Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I watched Napoleon Dynamite for the second time last night, and hot damn that's a fine film. Makes me wanna practice my dance moves and hurl pieces of steak at my little brother. As I was discussing last night with The Pea, Napoleon is such a brilliant character not just because he's a nerd or a geek (actually, I'm not sure he demonstrates enough brain power to be put in the geek category), but because he's just so freaking weird. Whoever wrote that movie had a strong feel for the freak undercurrent which exists at every major high school in this country- kids who are pretty much living on a different page everyone else around them and connecting with other people only in a tangential way. Napoleon's victories come in establishing friendships and convincing other people that his bizarre worldview has something to offer.

OK, enough overanalysis of Napoleon Dynamite.

Sorry about the sort of downer posting yesterday re: Hunter S. That guy has just always been a teensy bit of a hero to me, so I was bummed and a little angry to hear about him shooting himself. On the other hand, Thompson got to choose how he was going to go out, and may have saved himself a lot of pain. His remains may apparently be disposed of via a method which my brother has long sworn to adopt at his own funeral:

Of course, if they do this with Ryan, they're gonna need a bigger cannon.

Given the recent rains out in Cali, I'm a little worried about long time friend and former classmate Erin Boyd (formerly Stewart) who may or may not have been washed out to see by mudslides or avalanches. I would like to think that if Erin was washed out to sea, she probably befriended some hyper-sentient sea cucumbers and/or starfish who gently deposited her, unharmed, back onto the beach (following a lovely undersea gala, thrown in her honor). Either that or Erin's lying face down in a tidal pool somewhere. Hopefully not.

I am supposed to go visit a client out at the Del Valle jail that I helped represent (along with Pat Ganne) on a murder case 6 years ago. We beat this guy's murder rap, and then Judge Perkins turned around and revoked him on a drug possession and had him locked up for 6 years. That was a pretty chickenshit move by Perkins, in my opinion, but then again, there were a lot of allegations that our little probationer had been out running around with the Texas Syndicate and waving guns at people.
I felt ok about helping this guy on the murder case because: 1) it was never clear that he was the one who shot anyone (the shooting took place at a party that was full of gang members) and 2) the guy who got shot was carrying a gun himself, and had apparently showed up at our client's party (our client being a member of a different gang than the victim) prepared to use it. As Pat said in his closing, "The State's so called victim in this case was the architect of his own demise."
I'll never forget that trial. The State called about 20 witnesses to the stand, all of whom had been at the party and had been standing not 10 feet away when the shooting occurred. Every single one of them said they didn't see who fired the gun. Some of them said they were facing the worng direction, and some even said they saw the gun in the shooter's hand, but never looked up to see his face. I just couldn't believe that all of these people were willing to face possible contempt and/or perjury charges (which Perkins admonished them on, repeatedly) in order to avoid possible gang retaliation. It was an important lesson learned, though- people are a lot more afraid of having to deal with repurcussions on the street, causes and effects which they have seen in their day to day lives, than they are afraid of the abstract possibility of legal punishment. The guy in the black robe is ultimately less scary than vengeful neighbors who know where you sleep at night and who your kids are.
At the same time, I don't think that all twenty to thirty of the State's witnesses were cowards. I think that they felt justice had been done, albeit not through the court system. Some jackass showed up looking to start a fight at the wrong party and got what he deserved. I'm not sure, but I tend to think that if this had been a case of a bunch of thugs jumping some innocent old lady, the witness testimony might have been more truthful.
Our client told the prosecutor from the witness stand that he had joined a gang for protection, and that membership in the Syndicate was the only reason he was alive today. He told them that the police were never around to protect him, and now they were prosecuting him for doing what was necessary to defend himself and his family. I don't know if all of that was true, but it sounded pretty damn convincing, and I respected him for calling them out on their hypocrisy, if nothing else.
Well, it's quitting time, and I need to go see that guy tomorrow. He's got two new drug charges. I guess prison didn't reform him very effectively. Who'd have guessed that?
This post is too long already. Toodles.


The League said...

Don't worry. When you go, we're bringing in one of the guns off the USS Texas just to get your charred butt over the neighbor's fence.

And I recall the case you describe. Odd night before the verdict came back. We had to have your car towed and we stood outside the courthouse for hours waiting for a tow truck while the jury deliberated.

When the tow truck showed up, IT broke down, and then we had to wait for anothe tow truck and a tow truck for our first tow truck.

J.S. said...

I remember that, too. It was obviously some kind of conspiracy on the part of the State to attempt to thwart justice once again.

Anonymous said...

That was an interesting story, and an interesting side story.

I haven't had a chance to comment on either your blog or the League's in regards to the suicide of Hunter S. Thompson. I was bummed out by it since he was also a hero of mine. I appreciated his style of going against the establishment, and his writing was always entertaining (if not warped). It was always tough to discern when he was actually reporting on real events, and when he was stretching the truth a little. He never pulled any punches in regards to our government, our country, or our leaders and I'm glad he wasn't afraid to write it (or say it). He had a good insight about people, and into human behavior even though he would write outrageously about it.

I too am glad that he didn't kill himself just because the world seems to be going in the wrong direction. He didn't want to deal with chronic pain, and his body breaking down. I don't think I would do the same, but he always did things on his own terms.

What I can't believe is that Ryan had recently wrote about having his remains blasted out of a cannon when he dies, and then the later report came out about Hunter S. Thompson's wishes. Ryan, did you hear about that from Thompson before, or was it just two people thinking the same thing?

I wanted to add the League's quote about Hunter S. Thompson's death since I felt it was perfect:

"May he find a place wherein he no longer has to take any guff from those swine."


The League said...

I had not known that Hunter S. Thompson also wanted his remains hurled through the troposphere, and I resent him for stealing my idea.

I think it was back in high school somebody my folks knew died and wanted their ashes scattered. And I thought, well, you can scatter ashes, but you can't scatter human remains. And I always thought that it'd be nice to sort of have a viking funeral pyre, but it's also sort of morbid, and people want to be entertained.

And one day while driving across the lamar bridge in college, i thought, "Gee, the 4th of July fireworks sure are nice. What ELSE could you blow up over Town Lake?"

And an idea was born.

So, what I want is to be strapped down with 50 pounds of dynamite, to be shot out of a cannon, and just as I pass the crest of my arc... my next of kin sees to it that there are no identifiable remains and the City of Austin gets a hell of a light show.