooting with air guns. Water balloons. Running around, yelling, playing in the yard where he died.

Sorry. Too much? I agree. It was already more than bad enough, irreparably bad... Then my own County, embodied by the Medical Examiner's office and its employed denizens, came along and made it all the worse. They blackened the legacy of a harmless, helpless little child, convicted him of a crime with no thought to due process, humanity or anything else.

If you live in Kalamazoo County, you can expect to be treated in exactly the same fashion. That's the real Kalamazoo promise.


Still wondering why my nephew was left laying in the yard after 25 minutes of fruitless resuscitation attempts, with an ambulance sitting there, and an Emergency Room just five miles away, where a real doctor could have handled the matter.

Still wondering also why no KDPS detectives arrived until after 10:00 pm that night, two hours after the 911 call was placed - wondering, because a certain police captain, a particular police chief and an unnamed mayor won't tell us.

They actually had the temerity to say we were wrong about that, until a video was posted on YouTube of a dash-cam that picked up officers saying, "Where are they?" at 9:57 pm. Then they stopped saying anything.

But I'm sure WMed felt like they were being protected and served.


Oh, and a belated congratulatory nod to former compliance officer Tom Zavitz, who retired from WMed in mid-February... On to the next trough, I suppose. He is all done here.

pH 4.19.17