Tip: State Court Jury Duty and bored? There’s Scrabble and Backgammon in the coat closet

I phoned in and listened to the recorded message thinking I hope I don’t really have to be paying attention to any of this. No, such luck. Yes, I know it’s my sacred civic duty so tar and feather me already but one of the last things I wanted to do was to be honored with the privilege of jury duty. We’re self-employed and homeschooling. My husband would have had to cancel his studio session today in order to stay home with H.o.p. but his brother, who had just moved down from NY Saturday (“The most frightening thing in the world is waking up and realizing I moved to Atlanta”) dropped by Sunday evening and offered to babysit. Also, H.o.p. was concerned with mom having to go to a government building. He hears enough about the government that concern is the first response (no, not shame on me, shame on them) upon learning that mom is going down to a government building. (“It’s all right, sweetie.” “But President Bush is in the government building.” “Not this government building.”) The kind of concern that isn’t assuaged when he says, “Don’t go!” and I say but I must and he demands why and I tell him the not-so-fine print that the government will hit me with a hefty fine or submit a bench warrant for my arrest if I don’t go, which means a court date regardless. I mean, they make jury duty so inviting in the first place, don’t they? If instead you opened your mail to “Summoning the Honor of Your Presence for coffee and homemade blueberry muffins with prosecution, defense and judge” then I’d feel a bit differently about it, more relaxed, even if the fine-print said the coffee and muffins would be at my own expense. Send me a blue slip that says Summons for State Court Jury Duty 8:15 a.m. Monday or you’re arrested and I get testy.

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Confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech

Betty’s winning job interview. Picture courtesy of H.o.p.

Sat down at the computer at 2:30 and though I’d been working continually with no goofing somehow after three hours I’d not managed to get much done at all when H.o.p. puts on one of his new Betty Boop DVDs and Marty sits down to watch after a minute and says hey come look at this twisted bit of Boop-oop-ee-doo in which Betty is sexually harassed by her employer, calls the police and ends up making out with the boss.

I ask H.o.p. to play it from the beginning as I figure it’s best not to remark upon until I’ve seen the whole seven minutes — and found the tale’s slightly more convoluted.

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At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.’

Portrait of Roxie
Portrait of Roxie

Portrait of Roxie displaying curiosity
Portrait of Roxie Displaying Curiosity, digital photo

Portrait of Roxie
Portrait of Roxie
View On White

H.o.p.: “If you don’t get me hot chili right now I will bring you chili with jam in it and peanut butter and cockroaches!”

H.o.p. missed the point that if he could bring me chili with jam and peanut butter and cockroaches in it then he would not have to be asking me for it in the first place. Seven-year-olds and critical reasoning look at each other askance. I could make this a political or cultural segue but…

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Slaughterhouse Five probably had a drain in the floor too

I was going to start out with fun stuff, how H.o.p. and Marty went to see “The Adventures of Mighty Bug” at The Center for Puppetry Arts today, but on my way to get a link to the website I stopped in for some news and happened on this, a new old news story on Manadel al-Jamadi, a ghost detainee (ie. held secretly) of the CIA whose November 2003 obituary was a matter of photos showing Abu Ghraib guards giving a thumbs-up over his abused, ice-packed corpse. The new news is that he died in one of the prison shower rooms, during a half-hour of questioning, while being suspended by his wrists with his hands cuffed behind his back. He had already been roughed over by SEALS before turned over to the CIA interrogator and Abu Ghraib guards, his autopsy showing several broken ribs. It’s reported that when he was discovered to be dead, his shackles undone, lowered from his hanging position, that blood gushed from his mouth as if a faucet had been cut on.

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Back then “free” was a powerful word and the little arm hairs tingled positive not negative

More on Ward Churchill. Brief bio that calls to mind (for me) Lucas’ “American Grafitti”, a film that I am reminded of about once every two years at most so it’s not like my brain’s short list of synonyms equates all things 50s and 60s with Ron Howard.

H.o.p. doing his online reading program becomes mostly phys ed. He props elbows on desk, chin in left hand, and looks to levitate, one foot then two feet leaving the ground as they travel up the chair on which I’m seated behind him. A swivel chair. Knees dangle in the air, one foot on the seat pushing me back and forth and around, digging sharp toenails into the tops of my bare feet (me having regressed to a seated fetal position), the other foot kicking up toward my face. This lasts only as long as it takes to click an answer on the mouse, about two to three seconds, then he plants feet on the ground and turns, opens mouth wide and happily roars, jamming his tonsils in my face. Then turns back to the computer, elbows on desk, chin in left hand, feet again climbing the chair, the air, air dancing like Fred Astaire, toenails digging into my flesh, as he clicks the next answer then again down, turns and roars his tonsils in my face. In the meanwhile, a Flaming Lips song repeats itself endlessly, courtesy of H.o.p.

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A song for Godzilla : Billy Pilgrim

A Song for Godzilla
A Song for Godzilla, digital photo
Enlarge light box link

A difficult decision whether to do this one in the Toyland Chronicle Series or The Child Experiments series. This is a H.o.p. and me co-production. He wanted me to take the photos of him playing with Godzilla, photos he was partly staging, and so we went across the street where we could take photos with the parking garage in the background. I like the way the clouds carry in them a hint of flame, while there is something still very innocent about the photo of a child’s play time with the figure.

H.o.p. and Marty are watching the ludicrous Hollywood remake of Wim Wender’s “Wings of Desire”. Earlier it was old Porky Pig cartoons (courtesy of my dad). “That’s the scottie from ‘Lady and the Tramp’,” H.o.p. said, and he was right. I don’t know when that particular Warner Brothers Porky cartoon was done but would have been some years in advance of the Disney, and there was the same little gruff scottie.

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