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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

The Bucket People Are Back...and the Network Is Down

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

The Bucket People Are Back...and the Network Is Down

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The network at work is down. Again. That means no Internet, no email, no warrant database, no CJIS...no work. Only I have to be here anyway, so I've spent the majority of the morning reading National Geographic, working on various piddly projects, and listening to Johnny gripe about the lack of network--but mostly about the lack of Internet--and how bored he is. No one ran into the pole this time--that would be simply too priceless--it's just a normal fart in the crappy State system. Technicians are supposedly in the building across the street now, trying to fix it. We'll see.

If anyone is wondering, this entry is being written in Notepad and pasted into LJ once I get home, which will be my new modus operandi of posting to my journal since the Department of Public Safety has denied us our Internet fun.

In the meantime, I have a pile of warrants that I'd really rather not leave until Monday, but--like I said--no CJIS....

I went out to lunch today since I needed something to do and I haven't had Panera Bread for a record two weeks. On the way out, I checked on the moths. They are continuing to multiply. I meant to bring the digital camera and forgot; hopefully they'll still be there--and I'll remember the camera--on Monday. One was on the steps so I moved her to the porch so that Johnny wouldn't step on her on his way out.

Meanwhile, the bucket people are back on Route 175. You know, the people who stand on street corners and collect charitable contributions in big plastic buckets. I object to the bucket people on a number of levels.

One, they don't stay on their corners anymore but walk out into traffic including when the traffic is moving. I'll leave my commentary on the foolishness of frolicking in traffic within an hour's drive of DC and in a very rich county where perceived self-importance is in proportion to the average income for now. Rather, I will note that it's very annoying to miss a turn light at a busy intersection (where one must then wait five minutes for the next green) because cars are swerving to avoid the large grinning woman walking down between the lanes of traffic, waving with one hand and brandishing a bucket in the other. Someone should let her know that pissing off central Maryland drivers is not a good way to eke quarters out of them...she's more likely to end up the hood ornament on someone's Mercedes after the driver suffers a bout of rage- or cell-phone-induced blindness.

My other issue with the bucket people is their sheer proliferation. One day, driving home, I encountered them on four separate street corners, competing with the Latinos selling roses and the homeless people just released from the Jessup prisons for my attention. And they're out there every day, through the entire summer, fall, and some of the winter too. Even if I was interested in donating to their charity (and more on that in a minute), I'd hardly do it on four consecutive street corners!

I guess I just get tired of seeing them sometimes, as terrible as that sounds. :^P

Plus I'm a little wary of their charity. They work for some Christian organization to "help the poor," which is fine on the surface. I have no problem with religious-based charities...until they start doling our their charity to only certain "suitable" individuals. Like the Catholic charities that would sooner have a child sit for his or her entire childhood in the foster care system than adopt the child to a gay couple. In the instance of Christian-based homeless shelters and soup kitchens, my misgivings come from the fact that a significant portion of these organizations will only help people who agree to sit for a religious sermon. I'm sorry, but recruiting people for one's faith based on hunger, need, and desperation is, imho, a rather sick way of going about doing business. How is it Christian to turn a person out to sleep in the below-freezing temperatures characteristic of Maryland winters because he is a Moslem, for example, or simply not willing to sit and listen to their religious blatherings? I'd sooner give my money to charities that help all people, not just Christians or people open to Christian indoctrination.

I don't know about this particular group of bucket people; I've never researched their organization because, frankly, I don't trust that if I called and asked, I'd be given an honest answer if they knew that a donation was on the line if they gave a "wrong" answer. Plus, I get a religious nutjob vibe off of them. When it's below freezing and women are standing on a street corner in dresses with bare ankles for hours on end, I begin to question....

That said, there are bucket people to whom I donate, but they don't see the need to stand on half the street corners in Jessup every afternoon for half the year. I always give to the animal shelter or the animal rescue people, and when the firefighters are out passing a boot around, I always toss my loose change into it. Unless the firefighters are going to refuse to save someone for a burning building because s/he is not a Christian, then I see them as far more deserving of my money.

On a completely unrelated note, I spoke a moment ago with one of the women who works in the house/office next-door to mine, and apparently, the State geeks have come to check the network and proclaimed it a Verizon problem. Meaning that it's actually not the State's stoopid network for once but rather our rickety old phone line, which has a tendency to either 1) get run over by lawnmowers or 2) go kaput for no reason. The verdict: It won't be fixed until Monday, at the earliest. And Brian (one of the warrant officers) was just in to drop off eleven more warrants in addition to the twenty-three I already have waiting to be run. I wonder if the scanner still works. I don't recall that it's on the network but is connected directly to my PC....


So to those whom I owe emails, sorry...they won't be getting done until tonight (maybe, probably not) or tomorrow (possibly) or maybe even Sunday. Grrr. *shakes fist at wrench in the cogs*

On a positive note--because what bureaucrat can't find solace in the weekend?--Bobby and I have a date tonight for a breakfast-dinner at Eggspectation and then we're seeing An Inconvenient Truth. (I think that's what it's called...the global-warming movie made by Al Gore?) So I'll probably be on a soapbox at some point tonight. I've recently felt a resurgence of my old environmental activist, visiting the rainforest and getting involved with diving. Bobby and I--as soon as we have our open-water certification--are going to get involved with the organization of divers that are working to restore the Chesapeake Bay. They rebuild oyster banks and the like. Having taken samples of the bottom of the Bay, I don't know why I'd want to dive down into that, but all for a good cause, right? :^P

Eek. I'm really rambling outside the cut. I think this journaling in Wordpad will be dangerous because there's no UPDATE JOURNAL button to force me to shut up. I can just keep rambling and rambling and adding on over the course of hours. And the State thought that they were solving something by denying me my LJ??
  • Over here when it comes to donating money, a certain method seems to have become popular recently: They do not want you to give a singular donation (which I'm more than okay with), but they immediately want you to suscribe some sort of contract for regular monthly donations. And I tell you, these people have a way of making you feel guilty should you refuse! Now, I really object to that monthly thingy; I'm a student, and if I'm having any money left to donate at all, I'd wish to do so spontaneously. I really don't have the funds to donate regularly to several different organisations.

    By the way, I definitely agree with your view on Christian/Catholic etc. organizations. I mean, WTF; some people are more deserving of help than others? Hello?
    • I've yet to encounter donations on a "monthly plan" yet here, but I'm sure that they exist! I tend to be very cautious in my donations anyway, sticking to a few organizations that I really support and trust. Even then, some disappoint, like when the Red Cross was using 9/11 donations to buy computers and stuff...or whatever that scandal was.

      I'm sure that there are good Christian/Catholic groups out there...but I fear that I have a terrible lack of trust for religious charities. Even the mainstream groups like to use their clout against same-sex couples and the like, and I refuse to support any organization that promotes discrimination and hate.

      Mostly, I prefer to donate my time. When Bobby and I get SCUBA certified, there's a group of divers that works in our area to restore the Chesapeake Bay, diving underwater to rebuild oyster banks and the like. I can't wait to start with that...though I think I'm a mite crazy for actually wanting to swim in the Chesapeake Bay! :^D
      • I'm sure that there are good Christian/Catholic groups out there...but I fear that I have a terrible lack of trust for religious charities.

        Well, I think I share your lack of trust concerning this. Mainly because I see no reason why a charity should even feel the need to state their Christian, whatever.

        And now I have to ask; what's so bad about swimming in Chesapeake Bay?
        • The poor Chesapeake is very dirty. Blame years of runoff and everything else being dumped into it. We get dead zones sometimes and every few years have scares where the oyster or blue crab populations aren't up to snuff. Oysters and blue crabs both are central to the income of much of the state--as well as our Maryland culture--so that always makes headlines around here.

          Hubby and I took Environmental Science in high school, and we had a trip out on the Bay, and they took a sampling from the bottom. It literally looked like oil. The group was asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to touch it (with gloves on, of course) and, naturally, Bobby and I did. We were the only ones. :^P It felt like oil too. Yech.
          • Eeek, I already guessed it would be something like that. That's too bad, really. It's similar in the Mediterrenean. While the water is quite clean in mosty places it's definitely icky wherever a river runs into it, like Marina di Pisa for example.

            But helping with that is certainly a good thing to do. :) (Just be careful when you dive down there!)

            I think I'd like to try scuba diving one day. Though I fear I'll get claustrophobia. ;)
  • (no subject) - satismagic
    • Hey, it's not like I was neglecting work to LJ. I can't help it that I work extra-fast. If they gave me more work, I'd gladly do it.

      Well, maybe not "gladly".... :^P
  • Bucket people are on the point system, right? Say, 35 pts. each for the ones out in traffic, 50 pts. if they at least make the effort to dodge, yet are still out in traffic. 65 pts. if they still have the bucket in their hands after contact. ;-)

    Open season on tourists and bucket people! *evol grin*
    • BWAH! I support your plan! Especially on tourists too...we get a lot of them in both Ellicott City and DC, and they're a pain in the rear, certainly. At least, they take all of the good parking! :^P
    • 65 pts. if they still have the bucket in their hands after contact. ;-)

      LOL I shifted my liver laughing at that one! *Major thumbs up*
  • What's worse than the bucket people are the kids who are out in traffic selling candy. Because what kind of sick "charity" or "school" sends ten-year-olds wandering through traffic on Columbus Drive hawking stale peanut M&Ms? That's criminal child neglect, that is, at the very least. At least the bucket people are adults.
    • Good Eru! We don't have anything like that here...at least not that I've seen. In fact, our schools generally don't even allow kids to hawk things door-to-door anymore.
      • You mean you never saw the school organizations on the Rt. 24/BR-1 intersection? It was usually, like, soccer teams or boy scouts, but they were out there a lot whenever I came home from MAC/grocery shopping/bank/etc.
  • Aw, I was actually hoping it was the Pole. :\

    Yeah, I'm wary about giving money to anybody on the road. Oh, I swear I saw subliminal Christian/Catholic advertising on a video game commercial - I'm pretty sure there was an image of Jesus on the jumbotron. O.o
    • Jesus on the Jumbotron?? BWAH!!!

      I'm wary of religious charities too (doh) which is a shame because I have lots of tolerant and wonderful Christian friends...but the vibe I get off of some of these groups sends my nutjob radar off the scale!

      I mean, we had to pass a law in Maryland to ban picketing at funerals because people are actually staging protests at the funerals of servicepeople killed in Iraq because (this is a doozy) they are "defending a nation that allows the abomination of homosexuality." o.O I mean, not to be blunt, but what kind of sick fuck do you have to be to protest at a soldier's funeral??
      • Not even kidding. I was like, "Wtf, was that Jesus I just saw?"

        Yeah, I feel like Im surrounded by nutjobs a lot (The South, anyone?). Especially since two of my friends go to what I deem "brainwashing schools". One of them is that guy I've told you about who drives me crazy, but the other is a good friend who seems more conservative since going to school. *is sad* Actually, we kept getting calls from this Christian school, and when someone finally answered, we said my brother was not at all interested in their school. The girl asked why, and I was tempted to say that we didn't want him to come back an intolerant egomaniac.

        I mean, we had to pass a law in Maryland to ban picketing at funerals

        Ok, that is just sick. I mean wow. I can't even form a coherent response because that is just so ridiculous.
  • They're not Catholic Christian or Garden Variety Christian, those ones you described. They claim they are, but they're not. Being Christian means treating others wth love and without judgement as Christ taught. There are hundreds of thousands of nitwits out there claiming Christ who have no clue who he is or what he asks of his followers.

    And...I'll climb off my soapbox now. *blushes*
    • I know because I have many Christian friends--you are one, as is my RL friend/adopted sister Tammy (1lady_so_divine)--who are real Christians, who behave in a way that inspires me, the cynical agnostic. ;) The shame of it is that these "Christians" who preach intolerance and hate--though a slim minority--give a bad name to those who are trying to do good work in the world.

      There's a bumpersticker that I like: "Dear God, Protect Me from Your Followers." And not the garden-variety but the nutjobs! :)

      Okay, I also need to get off of the soapbox.... :^P
  • The monthly donation thing is the norm here in Britain. It's cynically amusing too, because for £3/month you can protect bears, but you can protect children for just £2/month.

    Hmmm... Bears or children? Bears or children? *Weighing*

    Interestingly though, Brits often have telethons too, and more interestingly, they work. There's a few every year that people actually run home to watch (some red nose bear and Children In Need come to mind). O.o

    That would so never happen in America.

    Alas, there are no bucket brigades in Britain that I've seen, probably because 1.) roads rarely have a median, and 2.) roundabouts outnumber traffic lights by a 1,000,000:1. So it just wouldn't work here.

    The one monthly donation thing in America that comes to mind is the (?) Christian Children's Fund (or something like that); you know, the "you can feed, clothe, and educate an entire African village for 2c/day" people, though you don't watch telly so maybe you don't know what I'm talking about. :-P

    Although I've always wondered what sort of goodwill Christian work they're doing... are they assimilating poor African tribespeople or are they "good Christians"?
    • Doesn't Jerry Lewis have an immensely popular telethon in the US? *doesn't watch TV so doesn't know* :^P

      I'm pretty sure that whatever telethon that is is one that people rush home to watch. I didn't really understand it, when I saw it over Bobby's house once, because watching banks of volunteers answering phones and celebrities begging for cash didn't really move me all that much. But then, I'm convinced that people would watch grass grow (and not the kind that you smoke either! :^P) if they could sit on their asses in front of a TV to do it!

      You probably remember the MIX 106.5 Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital radiothon. Ooooh...that thing used to piss me off; a whole week of listening to sob stories and pleas for money...then I'd feel really guilty for it. :^P I mean, it was a good cause, I just didn't want to wake up to JoJo and Kenny waxing sentimental about some hundred-dollar donation they'd just gotten. I'm evil, I guess. I wanted my rock 'n' roll, dammit! :^D

      The one monthly donation thing in America that comes to mind is the (?) Christian Children's Fund (or something like that); you know, the "you can feed, clothe, and educate an entire African village for 2c/day" people, though you don't watch telly so maybe you don't know what I'm talking about. :-P

      Actually, I do! Where you can feed, clothe, educate, and pay for medical care for an African child for two cents a day. Always makes me wonder what kinds of cheap shit they're feeding them or maybe if I should move to Africa! :^P
      • Doesn't Jerry Lewis have an immensely popular telethon in the US? *doesn't watch TV so doesn't know* :^P

        I know he used to, but I haven't heard of/seen it for years.

        *Wanders to Wikipedia* I stand corrected. He's done it on Labour Day every year since 1966, and has raised over $2bil.

        Actually, I do! Where you can feed, clothe, educate, and pay for medical care for an African child for two cents a day. Always makes me wonder what kinds of cheap shit they're feeding them or maybe if I should move to Africa! :^P

        Jesus wafers, of course. ;-)
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