Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'd say I'm "reflecting" but isn't that just the "spiritual but not religious" way of saying "prayer?"

And in the words of someone I've forgotten (Billy Connolly?), "Saying 'I'm spiritual, but not religious' is like saying 'I'm scared of dying, but I can't be arsed to go to church.'"

Anyhow, the bar and my birthday have come and gone, and I'm doing what I customarily do at this time (well, customarily after my birthday. I hope I don't have to take the bar enough times for it to become a custom): I ask myself, "Was this The Year I Hit Rock Bottom?"

Probably not. Yes, some crummy things happened, I lived in a very unpleasant apartment, I got turned down for some jobs, I realized I'm probably never going to see that insanely hot girl who works at the Moscow Baskin-Robbins ever again. But I got a degree that could prove valuable. I lost another five pounds without even trying. I figured out which of my law school friends are probably going to remain friends for life and which are probably just going to be occasional Facebook contacts. So it looks like 2001-2002 will remain The Year I Hit Rock Bottom for now.

Next year has the potential to be The Year I Hit Rock Bottom, if I can't get a job or if I failed the bar or if I was wrong about which friends would stick with me or if the Cubs win the World Series (I need them to continue losing to validate my worldview). Otherwise, it might just be The Year I Shift Out Of Neutral.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We who are about to test salute you

The bar starts in an hour and a half. In case I don't make it… I'm leaving you a gift.

Yes, I'm letting you all have the ringtones I've created. Great gift, huh? To use them, you'll need a phone that can play MP3 ringtones and some means of transferring them to your phone from your computer, such as Bluetooth.

Now, back to listening to Swedish metal bands for inspiration.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bar review in a nutshell

The bar starts Monday. I thought that maybe if I compiled a list of things I completely bombed on practice tests, I'd remember them more easily.

- Fuckin' well-pleaded complaint rule.
- Fuckin' unborn widow problem.
- Fuckin' short form mergers.
- Fuckin' pre-1994 common-law marriages.
- Fuckin' joint and several liability with comparative contribution.
- Fuckin' Blockburger.
- Fuckin' interlocutory appeals.
- Fuckin' shelter rule.
- Fuckin' 1 cfs per 50 acres rule.
- Fuckin' 10% rule for commercially unreasonable sales.
- Fuckin' PKPA.
- Fuckin' race-notice statutes.
- Fuckin' holdover tenancies.
- Fuckin' real estate in general.

Note that this isn't counting all the issues I spotted but decided obviously didn't apply to the case, but the question authors thought otherwise, such as "Excited utterance, my ass!" "Impracticability, my ass!" or "Legitimate expectation of privacy, my ass!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things you don't want to hear from your date's dad

"Don't try to take her virginity, 'cause she's given it to me."

I agree with most of what noted teen sex expert Litigious Mind has to say on this issue, except that I can see why people would have greater concern for their teen daughter's sex activities than their teen son's, considering that it's easier for boys to avoid the consequences of sex (as anyone who has ever seen a Lifetime movie can attest) (and I'm in the process of developing A Theory about Lifetime movies, but it's not quite ready for display yet).

And I have heard the psychologists talk about how a healthy father-daughter relationship leads to healthy relationships between the daughter and men later in her life. Still, it seems to me like this would be a topic better addressed in a mother-daughter chat. Most people probably do it this way, but that wouldn't be news, now would it?

Also, I wouldn't describe this article as "hella disturbing" so much as "a little odd," but then I've seen more of the Internet than Litigious has.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Because it's been too long

I have the twin horrors of moving and the bar exam coming up fast, so I'll need to take comfort in the arms of an imaginary TV girlfriend.

Now, I was never really a fan of the Gilmore Girls. The dialogue was just too snappy. I know people who could talk like the Gilmores, but only in short bursts, never at the tempo the show sustained. But I've heard that a lot of people like the show, and I've seen a few episodes. Basically, I've seen enough to know I like Liza Weil. She was entertaining and "girl next door" cute as crazy girl Paris. Also, she's left-handed, and all my real-life girlfriends to date have been lefties, so this is a good sign for me.

(Her Wikipedia page notes that she had a guest spot on Law & Order: SVU. Big deal, I think I was on SVU at one point in time. Now the spot on The Adventures of Pete & Pete, on the other hand…)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hello Cleveland!

In case you haven't heard, here's the recently-announced primary setlist for Rock Band 2. The best songs are in bold.

AC/DC - Let There Be Rock
AFI - Girl's Not Grey
Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
Alice in Chains - Man in the Box
Allman Brothers - Ramblin' Man
Avenged Sevenfold - Almost Easy
Bad Company - Shooting Star
Beastie Boys - So Whatcha Want
Beck - E-Pro
Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl
Billy Idol - White Wedding Pt. I
Blondie - One Way or Another
Bob Dylan - Tangled Up in Blue
Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer
Cheap Trick - Hello There
Devo - Uncontrollable Urge
Dinosaur Jr - Feel the Pain
Disturbed - Down with the Sickness
The Donnas - New Kid in School
Dream Theater - Panic Attack
Duran Duran - Hungry Like the Wolf
Elvis Costello - Pump it Up
Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way
Foo Fighters - Everlong
The Go-Go's - We Got the Beat
Grateful Dead - Alabama Getaway
The Guess Who - American Woman
Guns N' Roses - Shackler's Revenge
Interpol - PDA
Jane's Addiction - Mountain Song
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
Joan Jett - Bad Reputation
Journey - Anyway You Want It
Judas Priest - Painkiller
Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son
L7 - Pretend We're Dead
Lacuna Coil - Our Truth
Linkin Park - One Step Closer
Lit - My Own Worst Enemy
Lush - De-Luxe
Mastodon - Colony of Birchmen
Megadeth - Peace Sells
Metallica - Battery
Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Where'd You Go
Modest Mouse - Float On
Motörhead - Ace of Spades
The Muffs - Kids in America
Nirvana - Drain You
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky
The Offspring - Come Out & Play (Keep 'em Seperated)
Panic at the Disco - Nine in the Afternoon
Paramore - That's What You Get
Pearl Jam - Alive
The Presidents of the United States of America - Lump
Rage Against the Machine - Testify
Ratt - Round & Round
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give it Away
The Replacements - Alex Chilton
Rise Against - Give it All
Rush - The Trees
Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye
The Smashing Pumpkins - Today
Social Distortion - I Was Wrong
Sonic Youth - Teenage Riot
Soundgarden - Spoonman
Squeeze - Cool for Cats
Steely Dan - Bodhitsattva
Steve Miller Band - Rock'n Me
Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
System of a Down - Chop Suey!
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
Tenacious D - Master Exploder
Testament - Souls of Black
The Who - Pinball Wizard

If you need a name for your rock band, I suggest "Volcano Ironhand."

Potent quotables

I am prone to the occasional bout of aphorismia, in which I come up with an idea and feel mentally compelled to refine it into the form of an aphorism. Such a bout occurred on my drive back from Boise yesterday, just after I went through Cascade. Here are the three products of that bout.

"Anyone who claims to be a free thinker is not a very deep thinker."

"This may be the first presidential election in which the candidates are promising us better weather."

"If there really are dick-waving contests, I hope they are judged not solely on length, but also on technical difficulty and artistic merit."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Those who do not study history are doomed to euphemize it

In this post I will briefly address a meme that I have encountered several times recently, and here are some links to prove that it is a real meme that people talk about in real life.

"Should You Need A License To Have Kids?" Rimjob, Daily Kos, Dec. 14, 2005 (attached poll: 186 say "yes," 111 "no," 17 "unsure")

"I hear horror stories all the time about child abuse and child neglect. I think it's quite possible that requiring a license to have a child would put an end, or at least minimize, these issues." Fanaile Essence, "Should a license be required to have children?" ProgressiveU, Nov. 12, 2006

"The requirements to get a “I can have a child” license should be simple. Each person must take a class- a parenting program (and pass a test to prove that they learned the material), pass a drug test, pass an IQ test, and give proof that they have a stable income for at least a year." Alaesme, License to Have Children, For Our Cultural Integrity, Dec. 31, 2006

"As it is now, any persons who conceive or give birth to children can do as they wish with their children until the children are sufficiently damaged to warrant the intervention of public social agencies under child abuse and neglect laws. We carefully screen adoptive parents. We require licenses for foster parents and for day care providers. But we have no standards for the biological parents of children. Those children are not protected until they are damaged. Then our interventions often are too late to be effective." Dr. Jack C. Westman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, "The Rationale for Licensing Parents"

I've heard examples of this idea from conservatives, too - I just haven't found links to them talking about it. Anyway, this isn't a new idea, as the following quote will show:

"…And there would be certain conditions of circumstances which would preclude parenthood. These conditions, the presence of which would make parenthood a crime, are the following:

1. Transmissible disease

2. Temporary disease

3. Subnormal children already in the family

4. Space out between births

5. Twenty-three years as a minimum age for parents

6. Economic circumstances adequate

7. Spiritual harmony between parents." Margaret Sanger, "The Children's Era," delivered March, 1925 (note: I don't think Ms. Sanger intended to say that having adequate economic circumstances would make it illegal for you to have children, but she was doing a public speech at the time and we all know that can be nerve-wracking and we can forgive her for making a mistake.)

Indeed, the idea antedates even Sanger, going back to a Victorian scientist and explorer by the name of Sir Francis Galton. He founded a particular school of thought that's been out of favor for some time due to its historical application, but perhaps it's ready for a comeback. After all, maybe "three generations of imbeciles are enough."

(I hope this post has subtly and tastefully addressed my position regarding this issue without being too obtuse.)


1. I have determined that the real-life band that sounds most like Spinal Tap is Deep Purple. They have similar fuzzy guitar work (compare the beginning of Purple's "Space Truckin'" with Tap's "Sex Farm") and keyboard parts. By the way, did you know that Spinal Tap invented the "devil horns" sign? Here's their explanation.

2. The good news is that I think all the insects in my apartment are dead. The bad news is that I think they all drowned.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SIR - I wish to make the following comments

The Times have now made available online all their back issues from 1785 to 1985, and they're more-or-less searchable. Head over to the archive, register (or not) and start looking. Here's a letter to the editor from 1911 explaining why women's suffrage is the road to dictatorship.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Addressing the root causes of the flea problem

Almost as soon as I moved into the temporary apartment, I noticed the bug problem. In this case, it was little tiny ones that jumped around whenever I tried to smash them. When I started finding bites on my legs, I realized that I was going to have to go to war with the fleas.

I went out shopping and returned with the mother of all flea bombs. Just pull the plunger, go to a cafe for the next eight hours, and all the fleas would be dead (and their eggs, too, for up to three months), said the label.

The next morning the fleas were back.

Fortunately the flea bomb came in packages of two.

I went a whole day without fleas, only to discover a scouting party of them yesterday. Are they getting reinforcements from elsewhere? I think so, and here's my evidence.

1. When I arrived in the apartment, I noticed a stain on the carpet and a lingering scent of ammonia.
2. There are not pets permitted in my apartment complex, but sometimes I hear meowing.
3. My apartment is on the ground floor and there are a number of cracks in the windows.

My theory is that the previous tenants had been hiding a cat in the apartment. When it came time for them to move out, they decided they didn't want the cat any more. (Alternately, and equally likely in this area, the previous tenant was arrested, sent his babymomma to move his stuff out, and babymomma decided she didn't want no cat.) They abandoned the cat in the neighborhood. Today, it's homeless, lonely, and flea-infested, wandering Moscow, looking for food and shelter. Occasionally it returns to its old home and hopes its owner will take it back - and the fleas jump from the cat into my apartment.

I might have to get me a cat-grabbing stick and the phone number of the Humane Society.

Friday, July 4, 2008


I'm sure some of you in my audience have heard of my favorite silent film, Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." Or maybe you've seen the anime it inspired or heard the Dream Theater album it inspired. Anyway, the plot is ridiculous, and would be greatly helped if the missing third of the film was discovered, but damn does it look cool.

What's that, you say? The missing third of the film has been discovered! Kino International is set to restore it and release it on DVD and Bluray next year.

In the meantime, let Satanic Robot Maria wish you a happy Independence Day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This is the sort of tidbit that makes me appreciate Football Manager 2008

For the curious: my Forest side went on to beat Derby 4-1. (And I choked a little when I saw that the manager-version of me had recently turned thirty.)