Memories from a 3rd Grade Classroom

Waiting for the bus today, I was reminded of my third grade teacher. At the time (in third grade, not waiting for the bus), I was living in Miami (Florida) and attending St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

Anywho, I only have a few strong memories of my 3rd grade teacher. On the first, she had a thing for a particular time of day: 11:11 (AM or PM, though AM was the only one applicable to us). We’d take a one minute break everyday at 11:11. The second was that my best friend and I were totally the teacher’s pets. Thirdly, she got hit by a car.

We had a substitute teacher for the latter half of my third grade year (Mrs. Bell, who was really old, hard of hearing, and bit slow on the uptake if I recall correctly). Right. We saw a picture of Miss Summers a week or two after she’d been in the hospital. In the picture (which was apparently taken shortly after the accident) she was crying. We learned that she wasn’t crying due to pain, but because her tear ducts were damaged by shards of her windshield.

So, I’ve always carried around this image of someone crying, but oddly knowing that it wasn’t a symptom of what had happened to her.

Upon finally boarding the bus, I realized that several years later, my friend Alex (the aforementioned partner in teacher’s petness) lost his brother to a drunk driver. We’d already moved several hours north, but we drove down to console them. It hit their father especially hard, since he was a police officer. I don’t think they ever caught the guy.

Of course, it’s hard to forget that my own mother got hit by a car. The three together make kind of an interesting line on a graph. Like, as I get older, a new person gets hit by a car – and they’re always closer to me than the last person.


Papers on My Desk

I’ve got a stack of papers currently sitting on my desk:

  • Renfro R. and Deckro R. A Social NetWork Analysis of the Iranian Government. 69th MORS Symposium.
  • Wu F. et al. Information Flow in Social Groups. CNLS conference on Networks (Santa Fe, NM, May 2003).
  • Newman, M.E.J. Fast Algorithm for detecting community structure in networks. Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan.
  • Union of Concerned Scientists. Scientific Integrity in Policymaking. February 2004.
  • Record, J. Bounding the global war on terrorism. Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College.

A long time ago (well, last week) – part 1

It was a dark and stormy night. Wait. No. It wasn’t stormy. It was dark, however. And a little snowy. Not actually stormy per se.

Right. Where was I? Oh, yes… It was a dark and not especially stormy night (I bet that killed the mood)

I was just returning from trygve’s (that would be a link, but someone doesn’t have website there anymore – I won’t mention any names, though). I was all set to go home and sleep early. Upon arriving I noticed my bike was not where it usually was. I did what any sane person would do: I walked around thinking “maybe somebody moved it” for about 20 minutes.

I finally realized I was right. Someone had moved my bike. Unfortunately, they moved it out of the building. Well, after using some impolite words for a bit (on AIM no less – not a family service, I guess), I called the police.

Eventually (actually, within like 15 minutes) an officer arrived at my place. He took my statement, and then I took him down to the garage so he could look at stuff. He found a bike which looked out of place (it was on the floor instead of hung on the wall, like the rest). On a hunch, he called in the serial number off of the bike. Lo and behold: it was stolen. The theory at this point is that he rode in on this brokeass stolen bike, and then stole my bike. Now, while my bike isn’t what I’d call “brokeass,” it is in need of some basic maintenance. You know, like air in the tires.

Then, the officer decides we should circle the building and see if we can find tracks. I go one way, he goes the other. We meet at the front of the building where we find (you guessed it!) tracks! Snow is a wonderful, wonderful thing. We start following them, since they’re right there (it’s like an online comic that way – you can’t stop – and then you’re all sad when there’s no more). We go for about a mile, when I have a sudden realization: It’s freezing outside. And me in my t-shirt and my soaked through dock martin’s are not so much enjoying it. The Officer called a squad car, which I then rode in as we followed the cop who was following the tracks (get that?).

Now, for those of you following along at home, this is the 2nd time I’ve ridden in the back of a squad car (though, only a few of my readers are able to guess when that was).

We tracked the bike to a gas station where apparently our quarry stopped to put air in the tires. An officer even saw him do it – maybe 20 minutes before we got there (hot on the trail!). By this point, we’ve involved more of the SHPD – we’ve got 3 cars and 6 cops as we cross from Shaker Heights into Cleveland. That’s when this became an interagency affair – Shaker Heights is communicating with Cleveland Police – officers are running amok (you think I’m kidding, I’m not!). We trace the bike trails all the way to a house. Which houses a guy with a criminal record. Some officers bang on the door. Others take pictures of the bike tracks.

After pounding on the door for like 30 minutes, we give up. a cleveland cop stakes out the house, though. The SHPD takes me back home, and tells me they’ll likely call in the morning.

The cops sent a guy out right before I went to bed – he was from S.W.A.T. and was there to take finger prints off of the other stolen bike. Unfortunately, his tape froze together, and he promised to send a forensics guy out in the morning.

Finally, I went to sleep.

This is where we put the commercial break. between the first half of Law & Order and the second. See, that was the police half. It continued while I slept, with the police getting a warrant, finding the bike, returning it, and getting a confession out of the perp.

I can only imagine what the second half is like. I imagine there was a court appearance where ADA Carmichael is arguing that the defendant be held without bail.

Also, former ADA Claire Kincaid returns to visit. Mostly because I like her too. Wait. Shit. Claire died in her last episode. OK… (thinkfast). umm. damn.

The defendant is a flight risk, your honor. He’s an admitted bicycle thief with a record. He may flee the country. On a bicycle. A stolen bicycle.

And then the defense attorney will be all, “Your Honor, my client is not a flight risk. He’s an upstanding member of society who… umm. cleans bikes. Yes.

Finally the judge puts the smack (or is that gavel?) down and says, “Bail is set at $100,000!”

During trial, the defense tries to say that I forced him to steal the bike by storing it in a locked garage. In the end, McCoy prevails and the remorseless bike thief is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

OK, well. Clearly at somepoint we deviated from reality. I leave where as an exercise to the reader.

Funny thing is, the week really didn’t get better after that.