Sunday, October 29, 2006

Luck favors the prepared

A quote from The Incredibles sums up my feeling, although the main culprit seems to be miscommunication: School Safety Drill Upsets Some Parents

A school safety drill that included police officers in riot gear with weapons has caused concern among some parents who say it was too realistic and frightened some students.

Police in the western Michigan community of Wyoming entered two classrooms at Lee Middle and High School on Thursday and announced there was a threat to the school, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Students, who were unaware police were conducting a drill, were taken from the classroom into the halls, patted down by officers and asked what they had in their pockets, the newspaper said.

"Some of these kids were so scared, they just about wet their pants," said Marge Bradshaw, a parent with four children in Godfrey-Lee Schools. "I think it's pure wrong that the students and parents were not informed of this."

Officers wore protective gear, including vests and helmets, and carried rifles that were unloaded and marked with colored tape to indicate they were not live weapons, the newspaper said.

Diana Silva, a parent of an eighth-grade student, said the drill went too far.

"My child was with his face to the wall in the hallway of the high school," Silva said. "I certainly don't want anything like this happening to my child."

Principal David Britten said students weren't told ahead of time to make the drill as realistic as possible. Teachers were informed moments before it took place, he said.

"I think this is the best way to do it," Britten said. "We're not looking to scare anyone, but we want a sense of urgency."

But Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody said his officers were not aware students and parents were not told. He said his department will mandate that parents be notified ahead of time in the future.

"The purpose was to show how we will evacuate the classroom, not to assault the classroom," Carmody said.

I don't think it went too far. I think there whould have been some better communication here, but I don't think any lines were crossed. As for scaring the kids, junior highers are old enough they should understand that not everybody is nice and that death is a real possiblity in some situations...situations that have presented themselves in a very real way recently. If this was dealing with grade schoolers, we might have some issues.

5K...good, coulda done better

Well, the Gumbo Flats Pumpkin Run was pretty fun. Lots of people there. I felt like I held back a little too much for the start...especially because my 1 mile time was 7:57. As I finished, my stomach started churning (which was odd for me when all I ate was a half peanut butter & jelly sandwich about 2 hours before hand) and slowed my ending sprint a bit (didn't think it'd be impressive to puke before or after I crossed the line).

The results? 39 overall. 2nd in age group (M 25-29). Chip time 23:15, gun time 23:35. Pace - 7:30/M.

I'm pretty pleased with this as an addition to my running resume.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A waste of time

While doing my ambulance clinical, we hit a slow time and had no calls. After cleaning the ambulance and kitchen, there wasn't much to do. So the crew rented a couple of movies. One was "The Hills have Eyes." After a long hiatus of horror film watching (mainly due to my wife's abhorrence of gore), I've decided I haven't missed much.

The movie was a complete waste of time. Filled with old and well used stories from the 50's era atomic fearfests and massive plot holes, it was a tedious workout to watch. I ended up saying things like "good job moron, you're dead" or "yeah, stabbing him in the freaking leg with a screwdriver was *REAL* time try something that might actually kill him." The people are utterly the point where you don't feel bad that they died. The bad guys are a cross between low grade morons and magical, omnipotent they'll pull brilliant tricks followed by completely idiotic moves (yeah, chase the guy with a gun).

I guess my frustration is whatever happened to the "good" bad guys. The alien in the first Alien movie was intellegent and sneaky. Signs freaked you out by just blowing wind through corn. Here was just a lot of gross stuff...gross, not scary. The third time you see some poor sap get a miner's pick put through his head, it gets old. Oh, well. I guess this means I still love my Hitchcock movies and old twilight zone episodes (Christmas gift hints).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Who's in the stall next to you?

It might be someone of the opposite sex:Transgender men free to use ALL of MTA's loos

Men who live as women can now legally use women's rest rooms in New York's transit system under an unprecedented deal revealed yesterday.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed to allow riders to use MTA rest rooms "consistent with their gender expression," the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund announced yesterday.

The group filed a complaint against the MTA on behalf of a 70-year-old telephone repair technician who was arrested for using the women's room at Grand Central Terminal.

The technician, who is assigned to the terminal by Verizon, was born Henry McGuinness but now goes by Helena Stone.

"I'm a 24-hour woman," Stone declared proudly. "I just feel like a woman and I like to wear women's clothes."

The MTA would not comment on the settlement but Stone's lawyer said it also includes mandatory transgender sensitivity training for MTA employees and a $2,000 payment to the technician for legal fees.

Michael Sullivan, Stone's lawyer, called the settlement of the complaint with the Human Rights Commission a "milestone" toward recognition of the city law that prohibits discrimination against transgender men and women.

But some Metro-North riders at Grand Central yesterday were stunned by the ruling.

"I would not like that," said Gloria David, a retiree from Connecticut. "I have nothing against gay men or drag queens, but they can use the men's room. I just don't want to go to the bathroom next to a man."

One rider feared predators might dress as women and lurk in the women's room.

I would have a tendency to agree that is a realistic fear. I really suspect this is not the best course of action...and it just weirds me out.

Heh...let 'em...

War Critics Try to Recruit Military

Anti-war groups are trying to rally active troops to speak out against the war in Iraq _ a political tactic they hope will sway voters Nov. 7.

A small group of active-duty members opposed to the war created a Web site last month intended to collect thousands of signatures of other service members. People can submit their name, rank and duty station if they support statements denouncing the U.S. invasion.

The electronic grievances are then passed along to members of Congress, according to the Web site.

"Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home," the Web site says.

Jonathan Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web site a month ago, said the group has collected 118 names and is trying to verify that they are legitimate service members.

There are 1.4 million troops on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserve.

I wonder if they don't realize something about the military...well, at least the politians do:

But at least two senators _ both critical of the administration's handling of the war in Iraq _ said they were concerned that service members speaking out against the president may undermine the military's apolitical status.

The military is overwhelmingly conservative. The last study I heard had the figure at 75% republican. I suspect the politicians are afraid of the large number supporting the war regardless of how they see it being run. There are a few that don't agree with it, but the vast majority will support the war. If active-duty personnel begin to say what they think, the anti-war crowd will be sorely disappointed...and the anti-war politicians realize this as a pandora's box for them.

I say, let us talk. We've got lots to say...

Edit: Dishonest headline of the day. Reuters (aka al-Reuters by some) posts this cute headline: U.S. troops on active duty call for Iraq withdrawal. I'm sorry, but 218 signitories is rather insignificant considering the current number of active and reserve duty military is 1.5 million. Throw in IRR and that gets closer to 2.5 million. I suppose it catches attention, but the dishonest isn't cool.

Friday, October 20, 2006

House Defense Chair asks Pentagon to tell CNN to "get bent"


The chair of the House Armed Services Committee asked the Pentagon today to remove C-N-N reporters embedded with U-S combat units.
The network televised portions of a video on Wednesday showing insurgent snipers targeting U-S military personnel.

Executives said the tape came to the network unexpectedly through contact with an insurgent leader.

Representative Duncan Hunter wrote in his letter that, quote, "C-N-N has now served as the publicist for an enemy propaganda film featuring the killing of an American soldier."

San Diego-area Republicans Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray also signed the letter.

C-N-N executives defended their decision to air the footage, saying its news value outweighed other concerns.

To break it down "Barney" style, "CNN, get bent."

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Dow Ends Above 12,000 for the First Time

My S&P 500-based retirement fund is doing swimmingly...

Sting rules

I've liked a lot of Sting's music...and his weird bit parts in movies (like the one in Dune). Now I like him even more:Sting says today's rock is a bore

Today's popular stuff all sounds the same and has weak lyrics. A few bands put out some good or unique stuff, but by and large, most bands suck.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wow, it's busy

Between school, work, and drill, I've been super busy. The end result is a major lack of posts. It's still going to be busy until around Thanksgiving. At any rate, here's some updates:

Marine Corps Ball is coming (yeah)
Ran a PFT today: 11 pullups, 100 crunches, and a 22:07 run. A 230...not too bad. Definately a first class.

In dumb things other people have done, we have this:Fear of injuries, suits prompts Boston area grade school to ban tag at recess
TTLEBORO, Mass. Tag is as much a tradition at recess as the lunch lady is in the cafeteria. But when youngsters at a suburban Boston school go outside, they'll get in trouble if they try to play tag.
The age-old game is now banned by the principal, who says recess is a time "when accidents can happen." Officials are also afraid if someone gets hurt, the school will get sued.

Along with tag, the youngsters can't play touch football or any other game in which they're chasing each other.

Tag bans aren't entirely unheard of across the country. As for the Attleboro, Massachusetts, school, reaction is mixed. One mom says she's seen "enough near collisions" on the playground to justify the ban. But another mom calls it an example of kids' lives being "micromanaged."

Good job. Let's not let kids figure out real-world physics, tactics, descision-making, and a mass of other social lessons, because of the remote chance some idiot lawyer might try to sue the school district. Morons.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Miracle of Conductivity

Lightning always seeks the easiest path: Lightning exits woman's bottom

A WOMAN has suffered severe burning to her anus after being struck by lightning which hit her in the mouth and passed right through her body.

Natasha Timarovic, 27, was cleaning her teeth at home when lightning struck the building.

She said: "I had just put my mouth under the tap to rinse away the toothpaste when the lightning must have struck the building.

I don't remember much after that, but I was later told that the lightning had travelled down the water pipe and struck me on the mouth, passing through my body.

It was incredibly painful, I felt it pass through my torso and then I don't remember much at all." Doctors at the city hospital where she was treated for burns to the mouth and rear said: "The accident is bizarre but not impossible.

She was wearing rubber bathroom shoes at the time and so instead of earthing through her feet it appears the electricity shot out of her backside," a medic told local television news channel, 24 Sata.

"It appears to have earthed through the damp shower curtain that she was touching as she bent over to put her mouth under the tap. If she had not been wearing the shoes she would probably have been killed by the blast."

Lesson for the day? I'm not really sure.

What were you thinking?

What can you say? Mom Accused of Swinging Baby As Weapon

A woman used her 4-week-old baby as a weapon in a domestic dispute, swinging the infant through the air and striking her boyfriend with the child, authorities said.

The boy was in serious but stable condition Monday at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, police said.

"Never, never, never. I can never remember anything like this," District Attorney Bradley Foulk told the Erie Times-News.

Chytoria Graham, 27, of Erie, was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and simple assault. She was held Monday in the Erie County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.

The infant, whose name was not released, suffered a fractured skull and some bleeding in the brain, authorities said. His head hit Graham's boyfriend, the baby's father, police Lt. Dan Spizarny said.

Authorities removed four other children from Graham's home and placed them with the Erie County Office of Children and Youth, Foulk said.


Monday, October 09, 2006


You should know your consituents:
DNC supports vets...but from which country?
The Democrats Support the Troops...

Note to local DNC...if you're "fighting for veteran's benefits" at least know your uniforms.

Something to Grok

Years ago, I read Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and the phrase grok was introduced into my world. The word basically means to think or mull over the subject until you come to an understanding about it. Today, I read something I need to think may relate to something I've been thinking about for a long time: Evangelicals Blame Foley, Not Republican Party

Where liberals tend to think of collective responsibility, conservative Christians focus on personal morality. “The conservative Christian audience or base has this acute moral lens through which they look at this, and it is very personal,” Mr. Dunn said. “This is Foley’s personal sin.”

I have noted a common thread in many leftist comments and actions that all relate to an adversion to physical courage. They seem to put more "status" in "speaking out" and relate this with many of the adjectives that are normally associated with physical courage. I'm still pulling vague strands together here, but I'm wondering if there is more to concider in this respect. Perhaps how each side reflects on responsibility may add a new dimension to my "groking" of this...

Another crazy clinical

I did my second 12-hour ER clinical on saturday. It was pretty normal, day-wise...though, a bit more memorable than my first stint. I had a 6 year-old with chin and forehead lacerations (she was in a car that was t-boned) and covered in glass. We had a death there...she had a massive brain bleed. She came in with a blood pressure of 42/12 and required a femoral line. The night ended with a guy on blood thinners (and a recent surgery) with blood everywhere. In other words, it was interesting.

Next up will be my ambulance rides. I think I'm going to try to stick with our local ambulance service (they're pretty busy). Should be interesting as well.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Don't do this...

One of the loves I have of this country is its free speech (mostly free anyway). Now every once in a while, someone gets carried away. Someone like this: 'Ban Harry Potter or face more school shootings'

A woman who maintains that the Harry Potter books are an attempt to teach children witchcraft is pushing for the second time to have them banned from school libraries.

Laura Mallory, a mother of four from the Atlanta suburb of Loganville, told a Georgia Board of Education officer that the books by British author J.K. Rowling, sought to indoctrinate children as Wiccans, or practitioners of religious witchcraft.

Referring to the recent rash of deadly assaults at schools, Mallory said books that promote evil - as she claims the Potter ones do - help foster the kind of culture where school shootings happen.

That would not happen if students instead read the Bible, Mallory said.

She added that the books were harmful to children who are unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy.

The children, she said, try to imitate Harry Potter and cast spells on classmates.

"They're not educationally suitable and have been shown to be harmful to some kids," Mallory said.

She argued that teachers do not assign other religious books like the Bible as student reading.

This goes a bit far. Teachers do assign readings from the likes of JRR Tokien and CS Lewis...which are clearly Christian orientated. At any rate, I'm careful about what books should be banned (there are some that I think should be left out of grade school libraries...stuff like 'A Rumor of War' and some other more explict stuff should probably be left to junior high and up). Now, I did note that they found the most...uh...eye-catching statement (and a dumb one at that) to post up. That being a UK website, I do wonder how many think the US is full of these "nutters?"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Clinical Madness

I did my ER clinicals yesterday for my EMT-Basic class. It was 12 very interesting hours. You meet all kinds there. There was the older man with gangrene (whew, what a smell) and the one heck of a trooper 6 year-old girl who busted her arm big time (she didn't cry at all and watched them draw blood and put in her IV). All in all, it was fun and educational. Unfortunately, it has left me with no weekend...and I'm doing my second 12-hour shift on Saturday.