29 September 2006

And Justice For All.... or Where's Wapner When You Need Him?

I had cause this week to appear in General Sessions Court. No, the Thought Police have not caught up with me yet. I was appearing on behalf of my employer on a matter that will remain unnamed. If you’re really gung-ho about finding out why I was there, do a court search. The facts of the case will not give you any satisfaction, I can assure you. The only reason I have mentioned it, is to place why in time and space I found myself at the Birch Building.

In the course of my job, I have had to testify in a number of criminal proceedings. In the not so distant past, criminal hearings in Davidson County were held in the Ben West building. As quaint as the Ben West was, one could never escape thoughts of imminent peril. The age of the structure connoted lead paint, asbestos, falling plaster, and rooftop alters to Yog-Sothoth. This was the first time I had been in the new Birch Building. I applaud Metro for what they attempted to do with the structure. One gets the hint of a feeling of a scent of a vapor of the Los Angeles Water and Power buildings built during the WPA era. Too bad Metro didn’t have the cajones or budget to pull it off.

After some searching I found my courtroom with 10 minutes to spare. It’s been a while since I’ve had to testify. I was quickly reminded the Justice might be blind, but the old girl ain’t too swift. The scene is chaotic at best, and nothing is quick. District Attorneys and their flunkies are scrambling around talking to victims, petitioners of the court, and defense attorneys. No one, including the people that are paid to be there, seems to know what is going on. The DA’s are looking for witnesses like a 6th Grader searching for last night’s homework assignment. Defense attorneys are jocking like scrap dealers for a deal for their innocent clients. Babies are crying, dogs and cats are living together, and I’m glad I’m not hung over.

The judge finally hits the bench and tries to exert some order to the circus. The court officers are looking around nervously, as if Osama himself is going to make an attack on the court. The baby is still screaming. The judge begins to read the docket. To my amazement, 90% of the people that are supposed to be in court are not. A majority of cases are dismissed or awarded to the person that had the stomach to show up. As a tax payer it frosts my cookies. If you’re going to call the cops or get an order of protection, by all that is holy come to court finish what you started. There’s no telling how much money in administrative costs is wasted on the now shows.

Speaking of swift, there weren’t too many folks that showed up to court that fit that description. The majority of Order of Protection cases that were heard went something like this: Most of which stemmed from guy “A” and girl “B” getting in drunk and busting up Uncle Joe’s “Heroes of the Confederacy” Hummel collection. Girl “B” says something about how her baby daddy would never have done soemthing like that. Guy “A”, naturally, takes offence to this acieration. Guy “A” does or says something brash and the once happy couple is now calling Metro Police for couple’s counseling. So goes the days of our lives.

I sat through three and a half hours of this before the criminal cases are heard. Like I said before, the trick is just to show up. If you’ve had someone arrested and then don’t show up in court, the case is dismissed. So the defense attorney’s are looking for witnesses. If they see them, they try to cut a deal with the DA. There’s only one true DA in the court room. To her credit, she was a very cute, directed brunette with a pony tail. (If you’re reading this email me, I could use some legal advice.) The problem is that she’s the only one “for the people” that can make any decisions. Her assistants either lack the authority, brains, or stones to make a decision. Everything passes through her, and 3 hours in she has a look on her face that can be read, “I thought this was going to be like Law and Order when I took this job." My Magic 8 Ball sees a stiff drink in that young lady’s future.

What happened with my guy you might ask? Just what I’ve already observed. The perp cut a deal and I was out of the court room before the judge’s gavel hit. I feel used. I feel like I’ve wasted precious hours of my life. I feel a need to elect Judge Wapner to the Davidson County court system. Pondering if Wapner is dead or not, I make my way to my car and other adventures.

Post Script. Check this out. I ran Wapner’s name while writing this blog to make sure I had the spelling courrect. I found his bio and if you can believe this, he dated Lana Turner in High School. Life just is not fair sometimes.

21 September 2006

Strange Things Are Afoot a Fort Donelson

I woke up this morning to find a levitating miniature rubber chicken floating in my shower and a large spider outside my kitchen window. That's enough to make any man freak out. I think someone is trying to throw some voodoo on my chunky white butt. See for yourself if you would have baked a loaf at these...
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This sucker's body is about the size of my thumb

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I think I need to send this one to Art Bell... I'm just waiting for Cyril to start talking to me next.

Halloween Costumes for BK

As hard as it is for you to believe, I have actually gotten invited to a Halloween party this year. I tried to reach back into yesteryear and capture the feel of what getting ready for Halloween was like. All I came up with was pleading with my parents for a costume I would never get, reminders that psychos put LSD and razor blades in candy, and never to go into someone’s house when trick or treating. Wow, Halloween as a kid must have sucked.

Being a full grown man of resources and maturity, I have the chance to right the wrongs of Halloweens past. I can be anything I want this year. I would prefer to be invited into some freaky person’s house while trick or treating. And LSD lased razor blades in a Snicker’s bar would only help me to improve my writing.

The only piece of this intricate puzzle is what will BK be for Halloween? I’ve got some ideas, but I’ll need your help to decide. All these options are so boss I can’t make up my mind…
  • Don Rickles as CPO Sharkey
  • Rerun
  • Stealing my father’s sleep apnea mask and being a Chinese Fighter Pilot

Weigh in folks… This means a lot to me…

17 September 2006

Movie Review: Flyboys

In 1916, 38 American civilians volunteered for aerial combat duty with the French Lafayette Escadrille squadron. At the time, the war was not going well for the Allied countries. Woodrow Wilson steadily refused to involve the US in a European war. The Germans were taking one trench after another and pushing further into France.


This is the backdrop of Hollywood’s first WW I movie in 40 years, Flyboys. The film follows members of the Escadrille from background story to missions over war torn France. The plot line follows the formula of just about every air combat film since The Bridges of Toko-Ri . The hotshot, stand off-ish old salt gives crap to the new pilots. Internal tension mounts between the new pilots due to personality differences. One of the new pilot excels far above the rest of the group and has the film’s only love interest. Moral issues and mental fatigue crop up during combat missions. A few feats of the unbelievable pop up to remind the audience this is fiction. And finally, one big bad ass enemy pilot that ties the package up into a pretty bow. Flyboys is no different in the plot department.

The plot issues, I can deal with. What has always killed me about period films is taking the history out of the film. Flyboys uses character amalgamations instead of using the stories of actual men that were part of the Escadrille. I’m not sure if there are legal reasons that screen writers take out real characters and situations, or if they think real life is too unbelievable. I can assure you that the real men and situations of the Escadrille were better than a Hollywood hack’s work. In my mind, this cheapens the memory of the brave men this film is about.

Aside from those gripes, what does distinguish Flyboys from the crowd are the aerial combat sequences. To put it in the common vernacular, it rocked. The scenes were breathtaking and, for the most part, accurate. There were several times when watching this footage, I felt a PF* of at least 2. The feel of being in a canvas and wood airplane with no parachute and bullets whizzing past your ears was visually conveyed to a tee. In that respect, I was amazed.

For the visuals alone, catch this one at a matinee to see it on the big screen.

*Pucker Factor Scale
Level 1 – Sunlight cannot shine trough
Fear Equivalency: Getting called into the boss’ office for that long overdue chat.

Level 2 – BB
Fear Equivalency: Finding out your favorite Chinese restaurant does not contribute to the ASCPA.

Level 3 – Chick Pea
Fear Equivalency: Driving on expired tags with a motorcycle cop three car lengths behind you.

Level 4 – Dime
Fear Equivalency: Smelling that dog poop scent on a bus and hoping its not coming from your shoe.

Level 5Normal
Fear Equivalency: Leaving for work forgetting your aluminum foil hat.