Sunday, May 31, 2015

No Whites Allowed

I'm not surprised, but I can't help but wonder how much more of this sort of thing goes on? A college affiliated club- the Racialized Students Collective- in Canada was having a meeting to discuss discrimination and how much they'd been oppressed. A couple white students showed up to cover the meeting for a class project and where sent away. 

Setting aside the issue of school related facilities and clubs, this would make national news in the U.S. if it had been a White Students Collective and a couple non- whites were asked to leave. Don't you think?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pot Smokers Are Brain Damaged

I appreciate people who advocate non- politically correct opinions. Even this lady in the Del Norte Triplicate who urges us to consider the harm that would be brought about by legalizing pot:

"Furthermore, brain damage from smoking marijuana does not create personalities who become kind, decent, thoughtful, compassionate, responsible, upright citizens; rather, it results in the user becoming careless, inconsiderate, dishonest, stupid and often violent — just the kind of person you don’t want to be around."

Pretty bold to put that in print, huh?

I'll also give her credit for suggesting marijuana is three times more carcinogenic than tobacco. Not that I accept that, but at least she seems to be against both tobacco and pot. Too many want to outlaw tobacco while advocating for legal pot.

T-S Letter: Pot Questions

A letter writer to the Times- Standard this morning asks a bunch of questions about marijuana: how much do people need vs. how much will be available, among other things. I've wrote before I'm tired of hearing about pot so those questions don't interest me at all. What did pique my interest was this statement:

"In my experience with smoking marijuana in the ’60s, I always had to smoke more to feel that first initial “high,” but never achieved that goal. Does a person who smokes medical marijuana have to smoke more to get the desired pain relief?"

I don't get that first part. I've smoked a fair amount of pot in my earlier life, but I never had my fingers stained brownish yellow as some of the guys I grew up with. I don't get him saying he had to smoke more for his initial high.

When I used to smoke pot, I'd get high very quickly, assuming I hadn't smoked any in a while. It got worse after that as smoking more after an hour or two would just make me tired. The first hour was always the best.

I worked on a ranch back in the '70s where the owner had a modest pot garden. He'd regularly give me a good sized bag of the stuff in lieu of cash. The first joint was fun. After that it would just make me tired but, since I had plenty of pot, I'd keep on smoking. I don't know why to this day as I secretly wished I'd run out for a while to get the nice high from not having smoked for a few days.

That's what I don't get about these supposed medical marijuana patients. I'm sure it's good for some ailments, but do they really enjoy smoking pot all the time? I didn't, and assume they must have a psychological addiction to the stuff as I did. 

I recall Arcata's now gone pot guru, Bobby Harris, being quoted as saying he smoked an ounce a week. I only met him once but never got the chance to ask if he actually felt high after smoking that much pot. He claimed to be a medical marijuana user. Did all that pot really alleviate any pain, or did it just make him tired so he didn't feel his supposed pain as much?

Both sides of the medical marijuana argument go back and forth on that. The anti- pot folks saying the "patients" just want to get high. The supporters saying it actually has medical benefit and can relieve pain. From my personal experience, neither can be accomplished by smoking pot all week long. After the initial high, it just makes me tired.

Friday, May 29, 2015

What A Tracfone Deal!

I've never paid much attention to the special deals Tracfone keeps sending me for my phone, except the promotional codes that give me a free twenty minutes when I renew my activation. I did pay attention to the e-mail offer I got in my inbox today. No time added, but it keeps you active with Tracfone for a year for only $50.00. 

What a deal! For someone like me that rarely uses his phone, has lots of time saved up and doesn't need to buy more time, that's worth considering. That's less than $5.00 a month if I'm doing the math right. I pay about $7.00 a month now with 60 minutes time that's good for 3 months.

And I just noticed a pop up window on the link they provided for $15.00 off. Not sure if that's $15 off this deal they e-mailed me about- so $35 for a year- or something else. I might well bite on this one.

Go- Go Dancers

Most younger folk probably wouldn't remember them. I wouldn't have except for a Facebook post a friend made yesterday with this picture. First thing I thought was Go- Go Girls, but the wife reminded me it was Go- Go Dancers. 

That's Nancy Pemberton and Annie Huettner back in the '60s on their way to work at the somewhat famous Whiskey A Go- Go in Hollywood. Not sure if they were dancers. They waited tables there, but the outfits sure are Go- Go with the mini- skirts and high boots that came to be known as Go- Go boots. 

Wikipedia confirms my recollections. They even mention that one of the places Go- Go dancing might have started out is Hollywood's Whiskey A Go- Go. Way to go Nancy and Annie!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thought Police

Kirsten Powers over at USA Today looks at a recent case of LGBT intolerance, albeit the opposite from what some would have us expect:

A lesbian couple buys a couple engagement rings from Christian jeweler. They're pleased enough that they refer a friend to the business. The friend goes there and notices a sign saying, "...Let's keep marriage between a man and a woman". The friend reports the sign to the girls that referred him. Now the girls want their money back.

One of the girls is quoted, "I have no issues with them believing in what they believe in. I think everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But I don't think they should put their personal beliefs inside their business." Powers goes on to ask, "One wonders whether this same rule applies to displaying symbols supporting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders".

Exactly. Service wasn't refused and there was no issue with the items purchased. The jewelers were just politically incorrect. This happened in Canada, but you can be sure it will happen here if it hasn't already.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Freddy's Belated Memorial Day Post

Since I have nothing else this morning, I'll post this piece from Counterpunch. I was thinking of posting it on Tuesday. I didn't want to put it up on Memorial Day and ruin anyone's holiday, now would I? Why do I feel that way when I have no problem trying to ruin people's Christmas?

Anyway, Bill Quigley wonders why we pray for peace while being the most warlike nation on the planet:

"Memorial Day is, by federal law, a day of prayer for permanent peace. But is it possible to honestly pray for peace while our country is far and away number one in the world in waging war, military presence, military spending and the sale of weapons around the world?"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Isn't Spiked supposed to be a left wing magazine? I was under that impression so was surprised to see them running this article criticizing increasing efforts among the college community to shut down what are felt as politically incorrect ideas:

"Duke University responded: ‘The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse.’. But if Hough’s comments are racist, repugnant or simply incorrect, should we dismiss them as unfit even to discuss, let alone debate or refute?".

The author does seem left leaning himself. He just thinks non- PC ideas should be refuted, rather than simply silenced. I'll give him a thumbs up for that. He's a rare one indeed- a voice in the wilderness- but the movement to shut down non- popular thought on college campuses will likely continue unabated.

Addendum: The comments to the article are a good read, too.

Alabama's Marriage Idea

The Tenth Amendment Center reports the Alabama state Senate just passed a bill that would end state issued marriage licenses and replace them with marriage contracts.

"The intent or motives behind this bill are a moot point. By removing the state from the equation, no one can force another to accept their marriage, nor can they force another to reject that person’s own beliefs regarding an institution older than government.
'Licenses are used as a way to stop people from doing things,' said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. 'My personal relationship should not be subject to government permission."

I've always proposed something along the same line. Let's just have marriage contracts, or whatever you want to call them, and the state only need record the contract. Seems simple enough to me, although I'm sure religious marriage types and the in- your- face LGBT folks will disagree for one reason or another. Let the flaming begin!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

More Small Homes

KInda neat, but probably a bit small for my comfort. These Ecocapsules will be commercially available soon- price still to be determined. Self contained homes with their own power source and the ability to filter water from almost any source.

Tim Martin vs. The NSA

Might Times- Standard columnist Tim Martin have a libertarian streak to him? Maybe so with him wondering if this is a free country. He writes today about government snooping. He's concerned.
Many aren't, especially when their party is in control of the White House. Had a Democrat/Green friend tell me the other day in so many words he thinks the spying is a good thing. 

I don't have much of a problem with government spying on bad guys overseas, but question just how much of our intelligence effort is focused there. I asked my friend if he'd ever seen pictures of the buildings used by the National Security Agency. 

As the picture shows, they're huge, and I believe that's just one of them. Must be thousands of people working in that building alone, and they can't all be spying overseas. And that's just one building of one agency. Don't forget the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and the rest.

We are being watched. What else are those spy agencies and all their people going to do?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Chief Mills' Budget Proposal

The Eureka Police Chief explains his budget proposal and how things might change if it's approved. Part 2 is here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hillary's Accomplishments and Supporters

I would think even some Democrats would find this Truth Revolt article amusing. A focus group of ten Hillary supporters is asked for a list of her accomplishments. They come up blank. Yet they're still strong in support of her.

"These Democrats were more than willing to stand behind a candidate they know little or nothing about. Their awkward silence when trying to conjure up a single political accomplishment of their preferred candidate speaks volumes."

Ok. Maybe hard core Democrats won't find that amusing and, truth be told, the same thing could be said about many Republicans as well.

Today's Letters

I'm not sure what to make of a couple letters to the Times- Standard today. This one, about robot felines, I don't get at all. Wife says it's from a crazy person. Seems like it, but maybe we're missing something?

This other one is from a lady suggesting Eureka's kids need a curfew. I'm not sure she makes a very good case for it. A couple kids made her nervous at 7:25pm earlier this month. It should still be daylight at that time. They flashed her some gang signals and seemed to be acting suspicious. Then they left the area. 

Not sure what the exact problem is there. And how would a curfew help with that sort of thing, unless we keep the kids home all the time?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

AB 718: Sleeping In Vehicles

Lots of chatter in the news lately about Assembly Bill 718. The bill would remove local authority to regulate sleeping in vehicles. No need to point out this is intended to stop cities from citing homeless types for sleeping in their cars. 

The Times- Standard reports the Arcata City Council discussing it last night. Council dude, Paul Pitino, said he couldn't support the bill because, "At a time that we have very little housing for homeless, eliminating the ability to sleep in a vehicle is not OK for me"

I have the same sort of concerns, but Pitino has it slightly wrong, although maybe he misunderstood or was misquoted?

The bill doesn't outlaw sleeping in cars. It actually does the opposite and prevents cities from regulating vehicle sleeping at all. With that in mind, we should all oppose the bill. Aren't we for local control?

As far as sleeping in cars goes, I'm not sure where I stand. KIEM TV's poll today asks if homeless people should be able to sleep in their cars in public places. I voted No, but that oversimplifies and I don't really like questions that only offer Yes or No as options. But, since they asked, I simply thought of how I'd feel if some bums parked their car next to my house and took up residence.

AB178 would prohibit the city from dealing with that sort of thing. I'm not sure just what limits should be placed on car based housing, but we should at least have the wherewithal at the local level to try and deal with it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Speaking of cell phones, The Huffington Post features a test to tell you how addicted you are to your smartphone. You'll have to compile your score manually- not automated. I didn't take it. Don't have a smartphone and rarely use my cell phone so I'm certainly not addicted. Those of you that are can fess up in the comments.

Eureka's Heads Up Campaign

The Times- Standard reports on a campaign to reduce the number of vehicle vs. pedestrian collisions in Eureka. KIEM TV also reported on it last night. The way I saw it, KIEM seemed to suggest the effort would be directed at drivers, but maybe that was just me?

That did kinda irk me. Sure, drivers are involved in their share of these collisions but nearly all of them could have been avoided had the pedestrian been paying attention to their surroundings as they crossed the street.

They showed a clip on TV last night of the words "Heads Up" painted on the street at a pedestrian crossing. That's the right approach, although it's hard to believe many walkers would take heed even if they did notice it. 

I've gotten the impression the city is taking the opposite approach and trying to make pedestrians feel safer. City council gal, Kim Bergel is quoted; "She said the safer people can feel while walking, riding their bike or running through the city, the better it will be for everyone.".

That's not quite right. I'd suggest people feeling safe is a big reason for so many of these collisions. If they didn't feel safe when crossing the street people might pay more attention. Looking both ways before crossing the street doesn't seem as necessary when you feel safe, does it?
Drivers can cause collisions- and even get people killed- by trying to be courteous and making pedestrians feel safe. I've wrote here before about that guy that got killed crossing 4th Street down next to the Co-Op.

The guy is standing by the crosswalk. The car approaching in the right lane stops. So does the one in the middle lane. The guy is probably thinking how nice and courteous people are as he starts crossing the street. He feels safe now and doesn't bother looking further. 

Except there's another car in the left lane coming and it doesn't stop. He walks right in front of it and is killed. In large part because the courteous drivers made him feel safe.
Then there's the distraction of cell phones. I'll never understand why so many people can't just walk down the street and enjoy their surroundings anymore. Even the school kids.

Was out in my garage yesterday and saw an asian schoolgirl walking down the sidewalk across the street. As best I could tell she not only wasn't gawking at a smartphone, she didn't even seem to have one. 

I started to go out to the driveway to start clapping as a way of signalling my approval. Sure, she might not understand, at least until I explained it to her. Then I saw the cell phone in her left hand. Oh well, at least she wasn't staring at it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why We Want More Military Spending

Nothing else to write about this morning so I'll leave you with Paul Waldman's explanation of why everyone seems to want a larger military budget- everyone who might be considered a top tier presidential candidate, anyway. Nice and polite with little to none of the name calling myself and others might use.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recycling Trivia

I went to the City Garbage recycling center yesterday and took these along. They're used more and more to replace styrofoam for packing things nowadays. I've always wondered if they were recyclable. Same as those fiber type egg cartons. I think they're made out of generally the same stuff.

The guy told me I could go ahead and throw them in with the mixed plastic containers, but they're actually at the end up their useful life and will likely just end up as compost. I didn't think to ask him if it would be okay to throw them in the green waste bin.

Now you know.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Which State Suits You Best?

One of those things that shows up on Facebook. This short quiz supposedly tells you which state you're best suited for. It's Maryland for me, although I'm not so sure about that. Few, if any, of the things in Maryland I'd supposedly like were even mentioned in the quiz.

Press on the "Let's Play" link to get started.

Schools Need Pensions, Too

With all the talk about the shortfall in public safety pensions in the news lately, the other big pension shortfall often gets ignored. Calwatchdog looks at funding for the California State Teacher's Retirement System. They're billions in the hole, too. They're looking at "... 70 percent increase in pension contributions from school districts, a 20 percent increase from the state general fund and a 10 percent increase in teacher contributions. ".

As with local measures Q & Z, school funding from Prop 93 will likely end up the same. You can expect a fair amount of the new funding to help pay down pension debt: "...the education establishment expects to use the flexibility and extra dollars provided by the Local Control Funding Formula to pay for the higher pension costs."

Eureka Makes #2

Jetsetter magazine ranks Eureka as America's second coolest city.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Higher Garbage Rates Looming?

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports Sonoma County's main garbage collector, Ratto, is asking for a rate increase. A temporary one, they say, but we all know how that works. I can't help but wonder if this means we're also looking at a rate increase?

Three main reasons cited for Ratto's increases that should also apply to Humboldt: Very depressed prices for recycling materials. Shipping disruptions from the labor unrest down south, and the amount of regular garbage being mixed in with recyclables. 

Thank you Eureka City Council for forcing mandatory garbage service on us. Now we have no option no matter how high rates go.
Of the three reasons given for the price increase, not much we can do about labor disputes and depressed prices.  We can sort our recyclables better, although you have to wonder how many people really care enough about that?

The story goes to some length to describe the sort of garbage being thrown in with recyclables and having to be removed.  That costs money. I recall calling the gal over at the place that used to process recycling up here and mentioning the garbage issue. I forget exactly, but she was saying they had to pay something like $20,000 a year(?) for getting rid of the garbage. Don't quote me on the number. Suffice it to say, though, it was substantial.

That was no surprise to me as I used to consider myself the "recycling nazi" and regularly snooped in people's bins to see what inappropriate things were being thrown in. I've since more or less given up on that but still notice things on occasion. I never cease to be amazed.

One house had a bunch of window glass broken during an earthquake. I told them that wasn't recyclable and they removed it. I noticed the same place also places uncleaned food containers in the bin. Hey! I know you can only clean some containers so much, but they'd just take all the usable peanut butter they could out of the jar, then toss it in without cleaning. How rude!

Some guy at the City Garbage recycling center told me years ago "they scrub all these things...", suggesting the end of process facilities clean up whatever they get. I doubt it. It's hard enough for us to clean some of those containers, never mind thousands at a time. I at least make an effort, and peanut butter containers aren't that difficult. 

Was working at a place once when the homeowner came out to dump some stuff in her recycling bin. What does she have? A large, hard plastic planter with ornate design all over it, and a framed needlepoint picture. I can see the confusion with the planter as it is plastic, but a picture??? She got all huffy when I told her those weren't recyclable, as if I'm just trying to jerk her around.

And those plastic "single use" shopping bags, they're not supposed to be put in the recycling bins. They are recyclable, if you're real close to the processing center, but it's not cost effective to ship. They can be taken to any large grocery store for "recycling", although what they really do with them I don't know.

I noticed a neighbor was putting plastic shopping bags in her recycling bin. I told her she shouldn't and how to dispose of them. She seemed surprised and I assumed had taken that to heart. Nope. She still dumps the plastic bags in the bin, and separately rather than putting them all in one bag and tying the bag closed. And she strikes me as a fairly left leaning gal. I don't get that.

Oh, and styrofoam. That shouldn't go in the bins, either. There's actually a place in Napa that takes old styrofoam and makes it into new, but styro is like plastic shopping bags; costs too much to ship for what they get out of it.

I'm sure what I've seen is just the tip of the iceberg, although I recall reading an article on recycling in the North Coast Journal years ago featuring Willits Solid Waste. They claimed they had little problem with garbage in their recyclables. I have a hard time believing that from what I've seen.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

AT&T vs. Suddenlink: The Winner Is...


 I've received much more mail from them in the last two or three weeks than I have from Suddenlink. In fact, I might have only received one Suddenlink ad in the mail in the last week or so. It seems I'm getting one from AT&T every other day lately. 

Today I got two! Two different letters, but selling the same thing: Their new "U-verse" internet. The same letters I've received time and again for at least a month now.

If they could tell me a couple things about U-verse, I might be at least a little more interested. One, how much a month it will cost after their $10.00 off teaser deal ends? Two, just what makes U-verse better than what I'm using now?

It does say U-verse requires new equipment, but no mention of the cost. I don't really care about that until I find out the actual monthly price for the service. Until then, I'm not really interested at all. But I'll give AT&T a short round of applause for really kicking ass in snail mail.

A Presidential Litmus Test

I agree with my internet buddy, Tom Knapp: the litmus test to determine whether a political party accepts or rejects a potential presidential candidate should be whether they supported the invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, in the real world that doesn't mean much. Most of the current main contenders did support it. The one or two that might not have, have slim to zero chance of winning their party's nomination.

Bike Helmet Stuff

Local writer and bicyclist, Barry Evans, has some interesting info on bicycle helmet statistics. Like me, he thinks it's dumb to not wear a helmet. He doesn't always wear his. I always did, at least when I had a bike.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Long Lost Son???

I don't have any blood relatives that I know of. I'm not sure if I have any kids, but maybe one of those girls from back in the day? I've thought it might be nice to find out I did have a son or daughter. 

Then again, maybe not. I can just imagine some old flame telling my unknown son my name and him tracking me down. There's a knock at my front door. I open it to find the guy in the picture saying "DAD!!!".  

Yuck! Best to leave well enough alone?

Supes Support 15mph School Speed

The Times- Standard reports the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the readings of ordinances which would lower the speed limit around schools to 15mph. Unbelievable. You'd think there would be at least some dissent. 

Ryan Sundberg really gets me: “This is definitely a no-brainer,” he said. “If you can’t slow down to 15 miles per hour in a school zone, there is something really wrong with you.”. I don't think so. I question whether Sundberg has ever tried doing that himself. I have.

I drove by a couple schools yesterday. Driving by Pine Hill School, I tried going 15mph and it wasn't all that easy. I felt as if I was crawling, and I'm not a fast driver. The current limit of 25mph should be just fine.

And again, it's not as if we have an epidemic of kids being run over near the schools.

Reading the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat regularly, I'm amazed at the stupid stuff the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors does and tell myself that at least the Humboldt Supes seem fairly level headed. I'm thinking I should take that back.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

L.A.'s Fast Food Effort Flops

Calwatchdog looks at a Los Angeles ordinance meant to help curb obesity. Back in 2008 the city council voted unanimously to freeze the opening of fast food franchises- the idea being the less fast food, the less obesity. 

It didn't work. In fact, it seems obesity rose even more in the areas subject to the ordinance:

In fact, obesity rates in the area had grown at a faster clip than elsewhere in the city,” the Atlantic noted. “As NBC News reported, the percentage of people in South Los Angeles who were overweight or obese in 2007 was 63 percent. By 2011, that figure was 75 percent.

Health activists weren't bothered with the results. They just feel more needs to be done;  “They say the obesity epidemic is complex, and that solving it will require more than a ban on new fast food restaurants.

I can imagine what they mean by that. You can bet those anti- fatness efforts will be showing up here in the not so distant future. They never sleep.
Which isn't to say there isn't a problem with obesity, here or elsewhere. From my own estimate, I'd say 75% of guys, young and old, are overweight. That's just from watching people around town. Getting out and exercising more is the place to start, along with watching what you eat.

15mph Near Schools?

KIEM TV reported last night that the Board of Supervisors will consider lowering the speed limit near schools to fifteen miles an hour. I believe the speed limit in most those areas now is 25, when children are present. I have to wonder who is pushing this?

We don't have school kids being run over every week around here. In fact, I can't recall any school kids being hit by cars, with the exception of the teenager injured on H or I street near Eureka High School a couple or three years ago. Should we reduce the speed limit on H and I streets to 15mph because of that?

The current speed limits around school zones are fine. This is a solution in search of a problem. The Board of Supes should reject it.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Arresting People: Agent of The State

Back when I went through the police academy I was fascinated by the idea of arresting someone. Even today I don't think that's such a bad thing. That interest probably sounds worse than it was. I mentioned it to a defensive tactics instructor at the academy once. He didn't get it.

Stan Schmidt is now retired for Arcata P.D. While in class once I mentioned to him I'd like to make an arrest. He replied that I could ride along with him and he'd let me put the cuffs on someone. I told him that wasn't what I was referring to and that it was more the whole thing of actually arresting someone and the power involved, as opposed to the mere physical act of putting restraints on someone. 

He looked at me kind of puzzled, as if that notion was kind of weird. I thought that rather odd of him as he was one who mentioned earlier that to be a police officer you have to, as best I remember, not mind "exerting power over people". He might have even said "enjoyed exerting power...". Don't get me wrong. Schmidt was a top notch guy.

Maybe it was weird, but I still find it intriguing, although not as much anymore. The whole idea of being a Agent of The State and having that the authority to interfere with someone's freedom. Seems weird, but I thought about it a lot back then. I don't know I really wanted that authority. I just wanted to know what it felt like.

I ended up kind of arresting some kids some years later, although I was never really happy referring to those as arrests, with maybe one exception. It was when I worked at Juvenile Hall. As peace officers we could "arrest" people. I don't remember the names and faces but of two of them, and only one of those did I think could really be called an arrest.

I suppose it depends on your definition of arrest. I've always thought of arresting someone as taking them into custody and depriving them of their freedom of movement, at least for a short time. But, in juvenile hall they're already in custody and being detained. Didn't make sense to me that we'd be arresting someone that was already in custody.

I brought that up to other staff but they would have none of it. Not that big a deal, I suppose. Just a matter of definition. Still, I should think in a custodial setting we should have used "charged" rather than arrest- "I'm charging you with vandalism". I'm sure some would argue it's the district attorney that actually charges someone.

I recall arresting eight people during my time there, although I can't remember the names or circumstances of but two of them. One was a kid that acted out and tore his mattress to shreds. I told him he was under arrest for vandalism and filled out an arrest report. He didn't care. They rarely do. I didn't feel that State power with that one, with perhaps the exception of filling out the arrest report.

The other one I felt a little better about. There was a memo out that if a certain kid was found by law enforcement, he was to be admitted to juvenile hall. That night Rio Dell P.D. caught him, called up and said they were on their way.

When he showed up, I asked if the officer had actually arrested the kid. The officer said he hadn't, but simply followed instructions to bring the kid to the hall. At that point I told the kid he was under arrest for violation of probation, or whatever it was he was wanted for. He didn't care.

That was on graveyard shift. My next shift during the day I bumped into the Superintendent and asked him if I was supposed to have arrested that kid. He said I certainly was and that it was a good call on my part. That made me feel good, but I still didn't feel as if I arrested him, at least in the way that I felt I could really call an arrest.

Oh, well. Never got to feel that Agent of the State power, at least in arresting someone, and lost interest in it many years ago. Still kinda fun to think back, though.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Citizen's Arrest

The latest post over at Tuluwat Examiner tries to make the case that Eureka Police- and perhaps the city- are racist for not arresting a guy for allegedly calling a non- white postal worker "nigger" and punching him in the mouth. 

What actually happened, we don't know. I suggested the police likely did what they could with the information they had available: File a report with the district attorney's office and let the D.A. sort it out.

I also pointed out that battery is a misdemeanor and I believe police can't normally make arrests for misdemeanors that don't take place in their presence. What the officer could have done- and we don't know whether he did or not- was suggest the supposed victim make a citizen's arrest of the alleged assailant. Then the officer would be bound by law to effect(?) the arrest.

A commenter there suggested it was a "hate crime" and, by extension, that the police could have used felony powers to arrest the suspect. I'd say that's a stretch when you have multiple witnesses likely to back the suspects version of events, and only the victim himself telling his side. What's the officer to do? I say he did the best he could. Felony arrest powers over something like that? I don't think so.

But I digress. I wanted to tell of my personal education and experiences with citizen's arrest.
We covered citizen's arrest briefly when I went through the College of the Redwoods Police Academy in the early '80s. I don't recall who taught that section, but don't think it was one of the Captains or Chiefs of local departments that usually taught. 

I obviously misunderstood, but what I got from the instruction on citizen's arrest was that if an officer thinks a citizen's arrest is bogus, and that the person making the charge is just trying to jerk the other guy around, the officer can tell the guy he's not going to go along with it- I guess you could say blow it off. That's was my take, anyway.

Fast forward a few years later to when I was working the graveyard shift at Juvenile Hall. After 5pm, once probation is closed, until it opens at 8am, we were the defacto juvenile intake officers. We were the ones called by police for disposition of juvenile problems or arrests. A big responsibility and it made me a bit nervous earlier on, to be honest.

I get a phone call from Rio Dell Police Department. The officer is unsure of what to do. He has a citizen wanting to make a citizen's arrest of a kid. He thinks it's a bogus charge. What should he do? I tell him it was my understanding that if he really thinks the guy is just trying to hassle the kid for no good reason, he doesn't have to go through with it and can tell the citizen that. 

He never called back so I guess the problem was resolved.

Fast forward a year or so. I was down in Sacramento for job required training. That included PC 832- Powers To Arrest, or whatever it's called. The instructor was talking about citizen's arrest. I rose my hand and related my take away from the police academy: that if the officer thinks it's bogus he doesn't have to go through with it. I also related the incident of Rio Dell P.D. and my advice to the officer.

Much to my surprise and chagrin, the instructor- a senior probation officer with Sacramento County- told me I had advised the officer to violate the law. State law requires that when a peace officer is presented with a citizen's arrest, the officer is bound by law to effect the arrest, or something along that line. 

He doesn't have to put him in cuffs and take him to jail. He can cite and release, or whatever, but he has to act.

Ooops! I guess I blew that one. Fortunately, no harm done as I never heard from that Rio Dell cop again.

TV Concerts Better Than Live

I watched Fleetwood Mac on TV for an hour or so last night. Always enjoyed at least some of their music and that was the first time I'd actually watched them for any length of time. Good show with good sound, good video and good music. I can't say the same for many of the concerts I've seen in person. I think TV concerts are the way to go.

I'm not really the type to go any social event, much less concerts. I wouldn't have gone to any of the ones I had if it weren't for a UCI student name Keith Furrows. He was from South Africa and rented a room at our house in Irvine. He liked to hang with us younger kids and would come home with tickets to concerts and invite us to go with him.

It would usually be him, me and Jim Broughton, the guy I moved up here with. We'd go to Crawford Hall at UCI for the first ones. Crawford Hall was a fairly small lecture hall but probably held 300 people or so. Saw at least a couple big names there, including The Beach Boys, Dave Mason and the late George Carlin. 

Of course, George Carlin just talked. No music.

The Beach Boys didn't go well. Music too loud in too small a venue. You couldn't even tell what the words to the songs were. It was just one big, loud, blaring noise. I wondered if it was just me? Everyone else was clapping and yelling as concert goers do. I suppose I did too. Didn't want to be the misfit, but it was really too loud. 

I never mentioned that to anyone until I was talking with Jim Broughton on the phone last year. He remembered going and agreed it was too loud, and he's a musician. I guess it wasn't just me. I'd have rather watched that one at home on TV. 

I did see the Beach Boys again many years later at the Arizona State Fair. It was held in some huge covered place probably used for rodeos- free admittance. That one was well done and probably the best concert I'd ever been to. It was worth the drive there.

Keith paid for tickets to see Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks and the Pflourescent(sic) Leach and Eddie after UCI ran its course. That Eddie guy would play in the Mothers of Invention and, I believe, The Turtles. Kinda neat seeing someone that I'd seen on TV before. Dan Hicks? Well, what can you say? He was Dan Hicks. 

I'm not sure it was worth driving all the way to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for that.

Probably the biggest name we saw was Pink Floyd. It was held at the Hollywood Bowl. I was kind of excited for that one being a big fan. As we're walking to the stadium from the parking lot someone brings up that this concert was going to have "360 sound". We're all like "awesome, dude". Pardon the pun, but it did sound cool.

That was fairly new for the time- speakers all the way around the bowl, and they weren't small ones. Big mistake, I felt later.

We sat maybe 2/3 to 3/4 to the back of the bowl, speakers all around us. It wasn't too bad at first but as the show progressed it seemed to get louder and louder. Joints were passed around and it would seem the perfect party for a 16 year old like me, but it just got too loud. 

Towards the end it built up to what I think you'd call a crescendo, and got REALLY loud. I was actually scared it was going to damage my hearing. I looked around me, but nobody else seemed bothered. I was. I actually put my hands over my ears and put my head down on my legs to protect my hearing praying for the show to end. If I could have ran off I would have but, with 360 sound, where would I go?

It didn't seem as bad right at the end when they started the psychedelic fireworks display on stage. The show was finally over and we left. I never said a thing about it being too loud. I just mimicked everyone else: "That was awesome, man?". Yep. Back then I tried to be part of the crowd.

I suppose I have bragging rights to say I saw Pink Floyd but I would never go to a show like that again. I would have rather just watched it on TV.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Electronic Signs

Some guy in Ferndale wrote a letter to the editor of the Times- Standard about electronic signs. He's not happy with them. I like them, at least the ones I've seen. They're actually an improvement over the old style signs, but maybe that's just because of the bright colors?

Friday, May 08, 2015

Those AD&D Insurance Things

I got one of those sales pitches in the mail yesterday to increase my Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance I supposedly get through Provident Central Credit Union. The letter says I'm already covered for $2,500. If I pay just ten dollars more, I can up it to $100,000. I've gotten umpteen of these things from various organizations over the years. I'm wondering how legit they are? 

Checking the credit union's web site, they do offer insurance, but I saw no mention of Accidental Death. They say Provident Plus Insurance is owned by them and works through a number of other "quality" insurance carriers. No mention specifically of Minnesota Life, though, which is the group that sent me the letter.

I believe the National Rifle Association offered one of these but I went to their web site a while back and couldn't find any mention of it. I'm sure there's probably at least a few organizations that offer such things at no cost, and maybe that's the beauty of it...for the people running them.

I'm sure most of us never think about these policies when something bad happens. All that money you or the organization pays for the policies probably goes for naught and the guys running it make out like bandits because so few people file claims.

That assumes they're legit to begin with. I could see some shady company sending me this letter, having me authorize payment of $10.00 of month to them, but the credit union might not know anything about it.

Seems to me they'd make out whether or not it's legit. But, if you kept track of all these funky policies- assuming they'd actually pay off- you might have all kinds of money coming to you if you remember to make a claim. Anyone have any first hand experience with these deals?

No, I'm not going to authorize the credit union to pay them ten dollars a month.

Addendum: It just occurred to me that Mary Walaker, of State Farm, works in insurance and was manager of Provident Central Credit Union for many years. I've sent her an e-mail asking for her take on this.

In Praise of Lawns

The Los Angeles Times' George Skelton wrote what I thought a nice commentary on the benefits of lawns. This, in response to the drought and resulting cries for the cessation of lawn irrigation if not the removal of lawns entirely. 

He makes some good points but didn't address what I've brought up on various online discussions over the drought and lawns: Lawns are a considerable part of our economy, and a large employer in the state.

I have no idea how many others work in lawn maintenance and related fields such as irrigation or gardening supplies and equipment. I feel safe in saying it's a fairly large number, probably to the tune of tens of thousands, if not a hundred thousand, statewide. Maybe more.

It should come as no surprise that environmentalists are getting louder and louder in saying we shouldn't be watering any lawns at all. Employment is the last thing the environmental crowd cares about. The rest of us need to consider the economic impacts of basically banning the work of so many people. That's generally what I try to add to the discussion.

I've agreed that in some parts of the state we might not have the resources to water lawns in the future. Maybe it will come to that. But we need to keep in mind there will be thousands of jobs affected if we go that route. That's not something that should be dismissed so casually.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Hoover vs. The Freddy On Freeway Paint

The Mad River Union reports on the freeway paint bombs being dropped on the Eureka Slough bridge and other places around the county. Caltrans seems to think this is both an environmental and safety hazard. Mad River Union's, Kevin Hoover, agrees. I don't. 

I wasn't really trying to start an argument, but Kevin didn't take kindly to my downplaying their concerns. I don't see the paint as much more than a harmless prank and concerns about the paint covering up the center line of the road are highly overblown. Kevin stands with CalTrans. So have at it we did, although it seems to me the "discussion" is starting to go around in circles at this point. 

You can read the comments yourself, but to reiterate mine: The paint doesn't seem to be building up, and certainly not obscuring the center line. Their own pictures show that. Even if it did cover the center line, people aren't going to run off the road because the center line is obscured. Some roads don't even have center lines.

The paint causing environmental problems by leaching into the river isn't any more likely than when CalTrans paints the bridge. You can be sure CalTrans spills paint every now and then. And all paint erodes over time, at least some eventually finding it's way to our waterways.

To hear Kevin and CalTrans tell it, that paint "vandalism" is a threat to our very lives. I don't think so.

I'm A Bigot

A tattoo bigot that is. Anyone else? I'm not referring to a cute little heart or whatever else on a girl or guy's ankle or shoulder. I'm talking about massive ones all over the arm or, worse, all over the body. They're disgusting and I'll have to admit I think worse of someone when I notice they're all "inked" up.

I can be nice about it. There was a libertarian gal that used to live a few blocks from me. She's since moved to Missouri but we became Facebook Friends. I can't remember who defriended who, but Friends no more.

No real falling out except she'd regularly post pictures of whole body tattoos and such saying she wanted to look like that. I was grossed out and would ask her why she would want to defile her body.  Because that's just what it is, defiling your body. She'd just reply something along the line of "My body is a canvass waiting to be painted...". Yuck!

A few weeks ago I was working over by Eureka High School. I do a few properties in that neighborhood. I see some girl approaching me from across the street. She has a short sleeve blouse on and I notice there isn't a bare spot of skin on her arms- all tattoos. Yuck!

The way she was trying to make eye contact with me I assumed she was a panhandler. Nope. She said they just moved in to the house on the corner and asked if I had room on my schedule for another place. I was honest when I told her I didn't, although I might well have turned her down anyway just because of the tattoos.

I'll admit she was real nice. But how could she do that to herself?

Then there's some of the guys on the TV ghost shows. At least one of the shows has a bunch of tattoo freaks. One is named Steve Gonsalves, if memory serves. Seemingly otherwise decent people that decided to make freaks out of themselves. Makes me want to not watch the show.

Tattoos don't necessarily mean someone's a bad person. I recall one of the nicer fellows I met years ago at the Eureka Old Town 4 July Festival. A guy came walking by our table. Buzz cut on the head. That's fine. Wearing black leather biker pants and carrying a black leather jacket over his shoulder. What got me, though, was his arms were all tattooed. Yuck! Who is this freak?

He came over to chat, him being a libertarian himself. Turned out we'd spoke on the phone before. His name was John Fleury. He ended up winning a seat on the Mckinleyville Community Services District. He had to move shortly after winning the seat but from the few times I spoke with him he was a top notch guy.

But those tattoos. I make no apologies for thinking worse of him for having them, at least at first.

And how are these people going to get jobs? I guess some businesses hire them. I wouldn't, and would avoid patronizing one that did, assuming it was a business I could avoid.

I've always been impressed with Les Schwab Tire. Clean cut workers that really hustle. I commented to the girl in their office about it once. Wasn't thinking of tattoos at the time but she said they had a dress code. Part of it was no visible tattoos. Good! More places should do that.

That's when I realized why some of the employees there wear turtlenecks on fairly warm days, or have elastic bands on their arms- to cover up tattoos. That's half way there, and I suppose a good compromise. Even freaks need jobs, but I don't have too much of a problem with just a small tattoo on one arm. It's still weird, but not to the point of being a freak.

The sad part is many people get the tattoos when they're younger. Then years later they realize what a freak they are. They end up paying big bucks for laser removal and even that doesn't totally get rid of them. The skin is usually permanently scarred from what I've seen.

I'd almost support passing a law against tattooing. But that's not me and we already have too many people trying to ban this and that. People should be allowed to make and suffer from their own mistakes. All I can do is remain a proud bigot that has no qualms about saying massive tattooing is disgusting as are the people who partake in it. 

The worst part is it seems more and more young folks are doing it. Yuck! 

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Misinfo On NCIS

Anybody else watch NCIS last night? 

For those that didn't, the main theme was some terrorist guy(s) that got hold of some old German S mines. Those were bounding anti- personnel mines developed during World War 2. They played it up that these were devastating, inhumane mines and the equivalent of a war crime to use.

They were booby traps and there are various international laws pertaining to land mines. What the show didn't point out, unless I missed it, was the United States has pretty much the same thing. You'll see the similarity in both design and action of the M16 series anti- personnel mine

We do it, too. Just thought I'd point that out.

My Fax Machines

So you want to know about my fax machines, anon?

I've had two fax machines. I might have gotten one from Tigerdirect. The other from Staples, although I'm not sure. Neither lasted long and I haven't had a fax machine in some years.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Gay Rights Could Imperil Progressive Reforms

Interesting take on the pending Supreme Court decision over same- sex marriage. Reason magazine takes a look at the reasoning of leftie legal analyst, Jeffrey Rosen. He wonders if a victory over gay marriage might imperil other "progressive" reforms:

" ...In short, Rosen fears, if the Supreme Court places individual dignity and autonomy above government power in this case, “progressive legislation” could be similarly imperiled in future cases."

Love it how Rosen admits that progressive legislation- at least in economic areas- is often contrary to individual dignity and autonomy. But, yep, things like this can end up working both ways, can't they?

My Cell Phones

I've always been intrigued by cell phones. The first ones I remember were those big squarish looking things that some utility workers carried back in the day. I wouldn't have even considered buying one. I'm not sure they were even available to the general public back then.

As cell phones developed and became more commonplace I had a friend who had one mounted in his truck. I thought that was pretty neat but never bothered to ask him how much it cost. They were still in their infancy so probably pretty expensive. He was fairly well off.

They were rare enough, though, that they were kind of a status symbol. I recall the J.C. Whitney auto catalog offering phony cell phones for cars. It's not that you have a cell phone, I told a customer back then who owned one. It's that people think you have one. She didn't get it.

But I was still intrigued, and back around the mid to late 90s there was a pad of paper on the counter at the Eureka Mailboxes Etc. It said, "Want a free cell phone? Enter here". Hey, I'm all about drawings and sweepstakes so what the heck. I filled out my contact info and put it in the box.

A week or so later I get a phone call. It was from U.S. Cellular saying they were giving away cell phones down at Victoria Place. I drove down there. They had a table with a sign out in the grass area by Carl's Jr.

I guess I was snookered, but maybe I didn't actually pay for the phone. It was one of those deals where they give you the phone if you sign up for two years service. $29.99 for 30 minutes a month of talk time. $1.00 a minute if you went over. And I believe they had an "activation charge", or some such, of $25 or $50.00. Maybe I did pay for the phone?

They had two phones available. A squarish flip phone and a Motorola bag phone. I chose the bag phone and signed their contract. Didn't seem as expensive as I'd expected and I had what might be a fun, new toy.

Kept that phone on the hump between the seats of my work truck but rarely used it. It did save us big time once as we were heading back from UCSF after a snafu of sorts. We got a call just south of Healdsburg so turned around and went back. If we hadn't had that phone, we would have driven all the way back to Eureka and then have to drive back to UCSF again. Close one.

Other than that, there it sat in my truck. After my contract was up I called U.S. Cellular to cancel. It just wasn't worth $33ish a month- $29.99 + various fees and taxes. I explained it to the customer service gal. She recommended switching to their Safety Plus plan. That was $9.99 for 10 minutes a month. Enough so you could call a tow truck or 911 if needed, but much less in cost. That was good enough for me.

I was on that plan for maybe ten years. I rarely used that phone but loved having it available. It did kinda bug me that when I did use it I'd have to be quick. I'd want to save as much time as possible so I tried to make phone calls really short. Drove me nuts when I'd call some business to check on a part I ordered, only to be put on hold! I tried to make a point of using my home phone whenever possible.

Some years ago U.S. Cellular sent me a letter saying they'd no longer be supporting analog phones. My bag phone was analog. I wasn't too worried as that didn't mean the phone wouldn't work. You just didn't get help with the phone if there was a problem. 

Shortly after that I won two higher end phones (for the time) in some online sweepstakes. An LG that was pretty much a Verizon phone. I gave that to a nephew. And a Motorola razur phone that seemed to be a U.S. Cellular one. There was U.S. Cellular on the box and everywhere else on that thing. With the support cut-off looming, I went down to U.S. Cellular to have them activate that phone for me.

The sales girl was impressed with the phone I'd won. She also told me that wasn't one of "their" phones as it wasn't on her computer's list of U.S. Cellular phones. She said she could still activate it for me, anyway, so I had her go ahead.

As I left she gave me a sheet with the plans they offered. Only two of them, though: $45 a month for 500 minutes, which surprised me as I thought 1000 minutes was the norm at the time from what I'd seen on TV. Guess not. Didn't matter as I wasn't happy paying $33 a month for something I rarely used. I certainly wasn't going to pay $45. 

Their other plan got more of my attention. It was the "Pay As You Go" plan, and similar to Tracfone's system. 

Some months earlier I'd expressed on this blog my frustration with paying even $13 a month for something I rarely used. One reader mentioned Tracfone and described how it worked. That had me intrigued. You paid around $7 a month, 60 minutes renewable after 3 months, and you got to keep unused minutes.

This second plan was close, but not good enough. You'd pay $6.00 a month just so they knew who you were- no call time. Then you'd buy your time. Looking at the figures, at $.15 per minute (same as Tracfone), I could buy 20 minutes for about the same as I was paying now for 10. One problem with their plan was you couldn't keep unused minutes. You started new with a blank balance each month.

After about 3 months I decided I'd try the Pay As You Go plan, buy 20 minutes a month and see if I felt any less pushed about saving time when using the phone. I didn't think I would, but went down to the office to change plans anyway.

Got down there and you could tell the guy wasn't happy with Pay As You Go. They want to sell regular monthly contracts. He went along until I said I'd start out with 20 minutes. That's when he told me I had to buy time in $5.00 increments. That's around 40 minutes and would be more than I was already paying for time I wasn't likely to use.

That was the deal breaker. Never mind I couldn't keep unused minutes.  I wasn't trying to hard ball the guy and be a tough sale. This just wasn't gonna work for me. I told him to cancel my account. He said he couldn't and I'd have to call Customer Service. He gave me a 1-800 number. Tracfone, here I come!

On my way home I stopped by Rite- Aid and bought a $10.00 Kyocera Tracfone. Got home and activated it. Then I called USC Customer Service and had a very pleasant talk with the gal. She didn't try to talk me out of it after I explained my situation. She just said, "We don't have the plan for everyone". Very pleasant lady.

I hated that Tracfone, though. Dinky little thing. Way too small, but at least I had a phone and could keep unused minutes. The plan I was on then I'm still on now, except my current phone has double minutes for life. You sign up for three months for around $20.00 with 60 minutes time. So long as you keep your account current by renewing $20.00 every three months, your unused minutes just keep piling up to be used later.

But I hated that phone. Small gray scale viewscreen and too small for my hands. Still, I'd only use it once or twice every three months so that shouldn't be too big a deal.

I finally got fed up with the dinky Kyocera. Bought a flip phone for under $20.00 and gave the Kyocera to the wife. Flip phone was better, but had the same, albeit larger, gray scale view screen. I used that phone for a couple years until it didn't seem to be fully charging. I'd stick it in the charger. It would say it was charged but the battery indicator showed it wasn't.

Time for a new phone. No sense in buying just another battery. I was glad I did. This time I went to Radio Shack hoping for a better selection. They had four Tracfones. The sales guy was trying to talk me into one that cost around $50.00. I was interested since it had a bigger viewscreen and I wanted to be able to check doppler radar on occasion. It also had a camera. He just kept talking about texting.

He says, "If you like texting, this is the one for you". It didn't help that I told him I knew next to nothing about texting, never done it in my life and had no plans to. He kept talking about texting. I finally told him I'd take it, more for the slightly larger view screen than anything else. 

He went to activate it for me, but the manager came over and said he did it wrong and I wouldn't be able to keep my saved minutes. Manager said we couldn't start the activation process over and to go get another phone from the back. The guy goes to the back room, comes back and says they didn't have any of that particular model left. 

Oh well. I went back to the display rack and picked the next lowest priced one. It was an LG221(?) that wasn't all that much different from the one I'd just gotten rid of except for color view screen and browser capabilities. No camera, but I'd forgotten about that by then. One big plus I hadn't paid much attention to was this phone has double minutes for life. So, instead of getting just 60 minutes every three months, I get 120 for the same price.

I went home and put more time on that cell phone in the first week or two than I probably had all my other ones combined. That sales guy talking about texting actually embedded that in my mind so I played with that to figure it out. Then I tried the browser and figured that out. I've since realized it's not worth paying extra for browser capabilities with a view screen that small. The screen is too small to use for that.

And that's the one I have to this day. I'm not sure what I'd want to get when this one gets old and worn out. I'm not one that likes the smartphone design, although I would like to have browser capabilities for special occasions. I'm certainly no cellphone fanatic, either, as mine is turned off nearly all day long. I just turn it on once a day to check for any messages or to pester others with annoying text messages. That's about it.

I know of at least one fellow who had a cell phone, tossed it and proudly proclaimed himself cell phone free. I think he's wrong, but each to their own. He certainly didn't need to pay $45 a month as he had been, but they are nice to have at certain times and you shouldn't have to pay anywhere near that much. 

I rarely use mine, but it's really saved me some hassle and misery now and again. For instance, the wife had a cold once and asked me to stop by the Co-Op for some herbal tea. She rattled off some names but, by the time I got there I'd forgotten them. None of the names on the shelf rang a bell so I called her on my cell phone. Problem solved.

I believe it was last summer I was going to a get together for old National Guard guys. It was at the Elk's Lodge. There's hundreds of people there when I arrived, and none that I recognized. I went inside and a lady at the entrance said she knew nothing about a National Guard meeting. 

I figured I had the wrong place. Maybe it was at the Moose Lodge? I called the guy who set up the event on my cellphone. He called back right away and said I was in the right place (all those other people were from an Elk's function). Great. Wouldn't have stuck around if not for my cell phone.

 For only around $7.00 a month, I wouldn't want to be without one.

Monday, May 04, 2015

A Federal Police Force?

With Al Sharpton it's nearly always garbage in, garbage out, so I don't pay much attention when he suggests a national police force would be a good thing. Except he's not the only one that feels that way. 

Over at Reason magazine, Ed Krayewski suggests it's not a good idea. He points out that federal involvement with local police departments has already created a situation we're now needing to fix:

"Tying federal grants to "best practices" is a slippery slope because that term is vague and hard to define, and federal grants have done a lot to create today's untenable situation in the first place. Aggressively waging the drug war was once a "best practice" the feds encouraged local police departments to adopt. How can the feds try to provide operating guidelines for local law enforcement agencies to respect civil rights when federal law enforcement agencies often operate in a way that disregards those rights?"

Good point, but to me it's even simpler. It's kinda like a wise man who once said, When you give the government the power to give you everything you want, you also give it the power to take it all away.

What if a federal police force ends up just as bad, or worse, than your local police force? There's nowhere to move to get away from it then. You may be happy with it when your political party is in power. How are you going to feel when it's not? Best to keep things as local as possible.

Cordless Phones

I was never annoyed with cordless telephones as I was with being on the calling end of answering machines. I'm not sure I even paid much attention to them. Yet I'm not really sure what prompted me to buy one. 

I do recall not thinking much of the first cordless phones I saw. It must have been those old, metal, telescoping antennas they started out with. I remember watching Jerry Seinfeld on TV. Every time he'd make a phone call he'd grab the phone and extend the antenna. That shouldn't be any big deal but it seemed like more "hassle" than necessary for me.

I don't know why it took me so long to go cordless. The hassles of being stuck to a six foot cord were obvious, or maybe not so obvious when it's just the way you spoke on the phone back in the day. 

I used to have some lengthy phone conversations with a gal that wrote regular letters to the editor of the Times- Standard. Kind of a religious right- winger, but she wrote a letter once I thought was pretty good so looked her up in the phone book and called her. Had about four or five pleasant conversations with her over time, but one went a bit over the top.

I don't recall what we were talking about but the discussion stretched to four hours. Seriously. I was pacing back and forth within the length of a maybe six foot phone cord. Luckily it was just long enough for me to make it into the bathroom while still talking. Whew! What a pain, although if the conversation wasn't enjoyable I suppose it wouldn't have lasted so long.

That was a burnout, but I'm not sure I appreciated just how much until after I'd bought our first cordless phone. When I bought it or what prompted me to, I'm not sure. Overall, I'm not sure we had much complaint with our old style phones we'd bought from Ma Bell after its breakup. I still have those phones out in the garage. Maybe I finally decided to just try cordless?

I went down to Staples and bought a Sony cordless. Larger than most phones nowadays but I kinda liked that- fit in the hand better. It didn't have the telescoping metal antenna, either. Just a rubber(?) covered one about 3" long. I fell in love with that thing right away. I could walk into the living room and sit on the couch to talk if I wanted to. I'd never realized how bad I had it before.

But that phone didn't last long. I'm not sure it was a year before it started acting up and would disconnect in the middle of the conversation. Didn't realize it at first. I thought the other person was disconnected or hung up on me. It didn't take long to figure out the problem was on my end. I felt like I was abandoning an old friend when I decided to buy a new phone.

Back to Staples I went. I can't remember what brand I bought that time. It might have been V-Tech. Smaller than the Sony, it took a little getting used to, but pretty soon I was fairly happy with it and it lasted for years. Then we started getting a low battery warning. 

The wife was going to Target, anyway, so I asked her to look for new batteries. I don't recall whether she couldn't find the batteries, or just decided to buy a new phone instead. Sometimes the batteries cost as much as a new phone. She ended up coming home with a new phone. That's the one we have today.

A V- Tech not all that different than the last one. I don't recall whether the other one had speed dialing. This one does. A couple or three years ago I decided to set up speed dialing so I wouldn't have to go find phone numbers for the handful of calls I made. Had to look in the manual to figure it out.

About the only downside to the speed dial list is I can't figure out how to bring the list up. I guess I'll need to look in the manual to refresh my memory. Don't know that I need to as about the only number I call- and that's rarely- is a customer. Now I've got her number memorized, anyway. Oh, that and Angelo's Pizza for our fairly regular Two on Tuesdays order.

I love our cordless phone and would have a hell of a time living without it. I have thought of it, though, as that phone costs us about $10.00 a month with AT&T. It's about the only thing left to get rid of to shave my AT&T bill at this point. I could use my cell phone instead. After all, it's cordless by its very nature, but I don't want to give up my phone number. 

I've had our home phone number for at least thirty years. It's like part of me. I suppose there might be some way to transfer that phone number to a cell phone, but that wouldn't be the same. For now, I'm keeping my phone number and my cordless phone.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Vagina Voters

Reason's Brendan O'Neill takes what seems to me a lighthearted look at "vagina voters"- women who are voting for Hillary Clinton simply because she's a woman. And, yes, one woman quoted says she's voting with her vagina. Humor aside, he still makes some points about how shameless some of the feelings being exhibited are. 

There's some not so nice language involved, so be forewarned.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Answering Machines

I got to thinking about answering machines earlier today. I'd called an elderly customer I hadn't called before. While the phone was ringing I started wondering what I'd do if he didn't have an answering machine. Some people still don't have them. Drives me nuts. How times have changed.

I'm not sure when answering machines first became commercially available. Wikipedia says the first commercially successful machine was made available in the '60s. Whatever. I don't think I had even heard of an answering machine until probably the late '70s or early '80s.

It really pissed me off when I first started dealing with them. I'd call someone up and just get an answering machine! Grrrr...and it wasn't just me. I remember telling people at work about trying to call someone up and just getting one of those damned machines. Everybody would shake their heads in agreement. They hated them, too.

I believe I got my first answering machine in the '80s when I was living on Trinity Street in Myrtletown. I don't remember why, or when, I broke down and got it. That machine recorded on a cassette tape and it didn't take long before I couldn't live without it. That one broke at some point and I bought a new one that used a mini- cassette tape. I felt really high tech with that one.

Then that one died. I had no idea it wasn't working until a friend told me I should get an answering machine. He tried to call me but the phone just kept ringing. I checked and the machine had eaten the cassette. Changing the cassette didn't help so I bought the one we have today.

We've had this General Electric one for probably 20 years. It's all electronic- no tape. Has two greeting buttons so you can switch greetings should you feel the need. It also has three mailboxes so each person can have messages placed in their own box. We just use the main mailbox. 

Neat machine and I recommended it to the guy who used to own the now defunct West Coast Internet. Internet went down all the time with WCI so you'd call to see what the problem was. I'm sure everyone else did the same. You might get one of them actually answering the phone. More often than not you'd get the regular voice greeting from their answering machine, which told you nothing.

I suggested more than once that they get a machine like ours. They could use the second message to tell people they're aware of a problem and are working on it. That might save them a lot of headaches with people calling and bugging them. Nope. They didn't seem to care.

At least they had an answering machine. Every now and then I'll still run into someone that doesn't. Had a customer around the corner from my house I tried to call once and the phone just kept ringing. I was beside myself. When I finally met up with the guy later I asked incredulously, "You don't have an answering machine???". He just laughed. dare he not have an answering machine!

How can someone live like that? Then again, I suppose I could as I can count on one hand the number of phone calls I get in a year. But the wife gets lots of phone calls. Having that machine saves me from answering the phone for her five times or more a day. In that regard, despite my not needing one for my calls, it's still indispensable.

And the handful of you that still don't have one, best get one now. Times have changed. You don't want me calling and not being able to leave a message.

Chief Mills' Blogging on the Homeless Plan

I thought Eureka Police Chief Mills did a nice job on his view of homeless issues over at his blog. I notice the Humboldt Chapter of the ACLU thought it was pretty nice, too, according to a Facebook feed I got from them.

Again, I appreciate their efforts, but I'm not sure how much better the situation will be even if their plans do come to fruition. As Chief Mills points out, "Most homeless want to be housed…although often times on their terms.". That's the impression I got from that recent Times- Standard article. 

I don't think we should expect to see a whole bunch of newly housed, employed and responsible people even in a best case scenario.

Friday, May 01, 2015

A New Gas Theft Technique

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat warns us of a new low tech way thieves are stealing gas in Sonoma County: They switch pump nozzles. 

As best I can figure from reading the story, the thieves take the nozzle from one side of the pumping station and put it in the receptacle on the other side. The nozzle on one side going to the one on the other side and vice- versa. You drive up, skim your credit card into the card reader, then put the nozzle in your gas receptacle and turn it on.

Except, since the pumps were switched, you're actually using the pump on the other side. The pump you paid for is actually being used by the bad guy on the other side. He fills up, charging your credit card, and drives off. You're left wondering why your pump stopped (or never turned on) but your gas gauge shows the same level.

I don't see how that would work, with the exception of very unusual circumstances. For instance, someone that's going to do a large fill up. They might put the nozzle in their tank, turn it on, then go sit in the car to wait. Otherwise, they'd probably notice a difference if they paid attention to the display on the pump. I'm generally right there paying attention to how much is going into the tank so I'd notice. 

Never mind not noticing the fuel line to the pump obviously on the wrong side, although that might be something most of us don't pay attention to. And most fuel lines aren't that long so it might not reach very well. Those long fuel lines that work both sides of the pump like the have at the Willits Safeway might work.

In any case, you've been warned.

Sweetener Wars

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat ran an op-ed by L.A. Times columnist Michael Hiltzik about the supposed effects of various artificial sweeteners. The take away, as he sees it, is there isn't any real evidence that artificial sweeteners are bad for you but sugar itself is a problem. Always have to have a boogeyman, don't we?

Makes no difference to me personally. I don't drink soft drinks, never use artificial sweeteners and don't really use sugar. The exception being whatever sugar is added to processed foods. Regardless, my feeling is people should decide for themselves what foods they want to eat based on whatever information they feel comfortable with.