Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't NJ Cops Have Better Things To Do?

From today's NJ Lawyer Daily Briefing:

The Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee has approved a bill that would make it an offense to fail to remove accumulated ice or snow from a motor vehicle prior to operation. Under the bill, A-1718, each driver has an affirmative duty to make all reasonable efforts to remove accumulated ice or snow from exposed surfaces of the vehicle, including the hood, trunk, windshield, windows and roof. Police could stop vehicles where they believe accumulated ice or snow poses a threat to persons or property, regardless of whether snow or ice is dislodged. Violators would be subject to fines of $25 to $75.

WTF?!?! A law forcing folks to remove the snow from the fucking roofs of their cars or face being pulled over and getting a ticket even if the fucking snow never even flies off the roof? I'm sorry but is this really fucking necessary? Cause you know what it means, don't you? It means that on snowy days local cops, and possibly even the staties, are going to take the opportunity to rack up the fees for snow covered roofs instead of focusing on, oh, I don't know...stopping actual unsafe drivers or looking for actual criminals who might not earn the government money. Yes, it's annoying when snow or ice flies off the car in front of you. But is it that big of a deal? Really? I've never heard of a single person being injured or even suffering damage to their car so I really don't aee the ppoint; not to mention that other laws would come into play if the snow actually flies off. It's as if the legislators in NJ need people to think they are actually doing shit or something. As opposed to just sitting in their offices planning for their re-elections.

Well I wish they'd fucking stop it! I'd rather they do nothing then keep up this bs - passing law after law that does little for the state other than stretching our police further and further. I mean about they fucking enforce the rules we already have before adding new ones to the list. Like the recycling law. A ton of folks blatantly abuse that one - and I mean blatantly. Just take a drive through my neighborhood on trash day and see for yourself. Or, if they've got a thing for snow-related about the one that says home/property owners have to shovel their walks or face a fine? Just this morning, on my very short walk from my house to the bus stop, I could have issued at least 6 or 7 tickets.

All I know is that this proposed no snow on the car rule is ridiculous. I'm sure the cops have better shit to do and if the legislators want us to think they're deserving of re-election, then maybe they should do some real fucking work -- like finally passing the law that would prohibit crooked and caught politicians from using campaign contributions as their personal defense funds. That would be something I could believe in. Then again, I suppose that rule might not be in their own self-interest so I probably shouldn't hold my breath.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, January 23, 2009

All I can say is...

Hallelujah, hallelujah, ha-lay-lu-yah.

Of course, this jubilation is tempered by, among other things, (1) the audacity of a Fourth Circuit judge asking Obama to allow his court to remain a bastion of conservatism and (2) by this nutjob NJ attorney who is wasting the court's resources by filing yet another ridiculous "Obama-isn't-a-citizen" case.

The Judge, of course, doesn't come right out and ask Obama to appoint conservatives, but he gets close enough. I mean , seriously, he talks about "the misadventures of the third branch" -- fucking conservative-speak for liberal judges. And then suggests that these misadventures will "hasten the loss of our priceless heritage of personal liberty." First of all, who the fuck does this guy think he's fucking kidding? Cause I'm pretty sure most folks understand what he's getting at - he may be a judge but that doesn't make the rest of us idiots. And second, I'm pretty fucking sure it was the conservatives who hastened the loss of liberty. That he would even suggest otherwise is incomprehensible. Although I did chuckle a little by his claim that "the 4th Circuit has never prided itself on ideology." Puh-leeze.

Oh, and as for the idiot NJ lawyer...cut the shit out're making the rest of look bad. I mean really, this is at least the SECOND lawyer from NJ trying to do the same thing. Um, hello, fucking excuse me, but if the Supreme Court struck down the first guy, what the fuck makes this second guy think they're going to listen to him? Or makes the rest of these idiots think they're going to change anything? I mean, really, could this guy be more of a media whore? 'Cause there is no other explanation. Unless, of course, you account for stupidity. Or lunacy. Or whatever-the-fuck mental disorder is keeping these people from getting over themselves. He's the fucking PRESIDENT people. Fucking deal with it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Birthday MLK

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit.  You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
              Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In other words...

(and before anyone makes some obnoxious comment, no, I'm not comparing Bono to the caption on the photo people, jeez)

Friday, January 16, 2009


In the last week and a half, three of my "friends" have canceled plans we had made - plans that had been made weeks and weeks before. And not just canceled, but canceled at the last minute. Like the fucking day of last minute. Three different people on three different nights, the last of which just happened. And I am so fucking pissed off. I mean really, what the fuck? Is it just me or is that just fucking rude as hell. And no, there weren't particularly good reasons for the cancellations - in fact, the reasons sucked and have actually made it worse. One girl decided she needed to go to the gym instead. One claimed to be sick (and I later found out she wasn't really all that sick since she went out the next night with someone else) and the third said, wait for it, that her contacts are bothering her. That's right -- she cannot go out in 3 hours because her fucking contacts are bothering her now. Or rather, she can't come hang out at my fucking house because she's had her contacts in for too long. What, she can't put her fucking glasses on? Really? Well fuck her. I mean, COME ON. At least lie to me and say it's too fucking cold and you don't want to leave the house. As for the others, fuck them too.

I left the south, and my family, to move back north to be closer to my friends. But with friends like this... Maybe I should have just stayed where I was.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bookcrossing 2008

I am a "bookcrosser."  Have been for about 4 years.  And as part of that, I keep track of the books I read each year (but only the ones I read for fun -- I don't count books I had to read for work).   It's not required or anything, but it is kind of cool to be able to go back and see what you've read a month ago or two years ago or whatever.  But rather than keep years of lists on my bookcrossing "bookshelf," I started moving them to this blog at the end of each year.  So...since we just rounded the corner of 2008, here's my year-end list of books I read, re-read or gave up on (I've only given up on a few books in my life, and none in 2008, but that's the title I gave the list ages ago so that's what I'm going with).

Oh, and for those who don't know, according to the
BookCrossing site, bookcrossing means "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise."   The word was originally coined by Ron Hornbaker, when he created the BookCrossing site in 2001 and was added to the eleventh edition Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004.

2008 Book List
What the Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler (borrowed from a friend)
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (borrowed from a friend)
Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan (bookray)
Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik
No Place for a Woman: The Autobiography of an Outback Publican by Mayse Young
Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris (bookray)
Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes
Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
River Town by Peter Hessler
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume (bookring)
Eat, Pray, Live by Elizabeth Gilbert
When Darkness Falls by James Grippando
The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty
Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Paper Wings by Marly A. Swick

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's in a Name?

About 18 months ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (I actually had been diagnosed years and years earlier and declared cured, but that's another story). For those who don't know, people with celiac disease cannot properly digest gluten -- which is found in wheat, rye and barley and anything made with those items (which is like 90% of shit you find in the regular supermarket). If we eat those things, we generally get really sick. We won't die, but puking after eating is no fun for anyone. Plus, we have increased risks of all kinds of shitty cancers and other diseases. So, how do you treat celiac disease? You don't. The only thing you can do is change your for the last 18 months I've gone without decent bread (except the breadsticks at Risotteria in NYC) and haven't even bothered to step inside a deli (I see no point in going to a deli if I can't order a fucking sub -- or even most soups for that matter because most of those have fucking gluten too; oh - and Chinese food! Yeah, Chinese food -- because of the soy sauce, but don't get me started). Anyway -- you can only imagine the hell I live in -- I'm fucking Italian and haven't been able to eat bread or have a a fucking sub. And then today...a ray of fucking light.

And this light came in the shape of an email...earlier today a friend of mine sent me a link to an article about this new gluten free "deli" about 30 minutes from my house. The place is called The Mighty Panini or some shit like that but was touted by the owner as a "deli." So, call me fucking crazy, but I assumed the place would have paninis, or at the very least, deli-like sandwiches. I mean that's pretty much a "well duh" statement, right? So -- hearing about a gluten free deli, I was totally pumped and didn't care if the place was an hour away -- I was gonna fucking drive there and get a fucking panini for dinner.

So... after work I get in my car, I drive 30 minutes (on the fucking toll ridden parkway no less) and figure myself lucky as-all-get-out when I find a parking spot right in front of the place. I go in...anticipation nearly dripping from my smile...hell, my smile was so wide the guy probably thought I was a freak. I look up at the menu on the wall, get ready to order, and BAM!

"Sorry, miss, we don't have that menu anymore."

They don't have that menu anymore? Whatthefuck? Didn't this place just open? But then I remember the article saying something about the place having been changed to a gluten free deli from a regular deli, so I figure they just hadn't gotten around to taking down the old menu and I say, "OK, what do you have?"

And so the kindly deli worker points to the first deli case -- "here's the meats and cheeses we have" and then, pointing to the next deli case, he says "And here's the bread we use."

Well - that's when the smile disappeared. Because sitting in that refrigerated deli case was a package of the very same crappy excuse-for-bread gluten-free bread that I have in my fucking fridge at home. No sub rolls. No paninis. No hard rolls. Just a pathetic excuse for white bread and an even more pathetic excuse for wheat bread. I wanted to cry. Or scream. Or, I don't even know what. And all I could think was "deli?" Fuck. That.

Of course, I still ordered a sandwich, and grabbed some frozen lasagna. What can I say, I was fucking starving. And the lasagna they don't carry at Whole Foods.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Who Died and Made Mukasey King?

Apparently, a couple of days ago, soon-to-be-fired Attorney General Michael Mukasey issued an "opinion" which says that illegal aliens facing deportation do not have a right to the effective assistance of counsel. Prior to this pronouncement, however, the majority of federal circuit courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals, said the exact opposite - that illegals DO have a right to effective assistance of counsel. Now, granted, there were a few circuit courts that disagreed. But usually when there is a "circuit split" like this, the Supreme Court steps in and decides which side is right. That's how its always fucking worked. That's what the fucking constitution calls for. In fact, finding a circuit split for an appeal issue is, for lawyers, like a kid finding a bowl full of candy -- we get all excited and starting thinking things like, holy shit, oh my god, I might have a Supreme Court case on my hands. Yippee! But this time around, Mukasey has said screw the Supremes, I'm gonna handle this one solo.

And he didn't just issue an opinion on the main issue....after trouncing on federal court precedence, this fucker goes and says that if illegals have a problem with their lawyers, they should ask the IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT (that's right, the very same people trying to deport them) to reopen their case. Not a court, which is the standard practice and how it has worked for, well, ever, but the fucking Immigration Department. Oh, and the Immigration Department has complete discretion to basically say, fuck off and no one can do a goddamn thing about it. Read more about it here. problem is not whether Mukasey got it right or wrong (we'll leave that question for another day), but I am livid that he had the audacity to decide the issue himself. And that he seems to be stripping the federal courts of jurisdiction guaranteed them by U.S. law. I mean seriously, who the fuck said it was okay for his to do this? Where the fuck does he get off? I'm no expert on the authority of the Department of Justice, but I'm pretty fucking sure that it's not authorized to interpret the constitution. The Federal Courts usually do that. But hey, it's almost January 20, right? SO I'm not surprised to hear something like this. The Bushies only have a couple more weeks to completely fuck up our country and our entire legal system...and for once, it looks like they're actually going to do some fucking work.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The End of Days

Or perhaps, at least, the end of Joe the Plumber's days?

Turns out Joe the Plumber (who, lets not forget, doesn't actually hold a plumbers license) is going to Gaza! Apparently some dipshit conservative website thinks he's got the skills to be a war correspondent. So they're sending him to war so he can tell the story of the average Palestinian Joe, or some shit. And no, this is not a joke.

All I have to say is, really? Seriously? Doesn't he hate Muslims? Isn't he a bit of a, what's the word, oh yeah, moron? Am I missing something here?

That and I seriously cannot wait to see how this turns out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Cult of Personality

This morning, the following appeared in the NJ Law Journal Daily Briefing:

Law firms may not be known for innovation, but they look positively cutting edge next to law schools. That was the consensus among law firm leaders, professors and entrepreneurs attending the recent Leading Legal Innovation conference at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law. Among the topics on the table: Law schools are great at teaching students how to read a court decision, but they don't teach many of the skills needed to be a successful lawyer. Some schools recommend adding foundational competencies that cover teamwork, improved communications skills and strategic decision making. Others suggest teaching and screening for interpersonal skills.

I read this and the first thing I thought was why is this news? Everyone knows law school doesn't teach you shit other than "how to think like a lawyer." At least not the top law schools (I've heard rumors that some of the 'lower tier' schools do teach actual legal skills). And it isn't even shocking that the conference attendees (basically, the people new law grads work for) think new law grads lack interpersonal skills. Its really quite simple -- "law firm leaders, professors and entrepreneurs" think new law grads lack interpersonal skills probably because new law grads are chained to their fucking desks 12 fucking hours a day and don't have any opportunity to talk to anyone other than other new law grads. I've been there, I know. For my first two years out of law school, I rarely was given the opportunity to speak with partners; hell, I only ever saw them if (1) they were giving me new work or (2) I was turning in a completed assignment. There were a few social events where partners could be found, but the chance of actually speaking to them was minimal, mostly because the gunners (aka I-wanna-be-partner-by-the-time-I'm-30-even-if-I-have-to-give-up-sleep-and-lose-all-my-friends-and-never-take-vacation associates) would surround the partners like wolves circle sheep. There was no getting in unless you were blatantly an asshole and forced yourself upon the situation. And that is hardly an interpersonal skill. Besides, it was much more enjoyable to spend those precious few hours of freedom close to the bar with the other captives.

So, yeah, its no wonder people think new law grads don't have interpersonal skills. And "teaching and screening" for such skills won't help. Because I'm pretty fucking personable (even with the all the swearing), ask anyone, but you never would had known that had you been a partner at the firm I worked for. And that's because you probably never would have actually tried to talk to me, except perhaps about how I only billed 200 hours last month or how my memo lacked this or that or how you had dinner reservations with a client so I had to work late to get started on something you needed by morning (which you never actually needed by fucking morning and which you should have done yourself earlier in the day). Now, had you been an associate -- you would have gotten to know me because we would have had real conversations, like real people do in real life. Besides, the vast majority of my law school classmates were all very personable people, at least in law school. But I'm sure many of them were later found to be lacking in interpersonal skills precisely for the same reason I would have been.

Law schools probably do need a major makeover, and probably should do more to teach people how to be lawyers. But at the same time, the people who oversee this makeover should remember that all the interpersonal skills training in the world will do nothing to change perceptions of new law grads if the people they work for continue to treat them like cogs in some great wheel of commerce as opposed to free thinking individuals.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Revolution and Resolutions

What can I say, 2008 was both good and bad. I lost my father-in-law and one of my kitties, but I witnessed (and was a part of!) the most pivotal election of my lifetime (so far, anyway). Some of my clients were victorious in their lawsuits (meaning they had to pay much less than if some other law firm had been representing them) and some of them annoyed the shit out of me because they haven't yet got what they think is coming to them (and don't even get me started on what that might be, other than the millions they're expecting). Overall, though, I suppose, it was not a totally awful year, perhaps even better than average. Even though first the housing market and then the economy tanked, meaning I'm stuck in my fucking too-small house for a while or at least until I can figure out a way to convince a bank to give me another loan so I can keep my current house (and rent it) while buying another one (to actually live in). We'll see.

But I am hopeful, thanks to our President-Elect whose take on the world I believe is revolutionary -- imagine, thinking that an election should be about the people and not the corporations that employ them. That an inauguration should include everyday folks and not just the famous and powerful. That people from all regions of the political spectrum are asked to be a part of the governing body. Imagine what can be accomplished when the government really is of the people, by the people and for the people. If it wasn't simply a return to the original precepts of this country, such a position would be revolutionary.Hell, to some of the power brokers, it still is. And that makes me think that 2009 might be even better than 2008, even if the economy is slow in recovering, even if I have to stay in my too-small house longer than I would like; even if I don't get tickets to the inauguration. :) It's amazing how a little hope can create brightness in times of darkness. So on with the revolution!!!

And now, the resolutions....because it's hardly new years until I make some promises to myself. So...

1. Take better care of myself.
Tomorrow I will have been smoke free (with a few little slip ups) for exactly six months, so hooray me. But while that is a step forward towards healthfulness, the problem is that those 6 smoke-free months also led to me gaining nearly 15 fucking pounds, and that totally sucks. So, this year, I WILL get rid of those pounds, plus a few extra I was already working on before quitting smoking. And that means eating better, exercising more, drinking more water, etc. I could make a whole bunch of specific sub-resolutions/promises to myself, but I generally don't like "rules" so an overall idea of caring for myself will probably work best for me.

2. Clear out the clutter
I've got a basement plus two storage units full of stuff. Most of this stuff came out of my father-in-law's house, and was the natural result of selling his home, but there's also a lot of stuff that was ours that just got shoved aside following a nasty flood a few years back. Hell, I don't even remember what is in some of the boxes. But getting rid of that much shit is much harder work than you would expect. With the FIL's stuff -- the DH and his brother want to "go through it" but they're both awful procrastinators, which means I have to do it myself or it will be 2010 before I get the fucking SAM out of my driveway. And then there's the question of what to do with all the stuff -- it seems terribly wasteful to throw it out -- its all in good condition, but what does one do with 27 boxes of books? Or 4 boxes of old maps (
no, I'm not fucking kidding)? My plan is to answer these questions and reclaim my driveway. And it would be great if I could get it done by the end of May.

3. Be timely in acknowledging life events
I am TERRIBLE at remembering birthdays and shit. I mean fucking awful. I don't really forget them, I just forget to send cards (
even when I remember to buy them) or forget to call to actually say happy birthday. In other words, I am the queen of the belated birthday card and present. This isn't a big deal with my grown-up friends, but with my nieces and nephews, it's pretty shitty, right? So, I resolve to be on time this year, at least with the kids. Step one will be adding all the dates to my Outlook calendar, which will then send my reminders!! First up, Mom on January 16.

4. Cook more; take out less.
Somewhat related to number 1, I've decided that while take-out is simple, its not particularly good for you. And kind of expensive too. So, more home-cooked meals are on the agenda. I started the year out really good actually -- with the exception of New Years Day, no take out. And for me, that's monumental -- seriously, no take out on a Saturday night at home? I've amazed even myself. This is all thanks to a little gift I bought myself (
can you say crock-pot people?); hopefully I can keep it up.

5. Break the procrastination habit
I procrastinate. I do. And I can't help it (
ok, that's a cop out, but you get my drift). I will often think to myself, no need to do that today, there will be time tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and I say the same thing and next thing I know, I'm working until 3AM because I didn't get shit done earlier. Or I'm scrambling to get an overly long to do list done during a long weekend when I could otherwise be relaxing. Or, I'm calling my 6 year old nephew a week late to say happy birthday (see resolution #3). So, no more of that crap. Starting today, I will be more mindful of my time. Because outlook is half the battle, right. If I believe there is time to get things done today and choose to do those things today, then there is the time and nothing has to wait until tomorrow. Or something like that. I'm working on it.

And finally, # 6 -- do actual work when actually at work. This one obviously is going to take some effort since I'm actually at work right now. ;)