Friday, April 17, 2015

Suicide Rate Alarming for U.S. Veterans

A neighbor of mine is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. We were talking recently and he told me a story that has stayed with me. He was back from Afghanistan and was at a military base here in the states. He and a friend had just walked through a check point when suddenly there was a bright flash of light and the sound of a loud concussive shot. He and his friend turned and looked behind them to discover that the soldier who had just let them pass through the check point had shot and killed himself.

Recently the United Stated Department of  Veteran Affairs released a study that  analyzed data regarding veterans and suicide rates between 1999 and 2010. The study found that 22 U.S. veterans were committing suicide each day which equals a veteran suicide in this country every 65 minutes. No matter how you feel about the recent wars this is a horrifically tragic number.

If you are a veteran who is struggling emotionally or if you know a veteran who is struggling there is help. There is a veterans crisis line you can call anytime. The number for the veterans crisis hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Jeff Brown


Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Once again we have what police are calling a homicide in Ypsilanti and no confirmation of a suspect in custody connected to the murder. On March 26, Gary Schneider was found dead in his Charles Street home not far from Ypsilanti's Depot Town section. Unfortunately this scenario is all too familiar to the city. A unsolved murder with no definite suspects reminds one of the Julia Niswender case. As most folks in the local area know, Eastern Michigan University student Julia Niswender was found dead from a apparent homicide in her apartment in 2012. Her case remains unsolved with very little information given to the community about the murder case.

In the latest homicide Schneider was found by police dead in his house on the floor. According to police statements to Fox News Detroit the victim was killed by a "cutting instrument". According to Fox News Detroit later that day a man was arrested in nearby Prospect Park. According to reports the man who was arrested had "mental issues." Further, it was not clear that the man who was arrested was connected to the Charles Street murder. Very puzzling.

As in the Niswender homicide I am once again wondering why there is little or no information about the Charles Street murder of Gary Schneider? Is there a unknown killer out there? Do police have any leads or suspects in the case? Should people in the community be concerned for their safety?

Once again there has been an apparent homicide in the city and little information given to the public. The Charles Street murder remains a mystery.

Jeff Brown

Saturday, April 4, 2015


I was on the phone recently with a buddy of mine I grew up with in Flint. My buddy Tom, who by the way is a contributor to PWP, asked me to meet him and and a friend of his at this used bookstore in Detroit called John K. King Used & Rare Books. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of the bookstore I knew the place was great! It was more than great, it was FANTASTIC!

This store has four floors of rare and used books from any genre you can think of. Are you a Beatles freak like me? If you are you will find yourself immersed in Beatles bliss. You will find book after book after book on the boys! From poetry, sports, mysteries, classical literature and religion it is all here! I could spend five straight days there. No kidding!

I also have to say how friendly, warm and welcoming the staff is at John King. These are qualities that should never be underestimated.

After hours of browsing top off the afternoon with lunch at the fabulous Mudgie's Deli a couple blocks away! You can't go wrong. Shame on me for not discovering John K. King Used & Rare Books sooner!

Jeff Brown


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cynthia Lennon Dies at Age 75

As a tremendous Beatles fan and of course, John Lennon fan, I was surprised and sad to learn that Cynthia Lennon died today. I always felt bad for Cynthia and can imagine that her life being John Lennon's wife from 1962 to 1968 must have been just as difficult as it was exciting. 1962 to 68 were peak years for the boys so her life must have been a mix pure madness and incredible joy and excitement.

Although I have always been a fan of Johns second wife, Yoko Ono, and often find myself defending her art it must have been a nightmare for Cynthia to come home to the house she shared with John Lennon in England and find him in bed with Yoko.

One gets the sense that Cynthia spent her six years of marriage to John trying to keep up with him and the rest of the Beatles. The story of how John along with George, Paul and Ringo took off on a train bound for  India to study with the Maharishi while an out of breath Cynthia made a unsuccessful mad dash for the train is, well, heart breaking. Still, from what I gather on her son Julian's website she led a fulfilling and fascinating life.

Cynthia wrote two books, one of which I read. She wrote, "A Twist of Lennon" in 1978 and, "John" in 2005. I found, "A Twist Of Lennon" to be engaging and thoughtfully written.

Cynthia died in Mallorca, Spain. She was 75.

Jeff Brown


Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I am sad to say that Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin announced her resignation today according to the Eastern Michigan University website. According to EMU her resignation will take effect July 7th. Susan Martin has served as President of the University since 2008.

According to EMU Dr. Martin will take a year sabbatical before becoming a professor in the EMU School of Accounting.

As a proud EMU alum I am a big fan of hers and feel she has a done a terrific job serving as president of the university. I also know that the students absolutely love her. I am glad that she will remain at the university as a full professor.

Stay tuned for more information regarding her resignation

Jeff Brown

Editor PWP

PWP MUSIC BEAT! New Ringo Starr album out today!

Good old Ringo. As soon as a new Ringo album is released I buy it! Today, March 31, Ringo has a new album that has been released. The album is titled Postcards From Paradise and it is his 18th studio album release. Eleven of the new songs are written by Ringo.

I have always loved Ringo and have all of his solo albums! Brighten up a dreary March day in Michigan and buy the latest Ringo album. Look for his new album in stores today!

Jeff Brown

Thursday, March 26, 2015

M-Step Standardized Test Is Step In Wrong Direction

I've never been a fan of standardized testing in schools. I didn't like it as a student, a teacher or as a parent. Recently, the MEAP test has been replaced by another standardized test called M-STEP. Schools will be implementing M-STEP this spring. There is a growing number of parents in Michigan who are opposed to students taking the M-STEP test and I'm one of those parents. I love what Michigan teacher of the year Melody Arabo had to say recently to Mlive. "Some students don't do well on standardized tests because they don't have standardized minds".

Standardized tests like MEAP and M-STEP stress the hell out of kids. I know this because they stress out my cheerful and enthusiastic ten year old son. I also hear from other parents that their kids get stressed out by these kinds of standardized tests.

In my opinion all kids and adults for that matter learn differently and in their own unique way. As Stuart Smalley said on SNL, "And that's okay." Some do well on standardized tests and some like myself do not. But that's beside the point.

The point is why this obsession on the part of the Republican Michigan Legislature with standardized testing? It comes down to the national mandate of No Child Left Behind. The act requires that 95% of students in school be assessed through some form of standardized testing. If states don't meet this requirement schools in the state will lose funding for the next year. Wow. What a punitive educational system we have in this country. But that is for another article. No wonder everyone from kids to parents to teachers are so stressed out in this country. Everywhere you look there are scare tactics and looming punishments coming down from above, particularity for under appreciated teachers.

There is too much stress on kids. Look. I'm just glad I was a kid back in the late sixties and seventies. Standardized testing only leads to more stress for kids who are already stressed out half of the time. At the ripe old age of 51, I have young kids who are in elementary school. When I compare my children's lives to the the life I led as a kid, holy mackerel! There is no comparison. Today kids' lives are filled with pre-planned, organized activities all week long. And then there are play dates. Ugh! I can't stand the term! My gosh, even hanging out with their friends is pre-planned and mico-managed by adults. Bring into the mix standardized testing and you have one big recipe for miserable, over scheduled and stressed out kids. Let's abolish standardized testing for students. Too much pressure. I'm glad I'm not a kid today.

Jeff Brown



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Amnesty International organizes March In NYC For Police Accountability

I was glad to learn yesterday that Amnesty International organized a march in New York City demanding police accountability. Marchers crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and were inspired by the recent deaths of Eric Garner, Akai Gurley and and Shereese Francis. All of whom lived in New York.

I did not personally see any national news coverage of the important and necessary event and wanted to pass it along.

Jeff Brown


Monday, March 23, 2015

Demonstrators In My Hometown Of Flint Protest City's Water

Members of the community organized a demonstration in downtown Flint Sunday protesting the city's water. The demonstration coincided with United Nations Water day. This according to a Flint Journal article posted Sunday. Protesters gathered by Flint City Hall and marched to the Flint River several blocks away.

I know that for months residents of Flint have been up in arms over the quality of the city's water supply and rightfully so. During recent months there have been many demonstrations protesting the quality of the cities water.

Here is a quote from Flint resident Andre White.  Andre was a classmate of mine back in Junior high school in Flint. Here is a quote from Andre, I corresponded with Andre Sunday night." GM left, and those of us who stayed here, survived that. Now we're getting water from our own back yard and being charged five times what Detroit charged us." Andre perfectly summed up the entire debacle and speaks for many.

As stated in The Flint Journal there is an organization in Flint called "Water You Fighting For". Check them out on facebook. I will. Stay tuned for updates on the matter.

Jeff Brown

Editor in Chief

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Three University of Michigan Spoiled Brats Charged After Weekend of Mayhem At Treetops Ski Resort

Three members of the University of Michigan fraternity Alpha Sigma Mu were charged with vandalizing the hell out of the lovely Treetops Ski Resort in Gaylord, Michigan in January. The students, members of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, were involved in what can only be described as a weekend not only reeking of alcohol, but of mass destruction, vandalism and general mayhem! It is obvious that other fraternity members were involved in the mayhem but so far only three members have been charged.

Geezle pete and holy moly! What to make of all this?! Aren't University of Michigan students supposed to be the cream of the crop?! I mean me with my measly 2. something high school GPA at Flint Central I didn't have a chance in hell of getting into the mighty University of Michigan! Not that that bothered me much. I hate to sound like an old curmudgeon but what is going on with young folks these days? Is this behavior a trend confined only to fraternity culture? Are college students in general more prone to this kind drunken destructiveness these days? Is this drunken destructiveness common at campus fraternities, or for that matter, sororities? Or maybe what we are witnessing is the behavior of a handful of privileged, rich, white spoiled brats. Yep, that's probably it.

Jeff Brown

Editor in Chief

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Purple Walrus Press Is Back And Ready For Action!

Purple Walrus Press is back and as founder, Editor in Chief,  article writer, and all that jazz, I'm excited! So why after a few years of Purple Walrus Press did I decide to cease operations at the end of 2014? Well, it is as they say, complicated. Oh, but who cares! The main thing is that after four months of no PWP I  decided that I missed having a publication. I mean, I started to realize that having my own publication was really cool! I mean I had access to some really cool stuff! Plus having Purple Walrus Press just sounded really cool! I got free press passes to incredible concerts and theater productions and was also able to meet and interact with wonderful people, even famous people! See what I mean! But seriously, I did miss having Purple Walrus Press and am very happy to be back.

Purple Walrus Press shed light on many important issues locally as well as nationally. I am particularly proud of PWP coverage of the botched Ypsilanti/Willow Run school merger. The merger was not only handled poorly, but many teachers suffered severe consequences.

Look at PWP as news with a view. We will attempt to cover and/or bring a different perspective to news on a local, national and international level. There will still be music and theater reviews as well, just like before. Plus, there will be all kinds of other articles and opinions! PWP is deeply interested in human rights and social justice issues. Also, look for up-coming columns and features from contributing writers, Tom (Joe Bad) Rose and artist Mike Mcateer.

We are glad to be back and hope that you are glad too!

Jeff Brown

Editor in Chief

Purple Walrus Press