Thursday, September 30, 2004

Making The Rounds V

Well, these are all courtesy of Slashdot so it's more like round rather than rounds.

Dilbert's Ultimate House (DUH) just looks cool. Then again, I consider myself to be something of a minor nerd so I suppose I should like it...

Slashdot: Part Of The Patriot Act Shot Down. This was from yesterday. From Slashdot: "the section of the Patriot Act which gives power to the FBI to demand confidential financial records from companies as part of terrorist investigations has been ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. District Judge." I need to look into this.

Slashdot: Online Game Encouraging Spam. " (an online game) has posted instructions on how to spam their unique link using underhanded and fraudulent techniques such as misleading URLs in forums and emails." Very interesting.

Slashdot: More Calls for Patent Reform. "...[in] a book by a Harvard B School and Brandeis economics professor about how broken the patent system is in general. In short their book argues that the entire system is a (stunned silence) scam." I can't comment as to the book or its views but I can say that I don't think it's a scam. Then again, perhaps I'm biased since I'll be working in the field. Or maybe I have more or better information upon which to draw. Not enough information here to conclude anything other than the professor is a weasel. (Just kidding!)

Slashdot: Caffeine Withdrawal Recognized As Real. "New research at Johns Hopkins should result in it being included in the next edition of the DSM, and recognized by the World Health Organization." So... there was doubt? I don't think Energy Spatula had/has any such doubts.

Slashdot: X Prize Launch At Mojave Spaceport. "Bert Rutan and Paul Allen's Scaled composites is preparing to make the first of 2 launches necessary. For the uninitiated, the X-Prize is a $10M prize available to the first entirely privately funded organization that creates a vehicle that travels to 100km above the earth's surface (low earth orbit) twice within 2 weeks." The first flight was successful (or so I presume from what I read and heard). SpaceShipOne will be attempting two more launches within the two week window. Good luck & godspeed!

Neverwhere is Captivating

While I dined on a cheese steak sandwich from Subway today, I put in the first DVD of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

Briefly, Neil Gaiman is an award-winning British author of some fame. As mentioned elsewhere, he and his work form part of the basis for this blog's title. He has written for a variety of media and even has an upcoming movie, MirrorMask (official site).

I know Neverwhere originally as a book and subsequently an A&E/BBC 6-episode miniseries. An excellent summary courtesy of Amazon:
Neverwhere's protagonist, Richard Mayhew, learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. He ceases to exist in the ordinary world of London Above, and joins a quest through the dark and dangerous London Below, a shadow city of lost and forgotten people, places, and times. His companions are Door, who is trying to find out who hired the assassins who murdered her family and why; the Marquis de Carabas, a trickster who trades services for very big favors; and Hunter, a mysterious lady who guards bodies and hunts only the biggest game. London Below is a wonderfully realized shadow world, and the story plunges through it like an express passing local stations, with plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion. The story is reminiscent of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but Neil Gaiman's humor is much darker and his images sometimes truly horrific. Puns and allusions to everything from Paradise Lost to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz abound, but you can enjoy the book without getting all of them. Gaiman is definitely not just for graphic-novel fans anymore.
So today found me watching the miniseries for the second time. Even as I sat there, enthralled by its mystery and wonder, I experienced that same rush of excitement and tension that accompanied my first viewing and reading. While the book is not my favorite of Gaiman's (that honor belongs to American Gods and/or The Sandman Series), the miniseries is exquisite in my opinion. If you enjoy British films or television and are in the mood for a dark, compelling adventure, I highly suggest you look into it.

As for me, I've watched 2 episodes so far and now must return to my Forensics outline and bibliography which are due tonight.

ADDENDUM: After searching on the web for an hour or two, I found two documents that seem to answer the forensics question I was to address. This does not look good. Tonight I'll have to see what my professors say. [4:48 PM]

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Top Ten Most Common Injuries Sustained By Law Students (And What Causes Them)

14. Blindness or poor vision – from reading cases.

13. Sore feet and leg cramps – from running to the library every day to study.

12. Sore throat and upset stomach – from swallowing all the garbage your professors and the administration expect you to.

11. Hand cramps – from too much writing.

10. Deafness or poor hearing – from listening to bullshit in classes.

9. Sharp, stabbing pain in middle of back – from being stabbed in the back by fellow students.

8. Paranoia – from fear that you: missed a deadline, are running out of money, will be called on in class, won't find a good job after law school, shouldn't have gone to law school, might be caught for murdering that professor, etc.

7. Chapped lips - from kissing asses.

6. Liver pain and deterioration – from drinking to excess.

5. Headaches – from consciousness.

4. Elbow pain – from "elbowing" your way to the head of the class.

3. Back ache or pain – from lugging around so many thick, heavy casebooks.

2. Insomnia – from fear that your citation to the Satanic Bible might not have been appropriate or correctly done.

1. Insanity – from law school and/or wanting to be a lawyer.

Top Ten Law School Curses

21. May the prof. call on you the one day you did not do the reading.

20. May your computer crash without you having made backups of vital documents.

19. May you live in interesting times. (link, link, link, link.)

18. May you miss the deadline of a paper that is worth 50% of your final grade and not have a good excuse.

17. May the force not be with you.

16. May your research prove fruitless.

15. May you ask stupid questions in your classes and hold up progress such that all of the students, and the professor, wish you were mute.

14. May you incur the wrath of the dean.

13. May the library not have on hand the books that you seek.

12. May you fail in all of your endeavors.

11. May the authorities take an interest in you.

10. May the professor catch you playing games on your computer.

9. May the Westlaw and Lexis Nexis printers irreparably jam on you.

8. May fellow students catch you surfing for porn in the middle of class.

7. May you be behind the grading curve.

6. May you take the complete opposite (“wrong”) position from your professors viewpoint.

5. May the gods give you everything that you desire.

4. May your fellow students learn that you have a blog and publicize that information to the rest of the school, including the faculty and administration.

3. May you obviously fall asleep in the middle of your classes.

2. May the professor ignore any and all questions you have.

1. May you not drop out of law school but forever wish you had.

Top Ten Worst Responses When the Professor Calls On You In Class

16. "We had a reading assignment for today?"

15. "You're kidding, right? ...Right?"

14. "Why me? Oh Lord, WHY ME????"

13. "My lawyer forbids me from commenting until after the trial." [Maintain this stance no matter what the prof. says or asks.]

12. "Can't you call on someone else? I'm kind of tired today..."


10. "Just who do you think you are?"

9. "Look, I didn't read today. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. So call on someone else and leave me to my game of solitaire."

8. [Start talking about a different case. i.e. One from another, unrelated class. When the prof. tries to correct you, maintain that you are talking about the correct case and that he/she must be the one in error. Absolutely refuse to acknowledge any mistake on your part.]

7. "What?"

6. [Stand up, pack up your books/computer and walk out of the classroom.]

5. [Do the same as no. 6 only before turning and walking out, call the professor a name or insult him/her. E.g. "You bitch!"]

4. "I'm sorry, who are you? Where's the regular teacher?"

3. "I plead the fifth."

2. [Pretend to be sleeping. Start snoring very loudly. Refuse to wake up under any circumstances.]

1. "Let us pray." Begin reciting a real prayer or make up a prayer of your own. If you make one up, try to incorporate aspects of the case into the prayer. E.g. "Lord, please forgive Mr. Harrison for his illegal trespass and murder. He knew not that which he was doing and meant no harm to Mrs. Klein, notwithstanding his shooting her, albeit accidentally. Please watch over him and guide his efforts in redeeming his soul." Or, instead, make the prayer about the prof. or fellow students, identifying them by name and incorporating some salacious, possibly fabricated, immaterial fact(s). E.g. "Lord, please watch over Sally Sullivan as she goes for her abortion tomorrow. Be not angered by her choice to murder another human being but understand her pain and guide her in her quest for redemption and meaning. Let not her heretic ways, loose manner, evil disposition and dandruff keep her from the gates of Paradise. Dear Lord, please also guide her to a hair salon."

H-Bomb Off Georgia Coast Not a Threat?

CNN has an update on the "broken arrow."
SAVANNAH, Georgia (AP) -- Spurred by what appear to be unusual radiation readings offshore, the U.S. government is sending a team of 20 scientists to try to find a hydrogen bomb lost off the Georgia coast in 1958.
Beyond the fact that this is an interesting story I think I forgot to post about, the CNN piece had this to say on the bomb's threat:
The Air Force contends there is no danger of a nuclear blast from the bomb off the Georgia coast, because it did not contain the plutonium capsule needed to trigger one.
Somehow I don't believe them. Let's see, this bomb was "lost" over 45 years ago and when it was lost, it was not actually armed? It just doesn't sound right to me. My bet is it's a spin job. Though given the subject matter and scare factor, I imagine they could have come up with a better story.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Nip/Tuck's Moral Conundrum

Nip/Tuck tonight was nicely done. I'm not going to go into too many specifics other than to discuss a moral conundrum the show posed. One of the doctors, Dr. Christian Troy, the one who slept/sleeps around a lot, learned that one of his former partners had recently tested positive for HIV. He immediately had himself tested but it would take 2-3 days for him to get the results.

Q: Knowing that it would be 2-3 days before learning whether or not you are HIV positive, would you preemptively call and alert your recent sexual partners?

On the show, Dr. Troy does so, mostly at the urging of his friend and fellow surgeon, Dr. Sean McNamara. But it got me thinking, if I were in the same position would I do the same? Knowing full well that it could be a false alarm and a knowable quality with only a few days wait, would you want to upset those women and ruin what shreds of your reputation remain? And, of course, the $25,000 question, which is the "correct" moral choice of action?

I suppose Dr. Troy's course, that of calling up the women and confronting the issue early, is probably the more moral of the two. Still, I am unsure whether I would do the same if in his shoes. Whether I could ignore that voice in my head saying "wait the 2-3 days and learn the truth before you go (potentially) needlessly upsetting those women" is by far not a certainty. I suspect I might be inclined to wait the time out and learn of my own status before informing or calling others, should that prove necessary.

And so I ask you, faithful reader, what do you think you would do in that situation? And do you think Dr. Troy did the "correct" thing? Did he do the "moral" thing?

(Btw & fyi, in the end, and this may be an "ends justify the means," Dr. Troy turned out to not be HIV positive.)


I added the Blogwise button because I thought I got an e-mail from them confirming this blog's inclusion in their listings. Yet, when I search their directory, I am unable to locate the blog. Time to find that e-mail and see what's going on...

The Flame Wars Over at AL

Something I find immensely amusing: Over at Anonymous Lawyer, the comments in the vast majority of AL's posts devolve into mini-flame wars. Seriously. Like the comments to AL's most recent post.

Almost every time, one anonymous poster takes offense or strongly disagrees with another anonymous poster and the name-calling begins. This is shortly followed by baseless insults and useless mockery. Even Rufus (of Running With Lawyers "fame") has been sucked into the melee.

Why do I give three (albeit short) paragraphs to this aspect of AL's blog? Given the satirical nature of AL's posts, the irony is palpable. And there's nothing I like more than a strong dose of irony. (Preferably for someone else, of course.)

Ben Franklin on Liberty

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

Monday, September 27, 2004

Pop Culture Reference Ahoy!

Liquid Generation has two new features: Torture Chambers for George Dubya and John Kerry. Under George's, there's an option for "Alien Attack." A face hugger latches on for a few seconds. His stomach throbs a little before a small alien pops out. The alien then lands on the floor and sings "Hello My Baby!" as it dances off camera.

This is a pop culture computer animated short referencing a comedy referencing (making fun of) a classic Sci Fi movie. If you don't get the references, I'm not going to spell it out for you... unless you ask nicely.

New Hitchhiker's Episode Review!

As noted in an earlier post (and as I learned from a Slashdot post), BBC Radio 4 is playing new episodes of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ('The Tertiary Phase'). These new episodes will detail events from the last three books of Douglas Adams' five-book trilogy. (Yes, five-book trilogy.) a.k.a. Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks For All the Fish and Mostly Harmless.

The first episode (of The Tertiary Phase) finds us on prehistoric Earth with Arthur. The quick and dirty version of what occurs next: The narrator fills in some of the back story. Arthur Dent's encounter with Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged and the narrator's description thereof. Arthur's reunion with Ford Prefect and Ford's discovery of a hole in the spacetime wash (the chesterfield sofa). Their escape from prehistoric Earth. The narrator on Starship Titanic and the creation of the Heart of Gold. Marvin and the mattresses. Trillian and Zaphod Beeblebrox on the Heart of Gold. Trillian's escape from Zaphod.

For the record, I have no qualms revealing the above. Much of it (on the order of > 80%) parallels the books. In addition, it's not the details of the story that form the basis for the radio show but rather the language used and method of telling. Which, incidentally, are spot on. BBC got this one right. The new episodes feature about half of the originally cast which is terrific. Arthur, Zaphod and Marvin all have the same voice actors. The others are different but not terribly so.

In all, the episode works. I wish there was less explaining of back story and more of the new story. But there will be more episodes and, if the BBC Radio 4's claims of Quadrenary and Quintessential Phases is anything to go by, there will be LOTS of new episodes. If it weren't for the fact that the episode is extremely well done and completely in the style of the existing, earlier episodes, I could see fans getting upset. However, given the aforementioned aspects, I hope fans don't get too riled up. It sounds good! It sounds good!!! So relax, enjoy and become enchanted (again).


*That is, or else suffer a horrendous fate. (e.g. Being fed to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.)

ADDENDUM: Whoops! I forgot that I have three quotes from the episode.
"I have detected disturbances in the wash."

"Insanity is a gradual process, don't rush it."

"I'm not going to ask but imagine I have."

Making The Rounds IV

This installment has been in the works for a few days, hence its length.

I just received an e-mail informing me that the challenge from The World's Shortest Blog (to ask Bush: "How many times have you been arrested, Mr. President?") is still on (bounty up to $2,358) AND that there is up to an additional $6,000 if the question is asked on television and answered.

Lawrence Solum at Legal Theory Blog has a post on Hypotheticals. The post discusses what they are, why they are used and gives a few helpful suggestions to law students confronting them. Overall an excellent (and VERY helpful) post!

The Volokh Conspiracy has a post on Conditions of Release & Technological Change - 4th Amendment. Specifically, the post meentions a Second Circuit decision relating to this:
In an opinion by Judge Winter, the Second Circuit did something very interesting; the panel held that the challenges to the computer-related conditions were not yet ripe because the underlying technological facts may change between now and the time when the defendant is released from prison
An interesting decision and topic of discussion.

Volokh: Max Boot on Wars, Presidents and Errors. I may have a response to this one at some point in the future. Or I may not.

How to Blog by Tony Pierce. An excellent guide to blogging do's and don'ts. I think I violate a few of these but since I tend to observe the rest, it's probably not a big problem. I imagine if you find your blog in violation of 5 or more of his recommendations, you might be in trouble. ("You might be a redneck if...")

Now a few from Slashdot: Live Performance Copyright Unconstitutional Per Judge. I'm thinking there are a lot of problems with this ruling as reported. Unfortunately, not having read the decision yet, I can't conclude anything. I'll have to read it and get back to y'all. (Again, with the caveat of "maybe.")

Slashdot: Chimp Can Hack Diebold. I'm not sure how "accurate" or "plausible" the test was but this is certainly amusing. (And I'm no fan of Diebold.)

Slashdot: Sony Loses Patent Suit. Part of this was in relation to the vibrating function of their controllers. Sony may end up paying (Pun!) for their loss.

Slashdot: Possible 'Hazardous Event' at Mt. Saint Helens. Also reported by The Volokh Conspiracy and InstaPundit. Watch for more info on this one, folks.

Slashdot: A Liquid That Turns Solid When Heated. As a Physics major in college, this sounds really cool! (Pun #2!)

Rufus at Running With Lawyers discusses a movie pitch of his. I found there to be a few truisms and honest revelations mixed in this one (along with the requisite satirical attitude).

The Volokh Conspiracy has a reaction to the House bill concerning "Under God" & SCOTUS Jurisdiction. I'll hopefully remember to link this up in a comment or addendum to my post on this subject.

Phosita has a post on Dictionaries & Patent Claim Interpretation. I need to read that one since I wrote a brief article on this subject about 14 months ago.

Phosita: Patent rights in under a month? Hard to believe but good to know.

Phosita: 6th Circuit Says No Sampling. Another decision I need to read and comment on.

Will Wheaton dot Net has a post citing a recent Dork Tower cartoon on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD release. Some of the follow up cartoons (Dork Tower spent a week on this) are hilarious as well.

WWdN Post: Link to 10 Q's With WW and Link to 10 Q's With SL2020 Guy.

WWdN: Geek List.

Random Thoughts

Very quickly.

Sometimes I worry that I'm not including enough personal items, such as the dream, "Why do I blog?" or "The Morning Report."

Sometimes I worry that I'm not including enough interesting things, such as the "Making the Rounds" posts or the blog and article links.

Sometimes I worry that I'm not including enough law-related analytical posts, such as the one on the House's SCOTUS jurisdiction-limiting bill.

And sometimes I worry that I worry too much.

Btw, Kate Beckinsale makes an excellent vampire. (I watched some of Underworld while I ate lunch.)

Dream a Little Dream of Me

A post for the morning. I have a few things to link up on my "To Do" list. Maybe (hopefully) I'll get to those in Crim. Pro. this afternoon. Put together a MtR 4.

Btw, before the "substantive" part, the title reminds me of an early issue from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series. In it, the reader follows a particular Englishman, John Constantine, around through his day until he meets up with Dream that afternoon. Prior to that meeting, every radio he passes is playing a song that has to do with dreams. There are 5-6 songs mentioned, the title of this post being one of them. I always thought that was such a cool, low-key, ominous portent of the subsequent meeting.

Anyways, I had a dream last night. These days normally I don't remember if I dreamed or, shortly after waking, I forget the dream. This time I was able to latch on somewhat. Also, in the past, that is in the far, far past such as my middle school and high school years, I used to dream with relatively great frequency. Most of those I wrote down on scraps of paper that I have back in Trumbull. Some of them were very powerful and involving.

Last night's dream. (Without identifying names.) It started with a wedding that I and a date were attending. The wedding was for a fellow law student, a guy, but not someone I'm good friends with. Just someone I know (I've had a class or two with him, let's call him "J"). My date (who was not the "ex" nor even a good friend of mine but rather another law student, this time female, with whom I've had a class or two, let's call her "H") had not arrived as yet. It was rather early, the actual ceremony to begin a ways off, like in an hour or two. So I sat in the pew at the front on the right, me immediately next to the center aisle, holding a seat for H. I think I spoke with J a little here. Another gentlemen sits on the other side of the space I'm holding. He looks like the groom's (?) father and so I ask if I'm sitting where he's to sit. He says "yes but don't worry" but we switch seats nonetheless.

At some point, my mom arrives and sits next to me. (Interesting observation - I knew it was her but I didn't "see" her in my dream. Weird.) I ask her to hold the two spaces while I go "downstairs" since we have a lot of time to go yet (1-2 hours). Downstairs turns out to be the kitchen from the Trumbull house (the house I grew up in), complete with TV. So I go watch TV for a bit until my mom comes into the kitchen. I ask her whether or not she's still holding the seats. She says no. My response is something along the lines of "so we don't have seats saved." At this point I'm kind of annoyed about that and wonder what we'll do (that is H & myself -- I know it should be H & I but with the capital letters being used as placeholders, I thought the "I" with the "H" might be confusing) and where we'll sit.

New Scene. Now H & myself are at a movie theatre along with a few other people (don't know who or how many, just "others") to see a movie. The theatre is one done in the older style, with plush red felt-like material everywhere and rich colors consistingly primarily of reds, yellows and white. This part is a little jumbled. I'm paying for the tickets with a credit card and hand it to the guy. While waiting for it to go through and for him to hand it back to me, some lady who works at the theatre asks me to pick up some garbage on the floor. For some reason, I do. Then somehow I end up helping her or another woman move some theatre-related "things" (don't remember what) to or from storage or something. Afterwards, eventually, I get my credit card and the tickets. Then it's to the concession stand which is very close by and quite small. Maybe this was where I was moving things for the theatre employees... In any case, I end up purchasing a bunch of food and drinks from the stand and we (H & myself and "the others") move towards the theatre in which our movie is playing. And--

/End dream.

N.B. After I jot down notes of what the story was in the dream, I also like to consider how I felt or what surprised (or suprises) me about it. My reaction, briefly, so to speak.

This dream was strange primarily due to J & H. I can't imagine why I would have included J and made him the central figure in the wedding portion. Nor for that matter why I would include H as my date. Those are probably the strangest, most unfamiliar aspects. Otherwise, the dream had no strong sensations or emotions tied to it. I can't remember how I felt during the dream (except for some feelings like mild annoyance or such) which means I was probably pretty neutral throughout. The rest of it played out, as dreams do, all on its own, with its own singular momentum. It is worth mentioning, as noted in an earlier post, that I will be attending a wedding (of a law student friend) in two weeks and that my date for the wedding is my "ex" from law school. So there is some basis for the wedding activity in the dream. Nonetheless, mildly odd and mildly surreal. (As dreams so often are.)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Classic Dilemma

What do you watch at 1:10 AM when TNT is showing Johnny Mnemonic and USA is showing Pitch Black?

Me, I watch Johnny Mnemonic because I last saw Pitch Black very recently. Can you believe that back in 1995, 80-160 GB was considered an insane amount of storage space? Amusing, eh? I suppose today's analog might be 80-160 TB?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Why do I blog?

In this comment, Richard of The Pedantic Pundit asked me why I write if not for others to read. That got me thinking (a dangerous activity at the best of times) -- Why do I blog?

Why do you blog? Those were a few of the more interesting results Google provided. But it still doesn't answer the question for me.

I would like to think that I do this more for myself than others. That's not to say I don't want people to read what I write or that I don't want a lot of visitors (mmm... site stats...). Rather, I hope this blog is for me to express things I usually don't otherwise get to write or talk about. If others are interested, wonderful, but the primary purpose here is for me to say something. Visitors, rather than being the ultimate goal, help me gauge whether I'm saying things that others find interesting or engaging. Who's going to read something they dislike (unless it's for a school assignment)?

Of course, there are other reasons that factor in. This is a lot of fun for me and I thoroughly enjoy writing for this blog. In addition, I would be lying if I didn't say that, contrary to the previous paragraph, I am writing in hopes that others will read it. Notwithstanding that motive, I sincerely hope and believe that it is secondary. And, also as noted above, I hope I have something unique or interesting to say or bring to the table through my posts.

I don't know, the explanation, as it were, still rings somewhat hollow to me. I almost want to respond with a nonsensical answer, something along the lines of 42. Just tell people (or a person, to date) that it's an entertaining pasttime and any further reasons would be irrelevant. But is that really true?

TRUTH, n. An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance.

-- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Friday, September 24, 2004

New Hitchhiker's Episodes Available Online

Thank you Slashdot for informing me of this wonderful opportunity. Somehow I didn't even hear that the BBC is producing new episodes! Later on I'll check this out and report back to y'all.

The Morning Report

Okay. I'm sitting in my apt. with some friends at 2 AM now. The 3 women are discussing health care. The other guy is looking very.. unenthusiastic. Me? I'm typing this because I'm trying to stay awake so I can drink more water and sober up to be at work by 9:30 tomorrow this morning.

Unfortunately, a friend's car was towed and so we ended up at my unclean apt. (It was not ready to receive visitors yet.) And one of the three women, one of the two sitting on the couch - yeah, the "ex." ::Sigh:: What do you do?

I'm tired. I'm ready to collapse. But I don't have the heart to point out that it's 2:02 AM and I'm to be at work tomorrow on 3-4 hours of sleep. So I drink more water.

Btw, we've gone through one Guster album and we're now working on the latest Avril Lavigne album.

And the girl standing behind me right now, the former neighbor of the "ex," has just informed me that she was the one (along with her boyfriend) who did the "uconn law student" searches. And thus found this blog. Guess the gig is up.

ADDENDUM: Btw, I'm drunk. Somewhat. [2:19 AM]

ADDENDUM II: Btw, neighbor's boyfriend - yeah, neighbor won't be home by 12:30 AM in case that wasn't apparent. [2:22 AM]

ADDENDUM III: Now we're into politics. Good lord. That's good for at least another hour. ::Sigh:: [2:27 AM]

ADDENDUM IV: I just heard the words "gynecologist's appointment." As a guy, I feel I can unilaterally say that this is not good. [2:40 AM]

ADDENDUM V: The party ended at about 2:45 AM. Thank you goes out to the "ex" for inciting the exodus which, incidentally, was effected by me and my car. At least I can now get in my 4.5 hours of sleep before work. Yay. [3:01 AM]

ADDENDUM VI: I managed to get about 4.5 hours sleep and make it to work on time. No hangover to speak of due to my consumption of numerous glasses of water in the wee hours of the morning. I am, however, extremely tired and a bit out of it. ::Yawn:: Excuse me! I'll likely catch a cat-nap this afternoon. [11:47 AM]

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Recent Visitors and Referrals

I don't like to routinely comment on visitors as I don't want to identify and potentially discourage repeat visitors. Nonetheless, three recent visitors caught my eye. (And apologies in advance for identifying your domain, which incidentally is the only identifiable information available. So don't worry. I'm neither a NARC nor am I NARCing on you.)

The three interesting visitors were, one each, from:So... potentially there are individuals from two governments investigating (or observing) my blog and one from a bank. Huh. Well, I only hope the Dept. of State reads me my rights before they haul me off. If not, mmm... trial fun... And as for the bank, think I can get a loan? (I must warn you, I have very few assets.)

And two interesting MSN Searches that led to the blog:Interesting ones, really. Especially since I only once mentioned Smithwick's beer (though not in reference to an advertising campaign) and although I do have a post on alcoholism (or alcholoism) I don't discuss any sex relation thereto, especially in conjunction with selling the alcohol.

G-d bless thy wayward souls who happen in mistake upon this blog. May G-d preserve and guide you in your journeys. (And here's hoping those journeys lead you back here some day soon!)

House Says SCOTUS Can't Rule on "Under God" Pledge Controversy

Another interesting CNN article entitled House bill would block Supreme Court on Pledge:
The House passed legislation Thursday that would prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on whether the words "under God" should be stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance.
The bill, which the House approved, 247-173, would prohibit federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from hearing cases involving the pledge and its recitation and would prevent federal courts from striking the words "under God" from the pledge.

The legislation has little chance of advancing in the Senate this year, but it laid down another marker for politicians seeking to differentiate themselves from their election opponents on volatile social issues of the day.
"Far from violating the 'separation of powers,' legislation that leaves state courts with jurisdiction to decide certain classes of cases would be an exercise of one of the very 'checks and balances' provided for in the Constitution," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
"Under God" has been part of the pledge since 1954, when Congress passed and President Eisenhower signed a law amending the pledge to include the phrase.
I am carefully avoiding the political lines drawn and the political implications of the legislation and its timing. The CNN article briefly includes some quotations and speculation about that. Funny enough, there's really nothing conclusive that can be said on that point.

Far more interesting, imo, are the implications regarding judicial review. (The separation of powers aspect doesn't do as much for me although it is implicitly tied into the judicial review consideration.) To some degree, I am shocked by the attempt of this bill to curtail the jurisdiction, not of federal courts in general, but of the Supreme Court ("SCOTUS") in particular. That just screams out to me. And it's screaming: "What the Hell are you thinking?"

I can't think of anything I've learned that says the Supreme Court cannot review ______ for constitutionality. Heck, ever since Marbury v. Madison that has been one of SCOTUS' primary purposes! If this bill were upheld (although that would probably mean that SCOTUS would have to uphold a bill inherently limiting its ability to review that bill...), it would be akin to poking a hole (and a pretty BIG one at that) in Marbury v. Madison itself!


During the break, I just spoke with one of the teachers, a CT State Superior Court Judge, of my Forensics Class (in which I am typing this) about this legislation. He agreed that it seems patently absurd. He stated that in the absence of a constitutional amendment, it seems unlikely that legislation could curb the jurisdiction of SCOTUS as it relates to judicial review for constitutionality.

He did note that SCOTUS routinely does consider whether or not it itself has jurisdiction to hear a case, so that would not be new. However, it would be strange for SCOTUS to consider the constitutionality of legislation designed to prevent SCOTUS from considering certain subject matter of which the legislation addresses. A catch-22 if you will.

And, as I mention above, if the legislation were upheld, it would effectively poke an enormous hole in Marbury v. Madison. One logical follow up question is what's next? This is the old "slippery slope" argument. (Ugh! How I despise that terminology though it is very appropriate here.) If the Legislative Branch can remove certain subject matter from falling under review for constitutionality, this poses a big problem. Gee, legislation would no longer have to be constitutional. (PATRIOT Act anyone?) And that my friends would probably not be a good thing at all.

I'll be keeping my eyes open for further news pieces on this pending legislation. Although it seems the Senate won't vote on it for a while, I'm kind of afraid that the Senate might possibly let it through. Throw in a subsequent 1+ year delay until SCOTUS gets the case and things could become unpleasant. Well, either way, it makes for good legal discussions. (Hence this lengthy post!)

Strippers Wanted For College Party -- Clothing Removal Unnecessary

I have two news bites to comment on but they're drastically different and are thus receiving separate posts.

This is a CNN Article entitled Students punished after stripper pole party:
Three students at Jacksonville University have been punished for installing a stripper pole in an on-campus apartment and taking pictures as clothed female students performed on it at a party.
The men bought the steel pole from The Home Depot, bolted it to the concrete ceiling and attached the bottom to a plywood stage covered in red felt.
When university officials ordered the men to remove the pole, they complied, but not before building a huge party around it.

Signs reading "Pole Dancers Wanted" were posted around campus and the men bought large quantities of beer. Friends were enlisted to check identifications and manage security. They charged $5 for men, and women were let in free.
John Daigle Jr., a school spokesman, said the party's hosts may have violated the university's alcohol policy and broken rules against indecent behavior and the making of unapproved changes to university property.
Note that "[t]here was no public nudity involved here." So, absent the female students dancing in their underwear (i.e. not being nude but being rather close thereto), I have trouble seeing how they may have violated the rules against indecent behavior. (And, if they were down to their underwear, I have trouble believing that things did not further progress to nudity.)

If the women were in fact "clothed" as the article purports, then pole dancing isn't terribly racier than, say, normal party-dancing. I mean you might as well start "ticketing" any couples you see at any party there is. A bit broad, imo. My guess is that the Univ. was pissed off with the advertising (the flyers) and is grasping at straws.

Amusing and oh-so-true point: "The party ended shortly after the beer ran out."

Residential adviser Amber Davis said the party degraded women.

"There are other ways they can go out and get a girlfriend if that's what they want," she said.
Somehow, I don't think they were looking for girlfriends...


The reason I took particular notice of this post, besides the amusing subject matter and story, is that back in college, as a fraternity brother, I helped throw various parties and such. I can easily understand the allure, at least to male college students, of installing a pole for parties. However, one hopes that such an allure is weighed against common sense and shock factors. That is, such installation would probably (and speedily) raise a red flag with the administration and put the place and people involved on the wrong radars (e.g. administration, police). Fortunately, this incident is not all that bad considering there was no nudity and, seemingly, no strenuous objections by the women at the party. Still, a generally amusing incident.

Alan's Movie Rating System

In response to a reader's comment, I'm writing this post and will cross reference and cite it in the future. (For the record, the ratings were explained once before although said explanation probably should have been more readily accessible as it will be in the future.)

This post will explain my movie rating system since I consciously apply it to just about every movie I see, whether it be on TV, in the theatre, on DVD or a rental. The scale is highly subjective as it is based on my own reaction to the movie. The scale is, from lowest to highest:
  • Won't see again. (Self-explanatory.)

  • Cable-Worthy (Wait for it to come out on Cable/movie/television channels.)

  • Rental-Worthy (Worth renting.)

  • Theatre-Worthy (Go see it in the theatre while you still can!)

  • DVD-Worthy (I plan on buying the DVD when it's released.)
No warranties, express or implied, are made that my opinion of the movie will correspond with your impression and reaction. If you're looking for a truly unbiased, objective review of the movie, too bad. I advise you to look on another planet for non-human reviews and opinions. "Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

(However, I will suggest that if you find yourself in agreement with previous reviews of mine, that may help you gauge whether or not future reviews will be useful or helpful to you.)

Top Ten Companies and Organizations You Are Least Likely To Encounter in Bus. Org. Class

As promised and apologized!

11. Caskets "R" Us, Inc.

10. The Road Kill Cafe ("You kill it, we grill it!")

9. People Against the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PAETA), Inc.

8. Please-Don't-Call-On-Me-Because-I-Didn't-Do-The-Reading Co.

7. Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, LLP

6. We Hate UConn Law, Inc.

5. Professor [Smith]'s Fan Club

4. FOOB, LLP (d/b/a "Friends of 'Ole Bush") [With apologies to F.O.O.T. -- Friends of 'Ole Toyfare.]

3. Disgruntled Postal Workers Co.

2. Mafia, Inc. (d/b/a "Vito's Restaurant")

1. Law Students For More Empowerment (f/k/a The Revolution, LLC)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


The weekly Top Ten List will be delayed until tomorrow afternoon. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Sky Captain Flies High

Today a friend and I took in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The movie stars Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Giovanni Ribisi and Angelina Jolie. IMDB Summary:
In 1939, an intrepid reporter [Polly Perkins - Gwyneth Paltrow] in New York City makes a connection between the story she's covering-- of famous scientists suddenly disappearing around the world, and a recent attack on the city by giant robots. Determined to find the solution to these happenings, she seeks the help of her ex-boyfriend, the captain of a mercinary legion of pilots [Joe 'Sky Captain' Sullivan - Jude Law]. The two are investigating the case when the robots attack the city again, though in a stroke of luck, Sky Captain's right hand man [Dex Dearborn - Giovanni Ribisi] is able to locate their source. They then set off on an adventure in search of the evil mastermind behind these schemes, who is bent on creating a utopia and destroying the current world.
Before the review, a note about how the movie was shot. Every scene in this film was shot on a blue screen. All of the backgrounds are computer generated. ALL OF THEM. This is the first time the technique has been used so pervasively (and, incidentally, so well) in a movie. The backgrounds are often awe-inspiring and flat out cool thanks to computers.

I enjoyed the movie. As noted above, it's set in the past. The filmmakers went for a retro sci-fi look and feel. (And they succeeded!) Everything in the movie has a nostalgic look and sense to it, from the plane Sky Captain flies to the robots attacking the city. It's like it was something out of "Revenge of the B-Movies." But even so, that lent a certain amount of "charm" (if you will) to the result.

My guess is that if you're a sci-fi nut like myself, you may enjoy the movie. The plot is light and more a veneer than anything else but it was a fun experience.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy (If you're a sci-fi nut like myself.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Glimpse Into My Madness (Top Ten Things I'm Thinking About In Bus. Org. Class)

I wrote this as I was sitting in my Business Organizations Class this morning. (I'm back-dating it to the time I finished the list, 11:28 AM. If I had internet connectivity in the class, I would have posted it then.) The following are the various thoughts that swirled through my head. Enjoy!

Top Ten Things I'm Thinking About In Bus. Org. Class (Knowing Full Well Someone Can Read This List Over My Shoulder As I Am Typing It)

18. The SRP paper I need to work on.

17. The Forensics paper I need to do research for. (We have an outline and bibliography due in about a week.)

16. The wedding (of a law student friend) I’m attending in 2.5 weeks. I'm going with an ex-girlfriend. (A law student, one year behind me, who I dated for ~5 weeks this past Spring.)

15. The Fall Ball semiformal dance the night before the wedding that I'm also attending with that same girl.

14. The birthday dinner I went to this past Saturday night with that same girl, her friend (the birthday girl) and her friend's boyfriend. (It was the first event of any note that I participated in with "the ex" during the past 3-4 months.)

13. That I really, really need to clean up my apt. (It's just messy, not dirty per se.)

12. The humor inherent in the phrase "wrongful expulsion." (Which we’re currently discussing. The phrase that is, not the humor.)

11. The fact that I need to curb my eating habits and exercise more often in an attempt to lose weight and live healthier. (And fit into my pants better.)

10. The fact that the name of the plaintiff in our next Bus. Org. case sounds exactly like the last name of a good friend of mine. Ironically, the case also involves alcohol.

9. The fact that I'm drinking coffee over my laptop. A bad idea in the best of cases. (Hah! Pun!)

8. Hoping that my immediately previous class participation (sua sponte so to speak) will help keep me from being called on today in class.

7. Purchasing the Star Wars Trilogy DVDs after class, before work.

6. Where I'm going to get lunch today. (Or if I'll eat leftovers in my apt. instead, while watching the rest of Pitch Black.)

5. That this list has gotten well out of control.

4. The Thursday Antitrust assignment (some sort of game involving tobacco companies) my friend and I volunteered for. (Really all of the Antitrust reading I'm going to undertake tomorrow to catch up and be adequately prepared for Thursday.)

3. Purchasing an Antitrust study guide after class to help with the above assignment preparation.

2. The interview I have tomorrow morning with a NYC IP (Intellectual Property) firm. (I still have preparations to make for that and I'm hoping the firm ends up liking me. It would be rather cool to work in NYC for them.)

1. Business Organizations! (One ear only.)

Monday, September 20, 2004

All The News That's Fit To Print

stupidbull is friggin' hilarious. I'd start quoting stories and linking to them except there are way too many! And the best part? They're real news stories!!!

Making the Rounds III.5

Not enough for a IV.

A Slashdot post led me to I Found Some Of Your Life. Apparently, the blog author found a digital media card left in a taxi and is posting the 227 photos, in order, one a day for 227 days. The whole premise is quite amusing and well worth a quick gander. Or a goose.

Another Slashdot post mentions "that a hydrogen thermonuclear bomb lost off the Georgia coast in 1958 may have been found." People of Georgia rejoice.

That's it for now. Maybe more. Maybe later. Maybe not.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

"The [Dirty/Durty] Shamrock [Cafe]" Review

Last Thursday, my Clan hit "The Shamrock Cafe" aka "The Dirty Shamrock" aka "The Durty Shamrock" aka "The Hooker Saloon" aka "The Place Formerly Known As The Troutbrook Brewery." Phew! I'm not actually sure which title is accurate. The sign says Cafe but the word of mouth says Dirty and the internet searches say Durty and Saloon. Huh.

Anyways, how to get there: From the intersection in Hartford of Park Ave. and New Park Ave./Sisson Ave. head South on Park Ave. Take your second right. The place is just down on the right.

They moved the bar to the main room and cleared it out. When we were there, there was a DJ spinning out some awful hip hop/rap tunes. (Not a fan.) The food was good bar food: nachos, potato skins, wings, etc. The beer was pretty inexpensive (aka cheap). When we were there, pitchers were $5 for Pabst Blue Ribbon or, if you felt like splurging (which I did because I am decidedly not a fan of PBR), $10 for Killian's. They have a nice BIG screen TV in the pool room, if you want to watch. (We watched The Apprentice.) Of course they have Golden Tee. All in all, not a bad place. Good beer selection, good prices. When we went, the place was positively empty. So I don't know if you'd want to go because we like the place not packed. But I guess they need the business so give 'em a shot and see what you think!

Darklight Darksucks

I just finished watching Darklight, a brand new Sci Fi Channel movie. The premise as previously posted, from the official website:
A secret society fights evil with evil in this atmospheric original thriller.

Shiri Appleby (TV's Roswell), Richard Burgi (The Sentinel, SCI FI Pictures' Decoys), John de Lancie (Q from the Star Trek franchise) and David Hewlett (Stargate Atlantis, SCI FI Pictures' Boa vs. Python, the indie hit Cube) star in this tale of an ancient demoness named Lilith, who has been captured by a secret society known as The Faith.

Her true nature concealed by a powerful spell, Lilith lives as a 24-year-old woman with no memory of her ageless past — until William Shaw (Burgi) of The Faith recruits her to help him stop the Demonicos, a rampaging monster that is spreading a lethal plague across the Earth and whose only vulnerability is to Lilith's unique mystical power, known as Darklight.

As the duo race to slay the creature, they unwittingly expose a treacherous conspiracy within The Faith itself. Lilith has the power to set things right — but now that she has been reawakened to her true nature, will she resume her own evil ways? Trusting her is a life-or-death gamble for humanity, but it's one that William Shaw has no choice but to take.
Couple things before I launch into my scathing review. The "fighting evil with evil" aspect of the movie is overrated. While Lilith's past is mired in darkness and evil, none of that shows through in her current incarnation. Also, that "treacherous conspiracy within The Faith itself," yeah that's a bit overrated too. The conspiracy is more like a one-man uprising that has absolutely no overall purpose. Another sore point.

I suppose I've leaned into my review already. Let's start with the character of Lilith. In this movie she is far underplayed. Nothing is ever revealed as to her innate nature of evil and violence. NOTHING. If I were doing this, I would have made the entire character far darker and mysterious rather than entirely neutral/good and forgotten. Just not well done at all. The only character actually of note in the movie is William Shaw, played by The Sentinel guy. He has the only truly moral battle of the entire movie, and that's saying something for a movie about the "evil Lilith."

The main fight scene. Wow. It stunk to high heaven. (Hehe, pun.) The main portion of it was CGI generated (I know, redundant). AND not well-generated at that. Very clearly done on a computer. If this movie were done 5-10 years ago, it might not be so bad. But I expect better computer animation these days. In addition, the mechanics of the sequence are pitiful. "Gee, flying monster vs. flying monster, so I'll have one of them throw the other off a roof and the one that's falling, yeah she won't remember she can fly to save herself from bottoming out." Pathetic really. Same for other strategies employed. "Gee, he can fly and likes to swoop down from above so I'll run up some steps out in the open with the guy I'm trying to save. The monster probably won't swoop down from above or land right in front of me, no siree." Absolutely inane. I would have had gone down, underground - remove that favored element of the bad guy. Sheesh! AND WHAT THE HELL IS TOXIC ADHESIVE?!?!? Yeah, find me a good answer for that and I'll award you a kewpie doll.

Overall, the movie really stunk. Poorly implemented, over-hyped and poor fight scenes. My biggest beef is that this was a good premise. I really liked the story (before I saw the movie) and had high hopes for the movie. I know it's only a made-for-TV Sci Fi Channel movie but that's no excuse for the tripe they developed. For cryin out loud, it's definitely a bad sign when I'm yelling at the movie characters to use some common friggin' sense! AAAARRRGGHH!!!!

Anyways, good story, poor execution. If you're curious, check it out but don't hope for too much and you might not be so disappointed.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Puppies, puppies everywhere and not a drop to drink!

Scratch that.

Busy night tonight so I'll see if I get to posting more beyond this post. (No promises.) I owe y'all a "review" of The Shamrock Cafe (what I may have erringly referred to earlier as The Dirty Shamrock, nee The Troutbrook Brewery).

Visitied my aunt and uncle briefly. Unbeknownst to me prior to my arrival, my aunt's chocolate labrador had a litter of puppies on Monday. Five of them, very adorable. (They're puppies!!!)

If anyone is interested in one, send me an e-mail - I'll have photos to e-mail you shortly. They're pure-breds and have AKC papers. Both parents have good hips. My aunt told me the father had DNA testing too. (Don't know about the mom.) The mother, or "bitch" (woot! legitimate usage!), is named Abby. Both parents have excellent dispositions. The puppies are $500 for males, $550 for females. Will be available around October 25. Again, send me an e-mail if curious. (Btw, puppies located in upper state New York, near Lake George.)

I'm going to go back up there sometime before then so I can play with the puppies. (Yay!) In case you couldn't tell, I'm a dog person.

Friday, September 17, 2004


From Wednesday night - "One of my Infamous Blockhead Friends came up with this:"
You are nothing if not predictable, especially in your capriciousness.
Yeah, some of my friends are downright interesting (read: euphemism for strange).

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Making The Rounds III

Things I don't want to forget.

Slashdot post re PS2 Final Fantasy VII spinoff. (Yay!!!) For those who don't know, Final Fantasy VII kicked ass.

Slashdot post re HardOCP wins against Infinium. No clue what this is but I'm curious.

Slashdot post re solve Google's math puzzle and potentially win a job! I will not be competing as I have determined that the answer is too easy to bother spending time on.

Phosita post re the stories behind everyday inventions part iii. Parts i and ii immediately preceding iii.

Phosita post re Christina Aguilera trademarking her name.

WILL WHEATON dot NET post mentions The Top 25 Futurama Moments.

BoingBoing post re using maggots as a band-aid.

BoingBoing post re Quake 4 screenshots.

BoingBoing post re panic-inducing airline emergency information cards.

For balance, BoingBoing post re Discovery Channel's 10 Best Bathrooms.

/End random surfing and time-filler.

Mental Note

When in class, instead of putting cell phone in Manner Mode (vibrate only), put it in Silent All Mode. The vibration function, despite its novelty, makes an extremely faint humming noise and is mildly annoying. (Plus it's not like I'm going to answer the thing.)

ADDENDUM: In retrospect, it was mildly amazing that my cell phone rang in the library. The building is solid stone and I was in a classroom on the floor beneath ground level. Huh. Go Verizon. [11:08 PM]

This Interview Is Over.

Well, seeing as I missed yesterday and today's looking tight (and I won't be around tomorrow), I'm going to end the "Top Ten Worst Interview Questions" line. At 14 lists, I feel pretty good about it. Granted, some of the lists, especially the ones towards the end, were reaching a bit, but all in all it was a fun exercise. In fact, depending on how my interview looks (I only have one coming up next week thus far), I may incorporate one or more of the "worst" responses. Maybe that should be a goal of mine... Maybe that should be a goal of mine only if the interview goes horribly, and I mean horribly, wrong. Like flying monkeys wrong. Or homicidal baboons wrong. Or "gee, I bet she's making a pass at me" wrong. (i.e. A sudden onset of lack-of-any-and-all-common-sense.)

Btw, posting will be light until Saturday or Sunday. I'm visiting my grandparents in New York tomorrow (Glens Falls to be precise). Just for the day. For the holidays.

This morning when I turned on my laptop, a "burned out" line (one pixel in height) appeared on my laptop's screen in the middle. I haven't looked into Dell's policies yet (this laptop is ~1.5 years old) nor have I looked into the problem/a solution. If you have any suggestions or thoughts, let me know. (I'm going to back up my crucial data asap in case the screen dies entirely.)

Another btw, tonight my "Clan" (the term I will use to refer to the group of law students and non-law students I hang out with on a regular basis, total number in the 15-20 range) will hit The Dirty Shamrock, a "new" local pub located on the site of the former Troutbrook Brewery (which we used to frequent). I'll report back on the success or failure of our venture. I plan on staying for only a short time but that should be enough to initially gauge the establishment.

ADDENDUM: Look for your next, new Top Ten List next Wednesday. (Unless you organize a rebellion and take over control of the blog. Good luck!) [7:48 PM]

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hey You!

Whoever got to this blog using this search, nice try but you're not going to find those here. If anything, this search would be more likely but you're not going to find those here either.

Anonymity is Overrated

This post at Spartan Apparition pointed me to this post at Jeremy's Weblog on anonymous blogging.

I don't agree with Spartan's analysis, or at least the part about training wheels. However, I do agree with some of what Jeremy says, or at least his story.

I considered this issue way back when I was starting this blog. I don't necessarily think an anonymous author is hiding anything per se. Rather, anonymity frees one from the constraints identity otherwise entails. Realistically that may not be such a good thing, especially if you're anonymity is subsequently abolished and people come to know who you are. Still, it does allow you to make your blog a lot more snarky. If that's your goal, then anonymity may suit your blog.

For me, anonymity was out. As I state somewhere else (linked above):
I want to share too much for it to remain anonymous. In addition, there really isn’t anything I want to say that I’m not willing to do so publicly, affixing my name and reputation.
That's not to say I want every recruiter to find this site and thoroughly peruse it but if they do, I won't be embarrassed. I'm pretty confident I can defend everything I've posted, if I had to. That thinking also shows through in what I do choose to post since I try not to post anything I don't want to be questioned about or defend.

Raises for Everyone! (If you're a Senator or a Congressman)

From a CNN article we learn that the politicians are getting raises:
The cost-of-living raise would be the sixth straight for members of the House and Senate, boosting the salaries of lawmakers, now $158,100, by about $4,000 in the new calendar year.


This year, Vice President Cheney, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Chief Justice William Rehnquist receive $203,000. Associate justices get $194,300 and House and Senate party leaders get $175,700.

President Bush's salary of $400,000 is unaffected by the legislation.
I think I've just discovered why it wouldn't be so bad to be a Senator or Congressman.

Hey, I have an idea! Take their salaries and tie them to the status of the economy. Pick some midpoint both in economic status and salary. Then, if the economy is below that point, the salary accordingly decreases. When the economy moves above that point, the salary goes up. Might provide a perverse incentive for the politicians on the hill to actually do their job and keep the interests, and well-being, of their constituents in mind.

Google Your Way To A Better World!

I added a Google search thingie at the very bottom of the main column. I would have put it in the side column except it's too big and I'm not going to spend the time right now to try and make it work (like Soupie did). The Google search thingie has an option to search the blog itself. So if you're looking for something in particular, bombs away!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part XIV)

(Part I) (Part II) (Part III) (Part IV) (Part V) (Part VI) (Part VII) (Part VIII) (Part IX) (Part X) (Part XI) (Part XII) (Part XIII)

Q: Do you prefer to work with others or by yourself?

11. I don't play well with others. Just ask my kindergarten teacher. (I run with scissors too. And eat glue.)

10. I like to beat other people up so I usually end up working by myself.

9. I'm my own best friend!

8. Do dogs count?

7. I prefer hamburgers, thank you.

6. I'm an independent thinker. I like to work "outside the box." I also like to work without wearing any pants.

5. Most of the people I work with are figments of my imagination. I'm not sure which category that falls under...

4. I like to work with whomever provides me coffee.

3. I like to work by myself 'cause then I can take breaks whenever I want to and for as long as I want... which I don't.

2. Work with others. No, by myself. No, with others! By myself!!! WITH OTHERS!!! DAMN YOUR TRICK QUESTIONS!!!

1. I prefer not to work, if it's all the same to you.

Adult Swim Calls It Like It Is (Or Might Be)

N.B. "Adult Swim is Cartoon Network's late-night programming block of cartoons that appeal to a grown-up sense of humor and other adult sensibilities." (link) Adult Swim runs from 11pm to 5am, Saturday - Thursday.

Adult Swim just ran another one of its amusing interludes. This one went something like:

Okay, time for a pop quiz!

You get one point for every correct answer.

Is your first name William?

Is your last name _____?

Have you ever appeared on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast?

Did you ever alter your license agreement to prevent us from including a particular episode on the DVDs of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast Season 3?

If you scored a 4, please contact Adult Swim.

I love Adult Swim.

Nip/Tuck Actually Sinks Lower (aka Breaks More Barriers, Digs Up More Dirt, Becomes More Sensational)

Just finished watching this week's Nip/Tuck. Whoah. This week's official synopsis is:

When Sean and Christian discover that Merrill Bobbolit (Joey Slotnick) is performing destructive cosmetic surgeries in an illegal backroom operation, Christian is motivated to help him recover his dignity. Ava (Famke Janssen) convinces Christian to perform surgery on an aging high school principal as a bribe to keep Adrian and Matt from being suspended from school.
This was Episode 13, entitled 'Oona Wentworth.' Interesting observation, all of the official episode names are names of characters in the show, mostly women.

Other bits from this show. Adrian and Matt get in trouble twice. The second time, Sean steps in with a dictatorial swagger to try and get Matt's life back on track. Taking a cue, Ava attempts the same with her son, Adrian. Throughout this entire episode, Adrian continues to be a thorn in everyone's side. Right up until the end. You see him sitting in a dark room, on a couch. Ava enters, asking him what's wrong, explaining to him why she's trying to help him even though it's not apparent to him, and that things can't go back to the way they used to be. Time for the bombshell. Ava ends up locking lips with Adrian (HER SON). Not only is she a pedophile but she's into incest as well. Crazy.

Next episode looks interesting. Apparently Dr. Troy sleeps with Kimber ("it's just sex" she proclaims). This is a two-fold problem since Kimber has been seeing Dr. McNamara and Dr. Troy has been seeing that blind woman (Rebecca Gayheart). Plus the true nature of Ava and Adrian's "relationship" comes out. All in all, should be another exciting installment!

Btw, I'd apologize for the synopsis (since I once said I wouldn't be writing about Nip/Tuck) except none of my law school friends watch the show. So where else do I get to minorly rant on it?

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part XIII)

(Part I) (Part II) (Part III) (Part IV) (Part V) (Part VI) (Part VII) (Part VIII) (Part IX) (Part X) (Part XI) (Part XII)

Q: Tell me about the worst boss you've ever had.

10. Does it have to be a human or do animal and extraterrestrial bosses count too?

9. She used to spank me. On second thought, scratch that. I enjoyed it.

8. What's your name again?

7. I had this one boss who instututed a no-food and no-drink rule. The other employees and I banded together and rebelled against her except we passed out from lack of nourishment. She won.

6. He used the old fingernails on a chaulkboard routine as a motivational device.

5. She used to stalk through the corridors with a crossbow.

4. My old boss used to show up in an old Batman costume every Friday.

3. He beat me when I fell behind on my work.

2. He snored. Not at work, though.

1. I was self-employed for a while. Does that count?

Of Football, the Sun and an Apology

[In that order.]

On Saturday, I went to the UConn v. Duke football game over at Rentschler Field. Why you may ask? Why did I attend when I have never done so before and don't particularly care for football in general? Two reasons. First, the SBA had a tailgate party that I felt I should attend. Second, a friend of mine, a fellow SBA Rep., said she would drive. We only stayed for the first half of the game.

Why do I mention the game? Two reasons. First, it was sunny out and so I got burned in the very real and literal sense. (Note that this was my first time outdoors for any length of time for the entire Summer.) Just my forehead, back of the knees, ears and nose but enough to be really annoying. I shall refrain from embarking upon a discussion that would elucidate the "gross factor" inherent in my present recovery.

Second, and of infinitely more interest, by leaving early we missed a certain cheer in the second half. The specific one in question was the "Stick it in" cheer, I assume as applied to field goals. From all reports, this cheer not only involved various lascivious movements and concomitant actions on behalf of the cheerleaders (both women and men), but equally provocative movements and dancing in the stands as well. Others who witnessed and partook of the festivities noted that it was quite a sight to behold. If anyone out there can further clarify or explain, please do so. The cheer alone might have made up for the further roasting I would undoubtedly have received.

Lastly, an apology for failing to provide a Top Ten last night. Tonight I shall endeavor to post at least two such lists, possibly a third for atonement if time permits.

Don't forget to catch Nip/Tuck tonight on FX at 10pm! Looks like another solid episode. I'd describe it except that would require some web surfing and I'm out of time. (Again.)

ADDENDUM: Our seats were in the students section, right at one of the end zones. This meant we were sitting primarily with UConn undergrad. students, from Storrs, CT. They were of an entirely different and altogether heartier breed, both as measured in beer consumption and general activity and rowdiness. If I were to attend a UConn football game again, I would probably try to get tickets for somewhere else in the stadium. [5:16 PM]

Monday, September 13, 2004

There he is! Get him!!!

A mildly strange thing happened today. I was recognized. No, not as I strolled across campus or stole--I mean borrowed that library book. (Man, those librarians can run!) No, it was at an Intellectual Property and Technology law Society (IPTLS) meeting.

I met a reader of this blog.

Yes, go ahead, read that again. I met a reader. Someone I'd not known before, a 1L at the law school.

Strange occurence, really. I'll write a better reaction as an addendum later on since I'm off to the pub with a friend for a pint now. (Gotta get it in before the Student Bar Assoc., SBA, meeting later tonight!)

ADDENDUM: Post-pint now. On some level I knew that I would eventually run into a reader, due to the non-anonymity and relative openness of the blog. I just never thought that day would be today is all. I suppose I won't be so surprised or shocked next time. [7:57 PM]

ADDENDUM II: Whoah. I just checked Site Meter and someone found this blog from this Yahoo! search. A Season of Mists is the 5th result. Scary. [12:05 AM, 9/15/04]

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part XII)

(Part I) (Part II) (Part III) (Part IV) (Part V) (Part VI) (Part VII) (Part VIII) (Part IX) (Part X) (Part XI)

What did you get out of your academics?

11. A sense of overwhelming joy.

10. A desire never to work in academia.

9. A degree or two.

8. Obviously not money.

7. Carpal tunnel syndrome, poison ivy and 3 STD's.

6. A lot of free books but don't tell the library!

5. What academics? I don't understand the question.

4. Low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. (link)

3. A trip to the Betty Ford Center.

2. A zest for life!

1. Absolutely nothing.

A&E's "Star Wars: Empire of Dreams" Documentary

Tonight A&E premiered a very cool documentary on the making of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope called Star Wars: Empire of Dreams.
It is the most popular space adventure of all time and one of the most groundbreaking sagas in Hollywood history. This two-hour A&E SPECIAL PRESENTATION: STAR WARS: EMPIRE OF DREAMS details how the phenomenon captured imaginations with an irresistible Force and catapulted three young performers to stardom – Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. But the STAR WARS trilogy didn't just change the way we look at movies. It changed the way movies are made. What began as a galactic fairy tale became a success story beyond one man's wildest dreams. While George Lucas has remained true to his own vision, it's audiences everywhere who have reaped the rewards ever since May 1977 when moviegoers first caught sight of that galaxy far, far away. For Lucas, what began as a quest for creative freedom became a philosophy, a cultural phenomenon and his own empire of dreams.

The A&E SPECIAL PRESENTATION: STAR WARS: EMPIRE OF DREAMS features riveting movie clips and fascinating screen tests plus interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and other cast members.
If you're a Star Wars fan (like me), I highly recommend you catch this documentary. It's simply amazing and covers so many aspects of the movie that you'll be amazed. (It's also a nice prelude to the Sep. 21 release.)

ADDENDUM: Okay, the documentary isn't just on Episode IV (that's just the first hour of the two-hour-including commercials-documentary). I'm learning so much that my head may explode shortly! [9:17 PM]


The original Star Wars Trilogy finally hits DVD on Sep. 21. (Amazon) I don't know about you but I've been waiting for this for over a decade. (Seriously!)

Milla Jovovich Kicks Ass Again!!! (in Resident Evil: Apocalypse)

Yesterday I caught Resident Evil: Apocalypse ("RE:A") which stars Milla Jovovich whom you remember from her previous ass-kicking roles in The Fifth Element, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (albeit highly inaccurate, or so I am assured by knowledgeable authorities), and Resident Evil.

RE:A picks up where the first movie left off with Alice (Milla Jovovich) leaving the hospital in Raccoon City to find a post-apocalyptic world outside and immediately arming herself with a shotgun. You also learn how the city came to be so. As the story is revealed, other players enter the picture including recognizable characters such as Jill Valentine.

The story itself is generally mindless, as should be expected. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the movie. The action sequences were nicely done, plenty of Milla Jovovich kicking the arse of various things that were once alive. If you're at all familiar with the Resident Evil video games, you'll recognize quite a few characters and scenes, including a big baddie from one of the games. All in all, I recommend RE:A to anyone who enjoyed the first Resident Evil movie. It's more of the same only above ground where the other was below. And with more ass-kicking. And better enemies. And monsters.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy (If you liked the first installment.)

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Sci Fi Channel Movie(s) Report

I'm currently watching The Phantom on the Sci Fi Channel. I knew that it starred Billy Zane and Kristy Swanson but I had no idea that Catherine Zeta-Jones was in it too! (Other actors of note include Treat Williams and James Remar.) It's actually not such a great movie but I like it all the same, largely due to the actors and actresses involved, not to mention the comic book (strip) ties and sci-fi aspects.

Two Sci Fi Channel movies of note and potential interest:

Darklight premieres next Saturday, Sep. 18, at 9 PM. The story:
A secret society fights evil with evil in this atmospheric original thriller.

Shiri Appleby (TV's Roswell), Richard Burgi (The Sentinel, SCI FI Pictures' Decoys), John de Lancie (Q from the Star Trek franchise) and David Hewlett (Stargate Atlantis, SCI FI Pictures' Boa vs. Python, the indie hit Cube) star in this tale of an ancient demoness named Lilith, who has been captured by a secret society known as The Faith.

Her true nature concealed by a powerful spell, Lilith lives as a 24-year-old woman with no memory of her ageless past — until William Shaw (Burgi) of The Faith recruits her to help him stop the Demonicos, a rampaging monster that is spreading a lethal plague across the Earth and whose only vulnerability is to Lilith's unique mystical power, known as Darklight.

As the duo race to slay the creature, they unwittingly expose a treacherous conspiracy within The Faith itself. Lilith has the power to set things right — but now that she has been reawakened to her true nature, will she resume her own evil ways? Trusting her is a life-or-death gamble for humanity, but it's one that William Shaw has no choice but to take.
This one certainly intrigues me! I guarantee I'll watch it and report back to you.

In December, the Sci Fi Channel will show Earthsea:
An angry, headstrong youth, whose magical power could rival that of the greatest wizards....

A beautiful young priestess, introduced to evil....

A warrior king who wields words and weapons with equal force....

All on a world of islands and incantations, mystics and maidens, prophesies and power. All on EARTHSEA.

The SCI FI Original Miniseries Earthsea will premiere as a two-night television event in December 2004. The four-hour coming-of-age fantasy stars Shawn Ashmore as the young mage-in-training Ged; Kristin Kreuk as the priestess Tenar; Isabella Rossellini as High Priestess Thar; and Danny Glover as the master wizard Ogion. Produced by Hallmark Entertainment in association with Bender-Brown Productions, Earthsea is written by Gavin Scott (The Mists of Avalon) for executive producers Robert Halmi, Sr. (Merlin, Gulliver's Travels, Animal Farm), Lawrence Bender (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction) and Kevin Kelly Brown (Roswell).

Adapted from Ursula K. Le Guin's award-winning Earthsea novels, this epic fantasy follows the tale of a reckless youth destined to become the greatest sorcerer that the mystical world of Earthsea has ever known. When the difficult and rebellious Ged discovers the extent of his magical powers, he seeks to master the ancient arts — and his own impulses as well. As he journeys to manhood, he will combat dragons, fall in love, cross death's threshold and ultimately wield the power to reunite a planet.

Frequently mentioned in the company of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth and C.S. Lewis's Narnia, Earthsea is thought to be one of the great fantasy creations. Le Guin, beloved by readers of all ages, has received accolades including five Hugo Awards, five Nebula Awards and the National Book Award. The Earthsea books have been translated into 16 languages, with millions of copies in print.
This one also intrigues me. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait about three months to report on it.

I have fairly high hopes for these two Sci Fi Channel Movies. I've watched some good ones in the past, e.g. Absolon, Cliver Barker presents Saint Sinner, Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher and The Breed.

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part XI)

(Part I) (Part II) (Part III) (Part IV) (Part V) (Part VI) (Part VII) (Part VIII) (Part IX) (Part X)

Q: How would your friends describe you?

11. Would this be before or after I've bribed them?

10. Intelligent donkey.

9. They think I'm a risk-taker. But that's just because I'm willing to help them bury the bodies.

8. They call me the High Lord, Master of the Seven Companies, Prince of the Galaxy.

7. Cheap bastard comes to mind. Actually, I believe the phrase they used was unscrupulous, lying, cheating, cheap bastard.

6. Probably as a crazy cook. But I say everyone should alphabetize their socks. Don't you agree?

5. Reliable. You know, like a Pinto or a Yugo or Firestone tires.

4. They'd say I was always such a nice guy/girl and the last person anyone would suspect of being a mass murderer. Fat lot they know...

3. Able to leap tall buildings with a single bound!

2. Evil. They'd say I'm evil. Really, I'm just misunderstood but I don't tell them that.

1. What friends?

Friday, September 10, 2004

Rock Toxin

Pop Rocks just finished on ABC Family. (As mentioned in an earlier post.)

Y'know, I actually enjoyed the movie. It was pretty much what I expected, maybe a little fluffier but then again it was on ABC Family. Gary Cole did well with his role. The whole thing was nicely done.

It's kind of strange. My reaction to the movie reminds me a lot of my reaction to I Want to Marry Ryan Banks, another made-for-tv movie. I really liked the movie, notwithstanding the insubstantial nature of the entire production. Neither one could have made it as a movie-theatre movie (I wouldn't have shelled out $4.75 to see either one... except perhaps for the Ryan Banks one since it starred Emma Caulfield) but as a tv movie they're both well-deserving and worth watching.

ADDENDUM: Interesting to note that the last 11 search engine queries that led to this blog were all for Pop Rocks. (Hello all!) [10:33 PM]

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part X)

(Part I) (Part II) (Part III) (Part IV) (Part V) (Part VI) (Part VII) (Part VIII) (Part IX)

N.B. I'm starting to run out of interview questions. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. [Found some questions here, here, here, and here. -- 10:35 PM]

BONUS: All of today's responses are lines from different movies. See if you can name them! (Answers linked to right after the quote.)

Q: Who are you?

10. "Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm a schizophrenic and so am I." (link)

9. "I'm the Milky Way Man, and I know everything!" (link)

8. "No one of consequence." (link)

7. "I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and braun." (link)

6. "I'm a person and my name is Anakin." (link)

5. "I'm a businessman, Tom. I don't like violence; blood is a big expense." (link)

4. "I'm a fan of man. I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist." (link)

3. "I'm Spartacus!" (link)

2. "I'm a stallion, baby!" (link)

1. "I'm your worst nightmare. I'm a citizen with a constitutional right to bear arms!" (link)