Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In the Weeds (pt 1)

Working in a restaurant is a special experience. I’ve worked in five restaurants for a total of eight years spanning just over a decade. Despite the fact that an unfortunate number of guests become entitled hyper-egotists, working in a restaurant provided me some of my best laughs; most of them retrospectively, but laughs nonetheless.

I’m pretty sure that the general manager position for the first restaurant I served in was given to the first person who wanted it and didn’t care about silly things like doing the job well. My roommate and co-worker Dan walks up to the GM one morning as the lunch shift was starting and presents her with a fairly obvious problem.

“Janice, we have 11 kids’ cups to last until we close tonight.”

Janice continues looking blankly in the direction of the beverage machine and takes an impressively long pull from her coffee. Giving up on the staring contest, she looks at Dan, “You think we’re going to sell 11 kids’ drinks today?”

“Well, it’s five minutes into the lunch shift and four of the kitchen guys walked behind you and grabbed some; Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’re going to run out before 12:30.”

Janice takes another comically long pull, draining the rest of her mug and replies, “I don’t think we’ll actually sell 11.” Then she walks away to address her now empty coffee cup. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

...You'll Never Write Alone

I feel a little bit like a political candidate after an exciting but unsuccessful run for office. The same way that she promises to continue to fight for her platform objectives, so to I promise to make my book a reality. Working on my Kickstarter campaign helped connect me to excellent people who will be instrumental in the finished book project. And as I have said before, I tapped a deep well of creativity while creating promotional materials for the book and the campaign.

So, what comes next? That’s the easy part… and the hard part.
I got my book back from an editor friend, and am applying the recommended changes, as well as adding two chapters I overlooked in my absentminded wisdom. The first version of these changes will be done and ready to beta test around Christmas. I say beta test, because this version of my book will be exclusively available on my blog for a donation. And, as a thank-you for contributing during that beta, donors will be able to receive copies of the final work as they become available.

Stay tuned to my blog MoTheThird (The Gray Area) for updates and all of my promotions. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and YouTube.

Thank You again! I'll see you in the ether... or maybe in real life. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

'Tis the Season

I hope you enjoy the "Rudolph" parody.
As I march through my final Kickstarter day. I hope for your generous shares.

And if you haven't seen it yet, watch my Kickstarter Vid.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Do it for the Laughs

OK You! Yes, you! right there with the computer (or mobile device). I need you like I have never needed anyone before (unless you're my mom). I need you to find it in your heart and your wallet to pledge $5 to my amazing book project (Romancing the Hilarity). 

I have 52 hours left to make my goal or I am all the way back to square one. And, while I know you've enjoyed the attention, is that really what you want. If you can't find those elusive five dollars, can you spare a "Share."

Only 680 people need to

Go to Kickstarter.com 

Search: Romancing the Hilarity

And be amazed (or at least amused).

Enough to pledge less than a gourmet espresso-based drink.

Let's do it!

To the tune of Oh Christmas Tree.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Polos Aren't Dressy

Shuffling down the hallway in high school, I was behind a fellow student wearing a polo shirt, when I overheard the following exchange
                Sweatsuit: Man, why are you so dressed up.
                Polo: I have a job interview.
                Sweatsuit: Well, you look good.
                Me: [Thinking] Dressed up? Sad.

Dressing nicely is something I’ve always enjoyed. Even as a child I was drawn to fedoras, top hats, mirror-shined shoes, vests and ties. I asked for a white suit every Christmas and birthday from ages 6-10. My parents, in their infinite wisdom, knew that my LOVE of fine clothes, did not always directly translate into quality CARE of clothes. So, I never got a white suit. And, I’m really okay with that.  These days, I don’t go for the white suits. I still wear a lot of shirts and ties, but mostly I add my flair with cufflinks and pocket squares. When I’m feeling extra dressy, I match my socks to my ties.

I was visiting friends in Maryland and Jeff, a friend of their family came over sporting the Uber-functional look of Vibram FiveFingers™, a minimalist shoe marketed as a more natural alternative for outdoor activities. Visually and functionally the footwear is meant to replicate being barefoot and has flexible soles contoured to the shape of the human foot, with VISIBLE individual sections for the toes.  While I love the function, I can’t quite get over the form. So, from the outset, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of wearing those even in the most casual situation.

We chatted a little about the shoes, and then he said the words which will ring in my ears until my dying day. “Yeah, I have two pair. This is my everyday pair. Back home I have my dress pair, for church and stuff.”

I’m pretty sure that the puff in my head was audible, as a tiny part of my brain exploded.

Knowing who I was, Jeff was being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but we both go very much our own separate ways in terms of attire. And, we have a good time doing it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

As I head into the homestretch of my Kickstarter Campaign, I'm busting out Christmas Kickstarter Parodies. Enjoy.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Little Thank You

Friends and Followers,

  Thanks for your support of my unusual expression over the years. You all helped me keep writing and improving, telling stories, and having fun.

I feel like I've kinda dropped the ball on posting new material because I got a little caught up in my book, and my Kickstarter Campaign. So here's an uplifting piece just for you my blog friends.

In a world that shares stories of the low expectations for children with no intellectual curiosity and is awash with bad examinations and false equivalencies, I'm privileged to share stories of active and involved parents, who raise fascinated, creative children. My parents set a fine example, but this evening's story is from a friend.

So, we adults went to see Thor. Later, we are sitting around the table discussing the physics of the Thor type movies, and my eight year old granddaughter interrupts and asks, "What's a singularity?" Well, Joel [the girl's father] immediately and with all seriousness begins," A singularity is when....", and I absolutely LOST IT!!! But, it turns out Joel regularly discusses the most advanced quantum theory and particle physics with the little girls, and he is as adept at explaining these mind-boggling concepts as Bill Nye is at teaching how water freezes. Anyway, we got a bit bogged down when I tried to trip Joel up with the conflicting nature of gravitational vs magnetic forces, but it was nice to see my son not JUST speaking with his children about Tinkerbell or Hello Kitty. Although they enjoy those topics just as much.

This reminds me that, for all the children left behind, there are parents taking hands and walking together with the leaders of tomorrow.

Parenting Level: Awesome!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Share This Video... To Keep Me Out of Prison

Does the chance to video chat with Mo seem like it would be fun? See how you can bring that dream to life:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

This is Why I Write 1: Waiting in Line

I love writing, a while back I wrote a post on why I write. Now, I want to share some of the stories about my life as a writer.

Often, DC between November 1st (the day 60% of the establishments in Metro DC start playing Christmas music nonstop), and January 5th (when the last of the New Year’s hangovers are finally gone) can be a massive vortex of impatience and entitlement which in no way resembles the touted “Spirit of Christmas.” People get so caught up in the holiday to-do list that they miss out on all but a few moments in what could be a month of magical comings and goings.

I was spending Christmas 2008 with friends in the area, and I had one gift left to get, a John McCain action figure, a consolation prize for a fairly conservative friend of mine, who happened to collect action figures. But, between the election being over and Christmas being days away the only place to get one was at a Borders® about an hour and fifteen minutes worth of transit riding away. On the plus side, I had just picked up Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris, so at least I would be entertained.

Borders® was swarming with bodies, bags, books and egos. In contradistinction to almost every other trip to a bookstore I got my action figure and headed directly for the checkout line. Settling in for what promised to be about 20-50 minutes of waiting, I listened to the grumblings and rants of my fellow line dwellers for a minute or two before withdrawing my book from my bag and picked up reading “The Santaland Diaries,” where I’d left off on the bus.

Almost instantly I was chuckling quietly, but very quickly my quiet chuckles became barely containable full on laughter. My line mates stole glances at me, I assume to figure out if I was genuinely amused by the book, or an unbalanced young man freefalling into Christmas induced madness. After deciding that I was unlikely to erupt in rage at normal interaction, a decidedly experienced and slightly worn-down looking soccer mom inquired, “Seriously, what’s so funny?”

I gave a quick summary, “It’s about one man’s hilariously intense time as a Santaland elf in Macy’s New York.”

“I could go for a laugh…”

“Same here,” said another shopper.

“Um…Okay,” I replied. I flipped a page or two back, and started reading at the point where the narrator sets up his interview to become an elf:

The woman at Macy's asked, "Would you be interested in full-time elf or evening and weekend elf?"

I said, "Full-time elf."

I have an appointment next Wednesday at noon.

I am a thirty-three-year-old man applying for a job as an elf (p4).

I continued reading uninterrupted for minutes as my growing audience of queued shoppers laughed along with me. When I paused to ensure I wasn’t annoying people, I was surprised to see that many of the people within the sound of my voice were listening intently, some going as far as shushing others.

In what I consider to be the best line waiting experience I’ve ever had, a dozen or so strangers and I passed an absurdly long Christmas line wait, being highly entertained by the words of David Sedaris. And, I thought to myself, I’d like to do that for someone someday.

I’m Morris DuBose, and that’s one of the reasons I write. 

Let It Not Be Said, "MoTheThird Did Not Try."

Ladies and Gentlemen,
  The good news is that Mike (or at least his brother Joe) has seen some of the stuff I've written and posted in my quest to secure him as the writer of my book forward.

  The bad news is, he has declined my request. Thank you all for your support. my "Letter to Mike Birbiglia" got a good number of page views in almost no time.

  Please continue to check out my Kickstarter Campaign and share that love.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Best Dream I Ever Had: starring Mike Birbiglia (Updated)

Update: Mr. Birbiglia has officially declined to write my forward...

I rarely remember my dreams or any part thereof. If 3 seconds after waking up I remember even a single detail, that’s almost celebration worthy. It took me an entire semester to complete a three-night sleep study that everyone in my psychology class did in a week. Every few years, however, I have a dream which gets etched in my brain.

Four years ago I had a dream that still gives me chills. I was trapped by an inhumanly overbearing iteration of a not-to-be-named member of my extended family. In what felt like cross between a Repo Men, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I was under this person’s power, and my escape attempts were met with crushing defeat. For the only time since I was ten I woke up terrified, gasping for air.

But that’s not what this is about. This is about

The Best Dream I Ever Had
            Starring Mike Birbiglia

The day my wife encouraged me to reach out to my hero, to possibly write the forward to my book, I dove into all of my social media outlets, contact websites, and anything else I could find, with fervor worth noting. So, really, it makes sense that that first day spring toward getting Mr. Birbiglia’s attention, resulted in a (bir)big night.

What makes the dream so much better for me, in retrospect, is that Mike has a fairly expansive repertoire of sleep and dream based material. “Sleepy Karl,” the great dude/ bad employee who works the night shift in Mike’s mind and has ideas like, staying in bed to “…make out with Miss Pac-Man®.” He often discusses his love for sleep which seems to go back and forth between unhealthy and a full-on addiction requiring 5 wake-up calls between 7am and 1pm. And then, of course, there are his dreams, which, “…are so effortless. It’s like a movie. ‘I want to go to the store.’ [Cuts to the store][Fade to black] [Pizza montage]” While, there were no pepperoni-wheeled cars in this dream, there was the quest to meet Mike Birbiglia and ask him face to face, if he’d write the forward.

I set off to find him. I’m not entirely sure from where I was setting off, or, why I wasn’t going to drive. But, it was a beautiful area on a beautiful day and I was walking.  Thankfully I was in a dream, because suddenly I was strolling up the final stretch of road on the way to his house after a travel montage of power-walking, walking, and trudging across several states, and arriving at the wrong house…twice. I’m walking up this path to the massive, yet understated home of my storytelling hero. FYI, Mike’s house, in my dream also has an awesome gully/moat in front of it, with a bridge. It was basically a 21 century adaptation of a castle.

I actually ran into him before stepping foot on the bridge and what followed was another montage of a fun-filled day full of sweet hangouts, and diversions which all seemed to have a reality bending aspect. One of which was bouncing a ball from his moat off of two walls into a basketball hoop, on the first try. Kinda like how unplugged kids would have played around if they were hanging out in the Matrix.
After the montage, we’re back in his place and, it’s evening. There is a party of sorts going on and we start a massive laser tag game (‘cause apparently Mike Birbiglia’s house is kinda like the Tardis, and he loves laser tag enough to own 40+ packs). Mike invites me to be on his team, and we tear it up for a little while. But, somebody does something stupid, mean and moderately dangerous to others, inspiring Mike and me to break off from the group and head to another room to talk about how mean people suck.

I screw my courage to the sticking place, and open my mouth to do the big ask,

Then I woke up.

My brain, readjusting to conscious thought, is at once flooded with these, almost simultaneous thoughts:

 Crap!! You squandered the perfect opportunity to ask, by waiting too long.
 Don’t sweat it. It could be worse. At least if you make contact with him now, you can just remind him of the laser tag party.

Wait… it was a dream. None of that happened. You might remember that party forever, but Mike was never there. You’re still completely at square one

I still felt oddly encouraged, and took off from square one with an overly-enthusiastic inspiration. I emailed, facebook messaged, tweeted, wrote an open letter in my blog, inserted posts in my facebook pages and started a campaign of all my media followers.

At this point I fear I may have just scared him into hiding (in my “Letter to Mike Birbiglia, I did call myself a Birbiglophile…yikes).  So, that’s a concern. But hopefully he finds my relentless pursuit endearing.

Either way, I’m going to keep pressing on until he accepts my request or very clearly tells me, “No.” 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Designer Flyers

And now, it’s time for a challenge…
Are you awesome at designing? Do you want a signed first edition of Romancing the Hilarity? Are you full of leftover creative genius in the post-Halloween costume lull (and a little sluggish coming off of your sugar crash or hangover, depending on your vice of choice)? What you need is a chance to show off all your skills by designing the promotional poster/ flyer for Romancing the Hilarity.

From now through Tuesday, November 5,
I’m looking for submissions of graphics of at least 82 x 82 ppi  
Accepted file formats: .JPG, .JPEG, .TIF, .TIFF
It would be nice if the winning designer is able to submit a layered file of the winning design.
All submissions must be original art/illustrations. Respect other’s intellectual property.
No copyrighted work.

To submit your work, message me at my Facebook Page MoTheThird (https://www.facebook.com/pages/MoTheThird/314058095290532). Include your name, email address, and website or Facebook page (optional).

These will be posted on my blog where fans and friends can vote on their favorite designs until 11:59 on Friday, November 8th.

The design with the most votes (min 20) will be featured on each of my media pages, including Facebook (MoTheThird), My Kickstarter Campaign page, and blog. It will also be on flyers and other promotional material. The winner will also, receive a digital and signed print copy of Romancing the Hilarity upon publication.

So, watch the video, and check out some of my other work to inspire yours.
Good luck!

Tell your friends and show off your work and mine.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Letter to Mike Birbiglia (Updated)

Ladies and Gentlemen,
  The good news is that Mike (or at least his brother Joe) has seen some of the stuff I've written and posted in my quest to secure him as the writer of my book forward.

  The bad news is, he has declined my request. Thank you all for your support. my "Letter to Mike Birbiglia" got a good number of page views in almost no time.

  Please continue to check out my Kickstarter Campaign and share that love.



I'm reaching out to one of my heroes, Mike Birbiglia. Finishing up my book, I'm trying to get him to write the forward. It's a reach, but it would be the highlight of my career. So, to my entire audience, knowing that my book will be just the thing to make you laugh when your complicated relationship becomes even more complicated, please tweet @birbigs or +Mike Birbigs about my project, and I will collectively deem you the greatest audience... NAY... the best team... NAY! NAY!... the best friends @MoTheThird has ever had.


Dear Mike Birbiglia,

As Batman, I beat up bad guys and ran away from girls. I had a twenty-six word "birds and bees" talk with my dad. And I tried to teach myself Sex Education by reading out of the 1992 World Book Encyclopedia. I'm a humor writer and bit of a Birbiglophile (in the least sleazy way possible). I own Two Drink Mike, Sleepwalk With Me, and What I Should Have Said Was Nothing. I've actually seen you live twice, as well. I saw My Girlfriend's Boyfriend at The Warner Theater in DC, and Sleepwalk With Me in Indy. I've turned many of my friends into fans of your whimsical storytelling. I enjoy supporting your work, 'cause I'd hate for you to be asleep at a job somewhere.
You actually inspired me on my quest to be a storyteller who makes people laugh. I wrote a book called Romancing the Hilarity. I'm running a Kickstarter Campaign to self-publish and do an off-kilter book tour in January. If you would consider writing the forward to my book, I would be indescribably grateful.
Check out my project, and if you're interested in writing a forward for it, I would be ecstatic. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1455357374/romancing-the-hilarity
Thanks for your work, Morris DuBose v.3.0

MoTheThird.blogspot.com @MoTheThird
P.S. Are you still on a quest to overtake The Avengers in box office sales?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sacred Truth

Pic Credit: Vdog1love
Sometimes the best truths about spiritual walk come a secular voice

Hymn #387
God you are so cool.
Although sometimes it's like "what's the deal?"
You never answer your cell phone,
And your messages are often ambiguous

-Family Guy
At the creators request, the original illustration was removed. New Pic Credit: Bad-Kitty

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's My Party...

My Dear and Delightful Readers,
October 23 was my birthday. it’s been this day every year. I just don’t, usually, put it online for everyone to see. This year, I’m changing it up for the sake of my dream. I’m finishing up my book and launched a Kickstarter campaign in celebration of the big two- nine. 

My kickstarter campaign is LIVE! 


You don’t have to give unless you want to, and can afford it. I would, however, love it if you would watch my video and share my campaign one or two times on your social media vice or vices of choice. 

Happy Birthday  To Me

Thanks for your support

Saturday, October 19, 2013

In The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.
He looked on, and saw it was good. Good; a thing of beauty
Lovely and loved.
In the beginning was the Word.
The word was with, and in very nature God.
As the Father has loved...
God demonstrates His own love…
For God so loved…
In the beginning.

Then the Church filled with the Holy Ghost and power;
The Lord added to their number daily.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common.
Beloved, let us love one another.
And the second is like it; love your neighbor as yourself.
And continuing daily in one accord in the temple-
And breaking bread from house to house,
Did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God,
Love your enemy.
A new command to the Church,
That was then.

Megachurches and mission statements crush my spirit and dull my mind.
The Christian Island:
My Conversion
            I walked the Romans Road and I prayed the prayer
My Testimony
            I was in darkness
My Walk
            My devotions and my quiet time
My Church
            Why leave? Because I didn’t agree with something pastor said
My God
            Deity that fits my box

The church is on the move with or without God’s help;
Bigger buildings, better facilities. Holy Spirit, who?
Brand new project integration, Sunday service segregation,
Religious Right retaliation, tithing out of obligation,
Desperate for a new sensation, all-day Christian TV station,
Doctrinal internalization drives a spike into this nation.

If this is all there is, what do I do with tomorrow?
If today holds this shape, can we remold it after the sun sets?
If this is now… Then what?

For God so loved
The Word became flesh

In the beginning.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bar Crawl

Bar Crawl
This is a true story about some people I was out with. Sometimes the veritas of vino isn't OK.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cops Gone Wild!

Cops do a lot of crazy stuff these days. They shot that guy's dog, right on the sidewalk. They perform illegal searches. But, this cop in Alabama has taken the rogue cop situation to the next level... And, I'm on his side. He's fighting unreasonable arrests and ticket quotas. He's kinda my hero. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Can a Vending Machine Save You From a Life of Regret?

Recently, I saw the second most amazing thing I’d seen in a vending machine. The first most amazing was, of course, the Apple devices being machine vended at the Indianapolis International Airport. Now, we can agree that seeing an iPad® available from the same basic device that made Coke® a national leader in beverages is a fairly noteworthy development in the field of retail marketing; I’m learning that my number two choice is less universal in its acceptance.

Among the icons of body art are a few true standalones. Some are famous for their subject matter. The Marines’ EGA, The Naval Anchor, the divisional and regimental symbols of the U.S. Army, The “eagle” of the Air Force, the barb-wired heart, the “Mother” heart, and, of course, random inspirational words sometimes in a foreign script, spring readily to mind. Others are famous, not for what, but where they are, the ankle and wrist tattoo, the one which encircles the biceps, the face tattoo, and the softball pitch of every snide comment… the lower back tattoo.

The lower back tattoo or “tramp stamp” as it is often and derisively called, is relentlessly mocked across the gamut of media. And, much the same way I am heartbroken and happy when I see someone sporting crocs or a mullet, I was confused and overjoyed when I saw a vending machine dispensing temporary T. Stamps. And, when a bunch of scenes from How I Met Your Mother popped into my head, I had to tell my wife. Surely, she would also find it hilarious. The idea that not only does a person want to represent herself… or himself as a Stampee, but that she, or he will have to entice a co-conspirator to apply the label, will surely fill Jess’s heart with mirth. False.

When I told her about my brilliant discovery, her response, “Eh…I’m pretty sure you think this is way funnier than I do,” left me crestfallen and confused. Fortunately, that is a state with which I have much experience and thus, I recovered quickly, and decided that she was the fluke, and that our peers would find it funny. Chrissy, a friend of ours was joining us that evening for games, etc. and, I wasted very little time in asking her thoughts on the matter; sure I would be vindicated in my humor. Alas, I was shown to be even more ignorant of women, than I already knew myself to be.

Chrissy is finishing up her master’s degree, we share much of our humorous sense, and much more importantly, we make fun of the same things. But, not only did she eloquently defend the idea of temporary tramp stamp, she confessed to having gotten one herself, with a friend of hers. When she was done talking, getting a temporary tattoo for her lower back, seemed like a perfectly well reasoned decision.

She explained, people, especially, people who’ve live fairly restrained lives, are often combating a desire to, let it all hang out; to experience a different kind of power. Many times when that want boils over, people have a bad night, or two. If, at the end of that night, you have a tattoo? That’s a decision with which you’ll live for the rest of your life. Every time you bend over, wear a white shirt, or hook up with someone, you’ll reevaluate that decision. If, on the other hand (or back), you have a bit of delible ephemera after a crazy night, you get a few days of experience, and a lifetime of, “Do you remember when we…?”

So, It’s a chance to feel the power, and cut loose, without all the awkward ordeal of… having a tramp stamp forever. So, what do you think? Temporary Lower Back Tattoos: “Source of haughty humor?” or “Secret weapon in the feminist arsenal?”

Photo Credit: Endless Origami 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reality Strikes Again

I look young. If I've shaved at all in a given week, I'm going to get carded at any 21+ establishment... And, sometimes, at 18+ ones. People guess me at 5-10 years less my age, which is quite the flattery. Nearing thirty, I'm beginning to think of myself as approaching adulthood. But, as a college student suffering all the illusions of immortality, I often thought of myself as a child, with all the trappings thereof. The day my friend brought me to her library of her youth, while we were on spring break of my junior year, we strolled into the children’s department. Three kids were running about playing merrily. The immediate sense of bonding was shattered when the older looking boy glanced up from their distraction, looked right into my eyes, and shouted, “GROWN UPS!!”

That’ll dispel your illusions of eternal youth.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Buy Local... Power?

I don't really think that I like to fight for the sake of fighting... I used to. But, I got over that a while back. I do like fighting for a good reason. I think this is a good reason. Big companies aren't inherently bad. Many of them, however, do use their powers for evil and not for good.

Campaign For Local Power from New Era Colorado on Vimeo.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Put Your Trust In...

A coffee shop near my place has a bulletin board available for community use. Some of the notes become their own little conversations. This one was just a little hilarious.

"Jesus, I trust you."     "Science I trust you."

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I try very hard to make my interactions with other people, positive. I like others to be happy that we crossed paths. This is especially true with people who are stuck at work whilst I roam free.

So, when I walked up to the very bored looking young woman behind the register at the office supply store, we chatted. We had a brief pleasant series of exchanges, but when I attempted to sign up for their email list, she discovered, and informed me, that the period key on the keyboard was broken. We laughed and mused that even on a boring day, everything doesn't go off without a hitch. Opting out of the list, I finished checking out, and commented as I turned to leave, "Good luck with your period... Wait!... I..." The compounded agony of my faux pas was the realization that a woman and her daughter had stepped in line behind me. Making, manic eye contact with the woman in line, I blurted out, "Not period. Just the dot key on her keyboard." And ran out of the store. At least she doesn't have my email address.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sentenced To a Month...For Raping a 14 Year Old

Read the full report at the Billings Gazette Website

I don't know how this can be realStacey Dean Rambold, a senior high school teacher raped a 14 year old student. We know this because he confessed. He confessed to targeting a student in his school for, "sexual intercourse without consent," in 2008. The young woman took her own life a few weeks before her 17th birthday. A tragic result of her death was that her voice wouldn't be heard in trial. The deferred prosecution and eventual agreement the prosecution made with Rambold is horrible:

The agreement called for prosecutors to put the case on hold for three years. The charges would be dismissed, the agreement stated, if Rambold completed a sex offender treatment program and complied with other conditions.

He complies with a treatment program and they drop the charges of the rape of a 14 year old, who was so scarred that she killed herself. I believe in redemptive justice, but that’s really hard to swallow.

In December 2012 the courts learned that Rambold FAILED TO FINISHE THE PROGGRAM! In fact, he got kicked out of the program, when it was learned that he had been having unsupervised visits with minors, had not informed his counselors of a new sexual relationship, and missed meetings.

Rambold's attorney, argued Monday for the suspended sentence. He said Rambold lost his career, his marriage and his home and has suffered a "scarlet letter of the Internet" as a result of publicity about the case.

His client is being shamed on the internet, so he shouldn’t have to go to jail? Yup. That makes sense.

The judge’s response:

Judge Baugh said he listened to recorded statements given by Morales before her death and believes that while she was a troubled youth, she was "as much in control of the situation" as Rambold. […]The judge also said Morales was "older than her chronological age."

I am sick inside of my soul.

The judge went on to sentence Rambold to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended.

Translation: He will serve 31 Days for the rape, leading to the suicide of a fourteen year old girl.

You can read the full story in the Billings Gazette. And, check there for updates.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Courthouse Blues

Listen or Read, but enjoy.

As a 28 year old black man, I go out of my way not to spend time in the halls of justice. I didn't even want to go into the courthouse to pick up a marriage license. It’s not that I've done something that should get me arrested. And, while I am always a tiny bit concerned with getting thrown in jail for contempt of court… and also, a little, for that parking ticket I never paid, and everything in the USA PATRIOT act, and the NDAA, mostly I hate the guard shack.

The guard shack is the worst. Full of bored and/or paranoid members of the law enforcement community, this is the place where bad things happen to good, albeit absentminded, people.
And, I am, very admittedly, absentminded. To date, I have lost three nail files, a handful of crappy lighters, one Zippo, a cheap knife, and one hunter green double hinged wine key at a series of guard shacks. Of course, by this point in my life I've stopped carrying a knife. Not out of any kind of principled stand, mind you, I just broke the clasp off my old one, lost, and then failed to replace it.

With that track record on guard shacks, I've taken to leaving my coat and all pocket contents, save ID and whatever money or paperwork are required for that specific trip, whenever I’m faced with the looming specter of confiscation. As a general rule, though, I have to plan ahead. Not just trips to the municipal palaces, I “pre-remember” as much of life as possible. Keys go in a certain place. Phone. Wallet. I once looked for my glasses for three days because I couldn't remember putting them three feet away and they got covered by a single sheet of paper… Stop laughing. So, if I didn't plan to go to the courthouse, my mind is still at the office… or the library… or at home… wherever.

I’m getting ready to leave for the office when the call buzzes from my brother. “Do you have a hundred bucks?”
     “Any chance you’d stop by the courthouse and pay my fine. I can’t get there before they close, and I could do without a bench warrant.”
     “Sure,” I responded, without hesitation. I knew he was good for the bill, and, we've always been those siblings. In the 10th grade, I forgot my work shirt, and my 10 year old brother rode his bike, the two and a half miles to bring it to me, “’cause [he] knew [I’d] need it.” So, yeah, I'd pay his fine.

I’ll spare you the details of my tooling around the one-way street filled labyrinth of over-priced metered parking that is Downtown. And, instead, cut to my stepping through the double-doors of the municipal building, and coming face-to-yellow rotating beacon light with my old enemy… the guard post. And then I realize that because this is my brother’s plan, I didn't “pre-remember” anything. I have stuff in every one of my nine pockets. And, as I begin the adventure which is excavating all the hidden folds of my winter coat, I have the next unpleasant revelation of the day.

A friend, Dave, was in a bit of a spot, when the dean at his school called him into the office to say, that because of an oversight by Dave’s advisor, and the registrar, he’d missed a prerequisite to nearly all of the classes from the previous three years. He had to finish the class that semester or he’d be kicked out of the program. This was especially bad news for Dave, because of the nature of the class. So, I tutored him through the semester, as a favor. During all of our sessions, I’d incessantly flick any one of his knives open and closed. At our last session Dave gifted me a Kershaw: Tanto Blur, an excellent knife retailing at about $80.00+. Which I gratefully and absentmindedly slipped into my pocket the day before my brother called me.

So, as I begin the mental exercise of preparing to fish coins, receipts, pens, and a veritable mountain of flotsam and jetsam from their hiding places, my hand comes first to rest on my brand new knife. And, as the first person in line I’m already face to face with the gate keeper. The guard hands me a basket, and I give him one of those pained looks of apology.
“I have a knife in my pocket,” I begin, in a quiet voice. “And, I’d rather not throw it away.”
What follows is a virtual masterwork of that, “you’re such an idiot” look; which he holds for what feels like hours.
     “Should I just go back to my car?” I sputter out, uncomfortably.
     “Give it to me,” the guard replies flatly.
     “I could just take it back to my car,” I try again.
He repeats himself with a similarly quasi-disdainful tone. And, smirking, says, he'll put in a little envelop, and I can retrieve it upon my return. Uncomfortable with this arrangement, but without much in terms of alternative, I hand over my knife and begin filling up the basket destined for the x-ray machine. The ever growing line behind me stirs, and now I'm just feeling scattered. On the other side of the machine, I begin ramming the contents of the basket back into my pockets with wanton disregard for organizational scheme. The sole focus? Getting away from the derisive gaze of the guard, and the impatient eyes of those trapped in line behind me.

The woman behind the ultra-thick Plexiglas payment window was pleasant enough, but she was definitely all business. My plan to explain that this was all on my brother’s behalf was preempted entirely by the instruction to type the “social of the person on file, into the keypad.” Then she asked how much I’d be paying. “$100,” I replied and began patting myself down to recover my money. As I smiled and dug once more, I realized that in the guard shack fiasco, my money got a bit moved around. A $20 here. A $20 there. After a minute or two, I’d reassembled eighty of the hundred I walked in with.
     “You could just pay the $80,” She said, doing a better than average job of, veiling her very likely growing impatience. In the midst of my delusion, I searched for at least another full minute, as another line grew behind me. “I guess I’m paying the eighty,” I sighed exasperatedly. As it dawns on me that, there’s a chance that I dropped the missing bill at the guard station while jamming errant papers into my pocket. Only by now, I don’t even want to make eye contact with the guards.

So, I shuffle back, hands in my pockets, standing-by for a second, ‘til the guard recognizes me. Handing me my knife, his, “Next time, leave it at home,” line convinces me to just give up on the money, and move on with my day.

Back in my car, the final $20 falls out of a fold in my jacket onto the seat beside me. For a split second, I consider going back in… Yeah, no.
Photo By: *Whitestarflower