10 February 2015

Another Olio of Miscellany

When I sweep up my hard drive, I put a few unconnected things in these Dispatches.  And I’m the first to admit that recently, I’ve slowed down on blogging.  Who knows?  The old reputed Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” may be true.

911 - Dull, Dull, Dull

About 35 years ago, a big group of representatives of emergency service agencies in Marion County designed the first 911 system.  It was a pain.  Nobody who does that business is a normal person.  The first 30 minutes of every meaning was spent warming up by cursing the antecedents and questionable progeny of the people there.  But we got a 911 system.

Several months ago, I had the unwelcome experience of having that 911 system accessed for me.  The only thing I can say is that 911 worked precisely as it was planned.  The call was answered immediately; while one dispatcher complete the call, another was alerting Co. 20 (my old company) and Station 3.  I was - extremely? That doesn’t seem to cover it - glad to hear the first engine pulling up.  And to the people who responded, it was a yawn.  After all, you don’t want people to come in a personal emergency who think that it’s an emergency.  Like all professions, this is another day at the office.  That's the way it ought to be.

I remembered those meetings long ago.  What developed was something that wasn’t flashy, not dramatic, but worked.

A little story - Before 911, different departments used different radio procedures and language, including “10-codes.”  The feeling was to go to clear voice.  At the time, the “Emergency” (remember Johnny & Roy?) was on the tube.  And so, one young fellow suggested that the new radio procedures use what the show featured - “Responding,” “In service,” “Out of service,’ and so forth.  

Geez, it’s been a long time since I’ve thought of that.  To my brothers & sisters, now you know.

War Powers

A big deal is being made over the fact that Congress is interfering with the President’s power to use military force.  This has happened for the last two administrations.  In the Bush 43 administration, one of the spoil sports was the last Senator Robert C. Byrd.  (Hey!  When I mention Senator Byrd’s name, y’all need to stand up and bow yer heads.)

He has a peculiar problem with the President acting with no interference.


Fifth Decade:

When I started law school, I became a notary public.  In West Virginia, pretty much every lawyer does that, but there were few or none at the law school.

Recently, this child just signed up for his fifth 10-year commission as a notary.  Where did the time go?  No, really - Where did it go?

Pro Bono:

Pro bono (legal help for free) services are back on the front burner in WV.  As I prepare to weigh in (not in these Dispatches), I just ran across a couple of passages in a John Grisham novel that seem apt:

“I am a human being first.  Then I’m a lawyer.  It’s possible to be both.”

“My firm preached pro bono to all its associates. [That is, younger lawyers.] But the free work had damn well better not interfere with billings.”

Pippa passes.

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