(second block, fourth letter of the prisoners' quadratic tap code...)

...am here to tap through the walls.

Tue Oct, 26 2004

Just Strangle The Bastards

By the autumn of 1986, that ridiculous punk of a judge over in the Village of Freeville was ready to soak me for forty-five hundred dollars in fines and pack my narrow ass off to Attica for a year and a half. He was really hot about it. The threat was explicit, and I took it seriously. He could do it. That's what all the penalites added up to.

Me? I was figuring the odds of hauling a pro se case into federal court and having him sent to Leavenworth for ten years on a Title 18 USC violation. (Section 242, if I recall rightly. I haven't looked at the United States Code in quite some time.) Him, along with that rotten crumb of a Tompkins County Sheriff's Deputy (Byron Van Zile, God rot his decrepit soul), with whom the right honorable court had colluded in a plainly illegal ex parte meeting prior to my arraignment on a total of seven DMV charges.

The whole thing was a riot. Somewhere around here, I still have a cassette recording of the arrest: Byron stepping up to my window and asking for license, registration and proof of insurance, and me sticking the tape machine in his meat-face and asking for his Fourth Amendment warrant and probable cause. (That motherfucker never said a word: he took one hard look, turned on a heel, and went back to his car to radio for backup. He didn't start feeling like a man again until there were two Dryden cops and a State Police cop on the scene.) After the courthouse farce, he made sure the handcuffs were biting good & proper before he shipped me down to the Tompkins County jail, whereupon the nice people there bounced me off the odd door-jamb here & there on the way to a cell, which they had thoughtfully stripped of bedding because I wouldn't give 'em my socialist insecurity number. They were feeling manifestly insecure. The dopers and robbers in the cell-block were mystified: they'd never seen that before, and wondered exactly what the hell kind of Bad Guy they had in their midst. Once I explained that I was a political -- in for taking the license plates off my car, burning my driver's license and all other paperwork associated with "operating a motor vehicle" -- they were laughing so hard that they could barely take up a collection of bedding and cigarettes for me. I was the star of the cell-block for the whole week that I was there.

I wrote a habeas corpus petition on a yellow legal pad in longhand, and appeared in the county superior court long enough to jangle some dessicated bitch of a judge out of her Sunday morning hangover before she bounced me right back to the cell. I was actually having fun, and only bailed out because I had to go to Buffalo and uprig the Van Halen show. That is a crucially important point.

Once out, though, the work of the thing began in earnest. There was never going to be a lawyer anywhere near this thing. Never. Principally, that's because I knew I could go into court and bargain my rights away perfectly adeptly on my own, and it wouldn't cost me a ton of money and force me to put up with the fraud of some despicable chisler ostensibly on "my side". So, I sprang for my own copies of New York State Motor Vehicle and Criminal Procedure Law. The homework was enormous, but by the time that asshole of a judge started talking about "Attica", I was ready to look him right in the eye and let him know that he was never going to live to see that day.

It was the Assistant District Attorney who put the shits to the whole idea. Six months into the thing, it was obvious that he was ready for other amusements. I have no direct inside knowledge of it, but there was enough evidence in his behaviors to support the conjecture of rather unpleasant conversations with his boss, along the lines of something like, "Look, this kid is really making you look bad, dragging your ass around the mulberry bush at every appearance in court. You need to just make this go away." I never got a single ruling in my favor on a motion, but it didn't matter in the end.

The ADA finally intimated to the court that the five most serious charges would be dismissed if only I could be convinced to plead out on the bottom two. The night that deal went down, you had to see the look on the judge's face. I like to think it took five or ten years off that bastard's life when he wrote "$200" on a slip of paper and handed it to me: his idea of the best ransom he could make off with on the thing. He couldn't say it, though.

I looked at that number on that slip of paper, and I swear it, the very first word that popped into my head was: "tuition".

"This is how much I'll pay to learn in first-hand experience how this septic bullshit really works."

"Sold", I said, and that was that.

No warm nights for the judge, dreaming about my narrow ass in Attica. I didn't make the point that I wanted to about the rampant rotten fraud of DMV law. We all just backed away from each other.

It took me several years, but I finally went and got another driver's license, just because I didn't have time to hang around in jails and courts. (This goes to the "crucially important point" above: they use the things we love -- families, careers, possessions, etc. -- against us. This is the fundamental principle on which it all works.)

Through it all, however, one strategic principle became starkly clear to me:

I estimate that if only one in ten people in this country stood up to these thieving assholes the way I did, just about on a lark, they would soon be on their way to extinction, simply because -- being bureaubots -- they would naturally not have a hope in hell of keeping up.

This note of sneering condecension at all you miserable slugs who've never seriously thought about the fight is brought to you upon reading this, at Magnifisyncopathological.


Various guitars I see floating by, mostly Gibson and mostly eBay.

Early Norlin ES-335 -- 1970, in Walnut ("ES-335TDW"). This is a period-piece look and feel, and arguably the sound as well but that's to cut things very finely. A "classic" 335 would be the original of 1958 in the Sunburst or Natural finish, or the Cherry Red of 1959; the Walnut of 1970 (second year of that finish offering) is not really a "classic" 335. In the history of the Gibson aesthetic, this is analogous to, say, vertically-striped polyester bell-bottoms or Bahama Blue shag carpeting. None of this is to say that they're not cool guitars, and this is a nice one. Excellent photographs.

Chrome hardware, featuring the trapeze tailpiece (like my L-47 and I've always liked it) and ABR-1 bridge with period-typical nylon saddles. Bound rosewood fretboard, with small block markers, and then the crown inlay at the machine head. These would be the T-top Humbuckers. Vintage Nazis would moan that the upper bouts are pointy (the body templates were wearing-out in the factory) and the fourteen-degree machine head with the volute signals a sometimes not-fun era of the line, but these things really do rock or moan or whatever you want a 335-type semi-hollow to do. ...which, of course, is because it really is a 335.

In the months since I've let AxeBites languish all to bleedin' hell, Gibson's Robot Guitar technology has sifted out to other models than the original Les Paul application. I don't know how it's going: I still haven't even seen one of these self-tuners. I don't see piles of them burning on the sides of the highway, nor reverent hangings in display cases over bars, so who knows? This 2008 Robot SG is ready to rock in the Metallic Red. Nickel hardware; it's the stoptail wired for data to send to the tuners, with dual Humbuckers. It's a bound rosewood fretboard, but I really like the single-bound machine head with the crown inlay. That's a real cool old-school look, right there, to set off that crazy-ass color. {nod}