Saturday, April 29, 2006

My Sunday Feeling

This happy little guy is my nephew Clarke who just turned 5. I was in attendance at his birthday party which was held out at a place in West Little Rock called "Pump It Up." Evidently, "Pump It Up" is a very popular party venue for little kids. It features inflated climbing and sliding stations along with a place to jump around. I had never heard of the damn place before last night. My excellent friend T has two little boys. So, I thought I would ask her about it.

" You ever hear of a place called "Post Up?" I asked.

"Pump It Up? Sure. I go there a lot." she replied.

"Pump It Up. Sorry. I gotta go there for my nephews party tomorrow."

"You ever been there before?"

" What's it like?"

"AH-HAHHAHHAHAHA!" she said by way of reply. I could only imagine that her head was thrown back as she held the phone out in the air. T has a deep voice for a woman and this dark laughter was coming from somewhere around her solar plexus. It reminded me somewhat of Samuel Raney as Mephistopheles.

I should have listened to T. All was chaos at "Pump It Up." There were about 16 guests. About 4 girls. The rest were boys. You never saw such running and jumping around in your life.

After taking pictures for about an hour and I went and sat next to one of the moms.

" Why do these parties take soooooo loooooong?" she asked.

"You're asking me?" I replied. "I'm just a civilian. I had no idea this damn place even existed before today." I noticed that I was developing a tic.

She closed her eyes and smiled in the world weary way of young mothers everywhere. "This is a whole new world for you isn't it?"

Right then the cell phone buzzed. The old world, the one in which I live and where they know me and everything, was texting me with the news that the New Orleans Saints had drafted Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. You would think that as a Saints fan I would be elated by this news. You would be wrong.

Oh God, This Is Just Awful- On paper, the Saints offense next year might be pretty salty. After all, they got rid of Aaron Brooks and replaced him with Drew Brees whom the Chargers let go in order to walk off the plank with David Rivers. They should get Deuce McAllister back from injury this year. Deuce and Bush sounds like a hell of a backfield. The Saints have an okay offensive line. Sounds like a recipe for success, right?

Forget it. These are the Saints. If there is anyway for disaster to strike it will. If there is anyway for them to screw this up, they will.

Look at the last time a Heisman Trophy winner was drafted by the Saints. Back around 1980 or so, they made South Carolina's George Rogers the number one pick. They knew that had a problem when Rogers showed up in camp so out of shape that he could not run a 40 yard dash without collapsing. As I recall, about all he and fellow RB Chuck Muncie managed to accomplish during their tenure there was to fumble a lot and fail many drug tests.

So, here is my prediction, one that is made with the confidence of a man who has seen every edition of the Saints that stumbled out of Loyola Drive since 1978.

They will will find a way to screw this up. They are the Saints. It is what they do.

By the way, I noticed that Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler was drafted in the first round one notch behind Matt Leinart who was last year's Heisman Trophy winner. I am no expert on end-times theology but I have this feeling that a Commodore getting drafted in the first round is one of the signs and wonders foretelling the last days as mentioned in Revelations.

So prepare to meet God and prepare for something horrible to happen to the Saints. More horrible than usual even.

Big Trouble at Duke II- Can the situation at Duke get any uglier? First the prosecutor swabs 44 of the 45 guys there in order to mine DNA evidence. The defense attorneys claim that the testing was negative. The prosecutor counters with the surprising comment that there is no DNA evidence present in 50-75% of rape cases. Being neither a prosecutor nor a rapist, I turned to a prosecutor friend of mine to run this story past him. While he doesn't prosecute sex crimes, he allowed as how that was not his understanding of how these cases work. Hmmmm.

The prosecution says that examination of the complainant revealed evidence consistent with a sexual assault. The other dancer there that night has said that a) that she believes that something happened and b) she doesn't believe anything happened. Both stories can't be true. One of the guys charged says he can prove that he wasn't there during the time that the assault took place. One of the other guys got his probation revoked on an earlier assault charge (more on that later). As if this were not confusing enough, now it has come out that this is not the first charge ever filed by the complainant. Evidently, 10 years ago she claimed that she was assaulted by 3 guys then as well.

The other guys present that night have clammed up. Which is their right. Contrary to popular belief, you pretty much don't have to talk to anybody in this great land of ours if you don't want to. But if you do talk to the cops, you had better not lie. Does this explain the silence? Don't know. I wasn't there.

And guess what? Neither were you. We just don't know what happened that night except that the Duke Lacrosse team at the minimum displayed poor judgment and engaged in swinish behavior.

All I know is this. 47 souls were in that little house that night. Somebody knows what happened.

Who the jury winds up believing will be revealed in the fullness of time. But we don't know what happened. We weren't there.

And it is better to leave all speculation aside and let the criminal justice system sort all of this out.

And now, for some levity, let us turn now to Wally Hall's take on all of this- In last Wednesday's column, Wally notes that Collin Finnerty, one of the boys charged with rape in the Duke Lacrosse fiasco, will have to stand trial on an unrelated assaulted charge as, according to Wally, "a D.C. judge decided the arrest violated his probation and Finnerty will stand trial for that assault charge."

This caused him to ponder, to the limited extent you can associate the word "ponder" with the following mangled prose, " And we thought the judicial system was created on an innocent-until-proven-guilty platform."

Excuse me Learned Hand. But if you get charged with a felony while you are out on probation they revoke your ass. The innocent-until-proven-guilty platform still exists. It's just that due to his exceptionally poor judgment Mr. Finnerty gets to add to his resume the fact that he was a defendant in 2 felony cases involving violent crimes. I'll bet his folks are proud of him.

But back to Wally. He's bad enough when he confines his gaze to the world of sports. Would it be too much to ask for him to at least look stuff up or talk to a lawyer friend before going off into an area that he knows absolutely nothing about?

I guess that it is.

This Blogging Life- In the past week or so I have been asked why I a) don't post more often and b) why I don't get MSF out earlier on Sunday. While I am gratified by this, the answer is that I have been pretty busy the last couple of months with my day gig. And quite frankly, some nights the last thing on earth I want to do is look at a computer screen.

I don't know how some of these folks do it. I try to put out a good product although I know that I'm not always successful in that regard. And believe it or not, this stuff takes time. I don't know whether it's due to my age or the fact that I have been so busy or all of the above but I just can't crank it out like some of these bloggers do. I will try to do better.

But this is the last time I will send out an "alert." You guys know where to look. I will always have something up by Sunday afternoon. I will try to do at least one or two a week from here on out.

So come by as you feel so led. Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing.

Let's continue the conversation.


mattmac53 said...

When I was in La. on the Katrina mission I talked to a JAG from there who said the nickname for their NFL team is the "Ain'ts" Fitting don't you think?

Also, don't you write this blog for you? Tell the antsy crowd demanding more to "Bugger off!"

Melissa said...

Man I hate it when non lawyers bust up the law so poorly. If he's on probation, he's already been found guilty (or he plead guilty). HE's not INNOCENT anymore. Revoking probation is all about sentencing.

ARAHGHGAHGAHGHAG (that's the squelched urge to bitchslap Wally Hall)

tmfw said...

Actually what this sounds like is Pre-Trial Diversion. The Feds do it all the time. In exchange for a guilty plea to some nickle-shit charge-which are generally filed directly by the prosecutor rather than going to the Grand Jury- a person can avoid being tried for a year if they keep their nose clean. I would imagine that the DC courts are patterened along the lines of the Federal Courts.

But in general, you are right. Typically, when a person gets revoked his only option is to go to a sentencing hearing or to began his punishment. But here, he was ordered to stand trial. That's why it sounds like to me that he was a divertee rather than someone who was given probabtion as part of a sentence.

Thanks for writing!

Jay said...

Not to knit-pick or anything, but actually the last time the Saints drafted the Heisman Trophy winner was in 1999. That was when Mike Ditka traded away every single one of the Saint's draft picks to move up to the number one spot to get Ricky Williams.

It's such a painful memory I can understand your forgetting about it. That decision, more than anything, is what has led the Saints to where they are now.

But, you're right. They'll screw it up somehow.

As for the Duke guy, I think that his being underage and attending a keg party probably violated the agreement. I think alcohol was a contributing factor in his previous troubles with the law.

Melissa said...

Yeah I worked in DC for a long time. I'm quite familiar with pretrial diversion. I honestly haven't even read much about the Duke rape trial for the mere fact that no one knows what happens except the people there and I'm not on the jury. Reading numbskulls like Wally Hall would just piss me off.

My comment was made on your referring to it as probation.

tmfw said...

Jay you are right! I had managed to completely forget about Ricky Williams. I guess I was blocking out that horrible memory. He didn't really work out for the Dolphins either did he?

And yeah, I think the Duke kid has some issues w/alcohol. But the judge in DC revoked him for getting charged w/a felony.

Like I said, I bet his folks are proud of him.