Thursday, January 26, 2006

Never Enough Court Philosophy Department

When I was in high school, we once read A Separate Peace by John Knowles (summary here) and, being intrigued by the mock trial at the end of the novel, our teacher had us conduct our own mock trial. Was Gene, who was responsible for Finny's leg-breaking fall, ultimately responsible for Finny's refracturing his leg, which led to his death? Was Gene guilty of manslaughter?

I took the challenging and unpopular role of defense attorney. It was quite difficult, given how most of the class was convinced of Gene's guilt prior to the mock trial. Members of the senior class were selected to form the jury; they too had read the book but were more detached, and therefore more impartial. There were times when I thought the classmate playing the judge was nearly disgusted with my role. There was a bit of tension, to be sure, between myself and much of the rest of the class. But in the end, the jury reached a verdict of Not Guilty.

The response of the class: It showed them how "flawed" the "court system" was. Excuse me? What court system? Our mock court was less sophisticated than any court drama on TV. There were no rules of evidence; the jury knew about the "case" in detail and in advance; the judge was hostile towards the defense; there was no concept of "innocent until proven guilty"; and we were all ignorant of even the basic precepts of law. So, what "flaw" in the system was exposed? The only similarities between our mock trial and the real thing was the basic structure: a judge, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a jury. Which was flawed? The presense of a defense attorney? A jury that could be convinced of the defense's case What, exactly, was the objection?!? Alas, none of my classmates could tell me what was wrong with this--a mock trial.

I really have to wonder how they would have reacted--or how they did react--to the real thing. Justice, like democracy, is messy, contentious, and highly frustrated. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it's the worst system possible--with the exception of all the others. But we've allowed horror stories of shyster lawyers and runaway civil cases to color our vision, and lead us to see more corruption and injustice than actually occurs. The best we can do is to remind ourselves that, for all the hassle and heartache that comes from judges, juries, and attorneys, we can only do our damnest to make sure justice is served with fairness and impartiality.

And yes, this has everything to do with the trial. It's over, and our verdict has been served. But more on that later--I'd rather digest things before posting.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Never Enough Jury Observations Department

Today I was selected to serve on a jury--and of course I cannot comment on the case itself. But, I was intrigued with two elements of being on a modern jury in Washington State. First, jurors are allowed to take notes during the trial, as long as they do so using the notepad provided by the court. You must leave the notes behind when leaving the courtroom, but the jury gets to use the notes during deliberation. That's an incredible addition to the jury's resources. But, that's not as great as the ability to write questions for witnesses. The bailiff gathers the questions--written on sheets with cover sheet, so other jurors can't see the questions--and then the judge shares the questions privately with the attorneys before deciding which questions should be allowed. Aside from clearing up any questions we might have about the case, the interactivity certainly makes one feel much more involved.

I'll mention the case itself later--once there's a verdict. (No names.)

Never Enough Bug Porn Department

Some people wonder how I wound up a SubGenius minister. Wonder no more.

Actually, this video link may well make you wonder more. Sorry, that's not my problem. Blame it on your local micro-Conspiracy. I do--every single day.

More SubGenius videos available here. I recommend "The Day of the Subgenius" [sic] by The Bolex Brothers, or maybe the SubGenius commercial for those with shorter attention spans. (If you look carefully, you'll see my hand among the lab-coat wearing zombies.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Never Enough Kick-Ass Boots Department

After looking over the "shoe obsession" posts at Daily Dose of Queer, I figured there's no reason to hold back on my favorite footware obsession: Boots. Boots, of all kinds, from the practical to the faboo to the dangerous, make my world go 'round, and if I had limitless income, I would certainly have an impressive boot collection to match.

First, there's what I typcailly find to be my favorite boot: Flat soles, soft leather, convertible (although I usually wear them uncuffed), and surprisingly durable for such a cheap boot. One pair survived dew-sogged, overgrown fields; mudholes; firepits (including a hot piece of iron that seared the plastic sole); and constant wear day in and day out.

Of course, I kind of wish I could afford something that's even more durable, and maybe a little butchier, for those "hey-look-at-that-dyke-with-the-killer-boots" days. Something like these. They look awesome, and yet they're utterly practical. They cry out for serious butt-kicking, followed by a loving polishing. Ah, yes.

Until that day, I'll have to settle for my beat-up pair of Corcoran side-zip jump boots. They're quite worn at this point, not looking nearly as nice and shiny as the ones on the link, but they're still handy for those metal/punk shows where toes might get squished.

I haven't worn western boots since high school, but that doesn't keep me from dreaming. Think about it--black doeskin cowboy boots...! They must be so nice, so comfortable, and yet so handsome--it brings the hick out in me, it shore do.

Let's not neglect these lovely Renaissance boots which I own and love.

I'm still looking for the perfect granny boot, of course.

So, where are the high heels? In the bedroom, of course. Heh heh.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Never Enough Japanese Weirdness Department

I must say, I like the Japanese. They revel in their weirdness. Take this music video, courtesy of my clenchmate Rev. Exile, which isn't weird because of the ironically crossdressed singer or because of the variety of his backup singers/dancers. It's the inexplicable appearance of James Brown, sassing the crew and failing to dance well with the rest of the crowd. Let me repeat: James Brown. Failing to dance well. This--this is a sign of the EndTimes.

The clip inspired me to search Google Video for Japanese videoclips. For instance:

What a way to spend a Sunday....

Monday, January 02, 2006

Never Enough Stop Motion Animation Department

Per Boing Boing, a photographic essay cum stop motion featurette on the seasons in Norway. Nothing like a slice of eternity to make you appreciate eternal beauty.

Never Enough Leather Cuties Department

No Pity
Originally uploaded by Szmytke.

I don't regularly blog solely about pictures, but this picture was so adorable! Those tough leather gloves! That bad-ass hat! Those doe-like, freckle-embellished eyes!