Monday, September 26, 2005

Out of the Office

There probably won’t be many post this week as I am attending CIT training (how to deal with Mental Health Consumers) all week and won’t have any weekdays off (I usually write and post at night and on my days off).

Friday I’ll be a CIT dispatcher (instead of just a consumer myself). The speakers have been very interesting so far (only one day in) and I am looking forward to the rest of the training. I’ve always been an advocate of treating all citizens very well but soon I’ll have more tools in my dispatch knapsack for dealing with sufferers of addiction, mental illness, and both.

I’m also working on a big post involving why I haven’t posted much about my mother. It’s not that we don’t get along (we do) or that I don’t admire and respect her (I very much do) but the forthcoming post will explain why there are many more “dad” stories to tell than “mom” stories.

Also I’m working on the Jugglers story so I can introduce y’all to my youngest brother, Drew. Here’s a teaser picture of me juggling knives.

I will be checking email and the blogs of others, so keep those cards, letters, comments, and hate-mail coming. Specific threats are especially appreciated!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Tales from J-Bro's Buick

Jason and our Grandma

My brother Jason had this great teal Buick Skylark during the time he was my roommate. This picture, except for the color, captures the car’s essence.

Notice the ridiculous front bumper: it’s not flat. It has this beak projecting from it. If you hit anything with the beak, it would wreck the entire bumper. Luckily, he did no such thing.

Two stories about the Skylark:

It was an automatic with the shifter on the steering column. The end of the shifter had a knob that was short, cylindrical, and criss-crossed with black wire mesh. It was very snazzy. It also resembled, if only to me, those cheesy microphones they have at Burger King for the cashiers to call orders to the kitchen.

Without fail, every time I was a passenger in his car, I would lean over and intone into the shifter knob, “Whopper with Cheese,” then giggle hysterically. Jason thought it was funny about the first hundred times but I found it completely satisfying each and every time. It may have been only a joke for one, but it was a good joke and never failed to amuse me.

The second story is a joke for many, although it took Jason at least a day to fully appreciate the humor.

It was a winter evening and I was in the apartment probably eating some of Jason’s food.

I’ll digress a bit (as is my way). Before Jason, I had a series of bad roommates. Not criminally bad, except for one case but that’s for another story, but the kind of roommates who would never have any money and always eat my food. I didn’t make the money I do now (thus the need for a roommate in the first place) but I would happily share my food when I was making something but if I had a Stouffer’s lasagna in the freezer and if I had mentally prepared to pop it into the microwave when I got home for the night so that I had a semi-decent meal it would irritate me to no end to find it had been consumed by a roommate.

Living with Jason meant that I could be the bad roommate. There was no evil intent, but Jason was family and, darn it, he was a good cook. We had plenty of wonderful ingredients just sitting around. We worked opposite shifts, so we usually did not get in each other’s way (another bonus) but that meant I was alone with wonderful ingredients quite a bit. Having understood the irritation of having one’s wonderful ingredients disappear did not deter me from making them disappear when the tables were turned. Feet of clay, yes, but with a full stomach.

So I was probably flopped in front of the TV eating from a box of croutons Jason had saved for some special occasion when he rushed through the door cursing and ran for the sink. He kept cursing while running his right hand under cold water but managed to say that I probably needed to drive him to the hospital.

“Um, okay,” I said while slipping the now empty box of croutons in the garbage so as to avoid adding insult to Jason’s injury, “what happened?”

Then he told me.

He had parked the car and gotten out. Jason being left handed, the keys were in his left hand as he stood outside the car but with the driver’s door still open. The car had keyless entry so he had hit the “lock door” button on his key fob as he slammed the door shut. As the door was swinging shut he noticed the dome light still on. Not wanting to get a dead battery (you don’t want a dead battery in Alaska in the winter), he reached with his right hand to grab the door before it closed so he could shut off the light.

Buicks have big heavy doors. If they are being slammed shut one would be wise to avoid reaching with fingertips to stop them. Jason found this out the hard way.

The door slammed shut, trapping the middle finger of his right hand in the locked door. The momentary “oh crap” feeling was immediately replaced with blinding pain. Blinding pain caused him to drop the keys in his left hand.

Between screams and curses, Jason took quick stock of his situation. His car door was locked ON his middle finger. His keys were now on the ground out of his reach. Oh, and the dome light was off. What he mistook for leaving the light on in the first place was really just the natural state of the door having been open before it had slammed fully shut.

I would mention that Jason is blonde if it weren’t for the similarly, er, regrettable things I myself have done, me being the swarthiest of the Brothers Anderson who cannot use the hair color excuse.

Jason had no alternative but to pry his finger out of the locked car door, after which it began to blow up like one of those balloons you can twist into animal shapes. Jason’s finger would have made an excellent poodle tail at this point in the story.

The rest of the story was fairly predictable. We went to the emergency room where they told him they needed to drill a hole in his fingernail to relieve some pressure. Jason suggested, between muttered curses, that they were fully authorized to cut the whole darn finger off if it relieved his pain. They drilled (or maybe burned a hole if memory serves), clear fluid spurted out an impressive distance, and the pressure was relieved. Drugs took care of the rest of the pain.

For the next week Jason had to wear his finger bandaged to the point where it looked a little like a light bulb. Don’t think flashlight bulb; think 50-100-150 three way GE Softlight. The whole bulb contraption was covered in a stretchy mesh covering which can also be found on those expensive Japanese pears in your local supermarket.

Having your middle finger replaced by a light bulb is a great conversation starter but since most of Jason’s job at the time consisted of 10-key typing, it was also inconvenient to the extreme.

Oh the Buick. It was a fine, fine car. He later traded it in for a brand spanking new Pontiac Grand Am, sleek and stylish but with more mechanical problems than your average space shuttle.

You never know what you have until you’ve traded it in for something “better.” A lesson we can all learn.

That and forget the doggone dome light.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Homer Sign Of The Times ?

So we drove out East End Road in Homer, Alaska and turned on McLay Drive up to my aunt’s house and we see this sign on the road. As we climbed the hill up to the turnoff we saw the same sign on the road pointing to a nice looking house on the hill. What the heck? Does my aunt have a third job (to add to owner/general manager/head of housekeeping at Glacierview Cabins and at the local travel agency)?

Apparently not, but it does beg the question. I’m already probably in trouble with the Angry Asian but what exactly is Thai Massage? I’ve heard a little about the sex tours in Thailand which are reprehensible (not to mention you risk getting an underage girl prostitute with HIV/AIDS and a penis), but what would a Homeroid Thai Massage consist of?

Like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop, the world may never know.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Going Global

I don’t get a tremendous amount of traffic on my blog, usually between 30-100 hits a day, and a lot of the days when I have higher numbers is usually due to Blog Explosion. BE folks don’t usually stay long but once in a while I pick up another loyal reader.

Here are some Site Meter maps which blow my mind.
These are the locations of the last 500 visitors (roughly a week’s worth of traffic).

Here is a zoom of the US visitors (damn Continental US map, you can’t even see *me* on the damn thing). Either way, apparently Hawaiians haven't gotten a taste of Vitamin E yet.

This is why the internet rocks!

To all the loyal readers, thank you! Tell your friends!


Sunday, September 18, 2005

My Favorite Homer Sign

We saw this sign and I had to ask my aunt, “What the heck is a china poot?”

At first I thought it was a synonym of the slang term ‘vart’ or ‘queeb’

vart (värt) or queeb (kweeb)
1. (n.) A discharge of gas from the female private area.

Auntie Lee said, “No, that is sick and wrong. But I wondered about the name too. There’s a China Poot Bay and a China Poot Lake. It took me almost two years of asking but it turns out there was a man named Henry Poot who was born in Seldovia, Alaska, married a Native woman, and was a hunter, trapper, and fisherman in the Homer area. His nickname was “China” due to his genial relationship with the local Chinese immigrants who worked the fisheries and helped build the railroad in the area.”

I said, “Um, if you last name was ‘Poot’ wouldn’t you want them to let you keep ‘Henry’ and maybe have them call you ‘China Henry,’ ‘Chinese Henry,’ ‘Henry China,’ or the less politically correct ‘Chinky H?’

Lee: “You’d think, but that’s Homer for you.”

Me: “Still, if I had a china poot, I’d got see my OB-GYN, PDQ.”

Saturday, September 17, 2005

My Second Favorite Homer Sign

I took one look at this sign and thought of a great radio advertisement.

"Is your wife angry because you showed up late again, smelling a little like fish?

Tell her you stopped off at 'The Alibi' sushi and oyster bar!

'The Alibi,' because what happens in Homer, Stays in Homer

And if your wife likes a little seafood herself,
Tuesdays are Ladies Night -
All you can eat clams!

'The Alibi,' East End Road, Homer"

Uncle George

Remember the story Unacceptable Proposal ?

The rose garden at which I proposed to my wife was of particular nostaligic value because it had long been tended by my great-uncle George. Uncle George was a class act. I'll tell you more Uncle George stories but here is a picture of him.

The woman in the picutre is my Aunt Reva, who is very much alive and holds court in Homer, Alaska. I'll talk about Homer in more detail soon, since Kelli and I just visited there with my brother Jason and my grandmother.

So many stories...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Happy Birthday to my beautiful wife Kelli

She has lost, as of yesterday, 100lbs!!! That makes her a member of the Century Club and entitles her to one free All You Can Eat buffet from the Royal Fork. You’d think that was a good thing until you realize she can really only eat the equivalent of one fish stick, two french fries, and three peas. English peas, at that, not big ol’ American peas.

Oh I kid because I love.

I’ll post recent Kelli pictures soon but rest assured, she’s as lovely as ever.

And today is her birthday so she’s been basking in the birthday joy all day.

Happy Birthday, baby, I love you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I'm Pro-Choice (but not in a creepy way)

The idea shamelessly stolen from the incredibly famous Jocelyn’s blog, I’m opening up the topic of some future blogs to you, the reader.

You give me a topic and I’ll write something about it.

I’m feeling pretty cocky about being able to write about just about anything, so stump me. That being said, if you happen to hit on something I am uncomfortable digging into, I’ll just make something up.

And yes, the rest of the topics I listed in the earlier poll will all be presented in an untimely manner.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cannonball Man Got Paid !!

Remember Cannonball Man ?

The Po-Po agreed to pay Yale Metzger, Esquire, $58 to buy himself a cannonball off of Ebay to replace the cannonball the EOD squad blew up (because it contained, get this, EXPLOSIVES). $50 for the cannonball (solid, no fuse holes) and $8 for postage.

Well eff me running.

I agree that $58 was a cheap way to send this mo-ron packing. Municipal attorneys have much bigger fish to fry than to respond to frivolous lawsuits and I’m sure the $58 fell well under the “just pay it” limit that all companies and I assume governments have with regard to this t ype of garbage but… cheese and rice it’s disappointing.

Just to complain about it leads me to ponder
the incredible size of this guy’s own balls

Too bad about that tiny cannon, though.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

In preparation for International Talk Like a Pirate Day, here's a little joke for you (click on Eulogies for the answer)

A boy goes trick or treating wearing a pirate costume. He goes up to the door of a kindly old neighbor lady who takes one look at him and says "What do we have here? You're a cute little pirate. But where are your buccaneers?"

Abuse of Power ?

I try to steer clear of political and religious commentary because I don’t feel I know enough about either to be able to stand up and fight down to the fine details. I’ll be the devil’s advocate on most any subject just for fun (and I’ll even advocate the Devil in some situations) but that’s usually as far as it goes.

That being said, I’ve got a question for y’all:

Let’s say a newspaper ran a story or series of stories alleging that a very senior U.S. Senator backed some legislation which directly benefited his son.

Let’s further say that the senator is very angry about these stories which he considers malicious attacks against him.

So far, so good. I don’t see any problem except woe to the reporters who have gotten the story wrong, if that is the case.

But now let’s say that the senator in question goes beyond saying the reporters are big fat liars and dirty scoundrels. Let’s say the senator threatens to open a congressional investigation into possible fraudulently inflated circulation numbers by this chain of newspapers.

Does that sound like abuse of power? Does that sound like an ethics violation?

Just curious if anyone else has a problem with this.


Stevens irate over suit query
THREAT: Senator says he'll probe newspaper's circulation claims.
Anchorage Daily News
Published: September 10, 2005
Last Modified: September 10, 2005 at 11:08 AM

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens lashed out at Alaska news reporters Friday, alleging that the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU-Channel 2 are engaged in a "vicious attack" on him and his son, state Senate President Ben Stevens.

"I intend to pursue it to find out why it is the owners of these media, that I have had a relationship with for over 40 years, have changed and decided to maliciously attack me as consistently as they have," Ted Stevens said.

Speaking with four Alaska reporters in his Capitol Hill office, he pointed his index finger, accusing them individually and collectively, blaming them and the companies they work for.
Stevens, 81, was angry that reporters had asked about a lawsuit involving his son and his connection to a company called Adak Fisheries. Ted Stevens said the questions allege that he did favors for his son, which he angrily denied.

"This is a continuation of a vicious attack against me and my son. It's politically inspired," Stevens said.

The lawsuit, which was partially resolved this week, is a complicated fight over control of Adak Fisheries and its agreement with the Aleut Corp. to lease a fish processing plant on the closed Navy base at Adak.

The stakes in the case are high because in 2003 and 2004, Ted Stevens added a rider to a federal spending bill to give the Aleut Corp. exclusive rights to a new $10 million Aleutian pollock fishery with the idea of turning the old Adak base into a thriving commercial fishing town.

A few months before the bill passed, the Aleut Corp. awarded the management of its pollock allocation to Adak Fisheries.

Back in 2003, when Stevens' fishery legislation was pending, the Daily News reported that Ben Stevens was a paid consultant to Adak Fisheries, which was poised to benefit from the bill. The paper also published the elder Stevens' denial that his son had lobbied him on the issue. In addition, the Daily News noted that Ben Stevens was on the board of an Aleut Corp. subsidiary that was working to redevelop Adak.

But a series of lawsuits and countersuits this summer revealed that Ben Stevens may have been more involved than that. According to the lawsuits, Ben Stevens obtained an option to buy 25 percent of Adak Fisheries in 2002. He signed a document attempting to exercise that option in 2004.

A judge issued a partial ruling in the case this week. He will decide in the next phase of the trial whether Ben Stevens' ownership claim in Adak Fisheries is valid, among other disputes.
What apparently ignited Ted Stevens' anger on Friday were questions about whether he awarded the pollock allocation to the Aleut Corp. to benefit his son.

He said he did it to benefit the people of the region and never discussed it with Ben.
"It had nothing to do with my son," he said.

He said he only learned of his son's possible ownership interest in Adak Fisheries "in the paper."
Actually, the Daily News has published almost nothing about Ben Stevens and his ties to Adak Fisheries since 2003, with only brief citations in two stories last year.

On Friday, the Daily News reported for the first time that Ben Stevens is a defendant in the Adak Fisheries lawsuit. The story gave the younger Stevens a passing mention and his father none at all. The paper is preparing a longer report and this week asked the senior Stevens for an interview.

KTUU has aired three stories over the past two weeks on Ben Stevens and Adak Fisheries.
Stevens alleged the Daily News and KTUU have been out to get him for years -- starting, he said, with a Daily News story in 2003 about how Stevens turned $50,000 into assets worth about $1 million by investing with Anchorage real estate developers John Rubini and Leonard Hyde.

"I know who you're after," he said, wagging his finger at the Daily News reporter in his office. "You're after me, and you've done a good job so far of keeping me tied down."
He said the "attack" on him involving his son in effect alleged a criminal conspiracy and was "very close to libel."

He said he didn't know why McClatchy Newspapers, the California-based company that owns the Daily News, would pursue the "malicious attack" on him.

"But people that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," he said.

He noted that McClatchy has been sued in Minnesota for allegedly inflating circulation figures for its largest paper, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

"I intend to find out if they're pursuing that activity in our state," Stevens said. "And I intend to show them we can fight back."

The Minnesota lawsuit was brought by four advertisers. According to a Wall Street Journal account of the case, a Star Tribune distributor whose husband works for one of the advertisers said a Star Tribune field representative told her to order extra papers to boost circulation numbers.

McClatchy maintains the claim is without merit.

Stevens hinted at some kind of congressional action.

"I believe there should be a law, a federal law, that requires truthful disclosure of circulation, and we intend to pursue that," Stevens said, in the course of venting his ire with reporters.
Is there a connection between his interest in accurate circulation numbers and his anger at media coverage of him?

"I don't see a connection, any more than you see the connection in connecting me with my son. OK? You draw your own conclusions," Stevens said.

Daily News Publisher Mike Sexton said the newspaper's reported circulation figures "will stand up to any examination" and said decisions about what to cover are made in Anchorage.

"It's unfortunate that Sen. Stevens has taken the position of attacking the media in an attempt to deflect attention from his son's current situation," Sexton said in a written statement. "I can assure the senator that decisions about what to publish are based on newsworthiness, with those decisions being made by executives and staff located in Alaska."

Sexton said it was a "very interesting approach" to attack the newspaper for "a story about (Ben Stevens) yet to be published."

KTUU news director John Tracy said his station is owned by a family business in Washington state but is run by longtime general manager Al Bramstedt, whose father sold the station to the Washington outfit.

Stevens alleged that Alaska reporters have decreased his effectiveness as a senator, he said.
"And whether you know it or not, I'm responsible for almost $3 billion a year that goes into the Alaska economy," he said. "My ability to do that now is questioned. The reason for my doing that is questioned. I think that you've harmed Alaska by this malicious attack on me."

Reporter Liz Ruskin can be reached at


Friday, September 09, 2005

Check this out... she says it better than I could

Let Them Eat Cake

A better mood, just an hour later. You think I mood swing too often?

The better mood came out of a simple conversation I had with my wife.

I mentioned that on the Katrina telethon tonight (afternoon Alaska time) the Dixie Chicks did a pretty song (although I don’t remember now what it was). Kelli was surprised that I liked the Dixie Chicks and asked if I’d heard the song “Goodbye Earl.”

E: “I love that song. Die, die, die, die, die, die. And I like that ‘Mudslide’ remake.”

K: “Landslide, honey”

E: “Yeah, yeah. And I like Pink Toenails, although that was before they got that Maines girl, y’know the chubby one who works at Lane Bryant”

K: “Natalie Maines

E: “Yeah, her. I have a question about that Earl song though.”

K: “Here it comes”

E: “No really. At then end, after they killed Earl, did they end up… um… together?”

K: “No, you dork, they were just friends.”

E: “I remember thinking that they ended up as more than just friends. I know they set up a stand and sold Tennessee Ham or something. But I got this whole ‘alternative bookstore’ vibe going.”

K: “You are a nut. Beside, they don’t have lesbians in the south.”

E: “er.. ah…”

K: “You know I’m kidding.”

E: “Yeah, I know. Like they don’t have rednecks either.”

K: “Exactly. It’s an urban legend.”

E: “Perhaps we’re both nuts.”

K: “Just you, dear.”

I could live with that.

Mood: Grumpy

The last couple of days I’ve been in a grumpy mood.

I think it’s partly to do with all the Katrina coverage and the fact that I feel pretty powerless in world events. I’m no more or less powerless than two weeks ago but I’m feeling it more now.

I watch MSNBC, because I cannot stomach FOXNews for long, but I really dislike Joe Scarborough, seriously dislike his style of commentary. I say commentary because, although is show is ostensibly a news show, it’s all commentary. He just picks, picks, picks at the government’s response and steers every statement by a guest toward how it relates to the failure of the local, state, and federal government. Did I mention that the time for pointing fingers is later? I think I did. Perhaps he doesn’t read my blog. Oh well.

It’s also allergy season again (well, it’s mostly always some kind of allergy season, isn’t it?) so I’m all stuffed up and whiney. Hate that. Of course, I could have gotten a cold because I stood out in the pouring rain screaming "I am the GOD OF THUNDER" for too long. There is that.

This grumpiness has trickled into the comment boxes of other folk’s blogs. I don’t intentionally pick fights with folks using other people’s forums… really! So if I’ve sullied your comment box with curt arguments with your other commenters, I’m sorry. I’ll try to be a better guest!

And yet, all this poor attitude and self-pity is absolutely silly. I have a wonderful life. I am madly in love with my wife, I have a great family, I have amazing friends (even those who think I am an ass to a greater or lesser degree these days), I have the opportunity to make decent money working with the best people in the field. I am totally blessed.

And I don’t have six to twelve feet of fecal soup in my neighborhood.

Jeez, what am I whining for?

Comic Relief – Hoist on His Own Petard

The opinions expressed in the following post are those of Eric Anderson and not those of anyone else, including the employees of any police department, municipality, law firm, newspaper, or anyone else mentioned in this story. This is my commentary, folks, deal with it.

First, a little lesson in explosive ordinance:

Exploding cannonballs were hollow. They were filled with black powder through a hole usually about an inch in diameter. The hole was filled with a plug with a hole through it. The plug was recessed into the cannonball shell (not sticking out as often shown in cartoons). Through the hole was passed a short wick - usually a short piece of rope soaked in some combustible material. The entire plug/wick apparatus was called a fuse.

After the cannon was packed with powder and tamped, etc., the cannonball wick was lighted and quickly dropped into the cannon - which was then fired quickly. The wick was designed so that there was enough time to get it into the cannon, get the cannon fired, and still have enough time left to get to the enemy before it exploded. Obviously, this was a pretty important thing to get right (don't want the cannonball going off in your hand or in your cannon). A specialist, called a fusileer, was in charge of figuring out the right type of fuse and length of wick to install for hitting certain kinds of targets. (1)

Photo: Ebay

Next, the news story (edited for space, edit marks listed):

Man can't believe APD blew up his beloved artifact cannonball
By MEGAN HOLLAND, Anchorage Daily News
Published: September 5, 2005

When he called police and the bomb squad showed up at his Anchorage home last week, Yale Metzger just wanted them to examine the cannonball he had picked up in Cordova. He didn't want them to bring out the remote-controlled robot, haul away the cast iron ball and blow it to smithereens.

But that's what they did.

Now Metzger is saying the Anchorage Police Department was looking for an excuse to dynamite something and that they owe him a cannonball.

The police are calling Metzger "an idiot" for carrying the incendiary device around in his truck, then bringing it into downtown Anchorage, where they say it could have sent shrapnel flying for blocks had it exploded.

Metzger, a 45-year-old Anchorage attorney, found the 4-inch, 8-pound, cast iron ball in downtown Cordova last summer while excavating property he had purchased. It was unearthed in what was most recently a snow dump.

Metzger put it in the back of his pickup, where it rolled around for a year, he said.

{a little blah blah blah about whether the cannonball was really an ball used in grinding ore and suggesting that no matter what it was it might have had historic value}

Several weeks ago, he decided to bring his find to his Anchorage home. He got a friend to pack it with him on a state ferry. Metzger had heard of old cannonballs blowing up, but he chalked up those stories largely to urban myth or at least something that happens extremely rarely.

Still, once it was in Anchorage, Metzger was slightly concerned the ball could be still active and thought he would check it out. He wanted to know if his cannonball was solid or hollow, and if it was hollow, did it have volatile black powder?

He tried to get a friend at the airport's Transportation Security Administration to put it through one of the machines. That didn't work; it would have gotten his friend in trouble. He tried to get a friend at a medical office to X-ray it, but the machine was judged not powerful enough.

So he called the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They told him to call the Anchorage Police Department.

Police said they would take a look at it. Last Monday, the bomb squad took one look at it sitting in Metzger's garage and treated it like a bomb seconds away from blowing.

"Could it have exploded?" Metzger asked. "Sure. So could a meteor fall out of the sky and hit your truck."

The bomb squad vehicle contained a portable X-ray machine that could have determined if the cannonball was hollow, but that wasn't an option, said police Sgt. Ray Jennings, head of the bomb squad. The super-powerful rays to see through metal would have punched through Metzger's walls and his neighbors', exposing everyone to the harmful rays, he said.

Taking a look at it, the police knew by the fuse hole that it was potentially live, they said.

"A cannonball is nothing more than a large grenade," Jennings said. "It could have sent metal flying blocks."

Metzger wanted the squad to take the cannonball and X-ray it elsewhere, but deputy chief Audi Holloway said, defending the department's decision, that moving it just puts officers in unnecessary danger.

"You never know what point an explosive device is at," he said. "If it is anything that may have explosives in it, that may cause damage to a person or property, we have to assume it will explode. We have to destroy it."

The bomb squad exploded the cannonball at the Anchorage Landfill, said Lt. Paul Honeman, but police won't say how for security reasons. Sgt. Jeff Morton confirmed that a secondary explosion occurred and said a different color of smoke blurted out, making it certain that the cannonball had volatile black powder.

Did the police destroy a potentially important historical artifact?

"We're not going to put a bomb technician's life in jeopardy over a cannonball or anything else," Jennings said. He called Metzger "an idiot" for bringing the bomb into town and for questioning the bomb squad's decision to destroy it.

Now Metzger wants the police to buy him another cannonball on eBay.

"I was going to make a doorstop out of it. They owe me a cannonball.

Okey Dokey. Give me a break!

Rule number one – if you call the bomb squad to look at your bomb, you must expect them to act as if it is highly dangerous.

Rule number two – let’s just say that the bomb squad wanted to put themselves and the neighborhood in jeopardy in order to take a look inside to see if it was inert or live. Why would the police use their valuable resources to do what amounts to an appraisal for a private citizen? If you want something appraised, go to an expert. If you want to dispose of your explosive ordinance then you call the Explosives Ordinance Disposal team – the bomb squad.

Rule number three – you want the city to buy you a doorstop? You are lucky the city doesn’t send you a bill for the cost of the equipment, the staff, and the transportation expense of dealing with your little bomb. Your friend at TSA didn’t want to do this for you for free, the ATF had no interest in helping you for free, so when the police came out to look at your bomb for free, don’t get upset when they act in the interest of the citizenry in general and not your cheap, stupid behind.

Rule number four, and this is just in case the citizen involved actually reads this and takes umbrage – when you bring a bomb home (and you were concerned enough about it being a bomb to ask several different people and agencies about it) and then the police treat it like a bomb a blow it up, QUIT WHILE YOU ARE BEHIND! Do NOT call the media to tell them that the police treated you shabbily. You might get called “an idiot” twice in the story and, oh I don’t know, perhaps some of your prospective clients in your law firm will remember you as the “Cannonball Idiot.”

Just a thought.


Did you know that a petard is a small bell-shaped bomb used to blow open a door? They were notoriously dangerous to handle and sometimes blew up before the person setting the bomb had time to flee. Thus “hoist by your own petard” means getting blown up by your own bomb.


Did I mention that he opinions expressed in the previous post are those of Eric Anderson and not those of anyone else, including the employees of any police department, municipality, law firm, newspaper, or anyone else mentioned in this story. This is my commentary, folks, deal with it.



(1) Dave Clark, Staff, Chemical and Environmental Technologies, Battelle

(2) Anchorage Daily News, Monday, September 3rd, 2005


March 22, 2005 - September 9, 2005 - 10,000 hits

I'm amazed anyone reads this little ol' thing of mine and thrilled to reach 10,000 hits (realizing that probably 2500 of them are me, checking how things look).

Hopefully you'll find my little spot on the web inviting and drop by now and then to put your feet up and tell stories.

Once again, thank you!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Getting KINKy

A post by Rhoda had me singing “Lola” by The Kinks in my head for a couple of days.

The Kinks are a great band. Lola vs Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part 1 was a great album.

Not only did it have Lola , L O L A, Lola but it had several lesser known gems.

From the beautiful: Strangers

“Where are you going I don't mind
I've killed my world and I've killed my time
So where do I go what do I see
I see many people coming after me
So where are you going to I don't mind
If I live too long I'm afraid I'll die
So I will follow you wherever you go
If your offered hand is still open to me
Strangers on this road we are on
We are not two we are one…”

To the cynically lovely: The Money-Go-Round

“Robert owes half to Grenville
Who in turn gave half to Larry
Who adored my instrumentals
And so he gave half to a foreign publisher
She took half the money that was earned in some far distant land
Gave back half to Larry and I end up with half of goodness knows what
Oh can somebody explain why things go on this way
I thought they were my friends I can't believe it's me, I can't believe that I'm so green
Eyes down round and round let's all sit and watch the moneygoround
Everyone take a little bit here and a little bit there
Do they all deserve money from a song that they've never heard
They don't know the tune and they don't know the words
But they don't give a damn
There's no end to it I'm in a pit and I'm stuck in it
The money goes round and around and around…”

And the great riffs too. I defy you to listen to the opening Dave Davies guitar riff on “Rats” without tapping your toes. The lyrics are catchy too but not as poetic or fun as either of the other two songs mentioned.

Plus there’s the tongue-in-cheek calypso song “Apeman,” which is actually better when done acoustically on the album “The Road.”

“I think I'm sophisticated
'Cos I'm living my life like a good homosapien
But all around me everybody's multiplying
Till they're walking round like flies man
So I'm no better than the animals sitting in their cages
in the zoo man
'Cos compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees
I am an ape man
I think I'm so educated and I'm so civilized
'Cos I'm a strict vegetarian
But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I don't feel safe in this world no more
I don't want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man…”

There are dozens of other great Kinks songs from dozens of other Kinks albums, but do yourself a favor and check out “Lola versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part 1.” You’ll wish you could live like an ape man and you’ll fall for L-O-L-A Lola all over again.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I love

The rain. It’s raining like a mother outside. Roof gutters overflowing, big “chubby rain” drops rocketing down to a final splash, running down the streets. Gentle wind, the rain pounds straight down, dragging away the dust and dirt and debris (and glacial silt, Dorene) with it. Everything smells clean and wonderful. Powerful weather; powerfully displayed.

Home. Home after an involuntarily long day at work. Off duty officer with a suspect at gun point yelling at a citizen to tell us he needs assistance. Types 25 words a minute with each finger, that one. Everyone racing, help on the way. No one gets hurt. A happy thing. A draining thing. Adrenaline dumping and flowing through all of us, leaving us elated and tired afterward. So tired.

Kelli. Home to Kelli after said long day. So happy to see this tiny little girl that I am incredibly in love with. Just to hold her in my arms, to hear her voice, to smell her hair. Amazing and miraculous every time.

I have a lot of love today.

Monday, September 05, 2005


Today I’ve been thinking about the language of computers. There’s a lot of violence in there.

When I’m on the computer I’m constantly RIPPING and BURNING. Some folks are “HACKERS.” Every URL starts with two SLASHES in front of the address. A major malfunction is a CRASH.

Is this overcompensation? Do computer users and designers use dramatic words to describe their craft in order to compensate for the sedentary nature of their occupation? Granted, when business is humming along nicely but reliant on the computer and the computer suddenly stops, it’s pretty dramatic.

This led me to look critically at my keyboard. I noticed little curious things about the act of typing:

You can achieve SEX with one hand but it takes both hands for LOVE
You can KILL with one hand but it takes two hands to HEAL
You can get WET with one hand but it takes two hands to DRY
GREED is easily one handed but CHARITY takes two hands
MILK is one handed, BREAD is one handed, although CANDY takes two hands.
FEAR can be achieved with one hand, HOPE takes two
WEEDS are one handed, FLOWERS are two handed
SERVE with one hand, LEAD with two

Perhaps I’m floundering again, trying to be poetic but I found it interesting to ponder.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Trouble Every Day

Written by Frank Zappa in 1967 about the Watts riots, this could have been written about this week’s unrest, nearly 40 years later. The only thing that changed is you would refer to a “Camcorder” or "News Van" instead of a “Brownie.”

Well I'm about to get upset
From watchin' my TV
Been checkin' out the news
Until my eyeballs fail to see
I mean they say that every day
Is just another rotten mess
And when it's gonna change, my friend
Is anybody's guess
So I'm watchin' and I'm waitin'
Hopin' for the best
I think I'll go to prayin'
Every time I hear 'em sayin'
That there's no way to delay
That trouble comin' every day
No way to delay
That trouble comin' every day

Wednesday I watched the riot
I seen the cops out on the street
Watched 'em throwin' rocks and stuff
And chokin' in the heat
Listened to reports
About the whisky passin' 'round
Seen the smoke & fire
And the market burnin' down
Watched while everybody
On his street would take a turn
To stomp and smash and bash and crash
And slash and bust and burn
And I'm watchin' and I'm waitin'
Hopin' for the best
Even think I'll go to prayin'
Every time I hear 'em sayin'
That there's no way to delay
that trouble comin' every day
No way to delay that trouble comin' every day

Well you can cool it,You can heat it,
'Cause, baby, I don't need it
Take your TV tube and eat it
'N all that phony stuff on sports
'N all the unconfirmed reports
You know I watched that rotten box
Until my head began to hurt
From checkin' out the way
The newsmen say they get the dirt
Before the guys on channel so-and-so
And further they assert
That any show they'll interrupt
To bring you news if it comes up
They say that if the place blows up
They'll be the first to tell
Because the boys they got downtown
Are workin' hard and doin' swell,
And if anybody gets the news
Before it hits the street,
They say that no one blabs it faster
Their coverage can't be beat
And if another woman driver
Gets machine-gunned from her seat
They'll send some joker with a Brownie
And you'll see it all complete
So I'm watchin' and I'm waitin'
Hopin' for the best
Even think I'll go to prayin'
Every time I hear 'em sayin'
That there's no way to delay
That trouble comin' every day
No way to delay that trouble comin' every day

Hey you know something people
I'm not black
But there's a whole lots a times
I wish I could say I'm not white

Well, I seen the fires burnin'
And the local people turnin'
On the merchants and the shops
Who used to sell their brooms and mops
And every other household item
Watched the mob just turn and bite 'em
And they say it served 'em right
Because a few of them are white
And it's the same across the nation
Black & white discrimination
Yellin' "You can't understand me"
And all the other jazz they hand me
In the papers and TV
'N all that mass stupidity
That seems to grow more every day
Each time you hear some nitwit say
He wants to go and do you in
Cuz the color of your skin
Just don't appeal to him
No matter if it's black or white
Because he's out for blood tonight

You know we gotta sit around at home
And watch this thing begin
But I bet there won't be many
Live to see it really end
'Cause the fire in the street
Ain't like the fire in my heart
And in the eyes of all these people
Don't you know that this could start
On any street in any town
In any state if any clown
Decides that now's the time to fight
For some ideal he thinks is right
And if a million more agree
There ain't no great society
As it applies to you and me
Our country isn't free
And the law refuses to see
If all that you can ever be
Is just a lousy janitor
Unless your uncle owns a store
You know that five in every four
won’t amount to nothin' more
than watch the rats go across the floor
and make up songs about being poor

Blow your harmonica, son!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

God's Diner

I walked into God’s Diner and took a seat at the counter. When the waitress asked for my order I told her I’d like the soul of a poet.

A few minutes later she returned with a plate of flounder. “The boss likes puns,” she explained.

“Story of my life,” I said, shaking my head and thinking that we were in pretty good hands.

Friday, September 02, 2005

These are the times that try men's souls

I originally wrote this as a comment on Jocelyn’s site but since it’s what’s going on in my head and is a huge rant I’m going to reprint it here.

New Orleans is a war zone. There are dead and dying in the streets. Criminals with guns are taking advantage of the situation and citizens who are desperate are committing acts of desperation. The poor folks in the Superdome and the NO Convention Center are not there because they were too stupid to leave ahead of the storm. They are there because they were too poor to leave. There is a lot of blame to go around today, five days into this tragic situation.

Guess what? The time for pointing fingers is OVER, folks. The only finger pointing I want to hear is: food goes there, water goes there, the adequate shelter is over yonder, and, oh yeah, here's a certain amount of money per family to set themselves up temorarily someplace else. That and the National Guard goes everywhere in New Orleans. Give the city a big camo enema. This is a period where martial law is in effect.

This is a dire situation. Think of the other LA, Los Angeles. It took just one incident - just one senseless, stupid, shameful piece of police overreaction to cause the oppressed people, the poor people, the people who feel they have been treated shabbily and have nothing to lose, to start a riot and trash their own neighborhoods. Frustration and alienation and poverty in the greatest nation in the world creates situations where, given the absence of law, there will be violence and bloodshed.

I'm not even pointed that finger; I'm saying that I'm not going to judge the survivors of Katrina now. I'm going to send money and clothing and whatever else I can do as one person to help.

Laying blame comes AFTER order is restored, after the dead are buried, after the survivors have their basic needs met.

This is a national emergency. It will take a nation to solve. We're strong enough to solve it and we will, but spending energy on laying blame and Monday-morning quarter-backing a situation that we in Alaska and Illinois and all the other places far away from the devastation is a waste of time and energy.

The time for bitching, people, is over. The time for action is upon us. Remember when we prayed that our men and women in the Gulf would be safe? Remember when that Gulf was the Persian Gulf? Now it's the Gulf of Mexico, my friends, and they need our thoughts, our prayers, and our resources.

To a large extent I blame the media for all the finger pointing, but I'm not even going to point the finger at them. I'm going to use my fingers to write this and to write a check and to find out what else I can do to help.

I'm now getting off of my soapbox.

The people in the Gulf Coast need my soap.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Run Away From This Movie

The Worst Movie Ever

“The Brown Bunny” written, directed, produced, edited, and starred in by Vincent Gallo. Co-starring the talented Chloe Sevigny.

Let me first say that I thought Chloe Sevigny was great in Kids, Palmetto, The Last Days of Disco, and If These Walls Could Talk 2. Of the movies mentioned, only Kids and Walls 2 are actually a movie I would recommend by themselves, the former because it was innovative and it has a good message and the latter because it is terribly well done and terribly sad in places.

That being said, I now know why “The Brown Bunny” was boo’ed in Cannes. I rented it from NetFlix simply to see what the hub-bub was about.


The plot is actually sort of interesting. It’s basically this: Man on cross-country road trip is attracted to women with flower names, Violet, Lilly, and Rose, because his one true love is a woman named Daisy. Daisy is missing from his life for reasons unknown at the beginning of the movie. At the end we meet Daisy who is a crack-head prostitute who somehow broke Man’s heart. Daisy performs graphically filmed oral sex on Man. Man climaxes, in her mouth, and then rejects her because she is such a whore. She then explains that he misunderstood, way back when, what he had seen when they were together last.

What he remembers is that they got separated during a party and he opened a door to find her getting gang-banged. He is shocked and turns away. Later she is removed from the party, dead on a stretcher.

She explains that she had smoked some crack or pot or something, had passed out and was raped by these guys at the party. So she wasn’t a whore after all.

The End.

Okay… That would have probably made for a good movie except for two things: Vincent and Gallo.

I don’t know why anyone would find Vincent Gallo attractive, but let’s say you do. Or let’s replace Vinnie with someone you actually find attractive. Really. Get a mental picture of whatever real person or actor you find attractive. Got it? Good. Now picture 60+ minutes of a 96 minute movie watching your sexy actor’s ear and greasy hair as he drives across country, not talking. Sixty minutes. I swear, I fast-forwarded through big chunks of time where nothing happened except he drove, not talking.

And then picture him getting a blowjob by Chloe Sevigny. Then picture Chloe Sevigny on a bed with two guys, much less graphically.

That’s it folks. If you want porn, go rent porn. If you want a brooding art movie, rent “Henry Fool” or a number of other movies in which Vincent Gallo’s name is not mentioned.

I think I remember finding “Buffalo ‘66” kind of interesting in a gritty, low-budget way. I’m not going to watch it again to find out.

Vinnie, I’m giving your movie NO STARS. In fact, come on over because you owe ME some stars. That and the hour I watched (deducting the fast forwarding of the DVD which I actually watching, but faster and no less entertaining) of your crap movie.


I think they call this a meme. When I first ventured into the world of blogs I thought it was called a Me-Me, like "it's all about me." Actually it's more of a thought chain-letter very popular in the blogosphere (a word I have a love-hate relationship with).

I was tagged by Jocelyn:

10 Years Ago Today:

I was living in an apartment two blocks from the duplex I live in now. My brother Jason was my roommate. My friend Lina saw an ad in the paper saying there were openings for police dispatchers. I was dubious about my qualifications, having worked at the hotel for 8 years as a telephone operator, but part of my job did include “dispatching” hotel security, engineers, janitors, and banquet equipment staff as well as monitoring fire alarms and responding to emergencies. I could type pretty fast. I was sure Lina would get the job and I would not. I turned out that I was exactly wrong.

Five Years Ago:

I was still living in my apartment, alone after Jason moved to Portland to find fortune and fame. Staffing at the police department had crested and was about to plummet. I was working a certain amount of overtime - some voluntary, some involuntary, but the worst was yet to come. We were still on eight hour shifts but soon I was to work three to four of those days as 12 hour days, mostly involuntary (or voluntary if you consider volunteering coming in early to work 11am to 11pm rather than surely being ordered to work 3pm to 3am if I did not). I had visited Terri in England the year before and was planning to be doing it again the next March to go to Ireland. I was listening to a lot of English Pop / Techno music, eating a lot of Malteasers, and drinking gallons of PG Tips and Typhoo tea.

1 Year Ago:

Sugar Baby was sick with HGE and we were shuttling her to and from the animal hospital hoping she did not die. She didn't.


Saw “Must Love Dogs” with Kelli and we did our normal Wednesday “Eric and Kelli Day” errands. Wednesdays are the only day off we get together so we usually spend a lot of them in appointments but always together in some way.


Laundry, working on the dispatch newsletter (which must be done by Sunday), trying to clean up my computer room, finishing the unabridged audiobook “The Shining” by Stephen King. Steve-o is my favorite author. Underrated because of his genre and his enormous sales, he still writes the best characters out there. Yes, sometimes his endings are kind of deus ex machine, but I love the books still.

The numbered things are in no particular order --

5 Snacks I Enjoy:

1. Candy!
2. Pie!
3. pepperjack cheese
4. Baked Lays and clam dip
5. did I mention candy? How about dark chocolate!

5 Bands That I Know the Lyrics to Most of Their Songs:

1. Thin Lizzy
2. the Doors
3. Travis (well, that first albumum at least)
4. White Stripes
5. the Jimi Hendrix Experience

5 Things I Would Do with $100,000,000:

1. Pay off debt – credit card balances, Kelli’s Ford Ex-cape
2. Buy a house – I’d need every freakin’ dime of it these days
3. Save – Put a big bunch in a fund for our kids or dogs or just us someday
4. Travel – Ireland, Paris, Alabama and the surrounding states, Hawaii
5. Write – with $100M I could get some writing done. Maybe. Maybe not.

5 Locations I Would Like to Run Away to:

1. Ireland
2. Paris
3. Hawaii
4. Australia
5. My computer room

5 Bad Habits I Have:

1. Everything to do with food
2. Not paying small bills on time, even though I have the money
3. Speaking before thinking
4. Not keeping up with my friends
5. Procrastination.. it should have been first but I couldn’t get around to it.

5 Things I Like Doing:

1. Listening to Audiobooks
2. Blogging and reading Personal Diary-type blogs
3. Laying on the couch watching bad movies
4. Watching bad movies in the theater
5. Singing in the car (alone, very poorly)

5 Things I Would Never Wear:

This is a girl-type question, if I can be so piggy, and I don’t have an answer. Five years ago I might have said “anything with any color other than black, white, and gray.” Today all bets are off. Yet here we go:

1. Fur, not on principle just on sheer goofy factor
2. Spandex
3. A big clock worn as a necklace
4. Earrings / Nose rings / Non-naughty piercings
5. Naughty piercings

5 TV Shows I Like:

1. ER
2. The Sopranos
3. The Shield
4. The Daily Show
5. Grey’s Anatomy

5 Movies I Like:

1. Apocalypse Now
2. Fight Club
3. Documentaries (well, certain documentaries)
4. Memento
5. Movies which make me think for days about them

5 Famous People I Would Like to Meet (off the top of my head):

1. Jon Stewart
2. Keith Olbermann
3. Henry Rollins
4. Stephen King
5. Sarah Vowell

5 Biggest Joys at the Moment:

1. Kelli, Kelli, Kelli, Kelli, Kelli, K E L L I
2. Writing things people occasionally like
3. Music
4. Saying very inappropriate things without dire consequences
5. I like to, um, help people.

5 Favorite Toys:

1. My Brian Dube juggling clubs
2. Skeleton paraphernalia
3. My Creative MuVo (for audio books)
4. Midnight Club II and other silly computer racing games
5. My Dremel Tool (grrrrr, ruff ruff).

5 Favorite Toys I Want! (Jocelyn added this)

1. A Creative Zen 5Gig (in black)
2. A killer PDA – Tungsten E3 or some iPaq
3. A notebook computer
4. A good racing wheel for my computer (ha! I might as well wear a helmet too)
5. a Mini Cooper (if’n I’m gonna dream, dream big.. er, or small but expensive)

The point is for the tagged individual to post their answers on their blog and tag other people if they so choose, much like a very friendly chain-letter. Although Sally from Fargo, North Dakota, failed to post her meme after being tagged and she died. Poor Sally.

I'm tagging the following folks:

1. Pete
2. Lindsey
3. Rhoda (although she's probably already answered these questions before)

One more topic:

Things in New Orleans seem, from news accounts, to be as close to Hell as we'll hopefully ever see in the USA. I have no words that are adequate except these: If you have anything extra, give a little to help out. If we all give a little, together we can make a big difference. -- E