Friday, August 27, 2010

Jury Duty Over And Done

Without ever being called in for an actual jury.

Massad Ayoob went over the jury selection process in the classroom portion of the MAG-40 class I took earlier this week. He explained how "lightweight yuppies" are considered ideal candidates. The last thing they want on juries are people who have experienced violence and who have made a committment to never letting it happen again.

Too bad.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Jury Duty Week Four

What do you know? They don't want me next week, either. Just as well, I had to get a partial excuse for my Massad Ayoob class anyway.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got Root?

Well, I finally got sufficiently fed up with Motorola's and Verizon's lack of committment to the original Droid and rooted my phone. As you can see, since I'm posting from it, everything's working just fine.

No custom ROM yet, just Android 2.2 FRG01B with root access. At least I can now actually back up my data, not just the apps.

Verizon is supposedly pushing out FRG22, but nobody I know has seen it yet. Now I don't care if they ever do. Life is good.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Fear And Loathing

Gun folks are familiar with the hysterical shrieking of gun-haters and gun-banners. We almost universally agree that the solution to their repeated attacks is education, since fear and hatred of guns is founded in ignorance and lies.

Why, then, do those same reasonable and rational gun folks so often act just like the panty-wetting hoplophobes where snakes are concerned?

I see it on blog after blog, forum after forum. People who decry the closed-minded screeds of those who do not or will not learn the truth about guns cheerfully talk about killing snakes on sight simply because they are snakes. A few distinguish between venomous and non-venomous species, allowing the former to live but slaughtering the latter. All express a deep-seated loathing of suborder Ophidia. I find none of these attitudes defensible. The overwhelming majority of snakes are harmless, incapable of inflicting injury on a human more severe than a paper cut.

I don't fear guns, I respect them. I strictly observe the protocols necessary for handling and using them safely. I don't fear dangerous snakes, I respect them. And just as with guns, strictly adhering to safety protocols in their presence prevents serious injury or death. When out in venomous snake country, wear proper clothing. Watch where you walk, sit, and put your hands. Maintain good situational awareness. Sound familiar?

Recently, a fool in Papillion, Nebraska, died after his red-tailed boa constricted around his neck. That incident was just as preventable as the "accidents" that happen when idiots disregard Col. Cooper's Four Rules.

Just as with guns, ignoring the basic safety rules around dangerous snakes can lead to serious injury or death. Large constrictors must never be handled alone. Putting one around your neck is as stupid and dangerous as pointing a loaded gun at your face. Anyone familiar with the "rear naked choke" knows how little it takes to incapacitate or kill a person by applying pressure to certain areas of the neck. The snake lacks the anatomical features we exploit when learning counters to chokeholds. Unwinding a constrictor must be done starting from the tail and working forward. It's impossible to remove one from your body starting from the snake's head.

The current python problem in Florida is not the snakes' fault, but just as with green iguanas, was caused by irresponsible people failing to keep their exotic pets confined or deliberately dumping them into the wild. Unfortunately, the climate there is ideally suited for both of these creatures, and that combined with no natural predators have made them victims of their own success.

I've heard people claim that hatred of snakes is genetic in humans, but in the absence of hysterical adults, babies show no fear or aversion. Just as with guns, hatred of snakes is societally conditioned. Education, not extermination, is the solution for both problems.

Histopath's Back

The histopath results came back for Judge's ear tumor. Surprise, surprise, it was a sarcoid and not a melanoma.

That's kind of good, because sarcoids are technically benign. It's bad in that sarcoids almost always come back aggressively and in many cases can only be managed, not eradicated.

Judge can count on one thing, though. While sarcoids are the number-one skin-related condition resulting in euthanasia of horses, typically because the tumors interfere with being ridden or are so unsightly the horse becomes unsaleable, when bad things happen I don't cut my losses and run.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jury Duty Week Three

Just called the Juror Status number for next week's schedule, and I am not required to appear for the third week in a row. I'm starting to think they don't like me or something.
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Would ANYBODY Need A Gun . . .

In a National Park?

As an aside, what were these deleted-expletives doing in a medium-security prison? I'm just so glad our wonderful injustice system treats convicted murderers with such compassionate leniency.

Carry everywhere, all the time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Post-Operative Update

Judge had his surgery to remove his melanomas on Wednesday. Everything went really well.

Since there is no loose skin to suture inside a horse's ear or on the hairless part of the dock of the tail, both sites have to heal as open wounds. Despite the whole ear tumor being bigger than a golf ball, its point of attachment was only about the size of my thumbnail and did not involve the ear cartilage. That spot is nearly healed already.

The site of the tail tumor is not nearly so small and neat. In order to get good margins, Judge has a divot a bit over two inches across that goes well into the muscle. I'm treating it with Granulex V spray, plus Judge has ten days' worth of twice-daily Trimethoprim/Sulfadiazine tablets.

The vet came out to the barn to do the surgery because after all our trailer loading practice, when it was time to haul him to the clinic Judge wouldn't load. He's always been very well-behaved and cooperative, but in recent months he's been aloof and short-fused. Thoroughbreds are more normally reactive than most other breeds, and I attributed the rest of the behavioral changes to his moving up through the ranks in the herd. He's now the dominant gelding and thinks himself to be quite the ladies' man.

According to the available literature, equine melanoma is not painful. I could touch either of the tumors without Judge showing any sign of discomfort. But despite those facts, now that they're both gone Judge is back to his old cooperative self.

When we were trying to get Judge loaded, there was no shortage of "helpful" advice. The horse is being a pig, the horse is disrespectful, you need to get after him and make him mind. I now know those tumors, especially the one in his ear, were bothering him more than I thought. I feel absolutely awful for not doing something about the tumors sooner, despite normal veterinary advice being to leave melanomas alone unless absolutely necessary since surgery can cause otherwise localized masses to metastasize.

So I owe Judge a huge apology. The ear tumor is going in for histopath, since it was an atypical melanoma. It's way too soon to tell how fast the tumors will return, since most melanomas do. But regardless of the tumors' size or appearance, I will take action at the first sign of change from normal behavior.

I broke one of my own cardinal rules here: that horses never do anything without a good reason, and any time a horse is resistant look for a physical cause first. Judge's personality change was from physical discomfort, pure and simple. I won't make that mistake again.

Punishing Judge for being a disrespectful pig would have accomplished nothing except making him more miserable than he already was. He probably would have (justifiably) started avoiding me altogether. Removing the tumors fixed his behavior, not inflicting negative reinforcement and positive punishment.

The horse does not lie. We humans just have to be willing to hear the truth.

Jury Duty Week Two

Looks like the federal court system doesn't want me for any possible juries next week, either. Funny about that.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jury Duty Week One

The way they do jury duty now is you call a toll-free number on Friday to find out if you need to appear at any time during the following week. I called in last Friday and they said I didn't have to show up for anything this week.

Are we surprised?

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