Guide to Wunderland
- News Archives
And All For a 41 Cent Tip
Just as the pizza delivery man settled back into his car with
a sense of relief, a youth with a gun tapped on his window, demanding
his cash. He surrendered it, but got shot anyway. He managed
to drive off, but smashed into a fence two blocks away, dead.
(The jury found the defendant guilty.)
'I recently found out that I had
been charged $876.86 for a phone number that I never authorized,
for a place that I had not ever lived at.'
- me, fax to AT&T collections
keld (keld) n. 1. a well,
fountain, spring 2. a deep, still, smooth part of a river
- Rushmore :-)
The Graduate turns
himself inside out and breaks
his nose several times.
12 Angry Men
Henry Fonda stands alone against 11 fellow jurors when he
feels there's reasonable doubt in the murder trial of an 18 year
old inner city youth. It's a fine example of how one man, arguing
with sense, logic, and cool persistance, can win an argument
even in the face of overwhelming odds.
Draft Gary Johnson for
| Assembling Icehouse / The Verdict: Guilty
those of you eagerly checking the mailbox for your pre-ordered
Icehouse set, you'd better
go rent a movie or something, because they haven't gone out yet.
The pieces themselves arrived late last week, but there was a
fairly serious car wreck that shook up the staff at TJ's
Print Shop, which in turn held up delivery of the books.
And that wasn't even our only delay... Kristin
is still finishing up Orderama (her new Panorama-based order-tracking
system), which she wants to have operational for the credit card
processing element of filling the pre-orders, plus we'd like
to include our newly re-designed catalog flyer in with the shipments,
and we've only just now gotten that finished up. So, we're back
to November 1st as our probable ship date (although there's still
an outside chance we'll put them in the mail on Saturday morning...)
But while I must ask you to be patient a little while longer,
the good news is, it'll be worth the wait. As everyone who's
held samples in their hands will attest, the pieces are fabulously
beautiful... we've been sorting and counting pieces all week,
and the cartons filled with pieces are like crates brimming with
gemstones. It's just an unbelievable joy, sifting our hands through
mountains of game pieces that are (to us, at least) as beautiful
and valuable as emeralds, rubies, and diamonds.
Again this week, my 55
word short story is based on a real story. I mentioned last Thursday that I was on jury
duty; now that the trial is over, I can talk about the sad case
of the murdered pizza delivery man, which was the focus of my
attention last week.
The defendant was just a kid, a 14 year old who ordered a
pizza at a friend's house and then held up the delivery man.
He confessed to the whole thing the next day, during a marathon
"interview" at the police station, during the course
of which, in other interview rooms, all of his friends told basically
the same story: The kid showed up, organized the ordering of
a pizza, paid off the delivery man, then followed him outside,
held him up, and then inadvertently shot him. (One of the numerous
details the witnesses agreed on was that his first words after
the shooting were "It was an accident.") He then fled
the scene, taking one of the pizzas with him, spending the night
at a friend's house. The evidence trail was easily followed by
the police, who rounded everyone involved up the following morning.
Not too surprisingly, once on the witness stand, the defendant's
friends gave muddled and poorly remembered testimony, but the
evidence was nonetheless overwhelming, including the murder weapon
(the hammer of which was sheared off and might well have been
difficult to uncock, particularly when nervous on a cold night)
and the pizza box, covered with the murderer's fingerprints and
still bearing the little yellow tag showing the address of the
crime scene, recovered at the location where the defendant was
Given the volume of evidence against this kid, there wasn't
much the defense attorney could do to inspire reasonable doubt,
but he sure gave it his best shot. Although the only charges
the kid faced in this trial were related to the robbery/murder,
the defense immediately told us that his client was a drug dealer,
and that because of all the money he made selling crack cocaine,
he had no motive to rob the delivery man. Of course, by the same
token, he also had to admit that his client owned a gun. (Just
as the gangsters of the Prohibition era all carried guns, so
too must the bootleggers of today, in order to protect their
lucrative trade.) The defense also objected to everything imaginable,
tried to make us think that the police had coerced the signed
confession by being slow in fetching him a lunch, and even tried
to suggest that the fingerprint experts might have made some
sort of mistake somewhere along the line.
But the cornerstone of the defense was a completely unsubstantiated
theory that this kid was totally innocent and that it was instead
his 19-year-old friend who had committed the murder. According
to this theory, his client had confessed to the crime as part
of a vast conspiracy to keep the real killer from going away
for life. This 19 year-old dude, already out on probation, would
face life in prison for these charges, whereas if the kid took
the fall, he'd be free and clear when he turned 21. The real
irony here is that, the way things turned out, the defendant
was tried as an adult, and now faces life in prison himself.
Of course, we weren't allowed to know about this until after
we'd given our verdict.
Another thing we didn't find out until after the trial had
ended was that the defendant would be back in the same courtroom
on the following Monday, with the same lawyer, prosecutor, and
judge... facing an entirely different set of murder charges,
this time for the first degree killing of a classmate. It's probably
a good thing we didn't know about that... we might have been
more inclined to convict him on that sixth charge, the one that
included the words "depraved heart". Given the evidence
we heard, we weren't convinced he'd shown "extreme disregard
for human life", but now, I'm not so sure. What else would
you say after angrily shooting the pizza man besides "it
was an accident?"
Fall is here.... yesterday, Alison
brought all of her potted plants inside! Having never owned more
than about three struggling houseplants, the sudden, massive
influx of growing green things is novel - and delightful. Meanwhile,
Alison also painted her huge composter to look like a giant Rubik's
Cube. The Alison influence is definitely enhancing things here
Halloween! (And remember, the pre-release
special ends Sunday at midnight!)
- Our local
government, like all governments it seems, is filled with idiots.
Apparently, it has been decreed that trick or treating will take
place in PG county on Saturday evening, 6-8 PM, instead
of on Sunday, like it is everywhere else.
do everything in my power to help you, as long as it's convenient
for me." - Gina Mai Denn
- One of
the nice things about all the waiting you have to do while serving
on a jury is the chance you get to catch up on your reading.
Last week I read The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert.
(It was good, too!)