Wednesday, January 25, 2012

my beatdown in court


I arrive in court 10 minutes late with a pile of sheets in hand, out of breath.
Today was the day justice would be served.
I was confident and feeling assured when I strode into the hushed courtroom.
Two months earlier I was wrongfully pulled over by a state trooper on the Garden State Parkway and given a ticket for "use of handheld device". The thing is, I was holding it in my hand because my iphone is also the remote control for my music collection which gets piped through the bluetooth speakers in the car.
So I looked up the law and saw that it said "no phone or texting or use of communcations..", printed it out along with my phone and text records which show that no calls were made nor texts sent at the time I was pulled over and was ready to defend myself.
I walked in and looked around a about 400 occupied chairs and people standing along the side and back walls.
I shelved my apology for coming late and stood there a bit bewildered.
All eyes were on the man sitting high above all others in a long black robe. The name plate oh his desk identified him as Judge Thompson.
There was an intimidating looking sergeant standing in front of him in a smart looking uniform, bald head and a stern mouth stuck in the half-frown position.
The judge was conducting the room like an orchestra. A parade of defendants would take their place before him and he'd open up their files, quickly look over them and start talking in a monotonous voice.
"Sir, you're aware of the charges against you..?"
"You can either settle it in court today for $750, or you have the right to an attorney..blah blah blah"
He was clearly enjoying his job and power. He had this passive aggressive and very condescending demeanor.
I was getting angrier and angrier as he just strong armed hapless defendant after hapless defendant into filling the city coffers (the coffers that pay his salary!).
I finally found a seat.
As much as the room keeps emptying it still looks full.
Someone cellphone rings, half frowned Sergeant in the front scowls.
Starting to get really hungry.
All proceedings stopped as a screen with a live hookup to the county jail is revealed. One by one a line of black males stand before the unflattering camera with their cases. The judge is clearly enjoying this.
Apparently it's easier to be condescending when the victim is not in front of you.
The room breaks into laughter sporadically.
Abused becomes abuser.
I'm starting to get dizzy.
A smart dressed young man gets up, but something about him is different. He doesn't have that defeated, submissive look to him.
The judge is visibly agitated.
Bald headed, half frown, smart uniform clenches his jaw.
The judge dictates his terms to him.
"Pay $900 in fines today and avoid possible suspension of license..blah blah"
The smartly dressed guy opens his mouth to say something....
The judge cuts him off.
"Trust me, this is what you want!"
The lady next to me chuckles. She's not the only one.
I want to vomit.
There are about 100 of us left.
The judge addresses all of us. He's talking so rapidly I can barely make out a word.
I hear "work it out with the prosecuter.."
"$250 surcharge.."
"$35 court fees.."
"plea deals....guilty...trial..."
My hands are getting clammy, my mouth is dry. I'm starting to re-think my strategy.
The judge walks out.
My head is spinning.
We are warned not to leave.
The walls are caving in on me.
A 6'3" black guy with his pants magically floating 5 inches above his knees is walking/dancing slowly up the aisle burping and yelling out "I'm goin'na trial baby.."
A 50 something year old ex marine is jawing with the insolent black guy now..telling him to "shut up before he ****** his ****** up his *****"
I put in a silent prayer to God for an all out brawl to break out.
God doesn't listen to my prayer.
The walls are spinning. I need food.
The prosecutor starts calling out names...
He's up to my letter in the alphabet.
My name.
I stand up and walk toward the front under the watchful gaze of bald, half frowning Sergeant.
I sit in front of a hulking Police captain. He looks at my file, runs his hand through his hair and looks up at me.
My eyesight is going blurry.
I focus in on coal black eyes.
"There are no points for this ticket, why are you here?"
I answered weakly, "because I'm not guilty.."
He looked at me strangely, as if I had just told him "Because I'm a parsley".
I tell him that I wasn't using my phone it to communicate just as an mp3 player.
He turned to the prosecutor sitting beside him and inquired about that.
The prosecutor looked at me sternly and said "that's also illegal".
I started replying and opening my papers.
He looked at me again through his metal glasses that made his eyes look bigger than they actually were and said,"you're arguing with me?"
The Captain was staring at me.
The Sergeant came over to the table to see what was going on.
They all looked so healthy and well fed.
The prosecutor continued, "you could wait for the judge to come back, plead not guilty when your turn comes, then get a trial date, spend another day here, and if you lose you'll have to pay double the fine, plus $250 and court fees."
The eyes glaring at me, the hunger pangs and the bright white walls were all pleading for me to concede.
My heart was racing, I was just dealt an uppercut and could feel the energy draining out of me.
I felt a last reserve of strength come out of nowhere, I suddenly felt like the lead character in a film of one little man's stand against injustice and "the system".
I was about to say something...when the Captain looked at me and winked with half a smile and said "come on David, it's just $130 I'll walk you to the window.."

I was beaten.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Predeterminism vs Free Will


I believe in Predeterminism and I also believe in Free Will.

How is that possible?

I believe the idea of absolute freedom of choice is so scary to people, that very few of us really exercise that freedom.

So the predetermined script remains largely untouched.

If you're holding a knife and talking to your friend, your script not stab him. But the frightening reality is that you absolutely CAN stab him if you exercise your free will. So the script remains.....

It's quite simple..


Friday, January 13, 2012

Yiddish iz nisht dead

Once upon a time there was a very charming and expressive language, if not elegant, called Yiddish.
It was a very organic language that grew out of the reality of the Jewish experience in Eastern Europe. It went on to become the national language of our people both religious and otherwise.
When one hears an old man or women telling over stories "fin der heim" in Yiddish with all the inflections and subtleties that come along with it on can almost smell and taste the atmosphere being described.
These days, Yiddish feels very forced. Like it's a language we kind of need to speak if you're chassidish or really yeshivish. The flavor is gone though and slowly but surely the words are disappearing as well until what we're left with is English with Yiddish grammar rules.

Enter Exhibit A: The above advertisement appeared in a local rag a few weeks ago. For those that cannot read Hebrew lettering, it transliterates to REDY IN STOK TZI DELIVERIN. For those that don't know Yiddish that translates roughly into READY IN STOCK TO DELIVER.

Now the sidebar does have a Yiddish word "Etliche" which means Several but then is followed by SIZES and STYLES both of which have Yiddish translations.

Vut Kenn You Say?


Sunday, January 08, 2012

inside, outside


I splash water
on my face
....brown eyes
tiptoe past
peaceful rooms
with small beds
..and long lashes
to the kitchen my morning coffee
across the table
from.....her place
and..I just want to write
a poem to that space
..and to the coffee
and the lashes

..that's usually
when I notice (him)
out the window (his) car
just watching
with the saddest
brown eyes
I have ever


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

a meditation for trying times


If I didn't acknowledge peoples absolute autonomy and freedom to make their own choices, then my own choices would be meaningless.

-David On The Lake

When observing those strange creatures around you, otherwise known as Other People, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

If other peoples actions start to effect your core than it's time to pack up and leave, like a firefighter who when trying to save a trapped person realizes that he's walking into a death trap and certain death, turns around and concedes.
As difficult as it may be to watch "frum" people behave like bafoons I need to disengage from the reflex to want to somehow control.
My equilibrium remains blissfully intact.
I must become an island and lift the drawbridge and realize that the universe is really ME.
I am not bound to anyones beliefs nor am I bound to the very own beliefs that I held yesterday.
I am a bastion of freedom and every moment represents a new decision to live the life I choose.
What any one else does also ONLY exists because of and in the manner that I allow it into my universe.
The simple truth is that every single impression, idea, vision, piece of conciousness that I possess MUST come through me in order to exist for me.

I have absolutely no idea what anyone else's God looks like. Even if we share the basic building blocks of Gods form ie. father, merciful, loving, judging... I have no way of knowing that the building blocks themselves are the same in my mind as they are in the next persons. Say the word "father". To one person it might conjure up sweet loving images and to another, harsh, strict and intimidating.
So in essence every person has their own private religion. So why do we become so bogged down by what others do in the name of their religion?
That means that no one else's God or religion need effect me at all, no matter how eerilie similar it appears to my own.

So I watch people do the most absurd things and it just doesn't effect me at all. On the contrary it just bolsters this idea we are all individual bastions of freedoms making our own choices and living with the consequences.

So, all you bloggers, comment writers, slaves of news and others I ask that you stop pulling your hair out because of other peoples actions. Stop groveling and apologizing and being so dependent on other people for your inner peace. Lift up the drawbridge and become an island of faith.

Put yourself at the center of the universe because you're already there.


Sunday, January 01, 2012

shampoo review


I don't usually do product reviews but I need to tell you about this amazing new shampoo I've been using.
It's 2 in 1 Volumizing Shampoo by Pert.

As a matter of fact it's so potent...those 2 bottles in the picture were the SAME size when I bought them just a week ago!