Friday, July 28, 2006

Elephant's Memory - Touching story

In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed so Mbembe approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large thorn deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For several tense moments Mbembe stood frozen,thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day. Twenty years later he was walking through a zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe and lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man. Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him. Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

. . .and my point is YOU-YOU

One of my favorite jobs when I was a law enforcement officer was that of "hostage negotiator". I would be called upon when someone was barricaded (alone or with a hostage) to negotiate the release. I think I was first picked for this job because I have a soothing voice. It quickly became a passion and I learned everything I could about it. I got a big rush when the world came to a standstill and waited while the hostage taker and I talked on the phone. I got an even bigger high when, through the power of persuasion, I talked the suspect into giving up and coming out. After a long seige that turned out well, it was when I was finally alone in my car on the ride home when I yelled "YES!" "I DID IT!" that was the most satisfing moment. My point in telling you this is to let you know that it was very important to me, in order to save a life, to get to know the suspect as soon as possible. I enjoy doing that. I have now known some of you for about a year. I don't know your names, but I know you. Stay tuned, I am working on a post about some of you. I call it my YOU-YOU. I think you will find it interesting.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fool me twice, shame on me!

A Texan could think of this .... from Bandera County, where drunk driving is considered a sport, comes this true story. Recently a routine police patrol parked outside a bar in Bandera, Texas. After Last Call the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so intoxicated that he could barely walk. The man stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing. After what seemed an eternity and trying his keys on five different vehicles the man managed to find his car which he fell into. He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off. Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off (it was a fine, dry summer night), flicked the blinkers on, then off a couple of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights. He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patron vehicles left. At last, the parking lot empty, he pulled out of the parking lot and started to drive slowly down the road. The police officer, having patiently waited all this time, now started up the patrol car, put on the flashing lights, and promptly pulled the man over and approached the car carrying a breathalyzer test kit. To his amazement the breathalyzer indicated no evidence of the man having consumed any alcohol at all! Dumbfounded, the officer said, "I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station. This breathalyzer equipment must be broken." "I doubt it", said the truly proud Texan, "Tonight I'm the designated decoy."

For all you cat lovers!

A cat died and went to Heaven. God met him at the pearly gates and said, "You have been a good cat all these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking. The cat thought for a minute and then said, "All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on." God said, "Say no more." Instantly the cat had a huge fluffy pillow. A few days later, six mice were killed in an accident and they all went to Heaven together. God met the mice at the pearly gates with the same offer that He made to the cat. The mice said, "Well, we have had to run all of our lives: from cats, dogs, and even people with brooms! If we could just have some little roller skates, we would not have to run again." God answered, "It is done." All the mice had beautiful little roller skates. About a week later, God decided to check on the cat. He found him sound asleep on his fluffy pillow. God gently awakened the cat and asked, "Is everything okay? How have you been doing? Are you happy?" The cat replied, "Oh, it is WONDERFUL. I have never been so happy in my life. The pillow is so fluffy, and those little Meals on Wheels you have been sending over are delicious!"

Monday, July 17, 2006

Product endorsement

I hate mint! For years I had to brush my teeth with the "refreshing taste of mint". This would be OK if I liked mint, but I can't stand it - YUK!
Finally Crest came out with a product for us non mint lovers. Whitening Expressions tooth paste comes in Lemon Ice and Vanilla Mint. The lemon kind tastes just like those lemon lolipops, and the vanilla just has a slight (tolerable) hint of mint. I also like natural citrus Listerine, tastes kind of orange instead of that nasty regular mouthwash. Just thought I would pass this along to any of you fellow mint haters!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What next?

Sometimes this baby boomer can't sleep. I don't want to turn on the television, for fear it will keep me awake longer. I have noticed that I have a kind of "ipod" in my brain. I can recall tunes and play them for my amusment. Last night I was listening to some Copland from my brain, and I started thinking about how far technology has come in my lifetime. In the early 80's, when I was first a detective, we had to share a pager. The detective on call would keep the pager for that week. It was the size of a cigarette pack (one more thing to carry) and it would beep, signaling you to call the dispatcher. Of course you would have to find a pay phone - there were no cell phones back then. Before I retired, all the detectives had their own cell phones, and even the kind with that annoying two-way walkie-talkie. We got GPS's to follow the bad guys, and sometimes even to follow our own officers. We had body bugs and pin-hole cameras for undercover operations. We got in car cameras to record every traffic stop. Now there is a computer in every police car. This makes me wonder what will be invented in the next twenty years. I can only imagine that it will be something "in body", like my brain ipod. Maybe a forehead camera for police officers?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Trouble in paradise

On Thursday last my teenage son emerged from his room and announced that something was wrong with his laptop. My first thought was, "Who are you?", because I haven't seen him in the daytime for so long! He couldn't get his machine to connect to the internet. I know very little about computers, and we discussed what he should do to try to fix it. He told me that he had downloaded a trial game, and that when he deleted it the trouble started. He suggested doing a "system recovery". I told him to try that, and if it didn't work we would need to get professional help. He returned a few minutes later, frustrated that the fix didn't work, that now it would not even load his profile. I told him that if he "got up during the daylight hours" the next day, that we would take it to the Geek Squad to be fixed. The Geek Squad is at the Best Buy store and I have had good luck with them before. We had to drive 25 miles to the closest store. There was a bad rain storm on the way down there, and the traffic slowed to a dangerous 40 mph. I took the time to lecture my son about the perils of driving in such conditions. (I love it when he is a captive audience.) We finally got there and walked up to the counter where I told Preston to explain to the man what had happened to the computer. As he explained the man turned on the machine. It worked perfectly. ? As I told you, I am computer stupid, but I do know a few little things. I turned to my son and said, "You did re-start it after you did the system recovery, didn't you?" AH-NO, HE DIDN'T!!! Embarased, we slinked out of the Geek Squad area. At least they didn't charge us for being computer idiots! I was relieved that it only cost me the gas to drive there!

Monday, July 03, 2006

AH! Summertime!

I don't have a clue why - but the teenage boys in this house want to stay up all night and sleep all day! They like to play video games, and communicate with their friends on "My Space". I have tried to reason with them. Why don't they just go to bed at midnight or so, then get up early and play their games? Nope - for some reason they want to stay up until 0430 or 0530, then go to bed and sleep until the afternoon. I don't get it, when they stay up all night, they have to be quiet, to not wake up the moms. Last night I admonished them about the laughing and the noise. They are both good boys, and I have nothing to complain about. I try not to nag the hell out of them, but at the same time, I feel like it is my job to keep them on the straight and narrow path. I try to remember that next year they will be working in the summer, and that they should enjoy their childhood as long as possible. Maybe I am too easy on them, but I know that they will only be young for a short time. I also have allowed my son to grow his hair long for the first time this year. He is sixteen, and I am trying to let him make his own decisions about these things. Soon he will be getting his driver's license, another scary event! This mom thing is a lot more worrisome than I originally thought it would be!