I Just Wanted To Say...

What is your problem?

Location: Georgia, United States

I am me. More than I was, less than I will be. This is difficult. Facts-female, southern, mother and grandmother. Abstract-a Christian, a loner, intelligent, somewhat arrogant, impatient with stupidity, an unusual sense of humor.


They are not victims.

I posted this reply on Mexi's blog about leadership on May 24, 2005 (http://www.donotremove.net/mexigogue/archives/2005_05.html)
in response to some comments made about Bush's leadership and the body count resulting from the Iraq war. I was in an irritable mood and looking for a target, but all things considered, I was not as harsh as I might have been.
With Memorial Day and it's purpose in mind, I am going to expand on my original post, which was:

As to people whining and moaning about "the body count"--death is not a rare occurrence. It is the normal end for us all. Very few people get to choose the timing and method of their own end, so whether someone dies after suffering for months with cancer or has their body parts separated by a mortar round, dead is still dead. And I have serious reservations about the motives of the people who are doing the whining. Is it the thought of people in general dying that breaks their hearts and causes such anguish for them? Or is it only the ones dying because of the invasion of Iraq that they are concerned about? Or do they really not give a shit about those who have died? Are they just using the statistics to posture and pretend and play the blame game? People who join the military services ought to know that soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines, etc. actually might have to take part in a war. Shouldn't come as much of a damn surprise. There are no conscripts, no forced entry into the services. As for their families, the decision to join rests with the individual, as does the responsibility for the decision. If the families have a problem with the facts, they need to take it up with the person before they join. The potential for dying because someone in charge makes a bad decision is a real one. But it needs to be faced before anyone signs their name, not whined about afterward. When you sign, you are making a commitment to your country. And it goes to the point Mexi and Phelps made. It is our responsibility to elect people who will do what is for the greater good, not someone who makes you the best promises.

The post was the result of my frustration with individuals who use the dead in order to complain about the president and his execution of the war. They try to turn servicemen and women into "victims to be pitied, poor souls done to death by the evil Bush and his evil plans". I resent people who use the military dead to take shots at a man they hate. I particularly resent that they do it under the pretense of caring about the troops. If they cared about the troops, they would understand that these people aren't victims at all and most of them would resent being considered victims.
My family on both my father and mother's side have a history of military service dating back to the American Revolution. My father served, my mother's brothers served, I myself joined the Air Force during the Vietnam war and my husband was on active duty for ten years and in the reserve for another ten. So I know.
Servicemen and women are trained to do a job. The majority of them take pride in their service and the service takes pride in them. They are not victims, they are strong, proud, well-trained citizens serving their country and to portray them as victims is a betrayal of all that they are and believe in. So for all of you so concerned that American men and women are dying in the service of their country, how about you just let it go? Don't use the deaths of people who deserve honor and respect for their sacrifice to justify your hatred of a man because his political and/or religious beliefs are different from yours. Just don't.


The Mexi Man

One of the members of the INTJ list calls himself Mexigogue. He has his own blog (see the blog list on the sidebar). He and another member of the list called laconis (see sidebar again) are the reason I finally decided to begin blogging myself.

He is an interesting person. I can't claim that I know him very well, but I think I have learned enough about him and his interests to form at least an adequate understanding of the person he is.
He makes me think of the term "Renaissance man". He blogs about pool and beer drinking, Dostoevsky, the homeless, Jesse Jackson, welfare and personal responsibility, guilt and altruism, murder and taxes and dumb girlfriends. All in a few weeks time. Sometimes insightful, sometimes serious, sometimes angry, sometimes hilarious. He does not fit any standard mold and his takes on some subjects makes me think he is observing from entirely different angle-say like on his head or around a corner or under a chair.
If a judgment can be made about a man by observing his friends, then I would say he inspires loyalty from an pretty eclectic bunch. Both in his posts referencing his friends and in the comments posted by his friends, there is an obvious camaraderie that includes laughing at each other, poking at each other, insulting each other, yet still remaining friends. The real thing.
He has an outrageous sense of humor that almost never fails to make me laugh.
He cares about his children and what they will become. He believes in taking care of his own.
He is male, Hispanic, Muslim, semi-northern(not born there), divorced (at least once), he was raised in a single parent household.
I am female, white, Christian, southern, married for 30 years, had both parents until last year.
There are other differences, but I think these will be enough to lead to the point.
I agree with his point of view and his opinions frequently. Having read all his archives and reading his blog every day, I have found a similarity of outlook that surprises me. Because by the standard of conventional wisdom that culture influences our beliefs and based on our cultural differences, we shouldn't agree on much of anything. Even having the same personality profile isn't a sufficient explanation for me as to why I find myself in agreement with him so much. There are other INTJs who don't think the same way at all. How is it that two people so culturally different could have similar opinions and ideas?


Gun training.

A gun training class has been set up by the local PD for the judges and whatever members of their staff want to take the opportunity to receive the training.
There are two 2-hour classroom sessions and four hours of actual range training involved.
The first class covered firearm safety and possible civil and criminal liabilities involved in the use of a firearm. Also the use of justifiable force according to the statutes of the Georgia State Code.
The second four hour class for our gun training was yesterday. It was very interesting.
L. covered proper gun maintenance first. Then he went into how to actually use the gun effectively. He discussed the fundamentals of accurate shooting, how to sight the weapon, how to maintain trigger control and the actual mechanics of taking a shot. They brought in a hard rubber facsimile of a Glock and were showing proper grip and stance using it.
The classes are being held in the extra courtroom and there are glass windows in the doors so that you can look in and see what is happening in the courtroom without actually opening the doors. L's assistant was standing in front of the courtroom showing us proper grip and stance. At that moment, I thought to myself, "What if someone just happens to come by and look into the courtroom?"
Here's the picture. 15 women, sitting quiet and still in the middle row of benches, all facing forward. Big ex-marine in civilian clothes standing in front of the room in the proper firing stance with a realistic looking Glock aimed at the back of the courtroom and a fierce expression on his face. If someone had come by and seen it, they could have thought it to be a hostage situation. My imagination sees chaos and disaster ensuing. Deputy sheriffs appearing from all directions, the SWAT team slithering through the pipes in the crawl spaces. Our illustrious sheriff notifying the press that he's about to put on his Robin outfit and save us all. And then having his posse of bodyguards burst through the door first. Whereupon, all of us would have jumped up and beaten them about the head and face with our notes for scaring us half to death.
I doubt many people would have found it amusing, but I did. Just my weird sense of humor.
I have learned to keep it to myself for the most part. Only occasionally will I let it out.
The deputy assigned to our courtroom sometimes looks at me when I do and shakes his head and says, "You're just not right."


I don't use vulgar language.

There are a number of reasons I am not given to the use of vulgar language.
My background as Southern, white female born in the fifties means I was taught that ladies who wanted to be respected didn't use bad language. Even though that particular way of life exists no longer, that carefully inculcated attitude still has it's place in my mind.
I work with the public in a government-related job and the use of bad language is considered inappropriate for someone connected to the judicial system when dealing with the public.
I am a Christian and of course we are never supposed to use those kinds of words. After all, what would people think? (Please make the effort to recognize sarcasm, however mild.) My language usage does not determine the reality of my faith or any lack thereof.
I do not use vulgar language around children. Children can't usually grasp the concept that there is a proper place, time and context for the use of bad language.
I don't like to use vulgar language as I have an extensive vocabulary and a great deal of appreciation and respect for the proper use of it. Among the purists of language, it is agreed that vulgarities have their proper place and usage, but the over-use of vulgarities is seen as a weakening of both the individual term and of the language as a whole. One of the prime values of a curse is it's usefulness in garnering attention because of the shock factor.

There are times when I do regret the restraints, both internal and external, that prevent me from verbally expressing the thoughts inside my head when dealing with someone who just doesn't want to hear what I am trying to tell them.

Perhaps if I could just bring myself to say to certain people, "You are such a f**king idiot!", the shock might cause enough of a jolt to their brain to make them think , "Oh gee, maybe I am!"

Because after all, I don't use vulgar language.


Did I miss the memo?

I am in quite a mood today.
I will admit that I have days when I am not people-friendly for no particular reason. I recognize that particular mood well and when it is on me, I voluntarily limit my contact with others for their own good.
But today has been the type of day that makes me feel a memo was sent to my family, co-workers, and the general population agreeing that everyone would go out of their way to be stupid, dense, vague, helpless and generally incompetent so as to use up every ounce of tolerance and patience I have at my disposal.

Was I the only person that brought my brain to work with me today?
Have I mistakenly entered a parallel universe where the highest IQ is 70?
Was there a drug party this weekend that everyone in the metro area was invited to but me?
Is my tinfoil hat working so much better than everyone else's at keeping out the alien brain rays that suck all sense out of human beings.
What is going on with these people?

I have had 24 calls so far today. And not one, not one of them has been rational. The secretary from the solicitor's office has called four times today asking me questions that she either already had an answer to or that she properly should have asked the solicitor. The files brought up by the clerk's office have all had senseless paperwork errors, the judge's calendar wasn't properly marked, so I had to wait until I could talk to him to get the information I needed to finish my work. The jail staff, known for their linear thought processes, refused to follow a specific order issued by the judge on a case because there was an outstanding warrant on the case that the order specifically dealt with. I just asked the judge to let me do what I call, "The words of one syllable order" to make them happy. There have been docketing errors which I discovered only after I called a firm and asked them why someone from their office did not appear at a hearing last Friday. The reason was the docketing errors. Everyone here seems to be walking (floating?) around like refugees from La-La Land. All I get are blank stares and sheepish grins when I ask a question or bring up something that was supposed to be have been done that hasn't been done.
I hate it when days like this happen. I feel isolated from people because I seem to be the only one able to function. I would say it was my imagination, but if it is, why is everyone coming to me to solve their problems and correct their mistakes?
Helping people is not a problem. It is a part of my job. I am not inclined, however, to do someone else's work for them unless there is a pressing reason. But even more, I really dislike having to spend time correcting other people's mistakes and fixing other people's errors when I have work of my own that I need to finish.

I am frustrated, irritated, aggravated and annoyed. I just want to make it through the rest of this day without snarling at or chewing on someone. With my luck, it will probably be the wrong person and I'll then be able to add "guilty" to the list of how I feel today.


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

I think most English-speaking people have heard the idiom, "Let sleeping dogs lie".
I never took the time to really analyze it; I just assumed it meant that some things were best left undisturbed.

Like this:
Big old dog is lying on his side on the porch in the shade, sleeping deep.
The kid picks up a stick and pokes at the dog. The dog grunts a little, but doesn't wake.
The kid pokes a little harder. The dog opens his eyes and barely lifts his head, then lies down and goes back to sleep.
The kid jabs at the dog. The dog lifts his head and looks at the kid. Then lies down again and goes back to sleep.
The kid raps the dog lightly on the rear. The dog rolls onto his stomach and stares hard at the kid. Then puts his head down on his paws and closes his eyes.
The kid whacks the dog on the head. The dog leaps up, chases the kid around the yard and takes a bite out of his butt.
Kid has the nerve to look surprised!

Some lessons to be learned according to Mom:

For the dog-If you had bothered to get up and chase him off the second or even the third time he bothered you, both of you would have been better off. Ignoring a bully does not work. It only emboldens him.

For the kid-People who look for trouble usually find it. And then wish they hadn't.



The church I attend was vandalized this past week. Mustard, ketchup, honey, mayonnaise, ice, baking soda all over the carpets and walls. Copy machine toner taken into the sanctuary and smeared on the carpet and pews. Sinks stopped up and turned on and left running. The pastor's computer destroyed, his desk beaten with a hammer, windows were broken and some other basic mischief was done. This was the fourth time in a month and it was the worst.
The pastor knows who did it. He drove into the back parking lot and saw two boys in their early teens leaving. They made some lame excuse for being there. He went into the church and and saw the mess. The ice hadn't even begun to melt, so he thought those responsible might still be there, so he went out and called 911. When the police came and didn't find anyone inside, the pastor told them about the two boys, who live just down the street from the church. The police went and talked to them. One of them had mustard all over his shoes. He said it happened at school. The other boy was washing his clothes. (Have you ever heard of a 14 year old boy voluntarily washing a load of clothes?) They had taken fingerprints from the church, but the boys' parents wouldn't let the police fingerprint them. Which tells me they knew the kids had done it and didn't want to have to pay for their vandalism.
The pastor and the choir director talked about how it was only a building and everything would be replaced. We (the people inside) were the real church. They also both said that everyone who heard the story was shocked that someone would do this to a church.

That is all very well and good. But I would like to make a few points.

Vandalism is vandalism and the underlying motivation for vandalism is what I consider to be one of the pettiest human emotions-jealousy. Being angry that someone else has something nice. You don't even have to really covet it for yourself, you just don't like that someone else has it. It doesn't matter if it is a church or a residence or a gas station.
The building may only be a building, but for those of us who have been there for a while, there are a lot of wonderful memories that are now overlaid with the memory of the nastiness of someone's destructive meanness.
The fact that two middleschoolers would do this is bad enough. The fact that they are already accomplished liars is worse. But the parents are the ones who make me the angriest. They do not seem to be concerned about the behaviour of the two. They just didn't want to be held financially accountable for what they did. But they make no effort to control them. I can just about guarantee that even if their juvie record is clean (which I doubt), in three years they will be considered adults in the eyes of the justice system and we'll be seeing them at the courthouse in orange coveralls and handcuffs. How pitifully sad.


This is what we put up with.

Here are some excerpts from an editorial the sheriff wrote about the commission chairman.

May 13, 2005
Sheriff offers to play Robin to B.....'s Batman

When I think of Commissioner B....., my mind often drifts to my
childhood playmate. From my encounters with his leadership it appears that in addition to being the elected chairman that he wants to be the Sheriff, the Police Chief, the Fire Chief, the State Representative, the Senator, the School Superintendent and the Governor all wrapped into one.
Strange, but I have been under the impression that the Sheriff is the one with delusions of grandeur. He thinks he had been elected G-d Almighty. He wants to be introduce as "The High Sheriff". Not joking.

Instead of fruitlessly reminding him that he is not the Sheriff,
nor has the authority to run the Sheriff's office, I am going to once again take my uncle's advice. If Commissioner B..... will accept, I am going to swear him in as an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Sheriff's office and issue him a gun and badge and invite him to ride with me as I patrol the streets of .......... County.This could be a beautiful reunion of an old crime fighter from the past teaming up with an inspiring young crime fighter of the future to combat the forces of evil in ......... County. Okay ........., you win. Here are the keys to the batmobile. You can be Batman, and I will be Robin. Chief P..... can be Alfred, and we will also let Captain T...... tag along so that he can do the press release on our exploits. Let's just go fight crime!

If a defendant came into the courtroom and started talking this kind of garbage, he would probably end up with a court-ordered psych evaluation. This is our sheriff.

A co-worker suggested a law be passed that in order to qualify to run for public office, you would have to pass a psych eval. I wonder how many elected officials would still be elected officials!


A day at the zoo.

Just a few more pictures from the zoo.

I really like the turtle shot. I was within a yard of him and he completly ignored me. Great disassociation technique he had.
The snake was a diamond back rattler. He was very active, which is unusual . He moved the whole time we watched him.

A day at the zoo.

My grandaughters at the zoo.

My mother and I took my granddaughters to the zoo today. They are quite the pair. But they were very good and we all had a great time.


Bomb Threat

There was a bomb threat called into the courthouse today about 9:15am. The performance by the people responsible for our security was less than sterling.
One of the clerks in the Superior Court Clerk's Office received a recorded message stating that there was a bomb in the courthouse and it would go off 22 minutes after the call. It took the Sheriff's department almost 10 minutes to decide whether or not to evacuate.
We are all hurried outside. There we were, out in front of the building in the parking lots. The judges, their staffs, all standing out in the open.
I was talking to Judge B. I didn't think much about it until I noticed one of the defendants go to his car and get a gym bag out and walk back to a spot close to us. I looked at Judge B and said, "I'm not sure this is a good place for me to be." He asked me what I meant. I said, "Next to you." He is a man with a good sense of humor so he figured out what I meant and laughed.
But after Judge Barnes of Fulton Co. was killed, we have all been more aware of the real potential for trouble and it struck both of us that it was a bad idea for the judges and their staffs to be standing out in front with the general public. It also struck me as a bad idea to have people standing in parking lots. If someone were truly determined to explode a device and harm people, this would be the way to do it. Call in a threat, see where the people congregated and then fix a car bomb, park it in the lot and call in another threat. Lots and lots of dead and injured people. But what do I know, right?
We were finally allowed to go back in after more than an hour outside. Thankfully, it was a pleasant day and early enough in the morning to still be cool.
There are some things that are off about the whole incident. Whoever set it up knew a great deal about how things work in the courthouse. The call was a recording. It was sent through two exchanges in the court house phone system, which meant the number it was called from didn't show up on the caller ID that all our phones are hooked up to. The call was routed to one of the few desks in the courthouse where there is a live person from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Emergency personnel weren't called and no other law enforcement agencies were notified by the Sheriff's department. No BRS(bomb removal squad) personnel were called in. Only sheriff's deputies went in to search the building and no sheriff's department personnel who were in the building right behind us were evacuated.
My, my, how very odd!

Why is he entitled?

The death penalty.
A topic that is guaranteed to generate discussion. Too often uncivil discussion. I have heard and read any number of arguments on both sides.

There are those who claim religious grounds. Even those who don't really believe in God or the Bible will quote the seventh commandment-Thou shalt not kill. The counter-argument is, of course, the actual word used means murder, which is the willful and wrongful taking of a human life.

There is the argument that if we take the life of a killer, then we are no better than the killer is. Counter-argument is that there no moral equivalence between a person who murders another and the lengthy, careful process of the judicial system deciding what the appropriate punishment is for a person who takes a human life.

There is the "we are too civilized and we should be above killing even a murderer."
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit wrote, "The notion that civilization equals squeamishness is not supported by history.
Check out a few of the great civilizations. Egypt, the Incans, the Mayans, the Roman Empire, Greece, the Chinese dynasties, the Venetian Doges, France during the reigns of the Sun Kings, England, Spain, Russia. None of them were squeamish about death.

There is the "the death penalty won't really act as a deterrent to other murderers. Counter-argument-It will certainly deter the executed one from killing again.
(One of my personal favorites, because death-penalty opponents will then turn around and argue that if the government sanctions killing, then people will come to believe that killing is okay. Sooo, let me see if I have this right-- people who might murder won't learn anything from the government killing murderers, but regular everyday folks will learn that killing is okay if the government kills murderers. Truly one of the weakest arguments there is.)

The "it costs so much money to prosecute death penalty cases" argument. Excessive costs, but not much different than the cost of maintaining the prisoner over the course of his lifetime.

Actually, there was an attorney in my office not too long ago and we were discussing a recent local murder case involving a two-year old boy who was shot in the head by someone demanding money from his father. This particular attorney said he had no moral objection to the death penalty, but felt that death penalty cases took too much time and money. He felt that people who are found guilty of murder should be locked up for the rest of their lives and forgotten. My expression must have changed, because he looked at me and said, "You probably don't agree, but I think prosecuting death penalty cases is a waste of money."

I nodded and said, "For myself, there is one question I have never been able to answer satisfactorily and that I have never had another person answer satisfactorily. "

He asked me what was the question.

"Why is he entitled to what he denied another?"

There was a look of surprise on his face. He was quiet for a minute. He said, "I've never thought about it that way."

I don't consider that a satisfactory answer, either.


When I remember Turkey...

I joined the military in 1972. My first assignment after basic and specialty training was Turkey.
Culture shock. A whole new world that was little like the one I knew. I have a lot of memories of my time there, some good and some bad.

One of the things I remember well are the taxis.

My first taxi ride in Turkey was a completely terrifying event. When I began driving as a teenager, I was taught rules of the road and safety. I was a good driver, constantly aware of the need to drive carefully. As I said, this was a whole new world.

The taxi itself was strange. An ancient vehicle, dented and dinged on the outside, but decorated on the inside like the parlor of someone's home. Tasseled cushions on the back seat, a piece of carpeting on the floor, a soft and lovely seat cover, a tasseled cloth covered the back ledge with little statuettes sitting on it and a sign measuring about 6 x 18 hanging in the back window with an Arabic word beautifully lettered on both sides of it. It felt odd, but it amused me to sit in that back seat and find it so different from what I was accustomed to.

The driver got in, turned up his Arabic radio station, lit his smelly cigarette, and took off into heavy traffic as if he were the only driver within miles. For him, there were no such things as other cars, lanes of traffic, stop-lights, pedestrians, sidewalks or animals. Only him and the open road and speed. A trip that should have taken fifteen minutes took seven. I have never been more frightened.

When I reached my destination, my knees were shaking so badly that I almost couldn't walk. I was grateful to have survived. I talked about my experience with another American who had been there for a while and he enjoyed a good laugh at my expense. Then he explained to me the meaning of the sign hanging in the back window.

INSALLAH. As God wills.

My taxi driver had been a devout Muslim. He believed that if it was God's will for him to live, then no matter how insanely he drove, he would not be harmed or killed. Conversely, if God wanted him hurt or dead, then it didn't matter how carefully he drove, he would be hurt or die.

I respect an individual's right to their own beliefs, even if I disagree with them. But having a different perspective on life and personal responsibility, I kept something in mind the next time I needed to take a taxi.

God helps those who help themselves.


Pictures from my garden.

I have spent all day working in my yard and garden. I have numerous scratches, a couple of bruises, one three inch scrape/bruise on my thigh, a knot on my head from a falling branch, a moderate sunburn on my back, shoulders, arms and scalp, and I have no doubt that when I wake up in the morning, I will have sore muscles. But look at the pictures and I think you will understand why I think it more than worth it.

I am Sunshine's Mother

Working for an elected official calls for a great deal of self-restraint when dealing with the public. Considering the fact that I don't "like" people generally, I am proud of the fact that I have never fully lost my temper, and only rarely allow myself to even give any indication that someone has aggravated or annoyed me. Which makes a recent incident more amusing to me.

My second daughter works for an local attorney. She is an excellent secretary, but she is also a fairly no-nonsense person. Considering their clientele, her restraint is occasionally sorely tested. Her attorney boss and the intern who works summers with him call her "Sunshine" because she frequently vents to them about how irritated she gets. One of the things that bothers her is people who knock on the office door and then won't come in unless she says it a couple of times.

I was sitting at my desk in the office when someone knocked on the door. That doesn't happen very often. Most people have a grasp on the concept that a public office is open to the public. But not everyone. So I said, "Come in". Then I said it again. Then again. Finally the door opens and who walks in but my daughter's attorney boss and the intern.
I was surprised and very annoyed at the two of them, because they both have been in my office on numerous occasions and have never knocked before.

"What in the world do you two think you are doing standing there knocking on my door? Why didn't you just come in. You know better than that!"

Her boss looked at the intern and grinned. "See, I told you she was Sunshine's mother."

And proud of it.