Saturday, August 16, 2008

Foreclosure Of 88-Year-Old Leads to Police Standoff - News Story - WNBC | New York

Foreclosure Of 88-Year-Old Leads to Police Standoff - News Story - WNBC | New York

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. -- Authorities said a son held Bergen County sheriff's officers at gunpoint as they tried to evict his 88-year-old mother from her foreclosed home.

Officials said John Brennan threatened two officers with a .22-caliber handgun.

Officers talked to the 60-year-old, who surrendered after about five minutes when a SWAT team arrived Tuesday. Beatrice Brennan had refinanced her two-bedroom, $250,000 home and had fallen behind on payments. The house was sold at a sheriff's auction in May. Real estate agent Donovan Stewart told The Record of Bergen County he's "never had anything like this happen before."
WORKING our way down through the logic schema:
  • this wasn't the best way a son could defend his mother
  • if nothing else, it didnt' result in a 'win' for his mother
  • it didn't stop the confiscation process
  • and it didn't present a 'good' Second Amendment image for the Main Stream Media ... a boy (60 years old) using a firearm in a failed attempt to assert his mother's rights
On the other hand:
  • the family didn't have many options to choose from
  • At least it atracted some attention to the issue
  • They (the police) had to take him seriously
Would I have taken the same measures to protect my mother?

No, probably not. Although my 90-year-old mother finds herself in nearly the same predicament, I probably would have found her another place to live and paid as much of her expenses as I could. I almost certainly wouldn't have found myself waving a .22 at a SWAT team.

First, it would have been ineffective. Second, it would have been illegal. Finally, it would have been silly, to them and to me.

You probably have already reached the same conclusion.

Still, for this man in this stage of his life, he somehow seems to have considered it to be an appropriate response.

I wonder what caused him to bully up to the bar like that?

I can't help but feel a sneaking sense of admiration for him.

He obviously loves his mother.

Is that enough to justify acting silly?

Maybe. At least his mother knows he loves her.

x

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hoax Busters

I've added a new link to the sidebar: HOAX BUSTERS DOT ORG. You'll find it on the sidebar under "Reference Sources".

Hoax Busters replaces the (now defunct) U. S. Department of Energy's "Hoaxbusters.ciac.org" website, which has been shut down.

I have always appreciated the DOE website, because they spotlighted my 15 minutes of Geek Fame.

Here's the story:

Around 1997, I received an email which was a spoof. It was called "Greeks Bearing Gifts", and warned Trojans against accepting gifts from Greeks. Yes, it was based on the Trojan Horse episode from the Trojan Wars (see: ILIAD) and suggested that if your city is besieged by Greeks and one day you wake up to find a huge Wooden Horse at the gates to your city, you should NOT take it into your city for fear that it will dump a shit-load of armed Geeks whose only goal is to "Rape, Pillage and Burn". (In that order, please.)

I thought this was high humor, and deserving of a more timely theme. Accordingly, I changed all references to "Greek" to "Geek", and emailed it to everyone I knew.

It came as a huge surprise when HoaxBusters.ciac.org featured this entirely innocent email as 'An Internet Hoax', and warned readers not to proliferate it by forwarding the mail to friends!

Today, the email is not considered a threat and probably doesn't even circulate among ... well, Geeks.

At the time, it was puerile and sophomoric, and I was amazed at the attention.

But I've always been just a little bit proud that, for a while, I made the United States Federal Government just a little bit uneasy.

In point of fact, there are still websites which carry the original text. One of them is here, if you really want to read it. (No, it's not my version; it's the original version which refers to GREEKS not GEEKS, but it's almost identical.)

When you're a Geek, it doesn't take much to stoke the old ego.

Besides, today you can find the "Geeks Bearing Gifts" reference on many legitimate websites.

Snopes dot com even includes the phrase ... although they no longer carry the original text of the email (but they once did!)
_________________________________
UPDATE: October 14, 2008
I received a very polite email from the good folks at HoaxBusters.com correcting my misinformed impression:

Hi Jerry,

I'm writing in reference the following statement from your blog:

"Hoax Busters replaces the (now defunct) U. S. Department of Energy's "Hoaxbusters.ciac.org" website, which has been shut down."

I appreciate the plug, and the link, but I want to clear up one thing. We are not replacing the CIAC site. We have been around since 1999, and are in no way connected with CIAC or any governmental agency. We are completely independent, and beholden to no one.

Now, if we could replace the CIAC site as a one-stop debunking source, that would be a good thing. With the demise of the CIAC site, there are only three or four really good debunking sites left (that includes ours, of course).

Again, thanks for the the plug.

Jim


Who ya gonna call?
*Hoax Busters*
http://www.hoaxbusters.org/

Please do not forward e-mail chain letters - break the chain!

Practice safe computing: DON'T OPEN EXECUTABLE E-MAIL ATTACHMENTS

About the Olympics ...

My television is connected to a Video/DVD player, and the power outlet in the wall. That means I am decidedly NOT watching the Olympics on television.

That does not constitute a hardship to me. I canceled my Cable TV subscription 10 years ago, and if I want to watch 'television' on a television I do so at SWMBO's house. We worked out an arrangement years ago where I pay for the cell-phones and she pays for the cable hookup. Also, we don't watch Home & Gardens TV, Extreme Home Make-over, or any show where idiots jump up and down clapping their hands while shrilling "OMiGAWD! I can't BELIEVE it! I LOVE it!".

(On the other hand we watched Lee Marvin in "Hell In The Pacific" last weekend, and my request, and we discovered that she enjoyed it almost as much as I did. Go figure.)

Sorry, I digress.

As a consequence of 'all of the above', I get most of my news from the Internet. Today, a colleague sent me the Olympics out-take of a "Women's Uneven Bars" event which I found very interesting. You may enjoy it as much as I did.


video

NOTE: This isn't the first time Mr. Hunt has performed a similar routine. YouTube has a plethora of examples, including here and here (both listed as having occurred in 1988).

Geek Family Status Upgrade

The Geek Family is pleased to report the successful completion of its latest expansion project.


Jon Benjamin and Alysha Geek announced this morning the birth of two Junior Geeks.

Robert Logan Geek weighs 6# 5 oz and Aiden "Number Two" Geek weighs 6# 4oz. They
were delivered by c-section in Texas, which at least is big enough to hold ‘em for a while longer.

My son, Ben, is in the Navy there and Alysha moved to Texas last month so they could be together during his training, and at the birth of his newest children.

Word is, Mom is "doing as well as you could expect", whatever that means, but she sounds fine on the phone. Anybody who has been packing around twelve-and-a-half pounds of Boy is probably really, really happy to finally see them. The boys are in incubators for observation for now, but no problems are reported or expected.

Yes, these ARE my sixth and seventh, and although I can’t take any credit for it I’m still as proud as I can be.

No, I will not be handing out cigars.

But I cannot begin to express how wonderful it feels to share such extremely GOOD news.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home Invasion

MyFox Orlando | Cops Search For Home Invasion Suspects

Florida seems to be the World Epicenter for Home Invasions.

Continuing with our theme of "Home Invasion Week",
Investigators believe the same group of suspects is responsible for at least four home invasions in the area of the Orange County, Seminole County border.
Home Invasions are bad. These are people who would be burglars, but their intent is not to steal property, but to steal a (perhaps unjustified) sense of security from the lives of their victims.

If there was ever a better reason for allowing honest citizens to keep and bear firearms in defense of their home, family, person and property, I can't imagine what it would be.

The kind of human animal who would choose to enter an occupied home with the intent to assault and terrorize their victims is an aberration to society, and the only way to stop it is to stomp these animals out.

They're way beyond the pale, they deserve no protection from the civilization which the deny.

The only way to protect yourself and your family from these animals is to arm yourself.

Let your neighbor put up the "Gun Free Zone" signs. When you hear the screaming from next door ... call 911.

If they show up at your door?

Let your neighbors call 911 to collect the bodies, because you refuse to be a victim.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

SWMBO and the Seattle Cancer Center

I just got off the phone with Sandie, who has spent the past 18 hours traveling to and from the Premier Cancer diagnosis and treatment center in the Pacific North West.

Many of you have shared my concern for her future well-being (and thank you, so many of you, who have written to offer your prayers and support!)

The news tonight is 100% positive, supportive, and encouraging.

I know that Oncologists, as a rule rather than as the exception, tend to deliver the most negative prognosis possible. I think this is the result of two priorities:

1: If they can't deliver on a 'hopeful' prognosis, they can't be blamed for delivering less than their best treatment;

2: If by accident the patient is 'cured', then they look good.

A possible third priority is that if they don't expect much in the way of remission, they can't be blamed for not providing the very best treatment available.

Fortunately, Sandie was wise enough to take a day off work so she could seek a second opinion.


Here's what Sandie learned from her Day Trip:
  • the local oncologist failed to provide ALL of the test results available. Why? Because it wasn't in a form suitable to faxing the information. Some of the results, including the PET CT are available only in an Email, and they failed to take the initiative to provide this information to the 'other' doctors.
  • Based on the available information, there is no reason to believe that she has cancer in BOTH lungs; they only know that the upper quadrant of her right lung contains cancerous tissue.
  • Based on their preliminary evaluation, the Seattle Cancer Center folks (I have GOT to get the full name of the institution .. I only know that the name I'm using is not accurate) believe that they can treat it without chemotherapy.
  • The course of treatment involves giving her medicine, not "the poisons which we put in your body".
  • The course of treatment will last from 9 to 12 months.
  • The side effects of the treatment include acne and diarrhea ... there is not mention of hair loss, or nausea/vomiting.
  • She will NOT have to move to Seattle to take the treatment. However, she will need to go to the Seattle treatment center from month to month for check-ups. (This is do-able.)
  • The medicine is expensive, and may cost as much as $2,000 per month. We don't know how much her medical insurance will pay for, but this is not a matter of 'experimental drugs' so the chances are that her insurance will pay for a significant amount of the treatment.
  • In her own words, she feels "encouraged". This alone is worth the trip.
  • She will be able to continue working through her course of treatment. This adds a LOT to the "Quality of Life" issues, and to the affordability of the treatment.
I'm sure there is more information that she told me tonight, but it's late and I wasn't taking notes. I's perhaps enough, for now, to know that there is a resource which is willing to offer a positive prognosis and a positive course of treatment.

We have said all along that she will beat this. We just didn't know how.

Now, tonight, maybe we know how to beat it.

It won't be easy. It won't be cheap. It won't be without discomfort. And it won't be without fear.

But Sandie is a strong person, and she is determined.

We can do this.

The Price of Freedom

Two decades and more than a half million lives later, and despite a complete lack of reliable evidence that the unfettered access to firearms holds any benefit for society, the gun lobby’s view hasn’t changed. The day in and day out toll that gun death and injury inflicts on America—children killed in drive-by shootings, angry husbands shooting their entire families, alienated youths opening fire on their classmates, disgruntled employees shooting up their former workplaces, or hate-filled individuals shooting innocent people because they belong to a particular racial or religious group—will never exceed the NRA's “price of freedom
-- Violence Policy Center: "The Price of Freedom"
Penn & Teller: Gun Control and Columbine

Gun Control Debate on Hannity and Combs with Allan Gottleib


911 caller Without Gun in Home Invasion

Horrible 911 dispatch call (Caution: Very Disturbing)


--
NOBODY needs a gun ... until they really, really need one.

And then, it's too late.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Take THIS, BatMan!

Shopper braves gunfire to battle Batman bandit
In the middle of an armed robbery of a Tulsa, Okla., grocery store by a man wearing a Batman mask, one customer leaped into action, charging, wrestling and subduing the gunman until police arrived.

A surveillance video captured several minutes of the struggle as the customer, Craig Stutzman, single-handedly wrestled the robber across the store before finally pinning the phony Batman to the ground in the store's parking lot.

Video of the violent wrestling match, courtesy of KOTV-TV of Tulsa, can be seen below:





I love it when The Common Man SWOOPS into action.

Biff! Bam! Pow!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Etiquette

You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht,
Your hat strategically placed below one eye, your scarf it was apricot,
You had one eye on the mirror while you watched yourself walk in,
And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner ... they'd be your partner;
You're so vain, I bet you thing this song is about you, don't you, don't you?
-- Carly Simon: "You're So Vain", from the "Reflections" album
On the first stage of the match this weekend, I was the third shooter.

After the second shooter completed the stage, and while they were shooting, I moved into the bay and started walking though the bay. The 'next shooter walk-through' is where you decide the best tactics and strategy for you to shoot the stage. You decide how to use your personal skills to the best advantage, put on your game face, and calm yourself with the confidence that you know exactly how you will engage each target, from what place and in what order. If done right, it allows the competitor to focus on the shooting and exclude the turmoil of distraction from the purpose of the exercise.

As I was completing the third and final ittiration of my walk-through, I was startled to hear the Scorekeeper announce: "T. is the next shooter".

???

As I turned to the scorekeeper with a questioning look, he announced: "T. is shooting through." And there T. was, with a brightly colored shirt, already starting his walk-through.

I vaguely assumed that T., who is a Very Important Person in the section, was somehow associated with Match Administration. I have no idea why this should be, but he is the VIP and has the shirt; I just paid my money and took my turn, and had nothing at all to do with Match Administration, so I backed away from the stage with what little grace I could muster at this unannounced last-minute change in the competitor sequence. Okay, I may have glowered a little. And maybe my arms were crossed in a defensive/aggressive manner as I tried to get back into the Zen focus for which I had striven.

After T. finished, I moved forward to re-do my walk-though, when I saw E. starting his own walk-through. j ??? I backed off, because while E. was not a member of the squad, he is a Very Important Person in the Section, and he was also wearing a brightly colored shirt.

I was only wearing an STI T-Shirt, and I am not a Very Important Person in the Section.

Sure enough, the Score Keeper announced that E. was the next shooter, and he was "shooting through".

Now, I have no problems with people who are "Shooting Through". Usually, this situation applies to people who have convinced the Match Director that there are good and justifiable reasons why they should disrupt the established match schedule by skipping the match rotation. They shoot one stage, move on to the next stage and shoot it, and so on until they have completed the match in as short a time-span as is possible.

But I usually get, at least, a Dinner and a Movie out of it. Y'know?

After E. completed the run, I was still leaning against the counter in the bay as the Score Keeper read the names of the next three people to shoot the stage. My name was first. Both T. and E. were still in the bay, reloading magazines and getting their gear together to move to the next stage (and presumably to barge through the shooting schedule for the rest of the match.)

I waited for a moment, and then asked the Score Keeper who was the next shooter.

He hesitated, confusedly, and said: "Well, you are."

"Oh." I said. "I just wanted to make sure that the shooting order hadn't changed in the last five seconds."

Silence. A little embarrassed laughter (not from T. or E., though.)

So I moved to the line, walked briefly though the stage, and proceeded to shoot the stage both slowly and inaccurately. "Well, I was slow but at least I got a good D-hit score" I joked feebly.

And went back to my range bag to reload magazines and contemplate my many sins.

A squad member, The Hobo Brasser (THB), wandered by and asked: "Did you hear what T. said as he was leaving?"

"No, I didn't".

"He said 'F**k You, Jerry'."

I thought about this for a minute.

"You know, I've had breakfast, and I've insulted T.; now I think I'll have a cigarette!"

It's probably an Oregon-ism and not common lore that the three best things in the world are a drink before and a cigarette after. I had all three this morning. I was on a roll, and the rest of my day was as light-hearted and enjoyable as it could be.

For the rest of the match, sometime during each stage (usually as one of us was shooting and the other working as Range Officer), THB and I would approach each other and, when one of us said "F**k You", the other would respond "A$$HOLE!".

Then we would smile, and laugh quietly at each other.
_____________________________________

Folks, if you absolutely must shoot through, it's a pretty good idea to act as if you're a guest in someone's home. Ask permission, thank the host and hostess. You know, the usual civilized (if meaningless) gestures that show you're more than some uncouth barbarian from East Arrogantistan.

And after your host lets you use his facilities, telling him "F**k You" is perhaps not as expressive of your gratitude as is "Th**K You."

See? It's just as easy to write, and just as easy to say.

Unless, of course, you're an a$$hole. In which case, I own this bay and when I'm done with it I'll burn it down before I turn it over to you.