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.