Thursday, December 31, 2009

Miracles

Here's something I wrote about 3 years ago. I was going to post it just before Thanksgiving, but I guess that one incident I wrote about distracted me. Anyway, I feel that since we are embarking on a New Year, and a new Decade, this would be a good time to re-post this true story.


At one time, the City of Los Angeles was short on staffing Paramedic (PM) Rescue Ambulances (RAs). Paramedic Rescue Ambulances (PM RAs) were shut down or downgraded to "Basic" (Non-Paramedic) EMT ambulances on a daily basis. This was one of those days.

I was at my regular Fire Station, waiting for another PM to work with, because we work in pairs. No one was available, so I was sent to another Fire Station to man another RA that also had only one PM. The PM I worked with was someone I knew, and we both worked at the same Fire Station prior to the ones we were at now. We ended up being one of the few PM RAs in the Downtown LA area. The surrounding 3-4 PM RAs were either downgraded, or just shut down.

Not long after getting to the other Fire Station, we received a call from the MacArthur Park area to a traffic accident on Figueroa St near the 101 Fwy. Just before we got there, we were canceled because there were no injuries.

We took a short detour, towards City Hall, and got a call near Vermont Ave. and Pico Blvd. It is far, but we are the closest, since the closest PM RA was downgraded, and others were not available. This area (Pico/Vermont) also happened to be the area we both worked together before, so we knew the area well, exactly where we were going to (Adult board and care) and the fastest route there from 1st St. and Broadway in Downtown LA.

I wasn't driving, and my partner ended up taking Olympic Blvd. instead of Pico Blvd. I thought to myself that I would have taken Pico Blvd, because it would have been a little shorter in distance, so therefore shorter in time too. One block before we get to Vermont Ave. to turn left, a careless driver decided to turn left right in front of us at the street before Vermont Ave. To avoid the impending collision, my partner turns left at that street, right next to, and with the car.

Side note: On that street is an Apartment house, where earlier that day, someone was causing trouble for the occupants. So the same LAPD unit there that morning, decided to come back to check up on them and make sure the trouble makers didn't return. At about the same time, we are turning onto that street.

As we drive down the Street, my partner notices that the Officers are running towards the Apartment building, looking concerned. Just as we get there, my partner notices that a young girl is caught in the automatic wrought iron fence that is opening for the garage area, and is crushing her chest. The two Officers are trying to pull back the gate to try and free her, but are really just keeping it from crushing her even more. We stop, my partner gets the bolt cutters that is in the compartment right behind the driver's door, and heads for the Apartment to cut the mechanism and free the girl.

I get on the radio, ask for a replacement for our original call, get us reassigned to this emergency, and ask for another unit to assist us, just in case we have to do CPR. As I finish and get out of the RA, the girl is carried to me and I place her on our gurney.

I assess her, she is alive but unconscious, and is not breathing on her own. I start to "bag" her and then hand it off to the unit that came to help us. As I check the rest of her vital signs, she starts breathing on her own. We take her to Children's Hospital in LA. Later that day, they told me that the little girl had NO injuries and was sent home. Not one broken bone, nothing! I never saw that little girl again.

There were so many variables in this scenario, that if any one thing happened differently, the outcome could have been different. You can go about 5 mins without breathing before you become brain dead. There was never a 911 call. The LAPD Officers came by at the perfect time. Somehow we were guided to that street and my partner was able to free her right away.

You may or may not believe in a Higher Power, but on that day, we were the puppets and someone was pulling our strings.

I believe in Miracles, some so small you don't even notice them. If you don't, it's okay. But maybe this will make you think twice about it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas!

I am at work today, as I have worked nearly every Christmas day for most of my 17 years on the job.

Be safe, and I hope you all have what you need, and have the opportunity to get what you want.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

People Make The World Go Round

Happy Thanksgiving, 2009.

I can be Thankful for many things. My job, which I sometimes hate. That I have a nice house. That I have a decent car. That I am in good health.

But none of those things really matter. What really matters is your Family and Friends. People, actually. (Unless they're strangers and they try to touch you. ;p)

Think about it. Let's say you had terrible Health, but still had great people in your life. Wouldn't it be more bearable than if you were all alone?

People. They make you laugh, they make you cry. They make you happy, they make you sad. They help you, they hurt you. They shower you with love, they ignore you. They keep you company, you can't find them when you need some cash.

So to everyone I know, whether you're close family and great friends, to people who friended me on the internet I've never met in real life and those that may not like me anymore and de-friended me, I'm Thankful that I ever got to know you, even a little bit.

And if you ever thought to yourself, "I'd give a right eye to him." Don't worry, I'm in good health. But who knows, maybe one day I'll need an organ, so keep yours in good shape for me. Wait a minute! Not THAT organ! Gee whiz, I'm trying to be thankful here!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Warning - Depressing Post

The Fire Station I work at is located on Sunset Blvd, a major Street in Los Angeles. It is also where there is a slight curve, in the otherwise straight portion of the Road. Right in front of the Station is a Street Lamp and a Fire Hydrant. A least one driver per year has hit the Hydrant because they were driving too fast, driving under the influence or both.

We were all sound asleep at 2:10 am, when we were awakened by the violent sound of a car crashing. Upon opening the doors to the Fire Station, I saw a geyser where the Hydrant used to be. The Street lamp was gone, laying on the sidewalk across the street. Debris was scattered 100 feet away. Then I saw the car, sitting upright on the sidewalk, next to the building across from us. It looked odd, as if it was a convertible without a windshield. The roof was crushed down to the level of the hood and trunk of the car. The car must have flipped over at least one time.

I immediately ran over to the car and saw one person in the passenger's seat and one in the driver's seat, both unconscious. The passenger was more accessible than the driver, who was hidden under the roof. They appeared to be dressed as if they were at a Club, probably having fun, dancing and/or drinking. By law, all businesses in California stop selling Alcoholic beverages at 2 am.

We pulled out the Ambulance and the Fire Truck, and started working on freeing the victims. We used the "Jaws" to pry open the doors and the "Cutters" to cut the roof off the vehicle. After removing the doors on the passenger side, I was able to get the passenger out and onto a backboard. We got her out just as the second Ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital. She woke up, complained about being hurt, and not fully aware of what had happened.

Her friend was still trapped in the car, inaccessible because of the crushed roof. We cut the roof off within 10 minutes, and now had full access to the interior of the car. There in the front seat of the car, was a young, pretty girl, her eyes still open, staring blankly up into the now visible sky.

As I assessed her condition, I knew almost instantly that there was nothing we could do for her. I had to make the difficult and painful decision to declare her dead. Then I had to fill out a written report. As I searched for her identification, I came across a Christmas card. The card's message was "May All of Your Dreams Come True This Christmas."

Sometimes, I really, really, really hate my job.

Please be safe this Holiday season.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Seven Dwarfs

I saw the DVD for Snow White being sold with dolls of the Seven Dwarfs, packaged in a round plastic "suitcase." As I was looking at the names of the dolls, I realized that I have all seven traits of the Dwarfs.

1. Doc. I'm a Paramedic, close enough!
2. Grumpy. Again, I'm a Paramedic... don't ask!
3. Sleepy. Once again, a Paramedic....
4. Bashful. Blushes.
5. Happy. People say I'm always smiling. I think it's the medication.
6. Dopey. Self-explanatory.
7. Sneezy. I'm prone to sinus trouble.

I'm also the little known eighth Dwarf, Sleazy. They don't talk about him too much.......

Friday, November 6, 2009

Being Single on Facebook

For those of you who are married, you may have forgotten what it's like to be single. Well, think of yourselves as Lucky. You have no idea what you're up against now. Oh the pressures of being single....

When you sign up for Facebook, you give them some personal information about yourself. Through that information, they generate Advertisements that might interest you. This way, Facebook can remain free to use, otherwise, you'd have to pay a fee. Being a Single man, I get a bombarded by Singles Ads. Some of them are humorous, using the same picture with different Names, or Headlines.

See? Mary and Jennifer are the same person.
Unless they are twins.





Here's the same girl and same picture, used by
two different Websites.






These are for "Older" women. The second one doesn't really look "Older." The last one is the same picture for a girl looking for Older men

These women are "Mature," not "Older." Supposedly, they are ready for Long-term relationships, though the first one looks like
she just wants a booty call.



Here's some "Young" girls allegedly looking for Older men. The last girl doesn't look that young. I didn't capture the picture of the one girl who looked like she could be 14. I wonder how many
Old guys fall for this? Huh? Oh, no! Not me..... *ahem*






Interested in dating a Model? They're not interested in dating YOU! hahahaha Oh-oh, the joke's on me..... : (







Interested in Russian Brides? I bet they really look like Gorbachev......





Ads for other races, even girls that are into "Inter-racial"
dating. Why is there a separate category? And why "California" girls? I don't get that description. Does "California" mean "Asian?"







Ah, finally! Nice Christian girls! Good girls you can take home to Mother. Wait a minute! A couple of them look like "Bad" girls... HMMMMM





Now here's one with a spelling error. "Take a PEAK?"
Which one? The left peak or the right peak? :x




That brings me to this. Can you guess the two things that most
Singles Ads have in common? Yes, TWO things. Come on, you're not trying...... YES! bOObs! But not just bOObs. BIG bOObs! Some look Photoshopped to appear larger, and out of proportion. Who do they think they're kidding? Single, Desperate Old men aren't that gullible. *COUGH*


These are just a mish-mash of ??? The "Single Mom" looks like she could be the daughter. I don't know what's up with the girl and the "Sucker." What? "Want a girlfriend?" You kind of look like one of those latex dolls... No! I don't want that! "Does Size Matter?" Er........ I hope not... ahem.... cough.....



I changed my Profile to "Interested in Men" and got this......






You can run, but you can't hide.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Future

The future is usually thought of as the day we have flying cars and jet packs. But the future can be any time from 1 second from now to forever from now. Some even say the future is not too far away, because the Mayan calendar "ends" on December 21, 2012, so that means it "predicts" the end of the world.

I don't believe that for one future second. The Mayans existed a very, very, very, extremely very long time ago. To make thousands upon thousands of "future" calendars must have been an immensely daunting task. So whoever made them just got tired and stopped. Think about it, they had to etch them in stone! They didn't have a computer and a printer available. I'd be tired after etching just one week in stone.

Well, tomorrow is my future. I will be one year older. Yeah, it's-a my birfday too.....

It's funny, how most everyone looks forward to their birthday. I don't anymore. Why? Because I'm not young anymore! So what, you say? Think about it. When you are young, you look forward to getting older. First, it's all about having a party with cake and ice cream, and presents. Then it's all about becoming Sixteen. Then it's all about becoming an adult at Eighteen. Then, even though you're already gotten plastered so many times you're lucky to have brain cells left, you look forward to becoming a "Legal" Adult at Twenty-one.

Then things change a little. You stop looking forward to a certain age. It starts to become about your goals in life. As you get older, you want to check off those "dreams" you had when you thought about your future.

Will you become an Astronaut? No, then how about having a decent job. Will you marry Prince/Princess Charming? No, then how about someone who you don't want to stab over and over again. Will you have wonderful children? No, then how about just not Juvenile delinquents like yourself?

You see, it becomes all about compromise.

Well, I'm past that. I'm into a whole 'nother phase.

I'm in the "Got nothing to look forward to" phase. No, I don't mean death. Death would be the relief of this second to last phase. I'm in the, "What's next?" phase.

Oh, STOP IT! Don't give me that, "You've got a lot to look forward to" crap.

Here's what I got to look forward to......... back pain....... creaking bones........ sore muscles from just moving....... arthritis........ hemorrhoids........ a..... a........ a prostrate exam! ugh! ........... maybe even *sob* ............ I don't want to say it......... Erectile dysfunction. *sounds of deflation*

That's my future. There's only two things left for an old man like me to possibly look forward to. One requires a lot of money, and one won't happen till I'm near death.

If I was rich, then I could have a young girlfriend. Yeah, so what if she's a gold-digger. She's young and hawt, you're just jealous. But, alas, I'm not rich, so this won't happen to me. *tears*

The one and only thing I have to look forward to, is grabbing girls in the Nursing home. I'd be too old and frail to get angry with, so the nurses will give me a pass. Too bad I'll be too senile to enjoy and remember what I did..........

*GASP!* With my luck, I'll have MALE nurses! *SOBS*

This is why there are "Grumpy old men," and "Crotchety Old Men."

TURN DOWN THAT NOISE AND GET OFF MY LAWN!

Friday, September 4, 2009

One of Many

I have said before, that many people are ignorant as to how things are done, in things related to the Fire Department. People have many misconceptions, and I'd like to clear some up. Some of these things have come to light during the recent Brush Fires in the Los Angeles area.

One common mistake. There are MANY Fire Departments. They are NOT "related" to each other. For example, if I work as a cashier for Vons Supermarkets, I can work at almost any Vons Store, as long as there is room for me, and I am transferred there by the Vons Company. I can NOT be transferred to a Ralph's Supermarket store, even though they may have a store looking for a cashier. I would have to quit my job from Vons, and get hired by Ralph's. Do I make sense?

So it's the same with Los Angeles CITY Fire Dept, Los Angeles COUNTY Fire Dept, Vernon City Fire Dept, Glendale City Fire Dept, etc, etc, etc, etc........ All separate entities.

All are also paid by their employers. LA CITY Firefighters are paid by the City of Los Angeles, LA COUNTY Firefighters are paid by the County of Los Angeles, and CAL Fire Firefighters are paid by the STATE of California. And each entity gets it's money in different ways. So just because the State is doing bad, it doesn't mean LA County can't pay their own Firefighters.

Another misconception happened because of the Brush Fires that occurred in Palos Verdes, at the same time as the fires in the Angeles forest. The Brush Fire there was contained within days and put out very fast. Yet the fires in the Angeles forest is going to take about a month before it is out. Why? People complained that it was because the rich live in Palos Verdes, so they were given special treatment.

This COULD be true in some ways. Remember what I said about separate Fire Departments, and their separate budgets. If an area is "rich," they could pay more for their own Fire Dept. Therefore, have more Firefighters, better equipment, newer equipment, specialized equipment, and more equipment than other Departments.

But in reality, it was because of terrain and location. The area that is still burning is highly inaccessible, and VERY DRY. The area near Palos Verde is easily accessible, next to the Ocean and therefore NOT dry, making it more difficult to burn and spread. Not to mention the almost infinite supply of nearby water to put out any fires.

One other thing. Los Angeles CITY Fire was not involved in the firefight for a few days. The agency in charge of running the fire was CAL Fire. They made calls to other Depts first, as far as Sacramento, before calling the very local LAFD. Why? Who knows. When the LAFD were finally called, it was because some homes were threatened. That is the specialty of the LAFD, protecting structures. San Francisco FD denied a request to send a strike team, and finally sent one truck. Some thought it was because their Union was sympathetic to the LAFD Union, who are in a "fight" with LA City Mayor over their budget and pay, so they did not want to help Los Angeles. Again, who knows why, but the SF Mayor and the SF Fire Chief have the final say in that decision. Firefighters do not have that responsibility in making those kind of decisions.

I hope this clears up any misconceptions that you may have had.

Health Care Reform

Previously, I wrote a Blog post about my support for a one payer Health Insurance system. There are many reasons why it should be done.

But I have changed mind. Of all the factors involved, I forgot one thing. Politicians are crooks. I have always said that what they do, they do for themselves, not for you or me. That one factor, a Politically run system, of ANYTHING, always ends up corrupt. Whether or not it starts that way is insignificant. It will end up corrupt.

So, let's name a few things "wrong" with our current system.

1. It's too expensive.
2. It has too many limitations.
3. It denies coverage.

Let's examine why it is too expensive.

1. Too many people can't pay for their medical care, so the "loss" is passed on to the rest of us.
2. Liability insurance is too costly for Doctors and Hospitals.
3. Emergency Rooms are used by indigent people for minor problems.
4. Hospital costs are often inflated.
5. No one knows the prices, so there is no competition.

Some cures for this can be:

1. If everyone is covered, there will be less loss, so that cost is not passed on to anyone.
2. Tort reform.
3. Medicare/Medicaid covering regular Doctor visits.
4. Legislate profits limits for Hospitals.
5. Make Hospitals and Doctors reveal their pricing information.

Let's examine the limitations and denial of coverage.

1. Lifetime financial limits, example 1 million dollars per person as long as they live.
2. Procedures that are not covered.
3. Pre-existing conditions ending in no coverage.

Legislation can be the only cure for this.

So, I propose in some ways, we mandate mandatory health insurance for everyone. Mandate that no one can be denied. Mandate no financial limitations.

And mandate this for Private Insurers only. No more Government system. If anything, the Government will help pay premiums for the poor. Why? We live in a Capitalist system. Government should not do EVERYTHING for us. It should provide the basics, and help the needy. When I say "help," I mean assist, not do it for them.

There are many people out there proposing different things. But as I read this article in Atlantic magazine, it made more sense than any other. I'm not sure if my ideas are the same as in this article, so don't write to me if there are discrepancies from what is written.

Anyway, please read it. It is long, but informative.
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200909/health-care

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Fought The Law And The Law..... Part 2

Recap. You read Part 1, didn't you? Come on now, it took some effort, so go ahead and read it.
http://whereirome.blogspot.com/2009/08/i-fought-law-and-law.html

In the last episode, our hero was in Court defending himself against all odds. The Prosecutor, his arch nemesis, was Mr Booker. Our hero was accused of speeding in excess of 20 mph over the speed limit allowed by law. GASP! How could this be? Our hero breaking the law? Say it isn't so!

In this Court trial, the Prosecutor presents his case. He calls a witness and questions him. Then the Defendant, that's me, can cross examine his witness. Then the Defendant presents their case, and calls their own witnesses, if there are any. The Prosecutor can cross examine the Defendant's witness(es). Both the Prosecutor and Defendant give final statements, and the Judge issues a verdict. I'm guessing that the usual verdict is GUILTY! LIFE IN PRISON! DUN DUN DUN!

Continued from Part 1..............

The Officer gave his account of what happened that day. "I was traveling South (in the opposite direction as I was) on Highway 93, when my Radar device sounded at the intersection of Highway 93 and (Street name). I made a U-turn, and made a traffic stop, and then issued a citation for violating the "Basic Speed Law" of the State of Nevada."

The Prosecutor questioned the Officer. How was he qualified to judge speed? Does he calibrate his Radar device? What was the speed limit in the area? All questions designed to make me appear GUILTY!

During this questioning, I jotted down notes to ask, so that some of the things the Officer or Prosecutor stated, could be clarified. I only wrote down one note. "Cited 65 mph - 50 mph?"

In my notes were key questions for the Officer, and key points to make while showing the video. It was now up to me to make my case and preserve my clean driving record and to walk out of Court a free man. *Cue Mel Gibson from the movie "Braveheart"* FREEDOM!!!!

Here's how it went.

Me: Officer, Do you have a copy of the ticket?
Officer: Yes, I have it right here.

Me: The City Attorney has said that I was going 20 mph over the speed limit at 65 mph. Didn't you cite me for 50 mph?
Officer: Checks ticket. Yes, I cited you for 50 mph.

Me: So I wasn't going 20 mph over the speed limit, only 5 mph?
Officer: Well actually at 50 mph, you were going 15 mph over the posted speed limit because it was a construction zone, and the speed limit in construction zones is 10 mph below the posted speed limit.

Me: But the construction was being done between 9 pm and 5 am in the morning, there was no construction while I was driving at 11:40 am.

Me: When there is a sign that reads "Slower Traffic Keep Right," what does that usually imply?
Officer: That if you are going slower, you should keep right.

Me: Is there a maximum speed for vehicles towing trailers in the State of Nevada?
Officer: No, we have no such law in Nevada, as they do in California.

Me: *Kinda disappointed* So you know that in California, vehicles towing trailers have a maximum speed limit of 55 mph, even if the speed limit is more for others. So then, a person from California, like me, would believe that that sign was for vehicles towing trailers, and that vehicles that were not towing a trailer could go faster in the other lanes.
Officer: I guess so.

Me: Okay, do you remember the traffic conditions that day? Was it light/heavy? Weather conditions?
Officer: Traffic is light to moderate during that time of day, and the weather was clear.

Me: Is it safe to drive at 65 mph then suddenly slow down to 45 mph? Wouldn't that be dangerous? Maybe cause someone to rear-end me?
Officer: Maybe, if someone was driving behind you.

Me: Officer, are you aware of the case in the Midwest where teenagers removed a "Stop" sign as a prank, and a fatality accident occurred?
Officer: No, I am not.

Me: Well, there was a fatality accident when some teenagers removed a "Stop" sign and two vehicles collided in an intersection. If that happened here, would you cite the driver for running a "Stop" sign?
Officer: No, because there wasn't a "Stop" sign.

Me: Okay. Well I have a video showing that there were no speed limit signs where I was driving until I was well in to the Boulder City City limits. I took this video right after I was given the ticket. I called the Court house and they told me that you were able to play a DVD here, so I recorded it for you on this disc.

Also, I'd like to show you this picture of the "Boulder City City Limit" sign with 2 signs, one before, and one after, that were NOT there at the time I was cited, as you will see in the video. The one before reads "45 MPH Speed Zone Ahead," and the other is a "45 mph Speed Limit" sign.

The Bailiff takes my picture and shows it to the City attorney, and then gives it to the Judge. He then takes my disc and plays it.

I explain that the video starts where I was driving from Lake Mead, and making a right turn onto the Highway, and continues to where I was eventually pulled over. As the video plays, I make comments. There's one of the "Slower Traffic Keep Right" signs. There's the "Construction 9 pm to 5 am" sign. No speed limit signs yet......... There's the "Boulder City City Limit" sign, without the 2 new signs. We come to the first intersection.

Judge: *To the Officer* That's (Street name) where you say you caught him speeding?
Officer: Yes.

Incidentally, there were concrete barriers that prevented anyone from driving on the shoulder of the Highway. I believe this was there to protect the construction crews when they were working on the Highway during the night. The only openings where one could pull over, were by the intersections.

Another intersection passes during the video, still with no speed limit signs. As we come towards the end of the video, I say, "The next intersection is where I was pulled over. I could not do it before, because of the barriers. And as you can see, there at the last intersection is where the speed limit sign is, well after I entered the City limits. This last part just shows me stopped with the Police car behind me."

For final statements the Prosecutor stated that the reason I was cited at 50 mph instead of 65 mph, was that the fines would be less, and that the City of Boulder was a City that was generous to people. I have to agree with some of that. My dealings with the Officer was fair, the Judge seemed fair. Only the City Attorney, Mr Booker seemed unfair, as I wrote about in my original Blog about this.

I gave my statement. "I am XX years old. I am a Firefighter and Paramedic for the City of Los Angeles. We are the 3rd busiest Fire Dept in the Nation. I drive an ambulance, normally and during emergencies thousands of times. I have no tickets or accidents for over 20 years. I am a safe driver. There was a Jeep Cherokee in front of me while I was driving. I was driving with the flow of traffic when I was stopped. I may have been speeding, I don't look at my speedometer all the time, mostly I drive with the flow of traffic. I was driving safely. I don't think it is fair to cite someone for speeding when there were no speed limit signs. I don't blame the Officer for citing me, someone dropped the ball and did not place speed limit signs. There should be speed limit signs in the area before the City limits. Whoever is responsible for that area should place signs. I don't know what I deserve, I just want it to be fair, that's all."

Judge: Well, you were cited for violating the "Basic Speed Law," which is going at least 1 mph over the posted speed limit. But the speed limit was not posted. Can I keep this video?
Me: Sure.

Judge: Can I keep this picture?
Me: Sure.

Me: You know Judge, there are a lot of signs stating "Reduced Speed Ahead" coming from Las Vegas to Boulder City. There should be some from the direction I was going too.

Judge: Okay. I'll look over the video more closely and issue a verdict by mail.
Me: So, what do I do now?

Judge: Just wait, and you'll receive something in the mail.
Me: Okay, so we're done? I can leave?

Judge: Yes, you may go.

I leave the Court room, and I'm out the door. I'm about 25 yards away when the Bailiff calls for me.

Bailiff: HEY!
Me: YES?

Bailiff: The Judge wants you back.
Me: *Walking briskly back* What does he want?

Bailiff: The Judge wants to see you. Good job.
Me: Um, Thank you?

Back in Court again.

Judge: The City Attorney has decided to make my job easier and dismiss the case against you. You are dismissed.
Me: Thank you!

Now here's the kicker. I quickly thought about what to do next. I turned to the City Attorney and offered my hand and I said, "Thank you."

The City Attorney, reluctantly shook my hand. He looked defeated.

So, I fought the Law, and the Law...... Won. Why? The law is that I must be going faster than the POSTED speed limit. The law was right, I wasn't doing that.

The final tally. If the City Attorney was not being pig-headed back when we had a settlement talk, he could have dismissed the case right then. But his Ego was bruised. I was not going to submit to his pressure, or be a "good boy."

Yes, I probably spent more money fighting this ticket than the original fine. Hotels, food, gas, gambling money, Strip clubs, Lap dances, Hookers....... Um, er, disregard the last three.....

But that does not include how much my insurance rates would have gone up for 3-7 years until the points against me was erased. And what if I receive another legitimate ticket after that? Everyone bends or breaks traffic laws, on purpose or by accident. Cars are very smooth now, and anyone can easily drive too fast without realizing it.

I also had 3 trips to Las Vegas that were not planned. Extra forced mini-vacations. I really needed that. Thank you City of Boulder. The only thing that would have made this real life story better, is if I won a huge Jackpot at a Slot machine with the last dollar in my pocket.

Oh well, who cares about any of that. I won. Did you hear me Mr Booker? I WON!

I forgot. My apologies to Mr Anonymous. You could be Ms Anonymous. I didn't mean to offend you if you are a woman. And I didn't discount your good advice. I really felt that my video was the key and all I would need to win. Thank you too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Fought The Law And The Law...... Part 1

My faithful readers, and Mr Anonymous, know that back on February 11, 2009, I received a speeding ticket in Boulder City, Nevada. Without going into details, here is the Blog post from May 12, 2009: http://whereirome.blogspot.com/2009/05/boulder-city-redemption.html

Since that Pretrial conference with the Boulder City City Attorney, I had not done much research into anything related to Nevada State law regarding their traffic laws. Mr Anonymous gave me several things to research and made many very good suggestions. But that would have required reading and researching. And if you know me, you know I can't read, and I'm too lazy to do any research.

But I did have a plan. There were two key points I had to make at my trial to try and win my case. One was to prove that there were no Speed Limit signs, and the other was to convince them that I was not driving in an unsafe manner. The former was easy. I had a video of the Highway showing that there were no Speed Limit signs until well after I was caught speeding. The latter not so difficult, but I had to ask the right questions.

Today was my Court trial. DUN DUN DUN! As in anything in life, you must be prepared for anything. The first thing I did was call the Courthouse 3 days prior, to see what type of Audio Visual equipment was available in the Courtroom. It would be dumb to show up with say, a USB thumb drive with the video recorded on MPEG-4, when all they may have is a VHS tape player. I was told that they had a DVD player hooked up to the Courtroom TVs.

I spent a good hour trying to figure out, and eventually recording the video from my computer to a DVD-R disc. I used the S-Video output from my Laptop, connected it to a DVD recorder outputting to my TV, and set the Laptop to "Graphics Output - Television." After 3 separate recordings, I finally had a full sized image of the video on the DVD-R disc.

On Wednesday, I drove to Las Vegas, taking a detour to Boulder City first. I wanted to see if my foresight would be correct and that what I thought might happen, would happen. This was something I didn't want to talk about in comments about my case. What if someone from Boulder City found this Blog and was monitoring it? Would my "Secret Weapon" of justice be neutralized, if they had prior knowledge about it?

You see, 6 months ago, they were finishing up the roadwork on the Highway where I was caught speeding. It was this roadwork that I believe was the reason there were no Speed Limit signs. And guess what? Two new signs were put up, one right before the "Boulder City City Limit" sign, and one after. The one before read, "45 MPH Speed Zone Ahead," and the other was a "45 MPH Speed Limit" sign. I took a picture of the sign, and several other signs leading to and from Boulder City from the South and North.

Then I went to Walgreens and had 3 of the pictures printed. I magnified and cropped the pictures to make sure that the signs were legible, and I had them printed on 8 X 10 photo paper for $9.00. I eventually used only the picture of the two signs near the "Boulder City City Limit" sign at my trial.

I spent the night at Bally's for $40. It was a special Expedia rate, and the room was very nice. The person giving me the room was talking to her Manager, who just happened to have the same last name as mine. My family name is not too common, so we talked a little, and found out our Fathers were from Hawaii, but from different Islands. I know we must be related somewhere down the line, but who knows how. It didn't matter, I didn't get the Super Luxury Suite upgrade. But the Standard room was really nice and roomy. I had a great night's sleep.

I woke up early, and went next door to the Paris Hotel. Bally's and Paris are connected by a hallway. Paris Hotel is my favorite Breakfast Buffet in Las Vegas. I stuffed myself with Eggs Benedict, Ham, Apple Crepes, Belgium waffles, Smoked Salmon, Corned Beef Hash, Strawberries, Coffee, and Orange Juice for $15, $10 after I used a $5 off coupon. Score! I went back to my room, cleaned up, changed into Courtroom appropriate attire, checked out of the Hotel, and headed to Boulder City. I had to be there by 9:30 am.

I got to Court 25 minutes early, and while waiting for my trial to begin, I finally wrote down on paper, some key questions that I would ask the Police Officer during the trial. You really can't rely on your memory, or "my" memory since I'm getting senile. Plus, it helps you keep your questions relevant and in order.

There were many other Court cases to be heard, people who were jailed for one reason or another came first. Most plead "Guilty" to their crimes, some plead "Not Guilty." They were all released on their own recognizance and given a trial date or instructions to follow for pleading "Guilty."

Finally, it was time for those who had a Court case. There were two of us. Even the Bailiff was surprised. I overheard him say, "We're going to have a trial" almost incredulously.

The other person was also caught speeding, on a different Highway, by the same officer that caught me speeding. His defense was the unreliablity of Radar guns. He even brought copies of Judgments from other Court cases and gave copies to the Judge and City Attorney. They didn't care. During the cross examination of the Officer by the Defendant, the Officer stated that they do not physically keep a log of when they calibrate their Radar gun. I thought, "This guy won. The Officer didn't even document his calibrations." But the Judge said, the Officer's word was good enough for him, and if he said he did the calibrations at the beginning and end of every shift, and after every traffic stop, then that's what he did. The Defendant was at a loss for words. He wasn't a Lawyer. In his final words he repeated what he said about Radar guns, and thought that the Officer should have kept a written record of his calibrating the Radar gun and by not doing so, his case should be dismissed. The Judge found him guilty of speeding, and he was fined 127 dollars.

Now it was my turn. The City Attorney went first, stated the facts of the case, went over and repeated the Officer's qualifications to judge speed, and use of a radar gun. The City Attorney even stopped at one point and asked the Judge, "I have to go over this again, don't I? I can't skip it?" Of course the answer was "No." He did try to make my Speeding ticket worse than it was, saying I was cited at 20 mph over the speed limit by going 65 mph. You see, the Officer had wrote on the ticket that the Radar caught me driving at 65 mph. But the Officer only wrote me up for going 50 mph. I was guessing that by the time he caught up to me, I was going 50 mph.

Now it was my turn to question the Officer.

Aw, this is getting too long, and I have to go to bed. Good Night. I'll finish this on my next day off.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pookie & Puka

Like the movie Julie & Julia, Julie wrote a Blog and wondered if anyone read it. One can only tell by the comments left, if someone actually reads a Blog, and for a while there, only Julie's mother would comment on it. Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads this. Maybe if I had a single theme, instead of writing whatever comes to mind, it would be more readable. Maybe I can start another one with just my Firefighting stories in it.

But there are many who may read a Blog and not leave a comment. I am guilty of the that, though I try to leave a comment if I can make it naughty. If you see your Blog listed on the right side of this page, then you know for sure that I read your Blog, even if I don't leave a comment.

In the movie, Julie stated receiving more and more comments, mostly from strangers, and that made her feel validated. She even high-fived a co-worker when she had 53 comments to her Blog. Some of her readers even sent her gifts in the mail. I don't know how this would happen in real life. Who would post their real address on their Blog? Well, since it was a movie, anything goes......

Sometimes things change. I know that Frank used to read my Blog, but now he has a girlfriend, and he's become MIA, even on Facebook. Sometimes I'm not even sure there was a Frank. Maybe he was a figment of my imagination?

Then there's Puka. Recently she has made some major changes in her life, and now, she too is MIA. Last I heard from her, she wondered if she made the right decisions, and what she might do from then on.

Well, maybe one day I'll hear from her. Maybe this Blog will cause her to come out of hiding. Maybe Frank will risk coming out of the witness protection program to say hello. Maybe I'll win the lottery. Wait a minute, does this mean Frank is "Pookie?"

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, I hope that at least, you're having a Happy Birthday today. So Happy Birthday Rochelle.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fire Dept Staffing

This is in response to a retired Pasadena Police Chief who has Political aspirations in Glendale, where he now lives. He wrote this letter to the Daily News concerning Fire Dept Budgets.

http://www.dailynews.com/search/ci_12281114?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com

In it he believes that most Fire Depts over-staff their Fire Engines. He should stick with staffing on Police Depts. Police and Fire Depts are very specialized services, and you really have to be one to know how things should be done.

To keep this short and simple, I will explain how a Fire Engine is staffed and rebut some of the points he made in his letter.

A Fire Engine is normally staffed with 4 Firefighters.

One is a Captain, who supervises all of the members on the Fire Engine. Second is the Engineer who drives the Fire Engine and operates the pump that supplies water to the various hoses. Third is the Hydrant Firefighter who hooks up the hose that supplies water from the Fire Hydrant to the Fire Engine. Fourth is the Nozzle Firefighter who lays out the hose and puts water where it is needed.

When there is a house fire, the Fire Engine drives down the street, stops at a fire hydrant and the Hydrant FF gets off the Engine and takes the hydrant hose and tools needed to attach it to the fire hydrant. The Fire Engine then drives up to the house on fire. The Nozzle FF gets out and starts laying out the hose that's needed to fight the fire. The Captain makes an assessment and determines if more resources are needed and what strategy to use to fight the fire. The Engineer takes the other end of the hydrant hose and connects it to the Fire Engine. In the meantime, the Hydrant FF has hooked up his end of the hydrant hose, and is waiting for the Engineer to attach his end before turning on the fire hydrant. After he turns on the fire hydrant, he runs up the street to join the rest of his crew who are now ready to fight the fire. This all happens within 2 minutes, depending on how far it is between the house and the hydrant.

As stated in the Letter to the Editor, there is a "2 in, 2 out rule." This satisfies that rule, with a catch. Remember, this is just a simple version of what happens at a fire. There are many scenarios, and other tangents we can go off on. But I have to keep this short and sweet. The catch is the Engineer doesn't count, because he is supposed to stay with the Fire Engine. This means that a 4-person Fire Engine is actually 1 person short.

Now, let's remove that one FF and make it a 3 person Fire Engine. Same scenario, BUT, there is no Nozzle FF, so when the Hydrant FF gets back to the Fire Engine to rejoin the rest of the crew, he lays out the fire hose that is needed and then nothing happens. Why? There is no "2 in, 2 out." They have to wait until another Fire Engine shows up BEFORE they can do any interior Firefighting. And the second Engine can't do anything, because they are the "2 out" part of the "2 in, 2 out" rule. There has to be 2 MORE 3-person Fire Engines to show up before the second Engine can help out the first 2 FFs that are already inside and needing help 20 mins ago.

So, in order to have proper personnel ratios, there would have to be more Fire Engines dispatched to a fire with a 3-person Engine, than with a 4-person Fire Engine. A lot more. What if there was another fire somewhere else? Everyone's at this fire, who will be sent to the other one? Multiple fires in a big City like Los Angeles? Yes there are. What if there is a Brush fire, and 20 Fire Engines are committed to fight that one? Not enough left over to cover LA City, that's for sure.

So with a 3-person Fire Engine, and not wanting to send so many resources to one fire, Fire Departments would have to switch Firefighting strategies from an Offensive attack, to a Defensive attack.

An Offensive attack is what the LAFD uses. We go inside a house, find the fire, and put water on it. The fire goes out with the least amount of damage as possible.

A Defensive attack would be to break a window from the outside of a house, and start shooting water into it, without ever going inside. This way usually causes the fire to burn more, and cause more damage. Mainly because you can not put water directly onto the fire, so it doesn't go out.

In one, you could lose one room of your house. In the other, your whole house could be damaged or a total loss. Which one would you choose?

Fires don't wait for anyone. There are no "time-outs." The longer a fire burns, the larger it gets. The larger it gets, the more damage is done. The more damage done, the more dangerous it is. Have you ever seen a roof collapse on anyone? Have you ever seen a FF go through a roof? All these things happen because a fire has burned long enough to weaken structural material in a building.

Fires need to be fought with as many people possible in the beginning to keep it in check, and then less and less as time goes on and a fire is put out. Start with the least amount, and the Fire will get bigger and bigger, and you start needing more and more people to help put it out or it gets out of control.

Believe me when I say, if your local Fire Station has a 3-person Fire Engine, you are being short-changed. It may save some money, but it's not worth it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bargain?

I was in Costco today, and I saw a two-pack of Solar Flashlights for sale. This intrigued me. I thought about buying them just in case.......... but because of the economy and needing to watch your spending, you just can't throw money around anymore. You have to ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"

So, I says to myself, "Self, Does you really need that?" And I thought about it. Really thought about it.

Let's see now....... I go home with the flashlights. I'm in the house. The power goes out. I'm standing there in the dark. I'm saved! I have these new solar flashlights with me! YAY!

I turn them on..... nothing....... *shake shake* still nothing.

Oh wait. They're SOLAR flashlights. D'OH! They need light to work. X[





(To be fair, I know that the solar part probably charges the batteries in the flashlight. But then, that wouldn't be humorous, would it? What? This isn't humorous?)

Friday, July 24, 2009

OMG!

There was a Blogger Prom!

I wasn't invited!

I didn't get chosen King of the Prom!

WOO HOO!

There's hope for me yet!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lay Offs

I have six employees. Two have been with me for over 15 years. The other four are a family, a Mother and her three children. Unfortunately, I need to lay off the at least two of them. I can't force the retirement of my two Senior employees, so at least two of the three with the lowest seniority must go.

Each employee can perform many duties. Their main job is to keep your lap warm, though the younger employees have a tough time sitting still. Other duties are to help keep your fingers in shape by allowing you to scratch their heads, necks, backs, and bellies. Purring depends upon the amount of scratching you do. They can also perform pest control duties.

All will have had their shots by the end of July and have so far passed the Feline Leukemia test. They are to be spayed sometime by the end of July, beginning of August.

If you know of anyone who would like to hire any of these employees, please contact me. Friends or friends of friends only.






Are you sure you don't want one?







Sunday, June 21, 2009

So True.....

Lines from songs that ring true. Most are from my favorite artists. Others, songs I've heard. As I remember more, I will add more. Of course, you can add your own lines via comments.



1. I'm so much cooler online.

2. God is Great, Beer is good, and People are crazy. (Even though I don't drink.)

3. You were born with nothing, and better off that way. Soon as you got something they send someone to try and take it away.

4. Poor man wanna be rich, Rich man wanna be King, and a King ain't satisfied till he rules everything.

5. You better let somebody love you, before it's too late.

6. It's Five 'o clock somewhere.

7. I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once, as I ever was.

Dang, is that all I can remember today?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Final Frontier

If you didn't know, a plaza in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles was purchased by some Korean investors. There was some controversy to this because it seemed at the time that the Korean investors would try to change the make-up of the plaza from Japanese-themed to Korean themed. You see, there is a section in Los Angeles that is Korea Town, and the two are not close, and in fact miles apart.

On one hand, by diluting Little Tokyo with non-Japanese themed businesses, you will eventually lose a Historic and Cultural part of the Japanese Community that once thrived there.

On the other hand, it is purely a business move. Anyone, no matter what race, should be able to buy property and try to make money.

Lost in this is how the Vietnamese are opening businesses in Los Angeles Chinatown. Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think there was a backlash or any mention of that.

I guess it is a little different. As the Chinese Community grew outward, "New" and "Newer" China Towns sprout up in Monterey Park, then the rest of the San Gabriel Valley, and now the Rowland Heights area.

The Japanese also moved outward, and although there may be sections of Japanese themed businesses in a particular area, none are called Little Tokyo or Japanese Town.

Incidentally, Vietnamese Towns are somewhere around Westminster and Garden Grove in Orange County, to the best of my knowledge. Thai Town is in the area just East of Hollywood. I don't know if there is anywhere that is considered Filipino Town, but I do know where Historic Filipino Town is.

How do these Towns start up? Most of the time, Immigrants from these respective Countries do not speak English and/or feel intimidated by their new land. So, to be able to communicate and feel more at home, they lived close to each other. Then they open businesses to appeal to their Customs and Cultures within these same Communities, therefore starting these separate "Towns."

So, the Koreans are taking over Japanese Town, or Little Tokyo. I can't really complain, I just hope that the "Core" part remains, so that there will always be a LIttle Tokyo and not one day, a "Historic" Little Tokyo.

HOWEVER. WTF! I apologize in advance to my Korean friends, and in fact any Korean. I am not a Racist or a Bigot. BUT, damn! Why, Why, WHY!

Part of what made the TV Series Star Trek great, was that Gene Roddenberry used actors of "Color" for the crew of the Enterprise, a Spaceship of the future. He didn't do what most of Hollywood did back then, which was hire all "white" people and if a part was "Asian," tape their eyes back.

Most people were chosen because they "fit" the part. Checkov was Russian, and so was the actor who played him. Scotty was Scottish, but played by someone of Irish ancestry, born in Canada. Dr McCoy was a real Doctor. Okay, you got me there.

About the hardest thing that Gene Roddenberry did, was fill the part for Spock. Do you know how hard it was to find a Vulcan?

Anyway, getting back to my point, Sulu was Japanese. In the New Star Trek movie, Sulu is still Sulu, but played by a Korean actor named John Cho. Mr Cho, why did you do it? There has to be a line drawn SOMEWHERE!!!! Sulu is Japanese, you didn't HAVE to take the part. Come on, it may be all we have left, and you took it from us. How can there ever be peace amongst the Asians if stuff like this happens? *pouts*

Well, one consolation, Sulu is still the Pilot, at least they kept an Asian driver to drive the Enterprise. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SpeedShanked Redemption

I hadn't been to Las Vegas in YEARS. I was never much into gambling, and I don't drink. I only went with friends, and to eat my ass off at Buffets. I guess I ate my ass ON at Buffets. Anyway, last February, I finally went with my good Las Vegas loving friend. I was disappointed. I now know that I don't care much for gambling anymore. But I did play the Mega-Bucks, most of the time. It was the highest Jackpot it had ever been, at more than 34 Million dollars. Needless to say, I didn't win a Mega-anything. And though I did have some good Buffets, I can't eat as much as I used to, so I didn't get more than my moneys worth, which is the rule. Right?

With little to do, I decided to go see some sights. Lake Mead was only 30 minutes away, so I went.

BIG MISTAKE #1.

I got a speeding ticket in Boulder City, going back to Las Vegas. Now, now, don't Judge. After making the turn onto Highway 93/95 from Lake Mead Parkway, there were no Speed Limit signs. BUT, there were 2 separate "Slower Traffic Keep To The Right" signs. These signs are placed only for Large Trucks and Vehicles towing trailers, because they are limited to 55 MPH. That suggests that the posted speed limit is more than 55 MPH. And why not? A Highway in Nevada? 65 seems to be the minimum everywhere you look.

But, in the portion that cuts through Boulder City, it is 45 MPH. When you go to Boulder City via Highway 93/95 FROM Las Vegas, there are speed limit signs AND signs that state "Reduced Speed Ahead" just before you get to the Boulder City City limits. But no such signs exist from the opposite side, coming from Lake Mead/Hoover Dam area into Boulder City. There was only ONE 45 MPH speed limit sign about a half mile past the Boulder City border sign.

So, as soon as I saw that sign, I started slowing down. Too late, since I was well into the Boulder City limits, the BC Police Officer had Radar-ed me at 65 and then wrote me up for 50 MPH, probably the speed I was when he caught up to me, after I saw the 45 MPH sign.

I had told the Officer that I did not see any Speed Limit signs, and he told me that there were at least 3 of them. I didn't argue with him. The Officer was just doing his job, and he was very Professional about it. After giving me my ticket, I went back and retraced my route. I was correct, there were NO speed Limit signs, at least not 3 that the Officer mentioned. I took out my trusty Flip Video and recorded the whole scene, from Lake Mead Parkway, to where I was pulled over.

The reason that there were no signs, was because they were doing road work on the shoulder. I don't know the area before, so I am assuming that the Officer was telling the truth and there was at one time, Speed Limit signs. The important part was, they were not there at the time I was ticketed. I thought I had reasonable proof that although I was speeding, the lack of proper signage would vindicate my actions.

So, I decided to fight the ticket. Why not, I have nothing to lose, and the Officer may not show up and I'd win.

BIG MISTAKE #2 (Condensed Version)

They have a different Court procedure for traffic tickets in Boulder City. First you have a hearing. That's what I was appearing for, I thought it was Court. After going through all the DUI's and other citations, they got to me. They asked me how I would plea and I said "Not Guilty." So they asked me what day I would like to return. What? The Officer didn't show up, and all I was there for was to make a plea? Okay, I made a date. They gave me some paperwork, which I didn't read until today, and found out my Court date was actually a Pre-Trial hearing. This is where a Boulder City Representative and I meet, and negotiate plea deal. If a deal can not be made to settle the matter, THEN an actual Court date is scheduled.

So, I meet the City representative, a Mr Booker. He shakes my hand, smiles, and starts looking over the paper work. He tells me that it isn't so bad and he can reduce the ticket to something without any Points on my record, and I pay close to $200. I said, "That's fine. But I also want to discuss that fact that there were no Speed Limit signs. He tells me there are signs, and in fact, he drives that way to and from work every day, so he knows there are signs there. (Unless he lives in the Lake Mead recreational area, Hoover Dam, or the Hotel Casino near Hoover Dam, he doesn't drive this Highway everyday.) I tell him that I had just drove that same stretch, and the only signs up now, were temporary 35 MPH signs, leaning on Orange Traffic cones. He looks at me like I'm nuts. I tell him I have Video. He said, "I don't have to look at your Video, I know there are signs there." I say, "You won't look at my Video, even though I have proof there were no signs there?" He relents, and then tells me, "For a Firefighter, you sure are a pain in the ass."

I show him the Video, we discuss how and if 65 MPH is safe to drive on that street. He glances at my video every now and then, no signs showing up, and before it's even a quarter done, he says he doesn't have to look at it anymore, and that traveling at 65 MPH in that area is extremely dangerous and that I would "fall off the edge." I say, "Fall off the edge? What edge?" Then he throws a hissy-fit and says, "You want a Court date? You want a Judge to decide this? I'll get you a Court date, let's see what we have available."

Big Mistake #3

Probably, but who cares now. It's obvious to me by the un-professional manner that the City representative had, that I was going to get bent over no matter what. The ticket given to me wasn't really for speeding. It was because I was from out of State, and most of us would just pay the fine and go to Traffic School. Boulder City just wanted $187 extra dollars in their coffers.

Unfortunately for them, I can't go to traffic School because I have a Commercial license, all Firefighters in LA do. We have stricter limitations, even with Blood Alcohol limits. And I have the time to fight the ticket.

So here I am. Now my goal is to make Boulder City Nevada work for it's money. Someone will have to get off their ass and go to Court to go against me. Will I win? I doubt it. Boulder City is small. I bet that everyone knows everyone and their spouses, children, and pets too.

I would like some suggestions from you out there. Maybe you may know better than me.

Can I/Should I;

Ask for a Jury Trial?

Ask for the Traffic Speed Surveys for the Highway?

Ask for Statistics on Accidents there? The number of Citations given? How many are given to people from Out-of-State?

Anything else? You have until August 20 to let me know. That's my, hopefully, final Court appearance.

I'm not going to win. But Boulder City is gonna spend more money for this ticket than they are going to get from me. heh heh heh

The way things are going, I'll probably end up in Jail after my Court date. Probably for murder, or child molestation. In Jail, I'll probably waste away. Would some of you come to visit me? If you do, don't speed in Boulder City.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dork Alert

I don't know why, but every time I see cows, I have the urge to go "mmmooooooooooo." This does not happen with horses, sheep, goats, pigs or any other animals. Only cows. Of course, those animals don't go "mmmooooooo," but you know what I mean. I don't say "oink oink" when I see a pig. I only try to imitate a cow.

Stop moooking fun of me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

"It's Time For Dodger Baseball"

These are the words uttered by the GREAT Vin Scully before each Dodger game that he announces.

Today was Opening Day for Baseball in Los Angeles. And due to great scheduling by MLB, the Dodgers were playing their Northern California rivals, the HATED SF Giants. I'm not even going to respect them enough to spell out the full name of the City.

My actual first Baseball game was with my Little League team, the Angels, to see the California Angels play. Now that I look back, my Coach was very good to take all of us 8 year olds to a Baseball game. Today it would have cost him his Mortgage payment, but back then, probably less than $50.

But, I grew up in Echo Park, which is within a long walking distance to Dodger Stadium. How could I NOT root for the Dodgers. Oh, yeah, I know about that other Blog Post I wrote, but that was highlighting Dodger Stadium Security, not the Baseball team.

Through those early years, the Dodgers seemed to always be in the playoffs, but never went the distance, always losing before getting a chance to play in the World Series. What a letdown every year. After the infamous "Ticket finding fiasco" I was no longer a Dodger Fanatic, but I was still a Dodger Fan.

I remember how the fan base changed with different players becoming Stars. With Fernando Valenzuela, more people of Mexican decent became Dodger fans. I was working at a Union 76 gas station during that time. Union 76 was a sponsor of the Dodgers, so we always had Dodger schedules and gave away some souvenirs. More and more Spanish speaking persons came in and asked for "Dyers" or Doughyers" schedules.

Then with Hideo Nomo, more Japanese fans. Chan Ho Park, more Korean fans.

Opening games are hard to go to. They are scheduled as a Day game, during the week. So unless you take the day off from work, you can't go. Lucky for me, I don't have a regular 9-5, M-F job. Lucky for my other non-conformist friends, I had 3 more tickets.

One was a long time friend and neighbor, David. David and I go way back to 7th Grade. We've gone to many Baseball games together, and one time, we took his Father. I wish he was alive today, I would have wanted him to go. David brought a friend. I took my other friend that I won't mention by name, because I will embarrass her. So, to identify her in this story, I will call her "La Cucaracha-elle."

Now, though it's a little un-PC, I hope I don't offend any of my Messican friends. Since I grew up in Echo Park, which was mostly Hispanic, I think I can say these things without being called any names.

La Cucaracha-elle picked me up in her new car. As we drove to the Stadium using my short cut, I knew right away that going there an hour early, even though the Stadium is 5 minutes away, was a good idea. The short cut was jammed with traffic. And just outside the Stadium, there were a lot of people tailgating in Elysian Park.

The Game was Sold Out, the roads were packed, the parking lots were full, and the lines getting into the Stadium and to the Consession stands were long. We got there just in time for the Dodgers to announce the players, and sat in our seats when her favorite player, Russell Martin was called.

Just like in High School, she likes him because "he's soooooo cuuuuuute." Oh brother!

Since it was a Day game, it was HOT! The people outside already had a head start and running the bases to drunkenness, and now inside, they were heading to home plate! Needless to say, it was a little rowdy, especially if you were wearing any other team's "Colors."

There were a few fights, but nothing really bad. The one I will talk about happened just after Russell Martin first time up to bat. Russell Martin flied out. The woman behind me and La Cucaracha-elle said, "That's okay Russell, I still LOVE YOU, you're still MY MAN!" Oh-oh, trouble!

La Cucaracha-elle - "He's NOT your man, he's MINE!"

Other Messican Woman - "Who ju tocking to, Huera?"

La Cucaracha-elle - "Ju, Sancha!"

Other Messican Woman - "Who ju callin' Sancha, ju pinche Huera!"

Now, I'm a smart man. I don't ever try to stop a Messican girl fight over a man. But I AM a smart man, and I know what to do. You need to know two things to keep an advantage. First, getting between two Messican girls about to fight means you can get some "Accidental" Boobie Grabbage. Second, you have to know what to say or do to distract them. I shouted, "Look! Andre Ethier is up!"

They turned their attention, and leering eyes back to the game and the fight was over before it even started. Whew! Remind me not to take La Cucaracha-elle to another Day game....


Highlights of the Game:

To start the game, the Dodgers asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence for Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and his two friends, who were killed in a car crash, and for Philadelphia Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who died Monday at the age of 73.

Vin Scully was honored for 60 years of announcing, and he threw out the First Pitch.

Charise, a 16 year old Filipina girl made famous by Oprah, sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Various Armed Forces Personnel unrolled a GIGANTIC Flag of the United States that covered most of the outfield.

A B-2 Stealth Bomber flew overhead before the game.

N'Kenge sang God Bless America before the 7th Inning Stretch.

The game had 3 home runs, two by Andre Ethier, and one by Orlando Hudson, who also hit for the cycle for the first time since Wes Parker did it on May 7, 1970. It was the first time anyone has done it inside Dodger Stadium.

All in all, a great game and a good time was had by all. Who won the game? The Dodgers! The score? How would I know? Let me look it up.......


11-1 Dodgers beat the Giants!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Perspectives

I've been preoccupied lately, and really don't feel like writing anything. I know some of your favorite blogs of mine are the humorous ones. The "Political" ones are boring, or may even be against how you feel, but you're too polite to call me on them. The rest are all nonsense.

Some things have been popping up lately, that I can only describe as a difference in perspectives. Things that seem okay to one person, but not okay to another.

The other day, they were interviewing people who got a chance to go and see the President. One teenager said, "I've been waiting all my life for a President I can believe in." I could only think of the pains that she has gone through "all her life."

I overheard a guy talking about buying his home and being qualified for a First-time Home Buyers credit. I believe it was $8,000. But his Mortgage Broker was mistaken, and he was not qualified for it because he made more than the minimum of $75,000 per year. Then he quipped, "There goes the lift kit I was going to put on my truck." Gee, people being laid-off work, homes being foreclosed on, families living in cheap motels or their cars, and people not sure about their own future, and you're complaining about not being able to lift your truck in Los Angeles, the Moab of California. This also makes me think of Politicians who want to spend too much and cut too much, and see nothing wrong with their own Great pay, free health insurance, and pension plan.

In another sense, I once told someone that if you read the Bible, you must try to have the perspective of someone from 2,000 years ago. It would be very difficult to do so, because who would know how a person from 2,000 years ago thinks? This was in reference to a certain Religious group not allowing blood transfusions because of what is written in the Bible. Since I don't believe people did blood transfusions back then, I seriously doubt that anyone would have a perspective on it, and could not even fathom being for or against it.

In a much larger sense, I remembered how my own Mother reacted to the attacks on the World Trade Center. I turned the channel on her TV set and said "Look at what's happening!" She was not as shocked as I was, and having almost no reaction. Then I thought about it. My Mother was born in Hiroshima, Japan. During the War, her Father moved their family to the countryside. My Mother was witness to the aftermath of an Nuclear Bomb wiping out a whole City. I bet nothing compares to that.

When you look at things from only one perspective, you blind yourself and become judgmental, and may even come to the wrong conclusion at times. What do they say about walking in another man's shoes?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Having a Clean Colon

Disclaimer: The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Parental discretion is advised. Yeah, this is where I talk shit, be forewarned. Don't read it and complain to me later.... BTW, if I use "I," "Me," or "My," in this story, I really mean "My friend."

You've heard the commercials on the radio or TV. You've heard the hype. You even admit that it all makes sense. After all, food is processed in your colon, and anything that prevents, aggravates, or delays that process, can affect you in many ways. Everyone should clean their colons!

So here's the premise. Some people have died, and during an autopsy, undigested foods of upwards of 40 pounds were found inside their colon. Heck, I heard that a loooooooong time ago when John Wayne died. It was rumored that he had over 40 pounds of undigested meat still in his colon. Wow! That could feed me for 2 months.

They say that food can also harden like plaque on artery walls and cause problems too. The food you eat is digested and broken down in your stomach, then sent through your colon, where all of the nutrients are absorbed by the body. If there's "plaque" on the walls of your colon, the nutrients will not be absorbed. And it will will not be turned into "waste" properly.

They say how your "waste" comes out of you is also telling of how well your colon is working. To put it simply, in "Caddyshack" terms, you should have Snickers bars, not M&M's with peanuts, or chocolate milk coming out of you.

I'll buy that. It makes sense.

There's even have a website where a particular product has pictures of "What the hell is that, and how did it come out of my butt!" testimonials. Yes, things that look like the seaweed you find floating at the ocean by the beach, all lined up and looking like, "Hey, you don't want THIS inside you, do you?"

All of these manufacturers, promise you many things if you use their product. "Get a flatter stomach." "Lose weight." "Have more energy." "Feel less bloated." "Be healthier."

Well DAMN! Those are all the things "I" NEED! So my first thought was, what kind of brush do you use? Oh, um, er, .................... pills or a powder? That's MUCH better. But now what? There are so many products............. which one is the best? The ones where you fast too? Oh, HELL NO! I ain't gonna fast! Do I look like Ghandi to you?

I chose "Bowtrol." Why? It's free. Well, for $6.95 for shipping charges, and you're put on an automatic delivery system that if you don't cancel in time, you will be charged for your next bottle automatically. Damn, not only am I all of those things, I'm cheap too. My colon seems to be controlling my wallet.

For $6.95, you get one bottle of Bowtrol Colon Cleaner, which is full of natural herbs and who knows what else, that helps you get rid of anything in your colon that shouldn't be there, even parasites. What kind of parasites? Tapeworms, I guess. Three pills are recommended to be taken before you go to bed for no more than 14 days. Then you wait 14 days and do another 14 days. Easy enough. And you get 100 pills, so you can do those 4 weeks total. I believe it recommends that you do this on again off again treatment for as long as you live. I don't think I'll do that.

You also get one bottle of Bowtrol Probiotics. Probiotics are these biotics that are good for you. Yeah, see how smart that sounded? Well, it's basically stuff that lives in your colon that helps you absorb all of the nutrients. These biotics can be killed by Anti-biotics that you take to fight infections when you are sick. All of that penecyllin you've taken has probably killed of all of your natural biotics. Don't worry too much, those "Active Yogurt Cultures" in Yogurt is the same thing. You only have to take one pill every morning on an empty stomach. Still easy.

Well, I will update this later when I'm completely finished with my "Cleanse." So check in one week from now to hear about how I feel after 14 days. So far, not much has changed. Wait a minute..............

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ticketmaster

Gosh, I can remember when you had to buy tickets to any event at the place the event was being held. Going to the Dodger game? You had to go to Dodger Stadium to get tickets. Now that wasn't too bad, you could buy tickets in advance to any game.

But Concerts were another story. When your favorite Musical act announced that they were going to have a Concert Tour, you'd check and see when tickets would go on sale in your area. The tickets would normally go on sale on a weekend, and you'd drive to the Venue and line up with everyone else who wanted to see the same concert. Some would get there early and sleep overnight on the sidewalk, much like people who wait in line for after Christmas sales.

Oh the good old days when Frank Sinatra...... I mean, Elvis Presley........... um, the Beatles........ er, the Eagles............ MC Hammer, B-52's, hmmmmmmm Coldplay! Yeah, um that's it...... I remember how long the lines were, and finally getting to the front of the line, only to get seats waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back row.

Then, with the invention of the computer and Al Gore's invention of the Internet, you were able to buy tickets from Ticketmaster at multiple locations across any City/State, usually inside May Company or Wherehouse stores. Um, May Company was a Department store, in it's own separate building, malls were not invented. The Wherehouse was a record store. Um, a record was like a CD, but........... oh, never mind.

This was a great idea! So convenient! And your chances of getting decent seats was much better, even though I still ended up waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back.

Then BAM! You didn't have to go anywhere! You could buy tickets online! Wow! All you had to do was sit at home in your underwear and buy tickets. And if you had Internet service with fast speeds, whoa, now you were more likely to get good seats! Finally, now that I'm old enough to hate LOUD music, I can be right there, next to the speakers! WHAT?

But as almost everything, good things don't last forever. Ticketmaster started adding surcharges. There's a "Convenience" charge, and a "Building Facility" charge. What's that? Who knows. Some charges are for shipping the tickets to you, which I can understand. I mean, if you're desperate enough to want the tickets sent to you in 2 days, you can pay $19.50 for UPS 2 Business morning shipping. At least Standard shipping is free.

But there's "Retail Location" pick-up for $1.00. Wait, I drive to your store, spend money on gas, and wear and tear on my car, and pay for parking to pick up my tickets, and I have to pay you $1.00 for, for........... for what?

And the even more ridiculous, "TicketFast Now" for $2.50. "TicketFast Now," is when they e-mail you a printable ticket that you use to gain entrance into the venue. That's right, you heard me right. You use your own printer, paper, and ink, and pay THEM $2.50!

So there I was, trying to buy concert tickets to see Bruce Springsteen. I have gone to just about every concert he's held since the early 80's, when I was a........... a........... an infant. I had 2 tickets and then the "Sorry, We were unable to process your order" page came up. Huh? I did everything right. I've been signed up with Ticketmaster for years, and had an account with them, so I didn't have to input any information. But it canceled my order. Then the concert sold out. I was unable to buy tickets. Nooooooooooooooooo!

Something was odd though. The tickets that were available to me were in the Upper deck, Concourse level. I was on it right away, I should have gotten better seats.

Then I saw it. Something called "Tickets Now." It is a separate website by Tcketmaster that allows people who bought tickets to any event, to re-sell their tickets, just like Stub Hub. AND tickets for Springsteen's concert was available immediately. Can you say "Scalper?" Was my eyes seeing it right? It looked to me like Ticketmaster was Scalping tickets that they were selling for regular price, just a few seconds ago.

Can you say, "WTF?"

There was only one date for the concert, and I felt out of luck. Then came the announcement that a second concert would be scheduled. Okay, I get a second chance. This time, it was going to be different. WHAT! Almost the same thing. But I didn't get bounced. The tickets available to me were once again, in the Upper Concourse level. I was on it right away, was it sold out again? No, not as fast. No matter how many times I tried, I got offered only Concourse level seats. Whether I chose 1, 2, 4, or 6 tickets, I got only Concourse level. I didn't buy any.

I talked to another friend who also bought tickets. Although she got decent seats, she too was offered tickets to the same area over and over, Second level, behind the stage. How could we have the same experience? Getting offered seats ONLY in one general area? Something is fishy! I guess somehow it can be programed into the system, that you can get certain seats and not others, but why would they do that? And is it worth it to them? Maybe so that they could get the good seats for themselves so that they could Scalp them on their other site?

The last few concerts I went to, people were scalping tickets at face value to seats that were better than the ones I had in my hand. I'm pretty sure I will get to see my favorite Artist scream sing his songs, so I'm okay with not having the tickets right now.

But this worries me for the next time I buy tickets to other things. Will I get a fair chance to buy decent seats? Will I get bounced again?

Live Nation, a Concert promoter, was starting their own ticket selling service, and it was great news to me. Finally, Ticketmaster would have competition. Competition usually means prices go down, and service gets better.

Just this past week, it was announced that Ticketmaster was trying to buy Live Nation. Damn! What's next?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Just Another Friday Night

The initials "DD" can stand for anything. But in certain situations, it can mean the difference between life and death. Yes, two letters, each initial for two different words, can have a direct impact on your life.

Let's say that it's a Friday night, or any night for that matter. You are out with your friends, maybe a double date, 2 guys and 2 girls. Where do you go? Movie? Dinner? Clubbing? Maybe all?

Let's say you go clubbing, and you have a good time. You leave after Midnight to go home. All 4 of you get in the car and while driving home, you re-live your night, talking about what fun you had. Sound familiar? We've ALL been there.

But then, those initials come to play. In a split second, things have changed. Now, you're upside down, surrounded by Police/CHP, the Fire Dept and Paramedics. All 4 of you end up in the hospital, with "21" stamped on your hands from clubbing. One or more of you will never get "22" stamped on your hand.

Yes, that happened last night. One girl, young enough to get carded and stamped "21"will never be heard from again. And all because she didn't recognize what "DD" stood for.

There is a big difference. If it ever happens to you, will you recognize it? Before you get in a car, look to see if you have a "Designated Driver" or a "Drunk Driver."

We've all heard the term, maybe even made fun of it. But I bet those 3 people are now thinking about what "Designated Driver" means to them now.

It means 4 people would be waking up in their own beds this morning. It means that one person will not be waking up in the Hospital ward of LA County Jail. It means that one family will not be devastated after waking up at 2 in the morning to the worst news they ever heard.

Do you ever want to hear, "This is the Hospital, your son/daughter/brother/sister has been in an accident, you need to come here right away." Or, "I'm sorry to tell you this, but............."

Remember, don't drink and drive, be the Designated Driver. But also remember, don't ride with a drunk driver. You have a choice, we all do. Sometimes they don't make any difference at all. It's the one time it does that's a killer.

BTW, the 3 who were alive and speaking, were not "wasted." All 3 spoke without slurring their words. And all 3 were wearing their seatbelts.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Health Care, Health Cure?

Many people have their opinion about Health care. I have seen too much to know that the answers are not easy. But doing nothing is worse. We are closer to a collapse than you may think. There are two factors involved in causing our Health Care crisis. Overcrowded Emergency Rooms, and the costs associated with Health care. You have no idea how this has affected Emergency care in Los Angeles. But you could find out when you have a Medical Emergency. Wouldn't that be the worst time to find out?

Why are these Emergency Rooms overcrowded? Two reasons. First, consider what has been happening in Los Angeles for the last 20 years. The population has grown exponentially, and yet Emergency rooms have closed down. The biggest blow recently, was the closing of MLK Hospital in Watts, and secondary to that, Daniel Freeman in Inglewood. Second, people without the ability to pay for Doctor visits, wait too long for Medical care, and end up in Emergency Rooms for their treatment. What was a simple case of the flu that could have been taken care of by a Doctor in a Clinic, has now turned into something more serious, and needs a visit to the Emergency Room.

Why does Health Care cost so much? Well, you pay higher costs in Health Care to make up for people who can't pay. How? To simplify things, lets say a Hospital buys a bottle of 100 Asprins for $100. That comes out to $1 per Asprin pill. Just to break even, if 100 patients need 1 Asprin, they will charge you $1. But that's not the way it is. 50 people may pay and 50 people may not. So the Hospital, just to break even, has to charge $2 for a $1 Asprin pill to paying customers. Add trying to make a profit, needing to pay Employees, expensive diagnostic equipment, and other overhead, and you may end up being charged $100 for that $1 Asprin.

What is NOT an option, is to provide Health Care only to people who can pay. No matter how cynical you are, no matter how much you can hate another person, you can not let them suffer and/or die from lack of Medical care. Not in America.

So what is the cure? Some say Universal Health CARE. I don't think that's the answer here. Socializing the Health care system in a Capitalist system may not work. We need to somehow create Universal Health INSURANCE for everyone. It makes sense.

Think of how Auto Insurance works, you pay into a pool of money created to help an individual who needs to pay for damages due to an accident. The individual can not assume the payment of the damages and the liabilities because it costs too much. He ends up paying a reasonable deductable, and his car is repaired and his liabilities are taken care of. How? Everyone pays into the system, whether you get into an accident or not, and more money ends up coming in than going out.

How about Flood Insurance. What if everyone in the Country had to pay Flood Insurance, even if the area you live in will never flood? The answer is, flood insurance will be cheap.

That's what we need for Health care. People pay thousands of dollars in Health Insurance premiums AND in Taxes to support Medicare and State sponsored systems, and pay extra in fees to Hospitals to make up for non-paying patients.

Take all of that money, and funnel it into a Universal Health Insurance system, and you could provide Health Insurnance for all. With everyone having Health Insurance, Hospitals will be paid, and costs will go down. Emergency Rooms may re-open, and Health Clinics may sprout up to take care of non-emergent problems. Believe me, Doctors want to work, but they have to make money, not lose it. Hospitals want to stay open and make money, not lose it. Payment of medical costs is the answer. How we go about it, is the question.

Yes, we will have to make adjustments on how we pay for this insurance. A combination of premiums and taxes, handled by private insurance companies and regulated by the Government. Also getting rid of all the different layers of health care. Payments into the Worker's Comp system can be included as well. Will it work? The current way, whether you think it is or not, is not working. And when the status quo does not work, we need to find another way.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trickle Up

I am a strong supporter of the Trickle DOWN theory. What is the best thing for all? For everyone to have a job, pay taxes, buy things, and keep the economy rolling along. By allowing Businesses to keep their money by giving them tax breaks, it would allow them to trickle it down to workers, hiring more, giving raises.

Back then it was better than what was going on, people getting lazy and living off Welfare checks.

But what happened was not true Trickle Down. Businesses were given breaks, but there were no contingencies to make sure that they trickled any money down. Most of the time, they kept if for themselves. Giving the CEOs more pay and outrageous bonuses.

But that wasn't enough. Businesses cut costs from payroll to help pay even more money to the CEOs. And instead of doing what was best for Employees, who actually run the businesses, the emphasis went to rewarding the Stockholders. How does cutting health care costs to Employees help anyone? It doesn't. But the company made more profits and distributed more funds to it's Stockholders, and CEOs and that's what was important.

But it's not good for any Economy for a select few to have money. It is better for many people to have some money. And it's better for the Economy for a business to build and sell 100 $25,000 cars than 25 $100,00 cars.

So here we are now. Years of greediness have caused our current Economic crisis, not anything else. Instead of making sure that the "workers" were taken care of, only the select few were rewarded. Now the select few will be called upon to pay more taxes to pay for Welfare to the very Employees that they short-changed.

What we need now is to reverse what has happened. The Economic Stimulus plans are not working. Why? They are doing the same thing, rewarding the select few. Take ALL of that money, and fund Home Loans. Have all people who have had their homes foreclosed on, and anyone who is threatened to lose their homes to be able to refinance at a FIXED rate, for what ever amount of time it takes. 4.0 rate for 60 years instead of insanely adjustable rates for 30 years? Might be doable.

You think I'm crazy? No, think about it. What drove our Economy for the last few years? The housing market. It helped provide the most important thing in our lives, and the Government's. A home for us, and Taxes for the Government.

Still think I'm crazy? Let's see what might happen.

Government uses Bailout money to buy bad home loans and allows homeowners to refinance at more favorable rates.

1. Government has steady income from repayment of loans AND from payment of Property taxes. And if anyone can't make the payments, the Government owns the land. They can eventually sell it for profit. It wouldn't hurt so much to hold onto.

2. People will pay less money for their mortgage and they will have money freed up to buy things, thus stimulating the Economy. Give more money to more people, and more people will buy things.

3. With people in homes and paying less, they are more self sufficient, and they will not end up homeless or in need of Government assistance, which would cost those not in dire straights more in taxes and in other financial ways. People will turn to crime, costing more in insurance.

4. Removing bad loans from the Banks will free up Credit, and in turn they will start lending money again. Businesses will be able to get back in business and give people jobs.

This would be the "Trickle UP" theory.

Some of you may think I'm a Liberal, or a Democrat for thinking this way. Everyone needs to work and pay taxes. That is more Conservative and Republican. But I'm neither. I'm a realist. People out of work and in the streets and on Welfare is NOT good for me, good for you, good for the Economy or good for the Country.

In the 1990's the same thing happened to Japan. Japanese Banks and Businesses invested a lot of money in Real Estate, in Japan, and abroad. When the Real Estate market went down, so did the Japanese Economy. Japanese banks were burdened with bad loans. The Japanese Government spent their money on a Economic Stimulus plans by giving money to Banks and Businesses, instead of relieving the banks of their bad loans. The Japanese Economy never recovered. Lesson heard, but so far, not learned.

Imagine that. We've come full circle. We're almost back to where we were when the "Trickle Down" theory was poorly implemented. People that work will start paying a lot in taxes for people out of work and needing Government assistance, or Welfare.