Wednesday, September 29, 2010

War Story Wednesday - An Assignment Editor's Choice

It's Wednesday again!

If you have a war story to share, either provide a link or share in the comment section.

When I worked in Public Information, I spoke with members of the media on a daily basis. Reporters or assignment editors would call in the morning to find out what happened overnight, or if there was anything going on.

One morning, a reporter asked what news releases had gone out overnight. I summed them up, saying, "A foster mother killed her kid, and four dogs were saved from a burning building." She said, "Let me check with my editor." She came back on the line.

"Give me the dog story."

(This is Harley, my sister's min-pin)

Friday, September 24, 2010

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Did you know that prescription drug abuse in the U.S. is on the rise, and that accidental poisonings and overdoses are due to drugs languishing in home medicine cabinets? The majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, and from the home medicine cabinet. Many Americans do not know how to safely dispose of them. Throwing them out or flushing them down a toilet can create potential safety and health hazards.

Saturday, September 25, 2010 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. You can turn in your unused, unneeded, or expired medication for safe disposal, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at various locations. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked.

For a collection site near you, enter your zip code on this page. More than 3,400 sites, mainly fire, police, and medical facilities, have been designated as drop-off points for this program.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

War Story Wednesday - The Frozen Hot Dog

Welcome to another installment of War Story Wednesday. Please feel free to share a war story, or include a link where readers can find your war story.

Today's flashback is about a call I handled in 1988. It was an unusual aided case (someone who is sick or injured). Among the volunteer firemen who responded to this call after my arrival included the man I would marry less than a year later.

It seems the complainant (the person calling the police), a twenty-something woman, was in a predicament. She had a frozen hot dog stuck to the delicate skin of an orifice south of the border.

I remember wondering why she didn't just let it defrost.

The guys loaded her up in the ambulance and took her to the hospital.

I always knew my courting days with my husband were unique.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Insight of Maxwell Perkins

On this date in 1884, William Maxwell Evarts Perkins, better known as Maxwell Perkins, was born. He is probably one of the most famous literary editors who ever lived; he worked with Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe.

I found some wonderful quotes on the Famous Quotes and Authors site, attributed to the talented Mr. Maxwell, and I wanted to share them with you:

"Every good thing that comes is accompanied by trouble."

"Just get it down on paper, and then we'll see what to do with it."

"Anybody can find out if he is a writer. If he were a writer, when he tried to write of some particular day, he would find in the effort that he could recall exactly how the light fell and how the temperature felt, and all the quality of it. Most people cannot do it. If they can do it, they may never be successful in a pecuniary sense,

but that ability is at the bottom of writing, I am sure."

"I believe the writer... should always be the final judge. I have always held to that position and have sometimes seen books hurt thereby, but at least as often helped. The book belongs to the author."

"You have to throw yourself away when you write."

I'm sure that one or more of these resonates with you.

The beautiful Snapdragon Inn, located in Windsor, Vermont, was once owned by Maxwell Perkins. Looks like a lovely place to visit.

Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg, a 1978 National Book Award Winner, will be going on my TBR pile. The word is that Sean Penn is in talks to portray the famous Scribner editor, based on the Berg biography of Perkins.

Perkins died in 1947 at age 62.

Photo sources: North Carolina Historic Sites and The Snapdragon Inn.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pedigree's "Write a Post, Help a Dog" Project

I just learned on Women of Mystery (thanks to Laura and Clare) that Pedigree will donate a 20-lb. bag of their brand new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to a shelter for every blog post mentioning the Pedigree Adoption Drive through BlogPals West, up until Sunday, September 19. Read more about it at

In addition, if you're on Facebook and "like" the Pedigree page, they'll donate a bowl of food to a shelter.

Spread the word, and get a blog post in by tomorrow ~ and if you're on Facebook ~ "like" their page. Let's feed some hungry dogs!

You can find Pedigree on Twitter: @PedigreeUS.

If you write a post and let them know, you'll be in the running for a "Dogs Rule" T-shirt.

Here is some helpful info if you're considering a dog adoption.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cyber Creeps

Stop Cyber Creeps
Via: The Steel Method

I think this is a great poster. I wish it could be posted in every school.

For more information on Internet Crimes Against Children, check here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

War Story Wednesday - The Hunters

Welcome to another War Story Wednesday. If you have a "war story" that you'd like to share, by all means, either enter it in the comments below, or provide a link to your story, and I'll update this page.

Today's memory is about a 911 call I received ~ an anonymous call about hunters in a wooded area and marsh, next to a residential area. Brian, the officer in an adjoining sector, responded with me on the call. We parked our patrol cars near an unoccupied vehicle that we suspected might belong to the alleged hunters.

As Brian peered into the interior of the car with his flashlight, he said, "Uh-oh, it looks like they got one."

I braced myself, wondering what kind of dead animal would be in the back seat. Brian kept completely quiet as I walked around to the side of the car. I looked, and staring back at me was a Garfield plush toy with suction cups on its paws stuck to the rear passenger window.

Brian had a dry sense of humor ~ he always kept me laughing. By the way, we didn't find any hunters that night.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Google Instant

Google just rolled out "Google Instant," which should shave off time when conducting searches; it shows results as you type, before you're even finished typing. It also attempts to predict what you're searching for; if Google gets it right, you can stop typing.

Richi Jennings at Computerworld has been monitoring the reaction of folks who are using the new feature, which can be turned off if you don't like it.

Last year, I wrote a blog post over at Women of Mystery about Google searches. I never laughed so hard as I wrote a blog post. If you have a minute, check it out.

This reminds me of "," where you enter some ingredients you have on hand, and it immediately lists many recipes to choose from. This helps when you've spent too much time on the computer and you realize you must make dinner, and don't know what the heck to make.

I'm still headed for the supermarket ~ after I go to the library first.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thank-a-Cop-Thursday: Dancing Traffic Cop

Today is "Thank-a-Cop-Thursday" on Twitter (using the hashtag #tacop).

I'd like to thank the NYPD Dancing Traffic Cop Wil Bert Castillo for having a great attitude and some pretty awesome moves.

For more information on #tacop, read this article on

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

War Story Wednesday - A Day Late & A Dollar Short

Today's War Story comes from one of my former bosses. During his rookie years in the early 1970s, he got a call to contact Police Headquarters. His assignment was to make a death notification to a resident in his sector, about a man who had died in NYC ~ about an hour away from Suffolk County.

When he knocked on the door at 3 a.m., the resident, obviously just awakened, opened the door.

The rookie compassionately delivered the news about the deceased in NYC.

"Yeah, and?" the groggy man replied.

His brusque reaction puzzled the young officer, leaving him speechless.

The resident barked, "We buried him two weeks ago!"


If you have a war story you'd like to share, either enter it in the comments or provide a link to your blog and I'll update the page.

Photo: '70s teletype machine ~ from Dickinson PD Virtual Museum

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Location Craze - a Burglar's Dream

Be careful when disclosing your location on social media sites ~ it may be nice to discuss where you are ~ but it tells burglars where you're not: at home. was developed for this reason, to point out the danger of publicly broadcasting your movements. They launched their site in February 2010, but have since taken it down, saying their point had been made. Their web page has several blog posts listed which discuss this issue of "over-sharing."

Posting photos can give away your location, too. is another site meant to raise awareness about inadvertent information sharing.

You may not realize it, but if you are posting photos taken from a smart phone, you may be giving away your location due to geotagging. If you'd like to know more about geotagging, and how to disable it on your smart phone, check out these directions. makes its point by asking, "What are people really saying in their tweets?" and posting the location where the tweeter's smart phone took the photo and even providing a map -- information they were able to glean from the smart phone photo. If they can do it, so can the bad guys.
Ever since the launch of Foursquare and its subsequent popularity, Facebook and Twitter begain letting people include a location as part of their tweets.
Read the post on Mashable about the popularity of Foursquare, a location-based social network.

This reminds me of how some burglars have chosen their victims the old-fashioned way -- by reading the obituaries and the wedding announcements in the newspaper.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Discount Noir" ~ Short Mystery Anthology

I just learned some fabulous news. Agent Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency has arranged for Untreed Reads to be the e-publisher of a new short mystery anthology tentatively titled, Discount Noir. According to Untreed Reads, the anthology consists of "super short/flash murder and mayhem centered around a very Wal-Mart/Target-esque backdrop."

The anthology, edited by Patricia Abbott and Steve Weddle, contains works by:

Discount Noir should be released in late September or early October. I will keep you posted when I learn more.

I am thrilled to be in the company of these authors in Discount Noir. Many thanks to Stacia Decker, Patricia Abbott, and Steve Weddle, for their efforts in this endeavor.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

War Story Wednesday - Debut: Fireworks

I'd like to propose a Wednesday meme, called "War Story Wednesday." All cops have "war stories." The public has them, too, regarding their own experiences with law enforcement.

One of my war stories won a "One Minute Writer" prompt of the day, regarding a police encounter. I'll use it to kick off "War Story Wednesday." An officer shared this experience with me when we had a moment to chat during one of the busiest tours of the year. It occurred in the late 1980s.

One Fourth of July, a fellow officer responded to a fireworks complaint - a resident said the guy next door was shooting off fireworks in his backyard. The officer found a man barbecuing in the buff. She asked him if he'd like to cover himself up. He said, "No." She explained the fireworks complaint, but he said, "Do you see any fireworks here?"

Before the officer turned to leave, she said, “Don’t burn your meat on the barbecue.”

I'm suggesting that others who would like to share a war story to join me on Wednesdays, by either posting on your own blog, or entering it in the comments section. I will update the post to include links. A story can be one you experienced, witnessed, heard from another cop, a legend, etc. These gems may be humorous, sad, uplifting, heartwarming ~ a spectrum of emotions.

Titles or no titles, short or long ~ let's share some great tales.

If you'd like to read some police war stories, check out: (don't miss the Featured True Cop Story, "Big Fat Turkey")

Spread the word ~ on Facebook, Twitter, etc. My Twitter name is @katcop13.