Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Guest of DMV

Please welcome daughter Katy Gaffney, guest blogging today about getting her driver's license at the DMV in Maryland. Katy lives with husband Steve and son Graham in Perry Hall after serving three in suburban Detroit. Still a Red Sox fan, she wears the Oriole team colors at Camden Yard in a show of support for the home bunch. She is a J School graduate. She writes beautifully about the realities of preemies, motherhood and the East in her blog Behind Blue Eyes...And a Margarita Glass.

Everyone knows the DMV sucks.  The lines are long, the staff is disgruntled at best, and the rest of the people look like a who's-who of a jail holding cell.  When we moved to Maryland I knew I would have to grace the DMV to get a local license.  Boy, I had no idea what was in store for me.
Normally you grab a number and then wait forever for the number to be called; at this DMV, there was a line 90 minutes long just to get a read that right; 90 MINUTES just to get a number.  A girl who was sitting near the end of the line said she had been waiting (with her number) for almost 3 hours.  It didn't look promising.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring Ritual

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.

Time to get back in shape. It doesn't really take much time. Maintain focus, be consistent. Start slow, with short distances and not a lot of speed. Increase gradually until finally, sun on the face, the miles just melt away.

Until then - don't you just hate the sore spot between your toes when you start wearing flip-flops again in the spring?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Call It What It Is

I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
Carl Sandburg

On the occasion of passing twenty thousand hits on Bikecopblog....

I have written this before, but it bears repeating. Bikecopblog was begun as a vehicle to introduce readers to my writing. My publisher at Wild Child Publishing appreciates my efforts at selling copies of Out of Ideas and A Parasol in a Hurricane. At some point on these pages I will also make available The Heart of the Matter and A Miracle of Zeros and Ones. The act of writing for publication often has, as it's goal, a source of income. It was with a mercenary heart I began some years ago.

A casual conversation with a friend went in that direction. Laughter, head shakes. "You write because you love it. Admit it."

She was right.

Bikecopblog now garners about fifteen hundred hits a month. Every single one represents someone out there taking the time to read something I've written. Having people buy my books is awesome. But.... Gifted colleagues, unspeakably brave co-workers, dear friends and blessed relatives read, share and comment on these pages. I have no greater professional joy than to be honored that way. 

Thank you. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

These Are My Friends

It has become fashionable, especially on the right side of the political edge, to decry the use of military-style equipment and vehicles in law enforcement contexts. An article today by John Fund, respected journalist for The National Review, makes the case for restricted use of SWAT teams. He proposes banning surplus Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from being given to police departments. I would suggest that Mr. Fund has never been given the task of resolving an armed conflict.

I've written this before, so I'll not engage in the angry diatribe my dogs endured as I was making their breakfast. Oh, they know I wasn't growling at them. Let me just....

Officers respond to the report of an armed man in a quiet neighborhood. The guy fires multiple rounds at them with a rifle, pinning them down. One officer engages him with a shotgun at close range, allowing other officers to find cover. Miraculously, although rounds strike around him he is unharmed. The department does not yet have an armored vehicle, so there is no way to provide protection for officers who need to move from the line of fire. A SWAT-trained officer with a rifle successfully returns fire. The wounded man is later found inside the home and arrested by SWAT, his children rescued from their bedrooms.

An Ohio police officer is shot while processing a crime scene. Her department does not have an armored vehicle. Several officers are wounded trying to rescue her. She dies of her injuries.

But see....

Thursday, April 17, 2014


"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America
has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a
blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.
This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all
that once was good, and that could be again." Field of Dreams, 1989

There is no real reason for me to write anything else.

How Now Brown Cow

Ed Furillo: The three of us, New Mexico... driving cattle.
Mitch Robbins: What, like in a truck? City Slickers, 1991

I don't know from cattle. Having grown up on the edge of farm country, I'm pretty sure that if you stood a dairy cow and a beef cow next to each other I could pick out the one I generally find under cellophane at King Soopers. That's it. So, the situation in Nevada represented just a passing interest - Good Ole Boy runs cattle, refuses to pay the Feds for grazing rights.... He lost in court, there was some delay in enforcing that outcome and now it's become a thing. Nevada, Harry Reid and you get conspiracy theories galore. Whatever.

Two things. I've met Harry Reid, shook hands with him at the DNC in 2008. He ambled over (yes, ambled) to a group of Lakewood cops and Secret Service agents awaiting the next round of Suburbans to enter the secure loading dock we were...securing. Nice man, thanked us for serving, for being diligent during the festivities. He was kind, soft spoken and had a firm grip (as opposed to Bill Clinton's). 

Second, I love conspiracy theories as entertainment. I don't actually buy into many of them because they are too complicated and I get confused. Consequently, I moved on to something more concrete, like whether Kirsten Dunst insulted women. Then, the guns showed up in Nevada.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A More Perfect Selfie

me: [smashes through crush's bedroom window]
me: [revs up chainsaw]

Recently, I posted a "selfie" on Facebook from St. Petersburg Beach, on Treasure Island in Florida. Bright sunshine prevented me from truly previewing the shot (which resembled a prison photo), but I was walking on the beach in shorts. Didn't all of my friends want to share that moment with me?

Apparently not.

One friend, an exceptionally talented co-worker, compared my picture favorably to Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalist. From his Wiki story:

"While suffering a bout of health problems, Thompson committed suicide at the age of 67. Per his wishes, his ashes were fired out of a cannon in a ceremony funded by his friend, Johnny Depp, and attended by a host of friends including then Senator John Kerry and Jack Nicholson."

Another long-time friend noted that I had developed double chins in my old age. He prescribed cycling.

Thank you, doctor. "Spring has sprung, the grass has rizz" my college friend Joe used to say. Beautiful blue sky, temperatures in the high sixties and low seventies.... I accepted invitations from friends for three rides this weekend and, by early afternoon today will have laid down over one hundred miles of quality time with buddies. Two rides are in the books - the first climbing of the season and a longer, flatter ride in yesterday's glorious sunshine. It is remarkable what riding bikes in warm weather with nice folks can do for my soul.

However (comma) blame the above revised selfie on my detail-oriented friend. It was the least I could do. Actually, it was the best I could do. I ain't James Bond. In fact, this goofy guy on the beach looks a lot like me! Maybe it is the perfect selfie after all.