Duck Crossings and K9 Choper

First, I thought I’d share with you a photo of the hungry monster hamper that threw my entire life into madness last Sunday.

The most fun thing about the hungry monster, which I never could have anticipated but which I was delighted to discover, is that when he gets full he gets an enormous underbite that makes him look even more Appalachian and mad than he already does just right off the bat.



To the real content.

In the course of my day, I may or may not do one metric assload of driving. I often have to run to Youngsville, to District Magistrate Woodin’s office, for affidavits. Or because Chief Mineweaser (no, spell check, his name is not “Minesweeper,” please stop) wants his picture taken. Or to see Choper.

Oh, you guys.


I heart Choper.


I inherited all of the K9 Choper coverage from Kiley Fischer when she abandoned me in the newsroom with all these icky boys.

I’m just kidding.

Fischer is one of, like, five women I actually didn’t mind working with. I’m actually very happy in the newsroom with all the icky boys and I probably won’t ever leave because I can’t think of anywhere that I could (a) have this much flexibility in my schedule and (b) make “To Catch a Predator” jokes without getting a verbal/written warning.

I did inherit the Choper beat that she definitely bogarted.

I love you, Fischer. But you bogarted Choper.

And so do I, now.


I went to Youngsville Friday to see Choper, who was visiting Head Start out there.

You have to follow that link up above and check out some of his professional photos. His eyes will blow your mind. Choper is from Holland. His handler, Officer Neiswonger (Jesus Christ, spell check, no, his name is not “Fishmonger”), has to speak Dutch to him.

Ugh. I love that dog.

It’s probably just because I would literally shove my face into the neck fur of literally any dog I come across, except my neighbor’s dog, which charged me and my kids the other night while we were taking a walk and which I will tear apart or die trying if it ever even looks at my kids again.

The best way to get me to be your friend is to ask me to come see your dog. Or to let me pet your dog. Or to have a dog. Or to just…like…be a dog.

Probably the last one is your most direct route.

Anyhow. As I do a lot of driving, I see a lot of weird shit. But Friday was just an excessive weird shit kind of a day. I missed getting a photo of the first thing, but on Route 6 headed west toward Youngsville, just past the National Forge curve, I encountered a Chevy Suburban atop which someone was attempting to transport a poorly-secured twin mattress.

The mattress was blown up from the oncoming wind and it literally looked like the truck was going to achieve liftoff at any moment. Unfortunately, I got my camera going literally three seconds too late and missed getting a picture of it.

But it would have been the third in a series, because on the way home from Youngsville, on Warren’s south side, I was second in a line of traffic that had to stop as a plump of ducks was crossing from the river side to the neighborhood side of the road.


And, as I pulled into the parking lot at work – which is sort of behind the McDonald’s which, side note, smells like straight up ass every time it’s even a little warm and has rained at any point in the past ten hours – some joker had decided to make a freaking maze out of the driveway.


See that car in front of me? Literally, he could have parked anywhere else and been fine. But nope. He parked just right there in the middle of the lane of travel and proceeded to walk over to the drive-through window, in front of a car that was waiting for food, to talk to whoever was working.

Oh my god. And if you want to see a drive-through night terror, someday I’ll take a picture of the outrageous mindfuckery that happens when I leave in the afternoons and everyone in Warren decides to go to the Little Caesar’s drive-through.

Or “Little Scissors,” if you want to call it like it is.

Because that pizza will tear you up inside. There is no complete meal that costs five dollars that is fit for human consumption except rice and beans.

Literally. Just rice, and beans. And nothing else.

Anyhow, I think that “Vignettes from the Windshield” is going to become a regular photo genre on this blog. Because I see people do some amazing shit while I’m on the road. Really, what I need is just a GoPro strapped to the hood or, like, an assistant. Because so many times I’m not able to get my phone up while I’m driving and I don’t have it on the dash magnet so I can’t make it happen.


I’ve got to make capturing road silliness a priority in my life.

Let’s see…what else?

Oh, we stopped one more time at Vernita‘s show at the Crary.

My kids love the gallery, and that makes me so happy. We have fun just making it a regular Thursday thing. This is them checking out the Dore blocks.


We really do have a lot to be proud of and excited about in Warren. The gallery is just one of the really cool places that you would not expect to find in a town like this. Growing up here, I can say with absolute certainty that this place has evolved, and so much of great value is here, if you know where to look.

At Criminal Justice Advisory Board yesterday the interim Deputy Director of Adult Probation was saying that in his 18 years in law enforcement, he’s never seen any drug be so prevalent in open parole/probation cases  that it overshadows THC. Just by its nature, THC remains in the system for so long that if you’re going to piss dirty, he said, it’s very likely that it’s going to be for smoking weed. And yet, in the past year or so, he said the majority of people who are pissing dirty are testing positive for meth.

And it comes in waves. Drugs come in and out of style, based on money and availability. For people in a town like this, it’s less about what kind of a high you want and more about what you can get hold of that will suspend your ability to feel the pain that drives you to using in the first place. Heroin. Opiates and Suboxone. Cocaine even made a little comeback he said, about ten years ago. Then there was the “bath salts” craze from about four years back, which was legitimately scary. But Meth is this drug that just gets its hooks in and goes down hard.

It’s sad. Warren is this place of extremes. Very wealthy, very poor. Very well, very unwell. Very beautiful and very ugly. It seems to mirror the tendency toward the extreme that we see in the growing distance between wealthy and poor on a national level. And it’s scary.

Maybe just because I’m a mom now, but it really does start to get scary when you think about what kind of a world your kids are going to inherit. It’s such a cliche but it’s true. That’s why it’s a cliche, right? Because it’s fundamentally true, and universally understood.

I don’t know. The Dore blocks just got me thinking about the stuff I write in the blotter and then the opposite end of the spectrum. The beauty and pricelessness that we have here too.


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