Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Genius prank.

While I don't get the over-zealous sports rivalries, I'd have to say that, for a high school prank, this ranks as legendary.

Worth every bit of the three day suspension the offender got.


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The worst month.

August is finally ending.

31 days of hell.

August is the Sunday afternoon of months. While Sunday afternoon is when laundry is done and the dread of the future week's work sets upon you, August is an entire month of anticipation of school for the kids, and buying clothes and supplies for same.

It's the month I register for more grad school classes, and try to find funds and books for same.

It's the month we let the yard go brown, because watering it is just futile.

It's the month we have the last chance to go on vacation, but don't, because it's just too damned hot, and we've got to buy school clothes.

If you get a chance to go fishing in August in Texas, your brand-new fishing license expires on the morning of September 1st.

Unless you've been obsessive about watering, the tomatoes stop bearing in August; it's too hot.

The temperature here in August will always reach triple digits and the highest mark of the year, after a long summer that started in May. In truth, it's the fatigue of the enduring oppression of the heat that beats a person down.

There's no holiday in the month of August. Oh, there might be something that appears on a calender under "X Day," but nobody cares; there're no days off. Go endure. Go do it. Go...

"Why don't you just go screw off?" Family fights seem more likely. And why not? The summer and all our plans for it are gone. Wasted. And now there's no point. And you're part of the problem. "You didn't get off your..."

It's really just too hot to go do anything.

And September is a false hope; it's just as hot, but with thunderstorms and all the starting-ups that you have to deal with. There is no hope of redemption until October.

We'll all do better just to accept it, and rail no more against the awfulness of this most despicable twelfth of a year.

But don't despair; this too shall pass.

Autumn's coming.

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And another one bites the dust.

Yawn. Another night, another sports bike rider caught after running.

Remember when nobody could catch these guys? The general consensus back when I was going through cop school was that it was pretty much worthless to try to pursue a motor, especially a sport bike, because a decent rider would leave a pursing cop car in the dust. Even motor cops, who were the guys teaching my traffic school, would regularly just disregard when a cycle ran, because they understood that, when running on a bike, the guy running has the advantage of action and good thrust/weight ratio. It was especially common knowledge that the guy who bought a speedy sport bike was such a rider aficionado, that he also would have the requisite skills to evade successfully.

But things have changed, a LOT, just in the past couple of years.

Some of it may be the higher wages and lower interest rates making motors more available to the masses. Some of it may be that sports bikes are no longer the brand new thing, so there are plenty of used ones on the ground, bringing the price down. Some of it may be that the surge in fuel prices over the last two years has made a bunch of cagers decide to try riding motorcycles, and they want to look cool while doing it, so they get Ninjas and the like. (Sorry-- all soft drinks are "Cokes," and all sports bikes are "Ninjas," to my narrow-minded, Southern Culture mindset.)

At any rate, this seems to be the Age Of The Common Man on cycles. And these guys have heard the old "Cops can't catch a sports bike, so they won't even try" wives' tales. And they're writin' checks with their expert throttles that their newbie asses just can't cash. Neophytes on bikes are running when they probably just would have gotten a ticket or bonded out in a couple of hours.

Evading In A Vehicle is a State Jail Felony, and while I agree with Tamara that we're making too many things felonies, I hold with this one-- running in a vehicle (even a motorcycle) is inherently reckless, and endangers bystanders and the officers who, in my opinion, are bound by duty to attempt to apprehend a running suspect. About half the time, when we catch a running motorcyclist, we have to roll EMS for them. In that instance, they get charged with a felony in addition to going to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and having their multi-thousand dollar vehicle messed up. And any warrants that they had get piled on.

Most of the guys running on bikes lately are getting caught, and about half of them are getting hurt. All are getting charged with felonies.

Why does that seem worth it? Do any of these guys weigh the options?

Maybe we need to start raising the consciousness that the myth is not true. That you can be caught on a bike.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On poetry and obsession.

Here's a video of a little rant-like, obsession-ridden poem about the grass being greener on the... well, you know.

I found it by following Clairebell's favorite videos. (Check out her own video stuff-- it's entertaining, and her laugh is infectious.)

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Every Damned Day...

...I learn something new.

Like this:

The complaint said Craig then tapped his right foot several times and moved
it closer to Karsnia's stall and then moved it into the area of the officer's
stall to where it touched Karsnia's foot. Karsnia recognized that "as a signal
often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct," the
complaint said.

Craig then passed his left hand under the stall divider into Karsnia's
stall with his palms up and guided it along the divider toward the front of the
stall three times, the complaint said.

They signal each other by doing that? Really?

I had no clue.

Without regard to the whole sex with strangers thing (ew!), or the sex with promiscuous gay guys thing (double ew!), who the hell wants to do it in a public toilet?

Da's nasty, right there.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Everything Happens For A Reason."

Mom riffs on this topic some:
"Yes, I do believe everything happens for a reason, but I happen to think some of the reasons are pretty horrible. And some are just cosmic. That one of the factors
of human nature often is to find a silver lining or fix the problem as best as
can be done in no way mitigates the fact (to me) that life has pretty awful
parts to go along with some really wonderful parts. And I don't believe that my
faith will protect me or set an umbrella over me and the ones I love. But I
don't see any reason to be fearful, either.

Go read.

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"I made a mistake."

A mistake is forgetting your hat.

A mistake is tripping over a step you had forgotten.

A mistake is reading "1 tspn salt" in a cake recipe, and putting in a Tablespoon.

A mistake is missing your exit.

A mistake is setting your alarm, neglecting to change it from "PM" to "AM."

A mistake is not a consistent and imaginative course of action that involves multiple crimes that were committed over 6 years.

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Single ladies: Act quickly!

Snatch this guy up while there's still time.

What a catch!

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Open Letter To A Certain Anonymous Punk I Know:

If you are accused of a crime, and the officer arrives on the scene before you leave, please understand:

Your lawyer's name isn't of the slightest importance to me. I only care that you want him before you will speak to me. The fact that you lawyered up in no way has thrown a wrench in my investigation-- as a matter of fact, it's made my report a lot shorter. Under the title "Suspect's Statements," I will simply type: "Refused." That's a LOT easier than having to transcribe your written or oral statement to my report.

In the mean time, you're free to go, while I collect witness statements from all the other people who say you did a bad thing.

So you've decided to stand mute, as is your right. You've decided to leave at the very first opportunity, which is your right.

Good job-- you've given The Man nothing to use against you.

But come this time next week, you'll be posting bond.

Isn't it nice that it works out for you, and for me, and for the victim of your crime, and for the citizens that I work for?

Everybody's happy.

Well, everybody who's saying anything is.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ridiculous rancor

I will never understand sports rivalries.

I will never understand why adults will get so worked up over 'em.

I will never understand why people who have no affiliation with a school (didn't go there, doesn't have immediate family there) will attach themselves so powerfully to a team. People go around wearing sports T-shirts that they bought at Wal*Mart. Is that really your goal? To define yourself as a "Sooner?" As an "Aggie?" As a "Longhorn?" (Although at least affiliation with a college team makes mores sense than the way people define themselves as a professional team's fan. Those teams aren't even regionally-oriented; the free-agent system and the draft system means that they could come from anywhere, and will likely end up somewhere else.)

What just leaves me gobsmacked is when I see that people are getting physically violent over the sight of another person wearing a shirt that expresses affinity for a given ball team.

It's a game. A child's game.

Get over it, folks. Seriously.

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There are those who say that I procrastinate...

...and that's just not fair.

Hey, I managed to get my four-year degree in just 14 years.

I managed to wed my wife within 7 years of meeting her.

I get my semester research papers in grad school done before the semester's over, mostly.

Those dishes in that sink? They're about to be washed, in just a minute or two.

So it hurts --hurts!-- when I read the following snark (at 06:47, this date) from my good online buddy of many years, Don Gwinn:

"My guess goes like this:

"AD and Babs are emailing back and forth, snarking
about Matt not getting his part of the project done. Each realizes that here is
a worthy partner/opponent in snark. They switch to instant messaging, then to
the phone, all the while mercilessly flaying Matt, who is still not finished
with his part.

"After a few weeks, they decide that it's time to
meet face-to-face and find out if the snark can be as perfect as it seems. They
meet at a favorite restaurant, but there's an unexpected wait for a table. They
chat about small things, the weather, politics, and conversation trails off. The
moments pass, and both are beginning to wonder whether they made a mistake. It's
an uncomfortable silence, and the wait for the table seems interminable. Staring
at the hostess is not speeding things up, but they're both trying. "Who runs
this place, Matt?"AD meant to say it, but he heard it. Babs is wondering whether
she said it out loud at all--it didn't sound like her voice. . . . and that's
when they turned to face each other, their eyes met, and they realized that they
had achieved perfectly synchronized snark.

"It was love.

"(Postscript: Nine months later . . . you guessed
it . . . . Matt sent the lovebirds his third of the project.)"

That ain't right.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nobody tells me *ANYTHING*.

I'm out of town, doing the deceased in-law thing (Part I), and I miss out on a few (all) of my blogs, and I miss out on the fact that my two collaborators have announced their amorous feelings for one another.

Mixed feelings:

A: Best damned news I've heard in a long while.

B: Why, exactly, am I the last person to find out everything?

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I really need to read ERnursey more; it's a really interesting blog.

Sure, there're the spectacles, like her most recent post on items she's seen lodged in patients, but if you'll read back through her archives, she deserves that Thinking Blogger plaque on her sidebar.

And to think I just now realized that I hadn't blogrolled her yet.

Well, that gets changed, right now.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Congratulations and thanks, Bremerton, Washington,

...for being view number 50,000.

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Crazy cat lady.

My wife and I have for years attempted to perfect the language of the rant of the Crazy Cat Lady, as portrayed by the Simpsons. (We now even know her history.)

Apparently, we should have tried it with a Russian accent.

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Quick hits

Sorry I've been not very attentive. Life seems to get in the way of Blog at times.
_ _ _

Dinner with LawDog and his brother last night was good for the company but lame, for the fare. I had to opt for Hobson's choice-- 9:00PM on a Sunday night means there's not much available around here. We went to a chain restaurant (Good Eats), where they managed to mess up pork chops in an impressive feat of poor culinary ability (with a hard fruit glaze of some kind), but worse than that, gave me an inedible mass under them described as "corn bread stuffing" which was too thick for spackle and much, much blander.

How in the hell do you mess up corn bread stuffing?!?

They managed not to screw up the Samuel Adams beer that they brought me, though a glass would have been nice. Apparently the other guys' food was edible-- they ate it. (Of course, they mentioned something about not having eaten for 12 hours, too...)

I don't do the restaurant thing that often. When I do, I like the food to be adequate. I'm mostly embarassed when it might have been inadequate for my guests. Bah. At least the company was nice.
_ _ _

Leaving town in the morning for unknown time (probably not more than two days) to visit my wife's mother and her dying husband. The crotchedy old bastard had finally begun to grow on all of us, and then he up and decides to die.

I'm taking the kids to say goodbye. All that business about "let them remember him the way he was" is rot. He's drifting in and out of consciousness, and they deserve a chance to say goodbye to him, and he deserves to hear it. When my favorite aunt passed away suddenly when I was 7, I wasn't allowed in to see her in the time between her car wreck and her actually dying. I sobbed and sobbed when I found out that she was gone, and I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. To me, that stuff's important, and allows you to get over the actual reality of the death easier.

At 4+ hours each way, it's not a super-quick trip, but we'll make it a two-day trip, before the inevitable funeral, which may be this actual weekend. I'll take the laptop, but doubt there'll be anyplace to blog from-- I'll probably be with the kids and typing reports for work, and answering correspondence. Though we'll be in Austin, it probably won't be that much fun. Maybe I'll run off with the kids to do something fun for half a day. Hm.
_ _ _

For what it's worth, in the next hour I should be hitting 50,000 site visits, according to my SiteMeter. My monthly traffic has increased nine times since I first started a meter in October:

I thank you, Constant Reader, for checking in.

Even if it's Ambulance Driver.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Polycarbonate 1, Vinyl 0.

25 years ago today, the first Compact Discs rolled off the assembly line, changing the way music has been listened to, forever.
Yes, the stupid hinges on the jewel cases break. Yes, they do scratch (not nearly as often or as easily as the old LPs did, though).

But repeatable, digital-quality music that allowed one to listen to individual tracks without hving to cue up the tape or carefully select a groove was suddenly possible.

I didn't buy my first CD player (it was a used Sony DiscMan) until 1991 or 1992, IIRC. The first disc I bought was The Best Of Van Morrison.
I suddenly feel very old.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not there in time...

It's a theme in my life, as with pretty much everyone else's, that I Never Seem To Find The Time.

This is especially true with friends, even True Friends.

We're always told that if we don't watch out, we'll let time slip away, and one day we'll wake up, and our loved ones will be gone. Sometimes, I worry, if we don't watch out, our friends will have slipped away even as they live. Even from themselves.

_ _ _

I hadn't called Jamie in a long time. When I was doing my stint at the jail, he was a young, skinny, redneck jailer kid that cursed like a sailor and had a bit of a drinking problem. I liked him right away. He wrestled with sobriety, but seemed to beat the drinking thing, and got his marriage about halfway back on track, though not before losing the house. He and I talked long sessions-- this boy was bright, and I just flat-out liked the kid. I did my best to encourage him, and told him how proud I was of him when he quit drinking, started working out, and put on some weight-- all muscle.

He quit that job, and got a good job working close to home. He was thinking about going to academy, or maybe even law school. He started taking classes, and doing pretty well. We talked a time or two, and I told him again how proud I was of him. Planned to go shooting, or some such. Maybe let our kids play together.

Kept putting that off.

We planned an outing one day, and he had to cancel because of his kid's ear infection. Understandable. The kids come first.

Another year went by.

So a couple of days ago, I called my friend. He sounded down. He sounded drained. He wasn't working. He had left "that crap." Two sentences more, and he told me that he had been fired, and his wife was divorcing him. Yes, the drinking appeared again. But there was more this time: "I'm just trying to stay away from those damned drugs," he confessed.

Drugs? "Meth and cocaine," he said. Oh, damn.

He's back on the wagon, now. Getting his stuff together, filing applications, he says. 10 days sober. AA every day.

Oh, damn.

No, he hasn't been caught. Well, that's something.

The whole time he and I were talking, all I could think was, "I shoulda been there. I can't believe I let him go like this. I could have called him, checked up on him, told him when I saw him screwing up..."

Rational or irrational, it's how I feel. If only...

I know lots of people who are functioning, respected members of society who've done a line or two in their time. I know more than a few who've smoked a little meth in their time. The tricky part was getting past it, and then convincing the world that they really had.

It makes it harder when they're an addict-type personality.

I'm going to have lunch with him.
_ _ _

A friend told me about her devotion to a fuzzy pet who saved her life once. Thinking more "Bobby's caught in the old mine shaft-- get help quick!" I asked how. She said that the pet had helped her through a bad, bad period when she was being swallowed in the misery of depression's maw. This was no pet-- this was an old friend that had been there for her.

I've got some calls to make. People to check on.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I've got to admit that it feels like a kick in the gut to have people (in comments) think that I"m a part of the jackbooted thuggery. I'm loudly decried in graduate criminal justice classes on terrorism and criminal procedure as being a "damned liberal" for people's rights. I'll bear that badge. But to be told that I don't understand the Constitution or understand the spirit of the amendments to it?

Got to admit-- that's an insult that upsets me.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

About noisy dogs

No, I don't know what you should do. I'm thinking that a bark collar would be a good start.

No, I don't think that's too cruel. I think it's cruel to keep all your neighbors up who don't happen to have triple-paned windows, Energy Star Houses, and Gregorian Monks chanting out of Bose speakers around the bed, to drown out the noise of your damned yippie hound.

Yes, I'm going to give you a citation for noise if I have to come back.

Yes, I recognize that you think it's unfair.

Yes, I know that dogs bark. Yours certainly makes that clear.

Yes, I can give you the name of my chief.

No, I would not recommend calling him right now.

Yes, I'm serious.

No, I won't tell you who called on you about your yippie dog. It frankly could have been any of two dozen houses, given the volume and frequency. Did you, by the way, have your dog surgically altered to bark at that pitch and loudness for that kind of duration? No? Specially bred that way, maybe? No? Well, then, you're just lucky, now, aren't you?

No ma'am, I don't guess I would call in to complain on you night and day, like your neighbor seems to do.

Thank you.

No, ma'am, it's not that I "appreciate dogs" any more than he does, it's that I have my own manner of dealing with such problems.

Good night.
_ _ _

Hello? Mr. Neighbor? Yes. I spoke to her.

Yes, I understand.

Well, if it's still barking in an hour, call me back, and I'll write her a ticket.

Uh huh, I know. The citation doesn't really help you get any sleep, does it?

On an unrelated note, did you notice that Sportsman's Ghetto Warehouse has Marlin .22 rifles on sale for $99?

And that Aguila makes a 60 grain subsonic load for .22 LR?

And Home Despot has fiberglass-handled shovels on sale for $17.

Huh? Oh, just thinking out loud.


+ + +

All but the last five lines are my half of a call for service that we seem to get time and time and time again.

Here's Crystal's view of it, when it's her own damned dog.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Time to get a hard-chrome or nickel job

...on my KelTec P3AT. Yeah, the grip is plastic. Yeah, the frame is aluminum. But the slide is blued steel and the barrel is just... steel.

In 100-plus temps, living next to my body... it finds itself in a saltwater bath. (Yeah, I know. Ew.)

Things have begun to get to the Brown & Fuzzy stage, despite daily wiping.

How did Sean Connery keep his pistol from rusting in the saline environment of Zardoz? Probably had something to do with his carry rig:

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Friday, August 10, 2007


When I was a boy, I thought that I was going to be a scientist.

What kind? Oh, don't bother me with details. I just knew that I trusted science a lot more than I trusted the strange assumptions that people make. I knew that I could get B's in math without really studying, and so if I really applied myself, I probably could be a math giant. You know, if I really wanted to.


That should have been my clue. Math whizzes love math. They study it because, well Hell, why not?

To paraphrase Lazarus Long, if you can't express it mathematically, it ain't science. Thus, all real science requires math chops.

My best friend Scott knew this from an early age, and injected himself into the subset of scientists called "engineers." He got his degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Texas A&M, and in the process discovered that he'd need some computer chops at the same time; he copped a B.S. in Computer Science, as well. He went where the jobs were, and has enjoyed a career as a computer techie (I'm sure I'm using the wrong word, but he's too hardware for "Software Engineer," and too educated to be a simple "Tech."). Scott can righteously call himself a member of the science community. Heck, so can his wife Dawn, a state-recognized higher math teacher. (When you win awards for being the best at something that involves Calculus and the teaching thereof, you get to consider yourself a member of the Scientific Community.)

When I was in college... the second time, I think, I had a small group of friends that simply referred to themselves as "The Group." We would have long discussions, drink beer, and generally waste time. When a topic of Great Import would arise, we would put it before the Scientific Community-- people we trusted and expressed respect for-- to settle the issue. Being included within the S.C. in The Group was an honor; being kicked out of the S.C. was great shame. It was all chuckles, but it referred to our appreciation of true science. We had an anthropology major, a pre-law major, a biochemistry major, me (Gawd knows what I was at that time), an English professor... I can't remember them all.

We thought that we were pretty damned smart, though. And we respected science. There was no higher calling than the establishment of Truth through Facts. This was probably a fairly pure form of amateur philosophy, which many think of as a precursor to religion, but which is actually a precursor to science.

No, really.

Now I'm 35, and getting on in years even to be the grad student of Criminal Justice that I am. I have enough scientific training to smile at the fact that my undergrad degree is called a "Baccalaureate of Science," because Criminal Justice cannot yet be expressed as a study of repeatable cause-and-effect that can properly be demonstrated in mathematical equations. The only exceptions are the very few Criminology courses of evidence collection, like the blood spatter course that I took this past spring. Nonetheless, this fall semester I'm taking a graduate class on Research Methods of Criminal Justice. This is a class that involves the science of research, and is a truly scientific class. Yes, math and logic are highly evident. Yes, it will probably kick my butt. But my vanity about being a member of the Scientific Community and thinking of myself as a Future Scientist won't die. I want very badly to be a possessor of knowledge. So I study.

This doesn't mean that I don't have and give full respect to trades outside of science. I can sit for hours watching a stone or brick mason ply his craft with utter efficiency of motion. The other day I marveled at the proficient skill of a front-end-loader driver (he was operating a Bobcat) as he moved tons of gravel off of a pitched lawn without disturbing the grass. (Side note: All dedicated Bobcat drivers are at least a little bit crazy.) Gunsmiths, machinists, carpenters, drywall construction workers... all these people work with their hands, use their eyes and only the minimum of math for their work, and impress the hell out of me with the good work that they can do but that I can't. Any necessary trade done well gets my respect.

But I remember those days as a young teenager, when Scott and I would grin while conjecturing the exploits of "two young scientists, working on X, discover..."

+ + +

My new online buds Labrat and Stingray, "The Atomic Nerds" link to a page of demonstrations of scientists representin': trade tattoos for the S.C. If you have to go mutilating yourself with ink, this is a pretty cool way to do it.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Looks like he got...


Dufus creates "a disturbance" at a drive-through.

Cops are called.

Cop cars arrive. Two in front. (One in back.)

Cops challenge dufus.

Dufus waves a gun (which turned out to be an ultra-realistic pellet gun) at the cops.

Dufus has not taken time to observe cop behind him with an AR15.

Blat, blat.

Meatwagon took delivery from the drive-through, and a certain cop suddenly finds that in fact he will get a chance to take a late summer vacation, after all.

My apologies to y'all not from Texas, who don't get the Whataburger ad campaign reference. Whataburger's kind of a fast food institution down here.

(Source: Denton Record Chronicle)
((Uh, and professional grapevine.))

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Damn! I hate when I forget... link someone whom I've been reading for a long time.

Murphy Was A Grunt is a blog written by a former Marine, living in the world, being a man among men, telling stories.

He's pretty dadgummed good at it.

Witness this gem, of his explorations (unintentional, on occasion) into amore.

Funny, funny stuff.

I had him on my Favorites, but had forgotten to blogroll him.

That, as you may see by looking to the right side of the screen, has been corrected.

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Prol'ly shouldn't have said that...

...'cause it felt good.

Just like LawDog, I don't like when parents point me out to their kids as the boogieman. In fact, I hate it.

Last night, having finished booking in a guy at the jail, I drove around to the front of the building and ran in to get some paperwork from the Communications office. As I walked in past a couple of kids swinging on the handicapped rail at the edge of he parking lot, an adult male was hollering to a 5 year old boy from a bench set on the wall near the door.

"Deon, get away from the street. Deon, you better get away from that street. Deon, if you don't quit, the police man's gonna get you..." All said in a sing-song "wait'll I tell on you" voice, and the man didn't so much as pitch forward from his seat like he was thinking about getting up.

I let go of the door handle, and turned to the little boy. "No, Deon, I'm not going to come get you." It was a parking lot, not a street. The boy wasn't doing anything wrong besides failing to mind the man, and the man brought that on himself. I walked over to the man.

"Why do you do that?"


"Why do you insist on demonizing me and other police officers to your boy?" I asked. "We try very hard not to be the bad guy to kids, but when you use us to threaten the boy, you portray us as the boogeymen. Someone whom the boy should fear. Someone to run away from."

At this point, I almost said something to the extent of "don't you want him to grow up better than you have?" but that would have been overstepping things, making assumptions on the fact that the guy was waiting on a bench out front of a jail for someone to come out. Also, call me a coward, but I didn't want the race card pulled on me.

"Well," he said, "I was just trying to discipline my child, and was seeking your enforcement of my positive reinforcement, to keep my child safe."

My mind briefly wandered, bringing up the Princess Bride, in which the swordsman Montoya to the Sicilian who has once more declared that a circumstance was "inconceivable," says: "I do not that that word means what you think it means."

Positive reinforcement?

"If you want to keep your child safe, don't use the threat of my actions to make him behave-- get off your butt and go get him yourself," I said.

"If I went an' got him, he'd just jump back up again and..." but I was already walking inside.

I got my paperwork, and started to head outside. Thinking on it, though, I went out a side door to my car. It had been 3 minutes since I'd left the guy, and false pride can percolate up just that fast. I didn't figure he'd read my uniform patch to see who I was with. He could, if he thought to do it, step into the parking lot and read the side of my patrol car to find out, though.

But he was too lazy to do that.

I drove off without further confrontation.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Steve McQueen

I watched The Getaway last night on Dish. I've never been able to just sit down and watch the whole thing through.


They don't make 'em like Steve McQueen anymore. Nowadays, even if you competently portray an action hero, you're supposed to be conflicted about it. I don't know that Doc in Getaway was really a "hero" so much as a protagonist, but his only conflict was whether to stick with Ali MacGraw.

Sticking with Ali MacGraw would not be a bad thing.

Sally Struthers very competently and convincingly portrayed a dumb bimbo slut. Hmmm.

This movie may well have sold more 1911s and 12 gauge pump shotguns with extended magazines than all other movies put together since the Titanic sank. Seeing Doc walk into a hardware store and walk back out 30 seconds later, wielding that new shotty like a WMD (why'd he shoot out the gumball lights on the squad car, though? Contempt?), then later clearing out a mob of cowboy mafiosos (who, predictably enough, arrived three-abreast in front and back seats of a Cadillac convertible) with it makes a person start to calculate: shotguns like that nowadays may be had for under $300. Old .45s for about $350. Toss in an old fast car or two, and you start to think that you, too, could be cool. Like Steve McQueen.

Rough movie for a "PG" in 1972.

15 minutes before the movie ends, you don't find yourself really actually liking the McQueen and MacGraw characters. But a final shootout at the hotel and a meeting with Slim Pickens fixes everything.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007


If you're backing out of a road-side parking spot, or pulling through a stop intesection in which only you had the stop sign, or merging onto a highway from a feeder road, or pulling out of a gas station...

Just because you "didn't see him" and "he hit [you]" doesn't mean that you're not at fault.

Yes, it did come as a surprise, didn't it?

That was the problem. Prepare for your liability insurance rates to go up.

Please stop arguing-- it's really, really hot, and my vest is itchng under this midnight blue uniform; I might be getting cranky enough to go sit in my air-conditioned car to cool off. And if I have to do that, I'm going to get my ticket book out.

That is all.

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"It's Not A Magic Wand." --That's a fact.

Tamara references Joe Merchant's blog on how it's possible to miss with a shotgun from across a room.

Those who believe that Open Choke means that you can "clear a room with a single blast from the hip" simply don't know what they are talking about, and need to be led by the hand to a tactical shotgun match.

Such matches, I have found, teach valuable lessons, such as:

  • 1. Some degree of aiming is required. Yes, you can point, but do so more accurately.

  • 2. You're not as good with your pump shotgun as you think you are. No, you're not.

  • 3. Rapid-fire high-brass loads can rattle you.

  • 4. Low-brass target loads, no matter how you center the plates, won't reliably knock down heavy steel.

  • 5. Autos are faster, no matter what you've heard.

  • 6. As a matter of fact, autos are generally more reliable than pumps. No, really.

  • 7. Good shotgun skills do require practice. Engaging multiple targets smoothly and accurately does not come "naturally."

  • 8. Mounting the shotgun to your shoulder quickly and properly and in a repeatable fashion is incredibly important. (See #7.)

  • 9. Sights and slings are valuable tools.

  • 10. Moving about with a shotgun deployed, ready for pop-ups, requires practice.

  • 11. Nothing is so big or so close that you "can't miss."

  • The most inveterate shottist can learn or relearn valuable lessons at these competitions.

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    Guilty pleasure

    Years ago, I had a police chief who said that, if it feels good to say it at the time, you probably shouldn't be saying it on the job.

    This cab company dispatcher never received such training...

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    Friday, August 03, 2007

    Reflective music for a day off, with coffee

    If you haven't heard of Emiliana Torrini, give her a listen. She grew up in Iceland, and has an Itallian mother, but sings a lot in English.

    No, she doesn't sound just like Bjork. Seriously. (I kind of like a little Bjork, but a little bit of her crooning goes a LONNNG way.)

    She not only has a fascinating voice, but she surrounds herself with very good accoustical guitarists, drummers, etc.

    Then she has very... interesting videos put together for her.

    Remember, about a lifetime ago, when the idea of musical videos was to provide the artist's visual perspective of what his or her music was about? How the good ones told a story?

    Two of Emiliana Torrini's videos do that, and the music gets stuck in my head:
    "Sunny Road", and
    "Heartstopper". Both are done completely differently, using computer animation in the first and paste-up paper and stopped camera animation in the second.

    Not to say that she hasn't done a fluff video as well--

    Tamara could probably appreciate the completely fluff piece: "Unemployed In Summertime," about not really minding in the least that one is not working when the weather is fine. (And, really-- that's about all you can glean from the song/video.) (And Tamara, before you deny that you could appreciate fluff, think back real hard to some of those hair bands of the '80s you listened to. Heh.) Actually, I'm not much of a fan of that one, though.

    At any rate, she's on my MP3 list. Album is Fisherman's Woman, from Rough Trade Records.

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    Thursday, August 02, 2007

    "What's in your beer glass, Matt?"

    Well, since you asked...

    Dark. Malty. Light flavor. No hint of hop aroma but good hop bittering, as the style dictates. Thick lacing from a creamy white foam head.

    It contends with Anchor Porter for the title of best American porter, but I think that Sierra Nevada is a softer note, and more drinkable.

    (And this better load this time-- Blogger's dropped it twice, already. . . )

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    Making do

    Had last night off.

    Got up early this morning, and got the kids and wife ready for work and school, and got 'em out the door.

    Called to make sure Dad was still coming over at 0900 to pick me up to go to the P.D. pistol match, only to find out that he was still asleep (oops.).

    Went to get another cuppa coffee. . . dregs only. No problem, I thought, I'll just make another pot, and offer Dad a cup when he gets here.

    Only. . . we're out of coffee filters.

    Go to Backup Filters... gone! Oh, hateful move! Why hast thou deprived me of life's necessities?!?

    Well, no big deal. The beauty of a conical filter pot is that a field expedient filter may be devised with a single paper towel, by folding it into a quarter, then pulling it open so that it's triple layer on one side, single on the other.


    No paper towels.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Desperate. Measures.

    Water drips through a coffee filter at 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit... which probably will kill whatever had grown on the used coffee filter that I'd thrown into my trash two hours before.

    Maybe it's time to face the fact that I have an addiction.

    OK. Here goes.

    My name is Matt, and I am a coffee addict.

    And I'm fine with that.

    Now can you pick up a pack of #4 conical filters and a pound of coffee on your way back home? That'd be great, thanks.

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    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    So sweet...

    I really shouldn't watch these clips.

    The fact that I like to probably says something about me that I'd rather not know.

    But I LOVE watching these "To Catch A Predator" clips.

    Some people say "Oh, they depress me too much! I don't want to see that!"

    Well, they tickle me to death. They're solid evidence of the scum that's out there, to present to kids (boys and girls, please). They provide superb evidence for court. They provide useful profiles for case studies to help catch and (gasp) maybe even treat adult men who show the first signs of pedophilia.

    There are apparently some neighborhoods that have been FURIOUS that decoy houses have been set up in their neighborhoods. To which I ask, "Why? It's not like the predators are ever coming back to the place where they got arrested for trying to meet an underage kid." Oh, but there might be some that don't get arrested. Well, that would mean that they either realized that it was a sting (and they sure as hell wouldn't stay around or come back), or they backed down, in which case they're not as dangerous as the other predators who are, by the way, statistically living in your neighborhood. Yes, yours.

    Also, there's the shaming.

    John Braithwaite wrote in his superb 1989 book Crime, Shame, and Reintegration that it's the thought of the shame at being found out that is the greatest deterrence for would-be criminals.

    Some pass out. Some run. Some commit suicide later. The shame is real.


    I know they're out there already. I'm learning nothing new that the fax machine at the P.D. doesn't already tell me every time another sexual predator is located in our neighborhood. And those are just the ones we can make cases on.

    MORE! Chris Hansen, you can come to my neighborhood, if you want. Heck, I'll move the family to a hotel for a week, and you can use my house.

    This one, by the way, is my favorite; I laughed out loud.

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