Friday, December 30, 2011

The Geezer Bandit: Back for More

Real Geezer or Real Silicone? The question on everyone's mind.

I've noticed a significant uptick in pageloads for the post I did on the Geezer Bandit several months ago. I'm suddenly getting a lot of hits from Europe, not unusual in itself but this is the first time I've had a lot of foreign activity on the Geezer interview. I figured something must have happened in the news to trigger these hits, and sure enough the Geezer has hit three more banks since my post. For some reason the story has gotten a lot of play in the European press.
The week before Christmas authorities released a security tape of a man they say is the Geezer Bandit leaving a Bank of America branch in San Luis Obispo, California. The dye pack that the teller slipped him along with the money explodes in the parking lot. You can see the Geezer trying to recover some of his stuff before he hightails it out of there. This happened on December 2. It was the Geezer's last bank far anyway. Presumably he is recovering from the burns he got from the explosion and busy scrubbing the red dye off his skin, which could take weeks.
According to authorities the video further demonstrates that the Geezer Bandit may not be a geezer at all, but rather a much younger person, one capable of sprinting through a parking lot without a cane or a motorized scooter. They are now canvassing all the latex mask makers in the southern California area looking for their customers who may have purchased a mask called 'The Elder'.
All this is very discouraging to me because I have been following the Geezer's career with an eye to developing a 'Plan B' for my forced retirement. Let's face it, it's hard to make ends meet when the end of the income stream comes way before the end of the expenses. I figured this for the reason the Geezer embarked on a life of crime. Of course I was also thinking that the Geezer was, like me, an actual Geezer. Being a Geezer would explain a lot—everything in fact except the sprinting.
Robbing banks has a lot to recommend it for an elderly person with limited resources. It's easy to do. It doesn't require any special skills beyond a level head and a respectable 'skunk eye', both of which come quite naturally to a person of a certain age. Intimidating young people is fun. Knocking over banks seems an awful lot like justice. Getting caught is just like icing on the cake—free room and board, free medical care, a built-in excuse to get out of every disagreeable social and familial obligation for years to come, and, perhaps most important, even in prison no one wants to have sex with an old guy. This is all way better than my current retirement plan, and not least because no shifty Wall Street derivatives trader is likely to take it away from me.
Now I'm left wondering if all this is just a pipe dream. I mean, if the Geezer's a young guy with broken-field running ability and a latex mask, maybe this scheme is going to be harder than I originally thought. There are unforeseen (by me at any rate) barriers to entry. First off, the 'Elder' mask that the FBI thinks the bandit is using is listed on eBay at$1,799.99, buy it now. Second, a 9 millimeter Glock will set you back about $450, depending. I don't know how much ammo costs, but realistically you probably don't need any. Other supplies—day planner, paper sack, pad of paper and pencil for note writing—are going to set you back another $20-30. The fact is that I can't afford to get into a life of crime unless I get a job first. Well...that just sucks.
Then of course there's the sprinting. I can't do sprinting anymore. I can't even walk fast enough to please my dogs. You can ask them. They spend an incredible amount of time on our walks turning around to see what's holding me up. Sometimes they have such pained expressions on their faces that I am tempted to drop their leashes and hide in the bushes to spare them any further embarrassment. Sure, they're greyhounds, but really? I feed them. You'd think they'd cut me a little slack.

Exploding money...not unlike the disposition of my former retirement account...thank you very much.

Last is the problem of those pesky dye packs. Dye packs are terrifically effective for banks. They are said to be responsible for the recovery of some $20 million in stolen money and the apprehension of 2,500 bank robbers. Naturally, what's good for the banks is a problem for would be bank robbers. You could say it's an occupational hazard, but I think it's even worse than that. When a dye pack goes off in your paper bag full of loot you get fairly severely burned. Your clothes, your skin, and your money—the money that doesn't get burned up in the explosion—are stained bright red. Permanently. So your plans are foiled, you're marked for life, and you're injured. This just doesn't add up to a very good day at the office. I've had worse, but I'm not working any more. I like to think those days are behind me.
Personally I blame slip-shod customer service. I know the Geezer Bandit asked the teller, 'pretty please', to not slip a dye pack into his sack. He added what you'd think would be sufficient incentive by waving the Glock in her face. She gave it to him anyway. Modern tellers are just like every other person in the retail trades when it comes to executing the customer's wishes, especially if the customer is an elderly person. They can't pay attention long enough to get the simplest requests right. Most of us have just given up expecting what we asked for first time around. Who doesn't check inside the bag before they leave the drive-up window at McDonalds? No one is who. We all know better.
Not so easy for the Geezer Bandit though. The dye packs are disguised to look like regular money. In fact they are regular money—mostly. The receiver, trigger, dye and explosives are concealed in a stack of real currency. The banks don't mind blowing up a thousand dollars worth of twenties to stop a felon in his tracks. They've got plenty more where that came from. They get it out of their bailout funds, or take it from the rest of us in the form of new 'fees'. Sure.
Long story short, the Geezer couldn't just open his bag and look to see if the teller got his order right. He was in a hurry after all. He had places to be. He had to depend on the teller to be just a little bit brighter than your average counter help. He had to depend on the same level of customer service that he'd come to expect from Bank of America. Oh wait...Bank of America you say? Never mind.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Ironic and the Furious: What I Want for Christmas

the President's offending 'holiday' greeting. mostly the GOP yawned. 

Two days ago put up a post about the Republican reaction to the 2011 White House Christmas card. The headline read, 'Republicans Are Furious About Obama's Christmas Card? Wait Till They See Reagan's'. Those who thought to comment were mostly incensed that conservative pundits, GOP luminaries, and Tea Party Hacks were so petty that they would actually be furious about something as innocuous as a greeting card. What seemed to escape many of those commenting is the irony of being themselves so petty that they would get incensed over something that didn't really happen.
According to the article the only Republican who expressed any reservations about the card was Sarah Palin. She made her comments on Fox Radio. What she said was that she found it 'odd' that the President's Christmas card would highlight the family dog rather than traditional Christmas values like 'family, faith, and freedom'. Palin was clearly not furious. She was not even very least not compared to her usual standards. MoveOn's headline, in other words, was inflammatory, divisive, and untrue—the very charges that so many leveled against the GOP leadership, who apparently remain blissfully unaware that they are embroiled in a flap.
Personally I don't think that Christmas is a very good time to be sowing the seeds of hate and recrimination. I know that both sides do it, but the fact is that there are a lot of Democrats who think that only Republicans are capable of this kind of duplicity. Clearly this is not the case, and clearly many liberal believers are ready to be seduced into making the same kinds of unthinking blanket indictments of which they accuse the conservatives. I'm not letting conservatives off the hook here. They are not only just as guilty of this kind of flimflammery, they practically invented it.
Wouldn't it be great if we could get back to actually discussing real issues with logic and civility? Wouldn't it be useful if politicians and hacks would lay out their positions so that we voters could make informed decisions from a substantive array of facts? Wouldn't it be interesting if the media would delve into the meat of differing political positions instead of focusing on who changed their mind about what or who had a bad hair day or who left Jesus off their Christmas card? Wouldn't it be a 'Wonderful Life', if politics could actually make a difference?
That's what I want from Santa—a great big bag of political relevance. We could all use a little. Even a little would be a sea change...but oh, so welcome. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gangsta Whips

I have gangstas (well gangsta wannabes) for neighbors. They installed a new speaker system in one of their big wheel whips today. When they tested it, the dogs went wild, the windows rattled, the walls shook, and the drop lights commenced to swinging. I'm trying to recoup my losses by selling these guys pictures of their rides. Samples below:

I figure when you spring for rims like these you're prolly 'all in.' It lightens the load in your wallet, making your pants easier to hold up, which of course you have to do continuously since the belt line is properly worn below your crotch so that the too-long cuffs pool luxuriously around your Lugz making it all but impossible to run away from the police.

I call this one Luna-Cee because, well, wouldn't you?

None of these guys seem to have any money, but as soon as they get some they are going to spend it on something ridiculous. Maybe on pants that don't fit. Maybe on illicit pharmaceuticals. Maybe on 9 millimeter Glocks. And maybe they'll just take it down to the local 'gentlemen's club and stuff it into some lucky dancer's garter. But maybe, just maybe, they'll spend some of it on funky pictures of their cars. I can only hope.