Just a few ramblings from a confused guy. Former military, former cop. Husband. Father. Student. Role playing gamer, on intermittent weeks. Avid reader. Internet addict. Small "l" libertarian. Too many others to mention. The views and opinions expressed herein are my own, and do not reflect those of any official agency or government or species. Names have been changed to protect the guilty; God protects the innocent as a matter of course.
“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”
"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Attack of the hellspawn...
Who decided today was the day to go into full demon-brood mode, and test daddy's patience to the limit.
I tried, really - fed, dressed all that stuff appropriately. Went to the park to burn off energy, got them fresh groceries and kept them busy. It still didn't help.
A short, fussy nap from the little one - no quiet time at all from the big one. This after both woke up late last night & got up way too early this morning.
Numerous spilled drinks, a full thing of yogurt thrown across the dining room, and refused food, no matter what I chose or offered.
Potty accidents from the eldest, despite months of no issues.
Fights with each other, refusal to comply with the simplest of requests. My constant chorus of "No," "Stop that," "Don't do that," etc. throughout the day met with glances from both of them readily interpreted as "Oh, we can push him still farther, keep going!" I swear, my voice is about shot now.
The eldest trying a cooking experiment of mixing a full spice jar with some of his candy, to try and make something like my cinnamon-flavored Hot Tamales.
Water & toys dumped from the bathtub all over the floor.
Thankfully, the only thing they didn't fight was bedtime - apparently they were worn out too.
I honestly don't know how she does this every single day & doesn't go mad - plus all the cleaning and other stuff she does to keep the house up while I have a relatively easy time at work.
I love my little ones to death, but does anyone know an exorcist who works cheap? I'm dreading what they have planned tomorrow!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Bloggers in need
For those who are not aware, Mel and Chris Byrne have been dealing with some very lengthy, expensive legal issues to maintain custody of her children. Fortunately they were successful, but now the bill is due and is putting them in a spot worse than bad...
Also, for those who don't know, they have put up a great number of amazing recipes over the years on their blog - and in an effort to help with their legal bills these are now collected and being offered for sale as a cookbook - ebook or hardcopy, your choice. I've ordered one & I hate following cookbooks - the recipies are that good!
Folks, this isn't just a blogger asking for help - they are offering a great deal in return, and it is for a good cause.
Please click here & order one ASAP.
Finishing the story
So to finish the other morning's story...
Worked another DUI special Monday night - trying to catch some of the holiday partiers before they wrecked or hurt anyone, and just planned to be out for five hours or so & then an early night. For the first four & a half of it I couldn't find water if I fell out of a boat.... a couple of cheesy tickets but nothing worthwhile. Mostly just felt like I was driving in circles not accomplishing anything, which tends to get old quickly for me.
Then, as I'm starting to wind things down & think about gassing up for the drive home, I have a car not just run a stop sign but completely ignore it as he almost t-bones me whipping out & then making a wide turn. In police work, we often refer to this as a "clue" & I figured that was a good stop to chat...
He takes a moment to realize I'm there, and then comes to a stop on one of the side streets in the project area I'm passing through at that moment. As I come up to the car I've already got my little voice talking to me, so not only do I ask for his license and registration but I also tell him to turn off the car - I'm really not in the mood to start chasing people tonight. I also see his passenger, one of the area "businesswomen" as it were (and well past her prime...) so I have an idea what he's doing around here.
Tonight's client has a little bit of that drinking smell about him, but he's DEFINITELY got something going on as I start talking with him. We quickly get past the preliminaries of who we are & why I stopped him, and I start asking about tonight's consumption. No sir, I haven't been drinking - well, just one beer at 1pm, but that was hours ago. I'm just on my way home from a friend's and was giving this girl a ride to her house. No, I don't know her name. No, I'm not sure where my "friend" lives - somewhere in the apartments "back there," with a vague wave in the direction he came from. I just got distracted reaching for my cigarettes and didn't see the sign in time.
Fortunately I've played most of these games before, so my next question is "So are you taking any medications sir?" It's truly amazing the answers you get too - the number of people who either deny ever drinking, or honestly haven't been, but will give you a list of medications they are on a mile long & apparently think it's ok to drive while consuming. For example, our answer here was "Oh yeah, I just took six Percocets about a half hour ago, that's all." Yes - SIX. I remember what one did to me after surgery, I can't even imagine what level of use you are at to be taking six & still walking, much less driving.
Obviously by now I know we're going to be more than a few minutes, so I've already got another unit coming to back me up on the stop. I start asking more questions to continue my DUI investigation, and it doesn't take me long at all to figure out two things - #1 - this guy is definitely going to be spending some time with me & #2 - he's played this game before. For example, when I ask him if he can read and write, say his alphabet, count simple numbers & things like that - no, no he can't do those, sorry sir. Now sure, there are plenty of folks out there who unfortunately can't. Not many of them though will tell me two minutes later about being a supply clerk in the military, and you have to have some basic ability to even get a license much less function in society. Same thing when it comes time to ask him to get out of the car to do any performance tests like walking a line; we've gone from functioning enough to obviously get in & out of the car & drive, to "No, I'm disabled and use a wheelchair for everything. It's in the back. I can't walk or even stand."
Again, I've known plenty of disabled folks who drive just fine and need wheelchairs for everything else. Not many of them drive sporty cars without any sort of lift setup or similar accommodations. Plus, we get back to our marvelously incredible story when I ask more questions. How did you get in the car tonight? "Oh, she helped me." Meaning the magical hooker who I've already talked to separately & admitted to just getting in the car two minutes ago. The same one who told me they were on their way to score some rock before heading to her place, but I stopped them too soon. How were you going to get out when you get home? "I'll just call my wife or someone to come downstairs and get me out." No, this is just the case of the guy who has played the DUI game before and is doing everything he can to not only avoid the tests, hoping I won't be able to do anything, but also to maybe avoid jail out of the sympathy/difficulty card... I even take a moment to run a quick check on his record to make sure the suspected prior is there (which of course, it is.)
This is one of those times it is nice to have some experience and background doing this sort of stuff, along with teaching it & knowing what to look for and some of my alternatives. Yes, doing a DUI arrest without all my field tests isn't as easy - there is a reason for the tests after all, and they make great evidence in court that is backed up by case studies and case law. But I also still get to use all my other observations, questions, notes and everything else to help in the case when it comes time - after all, that is all a trial is really, is painting a picture for a judge or jury as to what happened... so I spend the next little bit just asking plenty of questions, using my eyes and ears and everything else & getting my little notes down to put in my case file for this one. Like a lot of DUI's this one pretty much let me know he was being arrested within the first couple of minutes of the stop itself - everything else is just building the foundation and the walls higher.
Well, finally I reach the point of about all I really can do on the street for this one, plus I've worked out with one of the road supervisors how we are going to handle the transport given his mobility issues. In all fairness, even though I doubt parts of his story, I certainly can't just ask the guy to stand up & throw the cuffs on him and see what happens - I have to treat him with the same courtesy, respect & accommodation anyone else gets, and figure out a way to work around things.
So, we get things sorted out, I tell him the magic words "You're under arrest," and get to the jail... where, surprise surprise, we don't want to take the breath or blood test - not that I wasn't expecting this. Again, just another sign that he's played this game before, and thinks he can avoid his problems by not giving that sample as well. It just means a bit more paperwork in general, and I add to it by typing out a search warrant for that blood sample. I figure I've already built plenty of probable cause with the case in general, so why not get that bit more evidence to bring into court on the day in question. Which means yet another round of moving him, picking him up & getting in and out of vehicles over at the hospital, then back to the jail again.
Once that is all over I can FINALLY start on the actual arrest paperwork - like many people have said in other jurisdictions, a DUI takes more paperwork than just about anything except a major homicide, and is often fought harder. Not only do we have the normal things like property forms, an arrest report, witness subpoenas and such, there is a whole separate stack of things I have to include just for the DUI. This is all before I even get close to taking him up in front of a magistrate for a hearing - so if you're starting to get the impression it is a time consuming, tedious process, then you are correct. Not something you want to shortcut either - not only because you want to win the cases you take to court, but you owe it to the people you arrest to give them your best effort and not cut corners, if that makes sense. As I make an effort to explain to recruits, when your actions can result in someone losing their freedom for a year or more, their job, their home and everything else that could possibly come of this, then you have a duty to make sure that you are absolutely fair, correct and factual in doing so. Which means, in the case of a DUI like this, hours worth of work - and I'm already up much later than I had planned... He even starts griping to me about how "This is taking too long, why do we have to do all this?" which leads to me reminding him who made our date tonight, and it certainly wasn't my decisions that got us here...
We finally get up to the magistrate and I go through my speech on things to get my warrants - which is where his whole "Oh, I'm just a poor, disabled veteran and I don't even know what I did to get arrested." speech... I know it's b.s., he knows it's b.s., even the magistrate knows... but what can I do but let him have his say. A short time later I'm able to wrap up my end of things & pass him off to the deputies for the night; he'll see the judge in the morning once he's sobered up, and then get a chance at a bond or being released on his signature until the date of trial.
So, that's the story of how I spent my night, and why I found it so amusing and frustrating at the same time.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
patience is requested
so I hope you all don't mind another day's delay. Thanks.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
More to follow.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day Order
—General Orders No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic Headquarters
I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but Posts and comrades will, in their own way, arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, Comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers sailors and Marines, who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation's gratitude—the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this Order effective.
I had the great honor of serving this nation in the United States Navy for fourteen years of my life. During this time I unfortunately buried 17 of my friends and fellow service members due to war, accidents, and even unfortunately a suicide. Today we pause to remember those we knew who fell during their service to an ideal greater than themselves, and for all those who have fallen over the years.
Your sacrifices are not forgotten. May you be at peace, and may your families know that we will always be grateful.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Small "l", big "L"
Anyways, a bit back Meadowlark had asked me to expand a bit on what I meant by "small "l" libertarian" & I wanted to take the chance to do so.
First off, I certainly can't take credit for the label - I've seen it a number of times on the interwebs over the past several years, and am unsure who has the original claim to the term, but it's certainly not me. Full disclosure moment passing by now...
Libertarian/Constitutionalist/Browncoat mentality I certainly identify with - mixed in with a healthy dose of P.J. O'Rourke, world-weary cynicism, and the idealism that the founding fathers had it pretty darned close with the original operating manual & the Bill of Rights. Sure, we've had to add a few others along the way (along with some that certainly WEREN'T needed), but as an operating system the free market & open society, while not perfect, is beating every other game in town. I say that with the experience of having lived in & visited a number of spots that did not have these same freedoms, and seeing the end results in practice as opposed to classroom theory.
And, like a great many people, I think our govenrment and society has gotten a whole lot larger than it's britches were ever intended to house... When you have a great portion of our nation seeking further opportunities to suckle at the teat of public largease, and the natural tendency of a bureaucracy to continue to grow like a cancerous mass, we have changed greatly from what we were even 75 years ago. Note, I am not blaming this on any one president, party, or philosophy - just a trend which has travelled down an ever-steepening slope towards madness. Between an ever-increasing amount of our children's futures being spent before they are born, the growth in regulation until simply breathing without permission will soon be a crime, and the actions of our "representatives" whose sole goal is to remain in office as long as possible and "vote their conscience" as opposed to actually listening to those they claim to represent, we travel further each year down a road away from the republic.
Our world has changed - despite what some would wish, the global marketplace, and the ease of travel of not only people but more importantly information and ideas, means that we will never again be living in a simple, agrarian self-sufficient society as a whole. Note, I'm not saying individuals cannot choose this route, simply that as a member of the modern world the nation as a whole can't retain that lifestyle. Be that as it may, like I feel a great many others do, I long for some of those simpler ideals to return to the forefront of our nation. The same ones you try to teach your kids when they are growing up. Take care of yourself and your things. Be nice to other people. Stand up for what's right, even when others don't. Keep your hands to yourself. Share your toys nicely. Tell the truth. etc. etc. etc.
The Libertarian Party on the other hand, as a political entity, I cannot support or believe in. What was once based on many of these same ideals, has grown instead into the party of "anarchy lite" - wanting not only a free market, but hell a completely open market. No prohibitions on drugs, pornography, or any other kinds of sales or regulation. No military action or involvement overseas for any reason (#1 we've seen how well that has worked as a plan in the past, and #2 see my comment reference a global society above). No involuntary commitments in mental institutions (and I can tell you from experience how many people who need help THINK they need help). No more welfare. No more affirmative action or protection against any form of discrimination (not that our current policies are great, but they were put in place for a reason). No government involvement in labor laws or collective bargaining, minting of monies, etc. Basically a nice return to the years of the robber-barons, where the rich will nicely hold all the power, since the government can't step in. Oh, of course this won't happen, because this platform drinks from the same fluffy unicorn kool-aid as a lot of other ideas & trusts in human nature to make inherently good decisions... For those of you who skipped the last 5000 years of recorded history, I'll wait while you catch up. But basically it can be summed up as the Libertarian Party has taken the platform that ANY government is bad, and people don't need it. Again, not a fan of big government, see my notes prior to this... but we need to have some things to help mediate the "common good".
So, that's the reason for my statement in the title bar - because while I don't identify with either the Democratic or the Republican party as they now stand by any stretch, and while most of my ideals would be labeled as being somewhat constitutionalist or libertarian, I do so as an individual not as a member of that party either. Hope that explains it somewhat... a whole lot of others on the web do a better job of it than I do, so if you're new to the concept read & explore.
I'm going to wrap this up with a few things. #1 is a quote that sums it up well I think:
- "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand
and, for your closing lighter note, if you haven't done so already go & read Republican Party Reptile & Parliament of Whores by P. J. O'Rourke - a great introduction to his work & one that addresses a lot of these ideas with a great dose of humor.
Friday, May 22, 2009
As the wife mentioned here, the munchkin terrorist brigade was up at OMG it's early again today... and in an effort to let my brain slowly become coherent, as well as providing a visual distraction for everyone I popped in an episode of Firefly - ended up choosing "The Message" for those who are fans. . Always a nice thing to watch again & as my son said "I like your space movies, they're amazing!"
Of course, it wasn't until I was into the episode that I thought about it in context of the weekend, and friends of my own who passed on. For some reason the part at the end, with the funeral in the snow will always stick with me. Reminds me I need to get something of a memorial day post together.
Anyway, on a Browncoat Note, here's Michelle Dockery's great rendition of "Mal's Song" for you all to enjoy.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Then took Jacob to the local gunshow, just to see what things looked like. Inventory appears to be getting back on track, but prices are still way up - same for ammo. Primers and powder in short supply. Magazines back in stock too, but again prices high. Fortunately I didn't NEED anything, so was able to get by with window shopping.
Feeling a bit off, think I am catching the crud the kids have had floating around...
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
A guilty confession...
Well, the bastards at Comedy Central sucked me in - particularly with the ability to watch episodes when I want, as opposed to being stuck to "their" hours...
Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire.
This is the funniest freaking thing I have seen in years! Particularly since I am seeing just about all the cliched junk from any campaign of D&D run by teenage boys throughout the past 20 years of gaming. The characters are amusing and the show is good about not taking itself seriously as it pokes some fun at all the fantasy archetypes.
Give it a try.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Short work note
So we got started and he quickly gave me a good alert in the right area - we looked under the building, but couldn't see anything but I was still confident. That means someone got to go into the crawlspace underneath - since I was already there and involved I figured why not get dirty? This kept the forensics folks happy too, since it meant they got to stay clean... while letting the bomb dog guy crawl around in the neighborhood cat box/trash dump...
Yep - he found it alright - sitting right under there in the dark & trash. I was quite proud of him the whole way home - even though he pretty much just gave me a look like "Duh boss, I TOLD you it was there, like you had to check?"
What's in a label?
"White African-American Suing NJ Med School for Discrimination"
Let's see - my wife grew up in Africa, her folks still live there. In fact she's spent more time living there than she has in the States. For years she has identified herself more as an African than an American in many cultural ways - for she often feels a foreigner in the country she is a citizen of. Plus let's consider the fact that her ancestry includes within recent generations Cherokee, various Celts, and the other mixes common to our immigrant nation. So, is she an American, and African, a Native American or what?
Or there's me. Who in the past three generations has seen a mix of Ute, Scots border/English, German, Russian and who knows what blend together under one roof. I've always identified with the native side, whereas I have other family members who don't want to imagine anything non-Caucasian being mixed in. The same as she has family who still thinks her mom "married a Yankee" because her father is from Virginia originally. And these are just the labels we deal with in our own families, much less when dealing outside that kith & kin.
Now we've blended that together in our children, who will have their own time figuring out which label they wish to use. And whichever they choose, they will also face the labels society puts upon them both by their own choices and by their appearances...
But who gets to decide, and what makes it so? Does the fact of someone's ethnicity make them "more" or "less" an American, or an African, or an Asian than another? Or does geography decide it? I know whites from Africa, Mexico, Hong Kong, and just about every place else - does that make them African, Mexican, or Asian? The same as I know blacks from America, the same zip codes in Mexico, and the Philippines - are they still "African-whatever?" How many generations does it take for us to realize that we define our own cultures and needs, not what we look like? Because honestly, the majority of "African Americans" in this country have been here for generations - long past the point of having any cultural connection to another continent; the same as again a great majority of Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans and whatever else you choose have also long been separated from their land of origin.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for maintaining your family identity and roots - for by remembering our pasts we can place ourselves in the context of the present. But we also need to learn when to move beyond these labels and embrace the place we have come to.
I certainly don't expect my brief musings on the subject to fix the cultural problems that continue to plague this planet. But I'm curious as to anyone else with similar experiences & your thoughts on the subject.
Free advice, a bargain at twice the price!
When showing up to do a product demonstration/company bragfest on your wonderful new high-speed tactical robot that we really must buy right now all-the-cool-kids-are-doing-it at my office today...
It's probably not a good sign for your potential earnings if you can't get not one, but two of the gorram things to work for more than five minutes or further away than 20 feet!
Just sayin' - if I needed those kind of tactical limitations I can buy it in the toy section at Radio Shack & paint it black myself.
And calling me later with a voicemail full of the excuses why doesn't really help matters now Sparky...
Monday, May 11, 2009
Can anyone get verification of this?
Can anyone tell me if this is verified or not? Not that I'm concerned about the questions, but yet again it is a sign of folks poking their noses where they don't belong.I had a doctors appointment at the local VA clinic yesterday and found something very interesting I would like to pass along. While going through triage before seeing the doctor, I was asked at the end of the exam, three questions.
(1. Did I feel stressed?)
(2. Did I feel threatened?)
(3. Did I feel like doing harm to someone?)
The nurse then informed me, if I had answered yes to any of the questions, I would have lost my concealed carry permit as it would have gone into my medical records and the VA would have reported it to Homeland Security.I am a Viet Nam vet and 15 year cc permit holder. Looks like they are going after us vets.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
More of the random...
- Then I proceeded to get up at 5am and head out to one of the local universities to help do a pre-event bomb screening... just happens to be the same school where I am taking classes. I mention this, because apparently my partner Helix is not pleased with current tuition rates or something, because this is the second time that he has chosen this site to leave a nice, big smelly surprise right in the middle of the auditorium... Yep - poop cleanup - one of the parts of the job they never mention in advance!
- Get to go in and diplomatically chew some higher-level butt tomorrow - there was a bit of an incident over the weekend where they should have called out my unit & it didn't happen. So I have to find a way to address that problem in hopes of avoiding such future drama. Other than that I have a full week of training and other work fun ahead, so hopefully a few stories will come out of it.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Is anyone starting to get that whole "I'll still respect you in the morning, and I promise to pull out in time." feeling from the government besides me?
Anyways, as part of the cuts, the administration has decided that the funds for families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty needs to be cut in half as well. From $110 million to $60 million. Even with LEO deaths up across the board... Well, here's a little perspective on what the government felt was more important, from Blue Sheepdog:
What’s more important that the widows and orphans of police officers? Try these:
- $100 million for the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program
- $200 million to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program
- $900 million for the IRS for the “Limitation on Administrative Expenses”
- $600 million to pay for a fuel-efficient federal auto fleet
- $650 million for the Digital Converter Box Program to help the constantly delayed transition from analog television
- Up to $1 billion for “summer activities” for youths as old as 24
- $40 million for the occupational research agenda
- $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstrations
Nice to know some family will be able to see the story of the latest officer death on their new digital signal...
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
So, having left a piece of the notepaper lying around the living room the other I got a text from my lovely wife asking "Um, that isn't the kind of rabbit tool I'm thinking of, is it?" and me having to explain the pause for laughter to everyone else there...