Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting pulled over...

A friend shared a good getting pulled over story last night, so I thought I would share, and then let share my own favorite getting pulled over story.

Trevor's story - Told first person for effect
So last night I found a liter of tequila in my trunk, and I thought "Great! I'll pick up some margarita mix on the way home and get smashed tonight." So I'm driving from here to the Price Chopper, and I see the red and blue start swirling, so I pull over. And you know how officer's usually wait a few seconds and let you sweat it out before coming up to your window? Not this guy, he troops right up, and says "Do you know how fast you were going." I of course become a blank slate of innocence and state that no, I do not know how fast I was going. The officer barks out "53 in a 35... but that's NOT why I pulled you over! Do you know WHY I pulled you over?" Again a negative from me. Officer states "I pulled you over for the use of an illegal radar detector."

I inform the office that I do not have a radar detector. He asks "Then why, just as I started shooting radar did you SLAM on your brakes." The honest answer would be "Well sir, because I was flying, and nearly missed the entrance for the store where I'm going to pick up mixers so I can go home and get wrecked." I choose instead to say "I dunno, it must have been a fluke, you can search my car if you want, I've got nothing to hide."

Now at this point, the officer decides to search my car. There's nothing in there but my kid's play toolbox, some pistachios in my glove box, and my backpack, which has my tattoo lotion (for my sleeve, which is about halfway done), some tattoo magazines and some notebooks and school books in it. Officer searches the car, comes up empty, asks to see the glove box, I comply. Says "whats that?" at the bag of pistachios, I say pistachios and hold them out for him. Asks to look in my son's toolbox, I open it up, it's got play tools in it. Then goes "Whats in the backpack?"

I, not thinking, say "Oh just some magazines and some lotion..." The cop pauses, stares at me, chooses not to search the backpack, and as I realize what he's thinking and start blurting out "No, no, not like THAT...." he gives me a look that tells me he clearly does not believe me, tells me to slow down and have a pleasant evening.

Mae's story
One Easter, I decided to spend the holiday with my cousin, who was a member of the United States Marine Corp in Athen's GA. I was travelling from Oswego, NY and suffice it to say my train was not what we like to call timely. When I arrived my cousin and some marines were less than what one would describe as sober. I got a hug and a "I hope you can drive, cause we certainly can't."

We get in the car, and I start driving toward the base, the guys continue putting away the second 30 rack, which was purchased sometime during my second train delay. On the way back there's a police stop. I can't turn around, because it's flat land, they would see me and they would chase me. I start wondering what Georgia jail is like.

Officer takes one look inside the car and asks me to step outside of it. At this point I should mention, I'm a NY licensed driver, driving a Virgina car, registered to some guy's parents whom I've never met, in the state of Georgia with passengers from various and other sundry states and a back seat full of near 60 beer cans.

I get out of the car.

Officer "Ma'am... have you been drinking?"
Me "No sir."
Officer "Ma'am... have THEY been drinking"
Me (no way I can lie here) "Oh yes sir."
Officer "Ma'am, you do know it is illegal to have an open container in a vehicle in the state of Georgia, right?"
Me (stuttering) "No sir, I just got off the train from NY, so I could spend Easter with my cousin, because he's in the marines and its our first holiday where he didn't come home, and my train was late, and they're all marines, so they were drinking, so I had to drive, and I'm just trying to get them back to the base, and I think I'm lost and I'm sorryyyyyyyyyyyy" (I think I'm near tears at this time.
Officer "You can get back in the car, ma'am. Gentlemen OUT!"

The boys pile out of the car, and my cousin, smart man that he is, goes to parade rest, so being drunken marines, do the rest of the guys. They start barking at the cop like he is a drill sergeant. Apparently this must make the cop feel good, because he lets them all pile back into the car. And he does not confiscate the beer.

Officer comes back around to my side and says "Ma'am, I've already got 3 drunk drivers and a van full of 16 Mexicans, none of whom seem to have a green card or a license, so I don't need any more paperwork tonight, so you get these boys home safe and don't let 'em drink any more tonight."

I of course, promise whatever the nice Georgia cop want to hear, thrilled I will not have to call my parents for bail on easter weekend, and drive off. Only to let the boys keep drinking once we were at the hotel.


Anyone else have funny "I got away" stories? Love to hear them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Do Scammers Have Souls?

Two things will certainly go up in a bad economy. Crime and scams. I know about the crime, cause Marc is swamped at work. The scams appear obvious from other things, for instance, craigslist's new SCAM ALERT which is shown now before you can look at jobs on their site. I say good job craigslist, because I would say about half the help wanted that are placed on craigslist are scams.

Granted, most of us know we cannot make thousands of dollars working from home. And would definitely not pay someone $150-$500 to send us a kit. And granted if you explained it to some of the poor saps who fall for it as "Would you pay a company that much to interview you?" they might come around and realize the scam for what it is.

Also big props to craigslist for the "FUN FACT" - telling you if you find out the scammer's affiliate ID and report it to their affiliate marketing program, you can get them fired. Sweet.

What makes me a little angrier though, are the regional area help wanted dot com sites. Long name, not so much on the amazing results. These places advertise as the best place to find a job, on the radio, in the paper on your tv. Because of their ads, you think, "huh, that site is probably legitimate and wouldn't let scammers in to take advantage of me." Craigslist, you kind of already know is a scary, scary place with scary posters and less than legitimate job offers. However, you would expect an employment site to sell it's space at a higher standard. Not. So. Much.

Browsing through my local Queensbury results in this system, I often come across "23 people needed IMMEDIATELY! Work at HOME! Make $5,500 - $8,000 a MONTH!" or "PAID ONLINE SURVEY TAKER-*Part Time* !CLICK HERE!" And these are in the legitimate results, not off to the side where even stupid people will recognize that they are an ad. This ticks me off. Sites that purport to help people find employment, should at least help them find legitimate employment.

Do scammers not feel guilty? I mean it is true, as P.T. Barnum is credited with saying "there's a sucker born every minute." I guess one attitude would be "well, someone's going to take advantage of these poor schmucks, may as well be me." But I personally think I would feel kind of guilty taking hundreds of dollars off of someone just trying to find a way to work at home so they can stay home with the kids too. Or someone disabled or whatnot. I mean granted, about half of the money scammers gets probably comes from lazy people, and that I guess I don't feel as bad about. But how is anyone in the world ok with ripping off stay-at-home-moms and disabled folks?

I merely feel that scammers should be held to some sort of "truth-in-advertising" commitment. Such as saying "While this program COULD potentially earn you eight thousand bucks this month, it is more likely to earn you $8, that's right 8 dollars."

Bah, scammers. Part of the reason I have to believe in karma & purgatory. And no, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Things That Make Me Angry About Elections

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a proud American, I think that it's fantastic that we get to choose our leaders, and that I'm allowed to wear pants, go to school and move around with my head uncovered. I am by no means trashing our nations. I am however trashing the political system that I believe would disgrace the founding fathers.

3 things that are wrong with elections
1 - They are a giant waste of money
2 - They inspire politicians to lie
3 - Mudslinging

1 - The money.

It seems today, that elections can be bought. As pointed out by a friend of my recently, Mayor Bloomberg spent $100 million to his opponent Bill Thompson's $10 million. It won him the election. By a mere 5 points. I'll leave alone the fact that he probably should not have been allowed to run at all, due to previously law regarding term limits, and even leave alone his comments about the term limits when they concerned his predecessor. $100 MILLION dollars? I don't think I could spend that much money in my lifetime. Do you know how many starving babies could be fed with that much money? How many dv clinics could be funded? How much could be put toward curing cancer? $100 MILLION on an election you should not have even have been allowed to run in? You're not FDR, Mr. Bloomberg, and you kind of make me a little ill in my stomach. Which is not to let Mr. Thompson off the hook, $10 million would feed an awful lot of babies to.

However, I should mention that Bloomberg is not even my favorite. My favorite is Jon Corzine (who has FINALLY been voted out of office). Corzine bought a Senate seat in New Jersey in 2000 with $62 MILLION of his own dollars (and Lord only know how many more millions of other people's dollars) and then purchased the governor's seat for a mere $38 million in 2005. (the $3 million he outspent Doug Forrester by in that election really seemed to do the trick). This year he only spent around $26 million, which could be why he lost. Or it could be that Jersey is sick of him. Or all the bad press concerning the Jersey officials and their myriad wrongdoings lately.

Is a political office really worth that kind of cash? I mean, with that kind of money, you could be a savior to humanity? You would really rather be know as a political schmuck than the next Mother Teresa? You WANT to be the governor of Jersey? The armpit of America? Really? I'm disgusted... so let's move on

2 - The lying.
Elections cause politicians to lie. They will say ANYTHING to get elected. There apparently must really be some kind of super high that comes along with being a political schmuck. I'm going to run down Obama's promises. Bear in mind here, I'm not ripping apart just Dems, I realize Republicans lie too, it's just Obama is the biggest and most recent. And GW part deux, (while one of the loves of my life) would just be too easy.

Let's see now. Obama promises.
a - CHANGE - My favorite... Now, on a day to day basis, has that much changed for you individually since Obama took office? Other than the Today Show and the Colbert Report not having as many president jokes because this one's a decent speaker. The problem with promising CHANGE is that until you sit in the chair, you don't realize how little you can actually change. There are still people who can tell you what to do, even when you're the boss man. (e.g. Alan Greenspan)
b - Bringing the troops home. Shucks, as far as I can see... we're still shipping 'em out. Even my baby brother, signing up in this democratic administration, due to my mother's insistence he not sign up under GW, may still have to ship out under Obama.
c - repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy as well as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ... hmmmmm, it appears that we are still discriminatin' with the best of them.
d - "End income tax for seniors making less than $50,000" ... HA! lies! Grandmas are still paying taxes.
e - "Double the Peace Corps" - ambitious. Yet not done. I guess he does still have some time on this though. He only has to find 16,000 more volunteers before 2011.
f - Getting GITMO closed - now granted, he did put in a good faith effort he, he was just shown up by the courts and the Senate. Another example of not being able to CHANGE as much as you promised.
And there are other promises... but I'm done hating on 'bama for awhile.

3 - The Mudslinging
Let's use a local one for this one. I live in the North County. And Marc and I's favorite race to watch was the Washington County District Attorney race. Now, you think two men running to uphold a county's laws would want to watch those laws concerning libel and slander. Or at least help each other maintain good reputations so that they could appear as models to their community and state; whose laws they are running to uphold after all.

Not. So. Much. ... Incumbent Kevin Kortwright disclosed an e-mail sent by Robert Winn (also a former Washington County DA) inviting the Granville police to an open bar party (following his 1997 win) and asking the police to "lay low" as a professional courtesy. Winn claimed it was a (poor attempt at a) joke, and that Kortwright broke the law by obtaining the e-mail from a sealed court case. Kortwright stated that it was a crime that Winn planned on driving drunk and letting others drive drunk that night. He also stated he did not get the e-mail from the sealed court case, but from a grieving mother, whose son was killed in a car accident in 2003. However, one does have to wonder how he located said grieving mother and his willingness to exploit her.

The other sad fact. These gentlemen are both Republican and both incumbents. And as far as I'm concerned, both fuck-ups. Dear Democratic Party, where were you? You got Gillibrand elected up here. Put in some more freaking effort. Maybe hand out free rabies vaccines or something.

But it seems libel is the way to go up here. In nearby Essex county, two republicans were again running for the D.A. position. Debra Whitson accused Julie Garcia of doing cocaine and living with a convicted cocaine dealer. Now, first of all Ms. Whitson, doing cocaine never kept anyone out of office, and second of all, make sure you get all of you facts straight, because now Ms. Garcia has hired Lake Placid attorney Jim Brooks to sue you. Again, Dems... just rolling over and playing dead at this point? Seriously, I kinda think you guys could have ran a well groomed monkey in either of these races and taken them.

(side note, the mudslinging in the Corzine/Christie race WAS entertaining, as Christie is kinda heavy and was accused of "throwing his WEIGHT around to get out of parking tickets" ... there were commercials of Christie moving slowly and you could see him tummy go thump-thump this was an that ... that did make me giggle. and also want to move to Jersey and vote for the guy, because who wouldn't try to get out of parking tickets?)

The nicest elections I ever saw were sadly enough, at Albany Law School. Where Lord knows, people will say all sorts of shit behind your back. However, in the elections for student government, each student was always careful to speak about themselves and what they hoped to accomplish instead of trashing their opponent. Possibly because it was a small environment, and you would have less friends if you were openly an ass. However, the north country has proved the same is not true of small communities on the whole. Goodness knows it's not true of all collegiate environments either. In SUNY Oswego, the mudslinging was fierce. And even if you won, the runner up just sued you for breaking some minisciunal election rule and get your ass thrown out of the election and take your place. (3 years in a row Oswego... you're a sad, sad, student gov't)

Ways to fix the problems.

1 - Spending caps.
2 - Polygraphs while speaking. At all times.
3 - You're only allowed to talk about yourself and your ideas. Period.

I'd start feeling like my vote mattered again.
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