Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I'm using my intermittent Internet access mostly to upload photos. Now I've got pictures of Odebolt for you. You know where.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

New photos - Dubuque

Let me take you on a virtual walk through my childhood in the Victorian world of Dubuque. Or at least show you some pictures of the city. Right here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rest in peace

My grandmother died yesterday. This isn't really a surprise to any of us, and the emotional impact is muted. After all, she'd spent the last few years in The Home, which is really just the reaper's reception area, and most of her functions - sight, hearing, memory, reasoning - had already faded away.

She'll be buried on Christmas Eve in Odebolt, a town which may not outlive her by long. The weather hasn't been conductive to photography, but I'll try to get you a few pictures of what's left of town.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Feather River College, here I come

Remember how I was talking about applying for a head coaching job? Well, the NCAA has made things easy for me by putting together a web site for sports job applicants.

For the rest of you, this is worth a look. I'm sure that the assistant women's soccer coach job at WSU could be your big break.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On the move

Iowans: I'll be in the state from December 18th to January 4th, so if you want to see me, you should do it then.

Idahoans: See you soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How do I top this?

Not only is my brother engaged, he's engaged to someone who cares.

If I want to keep up the pace here I'm going to have to find someone with even more impressive caring credentials. I know a couple young ladies who used to fight forest fires - maybe I should get to work on courting one of them.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

By jingo!

The main reason I've been quiet the last few days was to urge you to ruminate upon my previous post.

That said, with my down time, I've been looking at old high school yearbooks. Not mine, mind you - just whatever old yearbooks people have put on the Web. They're much more interesting - and the older they get, the more interesting they are. Go ahead, just punch a year and "yearbook" into Google and see what you get. (The portal at is a little clumsy, but also worth a look.)

Aren't you just fascinated by the knowledge that Julia "Dutch" Laney's most used expression was "The big nut"? Or that Stan Roberts had his best time in pharmacy school when "the class attended Schlitz Brewery in a body and finished up at the Egg house"? And I think it's slightly amusing that a guy named Harold Hill proclaimed himself to be the "biggest grafter."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

If I can be serious for a minute

Finals time is when my depression really kicks into gear. It isn't really because of the finals themselves. Oh, sure, they're worth worrying about and I always dread their outcome, but I dread lots of things. No, the real problem with finals time is that there's far too much down time.

There is absolutely nothing I have to do until Thursday. Then there's absolutely nothing I have to do until the following Monday. That's a lot of time to kill, and the problem with depression is that I don't really want to do anything at all. In past finals weeks, I've gone three or four days secluded in my apartment without talking to anyone, sleeping fourteen hours just because I can't force myself to do anything else.

Recently I watched Stephen Fry's The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. While I'm just plain old depressed instead of manic depressed, parts of the film really caught my attention. Fry asks several people with mental illness if they would press a button that would make their illness disappear. You might be surprised to hear that most of them say "no."

I wasn't surprised at all. I'm not sure if I want to stop being depressed. It's an integral part of my personality. If I were healthy, I'd be a different person. What kind of person would I be? Would I be like myself before I was depressed, an obnoxious kid? Would I be the kind of person people would like and/or respect? Would I be the kind of person I would like and/or respect?

I'm mentally ill, but I'm functional. I can pull my own weight in the world. Sure, I'm not happy most of the time, but so what? In fifty-some years I'll be dead and it won't matter if I was happy or not. I'm scared to make a fundamental change in my personality for such a fleeting thing. I suppose I wouldn't press the button.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The only wiki I've ever been tempted to join

Why did I discover TV Tropes just before finals? It's a mostly-comprehensive cliche archive for all kinds of media. Many are cliches I already recognized - I think many of you have heard me talk about The Rashomon - but there are a few I never really thought about until I saw them here. For instance: "If you see a dog on the cover, and that little shiny Newbery medal, you know that that dog's going down."

I'd add The Courtroom Race Rule. White judge, black baliff. Black judge, white baliff.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I feel like Bret Hart

Remember when I said that we lost at Moot Court?


We got a letter yesterday that informed us that our hosts at Seattle U made a little mistake when adding together scores. Instead of being the tenth-best team and thus not qualifying for the knockout rounds, we were actually the fourth-best team and should have advanced.

Oh, and one of the teams that's going to New York as a winner? They were the actual tenth-place finisher and shouldn't have qualified.

SU feels very bad about the mistake. The beneficiaries of the mistake aren't willing to give up their accidental bounty, and New York won't let another team enter the national competition.

Seattle says they're willing to send our team to a different moot court tournament in the spring. Never mind that most of those tournaments require you to register in mid-November, and never mind that many of them expressly forbid you from competing if you competed in a fall moot court tournament. Oh, and we'd have to do a hell of a lot more work.

Maybe we can find a tournament that takes place somewhere nice, fly there first-class, and stay in the top hotels. I here there's one in Vienna.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Apocryphal, but still fun

I don't consider Time to be all that great a news magazine, but I will give them credit for putting most of their articles (including their huge archives) online. I will also thank them for this quote.

Representative Tom Tancredo, another long-shot G.O.P. candidate, tells me that after a debate in New Hampshire, one of his staffers walked up to a guy in a shark costume and asked him if he was a Ron Paul supporter. "No. They're all nuts," replied the shark. "I'm just a guy in a shark suit."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And he got published before me, too

My brother (who is younger than me) just got engaged. I was kinda hoping that my parents would pull a Taming of the Shrew and forbid him from marrying until he can find somebody crazy enough to marry me, but it looks like I'll have no such luck. I guess I'll have to take out my frustrations on him by planning a really lousy bachelor party. Chuck E. Cheese, perhaps?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

(Bey)On(d) Iowa (see what I did there?)

Rumors continue to swirl about Kirk Ferentz leaving Iowa to take the Michigan head coaching job. I'm sure the message boards are full of anger right now. (Well, they're always full of anger, so that's a safe bet.) Should Ferentz leave, who would I want for the job? I could always apply for it myself using my PlayStation experience a la Jon Boileau, but I'd probably prove disastrous.

Guys I'd Like To See But I Don't Think We Could Hire
USF Head Coach Jim Leavitt. A member of the Legendary Hayden Fry Coaching Tree (LHFCT), he took South Florida from a bunch of nobodies in 1-AA to a national power. He wouldn't leave USF for the Alabama job, though, so I don't think he'd leave for Iowa.

Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema. Former Hawkeye standout under Fry who still has a Tiger Hawk tattoo. By all accounts he's one of the best young coaches in the country, but he's already got a great job at Wisconsin.

Guys Who Will Get Some Talk, But We Shouldn't Hire

SDSU Head Coach Chuck Long. He nearly won the Heisman for the Hawkeyes in '85 and ran a high-powered offense at Oklahoma. His tenure at San Diego State has been unremarkable. Give him a few years.

New York Jets OL Coach Mike Devlin. Another UI alumnus, but he's mighty inexperienced.

Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops. Yes, he's a member of the LHFCT, but his program at Arizona has been crappy and his players' graduations rates have been consistently awful. If you're going to round up idiots to play for your team, they should at least be idiots that play good football.

Guys I'd Like Us To Hire
Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. He was the offensive line coach for the Hawkeyes from the beginning of Ferentz's tenure through the Orange Bowl and helped turn those guys into monsters. Now he's re-energized a stagnant Packers offense. Definitely a short-lister.

UNI Head Coach Mark Farley. Not part of the LHFCT, but made Northern Iowa a national power in I-AA. Worth a shot if we can't get Philbin.

A Guy Who Won't Get Considered But Should
Navy Head Coach Paul Johnson. He's turned Navy into a winning program. Navy! Imagine what he could do if he could recruit the thugs, illiterates, and moral degenerates that make up the backbone of America's top football teams. And don't give me that "the wishbone won't work in the Big Ten" line. He used to be offensive coordinator at Hawaii, so he knows how to throw the ball around.

As for the vacant Washington State job, the press is throwing around all the usual Western football names: Chris Petersen, John Gregory, Scott Linehan, and possibly Mike Price.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A phrase you never want to hear from one of your professors

"Yeah, Salieri's pretty much taken up residence in the back seat of my car."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

On Missourah-KU

It isn't often you get schools talking Civil War smack to each other.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mind Your Manners

I've been shopping for jobs in the suburban Seattle area, so I figured it would be a good idea to learn a little about the place in case I end up moving there. And what better way to do it than by watching clips of Almost Live?

Here's what I've learned so far.
Ballard = Minnesota.
There's a great quiet place to study in the U-district.
Lynnwood ladies are stylin'.
Cookies will cost me more than a dollar.
The Kingdome is gone.
Renton and Bellevue may be in the same area code, but that doesn't mean they're anything alike.
Uncle Fran will always be my friend.
I should be like Billy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More pictures

A few photos of Seattle U, available you-know-where.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Still no umlauts in band names

So, today is the official release date for Rock Band, one of the most highly anticipated video games since Super Mario 3. It'll cost a pretty penny, but the addition of drums and vocals should make it more accessible than Guitar Hero and thus more fun.

Here are my thoughts on the track list.

Aerosmith - Train Kept a Rollin' I'm not a big Aerosmith fan. This is mitigated by the fact that "Train" isn't an Aerosmith-penned song. I can just pretend I'm doing the Yardbirds' version. (Or the Motörhead version, for that matter.)
The Beastie Boys - Sabotage As much as I love this song, I'm not sure it's Rock Band material. It's not really a musical tour-de-force. Could be fun for first-timers.
Black Sabbath - Paranoid Another rock classic, not too difficult.
Blue Oyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper If you're not excited to play this one you have no soul. I'm going to find myself tempted to sing the harmony on the verses.
Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead or Alive This one should see a lot of would-be vocalists crash and burn, if only from laughter.
Boston - Foreplay/Long Time Can't go wrong with Boston.
The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go Not bad. I'd rather see "Rock the Casbah" in this slot, though.
Coheed and Cambria - Welcome Home I'd prefer the BTO song of the same name. Actually, I'd like to see just about any BTO song.
David Bowie - Suffragette City Watch some programmers flail away at this one here.
Deep Purple - Highway Star I'll have to recruit somebody else to recruit that scream in the intro.
Faith No More - Epic This one should be ripe for piss-poor impressions of the Faith No More singer.
Fall Out Boy - Dead on Arrival Blargh.
Foo Fighters - Learn to Fly For a second I thought this was "Learning to Fly" by Pink Floyd and I was really excited. But "Learn To Fly" isn't bad.
Garbage - I Think I'm Paranoid People listen to this?
The Hives - Main Offender I guess this is what you use when you can't get the Sex Pistols.
Hole - Celebrity Skin I've always wanted a video game where I can pretend to be Courtney Love.
Iron Maiden - Run to the Hills Frankly I would have preferred "2 Minutes to Midnight," but there can only be one response to the presence of Iron Maiden. Excellent!
Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl Bonus points for singing the lyrics to "Lust for Life." Extra bonus points for singing the lyrics to "Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out)."
The Killers - When You Were Young No reaction.
KISS - Detroit Rock City I think everyone in the band needs to shout "Get up" and "Get down."
Metallica - Enter Sandman Another song which should feature lame impressions of the lead singer. "AYEEEXIT LAYEEGHT-UH! AYEENTER NAYEEGHT-UH!"
Molly Hatchet - Flirtin' With Disaster I'll have to work on my redneck cred before I take a shot at this one.
Mountain - Mississippi Queen Should be fun for the guitarist, but the singer won't have much to do.
The New Pornographers - The Electric Version Is this what the kids are listening to these days?
Nine Inch Nails - The Hand That Feeds Probably the best NIN song they could've picked.
Nirvana - In Bloom Okay, I guess. "Come As You Are" would've been better.
OK Go - Here It Goes Again Has this song been in an iPod commercial? It sounds like the kind of song they'd use.
The Outlaws - Green Grass and High Tides I hope this isn't the 21 minute version.
Pixies - Wave of Mutilation People say these guys are great, but this song sounds kinda generic to me.
The Police - Next to You I was about to say that "Can't Stand Losing You" would be better, but that's available as downloadable content.
Queens of the Stone Age - Go With the Flow Boooo-ring.
Radiohead - Creep Not bad.
The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop Beginners only.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California Most of RHCP's songs blend together in my mind.
R.E.M. - Orange Crush What, was "What's the Frequency Kenneth?" too expensive?
Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter Yes, I know they used "Paint it Black" in Guitar Hero 3, but I'd like to see it here instead.
Rush - Tom Sawyer Um, why don't you take the drum part on this one?
The Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock Not bad. Maybe it's too cliche to expect "Bullet with Butterfly Wings."
Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun You know how when you play "More than a Feeling," everyone in the room sings along with the chorus? I think this will be the chorus sing-along in Rock Band.
Stone Temple Pilots - Vasoline Pretty blah.
The Strokes - Reptilia I guess they need a few recent songs in here to draw in the young whippersnappers.
Sweet - Ballroom Blitz Another warmup song, except for the singer - there's some seriously wild screaming in here.
Weezer - Say It Ain't So I don't really like Weezer. That said, I'm sure people will love this one.
The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again What, no keyboards?
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps Doesn't really grab me.

Of the announced downloadable songs so far, I like the aforementioned "Can't Stand Losing You," "Roxanne," "Ride the Lightning," "Fortunate Son," "Juke Box Hero" (and it's about damned time they got a song about how cool it is to be a rock star!), "War Pigs," "Brass in Pocket," and Nirvana's Nevermind album.

So... who here has a 360 and room for a lead guitarist?

UPDATE! I was wrong. You can put umlauts in your band name now.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Let us sing of legends

Most of you don't give a damn about Moot Court. Even its name implies that it's unimportant. But yesterday an act of heroism occured and I must be its chronicler.

Our school sent two teams. Each team member focused on one issue. I was our team's expert on FAAAA preemption, and Erin handled the issue for our other team.

Erin's team qualified for the first knockout round, and the judicial panel for that round was seriously hostile. They had reviewed just about every case in the area and tried their damnedest to destroy the positions of the parties. The questions often began with phrases like "Oh, come on, counsel, are you saying that..." or "You've told me three times that you've conceded this issue..."

Erin handled the situation with grace and aplomb, and stuck to her guns. At one point, she told the court that Morales required a state law to have a forbidden significant effect on the federal law to be preempted. The judge asked her, "Where in Morales does it say that?"

Without missing a beat - without looking at her notes - Erin said "Page 389, Your Honor."

She was right.

Nobody memorizes pinpoint cites. Erin didn't memorize pinpoint cites. And yet, she knew.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Missouri loves company

So you're a parent and your daughter gets in a fight with her best friend. Most parents would do their awkward best to console their kid. But you're in suburban St. Louis, and nothing is good enough for your kid. What are you to do?

Why, you create a fake Myspace profile for a cute boy. You have the cute boy send your daughter's ex-friend some messages flirting with her. You win her trust. Then you turn around and start posting bulletins about what a fat ugly bitch she is.

So how were you supposed to know she would overreact and kill herself?

And then parents smash up your foosball table and get the crummy local rag to write some crummy article about the whole sordid affair.

Oh, and there's this gem.

The Meiers do not plan to file a civil lawsuit. Here's what they want: They want the law changed, state or federal, so that what happened to Megan - at the hands of an adult - is a crime.

If making fun of people on the Internet becomes a crime, then I'll see you in San Quentin.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What if Ron Paul won and abolished the FDA?

I think... we'd see a little something... like this.

Cancer-On! Apply directly to cancer!
Cancer-On! Apply directly to cancer!
Cancer-On! Apply directly to cancer!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I blame cartoons

As I've probably explained to most of you by now, the films The Little Mermaid and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? came out at a very formative period in my life. Since then I've found red-haired women to have a slight edge in attractiveness over their non-redheaded counterparts. Frankly, I would've thought Christina Hendricks was hot even if she were bald, but her fiery locks (and Idaho origins) are enough for her to displace Anne Dudek as my TV Girlfriend.

(Sadly, a lot of pictures of her show her wearing totally ridiculous unflattering makeup.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Brain damage?

On one hand, I think it's totally awesome that some guy broke out the Guitar Hero clone Frets On Fire and decided to add Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album to the game. On the other hand, I gotta advise him to get a life.

And on the third hand, I must say I'm not sure about his decision to turn the whole album into one long track. I like me some Guitar Hero, but I'm not sure I could sit down and plug away at the same track for 43 minutes. If I failed somewhere around "Money" I'd be downright miffed that I had to play through those twenty-plus minutes again.

(Also long, but more playable: Metallica's "Call of Ktulu" and The Eagles' "Hotel California."

Sunday, November 4, 2007


I went to yesterday's Vandal football game. Photos here.

On another football note, I'm disappointed at Navy cadets' reaction to beating Notre Dame (finally). I was hoping they'd march onto the field in formation and meticulously disassemble the goalposts.

On a non-football note, I have no idea if I can meet the system requirements for my Christmas present to myself.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I demand answers

I have just visited the site of Whiskey's Steakhouse in Boston, and it would appear that some of the stories I have heard about the place from this guy and this guy are somewhat exaggerated, and that Whiskey's is actually a fairly typical steakhouse, not an Iowa-themed restaurant.

This revelation shocks me to my core. Care to explain your wicked lies?!?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

They don't build 'em like this any more

I was slightly saddened to see Tacoma's Stadium High School on Johns Hopkins' list of failed high schools.

Seriously, what's cooler than a hundred-year-old luxury hotel converted into a Victorian-style high school with turrets and everything? It's totally wasted on Tacoma.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I have always been fascinated by robots. They are clean and efficient.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is returning.

Well, sort of.

It's actually just Tom, Crow, and Gypsy. No Joel or Mike. And no bad movies. And they'll be animated, not puppets. And they'll be voiced by new people. And only two of the original writers - Jim Mallon and Paul Chaplin - will be returning.

So it really resembles the original about as much as "Jim Henson's Muppet Babies" resembles "The Muppet Show." Which is ironic, because the Joel years of MST3K were full of jokes at the expense of the Muppet Babies for being a soulless cash-in on a successful franchise.

Why don't we enjoy some entertaining robot-related material instead? Here's "Look Around You" creator Peter Serafinowicz as Michael-6.

And here's a visit to a robot maker in rural China.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm finally sick of reality TV

Ah, reality television. You've taken so many relatively ordinary people, thrown them into ridiculous situations, and used editing tricks to turn them into heroes and villains for my amusement. But I come here not to praise reality TV, but to bury it.

Take, for instance, The Pick-Up Artist. Men who have a general strategy for getting women to sleep with them make me uneasy. When that strategy involves subtly tearing down womens' self-esteem and simultaneously self-aggrandizing, I get sick to my stomach. This is a sleazy show for sleazy people and I don't know how you can watch it without needing a shower afterwards.

And then there's Phenomenon. Is this supposed to be a talent show for magicians, or a search for people with supernatural powers? If the latter, what is magician Criss Angel doing here? And if the former, what is Uri Gellar doing here? In fact, what the hell is Uri Gellar doing on television in the first place? It's been over thirty years since James Randi and Johnny Carson proved he was a fraud with one lousy illusion. If you think that Gellar, or anyone else for that matter, has magical abilities far beyond those of ordinary men, you deserve to be punched in the face.

Can it get worse? Yes, yes it can. Rumor has it that we may be subjected to a "Baby Mind Reader." Not a baby who reads minds, mind you, but a Scottish bastard who suckers the gullible into believing he can use telepathy to contact infants. If you need further evidence that this is a bad idea, why not watch him ever-so-sensitively discuss the topic of domestic violence?

With the prospect of a writers' strike looming on the horizon, we may see even more hideous reality television coming our way. Brace yourselves.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Court adopts the "balls don't touch" rule

Some of my readers will be taking the MPRE this weekend, so it may be important for them to take a look at In the Matter of Inglimo, recently handed down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Counts 1 and 2 relate to Attorney Inglimo's representation of L.K in a criminal case between April 2000 and January 2001. During this representation in October 2000, Attorney Inglimo had sexual relations with L.K.'s girlfriend in L.K.'s presence and with L.K. also engaging in sexual relations with his girlfriend during the sexual encounter. The referee further found, however, that there was no evidence that during the encounter there was any intimate physical contact between Attorney Inglimo and L.K.

...Without commenting on the applicability of other Rules of Professional Conduct, we agree with the referee's conclusion that the evidence in the present case did not show that Attorney Inglimo had engaged in "sexual relations" with client L.K in violation of SCR 20:1.8(k)(2). There was no testimony as to precisely what occurred during Attorney Inglimo's encounter with L.K. and his girlfriend. There was no testimony that Attorney Inglimo ever intentionally touched L.K.'s intimate parts or caused L.K. to touch his intimate parts. Moreover, there was no testimony that Attorney Inglimo engaged in any form of sexual intercourse with L.K. Thus, because it does not appear that the definitional elements of "sexual relations" have been satisfied, the simple term "with" in the prohibitional phrase in SCR 20:1.8(k)(2) cannot transform this situation into a violation of the rule.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hail, hail to [YOUR COLLEGE HERE]

Are you looking to start a new college football rivalry? Do you need a traveling trophy to symbolize that rivalry? Let the Traveling Trophy Generator make one for you.

You and your rival will be playing for:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Attention dentists: pay your taxes

You've probably heard that New Hampshire dentist Elaine Brown and her husband Ed, who holed themselves up in their house rather than pay their delinquent taxes, were finally brought to justice a couple of weeks ago. Their web site remains, in which they claim to be political prisoners ("First they came for the tax-evading yahoos, and I said nothing, for I was not a tax-evading yahoo...") and demand to be shown the law which renders them liable for federal taxes (26 USC secs. 1 and 63).

A Louisiana dentist, Dr. Louis Genard, was also recently convicted of tax evasion. His excuse: he's not an American citizen, he's an ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven. (I wonder if he can be deported?)

Of course, I shouldn't be casting stones from inside the glass house of law school, as an Indiana law student is facing charges for machine-gunning his Real Estate Finance textbook.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Only ten BYU grads in this year's class

The new law student guidebook is here. Now I can learn the real names of all those 1Ls I've been seeing around the place, like...

-Punk Rawk Cheerleader
-Prom Queen and her Velociraptor Friend
-Teen Mom
-Short-Haired Hottie
-Somewhat-Longer-Haired Hottie
-Gay Sting
-Front-Butt Guy

Monday, October 15, 2007

Could be worse. Could be Pyongyang.

Suppose you're a city that sucks, and you're trying to attract a new, non-sucky populace. How do you do it? Well, if you're Louisville, you run a smear campaign against other cities. Interesting, I guess. Let's see what other wretched hives of scum and villainy have to say about themselves.

Camden, New Jersey claims to be ...a city rich in history, and diversity. A City that is on the move to provide a better place to live, work, support families, and raise children. A City that offers riverfront development, growth in educational facilities, entertainment, higher education, transportation, health care, sports facilities, economic development, and cultural enrichment. A City that is rich in spiritual values and offers a large variety of churches and worship services... A City that provides an unparalleled opportunity to be a victim of crime at six times the national average.

Opa-Locka, Florida, where 35% of the population is below the poverty line and only half the people have high school diplomas, offers very little on its web site except for pictures of its rather stout mayor, and announcements about the new branch library (which offers "home deliveries Netflex style").

Youngstown is a diverse community with beautiful parks and historical landmarks. It's also been known as "Crimetown, U.S.A." since the 1960s.

I'll give El Centro, California some credit: its web site does mention that the city's unemployment rate is over 20%.

When I think of tourism, I think of Gary, Indiana. At the Crossroads of America, Gary provides the perfect location for a weekend getaway, a family vacation, a business trip, or a night on the town. Relax on the beach or rent a jet ski! ...Next time you are in town, stop in and have a good time. There's lots to do, and plenty of time to do it! Such as, say, exploring the completely abandoned and crime-ridden downtown?

Compton notes that it has plenty of affordable housing. Wonder why?

East St. Louis City Hall (freshly repurchased from a prison inmate who won it in a lawsuit) announces Our city offers superb community services, such as parks, schools, and libraries to name just a few. I'd rather get those services somewhere else, if possible.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It's almost like they didn't pay attention in sex ed

Let's count the number of different spellings of "pregnant" at India Parenting!

"my girlfriend and i just had sex for the first time today she i worse a condom extra safe but she is scared and so am i if she gets pregnant wot are the chances of that happning"
"Me and my ex had unprotected sex a lot and I'm a A student and sports star and I'm 14 and I have had my period but wondering can I come on and still be pergnat?"
"i had sex with my boyfriend and he used a condom but he took it off and we stared to kiss and i felt some of his nut leacking down my vigina area can i be preganet?"
"i had swolled some cum and i was woundering if i could be pergnat cuz i havent had my period for like 2 months and i dont know what to do?and can u get pergant off ur own nut" (Note: I have no idea what that second question means.)
"I had a sex with my girl friend when she is in a period, but i m wondering that does she can become pragnent?"
"I have taken pregnancy tests and all of them have come back negative, am I pregnate?"
"i was wondering if me and my boyfriend had sex 3 days before my period can i get pregrant?"
"me and my boy friend had sex today and was on my period my boyfriend said i wont get pregetnet because the egg is dead is that true im i pregetnet or not"
"my husband i i are tryin to have a baby so 2 weeks after my period we started having unprotected sex a week later my brest are swollen i i fell sick in the morining i red that you can have symp as early as a week after could i be pregnanty"

Friday, October 5, 2007

I will probably never have another chance to gloat on this blog

"So, how did the Powder Puff team do?" you ask.

Funny you should say that, because we went undefeated, we were never scored upon, and we demoralized our opponents so badly that one team quit rather than play us. It's been a while since sports have given me anything other than pain, so I'm going to relish the glow of the Golden Barbie.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Are you a normal?

In order to fire up my Powder Puff football team, I showed them a little motivational speaking from the Ultimate Warrior.

I was curious to see if the Warrior's... unique... rhetorical stylings could be replicated by a computer, so I fed some old Warrior promos into the Electric Poet.

Here's the result.

But if those who walk or anything. Only a thunder the Warriors all know, the destiny of the warriors! Full of the power of the Warriors past, the wall from our great forefathers from parts unknown. You realise, as another challenge, only breathes the people do. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and let it only as we, Hulk Hogan, not for the Warriors, the strength of the way of life that the Hulkamaniacs, the pores of a different structure. Not to Africa and dirty and you don't deserve to walk with a different forcefield around you, Hulk Hogan in the Still walking unaffected by Papa Shango. Now we walk or do you, can feel it. Warriors, floating through the ground will realize then that flows in their body is nothing of Mercury. Something's gonna be no longer want to take the streets every day of Mars. The blood of you, Hulk Hogan, the skies are close to swell. And when you fall like a ticket to Africa and that you and Hulkamaniacs together. Hulk Hogan, when we walk with Gods from our great forefathers from beyond, there is nothing of intensity and keep coming. Not to give. Not to give. Not even a virus through the power of the skies are nothing of Jupiter. The challenge to is about the world does not to places you The Ultimate Warrior. I can live in the power of the Ultimate Warrior. I to take what he feels is not for the skeletons of Jupiter. The cosmic powers of is of the eighth wonder of a natural disaster can smell it. Warriors, I promise.
If they seem. But no harm, but what we meet, Hulk Hogan, I bring the power of voodoo, put upon us can live in their body is no place to be no harm, but just beginning to live forever? For Hulk Hogan, when we walk with Gods from the power of you, walk and you have had to walk or without the money in the Warrior and Hulkamaniacs together. Hulk Hogan, for one another day of the spaceship with the Ultimate Challenge. I will fall like the cost of the writing on the power of the skies are ones that I breathe, that of the darkness I am the Warriors, I look above to live forever. But the veins, and I have had to live forever. But if those twenty ninth man, you have always prevail.
Load the twenty eight of accepting any and Hulkamaniacs together. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior!
How must ask you ever could. I prepare, you want to prove to one another can't buy what we walk or buy what you Jimmy Hart, not that smells of c-notes!
I, Sergeant Slaughter, was born from here, and Hulkamaniacs and the destiny of those twenty eight normal men want your beliefs that the spaceship as they spoke to the most awesome force in the way of intensity and venture into the world does not Earthquake insurance. I can smell it. Warriors, I speak of combat. Twenty eight normal men that are of the power of Saturn. The challenge of my Warriors. Tonight, there is why the Warriors have special attractions such as far from our great forefathers from parts unknown. You realise, as far as you Hulk Hogan, I as I look above to breathe the fate of the blood in the Ultimate Warrior is much more than just an unknown frequency. The family that darkness you fear. I look above to where I've been.

Hooters fears controversy

I was watching "House" last night, as I am accustomed to do, and I saw a commercial touting Hooters as the ideal restaurant at which to watch football. The commercial began with three men watching football at someone's house - a white guy on the left, a black guy in the middle, and another white guy on the right.

Suddenly, three female Hooters employees arrived to make their sales pitch. A white woman on the left, a black woman in the middle, and a white woman on the right.

Anyone who pays even the slightest bit of attention to television commercials knows that even a hint of interracial romance is verboten on Madison Avenue, but this struck me as going way too far. Did the ad executives think that if the women stood in a different order, it would imply that they were romantically and/or sexually attracted to men of a different race?

More importantly, are ad agencies so out-of-touch that they think Birmingham would go up in riots if they took a second out of their commercials to show the world that yes, interracial couples exist in real life, and it's no big deal? And suppose someone is offended by "miscegenating race-traitors" in their commercials. Is that the kind of person they're really trying to attract to their product? Will Hooters patrons show up with dogs and fire hoses to keep the colored waitresses away?

On a less idiotic note, I'm cheering for Dr. House to hire Dr. Mean Bitch, Dr. Kumar, and Dr. Superjew, and Dr. Mean Bitch - Anne Dudek - will be forgiven for her role in "White Chicks" as I appoint her my new TV Girlfriend.

Monday, October 1, 2007


A bunch of nobodies recently called up from Triple-A just launched a thirteenth-inning rally against baseball's all-time leading saves leader and capped it with a play at the plate - in which the runner never actually touched the plate, but was counted safe anyway.

Now I can't decide whether to jump on the Rockies' improbable bandwagon, or pull for the Phillies. (It would be fine symmetry for them to get their second World Series win in the same season as they became the first sports franchise to get their 10,000th loss.)

No, I won't be cheering for the Cubs. A Cubs World Series win would upset the natural order of things. If the deck of Fate is stacked against them, I can continue to believe that the deck of Fate is stacked against me, too. I'd lose my excuse.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bill this one as "personal"

Sometimes you just need to look at the title of a case to tell what happened.

The example for the day is Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Inc. v. Pussycat Cinema, Ltd., 604 F.2d 200 (2nd Cir. (N.Y.), 1979).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Level up!

Now is the time of year when many law students start feeling bad about themselves, whether it be due to overwork, underachievement, infighting, or any number of other reasons. As a partial remedy, I'm providing a link to Ulillillia, who has many things to teach us all.

-Learn a simple mathematical equation to express whether you like things or not. According to his scale, the Best Thing Ever is music from Final Fantasy 6 (which he listened to for 52 1/4 consecutive days), and the Worst Thing Ever was a person who made fun of him (although TV ads with whistling in them come close).

-Defensive and evasion capabilities of various insects.

-Read about the time he imagined he kicked a 95 yard field goal.

-Discover how many times he's dreamt about people standing in mud.

-How good or bad a page of text is, scored entirely on how many times it uses the dread words "person" or "people.

-The fascinating story of a family that went camping and engaged in very precise measurements of everything that happened.

-Dozens of ways to kill Miles "Tails" Prower in Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

-The reason why he would intentionally take damage in Metroid.

-The First Law: All matter has Hit Points. Without Hit Points, nothing exists.

If you, like Uli, have an obsession with numbers, but are less afraid of the naughty side of life, you may want to get your hands on F.A.T.A.L., "the most difficult, detailed, realistic and historically/mythically accurate role-playing game available," in which every character has to roll an anal circumference rating, in which female characters have an intelligence penalty, in which fully-functional hermaphrodites are as common as extra nipples, in which infants can fill out an A-cup bra, and in which rape is a less severe crime than shoplifting. Check out this review for more highlights.

Monday, September 24, 2007

In today's mail

Catch the Vision!

Uh oh, first line and they're already mixing metaphors.

A vision is a "desired future." It is what we believe that something can be if we put our best into it.

What about an apocalyptic vision?

Real Life is a new church coming to Moscow and Pullman with a compelling 'vision' for Moscow/Pullman's future. We see a day when a new church can help families reunite, communities grow, and people acheive [sic] God's best.

I'm a little rusty on my theology, but I seem to recall something about God being perfect and omnipotent. That makes me a little curious as to why anything that wasn't God's best would occur. Are they implying God makes mistakes? Because lots of people have told me God doesn't make mistakes.

Join us this October and catch the vision of Real Life. Jump in and connect and become part of making this vision a reality. Share the story with friends and neighbors and help "Real Life" make a "Real Impact."

Wow, I have to catch a vision, jump in, connect, and become part of making said vision (before or after I catch it?). I'm exhausted.

The Real Life Story...
1998, Jim Putman and Aaron Couch moved to Post Falls, Idaho from Portland, Oregon to plant a church.

This reminds me of an episode of "Garfield and Friends" in which somebody plants a minimall from a minimall seed. One could almost say that Real Life appears to be the minimall of churches (whatever that means).

Within 8 years, Real Life Ministries grew to become the 34th most influential church in the United States.

One, I'd like to see the source for that statistic, and two, I think when they say "church" they mean "parish." There's no way that these guys are #34 if you're counting all the mainline Christian denominations as "churches" rather than breaking them down, parish by parish.

The church has grown from 4 people to over 7,000. Now, in 2007, Aaron Couch, Charlie Couch, Michael Reyes, and Sam Wagner are bringing the mission and ministry of Real Life to Moscow and Pullman.

What happened to Jim Putman?

At Moscow Real Life
*Real Life Messages

Good, I'm sick of those religious leaders who are always speaking through parables about servants and mustard seeds and camels and crap.

*Uplifting Music With A 'Pop' Feel

Coloraturas wanted to sing major key only.

*Safe & Loving Nursery

Doesn't look like the City of Moscow has a list of registered nurseries online. They do in Anchorage, so you can read all about inspection reports if you get very bored.

*Great Programs For Kids

If my experience is typical, many of these will involve roping the children into the "Uplifting Music" business.

*People Like You

They do? Nice to know.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Consecutive motorcycle-related posts

I don't really care if George Clooney lives or dies. I'm only linking to this story so I can say that he's been injured in the Weehawken area.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Get your motor runnin'

What is it about motorcycles that makes people want to make a whole bunch of movies about them? And what is it that makes the motorcycle mystique completely disappear on camera, leaving the actors looking like total dinks and the film utter crap?

I present to you three examples. Example #1 is "Knightriders," a 1981 film directed by George Romero (!) in which schmucks at a Renaissance fair joust on motorcycles. Note: The following clip contains a shirtless Ed Harris.

Example #2 is from "Megaforce," which starred Edward Mulhare (who was in the TV show "Knight Rider," so we've come full circle already). Remember, these bikes are supposed to be the latest in advanced weaponry.

Example #3 is from "Warrior of the Lost World." You can tell that this bike is high-tech because it has its own screen saver.

In fact, just about the only good motorcycle scene I can think of is the desert chase from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Am I missing any?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A window into my mental state

I saw a news story today informing me that a federal prosecutor was arrested in a child sex sting operation. My first thought was..., it wasn't "Paedogeddon." That was my second thought.

My first thought was, "Hey! Job opening!"

Monday, September 17, 2007

On appeal from Circuit Niner

I'm working on a moot court problem involving federal preemption of state trucking regulations, and I am sorely tempted to write it in outdated CB lingo.

"Questions presented. 1. Must a road jockey hauling a box full of heaters feed the bears?"

Friday, September 14, 2007

They never did find his body

If Hitler shaved his mustache and got a haircut, do you think you'd be able to pick him out of a crowd?

I don't think I would. Unless he was wearing his uniform in which case I would probably look at him more carefully and think, "Hmm, he looks kinda like Hitler."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's the final votedown!

A lot of people think that Alaska governor Sarah Palin is the best-looking governor in America. But she'll be facing a challenge next year, when Duke professor Michael Munger carries the Libertarian standard for North Carolina's governor.

I will donate fifty dollars to Professor Munger's campaign if he pledges to sing "Sister Christian" at his inauguration.

EDIT: Or if he pledges to rename the governor's mansion to "Castle Greyskull."

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I'm a critic now

I've written a guest review over at The Bookshelf. Drop on in and check out my thoughts on The Iron Dream, an old-fashioned, two-fisted science-fiction tale from pulp author Adolf Hitler.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Maybe the book elaborates on this

I just saw Citizen Candy Man, which features interviews with the adults who got Willy Wonka's Golden Tickets when they were kids. Violet Beauregard makes an appearance.

We know that she was rolled away to be "juiced." But neither version of the film makes it clear just how they got the juice out of her. Did she puke it up? Did it ooze out of her pores? I demand answers!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Don't get those licenses just yet

Curious fact: if this decision withstands appellate review, Iowa will become the first state to allow same-sex marriage without allowing first cousin marriage.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Topic of the Day

How did Senator Craig manage to keep this quiet for two months?

Well, at least I've learned that you should never tap your feet when you're on the can.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Beating a metaphor to death

I have occasionally heard people describe promiscuous young women as "the town bicycle." The joke being that, like a communal bicycle, everyone gets a ride (i.e. sex).

However, I have never actually been to a town which has a town bicycle, and I'm not entirely sure how it would work. I picture the intersection of Main Street and Lincoln, Anytown, U.S.A. There is an island in the middle of the road, with flowers and a statue of someone important, or perhaps a veterans' memorial. At the base of the statue sits a lone Huffy ten-speed. The sign above it reads "Town Bicycle - Please return it when you are done." Alternatively, the bicycle may be available for check-out at the local library.

Sadly, liability concerns have forced the town to consider abandoning the town bicycle scheme. But it was a glorious tradition while it lasted.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Son, be a dentist / You'll be a success

Since Lindsey's Legal Adventures isn't around any more, I thought I'd pick up her slack by covering the latest in anti-dentite news.

In Washington, a dentist got his insurance company to cover the cost of a settlement after he put boar's tusks on one of his assistants during a procedure and snapped a photo.

And in New Hampshire, a dentist and her husband have barricaded themselves inside their house rather than go to jail for failure to pay taxes.

For whatever reason, a lot of these dentists don't pay their taxes. Here's one in California, one in Utah, and one in Florida.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Love! Hate! Revenge!

I remember when Fox first started doing NFL broadcasts and decided to put the score in a little box in the corner of the screen all the time. Everybody was like "Whoa" and all the other networks started doing it.

I think it's time for something like this to take root in soap operas. Instead of having characters recite clumsy expositionary speeches, why not just put a bar at the bottom of the screen that says "DENISE IS TRYING TO BREAK UP BEN AND STEPHANIE'S MARRIAGE"?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

As if you cared

I went to Pullman on Sunday and took some pictures.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mr. Potter will pay fifty cents on the dollar

Second Life, the slow-loading MMORPG that's become host to every perversion on the Internet, has been rocked by a bank closing. Apparently they didn't have enough real-life money to cover all the fake money that was deposited there.

It's time for the Great Virtual Depression! Watch for the six-breasted hermaphrodite foxes standing in line at virtual soup kitchens.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

First Germany, tomorrow Transylvania!

From a Facebook event:

Join us the 27th-28th of October in the only good haunted house that Moscow has to offer. Following in the footsteps of Moscow Massacre, this years house will push the envelope of what the audience can handle. Set during the second World War, you will encounter the horrors of conflict and the atrocities of the Nazi party. There are no limits and there is no script. You will be scared and you will be ill after attending.

I can see it now. There you are, goose-stepping along the Champs-Elysees, when all of a sudden a zombie jumps out at you! Then they turn on the smoke machine. OH NO, IT'S ZYKLON-B!

The whole thing ends with Hitler doing the Monster Mash.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Recipe for funny

1. Cue up some music. I recommend "Yakity Sax" or "Ride of the Valkyries."
2. Play this video.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The greatest of all time


Career Home Runs By Players Who Have Never Won The World Series

1. Barry Bonds, 756
2. Sammy Sosa, 604
3. Ken Griffey Jr., 589
4. Harmon Killebrew, 573
5. Rafael Palmeiro, 569
6. Willie McCovey, 521
6. Ted Williams, 521
8. Ernie Banks, 512
9. Alex Rodriguez, 500
10. Jim Thome, 490

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I Love Otke Notive

I've reported before about cranky hobbyists who invent new ways to make life more rational - witness the invented alphabets, or the 28-hour day.

It has come to my attention that a 19th-century utopian, Stedman Whitwell, invented a more rational way to name cities, based on their latitude and longitude.

If I'm following his system correctly, I was born in Obit Ravid, Iowa and raised in Odit Rouvof. I go to law school in Omof Abeevout, Idaho. Tomorrow morning I will be flying from Ybad Akouvuf, Alaska, to Onim Adevar, Washington.

It all sounds like something from the Book of Mormon to me.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Last of the photos

I'm leaving Alaska on Sunday, and I've posted the last of my Alaska pictures to my Flickr page.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Grunke? Radke? Yup, those are Wisconsin boys

You've probably already heard that three boys in Cassville, Wisconsin, can't be convicted of attempted sexual assault because the victim was dead.

Instead of making some crass necrophilia joke that you've probably already heard from your local radio morning show, I'll just note that the family of the dead girl may still have a claim for tortious interference with burial, so the boys aren't off the hook yet.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Proposed names for roller derby participants

Ann T. Social
Killian Anderson
"Baton" Beth March
Helen Skates
Bea Aggressive
Suzie Homebreaker
Carrie Concealed
Tara Newone
Felony Griffith
Anya Knees
Kate Astophe
Drew Burymore
Ruth Invader Ginsburg

I want to give credit to whoever came up with "Laura Mangles Wilder" and "Arielle Speedwagon."

UPDATE! About an hour after I wrote this post, I found a master list of roller derby names. Several of my suggestions have already been taken. Rats.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's pick on Scandinavia week here at the blog

How many of you have, at one point or another, owned a Lego police station?

(waits for show of hands)

Well, I sure did. My brother and I had the Pier Police. Plenty of Lego police around, even more if you count the soldiers who seemed to be responsible for locking up pirates.

But have you ever seen a Lego courthouse? No. No, you haven't. Because there isn't one. And you know what that means? That means that Legoland is a police state, where those accused of a crime can be imprisoned in tiny cells for life without a warrant, a trial, or a lawyer.

It's time to speak out against these minifigure rights abuses. I say we start contributing money to fund the freedom-fighters of the Blacktron movement, to rid the world of the oppressive Lego tyrants.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Velkommen Norsk leserne

Every once in a while I read an article about how the Bush Administration has declared "war on science." It's articles like those which have inspired me to declare war on war metaphors. War on poverty, war on drugs, war on crime, war on terrorism, culture wars, war on science - can't we just fight a skirmish every once in a while? (I would also like to break with Freud at this time.)

Assuming arguendo that the President has declared war on science, we will be part of a multi-national coalition: Norway's Princess Märtha Louise is opening a psychic training school.

I don't read Norwegian (either kind) but the words "Holistisk Akademi" don't look promising.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Been a while since I posted a video

Enjoy it before Disney makes them take it down.

Fire up the printing press

Q. What's the most money anyone has ever asked for in a lawsuit?

A. In 1998, Calvin Wedington, an inmate at a federal prison in North Carolina, was unhappy with his medical care. "The incident occurred Early 95 May stemming from a benedril capsule that had been altered from red to green and white. Administered by the evening nurse ordered by duty doctor. I was the 2nd case of a bad benedril at this institution. The mid-night nurse saw me on the floor dry heaving and had me drink 4 cartons of milk to make me vomit. Why did U.S. Marshals hold claim making it time barred preventing criminal charges stature [sic] of limitation to expire. Those involved have left BOP."

Granted, I wouldn't want to take a bad Benadryl and throw up. But Wedington's monetary claim was slightly overstated. "Wedington seeks monetary damages by way of “one check blank to put one sum in excess of a million from attached sheet.” The attached sheet referred to by Wedington appears to reference a figure of ten to the twenty-seventh power, or an octillion dollars."

So if Wedington had won his case, the government would have had two options: print off an octillion dollars and deliver it to Wedington in a wheelbarrow, thus causing Weimar-like levels of inflation, or confiscate the entire gross domestic product for the next million years or so and hand it over to Wedington.

Wedington v. Unknown Named Agents, No. CIV. A. 3:97CV740, 1998 WL 320122 (Jan. 29, 1998)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

But Hulk Hogan's is really a sports entertainment mustache

I expect that all of my readers will do their civic duty and vote for the best sports mustache of all time.

Notable contenders include Adam Morrison, Goose Gossage, and Richard Petty. I cast my vote for the authoritative whiskers of Clyde Frazier.

Monday, July 16, 2007

You know the drill

Photos of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska's prime vacation area, now available at my Flickr page.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A post inspired by listening to Manowar

I wonder if really old Vikings who knew they were dying would go around picking fights with young, hearty warriors, just to ensure that they would die in combat and be carried to Valhalla.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The stories just write themselves

Well, it's Friday the 13th, and that's good news if you're a journalist with a deadline to meet. You can just write a story about locals talking about Friday the 13th. It's almost as easy a story as writing about what words L'Academie Francaise have decided to admit to the language this year. (Good news, Francophones, you can now say "bazooka" without betraying your linguistic heritage.)

As long as I'm complaining about this article, I'll take on the lead-in.

Uh-oh! It's Friday the 13th, and bad luck is creeping your way.

Or is it?

Cub reporters should not follow this model, lest we see articles that look like this:

The Anchorage Police Department is seeking two suspects in connection with the robbery of a liquor store on DeBarr Road on Friday night.

Or are they?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A story a grandkid will hear someday

You know, your grandpappy used to play some college football, I did. I was a Kansas Jayhawk. Did I ever tell you kids about the time we beat Oklahoma?

Yep, it was back in '05. Biggest game of my life. We were at old Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Oh, it was packed. It was a hell of a game.

Fourth quarter, we were down 19-3. It looked like we would have time for one more drive. We marched down the field, and you know what?

We were stopped. Time ran out.

Two years later...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Have you tried Bayer Aspirin?

I'm defending a few personal injury cases for the city, and as a result, I've learned a little something about pain. Here's a short list of things that can cause back pain.

Being in a car accident.
Lifting things.
Swinging a golf club or a baseball bat.
Going to a clumsy chiropractor who gives you a push and knocks a disc out of place.
Being overweight.
Sitting down.
Sleeping on an old mattress.
Getting old.
Walking around.
Mellow-thighed chicks putting your spine out of place.
Reading about back pain.


Friday, July 6, 2007

When worlds collide

On the Milwaukee Brewers' most recent road trip to Pittsburgh, they ended up sharing the hotel with a furry convention.

UPDATE: Here's audio of Bob Uecker discussing the fur convention. His broadcast partner is pretty bland, but frankly, you could pair Bob Uecker with a cotton candy machine and get an entertaining broadcast.

More fargin' pictures

Basically, I'm just cleaning out the memory card so I'll have room for photos of next weekend's camping trip to the Kenai Peninsula. As always, pictures here.

And I might be getting a temporary car, which will greatly improve my range.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Although it's really all covered by St. Jude

You never know when the Catholic Church is going to start making some changes (although it doesn't seem like many will be made under the current Pope). As penance for falling away from the faith, I've decided to offer up a few suggestions for patron saints of activities of which the Church doesn't currently approve, just in case.

-St. John the Almsgiver was inspired to live a holier life after the death of his children. Maybe this would qualify him to serve as the patron saint of contraception.
-Sts. Maximus and Olympias were martyred together, sang to their captors, and were beaten with rods. I don't have any evidence of this, but I'm going to proclaim them patron saints of homosexuality as a result.
-St. John Bosco avoided an attempt to get him committed to an asylum by tricking his would-be captors into the carriage meant for him. This is why he should be the patron saint of deceit.
-When St. Speciosus died, his brother experienced a vision of Speciosus' soul ascending to Heaven. Behold, your patron saint of perfoming really pointless miracles that help no one.
-St. Vincent of Lerins frequently disagreed with St. Augustine, the father of much of the Church's doctrine, and was sympathetic to members of the Semipelasgian heresy. For this he should be named the patron saint of Protestants.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'd circle her Kaaba seven times

You may have heard that at this year's French Open, an Israeli woman, Shahar Peer, is teaming with an Indian Muslim, Sania Mirza. Great story, right? Well, I'm going to approach it from a shallow angle.

It's quite difficult to be hotter than an Israeli woman. (Evidence here.) But Sania Mirza manages to be hotter than her partner.

Congrats on becoming my second professional athlete TV Girlfriend, Sania.

Top-secret police info

The Anchorage Police Department is full of very busy people. So busy, in fact, that they have created an abbreviation for the word "gone." (The abbreviation is "G.")

I was not in the car that responded to the guy with a shotgun chasing the kids who stole his bike, or the car that responded to the guy who was covered in poop and barricaded himself inside a room at the seedy hotel. But I did get to take one guy to the pokey. Don't drive with expired tags, kids: it gives the police PC to see if you're high on Xanax.

("PC" is another police abbreviation. I'm sure you guys can figure it out from context.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Things to say when job interviewers ask you "What's the toughest thing you've ever done?"

• Buried my infant son.
• Reported all my previous employers for discriminatory hiring practices.
• Passed a kidney stone.
• Translated "Les Miserables" into Klingon.
• Stood up for myself when those jerks at Burger King put ketchup on my burger after I specifically asked them not to.
• Well, I was working as a mercenary in Liberia...
• Headbutted thirty-eight police officers in one evening.
• Followed all the cruel directives of the court which were designed to keep me away from my true love, Emma Watson.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Where have you gone?

Rod Beck and Chris Benoit, both dead over the same weekend?

Who's out to kill all my heroes?

Don't you dare lay a hand on Mike Nelson, or Doug Dascenzo.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

More pictures

You know where. This update features baseball, Terminator jokes, and Stumpy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why can't I ever be the first to have a good idea?

I've long dreamt of hosting my own documentary TV show, where I travel the world, looking for unusual places and people, and giving the viewers a chance to see these cultures as they see themselves. A window on other lives, to put it in a cliched manner.

Turns out somebody already did it, and made it damn entertaining. That guy would be Louis Theroux of the BBC. In his "Weird Weekends" series, he plays dumb and lets people ranging from the slightly odd (infomercial hosts) to the downright nuts (Fred Phelps and family) talk about their worlds. It's delightful. If you've got an hour or so, go watch an episode.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vermont's no place to raise hogs

Victor and Mary Coty owned a bed and breakfast in Stowe, Vermont. Normand and Raymond Ramsey bought the land next door, and wanted to get it re-zoned so they could open a motel. The Cotys opposed them, and the Ramseys were granted a permit to run a motel with a mere 15 rooms. The Ramseys didn't take it so well:

Shortly after the Act 250 ruling was received, a large, rusty storage tank was placed in the meadow. This tank was never used. A few days later, the Ramseys and some workmen erected a fence around the parcel. When Mrs. Coty inquired as to the purpose of the fence, Normand Ramsey replied tersely: “Pigs!” On November 2 and 3, approximately sixteen truckloads of wet chicken manure, averaging thirteen cubic yards each, were dumped along a narrow strip directly across from the Nelson and Flory properties. The truck drivers had been instructed by Normand Ramsey to dump the manure along this particular strip, and Raymond Ramsey directed the dumping of the first truckload. The drivers used the Florys' driveway to turn their vehicles around, and both the driveway and the road were covered with manure. The dumping was halted when a temporary restraining order was served upon one of the drivers, who told police that the Ramseys had finally “gotten even” with plaintiffs.

At the subsequent hearing, the Ramseys testified that the manure would be used as fertilizer over an area of four acres, and the court declined to issue a preliminary injunction. However, the mounds of manure were merely leveled off within an area of one-half acre. In the spring of 1983, approximately eleven to thirteen more truckloads of chicken manure were delivered, and most of these loads were deposited along the same strip of land. An expert produced by the plaintiffs testified, and the court found, that the resulting supply of fertilizer was so grossly in excess of the recommended application that it would kill any attempted crop. The manure encouraged an infestation of flies that plagued plaintiffs' properties during the spring, summer, and fall of 1983 and 1984. A powerful stench also engulfed the area, eventually requiring the Florys to purchase air conditioners for their motel.

In late November of 1982, approximately one hundred pigs and cows were delivered to the property along with a house trailer and ten or more junked automobiles. The animals were fed at a place closest to plaintiffs' properties. In December of 1982, defendant Normand Ramsey telephoned Mrs. Nelson on two occasions and told her that serious consequences would follow if she continued her opposition to the motel.

During the winter of 1982, the animals had inadequate shelter, food and water and, as a result, became sick and lame. Mrs. Nelson made an offer to provide water, but was turned down. Animals died, and decomposing carcasses were left lying around.

With variations, the conditions that began in November, 1982 continued up until the spring of 1985. The manure delivery in 1983 resulted in manure that was over three feet deep in places. The smell and resulting flies continued through 1984.

Because the pigs were not properly separated, the boars mingled with the piglets and attacked them. Roosters were penned together so that they pecked each other to death. By the fall of 1984, the property contained over two hundred sickly animals along with over twenty carcasses of dead pigs, piglets, sheep and a goat. The dead animals were finally placed in an uncovered pit. Many of the piglets born in the winter of 1984-85 died; eight to ten burlap bags filled with piglet carcasses were removed. Normand Ramsey knew of these conditions and took few, if any, steps to improve them until just before the case came to trial. The trial court found that defendants “used the pretext of operating a farm to abuse and kill animals which itself had no purpose other than to intentionally annoy, upset and harass plaintiffs and to cause them economic injury.”

Public curiosity was stimulated by the piggery, and traffic became congested in front of plaintiffs' properties. Tourists would often trespass upon plaintiffs' land in order to view and photograph the spectacle, and defendants issued an instruction sheet to farmhands regarding the treatment of tourists.

In addition, Mrs. Nelson's well and springs were polluted as a result of the excessive manure. At one point, defendants obtained a discovery order as part of their attempt to obtain approval for the motel. The order compelled Mrs. Nelson to allow the drilling of six test wells on her property so that the state could monitor any pollution. She refused and obtained a protective order. Plaintiffs testified that many pigs were slaughtered on the morning after the protective order was issued.

Defendants invested about $50,000 in the farm, excluding the purchase price of the land. No pigs were ever sold or marketed for their income.

Coty v. Ramsey Associates Inc., 546 A.2d 196, 199-201 (Vt. 1988) (emphasis added).

Good to see that the farm crisis of the 80s didn't prevent this guy from using pigs just to get back at his neighbors.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A little help here

Anybody know how to write a non-vague description of a meth pipe? Because I have the sinking feeling that some dude is going to look at the ordinance I'm drafting and say, "Hey, that's not fair, I only use this pipe made from a light bulb for smoking tobacco. Also I find the aluminum foil in the bottom adds to the flavor."

Friday, June 15, 2007

In case you doubt this is the frontier

Head over to the Alaska Sex Offender Registry, and while snickering at the mug shots, check out some of the addresses listed.

You know you're on the edge of civilization when your address is listed as "120 FT E OF POST OFFICE" or "BRO HOUSE W/GRN ROOF, NW END OF TOWN BY STREAM."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

New pictures

Forty more photographs of Anchorage. You know where to get 'em.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A 21-beaker salute

I think most people my age remember at least one thing they learned from Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert, who died today.

I remember when he waved a pencil in front of a TV screen. You could see the flicker of the screen's refresh rate. Sometimes I still do this when I am really, really bored.

Godspeed, Mr. Wizard. You made me think science was cool, and pushed me along the path to nerddom. Which I'm okay with now. Mostly.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Belated thoughts on a belated person

You've probably heard that Jerry Falwell died a couple weeks ago.

Many people celebrated this occasion.

Should they have?

I'm going to use the late Reverend as an example to help us draw the line between evil people (whose deaths are to be celebrated) and mean people (whose deaths are not to be celebrated).

Jerry was a jerk. Especially towards gays. But I don't think that's enough to get him qualified as evil. After all, if you were to make irrational hatred a hanging offense, there'd be nobody left to operate the gallows. Jerry hated gays and said we should hate them too. I hate George Clooney and I say you should hate him too. Big goddamn deal.

It takes more than a thought crime to be evil. Jerry said some mean things about gay people, but he didn't go around beating them up. He didn't fleece his followers, either, like many of his cohorts have done. He was just a source of hot air. You didn't have to pay attention to anything he said when he was alive, and you don't have to pay attention to him now.

Jerry Falwell: Mean jerk. Not evil.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

If anything, she should be rewarded

Anybody else think Chicago law firm Fetman, Garland & Associates will be getting a call from the bar association about this ad campaign?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(My handy-dandy guideline for people wondering about lawyer advertising: Think of it as being like funeral home advertising. We're supposed to address an existing demand, but not add to the demand.)

Friday, June 8, 2007

But did Cookie cross the picket line?

From Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 2nd edition (1948):

bozo. The word does not appear to have acquired a settled meaning recognized by lexicographers, but it is safe to assume that it has a meaning similar to "rat" and "scab" as all three words are used in connection with labor troubles.

Maybe Wizzo the Wizard was employing black magic to keep the pesky International Brotherhood of Clowns Local No. 178 away from the set.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Frontier Photography

I'm finally in the UAA apartment, which means I finally got a chance to upload all my pictures.

Check out my shots of Anchorage, and some bonus photos of a drive across Washington, at my Flickr page.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chicanery and legerdemain

From McMasters v. State, 207 P. 566, a First Amendment challenge to an Oklahoma law against fortune-telling:

"This action is an outgrowth of an alleged spiritualistic “reading” by a “medium” in a state of trance, purporting to convey a message to one Bessie Jones from the spirit of Minnehaha, a legendary Indian girl as found in Longfellow's poem Hiawatha...

It is earnestly contended by defendant's attorney, in an exhaustive and well-written brief, that this sentence should be set aside on the constitutional ground that her arrest and conviction were unlawful, as an interference with the free exercise of her religious beliefs and practices; that for a number of years she had been a member of the National Spiritualist Association, incorporated under the laws of the state of Oklahoma, and that she was regularly licensed to give spiritual advice to others; that many of the tenets, beliefs and practices of this cult are religious in their nature, including the practice of communicating with departed spirits...

Applying these definitions and authorities to the facts shown by this record, we admit our inability to decide conclusively whether this is a religion, or whether it is a mere philosophy or a system of metaphysical speculation. We are inclined to lean toward the latter view, but we have not been sufficiently advised to decide that point. We do affirm that this record tends to show that, whether religious in its nature or not, it is a system of speculative philosophy, attended with superstitious credulity and in the instant case tinged with hypocrisy. This association prescribes no confession of religious faith; no rules of conduct, directing what its members shall do or refrain from doing, except as before stated. Its principles of philanthropy and its belief in the Golden Rule would apply to the Masonic Order, the Elks, the Rotary Club, or the Boy Scouts, and like organizations, none of which are considered religious organizations...

Even if the purposes of this organization are religious in their nature, it is difficult to see how the practice of giving “readings” or telling fortunes concerning the mating inclinations of men and women could be religious, in any sense. This medium, while in a trance and assuming to speak for Minnehaha, told Bessie Jones, whom she supposed to be a lovelorn girl, that she would soon meet an attractive blond boy, and that later a brunette would supplant him in her affections; that she would soon go on a long journey; that she would eventually marry a man of wealth, etc. All of which sounds very secular to this court. It seems very like a Gypsy fortune teller, or the reading of the palm by some wrinkled old hag, or the interpretations of a crystal gazer in a freak side show. Doubtless it was this species of hypocrisy and legerdemain that this statute was intended to suppress...

One of the most prominent adherents of this faith, A. Conan Doyle (who should not be confused with Thomas H. Doyle, presiding judge of this court) claims that departed souls are enveloped with a kind of external body, capable of being photographed, and that such photographs are in existence; also, that he has the physical writing of a letter written by a spirit friend. Maybe so--but, like Bessie, the stool pigeon, we are somewhat skeptical.

It is not for this court, however, to judge of the merits or demerits of philosophies, cults, or religions; we are expected to decide the law so far as it relates to the concrete facts shown in this record. The legendary Minnehaha never existed in the flesh; hence a continuity of her spirit cannot exist in the spirit world. Unlike Conan Doyle, this medium produced no photograph of the spirit of Minnehaha. Her identity was not established. Some unknown, playful spirit may have deceived the medium, or she may have intended to deceive her client Bessie...

Appeals to the spirit world might avail before the case reaches us, but here we have no jurisdiction over any spirits except those banned by the prohibitory law, such as “Bourbon,” “Mountain Dew,” “Forked Lightning,” and like distillates--like those in the spirit world, some good and some bad...

MATSON, J. (concurring).
While A. Conan Doyle should not be confused “with Thomas H. Doyle, presiding judge of this court,” neither should Bessie, the medium's patron, be confused with E. S. Bessey, Associate Judge of this court and writer of the opinion. I am reliably informed that there is no relationship either by affinity or consanguinity between either of the Doyles or either of the Besseys...

Verily, the spirit of regulation is abroad in the land. For some time most of the states have been regulating the mediums of communication between human beings such as the telephone and telegraph. Now this state proposes to regulate the mediums of communication with the spirit world. The maxim is, sic ad astra. Certainly, further than this we cannot go.

Again, is the statute in question merely regulatory or is it prohibitory? Any exsaloon keeper can explain the difference between regulation and prohibition. Can the state constitutionally prohibit communication with the spirit world, with which, so far as I am advised, we are at peace? If it cannot, can it, under the Fourteenth Amendment, deny the mediums of such communication a reasonable compensation for the services rendered? These queries appear to me to be pertinent in the instant case.

However, assuming that the statute in question is not in contravention of the commerce clause of the federal Constitution, and that the state has power to regulate, I concur, because the medium in question had never filed her schedule of rates with the State Corporation Commission."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You have violated my fargin' rights

Chances are your town has a resident vexatious litigant. ("Vexatious litigant" is lawyerspeak for "somebody who is really angry and files a lot of lawsuits, but the suits are always groundless and he/she never wins.") In Anchorage, the number-one local vexatious litigant is Daniel DeNardo.

Daniel got sacked from his job with the state oil board in the late 70s because he refused to pay a hundred bucks worth of union dues. That sparked his glorious ride across the Alaska court system, full of diatribes, attempts to re-litigate previously litigated claims, accusations of embezzlement of student loans by public officials, and appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. He's petitioned for certiorari 13 times, and is 0 for 13.

Like many such cranks, DeNardo decided it would be worthwhile to run for public office. He was an Alaska Independence Party candidate for governor in 2006. Check out his answers to the Alaska Family Council's Candidate Questionnaire, which might have been a little more... enthusiastic than the AFC was hoping for.

Q. Would you support a Constitutional amendment to change the judicial selection process?
A. Yes. The Zionists who reject Christ Jesus dominate the judicial process, including the Judicial Conduct Commission.

DeNardo also has the honor of nearly starting World War III.

In the late 1980s, Daniel decided it would be a good idea to go to the recording office in Nome and get his property interests on the islands of Wrangel, Herald, Henrietta, Bennett, and Jeannette recorded. Thankfully, the recording office refused his request, for two reasons. One, he didn't actually own any property on the islands, and two, the islands were actually part of the U.S.S.R.

The Alaska Supreme Court averted a possible crisis by ruling that DeNardo couldn't file for ownership of Soviet land in America.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I can't believe I'm in Alaska.

Posting will be light, possibly non-existent, until I move from the guest bedroom at a secretary's house into my room at the UAA. That should occur sometime between the end of this month and the beginning of next.

You'll get all your photos then. Until then, I will just say that much of Anchorage looks like West Des Moines with mountains.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Morning shows in general are a bad idea

You may remember the story of the woman who died while attempting not to pee as part of a radio contest to win a Wii.

An Orlando station is recruiting women to party for 30 straight hours to win breast implants.

In the interest of helping out other radio stations that are looking to expose themselves to liability in order to get some publicity, I've devised a few potential contests.

• Throw furniture off a twelve-story building. Anything the contestants catch, they win. Final item: a piano.
• Contestant who eats the most almonds in a 24-hour period wins an iPod.
• Contestants take turns kicking each other in the crotch. Last man standing wins a car stereo.
• Contestant who successfully fends off the most trained fighting dogs wins season tickets to the Falcons.
• Contestant who holds head in a vat of liquid nitrogen the longest wins a plasma TV.
• Contestants parade through the slums of Detroit dressed as Hasidic Jews in blackface. Survivors win a Jeep.
• Contestants tightrope walk across telephone lines during a thunderstorm. The one who walks the furthest gets a jetski.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Moscow, are you ready to ROCK?

Coming soon, Guitar Hero Rocks the 80s.

Currently confirmed tracks:
* I Wanna Rock (by Twisted Sister)
* I Ran (by Flock of Seagulls)
* Round and Round (as made famous by Ratt)
* I Want Candy (as made famous by Bow Wow Wow)
* Metal Health (as made famous by Quiet Riot)
* Holy Diver (as made famous by Dio)
* Heat Of The Moment (as made famous by Asia)

Most of these are OK, but I'm psyched about "I Ran." No, seriously, go listen to the song. It'll be awesome to play on Guitar Hero.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Let's talk about dinosaurs

There have been really tremendous advances in dino-science since I was a kid. For instance, I just learned that one of my favorite dinosaurs, the Dimetrodon, was not actually a dinosaur at all. It's now classified as a pelycosaur, with specialized teeth and a body heat control mechanism. That means that Dimetrodons are ancestors of mammals, and possibly of humans. Sweet! Being descended from monkeys is kinda lame, but wouldn't it be awesome to be descended from this guy?

We now also have fossil evidence that a number of dinosaurs had feathers. Granted, they aren't any dinosaurs you've heard of, but they add credence to the belief that some dinosaurs you may have heard of, like Deinonychus and Struthiomimus had feathers, too.

Compsognathus has lost its title as the world's smallest dinosaur to the Parvicursor, which was only about twenty inches long.

Finally, I note that some scientists are now calling the tail spikes on the Stegosaurus the Thagomizer, which really doesn't surprise me, considering how many science professors have old "Far Side" comics taped to their doors.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Pullman photos

If you've been waiting breathlessly for a photo tour of Pullman, well, too bad. I don't have one for you. Maybe I will in August. But I do have fourteen photos of the town for you, available you-know-where.

(Validate me! Leave a comment!)

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Make it happen, Harmonix.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Nothin' lasts forever

I envy the guy who got to dive through the wedding cake in the "November Rain" video (it's at the seven minute mark).

I mean, you can't hear it in the song, but I bet when the director said "Action!" the guy was totally screaming and going "AAAAAAAAAAUGHGHGHGH!!!" and everybody offstage was going "Aim for the middle tier! The middle tier!" and then he just rolled into it with his shoulder and then he was lying there with icing all over the front of his suit and the upper tiers of the cake falling on his ass and he probably got some icing on his face too.

I wonder how many takes they did. Maybe he tried a different method of toppling the cake each time. For the first take, he dove in head-first; for the second he cartwheeled into it; for the third he just picked up the cake and threw it, etc.

So basically what this means is that if you invite me to your wedding you should post a guard in front of the cake in case I get a crazy idea in my head to try and tackle it. (But really, that's about the best thing you can do with a wedding cake, because there's some kind of tradition where wedding cakes aren't supposed to be tasty.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Hooray, my troubles are over!

Everything's going to be fine now, because God used His loving hand to direct an automatic mail sorter to send me the Shroud of Tulsa!

Now if I just plant a seed of faith, I can get God to give me any number of fabulous things! Hmm, I wonder what they mean by "seed of faith..."

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tour #2

Despite popular demand, I went on a second photo tour of Moscow this afternoon, and results are now at my Flickr page. New features this time:

1. I figured out how to get Flickr to display the photos in the right order - I have to post them in reverse. Just click the first one and start hitting the right arrow.
2. I have painstakingly placed each photo on a map of Moscow. Just click the "Map" button under the photo.
3. Photos are still scaled down to preserve bandwidth, but they're now available at full, desktop-quality resolution upon request. I think a couple of them are good enough to make fine desktop images.

Featured in this update: houses, children, animals, graves.

I'll be visiting Pullman twice in the next couple of weeks, so expect a WSU photo tour sometime soon.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Oh shi

Finals start tomorrow, and I just got some bad news about my finances.

Rather than elaborate I'm just going to post this picture and tell you that this is how I'm doing right now.