Texas

I away and in South Texas. In other words, I am running on the beach, playing in the waves, and eating way too much.

I hope things are well with you. We can compare tans when I return...

Bug TV

At around 11 pm, just about every night, I let the dogs out back for their final potty break.

Our two juvenile brother cats know this, and when they hear movement around the back door, they will come running--jumping around the dining room to get a high vantage point.

I turn on the outside light, pull open and then close the sliding glass door, two dogs prance into the backyard, and the show begins.

Welcome to Bug TV.

Attracted by the illumination and prevalent in the non-urban area that I live, warm weather bugs flock toward the light.

Moths swirl around the glass.

Smaller unidentified bugs hover around the bulb.

Usually a June bug will join the show--clumsily bouncing off the window, light, or anything else nearby.

The cats are mesmerized by the array of activity.

Occasionally, a cat overcome with emotion will lunge at June bug or moth.

Fur flying through the air.

The results are comedic and expected: "hunter" cat bounces off the door frame or glass and then makes a thud just inside the door.

Bug TV is certainly not a "paws" on experience for our indoor-only felines, but at least there is never a rerun.

I'll just say that the kids are not the only ones around here who enjoy summer.

Seldom Disappointed

In life, I have seldom been disappointed by a sunrise walk at the ocean.

Beach walkway, Corolla, NC 2015

Happy Monday all!

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Notes: The Mrs. snapped the above photo (older son is the visible one), and it took us a moment to realize that the green dot in the right corner of the picture was a reflector attached to the wood and not an image defect. 

I Thought this Was Dead

The police department's rickety door squeaked as it was opened.

I then heard panting; someone out of breath.

A mom entered.

Her face was flush.

Sunlight from two large windows caused the droplets of perspiration on mom's brows to glisten.

College-age daughter, head down, walked in second.

Mom glared at her daughter. "What an insane place! I can't believe this!"

Flustered and obviously on the verge of a meltdown, mom stood in line behind me at a service counter.

Since my business with the college police that day was not time-sensitive, I told mom to go ahead of me.

She did not hesitate.

Mom leaned into window of the bullet-proof glass, and immediately vocalized to a young clerk how horrible things had been for her thus far.

Specifically:
  • They could not immediately find a parking place.

  • The available spots were way too far away from the police department.

  • She asked: "Why are all of these hills on campus?"

  • She questioned the wisdom of scheduling "all of this construction on campus right now."

  • Finally, mom lamented that now they were going to be late in meeting with a professor, and that she had no idea how to get to the assigned building.

But what impressed me was the young clerk.

The employee calmly listened, and empathized with mom. "Yes, the construction has made things challenging, and it sounds like you have overcome plenty of obstacles this morning."

With useful conversation and a professional demeanor, the clerk helped normal blood flow to return to mom's face.

She relaxed.

The discussion continued, but when mom's words began to tangent to complaints, the clerk skillfully redirected her--soliciting the vehicle information and other specifics needed for the temporary parking pass.

The young employee then provided mom with explicit directions to the building where the meeting was scheduled, and where she should park for the shortest walk.

Spent but calmer, mom thanked the clerk, and she and daughter hurriedly exited through the same ramshackle door.

Their police visit took less than 7 minutes.

Good customer service is not exactly plentiful these days.

But I always marvel when I see it.

The clerk could have met mom's behavior with equivalent anger and rudeness. She could have snickered, blew mom off, or simply frowned about some of mom's less than rational complaints.

But she didn't.

She expertly diffused what could have been a volatile situation.

Unfortunately in life, the folks at the top--CEOs, managers, vice-presidents, etc.--get lots of recognition when an organization is successful.

But what about the entry-level employees? The clerks? The troops on the ground? The ones who make that organization what it is?

Do they get applauded for good work?

Not often enough.

Well, this time someone will.

I have a letter to write: to unidentified supervisor regarding the actions provided by an unidentified police clerk.

Good customer service is not dead.

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Story Note: Unfortunately for those that visit college campuses in the summer, they are typically one giant construction zone. Here in the Northeast, summer means fewer students in the way and no snow storms to delay new construction or street repairs. As such, every dorm, road, and building project is in full swing. Just another July at an institution of higher learning.

A New Approach to Extreme Couponing

To my Canadian friends: Happy belated Canada Day.

To my American friends: Happy 4th of July.

To all my readers and friends: if it seems to good to be true, well it probably is.

Even if we are talking about product coupons, as illustrated by this story from North Carolina:
(ABERDEEN) ...police arrested an Ellerbe man and woman after they allegedly used counterfeit coupons to obtain items from Walmart.

Sandra Webb Yaklin, 54, and James Vernon Rainwater, 52...were arrested on June 18. Police charged each with one count of felony fraud-obtaining money or property by false pretense.

"They were buying a little bit of something and then using coupons for a free item," said Aberdeen Deputy Chief Carl Colasacco. Colasacco said an alert clerk at the store suspected something was "strange" about the coupons and called a manager. And then the police were called.

Aberdeen police confiscated more than 870 coupons and recovered numerous grocery items, including laundry detergent, bacon, chips and gatorade. The items were valued at more than $150.

The accused told police they bought the coupons online, Colasacco said.

"I have seen a lot of counterfeit money," Colasacco said, "But I have never seen somebody counterfeit coupons"...

Does this mean that some of the appealing offers I see on the wonderful "InterWeb" are scams?

Hmm, I better be more careful.

If you need me, I'll be inspecting the coupon drawer here at the house. No telling what we have in there.

Back from the Beach and Guest Post

While I was away from blogging a few months ago, I did appear as a guest writer over at RainDog Blue's place.

It was his blogiversary; seven years!

If you ever want to read what American policing is like, RainDog is one of the best at providing a front row seat.

You can read my post over there entitled Free-Range Kids, by clicking here.

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Note: I have been back from the beach for a few days and somehow am the only person in the family to contract a stomach bug. Stay far away from me! 

Men Communicating

The following occurred a few weeks ago...
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The other day I was in the men's room at work. I was just about to use a urinal, when I noticed someone had not flushed the previous time.

Or maybe two... or three... or TEN times before.

As I was about to flush so that I could relieve myself in peace minus the stale funk, I heard a student talking on his phone in one of the stalls behind me.

I try to be cognizant of my surroundings, and it is difficult to ignore someone's phone conversation when they are that close, so I was forced to listen.

Well, the student was speaking with someone about a job, volunteer work, an internship, or something related, as he had a courteous and professional sound to his voice. He was also setting-up a meeting, as they were discussing driving directions.

I paused before depressing the flusher on the urinal and debated: "Do I want to be rude and disturb this young man's important conversation?"

That was met with the selfish thought: "Wow, this pee odor could peel paint and sure needs to be flushed!"

I decided to hold off on flushing.

Take one for the "man" team.  

I inhaled like a pearl diver before submerging into a clear ocean, as far from the source of the stink of course, and took care of my business.

As I was just about to walk from the urinal, the student in the stall was exchanging additional information with the other person on the phone and then I heard...

FOOOWOOOSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Yes, the sound of an industrial strength commode rattled the men's room. The student had flushed his toilet, but did not miss a beat and continued talking on the phone.

I laughed to myself.

I exhaled what was left of my vital air supply, and flushed my urinal twice for good measure.

So much for my attempt at being courteous, right?

What is the old saying?  "No good deed goes unpunished."

On Hope Solo or Hope Stevens

Last June, police in Kirkland, Washington arrested US soccer star Hope Solo (Hope Stevens is her married name) and charged her with two counts of domestic violence.

Ms. Solo adamantly denies that she was ever the aggressor and tells reporters that she was the actual victim in the incident.

The charges were later dismissed by a judge on "procedural grounds," but the prosecutor filed an appeal, hoping to continue the case. Oral arguments on the appeal are expected this September--which will allow Solo to play during the World Cup that started this weekend.

What exactly happened the night that Solo and family members became involved in a confrontation?

That is unclear.

It is interesting to read the official report that was released by law enforcement.

It describes Solo on the morning of arrest as a combative, belligerent, and intoxicated individual as she was processed by local authorities. Displaying these behaviors not with one or two officers, but with the handful of law enforcement personnel that she encountered at different locations while in custody.

Question for you Ms. Solo:

Do you really expect me to believe that you were NOT combative, belligerent, and intoxicated during the June family altercation when you displayed the combative, belligerent, and intoxicated behaviors to law enforcement shortly after the arrest?

This seems like just a continuation of her actions.

Combine this with the previous domestic incident involving her current husband (former NFL player Jerramy Stevens) on the day before their marriage, along with her "almost arrest" for disorderly conduct in January when that same husband was being investigated for DUI, and I do not have a positive impression of the US team's soccer goalie.

The description of Solo at all of the incidents seems to be consistent: combative, belligerent, and intoxicated.

It is sad that her sport's status could allow her to impact so many young fans in a positive way, yet she is consistently in the news for the wrong reasons.

I hope that she receives the help that she evidently needs.

But until then, I doubt that Hope Solo's encounters with the criminal justice system will cease.

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You can review ESPN's story on Solo by clicking here or read the police report on her actions at the booking facilities by going here

Knuckle Duster

A friend sent me this article from back in March about representatives from New York City's Department of Records--they are digitizing over 30,000 photographs (from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century) from the NYPD's crime files, and making the images available to the public.

The photos range in subject matter--from cat rescues to award ceremonies to homicides.

In browsing through the collection, the following photo caught my attention.

Hoodlum Fav: Combination Gun, Knife, and Steel Knuckles
You don't see an Apache Revolver too often. Also called the "Knuckle Duster" gun, it was manufactured in Belgium around the turn of the last century.

The Knuckle Duster was a favorite of gangster types in the early 1900s, as it offered multiple options when fighting, carried 6 bullets, and was easily concealed (no barrel; folding trigger and blade).

Obviously, they also liked the intimidation factor of the weapon.

With no barrel though, range was limited--meaning very poor accuracy.

Reportedly, a major issue with the gun was unpredictability.

A user might pull the trigger to fire the Apache, but instead the weapon would explode in the person's hand.

Wait... firearms need to be reliable?

Hmm.

I can see where that led to the Knuckle Duster's demise.

Talk about how a loud boom and a trip to the ER could just ruin a weekend for Mr. Gangster.

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You can view NYC's police photo collection, by clicking here

First Date Idea

Elementary school-aged daughter has become quite the miniature golfer.

She is patient and knows not to overstrike the ball, helping to keep her scores low.

Having an older brother who plays a lot and enjoys making her competitive certainly helps as well.

Last summer vacation in the scorching South Texas sun, we played 36-holes on two connected courses; a mini-golf marathon.

She only had one of the dreaded "6" stroke holes, but on the others she skillfully finished with twos, threes, and fours.

She even showed off with a couple of hole-in-ones--one on a hole that it took big brother and I three shots apiece to finish.

After finishing, I thought about her fantastic performance.

Man, she is going to make her first date look real bad when they go out for miniature golf and ice cream.

I mean when she has that first date.

At like age 36 or 37.

I figure that will give her almost 29 years of additional golfing practice.

Sounds about right, eh?

Hmm.

Maybe my "dad math" needs some refinement.
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Note: My first date, like one million years ago, featured mini-golfing and ice cream. I soundly defeated the talented basketball player with my golf putter, and thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and ice cream afterward. Unfortunately, I don't remember "point guard" going out with me a second time--so she was likely less impressed. 

Caleb Diehl and a Mistake

Caleb Diehl is missing from Nocona, Texas.

He was reported missing by his mother on April 1, 2015.  Reportedly, he borrowed a truck from his employer, Ricky Dale Howard, on March 30th to use for work at another part-time job.

Police have not disclosed or are unsure how, but that truck was returned to Mr. Howard on April 1.

Still, young Caleb has not been seen.

The family believes foul-play is involved and is pleading for persons with information to contact authorities.

The news articles on Caleb describe the eighteen-year-old as a "white male with blue eyes. He is 6 -feet 2-inches tall and 145 pounds."

Two of the four news services covering the story (in Wichita Falls, TX  & Bowie, TX) ran their articles with the following photo of Caleb.



Does that look like an 18-year-old to you?

Are the braces just throwing me off?

I was curious so I did some digging.

This much better representation of Caleb photos was posted online by his sister, Courtney Diehl.


His appearance is quite different, eh?

Interesting to note that the "braces" picture was not included in the collage.

So, how long ago was that first picture taken?

According to this post from a friend's social media account, Caleb had his braces removed in November.

NOVEMBER OF 2013!

So this picture, being used to accompany emergency info, may be more than two years old?

Wow.

My message to the media?

Please use updated pictures for missing person stories. If the public is supposed to be looking for a missing 18-year-old, don't give us a historical image of a teen in braces.

If a photo is not immediately available for the story, publish what is accurate and then include the current photo later. If a correction needs to be made, do it.

I should not be able to access mistaken details about Caleb's case almost 60 days later.

I can't imagine the pain that Caleb's family is going through in dealing with a loved one who has vanished.

They should be able to depend on the press to release and maintain accurate information.

One thing is certain: The public can't help find someone, if they don't know what the person looks like.

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I hope you all have a good weekend. 

TP: Not Just for the Bathroom, You Know?

Last year, in the community of Avon Lake (northwest of Cleveland), police responded to a call about a home being toilet-papered.

Ahh, toilet paper pranking--an activity that transcends generations.

Still a favorite of the contemporary devious teenager, but something that every homeowner laments; as the clean-up is oh so tedious.

For those meticulous youthful planners, WikiHow even offers a 27-step plan for successful toilet papering.

Recommendations for how to TOILET PAPER A HOUSE?

I am now convinced that one can find everything on the Internet.

Well, I hope that the resident victims in Avon Lake were not treated to something like the following work of "art" that greeted a Pleasant Ridge, Michigan homeowner one morning in 2012.

Here is what that family woke up to see:


Nice.


Yeah, real nice (as long as I am not on cleaning duty).
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Happy Tuesday!  

Memorial Day Remembrance: William Bordelon

Memorial Day.

A time to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who died while in US military service.

Sadly, many of the names are mostly forgotten--like that of Staff Sgt. William James Bordelon, USMC.



Sgt. Bordelon was killed in action during World War II, at the battle for Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. For his bravery, he posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Here is an excerpt from Bordelon's citation:
...Landing in the assault waves under withering enemy fire which killed all but 4 of the men in his tractor, S/Sgt. Bordelon hurriedly made demolition charges and personally put 2 pillboxes out of action. Hit by enemy machinegun fire just as a charge exploded in his hand while assaulting a third position, he courageously remained in action,...provided himself with a rifle and furnished fire coverage for a group of men scaling the seawall.

Disregarding his own serious condition, he unhesitatingly went to the aid of one of his demolition men, wounded and calling for help in the water, rescuing this man and another who had been hit by enemy fire while attempting to make the rescue.

Still refusing first aid for himself, he again made up demolition charges and single-handedly assaulted a fourth Japanese machinegun position but was instantly killed when caught in a final burst of fire...

Bordelon was one of three graduates of his high school (Central Catholic Marianist High School in San Antonio) to die that day at the Tarawa Atoll.

To read a little about what life was like for those that Bordelon left behind, go here.

I always hope that we Americans don't forget why Monday is a holiday.

Missing Evidence

Productivity?

"Hey! Look at that. The missing evidence in the Kelner case… He was innocent!"  --Lt. FD

Yea, office cleaning fun!

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Enjoy your weekend.

Disclaimer: Depicted is not a real police evidence bag, but rather a nifty supply case that my brother-in-law found at a yard sale. Since my days of doing police work are ancient history, any evidence that I might have lost has been forgotten and discarded. Perhaps, that is another good reason to blog using an alias.  

Mysterious Song

What to do when the music stops? Ok, definitely not this...
A man allegedly punched a Pennsylvania Lottery machine in the Downtown Easton Wawa because "he was mad because his song had ended," a store employee told city police.

John C. Dijulio... came into the store Thursday night... and bought peanuts before leaving... He returned and punched the machine.

Police later determined he was upset that a song he loved that was playing in the store had concluded...

If investigating this case, what is the most important information to determine?

Well, what tune would motivate Mr. Dijulio to take such action, of course!

The Greatest by Kenny Rogers?

Love Stinks by the J. Geils Band?

What song do you think it was?

It was certainly not this one.
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Enjoy your Wednesday.

Note: If you need a smile today, click on the "The Greatest" link above. It will take you to YouTube where a father and young son made a video to accompany the song. They do a nice job with it. 



Happy First Day of Spring

What is this blogging thing and how does it work?

Hello everyone. While I try to relearn what it is that I once did at this site, I'll share a personal photo.

The furry friend in the photo (I have referred to him here previously as the Yellow Buffalo) is much happier with the 6 inches of snow that we received today than I am.

In any event...

Happy First Day of Spring from a Snow-Covered Resident of the Northeastern US!