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!
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.