Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Anchor-Blogger: The "Legend" of Unreasonable Man

I saw Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy over the weekend. It was very funny, but weird in a lot of ways. It has, by far, the most comedy actors I have ever seen in one movie. Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Steve Carell (formerly of the Daily Show), Fred Willard, Ben Stiller, a short appearance by Jack Black... heck, it even has Tim Robbins (who isn't so much a comedy actor, but he can be funny in certain situations).

The other two things I loved about the movie where the over-the-top fake character names (besides the title character there's Veronica Corningstone, Wes Mantooth, Champ Kind, Brian Fantana, Garth Holliday, and my favorite, Brick Tamlin, who was the funniest character in the movie) and the wonderfully terrible '70s clothing including shortie ties, polyester leisure suits, and the white pants/colored socks/white loafers combinations which were hysterical.

It would be difficult to describe this movie, other than to say "it's funny," because it is very weird at a few points (for those of you who've seen it, I'm thinking of the "rumble" and the Kodiak bears), but very, very funny. If you like Will Ferrell type humor, you will not be disappointed.

Monday, July 26, 2004

A Soon-To-Be Statistic

In less than a week I will unemployed (albeit by choice). This is my final week of work, and it is only a half week at that. Wednesday is my last day here at the patent law firm, and I have some mixed emotions about it. I'm excited to be moving on in my life and career development, but at the same time it's a little stressful and sad to be leaving my first real job after college. This is the job where I took a big chance moving from the college town and my parents' suburb that I was used to, to the big city of Chicago to start a job that I was unsure I would be able to do. It was exciting, and now that chapter of my life is ending as I move on to law school.

The rest of the work week should be pretty tame because I can't really take on any new projects, and for the most part my current projects are all finished. All I have left to do is help out the newer people with their work, and report on all my projects to one of the attorneys. I'm amazed the end is already here. Oh well, time to move on.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Girlie-Men Revisited

Ambivalent Imbroglio commented about my Ahh-nold girlie-men post, see below, basically saying that the Govenator's "Girlie-Men" statement was sexist (no argument here), and the Cali Democrats shouldn't let the obviousness of his sexism fade from the peoples memories.

Here's my thought on AmbImb's comment. I think the press should cover it because it was a statement made in public, and voters have a right to know how big of an ass Ahh-nold is. But, I don't think the democrats over there should do much more than say they think the comment is inappropriate.

First, I don't agree with going after a politician's character, be it sexism (Ahh-nold), womanizing (Clinton), or other forms of intolerance UNLESS it is so blatant that it actually affects the politicians ability to serve the public. I don't think Arnold' bravado qualifies. Also, I don't think there is much risk of the image of Arnold as sexist is going to fade too quickly... even if it does, he will make another comment that is just as bad to remind everyone.

Second, if all the Dems do is say "That was an inappropriate comment" and leave it at that, they haven't given Arnold any more press than he deserves. Plus, the Democrats give a classy, professional response to a classless and childish comment and end up looking like adults instead of dicks.

And finally, I don't really think attacking someone's character is effective UNLESS (and it is a big UNLESS) you can prove he is such a sexist prick, such a womanizer, or whatever, that he doesn't even do his or her job. You notice that Clinton made it through a whole bunch of shit over his character just fine (sure he was impeached, but he was still a very popular president among normal people).


Yesterday was my birthday (yea, go me)... and this was the question on my Jeopardy desk calendar.

Yesterday's Relevant Question From My Jeopardy Desk Calendar
Category - Animal Words and Phrases for $400: This term for a male horse at stud also refers to a virile man
My Answer: What is me?
Answer: What is a stallion?
Me: $400 for me

I'm not saying my birtday and this question are related... but I find it interesting

Actually, I also found out that yesterday was also Alex Trebek's birthday as well... which makes it seem like Alex had something to do with the question. Things that make you go Hmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Other Peoples' Money

I finally have most of my financial aid in order... and I got to take some of YOUR money to do it1... granted I have to pay U.S. back... plus I have to get another $14,000 in private loans to make sure I don't starve and end up on the street next year2, but I can be fairly sure that my school won't throw me out for lack of funds3.

Doesn't financial aid feel like your'e playing with Monopoly money? None of the figures seem real, and you never actually see the cash.

I guess you could see the money by cashing your financial aid check after receiving it instead of doing the smart thing and depositing it in the bank... but I think the temptation would be too great to take that cash down to a local casino and feed a newly acquired Hold 'em Poker fetish. Something tells me that using your book money in a foolish attempt to become the next Chris Moneymaker may not be a good idea.

1 Via your tax dollars and the good ol' Department of Education Ford Federal Loan Program.
2 Minnesota is cold in the winter, and the street is no fun
3 Lack of brains? Lack of perspective? Maybe? Lack of an iPod? I wish... then I could get one... "Honey, I have to get an iPod, the law school requires it."

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Legal Research Sucks

I am doing some more legal research... this time on the patent law issue of obviousness1. I feel like there is a case out there that will help our client immensely, but it is just out of my reach. I don't think it helps that I have had to teach myself legal research, and have no idea if I am doing it effectively or not. Thankfully, we have a summer associate at our office who has a lot more legal research experience than me, and he is going to help me with some of it.

My problem is, I feel I am being unproductive because I'm not finding much to help us. I've found some general legal statements in some cases that help me a little bit, but nothing that is specific and significant enough for us to be able to draw a line in the sand.

My question to all you current law students or lawyers is this... is this what all legal research is like? Does it get easier, and are you able to know when you are done ? Or is it always difficult and frustrating? I hope not, because I don't know how well I could handle it all the time.

1You can't get a patent if your invention is just an obvious improvement over what someone else has done. For example, if there are already VCR's with Eject buttons on the VCR itself, and there are already VCR remote controls, it would probably be obvious, and therefore unpatentable, to put an Eject button on the VCR remote.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Ballsy... Stupid, But Ballsy

On the way back to our office after eating lunch, I saw a large black woman1 and her male cohort lighting up a joint... right underneath the EL tracks... in DOWNTOWN CHICAGO... in BROAD DAYLIGHT! I was fucking amazed.

Too bad I know I'm not going to be a criminal lawyer. I could have given them my card.

1 Who I will refer to, politically incorrectly, as a hunka-hunka-blazing love.

Monday, July 19, 2004

"Girlie-Men"... So What?

The Governator, AHHH-nold Schwarzenegger call some opponents "girlie-men". I don't approve of that kind of tenor in the political arena... but so the hell what? All of this mock outrage by California democrats is almost as offensive to me as the comment.

So he called you a name, boo-frickin'-hoo. If Ahh-nold wants to make his campaign sound like a bad Hanz and Franz SNL sketch, that's his business. If you, the Democrats, want to act offended, then you are only giving the man more publicity and making yourself look even more like girlie-men and cry-babies. For once, let it go.

Work Wind Down

Today marks the beginning of my last full week at my current job.  Most of the work I have to do now really involves making sure the newer people we have are up to speed on how patent work gets done, and less and less with actual, substantive work.
At some point I will write about my feelings on this closing of this chapter of my life, and, hopefully, a chronical of what I have learned.  That may, or may not be interesting to any of you, but I want to be sure and have a record of how this work has affected me.

Friday, July 16, 2004

The Martha-nator

From CNN.com story:
Stewart appeared outside the courthouse after she was sentenced and expressed regret, but also pledged, "I'll be back."

Does anyone else find it funny that Martha Stewart used the catchphrase of The Terminator? I don't know about you, but I get a mental image of Martha with half her face ripped off to reveal her titanium endoskeleton as she's crawling toward Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Funny stuff!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Where Do I Sign Up?

From this Chicago Tribune Article
The areas under CTA [Chicago Transit Authority] "L" tracks--known for being covered with trash, broken glass and pigeon droppings--are being spruced up under an expanded program to lease parking spaces to residents and businesses, officials said Wednesday.

Sure, why not? I would love to park my car in an area known for being covered with trash, some nice glass shards to cut my tires and/or skin, and pigeon droppings to cover my car... all for the low, low price of $75 a month. The funny thing is, the article doesn't go on to say how they plan on keeping the bird crap away.

Final Ditka Update

Ditka is out... thank God for that. Now you don't have to hear me jabber about it anymore.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Yet Another Reason To Like McCain

There he goes again... Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says that Bush and the GOP's attempt to push through a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage is "antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans". The article doesn't really say where he stands on the issue of gay marriage1, but I commend him for going against the party when he thinks what they are doing is wrong. Granted, McCain is one of the only Senators with the political firepower (and cajones) to break from the party if he believes it is right, but I still applaud him for it. How did this guy ever lose to Dubya? For that matter, how did anybody lose to Dubya?

1 My guess is against... he is still a Republican.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Wha Happened?

I am so anxious about law school starting that I tend to be a little obsessive about everything law school related. Recently, that has manifested itself in continuously checking on financial aid online, even though the online financial aid report is unofficial.

While I was checking my aid today I noticed that my Ford Federal Subsidized Loan1 amount is less than it was in the financial aid letter I received back in March (or whenever that was... it's ancient history now). About 35% less. Does this really matter that much? Probably not, but even at a conservative 3% interest rate that adds up to over $500 in interest during law school alone. Sure that isn't much compared to the at least $100K I will be taking out total... but it is enough to get that iPod I've had my eye on... or, to pay for those pesky things that always seem to pop up, like food, heat, and TiVo.

Anyway, my question is, has this happened to anyone else? And, whose door do I have to bust in to get this corrected?

1The "good" kind where interest doesn't accrue while you are a full time student

Corrado... Is that you?

To all of you who have seen the stupid Six Flags commercials with "Mr. Six," doesn't he look a little like Uncle Junior from "The Sopranos"?

Come to Six Flags, the Official Theme Park of the New Jersey crime syndicate.

Ditka Update II

Another update on the possibility of having a Senator Ditka, from today's Chicago Tribune article. Ditka says he wants in and that he thinks he would do a good job1. Here's my favorite quote from the article:
To be sure, when it comes to Mike Ditka--the Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end, former winning Super Bowl coach, television football analyst, restaurateur, male-dysfunction medication pitchman, radio car salesman, casino spokesman, motivational speaker and clothes designer--there's never any shortage of promotion.

How's that for the resume of a U.S. Senator?

The Tribune even has a poll on their website, and the majority of people say they would not vote for Ditka... but just barely. As of about Noon CDT the poll shows that 47.7% (about 2100 votes) would vote for Ditka, and 52.3% (about 2300) would not. So out of 4400 people, it comes down to about 200 people to decide whether we have a Ditka-tacular or Ditka-less Senate floor.

UPDATE: 5:00 p.m. CDT Un-fricking-believable... Ditka now leads in the Tribune poll, 56.1% (5768 responses) to 43.9% (4510 responses)

1Ditka mortgaged the future of the New Orleans Saints on Ricky Williams... an ill-advised move since Williams ended up leaving... so obviously he has the skills to run the United States.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Ditka Update

Look here for more on Mike Ditka's possible run for U.S. Senate (I still can't believe this). From the article:
"Mike Ditka would be a great candidate because he represents the average Illinoisan," said state Sen. Dave Syverson of Rockford, a member of the Republican State Central Committee. "He's just a decent, ordinary guy that worked hard and wasn't handed anything but made it successful."

Yes, because the average Illinoisan1 played tight end for the Bears, coached an NFL team to a Super Bowl championship, and was then elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. And he certainly had nothing handed to him. It's not like no one else helped Ditka to the 1985 championship, he just conjured Walter "Sweetness" Payton, Jim McMahn, William "Refrigerator" (or "The Fridge") Perry, and Mike Singeltary out of his butt.

They've even started a website, DraftDitka.com, for this travesty against democracy. The sad thing is he would probably win in a landslide because, let's face it, people are stupid and would vote for him. I weep for the future.

1How's that for an awkward sounding citizen name... Illinoisan

Warning: Minor Bathroom Humor Ahead

Relevant Movie Quote For Today:
[Grunting] Who Does Number 2 Work For?
- Austin Powers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Overheard in the restroom stall next to me: A man talking on his cell phone while "doing his business." How low on the totem pole do you have to be to be forced to talk to a guy on the phone while he is obviously doing... that?

I was tempted to grunt a lot and make strenuous noises, a la Austin Powers (see quote above) and flush the toilet repeatedly while muttering under my breath (yet loudly enough to be heard) "Oh no... not again!" to really make it uncomfortable for the guy in the other stall.

I've commented on this before, but do cell phones really need to be this embedded in our society? Couldn't you leave your phone behind before you step into the restroom?

What's The Difference?

Bush's advisors said "the president was seeking to come across as opposing gay marriage but not as anti-gay"1 (from this article about Bush's remarks on trying to push through an anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment). I wonder how that can be true. How can you be "pro-gay" (as would have to be the case if you are not anti-gay) if you support denying them the ability to marry who they want to, and, in my opinion, status as equal citizens?

Let me ask you this, would you have believed a Southern white elitist during the 1960's who said he was for segregation, but was not "anti-black"?

1 I find it interesting that Bush's advisors say he was seeking to "come across" as not being anti-gay, but they did not say that he isn't anti-gay (of course, they didn't say that he was either)


[singing] Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniver...sary. HAPPY, Happy, Happy, Happy Anniversary...

(I think you get the idea... and honey, I hope you remember the tune).

To my wife. One year ago you made my life complete. Thank you. Love, M.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Vote For Ditka?

Is the whole world becoming a bad Saturday Night Live sketch? It seems that way when there is talk from some Illinois Republicans talking about having Mike Ditka1 replace disgraced Jack Ryan as the GOP candidate for Illinois' Senator, the U.S. Senator. Seriously. I'm not joking about this. I can just hear Bob Schwarsky (George Wendt) and the rest of SNL's "Superfans" at the first rally:

Bob: Come November, there is a certain man, from a certain Midwestern city that starts with a C ends with an O and has a HICAG in the middle, who will be the next Senator from the great state of Illinois. I, of course, refer to the former coach of a glorious football team known as... Da Bears
Rest of Superfans: [holding up their beers] DA BEARS
Bob: And we all know him as... Ditka
Superfans: [beers raised] DITKA
Todd (Chris Farley, may he rest in peace): GARSH! [pounding his chest with a polish sausage hanging out of his mouth, having a heart attack]
Bob: OK, now is the time of the show where we predict how monumental Ditka's victory over Barrack Obama will be. Todd?
Todd: Ditka 8 million votes, Obama 3 votes
Superfan #2: Why so close? Ditka 100%, Obama -4%, with a margin of error of 4%
Superfan #3: I think it will be tighter than that. Ditka 94%, Obama 3%, and 3% write in for Michael Jordan
Bob: Well gentlemen, your picks are interesting. As for my prediction, although Illinois has a population of only 12 million, I predict that Bears fans from around the globe will flock to the Land of Lincoln, register to vote, and the total will be 25 million for Ditka, and Obama will pick up the bleeding heart vote for 1 million. That reminds me, I got a cow heart at the butcher today, who wants some.
Superfans #2 and #3: ME!
Todd: GOOSH! [pounding chest while reaching for cow heart].

1Yes, that Mike Ditka. The former Chicago Bears coach.

Big Shock

President Bush is trying desperately to downplay his relationship with former Enron CEO Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay saying (through the White House Press Secretary) "It has been 'quite some time' since Bush and Lay talked with each other."

The press secretary also said "Let me point out he was someone who supported Democrats and Republicans alike." Yeah, supported. But not evenly... He supported Republicans by almost a 10 to 1 margin ($796K donated to Republicans vs. $86K donated to Democrats from 1989-2001). That's like saying "I support children getting popsicles in school... and I support children not getting shot in school." While each statement is technically true, the degrees of my support are quite different. If I had to chose between the two, I would choose kids without popsicles and without holes in them over happy kids who then get plugged. Somehow, I think Lay's preference leans toward the GOP.

I can't really blame the president. If one of my biggest supporters, a man who spoke at the 1992 convention for my father's presidential bid AND who I had nicknamed "Kenny Boy", was shown on the news being carted away by the FBI in handcuffs, I'd start backpedaling away from him too.

But I hope that image of Kenny handcuffed in his stylish blue blazer will stick in the American public's mind... that and Lay's strong ties to Bush.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

My Wife Has Left Me1

Well, not really left me... but I bet that got your attention. As much as we pretend to be enlightened law students and members of the blogosphere, there's still a little bit of a Jerry Springer-esque desire for human misery.

Actually, she is driving back to Minnesota today to go back to her job with the Airline. She had been on a year leave-of-absence which expires this Friday, and she couldn't get it extended. So, for the shortest of time (about 2 1/2 weeks) we will be a two-income family2. After that, my job is over and we close on our townhouse... and then it's back to one income, and time for me to be a leach.

So for the next half month, it's just me, the cats, and our beloved TiVo. I'm going to miss my wife and all, but at least I'll have up to 35 hours of pre-recorded television and two hyperactive balls of fur to console myself.

1 And she's moving back in with her parents.
2 As I mentioned before, my wife was a student here in Chicago while I worked, and she is going to work while I'm in law school.

Well, He was the Last Gay Standing

Again I return to pop culture and the "reality" show phenomenon1, this time to talk about NBC's Last Comic Standing. Last night they got rid of my least favorite of the finalists, Ant, the blatantly homosexual "comic" (I use quotes because he was not that funny) who tried too hard to be Jack from Will & Grace, only with bad gay jokes.

For those of you who don't watch, Last Comic Standing is like Survivor for comedians. Each week one comedian is eliminated until there is one left2, who is supposed to be the funniest one left (or would have been had they not eliminated 2 of the funniest people already by getting rid of Bonnie McFarlane two weeks ago and Todd Glass last week). If Ant had won last night, I think I would have quit watching, even though I love stand up comedy, and in general I love this show... I just hated Ant.

OK, rant over... carry on.

1 Can this really be classified as a phenomenon? Are reality shows on par with the British Invasion of the '60s, the Latin Explosion of the '90s and the Aurora Borealis (a.k.a. the Northern Lights, the only thing I've mentioned so far that fits the definition of "phenomenon")?
2 Everybody say it with me... the last comic standing.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Watch Out! Here Comes Spider-Man

My wife and I saw Spider-Man 2: Spidey's Revenge yesterday, so I thought I would provide a review of the movie. I honestly can't see what the big fuss is about with this movie. Yes, it's an OK action movie, and certainly the best action movie of the year so far, and yes it's better than the first one1, but I just couldn't get all that excited about it. Tobey Maguire was his usual emotionless self, Kirsten Dunst was as attractive as ever, but she does not have a great screen presence in this movie, and the villain, lamely named Doc Ock2 because of his 8 appendages, did nothing for me. It had some funny moments, but in general I just didn't think it was anything special.

I guess part of my reason for disliking it is the special effects were cheesy... it looked like a badly coded video game. I figure if you're going to make a summer blockbuster action movie, the special effects should be more seamless. The first two Star Wars prequels might have had bad stories, but at least the FX were top notch.

However, if you want a somewhat enjoyable movie experience, I guess this will fit the bill.

1 Which I didn't really like either
2 I know that's what they called him in the comic books, but it was lame then, and it's lame now

Friday, July 02, 2004

Vito Corleone Sleeps With The Fishes... For Real This Time

It's a sad day for NAMBLA1. Marlon Brando has died in L.A. Although I'm not a huge fan of the Don, I loved The Godfather and liked him in A Streetcar Named Desire. In fact, I'd even been watching The Freshman on my TiVo this morning before work. It's a sad day for former heartthrob actors who become fat old actors that can still act the crap out of a role.

1 That's the National Association of Marlon Brando Look-Alikes, NOT the North American Man-Boy Love Association

The Point of No Return

Today I will be sending in my final seat deposit, my immunization form, and having my Undergrad school send another transcript to the law school (apparently the one they got from LSAC wasn't good enough). After this all I have left is sell my soul to the Satan duality of the Department of Education and Access Group1 and show up to be "Orientated."

I'm glad Minnesota wants all their students to be immunized... I mean I don't want an outbreak of measles, mumps, rubella, and diphtheria to overtake my torts class... but for some reason they don't care if someone brings in Hepatitis2, which is why I won't be eating food from the Law School's cafeteria much, and I definitely won't be sharing any food with my classmates... who knows where those hands have been?

1 I'm sorry, I mean get my financial aid from the DOE and Access
2 Which is kind of good for me, because I haven't gotten a Hepatitis vaccination yet (I've been meaning to), and I would like to avoid the needle if at all possible

Thursday, July 01, 2004

My Nuts Roasting On An Open Cell Line

According to some Hungarian science type guys, carrying your cell phone in your front pocket kills off a dude's little swimmers. Although the response seems to say that these results are inconclusive, it's still a little frightening that your little cell phone can take away your future family1. They say that "in hip pockets or a holster on the waist could cut sperm count by nearly 30 percent." My first reaction to this was:

"You mean it kills all my Unreasonable Man Jrs. if I keep it in my pocket, and I put it up to my HEAD!?"

Thankfully there is hope. Scientists (not the same ones) have found a plant that increases fertility in men. The khat, or qat, plant of East Africa and the Middle East promotes maturation of sperm. So all you high-powered-attorneys-to-be can use your cell phones freely and carry them in your pocket or on those dorky belt clips that y'all seem to love and kill your sperm away, and them bring 'em back by chewing on some good ol' khat.

1 Much like 50% of these guys' future wives will, along with their new Benz, the house, and Pablo, the pool boy.