Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Two Years In a Row??

One of my fellow officers came into the office yesterday holding a box of Tagalongs. I missed the Girl Scout Cookie sale again! Why do I never get hit up for cookie orders by Girl Scouts? I'm all about the cookies! I spend more money that I ought to on them whenever I get the chance! I won one of the top seller awards in our council twice when I was a girl scout. One year, I was the VERY top seller, and the award included not just a badge, but also a trip to Sea World, which was pretty cool. Plus which, I have all too many memories of hawking overpriced crap for one extracurricular activity or another, so I'm a huge sucker for any kid selling for a fundraiser.

I need some Thin Mints! I need some Trefoils! Hook me up, people! Someone here has to know a Girl Scout...


Monday, February 27, 2006


I'm getting new neighbors in the apartment building and I feel like I've suddenly been transplanted into an episode of Blue Collar Comedy.

Saturday morning, five enormous pick ups pulled up in front of our building, including one that drove the wrong way down our one way street. Only one of these trucks was loaded with furniture. The others were mostly empty, though one had several orange traffic cones thrown in the bed. The five trucks disgorged eight of the most glorious mullets I've seen in ages, as well as several Carhartt jackets. Had it been a warm day, I suspect at least two of the mullets would have been barechested. I base this suspicion on nothing more than my lifetime of experience with redneck relatives. (Most people who've met me as an adult are utterly mystified when they meet my extended family. I like to tease my mother that if I didn't already know I was adopted, I'd demand a DNA test. My extended family is just as mystified by my love of books as I am by their love of NASCAR.)

This morning, as I left for school, I noticed that they'd put their name on their mailbox. With duct tape.

All I know is, if I hear anyone yell "Hey y'all, watch this!", I'm getting the heck out of the way.

Note to All Twenty-Something Women

"Diva" as used outside the field of opera is NOT a compliment. It is pejorative. It is therefore NOT something you should aspire to be. This goes quadruple for your behaviour behind the wheel of a car. A bumper sticker that says "Diva Driver" is therefore NOT cute. It tells me that you're a jackass and probably dangerously inconsiderate on the road.


Friday, February 24, 2006

It's a Wrap

The final public interest society fundraising auction is over, except for the accounting and tracking down the people who didn't pay for their items during the auction. I can't even begin to guess how well it went.

There were several major disappointments for me, though. The biggest one was the fact that many of our members disappeared early in the evening. I spent ages trying to find people to do little jobs in vain. I should have been able to hand a wheel of raffle tickets to a 1L and have them run around the room selling them, but instead I found myself batting my eyelashes at drunk 2Ls. I was also disappointed that there weren't more donations to the Professor Feedback Memorial Grant Fund. And finally, I was disappointed in the fact that most of the people who signed up to clean just... disappeared (this is a theme for the night apparently). However, I should give a big shoutout to Eep, who stayed and helped clean up even though he wasn't in the group. He tried to play it off as "waiting to get a ride", but he could just as well have sat around while he waited, so I think it's more "Eep's a heckuva good person". (Sorry to blow your carefully crafted cover.)

In the past, I've left the auction exhausted but happy. Last night, I just felt let down and disillusioned by my classmates. Completely self absorbed and selfish is how they came across to me last night. 3Ls about to graduate and start big firm jobs with six figure salaries couldn't find it in their hearts and wallets to throw a few dollars in the jar for the Professor White Memorial Grant, despite having had the man for at least two semesters' worth of classes. I don't know why I thought any of them could come out of their self-absorbed shells for any reason. No wonder lawyer jokes are so popular.

Maybe I'll feel better after I get enough sleep.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lawyer Jokes, Part Something or Other of an Ongoing Series

Q: What's the difference between a lawyer and an onion?
A: No one cries when you cut up a lawyer.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Full Regalia


That's how much it costs to rent your cap and gown for graduation. When I bought my undergraduate cap and gown, it cost $16. Even.

I can't decide which mystery is keeping me awake at night more effectively: why it's so expensive to effing RENT the regalia, or where the 61 cents came from. Why not $63? Why not $64? And why can't I keep my hood? I don't particularly want the gown itself. (Although it could make a splendid Halloween costume: I'm thinking old British judge or something.) But dammit, I want my hood.

It's also a glorious mish mosh of colors: Blue and darker blue and gold and purple. I must admit though, that I'm looking forward to wearing a color other than black or red. When I looked at law schools, I rejected out of hand any schools that had red and black as their school colors. I just couldn't face YET ANOTHER phase of my education dominated by those colors.

So, $63.61. It might have been nice had we been given more than two days notice of the fact that we were going to have to be measured and pony up the bucks during a specific four hour time span on one given day, but I guess that was just too hard to coordinate or something. And of course, when I say "be measured", I mean a representative of SBA handed you a paper tape measure to wrap around your own head to get the proper cap size. Alternatively, there was a communal pile of caps you could try on until you found the one that fit the best. So, now that I think about it, I'm not certain why the measurements had to be taken during that specific time period. It's not like they had representatives from Herff Jones measuring us for a tailor fit or something. I guess there's something I just don't understand about the whole process. Just like I don't understand why it costs $63.61 to rent a cap, a gown, a hood, and a tassel for a few hours.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Best Headline Ever

I never thought I'd see the wor "poo" used on CNN.

Svenska damcurlarna

Women's Curling was on tv last night. I love curling, at least conceptually. I don't actually know how the game is played beyond the broadest outline. I don't follow the sport, per se. I've never set foot on a curling court (or whatever it's actually called). But I love curling because it makes me feel like I could still grow up to be an Olympic athlete.

Last night's match was between the United States and Sweden. I would have watched anyway, at least for a few minutes, but I quickly discovered the bonus: the athletes were miked. And the announcer mostly kept his mouth shut, so I got to listen to the Swedish team discuss strategy. Now, I know, this is pretty silly. The thing is, though, I never get to hear spoken Swedish. It was pretty enthralling for my inner dork. I watched the entire match. Sweden stole a victory from under the noses of the United States. Of course, apparently, Sweden is the world master or something. (World Mistress?? They are women, after all.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Just Wondering

Not to harp on this story, but if the guy dies, will they charge Dick Cheney with, say, negligent homicide? Or maybe sued by the man's widow? I mean he wasn't even hunting legally and isn't getting cited for that, either (though I bet some staffer has been royally reamed and probably fired for missing that stamp).


Happy Valentine's Day

No popular respect will I omit
To do the honour on this happy day,
When every loyal lover tasks his wit
His simple truth in studious rhymes to pay,
And to his mistress dear his hopes convey.
Rather thou knowest I would still outrun
All calendars with Love's whose date alway
Thy bright eyes govern better than the Sun,--
For with thy favour was my life begun,
And still I reckon on from smiles to smiles,
And not by summers, for I thrive on none
But those thy cheerful countenance compiles;
Oh! if it be to choose and call thee mine,
Love, thou art every day my Valentine!
- Thomas Hood, Sonnet--For the 14th of February

No, we shouldn't need a holiday to tell us to show the special person in our lives how much they mean to us, but there's nothing wrong with setting aside a day where we make a little more of an effort. Valentine's Day is, in this respect, much like Mother's Day or Thanksgiving-- a day when we celebrate a feeling or a sentiment we feel and show everyday. I like that idea.

I hate the stupid commercials and the idea that if you don't spend a boatload of money and your present doesn't include diamonds and you don't end the day with the feeling that the grandest romantic gesture of all time has been made for you, then your significant other doesn't love you/ you don't love your significant other. Balls to that. Everytime the jewelry store commercial comes on where the elderly couple is commenting on the younger couple and practically applaud when he gives his short-term girlfriend some jewelry or other, my blood pressure shoots through the roof-- almost as much as the Radio Shack commercial with the woman who's all "Sometimes when a person says they don't want anything, they really do want somethng", which makes me want to reach through the screen and grab the woman and scream "IF YOU'RE TOO STUPID TO SAY THAT YOU WANT SOMETHING, YOU DON'T DESERVE ANYTHING", which is really too much attention to give a commercial. I should cut down on the caffeine.

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.
~ Charlie Brown

I understand if you don't like Valentine's Day yourself. I even understand if you feel particularly anti-Valentine's because you're in the throes of heartache or because you're alone or because you have to be apart from the one you love. But please don't try to negate the holiday. Let the lovers celebrate each other. Let the rest of us who are so inclined celebrate love.

Poetry spills from the cracks of a broken heart, but flows from one, which is loved.
- Christopher Paul Rubero

Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more. ~Erica Jong

Falling in love is still magical, no matter how many times your heart has been broken in the past. The hot intensity of your first love may never again be matched, but the heart rising like a phoenix from the ashes of heartbreak can understand the true value of tender looks, of small gestures of affection, of a lover's embrace. It's amazing and terrifying at the same time. To know the pain of loss, of betrayal, and still hold out your heart is a great gift: you know what you might be sacrificing, what vulnerability you've opened yourself to, but you're willing to risk it for the possibility of something wonderful.

Give me a kiss, and to that kiss a score;
Then to that twenty, add a hundred more:
A thousand to that hundred: so kiss on,
To make that thousand up a million.
Treble that million, and when that is done,
Let's kiss afresh, as when we first begun.
~Robert Herrick

Happy Valentine's Day.

How Fitting

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

This was actually one of my nicknames in high school, earned because I paid for my ballet classes by working for the professional company the school was affiliated with in a backstage capacity (mending costumes, cleaning the studios, assisting with quick shoe and costume changes, generally being a gopher). Old habits die hard?


Monday, February 13, 2006

Watch Out For the Baybee

My favorite driver was on my bus route this morning. He’s friendly and actually understands the concept of gentle braking instead of roaring up the road and slamming to a halt only when the passengers or an immovable object demands it. It was just after 8:30 and had snowed, so the busses were insanely packed as usual. The bus pulled up to my stop and was already jam packed, but there were maybe 15 people waiting at my stop to get on the bus and we all had places to be. Several other busses had passed by without stopping and people were getting anxious, so we were all bound and determined to get on that bus if at all possible. As the passengers already on the bus were shuffling closer to the back to make room for as many newcomers as possible, a man sitting in a seat near the middle of the bus started yelling “You’re over capacity! Stop letting people get on!” over and over. The bus driver looked back, saw us packed in the aisle—uncomfortably so, but not exactly unusual or especially unsafe—and called back “Get over it, dude” in an amiable manner. Buddy Boy lost it and started yelling about how he’s got a BAY-BEE with him (referring, I suppose, to the toddler sitting on his lap) and he ain’t getting’ over nothin’ because he’s got a BAY-BEE. The surrounding passengers started snickering a little.

The bus driver drove on. And at each subsequent stop, one or two passengers would get off and three or four would get on, and Buddy Boy would bleat anew about his BAY-BEE. Anytime a passenger in the aisle would lurch a little or stand a little close to his seat, he would threaten in his little goat voice to “punch a f*cker” for not “staying clear” of his BAY-BEE. Presently, the passengers in the bus went from mildly amused to really annoyed to vaguely homicidal, and each time Buddy Boy would open his mouth, someone would yell back. The dynamic could have become quite frightening had the ride been a long one, but luckily, we were already at the major university area by this point, and Buddy Boy reached his stop, too. In a parting shot, he stood in the doorway of the bus for maybe a minute or a minute and a half, yelling at the bus driver and admonishing the passengers for “not respecting” his BAY-BEE. Everytime he got to the word “baby”, he voice would take on that bleating goat quality and the volume would increase significantly.

I guess I could have understood if the man had been carrying a very small newborn or if people had been particularly rowdy, but the child was two or three years old and morning commuters, even the ones on a very crowded bus, are really a very subdued crowd. The fuss was really unnecessary. I hate parents with this attitude. Having a baby doesn’t make you special or entitle you to the royal treatment. The world does not have to bend around some arbitrary rule you’ve decided to make. Yes, we should all have extra consideration for the “weaker” members of our society—the very old, the very young, the disabled. That’s why people are supposed to give up their seats at the front of the bus for the elderly or disabled passengers. That’s why we have handicapped parking spots. That’s why there are laws preventing children from engaging in certain activities and imposing especially severe punishments on those who abuse them. I hardly think that being on a crowded bus qualifies as abusing or endangering a child. All that man did was anger a busload of people and show his child that it’s okay to expect the world to cater to your whims.


In Trademark Law, we’re talking about what, exactly, can be trademarked. Can a certain color be trademarked? Can a certain sound be trademarked? Can a certain smell be trademarked? And if the answer to any of these things is yes, how do you pinpoint exactly what is covered by the trademark registration and what isn’t? All very interesting questions, though they’ve led to a far more mushy, philosophical class discussion than is typical of Professor Marbury.

They also led to a brief discussion of Mr. Sketch markers. The mere mention of them evoked an immediate and very strong memory of Mrs. North’s class, and the thrill of being picked to write on the flip chart with the scented markers. I always picked either the green (peppermint), the red (cherry), or the light blue (blue raspberry), in that order. I can still smell the exact scent in my mind. It was our reward for good behaviour at the end of a week: the afternoon spelling lesson or math lesson would be written up on the flip chart and each week, a different group of students was chosen to take turns writing the answers on the flip chart.

Years later, I found a box of them in a card store on a bottom shelf, incongruously stocked next to the scented candles and Precious Moments figurines. I had forgotten about them entirely and found myself compelled to buy the box, though I certainly had no real use for them in my every day life as a office drone/ college student. Over the years, they became my moving markers—I wrote “BOOKS—Living Room” and “LINENS—Bathroom” on multitudes of boxes with grape scented markers and then “WINTER SWEATERS—Bedroom” with orange scented markers and eventually, triumphantly “COLLEGE STUFF—Basement” in cherry scented markers. I currently have one single Mr. Sketch marker left: the light pink one, scented like raspberry (though it always reminds me of the smell of the think pink liquid penicillin given to children). It seldom gets used because it’s too dark to use as a highlighter and too light to use to mark moving boxes, and really, when else would I use a great fat marker these days?

Still, I’m finding myself longing for a new box of Mr. Sketch markers to call my own. I don’t need them—in fact, I really don’t need the extra clutter in my life and should get rid of some of the huge quantities of school supplies I’ve accumulated over the years. I’m about to graduate from what I imagine will be the very last school I ever attend, so the days in which I might, theoretically have to make a poster for a project are drawing to an end. What would I do with these markers besides uncap them to smell the scents? Lord knows, law school has been damaging enough to my brain, I don’t need to rush the onset of dementia by huffing lemon scented markers.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

And So It Begins

Our Law School sponsors a supplemental bar review course taught during the Spring Semester. It covers a few major areas that appear on bar exams in every state on Saturdays, and during the week we have practice tests that are graded and returned. The Saturday sessions are prerecorded videotaped lectures. Here, for your reading enjoyment, are the "extra" notes that I took during the first Saturday session.

Why is she pretending to look around the room, when she’s actually taping herself for playback? There’s “temporary suspension of disbelief”, and then there’s just plain silly.

“It’s in no way a replacement for the bar review program over the summer”... so don’t think you can get away with not sending your check for $2000 to my company. And if you don’t, you won’t pass the bar. I swear.

The criminal law lecturer is enormously fat and has to gasp for air every five or six words. He’s also chewing on something—which I really hope is gum and not his cheek or his tongue—and it’s grossing me out. In fact, it’s almost a blessing that the visual part of the presentation keeps going out, though you would think that they could get a new copy of the presentation, either a new videotape or even an upgrade to a DVD. He sounds like he’s gargling his own phlegm when he talks.

You could have a great drinking game with this video: every time he calls us “folks”, take a drink! Every time he raises his hand, take a drink! Every time he says “What are we going to do?”, take a drink! Every time he repeats the same exact sentence three or more times in a row, take a drink! You’d be drunk before you got to mens rea.

I am impressed with just how much of this I am remembering from first year. We had such a great professor for crim law. Sigh... I still felt smart back then.

I hate the way he says review. “REE view”, like “PO-leese” instead of “poLICE”. I also hate it when he says “yew” instead of “you”.

Enrollment in the Dick Wolfe School of Law: I learned the concept of transferred intent from an episode of Law and Order in which Sam Watterson proclaimed “Intent follows the bullet, every first year law student knows that!”. Other concepts that were clarified for me by Law and Order include excited utterance, plain view, and what qualifies as being in custody. Law and Order Criminal Intent was nicknamed I could practically pass the bar exam by watching TNT and USA on a regular basis!

I cannot believe how slowly this is going. I want to kill myself. Or him. Maybe both.

“Something in the lecture made you sleepy...” something?!

“Does everyone on the tape understand?”... if the answer is no, how would he be able to tell??

“It’s only homicide if the victim is human!” PETA be damned! (Excerpt from my favorite law school hypothetical EVER: “Al Gore in a dogsuit is crossing the street. Arnold Schwarzenegger runs him over when he runs a red while driving an ambulance without turning on the lights or sirens. Al Gore dies from the injuries sustained in the accident. Is Arnold Schwarzenegger criminally liable? What, exactly, should he be charged with”)

Oh. God. No. I just realized that we’ll have to watch this exact same tape this summer!

“If you thought that a revolver with one chamber loaded is not a deadly weapon, you will never own your own home.” What on EARTH do those two things have to do with each other? Seriously! I mean, I understand that he’s saying you’re really stupid if you don’t get the first concept, but there are a lot of really stupid people who own their own homes. I met a lot of them when I worked for the disaster recovery company. I bet MadDog met even more of them working for the insurance company.

“The slightest penetration completes the crime of rape”... Oh, god, that was simply too graphic coming from his mouth...

You know, the most useful part of this is discovering that apparently I did learn something in law school after all (Who knew!), not so much the substantive material he’s covering.

“You don’t have any fear of lack of knowledge on the bar exam” AS IF. I am terrified of lack of knowledge on the bar exam. I mean, we’re talking waking up in a sweat in the middle of the night afraid that I’ll get there and find out that everything I’ve spent close to $100,000 and three years of my life to learn has mysteriously evaporated from my head and I’ll be sitting there, writing “He was a bad man. He shot someone. You shouldn’t shoot people. We put people in jail for shooting other people.”

You went to Yale and you still don’t know that THERE’S NO “R” IN WASHINGTON? And what, pray tell, does the fact that you went to Yale have to do with any part of this little story, other than to boast about how very very awesome you are?


Thursday, February 09, 2006

But For The Grace of God

The law school plays host to a handful of homeless men most days, especially once it gets cold. I don’t particularly have a problem with that. They come in to get warm, to use the restroom, maybe to clean up a little. Sometimes they use the computers to surf the internet, or read the newspapers, or just rest and talk to the librarians and the library assistants. They stay to themselves for the most part. I’ve never heard of any student every being bothered by any of them in any way, not even the most minor harassment. Sometimes someone will buy them a cup of coffee or give them some food. When the various groups hold get togethers that involve food, they leave whatever doesn’t get eaten sitting out and you often see these men come in after everyone is gone to get a bottle of water and eat whatever delicacies the students and faculty left untouched.

I’ve never once felt the urge to scream “Get a job!” at one of these men, but I feel it deep in my bones almost every time I pass the corner by the Sushi restaurant and the skinny guy with the beard jumps in front of me, shaking his cup, yelling “Hey lady, can’t you spare a little change?”.

But in the past few weeks I’ve had two somewhat more unsettling experiences with panhandlers. In the first instance, I had driven to school and parked my car down the street a short distance. As I was plugging the meter, one of the panhandlers who usually hangs out in front of an abandoned restaurant rushed toward me (which set off my inner alarm to begin with) and started in with his spiel, peppering it liberally with the word “baby”, as though he was somehow going to appeal to me via his radient sexuality or something. He came toward me so fast and got so close that I was essentially trapped between him and my car, which really made my inner alarm scream. So I said “Excuse me” and stepped around him. I didn’t really want to turn my back to him, but I wasn’t sure how else to get out of the situation, so I started walking as fast as I could and he screamed after me, something I couldn’t quite understand, but that clearly carried the message “HOW DARE YOU DENY ME!”. I was so focused on getting out of the situation that it didn’t quite occur to me until I was in the middle of the meeting I’d come in for that I’d just left a very angry panhandler standing next to my car. Now, my car is nothing special, but it’s mine and I depend on it. As soon as the meeting was over, I went to move my car and there he was, leaning up against it. My heart sank. He stood up as I approached and started telling me how he’d “taken care” of my car, “keeping it safe” for me while I was gone and now I owed him. At that point, I went from scared to pissed off. I opened my car door, shut it and locked it and pulled away with the guy still yelling from the sidewalk to tell the world what a bitch I am. In the second instance, I went to a fast food restaurant to pick up food. As I was standing in line, I watched a man approach the person whose order was just being taken. He stood patiently to the side until the cashier rang up the order and handed the customer his change. As the cashier turned away to bag the customer’s order, the first man stepped forward and asked for some of the money the guy was in the process of putting back in his wallet. Clearly intimidated, he handed the panhandler a couple of bills. The panhandler stepped oh-so-slightly to the side—conveniently out of view of the counter help—and waited. The guy who’d just been shaken down didn’t say anything to the woman who brought him his food, whether because he didn’t mind being waylaid while getting dinner or because he was too afraid of a potential confrontation with a man who was visibly tweaked out, I couldn’t say. I stepped out of line and approached another employee, who rolled her eyes, but asked the guy to leave. He stayed for a few minutes longer, as if to prove that no one couldn’t tell him nothing, then wandered away.

I still feel somewhat conflicted, philosophically speaking. I understand that drug addiction and mental illness and homelessness and the inability to hold a steady job are a great big, vicious web and that the people who get caught up in it are victims, whether of their illness or of their own bad choices. There are no easy answers and telling a man who feels like he’s dying for his next fix not to take whatever means are available to him to get the resources to obtain that fix is useless. But at the same time, people should be able to go about their business without feeling like they have to run a gauntlet of aggressive beggars in the process. I never, ever give money to panhandlers and it makes me feel vaguely guilty, because although I’ve always had a very tight budget, I’ve always had enough to eat and a warm place to sleep. Over the years, I’ve also managed to accumulate some nice things, even if they aren’t fancy or designer or antique. Why not share with someone who’s obviously down on their luck?

I get so angry when I hear people argue against welfare or in favor of the cap on social security tax with arguments that boil down to “Well, if you’re poor, it’s your own fault, why should I have to bail you out?”, yet here I am, feeling resentment of people for daring to be poor and/or addicted to drugs or alcohol and inconveniencing me. Why is it that I have no problem with the government taxing the wealthy to aid the poor, but I take exception to the individual who dares to ask for aid?

There’s a certain predatory aspect of panhandling that just doesn’t sit right with me and, for me, negates the sympathy I might have had for someone less fortunate. I think the fact that many of these panhandlers are able bodied plays into it as well, though I am, of course, aware that mental illness plays a large role in homelessness. And the fact that I was physically attacked by a panhandler who I politely turned down certainly hasn't given me any reason to doubt that gut feeling.

Here are a few links exploring the issue of panhandling:

The Homeless Guy Blog had some thoughts on this subject back in 2002.

A study on panhandler earning and spending patterns published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and a critique of the study.

There are several versions of local news “Investigative Reporter” stories about panhandlers, for what they’re worth. Frankly, I find this kind of reporting to be far too superficial and glib, but taken with a grain – well, a whole mountain, really—of salt, they offer some anecdotal writing on the topic.

I started this entry early this morning. Since then, I also read
this blog entry
via a link on European’s blog and I must admit that it really tugged at my conscience. Although I am no longer particularly religious, my own morality is heavily influenced by Christian ideals. You’ll please note that I did NOT day that my morality is influenced by a Christian church—the disparity between the message of love and forgiveness I see in the Bible and the message of hatred and intolerance and petty attention to ritual over true attention to the betterment of ourselves and our relationship with God and man that I see in church today is the major reason I’ve stopped attending church, despite being raised in an evangelical Christian home. One of the things that I feel is particularly important in life is the Golden Rule, heavily influenced by the words of Jesus when he said “Whatever you do to the least of these...” (This is part of the reason why I’ve come to believe that it’s perfectly okay to expect the wealthy to pay more taxes and to support the poor. From each according to his means, to each according to his need, and all that.) But I must admit that it’s HARD to live your life that way and so very easy to think “Hey, I’ve worked damned hard to get what little I have; why should I share it with someone who can’t be arsed to get a job?”. I’m re-reading The Grapes of Wrath right now and feeling all self-righteous, reading about the terrible treatment of migrant workers fleeing the Dust Bowl. Am I any better if I harbor this resentment toward the panhandler on the street?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Remedial Potty Training

Four stalls in the ladies’ room of a building frequented almost exclusively by adults with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. One with an unflushed toilet full of excrement. One with no toilet paper. One with urine splashed all over the seat. Why is this concept so difficult for people to understand?


Monday, February 06, 2006

Random Thoughts

What in the hell is wrong with people who think that burning couches and destroying other people’s property is an appropriate response to joy and/or sorrow over the performance of a beloved sports team?

And while we’re on the topic of the Super Bowl: what on earth was that commercial with the well-endowed woman whose tank top strap breaks (presumably from the weight of her “large tracts of land”)? It was for some sort of website, which I’ve now forgotten—and frankly, I’d be a little frightened of pulling it up. Are they advertising internet porn during the Super Bowl now?

Speaking of commercials, the local cable network has started airing a “community service announcement” (which I guess is what they’re calling the old PSA now) that features the voice of a young woman who talks in a fast, valley-girl cadence about how she discovered that these kids were getting sick because someone was polluting the water, so she wrote to the president of the company, but he ignored her, so she lobbied her elected representatives, and got the plant shut down, but now those kids don’t get enough to eat because their parents lost their jobs when the plant shut down...(I’m paraphrasing here, but not exaggerating) The tagline is “Saving the world is hard. Saving a life is easy.” Then the contact information for the local blood bank flashes on screen. The subtext I hear is “If there’s not a simple, black and white answer, it’s not worth dealing with it, so you should just do something that doesn’t require much thought or effort on your part.”

Apropos of blood drives, the Student Bar Association sponsored yet another blood drive today. This is not a problem in and of itself—giving blood is important and it’s nice that students have the opportunity to give back to the community. BUT. The people running the blood drive, in a word, suck. They set up in the student lounge area—a.k.a. the place where we eat—and take over at least a third of the space. The lounge tends to get very crowded around midday, especially in the winter when it’s too cold to sit outside. I’ve never actually seen the cots filled or a line of people waiting. In fact, in my experience there are usually only two or three people donating at a time. Therefore, they could easily condense operations a bit. But that’s only a very minor irritation. More irritating is the fact that they’re performing a medical procedure in an area where people are eating. It’s gross. And it’s not as though they screen the area off. Sure, they throw up a handful of small screens, but they do absolutely nothing to actually block the view of the people lying in the cots and the bags of blood being collected. I feel like a big Scrooge, complaining about a blood drive, but really, there’s no reason why it has to be run the way it is. There are several places where the donors could give blood in privacy.

Speaking of the student lounge, we started painting the windows for the public interest auction. The theme this year is “Nightclub” and part of the design for the windows involves a gigantic disco ball hanging over a Saturday Night Fever-esque dance floor. We are puzzling over how to make it sparkly. I bought a couple of cans of glitter hairspray on the theory that it’s glittery AND water soluble. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly sparkly enough. Now I’m not sure exactly what to do, though I think we might try watered down Elmer’s glue mixed with glitter and brushed onto the window. Ash came along to help, which was very generous of him, considering that he’ s not only not a member of the public interest society, but also has a great deal of time pressure right now, thanks to the looming deadline for his Moot Court brief. He designed and put up a really great looking dance floor, despite the fact that we had none of the tools he requested and all we could offer him was some masking tape and curling ribbon to mark out the proper angles. It was nearly McGyver quality improvisation.

Speaking of Ash, we saw The 40 Year Old Virgin this weekend. It was really quite funny and I’ve come to the decision that Paul Rudd is sooo in my harem. The much previewed waxing scene is far funnier than I thought it would be, especially knowing that they were really waxing him. The guys hanging out in the background are hysterical, trying not to laugh and the girl who’s doing the actual waxing is about to lose it. The only missed note, for me, was the clichéd ending scene, OH BUT WAIT, no! The closing sequence more than made up for THAT and, to be honest, was what put Paul Rudd over the top for inclusion in the harem.


Friday, February 03, 2006


I imagine there will be a lot of indian food on the menu chez moi over the next few weeks,as I start the preparations for the Bollywood bash. Anyone have any suggestions for tasty, yet cheap recipes for indian food that can be adapted to serve large-ish numbers of people?



So, ages and ages ago, when I lived in Munich while doing thesis research, I signed up for the Oktoberfest newsletter. Originally, it was so I could get information before going to Oktoberfest (and boy, could I tell stories about that), and I stayed on the mailing list after I came home because it's kind of nice to get a little taste of one of the places I consider "home" in my inbox every so often.

Recently, I got a newsletter that included a link to the "Wiesn Shop", where I promptly fell in love with this umbrella and this adorable rubber duckie. I debated about the purchase for a day or two, and then I decided that I could give them to myself as a birthday present (or, really, they'd be a birthday present from my parents, who usually just send me money now that I don't live within a short drive of them) and went online to order them. I was pleased to find that they do, in fact, ship to the United States... but not so pleased to learn that the shipping costs are almost 40 Euro. I don't love these items that much.

Besides, maybe I'll get my dream job, relocate to Munich and not have to take any bar exam anywhere, and I can just pop on over to the Wiesn to pick them up myself.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

When I'm Sixty-Six

“They have big computers that keep track of your income and your FICA taxes, and it projects out your potential benefits. Every year or two you get a statement from the federal government that tells you how much you’ll get. That’s why I show up here every year.”

This lesson is depressing me because I don’t know how I’m supposed to live on the salary I’m likely to earn... forget about saving for retirement. All I can say is you young whippersnappers better work harder, because I’m going to need a LOT of Social Security when I get old.

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Geography 101

Watching the Weather Channel this morning, waiting for Local on the 8s so that I could decide what to wear, I wasn’t paying much attention to the inane patter between the anchors until the ditzy looking blonde announced “Oslo is a great country, but I’ve been to Helsinki and I think it’s even better there.”

Oh, dear Lord. You should have seen the look on her co-anchor’s face.