Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ex-Astros knuckleballer Joe Niekro dies at 61

Ex-Astros knuckleballer Joe Niekro dies at 61

Ah, shucks. Rest in peace, Joe. He was one of my favs from that era. He owned the mound and he was fun to listen to when the game was over. I don't care if he did carry a nailfile, he was good for the Astros while he pitched here. 61 is too young to die, but at least he went out quickly and hopefully never knew what hit him. That's pretty much all we can ask for when our 9 innings come to a close.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Donations Needed for Injured Capitol Police Officer

The U.S. Capitol Police Department is accepting donations to help Officer Donna Boswell recover from a car crash earlier this month. Boswell's car was hit from behind while she was driving on Interstate 95. The impact of the crash broke Boswell's neck, shattering a vertebra and leaving her with no feeling in her hands, fingers, legs or toes. Boswell's insurance will only pay for 60 days of rehabilitation, according to Boswell's husband. After that, Boswell and her family will have to cover the bill.

To make a donation, contact the following: House Division of the Capitol Police: 202-225-0400 Senate Division: 202-224-4841 Capitol Division: 202-224-2985

Or send the donation to: Officer Donna Boswell Fund 12981 Queen Chapel Road Woodbridge, Va. 22193


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Some Grand Jury Moments

As you may or may not know, I'm currently serving on a Harris County Grand Jury. Our panel ends November 3rd and the time has just flown by. There is much I can't ever talk about, but a few generalities are on my mind.

Men are still sexually assaulting children. Their own, their steps, their nieces, nephews, cousins, grandkids, and foster kids. We've had few, maybe one or two, that involve the kid down the block or in the class or the troop or the congregation. What you have to worry about if you're a parent is the guy that sits at the table with you on Thanksgiving Day or the one that you take pity on and allow to sleep on your couch until he can get his act together. They present lots of excuses for their conduct: some say the kid enticed them; some say they were drunk and don't remember; some say they accidentally digitally penetrated the child. Some say they didn't do it period, but the children's statements given to The Children's Assessment Center are just too detailed to be imagined. Who else but one that knows first hand would describe semen as being "like egg whites"?

The rub is they can't be "cured". They CAN and should be punished, but the urges are always going to be there for them. They above all others make you sick when you hear what they are capable of doing to CHILDREN. They are animals.
My own personal "Good Job" goes to the ADA's that are prosecuting felons in possession of firearms. We've had dozens and dozens of those cases this term and it warms the cockles of my Lifetime Membership NRA heart to hear about them. I just hope that once their indictments leave our hands they are given the maximum punishments allowed by law by the judges. Fully 90% of these guns are in the vehicles with the felons when the police pull them over. As I understand it, five years AFTER they meet the requirements of their paroles they can keep a firearm in their residence, but NEVER EVER can they carry one concealed.
More to follow when the term ends. I'll need the purgative powers of the blog to free my soul.

This One's For Lainey!

And it's a dilly...... a silly dilly, but I knew you'd appreciate it before all others!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Body Parts In New Orleans

Suicide jumper's note leads to body parts in New Orleans

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A note found on the body of a suicide jumper led police to a French Quarter apartment where they found a woman's charred head in a pot, her arms and legs in the oven and her torso in the refrigerator, police said today.

Zackery Bowen, 28, leapt from the seventh floor of a luxury hotel in the Quarter on Tuesday night, police said. His note, found in his pocket, identified the woman as his girlfriend but did not mention her name.

The body was found in the second-floor apartment that Bowen and his girlfriend, Adriane Hall, had shared on the edge of the Quarter above a voodoo shop, according to the landlord. Authorities said they were trying to find Hall, but did not speculate on the identity of the dismembered woman.

A woman who identified herself as Priestess Miriam Chamani in the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and Cultural Center below the apartment said today that the couple recently had moved in. guess is he was just going to make a big old pot of gumbo and then changed his mind. My granny was 1/2 Cajun and she made great jumbo, but it was never a good idea to ask her what was in it! NOT that she put any human body parts in it, but pert near anything that had fur or scales was fair game..... And I mean 'game' literally!

We used to have a lot of fun going crabbing on the pier in Kemah before you had to buy a license to catch what God provided. My granny would bring a mess of chicken necks and we'd tie them to twine and then tie the string off ever so often on "our" part of the pier. After awhile you'd slowly bring the neck to the surface until you saw the crabs feasting and you'd slide the net under them and haul them in. The blue crabs had huge pinchers and would sometimes stretch completely across the width of the net when they spread their claws wide. The only time I can recall getting pinched was by a tiny one that escaped the boiling water and ran across the kitchen floor and latched onto my toe and wouldn't let go. Ouch! I don't remember now which toe it was, so all ten of them are curled up in sympathy! I loved going to my granny's bay house in Kemah and eating her file gumbo.

I wish I knew how to make it too. Unlike modern recipes, she'd use both the file powder and okra. It wasn't spicy hot like folks make it these days. I like the spicy hot kind too. The best bowl of seafood gumbo can be found at Captain Tom's Seafood And Oyster Bar on F. M. 1960. Too bad they don't have rice to put it over like my granny did. But I digress, as I am wont to do.

The couple was profiled in several news stories after Hurricane Katrina as resilient residents who remained in the city after the devastating hurricane despite evacuation orders and a lack of power and water.

A story published by Newhouse News Service described the couple gathering tree limbs for cooking fires at night and trading beer and alcohol — easy to get because of their jobs as bartenders — for clean water. The couple also figured out a creative way to make sure police continued to patrol their house: Hall would flash her breasts at police vehicles to make sure they kept driving by, according to a profile in the New York Times.

Humph. I'm pretty sure if *I* flashed the cops they'd not only drive by real fast but they'd never come near my house again! Heck, they'd put up crime scene tape to WARN other po-leece about the potential hazard!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jim Pruett Ought To Be In Office

Heck, I'd wish HE was running for Senator in District 7 instead of the OTHER radio "personalitity"..... here's what got me all a titter...

From my favorite local "rag", The 1960 Sun...
Cy-Fair gun shop owner sets record straight
By: Joel Weckerly , Editor

Many adjectives could be used to describe outspoken Houston talk show host Jim Pruett. Over the last month, however, he has been claiming only one: misunderstood.

The owner of Jim Pruett's Guns & Ammo in Cypress says the media backlash stemming from a commercial he aired in early September has been largely slanted in the wrong direction.

The ad, which touted his concealed handgun license classes, began with Pruett's warning about "Katricians," the criminal element of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston:

"When the Katricians themselves are quoted as saying 'the crime rate is going to go up' if they don't get more free rent, it's time to get your concealed handgun license...," he said in the ad.

Pruett's motivation for the spot derived from a quote he heard by an evacuee on KTRH radio that said if FEMA's support money was taken away, he would have to turn to crime to get by.

Since then the 62-year-old who makes up one-half of the Pruett & Shannon Show on 97.5 FM has been defending his comments through various national TV, radio and print media outlets.

"They interpreted it as me saying that the Houstonians should arm themselves against the evacuees, which is not what I said at all," Pruett said. "I said whenever the criminal element of the evacuees are saying the crime rate's going to go up, it's time to get your handgun license. The science of it is, if anybody threatens you and if you have a concealed handgun, you're more likely to have the tool of defense with you if you need it."

On Aug. 31, FEMA withdrew its assistance for the first 5,000 households of Katrina evacuees in Houston. An additional 20,000 families are scheduled to lose their checks Oct. 31, while all evacuees lose their FEMA benefits by February.

More than 111,000 New Orleanians are still in Houston a year after Hurricane Katrina, and almost 60 percent of those living in Texas are jobless. Pruett said he found it "astonishing" that of Houston's 262 homicides between Jan. 1 and Aug. 26, Katrina evacuees are suspects or victims in 59 cases. [He and any critics of his ought to sit on a Harris County Grand Jury and see just how many charges are pertaining to folks from LA! I'm pretty sure the jail has plenty of room for all of them if that's where they choose to reside!]

The Department of Public Safety reported that in 2006, the number of issued concealed handgun permits has risen almost 25 percent in Harris County. Pruett, too, has seen a similar spike in permit class attendance since his ad came out.

"It's been marvelous for publicity," he said. "Our classes always fill up because we have a 53-student limit and we do one every three weeks, but now they fill up immediately. We've already filled up Oct. 22 and we're now working on Nov. 12, which is unheard of."

Pruett also said the increased crime has made local citizens - including visitors to his shop - feel unsafe.

On Oct. 3 he even witnessed the Harris County Sheriff's Department track down a shooter who was hiding in the brush 50 yards behind Pruett's shop on Huffmeister Road.

"Right in your own backyard the chaos can be going on," he said, recalling another story from a customer. "I had a businessman come in a couple weeks ago and say he needed to take my class and buy a gun. He said he had apparently cut off someone in traffic, and when he stopped at a light the other driver pulled up next to him and pointed a gun right at his head. He told me, 'I hate this city.' That's pretty powerful stuff."

Whether it's a "Katrician" or any other additional criminal, Pruett claims his message has been clear all along: those who face a physical threat must be prepared to defend themselves.

"You alone are responsible for your immediate safety," he said. "We tell people that the police are not your bodyguards. They'll come eventually, but here in the county it takes a while sometimes. We think the best way to protect yourself is with a handgun."

One final word on the subject from me...

Jim Pruett for Mayor! Jim Pruett for Governor! Jim Pruett for U.S. Congress! Jim Pruett for U.S. Senate! Hell, Jim Pruett for President!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Just Like She Was In My Head!

I saw this response to an article (Blogger behaving badly) on TechBlog from Linda Moore and it hit all kinds of nails squarely on their shiny little heads!

I want my news delivered to me whole and complete with all the facts verified by two independent sources. I do not want spin, or selective editing that pushes a partisan agenda or the newspaper's agenda.

There was a time, when I would always go to the New York Times, if I wanted comprehensive coverage for a specific issue. Unfortunately, that has NOT been true for at least 15 years.

However, I still prefer to get my news from newspapers but none of the newspapers are doing the job that I think that they should be doing. Way too much infotainment coverage on the front page.

I wish I'd of said that! I would of said that if I had her gift for expressing what *I* think!

Monday, October 09, 2006

I Missed My Own Anniversary!

I just bothered to look it up and TexasGoodies has been online a whole year and I didn't even mention it even in passing! Wow, a whole year. Ha! And they said it wouldn't last!

Well, ok, no one said it wouldn't last because frankly no one gave it that much thought if they even knew it was in the offering.

My pal Rick introduced me to his blog and I saw how easy and FREE it was to get one and the rest is, as they say, hysterical history! I'm having fun with it and that was the reason for giving birth to it in the first place. Well, ok, that and the FREE part. AND it's so much easier than trying to keep up with that tiny little diary key.

I've made some friends along the way. People with cool blogs too like Laniey's Grapevine Connection; Attila the Mom's observations at Cheaper Than Therapy; Jack over at Texas Music who says there's "Cops. Guns. Drugs. No happy endings.", but he is so talented a writer it seems like fun most of the time just to drop in and see what's going on with him; the same can be said for Jason at Cigars...Donuts...and Coffee. My favorite sports blog is Richard Justice's SportsJustice. I agree with him about 99.9% of the time. I also keep an eye on TechBlog, but of late it's frankly B-O-R-I-N-G. Mr. Silverman's becoming an out-of-the-closet Apple owner is changing the flavor of his what used to be Windows based blogging. (If there's anything worse than a reformed smoker it's a newly converted Applehead!). He's also getting into "business news" and that's not cool to me. He ought to sign on Claus to do some of the Windows-based PC writing! I still like reading the good stuff at Ed Bott's, Jay Lee's and Eric Berger, the SciGuy. I try and keep up with dozens of others, but these are my mainstays.

I do think that blogging has changed life as we know it forever. It's the best way to get news. It's faster than a speeding bullet and twice as powerful a tool. Hell, it's like Rock 'n Roll, it'll never die! Rock on!

eBay: Both Sweet And Sour

I've recently been buying too many baseball cards on eBay. I'm compulsive and don't like to lose an auction. That's a sure-fire recipe for disaster. More's the pity. eBay has the ability to be both the joy of my online shopping life and the bane of my existence, to wit:

I bought a CRAIG BIGGIO 1998 Studio PSA 10 GEM MT Astros card from someone named "strictly-psagems". I paid WAY too much for it -- $19.51 plus $2.75 S&H. (I will admit that the S&H charge was extremely reasonable....some of the dealers try and make their dough on the shipping when they can't make it on the card!). I waited. I waited some more. I got other cards in that I'd bought in the same time period. I still waited. I got ALL the cards in I'd bought in July!

Finally I said "HEY?" and e-mailed the seller via the eBay mail service to ask when the card was mailed thinking maybe it'd gotten lost in the shuffle across a desk. She replied tersely "Don't know, but it WAS mailed". I said to myself "OK, then I'll just wait a while longer"..... ticktockticktockticktockticktockticktock ...... I wrote her twice more and this time received no reply. I went to eBay and read the How To and discovered I hadn't waited long enough to file a formal complaint, so I waited some more. See ticktock above. I wasn't all that worried because she is after all an eBay "Power Seller" with decent feedback scores.

Finally I dropped the hammer. After several form letter exchanges with eBay about how to handle my complaint, I decided it was pretty much hopeless and went ahead and left her negative feedback. That's the first time I've EVER left negative remarks and this is what I said:
Never received $22.26 baseball card they claim was mailed. Buyer beware!!
This was her reply:
Reply by strictly-psagems: Card was sent out !!! From now on, EVERY AUCTION will be sent W/ DELIVERY CONF.
She left THIS negative feedback for me:
Then I got THIS email from her:
I did not responded. I decided it was pointless to get into online hair pulling and that I'd been scammed or, more likely, one of the post offices involved had messed up.

Evidentially she took this opportunity to get off her meds because she left the following messages to OTHER people in response to their favorable feedbacks to her:
Reply by strictly-psagems: TEXASGINGERSNAP is from Texas same as SHERINHOUSTON - RETALITORY NEGATIVE LEFT (I dunno who "Sherinhouston is but her crime must be that she's from Houston too! And I think she meant "retaliatory").
Reply by strictly-psagems: Guess I Should've Cleared My VEGAS Trip W/ THIS IDIOT & The National GONE 2 WKS. (This was in response to someone that said it took 3 weeks for them to get their card they'd purchased).
Reply by strictly-psagems: WHY IS IT ALWAYS PEOPLE W/ NO FEEDBACK ??? NOT TO MENTION A $5.00 CARD !!! WOW (This was in response to someone who said: awesome cards, as described, nicely packaged and fast shipping, a great seller).
Somewhere in all this mess I'd filed a complaint with PayPal and lo and behold after their investigation they up and refunded the money I'd lost, minus, of course, the shipping charges. Sweet! I was both thrilled and stunned. I never thought I'd recover a dime. I'll admit I was STILL hoping the card was delayed and would show up and I could say "sorry, never mind". And I also thought: nanny nanny, boo boo, strictly-psagemswhiner!

She's taken to leaving the following comments on her feedback retorts now:
I've written to eBay asking that her negative comments in response to others be removed and they have declined unless I can produce a court order. I also got the following missive from eBay:
Strictly-psagems has filed a request to mutually withdraw feedback for the transaction shown below. eBay allows members to withdraw feedback for a transaction if they both agree it is no longer appropriate.

If you agree to this request, the feedback you received AND any feedback you left for this transaction will be withdrawn at the same time. Withdrawn feedback remains in both members' profiles but is no longer counted in the feedback score. If you have not left feedback for this transaction, you may still agree to this request, but you will not be able to leave feedback at a later date.
I sent them the following reply back:

Subject: Re: eBay Feedback Withdrawal Request for Item #330006350906
She called me a "bitch" in email sent through Ebay. I paid for the item in a timely manner and was libeled by her when I asked what happened to delivery. I am neither a "crook, thief, liar" nor a "scam artist". She wants the feedback withdrawn for her benefit not mine. I wish there was some way to block her name from search results...if there is a way I don't know of it.

Thanks again for the return of the money via PayPal. Luckily 99.9% of the sellers here are professional, courteous and capable of giving someone the benefit of the doubt when they have a good feedback rating and a long successful history of buying and selling.
I've been a member-in-good-standing on eBay since Mar 25 99, have 935 total positive feedbacks from 741 people with ONE negative for a 99.9% score.

Strictly-psagems has been a member since Jul 11 04, has a 99.7% feedback rating with 6 negatives from 13 people. THAT means she convinced 7 people to recant their initial comments. Not this time, not this cookie....I'm firing up my voodoo doll with her name on it. I'd actually spring for the attorney to get the court order if I didn't think this was beyond silly considering real people have real problems and suffering in the world, not to mention North Korea has a friggin' bomb....

Thanks for the vent. Silly though it may be, it irked the livin' pook outta me and I had to regurgitate the experience in order to set me free. Ah, free again, free again, thank eBay almighty I'm free again!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bravo HC ADA Hobbs!

One of the Harris County Assistant District Attorneys that presented cases to us today was Mr. Carl W. Hobbs. He prosecutes all the welfare fraud cases in 22 District Courts he is absolutely awesome.

First off he’s even more anal than me and that’s saying something! I say that as high praise! It's my considered opinion that if it wasn't for the anals of the world nothing would ever be accomplished. Someone has to step up to the plate and get the job done and why not do it right the first time? All his cases were in alphabetical order. Their folders were pristine with no loose pages sticking out haphazardly and each folder was new and well taken care of. TRUE all of them were 1st timers because they don’t get to be 2nd timers so it’d be easier to keep their folders in good order, but dragging around TWO boxes of file folders is difficult at best. He used one of those handy, dandy metal carts with bungee cords to keep the boxes secure.

Of the 36 cases he presented today, four were for Tampering With Government Documents and the rest for Thefts of Food Stamps, Medicaid and TANF (Temporary Assistance For Needy Families). All of the thefts were because they were not declaring all the household income and/or letting the Gov know when they made more money than is allowed to receive assistance benefits. All of them were interviewed and most refused to make statements. All of them were caught in a computer cross check and the evidence is in black and white for all the world to see. Of those that did make statements the prevailing theme seemed to be in the vein of “the dog ate my homework”….they didn’t know their husband/son/daughter/etc. was working and bringing in extra money to the home or they didn’t report their temp job at Wal-Mart because they didn’t think they’d be there very long or they forgot they were working 2 or 3 jobs and accepting assistance too!

All of them will be given 40 days from their court appearance to pay back the money and avoid jail time. ALL of them will have a felony conviction on their records forever. Paying back the money does not negate the crime. None of them are currently in the Harris County Jail, but now that ALL of them have been True Billed, they’ll be picked up ASAP and the fun will begin for them.

All in all it was a very light day for us. Our main ADA only brought in 31 cases (all were True Billed), then six ADAs brought one case each. All but one of those was True Billed.

I’m personally thrilled to see so many Felony In Possession Of Firearm cases being presented and True Billed. As a card carrying life time member of the NRA I’d much rather see the hammer coming down on the convicted felons for gun violations than people with no criminal history being treated like felons just because they own firearms, but I digress. The main topic of this one was praise for Mr. Hobbs and the gratitude we Grand Jurors expressed for being “our” guy in Harris County keeping an eye on our dough and slam dunking those that would cheat the system.

Monday, October 02, 2006

'Excited Delirium' Increasingly Cited in Custody Deaths: Top News Stories at

'Excited Delirium' Increasingly Cited in Custody
Deaths: Top News Stories at

Hmmm....I've not heard of this one, but it makes sense that such a thing is happening. I don't know how much "restraint" the police should use in the restraint of a suspect though considering the case of the aforementioned 23-year-old Jose Romero who was "waving a large kitchen knife"... I say take 'em down first and let God figure it all out!