There I was, doing my “adventure shopping” at Wegman’s, picking out some nice treats for me and the family when at the checkout I was refused the purchase of my alcoholic beverages because my driver’s license had expired. What just happened? I had to say goodbye to the Fox Barrel Perry, and the Goose Island Honker’s Ale. Doggone-it! My birthday (the expiration date) was three months ago, and I’m quite sure I have been carded since. Massachusetts in its infinite wisdom stopped sending license renewal reminder notices to its subjects to show that they were cost-conscious (they saved a million bucks), and it was never on my radar, unlike the other trappings of useless bureaucracy: a state inspection sticker on my windshield and a vehicle registration (there is also an excise tax on vehicles in Massachusetts that can interfere with all your renewals if you do not pay it). But wait a minute? The cashier still let me pay by credit card, which by rights should have a valid ID to corroborate the name on the card, right? So now you know my license is expired, but it’s ok as ID to run my credit card, but not to buy alcohol? Have I got that right? Not sure I could vote with the expired license (probably only if voting Democrat!).
Anyway, thanks to the vast powers of the internets, I find out that I am a criminal in our fair Commonwealth, and if pulled over for anything, I could be arrested and have my car impounded if the officer on the scene feels like it! I quickly tried to renew online and found that I couldn’t because my picture hadn’t changed in a while, and I need an eye test. Great! I printed out the application and was about to jump in the car and drive over to the RMV (conveniently located two towns away on a freaking toll-road). But then I thought, hey: wouldn’t they just cite me for driving with an expired license to get there? The vultures that run our state are always on the prowl, ready to squeeze some more bucks from generally law-abiding citizens. If I were an illegal immigrant , I would be welcomed with open arms, given food stamps, welfare, and probably a car of my own. Me? Fines. Potential for court dates. Oh, you have some weed on you at the DMV? Don’t worry about THAT , cuz that’s legal, too (provided you aren’t packing too much). Glenn Reynolds’ Ham Sandwich Nation is alive and well here in the Bay State – criminalization of everything in our society leaves a lot of room for prosecutorial discretion. I’m a rule follower and was very flustered by the whole thing today – in other words “easy pickings” for the revenue agents that run my state. People like me get rattled, and will show up and be honest, and be punished, while people knocking down old ladies for their prescriptions and various other criminals aren’t stressed out much at all. Would my Mom be disappointed? – “You’ve been arrested for driving with an expired license? I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in you. A common criminal. Let me finish this joint and I’ll come pick you up”. (Totally kidding there). The Cranky Hubby indicated that I am no worse off today than I have been for the last three months, except that now I know my license is expired. Damned rational lawyers! I punted on the whole thing, and will go to the RMV first thing tomorrow.
UPDATE: I boldly went to the local RMV to renew my license. Yeah, I DROVE there. There was no line (though I was still required to take a number), and I was called up to the desk right away. I gave the nice lady my paperwork, and looked at it, punched some things into the computer, and said “So what are we doing today?”. I said I was renewing her license and she said, “A duplicate? This license doesn’t expire until 2018, you’ve got a long time to go, sweetie”. Aghast, I looked at my license and sure enough – expiration date 2018. I am sooooo stupid. In my wallet were TWO licenses: the old one and the new one. I gave the Wegman’s cashier the old one, and the registry lady the new one. What a nuisance. She said, “I could take your money, but I don’t know if that’s what you really want”. So, I was not in fact a criminal, I was just stupid. As for my ranting about the RMV, I guess I am so together and on top of things, that I obviously renewed my license without a little reminder. I just happened to forget all about it. I guess the process must have been really easy, since I don’t even remember doing it. The Cranky Hubby said he was rubbing off on me, and closed with “Stupid is not a crime. You are free to go”.
Today the NFL reported that it has stopped sales of officially licensed products bearing Aaron Hernandez’ name and number (81). They will, however, be offering t-shirts bearing his custody number (when released to the public) in green (signifying that he has not been convicted).
WRENTHAM – This weekend, the world’s largest halal burqa and clothing retailer will open its “Burqa King Superstore” at the Wrentham Village Outlets, taking the retail place of the now bankrupt “Spoons R Us”. Parent company By Allah’s Beard is excited and hopeful about its first foothold in New England. The company has two retail locations in Michigan – Burqa King, and Burqa Barn, and one in London’s posh West End – The Bonnie Burqa Boutique.
..and more like sensitivity training, or indoctrination of some kind, but certainly not education. Maybe this will be a weekly feature.
High school teen in Florida suspended for disarming a fellow student. He did not follow the “do nothing, be a victim” program that your intellectual superiors would prefer.
A third-grader in Michigan had his birthday cupcakes with plastic army men on them taken away for being insensitive. HOW THE HELL DID THOSE CUPCAKES GET PAST SECURITY INTO A PUBLIC SCHOOL???
A second-grader in Maryland was suspended for two days for fashioning an obviously realistic-looking handgun out of a pop tart, and pretend shooting with his pretend gun. NEWS FLASH: little boys will make anything into a gun: plastic silverware, paper bags, dryer lint, crayons, pinecones, those little baby carrots I put in their lunches, etc.
New York City high school students require a lot of remedial help in order to function in community college. How many? Oh, just around 80% of them. The NYC Board of Education boasts a 40% increase in graduation rates over the last 7 years, and claims that the number needing remedial help has dropped around a half a point. NYC schools are budgeted for around $8 billion per year. You do the math.
Finally, there is a big snowstorm in the Boston area today, and many people are upset that the City of Boston did not cancel school. Thousands of children were absent today, but school officials have announced that children not in school today will be marked “constructively present”. I am sure they were home doing extra math problems, or science fair experiments or something equally “constructive”. No bonus if you actually showed up to school today.
Boston, MA – Sixth-grader Elizabeth Harmon was suspended from the Jarvis Herman Middle School last week, after she authored an MCAS practice essay about her favorite gun. Administrators at the school cite a zero tolerance policy toward speaking, writing, drawing, gesturing, and otherwise suggesting firearms or other threatening subjects. Elizabeth’s parents, John and Susan Harmon were shocked to learn that their daughter was suspended for three days, especially since she suffers from severe dyslexia, a learning disability that impairs the ability to read, often accompanied by written letter reversal and mirror writing. Elizabeth had actually written about her favorite gnu – named Mossberg – which she visits at her uncle’s farm in Western Massachusetts. After the Harmons contacted the school about the mix-up, administrators continued to stand by their suspension decision because of the emotional harm and disturbing images suggested to the teacher correcting the essay, regardless of the student’s intent. The as-yet unidentified teacher is currently on leave as she recovers from the essay ordeal. Additionally, Principal Joseph Muggers suggested that “the proper name for such an animal is “wildebeest”, which is completely non-threatening no matter how you spell it”. Principal Muggers offered no additional comments. Mr. and Mrs. Harmon intend to continue to fight the suspension, and are considering bringing suit against the school.
I went to Target the other day to spend approximately 20% of my husband’s take-home pay (as we tend to do here in the affluent suburbs). Now that they sell groceries, there is nothing I can’t get there! Included in my purchases was a bottle of NyQuil. Well, not really NyQuil, but the Target generic brand of NyQuil – it’s almost three bucks cheaper! Upon checking out, the emaciated young cashier asked for my ID. For the faux NyQuil. Huh? He didn’t just look at it, he scanned it! That makes me not so happy, now that Target, and probably “the man”, has all the info on my purchases in addition to my personal information.
Later that same day, I went to the local hardware store to get some hydrochloric acid for my son’s science fair experiment (something about the relationship between pH and boiling points). I walked in and asked for it, was shown directly to the shelf, and had my choice of quart or gallon jugs of hydrochloric acid (called muriatic acid which is really a 38% solution of hydrochloric acid). I selected a quart and went up to the cashier. Nobody asked for ID.
I started laughing and shared my story of Target and generic NyQuil. Soon there were four employees yucking it up in the front of the store, and they shared the fact that they cannot sell spray paint to anyone under 18. I reminded them that it is Pinewood derby season in the suburbs, and they laughingly told me that Cub Scouts need not apply! I paid cash for my dangerous acid, and scoffed at them, reminding them that they had no idea who I was, or what my intentions were for the acid! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! As I left, one of the gents shouted “HAVE FUN WITH YOUR ACID!!!”. Does this make any sense?
I went online to update my credit card information to for my speed pass, and received a message about updating my password. Here are the new requirements:
Passwords must contain at least eight (8) characters.
The password must contain at least one of each:
•upper case letter (A-Z)
•lower case letter (a-z)
•special character (~,!,#,%,^,&,*)
Hmmm. These requirements are way stiffer than say, my BANK or BROKERAGE services provider. Don’t tell anyone, but my new password is “llkjh458&^$ijhkiABC”. It will be easy to remember. Leave it to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to take the security of your personal information very seriously. On a related note, I just received someone else’s speed pass information in the mail (name, address, licence plate info, payment info, etc). Hard copy. Which means that my info was sent to somebody else. Way to go, RMV!
As reported here, this Friday, March 30th is being called “Coke and Twinkies” for lunch day in Massachusetts. The aim is to remind public schools and municipalities that parents will decide what is best for their children, particularly in light of widely publicized stories of overreaching actions by school employees. Simply packing these items in your child’s lunch will send a clear message to your children’s school.
METROWEST MASSACHUSETTS: Fed up with the ever-increasing regulations on children’s school lunches sent from home, and reports of unacceptable food “discipline” in other parts of the country, a group of Massachusetts parents have announced that they would like to hold a “Coke and Twinkies” lunch day in all Massachusetts public schools. The event aims to reinforce the concept that parents make the decisions as to what’s in their children’s homemade lunches (except for peanuts and tree nuts, and strictly banned items, of course). Samantha Freeman, mother of 3 elementary school children in Middlesex County says “One lunch like this won’t hurt anybody, and it will send a message to the schools that our parental prerogatives are being ignored. Schools and teacher groups generally support all those “Occupy” movements, well this is an “occupy the cafeteria” situation.” Ms. Blackburn suggests that parents pack Coke and Twinkies, or other frowned-upon lunch items in addition to their child’s regular lunch on Friday, March 30th. The group hopes that word of mouth will make the coordinated presence of junk foods in the cafeteria noticeable to school administrators, who should take note of the “protest”. The group hopes readers will forward this information to potential participants.
Note: The National Center for Public Policy Research held a “Lunch-In” on February 23rd in Washington DC to protest the aggressive guidelines increasingly applied to homemade lunches.
My Cranky Boys shown here on Spectacle Island, in Boston Harbor last week. They learned about getting “wet and sandy” by watching the Discovery Channel’s documentary that followed a class through the six-month Navy Seal BUD/S training program. For those unfamiliar with the term, its tip #9 in the ‘Top 10 Thinks to Know Before BUD/S” from Military.com‘s fitness center:
9. Wet and Sandy
Jumping into the ocean then rolling around in the sand is a standard form of punishment / motivation for the class at BUD/S. It is cold and not comfortable, so you just have to prepare yourself for getting wet and sandy everyday at BUD/S. On days that you do not get wet and sandy, it will be the same feeling as getting off early at work on a three-day weekend!
Beware: after watching the videos, your kids may start saying things like “let’s do some log PT?”, “it pays to be a winner”, “second place is first loser”, and “the only easy day was yesterday”. Take your chances.