Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Things I was thinking while getting the dishes done

I wish James Fenimore Cooper was alive so I could sue him for writing painfully boring books with really exciting titles.

If any boy wants to be able to date my daughter, he's going to have to be able to explain the chemical process of water boiling.

Whenever I see Dan Brown, either in interviews or photos, he always strikes me as a conceited, self-absorbed know-it-all who's not as clever as he thinks. (I could be completely wrong here, and I confess that my perception of him stems in part from reading the DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons.)

I'm going to make Cucumber Kimchi next week - I hope it turns out well. (Note: the Korean word for Cucumber is Owi [oh we]).

If there's a snack better than popcorn, I don't want to know what it is.

If you don't want to hear the answer, don't ask the question

A Le Moyne college/Zogby poll has come out, and the responses are interesting, to say the least.

In the poll, which surveyed American troops serving in Iraq, 72% of respondents replied that they think the U.S. should leave Iraq within the next year, and nearly 1 in 4 say they should leave immediately.

29% said they should leave "immediately"
22% said they should leave in the next six months
21% said the troops should be out between 6 and 12 months
23% said they should stay "as long as they are needed"

89% of reserves and 82% of the National Guard said the US should leave within 1 year, while only 58% of Marines felt the same way. Marines are typically the most gung-ho, and I think it's interesting that over half of them support withdrawal within the next year.

When asked about why some Americans in the states favor a rapid withdrawal (which I don't):
37% of treeps overseas said those Americans were unpatriotic
20% said those Americans didn't believe continued occupation would work.
16% - they oppose the use of the military in a pre-emptive war
15% - they don't understand the need for the US troops in Iraq.

Only 58% of those polled said that the US mission in Iraq is very clear in their minds.

On the object of the mission:
85% said it was to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks
77% said they also believe the war was to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.
93% said that removing WMD is NOT a reason for being there
68% said the real reason was to remove Saddam Hussein
24% said that Establishing a democracy that can be the model for the Arab World was the main reason
11% said we were there for oil and 6% said to provide long-term bases for troops in the region.

74% of the troops wee on their second or greater tour in Iraq, 26% were there for the first time.

There is plenty more in the article; it's worth looking at.

I think the scariest things in there are the high number of respondents who believe this is retaliation for 9-11 and the low majority percentage of respondents who said that our reason for being there were clear.

Perhaps it's better to follow the teachings of the Charge of the Light Brigade when you're active duty and not reason why.

Hasta la Vista, Cheney?

According to this article from Insight Magazine, "Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to retire within a year."

The article cites senior officials who say that the VP "would be persuaded to step down as he becomes an increasing political liability to President Bush."

There are a lot of issues cited in the article, and I encourage you to read the article to get an idea of what is going around the scuttlebutt on the upper echelons.

I think it bears noting that the article is very definitive in its statement - he's expected to retire. This isn't a "sources say something might happen sometime in the future maybe," article. The fact that they cite "senior officials" also indicates that there might be more here than mere speculation.

Of course, much like Oscar predictions, only time will tell whether the insiders are right.

Monday, February 27, 2006

And the winner is...

Parade Magazine came out with its list of the ten worst dictators in the world last month. I'm a little behind the times on reporting this because I wasn't aware it (the list, not the magazine) even existed until today.

According to the magazine, "[The] present list draws in part on reports by global human-rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International."

While I can's say that I completely disagree with al-Bashir as their number 1 pick, I think if more people were aware of what a day in North Korea was like, they'd surely bump the Chonger (Kim Chong-Il) up that one extra slot. Notably, there is an absence of one Cuban leader from the list, as well as Qaddafi. Still, the rest of the list is a veritable who's who of the adage regarding absolute power.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

488 A.2d 858 (Del. 1985)

Smith v. Van Gorkum. Instead of reading this case, which my professor assures us is one of the two most important Corporations cases (and thus, painfully hard reading without the fear of recitation looming over your head like Damocles' Sword), I decided to do a post.

Every now and then, I'll take part in a political conversation, or I'll read a post by someone (any random person, nobody in particular), and the person will say or write something that strikes me as fundamentally wrong. What they'll say is something to the effect of, "Well, I'm a Democrat/Republican, so I believe XX." I really hope that the person (For ease of typing, I'll say "he") doesn't mean that the way it came out, because it sounds like he is so desperate to belong that he's willing to give up independent thought simply to be able to say he belongs. That might have been somewhat tolerable in high school, where your world is a fishbowl, but the point of high school is to help you learn how to think, or, in these days of no child left behind, how to mark A, B, C, D, or E in the right order.

One of the reasons why I refuse to align with any party is that I don't think that any party has it completely right. There are failures on each side. As such, I won't joing a party line simply because it's mentally efficient. Another reason I don't join is because I enjoy being able to pick on both major parties equally, and the Libertarians on a much lower proportion.

Anyway, I don't think there's anything wrong with letting you morals determine your politics; indeed that should guide your way. However, I can't accept anyone arguing that they let their politics determine his morals. Efficient or not, it sacrifices individual integrity.

We support higher learning... just not THAT

DePaul University in Chicago has recently announced that it is going to offer a minor in "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer" studies. Not surprisingly, many Catholics don't like this, and are calling for its abolishment. The program director disagrees, and notes that many of the classes in the program already were being taught at the school. He's also considering adding a class that would address the Church's stance on homosexuality.

De Paul is a Catholic school, however, it's not a mouthpiece for the Catholic Church. Teaching classes on gay studies is not an acceptance of homosexuality by the Church. I personally think, that as an institution for expanding knowledge, a subject such as this would be a good idea, which is essentially what the program's director, Professor Cestaro asserts.

I really can't think of any strong arguments against the curriculum. I can't imagine people would believe that teaching about gay studies would make people gay - that can't be a serious concern anymore. I mean, I majored in Korean studies in undergrad, and when I finished, I didn't decide I wanted to be Korean.

I think it's a good idea.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I'm afraid to see the search hits this might get

A store clerk called police in Pittsburgh on Thursday reporting that a man and woman had asked her to microwave what appeared to be a severed penis wrapped in a towel.

Apparently, the man and woman entered a convenience store and asked the clerk for some paper towels. They then wrapped the towels around an item and asked the clerk to nuke it for 20 seconds. When the clerk handed the item back she saw through the towel what appeared to be a phallus.

The woman who was with the man called police on Friday to offer up her side of the story. According to her, the item in question was actually a prosthetic, filled with the man's urine, that she was going to use for a drug test that was required for a job she was applying for. no word on why she decided to hold the urine in a fake penis, or where she was applying for employment.

Man, I'm glad to be done with retail.

The daughter says:

cat dog cow horse

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bills of Attainder

According to my Black's Law Dictionary, abridged seventh edition, a bill of attainder is (2.) a special legslative act prescribing punishment, without a trial, for a specific person or group. Additioally, it notes that Art. 1, section 9, cl. 3 and art. 1, section 10, cl. 1 of the Constitution prohibit bills of attainder.

Why do I mention this? Because that what legislation in MD sort of sounds like to me. The story:

Maryland recently passed a "Fair Share Health Care Fund Act," which states that employers who employ more than 10,000 people in the state must spend at least 8% of their payroll on health care. If they spend less, then they must pay the difference to a state medical assistance fund.

Currently there are four employers in Maryland who fit that description, and one of them has filed suit challenging the law. The lawyers for Wal Mart (Wal Mart not wanting to pay for medical insurance?! The hell you say!) claim that this law is unfair as it only applies to them (not mentioning the other three employers), and that it is squarely violative of ERISA, a federal law that is supposed to create uniform health care standards.

Maryland insists that they are not forcing Wal Mart to increase their health care load. They point out that Wal Mart has a choice, and that they have an option against paying increased health insurance. The article states that many legal scholars think the law won't stand.

I'm on the fence here with how I would like this to turn out. On the one hand, I can see the importance of uniform standards, and I don't like the idea of targeting businesses just because they're big. On the other hand, it's Wal Mart. Wal Mart's health care plan has a reputation for being really poor. One man in an interview pointed out that in order to pay for health care, he would have to part with $200 of his $1200 a month paycheck. In order to make ends meet, many of the employees opt against company health insurance and choose instead to go to free clinics and ERs. This increases the burden on the hospitals and drains resources from the state that need to be replenished somehow, lest the health care system crash.

I suppose if I were pressed to take a position, I would say that I support Maryland's law, though it is a difficult choice for me. I will keep my eye on this.

Those invading circles best watch out

Today, after school, my friend and I went out to a shooting range. It was the first time in a few years that I'd picked up a gun, and his first time ever. I rather enjoyed getting out there again, shooting at little circles 10, 20, 30 feet away.

I'm glad my friend decided to try it out. It was nice to get to refresh my memory on the mechanics and safety of the whole thing by teaching and showing him.

I don't expect I'll be buying a gun again anytime soon; I prefer to keep them out of the house where I have curious children. Still, I think I might start going to the range slightly more often, at least, what I can handle in my budget. It's a good stress relief.

Friday Essay Question

Your Essay Question is as follows:

Is President Bush an example of the Peter Principle as applied to world politics?

Remember to support your answer. Grades will be arbitrary and capricious. I'm looking for the best answer, not the right answer.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The only bad question

Is one that goes unasked. At least, that's what I was told in junior high and high school.

Yet I avoided asking questions, because I was afraid of asking the dumb one. So if I didn't get something, I just let it simmer and either come to me on its own or wait until I forgot all about the item, whichever came first. Usually it was the latter. On the rare occasions that I did muster the courage to ask a question about a concept I didn't understand, I'd get a look from the teacher like I was the biggest idiot ever to walk erect and a dismissive explanation that used the same words in a slightly different order. So I continued to shut up and color.

This habit has continued with me through my adult life, and I'm still never comfortable asking questions, which is usually to my detriment, especially as a law student. I am a bit better, though, than I was in the old days.

Now, about the statement that there's no such thing as a bad question. I can assure you that is not the case. I taught for a few years and have heard many different questions. Most of them were quite good. Even the questions that weren't on point but the student was actually trying to learn something were all right. However, I encountered my fair share of dumb questions. Here's how I define a dumb question:
A question asked not for the acquisition of knowledge, but rather as a means of procrastinating or being difficult.

These questions are usually asked by people who contain a certain degree of smug and inflated sense of self-worth. The person often feels put off by the fact that his time is being wasted learning this stuff that he signed up to learn. I hated those questions, and have vowed never to become "that person."

So anyway, moral of the story - there is such a thing as a dumb question.

The hat is in the ring

The South Dakota Senate approved a bill that would make most abortions in the state illegal. It would call for a felony conviction and a 5 year prison sentence for doctors (or others) who perform abortions.

"(State Senator Julie) Bartling and other supporters ntoed that the recent appointment of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito make the Supreme Court more likely to consider overturning Roe v. Wade. President Bush ... might also have a chance to appoint a third justice in the next few years, they said."

The addition of two justices to support the voiced opposition to RvW of Justices Alito and Thomas. I'm no math major, but I see only four on the potential overturn side. And even then, there's no guarantee on how Justices Roberts or Alito will rule. This is an interesting gamble on the part of South Dakota. The state is betting that the litigation that will certainly ensue will wait until President Bush (maybe) can nominate a new justice to come up for review.

It will be an interesting show, no matter how it goes. I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

Random Trivia

The FDA has never approved aspirin, because nobody is sure how it works. It's never rejected it, either.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Free Speech in Public Schools

The First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech. That seems to be well established. However, people continually have problems determining what exactly is free speech? What is protected?

I think most people can agree that not all speech should be protected by the First Amendment. I'll ask a question regarding its application at public schools.

As best as I can figure it, there seems to be a limit to protecting free speech at schools to public statements about public affairs. For example, if you speak out against a proposed levy for the school board because of certain disagreements with it, that would likely be protected. However, explaining how the principal is a sumbitch for taking out a picture of her in the yearbook because she disliked it likely would not be protected, and would probably get you suspended.

I pose the following question: at what point, if any, should there be a limit on free speech by students and faculty at public schools? If you could draw the line, where would you draw it?

I look forward to your replies.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

"I'd love a cookie"
From Lord of the Beans is my
Children's new fave quote.

I'm looking forward to your contributions. The above line is in a Veggie Tales DVD they got for Christmas, which they adore.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Back in 1999, after the UN demurred, NATO, under pressure from the United States attacked Serbia on behalf of the Kosovar Albanians. You see, Kosovo is in Serbia, and the Serbs consider it the birthplace of their nation. The Kosovars have lived there for quite a while, but control of the region lay with the Serbs. The Kosovar Albanians decided they wanted more of an identity. "We'll CALL ourselves part of Serbia," they said, "but we will have our own money, our own languages, our own language, and we won't pay national taxes." Surprisingly, Serbia didn't like that. Long story short, we invaded to protect the Albanians, and we (the U.S. and NATO) insisted that an independent Kosovo was not a consideration.

Now, Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo are in negotiations to determine what the future status of Kosovo should be. Perhaps not surprisingly, things aren't going completely swimmingly. One of the primary issues? Kosovar Albanians want independence. How surprising. Serbia doesn't want to give up control of part of their country. The "Contact group" of nations overseeing the discussions, which include US, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Russia, insist that any agreement must be acceptable to the Albanians in Kosovo.

What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if it was the US who was trying to keep a minority from declaring independence from our country's birthplace, Massachussetts, or Virginia, for example? Say, a Native American tribe who was subjugated or forced from their lands under threat of force or inequitable bargaining position... Have we established a precedent where we would allow that to happen? Or is this an example of international hypocrisy?

The problem started by allowing Kosovo to have too much lattitude in its provincial affairs, creating a quasi-independent state in a region that has had millenia of turmoil.

I don't know what the solution is, but I think some preventative maintenance back in 1999 might have been a good start.

The ID problem

Only 5 weeks into the semester and I've actually started researching my paper for Education Law. As I mentioned before, I'm to write on Intelligent Design - the history of religious instruction in schools, the evolution (get it?) of ID, the current status of ID in the US and in Texas, and then attempt to draft an ID program that could pass Constitutional muster.

I started my research by looking up the recent decision Kitzmiller v. Dover Area Sch. Dist., 400 F. Supp. 2d 707. It's an 82 page ruling that goes into the history of ID. The ruling in the case was much deeper than the quick conclusion we all heard on the news a short time ago. The conclusion essentially said that it was "obvious" to everyone that ID was simply creationism in disguise. It didn't go into any explanation of the source of the court's conclusion.

The current incarnation of ID stems ultimately from Thomas Aquinas, who syllogized: Wherever complex design exists, there must have been a designer; nature is complex; therefore nature must have had an intelligent designer. Both experts for both the plaintiff and the defendant proffered essentially the same argument, except the defense used the term "purposeful arrangement of parts."

There's much more history, including the "Monkey trial," Edwards, Effington, and the Lemon test. It's a very good, but long, decision that does a good job explaining one of the fundamental problems with ID. It'll be interesting to see if ID can be introduced as a curriculum on its own. I'm looking forward to writing this paper.

It's like having a kidney ripped out

About 10 years ago, the Air Force retired the last of its F-111 Fighters. We had the pleasure of watching an interview with one of the crew chiefs of the F-111s at the time. He provided the header quote to describe how he felt about losing the plane he'd worked on for 11 years.

I thought the quote apt for how I felt without my laptop. Fortunately, I got my computer back yesterday, all new and fixed.

I must say, I think I may just keep taking notes by hand. I seem to pay slightly more attention when I'm handwriting vice typing. It's too easy to go into gist mode and simply write down what goes into my ears and not think about what I'm doing. Perhaps it will serve me better in the long run, who knows?

It's good to be back to normal.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ringy Ringy

Today, as I was going to my car after class, I saw a homeless man. He was leaning up on the fence that surrounds the student parking lot, his bag hanging from one of the bars. That in and of itself is less interesting as the fact that this homeless man was talking on a cell phone.

Now I know that they make all sorts of inexpensive deals on cell phone plans these days, and just about everyone has one. Yet, I couldn't help but wonder, who this man had to talk to that was so important he needed to carry a cell phone?

We truly are a wired world, aren't we?

Saengil Chukha hamnida!

Just a friendly reminder to with a happy birthday to the Great Leader, Comrade Kim Il Sung!


I quit smoking over 2 years ago, just after we moved to Houston. I did it mostly because it was boring to go out and smoke by yourself, though the health reason was a bit of a factor, as well.

For the last several years, there have been a steady stream of commercials from an anti-smoking site that uses scare tactics and abrasiveness to try to get people to quit smoking. I'm sure most of you have seen the ones of which I speak. The overarching purpose of the commercials is to try to convince people through shame, fear, or whatever, to quit smoking.

I have a hunch, and this is my conspiracy theory mind going to work here, that this website doesn't really want people to quit smoking. I think the commercials are as abrasive as they are to encourage people not to quit smoking. I think it's classic reverse psychology. Why would an anti-smoking organization want people to keep smoking? So that they can continue to get funding from the various lawsuits and settlements that the tobacco companies have to pay to smokers. If people stopped smoking, then these guys would be out of jobs, and would have to actually work, instead of point fingers and sound condescending. It's a cycle.

Note: I don't actually believe this to be true, but I think it would be funny if it was.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

To Dream the Impossible Dream

Don Quixote is a tremendous story, and quite compelling. The movie version of the musical isn't the best (they refer to the author as Mig-well de Cerv-ant-ese), but Sophia Loren and James Coco do their parts well. It's hard not to be motivated by this story, at least for me. If you get the chance, read the book, unless you find the book is too wordy, in which case, watch the musical, it's worth it.

Random Trivia

Due to different measuring systems, a pound of feathers (16 oz.) actually weight more than a pound of gold (12 oz.).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The importance of a higher education

My children are fans of PBS. In the afternoons on days they don't have school, they watch Zoom, Maya and Miguel, and Cyberchase.

I dig Cyberchase. It's a math and reasoning cartoon with Gilbert Gottfried (not his typical hyperannoying self) as a sidekick and Christopher Lloyd as the bad guy's voice. The show is one of the most refreshing child programs to come out in the last several years, and I'm glad my kids like it.

Guilty moment - this afternoon, before I went to pick up the kids, I turned on the TV and Cyberchase was on. I could have changed it, watched the Olympics, or news, or whatever, or even just turn it off. But I didn't. I watched Cyberchase, a show aimed at elementary school aged kids. And I enjoyed it. The writing is pretty clever for PBS kids shows, and the characters are engaging. Also, it's kind of nice to know the answers before the characters every now and then ;-).

Anyway, if you have young'uns, I would recommend this show. And if you're bored in the afternoons with nothing to do, I recommend it as well.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Cheney shot someone
'Twas an accident, both say
Why is it still news?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Olympic Spirit

In my last post, I commented about what I viewed to be a lack of Olympic Spirit by an American Medal winner. I'd like to contrast that with the following.

U.S. Speed Skater and gold medalist Joey Cheeks, in an interview after the medal ceremony told reporters that he intends to donate the entirety of the $25,000 the USOC is giving him to relief efforts in Darfur. I am having some computer problems, so I can't link the article, but it's on ESPN.com. He said, in effect, that the best way to give thanks for what you've been given is to give to others.

This, in my opinion, represents the Olympic Spirit, a person who does his best for himself and his country, and uses what he has to help others in the world. Joey Cheeks set an example to follow. Kudos to him.

National Pride

I remember watching the Olympics when I was a child, seeing the medal winners on the podium, swelling with pride, with the knowledge that they not only represented their country, they performed better than everyone else in the world. I remember seeing the men and women fighting back tears, or letting them run freely in many cases, as they sang their national anthem, a testament to the country they love.

The other day, when I was watching the men's halfpipe, I saw the American guy win the gold, which is great. I saw him standing on the podium after he got his medal, when they raised the flags and played the national anthem. I saw a grin as big as could be. I saw the man trying to shed a tear, probably because he thought that's what you're supposed to do. I saw a visual representation of "Dude, I rock!" I did not see a man welling with pride at representing his nation in international competition. I did not see him try to sing the national anthem.

In short, I saw a guy who won a contest and is preparing for the next one.

I think that for the majority of people at the olympics, the international competition and the fact that you represent the best your nation has to offer, and that you're doing the best you can is what runs the show. What annoys me are the people like the man I mentioned above, who do'nt seem to get the point of the olympics.

Maybe I'm just an idealist, a purist, but would it be that difficult for the guy to learn the national anthem of the nation he represents?

In a similar vein, I'd like to see the papers, when they do the medal counts, not just count the medals, but name the medal winners. Show them that they mean more to their country than just a number on the sports page. They worked their tails off to do better than everyone else in the world, that deserves more recognition than "that's our 12th medal of the olympics, and the 5th Silver."

Monday, February 13, 2006

The answers

In pro res, the answer is "it depends."

In Corporations, the answer is "To enhance shareholder value"

In Wills, trusts, and estates, the answer is "To avoid this problem, draft a will."

In Agency and Partnership, you have to reason for a solution.

Guess which is my favorite?

Nine Things I'll Never Be

Since Particleman and Heatherfeather are playing, and I like inclusion with the cool kids, I've decided to take it upon myself to write my own list. So there. And, since I'm a rebel, I won't pass it on ad infinitum, rather, I'll let whoever wants to do one do one.

1. Latvian
2. Able to play any instrument that requires use of more than one hand to play notes/chords
3. A democrat
4. A republican
5. A goalie for the Detroit Red Wings
6. Able to get this thing out of my teeth.
7. An ambulance chaser
8. A fan of Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, or any of their numerous clones
9. A Supreme Court Justice

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The old days

At this point 10 years ago, I was in my second month at DLI, where I was studying Korean as best I could. As much as I love my liberty, my ability to come and go as I please, I must say there was a certain comfort aspect in having your entire day dictated to you. You were free to focus all your effort on one or two things and didn't have to worry about much decision-making. It was nice.

I don't think I could ever do it again, though. Once was enough.

Perhaps I'm a little quirky

When I eat Crunch Berries, I usually eat the crunches first, and save the berries for last. I also save the marshmallows for last when I eat Lucky Charms.

Whenever I sit in a restaurant, I have to sit so that I face the greatest amount of space possible.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Daughter goes to lawschool

Because I'm currently sans laptop, I had to come in to school on Wednesday to print off a couple cases for the next day. In order to ease the burden on my lovely wife, I brought the daughter with me. We get to the front door and I show the security guard my ID, he looks over the side of the table and says to daughter "where's your ID?"

Daughter smiles brightly, sticks her arms out, and shouts, "I'm [daughter]!"

She was very popular amongst my friends in class. She's a cutie.


Things are swerving back toward normalcy. The delivery guy picked up my computer with little griping - apparently he was only supposed to drop off the box, and then I was going to have to call back to set up a pickup time, though I convinced him to stay the extra 42 seconds it took me to put the computer in the box.

My new phone arrived yesterday, which means I'm no longer sans phone.

I did my education law orations yesterday, so I'm finished reciting for that class, just have the paper to go.

I only missed two classes today, out of four, so I'm not as far behind as I feared I'd be.

My son is learning how to play the "go" game (see previous post, which I won't link here because I'm lazy, where I point to a child and yell go, and they run around the living room giggling like hyenas and then return to me ad infinitum), though he can't say go, so he points to his brother and yells "D'oh!" It's cute.

We're having hamburger helper tonight, so PETA, if you're looking for a new cause to protest, our kitchen is fair game, but we might not have enough HH to serve all of you, so pack a bag dinner.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sneaky Sneaky

Last year, the President was adamant about privatizing Social Security, and the response from the country was, basically, "no thank you." This year, at the SOTU, the President commented on how "Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security." He also asked Congress to "join [him] in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby-boom retirements on Social Security in Medicare and Medicaid," and suggested that the commission would be bipartisan "and offer bipartisan solutions."

If that's the case, then why would the President, despite making no mention of privatized Social Security, would he surreptitously add it to his proposed federal budget?

Now, when I make a meal, and my kids choose to go to bed without eating because they don't like it, and my wife smiles as she tries to choke it down, I learn. I realize that my family doesn't want that meal, and I don't make it again. I certainly wouldn't make it for dinner again and serve it to them without telling them... ugh.

Random Trivia

Termites are not related to ants; they are members of the cockroach family.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

My singing Daughter
Can almost carry a tune
She's better than Britney!

The positive effects of education

I had to hook up my old desktop yesterday, the one that takes 20 minutes to boot up, so that I could at least do word processing while I was at home - Briefing by hand is not my thing.

After I got it up and running, I started browsing through some of my old notes from undergrad. One thing I've noticed is that my analytical skills have improved greatly, and my ability to convey my thoughts has increased tremendously. I look at some of the notes from the introduction to law for paralegals class that I took, and I can't believe that I actually turned them in for a grade - never mind that I got As and Bs on them.

to paraphrase the cigarette ad - "I've come a long way, baby"

Unfortunate Events

Yesterday wasn't the best of days.

First, my GI bill hasn't processed yet, so I'm broke.
Then, I spilled an ounce of water on my laptop, and fried the motherboard, which means I have to shell out a bunch of money to get it fixed.
Then, the delivery guys delivered the cell phones to replace my broken one, which were supposed to be delivered on Friday, but due to delays and deliveryman error, didn't come until yesterday - long story, won't bore you with details. We open the boxes only to learn that the boxes have already been opened, we presume by people at the delivery company, and the cell phones removed. So we were delivered boxes that contained literature about our phone, the earpiece, and a battery charger, but no phone. Fortunately, we called the delivery people, who assured us that they will send someone out today to inspect the boxes to see whether they were indeed tampered with. Yes. They're going to look at the boxes we opened to find out something was not in them, due to their being opened previously, to determine whether someone opened them. Gotta love those brilliant folks.

Anyway, now I'm sans phone and sans computer. I have no stereo in my car due to a faulty antenna, so all I have is a tape deck and two family law tapes that haven't died yet from overplay.

Calgon, take me away.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Early Riser

The littlest child woke up early this morning, around 3:30. He apparently decided it was time to watch Elmo, and since he can't reach the VCR, needed me to get up with him. After trying to convince him that it really was time for sleep, he got bored with the debate. He subtly told me it was time to get up. First, he grabbed my glasses off of the nightstand and handed them to me. Then he went to my dresser, pulled open the shirt drawer as far as he could, and then started trying to pull out a shirt for me, so that I could go downstairs with him. This is the same boy who decides it's time for me to get up and starts pulling my shoulder so that I sit up. The boy ain't slow, that's for sure.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I'm NOT Cliff

Even though Red Hot Mamma seems to think I am.

Anyway, in answer to her question, the 'bee's knees' is a term that found popular in 1920's America, the era of the flappers. During this time, numerous animal references became popular to mean cool, neat, or excellent. Some examples are the "elephant's adenoids" the "cat's meow," the "cat's pajamas" "bullfrog's beard" "monkey's eyebrows," etc.

Super Bowl Yesterday

Yesterday, my wonderful wife and I loaded up the kids and went out to Memorial Park to have a picnic lunch with Nuje and his family. It was nice. We made sandwiches, took the children for a walk in the woods, which was noteworthy mostly because the wife avoids nature as though it were the plague. Then, we let the kids fly kites for a while. There are few things more fun than watching children with kites. They think it's the bee's knees. After watching the kids run laps in the volleyball pit (gotta wear them out), it was time to head home and get ready for the game.

Oh yeah, there was a football game last night, the Steelers played the Seahawks in Motown. As far as games go, it was about a B-. The drama wasn't as teneble as in some games past, such as the Giants-Bills in 1991 or St. Louis-Tennessee in 2000. The Steelers won, and I'm happy, because Jerome Bettis, one of football's class acts, gets to go out with a win. I'm disappointed, because the Seahawks, my hometown team for 13 years, lost.

And I wasn't impressed with the commercials at all. What is up with Burger King? Perhaps they've had one too many whoppers and it's affecting their ability to come up with any kind of decent ad campaign. The "freaky King" has to go.

And was it really the best idea for Hummer to have two Japanese Monsters in a mock-up of Tokyo produce the new, American Made Hummer? That just strikes me as absolutely ridiculous.

Anyway, it was a pretty good day.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Something to ponder

How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

To get to the other side.

The Democratic Process at Work

In the wake of Kelo v. City of New London, many states have started re-thinking their eminent domain laws. The people of the states are asking for a change to policies, and many states are listening.

Recently, an activist group tried to pass a referendum taking Justice Souter's home in Weare NH, to build a hotel. The people of the city rejected that proposal.

Isn't it wonderful when things work the way they're supposed to? The law exists. Someone challenges the law. The law is upheld. The people determine they don't like the law as it's applied. They petition for a change to the law.

My Daughter Says:


What's the definition of Irony?

In England at one time, suicide was a crime punishable by death.

How time flies

One hundred years ago, on February 1, the Japanese government established the governor-general position in occupied Korea. This set up the imperial rule of Korea by Japan, a 40 year occupation that ended with Japanese surrender at the end of WWII and the division of Korea into two nations.

During that period of time, thousands of Koreans were forced into slave labor, women forced to work as "comfort women" for the Japanese military.

North Korea's Committee for Investigation into the Damage Done by the Japanese Imperialists During Their Occupation of Korea issued a statement last Thursday urging Japan to settle the issue. That in itself seems a reasonable request, though it doesn't elaborate on how Japan would make amends, and in fact, the statement says "the crimes of the Japanese imperialists, the long-time sworn enemy, can never be erased even after centuries." This tells me that, like so much in North Korea, this is little more than proselytizing rhetoric aimed and keeping the North Korean people angered at another people.

Strangely, the article makes no mention of the North Korean practice of kidnapping Japanese women and forcing them to train insurgents, as well as beating, raping, and forcing marriage on them. Strange how little things like that get lost.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Excitement Continues!

Sample of what we've been reading in class:

Art. 2.21 - Liability of Subscribers and Shareholders
A. A holder of shares, an owner of any any beneficial interest in shares, or a subscriber for shares whose subscription has been accepted, or any affiliate thereof or of the corporation, shall be under no obligation to the corporation or to its obligees with respect to: ...
(2) Any contractual obligation of the corporation or any matter relating to or arising from the obligation on the basis that the holder, owner, subscriber, or affiliate is or was the alter ego of the corporation, or on the basis of actual fraud or constructive fraud, a sham to pereptrate a fraud, or other similar theory, unless the obligee demonstrates that the holder, owner, subscriber, or affiliate caused the corporation to be used for the purpose of perpetrating and did perpetrate anactual fraud on the obligee primarily for the direct personal benefit of the holder, owner, subscriber, or affiliate, ...

Tell me you're not on the edge of your seat.

Love is a two count movement

When I first in-processed at the Defense Language Institute ten years ago, my MTM (Military Training Manager) briefed us on various aspects of being at the multiservice language training center.

One of the things he discussed was an interesting phenomenon at DLI - the marriage rate there. He nicknamed the base the Defense LOVE Institute, and explained that about 1/2 of every incoming flight of (single) students would get married before they left the Presidio. The language schools last from 6 months (Spanish) to 63 weeks for Russian, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic. Perhaps more interesting than that is the next bit of information - of those couples who get married at DLI, 90% are divorced before the end of their first enlistment. In my observations since that time, it appears he was pretty close to accurate, if not completely accurate.

I've often speculated as to why this is the case. My guess has something to do with the sudden change in circumstances for the individuals. Most enlistees are young, often 21 or under. They have just completed one of the most intense experiences of their lives and are in a position where they are living away from their families, often for the first time ever. They're on a base where they spend every day around the same groups of people. Their classes seem interminable - 63 weeks plus Exodus and Class Break and any casual time adds up quite a bit for young people. The airman, soldier, sailor, or Marine is looking for some semblance of stability, and they often decide that the person they're dating is that piece of stability they need, and convince themselves they're in love. The desparation to have that company is so strong that the people ignore the obvious differences and unpreparedness and charge headlong into a marriage that they're not ready for.

As for the divorces, there are a couple things there, I think. First, many of the people who fall in "love" don't pay attention to minor details such as: their relationship won't dictate where they're stationed. If you're a Korean linguist in the Air Force, the odds of your getting stationed with a Spanish Linguist Marine are about as good as my winning the Iditarod. This means that after your short time together, you're relegated to spending years apart, and unfortunately, absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder. Another thing to consider is that after these people get accustomed to their new lives as individuals in the military, they get tired of their new lives as married people, and want to return to single life. This could be because of a personal desire to enjoy the fruits of singlehood now that the stressors have been effectively dealt with. Alternatively, it could be that this married couple, who thought it would be so neat to be married, realize that they have nothing in common, and indeed don't care much for each other. They're no longer bound by the goggles of tunnel vision and desparation, and are able to see things perspectively. Hence the heightened divorce rate.

Therefore, it's not a surprise to me that the Army at the Presidio of Monterey (DLI) has elected to start a class in how to choose a spouse. If there's anyplace that can benefit from such a program, it's there.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Newspaper Demographics

My Corporations Professor passed out a printout of an e-mail he received a few years ago today. The e-mail is a rundown of who reads what newspapers. I post here, because I found it rather amusing:

Who reads what newspapers?

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country.
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country, but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie chart format.
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave LA to do it.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and they did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country, and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a coutnry or that anyone is running it; but whoever is, they oppose all that they stand for.
10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.
11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

Some of you may have read this before, but it was new to me, and thus humorous.

Flattery will get you...

I'm driving my son to class yesterday, when the following transaction takes place:
"Your hair looks like chocolate ice cream."
"Um, thanks."

I have no idea if he means the color or the shape, but, I assume he meant it in as nice a way as possible.

I did a bad, bad thing

As I was driving home from my education law class last night, I came upon a familiar situation: The light turned yellow in front of me, and I was going too fast to stop safely before getting to the intersection, but I couldn't get through the light before it turned red. I'm ashamed to say that I was - res gestae statement alert - SPEEDING! (pardon me while I blush shamefully).

Now, usually, when I come to a situation like this, I'll hit my brakes and stop as quickly as I can, though often I end up halfway over the line. This time, for whatever reason, I decided not to follow habit, and instead gassed up and sped through. My car managed to just get into the intersection before the light turned red, and I managed to get through without impeding traffic, so perhaps I can claim victory.

After I get through the intersection, I look in my rear-view to see whether the other traffic's started moving. When I look through, I notice, not six feet from my rear bumper, a large pickup truck that went through the light right behind me. As I was quickly thanking Him for compelling me to run the red light, I saw another large pickup truck merge from my lane into the other lane on the road. Yes, not one, but two tailgating pickup trucks ran a red light after I did. My Ford Escort and I are painfully thankful that I didn't decide to hit the brakes.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Random Trivia

In 1780, Edward Smith Stanley and his friend Sir Charles Burnbury, both horse breeders, founded a horse race in Epsom, England. The race was to be a one mile test of three year old thoroughbreds. They couldn't decide on what to name the race, and so the flipped a coin to determine who the race should be named after. Stanley won the coin flip, and the race was named after him, the 12th Earl of Derby.

It all depends on what the definition of "is" is.

I'm aware the politicians often preach what they think their crowds want to hear. I'm aware that many politicians on both sides of the fence say things that they don't necessarily mean (Such as "I invented the internet").

However, when the main talking point of your SOTU address - one that makes headlines across the world - turns out to be misinformation, then there is a problem.

From Knight Ridder:

One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports over there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that's where the
greatest oil supplies are. ...
When asked why the President used the words "the Middle East" when he didn't mean them, one official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that 'every American sitting out there understands.'
So, basically, what one can glean from this explanation is that the president, whose administration one might say has mild credibility problems, is telling us, "Listen to what I mean, not what I say." Perhaps what's more disturbing is how the correction comes quietly, and through secretaries and advisers, while the statement itself was broadcast from the nation's largest pulpit.

h/t The Moderate Voice

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Play-doh and Elmo
Two favorite toys at home
The kids like them, too.


I made the brilliant decision to sit in the cafeteria today (now) during lunch to reread for my afternoon classes. The group of students next to me were talking about what they wanted to name their basketball team (for a fundraiser here).

Noting that we're in law school, one of the students remarked that they should name the team for the degree they'll be getting, "We should call ourselves the JC's! Wait, what degree are we getting? An LLM?" One of her compatriots replied, "We're getting JD's."

That reminds me of the time my sister got behind the driver's seat right after she got her learner's permit, and, the SECOND time she drove, asked "which one is the gas pedal again?"