Showing 1 - 10 of 23 posts found matching keyword: morals
One week ago today, a small wildfire approached my father's house in Fountain, Florida. (It's an ironic name in hindsight.) The fire ignited several bales of hay he had just that morning stored in his pole barn. The barn stood no more than 20 yards from his house and no more than 100 yards from the entrance to his cattle pen. Naturally, Dad called the fire department then jumped into action with a garden hose.
How's that for the start of a dramatic story? I'll go ahead and tell you up front that the fire department put out the fire, and the house was saved. That's not what this blog post is about.
I wasn't there at the time, but as I hear it, armed agents of the Bay County Emergency Department arrived before the fire trucks did. And the officers, rather than jump in and help, ordered Dad to put down his hose and let the fire burn. I'll give them the benefit of doubt and assume that they wanted to "protect" Dad, not "serve" the fire. Dad didn't see it that way. He had called for help to extinguish the flames not for a group of spectators to the destruction of his property. So he refused to comply.
You can see where this is going now, can't you?
When father, who moved to middle-of-nowhere Florida to get away from authority figures, said he wouldn't put his hose down until the firemen arrived, the police attempted to arrest him. Note the use of the word "attempted" in the previous sentence. Dad didn't make it easy for them. For what it's worth, I'm led to believe no actual punches were thrown, but there was certainly something of a scuffle as the police tried to drag a 72-year-old man away from a fire.
Personally, I think Dad's reaction was understandable. After all, he believed his property and his livelihood was being threatened. Understandable, I say, but also unwise. Sometimes your best option is to let the world burn.
When the Bay County fire department finally arrived, Dad was unable to see it. He was sitting far away, handcuffed, in the back of a police cruiser. And he stayed in the back of that police cruiser for the five or so hours it took them to put the fire out. (I should say put it *mostly* out. It would flare up again the next day on the neighbor's property and the fire department would be called back to complete the job.)
As I already said, the house was fine. The animals were fine. And Dad was released from the police car eventually and allowed to go home where he was now, presumably, safe. An inconvenience, sure, but at least a happy ending. Right? Wrong.
Four days later, the Bay County Sheriff's Department returned and served a warrant their fellow officer had sworn out against my father for the crimes of Preventing or Obstructing Extinguishment of Fire (Florida Code Chapter 806.10) and Resisting Arrest with Violence (843.01), both Third Degree Felonies. They served the warrant one hour after court closed for the day, ensuring he would spend at least one night in jail until bond could be set the next afternoon. What nice guys, I say sarcastically.
Dad is now home — again — after paying a non-refundable 10% of the $6,500 bond to a bail bondsman. He's facing considerably more in lawyers fees to argue against a 10 year prison sentence. All because he panicked when the cops he didn't call demanded that he not try to save his own house from a wildfire.
If there's a lesson here, it's don't ask for help in Bay County, Florida. Either way, you're going to get burned.
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Last week, my favorite pair of jeans developed a hole in the seat. You can imagine my disappointment.
They were a 4-year old pair of Levi's 527™. The 527™, in case you were unaware, is very similar to the famous 501®, but a little looser in the seat with a boot cut flare on the leg. I used to wear 501®s until I discovered a pair of 527™ in a remainder bin at a discount department store. I find the 527™ to be more comfortable, but for some reason they just don't last as long. Eventually, my butt becomes just too much for them.
But they're just a pair of pants, right? Time to move on. I've still got 2 other pairs of Levi's 527™ jeans that are functionally identical. Or so I thought until today. Now another pair of my jeans has developed a hole in the seat.
My friend Otto buys wears Levi's that are decades old that he hunts down like a detective. He says the secret to making them last forever is to never wash them. If that's the price to keep my jeans in one piece, I guess I'm just going to have to get use to replacing my jeans every few years.
Two pairs of jeans, two holes in the seats, both in one week. If there's a moral to this story, it's that jeans, like everything else in life, will always let you down in the end. And that's news that you've just got to take sitting down. I'm going to take this as a sign that I should get off my ass... and go shopping for more jeans.
This is for Trey, who hasn't spoken to me since December 2.
Don't argue with Captain Marvel, Trey. He has the wisdom of Solomon.
Sorry, no post yesterday, but I have an excuse.
See, I was going to go to the UGA game versus Florida Atlantic University with Trey. However, I simply couldn't make myself care about spending 5 hours in a car (not to mention the $40 in gas and $20 for parking) to witness the Bulldogs beat a 43-point underdog. The only draw for the game was the ceremony to officially declare Russ, the UGA fill-in mascot for the past 3 years, as the official UGA IX. I'm not really big on ceremonies, so at the last minute, we decided not go.
Our plan was instead to sit around the house with Mom and watch the Florida/Tennessee game on one tv and stream the GA/FAU game on the computer. It sounded like a good plan. Unfortunately, the football gods frowned on my passing up stadium seats for the couch, and the cable went out. Since we have a cable modem, we couldn't watch football on television or the web. What a disappointment.
I don't think I'd do anything differently in repeat circumstances. Georgia went on to win 56 to 20 without my participation, I still have those 60 dollars in my bank account, and I'll definitely be back in Sanford Stadium next week when an actual SEC team finally comes to town. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned in this experience, but I guess like any good bulldog, I'm too stubborn to learn it.
It has been extensively reported that tomorrow DC Comics is publishing the comic in which Superman and Wonder Woman finally get it on. This isn't exactly the first time this has happened. What makes this time different is that DC says this time they really, really, really mean it.
Comic book relationships are like comic book deaths: both are very temporary situations. Dating in superhero comics amounts to little more than a brief series of one-night stands. Eventually the romantic-interest character is killed off-panel, becomes the hero's arch-nemesis, or disappears abruptly when the book changes writers. If your hero doesn't have a love interest in his origin story, don't bother learning the names of the girls he goes out with between adventures.
However, if you do know the names of those supporting characters, isn't removing the hero from the romance akin to stealing what defines that hero? The love interests of Superman and Wonder Woman, Lois Lane and Steve Trevor respectively, both shared time in their partner's first comic book appearance. They are as much a part of Superman and Wonder Woman as heat vision and golden lassos. Is it the aspect of infidelity to their partners that makes this story so enticing to the non-comic book reader?
If there's a moral here, it's that sex sells. It even sells funny books.
Movies for the second week in May. I'm getting really close to 150. When I get there, should I stop tracking, or should I try to see just how many I can watch in 2012?
141. The Innocents (1961)
Typically, I'm not much for ghost stories. In addition to relying heavily on maudlin sentimentality, their internal logic is always a necessary few steps out of sync with reality. I have a hard time "buying in," so to speak. But this film has great atmosphere, truly achieving a creepy vibe. Less is more, and the director knew it. I can respect that.
142. The Wolfman (2010)
Oh, my. This movie is bad. The original Universal Wolfman looked like a hirsute garbage collector. In trying to pay homage, this "update" so desperate for "realism" suffers all the worse for not updating this unrealistic looking monster in any significant way. It compounds this sin by making the transformations cgi! Hugo Weaving easily steals the film from both Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins his small role, but I'm used to that by now.
143. The Hangover Part II (2011)
I thought this was better than the first, but Trey thought it was more of the same. It is indeed more of the same, and maybe I just enjoyed it more because I knew the formula already.
144. Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
Twenty minutes of screen time are spent using a ham radio to deliver a message of good will in what passes as dramatic tension in this film. Another few minutes are spent hiring the domestic help, or haggling over a contract to buy a car. Riveting cinema! Forget watching paint dry, from now on, I'm going to use the expression "more boring than watching Andy Hardy."
145. Hanna (2011)
The best part about this action/revenge fantasy film is its European sensibility. It starts with an interesting premise and some pretty entertaining action scenes, but by the end of the film it has become just another action movie. The film is not helped by Cate Blanchett's disappearing/reappearing Southern accent.
146. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
Trey had started watching this while I was in a conference call, so I only caught the last half of this action/romance movie. As you would expect, I find the "shadow government so big it controls the actions of everyone in the world but so secret no one has ever heard of it" concept ridiculous. And who doesn't love a movie whose moral is that if we are all just pig-headed enough, The Man will reward our asshole behavior with our heart's desire? Matt Damon seems earnest enough (as a politician!) that I begrudge this film no ill will.
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Today is Leap Day. That makes it Superman's birthday. And anything good enough for Superman was good enough for Captain Marvel to steal, so it's Captain Marvel's birthday as well.
When the wizard Shazam turned Billy Batson into the world's mightiest mortal, he created a bit of a problem. See, Billy Batson and Captain Marvel are two different people, at least as far as the world is concerned. Therefore Captain Marvel couldn't just have the same birthday as Billy Batson, because then the good Captain's enemies would be able to discern his secret identity by threatening all 6,000 or so people born on the same day as Captain Marvel. (Back in the Golden Age, super villains had a lot of time on their hands.)
Rather than select a "birth" date completely at random, Captain Marvel chose a date just to cheese off his arch-nemesis, Dr. Sivana. Perhaps behavior like this is the reason that he has an arch-nemesis.
So if you learn just one thing today, perhaps it should be not to go out of your way to remind your adversaries of their failures. That's not a good way to make friends.
Lately, thanks to a recent article in the New York Times newspaper, I've been reading up on decision fatigue. Apparently the act of making a decision can deplete the brain's resources to make future decisions. In other words, the more decisions that you make, the harder it is to make decisions. I think there must be something meaningful about this research, but I can't decide what that is.
For scientific purposes, the difficult-to-quantify factor that allows you to make decisions is called willpower. Willpower appears to be depleted as decisions are made, but can be replenished by ingestion of glucose. Therefore, because of my continuous consumption of Coca-Cola, I am an unstoppable decision-making machine!
However, a Time magazine article refutes the Times article with evidence that willpower is only depleted by those who believe that willpower can be depleted, making the existence of decision fatigue itself a question of willpower. This means that those who believe that they can become fatigued by decisions are fatigued by decisions, and those who don't, aren't. That's mind-over-mind for you.
The good news is that this research isn't pointless. The real lesson to take away from all of this scientific research is that because I believe that my continuous consumption of Coca-Cola makes me an unstoppable decision-making machine, it does. Take that, science.
After my mother chewed me out for my niggardly approach to home repair, I got off my bum and tore the cabinets out of the kitchen. This necessary work had been much delayed, party because I'm lazy, and partly because it was really a two-man job. If you've ever read any of my other DIY exploits, you can probably begin to guess where this is going.
The kitchen cabinets were low-quality to begin with, and over the years they had begin to come apart. More than one cabinet door had fallen off over time as the hinges succumbed to metal fatigue. When a shiftless computer programmer rips a cabinet door off its hinge, either the last Coca-Cola in the house is behind that door, or it's time to replace the cabinets.
Trey had helped me take down the first two cabinets a few months ago. That operation had taken a considerable amount of blood and sweat, and had resulted in a pizza-sized hole in the wall. Alone, I was determined to be more careful with the 6 remaining cabinets and keep the walls intact. So the first thing I did was scratch the kitchen floor while moving the island out of the way for the safety ladder.
It quickly became apparent that the remaining cabinets weren't going to come off any easier than the first two. After 20 careful minutes with a drill, packing knife, hammer, and pry bar, I finally had a cabinet off the wall with no major structural damage to the wall, the cabinet, or me. The next cabinet was no easier. The third harder still. So much caulk had been used on installation, these suckers were practically glued to the wall. Mistake number one: never trust anything that was installed by someone who uses caulk like glue.
The fourth cabinet was potentially dangerous. It hung over the stove and had live electrical wires where the wall-mounted microwave had once been. (That microwave had died years earlier and long been removed to the garbage dump.) I carefully taped off the wire and unmounted the electrical box that had been installed inside the cabinet. I also removed the sheet metal screws holding the stove's exhaust vent in place. However, I still had to access the crawl space behind the bathroom upstairs to gently remove the exhaust pipe without damaging the exhaust vent on the roof, a vent which only last month I had repaired from leaking in the rain. No sooner had I fully dislodged the exhaust pipe than I heard a tremendous crash below me. I was holding the pipe, but someone should have been holding the cabinet.
When I extricated myself from the crawlspace and rushed downstairs (accompanied by my repeated and inventive profanity-laden exclaimations), I found what I expected: the cabinet had crashed down onto the range. It turns out that the exhaust pipe had been the only thing holding the cabinet in place. The caulk that had acted as cement for all the other cabinets had been destroyed by the now-repaired leak in the roof. The one cabinet that could really damage something if it fell had fallen and damaged something.
The glass range top was smashed, and the oven, the one large appliance in the kitchen that worked perfectly was now destroyed. Fortunately, the electrical wires weren't damaged in the fall. I could begin cleaning up without worrying about electrocution. And while I did immediately proceed to slice my finger open while cleaning up the mess, it wasn't on a piece of giant jagged glass, but on a small rusty nail. So thank goodness for that.
Naturally, the two remaining cabinets were the hardest of all to remove. I even had to smash the final cabinet above the refrigerator into its component pieces with a hammer to separate it from all the caulk and stripped screws holding it place. By the end, I did not for a minute worry about saving the wall.
If there is a moral to this story, I suspect that it's this: never do what your mother tells you. Either way you'll doom yourself to a future of cold dinners, so you might as well just avoid all that work.
True story: a man has died in a one-car accident in New Orleans. The man's name was Lance Williams, and he was found dead in the Desire neighborhood of New Orleans after his car left the road and struck a rigid utility pole. According to investigators, speed was an issue.
Punchline: Mr. Williams was known to drive one-handed; he had a police record as a serial masturbator. He had been arrested multiple times for public indecency, his latest as recently as March 23. Reportedly, he liked to drive up to women and pleasure himself from the driver's seat of his car.
If the New Orleans Times-Picayune hadn't run this story last Monday, I would have sworn that it was an April Fool's joke. Though the facts in this case are pretty hard to swallow, to have made jokes about this man's death would have been in bad taste. Let this be a lesson, kids: keep your eyes on the road and your hands off the stick shift, or you might find you've made a big mess of yourself.