## 11/10/2013

### 5th Annual ALPCA Garden State Meet

I am writing this entry in  two parts the first part is the report I sent to the ALPCA discussion list where I described how the meet went. The second part is an observation of the lunch that followed at Charlie Blood's

Respectfully Submitted
Justin Mattes ALPCA#6748
ALPCA Garden State Region

## 10/18/2013

Yesterday I composed an entry about the passing of Joe Higgins, a former  fire chief and the OEM Coordinator for Woodcliff Lake. Let me step back and reflect on the past few days. I learned of Joe's passing via e-mail from Herb Kuehlke the current OEM Coordinator and Joe's friend for over forty years. Even though I knew Joe was sick, and the news wasn't a shock, I immediately hopped on my scooter and drove to Fuscos where George confirmed Joe had passed away Friday night. One of the things I vividly remember George saying was Joe passed away at home, surrounded  by his family. For some reason I felt the same way  as I did when my grandparents passed, after a long battle, he finally won the war. Joe was in Heaven now doing was he always did looked oout for those he cared about.
That evening I heard the announcement over the radio, it had finally sunk in. Being the popular fellow Joe was, Spearings Funeral held a wake both Tuesday and  yesterday with the mass today. My mother kindly suggested the wake might be too much and I  should just go to the mass. I kept my word but did a driveby yesterday in Park Ridge, kind of my way of saying goodbye. Of course I was spotted by everyone and even talked to Mike, his son who I went to school with, but kept my promise, I didn't go into the funeral home. I wanted to but I knew if I tried something might happen. I also knew i f I got dressed up yesterday it would have tipped my folks off.
This morning I awoke, took a shower and got ready. Since mom had a doctor's appointment she dropped me off at the church. I knew she wondered if I would be alright, but when she saw Mayor and Mrs Kettler (who happened to be my former CCD  Teacher) it made us both feel better. I accompanied the Kettlers into the church and sat down. From my seat I could see trucks from Woodcliff Lake, Montvale and Saddle River parked in the other lot. Soon the service began, Joe's brother Peter gave the perfect tribute.
After the service I stood in the doorway and watched as they loaded the casket onto the back of Montvale's antique engine. Just then Bruce, one of the ex-chiefs, gently tapped me on the shoulder. In a soft but authoritative voice he just said "Follow me". I wanted to tell him my folks  were expecting my call, but let him escort me to Engine 72 where the ex-chiefs were waiting. I didn't resist when Bruce helped me get into the engine. Nothing much was said when we drove from the church. Even less was said when we drove firehouse to the cemetery in Mahwah. Nothing needed to be said. Although I did manage to update my Facebook status so I could have proof this wasn't a daydream
I got home and went for my usual sandwich at Fusco's. Part of me was sad I lost another friend. Another part of me was grateful the chiefs knew how much Joe meant to me and that's why they did it. I thought about Joe, he was smiling down on me. RIP my friend

## 10/13/2013

### Passing of Joseph A Higgins, Jr. KC2LCX

This is the e-mail I sent out to the bcraces Yahoogroup about Joe Higgins. I don't want to repeat myself but I will say I will always remember Joe for his radio knowledge and his dedicate to OEM and the fire department.

It is with deep regret I announce the passing of Joseph A. Higgins, Jr., KC2LCX, the former OEM Coordinator and former Fire Chief of Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Joe died early  Saturday morning after a long illness. Besides being a fire chief and OEM coordinator, he was a former chief of New Jersey Search and Rescue as well as an active member of New Jersey Elder Law Association and taught religious classes at Our Lady Mother of the Church here in Woodcliff Lake. His wife Josephine is active in the Tri-Boro Ambulance Corps. and is a former Councilwoman and  Mayor of Woodcliff Lake. On a personal note, Joe was not only a mentor, but a true friend whom I've known for over twenty-five years. I went to school with his son Michael. You always knew Joe was coming down the road by his white Jeep with antennas sticking out all over. In 2000 he appointed me Woodcliff Lake's first RACES Officer and I've had the pleasure of serving with him. I will always remember the conversations we had while driving to NJEMA dinners in Spotswood and conferences in Atlantic City.
Justin Mattes,KC2GIK
Woodcliff Lake RACES Officer

## 10/02/2013

### World CP Day

I have  noticed that a lot of the previous posts have stayed "drafts" for one reason or another but I feel this will be completed in one sitting, mainly because it is World CP Day. Although October is CP Awareness Month, yes we share it with Cancer Awareness Month. I have been reading CP blogs and posts this morning, especially Love That Max where Elen Seidman doesa wonderful job describing what it's like raising a son with CP. Man I have grinned and nodded more times while reading about Max's life than I'll ever admit on here. I sometimes find myself commenting "Wait until Max gets older...." Then I had a thought.
Those loyal readers remember when I did the Diversity Day up at the Branchville School in Connecticut where I talked to kids about it's like living with CP. I always wanted to do more of that but never really pursued it, although it  has crossed my mind from time to time

World CP Day raises awareness about people living with Cerebral Palsy but it also highlight peoples accomplishments like RJ Mitte of Breaking Bad. While there have been plenty of actors who have portrayed people with CP like Bill Porter in Door to Doonr and Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot RJ is the real deal., I also like how the writers wrote his part. Even though it's obvious he has CP in the show, he used crutches, it wasn't overplayed, very subtle.  I really hope I see him in other shows and movies.

Unlike the other "Awareness Days" (Cancer, AIDS, Diabetes, etc.) I feel more focus should be on prevention rather than cures,like highlighting medical malpractice, etc. A "cure" is fine and who knows what they'll come up with now that stem cell research is becoming more feasible by the day. However I constantly remind -people Cerebral Palsy isn't a disease. You can't "catch" it. People are "survivors", they learn how to cope and  that's about it

So I take moment in the day to both remember what I have accomplished in my life and what goals I need to set for myself

## 8/27/2013

### "Nice sense of irony"

As I have previously said in this blogs my folks have bought a house in Cape May back in April and we have been going own there every now and then, but the house is now under c onstruction (more on that in another post). While searching for things to do, I found they sponsor movies on the beach every Thursday night. Unfortunately I only am finding out about this now while I';m back north, although I did catch the Fourth of July  Fireworks early this summer. Upon closer inspection, the movies  are really family oriented l ike Sherk  and Princess Diaries however tonight is the biggest night of the series, the movie  I think the enitre town waits for every year, the grand fiinale, JAWS!! Yes I think  it's extremely wise to show this movie at the ENDS of the season rather than the beginning for very obvious reasons. I would usually  dismiss such an event listed on the Internet,let alone event I can't attend, but it's just so perfect.  It';s one o f the manythings I love about Cape May!!

## 7/19/2013

### Pulling off Pearl River

Now normally  a 2.3 mile trip is nothing to write home (or on here) a bout but last night  was definitely a travel worth nting. It seems the Cornerstone has lost a bit of its luster over the past year, the crew which I have affectionately called my drinkiong buddies have moved north of the border./ Now actually even though it's closer to my  house Westwood Taxi charge $25 without tip where as a trip to the Cornerstone is$15 with tip, so it is only on special occasions I go up there.

Last night I had it in me I wanted to try something different. Maybe it was a little reward for getting back in the pool in over a month or writing a baby poem, though I still have three l=eft to write, so much for celebration.  Thoughts of the past few weeks flash through my  mind and I think it could have been I just needed a little more action the Cornerstone had to offer on a Thursday night. When the taxi dropped me off at the Cornerstone instead of going into the bar I walked across the street looked at the automated ticket machine and put my ATM card in and within seconds I had a one way ticket from Hillsdale to Pearl River.  I walked into the Cornerstone with a sense of accomplishment, yeah it's not something I'd brag about be hey. The bar was just about empty, as it has been on a Thursday night during the summer. I knew I made the right decision. I set  the alarm on my phone so I wouldn't miss the train.  Oone of the regulars offered to drive me up there, after all it IS ONLY 2.3 miles, but I declined, this was MY TRIP MY ADVENTURE.

The time of my departure was drawing near so I closed my tab  at the  Cornerstone and started for the  door. I asked the friend who offered to drive me up to get me on the train, he agreed and we made our way back across the street to the train station. The train pulled up and I boarded to find guys in suits looking like  they had a long day at the office.. I texted Dave who- was already up there with the crew. Even though I did a taxi up there a few times, even the train once, this felt different. It was spur of the moment, I didn't have everything set in stone. Thoughts flashed through my head, what if everyone had decided this was going to be one of those nights they  turned in early. Dave could walkk home at anytime. I sat down and heard the announcement, "Next stop Woodcliff Lake." then before I knew it Park  Ridge and Montvale flashed by, finally Pearl River came blaring over the train's PA system. The coonductor looked at me and said ok and ,helped me down  the stairs. nI carefully walked down the road and into the Horse and Jockey with a sense of accomplishment I hadn't felt in quite awhile. I wouldn't make a habit of it, although now that I did it once on St Patrick's Day and now last night, it's nice to know the option is there if I choose to u0se it

Last night wasn't about drinking or even searching for a girl, although I met one at the Horse and Jockey. It was a reassertion of sorts.  The previous day I had a fall then a scare with the scooter on the same day, ndefinitely needed to build up my confidence again. I think that's why I texted Dave I knew even before I left the house I would wind up in Pearl River!!!

## 7/16/2013

### I wasn't there

It's funny how many people aree decrying the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, or should I say sad? I have been reading al l the postings about the trial, wa tched some of it myself on TV and heard th e wannabe lawyers annd prosecutors want a crack at  George Zimmerman. I have also glimsed at the pathetic tweets by all these "civil rights activitist" nsaying Zimmerman got away with murder, did he really? I really think that sunk their case against. Well that and that fact they overplayed thei hand but saying his actions were motivated by Trayvon Martin's skin color. Well wh en your house and your neighbor's houses were robbed by  people don't  you think you would be a bit more on edge? I al so am disappointed that people said George Zimmerman "profiled" Trayvon Martin and that's why  he followed him.
I believe Trayvon Martin started beating on  George Zimmerman just based on the fact  if George Zimmerman had any brains he would know starting a scuffle with a young black man wouldn't be a greaat idea. People have made a big deal about Zimmerman followin[g Martin, I really don 't think that 's a  h uge threat. I get followed sometimes and I just keep an eye on people, I don't stalk them. I think Tayvon was scared, of George Zimmerman, I can't say I blame him.Then why didn't Martin run away instead of confront Zimmerman? People might sa  y well Martin's dead and Zimmerman's alive, but I have no doubts George Zimmerman feared for his life. Plus the pictures backup this theory.
There are a few disturbing things that I feel the black people who wanted George Zimmerman to go  to jail fur murder. First of all there was a fight, it really doesn't matter who staarted or what happene to  start it there was  indeed a physical altercation. I highly doubt if Trayvon tried to  escape George Zimmerman would have fol lowed him again. I have no doubts if Trayvon pushed Zimmerman and ran Zimmerman would have followed. People keep saying if Zimmerman listened to th e police dispatchers advice none of this would have h appened. To that I say I wasn't there, I don't know.There a re too many what ifS
Natural instici is "flight or fight" BOTH George Zimmerman AND Trayvon Martin stood their ground, let's not forget that fact. George Zimmerman w asn't running after Trayvon Martin, he was fol lowing him, Trayvo n turned around and with those continous blows  (as admitted into evidence) gave George Zimmerman the justification to shoot him. Trayvon Martin wasn't shot in the back, he was shot as he was leaning over George Zimmerman. That is  threatenig ennough for me!!

## 6/13/2013

### I wish FDR were President in 2013

If you have seen movies like The American President  as well as other programs or read nin books, you know that Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken  with Polio and therefor in a wheelchair for most of his life. However because television wasn't a mainstream item back in FDR's day only a handful of  people knew about his disaBility. They didn't have the ADA back then, the White House became the first accessible government building because FDR needed to get around and there are pictures of him at the desk in the Oval Office with his legs covered so the public wouldn't see the b races. He did everything he could to hide his disability because unfortunately, it was a sign of weakness. Even todday I believe being a person of color, while is isn't still isn't easy in this day in age, pales in compared to having a physical, mental or emotional disability.
When Barack Obama was nominated back in 2008 there were many on the left who accused MOST of the right of being racist. The right didn't want a black president, even th ough the current REPUBLICAN administration (Bush) had just as many, if not more blacks in high positions than the previous DEMOCRAT administration (Clinton). Did Ms Rice and Mr  Powell face the "racism" Mr Obama is facing, YES. It's was just muffled by thee media whereas with Obama's case it's amplified. According to Chris Matthews, the guy that gets the "chill up his leg" everytime Obama speaks, every critique of Obama, every less than glowing comment about him Chris Matthew says is racist and Matthews isn't the only one. I could list plenty of people who have said it in the past five and a half years
Now I read about FDR and yes his DID indeed hide his disability, it was easier because television was in it's infancy and sincde the Polio didn't affect his speech, those fireside chats were just the thing he need to  connect with the country and the world.
FDR being in a wheelchair came up again a few years ago when the unveiled the FDR Memorial in 1997 in Washington DC. There was an outrage by people with disability that the monument didn't depict FDR in his wheel
We heavily celebrated America's first black president, I hope if FDR ran, and won, today we would celebratre the fact he had a disability.,

## 5/13/2013

### Go to hell Dr. Gosnell

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/jury-finds-kermit-gosnell-guilty-first-degree-murder-191903698.html

This kind of stuff does make me sick in all kids of ways. First of all the Hippocratic oath taken by all doctors is "First do n o harm", Gosnell abused women and killed their children. He's disgusting and should rot in a cold dark cell that's after  he is beaten within an inch of his li fe. I am usually am for the death penalty but I feel it would be to easy a punishment for this monster.  If there were any real justice he would contract some illness and instead of doctors helping him, they let Gosnell suffer for a very very long time! I would give him just enough medical attention to keep him  alive, barely for years. Or I would snip HIS SPINE although the only downside he c-couldn't feel anything else so that's out of the question.

This is one of the few flaws I see in the "cruel and unusual punishment statues".  I truly believe there should be exceptions to that rule, you know for the really horrible people. There's no doubt what he did, his defense was absolutely pathetic and if I were him,  I would have just plead guilty and faced my punishment like a man..Oh I forgot he's an OB-GYN

Something that is equally disturbing is the pro-choice folks are accusing the pro-life movement to chop away at the rights of women. It's not that simple. Abortions will NEVER become illegal, it would cause another civil  or women's rights movement that  would dwarf those of the fifties and sixties, I think people need to keep that in mind when those pro-choice people start claiming this is the end of abortions. It also won't do the pro-choice cause any favors if they deny this is an isolated incident, we all know it's not, it's very  rare, but it happens. Also no matter how the pro-life movement sp ins this case, it's a losing issue for the pro-choice movement.

It also should be noted that Democrats are traditionally the ones looking o ut for patient rights.  Those babies were born ALIVE, that was the crux of the entire case. So patients rights advocates really need to put their views on abortions aside and view this really as malicious acts of medical malpractice as you can ever define. I would hope my fellow patient rights advocates stay true to the cause.

## 5/07/2013

### Honesty is in fact brutal

I again got scolded again  on the ALPCA e-mail listserv and was given a "last warning". What horrible thing came off my keyboard? What was so shock so despicable that one more "objectable comment" will make me banned? I simply \inform another member  his problems were not unique and nobody cares. Now I have recieved plenty of harsh  truths in life, some stung a bit more than others. Did I like them? NO! Did I always see the advice people were trying to give? Of course not. However I have never accused people of being insensitive.
It started when a fellow member who runs a few meets in North Carolina complained aabout low attendance and other problems.
To make matters worse I have been  asked nicely to apologize. Usually I bite the bullet and admit I was wrong but even the people who objected to my post didn't object to  the idea, just the way  it was  presented. This seems to be a reoccurance in my writing, it doesn't matter if it's an e-mail or an article my tone seems to be always off. Which annoys me because  usaully I feel some of my best work are written when I'm emotional.
I had a little bit to drink when I composed this e-mail

Richard

The Garden State Regions first meet was held at the Tice Community Center here in W*oodcliff Lake  and it was only because I am on the OEM in town and lead the folks in charge to believe it was an OEM function. Our second was at a Knights of Columbus which we pulled off last minute because we h ad troubles getting Tice Center, this broke  our budget and we're were lacking in fundes. The Third was my grnadmother's church, which again proved to have its own set of problems. Point being we DIDN;T moan everytime we had a problem, we pushed thro ugh it
Basically Richard you got absolutely NOTHING on the Garden State in terms of overcoming "problems"! You could basically have EVERYTHING go wrong in a meet and still not face the troubles the Garden State Region has gone through and STILL hold a meet. When I read your "complaints" I literally want to throw up. Seriously be a man and face fact CCC ain't whaat it used to be. Get over it and move on.
Heck I'd trade "problems" in a heartbeat. You run a meet in Jersey then we'll talk.............until then quit making like having one less problem is going to make a big difference, nobody cares

## 2/24/2013

### Uptown Girl vs Thriller

I'm  a big fan of Billy Joel, ever since I got into music at a young age, he is my favorite artist. Notice I didn't say singers, although I get a chill up my spine when certain songs of his come on the radio. I joined a fan group on Facebook dedicated to Billy Joel, not just his music, but his life, some news clips and other stuff.
Like any other Facebook Page with hundreds even thousands of people all aroound the world. There's a debate trending on whether "Uptown Girl" should have topped Michael Jackson's Thriller at the Grammy's for best song. As much as I like "Uptown Girl" and respect Billy Joel Michael Jackso n's "Thriller" did more for Mr. Jackson's career than "Uptown Girl" did for Mr. Joel's career. Also remember I am a poet and a writer who has studied both songs not just as musical composiitions, but as poems, which is basically what a song is without the instrumental components.  Below is the post I added to the debate

"I am as a big a Billy fan as the next person on here and would never say anything negative, but you have to be kidding me! Thriller is one of Michael Jackson's most iconic songs even though I like Uptown Girl it wouldn't be in my top Billy Joel songs!! I think this separates the folks who love Billy Joel's music and folks who idolize Billy Joel. Ok we all know ten Billy Joel songs and if you're a general music buff you should KNOW ten Michael Jackson songs (I said KNOW NOT LIKE). Can anyone with a straight face compare Thriller with Uptown Girl?"

## 2/12/2013

### Dissecting the State of the Union

In honor if President Obama's first State of  the Union of his second term in office I decided t o do something new as part of  this blog. I wanted to highlight some of the lines that caught my ear and a few reactions from others on Twitter. My commentary appears below the line. Also it should be mentioned that some of the folks in the gallery were wear green ribbons in remembrance of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.
First I have to point  out not  one word was spoken about the mess in Bengazi which was my biggest disappointment. We haven't had an attack on an embassy in years and I would think if the President wants to quite his critics on a particular matter, he need to confront the issue, even if he spins it.

Obama: "Let’s set party interests aside and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments"

The problem with this line is there weren't any "wreck less" cuts in the first place. Democrats whine about the rich getting tax cuts, this has always been a false starter. The "rich" need to grow a pair and just say \"We don't want our taxes wasted" Government waste is rampant and I'm not talking about needed social programs or enforcement of safety regulations, I'm talking about Congressional perks and even the Congressional salaries. Obama didn't acknowledge that the go vernment DOES have a spending problem!!

Obama: "Tonight, I propose a "Fix-It-First" program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country."

One of the things people realize is moving forward requires us to  study ou\r past, not dwell but study. The a rguements for slowing down government's investments in new green technologies can be made simply be saying, "We need to fixing what we have first". Getting off fossil fuels should be  a goals of ours. We must strive to reach this goal  without rushing towards it.

Obama:"Tonight, I'm announcing a new challenge to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.

Obama".....because what makes you a man isn't the ability to conceive a child; it's having the courage to raise one."

Even Rick Santorum applauded this line: "Good line Mr. President on fathers! Thank you". Something that needs to be kept in mind though is sex education, like energy, needs to be an "all of the above" approach. Those preaching abstinence and  nothing else really don't have a clue. I pictured what a  Santorum State  of ,,the Union would be like, "no sex until your married. Oh by the way since I'm against gay marriage gay people are forbidden to have sex" Yeah right in your d reams. A positive about gay relationships is you  don't need to  worry about pregnancy. I also continue to struggle with believing gay ma rriage is the next biggest  civil rights issue. We need to encourage young people to be responsible.

Below the excerpt of  Obama's speech  is a quote tweeted by the Center of Justice and Democracy, a patients rights group I have lobbied with down in Washington  DC. They picked out the following quote and reacted to it. This is the only reference to medical malpractice, which is very disappointing.

We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive."

## 2/04/2013

### Super Superbowl

Even though I was rooting for t he 49ers, stroke of luck had it I got a chunk of the pool for the second year in a row. My trip  to the ,Cornerstone this week is covered and then some. This year my folks decided to host a Super Bowl party instead of visiting family or friends. At first I was looking to go  out eithrer to a friend's house or down to the Cornerstone however when  money for a pool started changing hands I decided to stick aro und, and I'm glad I did. Not only did I win part of the house poll  I was witness \to some antics I shall not repeat on this blog but suffice to say there wasn't a dull moment befoore, during or after the game.

Everybody agreed the commercials were not up to par with one exception, the Budweiser clidsdales commercial was I viewed online prior to the festivities. I was extremely disappointed I didn't see  actually it on TV during the actual game. The  commercial stars a newborn horse which grows a bond  with the farmer. The farmer reluctantly gives   the grown horse to Bud and doe sn't see it for a few years. When he finds out nthe horse is going to be back in town he decides to go visit the steed. It was a tearful reunion set  to the Fleetwood Mac song "Landslide" which made it even more emotional. I  just looked it up on Yahoo and their critique is Superbowl commercials are supposed to make you laugh, not cry. Alt hough Budweiser pulled a similar stunt for the 2002 Superbowl

The biggest goof was definitely the power outage at the Superdome, looks like it wasn't too "super". The conspiracy theories flew around the Internet. Every theory from terrorism to underhanded tactics by both sides was being tosse around more than the football. The commentators were  having just as much fun keeping the TV viewers entertained as they were calling the plays on the frield.

Finally I would like to tip my hat to the Harbaugh brothers. Sure this NFL brotherly rivalary has been the centerpiece of the entire game, but from where I can see both John and his younger brother Jim coached the game with class and dignity.Congrats to the Baltimore Ravens for an amazing win

## 1/07/2013

### Time needs to stand still---Part I

When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions.

Claudius, Act IV, scene v

Within a 38 hour timeframe I went from axnious to overwelming happy to disappointed back to happy back to axnious now back to disappointed. People wonder why I don't like roller coasters well maybe it's because I have the emotional one too many times.

Justin Mattes

Two  quotes, a very famours one from Shakespeare's Hamlet the other my Facebook status update written yesterday. It's actually the first thing I wrote since calling Sean a "fucking hyenia" fo r him laughing at mt dispair. I promised myself I wouldn't rehash this story over and over again but here I am anyway. It all started with an invite to a party in the city, which intself is a big deal, something about going into the city is a big deal.  Added to the fact I got this idea in my head it was time I stopped going to  these events solo, or  becoming the third, fifth or seventh wheel. So what did I do? With myy friends encouragement and then pressuring I decided to ask   this girl to accompany me to t he party.  The rest of the night I was dropping hints to each one of the bar tenders that I wanted to ask this very simple question. It was liiike a poll to figure out if I was making a complete fool of myself instead of just a small one. From then on every time one of the bartenders  swooped by, they gave me a look accompanied by two words "ASK HER!"

Finally one of the bartenders offered a stern, but much needed ultimatium, either I ask her out or h e's going to do it for me.  He then went to her and simply looked at me, she then looked at me and proceeded to walk over to my side of the bar. Of course I have the absolute worst pokerface in the world but even the smoothest of card players couldn't hide the emotions I was feeling. I started to ask the question but of course the bar was too loud as always so I motioned her to follow me outside. Of course that was the  exact moment this same bartender  HAD to go smoke. I tried to stand as straight up as I could and just asked her. She casually said yeah I'll go with you!! He wasn't near us but when we walked back inside he noticed the biggest smile on my  face!! As I took my she at the bar, she then walk back to her friends and just smiled. That was it, so I thought.  To Be Continued........