Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Alligators: Nature's little karma-bringers.

Florida's Bryan Zuniga still has me laughing every time I see his mug shot.

Bryan jumped out of his car, kicked through a fence, and fled into the swamp to get away from the police, who were stopping him for a traffic infraction last week. He escaped the police officers initially, but ran smack into the jaws of an alligator, which administered a righteous chomping on him.

Pinellas Park man attacked by alligator while trying to flee traffic stop

He managed to escape the alligators as well, but when he went to the hospital for treatment for the gator bites, the police showed up and locked him up for running away initially and for driving on a suspended license.

Go Gators, indeed!

I'm thinking that the police might just want to get a few of these reptiles in place of the usual German Shepherd or Malinois dogs. I know that I'd surrender right quick if I heard them yell: "Come out now or we'll send in the alligators!"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fla. Gov. Rick Scott returns adopted dog after winning election

If the story is true, as it appears to be, then Florida Governor Rick Scott adopted a dog in 2010, used it as a campaign prop, and then returned it right after winning the election.

Florida governor RETURNED the rescue dog he adopted for his 2010 election campaign... AFTER he'd won.

When finally cornered on this by reporters who noticed that the dog he'd campaigned with and named "Reagan" after soliciting names for "the newest member of the family" on Facebook, Scott claimed that the dog barked at people and therefore "wasn't a good fit" for his household.

Apparently Governor Scott and I differ on what it means when you take an animal in and invite it to join the family.

Those of you who've been around a while remember Lagniappe. Lagniappe was a rescue from a kennel that specialized in police dogs. When he washed out at the end of his training, he was exiled to a dog run and left to languish until I happened upon him several months later. By that time, he'd gone near feral, and to call him a basket case would be an understatement. The kennel owner handed me his leash and told me not to worry about paying for him..."just take him home, and if you don't want him, bring him back like everyone else does."

Yeah, he was that rough when I brought him home. But I was determined to work with him, if for no other reason than because he was related by blood to my last Shepherd, Oliver. That and his hard-luck story made me want to keep working with him long after he'd exhausted my patience. For weeks, he wouldn't even stay in the same room of my apartment that I was in, and outside, when he managed to slip his leash, getting him back was a major chore as he'd refuse to come to me and he'd just sit or lay down several yards away from me, getting up to move every time I got close. I think that the only reason that he didn't just run straight away was that he knew that he had nowhere else to go. He bit me once, too. In a sudden and unexpected challenge for the Alpha role, he grabbed me by the arm and drew blood before I was able to slam him up against a wall and choke him out. But we worked through all of these issues, and once we learned to trust each other, he was a fantastic dog, one that I'll always be proud of.
But he sure was an asshole that first month.

Murphy? Well he's a rescue, too. He comes off of doggie death row after a serious biting incident involving someone who was tormenting him over a prolonged period of time. He spent nearly a year in the dog pound after that, and though he was picked up by a rescue society and spared, he was so bad there that the foster--a professional dog trainer--was leery of him. Again, he came free of charge, mainly because he was a hot mess who'd been brought back by other potential owners. And Murphy was quite an asshole too when I took him in, and he's still one at times. He's incredibly headstrong and the challenges to my authority keep coming, but he's stopped trying to bite every third person that he comes into contact with, UPS drivers and people who approach the Lair when he's on his deck notwithstanding. However he's a totally different dog than the sullen landshark that I invited into my home a little over two years ago (has it really been that long?) and now he's a joy to bring around other people or just have at my feet as I read my books in the gun room or in front of the fire.

Dogs, like people, have personalities and histories. They can all be won over in time--my two guys prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt--but it takes work and commitment and lots of time spent with the dog until he or she understands what you expect of them and comes to respect you as the master that they want to please. When I took both of these guys in, I knew that it wasn't going to be smooth or easy, but I was committed to working with them regardless of any problems that I knew that we were going to have. And it took a long time in both cases (and with Murphy, we're still working on a few things) but the effort his been worth it for both dog and man.

Bottom line: You can get any dog to come around in time, but you can't just grab one, use it as a photo op, then ignore it and get mad when it's behavior is suboptimal. Rick Scott could use a lesson or two in how to manage dogs, and now it looks like he's about to get a lesson in how to handle the media and legions of angry dog owners like myself.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alligator bites bum and gets killed. How is THAT fair?

So in Florida, a vagrant bum at a homeless camp jumped into the river and wound up getting bitten by an alligator that everyone apparently knew was there.

9-foot alligator attacks man going for dip in creek near homeless camp

Authorities come along, take the bum to a hospital, and kill the alligator.

Now I ask you, who made that stupid call? Alligators don't panhandle, apply for welfare, steal or vote for Democrats. Were it MY choice, the alligator would be the one getting a vet check-up, and the bum and the rest of his useless camp-mates would have been tossed into the river for the other gators.

But I guess that I'm just a meany.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mess with old people at your peril

A senior citizen in Florida shot dead a would-be burglar at his home early Thursday morning as the suspect was trying to gain entry into the Daytona Beach home.

The 82-year-old homeowner woke up at 6 a.m. after hearing someone at his backdoor, the report said. He armed himself with a .45 automatic and fired a single shot through the door, the report said. The suspected burglar was hit in the abdomen and likely died minutes later.

The suspect was described as a white male in a ski mask who was carrying a hammer and screwdriver at the time of the shooting. Police have tentatively identified the suspect as the man wanted for other burglaries in the neighborhood, the report said.

“The 82-year-old resident did something that the criminal justice system couldn’t do,” said Mike Chitwood, the chief of Daytona Beach police. “And that’s put this burglar out of business this morning.”

Today's young punks apparently need reminding that the "feeble little old men" that they see as easy marks are often the ones who were running this country years ago when it was at it's greatest. These are the men who fought and won major wars and built America into a world super-power. They would have kicked your punk ass unarmed back then without breaking a sweat and an awful lot of them have taken steps to ensure that they can still take you out today if you decide to try them on. This would-be "victim" above stands as Exhibit One to prove that point.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And lawyers wonder why America despises most of them

So an ambulance-chasing weasel by the name of Mark Gold is suing the Gold Rush strip club, trying to get his gold back.
MIAMI (CN) - An attorney sued a strip club, claiming it got him so drunk he became "temporarily unconscious," and it rang up $18,930 on his credit card.
Mark S. Gold, who specializes in traffic cases, sued Turntable Entertainment and Production Co. dba the Gold Rush, in Miami-Dade County Court.
Gold claims that in November 2010, "Gold Rush knowingly and continuously served plaintiff alcoholic beverages to the extent that he was rendered intoxicated, partially or temporarily unconscious, and further to the extent that he had a complete loss of judgment, rational thought, or ability to enter into lawful contracts or agreements.
He adds: "Gold Rush having knowingly caused plaintiff's irrational state of mind, continued to ply him with liquor in order to charge his credit card excessive amounts to the extent of $18,930.
"Defendant knew, or should have known, of plaintiff's intoxicated state, having caused it."
Gold wants his money back, and punitive damages, for unfair and deceptive trade. He filed the case pro se.
"Pro se" means that he's acting as his own lawyer. And you know old adage about a how a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client...I'm thinking that Mark Gold proves that statement perfectly.

Here's the actual filing. Note that even though he's representing himself, he's still demanding attorney's fees.

What a scumbag.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Career-criminal home invader killed by cute little pink pistol

Lucky for him he died, because there is absolutely no cell-block cred to be gained from getting pwned by a 25 year old beauty queen with a pink .38.
When a burly ex-convict forced his way into a posh Florida home last week, he had no idea what awaited him -- a 25-year-old beauty queen with a pink .38-caliber handgun.

Meghan Brown, a former Florida pageant queen, shot and killed 42-year-old Albert Franklin Hill during a home invasion March 12 at the 2,732-square-foot house she shares with her fiance in Tierra Verde, Fla.

Hill barged into the home at around 3 a.m. after Brown responded to a knock at the front door, according to a police report. He allegedly grabbed the 110-pound Brown around her nose and mouth and dragged her to an upstairs bedroom.

The woman’s fiance, Robert Planthaber, said in an interview that he was quickly awakened by the altercation and ran to Brown’s side.

"I attacked him and took a severe beating to the head," Planthaber told "But I got him off of her long enough for her to scramble to the room where she keeps her pink .38 special.”

Brown, who reigned as the 2009 Miss Tierra Verde, snatched her gun from a nearby bedroom and shot the suspect several times – hitting him in the chest, groin, thigh and back, her fiance said. Hill was pronounced dead at the scene.

Panthaber, a 42-year-old arborist, said he believes he and his fiancee were targeted because of their wealth. He claimed a pizza delivery man and possible accomplice staked out the home for three months before Hill attempted to burglarize it.

“We live in a very prominent area and my fiancee wears a $60,000 engagement ring,” he said. “The pizza man knew we had money because sometimes we needed change for a $100 bill when he came to deliver pizza.”

Hill had a criminal record stretching back nearly three decades -- including arrests for burglary, battery, drug possession and grand theft. He reportedly served a 13-year prison term in 1987 and was released in September after serving a fourth term behind bars.

Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Robbery/Homicide Unit are still investigating the crime but believe the motive was robbery, according to local press reports. They say they haven’t yet determined the relationship, if any, Hill had with the couple. A police report said the ex-convict demanded money before the altercation between Hill and Panthaber ensued.

Panthaber, meanwhile, said he and his fiancee are lucky to be alive. He said he purchased the pink handgun for Brown last Christmas and that the two had gone to target practice together.

“She was not a good shot at the range,” he quipped.
This story just goes to show that guns are good and desirable for the simple reason that they allow even the most demure little ladies to triumph over big, bad ex-cons who mean to do them harm...and it doesn't matter if the gun is pink so long as the owner has the knowledge and the will to use it.

Good job, Meghan. Now if you're in the market for a new man, one who won't send you to see who's at the door at 3AM, e-mail me.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Burglar sues victim over rough arrest

And this is why we need meaningful tort reform. Only in the American court system can frivolous suits like this be filed without cost or penalty, forcing the victims to pay lawyers' fees and other charges which they don't get back even after the suit is dismissed.
ST. PETERSBURG — One October day in 2007, a homeless man broke into a car and stole a bike.

He didn't get very far.

Within minutes, that man, Michael Dupree, was caught trying to sell the bike down the street. He was arrested and sent to jail. Now, he wants payback.

Dupree, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence for burglary and cocaine possession, has filed a lawsuit against three men who helped police take him down.

Dupree says he's the victim of a rough citizens arrest, and was assaulted and battered by the men. He is seeking $500,000 and punitive damages.

"It's laughable," said Anthony McKoy, one of the men being sued. "It's a waste of taxpayer money."

McKoy says he remembers Dupree well.

He says that on the morning of Oct. 11, 2007, he was working at his business on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street S.

At some point, he went into his office for something. When he came back, he noticed that the passenger window of one of his vehicles was broken.

He quickly spotted Dupree, who had a red bike that had been inside the vehicle.

McKoy and two other men gave chase. They found Dupree hiding naked a few hundred feet away. McKoy says he put Dupree in a shoulder hold until officers arrived.

According to a police report, Dupree, was homeless at the time. He has a criminal record dating back to 1990.

Dupree told police that a guy had given him the bike and he went to the corner store and was trying to sell it.

Then, he said, McKoy and the other men jumped him, pointed a gun at him, placed a knee painfully on his spine and handcuffed him. Dupree claims in his suit, which he filed without a lawyer, that the take-down "resulted in permanent disabilities and psychological disorders which the Plaintiff continues to suffer."

Dupree was convicted of burglary in 2008. He is serving his sentence at the Apalachee Correctional Institution in Sneads. He pleaded no contest to the drug charge and is serving a concurrent sentence of nearly three years.

McKoy said he couldn't believe it when he was served with Dupree's lawsuit earlier this month.

"I thought it was a joke," McKoy said. "I'm the victim."

McKoy said he expects the suit to be dismissed.

"What gall," he said. "I guess time in prison just makes you go crazy."
What we need are two new laws, one prohibiting criminals from bringing suit against anyone connected with their crime, and another one to decriminalize the severe beating of criminals during the arrest process, at least in circumstances like this one.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Now that's just ignorant...

From The Smoking Gun.

Meet Tasha Lee Cantrell. The 19-year-old Floridian was riding in a car early Monday morning when the vehicle's driver was pulled over and arrested for DUI. As a tow truck arrived to remove her friend's car, a stranded Cantrell asked Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Mitchell Landis for a ride home to her Fort Walton Beach residence. Landis agreed, but only after checking Cantrell's purse for any contraband, according to an offense report. While chauffeuring Cantrell, Landis heard the teenager "open a can of some sort" in the back of the cruiser. "As I looked at my in car video I observed Cantrell drinking out of an unknown can." Landis stopped his car and, upon further investigation, determined that Cantrell had popped open a can of Steel Reserve, a malt liquor known for its high alcohol content. "When I opened the rear passenger door I observed Cantrell attempting to hide the can between her legs. I retrieved this can and noticed it was Steel Reserve Beer," reported Landis, who immediately arrested Cantrell for underage drinking. Instead of being shuttled to her doorstep, Cantrell, pictured in the below mug shot, was rerouted to the sheriff's office, where she was booked on the misdemeanor charge.I mean, about stupid. Getting a free ride, almost home...just have to not break the law for a few more minutes...but what the heck--let's drink the beer in the back of the police car. The officer surely won't mind, right?

That's just ignorant. She deserved to get locked up, just for being a melon head. Her parents must be so proud right now.

Judging by the look on her face, she still thinks it's funny. Hopefully it'll still amuse her when prospective employers or college admissions officers Google her name and decide that she's not the applicant that they want to bring on board.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Because Ernest Stamm just had to feed the animals...

and because he wouldn't keep his distance, Mama Bear had to smack him on the face. Now she's dead. And Stamm is unapologetic.
SANFORD – A Longwood-area man who opened his door one day and was slapped by a bear pleaded no contest Tuesday to feeding wildlife and was fined $200 and placed on six months probation.

Ernest Stamm, 49, had been ticketed for feeding bears.

He lives in The Springs, a heavily-wooded community near Wekiva Springs State Park.

He called for help Dec. 10 and told authorities he opened his door and something swiped him across the face.

When emergency crews arrived, they found a black bear in his yard. Once the animal left, Stamm was taken to an Altamonte Springs hospital, where he was treated for cuts to his face and released.

Defense attorney David Oliver on Tuesday said Stamm required several stitches to his eye and cheek. He has recovered fully, Oliver said.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured the bear the next day and euthanized it. That angered Stamm's neighbors.

The animal was a female who left behind two cubs who were old enough to survive on their own, the commission reported.

Stamm said little at Tuesday's hearing, except to answer questions from Seminole County Judge Ralph Eriksson.

"Ernest Stamm, is this what you want to do?" the judge asked.

"Yes," said Stamm, who operates an auto detailing business.

He pleaded no contest, agreed to pay a $200 fine, make a $250 contribution to a wildlife fund and serve six months of probation.

Stamm did not admit to breaking the law. His attorney said Stamm did not intend to feed bears. He and a neighbor were feeding feral cats that had been spayed and neutered, and it's that food that attracted the bear, Oliver said.

But Joy Hill, a commission spokeswoman, said neighbors told authorities they saw Stamm interact with bears.

The commission wrote Stamm a ticket a week after he was injured. Investigators had found the food that was intended for cats, as well as rotisserie chicken containers, Hill said.

It's a misdemeanor to intentionally or unintentionally feed wildlife, Hill said. That's because once a wild animal comes to expect food from humans, it loses its fear of them and can become a nuisance or threat.

"Nobody wins," she said. "If it causes problems like this, the bear dies."
First of all, even feeding stray cats is wrong. It encourages them to multiply and then they bother all of the neighbors. Trust me--I've got a neighbor who does that and Lagniappe and I are both sick of seeing those cats in OUR yard. But this jackass clearly knew the bears were about--his neighbors said they saw him messing with them before--and he still kept putting food out. Now the bear's dead and this jerkwater won't man up and admit to doing what everyone knows he was doing. And can someone explain why emergency crews had to transport him to the hospital for a scratched face? This loser actually insisted on going in an ambulance for that instead of just getting in his car or riding in someone else's? He's got to be a liberal, because he's showing absolutely no sense of personal responsibility. He's probably still got Obama stickers in his car.

He should have been fined more or given a few weeks of community service, because from this story, he clearly doesn't get it and I doubt that he's going to change his ways and stop feeding the bears or even the feral cats that no one else wants in the neighborhood. But hey--it's all about him, don't you just know?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More trip pics.

A few more pics from my recent travel with Lagniappe. One nice day, we went alligator hunting down near Cape Canaveral. And since it was nice and sunny on that one day, we found plenty of them right in plain view of the road.

Lagniappe at one point had his head out the window barking at one that was sitting on the bank and I missed the photo because I was trying to keep him inside the vehicle. I kept telling him that it was a fight that he'd lose, but I don't think that he believed me. Anyway, here are some of the others:

And to think I almost forked over $18.00 to see captive alligators in a park in St Augustine. Why spend the dough when there are so many of them that you can see for free live and up close?

But here's a sign of the times--a sign just for stupid people. Wouldn't you think that everything on here is just common sense? Of course this is in the state where even the natives can't figure out simple things like presidential ballots.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


While roaming out and about, Lagniappe and I found this field full of Grumman S2 Trackers near St. Augustine, Florida. Naturally we spent an hour or so poking around them. If only my van had a trailer hitch...

Anyway... There are way too many photos of these aircraft to post here, so I set up a new page just to catalog them and do them justice. Please check in out at: knows? Maybe someday I'll hear from someone who flew or serviced one or knows more about these planes.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Planes, planes, planes...

While cruising around Florida recently, Lagniappe and I found the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, Florida. It's a small place in a corner of the airport, not far at all from the Kennedy Space Center. I'd already decided to skip the Space Center because I couldn't see spending $39.00 just to get in the front door and $20.00 extra for any of the tours just so that I could be surrounded by hundreds of tourists and their kids while looking at replica rockets and films. It looks like a great place to bring a kid who is into that sort of thing, but it just wasn't for this guy and his dog so I decided on the warbird museum as an alternate activity.

Wow--did I make a great choice. This place was fantastic.

They have a small museum area with modela and momorabilia, and they have aircraft...quite a few real "been there, done that" aircraft, many of which are still flyable and all of which you can walk right up and touch. And dammit--I touched 'em all. Usually I get thrown out of museums for touching the exhibits but in this case, I was encouraged, especially once they found out that I was a pilot.

Museums like this always make me a bit melancholy as much as I enjoy them because as much as I love the chance to duck under the wing of an F-4 Phantom or peer into the intakes of an F-14 Tomcat, it's sad to think that the world will never see another one fly again. I've seen these birds in flight before and I've felt the thunder of their exhausts and smelled the burnt jet fuel as they've roared close overhead. Now they're all retired an no more will ever fly; they've gone the way of the Dodo bird and the SR-71 and they'll only fly in videos now. It's not like the relatively simple WW2 planes, some of which still exist in private hands. No one was ever allowed to buy a flight-capable F-14 and few could ever afford to maintain and operate one even if they had one. It's kind of depressing to see these aircraft sitting as if they're just waiting on pilots and ground crews with start carts only to realize that these machines that once soared through the skies at supersonic speeds or fought as instruments of foreign policy for our country will never leave the ground again. Airplanes are supposed to fly, especially machines like these, and these--like those in every other aviation museum across the country--have seen their last day aloft in their element.

But better to see them here than have them scrapped or destroyed as target drones. At least here, people like me can wander among them and touch them and imagine--or remember--what it used to be like when they flew. Ah, if only they could talk and tell their stories.

But this museum actually has someone who can talk and tell stories.

Almost as interesting as the aircraft is volunteer guide John Kirk. This fellow is a pilot himself, starting out with Britain's Royal Air Force just after World War Two. He has over 22,000 flying hours in everything from the British Meteor jet fighter to the helicopters that he flew all over the Middle East and Africa in in his port-military life and his personal stories and photos were the highlight of the visit.

So if you're down near Titusville, Florida, and if you like aircraft or just want to hear some good stories, pop into this museum and spend an hour or two. Tell them Lagniappe and I sent you.

And yes, when I get back home, there will be pictures posted.

EDITED: I'm home, and here they are:
Here we have a Cessna O-2A Observation plane used as a Forward Air Control aircraft in Vietnam. Behind it to the right is a Tight Moth biplane that still flies, and behind it to the left is an F-86 Sabre jet that also still flies. Behind that one is a B-25 Mitchell bomber, and guess what--it flies. Starting to see what I like about this place?

Next we have a Grumman TBM Avenger Torpedo Bomber like the one that George Bush Sr. flew in World War Two.

This one will be back in flying condition shortly.

The F-14 Tomcat. Sadly, this one will never fly again, nor will any of it's type. But it's still a thing to behold.

The Chance-Vought A-7 Corsair II Attack aircraft.

And Chance-Vought's lesser-known but still impressive F-8 Crusader.

A blast from the past: McDonnell Douglass F-101 Voodoo fighter, with the smaller North American T-2 Buckeye trainer alongside it.

This Voodoo is in great shape. She still has her engines and I gotta think that if we just had a start-cart and no one was looking...And the Buckeye's ailerons were flapping free in the breeze and squeaking like a rusty gate hinge. It's as if this one wants to fly some more, too.

And for Ed Rasimus, three shots of the F-105 Thunderchief. And Ed, I love these old warriors, too. They sure gave the Communists in North Vietnam hell when pilots like you flew them.

And last but not least, my favorite--the venerable F-4 Phantom, undergoing restoration. Just touching it was worth the price of admission.

Worst hotel experience ever...and I didn't even get to the room.

So last week, Lagniappe and I decided to grab a hotel room in Daytona Beach, just to get a night out of the camper van.

Because the LaQuinta Inn and Suites at 816 North Atlantic advertised itself as pet-friendly, I pulled in there to ask about their room rate. The desk clerk, a little fellow from India or Pakistan, gave me a quote and I told him that I thought that it was a bit much and thanked him. As I turned to walk out, he shouted out that he'd reduce it by twenty dollars. I told him that that sounded ok and I asked about their pet policy. He said that there was an additional twenty-five dollar charge for dogs over fifty pounds. Well that killed it again, because Lagniappe is a solid hundred pounds, and I told the guy so. He thought for a second and said that for me, he'd waive the dog fee entirely.

Considering that the guest parking area was nearly empty, I could understand his willingness to do almost anything to get an actual paying customer to stay so I told him that I'd take the room at the quoted rate and with no dog fee. I gave him my credit card and other information and he gave me a room key and a pre-authorization for my credit card that specified the original rate, not the agreed-upon one. When I pointed that out, he smiled and said not to worry, the rate that he quoted me was the one that would be charged to my card in the morning.

Well I wasn't born yesterday, and somehow I doubted that this little fellow would be around in the morning when I checked out and got hit for the standard rate so I told him that I wanted something in writing, even if it was hand-written, spelling out what the rate would be. He wouldn't do it and kept trying to deflect my request, telling me that it'd all be charged correctly in the morning. Finally I told him that I wanted something in writing spelling out the rate before I'd leave the office. He stopped smiling and replied that if I was going to be a problem, he was going to charge me for the dog, too. Well that was it for me. I tossed him the room key and told him to just give me my paperwork containing my credit card information back. I was done dealing with him and wasn't staying here.

Now it escalated. He said that he was going to call the manager. I told him that I really didn't care who he called after I got my credit card information back but I wanted it back and I wanted it now. But the little weasel just grabbed the paperwork up off of his counter and ran back into a little alcove behind the desk, jabbering into the phone that he needed whoever he was talking to to come to the lobby quickly because "there's a guy here causing a problem!"

Now I hadn't so much as raised my voice, much less said or done anything that could even remotely cause alarm in a normal person, so his reaction wasn't warranted. His was the reaction of a cowardly man who knows that he's guilty of something and basically confirmed my suspicion that he had been trying to play shady with me and now he wanted back-up.

In less than a minute, another Indian/Pakistani fellow showed up, identified himself as the manager, and did his best to convince me that it was all a misunderstanding. But I'd already made up my mind to leave and I told him so, agian requesting my information back. He wanted to know why I wanted to leave and what he could do to change my mind, and I told him bluntly that I was offended by his clerk and that having caught his clerk acting in what I believed to be a dishonest manner, I did not trust his clerk to process my credit card nor did I want him to even have the card number.

At this point, the manager took the pre-authorization sheet and wrote "canceled" on it--without signing it--and told me that he was sorry and that I was all set. I told him that I wanted an actual printout of the cancelation and my credit card information back, and he told me that his writing "canceled" on the pre-authorization was sufficient. I told him that it was not at all sufficient, especially since he hadn't signed it, and I asked for his name. He told me that he was "Kirit". I asked for his last name and he said that I didn't need that because he was the manager. I asked him why he would not give me his last name and he repeated that I did not need it. He also refused to identify his clerk by name, telling me that I did not need to know that. Of course neither of them were wearing any sort of name tag. I let them know that I intended to send a complaint letter to LaQuinta's corporate offices and again demanded their names. This just caused them to launch into an animated discussion between themselves in whatever foreign language that both were fluent in, even though I was standing right there just across the counter. I told them to speak English since they were obviously talking about me, and Kirit turned to me and told me that they were having a private conversation so I needed to mind my own business.

Having had more than enough of these two cllowns, I told them that I was calling the police to report a theft of my credit card information. Kirit told me to go ahead and call them, acting as if he didn't care. but as soon as I flipped out my phone and began to dial, he stopped jabbering at his clerk, raised his hands, and told me "ok, ok...just stop." He then quickly ran through a proper cancellation like I'd asked for five minutes ago and handed it to me.

The fact that these two guys went to so much trouble to avoid running that cancellation tells me that had I left without getting it, I'd doubtless have found my card charged for a room in the next few days and been forced to go through the hassle of contesting it with my bank. They worked way too hard to try to convince me to just trust them and leave without getting this cancellation, and their refusal to even give me their names is pretty telling as well; honest businessmen don't fear letting customers know who they are but the dishonest crave anonymity.

I've since called back there and determined that the manager's name is Kirit Patel. Even to get that, I had to explain to whever answered the phone exactly why I wanted to know it before they'd tell me. Clearly the shadiness surrounding this hotel isn't just limited to Patel and one flunky--it's systemic.

So I'm posting this here to let people who might be in need of a hotel room in Daytona Beach, Florida know that they should avoid LaQuinta Inn and Suites at 816 North Atlantic Avenue like the plague. The management and staff are the farthest thing from professional or trustworthy and not at all people that I'd ever give a credit card to again. I half expect to see my card number traded in some Pakistani bazaar in the near future, and I can assure you all that if I start to see any unusual activity on that card, Lagniappe and I will be making another trip to Daytona Beach in short order.

The night did end well, however. We found the Super 8 motel at 2992 W International Speedway Blvd and it was cheaper, cleaner, and truly pet-friendly, even to big goofy lugs like Lagniappe. If I ever need a cheap dog-friendly room in Daytona Beach again, this place'll be my only choice.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Not dead yet!

I'm not. It's just that Lagniappe and I have been in the wind for a bit, and not able to access a computer to post updates. But I've got one now, and while I can't upload any of the really great pictures I'm tsking--or even the crummy ones--I can at least keep you informed as to what dog and I have been about.

Last week, we spent some nice time in St. Augustine, Florida. I'd forgotten how nice it is there, especially in the historic old town. St. Augustine is known as "America's Oldest City", having been founded by the Spanish in 1565. It was attacked by the British several times over the ensuing decades, but never completely taken. Finally it was ceded to the British at the conclusion of the French-Indian war in 1763. At that time, the city was 197 years old, and new nation that would come to be known as "The United States of America" wasn't even on the drawing board yet, but when it was finally recognized by the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Florida wasn't a part of it; we rather short-sightedly gave it back to Spain as a token of gratitude for their help in our war of Independence. Spain controlled Florida until 1821, when they finally just let us have it because they were too busy dealing with Napoleon to administer it. Eventually it became a place where the wealthy came to build some pretty spectacular winter mansions, many of which are still there today. Also still there: A pretty solid Spanish fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, which is now a National Monument. Lagniappe and I have studied the fort's defensive line and we're convinced that we could occupy and hold it against all comers, especially if we had some firepower a bit more modern than the black powder cannon and mortars that are on display there now. We just need to recruit an army of Amazon women warriors to man the defenses and lay in an ample stock of beer, and we'll be set.

We had dinner there at a nice restaraunt specializing in Louisiana cuisine: Harry's Seafood, Bar and Grille in the old town. They had patio dining and not only did they allow Lagniappe to sit there with me during dinner, but they gave him plenty of water and even offered him a nice helping of Mahi that someone else didn't want. (Damned dog had a pricier meal than I did...I only got Catfish.) The food was good, the staff were polite and friendly and the prices were more than reasonable. We give it two thumbs and two paws up.

That night, after drinks, an after-dinner coffee, and a bit of wandering around, Lagniappe and I retired to our faithful camper van for the night. I thought I'd found a nice out-of-the-way spot to sleep behind a bed-and-breakfast that was empty and undergoing renovation, but we were awakened at 0730 by some old guy who came along and knocked on the window. I don't know who he was or what he wanted because Lagniappe responded first and gave him a typical German Shepherd morning greeting the likes of which I doubt he's gotten in some time. I thought Lagniappe was going to break the window, he slammed into it so hard. By the time I got up front, the old guy was scurrying away. Oh was breakfast time anyway. I turned they key and we rolled out. Good dog. :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Real Men don't need clothes when they set out to stop home invaders

Down in Florida, a would-be home invader was stopped cold by a 91 year old World War Two veteran who confronted him with no clothes on but with a gun in his hand.
LAKE WORTH — A burglar early this morning clambered over a backyard fence on a quiet block on the city's west side. He picked the wrong house.

He made it maybe a couple of steps before Rettt the dog, a mixture of Rottweiler and Doberman pinscher, charged, tearing the intruder's shirt from his back in a growling, ferocious attack.

This gave homeowner Robert E. Thompson, 91, time to jump out of bed, grab his gun, a .38-caliber revolver loaded with hollow-point bullets, and to phone the police.

Then he went out back to let the guy know how he felt about home invaders. He raised the gun and shouted out in the darkness. He thought there might be three or four of them. He didn't care.

"The funny part was I didn't have any clothes on," said Thompson, a World War II veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart during combat tours in Europe. "I was standing out there with a .38 in my hand, and I was stark naked."

Already terrified of the dog, the burglar, who looked to be no older than 20, took a step toward the nude 91-year-old, and that was it for Thompson.

"I fired a warning shot," he said, and the burglar froze. "I wasn't going to let the guy get within six or eight feet of me. He spoke only Spanish, and I couldn't understand anything he was saying. I think he was more scared than I was, really."

And so they stayed that way, the hapless young burglar, who appeared, authorities said later, to be very drunk, and the naked old homeowner, his head cool, his revolver leveled, until Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies showed up.

Thompson would've made it out of the whole ordeal completely unscathed if, when the deputies told him to drop the gun, it hadn't accidentally gone off, sending a tiny bullet fragment ricocheting off the concrete pool deck and into Thompson's right shin.

He barely felt it, but the deputies called paramedics and insisted he get checked out at Delray Medical Center. He was back home by midday, recounting the incident.

The burglar, who identified himself as Jose Pasqual, 26, of no fixed address was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on a burglary charge.

"I have a real bad feeling about these guys. I don't tolerate them. I would've shot him if he kept coming," Thompson said. "You've got to protect yourself."

Now a few thoughts come to mind: First, when the police tell you to drop a gun, it's generally acceptable to slowly and safely set it on the ground. That way it doesn't go off, or bounce over to where the criminal could get it...or go off.

Next, I took pride in the thought that America still has some men left who haven't forgotten what it is to be a man. Then I had to wonder what would have happened if, instead of a veteran and a real man who was unafraid to take care of his business, it would have been a liberal in that home. So Lagniappe and I had a few beers and discussed it, and we came up with this list:

What a Liberal male would have done:

1. Wake up to sound of barking fluff dog and breaking glass.

2. Look around for his wife or someone else that he could send to investigate the strange noise.

3. Get dressed, to include robe and slippers--probably slippers with some animal faces on them.

4. Yell at fluff dog to be quiet, lest the neighbors become miffed.

5. Apologize to fluff dog for hurting his feelings.

6. Briefly regret putting up those "Gun-Free home" window stickers that he got from Sarah Brady's group in return for that generous donation last year.

7. Turn on outside lights...then remember the environment and turn them back off again.

8. Upon observing intruder trying to enter home, lose control of bowels and crap on floor.

9. Drop to knees and offer intruder anything that he wants--money, jewelry, a brie sandwich...

10. Blame self for contributing to societal problems that caused this intruder to turn to a life of crime.

11. Not even call the police until his insurance company says that they won't pay for the damage and losses without a police report.

12. Fraudulently claim that the eight intruders took over $3,000,000 worth of property.

13. Hold press conference blaming police for not responding quickly enough.

14. Sue police.

15. Use money from insurance claim and lawsuit settlement to move to gated neighborhood with private security force and no minority residents.

16. Write another check to Sarah Brady's group.

PS... I can't help but notice that the criminal here had no fixed address and speaks no English. Is this one of the people that Obama wants to legalize so that he'll be eligible for free health care?

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Floridiot is angry

We call them "Floridiots" because of stuff like this.
Fort Lauderdale resident Brian Nelson celebrated President-elect Barack Obama's victory Tuesday night by honking his car horn on North Federal Highway. He beep-beeped every couple of blocks — until a police officer pulled him over.

At Oakland Park Boulevard, Officer Raymond Martucci gave Nelson a ticket. The infraction? Excessive use of horn, Florida Statute 316.271. It carries a $90 fine.

Outraged, Nelson, 46, e-mailed a complaint to Mayor Jim Naugle's office and called the Police Department's internal affairs unit, saying he felt he was targeted unfairly.

"The incident is being reviewed by the agency," police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa said Thursday. "He [Nelson] has the same due process rights as any other citizen and can appeal the ticket in court."
So here's Brian Nelson, driving down the road acting like a total asshole and bothering everyone with his horn which is meant to be used only as an emergency warning device, and he gets pulled over. Now there's no way that the officer knew what this jerk's political ideology was--he pulled him over because Nelson was making unnecessary noise, and when he found out that there was no emergency--the reason cars have horns--he wrote Nelson a ticket. It happens, and life goes on.

But Nelson is one of those Liberal types who can't stand tall like a man and take responsibility for his actions. He called the police department's Internal Affairs division, the Mayor, and apparently the media after he found out that the ticket wasn't going to be pulled.

I've written horn tickets in rare cases where people were blowing them inappropriately. There is a law against it, and we're expected to enforce that law, especially when some tool is doing it right in front of us in the public eye. And every one that I've written has been upheld by the judge because I was able to document exactly what was happening both before and after the stop. (I'll bet you $100 that Nelson had an attitude with the officer too. That kind always does.)

Now that it's over and done with, Nelson needs to butch up, stop whining, and pay the ticket like a man. Failing that, he needs to go to court, as the sergeant says--not try to stop the whole world because he doesn't like a consequence that follows his own stupid actions.

The fact that he got cited for blowing the horn in ecstasy over Obama taking over is just a bit of Karma coming back on him. If the world were truly just, everyone who voted for Obama would have been fined $90.00 just for that. But the world's not that just. However it doesn't excuse Nelson from driving around blowing his horn like a boob.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Instant Karma's gonna get'cha

So here's these idiots down in Sanford, Florida who pack themselves into a Chevrolet Avalanche and try to run from the police, not once, but apparently twice in 24 hours. The first time, police declined to pursue the vehicle after it fled during an attempted traffic stop. But when officers saw it later and tried to stop it again, it tore off a second time and even though the police again did not chase it, it ran down city streets and through yards hitting insanely high speeds. Then it hit something else: A parked train.
SANFORD, Fla. -- Five people were killed when the truck they were riding in -- earlier pursued by police -- slammed into a stopped freight train, authorities said. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office said it is clear from helicopter video they released Wednesday afternoon that no one involved in the effort to apprehend the truck's driver was breaking the rules of engagement for car chases.

Seminole County sheriff's Lt. Dennis Lemma said the 2004 Chevy Avalanche was going 74 mph when it hit the 62-car freight train Tuesday night. He said Sanford police tried to pull the truck over early Tuesday morning for a routine stop, but the driver took off. The same officer saw the truck that night and radioed sheriff's deputies for help after it refused to yield.

Lemma said deputies sent a helicopter to monitor the vehicle, and all ground pursuit was called off in accordance with sheriff's office policy. He said at one point the driver turned off the truck's lights to avoid being watched.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the crossing arms at the intersection were down with lights flashing at the time of the crash. Highway Patrol Sgt. Jorge Delahoz said witnesses on the train's crew told investigators the truck wasn't being chased by police.

The driver was Jason James Fitzgerald, 22, of Longwood, Delahoz said. FHP first identified the driver as a 21-year-old from DeBary, but said later that was incorrect.

Three other victims were William H. Richardson, 54, of Sanford; Mary E. Reil, 17, of Sanford and Jeffrey Daniels, 48, of Longwood. The identity of the fifth victim was not immediately available. Four of the victims died at the scene, but Daniels was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Investigators found drug paraphernalia in the crushed truck, but still aren't sure why the driver was fleeing. Investigators said several of the victims had extensive criminal records that include incidents of armed violence and drug charges.
So we see again when happens when shitbird criminals and drug users (I wonder if any of them ever went to school in Boulder, CO?)try to run from the law. Kind of reminds me of the advice I got from an old southern cop instructor back when I was just starting my pursuit driver's training: "Son, never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly."

And here's the news helicopter video footage showing the crash. It takes place about a minute and a half into the clip (after the crass commercial message) and even with no sound and infrared footage only, it's pretty strong stuff.

Five less shitbirds in my country tonight. So long to Jason James Fitzgerald, William H. Richardson, Mary E. Reil, Jeffrey Daniels and the other unnamed loser who died while trying to escape justice. You could have injured or killed any number of innocent people or police officers but fortunately you only killed yourselves. You won't be missed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

When second-handers attack

The place: Boca Raton, Florida.
The event: A mini-riot.
The reason: The government tried to give some of our money to the non-working slobs, only when there wasn't enough, the slobs got angry.

Stuff like this frosts me.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

BOCA RATON — A crowd of more than 500 people waiting for hours this morning for housing voucher applications were dispersed by police in riot gear at the Boca Raton Housing Authority when the applications ran out sooner than expected.

The action prompted complaints that officers used excessive tactics and housing authority officials were incompetent in their planning.

Two people were arrested and six to eight people hospitalized for exhaustion during the ordeal.

Hundreds of people, mostly mothers who had spent more than eight hours in line, were forced to leave the property at 2333 W. Glades Road by 30 Boca Raton Police officers, including SWAT team members, who walked toward the crowd in unison holding their police shields up about 10:30 a.m.

"Leave or face arrest," police officers shouted at the crowd as they urged them out of the housing authority parking lot. People were made to leave the vicinity altogether, with officers forcing them to cross the street and move toward their cars.

The overwhelming turnout of people desperate for housing money came as little surprise to Suzanne Cabrera, president of the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County.

"This is an indication that housing it's still a huge problem," Cabrera said this afternoon. "It's a reflection of people's concern for housing, their uncertainty. I got people today asking me: was this my last chance to get housing I can afford?"

Several other things, such as mortgage foreclosures and high gas prices, are contributing to that feeling of insecurity and desperation, she said.

I can't help but notice that this particular grubber obviously has money for cigarettes and certainly seems to be eating well.

So whenever word gets out that voucher applications are being handed out, which she said doesn't happen very often, people get full of hope.

Yeah...They're hoping that they get something nice without having to work for it like ordinary saps have to.

Police had been at the housing authority since about midnight, a few hours after people started lining up outside for Section 8 housing voucher applications.

Some people lay down blankets and pillows to camp out until 9 a.m., when the housing authority had advertised they would hand out applications.

They can camp out in line to get hand-outs, but the idea of working a minimum-wage job is insulting and demeaning.

The line was already hundreds deep, so police asked Aigen to come to the property.

"There were traffic issues, disabled people who couldn't breathe well, children standing in line," she said.

The agency, worried about the size of the crowd, decided about 2 a..m. to hand out about 500 applications and reserve a few for later.

"We didn't expect so many to show up," Aigen said. "We thought we had enough area to accommodate all the people. It was not a good judgment call. The neighborhood wasn't equipped."

But handing out the applications early did nothing to stem the flow of potential applicants.

By 10 a.m. the crowd had swelled to more than 500 people, with most unaware that the bulk of applications had already been passed out.

The parking lot was a mass of women nursing crying babies, pushing strollers and waiting anxiously for officials to give them information.

People grew agitated. Several fights broke out. Police and firefighters said they were prepared if things were to turn violent on a large scale. Nearly 50 firefighters and paramedics from the city, county and Delray Beach set up across the street in the Town Center mall parking lot.

Then an official came out of the housing authority building and announced through a megaphone that disabled people should come forward.

Instead, the entire crowd surged forward. People fell down and were close to being trampled, witnesses said.

Animals...Nothing but animals.

"That's when all hell broke loose," said Shannon Pierce, 26, of Lake Worth. Pierce, who is six months pregnant and had been waiting in line since 6 a.m. "We almost got trampled over."

Authorities decided to shut things down.

Police told the crowd they had to leave. Angry and disappointed, many of those waiting stalked off.

Those who remained were soon dispersed by police in riot gear, many shouting and complaining.

Of course they're complaining. Ever since the Johnson Administration, the government has been telling them that they've got something coming even if they're too lazy to work. Now we have generations of deadbeats sitting around with a major sense of entitlement feeling that the rest of us owe them a living...and not just a living, but a living every bit as nice as the ones that we who work are able to afford.

And they cry and act like they've been wronged.

"We're all working people and we're all bitter right now," said Deborah Davis, 37. "To be turned away like this hurts."

"I'm very angry," said Nora Jones, 55 from Lake Worth, who said she had been there since 5 a.m. "Very disappointed. It's so unorganized. They are asking everyone to leave."

Amanda Palmer, 23, waited in line for hours with her 3-month old daughter. Palmer is staying in a maternity home, from which she must move out by June.

"That's why I'm here. This is my first child," Palmer said. "We really need it."

People in the line said they came overnight, from as far away as Riviera Beach and Pahokee, to apply for the housing subsidy.

Sigh...They claim that they can't get to jobs, but they can flock to this place like ants to a picnic when the motivation is there. Free stuff? Suddenly a ride's no problem.

And the "Gimme or else" mentality of these losers was perhaps best summed up by this delightful creature, who should be deported to any country that'll have her in exchange for a new law-abiding immigrant willing to actually work:

Shayla Williams, 22, of West Palm Beach, was angered by the police tactics.

"This place is going to get shot up later," she yelled to officers. "They can't treat us like this."


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And in the "too stupid for words" department...

We have Adrian Apgar.

Adrian is a Darwin candidate in training. A year ago, an alligator bit off his arm as he waded naked in a lake, high on crack cocaine. So what do they find the other night? Apgar, again naked, this time in a creek with a 12-foot gator bearing down on him

Deputies were on routine patrol Thursday night when they saw Apgar's pick-up. They ran the tag, and figured out it was the gator guy—again.

When investigators found him, they couldn't believe what they saw—he was in the water, and a gator was about 50 feet away.

"They called for him. He would lower his voice, 'ssshhhhh, tell 'em to be quiet.' He was talking to the alligators. He told them, 'turn out the lights, there is a 30 footer out there,'" Judd said.

And the deputies went in and got him, literally pulling him away from the jaws of death once again.

The sheriff says his deputies have put their lives on the line for him twice now and he Apgar may not be so lucky the next time..

"If he gets in trouble again, we have to consider our safety next time, instead of his," Judd said.

Meaning the next time, deputies might not be so quick to jump in with both feet.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Every police department needs one of these.

we've seen police dogs, and police horses, but in Florida, we now have a case where a theif running from police was apprehended by what appears to be a police alligator!

OK, maybe it was more like a vigilante alligator, but still...

Apparently it all began last week in Florida when Miccosukee police, assisted by Sweetwater canine units, responded to a call on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation about vehicles being broken into. They pursued two suspects, one of whom surrendered. However the other one--obviously in competition for the 2007 Darwin awards--jumped into a large pond behind the casino, ignoring several signs that warned of live alligators.

Story has it that he was trying to swim away from the police and their police dogs. Now lots of times police dogs will jump right in the water after a suspect but I'm guessing that these police dogs read the signs and said "Ain't no way in hell we're going in there!" News reports say that witnesses were shouting to the man to swim back to shore. When the man finally spotted the alligator, eyewitnesses said he screamed but then disappeared under the water. Divers found what was left of him on the bottom of the pond the next day. (And those divers had to have some serious brass ones to be in that water after that!)

The alligator, nicknamed Pancho by reservation employees, was 9 feet long. "Some gators have a nasty disposition and he was a nasty gator," said local alligator expert Brian Woods of All American Gator. Well sadly, now Pancho is a dead gator. Florida law requires that gators that kill people be killed themselves. Apparently there's no exception for gators that thin out the scumbag criminal population or chlorinate the local gene pool.