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January 7, 2016

Jury Duty Part I: I Played The Fucking Powerball That Evening, Too.?

Not much has changed in the Lee County Justice center, from the last time I served on a jury back in September of 2009. In fact, aside from having to take my fucking shoes off when going through security, nothing has changed really. Same jury waiting area, same interlocking metal chairs, hell even the same funny old guy running the thing; Harold the Jury Coordinator. So get there around 7:45, fifteen minutes early for my 8am report time. And of course we all sit there until 8:30 picking our noses, before Harold starts to call us to check in -- 100 jurors at a time, from numbers 1 all the way through 355. As juror number 72, I get called up in the first batch and when I return to where I was sitting, I find some Fat White Asshole sitting in my seat. So I sit in someone else's seat. Then the Fat White Asshole gets called up in the next batch (101-200) giving me the opportunity to reoccupy my old seat like the Gaza Strip. A few minutes later, Fat White Asshole returns to my/our/his seat, and finds me sitting in it. He begins to raise his hand and open his mouth as if he's going to say something, when I look him right in the eye, lean to one side, and let a slow pleasurable look come over my face before leaning back over to sit up straight. I didn't really fart, mind you, but this was enough to suggest to the Fat White Asshole that he has permanently lost this particular chair. He took another seat four rows over and occasionally cast a glance over his shoulder from time to time.

We sat through the same Rah-Rah-Jury-Duty video as before, which explained how important our jury duty was to the American legal system and all that shit. A woman from the County Clerks office comes up and thanks us all for appearing there today -- like we've got a fucking choice -- and inquires whether anyone in her captive audience would like to hear more about how the County Clerk's office operates. The fact that nary a single hand is raised did not stop her from giving her five minute dissertation anyway, and by the time she finally completed her little speech nearly everyone face was buried in their smartphones. She was followed by a woman from the County Elections Office, who made note that anyone wishing to register for the next election could do so in the office located right next to the jury waiting room. I'm already registered, I thought, Libertarian, motherfucker.

We sat with our thumbs in our asses for the next hour and a half and on or around 10am, Harold asked the room to listen closely as he was going to call 40 juror numbers for people to report for the only jury selection for the day. My ears perked up at this... only 40 out of 355 people? That's what, about a 1 in 9 chance of getting pegged? Things were looking up! And call forty numbers he did, none of which were 72. I was fucking stoked! I had stared into the belly of the beast and survived! No jury duty for me! I sat back in my chair and gave a smug look to the forty walking dead as they meandered their way towards the back of the room, grumbling under their breath with each step, and up to the Bailiff who would take them to their assigned courtroom. After they all left, the mood in the jury waiting room showed a marked improvement. We're good to go, right baby?! But Harold had one more small bomb to drop. "I'm going to call ten more numbers, and if your number is not called, we thank you for your service and you are free to go."

"Ten more numbers?" I thought. Must be some small jury or something. Anyway, there were some 315 other people left in the room to fill these ten seats so that's a what... 1 in 31 chance? Nah, I'm good! What's the first motherfucking number he calls? That's right, juror number seventy-fucking-two. I'm staring at the ground, "You. Have. Got. To. Be. Fucking. Kidding. Me." Harold went on to call nine more numbers, but I didn't hear them. I just sat there, shellshocked, the sound of my heartbeat pounding in my ears. Mother. Fucker. And after called out all the numbers on his short list, Harold removed his reading glasses, raised his head, and confirmed that yes, "For the rest of you, you are excused." The room exploded in a frenzy of quiet murmurs and people grabbing their jackets, each in a hurry to get the fuck out of Dodge. And who walks past me with a smug look on his face? That's right? Fat White Asshole. "Fuck you, pal." I thought to myself. I considered tripping him, sending his Fat White Ass to the ground like a trash bag filled with soup, but given I'm in the county courthouse thought better of my actions. The remaining three hundred people filed out, leaving the ten of us in the large vacant room.

"You ten people are just going to be held in case they can't pick a suitable jury from the forty people who went up before you. It should only take a couple of hours," Harold informed us. Well that's not too bad, I guess. I mean if they can't pick seven people (a jury of six plus one alternate) out of forty potentials then what the fuck kind of world do we live in, right? And so the rest of us sat there for about half an hour or so, fiddle fucking with our phones and perusing through Facebook when the Bailiff returned with one of the forty jurors with him. The two chatted together and walked up to Harold before the three of them started to talk in hushed whispers. The juror was smiling. I was not.

"It seems there was some wort of a mix-up," Harold informed the almost vacant room, "We called juror number 194, when we sent up 294. Is juror number 294 still here?" My mind returned to the crowd of three hundred now laughing and joking amongst themselves as they walked down Monroe street towards the juror parking lot. "Most certainly not" I thought to myself. "Well then, we're going to have to grab one of your ten to send up in their place... and the first person on the list is..." My mind flashed back to my being the very first number called of the ten jurors held in reserve. No. No. No. No. No. NO. NO. NO. NO. "Juror number 72, Ernie Stewart." My grip tightened on my phone, and I briefly clenched my eyes closed in despair. Mother. Fucker. I raised my hand, "Here."

The Bailiff came and collected me, and escorted me though a series of back hallways and private elevators until we arrived at the entrance to Courtroom 4A. A Lee County Deputy opened the courtroom doors for me, and I entered to see my thirty-nine fellow potentials all sitting in the bench seats that occupied the rear of the courtroom. I was ushered to the second of three rows and told to sit between Old Asian Lady and Goofy Guy In Red Shirt. As I was sitting on the left side of the courtroom, I happened to be on side occupied by the prosecution who sat just opposite a waist-high wooden wall; there were two of them, a man who looked remarkably like Dr Taub from House and a cute little brunette with an unpronounceable name. To my right, opposite the other batch of potential jurors, sat the defense; a middle aged white guy with absolutely no remarkable features whatsoever, and the defendant who believe it or not, was a dead ringer for Chris Penn after you cleaned him up and put him into a shirt and tie. "Okay good morning,," the Judge said into his microphone, causing his voice to boom out from the courtroom speakers like God, "and thank you for reporting for jury duty. Now Miss Unpronounceablename is going to explain the juror selection process, called Voir Dire, and we will begin choosing our seven jurors." [TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW...]

The glass balcony is on the north face of Bally's Las Vegas. I spotted the High Roller Ferris Wheel and followed the monorail tracks. Lt-Dan

Morning Ernie. Your Glass Balcony is at the Signature, MGM Grand - Tower C in Las Vegas. Don't know which floor but it's one of these. Love the New Year "Vegas" theme! Martov

Ernie, I'm no good at Google Street view so I pulled up my Property Map on the Las Vegas Today and Tomorrow site. By seeing the Monorail Station on the left and Koval Ave behind her puts her at the MGM Signature Suites. Tom

That balcony is at the Signature at MGM Grand. Dan

If you are not an asshole, then you enjoyed Ronda Rousey's bodypainted ass from yesterday, know that she'll be hosting Saturday Night Live later this month.

Beretta's new 1301 is gas operated semi-automatic shotgun designed for law-enforcement and home-defense. The basic shotgun (rifle stock, standard magazine capacity) retails for $1075 -- tack on the pistol grip and extended tube and you're looking at $1,240. But that's cool bruh, because right now you can scoop one with the pistil grip and extended tube for 6+1 capacity for only $999.

If you are not an asshole, then you'll agree with me when I say the the Season One intro to HBO's The Wire is one of the best television intros of all time. Although I think the one from Season Four is a close second. Anyway I will however, tip my hat to the reimagined version by Elliot Lim makes a nice addition to the lineup.

January 8, 2016

Jury Duty Part II: 7 Jurors / 355 Potental Jurors = 1.97183% Chance Of Being Selected.

So Unpronounceablename steps up to the podium and introduces herself as one of the co-prosecutors for the state of Florida; unfortunately the mic cut out as she started speaking, otherwise I may have heard her pronounce her name. It's now that I get my first real good look at her and I have to admit, kinda cute. If I recall correctly, her name ended in something Slovakey Eastern Europeaney sounding... -ova -anya -ovic ...maybe? Anyway, she walks with a noticeable limp and you can see a look of discomfort as she tries to make her way back and forth to the podium. She explains to the jury the case before us today is a felony one with two counts: burglary of a conveyance (a vehicle) and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, specifically a vehicle. She goes on to say we are all going to be asked the same series of questions: name, occupation, how long we've lived in Lee County, if we're married and if we are what our spouse does for a living, if we've ever served on a jury before and if so were we the foreman and were we able to reach a verdict, if we have any LEOs in our immediate family, if we've ever been a victim of a crime and finally, if we've ever been convicted of a crime.

Generally speaking, defense attorneys don't like their jurors to be too close to law enforcement since there's an obvious potential for bias towards any police testimony, so it's here where The Assholes like to begin their dog and pony show. You know the people I'm talking about, "Oh yeah, yeah, my uncle's cousin was a cop." "I used to date a police officer for three years." "My neighbor is a guard at the prison." "My car was broken into once and it was soooo traumatizing I still have nightmnares about it." Seriously. Just saying whatever the fuck they can think of to make themselves look unfit for this jury duty. My turn comes up and I detail the normal shit; as for crimes against me, I say my credit card number has been jacked a few times, my phone has been stolen, my wife's car has been broken into and I committed petit larceny when I was 17. No big deal.

We eventually work our way through all forty jurors and now both the prosecutor and defense attorney get to ask some of us specific questions based upon our previous answers. This guy's car had been broken into, does he believe he will be able to remain impartial. The woman's cousin is a deputy two towns over, does she believe she will be able to remain impartial. This guy had been assaulted before, does he believe he will be able to remain impartial. Lots of people, lots of more or less the same question, lots of Lebron flopping by all. Unpronounceablename singles me out and asked if I would be able to remain impartial since my wife's car has been broken into and this was a car burglary case. I answered as honestly as I could, that is to say I'd like to think I would be able to remain impartial but if elements of this crime drew some familiar parallels to what happened to us, then sure perhaps I may take it personally. I though that was a fair answer and truth be told, I was pretty sure this was going to earn me a peremptory challenge from the the defense attorney -- who I just now placed as Peter Griffin -- but much to my surprise neither Unpronounceablename nor Peter Griffin seemed to give my response much attention. Not like say, the Goofy Guy in the Red Shirt next to me who explained that his car had been broken into five fucking times. Five fucking times!

Once all of the personal questions were completed, the judge -- El Hefe -- rocks his mic again and asks us all to step out into the hallway for a twenty minute recess while the attorneys go through the pool and chose the Unlucky Seven who would be their jurors. The forty of us file out en masse and play survival of the fittest for the limited number of chairs in the hallway, the rest of us migrate towards the window so we can get some decent cell reception. Sidebar: the TT was in at the shop for some suspension work, so this gave me a chance to reach out to my service advisor for an update. It needs new struts in the rear ($735) and new strut mounts and bushing up front ($690). I have a 15% off coupon (haha!) and since the car just ticked past 103k miles, I really can't complain as these are the original shocks on a fifteen year old vehicle. A few minutes after I give Sal from Audi of Fort Myers the go-ahead, one of the Deputies guarding the courtroom door opens it and the Bailiff walks out, "Okay, they're ready for you, would you all follow me back into the courtroom and you can sit wherever you please." So again the mass migration of Lee County residents from all walks of life, works its way back into courtroom 4A so see who gets to go home and who gets buttfucked.

I'll be honest, I was feeling pretty good about this so far. Seeing how I was the victim of a car burglary and there were some thirty-nine other people to choose from, I was pretty confident that I wasn't going to get picked. As such, I took one of the seats towards the back of the courtroom and fought the urge to play with my cell phone while the rest of the herd came in and found seats of their own, spreading throughout the back of the courtroom like an overly tanned and liver spotted virus. El Hefe taps his mic a few times before going on something to the effect of thank you for your patience and willingness to serve on a jury.... foundation of the legal system... Constitutional rights... yadda yadda yadda. I paid attention of course, because I'm a true believer of the Constitution, but I didn't pay that close attention, because hey, I was going to be outta here in a few minutes, right?!

El Hefe asks both the prosecution team (Doctor Taub from House and Unpronounceablename) along with Peter Griffin and his defendant, Chris Penn, to stand while he reads off the names of the selected jurors. This time El Hefe starts speaking without his traditional preemptory mic tap, "I am going to read seven names which will be members of the jury for this case, and when I am done, the rest of you are free to go with the thanks of the court." I start feeling around in my pocket for my car key, and lean forward off the back of the hard wooden bench, so I can spring up outta here and beat the crowd to the elevator. "Skinny Tanned Bald Dude." That's one. "Retired Engineer Dude."That's two. "Black Dude With A Beard." That's three. "Fat Accountant Dude." That's four. "Handsome And Charming Blogger Dude Who Was Ready To Get The Fuck Out Of Here But Now Just Learned That He Got Picked For This Jury And Isn't Going Anywhere Soon." Are you fucking kidding me?! Fuck. I'm five. My mind immediately flashed to Goofy Guy In the Red Shirt. "You cocksucker," I thought, "Why couldn't my car have been broken into five fucking times?"

Of course El Hefe continued on reading his list despite my silent cursing, so rounding out the lineup were A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick, with Skinny Metrosexual Dude as our alternate. So now as I felt my ass lifting off of the wooden bench, my feet were carrying me towards the wrong end of the courtroom; I was heading towards the front, instead of the back where the doors to freedom. Just like Bert does on Judge Judy, the Bailiff holds the little door open allowing the seven of us to cross over to occupied territory, and we begrudgingly take our seats in the jury box.

Tune in Monday for Opening Statements...

Hey Ernie, it doesn't look like Street View shows Dreamer's Clothing Store, but that's where Dexter was looking shocked by the cute blonde. Brian

He's walking past Dreamers Women's Clothing, at 90 Stanton Street, Manhattan, NYC. Google Streetview doesn't show it there anymore, or it's before the pic was taken. Chris

Hey Ernie good for you doing your civic duty. Bring a book. Many long boring days i spent in a room with 300 other people waiting to be selected. Dexter is getting an eyeful around 90 Stanton St in New York. Street view is older than the facebook page of the business, not sure if they moved in or out since then. Found it by the Type 24 Bishops Crook lamppost, of all things. Good challenge. Ray

Hey Ernie, I found Dexter in about 10 minutes yesterday, it was pretty easy so I didn't bother sending it in. It is in the East Village in front of Dreamers. And here is more of the Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Society. Keep 'em coming, Tim

Find the: location of these skateboarding lessons. Find the: identify of this old warship. Find the: best ammo deals on the web!

And your FRIDAY FLICK: I imagine several hundred years ago, a group of very powerful men, not unlike yourself, were out conquering the known world. So they get to Africa, feeling pretty good about themselves, definitely feeling superior to the savages they see running in the jungle. That is, until one of the brothers drops his loincloth. And then these powerful men, all of a sudden, come face to face, so to speak, with one of life's great inequities.

January 11, 2016

Jury Duty Part III: You're A Lot Of Woman, You Know That? Yeah, Wanna Make 14 Dollars The Hard Way?

So my fellow jurors and I watch in horror as the rest of the herd, now free of the threat of conscripted public service, turn quite jovial as they file out of the classroom. A few handshakes are exchanged, a playful punch to the shoulder, the texting of phone numbers. And after the last of the now free potential jurors files out, the deputy guarding the door shuts it behind them, its large oak frame slamming shut with a boom which is quickly smothered by the courtrooms acoustics. El Hefe asks us to sit down, and I decide now is a good opportunity to really check out the courtroom.

Our jury box is located on the left side of the long courtroom. To our immediate left, at the 9 o'clock position, is the the old bailiff who escorted me up to the courtroom an hour or so earlier, and he is sitting on a chair in front of a door marked JURY ROOM. This will no doubt be the room we'll be using for our deliberations as the trial nears its conclusion. Looking just to the right of that, at the 10 o'clock position, is what I recognize to be the witness stand; a simple chair, with a microphone, both surrounded by a short wooden wall. Looking to the right of that, and raised up on his own platform, is El Hefe himself. To his left (further to my right) and one notch lowert putting her on equal height with the jury box, is the court clerk.

Directly ahead of me, on the opposite side of the courtroom is a large white projector screen which has been lowered from the ceiling. Its current display is a bright blue box and white lettering which reads DVD INPUT 1 in the top left corner. There are two deputies sitting on either side of the projector screen, one looking extremely bored, and the other looking extremely bored and brilliant blue, thanks to some reflective glare from the projector. Further off to my right, spanning from the 1 o'clock to the 3 o'clock positions, are the two legal teams, all facing to my left towards El Hefe on the bench. At the table furthest from me, in the seat furthest from me, is the Defendant, Chris Penn. His attorney, Peter Griffin, is a little closer, sitting to his client's left. There is some sort of table with audio/visual equipment separating the two tables occupied by both teams, and I would later learn this is where they managed the projector from. At the nearest table sits the prosecution -- Doctor Taub closest to to the A/V table, and Unpronounceablename sitting closest to me; the latter of which is wearing a skirt so I look for any scars, or casts, or bandages that might explain her limp, but no such luck. Far off to our right, are the rows of wooden benches that are used for court spectators, and aside from the deputy who manned the rear door, they sit empty.

And here we all sit, nestled firmly in between the bosum of Lady Justice herself; the defendant and his legal advisor on one side of the set of scales, the state and its legal advisors on the other, and We The People sitting as the jury which would determine which way those scales tip. And what is our first official act in this pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way? That's right, motherfuckers: lunch. Seriously. It was about 1:30pm in the afternoon and I was hungry as a motherfucker. And apparently, so was El Hefe because immediately after laying out some framework of what our job as the jury was going to be, a quick glance at his watch and he calls for a 50 minute recess so everyone could get something to eat. With a bang of his gavel El Hefe calls for everyone to stand up as the jury exits the courtroom, and the Bailiff escorts us out through the back JURY ROOM doorway to a small hallway with two additional doors, one marked JURY CONFERENCE ROOM and the other locked with a electronic keypad and sensor. The bailiff excuses his way from the back of the crowd up towards the front, leans over so the lanyard around his neck would reach down to the electronic sensor which beeps, and a light turns from red to green. He pulls on the door handle and it opens with a metallic click, revealing a long hallway which runs the width of the courtroom. There is one door on the side, and another at the end of the hallway. We proceed through the latter, which takes us to a private elevator used exclusively by judges and juries.

Two floors later and we are standing at the entrance to The Oasis, the building's cafeteria. A handwritten sign out front notes it is TACO TUESDAY. Excited at this prospect -- who the fuck doesn't love tacos, AMIRITE? -- I made short work of Fat Accountant Dude who stops to read the sandwich board more thoroughly, and Skinny Metrosexual Dude who seems to want to lag behind and wait for A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick. Bringing up the rear is Skinny Tanned Bald Dude, but Black Dude With A Beard was nowhere to be found. We would later learn his wife worked in the building, so he spent his lunch with her. Only Retired Engineer Dude beats me to the part of the lunch counter with the hand drawn "ORDER HERE" sign hanging overhead, and when the woman behind the counter asks him what he would like for lunch, Retired Engineer Dude responds by asking for a single plain hamburger. "Sorry," County Government Lunch Lady replies, "we shut down the grill about 30 minutes ago so the only thing we have left are cold sandwiches and anything we can put on the flat grill." Retired Engineer Dude frowns, shuffles his weight back and forth from one leg to the other, and changes his order to a grilled chicken sandwich. Why the fuck they couldn't just put a burger on the hot side of the grill, which would accomplish the same thing as an open flame, but hey whatever gets this guy the fuck out from between me and my tacos. County Government Lunch Lady writes both Retired Engineer Dude's updated order and his name onto a green order pad, tears off one sheet and hands it to him. 'It'll be a couple of minutes, hon," she says as she already starts to turn her attention to the next person in line, which as luck would have it, was me.

"It's Taco Tuesday!" I exclaim with probably a little too much enthusiasm in my voice for a government run cafeteria. But the frown that immediately darkens her face tells me there would be no tacos in my future today. "I'm sorry hon," County Government Lunch Lady says with not quite enough enthusiasm for a woman who just crushed my dreams, "We ran out of tacos earlier today." She glances down at her watch, "Oh, must have been around 11:30 or so, you guys got here too late, sorry." To this day, part of me believes that behind the counter, hidden just out of view were a tray of freshly made taco fixings and County Government Lunch Lady simply didn't want to break into them because she had already started cleaning the kitchen before closing for the day. I opened my mouth to say, "THIS PLACE IS A FUCKING PRISON. ON PLANET FUCKING BULLSHIT!" but instead what came out was, "Okay, I guess I'll have a grilled chicken sandwich, too." We negotiated both what toppings I would have on my chicken sandwich, along with whether or not I wanted it on bread or a bun. We then played a game of How-More-Fucking-Clearly-Can-I-Say-My-Name before I finally accepted my defeat and agree to buy lunch for Bernie Sanders.

Post lunch -- nothing really good to report, other than Skinny Metrosexual Dude trying to engage A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick in conversation -- the six of us finish our shitty government cafeteria lunches and return to the agreed upon place to meet with our bailiff -- Black Dude With A Beard is already there and waiting for the rest of us -- who escorts us back up through the elevators and down the long hallway than runs the span of the courtroom. As we were heading towards the door at the end that leads to the jury room access, El Jefe catches everyone by surprise when he sneaks out of a door on the left side of the hallway -- presumably from his own private chambers -- his hands up by his shoulders and shrugging on his judge's robes. Upon seeing us, he steps backwards, apologizes, and encourages all of us to file past him. He continues to work on getting his robes situated and by the time I reach him -- I was the last person -- he is fully robed and ready to go. It is here I will note, that I missed one of the greatest, once in a lifetime opportunities of my life. I will forever regret not taking a step to the side, extending an arm inviting El Jefe to walk in front of me, by saying Your honor, Your Honor. GODDAMMIT

Asking us to wait in the small access hallway just before the courtroom, the bailiff pokes his head into the courtroom and immediately pulls himself back. "They're not quite ready for you yet, so I'm going to have you wait in the jury room." The door of which swings open to what looks like small kitchen; a sink, a microwave, a small college sized refrigerator. Two bathrooms, male and female, and a door which leads to a second small room containing a table, twelve chairs, and a water cooler. This room was Cold. As Fuck. Not see your breath cold, but certainly make a mental note to keep an eye on A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick to see if them nipples come a calling cold. There are a few minutes of very awkward, and very unclever bantering -- Skinny Metrosexual Dude still trying to but a move on A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick with no success -- before the bailiff knocks on the door, opens it and says, "They're ready for you now." We file out one at a time, through the access hallway and into the courtroom itself which was absolutely silent except for the sound of our feet shuffling to the jury box. Once we choose our seats -- I get stuck in the front row, godammit -- El Jefe gives everyone else in the courtroom permission to be seated.

Tomorrow: Opening statements!

Hi Ernie, Got a blog post here with some cool Star Wars graffiti and street art. Hope you have a great weekend. Dave

Old and busted: The American dream being a white picket fence, a wife, two kids, and a dog. The new hotness: The American dream being a brown picket fence, a wife, and two beers. Show me where this new American dream can be found!

Gun sales have nearly doubled since President Obama took office, hitting a new high in 2015, according to federal data, and peaking in December after mass shootings in Paris and San Bernardino. In fact, more people applied for background checks -- which closely tracks sales figures -- in 2015 than in any previous year, totalling 23.1 million. December 2015 was the highest month for background checks at 3.3 million -- as such, GunBroker has released its list of Top 5 Best Selling Firearms for December 2015. And you can search out the absolute best prices on those firearms via GunEngine; remember you'll need your FFL info handy to arrange the transfer.

Hey Ernie, the skate board lesson is taking place in Richard Wagner Platz in Leipzig, Germany, in one of the few German cities with Street View. Here's some more shots her naked walk around town. Hang in their with Jury Duty, remember, if they werren't guilty, they wouldn't be on trial. Keep 'em coming, Tim

Old and busted: A drone that can give you a first person view. The new hotness: A drone that can give you a ride to work. or you know, to the bar. But the maximum capacity is only 220lbs, so it won't be of much use to 33% of Americans.

Splenda is the commercial name and registered trademark of a sucralose-based artificial sweetener derived from sugar, owned by the British company Tate & Lyle and American company Johnson & Johnson. Sucralose was discovered by Tate & Lyle and researchers at Queen Elizabeth College, University of London, in 1976. Unlike other artificial sweeteners, sucralose is heat stable up to 450 °F, so Splenda can be used as a replacement for table sugar in cooking and baking, and there are Splenda products packaged specifically for this purpose. Individual servings of Splenda are available in both granular and tablet form.

January 12, 2016

Jury Duty Part IV: Two Buns And A Well Cooked Piece Of Meat.

Once we're all seated, El Jefe gives permission for everyone else to be seated, and calls the court into session. He begins by explaining to us how the opening argument process works -- prosecution goes first, defense second -- but cautions us that none of what we hear from either attorney should be considered evidence; the absolute only instance in which verbal testimony is to be accepted as evidence is that elicited from the witness chair. Everything else we hear today from the prosecutors and the defense attorney is not to be considered evidence and should not be used to help render our verdict.

First up to the plate? It looks like Unpronounceablename will be batting for the State of Florida. She stands from her chair and hobbles over to a small podium which has been set up facing the jury box. The placement of which doesn't quite seem to be to her liking and she tries to manhandle it back and forth, into where she thinks it should be. He face alternates between a look of determination and pain, as she rocks the podium back and forth, alternating her weight from her good leg to her injured leg. Once she is satisfied with its placement, she straightens her back behind the podium and begins to present the State's argument.

The State of Florida contends that on some fucking day in July of last year, Average Father drove Average Son to Florida Skin Center, parked his pickup truck and went inside for his son's appointment. After half an hour, Average Father and Average Son exited the building and came out to find some white dude -- identified as Chris Penn -- had parked his car in the parking space adjascent to Average Father's truck, and was searching through the bed mounted toolbox located behind the cab. Average Father confronted Chris Penn, who then fled the scene in his car without offering a word of explanation. Average Father told Average Son to get into the truck and call 911 to report a burglary, while Average Father followed Chris Penn up Del Prado Avenue, where he witnessed the alleged burglar's car turn into to this Race Trac. There, Chris Penn had pulled into a parking space up against the front of the store, and went inside. Average Father pulled his truck in behind and perpendicular to Chris Penn's car, so as to block him in and prevent any attempt to flee again, and with his son updating the 911 operator, waited for Cape Coral police to arrive. A few minutes later, Chris Penn exited the Race Trac, and following a brief verbal confrontation with Average Father, climbed into the driver's seat of his car and after a series of about 6 or 7 small turns, attempted to flee again but this time striking Average Father with the front bumber of his car, knocking him to the ground.

With the assistance of some Good Samaritans, Chris Penn was prevented from fleeing back to Del Prado and points unknown, instead being forced to drive down a nearby dead end road. At which time an officer from the Cape Coral police department arrived on scene and was updated from witnesses as to the direction Chris Penn fled. Said officer was then able to make contact with the suspect's car, pulled it over and following an interview, placed Chris Penn under arrest and that leads to where we all are today, sitting here in this big fucking courtroom.

And it is here where I will admit that I will (unfortunately) never look at a hamburger the same. Because after giving us the Cliff Notes version of the crimes Chris Penn was standing trial for, Unpronounceablename goes on this ten minute dissertation about satisfying the elements of a crime, using the metaphor of a hamburger to illustrate her point. She asks the rhetorical question, "What do you like on your hamburger? Some people may like it plain, others may like mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato. Some prefer ketchup and mustard. Maybe some of you like bacon." [Ernie: Okay lady, we get it. "Maybe some of you even put peanut butter on your burger. And I heard guacamole is becoming popular. Some people like plain buns, while others like Kaiser buns, or now even pretzel buns." I think about tapping my watch, or maybe shining a red light on the podium, but eventually she starts to being her point home. "While all of those condiments are nice, they're still above and beyond what the actual hamburger is: two buns and a well cooked piece of meat. It is not a very exciting hamburger, but it is still a hamburger none the less."

And I'm not fucking kidding you when I say she goes on to use the phrase, "two buns and a well cooked piece of meat," at least twenty fucking times during her opening statement. It was almost kind of disturbingly erotic; or erotically disturbing, I can't really decide which. Anyway, her fucking point is there is a minimum threshold that must be met for someone to be considered guilty of committing a crime. We as individual people with individual brains and individual thoughts may like to see that burden set higher, but it's not. If the State proves this minimum threshold -- known as the elements of a crime -- has been met, then we must find Chris Penn guilty of committing the crime, even if our own personal thresholds are not met. I can tell you that we the jury used the phrase,"two buns and a well cooked piece of meat," extensively during both our deliberations and the following day's lunch break.

Tomorrow; The defense's opening statement

Saw this plate this morning on way to work in Bel Air, MD. Thought it was pretty bold. Feel free to share, Michael

Ernie, You lucky juror you. The ship in question is none other than the HMS Belfast in London. Having been there more than once m'self, that one was a no brainer! Of course, when I visited her, there were no lovely ladies showing off their minge, but the ship was still pretty cool. -Jason

Ernie says: BZZZZZT!

This year's College Football National Championship has already placed itself among the greatest in the game's history, and it didn't even take them until kickoff to get there. As for the MVP that made it all possible, that would be Ciara, who came out to sing a stunning rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner wearing a rather revealing get-up. She was asking for a nipple slip. Lucky for her and the networks, and unlucky for us, it never happened.

Whenever I go shooting, especially to the ourdoor ranges where there are more powerful rifles are in play, I'm always amazed at the number of people who do not being any (or at least adequate) hearing protection. I always run with a set of dispoisable foam earplugs, and then a set of inexpensive muffs over the top of that. I may have to ask you to repeat yourself a couple of times at the range, but I won't have to ask you to repeat yourself after the range, because I won't have tinnitus. Smart shoppers can pick up 25 pairs of dispisable foam earplugs for $5, or $0.20 per pair.

Herbie Goes Bananas is a 1980 film and the fourth of a series of films made by Walt Disney Productions starring Herbie – the white Volkswagen racing Beetle with a mind of its own. Loosely picking up where Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo left off, protagonist Pete Stancheck has inherited Herbie from Jim Douglas, and travels to Mexico with his friend D.J. to retrieve the car. Meanwhile, Herbie helps Paco, who has dubbed the car 'Ocho', escape captivity. When the ship's captain Blythe has his costume party wrecked by the boy and car, he puts Herbie on trial and sentences him to be dropped in the sea. However later on land, Herbie resurfaces from the water to reunite with Paco, who then goes into business with Herbie as a taxi. Or if you prefer, Herbie can go into business with you, to be a taxi.

January 13, 2016

Jury Duty Part V: We Are In Court Today For No Good Reason At All.

Following her dissertation on "two buns and a well cooked piece of meat," Unpronounceablename does her best to hobble her way back to her chair at the prosecutor's table, swinging her bad leg under first and then collapsing in a skirted heap. El Jefe asks Peter Griffin if he is prepared for his opening statement, and rising up out of his chair while holding about 492,572 unsorted pieces of paper in his hands, Peter Griffin confirms that he is. As he makes his way towards the podium to address the jury, two or three sheets of paper fall from the stack he is bear hugging to his chest, and begin a slow back-and-forth flutter as they descend to the courtroom carpet. Peter Griffin stops, and bending over to pick them up, drops two more in their place. I can't help but think if the Absent Minded Professor had gotten his law degree, this is probably how it might look. After foiling his paperwork's multiple escape attempts, Peter Griffin approaches the podium and lays out the story about how this case is all just one big misunderstanding and his client was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"You see," explains Peter Griffin, "my client was just driving down the road -- minding. his. own. business. -- when he looked over and saw what he believed to be his boss's pickup truck parked in the nearby dermatologist's parking lot. And being a hard worker, his client Chris Penn wanted to stop and look in his boss's truck to see if he could grab some tools. So his client turns into the parking lot, and parks in the parking space right next to what he honestly believed to be his boss's pickup truck. Barely had Chris Penn begun his search -- quickly realizing that he was mistaken and this was in fact not the vehicle he thought it was -- when his poor client was approached by a hostile and pugnacious Average Dad who had the audacity to scream at the now quite shaken Chris Penn. And I'll admit this was the first time I've ever heard an expletive shouted in a courtroom -- "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" Average Dad roared. Peter Griffin asked us to consider if we too wouldn't be so scared in such a situation that we too would try to flee for our safety.

And now having realized his misidentification of said truck -- and quite taken aback at such a flagrant display of hostility by Average Dad -- Chris Penn did indeed fear for his safety and retreated to his vehicle. Further escalating an already volatile situation, Average Dad continued to shout at the demure Chris Penn, pounding on the driver's side window and even going so far as to use his keys to scrape the front fender of his client's car, as his client tried to flee this violent confrontation. This was, Peter Griffin assured us, a powder keg waiting to explode. Now heading north on Del Prado, and reasonably convinced that he has seen the last of the crazy Average Dad who tried to assault him and damaged his car for no good reason, a parched Chris Penn pulled into a Race Trac convenience store to get a well deserved soda. A few minutes later from inside the store, Chris Penn can see Average Dad pull up and block his car in. Again, not wanting a confrontation, Chris Penn client exited the store and as quickly as possible sought shelter and safety in his vehicle, because hey, if Average Dad was willing to pound on the drivers side window before, there's no telling what kind of craziness he'll be up to this time.

Realizing that he does not have a clear path to freedom, and since he is being all but kidnapped right here in the store parking lot, Chris Penn is forced to execute a series of teeny tiny K-turns to escape the imminent threat posed by Average Dad. And then after executing this series of turns to try to negotiate his freedom, just as he is about to be free of this menace, Average Dad stands in front of Chris Penn's car and blocks his only route of escape. "Be careful!" Chris Penn dutifully warns Average Dad, who by thus time was all but throwing himself at the front of the car, "I don't want to hit you so please move out of the way of my car. I didn't take anything I thought that was my boss's truck." Chris Penn eases his car forward, inch by inch, until he manages to nudge Average Dad out of the way as gently as possible, and only then is finally able to escape this horrible scene.

But his nightmare was not over, fair juror, because a few minutes later Chris Penn is pulled over by none other than Cape Coral's finest. And being the civic minded fellow that he is, Chris Penn dutifully pulls over and answers all of the officer's questions truthfully and honestly: he explains how he had simply mistaken another vehicle for his boss's truck and was doing nothing more than attempting to grab a few tools to which he would have every legal right to do; he described how this crazy guy started punching his car's windows and it was all he could do to escape the scene without injury; he described how he made every effort to again escape injury at the convenience store parking lot; and he described how the only thing he wanted to do was go because he was late for picking up his girlfriend's child from school; in fact, this wasn't his car at all, but his girlfriend's car and this crazy guy had vandalized it for no good reason. And wouldn't you know it, his client is unfairly arrested without even so much as a proper or thorough investigation being conducted by the Cape Coral police officer on the scene. This was, Peter Griffin assured us, a tragic miscarriage of justice.

And then to counter Unpronounceablename's "two buns and a well cooked piece of meat" argument, Peter Griffin goes on to make it very clear to the jury that while his client would not be testifying on his behalf today, this could in no way be considered evidence to his guilt, or any admission of guilt. In fact, both he and Chris Penn could sit over at their table and play cards all day, and they would still enjoy the presumption of innocence. That is to say, they entire burden of proof in this case, rests squarely on the prosecution's shoulders to prove the defendant's guilt, not his client's shoulders to prove his innocence. So the only way his client could be found guilty is if the prosecution proves that his client is guilty, and he assures us that can not happen since his client is indeed innocent. Peter Griffin then thanks me personally for my time, and makes his way back to his seat. He does not drop a single piece of paper along the way.

Tomorrow: Our first witness, Average Dad is John Goodman

Hi Ernie. Its the Aurora, located in St Petersburg, Jan

Hi Ernie, Yeah, that guy was wrong about the ship in question. Those stacks and windows are wrong!! Is is the Russian Cruiser Aurora - fired the first shot of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Plus, I know your proclivity to putting up hot Russian girls. Keep up the great work! Best regards, John

That would be a Pallada class crusier the Aurora, known for October Revolution and firing the shot that started the attack on the Winter Palace, it is currently a museum parked in St.Petersburg Russia. J

Per the Wikipedia article, in January 2013 Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu announced plans to recommission Aurora and make her the flagship of the Russian Navy due to her historical and cultural importance. On 21 September 2014 the ship was towed to the Admiralty Shipyard in Kronstadt to be overhauled, to return in 2016. And in case you missed it yes, the Crying Bengals lady has been turned into the internet's latest meme. You're welcome.

Now, to ask you to find what place sells both sandals and bath mats, wouldn't even be a challenge. A simple Google search can answer that and with a couple clicks of the mouse, presto, yo're looking at the Arena Multistore in Duisburg. But it will take a true Streetview Warrior to find what bar this Bead Whore is hanging out in front of. Are you the Streetview Warrior I am looking for?

Guadeloupeis an insular region of France located in the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Tourism is a key industry, with 83.3% of tourists visiting from metropolitan France, 10.8% coming from the rest of Europe, 3.4% coming from the United States, 1.5% coming from Canada, 0.4% coming from South America, and 0.6% coming from the rest of the world. An increasingly large number of cruise ships visit the islands. Tap water is safe to drink, but never drink from rivers or lakes because of the danger of parasites (bilharzia). Bottled water is readily available, including brands such as Matouba, shapes, and deadlier period in restaurants you will usually be served and charged for bottled water unless you ask for l'eau du robinet, or tap water.

January 14, 2016

Jury Duty Part VI: John Goodman Do You Swear To Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth?

Once Peter Griffin is safely back in his seat, there's about fifteen or twenty seconds where El Jefe is just sitting on his bench, his attention focused upon what I believe was a laptop? Checking some legal standing, or perhaps Facebook, too? He then taps his mic to make sure it was on, and leans forward to speak, "Prosecution, you may call your first witness." "Thank you, Your Honor." replies Unpronounceablename, "The State of Florida calls Average Father to the stand." Upon hearing these words, the Deputy in the back manning the rear entranceway pushes the door open and steps out into the small atrium that divides the courtroom from the hallway behind it. He returns a few seconds later, still holding the door open and a middle aged white guy with a dark beard steps through it and proceeds towards the front of the courtroom.

As he approaches the waist high wooden wall that separates the front and back halves of the courtroom, Bright Blue Deputy gets up from his seat and pulls a small door in the wall and allows Average Dad to pass unmolested. El Jefe asks the man to stop when he is about halfway to the witness stand, and the man looks up with a visibly startled look on his face. The Court Clerk sitting on El Jefe's right instructs the man to raise his right hand and before he can reply, chimes in, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth here today?" Average Father croaks out a surprised, "I do," just before nodding his head and continuing his trek to the witness chair, simultaneously pulling the microphone over towards his mouth and spilling into his seat, all at the same time.

"Good morning, Average Father," greets Unpronounceablename. Average Father leans into speak, but when he opens his mouth only a dry mumble comes out. He leans backwards away from the mic and harumpfs to clear his throat. Evidently satisfied with the result, Average Father leans back into the mic and HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS GUY CHANNELS THE VOICE OF JOHN GOODMAN. Seriously, this guy's fucking voice sounds EXACTLY like John Fucking Goodman. So much so that I had to slap my hand over my mouth to trap the joyful squeal that was barreling its way out. If I close my eyes for a second, I'd swear to fucking God that I'm watching an old rerun of Roseanne. I cast a quick glance around the room, around the jury box to see if anyone else was reacting with the same surprise I was. My hand was ready to shoot up and point to Average Father John Goodman, so that both I and my accomplice could enjoy our inside joke together. But there was no one. I was alone. Only I seemed to be picking up on the fact that we have a genuine fucking celebrity voice impersonator in the courtroom today. Disheartened, I allowed my hand to lower itself back into my lap and tried to curtail thoughts of this the witness having a heart attack at a wedding reception.

Quick interlude. I was going to write up all of the witness testimony in Question/Answer format so as to not miss out on any of the suspense, but doing so would be overly tedious, so I'm just going to narrate the meat and potatoes of the witness testimony. Some of it is a recap of what was offered in the opening statements, but in much greater detail. And it is here that the A/V equipment comes into play. Unpronounceablename pulls a small white envelope from her desk and asks El Jefe's permission to approach the witness, and is given it. But as she approaches, Peter Griffin stands up and reports that the defense stipulates that is indeed security camera footage from the dermatologist's office, and they have no objection to its admission as evidence or its publication to the jury. Unpronounceablename and El Jefe agree, and the DVD goes into a laptop for overhead projection. Unpronounceablename requests John Goodman narrate what we are seeing and this is what he lays out for us...

It's a beautiful Friday afternoon and John Goodman is taking his son in for a dermatologist's appointment. He parks his truck where he always does, backed into a parking spot, just outside and to the left of the office's main entrance. He's inside for about thirty minutes, and as they are returning to his truck -- John Goodman in front, Average Son about a step or two behind him -- he notices someone has opened the rear tool box in the bed of his truck. In fact, as he steps closer, he notices that someone is still there and still rummaging around. He runs up to confront the person -- John Goodman identifies that person as Chris Penn by pointing to the person in the blue and white tie -- and as he rounds the drivers side of his truck (out of camera view) notices the car parked next to him, which was also backed in, has both passenger side doors wide open. As he continues to verbally confront Chris Penn, who still has his hands inside of his toolbox, Chris Penn immediately turns around and pushes both of the car's passenger doors shut, before retreating around the rear of the car, through the car's open driver's door, and into the driver seat. John Goodman testifies that he pounded on the passenger side window and fender, attempting to speak to Chris Penn to see if he can ascertain why they were in his toolbox. The driver of that vehicle speed off, and John Goodman instructs his son to get into the truck and call 911 and report a burglary. He shuts the toolbox, starts his truck and proceeds to follow the suspect's vehicle, which is now heading north on Del Prado boulevard.

Unpronounceablename presses the STOP button her laptop and the screen transitions from dermatologist's trees blowing in the Florida sun, to the bright blue and white box with DVD INPUT 1 in the upper corner. Unpronounceablename ejects the first DVD and fumbles for a few seconds before managing to get it back in the white envelope. She then pulls a second DVD from her desk -- no envelope for this one -- and again requests permission to approach the witness. Peter Griffin sees this and correctly ascertains what's going on, so he again lets El Jefe know the defense stipulates this is indeed security camera footage from the Race Trac security cameras, and they have no objection to its admission as evidence or its publication to the jury. In goes the second DVD, the PLAY button is found and John Goodman continues where he left off...

As his son is updating the 911 operator of the fluid situation -- reporting the grey Ford Focus with Pennsylvania license plates and noting the direction of the vehicle -- John Goodman notices the suspect's vehicle turn into a Race Trac convenience store. Rather than turn into the same entrance as the suspect, John Goodman decides to drive slightly past the Race Trac, turn down a side road, and come in a second entrance, so as to not spook Chris Penn into fleeing again. He parks his vehicle lengthwise behind Chris Penn's grey sedan, which was pulled nose first into the parking space, and waits for the police to arrive while his son continues to keep 911 updated. After about three minutes, Chris Penn exits the Race Trac and walks right up to John Goodman. Chris Penn repeats himself that he thought the truck was his boss's and that he didn't take anything from John Goodman. Chris Penn gets into his car and executes what he can only guess to be a 10-point turn in order to bring the car around; if you can imagine a T in which John Goodman's truck is the horizontal line across the top, Chris Penn's car is the vertical line, headlights facing downwards and away from the top of the T. After this series of turns, Chris Penn has maneuvered his car around to where it is facing the 2 o'clock position and now stands a real chance of escaping since the adjacent parking space is empty. It is then that John Goodman makes the decision to stand in front of Chris Penn's vehicle to deny him that avenue of egress. Despite several attempts by Chris Penn to bump John Goodman out of the way, John Goodman stands firm and refuses to move. That is until the car shoots forward, throwing John Goodman half onto the front hood, and half onto the ground next to the passenger side tire. Clear of any further obstructions, Chris Penn speeds off. John Goodman is shaken, but does not seem to be seriously injured although he did testify to some soreness in the days following the incident.

As John Goodman was not party to the ensuing events that resulted in Chris Penn's arrest, his testimony stopped there. Cross examination by Peter Griffin was spirited, but in the end ineffective. Peter Griffin manages to get John Goodman to admit he cursed at Chris Penn, pounded on his windows hard enough to break them -- that he wanted to break them in fact -- and that he used his keys to vandalize his client's car as it was driving away. Again, the phrase "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" is uttered in a court of law. Peter Griffin also suggests that Chris Penn didn't hit John Goodman at all, that in fact it was John Goodman who all but leapt onto the hood of the car in another aggressive attempt to escalate the situation. But give we has just wanted video of Chris Penn nearly running John Goodman the fuck over, his efforts were pretty fruitless. Besides, John Goodman's truck? Yeah, it was a 1997 Dodge Ram, one of the original club cabs. And he backed it on on the first try. Chris Penn? Took two tries to get his Ford Focus in straight. Yeah, that's what's up.

Tomorrow: Average Son and Good Samaritan.

It looks like the deck and fence are gone from the Restaurace Formanka on Husovo namesti 19, Ceska Skalice, Czech Republic. More of here adventures here. I hope she didn't walk all the way from Nove Mesto nad Metuji. Rick

Hey Ernie, The brown picket fence is in Ceska Skalice, Czech Republic . The street view shot seems to be pre brown picket fence. You can see more pics of the quaint little village and Sarka's quaint little gash here. I know it wasn't a photo challenge, but in case you care, the chick in front of the boat from Friday's post is in St. Petersburg, Russia. the boat is called The Zabava Bar and it's a floating strip club. Keep 'em coming, Tim

So it looks like Alan Rickman died for real this morning, that sucks. Rickman was of course the target of John McClane's now famous Yippee-Ki-Yay, motherfucker line. For those who love the movie as much as I do, John McClane's weapon of choice during Die Hard was the venerable Beretta 92; if youd like one, scroll down to find used Beretta Model 92s in NRA Very Good condition for $279 including one 15 round magazine. Anyway, Happy trails, Hans.

Good news: the Playboy Mansion is on the chopping block for a cool $200 million dollars. Bad news: Hugh Heffner as a roomie. No, seriously.

Frenchman Lacoste was a superstar tennis player; in 1926 and 1927, he was ranked number one in the world, and during his tennis career, he won seven Grand Slam championship tournaments. But he found the attire associated with the sport restrictive. "One day I noticed my friend the Marquis of Cholmondeley wearing his polo shirt on the court," remembers Rene, "'A practical idea,' I thought to myself." It was so practical, in fact, that René commissioned an English tailor to whip up a few shirts in both cotton and wool. "Soon everyone was wearing them," he smiles. The American press dubbed him the Alligator in '27, after he wagered for an alligator-skin suitcase with the captain of the French Davis Cup team. When he returned to France, "alligator" became "crocodile," and Lacoste was known forever after as the Crocodile. Not only did he embrace the nickname, but he went all out and had a logo of the reptile embroidered onto his blazer. It became his personal brand before there was such a thing.

Old and busted: Reach on in there and grab my wallet. Which one is yours? It's the one that says Bad Motherfucker. The new hotness: Reach on in there and grab my rifle. Which one is yours? It's the one that says Bad Motherfucker.

January 15, 2016

Jury Duty Part VII: Average Son and Good Samaritan.

For the prosecution's next witness, Dr Taub took the helm, "The State calls Average Son to the stand." In the rear of the courtroom, the deputy repeated his dance with the door, once again returning with someone we hadn't see before. This was a young kid, in his mid to late teens, who was quite visibly uncomfortable in a courtroom setting. He is nervously chewing on a wad of chewing gum, and has to move it to one side of his mouth in order to blurt out an "I do" after the court reporter swears him in. Dr Taub gets through his first few of a series of prepared questions -- state your name, where were you on this day and time, what did you see -- before abruptly setting his notes down, "Average Son, why don't you do me a favor and spit out that chewing gum." At this, the bailiff sitting next to the witness stand stands up and points to a box of Kleenex, "Just spit it in there, son." Average Son apologizes to Dr Taub, spits a huge ass wad of pink into a tissue and reaches out to hand it to the bailiff. The bailiff, not too hip on the idea of a single sheet of government tissue paper between him and a wad of chewed gum, asks Average Son to wrap it in not once but two -- TWO -- more times, before taking the package off his hands and depositing it into a trash barrel at the rear of the courtroom.

In the interest of brevity, I'm really not going to talk too much about Average Son's testimony, as the kid didn't really contribute anything beyond, but rather reinforced the testimony offered by his father, John Goodman. Yes things played out like his father said, yes he was on the call with 911, this is the additional information I told them as we were driving, yes he tried to run over my dad. Peter Griffin did manage to get Average Son to admit that he did not actually see Chris Penn's arm or head actually in the toolbox, and that his father pounded the living shit out of the car windows immediately before Chris Penn client sped off.

After Average Son is excused, the state calls Good Samaritan to the stand. Good Samaritan is a landscaper who happened to be driving north on Del Prado and just so happens to usually buy gas from this particular Race Trac. And on that day, he looks down at his gas gauge and see that wow, he actually does not need gas today. But out of habit he looks up and in the Race Trac parking lot, he sees a bunch of people with their hands on the back of a car, which is stopped precariously close to a man on the ground in front of it. And while he states did not actually see what happened between the car and the man on the ground, he does see this car speed off and begin a left turn onto 26th Street, heading towards Del Prado. Well Good Samaritan simply knew something was up and with a strong sense of civic duty, turns part of the way onto the beginning of 26th and with the help of a long ass landscaping trailer, blocks both lanes to traffic. This forces Chris Penn to turn around -- Good Samaritan distinctly remembers Chris Penn's face, since they were close enough for Good Samaritan to remember the look on his face as Good Samaritan wagged a taunting finger at him. Good Samaritan further testifies that he sees Chris Penn head north on 26th, which turns into 17th ave, and then turn right onto Everest parkway.

Upon cross examination, Peter Griffin is able to expose a few inconsistencies in Good Samaritan's testimony. In his written statement given the day of the encounter, Good Samaritan wrote that he saw, "that guy drive right over top of that guy on the ground." Now that he's on the stand, he's testifying he looked over and saw the man already on the ground. After some back and forth, Good Samaritan is forced to admit that no, he didn't actually see the car strike the man on the ground and has no idea how the man got there. "Which would be awesome," I thought, "had we not just watched video of you guy running him the fuck over." Good Samaritan doesn't really have much to offer, and truth be told contributed absolutely nothing to the case. Unfortunately, Peter Griffin does not have the opportunity to utilize the phrase, "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" during the cross examination of either witness.

Side note: HUGE mistake by Chris Penn to turn onto Everest Parkway, which aside from having a metric shit ton of side streets, ultimately has no outlet so he will be forced to come back the same way he went in, and in to the waiting arms of Le' Policia. It would have made MUCH more sense to continue on 17th past Everest, turn right onto Veteran's Parkway and then in about 45 seconds he'd be in Fort Myers. Dumbass.

Now you might think I'm dragging this Jury Duty story out, and perhaps I am but that'll give you some insight into what it's actually like to serve on a fucking jury. On Monday: Arresting Officer

Take the Camel Calculator test. Jon

Hey Big Ern, A quick google search of the term "Bead whore biker titties" brought back this Flikr stream that appears to be taken that day at Johnny White's Bar at the corner of Bourbon and St. Peters in New Orleans. Keep 'em coming, Oh blessed and embattled martyr of public servitude! John

Rishi Kaneria put together a brilliant supercut based completely around Stanley Kubrick's use of the color red. After seeing that, another guys Marc Anthony Figueras, wanted to create a display of the whole color spectrum through most of Kubrick's films.

Okay, some challenges to keep you busy over the weekend. Now we've been doing this for a while, and this first one is pretty straight forward, so I really don't expect some of you more seasoned folks to show me where this photo was taken. Now for you intermediate folks, a little attention to detail will help you identify what exactly concert is going on and where it is. And finally for you expert rubber-meets-the-road photo challengers, I fully expect you to show me where porn star Mary McCray is airing this out before a performance!

If this post is to be believed, there hasn't been any 54R has been imported for 10 months as of August 2015 -- so that's closer to 15 months now -- all thanks to the shit that's going down in Syria. But I suppose that offers a reasonable explanation as to why 7.62x39 (AK-47) and 7.62x38R (Nagant revolvers) seem to be the only surplus ammo available these days.

"I bought the car in ft Lauderdale at a dealership. Flew down to Florida and drove it all the way back to Ohio, titled it with its original 11 digit vin as a 1995 Nissan skyline, passed the out of state inspection, got full coverage insurance on it through State Farm, and dailied it until May, when it got into a fender bender. Insurance adjuster saw it wasn't federally legal, they flagged it, sent an undercover guy to look at it, then a few days later they showed up at my door and seized it. No charges because there was no fraud or vin swapping done, the Feds couldn't figure out how I got it titled the way I did lol but that's the real legit story lol - Billy Crider"

And by now I'm sure you've heard the St Louis Rams are relocating back to Los Angeles -- which to be honest, is where I think they truly belong since the Rams have so much history there. Anyway, here are some reactions from Rams fans: the angry fans and the not-so angry fans.

For today's FRIDAY FLICK, how about a little vintage Tom Hanks and John Candy? "Well, look at the time. We've been talking for over ten hours. You know, Beth; we'll be awfully busy once we get to Loon Ta. Why don't we take tonight for ourselves; little dinner, dancing and then see what develops. You know, there's only one thing we haven't shared." "You mean you spent that time talking to me and being nice so that you could have sex with me? " "Well, yes. I mean I think I've put in the hours, don't you?"

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January 20, 2016

Jury Duty Part VIII: Arresting Officer.

Okay, back to the jury duty story. Now I have to admit I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when they called Arresting Officer forward. The last time I had jury duty, it was a woman who was about 50lbs overweight who didn't look like she could chase anything more than a ham and cheese bagel. So when Unpronounceablename announces to the courtroom, "The State of Florida calls Arresting Officer," I couldn't help myself from creeping forward on my seat and craning my neck to get a good look at the officer entering the courtroom. Was he some soft doughboy like before? Was he some six and a half foot monster? White? Black? Or perhaps a woman? A six and a half foot monster of a woman?

At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. I saw five legs. Wait, what? When the Deputy manning the rear door returned with the next witness, his hulking frame was partially obscuring my view of Arresting Officer who was being led into the courtroom. Thus I could only see a Deputy with five legs. Wait, five legs? I can see four legs, but five legs? I sat puzzled for a second, my brain scrambling through different scenarios which might explain what I was seeing. I came up empty. In fact, wasn't until Deputy reached the short wooden wall, pushing open the door with his left hand while stepping to his right, that I finally had my first clear look at Arresting Officer. He is, well, short. And I mean really fucking short. Like Elijah Wood in The Hobbit, short. Like Unpronounceablename steps forward and reaches out her hand to greet him, and he has to look up into her face when he shakes it. And he's walking with a cane. So now literally the two of them are limping their fucking way to the witness stand, Officer Frodo in the lead, and Unpronounceablename hot on his heels, both going at a fucking snail's pace.

Again, like when I discovered John Goodman was one of the witness, I steal a quick look at the other jurors... are they even fucking seeing this? Evidently not, because I'm the only one with an amused look on their face. Once they round the prosecutor's table, Unpronounceablename goes for the pass and for a split second they're running two wide. Personally, I think Officer Frodo carried too much speed coming out of the turn, so I don't think she'll be able to catch him, but unfortunately we never get to find out. Officer Frodo continues his arc wide left and just as the bailiff gets up to assist with the climb to Mount Doom the witness chair, the Court Clerk stops Officer Frodo dead in his tracks by instructing him to raise his right hand to be sworn in. Unpronounceablename, on the other hand, has swung wide right and is gathering up a big 3'x5' printout of the Google Maps overhead view of the crime scene. Officer Frodo says the magic words and is given permission to carry on towards the witness chair, the bailiff assisting him on the tail end of his trip by offering to hold Frodo's cane for him. Officer Frodo declines as quickly as if he had been asked to give up the One True Ring, and following half a minute's struggle within the tight confined of the witness chair, offers us the following testimony...

Officer Frodo was just driving along in his police cruiser one July afternoon -- minding his own business -- when a call for an attempted vehicle burglary comes across his in-car police laptop thingie. Being right around the corner from the location specified in the call, Officer Frodo acknowledges the call from dispatch, hits his lights and sirens, and heads north towards the Florida Skin Center. But before he can reach said address, a second update informs him that both suspect the victim have left the place of business the call originated from, and are headed north on Del Prado Blvd. Officer Frodo begins to keep a sharp eye out for either of the two vehicles mentioned (silver Dodge pickup, grey Ford Focus) but before he can locate either of those vehicles, he receives a third update: both suspect and victim have turned into a race Trac gas station, and the victim has the suspect's vehicle blocked in.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. Officer Frodo is just a minute away from the gas station when what comes across his in-car police laptop thingie? That's right, a FOURTH update, this one informing him the situation has escalated and the victim has been struck by the suspect's car which has now fled the scene. Arriving less than a minute later -- side point here: as the old adage says, when seconds count the police are only minutes away -- Officer Frodo pulls into the Race Trac and sees the victim's pickup truck, the victim and his son, and some guy with a landscaping trailer, all of whom are pointing towards the race Trac's northern exit. Officer Frodo stops long enough to confirm with both John Goodman and Average Son that they are indeed the ones who called 911 -- remember Average Son is still on the phone with the 911 operator -- before speaking to Good Samaritan who has walked towards the police cruiser and offered an eyewitness account of what just took place. Officer Frodo leaves the gas station via the route suggested by those on scene, and before too long comes in contact with Chris Penn's grey Focus. See, this is what happens when you flee down a dead end street, you dumb shit.

So Officer Frodo bangs a Uey, hits his lights and sirens, and stops the car in question. And what does Chris Penn do the second he's pulled over? Does he sit patiently, hands on the steering wheel, patiently waiting for the officer to make contact? Of fucking course not. He immediately gets out of his vehicle and starts walking back towards Officer Frodo's cruiser. Unimpressed with his attempts at friendship, Officer Frodo exits his vehicle, unholsters his sidearm and levels it at Chris Penn's chest before ordering him to stop and place his hands on the trunk of his vehicle. Unfortunately Chris Penn complies, otherwise this would be a really fucking short story, amirite? Chris Penn is then handcuffed and patted down for weapons. Finding none, Officer Frodo asks him if he knows why he being pulled over, and Chris Penn goes on to tell the tale of some crazy man who attacked him, vandalized his car, followed him and tried to falsely imprison him before jumping on the hood of his car, how he barely escaped with his life and how he only wants to get home so he can pick up his girlfriends daughter from school. Officer Frodo reads Chris Penn his Miranda rights, and asks if he would like to make a verbal statement, to be recorded on Frodo's body camera. Chris Penn waives his Miranda rights, and repeats his previous tale.

At this point, two additional police units arrive -- one of which is K9 but unfortunately doesn't get any time on the field -- and Officer Frodo dispatches those two officers to the dermatologist's office and the Race Trac to view any security footage. Officer Frodo asks Chris Penn if he would like to revise his statement, prior to the officers viewing the security camera footage. Chris Penn sticks to his story -- the first smart thing he's done all fucking day, if you ask me -- adding for effect, that he has never ever ever been in a dermatologist's parking lot in his entire life. Needless to say, once the two dispatched units report back after reviewing the security camera footage, Chris Penn is formally placed under arrest and charged with Burglary of a Conveyance and Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. A fourth police unit is dispatched via radio to pick up the girlfriend's daughter from school.

Peter Griffin's cross examination of Officer Frodo doesn't really yield much fruit. He asks why the officer didn't investigate the self defense angle claimed by Chris Penn, and uses this opportunity to shout the phrase, "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" not once, but TWICE. He asks Officer Frodo if John Goodman seemed to be in an excited state when he was interviewed, and Officer Frodo replies that he does not know what Peter Griffin means when he uses the word "excited." With a puzzled look on his face, Peter Griggin pressed harder, "When you took John Goodman's statement, did he seem agitated to you?" I'm sorry Sir, I don't know what you mean by agitated. What does that mean?” Peter Griffin is preparing to ask the same question a different way when Dr Taub shouts, “Objection,” and asks to approach the bench. El Jefe agrees and Dr Taub, Unpronounceablename, Chris Penn, Peter Griffin, and Really Old Court Reporter all approach the bench for what looks like a huddle for fourth and goal.

El Jefe places his hand over his microphone and a hushed conversation ensues, punctuated with lots of gesturing and nodding. After twenty seconds or so, the legal beagles all stand upright and turn to walk back to their respective tables. El Jefe states very calmly, “sustained,” into the microphone and Peter Griffin, now standing back in front of the podium, begins to shuffle through his notes. “Officer Frodo, when you first made contact with John Goodman, what was his demeanor?” Dr Taub sat bolt upright in his chair, sending a blue pen sliding across the table and off the other side to the carpet below, “Objection.” “Sustained,” says El Jefe with a rather impatient look on his face, ”there is a proper way to impeach a witness, and that isn't it.” Peter Griffin nods, takes one final look at his notes and with a defeated look on his face, mumbles “No further questions, Your Honor.”

El Jefe informs Officer Frodo that he is excused, and Officer Frodo thanks him and reaching for his cane begins to maneuver his weight onto it. Again, the bailiff offers his assistance in stepping down from the witness chair, but Officer Frodo shrugs him off, shooting him the briefest of “He's gota My Precious!” look. As Officer Frodo makes his slow and methodical way towards the doorway that would lead him to the rear of the courtroom and out towards civilization, Really Old Court Reporter takes advantage of this unusually long break to lean back in his chair, close his eyes and flex his fingers. I get my first look at him and by my estimation, Really Old Court Reporter's plain brown suit cost him somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 dollars; $23 if it included the brown and pink polyester tie that coiled itself around his neck. After enough time to make everyone a little bit uncomfortable, Officer Frodo completes his trek to the rear of the courtroom, and with the Deputy's assistance, out through the rear door. It slams shut with a muffled boom.

”The State may call its next witness.” “The State has no further witnesses, Your Honor. The State rests.” “Very well,” says El Jefe who then stares studiously at the clock that sits on the wall behind us jurors. I roll my weight to one side, simultaneously looking up at the clock (1:40pm) and releasing a small Silent But Deadly, courtesy of a McDonalds breakfast burrito on the way to court this morning. “Would the jurors like a full hour for lunch, or can we cut it just a little bit short and be back here by 2:30 for closing arguments?” I steal a quick glance at my fellow jurors and we all nod in silent agreement. "I think 2:30 sounds fine, Your Honor," says Skinny Tanned Bald Dude. El Jefe nods his head and reaches for his gavel, "Court is adjourned until 2:30pm while we break for lunch. Bailiff, please escort the jury out. All Rise while the jury exits the courtroom." Everyone in the courtroom stands up as instructed, as We The Jury toss our notepads down into our chairs and follow the bailiff out through the rear door towards the Jury room hallway.

Tomorrow: Our Final Oasis.

Hey Ernie, Good luck finding the fountain, it doesn't exist anymore. It was right in front of the Paris but they took it out to make room for more retail space. Joel

Took a lot of Google Fu, but that lovely topless duo is posing by the fountain that was at the Paris Las Vegas. Cameron

If you've got a spare seven hours coming to you any time soon, you may want to give them up to the Corleone family, since a new version of their quintessentially American saga is on HBO. It's called The Godfather Epic, and it's a chronological re-edit of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, remastered from a project first commissioned for television back in the 70s.

With a little Google footwork, you should be able to determine the path this crowd too and show me exactly where this girl is running with her bulls out. And I still need someone to find out when this issue of In Touch magazine was published.

And wow, now is the time to stop up on pistol ammo, since 9mm ammo prices have fallen through the floor. Sixteen cents per round? That was unheard of just a few short months ago.

In 1958 Jim and Nena opened their first pizzeria on West Market Street in Philadelphia. Three years later they relocated to West Philadelphia Street in 1961. Since then they have had more than 14 pizzerias including Jo Ja Ma's Famous Chicken and Jim and Nena's Feed and Dispensing Restaurant. There are currently ten Jim and Nena's Pizzaria locations, with all but two being operated by the family.

January 21, 2016

Jury Duty Part IX: A Final Trip To The Oh-Ay-Sis.

We were under strict orders from El Jefe not to discuss anything about the case until after closing arguments had been presented and we had officially begun deliberations. So now we are seven people, well eight if you count the bailiff, all trapped on an elevator and the one thing we're not allowed to talk about is the one thing we all have in common. How's that for a social experiment? Skinny Tanned Bald Dude brings up something about football and banters back and forth with Fat Accountant Dude for a minute, but the conversation quickly fizzles out. I ask anyone else if they find themselves wincing every time Unpronounceablename has to get up out of her seat and hobble across the courtroom in visible pain. I get a "mm'hmm" and a nod, but that's it. Fine, fuck you guys." The elevator doors open with a crisp ding of a hidden bell, and we ironically enough we find ourselves just outside of the initial room that some 355 of us herded into just the morning before. It's a quick turn to The Oasis, but I don't stop to read the sandwich board to see what today's specials are. They already broke my fucking heart yesterday by teasing me with tacos, so I'm not about to open myself up to that pain again.

I recall some advice that The Best Boss In The World, Dick Mitchell once gave me back during the 1992 elections, "Sometimes the vil you know is better than the evil you don't know." He voted for GHWB and I for Perot, in case you were wondering. So with Dick's voice in my ears, I ordered the exact same lunch as I did a day earlier: a grilled chicken sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato, on a white roll with a side of macaroni salad. A bottle of water today, instead of the Pepsi, since hey a brother's got to watch his waistline. Our lunch being earlier today, the grill was still in service today and two people -- Skinny Tanned Bald Dude and Skinny Metrosexual Dude -- ordered cheeseburgers for lunch. And yes there were plenty, "two buns and a well cooked piece of meat," jokes had by all. A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick announces that she is heading over to the initial jury intake room, so she can see Harold the Jury Coordinator about getting paid. And by "getting paid" I mean the great count of Lee in the great state of Florida will reimburse each us the sum of $15 for each and every day we are on jury duty. Did I sign up to receive my $30? You bet your ass I did.

At 2:30 in afternoon the jury returned as promised -- "all rise while the jury enters the courtroom" -- and we return to the same seats we were occupying before our lunch break. Earlier that morning I had the foresight not to repeat the same mistake as yesterday, and selected a seat in the back row of the jury box. My government issued notepad, complete with "ME THINKS GUILTY AS FUCK" scribbled in block letters lay face down in my seat, exactly where I had left it. We take our seats and a second later, El Jefe gives permission for everyone else to do so as well. Tapping a ring on the mic sends a couple of metallic thumps out from the overhead speakers as he leans in to speak. "You are about to hear the closing arguments from both legal counsels. Again, let me remind you that what you hear in these closing arguments should not be treated as evidence. The only verbal evidence accepted for this trial is that elicited from witnesses during the earlier examinations. While each side will have an equal amount of time, the prosecution has the right to break their closing statements up into two segments. As such, the prosecution goes first. The State may proceed."

Saturday: Closing arguments. That's right motherfuckers, I said Saturday.

Hey Ernie, The chick in the fishnets is in St. Petersburg, Russia. Kinda hard to get a good Street View of exact spot, but you can see more of her here and match up the buildings. Keep 'em coming, Tim

Hi Ernie, The girl with the sore hooters seems to be in the Plaza Consistorial in Pamplona, Spain, either just before or just after the running of the bulls. Regards, John M

The girl with her bulls out is running in Pamplona Spain, in front of city hall. There are more pics here. Rick

Okay, kind of a softball here, if this dumper needed servicing, show me where would it go.

You might be surprised to know about the surprising amount of lotto winnings that go unclaimed year after year; most worth between $50 and $100, but many worth as many as seven figures. Lotto Lotto is a free smartphone app that makes your whole experience of playing the lottery a shit ton easier. You simply upload a photo of your ticket, and it can tell you whether or not you won anything. No fuss, no muss.

Remember San Diego Charger Manti Teo and the saga of his imaginary girlfriend? Well he's got a real girlfriend now, and she's pretty fucking hot.

Now you can enjoy rides around town, on the beach or a bike path with Schwinn's new 26" Meridian 3-wheel cruiser bike. It features stylish aluminum cruiser frame, large spring saddle for your comfort and easy to reach Schwinn cruiser handlebars with cruiser stem. It has Rear Hand and Front Linear Pull Brakes for dependable stopping power. Its 26" Stainless Spoke 3-wheels will conquer any terrain while making the ride even more enjoyable. And the folding rear basket is perfect for picnics or storing groceries.

January 23, 2016

Jury Duty Part X: Closing Arguments

ONE THING I FORGOT FROM OFFICER FRODO'S TESTIMONY: on the bodycamera footage we see Chris Penn offer the same, "I thought this was my boss's truck," explanation for his looking inside the toolbox in John Goodman's truck. When Officer Frodo asks him what kind of truck his boss drives, Chris Penn replies with, "We went to work in a box truck today."

As we were already well into the late afternoon and none of us really wanted to come back for a third day of jury duty, we were all quite anxious to get the show on the road. First up to the plate was Unpronounceablename. She is of course batting for the state of Florida, hobbling up to the podium with some handwritten notes in one hand and using the other to support some of her weight as she crossed around the corner of her table. She pulls the microphone down to her mouth and essentially just hammers down the finer points of the State's case: Chris Penn was indeed caught red handed. That not all of his body need to be inside the tool box in order for the elements of the crime of burglary to be satisfied; that she indeed had her "two buns and a well cooked piece of meat."

At some point, Dr Taub cleared his throat to get Unpronounceablename's attention and when she looked over at him, he was gentle tapping a finger on his wristwatch. Unpronounceablename gives an ever so subtle nod of her head, and reminds us of the Race Trac video we watched, and how Chris Penn walked right up to John Goodman despite saying he was in fear for his safety, and how the brake lights never came on as Chris Penn struck John Goodman with his car, and how Chris Penn swore he had never even been into the dermatologists's parking lot despite video evidence to the contrary. She then thanks us for our time and service, and explains the evidence presented there today proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Chris Penn is guilty of both Burglary of a Conveyance and Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

Unpronounceablename begins her final slow and arduous trek back to her seat, and again I felt myself wincing on her behalf. I was going to look around to see if anyone else noticed the pain on her face every time she put weight onto her bad leg, but remembering when no one laughed at my earlier comment on the subject, I settled for just whispering for my fellow jurors to go fuck themselves.

"Defense," prompted El Jefe, "your closing argument." Let me tell you, Peter Griffin was waiting for this like a sprinter waiting for a starting pistol, standing up from his chair with such enthusiasm that he almost knocked it over backwards. He walks swiftly and purposely to the podium, arriving before Unpronounceablename even gets a chance to plant her ass in her own seat. Peter Griffin explains that while yes, Chris Penn said on camera that he want to work in a box truck that day, that doesn't necessarily mean that his boss doesn't drive a pickup truck that could easily be confused with John Goodman's silver Dodge Ram; only that Chris Penn went to work in a box truck that particular day. And sure his client was looking at the truck, but the state offered no proof that he or any part of his body was actually inside the truck in any way. He asks each of us whether or not we too would flee if a physically imposing man ran up to us and shouted, "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" before damaging our car. He further asks us to imagine the fear we would feel -- "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" -- when we finally felt we had escaped our tormentor, only to see he has followed you to a second location -- "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" -- to force a second confrontation. Besides, Chris Penn barely bumped John Goodman, hardly the use of a deadly weapon. I'll be honest, at thing point I don't think Peter griffin harbored any hope that he was going to win this case, only that he wanted to see just how many times he could say, "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" in open court and get away with it.

Peter Griffin also thanks us for our time and service on the jury, and reminds us that while the State's case does indeed raise some questions, none of those questions can be so formidable as to overcome the defense's presumption of innocence. "Lady and gentlemen of the jury," Peter Griffin closes with confidence, "what you have seen here today is nothing more than a simple case of mistaken identity, blown out of proportion by an overzealous and aggressive individual who overreacted to a simple mistake, all culminating with an incomplete and shoddy police investigation." He ends his closing argument with a nod that is so vigorous, it sends a tousle of hair down over his forehead.

Once Peter Griffin is safely back in his chair, El Jefe gives the prosecution the green light to finish the second half of their closing argument. At this prompt, Dr Taub stands up and approaches the podium empty handed, carrying nothing but a pen in his hand. Curiously enough, it isn't until now that I realize he is about half a foot shorter than Peter Griffin and the microphone is pointed directly at his forehead, like some giant black cock in a gay bukkake film. Dr Taub reaches up and pulls the microphone lower, but does not speak into it. He just sits there for a good long while, shifting his stare from one juror to the next, while saying absolutely nothing. And it doesn't sound like much in casual conversation, but when there's ten seconds of pure silence in a courtroom while you know a guy is supposed to be talking to you, it really piques your interest. All I could think of was that episode of Boston legal where Denny Crane goes, "pregnant pause, man." And then after what seemed like four hours, Dr Taub explains that the intent for said burglary is considered "mens rea" -- a crime of the mind -- and may be determined by not just physical but circumstantial evidence, such as Chris Penn having no business at the dermatologists's office, his opening both of his passenger side doors closes to the truck he planned to burglarize, and his fleeing he scene after being caught. Dr Taub contends if Chris Penn had indeed in feared for his safety, he should have remained in the Race Trac and waited for the police to arrive instead of fleeing the scene, assaulting John Goodman in the process. Dr Taub further contends in no uncertain terms, that only a complete fucking idiot could confuse a box truck with a pickup truck. We are again thanked for our time and service before Dr Taub returns to his seat.

Upon completion of both sides of the closing arguments, El Jefe again reiterated his previous instructions about how closing arguments were not to be accepted as testimony, only as interpretation of the testimony. The final judgement of which will be our responsibility during the deliberation process. El Jefe then goes on to detail exactly what criminal charges we could find Chris Penn guilty of: Burglary of a Conveyance, or if we can not determine the intent to steal, simple Trespassing, or of course Not Guilty. As for the second charge, Chris Penn was facing Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, or if we decide the car was not a deadly weapon in this particular instance, simple Battery, or Not Guilty. The overhead projector changes from its blue DVD INPUT 1 to the display a sample jury ballot box. El Jefe makes sure that none of us jurors have any questions as to how to properly fill out the ballot. Since it it literally a fucking piece of paper with six square checkboxes on it and we are not all complete fucking morons, we all nod out heads in agreement that we understand how the process works. I know, I know. He's just crossing the T's and dotting the I's. "You will now begin the most important part of your jury service. it is your responsibility to weigh the evidence presented to you during this trial and determine whether or not Chris Penn is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," El Jefe clears his throat and calls for those in attendance to stand, "Please rise while the jury leaves the courtroom to begin deliberations."

Monday: To absolutely no one'e surprise, deliberations don't take that long.

Hey Ernie, Just found this awesome hunting /swamp mobile. Thought you might need one for those everglades excursions. Great site, been a fan for many years ! Keep up the code ! Thanks, Dennis

Hi Ernie, That right there is the German In-touch magazine from December 2007. Mark

This video is going to be even more awesome in 20 years when one of these kids gets married and the other is best man: kid loses wrestling match to twin brother, promptly punches him in the nuts.

Today on Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous: Pablo Escobar's Miami Beachhouse. Today on Get Your Old Busted Shit Out Of Here: Pablo Escobar's Miami Beachhouse. But presuming you don' t have Pablo's fortune at your dispisol and therefore need to set your sights a little lower, you're in luck. Presuming of course part of that dream includes owning a UNIMOG that once belonged to Arnold Schwarzenegger: Your weirdly specific dream is now was theoretically within reach. That's because Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1977 Mercedes-Benz Unimog was for sale on eBay. Bad news: it sold for $350k.

your weekend boob dump: one - two - three - four - five - six - seven - eight - nine - ten - eleven - twelve - thirteen

January 26, 2016

Jury Duty Part XI: Why The Fuck Are We Even Here?

As we marched through the doorway, past the two separate bathrooms and the dirty microwave and the college sized mini-fridge, and into the cold ass room with the water cooler, there was a distinctive feeling of relief in the air. I mean we could finally talk about this fucking case! The long table in the middle of the room had seating for twelve, but three of the seats had been pushed up against the outside wall, one seat was at the end of the table, leaving four seats per long side. I chose a seat in the middle of the table with my back facing the windows which were on the left side of the room. To my left was Skinny Tanned Bald Dude, then me, and to my right Retired Engineer Dude, Black Dude With A Beard sitting at the end of the table, and continuing around the far side of the table from right to left, Fat Accountant Dude, and finally A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick. I know, I know, what happened to Skinny Metrosexual Dude, right? Turns out he was the alternate juror and would only participate in deliberations if one of the original six became unavailable for some reason (sick, recused, whatever). Since all six of the original jurors were able to fulfill their obligations to the court, Skinny Metrosexual Dude was cut loose as soon as the closing arguments were completed.

Our first order of business was to elect a jury foreman, and during the initial juror questionnaires, Skinny Tanned Bald Dude made the mistake of revealing he had not only served on two juries before but was the jury foreman on both. And as luck would have it, one of the first things anyone needs to do is Skinny Tanned Bald Dude has to use the restroom. He pushes his roller chair away from the table, stands up and heads out into the hallway where the bathrooms are. A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick jokes that now would be a terrific time to hold the voting to see who we want to be our jury foreperson. A ripple of quiet laughter makes its way across the room; people are laughing but people are also agreeing. She continues her joke, "I nominate Skinny Tanned Bald Dude." Seeing the chance to actually bring this to fruition, I raise my hand and declare I second the nomination. The other three people exchange hurried glances, and one by one raise their hands. "It's unanimous," A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick declares.

Sitting in front of Black Dude With A Beard is a small packet from the Court Clerk. Inside are some written instructions, the legal definitions of each of the applicable criminal charges, and the jury ballot form in which the jury foreman will need to check the appropriate GUILTY/NOT GUILTY checkboxes. Black Dude With A Beard slides the paper across the table to Retired Engineer Dude, who passing it from his right hand to his left, continues to slide it down to me and I continue to slide it down until it is resting in front of Skinny Tanned Bald Dude's now vacant chair. Another flurry of relieved laugher ripples across the room and almost as if it were choreographed, we hear the mens bathroom door open up as Skinny Tanned Bald Dude has finished his business. He returns to his seat and looking up, finds him self staring back at five people all of whom look they have eaten the proverbial canary. "Oh shit," he says, "I'm the jury foreperson, aren't I?" The next ripple of laughter that overcomes the room is not subdued, but outright belly shaking guffaws. "You carried 100% of the vote," reassures Retired Engineer Dude.

Skinny Tanned Bald Dude's first order of business is to ask anyone else if they would like to see the security camera footage from the dermatologist's office again. He explains that it would make him feel better if he were able to read the license plate on the fleeing vehicle, or at the very least, make out that it is indeed a Pennsylvania license plate. I see this is a complete fucking waste of time, because while decent for a security camera the footage was still grainy and blocky, shooting perhaps 15 frames per second. "I don't think the quality of the footage is good enough to actually make out any details of the license plate," I caution, hoping to derail this right at the giddy up. "I recall being able ot make out the color of the car and its basic shape, but I don't recall being able to make out any fine details like license plates, or the wording on John Goodman's t-shirt, or leaves in the trees, stuff like that." Unfortunately, two other people in the group -- Black Dude With A Beard and Fat Accountant Dude -- express they too would like to review the doctor's security footage. Realizing I would waste more time trying to convince them this effort is futile than it would take to just watch the fucking footage again, I concede, "Okay sure, sounds like a good plan."

A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick writes our request on a small piece of paper, gets up from the table and knocks on the outer door where the bailiff is waiting. A few seconds later the door opens and I can see her hand the note out through the doorway and exchange some low whispering with the bailiff on the other side. A few seconds later, she withdraws the note and walks back to us, "The request has to come from the jury foreman," she announces and leans across the table to hand the note to Skinny Tanned Bald Dude. I take this opportunity to let my eyes dart over towards the top of her shirt -- leaning over cleavage is the best cleavage -- but unfortunately the hooded sweatshirt she brought with her today blocks my view of anything good. Skinny Tanned Bald Dude simultaneously accepts the note from A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick and stands up from the table. He retraces her steps out to the door and knocks. The bailiff answers quickly, accepts the note, and asks that we all remain at the ready to return to the courtroom to review the security footage. All I can fucking think of is what a colossal waste of fucking time this is. This is not NCIS: New York and Gary Sinise is not going to zoom-and-enhance some fucking reflection off of a passing bus to catch a glimpse of a legible plate number. The only thing we are going to do is waste time and return to the jury room with no more information that we already have.

Still, the six of us file towards the doorway and scarcely fifteen seconds go by before the bailiff returns and says, "the courtroom is ready for you." We follow him out in a single file line and right on queue, El Jefe calls for everyone in the courtroom to stand. They do, we sit, they sit. "The Bailiff reports that you would like to see the security footage from the dermatologists's office again, is that correct." Several of us nod our heads in agreement, but it is only Skinny Tanned Bald Dude who gives a verbal response, "That is correct your honor." "Very well then," he agrees, "Unpronounceablename if you would be so kind as to bring the footage up for the jury to see once again." Unpronounceablename stands up and starts to hobble to the A/V table on the other side of Dr Taub. I can tell this request caught them off guard as they are both fumbling through manilla folders trying to find the one that contains the white envelope with the correct DVD inside. Eventually they do and Unpronounceablename feeds the disc into her laptop while Dr Taub squints and holds a black remote control the appropriate distance away so he can make out the buttons. He seems to press one, then another, then another and then the familiar blue and white DVD INPUT 1 lights up the side wall of the courtroom. The entire courtroom waits while Windows takes its sweet ass time recognizing the newly inserted disc, and once it does Unpronounceablename repeatedly clicks on its icon with the fury of a thousand suns. The courtroom is dead silent except for the sound of the DVD drive motor spinning up and the cooling fan on the overhead projector.

After what I can only approximate is around seventy-two hours, Windows Media Player pops up on the sidewall and after a short wait of pure black, we are again treated to the building mointed camera view of the Florida Skin Center's parking lot. Again we are treated to a sun washes view of a tranquil summer's day, the washed out green trees gently swaying in the breeze. Again, we see a silver Dodge Ram pickup truck enter from the far right frame, swing around counter-clockwise around the center divider until it is directly in front of the building, before backing up into a parking spot, exiting frame left. Unpronounceablename then grabs her mouse and latches onto the slidebar to advance the footage to the time when Chris Penn's car enters the scene. And he does, taking almost the exact same path that John Goodman's truck had taken a few seconds earlier. He too swings counter clockwise around the center divider, and backs into a parking spot just off to the left edge of the camera. Only he sucks cock at backing up because unlike John Goodman who nailed it on his first try, the grey Ford Focus has to pull out and make a second attempt to get himself straight. I would guess around twenty seconds go by before we see two pedestrians enter from the bottom right corner, walking diagonally towards the top left area where both vehicles had disappeared into. One of the pedestrians breaks into a fast walk, then a jog, then a run. A few seconds after that, we see the grey Ford Focus enter the camera's view from the left, drive around the center divider and giving the camera a terrific view of the car's ass end, and speed out of the parking lot. And you know what we were able to make out of the speeding grey car's license plate. Exactly Jack Fucking Shit. Too grainy. Too blocky. Poor contrast. Sure you could tell there was a license plate, but not a goddamn thing about it, just as I had predicted.

The footage continues to show the silver Dodge Ram speed off after the car, but I had already tuned out at this point. I can appreciate Skinny Tanned Bald Dude's effort to be thorough, but knew this was a fool's errand from the get go. Once the pertinent part of the footage is complete, Unpronounceablename and asks El Jefe, "Again?" El Jefe relays the question to us jurors, "Is that enough or would the jury like to see this footage or any other footage, again?" I'm firmly shaking my head no at this point, and as I look around at my fellow jurors, see a few others as well. Skinny Tanned Bald Dude casts a glance around at each of us and seeing the same look, reaffirms to El Jefe, "No Your Honor, I believe we have what we need." El Jefe thanks Unpronounceablename for her assistance, and calls the courtroom to stand up while we the jury once again return walk in a single file line back to the deliberation room.

Tomorrow: Let's Get This Fucking Show On The Road.

Hey Ernie. If you have an issue with your dumpsters you can call Southland Waste Systems located in Lake City Florida. Take Care. Eric R.

Ernie, Regarding the zebra lounge chair, just looking straight down on Google Earth seeing the obvious MGM straight ahead that would be the Westgate Tower or Hilton Grand Vacations whichever they're calling it now, I just remember when it went up they were calling it the Westgate. The place on the right shows on the Las Vegas Today & Tomorrow map as the Chateau, I don't know who runs that. As for the honeymoon suite, From the angle of that pic it looks like the Bellagio but next door in the Spa Tower looking towards Caesars, and not the Main bldg in front of the lake. Tom

You know what kills me about the New England Patriots? Well, aside from hating Tom Brady. It's the same fanbase, which is also overwhelmingly Red Sox fans; and the Sox's biggest rivalry is the New York Yankees. Why do people from new England hate the Yankees so much? Because the Yankees are a fucking dynasty and every year when it's playoff season it's, "Oh look the Yankees have made the playoffs. Again. For the 90th million year in a fucking row." And then these same people who decry the Yankees dominance will cheer the Patriots. I don't get it. You're cheering the same type of dynasty, just in a different sport. Anyway, how do you know that even the whole world hates the New England Patriots? When you get memed by the famous Taiwanese animation company, and when African kids wear your would-be Superbowl Champion t-shirts.

The SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show is an annual tradeshow for the shooting, hunting, and firearms industry. This trade show is open only to those in the trade and the press; restricted to members of the shooting, hunting and outdoor trade industry including commercial buyers and sellers of military, law enforcement and tactical products. Every year, a wide range of new pistols and revolvers are introduced at SHOT Show. Here is as complete rundown of every new firearm that is coming to rhe markey in 2016: Day one - two - three - four.

Roam Artesian Burgers is committed to utilizing sustainable meats and produce, as well as other high-quality ingredients in its menu, which begins with 100% grass-fed beef, free-range turkey, all-natural bison and an organic veggie burger. Roam features burgers that include the Sunny Side, French and Fries and Tejano, and also offers the option of customizing. The burgers pair perfectly with Roam's lineup of Straus Family Creamery shakes, house-made sodas, wine and kombucha on tap, and local brews. Roam offers lunch and dinner in a casual, counter-order setting that is fun, family-friendly and eco-conscious.

January 27, 2016

Jury Duty Part XII: If You're Going To Commit A Crime, Don't Do It On Camera.

Back in the jury room, the six of us meander to our seats, myself and Retired Engineer Dude stopping to grab a gulp of water from those cone shaped paper cups that sit next to the water cooler. Once everyone is seated, Skinny Tanned Bald Dude reads off the list of possible charges that we can either convict or acquit Chris Penn of. Now the whole difference between Burglary of a Conveyance and Trespassing is the intent to steal; that is to say are we sure beyond a reasonable doubt, that Chris Penn meant to steal something when he rifled through the toolbox in John Goodman's truck. Again -- and very important -- this intent could be concluded using circumstantial evidence. As the conversation went around the room, it was offered that intent could indeed be drawn based upon these facts: Chris Penn had no valid reason for even being in the dermatologist's office int he first place, Chris Penn opened both of the passenger side doors closest to John Goodman's truck, two witnesses place Chris Penn's arms and head inside the toolbox, Chris Penn fled the initial scene without offering any explanation of why he was in said toolbox, and finally (based upon his statement on video) in order to confuse a box truck with a pickup truck you must either be a complete fucking idiot, or someone lying to cover up a theft. As the jury foreman, Skinny Tanned Bald Dude then picks up the jury ballot form and gives it a long, slow, thorough read. He reaches down into his breast pocket and removes a blue ballpoint pen. And so that afternoon, on a sunny but chilly day in Florida, it took this jury less than ten minutes to check GUILTY next to Burglary of a Conveyance.

The second charge Chris Penn could be convicted of is Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and then to a lesser degree simple Battery; the difference between the two being the use of a deadly weapon. Again, not one of us wanted to rush these deliberations because hey if it were our happy ass sitting out there next to Peter Griffin, we'd want the jury to take their time and do things right. But then again, if I were to try to run someone over with my fucking car, I'd hope to choose a place where the entire event wouldn't be captured on a fucking security camera, either. Our first order of business was to take into account Peter Griffin's assertion that John Goodman had all but thrown himself on top of the hood of Chris Penn's car. While a spirited argument, not a single fucking one of us bought it. Like not even for a second. Everyone saw the exact same thing on the convenience store footage and interpreted it exactly the same way; Chris Penn plowed into John Goodman in such a manner that would have made David Carradine proud. Thusly, it was decided Peter Griffin's contention that John Goodman's own behavior led to the impact was dismissed as complete horseshit.

So now that we all agree that Chris Penn did indeed use his car to strike John Goodman -- thusly securing a guilty verdict of at least Battery -- the next thing to determine is, could the car be considered a deasly weapon when used in the manner in which is was. More specifically, going back to Peter Griffin's attempt to mitigate his client's behavior, "Sure he may have hit him, but my client was only going 2-3 miles an hour and John Goodman said himself that he suffered no injures." And I'll be honest, I half expect Skinny Tanned Bald Dude to say that he would once again like to review the security camera footage which showed the assault. In fact, I bite the inside of my cheek a little bit so I don't find myself climbing up onto the desk and shouting, "not this shit again." To my delight, Fat Accountant Dude speaks first and says, "Well I don't know about you, but I didn't see any brake lights come on in the car, and he hit the guy pretty good." A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick chimes in next, "Yeah i didn't see any brake lights, either. And he launched him up onto the hood pretty good." Fat Accountant Dude seizes this opportunity to really drive his point home, "Yeah he happened to roll off to his left, which took him off the car. if he had rolled to his right, he'd have ended up under the wheels." Not wanting the party to unfold without him, Retired Engineer Dude offers, "Even then as he rolled off the fender, those tires were only a few inches away from him. If his leg had fallen another way and been caught under that wheel?" Retired Engineer Dude then punctuates his comment with a low, slow whistle whilst shaking his head. And so that afternoon, on a sunny but chilly day in Florida, it took this jury less than fifteen more minutes to check GUILTY next to Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

With our official responsibilities over, I'm amazed how much the mood lightens in the room. Hell, I'm amazed how much my mood lightens. It was not unlike how I felt after completing finals in high school. Just a weight has been lifted. Well, for us anyway, Chris Penn sure as fuck is going to have a shitty afternoon, but the rest of us felt great. Skinny Tanned Bald Dude slides the jury ballot form over to me and asks me if I concur with what he had checked off. Guilty next to Burglary of a Conveyance. Guilty next to Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. I agree that I do, and give him a thumbs up. I slide the form over to Retired Engineer Dude, who confirms its accuracy, and slides it over to Black Dude With A Beard, and so on down the line. After all five of us agree, Skinny Tanned Bald Dude takes it back from A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick, and signs and prints his name in the appropriate "JURY FOREPERSON" places. He stands up, and gives the form one final look before walking over to the outside door and knocking. The bailiff opens the door and Skinny Tanned Bald Dude holds out the completed ballot to him, "We've reached verdicts." "Oh , no, no. You don't hand the form to me. Just hold onto it and I'll call you back to the courtroom in a minute." Skinny Tanned Bald Dude comes back and takes his seat, and the conversation turns to our personal observations about the trial.

Retired Engineer Dude kind of laughs and says, "With a case that was as open and shut as this one was, why are we even here?" Fat Accountant Dude nods his turkey neck in agreement, "You'd think the prosecution must have offered some sort of plea deal somewhere along the way, right?" "Yeah why didn't he take it?" asked Black Dude With A Beard, "everything he did was captured on camera." While this was happening, I was doing some quick math in my head and contributed the following to the banter, "Both John Goodman and his son testified there were nothing but oily rags and an old set of jumper cables in his toolbox, right?" Retired Engineer Dude nods his head. "So how long do you think it would take someone to open a toolbox and figure out there's nothing of any value inside? Seven or eight seconds, maybe?" "Well, ten if there are enough rags," says A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick. "Okay, ten seconds. Meaning over a given minute Chris Penn would have about 6 chances to open and search the toolbox. And John Goodman testified that he was inside for about half an hour, let's assume he's spot on, so exactly 30 minutes. And from what we saw on the video, it took about ten seconds for the guy and his son to walk from their truck after they parked and walked to the doctor's office. That means of the 180 theoretically chances Chris Penn would have had to search the toolbox, 179 of them would have gone completely unnoticed. It was only by pure bad luck, he happened to choose to search the toolbox at the exact same window that it took for John Goodman and his kid to come out of the doctor's office. If he had chosen to steal any the other 179 times, we wouldn't be here today. "Huh," shrugs Fat Accountant Dude, "now that's just bad luck." The short silence that befalls the room as each person digests what I had just said is broken only by a quiet knock at the door. It opens and the bailiff pokes his head in, "they are ready for you now."

Ernie, I'll take three, please. Greg.

Hi Ernie, Is titanium bulletproof? This guy tests it out. Cheers, Charley

Astute viewers will recognize the guy from Demolition Ranch as the same Dr Matt from Vet Ranch. And speaking of dogs, early Saturday morning, a pooch named Ludivine -- a two and a half year old hound dog -- was let out of the house in Alabama to do her business. Prone to roaming around town at will, Ludivine snuck out of the backyard and made her way to the starting area of the inaugural Trackless Train Trek Half Marathon about a quarter mile away, where she participated in the entire race 13.1-mile-long course. The dog finished in the top ten in the Elkmont Half Marathon and has become quite the Internet sensation. Ludivine finished seventh out of 165 runners in just under an hour and a half. Although not counted as an official participant in the race, the athletic dog was presented with a well-earned medal.

Old and busted: Sriracha 2 Go; sometimes you don't carry your keys with you, amirite? The new hotness: Sriracha packets. You're welcome.

You know, it amazes me that Walmart still hasn't put the availablity of .22 ammo back on their website. Everything else is updated, mind you, except for the most common plinking caliber in the fucking country. And I feel bad for not having a photo challenge yesterday, so show me where this Dodge Challenger and Ford Ranger seem to have been parked by complete assholes.

January 29, 2016

Jury Duty Part XIII: A Head Hangs In Defeat.

This being the second jury I've served on, I'm somewhat familiar with what's going to happen over the next few minutes. The calling to order, the asking about a verdict, the confirming we had, the passing of the ballot, the acknowledgement of the judge, and the clerk's reading. All of this takes, about, eh, let's say three minutes. So during that time, during those one hundred and eighty seconds, we the six members of the jury know exactly how things are going to turn out, yet everyone else in the courtroom is on pins and fucking needles. The anticipation. The suspense. It's intoxifying.

So to say there was a feeling of electricity in the air as we filed back into the courtroom would be an understatement. El Jefe calls the courtroom to order, and everyone is standing including Chris Penn's parents who are now sitting in the back. Which by the way, Chris Penn's mother's hair has the exact same triangular shape as Alice from the Dilbert cartoon. Either our of a sense of duty of sheer repetition, we all find the same seats in the jury box we have been occupying all afternoon. Only this time I have my pad with me, instead of it laying face down in my chair. "Lady and Gentlemen of the jury," El Jefe engages the running joke about our jury only having one female, "have you reached a verdict in this case?" "We have your Honor," Skinny Tanned Bald Dude confirms. El Jefe instructs the bailiff to retrieve the jury ballot form from Skinny Tanned Bald Dude and bring it to him. The bailiff does and El Jefe opens the folded piece of paper and with the straightest of poker faces, looks it over. "Let the record reflect the jury form is complete and accurate," he says, leaning to his left to hand the ballot form to the Court Clerk who is part of the way out of her chair to reach him. Really Old Court Reporter clacks away at his stenotype for a few seconds and then pauses, ready for the Court Reporter to read the verdict.

Before she can do so, I steal a glance around the room and just savor the deliciousness of it all. Peter Griffin and Chris Penn have stopped their facade of adolescent bantering and are now sitting quite solemnly, handed folded in front of them. Unpronounceablename's eyes are fixated on the white piece of paper as it dances from El Jefe's hands to the Court Clerk's outstretched fingers. Dr Taub has slid forward in his chair, elbows propped up on the desk, a long yellow pencil bridging his two hands. Chris Penn's father and Alice are holding hands and whispering back and forth. John Goodman is sitting across the aisle from them, on our side of the courtroom, wringing his hands. Hell, even A Little Overweight But Still Cute Divorced Chick and Black Dude With A Beard are both sittig bolt upright, and they already know that fucking verdict is. Absolutely delicious, I tell you. I swear to God, this was my face right then.

Once the Court Clerk has the ballot securely in her hands, she unfolds it and pulls her microphone close to her mouth without ever looking up at it. She reads the entire ballot in a slow, monotone voice, with absolutely no pauses for effect. "In the matter of the State of Florida versus Chris Penn in the sole count of burglary of a conveyance we the jury for the defendant guilty in the sole count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon we the jury find the defendant guilty." I have to say, it was almost anti-climatic. I mean in your head you see this playing out with a little dramatic pause, "we find the defendant ... ... wait for it... ... wait for it... ... ... guilty." But not this lady. But I suppose this is probably good practice when you get into the more serious felonies.

While not quite capturing the pomp and circumstance of the OJ Simpson trial, the announcing of our verdicts has a clear and measurable effect on some of the courtroom's occupants. As Really Old Court Reporter 's fingers dance across his magic machine to record the reading of the verdict, El Jefe and Peter Griffin really don't seem to give a fuck either way. The former for the obvious reason he doesn't have anything invested in the outcome, and the latter because I think he knew all along he had a losing case; this was just an opportunity to yell "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY TRUCK!?" during a trial with complete impunity. Unpronounceablename turns to Dr Taub and they give each other very subdued high-fives; too showy and they'll be seen as unprofessional of course, but you can tell they were pleased with the verdict. Again though, this wasn't the fucking OJ Simpson trial so while you two put on an effective prosecution, kindly remember the guy you convicted was kind enough to commit all of his crimes on fucking camera, so don't get too high on your horse. Chris Penn's father and Alice continue to hold hands, but obviously unpleased with our verdict, Alice starts to shake her head from side to side, nearly hitting Chris Penn's father with her triangle shaped hairdo. John Goodman lets out two solid claps and then begins to fist pump in a way that would make both Pauly D and The Situation proud.

But Poor Chris Penn. Poor, poor, Chris Penn. Imagine if you will, performing three acts at the same time: I want you to sigh, I want you to close your eyes, and I want you to lower your head, all at the same time. Once you've done that, know that you have reacted the exact same way Chris Penn did when a post high-five Unpronounceablename stood up and announced to the courtroom, "Your Honor, under the State of Florida's habitual offender rules, we ask that Chris Penn be immediately remanded into custody until sentencing, including a fresh set of fingerprints." "It is so ordered," El Jefe replies.

"WAIT NOW, WHAT IS THIS?" I thought? My brain hasn't even had the opportunity to process the phrase "habitual offender" before the two deputies -- which for the entire duration had been all but dozing off to sleep for the entire duration of the trial -- spring from their seats and all but fucking goose step to the defendants's table. They seemed to grow a foot fucking taller than that had been earlier as each of them stood behind, and on either side of, Chris Penn's chair. "Sir stand up please," the DVD INPUT 1 rendered blue one announced, as he hooked a hand under Chris Penn's left armpit. Now I'd like to tell you that Chris Penn stood up of his own accord -- he had leaned forward to push the chair out from behind him. But I'm pretty fucking sure both DVD INPUT 1 Deputy and Almost Snoozing Deputy hoisted him right the fuck up to feet in one smooth -- and seemingly well rehearsed -- motion. For all the lackadaisical shit I had given these two guys at the beginning of the trial, let me tell you, someone flicked the ALL MUTHAFUCKIN BUSINESS button on these two guys. It was like when the shadow creatures came to drag Carl off to hell in Ghost. Chris Penn wisely offered no resistance. Behind us, Alice gasped.

And just when I thought shit could not get any more real, the calm passive Deputy who two fucking seconds ago was manning the door at the rear of the courtroom, silently slips into view like a fucking Dementor, pushing a small cart with an ink pad and paper towels on top. They were going to fingerprint that motherfucker right then and there. El Jefe was speaking into his microphone, something about jury service and thanking us or some shit, but I'll be honest I was only paying cursory paying attention. Instead my eyes were fixated on the dance that was unfolding on the far side of the courtroom from me. As Chris Penn "walked" to the fingerprinting cart -- and I use that phrase loosely because if I were to guess he was only putting about half of his weight on his feet since he was being "helped" across the floor by DVD INPUT 1 Deputy and Almost Snoozing Deputy -- Dementor Deputy had already popped open the ink pad and was preparing some paper towels at the time of Chris Penn's timely arrival. El Jefe continued to talk, but I didn't hear him, other than those magical words, "The jury is free to go and we thank you for your service."

That of course snapped me out of my trance, and I sprang to my feet along with my fellow five other jurors. The bailiff asks us to leave out notepads on our seats, and assures us they will be completely destroyed without anyone ever having read our notes. True or false? I dunno, all I know is I'm getting the fuck out of Dodge! I let the first row flow out, and then took my place behind them, running my hand along the long brass bannister that ran along the top of the jury box wall. "So long, old friend," I thought. We file out single file -- Fat Accountant Dude behind me and Retired Engineer Dude behind me -- and just before I am able to step through the doorway to the jury access hallway, cast a final glance over towards Chris Penn. I will never forget the look on his face, as he is loosening his tie, with DVD INPUT 1 Deputy standing behind him, shaking out a a large folded orange jumpsuit. It was a look of uncomfortable familiarity. "Immediately remanded into custody," I remember Unpronounceablename saying. Florida don't play.

On Monday: Final Thoughts With Jerry Springer

In the background of that shot, you can see the entrance to the movie theater at the West Edmonton Mall. Zack

The model's name is Lexa and she's from the Czech Republic. This shoot was done at the Edmonton Mall, and that particular shot is outside of the Scotiabank Theatre. Cameron

Regarding the shooting of Oregon rancher Lavoy Finicum: remember we're still within the first few days of it happening, so rather than choose which conflisting initial report you want to believe -- he was surrendering with his hands up or he was reaching into his waistband for a gun -- why don't we just sit on our hands for a few days and see what shakes loose, shall we?

Are you ready for the sport of the future? The Drone Racing League is where all the hottest competitive drone racers compete to be called the best of the best. Appropriately for the sport of the future, the DRL's races take place in abandoned malls and sports stadiums, which we're sure to have an almost limitless supply of in Oakland.

In most fantasy football leagues, owners compete for money and maybe some stupid trophy. But then there are those leagues out there that like to make things a little more interesting; some dude named Daniel finished last in his particular league, so the playoff teams determined that he had to remake Selena Gomez's, “Good For You” video. Good news: Selena Gomez's video plays alongside his. Bad news: there's a shower scene. But again, let's circle back to the good news: Selena Gomez's video plays alongside his.

FRIDAY FLICK: Well, he sure as hell wasn't one to complain. Woke with a smile, seemed like he could keep it there all day. Kind of a man that'd say 'good morning' and mean it, whether it was or not. Tell you the truth, Lord, if there was two gentler souls in this world, I never seen 'em. Seems like old Tig wouldn't even kill birds in the end. Well, you got yourself a good man and a good dog, and I'm inclined to agree with Boss here about holding a grudge against you for it. I guess that means Amen.

February 1, 2016

Jury Duty Part XIV: Until Next Time Take Care of Yourself. And Each Other.

Okay, one little tidbit about the closing arguments I forgot to mention. And as a precursor, I remember watching a television show once -- I think it was Boston Legal and I think it was Denny Crane who said this -- but while counseling a younger attorney he offers the following advice. "I want you to object to everything the opposing counsel says. I don't care what they say, I don't care why you object, I don't care if the judge overrules every objection. I just want to you throw them off their game and don't let them get into a rhythm." And that is exactly what Unpronounceablename did to Peter Griffin throughout his entire closing argument. Which side note, I didn't know you could object during a closing argument, but anyway. Unpronounceablename was objecting as he was just walking up to the microphone. That poor fucker couldn't even purse his lips together to start speaking and Unpronounceablename was objecting for one reason or another. Some were sustained and some were overruled, but after the third or fourth objection, you could see the frustration in Peter Griffin's face. I don't know if that was her plan or not, but it was certainly the effect. It was actually kind of brutal.

And not that I am advocating burglary -- I fucking hate car thieves, especially career ones -- but if I were to be the little devil on Chris Penn's shoulder, here are a few tidbits of advice I would have whispered into his ear. Upon his initial confrontation with John Goodman for looking into the toolbox of Goodman's truck, the absolute worst thing he could have done is exactly what he did; attempt to flee without any explanation. What would have worked in his favor is immediately upon being challenged by John Goodman, Chris Penn could have offered his bullshit, "I thought it was my boss's truck," excuse followed by an enthusiastic apology, and presuming John Goodman didn't believe his line of bullshit, offered to wait around for the police to arrive and clear the matter up. Hell, even jump up and down waving your arms once the responding officer arrived on scene and when he got out of his car, explain that you were going in to set up an appointment for [whatever damn lump or mole somewhere on your skin} and made a simple mistake. Now odds are the officer would have done a background check on Chris Penn, seen all his previous arrests for car burglaries (see below) and arrested him anyway. But he would have avoided the more serious Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge altogether, plus have created enough reasonable doubt -- what kind of thief offers to wait around for the cops-- that it's possible he would have been acquitted of the burglary charge altogether; or at the very least been convicted of the lesser trespassing charge.

Second thing. I've already touched on how fucking stupid it was for him to flee to a fucking convenience store parking lot when the bridge to Ford Myers was so close, so I won't revisit that again. But while he was inside the Race Trac -- you know "getting something to drink" -- and saw John Goodman pull up behind him and block him in, his best course of action would have been to flip the script and call 911 himself. "Yeah there's this crazy guy who attacked me in a parking lot, keyed my car, chased me down the road to a Race Trac, and now he's trapped my car in. I'm inside the store and I'm afraid to go outside." Hell, even better, have the store clerk or some other bystander call on your behalf. Maybe even make a scane and toggling the door lock to, "keep that crazy guy out since he's already attacked me once." Again, it may not have ultimately stopped Chris Penn's arrest for the initial burglary attempt, especially once his previous arrest record came to light during the intial investigation, but would have created a metric shit ton of reasonable doubt on the jury's end. And again, would have prevented his blind panic reaction of almost running a fucking guy over with his car, because I suspect that momentary lapse of reason is going to cost him a decade of his life.

Hey Ernie, You didn't have a photo challenge for today, so I decided to track down your characters from your epic tale of public service. I first went here and scrolled through all the Judges' Tuesday schedules, remembering your disappointing non-taco lunch, finally found what I was looking for. Here are: El Hefe, Unpronounceablename, and Peter Griffin. I couldn't figure out who Dr. Taub was, but I'm guessing somewhere on here. I've spent a lot of time in court (NOT as a defendant) and laughed my ass off at the way you described everything, Excellent work, my friend. As for the star of the show, this was not his first rodeo. Keep 'em Coming, Tim

I know I dropped a few breadcrums along the way, but still quite impressive, Tim! The only thing you got wrong was El Jefe; it seems Judge Porter was originally scheduled to hear that case, but due to some unforseen circumstances had Judge Dommerich sit in for him. And I looked through all of the local Assistant State Attorney profiles, but didn't see Dr Taub among them, although a few profiles didn't have photos so perhaps he's one of those? And as for Unpronounceablename, she could have repeated her name ten times, and spelled it out for me using crayons, and I still don't think I'd have gotten it right. Srsly. And Chris Penn is due to be sentenced on the 23rd of this month.

Just in time for Universal Studios to eat shit for decomissioning the BTTF ride in favor of that shitty ass Simpsons ride, the most iconic piece of the most iconic movie's repertoire is coming back. That's right motherfuckers, the DeLorean is slated to go back into production next year.

I'll admit that generally I'm not a huge fan of remanufactured ammo -- specifically those made by Billy-Bob in his bath tub gin reloading room -- but commercially reloaded ammo, I'm not so shy about. Right now you can grab up a case of 1000 brass cased .45ACP rounds for $248 shipped, which is about $150 less than new stuff was a year ago.

Old and busted: Driving your Corvette through flooded streets. The new hotnes: Driving your Lamborghini through flooded streets.

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

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