Monday, June 26, 2006

Transfer Here for B, D, Q, Harpooning

NYT has a great article about perverts who expose themselves to or grope women on the NYC subways.
Not exactly news... every woman I know has seen this kind of thing.  And I've seen a man take down his pants and dance, singing at the top of his lungs, on a crowded train on a Friday night.  That was actually funny, though.
But remember my post from last year about me shooing a greasy pedophile away from a little girl on the subway?  Not funny.
These guys don't need help, or jail, so much as they need a good harpoonin'.  Nothing drives a point home like the swish-thunk-twang of a harpoon in the torso, maybe followed by a stern lecture on respecting others.  Where are you, The Whaler?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Say It Ain't So, Joe

Warning: Geek Rating - 9.6

I do enjoy OOTS. OOTS-- Order of the Stick?
Hello? You have been checking out my links, right?
(they're on the right)

Well, OOTS is this geeky web comic strip by Rich Burlew about Dungeons & Dragons characters who know they are D&D characters and make comments about the game's rules, the conventions and clichés of the game, &c. Very dorky.
For every D&D joke I get, I receive one demerit. I've promised myself I'll offset those points somehow:
  • One (1) merit: Throw one game-winning touchdown.
  • One (1) merit: Give a swirlie to a talented math student.
  • One (1) merit: Crash my car into the home of the administrator of an educational institution after a romantic liaison with the homecoming queen (1.5 merits if she is the administrator's daughter).
So far I'm in the hole a little. I may start awarding merits for slightly less cool achievements, like inadvertently inciting spontaneous dance crazes when I try to scratch my back / imitate traditional African dance, or when I inspire famous popular musicians in their early careers by introducing contemporary rock / hip-hop elements at school parties to which I have arrived via time travel.

Uh, back to the topic.

Then there's the Book of Ratings by Lore Sjöberg. He makes (made, alas) lists of things in categories ( e.g., "D&D Monsters"), describes (okay, I'm in denial . . . made) them with comic derision and assigns (can't ... employ ... proper tense) letter grades. Genius. Also quite dorky. But it is actually much funnier than OOTS, even if it lacks OOTS's winning combination of a psychopathic hobbit and hit dice jokes.

And so I was quite conflicted when I revisited a favorite BOR entry and recognized a recent OOTS joke -- lifted from a BOR entry.
Burlew must have just forgotten where he saw the owlbear joke first-- it's not that original, I guess plenty of people have thunk it (though BOR's "Umber Hulk" description will live forever for its quote-- "OW MY HIT POINTS!"...).

Watch out for the hawklion! Beware the vulturetiger! Don't worry too much about the sparrowspaniel.

The dreaded bunnywolf? The ferocious penguinlion? Perhaps the terrible ducksnake?

BOR owlbear / OOTS owlbear:

Say it ain't so, Joe.

Antigravity Acrobats

here...via the genius who brought us the Book of Ratings (and other fun things).

Stupid Server Tricks

A server somewhere on the Internet will listen while I tap the spacebar to the rhythm of a song and guess the song.
It's not bad, either.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Y: The Last Man

If you like comic books, or even if you don't, you should read Y: The Last Man.
Written by Brian K. Vaughan (who also wrote Ex Machina, which I brought with me to Malaysia) and pencilled by Pia Guerra, the premise is that a catastrophic something instantly kills every male mammal (or sperm, or fetus) on Earth except for an amateur twenty-something escape artist named Yorick and his pet monkey, Ampersand.
I've recently read all seven graphic novel compilations, and Tenderfoot is now also completely hooked.  Someone in her office knows Vaughan and lent her the most recent comic (they come out frequently as individual comics and are then compiled into graphic novel format) and she's taunting me with it...
The story is compelling and funny.  Yorick is goofy and likable.
Check it out!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Investment Opportunities in New Beachfront Property!

And awesome, in the less contemporary sense of "inspiring awe at holy **** that's a lot of water."

Joys of Firm Life # 1: Mr. and Mrs. Bear-Shark

One of the joys of legal reasearch comes up when a partner and several associates are sitting around after a conference call discussing the client's legal issues, when a novel-ish legal issue like this arises...
Partner:  I don't think they can, but can a bear and a shark be legally wed?
Of Counsel:  No.
Senior Associate:  That sounds unlikely.
Mid-Level Associate: ...
Junior Associate: [starts to stack up papers]
Of Counsel:  Junior Associate, why don't you find some cases on point?
Junior Associate:  Yes, sir.  What jurisdiction?
Partner:  Well, our client's bear lives in Utah, so look under Utah state law.
So, Junior Associate goes to find cases from a landlocked state in which a court addresses the legality of bear-shark matrimony. 
If he's lucky, he'll find a decision from 1833 in which a bear is acquitted of bigamy because his supposed second marriage to a shark was declared void ab initio or some such narishkeit
More likely, he'll find a case in which a court decides a custody dispute between a bear and an Atlantic salmon without addressing their marriage.
Junior Associate:  I believe we can infer that bear-fish marriage is allowed under Utah law.
Of Counsel:  But a salmon is a bony fish, and sharks are cartilagenous fishes.  Isn't there anything directly on point?
Partner:  My ex-wife is a salmon.
Then he hits the treatise.  Last updated 1981.
Treatise:  The traditional view on carnivore-fish marriage was expressed in the principle, "A bear and a shark may marry, but where shall they build their nest?"  Supervening developments have cast this early view into doubt.  Woe be unto the lawyer who wades into the fell littorals where shark and bear do court.  Addressing the issue in dictum, Judge Brow quipped, "In what states do a bear and shark marry?  Anywhere they should wish!"
When Junior Associate reports his findings to the team they will (much like you, now) not be entertained.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Deep Thoughts

I haven't taken or defended any depositions yet here at the firm.  I'm mostly working on internal investigations and the like. 
Today a woman called me for the nth time and explained that she's at a deposition services firm and, can she send me some updated materials?
She always uses the same phrase:  "Are you using anyone special?"
Wow, it really shook me to my roots.  I am alone in the vast and empty universe, deposition services-wise.  Adrift. Lost.
So I said she could mail me stuff.
Deposition Services Company, you complete me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lawrence Laughs

Okay, I'm three years late with this post.
But LitCon has a nice critique of a very silly article on Lawrence v. Texas-- the 2003 Supreme Court case that held you can't keep two men from engaging in "certain intimate sexual conduct" between consenting adults, viz., "contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person."
Ah, Lawrence.  Justice Kennedy's opinion was clearly written to crack [don't even say it!] up adolescents:
Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home. And there are other spheres of our lives and existence, outside the home, where the State should not be a dominant presence. Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds. Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct. The instant case involves liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.
"Liberty protects the person from unwarranted . . . government intrusions into ... other private places."
Do I have to give you the punchline?  This is a 12-year-old's comic gold!
The "liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions."  But particularly its spatial ones.  Unless I'm missing something [stop!].
I love the ending appeal to the Founding Fathers / later legislators:
Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific.
I can just imagine the reaction in 1868 to a proposed rider [come on, that's a bit of a stretch] to the 14th Amendment that addresses the "specific" components of liberty it was not granting to gays when they forbade slavery and disenfranchement of Blacks.
Anyway, I don't disagree with Kennedy that "[a]s the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom," or with the outcome of the case.
I just think the opinion's rationale is silly-- the Court clearly saw "The Birdcage" and "Will & Grace" and recognized which way the wind was blowing [all right, already--grow up!].
And I'm an idiot who'll read SCOTUS opinions for laughs.

And That Rhymes With "P" and That Stands for Poker!

Okay, I play poker online.
I deposited $110 a few months ago.  I've played the wicked, wicked Texas Hold 'Em.
Up some, down some.
My balance is now $95 and change.  Meh.
This, it turns out, does not prove I'm a "fish" or a mediocre player (though both may be true).
It is actually, I just learned, a testament to my timid, prudent and non-addictive personality.
My clairvoyant powers (and subscription to Times Select) tell me that this Sunday's New York Times Magazine has an article about some PK (preacher's kid) who ran up $7,500 in debt playing online poker in college and robbed a bank.  I read the first page, anyway.
Here it comes... the researchers say it's addictive; it's part of the collapse of society into a swirling vortex of debt and abortions and AIDS; poker players are cheats and gunfighters and drink whisky and hate chillurn; evil moustiachioed foreign casinos are making our youth fritter away their futures and their parents' money; cats and dogs living together-- a disaster of biblical proportions.
The panic, the calls for legislation, etc.
It's all true, loyal readers.  If the world is still around on Monday, tell me how you liked the article.  I'll be holding a nursery hostage for $15.