Thursday, May 31, 2007

CO2 Emission Nonsense

If you listen to the “chicken little” mentality then “it’s the end of the world” and the sky is falling because we have filled it with so much garbage that it has to fall. The latest nonsense comes from the fear mongers intent on curtailing the supposedly inordinate amounts of CO2 being produced by our decadent society.

I caught a couple of minutes of the Rush Limbaugh radio show today and heard exactly how the whacko environmental community has attempted to stampede the herd by playing the guilt trip card. If you listen, without thinking, the numbers they’re spouting sound horrendous and certainly worthy of serious consideration for the damage to our atmosphere.

Dr. Spencer, a climatologist ( some kind of scientist who relies on facts rather than feelings ) from the University of Alabama Huntsville took all the teeth out of the scary numbers by explaining in simple terms, enough so that even the folks in Rio Linda would understand, exactly what those numbers represent. Rather than butcher the explanation I’ve cut and pasted the following paragraph directly from the transcripts on Rush’s website.

"The comments come at a difficult time for the Bush administration, which is undergoing pressure from other members of the G8 club, which under the current chair of Germany is pushing for global action on CO2 emissions." Speaking of CO2. Get this. Roy Spencer sent this to me yesterday, Dr. Spencer, our resident expert, climatology, University of Alabama Huntsville. He said, "Rush, people try to scare you by saying that humanity pumps 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, and it sounds like a big number." You know, Gore's out there saying this in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, 30 billion tons of CO2. Thirty billion tons. That's bad. Dr. Spencer's writing a book that's due out sometime in the fall about some of this, and he said, "I came up with the following illustration of how little CO2 there really is in the atmosphere and how little humanity produces. While Gore is out there saying that there are 30 billion tons of CO2 being pumped by human beings into the atmosphere each year, the current constitution of the atmosphere is this. It contains 38 molecules of CO2 for every 100,000 molecules of air." Folks, that's nothing. "Thirty-eight molecules of CO2 for every 100,000 molecules of air, and it would take humanity five years to increase that number from 38 to 39. So every five years we add one molecule of CO2 to each 100,000 molecules of air." And yet this is how the left sells stuff, 30 billion tons, CO2, and now Germany and the G8, they're saying, "Well, we gotta stop CO2 emissions. We're pumping 30 billion tons." It's not a factor. Thirty-eight molecules for every 100,000 molecules of air...” (emphasis added)

This sounds a little like the guilt I’m supposed to feel for letting the faucet drip in my bathroom so my cat can always get a drink of water. I’m supposed to worry about how much water is being wasted, kind of like that turnips I didn’t eat when I was a boy; “There’s some poor starving kid in Africa who’d fight to have a chance to eat what you just threw in the trash, young man!” Well, I never liked turnips so I threw them out whenever they showed up on my plate and I never met that kid who’d fight me for them.

I did feel guilty that time my Granny wanted a piece of my chocolate cake and all I gave her was a small piece of a crumb, not big enough to feed a small mouse. Granny was tickled by the honesty I provided, “I didn’t want to share my cake, not even with my Granny.” I was four maybe five, what did she expect?

I tried an experiment a while back; plugging the bottom of the sink to see just how much water I’d wasted. In four hours of dripping and splashing into the slowly filling sink I measured less than a gallon of water. I figure I waste way more than that while enjoying a hot shower, letting the waters soothe away all my guilt for making a good living at the expense of poor suckers who happened to lose their keys. I make enough keys to pay for my hot water, my cold water and surely I make enough to let my cat drink from a dripping faucet while I’m away from the house.

My cat breaths out CO2 excessively and I may have to plant something in the yard to offset the damage done to the environment; but that’s nothing compared to the odor from her litter box. I wonder how much damage is done to the environment from the ammonia that evaporates from the kitty litter. Bubba likes to wait until around ten at night to let go with a real stinky one, the kind that makes us wonder why we have pets at all. Now we can involve the methane destroys the environment crowd too; on this point they might win.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cap and Ball Pistols

Lemuel Calhoun wrote, “Fun with Black Powder” ( linked via title bar), and has a short video clip that goes along with it. It reminded me that I have a similar replica cap and ball pistol. This picture is for you Lemuel; thanks for bringing back some nice memories.

I took it down to the Capitol Street Pistol Range one evening while on duty. The other police officers all wanted to take a look at the antique pistol, even though it was a replica it had the same effect as if it had been a hundred or so years old. I shot a few rounds and the muzzle flash was awesome, traveling down range and lighting up the shadows.

The picture shows a display box I made out of scraps and a piece of velvet from Lucy’s cloth box. I only had to pay for a piece of glass and a package of brass corners. I used to keep a couple of one carat man made diamonds that were gifts given to police officers by one of the local jewelry stores; but when my house got broken into several years ago those disappeared. I was surprised the thieves didn’t take this pistol. They did manage to steal my Smith & Wesson Model 19, 357 duty pistol, the one that had a sterling silver and gold “butt plate” with my name and badge number engraved on it. They would have gotten more had I not been walking in the front door while they were in the house. There was a trail of rifles and shotguns that they’d abandoned as they scurried out the back window of my daughter’s room. It’s just as well I wasn’t aware of their presence when I was unlocking the front door or somebody would have had a really rotten day. The diamonds that were taken didn’t have much of a dollar value, all the same they looked really neat against the blue velvet background.

Several years after the burglary I got a call from the Sheriff’s Department to inform me that my pistol had been recovered, without the fancy butt plate. I had already settled with my home owners insurance company so technically it belonged to them. I called State Farm and told them about it and they let me buy it back from them; I think I paid them a hundred dollars, about what I’d paid for it when it was new and I was graduating from the Academy. I’d long since purchased a newer and heavier Smith, the model 586, to use as my primary duty weapon. I ended up selling the model 19 to a young man I knew who had become a security guard in the area where I patrolled at night. He was thrilled to have it at a very reasonable price and I was glad to be able to help out.

Why can’t I sit there Pea-paw?

It rained most of the day yesterday and when the sun went down the American Flag which I’d displayed for Memorial Day was soaked. I climbed the extension ladder and brought the flag into the house to dry. It being a fairly large flag, I looked around for a suitable location to permit the drying process without it touching the floor.

I have one of those inversion tables where I can hang upside down to relieve back pressure. In a dark an ominous sort of way that flag looks like the apparatus used on board ships to launch the dearly departed to a watery grave. The flag is nearly dry and will be folded properly for storage until our next national day of reverence.

JJ, my five year old grandson came in a while ago and was about to sit on the flange at the base of the inversion device, a place where my grandchildren sit when they want to use it like a see-saw ride; Pea-paw supplying the lifting energies on the other end. I was going to explain the importance of showing reverence toward that red, white and blue piece of fabric when my throat tightened and my eyes were suddenly flooded with moisture.

“Did you hurt yourself, Pea-paw?” JJ took notice of the tears dripping down my cheek as I sniffled away in an attempt to regain my presence and continue.

“JJ, that flag represents our hope that this country will always remain free. It is to be treated with respect.” I could say no more and will try to do better next time, when he is a little older and I am a little less emotional.

Why do we honor the dead?

Why do we honor the dead?

Memorial Day has come and gone,
flags to honor the fallen too are gone.
We have a tomb in Washington,
a soldier known by only God.
They change the guard with great precision,
with solemn ceremony they protect.
The home of the brave and the free,
We’ve chosen one unknown soldier,
a man who represents in silence
the sacrifice of all who rest.

I’m not much of a poet, the spirit is willing … I read Gunner’s post at Target Centermass, (linked via title bar) and came away with a question; are these Memorial Day ceremonies a simple military display or does it go much deeper?

I watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of The Unknown Soldier many years ago on a television special; so long ago that I remember it in black and white. I came away with the distinct feeling that I’d observed a religious ceremony, something so sacred as to honor not only the unknown soldier who rests within that tomb; but to honor God who looks after the spirits of all the fallen in defense of freedom.

Why do we honor the dead if the dead are not? Our continued ceremonies, our supplications toward the Heavens are wasted if the resurrection has no power. If we hold that the resurrection has power then we acknowledge our Creator, the Savior Himself; but we are not permitted to honor our God because we have, as the Supreme Court has ruled, a separation of church and state. Do you see where this is going?

The meticulous grooming of each who performs the changing of the guard may not be an officially recognized religious ceremony, one that silently offers our prayers for His constant assistance along with our eternal gratitude for all that He has done to preserve us this nation; so let’s not tell the ACLU that somehow one slipped past them.

Monday, May 28, 2007

It’s Memorial Day – Play Responsibly

I posted my Memorial Day article on Saturday ( linked via title bar ) and here it is, Monday already. I read several thought provoking posts which I will provide links for those interested in shedding a tear or two.

Here in Houston there are ceremonies at the National Veterans Cemetery where the Scouts provided the labor force which placed hundreds of American Flags all around the drives that snake through that sacred ground. I think the weather forced a cancellation of an Air Force “fly over”; something which is thunderously noticeable to anyone within miles of the cemetery.

I mentioned that the weather is a factor today; our hamburger cooking will be done courtesy of the George Foreman table top grill instead of the back yard cooker. I mowed the front yard and raced the approaching storm that was being drawn up from the Gulf. I was in the middle of edging the driveway and front curb when the rains began to come down. This was no light shower; but I managed to finish the whole job and it looks very nice with our American Flag hanging above the entry way.

Bonnie took JJ and Jocelyne out to play in the rain, jump around in the puddle that forms at the base of my driveway and then got out the watering hose for some extra fun. Lucy was able to capture some of the “responsible adult supervision” with the camera.

Here are those Memorial Day Links :

  • Third World County’s Memorial Day

  • Principled Discovery’s Something to be proud of
  • Sunday, May 27, 2007

    A Hug Makes It Worth The Effort

    We took on the responsibility of baby sitting my grandchildren for an extended weekend to make it possible for my daughter and her husband to get away and have a vacation together. Lucy gets to do most of the physical “work” while I get to play; a great set up if you ask me.

    JJ showed me where to find the pin ball game on my computer; didn’t know there was one. We played for a while and enjoyed the sound effects as the virtual pin ball bounced and ricocheted, all the while the points counter racked up a huge score. I cranked up the volume knob and the room shook until Lucy had me turn it back down a notch or two.
    Jocelyne was content to watch, holding on to the arm of my easy chair.

    This morning I got up early for meetings at church and during the break I came home for a short nap. Jocelyne wanted to cuddle and I found out that she was bound and determined to figure a way up and onto my bed. We have one of those “sleep number” systems with the fancy adjustable frame so the mattress can be bent into various shapes. The bed sits well off the floor and I didn’t think that Jocelyne’s “not quite two” body was up to the task; I was wrong, as she muscled her way up with considerable savvy.

    I was not quite asleep, on the border as she decided that a few well placed body slams to my mid section might be fun. Jocelyne has an infectious giggle and continued to pull, twist and turn until she was positioned in the crook of my arm. She then crawled on top of my chest and put her hands out toward my face. The next thing I knew she was patting my cheeks and pulling herself down, putting her face close to my neck and giving me the most tender hugs; no words can express the tender moment I experienced.

    We took the kids with us to church and they were well behaved for the most part. Jocelyne wanted to say hello to everyone, especially the folks sitting directly behind us. Half way making sure she didn’t fall over and keeping tabs on her while the meeting progressed, I was for the most part, enjoying the constant distraction of a two year old.

    The meeting came to a close and while getting up my friend Russ, the one who was sitting in the next row behind us commented that he’d enjoyed the moment almost as much as I had, watching me sitting with my grandchildren. Being Pea-paw is a tough job; but a hug makes it worth the effort.

    Mexico City is in Iraq?

    Okay, I read the story; where on this map is Mexico City?
    I’m glad I took this picture and saved it to file before going to church this morning because I just clicked on the title bar link and noticed the “Updated Map of Mexico” had been deleted.

    Saturday, May 26, 2007

    Have They Died in Vain?

    I wrote a piece last year, one that more effectively explains our need to reflect on the sacrifices made for our benefit. Please take a few moments by clicking on the title bar which will link you to that article.

    Memorial Day weekend has arrived, a chance to acknowledge those who died while serving in the military. Those of you who can’t stand the America I grew up with are free to spit and cuss on their memory; just remember that you are doing so in English, not German, Japanese or some Arabic language.

    I’m not in a mood to discuss the disgust I feel for the controlling majority that occupy the House and Senate, those who are caught up in their political games as to risk destroying my country. I would hope that those men and women currently serving in harm’s way will forgive us for putting low life cowards and traitors in office.

    I extend my appreciation to the makers of Dr Pepper, Lays Potato Chips and Blue Bell Ice Cream for stocking the shelves at the local grocery store. It wouldn’t be Memorial Day without snacks to munch on while enjoying the ball games on television and acknowledge my debt to those who paid for my privilege to enjoy such pleasures with their lives.

    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    Exactly What Would More Talking Do?

    On CNN’s website I read the results of the IAEA findings regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions. Tell me history doesn’t repeat itself over and over.

    “The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said Thursday he agrees with U.S. intelligence estimates that Iran is three to eight years from being able to make nuclear arms and urged the United States and other Security Council members to abandon "rhetoric" in their bid to get Tehran to scale down its nuclear ambitions.”

    There’s a line in the movie, Tin Cup, near the end where our “hero” is in contention for the U.S. Open title; if only he plays the smart shot, lays up and takes par. He’s sitting close enough to the green where if he makes a nearly perfect shot he’ll walk off with an outright win; but the last couple of times he’s tried that same shot the ball landed in the water hazard. With each swing of the “big dog” another golf ball plunks into the pond and the announcers are jabbering away in disbelief, “Doesn’t he know he can take a drop?”

    Down to his last ball, the one he needs to keep from being disqualified from the tournament, his caddy walks up and talks about this fact as the frustrated Tin Cup continues muttering, “I know I can make this shot!”

    The caddy replies, “Then what are you waiting for, quit fartin’ around, (except he didn’t say fartin’), and make the shot!”, as if all the previous wasted shots were just “Muligans”. Roy’s last shot clears the pond, rolls down the manicured surface and drops in the hole as the crowd goes crazy for having witnessed the most amazing turn of events in U.S. Open history.

    I wanted to capture the picture used in the CNN article, a photograph taken from a high altitude reconnaissance aircraft or spy satellite showing the Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities. The only thing missing from that photograph where the cross hairs of a bomb sight followed by additional photographs showing the impact of several tons of high explosives on Iran’s nuclear facilities along with smoke and debris being dispersed into the desert atmosphere.

    Are we so foolish as to believe that the Iranians are playing their nuclear threat as if it were a game of poker, bluffing the entire world all the while holding a pair of fours against the outside chance that one of the more powerful nations might take action?

    “ElBaradei said the international community should pursue a dialogue with Tehran.”

    “"One way to do that, rather than to continue the rhetoric, is to ... sit down together," he said.”

    Sit down together and what; talk some more, play a game of Rock/Paper/Scissors or draw pistols and shoot? What would sitting down with Tehran do that hasn’t already been placed on the table, threaten them with sanctions; just like the UN did with Iraq?

    Empty threats by the world powers when dealing with Iran would be the same as folding to a pair of fours. To the world powers, those who keep laying back for par; that’s a little like expecting everything to work out by sitting down with Tehran. What we need is a Tin Cup, someone willing to take the shot.

    Point of Law

    The other day Rhymes With Right had a small piece explaining how the anti Bush crowd was in a huff because “Dubya” was driving around on his private ranch without wearing a seatbelt. Can you believe the nerve of that guy; and in a time when “click it or ticket” is more important than “show me your green card”. Well, “Dah”, the State law only covers driving on a Public Street. I’d link to it but it was a fairly insignificant article; go look it up if that floats your boat.

    The Houston Chronicle had something similar this morning, one of those slam dunk laughs to get the day started (linked via title bar). It would seem that up in Arkansas they might have a trouble distinguishing between public and private property too; kind of like the way the Supreme Court ruled on property rights in the Kelo decision now that I think of it. I’m getting off track; back to the original story, the one that was supposed to make me laugh.

    A man was arrested for DUI when he was found passed out at the wheel in the drive through lane of a McDonald’s restaurant. Last time I looked the drive through lane at McDonald’s wasn’t a public street either. They could arrest the guy for being drunk in public; but unless they have a witness that can testify that they saw him driving on a public street they have no case, point of law. Not being from up that way or knowing the specifics of Arkansas law maybe I should stick to opinions on Texas laws.

    In this day and age I suppose that we could pick a jury composed of “diviners of truth” to get a conviction; use the all encompassing “We feel” he must have been on a public street at one time approach. “We feel” works fine for some folks when showing compassion for the masses; it doesn’t work so well when trying to prove something with established facts. Why do elected Senators and Representatives not know this principle? Dadgummit; I’m wandering off topic again, back to the DUI story.

    Logic tells us that the vehicle must have been driven on the public street, at one time or another; but was he drunk while operating the motor vehicle on that street or did he get drunk after he left the public street and was sitting there in the drive through lane waiting for his burger and fries? What about the possibility that some other guy was driving, the one who got out after they arrived at McDonalds and left the drunk fellow to take his place behind the wheel; did anyone see where that other guy went? Little details that might create a “shadow of a doubt” make this particular case look like a piece of Swiss Cheese with all the holes it has in it.

    I have a better idea; drop the DUI charge, even though he had two prior convictions for DUI; catch him on a public road next time and have a real case. Get a couple of handbooks containing the basic elements necessary to prove a case in court and give one to the arresting officer and another to the assistant DA who took the charges to begin with. Yea, this makes for a good laugh while eating my oatmeal in the morning; just doesn’t sit well upon digestion.

    Wednesday, May 23, 2007

    Kill Snake – No Charge

    Often times when performing the service of making keys to an “old beater” that’s been sitting out in a field I make sure to check for spiders, wasps or other nasty surprises that might be lurking in the shadows. I remember one time impressioning a key for a trunk on one old cream puff that had a family of wasps inside the hollow where the lock and latch were housed. The moment that key turned and the deck lid popped up my hand received several insults for having disturbed their afternoon nap. Sometimes you see it coming and other times you don’t.

    This morning I was at a friend of mine’s car lot way in the back where I was to make keys for 1994 Chevy truck that someone had replaced the original ignition with one of those really cheap after market ignition switches. I was going to have to drive my service truck back through some mud, either that or walk back and forth a considerable distance; why walk when you can drive?

    There was a plastic bucket sitting right down the middle of where I was going to put my truck and I was about to move it when something caught my attention. At the bottom of the bucket was a Copperhead snake that had sought shelter there. I looked around and found a shovel with a nice long handle and with a few well placed jabs managed to render the snake mortally wounded.

    I went about the business of making keys and replacing the ignition switch as the morning temperatures broke a sweat on my brow. When it came time to fill out my work order I listed what I’d done; pull after market ignition switch, replace with factory new parts, fit door key and on the next line, kill snake – no charge.

    I know that killing the snake had nothing to do with locksmith work; I probably broke some State labor law, not having a proper license issued by the DPS/PSB for killing venomous reptiles within a hundred feet of a public thorough fare. I plead guilty; just don’t put me in a dark jail cell where there might be spiders or other nasty things hiding in the shadows.

    Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    Texas DPS/PSB Imposition on Locksmiths

    Representative Debbie Riddle
    Room EXT E2.208
    P.O. Box 2910
    Austin, TX 78768
    Fax: 512- 463-1908 & 281- 537-8821

    Subject: DPS/PSB imposition on Locksmiths

    Representative Debbie Riddle,

    I am writing well in advance of my renewal application with the DPS/PSB for my locksmith license which comes due in August. It’s a bitter pill to swallow each year I’m required to pay TRIBUTE to the State of Texas for permission to continue doing business. I am aware that the State considers each individual who operates a business to be “ripe for the picking”, so much more money for the general budget.

    The State has also seen fit to add insult to injury by giving the DPS/PSB additional authority over my individual business through what is called mandatory annual continuing education. I have been active in the locksmith industry since 1976 and started my own business in 1978. I am now forced to attend a minimum of 8 hours in locksmith related courses of study in order to “qualify” for my license for yet another year.

    I attended those 8 hours last year, and then some, to comply. I took the mandated 1 hour class in Ethics along with another 8 hours in basic and advanced automotive work. My specialty is automotive locksmith work and I was pleased to see the information offered; HOWEVER, with my cumulative experience I could have taught that class and saved the time and money that I was forced to spend in order to be in compliance with a STUPID rule which was IMPOSED on my business by a bunch of bureaucrats intent on ruining the free market system.

    I will need to take that same automotive class again this year; jump through their hoops, balance along a fence and bow down to the DPS/PSB in order to obtain permission to continue serving my customers. This is repugnant to a red blooded American born with a God given right to Pursue Happiness as found in the Declaration of Independence. I will have to pay another locksmith, one who has registered and become part of the bureaucracy, for information which I already have and waste 8 hours of my time on top of that.

    I seek your help in putting an end to this incredibly hostile situation.

    T. F. Stern

    Links to related articles;

  • 1. Business Licenses – Jump for Joy

  • 2. Mandatory Continuing Education in Texas

  • 3. Wake Me Up From This Bad Dream
  • Monday, May 21, 2007

    Blogs that may not have seen the light of day

    Dana at Principled Discovery posted “My Favorite Unpopular Posts”, ten articles which may not have registered interest in the comment section. ( linked via title bar )

    Dans’s challenge was general in nature, “Share ten of your favorite posts, although they went largely unnoticed in the broader blogosphere.” I’ve been meaning to sort through my files, assign them smaller groups in order to reference them and clean up the clutter. My blog might not show up as anything other than a fly speck in the “broader blogosphere” so most anything I’ve posted should qualify.

  • 1. Best Job I Ever Had

  • 2. Looking for an Old Photograph

  • 3. Where Do You Go For A View ?

  • 4. The Other Side of the Coin

  • 5. First Verse Only, Please

  • 6. Finding Treasure

  • 7. Share Time Tip Jar

  • 8. Who Fired That Shot?

  • 9. HPD Guide Lines for Unauthorized Beards/Roll Call Inspection

  • 10. Membership Dues Serve a Purpose

  • Sunday, May 20, 2007

    The Very Last Visitor Counter that was on the Shelf

    I know this must have been the very last “counter” because I now have one on my blog; a little like when we were the last family on the block to own a television back in the 50’s. I never could figure out how a visitor counter would be of any benefit since I have such a small community of folks who leave comments; well, not so apparently. Lots of folks stop by for a visit according to this “gadget”; they might not leave a comment as they peruse my stuff but they do come by.

    I have Ed Minchau to thank since he posted about a newer kind of counter, one that doesn’t attach cookies, on his Robot Guy blog (linked via title bar ). I’m a chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie monster; that and some milk make for a nice snack; I know, not the same kind of cookies.

    Ed also volunteered to help set up my antique “Blogger” template to accept this new information and while he was at it corrected some old issues. Ed fixed the Life Liberty and Property logo that had vanished when my computer crashed last time. He also got rid of a partial logo from the now defunct High Country Bloggers Association which fell apart long ago.

    Ed, thanks for going the extra mile with me on this; you have no idea how easy it is for me to screw up when it comes to HTML gibberish. If this had been a scene from City Slickers, the part where instructions had been given as to how to set up the VCR to program a show, “The Cows Could Do It By Now!”

    I should have mentioned that the counter is located at the very bottom of the whole page of blogs; not very conspicuous now is it? Then next thing will be counters with pop music or that beep into my cell phone with each visitor; this one will be obsolete.

    Saturday, May 19, 2007

    Images Sparked a Memory from the Past

    I will start by explaining that the two Vicodin I took an hour ago are working quite well, the pain in my lower back and hip are but a bad memory now. I have my “California Mellow” and have consigned myself to the fact that I will not be going out on any locksmith jobs, at least not until this “buzz” clears off.

    I’m listening to a selection of pop singles on my computer’s iTunes, a selection which was put together so that when I am driving around town in my service truck I'll have favorites with me to sing along with. You should be most grateful that most of the time I sing along with the windows rolled up.

    I figured that as long as my time was going to be spent here in my easy chair, I might as well catch up on the slide show pictorial amusements of events that occurred during the week here in the Houston area. Our local NBC affiliate, KPRC, had several events that were caught on film; an electric power relay station on fire, pets treated after a house fire and the one that got me going, pictures of a truck that slammed into a house. ( link provided in the title bar )

    The first house that Lucy and I lived in was in Oak Forest, a subdivision on the near north side of Houston. Most of the houses had been built after WWII as starter homes for retuning GI’s. One evening one of Lucy’s friends stopped by for a visit; her husband wasn’t particularly interested in visiting and decided to wait in the car listening to the radio with the motor running and A/C going.

    A few minutes of visiting between the two ladies became more involved and time wore on; the reluctant husband in his car had fallen asleep. I’ve no idea what triggered him to awaken suddenly, a bad dream perhaps; in any case when he thought he was drifting forward he threw the shifter into reverse, not into park. We were inside the house when he backed up, cut to one side and slammed into my Toyota Celica which was parked on the street. He then shifted into drive, tore out across my next door neighbor’s yard, taking out a corner of their house, missed a huge tree and completed the nightmare by driving the rest of the way out of the yard and ended up down the street where he was able to bring it to a stop.

    We came rushing out of the house, having been alerted to the disaster in progress, believing that he’d had a heart attack and that was the reason for his inability to control his car. No, he’d simply had a panic attack upon waking. In one way I was relieved that he was okay, no heart attack or injuries from multiple encounters with parked cars and houses.

    His insurance company paid for the repairs to my Celica and wrote my neighbor a check to repair the damages. She cashed the check, had a great party and never fixed their house; instead covering it with a couple of sheets of plywood. About a year later, when she still had not fixed the damage, looking at the eyesore of plywood that had been exposed to the elements that she considered acceptable, we decided that it was time to find a better place to live. The neighborhood was fine, just that one neighbor was enough to make living there intolerable.

    I’ve listened to jokes, “You know you’re a red neck when…”; this woman put another page in that book. This is the same family with the little girl who would whistle cat calls out the window in my direction whenever I’d pull in or out of the driveway. She was only 4 years old at the time; hardly old enough to understand the implications, or so I thought.

    One day while I was getting ready to leave for work, dressed in my police blues and giving a hug to Lucy prior to getting in my truck, the little girl came out and began putting on her best for me; a wave and a wink as she strutted her stuff in front of Lucy.

    “That’s my boy friend.”, she bragged and lifted her brow to impress us.

    “I’m his wife.” Lucy quickly reminded her and laughed at the impossible remark that had just been fired by such a small child.

    “Well, you’re not home all the time.”, as if we were being filmed for the afternoon soap opera. I don’t think we could ever forget how that came out so naturally. We had to wonder what kind of home life this little girl was exposed to. I hope everything worked out for that little girl, cute as she was there had to be other issues to overcome as these thirty plus years have gone past.

    Friday, May 18, 2007

    You’re No JFK

    I was enjoying a few moments with a friend of mine, a mechanic who happens to be of Asian lineage; perhaps I should include that he is here legally and is a citizen. Somehow the conversation turned toward space exploration and I mentioned that I had a neat laser disc copy of “For All Mankind”. For those not familiar, that’s the one with John F. Kennedy standing at the podium at Rice University on September 12, 1962 explaining to the nation that he intended to jump start our space program efforts and to take over the lead from our only competition, the Russians.

    There is one of the most exhilarating pieces of recorded audio video footage ever taken as a Saturn 5 rocket takes off, cameras at every conceivable angle with the sounds of raw power being pulsed through every speaker of my sound system. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to being thrust into space, the walls bending and the floor shaking as I watch our nation’s hopes rise with that rocket.

    There are several locations on the internet where you can listen to that particular speech, a most inspiring and riveting start to our journey to the moon. I’ve linked to one of them in the title bar. Here is a small sample, one which I would hope you are familiar with:

    “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. . .”


    “Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”

    I’m only guessing that JFK is literally rolling over in his grave after listening to Ted’s victory speech after the Senate agreed to support the updated and improved immigration bill. I’ve got news for you Teddy, you’re no JFK. Here’s what might have been spoken from the pulpit were it to have been done yesterday:

    “We choose to open our borders. We choose to let anyone vote in this decade and to do the other things, not because they are legal, but because they are convenient, because their votes will serve to promote progressive socialism regardless of our best energies and skills, because we are willing to redistribute income to pay for the challenges to our Social Security and Medicare, one that could have been avoided had we built a wall, one which we never intended to build to begin with, and those others, too.”


    “Well, there is no wall, and we’re going to let them come in, and the hills and the valleys are there, and new hopes for social assistance and other hand outs too. And, therefore, as we swim across that river, we ask Gomez as he starts on that most hazardous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked, remember to always vote the straight Democratic ticket.”

    We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Borders!

    Another nail in our coffin was hammered home as both sides of the Senate jumped into bed with one another in support of an immigration bill which would rubber stamp 12 million illegal aliens into becoming legal citizens. Why couldn’t they do like Houston’s City Council does, just annex Mexico and declare them part of Houston regardless of what they want.

    “The agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have to secure our borders, bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America,” Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said; I’m not sure, was that a glass in his hand that was raised high for the cameras? This is like catching a burglary suspect in your garage and having to invite him in for dinner; what is wrong with this picture?

    “Secure our borders”, Teddy “I’ll drink to that” Kennedy actually said this was the best possible chance we will have to secure our borders. I thought the use of LSD was against the law, maybe this was a 60’s flashback for those bubble heads in the Senate. Are they out of their minds? I was tempted to insert flowing poetry by the use of expletives as I have in the past, somehow, “Are they out of their minds?”, would have sounded much more impressive had I included the all too common and yet quite illustrative “F” word placed directly in between “their” and “minds”.

    Teddy, I know this might be difficult for you to understand, having had your brain pickled on alcohol; but what excuses do the rest of you imbeciles have? I was going to say “What excuses do the rest of you Senators have; but “imbecile” and “Senator” are easily substituted with each passing day. This agreement does nothing to secure our borders; it completely erases our borders. You have declared that there is nothing wrong when 12 million people storm across our border as if they were tourists who decided to stay a little longer.

    Do you know what does secure borders; a very large fence with barb wire, bricks and broken glass on top of the wall. Guards with guns that really shoot would help, guards who don’t have to worry about going to prison for shooting those who cross over illegally would help secure our borders and deporting those who snuck in while our eyes were closed would help too.

    You (add which ever popular profanity works best right here; but it has to be said loud enough for them to hear you over their shouts of jubilation) Senators and Representatives keep patting yourselves on the back, FOR WHAT? How much more of this can we afford? “W” has promised that he will sign this piece of garbage into law as soon as it hits his desk. I was thinking of a more applicable term, “when it hits the fan”.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    Little Courtesies Build Better Neighbors

    I read an article on the internet this week, a reminder of something simple that might be helpful to everyone. The short piece was written by a fellow who goes by the moniker, Big White Hat and he called it, “Texas Charm School Lesson 3” (linked via title bar); going on about how drivers are supposed to “finger wave” at those passing by on the road using the free fingers on top of their steering wheel. The comment section to his article is worth the time as well, offering a wide cross section of information. If you think about that for just a moment, what a simple friendly gesture tells about the mindset of the person offering a passing “howdy neighbor” as opposed to the many negative attitudes which seem to abound. This would work for you Yankees too, instead of “howdy neighbor” substitute “Hey, Youse Guys”; be sure to smile and have your pistol ready, just in case.

    I’ve noticed some of the younger generation and some older folks who have moved in from other areas of the country may not have been exposed to the “howdy neighbor” sort of mentality and it’s truly a shame. There doesn’t appear to be any association to being neighborly along racial lines, these minor courtesies are common among nearly every one I’ve met. I often see folks wave or nod to friends as they pass, even to those they may not know and yet recognize as neighbors. Maybe it’s not too late to instill a sense of community; the monthly newsletter that we get could be a gentle way to place this idea into homes without pointing a finger.

    I have a poster full of colloquialisms and one of them is, “There is more to life than increasing its speed”. I suppose that could be a warning to ease off the gas peddle or maybe that refers to something more important, our need to be a little more appreciative of what is around us, to include being more neighborly. We are all children of our Father in Heaven; isn’t it time we showed a little respect for each individual who shares this time and place with us?

    I’ve noticed a disturbing trend, mostly among the younger generation; but not limited to them, that of people walking two, three or more abreast as they take up a good portion of the street. It’s fine that these young people are able to enjoy one another’s company and have a good time while on their way to the store or some other point of interest; however, the street is also intended for vehicular traffic. These young people often times act in such a manner as to challenge those driving down the road, something which appears to be confrontational in nature, as if the vehicle should take drastic measures to either go around or even stop and wait for these young people to pass by; or else!

    I hesitate to equate such deliberate hostilities with gang mentality; however, this type of behavior isn’t much different than spray painting or tagging an area or “turf” as can be found on fences or walls of shops which have been defaced with gang graffiti. The antagonism which is presented might even be considered an assault worthy of retaliation, were these young people to run into an equally arrogant driver. I’m afraid that the consequences of such a meeting could be tragic.

    There are variations of the need for “community spirit” while sharing the road, for lack of a better name, by those who jog with their backs towards the traffic. I’d always thought that walking or running would be much safer were these folks to be facing in the direction of those vehicles which present a hazard to their health and safety. Pedestrians and joggers might even offer a smile, a simple wave or any number of simple salutations which create the notion that each individual has been properly addressed with a minimal amount of dignity. As my friend Big White Hat has explained, drivers should be equally aware and return such pleasantries. Does that sound too old fashioned or could we all be doing a better job at being neighborly?

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    Old Billy Crystal Joke

    Monday I spent the afternoon with one “specialist” to talk about a “minor medical procedure”. Wednesday I’m scheduled to see my neurologist about something totally unrelated as a follow up and then on Thursday I’m supposed to talk with yet another “specialist” to evaluate the blood tests that were taken Monday along with the CT and MRI scans; presumably to discuss surgical procedures. Wow, three specialists in one week; this isn’t funny and yet I find myself looking like the opening scene from a Billy Crystal movie.

    He has his “white man’s afro” hair cut as he wanders around his bedroom explaining the life cycle of the average male. There’s a pretend walker which he uses to move about the room, making exaggerated faces as if his dentures had been left in that glass on the night stand. I can hardly wait for my memory to begin to fail, sitting in the bathtub while Carmen, the care taker from the clinic, the one we hire when my brain turns to oatmeal; when Carmen reminds me to clean behind my ears. That will make my world complete, the total Billy Crystal “old man of the sea”; bathtub, what’s the difference at that age.

    Now I’m getting those looks from Lucy, the kind of look that tells me I should have listened to her way back when. You know that look; yea, be careful now.

    “I told you, you should have continued going to see Dr. Frank” (named altered). “Just because you think he’s a quack doesn’t mean he couldn’t help you get past this without them cutting part of your liver off.”

    How can you get angry with the love of your life when she wants so desperately to help? The fact remains that I lost any respect for Dr. Frank when he checked me over that one time I relented to Lucy’s promptings to go see that quack. He told me flat out that I probably had suffered a heart attack; but instead of advising me to go immediately to the hospital, Dr. Frank zapped my chest with some sort of cosmic ray gun, put some foul tasting drops on my tongue and told me that he just saved my life. No thank you, that kind of back woods medical attention might play well on the Walton’s television show; but I’d prefer somebody with a little more respect for common sense.

    So, I’m still in the dog house for rejecting “old fashioned homeopathy” and the real benefits it offers when done in moderation. I’m sure that those foot baths help relieve and make you feel better; not so sure that years of toxins are actually pulled out through my feet, quack, quack-quack. Was that a duck walking by or an opinion? I’m not entirely against taking herbs to maintain a proper metabolism that has been subjected to modern day fast foods; but I don’t believe for a minute that passing some cosmic ray gun over my chest will fix a tumor, a heart attack or a sack full of gall stones.

    If, after having talked with the liver specialist, I am given sufficient information to either live with the tumor they spotted on those tests or have it removed; then and only then will I make the decision to rely on modern medical procedures and doctors. I can always walk out and close the door, let the tumor sit there and hope it isn’t something I’ll regret later on. That is what being an adult is all about; living with the challenges you are given and accepting responsibility for whatever happens.

    “Piece of cake!”

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    Come Two Thirds of the Way to Houston

    This should be the new banner on top of City Hall, our new slogan to entice businesses, tourism and prospective families to move to our fair city. I read in the Houston Chronicle this morning where the “City can't keep pension fund promise” and that Mayor White's administration “will propose paying only two-thirds of the statutorily required pension contribution…” (link in title bar)

    Come to Houston; but, when your airplane lands on the runway it will bring you only two thirds the way to the terminal where you will be required to exit onto the tarmac and walk the rest of the way. Your luggage will be waiting for you somewhere on the tarmac because it too will only be brought two thirds the way to the terminal. That should be a good indicator that Houston is in deep trouble and to avoid it like the plague. I can hear the passengers request for alternative destinations, to include Ray Nagin’s “Chocolate City” that has yet to be rebuilt.

    “911 dispatcher…; No Sir, that ambulance was dispatched as you requested. It had to turn around when it got two thirds of the way to your location. We are truly sorry that your wife is having a heart attack; but I’m sure you’ll agree that raising property taxes to match with prior commitments…” “Excuse me Sir; but that kind of language is unacceptable and I’d send a police unit to your location, unfortunately two thirds of our work force resigned and moved to other cities.” “I’ll inform Dick Chaney that two thirds is better than none; thank you so much for the explanation involving two thirds Birds and two thirds Bees.”

    “City of Houston, Waste Management Services, how may I assist you?” “Oh, no Sir, we no longer have trash pick up. Yes, I know that you are being charged for trash pick up; we simply cannot afford to furnish that service. Is there anything else the City of Houston can do?” “Why thank you; I’m told that quite often these days, fortunately elephants can’t fly.”

    I see litigation on the horizon, a drawn out and very expensive process that the taxpayers will have to pay for. I hope the legal council for the City of Houston explains the basic concepts of contracts and responsibilities to the Mayor and the rest of City Council. Scaring the taxpaying public with proof of fiscal mismanagement, regardless of which administration was responsible, cannot be the foundation for a legal retreat from an existing financial debt. Sorry, you guys will have to do better than that.

    This is a replay of the same situation that Mayor White’s administration brought before the public back in March of 2004. The City can’t pay because they spent that money on other items so, “Sorry”, we overspent.

    I will remind the City that during the twenty years I served as a police officer of the “routine” of pay negotiations. Here’s how it went; the police would be told, by which ever administration was in office, that the City couldn’t afford to raise police pay “X” amount, an amount which would keep police pay marginally behind that of every other major police department’s base pay; instead they might be able to squeeze by with “One half of X if the police would accept 5% added on to your retirement package”. I couldn’t tell you how many times that particular scenario was played out instead of getting a decent wage increase; however, I do know that I was promised an improved retirement package.

    When I joined the ranks of Houston’s Finest the retirement package for a twenty year officer was 30% of base pay. Over the years that retirement percentage was raised, each time we agreed to continue working without a raise in take home pay. I now receive 55% of base pay and the City continues to “renegotiate”; most notably when it comes to how much I pay for medical insurance and how much the City puts in. Now I’m being promised yet another empty envelope in my retirement. I suppose one lesson I should have learned by now, “liars are going to lie”.

    If I were to mail this to City Hall, with an understanding that the postal rate just increased, I don’t suppose it would get there if I only put a stamp on the envelope that was worth two thirds, now would it. When I go to the grocery store, imagine the look on the checker’s face when I hand over two thirds of the amount due. How about when I go see the gastrointestinal specialist this afternoon; what if I only pay two thirds of the amount due; what kind of diagnosis should I expect? “Sorry, I don’t have the money” won’t make it in the real world; what makes Mayor White believe it should work in the fantasy land he is living in?

    Sunday, May 13, 2007

    Shock Jocks

    I thought I’d toss in my two cents worth after hearing of yet another case of Shock Jock hogging the head lines. I won’t even link to the many current stories listed when I Googled the term “Shock Jock” to find all the various articles on them. I will note that to my surprise Rush Limbaugh is listed as a Shock Jock, fancy that.

    Perhaps the loose fitting definition of Shock Jock should be examined; from Wikipedia, the all knowing and never mistaken source of wisdom, I found the following:

    “A shock jock is a slang term used to describe a type of radio broadcaster (sometimes a disc jockey) who attracts attention using humor that a significant portion of the listening audience may find offensive. The term is usually used pejoratively to describe evocative or irreverent broadcasters whose manners and on-air behavior is offensive to the listener.”

    I suppose Rush might actually be the premier Shock Jock since his programming offends almost anyone with whacko liberal left leanings; but that wasn’t the kind of offensive broadcasting I was thinking of. Political talk show host’s spectrum of offensive broadcasting usually keeps to defining differences between liberals and conservatives; which in itself might be offensive but constrained to only acceptable language devoid of profanities and vulgarities. No, the broadcasters I’d target and label as Shock Jocks would fall into the area of “unacceptable public behavior”; those who thrive on sexual depravity, profanity, hate and other generally despicable forms of human debasement.

    Here in Houston I know of at least one morning radio station, which I stopped listening to, with a pair of rude pranksters who would call people up with the intent of getting under their skin. These guys would get a tip about some dispute that was on going in a person’s life; contract issues with their landlord, home owner association issues or any number of situations which make blood pressure go through the top of the measuring device. These two jerks then pretend to be involved, leading the unsuspecting listener down the garden path, each step more steeped in anger, veins popping as the tension mounts and after preparing just the right moment these clowns spring the truth of the matter and let the targeted individual in on the joke. Some joke, creating a heart attack situation for the listening audience, “Ho-ho, ha-ha; that sure was funny listening to that poor sap sucking wind for thirty seconds while he looked for an ax to bury in somebody’s skull.” I’m sorry; but creating all those feelings of hate and anxiety isn’t funny, isn’t entertainment and shouldn’t be part of the morning commute.

    Those prankster type Shock Jocks pale in comparison to the more popular, the nationally syndicated super Shock Jocks. These guys have no problem reducing the human race to its lowest common denominator. A steady stream of vulgarity, profanity and sexual depravity seems to be the ticket to stardom. The FCC has rules of engagement, a list of words which are not to be uttered over the air waves; but, what about satellite transmissions which are technically not part of the “public air waves”? In the past couple of weeks there have been a number of extreme cases brought to the public’s attention, instances which have gone far beyond anything which could be considered fit for public consumption.

    I’m not endorsing any form of government intervention, nothing which would or could be considered trampling of Constitutional “rights”, to include freedom of expression through speech or any other God given rights. Quoting from an article I posted back in February, “Well, freedom of speech never included the right to offend your neighbor’s ear in public, no different than slapping someone in the face or spitting on them.” (link provided in title bar). What I’m concerned about is the ever increasing amount of pure trash that is being scattered around and consumed by the public, all in the name of “entertainment”.

    I was going to put my opinion in on Rap music; but have decided that any comment I have would be misunderstood as a racially motivated “hate crime”. I can’t bear to be near the “stuff”; makes my blood boil as a steady barrage of profanity and degradation to the human body is pounded incessantly from some home boy’s stereo system at volume levels capable of reshaping sheet metal; sorry, I forgot that I wasn’t going to comment on Rap. I don’t listen to Rap stations and I couldn’t tell you what kind of remarks a disc jockey would have to say leading up to or following that kind of filth; but I would hasten to add that in all probability it wouldn’t be quotations from the Bible intended to lead the listener nearer to God.

    Shock Jocks have their moment in the spotlight for now, taking home the bucks and wallowing in the cesspool reserved for such stardom; a cesspool with endless boundaries, one which will accommodate an entire culture if such is their desire. The only way to cut off their funding is to abandon their programming on an individual basis; stop supporting their sponsors, quit listening to them and they will vanish into thin air.

    The next sound you hear will be the toilet being flushed. Howard, Howard who?

    Recommended reading:

    The State of American Culture and What can be Done about It

    By Robert Bork

    Gosh and Oh My Heck

    Are we fully ripe with iniquity

    Senate Votes that Mormonism is the National Religion (snark)

    The Freedom Collection

    You won’t hear this being taught in school
    By T. F. Stern November 5, 2005

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Measure Twice - Cut Once

    I’d have made a terrible carpenter; but I did learn one rule from my father in law and that was the old rule, "Measure Twice - Cut Once". I’m sure that it can’t be applied to many other professions; locksmith work would have to be included.

    When I cut a key from code, one that needs to be put on the expensive transponder technology key blanks, I first make sure that the information is correct by cutting the coded information on a less expensive key, one that doesn’t have the transponder. If the cheap key works smoothly in all the locks I then cut that same information onto the expensive key and finish off with the programming.

    This morning I had a chance to work on an older Corvette, a total reconstruction job that had the appearance of a brand new vehicle. They’d finished all the windows with fresh weather stripping and new chrome. All the windows fit snuggly and had fancy tint film applied. The paint job must have cost as much as the car as I admired the extra clear coats that made it look an inch thick. The owner had left the car for some other improvements and mentioned, almost in passing that he didn’t have a door key yet, only an ignition key.

    That information had not been shared with the young fellow responsible for locking up at the end of the day. He’d methodically gone around closing and locking doors, locking tool cabinets and making sure that each Corvette was carefully parked in close proximity to the next so that the doors could not be opened except for the last car in line. Some cars were up on lifts which suspended these cars above the others to take advantage of the limited safe spaces.

    When I got there it took them several minutes to sort out the morning ritual of moving all these “sardines” so they could work on them. The one I was supposed to work on, to make a door key, was up on a lift. It was locked up tight as a drum; but at least they were able to lower it to ground level for me.

    I admired the restoration work and at the same time realized that it would be a crime before God to put a scratch on that beautiful paint job, take a chance on scratching the brand new chrome strips or tear any of the freshly replaced weather stripping. The car qualified as an antique, or nearly one and I had to scratch my head to remember the last time I’d worked on a 1978 classic Vette.

    The owner of the garage watched as I studied the vehicle, similar to the way a billiard player plots a strategy around a pool table prior to taking a shot; knowing all to well that it might be the only shot he’d get if he didn’t run the table. I determined that attempting to go down inside the door was not an option and remembered an old trick, an ancient Corvette trick that took advantage the tiny opening where the door handle was hinged, an opening which would permit a small right angled piece of rigid material to hook the linkage. I never was good at that particular option; all the same I was glad to have at least one viable option.

    I tried for a while and was very careful as I noticed that the handles had also been reconditioned with a new coating of chrome. How long do you spend on a procedure that you were never very fond of; ten minutes, fifteen, twenty?

    “This isn’t working; I’m looking for another way in.” There was a glimmer of hope on the passenger side where the window looked to have about a sixteenth of an inch gap at the top where it met with the T-tops. I had an old window bypass tool that I hardly ever get to use anymore, one that was designed to get past wing windows.

    I might have to explain what a wing window is to the newer generation since I haven’t seen one in years. Wing windows permitted stale inside air to be pulled outside, mostly for those who smoked. There was a chrome lever that would keep the triangular shaped window shut and this tool would slide under the weather stripping, position part of it on the button that permitted the latch to turn while the rest of the tool put pressure on the side of the latch in order to flip the latch. Once the latch was bypassed it would permit you to reach in and open the door.

    I sprayed a coating of lubricant on the window where it met with the weather stripping so that the tool wouldn’t grab. I think I was more afraid of putting pressure on the top edge of the window, pressure that could break the window. It slipped in so easily I found myself smiling. I then tripped the lever which holds the T-tops latched to the windshield frame and was relieved that they hadn’t been left in the locked position. The T-top came right off and all I had to do then was reach down and open the door. I fitted the door key from off the glove box lock and breathed a sign of relief; “Yes!”

    I watched a ball game the other day where the pitcher plunked the first batter, gave up a single to the next and followed that with a walk. He was in a real jam with no outs and the heart of the line up approaching. He struck out the clean up hitter and produced a ground ball which turned into a double play to get out of the inning without any damage. That’s about the way I felt as I picked up my check, the owner having watched the whole time as I “operated on his baby”. I was able to get out of the inning without any damage; a very tough inning even for a seasoned locksmith.

    The picture of this Silver 1978 Corvette was pulled from the internet (Link provided in the title bar). The one I worked on looked so similar as to nearly be a twin.

    Monday, May 07, 2007

    What do you keep in the other pouch?

    I was on the phone a while ago talking to my friend Steve, a gun enthusiast who’d just gotten home from the range. He and his wife had been shooting a pair of 38’s; an inch and a half barreled Smith and Wesson and the other a snub nosed Charter Arms. I told him that I couldn’t hit the side of a barn with my old short barreled Smith, the one I’d bought as a back up pistol back when I was graduating from the Houston Police Department academy.

    That brought to mind the fact that I was basically a welfare case while in the Academy; I just didn’t know I was poor until many years had gone by. I was making all of $ 600 a month, a modest increase from what I’d been making at Montgomery Ward. I was able to pay for my apartment rent and a car payment with plenty to spare for food and entertainment. I was doing fine; just didn’t have any money.

    Before graduating from the Academy they explained that the City was supplying the uniforms; but that we needed to pay for our pistols. I waited for them to ask for a down payment on a patrol car next; wondering how I was going to pay for what I considered an expensive piece of equipment. I ended up buying two pistols that day, a Smith and Wesson K frame 357 as my primary weapon and a snub nose Smith and Wesson 38 Special as a back up. I figured they wouldn’t have suggested it if we didn’t need one.

    I was a fair shot with my regular duty weapon, nothing to write home about; but nothing to be ashamed of either. I’d shoot about the same score with or without practice, in the mid to high 80’s every year. I shot exactly the same score several years in a row; could have saved the City the cost of a box of bullets by simply changing the date on my card.

    On the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t hit the side of a barn with the snub nose 38; a slight exaggeration since I did qualify, just not near as comfortable a score. There was a Homicide detective who would come down to the Capitol Street Bridge shooting range with his snub nose pistol just to pick up chump change. He’d place a pasty square on the target down range at the far end and bet any comers that he could hit it with the first shot. That pasty looked like a small dot at that range and so he’d generally get a few takers. I have no idea how he learned to control that short barreled pistol so well; but he’d win more times than he lost.

    Upon graduating the City sent us down to Supply to be fitted out in our gear, a worthless piece of garbage for a holster that had been tagged as the “Kennigy Holster”, a handcuff case, 3 “keepers” to hold the “Sam Brown” to our regular issued belt and a double pouch to hold extra ammunition. Memory has faded to some degree and I’m not sure if the City supplied all of that or if we had to buy some of it on our own; not that it’s all that important now. I remember wrapping the barrel of my brand new Smith and Wesson duty pistol in a soft cloth on the night we graduated so that the barrel wouldn’t have the blue rubbed off; that’s how crude the Kennigy Holster was. ( Anyone out there; please correct my spelling on the name; in honor of Julius Kennigy who was a police Sergeant at the time.) I know for sure that I went down and purchased a much nicer holster, one that was lined with soft leather that wouldn’t destroy my fancy looking blue job.

    I later found that neither of those early generation holsters were worth a tinker’s damn when it came to pistol retention. I’d have to chase some fool down on a run holding my pistol to keep it from falling out; not exactly a cool feeling to arrive at the show down without your pistol. The City eventually phased out the Kennigy Holster in favor of one that actually had been designed for modern police work; retention and ease of use for the officer were built in; but that isn’t what I wanted to write about since I’d posted about this a couple of years ago.

    I was telling my friend Steve, the one who’d just gotten back from the shooting range, about the spare ammo pouches that were on my belt; I was already laughing as the memory came back. I kept six spare bullets in one and in the other I had a small box of Bayer Aspirin. It made for some interesting conversation when talking with others, police personnel or regular folks.

    “Why on earth would you keep a box of Aspirin in there?” They’d go bug eyed, as if I were keeping a pet hamster in there would sound as silly. I’d go on to explain as best I could.

    “I figure if I get into a real “storm” (expletive omitted) and used up the six rounds in my pistol, reloaded and then emptied the next six then I’d probably have a severe headache and it would be nice to have some aspirin handy”, followed by a quick smirk of a smile to indicate how much fun it was to make it up as I went along. The fact remained, had such a situation come about; there’s no doubt I’d be looking for something to make it all go away.

    Steve was howling on the other end of the phone; I was about to say “phone line” and it dawned on me, in this day of cellular calls that the expression might not mean anything. I changed from the Model 19 Smith and Wesson to the much heavier 586 after a few years and found it stayed on target better with a little less kick. I still prefer a revolver to an automatic; call me an old fart, I’m old enough. (link in title bar)

    While looking up the linked postings I noticed that June of 2005 had a few other police related stories if you get bored watching television and have nothing better to do try clicking on the Archived 2005 articles. Just scroll through until you find them.

    Sunday, May 06, 2007

    Mother’s Day Planning

    Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas and New Years are on everyone’s calendar; but if you overlook Mother’s Day you may as well start scoping out the dog house for the rest of the year. I was in a planning meeting this morning at church where one fairly minor detail took the spotlight; what to kind of token handout should be given the lovely ladies as a means of letting each of them know they are appreciated next Sunday on Mother’s Day.

    In years past there have been two traditional gifts; a single cut rose or a small plant with some kind of small flower. This morning’s discussion centered on which one, the rose or the plant that dies on the window sill within a week, which is more desired. I never had given it much thought, naively believing perhaps that any gift offered would be sufficient as a small token of the gratitude we all share for motherhood and all that conjures; nurturing, caring, teaching and so on.

    “Well, if we give a single rose it might remind some of them of how their husbands should have given them roses.” I would hope that husbands give their wives cut flowers from time to time, roses are fine; but almost any sign of affection that can be placed in a simple vase during a meal will work. I vote for a single cut flower, carnations or roses are easily handed out at the end of our meetings and will last for a couple of days as a reminder that a kind thought was sent their way.

    “My wife always feels guilty for murdering yet another small plant that sits in the window. We either water it to death, let it die of drought, it gets too much sun, not enough sun; you get the idea.” I’ve always thought that handing out those small live plants made women feel good; springtime being the start of new life and all those nurturing feelings, but what do I know?

    “We could give them chocolate; say those little hearts that Dove makes? It would stay with them forever.” A not too reverent burst of laughter followed the fact that anything with calories that taste as good as chocolate will go straight to the waist. You can see how planning something as simple as a Mother’s Day handout has turned into a national dilemma worthy of Henry Kissinger’s advice.

    "I’d like to change my vote from roses to chocolates. We can hand the ladies a beautifully wrapped piece of chocolate with an all encompassing Mother’s Day thought tied to it with a fancy piece of ribbon, let them carry on about how they wouldn’t dare eat it and then volunteer to save them from a fate worse than death by eating the very same chocolate we wanted for ourselves to begin with; everyone goes home from church happy and if there are any left over we can eat them at the next planning meeting."

    The names of those persons offering suggestions have been omitted to protect their identities much as the opening lines from the old black and white television series, Dragnet. Any similarity to members of prominence are purely coincidental and should in no way reflect our incompetence when understanding what goes on in a woman’s mind. If only we’d had input from the Relief Society during our meeting none of this would have come up; we’d simply have asked, “What would you like us to do?” and we’d have gone along obediently.

    Picture courtesy of Russian Flora, (linked via title bar)

    Friday, May 04, 2007

    Robbery Suspect Caught

    I read in the Houston Chronicle this morning where an officer was close enough to a robbery in progress to actually witness its conclusion; the part where the robbery suspect got shot. Not to make light of the situation; but when you point a gun at the police I have no tears for you ( linked via title bar )

    When I was a young police officer I’d always wanted to be close enough to a major crime scene to jump into the middle of it. I was assigned to Central Patrol Evenings out of Central in the early 70’s. One particular Churches Chicken store was getting robbed on a regular basis and we decided to allocate a handful of units to stake out the place; when I say “we”, bear in mind that I was not in on the decision making process. I was; however, thrilled at the prospect of being in on the detail, it having a fair chance of offering results since the store was being robbed a couple of times a week.

    My partner and I were set up about two blocks away and out of sight so that when the robbery went down we’d be in a position to catch them if they came our way. Other units were similarly positioned with one unit watching the store through binoculars. I heard the call go out, the familiar address and waited for the primary unit to alert us with details of the suspects.

    “Suspects in custody”, was put out almost simultaneously. We collectively drove to the scene and were somewhat dumbstruck when we noticed that the primary unit didn’t have anyone in the back of their patrol unit. They were talking to the young man working behind the counter, taking notes as he explained how he’d just been robbed and wanted to know why we were all standing around instead of chasing the bad guy.

    “We have the suspect.” The young man behind the counter had a puzzled look on his face; knowing that it was impossible since he’d just told us about the robbery. It turned out that nobody had been into the Churches Chicken for the past twenty minutes as had been observed by the unit with the binoculars. There had never been any robberies; at least not by anyone walking up to the counter wielding a pistol. The young man behind the counter, the employee had been pocketing the day’s receipts and calling in to report a robbery; so the fact remained, the suspect was in custody.

    Several years went by and I was assigned to make a robbery report downtown. I listened as the young man explained that he was on his way to the bank to deposit the day’s receipts when he was robbed. The details were sketchy at best; almost as if he were making them up as he went along. A little red flag went off in my head as it occurred to me that in all likelihood I was talking with the suspect.

    I had no proof, only my suspicions to guide me through as I took great care to record the details, or lack thereof, exactly as they were given. This may have been the shortest robbery report ever made; I might as well have put down that the suspect was a grey blob who vanished into thin air carrying all the money and left it at that.

    The folks who check over the quality of reports turned in flagged my report as being a sorry excuse for police work and requested, perhaps too kind a term, that I do a better job as I was handed it back accompanied with something of a scowl as if I’d cheated the Department by doing shoddy work. The fact was I couldn’t accuse the one person who I believed to be the real suspect with no evidence to prove it.

    I went back and made a very detailed report. I measured the sidewalk, listed the placement of the traffic signals, how high the curb was from the street surface and even listed cracks in the concrete at the location of the alleged event. I put so many useless details into that report that it had to have a second full page of single spaced details which had about as much to do with police work as this blog has. I turned it into the fellow who’d been critical of my work and explained that not all is as it appears; that perhaps he might have asked why the first report was lacking before going off with extreme criticism.

    I’m sure there’s a lesson for us all in there somewhere; maybe the fellow behind the register should be watched a little more closely would be important to remember. How about we get all the information before jumping to conclusions; now that would really be asking too much, now wouldn’t it?

    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    Lawsuit Abuse or Criminal Oppression, $65 Million?

    A District of Columbia administrative hearings judge, Roy Pearson, had a pair of pants lost for a week and so he tried to extort $1000.00 from the cleaning establishment, the value he claimed the entire suit was worth. When the pants were found Roy Pearson refused to accept them and decided to sue because the establishment claimed “Same Day Service” and “Satisfaction Guaranteed”.

    You have got to read the article ( linked via title bar) to appreciate the great lengths that the cleaning establishment has gone to “accommodate” Roy Pearson, A District of Columbia administrative hearings judge. I’d call what District of Columbia administrative hearings judge, Roy Pearson did extortion, criminal oppression or at the very least criminal malfeasance for an appointed judge, to use his position in the community to target anyone in such a manner as to put a gun to their heads, figuratively, with such an outrageous tort suit.

    I have an idea; have the District Attorney’s office file on him for any of the above listed crimes and haul his worthless fanny off to the jail house. Ask for the judge hearing this criminal case to post Roy Pearson’s bond so unbelievably high as to make it impossible to attain freedom until the case is heard and make sure that there are plenty of continuances in order to properly prepare the case. Did I leave anything out? Maybe place Pat Pearson in a jail cell with an overly aggressive gay macho stud who may have had some sort of previous encounter with District of Columbia administrative hearings judge, Roy Pearson. Assign Roy Pearson the laziest county jailer, one who has a record of sleeping on the job, to that cell block and see how long Roy Pearson survives.

    In the event that District of Columbia administrative hearings judge, Roy Pearson, does not survive; place a sign on his worthless shredded corpse as a warning to others that extortion, criminal oppression or such insidious malfeasance will not go unnoticed or without serious consequences. After these events have occurred we can move on over to the House of Representatives and the Senate and the Supreme Court.

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    Hypocrites in Austin Regarding Identification

    Locksmiths are required by State Law to obtain a form of photo identification, preferably a driver’s license when performing service. The purpose of this exercise in common sense is to verify that persons requesting service are who they say they are. I'm also required to record that information on each and every sales slip. When I ask for such ID from customers who've lost a key to their vehicle and wish to have a replacement key for their ten thousand dollar vehicle, their twenty thousand dollar vehicle or more; at no time have I had any of them feel as if I were singling them out due to age or race.

    I read in the Houston Chronicle where the Democrats in Austin, the same ones who signed off on the locksmith law requiring photo identification, are all in an uproar because the Republicans want to require this same photo identification for voters. In a similar piece of legislation going through the house similar identification would be needed to renew voter registration. (linked in title bar)

    "House Bill 626, sponsored by Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, would require state election officials to verify citizenship of every applicant for a new voter registration card."


    “"What this is is an orchestrated and national movement to suppress elderly and minority votes," Van De Putte said, adding that in Texas, the Secretary of State's office has no reports of people casting illegal ballots.”

    No, Van De Putte, this is a common sense attempt to insure that those who vote are who they say they are and at the same time verify that they are citizens living in Texas legally. Maybe these requirements seem a little over the top when it comes to voting, and anyway the locksmith already checked them and said they were okay.

    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    The Mormon Experience via PBS

    Yesterday I wrote about the first two hours of the PBS show, The Mormons, as linked in the title bar. I was careful to keep an open mind and yet, all the while there was something telling me that the presentation had an ominous dark agenda. Having endured, and I believe that is the proper word, after having endured subtle and not so subtle insults and insinuations regarding sacred beliefs which I hold I must conclude that the PBS broadcast was anything but a non-biased sampling to acquaint a stranger to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I would go further and state that those unfortunate folks who watched were being sold a bill of goods.

    I noticed that many of those interviewed to offer insight into the workings and the more spiritual aspects of the church were disgruntled feminists with an agenda which ran contrary to Church doctrine, excommunicated members with an ax to grind, or some rather colorful individuals intended to portray normalcy. Those authoritative members within the mainstream Church were often placed in positions of defending the Church’s stance on a variety of oddities rather than asking them to explain basic doctrine.

    My son asked me why I was continuing to watch, noting that it was clear to him that it was “so negative” as to make him want to leave the room. My response was that I would be required to know what had been presented in order to counter the flawed picture which had been painted, to be able to answer questions from my friends and acquaintances, those who might be alarmed at some of the slanted information which was given as truth.

    Lucy got home a few minutes after the PBS production had ended, having provided her services at the Bishop’s Storehouse most of the day helping folks properly store and can basic food supplies, something which was glossed over in half a minute on the PBS show. The man hours provided by members in such a capacity are free and the goods are provided basically at cost in order to make them affordable to the most frugal members living on a shoe string. My wife’s expertise makes her perfectly suited to help get them started down the road towards self sufficiency which is one of the goals of the Church Welfare System; but that wasn’t really brought out now was it?

    Lucy noticed the beautiful music coming from the stereo which had been synchronized with the television broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir special which followed the PBS presentation, The Mormons. Lucy wondered if I had started replaying the production and I had to explain how this was a different show; this was 180 degrees turned around from what I’d just experienced, this was actually uplifting. I wish I had listened to the Tabernacle Choir for two hours instead of the “enlightened intellectuals” who’d been hand picked to distort and destroy anything sacred which my church stands for.

    I then added something of how betrayed I felt when I compared “The Mormons” with something that happened to the actor Tom Selleck several years ago. He’d been invited to some talk show, supposedly to ask him about a new film he was in, a way to promote the new movie. Instead he was blind sided with a string of accusations in the form of questions regarding his views on the NRA and gun control. I’d expected some margin of negativity regarding the Church as a natural outcome; instead I was subjected to nothing less than an orchestrated attack on most everything I believe to be sacred. Thank you very much; next time I’ll take the bus.

    If you want to find out about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Mormons; I suggest you talk to members of the Church who are living within the doctrines which define the Church. I would avoid following the information gained from a disenchanted feminist who wants to hold the Priesthood, an excommunicated member who would rather tell the leaders of the Church what they need to change rather than accepting the existing doctrines of the Lord’s Church, an interview with a rather unstable young man who upon returning from his Church Mission explained his Mission in terms that could only be compared as a lunatic with terrorist ties or historians who suspect black magic secret combinations behind the doors of our most sacred edifices, our temples. Other than that the PBS production was …, I better stop or I might say something negative about it.

    The Mormon Experience in One Night

    I watched the first two hours of the four hour PBS broadcast production entitled, The Mormons. I had a couple of reasons for wanting to watch the show; in some regard I wanted to see how a non-church production would present the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days. I wanted to be prepared to answer questions from my non-Mormon associations, many of whom have little if any solid awareness of what I believe or why I hold to those beliefs in the face of a steady stream of often contentious argument against my beliefs. (link provided in title bar)

    I should also add that my evening was tempered to some degree with an additional treat; another PBS presentation which followed, “The Mormons”; an accounting of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies attempts to reach the Salt Lake valley. I had, in my studies of the history of the Church, read many accounts of the hardships encountered by those who were overtaken by an early winter storm, unprepared in nearly every way with the exception of their faith in God, their testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and that regardless of their success or failure to reach the Salt Lake valley their eternal progression could not be halted. I will speak more on this topic later; all the while explaining that my evening television viewing was well rewarded.

    “The Mormons”, as presented seemed to be preoccupied with two distractions, which while true historically, were given an inordinate amount of presentation time in relation to the other historical elements of the Church which I feel would have given those who took the time to view this work. I refer to the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the topic of Polygamy. In a two hour production intended to offer strangers to the history of the Church, the Mountain Meadows Massacre was allotted nearly twenty minutes of air time and the subject of Polygamy closer to thirty minutes.

    I had a cursory knowledge of the Mountain Meadows incident prior to having watched this evening’s explanation of the issues leading up to massacre along with journal entries by those survivors, children under the age of eight years who were spared. I have no way of knowing what sparked this violence, the destruction of human life by members of the Church any more than those who speculated and then created this section of the docudrama as best they could. I found it fell within the boundaries of believable, no less a tragedy and deplorable as would be eyed by any civilized human being.

    I’m not sure at all that the provocation which led to this incident was given its proper place, ignoring, as I have been informed by members with a better historical background, that certain of those targeted had been members of the “mob” and had been suspected of poisoning water holes, which in turn poisoned the livestock and led to the deaths of many native Indians. While this particular time in American history has many events associated with violence, the fact remains that the members of the Church had been living in what I would consider a state of war, sometimes declared as in the Extermination Order in Missouri; but mostly as an undeclared state of being outcasts from the secular surroundings in the formative and frontier setting of the times. While the incident exposed to the world that members of the Church had offended the laws of the land, my regret would be that so many other areas of Church history could have filled those twenty minutes, items which would have more accurately explained the “Mormon Experience”.

    Polygamy was examined and given a spotlight, one which indeed does cause members of the Church to bristle and assume a defensive position. I found it enlightening, distancing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that being the official title of the church to which I am a member, and the fact that a goodly portion of the time extended in this PBS production was “shared” with so called splinter groups which continue to practice polygamy to this day. I’m not sure how to discuss the topic as it was presented other than to make a clarification to one aspect of Church doctrine which is, in my humble opinion, a very meaningful part of the restored Gospel, Celestial Marriage which exists because of a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. It seems unfortunate that this same revelation is associated, at least by those detractors of my church, purely with polygamy.

    I will explain as best I am able, the importance of understanding the eternal aspects of entering a Celestial Marriage. Most folks are familiar with the common marriage ceremony which concludes with the preacher explaining that the vows taken are serious commitments that in the eyes of all witnesses before God, that these two, a husband and wife, are to be married until death. I refer to the vows as “common”, not to detract from their importance; only to identify that the limited commitment has a higher order, one that is Celestial in its nature and therefore not “common”. I am speaking of a bond which is ordained of God that will take a husband and a wife past the boundaries of mortality, based on their desires to be obedient to the mind and will of God as expressed through their actions while here in mortality, and through all time and throughout all eternity.

    I ask you to contemplate such a glorious possibility, speaking to those who may not have considered marriage in such parameters. My recollection of tonight’s PBS presentation only mentioned Celestial Marriage briefly, possibly a blink so to speak; not giving the viewer anything with which to ponder such a grand commitment and the blessing which are availed the children of our Heavenly Father, heirs to all that He has in a literal sense.

    It is one of the most basic beliefs in the Church that God and His Son, Jesus Christ exist in individual bodies of perfected flesh and bones. Joseph Smith testified that upon praying in a grove of trees that he was granted a special witness of this fact. The age old speculations of the “Godhead”, the lack of understanding as outlined in the Nicene Creed, that our Father in Heaven has a body which is separate and distinctly apart from that of His Son, Jesus Christ is of paramount importance to understanding our individual relationship to these, our Heavenly progenitors.

    Many outside the Church consider such a statement as blasphemy or utterly ridiculous based on the false teachings which have been passed down through either the Catholic or the splintered and various other Protestant reformers. It is my assertion, rather than contention, that Joseph Smith did indeed record for all mankind this most important piece of information, information which when inculcated will permit the human spirit to also understand that our eternal progression is assured, that the resurrection of our older brother Jesus Christ and His Atonement are real, that we are indeed made in the image of our Father in Heaven and that the promises made to each of us are in place today as they have been since before the foundation of the world. If you come away with nothing else from the PBS production, The Mormons, know that our lives are more than the short and unpredictable experiences gained or heaped upon us while in this frail and breakable mortal body. We are intended to live our lives in such a way as to always be focused on our eternal nature so that we may be blessed for time and all eternity by that God who continues to care about us individually and personally.

    I look forward to the second two hour installment of The Mormons which will air tomorrow evening. According to the information provided during the ending credits, the next show will attempt to explain how current day members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints fit into with the rest of the World, these United States of America and, hopefully, some explanation of the promises of our individual eternal progression through eternity. I’m not sure that any of this will be included and so I await with some degree of anticipation with the stated hope that my non-member friends and acquaintances will be offered at least some glimpse of those sacred issues which have had such a wonderful bearing on my own life.

    I may have used up your attention span with all that I have recorded; all the same I would like to share at least a little of the emotional roller coaster which I experienced this evening by having watched the one hour production on the Willie and Martin Handcart segment which is part of Mormon history. I had watched, with some feeling of disappointment as you may have noticed from my writings above, two hours of historical data and yet spiritually lacking in most regards. I had hoped for more and yet am willing to accept that the information was offered through a venue which was not Church sponsored and so was not a missionary tool intended to gain membership into the waters of baptism.

    The portrayal of immigrants from Europe, recent converts to the Church who were intent on making their way to the Salt Lake Valley at any cost, to include their lives if necessary, was an emotional investment which I took in with the assistance of many pieces of tissue to wipe away tears. The most important aspect of the demanding and often time tragic journey was their testimony that the Gospel truths which are found in the Book of Mormon and which witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ are true. If it were not for such a testimony the trip would have been impossible and each loss would have been nothing more than a reminder to them of how poorly prepared these individuals were for starting out on such an ordeal. The journal entries which were shared were only a small part of the presentation offered in this one hour show.

    I would like to share something which was not shared, something which would give a little more significance to the testimonies of the truthfulness of the Gospel which gave strength and meaning to those members of the Willie and Martin Handcart individuals who lived and who often times were asked why they did not complain about the lack of planning which cost so many lives.

    One survivor, I apologize for not having his name available at this time, while sitting in a meeting in which the leaders of the Church were being openly criticized and ridiculed for permitting such a tragedy to occur, a tragedy which took the lives of so many innocent members and which, according to those speaking out against the leaders of the Church, should never have been permitted to happen. This one surviving member stood up and stopped the onslaught of accusations and bore his testimony. He silenced any criticism of Church leaders and thanked God for the refiner’s fire and ordeal which solidified his testimony that the Church was true, that nothing he had gone through could have detained him from his goal of reaching the Salt Lake Valley and his desire to be among the Saints. Such strong emotions cannot begin to express my appreciation for those who have forged the way for my membership in this Church. I am grateful for the history of this Church, the good and the bad, as it reminds me of the resolve necessary to build character, something which in today’s world may seem a thing of naught.

    I leave my testimony with you that the Book of Mormon is true, that God and His Son, Jesus Christ Live, that They have bodies of flesh and bone and that we are children who are heirs to all the blessings promised in the scriptures. May we live in such a way as to be deserving of those blessings; I leave this short testimony in the name of our Savior, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

    Edited May 1, 2007 11:00am

    This portion of my thoughts was added the following morning after I’d had a chance to review the recorded program. I’m still in awe of the technology which provides such an opportunity, the crystal clear image and sound quality to match; as my grandmother would have said, “Remarkable, truly remarkable!”

    I’d missed the first few minutes of the program and so I didn’t hear some of the opening dialogue. There was one line in particular that caught my ear. The narrator was attempting to explain how the members of our Church feel about the Prophet Joseph Smith. I was highly disappointed in his choice of words as he described Joseph Smith as the “Alpha and Omega” of our church. The term Alpha and Omega is reserved for God and no other. Most viewers would be familiar with such a comparison and I could feel my own resentment; how much more then would be the feelings of displeasure from someone who is not a member of my church, someone who is taking this in as an attempt to understand what we believe? If it had been me, prior to my investigation of the Church and prior to my becoming a member, I would have turned off the show or, at the very least, discounted anything which followed as being pure blasphemy.