“Life is a bad neighborhood.”
–Tom B. Taker
Oh, out on a lonely stretch of road
Beware o’ that unwritten code
Make an illegal pass again
He’ll leave you a fucking road stain
‘Cause the asshole is a person in your neighborhood
In your neighborhood
He’s in your highwayhood
An asshole is an asshole in your neighborhood
A person that you street each day
Life is hard. We all get that. Some of us, though, are a bit more proactive. We take that knowledge then go out there and do what little we can to make it even harder.
There are people who walk among us who do shitty things. Unimaginable assholes. In the old days they’d get away with it. But now, because lots of us cover ourselves with video cameras when we step out of the house, every once in a while one of them gets nabbed with their dirty mitts in the cookie jar.
Meet William Crum, age 68. Angry. White. Elderly. Texan. While out driving a two-lane blacktop with a double-yellow line he was illegally passed by a motorcyclist. We know what happened next because another motorcycle rider who was following behind got the entire thing on video.
As the motorcycle attempted to pass, Crum’s vehicle sharply and “violently” swerved and sideswiped the motorcycle, sending the two people on the bike to the ground. The motorcyclist suffered cuts and road burns. His girlfriend passenger, however, was airlifted to the hospital with more serious injuries. After spending time in intensive care she was moved to a regular room and is now in stable condition.
Confronted at the scene, Crum was recorded on video making this statement: “I don’t care. Double yellow stripes. I got stung by a wasp.”
Crum refused to apologize to the motorcyclist, saying, “To her [he would] … but to him, no, because he was doing something illegal.”
I now break out my Asshole Decoder Ring and offer the following analysis:
- Crum. Probably the best-named human of all time.
- “I don’t care.” Hmm. This statement reads on the meter as sincere. We’ll take him at his word.
- “Double yellow stripes.” This goes to state of mind. What’s the most important notion stuck in his craw after wreaking violence on other human beings? Apparently he was fixated on the criminality of illegal passing. This is a solid piece of evidence that his swerve was intentional.
- “I got stung by a wasp.” Now this is an interesting non sequitur. I can find no news coverage confirming if this has been medically confirmed. My guess? It’s a little self-defense tip he picked up from the book Always Blame Road Rage on Our Friends the Bees.
- “He was doing something illegal.” There you have it. Judge. Jury. Swervecutioner.
- Irony: While swerving to take out his victims, Crum crossed the double-yellow line himself, thus literally crossing the line from brooding hero vigilante to rabid criminal scum.
What do you think? Was it intentional? The police seem to think so. Crum has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.
Sorry, Mr. Crum. I don’t dance.
I have already achieved greatness. I’m the inventor of the phrase “Roots Of The Turd.” (Copyright © 2013 Tom B. Taker Video Productions. All rights reserved.) I googled it so it must be true. It’s mine. All mine! The phrase would not exist if I did not exist. My work here is done.
I’m not one to rest on my laurels, though, so I’ll expand on the phrase just a teensy bit.
The Wikipedia page on Karl Rove does not contain the word “turd.” True story! And yet, somehow, I know that “Turd Blossom” was the affectionate name given by George W. Bush to the man that made his presidency a reality.
Wikipedia does come through with a definition of the term itself:
“Turd Blossom” (or Sand Turd) is a Texan term for a flower which grows from a pile of cow dung.
Source: Wikipedia – Turd Blossom
As we will see, the name is fitting in more ways than one. It’s time to take true facts and get the Guru’s opinion of them. This is first in an ongoing series I’m going to call Roots Of The Turd.
Continue reading →
Sure, BINGO is glitzy, glamorous and loads of fun, but it has never been made accessible to the hip under-80 crowd. Until now.
Once upon a time some touchy-feely bleeding-heart bastards had kittens about cock fighting and criminalized that great and wonderful sport. Suddenly the human race was left to wither on the barren wastes in search of another intrepid activity worthy of our abscessions.
If you’ve been pining for the next great bird-oriented sport, well, wait no longer! Your prayers have been answered! No more living on a wing and a prayer.
Is the sky falling? Nope. It’s just Chicken Little. And he’s here for a very good reason.
Continue reading →
I don’t like to brag, of course, but I seem to have been constructed for the purpose of playing poker. A coworker from a job 12 years ago once told me I had the “shifty eye.” I took that as a compliment. I also love maths and probabilities.
The other good thing about poker is that it is the only sport that I can watch on TV and go out and replicate myself. I use the word “sport” loosely but it must be true since they show it on ESPN.
I don’t like to brag or anything, but I rule the home game. I’ve placed in the money something like eight times in a row. That isn’t chance or luck. It’s skill.
“In the money” is nice but the #1 spot itself has proven elusive. I think I’ve only claimed that title a single time in the home game.
Last night I was on a mission. And the poker gods themselves were looking down to enforce some poker karma.
Continue reading →
This post was once just a twinkle in my eye. Then I conceived a subject, a germane approach fertilized, and, long story short, this post was birthed nine minutes later.
WordPress was the midwife.
Of course, in my dictionary, “fertilize” generally means “throw poop on it,” but hopefully you still get the idea.
“Daddy, where do babies come from?”
“Good question. But, technically speaking, there is no such thing as a ‘baby.’ You see, son, the North Carolina House of Representatives tells us that at the exact moment of fertilization a ‘human being’ has been created.”
[laughing] “Yes, son. Fertilization. That’s just a fancy word for mommy and daddy getting together, each of them adding a special ingredient, and making a new person. Like you! You know how chocolate and peanut butter got together to make a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? It’s a lot like that.”
Indeed, Timmy. Indeed.
Freedom. In America, seemingly above all else, we prize our cherished freedom. And rightly so. But probably at the very moment pilgrims landed in this country, they did something peculiar. They started making laws to control the freedoms of each other.
“There are nine of us and one of you. We voted and decided that thing you do is now prohibited.” Ah, democracy.
Our history is replete with this sort of thing. Freedoms legislated away like oral sex, anal sex, “sodomy,” adultery, nudity, women owning property, women being allowed to vote, black people being free persons, black people being allowed to vote, black people owning guns, etc.
A quintessential example of this? In the original version of the Constitution of the United States, you only had to read four short paragraphs before encountering racism.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
Thankfully that sentence was modified by the 14th Amendment.
So anyway, this sort of thing is nothing new.
On my morning commute, I sometimes like to listen to religious programming. There’s a morning talk show, I don’t know the name, where I’ll sometimes pause. (That same station at night is more fire and brimstone and doesn’t hold the same sway.)
This week they were talking about how “life begins at conception” and the fight they hope to bring to the Supreme Court. They talked about how an effort was underway in North Carolina to legally say that a human being exists at the moment of conception. They also said that if you had an opinion different than that you were “anti-life.”
You know, some people don’t like to be called “homophobes” just because they take a position against homosexuality. Yet here we have religious folk flinging the “anti-life” label simply because you disagree with them on what is, in all actuality, a very very fine point. I find that a skosh hypocritical.
The proposed North Carolina law that was passed by their House of Representatives takes a quite reasonable position. It would criminalize “death or injury” of a “fetus” at “any” stage of development. Take the morning after pill? You’re guilty of murder, pal. You just killed a “human being.”
That’s not farcical at all, is it?
Kill a sperm? That’s okay. Kill an ovum? Still okay. But at the very moment those two things are joined to form a zygote a “human being” now exists and “killing” is off the table.
Curious, and being a fan of Texas Holdem, I invited a few zygotes to my house the other night for a poker game. Aside from a weird tendency to go “all-in” too often, I found them decent human beings, although, to be honest, they were extremely boring and completely lacking in personality and the social graces.
I understand abortion is a serious issue. In fact, my opinion on the issue has changed somewhat radically over the years. It has become much more conservative over time. When I was young and stupid I was pretty cavalier about it. Now that I’m old and stupid, my standards have changed dramatically.
I can’t define my position exactly, but let’s just say that I support a woman’s right to choose. It’s her body and her choice. But, in my opinion, that moment of choice is extremely narrow.
Clearly it is wrong to kill a newborn baby. Just as clearly, in my view, a “human being” is not created at the moment of conception.
Somewhere, between those two extremes, lies the real moment when a human life comes into being. I have no idea when that moment might be. Perhaps it’s a heart beat. Perhaps it’s brainwaves. Perhaps it’s a fingerprint. I really don’t know, nor do I know if anyone really knows.
Something tells me it might have something to do with the ability to feel and, perhaps, experience pain. Not hurting others is a big part of my philosophy so that resonates with me. A zygote can’t feel pain. But somewhere in the development of a fetus that ability does exist.
That’s why I believe we should err on the side of caution. Make abortion laws have a tight window. Very tight. But criminalizing abortion all the way to the moment of conception? I believe that is wrong. It impinges on the freedom of the individual in favor of a human being that doesn’t yet exist.
Debate on fiercely contested issues isn’t always a logical thing. You ask for the moon. I’ll ask for the stars. Neither side will get what they ask, so invariably we end up somewhere in the middle. I believe that trying to criminalize abortion all the way to the moment of conception is a tactic. One that is designed to move where that eventual compromise will exist.
We should intelligently debate this issue. And we should fight to make reasonable laws that are based on common sense. Not go after illogical extremes as political strategies.
This is my “F” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”
I freely admit it. I cried like a little girl that first night in jail. They say never let ’em see weakness but I couldn’t help it. But at the same time I wasn’t oblivious. I could see the other prisoners betting cigarettes on how long I’d last. But I’d show ’em all!
The next day I was released to the yard along with everyone else. Dammit. Then a big mean looking bald guy approached me. Here it comes, I thought. This is how it ends for me.
“What are you in for, man?” he asked me.
I looked him straight in the eye. “Seat belt violations, motherfucker,” I said. “One shitload of tickets.”
They pretty much left me alone after that…
I’ll be straight up with you. I think our nation’s fixation with programs like Click It Or Ticket (CIOT) is misguided. And I’ll tell you why.
Some argue that CIOT is a violation of our civil rights. They say that government has no business in coercing us to take care of ourselves. This is especially a sticking point for opponents of motorcycle helmet laws.
Some have argued that seat belt enforcement is an invasion of our privacy because officers have to look into vehicles without probable cause.
These are interesting points that may or may not have some validity. But I say fuck all that as irrelevant. I say that safety enforcement should be prioritized based on a very simple criteria. Just for fun, I’ll call it who is the meat with the brain splatter.
This approach is a simple one and seeks to understand who is at risk, not the nature of the infraction.
Consider an idiot who drives without their seat belt. Who’s meat are they risking? Their own. If they decide to go SVA (single vehicle accident) into a tree or roll their rig, they are the ones who will suffer from brain splatter. SVAs are a special case that, unless the result of something like mechanical failure or acts of God, are generally textbook examples of self-Darwinism. The vast majority of SVAs are caused by intoxicants, excessive speed, and/or operator error.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that shoveling up the brain splatter can be disturbing, but that’s not a valid reason for prioritizing enforcement of seat belt laws artificially high. Besides, the people who scrape up brains – that’s their job. One that probably pays two to three times what I make, and with excellent benefits, too. Sorry, they can deal with it.
Note: I’m not talking about children here. The drivers of vehicles have a moral obligation to protect underage passengers. (This will be address by my hypothesis below.)
The same thing goes for motorcycle helmets, too. When I ride I always wear a helmet. You’d have to be a friggin’ moron to do otherwise. (Case in point: See Ben Rothlisberger.) My head happens to be where I store my gray matter and I’m pretty fucking partial to that shit. It’s all-important to me and oh-so-fragile and irreplaceable, so yeah, I’m going to protect it. Therefore I have never ridden without a full helmet. None of that “screw the cops” half-helmet bullshit for me.
Again, though, if you opt to ride without a helmet, who are you risking? Yourself. Sure, you might get brains on someone’s windshield but the presence (or not) of your helmet is not very likely to have a life or death impact on others.
So why the emphasis on the enforcement of laws like these? Where the friggin’ hell are the programs for things like red light runners? Ever heard of one? I sure haven’t.
The thing with red light runners is that they put the lives of other people than themselves at extreme high risk of serious injury and death. If we want to enforce some traffic laws, why the hell don’t we start with something like that?
My hypothesis is simple:
Proactive enforcement of traffic safety laws should be prioritized based on the danger to innocent people.
Drivers who refuse to wear seat belts, stupid and annoying though they may be, by far only pose a significant risk to themselves. Therefore, under my hypothesis, enforcement prioritization of seat belt laws would be minimal.
Drivers under the effects of intoxicants greatly risk the lives of innocent people, therefore proactive enforcement for that should be very high. Ditto for those who dangerously break laws like running red lights.
To this day our DUII laws are far too gutless. Yes, the enforcement prioritization is there, as it should be. There are DUII programs and funding. But the punishments are far too lax. If I had my say, upon conviction for a first offense the offender would lose their license to drive for three years and the vehicle, regardless of ownership, would be forfeit. Period. A punishment would sure make vehicle owners think about driving while intoxicated, eh? And it would force employers and friends to be highly discriminating of who they trusted with their wheels, too.
A second conviction would result in a loss of driving privileges for life and mandatory jail time.
Talking on cell phones while driving or, worse yet, texting, is rightly getting attention, too. For once, things might be working as they should. Rare, I know. When innocent lives hang in the balance due to egregious selfishness and stupidity, enforcement must drop like a hammer and the laws must have enough teeth to actually make a difference and weed out the most foolish amongst us.
Similarly, I’d drastically increase enforcement on red light runners. Too many people get impatient and take liberties with red lights that they shouldn’t. In my town the problem is at epidemic levels and law enforcement still doesn’t do jack shit about the problem. There is no funding and no enforcement prioritization. I predict it won’t be long until a vehicle is t-boned or a pedestrian is flattened and innocent lives are irrevocably destroyed.
In my experience law enforcement is supposed to have a proactive component. I’ve heard a figure that says 43% of law enforcement should be proactive. (Our local police aren’t there yet.) But the way it seems to work is that this doesn’t happen unless there is some grant that funds overtime, which is fantastically probably the most inefficient way to prosecute things like traffic safety programs. And that grant money is typically narrowly restricted to very specific applications, like CIOT, DUII or pedestrian stings. Those who give out grant money don’t want local communities making their own prioritization decisions. So the money comes with strings attached.
CIOT, for example, is typically conducted with overtime paid for my “federal highway safety grant funding.” Where is the funding for red light enforcement programs, if there even is such a thing?
Why so much emphasis on CIOT? My personal theory is that it is based on some sort of “do-gooder complex.” Some apparently see it as their role to force people take care of themselves. Sounds like they have control issues to me. Perhaps they’ll also come up with a program to enforce restrictions on Texas contributions to world cuisine like deep-fried twinkies, deep-fried pork ribs, deep-fried cheesecake, deep-fried Coke, chicken fried bacon, deep-fried banana splits, deep-fried beer, and, of course, deep-fried butter.
Fuck that. Fund the traffic safety programs that prioritize the increased safety of innocent people. The innocent must be prioritized above the moronic!
Are you a moron? Do you have a death wish? I say fine and dandy. Feel free to take yourself out, hopefully before you’ve procreated and passed along your genes. We shouldn’t spend our time, money and resources trying to stop you.
Let’s concentrate on protecting the innocent instead. Let us prioritize the safety of the innocent above the safety of the stupid.
Is it just me or have we seen a whole lotta Dubya lately?
I first noticed it during the World Series. There was George and his wife Laura in the stands at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Am I just suspicious or were they seated in such a way that they’d be caught often on camera whenever Rangers batters on deck were shown?
Then, of course, every time they played America The Beautiful in the 7th inning the camera would have to sneak a shot of the presidential couple to see how they were reacting to the song.
George Bush even got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during game 4.
Then I started hearing about a book. Then he was being interviewed by Matt Lauer and CBS Sunday Morning. Then I heard that Bush had written a book. In the book Bush talked about things like his “drinking problem.” He claims he wasn’t an alcoholic. And still no word on alleged cocaine use where he has refused comment. What we do know is that Bush was arrested for DUII at least once in his life.
For a while there, Bush mostly stayed out of the spotlight, although he did occasionally break silence to criticize his successor, something that is apparently considered, by some, to be “bad form.” Bush originally said that Obama “deserves my silence” but then went back on that position to throw some IEDs at the new President claiming that Obama wanted to use things like “persuasion” and “therapy” to combat modern terrorism. You gotta admit, those are classy arguments.
Bush, no doubt to sell more copies of his book, stepped out even further into the public eye when he started a contest on Facebook. The Facebook page bills itself as an “Opportunity to interview President George W. Bush.” (Link.) If you love and enjoy legalese, the contest rules are a must read! Entrants were asked to submit five questions they would ask. The entrants were to then be whittled down to 100 contestants who would each submit a two-minute video. From those entries, one winner would be selected to fly to Dallas, Texas, and meet with Bush to ask their question in person. As far as I know the contest process hasn’t quite finished yet.
But all of this Bush stuff on the brain got me to thinking, even before I learned of this contest. If I had the chance, what would I ask George W. Bush?
I thought about it and really thought about it some more. It is actually a very tough question. So many possibilities come to mind. But the exercise is pointless for two reasons. One, I’ll never have the chance. Two, he’d never tell the real truth on anything good.
I still haven’t settled on the one thing I’d ask him about.
So this post ends by going interactive. What would you ask George W. Bush if you ever got the chance?