Runaway Bride - A Criminal?

So, the missing bride-to-be has been found, and it turns out that she, as some suspected, had merely run away, and was not abducted. Police said there would be no criminal charges, despite the fact that Jennifer Wilbanks had called to report that she had been abducted.

Frankly, it kind of surprises me that she is not being charged with falsely reporting an incident. I'm fairly certain that if the same incident occurred in my jurisdiction, she would have been. In fact, I've seen it in cases that have wasted much less in terms of police time and resources. It seems as though everyone is taking the "we're just glad she's alive" approach.

But should criminal charges be brought? I think the answer is yes. She wasted not just hours, but days of police officers' and volunteers' time. I don't know, but it's possible that drivers of blue vans were stopped unnecessarily as part of the investigation. Her fiance was considered a suspect and even took a lie detector test. Had she never shown up, it's possible that he could've faced serious charges.

Perhaps most importantly, though, I think that many laws are written because our legislature takes the approach of "What if everyone did that?" For example, it might not be so bad for you, individually, to litter from time to time. But it's a crime because if everyone - all 290-something million of us - litter from time to time, we'll be walking around in a trash heap. Likewise, it might not be so bad if you, individually, shoplifted just a little something when you couldn't afford to pay for it. But if everyone did it, businesses would likely close down.

The same goes for falsely reporting an abduction. If everyone did it, we would eventually reach a point where police wouldn't investigate abduction reports. Moreover, each year, thousands of adults and children are reported missing - how would you feel if you knew your loved one's investigation was put on hold while the police chased down a bride with cold feet?

That said, what is a fair punishment? I think it depends on a person's record (and certainly someone who commits this crime more than once should be dealt with more harshly), but I think that she owes some community service to the community who put so much effort into searching for her. Maybe she could volunteer at a search center to see what these families go through, and to repay her debt.

In the end, I think that this woman will end up living with a lot of shame for what she did to her family, friends, and this community. But if feeling shameful were enough to avoid criminal prosecution, I have many clients who should have their charges dropped.

Friday Moaning - Again

Lately it seems like work just gets to me a lot more on Friday. I'm not sure why. You would think that by Friday nothing would bother me and I'd be able to see the light and the end of the workweek - but, lately, by Friday, I've just been sick of everyone's crap.

Like, how about this... today I get a message from a client's girlfriend (or, at least that's what she said). This client, her boyfriend, is incarcerated. Actually, I got the message this morning, but she left it in the middle of the night last night. This is, to the best of my recollection, the message:

Hi, Miss Justice? This is "girlfriend". Mr. Client's girlfriend. Yeah, I was wondering if you could call me back at like two o'clock tomorrow and leave a message here and could you just tell me what Client's real name is because they want to know that. Thanks.

What? First, as far as I'm concerned, my clients' name is whatever they tell me their names are. Second, you're his girlfriend, shouldn't you know his names? Can't you just ask him yourself and leave me alone? And third, who are "they" that want to know? And why would I want to help you tell "them?" And fourth - and most importantly - you didn't leave a phone number so you're not getting a callback.

On a Monday, that kind of thing amuses me. By Friday, it just annoys the hell out of me.

But now I'm home and the week is over, and now I can relax and focus on next week, when I will hopefully be on trial.

Other things that have cheered me up?
  • A yummy yummy dinner of a grilled-up-to-make-it-melty peanut butter and banana sandwich. Don't knock it till you've tried it.
  • Seeing my friend's little baby tonight. What a cutie. Way cuter than any of your friend's kids.
  • Finding out that my other friend, who is due in May, is going to have a girl. A girl for whom I will be buying this t-shirt. (If you're easily offended, you do not want to check out the rest of their t-shirt collection. Otherwise, check away, it's pretty amusing.)
  • Going through this weird phase of watching Da Ali G show reruns all the time. Thank you Tivo! (Hey, there's another thing that's not for the easily offended.)
  • Knowing that I am can sleep late tomorrow. And so help me God if anyone tries to do construction work outside my window tomorrow morning. Those construction workers don't want to see me mad. And if the drug dealer upstairs opens up early for business, I won't hesitate to call the Narcotics Squad.

    Believe that yo.

    p.s. Maybe I'll get around to do the Friday Spies (which seem like they're going to require a lot more thought than I can handle right now), maybe I won't. Maybe I'll do it by Saturday, like I did last week. Stay tuned to find out.
  • Hawaii, Here I Come

    American Cities That Best Fit You:

    70% Honolulu
    60% Atlanta
    60% Seattle
    55% Chicago
    55% New York City



    (I found this link at Nudum Pactum.)

    18 Till I Die

    I hate telemarketers, but I really don't mind pollsters. Call me old-fashioned, but I like thinking that maybe someone (besides you, dear blawg readers) cares about my views. Maybe my responses will move everyone to the left just a little bit, if even only until the election.

    I remember when I was a kid, when my parents would hang up on pollsters. "You should've let me answer it!" I would whine.

    Just last week, I was headed to meet friends when my cell phone rang, and a young man promised to only take ten minutes of my time and asked if I would answer a few questions regarding the upcoming local election. And, man, was I pleased that someone wanted to hear what I had to say.

    That's kind of sad, isn't it? That I'm just dying to talk to some stranger just to vent my opinion about the trash on the sidewalks?

    You want to hear something even sadder? Tonight, I answered my home phone and it was a nice young lady from Zogby International calling. Woo Hoo! Another Poll! Now everyone, and I mean everyone, will know what I think about the parking situation. (As in most cities, it's bad, in case you were wondering.)

    Except that then, she asked, "Can I speak to a member of the household who is between the ages of 18 and 24?" WTF? Could it be that I've already grown out of the age that pollsters care about? How sad is that? Where did the time go?

    Friday Spies

    This is yesterday's Friday Spies. A day late and a dollar short, or whatnot. Actually, #2 had me stumped for a while, so I had to give it a little time.

    1. Which Simpsons character are you most like? Lisa. She's loyal, she's smart, she tries to be nice to everyone, she's somewhat introverted, and she's fiercly passionate about the things that matter most to her.

    2. Name a song you hate that is performed by a band you like. Name a song you like by a band you hate. This is hard. Sure, I've had the experience of liking one song by a band, buying the CD (back when I bought CDs), and not liking the rest of the CD - but not hating the band. And sometimes I like a band and they put out a song that I don't really care for, but I don't hate it. Hmm.. I guess I'm not a hater. Anyway... A song I hate by a band I like... I generally like No Doubt/Gwen Stefani/Gwen Stefani featured by whoever, but that "Rich Girl" song just drives me crazy. Stop playing it! Please. It's killing me. And now, a song I like by a band I hate... Ok, I hate Metallica. It's just not my thing. At all. The whole genre is just not my thing. But I like "Enter Sandman." Especially the intro.

    3. What skills do you possess? Nun chuck skills? Computer hacking skills? I can recite the alphabet backwards. I can pick things up with my toes. And I can do this weird singing-almost-like-a-kazoo-type-of-thing with voice. It's more or less unexplainable. Oh, and I'm actually pretty good at the what-cup-is-the-ball-hiding-under game. When it's not just a hoax.

    4. Coen Brothers or Farrelly Brothers? I'll admit that I think that I thought they were the same thing for a while. I'd see a commercial, hear "From the ... brothers" and think to myself, "Oh yeah, I like those director brothers, I'll have to see that." (Blame it on the short attention span.) But, now that I know there's a difference, I know that I prefer the Farrelly brothers. Kingpin was the first movie that made me realize I could appreciate a movie with a really immature sense of humor, and that changed my life. =)

    5. What do you predict will be the worst part(s) of the new Star Wars movie? Fine, one more admission from me. I have no interest whatsoever in the Star Wars thing. I just don't get what all the hype about it is. So I guess the worst part is that I'll have to suffer through commericals for it, and people talking about it, and everything being a tie-in to the new movie. That'll suck.

    P.D. Frustration

    Today I'm feeling annoyed at clients who just do everything humanly possible to make their cases worse.

    You come to them with good advice on how to proceed with their case. Maybe it's a good plea offer, maybe it's a good suggestion on how to proceed on the next court date.

    "No way, I'm not taking that. I've got rights. I'm going to trial. Make them prove it."

    Now, generally, I love the "make them prove it" clients. I wish I had more of them. A lot of clients give up on good cases and take a plea just to get it over with. But this is not one of those situations.

    "Well, if we were to go to trial, I don't think it'd go that well..."

    "I've got rights. I'm going to trial. Make them prove it."

    "Ok, ok, but you made a full confession to the police, right?"

    "Yeah, but make them prove it. None of the police saw it." (As if every case, even paper cases, require an eyewitness.)

    "And you gave them evidence. And you told them where to find other witnesses against you."

    "But the D.A. didn't see me do anything. Make him prove it." (Oh, ok, now someone from the D.A.'s office has to witness every crime. I like that. Write that down.)

    I try to talk my clients into what I think is the right thing to do. I explain the pros and cons, I talk them through what could happen if we go to trial, I explain what the plea would entail. All I can do is give information and guidance, right?

    But, the thing is, I feel like I'm working against a negative perception of public defenders. I wish I could twist this client's arm into taking a plea - to the extent that I can twist a client's arm, but at the same time I feel like I'm walking some imaginary boundary that keeps me from being that public defender who just wants to "cop everyone out."

    "You get paid whether I go to trial or not. So what do you care? I'm not copping out." This client told me today.

    "I care because I don't like to see my clients go to jail. And that's what would happen after trial."

    "Oh, now you're threatening me with jail if I don't cop out." As if the threat is coming from me. Yup, I just came up with that to force you take a plea.

    I try to analogize my position to that of a doctor - you don't like the advice that I'm giving, but it's my advice of what is going to be best for you. But, the truth is, the doctor has the advantage of science and things that are a lot more predictable than D.A.'s offers and jury verdicts and sentencing decisions. A doctor can say "I know you don't want to get this surgery, but if you don't there's a 60 (or 70, or 80) percent chance that you'll die." The best I can say is "If you don't take this plea, the D.A. probably will never offer anything better, and the case most likely won't get dismissed on speedy trial grounds or after hearings, and you'll almost definitely lose after trial, and then the judge could give you 2-4 years in prison." It's easy to see why, with all of these words that sound so indefinite, a client might say "Let's go for it."

    And, when a doctor says "If you don't get this surgery, you're likely to die," that death cannot possibly be construed as the doctor's fault. If you don't take the doctor's advice, you die, but not because the doctor did anything wrong (besides fail to convince you.) But when my client hears my pitch, he hears "If you don't take this plea, I'm probably not a good enough negotiator to get the D.A. to offer you something better. And I'm such a bad lawyer, I'll most likely lose the hearings, even though a 'real lawyer' would probably win. And, I'm so bad I'll almost definitely mess up your trial. And after I just fail to make any pitch whatsoever, the judge could punish you for having the bad job that I did giving you 2-4 years."

    Of course the client never hears "If you don't take this plea, the crime you committed is so serious, that you'll probably never get a better offer from the D.A. And the evidence against you - the evidence you handed over to the police is so strong that you will almost definitely lose at trial. And the severity of the crime you committed, along with your mess of a criminal record means that the judge could give you 2-4 years." Nah, that would require taking some responsibility.

    I wonder how many doctors stay up at night worrying about that patient that didn't schedule the follow up that was suggested. I guess one difference is that, for all the doctor knows, the patient could have gone to another doctor or walked into another hospital for treatment. I know this client is stuck with me until I go to the judge and request otherwise.

    It's easy to feel like I just want to give up. Fine, jerk, we'll go to trial, you'll lose, you'll go to prison, and I'll go out and eat a big delicious dinner on the salary that I make whether I win or lose, and then go home to my big comfy bed. No big loss for me. I don't need to twist your arm.

    But that's not the right thing to do either. I feel like there is no right thing. Ugh, I am so frustrated. At least it's Friday.

    "For most people, Friday's just the day before the weekend. But after this Friday, the neighborhood'll never be the same."

    Minus the Sticky Fingers

    Have you tried Jones Soda Co. in Cream Soda flavor? It tastes just like cotton candy. I wouldn't be able to drink too much of it, but it sure it yummy.

    Image Hosting

    Now that I'm finally figuring out the digital camera, I'd like some suggestions for a free or cheap digital photo hosting and/or organizing website.

    I'm envisioning something that allows me to organize my photos into something like albums, so that my family and friends can look through them.

    Anyone have one they want to endorse?

    Book Meme

    I got this book meme from chickenmagazine, so I'll give it a whirl. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm mostly a pop fiction reader, with the exception of just a few biographies. I like mysteries, sometimes true crime, and girly "chick lit." (Does any of this surprise you?) There's not really a place in this survey for favorite books (since those aren't what I'd necessarily want on a desert island), so maybe someday I'll get around to just posting a list of favorite books. And with that, here goes...

    1. You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be saved? I don't mean to overanalyze, but I'm not sure I get this question. I read F451 a long time ago, for school, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to pick some actual book that was mentioned in F451 that needs saving, or just name a favorite book that I wouldn't want burned. I can't remember, were they burning all books in F451, or just some? And should I only pick books that would've been around before F451. I mean, I think Harry Potter would've been burned in F451, if they had heard of him by then. But they hadn't. Whatever, I'll pick... Go Ask Alice. I figure it might be considered a ban-worthy book, but I read it as a kid and I think that it changed my life and made me good and afraid of drugs back in those pre-DARE days.

    2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Yes, I can't remember exactly which book or who, but I remember going through a pre-teen phase of reading those "young adult" romance novels and definitely feeling some pre-teen crush feelings.

    3. The last book you purchased? I get a lot of books from friends or from the library, but I bought Middlesex last month. That was a really interesting book. On that same shopping trip I also bought The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc, which I haven't read yet.

    4. What are you currently reading? I'm only a few pages into Tears of the Giraffe (the second book in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series). I read the first book (No.1 Ladies Detective Agency) last month, not knowing it was part of a series. I loved it, so now I want to read the rest of the books.

    5. Five books you would take to a deserted island? The first thing that comes to my mind is The Bible. It's long, it has a lot of stories, it would keep me busy for a while, and it would keep me hopeful of some kind of miracle. Along the same lines, I was thinking that it might be a good time to tackle a book like War & Peace and Crime & Punishment, that I'd probably never get around to reading if it weren't for being stuck on a desert island. I'd definitely want The Complete Works of O. Henry, because I love the stories and I might need a little light entertainment and short stories while working my way through the longer books. I also want a copy of Life of Pi - in case I ever get restless and consider building a raft. (Along this line, books that almost made the list are The Lord of the Flies, in case I'm not there alone, or some books on democracy, in case we got around to setting up a system of government. But I vetoed that and decided that if there are other people on the island, I will appoint myself Princess so that I can sit around reading my novels all day.)

    Now, I think I'm supposed to name a few people who should do this on their blog. I figure that most people that want to do it probably already have, and those who haven't might not have wanted to, so I'll just make it an open invitation. If you're on my blogroll, I'd like to see what you books you choose.

    Saturday, In the Park

    As I wandered through the park today, I stopped to take in a few minutes of a tee-ball game.

    First, let me set the scene. The outfield was empty. The infield had maybe about 12 little kids and a few dads. A couple of kids stood at each base, one or two were on the pitcher's mound (even though there was no pitching involved), and the rest were scattered around the infield.

    The one thing that surprised me was just how many strikes there are in tee-ball. You'd think... well, the ball is right there... but, it's still early in the season, I suppose. (I feel like I've been reciting that a lot lately.) The kids in the infield stood just like they see their favorite players stand on t.v., hands on knees, feet wide apart, leaning forward as though they're eager to get their hands on the ball.

    Stirke after strike the kids waited. Execept one of the kids on the pitchers mound. "Quit playing with the sand!" someone's mother kept yelling.

    And, finally, a hit. And all of the little infielders showed just how eager they were. All 12 ran to the ball which had rolled slowly toward the mound. All 12 leapt on it and, for just a few seconds, fought over the ball. Finally, one little boy emerged with the ball.

    Either because there was no one near the base to throw it to, or because he just wasn't sure what to do, he held onto the ball. And chased after the runner, just a few steps behind. They ran, just like that, all the way home.

    And, just like that, I had seen my very first homerun that was not just in-the-park but also in-the-infield. Amazing. Thank goodness for spring.

    1 Blonde Public Interest Lawyer for Sale, Asking $2.5M

    I am worth $2,508,970.00 on HumanForSale.com

    That is, in fact, more than not guilty. I'm amazed.

    And just barely enough to sell myself and cover my student loans. So, where do I go to cash in?

    (In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't know what to put for the question "What is your rating on face the jury?" I just couldn't see taking some other quiz just to answer this quiz. So I put 10. I mean, I know real juries like me, so that's gotta count for something.)

    Excuse my language, but...

    What's the deal with "Fuckin' A?"

    Have you heard this before? Am I spelling it right - maybe it's "fuckin' aye?" What does the "A" stand for?

    And most importantly, what does it mean?

    I ask this because I've heard people say it to mean both "Right on!" and "That sucks!" Is it possible that this is an all-purpose dirty word phrase?

    What's the deal with that?

    Chris Klein Arrested for DUI

    Actually, it happened, like, two months ago. And no one noticed. Or maybe they just didn't care.

    I will say one thing though. That boy is one of the few people that can still look good in a DUI mugshot. (Most of my clients, especially the DUI clients, look like they just suffered through really rough night in their mugshot.)

    Of couse, I'd argue that it's not because he's photogenic, but because he just wasn't that drunk.

    Live-In Closets

    You know, a few weeks ago I was a little surprised and confused when alaskablawg mentioned a case that invovled someone living in a closet. Hmmm... how could that be?

    Well, here's another one. I guess this isn't that uncommon.

    I'm guessing it just doesn't happen in big cities, though, where storage space is at a premium.

    The One Where I Write About TV

    Work has been exciting and busy, but not really blog-able, so instead I will write about what I know second best... TV.

    A lot of my favorite shows are done forever (Newlyweds) or for the season (Monk, Real World Philadelphia, Ashlee Simpson) or until who knows when (Foster's, Harvey Birdman). This gives me time to check out new shows (and to watch baseball). Also, in an amazing turn of events, I now get every cable channel. Which means I have a lot of movie viewing to catch up on. And you can read about it all right here.

    Anyway, here are a few of the shows that I'm newly interested in.

    Intervention - This A&E show is a documentary which includes addicts of every type (drug, shopping, gambling, self mutilation), follows the addict to show how their problem effects their life, contains interviews with families and friends, and then, finally, the addict is confronted at an intervention. The addict has the difficult choice of going into treatment immediately or having all ties to the intervening families and friends severed. The families and friends, with the help of an "interventionist," have the difficult task of sticking with the intervention plan. It's an interesting show - some of the addicts have been really receptive to the idea of treatment, while others are more resistant.

    One criticism that I read of the show was that it glosses over the treatment process and instead implies that once a person decides to go into treatment, the hard part is done. I don't agree, I think that Intervention admittedly focuses on only one part of the recovery process.

    Some of the addicts have come from highly successful and promising backgrounds - one was a White House intern, another lost his million dollar home and was living on rooftops. To me, the most fascinating part is the familial relationships and how they are effected by the addiction. Although I know it's much more complicated that this, it's also frustrating to see how far their families have "let" them go. In one episode, a 20-something guy's parents had sold their home to cover their son's gambling debts, and although he continued to gamble, his parents had a difficult time standing up to him at an intervention.

    Showdogs Moms & Dads - Bravo, the network that brought you Showbiz Moms & Dads, now presents this hit which brings "Best in Show" to reality TV. Basically, all of these crazy dog owners obsess over their dogs (mating them, training them to jump through hoops, and dressing them in tutus) and their own dreams of glory in winning a dog show title. No matter how pathetic your life is, this show is guaranteed to make you happy that at least you're not that big of a loser. My favorite is definitely the woman who is always looking for an opportunity to say the word "bitch." Referring to her female dog, of course.

    Trippin' - Cameron Diaz (I can never tell. Is she stoned or not?) takes other celebrity friends on trips around the world in an eco-tourism, learn-about-other-cultures, and learn-about-global-issues show mixed with the celebrity-reality-tv genre, aimed to bring National Geographic's Worlds Apart to the MTV audience. Worlds Apart (there's another show for the "who knows when it will return" list) was better, but Trippin' is cute enough to be deemed worth watching.

    The Stair Case - Yet another documentary, this one on Sundance Channel follows the real life case of Michael Peterson and the mystery surrounding the death of his wife in Durham, N.C. If you know how it ends, don't tell me. I'm doing everything I can to resist google-ing the case as it is. This is fascinating, especially because it gives me an opportunity to see how people with money can work up a case. Focus Groups? Re-enactments? Henry Lee? Must be nice.

    Alright, go set up your TiVo-brand digital recording device. I'll try to have more written here by the time you get back.

    Do It How? Where?

    Check out this t-shirt from glarkware.

    Fever Pitch, A "Trick Flick"

    And now I will give you my review of Fever Pitch, a movie that I saw in sneak preview this weekend. First, a few facts. One, I am not a Red Sox fan. In fact, I am, how shall we say... the opposite. Two, I took the boyfriend with me, so maybe you'll get a little of his opinion too. (Ok, fine, he took me. Whatever.)

    Jimmy Fallon plays the main character, a big Boston fan. Some say Fallon got this role because of the role he had played as Sully, also a Sox fan, on SNL. In real life, you'll be happy to know, Fallon is not a Red Sox fan. Basically, the plot is that he's having a cute little happy romance with Drew Barrymore, until opening day comes along, and he just can't seem to put her before the Red Sox.

    If you're a baseball fan, you can relate to this. It's an intensive season. It's not like football where they play once a week. Baseball teams play 5 or 6 days a week. This makes it hard to do other things, like study for the bar, or, you know, have a regular job. It's convenient then that Ben (played by Fallon) is a school teacher and has the summer off.

    The movie is directed by the Farrelly brothers, so you can count on some humorous moments. But it also has a fair share of sappy romantic comedy moments.

    First, just a few criticisms. There were also a few things that I also felt were almost amateurly done, which was strange. For example, the movie uses title screens to transition, such as "The First Date." I just think that a decent director could show us that this is the first date (can't we all recognize a first date when we see one? I recognize it if there's people having a first date next to me in a restaurant) without the little title shots. It took away from the movie.

    When I'm at a movie, I want to be engrossed in it, and I felt like this gave me just a moment to lose that feeling and start thinking things like, "Did I call that client back? Maybe I brought his number home, I can call over the weekend... Oh wait, I'm at the movies. What's going on? Oh yeah, their first date. Good thing we had that title screen there."

    There were also a few lines that I felt were awkward. I can't remember the exact lines now, but I think if you see the movie you'll know what I'm talking about. There were lines by Lindsey (Barrymore) where I remember thinking, "Ok, that was written in that awkward style because that's how Drew Barrymore talks sometimes. " But it wasn't natural for Barrymore's character, Lindsey, who is supposed to be a professional businesswoman. It was just a few lines, but it distracted me a little bit.

    Ione Skye plays a small role in the movie, and it was nice to see her again. I haven't really seen her in anything since Wayne's World, and, of course, Say Anything.

    It was also interesting because I remember a little bit of press when they were filming the movie - I remember that they invited fans to stay in the stands as extras after the games. (I'm only giving things away here if you don't follow baseball or the media at all.) I also remember there being some press that they were reshooting the ending after the Sox won. And, I remember on the actual broadcast of the world series (I'm not giving anything away if you watched the world series), there was a brief shot of Fallon and Barrymore on the field, celebrating with the players. This was shot for the rewrite. So, it was kind of cool to watch it and think about how the movie would have ended if the rewrite wasn't necessary, and at what point the directors had to start filming actual games, thinking that they were going to incorporate them into a new ending. That was kind of cool.

    Overall, I thought the movie was cute. I liked it. I felt a little dirty afterward, like I'd been cheering for the Red Sox, but if you can overcome that, it's a cute date movie.

    Mom wants to know, "Will I like it if I don't know baseball?" Well, first of all, I told her, maybe it's a good time to get yourself out from under that rock and learn something about baseball. Although, maybe not from this movie. Because then you're going to learn that Boston doesn't suck, and we all know from reading my t-shirt collection, that Boston, does, in fact, suck. Anyway, yeah, if you like a cute romantic comedy, or if you just like to see Drew Barrymore, you can enjoy this without knowing anything about baseball. I just don't want you getting it into your head that you can learn something about baseball from this movie. Because you can't.

    Ok, guys, want the boyfriend's opinion? He calls this kind of movie a "trick flick." This is a term he coined for a movie which is like a chick flick, only worse, because it tricks you into thinking it's not. He says that it's fine if a movie is advertised as a chick flick, because maybe he'll get dragged to it, but then at least we're both on the same page that he saw this chick flick for me, and I, therefore, owe him the next time he wants to see something stupid. But a trick flick, he argues, skews that negotiation because we walk into the movie thinking we're seeing something for both of us (here, some baseball, some comedy, and maybe a little romance), but he was tricked, because it had more romantic comedy elements than expected.

    "It all stared with Jerry Maguire," he says. "They got you in there with a trailer full of football clips, and then you see the movie and it's 5% sports, 95% sappy romance. That's a trick flick."

    So, in sum, yes, it's a chick flick. And a trick flick. But it's cute, and it's funny. Maybe you'll get a few more of the jokes if you follow baseball, but you won't be lost if you don't. Barrymore and Fallon are cute. But, through it all, just remember, Boston sucks.

    Obit Writers Remembered

    Alright, let's see if Blogger is back up and running. This time, though, I'm saving whatever I write somehow before I push publish.

    So, it's really been a big news week. And a big week for obituary writers: Terri Schiavo, Johnny Cochran, The Pope... On Thursday, when Schiavo died, my mother asked, "What are they going to talk about on the news now?" I guess that question has been answered.

    Sometimes I joke that, "I'll always have a job because there will always be crime." You could say that's pessimistic, and someday hopefully there won't be as much crime so we won't need as many criminal defense lawyers, but even if you take that approach, that's a few years down the road, and by then I'll have quite a bit of experience and I still won't be out of a job.

    Anyway, this week I started to wonder whether obit writers will always have a job. I read an article in Smithsonian Magazine a while back about obit writers. It explained how obits have changed over the years. In the past, obits were strictly factual accounts of dates, information about the funeral, family members, and major accomplishment. Now, obits are more likely to have colorful accounts of the deceased's life. And I saw this a lot with the memorials of 9/11 victims that ran in the NY Times. Many contained observations like "He loved a good practical joke," or "He was always on the hunt for the perfect slice of pizza." I liked this, I felt like it really humanized the subjects.

    I guess the question of whether obit writers will always have a job, really hinges on whether there will always be actual hard copy newspapers. Some people have said for years that there will come a time when everyone reads their news online, or downloads it to their palm to read on the train, or listens to a podcast. And that's definitely happening, but I wonder to what extent it's effected the publication of paper newspapers.

    Because I've had this thought, that when or if we come to a time when all news is in an online format, that obits will become more blog-like. When a friend or loved one dies, they will make a website. A friend or loved one will post their name, the perfunctory facts, and a photo. Then, anyone else can visit and leave comments - the colorful stuff that they remember, or even photos that they have.

    I think that people are finding more modern ways to grieve. We see this with the t-shirts some people make to memorialize a friend - they usually feature a photo, their birth and death dates, and somtimes a quote by the deceased or friends' quotes about the deceased. This is a new type of obituary.

    A few funerals that I've been to have even had a photo collage of the deceased. In the past, a funeral home might display one or two framed photos, but now people are putting up an easel with a photo collage. I think this is nice, especially if the deceased was elderly or ill, because it helps everyone to remember them at a happier time, and remember them as an active person. It's also probably theraputic for the family or friends who sift through their photo albums (and memories) to choose their favorites photos for the collage.

    It would be nice if someday it came to this, not that I want to see obit writers out of a job, but it would be more appropriate if memorials were assembled by those who actual remember the deceased.

    Drug Problem

    Yesterday, I went to court on a case where my client had been sentenced to complete a drug program as part of his case. That was about a year ago, and in the past year she's done a lot to get herself clean and stay clean.

    For the past year, she's come to court about once a month, to show documentation from the program. I usually meet up with her in the hallway, I ask how things are going, she says good, she shows me the paperwork from the program, I read it over to make sure it's all good, I show it to the judge, and she gets a date to come back the following month. Over the course of the year, I've also heard updates on her family, her job search, and how she's progressed in getting an education. It's finally been a year, and yesterday was my client's last update at the court.

    "Well, since it's my last day, you don't think the judge will care if I had a positive urine?"
    "What?" I was shocked. After a year of staying clean, and just when it was finally going to be over...

    "April Fools!"

    She really had me going for a minute there.

    Friday Spies

    I will definitely be answering the Friday Spies this week (courtesy of Milbarge at BTQ), particularly beacuse one of the questions is particularly relevant for me today. Here we go...

    1. Have you ever been in a car wreck? Yes, unfortunately. First, when I was in 6th grade, my best friend and I went to the school dance and we thought it was very very cool that her older sister, who was in high school, was going to pick us up from the dance. (While everyone else had to get in their moms' minivans.) It turns out that their father was right in saying that she wasn't ready to drive by herself, and, basically, someone else pulled out in front of her and she just didn't stop. Not really her fault, but in retrospect, her inexperience as a driver may have been a factor - I don't know if a more experienced driver could've avoided the accident. No one was hurt (I had a bruise on my hip from the seatbelt), but my best friend's sister got in big trouble for taking the car out by herself at night, which was against dad's rules.

    And the second and last "wreck" (we're not counting fender benders here) was exactly six years ago today, on April 1st. I was on a rainy wet road (there was actually a tornado!), trying to pull a jammed tape out of a tape player, and I completely rear-ended the car in front of me and totalled my car. It was bizarre for many reasons. First, a tornado is kind of bizarre. It hit about a block from where I had my accident. Second, I was just running out for something and was more or less wearing my pajamas (I think I had on a t-shirt, boxer shorts, and had pulled a sweatshirt over the ensemble) - to this day, I will not drive even a block without getting fully dressed. So, I'm hanging out waiting for the police in my pjs. Then, the driver I hit was about 90 years old and he told me that he had just had open heart surgery the week before, and he had the oxygen tube under his nose. But he was calm and polite to me. When the police came a half-hour later, he decided that he wanted to go to the hospital because, even though he felt fine, he wanted to get his heart checked out. But the cop kept telling me, "You'd better hope he doesn't die. You're looking at a vehicular homicide here." WTF? In the end, I didn't even get a ticket. (The "good cop" showed up and decided that since there was a tornado, the accident was probably out of my control.) And, then, finally, I called my parents, scared to death that I was going to be arrested for vehicular homicide or something, and my mother said, "Blonde, I don't have time for your April Fools" and hung up. How's that for a good story?

    2. Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise. It probably means more to me because I'm just not up to see it that often.

    3. If you could change, amend, delete, or pass one law, what would it be? Just one law? But there are so many things that need changing! But I guess if I only got one, I'd get rid of the death penalty. We don't really need to act so barbaric, do we?

    4. What is your favorite single article of clothing? Do sandals count as clothing? I love my plain tan 2-strap sandals. Aaah, with jeans, with a sundress, with anything, that's my favorite. If sandals don't count, I've got a comfy white tank-top that I love, I wear with suits, with jeans, with anything. Maybe jeans, that's a common thread here. Oh wait, the question said "single." Oops.

    5. If you could/had to spend the day hanging out with another blogger (one you don't already know), who would it be and what would you do? I'm not sure who, but I think I'd have to pick another defense attorney, because there's nothing I love more than exchanging war stories and hearing how these things work in the rest of the country. I've decided on alaskablawg, because I'm also kind of fascinated with Alaska and this whole rural-living thing. And moose.