Texas Mom Jailed For Letting Kids Play Outside

As a native Californian who was born and raised here, I always have to wonder what’s in the water in Texas when weird things happen down yonder. A mom was thrown in jail for letting her young kids play outside after a busybody neighbor called the police to report them as being unsupervised. The stay-at-home mom was watching her kids from a lawn chair. The police officer who showed up didn’t believe her and arrested her for child endangerment. In the finest American tradition, the mother had filed a lawsuit against the police department, the police officer and the busybody neighbor.

We don’t know why the busybody neighbor called the police in Texas as she made no comment on the matter. If this had happen in California, it would be because the noisome kids were driving down the real estate values in the neighborhood.

Seriously.

Two roommates and I were renting the front apartment of a triplex not far from San Jose City College in 2002, which meant that we had to take care of the front yard. After a roommate’s mother raped my petunias to make potpourri, I stopped watering the planter and the naked petunias died.

An older neighbor lady walking her dog one morning informed us that the dead petunias had caused the real estate value of her house to drop by $25,000 USD. I asked her if her house was on the market and she said no. When I pointed out that her house has no relative value until it was on the market, she left in a huff and threaten to call the landlord.

We ended up moving shortly thereafter, but not because of the busybody neighbor down the street was fretting about real estate values.

A bisexual man with his straight girlfriend and his gay boyfriend—all Mexicans—moved into the front apartment of the triplex next door. He accused our Mexican roommate of peeping into his bedroom window while he was having sex with his girlfriend and lusting after his boyfriend. Mexican roommate told him he was stupid in Spanish and slammed the front door on him. Apparently, in Mexico, calling someone stupid and slamming the front door was socially unacceptable.

After a string of late night visits from the police inquiring about his legal status, the Mexican roommate moved out. The other roommate and I moved into a smaller apartment a month later. The landlord’s wife started pulling out the dead petunias as we handed over the keys to the apartment, restoring the neighborhood real estate values by $25,000 USD. No one gave us a commission for this economic miracle.

From what I later heard from another neighbor, the neighborhood was in turmoil for six months from the sexual hijinks of these neighbors before they were evicted. That probably didn’t effect the neighborhood real estate values as much as the dead petunias did. This situation was truly Californian. If this had happened in Texas, the troika next door would have been deported back to Mexico—or California.

TSA Exposes William Shatner’s Awesomeness

On Craig Ferguson’s “The Late Late Show,” William Shatner recounted his encounter with an inexperienced TSA agent who patted him down roughly enough that his pants fell down in front of everyone at the Los Angeles International Airport. With his awesomeness exposed, no word if the blind could see, the paralytics could walk and airfares dropped in price.

British Drunkenness On USA TV Wasn’t A Crime

If you’re plastered at the U.S. Open golf tournament in San Francisco while wearing a British stocking cap and making bird calls before an American TV audience, it helps to be British with a slight resemblance to Simon Pegg. According to SFPD spokesman, public drunkenness wasn’t a crime since Andrew “Jungle Bird” Dudley had a ticket to be there. Only in San Francisco does that kind of wanker logic makes sense.

It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s… Helicopter Cat?!

If someone invents or creates something so bizarre or wacky, you can often file it underneath “Too Much Time On Their Hands” department. When a Dutch artist turns his dead cat into a remote-controlled helicopter, you have to pause and, if you’re from California, ask yourself: “What are they smoking and where can I get some?”

Is Mitt Romney A Closet Unicorn?

Unicorn StatueAfter Arizona’s Secretary of State Ken Bennet threaten to remove President Barak Obama from the ballot for the 2012 presidential election if he didn’t prove that his Hawaiian birth certificate was legit, a petition is demanding that Mitt Romney proves that he is not a unicorn in order to qualify for the same ballot. Will Mitt Romney finally come out of the closet to admit what many people have suspected for a long time?

There has never been a conclusive DNA test proving that Mitt Romney is not a unicorn.  We have never seen him without his hair — hair that could be covering up a horn.

No, we cannot prove it.  But we cannot prove that it is not the case.  And if Mitt Romney is or may be a unicorn, he is not Constitutionally qualified to be president.

Even by Californian standards, the 2012 presidential election is going to be nuts. On the bright side, our favorite maid-banging action hero will be back on the big screen this summer to distract us from all the political nut jobs.

A Pauper’s Cemetery At Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Pauper CemeteryConstruction workers at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose discovered 15 pine coffins from a pauper’s cemetery during excavation that halted work on a new medical building in February. The cemetery was established when the county hospital was built in 1875, marked on a 1932 map as a cemetery and unmarked on a 1958 map as a parking lot. An estimated 1,450 coffins might be in the way of another new medical building to be built. The county is taking legal steps to remove the cemetery. If they can’t identify the next of kin, the the remains will be cremated and scattered over the ocean.

I wasn’t surprised that an old pauper’s cemetery was paved over by progress. Paving over the old for the new is de reigueur  in the San Francisco Bay Area.

After I turned 18-years-old in the late 1980’s, I worked in masonry construction with my father in San Francisco since I had nothing better as I was a high school dropout. We had this one job in Chinatown where a backhoe operator digging a trench broke open an old sewer line made from red clay ceramic pipe. We gathered around to see this buried piece of ancient history four feet below street level, standing across from an alley that ran behind a bunch of Chinese stores that smelled worse than an open sewer. My father and the other superintendents discussed the history of using ceramic pipes in sewer construction.

After El Camino Real was re-routed around Santa Clara University, construction crews tore out the roadway that divided the campus in the half. Underneath two feet of asphalt were old railroad tracks. I mentioned this to my father. He told me that a trolley line used to run down the middle of El Camino Road from San Francisco to San Jose before World War II. Prior to the modern freeway system being built after the war, El Camino Real was the only the way to San Francisco.

Sometimes it’s not always the old that gets paved over in the name of progress. After San Carlos Street that ran through San Jose State University was torn out for a grass meridian, the county transit authority had the concrete foundation for a east-west light rail line built down the middle and buried underneath six inches of dirt. Unless money pours from the sky after the Facebook IPO, the half-dozen east-west light rail lines to connect with the existing north-south light rail lines will never be built. We’re still waiting for the BART extension to San Jose to be built a generation later.

Before my father passed away a few weeks ago, I started a new tech job at a different hospital to replace old computers. My work area is located around the corner from the morgue. Whenever the scent of vanilla hangs heavily in the hallway outside, a dead body was delivered to the morgue. These days I see dead people everywhere.

Friday Funnies: Americans Are STUPID!

I was driving back from the gym the other day when KGO-Radio interviewed this old geezer for posting this video on the current state of affairs in America — and putting the blame where it belongs. He told the interviewer that he didn’t know anything about computers until co-workers gave him a MacBook as a gag gift. He took it home, got a book, built a website, and now doing videos. Plus he doesn’t think that 22,000+ hits — at the time of the radio interview — was that impressive for his “viral” video.

 

Being At Work On The Day Steve Jobs Dies

I read about the news of Steve Jobs passing away five minutes before everyone else did at work.

As a PC technician doing a Windows 7 refresh at a Fortune 500 technology company in Silicon Valley, I was waiting for the data transfer from the old system to the new system to complete before I moved on to my next task. Sitting in the chair of the user whom I ejected out of his cube, I turned to the laptop on my cart and, seeing no work-related emails that required my immediate attention, started browsing the Internet to kill time.

Mac Rumors reported the death of Steve Jobs via the Associated Press announcement that more details were forthcoming. Unlike the false report a month before that appeared on the CBS Twitter feed, this one looked like the real deal. With every refresh of the web page, Mac Rumors kept adding more and more details to their article.

An immense feeling of sadness overcame me as the news sank in.

I immediately recognized that this was a “where were you when this happened” event. Like the Space Shuttle Columbia burning on re-entry (2003), the 9/11 Twin Towers bombing (2001), the Loma Pieta earthquake (1989), the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion (1987), the Iran-Contra scandal in Washington, D.C. (1986), the Iranian hostage crisis (1979), President Richard Nixon’s resignation during the Watergate Scandal (1974), and the Apollo 11 moon landing (1969), I can remember all those events with sparking clarity. Except for the moon landing since I wouldn’t be born for another three weeks, but even in utero I was with my family watching history being made on our ancient black-and-white console TV.

“Holy, shit!” an engineer cried out unprofessionally from a nearby cube. This was the payroll department, not the men locker room in the gym next door. ”Steve Jobs is dead!”

“Who died?” an engineer asked from a cube further away, sounding bewildered as if someone had assassinated the Pope in Rome or the Republican Party found an electable Tea Party candidate for the 2012 presidential election. Unthinkable.

“Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and inventor of the iPad!”

All at once the engineers in the surrounding cubes stopped working to browse the Internet. The major news websites started reporting the death of Steve Jobs from pancreatic cancer, throwing up their prepared obituaries about America’s most beloved inventor since Thomas Edison. My favorite obituary was from the satirical website, The Onion, with the headline: “The Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies”. A hushed silence fell over the cubes as mouse clicks followed the links.

An engineer wept quietly.

An email popped in to announce that the data transfer was completed. I pulled the old system and went on to my next task. As I walked through the other buildings, the death of Steve Jobs spread like wildfire and the hushed silence took hold everywhere. This particular technology company already had a quiet intensity to daily work was now so quiet that you could now hear Death chortling over the grief of a creative visionary being dead. As I browsed the Internet during those brief moments of downtime while waiting for my tasks to complete, there was no escaping the obvious fact of that day.

Steve Jobs was dead.

Then a horrible feeling overwhelmed me. This felt like the death of Elvis all over again, where he died of a drug overdose two weeks after my birthday and my mother cried for three days straight in August 1978. I can imagine some poor kid coming home to find his engineer mother weeping uncontrollably over her iPad, wondering why she was more in loved with an international celebrity than her husband, and later find a black velvet painting on the living room wall. Rather than seeing the bloated Elvis in his white suit and red scarf making love to his microphone, the mercurial Steve Jobs would look out through the lenses of his glasses with a fist to his bearded chin underneath a knowing Mona Lisa smile. I shuddered at the thought of another childhood tragedy was in the making.

Note: This post will be the unrevised introduction to my forthcoming essay ebook, “Experiencing The Death of Elvis: Another Childhood Tragedy,” about how the death of Elvis impacted my family in the late 1970s, now available at Amazon and Smashwords.