Monthly Archives: November 2007

And Yet Another Gun Story

This time it’s from Porter, Texas.  Yet another 60 ish man in Texas kills yet another person.  The Houston Chronicle:

A homeowner in Porter shot and killed a suspected thief Thursday, then had to be hospitalized after suffering from chest pains after the shooting.

The suspect, Rodney Earl Shamlin, 36, died at an area hospital shortly after the 1 p.m. shooting, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department said.

An interview with Mr. Shamlin’s father just aired on the local news.  He’s broken-up — near tears — his grandchildren no longer have their father, he no longer has his son.  Why?  The home owner, Gerald Lynn Southworth had his reason:

Southworth, who reportedly had been the victim of numerous thefts at his home, said he fired once at the man in his yard after the suspect raised an unknown object in his direction, the report states.

The Chronicle already has hundreds of comments attached to the article.

There’s too little info available to make much more of this.  What is clear is that the recently passed “castle law” will get a workout.

Also of note — according to one of the commenters at the Chron, there is supposedly a rally and bike ride for Joe Horn happening.  I’ll look into it.

Updated: No luck on finding out about the Joe Horn happening.  Also, there’s another article in the Chronicle.  The dead man — Rodney Earl Shamlin — was on probation for a theft conviction in 2005. 

Shamlin’s father, Lenard Shamlin Jr., said he doesn’t believe his son was trying to steal from Southworth. He said Shamlin was probably looking for the homeowner to ask about some old cars on the property. He said Shamlin bought old cars and sold them to scrap yards.

Still no word on what the “unknown object” was.


Vocabulary and Rice

A colleague of mine found a cool site: .   It’s a multiple choice, adaptive vocabulary builder.  For each correct answer, the site will donate 20 grains of rice to the World Food Programme.

The website is quite attractive — very easy on the eyes — the color scheme is various shades of green and the background is photos of rice plants.   The vocab is on one side and a rice bowl is on the other.  As you answer, the bowl fills with rice.  If you play for long enough, you accumulate little piles of rice representing 100 and eventually 1000 grains of rice.  There are 50 levels, but the site indicates that it is extremely difficult to get about 48.  (I got to 41 while playing for a while this afternoon.)  I wondered how low the lowest level actually is and was pleased to see that even our lowest level ESL students could benefit.  I also like the fact that it’s all synonyms.  I think students could easily make word maps or vocabulary notebooks using the site.

I’m putting the link in the sidebar for easy access.  Try it!

Update:  W00t — I’m at 43!

Somalia . . . Forgotten

I’ve looked and can’t find any report that the U.S. has followed up on the backing of Ethiopian forces invading Somalia.  The News Hour reports on the situation there regularly.  Seth Leibsohn hasn’t paid attention to what has happened in Somalia since his cheerleading article at the rarely read Claremont Institute website.

Let’s be clear.  The provisional government was backed by so-called war lords and the Ethiopian government.  The Muslim Courts at least for a while, quelled the violence in Mogadishu.  With U.S. backing, the Ethiopian government went in with forces.  Now it’s fleeing civilians and dead Ethiopians.

From what I have read, I think that the U.S. got the targets they wanted.  Then the U.S. left the mess they helped to create.  And no one cares.

People seem to care more about the Republican debate and some asshole.

It’s difficult to write about really important situations while being bombarded with trivia.

More on Joe Horn

It looks like he’s got a donation site set up:

Joe has been through an experience that many people could not comprehend in its devastating effect on him physically and mentally. His remorse and pain are beyond description.

I’m fairly certain that there are any number of people who have been through such experiences.  Jeffrey Agee comes to mind.  He was the Houston man who, back in 1994, shot and killed an unarmed Scotsman searching for help.  (He shot first, called 911 later.)  Agee wasn’t indicted.  Last night on the news (local KHOU), there was a report titled, “Think Twice Before Using Deadly Force”  From the report:

Take Jerry Casey.

One night 13 years ago, he thought a thief was trying to steal his pickup from in front of his home in north Houston.

He got his rifle and fired, killing the man who was in a wrecker and turned out to bea repo man just doing his job.

A grand jury though did not indict Casey, but eight months later, he nonetheless killed himself, citing the repo tragedy in a suicide note.

The report also outlines the monetary costs of shooting someone.  It’s thousands of dollars, so Joe had better get some local radio types behind him.  (Perhaps they already are — I haven’t had the time to listen the past few days.) 

Joe’s site also has this nugget:

He feels bad for the families that are affected.

Words used to describe Mr. Horn:  devastating, pain beyond description

Words used to describe Mr. Horn’s feelings about the families of the two men he killed:  bad

Message received.

But Mr. Horn feels bad about his family, too.

He has placed an unwanted burden on his own family as well.

Perhaps Mr. Horn should have thought about that while on the phone with the dispatcher.  He could have avoided all of those feelings and the burden.  But he didn’t.  And now he is asking strangers to help pay for his stubborn behavior.  Were Mr. Horn as upstanding as he and his legal counsel hold him out to be, wouldn’t he be above begging?  Is the website simply a response to the outpouring of support for him?  Sure.  I see that in my comments and in the search terms used to get to this blog.  However, shouldn’t Mr. Horn be aware of the type of people who want to send him money?  Here’s what he believes:

The safety of our neighborhoods is a fundamental right for all citizens. Be safe and be watchful. Our homes as well as our families are worth defending. Joe believes that our future as a nation depends on safe neighborhoods for ourselves as well as our children. The tragic event that happened must be a wakeup call for all of us. He defended his neighborhood and himself. Once again Joe thanks you for reading this website.

That sounds rather political to me — assertions and slogans.

I think Mr. Horn should own up to what he did.  He killed two people.  He judged them, convicted them and executed them in a matter of minutes.  Claims he made later that the two men “came at him” aside, there’s that pesky 911 call to deal with.

Amazing Race Week 4

It’s less than an hour until showtime, and I am watching The Siege.  The two little local channels have had on some surprising movies on weekends lately. . . but I am delaying the necessary —

I was completely wrong in my predictions last week.  Well, not 100%  TK and Rachel got off-track a couple of times, but Lorena’s utter meltdown was, well almost painful to watch.

From the previews I have seen, it looks like the blondies yield Jason and Lorena.  Despite that, I still think J&L sill stay in the race, TK and Rachel come in first and the father daughter team get eliminated.

With the ‘success’ I had last week, that’s worth about nothing.  But if I am right, I will crow about it 🙂

Later:  One hour delay. 60 minutes does The Eagles.  Mute ON.

I found Chris Baker

for anyone who is interested.   He’s guest hosting at this station, KFI AM in Los Angeles.  The website has a listen live link.  I might check into it on Monday.  I’m trying to firgure out how I can send Baker an email so I can ask him what it’s like to work with Jesus Christ — who apparently has a gig  at the station on Sunday mornings from 6-9.  Curious.

ADDED:  Well, it looks like Baker just got a try-out for the short Thanksgiving week.  While his name is still listed as a guest host, he’s not.

And Another Gun Story

This one is from Dallas:

A man shot and killed a 15-year-old boy in east Oak Cliff early Friday during a road rage incident in which each pulled a gun on the other.

Anthony Gray, 30, told police he was heading home along Marsalis Avenue about 3:45 a.m. when the teenager, Frank Vega, cut him off in a 2004 Cadillac.

The two exchanged words at the stoplight where Marsalis meets Saner Avenue. Either at the stoplight or soon after, both men pulled out handguns. Mr. Gray fired multiple shots, and a bullet hit the teenager in the chest.

From the story in the Chronicle:

“We don’t know who displayed a weapon first, but both were armed, and we believe it could be a case of self-defense,” said Sgt. Bruce McDonald.


Authorities say the teenager did not fire his weapon.

“It’s sad that we have a 15-year-old out on the street at that time of the morning armed,” McDonald said.

Ok, the officer has a point wrt a 15 year old having a gun, but given it was the Friday after Thanksgiving and losts of stores were opening ridiculously early (people were camping out in line etc.), I don’t see why the time is so unuasual.

My problem is the same as always.  Here, again, we have people attempting to solve their problems by using guns.

Another Gun Story

Perhaps this is an isolated incident.  Perhaps all of the facts are not in.  One thing is true.  A young woman is dead.

A woman who was chasing her dog was fatally shot by a neighbor after the dog ran through the neighbor’s property, police said.

Posey County Sheriff James Folz said Melinda Lindauer apparently was trying to shoot the dog, which had ventured on her property. Instead, the bullet struck 29-year-old Nicole Stroud, who was visiting her grandmother’s home yesterday.

Stroud was pronounced dead at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.

Another report:

Officers arrested Linda Lindauer on preliminary charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide in Stroud’s death.

Police say Lindauer apparently was trying to shoot the dog. Instead, the bullet struck Stroud, who was visiting her grandmother’s home for the day.

Perhaps Michael Berry will blog about this, too.


It’s my favorite holiday, but not for the reasons one might think.  First off, my little family gets together.  There aren’t many of us, but that doesn’t matter.  My nieces are still young enough to truly be fun and we enjoy food and games.  There are no gifts involved, so that bitter jealousy doesn’t usually come up (like it does at Christmas) over stuff.  Mostly though, it is the one day (there are others, of course) that I get to think about how, despite all the crappy day to day things, I am thankful for my family.

Usually, I am responsible for the potatoes.  One year, I mashed them.  Another year, I got those fingerling potatoes (but was warned not to tell my nieces what they were called).  Yet another year, I added horseradish and sour cream. 

I’ve been back home for about 4 hours, so I can finally write about it.  I decided to do creamed potatoes because I had the cream!  I put about eight potatoes through the glorious Magimix 3150and then boiled them for 8 minutes.  After draining them, I mixed the potatoes with the cream and some Parmesan cheese that I grated in the glorious Magimix 3150!  They baked in the oven for 30 minutes.

I went over to the Kroger on Red Bluff (in Pasadena) hoping to buy another turkey for 37 cents a pound (I have one already that I will cook tomorrow) for the puppy girls.  No luck.  There was not a single turkey in the store — not even the slightly more expensive ones.  Actually, virtually all of the meat was gone from the meat department.  Opportunity lost, I guess.

At times it is difficult to stay cheerful on Thanksgiving.  I was reasonably successful until the bitter end.  Mom and sis were in full ‘we work harder than anyone on the planet/where are they (my brother, sister-in-law and nieces) mode.  My sister naps while we wait for them to show up and then begrudges my sister-in-law’s nap after we have dinner.   She also is markedly upset that the in-laws have already done the turkey-made-with-hand-print thing with the girls earlier in the day.  She almost loses it when she finds out that my brother — traitor! — has taught the in-laws our family’s super-duper secret card game.  Sigh.

I am funny, per usual.  My oldest niece decides that I am weird, or rather ‘werd’ as she wrote it down.  After she’s said that for the hundredth time, I suggest that she ask my mom/granny about that.  Mom/granny, under slight duress, agrees with me that I am not weird.  Just funny ha ha.   That same niece hasn’t figured out the difference between being a good card player and cheating.  I have faith that she will eventually.  We all learned from the pro — my mom — the best card/42 player EVAR.  Mom even made some moves today that reminded me of her past glory at larger family gatherings — when more of our family was alive.

Middle niece was under the weather and kept to herself/slept most of the time.  She’s still shy, until she remembers were both middle kids and have a connection.  I have to make that connection with her each time.  I do it through telling stories.  She’s got a great imagination.

The littlest one is a riot.  At one point, I was looking for each person’s placemat — we made our own this year — and I asked, into the air, where’s granny’s?  Littlest one didn’t catch the ‘s’, pointed over my shoulder and said, “She’s there!”  And so she was.    Littlest one also caused a bit of jealousy later by simply wanting to play with freaking BARBIES.  Older sisters were ugly about it, per usual.  Later my sweet girl rocked herself in my grandmother’s rocker.  With a couple of non-Barbie dolls, of course.

Kid Nation, the Weather, and Lightning!

OMG — Kid Nation council vote was incredible!  Greg and Blaine voted in.  The town will burn!

The lightning is pretty amazing and scary for puppy girls.  The thunder is rattling the windows.  And here comes the rain.

OMG — DK joins Greg and Blaine in a textbook “training” exercise.  This is really bad.

The green district meets, Michael apologizes for not pulling his people out of the exercise, and Greg and Blaine eavesdrop on them.  Now that’s META.

The green district is shaken, but they seem to be together.  Where’s Mike of the red district?

There he is . . . getting dissed by DK.  What a mess.  Anjay gave Greg the answers, so blue district gets upper class again.

Good ending.

Also, good luck and safe travelling to all this holiday weekend.