Saturday, July 09, 2011

3303 Loaded, no bears.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Next time I will...." "From now on I will...." -What makes me think
I am wiser today than I will be tomorrow?”
-- Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself --


I'm about to close up here and head back downriver. Fred is carrying a full load -
  • Hanuman (a heavy wooden statue of the Hindu deity Hanuman, plastered and gilded),
  • a guitar signed by Les Paul just before he died,
  • a large oil painting,
  • a large framed print,
  • an antique wood-framed mirror,
  • a large ceramic giraffe,
  • a bunch of kitchen utensils,
  • a bag of refrigerator storage containers,
  • a load of summer clothes,
  • seven singing bowls,
  • a mammoth tusk carved with a herd of mammoths,
  • a box of netsukes,
  • two ostrich eggs, one carved, one plain, and
  • three wheeled briefcase-laptop-overnighters (that I plan to drop off at Good Will. When you put 8-10 compartments and pockets in those things, with the requisite zippers, they get ridiculously heavy, even if they do have wheels, and all the compartment separators leave little room for anything else. I have never used them.)
  • And some other stuff. I forget what all.
  • Oh, yeah, and a hot-air popcorn popper. I've been hungry for popcorn, but my microwave at the new house is dead.
So I'm packing up the laptop now, and heading out.

Hey, remember that woman who was promised a new Toyota, and sued when what she got was a new toy Yoda? I was reminded of that today. I went to a charity auction once and bid on and bought a nice looking pendant and chain necklace. I had looked at it before bidding, and the auctioneer distinctly said it was a "diamond necklace". When I opened the box after taking possession, under the velvet cradling the necklace was a dime. The necklace was crystal. I'd bought a "dime and necklace". I found that box today, with the dime still in it.

Friday, July 08, 2011

3302 If I lose at the casino, can I sue?

Friday, July 8, 2011

On "image": It may not get the job done, but it makes it possible to get the job done.
-- Paul Levine, Night Vision --


Meetup crazies have started. Just had a guy drop out of the dinner group. He said he didn't realize it was a singles group and suggests that I put "singles" in the description. His reason for coming to that conclusion? He noticed that all the other people who had joined were single.



I don't care what you think of the Casey Anthony thing. The fact remains that the prosecution was unable to prove any kind of murder charges to the jury. Period. That means over, done, finis on those counts.

At least I thought that's what it was supposed to mean.

Florida, however, has decided to sue Anthony for the cost of the investigation and trial.


Don't let your opinion of her guilt or innocence sway you while thinking about what that means. Instead, think about a truly honestly innocent person whom the police have decided to go after, and the prosecutor's office has decided to convict on circumstantial evidence.

Pretend it's you, and an entirely different case. Let's say you and your significant other had an argument and then he/she went missing. You thought he/she had left you, and being hurt and depressed, you said and did some stupid things, and then even started dating again. Then some weeks later he/she is found dead, shot by your gun, which you assume he/she must have taken with him/her and you had never noticed it was missing. The only prints on the gun are yours, and the death happened weeks before and you have no idea what you were doing at the time. We have cause, opportunity, prints, and no alibi. Also no guilt. You really didn't do it - but the state decides to prosecute. You spend two years in jail waiting for trial.

Your attorney manages to get you off on reasonable doubt (the "some other dude dooed it" defense), but the state is so pissed that they lost, so sure that they were right, so angry that they were "cheated", they sue you for the costs of the investigation and trial. Of course, having been in jail for the past two years, you have no money and no savings.

So, is this right and fair? THEY decided to investigate, they decided to prosecute, they bought the ticket and placed their bets, and they lost.

I think the only time it should be ok for the state to recoup investigation/prosecution costs is from someone who reports a crime that simply didn't happen. Like people who claim to have been kidnapped, or like the Tawana Brawley thing (that stands out for me because I was living there at the time). And even then, the state should be required to prove that the claims were bogus, not just be pissed.

3301 Revising history

Friday, July 8, 2011

We are all born psychopaths, born without repressions.
Society teaches us the restraints of proper behavior and helps us develop a conscience.
-- Paul Levine, Night Vision --


I mentioned to The Man the other day that, although I may be disloyal to my gender by saying this, I can't wait for the primary debate spitting match between Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. The two seem to be hatched from the same pea pod.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Ms. Bachmann referred to John Quincy Adams as a Founding Father, despite the fact that he was all of nine years old at the time. My thought was, ok, we're revising history again?

Well, someone went out to the Wikipedia entry for J. Q. Adams and altered the "life as a child" section to add "But even as an embryo, John Quincy Adams could feel pain and was a Founding Father."

Cracked me up. What cracks me up even more is that people seem to think it was a Bachmann supporter who did it. (Do we really give them credit for that much blatant stupidity?)

I know who did it. He lives about ten miles from my old house. He most definitely is not a Bachmann supporter.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

3300 Running around

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A "nine-days' wonder" is taken as a matter of course on the tenth day.
-- Robert Heinlein --


Yesterday I mowed the back yard, babysat in the morning and a little in the afternoon while Daughter got some stuff done, and squeezed in a mammogram.

I'd always wondered what people meant when they said mammograms hurt, because they never bothered me in the least. This time, the right didn't hurt, but the left did. I wonder if it was the way she arranged me. Every other time, and on the right yesterday, the technician arranged the "fold" (you know how you get folded in half?) exactly across the nipple. Yesterday, I noticed that for both views on the left, the fold was below the nipple, so that the nipple was sort of flat against the top plate. I hope that's what made it hurt, and not something going on in there.


I'm now at the old house. I didn't get on the road as soon as I'd wanted to today, but it was good enough, I guess, to get a few things done. I got up here in time to go to the radiology lab and pick up my old mammo films. I'll take them to the new place on Monday.

I went to the DMV and picked up forms to get new copies of the NY titles for my vehicles. I'm sure they're around here somewhere, but I can't find them. I'll need them to register the cars in NJ. There's a problem - NY will send the copies only to the "address of record", which is the old house. I'm having my mail forwarded, and that's working fine, BUT the post office will not forward official government mail. So they will be returned. Duh. The woman at the DMV gave me a number to call to ask how I can get them sent to my new address.

I stopped at the post office to verify that, and yeah, they won't forward them. But she said that they'll be returned with a sticker on them with my new address, so NY should then send them again to the new address.

Uh, yeah, but remember this is the DMV we're talking about. Logic and "makes sense" don't apply.

Then I got Fred the van inspected at an oil change place. The NY inspection expires the end of this month. His serpentine belt is bald, and they told me he couldn't pass inspection with that belt, and they can't fix it. Well, sort of. The mechanic offered to pass him if I gave him "a little extra". It took me a minute to understand what he was saying. I said, "Uh, no, I'd really rather do this legally." Later the manager came to me and said he "has a soft spot for the elderly and disabled" (Fred's a wheelchair van) so they'd pass him anyway, but I'd have to promise to get the belt fixed within the next ten days.


So then I went to a Dodge dealership to see if I could get it done tomorrow. They have no open time slots, but want me to call tomorrow and maybe they can squeeze him in.

Then I went to the garage that's working on Suzie (they haven't got to her yet) to get her VIN to order her new title, and to make sure they had my new phone number.

I stopped somewhere else, too, but darned if I can remember where.

Right now I'm watching "Big Bang Theory", and plan to watch "Big Brother" (shame! shame!) later. All that running around after a 2.75 hour drive has left me drained.


I mentioned I'd started a Meetup dining out group. I was disappointed because it got no action for two days. I didn't realize that Meetup hadn't released it to the public yet. They released it yesterday, and I already have 22 members, and three have RSVP'd to a dinner I scheduled for July 7.

I'm afraid I might see some of the same craziness that drove me away the last time. I clearly stated I wanted to keep it local, even gave a north and south limit. So, one of the new members lives in Manhattan, and has suggested that we meet at some Manhattan restaurants. Sigh. Actually, if she wants to, I guess I could let her host it....

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

3299 Fireworks

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.
-- Robert Heinlein --


Yesterday afternoon I finally finished raking up the gumballs in the back yard. Daughter and Hercules were barbequing vegetable skewers and steaks, and I was invited, but Hercules' mother was visiting for the day (visiting from the Carolinas, stopped in on her way back from visiting her mother in Pa.), and I'm avoiding her. I suspect it's obvious I'm avoiding her, but I don't care. Every third sentence out of her mouth makes me want to strangle her, so it's a lot healthier to avoid her.

It takes less than five minutes to walk to the bay from my house, so at 8:30 pm I went to the bay to see some fireworks. Neighbor George had said that it's a good place to see them, but that last year the police had blocked access off and not allowed people down there. But last year, it was all rocks and broken cement with a sharp dropoff down to the water. Since then, the township has put in a nice paved walkway with a railing.

There was no one there. An occasional couple or someone with a dog would walk past and disappear into the distance, and that was it. A pair of policemen walked past and said hello.

Even though I was facing east, the sunset was incredible, the colors reflecting off the water. I wished I had taken my camera.

Looking north over the water I saw the fireworks from the Amboys, from a wealthy enclave above Laurence Harbor, and north and northeast several spots on Staten Island. To the west, Keyport put on THREE surprisingly decent and long-lasting shows, followed by an obviously expensive display from either Union Beach or Keansburg.

The big Macy's show (supposed to be the largest display in the country) was pretty far across the water, on barges on the Hudson River between Staten Island and Manhattan, but I can see most of Staten Island, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and the lower coast of Brooklyn, So I was able to see the higher chrysanthemums from that, plus other more local shows along the coast and inland.

Daughter, Hercules, the Nugget, and Hercules' mother and her two dogs had gone somewhere earlier in the day, probably walking in some park, I don't know and didn't ask, but about 9:15 Daughter and Hercules joined me at the bay.

Near where I had been standing, there was a tall pole, next to the path from the access road ("Authorized Vehicles Only") to the walkway. I had earlier noticed that once it got full dark, anytime anyone walked that path, there was a flash of light and a recording, "This is the xxxxx police. Your photograph has been transmitted to our office." I found it amusing. We got our pictures taken when we left a little after 10.

Hercules found it fascinating. Where was it getting the power? We examined the pole and found no wires. At the top of the pole there were only two very small boxes. Solar panels on the top of the boxes? Seems like they'd be too small to power the motion detector, the flash, the recording, the camera, and a transmitter. The panels used to power emergency phones along the highways are much larger. I pointed out that there's not necessarily really a transmitter, or even a camera. Maybe there's really only a detector, flash, and recording. Sorta like those dummy police cars semi-hidden behind billboards.

I suggested that we stage a murder next to the pole, then wait in the bushes to see if anyone shows up. On the walk back to the house we had some fun planning the scenes. Hercules is a real ham.


A funny thing happened. Daughter joined me first, Hercules joined us a little later, after getting his mother and Nugget settled at the house. He runs. A lot. He was running down the dark path to join us and passed a teenaged couple. The guy shouted something rather nasty after him (apparently thinking Hercules with his dark hair was Hispanic). Hercules turned around and ran back toward him, and the guy pulled his girlfriend in front of him! Hercules told us what he then said to him, but I forget exactly, except that it had something to do with tiny balls rolling on the ground or the like.

And that was it.

Sometime later, we had walked further up the bay. Daughter and I were standing on either side of Hercules, who was squatting on the ground with his back to the walkway, when a group of five or six guys, mid or late teens, trotted up to us and asked if we'd seen a guy run by wearing tan pants and a grey knit shirt - "He threatened our friend!" Hercules stood up and turned around, and the kids said, "Not you. It wasn't you." Hercules said yes, it was, and that he hadn't threatened him. He'd merely commented on his hiding behind a girl. And the kids immediately apologized, and shook Hercules' hand.

Huh? Hercules is not tall. He's not big, rather lightly built. He's a runner and cyclist. Why, when it was obvious they wanted to find this guy and beat him up, why did they back off so quickly and thoroughly?

Was it because Hercules is not Hispanic? Because he was not a teen? Because he was with two small women (that doesn't feel like the reason)?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

3298 Meetup Capitulation

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The early bird deserves the worm.


I swore I wouldn't do it, but I've waited for six months for a local dinner group, and there are none. So I gave up and started one. I may regret this.

It's at I have no idea what the home page looks like, because what I see is the organizer's version of the page.