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May 11, 2007

Channeling My Sons

It was hard to sleep last night.  A torrent of wind battered our little pink doll house that stands on stilts…at the beach…on St. George Island nestled next to the normally gentle Gulf of Mexico.  The beach house swayed throughout the night as near gale force winds pummeled it and sometimes made us question whether we were adrift in the Gulf rather than overlooking it.

We woke this morning to the crashing of surf, a sound one doesn’t expect of the usually serene Gulf.  A sound that is more common to the Outer Banks of North Carolina particularly as a storm blows in from the Atlantic sending it’s minions of waves to assault the beach. But today…here on the Panhandle of Florida …the “forgotten coast” the Gulf seemed to boil as strong southern gusts whipped the surf into a frenzy. 

We set our beach chairs just out of harms way and for a while contemplated the scene before us…a cloudless sky of azure blue, the wind in our faces and the six foot waves lashing the sand at our feet. We both agreed that this was a day that Josh and Dave would have loved, a day that appealed to the risk taker in both of them, a day when they would have grabbed their “boogie” boards, cast caution to the wind and dived head first into the waves.  They would swim out a ways and then turn back to shore hoping to catch that “perfect” wave, one they could ride all the way in.  Most of the time however they would get overwhelmed by the surf and tumble out of control caught between the crest of the wave and the pull of the undertow sending their boards tumbling after them.  But each time the waves washed them ashore the promise of that “perfect” ride called them back and they would plunge again and again into the surf.

….I brought Josh and Dave’s boogie board with me this trip and this morning it was my turn to challenge the surf and be the risk taker for a while.  So for the next hour I channeled my sons.  And even though I was bruised, battered and scraped at the end of the day…for a little while we were all together again riding the waves.

May 11, 2007 at 10:29 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2007

Google Alerts, The Web and Inhalants

A few years ago my good friend Harvey Wiess of the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition explained to me how I could set up something called a "Google Alert" to constantly monitor the web for stories or information posted to the web on any subject or keyword.  Shortly after that conversation I created my first Alert with the single word "Inhalant" mostly because I was curious to see how often the word would appear in some news story on the web and in doing so would provide me with some indication, no matter how unscientific, of the prevelence of the problem.

In the three years since my establishing my Google Alert for the word "Inhalants" the number of notifications I have recieved from the alert is five times what it was when I began with my recieving on average 10 notifications a week. 

Other distrubing Web artifacts on inhalants can be found by doing simple Web seaches on variations of the inhalant "theme".  Inputing the following word strings produces the following number of hits for webpages that contain that string:

Huffing can Kill.....179,000

Inhalant deaths.....246,000

Inhalant Abuse.....315,000

Huffing Deaths.....314,000

Sudden Sniffing Death....341,000

Dusting Deaths.....814,000

Huffing.....865,000

I have heard it said that the web has become ground zero for today's and future cultural wars and unless one gets swept up with it....one will surely be swept aside. Some think the Web is a faceless, nameless abyss where good kids get bad ideas.  But for parents whose kids are caught up in the disease of addiction the Web can be a much needed source of information about substance abuse.  If you have found your way to this blog and this post...linger but please don't stop here.  Arm yourself with all the information you can.  Ask questions and reach out to others who have been down this path before.  You are not alone and thanks to the Web you never have to feel that you are alone again.

May 10, 2007 at 02:16 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack