Archives for October 2012

Forget bagels, let me tell you about yellow lights….

Its a good thing my friend Stacy put up this blog or I would be one of those people who went into the banks and threw my change on the counter and asked for 10 rolls of quarters or something. (Get it, because I could never shoot someone or “go postal”).

OK, so here is the beginning of the long saga of the yellow light. Enjoy, again, at my expense.

A long, long, long time ago, when I lived in the glitzy, famous, LA, I was a runner. What is a runner? I’ll give you the 1 minute version, a runner is a lowly nothing who gets to drive in their car ALL day and drops off crap to studios. It sucks and you put tons of miles on your car and spend money on gas and get in car accidents, that’s a whole different story. The one cool thing is that you get to go to different studios, Warner Brothers, MGM, Paramount, Fox, etc. I got to see Klingons that was WAY cool. But cool things like that came far and few between. As a runner, basically you drive, a lot. When you drive a lot, you are susceptible to traffic violations, car accidents and overall crappy things that go wrong with your car.  I had a friend in from Boston visiting so I took him on my “route” with me during work. We were driving through Beverly Hills (the nice part haha) and I was coming up on a green light that turned yellow so I proceeded through it WELL before it turned red. The fact that i had a witness in the car really made me think this cop was just filling his quota because let’s face it, how many tickets to you give in BH? My luck, right? So he pulls me over and takes my license and registration and goes away for a while.  Of course I am spewing to my friend next to me how ridiculous this is and it was TOTALLY yellow and he agreed, it was, and how sorry he is that he won’t be able to go to court with me to be a witness, some friend.

I get the ticket, I get the court date and I get hammered that night. No, just kidding, I actually don’t remember what happened, i think i forgot about it and then I got the court date in the mail, THAT I won’t forget, I was due in court on February 14, 199? And I didn’t have a boyfriend so I was okay with it! So this is the part where I tell everyone a good piece of advice, what I have heard (and has happened in a LOT of cases) is that if the cop does NOT show up, you have no case and they throw out the ticket. I can only speak for my dad, who has gotten a few tickets and the way he has beaten them is by going to court and the cop never showed so he didn’t have to pay. Sweet deal, rarely happens though apparently only to my dad.

This was my plan, the cop I remember was wearing a wedding band, no WAY was he showing up on Valentines day, right?! Wrong, his wife must have pissed him off because he was there with bells and whistles on. Side note: have you ever noticed that the cop looks totally different than when he pulled you over? This guy looked COMPLETELY different when i saw him in court but it was him, unfortunately. I finally had my name called and the judge says, “How do you plead?” I respond confidently, “Not guilty, your honor, that light was yellow.” I give him my best smile. He then asks if the policeman is present who gave me the ticket and he was. The cop steps up and says, “your honor, the light was red and the accused went through it and blah blah blah…” and the judge says, ” Unfortunately, Miss Berk, the court sides with the Policeman as you have no proof and….” he went on and on and I can’t recall what else he said but it was clear that I was going to end up paying the ticket. Bummer.

That was my first experience getting a ticket going through a yellow light. Now I will bring you up to speed to just a few months ago. Supposedly I went through a red light in my hometown of Springfield, NJ in June. It was all caught on tape (boy do I feel like a bad guy!) When i received the ticket in the mail it was September (took them 4 months to process!)  I was shocked and appalled! No, actually I was just shocked and very upset that it had all been caught on tape. I immediately looked it up on the internet to make sure it was my car. Of course it was! Actually, it was my husbands car but we both know it was me driving it. He is a goody goody. I paid it without any bitterness, thinking, okay, it was more like a yellowish red but I’ll pay it, the fine isn’t insane and its not worth the court hassle. That was a few weeks ago. Guess what comes in the mail today? Yet, ANOTHER ticket, same place, different car, MY car. Are you kidding? Is this a joke? I actually did look around when I opened the mail thinking it was in fact a practical joke. I proceeded to look it up on the internet and I did in fact go through a very red light BUT to my defense, I was behind one of those lawns and gardens trucks so i couldn’t really see what color the light was. I suppose I should have stopped? Probably. But I didn’t. So, this ticket is really the legit ticket. It was SO red and if a cop had been anywhere near that light I would have definately been pulled over but then i could have at least given him my PBA card and skipped the $85!

There you have it, two yellows and a red. Trivia: what does the average person pay in their lifetime for traffic tickets? Who ever answers correct wins a prize.

Moral of the elongated story, STOP at the yellow lights because life is too fast.

Post Bagel Mishap.

Well, here it is, the BIG finale! I showed up for court nice and early, about 8:40am. I walked in and immediately called the Sgt. who originally told me to call him, gave me his card and EVERYTHING. I am so special, or so I thought. I got a hold of him a little before 9am and he said no problem, everything should be fine, meaning, I won’t have to wait and it should go smoothly. About 5 minutes later I see him coming towards me and we say hi and I show him the documents and he says, “great, Stanky will take care of you.” (Stanky was the cop who pulled me over and I changed his name but not by much).

OK, so skip ahead to about 10:15am when my name FINALLY got called, I get up there and Stanky is standing right by the judge because he is the cop who passes paperwork like on Judge Judy, ya know? Ok, so the judge says, “How do you plead Ms. Cornelison?” and I say, “Not guilty of course because I was eating a bagel!!!” No, i just said not guilty. And the judge says, “Well, you need to see the prosecutor.” And I look at Stanky like, “Um, okay buddy, anytime you want to chime in and say how VERY WRONG you were would be great!” The guy says NOTHING. The judge repeats himself and I am left to turn around and go put my name on a VERY LONG list to see the prosecutor. What?!?! So I am last on the list which is ridiculous because i was the FIRST person at the court! Continuing on and don’t be a hater. Let’s set the scene: I am standing outside the prosecutors office (with 8 lawyers and 5 other people waiting to see him) and next to me is the metal detector machine you need to go through to get into the actual court. Guess who is standing there making sure you don’t bring any guns or knives or metal objects into the court? Yes, Stanky. For the proceeding hour we are left staring each other down and I have to tell you, it took EVERYTHIING out of me NOT to go over and shove a bagel up his nose and yell like a crazy person, “THIS IS WHAT I WAS EATING!!!! NOT MY PHONE YOU MORON!!!” But I didn’t. I then had visions of beating him up with my umbrella and that amused me for a while. And I was thirsty too. OK, I am getting a bit off track.

So it is now 11:30ish? The cops have now switched so Stanky is back in the courtroom and we are left with another policeman. I am pacing a bit thinking I am going to pass out because stupidly I didn’t eat or drink anything thinking i wasn’t going to be THIS long. As I am thinking this in my head, I move over to the policeman and before I know it, I am asking him how long is it possible to go before seeing the prosecutor. He says it usually doesn’t go later than 1:30pm. Holy CRAP! No, i didn’t say that, I actually said, “but i was just eating my bagel!!” And he looks at me very confused and says, “What?” I tell him my plight, show him my At&T bill and he takes it and says, “I’ll be right back.”  So he is gone for about 4-5 minutes (not 45 minutes) and while he is gone I gaze up into the vestibule like ceiling into the slight sliver of a sky and think, “God, is this what you have planned for me today? Is this where I am supposed to be wasting my time? Is it? If it is, fine, I will accept that but really? Aren’t there better things I can be doing??” About a minute later, the policeman walks  out and hands me the “white slip.” He says, “give this to Stanky.” I say, “no way.” So we both go into the courtroom  where Stanky sees me and the policeman gives the judge my paperwork and responds with a, “you are free to go, case dismissed.” I give Stanky the STANK eye and leave with the nice policeman. As we exit the courtroom i whisper to the policeman, “Why couldn’t Stanky have done that 2 hours ago?” And the very lovely and wonderful policeman says, “He’s not the brightest guy in the world.” Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, REALLY? Was it the whole he thought i was talking on my phone and it was really a bagel that made me think he was an idiot???

My other thought process is maybe he was just being a BIG JERK and wanted to see me squirm for 3 hours. But, I don’t think that’s the case. I think really he was an idiot.

Moral of the story, don’t eat a bagel while driving in Summit.

Music and Religion

Peter Gabriel

They are so intertwined.  There’s a reason hymnals start and end religious ceremony throughout the world.  Religious dogmas and the choice of Gods we worship dual, but the uplifting power of music and song penetrates borders, language, culture, gender and belief.

No matter who you are – I dare you to not be moved by an Arabic funeral mourning chant, the ridiculous glee of a K-pop (Korean -think Psy’s “gangham style”), the deep pain of a blues or gospel (or both) spiritual or the music of your time – one that brings back memories – even if it’s decades later.

The thing that struck me me most when my mom was an ex-pat in India is how all the American and Canadians (let’s face it we’re close) were moved by a so-so Indian band singing cover songs from the ex-pat homeland.  A Beatles song could capture the English too and bring everyone to tears.

I was lucky enough to attend two amazing shows at the Hollywood Bowl this week.  A beautiful outdoor ampitheatre cut into the hills of California in the 1920’s in the style of Greece and Rome.

I got to relive my past and the AWESOME music of Peter Gabriel.  Decades later he and his musicians are on their game – same as they were 30 years ago –

And the next night a modern day chanteuse (Florence and the Machine) haunted the Hollywood hills with the choral undertones of her music and her emotive voice backed by powerful, gospel voices.  This clip’s from BBC (“The Drumming Song” for my singing, always into the music know, friend Janelle :).  Enjoy!

And just for fun – Korean Psy live- you may not understand the language, but you feel the energy – it’s a “church” of thousands!

Sing along and rejoice!