Rodney King is Invincible.

Rodney King -- remember, that guy associated with the early 90's tiff in LA? Yeah, well, he's been shot. This was not a targeted shooting (ugh), but appears to be part of a spat. Oh, and it is not fatal.

That could be because he was subject to pelleting at medium range from a shotgun instead of a bullet. Or, it could be because Rodney is super-human.

Think about it. The man was chased, tazed, and beaten severely. Now he's been shot. What next? What will it take to show you that he's the $6M Man?

Son of KITT

Say hello to KITT. That's right, NBC is creating a 2-hour knight rider movie, also thought to be a "back-door pilot." I can't keep up with the euphemisms.

I can't decide if I should be excited for this. If it is lame, there will of course be the comparitive lameness discussion (new or old), and the deeper, philosophical question of whether Knight Rider is lame a priori, which explains the number it did on the 'Hoff years later (even Baywatch didn't help - him, at least - my pubescence thanks you TV gods) or whether it is relatively lame, given that the me who liked the show was 11.


Over 100 readers.

According to Google Analytics, there are nearly 200 unique visitors and over 450 hits to the blog per month. Taking into account those logging in from home + those with changing IP addresses, and adding back in those who are masked behind static group IPs, that should yield about 100 stable readers.

Most are regular readers.

Give yourselves a big hand. I have watched the numbers grow. It is encouraging, and it means I will certainly keep on posting for your enjoyment.

The Small Thinker.

Sign of the Apocalypse.

Yeah, that's a Hello Kitty-tread tire. I assume this is for the still-crazy-about-shiny-plastic-cats-japanese. Up next, Critical Kero-kero-keroppi


Poetic Justice

A poem on the famous TJ Hooper by Stuart Buck:

A very, very learned man
Went by the name of Mr. Hand.
A famous judge, he was the sort
Who redefined the law of tort.

The T.J. Hooper was the case,
Where Hand was called upon to face,
A tug that failed to stay afloat.
It even sank another boat.

A sudden storm had struck. Oh no!
The tugboat had no radio.
If it had heard the storm report,
It might have sailed back into port.

But as it was, the boats were lost.
(An example of a true sunk cost.)

The tug was negligent, said Hand.
It should have made it back to land.
A radio would have saved the day.
The tug owner should have to pay.

Defer to custom? No sirree.
The PL here was more than B.
As any idiot would find,
The industry had lagged behind.

And so the story shows, you see,
The potential liability
Resulting when you do not lug
A radio aboard your tug.

It refers to Judge Hand's famous equation in Tort law: PL > B -- if the Probable Loss is greater than the Burden of preventative action, then the defendant's failure to take the preventative action renders him or her liable.


Two Onion Masterpieces

Every so often, they get it right.

This is the Point in the Blow Job Where I Have to Watch What I Say.
I'll fess up to the irony of choosing this recent favorite, but how could pass up such turns of phrase, "but who wants to fellate a dullard?"

U.S. Military Wasting All of Its Victories on Notre Dame .
There is no doubt someone out there who thinks this is worth it. Perhaps if they beat Duke, there would be more support.

Xgiving Roundup

1. Pats! Holy crap was that a game. Sorry Dan - but at least your Iggles put up more of a fight than any team this year!

2. Thanks! To our friends D&S&K for perhaps the best xgiving meal I have ever had. It had 7 beautiful people, at six pm, with five main dishes, four alcoholic beverages, three appetizers, two separate graces, and a great deal of laughter and (ir)reverance.

3. Skyline Drive - a chance to step back and survey God's country. The majesty of the woods in the late late fall gave way to a bed of leaves as thick as a mattress as we trod through the now-shuttered campgrounds and into the goods to chace down a cascade so clogged with orange and umber that it was hard to tell whether you were seeing more leaves or just their reflection.

You must go.

4. Senses du humor. We spotted a place on the drive home advertising "Antique Tables - made daily."


Children See, Children Do.

Eloquently put. On weekend where families get together, there as many memories built as there are lives torn down by increased family violence.

You read this blog, which means you are a friend or a friend of a friend (of a friend). Nobody I know would ever do this. If they did, they'd at least have the decenecy never to look me in the face again for the shame of it.

And to all of you decent, loving people out there -- hug someone you haven't seen in a while this weekend. It will make them feel good when they remember it a few months from now, too.

Kicking Vets When They Are Down.

Apparently, the US military has begun requesting a refund of the signing bonus offered to those who enlisted to fight in Iraq but were wounded before the end of their required tour of duty.


KDKA in Pittsburg had the report. I don't know how wide-spread this is. It might even be permitted under the enlistment contract.

Still, to push so hard for enlistment, offer so much, ask a soldier to put him/herself in harm's way and then ask for a refund is just that type of despicable that only a beauracracy can achieve.

New motto, "An Army of One, or perhaps 4/5, in which case we'll need 20% back."



Everything is Illumuinated, Jonathan Safran Foer. Wow. Read it. It starts funny and ends powerful.

Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe. Yet another example of how much you can do with words, and another reminder of how little I manage to do with mine.


Perhaps the most peevish pets are the idiosynchratic ones. In the linguistic sense, this refers to situations where some, no-doubt boorish and knuckle-dragging, dictionary editor (it really is suprising that such people would ever get into such a business, but you open up an "American Heritage" and there you have it) decides that two forms of the same word or grammar construct are valid and you feel, um, otherwise.

Take: "Problematical"

Cringe. The word is "problematic." It means, "giving rise or relating to a problem." It has a suffix already - "ic." You want to add "al," and we now have two suffixes, a meta-adjective meaning "giving rise or relating to something problematic, which gives rise or relates to a problem."

Of course, that's an opinion. Why? Because an academic review of "ic" and "ical" adjectives in the English language shows that sometimes the two forms have different meaning, such as "historic" and "historical," and sometimes they don't, as with "symmetric" and "symmetrical." [PDF] The latter is of particular interest because I don't hesitate to use "symmetrical" to indicate that something is symmetric, um, al. That just sounds right.

Still, Problematical? Feh.



From Jinks of We.

A marriage of "faux" and "emo," to describe (I assume recursively) the process of genuinely wanting to imitate emo creativity in order to approach real emo, which hopes to approach genuine emotion, and so on.

Great word. Describes all music since. . . oh lord. Too long now.

Great Gifs!

It's hard to find a great animated gif nowadays, what with all the kids and their fancy Flash movies. It's called "Man vs. Mouse"


I see the "Juris", now where did I put my "prudence"?

This is an actual response we got from a judge in a multi-million dollar case:

ENDORSED LETTER addressed to Judge ##### ###### from #### #### dated ##/##/2007 re: Counsel for defendant request that the Court approve a 10 page limit for each of reply brief.

ENDORSEMENT: This may be the most ridiculous letter I have ever received. My rules say 10 pages. If you comply with my rules, you will be fine. (Signed by Judge ### ## ##### on ##/##/2007) (###)

Yeah, and this was just a one page letter. Imagine a hearing.

Once again, this is not an internet forward. It actually happened.



"Your welcome."

What about my welcome? Are you passively/aggressively communicating that I have left it behind and should seek to retrieve it as it is becoming something of an annoyance, like an email from a roommate saying simply, "Your shoes." ? [Yeah, I have no idea to punctuate that correctly.]

Want more? Read Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, by Lynne Truss.

In other news: "Peeve" means a vexation or grievance. The term is nearly 100 years old (relatively recent) and comes from a back-formation of the term "peevish," which is to be ornery.


Linux....who will win?

Here is a tech post for the non-tech set.

We are considering becoming a 3 OS family.

We have a mac mini running both OS X and XP through Mac's boot camp software. We have an XP media computer that acts like a TiVo (Shameless plug for BeyondTV -- it is awesome). And we have an XP laptop.

The laptop is aging and I would like to improve the speed....so the natural direction to go is Linux. For those who don't know, Linux is now easier to use than XP. The only tough part is installing it and, if you have a computer from the past 2-3 years, even that is a cinch.

Ubuntu Linux is the easiest to install. It uses a LiveCD, which actually contains the whole OS on CD. It boots into Linux so you can see what it will look like and play with it. Then, if you like it, you can install it from the same CD. It didn't work on our old laptop because there wasn't enough RAM, so the CD had to keep loading and unloading data -- s-l-o-w.

Next stop: a DVD installer that does not load the OS. I'll let you know how it goes.


Jews to Caricature Self.

JewishLiving (http://www.jewishlivingmag.com/) is not a joke. Well, that's not exactly true. They don't mean it as a joke -- there, that's more accurate. First, how does a major market Jewish magazine hit without any advertising in one of the nations largest Jewish communities (DC/MD)? Second, how in the name of all that is holy do you plan to be taken seriously with major content sections named "Kibbitz, Kvell, and Kvetch" (Again, I wish I were kidding.) Third, what self-respecting Jew would be caught dead reading something that so badly stereotypes Jews?

"Sidebar: How to Deal with your Hooknose. Four mothers discuss the trials and tribulations of going 'Streisand' or going under the knife."

"Special Report: Shvartses. Friends in the fight for civil rights or foes in the fight for urban gentrification?"

"10 ways to avoid discussing serious issues in your family while making outsiders uncomfortable in your presence."

"Fran Drescher: Hear her speak out about a lifelong struggle with being a walking stereotype [EDIT: Removed 'mistaken for a Jew' - JL points out that I am mistaken. Ms. Drescher was born to Ashkenazim Sylvia & Morty Drescher in flushing queens. Ech]."


Touch of Class

Poignant and well - designed. Good to know someone is still doing it.

Let's Plug Some of the Divets

First, what the Colts did last night against the Chargers (21-23, Bolts) wasn't nearly amazing, it was amazing. The Colts entire offensive line was out of the game. Peyton's two best receivers were gone, leaving the Chargers to gang up on Wayne. The Colts running game has seen injuries and so has the defense. That left Peyton huddling with his team between plays just so everyone knew where to stand. And still, the Colts almost won -- that's how good they are. You'll ask, "What happened to Adam Vinaterri, Mr. Automatic?" I just don't know.

Second, the Pack isn't getting enough credit. The powerhouses everyone points to are NE, Indy, and Dallas. Well, now the Pack, on a decent schedule, have put up a better record than Indy and their defense is on the up and up. I see a superbowl team. Am I the only one?


Can we just admit the Second Am. is hopelessly vague?

For you non-lawyer/non-DC-ites: The DC gun law, a very restrictive one, was recently struck down by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision was appealed to SCOTUS. It is not clear whether the Court will take up the question. Nonetheless, it has lead to a reopening to this stickiest of Const. interpretation questions.

Here is the text of the Second Amendment:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the
right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Legal Times asks the right question: What the heck do you make of all those commas?

My answer: Because there is no sensible way to read the sentence, you can read them any (and it) any way you like. Which means that the gun debate will rage forever.

Here are three possible readings:

Pro-gun: The first clause is 'precatory' - i.e. throat clearing - so that the substance of the sentence is "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." What do we do with that comma? Oh, in the 18C, those commas were not grammatical indicators, but merely indications of a pause. So you mean ignore it? Ok.

Anti-gun: The first clause is the context for the main clause. "“A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” Ok, but you got rid of 2 commas. Yup. They're, um, pauses.

Strict: Strictly speaking the comma pairs indicate subjunctive clauses, grammatical asides, so that the body of the sentence reads: “A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed."

Strict, assuming the secondary clauses are explanatory: The text set off by a comma, like this, can be explanatory. If so, the sentence can read, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State (explanation of purpose), the right of the people to keep and bear Arms (explanation of what a militia is), shall not be infringed.” I am happiest with this reading because it follows the statutory interpretation canon which states that every word and comma in a statute has meaning.

The problem is, it leaves the question completely open: If a militia = the right to keep and bear arms, do we have that right absent the need for such a militia?

Rage, rage against the dying of the argument.



Clearly, at least one of the 6B of us has thought something through all the way to the end. In that spirit, here is Monopoly by the numbers, strategy included.

(Monomania is any fixation on one thing, seriously.)

The News in Pidgen

For those who like gossip, realtor to the stars and former rocker Linda Evans was bludgeoned to death. The assailant appears to be her admin, who killed her because she "would not stop yelling at [her]." As someone who has had a few of these bosses, I am sympathetic to those who simply refuse to take the degradation day after day.

But, that's not why I am writing. No, no. I am writing because the news appears here at the-gossip.net. Start reading...then keep reading, and tell me it doesn't remind you of Everything is Illuminated by Safran Foer.


Gambler Arrested for Aggravated Gambling.

Police in TN apparently needed a tip that a professional gambler might be gambling. Of course, the perp couldn't be much faster than they were, at 82 -- the oldest WSOP winner ever.

The charges: "Aggravated Gambling Promotion."

I get "Aggravated Assault." It brings to mind a particular viciousness. And don't tell me that "aggravated" modifies the description of the crime rather than the act itself. If so, there would be aggravated jay walking and aggravated use of a controlled substance, none of which I have ever heard of. So what is Aggravated Gambling Promotion, other than a really zealous geezer handing out pamphlets on the sly?

Turns out the difference is moolah. If you promote by encouraging others, that is simply promotion. If you make pamphlets, organize, or supervise, that is "aggravated" promotion.

Who knew?


LMAO - And He Can Help

Looking for a colorectal surgeon in VA? Try Dr. Inder Baht. Seriously. Hey! Stop laughing...I'm serious. He has ... oh, never mind.

Nothing Lake a Goad Pare of Ayes.

Reuters reported on Pakistan's "Muttonhead Quail Movement." Unfortunately, there is no such thing. There is, however, a "Muttahida Quami Movement" that features prominently in that country's politics.

Reuters reaction: "[P]ossibly the most unfortunate spell-check blunder I've ever seen."

[ language log ]


Things You Already Knew Because You Are Smarter Than Me

"Catspaw" is someone who serves as a tool for another. That most students, even at UCLA law, would not know this word struck Prof. Volokh as odd.

The best resulting comment:
News Flash: Member of academe does not share common social frame of
reference with most of the public. In other news: rain is wet and drinking too
much alcohol can make you inebriated.

Colb-gate Part Sis

The SC Dem Candidate Board rejected Colbert because it felt that he was not a "serious" candidate. I think it is probably fair to say that he was not a serious Democratic candidate, given that has has stated no positions relevant to the party. But is he not a "serious" candidate?

What is "serious" in this context? Is it the ability to garner votes, or the presence of a platform? Certainly the former is the only thing that counts at the end of the day. The latter, however, is the kind of thing that commonsense indicates should matter to folks like the FCC and FEC. Wierd, that...

For more tongue twisting analysis, see Bob Bauer.

A few sports nods.

1. A friend mentioned to me that I did not recount the WS07 win here. Done. The boys are amazing -- I guess it really is impossible to top the feeling in 04. That said, Lester and Pappelbon have stories for the rest of their lives. Manny? Say what you will, he has the right attitude for sport and for the tension of the post-season.

2. Pat-Colts! P-a-t-s! Pats! Pats! Pats! (Hey, the Jets have nothing to cheer about). This game came down to 1 mistake by Peyton. That, and we need to have a serious review of NFL officiating. The Pats should have had an abominable 80+ yds in penalties, but the other 100 yds were simply bad calls. One last thing: a shout out to Duckett (I think), for the most incredible catch I have ever seen by a defensive player. The harlem globetrotters would be proud. [No, I am not going to talk about 16-0]

3. Chad Johnson. He took 2 of the most sensational hits I have ever seen. He was carted off on a back board. The CT scans are fine and he flew home with the team. As a testament to his reputation as a baller, BOTH benches cleared to see him off the field. Say what you like, this is what sport is about.

4. A top marathoner died yesterday near the start of the NY Marathon / USOly trials. A lot of people think he pushed too hard...but this was mile 5. Can we accept that sometimes your body just gives up?

5. Jimmi Johnson is the current Nextel Cup chase leader with his third consecutive win. In the cup chase. With all the risk involved in staying near the front of the pack. Of course, number 2 is occupied by his teammate "Gordo." Gentlemen, enjoy your paychecks and don't wreck each other.


A Pox on IT.

Now for the rare rant.

It is, for the record, after 12:00pm EST. That means that for nearly half a day I have been without the use of my computer. Scratch that, I wasted the first two hours with crash after crash, so I have been bludgeoned by my computer for two and mounted a counter-attack for the other two.

So I called IT. Not because I can't fix this, mind you, or because I can't find a workaround the admin privleges to run the necessary system scans, but out of respect for the organizational protocol.

What does IT do? It installs Symantec virus blocker and Google pack. Google pack! Hats off to Google for making something IT can trust (and really this is credit to SpyBot Search & Destroy -- a free anti-malware tool), but still. "For this I need IT?" said my glare at the red "speakerphone" button. If I didn't have so much billable paperwork right now, I'd be genuinely peeved.

Two conclusions:

1. The crash likely resulted in increased productivity. A diet coke and a donut do not a productive man make, especially when reading deposition trascripts. The lack of world wide distract-cess is ultimately a good thing.

2. In reality, about 20% of this company would have understood what to do to fix the machine in this case. This is a huge increase, but not so huge as to render IT obsolete. What will IT look like 20 years from now, when the web/desktop/laptop/peripheral savvy generation is the heart of the work force? Will it be much smaller, having less to offer the average person? Nay. I have to imagine it will instead be bigger. Why? Because users are not geeks. They are users. They don't care about the integrity of the system, but about their facebook pages, upload assistant programs, iTunes, etc. etc. etc. In the future, there will be more of this both in and out of the office. I imagine that IT will need more staff to help lock down desktops and protect the network both from within and without. Sad really.


And you thought the RIAA had a novel idea...

No DRM on a vinyl sir. Let's be clear -- you listen to this and the communism will seep into your brain through your ears and take over your head. The scientific effect known as the "domino theory" will then cause it to invade your whole body.