Friday, 10 October 2014

07:58 – Barbara just left on her trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. She’ll be back Monday. Colin and I will build some science kits, work on the prepping book, and watch Heartland re-runs.

When I walked Colin after dinner yesterday, we stopped to talk with Mary, Kim’s mom. As we were standing there talking, a loud argument erupted between the couple across the street from Mary’s house, something about who’d done what to whose computer. We could hear it through the closed door of their house. Eventually, Zakiah, the wife, came storming out the front door, followed by Bernard, her husband, with both shouting at each other. Then they both went back into their house, and I came home with Colin.

A few minutes after I got home, Mary called and said Bernard was at her house and had asked to use her phone to call the police. Kim was away at a nephew’s ball game, so Mary was by herself. She does very well for someone who’s 83 years old, but even so I could tell she was upset by what was going on. She told me to look out my front door. When I did, I saw four police cars parked in the street in front of her house and that of the bickering neighbors. So I told her I’d be right down.

Apparently, after I’d left the first time, the couple had gotten into a physical fight. Zakiah had stormed off with their four kids and driven away in her minivan. Bernard was injured. I’m not surprised, because Zakiah is a very large woman. She’s over six feet tall, and weighs more than I do. When I walked back down to Mary’s house, Bernard, with his arm in a sling, was standing there talking to three or four cops. I sat there with Mary in her living room until the cops put Bernard in the back of one of the patrol cars and everyone left.

This is not the first time the cops have been called out to that house. In the few months they’ve lived there, the cops have been out at least three times now. Bernard can regularly be heard bellowing at the kids, and a couple of our neighbors have said there were times when they nearly decided to call the police. Barbara says she’s had enough, and that these people don’t belong in this neighborhood. As I said to Mary, when Barbara and I argue, we do so indoors and at a low enough volume not to disturb the neighbors–as presumably does every other couple in the neighborhood–and we never end up with our arms in slings. Fighting in public like that is just infra dig.

33 thoughts on “Friday, 10 October 2014”

  1. A Conservative MP resigned from the Conservative Party and Parliament an stood for the byelection as a UKIP and won hands down.

    A Labour MP in a comfortable Labour seat up north died and the new Labour candidate won only narrowly over UKIP.

    All the parties over there are going to have to adjust to this new mood…

  2. I did three semesters of Latin at uni many years ago and I had to Google it too… 🙁

  3. Ah yes, a nice domestic dispute, enacted in public, in full view and to the dismay of all the neighbors, good times!

    OFD recollects many such episodes over the years back on The Job. As I’ve said before, it’s the most dangerous call a cop can go on. Bernard got off easy. And I guess they send four cruisers now, wow; we were told back in the Bronze Age to wait for a backup before going in but that was not always possible, as, for example, when someone was being beaten or knifed or was about to get shot. Now they probably don’t care; let them kill each other and show up whenever to write up the reports.

    We were even sent to “Crisis Intervention Training,” in Boston, and it was good for its time; wait for backup; separate the parties, keeping them outta the kitchen; recognize that one or more of them are on dope and/or booze and that there are weapons in the house; and get in and out in twenty minutes with some kind of resolution. LOL. Not bloody likely.

    At the time I’d rather have gone to armed robberies in progress or biker gang bar brawls.

  4. Geez, guys.

    Okay, infra dignitatem or, very loosely translated “under or beneath (one’s) dignity”. Of course, dignitatus in Latin doesn’t really translate to the English dignity in the modern sense of that word. It’s more like “one’s public reputation, acquired over a lifetime and to be protected at all costs”. A Roman of 2,000 years ago would literally have killed to protect his dignitatus.

  5. My elder niece’s husband used to be a cop. He says he was physically sickened by some of the “Domestics” he went to. One of the reasons he left the cops, I think.

  6. “infra dignitatem”…

    I knew what “infra” meant, of course, just not “dig” in that context.

    Just proves we need to bring back Latin in to the school curriculum, make it compulsory for university entry.

    We could also make a command of that language compulsory for entry to politics, to weed out the worst: be able to speak Latin as well as Cicero (may peace and blessings be upon him), or at a stretch Caesar (ugh), or you don’t get in.

    “A Roman of 2,000 years ago would literally have killed to protect his dignitatus.”

    Except Catilina, Verres and so on.

  7. “One of the reasons he left the cops…”

    That, and several other major reasons for me; the internal department stress; the increasing civil liabilities; but most of all, just the sheer negativity of night after night of mayhem and carnage and thankless crap. Or if somehow magically transferred to the day shift, dumbass errand-boy status, traffic details, and accidents.

    I got interested in pooters in ’84-’86 and finally bailed and here I am, the astounding major success I am today!

    Turning out to be a gorgeous day here and the winds have finally died down after a solid week of them.

    Paying bills today, and household chores and errands.

  8. These situations never end well and the tragedy is even worse in that it has ruined the lives of 4 children. No amount of counseling and therapy can remove the nightmare and insecurity for these children. Unfortunately I have seen too many cases where the system kept the family together for too long. It is sad to say that the fortunate children are the ones that are not killed.

  9. Oh, I don’t know if it’s that bad. All I really know is that there was a loud and public argument and that Bernard was injured somehow. As Barbara said, his wife may have attacked him or vice versa and she defended herself. Or it may even have been a complete accident. The kids range in age from 15 down to about 2. The three older ones usually seem happy enough when I speak to them.

  10. When there is loud public shouting and then an injury, along with children present, it’s usually a matter of time until someone gets seriously hurt; violence in these situations tends to escalate unless there is some kind of positive intervention. Armed cops showing up ain’t the answer, and even thirty years ago we were trained to get them referrals to somebody or someplace that might be able to help. Surely that sorta thing has progressed and gotten better by now, but then again, I wouldn’t count on it.

    We’ve had us a fun time or two here over the years, but nothing quite on that level and nothing public. And no one injured. And no cops. About 50-50 me and Mrs. OFD and us and Princess. Son was rarely a problem. With, of course, booze consumption involved and ta-da! Weapons in the house! We’re all still here, though, and have mellowed in our senility and decrepitude.

  11. Thought this group would enjoy this. It’s a response from Mike Rowe to something someone wrote on his Facebook page…

    Stephen Adams, Auburn, AL wrote:

    “Hi, Mike. Let me begin by saying that I love what you and your foundation are attempting to do. However, I’m confused by your directive to NOT “follow your passion.” I think it can be safely argued that if no one followed their passion, companies like Apple, Microsoft, Dow, and many more wouldn’t exist. If no one follows their passion, who innovates? Who founds companies that provide jobs for the outstanding workers that your foundation aims to help?”

    Mike Rowe replied:

    Hi Stephen

    A few years ago, I did a special called “The Dirty Truth.” In it, I challenged the conventional wisdom of popular platitudes by offering “dirtier,” more individualistic alternatives. For my inspiration, I looked to those hackneyed bromides that hang on the walls of corporate America. The ones that extoll passersby to live up to their potential by “dreaming bigger,” “working smarter,” and being a better “team player.” In that context, I first saw “Follow Your Passion” displayed in the conference room of a telemarketing firm that employed me thirty years ago. The words appeared next to an image of a rainbow, arcing gently over a waterfall and disappearing into a field of butterflies. Thinking of it now still makes me throw up in my mouth.

    Like all bad advice, “Follow Your Passion” is routinely dispensed as though it’s wisdom were both incontrovertible and equally applicable to all. It’s not. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it. And just because you’re determined to improve doesn’t mean that you will. Does that mean you shouldn’t pursue a thing you’re passionate about?” Of course not. The question is, for how long, and to what end?

    When it comes to earning a living and being a productive member of society – I don’t think people should limit their options to those vocations they feel passionate towards. I met a lot of people on Dirty Jobs who really loved their work. But very few of them dreamed of having the career they ultimately chose. I remember a very successful septic tank cleaner who told me his secret of success. “I looked around to see where everyone else was headed, and then I went the opposite way,” he said. “Then I got good at my work. Then I found a way to love it. Then I got rich.”

    Every time I watch The Oscars, I cringe when some famous movie star – trophy in hand – starts to deconstruct the secret to happiness. It’s always the same thing, and I can never hit “mute” fast enough to escape the inevitable cliches. “Don’t give up on your dreams kids, no matter what.” “Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have what it takes.” And of course, “Always follow your passion!”

    Today, we have millions looking for work, and millions of good jobs unfilled because people are simply not passionate about pursuing those particular opportunities. Do we really need Lady GaGa telling our kids that happiness and success can be theirs if only they follow their passion?

    There are many examples – including those you mention – of passionate people with big dreams who stayed the course, worked hard, overcame adversity, and changed the world though sheer pluck and determination. We love stories that begin with a dream, and culminate when that dream comes true. And to your question, we would surely be worse off without the likes of Bill Gates and Thomas Edison and all the other innovators and Captains of Industry. But from my perspective, I don’t see a shortage of people who are willing to dream big. I see people struggling because their reach has exceeded their grasp.

    I’m fascinated by the beginning of American Idol. Every year, thousands of aspiring pop-stars show up with great expectations, only to learn that they don’t have anything close to the skills they thought they did. What’s amazing to me, isn’t their lack of talent – it’s their lack of awareness, and the resulting shock of being rejected. How is it that so many people are so blind to their own limitations? How did these peope get the impression they could sing in the first place? Then again, is their incredulity really so different than the surprise of a college graduate who learns on his first interview that his double major in Medieval Studies and French Literature doesn’t guarantee him the job he expected? In a world where everyone gets a trophy, encouragement trumps honesty, and realistic expectations go out the window.

    When I was 16, I wanted to follow in my grandfathers footsteps. I wanted to be a tradesman. I wanted to build things, and fix things, and make things with my own two hands. This was my passion, and I followed it for years. I took all the shop classes at school, and did all I could to absorb the knowledge and skill that came so easily to my granddad. Unfortunately, the handy gene skipped over me, and I became frustrated. But I remained determined to do whatever it took to become a tradesman.

    One day, I brought home a sconce from woodshop that looked like a paramecium, and after a heavy sigh, my grandfather told me the truth. He explained that my life would be a lot more satisfying and productive if I got myself a different kind of toolbox. This was almost certainly the best advice I’ve ever received, but at the time, it was crushing. It felt contradictory to everything I knew about persistence, and the importance of “staying the course.” It felt like quitting. But here’s the “dirty truth,” Stephen. “Staying the course” only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction. Because passion and persistence – while most often associated with success – are also essential ingredients of futility.

    That’s why I would never advise anyone to “follow their passion” until I understand who they are, what they want, and why they want it. Even then, I’d be cautious. Passion is too important to be without, but too fickle to be guided by. Which is why I’m more inclined to say, “Don’t Follow Your Passion, But Always Bring it With You.”

    Carry On

  12. Yep, a man’s got to know his limitations.

    “….the surprise of a college graduate who learns on his first interview that his double major in Medieval Studies and French Literature doesn’t guarantee him the job he expected?”


    Not so much surprise as disappointment, a bit of depression, some anger. This was partway into ten years of grad school and learning half a dozen dead languages. “Gee, all this effort and pain (being a TA and reading/grading 100 papers a week while also doing my own work) and many years of hard study and the best I can do is *maybe,* if I’m really lucky, a part-time gypsy prof gig out in West Podunk, Idaho, commuting hundreds of miles each semester to teach the occasional course to kids who don’t give a blind rat’s ass and are merely being warehoused and baby-sat for another four years so they can move into yet another prolecube gig…”

    So I went back to work. Is IT my passion? Not hardly. I’m a machine operator, been once since 1977.

    Another point; I’d say for a lotta folks, any passion they may have once had gets leached out of ’em when they get older and have been through the various mills, so to speak. Then it becomes ‘just getting through the damn day’ and surviving yet another crisis or catastrophe at work or home or both.

    I almost bought the ‘follow your bliss’ thing back when PBS had the late Joseph Campbell on yakking about ‘the power of myth’ and Robert Bly flapping his gums over poetry and banging on drums in the forest. But I’d run up against real life by then a few times and moved on.

  13. That Mike Rowe is a pretty smart guy. I wonder why he can’t hold a job for more than 30 minutes?

  14. “….the surprise of a college graduate who learns on his first interview that his double major in Medieval Studies and French Literature doesn’t guarantee him the job he expected?”

    And the big question is, “What job was that you were expecting?”

  15. That Mike Rowe is a pretty smart guy. I wonder why he can’t hold a job for more than 30 minutes?

    LOL! He also goes around pointing out that there are a lot of two year degrees that lead to higher paying jobs than a lot of four year degrees.

  16. Ray, if you’re going to dream, dream big.

    UAH taught me to expect to graduate and be crowned His Royal Highness Steve I, Ruler of the Known and Unknown Universe.

    POTUS would have been one of my minor minions…

  17. Hey Bob, when you get to thinking about making dead tree versions of your new book, there are many places that do POD nowadays. There is always for the total do it yourselfers. And there is

    Amazon has a sub at:

    The newest POD presses are totally amazing in their quality. I have gotten about a dozen POD books in the last year or so via Amazon. The only two weird things about them is sometimes the covers are “greasy” with the four color mix and they have a POD date printed on the last page.

  18. Well, the democRATS have declared the Texas Voter ID law to be unconstitutional so looks like they have figured out how to fix The Great State of Texas election next month:

    “U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi has declared Texas’ strict voter identification law unconstitutional, likening it to a poll tax meant to deliberately suppress minority voter turnout. ”

    Texas law says that you must have a government issued id card in order to vote in person. Or else vote absentee ballot. It is not a hard law to comply with for citizens.

  19. So, how exactly do you drive out argumentative families? Burn copies of How to Win Friends and Influence People on their lawn? Record the sounds of their arguments and then play them back at 110dB at dawn?

    As for “infra dig”, the colloquial translation is “they’d have to dig really deep to find any dignity”.

  20. Well, the democRATS have declared the Texas Voter ID

    Sad, maybe the appeal will save Tejas. If the Dumbocrats take Tejas, it’s all over for the US.

  21. dkreck wrote:

    “And the big question is, “What job was that you were expecting?””

    Sometimes potential employers just want smart people who can plough through a degree and finish it with a reasonable GPA.

  22. I did something of interest today. We are getting ready to release a major new version of our software package for Windows. We are currently at version 12.05 with the latest patch release at 12.05g. I had planned on jumping to version 13.00 but I chickened out today. We will be releasing version 14.00 is two weeks, hopefully. I just worry that someone would not use our software because of the 13 so I skipped it.

  23. You could have done the MS thing and called it “2014” with patches internally named, then gone back to the regular numbering with version 14.

    That would really keep everyone confused guessing whether they were up to date or not.

    Just make sure to keep in mind skipping version 666…

  24. My father looked like a cop. (He also looked like justice Earl Warren, but that is immaterial.) He thought that was why in his entire life, which was spent out and about rather than in some factor or office, nobody ever tried to hold him up or even hassle him (except possible a real cop). He was told countless times that he should be a cop. He knew he must never be one, because he knew that the first time I came in on a domestic dispute where a woman or child was abused he would loose it and probably kill the guy.

    But I saw him stick his nose into a screaming match between a couple, total strangers, and try to calm the guy down. “She’s just a woman, she’s not worth it” may not have been the most politically correct way to approach it, and I never knew how much that was the way he thought and how much was an attempt at practical psychology. I don’t think he made any difference, but not trying to help simply wasn’t possible for him.

  25. One of the surprises of living in Germany was that this thing about unlucky 13 is not a European-believed thing. In fact, they laughed at me when I told students that most buildings in the US do not have a 13th floor, the post office often skips blocks of 1300’s, and that 13 anything was considered very bad karma. Even in Tiny Town, 13th Street is Main Street.

    Twice I have worked in buildings that used the 13th floor for HVAC mechanical. There was a 13th floor, but there was no elevator button for it, just a skip from 12 to 14. I know certain Asian cultures are far more superstitious than Americans, but the 13 thing is out-of-control here.

  26. Yet another religious thing, likely based on the number of people allegedly present at the last supper. Friday the 13th worries morons because of the supposed death of what’s his name on Friday and the combination with 13 just drives some people to act stupidly.

  27. what’s his name

    In this context, I usually use “Whoosis”. It’s close enough to the Mexican pronunciation of Jesus to add to the offensiveness.

  28. He’s right. You may be tired of open-eyed people pointing out the pervasive taint in culture, but we open-eyed people are tired of the taint itself.

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