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.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I guess this makes me an evil Hobbesian

I don't know if it's just my frustration with goddamn Constitutional Law talking here, or my French ancestry piping up with a willingness to roll over in the face of oppression, but I'm beginning to wonder if this whole idea of inalienable rights is just B.S.

Take, for instance, freedom to criticize your government. A thousand well-intentioned documents can proclaim that all people have the right to criticize their governments, but in reality, 99.9999999% of the people ever to walk this earth didn't have that right at all, and many of the rest of them had that right limited in some way or another. Either all those governments were unnatural abominations, or that so-called right doesn't really exist.

The government decides what rights you have got and what rights you have not got. The U.S. government has decided to give you some and not give you others. Don't like it? Go fight City Hall.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

This is ridiculous

As part of a class that turned out to be a tremendous waste of time, I am currently watching a DVD proclaiming it will teach me "what lawyers can learn from rock and roll." Apparently it has something to do with professionalism.

My eyes are starting to hurt from constant rolling.

Let's laugh at people who are different

I know that many of my readers frequently visit Go Fug Yourself to giggle and unleash their inner bitches. For you, the fashion-taunters, I recommend Something Awful's Fashion Swat, which amps up the funny by replacing celebrities with ordinary Internet dorks, and presenting its zingers in back-and-forth conversational format. My favorite quote from this week's update:

"Maybe she works for Webster's Dictionary, and her boss called her and said "we need a new illustration for 'festoon' and we need it NOW!""

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Eye in the sky

Dear Christian Oliver of Reuters:

Your story about Hugo Chavez's new spy zeppelin was pretty informative and entertaining, but please do not use the words "blimp" and "zeppelin" interchangeably. Zeppelins have wire frames inside the balloon: blimps do not.

If you are preparing any more articles and need an irritating pedant to correct them for you please let me know.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Let's all laugh at my wussiness

The other day somebody told me that I'm the man.

This is not a compliment I hear very often. Perhaps it's because I'm not as masculine as I could be. (And perhaps moving to Alaska will help me fix that.)

Exhibit #1: Sometimes I cry when I listen to music.

Instead of making this merely a painful revelation, I've decided to turn it into a game for you. I've listed fifteen songs below. Some of these songs have caused me to cry and some haven't. Post your guesses as to which are which and I'll have the answers for you on Friday. Video links included in case you don't know the song.

1. "Comfortably Numb," Pink Floyd
2. "King of Pain," The Police
3. "Glycerine," Bush
4. "Cat's In The Cradle," Harry Chapin
5. "Africa," Toto
6. "Don't Stop Believin'," Journey
7. "Carry On Wayward Son," Kansas
8. "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," Gordon Lightfoot
9. "Space Oddity," David Bowie
10. "I Want To Know What Love Is," Foreigner
11. "Superman's Song," Crash Test Dummies
12. "Nothing Else Matters," Metallica
13. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," The Tokens
14. "I Melt With You," Modern English
15. "I Am A Rock," Simon and Garfunkel

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I promise this isn't becoming a visual blog

Attention, denizens* of Moscow: Are you missing a cat?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Found this kitty (no tags) in the parking lot at approximately 1:00 AM.** Kitty is now residing with GSR management.

*Man, I love when I get to break out a word like "denizens." Makes my day.

**But, Sal, you say, what were you doing in the parking lot at approximately 1:00 AM? Let's just say that I have some other photos that I shan't be sharing with you.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The bastion of Bern

Whenever mountaineers are stranded, whenever the confidentiality of financial transactions is threatened, whenever neutrality is violated, the Cuckoo Clock signal goes out to summon…

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(Schweizer Fraulein / Mademoiselle Suisse / Donna Svizera)

Swiss Miss was created using the Hero Machine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Good news, Thurber fans!

Now you, too, can have your very own cast-iron lawn dog.

Bill Sali's not so bad

A while back on the old blog I looked at the Liberty Dollar, the money for folks who just aren't sure that their good old Federal Reserve Notes adequately fulfill their monetary needs. (And you can now buy a "$20" coin for only $25 plus shipping and handling!)

Turns out that an Idaho state representative, Phil Hart, has been peddling them, along with a book about why the 16th Amendment doesn't mean what it says it means.

Perhaps serving in the legislature has mellowed him. Committee minutes reveal that he's done little except present bills to cut sales tax on food items and give people more time to pay back taxes. (State, not federal.)

If taxes frustrate you, don't be a Phil Hart. Just hire an accountant who will help you avoid paying them the legal way.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lest we forget

The news media has been quick to proclaim today's Virginia Tech shootings as "the worst shooting incident in American history."

Call me crazy, but I think that this was the worst shooting incident in American history.

Is there still hope for politics?

Sadly, Salieri-endorsed Presidential candidate Gene Chapman has dropped out of the race to focus on his class-action suit against the government for conducting a census, or something.

But if you're Japanese, you still have fine candidates you can vote for. Take, for instance, Toyama Koichi, who is running on the "Destroy Japan" platform.

Or perhaps you would prefer Matayoshi "Jesus" Mitsuo, The Only God.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Have a look around

Broke in the camera today with a walking tour of Moscow. You can view the results here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My camera has arrived

Now I can take totally Myspacey pictures of myself.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Malfunction! Malfunction!

When I shift my car into reverse, the radio turns off.

It turns on again when I shift out of reverse.

This is such a bizarre phenomenon that I can only presume that I have accidentally activated a "feature" that Ford put in my car for some reason or another. ("Hey! You're backing up! Stop singing along to the radio and pay attention to what's behind you!")

I don't intend to take it to a mechanic. My problem would be greeted with looks of bewilderment (and probably cost a couple hundred buck to fix).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

High-fives all around

We're bringing two new professors on board next year. Now, Jerry Long looks like a nice enough guy, even if "When Life Gives You Coal Bed Methane, Make Lemonade" is a dorky name for a law review article.

I am quite excited for the arrival of Annemarie Bridy. She's got a J.D. and a Ph.D.*, she helped write the LSAT, she clerked for the Third Circuit, she wrote an article about apotemnophilia (the desire to cut off your own limbs)... and she's kinda cute.

*from reading Victorian novels - maybe the twin passions of romance novels and law mesh better than Lindsey thinks.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

U.S. Government: "Packers suck"

From Sonkowsky v. Board of Educ., 2002 WL 535078:

Rocky was a nine year old fourth grade student at New Prague Intermediate School in New Prague, MN, Independent School District No. 721, during the 1999- 2000 school year. Rocky is originally from Wisconsin, and is an avid Green Bay Packer fan.

During the 1999-2000 school year, Rocky's fourth grade class participated in the GridIron Geography curriculum. Students were assigned various cities in which NFL football teams were located.… For one assignment, the students were directed to color a picture of a football player in the purple and gold team colors of the Minnesota Vikings. Rocky alleges that when he turned in his picture colored in the green and yellow team colors of the Green Bay Packers, he was told by Wilson he had not followed directions, and was to make another picture in purple and gold. Rocky again turned in a green and yellow picture, and Wilson again did not accept it. Rocky alleges that all the other students' purple and gold pictures were displayed on the classroom bulletin board, but his green and yellow version was not.

…[A] photograph was taken of Rocky's class in front of their "GridIron Geography" bulletin board to send to the Minnesota Vikings, and a second photograph was taken of the class after notification that they had won the contest. Because the teachers felt it would be disrespectful for the students to wear jerseys of other football teams in the contest photo, they instructed the students to wear Vikings jerseys or colors for the photo. On the day one of the photos was taken, Rocky was wearing a Brett Favre Packers jersey with a large number four printed on the front.… Rocky alleges he was instructed to be in the photo, and that he must cover the Packers jersey. Defendants admit that Rocky was instructed to cover the jersey if he chose to appear in the photo.… Rocky covered the jersey with a sweatshirt, and appeared in the photo holding a folder bearing a Packers' logo. In the other photograph of the class, Rocky is shown holding up his Packers jersey.

To celebrate winning the contest, Wilson and Madigan's classes participated in the New Prague Holiday Lights Parade. Participation was optional for the students, and the students were told to dress for the December weather and wear Vikings clothing if possible. Rocky alleges that Wilson told him that if he showed up wearing a Packers jersey or jacket, he would not be allowed to participate in the parade.…

Rocky did not attend the December 14, 1999, field trip to Winter Park. Defendants assert Rocky was held back as a sanction for his behavior during the school year… On December 13, 1999, Rocky allegedly told Wilson and Madigan that he was going to say "Vikings Suck, Brett Favre Rules" to Cris Carter at Winter Park. Anderson avers that the Rocky's proposed comment that the Vikings "sucked" would be a violation of the School District's Student Code of Conduct (providing that disrespectful student language is unacceptable) subject to disciplinary action under the School District Discipline Policy. Subsequently, Anderson and Wilson decided that Rocky would not be permitted to attend the field trip to Winter Park.

Sonkowsky alleges that Rocky's rights were deprived (1) when his homework assignment was not displayed by his teacher, (2) when he was told to cover his Packers jersey for the class photo, (3) when he was told he could not participate in the parade, and (4) when he was not allowed to attend the class field trip.

The school district won a summary judgment. As the judge noted,

There is no constitutional right for a nine year old to wear a Green Bay Packers jersey to elementary school.

But didn't they know that this case would be a loser in Minnesota? They shoulda moved for a change of venue to the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

World conquest is easy: buying property is hard

As long as I'm talking about my last visit to Seattle, I should mention that I made a momentous decision when I was there.

I decided on what will be my regional headquarters for the Pacific Northwest once I conquer the world.

I'm going to move in to the Pacific Medical Center on Beacon Hill. Currently occupied by a hospital and by, it's a big imposing ziggurat type castle that's visible from most of downtown Seattle.

As for other headquarters buildings, I'll get somebody to rebuild the White City for me (obviously no room for it in Chicago, so I'll set it up out in Iowa somewhere), and I'll make my private retreat in the Trylon and Perisphere from the '39 Worlds' Fair, now located on a remote island.

Bonus Material #1: While researching this blog entry, I discovered information on the 1937 International Arts Expo, located in Paris. The Nazis brought an appropriately bombastic design.

As did the Soviets.

The fair's planners had a sense of humor - they put the two pavilions right across the street from each other.

Bonus Material #2: Doing a Google Image search for a particular style of architecture returns two hits on the first page for a building from Dubuque. Can you guess which style it is?

The shelf life of culture

The last time I was in Seattle, I saw some guys wearing vintage mid-'60s psychedelia, straight out of "Magical Mystery Tour." It got me thinking about what happened to that subculture. (Got replaced by late-'60s hippie culture, which took the whole thing to excess.)

My speculations on how long some other subcultures will last:

Goths. The Goth boom has really come and gone. Kids are figuring out that they can theatrically exaggerate their sadness in ways that take a lot less effort, like being emo. It still has some appeal to people who are not good looking, because the makeup and the fishnet and the ankhs and the collars and the ankhs will distract other Goths long enough to have sex with them. I'd give Goth another ten years.

Emo. Brick-and-mortar record stores are losing a lot of ground to online music retail these days, and that's bad news for the emo kids. Record stores are to emo kids as eucalyptus leaves are to koalas - they provide a place to live, eat, and work. When record stores run out of jobs, emo kids are going to have to stop being so emo if they want other jobs. I think emo will be on its way out by 2015.

Juggalos. I'm sure we've all witnessed the phenomenon of people with half a brain learning their power to lead people with no brains whatsoever, and screwing around with them in a great celebration of idiocy. Someday, somebody will come along with a more appealing way to be obnoxious and stupid, and the Juggalos will change their stripes. Probably five to ten years.

Chavs. Unlike the emos, the chavs don't have to adapt to society to get jobs. They can just go on the dole and/or engage in petty theft. Furthermore, they tend to reproduce young, giving their children a chance to be fully exposed to the subculture before their parents are too old to participate. I see these guys sticking around for a while - at least until Britain imports some rednecks and bikers to beat them all up.

Guidos. Guys are always looking for the newest innovation in macho, and these guys seem to have a lot of the elements required: the huge biceps, the tans, the overpowering body spray, the feigning of mob ties. Eventually, though, they'll figure out that they'll be much more macho if they ditch the spiky hair and start working out muscle groups besides the arms. I think they'll get the picture within five years.

Ricers. For guys who want to assert their masculinity without bothering with the huge biceps etc. Although, frankly, it's probably cheaper and less time-consuming to spend your time at the gym than it is to turn your car into some awkward Frankenstein. The craze has already died down in Japan. It'll probably only last a couple more years here.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Strange game. The only way to win is not to play

From the docket entry for Follett v. Elk River, argued today in the Idaho Supreme Court:

The city of Elk River maintains an unlocked storage shed in the breezeway behind City Hall. Aaliyah Follett, a five year old girl, and Chance Smith, an eight year old boy, lived nearby. On the morning of June 18, 2004 Aaliyah and Chance entered the shed with fourteen year old Charles Wetherell to play the "tape game." Inside the shed, Wetherell taped the children to chairs and sexually assaulted Aaliyah while Chance was forced to watch.

This is why you should always ask the rules before you play a game. I learned this the easy way from playing 52 Pick-Up.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Foolish Earthlings!

Mwahahahaha! Your puny weapons are no match for my


Monday, April 2, 2007

Faith an' begorrah

In honor of Mary Robinson's visit to the College of Law today, I've decided to present you all with

A Brief History of Ireland, Based Entirely on What Salieri Can Remember Off The Top of His Head

Mythological Times - Finn MacCumhail tastes of the Salmon of Knowledge, becomes knowledgeable about salmon, leads the Tuatha De Danann to victory over the evil Balor.

Slightly Later, But Still Mythological - Queen Medb of Connaught decides to invade Ulster and rustle their cattle. The warriors of Ulster all go into labor (stupid ancestral curse) and Ulster appears to be screwed until this kid with a messed-up face named Cuchulainn showed up and killed all the Connaughtmen. Cruachan did a song about it.

Real Life, c. 100 BC - Romans discover Hibernia, elect not to conquer it.

c. 300 AD - Escaped slave Patrick arrives in Ireland, uses shamrock as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity, Christianizes Ireland. Old Celtic gods change names and become mythical saints.

c. 700 AD - Vikings arrive, sack monasteries, found Dublin.

c. 1000 - Normans arrive, sack monasteries, find disunified Irish kingdoms, start conquering them piecemeal.

1153 - Local Irish king appeals to Henry I of England for help fighting off invaders. English decide to conquer instead.

1556 - Henry VIII takes his kingdom out of the Catholic Church. His Irish subjects pretty much remain Catholic.

1600s - New policy of settling poor Scotsmen in Ireland to increase the Protestant population. Many of them eventually move to America and become the ancestors of today's rednecks.

1640s - English Civil War. Irish decide this would be a good time to revolt. Oliver Cromwell suppresses them.

1688 - Glorious Revolution. Last Catholic king leaves UK. Ireland becomes hotbed of Jacobites.

1700s - Ireland begins exporting authors, politicians, and comic relief to England. Notables include Jonathan Swift, Edmund Burke, and Sir Boyle Roche (Roche on 18th century Dublin: "Little children who could neither walk nor talk were running about in the streets cursing their Maker.") Potato arrives.

1750s - Guinness Brewery founded, takes out multi-century lease on land in Dublin.

1790s - Inspired by the American and French Revolutions and armed by Napoleon, the Society of United Irishmen start a major uprising. When French support dries up, the Irishmen die out. Cruachan did a song about it.

1801 - The Act of Union passes. Ireland now officially part of the UK.

1830s - Surfeit of rebellions convince Parliament to give Catholics the vote, inspire the names of several counties in Iowa.

1840s - Potato blight. Irishmen mostly either die or leave.

1850s - First skeleton of Neanderthal Man discovered in Germany. Prominent German scientists believe it's the skeleton of an Irishman who fought with Napoleon.

1914 - Ireland almost gets its own parliament and Home Rule, but the War puts everything on hold.

1916 or 1917, I can't remember which - Easter Rising. IRA, with German guns, takes over Dublin Post Office, declares itself rightful rulers of Ireland. First order of the new government: go buy some paste to put up posters. Rebellion quickly suppressed, and all leaders (except for an American guy) executed.

1919-1922 - Irish Civil War. British government rounds up gangsters and puts them in uniform as the Black and Tans, who terrorize the country and get a drink named after them. Eventually Irish Free State founded, with that American guy, Eamon De Valera, as the head.

1930s - Irish Free State ditches the King, becomes Republic of Ireland.

1939-1945 - World War II. Irish read about it in the papers.

1970s - Sectarian turmoil. Lots of people do songs about it.

1990s - EU membership + low corporate tax rate = explosive economic growth. Estonians take copious notes, do the same thing ten years later. Colm Meaney tells producers of "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" to shove it when they suggest he tell stories about leprechauns. Wiccans discover pre-Christian Ireland and ruin it. Good Friday agreement, which makes sectarian turmoil a little less prominent and results in hilarious Scots dialect census.

Today - Everything's swell, except when Celtic play Rangers.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Steve Guttenberg not included

Here I'd thought that the Freemasons were this totally shadowy society of evil dedicated to subverting free will and conquering the world. This guy's disjointed page of images and quotes had convinced me of it. I only know one person who's admitted to Masonic ties, and frankly I think she'd take over the world if you let her.

But then I found the 1930 DeMoulin Brothers Catalog, dedicated to selling things to Masons, and from the looks of it, Masonic lodges seem to be dedicated basically to screwing around.

Enough with the bucking couch, and the giant kazoos, and the racist masks, and the exploding flowers, guys! We're trying to run a serious conspiracy here, goddamnit!