Friday, November 30, 2007

Fighting Back, Sore Winner, -and- Bah Humbug!

Fighting Back - 72-year-old man fights off 21-year-old gang member
Sore Winner - $1 million lottery winner may have to return winnings
Bah Humbug! - Arizona governor nixes "Christmas" tree

On this day in history: November 30, 1954 - At 1 pm, an 8.5 pound stone meteorite falls from the sky and strikes Elizabeth Hulitt Hodge from Sylacauga, Alabama. The housewife was seriously bruised but survived, although the meteorite destroyed her radio.

Born on this day in history: November 30, 1947 - David Mamet (1947 - ____) dramatist, playwright, director. His films include "Speed the Plow," and "House of Games."

Scripture of the Day: "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives." (2 Peter 3:10-11)

While on my way to the office this morning, I spotted this Dodge Nitro limo.
Click to enlarge.

And here is Selina and her limo! Click to enlarge.

[While I slept] Upon arriving at my office, I unlocked the front door, stepped inside and disarmed the alarm, prayed over the office and its contents, turned on the three computer monitors, started the ISpy Web cam software, and opened Microsoft Outlook 2007. As the email downloaded, I turned on the television and satellite receiver and tuned the receiver to the Fox News Channel. I then turned on the florescent lights, unlocked and opened the central interior door, walked to the rear door, and unlocked and opened the rear door.

To my great surprise, a large tortoise sat upon the concrete in front of the rear door! Its legs and head were drawn inside its shell, and it appeared to be enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun. I did not disturb the tortoise. I thought about it, as I went about my morning routine, and I checked several times during the next few hours and found the tortoise reposed as I had found him initially.

It was a Monday, and the waste management truck comes to empty my dumpster each Monday—generally in the last hour or so of the morning. I walked to the rear of my office to push the dumpster to the alley, where it would be emptied by the waste management truck. As I walked through the rear door, I looked to the spot where the tortoise had rested and saw that he was gone. I felt a bit sad but imagined that the tortoise had moved to a more welcome environment. I pushed the dumpster to the alley and returned to my office.

As I settled into my chair and reached for my mouse, I felt something brush against my left foot. I looked down and saw the tortoise! At first, I imagined that the tortoise simply looked larger inside my office, but as I regarded him more closely, it was apparent that he was, in fact, substantially larger than he had been less than an hour before! In fact, he was so significantly larger that my initial observation was he must not be the same tortoise I had seen earlier. Yet, a tortoise of any dimensions in the city, certainly, and this tortoise was unlikely to be a mere companion of the original tortoise. It must be, I thought, the same tortoise—somehow nearly doubled in size since first I viewed him!

I imagined that the tortoise must be someone's pet and that someone was, no doubt, looking for him. I determined to care for the tortoise until his owner came to claim him. I could not, however, continue to call the tortoise using pronouns, and I decided to name him Terrance—at least for his tenure in my care.

As I went about my day, Terrance followed me about the office—slowly. I had the remnants of a salad left over from the previous week. It had no dressing on it and was still relatively fresh. I placed the salad on a paper plate and offered it to Terrance. He ate greedily. I filled a plastic bowl with spring water from the water cooler and placed it beside the salad. Terrance ate and drank without stopping. When the salad and water were gone, Terrance crept to a corner of the office and appeared to nap.

A few hours later, I felt a nudging against my left foot. I looked down and saw Terrance. He was apparently hungry and thirsty once again—due, no doubt, to a great extent because he had once again nearly doubled in size! Terrance needed more food, and there was none at my office. I backed my Nitro R/T up to the rear of my office and opened the rear gate. With considerable effort, I hoisted Terrance and placed him inside the vehicle. He only barely fit! I locked my office and took Terrance to my house. At the house, I placed Terrance on the rear lawn. There, he would have plenty of grass upon which to feed. I took a stainless-steel bowl from the kitchen, filled it with spring water, and placed it in the shade at the rear of the house. Terrance ceased eating grass and strutted to the water. He drank thirstily. Once again, he had very nearly doubled in size since our journey to the house. I estimated him at 5 feet in circumference and well over 150 pounds!

I left Terrance and walked to the house. I called the local news services and informed them of Terrance and his mysterious growth cycles, and I said that I intended to tend to his needs until his rightful owner came to claim him.

I returned to the rear yard to check on Terrance. Once again, he had doubled in size. Soon, he would be too large for the yard! In preparation for his next growth spurt, I led Terrance down the alley and across the street, to a large field near my house. There, Terrance would have sufficient grass upon which to feed and sufficient water to drink, there being a small creek running through the field.

Suddenly, the street was filled with vehicles bearing the logos of news media, and the sky was filled with helicopters that were similarly identified. One of the helicopters—bearing the logo of the Fox News Channel—landed near me, where I stood, watching over Terrance. From the helicopter, Laurie Dhue appeared, with camera crew in tow. Laurie began interviewing me. She showed great interest in the story and considerable concern for Terrance—who doubled in size during the interview!

An enormous helicopter—bearing the insignia of PETA—hovered over us and landed nearby. A spokesperson appeared and confronted me, saying that I had no right whatever to “the creature,” as she called Terrance, and that she would now see that “the best interests of the creature” were served! Laurie Dhue was visibly disturbed, and I loudly protested the removal of Terrance from my care. Armed guards from the PETA helicopter appeared, and a team carrying a large stainless-steel cage accompanied them. All appeared to be lost!

Laurie Dhue whispered to me, “You should not give up hope. I am going to make a call. Please trust me. All will be well.” I took solace from her words, yet I feared the worst. The men with the cage were descending upon Terrance!

Suddenly, a S.W.A.T. team from the local police department appeared and forced the PETA personnel away from Terrance. The S.W.A.T. team leader held forth a court order, signed by a local judge, that gave temporary custody of Terrance to me. The PETA spokesperson argued that a local judge had no say in the matter and that she would soon have this court order rescinded. I felt saddened by what seemed to be a harsh reality.

Suddenly, another helicopter appeared and landed. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared, followed by a large contingent from the California National Guard. The Governor posed with me and Terrance, the media photographers converged and greedily photographed us, and the crowd that had gathered cheered loudly.