Tag Archives: Satire

Surviving Law & Order

A Heck Of A Guy Encore: How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order

NBC announced last week that Law & Order, a stalwart network series for the past 20 years, would be canceled after this season. In commemoration of this outstanding crime drama and in keeping with what was, during the era in which Law & Order began, the tradition of summer reruns, Heck Of A Guy, emboldened by the success of last week’s showcase of especially popular previously published posts,  Wedding Toasts, Death Threats, Kink, Chuckles Eulogy, Pseudoscience Of Carcinogenic Omelets, offers a refurbished encore production of  How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order, originally broadcast on HOAG March 9, 2006.

The premise for How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order is implicit in this passage:

The observant viewer will also note that, incredibly enough, the designated criminals on these dramas fall for those same interrogation techniques and legal maneuvers every week – even though these scenarios, with a full explication of the underlying strategies, have been repeatedly broadcast on TV, day and night, for years. Why do these otherwise wily, often brilliant individuals, who have the intrinsic advantage of a willingness to cheat, lie, and mislead and, one assumes, some aptitude for and experience with these skills, fall prey to the interrogators’ ancient, clichéd tricks?…

Well, I, for one, will be prepared. If, for example, the Rapture actually turns out to be that cataclysmic period when real life and television completely merge, as presaged by today’s reality shows, and I become a suspect on CSI, Joplin, I intend to be ready.

And, like Leonard Cohen, “I have stumbled on the answer, and I’m not the sort of chap who would keep this to himself…”1

A few excerpts are provided as an indication of the quality of advice the reader can expect:

6. Nor will I resort to the sarcastically intoned “Is that supposed to scare me?” after a cop or prosecutor has made an obviously scary threat. In any case, I suspect that Lennie et al, being detectives after all, might pick up a clue that I was frightened when I fainted, developed total body tremor, or became incontinent.

10. If I am a physician being charged with a crime, I will not

A. Pompously explain that I cannot cooperate with the investigation because I’m too busy saving lives
B. Dress in “a fancy Armani suit” (apparently a well known signal of criminal intent regardless of the suspect’s profession; well trimmed Van Dykes and goatees appear to be giveaways as well)
C. Practice in “a fancy Park Avenue office” (as a rule, cops hate it when suspects have fancy stuff)
D. Invoke doctor-patient confidentiality (which both signals guilt and antagonizes police and prosecutors)

19. I will hire, in advance, the smartest, most aggressive, most pragmatic, most cynical, and (especially) scariest lawyer in the system. I will carefully listen to my lawyer’s advice and will not instruct him or her, “You work for me; just do what I tell you,” “I don’t care what you think, it’s my life and I’m not taking the deal,” or “Put me on the stand; I’ll make the prosecutor look ridiculous.”

26. I will not change my story even if the officers or prosecutors introduce seemingly irrefutable facts that appear to contradict what I’ve said. Seemingly irrefutable facts that appear to contradict what I’ve said are the reason I hired the lawyer in Principle #19.

The complete post cn be found at How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order

  1. Leonard Cohen, Praha August 29, 2009 []

Onion News Reports On Google Opt-Out Village

onn-opening

Onion News Network Precisely On Target

I’ve long had a thing for The Onion, the most reliable source of consistently high quality, insightful, clever, funny satire in text form. I hadn’t paid much attention, however, to the Onion News Network, their mock emulation of CNN and similar television news shows.

Today, however, I happened onto their report about Google’s “Opt-Out Village,” which is ostensibly Google’s heavy-handed alternative for those individuals who are reluctant to allow Google “access to their most private thoughts and feelings.”

The satire itself is marvelous. Onion writers have created a scenario that is outlandish in scale but precisely congruent in shape with the sort of solution Google might present to those with privacy complaints which challenge Google’s wisdom and omnipotence.

Opt-out Village mirrors, for example, Google’s strategy in scanning and indexing entire libraries of books to be served up online for Google’s benefit, offering authors and copyright holders a methodology to opt-out that some have described as arduous, obscure, and unfair. Regardless of ones feelings toward copyright protection, Google, or privacy concerns, the satire is devastating and hilarious.

I am most impressed, however, with the verisimilitude achieved by the CNN-inspired Onion News Network presentation, including the dead-on opening graphics that spin into view. (See image atop this post)

The clip features an anchor broadcasting from a set with the requisite background of  video screens, a graphic beneath identifying the news category, and, of course, an Onion New Network logo hogging the lower right corner.

onn-anchor

The anchor hands off the story to a “Tech Trends” correspondent who looks, in personal appearance and dress, like a tech correspondent.

onn-guy1

Note the plethora of tech-news graphics and nifty details such as the crawl beneath the main screen.

The Tech Trends correspondent does his story from a setting that one could easily believe is Google headquarters and interviews an individual one could easily believe is a Director at Google.

onngoogle

Much of the story is conveyed by comic book graphics reminiscent of those used by Google to introduce their Chrome browser.

Comics graphic for Opt-Out Village

Comics graphic for Opt-Out Village

Comics graphic for Google Chrome browser introduction

Comics graphic for Google Chrome browser introduction

During the entire presentation, with the exception of perhaps a couple of moments, the actors stay in character, the tone is consistent, and the narrative flows in  linear fashion. The result?

The Onion News Network
makes the willing suspension of disbelief easy

Revenue-producing Commercial Or Satiric Opportunity?

The clip is preceded by a five second Coke commercial. If one wishes to see another clip or a re-run of this clip, a 30 second Coke commercial is to be endured. This is not part of the Onion satire, although I don’t see any reason it couldn’t be the topic of their next ONN report.

Onion News Network – Google Opt-Out Village Report


Google Opt Out Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village

end3

Credit Due Department: I discovered the Onion News Network story about Google’s Opt-Out Village from  a post at Contentious.com.   Contentious.com, in turn, was alerted to this feature by West Seattle Blog.

Wedding Announcements Made Unique

Another Exclusive DrHGuy Wedding Fix

The Unique Wedding – Same Old Announcement Conundrum

While the desire for a unique wedding has become almost universal among prospective brides and grooms these days, those same nearly-weds appear placidly satisfied with publicly published announcements of those weddings and the engagements that precede them that are tired cookie-cutter versions of the same old templates newspapers have used for generations. These black and white photos and paragraphs can, however, be enlivened – assuming one values creativity and passion over soul-deadening adherence to the so-called facts (which I have found, in any case, to be vastly overrated). For example, …

The Raw Material
I came across the visages displayed atop this post in a well-known newspaper. If I correctly understand the arrangement, the subjects in those photos paid the periodical to have their images, along with announcements of their engagements, weddings, and the like, published where friends, family, God, and, more to the point, I could see them.

While the pictures were fascinating, the captions, were – and I must be blunt here – tragically lame, rehashing the same trite clichés about “planning a June wedding,” “the groom is a graduate of … ,” “the ceremony will be held at … ,” etc. that fill newspaper society pages every day, everywhere.

Clearly, these folks were not getting their money’s worth.

I have rectified the problem by blacking out, in an uncharacteristic display of tact, the text and identifying information that originally appeared in the paper and then providing, as replacements for those standard (i.e., dull) announcements, my own alternative compositions that, I humbly submit, are not only far more interesting but are also more in synch with the photos.

The New, Improved Announcements

From top-left, and continuing clockwise,

Society Newcomer Surprises Wife

Dzems Djordievic-Dikic commemorates his entry into the fashionable circles of the Argentinean elite with the generous donation of Carlotta Lennardotten, his former mistress, current wife, imminent ex-spouse, and a recent graduate of the Lake Titicaca School of Economics, Astrology, & Cosmetology, to the society slave auction sponsored by the Buenos Aires Association for the Preservation of Rich Political Outcasts. “Call me ‘old-fashioned,’ but I appreciate these traditional slave auctions,” Dzems remarks, “What’s the point of these modern so-called ‘charity auctions’ where you buy a slave today and tomorrow it’s as if she is free again? That makes a joke of a valid economic transaction and insults those women whose owners decide, of their own free will, to sell them.” Captain Djordievic-Dikic, a career war criminal whose name translates into English as “Pig’s Squeal Fang-gnasher,” denies bitterness about his exile from his homeland consequent to his recent convictions by the World Court on charges of drug smuggling, war profiteering, and genocide, wryly commenting, “Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”

Engagement & Sentencing To Run Concurrently

Rudy Connors expresses his delight over his engagement: “I’m one lucky guy. Not only did I persuade a wonderful girl like Catherine to marry me but how many sex offenders can combine reporting to their probation officer with pillow talk?” His fiancée, Ms Catherine Jenkins, plans to leave corrections work soon to focus her efforts on their new business, The Wheaton Christian Pre-teen Genital Tattooing & Piercing Academy.

Alone No More – Pretty Soon

Alexandra Kerstin announces her engagement to Wayne (“call me Wayne”) Williams. Ms Kerstin is the winner of the Miss Illinois, Miss Socket Wrench, and Miss Upper Midwest America titles, a nominee for both the Nobel Physics and Peace Prizes, a visiting professor at MIT, and an actress who has appeared as the ampersand in Will & Grace, Sex & the City, and Law & Order, but is best known as The Perpetual Bridesmaid, holding the record for most bridal parties in which she was a participant (bridesmaid in 281 weddings, maid of honor in 133 ceremonies) while never herself being the bride. This Always A Bridesmaid phenomenon, as Ms Keratin, who is also ranked in the top ten nationally in three different martial arts, points out, certainly has nothing to do with her acceptance of the marriage proposal from her unemployed, thrice divorced fiancé whom she met last night at the Last Shot Bar, Grill, and Disco. Asked why Wayne was not present for the announcement and photo shoot, Alexandra quiets her sobs long enough to explain that Wayne, who recently succeeded in obtaining his GED on the third attempt, did leave a message on her voice mail saying that he might stop by for the occasion – unless the guys at the garage could work him in this afternoon to rotate his tires.

Groom Celebrates; Bride Choked Up

Lieutenant Anthony “Mad Dog” Haskins enjoys the festivities on the occasion of his wedding to Miss Brenda Haynes. Lt Haskins, a noted serial killer and holder of the Tri-state record for most murders committed within the borders of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin during a consecutive 7-day period (excluding major holidays), admits that this was not a case of love at first sight. “In fact, when I first met Brenda, I hated her. I thought she was one of those uppity bitches, but I fell in love when I saw how she had changed when I visited her in the ICU,” referring to Ms Haskins’ hospitalization following his botched attempt to strangle her. “No,” he explains, “she hasn’t come out of the coma yet, but we decided that it would be silly to delay the marriage while we wait for her to recover.” Miss Haynes had little to say but was radiant and, according to family, “looked just like herself.”


I Was Sinking Deep In Sin … wheeeeeeeee

Hear The Invitation; Come Whosoever Will

For your Sunday morning salvation, The [Occasionally] Right Rev. DrHGuy invites you to Objective: Christian Ministries (AKA Objective: Ministries)

It may be that only a lapsed hard-core fundamentalist such as DrHGuy can fully appreciate Objective: Christian Ministries. As the opening line of Saved! puts it, I’ve been born again my whole life. My attempt to insert a humorous, over-the-top graphic floundered when I realized I couldn’t conceive of any statement so outrageous that one or another of the churches in my home town would not only acknowledge but would joyously seize upon to incite a schism in order to cull the heretics from the congregation. The best I could come up with was

That’s pitiful. Heck, there are Vacation Bible Schools back home that would use that as a slogan for the third graders to mount in alphabet macaroni on Popsicle stick plaques.

Caution: Spoiler Alert

Objective: Christian Ministries

Objective: Christian Ministries is a parody.

It may, indeed, be the best disguised parody online. It links to some genuine church-sponsored sites and Christian oriented news and entertainment as well as several other churches and organizations with suitably churchy names that do not exist.

It professes to support a Christian youth rock ministry, denounces the teaching of evolution, and  suggests that readers “Make “CUT UP THE CONCUBINE!” (Judges 19) your battle cry during the War on Christians.”

The site’s  master stroke, however, is its campaign to shut down Landover Baptist, which is also a parody (and a pretty funny one that is itself worth a visit) but is much more recognizable as such.

There are many, many atheists and anti-fundamentalist critics who have denounced Objective: Christian Ministries in the belief it was legit.1

Not To Be Missed

The Online Shop offers all manner of Godly stuff, including the “Jesus Is The Light Switch” and the “As A Former Sperm, I Oppose Condoms” bumper sticker.

The anti-triclavianism campaign is based on the following theological premise:

Triclavianists hold that three, and only three, nails were used to affix our Lord Jesus Christ to the cross. While it might be true that three nails were used — and, in fact, archaeological evidences uncovered by Biblical researchers positively point to this conclusion — it is erroneous, and theologically dangerous, to make this a doctrinal position.

The anti-evolutionist, therefore anti-Apple campaign accuses Apple of promoting “evolutionism propaganda” by” bas[ing] their newest operating system on Darwinism,” because OS X was based on the Darwin operating system. Many news sites, including Slashdot, referenced the story without realizing it was a hoax.


  1. For example, Stupid Evil Bastard – Just when I think the Christian Fundies can’t get any sillier and Atheist Coalition of San Diego – A Christian Nation of Hate and Ignorance []

13 Mistakes To Avoid When Selecting A Safeword For BDSM Play

Subs Say The Funniest Things

You know how it goes. You’re attending that excruciatingly boring, semi-obligatory neighborhood party, sipping on that not-quite-premier brand scotch and checking your watch every six minutes to calculate when you can politely slip out, when somebody suggests, as an alternative to Pictionary, a little BDSM. And before you know it, you’re wearing nothing but a leather hood, handcuffs, and nipple clamps, and your hostess, who is taking a few practice strokes with her crop, is asking you for your Safe Word.1  Well, Bunkie, if you haven’t thought through that answer already, it’s a little late once she straps that ball gag in your mouth.

And, ones Safe Word is, after all, an important choice in ensuring a good time — but not too good a time — being had by all; as the old saying has it,

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
Then, it’s just fun.

So, as yet another public service, the Heck Of A Guy Blog2 presents

Observations On A Sub’s Suboptimal Safe Words

1. Cognitive dissonance can be problematic. For example, using “More, More, Harder, Harder,” “Green Light,” or “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as a Safe Word may prove sufficiently confusing to cause a transient but uncomfortable delay in the desired cessation of festivities.

2. Homographs are iffy. Your more exacting Doms won’t find “You say tomato, I say tomato” all that amusing.

3. Likewise, homonyms (e.g., plays on “bear” the burden and “bare” your ass) can be tricky. I reference Master Murphy’s Law: Any safe words that can be confused will be confused and its corollary: “Momentary confusion” takes on a entirely different meaning when the “momentary” part occurs during a flogging.

4. Multi-syllabic, sesquipedalian  words, especially those of the sort most often found in medical or scientific literature or novelty books about word play are not ideal. Even if you can routinely recall such monstrosities as “floccinaucinihilipilification,” “hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostomies,” and “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,”  it’s showing off, and, believe me, nobody likes a smart ass sub.

5. Safe Words that aren’t words (e.g., “833646520034″) fall into the same category as #4.

6. While dramatic and emphatic, exclamations such as “Ouch,” “Damn, that hurts,” and “What the heck do you think you’re doing?” can be misunderstood.

7. The subjunctive mood (e.g., “It’s as though I can’t take any more” or “I wish it  would quit hurting”) is typically inappropriate for ones Safe Word.

8. ” ” It didn’t work for Prince and it won’t work for you.

9. AAAA. (“Assiduously Avoid Acronyms, Asshole”). “NGSCB” may mean “Next-Generation Secure Computing Base,” to you, but does your Dom know that?

10. Think twice before choosing tricky proper names (for example, names of towns such as Unalakleet, Alaska or Prem Nagar, India and especially those vowel-deficient designations of Welsh villages such as Cwmtwrch). A good rule of thumbscrews is that if you can’t grunt the Safe Word intelligibly with a gag in your mouth, then it’s not really safe, is it?

11. Using something on the line of “Is that the best you can do, Mistress?” and “You’re such a wuss, Master” is just asking for trouble. (Handy memory aid: Taunts are for Tops; Begging is for Bottoms)

12. Some words and terms just don’t fit the context. For example,
• “Hamiltonian-Federalist Jeffersonian-Republican Alignment”
• “Willing suspension of disbelief”
• “Bernoulli’s Principle”
• Any phrase which includes the words “butterfly” or “unicorn.”
• Anything in the form of a rhyming couplet
• Almost all scripture from the New Testament (yes, even the modern translations)

13. “Fuck You, Master” is a Safe Word probably best left to the very experienced, hard core players.

  1. “Safe Word” and “Safeword” are both acceptable formats – if you’re the Dom and that’s what you want. Also, a “Safe Word” can be, and usually is, a phrase rather than a single word. []
  2. Where else are you going to find advice on renting automobiles, a serial love story, poetry used in detective novels, considerations of all kinds of squid, updates on the Kaavya Viswanathan story, notes on treatment compliance, recipes for dishwasher cooking, and kink technique? []

How To Beat The Rap On Law & Order

The Guide To Surviving TV Crime Show Investigations

LennieAnyone familiar with the bevy of crime shows that dominate the TV schedule these days realizes that the erstwhile good guys (e.g., the police and the prosecuting attorneys) succeed not only because they are heroic, hardworking, and streetwise but also because they routinely and expertly employ investigatory methodologies of ambiguous legality and dubious morality to capture and convict suspected evil-doers (AKA perps, AKA creeps, AKA scumbags, … ).

Justification for  these tactics is based on the unshakable belief that all suspects fall into one of three categories:

  1. Guilty But Not Yet Convicted
  2. Guilty But Not Convictable Because Of (Some Combination Of) Stupid Laws, Spineless Judges, Idiot Legislators, Or Slimy Defense Lawyers
  3. Not Technically Guilty But Should Be Convicted Anyway

The observant viewer will also note that, incredibly enough, the designated criminals on these dramas fall for badgethe same interrogation techniques and legal maneuvers every week – even though these scenarios, with a full explication of the underlying strategies, have been repeatedly broadcast on TV, day and night, for years. Why do these otherwise wily, often brilliant individuals, who have the intrinsic advantage of a willingness to cheat, lie, and mislead and, one assumes, some aptitude for and experience with these skills, fall prey to the interrogators’ ancient, clichéd tricks? One wonders if, hidden away in Idaho perhaps, the big networks and major cable stations maintain colonies of potential criminals living in quasi-Amish mode, isolated from television, movies, and videos, until tapped to commit and be convicted of a crime? Or do Sipowicz and his comrades in blue preface their Miranda warnings with the query, “Have you ever seen me on TV,” only arresting suspects who respond in the negative?

Well, I, for one, will be prepared. If, for example, the Rapture actually turns out to be that cataclysmic period when real life and television completely merge, as presaged by today’s reality shows, and I become a suspect on CSI, Joplin, I intend to be ready.

Now, I am not a conniving, devious lawyer, although I do flatter myself with the belief that I could have achieved that status if the military of these United States had been drafting doctors and deferring law school students back in the 70s.

I have, however, undergone a law apprenticeship of sorts, provided by the American TV industry in the form of hundreds of viewings of episodes of Perry Mason, The Defenders, Dragnet, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, The Law & Order-affiliated series, CSI, Wherever, Cold Case Files, The Closer, and the like that has, I submit (did you notice that “I submit” part? well, that’s lawyer-talk) has more than compensated for the absence of a formal law school education on my CV.  Add to that basic corpus of forensic data my robust paranoia, my penchant for accumulating random information, and, of course, my severely compromised attention span which precludes distinguishing, for example, between the tactics explicated in an actual trial on Court TV, the courtroom heroics displayed by Mr. Fonzarelli in the “Fonzie For The Defense” episode of Happy Days, and the many trials scenes on The Simpsons and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a truly unique judicial theory.1

This perspective on contemporary American jurisprudence is the nidus of a comprehensive set of principles under which I shall operate should I ever be questioned about my role in a TV crime – whether I did the deed or not.2

Being an altruistic sort of chap (OK, there are still a few gaps in my ambulance chaser persona), I am herewith sharing these principles with the television-deficient faction of my friends and colleagues. Finally, I suppose I should point out, caveat emptor-wise, that these axioms are technically valid only should one be questioned by Lennie Briscoe, Jack McCoy, Sipowicz, Gil Grissom, or some other television-based law enforcement official. I haven’t a clue about how to proceed if the arresting officer works for, say, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office in southwest Missouri instead of Steven Bochco in a TV studio.

Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Do The Time It Right

  1. Should I decide to profit from killing a business partner or a (formerly) loved one, I will not be greedy. I will be satisfied with the single $2,000,000 insurance policy taken out three years ago instead of buying two more seven-figure policies in the week prior to the murder.
  2. And even if the individual I murder is wearing an incredibly cool piece of jewelry or article of clothing, I will not snatch it for my personal use. If somehow I do find myself in possession of an item of adornment or apparel belonging to the victim, I will take care not be wearing it when arrested, regardless of how good I look in dark green.
  3. On the other hand, if the idea is to make the murder look like a robbery gone awry, I will not leave the cash, credit cards, and Rolex untouched.
  4. If I become so desperate or demented that I decide to use a gun registered in my own name to whack the afore-mentioned business partner or loved one, I will at least come up with a better story than “I forgot to file the police report that my gun was stolen last week – while I was at my insurance agent’s office applying for some new policies on the victim.”
  5. Questions & Answers

  6. Regardless of the strength of my alibi, I will resist the apparently universal impulse to respond to the accusations with a sneering “Prove it” or its even smugger variation, “You can’t prove a thing,” either of which economically provides the authorities with both an implicit confession of guilt and a motivational challenge.
    threat
  7. Nor will I resort to the sarcastically intoned “Is that supposed to scare me?” after a cop or prosecutor has made an obviously scary threat. In any case, I suspect that Lennie et al, being detectives after all, might pick up a clue that I was frightened when I fainted, developed total body tremor, or became incontinent.
  8. I will also eschew the arrogantly stated pseudo-question, “Do you know who I am?” or its equivalent, “Do you know who you’re dealing with?” This is mostly because antagonizing the officers seems counterproductive, but also because a perusal of a random assortment of newspapers or, better yet, celebrity magazines provides convincing evidence that being recognized as a celebrity or politician is hardly a guaranteed Get Out Of Jail Free card. I suppose I might go with the “Do you know who I am” query if I happened to be the arresting officer’s beloved mother whom he doesn’t recognize for some reason, but this would seem a rare kind of case, not to mention an extraordinarily complex story line.
  9. I will also forgo variations on You can’t believe I had anything to do with killing …

    • my wife (or husband)
    • my best friend
    • my business partner
    • my competitor
    • my life-long enemy
    • my identical twin
    • a complete stranger
    • my mistress
    • a cop
    • my psychiatrist
    • my lawyer
    • the man who killed my wife
    • the only witness against me

    Despite the outraged astonishment (or astonished outrage) suspects express with those phrases, it turns out that, yep, the detective can and, indeed, does believe he or she did exactly that.

  10. Above all, I will not ask “Do I look stupid enough to [commit the crime in question in such an especially obvious or otherwise brainless manner]?” The answer is all too apparent, and I’m not there to be a straight man for the cops.
  11. If I am a physician being charged with a crime, I will not
    • Pompously explain that I cannot cooperate with the investigation because I’m too busy saving lives
    • Dress in “a fancy Armani suit” (apparently a well known signal of criminal intent regardless of the suspect’s profession; well trimmed Van Dykes and goatees appear to be giveaways as well)
    • Practice in “a fancy Park Avenue office” (as a rule, cops hate it when suspects have fancy stuff)
    • Invoke doctor-patient confidentiality (which both signals guilt and antagonizes police and prosecutors)
  12. If I have a dream dealing with a real-life murder or other crime, I will not, regardless of how vivid and life-like the dream may be or how accurately prophetic my dreams have been in the past, call the local precinct to assist their investigations.
  13. I will memorize my attorney’s office phone number, his home phone number, his cell phone number, his car phone number, his wife’s phone number, his mistress’s phone number, his mother’s phone number, his mother’s cell phone number, …
  14. As the police are leading me away post-arrest, I will proclaim, in loud, clear tones, “Honey, call my lawyer and tell him to meet me at the police station.”
  15. I will do everything possible to assure sure that, should I ever be arrested, I am in the company of someone who will respond positively to being called “Honey” by me.
  16. I will not assume that my loved one, partner, henchman, or other Designated Honey has reached my lawyer and so use my one phone call from the police station to order a pizza in a show of false bravado. If my attorney is not already present at the police station, I will, instead, simply call him myself.
  17. I will conscientiously avoid any behaviors in general that could lead a policeman to wonder aloud if I am “trying to be some kind of asshole.”
  18. I will not, for example, ask “OK, which one of you is supposed to be the good cop and which one is the bad cop?”
  19. I will, in fact, avoid wisecracks about police, prosecutors, law enforcement, and associated topics (e.g., doughnut shops) in general, regardless of my reputation as a raconteur and my previous successes in easing tension with humor.
  20. I will hire, in advance, the smartest, most aggressive, most pragmatic, most cynical, and (especially) scariest lawyer in the system. I will carefully listen to my lawyer’s advice and will not instruct him or her, “You work for me; just do what I tell you,” “I don’t care what you think, it’s my life and I’m not taking the deal,” or “Put me on the stand; I’ll make the prosecutor look ridiculous.”
  21. As the first opportunity after being arrested, I will respectfully but clearly ask for my lawyer (see #15) early and often.
  22. If the police respond to my requests for an attorney with “Why would an innocent man need an attorney?” I will interpret this as a rhetorical question and my exclusive response will be the repetition of my post-arrest mantra, “I respectfully ask to see my lawyer before answering any more questions.”
  23. Regardless of how kind & understanding the police are to me and how rare and valuable such comradery & friendship are in this vale of tears, I will maintain a high level of suspicion that a proffered kindness may be an trick rather than true compassion and that, indeed, the admirably empathic officer may actually be trying to convince me to admit to the crime or otherwise implicate myself.
  24. If asked in an interrogation if I am a religious person, if I believe in God, or if I am a member of a particular denomination, I will remember that it is unlikely that the officer is interested in a discussion of the metaphysics of religion or that he or she is proselytizing. I will, instead, assume that the goal is to use my religious beliefs or my institutionally-instilled guilt as a lever to garner damaging information from me. Consequently, I will answer these questions with a polite but noncommittal “That’s such a private thing that I couldn’t possibly put my thoughts in words.”
  25. I will keep in mind that providing precise detail in answers to queries such as “What time did you leave the bar on the first Tuesday in March eight years ago?” may be counterproductive, a fact that may otherwise become apparent in the 17th hour of the interrogation when asked to repeat the same story for the 67th time. Instead, I will automatically preface all my responses with disclaimers of uncertainty and utilize subjunctive-laden answers that describe wide ranges of possibilities and multiple alternatives. I will be fearless in my use of the ultimate fall-back response, “I dunno.”
  26. If I do use the “I dunno” response, I will do so by murmuring “I dunno” in an apologetic, self-deprecating manner rather than defiantly snarling, in the fashion of a particularly snotty CEO, “I do not recall.” Once I have initiated the “I dunno” stance, I will maintain it, regardless of the ridicule of or insults to my intelligence, character, ancestry, or manhood or any other aspersions cast by the officers or attorneys questioning me.
  27. I will not change my story even if the officers or prosecutors introduce seemingly irrefutable facts that appear to contradict what I’ve said. Seemingly irrefutable facts that appear to contradict what I’ve said are the reason I hired the lawyer in Principle #19.
  28. If I screw up Principle #26 and am consequently caught in an inconsistency such that the prosecutor triumphantly asks “Were you lying then or are you lying now,” I will fake a thoroughly researched and rehearsed grand mal seizure with post-ictal amnesia. The first memory I will recover will be my attorney’s name. (Admittedly, faking a seizure carries certain risks and is hardly a fail-safe strategy; on the other hand, it beats the heck out of being trapped in lies or, worse, falling apart and confessing on the stand which appears to be the standard response by TV witnesses to this challenge line of questioning.)
  29. If a short detective smoking a cigar and wearing a shabby raincoat tells me “there is just one thing [he doesn't] understand” or that he has “just one more question,” I will respond that he’s lucky he only has one thing he doesn’t understand since I’m confused about many things regarding the case and proceed to ask him fifty or sixty questions that are irrelevant to the case. If that tactic proves unsuccessful I will then assess the immediate situation in order to decide between the two available courses of action:
    • Pivoting 180 degrees and then sprinting away from the detective with as much speed as I can muster
    • Faking a thoroughly researched and rehearsed grand mal seizure with post-ictal amnesia.

  30. I will not adopt a defense that depends on a henchman/colleague/lover remaining steadfast in his or her testimony – or convincingly faking a seizure.
  31. I will politely refuse offers of coffee, soda pop, or water while sequestered inside an interrogation room. I can accept that there may be valid arguments supporting capital punishment, but giving fluids to a suspect not allowed bathroom privileges? That’s clearly cruel and unusual punishment
  32. I will not make faces (whether funny or scary in aspect) at the folks on the other side of the one-way mirror.
  33. I will keep in mind that police and prosecutors are apparently allowed to fib to garner an advantage in an interrogation while the subject of that interrogation has no reciprocal privileges. (Does that seem fair? I don’t think so.) Consequently, I will maintain a high level of suspicion about the veracity of statements made by those questioning me. Examples follow:
    • An attorney or policeman bragging that they have convinced one of my co-conspirators to testify against me in return for a reduced sentence even though I have no co-conspirators
    • An officer declaring they already have or soon will have forensic evidence that will prove my guilt (especially when the referenced test is one I’ve never seen on CSI Miami, New York, or Las Vegas and most especially when the test involves DNA samples the police found in the Xontac Time-Space Continuum Vortex).

  34. Before I agree to a deal offered by the prosecution, I will read all the fine print, ascertain that the District Attorney isn’t crossing his fingers, otherwise declaring “King’s X,” or signing “Mortimer Schnerd” instead of his real name, and insist on a clause granting me immunity from all charges past, present, and future in all jurisdictions no matter what, no tricks, no take-backs.
  35. I will be aware that “Presumption of Innocence” is a concept that is more valuable as an answer on an 8th Grade Social Studies multiple choice test than as a procedural guideline in a downtown precinct’s interrogation room.
  36. I will keep in mind that confessing to a small crime (say, a delinquent library book) may be a reasonable strategy if it reduces the risk of being proven guilty of a large crime.
  37. I will be very careful not to get Principle #31 backwards.
  38. Even if I’m found not guilty, even if the prohibition of double jeopardy precludes further actions against me, even no matter what, I will never, ever say “You can’t touch me now so I’ll tell you how I killed him.”
  39. If the interrogators offer empathic rationalizations or speculations about the motivation for my alleged crime (e.g., “Hey, if I caught my wife trying to pass off that generic K-Mart Kola crap as Diet Coke, I’d strangle her too – any real man will understand that.”), especially if they explicitly or implicitly indicate that a judge or jury would be sympathetic toward me because of that motivation, I will limit my responses to silence, further requests to see my lawyer, or seizure-faking.
  40. If the District Attorney threatens to prosecute one of my loved ones, whom he knows to be innocent, in order to coerce my confession, I will remain loyal to that individual and visit him or her as often as permitted by the prison rules.
  41. I will not relax my vigilance until I see the final credits rolling.
  1. In keeping with the principle of full disclosure, I should also point out that I also tend to confuse the strategies of the ADA on Law & Order: Trial By Jury and Lilith’s psychiatric methodologies on Cheers, apparently because both roles were played by the same actress []
  2. Ahem, notice the insouciance with which I dismiss the trifling matter of Guilt Vs Innocence – I am clearly a natural at this legal representation stuff; Law school? I don’t need no stinkin’ law school. []