Friday, July 30, 2004

Law Review!

This morning at 10:43 my cell-phone buzzed during class with a 713 number. Since I don't know anyone in 713 outside of work numbers, I had a feeling it was the Law Review people, so I rudely excused myself from class and stepped in the hallway. "Hello, may I speak with John Sharp please?" Woo-hoo! A pleasant, professional-sounding voice on the speaker told me everything I'd been waiting a week to hear. She said I'd written one of the best entries in the competition and that I had a few days to decide if I wanted to commit to Law Review. I told her I didn't need to wait; I was in. I'm supposed to get a confirmation email and there's a reception in three weeks. (Yay!) To celebrate, Sheridan and I watched Teenage Drama Queen and What a Girl Wants while eating spaghetti and chocolate-chip cookies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Warg loose in Maryland

According to this recent article, there is an unknown creature loose in Maryland that's running around eating up all the cat food.  No one can identify it; though residents obtained pictures and even a video.  It looks like a mangy hyena, and the local kids are calling it a "hyote" (hyena-coyote).  I would call it a Klingon Warg, but kids today are more into Dragonball than Star Trek.  I don't know what to make of this, but it's weird enough thought I'd share. 

Update! On Aug 2, somone caught a red fox with sarcoptic mange. I was pretty close...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Dear Pastor Tony,

Thank you for the copy of Alamo Christian Ministries World Newsletter your followers so kindly left on my windshield the other day.  Alas, the cares of life prevented me from reading it until yesterday.  I don't feel too guilty, though, as the cover date of your newsletter, April--June 2003, indicate your people have the same problem.  Say, and I was impressed with the longevity of your publication.  This issue is Volume 05700.  If you publish quarterly, as the date on your newsletter indicates, you've been doing this since A.D. 578.  Figuring any newsletter that's been around since the glory days of Byzantium is worth a read, I sat down with it last night.

That's a great picture of you with Sonny Bono sporting your Tony Alamo designer denim jacket.   You're a "World Pastor" and a designer?  That's talent.  And I also love the photo of your distributor in Ghana--the caption says his name is Brother B.S.  But your article about "Evil One-World Government Agents Are Claiming to be United States Agents" is what really got my attention.  I became alarmed as I read:  "The war between the Jews and Arabs is also created by the Roman Catholic Antichrist and his puppet goons.  The Jews and Arabs can live very peacefully together, but the Vatican wants their Pope, the one who is creating all the wars, to look like he's the one who will bring about peace.  * * * The Pope is the very Antichrist."

Man... so all that business about occupied Palestine and the suicide bombers, all the deaths since the founding of modern Israel  in 1948. . . that was orchestrated by the Pope so he can make a takeover bid?  Who'd a thunk it?  Does Mel Gibson know about this?  Do you think the Americans can "take" the Swiss Guard if we have to?  I mean, they have much cooler uniforms.

I feel as though I should purchase one of your designer jackets as a way of helping spread the message.  Tell me, do any of them come with extra-long sleeves that can be tied in the back?

Sincerely, & etc.

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Law's Delay

For those who are curious, no word yet on Law Review.    Someone in the Law Review office told me it would be another week or two.  No grade for Admin Law yet, either.  Since my esteemed brother Yusuf bought up our Saturday morning routine with Looney Tunes, I'll let my pal Bugs express my displeasure.

I always suspected Bugs & Daffy were mimicking someone in a movie when they did that, but no one ever seemed to know who.  Turns out Bob Clampett explained it in an interview back in June of 1969: 
There was a little hillbilly cameraman at the studio named Smokey Garner. He was from the Ozarks, and a real nice little guy who had first worked for Leon [Schlesinger] at Pacific Art and Title. He was the one who shot, developed and projected our pencil tests for us. . . . I'd tell him I've got to see that test by three o'clock today, and he'd say, "Oh, agony, agony, agony!"

Friday, July 23, 2004

1970s TV revisited

Strange... according to the Internet Movie Database, if you're interested in the E! True Hollywood Story about the girls from '80s show The Facts of Life, you might also be interested in a special about Iron Maiden's classic album The Number of the Beast. Um... yeah. While I sort of doubt it, the Facts of Life reference got me to thinking...

Here's a fun exercise: think back. Way, way back. How far back can you remember? Answering that can somtimes be a challenge. We can often recall snippits of events or scenes that were particularly emotional, but it isn't always so easy to put them in context or identify when they occurred. Most people seem to remember things pretty well starting around age 7 or 8. Memories earlier than that tend to grow more and more fuzzy, until you get to about 4 years old and it all goes blank. This has been my experience as well; I can't remember anything reliably before 1974.

For me, the easiest way to calculate it is to go back to television. There were a lot of reruns back in the 70s, and even today Sheridan watches I Dream of Jeannie. But if you can remember a show that wasn't in reruns or ever released into syndication, you can reliably date your memories of watching it. So let's see... what can I recall pre-1977?

I remember Jaws coming out in 1975, but otherwise not much else in the way of movies. Room 222 was about a high school and ran 1969-74. I remember watching it and I don't think it was in reruns. Land of the Lost (1974-77) had dinosaurs and the creepy Sleestacks. I remember the glowing crystals in the pylons that would affect the weather and open holes in time. Space 1999 was pretty cool (1975-77), even though I thought Martin Landau and Barbara Bain were both funny looking.  They tried a TV series of Planet of the Apes in 1974.  It was so-so and only lasted one season.

Variety programs were as ubiquitous in the 70s as reality shows are today. Carol Burnett, Donnie & Marie, Sonny & Cher, etc. Everyone remembers those. How about the Hawaiian-themed Don Ho Show? It ran from 1976-77 on ABC, and you could watch him play the ukelele and sing "Tiny Bubbles." But the first comedy/variety show I can remember is the Flip Wilson Show, which aired from 1970-74. Flip would dress up in drag as Geraldine, and his catchphrase was "What you see is what you get!" Now that was quality television!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Galvan House

And now for something a little different. . .
November 2003
Years ago the city moved nine historic homes together to form Heritage Park, and the area served as a quaint backdrop for wedding receptions just like this one. The chilly autumn Corpus Christi breeze brought the salty scent of the sea across the thinning crowd as the revelers, two by two, gave the newly married couple their blessings and turned towards home. After the wedding party had feasted and toasted, twilight slowly yielded to night and the cacophony of voices slowly thinned and then fell silent. Shadows crept up the walls and enveloped the park in darkness, and the stars emerged, burning with a cold and pale light.

Nora and I were there helping her sister Lisa, whose role as Maid of Honor had bought certain cleanup responsibilities. Consequently, we remained behind long after the party had dispersed. Although the dinner had been served mostly outside, the food line and facilities were located inside the Galvan House. The Galvan House is the centerpiece of Heritage Park and today it serves as the Multicultural Center for the city. It was built ca 1907 for Asa Millton French, a railroad man from New Hampshire who settled in Corpus back in 1882, and his wife Frances. Old Man French died in 1936, and the home was acquired in 1942 by Rafael Galvan, a policeman and civil leader. I can't seem to find any info about what happened between 1936-42. Galvan died in 1966, and because people remember him it's the Galvan House and not the French House.

Management was in sparse attendance as we wrapped up the cleaning--I have to admit we did more "supervising" than cleaning. Nora and I began to wander around the Galvan House, exploring and looking at architecture and photos of SeƱor Galvan and his family. On the second floor, we found steps leading up to a third floor or possibly an attic, for the steps abruptly terminated at a closed door. At the foot of the steps, a gate barred passage with a "No Entry" sign. The gate wasn't locked, and an overwhelming curiosity pulled me through the gate. I wanted to check out that attic, but we had to be quiet; I didn't want the employees to catch us and chase us off the property! With a mischeveous glance back at Nora, I started to move slowly up the stairs. The door was of the old, narrrow style with a brass knob blackened with the years. I gingerly placed my fingers on the knob and gave it a gentle twist. It turned, and with a slight push the door was open. Beyond lay a small platform and a wall; once inside, I turned right and found more steps, perhaps a half-dozen, leading up into the darkness. There was a stained glass Palladian window on the far wall, and it glowed with the misty moonlight shining behind it. As I moved up the steps, I began to make out shadowy forms of storage crates to the right, and to my left what appeared to be a large, antique four-poster bed. Almost immediately I began to feel I was not alone; that electricity, that certain sense of presence that you get when you're blindfolded and yet you know it when someone moves close to you, became almost overwhelming. "Someone's up here," I murmered, but Nora had stayed behind, peeking up the steps from the threshhold. I could almost make out a shadowy figure on the bed. I heard no voices but a sense of outrage and anger washed over me. Go away! Get out! I hesitated, and tried to move forward into the room, but my legs wouldn't cooperate. "Come down" Nora called anxiously. I found the only direction I could move was backwards, and so I retreated from a confrontation with the apparition I wasn't entirely convinced was there.

Nora was quite agitated; she had felt the same thing when she tried to pass through the doorway. We moved down the stairs and out into the night air. Only then I realized my heart was pounding.  Shortly we found Lisa and asked her if she'd been upstairs. Without telling her what we'd experienced, we asked her to go upstairs and check out the attic. We went with her to the upper floor and I stood at the doorway as she retraced my steps from moments before. She took the steps to the top, and suddenly stopped short. She hesitated, and came back down quickly. She described it as a force field that had blocked her path into the room.

My friend Cynthia called about an hour later, and I asked her to do a Google search on "Galvan House" and "ghost." She came up with one report that people walking on the second floor sometimes felt somone tapping them on the shoulder, and others reported hearing footsteps when no one was there. We weren't surprised, and the report only confirmed what our hearts already knew: The Galvan House is haunted.

Some will sigh and roll their eyes. I don't blame them. But is it so imposible to believe that in some places along the great river of life, flowing through time and consciousness, that perhaps there are currents and eddies that swirl back upon themselves, and give us, for a moment, a glimpse into another realm as the waking world juxtaposes the land of dreams? Perhaps, somewhere in 1933, Asa French turned uneasily in his sleep, and, sensing a presence, sat up and peered into the darkness as a fleeting shadow flitted by his door and down the steps, vanishing with a murmur into the night.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Law Review Write-On

Friday afternoon I pulled open the heavy door to Student Services and walked in, paper in hand.  I had a flashback to October 2002, when I first entered this office with my application form, resume and personal statement.  At the time I was pretty nervous because I knew there was so much competition for admission to law school.  It can be pretty intimidating to reduce your academic and professional life to a series of bullet points to be scrutinized and possibly rejected.   I spent hours putting it together, and went through several revisions of my personal statement.  If I'd have known then that there were something like 900 applicants, I probably would have obsessed over it even more.  I remember when I handed my application folder to the secretary, she took it and threw it into a pile.  I just stood there, expecting her to say something, give me a receipt, anything.  After all the time and effort and worry that went into preparation, the delivery seemed so. . . hard.  It's like dropping off your child at daycare for the first time.  "Take care of my baby!" 
Fast forward 18 months, and again I'm submitting an application.  This one is a write-on application for Law Review.  Making Law Review is an achievement that carries high esteem in the legal community,  and for the past three weeks I've been researching and thinking about little else.  Those who wanted to apply had to write a casenote about a case coming up before the Supreme Court this Fall.  Requirements: 20-30 pages, 50% footnotes.  Every comma and period of every footnote must conform to the Bluebook of legal form.  Ugh.  Three weeks of research, stress and sweat later, I am again handing in my work to an indifferent office assistant, and again I find it hard to walk away.  However, with each step taken back towards my car, the burden of the paper lifted more and more, until by the time I drove away all the stress had been displaced by relief that it was finished.
Several of us met up at a party put on by our Property professor.  We stood around and talked about our papers.  Someone said we shouldn't be so obsessive about it, but I argued we needed to talk to just decompress and get back into the real world. 
If I make it they'll call me in about a week.  If I don't, I'm doing the International Journal.   In short, this is my first post that ends: TO BE CONTINUED.