Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The sign says "Drive Like Your Kids Live Here," not "Drive Like Your Kids."

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Peggy and I couldn't help but notice the juxtaposition on the front page of the SUN paper the other day. "Woman Held In Fatal Crash" concerns Callie Noble Schwarzman, 22, whom police identify as the driver of a Kia Sorento that ran over and killed a woman and her 5-year-old granddaughter last Monday morning.

Deborah Limmer and her granddaughter, Delaney Gaddis, were out for their customary morning stroll at about a quarter to seven when death came for them in the form of Scharwarzman's inability to control her car.  Police say there was evidence of alcohol and a controlled dangerous substance in the vehicle, and Schwarzman has now been charged with DUI for a second time. She has only had her license for three years, and yet her record is replete with nearly two dozen traffic violations in that time.

And now come these charges in last week's tragedy:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol
  • Driving while so far impaired by drugs/ drugs and alcohol that cannot drive safely
  • Driving while impaired by controlled dangerous substance
  • Negligent manslaughter by automobile (two counts)
  • Homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol (two counts)
  • Homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by drugs (two counts)
  • Homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by controlled dangerous substances (two counts)

 Clearly, this woman, if she ever gets out of prison, should never drive again.

But look at the paper! While some say she was not jailed before for her past offenses because the jails and prisons are full up, the paper says otherwise. Lots of room in there, so come on, legal system! If people cannot behave, away they go.

If Schwarzman had taken a pistol or a baseball bat or a deadly toxin and killed that grandmom and the little girl, she'd sure as hell be going up for a long time.  We need to stop overlooking driving while impaired as "just a little mistake everyone makes" and start jamming people up for doing it.

And finally, before I climb off this high horse, did you also see the little blurb on the front page "Cook Seeks Work Release"? That's our Pixilated Preacher, the Boozy Bishop, Heather Cook, who was drunk driving and texting a couple of years ago as she careered down Roland Av, killed a guy on a bike, and ran home in her car, hoping no one would notice what she left behind. To date she has uttered not one word of contrition, but now is asking to be sprung from Jessup to do work release.

Stay put, Your Disgracefulness. There's plenty of room in prison for you. In fact, you might want to put together a welcome basket for Callie Schwarzman.

Monday, July 30, 2018

There went Bronson

People seem to have a hard time comprehending this whole "my right to free speech" deal.  It's not all that complicated, to be honest.

But for the information of Bronson Harmon, formerly destined to attend California Polytechnic State University on a wrestling scholarship, an American still has the right to say what he or she feels like saying.

Nothing, however, prevents consequences from occuring as a result of ill-chosen utterances.

Take this simple test: go into a tough neighborhood (you won't have trouble finding one) and find the burliest, meanest, sturdiest-looking person standing on the corner, and question their right to remain standing there, on the grounds of being a "big wuss."

He or she will forthwith drive you into the ground like a tent stake, but they will never question your right to have said what you said, for that  would constitute prior restraint, and the laws of our land prohibit that, as any street-corner scapegrace can tell you.

So out in Californ-eye-aye, young Bronson Harmon, late of Oakdale High and headed for Cal Poly, goes to a rally where people were protesting the president's zero-tolerance immigration policy.

He went with his father, but their plan was not to protest the policy, but, rather, to protest the protesters.  All of that is perfectly good. Right up until our man Bronson, brandishing a Trump sign from the 2016 election, flipped off a man named Abdul Lasaing and said,"(Expletive) you, (gay slur)."

And of course, because every single thing that every person does outside and inside their home and place of work is now on HD video, images of this got around to the college he planned to attend, and they said not so fast, son.

Cal Poly is not mentioning the specific reason for stripping Harmon, 18, of his athletic scholarship. They can't. Cal Poly Athletic Director, Don Oberhelman, told The Modesto Bee newspaper that the school saw the video, and "Harmon will not be a member of Cal Poly’s wrestling team(...) We cannot comment on any details regarding his status as a student because of federal and state privacy laws."

The corollary to the "everything you do is on tape" law is "Everything you do, you post to social media as soon as you can," and that's what Bronson did, only to complain of receiving death threats over it.

"I had a world peace sign and I'm not sure if he called me a (anti-gay slur) because of the sign or because of my darker skin color," said Lasaing, the victim of Bronson's rant, adding, "I could not say anything back since I felt like he would of (sic) jumped me."

Bronson now says that what he said to Lasaing was "definitely not the right thing," but also, guess what! he's a victim too!  

"I am supposed to be there to help the community be the best person I can be and represent the college the best way I can," Bronson said. "But I still feel like my freedom of speech was taken away, and I don’t think my scholarship should have been revoked over something like that.”

It's a good thing he got a wrestling scholarship, because he must have been a complete stranger to the Phi Beta Kappa selection board. It's on him that he lost the scholarship, but maybe someone can still teach him something.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Rerun: It's a Grand Old Flag

Quick!  Name the four American state flags that do not contain the color blue!

All right, then, name one of them.  It's Maryland!  (Also California, Alabama and New Mexico.) And only one US state flag (Mississippi) still features the Confederate States of America battle flag saltire, for reasons that no one can quite explain. And you look at all of them, and some of the other state flags are just loopy!

But, Maryland!  I've looked over all the pennants from all 50 states, and there is not a cooler flag in the nation than the one we fly so proudly here in the Free State. There are two components, diagonally arranged: the black and gold is from the family coat of arms of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore back in the 1600s, and the red and white is the coat of arms of the Crossland family, the family of Lord Calvert's mother.

It's been the official state flag since 1904, but for the first 107 years, the flag hung lifelessly in school classrooms from Oakland to Ocean City, and flew from the roofs of state office buildings.  And then!  Wow~!

Some say it started with the 2008 football season at the University of Maryland, when the U painted the state flag design on the end zones at Byrd Stadium. Suddenly, everywhere you looked, you saw the black and gold and red and white! The flag design is very cool now and can be seen on T-shirts, sunglasses, ties (both four-in-hand and bow), socks, car decals, and even sports jackets.  Very chic stuff here.

Here we see the flag as part of the bicep tattoo on a proud Son of Maryland...

...you see it on the uniform jerseys of our baseball and football teams...and UnderArmour, one of the greatest success stories in our state's manufacturing history, dresses the U of MD football team in various flag-related togs.     
I happen to think it's a darn good flag, and it's good to see so many cool young people sporting it all over town.  My suggestion to use the design for contact lenses is still available for anyone who would want to look into it!

Contact lenses do bear looking into.  That's how they work!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Saturday Picture Show, July 28, 2018

 You will kindly allow me to whine a little more about how shabbily country music performers dress nowadays. Tshirt, jeans, ball cap, that's the look. Meanwhile, it was 50 years ago that Hank Snow and the Rainbow Ranch Boys dressed like this. That's Hank in the pink Nudie suit. OK, Luke and Blake and Keith?
 Speaking of how people dress for work, this fellow, Manny Machado, now dresses in Dodger Blue. But as he left Baltimore for greener blue fields, he gave thanks for all he learned from being an Oriole, so we have that to remember.
 By the time the John Cusack movie "Say Anything" came along in 1987, I was already deep into a career, but had I known of this credo earlier, I would have adopted it for my own. It speaks of a higher truth.
 Uhhhhh...let's try the next place down the road...yeah.
 I've seen this before but until now, I had no idea that Trump University had a College of Architecture and Planning.
 When I was in elementary school, there sprang up a new development near us with "new, modern, up-to-date, forward-looking" designs for the houses.  Sixty years later, I drive by those houses, and they look a little odd, like a kid who shows up for the school dance dressed like Bjork with the feathers and all, and no cares. Meanwhile, everyone today wants a house that either looks like a farmhouse right out of "American Gothic," or a mini-mansion that looks like a library.
 I was a big fan of Milton Berle. I love brash comedy and he personified that. When he dressed as a woman and got hit with a pie in the face, I cheered for the days when subtle humor was sent to its room without supper.
I have to assume that this was a one-shot photo, because no one can get a kid to go through the same shenanigan over and over while they fuss with the camera. You get one shot, and this one sure worked out well!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Fox news

Forget about Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who made such a giant spectacle of himself last summer, occupying most of a beach that was closed to the rest of the world except for himself and his family and the guy who delivers his WaWa hoagies.

That was last year's news, and it's hardly representative of the many reasons I love The Garden State.  New Jersey and its residents are among the coolest people on earth. We love it there.

Here's an item that caught my eye from Pittsgrove, N.J:

A woman was going out to tend to her backyard garden when a rabid fox (you have to assume that all wildlife is that way!) came along and tried to get her.  The animal was biting Tammy DuBois, 52, about the lower leg and ankle, even puncturing her skin.

This is the wrong thing to do to a New Jersey girl. Tammy reached down with one hand to hold shut the fox's mouth and, with the other, strangled it.

Image result for fox
She did try to run and get back in the house, but when the fox wasn't having that, she stayed and fought.

"It was biting at my leg, I had to do something," DuBois said.

With one hand on the fox's snout, and the other wrapped around its neck, DuBois was able to subdue the fox, telling the news, "I couldn't do anything else to get it away from me. I don't like to kill anything."

With the fox down, she went into the house, cleaned and bandaged her leg, and got her husband to come home and take her to a hospital,where she is in the middle of a two-week series of rabies treatment.

Image result for tammy dubois pittsgrove
Ms DuBois and her leg
Back at the scene, Animal Control took the deceased fox for tests and confirmed it had rabies, which makes the whole episode a case of justifiable foxicide.

As you go through the rest of your day, I hope it is a pleasant one, and I urge you to recall that people in New Jersey are capable of throttling medium-sized members of the animal kingdom when threatened by same.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I don't feel like it

Image result for pepsi challengeI'm still dealing with the Pepsi Challenge (I chose seltzer) so this whole In My Feelings Challenge is not at all on my screen.

Apparently, there is a famous entertainer known as Drake, and apparently he has a popular song out called "In My Feelings," and apparently there is also a social media performer named Shiggy who made a video of himself dancing to Drake's song (don't people have last names anymore?) and called it #DoTheShiggy.

And now people - dentists! Proctologists! Bridge tolltakers! Will Smith! are getting themselves videoed while doing the Shiggy all over the place and putting that video on YouTube.

And, instead of reading the books they should be reading this summer, your children, and everyone else's, are watching these videos, seeing other people dance to yet another person's music.

And then! People decided that anyone can dance* but how many of us are willing to put our car in neutral and bail out of it, dancing along as the cars career down the road.

And then people wonder if the collective intelligence of the nation is dropping.

So for no good reason except to be cool, people are leaving moving vehicles to dance to a song I never heard while their cars crash into dumpsters, or other cars, and people wind up on the ground.

It's gotten to where the National Transportation Safety Board has had to step in and issue a warning to fools foolish enough to practice this behavior.

Drake is all excited by this
“There’s a time and place for everything, but our nation’s highways and roadways are no place for the #inmyfeelings challenge,” Nicholas Worrell, chief of safety at the NTSB, told the Blast.

“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S.,” Worrell continued, in the vain hopes of someone hearing him. “Hopping out of a moving vehicle or jumping into lanes of traffic to show your dance moves is foolish and dangerous — to you and those around you.”

I understand that many of these people were in their cars in the first place, going to Try 'N' Save to buy Tide Pods to nibble on, cinnamon to ingest by the teaspoon and shot glasses to plump their lips on.

I had to stop swallowing goldfish and cramming myself into a phone booth with 17 other people to write this.
* This is the punch line to the classic vaudeville gag "What's the difference between dancing, and pea-green paint?" "Anyone can learn to dance."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Where in the world is Morris "Moe" Szyslak ?

Peggy just mentioned to me the other day, when we heard a story from a city named Springfield in some other state, that we always wondered if THAT Springfield that they were talking about on the news (Illinois? Massachusetts? Virginia?) was the home of America's favorite family, The Simpsons.

Turns out, no.

Mike Reiss is an original writer for The Simpsons,and appeared on  MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to talk about the show and his new book, "Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons," which I own and which I feel should be a cornerstone of every American family's library.

As Reiss says, Bart's Springfield is "nowhere." More than 40 cities and towns across this great land of ours are named Springfield, and it just sounds like a generic town name, does it not?  Just as The Cleavers from "Leave It To Beaver" hailed from Mayfield, The Simpsons are from Springfield, and no state is ever mentioned, except for the state of hysteria.

Simpsons fans from Massachusetts have noted that since Mayor Joe Quimby and his nephew Freddy speak with a Boston kind of accent, the Fav Five might be from the Bay State. Longtime fans will also recall that Freddy once owned a fishstick factory.

But no.

Wherever they live, I'm glad they do live. Get ready for Season 30 of The Simpsons this fall on your television.

(pictured at right, His Honor, Mayor Quimby, famous for saying, "I propose that I use what's left of the town treasury to move to a more prosperous town and run for mayor. And, er, once elected, I will send for the rest of you.")

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


I have a question.  Actually, I have a lot of questions, but there is one on my mind today, and it concerns golf.

Everyone is all up in arms (another question: where do we get THAT expression?) because at the British Open golf game on Sunday, someone hollered while Tiger Woods was swinging his golf club to hit a golf ball.

Here's the video of the crime scene:

I have watched it 129 times now and I still don't get it. Athletes will tell you that they thrive by focusing on the task at hand: catching a football with 2 people and 4 arms all up in your face, catching a fly ball while wondering if you are about to run into an unpadded outfield wall at full tilt, sinking a free throw to win a basketball game, standing in the batter's box while a man 60' 6" inches away throws a ball at you at a speed of around 98 miles an hour and attempting to hit said ball.

I will share with you some of the irate tweets that irate tweeters twittered:

Whoever yelled during Tiger’s backswing on the 18th tee basically just declared war on America
And we see people doing all these things all the time at games everywhere, from little kids to big professionals, with success and great acclaim.

Yelling in the backswing of Tiger Woods is absolutely blasphemous and that guy should go to jail
So, here is your chance to explain to me why there must be absolute silence while people play golf (not to mention tennis, where the shibboleth against uttering anything louder than a meek sigh is enforced by a strike force of security guards wearing polo shirts and shorts). I mean, Tiger Woods is the one who decides when to swing at the consarned golf ball. He's not waiting for someone to throw something at him; he's the one to swing when he wants to, and he should be focusing on hitting the ball, not worried about what someone is hollering. And this is not just a Tiger thing; every golfer expects surgical quiet.

I've seen grocery cashiers, police officers, firefighters, teachers, truck drivers, and people in dozens of other occupations perform their work quite well with all manner of hollering, screaming, things being thrown at them, and a myriad of other distractions, and it's part of the game.
I know I will hear from golfers, tennis players and their fans to tell me why speaking out loud at these events is as awful as hollering "Baba Booey!" during a church service. Please tell me the difference between a golfer addressing a ball and a baseball player swinging at a ball with 45,000 fans howling and an organ playing and people doing The Wave.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Disregarding safety

When investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrive at the scene, you know at least two things right off: there has been a tragedy, and humans could have prevented it.

This latest disaster, on the waters of Table Rock Lake near the Missouri tourist town, Branson, is just stunning to me.

31 people got on the Ride the Ducks Branson amphibious vessel as a storm approached, and then a thunderstorm came along, swamping the boat. The boat sank and only 14 of those passengers survived.

Predictably, Jim Pattison Jr, president of the parent company for Ride the Ducks Branson, said the storm “came out of nowhere.”

But it did not come out of nowhere.  The storm was literally on the radar for hours last Thursday, but the boat company either did not pay attention to the meteorologists who had been tracking the storm for hours, giving all hands plenty of time and warning, OR they received the warning and said the devil with it, let's take a chance and not miss out on the revenue.

I would be horrified to find the latter to be true.  But who knows?

“[T]his indirect blaming of meteorologists was old a decade ago and is completely inappropriate in this particular situation,” blogged Mike Smith, a retired meteorologist and former AccuWeather executive. 

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch, predicting conditions favorable for dangerous storms in the region, at 11:20 a.m. That was almost eight hours before the storm arrived. Included in the watch was the caution of  “widespread damaging winds likely with isolated significant gusts to 75 mph possible.”

The NTSB is investigating, and say it might take as long as a year to get all the facts.

In the meantime comes information from people who know of such things that these duck boats were built to be amphibious military landing crafts, not a conveyance for almost three dozen people on a pleasure cruise. Their very construction makes them easy to breach, and the canopy on top, so helpful in keeping the sun and rain off the riders, serves to trap people aboard a sinking duck boat.

Image result for duck boat
The saddest thing of all, and I know I harp on this every summer, is that people boarding the duck were told they would not need life preservers. The Law, in its infinite wisdom, does not require them.

And one of the people who left shore in a boat from the marina to try to rescue these 17 souls said that when he got to the site of the accident, there was nothing there at all...except for life jackets, unused, ironically floating on the lake.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday Rerun: Voldemort is not a large city in Maryland

It's just me talking, but I am not a Harry Potter fan.  I don't think that all the inconveniences in life can be solved by casting spells, and speaking of spell, I wish that people would learn to! Muggles and mugworts and people named Petunia do not exist in the real world, and even as a kid, I was all about learning facts, not imagining how great it would be to be at Gryffindor.  

But hey!  If you're into it, it's fine.  When we started reading in elementary school, I went right for books about history and the wars and the presidents.  Other kids were reading novels and short stories, and today's kids still do, which has made Joanne "J.K." Rowling, author of all those Harry Potter books, a very very rich woman over in England.

But it was charity that made her a rich woman, no longer very very rich.  Sure, she made a pretty bundle, but high British taxes and her penchant for making charitable donations ($160 million and counting) pulled her off the Forbes magazine billionaire list.

I know we live in a world where one of Warren Buffett's deal snags him $8 per second, and a senator's daughter makes $18 million a year for denying lifesaving medicine to people.  

But giving $160,000,000 to people in need is the better way to go. Not saying that Warren Buffett isn't similarly generous, but the point is, I think that life gives us gifts and opportunities. It's what we do with them that counts. For example, Ms Rowling has the ability to come up with these story ideas and weave her tales into books that people want to read and movies that people want to go see.  

But she's not about to sit in some castle, counting golden coins and hiring someone to walk ahead of her strewing rose petals in her path (that was Mick Jagger) or feeding her dogs Kobe beef sauteed in truffle butter. You know how they ask for a dollar at the supermarket checkout to fight childhood diseases now and then?

Imagine shelling out a dollar 160 million times!

Good for her.  And Ms Rowling, don't feel too bad.  I'm not on the billionaire list either.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Saturday Picture Show, July 21, 2018

I'm starting to see these Little Free Libraries here and there and I think it's a cool idea - just a little box where people can drop off (or take) books for free! This is a deluxe model with lights, no less!
 Yes! We boomers can do anything! Except spell "guerrilla."
The guy who invented the hammock had me in mind. Anyplace where a nap can be enjoyed is a good place in a pretty garden.
We always heard the Romans had a very advanced culture, but until this long-lost photograph surfaced in a recent archeological dig, we had no idea that they had a fully-functioning mass transit system! Or cameras.
July 1946. I like to picture people on beaches all across America in that first post-WWII summer, looking for 2 square feet of beach to plant themselves and read the latest New Yorker.
This is an abandoned train in Siberia. I wonder what happened here. Did they just quit running the whole railroad and walk away, or what?
You younger people don't know the joy we used to get every fall when we had to switch over to snow tires for pleasurable winter driving, and then when it snowed, we needed chains anyway. This is actually a photo of a car tire with a set of chains being installed by a very tiny mechanic.
So the urge to run out into the streets to celebrate when other people win some athletic competition is worldwide. This is Paris, the City Of Lights, where people set fires because France won the World Cup.

Friday, July 20, 2018

"Be sure you're right, then go ahead"

It's summertime in Baltimore, hon, and that means hot, humid days and late afternoon thunderstorms, which means creeks will rise and flood roadways.

And that means that someone will try to drive their car down a road where the water's a-risin', and need to be rescued.

At right is the photo from the TV helicopter which hovered overhead as firefighters rescued the unidentified driver on Philadelphia Rd in Cowenton on Tuesday. Please. Listen to the people who tell you "Don't drown, turn around!"

It's usually someone in a 4-wheelin' SUV who is pretty sure the guy at the Dodge dealership told him his Durango came equipped with water wings who thinks that cars can ford streams just like it's a Marky Mark movie.  People who drive through water get a cold shower of their own when they find out how expensive it will be to overhaul an engine, electrical system and transmission that were recently baptised by muddy waters.

Think! Think twice!

A little farther from home, up in Wisconsin, a woman was riding a bicycle and came to the Menasha Drawbridge.  The lowered barriers and red flashing lights did not seem to faze her in any way. She must have seen The Blues Brothers movie that very afternoon, because she took the notion that she could Evel Knievel that gap on her Schwinn.

If you haven't seen the video, it's right here.  And the story said that she failed to notice that the draw was cranking UP when she kept on pedaling and fell into the gap.

She was luckier than smart, for sure, because onlookers raced to help her and the bridge operator said "Whoa Nellie!" to the bridge (I happen to know that bridge operators address their bridges in that manner) and got it to stop.

Image result for menasha bridge bicycleProgress is our most important product, as General Electric used to say in their commercials, but sometimes, it's a good idea to look down the road a bit before progressing on. You want to make sure there even IS a road to take!

The 37-year bicyclist was treated at a local hospital for facial injuries and damage to her pride.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Coin Toss

I really get upset when people knock the police, because I have found over the years that the overwhelming majority of them are dedicated public servants who just want to do their job, help people, keep the laws enforced as well as they can until they get the perpetrator to court and everything goes to hell, and also go home after their shift.

And it goes without saying that most of us don't have to worry about getting killed while working. The average grocery clerk doesn't have to make split-second decisions about life and death, and they make almost as much money as police do.

But there I go, generalizing, and that's what I'm talking about. Yes, to be sure, police make mistakes. They are human. And there are mistakes made when dealing with citizens who are not at their most rational. Add weapons and anger and diminished lack of clarity because of alcohol, drugs and mental challenges, and that's when things go sideways.

And as I write this, I am envisioning police that I know reading it, and police haters that I know reading it. Everyone knows someone who hates police because they got a ticket 17 years ago, right?

And I think that there is one case in which all of us can find agreement, and that's the deal with these two women from Georgia, officers who had stopped a woman who was speeding (85 in a 45-mph zone!). The officers then discussed what to do with the woman and decided to haul out a coin-flip app to determine her fate.
Image result for Officer Courtney Brown
Brown (l) and Wilson

In case you hadn't seen this on the news, I'll say it again: these officers had a woman who was driving at approximately twice the legal posted speed, flouting the law and placing all others on that road in tremendous peril, and they play a game to decide whether to give her a ticket or take her into custody.

Sarah Webb is the driver in question; she told these officers she was late for her job at a hair salon as an excuse for speeding. The police involved are Officer Courtney Brown and Officer Kristee Wilson. Brown said she did not have speed detection equipment and Wilson said she was on patrol without her ticket book, but between the two of them they decided to pull out the coin flip app and see what that told them to do.

They arrested Ms Webb and charged her with speeding, reckless driving and driving too fast for conditions, but after the game the officers played with her came to light, the charges were dropped.

"These are people who are supposed to protect us, and instead are treating our freedom and our lives like games," Webb, 24, told NBC News. "It’s disgusting. It’s scary to think police officers do stuff like this."

Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant has launched an internal investigation and placed both officers on paid administrative leave.

"This isn't a police procedure, to bring a coin flip — whether it's an app or an actual coin toss — that’s not part of that decision making to decide to take someone's freedom," Grant said, adding that the officers'  behavior is not representative of the standards of the Roswell Police Department. "I have much higher expectations of our police officers and I am appalled that any law enforcement officer would trivialize the decision making process of something as important as the arrest of a person," he said.

Webb said she's not satisfied with the officers being put on administrative leave, which she called "a paid vacation."

"I would like to see them fired, because they shouldn't have been playing with my freedom on a flip of a coin," she said.

 And I'm not satisfied, because we have a case of a woman driving like a homicidal maniac, and she is beating the charge because the officers handled the arrest so poorly.

And I'm not satisfied either, because this misbehavior just gives the police critics more to chew on.

As I'm sure their chief will point out, police work is serious business every minute, and if he allows them to continue their employment, they need to work hard to show that they get that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Where the auction is

I collect old LIFE magazines, Baltimore Colt and Oriole memorabilia, and the occasional bit of ephemera, such as a Blue Öyster Cult guitar pick and some Japanese WWII Navy equipment my Dad brought home (don't ask.)

World War II was the saddest time, the darkest days in our history, and yet, there is interest in things once used by Adolph Hitler. People who should be ashamed of themselves instead are wearing Nazi regalia and lining up to see Hitler's car in a carnival.

And, apparently there is a market here for underwear that once was worn by Adolph Hitler and his wife of 36 hours, the delightful Eva Braun.
That fun couple really knew how to do it up under their forbidding Nazi regalia!

I'm sitting here trying to figure out why someone shelled out $4,000 for a pair of lacy purple panties that Braun once wore. I mean, really. I can't imagine. But that's the fee they brought at auction.

And now someone has paid $5,000 for Adolph Hitler's underwear, boxer shorts to be exact about it. They really look like a strait jacket for the nether regions of the most murderous madman ever to do evil on earth.

The drawers were left behind in April of 1938, after the Fuhrer stayed for a few says at the Parkhotel Graz in Austria. I'm sure this has happened to even those of us who didn't have our minds occupied with plans to kill six million people soon. That madcap Adolph probably had a hard time getting his suitcase closed, the hotel towels were so fluffy, and when he saw the draws still on the bed, he probably said, "Scheiß die Wand an," German for "The hell with it."

In case you wanted to know, Adolph wore a size 39 waist in his boxers, which were made by the Schüler Company in Berlin. And his initials are embroidered near the fly, because you can imagine those sleepovers with Richard Glücks, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler getting wild, and no one wanted to be caught running Adolph's banana hammock up the flagpole at SS Headquarters as a prank.

The people who owned the hotel found the bloomers and kept them in a nice box, all wrapped up in tissue paper, for some eighty years before the novelty of owning this disgraceful fabric wore off, and they put it up for auction.

Some day I am sure I will understand parting with 5 G's that could have been used to help people in order to purchase Hitler's knickers. But that day is not today.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Splish Splash, I was not taking a bath

For years, until I had cataract surgery, I couldn't see much without my glasses, which mainly meant that I was grateful for the glasses.  But now that I can see at distance well enough to pass the driver's test and see the alarm clock from across the bedroom, I have plenty of time to see things more clearly.

I realize that most of you have never seen me take a shower, and that's been good for all of you. But it's quite a procedure. True to my OCD, the same bits get washed in the same manner in the same order every time. Then the thorough rinse, and I'm ready for another day as soon as I dry everything in the same order.

But not having to remember what to wash, and how and when, means I have plenty of time to think random thoughts, and just the other morning I was reliving the happy moment in May when ABC's "Good Morning America" dropped a major F-bomb.  We talked about it already and it just became another moment in the cavalcade of laughable Howard Stern events.

But this one could not be blamed on Stern. Unlike golf matches or other broadcasts that need to be livened up somehow, or newscasts that offer the chances for non-real spokespeople to speak up to people, this was just a case of ABC taking comments made by Howard and actress Gwyneth Paltrow (she likes to be identified as as "Oscar winner") about this loathsome Weinstein creature, and Howard said the nasty word, and ABC played it as part of their story, and Robin Roberts looked like it was the worst thing she had ever heard.

Well, the usual happened. The recriminations, the apologies, the reporter who did the story (Eva Pilgrim) is all of a sudden transferred to the London Bureau (don't know if that's a punishment or what) and you may be certain that memos were issued, oh yes, and manuals were updated and retraining was held and promises were extracted. Everyone who works for ABC - including the people who run the floor buffers at night - has now been told that THAT WORD is not to be said out loud.

Baba Booey! Baba Booey!
And here's the ah-hah moment that came to me as I lathered and slathered in the shower. The chances are that the technicians and editors who worked on that story, cutting the Stern clips to be used as part of the "package," are probably young, in their 20s or so.

And do you spend much time with people in their teens and 20s? Do you notice that they pepper their billingsgate with salty language like that all day and all night? Do you understand that they use that word with each other, in front of their parents, their co-workers, with literally everyone?  They're so used to saying it with impunity, without feeling like it's any worse than saying "the heck with it," that it's in the daily lexicon of younger people, and that's why I figure when these video editors got hollered at for not cutting it out, they sort of shrugged and looked at each other like, "What's the #(!@ing problem, dude?"

Either that, or an entire group of people went deaf at the same instant.