Re: I May Just Be Defensive Because It Takes Me An Hour And A Half To Order A Sandwich

1

It's odd that the article starts out by talking about Dirty Dancing. Isn't the entire premise of that movie that the mousy little girl has to grow up, learn to dance, and sex it up before Patrick Swayze will fall for her?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:13 PM
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Seems like this is an idea whose time has come. Or, at least, it got written up separately in another newspaper.


Posted by: Pineapple | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:24 PM
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When my son was dabbling in theater in HS, almost all of it 50s musicals, they all seemed to be about person A trying to convince person B to lighten up a little, have some fun, and then get married. In most cases B was the guy, but once B was a Salvation Army lady.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:28 PM
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Our Girl Friday is an interesting case, because in the first adaption of the play it's based on - The Front Page - Hildy Johnson is a man and it's more comedy than romantic comedy.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:30 PM
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I don't recall Sky Masterson's intentions as being quite so honorable.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:31 PM
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The best romantic comedies, in terms of women's power and such, come from the 30s and 40s.

Rosalind Russell may have been "just" "his girl Friday" and such, but that dame knew how to bring Cary Grant to his knees, let's face it. And, you know, she just wore her hat tilted at a rakish angle just so, and then copped a certain attitude. Oh, also she had wit and humour and so on, I'll admit, but the idea that she'd have to contort her body through yet another Pilates move à la Jennifer Aniston or anything like that, just in order to land her man, would have been seen as quite laughable at the time. It's been downhill since the late 40s, I believe, and today's romantic heroines, no matter how gorgeously fabulous, or whatever, are altogether too dependent upon a fratbboy ideal that Hollywood thinks of as revenue-positive, but which must be seen as a net loss for women, I'm pretty sure.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:37 PM
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the mousy little girl has to grow up, learn to dance, and sex it up before Patrick Swayze will fall for her?

It's been a (long) while since I saw this, but isn't there also the implication that he knows that girl is there, lurking? And that the transformation is essentially no more complex than Cinderella's fairy-godmother make-over, as opposed to a deep character change or a much larger cosmetic fix beyond a new dress?

Then again, I think that the author does ignore the fact that the Cinderella-transformation aspect of romantic comedies has been around for a long time...


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:42 PM
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I always figured Sleepless in Seattle was about the screaming, empty, universal blackness of existence.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:47 PM
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I have to say that I haven't taken romantic comedies seriously for the entire time I've been born, and haven't undertaken a study of those made prior to that time, though I realize some have. If there's a claim afoot that they used to be less than annoying, well, alright, but I actually have a hard time believing they weren't still in service of, how you say, teh patriarchy.

I haven't read the linked article, no.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:47 PM
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bring Cary Grant to his knees

Considering Cary Grant wants to keep her in the city and at the paper, badgers her, pulls various tricks to stall her, and then in the end they decide to remarry, I'm not sure I see this. She holds her own in every conversation, but he basically gets everything he wants, and she comes to the conclusion that she actually wants the same things, after first thinking she doesn't.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:48 PM
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That's Sleepless in Arkham, Sifu.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:53 PM
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Walter: "You've got an old fashioned idea divorce is something that lasts forever, 'til death do us part.' Why divorce doesn't mean anything nowadays, Hildy, just a few words mumbled over you by a judge."

So great. So slyly ironic and potentially subversive. So not yet surpassed, no, not by a long shot, despite subsequent real improvements in film quality and camera angles.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:53 PM
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the entire time I've been born,

That must have been some labor.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:53 PM
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Oops! Sorry. 12 was me.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:56 PM
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13: Yeah, sorry. Entire time I've been alive. I'm grumpy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:57 PM
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His Girl Friday is probably the only Cary Grant movie I've seen where I didn't find him unbelievably annoying.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:57 PM
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15: that's a long time to be grumpy!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 9:58 PM
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(But I still think Adolphe Menjou is a much better Walter Burns, considered as a newspaperman. Menjou would not have been a good romantic lead.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:02 PM
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haven't undertaken a study of those made prior to that time, though I realize some have.

Right now, I have www.amazon.com/Pursuits-Happiness-Hollywood-Remarriage-Harvard/dp/067473906X">such a study waiting for me on hold at the library.


Posted by:
Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:03 PM
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10 also happens in The Philadelphia Story, more or less. But even if the protagonists don't wield actual power over those to whom they are the inamoratae, at least they aren't fawning ninnies, and the climaces of the movies come when they realize that what they want is to be with so-and-so rather than so-and-so—it's self-discovery and they remain otherwise as they are, except undeceived on precisely the point of who they are, not a self-transformation for the sake of another.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:03 PM
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Wrongshore is discussing Cavell's Pursuits of Happiness, which I should read.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:04 PM
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17: No kidding. Luckily, it's a misunderstanding.

I actually don't know what to make of that article.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:04 PM
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21: read, or live?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:06 PM
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11: Obscene angles in your attic inducing visions of the Blind Idiot God? You can move to better digs. Seeing a Meg Ryan movie? That'll induce an existential horror which only suicide can cure.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:06 PM
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Oh my, that didn't work very well at all. Link.

Thus, these women have to follow the logical course of main characters--learn, change, grow--alone. The men? They're just fine as is.

The equal and exact opposite hold for the Apatow stable of romantic comedies. In Knocked Up, the woman is fixed and perfect. She could use some loosening up, but she represents adult civilization. The man's journey is the thing.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:06 PM
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19, 21: Hm. I've read good portions of it, but a while ago. Cavell's certainly not going to tell you that back in the old days, the laydeez weren't having to conform to the desires of the men. Actually that's not his idiom. Wrongshore, you should absolutely read it!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:07 PM
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25 makes an excellent point.

Conclusion: people LIKE seeing people like themselves succeed in improving themselves in order to reach a goal. Now the question is, is what happens in these movies really "improving" themselves.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:08 PM
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I hate to miss a romantic comedy thread. I'll be back after dinner, unless there's romantic comedy.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:10 PM
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20: Oh, certainly the characters are all better than in most of the romantic comedies today. I don't know about The Philadelphia Story, which I still need to see, but His Girl Friday is not a case of both characters coming to realize they love each other. One of them knows what he wants, never wavers, never doubts, and never realizes that he wants to be with so-and-so instead of someone else because there isn't one and never was.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:12 PM
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In The Philadelphia Story, at least, much is made of the fact that eventual husband (can't remember his name) has already gone through a developmental arc before the action of the movie proper.

If anyone learns, changes and grows in that movie, it's Jimmy Stewart's character, who learns that the rich are ok after all.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:13 PM
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It's been a (long) while since I saw this, but isn't there also the implication that he knows that girl is there, lurking?

Yes, exactly. Patrick Swayze is the man who can see the Woman inside the Little Girl. He doesn't change; she does. And the changes are not merely cosmetic -- she learns how to be sexual, how to be assertive, how to be grown-up, etc.

Bah. Romantic comedies have always been silly. In arguably one of the most beloved of them all, It Happened One Night (ca. 1930), Claudette Colbert is a spoiled, princessy heiress who gets herself totally schooled by Clark Gable.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:13 PM
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32

I didn't mean to suggest that both leads in His Girl Friday came to these realizations—"the protagonists" means "the women in these movies", not "both leads in any given of these movies".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:14 PM
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33

Oh, certainly the characters are all better than in most of the romantic comedies today.

And better than most of the romantic comedies back then, too.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:14 PM
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34

The Capra romantic comedies I've seen fit the mutual realization pattern better, I think. And in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, not usually thought of as a romantic comedy, as far as I know, Jean Arthur basically teaches Jimmy Stewart everything he need to survive in Washington.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:15 PM
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Romantic comedies have always been silly.

The hell you say!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:15 PM
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36

What do we make of Roman Holiday in this context? Snooty princess Audrey Hepburn learns to let her hair down/get cut, but also Gregory Peck gives her back the photos, something that, at the beginning of the movie, seems not quite his style.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:16 PM
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The scene in It Happened One Night where they suddenly pretend to play a bickering couple of longstanding coupledom and then when left alone again go back to being still strangers getting to know each other makes the whole movie worthwhile.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:17 PM
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Oh, certainly the characters are all better than in most of the romantic comedies today.

Again, bah! Sure, in Philadelphia Story, or Sullivan's Travels, or The Devil and Miss Jones, the characters are better. But these are the movies that have survived the decades. Most old movies are totally crap! Even some of the so-called classics -- The Lady Eve, Meet John Doe, Ball of Fire -- are populated by ninnies!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:20 PM
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39

Yes, jms! Let your hatred—and your inclination to say "bah!"—grow!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:21 PM
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40

And the changes are not merely cosmetic -- she learns how to be sexual, how to be assertive, how to be grown-up, etc.

Hmm. I am not necessarily convinced that that is a bad thing; in the course of our first love affair don't we also mature into some semblance of an adult? I see such a maturation of a character to be something different than what I think the author of the article is upset about, which is a change in a radical direction, different from where the character would have initially headed on their own without the prompt of a man to change for.

Of course, I do not actually want to set about condoning the sexual politics of Dirty Dancing since I'm sure that over all they're awful.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:21 PM
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Quite a few 30s movies are now up at the Internet Archive, by the way. The quality isn't always great, especially for movies that don't seem to have remained popular, but in some cases it might be about as good as you can find until someone decides to restore them.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:22 PM
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38: Ooh, I totally agree.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:22 PM
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43

Panic in the Streets!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:24 PM
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42: You didn't agree when I said it in #33.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:24 PM
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33, 38: Clearly I should have put in the caveat saying what you're saying into the comment you're replying to.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:24 PM
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46

SEX MADNESS!!!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:25 PM
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47

40: Parenthetical, I haven't seen a romantic comedy since sometime in the 90s, but judging from the article itself, I'm inclined to disagree. In Dirty Dancing, Baby needs to grow up, sure, but it takes Johnny to teach her. It sounds like Shopaholic and He's Just Not That In To You similarly deal with changes that are positive and could be considered "growth" -- learning to be independent, learning not to shop compulsively -- but the author nonetheless takes issue with the fact that the woman has to change in order to get her man.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:26 PM
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My favorite old comedy might be "The Great McGinty". Largely because one of the major characters both looks and sounds exactly like Boris Badenov, such that it's obvious where Boris Badenov came from. I need to see more Akim Tameroff movies, to see if he acts like that all the time or if it was just that character.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:27 PM
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44: Ooh, I totally agree with 33.

(I've got poor reading comprehension skills at the moment - I need to stop multitasking).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:27 PM
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I also agree with 33!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:28 PM
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I thought that Rushmore was decent as far as romantic comedies go.

Just as in old-fashioned comedies, at the end, both a young couple and an old couple have gotten together!

Similarly, I enjoyed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:29 PM
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jms is on fire, here. Surely commenting like this'll convince Rock Hudson to give her back her job at the MacGuffin factory!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:29 PM
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53

The Great McGinty has some great voter fraud in it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:29 PM
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In this thread we see that the women have to develop better reading skills, and to acknowledge their debts more responsibly, in order to be accepted by the haughty and mysterious Ned.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:30 PM
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Most movies at all times are crap, though. It's just how it is.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:30 PM
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47: I haven't seen any of the movies she directly comments on, but I have definitely seen some of the other semi-popular romantic-comedies of recent years, and read far too many crappy romance novels in times of stress. But I think that there is something to it; perhaps Dirty Dancing isn't the right example of one of the older styles, or it is one of the earlier iterations of this phenomenon and lacks some of the language. Many contemporary rom-coms and romance novels cloak such change in terms of self-esteem and transforming oneself in a much more obvious way than I remember from that film (which I haven't seen since I was like, 8). In other words, many of them read/view directly like a self-help manual. (And isn't He's Just Not That Into You an actual dating guide?)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:33 PM
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Well I'll be.

(And isn't He's Just Not That Into You an actual dating guide?)

Something of the sort.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:34 PM
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Similarly, I enjoyed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I'm worried, because I just realized that film might have been the last time I was really excited about a movie. Blah.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:36 PM
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M!

I was just recently instructed to view some Lorre.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:37 PM
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Why does that worry you, Paren?

You were excited about it beforehand, but let down in the viewing?

It reveals something about the state of cinema?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:38 PM
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Wall-E was a pretty great romantic comedy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:39 PM
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Oh wait, I have seen more recent romantic comedies. Like High School Musical! Cute girl, cute boy,* they meet, they sing, they fall in love. No learning, no change, no growth.

I mean, you can cherrypick your examples to show your point, but I think it takes more than a couple crappy movies to constitute evidence of social change, or social trend, or anything else for that matter.

*Zack Elfron is going to look like a cross between Barry Manilow and David Gest in a few years, poor kid.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:41 PM
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There's a new subtitled version of M now. I guess there was profanity in it, but that couldn't be transcribed in earlier versions. I don't think the Internet Archive has Mad Love; that might be Lorre at his most insane.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:41 PM
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I think it takes more than a couple crappy movies to constitute evidence of social change, or social trend, or anything else for that matter.

You'll never make it in trend journalism.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:42 PM
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60: It worries me because I think grad school has robbed me of my love for movies of all kinds. I haven't even seen a film this year! (I worked at a movie theater for a very, very long time, so it's a dramatic shift).

I mean, you can cherrypick your examples to show your point, but I think it takes more than a couple crappy movies to constitute evidence of social change, or social trend, or anything else for that matter.

True, true.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:43 PM
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I haven't even seen a film this year!

If you mean in the theater, neither have I. Want to go see one?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:44 PM
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Wall-E was a pretty great romantic comedy.

"[R]omantic" in the same way that Say Anything and Addicted to Love were "romantic", I guess. (I.e., man acts like complete psycho/stalker but woman reacts differently than she would in real life.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:44 PM
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Now A Life Less Ordinary, that was a pretty great romantic comedy.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:46 PM
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For their date, Eb and Parenthetical should watch "The Class" ("Entre les murs"). I highly recommend. It's very té.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:46 PM
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66: What's out? This is how far I've fallen. Oh, oh, there's always Watchmen.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:47 PM
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70: You could go see Waltz with Bashir. Not sure how much longer it's going to be playing though.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:49 PM
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I mean, you can cherrypick your examples to show your point, but I think it takes more than a couple crappy movies to constitute evidence of social change, or social trend, or anything else for that matter.

This is definitely true and it's what makes contemporary comparisons to the past like this so questionable. You don't know what will last from today, and you're probably not aware of everything that was crap in the past. But I do think a broad comparison of movies - not just romantic comedies - from the 30s with movies from, say, the 50s, would show reasonably clear differences, particularly with respect to domestic life and gender relations. Part of that might simply have been the result of the production code.

Clearly what's needed is quantification and confidence intervals.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:49 PM
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Oh, oh, there's always Watchmen.

A fascinating deconstruction of the RomCom if ever there was one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:49 PM
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You could always watch Two-Lane Blacktop next week at the Red Vic, or Down by Law this week. Gomorrah is supposed to be good and other than that I have no idea what's current. Coraline is still playing, I guess.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:49 PM
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What's out?

I wouldn't know.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:50 PM
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(I.e., man acts like complete psycho/stalker but woman reacts differently than she would in real life.)

How would the laser wielding robot on the abandoned, post-apocalyptic planet react in real life?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:51 PM
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I'm pretty excited about re-watching La Belle Noiseuse, which I have recently procured. Great movie, as I recall; about three hours of Emmanuelle Béart naked, and an hour or so of people talking about one thing or another. Probably not romantic comedy-type stuff, but I don't remember that part so well.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:51 PM
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Down by Law is good. Especially if we all want ice cream.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:51 PM
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Oh yeah, Gomorrah did look interesting. A real Mafia film.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:52 PM
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Added to 79: video. I should have looked to see if it was there before posting.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:52 PM
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What is true is that there's far too little snappy dialogue in movies these days, and when there is some, as in Juno, everyone complains that it's unrealistic. What—like Tony Curtis talked the way he did in The Sweet Smell of Success in real life? Hell yes it's unrealistic! What's wrong with that? As Josh noted, no one (or very few, and they're dead) complains about the patent unrealism of the interactions in romcoms generally. Sure, we all talk like incompetents these days, but it is, thankfully, the province of art not to be beholden to such drab facts.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:52 PM
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Especially if we all want ice cream.

Ooh, I just made ice cream for the first time yesterday (Guinness, to go with the chocolate-stout cake). Yum!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:53 PM
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I'm sorry to have made your comment reference the wrong other comment, eb.

I've only seen one theatrical release this year, Synecdoche, New York. It was depressing and there were obnoxious fellow audients.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:54 PM
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Ooh, I just made ice cream for the first time yesterday (Guinness, to go with the chocolate-stout cake).

!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:54 PM
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I wouldn't describe my problem with the dialogue in Juno that it was unrealistically snappy, per se. More that it seemed like an embarrassing sort of wish-fulfillment on the part of the director. Also, I thought the movie was, like, stupid, and whatever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:56 PM
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84: there was a ! moment when I let the molasses-Guinness mixture boil over due to distraction ... scorched molasses, not so great.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:56 PM
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scorched molasses, not so great.

At least it wasn't covering you, your loved ones, and your home to a depth of six to ten feet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:57 PM
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Is Gomorrah based on the book of the same title by the journalist in hiding? That sounds interesting.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:57 PM
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87: Did someone mention an urban disaster?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:58 PM
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The dialogue in Juno wasn't snappy in the old-fashioned way, like back-and-forth patter. It was toxicly influenced by the cringe/awkwardness school of comedy. One character says something snappy, and then the characters look at each other like "whoa, that was snappy. I can't believe you said that. There is no appropriate response." And then they regroup, and the other character says something snappy. It's all very bleak.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:59 PM
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88: so it is, except the book doesn't have quite the same title (no terminal "h").

Of course your problem with the dialogue, Sifu, is not what I was talking about, for your opinions are always sophisticated and well-reasoned, something I easily acknowledge even when I disagree.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 10:59 PM
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Speaking of urban disaster, what would have happened if they hadn't rebuilt Boston in 1919? Huh, Tweety? Got an answer for that one?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:00 PM
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The dialogue in Juno wasn't snappy in the old-fashioned way, like back-and-forth patter.

In the opening scenes at the convenience store it is.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:00 PM
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31: Bah.

Exactly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:00 PM
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At least it wasn't covering you, your loved ones, and your home to a depth of six to ten feet.

I can now definitively say that the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 did not smell great.

Is Gomorrah based on the book of the same title by the journalist in hiding?

I think so, yes.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:00 PM
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A pox on my slow server, as I am multiply pawned.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:01 PM
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93: But even that scene involved one of the modern masters of unbearable awkwardness, Rainn Wilson.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:01 PM
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87: I just told my daughters about that, and they're fascinated, though perhaps a little disappointed that, no, I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:02 PM
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89: next time you're in Boston maybe I can show you the many little details about the site that I've noticed. You really can notice the traces of it still, if you know what you're looking for.

91.2: can I just say how much I love this "every day is backwards day" thing?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:02 PM
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Multiple pawnage is an unfortunately increasingly common form of harrassment.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:03 PM
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Wait, are Parenthetical and eb in the same place? Because if they are, I volunteer to chaperone those crazy kids. (I haven't seen a movie in the theater since Dark Knight. And before that it was Match Point, which was as close to a romantic comedy as I'll ever get. Well, I did really love Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:04 PM
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92: actually, if you look at the site of the disaster, as I proposed in 99, you can see that the affected area didn't get rebuilt for at least a couple of decades, making for an entirely unexpected, and very pleasant, harbor-front park (featuring giant, well-maintained public pool!) in the middle of what is otherwise a very old, very dense neighborhood.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:05 PM
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Parenthetical and eb are not in the same place. Parenthetical is just doing this to rouse my powerful jealousy.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:05 PM
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Bextile: Fuck a bunch of Juno, Brooke should be happy I even deigned to put in it italics. That wasn't snappy dialogue. It was marketing-speak pabulum. Adorno, Bernays, fucking Walter Benjamin: You're being sold a bastardized version of your culture at a premium to distract you from how fucked your life is. Ferchrissake: Live a little!

Do they owe us a living?

'COURSE THEY FUCKING DO!!!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:06 PM
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Wait, are Parenthetical and eb in the same place?

No, but who's keeping track?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:06 PM
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I was wondering why I kept reading this thread, since it's about movies, but then it turned to urban disasters and all was well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:06 PM
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Drunk minneapolitan is pretty darn great.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:06 PM
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I am, evidently.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:06 PM
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99: Are you offering to show my your molasses etchings? Because I'm married, you cad. I mean, sure, romance is in the air, but sheesh, have some respect for Blume.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:07 PM
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101: I could be wrong, but I think eb and I are on opposite ends of the country. But in the magical world where we can all see movies together, you can be our chaperon. (I think the last film I saw in the theater was Dark Knight too. We all need to get out more, apparently).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:07 PM
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Merde.

Parenthetical is just doing this to rouse my powerful jealousy.

More to rouse Di's, but you can have cake and ice cream if it helps soothe any hurt feelings.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:09 PM
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And now I should probably go to sleep. I'm tired of this time zone.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:09 PM
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We all need to get out more, apparently

Not really, no.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:10 PM
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Cake and ice cream sound delightful.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:10 PM
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109: oh, I'm sorry, I must have mistaken you for a historian interested in the evolving understanding of public use w/r/t urban waterfronts.

Oh, snap!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:11 PM
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Oh, and I did not see The Dark Knight in the theater. I probably would have enjoyed it some if I had.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:11 PM
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Forgive me for the nonsense that is 109. I'm still recovering from our graduate student recruiting weekend* -- no teo, no eb, no fun at all -- and apparently haven't yet caught up on my sleep. So now, to bed.

* Party planner, I learned, is not in my skill set.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:12 PM
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Now Sifu endorses the public use of waterfronts? The licentiousness around here is really too much.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:13 PM
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And now I should probably go to sleep.

Me too. I have to, like, work and stuff tomorrow. But first, I'm going to jump on the taunting-ari bandwagon. Ross Douthat: totally charming.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:13 PM
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Here I thought it was just snappy banter.

What went wrong with the grad student party? Green beer turned out to be the wrong choice?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:13 PM
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God, you people with your to-bed-going.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:14 PM
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117: Yep, clearly, no need to get out at all. Sounds more like a need to stay in.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:14 PM
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On the Waterfront didn't have enough to do with waterfronts. It would have been classier if it had.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:14 PM
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115: Fine, fine, deprive me of sleep, whippersnapper. In other words, I'll bite: so you're suggesting that NOLA should be glad of Katrina, because the Lower Nine and New Orleans East can now become lovely parks? Sensitive, that's what your are. Not to mention a Jane Jacobs quality urban visionary.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:14 PM
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Here's the thing: The best minds of your generation are being paid a pittance to bring you coffee and pastries, the reins of power are in the hands of idiots, nobody reads Tolstoy, to say nothing of Isaac Babel. All the animals come out at night: giraffes, marmosets, octopi -- someday a real rain will come and wash all the securities analysts off the streets. Have you ever gone down to the stacks to look at the old Newsweeks from the 1970s? Do it and tell me there's a dime's worth of differance from today. Sure, they had Zbiegniew Brzyniski writing 1200-word Op-Eds, but the ads for liquor and cars and la Dolce Vida are exactly the same.

It's the same game, every Sunday, the same game.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:15 PM
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Oh, that's right. Green beer day. Ick. If I were to drink something green today, it would be absinthe, just like on the old sod.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:15 PM
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Even some of the so-called classics -- The Lady Eve, Meet John Doe, Ball of Fire -- are populated by ninnies!

Yes! Drives me slightly nuts to watch that sort of thing. So much talent on display, and yet. It seems like such a loss that an actress as compelling as Barbara Stanwyck couldn't have had more truly great film roles in her life.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:15 PM
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Actually, my pittance doesn't require me to bring anyone coffee or pastries.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:16 PM
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Ross Douthat: totally charming.

Just because he fucked you even after your breast spilled out of your pajamas doesn't make him a good guy, teo.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:17 PM
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129: So modest, you are.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:17 PM
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I actually like most of Meet John Doe. Horrible ending. Not sure if most people think of it even as a so-called classic, rather than that other Capra film in which Christmas is important.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:18 PM
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Um, 128. Though I'm trying to figure out a reading where that works still.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:18 PM
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This bullshit of you lot all going to bed just as I get the first breathing room all day will not do. But that's OK, I'll pour another glass of wine and contemplate the perfection that is 125.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:18 PM
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And have I mentioned, ari, that I'm going to go to that Canadian school (it's a matter of filling out forms now)? Finally an escape from Obama's plans for wealth destruction.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:20 PM
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I'm just play-acting as a way of increasing my confidence now that I'm actually supposed to start writing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:20 PM
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I should go to bed, but I woke up at noon today, after working until 3 in the morning. And I just finished my work for today. I really should figure out a way to readjust to normal hours.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:21 PM
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135: An excellent strategy. I've been trying the same thing for awhile now.

really should figure out a way to readjust to normal hours.

DST still bothering you? I have yet to manage to refind a normal sleeping pattern.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:23 PM
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DST is still bothering me and I'm not even on it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:24 PM
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How would the laser wielding robot on the abandoned, post-apocalyptic planet react in real life?

You tell me! You're the one here who's most familiar with laser-wielding robots, and if your reaction to the story about Braddock, PA was any guide you've got the abandoned post-apocalyptic side covered too.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:24 PM
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132: I'm afraid that I can't engage you directly, for I fear that you're actually a graduate student I know.

134: That's great news. You and paranthetical will be on the same coast at long last. And I can recommend some excellent movie theaters in what will be your city of residence. Honestly, I'm terribly jealous (not of your burgeoning romance with paranthetical -- though I wish you both well -- but of your new digs).

136: The time change? Because if so, I'm in the same boat. But my kids still wake me between 6 and 7, so I'm running on fumes. Not to mention the molasses fiasco during grad recruiting. What a disaster.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:26 PM
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140 was me. I'm so tired I can't remember my own name.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:28 PM
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Partly the time change, partly that this week is spring break at my place of employment so my schedule is pretty empty and, not having any real reason to be on campus at any given time, I shifted into nocturnal working-at-home mode.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:28 PM
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It occurs to me that I could continue working by calling my collaborator who is in Tokyo this week. But he would know it's 1:30 AM here, and then he would think I'm weird.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:30 PM
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140: Don't worry, ari.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:31 PM
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Just because he fucked you even after your breast spilled out of your pajamas doesn't make him a good guy, teo.

Sure it does. You just don't understand the sophisticated religious conservative worldview and mores.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:32 PM
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||
Ari, when you're wider awake we have to compare rumors about whether your former provost is on the short list to be your next chancellor.
|| >


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:32 PM
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The Laser-Wielding Robot sat down at the post-apocalyptic bar and ordered a shot of 151, straight up. Behind him, the jukebox started playing, You Were Always On My Mind, the Pet Shop Boys version. As the night closed in, stragglers and refugees from the other, fancier, post-apocalyptic bars drifted in. One of them offered to trade a sip of his Guinness-and-whiskey for a few tokes off a joint, but the Laser-Wielding Robot wasn't holding that night. "Sorry man," he said, "I'd help you out if I could." The fire in the patio brazier burned brighter, as it was fed with stray bits of grass and broken up pieces of Jameson crates. The distinctive aroma of marijuana drifted over, but every time he looked around, the Laser-Wielding Robot was unable to see anyone smoking the prohibited substance.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:32 PM
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Wait, molasses fiasco for ari? I thought it was Parenthetical who had a molasses problem.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:33 PM
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148: It was me....but apparently I am not the only one with molasses trouble!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:34 PM
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I can't tell if 144 means I shouldn't worry because I don't actually know paranthetical, or if I shouldn't worry because who cares?

And I can't tell what 146 means at all. But it got my attention.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:35 PM
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Drunk minneapolitan is pretty darn great.

I thought minneapolitan's drunk persona was "John Emerson".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:36 PM
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so you're suggesting that NOLA should be glad of Katrina, because the Lower Nine and New Orleans East can now become lovely parks? Sensitive, that's what your are. Not to mention a Jane Jacobs quality urban visionary.

Hah! I hadn't thought of that way, but hm... actually, the area that was destroyed was primarily industrial, and the fact that it had to be cleared meant it was available for redevelopment about 20 years before the rest of the lingering industrial waterfront, which meant that the locals (who wanted a public park) got there before the yuppies (who would have wanted, as ever, condos). The rest of the waterfront, which kept its industrial buildings, has been redeveloped as luxury condos.

It'll all be underwater soon enough.

DST still bothering you? I have yet to manage to refind a normal sleeping pattern.

Dude! I know, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:37 PM
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I'm going to bed too. But for all you East Coasters, who may find this hours before I get up: discuss. Wow, I really feel sorry for the girl.


Posted by: belle lettre | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:39 PM
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minneapolitan above sounds like true minneapolitan and not Emerson-minneapolitan, to me.

I'm really not sure what the best minds of my generation are doing. One person I would have thought unambiguously deserving of that label went to work on Wall Street, which I think calls greatness into question.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:39 PM
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Being unable to sleep, I've decided drinking is a good substitute.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:40 PM
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150.2: Nothing wild. Your institution is reportedly in the market for a new chancellor, your former provost is now chancellor at State U here, and the rumor mill in this gossipy town is convinced that she's a candidate to go back.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:40 PM
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Augh. I meant ">this link.


Posted by:
belle lettre | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:41 PM
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I got it, bl.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:42 PM
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What's up with the inability to hyperlink?!

Oh well, perhaps the full disclosure URL would be better anyhow, since it's NSFW:

http://ask.metafilter.com/116922/Anal-sex-not-so-great-actually


Posted by: belle lettre | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:42 PM
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154: which I think calls greatness into question.

I hate it when longstanding concepts get trashed merely through the thoughtless choices of one person.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:42 PM
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apo is on top of the anal sex.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:43 PM
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Now I really want to know what belle lettre wanted to link to.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:43 PM
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Hate, hate, hate my crappy wireless.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:44 PM
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What's to discuss?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:44 PM
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Thanks, Apo. I found the whole discussion really interesting w/r/t issues of consent and trust. And the thread was wildly split on rape vs. not rape.


Posted by: belle lettre | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:45 PM
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Some are born great, some achieve greatness, others' choices call the very concept of greatness into question.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:45 PM
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The great also make mistakes, and some of them make so many you're tempted to think they aren't great after all.


Posted by: Georg Lichtenberg | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:46 PM
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I would deconstruct the concept of greatness, except that I've been given to understand that "deconstruct" is a technical term and can only be exercised by the select.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:47 PM
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168: Certainly I am not allowed to use it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:47 PM
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166: That would have been a great comment, eb, but now I'm at a loss for words.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:48 PM
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And I can recommend some excellent movie theaters in what will be your city of residence.

And as a non-history student, I might actually go to them.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:48 PM
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Yeah, you need, like, a wrecking ball and stuff. Plus all the licenses and everything.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:50 PM
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Those who do not study non-history are condemned to repeat it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:50 PM
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I always figured Sleepless in Seattle was about the screaming, empty, universal blackness of existence.

This is why underneath it all I love Sifu. It's funny because it's true.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:50 PM
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I would deconstruct the concept of "molasses", except that I've been informed that "molasses" is a technical concept, and therefore opaque with regard to the methodologies of post-structual analysis.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:50 PM
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Molasses, in sufficient quantity, is very useful for deconstruction.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:50 PM
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||

A much more light-hearted article. I cannot fathom hiking nude in the snow.

|>


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:51 PM
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I'm none too fond of my own wireless.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:51 PM
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Any quantity of molasses sufficiently large is indistinguishable from deconstruction.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:52 PM
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r


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:52 PM
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I have not read any of the comments to the Metafilter post, but I will opine that if you are looking for serious advice you could do better than choosing "whatwhatinthebutt00@gmail.com" as your throwaway e-mail address.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:53 PM
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Nude hiking in the snow? That's... disturbing. Is it possible to simultaneously get frostbite and sunburn?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:54 PM
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181: I noticed that too. It even, irrationally, made me doubt the depth of her feelings of violation.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:54 PM
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182: And think of the wind burn/chafing!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:55 PM
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I am having trouble stopping hiccupping, which suggests to me that it is time for bed, especially since I have things to present at a meeting tomorrrow.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:55 PM
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60 kinds of cheese! Coarse, spicy sausage!

They're still wearing shoes and socks, so I scorn the hikers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:55 PM
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And think of the wind burn/chafing!

But I don't want to think of that!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:55 PM
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I saw the best loft opportunities of a future generation destroyed by molasses.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:56 PM
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182: with the reflections off the snow, too. Ow. Your perineum'd all be like "noooooooooo!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:56 PM
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The only thing in this world or out of it that is good without qualification is good molasses.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:58 PM
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Why is it that there are no more than a dozen specific experiences that one tends to flash back to, regardless of their applicability to one's current condition? For instance: I can't help but create some kind of obscure mental parallel between tonight and a day when we were allowed to purchase ice cream sandwiches during 6th grade. Obscure, isn't it?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:58 PM
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This would be an appropriate time to rant about how my plans to go to Switzerland in August were thwarted by a ridiculous decision to move a deadline up by two months with no warning, but I've already done that elsewhere on the internet.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:58 PM
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185: I have a worse situation. I bought a lot of cheap pot recently, and made brownies with some of it. Then I was hungry tonight and nibbled just a bit, just because they are delicious and looked so good, thinking they weren't very potent, not intending anything serious. Work will be interesting tomorrow if I'm still in the same state as I've been in for the last three and half hours. A little too interesting. I feel like a anti-drug commercial now.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 03-17-09 11:59 PM
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192: Now you can go when there's snow, and participate in this new fad. Just be sure to put the sunscreen everywhere.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:00 AM
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That article could have done a much better job of explaining several things. For instance, is this an issue throughout the Swiss Alps, or only in Appenzell? And what, exactly, is in the Swiss constitution that makes it impossible to ban nude hiking?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:00 AM
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Okay, so, President Washington? That's seriously the wussiest presidentiality ever.

"Oh god, I had to go in to work in less than six hours, and I was high... high on pot!"

Unless you're a transplant surgeon, I guess, in which case I feel for you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:02 AM
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Since when did "oh noes! sunburn!" replace "titties! hooray!" as the canonical response to public nudity?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:03 AM
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Caption reads: "Lack of sunscreen while backcountry skiing in spring leads to mother of all sunburns."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:03 AM
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Because there's snow involved? And the main picture featured men, which instead just made me think about the perils of cold, rather than titties hooray!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:04 AM
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193: I know where you're coming from. Get some sleep and a long hot shower tomorrow morning and you should be cool. Frankly, my situation is not that bad. I could go to this meeting tomorrow 3 sheets to the wind and no one would make a big deal out of it. Might even gain me a few punk rock points.
Time for bed. I mean it this time.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:05 AM
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195: It is a good question. Swiss cantons have an unusually large amount of autonomy, don't they? (I don't actually know anything about the government in Switzerland, except that there is no head of state.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:05 AM
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"Titties! Hooray!" is only canonical when the nudity is female.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:05 AM
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197: did you look at the article? No titties in evidence. "Skinny ass sunburned hippie dude butt, hooray!" is non-canonical.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:05 AM
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Weird. Quite a specific pwn-vector there.

I'm not exactly ashamed to say that I googled "sunburned perineum", but I am regretful, because it led to me looking at this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:07 AM
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Then I was hungry tonight and nibbled just a bit

Forgive me
they were delicious
so chocolately
and, uh,...I forget


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:08 AM
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204.2: Wow.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:08 AM
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Dammit, self, why do you clikc on links that the linker explicitly regrets having clicked on?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:08 AM
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-l


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:09 AM
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On the other hand, I'm grateful it wasn't an image of a sunburned perineum.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:09 AM
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207: Just tell yourself: "It's only a Fremen stillsuit, it's only a Fremen stillsuit" and you'll be fine.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:10 AM
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200: the issue is more not being able to sleep, I'm flying. I think it will settle down inside of an hour, though. It bodes well for fun this weekend though...and I should have known they were potent from the initial sampling, which was epic. I thought it might have been other things that night, though.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:10 AM
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No way am I clicking on that, and no way am I going out naked in the sun and cold.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:10 AM
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No closer to sleep, and not even terribly drunk. Maybe I should just gradually let my schedule shift by a couple of hours a day until it returns to normal? (There was some old sleep study about how people deprived of natural light cues adopt a 25-hour day, I seem to recall.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:15 AM
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A friend and I once did several days of backpacking in a relatively remote part of the California Coast Range in the altogether. It was somewhat liberating, but I never repeated it. The biggest problem was the thorny nature of some of the vegetation—kept us on the trails.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:16 AM
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But if you actually read the article instead of just looking at the pictures, you'd see that there's female nudity in there somewhere. Because yeah, hairy white male ass is mostly more of a "bah!" than a "hooray!"


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:24 AM
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215 reminds me of the first first-person report I ever heard of Burning Man: "naked women on bicycles: good! Naked men on bicycles: not so good."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:27 AM
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167: Behold, my son, with what little wisdom the world is ruled.


Posted by: Count Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:27 AM
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OT: I'll probably get drummed out of the profession for saying so, but this kind of makes me happy. Juries, bah!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:32 AM
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Drunk Minneapolitan / Emerson was an artifact of autofill. The Minneapolitan above is indeed Minny.

Since my stay with Minny and his mysterious paramour, my bedtime has moved about four timezones west (later). I used to go to bed at 10:00 -1:00 CT, now I go to bed ca. 2:00 -- 4:00 CT. I didn't stay up especially late while I was there, and I have no idea why this happened. It does coincide with my new parsnip diet.

It's an entirely good thing, though I don't really sleep well during daylight hours.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:35 AM
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216: weirdly, there was a biker rally at a
Campground around the lake where I was camping with friends freshmen year of hs. We
Walked over to check it out and were surprised to see a man totally naked riding his motorcycle with a spearpoint-headed helmet on.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:52 AM
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Spearpoint-headed helmet-ons. Ah, youth.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:10 AM
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Well he was well in hand, to boot.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:17 AM
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Is it possible to simultaneously get frostbite and sunburn?

More or less inevitable, in some places. eg the Antarctic (unless you're careful).
Also possible to have one person go down with hypothermia while the person next to them goes down with heatstroke, but this normally happens if you're doing something ill-advised like yomping fifty miles across rain-sodden sub-antarctic bog in the middle of the night carrying a backpack that weighs as much as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:15 AM
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2: His Girl Friday is really great.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:23 AM
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It probably does not speak well of me that my ultimate reaction to that AskMetafilter thread (which I had read earlier) was to tell Snark about it and then immediately launch into an extended riff on the best way to provide him with a wonderful surprise ass-raping. In the end I invented a sophisticated techno-bed with a hidden big blue dildo that would pop up when it sensed the presence of a properly positioned anus. Surprise!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:35 AM
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When I was 12 or so a couple of friends and I sneaked into the school pool on a weekend. We thought it was hi-frickin-larious to moon passers-by. One of us in particular (not me, thank god) got into it to an absurd degree and ended up with severe sunburn on his ass. Bright red. He looked like a hairless baboon. Very painful. And funny.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:06 AM
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225: I'm now singing "there's a big blue dildo and it popped out from the bed" to the tune of the Big Blue Marble theme.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:53 AM
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218: I had mixed feelings about that article. On the one hand, I know evidence is often excluded from court for a good reason. But I'm not confident that in general the process of two lawyers and a judge sifting through all the evidence before a trail, throwing some out and leaving some in, leads to more fair and accurate verdicts. Maybe the public editing system of wikipedia is actually more reliable than the adversarial process.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:15 AM
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Mmmmmmaybe. But that's not a small change to let pass by looking the other way while jurors do their own research. It's a huge, fundamental change in the legal system that should be addressed consciously and thoughtfully.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:27 AM
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I could see it being really, really problematic, too, especially if it was a case where there's a lot of misleading information on the internet. A civil suit against the government for blowing up the WTC, say, or malpractice against a doctor for giving a kid autism with Thimerosal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:29 AM
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I am having trouble stopping hiccupping

Moot by now, I know, but next time, a little shot of vinegar will fix you right up. Fortunately, it doesn't matter what kind you use, so balsamic or malt will do just as well as white, and taste ok.

In the absence of vinegar, sucking on a lemon or lime wedge can work.

I'm not making any of this up.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:47 AM
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229/230: Word. The collaborative, non-adverserial nature of wikipedia works (when it does work) precisely because the stakes are so low. You notice that, the minute the stakes of a Wikipedia article are the least bit elevated (e.g. because a company is concerned about its reputation, because zealots of a political conflict want to promote their point of view), the defects inherent in "anyone can edit" start to come to the fore.

To paraphrase an old adage, the adversarial system is the worst possible way to carry out judicial inquiry, except for all the others.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:49 AM
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I'm not making any of this up.

The power of the placebo with hiccups is incredible. I know a sure-fire remedy involving pressure points behind the ears.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:50 AM
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My mom pictures her heart as a tea cup, rattling in its saucer when she hiccups. Then she drinks a cup of water and pictures the tea cup filling up and becoming too heavy to rattle, and she's cured. I can't get this to work for me but I've passed it on to people who swear by it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:52 AM
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For the auto-cure I focus on breathing deliberately (in nose, out mouth) and the air trapped beneath my diaphragm bubble out as the diaphragm relaxes. Less anatomically accurate than I'd actually realized before typing it out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:56 AM
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232: I don't have any experience with civil law systems, where the judge (as I understand it) is supposed to be an active but impartial inquisitor into the facts. But I've wondered if that would be preferable to our adversarial system, which has huge problems (most notably that the courthouse doors are effectively closed to anyone without the money to hire a gladiator).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:56 AM
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stopping hiccupping
need to have someone startle you, stops immediately


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:58 AM
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I take a deep breath, pinch my nose, then slowly exhale. When all the air has gone out of my lungs, I hold that and swallow a couple of times until I can't take it anymore.

Or, drink out of the far side of a cup (i.e. upside down).


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:59 AM
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I feel like hiccups are an issue of twitching of the diaphragm. So I try to inflate my chest cavity as much as possible and then hold my breath, to stretch the diaphragm. The opposite breath-holding strategy to 238.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:01 AM
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Or, drink out of the far side of a cup (i.e. upside down).

That's my traditional family recipe, but I've given up on it for some reason. I do Lamaze breathing instead. It doesn't work, but nothing seems to except forgetting about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:02 AM
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AWB has an incantation against hiccups that almost always works.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:02 AM
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236 would be more appealing if I had more faith in the judiciary.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:03 AM
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Doctor Wikipedia to the rescue!

Digital rectal massage has been recommended as a remedy that causes immediate cessation of hiccups and which should be tried before resorting to drugs.
It may help to think of Charles Osborne while you're undergoing this therapy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:05 AM
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243: tell it to the judge.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:07 AM
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242: Well, right. It's one of those things where the faults of the devil you know are more apparent than those of the devil you don't, but that doesn't mean you're weighing them correctly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:17 AM
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243: Only real doctors can do digital rectal massage. PhDs cannot do it without first getting their DRM licenses. This is the very definition of "doctor", as I explained just now over at Henley's.

It's also inadvisable to offer this help to attractive strangers hiccuping in public places.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:19 AM
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None of the breathing or the drinking has ever worked for me, while the vinegar is surefire. It's odd. I can't think of another physical symptom that has such a wide range of effective cures, even accounting for a placebo effect.

an incantation against hiccups

This calls for YouTube!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:22 AM
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245 to 243.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:22 AM
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AWB has an incantation against hiccups that almost always works.

To wit?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:23 AM
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I just get cross about all the bullshit we feed ourselves about the marvels of the jury system (which is not to say that judges don't often suck too).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:26 AM
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247: another physical symptom that has such a wide range of effective cures

I seem to recall that the reason why there are so many magical wart cures is that warts are very responsive to psychosomatic treatment -- if you believe something will cure your warts, there's a good shot it will. Or maybe they just go away randomly a lot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:26 AM
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249: ENOUGH WITH THE FUCKING HICCUPING ALREADY


Posted by: ANNOYED AWB | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:26 AM
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many magical wart cures
the most magical wart cure ever! - the rain water which got accumulated on the cow dung
i think it has all kinds of chemicals of herbal origin and already like processed, so it cures somehow
hope, someone will study it and find something antiviral


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:32 AM
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245: Agreed. But my understanding is that a jury is still involved in those civil law systems and my suspicion is that juries are likely to over weigh questions introduced by the judge. Which would be fine if I didn't know that plenty of judges are known within the community to be affirmatively pro-plaintiff or pro-defense.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:32 AM
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it's a true traditional medicine remedy, i'm not joking


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:33 AM
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Growing mushrooms in your sinuses will prevent the hiccups.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:37 AM
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I can't think of another physical symptom that has such a wide range of ineffective cures

Fixed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:46 AM
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Or, drink out of the far side of a cup (i.e. upside down).

What does this mean? I've heard it before, but never understood what "drink out of the far side of a cup" could mean that doesn't involve spilling water everywhere. Maybe I need to see a diagram.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:51 AM
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258: it involves bending over double.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:51 AM
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Right, the water is flowing out of the cup over your top teeth onto the roof of your mouth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:59 AM
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It may help to think of Charles Osborne while you're undergoing this therapy.

*hic*Pleasekillme*hic*


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:59 AM
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259, 260: Thanks, I see now.

(Now wondering how anyone ever had the idea to do that.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:02 AM
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Before undergoing a digital rectal massage, you should backup your shit to a colorectal facility, in case anything goes wrong.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:32 AM
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252: BOO!!!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:35 AM
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Analog rectal massage is more SWPL.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:37 AM
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265: well, only if it's vinyl. Cassette rectal massage is inferior in every way.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:39 AM
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Eight track verges on kinky.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:59 AM
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All the lawyers arguing for the current way juries are handled make good points, and I'm not going to be able to articulate a full opposing position, but...

It bothers me that everything juries are asked to do goes against the methods of reasoning that I use and teach. Don't do your own research. Don't ask questions. Don't form preliminary conclusions. I understand some judges even ban the jury from taking notes. How is this reasoning? Its like the jury members are supposed to be these purely passive deciders.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:07 PM
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it involves bending over double

The digital rectal massage usually does too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:09 PM
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Eight track verges on kinky.

When they remake Requiem for a Dream, the "Ass to ass!" chant will be replaced with "Reel to reel!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:11 PM
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My mom pictures her heart as a tea cup, rattling in its saucer when she hiccups. Then she drinks a cup of water and pictures the tea cup filling up and becoming too heavy to rattle, and she's cured.

This is similar to what I do, but what I do is way less poetic. It was taught to me as "a biofeedback technique," which, whatever. BUT what I was taught to do is to put a hand palm-down flat on a table and then concentrate on making my diaphragm as still as my hand. After a while I could do it just by keeping my hand still (sans table) and now I can do it just by looking at the back of my hand.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:28 PM
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Hiccuping sucks. I get bouts that last for hours. Sometimes I go to bed with hiccups, fall asleep (stopping then, I'm told), and they restart when I wake up. This makes my girlfriend amused/piteous, since she can stop her hiccups on cue with one of the visualization tricks.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:30 PM
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268: Don't get deferential to the lawyers. You're right. I don't have a lot of strong opinions about how to make the system better--mostly I just think we could get results at least as good with far less investment of time and money--but idealizing the adversary system as a truth-finding device is pretty silly.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:34 PM
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Don't do your own research.

The point of this, though, is that the law set some very clear (and some not so clear) limits on what sort of information is relevant and reliable -- often based on particular policy considerations. Jurors are not qualified to sort through research on their own to sort the wheat from the chaff because they do not have the legal education -- or authority -- to identify what is wheat and what is chaff.

Also, if jurors run off to do their own research, the parties don't get the chance to respond to that. If my opponent presents evidence that Wikipedia says X (it will be excluded as hearsay, but let's just pretend), then I can respond by presenting evidence that the guy who wrote that Wikipedia entry got paid to make shit up or failed to consider crucial data or whatever. If a juror just goes off and finds the entry on his or her own, I have no idea they are looking at that and no opportunity to respond.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:39 PM
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idealizing the adversary system as a truth-finding device is pretty silly

I don't know that anyone truly idealizes it as such -- the only point being that it's hard to come up with a system that would be better.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:41 PM
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275: I dunno, lawyers tend to get pretty invested in the idea that how we do things is The Right Way, and the public tends to buy into that.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:46 PM
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276: I'm not sure which lawyers you are talking to. Most of the ones I know are bitter cynics who think the system is crap, but chances of changing it nil.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:50 PM
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277: I think we're seeing the same thing from different angles. Yes, lawyers see what doesn't work, but we also value and protect our own centrality to the process (your 274, for example; while you're right that jurors who do their own research can easily get led astray, the same is true of jurors who don't do their own research).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 12:58 PM
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There is a theory, IIRC, that the jury system is a check and balance on the legal profession, the courts, and even the law. If the law were adequate, why have a jury at all? Why not just have legal experts decide cases? And jurors lack of legal education and legal qualifications disqualify them from some things, why don't they disqualify them for everything else?

Scalia has said something to the effect that getting an expeditious result is one of the most important things in law, maybe the most important things for him in the present context. I can see this, sort of a "complicated weighted coin-flip" theory holding that without courts, disputes could last for generations or centuries, and it's best to get them out of the way so everyone can go on with their lives.

It was pretty chilling that Scalia specifically was talking about expediting capital cases, of course, and that he specifically declared that the law (or maybe just judicial review) doesn't concern itself with justice, just with proper procedure.

Econ is collapsing in ruins, no one gives a shit about Literary Studies, and analytic phil will go down quicker than people think. Maybe I'll go after the law next.

Contrary to what Crooked Timber and Essear think, I'm not planning to destroy physics, just physics porn, and fundamental-physics fundamentalism. And Ari needn't worry about history, either. It's actually the healthiest discipline in my opinion, and with a few small tweaks should be completely wonderful.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:00 PM
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I have not read any of the comments to the Metafilter post, but I will opine that if you are looking for serious advice you could do better than choosing "whatwhatinthebutt00@gmail.com" as your throwaway e-mail address.

You're not the only one.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:06 PM
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I am become Emerson, the destroyer of disciplines.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:07 PM
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And jurors lack of legal education and legal qualifications disqualify them from some things, why don't they disqualify them for everything else?

This is the difference between legal findings and factual findings, which is a distinction that plays a surprisingly large role in appellate practice (where I spend my professional time). Interestingly, appellate experience also suggests it's a distinction that plenty of lawyers don't fully grasp -- nothing makes us appellate types cringe more than watching a trial lawyer get up in front of the appellate court and start arguing factual questions.

You don't need any legal expertise to sort out whether LB or NPH appeared more credible on the stand and law school doesn't do much to help you figure out whether Dr. Expert Ph.D.'s conclusions are more persuasive than Dr. Rebuttal, M.D., Esq.'s. But you do need to understand the shit we studied in law school to figure out whether the plaintiff laid an adequate foundation to permit introduction of the annual report under a business records exception to the hearsay rule.

Of course, very smart non-lawyer people who have served on juries have suggested they could have used a legal degree to sort out the instructions they were given by the court for deciding the case -- and, in at least one case a very smart lawyer person was dismayed when I translated such an instruction, revealing to him that the verdict they came to was actually the opposite of what they would have decided if they had understood. Oh well, I guess.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:12 PM
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Oh, also. Re 279.2? Scalia's an idiot.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:13 PM
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i recalled i tried two times to become a mefi member and both two times i forgot my paypal password despite i kinda restored it the first time to pay something else
then i gave up, thought, it's perhaps like not meant to be thing


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:13 PM
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You don't need any legal expertise to sort out whether LB or NPH appeared more credible on the stand and law school doesn't do much to help you figure out whether Dr. Expert Ph.D.'s conclusions are more persuasive than Dr. Rebuttal, M.D., Esq.'s.

But other sorts of expertise would be very helpful indeed.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:22 PM
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Surely the major problem with jurors doing their own research isn't just that they may make mistakes -- that's a risk no matter what -- but that the evidence upon which they rely is not a matter of public record.

Erroneous evidence presented in court can be the subject of a later appeal, and the evidence used to convict or to exculpate is freely available for scrutiny. The very fact that the process is public is central.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:26 PM
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286: Erroneous evidence presented in court can be the subject of a later appeal, and the evidence used to convict or to exculpate is freely available for scrutiny

ttaM understands my needs.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:33 PM
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250
I just get cross about all the bullshit we feed ourselves about the marvels of the jury system (which is not to say that judges don't often suck too).

I almost think people (maybe unfoggetariat, maybe liberal intellectuals, maybe everyone) are going too far in criticism of juries. It seems like I see a lot more stories about the one holdout who just couldn't understand the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" no matter how many times it's explained than I do stories about lawyers who deliberately select for those jurors, police officers who gather evidence illegally, professional witnesses whose testimony always goes the same way...


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:38 PM
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You don't need any legal expertise to sort out whether LB or NPH appeared more credible on the stand

Well, no offense NPH, but it's LB, hands down. Duh.

Next up: Will vs. UNG's lawyer.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:39 PM
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It seems to me that the court cases of the 40s and 50s were all about fact disputes, but modern court cases are mere legal arguments.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:40 PM
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Speaking of juries I am currently serving on a grand jury. Many states have replaced them with preliminary hearings before a judge. Any reason this is a bad idea? It is unclear to me that we are doing anything a judge couldn't do just as well.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:42 PM
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There was just something untrustworthy about the orca's demeanor while testifying.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:49 PM
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Well, no offense NPH, but it's LB, hands down. Duh.

Huh. The only time I was ever on a witness stand, the jury was out for only a half hour or so before finding in my favor. Can LB beat that?

(OK, sure, the plaintiff was crazy. But.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:50 PM
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Providing sunlight: if a grand jury has to indict you, then the government has to make a prima facie case to someone who's not a government employee like a judge, and will hopefully call 'bullshit' if there's literally nothing to the case against the defendant. There's something uncomfortable about allowing people to be jailed for months pending trial with no review of the case against them except by someone who's an insider in the criminal justice system.

Is it absolutely necessary? Probably not, but I find it comforting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:51 PM
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290: In real life, or in fiction?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:52 PM
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294 to 291. To 293, I've never been a witness -- deposition or before a judge. Actually, I've been a lawyer getting up to a decade now and I've never seen a juror in the act of juring. The only trials I've worked on have been bench (judge only) trials.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:53 PM
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Scalia's a fascist. Anyone who takes him straight, as a legal thinker, is an idiot.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:54 PM
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297: He's not dumb -- not as brilliant as his reputation, but a good lawyer. The problem is that he's crooked (that is, his opinions are result-driven rather than legal-reasoning driven; I have no knowledge of any actual corruption). If you look at one of his opinions where he doesn't have an ax to grind, it's usually clear and sensible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:56 PM
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290: In real life, or in fiction?

Is there a difference?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:57 PM
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The only trials I've worked on have been bench trials.

Poor LB, stuck on the bench.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:58 PM
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297, 298: He's also been phoning it in for quite a while now. Even by his own standards, his opinions are a whole lot sloppier than they used to be (at least the ones that I've happened to read).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 1:59 PM
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In real life, or in fiction?
Is there a difference?

everything inside one's head - fiction, everything outside - irl
imho



Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:00 PM
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295 to 294.2


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:00 PM
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When I am put on the Supreme Court all my opinions will be results driven, but I'll forget all the legal crap. It will be up to future generations of lawyers to build a legal framework under them. No big hurry, really.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:00 PM
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There was just something untrustworthy about the orca's demeanor while testifying.

Some suggest that the wolf's son would ally with the orca against their common enemy, the lion, but I would remind you that, in all things, social creatures side with their own against The Other. The future is a quadruped stomping on a cetacean face, forever.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:01 PM
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You know who's winning? Cephalopods. The whales and fishes that fed on them are under heavy pressure from us, and the squid are running wild.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:02 PM
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everything inside one's head - fiction, everything outside - irl

A friend's 6-y.o. son, home from an educational video at school: "Daddy, did you know that your body is real life on the outside and cartoon on the inside?"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:02 PM
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296: It's an interesting and disconcerting experience to look at the jury sitting there stonefaced and have no idea whether they're buying what you're saying or not. Especially when it really is exactly as straightforward as you're telling them it is and your opponent really is just flat-out lying about straightforward matters of fact.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:04 PM
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He's also been phoning it in for quite a while now.

"The bleeding heart liberal plaintiff can kiss my ass. Per, uhhh, the 14th Amendment. And the 26th. Why not."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:05 PM
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"A brutal man more noted for his animal cunning than his intellectual capacity, Regatta penned a minor footnote in American legal history when, in an appearance before a Senate committee, he somewhat unexpectedly "took the Third," declining to testify "on de grounds dat soldiers may be quartered in my home in time of peace widout my consent."


Posted by: Henry Beard | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:09 PM
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i'm glad i commented to hear 307
coz mine the jury duty's will be minor jury, i'm not much stressed out about it and perhaps i'm ineligible, so it won't even realize
have no idea what minor and grand mean though, should look it up perhaps


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:10 PM
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read, a grand jury is convened to determine whether an indictment should issue. The petit jury is the one that actually hears the case and decides the verdict.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:13 PM
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311: I don't know New Jersey, but do you mean 'petit' jury rather than 'minor'? Under the assumption that 'minor' is New Jersey-ese for 'petit', that means that you may end up being a juror in a trial -- you listen to evidence in one case and then arrive at a verdict. A 'grand jury' on the other hand, you show up every day for a couple of weeks, and prosecutors put on cases against criminal defendants: if you think there's enough evidence to make a case (without hearing at all from the defense), you vote to indict the defendant, which means that the defendant will have a full trial later, and will be able to put on evidence in their defense at that trial. If you don't think the prosecutor has made their case, you don't indict, and the defendant is set free.

This is a rough outline, but it gives you the idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:16 PM
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Are you a citizen? Come to think of it, I don't know for certain offhand that only citizens are eligible to serve on a jury, but that'd be my guess before looking it up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:18 PM
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314 is an interesting question, given the whole jury of your peers concept. Systematic exclusion of non-citizens could theoretically pose Batson-like problems in a trial involving a foreigner.

I'm speaking ex recto, here, of course.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:21 PM
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294

Providing sunlight: if a grand jury has to indict you, then the government has to make a prima facie case to someone who's not a government employee like a judge, and will hopefully call 'bullshit' if there's literally nothing to the case against the defendant. There's something uncomfortable about allowing people to be jailed for months pending trial with no review of the case against them except by someone who's an insider in the criminal justice system.

Regarding sunlight grand jury testimony is secret while I believe preliminary hearings are generally public. As for dismissing cases this won't happen very often with either system however it seems like judges might be better about recognizing cases where there are several elements to the crime and no evidence has been presented for one element. And how often is there literally nothing to a case?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:26 PM
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i am a sitizen, of my own country


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:26 PM
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yeah, petit, i'm sorry, i translated it literally


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:28 PM
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A former au pair has received a jury duty summons. Her only connection to officialdom is via the state office that issues drivers licenses.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:28 PM
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petits have more rights, how interesting
thanks for explaining


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:29 PM
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How often is there literally nothing to a case?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:30 PM
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Non-citizens don't qualify as jurors in NJ, nor in the federal system or the couple other jurisdictions I know offhand (NY and DC). I'd be surprised if they did anywhere.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:31 PM
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294: Let me try it another way. You're right that as a grand juror you're not doing anything an honest, competent judge couldn't do better. But a dishonest or incompetent judge is going to make decisions that affect a whole lot of criminal defendants, and criminal defendants tend to be people who don't have a lot of social leverage to complain about being railroaded. A grand jury is a guard against corrupt, or lawlessly overzealous, policing supported by a compliant or complicit judiciary.

Where the police and judiciary are reasonably honest and competent about who they're trying to jail, a grand jury doesn't make any difference. But the existence of grand juries is a force tending to keep law enforcement honest and competent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:32 PM
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I just had jury duty in Brooklyn and non-citizens were dismissed right away.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:32 PM
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219: As I understand it, only a U.S. citizen is permitted to serve on a jury. But states have all kinds of methods for finding prospective jurors, and one of the most common ways is through the DMV. (Voter registration rolls are way under-inclusive, and you don't want to deter people from registering to vote.) In my state, if you have a drivers' license, you may well get a summons, but you'll be disqualified from the jury itself.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:33 PM
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325: that is, if you're not a U.S. citizen.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:33 PM
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or maybe not, grand jury sounds like troublesome, for weeks to go there,
i thought maybe cases are different, grands are for like murders and that kind of things, petits perhaps just some fines for automobile that, reckless driving or similar cases


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:34 PM
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ah, a false alarm
but thank you all, it was very enlightening


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:37 PM
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so have to go there anyway to be dismissed on the day? i thought i'll get some letter saying thank you, please stay home


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:39 PM
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329: I think that's how they usually do it. Is there a number on the summons you can call?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:40 PM
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I don't know the specific NJ procedure, but look carefully at the notice you got -- it's possible that it will give you a phone number or an address to contact so that you can tell them you're not eligible. There easily might not be, and then you'd have to show up, but there could be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:41 PM
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so have to go there anyway to be dismissed on the day?

If you call the clerk of court and explain that you aren't a citizen, they might go ahead and excuse you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:42 PM
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||

"Also known as a gob." There. Would that have been so fucking hard, New York Times?

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:42 PM
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CA is also US citizens only. Every time I've had jury duty they've began by dismissing non-citizens, non-English speakers, felons, etc. Then they show you this video, which everyone laughs at because it is hokey and contains a lot of interviews with former jurors saying things like, "I really found it to be a moving experience," and tries to scare you by telling you there are societies that have no juries. It also contains a line that goes something like, "A lot of jurors keep in touch after their service is complete."

In light of this mockery, though, it was interesting that the only person I know who did end up on a jury actually described the experience as quite fascinating.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:42 PM
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i think there was a number, perhaps i'll call them, but a halfday day-off would be good too, well, i'll see


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:43 PM
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I just had jury duty in Brooklyn and non-citizens were dismissed right away.

You don't even need a jury for this. "Pffft. Immigrants. Whatever."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:45 PM
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Ooo, the one time I had jury duty (never even got voir dire'd) they showed us this immensely campy video that started with a witch being thrown in a pond (or something like that) to demonstrate how much better juries are than ponds.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:46 PM
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If you call the clerk of court and explain that you aren't a citizen, they might go ahead and excuse you.

If they doubt you, just go ahead and send them over here. "Really, would any US citizen say that about [xxxx]?"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:47 PM
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I've said this before here, but god, I would love to serve on a jury. I would be such an awesome juror! I would listen so attentively! I would not chew gum or take notes. I would only consider the evidence determined more probative than prejudicial by the judge, and put other considerations right out of my mind.

I wish I could like lobby or something to get picked as a juror. I never even get to go to the jury pool room; I get a notice once a year, instructing me to call in the night before I'm scheduled to appear, and when I do I get an automated message telling me there's no need for me to even show up. But they don't know what they're missing out on! Maybe I should write them a letter.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:47 PM
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The one time that I made it to the voir dire stage (the prosecution used a peremptory challenge on me for some reason; I wasn't asked for much more than basic biographical information, so who knows why), there were a surprising number of people who admitted to the judge that they would have trouble obeying the "no outside research" rule. Typical interaction:

J: So do you understand that you can't go do, for example, web searches about this case?
Potential Juror: Well I think it would be very hard for me to not do that.
J: Yes, but would you be able to stop yourself from doing so?
PJ: I'm really not sure. I think it would be very hard.

I mean, I understand and all, but a little confidence in your willpower?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:52 PM
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340: It's called "getting out of jury duty." One of the odd things about getting a summons is the number of people who tell you tricks for avoiding service. There's a large number of people who view jury duty as just another government intrusion in their lives. I blame the Republicans.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:55 PM
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The problem with being an awesome juror is that you still have to deal with all the other jurors, a process almost guaranteed to be depressing.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 2:56 PM
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Letterman had a good Top Ten about avoiding jury duty. "Fly into a rage whenever Norwegians are mentioned."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:02 PM
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My jury duty was moderately interesting. The defendant's wife's panties supposedly being stolen off the clothesline by the plaintiff's wife was the only fun part. It was dispiriting because everyone involved in the case except one of the witnesses seemed to have been lame lying scum, while at the same time the case may seemed too weak to prosecute.

We came to an agreement very quickly and I felt fine about everyone on the jury. The issue was: if I pick up a large rock and throw it at someone with all my strength, and it hits the ground about halfway there, was that really assault? I don't know what the law is on ineffectual attempts at assault, but if it had been a two pound rock that reached the guy but missed him, instead of a ten pound rock, I'd have voted to convict.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:04 PM
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343: Yah, shur, ya betcha.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:04 PM
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this immensely campy video that started with a witch being thrown in a pond

They're still showing it. Pure awesome.

I served on a jury for a short civil trial in DC and it was really quite interesting. Someone had been injured on the job and a big chunk of compensation was at stake, so it really mattered to someone's life that I and my fellow jurors paid attention. The deliberations were great -- found out that we had a lawyer, a law student, and a law professor on the jury, made the law professor foreperson, and spent a day and a half trying to convince one holdout to join the verdict, a process that involved clarifying what we believed about the case and why. I wouldn't have minded being on this jury a month ago except it would have been a pain for my job.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:12 PM
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333: what the hell is a gob?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:17 PM
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One of the odd things about getting a summons is the number of people who tell you tricks for avoiding service.

I was naively shocked about this the first two dozen times it happened, especially since it was people I otherwise respected. Now I just make preemptive moral comments when I have to talk about the topic. That way at least one of us gets to have fun.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:17 PM
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god, I would love to serve on a jury. I would be such an awesome juror!

I know! Me too! And it took them 20+ years to even call me. Then the night before we were supposed to be there, they said none of us had to show up.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:17 PM
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For example, when my grandnephew is angry he kicks you with his tiny size -2 feet, and you suppress your laughter. Is that assault? Maybe at that moment he's really trying to kill you. Is there a doctrine on unrealistic intent?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:19 PM
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321

The grand jury only hears the prosecution case so would not be aware of any of the stuff in your link. 12/12 jurors thought Siegleman was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. What are the odds that 12/23 grand jurors hearing only the prosecution case with no cross examination or defense arguments wouldn't find reasonable cause to indict?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:20 PM
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IIRC, my mom was called to jury duty in all 3 states in which we lived, while my dad never was. The one case I remember was a woman who was suing her eye doctor for somehow screwing up her vision, but she had to do a lot of digging even to find one Dr. who would testify for her side. The jury deliberated for maybe a quarter hour, and the judge thanked them for being sensible, saying that he would have liked to have thrown the case out, but that was a lot of paperwork.

Note that I was ~12 at the time, altho this is the iconic form of the story.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:21 PM
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Oh, and question for the legal types: Is there a tendency for your ordinary civil case to be longer than your ordinary criminal case? Almost everyone who goes to criminal jury here seems to report that they would have been assigned to a 1 week case, whereas every time I've done civil jury duty it's been for a 4 or 5 week case.

I was speculating that the criminal cases that went to a jury might often be small time crooks being defended by overworked public defenders (hence short), whereas the civil cases that made it to the jury stage were more likely to have fancypants big city lawyers involved (hence long). But that's all just crap I made up in my head while waiting to see if I was excused.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:22 PM
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344

We came to an agreement very quickly and I felt fine about everyone on the jury. The issue was: if I pick up a large rock and throw it at someone with all my strength, and it hits the ground about halfway there, was that really assault? I don't know what the law is on ineffectual attempts at assault, but if it had been a two pound rock that reached the guy but missed him, instead of a ten pound rock, I'd have voted to convict.

Sort of sounds like attempted assault to me but maybe there isn't such a thing. Isn't the judge supposed to explain what the law is?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:26 PM
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353: I don't know the stats, but that would be my guess; most civil cases get settled, so something that makes it to trial is likely to be factually pretty complicated. For the simple cases, the parties can figure out what their odds are and settle on that basis. Most criminal cases are guilty pleas, but I don't see the same sort of force for the ones that go to trial being more complicated than the ones that do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:28 PM
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Also, SF Superior Court (civil) is dramatically nicer than the Hall of Justice (criminal). The jury room at HoJ is this beat-up bus terminal waiting room-looking place, while the equivalent room at SC has fancy wood paneling, big screen LCD TVs, free WiFi. A much classier joint overall. You may have to pay for WiFi at HoJ, too.

And, the selection process for civil jury duty is surprisingly complicated. Every time I've been, the people who don't try to get excused have to fill out a ~20 page questionnaire even before they go to voir dire. At criminal court there's no questionnaire.

Perhaps it's unsurprising that our criminal law institutions are not very posh.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:32 PM
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350, 354: I can see two issues here, and one I don't know the answer to offhand. The easy one is mens rea -- an element of attempted battery is going to be whether the defendant was sincerely attempting to hurt the victim. There, you could take the fact that the attempt failed as evidence that the defendant wasn't sincerely trying: yelling, "I'm going to kill you" and then heaving a feather pillow at someone from fifty feet away isn't going to demonstrate the requisite mens rea, because it's absolutely implausible that it was a genuine attempt to injure.

The harder issue is a sincere attempt to injure that couldn't possibly have worked -- I point a gun at you and pull the trigger, thinking it's loaded, but it's not. I'd have to look at the relevant law to figure out how that one works out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:35 PM
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323

Let me try it another way. You're right that as a grand juror you're not doing anything an honest, competent judge couldn't do better. But a dishonest or incompetent judge is going to make decisions that affect a whole lot of criminal defendants, and criminal defendants tend to be people who don't have a lot of social leverage to complain about being railroaded. A grand jury is a guard against corrupt, or lawlessly overzealous, policing supported by a compliant or complicit judiciary.

So you think 23 people like me are a defense against abuse of people with no social leverage? That's nice but I don't know how realistic it is. I suspect people with a lot of social leverage are more likely to be treated leniently by a grand jury.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:35 PM
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So, when you do the questionaires for jury duty, do they generally ask whether you are now, or ever have been, a member of an organization that advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government? 'Cause nobody ever asks me that, and it makes me sad.

Also, if I'm ever called for jury duty, I'm going to play it completely straight, and then when it comes to deliberating, I'm going to say, "I'm sorry, I just don't think the prosecution proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt." And I'm going to keep saying that over and over and over again. Take that, criminal injustice system!

Also, do you generally get rejected if you have a significant misdemeanor record?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:39 PM
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If your crimes were similar to the alleged crimes of the defendant, you do.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:40 PM
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358: The point is that you're not an insider. This isn't about subtle biases, it means that if a somehow non- or malfunctioning law enforcement system wants to jail someone who they don't have reason to believe has committed a crime, they at least have to lie to a roomful of uninvolved citizens about it, rather than asking a judge who may be part of the non-functional system to rubberstamp their decision to put the guy away pending trial. The only thing that makes you, as a grand juror, any use at all is that you're not working as part of the law-enforcement machinery.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 3:52 PM
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Could one get out of jury duty by expressing extreme confusion about the meaning of the concept of "reasonable doubt"? Like, just how many false positive guilty verdicts is the system supposed to allow, and how does one calibrate one's scale of "reasonable" to allow for that? Surely it has to go way beyond 95% confident, or you're going to have vast numbers of mistaken guilty verdicts. But how do we even measure our confidence? Etc. Would babbling on like that for a while get one out of having to sit on a jury?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:00 PM
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Further to 357: Some quick googling reawakens memories of law school, and informs me that 'factual impossibility' -- trying to shoot someone with an unloaded gun -- is not generally a defense to an attempt crime. So the way Emerson's question comes out is that (assuming the charge was something along the lines of attempted battery) if the jury believed that the defendant thought he could throw the rock far enough to hit the intended victim, and was sincerely trying to, they should have found him guilty. If they thought he knew it wouldn't go that far and he was just making an angry gesture, innocent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:00 PM
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362: Given that no one really agrees on what reasonable doubt means exactly, it shouldn't get you out of anything. But if you were annoying enough it might.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:01 PM
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I'll work on that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:02 PM
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So, when you do the questionaires for jury duty, do they generally ask whether you are now, or ever have been, a member of an organization that advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government? 'Cause nobody ever asks me that, and it makes me sad.

When my father joined the Army, there was some such question that asked whether he advocated the overthrow of the US government through force or through subversion. While no one to his knowledge ever actually did it, the answer everyone wanted to give was to look thoughtful, and say "Force? Subversion? Oh, I'll take subversion."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:06 PM
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361

Why is lying in private without cross examination to a grand jury harder than lying in public with cross examination to a judge?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:08 PM
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363

... If they thought he knew it wouldn't go that far and he was just making an angry gesture, innocent.

Not clear, I am pretty sure you aren't allowed to do things (like shooting near them) which would scare a reasonable person even if you don't really intend to harm them. Depends on the exact charge of course.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:14 PM
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Because you might not have to lie to the judge. If they're corrupt or incompetent, they might okay anything you want without asking questions. The judge is part of the same system we want an outside eye on, so they won't always be a reliable check on it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:15 PM
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362, 364: Might not get you excused for cause, but I'll bet one side or the other would use a peremptory challenge.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:18 PM
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The case with the rock was different than an unloaded gun you mistakenly thought was loaded. The question was "Did he really believe that he could get it that far?" There's no unknown factor.

My guess is that identical acts are always punished differently based on consequences. A libertarian friend argued that if you shoot a gun out you front door with your eyes shut, the act is the same regardless of whether the bullet finds someone. His argument, IIRC, was that people who do kill someone shouldn't be punished more severely than those who don't. I love rationality.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:20 PM
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The case with the rock was different than an unloaded gun you mistakenly thought was loaded. The question was "Did he really believe that he could get it that far?" There's no unknown factor.

No, if the rock-thrower is sincerely trying to injure, it's the same case. In case (1) Perp wants to shoot Vic, and has a gun, but doesn't know it's unloaded and pulling the trigger therefore won't hurt Vic. In case (2) Perp wants to hit Vic with a rock, and has a rock, but doesn't know he's too weak to hit Vic with the rock given the distances and throwing the rock therefore won't hurt Vic.

Same sort of unknown, structurally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:27 PM
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Some quick googling reawakens memories of law school, and informs me that 'factual impossibility' -- trying to shoot someone with an unloaded gun -- is not generally a defense to an attempt crime.

I should hope not. If it were, wouldn't that mean that in conspiracy to commit a crime, in a situation where one of the conspirators was actually an undercover cop, there could be a defense that the crime would never have actually taken place because the cop would not have let them go through with it?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:30 PM
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It's really a different case. We're not talking about a guy who's been fooled by someone taking the bullets out of his gun, or who stupidly forgot to load his gun. It's someone who's trying to do something he never could have done, and which he couldn't reasonably have believed he could have done. Halfway isn't really far at all.

Otherwise, people trying to kill with witchcraft would be guilty.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:38 PM
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370: With the caveat that you'd be surprised the things lawyers fail to object to... Just finished an appeal where counsel's failure to strike a patently inappropriate juror is among the major issues.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:41 PM
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Mayor Menino was recently summoned to jury duty in Suffolk County, I.e. Boston. He was dismissed pretty much right away, but he still had to show up.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:41 PM
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the awful truth is my favorite of the classic screwball comedies.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:42 PM
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369

Because you might not have to lie to the judge. If they're corrupt or incompetent, they might okay anything you want without asking questions. The judge is part of the same system we want an outside eye on, so they won't always be a reliable check on it.

Even a corrupt or incompetent judge will want cover as their decision is public and subject to review. And the fact that the hearing is public gives a level of outside oversight not present with secret grand jury proceedings.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:42 PM
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In this case the guy was so impaired, it seemed, that neither intent to harm nor the reasonableness of the supposed attempt were assured.

Admittedly, a major part of our reasoning was that the victims seemed to be scumbags, and probably perjurers, and that this was an ongoing feud with earlier offenses by the victims here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:43 PM
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Otherwise, people trying to kill with witchcraft would be guilty.

Attempt convictions generally require that a "substantial step" be taken in furtherance of the intended crime. I think that's where you get off for reciting your incantations -- those aren't (or so we think... ) really going to further your aim of killing your foe. Picking up the rock or the gun, on the other hand, do move you forward.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:43 PM
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which he couldn't reasonably have believed he could have done.

Well, the difference there is 'couldn't reasonably have believed'. If by that you mean 'so I don't believe he really did believe it', then there's no mens rea for the attempt crime -- he wasn't really trying to hurt anyone, and not guilty is the right verdict. If you mean 'I think he did believe it, but the fact that he believed it means he's crazy/stupid/not someone I'm going to hold criminally responsible,' you probably should have voted guilty.

If, on the other hand, we were in a situation where the guy couldn't throw the rock that far, but it wasn't unreasonable of him to believe he could, that's an unloaded gun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:44 PM
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378: Eh, if you're not convinced, you're not convinced -- they don't have grand juries everywhere and the sky doesn't fall. I was explaining my understanding of the rationale.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:47 PM
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383

Do you think that my beloved grandnephew really was trying to kill me with his tiny feet? Now I'm upset. He was very angry.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:47 PM
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384

381 crossed with 379.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:48 PM
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Yes, of course. But your grandnephew wouldn't have been convicted even if he put a loaded gun to your head and fired it, anyway.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:48 PM
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383: Could be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 4:50 PM
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351: If he hit you and you were injured it would definitely be battery. Tere's a textbook case about a nasty little kid who moves a chair causing someone to fall and he's found civilly liable. Intent is applied somehow.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:00 PM
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And since you guys are against political prosecutions what do you think of Earle's case against DeLay. Earle had to convene three grand juries to get the indictment he wanted and the case doesn't seem to be proceeding to trial very fast but DeLay's career was ruined.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:02 PM
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371

My guess is that identical acts are always punished differently based on consequences. A libertarian friend argued that if you shoot a gun out you front door with your eyes shut, the act is the same regardless of whether the bullet finds someone. His argument, IIRC, was that people who do kill someone shouldn't be punished more severely than those who don't. I love rationality.

It is rational to punish based in part on consequences. Intent is difficult to determine compared to consequences and it is reasonable to infer more malign intent from worse consequences. Also a competent wrongdoer is a greater future danger.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:09 PM
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388: Hey, I never said I was against political prosecutions. I'm in favor of Flying Justice Tribunals, meteing out punishments to the enemies of the People. Many of the accused would probably be politicians.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:14 PM
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IIRC DeLay's career was ruined by lots of stuff.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:16 PM
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389: it is reasonable to infer more malign intent from worse consequences
So the financial industry executives who oversaw the granting of sub-prime loans and loans based on fraudulent documentation, leading to the collapse of the real estate market and the foreclosure of hundreds of thousands of houses would be massively criminally liable, due to their obvious malign intent, eh Shearer?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:19 PM
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Some quick googling reawakens memories of law school, and informs me that 'factual impossibility' -- trying to shoot someone with an unloaded gun -- is not generally a defense to an attempt crime.

Anscombe, Intention, §45 (p 82):

I wrote "I am a fool" on the blackboard with my eyes shut. Now when I said what I wrote, ought i to ghave said: this is what I am writing, if my intention is getting executed; instead of simply: this is what I am writing?


… intentions [can] fail to get executed. That intention for example would not have been executed if something had gone wrong with the chalk or with the surface, so that the words did not appear. And my knowledge owuld have been the same even if this had happened. If then my knowledge is independent of what actually happens, how can it be knowledge of what does happen? Someone might say that it was a funny sort of knowledge that was still knowledge even though what it was knowledge of was not the case! On the other hand Theophrastus' remark holds good: "the mistake was in the performance, not in the judgment".


And § 48 (pp 88–89):

Thus in any operation we really can speak of two knowledges—the account that one could give of what one was doing, without adverting to observation; and the account of exactly what is happening at a given moment (say) to the material one is working on. The one is practical, the other speculative.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:30 PM
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I read a case where a barking dog -- on a retractable leash -- charged someone, but was brought up short by his leash long before he ever got near the other guy. The other guy, though, reared back from the charging -- but leashed and never-to-reach-him -- doggie and like fell or had a heart attack or something. Dog owners were found very, very liable.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:37 PM
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392

You need a wrongful act in there somewhere. For example I would tend to impose greater penalties for physical assaults that cause severe injuries than those that don't cause severe injuries because I would tend to infer a more malign intent.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:37 PM
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"ghave" and "owuld" are Oxford slang.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:41 PM
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392 -- I was in a 'predatory' mortgage case a few years back where the loan broker took the Fifth. Know what happens when you take the Fifth in a civil case? Nothing good.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 5:49 PM
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394: Is Oud channelling Read?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:06 PM
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395: So, in your view, negligence should never be actionable?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:09 PM
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399

So, in your view, negligence should never be actionable?

Where do I say that? Given a wrongful act (or failure to act) civil or criminal penalties can be appropriate. And I would tend to impose greater penalties when the consequences are worse.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:21 PM
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393: God, I love Anscombe. Austin has something to say about these matters as well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:21 PM
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400: I dunno Shearer, you're treading pretty close to class war territory there. Red Republicanism is what I call it.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:26 PM
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Further to 401, Austin, "A Plea for Excuses"


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 6:55 PM
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Dog owners were found very, very liable.

I suspect this may have to do with retractable leashes being illegal in a lot of jurisdictions - one of those "just in case"* laws that gives the cops just cause in a situation that might otherwise be ambiguous.

In principle, such laws seem Wrong, but in practice, they seem a lesser evil.

* Surely there's a pithy phrase for this


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 7:20 PM
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I suspect this may have to do with retractable leashes being illegal in a lot of jurisdictions

Why are they illegal?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 7:26 PM
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* Surely there's a pithy phrase for this

Are you thinking of the trade-off for blacks between being too close or being too big? I don't know that that applies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 7:27 PM
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I think that's where you get off for reciting your incantations -- those aren't (or so we think... ) really going to further your aim of killing your foe. Picking up the rock or the gun, on the other hand, do move you forward.

The way I understood it, to convict someone of an attempt, all the elements of the charged offense have to exist, excepting that that the person failed to succeed, so you have to prove intent. Cuz if they didn't intend to do it, and they didn't actually do it, then... they didn't do it. I'd guess a substantial step would go to intent.

With the witchcraft, we get to court and the defense can argue that nobody believes that witchcraft works, and besides how can anyways say a particular formula would work, it must be that the witch in question was just working off some steam, she's really a nice person, just a little... exotic.

I bet if prosecutors had hours and hours of videotapes of someone performing over and over an incantation to kill though, while announcing same loudly over and over, they might well have a shot at a conviction.

max
['That would an interesting juror selection hearing.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 7:29 PM
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My beloved grandnephew has finally figured out that time-outs are not rewards, nor anything to brag about.

He was on a roll, too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 7:55 PM
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Why are they illegal?

Ostensibly because a dog on a 16' leash* isn't truly "under control. But my premise is that the real reason for the law is so that someone with an out of control dog can still be cited even if it's on the leash.

* My understanding is that the law is against leashes beyond a certain length; this is from something a cop told me 10+ years ago


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:47 PM
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Oh, I wanted to make one note about the rock-throwing: pretty much any adult knows, as soon as s/he picks up a rock, whether or not s/he can heave it thus far. That's the flaw in the comparison with the unloaded gun - while it's quite possible to pull a trigger without knowing for certain whether or not a projectile will burst forth, it is more or less impossible to huck a rock without knowing whether it is likely to reach the ostensible target. Not that falling a bit short is vindication, just as missing left or right isn't vindication. But if the rock is heavy, or the hucker is weak, and it doesn't come close to the target, then I feel very comfortable saying that the thrower knew damn well that there was no real danger (and if they were so drunk that they couldn't understand this, then they were too impaired to form the criminal mens rea - book em for public drunkenness* or what have you).

* Another law like the extend-a-leash one - useful to cops, applied in a very small fraction of cases


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 8:56 PM
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410: What I tried to say.

As I mentioned, in the case I juried, the possibility was mooted that he was so ethanol-impaired that he could not have formed the intent to do serious harm, nor could he have estimated his chances of success had he succeeded in forming the intent.

And also that his supposed victims were scumbags too, and possibly had entrapped him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:17 PM
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brothers in Louisiana were convicted of attempted murder for trying to kill a judge with voodoo, which they sincerely believed in; not sure how to find this but Husband X used it as an example in a philosophy class.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-20-09 5:40 AM
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409: Yeah, I half-assedly Googled this and I couldn't find anything definitive, except for one dude on a Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town community board saying that leashes longer than 6' were illegal in NYC. Someone then asked him why retractable and other longer leashes were sold in every single pet shop in the city, but the thread died.
JRoth's theory makes sense to me though. Also, super annoying when someone's dog comes round the corner long before they do.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-09 7:05 AM
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Why are they illegal?

Because they're used by people who have no control over their animals, and on public paths, those uncontrolled animals trip up roller-bladers, strollers, and bicyclists while their owners stare off into space stupidly.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-09 7:12 AM
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I'm wondering now whether I should turn my beloved grandnephew in.

Louisiana law has that certain je ne sais quoi, as I understand, because of Napoleon. I'm sure that voodoo is the least of it when it really gets going. Someone call SEK.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-20-09 7:16 AM
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One of the odd things about getting a summons is the number of people who tell you tricks for avoiding service.

Or being at jury duty, overhearing the number of people willing to swear they always believe cops and they really don't trust black people.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-20-09 7:27 AM
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416: I truly find that shocking. In general, the extent to which people are willing to debase themselves during voir dire really, really grossed me out. Not just on cops and race issues either. One guy, the last time I had the pleasure of hanging out in jury duty, whined (a full-on whiny whine), "But I'm oooonlyyyyy 23 years oooolddd! I reaalllllly shouldn't beee heeeeeere! I caaaaan't beeelieeeeve that I'm heeeeeere."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-20-09 7:56 AM
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