Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Wow, I'm 35!

Today Drew Barrymore and I are celebrating our birthdays. No, not together.

How does it feel to turn 35? It's a little weird. These days I’d have to go to a nursing home for someone to say “You’re just a kid!” and no one ever asks for my ID anymore. I don’t feel too bad, though. Who else is turning 35 this year? Heather Graham, Minnie Driver, Queen Latifah, Mariah Carey, Vince Vaughn, Ricky Schroeder, Nichole Sullivan, Renee Zellweger, Andre Agassi, Uma Thurman, Naomi Campbell, Joseph Fiennes, Beck, Jennifer Lopez, M. Night Shyamalan, Malcolm Jamal-Warner, Claudia Schiffler, Debbie Gibson, Macy Gray, Matt Damon, Tonya Harding, and Jennifer Connolly.

I was going to write about how the world has changed since 1970, but I'll spare you the history lesson. "Back in my day..."

Friday, February 18, 2005

Happy Birthday Nora!

May I have your attention please! Everyone, this is Nora, she's turning 37 today and we all want to wish her a happy birthday. Ready?

Estas son las margaritas que venden las Tortugas; hoy por ser dia de tu santo te las compramos a ti! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Norita, happy birthday to you.

She's 37 today and just a little grumpy about it. Don't feel bad, Nora. If you were 17 again you would be too young for me! ;-) I'm not there to serenade you this morning so click here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

You Can't Handle the Truth

Galileo spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest for his assertion that the earth revovled around the sun. So I suppose White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay got off easy when he was merely fired in September 2002 by the Bush administration for predicting the war in Iraq would cost between one and two hundred billion dollars. According to an article I read today, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?) is now pushing three hundred billion with no end in sight.

In retrospect, Mr. Bush, I think you owe Larry an apology, don't you?

PS This is worth a read.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Singles Appreciation Day

We should declare a national Singles Appreciation day. Yes, yes, I know it’s Valentine's Day on Monday. But Valentine’s Day discriminates against those not currently seeing someone. Those of you who are aren’t coupled up and would rather not talk about it, well, I can relate. I spent several Valentine's Days alone, and I know it sucks. All the more reason to start a revolution and politically correctify* the situation.

Don't get me wrong. There are benefits to being single. If you want to whip out a credit card and fly to Europe for the week, you just do it. If you decide to paint the bathroom green, there are no discussions. It's green. Holidays are all about your family, and you don’t have to juggle his-and-hers Thanksgivings or Christmases, coordinate vacations or report in when you're late. All purchases are your decision, and the budget for beauty salons, nail shops, and puppy chow all rests comfortably at zero. You can walk into the mall without being dragged into Express or Casual Corner, and if you want to pile up socks on the floor till laundry day, no one says a word. Well, you get the idea. It's all about you.

Society-at-large, however, alienates singles in a variety of ways, constantly finding creative means of reminding them of their perceived incompleteness. Let’s take the example of going to a movie. You call up a buddy, but his cell phone is off, so you go alone. First you stand in the ticket line with affectionate couples. When you get to the booth, the attendant peers at you over his thick glasses. “Two tickets?” “No, just one.” Asshole. He gives you the ticket and you wander into the theater. The pre-movie muzak is Endless Love, and the advertising slides promote romantic getaways in Galveston. After the movie, you're hungry and wander into a restaurant. The hostess asks, “How many?” Here we go again. Table for one. She looks at you uncertainly for a moment. “Would you rather just sit at the bar?” You look over at the bar, at the couples huddled together.

“No thank you.”

“Right this way,” she says, and leads you to a table in the back by the kitchen. As soon as you’re seated, she whisks away the other place settings, and everyone glances over at the single guy eating by himself.

Some people say they would never go out on the town alone because this is exactly what they expect to happen. For shame! Carpe diem; don’t wait for someone to come along and validate your presence in public. And besides, you can’t hide; even in the sanctuary of your own home, they’ll get to you. Coupons in the mail will offer “buy one dinner, get the second for half price.” What am I supposed to do, buy one now and one to go? “Improve your sex life,” headlines a junk e-mail in my box. What sex life? Delete. Sales people call and ask for the lady of the house. How am I supposed to answer? “You’re talkin’ to him.” Buying my house was a bad experience. “JS, an Unmarried Person” was on every form I signed. I started getting mail addressed to “Mr. And Mrs. JS.” When I met my neighbors, they asked about my wife. I told them she’s busy tending our pet unicorn.

If all the above isn’t enough, on top of all that society gives singles a National Day of Social Inadequacy, to be celebrated perhaps by attending the KRBE Broken Hearts Ball or an 8-Minute Dating Event.

We should turn it around by declaring a new holiday: a day to remind others that some are single by choice, others are single by circumstance. But everyone has value and should be made to feel included, and even appreciated, for who they are--not whom they're with. Only I can’t do it this weekend 'cause I’m taking Nora out for Valentine's.

*I know that’s not a word. I made it up. Feel free to use it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I've been flamed

Here's a bitchy email I received from a Law Review person. One of the sources I was assigned to locate for cite checking isn't available anywhere (a common problem for this author) so the editors told me don't worry about it; they'll ask the author for it. Then I get this:
You were supposed to find a source called "Joyce Klemperer, Twice Abused: Battered Women and the Criminal Justice System in New York City (Coalition of Battered Women's Advocated 1993)." You placed question marks next to it and I was wondering what if any actions you have taken to secure it. If the source is not available in the Houston area, an ILL must be sent. Please let me know as soon as possible when you obtain this source.
Note the accusatory tone. Let's do this again--the annotated version this time, with interlinear notes.

You were supposed to find. . . Any email or discussion that starts off this way is going to end badly. You put the other person (I should say target in this case) on warning that you have your torpedoes loaded and your finger's on the trigger.

...a source called "Joyce Klemperer, Twice Abused: Battered Women and the Criminal Justice System in New York City (Coalition of Battered Women's Advocated 1993)." I did look for it, thanks for asking. Quite thoroughly. There have been three Law Review articles that cite it--all 10 years ago, and two were written by this author. It's not available in our library system, it's not listed in HeinOnline, WorldCat or even Google, and the CBWA's not listed in the NY phone book. There was a number on one web site, but it's been disconnected. God, I'm such a slacker.

You placed question marks next to it and I was wondering what if any actions you have taken to secure it. Torpedoes away! "If any?" is a shorthand way of saying "I'm going to assume you're lazy and incompetent, unaware of the requirements of this assignment and need you to prove to me I'm wrong."

If the source is not available in the Houston area, an ILL must be sent. Thank you for reminding me of the rules. This is only my fourth cite check for the Law Review, and a missing source has never come up before.

Please let me know as soon as possible when you obtain this source. I'll get right on that!

Oh, and if she'd bothered to look at the list of sources we're asking the author for, mine is listed. (So there!)

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ain't no bread

There ain't no bread in the bread box
'Cause we ain't got no dough
And it's seems like we ain't got enough time
To go foolin' around no more
I've been working so hard for oh so long
What've you got to show?
- Jerry Garcia Band, Shining Star (1991)
Wednesday night I came into the law school building tired and hungry. There's a Subway sandwich shop inside the school, and around 5:30 it's normally bustling with activity. This time it looked pretty empty, and I was glad to be able to get in & out quickly without waiting in line. Not so. As soon as I was in the door, I was greeted by a large, grumpy woman with her arms crossed. "Ain't no bread," she announced. "Excuse me?" "Ain't no bread," she said again, as if she was challenging me to a fight. This is a Subway, how can you possibly not have bread? That's like McDonald's saying they don't have any fries.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Lá 'le Bhríde

1 Feabhra 2005

Part of an ongoing memorial to our vanished heritage
A Bhríd, a Mhuire na nGael.
Faoi do bhrat, tóg ár náisiún uile.
A Bhríd, a Mhuire na nGael, guí orainn!
February 1 and 2 were once associated with the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Of course, the holy Church disapproved of the Celtic gods and replaced them with more acceptable alternatives, so now
February 1 is St. Brigid's Day and February 2 is Candlemas. Many Christians have probably heard of Candlemas but I'll bet not 1 in 10 have a clue what it commemorates or how you're supposed to celebrate it. Only the Irish know about St. Brigid and not even they celebrate it. Now all that's left is a silly festival in Punxsutawney where a groundhog named Phil comes out to predict the weather. You can read about the evolution from holy Celtic festival to the Psychic Rodent Fair here.