March 2005 Archives

Wanna run from the cops in Southwest Michigan? Be prepared to take a bullet, then do hard time:

A Holland man was sentenced for assaulting a police officer and fleeing and eluding during an August 2004 incident where he was shot three times by police.

Thomas Lee DeJonge, 39, pleaded guilty in February to fleeing and eluding and pleaded no contest to assaulting a police officer.

Allegan County Circuit Court Judge George Corsiglia sentenced DeJonge to between three and 10 years in prison for the felonies.
. . .
According to state police, the incident began when deputy Mike Mshar tried to stop a vehicle southbound on M-40 because its taillights weren't operating after dark. DeJonge did not respond and didn't pull over, fleeing west. He also drove into the deputy's' vehicle, forcing him off the road. At that point, deputy Todd Vanderhulst took over the pursuit and followed the vehicle down a two-track in the woods off 138th Avenue in Laketown Township, where it was wedged against a tree.

The deputy got out of his patrol car to call DeJonge out of his vehicle and DeJonge responded by shifting into reverse and accelerating. Vanderhulst fired five shots, hitting DeJonge three times.

This next quote reminds me of the Menendez Defense ("But your honor, you must show mercy for this man who killed his parents - he's now an orphan!"):

DeJonge's lawyer, David Dodge, filed a motion asking Corsiglia to ignore the Michigan sentencing guidelines in the case because of the severe pain and physical problem s DeJonge has suffered since the shooting.

"I have unspecified nerve damage," DeJonge said. "Burning sensations in my thighs."
Would it be overly cynical of me to suggest that after a couple of weeks at I-Max, the burning sensation now in his thighs will move a bit higher and around to the back?

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

New Office Lexicon Entry: Heisenbug


Today's new word for the Office Lexicon is heisenbug:

Heisenbug - a software bug you can't find using the debugger, because the debugger changes the timing of the program's execution enough to keep the bug from happening. (From the idea that the act of observing something changes it, which is part of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.)

Next Week: Elvis Sighted At Moscow McDonalds!

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Back in the days of the Soviet Union, Pravda (literally, 'Truth') was the daily newspaper of the Communist Party. Well, times change, and what once was translated as 'Truth' can now be translated as 'Weekly World News.' Here are some of the stories currently on their Science/Health front page:

Mortals and saints can remain physically immortal after death:

Medical experts state that imperishable remains of senior lama of East Siberian Buddhists, Dasha-Dorjo Itigelov who died in 1927 are similar to tissues of a living man

Russian scientists have confirmed the lama remains are imperishable. However, skeptical people hardly believe this.

Khambo lama Dasha-Dorjo Itigelov (1852-1927) died not far from the Russian city of Ulan-Ude, the place where the well-known Ivolginsk datsan (spiritual center for Russian Buddhists) was built in 1947. When dying, the lama bequeathed that his sarcophagus must be opened some time later to see in what condition the remains would be. The lama died meditating sitting in the lotus pose, the way typical of a yoga leader.

. . .

Buddhists say that only the most advanced yoga can fall into some particular condition before death and purify themselves so that his dead body could not decay. They also say that besides Itigelov's body, there are just three intact remains of Buddhist saints who are kept in China, India and Vietnam.
Pray forgive me for the sacrilige of wondering how someone has the ability to purify their body against decay, but not have the ability to prevent their death altogether.

Next, Bat-Boy's second cousin - Mysterious amphibious human-like creature spotted in the Caspian Sea:

For the last two years residents of coastal areas around the southern and southwestern Caspian Sea have been reporting of some amphibious creature resembling a human being. In March this year an eyewitness account from the crew of the Baku, an Azeri trawler, was published by Iranian newspaper Zindagi: "That creature was swimming parallel course near the boat for a long time," said Gafar Gasanof, a captain of the ship.

"At the beginning we thought it was a big fish, but then we spotted hair on the head of the monster and his fins looked pretty strange... the front part of his body was equipped with arms!" said the captain. Back in Azerbaijan, nobody took his story seriously. It sounded ridiculous to those who thought that the guy must have been drinking while on board.

On the contrary, shortly after the publication of his interview, the offices of the Iranian paper got flooded with numerous letters of the readers who claimed that the story was yet another piece of evidence proving the existence of the so-called "man of the sea." The readers pointed out that many fishermen had repeatedly seen the strange creature at sea and on shore after the seabed volcanoes in the area of Babolsera had come to life in February and offshore oil production operations had intensified in the Caspian.
And from the looks of things, he's quite the ladies' man - er, merman:
All the eyewitness accounts provide a similar description of the marine humanoid. His height is 165-168 cm, he has a strong build, a protruding ctenoid stomach, his feet are pinniped and he has four webbed fingers on either of his hands. His skin is of moonlight color. The hair on his head looks black and green. His arms and legs are shorter and heavier than those of a medium-built person. Apart from his fingernails, he has nails growing on the tip of his aquiline nose that look like a dolphin's beak. No information as to his ears. His eyes are large and orbicular. The mouth of the creature is fairly large, his upper jaw is prognathic and his lower lip flows smoothly into the neck, his chin is missing.

And I won't even get into Laser-Boy sees people's illnesses in mirror, 'Pharaoh's curse' punished two families that owned a once stolen amulet, or Russian man becomes healer after his own death!

See, this is why I love the Internet. Even if you're a humorless prig with a bug up your ass about Fox News Channel, you can find like-minded people willing to pay you $8.95 so they never have to see it on their TV:

It's not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News Channel. The creator of the "Fox Blocker" contends the network is not news at all.

Kimery says he has sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets. The Tulsa, Okla., resident also has received thousands of e-mails, both angry and complimentary, as well as a few death threats since the device debuted in August.
. . .
Kimery now contends Fox News' top-level management dictates a conservative journalistic bias, that inaccuracies never are retracted, and what airs is more opinion than news.

"I might as well be reading tabloids out of the grocery store," he said. "Anything to get a rise out of the viewer and to reinforce certain retrograde notions."

Or... you can do what I do to avoid the ten religious and fourteen home shopping channels that Comcast inflicts on us here in the Fort: use the menu function on my TV to remove those channels entirely!

Let go of your hate, Sam - it's making you ugly:

And to the people sending him death threats? Geez, get a little perspective - It's not like he's selling a Bush Blocker or anything.

Hey, that's an idea - there are a lot of people out there with Terminal BDS who would probably pay not to see the President on their TV, and I'd get a real kick out of making money from their psychosis. To the Batlab!

MacAmber Alert

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Have you seen this boy?

If so, please contact Kylie Minogue:

because she really really wants to find him.

POP princess Kylie Minogue last night begged Scots to help her find the boy who stole her heart during a gig.

The Aussie singer had thousands of adoring fans screaming for her during last Sunday night's concert in Glasgow.

But the 36-year-old was charmed by the youngster sitting in front of the stage.

As our picture shows, she reached out to hold his hand as she belted out one of her hits. Now Kylie is desperate to get back in touch to give hima souvenir before she leaves Scotland.

Heyyyyy, Duuuuude, What Does THIS Button Do?

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I'm all filled with confidence that Russia can keep proper track of its nuclear arsenal, thanks to this story from the Moscow News:

A serviceman of the strategic missile unit in Russia’s Siberia has been detained for smoking marijuana while on duty and selling drugs to his comrades, the Interfax news agency reported.

A warrant officer at military unit No 28151 of the Glukhov Guards Division of the Strategic Missile Forces was detained on March 23 while selling marijuana to fellow soldiers. He did not resist arrest and military police chose not to place him in custody demanding a written pledge not to leave his unit instead.

During questioning the serviceman confessed that he had smoked marijuana for over a year, both in joints and through a home-made pipe. He also said that he had repeatedly been on combat duty while under the influence of drugs. [emphasis added]

Commanders of the unit were quick to announce that the soldier had no access to the ’nuclear button’. They said the warrant officer served as a technician at a communications post.
OK, maybe that guy didn't have access to The Button, but who else did he sell to?

I can't even come up with the words to describe what a schmuck this guy is:

The eBay seller who triggered an outcry by posting a "9/11" firefighter helmet for sale for $10,000 admitted Tuesday that the helmet is his own, and claims the auction was a joke.

The seller originally wrote that he is a firefighter who volunteered at Ground Zero and that he found the helmet near the site. He also wrote that he needed to sell the helmet to pay for college. However, after an onslaught of negative feedback, he told, "It was all a huge joke."

Not only is he a schmuck, he's a stupid schmuck:

Joke or no joke, the auction appears to have brought the seller more publicity than he intended, and it didn't take long for his former rescue squad in Virginia to identify the purported "9/11" helmet as one of their own.

After seeing the photos posted online Monday, Purcellville Volunteer Rescue Squad Vice President Tommy Harrison told, "We're 99 percent sure it's ours. We had no idea about this sale, and we'd actually like our helmet back."

. . .

Harrison noted Monday that it was an interesting coincidence that PVRS wears similar yellow helmets and is called Company 14, and that the yellow helmet for sale has the number 14 on it, although the sticker for the 1 had been removed.

Not only is he a stupid schmuck, he's a clueless stupid schmuck:

The seller said he said he is not currently affiliated with any fire or rescue service. At times during the interview, he asked where else the story would appear and didn't apologize for the anger that was provoked by the auction.

On Monday night, a forum user who identified himself as a 'friend' of the seller told the same story about the "bet" relayed by the seller himself the next day. During that exchange, the poster bragged about the publicity generated and attempted to engage users with profanity-riddled exchanges.

. . .

The seller had also added a note to the listing that read, "This eBay auction will be featured in Firehouse magazine!! How about that for publicity!! Thanks guys!! This could quite possibly be the most controversial item sold on eBay." quickly requested the seller remove the statement, and received a profane e-mail. However, the 'publicity' comments were removed by the seller shortly before the entire auction was removed by eBay.

I'm at a loss for words here. Can you folks help me out?

Life Imitates 'CSI: Miami'

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CSI:Miami episode 317 - Money Plane:

Someone uses a laser light to blind a pilot and bring down a jet, which carries $1.2 billion in checks to be delivered to banks on the eastern seaboard. The crime scene evidence reveals a victim, a young fundraising socialite, who was inside the plane

(via Drudge) A New Jersey man faces trial for allegedly blinding an airline pilot:

NEWARK, N.J. - A man accused of pointing a green laser beam at a small passenger jet, temporarily blinding the pilot and co-pilot, was indicted Wednesday under the federal anti-terror Patriot Act.

David W. Banach, who claimed he was looking at stars with his daughter, also was accused of lying to the FBI about the Dec. 29 incident in which the jet's windshield and cabin were hit three times with a beam as the plane approached Teterboro Airport. [emphasis added]
You know what they say - once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action.

There was no word as to whether David Caruso was seen standing in the back of the courtroom with his hands on his hips.

I'm Kickin' My Ass!

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OK, so my previous story was a bit of a reach for WTW. Let's try this one: a Michigan man stabbed himself to death and tried to pin it on his neighbor:

An autopsy revealed a twist in a local deadly stabbing investigation. Police in Missaukee county believe a man stabbed himself to get his neighbor in trouble. The stabbing happened around 1:30 Saturday morning in Lake City. Police say 19-year-old Chris Seward got into an argument with his neighbor . . .. Seward later called 911, saying the neighbor stabbed him. Investigators think Seward stabbed himself twice in the chest while on the phone with the dispatcher. Autopsy results confirm the injury was self inflicted.

OK, what do you think I ellipsed out of the previous paragraph? What momentous argument would cause a man to stab himself and try to make his neighbor take the fall, and what thought process would make him think that was a winning play? Think hard!

. . . over a bottle of alcohol.

Update: Patrick heard about the story and commented on it at about the same time I was writing this post. His link to the Cadillac News includes a lot more information, and this tidbit which should surprise precisely no one:

Christopher Seward had been consuming large amounts of alcohol Friday night and early Saturday prior to his death, which police are ruling as accidental at this time.

Apparently, "Hey, y'all, watch this!" translates just fine into Czech:

A gang of thugs have been arrested in Prague after they posted footage of their crimes on the internet.

Police swooped on the gang, who called themselves the Flamingoes, after local TV station CT reported how the film had turned up on the internet.

The gang had filmed themselves beating people up and smashing park benches and road signs in the Czech capital.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

Honey, Listen To Your Mama

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After the break, I have some thoughts about last night's The Amazing Race, so come back later for the White Trash Wednesday post if TAR ain't your cup of tea.

This would have been a perfect White Trash Wednesday story, but I didn't want to subject the innocent victims to the embarassment of being featured on WTW. If anybody ever deserved the death penalty for DUI, it's this mental defective:

A Fort Wayne driver accused of causing a fatal crash and two hit-and-run crashes Tuesday had alcohol, cocaine and Benzodiazipam in his system, according to probable cause affidavits filed Friday in Allen Superior Court.

Todd A. Bebout, 45, was arrested on a preliminary charge of reckless homicide, eight counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, two counts of criminal recklessness and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident. leaving the scene of an accident.

Bebout was released from a hospital Thursday where he had been treated for injuries. He was booked into the Allen County Lockup and bail was set at $709,500 Friday.

Tests on Bebout’s blood and urine samples showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent, almost twice the legal limit for driving. Cocaine and Benzodiazipam – a depressant used therapeutically to produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures – were also detected, probable cause affidavits said.
. . .
Police determined Bebout’s Dakota hit the front passenger side of the Villager, which was going south on Hessen Cassel. Both vehicles veered into the path of a Chevy pickup traveling north on Hessen Cassel.

The driver of the Chevy pickup was not injured.

The fatal crash ended Bebout’s erratic cruise around the southeast part of the city, court documents said.

The Dakota was swerving toward children waiting for a school bus in the 4000 block of South Monroe Street about 7 a.m., court records said. The children provided descriptions of the vehicle and driver that matched Bebout and his vehicle, probable cause affidavits said.

The Dakota struck a Chevrolet Caprice parked on the east side of the street and kept going. Paint left on the Caprice and Dakota matched each other, the affidavits said.

Twenty minutes later, the Dakota left the road and traveled through a yard before crashing into a house at 5121 Oliver St. The damage was severe enough that the integrity of the structure is at risk, the affidavits said.

. . .

According to the Indiana Department of Correction offender database, Bebout was convicted in Allen County in 2001 of cocaine possession and battery by bodily waste.

Bebout’s driver’s license had been suspended for one year as a part of misdemeanor OWI charge in 1991. It was suspended again in 2002 when he failed to appear in court for a speeding charge in 2002.

The period of that suspension was not clear, but Bebout received an infraction this month, before Tuesday’s crashes, for driving while suspended, according to court records.
I hope I don't have to explain what 'battery by bodily waste' means.

One of these days, some crank-head's going to get killed doing this, and I'm going to laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh:

Police in Defiance County, Ohio, evacuated residents living near Mark Center early Wednesday after someone tried to steal anhydrous ammonia from a 1,000-gallon tank, which then leaked its contents.

The leaking gas created a low-lying cloud that spread up to a half-mile from its origin at Hicksville Grain Co. Residents living in a two-mile radius from the grain elevator were asked to evacuate about 1:40 a.m., Sheriff David J. Westrick said.

When police arrived at the Hicksville Grain branch in Mark Center, 9589 Main St., they found that someone had tampered with the 1,000-gallon tank in an apparent attempt to steal the gas. A valve was damaged and most of the tank’s contents escaped, the sheriff’s department said.

. . .

The gas is used by farmers as a fertilizer but is commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine. Anhydrous ammonia is also a dangerous material that can freeze body parts and lungs on contact. No one with similar injuries had reported to any local hospitals as of Wednesday afternoon, Westrick said.
Of course, when it happens, somebody innocent will undoubtedly also be hurt, so I won't even be able to laugh.


It's Like Drinking Green Beer On Columbus Day

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Yeah, I'm catching up for the time I was off (that, and studying for my midterm). Public Service Announcement time, people - and this one's dedicated to the guy who wore a University of Miami track suit to the American Legion St. Patrick's Day festivities - don't wear orange to a St. Patrick's Day celebration.

And can nobody tell the difference between Scottish and Irish anymore? Check this photo from Friday's Journal-Gazette:
License to shrill - Indian Village Elementary School second-grader Gabrielle Alexander plugs her ears while classmate Kevin Gorall listens to members of the Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes and Drums on Thursday.  The musicians visited the classroom as part of St. Patrick's Day festivities.
Caption: "License to shrill - Indian Village Elementary School second-grader Gabrielle Alexander plugs her ears while classmate Kevin Gorall listens to members of the Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes and Drums on Thursday. The musicians visited the classroom as part of St. Patrick's Day festivities."

I guess that means I can schedule the next Ancient Order of Hibernians fundraiser for Highland Games weekend.

OK, That's Settled. Now What About 'Rice?'


Something I'd always wondered was why the Japanese would create a film monster whose name they couldn't properly pronounce.

Now I understand the problem isn't them, it's us:

1954 would see the birth of Japan's number one international movie sensation Gojira. (Pronounced godzeeda) American fans would come to know the monster as Godzilla. (Correct translation from Japanese to English)
So now I have to ask, why don't we pronounce it 'Godzeeda?'

Are You Ready For Some Football?


Normally, this is one of my favorite times of year, with the NHL regular season making that frantic last push for the playoffs. This year, of course, I've had to endure a vast wasteland since the Super Bowl, with nothing but basketball (blech) and baseball (double blech) as far as the sporting eye can see.

But that all ends today with opening day for the Fort Wayne Freedom, as they kick off their United Indoor Football season against the Ohio Valley Greyhounds. Despite the Freedom's 1-4 record against OV, I think they've got a real shot to win today since they return 15 starters from last year's 8-6 team (which defeated the Hounds in Fort Wayne last year, breaking a 30-something-game winning streak) and OV is sporting a lot of new faces, including the entire offensive line.

Rocky Harvey's back, Antoine Taylor is healthy again, and Jeremy Dutcher has returned from Grand Rapids of the AFL, so I think the offense will be better than ever.

Game story and pictures after the break.

It's That Time Again

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So I'm driving home today with three cases of beer and two filled-up grill gas canisters in the back, and I'm thinking...

Yep, it's spring in my neighborhood.

It looks as if WTW's official walking billboard has come up with another way to whore herself out (I've deleted the name of the purchasing entity since I have no real desire to contribute to their Google score):

[T]he Internet ... famous for eccentric and sometimes outrageous buys on eBay, became the official sponsors of the birth of Amber Rainey's bouncing baby boy, Parker. ... .com was the highest bidder for the honor of sponsoring the happy event, spending $5600 for the privilege. Amber Rainey is the same woman that sold advertising space on her formerly pregnant belly to ... .com several weeks ago.

In true ... .com style, the ... went all out in their role as sponsors. The masks, gowns, baby accessories, blankets, and practically everything in the delivery room displayed "... .com", including a huge banner behind the bed. Even the baby's room at home was similarly decorated, along with fabulous gifts.

"Since we advertised on Amber's pregnant belly, we felt that we should be the ones to sponsor her baby's birth," said ... .com CEO ... . "When she put this offer up on eBay, there was no hesitation on our part. We are happy to be a part of this joyous event and we wish Amber and her new baby boy all the best."

Just so you know, I don't mean 'whoring herself out' as a bad thing. As a borderline Libertarian, I think prostitution should be legal in most cases.

Mostly I'm just jealous because I couldn't get sponsorship for my son's birth. Or infancy. Or childhood. Or adolescence.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

Anywhere, Anytime

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I happened to notice on the Weather Channel not too long ago that Knox County, Tennessee (home of the Blogfather, is under a severe thunderstorm warning. I wonder, if the weather truly went to hell there, whether he'd liveblog from the tornado shelter.

Something in his history makes me think he would...

Beer Can Save Your Life, But Is It Worth It?


Grilling meat produces carcinogens; I think we all knew that. But it looks like beer can mitigate the risk:

Like your meat well done—perhaps with a slightly charred flavor? Then have a beer. The reason: A new study shows that, at least in mice, beer limits the DNA damage triggered by exposure to the carcinogens that form in overcooked meat.
But there's a catch:
Researchers at Okayama University administered locally purchased beer—minus its alcohol—to the rodents. Alcohol was excluded because it alone can be carcinogenic. Some mice got the nonalcoholic beer in place of drinking water. Others got solids extracted from the beer, added to their chow.

Non-alcoholic beer.


I guess it's cancer, then.

Beacuse 'Foppa' Is Swedish For 'He Who Takes Dive'

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I'm really really torn by this McPaper report, because it's bad form to gloat over a rival's potential career-ending injury (especially since The Captain is in a similar predicament):

Colorado Avalanche fans may have seen the last of Peter Forsberg.

Forsberg suffered a concussion Thursday while playing in a postseason game for MoDo of the Swedish Elite League and may be contemplating retirement.

In his first game back from a broken wrist, Forsberg was cross-checked by Peter Norstrom on his second shift of MoDo's 5-4 loss to Farjestad in the league quarterfinals. MoDo trails in the series, three games to one.

Nordstrom, who appeared in two games with the Boston Bruins in 1998-99, was penalized on the play and ejected.

But it's the Divealanche, so, yeah, I'll go there:

I wonder how close Nordstrom skated to Forsberg to knock him down and give him the concussion?

Boeing Makes Air France An Offer It Can't Refuse...

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...Air France surrenders:

luchtzak writes "Air France recently ordered four additional Boeing 777-300ERs through options it held from an existing contract.

. . .

"The 777's world-famous comfort, range and flexibility make it ideally suited for leisure routes like Paris to Reunion , Pointe-a-Pitre and Fort de France," said Marlin Dailey, vice president of Sales for Europe and Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes [emphasis added]. "We are very pleased that Air France has again chosen the 777-300ER, based on the successful in-service experience they've had with their first 777-300ERs."
No reports as to whether Dailey prefaced his remarks by saying "Nice city you got here. Lots of art, that Tower thing. Be a shame if something... happened... to it..."

"The 777-300ER has been a more efficient replacement for the previous airplanes on our routes and has significantly reduced community noise," said Patrick Alexandre, executive vice president of Commercial and International Networks for Air France . "It has proven itself in our fleet as a passenger-pleasing moneymaker on other routes like Paris to Tokyo . We are certain that its comfortable interior, together with the in-flight entertainment features and superior Air France service, will improve the flying experience for our customers going to the Caribbean and Indian Ocean locales."
No reports as to whether Alexandre concluded his remarks by saying "Please don't destroy Paris."

This cracks me up. No matter how much Airbus is propped up by the EU, Boeing just ate its lunch.

[Brief pause while I look up just how many US airlines bought Airbus planes... hmm, more than I'd hoped.] Um, never mind.

It's still funny, though.

Jobs I Couldn't Do, Part II


Earlier today, I showed why I couldn't be a vet. Now we see why I couldn't be a firefighter:

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- A woman being carried out of a burning house put a gun to a firefighter's head and pulled the trigger repeatedly but was out of bullets following the shooting death of her boyfriend, police say.
because I'd be turning the bitch around and dumping her right back in the burning house.

Apparently that would be against established Fire Department procedure.

[h/t: Fark for this story and the last one]

Pit Bulls Is Stupid


A pit bull - sorry, 'Staffordshire bull terrier,' which is pretty much the same thing (the U.S. version commonly called a pit bull is more accurately known as an 'American Staffordshire bull terrier,' or 'AmStaff,' or 'LetGoOfMeYouStupidFucker') - was so crazed by its 'chase and attack' instinct that it impaled itself sword-swallower-like on a stick just two inches shorter than it is:

Two-year-old Millie nearly choked to death on the piece of wood after it was thrown by owner John Hurst, 65.

It stuck in the ground at an angle like a javelin and the Staffordshire bull terrier ran straight on to it at full speed with her mouth open.

Shocked John and his wife Wendy, also 65, frantically tried to pull the half-inch-thick stake out.
OK, maybe 'impaled' isn't quite the right word, because technically it went straight down the canine Braniac's esophagus:
Special cameras and X-rays revealed the wood had gone straight down her throat and through the passage to her stomach — the oesophagus — MISSING her vital organs.

Mr Tyler [the vet] said: “For a dog to get a stick stuck this far down is unheard of. If it had gone out of the oesophagus it would have killed her.”

Millie escaped with just a small scratch in her belly after a delicate op to remove the stick using forceps.
See, this is why I could never be a vet. I'd be inclined to say 'Sorry, this thing is obviously too stupid to live, and the next mistake it makes could hurt a human, so I guess it'll have to die.'
She is fit again only a week after the accident in fields near the Hursts’ home in Denmead, Hants.

Wendy said: “It is amazing. The stick is nearly as big as she is. We’d have been heartbroken if she died.”
But I bet your neighborhood would have been safer.

More Things I Never Thought I'd See Together


I saw a car today with two bumper stickers on it: one for the local rap station, and one with a Confederate flag.

Now don't that just beat all?

Going lyrical today, with the anthem of White Trash Nation: White Trash by the Ricky Rydell Review. Excerpt here; the whole song is available on if you're a VIP member (VIP direct link here).

Without further ado, the lyrics:
Well, I live in a trailer
A great big double-wide
My '70 Camaro
Is up on blocks outside
I got a velvet painting
Of Elvis on the wall
And a two-tone vinyl couch
That I picked up at the mall

('Cause I'm white trash) Don't have a credit card
(White trash) Got a freezer in my yard
(White trash) I'll have another beer
(White trash) The party's over here
Guess I'll go see my old lady
And bum a little cash
I'm a low-life
And I'm white trash.

When I go out to a party
Don't drink Jonnie Walker Red
I just chug a can of beer 
And I crush it on my head
I was drinkin' with my sister
I don't know how much we had
But now I got a kid
Who calls me Uncle Dad

('Cause I'm white trash) But that's OK with me
(White trash) That's just the way I be
(White trash) I'll have another beer
(White trash) At least I ain't a queer.
On my family tree
There only is one branch
I'm a low-life
And I'm white trash.

My ol' lady got big hooters
She does fancy cookin' too
She makes filet of Spam
and bologna cordon bleu
She fills me up with chili
And gives my gut a squeeze
I make her pull my finger
And I always cut the cheese

[guitar solo]

(White trash) Watch wrestlin' on TV
(White trash) I talk on the CB
(White trash) Johnny Paycheck is the best
(White trash) Got him tattooed on my chest
Baby, take a whiff of me
Do you think I need a bath?
I'm a low-life
And I'm white trash.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

Me loves me some again:

A cafeteria worker found a live grenade Tuesday morning on a counter where people typically order coffee and doughnuts.

The Opportunity Cafeteria had just opened when the unidentified worker found the grenade on one corner of the counter.

Officers from the Miami Police Department say the grenade was active with its pin still in place.

. . .

No other devices were found at the cafeteria.
See, that's the problem. If you want the really good stuff, you've got to get in tight with one of the employees and hit them up before they even open.

Oh, Yes, Kick Me In The Gut Again, Please


I had hernia surgery yesterday, so I'll be off work for a couple of weeks. How this will affect my blogging, I don't know. On one hand, I should have more free time. On the other hand, sitting up hurts. On the other other hand, generic Vicodin is only about $6 for 32 pills, can you believe that?

A friend of mine has a diabetic daughter in middle school. She has to test her blood sugar at least once a day (maybe more, I don't know). This has never been a big issue for her or anyone around her.

Until some diabetic idiot at a high school in a nearby but different district thought it'd be a neat idea to wave his stuck finger around after a blood sugar test, spewing a few drops of blood in several different directions.

As a reaction to this, new policies enacted in my friend's district now will require her to do her checks in a room by herself (ditto for the other diabetic students in the district). That's got to be helpful to the ol' psyche.

And the idiot in question? Not punished - his district didn't have a disciplinary policy concerning what he did, and they chose not to exercise any judgement at all (in a matter of speaking. As Rush said, "If you choose not to decide / You still have made a choice".)

Zero Tolerance, meet Zero Intelligence.

If I made this stuff up, nobody would believe it, and I swear that the names are real. From the Nacogdoches (Texas), Daily Sentinel:

Jerry Don Hartless was engaged in a heated argument about an episode of the Jerry Springer television program moments before he reached into his overalls, pulled a gun and shot Billy Bob Wallace under the Angelina River Bridge on FM 343, according to testimony heard Tuesday in the 145th District Court.

. . .

Witnesses, including Wallace's live-in girlfriend and his son, testified Tuesday that the two men had been friends before the shooting. If one of them was going to the liquor store, he would ask the other to ride with him, they said.

The friendship apparently went sour when Hartless' boat motor disappeared.
You know what they say - "It's all fun and games until somebody's boat motor gets stolen."
Monday's testimony centered on witnesses who heard Hartless threaten to kill Wallace "or whoever" stole his boat motor. Tuesday's testimony centered on accounts from those who witnessed the shooting.

Donna Rawlinson said that she, Wallace, Wallace's son and another friend, Evelyn Powers (who is now deceased), were sitting around a campfire at the river bridge, prior to the shooting, when Hartless and his wife pulled up in their truck. At first, the conversation was cordial, she said.
Well, we can't have that. Let's Springer it up a bit. Literally.
That changed when the discussion turned to an episode of "Jerry Springer" that featured a black man who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, Rawlinson said.

"Don said a black man couldn't be in the Klan," Rawlinson said. "I told him if a black man couldn't be a KKK member, he couldn't either."

Hartless responded by calling Rawlinson a "white [deleted - ed]," then he told her that her "ex-husband held her down while black people (had sex with) her," Rawlinson testified.

"I told him I never had sex with a black man," she said. "That's when Billy Bob started to get up, and Don just pulled out a gun and shot him."

That seems a bit hasty, even for our subject demographic. It would appear that Jerry Don was afeared of Billy Bob's skill and quickness with the ol' pigsticker:

It was the once deadly accuracy with which he had seen one of Billy Bob Wallace's knife throws clip the tail off of a nearby lizard that Jerry Don Hartless said ultimately caused him to shoot his former drinking buddy twice in the chest and once in the back, during an altercation between the two friends.

. . .

He testified that Wallace was a knife expert who carried weapons concealed in his boots and in a scabbard on his belt.

Hartless told the jury he had seen Wallace throw the knife and cut off a lizard's tail, but he had also heard of another instance in which Wallace twirled his knife around, castrated a dog and fed the amputated parts to the animal.

Or was he just looking for an excuse? Back to the Daily Sentinel story:

Defense Attorney John Heath Sr. asked several questions about the knife Wallace carried at the time of his death and the proximity of the knife to Wallace's hand at the time of his death. Witnesses testified that they never saw the knife in Wallace's hand in the moments before the shooting.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:

It's Snap Judgement Time Again!

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The Amazing Race starts again tonight. As usual, I will provide hasty judgements on the teams based solely on their bios. Let's begin:

  • Brian & Greg: What is it with this show hiring actors? I thought it was supposed to be reality TV. Meh.
    Predicted finish: top four.
  • Debbie & Bianca: Topless double bill! Oh, please let there be a task like in TAR5 where one of them gets dragged through mud behind a cow.
    Predicted finish: mid-pack.
  • Lynn & Alex: Hey, Mr. Alex's Dad? Alex is gay. Aren't you glad you found out on TV?
    Predicted finish: mid-pack.
  • Megan & Heidi: What I said about Debbie & Bianca? That goes double for these two. I just hope it happens early because I see...
    Predicted finish: ...early exit.
  • Meredith & Gretchen: Too old.
    Predicted finish: early exit.
  • Ray & Deana: 'On again, off again' relationship? See 'Adam, Rebecca and.'
    Predicted finish: top four.
  • Rob & Amber: Christ, who restarted the 15-minute clock on these guys? OTOH, Rob has proven to be nothing if not adaptable; that's a major skill in the Race.
    Predicted finish: mid-pack.
  • Ron & Kelly: He survived being a POW in Iraq; this oughta be easy, as long as he can carry his beauty-pageant-girlfriend's weapons-grade makeup case with him.
    Predicted finish: top four.
  • Ryan & Chuck: Um, OK. Look like they'd be fun to have a beer with.
    Predicted finish: early exit.
  • Susan & Patrick: Coupling meets The Amazing Race! Oh, wait, this Susan and Patrick are mother and son. Eeeewww. Um, no.
    Predicted finish: early exit.
  • Uchenna & Joyce: They're just praying the production company doesn't go bankrupt in the middle of the race.
    Predicted finish: top four. They can't afford not to be.

All My Life I Knew I Was Different

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So my referrer log shows someone who found me by googling for "indiana farm bureau daylight savings time." Just out of curiosity, I ran the same google to see where I was on that list. Turns out my original rant against the Farm Bureau's obstructionism of Indiana adopting modern time is #1 on that particular search. Not too far down the page is the misc.transport.road FAQ. Just out of curiosity (again), I started reading it.

Half an hour and twelve related links later, I came to a realization. I. Am. A. Roadgeek. From Adrian Leskiw's highway photo galleries of (among others) Northern Michigan (where I used to vacation), St. Louis (where I used to live), and the the UK (where I went on business once, about which more later), thence to Chris' British Road Directory and his listing of Britain's worst intersections, thence to, well, let's just say I had no idea roads and highways interested me so much.

Right, then. When I was in the UK on business in September of 2003, the hotel I stayed at was in Swindon but the office I worked in was in Chippenham (about a half-hour drive via the M4 and the A350). Since I had never driven on the left side of the road before, and I knew English roads are narrow anyway, I was a little nervous about the task, so I decided to practice the evening I got into town. I started out on country roads, and everything was fine except that I kept drifting to the left, at one point hitting a few small branches on a bush that was way too close to the road. But you know what P.J. O'Rourke says: "Nothing parties like a rental."

Anyway, emboldened by my success so far, I decided to try to drive into downtown Swindon. Somewhere around the third or fourth roundabout, I exited a little fast and a lot left and clipped the curb (sorry, 'kerb'). Immediately I felt the left front go flat - and by 'flat' I mean 'shredded' - and I had to find a place to stop. Unfortunately, there really wasn't one. I was on a narrow two-lane street with tight curbs and no parking, so the best I could do was roll forward about a hundred yards until I was just short of a pedestrian crossing where the road was a little wider - and by 'a little' I mean 'maybe a foot'. I was more irritated than worried - the weather was good, traffic was light, and I had at least an hour of daylight left, and it was only a flat tire, right?

I dug the jack and the tire iron out of the back of the car and (after a moment's panic where I couldn't find the proper dongle for the anti-theft lug nuts) loosened the nuts on the offending wheel. I looked for the proper hardpoint on the underside to mount the jack against, and realized that there wasn't one. Well, the hardpoint was there, all right; right behind the wheel like you'd expect, but its shape was orthogonal to the top of the jack - it was like trying to balance the car on a pencil point. After a puzzled search of the owner's manual, I discovered why. The jack was a half-scissors model with a semi-circular flange on the top designed to engage the hardpoint, like this:

What the jack SHOULD have looked like

Instead, the flange had been bent back upon itself:

What the jack actually DID look like

The net effect was that every time I would get the car a few inches off the bottom of its springs, the jack would pop out. This was annoying the first time.

It was aggravating the second time.

By the fifteenth time, I had stopped counting. Nothing I did seemed to help, and by this time I noticed that the light was beginning to fade. Finally, after about a million more tries, I got the car up far enough that I could take the wheel off.

Verrrrrrry carefully.

Trying to ignore the grinding metal noises from the vicinity of the jack.

I tucked the old wheel on its side under the front of the car in case the jack popped out again while I was putting the spare on (otherwise the whole hub would drop hard into the gutter and I'd REALLY be screwed), and - with the same level of caution required by mating porcupines - mounted the spare. The jack popped out about the time I got the third lugnut on. It took me five more tries to get the jack to stay up long enough to get the dead wheel out from under the front and hand-tighten the nuts on the spare.

The drive back to the hotel was uneventful, if you don't count the stretch of dual carrigeway where I kept right instead of left, forcing somebody to pass me on the left (with the appropriate hand gesture).

So during today's trek around the roadgeek web, I encountered what Swindon is apparently most famous for: a magic roundabout, which, had I encountered it during my orientation drive, would have made me soil myself as my brain turned to Cream-of-Wheat and ran out my ears. I mean, look at this thing!

The Magic Roundabout

Here's another view:

The Magic Roundabout

Digital Norseman has a few pictures of it in action. I can't even figure out how it works!

The moral of the story: don't drive through Swindon.

Update: Man, I wish I'd read this before I went over to the UK. I may even have been able to deal with the Magic Roundabout:

The Magic Roundabout demystified


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