Blue Cat Reflects on Jury Duty

Standard

Blue Cat’s scribe was called to jury duty last week and Blue Cat wishes he could have gone – it sounded really exciting. For those of you not in the United States, jury duty is one of the three things that is required of US citizens (besides paying taxes and registering (if you’re a male human) for the selective service). That’s because everyone accused of a crime or who has a civil complaint against someone is entitled to a trial by jury. And you can’t have that if there aren’t any jurors…

  

So what happens when you get called for jury duty? Well, you show up and turn in a form and then fill out an interesting questionnaire. With questions like “What is your occupation?” and “What do you watch on TV?” (Why do they ask that? Blue Cat doesn’t know. Maybe some defense lawyers don’t trust folks who watch “Once Upon a Time” like Blue Cat does.)

Then a real judge talked with everyone to explain how important helping with juries was to the justice system. He also let on that he gets jury duty summons’ too – and that his first thought (like Blue Cat’s) was “Wait – I’m too busy for this!” (He had his own cases to try that day.) But he did it anyway, even though he probably could have gotten out of it. It made the process seem both fairer and more important.

Then there was a video that explained the whole process. Blue Cat’s scribe said it was kind of boring. But informative!

Then the judges’ clerks came to take people to their courtrooms for jury selection. That process seemed pretty random – and last week they took 30 people for each of 6 cases. Blue Cat thinks that they had a lot of felony cases to try, since felony cases require 12 jurors. (Simple civil cases take only 3, while complicated civil cases and misdemeanor cases require 6.) They didn’t pick Blue Cat’s scribe for any of the panels, and after another hour they sent him (and the others that remained) home. 

Blue Cat doesn’t know what happens after that, although the video said that the attorneys decide who will be on the jury, some extras are chosen “just-in-case,” and then the trial starts. In Colorado trials average 3 days in length, so jury members get to come back until it’s done. Colorado only pays $50 per day to jurors after the third day, which is pretty low. (Blue Cat will give his opinion on the minimum wage sometime soon…)

So jury duty is both interesting and important. Have you every been on a jury? Let us know – and Blue Cat will send you a prize as a reward if you have.

(c) William P Doyle, Jr. 2016. All Rights Reserved

Blue Cat Sees Batman and Superman (and someone even better)

Standard

“Batman vs Superman” is all the rage here in Colorado, so Blue Cat went to see what all the fuss was about. He doesn’t want to give away any secrets – not that anyone who is going to see the film hasn’t already done so – but he found it very dark. Both literally and figuratively. Not only was the story very gritty, but most of the scenes were shot without a lot of light, making it hard for Blue Cat to see what was actually going on. But it was still a lot of fun.

And that’s because there was a third superhero in the movie – someone that Blue Cat has been waiting for for a long time. Can you tell who that might be?

  
Yes – Blue Cat is a big fan of Wonder Woman – and would have been since the Linda Carter days if he had been around back then. It’s great when a movie has a female character who can not only take care of herself, but can save someone as tough as Batman (oops – a bit of a spoiler there) and look good while they’re doing it. Can you guess who Blue Cat’s other favorite superheroes are?

  
Yes – not only Black Widow (bad person turned good – Blue Cat can’t wait for her backstory), but also another hero who saves Batman…

  
She even gets to drive a cool motorcycle-looking-thing-with-guns! She seems to like black, but Blue Cat is hoping she also likes blue (cats, that is).

So what did you think about the Batman vs Superman movie? And who is your favorite superhero? Let Blue Cat know!

Until next time…

(c) William P Doyle, Jr. 2016. All Rights Reserved

Blue Cat Voted – Did You?

Standard

Blue Cat reminds you that today is Election Day in the United States – time to cast your vote! In Blue Cat’s part of Colorado there are 3 initiatives on the ballot, all having to do with taxes. While Blue Cat won’t try to convince to vote one way or the other, he does think that you should make your voice heard. It would be a shame if your taxes went up/down or the roads did/didn’t get fixed or there was/wasn’t a tax rebate just because you didn’t take the time to vote.

 

Enough said! Go vote and then treat yourself with something tasty. Blue Cat is going to eat some cake once he figures out how to get out of that envelope…

© William P Doyle, Jr  2015  All Rights Reserved

Blue Cat and the World’s Largest Ball of Twine

Standard

Blue Cat did a lot of traveling this year and made one trip (by car) from Colorado to Florida and back. On the way home he was passing through Kansas when his scribe’s son said “Let’s go see the world’s largest ball of twine!” And so they did.

A word of warning – the folks who live in Kansas (and other parts of the world as well) aren’t too happy when tourists (or anyone else) speeds through their town on their way to some amazing site (such as the world’s largest ball of twine). And the roads to such amazing places are usually 2-lane affairs that go right through town. So make sure that you follow the speed limit signs and slow down as you go through town – otherwise you may get stopped by the local police and get a speeding ticket. That’s what happened to Blue Cat – he missed a sign and was going too fast through the business district of [town name redacted because it wasn’t their fault that Blue Cat was going too fast] and got stopped by two very polite police officers. Who gave him a $100 fine for endangering the local citizens.

Anyway, Blue Cat and his family finally got to Cawker City, Kansas – a very small town with a lot of empty buildings – and this is what he saw:

IMG_1890

Cawker City, Kansas

Some of Blue Cat's family and the World's Largest Ball of Twine

Some of Blue Cat’s family and the World’s Largest Ball of Twine

Yes – it’s that big! Two years ago (the last time it was weighed) the ball was 19,873 pounds (9,014 kg), and the folks from Cawker City add more to it every year. If you’re interested in being a part of making the ball even bigger, click here to find out how.

The trip east and south to the main road was also very interesting – in that there was absolutely no place to stop for lunch until they got back to the main highway. Blue Cat thinks that maybe the places to eat are so great that they’re hidden away so mere tourists don’t make them too busy.

Blue Cat found all of this fascinating, but that’s because he’s interested in all things made of fiber. How about you – have you seen anything that’s the world’s largest? And do you know of good places to eat near Cawker City so Blue Cat doesn’t go hungry the next time he visits the World’s Largest Ball of Twine?

© William P Doyle, Jr  All Rights Reserved  2015

Blue Cat Goes Fishing

Standard

Today was Labor Day (a celebration of the contribution of workers) in the United States and so Blue Cat got the day off. His scribe’s son set up a fishing trip for Blue Cat and his scribe, so off they went to Rampart Reservoir. Located in the Pikes Peak National Forest in Colorado, the reservoir is at an altitude of 9,000 feet and is really big (13 billion gallons big). And it’s stocked every two weeks or so with tasty trout.

The first thing you need to know about Rampart Reservoir is that, while it’s close to the Blue Cat’s home in Colorado Springs (and supplies a lot of the city’s water), it’s hard to get there. That’s because there’s a military base (the Air Force Academy) and a mountain in the way, so Blue Cat had to go around the mountain to get there. A scenic drive, but a long one!

But it’s really beautiful once you get there. Here’s Blue Cat and his scribe’s son enjoying the fishing:

On Rampart Reservoir's shore.

On Rampart Reservoir’s shore.

As you can tell, Blue Cat is a little small to be fishing, especially since the fish in Rampart Reservoir are pretty big. His scribe had to take over, and was lucky enough to catch two rainbow trout. If you’re wondering, he used Powerball Trout Bait and a small trout hook – once with a floating rig and once with a bottom rig.

Blue Cat's trout bait of choice.

Blue Cat’s trout bait of choice.

Here are the fish – and yes, one is over 13 inches long!

The prize fish!

The prize fish!

Since this was Blue Cat’s first foray into the world of fishing, he had to learn how to clean the trout and cook them. We’ll leave the cleaning process to your imagination (or you can look at the video) but here’s how the fish were pan fried – flour with salt and pepper, then frying in butter (about 5 minutes on each side over medium heat). Watch out for bones – there are a lot! (Blue Cat is going to try to fillet the fish he catches next time.)

IMG_2191IMG_2193IMG_2194

And they were very tasty!

So the next time you’re in Colorado Springs you might consider fishing at the Rampart Reservoir! It’s a pretty drive, a beautiful location, and there are plenty of fish to catch. Tell them that Blue Cat sent you!

© William P Doyle, Jr  All Rights Reserved  2015

Blue Cat Comes Back

Standard

Blue Cat has been away from his blog for a very, very long time. A change in jobs by his scribe and a lot of family events (including a cross-country road trip, a wedding and two funerals) kept him from focusing on writing. And then there was his surgery…

You see, Blue Cat is made out of yarn and fiberfill, so he has always been very floppy (or “flexible” if you want to be kind). As he’s gotten older he’s gotten more “flexible” and recently he couldn’t even sit up without a lot of support.

Not even able to stand!

Before: Blue Cat always has to lean on something!

So he decided to get a backbone.

Here’s Blue Cat now, immediately after his surgery (you can see the prosthetic materials and surgical tools that his doctor used):

After surgery...

After: “I can sit up on my own!”

Blue Cat is feeling much better and is ready for an exciting Fall that he can share with you. And he’ll also be telling you about his busy year so far, so stay tuned!

© William P Doyle, Jr  All Rights Reserved  2015

Enter Blue Cat’s Disney Princess Contest

Standard

Blue Cat just returned from a fantastic vacation at the Disneyland Resort in California. In celebration, he is holding his first-ever Internet contest. Here’s the deal: The first five people to respond via email with the correct names of the princesses that Blue Cat met will receive an autographed picture of Blue Cat himself!

Send your answers (in order) to Blue Cat at blue.cat@thenewstrategist.com along with your mailing address. Blue Cat promises not to use your email or physical address for anything other than this contest, so you won’t get any spam (or Spam) from him.

Here are the pictures:

Princess #4 - Blue Cat's favorite!

Princess #1 – Blue Cat’s favorite because she wears blue and was the nicest!

Princess #3 - she's good at dancing with animals

Princess #2 – she’s good at dancing with animals

Princess #2 - Blue Cat offered to help clean her house

Princess #3 – Blue Cat offered to help clean her house

Princess #1 - she's not tired after her long nap

Princess #4 – she’s not tired after her long nap

Blue Cat really enjoyed meeting the princesses. They were all very nice, and several of them seemed very excited to meet Blue Cat. He even got a kiss from one of them!

Do you have any stories about meeting a Disney princess? If you do, please share them with us in the comments section. And don’t forget to email your contest entry to Blue Cat quickly so you can be one of the lucky five!

Good luck!

© William P Doyle, Jr  2014  All Rights Reserved