Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“So I Shot HIm . . . “

In Pensacola, people talk all the time about “carrying.” People have lots of weapons; even my tiniest little friend has a small revolver in her handbag when she goes out.

This old guy makes life a lot easier for the rest of us. Sometimes young guys get bad ideas, and these guys evidently thought they would hit and rob the old people. Guess they got quite a surprise. Guess they will think twice before doing another home invasion – once they get out of prison, which will probably be quite a while from now.

Resident shoots 2 teens in home invasion
Resident, 72, fends off 3 attackers; 1 suspect in hospital, 2 in jail

Two teenagers were shot Saturday night by a 72-year-old man they allegedly beat with a baseball bat during a home-invasion robbery in Ferry Pass.

About 8:45 p.m., three teenage males knocked on the door of a home in the 3300 block of Raines Street, Pensacola Police Department officials said.

When resident Jack Crawford, 72, answered the door, one of the teens hit him in the head with an aluminum bat and tried to force his way into the home.

“I opened it up, and he hit me right off. … Wham! Split my head open,” Crawford said.

“So I shot him and another guy,” Crawford said, chuckling as he told the story to a News Journal reporter Sunday evening. “I could have shot the third one, but I would have had to shoot him in the back as he ran away.”

The attackers fled the scene on foot, and Crawford’s 70-year-old sister, who also lives at the home, called the police, he said.

Earl Benard, 15, Nathaniel Nichols, 17, and Curtis Crenshaw, 18, all of Pensacola, have been charged with home-invasion robbery and aggravated battery in connection with the case, police said.

Crenshaw and Nichols were arrested at a local hospital after being dropped off for treatment with gunshot wounds to their torsos. Benard later was arrested at a nearby rental home.

Nichols remained hospitalized Sunday afternoon, police said. Crenshaw was treated and released and was being held Sunday evening at Escambia County Jail on $300,000 bond.

State Attorney Bill Eddins said he plans to try all three suspects as adults.

Crawford said he grabbed his handgun as a precaution and was holding it at his side when he opened the door Saturday night.

“At 9 o’clock at night, I never take any chances,” Crawford said.

The three teens had “hoods on and scarves around their faces,” Crawford said, and they hit him with the bat before anyone had a chance to speak.

Crawford stumbled back a step from the blow but didn’t fall, and he started shooting as the first attacker was coming through the door, he said.

“I didn’t go down, and I think it shocked him,” Crawford said.

Following the attack, Crawford was transported by ambulance to West Florida Hospital for treatment of injuries to his head. He said doctors stapled his scalp back together, and he was back at home and feeling fine Sunday evening.

“Yeah I’m fine. I’ve got a hard head,” Crawford said.

Police did not release any information Sunday about possible connections between Crawford and the teens. Crawford said he’s lived in the neighborhood about 12 years, and he suspects the attackers were acquaintances with a neighborhood boy who used to do odd jobs around his home.

Crawford said he wasn’t too rattled by the attack, and he still felt comfortable staying in the home.

He said he’s had a rough-and-tumble past that’s left him with a cool head in similar situations.

“I’m not that big of a boy, but I had a reputation,” Crawford said.

I live next door to a cop. His car isn’t marked, but it is a big dark Crown Vic with that cage thing that separates the front from the back seats. Not that criminals are very smart, but you would have to be REALLY stupid to invade my house.

This story is from today’s Pensacola News Journal.

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Pensacola, Social Issues | 5 Comments

Today in Kuwait

Oh! I am green with envy! I would love to be at these events!

Imagine what the release of falcons is going to look like!

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Kuwait | 7 Comments

Al Jazeera (English) Covers Egypt

If you are in the USA, the best coverage I have been able to find has been on Al Jazeera live. They have English language coverage. Unlike Egypt, which has closed down all access to the internet, you can stream Al Jazeera live by clicking on the blue type below.

Al Jazeera English – Live

Their coverage is – from what I can tell – fair and balanced.

It’s in the mid 70’s Fahrenheit, in Cairo in the daytime, getting down to the 50’s – 60’s at night – perfect weather for a protest. Looks like Paris in the late 60’s.

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Tunisia, Weather | | 9 Comments

Full Speed

Thanks be to God, it was only a bad 24 hours. I thought it was something I ate that had maybe gone bad, but I was also so tired, and so cold. I huddled under layers of covers, including a feather bed, and slept and slept and slept.

I worried that sleeping on and off all day, I wouldn’t sleep at night, but again, I slept and slept and slept. Woke up this morning to the Qatari Cat coughing up a hairball, and felt like my normal self. 🙂

LOL, at one point last evening, a plumber came by to take a look at some little things we need done, and he referred to “the dog sleeping on the bed.” I laughed and said “that’s not a dog, it’s our cat!” He was astonished. The Qateri Cat is a very long cat, with great big fur, so he does look a lot bigger than he really is. (He doesn’t look like a small dog, either, but more like a very medium sized dog.)

January 27, 2011 Posted by | Health Issues, Pensacola, Qatteri Cat | Leave a comment

Lost Day

I am so rarely sick that I hardly know what to do when I get sick. I think I must’ve eaten something spoiled; I’ve got all the digestive clues, and I’ve huddled under my down comforter most of the day, trying to get warm. Small headache. No energy. No appetite. I just want to sleep until it goes away.

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Food, Health Issues | 8 Comments

The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke

“Here’s the book,” Sparkle said, sliding into the restaurant seat as we all poured over the menu, wafts of garlic, white wine and butter drifting our way. “I’m getting kind of tired of Dave and Clete.”

“What, you mean not just bending the envelope but tearing right through it?” I asked “Or all the gratuitous violence?”

“Mostly the scorn for official procedures,” she started, two little lines between her eyes as she took in all the delicious possibilities, “How about some of that Montepulciano?”

She passed the book along to me. I was in the middle of another book, but oh, the temptation to drop it and get on with a new James Lee Burke.

The book opens with Dave Robicheaux, our recovering alcoholic detective, meeting up with a convict on a work crew whose sister has disappeared and who was found murdered. Bernadette Latiolais’s remains are thought to be the work of a serial killer working the area who targets prostitutes, but Bernadette was an honor student, graduating with a full scholarship promised to a Louisiana university. She was also an heiress, in a small way, to some property at the edge of a swamp. She doesn’t fit the profile, and her brother wants justice – not for himself, he’s doing his time, but for his sister, who never did anything to anyone, and who wanted to create a conservation area to preserve bears.

Right off the top, Robicheaux is outside of his parish, investigating a case nobody cares about in an area out of his jurisdiction.

OK, OK, my sister is right, this is pretty much another formulaic James Lee Burke. There are the corrupt rich families, the amoral women, the voiceless victims. Instead of the old Italian organized crime families, this time there are hired mercenaries, equally creative in killing, but way more efficient in cleaning up afterwards.

I’m just a sucker for James Lee Burke’s writing. Here’s one sample, from his interview with a very rich old man who goes a long way back with Robicheaux’s family:

“Don’t get old, Mr. Robicheaux. Age is an insatiable thief. It steals the pleasures of your youth, then locks you inside your own body with your desires still glowing. Worse, it makes you dependent upon people who are half a century younger than you. Dont’ let anyone tell you that it brings you peace, either, because that’s the biggest lie of all.”

Burke’s Dave Robicheaux and his private-investigator friend Clete are flawed men, prone to violence, but I cut them a lot of slack because in each novel they are bright shining avengers of all the wrongs done to the weak and helpless. They are Quixotic. They fight the rich and powerful for the rights of the common man. They know the risks they take, and they are too old to think they are going to survive every bad guy they go after. It’s a good thing the law of averages doesn’t hold true in novels; they should have been dead a long time ago.

What keeps me coming back are the lyrical descriptions of life along the Atchafalaya Bayou, community life in New Iberia, Louisiana, and Robicheaux’s family life, wife Molly, daughter Alifair (now grown to young womanhood) and Snuggs their cat and Tripod their raccoon, as well as the knowledge that at the end of the book, in spite of every evidence to the contrary, Dave and Clete will emerge alive, if damaged, and their indirect and violent path will have achieved some semblance of justice.

(I ordered the spaghetti with a white-wine mussel sauce, and Sparkle ordered the chicken marsala. Mom had seafood diablo.)

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Books, Community, Crime, Cultural, Detective/Mystery, Family Issues, Fiction, Law and Order, Social Issues | Leave a comment

Breakfast Delight

One of the best things about breakfast is that we have all kinds of visitors at our backyard feeders. I love all the tiny little birds, but oh! the flashy splendor of the male cardinal!

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Beauty, ExPat Life, Gardens, Pensacola | 2 Comments

Car Rental Fees Update

So here is how my car rental looked:

The ACTUAL charge was like $142 for the week. “Fees” and taxes came to an additional $76.85. It is SO misleading when you are quoted a car rental price and it doesn’t include those charges until the final tally. It’s OK for me, it’s just what I have to do, but I remember being young, and when an extra almost $77 might have been a really bad surprise.

The check-in person asked me how I liked the car – a Ford Focus. I told her I hated it. I know it’s being advertised as ‘better than Toyota’ but it isn’t. It drives like a boat. It is clunky feeling, and it doesn’t get great pick-up. When I first got in, I had to drive those extra narrow, extra fast lanes on Seattle’s crowded I-5 going North, and it was raining and water is swooshing off the tops of trucks (who were passing me) and I just hated the car.

Toyotas are more nimble. Toyotas have better pick-up. You know, I would rather like to buy American, but first the automakers have to show me that they have a car that makes you happy to be driving.

People kid me about my Rav4, that it’s a young people’s car, but you know, I love the way it drives, I love the way it grips the road and goes anywhere, and still remains small enough and nimble enough to park in a tiny little spot. It has a much bigger feel, and is so comfortable. The Ford Focus is just clunky.

BTW, I asked the check in person if it was legal for me to rent a car for a week to get the better rate and then to turn it in early. She just laughed and said “It’s not illegal; it’s SMART!”

January 23, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Marketing, Seattle, Technical Issue, Travel | 2 Comments

Scams: 419’s

My good friend John Lockerbie, from Catnaps sent me this great link on scams this morning. One of the sections has hilarious photographs of the scammers – sent by scammers to reassure potential victims of their authenticity. This is from their section describing how you can identify a scamming letter or e-mail:

Information quoted from the US Secret Service Web Site.

4-1-9 Schemes frequently use the following tactics:
An individual or company receives a letter or fax from an alleged “official” representing a foreign government or agency.
An offer is made to transfer millions of dollars in “over invoiced contract” funds into your personal bank account.
You are encouraged to travel overseas to complete the transaction.
You are requested to provide blank company letterhead forms, banking account information, telephone/fax numbers.
You receive numerous documents with official looking stamps, seals and logo testifying to the authenticity of the proposal.
Eventually you must provide up-front or advance fees for various taxes, attorney fees, transaction fees or bribes.
Other forms of 4-1-9 schemes include: c.o.d. of goods or services, real estate ventures, purchases of crude oil at reduced prices, beneficiary of a will, recipient of an award and paper currency conversion.
Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud Overview

The perpetrators of Advance Fee Fraud (AFF), known internationally as “4-1-9” fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes, are often very creative and innovative.
Unfortunately, there is a perception that no one is prone to enter into such an obviously suspicious relationship. However, a large number of victims are enticed into believing they have been singled out from the masses to share in multi-million dollar windfall profits for doing absolutely nothing. It is also a misconception that the victim’s bank account is requested so the culprit can plunder it — this is not the primary reason for the account request — merely a signal they have hooked another victim.
In almost every case there is a sense of urgency.
The victim is enticed to travel to Nigeria or a border country.
There are many forged official looking documents.
Most of the correspondence is handled by fax or through the mail.
Blank letterheads and invoices are requested from the victim along with the banking particulars.
Any number of Nigerian fees are requested for processing the transaction with each fee purported to be the last required.
The confidential nature of the transaction is emphasized.
There are usually claims of strong ties to Nigerian officials.
A Nigerian residing in the U.S., London or other foreign venue may claim to be a clearing house bank for the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Offices in legitimate government buildings appear to have been used by impostors posing as the real occupants or officials.

The most common forms of these fraudulent business proposals fall into the following main categories:

Disbursement of money from wills
Contract fraud (C.O.D. of goods or services)
Purchase of real estate
Conversion of hard currency
Transfer of funds from over invoiced contracts
Sale of crude oil at below market prices

You can read much much more at this website: 419 eater

January 23, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Scams | Leave a comment

“My Name is Legion”

To me, this is one amazing story, so many elements. A man is possessed – not by one unclean spirit, but by many, and in his misery, he is so strong that he cannot be safely chained. Jesus casts those demons into pigs, who run off a cliff and die.

The swineherds run to the city. I’ll bet they were not happy; they would have to tell the owners of all those pigs – two thousand pigs, that’s a lot of pigs – that the pigs were all dead. The people from the village could see the newly-healed man, and still they asked Jesus to leave. I am betting there were some mightily displeased merchants who were really mad about those pigs.

But the former demoniac asks to go with Jesus and Jesus tells him to stay, and tell the people how his life has changed since Jesus healed him. I imagine it took a lot of courage. I imagine he wanted to stay near to Jesus, fearful unclean spirits would re-enter him. I hope he was able to stay clean and to tell of this miracle in his life.

Mark 5:1-20

5 They came to the other side of the lake, to the country of the Gerasenes.* 2 And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. 3 He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; 4 for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; 7 and he shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.’ 8 For he had said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’ 9 Then Jesus* asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ 10 He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country.

11 Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; 12 and the unclean spirits* begged him, ‘Send us into the swine; let us enter them.’ 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned in the lake.

14 The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened.

15 They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. 17 Then they began to beg Jesus* to leave their neighbourhood. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 But Jesus* refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.’

20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Books, Character, Cultural, Health Issues, Spiritual | 2 Comments