Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tis the Season

'tis the season for really bad jokes at the expense of rival sports teams. Since I live in the area of the country colloquially referred to as the "armpit of Nebraska", the Nebraska CornHusker teams are an obvious target of coffee shop innuendo and jokes. With that in mind, here is one of the better ones floating around right now:

A: "Have you heard about the two Nebraska players declared ineligible for the bowl game?"

B: "No - What happened?"

A: "Seems they both were failing the same class. The coach talked to the professor and got him to agree to give them a retest yesterday. If they passed the test, they could play in the bowl game, otherwise ..."

B: "How did the re-test go?"

A: "I heard it went like this:"

The players walk into the room and are handed exams. They have one hour to finish. They get settled in and start riffling through the test, occasionally writing and erasing furiously.

  • Player #1: Psst! Hey Psst!
  • Player #2: What do you want? You know we aren't supposed to be talking here.
  • Player #1: But I'm really stuck on question #3.  Can't you give me a hand?
  • Player #2: Let me see. (Flips pages to question 3 which reads "Old MacDonald had a _____") That's obvious - the answer is farm!
  • Player #1: Thanks.
  • Player #1: Psst! Hey Psst! Psst!
  • Player #2: Now what?
  • Player #1: I'm really stumped here. How do you spell farm?
  • Player #2: Come on man, you know that! e-i-e-i-o.

Now you know why the Nebraska players remained ineligible.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Joy of Youth

The other day while walking in the park, Molly and I were passed by a young lady all of two or three years old. She was being chased by her somewhat older sister in the unseasonable warmth of the day. Her sister would catch up to her and she would stop. Then she would give the most mischievous grin to all around, look at her sister and grin even harder, then take off toddling at break neck speed once more, looking back over her shoulder with a look of pure joy.

This tableau continued for the next 20 minutes or more. Each time Molly and I came to that end of the park, the two girls were playing tag while their parents sat at a picnic table.

Seeing that motion induced look of radiant joy on the little girls face actually made me a bit jealous. It was clear the whole process of motion and the freedom it brings was new and brought nothing but pleasure to her. So why did I feel the twinge of the green eyed monster? Because she was still young and inexperienced enough not to have concerns about falling and running into things? Because she hadn't experienced the aches and pains of life? Because she didn't hurt too much to enjoy running and twirling? Because the simple pleasure of running and twirling and playing with her sister filled her entire being with joy, unfettered by fear or thought or experience? Maybe it was all of the above as I remembered those feelings with envy.

In the end I left the park smiling. The little girl and her reminder to me of the joy engendered by simple things left me smiling, just because it is impossible not to be infected by the unfettered joy of youth. May you find your joy and smile too.

(Pictures courtesy of the University of New Hampshire archive.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Now I Know

One of the great secrets of the universe has eluded me for years. I have never figured out how to lose and keep weight off with ease. Losing weight can be easy, but if I don't practice ceaseless vigilance it comes right back. I can picture myself turning onto a 400 lb. gorilla, stealing all the bananas in the zoo.

Food seems to jump onto plates in front of me and thence into my mouth with no conscious effort at all. And then the other day whilst reading my daily dosage of bloggery, the answer came to me. The problem is that I have metal fillings in some of my teeth.

Sounds like a good explanation to me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Back ...

... after spending a few days running around like a headless chicken trying to catch up. At one point I was harried enough to have my polo shirt on wrong side out for hours, only noticing that something was amiss when I kept trying to put my pen into the pocket that was on the inside and inaccessible.

Part of the reason for running around like mad was that I was indeed selected for the jury and so needed to make up some time. However my record remains perfect - I have never entered jury deliberations. Every time I have been seated on a jury, the defendant has decided to plead guilty. In close to 40 years of jury eligibility, I have been called for jury duty somewhere on the order of 25 times and have actually been empaneled on the jury 3 times now.  In all three of those cases, the defendant has decided to plead guilty before the end of the trial. In two of the cases, it was within minutes of the the start of the trial.

This time the plea came in the second day of testimony when the defendant suddenly took a plea bargain. I understood why he did so. He was up for three counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon and had prior felonies - thus he faced the possibility of 63 years with no possibility of parole if convicted. But the DA had no choice but to offer a misdemeanor assault plea and a year of jail after the star witness suddenly lost his mind and memory on the stand. It  wasn't overly surprising that he did so since he was the victim of the assault and also the brother of the defendant. I think that he had second thoughts about being the one to send his brother away for that long. So after a day of gory medical testimony featuring the bashed in skull and broken jaw and teeth of the victim and then another half day of the disaster that was testimony for the prosecution (3 of 29 scheduled witnesses), the DA and the defense came to the plea agreement and we were excused.

I'll leave you with the following question: what are the holidays like in a family where the brothers practice deadly assault on one another with a rock, avoiding murder by about a sixteenth of an inch according to the medical testimony? Would they trust each other enough to let the other carve the turkey?

On a completely non-factual basis, I think the whole thing was triggered by a monetary tiff over the proceeds of a drug deal gone wrong. Absolutely no evidence presented to support that thought, but it sure seemed that that was what was going on.

Sometime before I die, I hope to finally reach the deliberation stage of a trial. After all, I figure that I must look really mean to induce all those people to plead guilty. {*grin*}
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