30 March 2007

The Daily Rant(ings)...

I admit to getting a laugh now and then while going through the News-Sentinel's "daily rant" blurb/column...been doing it for quite some time. It always provides more than enough amusement to last through 2 cups of coffee. Hell, it's better than most of the comics OR the editorial pages! It does make me wonder what the people who DO the ranting are all about.
I know why I rant...it's because of all the __________________ (fill in the blank with a few of YOUR favorite expletives) around here. I also wonder if they have a clue, need a clue, want a clue, or just want to "buy a vowel"...! Here's some recent rants, along with *my* observations and answers to their queries and ponderings:

I am a FWCS (Fort Wayne Community Schools) student and support the renovations. If you don’t agree, try spending a day in an un-air-conditioned building on a 90-degree day.

((I DID...about TWELVE YEARS to be exact...didn't do ME one bit of harm, and it's not gonna kill YOU either. We used to OPEN THE WINDOWS, or put on a FAN. Suck it up and get on with life!))

I’m a season -ticket person. Is there any way they could update the music they play at the hockey games?

((Sure...go tell the damn organ player to get some NEW sheet music...or better yet...just grab a couple CDs from Wal-Mart. Nothing screams HOCKEY like a few EMINEM tunes during a powerplay, eh?))

Every police officer in Allen County, including the Indiana State Police, should go to personality school.

((They DID...it's called "The College of Dealing With Assholes on a Daily Basis".....))

Coming into Fort Wayne on 33/27 South, the Anthony Plaza is an eyesore. Couldn’t a nice motel be built there with beautiful landscaping? The south end of town needs a good motel!

((You might not be aware of this, but the south end of town IS the city's premiere "eyesore"...been doing well at it for the past 15 years, and the concern the city has displayed in that regard shows all too well...and it DOES need a lot more...like an ENEMA...more DECENT people that really give a shit, less drugs, less illegal guns in the wrong hands, less public urination, less litter, fewer rentals, fewer Pitbulls and their owners, a LOT less boomcars and their drivers, MORE police, MORE shopping and more jobs that would bring, and a few REAL politicians that give a shit about this part of town, but hey...what the hell do I know...I only LIVE here))

Is anyone else concerned that with the higher property taxes we are going to have, plus the school board’s “Cadillac-system” schools … the charities that depend on our contributions are going to really suffer?

((Sure I'm concerned, and being philanthropic is a noble gesture, but as we all know..."charity begins at HOME"....so take a page from that book and worry about how YOU'RE going to pay for all those FWCS improvements, as well as rising utility costs, property taxes, sales tax, and all the other taxes those politicos have planned for YOUR future, OK?))

Fort Wayne’s answer to every problem: Raise taxes, get a fake study group together and spend, spend, spend.

((Now you're catching on, Bub.....you MUST be a Libertarian...you should run for MAYOR, clean house, and get this city back on the RIGHT track for a change.))

How sad! I thought we finally had someone that would stand up to the city. We will be sad to see The Palace restaurant go.

((It's all about the M-O-N-E-Y...as in moolah, cash, coin of the realm, dinero, the god-almighty dollar, francs, pesos...get the picture?))

Why do many of these people who plow the snow in business parking lots pile the snow in the handicap parking spots, making it impossible for those spots to be used?

((Probably because some numbnut thinks that handicapped people NEVER go anywhere whnever the least bit of inclement weather strikes...WRONG! That level of stupidity is right up there with those that park in the FIRE ZONE right outside Scotts & Kroger, directly UNDER the damn SIGN that says "NO PARKING-FIRE ZONE"!))

Shame on people who arrive at a drive-up banking window and straddle two lanes so that no matter which window opens or becomes available first, they can be the first to be served.

((Well, we "could" call it a LACK OF RESPECT for other people...or maybe a insufficient dose of CIVILITY, or perhaps they're a tad understaffed in the ETHICS department, but let's just call it what it is...a STOOPID mook who can't find their ass with both hands, OK?))

And this one is a "beaut"...
Why do people buy dogs, only to leave them outside all the time and rarely, if ever, interact with them?

((It's called NOT KNOWING your arse from a hole in the ground aka what you incur by taking on a responsibility. And to think that many of these SAME people who can't give the basic amenities to an ANIMAL are calling themselves PARENTS....oh, yeah, that's worth a few chapters in the tome of life to me, and explains a LOT of what's WRONG in this city, as well as across the nation with our youth today. It's just like the old "trash-IN, trash-OUT" theory))

So there we are..some of the obvious conclusions I've come to regarding some (rather) asinine questions. Feel free to apply any or all of them, should the need arise.

I promise won't tell...!

29 March 2007

Metro Squad: The Adventure Continues...

Hippocrates once wrote that: "Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases".

Last night's meeting at Renaissance Baptist Church between Sheriff Ken Fries, Rev. Mike Latham, and citizens of the southeast side of town was nothing, if not extremely predictable. In fact, today's paper mirrors as much by saying it "rankles" the black community.

(from Merriam-Webster):
RANKLE -(ran'-kel): Vb -ME-(racien-to fester) -
1) to cause anger, irritation, or deep bitterness.
2) to feel anger and bitterness

And that pretty much sums up the feelings many displayed last night.

Residents said they were "scared" that the Metro Squad would target young black men.
Well folks, would you rather feel scared over the Metro Squad's driving around or feel scared when one OF those young black men rapes your daughter, robs you at gunpoint, or just shoots your son dead, because he's working on his "street cred"? I mean who the hell do you see walking and driving around the damn neighborhoods all frigging day anyway with nothing to do but look for random acts of "kindness" (crime)? YOUNG BLACK MEN. I swear, I have NEVER seen such a bunch of damn OSTRICHES in my life. Their heads couldn't get deeper into the sand if they tried. I'm being kind here, as I was GOING to say their heads are so far up their ASS they can see what they had for breakfast...again.

Apparently no one was LISTENING too well last night when Sheriff Fries said they would not deploy METRO in the S.E. side (due to an existing grant, funding the FWPD officers patrolling the area), so there IS that redundency factor. And unlike the past, where METRO was targeting DRUGS...this time around, they will be attempting to get illegal GUNS off the streets. But hardly anyone was paying attention to THAT part of Sheriff Ken's dialogue.

And yet these are the SAME people that CLAIM they want to see a DECREASE in crime, but they don't believe the Metro Squad is the way to go. Well, what the f$ck DO you people want then? Either you HAVE police in the area targeting CRIME, or you don't. It's that damn simple. You can't have it BOTH ways, you morons! As I blogged earlier about those "certain people" that have nothing but disdain for law-enforcement, I saw the "usual suspects" at last night's meeting, namely dear old sweet Hana Stith, who proclaimed that this was nothing short of "Gestapo Tactics" and that "Police don't like young black men to begin with".

Hana...lemme "splain" it to you....the police don't like CRIMINALS. The police arrest CRIMINALS. When the police take CRIMINALS off of your street, YOU can be SAFER. Are you with me dear? Color has NO bearing on CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. Color DOES have a bearing as to who will most likely be ARRESTED for CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR in an area where most EVERYONE is the SAME COLOR......still with me, hon? You're a former teacher...I "thought" you would be able to follow along with the undeniable LOGIC of all this.

If I show you that, say a three block square area of the south side is about 95% BLACK, and the police see "someone" driving with an expired tag, or a blown out tail light, or driving erratically, thereby instituting a (normal) traffic stop, what COLOR do you THINK that person is MOST LIKELY to be anyway (hint: it's not plaid, striped or polka-dot), hmm?

Sheriff Ken says the same thing I maintain... That crime...HAS...NO...COLOR!

Another resident, Grace Bailey stated that: "To me, it just sounds like harassment". Again, if you're NOT guilty, then you don't have anything to worry about, do you? On the other hand, if you're trying to hide something, you SHOULD be worrying. It's ALWAYS about this preconceived mindset (nurtured from little on up) that dictates to these people that ALL law-enforcement is not to be trusted, and yet, out the other side of their mouths they say they want less crime (who the hell in their right mind doesn't...DUH), so how the hell can ANY law-enforcement agency operate effectively under those auspices? "Wearing the pants down low doesn't mean they are gang members...Every young black man is not in a gang" she continued. No...maybe not, but it DOES say they're a freaking SLOB, and sending a lot of the WRONG messages if you want YOUR young black men to properly be an ambassador of YOUR race...doesn't it? People will judge you by first impressions...the way you present yourself by dress, mannerisms and speech. And guess what the (typical) young black men are "presenting" to the world? You can draw your own conclusions on that.

These angry citizens don't even seem to want to give Sheriff Ken a chance...and that speaks VOLUMES as to "how much" they really want crime to decrease, yet these people feel as if the city doesn't CARE about what happens to them (as far as crime goes). Well what the hell do you expect when you're trying to (frivolously) sue every law-enforcement agency on a weekly basis? You people bitch and moan about "racial profiling" while refrain from aiding the police when one of "your own" does something illegal...WTF does that say? Example: a young black male is senselessly gunned down in a parking lot where you have over THIRTY people standing within TEN feet...and NOBODY saw or heard ANYTHING? (a case of mass selective spontaneous amnesia, no doubt).
Give me a break!

Overall though, both Sheriff Ken and Rev. Latham came out fo the meeting optimistic that something positive will be forthcoming. Chief York was absent from he meeting, although he WAS invited. He chose not to go becasue he was initially non-supportive of the Metro Squad. "I didn't want to impose a program that didn't conform to what we've done over the past several years (we learned to walk on eggs). We've done a lot of work to make sure that we serve the whole community (and community-oriented policing simply does not work unless the PEOPLE are involed), and I dont want to do anything without involvement (read permission from the NAACP and the ACLU) from the people in the community we serve", said Chief Rusty.

"For some people it doesn't matter what I say or what I do...they're not going to think I'm the GOOD guy", said Sheriff Fries.

Now you know how *I* feel EVERY damn day, Ken.

Welcome to the SOUTH side of Fort Wayne, where apathy and anarchy love to walk hand in hand against ANY type of law-enforcement

28 March 2007

Fort Wayne's "CostaPlenty Square" Debate Limps Along...

The City Council meeting last evening was a LOT less boring than usual. Here we had two views on this "CostaPlenty (Harrison) Square" project, with both sides passionately presenting their "take" on this. And aside from a few members of council needing some SERIOUS public speaking skills (too many "uhs"), the presentations were well thought out, and good arguments made both for AND against this downtown revitalization proposal.

Now I TRIED to be objective in all this, despite the fact that I (personally) think this is one hellluva way to toss some serious money out the proverbial window (that can be better utilized elsewhere in the city to achieve a much larger payback), and am opposed to this project as it currently stands. And I must say that our resident "Alan Schorr wannabe" Tim (5th district-aka the badlands) Pape and Sam (most times I look like I'd rather be somewhere other than Fort Wayne) Talarico, Jr made good, succinct points as to why we SHOULD let this project go forward...but I'm still not convinced (enough). In this case, I might as well hail from Missouri (the "show-me" state).

For example...IF the FWCS wasn't trying to hold the taxpayers of Ft Wayne hostage with their $500 MILLION DOLLAR building renovations....I might say OK with the project. IF my part of town wasn't trying to become a ghetto so damn hard (thanks to so little city intervention, a police department forced to walk on eggs, and a judicial system that turns out more perps back onto our streets every year)...I might say OK. IF *my* property hadn't been reassessed to almost 100% MORE than it was several years ago (because we're a WORKING family who DO pay taxes and not live off of the tax-PAYERS of the city)...I might say OK.

But then we have..."The REST of the story", as Paul Harvey so quaintly puts it.

To argue the case FOR the project, I would agree that this city DOES need a future (and not the one we're currently working on vis-a-vis "the next Detroit").We need something to stabilize the city that would promote longevity in job creation and maintenance, otherwise, we'll continue to keep losing people AND jobs. This could be a good start.

Don Schmidt and John Shoaff represented the opposition to this plan, citing "we already HAVE a stadium (albeit not a state-of-the-art facility) that we don't fill to capacity as it is, and that city investments in sports arenas do not prompt growth, and that money invested into the sports teams typically LEAVES the community and goes to the players or owners" (are you listening, Hardball?), and I could use Philadelphia as an example. That city has EVERY major sports team AND a complex on South broad Street (with ample parking and city transit), but it's NOT making THEIR downtown (or the rest of the city for that matter) any more "revitalized". In fact, it's going the other way. With all these amenities, even the NAVAL BASE couldn't be persuaded to remain open (it was the 2nd largest on the coast), and placed over 13,000 people OUT of work. Why have a project such as Harrison Square when you can't EVEN get a handle on CRIME in many parts of this city. Who the hell can go to ANY game when their house is going to chronically be a prime target for burglars...or worse? Many residents deal with such an issue daily (or until THEY move out of Fort Wayne).

But we know the inevitability of all this talk, don't we? The plan will (in all likelihood) be PASSED, the facility built, the downtown "revitalized", and some time after the concrete hardens, and the paint dries, the "shine" will wear off, and it will become the newest "White Mastodon" in the area. But all those politicians who voted FOR it will be long gone from office, so what the hell will they care? Some will probably even leave the area altogether (as will these owner/developers..with nicely filled pockets of CASH).

Or...the plan might fail, and all that developmental incentive could be redirected to help many more parts of the city TRULY IN NEED.

But until the city can decide to "wean" itself off of this welfare mentality (while screwing the the taxpayers) and pursues with earnest to draw working people (and the businesses that will employ them) to it's confines, instead of the riff-raff emigrating from other major city ghettos to evade the law, or the other lazy-asses who see a real meal-ticket HERE, we're going to continue to drift like a ship in rough seas and no rudder or sail. And playing the "sports" card time and again just won't cut it here. It's time to stop this constant reliance on "sports entertainment" to imbue any city (our size) with a sense of worth.

Any city is only as good as it's WORST area, sports teams aside, and it's time to look at THAT picture...which is curiously starting to appear more and more like a certain Mr. Dorian Gray.

27 March 2007

The Achievement Curve (ball)...

When it comes to educating our children, Indiana isn't doing all that bad. In fact, we're doing pretty well, overall. We're not in the top ten, but we're far enough from the bottom ten to collectively breathe a sigh of relief for the time being. Our students just can't deal with the ISTEP all that well (overall), and we have some schools struggling with the NCLB mandate.

Still, we can do better...we always can do better. But the recent "hostage deal" for this $500 million building renovation in the FWCS has got some people asking questions, such as how does this impact the students learning and is it going to raise test scores across the board. While having a safe and secure facility is always a plus, is it, in and of itself the primary means by which students will aspire to greatness? I don't believe so. It's an amalgam of the two.

School was never meant to be "easy", and a good healthy dose of reality (as opposed to doing nothing but bolstering my self-esteem) is good for the soul, because when you're out of school and in the REAL world, you'll soon find that the classroom is a much preferred venue in many ways.

With that said, it becomes clear what the focus of ANY achievement for ANY student should be...and it goes without saying that the educators are teaching what they are supposed to be teaching at whatever grade level they find themselves employed at. All any teacher can hope to do is show a student the door to higher learning...it's up to the student to choose to either open the door, or merely walk away. Such is the case with many students today regarding making the correct choice. They simply do not...or will not. It's not that they CANNOT. It's not that there is a right or wrong choice...only a correct choice (whatever the evetual outcome).
And therein lies the "twist" to all this.

When a young boy or girl shows up for the first day of the new semester, and has not ONE pen, pencil, or piece of paper in their possession (stating they didn't THINK they'd have to DO anything on the first day), there is something substantially wrong with that picture. On OUR FIRST day, we had everything we needed...and more (sometimes it seemed like overkill), and it wasn't because we were rich...far from it. It was called BEING PREPARED (a good life lesson by the way). And isn't that school is SUPPOSED to be...a "dress rehearsal for the real world"? As the school year dragged on, we lost pens, loaned pencils, broke rulers, and went through reams or paper for whatever reason (I shudder to think if any of these kids know what a protractor or compass is), but these consumables were in easy supply, as well as being inexpensive enough for ANYONE to obtain. There was just NO reason to NOT have these items...and the very same can be said today. All this "poverty" we hear about shouldn't even figure into the mix, for there are places and means by which ANY child can be supplied with the needed tools for learning...for gratis!
You sure as hell wouldn't go on a LRRP (long-range recon patrol), saying to your squad leader that you didn't bring your ammo, because it was your first day in country, and you didn't THINK you'd need it...right?

That's one problem....a severe LACK OF PREPAREDNESS. The other problem is just as easy to see, and just as easy to remedy.

It's called ATTENDANCE...! You can't learn if you don't show the hell UP, can you?

My wife, who teaches high school sophomores (there's a sainthood in there somewhere for her...trust me) sees both of these probelms in abundance every year...every semester. I've yet to see ANY student with the ability to fully comprehend an entire year of any given subject matter by holding a book against their head, claiming osmotic transfer of information....that dog just won't hunt, people. Not that I see that many kids even BRINGING books home, because they just don't. No one is going to convince me that homework isn't given out on a REGULAR basis....it still is. So why aren't the kids bringing books home? Maybe they're just too damn heavy. Yeah, right. And why aren't the parents (or whoever is raising them these days) even bother to ASK them if they have any homework, or check with the school (like my mom did...all too regularly).

Yeah, it all comes back to that nasty *R* word...RESPONSIBILITY. The parents are responsible for making sure the kids are going to school and have the needed supplies that are required for a proper education. The students are responsible for conducting themselves in a civil manner, being properly attired and prepared to learn. In too many cases, I'm just not seeing that. TMany parents don't seemingly give a crap (unless their child is failing, and then all hell breaks loose)...sorry, but we don't automatically give out an *A* just because your kid got his lazy ass to school and promptly fell asleep during second period because he was up to all hours doing anything BUT schoolwork..or do we?

Grades today are based on comprehension of subject matter for the most part. I can envision a time in the very near future where ALL grades will be given based on THREE criteria:

1: ATTENDANCE (this means actually COMING to school...novel idea)

2: COMPREHENSION OF SUBJECT MATTER (tests, class participation, homework completion)

3: WORK HABITS (ethics, civility, attire, behavior)

Gee, looks just like the old first grade report card method from the 50s, doesn't it? I can see the educational system going to something like this REAL soon....it holds the right people accountable for the right reasons...the way it USED to.

Attendance is paramount...period. Any truant children need to be dealt with (as well as the parents), for whatever reason. We've got way too much "unexcused" abseteeism. I know because I see kids who SHOULD be in schol roaming the streets at midday. And if you're IN class, it's kind of hard to believe that you won't be learning the subject matter, because the teachers are still teaching it...it's their JOB. We also have to stop the kids from looking like last week's wrinkled laundry. Appearing in an environment such as school dictates that a modicum of neatness and cleanliness be maintained...and don't speak about "poverty" again.....please. You can be clean and neat and still be "poor"...I've seen it done with a mom who had FOUR kids in PAROCHIAL school....and NO welfare (she would never stoop to that when she could work 2 jobs or make the clothes for her kids herself), so there are methods available to counter any argument.

Finally, we have to stop this mainstreaming of all these "developmentally-challenged" students, primarily the "spec-eds". I know it sounds a tad harsh, but they are the reason the ISTEP scores are where they are. We used to have specialized schools (in Philly) JUST for these kids, and they did a lot better in an academic enviromnment replete with more of their brethren. Some of these kids just can't handle the vicissitudes of what we label a "normal" school environment, and it's not really their fault. So why penalize them as well as the rest of a student body? That serves no one any good. That would definitely assure a not fewer children being "left behind", as it were.

Can we expect more of our children regarding their achievement? Certainly. Can we provide the necessities they require for school? Most assuredly. Let's have at it then.

It's THEIR future at stake, even MORE SO than OURS.

26 March 2007

How "Broken" Are Our Windows?

So much that's discussed today seems to be in some state of disrepair...we talk about BROKEN borders....or we say the educational system is BROKEN and needs fixing to ensure that no child is left behind. We might wake up to find that the car's BROKEN...which will entail shelling out a vast sum of money for some insignificant part which invariably controls everything (and sure to fail again at the worst possible time). We say that government is in need of some serious mending because some of us cannot see the "need" for a war that frees oppressed people while keeping terrorists where they belong...namely in their OWN country, instead of OURS.

But it's so much more than that. What it really is about are broken windows. It's not JUST about the physicality of that phrase...it's also about the metaphorical aspect.

We hate to see a broken window...I know my cats do, especially when some a$$hole tosses a rock through it while I'm watching TV, minding my own damn business. Something about that hole in the glass cries out "get it fixed". Any window that is broken need to be fixed ASAP, because failure to do so will result in greater consequences. First off, a broken window gives ACCESS to your business, or house, or car...that's a no-brainer! It also happens to be the crux of the whole matter. Metaphorically-speaking, if we apply this to something larger...crime for example, we see ramifications reaching long into a future where we will no longer be around to affect change for the better. Many people subscribe to that mindset with this cavalier attitude saying "Why whould I care? I won't be around to worry about it". Nice legacy you're leaving, $hithead!

Whenever I see some child toss a candy wrapper onto a lawn with absolutely NO regard for what they have started, it chills my blood. They have kicked that proverbial snowball down the mountain. By this seemingly innocuous act, they have said to everyone else that it's OK to litter. It escalates from that candy wrapper to a bottle here, or a can there. Then we have wholesale dumping of bags of crap from cars, all the way to "short-dumping" of much larger items, such as furniture or even appliances. ONE small item can have such an effect...and oft times does.

With crime, the results are much more severe (and often fatal). When "harmless" crimes such as littering or noise violations go uncited (or even unoticed), it says (again) to the community that if they allow THIS...I wonder what ELSE I can get away with. Don't fool yourself into thinking people act otherwise...they DO'N'T...and they WILL. If it's all right to "get away" doing the small things, the escalation factor increases exponentially, and this is especially true in inner city neighborhoods where SO many people don't give a damn in the first place, and are rarely held accountable for their actions. Soon, we're looking at strongarm thefts...then business thefts (such as the heinous attack of the clerk on Dupont Rd last week), then home break-ins and car break-ins. After that, we evolve into car thefts, carjackings, armed robberies, rapes, and eventually to homicide (because even the most petty crime can get real ugly, real fast these days).

Fort Wayne has a $hitload of "Broken Windows", no doubt about it. Having the community pray about it won't make it go away. Neither will ignoring it (which actually CAUSED it in the first place), or walking on eggshells when dealing with it (as seems to be the case today). Perps KNOW when a community is "at risk"...think of it as vultures knowing that animal will die soon enough, providing sustinence for the feathered masses waiting for that expiration. The whole "Broken Window" theory isn't new....




And that's the tip of the icebeg...

Personally speaking, I feel that this city has more than broken windows...we have broken doors, broken plumbing, broken electrical and broken HVAC (metaphorically-speaking that is). We're not only a gateway to the midwest, we're a gateway for crime, and the manner in which I have seen the law-enforcement agencies react mirrors it. It's NOT about those in uniform on the streets...it IS about the "admins" failing to be creative or even proactive. Law-enforcemnt does not have to be a completely "incident-driven" venue. Maybe that's why we're seeing such a rise in violent crime....it's due to agency big-wigs pandering instead of arresting. It's ass-kissing instead of convicting. Sure we have the occassional good bust (which in many ways serves to play to the media and populace saying 'look what we're doing'), but with SO much crime to go around, we sure should be seeing a lot more "bang" for our bucks.

And I have to again use my neighborhood as a shining example on how "broken" things are. Yesterday, I counted TWENTY-ONE boomcars thumping through the area (0900-2330),and they were ONLY those passing the house REALLY LOUD, and not the overall "heartbeat" the neighborhood develops every year at this time. I did NOT see one patrol car all day (heard a lot of sirens, though). We have a huge number of speeders zoom down he street. I did NOT see one patrol car. WE had guys on "crotch-rockets" (cafe bikes to the initiated) zip all over (some with NO plates). I did NOT see one patrol car. I trust you're seeing a pattern here. Not one bit of proactivity.

Now WHY am I NOT seeing patrol cars in an area that has SO MUCH to offer in the way of citations? I like to call it POLITICS....and that is about the MOST BROKEN aspect of this city. The politics that used to protect all citizens equally is in need of repair...desperately. It can be fixed, but the longer the wait...the more difficult the repair. This is not one of those things that will fix itself should we ignore it, which has apparently been the case over the time I have lived here. I have seen little (if any) real progress to repair any "window" in or around our neighborhood, let alone the city. Before any real revitalization can take place, this needs to be brought to the political table with plenty of the right questions being asked.

Besides, HOW MANY band-aids must they keep placing on a compound fracture before they "think" it healed?

23 March 2007

Metro Squad: Act Two (scene III)...

Every once in a while, the local paper presents a story with ALL the angles well covered. Such was the case yesterday in the News-Sentinel with Kevin Leininger's article about the Metro Squad wanting to be reactivated by Sheriff Ken Fries (as reported on this blog several days ago).
But wait...it does get "better"...
Rev. Latham has chosen once again to wield a wrench, ready to toss it into the cogs of law-enforcement progress in what the police are attempting to do in this city and county...namely see a substantial DROP in crime; a drop that would become a lot longer-lived than a year or two. They don't call it PUBLIC SAFETY for no reason, do they? I guess the old "race card" was getting a tad dusty over the past few months since the Wal-Mart fiasco...time to get it back out, eh?
I hope I'm wrong here.

According to the latest report from Morgan-Quinto about the most dangerous states...INDIANA has dropped THREE spots from 25 to 28 (Nevada at #50 being the worst) since last year. Actually, going back as far as 1994, we've yet to climb ANY HIGHER than 24 on the list...so something is definitely wrong. We're not going in the right direction, are we? If one were to follow census trends, our county is GROWING (350,000+), but not by the method you might believe. It's due to BIRTHS, and not people wanting to MOVE here (wonder why THAT is?), so that only proves that more and more people have more and more time to procreate (and obviously commit more crime). And after seeing the way they treat their PETS...that's one SCARY visual. Notice I didn't even address any illegal aliens in the mix (yet).

Of course we DO have an increasing number of freeloaders, sapping tax money from those who DO work so they can get their Crunch 'N Munch and Orange Drink at the local Krogers. And we DO have a rising drug trade, making auto paint, wheel rim/ tire places laugh all the way to the bank (wish such could be said about MUFFLER shops). Hell, Indiana is "home" to about THIRTY different violent gangs (thanks for the transients, Illinois, MIchigan, and Ohio)! And we have more varieties of drugs coming into the city than you can shake a blunt at. But that must be neither here nor there to the good "Rev". He's just worried about the police getting all "cowboy" on "his" people.

I'll keep saying this until you start to listen, Rev....it's called CRIMINAL PROFILING, kapesh? It means when there are 90 percent BLACKS in a given area, the people that will most likely be pulled over for an infraction (like speeding) would be....(once again...all together, gang...) BLACK. How much easier CAN we make it for you to understand? I believe you're an educated enough man to comprehend this...or am I wrong? And naturally, we're NOT talking about ALL blacks, Rev...just the less than TEN PERCENT of "your" people who are committing over EIGHTY PERCENT of the DAMN CRIME in "your" community! Seems YOU have a few too many people falling through these huge cracks (more like chasms) in "your" realm, Rev!

Sheriff Ken wants to target crime hot spots...oops, those spots might be in predominantly BLACK areas of the city...looks like a job for NAACPMAN!!!! I guess the good Rev will want to have Sheriff Ken walking on eggs like Chief York has been doing for the past few years...all in the name of "better race relations". I know Rusty must get damn tired of all these stupid lawsuits against his department, instigated by people like sweet old Hana Stith (among some select others). Too many people are constantly fomenting distrust of the police by their actions, their lifestyles, and their overall demeanor. And that needs to stop now if any long-lasting progress is to be made.

The police have enough on their plates with placing their lives on the line to deal with a sub-cultured, multi-generational mindset against ANY law-enforcement agency, as if any "community" can handle their OWN problems without outside intervention. We call that ANARCHY. Well, we can plainly see the result of this "self-vigilance" or self-policing, as it were, can't we?....it's called ANOTHER HOMICIDE in the city's southeast quadrant. But the latest news has Sheriff Fries not necessarily having the Metro Squad ON the southeast side. That would (potentially) conflict with ongoing FWPD teams working in troubled areas. Hey, Rusty...you want to park a sector car in MY driveway to catch some perps, I'll give you plate numbers, descriptions, times and a cup of coffee to the officer...how's that for better police-community relations? But be forewarned...I'm not black, nor do I have a rap sheet. I just obey the law because it's expected of me (as well as everyone else).

THIS is a perfect case of "if" my (property) tax money were to go for having MORE officers, and MORE patrols in MY part of town so as to get public pissers off the streets, child predators out of our neighborhoods, scofflaws from getting away with anything they wish, boomcars from keeping us awake to all hours, illegal guns out of the hands of the wrong people, drug dealers from plying their trade in front of our houses, and this general apathetic pall from hanging over this part of town....SO BE IT...BRING IT THE HELL ON! But that doesn't seem to be part of the Rev's plan...so he must be OK with the status quo. I, on the other hand...am NOT. Wonder if it's because I give a crap?

Rev. Latham would also like to see more black and hispanic officers...well Rev, if they could get through the screening processes and the academy, they'd be ON the street, wouldn't they? Now be honest, Rev..."IF" every single officer on the southeast side WERE to be BLACK (or hispanic) and they STILL pulled "your" people over, wouldn't you STILL be pissing and moaning? And how can the officers just doing their job be construed as ANY form of RACISM, when (if) the officers are BLACK, hmm? I think you're a bit befuddled where the colors BLACK, BLUE and WHITE are concerned.

. Crime always was and always will be...COLORLESS. It affects everyone of any color, race, or religion. It's people with little knowledge of human nature, and a blatant disregard for civility that "color" crime with it's various hues and contrasts.

How about I send you a box of Crayolas?

22 March 2007

Sometimes, I Even Amaze Myself...

Yes, I know that phrase would best be uttered from the lips of Han Solo, but it's just so darn applicable for me right here, right now. I was watching the evening news (just passing by the TV actually), and I saw that a "movie star" was addressing Congress. I "thought" at first it might be Michael J. Fox, as I'm not only a fan of his work in the cinema, but his relentless and tireless efforts on behalf of Parkinson's Disease.


It was AL GORE....(yeah, I was like WTF too).
"Professor" Gore (doctor of "thinkology", no doubt) was talking yet again about the end of the world as we know it, more quaintly referred to as....(drum roll)....GLOBAL WARMING, and this seemingly endless rhetoric about something we really can't control (it's the mother earth doing her OWN thing gig) was once again being displayed as if it was some kind of "second coming". So that got me to thinking (dangerous as usual whenever I'm involved)...what can I really CALL this guy (excuse me...this EX- vice president) that would so aptly fit his current status in life.

I really didn't want an epithet, as that just brings me down to his level to some degree. I needed something new...something succinct, pithy, and marvelously apropos to fit the man.And then it came to me. I had what one might call an "epiphanic" moment. The cerubic chorus had sung at last...


OK people, you heard it HERE...FIRST. That's MY word...just made it the hell up (last night anyway). And why not, we have so many other "catch" and "buzz" words these days...what's one more (that happens to concisely, yet overwhelmingly encompass what Mr. Gore is really all about)? Go ahead and google it (like I did)...absolutely NO hits returned! Take THAT, Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster!

He DOES get a bit (to put it mildly) PREACHY over global warming...AND he IS what we would call "environmentally-aware" (some would say too much so), even if it IS in his own little world where I hear that everyone THERE does know his name.

SO we just merge these two aspects of humanity...and voile'...a new word to compliment our burdgeoning lexicon! There you have it...ENVIRONMANGELIST...remember it well, because someone will be using it soon enough (and of course I'll never get ANY credit for it). But always recall the FIRST time you ever saw this word...it was right HERE.

It's just one more service I provide...NEOLOGIST.

21 March 2007

There IS a New Sheriff In Town...

...And he's making some interesting changes.

Ken Fries, newly elected sheriff of Allen County has gotten a lot more officers "back in the bag" and got their boots on the ground. And more warm bodies patrolling the county is always good news. But it doesn't stop there. He's also getting TASERS for his department. Sheriff Ken wants to reactivate the METRO SQUAD, and discussions are under way. I confess to not knowing much about when it was formerly deployed (1995-2001), but from what I've read about it, now is as good a time as any to put it back on the streets and roads. This unit will be actively patrolling area "hot spots" as a deterrent to crime (somehow my part of town comes to mind), and let's face it...seeing more cars in certain "badlands" throughout the city (and county) will go a long way to keep the criminal element at bay.

But it's not going to be a smooth ride, according to some people.

The old "racial profiling" thing is rearing it's ugly head once again, with those who just LOVE to sue any law-enforcement agency leading the "parade". Some people maintain that blacks will be UNJUSTLY targeted for carstops, pat-downs, and the like (wonder why not the BURMESE...or the VIETNAMESE...or the CROATIANS..or even the other 40 or so ethnic groups in Fort Wayne? Could it be THEY don't commit the same amount of crime that a small group of BLACKS do? I wonder). And I have to keep stating (for the umpteenth time) that when you have a vast MAJORITY of ANY ethnicity (blacks for example) in one, SPECIFIC area, who the hell is MOST LIKELY to GET STOPPED...? The answer is...all together now boys and girls...blacks (for example). There you go. Simple, eh? You're just not going to find a bunch of lily-white doctors, lawyers, or a ton of asian engineers, or even police officers living in "blighted" areas, are you? At least not in a house worth $7500 and dilapidated as the day is long.

FWPD Chief Rusty York stated that HIS department would basically not be aiding in these patrols although he does support Sheriff Fries' efforts (gee thanks, Rusty...so much for city/county mergers, huh...I guess the whole safety in numbers things is alien to you). Well, Rusty can walk on eggshells all he wants, as is evidenced in recent years (with little success because these people are brought up to distrust the "po-po" anyway), but facts are facts. You DO have a growing problem in Fort Wayne with crime, and no amount of ethnic ass-kissing will make that go away, so better to take a stand against crime now while you still can, unless you want to wind up like Indianapolis (not MY first choice).

I would suppose race relations in general would just be SO much better if every time a black (or any other ethnicity) was CAUGHT doing something illegal, the LEOs just "look the other way", chalking it up to decades of past oppression by long deceased people, right? I think not. That is a crock of you-know-what. EVERYONE is held to the SAME laws, all the time...NO exceptions....can't get much fairer than THAT, can you? No bias there. So everyone gets the same treatment when they BREAK those laws...still fair to me.

Next, Sheriff Ken wants to LEASE the radio systems instead of PURCHASING them to save the taxpayers some money. Since the lifespan of current systems is about 14 years (longer than most computers), the department wouldn't be saddled with obsolete equipment (as in the past). In 1999, the county spent $9 million to get an 800 Mhz system dating to 1996, so it was outmoded from the git-go. The purchasing decision (then) was made due to finances (wow, we can pay for task forces, planners, and studies, but we can't afford to get law-enforcement decent radios...that makes sense).

And along the line of RADIOS...a related story:
Corey Lee Bailey was arrested for illegally possessing a police scanner ALONG with FIVE POUNDS of Mary Jane, and about $30K (cash) in his vehicle. Sorry people, but that's just a little too much chump-change to be lugging around. And this arrest was made by the ACSD...NOT by the FWPD. I guess the "Just holding this for a friend" bull$hit line didn't float too well with the sheriff's department. While residents ARE allowed to keep a scanner in their HOME or OFFICE, permission for portable vehicular units must be obtained from a police chief or a license secured from the FCC. Anything else "just ain't kosher". The perp was released after posting $50,000 bond (I guess his dealer "boss" needs him back on the south side real bad).
So the moral of THIS story would be: If the police stop your ass, and you KNOW you're carrying a $hitload of pot AND quite a few THOUSAND bucks on you...for Christ's sake, turn DOWN the damn scanner (moron)!

Yes folks..here in the Summit City, many live by the motto: "Room For Stupidity".

20 March 2007

Another Study to Study...

Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional character, Sherlock Holmes once said: "There can be no question, my dear Watson, of the value of exercise before breakfast".

It's taken about a year of research, and I'm sure someone purloined some decent grant money in the process, but the talleys are in: Low-income residents in Allen County are more likely to smoke, have a stressful life, and suffer from depression. Aside from the "low-income" aspect (determined by what one perceives as LOW income), welcome to MY part of Fort Wayne...and a damn good description of living here.

The study sought to achieve goals pertinent to understanding what issues and problems these residents face, thereby deciding what resources need to be implemented and in what order. A "Low-Income" family was basically described as a family or four with $40K of income. The survey emcompassed 454 people living in central and southeast Fort Wayne (as I said...welcome to "US"). I just wish to hell someone would survey ME for a change...then they'd get to hear the truth (oh, I forgot, "they" can't handle the truth...I know Jack). The findings were that access to affordable prescriptions were lacking, and most sought routine medical care from private doctor offices in lieu of centers such as Matthew 25 and Neighborhood Health Clinics (or as I like to call them - freebie meat markets). If you ever have to go to one of these places, be advised they're not what you think...they're worse. Funny thing though...all the "NON-prescription" drugs seem endless. That's got to be worth a footnote in the tome called IRONY.

Here's where it gets interesting though. This study found that children were a risk for lead poisoning and obesity. Now I have to admit that I see VERY few zaftig kids waddling around the area. And "if" these kids are getting plump, maybe it's all the WIC money that's being tossed at whoever claims to be a parent. Or maybe it's this parental mentality that chronically fills the kids' pockets with enough "chump-change" to hit the local convienience store to and from school (daily) for that damn bag of Cheetos Hot Fries or On-Yums...'ya think? Perhaps it's all the FREE MEALS the schools are doling out daily (at the taxpayer's expense) that's contributing to this? Or maybe it's the fact that these "parents" aren't intelligent enough to learn to COOK a damn meal, instead of letting Chef Arby or Chef McDonalds provide sustinence (again, where is ALL this money for that coming from?), without burning a damn house the hell down.
It's called a STOVE...not an "auxiliary furnace", moron! Learn to use it for what it was meant for. If you take the cost of cooking for a family of four versus the cost of dining out (fast foor or whatever) the difference of money being spent is incredible. And that's money that COULD go for something else just as important like clothes, school supplies, toiletries (yeah, there are kids that SMELL when they come to school....simply deplorable), or even a decent car to run errands (unless you have a new SUV bought from drug money, but that's another post).

Maybe if "mom" would put her blunt down or get off her boyfriend-of-the-week for a few minutes, kids would get a fair shake (and a REAL meal). You can always tell the houses that people NEVER cook a meal in....look at the amount of TRASH in their bins on trash day. That says it all. A 96 gallon bin, overfilled with every fast-food bag and cup on the planet. If mom ever wants to take a trip to someplace she's NEVER been...screw the Bahamas...walk your ass to the KITCHEN!

Oh, and as for the lead poisoning (which explains a LOT of the people around here..."duh, duh duhhhhh")...stop the little buggers from GNAWING on window sills in older homes for God's sake! It's called BUY THEM A DAMN TOY instead of letting them chew on wood. And the landlords need to be taken to task over this....try lighting a fire under their lazy asses and hold THEM accountable for removing these lead-based paints from the houses. Better yet, just burn the damn places down (hmm...leaving that stove on sounds good now) and start the helll over! THAT should provide jobs for a while, right? Another problem solved!

The study DID say that providing SAFE walking routes to schools and physical activity during after-school programming would help.
OK...let's dissect this...By "safe" walking routes, you mean a route where a child won't get mugged, sexually accosted, shot, or run over by a speeder....yeah, that's doable..just not around HERE. Get the predators OUT of the damn areas. Get the speeders OFF the streets. Get the druggies with guns the hell OUT of the neighborhoods, and get the muggers locked the hell UP. Gee, but that would mean police intervention, right? Sure, and parts of the community, if they want their kids SAFE would have to shut the f$ck up when it comes to all this "profiling" crap. The police KNOW the difference between RACIAL and CRIMINAL profiling. It's just that 85% of the people in central and southeast Fort Wayne are of persuasions OTHER than WHITE, so get over it and move on. And stop teaching your kids that the police are not to be trusted and they are there to cause problems. THAT type of mindset does no good for anyone, and makes the officers' job a lot more problematic. And as far as physical activity in school....we called it PHYS -ED (PT for the military), and I swear we always got frustrated D.I.'s as our teachers. There is simply NO excuse to NOT being active in some manner these days (death being a good exception).

So...you want kids that don't smoke, are lean learning machines, and will contribute to the area...fine. I can live with that.
In the meantime, I'm going to have a cigarette to relieve my stress, and shoot off my pellet guns (at my basement "range") to keep from getting depressed....

Never hurts to "keep in shape", right?

19 March 2007

A Kindler, Gentler Violence...

At first that statement might get a lot of folks scratching their heads, wondering "WTH" is this guy on about? But stop and think about the crimes we see perpetrated TODAY with the same (types of) crimes from years past.

Time was, when you were robbed on the street, it was more covert, and as simple as a "sap" (a small, leather covered shot-filled club) against the back of your head followed by your pockets turned inside out...end of story. You wound up with a golf ball-sized knot on your noggin and an empty wallet. Today, it's all about intimidation....you're "asked for the time", and then accosted AT GUNPOINT (threatening your ability to retain your water), TOLD to "hand everything over" , and after all THAT, you just MIGHT still get shot in the head ANYWAY, for no other reason than having this perp garner some "street cred".
We're in the midst of a sudden rise in violent crime....and it's nationwide.

How times have changed.

Less than fifty years ago, you were able to LEGALLY purchase a gun from an advertisement in the back of some paper or magazine (for cheap), and have the damn thing DELIVERED to your front door...no questions asked. And it really didn't matter if it were a long gun or a pistol. As anyone who studied the JFK assassination would know, that's just the method Oswald used to secure his Mannlicher-Carcano RIFLE! He bought the damn thing for less than FIFTY bucks!

Today, we have the mandatory background checks...you're finger-printed, and in some states, you have to go through a "waiting period"...all for OUR safety. This is supposed to keep the wrong people from getting the firearms. And as the statistics claim over recent years, the wrong people are STILL getting firearms. Granted many are stolen, and many more are "straw-purchased", but the fact remains painfully clear...the WRONG people are getting guns....and are not afraid to use them for the most innocuous crimes.
We're not a safer people...not by a long shot (no pun intended).

I'm ALL for the 2nd Amendment...make no mistake about that. I believe every LAW-ABIDING citizen should own a few guns and know how to use them properly. So the issue to *me* is NOT about GUN control...it IS about PEOPLE control. You can no more legislate guns than you can legislate say...automobiles (which kill their own share of people every year). It's not about the MACHINE, but rather the PERSON using (or misusing) it.

Now we have to take into account that we're seeing a LOT more crimes done by KIDS today....and they're packing some serious heat. Funny, but when you were able to buy a gun through the mail, crime SHOULD have went through the roof...but it didn't. Maybe kids were too busy being....well, KIDS! Hell, we played with ALL kinds of toy guns, and I sure don't have this penchant to become the next mass murderer (although there ARE some locals around here test my patience daily, and try to convince me otherwise...LOL).

That to me would seem the major problem today...this loss of innocence; the fact that kids are FORCED to grow up way before their time. We can blame the media for much of that, as well as bad parenting (a very large contributing factor), if there's even some adult in the house that gives a crap in the first place. But when you grow up in a culture that embraces (and actively practices) violence from within the house, it's little wonder what you're going to grow up to be. Sadly, it's become a multi-generational phenomenon, this rather hap-hazard attitude about life (or the loss of it), and the means to secure your place in it...by whatever means possible, and at whatever the cost.

Used to be you either succeeded or failed on your own merits (or the lack of them). Now, it's better to obtain "success" by forcing "failure" upon others, because you're too lazy, or stupid, or both. And a gun is a damn good way to get ANY point across, no matter HOW damn dumb you tend to be. Used to be courage in a bottle or liquid courage that got you into a situation...now it's "courage in a cartridge"!

It still amazes me that KIDS can get guns that I can only dream about...then again, I'm the idiot purchasing them legally and NOT using these firearms for supplementing my wages by relieving others of theirs!

It's never going to be about gun control. Taking us back to a time where violence was "easier" to deal with (as well as severely DEALT with), simply because the end result was a lot less fatal, is something our society needs. I'm not saying that violence should be nice at all. What I would say is that violence, like ANY emotive nuance the human species invokes, can be controlled, channelled, and diffused to a large extent. But we have to institute programs that will WORK, and not some "feel-good" rhetoric spouting from legislative pieholes.

And for Christ's sake...get these kids some DECENT role models...this current breed of "music-showbiz-athletic" icons isn't much good to anyone (let alone our children) with their behavior. Sometimes it's as simple as sitting down and talking with your kids...spending some time with them.
The alternative to not allowing kids to grow up as intended, and be kids is something we're never going to be properly prepared to deal with.

They ARE "our" future after all, as well as their own.

16 March 2007

A Wee Bit 'O The Irish In Most Of Us...

It's green beer and cabbage time once again. As holidays go, St. Patrick's Day has to be one of (if not the) MOST fun ones. You don't have all the romance like Valentine's Day, none of frenetic gift-purchasing of Christmas, and certainly none of the leftovers from Thanksgiving.
Not to detract from ANY of those other fine holidays, but this is one where everyone "becomes" IRISH for a day...and that's not such a bad thing. It sure beats turning into a rap artist for a day, right? It's loads better (and a helluva lot safer) than being chased by bulls through Pamploma. And it's a lot cleaner than that Tomato Day gig. It's just a fun day...admit it!
Now the last time I checked, I don't have any Irish blood in me....it's more a cross between Scottish/English and Pennsylvania Dutch. Actually my Christian name is from the Scots meaning "foreiger", so maybe the Celtic influence is there after all in some fashion. I know I can do a damn fine brogue when needed. And I recall my mom always wanting me to wear ORANGE on St. Patty's Day instead of GREEN (like my Catholic brethren)...it was a "Protestant rebellion" thing to her...LOL!
We never REALLY celebrate the Irish anymore (as if we ever did to any length), in spite of all the accomplishments of these hard working (and hard drinking) people. COme to think of it...whatever the Irish set out to do, they do with GUSTO! If it were not for all the Irish immigrants (that came here LEGALLY, btw), the rail systems of this nation would still be under construction. And who can forget the coal miners that labored long and hard, unionless and suffering from a myriad of illnesses just so America could fire up it's furnaces during the industrial revolution? If there never was a potato famine back in Ireland from 1845-1849, would we have benefitted from these people in the same degree we did as history played out?
Still, we do celebrate them...for a DAY. Not a month...not a week, but ONE DAY.
Seems we "could" do a wee bit better.
America's culture is steeped in Celtic influences. From everything to the beer we drink (Guinness for me thanks) to those Escher-esque celtic knots we see in rings, pictures, and even clothing, the Irish are with us. Some great music comes from the isle of Eire such as the Chieftains, Enya, the late Rory Gallagher, U2, Van Morrison, Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats, Sinead O'Connor, The Cranberries and let's not forget the groups Celtic Women and Riverdance.
We have Irish coffee, Irish liquor, and Irish "potatos" (a candy made from cream cheese, cocoanut X10 sugar and cinnamon...yummy). We have the Fighting Irish (here in Indiana), and anyone with children KNOWS all about "Lucky Charms"...
We have that often used Irish prayer: "May the road rise up to meet you; May the wind be always at your back. And may you be in in heaven an hour after the devil knows you died".
We have scores of movies about the Irish, the best (imho) being THE QUIET MAN with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. We have bumper stickerand button proclaiming "our" Irishness..."Kiss Me, I'm Irish"..."Buy Me a Beer...I'm Irish"..."Spank Me, I'm Irish", and so on.
And through all this, I have NEVER seen the ethnicity of the rish being rammed down our throats, unlike other ethicities. I wonder why that is? Maybe it's because these fine people chose to just keep it under wraps, and lead by example. Maybe they just want to "fit in". Or maybe it's because we already KNOW all they have done for this nation, as a people, and are quietly sitting back enjoying this.
SO dig out some green clothing, change your name to O'Something, and enjoy the day. Take a minute to embrace the heritage of the Emerald Isle...
...And never stop looking for that pot o'gold at the end of a rainbow.

15 March 2007

You STILL...Just GOTTA Love Technology...

A soothsayer said to Julius Caesar:
"Beware the Ides of March".
Imagine my surprise today, when I got to fire up my "dog" system (PC clone), and lo and behold...I get some stupid-ass error I haven't seen before.
It tells me that "it" has a CMOS - checksum error, and that "I" should press F1 to continue.
So, being the obedient person I was raised as, I do so, and the system boots normally. Problem solved. But wait, the fun is JUST getting started.

After I boot the system, I have a QUICKTIME icon at the bottom of the taskbar....never seen that before, and since I know where it's located (startup programs), I wander into the system config utility and UNcheck the box. The system then tells me to "restart" the system, which I proceed to do with abandon. It's at this point that our tale of interest become a lot more...shall we say...interesting.

The system comes on, but REFUSES to boot...no beeps, no monitor with all the gobbledegoop on it telling me everything's hunky-dory with the memory check, etc. NOTHING. I can't even hear the drive attempting to read anything. I am now the proud owner of a beige-colored DOORSTOP...complete with keyboard AND mouse!

After repeated tries to get this POS working (including MY favorite style of BOOTING a system....with my FOOT), I'm figuring it "might" be some type of PWR SUP problem, but hey, what the f$ck do *I* know? I only used to work on REAL systems back in the 70's...the kind with DISK PACKS and room-filling mainframes...none of this microchipped-subatomic crap that bows to the winds of discontent on the slightest whim.

So...since we DO need (yet) ANOTHER CD-ROM drive for this "dog" (it seems to enjoy eating them at the rate of one every other year), we're going to have to take it to the local shop AGAIN (another trip UP NORTH...so much for all this redevelopment on the SOUTH-side, Mr Mayor), and see what kind of gremlins are currently inhabiting this thing.

Now I said all that to say this.....I have come to detest a lot of our "modern technology". Well, let's say I hate the fact that every single piece of this system is made OVERSEAS with a level of planned obsolescence unrivalled in human history. Apparently, no one can make anything to LAST anymore. It makes you wonder why we CAN have printing presses manufactured in MASSACHUSETTS way back in 1902...STILL running, when we can't even have a damn computer system that lasts more than FIVE years without some type of failure onboard or even the ability to "keep up" with further advances in this tech. I would prefer RELIABILITY over SPEED most any day. It doesn't matter HOW FAST it runs...IF it "don't run"...you're pretty much S-O-L, right? The same can be said for most anything we utilize these days.

We have what is basically the ultimate disposable society. Just TRY to get a vintage stereo/radio receiver fixed...or (heaven forbid) a BETA VCR! NOBODY repairs these things, and if they DO, they're keeping it to themselves damn well. And just watch the slack-jawed "WTF?" look you get from the freshly graduated (and probably tattooed and pierced) Tech-school "specialist" when you take your 24 year old car (still pretty much in MINT condition) to a "repair facility" (we just called them GARAGES...and they KNEW their trade) to get something "fixed". Yeah, that really instills a level of confidence in having my car fixed RIGHT...the FIRST time...NOT! Hell, most shops don't even bother to REBUILD an alternator (40 minutes max) or carburator (under two hours...btw, they still HAVE those?), because it takes TOO much time, and time is (nowadays) all about money. Say good-bye to the friendly neighborhood garage in any major city.

It's become more of a crap-shoot whenever you attempt to get something fixed...maybe the tech didn't come in hungover, and things might get put to rights. Then again, maybe he just got pissed over something trivial, and YOU are the lucky one to reap the benefits of his "expertise" today...you never know.

While making money is good for business, we have to stop and realize the complexities created by farming out work, replacing things instead of repairing them, and forcing the national trade deficit higher by the minute. It's been going on for so damn long, we've forgotten HOW to do things right and at a decent price (like HERE in AMERICA). They used to call it exceeding the customers' needs. But today, it depends on what the "bottom line" allows.

But getting back to my "plight"...I've got a backup system here (probably now just as obsolete as "the dog"), so I won't miss that many beats in this perverse technological two-step we call "progress". What I will be doing REAL soon is backing up (or transferring) every damn personal file onto the other (newer) system (when the dog comes back from the "vet"), and get a "flash-drive" or two, as a backup TO the backup, because this crap gets REAL old, REAL fast.

Like we used to say..."You might slow me down, but by Christ, you're NOT going to stop me".

And that's as good a moral to any story that one could possibly find.