As Far as the Moon?

We live in a non-urban area which means visiting most big-name retail stores is a sixty minute car ride.

As I drove home one evening after dropping the older boy off at a sports practice, my youngest son stared at a full moon in all of it's glory.

We had the following exchange.

------------------------------------

LITTLE LUCA: Dad, how far away is the moon?

ME: Pretty far. It took the first astronauts quite some time to fly there.

He pondered my answer.

LITTLE LUCA: Is it as far as Toys"R"Us?

Trying not to laugh, I regained my composure.

ME: Yes, even farther than the "World's Greatest Toy Store."

---------------------------------------

Here's hoping that your favorite store is closer than a trip to the moon.

Have a good weekend everyone.

A Strange Photo: My Interpretation

On December 8, 2013, Ray Span was arrested in Alachua County, Florida for an undisclosed charge.

Below was Ray's mugshot that was posted as a part of his prisoner processing.


Ray Span Mugshot Posted by Alachua Sheriff's Office

Now, I have not been a criminal justice "practitioner" for quite some time now, but I wonder if deputies should have asked Mr. Span to remove his cloak of invisibility prior to them taking this photo?

That is a fair question, right?

Or does Mr. Span have other powers not noted in the posted report?

Any guesses?

Steve Carell and I

The other evening, I stood at the sink scrubbing pots and pans.

My after dinner responsibility.

The dog slept at my feet, hoping for a dropped morsel.

The kids had fled to other rooms in the house.

Leaving me alone with my thoughts, and a television left on.

I glanced at the screen.

Disney Channel.

Good Luck Charlie.

Oh, this is the episode where the brothers take the toddler to the park and the eldest son PJ gets stuck in the baby swing, I said to myself.

I chuckled.

Twenty-five minutes later, I completed the cleaning with a wipe of the counter.

Good Luck Charlie ended and I realized that I just watched the entire episode.

With no kids around, I could have changed the channel to anything.

Instead, I watched kid television--with a show that uses the classic 1980s family sitcom style.

Who knew that I had something in common with famous comedian Steve Carell?

The same Steve Carell who starred in Anchorman, The Office, and the remake of Get Smart?

In May, Carell tweeted this:

-------------------------------------------------


@SteveCarell

Watched an entire episode of "Good Luck Charlie" and realized that neither of my kids were in the room. I think I'm a "Good Luck Charlie" fan.


-------------------------------------------------

The series finale airs Sunday, February 16, 2014.

Evidently after that, I'll have to find the remote and do some surfing while making soap bubbles in the sink.

Lacey Gaines Update

Lacey Gaines' aunt and friend of this blog, Cherry Simpson, was interviewed last Thursday on Victim's Voice with Jon Lieberman.

She discussed the details involving the unsolved murder of Lacey that occurred in Justice, IL in December of 2009.

You can watch the interview by clicking here.

At the time of her death, Lacey left behind a two-year-old son.

The family and authorities continue to look for answers, and request that anyone with information related to the case contact Detective R. Plotke at 708-458-2191.

The family's website about the case is here: Who Murdered Lacey Gaines?



Justin Bieber

So musician Justin Bieber dominates the news.

Got himself arrested.

But I don't want to talk about that Justin Bieber.

I'd rather discuss another Justin Bieber.

A 38-year-old man with that name who lives in Jacksonville, Florida.

He is married and at last report worked in customer service with AT&T.

A few years ago, reporters interviewed him as to what his life was like as the other Justin.

He had lots to say.

Evidently, he had changed his phone number multiple times as fans of the pop singer called him at all hours of the day and night.

He regularly received love letters from teen and adult admirers.

When he registered with Facebook, representatives of the site initially deleted his account saying that he had violated their terms of service by posing as the famous "Justin Bieber."

I can't imagine things have settled down much for the middle-aged Justin Bieber.

At least he has a good sense of humor.

In 2010, David Letterman had the elder Justin on his show, and he narrated the segment: The Top 10 Reasons I Am Glad to be Named Justin Bieber.

My favorites from his clip are:

#8) YouTube video of me mowing the lawn got 10 million hits! 

#4) I made $100 selling some of my hair on eBay!

I would much rather hang out with the latter Justin Bieber.

It is too bad the folks in this world who do what they are supposed to do, get so little recognition.

Note: If you want to watch the Letterman show clip that I referenced above, you can click here

--------------------------------------

Enjoy your weekend.

Me the Spammer

I am Slamdunk--also known as Slamdunk "spammer."

Or so says WordPress.

WordPress or one of its affiliates is currently blocking many of my comments.

As result, I am unable to post comments on WP blogs that I enjoy reading.

I am working with someone from one of their spam filters to identify the issue, but no luck yet.

In the meantime, I apologize to my WordPress friends. I did not forget about you, I am just that silent voice in the background.

In contrast, those who blog using Blogger accounts are in luck.

I'll continue to post comments to your sites that include offers for "discount pharmaceuticals," "entertainment for those above age 21," and "off-shore gambling casinos."

I know how much all of you find such insights beneficial and entertaining.

Joking.

Really WordPress...

-----------------------------

Update: WP comments are still being blocked, so I created a second account until the problem is resolved--so don't be afraid if a commenter similar to me posts on your WP blog. 





A Forgotten Name in Service

In honor of the King Day of Service, I want to recognize an individual forgotten by history.

Google his name and you won't find it.

The Reverend Tabes Gross lived in the 1850s, and was an American slave for 34 years.

He was able to get a temporary leave from his owner to go to California and work.

To get to the 2,000+ miles to the "Golden State" from Kentucky, it was reported that Tabes did lots of walking.

After spending two-and-a-half years laboring there, he returned to Kentucky--having earned enough money to purchase his freedom as well as that of his wife and children.

Not content, the "freedman"began working to raise money for his friend, Lewis Smith.

Smith's family was also being held in slavery.

The old article from a Louisville newspaper ends there and it is unknown whether Gross succeeded.

A determined man like that?

My money would be on him.

Here's to Mr. Gross and all of those forgotten men and women who have given so much in service to others.

Farewell Roy Garber

I was sorry to see that Roy Garber of the A & E show Shipping Wars died of a heart attack on Friday.




I try to be confident in my abilities, and I am confident that I could NOT have done Roy's job.

Roy owned a transportation business (Arby's Team Transport) and he hauled oversized and or unique items (e.g. antique video games, large outdoor signs, amusement park rides, etc.) across the United States.

As portrayed on the show, Roy and the other haulers encounter a variety of headaches during the moving process--everything from loads that don't fit, equipment failures, getting lost, and missing deadlines due to traffic.

Stressful.

Roy was quite the handyman and seemed to be able to create a quick-fix to resolve any issue.

One of his more memorable moments was when he was hired to transport a huge statue of legendary baseball player Willie Mays from the East Coast to the West Coast.

He takes a look at the over-sized load and told the owner he would need to cut it in half.

After selling the decision-makers that there is no other way to do it, he gets his chainsaw and starts chopping--confident that he will be able to reassemble it again at the destination.

Surprisingly, he does.

It was quite a sight.

My prayers are with his son and family.

Roy was 49 years old.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe for a Vacation

It makes sense that burglars need research to identify the best residential targets:
SAN CARLOS (CA) — A couple is behind bars Wednesday morning after investigators linked them to multiple residential burglaries—a crime spree prosecutors say was made possible by the wife’s knowledge of vacant homes through her job boarding dogs at the PetSmart store in San Carlos.



Ashley Kirk and Juan Ortega-Ramos, both 24-year-old San Jose residents, were rearrested in Discovery Bay on Monday after a five-month investigation by San Mateo County sheriff’s detectives...

...the couple would identify a vacant home after a dog was checked in at the pet store, and allegedly committed numerous residential burglaries, stealing electronics, jewelry, and in one instance a silver Porsche 991S from a Portola Valley home…
We have been fortunate to have several friends who are willing house-sitters when we go on family vacations--which is not that often. With conflicting schedules though, we usually have one or more persons left behind on pet duty.

When away, do you kennel your pets, bring them, or use a house/pet sitter?

Hopefully if you kennel, these two faces do not look familiar.

___________________________

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tombstone Eyewitness

In March of 2010, two employees of the Superior Court in Cochise County, Arizona were reorganizing files in an old part of the jail when they found detailed witness accounts from America's most famous wild west shootout: The Gunfight at the OK Corral.


These records had been lost for decades. Evidently in the 1960s, clerks had retyped many of the original hand-written documents, but misplaced them.

For the past several years, the staffers of the Arizona State Library through the Arizona Memory Project "digitally scrubbed" the documents and have been busy cataloging and making the hand-written and typed documents available online for the public.

About the gunfight--it occurred on October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, AZ. The encounter involved four Marshals (including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday) and five outlaws--three of the criminals were killed while two law enforcement officers were wounded.

At least, three movies have been made about the incident.

For anyone interested in American history, the collection is fantastic.

The witness statements provide insight into how many shots were fired, what type of weapons were used, and the tactics employed--I was surprised to learn that the gunfight only lasted about 30 seconds.

To see the Gunfight at the OK Corral digital document collection, click here for the Arizona Memory Project.
____________________

Note: The idea for this post came after I read this article by The State Library of Arizona

Yakima Shooting

On Saturday, January 4, 2014, a 23-year-old driver was shot and killed by Yakima (WA) Police Officer Casey Gillette.

The released information from various sources characterizes the encounter like this:

Officer Gillette was on patrol that morning and noticed a vehicle parked at a car wash before 3 am. The vehicle was at the location for at least an hour, so Officer Gillette approached the passenger side to investigate. Evidently, Officer Gillette opened the door, saw a man (Rocendo Arias) with his finger on the trigger of what was later determined to be an Airsoft gun.  The officer fired 4 times. Mr. Arias was struck once in the head, and died as a result of the incident.

-------------------------

Several articles on this incident raise various questions about the officer's actions--some legitimate and others not so much.

One writer, Mikael Thalen of the site StoryLeak, discreetly questions whether the deceased man's behavior was suspicious prior to the shooting.

Let's consider this.

A vehicle is parked at a car wash at 3 am.

From the historical weather data for Yakima, WA that morning, it was around 20 degrees Fahrenheit or stinking cold.

Evidently, the officer noticed that the vehicle had been parked at the business for more than an hour.

During that time, the driver was apparently assembling/disassembling an Airsoft/pellet gun.

Assuming that the officer did not see anyone actively cleaning the car, I would say that: (1) a vehicle parked at a car wash in frigid temperatures (2) for an hour (3) at 3 am qualifies as suspicious--certainly something an officer would be justified in investigating.

Not to mention that the man was holding a pellet gun.

Two additional notes:
  • The police spokesperson believes the Airsoft gun had a an orange tip. With that information, multiple readers assert that the gun should have been recognized as fake. My two cents--an officer cannot immediately assume that orange on the tip of a gun means that it is not real. I have seen attempts to paint and tape the barrels of real handguns a bright color in order to deceive police and others. It is essential to remember that shoot-don't shoot scenarios are often split-second decisions. 

  • The officer had a ride-along passenger that morning. Ride-alongs can be distracting--depending on the citizen and the officer. It will be interesting to see what information that individual can provide about the incident.  

With these tragic situations, I discount the voices who characterize "all police as corrupt thugs with guns" as well as those at the opposite extreme who assert that "police behavior should never ever ever be questioned."

I try to let the facts speak.

I hope the Yakima Police Department releases the final shooting investigation reports to the public (the agency did not post a formal statement for the media online after the incident--something that would have been useful).

Eventually releasing the results will help clarify some of the misconceptions that tend to run rampant on the Internet.

Just let the facts speak, whatever those are.

My prayers are with the family of Mr. Arias and with Officer Gillette.
___________________________

Note: News accounts have the involved officer's last name spelled both as "Gilette" and "Gillette." I used the latter spelling since that is how it is listed in a 2012 Yakima Police Annual Report.

Visionary: John Skillman and his NYC Police Reports

While doing some research for work, I stumbled upon an old book entitled: Skillman's New York Police Reports.

The author, John Skillman, was a visionary.

He was one of the first to recognize the entertainment value in crime reports.

Skillman took excerpts from early 19th Century NYC crime reports and combined it with humor and/or wit for a book.

Unfortunately, his work did not sell well and stopped after one edition, but certainly every writer and reporter that features weird crime news owes Mr. Skillman a debt of gratitude.

The following is a sample from his book…

------------------------

An odd looking "genius" presented himself, with his head plastered "up" and splintered "up" in a most unique manner, and set forth that another "genius" of about the same dimensions and calibre attempted to cut his throat. 

MAGISTRATE: What was the means he employed to cut your throat?

COMPLAINANT: He used a Portuguese knife.

M.: Did you know the person before?

C.: Yes sir.

M.: What was the provocation for his attempting such a horrible crime?

C.: Sir, I was tickling him a little.

M.: And he didn't like being tickled?

C. Not he!

M.: And so you would "tickle" a man contrary to his inclinations--what was your reason?

C.: Why I wanted him to laugh of course, and to quiz him a little!

M.: Did you succeed?

C.: Succeed! no, he wouldn't laugh at all, nor would he stand quizzing, as you will see by my neck!

M.: This will be a warning to you not to irritate a man's feelings, or attempt to quiz him, especially when "he's not in the humor." Now go about your business and "tickle" yourself with the idea that if people don't choose to be "tickled" you had better let them alone.

----------------------------

So what are criminal justice professionals doing today in big cities around this nation?

Probably handling similar neighborhood disputes--asking people to be nice and warning others to keep their hands to themselves.

I guess not much has changed with people since Skillman's observations in 1830.

__________________

Note: As a part of Lehigh University's "Villainy Detected" project, a group from the institution recently made this classic book free for all to browse online, and you can access it by clicking here

Missing: Teleka Patrick



Case Overview

Dr. Teleka Patrick has not been seen since December 5, 2013, when a hotel shuttle driver dropped her off at her gold 1997 Lexus at around 8 pm. The car was parked at the Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, MI--Dr. Patrick started working there this summer and it was the first of a four year medical residency in Psychiatry.

Two hours later, the Indiana State Police arrived to find Dr. Patrick's Lexus abandoned on the Westbound side of I-94 in a ditch. Reportedly, the woman's vehicle had a flat tire and the keys were missing.

Later, her parents found her purse and cell phone at medical center where she worked.
-----------------

I think this case illustrates why missing persons are the most difficult type of investigation.

Did Dr. Patrick encounter someone after the car problem and this is a crime?

Was she having problems with someone prior to that and her disappearance is the result of a crime?

With missing persons that do transition into crimes, the initial crime scene is often contaminated by the time investigators return and start processing it for clues.

Was she having personal problems and just decided to run-away from life for awhile?

Similar to the news story yesterday where a homeless man in Washington DC was identified as a missing person from New York (Nicholas Simmons), people sometimes flee life and tell no one.

I remember speaking to an investigator who worked on a local missing man case. The guy had just vanished. Investigators were certain they could find something on his computer or in speaking to his friends and family, but the case went stale. A couple of years later the missing man returned. He said that he bought a bus ticket to Baltimore and had lived in various homeless shelters since then.

People make irrational decisions.

It was reported that Dr. Patrick borrowed money and then was given a ride to a local hotel. She was then told that she did not have enough cash for a room, and that was when the hotel shuttle driver transported her back to her car.

Why would someone want to rent a hotel room when their apartment was only minutes away?

Why would she borrow money and leave her purse behind?

Does she have medical issues that make her a danger to herself?

The shuttle driver reportedly said that she seemed nervous and appeared to be ducking between cars in the parking lot.

A few days ago, it was released that gospel singer Marvin Sapp had received a personal protection order against Dr. Patrick. Sapp stated that Patrick repeatedly tried to communicate with him, had claimed to be his wife, and had contacted his teenage children.

Also, unusual YouTube videos and a Twitter account may also provide information as to the missing woman.

So, is Dr. Patrick's disappearance the result of a crime, a choice by her, or someone in need of medical assistance?

Sadly and with what is the norm for many missing persons,  investigators and family members are left with more questions than answers.
________________

Note: Blogger friend Kimi from Faith Looks Up directed me to the effort by Dr. Patrick's family to raise funds to help defer the costs of a private investigator that was hired to assist with the case. If you are interested in helping, go to the FindTeleka site here.

Common Sense

I have a missing person post on Teleka Patrick, but with the recent changes in that developing story, I'll hold it until later this week.

Instead, I offer this--which for relevance sake, I need to post today instead of Monday…
_________________________________________

 If the weather outside is frightful, what should one wear?

--49ERS PONDER WEARING SLEEVES ON SUNDAY--

Alex Boone might be all alone on Sunday.

Boone, the only offensive or defensive player to play every snap in the regular season for the 49ers, could be the only member of the team to go sleeveless in Sunday’s Wild Card matchup with the Green Bay Packers.

The latest weather reports show a high of 3 degrees in Green Bay, Wis.

 Boone said he still plans on donning his normal gameday clothes for what expects to be one of the coldest playoff games in NFL history…

So at least one player is "considering" wearing short-sleeves while working outside for 4 hours in near zero degree weather?

Would I be using equivalent logic if I (being of English and Scottish descent) refused to apply sunscreen prior to an all day trip in July with the kids to the beaches of Padre Island, TX?

Because looking like a tomato after a full day of exposure in the hot Texas sun, would make me look tough? Right? Hmmm.

If I were Boone's employer, I would be closely monitoring his performance.

If he was not playing well, guess who would quickly be sporting a warm long-sleeved undershirt of my color choice?

--------------------

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and your Monday.



Lack of Facilities

While most celebrated the New Year, some were saddened by the sudden loss of portable facilities in Texas:

Officials are investigating whether fireworks are behind a blaze that destroyed about 350 portable toilets outside San Antonio.
 
Bexar County spokeswoman Monica Ramos said the blaze started about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at United Site Services, east of the city center.
 
Ramos said the cause of the fire is unknown and that it is still under investigation.
 
Other officials, however, say fireworks may have started a grass fire that eventually spread to the business, reaching the portable toilets...
I see a couple of bright sides to this story.

Local comedians will be able to use their best toilet humor for a week or two.

And, manufacturers will be busy replacing some of those toilets with a high demand model like this:



Management Perk: Always on the Top (All Others Use the Bottom)

Although, this one is less portable.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Enjoy your weekend.