Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon Random Thoughts

  • --If you're going to try to kill yourself, don't do it in a way that will take out people that you've never met before, such as driving the wrong way down the highway.  And if your car's been involved in a minor accident on a highway, do everything you can to stop that minor accident from becoming a major accident. Get your hazard lights on immediately. Get the vehicle well off the road. Don't stand in traffic or between vehicles if you're on the side of the road. Recognize that just because you can see the cars, they don't necessarily see you.
  • --I wonder if that guy Brooks is going to be regretful of giving a full interview to the Fort Worth Star Telegram later, once lawyers are involved. I hope not; he's a victim in this.
  • --Active gunwriter and retired Texas lawman Jim Wilson (a longtime friend of my father's) was collecting input from people's experiences with full-length guide rods, to include in a piece that he was writing for Shooting Illustrated's blog.  I sent him a link to my thoughts on the subject, written... can it be three years ago, now?!? I think he'd pretty much finished his post before he saw my post, though. :)
  • --Speaking of gun stuff, I've yet to ask my .32-obsessed friend if she's played with any of the new Buffalo Bore .327 Federal loads, yet. Given the sectional density and the velocity, that load actually has some promise. Sadly, most don't seem to appreciate this interesting concept, writing it off as "just another .32."
  • --I wonder if the pressures are low enough for a 6-shot airweight J-frame in .327 Federal? There's room enough for 6 rounds of .32 H&R Mag, but I wonder if the chamber walls are too thin at the .327 pressures? Increasing your capacity by 20% would certainly create a viable argument for the round. Come to think of it, I'd be in the market. Carry with the .327 rounds in it, shoot matches with .32 S&W Longs in it. Carry in my existing J Frame holsters.
  • --I just got off the phone with a DA who, along with me, cannot understand what would be going through the mind of a person who would take a solid DWI case to court, when there's good video of the infractions leading to the stop, good video of the roadside investigation, and a warrant issued for the driver's blood, with high BAC results. Generally, the rule is, "If she bleeds, she pleads."If I were such a driver, I'd be afraid of a year in jail, in a jury trial.  You just never know.
  • --Due to a portable greenhouse that my wife erected over a garden plot in our yard, we've got good-sized tomatoes ripening on the vine, despite a couple of hard frosts that we've had here. We just brought in the squash and okra and zucchini that was outside of the greenhouse. Their time is done.
  • --My daughter has a rabbit, now, for FFA. As it is a "show rabbit," it came with a lineage printed out. Don't think that didn't cost me.
  • --Until the outside hutch is built, the rabbit is in an indoor cage, with a slide-out tray with kitty litter in it. This is in direct violation of the "no litter boxes in my house" rule. That hutch needs to go up, in a hurry.
  • --If you're keeping track at home, that means that the G household now has: Three chickens scratching (only one laying), two cats a-lounging, one rabbit pooping, and a five year-old goldfish named Alice.
  • --I just got fitted yesterday for bunker gear, and now have a shiny new pager. We'll see how this goes.
  • --I went to a class yesterday put on by a prosecutor on juvenile legal procedure. I wish all such in-service classes were as genuinely useful to my job as this one was.
  • --I also wish that haters of the criminal justice system could have seen that room full of professional men and women of various corners of the CJS, who all were trying to get it right, rather than just to get the conviction. The prosecutors talked a lot about fairness, and giving the juvenile offenders their due rights, and the cops nodded to that, a lot. But the stereotype persists, of the cop who cares about nothing more than the arrest and the prosecutor who cares about nothing more than the conviction. I don't think that I saw anything out of the ordinary, but it's not talked about a lot.
  • --I watched the live-action version of my childhood favorite cartoon Star Blazers on YouTube the other night. When I first had heard of the Japanese live-action movie Space Battleship Yamato, I was excited. They have no plans of making an American version, and are contractually forbidden from dubbing it into English. So subtitles in English are as good as you'll get. Derek Wildstar Susumu Kodai is cast as darker than the American take of the cartoon. Nova Yuki Mori is at the same time less the token female (she's a fighter pilot), and more so (she's predictably Kodai's love interest) in this version. There's some cheesey stuff going on there. For all that, I liked it, and my wife caught me walking around humming or even singing the old theme to Star Blazers, which was used throughout this movie.  (The music, not the words. And Steven Tyler of Aerosmith did the closing theme. Odd.)

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mobs

  • --Any large group of people can become a mob. The difference between a crowd and a mob is how unruly they are. Mobs actually can be celebratory, and some people are strangely drawn toward happy mobs. But not all mobs are angry or happy-- some are just persons simultaneously focused on a goal. There's a reason that schools conduct fire drills; if you don't put order to an evacuation (that crowd's goal), then even a bunch of kids can become a mob, and people get hurt or die.
  • --The masses of shoppers flocking on store deals? They arrive as individuals, but often become a mob, if there's not some sense of order imposed.  Despite some effort to control them, some people get hurt.
  • --Often a mob will then turn on those who try to control it. That makes life difficult and indeed often dangerous for those who are charged with establishing order among the mob's constituents. This has direct ramifications on the safety of individuals within the mob.
  • --To counter such situations, often the people attempting to keep order with large groups will use a show of force, to either turn the mob, or keep the group of people from becoming a mob*.
  • --Such shows of force are often criticized by:
  • A: Rabble-rousers within the mob,
  • B: People who do not know what they are talking about,
  • C: People who see an opportunity to get on the news
  • D: All of the above.
  • --When a person joins a mob, he or she temporarily loses his individuality and personal identity. As such, he or she quite often drops his or her sense of right or wrong.  Peoples in mobs will destroy, attack, and even kill without the sense of individual consequence that most people would feel, taken alone.**
  • --Some people like to take advantage of this, and utilize mobs toward their own ends. Anytime that you go to a political rally and someone starts up a chanting cheer that is taken up by the crowd, you're seeing a crowd of people giving up their individuality.  This is not to say that rallies are always (or even usually) mobs-- let's not forget that orderliness aspect of the mob.
  • --People like to join such crowds, sometimes, because it feels good to be taken in as "one of them." People say all the time of such rallies, "I liked feeling like I was a part of something."  That need drives people more than you'd think.
  • --Thus, I'm not a fan of big crowds. I'm not saying that nothing good ever happens from them. (Because something good can come from them.) But I myself tend to give them a wide berth.
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*The best way to deal with a mob is to predict where they will form, and either impose enough order that they cannot become an effective mob, or to plan to have enough people on hand to disperse them when they form.

**While working security at large events like college football games, I have often politely insisted that attendees remove masks that they have worn to such events. Some variations of these have become quite popular. My reasoning is that crowds create enough loss of individual accountability as it is, without having the second behavior modifyer of a mask thrown in, too. Wish to wear a mask?  Not a problem-- just do it outside, please.

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    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Take what you will from it, I guess.

    The history of our national day of giving thanks is disputed.

    It has become fashionable lately for people with (Midnight Oil's "Beds Are Burning" playing on infinite repeat) to tell us that Thanksgiving is a terrible celebration of the massacre of the trans-historic indigenous peoples of North America. There's quite the movement afoot to banish the holiday, or to reinvent it as a day of sorrow and atonement.

    Hey, if that's all you've got in your box, then I guess it's going to rattle around a bit.

    If you're an atheist, then the question arises: to whom are you giving thanks? Certainly not to God. Okay then: how about just appreciating how you got the things for which you may count among your blessings? Somebody likely helped you get there. Thank them. If you did it all by yourself, thank the person in your mirror. Saying "thank you" is polite.

    I've always liked the way that William Bradford looked at Thanksgiving: as a celebration of capitalism as a way to get through the harsh winters. It seems that before, the Plymouth Bay Colony had tried collectivism of corn, and that hadn't worked out; the hardest workers got no more than the shirkers, and they had almost starved the year before. So when they tried the concept of working for one's self, and trading for whatever was needed, the colony flourished.

    It is interesting to note that some of the colonists worked for the local Indians, planting and such, to get their seed corn. I've heard one reference to them working "as slaves" for the indigenous people, but slaves don't generally get to walk away with any profit for their labors. This was an exchange of labor for commodity. That yellow seed corn was truly their specie.

    Here at Better And Better, we try to see the optimistic side of things*. So on this day of Thanks Giving, I'm asking you all to simply see what is good in your life, and spend at least part of the day loving that.

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    *We've also been known to fail at this, on occasion.

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    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Random ThanksWednesday Thoughts.

    • --I'm halfway through my second six pack of Left Hand Brewery Milk Stout beer in as many weeks. Not only does it not suck, but it is my favorite stout, now. Yeah, it's that good. And they live up their tag line: "Dark and delicious, America's great milk stout will change your perception about what a stout can be."  I like many bitter beers, but most stouts out there can taste too sour for my preference. Not this stuff.
    • --I stayed up until past 2:00PM after a 12 hour shift last night that ended (ostensibly) at 06:00AM. Why do I do that to myself?
    • --Well, part of the reason was that I just realized that Having A Kindle Means Never Having To Delay Gratification, so when I saw yet another reference to The Guns Of The South and yet again realized that while I knew the story, I hadn't yet read it, I clicked Download, and started reading it 30 seconds later.
    • --My sergeant called me at 4:30PM to borrow a .22 LR rifle to put down a sick cat. How the hell is it that: A: Our P.D. doesn't have one, and B: A sergeant in a Texas Police Department doesn't have one? 20 minutes later he brought it back with only one round left in the 7 round magazine. I didn't ask.
    • --My brother dropped by shortly thereafter, and started digging through my refrigerator for a soft drink. All I had to offer was Topo Chico. He was unfamiliar, which was odd to me. What Texas boy, who grew up eating in taquerias, doesn't know the greenish-glassed goodness of that mineral water? I mixed him up an orange Italian soda with it.
    • --Looking at the link to Topo Chico, above, I was surprised to notice that they were advertising it in a twist-off cap plastic bottle, which admittedly was the traditionally greenish clear color.  I've only ever gotten it in the returnable lift-cap bottles that feel so cold in the hand when you're hot.
    • --The tag line that they say in their little video on the Topo Chico site is "¡Siempre cae bien!" This means something like "Always falls well," which I suppose means that it's a good pour. But I thought that I heard them say, "Simply dive in!" I've always heard that the tiny bubbles created by waterfalls create an aerated water that will not sustain buoyancy, and people have been known to drown when diving into waterfall pools. I looked it up once, curious of the myth, and found out that there's something to it. But what of carbonated beverages? They actually can lift things to the surface that don't normally float. Example? Toss a grape into a glass of champagne or fresh club soda. Bubbles form on the grape, lifting it up to the surface. At that point, the bubbles pop on the surface, and the now-unsupported grape sinks, and the cycle continues until the drink goes flat. So which is it? Would I float or sink in a vat of Topo Chico, were I to Simply Dive In? What if I dived into the pool at the bottom of a free-fall waterfall of Topo Chico?
    • --How much would that experiment cost me?
    • --I'll bet it'd really tickle to do that if you did it while skinny-dipping.
    • --Having thought that thought, I'm afraid that I can't drink anymore TC until I've verified the source of it isn't a bottling plant at the base of a heavily-used waterfall.
    • --I recently found out that a mentally-ill guy that I put in jail for an illegal weapon, just so that he could get some social services, got 37 days. A gang-banger that I arrested for Agg Assault Deadly Weapon plead it down to Deadly Conduct and got two days. That's not fair.
    • --My daughter just got a "Show Rabbit" for Ag this week. That means that, while she's out of town with her sister and my wife, I've got a rabbit. If you're keeping count, the menagerie is now: 1 gold fish, 2 cats, 3 chickens, and a black (pedigreed) rabbit.

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    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Music with Phlegmmy.

    My bride and I went to visit LawDog and Phlegmmy, and we all found ourselves cruising about in Phlegmmy's car. She had a nifty stereo in her vehicle that synched up with her SuperDooperPhone, so that we listened to her collection of music while we drove about. At one point I asked what the band was, and when she explained that it was Tones On Tail, I inquired if she had "Slender Fungus." She was shocked that I was familiar with the song, and queued it up right away.

    How could I have forgotten the only song that I have ever heard that used the sound of someone hocking up a loogey as part of the music?

    When a train passed, Phlegmmy wondered aloud something. My hearing being so bad, I didn't hear her, and asked her to repeat it. Finally, I realized that she was wondering if the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad was still in business.

    I could only give her two verses of the song* before I ran out of steam.

    I'm tickled to surprise my friends with my musical variety.

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    *Though perhaps you're a fan of the Johnny Mercer version? Or Judy Garland's version?

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    Lest we forget...

    Daniel Harless' disciplinary hearing is scheduled for December 1, 2011.
    The guy he threatened and cussed out has been cleared of wrong-doing (beyond a traffic offense), when the judge threw out the State's case against him on November 9th.

    There's still time to write the Canton, OH PD to express your disgust and concerns as to what message they're sending if they don't dismiss Officer Harless.  Remember to address it also to the IA bureau.

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    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    File that under, "Probably no longer a problem for you."

    Anthony Hardwick was bummed, because his job with one of the nation's biggest retailers required him to work on his anniversary, which happens to fall on the single biggest shopping day of the year. Because he also worked deep nights, that meant that he was going to have to sleep on Thanksgiving day.

    So he started a petition! Right on, Tony! Power to the People, babe! He's gotten 80,000 signatures to his petition entitled: "Tell Target to Save Thanksgiving,"

    But hey, it's all good. Because now:
    "Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said Hardwick is not currently scheduled to work on Thanksgiving or Black Friday."

    Or, most likely, any other day, either.

    See, despite what you may have heard, Target doesn't owe you a job, Anthony. They're trying to make their nut for the year, just like their competitors are.  And here you are, joggling their elbow, when they're trying to do that.

    While I have long been disgusted with the whole Black Friday shopping construct, I am also fiercely in favor of letting capitalists sell their wares whenever they feel like it. If you joined up to work at Target with visions of sleeping in over the long Thanksgiving weekend, sir, then I believe that you were mistaken. What did you think that the job entailed, petition-boy? Just modeling your own rendition of red over khakis on free afternoons?

    Then, too, perhaps I'm just having trouble mustering much pity for people working away from their family on holidays, because I've had to do it for so long, myself.

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    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Even dead guys can remember to Remember.

    Ambulance Driver pointed out that the newly-late William The Coroner must have pre-loaded a post into Blogger to commemorate Remembrance Day / Veteran's Day / Amistice Day.

     It popped up this morning, to the surprise of those who use blog readers. Kind of strange seeing him post, post-mortem. (Hope to see more 'dem post-mortem posts, William.*)

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    *Stop looking at me like that. The guy was a known punster. He'd have approved.

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    No need to jazz it up.

    I know that it's cute to have Corduroy Day on the day with all the vertical lines in the date.

    But maybe it's better to use today to remember warriors and wars past. That's what we set this day aside for.

    If you (like me) never took on the duty, there's certainly nothing to keep you from appreciating the securities provided by those who have done so. If you are a pacifist, then now is the time to reflect on the horror of war, and be glad that it isn't coming to your home. There's a reason for that, you know.

    I look forward to the day that we celebrate armistice, yet again.

    Until our men and women come home --and even then-- remember.

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    Monday, November 07, 2011

    Cowards all.

    If you don't do something to stop an adult from abusing children, when you have full knowledge of it? You're a coward.

    When you read the findings of fact by the grand jury investigation against former Penn State coach Gerald Sandusky, you see a pattern: Again and again and again, adults caught the guy sexually forcing himself upon young boys, and they did nothing.   In at least two of the instances listed, adult men actually personally observed the retired coach engaged in sexual assaults of a prepubescent or adolescent boy, and they walked away.  I wonder how they felt later about doing nothing to interrupt the activity?

    Some called his organization. Some talked it over with their own co-workers. Some talked to the university (where some of the actions took place).  The first case reported was from back in 1994. 

    Sandusky had started a program called The Second Mile, which took at-risk kids in. He had a lot of access to kids of that age. No one knows how many children he victimized over the years.

    If you find out that someone is being hurt, and you do nothing to stop it, then* you're a coward.

    Be better than that, please.

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    *regardless of the fact that failure to report the abuse is in itself a violation of the law...

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    Friday, November 04, 2011

    Random Friday Thoughts.

    --I would LOVE to have a news cameraman come along to video People Behaving Badly while I conduct traffic stops, like a highway patrolman in San Francisco had, recently.

    --The other night, I had a dream in which I dreamt that I shot heroin. I've never used illegal drugs in my life, and I have a particular disgust for IV drugs. In the dream, the needle was even borrowed from SumDood. The whole time, I was panicking, until I woke up, upset, panting. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was a dream. I couldn't go back to sleep for a long time.  I know that lots of y'all cross all kinds of boundaries in your dreams, and it's okay, because it's just a dream. But I don't. I may have to visit the ramifications of this Never Crossing The Line Even In A Dream" thing in another post, sometime. Days later, the shudder is real.

    --It was well below freezing when I got off duty last night at 3:00. This morning, the house was cold. Really cold. I really need to hook up the vents to the furnace so that I can run the new furnace that I installed back when I put in the new air conditioner.

    --Last night was the only night expected to freeze this coming week. We covered the tomatoes and zucchini with tarps and blankets, and turned on a light under them, and other stuff just got comforters and buckets put over them. About 90-95% of our stuff survived a pretty good frost.

    --Okay, let's see who had the better breakfast: I had a pot of fresh coffee and half a pint of Braum's Chocolate Almond ice cream. Never mind what you had; I win.

    --I took a day-long class on mobile-field reporting, on how to use our new proprietary computer system. They flew in this guy to give teach us in a class of 6. The quality of the instruction was actually really quite good, and breaks were at a minimum and lunch was short. The guy gave us full measure. I was pretty impressed. I talked to the trainer, who said that he had all kinds of technical certs that he thought that he would be using, but in fact, he uses few of them, now. He got tapped out to train one day, and it turned out that he has the gift. Knowing how doesn't necessarily mean that you can impart it efficiently to others.

    --I'm about to go purchase a bunch of fencing materials to repair my mom's fence. I had put in cattle panels in the back yard during the ridiculous heat, but now's the time to do it right, and put in posts and such. I have sworn never to sink wooden fence posts again, when I can put in steel posts into concrete. I'm about to test-dig to see if the little bit of rain that we've gotten has softened things up enough to let me hand-dig the 4 post holes. Otherwise? I'm renting the gasoline-powered auger. Call me a sissy if you want. I've done my time over a post hole digger in rocky hardpan. I'm not in prison.

    --I discovered this week that, with a skillet, a big wok, a pound and a half of good grass-fed beef cubed, some bok choy, lemon grass, coconut milk, home-grown basil, hot red peppers and peanut butter? --I'm an evil genius of a fusion Thai cuisine. There were other ingredients, but that was the basic foundation.

    --When you're at training, and realize that the speed loader in your pocket is a 6-shot one for a K-frame, and the revolver on your hip is a 5-shot J-frame, it nags at you, and makes it harder to concentrate.

    --A couple of weeks ago, I was planning on trekking over with my best friend Scott to see the Alliance Field Air Show on Sunday. The night before, it rained heavily. They cancelled the Sunday air show, because they didn't have a contengency plan for when the grass parking area got too soggy to park in.* Part of my irritation with this came from the fact that an old school chum that I've not seen in 21 years is the lead pilot of the Air Force Thunderbirds, who were to fly that day. Kind of interesting when you find out that the guy you used to make fart noises with in the lunch room is now arguably the best precision F16 pilot on the planet. Would have liked to have seen him fly, and said howdy.


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    *Interestingly, Alliance Airport is just a couple of miles south of Texas Motor Speedway, which had no events going on that day. Would have been an easy thing to have parking be diverted to TMS, and just shuttle people over to Alliance, for a small fee.

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    Thursday, November 03, 2011

    Remember when...?

    Remember when real freedom fighters didn't have to throw themselves under the 11" wheels of police scooters moving at 2 mph* to get attention, like a malingering ball player?

    Remember how, back in the early-to-mid 1960s, the folks fighting to stop oppression didn't have to invent oppressive acts? They were attacked by police with truncheons, and firehoses, and dogs, and unstopped mobs with bricks.

    Remember how they did not whine to get out of going to jail, because they felt that they were doing the right thing by going to jail?

    Remember how real protestors for freedom have really risked everything?

    Quit blocking the streets. Grown-ups have things to do. Call us when you've got something real. It's not like there's no way to do so.
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    *Seriously, in one video that I saw of one of the Occupy Wall Street incidents, the scooter was moving so slowly that I was impressed that the bike actually could stay upright.

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    In the interest of promoting manliness.

    I direct you to 1001 Rules For My Unborn Son.

    I did not write it, and I will never have a biological son.

    But I approve.

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    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    Damn.

    I first became aware of William Zeus Bligh-Glover, MD back in late 2007. He posted on my blog and on others, and started up his own, under the moniker "William The Coroner." Thy guy was laser-sharp, and a fierce proponent of civil liberty. Science was science, without regard to politics. Pathologists are the ultimate Crime Scene Investigators, and of course I found myself drawn to read this guy. He tried to give me a bubba'd-up SMLE once. Anytime that we had discussions, I found that his take on civil liberty was even more stringent than my own. How could I not like him?

    I always meant to call him. I had a case study that I wanted his professional opinion on, and meant to mail him some stuff and chat with him about it over the phone. Why didn't I?!? I guess that I thought that his time was too valuable for my prattling.

    Yesterday I started to hear in the blog community that William Zeus Bligh-Glover, MD, a.k.a. William The Coroner had passed away. I went to Breda, and she gave me the bare details that she had: he had been sick for a while, and was found on Saturday to have passed. I was stunned. He had just blogged on Friday afternoon!! The man was only 43! Friend Rabbit and I raised a glass last night to his memory last night. Euripides had a point about debts.

    When I got the confirmation today that it was true, I read his brief obituary, and learned that his family requests that any memorial gifts given in his name go to Heifer International.  Hey, if Bill was like me, he'd rather you spend the money on something worthwhile rather than flowers. So I looked up what this worthy organization is about. They have a project where they get dairy cows and chickens and goats and the like to starving people to manage and help themselves. Their motto is "We give a hand up, not a handout." I like that.

    I'm going there to donate right now.  I don't have much. But hell, I'd have at least bought the man dinner. That's worth $25, right? Can I get you all to kick in just $5 each? Make sure that it's known that you're doing it in the memory of William Zeus Bligh-Glover, MD.

    We lost a good one, this week. Make it count.

    "'We're all worm bait waiting to happen. It's what you do while you wait that matters.'” --Kinky Friedman, quoted on William The Coroner's Forensic Files.

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    EDIT: Okay, there doesn't seem to be a dedication place, though you could register your donation as coming form William Bligh-Glover, and then fill in the credit card stuff from yourself. Or just make mention on your blog or to a friend that you did this thing in his memory. BTW, though they would like you to buy a share of a heffer or a flock of ducks or trio of rabbits or a llama or whatnot, they'll also do whatever number of dollars you want to donate, to wherever the need is greatest. I trust that Bill's family chose this charity for a good reason.

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