Just a quick note before dropping warm brownies at the bridge tournament.  I woke to yet another collect call from Orleans Parish Prison this morning.  I really don't think Thom deserved this one.  He was not behind the wheel of a car, and hanging around on the street drunk waiting for someone to come pick you up after your car has been towed should not be a haul into jail offense.  Unfortunately, Thom gets beligerent when he's got liquor in him, so he probably said something to someone.  And as I told, sometimes screamed at my daughters when they tried to use the "I was drunk" cop out, no one poured the liquor into you.  You chose to drink.  But really,  public drunkenness on Bourbon Street in New Orleans is NOT a jail offense. 

So, where does luck come from?  Lucky bridge players will tell you that they are just lucky.  Some of them realize that they make a lot of their own luck.  How do you make luck?  Thinking ahead, considering the probabilties and looking for the one or two lies of outstanding cards that will allow you to make the hand or crack it. 

Somehow going into New Orleans with the same cousins you have been with in the last two episodes that ended up requiring bail bondsmen just feels like making some of your own luck.  Not good luck.  Advising same cousins not to park in a tow away zone, but then letting it slide, not a crime.  Drinking on a Friday night in New Orleans, not a crime.  Waiting on the street for cousins to go get the car out of the pound, not a crime.  So why is this yet ANOTHER income opportunity for our local bail bondsmen?  Charge, public drunkeness.   Sorry, NOPD, NOT a CRIME!

Perils of Pauline, to be continued!      

We have too much jail space, too many police

The HPD has gone and shown us yet again why we do not need to keep increasing the funding of policing and courts.  http://www.comedian.blogspot.com/2002_08_18_comedian_archive.html is a link to the story as reported and linked by a Houston web logger.  And for me to try to report on the story will be strictly hearsay and conjecture.  So I won't.  But I think one of the most telling comments on our commitment to funding prisons, jails and police came when I was on jury duty.  St. Tammany parish had just spent a lot of money building a new prison, and as grand jurors, one of our duties was to tour all the parish's facilities and put our stamp of approval on them.  The comment was made that the jail was new, and was at capacity already, and they really needed more jail space.  So I asked if the taxpayers doubled the size of the jail, how soon they would outgrow the new facility.  "Within a year."  So I ask you,  do large numbers of prisoners make for large jails, or does having a large jail just make it possible to lock up more and more of us?  Prison space seems to run about like drawer space.  You fill what you have in a hurry. 

Isn't blogging grand?  I can write this stuff and not have to worry about a soul getting offended!  

This morning I started the day by looking at a web site Pete passed along.   I've always thought one of the amazing beauties of the internet is the free expression available to fools like me.  I can write any sort of stuff I want to and attract whatever audience I can or write in anonymity.  But the site I saw this morning was truly a bunch of hateful postings of a kind that makes my innards crawl.  I will send a link if anyone is interested, but I'm not posting it.  Don't want to create traffic for that stuff.

So maybe the internet allows these folks to vent their venom and display themselves for the unreconstructed hatemongers that they are, but it's hard for me to believe there is any gain to it.  I'll look at a zillion private parts on public display and be much less bothered than by that invective.  And this old gal doesn't see much need for the display of private parts as if they were works of art.  But I get a lot closer to wanting some sort of censorship when neo-nazi haters are poisoning the well.  So I'm trying to back myself down to the position that the price of a free internet is the rantings of the lunatics and the body parts of the exhibitionists as well as the art that is displayed.  But it is hard. 

So my thoughts just bounce around as aimlessly as the pin ball off a flipper,  some form of censorship?  free postings of all stripes?  Wow.. didn't think I would even brook a small consideration of censorship. 

Pica on Rocks along Trail Ridge Road


 "Nothing is so soothing to our self-esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us." - Van Wyck Brooks 

Mr. Johnson just passed under my office window.  He is the amazing sort of man who can fix anything.  If the refrigeration goes out in the culinary department, they hope that Mr. Johnson is working.  When the huge computerized mill in the machine shop needs to be moved, Mr. Johnson will work some magic, and it is in a new location.  He's well past retirement, and has retired a couple of times.  When I needed to put in a floor, I asked him how to get started.  I think he told me, but I didn't understand a word of it. 

He is however the one who will go up to change bulbs on the high poles in the parking lot.  Mr. Johnson feels like he built this place and takes pride in it.  

One thing that Mr. Johnson fixed that not many folks know about is his son.  Somehow, the younger Mr. Johnson got involved in some trouble and someone ended up dead.  And rather than have his son get involved with the penal system, Mr. Johnson confessed to the murder and served the time.  I wonder how many people know when they see that wizened, wiry man going about his business making things keep working if they could possibly realize they are seeing about the biggest measure of a parent's love.  Mr. Johnson is a convicted felon.  His son now works here too.  He has no record.  He can vote.  His dad can't.  They both walk with a quiet pride. 

Accountability is an odd concept. 

A ten year old community college has volumes of numbers.  But if you need to get some numbers for a baseline to decide how many female students who single parents complete their first semester, you will find an amazing statistic.  In a community college with 1000 students, we have 37 students who are single parents.  Not only that, but we have had 37 students thus described for several semesters now.  Why 37?  Who chose that number and why? 

Our division chair did a little digging, and it turns out that we have a grant funding 37 single parents for tuition, and help with childcare, so the records reflect that we have 37 students fitting this description.  Now I'm not going to say we need a lot of demographic data about our students.  But how about if we have no number, we decline making one up, and perpetuating it through several semesters?

So, I'm continually quoted "accountablity" is the reason that we have to give department wide tests for developmental courses.  And I'm willing to be as accountable as anyone.  But it requires some Enron accounting to give us a mere 37 female students who are single parents.  "So why can't we make someone accountable for these numbers?"  Much hemming and hawing, but essentially we are just glad someone is coming up with the numbers, nevermind that they mean nothing. 

Accountablity is some strange sort of a hammer!  

Eternal recurrance is a phrase that Neitzsche uses.  I'm not sure what he means by that.  It most likely is not what I would mean.  But heading back to school tomorrow feels like eternal recurrance.  Gaia cat showed up on my doorstep today.  Everything old is new again. 

I'm still not finished w/ Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and won't pretend that I understand the ideas that Neitzsche puts in the mouth of his hermit/prophet.  But those who would dismiss the man's ideas with the simple phrase "God is Dead" or the word nihilist haven't quite understood either. 

Such a book, foreign in style and substance with ideas that have bounced around a bit in our culture really deserves some discussion.  But I'm reluctant to start a monologue in hopes of it becoming a discussion, because so many of his ideas get tangled in the filter of my understanding.  Some of the things he says about women for example, I found at first quite offensive, and later I was willing to forgive him, though he is still quite wrong on some points.

For instance early in the book, he points to the growth of the individual through stages of child, warrior, lion and back to child.  Now how male are those images?  Though they are not the stages a woman would identify with, they seem reasonably accurate in describing the procession through a full life of going from dependence on a family for values as well as sustenence, to dependence on the society at large.  Finally as a lion we can find ourselves wholy able to satisfy our own wishes and needs, and then we are able to revert to the child, but in the sense of the playful and loving child, not the dependent child. 

His thesis are formed and shaped by his fundamental distress with the theology and practice of Christianity, and Lutheranism.  But he really was an original thinker, well worth the time to read and ruminate over.