Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Civics Notebook: Jury Duty in Providence

Just recently I was summoned to jury duty in Providence, Rhode Island. Although some people may get annoyed by this inconvenience but look at as a break from your normal routine and also a learning experience. Most of us only see the court system from television, books or movies. This was actually my second time reporting to this same location so I wasn’t a total stranger to the procedure. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the whole experience.

Getting There

I took advantage of the free parking and shuttle service that is provided a short distance away from the courts. It really makes sense to use this service if possible. Traffic and parking near courts is quite congested and busy. As is common in most urban areas is that parking is at a premium. On street parking is very limited and some nearby parking lots will cost you some dough. Why spend money and deal with the hassle of finding a spot?


To be warned their is security checkpoints at entrances which there is a metal detector and x-ray screening(for belongings). This can be a minor hassle coming and going from the building. All belongings watches, belts, wallets, purses, backpacks and so on must go through the scanner. I’d advise to travel light and come and go from the building a limited number of times. Don’t worry about the screeners they aren’t same group as the ones strip search 95 year old women's diapers in the airports.


I’m not much of a lunch time eater but there are small eateries in the area. The courthouse does have a small snack bar. You could bring a lunch if you like. I didn’t notice any name brand fast food or coffee shops nearby.

Take a walk

The John Brown House: Founder of Brown University

The surrounding neighborhood was actually quite interesting. The courthouse borders Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University and the historic Benefit Street. Across the street is also park which borders the Providence River where one can hang out. It’s surprising how much is packed into this small area that is all within short walking distance. This was how I spent my lunch breaks.

Jury Selection

On the second day I was one of many selected to be to go through the process of selecting a jury. Your group is selected at random and you are brought up a courtroom where you meet the judge, prosecutor, defense lawyer and defendant. Our particular case was a criminal trial which required 14 jurors(12 plus 2 alternates). The process is somewhat tedious but the judge we had was friendly and full of humor at times. From the jury pool names were picked at random. The judge, prosecution and defendant’s lawyer asked a series of questions. Some people were excused for one reason or another. Finally when they had the right number they were sworn in and the rest of us were released. To be honest I was kind of disappointed to not be selected. I thought it would have been an excellent learning experience, maybe next time.


Like I said I looked this a break from my routine. Keep in mind their is a lot of waiting. In the lounge there are different rooms with TV’s around with some snack and soda machines. There is also a library room with plenty of books to choose from with a couple of PC’s for Internet use. Try to take advantage of opportunities around this time. It can be a rewarding experience if you want it to be.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Paul McCartney - Mull Of Kintyre

History Notebook: The World at War

Part of my personal interest in modern world history can be traced to this early 1970’s British documentary about World War Two. I do remember as a kid seeing parts of this documentary on television. Courtesy of Netflix I’m able to see this documentary from start to finish. It’s a must see film of this genre. Although it’s done by the British it does a well rounded view of this event that defined the Twentieth Century. Interviewed are people involved from all sides of this conflict. For history buffs this is a must see documentary.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bruin’s Notebook: The Hangover

It’s still hard to believe they won Lord Stanley’s Cup. All the year’s of frustration, too many men on the ice, 3 game(and goals) leads lost and perhaps too many years of watching their bottom line instead spending a bit more to get final player to put them over. The Bruin’s have finally joined the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics with the amazing championship performances in the past ten years.

Here are some thought’s of the championship run that started in April:

  • Claude Julien: After losing the first two games (at home) to the Montreal Canadien’s it looked like Claude would be looking for a new job soon. He never seemed to panic and stayed the course to his first Cup win in his career. I think his job is safe in the foreseeable future.
  •  Brad Marchand(AKA: “Marshmont” from 98.5 The Sports Hub): He’s been called everything from a rat to a Honey Badger(By team mate Andrew Ference). He  play’s with a tenacity and attitide I haven’t seen in a long time in a Bruin’s uniform. He’s the player you hate on the other team. He’s full of energy and isn’t afraid of anyone. He’s one of the pieces the B’s have been missing for many year’s. Here’s an example that I can’t help from laughing at:
  • Tomas Kaberle: This poor guy was so over hyped as the savior of the already dismal power play. I’d have to admit at first he looked like a poor fit to the Bruin’s system and soon became a scapegoat for the joke the that became the power play during the playoff’s. I thinks people forget that other players and coaches beside Kaberle were also involved in the fiasco. Luckily the Bruin’s were able to win without it. Actually it performed better than Vancouver’s power play in the Final’s. He tied Seidenberg for Bruin’s defensemen with 11 points. I think the B’s could still use his skill and offense. Don’t let his slow start blind you.
  • Tim Thomas: What else can be said about this man that hasn’t been said already. Fierce competitor but yet a very likable guy. His performance in the regular season and playoff’s were for the history books. To be honest for a long time I thought of him as a fluke or in last year of being any good. He’s got his second Vezina Trophy(and Conn Smythe Trophy) to prove me wrong. Here’s the “History” clip showing  what will go down as “The Save”:
  • Patrice Bergeron: He put on one hell of a show on Game 7 against Vancouver. Perhaps the best all around pure hockey player’s the Bruin’s have. Not the flashiest nor highest scoring. He’s a face off master and play’s very well on offence and defense. Perhaps one of the most underrated player’s in the NHL. He put’s everything on the ice every game. He scores this shorthanded goal against Vancouver in game 7 by shear will power:
  • Zdeno Chara: When he lifted Cup above his head it was an unbelievable sight. Gone were the doubts about his Captaincy or his legacy as a great player. When he came here he had the shadow of Shore, Orr and Bourque over him. He has fulfilled his destiny and solidified his place among Bruin’s defensemen greats.
  • Tyler Seguin: Originally a healthy scratch for the first two playoff rounds he wouldn’t have got a chance except for Patrice Bergeron’s unfortunate concussion against the Flyer’s in game 4. Many wondered why he wasn’t playing with a team that struggled at time’s for offence. In just his second game against Tampa Bay he showed us why he was picked #2 in the draft with a 4 point second period. He’s going to have a bright future in the black and gold.
  • Nathan Horton: With three game winning clutch goal’s in the playoff’s Bruin’s fan’s held there breathe when he was the victim of a late hit by Vancouver’s Rome. Out for the playoff’s with a concussion just how would the Bruin’s deal with losing him. “Win it for Horty” soon became the battle cry and Bruin’s finished the next two games scoring 8-1 and 4-0 respectively.  He help the Bruin’s win without being there. Here’s a touching video shown during game 6:

Thank you 2011 Boston Bruin’s for bring home the Cup!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bruin’s Notebook: Game 7

This has been a long day of waiting. I’m not quite sure if it’s hit me fully the weight of this day. The Cup win in 70 and 72 were when I was a small kid (3 and 5 years old respectively) so I have no memory of it. I didn’t get heavy in the Bruin’s until 80’s  culminating in the the Cup appearances in 88 and 90. Unfortunately they ran into the Edmonton Oiler dynasty was in full swing and and only managed one win in two appearances. So in just two weeks I’ve seen more Stanley Cup wins than ever seen before.

Let’s go Bruin’s!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bruin’s Notebook: Game 6 in Boston

The last game at the TD Garden this post season is tonight and to say it’s a “must win” is an understatement. The thought of Lapierre, Burrows or the Sedin Sister’s (aka: Thelma and Louise) hosting the Cup around the Garden makes me want to gag. If that happens the ghost of Eddie Shore will appear and pummel Burrows into a bloody pulp on the ice with the Cup itself.

I do believe the Bruin’s have a very good chance to win tonight. Throughout the regular season and playoff’s they have shown up for most part in clutch situation’s. Last Friday’s loss was pretty predictable(to me at least). Unfortunately it seems as if you give them the least bit of slack guess what happens? They lose. The only consistency has been Thomas most of the time. The offense seems to either run hot or cold.

What gives me hope is the intangible item I feel this team has missed for many years: Heart. For many years since the early 90’s I felt this team had lacked that quality in a big way. I’d see sparks along the way but they’d always seem to come up short or just fade away. Maybe it took Cam Neely’s rise to President of the club to finally bring it back. It had kept me from fully committing to this team in the past. This year I believe they brought it back. I believe this team and franchise has turned a corner and brought the team back from the depth’s of mediocrity to be within two wins of the Stanley Cup.

Go Bruin’s!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bruin’s Notebook: Old issues coming back?

"Well goals against isn't an issue, it's goals for that's an issue," he said. "The power play is an issue. I think the name of the game is you've still gotta score one more goal than the other team. It's not about trying to win zero-zero."

-Cam Neely

It seem like it’s the issue of the power play and scoring in general rearing it’s ugly head again. These words were spoken back in December 2010 long before the Bruin’s great playoff run who’s story isn’t finished yet. Should the Bruin’s pull off winning the Cup then it’ll go down as curious footnote in NHL(and Bruin) history. If the hated Canucks take the Cup you can almost guarantee this issue will be a glaring scapegoat. Unfortunately it’s a tough issue to try and fix when your facing elimination in the finals. Even though it may be safe to say Claude Julien’s job is safe next year you can be sure he’ll be facing some tough scrutiny if the Bruin’s don’t pull off the championship.

Bruin’s Notebook: Game 5

The Boston Bruin’s blew a nice opportunity to put the Vancouver Canucks on their heels. Sometimes working a second shift can be a mixed blessing because I miss watching a lot of games, but on the other hand if a game is a real stinker I haven’t missed much. Not much incentive to watch a game the Bruin’s lose. Here are some thought’s I had about the current Bruin’s situation:

  • The poor power play performance still continues to haunt them. Though in games 3 and 4 it didn’t matter much. In a low scoring game and 4 missed opportunities on the man advantage was a a big blow. Even if the Bruin’s win the Cup whoever is in charge of the Power Play should be fired.
  • If Bruin’s can’t win a game 5 in Vancouver how much optimism can we have about a game 7? Sorry that’s just the pessimist inside me. On the other hand I’m fairly optimistic about game 6 on Monday and I do believe they’ll be a game seven. It will be the ultimate test of this team’s resiliency.
  • Their does seem to be a unanimous feeling that Tim Thomas will win both the Vezina (best goalie) and Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP). I’m sure he’d trade both for the Stanley Cup though.
  • Tim Thomas can’t do it all. He has gotten better goal support this year than in the past. He can’t be expected to play for shutout’s every night. He needs some more goal scoring to help out at times.
  • The future looks bright for this team whatever the outcome. The nucleus of this team is till fairly young and many players are yet to hit their prime. We’ll be in the playoff’s I feel for the next few years at least.

Prediction: The Bruin’s will have a dramatic win come Monday at home. The fan’s will be insane and supportive as usual(including myself). Game seven in Vancouver though…….