Saturday, September 30, 2006

The 4th Amendment

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing theplace to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

In criminal procedure, we've spent the bulk of the semester so far discussing the Fourth Amendment with respect to searches and seizures. This is a condensed and abridged version of some of what we've covered.

In order for the police to get a search warrant, the search, by definition, must be: 1. based on probable cause, 2. granted by a magistrate, 3. particularly descriptive, and 4. unreasonable.

If the police do a search without a warrant, that search must be subjectively reasonable to the people. Justice Scalia once noted that it's very interesting how what is reasonable to the public is always what is "reasonable" to the majority of the court.

When it comes to the conversations, there is a two prong test.
The first prong is whether the individual whose conversation is being listened in on by the police (local police are included through the 14th amendment incorporation of the first 8 amendments of the Bill of Rights) or other government entities enjoys a subjective "expectation of privacy."
The second prong is whether that expectation of privacy is objectively considered by the people to be "reasonable."
In other words, in the location where the person was, could/should he believe that his conversation was going to be private? It's not unreasonable to believe that a person's conversation would be reasonably considered to be private in his house. The same holds true in a telephone booth, if the door is closed, where you have done everything reasonably possible to shut the rest of the world out of your conversation (lip reading is possible, but not necessarily considered when detemrining whether the expectation is "reasonable"). However, a public park is never considered private, regardless of the circumstances, creating a bright line rule that is easy to understand.

Searches onto property may or may not be unreasonable, depending on the circumstances. If you've taken reasonable steps to shield your property from the outside, then you have a reasonable expectation of privacy up to that point. However, this is not absolute. If, for example, aircraft are allowed to fly low enough over your property to see into your yard, then it is not an unreasonable search for the government entity to fly a plane over your property to search (for example pot growing behind a 10 foot high fence). On larger pieces of property, your expectation of privacy does not extend all the way out to your fence. The police can enter your property and search up to the part of the property referred to as the "curtilage." This is the area immediately surrounding your house that would typically be treated more like the "home" area of a larger property; perhaps there's an interior fence, or something else that sends a signal to the rest of the populace that you consider this area more closely tied to your home. Police can search the property outside the curtilage without violating your 4th amendment rights, though you may have a 1983 action (civil rights violation) against the police for trespass to land.

Searches of persons and personal property. Typically, the police need a search warrant unless the search is subject to an exception. When the police have a warrant to arrest an individual, they can arrest the individual and then search him and the area immediately around him (the "grab area") where he might be able to find weapons that would cause the arresting agent harm. It's unclear how far this "grab area" extends, but it does seem to extend to rooms immediately adjacent to the room in which the suspect is arrested, including in closets and drawers. This is true even if the individual is handcuffed; the concept being that all suspects are blessed with the escapability of Houdini and the strength of Hercules. This same concept is what allows police to search a car after a suspect has vacated the car at the officer's direction and been secured. This is known as a Belton search, from New York v. Belton, the Supreme Court decision that allowed the searches. These searches are limited in scope, though, to the area immediately in the "grab area" of the suspect - which would be the cab, not the trunk.

Protective patdowns - the police, when they've stopped a suspect, may, do a brief protective patdown of the suspect to ensure the suspect is not carrying any weapons. We allow this as a general exception to the 4th amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches because we want to allow some protection for the police. During this time, they can pat down the individual for weapons, and may confiscate only items that are readily identifiable as contraband (for example a baggie that feels like it's holding pot is acceptable, but a TicTac box that, after you take it out of the suspect's pocket and open it to look inside contains heroin is not). If the person is being arrested, the Police may do a search incident to arrest, which would incorporate a more expansive search, such as the Belton search and home searches above.

I've not even gotten halfway through my notes and this is getting pretty long, so I'll save the rest of the description for some later time, if at all. For now, we'll look at the remedy.

The remedy for a search that is determined to be unreasonable is that the evidence gleaned from that search is inadmissible, as is any evidence discovered as a result of the illegal search (for example, an ill-gotten confession would be inadmissible, and if the confession stated where the murder weapon is, that weapon is inadmissible UNLESS the police can prove that said weapon WOULD HAVE BEEN FOUND within a short time of the actual discovery due to the confession - fruit from the poison tree doctrine).

Does the remedy of exclusion make any sense, really? By definition, the suppression benefits criminals (if the person is not guilty there is no evidence to suppress), which seems contrary to our concepts of justice. Do we not trust the police to have their own remedies in place for when one of theirs violates the fourth amendment, to ensure that they don't continue to do so? Should we allow the evidence in the case and then punish the officer who got it illegally in an unrelated hearing? Is the exclusion of evidence gotten through violation of the Fourth Amendment a good thing or a bad thing?

Publish or Perish

One of the big accomplishments in law school is being appointed to the school's law review. This is a good thing, but when you're not exactly a strong student, there is no chance to be selected. Sometimes, you school has other law journals you can work on, but that's no guarantee either. But when there's a startup law journal, especially one that holds your interest, you're golden.

Our school is starting a Sino-Americal Legal Education Review this year, and while we won't be writing any notes, it is a great opportunity to get some extra work done for your resume. I'm excited to be a part of this journal; even if I don't get to write on it, as the material is rather interesting to me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Let the good times roll
Halfway through fifth semester
One point five to go!

As always, I look forward to your submissions!

El Condor Pasa

I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail
Yes I would, If I could, I surely would
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail
Yes I would, If I could, I surely would.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Enough is Enough

When Jim Carrey made the Grinch, I accepted it, because it's a holiday film and I thought it would be all right (I've still not seen it, but don't think I could enjoy it).

Then Mike Myers - perhaps the most overrated actor in Hollywood and arguably the most pompous - made one of the worst movies ever in The Cat in the Hat. Seriously, was there a redeeming point of that entire film? Why does there have to be innuendo in a kid's film - let alone a classic Dr. Seuss film? Completely unnecessary.

Now, they've started work on Horton Hears a Who. My lord, do we have to destroy every positive memory everyone has of the beloved Dr. Seuss in the name of gleaning a profit for his widow? Don't you think there was a reason he didn't approve of movies being made of his work?

Do we get to anticipate The Lorax, I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla-Sallew (which is my personal favorite), or the 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins? Perhaps some braindead director can stretch To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street into 90 minutes of exploitive fun! Do the world a favor and avoid any movies made from Dr. Seuss.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I talked to a couple of my friends from the old days yesterday and today. Yesterday, I spoke with my best friend; it was like old times in bizarro world. Here's the guy I went through Junior High and High school with, the guy I worked with for 2 years, the guy who I hung out with pretty much continuously for 8 years. Last night we talked about Blood pressure and cholesterol medication. Crazy, growing old.

Today, I spoke with another two of my closest friends from before I enlisted. Turns out one of them had a quadruple bypass a couple weeks ago. They found out there was a problem when he went in to get a checkup before his vasectomy (yet another reason not to get a vasectomy, don't need a heart attack) and they found some problems that required surgery. He's doing well, though his wife joked that he might not live longer at home... at least, I hope she was joking ;-)

Anyway, it was nice to catch up with everyone; it's been years.

In local news, my stress test came back good. I have a healthy heart and no blockage in my arteries, so I'm doing all right. Now I just have to convince the boss to let me join the Y again so I can start playing racquetball again. Good times. Of course, we still have the little problem of figuring out what in the world is causing me chest pains...

Another Politics quiz

To give you an idea of where you might lie in the spectrum.

I tested just left of center, on the Libertarian side. This seems consistent with my thoughts, and somewhat consistent with other tests that I've taken...

Saturday, September 23, 2006


The French newspaper l'Est Republicain published a French Intelligence report that Osama Bin Laden may have died of typhoid last month. The report is unconfirmed, and French President Chirac was understandably concerned that an intelligence report went to the press.

Now, I don't necessarily believe the report - it's unconfirmed, and seems unlikely, though it is plausible. As such, everything after this is hypothetical consideration only. But, what I think is interesting is, given our intelligence capabilities, if this report were true, why would we not have had anything disseminated about it? (This is part of why I disbelieve the report.) Would it be too outrageous to believe that the Administration would hold on to a report of the demise of public enemy number 1 until such time as they could tout it as a significant victory in the war on terror (close enough to election time to really rally the base)? Or that by releasing this information, it would serve to satisfy some of the public's bloodlust in the war on terror, the man most believe to be responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center, and the only real positive for the administration is the war on terror and the fact that a majority of americans believe that Iraq is tied to it? If Bin Laden is gone, then the task becomes greater to convince the public that our fighting in Iraq is tied to terror (remember, that was one of the subordinate reasons in the first place, and now the only one that the administration can use for a foothold).

Would withholding information on Bin Laden's death be a good thing for the administration, if indeed he were dead?

Again, I don't think I believe the report. It's one report, and it's from the French Intelligence, who likely have fewer resources devoted to this than some others. But, it was fun to make believe a conspiracy theory.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Nap time is wasted
On the young, who need no rest,
just new batteries.

As always, I look forward to your submissions!

"Listening ears"

My daughter's teacher apparently tells her students they need to put their listening ears on. My daughter seems to have trouble grasping that concept, at least, on the home front. To wit:

Last night, I got home from school just after 8 pm, the children's bedtime. Of course, none of the children are in bed, because that would be easy, and the purpose of childhood is to punish the parents for no longer being children and having to behave like grown-ups. Anyway, The Boy was going over something, I think one of his folders, the little boy was trying to avoid getting his clean diaper put on, and the daughter was trying to color. Now, Mom had told daughter it was time to go to bed, but apparently, daughter's listening ears weren't on properly, because she apparently heard, "climb up on the tent case, old printer and desk shelf to try to reach the printer paper that's out of your reach." So that's what the little alpine miss decided to do. I stopped her verbally by stating she wasn't to climb on the tent or the old printer because she could fall and get hurt. So my daughter does the logical thing. She gets down from the old printer and proceeds to stand on the computer chair to reach the paper, because obviously when I said "don't do that; you'll get hurt," I meant "search out alternative methods to do what we told you not to do." Anyway, she gets the paper - my attention had been distracted by screaming little boy, who I picked up (now that he had a diaper), and starts to turn around when I see her. I tell her to get off the compu- it's too late. The chair rotated, the daughter lost her balance, and fell face first onto the floor. Fortunately, the floor is carpeted, but it's not what anyone would classify as a soft landing. She literally landed on her face - bruised her forehead, the tip of her nose, and the spot between the nose and the lip, where moustaches grow (on guys and Hungarian women). She's hurt, in that she's bruised, but she's not injured, but the injury doesn't look good. Pictures were last week, though, so there won't be a permanent record of the injury.

Oh, and she didn't drop the paper or her markers during the entire episode, including when I picked her up to comfort/scold her. When she gets an idea in her head, you can't get it out. Before she would go up to bed, she had to put the paper and markers on the coffee table so she could draw "tomorrow" (today). Nothing like a short memory.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Arrrr and Avast!

Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Let's hear y'all, you scurvy scallawags!

What's a pirate's favorite vegetable? Arrrrrrr-tichoke He-arrrrrrrr-ts

What's a pirate's favorite Beatles song? A H-arrrrrrrrrr-d day's night!

A pirate's favorite president? Jimmy C-arrrrrrrr-ter

Where do pirates go on vacation? B-arrrrrrr-bados, though some prefer Arrrrrr-uba

I've got plenty more!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Detainee questions

First, what are they? There seems to be considerable debate on the blogs as to what exactly we classify the detainees, as that is relevant to how we should treat them.

On November 13, 2001, President Bush issued Military Order Number One, allowing the United States military to capture and detain suspected terrorists, "to be tried for violations of the laws of war and other applicable laws by military tribunals." Further, Military Order Number One specifies in Section 3 that "an individual subject to this order shall be ... (b) TREATED HUMANELY..." (emphasis added)

So, the detainees were captured and are being held pursuant to the President's authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. They are subject to military commissions for trial under the laws of war. That much is certain.

Now, how do we classify the detainees? Are they prisoners of war? To determine the answer to this question, we must look at the Geneva Conventions, an international treaty to which we are party.

The Third Geneva Convention deals with the Geneva Convention relative to Prisoners of War. This would be the place to start when discussing prisoners of an entity against whom we are fighting.

Article 2 of the Third Geneva Convention states: "Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof."

There can be no doubt that the United States is a party to the Convention. There can be, however, some doubt as to whether or not the accused terrorists are party. This provision, Article 2, indicates that when one party is a party to the convention, both parties are bound by it.

Why does this apply? Because the Geneva Conventions are a treaty, an international agreement. We signed this agreement subject to the Constitution, and the Constitution's Supremacy Clause demands that this be The Supreme Law of the Land.

If that is the case, while we've determined that we are bound by the Geneva Convention, we must determine whether or not the Convention applies to the detainees. Article Five of the Third Geneva Convention:

"Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

So, ESPECIALLY if we're unsure what these individuals are, we are obliged to afford them the protections enumerated in the Geneva Conventions, until such time as their status becomes clear.

Article 3 of the Third Geneva Convention dictates how captured individuals are to be treated, and is very similar in language to what Military Order Number One states for treatment of the captured suspects. Why does this matter? Because there has been some significant debate on how to classify these detainees because it's relevant to how we treat them. If they are prisoners of war, then we must treat them as such, which would mean that we are precluded from engaging in such tactics as waterboarding, or sleep deprivation, or other behavior that is or could be classified as torture. If they aren't, then there's no international law that bars such treatment.

The administration suggests that these individuals are not prisoners of war, and thus the Geneva Conventions don't apply to their detention. However, this would seem to reek of hypocrisy, as they were captured pursuant to the laws of war, as evidenced by the President's issuance of the Military Order to authorize their detention. As such, these individuals should have the same treatment as any other prisoner of war, and should be afforded the protections of the same. This means that they should not be denied Habeas relief; they should be authorized to see the evidence against them, and they should be able to know that they will not be tortured.

If, in spite of all that, the thought in your mind remains: "But they're going to torture our men and women," then I would ask first, how does that justify our doing the same to them? Are we not supposed to be better than those who would do such things? Didn't the president state over and over again that we don't torture? And second, I would ask, do you really want to take your behavioral lead from these terrorists? Are they the ones you want as our nation's role model?

The president wants to pass laws that would amend our interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. This is in response to the Court's ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. In Hamdan, the Court ruled essentially what I covered above - that you have to take the tail with the mule. If you are going to capture these individuals pursuant to the laws of war, then you have to treat them as prisoners of war. The president can't pick and choose what parts of the law he wants to obey, despite his impressive record of signing statements that would indicate he thinks otherwise. I think this is a dangerous thing. We pride ourselves as being the moral compass for the rest of the world to follow. Indeed, we invaded Iraq in part to establish a democracy in similar style to our own. If we start changing the rules as they apply to us, that makes it that much easier for other nations to do the same, and it costs us a bit of our international goodwill, something we need to be preserving as much as possible in this day and age.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Five Surgeons

Five Surgeons from big cities are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.
The first surgeon, from New York, says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second, from Chicago, responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is color coded."

The third surgeon, from Dallas, says, "No, I really think librarians are the best, everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon, from Los Angeles chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers... those guys understand when you have a few parts left over."

But the fifth surgeon, from Washington DC, shut them all up when he observed: "You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains, and no spine; and the head and the ass are interchangeable.'

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Random Trivia

In the 1800s, people used to separate books by author's gender.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Much ado about nothing?

Imagine you're a soldier. You've volunteered to put your life on the line for your country, to defend the ideals you believe in, that you were raised to believe were right. Imagine you fought in a war on foreign soil, knowing that you were in harm's way to defend the Constitution and the American way.

Imagine a rocket propelled grenade being shot from the ground. That grenade proceeds on a path that intersects with the life of the soldier who has served his country faithfully. After the details are sorted out, the soldier is posthumously awared the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He's flown home to be buried in a veteran's cemetary. Yet, the cemetary denies him something it grants to most, if not all other veterans buried there. The Veteran's cemetary declines to put the symbol of his religion on his headstone. The department of Veteran's Affairs decides his religion isn't real, so they're not going to recognize it like they would other religions.

If the cemetary denied a veteran a cross, or a Star of David, or a Crescent, you would expect a huge public outcry. I'm fairly certain that the Religious Right (not to be confused with Republicans - they AREN'T the same, though it can be hard to tell sometimes) would be all up in arms about how "they're trying to take away our religion!" if crosses weren't allowed. Debates would rage all over the television and the radio. Democrats and/or the ACLU would be vilified as God-haters, or whatever.

But this man didn't practice Christianity. He didn't practice Judiasm. He wasn't a Muslim, or a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Zoroastrianist. He practiced Wiccan. In the country where he was allowed to practice freely, he chose to practice Wiccan, while serving his country, defending his right to practice religion freely. And to honor his dying while protecting that and all other American rights, the department of Veteran's Affairs chooses not to recognize his religion.

This story has a bit of a happy ending for the family, though. The soldier's wife was informed by the state of Nevada, that the symbol of his religion would be included on his memorial plaque. Would it be ironic to state "there is a God, after all," or that the family's "prayers have been answered?" Perhaps we should just be glad that he's getting something closer to equal treatment with the other veterans alongside who he served.

Again - not fluff

I killed my Tuesday essay questions in part because I hated trying to come up with a new question, but more because few people answered them.

However, this headline looked interesting: Michigan bill proposes cancer vaccination.

The bill would require girls in Michigan who enter sixth grade to receive a cervical cancer vaccine, which was approved by the FDA last June. This vaccine provides some protection against the Human Papilloma Virus.

Proponents like this bill in part because it can help save lives by helping prevent cancer.
Opponents don't like the bill in part because they view it as encouraging underage sex - the message that underage sex is OK.

I'll weigh in on this on an answer of my own later on, but I wanted to know what you all thought about this? Good? Bad? Somewhere in between?

Wednesday is Haiku Day

My car's a lemon
And it smells like banana
and wildebeest stew

I look forward to your submissions!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Interesting reading

One of the things I like to do in my spare time is look at Professor Douglas Linder's website at UMKC, Famous Trials. He provides a lot of background on several significant trials over the years, such as the Scopes Monkey Trial, the Johnson Impeachment Trial, the Lizzie Borden trial, Salem Witch trial... for Canadians, he's covered the Louis Riel trial, and for Canadians, he's gotten the Chamberlain "Dingo" trial ("The Dingo ate my baby!"). One that I read a couple days ago was the trial of Jesus. It's a very interesting look into the background of the trial itself - I highly recommend reading it, if you ever get the chance. I don't suggest that you believe what he's compiled, indeed, that's all up to you. However, it provides a new perspective on what is arguably the most important trial to western civilization.

Where's the Credibility?

No, I'm not talking about president Bush and his administration's lack of the topic...

I couldn't bring myself to watch the 9/11 docudrama last night, so I flipped on the world's most popular television show - CSI: Miami.

The show started with David Caruso standing in one of the highest-class holding cells I've ever seen - seriously Haute Couture. Anyway, he's talking with some criminal who's in jail. The criminal doesn't want to cooperate, lest he get whacked by the gangster he works for. Caruso says he's only interested in the lead bad guy - I'll say his name is "Riel" even though I can't remember for sure. Anyway, the dude in jail says something to the effect of "he hangs out with this Arab guy named (I'll say Ahmed)."

Next scene has David Caruso (A CSI investigator) at Ahmed's house with a bunch of other cops. He says they have a warrant to search the house. What? A warrant? He got a warrant to search based on one criminal saying that another criminal has been hanging out with Ahmed? There's no allegation of a crime. There's nothing presented by the show to indicate what was sworn to in the warrant, in particular the things to be searched for, including a description of them. Where the hell is the lawyer for Ahmed trying to get the gun the cops found suppressed? Ahmed is alone talking to David Caruso (again, a CSI INVESTIGATOR!) in an interrogation room, where he cops to shooting five guys with the automatic gun they found on their "warranted" search.

There's some other story involving the other CSI folks, being questioned for a missing $12,000 from an evidence bag. The first person, Emily Procter, is asked how they handle evidence. This gives Jerry Bruckheimer the chance to use a bunch of unnecessary flashbacks and camera shots to explain how they open the bag, record the evidence, close the bag, tape it shut, and initial the bag. Who is watching this show that is too stupid to understand an oral description of that? And should they be allowed to watch television without a grown-up in the room? Anyway, the Federal agents then question a bunch of other CSI members, culminating with Adam Rodriguez, who "demands to see the evidence against him." That's fine and dandy, Adam, but you're not being charged with a crime. You're being questioned for your involvement in the crime. You're not entitled to be presented with the evidence against him, that's a matter for criminal procedure for a defendant. (I could be wrong here, as we've not studied this yet in crimpro, but I'm willing to go out on the limb here. Maybe someone with a little more legal experience can clarify this point for me.)

Anyway, the scene then cuts to David Caruso, who is investigating ATM videos, where he sees Riel driving in a car with some girl. The first filmstrip is a bad view, so they can't get a look at her. The second film has her walking with her back to the camera, so they can't get a look at her face. But wait! There's enough technology at CSI: Miami to digitally clean up the video capture of the woman's REFLECTION in the car window. We then realize that this 6 month old security video, which was somehow still available for CSI to get their hands on from various banks (with no probable cause, again) has a picture of Adam Rodriguez's sister hanging out with Riel. Adam Rodriguez's sister, apparently, is the same woman that David Caruso married, who was killed. Small world.

Anyway, the CSI folks then somehow get Riel's cell phone number, so they can track him using the GPS in the phone. Fortunately, to help us out with the conversation between David Caruso and Riel, the producers decide to subtitle Riel's VERY CLEAR ENGLISH. this isn't slick and stylin', this is absolutely stupid and unnecessary. Are the viewers suddenly deaf when a short hispanic man talks? You've gotta be kidding me.

I won't ruin the climax of the show for you, since that's where all the fun is. Man, I hate this show. Why do I watch it?

Monday, September 11, 2006

5 years

Five years ago, it was a Tuesday morning. I was teaching a multiservice class at an Air Force training base. I wrote on the wyteboard a random piece of trivia (today is "no news is good news day"). We got off to a good set of training - we actually were ahead of schedule. I'd made the decision, earlier in the day, to have a little treat for the class. I sent one of my students - a Petty Officer - to go get burritos from the corner market. She came back, and we all went out to the pavilion to enjoy the very nice day. Nice conversations, a good, relaxed atmosphere, which is a welcome relief to students in training status.

We go back in and I see a throng of students and instructors around the television, and I see a building on fire. Unsure what was going on, I asked a few people, and I heard a plane flew into the building, which was one of the towers on the World Trade Center. I quickly shuffled my students back to their classroom and instructed them that they had a job to do. If anything significant arose, I'd inform them when they had time to hear. I then started them on another assignment, and went towards the breakroom for a moment, to get a little more info. That's when I saw the second plane fly into the building. The rest of the day is vivid, but too much to rehash on this blog at this time.

I'm not really good at tributes. I will leave this as my memory from that day, as I'm sure most of you have yours.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

What is America?

Is it a Country? Or is it a Cause?

Aaron Astor - a guest blogger at The Moderate Voice considers this topic here.

What do you think?

I would just like to report

I changed the water filter. And filled the ice cube trays (RedHotMamma!)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Morning Post

We took the children out for dinner last night. The Boy got to pick; it was a reward. He chose Joe's Crab Shack. Now, for years, Joe's was one of my - if not THE - favorite restaurants. However, something happened near the end of last year, and when my wife and I went in January, it wasn't the same. First off, they had biscuits and salad. Second, the Christmas lights were gone, as were a lot of the decorations. Third, the music changed. It was quieter, and calmer. Fourth, the employees seemed subdued. They didn't seem to be having fun, like they used to - they didn't dance (gramma - no Macarena!), and barely moved around more than they had to. Joe's used to be an experience, not just another restaurant. In January, it was a shell of its former self (get it? Crabs? Shell?). We decided we were going to quit going to Joe's because, well, it sucked. The life that made it worth going to wasn't there anymore.

But, since The Boy wanted to go, we went back. I half hoped it had changed back, but I was wrong. Still the same easy listening music (seriously, the Thompson Twins?), servers who looked like they were just going through the motions, OK food (it was never top cuisine - you went for the atmosphere), and toned-down decor. In the better part of an hour we were there, I was never offered a refill on my Coke (last straw!). Anyway, we left a crappy tip for the crappy dining experience and got out of there.

What happened to you, Joe's? Where's the "delightfully tacky, yet unrefined" restaurant I knew and loved? I HATE the new Joe's. And we're done with it, until you bring back the fun.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I guess I'm not a lawyer yet

I went to the cardiologist today, and after several tests, we proved conclusively that I do, in fact, still have a heart.

What we're waiting on is the determination over whether or not my heart is working properly, though the initial diagnoses are promising.

On the other hand, right now I'm mildly radioactive. Next time I'll schedule this for Halloween, so my kids won't need glow sticks to go trick-or-treating.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Random Trivia

George Washington preferred to be addressed as "His excellency, the President"

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Theory - Includes the Id and
The Superego!!!!

This Haiku dedicated to Janet's paper.

But I don't think this'll score you an "A..."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's always president Bush's fault

You'd think the Republicans would learn. EVERYTHING is W's fault. Him. And him alone. I don't need the Democrats to prove this to me. I instead look abroad.

From the KCNA:
The Bush administration has totally destroyed the foundation for the improvement of the DPRK-US relations, making a pointed accusation against the DPRK by branding the dignified state as part of "the axis of evil" and a "criminal state" ... The tension on teh Korean Peninsula was not created overnight. It has been fostered and elevated through centuries by the U.S. deep-rooted hostile policy towards the DPRK and its sustained moves to launch a war against the latter... Fact vividly show that it is none other than the U.S. which is bringing the danger of a nuclear war while increasing tension and destroying peace on teh Korean Peninsula.

See? Even North Koreans, who are uneducated, starving, and completely cut off from the rest of the world, save for the Pyongyang Times (and KCNA), know how evil the president is. He's responsible for CENTURIES of deep-rooted hostile policy towards the DPRK, despite the fact that the DPRK only has existed for less than 60 years, and the US has not had interest in east asia for more than maybe 150 (if that much). Why can't he just do what the peace-loving North Koreans want? Maybe if he placates them enough, he'll win!


I have made the desision today, that I am going to only use "s" and "k" in what I type on here. Why do you ask? Bekause I went boating in the Gulf of Mexiko and got kompletely "C" sik.

Monday, September 04, 2006


My wife is going to the store. Before she leaves, she uses the facilities, which makes sense. She then comes out, visibly upset. It turns out, somebody used the bathroom and managed to pee on the floor, and she wants to know who it is. Then, she looks at The Boy (7) and... me. As if to say I were one of the two primary suspects. I'm aghast that she might even consider I would do that. I mean, it wasn't the SHOWER...

To Nuje and wife

I think I forgot to put an ingredient on the Bulgoki recipe. You need to add 6 oz of coca-cola.

That's all. You may go about your business.


The Crocodile Hunter has died. Such a shame. I enjoyed his show (back when I had cable and could watch it), and respected his deep love for wildlife. It seems oddly fitting, though, that the guy who spent so much time flirting with death and, often luckily, it seemed, avoiding it, would succomb to a freak injury - He was stabbed in the heart by a stingray tail. Rest in Peace, Steve Irwin. You'll be missed.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Let me just say

If you've never been to Jamba Juice, you should try it. The Banana Berry, The Strawberries Wild, the Orange Dream Machine, and the Razzmatazz are all outstanding.

We went to Nuje's place today to play cards and have fun. I made some Bulgoki for the families, as well. It came out all right - I was a little apprehensive about driving marinated meat in a ziplock baggie for an hour, but nothing spilled. Nuje's family seemed to really enjoy the bulgoki, as did ours. We played progressive rummy and I didn't lose (thank you, honey!), and the kids got to go play at the water spouting things at the martet center in the Woodlands. All good times.

Now we've got about an hour and a half before we can toss them in bed. Anticipation...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pointless Rant

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have to pick my daughter up after school and take her to daycare. I don't mind - it's actually a fairly welcome break from studying. I have to drive down Long Point drive for a little bit on the way. On Long Point, there's a sandwich shop. That sandwich shop advertises that they have "the original Philly Cheesesteak Hoagie." I suppose I should be impressed. The original. First. Setting the standard. Home of a Philadelphia tradition. And I would be, if I lived in Philadelphia. But I live in Houston. Texas. Not Philadelphia.

How freaking stupid is it to advertise the "Original Philly Cheesesteak Hoagie" in Texas? My lord, It would be like Cleveland advertising "the original Champagne." Or California advertising the original ANYTHING, except maybe recycled silicone implants...

Now, perhaps there's room for interpretation, after all, they say they have the original cheesesteak HOAGIES, not Sandwiches. Perhaps there's enough leeway there to give them some credit. but really. Do they expect me to believe that nobody in Philadelphia EVER thought to use a hoagie bun? I'm not fooled. They're not getting my dollar. Stupid sandwich shop owners. Who do they think they're dealing with?

FTR, the best cheesesteak I ever had was actually in Maryland when I was stationed out there. If you ever find yourself at my old place of employ, try it out. You'll not be disappointed.

The Connection

I've noticed that when I think of some certain years, certain songs come to mind.

For example, when I think of 1991, EMF's Unbelievable enters my head.
1992 - Groovy Train, by The Farm
1996 - Love Fool, the Cardigans
1998 - Tubthumper, Chumbawumba
1988 - The Flame, Cheap Trick
1993 - Posse on Broadway - Sir Mix-A-Lot
1982 - Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
1983 - Electric Avenue - Eddie Grant
2000 - Steal My Sunshin - Len
1995 - This is How We Do it
1994 - (regulate?) - Warren G

I know there's no real order or logic to that, but there it is.