Catch And Release

Today’s handy criminal hint: When attempting to pull the old steal a car from a dealership and then trade it in at another dealership scam, it is helpful to keep in mind that thing I just said about *another* dealership.

According to First Coast News and some other Florida outlets, police in Jacksonville responded to Lake City Chrysler Dodge Jeep, where the scene above played out, as it does every day. But this time was different.

When the dealership’s sales staff logged the VIN on the man’s trade-in, they discovered that the car had been stolen from that very dealership just days prior.

During a chat with police, the 50-year-old man who forgot that part aledgedly admitted to the crime. He was charged with grand theft auto, dealing in stolen property, criminal mischief and petit theft.

It’s Full Steam Ahead! Now Go Sit In The Parking Lot

Businesses returning to normal capacity will not be inspected for social distancing
Was there confusion over this? Why, if so? It sounds pretty clear to me unless the new dictionaries or the Ford government have different definitions of the words full and capacity than the ones I’ve been using all my life.

The reason we had capacity limits in the first place was to make the distancing requirements possible. So if we aren’t limiting capacity anymore, why would you expect to have to distance people? And how would you even do that? Repurpose broom closets and washrooms? Maybe you might have to sort out whether you’re operating one of the high risk establishments, but once that’s done, where’s the problem?

If the confusion is on the customer end, that should also be simple enough to fix. If you’re one of the businesses that either has to or is choosing to keep limits in place, put up a sign saying so. That should do it for all but the sort of person who has probably graced some of our less flattering pages in the past.

If this is all somehow harder than it looks, let me know. But I keep seeing this coming up as news and I seriously don’t get it.

Businesses that were given the all-clear on Monday to return to normal capacity levels will not have to worry about inspectors checking for proper social distancing.
As of Monday, establishments across the province that check for proof of vaccination before letting patrons inside — this includes bars, restaurants, casinos and gyms — no longer have to operate at lowered capacities.
“Capacity limits and physical distancing requirements are no longer required at the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required,” said Kitchener spokesperson Bethany Rowland.
“City bylaw staff continue to follow directives from the province and are not proactively inspecting facilities where these limits have been lifted.”

Doling Out Apologies

It’s not every day that the NDP borrows a page from the Conservative playbook.

Ontario’s New Democrats have apologized for a social media advertisement that mistook one Progressive Conservative legislator for another.

The ad that ran in April said Premier Doug Ford and Tory legislator Kaleed Rasheed had paid sick days at a time when many workers in the province did not.

The ad used a photo of Progressive Conservative representative Sheref Sabawy instead of Rasheed.
The premier’s office called Wednesday for the opposition party to apologize for the “racially insensitive” mistake.
NDP provincial director Lucy Watson said in a statement that the party takes responsibility for the mistake and regrets “any confusion it may have caused.”

Hang on. They swiftly owned up and apologized for doing the racist thing? That part doesn’t sound like the Conservative playbook at all.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford refused to apologize for comments he made about immigrants coming to the province “to collect the dole,” instead saying that he is “pro immigration.”
Speaking to reporters in Tecumseh, Ont. on Monday, Ford said there was a labour shortage in the province and urged people to come to Ontario to work.
“We’re in such desperate need of people from around the world,” he said.

But then the premier specified that he only wanted “hard-working” people to come to Ontario.
“You come here like every other new Canadian. You work your tail off,” Ford said. “If you think you’re coming to collect the dole and sit around, it’s not going to happen. Go somewhere else.”
‘Collecting the dole’ is a term used in some countries to refer to receiving unemployment benefits.

Not only did he not admit that perhaps he could have phrased that one a little better, he decided to go the some of my best friends are… route that has worked so well for so many and in the process even got in a plug for that barbecue rally thing he does.

“I have been pro immigration from day one,” he said during Question Period. “We are short 290,000 people. I was the only government who wrote letter after letter to the prime minister saying we need more people.” “All you have to do is come to a ‘Ford Fest’ and you’ll see the support from people around the world.”

Just a few more months and hopefully this will all be over.

Did Somebody Say McStabbin’?

Everything about this is odd.

You’ve got a guy complaining to a security guard about the quality of the service he received instead of to the people who provided the service. You have some random customer basically becoming a security guard so that he can protect the real security guard. You’ve got a fight that spills from the inside of the building to the outside. You’ve got a stabbing. And all of this because somebody went a little overboard with the McSugar spoon. Oh, and that somebody, who maybe you might want to argue started this whole thing by not knowing when to say when, managed to stay out of the ensuing madness entirely! Good for him, I suppose. Not involved in a stabbing is where I would want to end up, too.

The 57-year-old victim was eating at the McDonald’s on Eighth Ave. near W. 35th St. at 8:20 a.m. Tuesday when the suspect complained to a security guard that his coffee was too sweet, cops said.

When the diner came to the defense of the security guard, a brawl erupted between the two customers and spilled out onto the street outside, where the suspect pulled a blade and stabbed the victim in the chest, police said.

EMS took the victim to an area hospital where he was treated for a minor injury.
The suspected stabber, described as a bearded man with glasses carrying several tote bags, ran off and was still being sought Wednesday.

Just Do It Already

Merge Kitchener and Waterloo, 292 people tell the province in survey
I didn’t grow up here, but I grew up close enough to here that I always had at least a passing familiarity with how things were here thanks to all the local news and visiting. And one of the things I could never get my head around was why Kitchener and Waterloo weren’t one city. They were laid out as if they were one big thing and everyone called it KW as if it was, but yet, here you all were, pretending that somehow they were substantially different and could never, ever merge.

The nine years I’ve lived here proper have done nothing to solve this mystery. In fact, the more I learn about how connected and collaborative the two really are, it’s only deepened the confusion.

And then there’s Carin, who knew virtually nothing of KW until she started working in it.

There’s a story she likes to tell about when we first moved to town.

One day, she was out running some errands. She had Blindsquare open on her phone to help her not get lost in this foreign land. At one point during her walk, it announced something and said, “Kitchener.” Seconds later it pointed out another location, but this time, ended by announcing “Waterloo.” She was convinced that either the GPS on her phone was acting up or that the maps her app was relying on were broken. When I explained to her that no, everything was working as intended, she couldn’t believe it. Were her left and right foot truly governed momentarily by two city councils and paying for a separate set of services? Yes, yes they were. She, like any sensible person, soon thereafter came to the conclusion that this was weird and kind of dumb. “You’re right,” I told her. “But don’t try telling this to any locals. I may not see you again until they fish you out of the Grand.”

Amalgamation has always been a tough subject here, but I’ve never been given a reason for fighting it that goes much beyond “waaaa waaaaa tradition, heritage waaaaa waaaaa.” Now and then somebody will briefly float something about how it won’t save that much or will otherwise be more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s rarely well defined and we inevitably end up back at we just can’t.

Sure, there’s something to be said for hometown pride. I don’t understand it myself because I’ve bounced around too much to truly be proud of a single place and I have no idea who would try to claim me if I ever do something worthwhile, but there’s being proud and there’s being stubborn. And this Kitchener vs. Waterloo thing is one of the best living examples of costly stubbornness I’ve ever seen. Acting like the two shouldn’t merge at this point is a bit like using two pots to make one soup.

Sweet Home Alabama, Lord We’re Losing To The Flu

Not a lot of good news right here if you live in the state of Alabama or have any sort of attachment to it.

Not only are people of all ages dying of preventable illness left and right thanks to a barely over 40% COVID vaccination rate (41.6 at the time this article was published), but statistics are starting to come out from the times before it was quite so preventable, and woe.

According to 2020 data presented by State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, for the first time in history, the death rate has outpaced the birth rate. It’s not close, either.

“Here in Alabama, we continue to see deaths at a really high rate. … 2020 is going to be the first year that we know of in the history of our state where we actually had more deaths than births — our state literally shrunk in 2020,” Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris reported during a press conference on Friday.
In 2020, data showed that 64,714 Alabama residents died and only 57,641 were born. Even in World War II or the 1918 flu pandemic, there was never a time that deaths exceeded births, Harris added.

“It’s certainly possible that could happen this year as well if we continue at the same rate that we’re seeing now,” Harris noted.

Let me say this one more time. In the entire recorded history of Alabama, this is the first time this has happened. Alabama, in case you aren’t good at geography, is a State in America. America, in case you aren’t good at news or history either, is a country that loves few things more than sending folks to meet their doom at the slightest hint of international provocation.

But don’t worry, it’s just a cold. Probably a fake one dreamed up by Democrats. Freedom!

We’re Finally Secure

If all is going according to plan, none of this should mean a whole lot to any of you. I’m posting it partly as a test and partly because lord only knows when it comes to things going according to plan around here.

Anyway, I’ve finally gotten around to switching the site over to HTTPS from regular old HTTP. This should require you to do absolutely nothing. Things should just work. Note I said should. If for some reason you find that they don’t, let Carin or I know and we’ll do what we can.

What In The Heck Is A Person-On-Person Robbery?

I have to ask because Googling isn’t helpful and because the blurb that goes with the headline just sounds like any other robbery to me. The girls that got arrested for it weren’t even charged with some exotic flavour of robbery. It just says robbery. I’m guessing this is either another example of that annoying cop talk (think ” fled at a high rate of speed”) or the poor web content writer trying to make his assignment seem a little more important. My money’s on cop talk, especially since CTV just parroted this police news release, which also doesn’t answer the question.

Regional police were called to the Sunview Street and University Avenue West scene around 11:10 p.m. Monday.
They say a victim was approached by two suspects who brandished knives, demanded personal property, and then fled on foot.

Play Ball! Keep Playing! Faster! Move It! Go!

I talked a little bit about the length of playoff baseball games this morning, and now here comes the Score to basically prove me right.

I think they get a little too hung up on the amount of foul balls vs. balls in play, (watching a pitcher and hitter get into a battle of skills that becomes a struggle for one of them to win can actually be a very compelling and suspenseful aspect of the game), but they’re right about more here than they aren’t. We have absolutely got to keep these assholes in the goddamn box, for instance.

One issue is the number of batters who step out of the box between every pitch to adjust batting gloves, take practice swings, or go through other rituals. Batters didn’t do that in the 1980s. A few years ago, Grant Brisbee, then of SB Nation, did a granular study comparing the pace of a 1984 game versus one from 2014. The two games had very similar characteristics: score, number of pitches thrown, number of hits, and number of pitching changes. The 2014 contest was 35 minutes longer.
During my stint as a beat reporter covering the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014, I used a stopwatch during one game to record every time a batter stepped out of the box with both feet.
In that nine-inning game, which took 3 hours and 37 minutes, batters were outside the box for a combined 39:51. There was likely a margin of error with my thumb on a stopwatch, but you get the point. Batters stepped out 190 times that night for an average length of 12.6 seconds.

The article also notes these very disconcerting facts.

From 1960 to 1990, the average time of a nine-inning postseason game increased by 20 minutes. But in the 30-plus years since 1990, it’s increased by 40 minutes.
The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros opened their ALCS series with a nine-inning Game 1 that took 4 hours and 7 minutes to complete. It was outdone by Game 2, which took 4:08. Game 3? A brisk 3:16. Game 4? A not-so-brisk 4:04.

Jesus god almighty.

Yes, one of the things that makes baseball what it is is the lack of a clock. But I think we’ve reached the point where it’s safe to say that the sport in its major league form can no longer be trusted to use that freedom responsibly. It’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to do much about the commercial breaks that seem to get longer every year, but there are things that can and should be done about what’s happening on the field. Players, coaches, old crotchety commentators and even some fans aren’t going to like it, but we need to start strictly enforcing the rules adopted and then quickly forgotten in 2015 and make some serious movement on whatever good ideas are still in the pipeline. That automatic baserunner in extra innings thing can continue to die in a horrific accident, though. That one sucks.

Reach Out And Touch No One

I’m sure this will end up having a practical use or two, but just reading about it is giving me the fuckin’ heebie-jeebies.

The ability to shake the hand of a person half way around the world? Haaaaard no. If the thing I’m supposed to be touching isn’t an honest to god tangible thing, I don’t want to touch it. There’s enough shit in this world that isn’t as it seems. I don’t need any more. The ability to feel the things around me is something that I should be able to take for granted, even as a blind person. It’s a very large part of my sense of reality, and that’s something I don’t want manipulated, please and thank you. If I want to immerse myself in something that isn’t real, I’ll flip on the TV or read a book. That’s plenty good enough for me.

Researchers have developed a hologram that allows you to reach out and “feel” it — not unlike the holodecks of “Star Trek.”
University of Glasgow scientists have created hologram system that uses jets of air known as “aerohaptics” to replicate the sensation of touch, according to Ravinder Daahiya, a researcher who worked on the project. He said that the air jets can allow you to feel “people’s fingers, hands and wrists.” The team published a paper of their findings in Advanced Intelligent Systems.
“In time, this could be developed to allow you to meet a virtual avatar of a colleague on the other side of the world and really feel their handshake,” he said in his piece for The Conversation. “It could even be the first steps towards building something like a holodeck.”