Monthly Archives: April 2012

Agency Personalities and the Cartagena Stupidity

We’ve heard a lot of quoting of the “rough men” thing, and that’s fair enough.

But the collective personalities of our various armed forces are not the same, as those of federal law enforcement agencies. They are not supposed to be exactly like local police departments, either.

The Department of the Treasury isn’t supposed to be hiring “wild and crazy guys” for the Secret Service. Treasury agents are supposed to be fairly introverted, compared to the other federal law enforcement agencies. Most of them are supposed to have accounting backgrounds, as opposed to the few traditionally hired by the FBI. They are supposed to get really into doing fairly abstract things, like looking for counterfeiters and bank hackers, or guarding American dignitaries of the Executive Branch at all times. The exciting stuff they do is supposed to be things like going out to their practice area and practicing defensive driving in souped-up limos, or practicing out on the range to better their amazing gun skills. Other than that, they’re supposed to be the kind of guys who relax by reading a book and having a beer, either at home alone or with their wife and kids. Wild and crazy is supposed to be a backyard barbecue with other Secret Service guys, where they drink multiple beers.

That was the Secret Service culture, because Treasury agents had to be incorruptible: not interested in bribes of money, drink, drugs, sex, or anything else; and not open to being blackmailed. This saved the Secret Service a lot of time and trouble. But now they’ve lost their tough reputation all around the world, and have advertised that they’re just as open to blackmail and bribes as a bunch of Banana Republic bodyguards auctioning off a coup.

So yeah, there’s plenty of reason to be disturbed about the Secret Service getting up to such shenanigans (especially the guys who passed out with hookers in their rooms, which was definitely a breach of security, and could have meant that their weapons and the President’s schedule walked out the door). Apparently, in the last twenty years or so, the Treasury Department has either changed its hiring practices, or the Secret Service has purposefully rejected its own institutional culture.

(The military culture can include “wild and crazy” for a lot of jobs, but I guarantee that as soon as someone approaches a job needing super-duper clearance, they start expecting said person to start acting much more circumspectly.)

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Dictionary of American Regional English: Love and Hate

Julie D. over at Happy Catholic has been posting about the fun Twitter feed from the Dictionary of American Regional English. And it is indeed awesome.

But one of their example words was the Kentucky word “hardboot”, which they define as “someone interested in horses, especially a horse trainer.”

Argh argh argh argh no. Not unless clueless people have been appropriating the word.

“Hardboots” are the tough, old, experienced horse trainers and horsemen (and sometimes horsewomen), who seem to know everything, and who are maybe a little hidebound. You don’t get to be a “hardboot” by taking an interest, or even by being a horse trainer. You get to be a hardboot by spending thirty or forty hard years working with horses, mostly for thoroughbred racing. And Kentucky hardboots are supposed to be even more hardcore than those elsewhere. Their training and handling methods are supposed to be old-fashioned, and he’s not afraid to stand in a wet field or on a muddy track and get dirty.

As one horse racing site’s glossary defines it, “A Kentucky horseman of the old school, because of the legendary amount of mud caked on his boots.”

It’s not necessarily a nice term, either. Not dishonorable, mind you, and you might be pleased if other people called you “one of the hardboots.” But you wouldn’t call yourself a hardboot unless you were being self-deprecating. And I guarantee you that racing people from other states are always complaining about the Kentucky hardboots.

Shrug. Obviously no single reference work can cover everything, but it’s bad to see mistakes that obvious.

Here’s a lovely old Damon Runyon article, chronicling the days when Kentucky hardboots gave authentic Kentucky rebel yells.

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The Usual YouTube Lawyer Junk

Last fall, the cast of How I Met Your Mother did the “wear red shirts on Friday to remember deployed military people” thing, and they sent Soldiers’ Angels a video to put up on YouTube.

Well, Soldiers’ Angels still has the post up about it, but Twentieth Century Fox’s genius lawyers took down the video as “copyright infringement.”

I’m sure you all feel safer, now that you’re protected from piracy by not seeing Hollywood stars do something good.

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St. John, Sleeping Hero

St. Isidore is so informative! But sometimes he collects info that’s just fun and not quite so certain.

I was reading the section on St. John from De ortu et obitu patrum, because it was one of the prologues people use. Apparently in his day, he had sources saying that some people in Ephesus thought that St. John the Evangelist was not dead, but sleeping until the time of the Antichrist when the Church needed him most. The proof of this was that the grave kept getting pushed up out of the ground (what’s the opposite of subsidence?) and dust would trickle out, and people would say that was John breathing. (And yeah, Isidore is very heavy on “some people” and “they contend”. He wasn’t believing it, but he recorded it.)

This is appealingly early, when it comes to a known “King in the mountain” story.

The “Golden Legend” focuses more on the idea some people had that John was assumed into heaven in a giant flash of light (living or dead, none knew), leaving nothing behind but manna. This came from some Pseudo-Jerome thing about the Virgin Mary’s Assumption, and how John got in on the Assumption gig also.

Of course, both these legends depend on John 21:21-23, and apparently don’t credit the Lord with sarcasm. 🙂 They also had considerable legs. The Old English Martyrology knew about both stories, which is no surprise since Bede apparently had tons of Isidore to read; and it pointed out that the assumption thing could have been with John living or dead. And that’s interesting, because of course folks in the West tended later to get very insistent that Mary didn’t die before being assumed, whereas the East got very solid on that she did. If people could argue about John’s theoretical assumption, it’s not surprising that Mary would be the object of argument too. So I’m interested to find out more about this Pseudo-Jerome piece.

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Long Day

Working on Beatus. It turns out that there are MORE prologues than I’d seen, so I had to work up translations of two of them pretty quickly, and find the sources, and compare. Phew.

Looking for sources in this edition is really a pain. I can’t even tell you how much of a pain it is. I’m working with their footnote system, but I’m not enjoying it.

But the new numbering system for sections and sentences is a joy, so there’s definitely that.

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Pistol-Packing Gas Station Owner Lady

Some news stories are worthy of a full-length biography or a novel.

Check out the saga of Lulu Campbell, Georgia immigrant.

Don’t mess with those Filipino ladies!

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Things You Wouldn’t Do to a Dog

Englishman jailed for blogging for 89 days in downtown LA. It’s amazing how bureaucratic inter-agency jurisdictional nightmares like this never happen to bureaucrats. (Via Instapundit.)

There’s a plug for Catholic Charities. They’ve got a lawyer program called the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, which is apparently trying to help foreign folks in trouble. (Mostly Hispanic folks, as you can tell from the name, but other folks too.)

Once the poor guy got in touch with them through the chaplain’s office, a lot of the red tape went away and he got out.

There was a really disturbing article the other day about how many jurisdictions are charging extra fees on all sorts of court-related stuff, including charging people a fee to get a court-appointed lawyer. This article claims that a lot of people inside LA’s jail system go hungry, with extra rations for sale to those with money. Sounds very Newgate Prison to me, and not in a good way. Sounds pretty corrupt, in fact.

Jails and prisons should be Spartan, sure, but nobody should be going hungry. Everybody should know how long they’re going to be there. The way they’re running things in LA is obviously not working in any way.

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