Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Pedestrian Killed While Crossing Raleigh Street"
Around Five Years Ago

About five years ago, I was in bed at my condo around midnight when I heard a car crash. Immediately I knew this was pretty bad. First, I could see the fire truck lights within seconds of the crash. We live beside a fire station and the firemen didn't even wait for the formalities of  getting the 911 dispatch. The truck went north going against traffic on a one-way street. This meant that traffic would be restricted. They don't block lanes for fender benders.

The second thing that tipped me off this was bad was the screaming of what I thought was a bystander. I could hear the Doppler effect as he ran screaming by my window and then continued down the street. It didn't seem right. I'd later learn that the guy screaming was the boyfriend of the crash victim.

The third thing that alerted me was that when I looked out the window to see the crash, there were no cars. I've seen crashes before on that block and there was always a car on the scene. I've seen two cars smash the shit out of each other. I've also seen the result of a car jumping the curb and hitting a light pole. But always there was a car around to gawk at. At this wreck, there was no car around.

The last thing I saw that clinched the graveness of the situation was seeing a mangled barely-alive body on the street between the boundary of the condo building and the fire station. I couldn't get a clear view of the injured man, but I saw enough. A stream of blood trickled from his body down the street and ran down the curb into the drain. I looked up the street and saw a pair of shoes. The car hitting the injured man knocked the guy out of his shoes and propelled him over 100ft down the street. This isn't the script for the movie-of-the-week or an after-school special. Despite the prompt response by paramedics, the man died.

I realized the 'crash' I heard was actually a car knocking the shit out of a pedestrian. I wasn't able to get to sleep until a few hours later. I later talked to a neighbor who had a birds-eye view of the scene since he was higher up with a better view. The grizzly details imprinted even deeper in his mind than my own. One word we both used to describe our reaction to the death: numb.

The driver who hit the guy had driven off. Technically it was a hit-and-run. About 30 minutes later, the driver did return to the scene of the crime and spoke to the police. He said the pedestrian was jay-walking. This was true. The shoes were in the middle of the block over a 100 feet from the nearest crosswalk. Everything else this man must have said was a big crock of shit.

The driver claimed he was only going the speed limit: 35 mph. There is no way in hell a car going 35 mph can knock a grown man over 100ft. It's a goddamn lie. I've been on that road hundreds of times and have seen the assholes barreling down going well over 50 mph. True, this is irrelevant, but the guy was propelled over 100ft from the site of impact.

There was also the matter of the guy leaving the crash. That alone should have brought him some charge. I looked up the guy's name on the NC DOC website, and at the time of the crash, he was on probation. It was after midnight, that alone was most likely a probation violation.

Then there was a matter of why he left. I can only speculate. The guy had been convicted of gun and drug charges. My guess is that he didn't want to get caught red-handed with something illegal so he dumped whatever he shouldn't have had and returned to the crash site.

Bottom line: The guy was never charged with anything since he said he wasn't speeding and the pedestrian was jaywalking.

How would things have turned out if instead of a drunk gay guy getting killed at night it was a city worker or a church goer who got killed at night instead?

City workers and church goers jaywalk all the fucking time on Dawson Street, and will give you attitude if you seemed irritated, and they will stare you down daring you to do something. I wondered how things would have turned out if the pedestrian had not been a gay guy killed but a  member of John Edward's church at the Edenton Street Methodist Church just a few blocks up the street. Deep down, I don't think the cops would have let an ex-con on parole get away without charging him with something. There would have been outrage and demands for action.

I also wondered what would have happened if the driver had hit a city worker on the same street where these guys frequently jaywalk. These guys are notorious for crossing the street where ever they feel like it and goddamn forbid if you honk your horn at them. Yet these are the same assholes who would not yield to me and my dog when we were in the crosswalk and had the light.

No, I think things would have turned out differently had the pedestrian been  a city worker or from the same congregation at John Edward's church. It was all I could do to confront the DA about that incident and have them explain their inaction.

I really wanted to tell them the hypotheticals I just described. In essence it was like having open-season on drunk queers in Raleigh.

The guy's name was Chad Everett Reece.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Grammarian's Victory Sign

For those who don't know what "[sic]" means, here is a situation when it would be used. Suppose one is directly quoting another: "He said your almost near the interstate." The horror of horrors, the person made a mistake. What is the grammarian to do? He can't go into the quote and correct it by substituting "you're" for "your". That would be misleading and untruthful.

The grammarian also can't simply sit back and let it go or else people will think the grammarian had actually made the mistake. What should be done is this: "He said your [sic] almost near the interstate." This lets people know that the mistake was not made by the grammarian.

This serves two purposes. First, it lets everyone know the grammarian didn't screw up; it was the person quoted who screwed up. It's bad enough the grammarian had to witness such an atrocity, but to have people believe the grammarian did it is unthinkable and a rank obscenity.

The second purpose is to let the grammarian feel superior. It gives the grammarian a way to express snideness through this editing technique. It proves there [sic] superiority and lets the grammarian feel better about himself.

It's like a victory sign for the grammarian.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gaddafi's Spank Bank

The late dictator, Gaddafi, had a thing for former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. This is almost as nutty as Bin Laden's lusting Whitney Houston. Yes, for those who hadn't heard, the late terrorist had  thing for Whitney Houston.

Back to Gaddafi.

In his compound was a photo album with pictures of Condoleezza Rice. She's not a bad looking woman. I'm not criticizing that. I find it odd for a strong-arm dictator to have his own spank-bank that includes world leaders from abroad, especially a person from a country that tried to bomb the shit out of him back in the Reagan Administration. I wonder if Gaddafi knew that her nickname over here is "Cunilingual Rice"?

I wonder if it will go on e-Bay?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From the Annals of Passive Aggresiveness
Volume 2

I returned to my apartment after a week away and found this gem posted by the mailbox downstairs. It took a hell of a nerve for someone to do that. I thought it was funny as hell and thought I'd share it with the Internet.

The letter's author has a point. People do leave crap out on the common areas. Some people will drop their junk-mail on the ground under the mailbox. And yes, the kids can be loud and obnoxious little shits.

But this guy is taking things way too hard. This can only generate a bunch of tattletales in our building.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Learning the Rules from One Patent Act Is Hard Enough
Learning Two Sucks the Big One

In the middle of the semester when I'm taking a course in patent law, Congress changes the patent laws. They call the new law "America Invents Act (AIA)." I won't give a summary of the new law. I haven't digested the new provisions. Besides, there are much better authorities on patent law than a second year law student. I hope to hell no one comes to this blog seeking legal advice or education.

My initial reaction to the new law was "Is this good or bad for patent attorneys?" I have a hunch this may create more work for patent attorneys, so this could be a plus for people in this field.

However, the law may be a pain in the ass because patent attorneys for the next 15 years or so will have to know 2 sets of patent laws: the old 1952 Act and AIA. The old patent laws don't simply vanish. The unexpired patents granted before passage of the AIA will follow the old patent laws. The new patents passed after passage of the AIA (or at least those passed 2 years from now), will follow the new rules.

I keep telling myself this is a good thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Who the Fuck Doesn't Like a Treehouse???

A nameless, faceless anonymous tattle-tale in Fairfax Co., northern Virginia, that's who doesn't like a treehouse. A father built an awesome treehouse for his kids. The guy even called the permits office at the county government to see if approval was needed. The county worker said "No."

Weeks and hundreds of dollars later, the father finishes the house. That is when the anonymous complaint surfaced. I can only imagine who the complainer was. My guess is that it's some annoying little busy-body type. The type that either complains at all of the HOA meetings or even worse, sits on the HOA board and rules like a tyrant.

The treehouse did, indeed, violate a zoning ordinance, or at least that is what the zoning board stated. The father has an appeal at then end of November. He's got to win. We can't let those NIMBY bastards win another battle.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Did Gus Fring Need Jesse or Walt?
A Thought on Breaking Bad

When I saw how closely Gus monitored Jesse and Walt with security cameras, I wondered how long it would take until Gus would have all the information needed to make the crystal meth using Walt's method but without Jesse or Walt making it themselves. I didn't pose this question  on any message boards because the peanut gallery would have responded with some shit-ass unproductive comments. But on "Face Off" (the season finale on Breaking Bad), my suspicion that Gus had enough information to reproduce Walt's "cook" was verified.

Jesse, under the watchful eye of an armed kidnapper, was back in the lab cooking a batch of crystal meth when the armed kidnapper gave an order to Jesse of what to do in the procedure. Jesse had just emptied a container of solvent in a vat when he eyed a long knife. Jesse paused to give thought of grabbing it and stabbing the gunman. It was then the gunman made a comment about Jesse cooking with a broken arm.

What the gunman said next supported my theory that the cameras preserved for posterity how to do Walt's method. The gunman said "next, open the C O 2." (carbon dioxide) "Funny," I thought, "this guy knows what Jesse should do next and when to do it."

It was only a matter of time until Gus no longer needed Jesse just as he had with Walt. Jesse was living on borrowed time had Walt not gone back to the laundromat.

The big question is if the cops or DEA will get hold of Gus's computer and any recordings from his surveilance.

Those Who Can't Do, Teach.
Those Who Can't Teach, Administrate

Where I feel I should be if my old professor wins

Much to my horror, the person who I regarded as one of the worst educators in my academic career is running for the Wake County School Board. I'm comparing him to all the teachers I had in elementary, junior high, high school as well as undergraduate, graduate and law school. He was my inorganic teacher for about 6 weeks until I dropped that motherfucker after receiving a 28 on an exam. I was absolutely stunned.

I did some serious soul-searching. Was it me, or was it him? I looked at my performance in the other 2 classes I was taking: physical organic chemistry and physical chemistry. In those classes, the tests I took there were almost 4X greater than what I got in the inorganic course.

I then went over my notes and compared them to the test. I also compared our text book assignments to our test (oh yes, we didn't have a textbook in that class. In an upper level course, that may be acceptable but not in a first year graduate level course). Not a damn thing from my notes and "textbook" matched what was covered on the test. The man played a classic game of "Hide the Ball" and succeeded splendidly.

I then reviewed what I learned in that class and what the professor had taught me. The answer in both cases was NOTHING. Even to this day, I don't know what the hell the guy was trying to teach. His ability to effectively communicate was awful. I kept asking "Is it me or is it him." Had I flunked my exams in my other courses, the trend line would easily show I was the dunce too thick-headed to learn. The inorganic exam was a sorely obvious outlier. It was him.

I've never got anywhere near that grade again after I dropped his class. I had never gotten anywhere near it before I dropped, either.

I thought for sure he would never get tenure. He did. The man is a full professor now. He even moved up in the administrative ladder. Now he's running for the Wake County Board of Education. If his teaching abilities indicate his ability to sit on the Board, I hope like hell the man loses.

I looked at the "awards" and recommendations on his website. Who are these people giving him such praise? Have any of them actually sat in on his classes?

That man nearly wrecked my graduate school career. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to drop his class. Had they not let me drop his class, I would have dropped out of grad school. That man's class resulted in about a 1/3 of my class being placed on the academic probation list. These were smart and capable people, and this guy's piss-poor teaching caused their predicament.

Now this man wants to set the agenda for the Wake County School System. I saw how poorly he taught and this bodes ill for him to be in such a power of authority. Even worse, since the man has a PhD, people will most likely not stand up to him and instead kiss his ass whenever he proposes whatever cockamamie ideas that are whirling around in his clueless head. I can't believe he is on the verge of being unleashed on the largest school system in our state.

The silver lining to all this is for private schools. Dipshits like that guy make private schools more and more desirable.