New: Book Report: You Can't Win

Jury duty continues. Jury selection continues. Maybe this is an appropriate time to post this book report which I typed up a while ago...

You Can't Win is the autobiography of Jack Black. Here, by "Jack Black", I don't mean that comedian who looks like Tim Schafer. I mean the Jack Black guy who lived back in what we called "the previous century" in the previous century. He was a "hop-head" (opium addict), "bum" (hobo), and "burglar" (uh-oh). Later on, he became a hardened criminal... but the book doesn't talk about that. It talks about riding the rails, time in jail. Stealing from stores, social mores.

San Francisco bonus: Black lived here for a while. After he was caught for some crimes, folks had a tough time bringing him to trial--after records burned up in the '06 quake/fire.

There's a little mention of Fremont Older--he gets more of a mention in an essay towards the back--a reformer who helped drum the corrupt Ruef machine out of city hall, then experienced remorse and forgave Ruef.

How did Jack Black end up writing this book? Did he write it from prison? No, no. He went straight. Why did he go straight? Because a judge, Judge Dunne, gave him a lenient sentence--and Black felt that he owed it to the judge to live right, so that the judge wouldn't seem to have made a bad decision.

... But jurors don't set sentences, so I won't repeat that experiment.

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Posted 2008-08-30