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Friday, September 30, 2011

Next Up on "Bob's blog"--How Bob Almost Got His Old A-s Arrested at The Price Chopper This Morning, But "I know ma' Rights"--Watch Dat Ax, Yo' Mens

But first I gotta' make my sunny day jaunt to Miller's Pond for a swim.  Gotta' be all loose an' all for my Dance Performance tonight at 10 p.m. sharp at the Mezzo patio.  Nice day + Beautiful Night = Crazy Dancin' Dude struttin' his stuff at the Mezzo for 200 onlookers!  Amateur Hoofers Unite and We Have Almost Just Begun to Make Flight, to the Mezzo.

more anon......

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Rear-Ender Accident with $5.31 Property Damage to the Other Guy's Rear Bumper (now with PHOTOGRAPHS)--and A Plan for the Prevention of Suicide (Seriously, folks, no kidding around on that point)

I know it's hard to believe there's any possible connection between a rear-end collision and a plan for the prevention of suicide, but trust me, I think I've finally found one.  But first, there's the tale of that rear-end collision to tell, if truth be told.

So yesterday, on the way back from Stop & Shop, the kid in front of me in the small blue car thought the guy coming from our left on  Farm Hill Road was going to turn right onto Russell Street, which we were on.  If the guy on the left had done so, he would have passed our left sides, moving in the opposite direction from us on Russell Street, and the kid and I would have made our cool right turns onto Farm Hill Road.  Simple maneuver, right? Not.

Unfortunately, the guy on our left had his right turn signal on, indicating he'd be making the turn and staying out of our way, but then at the last moment for some reason he decided to continue going straight on Farm Hill Road, across our path, so the kid in front of me stopped suddenly, right after he had made a false start forward.  I was, thus, "suckered" into moving forward and not being able to stop my 1998 Subaru Outback Station Wagon, color maroon, about 156,500 miles on the odometer, from rear-ending the young guy's little blue car.

See photos at end of this blog post showing the damage to the cars, the roped-up repair of the other guy's car, and the scene of the crime.

I was quite surprised that there was any impact at all.  My mind was on the dancing I planned to do that evening, after the Pilates class I planned to go to at Vinnie's Jump and Jive on Main Street.  Jeff Hush and Lucia de Leon were giving the class. Lucy (she typically calls herself either Lucy or Lu)  had called me earlier in the afternoon, while I was sunning myself on the rock I love on the east side of Miller's Pond in Durham, to tell me she and Jeff and their Indonesian woman musician friend would be going with me to the documentary movie at the Freeman East Asian Studies Center that evening about the Mongolian music group "AnDe" which I saw perform live last Friday night at Crowell Concert Hall at Wesleyan before I went dancing at the Mezzo patio and disco.

I may also have been thinking more about the telephone call I got right after I got out of the water at Miller's Pond, before Lucy's call, from the new State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Waterbury, Connecticut.  Maureen Platt Tinicum returned my call earlier in the day about where I should send the check for Tim Liston's retirement bash at the Inn at Middletown in early November.  "Where are you Bob right now, the cell seems a bit weak."  I told Maureen, whom I (if memory serves) had beaten at a DWI jury trial years ago when she was just one of the new young lower court prosecutors here in Middletown at the G.A. 9 courthouse.

Maureen was recently appointed to the very prestigious position of head prosecutor for the very urban, gritty, and often politically corrupt town of Waterbury, where Gov. John Rowland is from (he went to jail for a year for corruptly selling out his gubernatorial office) and where former Mayor Giordano was convicted of having sex with minor female children, under age 10, of a prostitute he knew when he was in private criminal law practice before he became mayor, IN the mayor's City Hall office, on he carpeted floor while Mother watched.  Maureen is not a tall woman, but she is one tall order when it comes to the courtroom.  I've seen her on trial in the infamous State vs. Heather Specialski (sp?) case, with none other than Jeremiah "Young Abe" Donovan for the defense.

That was a multi-week criminal jury trial involving the "simple" question, was Heather driving her drunken lover's Mercedes when the driver lost control right where Route 9 north enters Route 91 north, or was her lover, the Italian-American son of a prominent restauranteur, driving?  Not quite as "simple" a verbal formulation as "to be or not to be, that is the question," but you get the idea.  The case became known in the national media as "the blow-job case."  Whoever was driving, when he or she lost control (of the car, I'm talkin' 'bout now), the male lover was thrown out of the Mercedes and his dead body was found by the EMTs with his pants down around his ankles.  The trial involved Maureen and Jeremiah throwing competing expert testimony of accident reconstruction engineers, from all over the country, at the jury.  The experts disagreed, as paid whores, I mean, reasonably compensated experts are wont to do, about whether the decedent's injuries were or were not consistent with him being the driver of said fancy-dancy automobile.  Now in the pre-trial stage, when Jeremiah Donovan was talking to the press about the case, he famously suggested that the reason the decedent male had his pants around his ankles was that when he was driving the car, his girlfriend, the defendant, Heather S., was performing on his male member a certain sexual act, which will go unnamed in the same way that Ross Perot's famous remark about the sucking sound that can be heard as American jobs would be moved down Old Mexico Way if NAFTA were approved, will not be named in this "Bob's blog" post, to keep it all R-rated at worst.

Anyway, Maureen told me the details about the check for Tim Liston's retirement dinner.  Then I told her I'd seen her at John Cashmon's wake but hadn't had a chance to discuss with her a proposal I'd made at the wake to the current Chief State's Attorney for the entire state of Connecticut, Kevin Kane, whom I've known for 35 years, since I first started practicing and went every day to the criminal lower courthouse on Court Street in Middletown and negotiated pleas with Kevin Kane when he had the prosecutorial position which John Cashmon had before John committed suicide following a DWI arrest just a few short weeks ago.

At the wake, I told Kevin Kane of my own suicidal depression last year and my recovery this year.  I told him I thought I had a lot to tell lawyers who secretly suffer from depressive feelings, about how they can survive the feelings, change their lives, and be happy again.  "Kevin, if my talking to prosecutors about this very serious threat to the lives of people who suffer from depression could help even one of them get help and turn his or her life around and be happy again, I would feel that my own wish to kill myself would have even more redemptive value, not just for me, in that it was the necessary precursor to all the wonderful changes which have been happening in my life, but for that other lawyer."

While Kevin gave me his card, he seemed to hold his thoughts about my proposal close to the vest.  Maureen, however, maybe because she's a woman, although one tough cookie as a prosecutor and trial lawyer, was very sympathetic to the experience I endured with my own depression, and thankful that I was willing to share that experience to help others.  "Bob, I'm really glad you're going to help celebrate Tim Liston's retirement.  I know he'll be happy it won't be just prosecutors and cops, but real practicing defense lawyers like yourself who want to celebrate his work life and give him a great send-off for HIS new life."

Interestingly, the Mezzo Grille, where I dance several nights a week, is right next to the old lower court courthouse where I first knew Kevin Kane, Maureen Platt, and John Cashmon, and across the street from the present courthouse which is at 1 Court Street, just across DeKoven Drive and CT Route 9.  The connection between crime and dirty dancing and life-transforming changes and new-found energy sources.

All this was on my mind as I moved forward and the right front corner of my Outback Wagon hit the right side of the rear bumper on the small blue car ahead of me.  I immediately turned off my car, got out, and went over to the other driver and passenger to see if they were hurt so I could call an ambulance if they needed one.  They did not.  The impact was minor and looked like just a scuff-mark on my bumper, large but just a scuff mark.

The other car, however, had a blue bumper which now had its right side detached from the car's right rear corner, lying on the road.  I suggested we turn right on Farm Hill Road and pull into the next intersecting road to the north, Plymouth Street. There we surveyed the damage to his car.  It was obviously an old car, I think he said a 1989 whatever.  There was bad rust all over it, and the rear bumper came off from the minor impact with my bumper because the fittings which held his bumper on were all rusted out.

"We can turn this over to my insurance company if you want, although I'm sorry to say the liability for this accident rests totally with the guy who signaled a left turn but then failed to complete it.  You then, totally understandably of course, stopped suddenly after starting to make your right turn, and I naturally rear-ended you.  Are you guys okay by the way?  Any injuries?  Oh that's good, I'm mostly glad you're not hurt in any way. No neck pain, no back pain, nothing, right?  You're sure?  Because if you're feeling any pain, any at all, I'll get right on the cell and call 911 to get Hunter's Ambulance out here, put you both on back boards, tie you all onto the board, take you to the hospital, and of course you having nothing better to do this evening than lie on a stretcher at Middlesex Hospital ER, waiting four or five hours while the understaffed medical team deals with real injuries."  It was clear the young men, in their early twenties, wanted nothing to do with ambulances, ERs, and waiting for Team Triage to examine and release them, quicker than catch and release at Miller's Pond.

Once I established that the blond driver with the piercings and tattoos had paid only $500 for his piece of sh-t little car, I told him that my carrier, if he even wanted to get it involved, would total the car out and give him, if anything (given the liability problem in any claim against me), a very small amount of money.  If he wanted to get the bumper repaired, he'd have to get the car re-inspected at the DMV, because of the accident, and the DMV inspector would insist he get a lot of other problems on the car repaired before he could re-register the car.  This prospect interested this young lad even less than it would if he desperately required the extraction of severely impacted wisdom teeth and I were offering to remove them using the old pliers which can be found in the back of my Outback next to the spare tire.  Without anesthetic.  And without a DMD after my name, after the JD I still have from my former career as a trial lawyer.

So I made a suggestion, which the lad brightened when he thought about its simplicity and beauty.  "Why don't I drive over to the Cash True Value down the street and buy you, from my own funds, some clothesline rope so you can tie that sucker back onto your lovely little car and get you back in your wheels and on out to East Hampton lickedy-split. Then, if you paint the rope the same color as the car, the cops will never know you didn't get the bumper fixed at a Genuine US-Made-and-Installed-by-Union-Workers body shop.  As I talked, my tone must have mesmerized the boy, much as Circe or was it Calypso did Odysseus when that boat driver was so enchanted by the Hot Goddess that he stayed an extra few years in romantic dalliance on the Aegean isle before leaving to return to his One True Love, Penelope.

After taking several photos of the damage to my car and the boy's, I shook hand, wished him luck, and told him I liked him so he could certainly keep the rest of the clothesline, which cost me $5.39 including tax, at the Cash True Value.

Truly, the cash value of this true story is less than $5.39 including tax, but it gave Your Faithful "Bob's blog" Full-O'-Blarney Blogger more than that paltry sum in pleasure.

Because I'm writing this blog post at McDonalds, where I've gotten my free refill ($1.06 for the small, the medium, or the large Newman's Own Organic coffee), I don't have access to the photos of the car damage, the boy, his passenger, and me.  I'll add them later, when I get back from dancing at the Jazz on the River and the Mezzo patio (if the rain holds off between 10 p.m. and closing--tonight only 1 a.m.).

Damage to my right front corner 

Beginning the fix of the other guy's rear bumper

                                               He's tryin' to figure out how to lasso that thang

Is the passenger guiding the rope-fix or takin' care of his own bidness?

                                       "This is a heck-uv-a lot more complicated than I thought!"

"Hm-m, shall I use a cross-hitch or a bow-line-pretzel knot?!"

The Dude Approves, yo'!

   OMG, The Dude better make a run fer' it before this guy gets smart and sues me for all I got!

The Scene of the Crime

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tomorrow I Will Write About How I Rear-Ended a Crappy-Old Car On the Way Back from Stop & Shop This Afternoon and What It Cost Me in Damages! PLUS: Photographic Evidence of the Accident!

Stay tuned for this story--tomorrow, on "Bob's blog."

My Virginal and Clean Foray into Stand-Up Comedy in New Haven at the Koji Komedy Klub on Temple Street last Monday Night

A lot of men fantasize about doing stand-up comedy at a comedy club.  This Monday night, I did it.  And it was wonderful fun.

Monday a week ago, I followed Dr. Petit out of the New Haven courthouse, walked beside him as the TV cameramen followed his sister and him across Orange Street to the private parking area they must pay big money to park in during the second Cheshire home invasion capital murder trial.  I stood and watched as Dr. Petit got into the back seat of a blue mini-van with darkened windows.  A young man on a bicycle stopped to ask me what was going on with all the satellite TV trucks, the pretty female TV reporters, and the cameramen in tee-shirts, jeans, and flip flops.

"They're hoping they can get Dr. Petit to say something newsworthy about the murder trial of the second man who raped his daughter, burned his house down and, in the process, suffocated his wife and two daughters."  Wow, Elijah Sanchez said to me, I had no idea that was going on right her in downtown New Haven.  He told me he was an Americorps teacher from Sacramento, California and was very interested when I told him I am a retired trial lawyer who wants to test the comic waters by doing stand-up.  Then come to the Koji asian restaurant next Monday night at 10 p.m. and they'll give you 5 minutes.  I checked my dumb-phone appointments calendar, saw that it was free of anything I couldn't change, e.g. taking Susie to a doctor's appoitment, and put Elijah's email address into my dumb-phone so that dumb yours truly would be able to remember how to contact him later.

Monday, two days ago, was uneventful, until, that is, I was driving down to the Koji at 9 p.m., when I was thinking to myself, "What the f--k have I gotten myself into now?  I'm not comic, I'm not even very funny.  I'm scared sh--less."  But I also remembered what Rev. Carleton Giles preached on Sunday at the black church I go to.  "If you're worried about something, don't let it eat away at you.  Pray about it and let it go."  So I prayed that God would give me the power to do the comedy which I've gotten great responses to, at McDonalds, in the food stores, at the Wesleyan University dining hall and student center, at Miller's Pond, and, on Monday just before I left for the comedy club, in the Wesleyan school library, Olin Library.

There are so many details I could tell you about, about what I did on Monday, leading up to the comedy club, but I'll spare you those and get down to bid-ness (as W was Wont to say).

The Koji asian restaurant is at 182 Temple Street in New Haven.  Here's the website:

The asian roll and seaweed salad I had was fresh, well-presented, and only $17.00 ($10 for the roll; $7 for the salad; I left a $3 tip).  The right side of the restaurant space as you enter from the street is a large, open-area with high tables with stools.  The bar is on the right wall and far wall.

Directly ahead as you enter is a smaller, rectangular room with a stage and microphone on the far wall.  There are small tables along the left wall, with a bench seating along the wall and chairs on the other side of the tables.  This room is The Koji Komedy Klub, the KKK.  Well, now, folks, that's not what they call it or what I want to call it.  After all, I'm now going to a black church, Zion First Baptist, and although I'm totally accepted by my fellow parishioners, I'm not sure they'd be happy if I were doing stand-up at a place called the KKK.

Now the stand-up did not begin until about 10:30 p.m.  I got there about 9:30 p.m., so I had an hour before the shows to kid around with the bartenders, the non-comic patrons, and the men and woman who turned out to be experienced stand-up comedians, of varying degrees of skill at being funny on stage.

One thing I learned for sure at the KKK.  Comics, comedians, wannabe-funny people do NOT laugh at anybody's else's stuff unless it's REALLY funny.  Now the good thing is, the bartenders, a man who claimed he was from Sheboygan (I think my Price Family homies know where that place is at) and a young lady, found my attempted-funny-repartee in the pre-show period, in the bar, where I was drinking my usual strong beverage of Tap Water, pretty funny.  I had them smiling and laughing at my kibitzing with then.  They told the guy who looked like he was a terrorist from Syria or Iraq, but is actually only a pretty funny young guy from Trumbull, Connecticut, that "Bob's definitely ready to put on a show."  I took this as some evidence that my ad-lib humor is pretty funny, to laypeople who are not trying to compete with me as stand-up comics.

The other thing I learned at the KKK is even more important than the first.  My funny stuff is CLEAN-AS-THE-DRIVEN-SNOW funny stuff.  The young comics, which is all the other 10 people who performed on stage that night, were TOTALLY raunchy, crude, sexual, explicit.  Even I found it hard to listen to some of what they had to say.  And Elijah left the comedy club part of the Koji and hung around the restaurant during the command performance of the "always funny Comedic Stylings of Cali, let's give it up for Cali," (this was, approximately, the essence of the introduction of Cali to the audience of amateur comics).  For Cali was definitely THE GROSSEST OF THE MOSTLY GROSS verbal productions of the other comics.

When it finally came time for my set, my routines were so SQUEAKY CLEAN that some of the comics in the audience undoubtedly thought I must be a Catholic priest and live in a monastery.  My stuff did NOT involve bodily fluids, of varying degrees of stickiness, intimate acts, or racially offensive "jokes" involving the use of the N word.  I kid you not, the MC, who looks like a north African Arab terrorist (just kidding; he's actually a very American guy from Trumbull, Connecticut, and does not even have an Arab accent, let alone any non-American accent), told some N word jokes after the two black comics, who work as a team, one fat with a bright red shirt and the other thin with a very black shirt, also told several N-word jokes.

So my routines involved the "checkout lady who gives me lip I wouldn't take from my wife of 40 years," "what size McDonalds Newman's Own Organic Coffee should I buy tomorrow morning, the small, the medium, or the large, all of which cost a dollar six cents with free refills throughout the day," and then the MC terrorized my act by showing his I-phone to me and suggesting the phone was demanding I wrap up my act.  So I did my (I think; so do most non-comic audiences) "loop-back" story about the difference in price of Wesleyan and Berkeley tuition, son Jamie's band "Holy Shit," and what words the audience imagines would exit my big mouth if I only had to take a Berkeley tuition out of our 529 college savings plan to pay for one of my kids going to University of California at Berkeley, rather than an obscenely high Wesleyan tuition.  The answer has something to do with the name of my son's band.

When I sat back down with Elijah, he high-fived me and told me my act was "excellent" and, unlike the others, situational humor arising out of everyday life, not just jokes and one-liners.  While he may have been motivated primarily by wanting me to feel good about my performance, there was also, clearly, and I knew it, truth in what he said about my act.

Well, I want to get this post up so you can read it.  There's lots more I could, and will, say, about the experience, but I want to get it to you before you fall asleep more soundly than this blog post has already monotonized you into a state of deep rem sleep.

I will write about my Comedy Club Stand-Up experience later this morning--I promise--I was just too tired last night to do it justice

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Magical Day, and Evening, of Dance and Fellowship with Thousands of Tan-skinned (aka black folk) Fellow Humans at Giants Stadium in New Jersey--'specially in the parking lot parties and after that, back at the Mezzo in Middletown

Yesterday, my new church, Zion First Black Baptist Church of Middletown, did its Second Annual Road-Trip to Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands of northern New Jersey.  To say the least, it was a Magical Mystery Tour and a most enriching experience.

Our chartered tour bus was full of my fellow Zion parishioners and a few non-church guests.  We left Middletown promptly at 10 a.m. Our driver, Joseph, lives in Torrington, CT, but is from Haiti.  He speaks fluent French, of course, and, of course, I spent as much time talking French with him at our little picnic in the stadium parking lot and practicing some of my stand-up routines on him, which he liked.

After a slight detour because of a wrong turn on the Jersey Turnpike, we made it to the stadium at about 12:30 p.m.  That gave us three hours to hang out until the game began between Howard University and Morgan State, two black colleges which participate in the 40th Annual New York Urban League black-college football fall classic, or whatever the actual name on the big screens in the stadium said.

The stadium parking lot is, of course, vast, but it was relatively empty when we first arrived.  After the hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, and other food were eaten, I began to hear music from DJ's across the parking lot, in the direction of the stadium.  The buses are of course required to park in a more remote section of the lot from where Vendor's Row is set up, and from where the Party Broadway Walkway is located.  I call it that because I couldn't believe the transformation which occurred in that area between the time we arrived and the time the game began three hours later.  Suffice it to say, though I've never been to New Orleans at Mardi Gras, I suspect the Party Broadway Walkway yesterday was something on the order of what goes on down in the Bayou on Fat Tuesday.  Lot's of bogey-ing and party-ing.  Praise the Lord!

My fellow parishioners have seen me swaying and dancing and bogey-ing with Jesu in the pews on Sunday mornings, and they've heard me talk about going to the Mezzo and other dance spots several times a week.  But, until yesterday, they really ain't seen nothin'!

It began when I heard music in the distance, a primal beat my body just can't ignore anymore, whenever and wherever I hear it, no matter who I'm with, no matter the circumstances.  A couple days ago, I was getting my oil changed at the Jiffy Lube on Washington Street in Middletown, met a woman in the adjacent care named Monica from Germany, who does IT in the states, and told her about my dancing.  She wasn't sure about what I was saying, so I turned on the I-pod in my car, cranked up the volume, opened the door, ignored the Jiffy Lube guy who ordered me to put the keys on the dash, "for insurance reasons," and just started DANCING.  Pretty quickly the Jiffy Lube guys were getting a big kick out of watching the Crazy Dancing Dude strut his stuff that they went from all frowns to all smiles.  Back to New Jersey.

So the people from my church start walking to the stadium, which is about a half-a-mile away from the bus section.  I started to worry that maybe our bus got relegated to the back part of the gigantic parking lot because except for me everybody on our bus was a black person.  But then I realized that EVERYBODY in the freakin' parking lot was black.  I, your faithful correspondent, was THE ONLY WHITE GUY IN ALL OF NORTH NEW JERSEY based on what I was seeing and hearing on Party Broadway Walkway!

For a half-mile, from where we were parked, to the main entrance of the stadium, there were tons of Block Parties goin' on, all of them with their own DJ.  The first one I came to was cordoned off with that yellow Crime Scene Investigation--Keep Out tape, strung between chairs and the stage.  This party was a black fraternity or sorority from Howard or Morgan State and naturally, not having been invited in any way, I just danced over the tape and started dancing.  This went on for 10 minutes, during which time I danced with a bunch of black women, of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and a black dude was very happy to show a Dancing-Challenged White Guy all the RIGHT moves.  Eventually, the spell broke when some other very unhappy, White-like Up-tight Black Guy came over to me and reminded me this was "A Private party," at which point, rather than getting myself beat-up, I jumped over the yellow crime scene tape and high-tailed it to the next party.  I was also afraid that if stayed any longer, this guy was going to assault or murder me, and then the yellow crime scene tape would already be in place until the State Police and the CSI guys arrived to collect the forensic evidence of my untimely, and most tragic, death.  (Be honest, people.  How many of you relish that scene, of some big tough-looking, but really having-a-heart-of-gold, black guy beating the stuffing out of me?!  Come on now.  Be HONEST.

This scenario repeated itself, or, shall I say more accurately, I didn't let the guy who evicted me from the frat-house party stop me from crashing every other party down the line to the stadium.  I had a blast dancing from party to party, and at each stop thereafter, the signals all were there: yo', dude, you're more than welcome to stay as long as you want to dance with our women and learn our moves.  It was always the men who sent me these signals, as if by mental telepathy, and not the women, who tended mostly to be ice queens, especially the younger they were, and less chilly the older they got.  By "older" I mean over about 22.

By the way, Susie IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BLUE-EYED, BLONDE WOMAN I'VE EVER MET, hands down, bar none.  That being said, if she ever can't stand looking at my face, listening to me trying to be funny, and smelling my breath any longer, and dumps me, I sure would consider entertaining, if not acting on, the idea of, shall we say, becoming, at best, Platonic Friends with ALL THOSE INCREDIBLY HOT BLACK WOMEN.

And then, a few of us Zion Black Church members left the game early, since it was clear Morgan State was gonna' keep on whippin' the rear off Howard 'til the bitter end.  On the way back, I again had a WONDERFUL time getting confirmation that all the dancing I've been doing at the clubs in Middletown, CT transfers to the New York dance scene, just like that "if the glove don't fit, you must acquit" infamous verbal formation put by Johnnie Cochran put it, brilliantly, but conversely, in the OJ Simpson criminal trial.

Deacon Bob Bailey of Zion had his camera with him yesterday.  Bob and his lovely wife, Bea, saw me dancing at one of the parties near the stadium and took some pictures of me dancing with the black Goddesses.  Once I get the pictures from Bob, I'll post them on Bob's blog.

I was "waylaid," with the emphasis, please, on the "way" and in no way on the "laid," at many other parties in the darkness on the way back to the Zion bus.  Many of the young men and women were filming my dance performances on their I-phones, and they were taking still photos of me surrounded by small seas of beautiful Ebony humanity, but I'll never be able to get those photographic records, unfortunately, life being short and all.  But I think by now you get the picture.

The bus pulled into James Moses Drive, next to Zion First Black Baptist in Middletown at 10:15 p.m.  After helping to unload the bus of church tables and the like, I dropped Hosea off at his apartment, since he does not have a car, went home, took a quick shower, made sure Russell the cat had food and water, changed my white Aruba with Caribbean-vacation-logo-on-it tee-shirt into my dark-blue Cal tee-shirt, and headed down to the Mezzo patio.  There, it was a beautiful, warm night, so the back patio was packed with several hundred young people on-lookers.  Nick Frattiani was singing.  I danced out there for the crowd, performed, really, from 10:50 p.m. and then headed up to the disco at midnight, where I danced the rest of the night away, until the 2 p.m. end of the Saturday night disco session.

More later.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Here's how to put a Comment on Bob's blog, with easy step-by-step instructions which even I as a retired/retarded lawyer, can understand and follow! And so can't (as some people incorrectly are want to say) you.

My brother-in-law and trusted life coach, writing advisor, and general all-around Best Bud', just asked in an email, "Why do you make it so difficult to post a Comment on Bob's blog?"

I hadn't realized I'd done anything to make it difficult, but just now investigated the matter.  Here's what I found out.  There are two steps which must be completed before a Comment can be posted.  I think these steps were created in order to reduce Spam Comments from finally entry into the sacred Comments section of Bob's blog.

Step 1:
   Click on "Comment" at the bottom of any Bob's blog posts.  Type your desired Comment in the window.  Select your "Comment as:" status from the drop-down menu.  Most of you will probably want to remain Anonymous but you can choose to leave your Name as an alternative.  (See picture of the Comment window, at the very end of this blog post, even after Step 2 and Step 2 photograph, below.)
     Before you can finally post a Comment to Bob's blog, you must first click "Preview" to preview the Comment.  Now you can finally click "Post Comment," and, magically, your Comment will now appear along with any others, beneath the Bob's blog post to which the Comment applies.

Step 2:
   Type in the word verification word which appears at the bottom of the Preview window, click "Post Comment," and your Comment will be posted to Bob's blog.  See sample Preview window with word verification feature, below.


EditAnonymous said...
testing 1,2,3
September 23, 2011 11:05 AM

Visual verification
 Listen and type the numbers you hear 

The following picture relates to Step 1.  Because Step 1 is easier and more intuitive that Step 2, to most Comment authors, I decided to put this picture, related to Step 1, at the tail end of this Bob's blog post.

Post a Comment

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Call him Ahab, except in Michaela's Garden--Dr. William Petit and the Chesire home invasion rape-arson-murder case

Call him Ahab, except in Michaela's Garden

Going to Michaela’s Garden changed everything for me. 

It was the moment I saw the Three Little Angels.  Les trois petits anges.  Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley and Michaela.  Bill Petit’s girls.  Bill’s Woman and Bill’s Progeny.  His Three Beloved Angels. (See photo of Bill Petit and his Three Beloved Angels, at the end of this blog post.)

The woman and the girls lived, loved, and died in Michaela’s Garden.  That Garden of Eden turned into The Garden of Hell on the morning of July 23, 2007. 

Once I saw the angels, everything about the case became clear.  It had been there before, but I just hadn’t seen it.  I had seen the anger but I hadn’t seen the righteousness.  Until, that is, my visitation with the angels, in Michaela’s Garden. (See three photographs of the garden at the end of this blog post.)


His name is Petit, but he’s anything but small.  In French, he’d still be Bill Petit, but they’d call him Guillaume Le Grand.  Over six feet tall, the first thing you notice is the height, and the hair.  A mix of gray and black, his hair reminds me of the famous men who famously like to wear their hair longish.  Radovan Karadžić, the former Bosnian Serb president, who once had trained as a doctor, just like Bill Petit.  Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois.   Donald Trump.

Now those other men’s hairdos do nothing for me.  But Bill Petit’s is longish, but well-manicured.  Distinguished, but with it.  He’s very good-looking.  Aquiline nose.  A gentle demeanor.  As a guy who’s known Bill Petit since 6th grade told me yesterday, “You’re right, he’d have no trouble getting lots of girlfriends.  He’s very good-looking and now, with all This, he’s a rock star.” (See photograph of Dr. Petit walking into the New Haven Superior Courthouse with his sister and mother for Day 1 of the trial.)

Bill Petit, Guillaume Le Grand, is also a medical doctor, a healer, a man who took an oath, first laid down by Hippocrates in ancient Greece, to “First, Do No Harm.”  But Dr. Petit, odd as it is to call him Doctor in this sentence, is also a man on a mission: to kill, in cold blood, the two men who pillaged his home, raped his wife and daughter, and murdered Bill’s three little angels.  Handsome as he is in the courtroom, and gentle as he must be, somewhere underneath that hit-man’s visage, Dr. William Petit is also a Cold-Blooded Killer.  And that’s all I saw in him when I first saw him in the courtroom, until, that is, I visited Michaela’s Garden, at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive.   


300 Sorghum Mill Drive is now just a garden.  The Petit family home, where the tragic murder happened, has been torn down and replaced with a heart-shaped garden and a kind of rectangular Japanese garden.  I knew I had to see the place where all of “the troubles” began.  So I left the courthouse and headed north on Orange Street.

The New Haven Superior Courthouse is on Orange Street.  On Monday, after court, I drove east on Orange to East Rock Park, turned left onto the northbound road and continued on the serpentine path through the park.  Eventually, I asked a man on a bicycle how to get to Route 10 north, in the direction of Chesire.  

Route 10 goes through the business district of Hamden, past Sleeping Giant Mountain, and finally into Chesire proper.  I stopped at the big old garden center on the west side of Route 10. "Sure, I can tell you where the Petit house was. 'Was' because it's been torn down and replaced with a garden.  It's really hard to see Bill Petit, because my daughters are the same ages as Michaela and Hayley would have been.  I just don't know how he can handle all of this.  Jennifer was SUCH a beautiful, loving, warm, and wonderful person.  Just go to the fourth traffic light, Higgins Road, turn left, and take it to Sorghum Hill Road, which'll be on your right.  Take that right out to 300 and you'll see the property right on the corner," said the man in his late-fifties who was very helpful to me once I explained I needed to see the place where it all happened on July 23, 2007.

"I'll take one of these “michaela's garden” seed packages.  That's ten dollars?"  The Petit Family Foundation sells packets of "Four O'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)" flower seeds. Four O'Clock flowers, the information reads, are “a bright and colorful flower that achieves its beauty at the end of the day, and blooms throughout the night.” Following the tragic July 2007 home invasion and fire that took the lives of Jennifer, Hayley, and Michaela, “family members removed flowers from a garden that Michaela and her father, Bill, had lovingly planted and faithfully maintained… .  For the past three summers, Michaela’s Four O’Clocks have been re-planted from the harvested seeds.  Today, each flower blooms as a message of life, hope and spirit, all shared from Michaela’s original garden.” The hope of the Foundation is that people who buy the seeds and plant new Four O’Clocks will harvest the seeds from their own flowers and send them back to the Foundation in Plainville, CT, to “Share the love and help the project grow.” 

Mirabilis in Latin means wonderful and Jalapa is a town in Mexico. Mirabilis jalapa is said to have been exported from the Peruvian Andes in 1540.  From the high mountains of the Andes to the low forest land of Sorghum Mill Drive in Chesire, these ancient Four O'Clocks have born silent witness to the happiest of times and the most horrible of times.  Huius mundi loco miro plenus vitae et mortis.  This world is a wonderful place, full of LIFE, and death.


It’s surprising to finally see him in the flesh as he walks past me in the corridor outside Courtroom 6 B.  His sister is always with him, on the way in in the morning and on the way out when court ends for the evening.

He’s all business, no smile, determined, a man on a mission: AHAB, Melville called him:  to kill the men who raped, and burned, and murdered his Three Angels, the Animals who Destroyed his Life.  His hands were physically tied that night, by the men who entered the Castle through the unlocked basement hatchway and violated his family’s private space.

Why was that door unlocked, at night, in a dark place, in remote Sorghum Mill Drive, and what role, if any, does that little factoid play in what drives Bill Petit?  Is that the sort of FACT which makes Bill Petit an Obsessed Man, Captain Ahab, and not merely a Determined Man?

And now that his hands are not tied up, here in court, Bill Petit cannot kill the men with his own hands, even though one of them, Joshua Komisarjevsky, sits barely 20 feet from the doctor's regular seat on the prosecutor’s side of the audience pews.  For Bill Petit is also Dr. Petit, and a doctor may not do any harm, even to a bad person.  So Dr. Petit can only try to kill the men by indirect means—by due process of the criminal law. 

When I’m walking in Michaela’s Garden, I imagine Bill Petit is simply a determined man, not an obsessed Captain Ahab.  He couldn’t kill them the night of the crime, so now he’s intent on doing what a man’s got to do to avenge his family, through the legal system, by cool, calm, collected, non-violent, means.  Non-violent, that is, until the poisonous chemical brew is released to course through the suckers' unholy veins.  Is the man waiting for, praying for, dedicating his life for, that End, most accurately seen as Ahab, obsessed with killing the White Whale, or Everyman, determined to do now what he was unable to do That Night?  Beats me, if truth be told. 

Some people I talk with about this case say that if it’d happened to their families, they would just walk away from it.  They claim they would not feel like participating in the criminal legal process, exposing themselves to reliving the crime in court and keeping them from getting on with life.  And there’s surface plausibility to this view.  What’s done is done.  There’s no way to bring them back from the dead.  Move on with life, just move on.

When I think of Bill Petit in this way, Melville, and “Moby Dick," comes to mind, insistently.  Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky are Petit’s Great White Whale.  He’s dead serious in his obsession to get these guys, to kill them, without regard to whether what he's mostly achieving is the destruction of  his own life.

I talk to some of the 30 family members who accompany Bill every day of the trial.  My friend and fellow member of the Middlesex County Bar Association, Jerimiah Donovan, Esquire, Komisarjevsky’s lead lawyer calls them the “Petit Posse,” because they all wear a little purple-colored heart-shaped pin with the words “Petit Family Foundation” on it.  I tell the ones I happen to talk with that I hope someday he’ll be able to stop focusing on this case, this quest to kill the men, and find love again in life, the kind of wonderful life he once had with his Three Little Angels, in Michaela's Garden.

No, they tell me, he cannot do that, he’ll never be able to do that.  This case is his whole life, now and in the future. I've only talked with a few of them, so I don't know if they're all that certain that Bill Petit will never have a Job-like Third Act, and get it all back, well, mostly all of it.  Whatever the Petit clan feels now, in the heat and passion of the trial, it is my fervent, daily prayer that Bill Petit one day searches for, and finds, True Love again.  He deserves no less.

I understand the passion with which Bill's family says these things, and I just don’t have it in my heart to remind them that about the story of that guy from Ur, wherever That place is, whom the biblical philosopher called Job.

In the Jewish bible, the story goes, Satan murders two of Job’s children, with God's explicit permission to do such things to Job, in a vain attempt to shake Job’s faith in God, to rock and dislodge Job's love of life.  In the end, once God reminds Job that his problems are not the central focus of all of Life, of Existence, Job moves on, finds love again in his relationship with his wife, and has two more children.  He does not get back his two murdered kids, but he does get two more new children to love, or so the biblical writers tell this arch-typical story.

I hope Bill Petit can reenact the Job story in his own life, once these murder cases are over.


Until I saw the little rectangular granite monument in the garden, Three Angels, it was easy to distance myself from what Bill Petit is doing in the courtroom.  In court, he is almost crazed in the calmness of his facial expression.  Someone claimed he’s on Thorazine or some other mood stabilizer.  I doubt it.  But the memory of Bill's crazed look dissolved in the tears which ran down my face, uncontrollably, once I saw the monument emblazoned with the words “Three Angels,” below the engraving of three flowers, roses, I think.  In front of the stone slab are three little angel figurines, which represent Bill's girls. Jennifer. Hayley. Michaela.  Now returned to dust.

Bill’s next-door neighbor, Tony, saw me standing there, crying.  Tony walked towards me.  “You’re havin’ a hard time of it, aren’t you?”  “Yeah,” I said, the anger in my voice drenching even the tears on my face, “now I understand what Dr. Petit’s doing.  He’s doin’ what a man’s gotta do when a couple son’s a’ bitches like that kill his woman and his girls.  He’s tryin’ to do what he wishes he coulda’ done that night.  Kill the fu—kers.”

“You’re right there, man,” said Tony.  “My wife is still havin’ a real big problem dealing with the fact this happened a hundred feet from our own house.  It’ll never go away.”


On Tuesday afternoon, when I left the courthouse, I walked down the steps to the sidewalk on Orange Street.  There, a gaggle of TV news satellite transmission trucks were lined up like the caravan of a media circus maximus.  ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, Inside Edition, HBO Documentary, Fox 5 New York. The good-looking male and mostly female TV news reporters were waiting for Dr. Petit to emerge from the courhouse, hoping to get some word or statement about how he was holding up under all the pressure of the case, which is, of course, magnified by the massive press interest in the case.

Dr. Petit, his sister on his arm, walks across Orange Street, accompanied by a phalanx of backward-walking news cameramen, with the TV news reporters thrusting their hand-held mikes towards the doctor’s face, hoping he’ll stop and give them an impromptu press conference so they have something new and substantive to put on the evening news casts.  He says nothing, or at most, just that he’s happy that the legal process has finally begun in earnest.  Because I suspect part of him's sick of all of this and wants desperately to get back to getting on with his life.

As he enters a private parking lot across Orange Street with his sister by his side, holding his hand, Bill Petit maintains a passive, expressionless face.  If I did not know he is a doctor, and that he’s the victim in this case, I could easily see him as a sensitive Mafia hit man.  Or as Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, thinking of nothing, focused only on his obsession:  "How can I kill the other great white whale, Joshua Komisarjevsky, now that I've survived the ordeal of getting Stephen Hayes sentenced to die in the lethal injection chamber?"

But having now visited Bill’s Three Little Angels in Michaela’s Garden I cannot rid my mind of the alternative idea that Mr. Petit is not obsessed but rather, merely determined.  Determined to seek out and do unto his girls’ killers what the law would have permitted him to do the night they murdered his girls, but not now.  Kill ‘em.

One can only hope, and pray, that someday Bill Petit will be able to move his focus from these cases, from the wish that these two men die, to recreating his life.  That new life will never be what it was with his three angels, but it will, if he chooses it, be a life and not the living death in which he now exists.  

Here’s are pictures of Michaela’s Garden.

Dr. William Petit Jr. arrived at the New Haven Superior Court Monday morning with his sister, Johanna Chapman, left and mother, Barbara Petit, rt., for Day 1 of Joshua Komisarjevsky's trial in the Cheshire home invasion case where Dr. Petit's wife and two daughters were brutally murdered in 2007.

                           Dr. William Petit Jr., Johanna Chapman, Barbara Petit

                                              ( STEPHEN DUNN, Hartford Courant / September 18, 2011 )
                  Dr. William Petit Jr. arrived at the New Haven Superior Court Monday morning with his sister, Johanna Chapman, left and                              mother, Barbara Petit, rt., for Day 1 of Joshua Komisarjevsky's trial in the Cheshire home invasion case where Dr. Petit's wife and two daughters were brutally murdered in 2007.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A free-associative "word-riff" on the Jewish bible as metaphor which can be seen being spoken from The Dude's (my) own mouth in a funny YouTube video

Here's a link to a hilarious YouTube video somebody I don't know made of me doing a riff about the Jewish bible as metaphor, so don't get all bent out of shape about anything you read it there which offends you. This is funny!  You may need to copy the link and paste it into your browser to bring up the video, which is only 1:41 minutes long.

Video title: "dude"

And here's what I wrote to the Facebook person who calls herself Cherry, who finds herself offended by the portrayal of women in the bible.  The YouTube video creator of the clip called "Dude" put my words to Cherry in the mouth of one of my funny Profile pictures. I hope whoever did this will do more just like it:

hey, cherry, baby, i like your riff on the jewish bible. it's all there, and none of it's there also. and anyway, dude, it's just a bunch of stories, metaphors. but remember, Judith put a stake through a general's head in a tent in the same bunch of stories, Ruth survived by seducing an older guy, Boaz, Bethsheba seduced David, even though the Big King Guy thought he was doin' the takin' of her from the roof, and as for King Solomon, read Joseph Heller's "Oh, God" in which he portrays the Great King Solomon as Schlomo to his father, King David, who was disappointed in the schlepy Scholomo, whom mother Bethsheba kept tryin' to promote as successor to her lover-boy King David, and Abraham was given Hagar by Sarah 'cause Sarah at first was barren, and then Abraham wimped-out when Sarah got all angry at Old Abe that he fell in love with the slave girl so he gave in to Sarah's pressure and kicked the young slave babe and Ishmael out into the wilderness, but in all these stories, the metaphor goes, God or the gods or mother nature takes care of most of these players in the glorious saga of the human race, which the Jewish bible portrays with warts and all. As far as gay sex, those people who interpret the bible as against it are just being selective in their wrong interpretation. why should God or Mother Nature give a shit about gay sex as long as nobody's getting hurt? The argument that it doesn't lead to procreation is absurd since nobody seems to object to two very old people getting married, like Abraham and Sarah and who knows, in the same way that God "let" Sarah get pregnant, finally, as an Old Woman, maybe God or Mother Nature will evolve the human race so gay people start reproducing with babies and all. Hey, human sexual reproduction took billions of years to develop the way it has. What's to stop it from developing so eventually even two women or two men can have babies, if that's what they want. Did you see Twins? The Terminator, the Love-inator had the baby in that fantasy. When it comes to Nature, all things are possible, given enough time. But it's okay to be angry, Cherry, 'bout Human Injustice. That's why I went into The Law 36 years ago, although I had to give it up in March of this year to pursue a writing career--and dance my Old Ass Off! lmao i'm so happy now! luv ya', dude
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Chesire Home Invasion Murder Trial--Dr. William Petit & Ahab (Moby Dick)--Destroying Themselves by Chasing the Great Evil Whale?

I spent the entire day at New Haven Superior Court.  Today was Opening Day for the Chesire Home Invasion Murder Trial, Part II, State vs. Joshua Komisarjevsky.  Steven Hayes, the co-defendant was tried last year and sentenced to death.  Hayes was the older of the two home invaders and, Komisarjevsky has alleged, Hayes was also the driving force behind the murders of Dr. Petit's wife and two daughters in the invasion of the doctor's Chesire, CT home.

I am too tired now to write a description of the day's rich happenings but hope to be able to do so tomorrow.

More later.

"Don't let anyone throw the jealous curse on you. You're retired and having fun that's what counts." Said by Steve, Bob's cousin's grown son.

My cousin's son, Stephen, lives in Jersey and is getting married in October at the a fancy hotel in downtown Philadelphia, in a very large wedding.  Steve is in his late 30's.  He's been a very successful real estate developer for many years.  I've met some of his earlier girlfriends, who are all intelligent and very beautiful.  One in particular, a blue-eyed blonde beauty who was older than Steve and a pharmaceutical saleswoman I tried to convince him not to let get away, but, like many before her, she didn't quite have what Steve was looking for in a long-term mate and probable mother of his children.

Steve knows my wife, Susie, well, having spent a few days at our home several years ago when my father was in his final months and Steve took the trouble to bring his grandmother, my father's sister, from New Jersey to Middletown, so the two siblings could see each other one last time.  My dad died in early December, 2003, and Steve's grandmother died one month later, in January, 2004.  Susie and I were most impressed that a grandson would take the trouble to do such a self-less act for an elderly relative.  That was the occasion on which Susie and I met Steve's blue-eyed blonde beauty girlfriend, who obviously wanted desperately to marry Steve and have children with him.  She really enjoyed getting to know Susie, who is the Mother archetype, personified.   

I won't meet Steve's dark-haired beauty fiancee until the wedding bash in Philly next month, but I've seen pictures of her on his Facebook page, and she is as darkly beautiful as Steve is handsomely blonde.  Opposites DO attract.  She must be One Special Lady to get Steve to wanna' "put a ring on it if you like it," as the Beyonce pop song goes.

Although Steve is a natural in business, given his natural smarts, blonde good looks, positive outlook, and outgoing personality, his parents once wanted him to become an accountant.  Steve is more naturally suited to artistic pursuits, so he hated the accountancy program his parents originally pressured him to pursue.  Steve dropped out of that school, moved to Myrtle Beach, and started a very successful jet ski sales and rental business.  In short, Steve knows what it means to be pressured by other people to live his life in a way that makes THEM happy but HIM unhappy.

Steve has been following "Bob's blog," the photos of me having a blast dancing in the discos, the "dirty-dancing," the whole bit.  He's read the comments and my blog posts indicating the variety of views about the propriety of how I'm currently living my life.  And here's what he said to me earlier today in acknowledging receipt of my positive response to his invitation to his upcoming wedding:

"I have been following the you tube and dancing 

pictures. Love the ladies. Don't let anyone throw the

jealous curse on you. You're retired and having fun

that's what counts."

Now that's just Steve's opinion, but it does come from a man who knows the importance of enjoying life and not limiting oneself to conventional notions of propriety or listening too much to the opinions of other people in deciding what course to set your life on.  In my case, if I took a vote about how I'm living my life, it's hard to know what the percentages would be on the Pro or Con sides.  I hear different reactions from people of all ages.  Usually the negative reactions come more readily, but many other people are very supportive of my choices, and very encouraging of my continuing along the path I have chosen.

Please don't think I'm offereing Steve's perspective, or mine, as the suggested Gospel reading for the day. It's just his thought process, based on his experience.  And, by all means, I welcome your criticisms, positive, negative, or indifferent to what I do with my life and what I say about it, or show-and-tell about it,  in "Bob's blog."