Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm Back!

...and into the thick of it.
Patience, friends.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I'm Outta Here

Everybody's got their panties in a wad about the Black Nine destroying private property rights. But is anybody thinking about how to make a buck out of it for The Man? I sure am.

I'll be out of the country for a few days, polishing my claws and hob-knobbing with a bunch of despicable free-range capitalists in an undisclosed tax-free haven of greed and vice.

You are advised to hold on to your wallets.
I'll be needing them later.

Ciao, bella.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Fathers' Day + 5

Having sacrificed the traditional celebratory day to a round of briefing, I am taking today off to hog all the attention I can get. The world can go on spinning without me for a day.

While I'm gone, you might find this little gem interesting. It's a shiny thing.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The World Turned Upside Down

Do you remember me telling you that Justice Scalia once told me that the "worst" opinions came out in late June??? Well, that whacky "conservative" court is at it again. *

Kelo v. City of New London, June 23, 2005

Justice O'Connor, with whom The Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, and Justice Thomas join, dissenting.

Over two centuries ago, just after the Bill of Rights was ratified, Justice Chase wrote:

"An act of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority ... . A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean... . [A] law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with such powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it." Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, 388 (1798) (emphasis deleted).

Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded--i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public--in the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings "for public use" is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property--and thereby effectively to delete the words "for public use" from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Accordingly I respectfully dissent.


Your home, too, can be taken and given to a shopping mall developer under the state's powers of eminent domain! Yessir! It's right there in the Constitution says Justice Stevens (who else).

Well actually, no its not. BUT, Remember those principles we ignored for purposes of the Commerce Clause a few weeks back? If we turn federalism on its head, then we can let the state ignore the Fifth Amendment! Hey guys! Watch THIS!!!!

Justice Stevens gave the Opinion of the Court

Viewed as a whole, our jurisprudence has recognized that the needs of society have varied between different parts of the Nation, just as they have evolved over time in response to changed circumstances. Our earliest cases in particular embodied a strong theme of federalism, emphasizing the "great respect" that we owe to state legislatures and state courts in discerning local public needs. See Hairston v. Danville & Western R. Co., 208 U. S. 598, 606-607 (1908) (noting that these needs were likely to vary depending on a State's "resources, the capacity of the soil, the relative importance of industries to the general public welfare, and the long-established methods and habits of the people"). For more than a century, our public use jurisprudence has wisely eschewed rigid formulas and intrusive scrutiny in favor of affording legislatures broad latitude in determining what public needs justify the use of the takings power.

BINGO! We've done it!
Move out, Grandma, Starbucks is moving in.

With all due respect Your Honors, this decision sucks.

*Hat tip, Portia.

The Rise of the Theory of Decline

Cassandra has posted a helluva piece this morning, single-handedly taking on those who naysay America's past, and her future. I am struck by the coincidence that I should read Cass' piece on the same day that this supurb, but chilling, interview with Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci should appear in the Wall Street Journal. If you are not familiar with Ms. Fallaci, you have missed one of the great voices of European conservative leftist independent reason. (Plus, I've had a crush on her for about 20 years and I melt when I say her name out loud: OorrriAHnah Fah-Lah-chi. *sigh*)
Now the Italian courts are trying to silence her because she speaks her mind about the decline of European civilization. Well, not really its decline, but rather the CAUSE for its decline:

Ms. Fallaci speaks in a passionate growl: "Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty." Such words--"invaders," "invasion," "colony," "Eurabia"--are deeply, immensely, Politically Incorrect; and one is tempted to believe that it is her tone, her vocabulary, and not necessarily her substance or basic message, that has attracted the ire of the judge in Bergamo (and has made her so radioactive in the eyes of Europe's cultural elites).
Read the interview.
Tell me she is wrong.
Tell me it can't happen here.

Oriana wrote one of the all time great "angry all hell" pieces in the aftermath of September 11.
Here's a review of The Rage and the Pride by Rod Dreher, and another review by Lorenzo Vidino on Oriana's more toned down tome The Force of Reason.

Corporation For Partisan Bashing

Yesterday I posted about the "scandal" swirling around the the Chairman of the Board of Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the folks who bring you PBS and NPR. Portia asked for some background on the CPB, and I'm happy to oblige.

The Dems are charging that the current CPB Chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlison, is Satan.
Well, not really. They're charging that he's a conservative Republican, which is worse. Such Senate luminaries as Frank "Chicken Leg" Lautenberg (D) New Joisy, Dick "Big Mouth" Durbin (Idiot) Illinois and Barbara "Crab Cakes" Mikulski (D) Maryland are claiming that Tomlinson is injecting "partisanship" into the CPB by doing such things as installing an ombudsman and hiring a Republican lobbyist.

Well, who is this guy trying undermine the solid liberal foundations of Public Broadcasting? According to his bio
He was a correspondent in Vietnam, and co-authored the book P.O.W., a history of American prisoners of war in Vietnam. In 1977 and 1978, he worked out of the Digest's Paris bureau covering events in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Right away he's in trouble with this crowd. Next, he was Editor-in-Chief of Reader's Digest (how dreadfully red state!), and director of Voice of America in the Reagan administration(!!!). Plainly, this guy is up to no good. But wait...what's this? He was appointed to the CPB Board by Bill Clinton??? What's up with that?

Well, it works like this: The President appoints persons to the 9 member Board, who are then confirmed by the Senate. Each Board member serves a six year term. Now here's the kicker: Under the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, "no more than 5 members of the Board appointed by the President may be members of the same political party." 42 U.S.C. 396(c)(1). So even if a President serves two terms, he'll never have more than a one vote majority.

Importanly, the 1967 Act protects the Board members from partisan attack after they have been confirmed by the Senate :.
"Except as provided in the second sentence of subsection (c)(1) of this section, no political test or qualification shall be used in selecting, appointing, promoting, or taking other personnel actions with respect to officers, agents, and employees of the Corporation." 42 U.S.C. 396(e)1.

So, boys and girls, these are political appointees, who once appointed cannot be subjected to any "politcal test." Now what are these Senators doing if not applying a "political test" to Mr. Tomlinson? Are they then breaking the law????

More on this later

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Everything Old Is New Again

Sperm Injection Overtaking in Vitro Fertilization in European Fertility Clinics

This is news?
Well...I guess the part about doing it in the fertility clinics is a little kinky.

Nominally Partisan Radio

The story starts out curiously enough:

Sixteen Democratic senators called on President Bush to remove Kenneth Y. Tomlinson as head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting because of their concerns that he is injecting partisan politics into public radio and television.

Hmmmm....injecting partisan politics. Well, PBS and NPR do sound a lot like a more intelligent version of "Air America," but why would the Dems get upset over that?
"We urge you to immediately replace Mr. Tomlinson with an executive who takes his or her responsibility to the public television system seriously, not one who so seriously undermines the credibility and mission of public television," wrote the senators.

They included Charles E. Schumer of New York, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Jon Corzine and Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, Bill Nelson of Florida, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California.

Uh oh. Schumer, Kennedy, Boxer & Feinstien...plaintiffs' lawyers. I don't like where this is going.
The other Democratic senators who signed the letter were Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware; Maria Cantwell of Washington; Richard J. Durbin of Illinois; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont; Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland; Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Holy Bill Moyers! Its a whole passle of non-partisan party poopers palavering pugnaciously over public programming! This has got to be serious! What's happening here? Has Bush replaced "Fresh Air" with "The Hour of Power?" Has the pResident demanded that broadcast of the "Teletubbies" be limited to San Fransisco? Will Seseme Street be shunted aside for *gasp* "Davey and Goliath???" What horrors has Bush wrought?????

The Democrats' letter follows a series of disclosures about Mr. Tomlinson that are now under investigation by the corporation's inspector general, including his decision to hire a researcher to monitor the political leanings of guests on the public policy program "Now," the use of a White House official to set up an ombudsman's office to scrutinize public radio and television programs for political balance, and payments approved by Mr. Tomlinson to two Republican lobbyists last year.

Wha? That's it???? The guy hired an researcher to monitor how many times "Haliburton" and "Guantanamo" are mention in NPR reports on gay Boy Scouts? The White House set up and ombudsman to check for balance in reporting paid for by taxpayers, many of whom subscribe to different viewpoints than those consistantly aired by PBS? That's the freakin' scandal that has all these Senators marching in lock-step with Elmo?

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
And Ted? Your fly is open.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Damned Sorry Bogging

Sorry, guys and gals. I have been enmeshed in "the perfect storm" of manufacturing three applellate briefs (and accompanying Motions, etc.) in as many weeks. Father's Day was a complete washout, having repaired to the house at 3 a.m. Monday. I haven't given any attention to me, my clients, my family, or you.
Let's get over it, okay?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Formula For Failure

Nicely done, boys. Thanks a lot.
Don't let the door hit you in the ass.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Fathers' Day

Baby, we were born to run.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Man At Work

Frank Rich is really branching out these days.
Check out Today's Shiny Thing for a very strange ride.
I gotta go to work now.
Don't forget to let Henry out.

Friday, June 17, 2005

More Busy

You may read quietly at your desks.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What the Hell is Wrong With Reasonable Doubt?

I am tired and cranky, and I know I will live to regret this. But would somebody please explain to me why, on the one hand, Michael Jackson is acquitted because the jury adhered to the standards of "reasonable doubt" as instructed by the court, and everybody just silently shakes their heads in (reluctant and somber) agreement, but nobody seems to question the same formulation when it comes to saving a life not in the perview of the criminal justice system.
To wit:

"The movement to say, 'You've got to have Tom DeLay act as a third-party surrogate witness before you can have medical treatment stopped' seemed to be irrefutably silenced by the autopsy report," Dr. Caplan said.

You have got to be kidding me. Talk about friggin' hindsight and a damned slick smile. If reasonable doubt can protect child molestors from the penal system, why can't that same standard be applied to those who favor the continuation of life in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt?

Got doubt???

I do.


Busy Today

You're on your own. Don't make a mess!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Thanks For Clearing That Up

From today's New York Times Corrections:

Because of an editing error, a passage was omitted yesterday from a theater review of "Kicker," at the Connelly Theater in the East Village. The affected section should have read: "Exploring this theme in a play isn't a bad idea. It's just that Mr. Simonson's characters aren't the least believable, so the play is often less funny than simply embarrassing. In the opening scene, the novelist (James Lloyd Reynolds) acts so smarmy and superficial that no journalist with the slightest bit of experience would fail to see through him. It doesn't help that he and Matt Pepper, the actor who plays the journalist, Michael Gray, deliver their lines as if reading them from the script." (Go to Article)

Jus' so's there's no mistake: We didn't like your play.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Snooze News


Memo Suggests Annan Oil-For-Food Link

June 14, 2005, 12:11 PM EDTUNITED NATIONS -- Investigators of the U.N. oil-for-food program said Tuesday they are "urgently reviewing" new information that suggests U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan may have known more about a contract that was awarded to the company that employed his son.

"They're just coming after me because I'm a black man, just like Michael Jackson "said Secretary Annan at a lunchtime news conference. "Well..." he continued, "not just like Michael Jackson. I mean, I really am black...and, I'm really a man, too."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Fear and Loathing in Seat 29E

"Dear Continental Airlines:
I am disgusted as I write this note to you about the miserable experience I am having sitting in Seat 29E of one of your aircrafts...."

Read it and howl.
Many, many thanks to Tech- Princess Cassandra for helping me with the image!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Something Shiny

The world is a fascinating place, full of fascinating people doing fascinating things. And then there're Shiny Things. As everybody knows, Shiny Things make for wonderful distractions, because they are more fun than doing whatever it is you were doing when you noticed the Shiny Thing.
Starting today, there's a new link on the sidebar called (of all things) Something Shiny. Each day I will find something out there to distract you and plug it in. I don't know what it's going to be until I stumble across it; pictures, quotes, information, general wierdness, whatever. I promise that it will be random and have NOTHING to do with the Commerce Clause.
I hope you'll be distracted long enough to stop thinking about that other thing.

Holy smokes did I pick the wrong picture or what?
Yes, folks, I am either that stupid or that smart.
Me? I'm just confused.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Bottom Story of (Yester)day

"If there's something disconcerting about hearing [50 Cent]raise awareness about AIDS in Africa while sneering, "Outside the Benz on dubs/ I'm in the club wit the snub," then just remind yourself that it could be worse - he could be asking whether they know it's Christmastime in Africa."

I prefer a different kind of five and dime.

Oh fer God's sake, Larry!

Charmed Encounter

The World Champion 1918 Red Sox. That's Babe Ruth in the back row, 5th from the left.

Tomorrow afternoon THE WORLD CHAMPION BOSTON RED SOX are to take on the Chicago Cubs in the clubs' first meeting since the World Series of 1918 (which, as everybody knows, was the last time the Sox won the world championship, until, of course LAST YEAR.)

Meanwhile, the Cubs, and their fans, are still searching for championship rings. I feel your pain, Cubbies, really....but just not this weekend.

P.S.: The Yankees still suck.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Paradise in Chains

Portia sent me this very interesting story:

Cuban Brothers' Identity Switch Backfires
June 7, 2005, 10:46 PM EDT

HAVANA -- Bernardo Heredia fled communist Cuba a decade ago, and this year loaned his lookalike younger brother his U.S. residency documents to help him do the same.

But what started in March as an act of familial love became a full-blown sacrifice when Cuban authorities got wise to the ploy and refused to let the elder Heredia leave the island, effectively switching the lives of two brothers.

Now, Heredia is living with his younger sibling's wife and child, plotting an ocean escape similar to the one he went through in 1994.
Read the whole gets even crazier.
Now, what does this story say about these idiots?
That they are idiots.

I rest my case.

The Power to Cloud Men's Minds

As I begin yet another day mired in Commerce Clause jurisprudence I am struck by the emerging concern that this oft misused doctrine is begining to generate...again.
The Wall Street Journal pipes up today with an editorial concluding that the high Court's recent decision in Raich "was not a good decision for anyone who believes there are Constitutional limits on the federal leviathan." In the immortal words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: "No shit Sherlock." This is a disaster. How could this happen with a 5-4 majority of "conservative" Justices? Well, it's the freakin' Commerce Clause. All bets are off.

For example, George Will was scratching his head a few weeks ago over the Court's decision that the dormant Commerce Clause trumps the Twenty-first Amendment.

Last week's ruling divided the justices into unlikely cohorts, thereby providing a timely reminder that concepts such as ``judicial activism,'' ``strict construction'' and ``original intent'' have limited value in explaining or predicting the court's behavior.

Now George is scratching his head over the Court's decision in Raich that the Commerce Clause trumps just about evertything.
With the parties warring over the composition of the federal judiciary, and with a Supreme Court vacancy perhaps impending, Americans should use the court's end-of-term decisions as whetstones on which to sharpen their sense of the ambiguities in the categories -- "liberal," "conservative," "activist," "practitioner of judicial restraint" -- used when judges are discussed. Consider the case arising from the destruction, by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, of Diane Monson's homegrown marijuana plants, a case about which the court's two most conservative justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, disagreed.

What is it about the Commerce Clause that makes such otherwise brilliant people lose sight of the purpose of federalism? I don't know. But it sure is a profitable line for legal work.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

She's Baaaaack!

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton castigated President Bush and Congressional Republicans yesterday as being mad with power and self-righteousness, complained that the news media have been timid in taking on the administration, and suggested that some Washington Republicans have a God complex.
How presidential.

It seems that while Hill is "castigating," Bill's chillin' out.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Best (and only) Reported Vacation From Hell

Huricane Mitch

I opened the gates of Hell, and only one womyn had the guts to step in..(that is other than a certain blog-princess who selflesly offered her helpful techno-advice yet unitelligible to those so unwisened.)

Mad Props to Portia for taking us on her semi/doomed vacation with a damned fine piece of writing:
Tortola, November 1998. After an unending stretch of billable hours, and too many missed couplings, we booked ourselves on a trip to the tiny unplugged-island of Tortola in the BVI. No TV, no internet--heck, no phones--no newspapers, just beach, bikinis, Ban de-Soleil and booze. We flew early one morning by puddle-jumper from Puerto Rico with nary a care, discarding our clothes, shoes and the faraway rumblings of Hurricane Mitch that was heading for Central America as the plane meandered its way to the brief yawn Tortola called a runway. That first afternoon on Tortola, we swam, snorkeled, took the ferry/delivery boat aptly named "Whenever" to the even tinier barefoot island of Jost Van Dyke: home to pirates, buried treasure and the famous Pusser's Painkillers We couldn't have asked for a more spectacular first day. We found our heaven.

Our mistake: We thought heaven lasted more than a day. That night, the first fury of Mitch's punch arrived. Our romantic, beachfront cabana--on stilts in Long Neck Bay-- creaked, heaved and listed across the pounding waves through the night. It withstood the assault barely. The next morning, seasick and battered, we were evacuated--Thanks, Mon-- and moved to a cabin up in the hills, which coincidentally, came with a family of goats--yes Spd[sic], goats--living and nee-hawing under the front porch. No matter...what's a few goats when we were no longer at the water's mercy. The downpour continued- without pause for did the goats. (Who knew they were so noisy?) Oh Lord, a goat to the rain Gods in excahnge for the beloved (dry) mystery piles on my desk. By the 4th day-- our serene sailing trip to the atolls cancelled--we evacuated ourselves because of the now flowing mud slides raging past our front door, ah... make that, windows, and moved to a hotel in town (sans the family of goats who weren't happy to see us leave with the stash of their new-found rum nectar.)

There we stayed waiting for Mitch to move his god d*mn tail out to some other sea, watching the constant downpour, drinking, reading books, reading each other's books, drinking, reading each other's book backwards, drinking, waiting impatiently for the daily incoming fax from Puerto Rico with the day's weather forecast--remember there was no TV-- arguing, laughing, whining, drinking some more, playing strip poker--playing strip Scrabble, playin strip Monoploy-- until it became too treacherous for either of us to get totally naked because the mosquitos who had descended on the islands to feast on pasty New Yorkers were now the size of crickets and seemingly impervious to the bug repellant spray we took to wetting each other with hourly. By the 5th day, Mitch was still flapping his seemingly unflappable tail over the islands without pause, and we caved...we raised our mosquito nets in a sign of surrender and booked ourselves out of paradise, and into the casinos of the "very plugged in" San Juan, where for the next two days the sun still didn't shine but we didn't care...who needed the sun when we were on a winning streak at the crap table, and the mosquitos, well...the mosquitos weren't welcome in the casinos, nor were the goats. So much for our unplugged moment.

Maybe someday we'll get back there, maybe someday one day we'll sail to Anegada but not during Hurricane season...not unless one of brings some new board games.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is clear proof that, given enough liqour and games of chance, everyone can be a winner in the vacation game.
Me? I am rolling it all on the Outer Banks, hurricane central, mid-August. Can I get a witness?
The rest of you lugs must either be blessed...or homebound.

The Commerce Clause Hath Run Amok

Just when you think you've read just about everything stupid thing that could be said about the Commerce Clause, there comes another:
Federal authorities may prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe marijuana to ease pain, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, concluding that state laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug.

Okay, so the voters of 10 states, including California, have decided that they will allow their ill citizens to inhale to relieve their pain, and an old lady gets busted for growing pot for her own medicinal use in her own California backyard. How can this possibly affect interstate commerce giving the feds sway over state law you ask? Well, you have to get into Justice Stevens' head for the answer:

Wickard thus establishes that Congress can regulate
purely intrastate activity that is not itself "commercial," in
that it is not produced for sale, if it concludes that failure
to regulate that class of activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity.
The similarities between this case and Wickard are
striking. Like the [wheat]farmer in Wickard, respondents are cultivating, for home consumption, a fungible commodity for which there is an established, albeit illegal, interstatemarket. Just as the Agricultural Adjustment Act was designed "to control the volume [of wheat] moving ininterstate and foreign commerce in order to avoid surpluses. . ." and consequently control the market price,id., at 115, a primary purpose of the CSA is to control thesupply and demand of controlled substances in both lawful and unlawful drug markets.

Good Lord, make it stop.

Club Gulag

"Gulag" is a hot word these days. Conversation is abuzz with the term after Amnesty International tossed whatever credibility it had left into the toilet and contemptuously labeled the detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay as a "gulag." Skip over the idiocy of equating forced labor camps where untold millions were murdered by Soviet dictators with a military prison where guards are instructed no to say things that might offend their prisoners' feelings. After all, what is a Best Buy store if not a mini-Auschwitz? Both have stoves and people in uniforms.

I'll leave the intelligent discussion of this example of unchecked stupidity to those better qualified to control themselves and concentrate on more inane matters, such as this article appearing in The New York Times. (Where else?)

"My dream is to build a gulag," the mayor, Igor L. Shpektor, declared the other day in an outburst that stung like the bitter chill of late May in a place whose history is inseparable from the Soviet Union's notorious system of penal labor.

He meant a gulag for tourists. "Extreme tourism," he explained.

Then he spun an improbable vision of hard times and hard bunks, where tourists could eat turnip gruel and sleep in wooden barracks in a faux camp surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers, patrolled by soldiers and dogs.

"Americans can stay here," he went on. "We will give them a chance to escape. The guards will shoot them" - with paint balls, naturally, not bullets.

Oh. Thanks for clearing that last part up, Igor. But it sorts of takes some of the authenticity out of the vacation experience doesn't it? Makes it more like spending a weekend at the in-laws.

But the story got me thinking about vacations...bad vacations. Camping with whining kids in the rain and an hysterical wife cause there's snakes in the tent kind of bad vacations. Being on board a beautiful sailing yacht with three of your best friends and their three wives, two of whom learn to depsise each other within 20 minutes of leaving port...for a two week cruise. You get the idea.

What's your story?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Father's Day is Fast Approaching

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren - Sweet Jesus, if you love me...

''You ready?'' Bradford asks and slams the accelerator. Tires squeal. In 3.8 seconds, we pass 60 m.p.h. In 11 seconds, we're doing 120, all 617 horses of the handmade V-8 engine cranking. No whistling or shaking. But the ride is loud and raw. At 150, the engine is a primal roar and my back is pressed flat against the black leather seat. At 175, the peripheral world blurs, and my lungs are in my throat. ''Easy, isn't it?'' Bradford shouts, his hands loose on the steering wheel, as the needle hits 180.

I am sooooooo ready.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Being a Boy

In response to a meme visited upon by a formerly respected Brother of the Bar, I hereby present my answer to Five Things I Miss About My Childhood.

1. My bike. It was a HUGE red Columbia with fat tires, upgraded with “monkey bars” and a banana seat. I rode it everywhere, and in an absolutely fearless fashion. It was my vehicle of freedom, my magic carpet. Throw the mitt over the bars and pedal over to Stratford School for a pick-up game of catch-a-flyers-up. Grab the pigskin and head over to Adelphi College or the Junior High for a game of rough two-hand touch. Bear down hard for the ride down South Avenue in the dawn light (you wouldn’t want to be late to serve morning mass at St. Joe’s Convent). Take an after school cruise of 7th Street, skidding to stop (always skidding to stop) at Baskin-Robbins for a cone and a look at the cute public school girls. The bike was my rocket to new worlds…and my parents never knew where I was.

2. Parades. Little League parades, Memorial Day parades, Fourth of July parades, Mardi Gras parades, Christmas parades, any parade. There always seemed to be one just around the corner. A good reason to festoon the bike with ribbons and balloons and clip baseball cards so they’d flutter against the spokes (for that motorcycle sound). There would be bands and soldiers and antique cars and fire trucks, and Mr. Wong on his big gold Harley. Sometimes you’d even get to march or ride in the parade yourself, other times you’d just hang out on the curb and yell to people you knew as they passed by. What happened to parades? We should have more parades.

3. Sledding. “Superman Hill” was a big lump over on the golf course that provided me and my Flexible Flyer with thousands of hours of quality time. Snow Day!!!!! Bundle up and trudge down the road and then over the white shrouded fairways until you saw about 300 kids all flying down the hill in various states of control. (No grown-ups please. Big kids can come back after dark.) Toboggans barreled down the slopes sending kids, sleds, mittens and scarves flying in every direction. Hook your feet into the guy’s sled behind you and get a “train” started. How many sleds in your train? All day long it was race down the hill, climb back up, race down again. Hour after hour until the sun got low and you knew you were going to get in trouble when you got home. But, still, there was time for one more run. Finally, you began the long walk home in the twilight, noticing the cold for the first time, and praying for another snow day tomorrow.

4. Summer at the Beach. No place better for a kid than at the beach. ANY beach. My mother and the kids would go to Grandma’s house at Breezy Point and flop for a couple of weeks. Dad would join us on weekends. No air conditioning, and no cars, but lots of cousins and sand and water to play with. In the mornings the push carts would come down the walk, the vender crying out his wares in song. I can still hear them “TAY- looor, shoo-MAY-ker.” “Rock-aWAAAAY Point News!- Ten cents- Pointer.” You never wore shoes, except to church on Sunday morning, and to ride the ferry boat (no cars) over to Sheepshead Bay to pick up clam bisque for mom or just for the hell of it. After dinner the grown-ups would send us kids packing as a group to the ice cream store. The round trip for a pack of ten or twelve kids usually took forever, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise to find the big folks a little “merry” and singing out on the back porch. A bamboo pole and a can of worms was good for a whole afternoon of fishing off the ferry dock, and on Tuesday nights there were fireworks across the bay at Coney Island that lit up the sky at Grandma’s house. But the beach was always the center of attraction. Sand and sun and the waves in the cold Atlantic provided all the entertainment a boy needed.
Once a summer we made the trek out to the eastern North Fork to spent a couple of weeks on the rocky shores of Long Island Sound. It was a different kind of beach experience. A quieter time spent boating and fishing and skipping flat stones into the calm waters for hours on end. And ferry boats to ride (with cars). I still go to the beach every August with my kids. I hope that some day they will remember their beach days as fondly as I my own.

5. Energy. Kid energy. The boundless type that comes from just being alive and eight years old. Energy that allowed you to spend every waking moment in motion; running, riding, swinging, wrestling, climbing, playing. Everyday you went to the well and there was more to be had. And when you got banged up, the patient doctor would stitch you back together and away you went at high speed. As a kid you never thought it was going to end. You’d always be able to climb to the top of the tree, beat the throw to first, and swim out to the raft. I try to keep fit, but once upon a time it never would have occurred to me “to exercise.” Life was exercise. I give a whole lot just to feel like I was 8 years old…one more time.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Meme With A Theme

Not so random quotes:

I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer.
-Gen. U.S. Grant- Dispatch to the Washington before the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 11, 1864

The humblest citizen of all the land,when clad in the armour of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of Error.
-William Jennings Bryan, Speech at the National Democratic Convention, 1896

History will absolve me.
-Fidel Castro At his trial for his raid on the Moncada military barracks, 1953

I am simply a human being, more or less.
-Saul Bellow, Herzog, 1964

Hope I die before I get old.
Pete Townshend, My Generation

The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called
her a snitch bitch “hoe.” A “hoe,” of course, is a tool used for
weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar
with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Hayden’s
response. We have taken the liberty of changing “hoe” to “ho,” a
staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris
raps “You doin’ ho activities with ho tendencies.”
- United States v. Murphy, Nos. 04-2032, 04-2293 & 04-2309 at 2, n.1.

Usual suspects: Give me six.
Everybody else, have a party.


The day after an al Qaeda suicide bomber killed 19 by blowing himself up in a Afghani mosque, 20 more people died in car bombings in Iraq, bring the "insurgents" total to over 800 since the Iraqi elections.

Meanwhile, innocent detainees housed at the Guantanamo Bay gulag are being forced to eat soggy cereal and have only limited access to the internet.

It's a crime.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Promises, Promises

I know I have promised to the many legions of faithful Heigh-ho readers a treatise on how the Civil Rights Act is currently being twisted from its initial purposes and ursuped so as to permit multi-national corporations to inflict unconscionable legal costs upon unsuspecting citzens and businessmen who seek only to vindicate their rights under state laws that were never adjudged unconstitutional, while permitting those who enacted and enforced such laws to claim qualified immunity.

But I'm kind of busy writing a petition to the Chief Justice for certiorari.

This is a hell of a thing.
Trust me.
More later.

You Must Trust Me...You Must

Chills went down my spine when I read this story:

Swiss and American scientists demonstrate in new experiments how a squirt of the hormone oxytocin stimulates trusting behavior in humans, and they acknowledge that the possibility of abuse can't be ignored.
"Of course, this finding could be misused," said Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich, the senior researcher in the study, which appears in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. "I don't think we currently have such abuses. However, in the future it could happen."

No, of course not. Nobody abuses anyone's trust these days.

Where can I get some???

Happy Birthday Norma Jean

June 1, 1926 - August 5, 1962

"It's often just enough to be with someone. I don't need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You're not alone."