Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Charleston Going to the Dogs?

An article in this morning's Gazette stirs up all kinds of emotions in yours truly. The main subject is the tethering of dogs, but it touches on a few other doggy issues as well like pooper scooping and vicious mutts. The one thing it does not address is barking dogs. And that is what I am most interested in.

I am interested because I have a neighbor with a very, very large and very, very loud dog. Since I live in one of those older neighborhoods where houses are built ten feet or so apart, the dog is a real problem. When it barks I hear it. Whether it's inside the house or outside in the yard, and whether or not I am inside my house or in my yard, when it barks I hear it. This fact is made all the worse by the fact that the dog is not only loud, but completely insane. It barks at any stimulus, real or imagined. At anytime, day or night, it will suddenly and without any provocation other than that which exists in its own evil soul, will bolt outside through its barn-sized doggy door and bark like there's no tomorrow and it's his job to warn humanity of impending doom. The proximity of the houses makes it impossible to ignore or escape.

When I am in bed at 3:00AM and the dog decides to have one of its barking fits there is no possible way that anyone with normal hearing ability sleeping 20 or 30 feet away can stay asleep. Yes, I've tried earplugs; yes, I have tried white noise generators; yes, I have very much considered canineicide, but, so far, I haven't succumbed to this temptation. But I can't guarantee that some night, fueled by sleep deprivation, I might throw the dogs some kibbles and bits of cyanide.

The City of Charleston has a dog barking ordinance that reads:

No person shall own or keep within the city any dog which shall, by barking, howling, squalling, crying or in any other manner whatsoever, disturb the
comfort or quiet of any reasonable person.

Now I am a reasonable person, at least I was before this dog showed up next door. I have spoken to my neighbor but they are not disturbed by the barking AND they are not reasonable persons, so apparently the ordinance doesn't apply to them. I have spoken to the police, but they say they need to witness the dog barking and I am convinced that the only trick the dog knows is "Shut Up When The Police Are Around" because every time I have had the opportunity to demonstrate the problem to police officer the dog is completely silent. This had caused me to seriously consider adopting a policeman to come and live with us.

So, when I read this story in the paper, bleary-eyed from another 4:45AM wake up call from the devil-beast next door, I find little compassion in my weary soul for dogs that are tethered. Instead of debating this matter further, I wish our City leaders would address the tethering of dog owners. Especially those who live next door to me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Live Blogging Jerry Waters Radio Show

10:05 Oh My God! It's Jackie Lantern and The Film Geek on Jerry Waters!

10:06 - Jerry reads from this blog...again - still didn't give out the URL!

10:08 - Jackie trying to explain a blog to Pete Thaw: "Well, imagine an abacus..." LOL!

10:15 - Jackie says that everyone who knows him recognizes he is independently wealthy! LMAO! Jerry says he looks like someone who is going to hold up a 7-11!

10:24 - No, it wasn't me that asked to be on the show. I can't imagine who it might have been.

10:25 - Raging Red gets some love from Jerry. "I think she's a lawyer." Duh!

10:26 - Jerry's going to post a link to the HotDogBlog. A guy on the phone wants to be start a hot dog cart business. Film Geek asks "what is everything on a hot dog?" Stanton is beaming, I'm sure.

10: 28 - Commercial break. Good show so far. Thought: Jackie, can a link list be added to wvbloggers as a central clearing house to send people looking for local bloggers?

10:38 - More love for the Hot Dog Blog. Stanton is a "Media Darling."

10:39 - Caller questions anonymity of bloggers. Is she calling for an investigation of blogger?! Jerry says only 2 or 3 are worthwile. Most are rants and raves. Not news. Somebody mention feeds and subscriptions, please!

10:43 - So far the callers seem to be interested in bloggers and blogging. I expect that we'll get some traffic as a result if Jerry will give out a URL. How about Oncee? His URL is manageable to communicate orally and he has an awesome blogroll.


10:50 - Jerry Acknowledges this live blogging effort. STILL DOESN"T GIVE A URL!!!

10:53 - Film Geek and Jerry discuss Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers." Film Geek is a "flaming liberal!" according to Jerry. Film Geek's review is here.

First hour is in the books. Topics were limited to blogging, bloggers, David Anderson and the Sandy Brae auction. Film Geek seems to be hogging the mic. Poor Jackie can't get a word in edgewise. I'd like to hear more about the source of Jackie's wealth, but I suspect Jerry's right and it comes from a life of crime. Very entertaining radio, at least for me.

11:05 - Finally gives a URL. But to the wvhotdogs.com site. Maybe folks can link to blogs from there.

11:08 - Jerry raises the prospect of making money on blogs. Film Geeks says he would if he knew how! Amen, brother! Maybe Jackie's figured it out?

11:12 - Regular caller and uber-con from Lincoln County, Bryant, calls to talk about a movie he hasn't seen. Jerry sounds reasonable by comparison.

11:16 - Jackie finally gets to talk. Says he blogs about the "most rediculous things ever." Funny, he doesn't sound like an independantly wealthy man.

11:23 - Jerry backhands the radiothon on WCHS and asks for donations to his personal benefit. They are raising money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital on the other station.

11:30 - Heading into the last half-hour. I wish Jerry would talk about the great blogs like Rick Lee, Downtown WV, Oncee, Donutbuzz, etc. There really is a good diversity of Charleston/Huntington bloggers that is not being represented. Some really great writers, too, like Sharon Lyn, that people would enjoy reading.

11:35 - Jerry reads an email from on the air from Scarlett. She says bloggers aren't all about ranting and raving, but connecting with people of like interests. Well said! Jerry plugs the hot dog site again.

All in all a fun show. Thanks Jerry, for acknowledging our meaningless existence. Thanks Film Geek and Jackie for representing us well.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bloggers on Radio - Friday

Jerry Waters has announced that he will be hosting some local bloggers on his radio talk show tomorrow. I know I'll be tuning in to see who actually shows up, because I can't think of any local bloggers that really fit Jerry's show, which is mostly about:

A. Homeless people using the library.
B. How terrible we have it in "This State."
C. Parachuting (including BASE Jumping).
D. Obesity is worse than smoking.
E. Estonia.
F. Birds.

Even though he's pretty predictable it's still the most entertaining local talk show on the air in Charleston. Jerry's show is on from 10:00 to noon on 950 AM.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kanawha County School Board Reinstates Pratt Principal

David Anderson, the principal at Pratt Elementary who was arrested for cocaine possession last year was cleared to return to work at tonight's school board meeting. He was found not guilty of the charges last week by a Kanawha County jury.

The vote tonight was split. Becky Jordan said this was a case of bad judgement and that everybody makes mistakes.

Anderson allegedly was asked to hold on to a package by a friend when they were confronted by the police at 3:00 AM in downtown Charleston - several counts of bad judgement in my view. Pratt teacher Kristina Elson was also with Anderson when he was arrested.

Oh yeah, I want my kid to go to their school. If I had a kid at Pratt Elementary I would exercise good judgement and take him elsewhere before the faculty and administration made another mistake.

Bill Ragland was livid after tonight's meeting. He said , quite correctly I believe, that if this had been a a 16 year-old black male that he "would be eating his lunch at Mount Olive."

We should count our blessings. It wouldn't matter if Suddenlink Cable went off the air and all of the movie theaters closed down; As long as we have the Kanawha County School Board on duty we will always be entertained.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

But, where are we to go for our alligator nuggets and raspberry iced tea?

I'm sad to report Hallelujah Wings has shut its doors forever.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Last Minute Valentine Scramble

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. These guys pick through the dregs of Rite Aid's Valentine cards late on February 13th.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Rio Grande Charleston & The Chirp

I love Mexican food. I've never had a bad meal at any Mexican place around Charleston, but I really, really love Rio Grande's Mexican fare.

I have been a fan of Rio Grande for years. Since they opened the first Charleston location, on Capitol Street where Banana Joe's is (or was? What is it now?). Rio Grande is always my first choice for dinner when I want to have a great meal. I have spoken to dozens of people who feel as I do. I love the chips and salsa. I really love Combination Dinner #1 (Las enchiladas DE pollo, por favor). And while I don't imbibe, I have heard from many that the Margaritas are very good and very potent.

The atmosphere is very nice, and as authentic as you can expect in downtown Appalachia, with la musica playing at appropriate volume to give it an authentic Mexican feel. Mexican-themed murals and colorful sombreros and pinatas provide the visuals. All in all, a great place to eat.

Except for that damned chirp.

If you are a Rio Grande regular and have ears, you have to know what I am talking about. Every thirty seconds a smoke alarm, located in the dining area nearest the kitchen, chirps. The chirp means that the battery on this hard-wired smoke detector needs replacing. It has needed replacing for at least seven years. Every time I eat there, once per month on average, I hear it. I can't keep from hearing it. It is like an electronic version of the Chinese water torture. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

How can the people that work there ignore this infernal auditory vexation? [chirp] Do they become immune to it after a while? Have they learned to just tune it out? [chirp] Could it be that they don't know what it is? Like Jed Clampett trying to find that music that played ever so often but was interrupted by someone knocking on the door each time he looked for it? [chirp] Do restaurant employees come in each day and say "¡Hay ese ruido loco otra vez!"?

Do firemen ever eat there? It seems like one of them would [chirp] tell the manager that the battery needs changed? I mean, it's been at least 7 freakin' years! Wouldn't someone have brought it to their attention by now?

Maybe it's an amusement for them. Maybe they have a pool [chirp] every night where they bet on what time someone will crack under the pressure and try to tell someone about it. I've noticed that the waiters will stand around in a circle speaking Spanish and laugh. Maybe they are telling stories [chirp] of the classic ways that the locals have tried to to tell them about the problem, exaggerating the Appalachian drawl in their mocking: "'scuse me, amigo, but yer battry in your smoke thingy is a goner," they might say and then throw back their heads and laugh. Of course [chirp] the guy who won the pool laughs loudest.

One of these days I am going to walk in with a stepladder [chirp] and a 9 volt Duracell. I'll dress in some nondescript coveralls with "Ralph" emblazoned on the left chest panel. They'll ask me what I'm doing and I'll just say, in broken Spanish, "Soy del departamento del reemplazo de la batería" and go straight to the smoke detector and set up my ladder. Before they can find the manager I'll zip up the ladder, take out the seven year old battery (if it will even come out at this point - probably welded into place by the corrosion), pop in the new copper top, slide down and fold up the ladder in one smooth motion and out the door I'll go without another word. I hope I can keep myself from looking back, to see if the employees have leaned out the front door watching me go. "¿Quién era ese tipo loco?" they will ask each other blankly as I walk into the sunset.

That would be so great! But I might have to have a few Margaritas before [chirp] I get the nerve.