Sunday, May 30, 2004

Is This Dedication Or What?

So it's Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend, and I am at the office doing some work. A new client is suing for Declaratory Judgment1 of a design patent. My boss is having me do some legal research on subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction2. It's interesting, and it provides a break in my normal work (patent applications), but I've only been in on the weekend twice before in my entire three years here3... and coming in on a holiday weekend, although one I didn't have any plans for, is not my idea of fun. I'll be in tomorrow too (although hopefully for only a half day).

Although I'm not here completely out of pressure from my boss... I'm going to be going up to Minnesota on Friday for my wife's little sister's4 high school graduation and some other stuff5, so I'm going to be missing Friday anyway and I didn't want to lose most of the week to holidays and/or travel.

Shoot... it's almost 6:30 here... I really have to get home. Later... enjoy my misery and have a good Memorial Day.

1 As I understand it, a declaratory judgment basically amounts to someone who is pretty darn sure they are going to be sued, so they sue the person (or company) that is going to sue them first in anticipation of the counts their potential litigator might raise
2 You current law students can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe these are fairly important concepts in civil procedure... or at least they are common issues in civil litigation
3 And one of those times was the weekend before my wedding when I was trying to finish up as much as possible before taking a 2 1/2 week vacay for my wedding and honeymoon.
4 Which I guess would make her my (little) sister-in-law... damn, almost 1 year married and I'm still not used to that in-law thing
5 So the other stuff only involves going to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban... that's other stuff... important other stuff!

Friday, May 28, 2004

T-Wolves Are Toast

Back to my irrelevant ramblings... this time about sports. After last night's loss the Minnesota Timberwolves are pretty much done. They're down 3 games to 1, so they have to win three straight against the hated Lakers... which, unfortunately, doesn't look likely since the Lakers are clicking on all cylinders, and the Wolves just look flat. Oh well, "Maybe next year"1

1 To quote my Chicago brethren, although around here, they are normally referring to the Cubs

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Kerry Has Better One Liners

John Kerry has gotten a reputation for being very off-putting... or as John Stewart says on "The Daily Show," a dick. I don't know how true that is, but as far as funny one liners go, Kerry has Bush beat hands down, particularly when he is making jabs at the President.

From an advanced copy of a speech Kerry is going to give today about the U.S. military (from today's The Morning Grind) Kerry is going to say we need to become stronger militarily, not necessarily by building a stronger military (although he touches on that), but through diplomacy with allies. In a direct jab at the Bush administration's "Coalition of the Willing" (what the rest of the world calls the U.S., England, and about 3 Australians and a kangaroo), Kerry calls this diplomacy building a "Coalition of the Able." (emphasis added by me) To me that's damn funny, because it implies that Bush can't get allies that are able to do anything. Priceless.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Work Experience

As promised, I am writing to discuss my thoughts on how my work experience will affect law school, and my career beyond law school. I am one of the lucky few who will be going into law school with several years of real world legal experience, and I don't mean being a gopher at a law firm grabbing sandwiches for the associates. I also don't mean being a paralegal. I am not disparaging paralegals, far from it. But I think even paralegals would agree that there is a large difference between what paralegals do and what lawyers do.

I have spent almost three years working as a patent agent in a patent law firm. For those of you who aren't familiar with patent law, a patent agent is someone with a technical degree (Chemical Engineering in my case) who has passed the Patent Office's qualification exam, usually referred to as the Patent Bar Exam. I passed the Exam in 2001 and have been a patent agent registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ever since. Even before that I was doing a lot of work on patent applications, which was reviewed by my boss, a patent attorney.

Since starting my job I have written about 45 patent applications, and at least as many amendments1. I have conducted several patentability searches and written search reports/patentability opinions2. I also have helped write non-infringement and/or invalidity opinions3. In addition, I have been able to see how my boss, a patent attorney with about 15 years of experience, handles clients, adversaries, and a law practice in general.

To make a grand statement of the obvious, I believe my work experience will have one of three effects on law school and my career:
1. It will be an advantage for me
2. It won't really have much effect
3. It will be detrimental

Here's my reasons for why I believe each could be an option.
1. Advantage Through my work, particularly due to my training from my boss, I have seen, and hopefully made, several good persuasive arguments. Most of my bosses career has been spent as a patent litigator, so he has a lot of experience with good arguments and bad arguments. If I make a bad or flimsy argument in something he reviews for me, he'll tell me so (and boy, does he tell me so). He has also helped me to spot my good arguments, and to present them in the best way, so that they are more forceful and persuasive. If any of this experience has rubbed off on me, I should have a head start on my argument skills, which if I continue to develop them will be invaluable throughout law school and in my career.

Also, I have done a lot of writing in my time here, and my writing has improved dramatically (at least I hope so). I am now able to more clearly organize my thoughts so that they come out cleanly onto the page, instead of as a incoherent mess. I am able to more efficiently organize and develop my words. Since writing is absolutely the most critical skill a good lawyer can have, I think this skill will be even more valuable than my argument skills. Also, because law school exams are written, I hope that my improved efficiency and clarity in my writing will help me convey the "right" answers effectively, and hopefully translate into better grades.

2. No Change All the stuff I said up there is great right? But will it really help me that much? There are many great natural writers and arguers in law school... it's just naturally where arguers go. I've had some polishing of my skills... so what? It could be that it won't really help me all that much. Maybe the skills I improved on went in the wrong direction, or aren't as useful in law school as I think they might be. Or maybe, by the time I get to the point of the skills being useful, I've read so many cases that my brains have turned to mush, and I've forgotten everything and am now the equivalent of an intellectual five-year-old.

3. Detriment What if I am so sure that the skills I've gotten in my work experience are helpful that I miss out on some other really great learning experience? What if I simply close my mind to some really great ways of looking at things because "that wasn't the way I did it at work"? They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and while I don't feel that I am an old dog quite yet, I sure as hell am not getting any younger.

I really don't think option 3 will happen, because I feel I am very good at being open to new experiences, criticisms, and ways of learning. Like all of you, I've had to adapt how I learn several times as the difficulty of the subjects I was learning ratcheted up and up, so I think I will be able to take law school as it is intended, a place to train me to become a lawyer. We'll see.

1 An amendment is the patent applicant's attempt to modify the claims based on a rejection by the patent office. It is fairly standard practice, and usually two or three rounds of rejections and amendments are required before a patent application is allowed.
2 Typically, a search of previous patents, or prior art, is conducted before writing a patent application so that you know if there is similar technology in the public domain.
3 A client has these done when they have been accused, or expect to be accused, of infringement of a specific patent. These opinions, or opinions of counsel, state that the attorney (my boss was the one who signed off on them, so don't worry, no pre-law school malpractice for me) believes that either 1) The patent is not infringed by the client's product in question, and why, or 2) even if the patent is infringed, the patent office shouldn't have issued the patent, and that the patent is therefore invalid, or both.

Interesting Fact (For Someone Working in Patent Law)

As I mentioned once before, I am working on a patent application for a horse racing sulky. While doing some research on the internet trying to determine how wide a horse's butt typically is1, I found this website about why the solid rocket boosters (SRBs) of the Space Shuttle are the size they are (a little under 4 3/4 feet in diameter at their largest point)2.

The company that designed the SRBs is located in Utah, and had to ship the SRBs to the Shuttle site via railroad, passing through several mountain tunnels along the way. The railroad tunnels are only slightly wider than the railroad tracks themselves, which are spaced 4 feet, 8.5 inches apart, which seems a very arbitrary width. The reason railroad tracks are 4 feet, 8.5 inches apart is because that's how wide they were in England. They were that width in England because that's how wide the Brits built the pre-railroad tramways, which were built that way because the people who built them used the same jigs and tools that were used to build horse-drawn wagons, which had the same width between wheels. Why? Because when wagons were used, the roads had ruts in them that the wheels fit in, which were... you guessed it, spaced apart by 4 feet, 8.5 inches. If a different wheel width was used, the wheels would break.

OK, so why did England have roads with ruts 4 feet, 8.5 inches apart. Because the roads were built by the Roman Empire so their War Chariots could be ridden around to subjugate their conquered lands (which included England), and the wheels of the War Chariots were 4 feet, 8.5 inches apart, and therefore formed the initial ruts in the English roads.

This still begs the question... why were Roman War Chariots built to this width? The answer is because the Chariots were drawn by two horses side-by-side (or more than two horses, but arranged in groups of two). The widest part of a horse is it's butt3, and two horse's butts, side-by-side, has a width of... anyone, anyone, anyone... 4 feet, 8.5 inches.

The interesting part4 is that the specifications for the boosters of the Space Shuttle, arguably one of the most advanced and sophisticated means of transportation built in the history of the planet, were dictated by the width of a horse's ass over 2000 years ago. Pretty cool, huh?

1 Ah...the glory of being a patent agent!
2 I swear it will become apparent how this relates to a horses butt... just read on.
3 See, I told you it would come back to a horses butt
4 At least interesting for me... super-nerd that I am

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Bush Gets The Hook

No, President Bush hasn't been removed from office (not yet anyway), but ABC, NBC, and CBS did not air his speech on Iraq last night.

I found this very funny regarding President Bush... his approval rating is so bad, even ABC won't preempt their programming for him, "Everybody Loves Raymond" has more fans than the President, and NBC would rather play a rerun of "Fear Factor." At the same time, this is very sad for the American public... people would rather watch "Everybody Lovers Raymond," a "Fear Factor" rerun, and, worst of all, something on ABC over watching the President of the United States.

In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I did not watch the President's speech either, instead I watched a Tivoed recording of the movie "Lean on Me." But I was aware the President was speaking about Iraq. I just chose not to watch because 1)The President usually pisses me off when he gives a speech, and 2) I was fairly certain he wouldn't have much of substance to say during this particular speech, and apparently many critics agree that he didn't have much to say1.

Bush has several more speeches about Iraq planned over the next few weeks before the handoff of the Iraqi government to a sovereign interim government, and I figured most of the good stuff would come later.

In other news, that pig-dog Karl Malone got off light with a $7500 fine and no suspension for his cheap shot against Darrick Martin (Timberwolves backup point guard) on Sunday (see yesterdays post). I'm a little pissed about it. That's the equivalent of me barreling through a guy on the street and only get a $300 fine. A slap on the wrist. HEY NBA, WTF?!!

1John Kerry was one of them, shocker, huh?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Why I Hate the L.A. Lakers

I am not a big basketball fan... especially pro basketball. I am more of a football and baseball fan. But, I have been watching the NBA playoffs because I casually follow the Minnesota Timberwolves (formerly the Minne-Ha-Ha Timberpuppies), who, as you may know are playing the L.A. Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. So here is my list of the Top 5 reasons why I hate the L.A. Lakers:

1. They are playing the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference Finals... and because I am a T-Wolves fan, I must hate their opponent.
2. They are the New York Yankees of basketball... that is, they are arrogant a**holes who don't create a good team through hard work, they buy one.
3. Kobe Bryant should be in jail, not on the basketball court... As good as he is, he is accused of sexually assaulting a woman (however questionable her story may be), and he doesn't seem to be taking it very seriously.
4. Shaq isn't really that great... If you were several inches or at least 100 pounds heavier than everyone on the court, or both, you should be able to dominate them too. If I played my 7 year old cousin in basketball, I sure as hell hope I would be able to shoot over him... and if he fouled me, I would be able to sink more than 38% of my free throws
5. Karl Malone is a two-bit thug... He has a history of playing dirty, and last night's ejection for intentionally slamming, with his forearm no less, into a guy who he outweighed by about 100 to 150 pounds was just the latest in his long line of thuggery.

I could probably think of more if I had to, but this will do for now. I plan on getting back on topic, at least for one post, by writing about my work experience and how I expect it will effect law school and my future career (coming tomorrow or Wednesday, I hope).

Friday, May 21, 2004

New Yahoo Group

For anyone who is reading this that is also a future Minnesota law student. I started up a Yahoo Group for the Minnesota Class of 2007. Join. Enjoy.


For my long time readers (which I think consists of... me), I used to do a "Today's Question From My Jeopardy! Desk calendar" but I discontinued it because it seemed stupid. Well I still think it is stupid... but yesterday's was kind of interesting... so here is...

Yesterdays Interesting Question From My Jeopardy Desk calendar
Category: It's A Long Story. A 1968 film based on this Russian novel was released in a shortened six-hour, thirteen-minute version

Answer: What is War and Peace?

And you thought The Lord of the Rings was long. I would hate to sit through the unshortened version.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Can't Focus...

Returning to the recurring theme here on the soap opera my life has become1, I have been unable to focus on my work today. I've had a pretty good week, actually, but for some reason today I am completely consumed by thinking about Wife and my future housing purchase. Wife is still back in Minnesota checking out townhomes and dealing with the mortgage lady2 figuring out how much our life is going to suck (financially) over the next three years.

So I just finished spending about 30 minutes scrolling through townhome listings in the suburbs we are looking in, when I really didn't need to... because Wife is on top of things. Why oh why can't I focus?

In work related news, right now we are working on a patent for a horse racing sulky (the cart a driver sits on that is pulled by the horse), which is actually pretty interesting. Last night my boss and I went down to the track where our client races his sulkies with the horses he trains... and to check out some competitors sulkies to see if they are infringing our client's patent. It was a different world. While our client was getting ready to drive in one of the races, a man I can only describe as a professional horse race gambler starting talking to us and he was pretty interesting.

One thing that is different about sulky racing is that the horse start at a run, so the starting "gate" is actually connected to a moving car (at this track it is a modified limousine) that drives along with the horses to make sure none of the drivers are cheating. Our client pulled some strings, and my boss and I actually got to sit in the car during one of the races, so I actually got to see the horses up close, while they were racing. I'm not really big into horse racing, or gambling, but it was still cool to be riding alongside these race horses, during the race. It was almost like being in the race yourself. Really cool.

Anyway, I have to get back to not working... maybe I can get into a groove and actually crank some work out. Doubtful... but maybe.

1"The Unreasonable Man: As the Blog Turns" or "Like Blogs through the internet... these are the rants of the Unreasonable Man
2That's her Official Title, "The Mortgage Lady"

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

This Can't Be Good

Here are my 2 cents on today's "attack" on an Iraqi wedding by a U.S. gunship. In Iraq (and other Arab places), it is sometimes customary to fire guns into the air in celebration, even at weddings. Apparently, U.S. troops thought some of this celebratory fire was anti-coalition (read: anti-U.S.) forces firing on the troops... so they called in air support which quickly dispatched the forces. Unfortunately, either those anti-coalition forces were actually a wedding party, or a wedding party was near the anti-coalition forces (the news is unclear as to which), and at least 20 people in the wedding party were killed. Super. Just what we need to convince Iraqi citizens that we really mean them no harm... shooting up their wedding ceremonies.

Of course, the Pentagon denies it was even shooting at the wedding party, and insists it was only shooting at insurgents. That's worked well in the past for us... deny our mistake and then blame other Iraqis.

I wonder how Rummy or Bush would react if a wedding party in his family was shot up by even just one Arab terrorist. If history is any indication, they would attack an unrelated middle eastern country and become mired in a year-long battle with its citizens. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

2 Funny Pictures

I thought these were funny...

That is all.

"Go Big"

If you are into politics at all, and if you are supporting Kerry... please consider signing this petition. Sure, the request that Kerry "Go Big" is lame, and it probably won't have an effect on the campaign, but its nice to be able to do something.

In a related note, if any of you are involved in politics, either by volunteering for a candidate or by being in a campus political group, please comment on it, particularly if you are a current law student. I am curious how it affects your time while in school.

Monday, May 17, 2004

House Hunters

Wife and I made a long weekend trip up to Minnesota to look for homes this weekend. In general it was a good weekend. However, if you want to feel like 1) you are poor, 2) you are irresponsible with your money, and 3) questioning every purchase you've ever made, then I suggest you go talk to a mortgage officer. Wife and I are in pretty good financial shape... we've paid off our sizable credit card debt from our wedding related expenses1, honeymoon, my car, and other expenses related to figuring out how to live with two people on one income in Chicago, and we've managed to start saving a sizable chunk of my salary every month to go towards a down payment... or at least I thought we were in good financial shape. It turns out we haven't really saved enough money, and although our credit ratings are both very high, they just aren't quite high enough to get the really good interest rates. Thankfully my parents have been nice enough to co-sign on the mortgage and to give us some help with the down payment and the closing costs.

We picked a real estate agent and looked at some town homes as well... that was the fun part. It's nice being able to look at a house and see yourself living there. We should be finishing up our search in the next week or so, and then we will be making an offer. Scary, but exciting.

1Not the wedding itself... In-laws paid for most of that.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Front Page News?

Apparently, and I say apparently because I don't watch the show and don't give a shit about its outcome, another "diva" has been voted out of American Idol. I guess if you are a fan of the show, or a fan of pop culture, this is news you would want to read. The thing is, I found the link to the article on the opening page of Which, to me, begs the question... with all that is going on in the world, what with prisoner abuse, Americans being beheaded in the streets, and Rummy taking a trip to Iraq, is a girl who can only be marginally talented anyway1 getting voted off a TV show that is almost single-handedly making our country dumber really front page news? REALLY? I can just picture the meeting behind the story:

[Scene begins with a Low Level Lackey talking to his friend at the water cooler2]
Low Level Lackey: "Yeah, so I was watching American Idol last night, and they actually voted La Toya London off" Editor [listening in]: "WHAT?! I missed last night's show. They voted off another one of 'The Three Divas?' What is this world coming to? Let's put it on the front page!"
Lackey: "But sir what about the story of Rumsfeld going to Baghdad to try and quench the effects of the prison abuse scandal?"
Editor: "Bah! This is AT LEAST as important as the war in Iraq... I mean we're talking about the Idol... THE IDOL... AMERICAN IDOL! You don't hate America, do you Johnson?"
Lackey [fearing for his job]: "No sir... I just don't think this is really front page news"
Editor: "Never mind you... I'll do it my self. [to the HTML Coders] STOP THE PRESSES!... er INTERNET!... er... you geeks just get a story about American Idol on the front page. We desperately need to appear 'hip' and 'with it' to the younger crowd!"
HTML Coder: "The American public wouldn't know 'hip' if it bit them on their motherboard. That's why 'Firefly' never caught on."
Editor: "But it's got Paula Abdul. What's more hip than that. Remember 'Forever Your Girl'? What about 'Opposites Attract'? The video had her dancing with a cartoon wolf. That's cool, right? And Randy Jackson is a loud black guy who says 'Dog,' I mean... isn't that how the kids talk these days?"
[Scene ends as HTML Coder and Editor get into a huge argument over what "hip" really is... sadly, neither of them are right]

1I mean, if she was so great, wouldn't she be a star already... or at least singing in airport lounges?
2Do they still have water coolers?... all right, over a Starbucks Venti Macchiato with low fat steamed soy milk

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Good Wine, Good Meat... Good God Let's Eat

I went to the Annual Meeting/Dinner of IPLAC (Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago) last night. It was kind of nice for a near-lawyer like me. The dining hall was filled with some of the richest and most powerful intellectual property lawers1 in Chicago, including several named partners of huge law firms (like 500 lawyers each). Unfortunately, I am a terrible mingler. Until I actually know a few people, I have a lot of trouble just talking to people, especially ones I have never met before. The weird thing is once I know people even just a little bit, I become very, very extroverted, so I kind of have a weird social personality. So because of my shyness, I pretty much stuck to the fringes of the room and looked out the windows at the view of a gorgeous summer day along Grant Park and the Lakeshore, with the Chicago Yacht Club in front of me, the Art Institute almost directly below me, and the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Soldier Field off in the distance to the right.

Dinner was a little better because most of the guys at my table (and they were all men) talked about either A) Football, generally the Bears and how they can't pick a good first round player or 2) The Cubs, especially the blown World Series opportunity from last season2... both of which I knew more about than high-powered lawyering. That and the food was wonderful, and free for members of the group (which I am), so the price was right.

IPLAC also gave out an award for the "Inventor of the Year," and it went to some Biochemists from Abbott Labs who invented a protease inhibitor for HIV/AIDS treatment that basically eliminated the HIV virus' resistance in 99% of patients so that they could take it indefinitely without the virus being able to develop into AIDS. It was an interesting night, and I had a good time. Who knew patent lawyers could throw a good party?

1 Er, as powerful as patent and trademark lawyers can be
2 It wouldn't be Chicago without discussing a disappointing performance, particularly if it happened last season. The official motto of Chicago is "Wait 'til next year!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I Admit It

I have a condition that I have hidden from my loyal blog readers (I think I'm up to 3 now)... you always hear from people that it's "No Big Deal," and "It can happen to anybody," but I can't hide it any longer. I'm addicted to...... Survivor.

Yes, Sunday was the All-Star finale of Survivor: All-Stars. It had everything, betrayal, love, an engagement, a contestant leaving the stage because people Booed her1, and a bitter, hypocritical guy named Lex with blue hair2. At one point I even found myself agreeing with Richard Hatch, the evil nudist homosexual3 who won the first Survivor and thrust the concept of an "Alliance" on the TV viewing public... and I never thought I'd agree with the Hatch back, that tubby bastard. It was one of the better seasons of Survivor, which is good, because I can only really stand to watch one season, and then I have to ignore Reality TV for awhile4.

While my addiction has been sated for the time being... I ask that you take pity on me, and if you see me sliding into another shame spiral where I am forced to watch other people demean themselves, prostitute their morals for a measly $1,000,000 (before taxes), and generally become horrible people, then stage an intervention and put a stop to it. Now lets see what's on the old TV... Oooo, I gotta go, Elimidate is on!

1 Ha Ha! They made Jerri cry!
2 Because you gotta have blue hair
3 Not evil because he's homosexual, or even because he's a nudist, just evil because he's evil
4 Unless Fox comes out with another Paradise Hotel... it was like a train wreck, I couldn't look away

Monday, May 10, 2004

Why Do Weekends Have To Lead To A New Week?

So I had a good weekend, particularly Saturday. My flag football team ended our three game losing streak (by far the longest losing streak of this young franchise) with a buzzer to buzzer, all out dominance. And I played pretty good too.

On Saturday night, Wife and I went to the Rockin' de Mayo festival in the River West neighborhood here in Chicago to see Fountains of Wayne. It was pretty fun, although both my wife and I looked around at the meat market before us and were glad that we were not single and trying to pick up on people in that kind of environment. The show was good (although having to pay only $10 was a nice plus), the weather was good (upper 60's, no rain), and Wife and I had a good time. The funniest part was because Fountains of Wayne is not really that well known, very few people knew many of their songs, and about half the crowd left after they played "Stacy's Mom," their only mainstream hit. Anyway, they did most of the songs from the most recent album (welcome Interstate Managers), including the catchy "Hey Julie" (see my song lyric for March 17, 2004), the funny "Bright Future In Sales" ("Sleeping on a planter at the Port Authority, waiting for my bus to come. Seven scotch-and-sodas at the office party, Now I don't remember where I'm from"), the weird "Leave the Biker" (Chorus "He's got his arms around every man's dream, and crumbs in his beard from the seafood special. Oh can't you see my world is falling apart. Baby, please! Leave the biker, leave the biker, break his heart.") and the fun "Mexican Wine" ("I used to fly for United Airlines. Then I got fired for reading High Times. My license expired in almost no time. Now I'm retired and I think that's fine"). Anyway, they're a good show if you like pop/rock type music.

Sunday was spent relaxing and watching TV. All was good in the world. And now I'm back at work. Yuck.

New Design... Yeah or Nay?

I decided my old look was kind of stale. So I have changed to a different design. I don't know how unstale you can be using a stock template, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Back In Force On Monday?

I have had a particularly busy couple of weeks at work... but I hope to be back in my top blogging form on Monday, even if it just means a quick update about how my flag football team did (which hopefully will not be anything like the last three weeks). My other plans for the weekend include going to see Fountains of Wayne (best know for the incredibly catchy, and yet oh so annoying power pop song Stacy's Mom) at a neighborhood festival here in Chicago (in case you're curious, the lamely titled "Rockin' De Mayo"), if the weather cooperates. Vaya Con Dios... ur, whatever!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I'll Be Damned... I Guess Science Is Wrong

At Dinosaur Adventure Land [a Christian creationism based theme park in Florida], visitors can make their own Grand Canyon replica with sand and read a sign deriding textbooks for teaching that the Colorado River formed the canyon over millions of years: "This is clearly not possible. The top of the Grand Canyon is 4,000 feet higher than where the river enters the canyon! Rivers do not flow up hill!"
- from this New York Times article (Thanks to Musclehead for finding the article)
Der, I don't know, may the Colorado river was 4,000 feet higher millions of years ago, but has since eroded away the canyon. It seems to me if you are going to "deride" scientific theory, you should at least undermine the basic concept (i.e. that the river slowly cut through the rock to form the canyon) instead of pointing to a fact that does nothing to undermine the theory except to confuse stupid rednecks.

I do not understand how there is still a debate between creationism and evolutionists. It's not like the theories are mutually exclusive... except that creationists think the earth was created 6,000 years ago instead of several billion. It's like the creationists have never heard of hyperbole as a literary device.
Anyway, here are some other good quotes from the article.

"'There are a lot of creationists that are really smart and debate the intellectuals, but the kids are bored after five minutes,' said Mr. Hovind [creator (bad pun intended) of Dinosaur Adventure Land], who looks boyish at 51 and talks fast. "You're missing 98 percent of the population if you only go the intellectual route." (Emphasis Added)

"Dan Johnson, an assistant manager of the park, said there were also creationism-themed cruises, with lectures on the subject amid swimming and shuffleboard." (Emphasis Added) (And that , Grandma Bobbi Sue, is why on the 6th day, God created shuffleboard so he could relax on the 7th day)

"Ken Ham, the group's chief executive, said marketing surveys suggested that the complex would draw not just home-schooling families and other creationists, but mainstream church groups and curiosity seekers" (Emphasis Added) ("Well, Billy Bob, that's why we teach you at home and go to Dinosaur Adventure Land for our vacation, because the public 'schools' and Disney World hate you and want you to go to hell")

"There are no mechanized rides at Dinosaur Adventure Land -— no creationist-themed roller coasters, scramblers or even a ferris wheel -— but instead, a simple discovery center and museum and about a dozen outdoor games, each of which has a 'science lesson' and 'spiritual lesson' posted nearby... Take Jumpasaurus, which involves jumping on a trampoline while trying to throw a ball through a hoop as many times as possible in a minute. The science lesson: 'You will use coordination in this game, which means you will be doing more than one thing at once.' The spiritual lesson, according to Mr. Johnson: 'You need to learn to be coordinated for Jesus Christ so you can get more things done for him.'"

"Somewhat more creationist in approach is the Nerve-Wracking Ball: a bowling ball on a rope, dangling from a tall tree branch. A child stands before the ball, and then a park guide gives it a shove from a specific angle, so that it comes careering back at the child's face only to stop just in front of it. The child wins if he does not flinch, proving he has 'faith in God's laws' -— in this case, that a swinging object will never come back higher than the point from which it took off" (what do you tell the kid who leaned forward a little bit and got smacked in the face... "I'm sorry Cletus, I guess God is angry at you")

"According to a map that invites visitors [of Dinosaur Adventure Land] to pinpoint their hometown, most come from the Florida Panhandle and from Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee" (well SUR-PRISE, SUR-PRISE, SUR-PRISE... with attendees from the "Science Belt," how can we doubt the authenticity of the park).

I just love how the NY Times throws in all these subtle shots at the "theories" of some of these whack jobs, while still "reporting" on the news.

Monday, May 03, 2004


Why can't I be more productive at work?!?! Case in point... I'm blogging instead of working. I've done some work today, but mostly I've been daydreaming or looking up stuff on the internet about houses or law school, and now it's the end of the day and I don't have nearly as much done as I would like. I know part of it is because its May, which makes me think that in a few months I'm going to be out of here anyway, so I don't have to work balls to the wall. But I don't want to throw away the good working relationship I've made with my boss simply because I won't be here anymore.

Should I stick around later than usual and buckle down to at least get some work done? Or, should I throw in the towel for today and come out tomorrow swinging?

Crap. Real life sucks.

Adoptions... It's what's for Baby

So Wife TiVoed1 the 20/20 show on adoption that I discussed on Thursday... and although I resented having to watch it, the show wasn't as Survioresque2 as I originally thought it would be. I really did seem to be intended to educate about adoption, particularly open adoptions, where the birth mother gets to visit the child occasional. The only problem I had with the whole show was that the birth mother was A) whiny (even for a 16 year old) and 2) Selfish (even for a 16 year old). She "eliminated" some of the more qualified applicants because she didn't like their personalities (NOT because she thought they would be bad parents) and because the couples wouldn't give her carte blanche3 visitation rights where she could visit whenever she wanted. Anyway, decent society wasn't completely trampled upon, just slightly.

1Despite the possibility of it being used to record stuff like this show, TiVo is still awesome
2Anything of the tacky, realty TV show type of programming... in other words, every show on TV right now. Plus, a chance to brush up on my footnoting skills, which I am sure will come in handy in law school
3 carte blanche - def. A fancy way of saying "unlimited" which makes you sound a) smart (to people who aren't smart) and b) pompous (to everyone, but particularly people who ARE smart)