Monday, December 22, 2008

WHY GOD CREATED YOUTUBE™: Child Watching ALF on DVD at College Graduation Ceremony

This past weekend, Anonymous A was finally rewarded for all of her nights of lost sleep and weekends spent doing homework by stealing wifi from the Subway restaurant next door to the local Starbucks with her very own diploma. And while usually I would take this opportunity to offer her my most sincere congratulations on a job well done, I'm actually going to instead thank her for getting me a front row seat to a spectacle even more enthralling than the usual baccalaureate hijinks; for, while sitting in the audience at her graduation ceremony, I was able to watch a small child watch episodes of ALF on a portable DVD player. SO MUCH AWESOME!!! And not only did I get to watch it myself, but thanks to the power of God's greatest Internet creation, I can share that joy with all three of you loyal John Eats readers out there. So please enjoy a small part of what I was able to observe this weekend by watching the video above. I'm sure you'll agree it was much more entertaining than just watching people in unflattering polyesterwear picking up diploma holders.

Truly, this is why God created YouTube.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008


Professional douchebag Jeremy Piven has pulled out of one-trick wordsmith David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" on Broadway due to alleged "extreme mercury toxicity" in his bloodstream, caused by, among other things, eating sushi "often twice a day."

What kind of a dumbass eats that much raw fish? The kind called Jeremy Piven, apparently.

'Extreme mercury toxicity' sidelines Piven []

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

OH, THE HUMANITY!: Jury Duty, Day 3

Here's a little Jay-Z in the courtroom to celebrate my ongoing stint on jury duty.

Everyone got their proper lunch yesterday. Several people had planned to give up their free lunch and eat out, but when the bailiff saw that several names weren't on the menu list, he informed us that we all had to order something even if we didn't want it. The Cook County court has a contract with a food provider which states that every jury member must receive a meal, regardless of whether they want it or not. Essentially, every day the Cook County court system wastes tax dollars and food because somebody won a contract. Chicago politics in action!

Yesterday's interaction with the bailiff resulted in several more references to my diet, culminating in his cross-jury room shout of "Do you ever eat alfafa sprouts?" which caused me to pause for a full five seconds while staring him down, and then answer "No" with as much sarcasm as I could muster. "Oh," he said, "Maybe you gotta be from California to eat them. I used to live in California, you know, so I know." One of the jurors silently mouthed "What the hell?" to me.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

OH, THE HUMANITY!: Courtroom Videos

To celebrate my current stint on a jury, I'll be posting some courtroom-themed videos here for your viewing pleasure. First up, everyone's favorite defendant, El DeBarge:

At number two in the courtroom countdown, we've got Rod Stewart and his all-female jury:

Yesterday was a milieu of miscommunication with the bailiff. Immediately upon arrival yesterday morning, I asked him before I went into the jury room about getting a copy of my summons for my employer. He put his hands over his ears and said I couldn't ask him anything. He said I had to ask the judge. So I said "When do I ask the judge? During the trial?" and he said "No, right now." And I said "Ok, where is the judge so I can speak to him?" And he pointed into the jury room and said "In there."

I walked in, and the judge wasn't in the jury room. The bailiff totally lied to me to get me to shut up and go into the jury room. Charming!

Later, the bailiff came back in the jury room and threw a pad of paper and a pen down on the table, and announced to everyone "If any of you have a question about anything, you need to ask it to the judge." Then he just stood there.

I stood up and said " we write our questions down on this pad of paper and give them to you to give to the judge?"

And he said "Oh. Yeah."

"Thanks for clearing that up for us," I said. He didn't laugh, but several jurors did.

So I wrote out my question on a piece of paper, and gave it to the bailiff the next time he came in the room. He left and I didn't hear anything more about it for the rest of the morning. When lunchtime came around, the judge announced that our lunches were there, so we could either eat them in the jury room, eat them out in the hallway, or not eat them at all and go outside and buy our own lunch.

We went into the jury room to get our lunch. There were no lunches in the room. The bailiff walked in, closed the door, and said "Your lunches haven't shown up yet, I wasn't able to tell the judge before he announced they were here. So please just be patient and they'll be here soon." A group of us walked out into the hallway. I called Anonymous A and talked to her for quite awhile, then went to the restroom.

When I came out, I saw everyone had gotten their lunches. So I walked back into the jury room to get mine, only to find that there was no vegetarian sandwich like I'd ordered. So I had to go out and get my own lunch.

When I came back, I found out from the juror who passed out everyone's lunches that there wasn't a vegetarian sandwich in the shipment at all, so it wasn't a case of someone else taking my lunch. He told me I should mention it to the bailiff so that it didn't happen again the next day. So I did. And the bailiff insisted on getting me another lunch immediately. I told him not to, that I'd already eaten and didn't need another lunch. He said "We promised you a lunch, so you're getting a lunch!" and then delayed the re-start of the trial until they delivered me a new lunch, which he handed to me in the jury room (that has no refrigerator). I said to him, "Awesome! Thanks for the botulism!" He made no reply, and instead immediately asked us to re-enter the courtroom.

When we got to go back into the jury room for a break, the bailiff asked me (in front of everyone, of course) how my "veggie sandwich" was. One of the other jurors said "What, did you think he ate it out in the jury box?"

The bailiff continued to mention my veggie lunch in front of the whole jury for the rest of the day. He always made sure to refer to it as a "veggie lunch", of course, for maximum "Look at the weird vegetarian guy!" effect. At the end of the day when he escorted us to the elevator, he yelled down the hallway to me that he "wants a report on how my veggie sandwich was" tomorrow. I was forced to take it with me when we left. One of the other jurors asked me how well veggie sandwiches microwave. "Oh, probably really well after they've been sitting out at room temperature for several hours," I replied.

I threw it out when I got home.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

OH, THE HUMANITY!: Observations From Jury Duty

Yes, friends, it's been far too long since I've ranted about anything here, and let me just say I feel your pain. I know many of you have stayed awake some nights wishing, hoping, praying that there would be a new John Eats entry in your Feedburner the next morning, only to have those hopes dashed yet again for months on end. Well, all that is changing, at least for today. 'Cuz I got picked for jury duty this week, and it's time to let loose.

While I can't discuss anything about the case I've been assigned to, I don't see any reason why I can't discuss two things that happened before I was even interviewed for a case, out in the big holding pen/purgatory area known as the Juror Waiting Room, a den of iniquity and red tape so all-inclusive that one could truly call it a Cross-Section of America™.

First came the "mm"-ing. A small man in his late forties, wearing a fuzzy ear-flapped winter hat, fingerless gloves and a dirty flannel shirt chose to sit next to me while we all waited to be called up for our chance to be a part of the justice system. He carried several bags, a top coat, and a newspaper, all of which he set down on the chair he left between us. He spread out some of the contents of one of the bags, laid several sections of the newspaper on the chair, his lap, and the chair on the other side of him, and then proceeded to read. All during this preparation time, however, he displayed a curious vocal tick: "Mmm mm MMM!" came the sound, at no longer than five second intervals. The "mm"-ing continued as he delved into his newspaper, making the sound as he motioned the paper my way a few times as if to get my attention about something he was reading. The tone of the "mm"s was slightly different each time: sometimes joyous, sometimes self-satisfied, sometimes forlorn, sometimes irritable. The man was truly a master of inflection, and if what was coming out of his tightly squeezed lips hadn't been so abstractly unnerving I might have developed an admiration for his skill.

Alas, he was called up before I was, and for the first time he let out another sound: a deeply irate sigh which signaled he was not there for civic duty but rather for the warm place to sit on a folding chair and the opportunity to earn a cool, hard $17.20 while reading the paper and mumbling.

Then came the farting.
During this time, what can only be described as a series of SBDs pummeled those of us who chose to sit in the back of the room; for although there was no sound, there was something decidedly deadly in the air. And while the "mm"ing guy might seem the obvious culprit, my money was on the woman sitting directly in front of him in the row ahead of us -- a zaftig woman also in her late 40s, with more split ends than roots in her streaky blondish hair, a mole on her cheek which helped distract from the twenty-pound bags under each eye, a pink sweatshirt on her back, an unlit cigarette in her mouth, and a dogeared dimestore romance novel in her hand. At the outset of each olfactory assault, her head would (almost imperceptibly) dart back and forth like a cat trying to determine the source of a high-pitched whine, until the smell had enough time to spread for its source to be undetectable. At this point she would lean back in her folding chair and return to her novel, letting some air escape between her lips and the dangling cigarette, making a slight whistling sound. She, too was called up before I was, in the same round as the "mm"er; this offered me the opportunity to switch seats to a less densely populated area, but quashed any chance I might have had to deduce the true source of those noxious air strikes.

This, then, is jury duty. Luckily I will be free of the Juror Waiting Room for the rest of the week, nestled instead in my courtroom's Jury Room -- that internet-free, silent, windowless, nightmarish little hovel with two adjoining bathrooms and no air circulation, where every stomach gurgle is like a trumpet blast, and every flush is like the rain.

Oh, the humanity...indeed.

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