Saturday, August 18, 2018

Saturday Song Share: Wrabel - Sideways

We're not goin' up 
We're not goin' down
We're sideways, we're sideways, we're sideways

Friday, August 17, 2018

Sgt. John Chapman, Medal of Honor

A couple of things on this:

  • Has a MOH recipient ever been filmed during his heroics?  I think not.
  • The charge into the bunker was one of the bravest things I've ever seen filmed.
  • Sgt. Chapman continuous fighting, despite injuries and being vastly outgunned and outnumbered, were astonishing.
Think about whatever petty gripe you have going for you today.  Now watch this:

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ben Shapiro Breaks Down Trump's "Like a Dog"

Everybody is looking for Trump the racist.  Turns out, the guy just doesn't like dogs:

Yet another reason why my man-crush on Ben Shapiro continues...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Willie Dillie Chooses Suicide to Save Her Family

This is what Islam has wrought in the Netherlands.

How is this not front page news everywhere?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Happy Anniversary to Me

24 years ago today Mrs. YDP and I were wedded in a simple, but large and incredibly fun ceremony.  

It's interesting to look back at all that has transpired since that time.  We've been through a lot, no doubt, but along those lines, there's no doubt as well as to who I would have wanted at my side all of that time. 

I stand with her a year away from our silver anniversary and wonder where all the time went.  I also stand in dumbfounded appreciation for our life together.  I am stupidly happy.  And even when the inevitable pains of life come upon us, having her there makes everything more tolerable.

I'd like the say that I'm lucky, but that is hardly the word.  I'm blessed.

Happy anniversary, sweetheart.  

Happy.  That's exactly what you've provided me all these past 24 years. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday Song Share: Chris Stapleton - Broken Halos

Just about the time you think that what passes for country music nowadays is what the genre is doomed to wallow in, along comes a guy like this.

This is old school country.  This is how country should ALWAYS sound.  This guy kicks serious ass.

And he's the headliner for We Fest next year.  I think I'm going...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

YDP Fought the Law - Part 3

I made the call my Councilman had provided and was immediately put through to the Lieutenant in charge of the State Patrol contingency in Detroit Lakes.  I put my hat in my hands and began.  

"Lieutenant, I don't want to waste your time, but I'd like to tell you about an encounter I had with one of your officers.  I don't know if this conversation is even appropriate, so if it's going nowhere from your perspective, please let me know as your time is valuable," I stated.  "You're just fine," came the friendly reply.

I told my story and laid out my concerns.  I informed my contact about the bikers and the fact that they couldn't be missed as they had to dismount and walk around our vehicles.  I also conveyed that I was never provided with a chance to give my side of the story.  I stated, "I feel like this could have been avoided if I had just been given a chance to explain myself.  I'm not one of those guys that's going to say 'Let me explain...' during a traffic stop unless asked."  "Yeah, speaking from experience, that never works very well," replied the Lieutenant candidly.  He continued, "Just so I'm sure, are you concerned about the citation, the behavior of the officer, or both?"  I answered that it was definitely both.

I concluded with my line about state troopers and how they literally live and die by how traffic passes them while they're on the shoulder.  As such, I was surprised that so little discretion was afforded to me in my case.

As I was talking the Lieutenant was pulling up the citation and notes.  He conveyed that the trooper was from Moorhead, damn near a local, so my hopes for him not showing up in court were dashed.  He also explained that this was a good officer.  That being said, he'd call the officer in, review the dashcam video, and see what it showed and if it did or did not match the citation.

I extended my appreciation, letting the senior officer know that it felt good to just be listened to.  I also stated what I had learned about the new law.  The Lieutenant claimed to not know it but promised to research it.  I provided him with the number as a start.  He admitted, "We get a lot poured on our heads in this job, and sometimes the sponge doesn't pick up on all of it.  Regardless, I'll research it and get back to you on it."  I appreciated his candor.

While it felt good to finally explain myself, I was worried.  What did the dashcam capture?  Would the rumored "solid blue wall" apply?  Was there a chance that this could be rectified, or was a court date in my future?

At the end of the day, the Lieutenant finally called me back.  "Mr. YDP, I had a chance to talk to my officer on your case, and I'd like to tell you about it," he stated.  "Do you have a minute?"  Boy, did I ever.

The Lieutenant explained that he brought the officer in and asked to explain the stop and all he remembered about it.  The officer stated that as he was rounding the corner he saw me in the final stages of a pass in a no passing zone.  He pulled me over and ticketed me in a simple stop.  The Lieutenant then explained my side of the story, to which the officer replied, "Impossible.  There were no bikers."

With that, they began the dashcam tape.  It clearly showed what appeared to be me in a final stage of a pass, just as the officer claimed.  

It did not show the bikers.   

The video continued, with the officer having me pulled over to the side of the road and giving me a ticket.  Then, like angels sent from heaven, the two bikers appeared on the video, walking their bikes around our stopped vehicles.  "Oh my word..." the officer stated.

With that, the Lieutenant explained that sometimes they make mistakes, and clearly, a mistake had been made in my case.  He apologized profusely and stated that the citation would be dropped immediately.  He also stated that they both reviewed the new law, and he appreciated bringing it to their attention. 

With that, it was over.

Again, I stated I felt like it could have been prevented had I just been given a chance to explain, and the Lieutenant stated that he did indeed cover that with the trooper as well.  

We closed by me receiving another apology and an assurance that the citation was absolutely dropped.

While none of this was much fun, in the end, justice did prevail, which is all any of us can ask for.  I also compliment the Lieutenant on his professionalism and service.  I can't imagine what crosses his desk on a daily basis, but through our entire engagement, I felt listened to, respected, and served.  

Ultimately, that's all any of us are looking for from our police.

In the meantime, if you're driving in DL during We Fest, consider yourself warned...     

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

YDP Fought the Law - Part 2

I sat in my office is a stew of anger over my ticket.  It just seemed so egregious.  There was absolutely no reason for the way that I was treated, and I steeled myself for the upcoming court battle that I was going to have.

I looked up tactics for winning in court online.  Most of the articles were penned by lawyers, and of course, their suggested course of action was to hire them.  However, there were some nuggets: document the event while it was fresh in your mind (even insignificant things like the weather and what you were wearing), dress up, and be prepared to cut a deal.  I was down for all the advice, except the cutting the deal part.  I was either going to be receiving a dropped charge, or they were going to throw the book at me.

I also studied the Minnesota law to see if there was something that would provide leniency for passing a bike, even in a no passing zone.  Lo and behold, I hit the jackpot!  It seems that the state had passed a law just a year before that dealt exactly with my situation.  Specifically, it read:

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 169.18, subdivision 5, is amended to read: a motor vehicle may be driven to the left side of the roadway (in a no passing zone) to safely overtake a bicycle under the following circumstances:

(1) the bicycle is proceeding in the same direction as the motor vehicle;

(2) the driver of the motor vehicle either (i) provides a safe clearance distance, in no case less than the greater of three feet or one-half the width of the motor vehicle, or (ii) completely enters the left lane of the highway;

(3) the operator of the bicycle is not (i) making a left turn, or (ii) signaling that the bicycle operator intends to make a left turn; and

(4) the driver of the motor vehicle complies with all other applicable requirements under this section.

Not only did I do the right thing from a safety standpoint, but I also did the right thing from a legal standpoint!  Bring on the judge!

I was also holding out hope for my case to be thrown out because the officer didn't show up for the court date.  In my research, that happened more often than one expected.  I felt like my odds of this might even be better as the State Patrol officer was borrowed from another area to bolster the ranks of the We Fest crew.  If he was from the Cities or points south, it'd be unlikely that his supervising officer would allow a whole day to be wasted to battle a yellow line crossing in Detroit Lakes.  My hope would be my buddy just wouldn't show, and the case would be tossed forthwith.  

In the meantime, a buddy from work stopped by my office and was shaking his head.  He moonlights as a City Counselman, had heard what happened, and couldn't believe my story.  It made him so angry that he called in a favor with the local police, stating "here's a productive member of OUR community and this is how we're treating him with our extra police activity?  We need to do something!"

The local officer must have agreed as he forwarded a contact for the head of the State Patrol's contingency in Detroit Lakes, and suggested I call and tell my story.  I felt it was a moot point as I always heard that once a ticket was issued there was no way to make it go away other than to pay for it or go to court, but at a minimum, I'd at least be able to tell my story - hopefully, away - as that was more than the first officer allowed me to do.  

Armed with my contact, the phone number, my notes of the event, and the new Minnesota statute, I picked up the phone and made a call...    

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

YDP Fought the Law - Part One

Last week was We Fest; a huge country music event that descends on our little hamlet of Detroit Lakes every year.  It brings about 100,000 people to town, and with them come an army of police to help keep the peace that could be disrupted by such an influx of fun-seeking country fans.

Police are borrowed to augment the local ranks, and their show of force in their numbers is a formidable one.  Likewise, they're extremely aggressive and quick to ticket the smallest of transgressions.  The message they send through their actions is a simple one: do not jack around or you'll get busted.

It was in this environment in which I was driving last week.  It was 1:15 PM and I was returning from We Fest where I had gone to pick up my credentials, as my employer requires that all of their leaders take a stint at working our booth out at the event.  I was returning in a line of cars and driving on the road that ran on the west side of Big Detroit.  This is the most popular stretch of road in the town - it holds a number of popular bars and butts up to the famous mile-long beach.

Because of its notoriety, it is a favored stretch of road in which to ride a bike, walk, or run.  Indeed, I had just ridden the stretch that morning as part of an early bike ride around the lake.  I had run it and biked it dozens and dozens of times.  Unfortunately, while being a scenic stretch, it is also a dangerous stretch, as the shoulder of the road is scant.  Despite a slow posted speed of 30 MPH, shoulder traffic and vehicle traffic come into close contact on a regular basis.  That being said, there are some conscientious drivers that generously move over and afford room, which I've personally appreciated a ton.  Hence, when I drive that stretch and encounter a biker or runner, I always move over and give them a large buffer, as that's how I like to be treated.

Thus, upon my return, I happened to come upon two female bikers on my shoulder, and I immediately went into caution mode.  The situation was greatly exacerbated by the bikers riding abreast - a stupid thing to do in that section of road.  Indeed, the biker on the left was mostly on the fog line.

As I approached them, I noted no traffic in the left lane, and despite being in a no passing zone, I moved my vehicle 2/3 of the way into the left lane and passed the bikers.  Once safely past them, I moved back into my lane.  As I was doing so, I encountered a Minnesota State Patrol officer approaching in the opposite lane, and he immediately hit his lights.  As I passed by him, he conducted a U-turn and proceeded to pull me over.

"That's OK," I said to myself.  "I know what I did was the safe thing.  I'm sure he would tell me to stick closer to my lane and send me on my way."  

I have a buddy that's a cop, and I am very deliberate in my interactions with police.  My hands are always kept on the steering wheel where the cop can see them at all times.  I always refer to them as "officer" or "sir."  I never complain or ask to explain myself unless I'm asked first.  

I figured the cop would ask me what I was doing, I'd explain about the bicyclists, and I'd be on my way.  Instead, he approached me.  "I pulled you over for crossing the double yellow line.  Do you have proof of insurance?"  I did and handed it over to him.  "Is the address on your license correct?"  I answered in the affirmative.  "Wait here."  And with that, he departed and returned to his cruiser.

In the meantime, the cyclists had caught up to us and had to dismount their bikes and walk around us as there was so little room.

"OK," I thought to myself, "he'll pull my driving record, see that I haven't had a ticket in nearly twenty years, and will send me on my way.  No worries!"  

As he was in his car doing God knew what, I watched as car after car crossed the double yellow line to our left, giving the officer and me ample room.  Because that's the safe thing to do in that situation.  I felt that gave me even more opportunity to walk out of this with a warning.  

Instead, I noticed the trooper walking back to my car with a piece of paper in his hand.    Minnesota Highway Patrol are notorious for being hard asses, and if they're going to pull you over, odds are they're going to ticket you as well.  Given the paper in his hand, it looked like things looked like they might fall on the hardass side of things.

"Mr. YDP, I'm citing you for illegal passing.  You have 30 days to resolve this matter.  This is an active road.  Please drive more carefully."  And with that, he turned and left.

That was it.  No "do you know why I pulled you over?" or "could you explain what you were doing?"  No chance whatsoever for me to plead my case or explain my actions.  Just a bleeping ticket.

I was shaking I was so furious.  Maybe I had crossed those lines, but I did so because it was the safe thing to do.  This guy was making an example of me because that's what the cops did when We Fest came to town.  This guy clearly wanted to arm me with a story to tell my friends about how you just don't jack around this weekend.

What a dick.

I returned to work, dropped my credentials off with HR as instructed, and also slapped my new citation on the counter.  I regaled the story to the entire HR staff that stood there dumbfounded.  Nobody could believe that the encounter went down the way I explained it.  

With that, I headed up to my office to look up my ticket and determine my fine.  It was $125, plus whatever would happen to my insurance.

I seethed.  I was going to fight this one.  I did indeed cross those yellow lines, but I wasn't drunk, wasn't a scofflaw, had my insurance and tabs in order, and did so to protect those two riders.  Cops literally live and die by the way they're treated by those that pass them while they're standing on the side of the road.  How could this jerk not appreciate that?  I planned on telling him so in court.

But damn, what a hassle.  It was just all so unfair.

All the more reason to raise a stink in court.  I was gonna fight the law...

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Saturday Song Share: Interpol - Roland

From 2002.  These guys look just like little kids.  Hard to believe it was that long ago...

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Hero Gets to Hear Bagpipes Before He Dies

I wish there was a story like this I could share every day:

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Walker, MN American Legion Not Messing Around

Last week, while on vacation in Walker I happened to pass by the local American Legion.  It's not uncommon for Legions to have some equipment outside of their establishment - cannons are common, and even tanks are employed at times.

Not in Walker.  Nope, they've upped the game, settling not for a battlefield difference-maker, but for a war difference maker:

Yep, that's the Enola Gay.  The Ender.  

The veterans in Walker know how to go big.