The Fourth Eye

Monday, August 14, 2006


This has been bugging me from the first time I saw him: does the president of Iran look like that kid from Y Tu Mama Tambien?

Smack My Bar Up

So the bar is over. I took it and all. Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I’m a Philly lawyer for at least the next 5-7 years (sounds like a prison term). If I pass, of course. I can’t tell you what I really think of the experience because the results are still pending. I’m a mere bagger for a few months more.

People have been asking me if I remember any of the questions. Only one: the woman had a half-million dollars worth of heroin in her stomach. They x-rayed her at customs and arrested her for drug smuggling. The question was whether it was a legal search and seizure. I’ll ask all those folks who haven’t gone to law school: whaddayoo think the correct answer is?

After the bar I went to Vegas for a few days with my friend Marc. It was fun. Hot in a good way—we walked around for hours and didn’t sweat. Here are some pictures.

We also went to the Hoover Dam. If you like statistics you’ll love the Hoover Dam. It was built with however many tons of cement, and produces so many kilowatts of electricity, and took lots of men to build, and cost a vast amount. It’s really tall, very wide, and the water is quite deep.

After Vegas I went home for a few days and hung with the folks. I played golf, saw a baseball game, and went to a hookah bar (if I may digress, man has my writing gotten bad! I could put so much detail into all of that and make it sound interesting, tell you what I really think of Baltimore, tell a story about golf socks, etc. but I just don’t care! What is it about Ireland that makes good writers? I gotta go buy a bottle of Jameson’s).

Now I am back in Philly were I am unemployed and homeless.

Collected Thoughts

It was only 9pm, but I was feeling midnight cool last night, so I bought some Eclipse Midnight Cool gum. It’s “New!” “Sugarfree,” and promised “powerful fresh breath.” I looked at the ingredient list this morning. I haven’t researched it, but there must be some law that says that if you ingest this stuff you win a medal or something. The first ingredient is maltitol. Then there’s mannitol (Sounds like a version of the who’s on first, what’s on second routine: maltitol, meet mannitol), a little bit of soy lecithin, some acesulfame K (not to be confused with R or G), and BHT. Isn’t that the stuff that killed the bald eagles? DDT, dawg. In bold caps, it tells me that it “CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.” Whew! Good to know!

Virginia is the capital of vanity plates. Seemingly every car has some specialized plate. It makes driving interesting as you try to figure out such nonsense as AMMR or 4 ANU. Unfortunately, every now and then the DMV issues plates whose meaning is all too clear, and completely inappropriate. I saw a Porsche (a German car) with the plate LUFTWFE. No, he didn’t have a mid-life crisis, luft his wfe, and buy a Porsche with the divorce settlement. The Luftwaffe was the Nazi Airforce. This dude was rocketing around Northern Virginia with a Seig Heil written on the back of his shiny black phallus. So I wrote to the DMV to complain. They actually wrote back a personalized response (Mark Warner days must be over). The response was…responsive! Here’s the email in its entirety.

Dear Mr. Gupta,

Thank you for visiting Thank you for taking the time to put your concerns in writing. It has never been the intention of the Virginia DMV to allow offensive license plates to be issued. A committee reviews the plate requests as the orders are placed. They receive thousands of plate images daily that they must review, both forward and backwards. Unfortunately, some messages still get issued that should not have. For those plates, we rely on good citizens such as you to help keep us informed. I have forwarded your e-mail, in its entirety, to our plate committee for their review. Thanks again for taking the time to contact the DMV and have a great day!

Seeing that plate reminded me of a funny story that I read in the newspaper a few years ago. Jewish Cubans living in Miami like to call themselves Jewbans. One guy wanted to get JEWBAN on his license plate. Everyone in South Florida is privy to the conjunction, but when the plate request hit HQ in Tallahassee, well, the thought of banning Jews seemed a little bad (apparently the Floridians are a little sharper than the Virginians when it comes to screening their vanity plates). I think he eventually got the plate, but it made for a touchy-feely-cultural-understanding-type story.

After watching this clip, I found myself thinking, “my that Federline is one smart fellow.” It’s all in the perspective.

If you actually watched that clip, I provide a Nelly Furtado clip to cleanse your brain. All part of the service provided by The Fourth Eye blog! Reminds me of Spain...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Q: Are you the new guy they hired?
A: No, I’m temporary.
Q: Oh I don’t care about your nationality. I just want to know if I should add you to the office softball team.

This Week in World Affairs
I have these two friends who are roommates. One of them drove her cousin to the local Marine depot so he could be shipped off to Iraq. I went along for the ride. The other roommate, her aunt was in a train-car next to a car that was blown up in Bombay. The aunt was unhurt, but she was covered in blood and guts.

What happens out there affects us all.

Vive le France!
Italy should be stripped of the World Cup title.

At the beginning of the World Cup, FIFA announced that it would crack down on racism. If a nation’s fans said racist things in the stands, or players said racist things on the pitch, the game would be forfeited. Under this policy, if Materrazzi said what he is purported to have said, he has violated FIFA’s policy and Italy should forfeit the game.

Here’s why I think he said it: Zidane is in his last game ever, planning to retire. He’s 34 years old. An adult. Not some jackass like Wayne Rooney. The Captain of the French Team. France! A powerhouse! Not just some podunk football team. The consummate professional. Plays for Real Madrid. He is a hero in France and Algeria--hero status that us Americans simply can’t fathom. Kennedy-esque.

Over the last twenty years of playing professional football, he’s likely heard all manner of insults, racist and otherwise. He’s tough to it.

He knows that penalty kicks are coming, and that he’s going to be taking one of them. He knows the pride of his country and his peoples, not to mention reaching the pinnacle of the game he loves, are all on the line.

Now think about all that: How bad must he have been insulted that he would throw all that away? What could Materazzi have said that Zidane would sacrifice all that just to see him on his ass? The lipreaders and hearsay reports seem to agree that “dirty terrorist” was uttered, and possibly some comments about Zizou’s mother. Calling an Algerian a terrorist would seem to violate FIFA’s racism policy, and insulting a man’s momma would justify a headbutt.

Zidane sugarcoated what happened, tried to play it off cool to prevent controversy. But something racist happened out there, and for that the Italians should have to forfeit the game – and with it, the Cup. I don’t even want to entertain what-ifs about Zidane staying in the game and taking a penalty kick. The game was over the moment the words were uttered. The headbutt, the red card, and the penalty kicks are irrelevant at that point.

Bar Exam
Q: why do you keep hitting yourself in the head with a hammer?
A: Because it feels so good when I stop.

Friday, June 23, 2006

My Big Fat Ukrainian American Indian Palauan Wedding

Run! Ruuuuuuun! - It's too late! You're already married.

Well folks, my sister got married last week. She almost didn't. In the old English tradition, we Americans don crazy getups when we marry. The gowns are ridiculously expensive, yet mandatory. If one has a family member with a gown, wearing hers just might be a way to avoid paying the cost of buying a new one. Though it may create some harrowing adventures.

So the wedding was at 6pm last Saturday. I got a call at 3pm. You know how sometimes you get a call at 5am, and it can only be the worst? Yeah, it was one of those. Oh god.

My sister: How fast can you find me a gown?
Me: what?
Sis: we forgot to bring my mother’s gown. You have the internet?
Me: oh god.

They were already on their way when they realized they had forgotten it, and it was too late to turn back. I made some calls, looked on the internet. It sucked. She was frantic. Oh god.

What’s your problem?
Had to stop you before you said dawg again. Also, none of that really happened. You copied the silly story about your graduation and adapted it to your sister’s wedding.
Hey man, good writing is hard. I’m trying to write a blog here.
Good writing, indeed. I stopped you just before you said dawg again. You keep on with the good writing there.

Before we get into what happened, I’d like to introduce a new character to this blog. Hey. He’s actually been with me for a long time. I’m just a rhetorical device stolen from Tony Kornheiser. I thought it would be a funny addition to have two characters on this site so as to have conversations. And he thinks it's good writing.

Alright, I’ll start over…

My Big Fat American Palauan Indian Ukrainian Wedding

I met the groom the day before. My uncle needed to pick up some notecards or something from their house, so he asked me to come “meet the groom.” Sounded good, so I agreed to go. Little did I know I was to serve as a diversion so that he didn’t have to go in and actually make small talk with the future in-laws.

So anyway, we were sitting in a hotel suite, waiting for the show to start. Bored, my brother and I ordered some food. The bride was really jonesin’ for a drink, so we ordered a bottle of white wine. It made her really happy when we put the call in. That in and of itself put her at ease.

Hey dawg, wrong wedding.
You’re describing your cousin’s wedding from two years ago.
No, I mean “what?” as in, Why is it okay for you to use dawg and not me?
Good writing. Indeed.

My Big Fat Indian Palauan Ukrainian American Wedding

I have been to weddings that were highly solemn affairs. Every minute of the day was precisely planned, the bride and groom were wound tighter than Hillary Clinton, and the guests came only for the free drinks. This was not one of those weddings.

At about 3pm on the wedding day, the bride was wearing jeans, watching TV, and eating a burger. She let me have the fries. I’ll take you through it chronologically.

Henna and Her Sisters

The day before was fun. We ate food that, if you think about it, was take-out. Sure, it’s called “catered” when it’s bought in those quantities, but we all gorged ourselves on vats of starchy goodness like overstressed grad students in the midst of exam study (what’s your excuse?). Then we got tattoos.

June 10, 2006

Almost everyone else

So the wedding day came and it was a pretty normal day till maybe 3pm. I think I slept in and watched the World Cup. Then I put on a suit and so did everyone else. At about 3pm a limo pulled up, and I had never been in a limo so I ducked my head in. it’s like a big car. It is a big car. Were you expecting a celebrity to jump out at you? I didn’t ride in the limo. I drove to the hotel myself.


It went well and everyone looked great. A guy from the Washington Ethical Society presided. He was good – 10 minutes on and off.


Look up trouble in the dictionary...

This one girl sang. She was really good. The MC was absolutely amazing. Though he made bad jokes in three languages. The mother of the bride was flawless, and the father of the bride, well, he could not be described the exact same way, though he was really good.

Eat Drink Dance

We ate, drank, and were merry.

Day After

There are seven people in whole or part in this pic. Another 40 were cropped.

My uncle bought some incredibly ugly shirts. He had to: he was creating a diversion for my dad’s surprise 60th birthday party.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Entry
You know who drive me nuts? Beggars. And I don’t mean the folks living on the street asking for a dime, I mean the organized types of college kids asking for a donation. They all wear matching t-shirts, carry a clipboard, and have some spiel about saving whales or feeding hungry African kids. Last summer, Center City Philly was inundated with orange shirts and yellow shirts. This year, it’s two different shades of blue. I humored one last summer. An orange.

Orange was an undergrad at Penn (Penn, for those of you who don’t know, is an Ivy League school that costs more than $40,000/year to attend). She quickly assured me that she was on scholarship and wasn’t being paid much for her work that summer. Her deal, I think, was the African children. It sounded like a good enough cause, and I was employed at the moment, so I thought, what the heck. I pulled out my wallet to check what cash I had, and orange says that she only takes credit card numbers. Jigga WHAT? For my own protection, she says. That way, the little Ivy League do-gooder couldn’t run off with my money. Just my credit card number. I politely declined on the grounds that I felt much safer giving her a Jackson than a Visa. Every time I passed her on the street that summer I told her that there was $20 with her name on it. She never took it. I used it on one good meal. I’m sure it could have fed twenty.

Yellow had the same deal last summer. One accosted me and almost followed me onto the train. This summer, there are two shades of blue. You would not believe who was wearing light blue. First the dark.

I think the dark blues this year are save the environment types. I haven’t stopped to get their spiel, but I’ve wanted to. You see, I’ve had a whole year to let my subconscious think about what I would say if the beggars came back, and lo and behold they have! Thing is, what I’ve come up with isn’t very good. There was a Budweiser commercial a few back where all the Jersey locals would shoot a “how you doin” to each other, and one day a Texan walks into the bar and actually answers that question with a really long and rambling answer. The jersey guys lament their asking. One time blue asked me, “hey how ya doin, buddy?” Rhetorical to be sure, but a large part of me wanted to pull out a fake southern accent and shoot back, “a’m doin reel gude, thanx fer askin! Ya know, mah momma was aferd when ah moved on up to thuh big city, but everone’s been reel friendly. Ya know, just thuh uther day ah wuz…” and keep going till he got bored and buzzed off.

As for the light blues, one afternoon I was sitting in Rittenhouse Square eating lunch, and I saw one of them soliciting. Something caught my eye. The logo on her shirt looked familiar. I had definitely seen it before. But where from? Maybe an old employer of mine? Could it be?

The DNC. The D-N-freakin-C. Sending 10-year-olds (ok, 18-year-olds, but same principle) onto the streets of Philly to beg people for a small donation. How bush league are they? Look, there are certain things you can do on the cheap. You can get your caffeine fix by drinking instant coffee. You can find decent work clothes at Ross. You can get a law degree at a state school. Winning elections is not one of those things. Elections are very, very expensive propositions. Light blue asked me for money. I don’t think I’ve even given quite so direct a response in my life.

Folks, if you care about good government, choose a palpable Republican and root for him to beat the nutso Republicans, because the Dems don’t plan on winning anything anytime soon.

Gotta Hava What?
While I’m on the topic of beggars, I must ask you, dear reader, to help me solve a conundrum: why on Earth would an otherwise upstanding and profitable business station an employee outside of their doors at all hours of the day and night to beg patrons for their change? Allow me to explain.

Where I grew up, we have 7-11s. No Wawas. Wawa is a convenience store chain in the greater Philadelphia area. Philadelphians think it superior to 7-11 because they serve made-to-order sandwiches. Otherwise it is the same as 7-11…with one difference: every time I go into a Wawa, any Wawa, I am accosted on the way in and the way out with some variation of, “spare some change, big guy?” Every time, in and out, day and night. The universality of the practice can only lead me to assume that they are employees of Wawa. Why would Wawa do that? And why only Wawa? This town has 7-11s and plenty of other stores, none of which employ such a person. What a strange employment practice.

Intersection of Law and Idiocy
As you may know, I like MySpace. But they’re getting sued. What I like about this article are the comments that follow it. To wit:

These lawsuits are getting out of hand, just suing McDonalds for the coffee being too hot when the person was stupid enough to set the coffe on the dash or in her lap to begin with, it’s lawsuits like that which cause more lawsuits which cause prices to get higher, which cause Doctors to leave their field, which causes the workld to go downhill which causes money to go down which causes bunnies to die which causes me to cry

I wonder how many of the comments posted are from stockholders, employees, etc. To me it seems like MySpace does bare some responsibility for allowing predatory adults access to the personal information of minors. There SHOULD be some verification. Minors lie, but that does not mean MySpace should get off the hook. I wonder how many of the comments posted are from lawyers suing MySpace for $30 million.

The person that should be on trial here is the mother, for not teaching her daughter the facts of life everybody sing: you take the good, you take the bad, you sue MySpace, and then you have…

Teens can get credit card numbers easily. Hell, they’re getting credit cards as their birthday or religious-based gifts as young as 11 years old. Doesn’t he mean 13 years old? Or did 5,000-year-old Talmudic law change when I wasn't looking? Also, I like how he says Hell when he's talking about religion.

Myspace has to pay 30 million because he wasn’t on the football team? Um…yes.

I think the US government should be suing this household for making American parenting look so irresponsible and stupid. This is embarrassing I can think of someone else they should sue for being embarrasing and stupid

Put me on the jury in this trial and I’ll award the mother and child much more than $30 Million. They’re absolutely correct about the problem. Myspace could solve this easily with available digital signature technology. Negligence actually has four elements. Duty’s a bitch.

honestly myspace i think has good sercity on there site it is what the kids do that is not the smart thing like them giving out there info Dubya, get back to work.

My parents let me have 1 hr of non-education TV or Computer playing per day when I was growing up, they did not let me waste my life away on a computer talking to strangers! Mine did. And you get this blog for it.

after it becomes apparent that crimes are being committed that would not have been committed without the aid of MySpace: 1.) what measures are taken to protect the vulnerable subscriber, 2.) what profit would be lost to MySpace if stringent security measures were instituted? Negligence actually has four elements. Causation’s a bitch.

They teach them all of the tricks of the trade. Myspace and other sites should only allow adults. Do you think its important for 14 years to state their sexual orientation. This site breeds sex. Young girls have to post scantily clad photos to get noticed, predators reach out to these potential victims and boom…trouble ahead. Shut these sites down. Yeah if you read the MySpace use policy it requires all these things.

Am I the only one here that thinks maybe this girl willingly did something consensual with this guy, maybe got used by him or caught by her mother after the fact, and now instead of addressing the true issue of PARENTAL NEGLIGENCE they’re sueing Yes, you are the only one.

I like Canadians

I note the Britneyfication of Nelly Furtado. She used to be like a bird, now she’s mad.

I note the Roseanneification of Britney Spears. Seriously, I was about to eat some lunch, then I saw this pic and I kept on doing bar practice problems. If someone would send me a link to a clip of the Matt Lauer interview, I would be most appreciative.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Well folks, I got a law degree last week. I almost didn't.

In the old Oxford tradition, we Americans don crazy getups when we graduate. The gowns are ridiculously expensive, yet mandatory. If one has a family member with a gown, wearing his just might be a way to avoid paying the cost of buying a new one. Though it may create some harrowing adventures.

So graduation was at 6pm last Thursday. I got a call at 3pm. You know how sometimes you get a call at 5am, and it can only be the worst? Yeah, it was one of those. Oh god.

My sister: How fast can you find a gown?
Me: what?
Sis: we forgot to bring your father's gown. You have the internet?
Me: oh god.

They were already on their way when they realized they had forgotten it, and it was too late to turn back. I made some calls, looked on the internet. It sucked. I was frantic. Oh god.

Then I calmed down. Think, dawg: I know some people who are lawyers...they had to have graduated from law school to become lawyers. Maybe one of them has a gown.

The first few calls came up empty. They had put the gown in their parent's attic. Then I called someone who was old enough to be a parent. His gown would be in his own attic. My old boss. SAVED THE DAY!!!!!!! Thank god.

My brother had arrived earlier (if I may digress for a moment. It was great that he came. I was ecstatic. He was in the middle of exams and still made the 6-hour and $18.20-in-tolls drive. I told him repeatedly that school comes first, it would be fine if he didn't come. But we worked extra-hard the week before to free up time to come to Philly. He and I had a blast. My brother is a class act. I never told my brother when graduation was. He looked it up on a little thing called the internet.), so I gathered him up into his car for a trip into rush hour unpaved Center City Philadelphia traffic. He circled the block while I ran up to borrow the gown. Though I was gone only 5 minutes, he aged 3 years.

The rest of the family arrived, and in a scene outta that Greek wedding movie, six people got unpacked, fed, dressed, ironed, primped, and fussed over in less than 45 minutes. In my small apartment. Needles were taken out of new shirts, ties were argued about, and everyone looked great. Some were styling their brand-spankin' new business suits. We made it to the show with plenty of time to spare.

It's a good lookin' gown, eh?

Blooper Reel
As far as graduation photos go, ours are really funny. Everyone has a funny face. We have a wedding in a couple weeks, so I figure the graduation was a chance to get it out of our system so we take decent pictures at an event that matters. Here, for your amusement, are photos from my graduation.

She said: ET phone home
He said: I asked you to put the phone in my back pocket. That wasn't my back pocket.

My sister flies backwards because her superman cape is her tongue

Where's Waldo? Hagarty? Goodheart?

I do have a law degree (read on)

You didn't ask questions when I put on the purple-accented long black dress, don't start now

"Don't smile." "No, you don't smile." "No, you don't smile." "Haha, you smiled."

She thinks: I've already lost one child to the law, I'm not going to lose another
He thinks: Does she have anything to eat over there?

I had a great week. I graduated from law school, I got two job interviews, Best Buy bought me a new computer because my old one died (GET THE WARRANTY, FOLKS!!). People called and wrote and visited. Thanks to everyone. What a great karma week. I'd like to point out a few noteworthy incidents.

My little cousin is a cuuuutie pie. She sent me a happy graduation card, and it's full of adorable spelling mistarts. ha, hp, haapy, hppay. In little kid hand writing, each one crossed out until happy was spelled right.

They say it's the thought that counts. My best friend Marc took a trip up to Philly to visit me for graduation. He gave me a really nice watch as a gift. Why a watch? "I'm sick of those Casios you wear. You're a lawyer now, you have to look the part."

Oh Baby

The voiceover for a Discovery Channel nature show: The yuppie male often lives in clutter. He is on the verge of securing means to live a more comfortable life, but must make do with whatever he has. His posters are unframed, he is unshaven, and he must take his own photos.

As if the week wasn't the greatest already, the dividends of Ireland once again paid off. After the semester in Cork, I visited my friend Kate in Madrid (fun fact: she owns the url One afternoon at about 4pm we were getting some lunch (it's Spain, folks. They know how to live), and as we walked down the street, a poster caught my eye.

"That's a hot pic."
"You want it?" Kate asked. "Let's go in the shop and ask if we can have it."

We went in and Kate asked about it. Everyone in the store perked up: a young couple walking into a lingerie store three days before Christmas, asking about the item advertised in the poster out front. How racy! The saleswoman showed us the item on sale: a 55 euro bra. Then Kate told her what we were really interested in: "el cartel." oh. The collective store shoulders slumped. That's no fun.

The saleswoman told us we could have it when the sale was done, and Kate promised she would pick it up and mail it to me. With her Jedi force, Kate sent the poster to arrive in Philadelphia precisely to put the perfect capstone on a great week. She asked me to take a photo with it, so here are a couple.

First Class or No Class
I can't help but mention one malcontent I ran into at graduation (it sets up a joke). As the crowd shuffled out at the end of the ceremony, I accidentally bumped into a woman. I apologized.

Let’s review: it was crowded; it was an accident; I said sorry.

Let it slide, right? Woman says to me, “you may have a law degree, but you have no manners.” Now, first of all, I do have a law degree. It’s not a may thing. Secondly, what a rude thing to say. On my freakin day! I thought for a second whether I should sic my sister on her to tell her off. But now that I’ve reflected on it a little more, I think I’ll invite her to the reception after my wedding. She can tell me, “you may be married, but you’ll never get a woman to [deleted].”

You may have a law degree. What an idiot.

I’m Out
I’m studying for the bar. Two solid months learning legal trivia (“Members of a suspect class are afforded strict scrutiny, so the state must show the statute is necessary to fulfill a…”). I won’t be blogging much. I’ve already gone rusty: I don’t have a Canadian joke. And believe me, I've been thinking hard. My brain feels like a moose. (see! It makes no sense. It's so bad.).

Here’s a contest to hold you over: finish the quote in parentheses above. Lawyers and baggers ineligible.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It Hasn't Frozen Over

But there's a cool breeze.

Longtime readers of this space are familiar with my feelings toward Harvard Law School. Those of you who are not can go here, here, or here. (So Nietzschean) So it came as a huge shock when a Harvard Law student asked me for advice. Little ole me!

My generation stays in touch via such web devices as MySpace. It lets distant people reach one another to share interests, discuss issues, and get tax exam advice. So this girl contacted me on MySpace by doing a search for Temple Law students. She was having trouble with tax law, and asked me for advice.

"You?" you may ask. "Why you? Are you an expert in tax?" Hardly. But I did take tax with her tax professor. My tax professor spends every forth semester as a visiting professor at Harvard. (Kinda makes me feel good that I gots a Harvard-caliber prof, eh?) Anyway, this term was her semester to enlighten Cambridge's best on section 1250 gain et al, and apparently my MySpace friend did not feel so light. Looking for some help, she naturally turned to the internet. And found me. It was good for her, 'cause I told her exactly what is going to be on the exam. How did I know what was going to be on the exam? Heh, I am that good.

Not an expert, but that good.

Now, these Harvardites are ESP-smart. She somehow knew that I had taken tax with the very same professor that she is taking it with. I don't have that sort of info published anywhere, I highly freakin' doubt that the professor told her to go on MySpace and look me up, and I don't know anyone else who could have tipped her off to my having taken that course. I can only conclude that she, as a Harvard student, has superpowers.

Here are four definitions:
Webster's: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign Fear and contempt of strangers or foreign peoples
Reality: What's happening in Britain right now. The English want the minorities out. They are "taking" jobs, housing, and benefits. Couple things: If all the minorities are thrown out, I assume the British will restore all of their former colonies to their former levels of wealth. After all, all the minorities come from those colonies. Also, I assume they will redraw the maps in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia - you know, before the British f--ked it all up and fomented ethnic wars everywhere. Perhaps the problem isn't the minorities taking advantage of the welfare state, perhaps it's the welfare state itself. Wanna make things a little less cushy? Hell, you always stamp my damn passport with "no recourse to public funds."
My reality: I recently had the chance to help someone review resumes to hire a new worker. On one of the resumes, the applicant had listed the fact that she was part of the Muslim Student's Association at her university. To that, the hiring party said, "I'm not hiring a Muslim," to which his partner agreed, "yeah no way, she'll bring a bomb in here." I protested, thinking of my own experience: how many people have thrown out my resume when they saw a funny name at the top? "Indians are different," they assured me. "They're not like the blacks and Hispanics. You don't have to worry about them like the Muslims." Denigrating certain people is meant to be a compliment to me.

Don't think for a moment that it's easy being a minority, or that Philly is a utopia of equality.

"Freedom's just another word..."
Nigeria is not a bastion of tolerance, religious or social. So it should not be too shocking what Cardinal Francis Arinze has called for: legal action against Dan Brown and Da Vinci Code for disrespecting Christians, their religious beliefs, and Jesus Christ. Though it's not shocking, I still get a major kick out of the hypocrisy: respect for his religion at the expense of respect for freedom of speech (oh, and well-researched books too). Now, call me an adherent to the church of baggerism, but I think you should be able to tell Jesus to f- off whenever you want without legal ramifications.* If you're going to burn Dan Brown at the stake for this offense, why don't you burn people who say the world is round, homosexuals, abortion doctors and patients, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. Oh and Buddhists too. Definitely Buddhists.

Here are some of the choice quotes from the article followed by my pithy** observations (funny how the good cardinal gets the same treatment as the Republican Party and Ann Coulter).

"It is not I who will tell all Christians what to do but some know legal means which can be taken in order to get the other person to respect the rights of others." More and more law schools are letting Christians in these days. They have achieved a measure of equality that their forefathers could only have dreamed about. I guess this is why the law schools were so reluctant all these years to let Christians in: they would then know legal means to get the other person to respect the rights of others.

"Those who blaspheme Christ and get away with it are exploiting the Christian readiness to forgive and to love even those who insult us." Do they really get away with it? I mean, really? Like, in the loooooong run really? Hell, even I put a disclaimer down at the bottom.

For good measure, let's examine the possiblity of Jesus suing Dan Brown. Dead people cannot sue, but their estates can. I researched whether reserrected people can sue, but I couldn't find an answer, so we'll have to assume that "Estate of Jesus Christ, Deceased" would be the plaintiff. The only people who can bring suit in the name of an estate are heirs. According to the church, Jesus had no children, but Dan Brown said he did. So according to church doctrine, Jesus lacks standing to bring suit. According to Dan Brown, he would have standing.

Say his decedents wanted to sue to enforce his will. A will must be written, signed, witnessed by three people, and notorized. Jesus did not leave a written gospel. The gospels of Mark, Luke, et. al are second-hand so they do not meet the legal requirement. Jesus did not leave a will for us to contest.

I would definitely say he has a tort case for assault and battery against the Romans. They will probably want to do some discovery as part of their defense, so we have to find an interpreter who speaks Aramaic.

No wonder Arinze isn't going to tell anyone what to do.***

So Small, So Inflated

Remember a few years back when there was a talking Barbie and she said "math is hard!" and there was an uproar about girls and math? What if the Barbie said "tax law is hard!"? Would that be alright?

As an added bonus, the Harvard girl happened to be a gorgeous model. This allowed me to reinstitute one of my favorite sections of the blog, the beautiful-girl-usually-but-not-always-with-alcohol photo. It's like page 3 of a British tabloid. I know that this section has been lacking over the last few months, because 1: I don't have gorgeous roommates to photograph like I did in Ireland (my current roommate is 6'2", balding, and delivers pizzas. Oh, and he's a guy) and 2: I don't take many pictures anymore. Philly ain't the adventure Ireland was.

*I would never tell Jesus anything like that. I still need a decent job, a good girl, and a nice place in eternity.
**I'm not using pithy correctly, but I mean it to mean simultaneously irreverent and irrelevant. Like France.
***You know I have a love/hate realitionship with irony. I just noticed that I begin with an allusion to hell freezing over and end asking god for a job, a date, and heavenly treatment. And the whole Harvard thing. And I was listening to Matisyahu while I wrote the Jesus civil procedure exam. I need a shower.

Monday, May 01, 2006

So That'll Be 9 to Five? or 5?

While other cities had immigration rallies, Philly did not. Because it doesn't have any immigrants. Not since the war. Such a provincial town.

I did my part to help the work stoppage by taking a full hour for lunch instead of my normal 20 minutes.

He was 6'8"
I note the passing of John Kenneth Galbraith. He's one of those people I wish I knew more about, but in my own sophistry I can't resist discussing him. He was tall, Canadian, and ambassador to India. He set the price controls and rationing during World War II. He lamented for us the deterioration of our public spheres with the concomitant rise in our private ones (his major example, which I will jist for you, is that we drive such nice cars over such bad roads). That he did so in economic terms, rather than social terms, made him far more popular a thinker than Putnam (though I found Putnam's study of Italian states to be brilliant).

What I love about the obit in the Washington Post is that it says "he warned that an unfettered free market system and capitalism without regulation would fail to meet basic social demands." Nearby, an article about just such a happening, by another Kenneth no less, demonstrated Galbraith's warning with the irony that only truth can provide. Seinfeld couldn't have scripted it better.

All of Them Can Read...
My cursory research on Galbraith (my research for this blog generally involves reading Washington Post articles, and is usually cursory. Daily Kos this ain't.) gave snooty list-makers another chance to tell me I was dumb by leading to a list of top-100 nonfiction books. The interesting thing is that I have read the #1 book. I even own a copy. It's a consensus best book but I think it's crap. Henry Adams' reason for going to Harvard was that that's what everyone else was doing. Hence an early-20th century proof that the problems of the rich are infinitely more interesting than what affects you and me (Paris Hilton: I have to go to all these clubs and drink all these free drinks. Woe is me.). As for books #2-100, I gotta say I've only heard of a handful of them. But that's to be expected. They do that on purpose: put up a bunch of books that no one has actually ever read. I ask you, dear reader, have you ever so much as heard of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Taming of Chance, Studies in Iconology, Art of Memory, or Patriotic Gore?

Looking at the Readers List, was it hijacked by rightists?

...But None of Them Can Write

"You seem quite interesting, what with the adoptions and blood relation to elmo- any interest in friendstering?"

I just reviewed the blog entry you are reading. I admit to being an unread sophist living in a xenophobic city. At least I had decent travel writing. Not like this project.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


As wedding season approaches, this story hits close to home (or perhaps "cuts" close to home). I, like everyone else, want what I want when I want it, but jeez, chill out. Stash a Little Debbie in one of those suit pockets if you need a sugar fix that bad.

Got Change for a Penny?
You know what I love about these gas prices being so high? They still feel the need to tack on the 9/10 of a cent at the end. Is that really necessary? If it costs this much already, I'd be fine with them rounding up to the full cent. Go ahead! Just stop insulting me. Take the full $3.04 rather than the $3.039. Jeez.

E. Europe, Pa.
I went to a Polish neighborhood a few days ago. It's in northeast Philly, in an area called Port Richmond. I drank a Polish beer at some tappy. I believe it was called Okacim (the beer, not the bar).

Okay, that story was kinda lame. There's nothing more to it. Perhaps you, dear reader, could pose some probing questions and I could answer them and turn this segment into a better one.

Prostrate to the Higher Mind
I have, once again, taken my Last Class Ever. I took my first Last Class at the end of high school, for if I chose to never pursue further education, I would not ever have to sit in a class again. That was not the case, and I went to GW for a BA. Near the end of June 2000, I once again took my Last Class Ever when I finished that degree. Now I sit here, less than one month from graduating from law school, with only a paper to write and one exam to take to wrap up this experience. On Thursday, I took my Last law school Class Ever. I will soon have a law degree, and I will never have to go to class again. While sitting in Thursday's Last Class, I came to reflect on my years of schooling. Let's do the math: Kindergarten (1), school* (12), GW (3), and Temple (3). That's 19 years in five locations (Falls Church, Ann Arbor, D.C., Philadelphia, and Cork). Having calculated that, my class notes for that last class consist of one ennui-filled reflection: "What on earth am I going to learn today?"

I hear that MBA is a pretty cool degree to have...

*You got a better name?