This is a rather short post, and a bit of a change from what you usually find here. But I think it’s worth saying, and hopefully it will prompt you to reflect a bit on priorities in your own life.
Thursday I walked to the dentist, and then on to work. I had a pack loaded with 45 pounds of assorted stuff, and it was a beautiful day to stroll 6.5 miles. Along the way I stopped at the Trung Nam Bakery to get some croissants, Palmiers, and a Banh Mi sandwich – or two.
I worked up a great sweat, strained my back and leg muscles by hauling all that weight around town, and got some sunshine on my face. It was the first really long walk of the season carrying a heavy load. (I’m in training for an event this fall where you do a 1/2 marathon carrying a 35 pound pack – yeah, it’s extreme sports at it’s best.)
Once I had showered at the health club downtown, I trod to work, shucked the pack, and devoured the food, saving but one sandwich for lunch.
Hot coffee, spicy sandwiches, and good cookies.
This evening, I got home and sprang Stormy from her confinement in the house. She had returned to her normal self after a week of not eating and being depressed. My wife and I had taken off a few days apart on individual road trips, and she evidently thought she was being abandoned for the third time in her life. It made me feel terrible when I realized what was going on. I was gone for 10 days, and brought her back to happiness with french fries and cheese.
So, tonight, I’m tired – the good kind of tired. My dog is doing great, the lawn is mowed, and I had a great road trip with my mom and a couple of other authors.
Life is pretty darned good when you take time to appreciate the little things that make life good. Like spicy sandwiches and old dogs that love you.
I know I’ve milked this cow before, but the past few days have been rife with moron – er, people not paying attention on several social media platforms I utilize. Given what a clever fellow I tell people I am, I feel obliged to share my insight – since it is deeply regarded by my front porch, where I do most of my heavy thinking. The chairs love my wit.
When someone posts that they’re having a bad day, it isn’t okay to inquire as to how their old dog with cancer is doing. While that may be the source of the bad day, it may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
If you ask for a referral for a dentist, it is almost a given that within four posts someone will tell you why only members of the Nazi party vaccinate their children. This seems to be inevitable when medical issues come up for some reason.
If you tweet out your support of anything in the universe, someone will link it to your political viewpoint, and your post that “I sure love cotton candy” with the picture of your treat, quickly devolves into, “I hope you choke on that horrid GMO swill that Trump is forcing down our throats.” God forbid you develop a cavity from the cotton candy and need help in locating a dentist.
Only seriously hot women follow me on Instagram. I’m not making it up. I have more women showing me bikini clad bodies than you can even count. Same on Facebook. I become suspicious when “Candy” from Ohio is linked to an account in Ghana. But that might just be the Puritan in me that hates cotton candy…
If you belong to a closed page that has a “pinned” post saying that anything goes except racism and accusations of bestiality, why do you complain when someone says something off color, or posts a political thought you disagree with in some way? Best of all, when you announce (in your most petulant and whiny voice) that you’re offended and leaving the group, you’d best just go. Why? Because if you stick around hoping someone will beg you to stay, you’ll not only be sadly disappointed, but you’ll be deeply hurt by the mean things they say. I kind of live for those things – I find all sorts of cruel dialogue to use in my writing.
No picture posted is safe from mockery. If you put up a picture of your dog and ask what people think of the new hairdo, and someone compliments you on how beautiful your grandchild is, you asked for it in my opinion. Just post the picture and let it be. Asking for feedback is a bad idea for most.
Learn what a private message is and use it. Posting your phone number and email, and asking for Skippy to call you right away, opens you up to all the weirdos. I have a long list of phone numbers from being observant!
Regarding the one above, I belong to several different groups (audio book, Santa, actors) where they will put up a post and ask for a private message if you’re interested. It doesn’t even take 4 posts for that to go south in a couple of the groups, especially the ones for Santa. Here is the typical post/exchange:
WANTED: Santa for Edina, Minnesota, December 8th at 3 p.m. Must have traditional red suit for photos with a group of professional gandy dancers. Pay is negotiable, but event is only 1 hour long so probably under $250.
Comment 1: “I don’t have a red suit, but I could be there at 7 p.m. if it’s okay.”
Comment 2: “I live in Miami, Florida. Why don’t you ever post jobs in my area?”
Comment 3: “Those people in Edina are all rotten. I won’t work with vermin like that, and you need to remove me from this group for even offering that kind of work.”
Comment 4: The job has been filled. Thank you all.
Comment 5: (six weeks later, the day of the event at about 1 p.m.) “Is that job still open? I live in Iowa but I’ll drive if they’ll pay for my room and gas.”
Bologna cake. I’m not sure where that abomination came from, but people post it regularly and treat it as new. I’m kind of a human garbage disposal, and I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot-pole. I know it’s not a dessert. I know it’s supposed to be an appetizer. Ain’t never seen it until a few years ago. If you Google the thing, you’ll see it’s the same cake in all but one of the pictures. I’m calling shenanigans.
Last, and certainly least, is the posting of clearly fake news. Some things are bordering on the credible, but being in several different groupings of people, I see stuff from all over the spectrum. Most of it just makes me sad that people are that deluded. But the ones that really drop my opinion of a person include “All those (blank) people are commies/nazis/baby-killers” etc. It reveals something sick in the soul. It’s especially surprising when I’m one of the nazi/babykiller/communists that they’re talking about. I guess they forgot I was their friend when they posted it.
Having said that, I have to get back to Facebook. It appears we may be close to solving the issue of transgender illegal aliens this afternoon.
Last week there was a conviction in a Hennepin County court room. Former Minneapolis police officer Mohammed Noor was convicted of murder and manslaughter after shooting an unarmed citizen two years ago.
I have been following this case fairly closely through the good offices of the Powerline blog. For those who don’t read the blog, you are missing out on some of the best work in the blogosphere.
Leading up to the verdict, I heard a lot of rumbling in social media about the case. After the verdict I was contacted by someone who wanted my opinion as a former officer about what had happened.
Let me set the stage for you before I get to the meat of this post. I hate to see anyone killed in error by an officer of the law. It’s a tragedy for everyone involved. It lessens the public’s faith in their servants, it causes trauma for the officers involved, and it destroys the life of an innocent.
I would also point out that someone dying at the hands of law enforcement is very rare. Far more people are killed by family, gangs in their midst, and auto crashes than die at the hands of police. Further, most police killings are justified. Not all of the people who die have a weapon in their hand at the moment, but speaking as a big lug, I don’t particularly need a weapon to be a deadly threat – same goes for cops.
Finally, there are just straight up accidents where police kill someone when attempting to employ a less-than-lethal level of force. These are very rare, and include people who die in police custody in transport accidents, or a medical emergency that is not discovered until too late.
Having set the stage, let me tell you what I think. After talking to more than one law-enforcement officer who knew Noor’s background in training, I am not surprised that he was unprepared for the streets. I was informed by these sources that he was a “special project” who was ushered through training so that he would be the first Somali officer in Minneapolis. It was a political decision, and according to sources a bad one.
Secondly, the “Blue wall of silence” we always hear about was extremely quiet. More than anything, they just didn’t say a word about anything, versus mounting a defense of Noor in the time since the death of Justine Damond. I took that as the silence of people waiting to see if justice was served, and afraid of the implications if he either got railroaded, or got a pass.
Lastly, I was afraid of the possibility of Noor not getting a fair shake given the anti-police mentality in Minneapolis’ higher government echelons.
Now, for a detour before how I think it went. Here are the list of acceptable/predicted outcomes according to the legal scholars I’ve observed on social media:
Noor will get a pass because he’s a member of a fascist force that keeps the people down.
No cop will ever be convicted, the whole system is designed to suppress the people.
He’s black, and the man will railroad him.
Only on trial because he shot a white woman. It’s Emmet Till all over again.
Noor can’t be convicted, he was on duty and all cops make mistakes – you cannot imprison a man who was trying to do the correct thing.
She deserved to be shot, she snuck up on the squad car and frightened the cops.
I’ll spare you the more racially ridiculous ones, on both sides. Let’s just say his skin color trumped his uniform color for an awful lot of people with strong opinions. Some more than willing to leave their usual position on law enforcement based on ancestry.
My conclusion: it sounded like the best outcome Noor could hope for in the case. I don’t believe that there was criminal intent to go out and kill someone that summer night. I do believe that he probably recklessly fired that weapon and killed an innocent woman, which is the very definition of manslaughter.
The news reports I read (multiple sources) made it clear that the prosecution presented an excellent (but not perfect) case against Noor. His defense, and testimony, was weak at best, and rang false. Jurors interviewed after the verdict made it clear that the expert witness testimony held a lot of sway. The biggest part of that last point is that you need to bring your best guns to the courtroom, not an “expert” who will testify to anything based on the needs of the client. You can’t take the facts that say “X” and make them say “Y” because that’s what your team needs in this circumstance.
Noor will likely be placed in a facility where he is isolated from the general population. He will be a convicted felon, with all the baggage that brings with it, for the rest of his life. He is doomed to have a miserable life unless he lifts himself above the mess he’s in, and aspires to improve his life after his release.
Was it the right verdict? I think so. But I’d much rather have a chance to meet Justine Damond, and hope that Noor get the experience and training he needed to become a good cop. Neither will ever happen, and that’s unfortunate for all involved.
Good husbands are hard to find. Just ask my wife. She’s on the fence today. I think our marriage is strong enough to survive this one, but you never know.
The story is epic – in the best sense of that word.
My beautiful wife has been a very conscientious observer of her health for the last two years. As a result, she’s lost a lot of weight, and looks fantastic. This has resulted in the need to buy new clothing, and discard the old clothing. Find me a husband that doesn’t inwardly scream at spending money on clothing and I’ll show you a robot, or someone who needs to turn in his man card. Seriously. My annual expenditure on clothing (excluding Santa Garb) might run into the three figures if you count running shoes I wear out. The very low three figures.
About a month ago, she did a spring cleaning in her room, and stacked a huge pile of stuff in the hallway upstairs, on the dead-end portion that goes out to our deck. It’s Minnesota in April, so nobody is using the deck.
We have traditionally stuck things there that are going to be donated. If they are to go to the attic, she marks them after they’ve been stuffed in a trashbag to keep insects out.
This pile sat for 3 weeks. In the fourth week, I figured it wasn’t going to vanish, it wasn’t bagged, and I’d best make it go away.
Very early on Saturday morning, I bagged it up, hauled it out to my vehicle, and set it out at the Good Neighbor Meal so when the guests showed up they could pick through it. Never have I seen anything left on the stage when the day is over – they need the clothing.
As I laid it out, I grumbled about how much money was up here, but was also glad she’d done so well in getting into better shape. I finished my work, turned out the lights, and went on to my next three stops of the day. I resolved not to complain about all that money wasted on clothes she hardly wore.
Late that afternoon, my wife came home from her rounds for the day and we sat outside in the thin sunshine and compared notes. She asked me if I’d taken all the stuff in the hallway to the church to give it away.
As a good boy, who did what he was supposed to do without any prompting (Yes, it took 3 weeks, but that’s pretty good by my book), I immediately took credit.
The look on her face was sadness. “All of my winter pants were in the pile. They were supposed to go to the attic.”
I couldn’t even muster an apology. The rules very clearly state… well, usually that means…
I guess I’ll be helping her replace the wardrobe come fall.
On the bright side, the hallway looks pretty empty now, and I did score a pair of used blue-tooth headphones when we kept the cleaning binge up this weekend. You can now see the top of the filing cabinet, the desktop, and the hall carpet again. Last known sighting of any was during the Clinton presidency.
Gentlemen, I beseech you: ask before you donate. It’ll will save you a lot of cash down the road.
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If you were to Google “Murdered Puppies” you would get 8,140,000 results. The same search, substituting the word “infants” yields 3,150,000. Repeat the search with “babies” and you get 26,300,000 results.
The word “abortion” is not seen in that last search until about 3/4 of the way down the page on page 2 of the search.
Recently, I’ve seen people expressing great anger over the mistreatment of animals. Both domestic and wild. Yet when a post appears on a blog, or Facebook, or Twitter, discussing abortion, or infanticide (really late term abortion if you’re a Clinton Democrat) you don’t get the “that’s horrible” response from many people, but a long – and rather screechy – litany of reasons why it is probably okay to kill viable human beings. The lists always include some stupid things, like it would be inconvenient, or the mother is poor, or it (the child) came about through rape. You never see that when the puppies are discussed.
This leads me to believe that puppies are more important than humans to many people.
Perhaps, I think, it’s not the puppies. Perhaps, it is that we have now raised two generations of people who think pulling children apart in the womb and putting them “in the bin” is perfectly legal, which makes it morally acceptable.
Perhaps, I think, we’re in the midst of the most monstrous mass-murder epidemic in history right here in the United States. We’ve surpassed the dead in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust since abortion was made legal. Heck, we’ve outdistanced Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, and are even well beyond the pile of corpses that Mao created.
As a matter of fact, the odds are pretty good that we’ve beat the combined score of all those murderous thugs with the number of babies killed since 1973.
Nick Bacon is a life interrupted. When his commercial airline flight explodes over Utah, killing everyone on board but Nick, his miraculous survival draws unwanted attention. The press can't get enough of his story while the FBI is convinced he planted the bomb that took down his plane. All he wants is a place to heal and time to let the world forget him. Unable to return home, Nick accepts an offer to join a missionary medical team and flees to Haiti.
But Nick’s new life in Haiti is haunted by visions. He's forced to examine his sanity and faith in a world of turmoil and chaos among a people he’s never met before. Aided by Andre, his Haitian translator and protector, Nick confronts the dark forces battling for his soul, and the soul of the abused little girl he’s only seen in his dreams.
Because in Haiti, there's more than just Nick's sanity at risk. The fate of the world may now depend on Nicholas of Haiti.
Submarine commander Aiexi Novskoyy has been sprung from prison by a multibillion-dollar organization with a very special mission in mind. The company has designed a new submarine - the Vepr - which they will use to wreak havoc on international trade. To test its new weapon, Alexi must sink a cruise ship carrying the entire brass of the US Navy - effectively decapitating the American fleet.
The legendary USS Devilfish is called in to stop the catastrophe, only to be ambushed by the ultra-advanced Vepr. With the Devilfish down, the Navy sends Captain “Kelly” McKee and the newest sub in the US arsenal to hunt down and destroy the super sub. What they don’t realize is that Alexi has his own plans, which have him heading straight for the shores of America.
The East China Sea. Six Japanese submarines are attacked and believed destroyed. To the world, it seems like an accident. But to one man, former submarine commander Dick Donchez, it is the first act of war. He alone knows the truth: That the old guard of Red China has stolen the subs to wage a massive attack against the new Free China.
One of the classics of the genre, and the only book I'd ever read that killed off the ... well, you'll have to listen to find that out. Perfect for the fan of technothrillers. Written by a master, voiced by the author of this blog. First book of the series that I recorded for the author.
Barracuda is the fourth book in the series, and the third one I've recorded for Michael DiMercurio. It's action packed, and a good listen at about 13 hours! It stands alone, or fits nicely into the series. (But listen to them in order if you want the full effect.)
A volatile new state calling itself Greater Manchuria emerges out of the political and military strife of Asia. Thanks to the connections of its brash leader, it boasts an atomic arsenal. Japan, threatened by its proximity to nuclear disaster, shocks the world by launching a sophisticated preemptive strike against its new neighbor.