I accidentally found this week's Girl Friday when there was nothing on TV recently. We surfed around the cable channels and ended up watching The Tudors on BBC America, where she plays the role of Anne Boleyn.
Long day yesterday. Got to work around 6:30am and finally headed home around 10:00pm. Temps broke 100 for the 24th or 25th day in a row. I've lost count at this point.
The Low Points:
Its a toss-up.
1. Got bitten in the thigh by a dog, while I was trying to keep a dumb-ass citizen from getting bitten. Its hard to cover your own ass when you're busy covering someone elses. Not too bad of a bite, but irritating. This is the fourth time I'm gotten popped on the job in 16 years. I've determined that I don't like it.
2. Ran my last call about 9:15pm. Chasing a stray goat around someone's backyard in the dark at the end of a long day sucks. And yes.... sweat in a fresh dog bite does sting like a mutha'.
The High Point:
Being able to check the "NO" box for question #27 on the employee injury report form: "Did the Employee Die?"
Gives you pause when you work in a job where that question has to be asked, though.
That's Randolph Street looking East from La Salle, in Chicago, circa 1900. What a wonderful snapshot of life at the turn of the previous century. There's tons to see in the pic of the hustle and bustle of life in a major US city during its hell-bent-for-leather growing years. Here's an enlarged crop of one small area...
Lots of folks walking, is the first thing I notice. Every head covered with some sort of hat as was the norm for the day. No automobiles in sight yet, but there is a cable car making its way up the street. Cable cars differ from "street cars" in that they ride on rails and are pulled along by a cable that moves in the center trench between the rails. The driver in the pull car operates a lever which grabs onto the cable when he wants the car to move and releases it when they want to stop. This one is pulling three additional passenger cars behind it so there were probably lots of stops and starts along the route.
The scoop device on the front is a pedestrian scooper designed to keep people from being run over by the cable car if they should miscalculate and find themselves unable to get out of the way.
Also of note is the detailing on the buildings along the street. Especially the stone dog statue on the 2nd floor of the Democratic Party Building and the stained glass edifice of the building next door. I'm sure the inside of the Power's Theater was something to see.
And here's the same basic view today, via Google Street View:
All the old buildings are gone. Gone are the cable cars and horses. Gone are most of the pedestrians. And gone is most of the visual interest of the area.
Its the size of the fight in the dog. This is surveillance video recently release by the LA County Sheriff's office of an attempted robbery at a Smoke Shop in June.
Of course, this did happen in California so its only a matter of time before someone decides that private citizens can't be trusted to defend their lives and property with Chihuahuas. After all, the robbers could have taken the Chihuahua and used it against the shop owner. They'll have to step in and pass laws to curb the growing trend of Chihuahua violence.
It simultaneously held the records as both the most expensive road legal car in the world (at $1,500,000 each) and the fastest road legal car in the world (top speed 267 mph). Its a 16 cylinder monster that puts out almost 1000 brake horsepower and generates 922 foot lbs of torque. Its innovative design requires 10 radiators to cool both the engine and various other drivetrain components.
Its actually a 2002 Mercury Cougar Coupe. A guy in Florida turned it into a cosmetic replica of the Veyron. My first impression is that he did an awesome job. Laying up fiberglass to create the body kit takes a ton of skill and the result shows all the effort that he put into it. Apparently he did a bang up job on the interior as well. He's got it for sale at $89,000 - if you're in the market for something that can talk the talk but not walk the walk.
I say that because, of course, this is still in essence a 9 year old Mercury Cougar. I guess it all comes down to what you expect. What you put importance on. Is the flash more important than the substance? Are appearances more valuable than results? Is it more important to give the illusion of desirability and competence - or is it more important that you be able to take care of business and get the job done?
Those are important decisions to make in life - well beyond the consideration of cars and engines, too.
I stopped by the local Nursery/Landscaping Store the other day, to pick up some systemic Pesticide drench that will hopefully knock the crap out of the Azalea Bark Scale that is pestering one of my Crape Myrtle Trees. I don't dare buy any actual plants this time of year, because the heat and lack of rain makes it almost impossible to get anything established and growing. I still can't resist walking around outside looking at all the pretty plants whenever I'm there, though.
As I was walking through the rows of plants I saw something that caused me to have two disparate thoughts in my head at the exact same time. A gorgeous, tall, leggy blonde was also walking amid the rows of plants in the 100+ heat. She was wearing a very short black cocktail dress and 4 inch heeled "F-Me pumps" while pulling a little cart behind her that was absolutely loaded down with plants.
I was simultaneously struck by the absurdly impractical composition of the scene, as well as the warm realization that I live in the best place in the whole wide world.
One of the calls this week at work involved a female Bobcat that had decided to raise her babies underneath the Administration building of a Church. This, in and of itself, doesn't present too much of a risk. However, given the fact that the Church was holding Vacation Bible School this week and there were multitudes of little kids roaming about the property with a nervous mother Bobcat..... intervention seemed prudent.
The mother was caught in a live trap set up so that to exit the crawlspace she had to enter the trap. Then the babies could be fished out from under the building manually. Bobcat kittens, like many wild and domestic species of felines and canines often have blue eyes when they are young. With few exceptions, the blues eyes change to their permanent adult color as they mature.
Here's a pic of one of the babies after it was removed from the crawlspace.
The mother and babies are taken to a rehab facility in East Texas where they will be relocated someplace more suitable and safe for all parties involved.
I haven't posted about the budget "crisis" ongoing in Washington. Don't have much time to blog anyway, and when I do I don't have much to add to the discussion that you won't find covered better elsewhere. I have noticed something, however, that I have to point out.
I hear an endless stream of News reports about the upcoming "DEFAULT" that the US will slam into if a budget agreement isn't reached by August 2. That's to be expected from the "main stream" media since they usually just parrot whatever scare tactic talking point is currently in vogue from the Left. Of course, the decision (or failure, depending upon your point of view) to raise the debt limit DOES NOT trigger an automatic default on US debt. It simply means that the US can't increase the amount it borrows in order to pay for stuff. Saying that not raising the debt limit automatically means default is like saying that you're planning to default on all your current debts just because you've decided not to get an additional credit card with a new line of credit.
What it REALLY means is that not raising the debt limit will FORCE a decision on what the government will pay for and what it will not. If the President doesn't have an increased debt limit, it means that he will have to actually decide if we service our debt - or spend the no longer limitless money on other things. The deception goes even further. According to the Daily Treasury Statements from the US Treasury Department, the government already has more than enough cash to pay interest on the debt, all Social Security payments, Medicare, Medicaid, Military salaries, and all Federal employee benefits and wages. So it would appear that President Obama's ominous claim that he "can't guarantee" that checks will go out is untrue. It simply means that if they don't - it will be because he's chosen not to pay them.
All this has been covered other places, and you've most likely heard it before. What surprises me is that the (largely) Conservative based news stations that I listen too still have their own in house news departments using the terms "default" when referring to the upcoming deadline.
The truth has a hard time taking root, it would seem, even in fertile ground.
With all the stuff I normally have to do at work, the powers that be decided that we also needed to undergo Diversity, Sexual Harassment, and Ethics/Workplace Violence training.
What a bunch of crap.
The instructor tells everyone that you can't make judgements of people and their behavior based on what "class" they are in (race, gender, age, etc.). He makes it very clear that to do so is backward thinking and completely unproductive. Not conducive to a happy workplace at all - no siree.
Oddly enough, the balance of the presentation was a long, drawn out description of various special groups (classes) and exactly how they think, respond, and behave - so that we can all strive to accommodate and nurture these apparently homogeneous non-individuals for their eventual success.
Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
And just in case anyone gets the impression that I have something against Diversity - I don't. I think its great if approached with the proper perspective:
Mrs. Paladin and I braved the heat Saturday and ran up to check out the Bonham Trade Days flea market. Nothing of note as far as junk picking goes this time around. When the shade started to get scarce we left there and drove back toward Sherman, Texas on our way to lunch at our favorite Catfish spot.
We detoured a couple of blocks off the main road in Sherman to check out a cemetery we haven't visited before. Mrs. Paladin had spied it when she was out with some of her girlfriends in the area a couple of weeks ago. There were some pretty interesting markers and headstones in the older portion of the cemetery.
Mrs. Paladin likes mainly the angel and cherub statues. I love those too, but I also enjoy reading some of the headstones and admiring the craftsmanship and imagery on the more unusual headstones.
You see lots and lots of Woodmen of the World headstones in the cemeteries near us. I liked this one the best of the ones we saw Saturday. Its uncommon in its layout and appearance.
They did well on the details too. You can even see the crack where the hatchet is stuck in the log on top, as well as the growth rings in the log itself.
This marker looks pretty nondescript at first glance.
You might pass the marker by without a second glance if there wasn't a small historical marker nearby that tells the story of the life of the woman at rest beneath this stone.
You see, this headstone marks the resting place of Olive Ann Oatman Fairchild. Her family was masacred by Yavapai Indians when she was 13 years old. The Yavapai sold her to the Mojave Indians, who tattooed her chin with a cactus needle - marking her as a slave. When she was 18 years old, the US Army was able to ransom her away from the Indians. She lived in California for a time after that, then moved to New York where she met the man she would marry. Olive and her husband moved to Sherman, Texas after the Civil War and they founded a successful bank.
Talk about an eventful life. After reading the historical marker, I had to step back over to her gravesite and tip my hat to Olive. Her perseverance and willingness to keep going more than earned my respect.
This time of year is when we pay for the wonder and majesty that is living in Texas the rest of the year. Day after day of long, hot, rainless days. The weather forecast is so boring its not even worth watching on the news each night.
"Sunny.... Highs 99 to 101... .00001% chance of afternoon and evening thundershowers...."
Being in and out of the Dog Truck all day is a whipping. Wears me out more than just straight out working outside all day in the heat does. Your body gets used to the A/C and then you get out on a call and the air hits you in the face like a blast furnace. Back in the truck after the call and just when you get cooled down its back out into the heat at the next stop. I leave the house at 6 AM each morning and get home around 7:30 PM - if I'm lucky. Grab something to eat, jump in the shower, and then its to bed where I try to get some sleep between phone calls from the On-Call police dispatcher. The workshop is intolerably hot this time of year and it will probably be fall before I can tinker with anything beyond the most simple and quick of projects.
Kinda sucks the urge to blog out of a person, you know?
At least I'm employed, anyway, and that's no small thing these days. I'm thankful for that, in spite of my occasional grumblings :)
I sympathize with the unemployed and others feeling the pinch of these tough economic times. At least I do with those that maintain their honor and dignity amidst the troubles and don't just flop on their backs in meek submission to fate exposing their saggy underbellies while waiting for someone to come along, wipe their bottoms, and make everything all right...
Like the person who lives here:
I got called to this location on Sunday by one of the neighbors who believed that the resident had moved out several days earlier leaving a small dog inside. I left a notice on the door requesting that the resident contact me regarding the possible dog inside and left a voicemail message for the apartment management - since the office was closed on Sunday. I never heard back from the resident and my notice was still on the door untouched on Tuesday morning when the leasing office was open after the July 4 holiday.
Turns out that the resident had stopped paying her rent and had failed to meet several deadlines for vacating the apartment unit. She told them she was coming back and caring for the dog inside, but there's no indication that she had done so at any point. The electricity was turned off a week ago, so there had been no lights and A/C during that time. The management was changing the locks on the front door Tuesday morning when I arrived for a followup visit. This is what I found inside:
That's the floor of the dining area. Here's the kitchen:
And here is the floor of the bedroom:
The entire apartment was like this. Every square foot. You would think that I would get used to the way some people give up on living like a useful person - but it still surprises me sometimes. Being "poor" doesn't mean you have to live like this. This isn't a factor of tough economic times. This is just being lazy and worthless.... and gross.
As for the dog inside?
She shows signs of neglect. Skinny, mostly blind (due to age), and missing some hair. I couldn't find any indication that food and water was being made available for her. Just an empty bowl on the floor of the kitchen. Pretty sure she survived by eating some of the garbage left on the floor.
I took her from the apartment and left another notice notifying the ex-resident. Legally I'm not allowed to do that without a seizure warrant. However, our court system and Police Department have proven themselves to be only marginally less worthless than this woman. I'll post about that another time, but suffice to say that this dog would have been dead long before the "powers that be" got around to doing anything about it. That's not an exaggeration.
So... I punted and just took the dog out of there. Screw it. It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission anyway, and I've done this sort of thing often enough to feel confident that I'll ride out any possible storm that might result.