Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's Gettin' Hot Out Herre, Revisited: Now With Illustrations!*

Cameron asked for an illustration of the walking-down-the-sidewalk-in-her-bra lady, and we here at Slimbo Productions Inc. are usually happy (if sometimes slow) to oblige. Behold!

And let me make clear, it was not a sports bra or any other kind of possibly-conceivably-might-have-been-intended-for-outerwear type of thing—just a plain old industrial strength brassiere. (I'd say she was a wack-a-doodle, except that, on our hottest days, stripping down to one's skivvies might just be the sanest thing a person can do.) Whoop, there it is!

* Well, an illustration. Singular. But isn't that worth like a thousand words or something?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"[P]olice car with 'LEFTIES MAKE BETTER L♥VERS' sticker in the back window"—check! Oh, wait. You didn't ask for that? Well you should've, 'cause it's hi-lar-ious. (I took this photo a few days back, but then I saw this same car again today in a completely different part of town.) What's next? Official N.O.P.D.-issue "COPS DO IT WITH HANDCUFFS" stickers on the bumper of every squad car?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What's His/Her Name/Deal? Hair Nubbins and Cheekbones Edition

Time, once again, for the you-write-the-back-story game craze that's sweeping the internet! (Or at least, um, showing up on this here blog-a-mu-thing periodically.) As always:
What's her name?

What's her deal?
Make it so.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stanley Screamer

As I walked into the break room to heat my lunch, I glanced up at the TV—tuned to the usually innocuous Weather Channel—and was startled to see footage of a dog doing that nasty thing some dogs do where they plop down on their butts with their back legs splayed and scooch themselves forward with their front legs, achieving some sort of icky posterior scratch, the motivations for which I don't particularly want to ponder.* Adding to the ick-factor, this particular dog was doing its particular pooch-scooch across thick white plush carpeting. Eww!** Though the shot lasted only a second, it was enough to make me less enthusiastic about the leftover Indian I was about to microwave. Then the big Stanley Steemer logo flashed up on the screen, presumably offering their services if you have the misfortune to become the owner of a thick white plush carpet with a big streak of pooch-smoodge. Oh. But still: Eww!

The stomach turning commercial is enough to warrant a boycott, and henceforth, I shall turn to any other "steemer" in the Yellow Pages before availing myself of their services (though my boycott may not be particularly effective, since I have never availed myself of their services in the past). Up with people! Down with publicly aired pooch-scooch! Up with people! Down with...!

* We had a friend in college who used to do an unnervingly accurate imitation of of this.

** I have to wonder how they made this commercial. Was it a trained dog? And if so, how does one train a dog for this particular activity? Or was someone just like, "Oh yeah, my dog does that all the time. Just keep the camera rolling, and it'll happen..."?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"[A] beautiful photo of something ugly"—I assert, check! I won't make any claim to Capital-"B"-Beauty—it doesn't warrant such big-britchery—but I will claim that it possesses a degree of aesthetic merit even though its subjects would conventionally be considered ugly. (I say "would conventionally be considered ugly" because one could argue that if the photograph is beautiful, then the subject, at least from some perspective or in some context, is beautiful, and then we're headed towards a whole mess of semantic shite that I just don't particularly want to step in.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jury Journal: Rounds 5, 6, and 7

I'm woefully behind again. Let' catch up.

Round 5 (last Wednesday)

A whole lot of nothing. I never got called up. We were sent home at midday. Points of (comparative) interest:
  • A young woman near me had a pair of tattoos, one on each shoulder: on her left, a pair of hands, clasped in prayer, bound in rosary beads; on her right, the number "69", surrounded by flames (a strange metaphorical tat-embodiment of the recently mentioned shoulder angel and devil). I'm frequently amazed by what normal-looking people will ink on their bodies.
  • The two mid-matron ladies near me continued their conversation that had started the first day and continued each jury-morning, all jury-morning (in total, some serious conversational hours), even though they had clearly never met each other before the start, chatting with a free-ranging extroverted ease I find absolutely inconceivable.
  • The old guy seated next to me in the NBC Sports cap has a remarkable (and convenient) ability to sleep anywhere, anytime.
  • At some point, "Price is Right" was playing loudly on both televisions. Those ding-ding-dings of the big wheel spinning—that used to, a long time ago, sound future-y and novel, but now sound really dated—are near maddening at high-volume.
  • When "Price is Right" was over and a soap came on, a woman loudly grumbled that not everybody wanted to watch "the stories", and one of the TVs was switched to "the judge".
  • Most people want to get sent home absolutely as soon as possible, and after a big group gets called up to court, it's funny to hear a whole room of those who escaped collectively sigh with relief.
As I said, a whole lot of nothing.

Round 6 (Monday)

Mid-morning, I was called up to Section L (the same court as my first day), for an armed robbery case: the young defendant had allegedly robbed three migrant workers at gunpoint. Points of interest:
  • One of my fellow jurors wore a t-shirt that said "Too Blessed to be Stressed".
  • Again, we were asked if we had been the victim of crime or were close to the victim of a crime, and though I'd recently heard a similar enumeration, it was still mildly shocking to hear the frequency and degree of the affirmatives: shot at point blank range (a minister); a murder-suicide of close relatives; etc.
  • Collectively, the jury pool is becoming well schooled, rotely nodding or shaking our heads to the now familiar questions.
  • The defendant looked like a baby.
  • A minister juror (the same one who'd been shot) stated emphatically during questioning that he was for "restoration, not incarceration".
  • As a final catch-all question, the defense attorney asked if anyone felt they would have difficulty trying the case impartially, and one juror responded candidly: he was a transplant from California, and during his time in New Orleans, he had seen too much violence, and in the courts, he'd seen too much dysfunction, and no, he probably couldn't be impartial.
  • I didn't get picked. We got sent back to the jury lounge, then out for an hour lunch. Two minutes after getting back, the counter went to zero, and we were sent home for the day.
  • Though my overall response to being a juror has been rapt fascination, I left that day feeling a tinge of raggedy sadness at the core ugliness of this business.
Round 5 (today)

Mid-morning, I was once again called up to Section L, which has had an unusually heavy trial load this month and was now beginning to feel like a second home for many of us. The defendant was accused of shooting at somebody. Points of interest:
  • In the lounge, a gaggle of older jurors lamented how it didn't used to be like this with all the violence and whatnot. I tend to dismiss such claims as the creaky complaining of curmudgeonly codgers, but there's an important core of truth in the mildly revisionist nostalgia: They grew up in a time before pervasive heavy-duty drugs, their commodification, and the heavy-duty violence that follows. Booze, knives, guns, and poverty have been around a long time; New Orleans has been a violent place for a long time (I recently read an article pointing out that New Orleans has always had stratospheric murder rates, as in like since-way-back-in-the-19th-Century always, that our present predicament is nearly as old as the city); but the recent decades have brought an escalation and scale that causes legitimate regret and sadness in those who remember the time before.
  • All of the defendants have been black men. Three out of four have been young. No matter how you slice and dice the ultimate causes of this disproportionality, it pretty much just sucks.
  • The judge, who now knows us well, corrected the prosecutor's mispronunciation of my last name before I even had a chance to pipe up.
  • The defendant kept on turning and talking to his two young lady supporters in the audience, incurring the wrathful irritation of the sheriff-people and even his own attorney.
  • When we were dismissed after the voir dire—that's what us, y'know, legally sophisticated types call the jury questioning—one of the jurors lamented, "It's like leaving in the middle of a soap opera. You've heard all the stuff, but now you don't know what's going to happen."
  • Back to the jury lounge. More TV. (I hate those CSI shows, especially the Miami one with that creepy red-headed actor.) Sent home at midday.
  • I'm pretty sure the only cases I'll ever actually get to see are on "Judge Mathis" in the jury lounge. It seems like they plug us all into a race/age/gender/hairstyle matrix, and however the formula works, I'm not a match. Plus, I recently learned from a public defender buddy that the prosecutors compare notes, so my seeming-to-be-a-patsy-for-the-defense answers from the first day could conceivably have gotten me struck for the whole month. Plus my white-guy-who's-been-robbed-at-gunpoint (which has been revealed in the voir dire for any case involving violence or the threat of violence, which is most of them) makes me an improbably choice for the defense. So, oh well...
More next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Portraits of inanimate objects: my blaze orange camo-cap. I dunno, I felt compelled to draw it (and color it—the coloring was extra fun). I bought it on an impulse a while back at a rural Alabama gas station late one evening driving home to N.O., and for whatever reason, it brings me great pleasure—probably some deep-seated hick-reminiscence from my rural Virginian youth. Plus, I really like orange, even in its most garish hues. Though I would never wear it out in public, I do wear it around the house with some frequency, feeling rather cozy and pleased. (And it gives me an excellent opportunity to blather on to the girls, "You see, deer are color blind, but hunters are not, so...")

Monday, July 20, 2009

"Bikes and Fireworks (together or separate)"—demi-check! (One, not the other, that is.) Louise prepping for an inaugural ride on her fresh birthday wheels. We've been woefully remiss in our parental duties, and Louise has never mastered training-wheel-free cycling, though she's now making up for lost time and is busily clambering up that learning curve, making admirable progress. (I'll have to get back to you on the fireworks. And I doubt I'll ever be able to offer up a combination of the two (unless life presents a bizarrely fortuitous photo-op).)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Cookie Cake* Says It Best

Number One Daughter turned eight years of age today. Happy birthday, not-so-little-anymore lady. Woot-woot!

* As our dear Sara quipped, she's got the best non-professional baker in the city as a mom, and she asks for a cookie cake? But birthday girl wants; birthday girl gets. (And as cookie cakes go, it was rather fine.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Neighborhood children doing their neighborhood things"—check!

"I am Not Old Enogh"

Apparently, the bloggerly compulsion to document the little things of life is genetic. We recently had a baby shower for our dear Sara, and afterwards, unprompted, Louise wrote the following accounting:

Let me transcribe (with minor editorial corrections for spelling):
"Sara Roahen's baby shower was today. She is having a boy. I bet he will be really cute. I hope he is not annoying. Most kids are sometimes annoying and sometimes really cute. There was lots of presents and almost all of them were of course, for the baby. There was lots of food too. My favorite of the main course was bacon and black pepper biscuits. I ate four of them. For desert I liked the peanut butter brownies. They were peanut butter brownies with chocolate chunks inside. My mom put up my hair in a ponytail. She put the rest of my hair into butterfly clips. I was wearing a white dress with flowers all over it. In the kitchen my mom was wearing an apron over her party dress. It looked sort of funny like that. In the party my Mom takes off the apron. My Dad makes The Drinks. Everybody says they're delicious. How do I know? I don't. I am not old enough."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

"[T]he art of arranging junk on the porch"—check! I've long admired this yard, the elevation of bric-a-brac chic to densely packed heights of eccentric loveliness.

Jury Journal: Rounds 3 and 4

I've been falling behind on my Jury Journal;* let's catch up:

Jury Journal: Round 3 (last Wednesday)

Mid-morning-ish, twenty-five of us got called up for jury selection on an aggravated battery case. (The defendant allegedly bludgeoned an acquaintance in the head with a bottle.) Points of interest:
  • The judge had a face curiously reminiscent of a tunneling mammal, lending him the aspect of a character in a children's story populated with personified animals.
  • The defendant had a face curiously reminiscent of the-actor-who-plays-Stringer-Bell; though he was shorter, older, and less chiseled.
  • The D.A. preceded his questioning by giving us his back story (went to McMain,** N.O.C.C.A, played jazz trumpet, played in some brass bands, then got his law degree...) with the clear intention of currying favor with us, the potential jurors, and representing himself as a regular-Joe/man-of-the-people; at which point the crotchety elder defense attorney objected; at which point the judge, without bothering to turn around, responded with a weary "overruled"; at which point the crotchety elder defense attorney stated that we would like his exception to the overruling noted; at which point the judge said nothing and continued to stare at the opposite wall; at which point the crotchety elder defense attorney asked, had his exception been noted? at which point the judge wearily responded that every statement made in the courtroom is noted by the court reporter.
  • The defense somehow couldn't do a damn thing right and managed, at every step, to further irk the judge: objectionable objections, "arguing" the case during jury selection (they all subtly argued their case during the selection process, but apparently the defense was too overt), persistent delays, strangely waffled responses to explicit questions... (The judge made his irritation clear by alternating between a comically furrowed brow and an exasperated Why-me,-Lord? stare at the ceiling.)
  • The defense asked all the jurors if they or anyone close to them had ever been the victim of a crime and, if so, what was the crime? And not surprisingly (this being New Orleans), almost everybody answered yes, but it was still a little startling to hear the array and degree of crimes experienced. (My own answer—armed robbery and assorted burglaries—was about middling.)
  • As best as I can determine from my limited experience, the legal system runs almost entirely on metaphors and similes: "The prosecution has to move the 'ball' of evidence past the 'goal line' of 'beyond a reasonable doubt'..." "It's like Hawaii Five-O, and at the end, McGarrett says 'Book 'im, Danno,' and Danno tells the suspect he has the right to remain silent..."
  • Lawyers in New Orleans still really do wear white linen suits.
  • I thought I was going to get picked, but I was wrong. (I managed to eavesdrop on the judge and various attorneys as they conferred, working through us in numerical order: On some jurors, the judge asked each party to answer: "accept"/"peremptory"/"reject". On others, the judge simply scratched them off as an "S[some number]". I was "S5". I wasn't quite sure what that meant—struck?—but it made me feel a little bristly. S5 indeed! (I am not a (letter-)number (combination), I am a free man!))
Jury Journal: Round 4 (today)

Nothing of note happened (except that some unknown juror seated near me in the crowded waiting room kept silently but frequently farting). No one was called up. We were all simultaneously dismissed at lunchtime (causing a massive traffic jam in the jurors' parking lot).

* Y'alls've got me so busy running around looking for photographs of bicycles and fireworks and bicycles powered by fireworks and the ugly/beautiful//beautiful/ugly and hand gestures of colorful freaks eating artfully prepared food while walking small funny dogs that look like them around large potholes, it's a wonder I get anything else done at all.

** What-high-school-you-went-to is the definitive local shorthand (far more important than what-college-you-went-to) for where you're coming from—race, class, religion, cultural-socio-economic-etc.-etc.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"[C]amel back shotgun double"—check! Camelbacks can become camelbacks in one of two ways: 1) Being built from the get-go as such; 2) Starting life as a plain humpless shotgun and growing the hump sometime after the fact. This is an example of the latter, having grown the half-a-second-floor during its post-Katrina renovation. (We've seen it before in its single-story state.)

"[P]eople chillaxing"—check!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Purple house with lovely flowers out front"—check! (I'm loving this game. It's like a giant free-form scavenger hunt: I find myself driving down random streets in random neighborhoods scanning for notable potholes or "ordered rubbish" or any of the other many curious subjects you've assigned me.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's Gettin' Hot Out Herre

So, girl...

This afternoon, as I drove down Elysian Fields, I saw a lady walking on the sidewalk who had, presumably in response to the heat, taken off her shirt, which she held in her hand, leaving her upper torso clad only in a bra—of the heavy-duty pragmatic variety. (She was a heavy-duty and, apparently, pragmatic lady.)

Now that's, er, hot.

Also quite sincere, yes?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Choose Your Own (Blogological/Photographical) Adventure

Here at Slimbolala, we're fond of experimental investigations in co-authorial blogging—which is to say, sometimes, when I run out of ideas, I invite you all to boss me around a bit* and tell me to Dance, bloggy-monkey, dance! and I obey, and I dance my little bloggy-monkey Charleston or my bloggy-monkey jitterbug, and you reward me with a few slices of ripe papaya.**

So here's today's co-authorial game:
  1. You tell me what to photograph.
  2. I do my best*** to take as good a photograph as I can of whatever it is.
  3. I post the results here on this blog-machine.
Now, because we're a laid back chillaxed**** up-with-people-down-with-tyranny sort of scene, I won't specify any explicit rules on what's fair game, but of course, some proposed subjects are viable, and some aren't.

Possibly (though, perhaps, improbably) viable:
Not viable:
  • the Milky Way, as seen from a remote galaxy
  • Nebraska, as seen from a remote galaxy
  • the future
  • my foot, as seen from either a remote galaxy or the future (or both, since, of course, by the time the light has reflected off of of my foot and reached the remote galaxy, it would already be way the future and my foot would be way the past—as in like turned-into-billions-of-scattered-atoms-which-have-long-since-been-engulfed-by-the angry-red-giant-which-used-to-be-our-friendly-yellow-sun the past)
Clear enough? Boss away!

* At which point, I get a little teensy bit nervous that instead of bossing me around you will just remain mysteriously silent, and the whole thing will sort of dangle there awkwardly, and we'll all have to pretend like we don't notice, and we'll have to make a point of not talking about how we're not talking about it, and the whole thing will end with a self-conscious whimper. But usually, in fact, you're more than happy to boss me around, and it goes rather well, and all is right with the universe.

** I don't know. What do they reward trained monkeys with?

*** "[D]o my best" meaning, in this case: I'll do it, barring any obstinate physical, temporal, ethical, or psycho-emotional obstacles. Oh, or sloth. Sloth might be a problem. (In the immortal words of Bart Simpson, "I can't promise I'll try, but I'll try to try.")

**** I use "chillax" a lot, ironically (the way some people grow a mustache) but frequently. June, not realizing that her father is an inveterate smart-ass, now says "chillax" too, innocently believing it to be a full fledged in-good-standing member of the English lexicon.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Name Game: Turtleneck Edition

Name? Deal? (You know the routine.) Am I getting a Euro-vibe? New York? Something about that turtleneck. And the scowl. Hmm...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Jury Journal: Round 2

Decidedly uneventful. The counter started this morning at 5, not 12. (Why? I don't know.) Around 9:30, Court L called for 25 jurors, notching the counter down to 4. The rest of us just waited. Mid-morning, the counter mysteriously dropped to 3, then sat there. Finally, mid-day, the counter dropped straight to zero, and we were all sent on our merry way. (In addition to turning "slowly", the wheels of justice also seem to turn rather unpredictability.)

Miscellaneous Rumination #1: I like that in a largely randomized sample of New Orleanians—about a hundred-and-fifty-ish by my latest reckoning—I recognized several people (a good 5% or so): the natty older guy with the soul patch, the muscle-puffed trainer from the gym, that lady that I can't figure out where I know her from but I definitely know her, the young foodie manager from that place on Magazine St... Small town living.

Miscellaneous Rumination #2: I like that, when a couple of nearby jurors are engaged in a far-ranging morning-long conversation, it's impossible to tell whether they've known each other for years or have only just met (drawn together by a mutual fondness for shiny loafers, dark slacks, and loose-fitting bright-colored shirts, locally popular among gentleman of a certain age).

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Name Game: Hat, Big Specs, and Trenchcoat Edition

Same game: What's her name? What's her deal?*

* She's modelled on someone we actually crossed paths with a long time ago, but I'll keep the non-fictional backstory to myself for the moment.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Uncle Sam's Fireworks (The giant-blue-gorilla-of-explosive-fun wishes you a very happy 4th.)

Jury Journal:* Round 1

I had my first day of jury duty this past Wednesday. I will serve every Monday and Wednesday in July. I can't say how I'll feel a month from now, but after Round 1, the verdict is: Totally fascinating.

We were told to arrive for 8:30. I parked in the jurors' parking lot across the street by the Falstaff building, Froggered across four lanes of speeding crosstown traffic, and entered the humble jurors' entrance on the side, through the metal detector, through the basement parking garage, and checked in at the jurors' lounge which was already packed, cheek by jowl,** with something on the order of a couple hundred-ish other newbie jurors. I found a spare seat and started my first little spell of waiting in what will undoubtedly be a cornucopia of waiting in the coming weeks.

A brief survey of the activities of my fellow jurors:
  • watching TV ("Fresh Prince of Bel Air", "Charmed", etc.)
  • reading ("Star" magazine, "Correct Your French Blunders", something in Braille, *** etc.)
  • drifting off to sleep
  • grumbling mildly
  • grumbling mildly while drifting off to sleep
  • fiddling with cellphones
  • making awkward whispered phone calls, the main subject of which seemed to be the poor cellphone reception
  • discreetly glancing around at one's cheek-by-jowl neighbors
  • et cetera, et cetera
Some time later, we received a brief orientation. We were welcomed, thanked profusely (almost sycophantically), and given the rundown:
  1. There were a bunch of courts: A through L. (If my alphanumeric skills don't fail me, that makes twelve.)
  2. Each morning, in no particular order, the judges call down for a pool of prospective jurors. The request might come first thing in the morning. It might come much later, after the judge has worked through his or her docket. (I'm still a little fuzzy on exactly what it means to "work through" a "docket", but I'm sure it's a good thing.) As our juror's pamphlet reminds us, "The wheels of justice turn slowly."
  3. Jurors are randomly selected by "the computer" to fill a given request.
  4. When a juror is selected for a given court, they are assigned a number that is used in the subsequent court proceedings.
  5. After being called, jurors are escorted to the requesting court in numerical order.
  6. In the courtroom, jurors will be asked a variety of questions, after which, they either will or will not be selected to actually serve on the jury for that particular trial.
  7. If not selected for a trial, the juror returns to the lounge. If courts are still calling jurors, he or she might be called again.
  8. A big red digital counter on the wall counts down from twelve as the courts make their calls. When the counter hits zero, we're done for the day.
We waited some more. The first call came around 9:30—Court L needed fifty jurors. They read the names and I was number eight. We were shuttled upstairs in the elevator, ten by ten, reassembled in numeric order, led into the courtroom, and seated in the audience chairs, again in exact numeric order. (As we were waiting to enter the courtroom, I was reminded what a small town our city is: I recognized about half of the lawyer-folk ambling up and down the hall in their crisp suits.)

The judge welcomed us, briefly explained how he intended to run the show and the nature of the case—possession of marijuana with intent to distribute—and introduced the various parties:
The DAs: Young professional women. The lead prosecutor was a Ms. Cannizzaro. (Leon's daughter, perhaps?)

The defense attorney: Older than the prosecutorial whippersnappers, slender, and birdish.

The defendant: Dressed in brand new clothes, looking nervous.
Our pool of fifty jurors was further subdivided. The judge called up an initial subset of twenty to the jurors box for the first round of selection, one by one in numerical order: one through seven, then skipping me, then nine through twenty. As the first three rows of jurors filed to the box and I was left sitting by my lonesome, I got decidedly paranoid: Why aren't they choosing me? Have I somehow already been blackballed before the proceedings even started? When the judge reached the end of the list, he looked up and got momentarily flustered, "...only nineteen. I'm missing..." He scanned the room, spotted me, confirmed that I had been inadvertently skipped, and then I too was called to the box (forcing jurors nine through twenty to all scoot down a seat).

The questioning was a strange mix of public and personal, conducted in a room full of sixty-ish people, but the prosecutor and defense attorney each made a point of singling out jurors by name ("Mr. _______", "Ms. _______"), discreetly glancing at their seating chart cheat-sheets:
  • "Ms. _______, if I place my pen on the table am I in actual or constructive possession of it?" (Following a brief tutorial on the distinction between the two.)
  • "I'm not a mind reader, am I? How can I establish intent to distribute? Mr. _______, what do you think?" (Followed by a lengthy analogy: At a Saints game, how can one tell that the beer vendor intends to sell the beer in his possession and not merely drink it all himself?)
  • "Why would he have twenty beers all for himself? I mean, for one thing, they're gonna get warm, right? Why not just buy them one at a time? I'm not aware of any beer drought, are you?" (This got a laugh.)
  • How do you decide if testimony is credible?
  • "Does anyone here believe marijuana should be legalized?"
  • "If someone finds cocaine in my bag, and I say that 'That's just fish bait, 'cause you know, the fish really love that stuff,' is that credible testimony?" (This analogy got a little jumbled with the questioner finding herself in a cocaine-qua-recreational-drug vs. cocaine-qua-fish-bait tangle that I don't think she'd really intended.)
  • Is it possible for a police officer to lie?
  • If a defendant doesn't testify, is that a sign of guilt?
  • If the defendant does testify, is that a sign of innocence?
  • If a defendant acts nervous, is that a sign of guilt?
  • How do you rule if you think the defendant is guilty but you kind of aren't quite sure?
  • et cetera, et cetera
During the questioning, the other thirty jurors sat in the audience, still in order, watching the proceedings with expressions of mild curiosity/boredom. The sherriff's deputies milled around the room with looks of total boredom. We answered diligently. When the questioning was over, the various parties retreated into various corners and backrooms, broke and regrouped, conferred, whispered, huddled intently over their lists, making notes.

And then finally, after a good long while, the court reconvened. The judge took his seat, announced that six jurors had been selected, read off the names, of which I was not one, and sent the rest of us on our way. (I'm pretty sure my answers got me pegged early on as a patsy for the defense**** and earned a big strikethrough on the prosecutorial list.)

Back to the jurors lounge. The big red counter read zero. Our civic duty had been served for the day. And off we went, into the sweltering early-afternoon heat, back to our respective lives.

Monday: Round 2.

* Say that twelve times (and one alternate time) fast.

** I love that expression.

*** How does that work? What sort of arrangements are made for a blind juror if there is visual evidence?

**** Not that I actually am a patsy for the defense, but I would be inclined to make the prosecutor do some work for a guilty verdict (which, as I understand the law, is more or less as it should be).