Better And Better

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lunchtime musings

--I'm doing a background check on an applicant tomorrow (Okay-- later today). He used to be police in a town an hour and a half away. I figured that I could use some help (and a road buddy). My father (still a badge-carrying cop) will be along to help provide some perspective.

--One of my favorite days at work was when I needed a backup, and it was my dad who arrived. I don't even remember the call, but I remember him arriving. Another time, we both ran hot to assist a trooper who had an arrestee run away from him. Dad knew a backroad shortcut and arrived first, just before I did. It then rained cops for about 5 minutes before we left. It wasn't that big a deal (the arrestee was intoxicated, and had run down the interstate), but it was fun seeing the old man in his plain investigator's car and plain clothes beat all the young uniforms with lights and siren to the scene.

--I will be batching it this week. Elder daughter is at band camp, and my wife is taking the week off and driving my younger daughter down to the in-laws in Austin. Prediction: the house will be even easier to keep up alone than with all three others. I know, that's a bold statement, but I stand by it. Please don't tell my wife that I said that.

--I went to go see Batman with my old college roommate a week ago, but he stopped me down when he realized that I hadn't seen the first and second parts of this trilogy. He sat me down and we watched the second on on blue-ray DVD. I have to admit that it was pretty good drama, actually. I then borrowed his DVD of the first of the trilogy, and watched it at home. Quite good movie-watching.

--Shortly thereafter, I began seeing this image making the rounds, from The Dark Knight graphic novel of a few years back:

´╗┐But wait. Commissioner Gordon uses guns. And Batman uses projectile weapons propelled by springs and compressed air. His Batmobile uses cannon. He uses chemical weapons. He punches people in the head and blows things up. There were several times in the movies where simple, direct surgical shots by a good guy would have saved the day. So the issue is with the propulsion of projectiles by the expansion of gasses created by oxidation? (And what kind of shotgun is that? It sort of looks like a double barrel, but with a metal fore-end. And where is the third shell coming from? Are those the old British 2.5" shells, or are they the newer 2" tactical shells?)  Good movies are about escaping reality. Some anti-gun advocates are using Batman as their poster-boy, now. Uh, the guy is obsessed with bats, wears a cape and bulletproofed rubber suit, and is a DC comic superhero who was traumatized as a child. He's a movie hero; not a real one.

--My mother fixed her inoperative computer by herself. She is so irritated that she had caused the problem (she "flipped the wrong switch"), that she's having trouble seeing that she solved it herself, too. I call it a win. She's irritated about a lost hour of cussing.

--My old partner, now at a bigger agency, is being sent through police academy again. The treat everyone like young raw recruits, regardless of experience or age. Man, I'm not sure that I could put up with some of the stuff he's going through. On the up side, he's getting paid to go through a 5 month fitness program, and will come out of this in the best shape of his adult life. He's been running and doing CrossFit for months to prepare for this. I've said it before: they're getting a helluva good new guy.

--I didn't get him the dinner that I promised him, in time. I had told him that if he got hired, I would have him over for Beef Wellington. We haven't done that, yet. Maybe after.

--To those in distress: When you think back over your life, don't maunder. Yeah, you've done some things that you're not proud of. Maybe you're not quite the person that you'd hoped to be. But those things that you did, they don't have to define you, for rest of your life. Sure, own them, but don't act like you're marked for life because of them. Every day you have the opportunity to begin a new journey. For goodness' sake, don't work yourself into a frantic fit thinking about how your life is tragic. Change gears.
"My mind is in a state But all I need to do is change my paceAnd I know there's fear to face But happiness is firm in its embrace"
--We helped some people this week.
--We could have done more.
--We'll do better.

--Back to work. May peace be with you.
- - -

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Green Flags.

Cliff Pervocracy (confusingly named) puts up this excellent post on Green Flags When Meeting Someone New.

We all talk about Red Flags, but why not talk about the green ones? (Hint: the absence of a red flag does NOT automatically equal a green one.)

Very much worth the read, and re-read. 

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Back to green

A couple of weeks ago, Blogger decided to "help" me out of my old template design. I didn't bother looking for how to keep the old style. Now I have, and I've switched back.

I liked the green. It's probably the only concession that I make to having any school pride. And it was somewhat distinctive. It also had my SiteMeter link which tracked my hits since 2006. Google will track them, but does so differently.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bloomberg's logic:

Mayor (only mayor? Wait-- that can't be right! I mean, my map of New York City shows that it ends 'way up northeast of here... surely he has more jurisdiction than that...) Michael Bloomberg tells us that the nation's police should go on strike for harsher gun laws.

So let me get this straight: The mayor wants police to refuse to come to work, because they are supposed to believe, like he does, that if a citizen is in trouble, they should call the police, whom he has encouraged to ditch work?

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah no.

I rather liked Hoge's point of view on it: HizHonor's bodyguards are police, right? They should go on strike first.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Those who can, do.

I work in the public sector. I've got a job working for taxpayer dollars. So, incidentally, does my wife. I have worked for private companies before, but I have never made a company, risked my money, and built it up.

If I had done so, I could claim that I had been helped along the way to any success. But I haven't, even though I've got a pretty decent education.

My wife's father dropped out of school in junior high. He worked as a mechanic's assistant, and bought a near worthless piece of land and put a salvage yard on it. To drag cars to his yard, he welded up an A-frame on the back of a pickup, and installed a winch. He got married. His wife (my mother-in-law) pointed out that he could always be making money if he towed cars for a living, and had him sell the salvage yard. He bought another piece of land, and fenced it. This was his impound lot. He began putting on barbecues, and inviting local lawmen (especially the constables) to it. He got a lot of tows. He bought proper purpose-built tow trucks. He hired drivers. Soon, the man had a wrecker empire. While buying wreckers, he bought an ambulance. He got his EMT certification, and began running it to emergencies, and doing transfers.

Then he paved a five acre strip of land, and put up storage buildings, to make a U-Store-It facility. Then he passed away, sadly before I ever got to meet the man. Before he died, he had taken a modified pickup and a scrap of land and turned it into three businesses worth an accumulated million dollars, on an 8th grade education, by the late 1980s. Oh, he rightfully shared his success with someone: his wife. She minded the house, reared his kids, handled the office, performed vehicle releases, insisted on cash payments at night while he was on a call-out with a Beretta .32 in her robe pocket. There is little doubt that she was an indispensable keystone to his business success. She was his spouse. His partner in all things.

But I don't think that our president was talking about your marital partner, when he told us that our successes in private business are derived not from our own labors.  Sorry, Bernie. All of those countless times that you got out of bed to go impound a vehicle for a deputy making an arrest, or to pull out a car that went too far on the shoreline-- THOSE don't mean as much as your high school English teacher. You know-- if you'd ever gone to high school.

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Responsibility: A Hard Week At The G Household For Critters.

I got home this morning, and checked on the chickens. Hm. Their water pan was bone dry. NOT good, when the temps get up to over 100. I had told my younger daughter yesterday to feed and water the chickens. There was some feed scattered on the floor of the chicken yard, that I certainly hadn't put there. I pour their lay pellets into the heavy flexible bowl made of recycled tire, so that I can move them, when I move the portable pen. Two chickens were in the small yard. The other two were in the hen house. I pulled the water pan and the feed bowl out, and moved the portable pen. Immediately, I saw the corpses of two dead hens left behind. Lulu, the big red, and Yolky, the Araucana, had succumbed to the heat and lack of water. They were our two biggest and oldest chickens. The other two hens ran out of the pen, but jumped right back in again when I put water in the pan. I should have checked on them before I went to work, but I had told the 10 year-old to check on them.

I went to the recently re-filled unused cat grave, and scooped it back out again. I put the chickens into it, and I covered them with the dirt, and tamped it down. The shallow grave gave with the compression of the bodies. I was wistful about the wasted protein, but without knowing when the chickens died, it would be a questionable practice to harvest the meat, even without the issue of them being named critters.

I went back to the chicken coop, giving up a muttered prayer that the pan would be empty. It had some rust all over the bottom of it, and it was faintly possible that there was a rusted-out leak that had emptied the pan last night. That would excuse the lack of water. Maybe the pan had been filled. I found it quite full, with two younger chickens still greedily filling their beaks and tipping their heads back. No. The pan still held.

I thought about fibbing to the girls. It's a hard thing, discovering that your negligence caused a death. I remember crying as a boy when I'd killed a goldfish that way.

Oh yeah-- goldfish. Alice, our 7 year-old goldfish, passed away this week. But she was pretty old.
The cat is still on the mend. Not where he needs to be. I probably could have done more to keep him healthy. I need to be more often checking his litter box to see that he isn't going to up and die from kidney problems. Stupid cat.

I went in the house, woke up the girls, and told them. It turns out that my wife had told the near-14-year-old to feed and water the chickens, too. Both girls said that they had fed the chickens, but forget to check the water. The hose doesn't quite stretch, so it's a chore to fill the pan, where the chicken coop is now. They both gathered the truth: they had each neglected the poultry, causing us to lose our two best layers.

This time, the younger daughter took it better. The elder daughter cried a bit. I almost regret telling them. But responsibility isn't just a word. It's a reality that means that if you don't do the job, it doesn't get done. There are consequences for failing in your responsibilities. In this case, neither are being punished, except with the knowledge of their failure to complete their duties. I'm disappointed, but not distraught. This is the opportunity for an incredibly valuable lesson in both their lives. I had just last night congratulated the elder daughter on her commendation from the school district for her scores on the state math exam. But I should be more proud of her if she uses this experience to better herself.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Because I'm An Old Man, Now....

I stopped a car with a pair of pretty 19 year old girls in it. They were tired, and maybe the passenger (the girl who owned the car) had drunk something, and maybe not. I let it go, because the driver was sober. I scratched out a warning ticket, and gave it to the driver, and asked where they went to school. They both mentioned junior colleges, to get their basics out of the way. I agreed that made sense, instead of what I had done, which was to go to UT for my 101 courses. They thought that was silly. I started to leave, but stopped for a second and said, "Hey girls: take this advice from a man old enough to be your father: Nothing good happens after midnight. NOTHING. Y'all be careful. G'night."

The laughed and drove off. I know that they heard me. I hope that they understood.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Emotionally draining, that.

I didn't want a cat. Really, with kids already, and a house to take care of and grad school and a full time gig as a cop, I didn't want any pets. The thing about pets is that they are a responsibility. They are a monetary drain. They are a time drain. They are an emotional drain, eventually, when they die or get sick.. And they add an extra mess to my cluttered life.
I didn't want one, but my wife did. She took the kids, and they picked out a kitten from a litter of barn cats, and brought him home. He was too small even to step down into the living room. I tried to hate him. My theory wasn't working.

Cat & Mouse Games.
Even when he interfered with my laundry chores, I couldn't really hate the stand-offish cat that seemed to get along with me better than anyone.


He got fat. We made names about it. FatWad, Butterball, etc. But his given name was Oliver.

I cut a door to the garage, and from the garage to the outside world, because I will not put up with a box of crap in my house.

And he lived with us, getting fatter and only affectionate when he wanted things, for about 3.5 years.

And one day, he got sick. Urinating blood. Having trouble passing water. I dutifully took him to the vet, and spent a LOT more money than I would think possible for me to spend on a cat. A month later, I did it again.

He got sick again this week. He went missing. When we found him 2 days later, he was stove up, off his feed, not drinking. I locked him in the bathroom, and tried to bring him back to health. No good. My wife and I talked. We made a decision. His kidney problems had gotten too far. He was clearly suffering.

I explained to my almost-14 year-old and 10-year-old daughters that we were putting him down. The elder daughter held it together. The younger one lost it, bad. She sprinted out of the room, tripped, fell, sobbed hysterically. She plans  to be a vet. I think that she'll make a good one. She loves animals. She asked me some hard questions about killing a family member. These are not happy questions, but they were fair ones for her to ask, even if the answers were unfair. I somehow held it together. Mostly.

I called the vet to see when I could bring him in. Yes, I could do it myself, but I wanted to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he simply went to sleep. I may have broken down just a bit on the phone.  It was 11:00 AM.  The vet could see me at 2:30PM.

We watched a movie. Rubber, about a sociopathic serial killer tire. I thought that a humorous flick would be good. Look, it wasn't my best decision. When they got to where people died in a lengthy scene by poisoning, I realized my incredible error. My conversation with my 10 year-old resumed.

I got a pick and a shovel. and ran water to break up the hard pan, and dug a grave in the back yard. I put the cat into a carrier, and got a box and put a towel in it. And then it was time to go to the vet. The girls said goodbye to the cat. Goodbye to Oliver.

Mom drove me there, because my car was in the shop. What with construction delays, we arrived late. About 2:40PM. I went in, and the receptionist greeted me cheerfully, until he saw what I was there for. He showed me to an exam room, and asked me if I needed some time with the cat. I started to reassure him that, no-- I was already late, and had held them up enough, and... and.. and I broke down into a sobbing, blubbering fit, the likes of which I haven't committed in years and years. He left me alone for a bit.

The doc came in. She looked at me, and immediately began examining the cat. "Look," she said, "he's got an abscess on his heel, here." I had seen it (he must have gotten into some kind of a fight with another cat or some critter), but mentioned that it was only the latest in his problems, but his recurring kidney problems were what made me come to this decision. She quickly took his temperature. "106. (They run about 101 or so anyway, but that's still a bad fever.) That abscess was infected. Not eating or drinking? Consistent with fever. Dehydrated? Consistent with not eating or drinking. Shaky, weak? Consistent with infection. "I think I can fix this guy. I know you're on a budget, but let me X-ray him on my  bill, to see if that leg is broken." She took him and did so, and returned. "It's not broken. I gave him a heavy duty shot of antibiotic, on me. Let me put in some sub-cutaneous fluids, pushed." She and her assistant did so. She gave me some instructions for care. She gave me some additional oral antibiotics. She accepted my hug.

The bill was just $53. I think it's $35 or something for putting one down. Maybe more; I  didn't check. She had given me about $250 worth of service for free, to save the cat's life.

I took him home and put him into my bathroom. The kids were deliriously happy.

He's sick. Very sick. Even after we fix this, he's got issues. So I still have to worry about a damned cat that I didn't want in the first place. But I'm glad we refilled that summer garden grave with dirt and nothing else. 

The kids are making the thank-you cards. I'll sign 'em, too.

__________________________________________
*EDIT (07/14/2012): Oliver was up and around this afternoon. He sneaked out of the bathroom and was roaming the house. We put him back up, because the doc wants me to monitor his ins and outs. We bathed him last night, and he looks good. The vet had given him a shot of something like Tylenol for the fever, too. He's going to be okay, I think. Stupid cat.


EDIT (02/25/2014): Oliver is a very healthy, fat cat. I tell everyone how much I hate him. Nobody believes me.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Test patterns



Remember them? I can't recall the last time that I saw one broadcast. My wife and I were trying to explain them to our kids, who didn't understand why the broadcast companies would fail to broadcast content overnight. We tried to explain that people just didn't think that it was worth it. But then, again, wouldn't it cost the broadcaster as much to send out a signal of a test card as of a back episode of the Late, Late Show?  Must get a weigh-in from Roberta X.

We were explaining to the girls the traditional sign-off, which would explain some details about the station, explain when they would come back on the air, and then usually would play the national anthem with either an eagle flying, a flag flying, a fighter jet flying, or all of the above.  I admitted that, on most occasions, I was incapable of resisting the urge to stand and place my hand over my heart during the national anthem portion of the sign-off. My family exchanged that look that says, "Yeah, that's Matt/Daddy, all right."

I refuse to be embarrassed.

So, when did you see your last broadcast test pattern and sign-off?

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Coercive rape.

Define, please.

I completely believe that a man is guilty of it if he tells his victim "If you don't permit me to have sex with you, I will do X," in which X is some bad thing or thing that the man knows the victim does not want to happen.

But what of , for example, the husband or significant other, who at bedtime asks his wife or girlfriend (with whom he is regularly physically intimate) for sex, and is told no, but persists in pestering her for it until she gives in, just so that she can get some sleep? Is this not using sleep deprivation as torture? Also, does it matter if she eventually ends up enjoying the encounter, despite initial refusal? (Assume zero physical menacing took place, other than the fact that the actor was in the room with the potential victim.)

If it IS defined as Coercive Rape, what percentage of serious relationships have involved some form of it?

And if "rape is rape," does this mean that this is technically the same thing as the violent stranger attack rape that is the stereotype of the term but is less common than acquaintance rape (still rape), drugged rape (still rape), etc?

Discuss. Feel free to get your extreme (liberal or conservative) views on.

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Sunday, July 08, 2012

A good run, but not far enough?

Ernest Borgnine died today, at age 95. Here below, he describes his quick and easy technique to retain his youthful longevity:
Men around the globe were really, REALLY hoping that he'd hang on until age 100 or greater.

Uh, we were all pulling for you, Ernie.

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Music interlude.

I believe that I'd like to hear a little more of Lisa Hannigan. Do me a favor: listen to this a second time.

If we don't hear more of that voice, then it's a shame.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Meanwhile, up in Tam's back yard:

A naked Hoosier daddy gets his ninja on.
Wow.
Some cops need to learn some basic control techniques. I saw WAY too much dependence on TASER, there. With that amount of manpower, this guy should have been no problem. Get astraddle the guy above the waist, control his head, and get the cuffs on fast. But for entertainment value, the surprise ending was pretty impressive.

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Independence Day

The only fireworks that I've set off has been to decant a quart of jalepenos from the can to a jar, and putting the excess into a nice mess of migas, with fresh eggs from the chickens that aren't molting.

My bride is off to Harbor Freight to take advantage of a sale on a cracker box welder, so maybe that counts.  "I don't think that they'll be open today," I told her.
"It's a Fourth Of July sale," she answered.
"Eh, it's not like they're going to be having Americans hard at work turning out more product," I said.

I declined to go, because I get a little, um, out of control, in a place full of inexpensive tools. A man's got to know his limitations.

I bid you all a happy Independence Day, and ask you to consider whether we still hold sacred those freedoms that we sought to secure when our nation was born. Or was it just a bid for home-rule, and we're doing that, now?

Enjoy some very good playing of John Philip Sousa by Chet Atkins, before anyone considered that his music would be usurped to sell Korean cars.



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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Flying squid

Are fascinating.

Even when they're terrifying in their sexual assault of humans.

That is all.

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