Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Scruffy-looking nerf-herder.

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m guessing it means I need to shave when a sergeant I know tells me, “You know, man, you look like you could be a narc.”

What it means when an hour later a lieutenant says I should have been a detective after I asked some detailed questions about a homicide case, I’ll leave to you to sort out.



Posted: June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized


People keep giving me crap because this is where I spent a good chunk of my yesterday. There was no air-conditioning in this room.

Trust me, I could not have been more paranoid driving home. How cool would it be for the cops reporter to get pulled over reeking of weed.

“Sir, would you step out of the car, please?”

Yeah. That’s all I needed.

“No, really, officer, I just came from meeting with your chief. What do you mean, What’s that odor?”

New toy.

Posted: June 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

I caved. Ditched my semi-ancient BlackBerry for a Droid. Been a long, long (long, OK?) time since I got myself a new toy.

Why, how did you think I was writing this post?

I did actually file a story on deadline once from my old phone, which didn’t even have a full keyboard. Used it for maps and some basic Googling.

Imagine what I can do with this sucker — if I can ever stop playing with the light saber app.

Happy Memorial Day.

Posted: June 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’ll sometimes volunteer to work Memorial Day. It’s a decent day to find an interesting story to tell.

I didn’t work it this year. The last two, I have. This year, it was sunny, hot. All of the Official Events featuring Important People giving what were likely horrid speeches took place as planned.

Not last year. Last year it rained. I didn’t get a chance to quote the governor or anything, but I got a better story to tell.

To me, anyway, a story like that says far more about what Memorial Day means than the speeches. The validation of a governor or someone like that taking the time to appear is important. Symbolism is important.

But it’s not everything. It’s not even most everything.

A year on, I still think about those two dudes. I don’t have any relatives I know of who died in combat as soldiers. Neither side of my family was even here for the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War.

I lost relatives in the Holocaust. And both of my grandfathers served during World War II — one in the OSS, the other in the Big Red One. They knew loss and sacrifice on a level that’s just not as real for me.

I have Charlie Phillips and Anthony Hood. They make it real for me.

Three years.

Posted: May 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

Yesterday was my third anniversary working in this crazy place:

My desk is to the extreme lower right.

I mean, the third season of “Lost” hadn’t even ended yet. Clearly I’m getting old.


Posted: May 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

Finally had a chance yesterday to drop by the Capitol and see for myself. Very cool feeling, all because of this story.

And there they are:

Also got an e-mail from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in D.C. telling me that Smith was added to the national memorial on Panel 7 West, Line 27, and Bratton as well on Panel 51 West, Line 27.

“Thanks again for all your work on this case,” the research manager wrote. “Your research was invaluable!”

They also gave me these. Awesomeness:

O death.

Posted: January 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

I write a lot about death. Even a lot of times when I don’t write explicitly about death, I’m still writing about a time when someone died.

Which means I get a little used to it.

So the phone call I got not too long ago was unsettling. An old friend of mine, a guy I was quite close to in high school, died of congestive heart failure. He was 31. Wife, two kids. He went into the hospital for a routine surgery, what I heard was a simple thing, and his heart couldn’t take it. The doctors could not resuscitate him.

Christopher Lee Andrews.

The day after I found out, my cell phone was like a high school reunion. People I had not talked to — some of whom I had not thought about — in years.

Even with Chris himself, we traded the occasional e-mail, talked on the phone maybe every couple years. It was never awkward or forced when we did. It felt good to reconnect.

I remember talking to him after he first collapsed five years ago. Same as always — upbeat, positive, learning about his disease, not shy at all talking about it. Fearless.

A couple things about Chris. In high school, he had this hulk of a 1972 Chevy Malibu. My first car was a 1973 Plymouth Satellite, sister car to a Roadrunner. Also massive. On a lot of days we parked next to each other. He tried to talk the physics class into coming out to measure whether that much Detroit steel side by side altered gravity.

He also showed me the Internet. Weird thing to remember, I know. But it was the week after we graduated, and for some reason we were over at his house. I think there was a party. Anyway, he fired up his computer and signed on to AOL.

It was fine, I guess. I didn’t get it.

One of my favorite memories of Chris is our senior prank. A group of us stayed up all night going to Kinko’s and running around town stapling fliers to telephone poles announcing a used-car sale the next day at the high school. In the teachers’ parking lot. I had a master key to the school for reasons that now escape me and we got into the store room where they stored the letters for the big marquee out in front of the campus. We put something up about our everything-must-go sale there, too. The price on every car: $96, for our class year.

Chris was our carnival barker. Our huckster. He put on this ridiculous shiny green blazer I had — funnier still because I’m so very much bigger than he — and stood by the driveway into the parking lot, waving in customers and assuring them this was all legitimate. One of the school secretaries told me later that she got more than 100 calls and security had to kick maybe 50 people out of the teachers’ lot.

Good times.

So, yeah. This is when death is hard. When it is in some way personal, which, sure, isn’t a huge surprise. But especially when it is personal, unexpected and inexplicable.