Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jury Doodie

I feel like I just did time. I just got done with 2 days of jury duty. I don't know if funny stuff happens to everyone in jury duty, but I'm going to retell my experience for those of you lucky enough to never get jury duty. This will be long.

DAY ONE

I have to be at the court building at 8:45 AM. I choose to get up early so as to avoid crowded subway trains and get a seat in the waiting room. I have two books and my journal. I don't think I'm going to get through both, but I want to be prepared. I've been here before in July when I postponed jury duty, so I have somewhat of an idea of what to expect. They show a short video on jury selection and the law.

Also, I want to include this anecdote for your enjoyment/betterment. There was a sports agent who had his jury duty deferred 7 times. The legal limit is 3. He finally couldn't get it delayed any more and was pitching a fit. They got him calmed down and had him sit in a jury selection. He didn't turn off his cell phone and made a big show of replying to his messages. The judge then appointed that he stay in the waiting room for 10 days. There was nothing that could be done. I found this to be hilarious and secretly hoping it was Scott Boras.

Here is where it gets fun. We all give our jury cards with our names on them to the desk clerk who then puts them all in a machine that looks like one of those contraptions they use for bingo. Then they start drawing names. GREAT...mine is called to go to civil court. That is in a different building so I have to walk with 19 other people and a court officer in the cold. We then wait to be allowed into the courtroom. There's already this one kid I don't like who looks like he should be on trial for something himself.

Hey! What do you know...he knows one of the defense lawyers. He is sent away. That assistant DA is cute.

The judge now goes through some things she has to say and a guy pipes up from the back with some story about how his cousin got deported on a weapons charge blah blah blah. The judge tells him to wait for the story and then we all take our seats. The questions you get when you are in jury selection are pretty basic. Where do you live, how long, who with, what do you do. There are also some questions about your knowledge of those in law enforcement, sitting on a jury in the past, your regarding of police testimony, and any objections you may have to serving on a jury.

These are all pretty straightforward, yet some people had trouble going in order when they answered the questions. Even after they've heard 10 other people already answering the same questions. The above storyteller told us again about his poor deported cousin and weapons charges. I also talked about how I was likely to give less credibility to cops. The judge then informed me I was to treat all people equally and I said ok. We went through everyone else and took a short break.

When we came back in, I took my seat and noticed on the prosecutor's jury sheet, my seat is circled. I'm not shocked. She then picks it up, talks to what looks to be her superior who then looks up from the paper directly at me. We lock eyes and I know he's just told her to get rid of me. Once we all get back in we begin to be questioned by the attorneys. Cute assistant DA asks me if I can be fair. I tell her that I can because the judge told me to be. Then the judge laughs about her power and I suck up and say "Well, you're the boss" and she laughs again. Cute assistant DA may hate me right now.

This part of the selection process is quite annoying. The prosecution doesn't care about the "people of the state of New York." They care about winning the case. The defense doesn't care about the Russian accused of drunk driving. They care about winning the case. All we are as jury members are people that can get them their desired result. Listening to others drone on about their lives found me picking at my nails. The defense attorney shocked me with a question pointed to me and I looked up. I forget what it was.

After 30-35 minutes of questioning, we step outside while the attorneys select jurors. We wait some more. There is a lot of waiting. Bringing something to read and/or do is essential. They bring us back in and SHOCKER! I am not selected. I then head back over to drop off my juror card to be put back in the pile and then go to lunch.

After an always delicious meal at Quizno's, I go back to the jury waiting room. At about 2:30 and a full waiting room, I am told I can go home and come back tomorrow at 10:30 am. I am overjoyed.

DAY TWO

I leave at 9:30 this morning on subways that are dying down from rush hour traffic. I'm not sure what my food situation is going to be like so I stop into McDonalds for breakfast. When I get into the waiting room, roll is called and our names are thrown back into the bingo machine. They need 65 jurors and I'm almost positive mine will be called. What I like is, anyone who was late for roll was called first. Finally, it paid off to be early.

However, 65 is a large number and my name is called. We go down for a criminal case about an assault with a weapon. The judge calls for more jurors to be pulled. We wait for those and then we start the selection process. She lets us know this case will last until next Monday the 15th and you can feel the tension in the room. I am not in the first 25 pulled so I have to listen to everyone go through the questions. Luckily, this judge is a GID (get it done) type and hurried anyone along who was moving too slow.

Then the assistant DA gets up and he clearly hasn't taken enough public speaking lately. His questions are peppered with "ums" and quite frankly he is too repetitive. He let's us know that the primary witness against the defense. has prior convictions on his record. This makes the case smell kind of fishy. Then the defense attorney gets up and keeps it all entertaining. He made fun of the prosecutor for taking too long and I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the excuses for people being unfair in this case like "I have a problem with guns" or "I have cancer treatments and I can't serve."

The judge dismisses us for lunch. It's 12:45 and she says be back at 2:15. I'm thinking "awesome" until I realize I'd rather just be back at 2 and get this thing over with faster. I have another delicious lunch at Quizno's and walk around. I wonder if I'm anywhere near the SoHo Apple Store where Patrick Murphy works and quickly deduce that I'm not close enough and walk back to the courthouse. I read a little.

Hey...what do you know, 2:15 and they aren't ready. They finally let us in about 20 til 3. I get picked this time and we do the whole dance again. Strangely, some people are coming up with new excuses on why they can't serve. Language, sickness, jobs, travel, you name it, they are using it as an excuse. It's pretty pathetic considering they tell you THE FIRST DAY that if you have anything coming up, go and have this jury duty postponed. The judge is starting to get pissed.

Now we're in our seats and people are still coming up with ways to get out of this. It really is shameless. I might as well say my appendix burst at lunch or something these excuses are so bad. But I do let it be known about my previous reservations about the prosecution's main witness. The judge then let's me know that I have to be fair, and I tell her I don't think I can be fair. We then breeze through the rest of the questions and are excused.

I share my frustrations with fellow jury members about what little bitches everyone in there is being. I say I should have told some lie about my grandfather being a grand wizard in the KKK to be on par with the nonsense taking place. We are summoned back into the courtroom and they have finished jury selection. I feel relieved to know I am not picked. We are given our juror cards and sent to the waiting room. We wait about 10 minutes, get our paper work, and we are free to go.

All in all, this experience has been hellish. I don't wish for any of my friends to go through it. Unless they laughed at me for getting jury duty. Then I hope they do get it.

I'll leave you with some tips on how not to be selected for a jury.

1. Appear disinterested. If you look like you don't care now, what will you look like during the case?

2. If you know any lawyers or cops, play that up and how it will affect your ability to be fair.

3. If you don't like or trust cops, talk about that.

4. Make sure whatever you say is real and believable. These judges and lawyers are not fools.

You do that, and you should be kicked off any jury and just have to suffer through 2 days of questioning.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

God Doesn't Care About Sports

As a sports fan over the last 28 years, I have come to find that God does not care about sports. No matter how many players and coaches thank God for their effort, I personally think God has bigger things to tend to.

If God did care about sports...

-teams like the Florida Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks would have zero championships while teams like the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates would at least compete for them more frequently

-classless pricks like Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer would have the score run up on them as much as they run it up on other teams

-the Buffalo Bills would have at least gotten ONE out of the four Super Bowls they played in

-Kobe Bryant would never know the taste of championship victory

-attempted murderers like Ray Lewis wouldn't be Super Bowl MVPs, they'd be in jail

-coaches would have some integrity and work their contract and not jump to the next best thing

-Vitor Belfort, the JesusFreak of all MMA, would be undefeated and champion of the world

-maybe he'd let me witness an undefeated UGA season capped off by a national championship just once.

I don't mean to bring this back around to me, but it's plainly true. God does not care about sports. I see guys like Tim Tebow write Phil 4:13 on his face and wonder what God thinks. He's playing a child's game while so much other important things are going on in the world. Sure, in Christ Tebow can do all things that strengthen him, but did God have winning football games in mind when that was written? I hope not.

I was tossing and turning in my bed tonight thinking about this. I wonder what God really thinks about all this. Maybe I should take sports less seriously. In the grand scheme of things, it amounts to grown men acting like boys to entertain other children around the world (some grown children, some actual children). Why do I scream and shout obscenities at a TV when I have zero control over what is taking place? If it's to feel better about myself by associating with a team from my general area...I have to think of a better way to feel better about myself.

In conclusion, I don't think the team with more Christians wins games. So write all the scriptures you want on your eye black, but know that God is probably concerned about more important matters.

Can we do this? Can we care less about this and care about something else more? I hope we can.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hiatus

Since I am writing a book this blog will be going on hiatus until further notice. I'll probably post some picks for UFC fights which really only interest me, but we'll see. Hoping to have the book out by this fall. When I get it done, this will resume. Thank you.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

MLB 1st Trimester Report

Ugh.

As a Met fan, for me this season is over. Plenty of people have been telling me "Oh, it's early" and "It's not even the All-Star Break" yet. I don't care. I can tell whether a team has it or not, and this team certainly does not have it. The only guy speaking up is the shaky closer. If David Wright had 5 more years experience he could say something. But he doesn't, so he doesn't. Guys like Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran are the biggest bitches I've ever seen play. I'm willing to pay for Aaron Heilman's plane ticket out of town. Seriously.

At least the Yankees are awful too.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been a pleasant surprise so far this season. However, I doubt they'll hang around long considering how green they are. Once the dog days of summer hits you could see this team fade and Boston put it into cruise control.

I like that I was partially right about the Tigers. I didn't think they'd be as good as everyone said, but I certainly didn't think they'd be as bad as they are. Cleveland isn't looking much better. Also my bold prediction for the Mariners isn't quite looking so smart in retrospect either.

Over in the National League I'm looking pretty smart. Except for the whole Mets doing well thing. And the Padres getting the wild card. That won't happen. I'm still sticking with my Boston over Arizona World Series prediction.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hell's Kitchen Odds

Okay, finally this is down to a manageable number of competitors. Sadly, I hate mostly everyone on this show right now. There aren't many good cooks it seems like. If anyone seems good, I think it's mostly because everyone else is so crappy. But we must prognosticate and make fun of Jen, so here we go.

Matt

But first, I want to make fun of Matt. This guy makes the best risotto ever, then goes to sweating in pasta. I don't understand what is going on with this guy, but judging from next week's preview he is about to go Looney Tunes on us all. There is no way in Hell ('s kitchen! haha see what I did there) that this guy will win.

Odds: 1,000 to 1

Jen

Now for the other person who has no realistic shot at winning. That is, unless she changes her attitude. She thinks her shit doesn't stink and every now and then Chef Ramsay has to lay down the law. Once Matt is gone she will have nowhere to hide, so she better snap out of it.

Odds: 500 to 1

Petroza

Nice enough dude, but I just don't think he has what it takes.

Odds: 75 to 1

General Bobby

The four star general talks a big game, and he's probably the best male chef there is, but I don't think he has all the other tools needed to win this competition. Who knows though, maybe he'll pull something out of his ass and surprise me. Has he been doing that good, or has everyone else been doing that bad?

Odds: 25 to 1

Corey

The least attractive "attractive" girl on this show ever. But she showed good leadership skills babysitting Matt and teaming up with Christine to get their service done this past week. It all seems to be coming together for her. If she plays her cards right she could be in the final two.

Odds: 5 to 2

Christine

Right now, this is who Vegas has winning. She seems like the best cook back there as well as the smartest. And she is more attractive than Corey. To me it's a close call between both her and Corey right now. I think Christine is definitely in the final two, no matter what.

Odds: 2 to 1

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Great Expectations

No, this is not about the Charles Dickens book. Luckily, I never had to read it. But like I said, this entry isn't about that. It's about how we hype everything up in media (movies, TV, music) and then get disappointed when our expectations are not met. The most popular recent example of this trend would have to be the new Indiana Jones movie. The first two days all I heard was how crappy it was. So I went in expecting it to suck all while recognizing it was just a movie.

I enjoyed myself.

Was it the best Indiana Jones movie? Not by a long shot. Was it as good as something like Temple of Doom? I would say so. Sure there were some corny parts in it and Harrison Ford isn't as spry as he once was, but as an Indiana Jones movie, it held up and was decent. You know why I didn't leave disappointed? My expectations were in the proper place. Whenever you enter an arena with heightened expectations, more likely than not, you are going to be disappointed.

The same thing happened to all these overgrown children before The Phantom Menace was released. They got all stoked about what amounted to a kid's movie and had the gall to wonder why it sucked. So when you expect to see something great next time, take your expectations down a little lower. It'll help you to not leave the movie theater pissed off and angry at the world.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Ultimate Fighter: Quarterfinal Previews

I don't know how many people watch this show. I don't really care, because this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want. I love the UFC and any red-blooded male should feel the same. The reality show of the UFC is getting interesting due to the quarterfinal pairings. I'm going to break down each fight and give my predictions.

CB Dolloway vs Cale Yarborough

Cale is the 1st sacrificial lamb of the quarterfinal matchups. Whenever there are 16 fighters in one competition there are bound to be a couple of guys a notch below the best guys. Cale is a notch below CB. I look for CB to take Cale down and pound on him and have the referee pull him off. If Cale can stuff the takedown and keep it standing, he's got a punchers chance. Otherwise, this could get ugly fast.

Dolloway over Yarborough by TKO in 1st rd

Jesse Taylor vs Dante Rivera

Dante put on one of the more boring fights in the first round. Jesse is famous for puking right after his first fight (and for being my 2nd cousin). I wasn't impressed by Dante at all and could say he arguably lost his prelim fight. Jesse was gorilla strong in his first fight and will most likely outwork Dante to a unanimous decision.

Taylor over Rivera by Unanimous Decision

Amir Sadollah vs Matt Brown

Two of my favorite fighters in the house. This is going to be a war. Matt likes to bang and Amir will not quit and has some explosive strikes. This one is going to come down to who doesn't get caught. Personally I think Amir will avoid getting caught in this one.

Sadollah over Brown by TKO in 2nd rd

Tim Credeur vs Dan Cramer

Sacrificial lamb fight 2. Clearly they are trying to set up Credeur/Dolloway in the finals. Cramer didn't run out of gas in his first fight and was able to finish his guy. Credeur should get this to the ground and jits his way to an easy victory.

Credeur over Cramer by submission in the 1st rd

What I would like to see is Sadollah/Taylor and Credeur/Dolloway in the semis. Don't know if we will though. Heck, I could get every one of these picks wrong. All I know is business is picking up on The Ultimate Fighter.