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    Entries in Thanksgiving (4)




    When I worked for an ad agency, way back when, I’d meander up the street to Beefy King the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday was one of their busiest days and I would go to help out any way I could. Interestingly, one of the most popular sandwiches on that particular day was sliced turkey breast. For the life of us, the owner, Roland Smith, and I couldn’t figure out why turkey would be such a big hit the day after. And after eating so much, you’d think people would be full of it. Or you’d think they’d have lots of leftovers to munch on. Why go to a restaurant for more?

    Round-and-round in our heads, Roland and I went back and forth over this perplexing ponderance, trying to understand why people would want turkey. I know we went a couple of years wondering.

    Finally, it dawned on us! We figured those L-tryptophan zombies had to work on Thursday. You know, convenience store employees. The wait staff at restaurants that served dinners on turkey day. Theater people. They were shortchanged and didn’t get to eat it. They were just fulfilling their subconcious cravings. Maybe some people ate ham or lasagna instead, yet still missed the traditional meal. They needed their turkey fix. You think?

    Later, I’m headed to Wawa to ask about their seasonal gobbler sub. I’ll bet the turkey farm that it’s a big seller today.




    My Thanksgiving Dinner...


    OK, who's going to say the prayer?

    Thursday marks the day when most Yankee Doodle Dandies honor and celebrate everything they’ve been blessed with since the same holiday last year. We call it Thanksgiving and it’s supposed to be the day we put away our family differences — and those of our friends, too, if they’re invited. We eat our fill of artificially plumped up turkey and blame L-tryptophan for falling asleep during a crucial play of the football game. While most people eat turkey, some eat lasagna or baked ham. Or, if they’re vegetarian, perhaps a tasty roasted tofurkey served with celery root & sage mash and basmati rice stuffing, slathered with lentil and sunflower sprout gravy thickened with quinoa flour. Organic, of course. Me? I’m a traditionalist.

    Oh… It’s almost time for dinner. And you’re there…

    “OK, who’s going to say the prayer?”

    “I did it last year.”

    “No, you didn’t. Aunt Tessie did and she’s no longer with us.”

    “Oh yeah, poor Aunt Tessie…”

    Someone always volunteers.

    “OK, dig in!”

    And the hustle and bustle of banging, clanging dishes and silverware begins…

    “Could you pass the mashed potatoes?”

    “They’re coming around. We’re passing everything clockwise.”

    “Then why is the stuffing going around counter-clockwise?”

    “Idiot. That’s not stuffing, that’s dressing. There’s a difference.”

    “Mom, [name redacted] called me an idiot.”

    “Stop that!”

    “I like white meat.”

    “Oooooo, baby, I’ve always been a dark meat man.”

    “Oh, that’s so racist.”

    “Hey, you know I prefer dark meat. How dare you say that! I like it because it’s got a much better flavor and it’s moister.”

    “So is white meat if you don’t overcook it, and dark meat has more fat.”

    “You are so sensitive.”

    “So what.”

    The munchfest is in full swing…

    “Here’s to Aunt Tessie!”

    “Does anyone else like Hillary?”

    “I’m all for Trump.”

    “What the..?”

    “No talking politics at the table, please!”

    “You have to be politically correct.”

    “Like hell I do!”

    “Watch your language. Don’t swear at the dinner table. No talking politics!”

    You are, after all, in the “Safe Space” du jour, right? And you’re all adults. Suddenly, the food passing is not as harried.

    “Why do you always have oysters in your stuffing?”

    “That’s the dressing. The stuffing doesn’t have oysters.”

    “What’s the difference?”

    “Stuffing goes in the bird. Dressing is baked in the oven.”

    “Oh, I didn’t know that!”

    “I prefer the jell…”

    “Hey, what’s the score of the Eagles game?”

    “You mean Detroit? They’ve been playing on Thanksgiving long before the Eagles ever did.”

    “We don’t care.”

    “I just know that the Panthers are going to slaughter the Cowboys. Worse than the fate of this turkey we’re eating.”

    “As I was saying, I prefer jellied cranberry sauce.”

    “Oh, NO! It’s got to be whole berry.”

    “Who cares, it’s all junk.”

    As food is fully served, the conversations taper off because everyone has all they need and they are at peace with their plates, now savoring every bite. The room goes quiet and calm because everything is delicious. All you can hear is slight chewing, sipping, and knife blades scraping across dishes. Everyone is concentrating on the meal.

    Except you. You’re the smart aleck. With a stealthy slither, you slide your water glass, ever so slowly, away from your area in half inch increments. You’re in a fiesty, festive mood and you’ve decided to take aim at your brother’s placemat. This is going to be fun. He won’t see you…

    Between your space and everyone else’s is the neutral zone in the middle of the table, the place with platters of food. If the green bean dish abuts your space, it’s OK because the table is filled with a cornucopia of food. That means seconds and, maybe, thirds, but you’ve got to save room for pie. Every dish in the neutral zone is fine; however, if your glass touches someone else’s space like their placemat? Look out! It can turn into a real border skirmish.

    Inch by inch, millimeter by millimeter, you edge it closer and closer until, finally, it touches your brother’s imaginary space, including his placemat! He never saw it until now. He immediately reacts.


    The psychological warfare you just instigated is underway, but you merely wanted to have fun. Over the river and through the woods turned into tom turkey tomfoolery and it’s no laughing matter now. Not usually one to stir the gravy, you did it anyway, and your brother wants to gobble your giblets alive.

    “Hey, I was just kidding.”

    You try to soften things, but the damage is done.

    “I have my space and you have yours. That’s where it belongs. Move it NOW!”

    And you promptly retreat. Oddly, it’s not really his space or his placemat. Not even the glasses. You are merely guests in someone else’s house. Did you infringe? You betcha!

    Of course, this is pure fiction, but I have tried the glass ploy on family members and friends. Some have ignored me while others have gotten somewhat upset. But there’s a point to my story. We chat, we get along, we disagree. When it comes to personal safe space, people take it, well, personally. And seriously. These private areas vary from person to person, too, yet, if something as simple as this can stir raw emotions in families, imagine what it’s like in the real world, with real borders and real testosterone-laden leaders, for Crimean out loud!

    Thanksgiving is a most passive holiday, one spent with relatives and friends, yet look at how easy it is to upset our own flesh and blood. How can we expect the world to see eye-to-eye, where countries willingly take property and borders away from each other with impugnity, day after day? They kill over it and don’t blink.

    “I’m sorry. You can have my pie.”

    “I don’t want your pie. I can get my own.”

    “You guys??? Was this really worth starting an argument over?”

    “OK, I’m finished. Let’s go watch the game. That’s where the real battle is taking place.”

    “Am I excused?”

    You and some of the others retire to the TV room, where you vie for the best chairs. It’s a subtle kind of friendly dance. You find one. Do you offer it to your brother?


    ...To Judge Perry's Court We Go

    Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Aiobhan

    In the United States, this past week was one of giving thanks to God, ourselves, others, and/or all of the above, for our many bountiful blessings - no matter how bleak the economy has been and might be in the future. As Thanksgiving fades and sugar plum fairies begin their month-long magical dance, the week ahead may very well be a time for the state and defense to give thanks for what they are about to receive in the courtroom. Or not.

    Three motions were filed between November 18 and the end of this past week; one by the state and two by the defense. In the final motion, Casey’s attorneys have seemingly abandoned their two-step strategy that Texas EquuSearch volunteers Laura Buchanan and Joe Jordan searched the precise spot where Caylee’s remains were discovered. It seems they tiptoed to a different tune in the company of detectives and prosecutors bearing gifts recently, most likely time away from home, if you get my drift. After being deposed by the state, Buchanan’s attorney, Bernard Cassidy said, “I believe she signed an affidavit that she searched the area where the body was found. Somebody may have suggested where the body was found, but she has never been to that area to see precisely where the body was.” Cough, cough. Ahem.

    Brandon Sparks seems to have changed his story, too, about Roy Kronk, his one time stepfather’s alleged “prior bad acts.” In lieu of any familiar faces to turn to for help, the defense is asking the court for state money to hire an expert who specializes in bones and fossilized remains. If something new could be determined by another reputable forensic anthropologist/osteologist, it might help debunk the state’s expert. Do I think it will do any good? I don’t know, but this defense needs all the help it can get. Will Judge Perry grant this motion? I don’t see why not, but he will, more than likely, wait until he hears what the JAC has to say about it.


    The first motion filed on the 18th was from the state. Signed by Jeff Ashton, it’s a State Motion to Compel Evidence and it’s based on the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, 3.220 (d) and (f).

    In a nutshell, the state wants to know where the taxpayers’ money went. It wants to review every contract and agreement the defense has made to date. This includes communications between the defense, its entire staff and all of its experts; any notes taken by or for the experts referencing their examination of evidence, and all photos and videos. The state is also asking for all records pertaining to meals, travel expenses, lodging and entertainment. It’s demanding a reckoning of every penny the defense has spent and, gasp, that’s a tough one.

    As much as the state is asking, the motion made it clear that it doesn’t expect the judge to give away the farm. Privileged information is going to be involved, so it requests that the court examine many of the documents in camera - privately, in other words - with the defense, and to redact whatever it sees fit. Redaction means to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb in order to find things not suitable for the other side or the public. Of course, the state would love to know the defense’s strategy in order to launch a strong counterattack, but that’s not fair, nor is it proper, and both parties are aware of it. The state definitely has the upper hand on this one because it has flooded the defense with so much evidence, some important, some not, but because there’s so much of it, it’s overwhelming. Consequently, the defense has had to sort through a slew of documents in order to discern what the state will use at trial. This is a common strategy, and by filing this motion, the state has caught the defense relatively flat-footed. It will most likely have to fork over all sorts of information and that takes time and money away from defending a client. It’s a distraction, but a very legal ploy. WFTV reported that it had read 322 pages of financial documents on Thanksgiving day, so some of it is already public knowledge.

    One of the key points of 3.220 (d) is that, “any tangible papers or objects that the defendant intends to use in the hearing or trial” needs to be turned over. What’s interesting is that the state does not have to turn over any internal notes; those made by investigators in the course of their work. I would assume the same would hold true for the defense, and any attorney worth their weight in salt would know how to distinguish between what is and what isn’t privileged, and would know how to hide documents accordingly. All legal; all fair.

    From my discussions with judges throughout the years, not that I am in constant contact with any today, I have learned that they look at both sides fairly and without prejudice. However, being human, they can readily sense when someone is or is not capable of representing their respective clients. By this, I mean the defense as well as the state. I have yet to meet a judge who seldom complains about one side while picking apart the other. Everyone who faces a judge has his/her own personality, and being human and all, the judge will look at all motions and have personal thoughts on how they were filed and whether they make sense. What I am trying to say, in other words, is that no judge looks forward to a motion like this; not if the court has to sift through thousands of documents in order to discern what is to be passed over to the state and what is to be kept behind closed doors. Fortunately, circuit court judges generally have a battery of scholarly assistants at their disposal, but my guess is that it’s not something anyone looks forward to. Since Channel 9 had access to some of the documents, I would say the defense has turned over discovery prior to this motion. I think the most important part of the motion pertains to where the money is going, past and present; and the state of Florida has every right to know, down to the very last penny.


    The defense filed a very interesting motion on Tuesday, November 23. The Defendant’s Motion to Seal Penalty Phase Discovery Response also cites F.R.C.P. 3.220, but in this case, it’s (l) (1) it’s referring to - Protective Orders:

    Motion to Restrict Disclosure of Matters. On a showing of good cause, the court shall at any time order that specified disclosures be restricteddeferred, or exempted from discovery, that certain matters not be inquired into, that the scope of the deposition be limited to certain matters, that a deposition be sealed and after being sealed be opened only by order of the court, or make such other order as is appropriate to protect a witness from harassment, unnecessary inconvenience, or invasion of privacy, including prohibiting the taking of a deposition. All material and information to which a party is entitled, however, must be disclosed in time to permit the party to make beneficial use of it.

    What this motion requests is for every bit of penalty phase information it finds from here on out be sealed or exempted from future discovery, pursuant to Florida’s Rules of Criminal Procedure. Furthermore, it states that this case “has received an extreme degree of media attention not just in Orlando, Florida, but nationally.” Everyone reading this article is well aware of that fact, and if ever there was a truth to what the defense has said, this is indisputable. The motion specifically cites Florida Statute 90.202 (l), which states: Facts that are not subject to dispute because they are generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.

    The motion goes on to state that intense media scrutiny has resulted in the media and public conducting their own investigations aside from what law enforcement has done. I will be the first one to admit that this case has grown multiple arms, many that far outstretch the reach of sanity and truth. Specifically, Internet sites, including blogs and YouTube are fingered, but not one in particular. This is also the truth. Anyone who writes a blog has been guilty to some degree; some a lot more than others.

    How many blogs have been guilty of mocking the people involved in this case? The defendant? The entire defense team? All of the defense witnesses? How many times have we read that anyone who works for the defense is a liar? The attorneys must be disbarred? There is a long list of public demands, most of which are quite illogical in the practical sense. Sure, I’m not one who should talk, but I’ve tried to be fair, and in this case, I can empathize with the defense.

    “To date, witnesses in this case, especially defense witnesses, have already been subjected to intense media pressure and harassment by the media and the public at large. This has resulted in a chilling effect with some witnesses becoming reluctant to come forward with information for fear of harassment and stalking.”

    Boy, oh boy, can I relate to that one. I’m not a witness for the defense, but I have been harassed and stalked since Judge Strickland stepped down. Relentlessly. And if the defense ever needed a witness who could testify to that fact, it would be me.

    It’s interesting that the order requiring penalty phase witnesses to be listed is due on November 30, the day after the hearing, so this motion could be two-fold; the other being that the list is not forthcoming. After all, how much time has Ann Finnell, the author of the motion, had to gather up all penalty phase witnesses?

    The motion asks that the disclosure of these witnesses from the media and the public be restricted until a penalty phase has been established. This, the defense argues, insures that Casey will receive a fair penalty phase if it becomes necessary. In any event, if the judge refuses to grant the defense’s request, the motion asks for an evidentiary hearing on the matter, and that’s one I doubt the judge will say no to.

    Overall, it has been my observation that there are a bunch of weirdos out there in the public who have grown some of the most mutated arms I have ever witnessed in my entire life. One such arm that has absolutely no merit is the one boasted by several inane commenters at an otherwise respected site; the one that states “as fact” that Jose Baez, Cindy Anthony, Melissa Earnest and myself conspired to remove The Honorable Stan Strickland from the bench. That one is disgusting, it has absolutely no legs to stand on, and it’s based purely on hatred for me and the others named. Only the stupidest of idiots would believe such a thing. It’s precisely what the defense is talking about, and it’s why the motion stated that the “intense media scrutiny of this case has resulted in the media and the public conducting their own independent investigations in the facts of this case…” I can’t say it enough times. No, this has nothing to do with my fact seeking field trips to Walmart, a la James Thompson, or a video I shot of a person who has yet to be called by the state. In both respects, I was well within my rights and all I was seeking was the truth. If Casey cannot get a fair trial, it is because of trolls. We all know who they are and so does the defense. It’s the trolls who insist they are the only ones who know “the truth” and they say so at the expense of federal and state law enforcement officials, not to mention prosecutors, bunglers all, and certainly not professional enough to see the light.

    God forbid that my name would ever be placed on the defense witness list, but believe me, I sure do relish the thought of being able to tell a judge the truth about all of the horrible lies pertaining to this case. If Casey’s defense team has ever filed a good motion, this one is it. Let’s see what the judge thinks.