Again! I swear I published this at 10:30 a.m. Apologies. Maybe it’s a bug, or maybe the bug is me.
The city of Pontiac closed its police department forever this week — no money. Policing the unfortunate city was turned over to the county sheriff’s department, and I hope they go with God on this one, because Pontiac is a pretty rough town, and they may need divine intervention to make it work.
Meanwhile, I visited the home page of my former employer this morning, and saw the cops were driving the hostage rescue vehicle around for National Night Out festivities last night. The website being a p.o.s. I can’t link, but it just so happens I have a photo of that vehicle which I took way back in 2003, during a flood:
As you can see, its high clearance makes an excellent flood-navigation vehicle, although most often, you see it in this situation:
Hey, kids! Ever want to see the inside of a real tank?
The city of Defiance, Ohio, has one of these, too — we saw it in the Halloween parade. I think it was the year they were talking about closing the city’s swimming pools for lack of funds, but I’m not sure.
Do any of you Hoosiers know if this thing has ever been used to rescue a hostage, or is it just trundled around as a gas-guzzling vehicle of diplomacy, like an armored limousine?
I’ve been covering city governments long enough to know that the money for these items rarely comes from the general fund. Homeland Security likes to sprinkle dollars around the hinterlands from time to time, in the event al-Qaeda ever targets northwest Ohio. And never count out a hungry police chief when it comes to finding grant money or weak spots in the armaments of the county treasury. Remember, Fort Wayners, when the Ku Klux Klan rallied at the courthouse in the ’90s? It was a greenmail dream come true for every badge in both city and county. The courthouse, as courthouses tend to do, sits smack in the middle of town, but it’s a county building, so you had two forces elbowing for the right to be on the front lines. The sheriff’s department got to be the primary perimeter around their building, and they turned out in riot helmets and shields so new you could almost see the ghosts of the price tags on them. The city protected the area around the courthouse, and I think the entire force was there, likely on overtime. So few people actually showed up, the police-to-rallier ratio was about 3-to-1. But nothing bad happened, so every penny was defensible. Right?
Ah, it was the ’90s. We had so much, then. Riot shields, functional police departments, rising property values. The good ol’ days.
I still count the column I wrote about that rally among my favorites. Couldn’t find it today at gunpoint. Newspaper columns, like the good times, aren’t made to last.
Folks, the coffee ain’t working today. Let’s pop down to the bloggage, shall we?
Bradley Cooper speaks French, Mila Kunis speaks Russian. The translated title of her movie, “Friends With Benefits?” “Sex Friendship.” Some things just don’t translate. Did I ever tell you about my friend in Paris, who sent me the titles for the porn listings in the local weekly? American porn producers favor dirty versions of existing movie titles (“Pumping Irene”), whilethe French go for a more clinical approach. One, as I recall, used a verb that means “to break in” or “to enter with violence,” for a title that ran, “I’m breaking into you sans Vaseline.” Ick.
The big tree Morgan Freeman finds a letter under in “The Shawshank Redemption” was torn asunder by a storm this week, prompting a wire-service story. Best reader comment? Ooh, you gave the ending away!!! How long are spoiler alerts required for a movie made in 1994?
And that’s all I have today. Off to drink more coffee.