Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

2015 in review

January 1, 2016

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Click here to see the complete report.


2014 in review

January 2, 2015

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 520 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Brief History of My Line of Hasketts (with Info on My Great Grandfather’s Siblings)

May 20, 2014

My wife has been researching her genealogy for years, meeting relatives and learning family history. I had been interested in mine too, but waited too long until everyone who could answer questions had been long gone. I had access to a brief direct male line leading back to 18th century Tipperary, a remembered family legend concerning Haskett’s serving under Cromwell (with the source tape missing and the person who recorded it, my namesake Great Grandfather’s youngest sister, gone these past twenty years), and not much more. Searches online and through’s paid membership resources came up fruitless.

I knew my Great Grandfather had a twin brother named Gladwyn. For years I knew nothing about him, whether he married and had a family, if the Haskett’s I was tracking down in Kelowna and Penticton, British Columbia, were descendants of his (they weren’t.) All I was able to find online was the date of his death and the location of his grave.

When my wife and I found ourselves vacationing in the Canadian Okanagan last Summer we made a stop at Lakeview Cemetery in Penticton. We located Gladwyn’s grave and found an adjacent grave for a Helen Ruth Slater. We didn’t know the name, but we took pictures of the beautiful location and my wife shared the story on her genealogy blog. Within two weeks of posting we were contacted by Gladwyn’s grandniece, Jennifer, who by sheer coincidence happened to do a websearch and found Tammy’s post.

We learned that Helen was Gladwyn’s daughter, and we were given names of his other descendants. After years of always hitting a brick wall I was finally getting somewhere. Between my parents and I we made contact with various shirttail cousins and have finally started to learn some family history.

When Jennifer my Second Cousin Once-Removed contacted us she shared some typewritten notes her Grandmother had put together. With her permission I’m sharing the first family history I’ve been able to get my hands on.

[This space will show the family photo of George and Minnie Haskett, with their 8 children, whenever I get it scanned]


WILLIAM MILFORD HASKETT was born in County Tipperary, Ireland. He came to Canada with his wife and small family in 1818. They settled in the heavily forested 5th Concession of London Township. There he built a small log house using canvas for windows and doors, and their immigrant trunks for barriers against wolves, bears and nocturnal wildlife that sniffed around for food.

In the early days Wm. Haskett walked to Toronto to earn money as a painter to support his young family. In time he was able to purchase a horse to ride to Toronto. This early Haskett and his family were industrious!! Eventually Wm. secured farms for each of his 4 sons. His 2 daughters also married farmers. His own retirement home was built on his son Nelson’s farm. It was said that he continued to be a great walker until the year of his death at the age of 91 years.

His children were Eliza (married to John Geary 1833), John, Thomas (married Hannah Talbot 1833), ROBERT (married to Priscilla Martin 1839), Nelson and Mary Ann.

ROBERT HASKETT and his wife, PRISCILLA MARTIN HASKETT had 5 children –Mary Jane (married G. Caning?), Eliza (married Myles Young), GEORGE MARTIN (married MARY JANE ‘MINNIE’ RORKE), William (married Annie Douglas), Frances (spinster).

GEORGE MARTIN HASKETT left school at an early age to drive the coach from London to Owen Sound. Eventually he moved to Owen Sound where he served an apprenticeship with a hardware merchant. In 1865 with his brother William he started a hardware business in the village of Markdale. Along with his activity in the business field George also served the community as a director in the Agriculture Society, as a village councillor and later as Reeve of the township. He did not marry until 1886 when he was in his mid-forties. His bride, Minnie Rorke was 27. With the success of his hardware business, George was able to have a large comfortable home built for his bride. She called their home ‘Sunny-home’. George and Minnie raised a family of 8 children which included 2 sets of twins. Their names were George Chester, William Mcfarland, Merwyn Young, Gladwyn Washington, Harold Rorke, Kendall Richardson, Laura Kathleen, Constance Amelia Sadie.

George was seriously ill (skin cancer?) in 1912 and died in 1912. [hand corrected from 1913.] He and Minnie had been married for 28 years.

MINNIE continued to live in the Markdale home with Kathleen, Ken and Connie until 1916 when she sold both the hardware block and Sunny-home. During the next 8 years she lived in Simcoe, Toronto and Brockville with family members. In 1924 she travelled to Western Canada and bought 2 adjoining bungalows in Vancouver. There she created her ‘little grey home in the west’ a home of the heart for Chester, Glady and her grandchildren Helen and Billy



With the outbreak of World War 2 Minnie sold her Vancouver property and moved to Penticton to live with Glady and his children. In 1943 health problems (glaucoma) dictated that she move back to Eastern Canada. She found a warm welcome in Toronto in Chester’s home, and good medical care arranged by Ken, and extra support from Kathleen and Bill and their families. She died in Chester’s home in August 1946.


MERNIE was the first to leave Markdale when he travelled to Brownlee, Saskatchewan to work for his father’s friend, George Butchart, in 1913. In Saskatchewan Mernie married Alyce Maguire, teacher, and daughter of an American family who owned 3 hotels in Saskatchewan. When ‘local option’* was passed, the Maguire family moved to Olympia, Washington. Mernie and Alyce also moved to Olympia about 1925 and established a permanent home there, and a successful fuel business.

BILLY and KEN were trained as jewellers and watch-makers first in Markdale, later in Toronto. In time both moved on to successful careers in optometry.

CHESTER and GLADY worked in Northern Ontario and British Columbia in the accounting and bookkeeping services of construction companies engaged in road building and elevators.

HARRY died suddenly (peritonitis) shortly after beginning studies at the University of Toronto in 1914.

GLADY and KEN served overseas in World War 1. Glady suffered severe leg injuries at Vimy Ridge. Ken returned to civilian life a marked ‘hearing loss’.

KATHLEEN attended Business College in Owen Sound and then worked in the Markdale Agricultural Office. She married the local Ag. Rep. and together they farmed happily in the Simcoe area.

CONNIE graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1918. After obtaining a teacher’s certificate from the University of Toronto in 1919, she travelled west to teach in Neepawa Manitoba. She married a merchant in 1928 and lived in Neepawa for the rest of her life.

‘Local Option’ — I think this had something to do with the selling of liquor during the years when Prohibition was determined by certain governments, provincially or federally.


Thank You to Jennifer Kerr Williams for making contact and providing me with this history.

The Liar in Charge of KAOS 89.3fm Olympia Community Radio

May 15, 2014

[UPDATED: Screen captures of the emails added 5/16/2014]

This is my personal blog. I post on it very sporadically. It doesn’t have a very far reach, I estimate less than twenty people, all of them someone I’m at least personally acquainted with, read it. Odds are not in my favor that anything I share will go viral and reach millions.

So some might question the point of having a blog, and more specific question the point of sharing grievances. It won’t change minds, it won’t reach decision makers and people in power.

No. But what it does do is give people a chance to share their voice. And maybe someone, somewhere, will be directed via a well-placed tag and read this.

For Nineteen years my wife has been involved with community radio. For over a dozen years she has hosted a weekly show, The Think Tank, on KAOS 89.3fm, owned licensed and broadcast at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. For almost nine of those years I have co-hosted the show with her. We had a loyal audience and received positive weekly feedback from our listeners.

In 2014 Operations Manager Ruth Brownstein became Interim General Manager on her predecessor’s retirement. That April my wife and I were informed via email (and later via certified letter) that we were being suspended for 30 days – ostensibly due to not getting pre-approval for being out of town on our Anniversary during the biannual membership drive. During the 30 days it became apparent there was more to what was going on. We became aware that Ruth Brownstein was making us pay for grievances she never shared with us, and was running roughshod with her new power trying to convert the station – a bastion of independent and under-represented music for most of its 41 year existence – into a mainstream station represented by malleable programmers she trained herself.

To tell the whole story will take awhile, and in the online world would be met with tl;dr

So for this post I want to focus on one specific thing. In her early correspondence with us at the beginning of our suspension, Ruth Brownstein contradicted herself at times, and made claims against us that turned out to be false.

This willingness of Ruth Brownstein to be a liar dealing in falsehood came completely to life, unshrouded and unfogged, in our meeting at Evergreen that spelled the end of 19 years of community broadcast volunteering for my wife.

The meeting – which included Andy Corn, the assistant director for the Student Activities Board – was already contentious when Ruth halted things and brought up an incident from 2009.

One morning that year I was scheduled to perform an Emergency Alert System (EAS) test. I flubbed it. I had believed I was supposed to do something else (I had thought I was supposed to be waiting for a ticker tape to print out – something which was a common occurrence and which we would initial and tape to the official log.)

When I realized something was wrong I immediately emailed Ruth:

EAS didn’t arrive‏

Hi Ruth –

The Think Tank was scheduled to receive an EAS today but in never came in. It still hadn’t arrived by the time Old Ship of Zion took over.



The next morning she let me know how I had messed up:

Re: EAS didn’t arrive‏

From: brownstr (
Sent: Mon 9/21/09 10:43 AM
Cc: Drummond, Jerry (; Ford, John (

Merwyn— the only EAS that ‘arrives’ is the monthly EAS which is sent to us and then we resend it out. The red EAS on the log indicates that you are to send a weekly test. It originates at KAOS and is sent by the operator on duty here. We are by law required to do this each week. There are times like this when I really think it would be great if you would sign up and actually DO the training sessions- I realize you were kind of ‘fast tracked’ onto the airwaves but there are some obvious gaps in your knowledge and I would be happy to have you take the training so you know all you need to! Let me know if this is feasible or if you would like some 1:1 training~ we can arrange that too. I will have Anch send one today- so we will stay in compliance. Thanks for being honest and upfront about this I sure appreciate that! ~rb

Ruth M. Brownstein
Training & Operations Manager
KAOS 89.3 FM Olympia Community Radio
2700 Evergreen Pkwy. NW
Olympia, WA. 98505


So far nothing wrong with anything. I messed up, while Ruth Brownstein offered to give me a more thorough training. It’s true I had been “fast tracked” by previous Operations Manager Donna DiBianco (with General Manager Jerry Drummond’s approval.) I had watched videos, studied printouts, and tested with Donna multiple times. I was presented a certificate showing I had completed training. (Later, I would receive my 5-Year Certificate, which was signed by Ruth Brownstein herself.)

Fast-Forward back to today’s meeting (had it been a trial I’d be able to mention the kangaroos.)

Ruth Brownstein brought up the incident from 2009 – an incident which she hadn’t seen fit to bring up in the following five years – and claimed that my response was a refusal to accept further training.

I said that wasn’t true, Ruth Brownstein insisted it was. I told her she was mixing me up with a former programmer and mutual antagonist, a Mr. A. Jones, but she insisted I refused training. I asked for the email proof that I refused training – Ruth “triumphantly” presented the printout of my first email to her. I told her that didn’t show me refusing training, but she insisted that was the case.

I had no laptop or other wireless device to pull up my old emails. I told Ruth Brownstein and Andy Corn that if an email showing me refusing training could be produced I’d eat my foot. But until then I was calling bullshit.

The meeting didn’t last much longer.

Once back at a computer I was able to pull my old emails and found what I had really replied to Ruth Brownstein with:

Whoops, disregard my last reply [Ruth Brownstein’s first response was merely a copy of my first email with no message, and I had told her her reply hadn’t come through.]

And whoops again – yes, I would LOVE some more complete training – I had been told before that things like this were in the manual, and I thought that was what I was following.




Does that sound like I was refusing training, insisting that I didn’t need to learn anything? Does that sound like I wasn’t accepting responsibility for a serious flub? Does that sound anything but cooperative?

I forwarded that original reply to Ruth, Andy, and Student Activities Director Tom Mercado, pointing out that Ruth Brownstein’s credibility was lacking after this. I’ve no doubt that the knowledge won’t make any difference to that clique.

Come to think of it, as Operations Manager Ruth would have had authority to remove me from the air in 2009 for “refusing training.” Had I really done that, why did she let it go for half a decade?

Nineteen years for Tammy, a dozen years at KAOS, and almost ten years for me, ended abruptly in no small part to a vile woman’s lies. So much for the Social Contract that everyone working at The Evergreen State College must abide by.

I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

March 4, 2014

So here’s something I haven’t done before. I’m inviting you to visit my church this Sunday.

NOW WAIT – don’t assume anything. I’m not looking to convert, indoctrinate, judge, or con anyone, nor am I looking to take advantage of someone at their weakest. I’m not trying to get 10% of your money for our coffers. Personally it’s all the same to me whether you’re Christian or not. I get a gold star to put on my Pee Chee for every visitor I invite.

We’re a community that supports each other. We include the Left and the Right. Believers and Non-Believers. Saints and Sinners. Still, I understand why many of you might not be too keen on stopping by this Sunday.

But I already go to church.

That’s great. Maybe someday I’ll visit yours too. As far as we’re concerned ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I’m not Lutheran.

Doesn’t matter, we have regulars who don’t consider themselves Lutheran per se. ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I’m not even Christian.

Doesn’t matter. Whether you’re Jewish, Mormon, Hindu, Jehovah’s Witness or even if you’re going to throw the Flying Spaghetti Monster at me ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I’m Wiccan. I’m a witch.

Doesn’t matter. You won’t burn our building down, and we’re not going to throw you on the bonfire out back. ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I’m an Atheist. I think you’re a bit mental if you believe in that flying zombie.

Doesn’t matter. We have regulars who don’t believe in God. (And in case you’re wondering, no I’m not talking about me.) Their reasons for attending every week are various, but it’s all the same because ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I’m gay.

That’s nice. Are you married? Got a partner? Do you have kids? Invite the family to come with you. ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I’m an alcoholic/addict.

That’s alright. Grape juice is an option during Communion (and unlike with the Catholics, ALL ARE WELCOME to take Communion.)

But I’m an unwed mother.

That’s alright. Bring the kid(s). ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I have an infant who might fuss and/or a toddler who might melt down.

You’re not alone. And you ARE WELCOME.

But if you only knew what my life was like, you’d blow me off as just some sinner.

That’s nothing special. We’re all sinners here. We’re also all saints here. In other words, I’d say we’re normal, like you. ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I’m a Satanist! What now?

I’m sorry to hear that. None the less, ALL ARE WELCOME.

But all I have are jeans and t-shirts.

We don’t have a dress code. I wear white socks with black shoes and black pants. Some members don’t even tuck their shirt in. ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I work on Sunday Mornings.

That bites. Our Pastor should understand, she never gets Sunday off. If our membership improves we might have a later service, or an earlier service, or maybe even a service on a different day of the week. To help us reach that day, ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I’m ill. It’s a true physical ordeal for me to leave my house.

I’m sharing our contact info at the end of this. Reach out to us, we’ll bring the Church to you. ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I don’t even like you, jerk. And you definitely don’t like me.

Perhaps the Pastor will have to keep us separated but nevertheless ALL ARE WELCOME.

But I don’t even live near Olympia. I’m hundreds or even thousands of miles away. I’m even across the ocean from you.

This invite is open in perpetuity. Whenever you just happen to be in the neighborhood remember that ALL ARE WELCOME.

My church is Gull Harbor Lutheran at 4610 Boston Harbor Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98506.

Their business number is (360) 352-5335.

Their webpage is located here.

And our FB page can be found here.

Services are Sunday at 10:00. The Communion bread is gluten free (Seriously, Jesus isn’t going to aggravate your celiac disease in this church.)