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.