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    Friday, April 25, 2008

    What Does The NYPD Have To Do To Be Accountable?

    I suspect that this will not end well.

    NEW YORK - Three detectives were acquitted of all charges Friday in the 50-shot killing of an unarmed groom-to-be on his wedding day, a case that put the NYPD at the center of another dispute involving allegations of excessive firepower.

    Justice Arthur Cooperman delivered the verdict in a Queens courtroom packed with spectators, including victim Sean Bell's fiancee and parents, and at least 200 people gathered outside the building.

    Yahoo News.

    Ah.  Brilliant!

    I'm not sure if Sean Bell had priors or not.
    He might have been drunk.
    They might have been in a bad part of town.
    But no way does any unarmed person deserve to be shot 50 times and the perpetrators, police or not, do not go to jail, at least not in the America that I know.

    Wow.  We all should be SO proud.

    Sigh.  I guess I'll have to go back to stockpiling food, water, and ammo.  Actually, strike that ammo part.  But no doubt some people are thinking that way today.

    Note to self: for the love of God, avoid the police.  You have a daughter to feed.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Think, Parents!

    A cautionary tale for parents, divorced or otherwise.

    Yesterday, I was at the park with my daughter, Grace, her half-sister Noelle, and their mother.  It was a gorgeous day, and the playground was relatively close to the kids' school and two other schools, but when we arrived, there were no other children there.  We stuck close and let the kids play in the sand.

    I scanned the area.  Nothing particular was out of whack; it was, quite simply, a very simple park, with playground, a port-a-potty (yuck!) and a large, fairly well restored plantation-looking house that I could only assume was some sort of neighborhood gathering place or clubhouse back in the day.

    At about the time that I started explaining to Grace that the loud pecking that we heard on the house was simply a very loud woodpecker, I noticed one thing out of place.

    One middle aged man in a lawn chair.  Sitting about a block away from us at the other edge of the park looking at nothing in particular.

    My parental instincts made a loud buzzing sound.  It was very similar to the sound the inside of my head used to make when a good-looking woman was within some distance of my personal space, but I hadn't seen her yet.  I used to call it a Spider Sense, after the character.

    While watching and playing with the kids, out of the corner of my eye I kept looking at this pudgy, middle aged man.

    After a while of only having one other kid come to the playground, my ex and I watched as two children, then three, of about third grade or so came from the public school nearby and start playing... with the parents nowhere in sight.

    We made plans to leave.  However, I wasn't planning on going anywhere with these kids on the playground, and some grown man across the park, who was still looking... wherever.

    Finally, the man folded up his chair, after sitting in the park for what had to have been an hour and a half, packed it into his van (which I know sounds cliched, but it's true, it was a van) and drive away... after circling the park for a block. 

    It wasn't until the van was out of sight until we finally picked up the kids and left.


    You might be a single parent.  You might be a couple of parents that both work.  I don't know what scenarios you might have.  However, the lesson here I think is a good one:  pick up your young children from school.  You never know who might be watching, and if that individual - who might have been no more than a person watching cars drive by in the park, mind you - had harmed your children because they were vulnerable and you were simply too busy to pick them up from school on a regular weekday... well, where would you be then?

    Just a story with a happy ending.


    Monday, April 21, 2008

    What I Would Tell Myself If I Could Go Back In Time To 20

    The other day, this topic came up, and my thoughts were just too juicy to pass up.  So I have decided to post a few thoughts here on the subject.

    What I Would Tell Myself If I Could Go Back In Time To 20

    - Do NOT always do what your friends want you to do. Most of the time, they mean well, but it's often a really bad idea.
    Everyone likes to have friends.  Some friends will, unfortunately, COMPLETELY BURN YOU.  This might not be on purpose, but it happens... and happens a lot.  I personally can attribute some of the worst things I've ever done to the influence of some friend.

    Remember this.

    - Stay away from loose women. Trust me on this one.
    Look, I'm a guy.  And when I was 20, my hormones were out of control.  But before you do something that you regret, think of these topics: STDs that last forever that won't kill you, dealing with crazy women, dealing with the crazy men that deal with those same crazy women, and really, if you want to have a baby, will that crazy woman teach them how to read?  Will they fix your dinner if you're hungry?  Or will they just be crazy?

    You know the answer to those questions.

    - If you ignore the loose women comment above, ALWAYS make sure that they are smarter than you are. If you are an average guy, this should be relatively easy.
    Men are pretty dumb.  And there are an awful lot of crazy women out there.  But 7 times out of 10, even the crazy women will be smarter than you are.  Accept it and learn as much as you can.

    - Avoid debt as much as humanly possible. You don't need a 32 inch TV.
    Most debt is really stupid.  Read a book or go on a run.  Do something good with your life.  Most television is on the Internet somewhere anyway.

    - Read a book a week.
    See above.

    - NO DAY BOURBON. Down this path lies madness.
    Have you ever noticed exactly how much booze is on television?  Or the corner store?  Or the news?  Or ANYWHERE?
    This is an attempt to control you - make you pliant to the world so that you don't notice the things you really want to do.  Don't fall for the hype.

    - Tell the truth. This will require never doing things that you wouldn't want to read in your hometown newspaper the next day.
    You don't have to be a saint.  You just have to be a decent person.  No one is perfect.

    - No matter how wonderful your woman might be, always remember that someone else was there first, and was sick of her.
    This will be useful to remember when you've screwed up for time no. 14 and you're pretty sure that you're about to be really yelled at badly.  You can be mad sometimes, and most of the time, it will still be OK. 

    - Try to be humble.
    This should be easy.  Women mostly love cats, who are tricky and kinda, you know, occasionally evil.  Men love dogs, who basically like steak and such.  If you to judge a person on the company that they keep, which pet is the most humble of the two?  Hint:  Egyptians used to worship cats. 

    Dogs fetched stuff.

    See what I mean?

    - Pick your friends VERY carefully. People tend to get what they deserve.
    My God, this is so important.  If you hang out with evil people, you'd be surprised at how quickly you start planning the demise of civilization as we know it, with you installed as the Ultimate Leader.

    Good things rub off.  So do bad ones.

    - Finally, when you start screwing up the rules above, FORGIVE yourself and move on.
    You'd better do this and remember this rule, because you will screw up a lot.  Don't get too shocked and surprised when you do.  Being overly judgmental to yourself or others will definitely screw you up.

    So there are a few things I'd go back in time and tell myself.

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    How To Weed Out The Truly Stupid

    It's quite simple really.  Get them a camera phone, sit back, and see what happens.

    On their own videotape, six Polk County girls laughed in another girl's face as they beat her so badly she was hospitalized. Friday in court, they hung their heads in shame.

    Not only will the girls be tried as adults for their videotaped attack, they'll also have a hard time getting out of jail. The judge made a pretty strong statement to the kids Friday. Judge Angela Cowden doubled the normal bond for all eight teens.Each is now held on anywhere from $31,000 to $37,000 for kidnapping and battery and Friday many of their parents told Eyewitness News they can't afford to get their kids out.

    Really?  Nice.
    The sweet, sweet justice is reported by, with a hat tip to Fark.

    When the deal goes down, I'm hoping that the judge doles out a little justice to the parents as well.  I wouldn't have said that, but after watching one of the parents of the precious little snowflakes talk about how it was the victims fault on The Today Show the other day, I lost my compassion.

    Here's a tip for you parents:
    Turn the TV off and pay attention to your freakin' kids, please.

    The Question, Ladies And Gentlemen, Is This: Is That A Naked Woman In Dick Cheney's Sunglasses?

    To the right of this post, you'll see the picture that has all of the Internet abuzz. To prove my point, try googling "cheney sunglasses". As of this moment, I have over 137,000 hits, mostly from the last 24 hours. Lord knows how many hits there will be by the time that you read this.

    The general question that people seem to want to have answered is the question referenced in the title of this post (see the Chicago Sun Times or several hundred locations if you don't believe me).

    So, what is that image in Vice-President Cheney's sunglasses, anyway?
    I submit these suggestions to what we are seeing in the image:

    • Satan bowing down to Mr. Cheney.
    • A human soul being sucked from an adult female in order to provide sustenance to the VP.
    • The final emergence of Chulthu.
    • The experiment has finally worked, and Cheney has finally bred a half-human, half-praying mantis beast. He calls it ManTis. Run!
    • The aftereffects of gazing into the Ark of The Covenant (don't look, Marion!).

    What this image in Mr. Cheney's sunglasses is NOT:

    • A naked woman.

    Now. Why were we supposed to care, again?

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    The Top Blogs In the World?

    Over at Valleywag, they've done a beautiful post summing up Time Magazine's article on the World's Best 25 Blogs.  Somehow, they managed to limit it to one page.  Nicely done, Valleywag.

    Noted are blogs such as:

    I'm proud to say that I read those already, along with several others on the list.  However, I ALSO noticed that POW - The blog is not on the list, nor is Single Dads.  Perhaps I should endeavour to make that so.  What do you think?

    Oh, and check out the article.  There's some pretty decent reading there.

    Tuesday, April 01, 2008

    Back To Bringing The Goods

    I took a pretty extended break from blogging for a little bit (my most significant break since, oh, 2004 or so) but after a vacation to SXSW, spending an increasing amount of time with my four-year old (that's about to go up too - more on that later) and trying to concentrate on work, I found the exact article to ease my way back into the writing gig when I saw this this little educational nugget about the public educational system, or lack of it.

    WASHINGTON - Seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, with the lowest graduation rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland, according to a report released Tuesday.

    MSNBC gets the cite.

    Let's see.  I live in Denver.  It's one of the most highly educated cities in the nation, I've heard somewhere.

    Denver:  Denver County School District - 46.3 percent graduation rate.

    43.6 percent graduation rate?

    So I'm going to have to try to send my daughter to private schools for the rest of her days?

    Public education.  My wallet.  I weep for them both.

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