Saturday, September 1, 2012


I began writing this blog post in 2010 or 2011. Unfortunately, I didn't finish it and the crescendo of the story has disappeared from my memory banks. I do not know the source of the quoted text below, and I no longer have a complete photo of the painting. My friend ultimately gave the painting back to his former wife, according to the grapevine....

What a magical day of discovery that day was...

A friend of mine bought a painting for $15.00 at an auction quite some years ago. At one point, his wife at the time asked a neighbor, who was having a yard sale, to get rid of it. Heck, she was about to throw it away.

The painting did not sell at the yard sale. It was "just another painting," done on cardboard. My friend told his wife that he wanted the painting, and not to throw it away. The big, brown eyes reminded him of his daughter... so he kept it.

As the years went by, my friend occasionally conducted research, which unveiled to my friend that the artist was extremely well known, but not as an artist. The signature on the piece is "Muvlini" (or so). This is the name used by Benito Mussolini: a schoolteacher, journalist, fascist leader, artist.

In 2001, it came to light that Mussolini married his first wife, Ida Dalser, in 1914. The following year, she gave birth to a boy, Benito Albino, who Mussolini accepted as his own. When he came to power in the years that followed, his wife and the boy became an embarrassment. Mussolini had Ida arrested and committed to an asylum, and Benito was adopted by a former fascist politician from Ida's home town.*

My friend was quite certain that the painting was of a girl, possibly a mistress. I, too, was certain that the beautiful girl in the painting was, indeed, a girl. Pondering the idea of maybe finding a buyer for the painting, we searched for further info about it, and lo and behold, the painting was of a boy...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Deep End In Sea (Avoid this corrupt room. oops. Court room)

Sound it out!

Deeeep Ennnnnnd Innnnnnn Seeeeaaaa.....

Still don't get it? Say it out loud.


I'll heavily elaborate on this one in my blog later. But I'll share the brainstorm baby thoughts here, as I consider you my friends and trust you won't swipe my brilliant idea. If you are easily offended, you should "unfriend" me, because my friends are not easily offended. (Note the key word in that sentence.)

This just really pisses me off.

If you find yourself as a party in the Dependency Courtroom, you are really in the "DEEP END IN SEA."...where you are more likely to sink than swim. If you swim, you'll still be eaten by one of those great, white, scary creatures with all the sharp teeth.

The Sonoma County Superior Court really does consider itself to be above the law. Here's just one example from the Local Rules applicable to Juvenile Dependency Cases relating to privacy issues:


(J-1) This rule addresses the exchange of information between Family Court Services,

Probation Department, Department of Human Services, Case Management Council,and the Court Investigator in juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, child

custody, conservatorship, guardianship, and criminal proceedings. The disclosure

of information concerning children and their parents by any of these agencies is

generally prohibited by law. Nevertheless, a limited exchange of information about

children or parents between these agencies in certain circumstances will serve the

best interests of the child who is before the court. The court hereby finds that the

best interests of children and victims appearing in court, the public interest in

avoiding duplication of effort by the courts and by the investigative agencies

serving the juvenile and family courts and the value of having relevant information

gathered by a court agency outweighs the confidentiality interests reflected in Penal

Code sections 11167 and 11167.5 and W&I sections 827 and 10850 et seq., Family

Code sections 1818, and Probate Code section1513, and therefore good cause exists

for this rule.*

*The bold italics at the end are my doing so you would closely read it.

Care to mess around with the structure of the sentence?

(Thank you, Mr. Ehlers, my ninth grade English teacher, for teaching me how to dissect sentences so I can analyze the hell out of them, resulting in a better understanding of what is really going on and ultimately just really pissing me off.)

(BECAUSE, even though I exercise my right to tell the world, I only get three minutes in which to do it, dammit, and did I make any difference whatsoever????? Nevermind.)

The law relating to confidentiality as written in the following codes should not be followed by the Sonoma Superior Court:

Penal Code (sections 11167 and 11167.5)


the Welfare and Institutions Code (sections 827 and 10850+whatever follows the first subdivision of that section)


the Family Code (section 1818)


the Probate Code (section 1513).

Wow. That's a lot of code.

Why, I ask, would any government want to take that much law and toss it? Oh.

Because good cause exists.

Ok. Wow.

What is this "good cause," I wonder. Oh. According to our policy makers, it's in everyone's best interest. That wonderful, vague term upon which so many of our unbiased judges rely.

My opinion is that the legal definition of "best interest" needs to be refined.*

Thanks for stopping by and reading...I could go on for days, but I have other things to distract me from fundamental, important things which effect my rights. More later, of that, I'm sure.

*Thank you, CAM, for saving me from grammatical suicide, as evidenced above by the two simple words: to and be!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rocket Science?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand media bias and glam… or whatever else it takes to get recognition (as a reporter, author, writer, or whatever else)… seriously affects what we learn as a society.

Personal experience has taught me that newspaper journalists have a tendency to trump up the truth and embellish the story, even blatantly make up details out of thin air, or simply omit relevant but boring details just to make the story “good.”

Scientific discoveries are sometimes enough to make “official” history lessons (like those taught in school) become “reinvented.”  This seemingly “de-educates” anyone who has already graduated high school.

These little thoughts of mine are small time. If I can think of these simple examples of twisted truths, imagine how twisted what we believe to be the truth really is.  Our own government is notorious for undermining the truth, or straight covering up its dirty deeds by building over the evidence, for fear of disillusioning its faithful  citizens. They have even transferred questionable projects to other “departments,” undoubtedly to mask the embarrassing truth with socially acceptable words… Green! Restoration! Agriculture! (Oh good, now can we drink the  water?!)

That’s just too much for one person to take on. I will stick to those little, small time thoughts of mine. Recently, I learned that all the credit for a particular rocket launch project in the 80’s went to the funding father, not the team of brains… An expensive moment of glory for the guy with the money; and simply a moment of glory for the guys who designed and built it. Priorities, priorities!

Those leaders by passion seem too humble to pursue recognition; they take pride in their triumphs quietly within. Those driven by desire  seem to do anything they can to gain that recognition, even if due credit is sacrificed.

Well folks, no ONE man can put a rocket into space. It takes a team of brilliant, driven individuals, whether you like it or not. It takes a guy with a lot of money to pay for the parts, whether I like it or not.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Big Word.

Chew on this one for a while.

re·spon·si·ble  /rɪˈspɒnsəbəl/ Show Spelled[ri-spon-suh-buhl] Show IPA
1. answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management (often fol. by to or for ): He is responsible to the president for his decisions.
2. involving accountability or responsibility: a responsible position.
3. chargeable with being the author, cause, or occasion of something (usually fol. by for ): Termites were responsible for the damage.
4. having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable; capable of rational thought or action: The defendant is not responsible for his actions.
5. able to discharge obligations or pay debts.
6. reliable or dependable, as in meeting debts, conducting business dealings, etc.
7. (of a government, member of a government, government agency, or the like) answerable to or serving at the discretion of an elected legislature or the electorate.


re·spon·si·ble (rĭ-spŏn'sə-bəl)
adj. 1.Liable to be required to give account, as of one's actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.

2.Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority: a responsible position within the firm.

3.Being a source or cause.

4.Able to make moral or rational decisions on one's own and therefore answerable for one's behavior.

5.Able to be trusted or depended upon; reliable.

6.Based on or characterized by good judgment or sound thinking: responsible journalism.

7.Having the means to pay debts or fulfill obligations.

8.Required to render account; answerable: The cabinet is responsible to the parliament.

Legal Dictionary

Main Entry: re·spon·si·ble
Function: adjective
1 a : liable to be called on to answer b : liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent c : liable to legal review or in case of fault to penalties
2 : characterized by trustworthiness, integrity, and requisite abilities and resources responsible bidder>
3 : able to choose for oneself between right and wrong
4 : marked by or involving accountability responsible office> —re·spon·si·bil·i·ty noun —re·spon·si·ble·ness noun —re·spon·si·bly adverb Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Presto kings roll the permanent test for moving steel signals.

I love MSPaint.

This is conceptualized professionally on Exit Stage Left, and if you have ever seen Rush live, particularly in the last 9 years, you may find it reminiscent of the Time Warp ending of the live show. When I see them live, I get a little sad when the Time Warp part is in progress, knowing that very show could be the last time I ever see them. Every year, we hear rumours about this being their last one. Every time. It's slightly stressful, but certainly enhances the joy of the next tour!

I have seen Rush over 70 times, but I don't consider myself a groupie. When they tour, it basically guarantees a road trip with my big brother. And truly, "the point of the journey is not to arrive." Some of my life's best experiences are those surrounding Rush tours. I can't help but laugh at myself about it, and thinking, "gaawwd, what a dork!" Yep. No question. Strange and obsessive as it sounds, I have learned that the most cherished treasures in my life are those that can not be taken. Ever. No matter what. It turns out, incidentally, that these treasures are intangible, except to me.


I can hear Rush whenever I want. I can see them whenever I want. I can summon the memories which spark excitement whenever I want.

Truly, the whole Rush experience of my life goes extremely deep. I don't feel a need to explain, because anyone reading this has his or her own understanding of what I mean, and plus, it's fun to try to put words to feelings. A triumph to convey the core of a feeling in a way that can be understood in no way except for how it is meant.


I like that those who have known me associate the memory of me as being "a total Rush fan." "Oh yeah, she was a nut over that band, Rush!" "Yeah, man, what was wrong with her, anyway?"

Whether we know or don't know the words, the artist, or the names of the songs, we all have a soundtrack to life.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

saving gracie

saving gracie
Originally uploaded by rushgal
Gracie was on death row. Scheduled for termination April 30th. With a little help from Yoda, I managed to fanagle her out of jail. She somehow knows I am key player with respect to her very life. I really don't have accomodations for a dog right now, but I do have a place for her. A huge one in my heart. Pretty mushy stuff. She makes my Chevy truck complete. I love Gracie.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Elkin's Family Law Task Force Address

Good Morning, my name is Cheri Bartow, and I've been a family law paralegal for the better part of the last 7 years and a party in a high conflict custody proceeding in Sonoma County since 2002. Thank you for listening to the public opinion, it's obvious you have truly been listening.

I have reviewed hundreds of recommendations prepared by Family Court Services mediators. It is currently unclear whether serving as an FCS mediator is considered the practice of psychology. Those holding a position which greatly effects the lives of children should be held to greater standards than is currently required. To qualify as a mediator in Sonoma County, it is required to be proficient in Microsoft Office programs, and desired, not required, to have a state license as an LCSW, MFT, or Clinical Psychologist. In my opinion, mediators are practicing psychology and should hold appropriate credentials, and be held accountable.

Family Code Section 3163 holds the local court responsible for responding to requests to change mediators. The code should be statewide and very clear as to how a party can go about expressing a grievance regarding the mediator. In the Psychological Experts in Divorce Actions by Ackerman & Kane, there is a section about complaints submitted to various licensing boards by litigants in family law proceedings. This speaks loudly to the fact that there is not a clear way for litigants to have their grievances addressed, and the only logical way to deal with it is to go to the licensing boards.

Family Code Section 3161 states the purposes of mediation as being to reduce acrimony, develop agreements, and effect settlement. Standards must be set to accomodate situations where those purposes are not reached. The California Rules of Court, 5.210 (d) requires each court to ensure a series of rules regarding mediation, but there is no enforcement. So the law can state that all these guidelines are to be followed, but my question is this: "OR WHAT?" Means of enforcement are not available to seek recourse; and if they are, I haven't been able to put my finger on what can be done about it. Because the Court holds that all mediators they employ are qualified and unbiased, the Court assumes there should never be a reason to change mediators.

The Court places so much weight on the recommendations submitted by mediators, that it is virtually impossible for litigants to exercise their right to due process and opportunity to be heard. Mediation is the beginning and the end of due process. In cases where an agreement is not reached, mediators should not be able to make recommendations to the court, since where no agreement has been reached, neither has the purpose of mediation been attained in accordance with the Family Code.

------------End Three Minute Time Limit--------------------

Recommendations, at the very least, should be limited when an agreement is not reached and there should be very strict guidelines as to what the recommendation can include. Drastic changes to custody arrangements should not be allowed, for example, on the basis of mere accusations and absent of foundational evidence or probable cause.

90 minutes is not sufficient to determine what is in the best interest of a child. It may be enough time to effect settlement and develop agreements, but in no way should a child's life be effected by merely 90 minutes of a nerve racking, emotional meeting with a person who is not fully informed of ALL the relevant facts, and possibly not qualified.

To be a mediator is to be a psychologist. Let's only employ properly credentialed psychologists, verify those credentials, and find a place in the law for accountability. In doing so, we will be that much closer to materializing our Constitutional Rights.