The Deadly Unexplained Lap Dance of Michael Brown & Officer Wilson

The most disappointing news out of Ferguson, MO., the last 24-hours was not that Officer Wilson would avoid charges in the Michael Brown shooting.  We all pretty much expected such results.  Policing is frequently based on judgements made in a split second, and officers deserve the benefit of the doubt in dicey situations.  

But since August 9th, and as a former cop, I've had one burning question that I really hoped Officer Wilson would answer once the investigations were all over.

 Explain that Lap Dance, Darren.  What the hell were you doing?  What Police Academy taught you that?

What kind of trained, experienced, police officer would let 6 ft, 300-lb, “Hulk Hogan,” or any other person  --much less a suspect-- stand in his drivers window like you let Brown do you?  

You were vulnerable, Darren, at a disadvantage from the beginning, if things went sideways:
  • You're sitting down and belted-in,
  • Your door is blocked but your window open to eye-level punches
    -or a bullet between the eyes from a gun casually flicked out out of the waistband,
    -or maybe just a razor blade across the cheek,
  • You've got both limited visibility & limited mobility up and behind you,
  • and all this was going on with a second suspect god-only-knows-where
  • doing-god-only-knows-what out of your view, even if it's just cutting the valve stems of your tires.

You can’t get to your Sam Brown belt for mace, handcuffs, a collapsable baton, or a blackjack.  You're barely controlling your weapon.  How'd you get into that mess?  I'd really like to know.  

I'd also like to hear why you didn’t drop your cruiser into drive and floor the gas pedal, about the only other non-lethal defensive tactic left to your poor judgement.  Acceleration 0-60-mph, perhaps with a sudden deceleration at the end, would throw any attacker off balance, probably break some bones.  

So now Michael Brown is dead.  You're likely out of the police business for life.  The nation is in turmoil.  And your story has already been added to police patrol curriculums around the nation, but not in the way you'd have hoped.  

I guess if you can't be a good influence; you can always be a terrible warning.  But I'm sorry for you, Michael, and for us all.  

If White, a "Patriot;" If Black, an "Outside Agitator"

When bunch of gun-toting white people congregate from all over the country in Bunkerville, NV, to intimidate BLM law enforcement agents enforcing a legal contract with Clive Bundy as well as a federal court order, they're "patriots."

But when black citizens travel Ferguson, MO, to stand up to the oppression of the state against militarized police, they're "outside agitators" and "looting tourism."

Bundy had the "sovereign citizens" movement on his side, who claim the United States has no control over them at all. The black community gathering in Ferguson attracted the New Black Panthers, who just ask to be equal partners in the American play.

Ferguson: Who are the outside agitators entering the fray? (+video) -

One Riot, One Ranger in Ferguson, MO

The Difference between Policing a Community and Occupying a Community:
Courage,   Dignity,   Rights,   Respect  

Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol marches with protesters in Ferguson, MO

St. Louis County SWAT team arrives to Occupy Ferguson, MO

Texas Rangers are legendary for their hard-nosed law enforcement, as well their sense of justice and fairplay, as famous for taking on corrupt sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges as taking on bad guys.  Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol gets my vote for Honorary Texas Ranger for demonstrating exceptional intelligence, dignity, and dedication the rule of law as well as the exercise of the rights of citizenship.   

"terrorist" creep? I'd call the Brooklyn Bridge Skateboarders Heroes

Somebody, possibly skateboarders, replaced the American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge with white flags.  The President of the Brooklyn council called it "an act of terrorism," in an NPR radio interview.  

Terrorist?  Really?   These young men --there's grainy video-- are Heroes of New York City.  They demonstrated a weakness in the defenses of this vital artery.  No one was hurt, few were frightened, and no real damage was done.  These heroes risked their lives to show a genuine  lapse in security at the Brooklyn Bridge.  

Sure, the police were embarrassed.  Too bad.  But that doesn't make these kids "terrorists." 

White-flag incident is the latest terror scare at Brooklyn Bridge - NY Daily News

Memento Mori

Coffee that was beans 5 minutes ago. Yogurt, honey and blueberries from my own labors. Flat surfaces piled with cukes, squash, okra and tomatoes. A barrel of basil next to the door.  

A good read under the trees next to the fountain, my own Walden puddle...with frogs!  Dove hunting through the Blackeyed Susans. Cairns scooping out cools spots under the Camellias.  

Gayle and I glance across the skeeter ditch at the lush green cemetery beyond.  A living memento mori we don't have to mow.  

Today I am the happiest, richest, most contented man in the world.  A very Jeffersonian feeling.  

43 Gals of Black Gold

Harvested the worm compost yesterday.  The worms turned one year's kitchen waste into 43 gallons of Black Gold:  

  • discarded lettuce leaves,
  • vegetable trimmings, 
  • soft fruit,
  • vegetable peels, 
  • coffee grounds, 
  • tea bags, 
  • moldy peppers, 
  • slimey lettuce,
  • old bread, 
  • onion & garlic skins,
  • even the crumbs in the bottom of the cracker box.

We shred newspapers and junk mail for bedding and to add carbon.  I also add a shovel full of shredded coconut coir every now and then for tilth.  

We almost NEVER put our garbage can out for the collectors.  

Today I'll use some of that Black Gold  to amend the garden for our okra sprouts and then side-dress all tomatoes and peppers.  

Make your own worm composter: 

Build a Raider-Proof worm composting bin from a food grade barrel video - GardenFork.TV Cooking & DIY Videos : GardenFork.TV Cooking & DIY Videos 

Eric has a bunch of DIY worm composting information on the Gardenfork.TV site: 

Search for "worm" - GardenFork.TV Cooking & DIY Videos : GardenFork.TV Cooking & DIY Videos

Jupiter, Mercury & a Priest walk into a Theatre

Queen Mary 2, Sunday, 11 May 2014

Second Day at Sea

I wonder what symbolist Robert Langdon would make of it.  Catholic Mass is being held this morning in the Illuminations Theater. 

Worshipers must enter the temple of Illumination, the Queen Mary 2's planetarium & the only planetarium at sea, between giant bronze  statues of Zeus on one side and Hermes on the other.   

Since the British were much more interested in the ancient Roman Republic than Athenian, and this is a British ship, I suppose the statues are actually of Jupiter and Mercury.  

Flanking the old Greek Gods are goddesses, I think of them as the Fates, juggling orbs of light.  Suns.  

Lonely business being a priest on a cruise ship at 0700, it appears.  

art queen mary 2

Paying the Poor Tax in London

Craven Terrace, London  Thursday, 08 May 2014

Paying the Poor Tax in London

I'm propped in the linted corner of a laundromat writing this note and paying the poor tax. 

Being poor is expensive.  

I always forget how expensive until Gayle & I run out of  "small clothes."   And when we find a Laundromat I'm immediately reminded of every set of military orders and every Laundromat we've ever suffered through between duty stations.   I think I've done laundry in at least 20 countries now, plus innumerable loads at sea or in various ports.  

Laundry on the go, it's my superpower.  

At best, though, my superpower is a rather blunt instrument.  So if Gayle's clothes are involved, close supervision is required when i wield my power.  

Gayle splashes with me down to the Laundromat, dragging our rolling carry-on stuffed with smelly clothes, wheels throwing tiny twin rooster-tails in the rain.  Once she gets both me and the laundry properly sorted, I'm on my own.  Gayle zips off on the Underground.  Kensington Palace today and afternoon tea in the Orangery.  

I've got the watch.  

The Poor Tax (1.6 USD to 1£), 
4£ per load.  (we run three),
20 pence for soap (3),  
50 pence for 5 measly minutes of drying (a pocketful of silver), 
And don't forfet the soul-numbing time suck...unless you happen to be a reader.  

This morning none of my fellow inmates seem bookish.  So they fidget. And gossip. And fiddle with their phones.  And criticize everything.  

Almost immediately I'm inducted into the London Chapter of the Order of the Laundromat when a petite black-haired Slovakian girl corrects my drying technique.  

"You're wasting money," she disapproves in barely accented English (want to annoy an American? Speak multiple languages).  Uninvited, she then proceeds to instruct me in how to stretch each pence of drying time. 

I immediately adopt the local custom of letting the clothes "rest" for 10 minutes between each 50 pence, 5-minute load.  According to The Order, this allows the clothes to soak up the residual heat in the dryers, evaporating as much water as possible between each coin drop.  

I know I'm doing it right when the attendant, Indian perhaps (that's Indian with the dot, not Indian with the arrows), sallies forth from his cubby to periodically glare at the members of The Order and all of his dryers unprofitably "resting." 

Serves him right.  Getting change out of him is like obtaining an interview with the Raj.  

"How many loads?" 
I don't know, three maybe four.  
"How many drying?"  
I don't know, how good are your dryers?  
"20 pound note is too much change."  
What do you recommend?  
"Maybe 10 pounds this time, then you come back."  
All I have is a 20. 
grumble, grumble. grumble.

The universal rule of laundromats:  If the attendant is unhappy, you're doing it right.  

My washday victory is short lived, however.  The attendant punishes me with a coat pocket full of coin worthy of poor, twisted-lip Huge Boone.  Still, somehow, I feel as if I "won."  I just don't know what.  In the end, it's just two old guys at the intersection of East & West, both pissing against the wind of time.  

I am lonely as cloud.  And, hauling my pocket load of coppers & wash back up to Sussex Gardens, as water sodden as a cloud too. 

Actually, today is a good day to pay the poor tax.  London is suicidal grey, rain the color of molten lead.  Soaking.  Unrelenting.  Despondent.  

I admire Londoner's their stoicism as they trudge past me on their way to the underground.   Worn faces, even the young ones, lined like Shar-Peis, streaming water and Churchillian determination-- blood, toil, tears & sweat.  The great wars might be long passed, but modern Londoners face this latest bombardment of raindrops with nothing less than the grit of their grandfathers.

Tomorrow we board the Queen Elizabeth 2 for America.  

Better to salvage a washed-out vacation day by catching up on laundry now than wasting a day aboard ship doing laundry when we could be doing absolutely nothing, but doing absolutely nothing with grand style. 

BTW, if you want "Fish & Chips" just take a can of peas down to Long John Silvers.