Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kris Kross

Dig that 90’s vintage title, eh? Well, this has nothing at all to do with Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac.

Unless, of course, they happen to be “krossing” the street here in the national capitol area and have to jump. Or anywhere else for that matter.

I was wondering this morning, again, why it is I have to wait for slow ass pedestrians to amble their way akross the street with their fanny pacs and strollers and coolers and various and sundry other crap? A corollary thought: Why is it whenever I’m krossing (OK, last time I’ll do that) a street in D.C. or in Arlington or Old Towne, am I taking my life in my hands as I stare down impatient drivers with glazed eyes ready to gun their hybrids, Minis and smart cars through the intersection?

One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed when it comes to the automobile-pedestrian interface, aside from the one that occurs when metal contacts flesh, are caused by peds trying to cross the street when cars trying to turn and cars trying to turn when peds are trying to cross. Like matter and anti-matter, the two can’t exist in the same space, which we should give a fancy name like...like…the carbon-iron crumple zone or hemato-hardtop amalgam area.

Getting hit by a car sucks some major ass (trust me on this). And, unfortunately, we are graced here in the nation’s capital with potent mix to pour into the HHAA: Some of the dumbest drivers in the country, hoards of invading tourists (tourons for you locals) and an army of self-important navel-gazing locals too plugged into their iPods and Crackberries to notice the world ending around them let alone the grandmother from Nebraska bearing down on them in her Olds. And, in case I forget, our friends and neighbors who make use of their pedal-propelled two-wheelers often just add to the chaos. It’s like mixing Octol with Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine and dipping the whole thing in trinitroglycerin for that extra special finish.

I’m constantly surprised there aren’t fatal car v. pedestrian accidents (as my friend, The Doc, and his colleagues call them in the ER) every. single. day.

So, I got to thinking, how could we make life safer for peds and less of a potential insurance nightmare for drivers? And, I’m sure I’m not the first to come up with this idea, but how about making sure the two groups never (legally) attempt to share the same space at the same time.

What’s the busiest intersection in D.C. pedestrian (touron) and car-wise? I’d have to go with one of the ones along Constitution Avenue. Say the one at 12th Street Northwest where the tunnel from I-395 spills into the city.

Wouldn’t it be easier and safer for everyone involved, to have the cars moving at one time and the pedestrians at another? Instead of having drivers trying to make turns through the people in the crushwalk, oh, I mean crosswalk, and who among us hasn’t been brushed by a bumper (or done the brushing), how about having red lights going all four ways.

And you’d have the following:

A friend of mine said, when I mentioned this idea, “But there’s no way I could make it across two streets, so I’d have to wait twice.” Well, my friend, you already have to wait twice, and with my plan you could cut your waiting time in half.
Without the fear of cars in the intersection, you could cross from one corner (A) to the opposite corner (C) without having to go to (B) along the way. In fact, during one “Walk” cycle pedestrians could, if they so choose, go from A to B, and A to D, as well as B to A, B to C, B to D, C to A, C to B, C to D, D to A, D to B, and D to C. I think I got ‘em all there.

And then, when the signs say “Don’t Walk” drivers would be free. Free to turn left or right or go straight. Or, if they’re so inclined and as a friend of mine once said, “I can’t go straight, but I can go gaily forward,” which I’ve always thought was a great comment when receiving directions.

I know it would probably take a bit of effort to sync up all the different cycles (just like my ex and her suite mates back in Chapel Hill), but I bet once it was working it’d be gooood.

So, would it work? What haven’t I thought of?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

TMI Thursday: 175 mph

It's TMI Thursday my friends. For more stories that will entertain and disgust you at the same time go to LiLu’s place for this week's full list. And now, on to the fun!

This story is not mine. It belongs to a friend, but it’s just so damn funny and disgusting, well, I had to share it with y’all.

Anybody ever been to a dump? If you haven’t, here’s a picture of the Fresh Kills Landfill up on Staten Island in New York City. Please note the resident wildlife milling about (yeah, the gulls).

My friend, The Doc, in addition to his prodigious skills as a healer, also has another unique skill set. Before med school, he was a member of that intrepid band of warriors who, strangely, wear Girl Scout hats.

During his tour in Iraq a couple of years ago, as his team was returning to base on their Little Birds (after spreading Truth, Justice and the American Way), their flight path took them over the trash dump that had formed outside their base.

He was in the third of four helicopters flying at low-level. Although, when I say “in” the helicopter, that’s a bit of an overstatement. “On” the helicopter would be a more accurate way to describe his location. Kinda like this (the formation was pretty much the same as well):

The first helo skimmed over the dump and startled the birds. As the second Little Bird flew over, the gulls were just starting to take off. As my friend’s bird reaches the spot right over the dump, the gulls were in full flight.

I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever spent any time inside a Cuisinart, but that’s how the situation was later described to this (former) reporter.

To get through the flock of birds as fast as possible, the pilot on The Doc’s helo firewalled his throttle (175 mph) and powered on through with his 27.4-foot main rotor (8.3 meters for those of you using the metric system), chopping a bloody path through the startled flock of birds. Not so bad for him and his co-pilot, they were inside, but not a pleasant experience for The Doc and the other three guys riding on the outside of the bird…with the insides of birds on their outsides.

Puts a whole new spin on the Fonz’s advice: Never smile when you ride a motorcycle, you’ll get bugs in your teeth.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Danger: Do not watch the arch

I meant to write this a month or so ago (OK, two months), but it kept getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. Trust me, it’ll make sense in the end.

Back in April a friend responded to my hockey game invite, an event she said she probably wouldn’t have gone to on her own, with an invite of her own. The event was a concert I know I would never have gone to on my own. It never would have even registered on my radar.

The concert at GW’s Lisner Auditorium opened with Dobet Gnahoré, a wonderful and soulful singer from the Ivory Coast, and headlined with Habib Kotié and Bamada from Mali. Let me tell you, if you’ve never seen a West African rock band, you don’t know what you’re missing. They ROCKED! The only words I understood all night were the song and band introductions they did in English, and the one song my friend kindly, and softly, translated from French.

But you know what? None of that mattered. Music is a universal language and through their music, particularly Kotié and Bamada’s, I got the gist of what they were trying to get across. Along with the expected instruments I heard many other unique voices telling their stories in the music including a fiddle, a blues guitar, a steel guitar and a flute. Add to this an amazing drummer whose hands moved so fast they weren’t even a blur, and you had some pretty powerful music.

Fans were dancing in the aisles and waving their hands and throwing money on the stage (an African custom, I’m told). It was a long way from the experience of this white boy.

It was an amazing experience both musically and personally and I’m thankful I got the chance to hear these artists. But that’s the kind of thing friends do: They challenge you to grow beyond yourself.

Anyway, the concert was wonderful in almost all respects.

“But Foggy, you said it was a great show, what could possibly have made it less than wonderful?”

I’ll tell you what could do it: the jackass sitting three or four rows in front of me and my friend in the darkened hall. The jackass with the camera. The jackass with the camera who insisted on taking flash pictures of himself and his friends in the darkened hall.
Leaving aside the great big sign outside the hall that said: Do Not Take Pictures! (or something to that effect), this is a serious douche move.
I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever welded, but the first thing you’re taught is to never look at the arc. E-ver. Looking at a welding arc is like looking at the sun, it leaves a really big hole in your vision. (Just to explain the he picture above: It comes from my friend MB’s theater scene shop down in Dallas. It used to say “Do not look at the arc” right up to the point where some moron applied for a job and listed on his resume “Skilled at arch welding.” They never bothered to find out if it was a typo or if he was, in fact, skilled at welding arches since he didn’t get a call-back. But the sign was changed in memoriam.)
It’s kinda the same effect you get when some idiot decides to take a flash picture in a darkened auditorium. When a little point-and-shoot camera is used in a really dark room it throws out as much light as it can to try and brighten up the place. On the receiving end, your eyes are already dilated because of the dark so your optic nerve gets the full-strength blast of light.
Not fun, and just plain rude to boot.
So the next time you’re at some show or club or whatever and you think now’s just the perfect time to pull out your camera and record the event for posterity, don’t. The camera you save may be your own.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A walk on the Mall

A couple of weeks ago I went up to Clarendon to watch a bike race and take a couple of pictures. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the bicyclists were whizzing around the course at top speed. And there's where I ran into my first problem.

Something happened to me that hasn't happened to me in a very, very long while: I got blurry pictures. I admit it, I just wasn't used to my new camera yet and I paid the price with 150 or so blurry pictures of bicyclists.

In an attempt to make sure this didn't happen again, I went for a walk on Sunday to get better acquainted with my new toy.

As I said to someone Monday, the sky was so perfectly blue it would have been a crime not to take advantage of the opportunity. I grabbed my camera bag and headed down to the Mall.

The result was the most pictures I've ever taken in such a short period of time. More than 400, 408 to be exact. (Four hundred and nine if you count the accidental picture I took of the ground when my finger hit the vertical release.) By comparison, during 10 days in Ireland, I shot 35 or so rolls of 36-exposure film, or about 1,200 pictures.

Some of the things I was trying to do was learn how, again, to play with exposures and lighting and all that. I think I'm getting the hang of it now. For example, the next two shots were taken with the same "film speed," ISO 100, but this one was shot at 1/640 of a second:

While this one was taken at just 1/10 of a second. Kind of a neat difference in effect the water makes, eh?

I won't bore you with more technical details of the pictures, I just hope you like them.

I've always liked this sculpture, there's just something about it. One funny, though, the sculptor really must have liked it since there's one exactly like it on O'Connell Street in Dublin.

See what I mean about the blue, blue sky? Doesn't the Capitol actually look nice?

As part of my stroll, I took a few moments to walk through the Botanical Gardens' outdoor space. If you're looking for a place to take a date, not a first date of course, this isn't a bad choice.

Well, that's all for now. If anyone has any suggestions for good place to take pictures around the area, I'm just like the rabbit, all ears.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Old Southwest

Who says living in Arlington isn't tough? Not this guy. 

For the record, this is the very first video I've ever uploaded. Mama's little Dew is growing up so fast. Have a great weekend. 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

TMI Thursday: “I need a Beef ‘n Cheddar, Stat!”

It's TMI Thursday my friends. For more stories that will entertain and disgust you at the same time go to LiLu’s place for this week's full list. And now, on to the fun!

Y’all remember that summer before you went off to college? Remember how busy it was and the things you did and how you thought life couldn’t get any better? Many of us had that summer but, unlike most of you who had yours when you were 18, mine came a little later.

I’d finished up my stint in the Marines the previous fall and had immediately jumped into school part-time (the admissions folks in the Southern Part of Heaven thought it best I ease into the whole college thing, pshaw!) and working most of the rest to pay bills I didn’t know existed while I was in the Corps. Yanno, like rent and food and such. The real world outside the Marines is an expensive place.

Anyway, after I blew off the crappy job working at the Applebee’s in Durham on two-hours notice so I could spend the next nine days working the load-in and -out of the Pink Floyd concert in Raleigh, I had enough money to relax a bit during the coming summer months.

If I moved home, that is.

So I packed my meager belongings in to my Dodge Shadow and headed back to the ‘Burgh for the next three months. Turns out that was one of the best choices I ever made.

My pretty damn smart youngest brother (as opposed to my pretty damn smart younger brother) was spending the summer at home as well after graduating from UofD and being commission in the Marine Corps. Coincidentally, at this time, younger brother was in the Panama Canal Zone with the Marine Security Forces. But that’s neither here nor there.

Youngest brother and I went on a tear that lasted from the first weeks of June, until the middle of August when he spent the long weekend down in Chapel Hill as I started my freshman year of school. During the days we were mild-mannered construction workers building a new retaining wall for our parents. By night though, we became alcoholic super heroes.

For example, late, late one night, at a place called Chiodo’s in Homestead, my brother decided walking to the bathroom just wasn’t worth it, seeing as how we were on the dirt patio out back. (Check out the picture of the bra collection hanging from the ceiling, the owner of one I got to know very well that summer. But that’s another story.) Instead, he grabbed the empty Xingu bottle on our table and … refilled it.

A few minutes later, as the bar tender was tidying up to close the joint down, he came out back and began gathering up the bottles. Any left-over beer was unceremoniously dumped.

When he reached the Xingu and tipped it over, I commented, “Man, what a shame to dump that out.” And he said, “It was warm anyway.” To which my brother replied, “Yeah, and I bet tastes like piss anyway.”

As the summer went on out nights started early and ended later and later. So late, in fact, they once or twice collided with our parents’ mornings. One morning in particular in spectacular fashion.

The story actually starts around noon of the day in question. My brother entered my room just as I was regaining consciousness, looked at me and said, “I need a Beef ‘n Cheddar, Stat.”

So I threw on some clothes and we headed up the road to the local Arby’s. Over our lunch of meat, cheese (we actually got the Arby Melt, a smaller and equally delicious version of the B’nC, which were on sale 5 for $5) and curly fries, little brother told me how our night actually ended.

After arriving home around 4:30 (a record that stood for almost a week) we immediately headed to bed. As we all know, one of the things that often happens post-cocktail (especially post-a lot of cocktails) is the absolute necessity of taking, as it is known up in Red Soxland, a wicked piss. It’s a good thing the last thing he did before getting into bed was strip nekid, since boxers would just get in the way in the moments to come.

This is where the collision of worlds takes place. Around the time my brother is dragging his drunk, naked ass out of bed, our dad, who’d already been up for five or 10 minutes, was in the bathroom shaving.

Knock, knock.

Dad opens the door, shaving cream on his face. “I gotta go,” my brother mumbled. “I’ll be done in a minute,” was the response. “Don’t worry, I’ll just go downstairs.” “No, no, I’m almost done…” this to my brother’s back as he heads for the stairs.

‘Bout halfway down the stairs my brother meets our mother who’s coming back up with a cup of coffee.

“Hey Mom.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


According to DCist, Screen on the Green has been saved! Now there's no excuse to sit around on Monday nights (at least four of them) this summer.

C'mon out and watch idiots dance around to the HBO opener, laugh at the cartoon and, during the first movie, Richard Dreyfus make mountains out of mashed potatoes.

For a memory of last year's SotG, go here.

See you at the movies!

To Tase, or not to Tase?

That must have been the question running through this Travis County, Texas, sheriffs deputy's mind. "Do I really, really want to do this and what does my dashboard cam see?"

Seriously, go here read the article and watch the video. (I wish I were more adept and could upload it here, but I can't, so deal.) The video is priceless, especially if you're the deputy's attorney.

How often do you get to see a sheriff's deputy Tase a 72-year-old woman during a traffic stop? The best part? I didn't know you could actually scream with 50,000 volts running through your body.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No 89th chances

Wait…did you hear that? That sound of electronic silence, the same one my phone, TV and computer were making last night (or weren’t depending on how you look at it), that is the last straw.

To take borrow a term from the absolutely lovely and radiant
Lemon Gloria, Comcast is a bunch of douche monkeys. If you’re in the mood, and you should be, to read two extremely well written rants against the douche monkeys of Comcast, go here and here.

I am so through with them it’s almost as if I never had service from the Internet, phone and cable division of DMI (Douche Monkey, Inc.).

After a taxing day at the office yesterday, I came home looking forward to a little of this and that with that involving either my TV or my computer. Isn’t it amazing how these devices fail to perform to their highest potential when the signals provided and received by and from DMI fail to make it into your house?

I have an inkling of an idea how this happened. Saturday I noticed the freight elevator in my building was “Reserved for Move In” on both the first floor and my floor. Being the smart guy I am, I surmised someone was moving into or out of an apartment on my floor. Beyond that, I paid no more attention.
Until I came home yesterday and had no fucking cable, phone or Internet service. If I didn’t have a cell I might still be wandering in that electron-free wasteland searching for some electron manna to ease my suffering.

Using my last link to the outside world, I dialed DMI on my mobile, jumped through prompt mine field they have and finally, FINALLY, got to speak with a live human being to explain my situation.

“I’m sorry Mr. Dew, we have no other reports of outages in your area, so the next available appointment we have for a tech to come out is Wednesday between 1 and 5.”

“Sorry,” I told the person on the other end, “I’m usually at work between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.”

“Well,” she said, “we have a morning appointment…”

“No, you don’t get it, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 or so p.m., I’m at work. I don't have time to take time off to wait for your tech to fix a problem completely of your doing.”

After another round of back-and-forth, I decided I’d let the Douche Monkey techs get a close look at my modem and cable box. They can pour over them as much as they like after I return them after canceling my service. Unlike many people who have no option when it comes to service from Douche Monkey, Inc., the building I live in is wired with both Douche Monkey cable and the pretty glass fibers of Verizon’s FiOS.

This is not a brash decision because this is not the first time I’ve had major problems with DMI. I won’t get into the whole long, convoluted and sad story, but suffice it to say through a billing error solely on THEIR part, I once received a bill for more than $800.

So, before one of the simian techs from DMI has the chance to pee on my rug (thanks to Nick, Lemon Gloria’s hubby, for this visual), fling his poo around my apartment or rape me (another wonderful Nick image), I’m through with them. Never again will the dark and demonic shadow of a Comcast Douche Monkey darken my door.

I said Good Day, Sir!
[Note: After almost four full days sans electrons coming into my abode, the cable guy showed up around 7:45 Friday night. Although, this was not with out it's own comedy since the Friday night desk guy in my building is, I suspect, just a little on the racist side, and the cable guy was black. So, when he couldn't get me on the phone, the desk guy walked the cable guy up to my apartment, knocked on the door and asked if I was expecting a service call. "Yes," I replied. "But there was no answer on the phone," he complained. "This man is here to fix my phone."
That over, and with less than 15 minutes before face-off of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the cable guy got to work and plugged in the connection someone had unplugged Monday, thereby restoring the flow of electrons into my home. Seriously, it took about five minutes.
The only reason I got it fixed instead of changed over to that fiber-optic option is because they couldn't install fast enough for me to watch the Pens with the Cup. Hockey's done now, so DMI's days are numbered despite the friendly service of its contract tech.]

Friday, June 5, 2009

A break in the clouds

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

I just checked the weather report and it tells me the rain we’ve been enjoying for the past week should clear around dawn tomorrow.

Sixty-five years ago, General Dwight Eisenhower got the same news from his chief meteorologist Group Captain J.M. Stagg during a meeting with his commanders. The subject of the meeting was the miserable weather they were facing and if the planned invasion of Normandy, which they’d already put off for a day, should be canceled and moved.

Stagg’s forecast called for a break in the weather the next morning, a Tuesday, and Eisenhower decided to roll the dice. Forever more June 6 would be celebrated.

So, while we’re all complaining and grumpy about the endless rain we’ve had, remember that 65 years ago today more than 160,000 American, Canadian, British and other Allied troops were tossing their cookies aboard attack transports in the Channel and preparing to board aircraft to jump into Normandy.

Kinda puts it all in perspective.

Omaha Beach at low tide
D-Day Order speech by Dwight Eisenhower

You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944. Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41.

The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeat in open battle man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground.

Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.

The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle.

We will accept nothing less than full victory.

Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Then and Now

At least it was “now” a couple of weeks ago. As some frequent readers know, I am enamored of spaceflight and things outside the shell of our atmosphere. Why? Well, because it’s cool and I’m a guy and astronauts get to play with some of the worlds biggest toys.

But those toys weren’t always so big. For instance, 44 years ago today (June 3, 1965) to Ed White found his Gemini 4 capsule so constraining he popped the door and went for a walk. In space. OK, so maybe it wasn’t quite like this, but White was the first American to walk in space. (The first spacewalk took place about two and a half months earlier when Soviet Alexey Leonov stepped outside the Voskhod 2. Booo Commies!)

Anyway, can you blame the guy? I think if I had to spend four days in a 3-foot by 3-foot by 10-foot tube (90 cubic feet) with another guy I’d be looking for the door too.

According to Wikipedia: “After 15 minutes 40 seconds White was instructed by Houston to reenter the spacecraft. He said, ‘It's the saddest moment of my life.’ ” White eventually spent 23 minutes outside Gemini 4 and traveled 6,500 miles as he hung about 150 miles above the Earth.
Here is a picture taken of White by the mission commander James McDivitt:

Compare it to one taken less than a month ago aboard the space shuttle Atlantis during the STS-125 Hubble repair mission:

Here’s the NASA caption to the picture: Tethered to the end of the remote manipulator system arm, which was controlled from inside Atlantis' crew cabin, STS-125 astronaut Andrew Feustel navigates near the Hubble Space Telescope, during the mission's third spacewalk on May 16, 2009. Astronaut John Grunsfeld signals to his crewmate from just a few feet away. Astronauts Feustel and Grunsfeld were continuing servicing work on the giant observatory, which was locked down in the cargo bay of shuttle Atlantis.

In 44 years we’ve gone from merely floating outside in space to spending hours outside doing a billion-dollar service call on one of history’s most important scientific instruments. I’m sure that White, who along with Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee tragically died in the pad fire that destroyed Apollo 1, would be just as impressed with the work his fellow astronauts did last month as I am.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Picking your battles

Gene Gogolak: All right, then, let's see. Basketball hoop and backboard. Portable. Nope, I'm sorry. It's not allowed.
Fox Mulder: You're kidding?
Gene Gogolak: I'm afraid not. Rules are rules. It may not sound like anything — a simple basketball hoop — but from there, it's just a few short steps to spinning daisy reflectors and a bass boat in the driveway.
Mulder: In other words, anarchy.
Gene Gogolak: It may sound tough, but ours is a system that works. That's why The Falls is one of the top-ranked planned communities in all of California. Most of our homeowners have been here since day one.
Mulder: I love the decor here, Mr. Gogolak. Is it, um... Occidental?
Gene Gogolak: Well, it's, uh, Nepalese and Tibetan, mostly. I go there twice a year on business.
Mulder: Oh.
Gene Gogolak: I run Pier 9 Imports. I can get you a great deal on rattan furniture if you're interested. Indoor only. Outdoor use is prohibited by our... CC&Rs. [Ed note: Contracts, Covenants and Restrictions]

-- from “Arcadia” 7-3-99 Season 6 of The X-Files

Somehow, some way, my email got on a listserv many years ago for former Marines. I don’t know what I signed up for or responded to or clicked on that caused this, but it happened. Usually, I’ll take a look at the subject line and delete it as soon as I notice it in my inbox.

Other times, if my interest is sufficiently peaked, I’ll click on it to see what the most recent outrage is, they’re usually post or links to articles about the shabby treatment of veterans in general and Marines and Marine vets in particular.

This link is one of the latter.

The story comes out of Houston and involves Frank Larison, a disabled Marine Vietnam vet, and a disagreement he’s having with his homeowners association. Apparently, someone on the HOA board has taken offense at the seven Marine Corps bumper stickers Larison has plastered on the back of his truck.

Larison’s HOA sent him a letter saying he either has to remove the stickers because they’re advertisements and, therefore, prohibited, or face having his car towed and being fined by the HOA.

Leaving aside matters of taste – seven bumper stickers is a bit much – did whatever genius who made this decision and then sent this letter really think they were going to win this fight? Ferchrissakes, they’re in friggin' Texas! Among the things you don’t mess with in Texas are bluebonnets on the side of the road, the Alamo and disabled vets. Did they really think they guy was going to knuckle under and take the stickers off? Or, more likely, was he going to pick up the phone and call the local TV news?

I should mention, I think HOAs blow great big monkey dicks. I mean, they luuuuv sucking on ‘em. Lots and lots and lots. And maybe even tossin' their salad a bit.

Like PTAs, school boards and other groups of their ilk, in my experience I’ve found they’re usually staffed by rigid, small-minded people with an over-developed sense of their own importance and a fanatical adherence to the rules no matter how petty. The problem is, they often have virtually unlimited power when it comes to regulating the lives of their fellow homeowners and can, in some cases, even foreclose on a person’s home.

This story? This story is a reporter’s dream. First off, it’s easy. Second, it’s got a sympathetic victim. And third, they get to make someone look really, really stupid. I mean monstrously stupid. If this were me in Larison’s position there would have been a sonic boom between me opening the letter and my phone call to the news station (I also would have called the papers too, but that's just me). I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The first rule of the news biz is don't mess with people who buy their ink by the barrel.

What’s going to end up happening here is the HOA is going to drop it and apologize, mainly because just about every other car in the lot has an advertisement-type bumper sticker on its ass end. And then, in about a year, they’re going to go after Larison again for some other reason and look even dumber.

But that’s just the way people like that think.

From Arcadia:

Dana Scully: [fadeout voiceover] "Several residents of The Falls have now come forward to blame the deaths in the neighborhood on Home Owner Association President Gene Gogolak. These same residents deny Agent Mulder's allegation that they were in some sense all responsible for the demise of Gogolak himself, claiming ignorance as to what actually killed him. It would seem the code of silence that hid the sins of this community has not only survived but — in its creator — claimed a final victim. Meanwhile, The Falls at Arcadia has been named one of the top planned communities in California for the sixth year running."