Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Little Red Hen, Revisited

So, one day the Little Red Hen was watching TV when she saw an ad that says if you buy 64 drinks at Wendy’s, you’ll get a round-trip ticket anywhere AirTran flies.  The catch:  you have to accumulate the cups by December 31.

The Little Red Hen was ready for a vacation, so she began drinking large Frosties as fast as her little gizzards would let her.  Along came Cat and asked why the bird was drinking so many Frosties.  

“Because I want to fly to New York to see Chicken Licken,” replied the Little Red Hen.  “Want to come with me?  You can, you know!  We just need 128 cups between us.”

“Sure!” said Cat, and she began drinking Frosties, too.

Then Mouse came along and asked, “Why are you drinking all those Frosties?”  

The Little Red Hen responded, “Cat and I are going to fly to New York to see Chicken Licken, and we need to collect 128 cups.  Want to come along?”

Mouse said, “You bet!” and she gulped down a large Frosty right then and there.  After all, they now needed 192 cups to go see Chicken Licken in New York.

After the threesome had downed about 25 drinks between them, it dawned on Cat and Mouse that 192 Frosties is an awful lot, and they began to doubt the wisdom of the mission.  Soon they voiced their doubts.

“I don’t think you can even get 64 cups,” Cat said.  

“I can too,” said the Little Red Hen (who was a little worried herself), and bought another Frosty for each of them.  

Mouse and Cat were beginning to grow tired of drinking nothing but Frosties, and began to complain.  “Can’t we eat somewhere else for a change?” squeaked Mouse.  “I’m sick of Frosties!”

“Shut up and drink!” snarled the Little Red Hen, and shoved two more Frosties in front of each of them.  

After a few weeks, they had 40 cups between them, and even the Little Red Hen was growing sick of the sticky chocolate mess.   But she was stubborn, and refused to let up on Cat and Mouse.  

One day, when each of the friends had just gulped down a Frosty, the Little Red Hen presented Cat and Mouse with three more Frosties each.  

“Uggh, no!” said Mouse, whose tummy was bizarrely swollen.  “If I have another sip of Frosty I’m gonna puke!”  

As if to punctuate the point, Cat belched loudly.

The Little Red Hen was fed up.  “Fine!” she said.  “Go ahead and bail out on me.  I don’t care!  I’ll just go see Chicken Licken by myself!”

“Hey, we’ve been drinking them,” Mouse protested, wiping froth from his whiskers.

“Yes, but we only have 58 cups, and tomorrow is December 31.  If only one of us goes to New York, by God, it’s going to be me!”  

So Cat and Mouse, having no more incentive to drink Frosties, waddled away, leaving the Little Red Hen to drink the remaining 8 Frosties by herself.  The next day, she proudly cashed in her 64 cups for one free round-trip ticket to see Chicken Licken in the Big Apple.

Unfortunately, the Little Red Hen had become so fat from eating Frosties that she took up two seats on the airplane and had to buy another ticket.  Consequently, she didn’t save a dime.  

MORAL:  If you’re stupid enough to drink 64 Frosties in two weeks, you deserve whatever you get.

Lynne Rhys-Jones is a freelance writer in Georgia who has a collection of 69 Wendy’s cups.  Her friends are quietly avoiding her until after the New Year.  

Monday, December 26, 2005

Time to Make the Donuts

I hope everyone is having a lovely Ramahanakwanzsolchrist holiday. I'm in the middle of a marathon resume-writing gig, which is why I've been remiss about posting of late. I've been up all night so I have no idea if I'm making any sense. Oh, well.

Anyway, I'll post more when I get a chance. Thanks for sticking with me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Part of the Gig

It took me thirty-five years, six months, and eighteen days (give or take) to become a mother.  Three of those years were spent thinking about getting pregnant, and eleven more were spent actually trying to get pregnant.  So I’ve had a lot of time to think about this whole parenting thing.    

Zeze’s dad and I worked it all out before she was born.  We figured we had only three jobs as parents: love her, let her be who she is, and enjoy her.  The rest, as Hillel once said, is commentary.  If we could keep it that simple, we thought, she would turn out all right.  

That’s pretty much how it’s been, and now she’s thirteen.  Of course, I make her do her homework and I make her buckle up in the car.  I talk to her about politics and fair play and God and music and all the dangers she’s bound to face as she gets older.  Ok, so I’m a terrible housekeeper and I’m terrible with money (I mean, I’m really terrible), but I’m pretty sure she knows I love her and I’m hoping that counts for something.  She’s kind and funny and talented.  Once in a while she’s not so nice.  Just your basic, terrific, perfectly perfect kid.

I know I can’t take too much credit for her successes, but I’m proud of how I’ve done as a parent.  Even as Zeze heads into adolescence I believe she knows she can come to me about anything.  Drugs.  Sex.  Cigarettes.  Alcohol.  Shoplifting.  Boyfriends.  Girlfriends.  I mean, I’m ready for anything!  

Or at least, I thought I was.  But then, it came into her life.  Even now, it’s hard to say the words.  How could it have even gotten my daughter’s attention, much less her devotion?  How could she have been drawn in without my knowing?  Hadn’t I been diligent?  I Hadn’t I provided adequate discipline?  I never let her watch Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  When she was little, I watched Barney so much I still wake up humming “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.”  So how did these people sneak past my watchful eye?  I didn’t see how they could have, but there in my own living room, in glorious living color, was the incriminating evidence.  

Now, I know she’s not supposed to like the same things I do.  I learned that from my mother.  I remember how carefully she listened to everything I said, even though everything I said was about horses.  My mother once got a second-degree sunburn from spending a whole day with me at an Arabian horse show.  And yet, gradually, and despite the sunburn, she learned to love horses – maybe not with the same fervor I had, but she loved them just the same.  

So as part of this parenting gig, I knew that my daughter would have interests that might not match my own.  And I actually looked forward to it, because that meant learning about something new and maybe even exciting.  Sometimes I fairly shivered with anticipation when I thought about it.  What would it be?  Skiing?  Engineering?  Astronomy?   Firefighting?  Stamps?   Spelunking?  I didn’t care what it was, as long as she was happy – although secretly, I hoped she wouldn’t join the Young Republicans Club.

But as children often do, my daughter chose an altogether unexpected path.  It’s … this is so difficult … my daughter’s love is television wrestling.  

Overnight, I found myself awash in tales of wrestlers whose names seemed interchangeable . . . and then started to become despairingly familiar:  Rey Mysterio.  The Undertaker.  Triple H.  Miss Jackie.  Scottie Too Hottie.  Eddie Guerrero, my daughter’s favorite (may he rest in peace).  Oh, and that other guy.  Ask me next week; I should know his name by then.  

Suddenly the Young Republicans Club didn’t sound so bad.  Especially when she told me she wanted me to watch with her.  

I resisted as long as I could, but finally I told her I’d watch it – just so I could decide whether to allow it in the house.  Good parent that I was, I decided to keep an open mind, although I knew I was going to hate it.  To me, television wrestling was about a bunch of muscle-bound rednecks in their underwear beating up anybody who says wrestling is fake.  

But since I promised, I watched with her once.  And then I watched again.  

The second time I watched, something horrible happened to me.  It happened when a wrestler known as JBL – who is sort of a mix between J.R. Ewing, George W. Bush, and Arnold Schwarzenegger with a Texas accent – walked into the ring.  Now, JBL always makes his entrance in a limo with cow horns on the hood, and he always – always – sports a 10-gallon Stetson.  But supposedly JBL had been injured the week before, and he walked in with a ridiculous-looking neck brace that had wires sticking straight up to about six inches above the top of his head.  JBL wore his trademark cowboy hat balanced delicately atop the wires.  

And that’s when it happened.  Honest, I couldn’t help it.  I couldn’t help but laugh.

And that’s when I got it.  Don’t ask me to explain it, because I don’t understand it myself.  But I get it, which is quite different and, I suspect, more important.  

So I watched a third time, and a fourth, and I started to ask questions.  I learned about tag teams and frog splashes and tapping out and 619 and choke slams and lumberjacks and divas.  I learned new uses for folding chairs and television announcers.  And every now and then – G_d help me – I laughed.  Damn television wrestling!  

So now, whenever we can, my daughter and I watch wrestling together.  I can’t figure out if that makes me a good parent or a bad parent.  If it makes a difference, though, I have at least refrained from yelling “You suck, you suck!” whenever Kurt Angle comes out.  Even though he does.

So what do you do when you’re supposed to love her, let her be who she is, and enjoy her, but she’s into television wrestling?    

Well, I guess you do the equivalent of getting a second-degree sunburn at a horse show.   You watch with her.  You learn.  And every now and then, completely involuntarily, you laugh.  You laugh along with your interesting, talented, slightly wacky, terrific kid, and you thank your lucky stars she still wants your company.  In short, you start looking forward to wrestling night.

Oh – except for next week.  Zeze wants to go see MacBeth at the local Shakespeare theater, so we might miss the first few minutes of SmackDown.  But only the first few.

  

Saturday, December 17, 2005

And now for an excellent editorial...

...on the theocratization (is that a word?) of the U.S.

It's this column by one of my favorite journalists, Cynthia Tucker at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here's a taste:

It is curious that President Bush values the principles of secular democracy so highly in Iraq but gives them so little support here at home. That's a shame, because those principles, embedded in the Bill of Rights and meant to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority, desperately need a boost in the United States.

Good stuff.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I've been Hit!

By a meme, that is, courtesy of Brian. So here goes. Nonbloggers, I may tag you too, so don’t skip this one!

The rules for this particular meme are as follows:Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot. Easy, no?

1. Vince
2. Spider
3. Mr. Secret, Woe
4. Mr. Brian
5. The Subversive Librarian

Then you get to select five people to pass the love on to. This is the best part. Check the following blogs in the next day or two (or my comments, if they don’t have blogs) to see what they have to say about me and my meme.

1. Redneck Mother
2. The Velveteen Rabbi
3. James D.
4. Joey C.
5. Ms. Monkeythong

Joey and James, you can post your answers here, or send me an email and I’ll post it for you.

If I didn’t tag you, please feel free to consider yourself tagged anyway!

Now, answer the following:

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was living on the Navajo Nation working as a librarian/attorney for DNA People’s Legal Services. Maybe eating real green chile. Sigh.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Living in a trailer freezing my ass off.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Baby carrots
2. M&M's
3. Mocha latte
4. A good navel orange
5. Anything that says “Hostess” or “Little Debbie”

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. "Peel Me A Grape" by Diana Krall
2. "Amazing Grace"
3. "No News" by Lonestar
4. "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story
5. "Angel from Montgomery" by John Prine

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Pay off all my debts!
2. Buy a car and a pick-up truck
3. Take Dr. Wife to Hawaii
4. Take daughter Zeze to every amusement park in Orlando
5. Write full time.

Five bad habits:
1. Not getting to enough AA meetings
2. Compulsive spending
3. Staying up too late
4. Procrastination
5. Eating way too much.

Five things you like doing:
1. Cuddling
2. Dancing, although I haven't done much of this as of late.
3. Watching TV (a rare treat these days)
4. Surfing eBay – very dangerous!
5. Going treasure hunting (garage sales, etc.)

Five things you would never wear again: 1. Turtlenecks. Too clunky for my build.
2. Wool anywhere near my neck. Too itchy!
3. Skirts above my knees.
4. Girdles.
5. Rollerskates.

Five favorite toys:
1. My PDA
2. Um, not telling
3. A construction set my brother had when we were kids
4. Destructo-Match on neopets.com (I know, it’s a game, not a toy)
5. Some house-planning software I have.

And There you have it folks, the meme for the day. Even if you weren't tagged, you're more than welcome to play!

For my non-blogging buddies...

Ssome of my readers are new to blogging, and I've gotten several questions on how to post comments. So here are the instructions. It's really very easy. You do not have to have to register with blogger.com to do it!

Careful, there will be a test afterwards!

1. Below the post, you'll see the word "comment," or something to that effect (mine says "noisy library patrons"). Click there.

2. On my blog, that brings you to the comment page. If you want to see the original post while you're writing, click on "Show Original Post".

3. Type your comment.

4. Below where you typed, you'll see where it says to choose an identity. Click on "other".

5. Enter, if you want to, your name (you can make one up) and/or web address. Both fields are optional.

6. My blog requires word verification, which prevents spam. So under "word verification," type in whatever it says.

7. Now hit "Publish."

That's it. Easy, yes? Most blogs work approximately the same way, give or take.

Now for your exam:

Please post a test comment.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Is there a war on or not?

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful responses to my Reader’s Challenge.  I’ve got a few ideas of where to look now to see whether there really is a war on Christmas.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, I’ve done some extremely preliminary looking around and have the following information to offer.  For the moment, I won’t attempt to draw any conclusions.

Step One:  Basic Demographics.  For an excellent study on religious demographics in the United States, check out American Religious Identification Survey 2001 by Ariela Keysar, Barry Kosmin, and Egon Mayer of the City University of New York.  In 2001, the breakdown was as follows:

Christians 76.5% (down from 86.2% in 1990).
Jewish:  1.3%
Muslim:  0.5%
Buddhist:  0.5%
U/U:  0.4
Hindu:  0.3

Step Two:  A First Look at Retailers’ Websites.

Target – searches on their website
39152 match(es) for "christmas"
302 match(es) for "chanukah"
913 match(es) for "hanukkah"
236 match(es) for "ramadan"
286 match(es) for "solstice"
252 match(es) for "kwanzaa

1604 match(es) for "nativity"
177 match(es) for "menorah"

102 match(es) for "seasons greetings"
601 match(es) for "happy holidays"

Walmart – searches on their website
7921 items found for “christmas”
77 items found for “kwanzaa”
203 items found for “chanukah”
203 items found for “hanukkah”
77 items found for “kwanzaa”
19 items found for “ramadan”
68 items found for “solstice”
16 items found for “seasons greetings”
153 items found for “happy holidays”

Step Three.  Basic Internet Searches.

I did some basic googling to see whether people on the Internet are feeling censored.  Here were my results:

“merry Christmas”                        9,400,000
“happy Chanukah”                             89,400
“happy Hanukkah”                           305,000


Christmas                         300,000,000
kwanzaa                             3,470,000
"winter solstice"                        1,870,000
Ramadan                             5,890,000
Hanukkah                             7,070,000
Chanukah                             2,450,000

“seasons greetings”                        1,050,000
“happy holidays”                      18,900,000


Step Four:  A search of a government website:  (I’d write more but my dear doctor-wife is telling me to hurry up!)

City of Atlanta
34 instances of Christmas (many having to do with the City Hall Christmas tree or recycling of Christmas trees after the holidays)
0 of Chanukah
0 of Hanukkah
0 of Ramadan
0 of Kwanzaa
0 of solstice
95 of “happy holidays”

More to come…..

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Readers' Challenge

Just when I got good and self-righteous about Bill O'Reilly's war-on-Christmas thing, a friend of mine indicated to me that O'Reilly's argument actually resonates with her. She really does feel censored from mentioning Christianity in public, and she really does resent the "happy holidays" thing.

My first reaction was . . . well, no need to go into it here. Let's just say . . . um, no, never mind.

Anyway, my first reaction was definitely reactionary, and that's the very thing I bitch about when I see it in other people. So I find I need to step back a bit and do a reality check. After all, this is someone whose opinion I respect. Are we, as a culture, censoring Christianity? Or are we simply acknowledging the diversity among us? If this is happening, is there some way, other than anecdotal, to document it? And if it is happening, what is the solution?

So here is my challenge to you, Dear Readers, in the form of two questions:

1. If a person -- oh, say, a reference librarian -- wanted to investigate this issue, what objective measures might she take a look at? Not anecdotes, not what happened to someone's Aunt Sally, but measurable, researchable indicators that would help us determine whether or not we as a society are being exclusionary. For example, a blog I saw yesterday (and I'm so sorry, I can't remember which one so I can't give you credit, but if you tell me who you are I'll fix that) noted the number of times Christmas was mentioned in the TV listings, versus other holidays. Stuff like that.

Keep it simple, folks. I have a budget of zero and I didn't do all that well in statistical analysis.

2. This is especially (though not exclusively) for those folks who are feeling excluded, whatever your religious persuasion. When one doesn't know a person's religion, what should one say? What would you have storekeepers do? Perhaps "Seasons Greetings" is better than "Happy Holidays (holy-days)"?

Okay? One. Two. Three. GO.

No Minor Goddess, She

Echidne of the Snakes may have named herself after a minor Greek goddess, but she herself is definitely in the majors. She demonstrated her considerable powers in yesterday's post, where she showed an interesting (though probably not causative) link between Ford Motors and the "war" on Christmas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

George, You've Done it This Time!

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture."

Well, yeah, we knew that. But why is this guy saying it?

Let's see. Is it because the Bush administration started an immoral and unwinnable war that has killed tens of thousands of people?

Nope.

Uh, because Bush has consistently ignored scientific evidence in favor of big business, bringing the world to the brink of an environmental collapse?

Well, no, it wasn't that either.

What George W. did this time is apparently far worse: He sent cards wishing 1.4 million American households a "Happy Holiday Season."

Good L-rd, is there no stopping this man?

Note that the card does have a passage from the 28th Psalm. This apparently saves the card from Jerry Falwell's condemnation, but a lot of people are still very upset. You see, it's from the Old Testament and doesn't mention Jesus.

I don't know -- In ten years will this country have a place for people like me, a Jewish lesbian? It barely does now, and we seem to be going backwards. I don't want to seem paranoid or anything, but I am beginning to get creeped out.

(composes herself and puts librarian hat back on). The source of the quote is William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Read the article.



Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No, you won't have to marry your goat if gay people can marry in Massachusetts.

Some talking points, in case you find yourself in the middle of a gay-marriage discussion...

Will the Full Faith and Credit Clause really require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states?

No. The Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not apply to matters about which the home state is competent to legislate, particularly where such legislation would violate the home state?s public policies. States have applied this precedent to issues pertaining to same-sex and transgendered marriage.

But what about Loving v. Virginia, which prohibited laws against interracial marriages?

Loving v. Virginia did not address the Full Faith and Credit Clause at all. The issue in that case was whether prohibiting interracial marriages violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It is the Equal Protection Clause, not a particular state?s marriage law, that the Court found was binding on all the states.

Here are a few cases, in case you're feeling adventurous enough to do some research:

Franchise Tax Bd. of California v. Hyatt, 123 S. Ct. 1683 (2003).

The Full Faith and Credit Clause does not compel " 'a state to substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.' " Sun Oil Co. v. Wortman, 486 U.S. 717, 722, 108 S.Ct. 2117, 100 L.Ed.2d 743 (1988) (quoting Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Industrial Accident Comm'n, 306 U.S. 493, 501, 59 S.Ct. 629, 83 L.Ed. 940 (1939)).

. . . .

The Court has already ruled that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a forum State to apply a sister State's sovereign immunity statutes where such application would violate the forum State's own legitimate public policy. Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. 410, 424, 99 S. Ct. 1182.

In re Marriage License for Nash

Ohio 2003 WL 23097095. (Sorry for the WL citation - Can't get into Westlaw and I'm too lazy to go look up the cite by hand)

The full faith and credit clause is not violated when granting full faith and credit to another state's records would violate the public policy of the state applying the other state's records. See Nevada v. Hall (1979), 440 U.S. 410, 422, 99 S.Ct. 1182, 59 L.Ed.2d 416; Pink v. A.A.A. Highway Express, Inc. (1941), 314 U.S. 201, 210, 62 S.Ct. 241, 86 L.Ed. 152; Atlantic Fin. Co. v. Fisher (1962), 173 Ohio St. 387, 389, 183 N.E.2d 135; Gibson v. Bolner (1956), 165 Ohio St. 357, 361, 135 N.E.2d 353 (refusal to recognize out-of-state birth certificate showing sex change of transgendered applicant for marriage license).

Rosengarten v. Downes, 802 A.2d 170 (Conn.App. 2002).

The plaintiff contends, "Connecticut public policy clearly favors the conclusion that the Superior Court has subject matter jurisdiction to dissolve the civil union entered into in Vermont." He claims that principles of full faith and credit demand that Connecticut recognize Vermont's civil union statutes unless recognition would violate some strong public policy of Connecticut. He further claims that Connecticut does not have a strong public policy against recognition of civil unions but, instead, that Connecticut public policy favors the recognition of civil unions and the right to dissolve them. We disagree. We conclude that Connecticut public policy does not support that conclusion (refusal to recognize civil union as a marriage so they can get a divorce; refusal based on public policy exception to FFC).

Loving v. Virginia, 87 S.Ct. 1817 (1967)

We have consistently denied the constitutionality of measures which restrict the rights of citizens on account of race. There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

All About Rats

Namely, we have them. In the library.

Now I actually happen to like rats just fine. They're smart, they can be entertaining, and even the ones that aren't so entertaining have their place.

But not in my library.

And oh, yeah...we discovered some rodents in here, too. Poor little guys.

You see, the Party-Rats of the First Part -- namely a bunch of rude and thoughtless first-year students -- have been smuggling in pizza, bagels, hamburgers, candy, chips, and assorted other yummy items into the library despite our many signs, announcements, pleas, and threats .... thereby inviting the Party-Rats of the Second Part -- namely a family of rodents -- to partake of the feast.

Which, much to my dismay, has prompted the maintenance guy to take certain necessary, but extremely unpleasant, actions against the truly blameless Rats of the Second Part.

As if that weren't enough, the Rats of the First Part are highly cannibalistic this year. They're just wearing out their tiny little brains looking for ways to disembowel their littermates: Hiding resources, tearing pages out of books! (I'm getting faint just thinking about it), verbally attacking each other on the course websites, and generally being, well, complete assholes.

Bring me a humane traps for the rodents. But bring me leg traps for the students!

And in case it needs to be said (which it does, or I wouldn't be saying it): ATTENTION. When I refer to the Party-Rats of the First Part I am referring only to the nasty law students. I am not -- I repeat, I am not -- referring to all law students or even all 1Ls.

But if the ears fit....


Friday, December 02, 2005

Now THAT'S a librarian!

I try not to have too many posts that are just links to other stuff, but this lady was one fabulous librarian and she deserves to be honored. Thanks go to Ms. Monkeythong, the Sock Librarian, for knowing cool when she sees it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Meme's the Word

I’ve been feeling lazy ever since Thanksgiving. To get back into the swing of things, I’m blogging the easy way this evening. The following meme comes from one of my favorite blogs, Mr. Brian’s Opinions. Feel free to play if you’d like.

(x) smoked a cigarette
( ) crashed a friend's car
(x) Got drunk with a good friend
( ) stolen a car
(x) been in love
(x) been dumped
( ) shoplifted
( ) been fired
( ) been in a fist fight
(x) snuck out of your parent's house

( ) been arrested (almost, but not quite)
( ) gone on a blind date
(x) skipped school
( ) seen someone die
(x) been to Canada
(x) been to Mexico
(x) been on a plane
( ) purposely set a part of yourself on fire (I’ve done it accidentally!)
(x) eaten Sushi (once. Never again.)
( ) been skiing.. snowboarding

( ) been moshing at a concert
(x) taken painkillers
(x) love someone or miss someone right now
(x) lain on your back and watched cloud shapes go by
(x) made a snow angel
(x) flown a kite
(x) built a sand castle
(x) gone puddle jumping
( ) played dress up
(x) jumped into a pile of leaves
( ) gone sledding

(x) cheated while playing a game (cheated to lose)
(x) been lonely
(x) fallen asleep at work/school
(x) used a fake id
(x) watched the sun set
(x) felt an earthquake/tremor
(x) touched a snake
( ) slept beneath the stars
(x) been tickled
(x) been robbed
(x) been misunderstood

(x) pet a reindeer/goat
(x) won a contest
(x) run a red light
( ) been suspended from school
(x) been in a car crash
(x) had braces
(x) eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night
(x) had deja vu
( ) danced in the moonlight
( ) liked the way you look
( ) witnessed a crime

(x) questioned your heart
( ) been obsessed with post-it notes
(x) squished barefoot through the mud
(x) been lost
(x) been to the opposite side of the country
(x) swum in the ocean
(x) felt like dying
( ) cried yourself to sleep
( ) played cops and robbers
(x) recently colored with crayons
(x) sung karaoke

( ) paid for a meal with only coins
(x) done something you told yourself you wouldn't
(x) made prank phone calls
( ) laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(x) caught a snowflake on your tongue
( ) danced in the rain
(x) written a letter to Santa Claus
(x) been kissed under a mistletoe
(x) watched the sun rise with someone you care about
(x) blown bubbles
( ) made a bonfire on the beach

( ) crashed a party
( ) gone roller-skating
(x) had a wish come true
(x) worn pearls
( ) jumped off a bridge
(x) ate dog/cat food
( ) told a complete stranger you loved them
(x) kissed a mirror
(x) sung in the shower
( ) had a dream that you married someone
( ) glued your hand to something (I stapled myself once, though)

( ) got your tongue stuck to a flag pole
( ) kissed a fish
( ) sat on a roof top
(x) screamed at the top of your lungs
( ) done a one-handed cartwheel
( ) talked on the phone for more than 6 hours
(x) stayed up all night
(x) didn't take a shower for a week
( ) pick and ate an apple right off the tree
(x) climbed a tree
( ) had a tree house
(x) are scared to watch scary movies alone

(x) believe in ghosts
( ) have more then 30 pairs of shoes
( ) worn a really ugly outfit to school just to see what others say
( ) gone streaking
( ) gone doorbell ditching
( ) played chicken
(x) jumped into a pool/hot tub/lake with all your clothes on
(x) been told you're hot by a complete stranger
( ) broken a bone
(x) been easily amused
( ) caught a fish then ate it

(x) caught a butterfly
(x) laughed so hard you cried
( ) cried so hard you laughed
( ) cheated on a test
( ) have a Britney Spears CD -
(x) forgotten someone's name
( ) French braided someone's hair
(x) gone skinny dipping in a pool
( ) been threatened to be kicked out of your house
( ) been kicked out your house
( ) have had a fantasy over someone you love as a good friend
( ) sun tanned naked
(x) ran naked in the rain

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mother Hen Does Her Thing

It’s the last week of classes at law schools all over the country. Since some of my readers are law students, I offer you the same advice I always give my own students. For whatever it’s worth.

As you head into finals, I know that you are facing a lot of pressure: pressure to study, pressure to get good grades, pressure to handle schoolwork and career and family, pressure to know everything!

Now, I’m not about to tell you to blow off your exams. But please keep things in perspective. Your grades are important, but they are not nearly as important as holding a child, watching a sunset, or counting your blessings. By the time the Hale-Bopp Comet comes around again (in about 2,400 years), no one will care if you got a C in Torts, or if you ranked last instead of first. Indeed, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter whether you graduate at all.

What does matter – and what actually might matter in 2,400 years – is how you live your life. Not after you finish with law school, but today. Did you treat yourself and others with dignity? Did you play fair? Did you hug your kids? Did you take time out to listen to the people you care about? When things got so rough you couldn’t help yourself, did you give others the honor of helping you? Did you pass that favor on when things eased up? Did you do your reasonable best?

Last year I lost one of my students to suicide. Melissa was so loved that if she had just said one word – help – dozens of friends and family members would have been at her side instantly. Sadly, she never said a word to anyone.

Please don’t let life get so hard that it seems unbearable. And if it does, please – please – tell someone you need help.

Let law school take your time and your energy. But don’t let it take your heart.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunshine in the Disenchanted Forest

Disenchanted Forest has an interesting post that makes an analogy between "recovered" homosexuals (a la Exodus) and Jews who feign conversion to Christianity to avoid persecution. In her post, she points out that "recovered" homosexuals don't usually say they're heterosexuals. Instead, they say they're living as heterosexuals -- a very different thing.

I have not checked D.F.'s facts regarding how these folks refer to themselves. But the analogy, plus the differentiation between being and doing, provide important and cogent talking points.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Why Church and State Must Remain Separate

From the middle east comes this very disturbing story about what happens when government becomes entrenched in religious matters.

I regret that this story happens to be about a government that has embraced Islam. G-d knows, there's already more than enough anti-Islamic sentiment to go around, and I don't want to contribute to it. The Muslims I know well (and there are a few) are loving, gentle people with deep, abiding faith. So I thought long and hard before putting up this post.

But alas, every religion has its scary element -- a point that the Christian Radical Right doesn't seem to get (I guess because they are the scary element).

So I offer this story not to illustrate the evils of Islam, but as a cautionary tale: The folks who most want to mix religion and politics are rarely the moderate types. They're class-A, certifiable lunatics who see nothing wrong with imposing their G-d -- and what they see as G-d's punishments -- on others.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ok, that was surreal...

Ok, that was downright surreal.

I was scheduled to give a brief talk to the faculty about an online service for retrieving law review articles. Fascinating stuff. My five minutes of fame was to follow a two-hour faculty seminar on grading exams. The faculty was tired. There was wine and cheese involved, so you know they had to be bribed to come in the first place.

I prepared my nice little PowerPoint presentation and also printed out the slides so I could just do handouts. It was all very Professional Librarian-ish. My shoes even matched my outfit, which is not always the case.

My speech was to start with, “Well, I’ll keep this short because I know you’ve all had a long afternoon” (translation: what I’m about to tell you is really, really boring and I’m so sorry you have to sit through it, but the library director wants me to have more visibility with the faculty so here I am).

Well, the moderator finished the grading seminar by saying, “Do you want to do the next problem, or shall we just say you know how to grade exams now, and move on to the wine and cheese?” It was that kind of afternoon.

I started to get up, but the Dean of the law school asked if he could have the floor first. He proceeded to talk about an administrative thing, after which he announced his resignation. And then, he left the room in tears.

With that, I was on.

Now, you have to understand that our Dean is universally loved – no, revered – and our adoration is absolutely justified. And apparently, no one had the slightest idea this was coming. Not the academic dean, not even my boss the library director, who knows everything.

So I went up, in complete shock along with everyone else. One professor called out, “I hope you have something cheerful to tell us.” Which, of course, I didn’t.

So, after saying something about how the Dean’s resignation “really sucks,” I went on to my little speech. As I’m talking, I’m looking around the room. Half the faculty members are crying. The others are talking amongst themselves. I’m pretty sure no one is listening.

By the time I was finished, a few people were actually listening, which is good. My boss tried to help by asking me a question (the answer to which, of course, I did not know). And then, thank goodness, it was over.

I could have used some of that wine, but things were already bad enough.

Dean R--, you’re a mighty hard act to follow. I sure don’t envy the person who has to fill your shoes.

In the meantime, I told my boss, next time I want to go on first.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bill O’Reilly. San Francisco. Military. Recruiting. Schools. Al Qaeda. Smear.

Bill O’Reilly has graciously invited Al Qaeda to bomb San Francisco if the city prohibits military recruiting in its schools. Here’s the exact quote, compliments of Media Matters for America:

O'REILLY: Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."

And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.

Now, this is sort of old news and I like to stay current if I can. I am, after all, a librarian.

So here's an update, courtesy of Think Progress. O’Reilly now says the real problem is us left-wingers and our smear campaigns:

I’m glad the smear sites made a big deal out of it. Now we can all know who was with the anti-military internet crowd. We’ll post the names of all who support the smear merchants on billoreilly.com. So check with us.

Of course, that’s from way back on Monday, which isn’t all that current either. So I went to www.billoreilly.com to see if there’s any new news on the subject. Alas, I saw none. No enemies list, either (there is, however, a poll asking whether people should boycott San Francisco).

So now you know why I’m posting this not-so-new news: Maybe it’s not too late! Bill O’Reilly, won’t you please put me on your enemies list? I want to play, too!

Monday, November 14, 2005

I Feel Completely and Utterly Powerless to Help

One of my daughter’s favorite public personalities has passed away. Her heart is shattered in little pieces all over the floor today, and so, therefore, is mine. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to keep her sheltered from grief like this! I know it’s for the best. G-d knows I’ve never figured out how to grieve gracefully. But oh, if only, if only!

You Nailed It, Mike!

Kudos to the Atlantal Journal-Constitution's Mike Lukovich for this political cartoon, published Friday.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Oh, Sweet Mystery of Life, I've Found You!

I have been deflowered. There, I’ve said it. And what creation has so captured my fancy? No, it’s not a beautiful woman. And it’s not the finest wine in Europe, either.

It’s Bed, Bath and Beyond that has turned my fair head. I’ve heard mention of it, but I had no idea. The variety! The style! The prices!

I spent some time there today while waiting for a ride, and I learned so much about myself. I learned that there are all kinds of things I simply must have in order to survive!

Think I’m being melodramatic? Absolutely not. Here, let me tell you what I found. Maybe you need this stuff, too!

First, there’s the crème brulee kit for $19.99. I’ve never eaten crème brulee, and honestly, I don’t really even know what it is. But the kit comes with a torch!

The digital grilling fork is another bargain at $14.99. Now, I don’t cook, but I think grills are used for baking steaks. If I’m correct, then I must have a digital grilling fork. I want to be digitally prepared if ever I do bake a steak!

Oh – there’s the AM/FM radio pen. Only $4.99! It even has a string so you can wear it around your neck! It’s purple!

And I mustn’t forget the Fill’Er Up Liquor Pump. You fill this old-fashioned gas-pump thingy with your favorite booze, and then you dispense it out the little nozzle. At $49.99, it brings a whole new meaning to the word, “gassed.” Just too cute!

And where else can you get 100 cookie cutters for $9.99? Okay, so I haven’t made cookies since 1997, but I could get a domestic hot flash at any time!

Oh, and the Party Pump! What is a Party Pump? I don’t know! But I’m pretty sure that at $29.99 (on clearance!), I really need one!

Do you see why I’m so excited? And I didn’t even get to the bathroom stuff!

I’m telling you, there are just all kinds of things out there that I have to have. And I didn’t even know it!

You’ve got to hand it to our capitalist economy. Talk about efficiency! I mean, knowing what you need before you even know you need it yourself!

But I’m afraid I’ve tarried too long here. You’ll have to excuse me so I can go meditate over my L.L. Bean catalog. Fleece! Flannel!

Happy Fishing, Bill

Our students come and go, and I don't get to know all of them. There are a few, though, that I have the privilege of getting to know well. If I'm really lucky, I get to know them for the full three years and forever after. If I'm not so lucky, one of them passes away. Today I'm not so lucky.

Bill was one of my favorite students. He actually died last week, but I spoke with his wife today so he's on my mind.

Bill was a gregarious, loving guy. He lived in the country, and since we live in the same area, we often talked about the businesses, people, and land we shared. He would have graduated this coming May and, in fact, will be receiving a degree posthumously. I always assumed we would remained friends long after he left the law school.

But I would have been only one of many who were lucky enough to call Bill a friend. In fact, it took two country churches to hold all the mourners. What a great testament to a life well-lived! Oh, not because so many people came to his funeral services, but because all those people were simply returning what Bill and Denise have always so freely given.

Love is a powerful thing.

Bill, I sure sure will miss you. G-dspeed.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Commie Pinko Wife

I was going to write a brilliant analysis of a recent gay-rights court opinion but frankly, I'm just not all that interested this evening in the law.

It's been an interesting couple of months. The dreary list includes two car wrecks, a job lay-off, and a few other things. On the other hand, there's been some good stuff. We now have a house with indoor plumbing. This is a very big deal!

The latest drama is all about identity theft -- my wife's, not mine. I'm afraid she made the mistake of answering an email that she should have deleted. As a result, we discovered yesterday that someone, somewhere, has cleaned out her bank account. Including her insurance settlement from the first car accident.

Fortunately, she is a customer of the Last Nice Bank on the Face of the Earth and they are treating her wonderfully. Unfortunately, it will take about two weeks for my wife to get her money back. Thank G-d for ramen noodles.

In the meantime, the recipients of my wife's generosity made two very small donations to the London Socialist Party. I haven't researched to see who they are. I might not mind that too much; but then the Nazis called themselves socialists, too...

Anyway, now that my wife is a communist sympathizer, I imagine that the Prez will be ordering a file opened up on her.

But life goes on. It was my last day with the rented car and its wonderful, beautiful, decadent satellite radio. Goodbye, Seth and Big Fat Broadway! I will now be car-less for a while, due to a very large deductible combined with an itty bitty budget.

I did spend an hour investing in my health and my future, though. I finally dragged myself to an AA meeting; I haven't been to a meeting since the first of the two car accidents. I've been sober long enough to know that not going to meetings is a really dumb thing to do. Some people can stay sober without meetings, and more power to them; but not me.

So... I'll leave the brilliant analysis for another day. Today I think I just need to get some sleep.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

(Sigh) Why You Shouldn't Torture People

You would think the Bush administration could use its time more constructively. But no, it is busily working on exempting the CIA from a congressional bill that would ban torture.

Even the venerable Alan Dershowitz has weighed in for torture in certain cases. It's a pretty odd position for a defense attorney.

(It's exceedingly hard to write about this without rolling my eyes.)

Now, I get really irritated when I have to explain the obvious to grown-ups. Like, when I had to tell students not to bookmark porn cites on the library's circulation-desk computer.

But this is just surreal. I mean, what has happened to my country? You know, the one that rises above the baser elements of human nature to live by principle? Okay, okay, I know it was never as perfect as all that, but at least most of us talked the talk. Now we have the leaders of this nation opening a discussion on whether it's ok to use torture to get information from detainees.

So it's time to explain the obvious again. Now, let's put aside the argument that torture is just plain wrong. It is, of course, but apparently our leaders no longer care about what's right and what's wrong. So let's try a tactical, utilitarian approach.

All right. Why do some Americans want to be able to torture people? Well, supposedly it's so that we can make prisoners talk in emergency situations -- like, there's a bomb about to go off in a school and we have to get information out of a prisoner somehow so we can stop it.

Well, why shouldn't we torture the guy?

1. Let's assume for the moment that torture is an effective way to get information. That doesn't mean it's an effective way to get accurate information. There are lots of folks in prison, all over the world, who have confessed to doing things they didn't do, just to get the torture to stop. And torture is not going to work on someone who is so dedicated to his (or her) cause that torture would become "necessary." They'll either die before they talk, or they'll give incorrect information just to lead us astray. By the time we know we've been duped, the bomb will have already gone off.

2. If we permit torture, even just in exceptional circumstances, we lose an important international bargaining chip. First, we can no longer claim the higher position. If we complain about treatment of American prisoners, the bad guys (whoever they may be) can say, "Hey, you guys allow torture and you have it in writing. So don't talk to us about how we're treating prisoners." We can't invoke the United Declaration of Human Rights when we're violating it ourselves.

3. What better way to create terrorists than to pull this kind of a stupid stunt?

4. Who's going to police it? Dershowitz said last night on The Situation Room that you should always have to get the President's authority to torture. But he acknowledged that in an emergency situation you'd have to get it retroactively. Okay. We're going to trust Bush with that sort of responsibility?

I just cannot believe anybody needs to say this stuff.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Seven Things

I've been Memified! Here are my seven things....

Seven things I can do

  1. Imitate Marlene Dietrich
  2. Sing a pretty decent torch song
  3. Make German chocolate cake from scratch
  4. Stay sober, with help
  5. Research, especially law
  6. Sleep just about anywhere and any time (which sometimes gets me into big trouble)
  7. Say, “Go hit your head against the wall, you crazy cocksucker!” in Yiddish (at least, that’s what my ex told me it means)

Seven things I can’t do

  1. Ride a horse very well
  2. The Corporate Thing
  3. Speak a foreign language
  4. Ice skate
  5. Fix a car
  6. Control my depression without medication
  7. Get organized

Seven people I admire

  1. My mother
  2. My daughter
  3. My wife
  4. Erma Bombeck
  5. Jimmy Carter

Seven things I hope to do before I die

  1. Publish a novel
  2. Make love under the stars
  3. Go to Alaska
  4. Housebreak my dog
  5. Pay off all my debts
  6. Become a good dancer
  7. Get to know my grandchildren

Friday, November 04, 2005

They Grow Up So Fast

I watched some of our students compete today in the regional stage of the National Moot Court Competition. To think, I was one of the original judges when they did their very first oral arguments as first-year law students. What a thrill to see them nearly a year later. They look and sound so corporate!

Okay, given my politics that's not much of a compliment, but when you're competing against other prelawyers, that's a very good thing. And they did well, too, against an excellent team and a very persnickety panel of judges. All in all, I am very pleased.

They have one more argument tomorrow morning, and then if they do well enough, they'll compete in semi-finals tomorrow afternoon. If they get that far (and it won't surprise me if they do), I'm hoping I can get into town to watch. And then, perhaps, they'll make it to nationals.

It's when I watch students perform in oral arguments that I get my strongest teaching urges. I just love coaching this stuff, and I want to be right in there with them. Alas, I am not the moot court coach at our school. Wish I was! But the real coach is terrific, so it's best I just lend support.

At any rate, I know how hard these guys have worked to get here, and it makes me very glad that I'm not in law school anymore. In fact, at times like these, I find myself in awe at the fact that I actually made it through three years of law school. Actually finished something I started. Of course, my diploma is in Latin, so I don't really know what it says. For all I know, I flunked out.

Well, no matter what happens, I'm very, very proud to have been a part of their law-school experience. Well done, and definitely thumbs up, boys!

Oh, dear, I think I'm going to cry......

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Where the Hell is My Phone?

I mean it. It's nowhere to be found. And did I mention that I wrecked my car? You know that old saying about how you should live life today because a bus might hit you? Well, they weren't kidding. Only I was the one who hit the bus. A schoolbus, no less. With no kids on board, thank G-d. I think I fell asleep at the wheel, because I don't really remember what happened.

And here's my factoid of the day: if a bus gets into an argument with a Honda Civic, the bus is gonna win.

So I've rented a car until it's fixed (there's yet another thing I need to do). And ohhhhh it has satellite radio. 184 beautiful channels of satellite radio. Broadway! Jazz! Court TV!

Aw, let's face it. I've been all discombobulated ever since my dear wife had her auto accident. My schedule's messed up; my eating is messed up; and I -- well, I was already messed up so there's no problem there.

So if you've seen my phone, please give it back.

Redneck Mother Does It Again

You know, it's hard to think about writing when other people already do it so well. I mean, what's left to add? That's why I've never published in a law journal, and it's probably why I'm not a law professor. But really -- how can I possibly improve on stuff like this?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Alito the Scary One

For a really well-written analysis of one of Alito's decisions -- a decision that is very troubling -- take a look at one of my favorite law blogs, Is That Legal?. In it, Eric Muller describes a case in which Alito usurped the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to fit his own idea of the First Amendment.

Yes, Scalito will make the wingnuts very happy indeed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Brad Locke, you charmer, you!

The American Family Association has an interesting little commentary on its site today. Its sports commentator, Brad Locke, wrote the following about the coming out of a female basketball player:


Reigning WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes revealed to ESPN The Magazine that she's a lesbian, although she said she didn't think she was born that way. Normally, I ignore anything even remotely connected with the WNBA, which I consider completely irrelevant in the American sports landscape. I'd rather wash my hands in turpentine than watch a WNBA game. (Oh wait, I've already done that -- it burned. Lots.)

Why, thank you, Brad. That was a lovely sentiment!

Now, I'm not a sports fan, so perhaps I'm missing something. Is there something about the WNBA I don't know, or does he just hate women's sports?

Wait a minute. Why am I looking for logic here? These are the same folks that are all up in arms because American Girl is teaming up with (gasp!!) Girls, Inc., that putrid, satanic hellhole of lesbianism and abortion-mongering.

Boy, do these people need a life.

But I'm sure not giving them mine, or my daughter's.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Invisible Hand and Other Halloween Horrors

Every day I punish myself by listening to Neal Boortz. I guess that makes me the Subversive Redneck Sadomasochistic Librarian. Every day he provides the public with his economic prowess which is considerable. At least, he says it is.

Now, Boortz is promoting his new book, cowritten with Georgia congressman John Linder, about the "fair tax" proposal. The Fair Tax proposal eliminates income tax and replaces it with a national sales tax. People get rebates of the tax up to the amount you'd spend on necessities at the poverty level, I believe.

I'm not here to promote or attack the idea of the fair tax, because I haven't read the book. But I am getting tired of right/libertarian media types shoving economic assumptions down my throat without bothering to mention that's what they're doing.

Neoclassical economic theory -- the theory favored by the right -- promotes "laissez faire"economic policy. That is, if you leave The Economy alone and stop mucking it up with government regulations, wealth will be maximized. Prices will go where they ought to, and everyone will have equal economic opportunity as long as they're willing to work hard. All this is due to something Adam Smith called The Invisible Hand (shiver!).

I majored in economics and philosophy as an undergrad, so I had to take a whole bunch of econ classes. I don't remember much, but I do remember a few things:

First, I remember that neoclassical economic theory operates in a vaccuum (particularly in the oversimplified form presented by wingnuts), but the real economy doesn't. For example:

1. Noeclassical theory tends to assume a perfect information flow between buyer and seller, especially for commodities. In other words, we know as much as the oil companies do about what the price of gas ought to be.

2. Classical theory tends to assume perfect "elasticity." In other words, prices go down and up with equal ease.

3. Classical theory tends to assume that people will act rationally to maximize their scarce resources.

The most unfounded assumption -- and the most irritating -- isn't made within economic theory itself, but by commentators who claim to know about such things. And that assumption is that there is one, and only one, valid theory of economics. And wouldn't you know, it's the one that favors corporations. Basically, these guys take for granted that neoclassical economics constitutes The Truth. Indeed, Boortz seems positively cultish about it. He doesn't even acknowledge that there's any intelligent disagreement on basic economic theory.

But, in fact, he's only giving half the story (what a shock!). The fact is, some economists think that the economy just doesn't work that way. And therefore, they refuse to treat the economy as something sacrosanct, something that mustn't be touched.

And these economists don't just blow hot air. If you read their articles, you'll see just as many incomprehensible charts and graphs as you will in the articles by the neoclassical types.

These other economists point out things that the conservatives don't usually mention. Like, Reagan spent a fortune on the military; so while conservatives spout off about Reagan's success with trickle-down, supply-side, neoclassical economics, Reagan was actually instituting Keynesian policy.

During my college days, I concluded that all the charts and graphs are complete bullshit, no matter who is using them. I suspect a lot of economists use them just because they think they have to.

My favorite econ professor (who also thought the charts were bullshit) used to describe laissez faire policy as "the Lazy Fairy." Why, just put it into the hands of the lazy fairy and it will all turn out just great!

Or, as he also put it, "let the Lazy Fairy do his thing, so rich and poor alike will be able to sail their yachts around the harbor."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hey, wait a minute, I'm describing myself...

Stopped in at my local Kroger's today, trying to stall the inevitable (coming to work). I came across what I presume is one of Jeff Foxworthy's new books, Redneck Extreme Mobile Home Makeover. Not surprisingly, it's full of "you might be a redneck if...." comments.

Seeing as I'm supposed to be a writer and all, I decided to use his book as a prompt. So here's my list. By the way, I didn't read the whole book, so if I accidentally repeat one Foxworthy has already done, it's completey by accident.

1. You might be a redneck if you have flypaper hanging from your rear-view mirror.

2. You might be a redneck if taking a bath involves baby wipes.

3. You might be a redneck if you use pliers to change the channel on your TV.

4. You might be a redneck if you have named the mice under your bathroom sink.

5. You might be a redneck if your first words when you get home every night are, "Hello, Gnome!"

6. You might be a redneck if the price of your house is spray-painted on the kitchen window.

7. You might be a redneck if your house came with a stick-on level.

8. You might be a redneck if your favorite piece of art involves a sports drink.

9. You might be a redneck if your last wardrobe splurge was a pair of dress shoes for $19.99.


Now, I'm not saying I'm a redneck, but I must confess that four of the items on this list do describe me. Not that I'm about to say which ones!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hay in My Bra

I've decided that one of the toughest things about farm life is trying not to look like I live on a farm. I'm always forgetting to change out of my barn boots when I go to my job in the city. And worse, I often forget to take off my go-to-work-shoes before I walk around in horse poop.

On good days, the only sign I live on a farm is that hay falls out when I take off my bra -- which, by the way, I don't do in public. On bad days, I've got hay in my hair, hay in my shirt, and manure on my pants. On those days, of course, it's a pretty sure bet I'll run into the Dean. Ah, well. At least no one will mistake me for being overly ambitious!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Mud and Roses

Feeling overwhelmed at the moment. My lovely wife is in South Carolina waiting for her car to be repaired; my ex is stranded at home with a broken car as well. I've got my work cut out for me: sometime between now and 2pm tomorrow I need to drive 1 1/2 hours home, drop daughter off at our habitable habitation, go take care of horses, dogs, and cats; go back to habitable habitation and get some sleep; wake up in the morning, go take care of animals again, go back and pick daughter up to take her to school, prepare for my class, teach my class, work on substantial writing project, and also do something for a professor that's been in the in-pile too long. How am I going to get it all done?

Alas, not by blogging... (Three posts in one day -- no wonder I'm behind!)

Al Franken versus the Theatre

This morning, on Boortz's radio show, a caller said the following to explain how much he dislikes Al Franken:

"I've been to plays -- I'm not kidding, plays! -- that were more interesting than he is!"

'Nuf said.

Rosa Parks 1913 - 2005

Rosa Parks has died at 92. There is nothing I can say about this woman that is anywhere near as eloquent -- or elegant -- as her life.

Never let it be said that one person can't make a difference.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Fine Mom-Blog

I'm very happy to have discovered The Redneck Mother, a progressive blog about politics, motherhood, and rural life in Texas, not necessarily in that order. It's well-written and funny, and it's positive proof that we don't leave our brains outside the delivery room when we become mothers.

The Georgia Voter ID Act

A few days ago, the Northern District of Georgia granted a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of Georgia's new voter ID act. I, being the Good Librarian that I am, sent our professors a link to the decision. Which, by the way, is 123 pages long.

Not long thereafter (note my use of "thereafter," proving that I really did go to law school), I received emails from two of our professors, within a few minutes of each other. One, from a staunch conservative, told me what a weird result the decision was ("hasn't the court ever heard of "vote early, vote often?"). The other, from someone far more left, noted that it was a bold, and correct, decision.

So which is it? Bold, or weird?

Well, if you listen to the Right, you won't think it's bold or weird, because Judge Murphy has (gasp!!) donated money to moveon.org. Therefore, the soundbite goes, he's just pushing along his political agenda. (Why is it that conservatives rule according to their consciences, but liberals are just legislating from the bench?)

It's true that the decision isn't all that bold or weird. But it is correct.

The voter ID act sounds sort of logical on its face, considering that it's purported purpose is to prevent voter fraud. What's so wrong with making people show a photo ID when they vote? Well, nothing, except maybe the following:
  • Georgia's Secretary of State Cathy Cox urged against passage of the bill, saying that she had never seen a case of voter fraud that had arisen from in-person voting at the polls.
  • When it passed the voter ID act, the Georgia legislature also passed a law making it easier to vote by mail, even though Cox also noted that there had been numerous cases of fraud reported with respect to absentee voting.
So what was really going on in the Georgia legislature? Well, that's a good question.

For all you legal eagles out there, here's a very quick run-down of the decision: Judge Murphy noted that the right to vote is fundamental, and he therefore analyzed it under two tests: strict scrutiny, and the test applied by the Supreme Court in Burdick v. Takushi. He found that under either analysis, the law probably violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. Furthermore, he found that the ID requirement constitutes an impermissible poll tax.

Yes, I realize there's more: the four factors for granting a preliminary injunction, the issues that the court declined to rule on this early in the game, and lots of other stuff. But the decision is 123 pages long. Frankly, I don't think you really want me to summarize the whole thing here, although believe it or not, I have read it.

Some interesting points along the way:
  • Defendants were only able to cite to voter fraud with respect to voter registration -- not in-person voting -- and yet under the new law, you still don't need a photo ID to register to vote.
  • There is a state-run bus that will go around and give people state IDs and will even do it for free if if you're indigent. However, one bus has to serve 159 counties, and it's not wheelchair accessible (and the photo equipment can't be moved outside the bus).
  • There are people who don't have the money for the ID but aren't considered indigent and so can't get it for free.
The bottom line is that the law does nothing to stop voter fraud in the places it actually takes place: voter registration and absentee voting. However, it does make it tougher for the poor, elderly, and disabled to vote. Could it be that's what the Georgia legislature was really aiming for?

Uhh, can you say pretense?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bow Unto the Power of the Lesbians?

If you listen to the likes of "Reverend" Willie Wilson, you already know that you can't even turn around without stepping on a lesbian these days. That, of course, explains why people are so afraid of us. (Wilson, case you haven't heard, refused to let Keith Boykin speak at the Millions More March, even though Farrakhan had already extended an invitation.)

Can you feel the power of the lesbian? Boy, I sure can!

Except, maybe, when I hear about one-year-old Morgan, the adopted daughter of Becki Hamilton and Kim Brennan. An Indiana judge has ordered that Morgan be taken away from her mothers, even though the adoption is already final, solely because Becki and Kim are lesbians.

And except, maybe, when I hear about the six girls in Abuja, Nigeria, who have each been sentenced to 90 strokes with a cane for performing lesbian acts of some sort. The girls range from age 12 to 17.

Oh, and except, maybe, when I read about my government performing “illegal covert propaganda” to push its anti-gay agenda.

Yes, be afraid. Be very afraid. But not of us.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ok, so maybe it's not all about me

Ran across an article about librarian elections. It sounded intriguing until I realized that all the words in the headline are spelled right. Emily Litella lives.

Friday, October 14, 2005

BigLaw Associate and Me

I just discovered a blog that I think I am going to enjoy. It belongs to BigLawAssociate at http://www.biglawassociate.blogspot.com/, and I highly recommend it. B.A. is lamenting big-firm life as an associate. Been there, done that. I graduated from BigLawSchool in 1989, did a year's stint as a federal appeals law clerk (loved it!), and then went with a BigLaw firm with a great reputation in the Southwest.

I hated it from the very first day. And when I left three years later, I hadn't grown to like it any better. About all I can say for it is that I had made some good friends -- not with the lawyers, by the way, but with the secretaries, librarians, and paralegals. Oh -- and I learned a lot about writing from some of the best writers anywhere.

A lot of my problem was me, of course -- I was terrified and intimidated by the responsibility I was given, and it didn't matter whether I was working on a multimillion-dollar securities action or on a pro bono eviction case.

But mostly, it was about BigLaw not being a good fit. How, you ask? Oh, let me count the ways!

The way the lawyers wouldn't say hello to anybody on the elevator except a client or another lawyer.....The way I got unlimited paid leave after I had my baby but the receptionist had to come back to work the week after a C-section because BigFirm didn't give her any benefits.....The way I had trouble getting assignments from the Partners because I didn't play basketball with them......the way I had to work weekends, not because anything really had to be done by Monday, but because I was short on billable hours and I wanted to make sure I'd have time to take assignments during the week if I got any, which I usually didn't....The way I used to look out my 20th floor window and wonder how it would feel to jump out....The way I learned to cringe whenever a partner said he had a "very interesting" assignment for me (note to new associates: when you hear that, run like the wind!......The way I had to pretend I like continental restaurants when in fact I hate them.....The way the firm took down its "no smoking" signs whenever its client BigTobacco came in......I could go on, and on, and on.

When I left, I took a legal aid job on an Indian Reservation. I had to declare bankruptcy to do it, but even so, I have never regretted it.

My firm was one of those that was supposed to be humane. And relatively speaking, I suppose it was. But I learned, in my three years at my BigFirm, that a firm is a firm is a firm is a firm is a firm. When the numbers start going down, they're all going to start drawing blood. A law firm is, after all, a business.

I'm happy to report that my firm imploded not too long after I left. I'm glad I left before that happened, because I'm pretty sure I would not have been asked to join either of the two law firms that came out of the ashes.

I created a file (the paper kind) towards the end of my time at BigFirm: "Why I don't want to work in a firm any more." I still have it somewhere. It had in it, among other things, my annual evaluation.

When I left private practice, I said many times that I would clean toilets before I went back to a firm. And when I have needed money, I have done just that.

Someday I may go back to practicing law (G-d help me, I have applied for my new state's bar exam; but I have Credit Issues so it will be a little while before those folks let me play with them). But unless I have no other way to feed my kid, it won't be at BigFirm.

B.A., keep up the good work. Lots of people ask me why I don't practice law any more, but never lawyers. Learn what you can and move on.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I Believe in Gay Marriage


I found this post on Sumeeta's blog, and before that it came from Brian's blog at http://leftfletch.blogspot.com/. Since both requested it, I am reposting. The highlighted sentences are the ones that apply to me.

Here is the post from Brian's blog:

Americans are opposed to gay marriage because

1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Please post this in your journal if you are for gay marriage.

I am the guy who came out to the entire school in his senior speech and got a standing ovation for his courage.

I am the girl who kisses her girlfriend on the sidewalk and laughs at those who glare.

We are the couple who planned and studied and got a damn good lawyer and BEAT the state that wanted to take our child away.

We are the ones who took martial arts classes and carry pepper spray and are just too dangerous to gay bash.

I am the transgender person who uses the bathroom that suits me, and demands that any complaining staff explain their complaint to my face in front of the entire restaurant -- and shares with my other trans friends which restaurants don't raise a stink.

I am the mother who told her lesbian daughter to invite her girlfriend over for dinner.

I am the father who punished his son for calling you a fag.

I am the preacher who told my congregation that love, not hate, is the definition of a true follower of God.

I am the girl who did not learn the meaning of "homosexual" until high school but never thought to question why two men might be kissing.

I am the woman who argues (quite loudly and vehemently) with the bigots who insist that you do not have the right to marry or raise children.

We are the high school class who agrees, unanimously, along with our teacher, that love should be all that matters.

If you agree, repost this. Do it. You don't have to be afraid. You can handle it. You're stronger than you think.

I am making a difference. Hate will not win.

Is she or isn't she . . . pregnant???

Someone asked me today if I was pregnant.  I didn’t know whether to be insulted because he thinks I look fat, or flattered because he thinks I look young.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Harriet's Face

All righty, then. I've recovered sufficiently from my life to comment now on Harriet Miers, the President's choice to replace the venerable Sandra Day O'Connor.

Frankly, I'm simply not smart enough to make a judgment about Harriet Miers. But I always listen to what James Dobson says, and he likes her. And so does Dubbya. So she's ok with me.

Ok, I'm just kidding. But let's face it: most Americans won't take the time to investigate H.M. even though it's pretty easy to do via Google. Instead, they'll listen to their favorite political pundits -- James Dobson, Sean Hannity, Randi Rhoades, Al Franken, their spiritual advisor, Mickey Mouse -- and go along.

Problem is, this time conservatives are all topsy-turvy on the subject. Michael Savage doesn't think much of her, last I heard. James Dobson likes her. Can't these people agree on anything?

As a librarian, I know better. I know that I've got to figure these things out for myself. So I've done my own investigation and I'm now ready to give you my opinion:

I like her.

Why? Well, for one thing, I'm pretty sure she hasn't had a face lift in the past ten years, and I like that.

Plus, she's sort of old, and I like that too. Not old old but, you know, kind of old at 60. And that means she won't be on the court for as long as some of the people W. could have picked.

Finally, I like her name. Harriet. It just says Mom and apple pie, don't you think? Harriet Nelson. Harriet the TV maid... Oh, wait a minute, I'm thinking of Hazel. No matter; I bet she can clean house with the best of them.

Ok, so she has no experience. But you have to be a pretty good lawyer to end up working in the White House, right? Look at Nixon. Look at Quayle. Look at Ashcroft.

Oh.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Dyke-and-a-Boat

I am a dyke with a boat.
I am a dyke with a pontoon.
I am a dyke with a pontoon and a dock.
I am a dyke with a dock.

I am a dyke with a dock and a tree in the closet.
I am a dyke with a dock and a tree in the closet so large that there is no room for me.
I am a dyke with a dock and a tree and no closet space.
I am a dyke with no closet space.

I am a dyke with no closet space and a gate at the front.
I am a dyke with a gate at the front with a big chain.
I am a dyke with a big chain on the gate to keep you out.
I am a dyke with a big chain.

I am a dyke with a big chain and a lawn.
I am a dyke with a big chain and a lawn you can mow.
I am a dyke with a chain and a lawn but no mower.
I am a mowerless dyke.

I am a mowerless dyke with a hot tub.
I am a mowerless dyke with a girl in the hot tub.
I am a mowerless dyke with a hot girl in the tub.
I am a mowerless dyke who writes predictable poetry.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Oh, Lord, I am in so many ways tired....

No clever patter today; no well-written essays (or any other kind) on my views about Harriet Miers or the python that shouldn't have eaten the alligator or gay marriage. Just one very tired post to summarize the events of the past three weeks... 1. Melda was in a bad car accident. She lost control of her truck and it flipped three times. She was knocked out and when she "came to," she was upside down. Thank G-d for seatbelts. She was airlifted to Grady hospital and stayed there for three days. A great place to get your life saved (though, as it turns out, she didn't need too much help surviving) and then a good place to get the hell out of. I threw a full-blown hissy fit complete with tears and the F-word very loud when they wouldn't let me stay overnight with her. On my way out that night (seeing as how I lost that particular battle), I told one of the staffers that her charge nurse is a dickhead. My guess is that she agreed. Anyway, she's ok; spent three days at that horrible place and came home with an impressive assortment of huge and colorful bruises. I took a week off to keep her company. She's still got some residual pain and just generally isn't feeling well, but it's a whole lot better than it could have been. 2. The truck wasn't so lucky. But as it turns out, the insurance company will be giving us more than we paid for it, and that's after putting a whole lot of miles on it. So that's great news. I just "snipered" a car on Ebay for her: a 1995 Saab 900 convertible. We'll pick it up in a few days. 3. For those who know me, I've been laid off of my moonlighting job as of next Friday. I discovered an ad for my job on the atlanta press club website -- turns out he wanted someone full time and he can't afford me. As far as I know he's happy with my work but I am pretty pissed off at how I found out about it. There goes my chance to get on the air. Oh, well. Anyway I am job hunting, either for a really good full-time job or a pretty good part-time one. Which is a big part of the reason I'm tired. I'd have lots more to say about it but this is a public forum. 4. Great news. We have found a house. It turns out to be about the same price to buy a second home as it is to build a home on the farm land. We found a fabulous little property on Lake Jackson. With lots of lake frontage. Turns out it's owned by an acquaintance. I am very happy about this! Hopefully nothing will go wrong with the transaction. I have drafted the paperwork and I'm waiting for a reply. We have given them an earnest money check and we've been given the key so I'm very hopeful. More about the house tomorrow, I hope. 5. I guess that's it. 6. George Bush is a turd-brain.