Tuesday, September 30, 2003

What Would It Take for Me to Read a 'Slice Of Life' Story?

Well, first, it would have to deal with real-life problems, like the ones I face every day, but it should include far-out situations involving robots and magic powers, too. Oh, and also you should win stuff by reading it.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Trial Run, Yet Again

This morning i had to conduct the direct examination of a security officer in a department store who apprehended a shoplifter. The women he arrested claims she brought the perfume bottle with her into the store to compare it with what she wanted to buy, even though the sample bottle of perfume identical to the one in her purse is now missing from the cosmetics counter.

I was all ready to go at it from several different angles, but unfortunately, the guy playing the officer hadn't read the deposition and was either reading it as he went or ad libbing facts that weren't in it. It threw my timing off, but I think I recovered. It's frustrating that not everyone takes this stuff seriously. In a short time, preparations for these trials will cost clients money, time, prestige, and maybe even their lives if one is doing criminal work. Isn't it worthwhile to put some effort into trials now rather say, "Oh, I'll snap into shape when it really matters?"

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Is Iraq A Quagmire?

People are so quick to call Iraq a quagmire that I have to even wonder if they actually understand what the words means. I heard Iraq being called a quagmire because it took US troops a day longer to secure an area than had been planned. We heard all kinds of talk of what a quagmire taking Baghdad would be. Now several short months after liberation we hear the word being used again as if the past several times they were wrong were no deterrent. I think those calling it a quagmire want it to be a quagmire. They wanted to liberation to end in quagmire, they wanted the taking of Baghdad to be a quagmire, and now they're drooling with happiness because rebuilding a nation takes time and even if it were attempted in the most friendly nation in the world there would be setbacks, culture clashes, and mistakes. Every incident is leaped on with animal savagery to demonstrate that this is indeed a quagmire.

I don't read just the traditional news outlets due to other interests I have. I often read small town papers and news from other countries outside of the US, UK, European, and Arabic/Muslim worlds. What I have seen there is a much more balanced view. They don't report every single incident as if it were world headlines. Perhaps because many of these sources don't have such emotional ties to the subject matter you tend to see more of a big picture coverage and the tone seems to be that it's a big job, it's not going perfectly, but in the end things will probably work out.

Let's demonstrate some intellectual honesty here, shall we?

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Know The Score

South Carolina 20
Tennessee 23

I was on the floor, on my knees, and begging for a miracle fumble in front of the television as Tennessee scored a final touchdown in overtime to beat my beloved Gamecocks. Nothing seems to be going right lately.
Another Fine Mess You've Gotten Me Into

Oliver Cause of Possible Horry County GOP Split: I especially like the (very much accurate) statement that the South Carolina Democratic Party will allow any "bully, misfit, or jailbird to walk in and run for public office." Oliver did, however, blast an old college buddy of mine, SC Rep. Thad Viers, so I have to think about what side I'm on here.

This is just a reminder of how much I yearn to go back to South Carolina and resume my political involvement. I miss it. Have I mentioned lately that I really dislike Virginia? I try to slip that in here on a fairly regular basis.

(If anyone gets the hidden vaudeville reference here, I'll be mighty impressed.)

Friday, September 26, 2003

Wonderland

"He's dreaming now," said Tweedledee. "What do you think he's dreaming about?"

Alice said, "Nobody can guess that."

"Why, about you!" Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. "And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be?"

"Where I am now, of course," said Alice.

(Indeed, Alice. Indeed.)

Thursday, September 25, 2003

International Criminal Court

Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction: For those who view international law without a skeptical eye, Dr. Henry Kissinger's essay on the problems with the International Criminal Court is a good read.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Dragging my Chains

These days drag on and on. I had to fill out my graduation application, and that showed me the light at the end of the tunnel, but also that there are miles to go before the end. Mercy, am I ever ready to leave this life style and state behind. There's way too many petty squabbles foing on arouind me for my tastes. The pressure is on, and nerves are frayed. Keep in mind, it's only the Fall. Wait until Spring, when the bar exam looms, the stragglers who haven't taken the MPRE sweat it out, the job search gets desperate.

Fun, fun, fun in the Virginia Beach sun.

Why We Hate Bush

A Liberal Explains: Short answer: he's rich, successful, politically powerful, and not Bill Clinton. Even shorter answer: we're jealous crybabies.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Justice, Justice, Pursueth Thou

Monkeys Demand Equal Pay for Equal Work: Researchers taught brown capuchin monkeys to swap tokens for food. Usually they were happy to exchange this "money" for cucumber. But if they saw another monkey getting a grape - a more-liked food - they took offence. Some refused to work, others took the food and refused to eat it.
One Hat Too Many

The Trouble With Wes: Democrats were giddy with excitement over Gen. Wesley Clark's announcing his candicay for president. Clark holds all the right political positions and has military service. Many feel he is exacty what they need to beat Bush. Hold tight, say I, and take a gander at this article. Gen. Clark met with the notorious Bosnian Serb commander and indicted war criminal, Gen. Ratko Mladic in 1994. The two exchanged gifts of each other's uniform hats. A photo of them wearing each other's hat floated around Europe at the time and is all over the internet now (Sorry I couldn't find a more permanent link for the photo, or i would have put it here.)

Imagine Rommel wearing an American Eagle whie Eisenhower sports a swastika armband, and you'll get an idea of how erious this situation is. Mladic is considered by U.S. intelligence as the mastermind of the Srebrenica massacre of Muslim civilians and is a still at large war criminal. And this Clark bozo wants to be president? I don't know what's worse: that he thinks he can win or that the Democrats are salivating over the prospect.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

You Change Just Like the Weather

I have just returned after an evacuation in preparation for Hurricane Isabel. Virginia Beach looks like a war zone. Trees are down everywhere, and much of the city is without power. Even the traffic lights aren't working in some areas. Fortunately, my neighborhood is back in business, although groundskeepers haven't removed many of the fallen trees.

I had to clean out the refrigerator of a bunch of frozen foods that have thawed out and refroze. I didn't want to take chances with them. I had to scrub down the whole thing just in case of salmonella. My roommate hasn't returned yet, so he is not yet aware that his scooter is a total loss. He's going to be in a charming mood, I would imagine.

Tomorrow, I have to putter about and restore food and other essentials as well as check on friends. Some libe closer to the beach than I do, so I hope things are all right for them. Twenty-nine people were killed up and down the East Coast from this storm.


Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Blowin' in the Wind

Yep, Hurricane Isabel's a'comin', and Jamie's a 'goin'. See you on the other side.

Dust in the Wind
(Kansas)

I close my eyes
Only for a moment, then the momen't gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind

Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind, ohh

Now, don't hang on
Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
The wind

Monday, September 15, 2003

Quit Your Medal-ing Around

Medals of the World: a collection of military and cvilian medals from around the world. I want the Order of the White Eagle from Poland, if someone would see fit to award it to me.

Cashed Out

While I am happy that Johnny Cash is getting all the tribute he deserves (although I wish he had gotten more of it in the last days of his life. We all knew he was dying.), I am getting annoyed at some of the people that TV shows are trotting out claiming to have been influenced by Cash. Justin Timnerlake may have enjoyed Cash albums as a kid, but don't even claim N'SYNC got its sound and style from Cash. Heck, losing the MTV music award to that twerp Timberlake probably pushed Cash over the edge to join the choir invisible in the first place. You guys want to say you enjoyed Johnny Cash's music, great, but don't blame him for the schlock you put out.




Sunday, September 14, 2003

Right on Track

It looks like Hurricane Isabel is right on track to hit the coast of Virginia Thursday or Friday. This will be the second major hurricane to hit an area where I live. I lived right in the path of Hurrcane Hugo when it came ashore in South Carolina in 1989.
Remembering Admonitions

I went into McDonald's this afternoon. There was a shaky teenage girl behind the counter. This was her first day on the job and I heard her apologize profusely to customer in front of me while telling him she was still in training. When I got to the counter, rang up my order incorrectly, then charged me to much. I mentioned thie price was three dollars too high, and she said, "I know I'm not sure I pressed the right button."

She saw no need to correct this error, and I steamed. I stood there and waited longer as she forgot both my fries and condiments. The guy behind me started snivkering at her, and I made a few comments, too.

After a while she came over to my table, gave me a free apple pie and apologized for messing up my order. I felt like a horse's behind, and apologized for my attitude.

The best way to judge a person is by the way he treats those who are called on to serve him--the waitresses, the cashiers, the janitors. I forgot Christ's admonition that "what you do to the least of these, you do to me." I gave an awfully poor testimony this afternoon, and I am ashamed of myself.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

I just got back from seeing that movie. Pretty decent in a comic booky sort of way. Director Rodriguez wants to be the Hispanic Quentin Tarantino, and that influence shows, as does his admiration for Sergio Leone. Unfortunately, Rodrigeuz doesn't have Tarantino's wit, and Antonio Banderas is no Clint Eastwood. For me, Johnny Depp made the fim as Agent Sands. Depp plays such a good edgy psycho. I think he's the best character actor around today.

There was a preview forthe new Coen brothers film, Intolerable Cruelty with George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Billy Bob Thornton. I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Marty Stuart on Johnny Cash

"...in the last few months, two vultures had taken up residence on the Cash property, and they would sit outside the window of John's office and stare at him. And John would stare back at them."

Marty said, "It takes a guy pretty secure in his position in the world to befriend vultures."
The Man in Black (1932-2003)

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line.

RIP Johnny Cash. He died last night at 71.


Thursday, September 11, 2003

Two Years Ago Today

The Second Coming (part)
(William Butler Yeats)

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

and


The Rising
(Bruce Springsteen)

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

There's spirits above and behind me
Faces gone black, eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood bind me
Lord, as I stand before your fiery light

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of my line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Finally,


"All around us, it was as if the universe were holding its breath, waiting. All of life can be broken down into moments of transition or moments .. of revelation. This had the feeling of both.

There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.'"

--Ambassador G'Kar in Babylon 5 episode, "Z'ha'dum"





Wednesday, September 10, 2003

We Wacky, Xenophobic Americans

U.S. Opinion of United Nations Lowest in 50 Years: Hallelujah. Maybe that organization (or at least the Security Council) will go the way of the dodo bird. Not that I'm optimistic about it. Speaking of international law, my article on Japanese war crime victims will be published in the Spring 2004 issue of the Regent Journal of International Law.

Monday, September 08, 2003

To the Ends of the Earth

Degree Confluence Project: The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures and stories will then be posted. Neat idea.
Pound for Pound

Since starting this free weight exercise program in June, I have gained nine pounds. Now, I have the metabolism of a chipmunk with ADD, so this is quite an accomplishment. I'd eat a piece o chocolate cake in celebration, but I ate the whole thing yesterday while watching Heartbreak Ridge from the 265th time. (See? Metabolism.) Actually, to celebrate, I purchased heavier weights in order to shake things up a bit more. I'm going to have to lower the amount of reps I do, but this new weight is enough of a challenge to compensate for that.

Trial Practice is tomorrow. I get to handle "real" evidence. This is a neat thing.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Heatwave

Socialism Kills: Did a socialist and secular national mindset kill 11,000+ elderly people in France's recent heatwave? Dennis Prager thinks so in this essay regarding the belief in "Government as Caretaker."

Friday, September 05, 2003

Trial Run

I had my first direct examination. I was questioning a witness regarding a telephone call he reeived from a jealous coworker. The coworker threatened to pour sugar into my witness' gas tank if he didn't pay him $500. Fortunately, my witness survived the defense's cross examination virtually unscathed. Litigation is one of the most fascinating experiences of being a lawyer. It makes drafting estate plans seem dull in comparison.
Are You a Neoconservative?

Take the test and Find Out. For the record, I scored as a realist. Apparently, I do not take ethical issues into consideration when making foreign policy decisions. Go figure.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Off the Track and On the Rocks

Jeff Gordon's Divorce Settlement: No wonder he can't win on the track lately. He's about $15 million lighter in the walllet.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Watched Bridge on the River Kwai Yet Again

"You make me sick with your heroics. There's a stench of death about you. You carry it in your pack like the plague. Explosives and L-pills -- they go well together, don't they? And with you it's just one thing or the other: destroy a bridge or destroy yourself. This is just a game, this war! You and Colonel Nicholson, you're two of a kind, crazy with courage. For what? How to die like a gentleman... how to die by the rules... when the only important thing is how to live like a human being."--Major Shears.

(Yes, Nicholson is pretty much a treasonous collaborator, but it's a classic film on the nihilism of war regardless.)