Sunday, March 30, 2008

I have a lot of very smart friends. Indeed, for all practical purposes, I have a panel of advisers.

When I have a psychology question, I call my smart friend Pam, who is a psychologist. Katy-the-Wise gets lots of my personal problems and religion questions, though other people have been known to handle the overflow as I have lots of both. Smiley-Dave the structural engineer told us how to fix a sagging wall in our garage and told us where to put our bookcases.

Obviously, LinguistFriend gets the language questions.

TheCSO and I kind of share a brain on a lot of things.

My question is: Do other people not do this? If not, why the hell not?

I went over to my parents' house this evening to help them jumpstart my mother's truck. When she and my father and brother went off to drive it around to get it charged up, I sat on the couch brushing the dog. Eventually, I started looking through the papers on the coffee table for a magazine.

I found notes in my mother's handwriting. Suspicious notes.

When my family got back, I held the paper aloft.

"Um, Ma? Is this a get rich quick scheme?"

"Well..." My mother said.

"She lost a lot of money. I wasn't supposed to tell you." My brother Jason filled in cheerfully.

"It was my fault. I didn't spend enough time on it," My mother said.

"Oh, come on, Mom. That's what they always tell you."

"It is?"

"Yes," I said, exasperated. "They convince you it's your fault for not working hard enough. It keeps you from suing and to make you easier to convince next time. Amway has been doing that forever."

This went on for awhile. I never did find out exactly what sort of scam it was, though I'm gathering it had something to do with real estate. They lost more money than I would want to lose, but not so much as to create a serious problem.

But still...

I really tried not to be a sanctimonious pain-in-the-ass about it. At the same time, I was shocked. I thought about the Psychiatrist in California who lost 1.3 million to the Nigerian scam and what his kids must have gone through.

And I thought about how naturally I ask people for advice and rely on the knowledge of others. If I were going into the real estate business and I had a daughter who was a law student, a son-in-law who was good with finances and did my taxes, I might ask the daughter to research the company and/or the son-in-law to look over the paperwork.


My mom isn't what you would call book smart, but she's no fool either. I almost think on some level she knew it was a scam. Maybe she wanted the dream of easy money more than she wanted the money she spent getting into it.

If that's the case, I hope she just buys a lottery ticket next time.


Wikipedia 1985

This is what the toll road to Dulles Airport looks like

From underneath.

TheCSO and I are geocaching with friends.

The cars sound like the ocean. Its all a crazy suburban kind of

Alternative GA boycotting

I had been kicking around going on my church's summer service trip to fix up houses in New Orleans until I realized that it was the same week as GA.

I'm less into GA this year than I have been in the past. A lot of my friends aren't going, I'm not speaking at a workshop this year.

But I still am planning to go.

Still, it bums me out that my church's work trip to El Salvador always conflicts with GA, and the New Orleans trip is another thing I can't do.

Anyway, I got to thinking. I know lots of people have said they aren't going to GA because of the ID issue. If people want to boycott GA, they can do it, but instead of staying home that week, I wish they would take the time and money they are going to spend and help out other people.

As I used to live in NOLA, I'm helping a little but with trying to recruit people to go on the trip. So I'm going to go ahead and extend the invitation to Chalicesseurs.

If you're boycotting GA and would like to do something really valuable with that week, shoot me an email and I would be happy to hook you up with the group in my church that is planning to go. If New Orleans and El Salvador in June aren't to your liking, there are lots of other charitable projects that could use some volunteers.


CC the bad feminist

This t-shirt made me laugh.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I so want to see...

The old people singing rock music movie.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

*Corrected* Halfhearted defense of Hillary, general politics roundup

If you asked me, as the press asked Clinton, if I would go to a church where Rev. Wright was the pastor, I also would say that choice of ministers was a personal decision, but I personally would not have kept attending Rev. Wright's church.

I think I've mentioned a few times that I really hate it when ministers preach about politics.

I get that Rev. Wright was very important to Obama. Katy-the-Wise is very important to me and goodness knows I have argued with her when I have thought she was wrong. I've usually lost, but those of you who know Katy-the-Wise know that arguing with her usually leads to that result. She's wicked smart and whatever you're arguing about, she's thought about it more than you have.

I do find it strange that Obama never said "Hey, I think you're wrong on that" to Rev. Wright before he did so in front of the nation. (If he did, I would think he would have mentioned it by now.) I get that in many religions you don't say "Hey, I think you're wrong on that" to the minister, I just didn't think Obama's religion was one of those.

This stuff about Obama's minister in no way lowers my opinion of Obama, but as this is a blog where I argue with ministers fairly regularly, it would be weird if I didn't mention how strange I thought it was.

I also think Hillary should probably concede the race.

But I still don't really understand why people get so focused on ascribing hateful motives to her every action* and in general acting like she's so terrible.

CORRECTION: Lizard Eater provides quotes from a story where he said he did talk to his minister about these things. My bad.

who remembers having to tell some of her liberal friends eight years ago that John McCain, while being a cool guy, was actually quite conservative. She wonders when the demonization of him will start from the same people.

*I've heard over and over that it was racist for her to offer Obama the vice presidency. Huh? Admittedly, the "less charismatic more experienced candidate with more charismatic less experienced running mate" model didn't work out too well four years ago, but it's a common political tactic and I don't see that using it when Obama is in the race makes it racist. If the poll numbers were reversed and Omaba offered to make Hillary his running mate, would that be sexist?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

When TheGnome wears my Georgetown Law hoodie

He looks like a very small Druid getting a very expensive education

Friday, March 14, 2008

My college roommate's husband wants to name their firstborn "Dweezil"

This is for her.

who changed the spelling of her name when she was 14 because she thought her name was boring.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In defense of National YRUU

First of all, I should say that it's probably a credit to Scott Wells that he was able to write a post that I had to think about for like a week before I could respond. I read his post on youth empowerment and the sort of "I hate you, now please take me to the mall" (my characterization of his words) vibe he got from national YRUU. I read his post on Saturday and I knew I agreed a little bit, but I disagreed a lot. So I gave it some more thought.

Then yesterday, I was talking about YRUU to someone I go to school with, someone who asked the very question that every YRUU advisor is asked on a regular basis,

"So how do you keep them from fucking?"

I recited the answer I always give "We don't have to, we watch them pretty carefully, but the biggest discipline problems I've had in the years I've been doing this have been a couple of Chinese fire drills and a strip poker game where any kid who got down to underwear started putting clothes back on. That's it. They're good, better than I was at their age."

But this time, I actually thought about that answer and what I meant that I could give it. I thought about the Presby youth group I was a member of when I was a kid. We pretty much had two rules: "Try to show up at the monthly meetings" and "No twosomes wandering off alone together, because we know the sort of bestial acts your inherently sinful natures will..."

We were Calvinists, you see.

I kid, but you see my point. Our advisors spent a hell of a lot of energy trying to keep us showing up and preventing us from having sex.

As a YRUU youth advisor, I've never really had to do either. I do my best to help the kids who don't fit in as well fit into the group. In that sense, I encourage people to show up. But mostly, they come enthusiastically. The wash cars for Beacon House, they plan their worship service, they put on plays for education in El Salvador, they sell totebags for charity, they entertain the families of seriously ill children who are at NIH, they collect canned goods for the hungry. They do retreats. They support each other through first car accidents and dying grandparents.

And yeah, they show up to protest marches and sometimes argue politics. Sometimes they don't argue those politics the way I would. Indeed, one of my youth was nationally fussed over by the UUA for an email she wrote in support of the UUA/UCC petition that I have referred to here as the "fuck the Iraqis who will die when the nation descends into anarchy, just bring the white people home" petition.

So what if her method of doing things and even her goal are not things I agree with?

When I was her age, all people asked of me was to show up and refrain from sex until the lock-in was over.

In a way, Scott Wells' post (and the five days I took to come up with this response) are major, major compliments to the YRUU youth because it shows the crazy standards we hold our youth to. Honestly, I think it was pretty clever to craft a near-immediate response that frames the YRUU issue as one of denominational concern for our youth and asks GA delegates to affirm that concern. I think it's brilliant politics. The delegates will be primed to take the next step, to vote to pay for more things for youth.

But OK, let's accept Scott's logic that the resolution was a bad idea. What are his alternate suggestions for the youth?

Fund raising?


An alternative being organized?

Yes, we expect people whose median age is too young to drive to put together national meetings, fundraisers and an entire alternative organization that they should fund themselves because some UUA (and non-UUA) adults think they've taken an obnoxious approach to their attempts to end racism*. They're "entitled," you see, because they expect adults who are not their parents to fund an organization for young UUs. It's like they think young UUs are the organization's future or something.

Hell, even MENSA doesn't expect its Teen Group to do and pay for everything themselves. And our kids aren't geniuses, they are just regular kids who have been raised UU, but we have so much faith in them, we expect them to have learned the political lessons of the 1960's and adjust their behavior accordingly.

Oh, and pay for their own large organization without help.

And keep their clothes on.


*I also think it's obnoxious. But I think a lot of denominations would kill for youth that committed to fixing the problems of the world.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Brief comment on Spitzer.

I’ve been reading a lot about Eliot Spitzer, but I haven’t known what to say. After all, I’ve never been a fan of the guy’s tactics, but there are a lot of prosecutors who behave in ways I wish they wouldn’t, so I hadn’t bothered to complain about that. He always seemed like a smart guy, so I’m really confused why prostitutes were involved. What's wrong with plain old sluts? It’s not like the people of New York care very much when their politicians cheat, even if they steal from the poor to finance doing so.

I keep finding myself thinking about his wife.

It bugs me that so many people are saying that Slida Wall should leave her husband/shouldn’t stand by him/etc.

Honestly, my biggest reaction watching this story is that everyone who has ever been cheated on can feel a little bit better about themselves. Slida is beautiful*, has a law degree from Harvard, gave up a career that was about as prestigious as law careers get to raise his kids and Spitzer lobbies the hookers not to wear condoms because he apparently doesn’t care whether or not he gives her a disease.

I think it’s safe to say that the problem wasn’t her.


*Yesterday at school I overheard a guy announce to his friends that he would be "happy to help her get back at him, you know, any way she wanted." Male law students tend to be fratboyish when they are in large groups. If you’re 51 and twentysomething male law students are willing to announce to their friends that they would sleep with you, that’s really, really impressive.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

On writing an appellate brief

Justice Holmes' frequently quoted aphorism "a page of history is worth a volume of logic" notwithstanding, it would be awesome if I could use logic and common sense a little more, especially in a closed-packet* context.

I've been warned against "deciding what makes sense and making the common law say that" and I'm trying not to. Also, I have an awesome argument that has to do with the subject of the case at bar that I don't think I can use at all because the common law has a different subject. (I'm being evasive here on purpose as I don't want to do anything that could be construed as an honor code violation. If you're at all curious, ask me about this in 72 hours and I can fill you in after the paper is turned in.)

Not a request for help, I can assure you. Just a rant. I'm sure there are ways to sneak my own logic in, I just haven't figured it out yet. I'm sure I will get there with practice. (Pun ignored.)


*We give you the cases you're using and you're not allowed to use any other ones.

Ps. One of the scarier impacts of law school is that I find myself growing a little bit fond of Justice Scalia because honestly, nobody writes a wiseass dissent like that guy.

Luckily, it's easy to sober oneself up.


Recently, I've been writing some stuff about law school and specific people in my life that I don't want generally readable, so I've been putting it on my livejournal readable only by my friends. Feel free to friend "Chalicechick" and I will friend you back.


Friday, March 07, 2008

CC hearts drag queens.

I had a drag show period of my life when I went to drag shows all the time. Since then, I've tried several times to explain drag shows, why they are cool and how drag queens are way more than just figures of fun and/or men making fun of crossdressers.

Anyway, PB does the same, with great eloquence, here.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

More on "stuff white people like"

I've read a bit of the media and blog coverage of the "stuff white people like" web page and I keep seeing one comment over and over again.

People write "Hey, this is stuff that UPPER MIDDLE CLASS white people like!"

Um, duh?

It's a stereotype?

Y'all don't think the stereotypical white person is a yuppie?

Of course not every white person matches the stereotype, any more than every black person could be a logical addition to a Tyler Perry play

Though I think a lot of the commenters are protesting too much. You don't see a little of yourself in the site's claims that white people love to feel like they are saving the world, love to get graduate degrees and/or love to feel like they are more enlightened than everyone else on cultural issues?



Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My non-opinion on Single Sex Public Education

PG, this blog's official asker of hard questions, asked me what I thought of this article on single-sex public education.

And honestly, I'm torn.

Actually, I'm torn on a lot of things relating to education. For example, I have for a long time been a great supporter of public schools and public education. I went to public schools myself and got a good education there and I have always stuck up for the public schools.

Then I started running a youth group with a girl who goes to Sidwell Friends, a bright, stimulated, thoughtful girl who raves about the education she's getting. Her friends and her kid sister (who also go to Sidwell) are equally confident, articulate and overall impressive. Chelsea Clinton turned out OK, too.

And I've started thinking "Gee, if I had a kid, I would really want to send her to Sidwell."

I'm similarly torn on single-sex elementary education. In this case, it's an issue of fairness to the minority. I believe the studies that the majority of students do well in single sex classes. A majority of boys want to watch snakes eat rats, a majority of girls would rather have more feminine sorts of science classes.

I just know I wouldn't have been happy with that sort of education, at least not socially. I hung out with boys all through elementary school. In gym class, we had a project where we had to make a "workout video." While small groups of girls worked out to Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul, my guy friends and I did a truly hilarious video where we worked out on roller skates to a Weird Al song. By the fifth grade, my best friend was a girl, but her name was Elizabeth and she went by "Lizard."

Would I have talked more in class? Dunno. I always talked a lot in class. Class is really boring if you don't. (This is an impulse I work hard to curb in law school.)

And TheCSO, to put it mildly, did not blend in at his elementary school in Charlotte, North Carolina, which had a large portion of lower-income students who were not culturally equipped to appreciate his sensitive and geeky self. (Ironically, I'm pretty sure he would have been just fine in Northern Virginia. I remember hanging out with a kid named James who was obsessed with disasters. On the swings we pretended we were escaping from the burning hotel in "Towering Inferno" and he knew more about the Titanic than any kid ever. I can totally see a little CSO and James being best pals. Also, in retrospect, James was way cooler than I gave him credit for at the time. I should totally google him.)

But the test scores are better for single sex education overall, and I totally don't want to discount that fact.

So what do y'all think? Is it worth a little extra cultural conditioning if the kids get a better education out of it?

who did google James. He lives in LA now and seems to do something in the film industry. I friended him on Facebook.

Wisdom from my Starbucks cup

“You can learn a lot more from listening than you can from talking. Find someone with whom you don’t agree in the slightest and ask them to explain themselves at length. Then take a seat, shut your mouth, and don’t argue back. It’s physically impossible to listen with your mouth open.”

-John Moe

I like it.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Some would probably argue

That the hot sauce wall at California Tortilla is a depressing
commentary on capitalism and a demonstration of the paralyzing number
of choices modern life puts in front of us, choices that ultimately
lead to social paralysis.

I think it's awesome.