Friday, May 22, 2015

He's a pistol

You might want to sit down for this news.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who gave up his jersey number 81 for prison shirt #174954,  took part in a jailhouse fracas Monday at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts.

Hernandez, who is supposed to be very busy serving a life sentence following his murder conviction in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, took time away from his deep penitence to serve as a lookout for another inmate who confronted another prisoner in that inmate's cell.  That's what officials told CNN, anyway.

After the two inmates had their fight, they, along with Hernandez, were disciplined, and the former NFL star was sent to what prison officials call a "special management section."

Aaron must be a very busy guy up in the Ironbar Hilton, what with preparing an appeal for the life sentence he got last month and preparing for a double-murder trial coming up in Boston.  He is accused of shooting two men in 2012 after one of them made him spill his drink at a nightclub that I heard is called T.J. Shootington's.

"Hi there!  I'm Aaron!  What's YOUR name?"
Nah, I made up that last part, but here is my question.  Hernandez, at the very least, is an unpleasant fellow, already guilty of one murder and about to stand trial for two more.  Why is he out and about, strolling through the cell block, available to serve as lookout for a friend in a fight?  Why are these people not locked up in their cells, away from each other and far away from us?

But, look at the bright side.  At least old Aaron is making new friends in the calaboose.  So many times, it's hard to reach out and connect with the other vermin.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

There's one in every zip code

One of the reasons that we decided to move our vast financial resources (six digits, if you count the cents column) from the Bank of These United States of America to our Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union (and there were many reasons) is that the credit union is not very likely to be the scene of an armed holdup, since bad guys know that lots of police are in and out of there all day, some in uniform, some in plain clothes, but all toting sidearms.

Whereas, the BoTUSoA has to hire an off-duty cop to hang around, armed, all day to deter armed robberies and whatnot.

It's a good idea to have public safety personnel out and about, in my opinion.  It shows the public that they are on the job, which is why for the life of me I can't get this guy's point.  He's out in California, and he sees the local fire crew getting their groceries at a store (they have to eat, too, you know) and he does not like it, so he starts honking on them.

Apparently he is upset that they are not buying groceries - even he acknowledges that firefighters cannot just punch out and go to H.R. Stuffingburger's for a two-hour three-martini lunch- but he chooses to quibble over their choice of where to shop!  He insists that they deal with some specialized meat shop just because it's closer to the firehouse.  Never mind that it's probably much more expensive than at a chain supermarket.

The next time you see a police officer taking a break to see a man about a horse and maybe grab a drink, or see a fire crew at the BuySumMor gettin' the fixin's for chop suey, how about just a) thanking them for going into a line of work that provides protection for you and yours  - or at least b) leaving them to their business?

People.  I tell you.  They come in all types.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Out in Weld County, Colorado, lives a young man named Tanner Brownlee.  Tanner's father, Sam, was a county deputy sheriff when he was killed in the line of duty five years ago.

And his patrol car was being put up for auction.  Lots of people like to drive used police cars, Jake and Elwood Blues among them, but this was a little different, since it was a chance for Tanner to reconnect with his dad.  And the auction was to benefit Concerns Of Police Survivors, a group that assists the survivors of slain officers.

It was good all around, so Tanner started a Go Fund Me page to come up with the scratch to get the car.  It really meant a lot for him to be able to have the winning bid and get that car, but it was not to be.

Tanner raised $50,000, but he was outbid by a local rancher named Steve Wells, who plunked down $60,000 for the keys to that Dodge Charger Pursuit squad car with over 100,000 miles on its odometer.

But it became clear that Wells had a noble reason for buying the car, as he handed the keys right over and said, "Tanner, here's your car."

The key to happiness
Every now and then you hear about some act of generosity or selflessness or kindness, acts that negate the awful deeds of some others, and this is one of those times.

Twice so, because Tanner turned over the money he had raised to the COPS fund, as well!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Devil if I know

"I'm not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” said St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson, who is part of a lawsuit accusing more than 100 priests and church employees of sex abuse. “I understand today it's a crime.”

Oh.  OK then.

Nancy Gordeuk
Then there's Nancy Gordeuk,  the founder of TNT Academy, a nontraditional high school where students can follow nontraditional paths to a diploma.  Recently, at her school's graduation exercises, she messed up the order of speakers and had to call the audience back to hear the valedictorian speak.  You know how that was going to go; the crowd was excited to share in the moment with their graduates, and suddenly they're told to sit back down, and things got confused and some people got up again to leave.

"Look who's leaving! All the black people," she said, in what turned out to be her last official act at the school, which fired her several days later.  But before they let her go, she said, "My side is I’m not a racist, I didn’t know black people was a racist term, I didn’t say the n-word or anything like that, because that’s not in my vocabulary!” she said, arguing that it was merely an observation. “I made a statement, it wasn’t a racist remark.”

Some observations don't need to be made, in case she didn't know that. Here's another one, from the email she sent to the parents of her students:  “The devil was in the house and came out from my mouth. I deeply apologize for my racist comment and hope that forgiveness is in your hearts.”

So she admits racism and drags the devil into all this, and she went on, asking her school community to move forward and forget all this unpleasantness.

Travis Gordeuk
And then her son Travis got on Facebook and backed his mother with these well-chosen words: "If anyone has something to say about my mom and how she ran her graduation—come say it to my face," he wrote. "Yall [n--gas] aren’t talkin about [s--t] so if u got somthing [sic] to say come see me face to face."

And he included their home address, for those wishing to see him face to face.

Meanwhile, a Boston jury rejected the notion proffered by the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev defense team that the Boston Bomber was influenced by his radical older brother.  Surely, no one of 20 years has their own mind, and is always willing to do as their older sibling suggests/demands/orders.  Ask any older brother.

We look to clergypeople to uplift us all and provide the moral underpinnings of society, and here we have one whose defense is that he did not know it was illegal to have sex with children.

We look to educators to teach our young and lift them from the morass of stupidity and ill-preparedness that awaits the uneducated, and here was a school principal laying out her prejudice for all to see, and blaming Satan, who is down in hell preparing for the arrival of a young man who killed and maimed out of hatred, and was defended by lawyers who blame his older brother.

No one wants to accept responsibility for their actions and harmful behavior? Are we just going to say "the hell with it"?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Reading is FUNdamental!

"The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day," if you mean "yesterday" for "that day," and "The Baltimore Orioles" for "The Mudville Nine."  They've gotten this baseball season off to a muddy start, winning one, losing one, and never getting momentum built up.  This past weekend, they lost games to the Anaheim, California Angels of Greater Los Angeles, California on Friday and Saturday nights, scoring only one run in each game and looking, shall we say, either lacklustre or slapdash as a team. Possibly even haphazard.

So, what a ballclub needs to get out of a slump is a good pitcher, and when one regular pitcher reported out with bronchitis and another said his back was sore, the team turned to a rookie without one inning of big-league experience, Mike Wright. All Wright did was, he pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings as the team beat the Angels, 3-0.
Now, you might expect that Wright might have been a trifle jittery before making his major-league debut.  He said he was a little nervous in the first inning, and then settled in for the rest of a great day.

I refuse to make a
"The Wright Stuff" joke
“That’s everything you dream of going into it, and it was really fun,” said Wright, who gave up four hits, walked none and struck out six. “I was a little nervous the first inning. It’s to be expected.”

Here is the secret, one I'm glad to pass along to those of you still employed in situations bound to make one jumpy:  Instead of sitting in the locker room with the rest of the team, hearing all the baseball team chattering and getting all worked up, Wright took a book and sat reading in the vacant stands.  Several hours later, some fan sat in the very seat once occupied by the man the fan was watching pitch so well!

And the book that Wright, a graduate of East Carolina University was reading?   “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows,” the last of the tripartite novel series by J.K. Rowling. 

Wright says he has always stayed in the habit of reading in the stands before a game, and also says he has read all the Harry Potter books at least three times.

Let's hope the next book he reads will be that sensational best seller "Adam Jones and The Coconut Cream Pie of Victory."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Rerun: Bad Office Manners

Bad Office Manners

Never ones to be outdone, the good folks at the Comcast website have published a list of the Top Ten obnoxious things that people do at work.  I looked it over, but I can't say they hit everything.  I mean, for some people, the obnoxiety starts before they even GET to work, the way they drive and, once there, take up two places or so.  The other day, we got an email advising that someone had parked out front in a B.A. Ford Excursion, taking up FOUR spots at once.  That's got to be some sort of record, but where would you look it up?

I haven't even taken a gander at the Comcast list of offensive things to do at work.  I thought of my own - and I must point out that this list is not reflective of where I work now!  Those people are all angels, and put up with my singing and bad jokes. 

But let's go with:
I like to use a picture every day. Say hi to Phil Silvers!
  1. wearing stanky cologne or perfume or aftershave, or having other forms of bodystank.  Will cause people to use the fisheye.
  2. playing someone's favorite music loudly on a scratchy cheap broken clock radio that they didn't want in their bedroom any longer, it's such a brokedown relic, but it's good enough to play Cyndi Lauper's execrable "Time After Time" every day around 10.
  3. having an office that looks like the Rain Forest down at the Aquarium, with vines and trailing arbutus hanging in one's face when one stops by to pick up the Bramblebury account folder.  Notice: this sort of foliage is often accompanied by macrame.  Beware.
  4. Setting up what looks like the Salad Bar area from a Golden Corral buffet on the work area.  
  5. Similarly, setting up what looks (and smells like) the coffee section at a WaWa.  Mr Coffee, Keurig, French Press, Drip-O-Lator: we've seen all the coffee setups in offices, with the little note about remembering to feed the kitty, and the IOU's in the coffee mug where dollars ought to be.
  6. The people who have something to sell on behalf of their children, fraternal group or Chowder And Marching Society every week.  Every so often, sure, and everyone likes a chance to purchase pizzas and candles and popcorn, especially when it benefits a good cause.  But...every week?? For young Brattleboro's Free Form Ballet group?  How much candy can we eat?
  7. Smokers who congregate right by the door so they can exhale something KOOL right in your face as you enter the building.  I am sorry for smokers, a group that once numbered me among them, but I am willing to betcha that most smokers would still go out and puff up if they were required to put on some sort of clown costume and ride around the parking lot on a unicycle while getting their nicotine fix.
  8. People whose cell phones are set on maximum volume with the weirdest ringtones you ever heard...and will hear...all day.  Enchanting as the lilting love ballad "Beaten, Gagged, Bound and Chained," by Sadie O' Masochist might be to you, others  might find it, well, repugnant.
  9. People who "speak' to service personnel by using only hand gestures (pointing the index finger at them, and then pointing that finger at a spill or pile or trash) or third-person irregular ("Custodial! Custodial! Overflowing bidet in executive men's room!")
  10. Insensitive, inappropriate "jokes" or comments about someone else's race, color, creed, ethnic background, physical condition, area of domicile, or sexual preference tell us a lot about the boors who spout this bilge.
That's your Top Ten, and be sure to tune in next week to see if anything changes.  "Using swear words, cheap vulgar terms or taking the Lord's name in vain" is moving up fast!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Saturday Picture Show, May 16, 2015


As the last of the spring blossoms fade away, I give thanks to the good people at Flonase. I don't mind giving them a free plug in exchange for two squirts of their magic fluid up my nose every morning, squirts which stop my itchy watery eyes, itchy watery nose and itchy watery non-stop whinging about spring allergies! This is from our jaunt to the lovely Winterthur Garden and Museum last weekend.

Harry Shearer says he is leaving The Simpsons, and this time, his annual threat to stop being the guy who plays the voice of authority figures from Principal Skinner to Monty Burns to local news anchor Kent Brockman might be for real.  The show has never replaced actors before.  Phil Hartman and Marcia Wallace both passed away, and so did Troy McClure and Edna Krabappel with them.  Let us pray that cooler heads - if there are any in Springfield - will bring sense to this sorrow.
Two album covers make the list this week...and this one is,
just simply, plain dreadful. Clowns are just too bizarre.  Still, it would be funny if you opened this album and 117 little records came piling out.
Not long after The Beatles released their groundbreaking "Sgt Pepper" album, Baltimore-born Frank Zappa and his Mothers of Invention replied as only they could.   This is thought to be the only album cover to contain a photo of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Everybody say "Awwwwwwww" for this little fox cub who was "adopted" by a collie as stepmom.  Thanks, Lassie!
They say that everything is bigger in Texas.  Here's a photo of a tornado-producing storm cell from down there this past week.
This young lady and her cat both are living with "Heterochromia iridium" - each have two eyes of different colors.  
Of course, the most famous person alive with Heterochromia iridium is David Bowie.  I asked for a picture of him showing his two different-colored eyes, and here's what I get.  See you next week!