Friday, September 30, 2005


Sorry, I wasn't stalling... I was off learning about the horrible new bankruptcy law... And there WILL be a post on that subject... But just so you're not all wondering all weekend What the heck is the difference... The shank of the bit and the reigns are not visible... Interesting huh?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

OK, how good at spot what's wrong are you....

There is one very big thing different between the second picture (one with the cat in the mule's mouth) and the other three pictures. I spotted it, can you?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Urban Legend

Ok, I never thought Bill Gates was going to send me $5.00 for each person to whom I forwarded that email.

I never thought people were sticking needles in the seats in movie theatres.

I never believed that aspertaime (Sp?) was turning to arsenic or whatever poisonous substance that was in my body.

I don't even think I'll have bad luck it I cut off that inspirational forward.

But I DID fall for the Mule. Sorry. Apparently, it is an urban legend and there is some discussion that the Mountain Lion was already dead. I discovered this when I checked the referring searches leading to my site. *** addendum: the mule is real, the death is real, the date and location are apparently wrong. Interesting... see:

I did read in the grizzly attack book I read in Alaska that there are no recorded grizzly attacks on mounted people.

If people did what they are supposed to do....

If you've heard it from me once you've heard it 20 times- and that's just in this blog... If people did what they are supposed to do I would have to get a real job- and it would probably involve manual labor.

Luckily for me, they don't-- even when you sit them down and spell it out...

Sometimes, it just boggles your mind... "Report to the jail on Friday at 6 PM and the sergeant will have calculated your time served and tell you how much more you have to do." Did he? Noooo. I was then bitching at him about making his payment to the probation office and I had told him to go out and mow lawns if that's what it took and after telling me he lived in town (What? no grass in town?) he then said, "Yeah, but didn't it rain Saturday?" I stopped wanting to help him at this point..."Dude, you don't know if it rained Saturday or not and by the way it didn't rain Saturday. Look, I have some suspicions about what your priorities are and I'm not going to say anything more about that, but you need to get your act together or you're going back to jail and there won't be anything I can do to help you."

Sometimes, it makes things easier... like today I needed to get an order changed to reflect the different payees in a case- not the lump sum as previously appeared... Defendant was served but didn't show up, so I could just tell the Judge what I wanted without having to try to explain the whole situation to the Defendant.

Sometimes, it makes things harder... Like the woman I saw today in "Who's your Daddy" court- lined up for genetic testing with five- count them FIVE possible fathers. You know, if you are one of those men you are sitting there thinking, well, only a %20 chance...

Sometimes, it makes you laugh... I was walking through the metal detector today and the girls in front of me asked the security guard where Court was.

"Which Court," The security guard asked.

"Ummm, I don't know." Replied the girl.

"What kind of case is it?"

"Ummm, I don't know."

"Did you bring the papers that told you to come to Court?"

"Ummm, no, I didn't think I needed them."

"Was it a criminal case or a child support case?"

She pauses for a minute. "Ummm, yeah, it was a criminal case I think. " She looks to her friend who agrees.

"Go to the first floor and ask the District Clerk where you are supposed to be."

Security Guard looks at me like, "What the hell?!" and I laugh.

I don't think I'll ever run out of clients.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Language culture and comprehension

When I was in Scotland I am not sure I ever managed to navigate a round-about properly. Being on the wrong side of the road was hard enough with out throwing into the mix a crazy circle, merging and other cars all while trying to read road names with at least 15 letters at 30 Kilometers per hour. Did I want Llangewereninglon or Llandonwerntinglon?

Driving there really brought home to me how cultural the comprehension of road signs really is. I could never figure out if the blue lines were bad or good. What exactly does a blinking yellow light after a red light want me to do? Was the inside lane fast or slow when you reversed the side of the road on which you drove? What does that arrow there mean?

In France I remember seeing the whole three lane highway set up for the first time and tightened my seatbelt. In case you are unfamiliar, the middle lane is used by EITHER direction to pass. Usually at over 120 KPH.

In Germany, I was screamed at for failing to pull onto the shoulder promptly when someone wanted to pass me. They also had these little signs that were black exclamation points with a red circle around them. I felt sure I was supposed to be wary of something... But what?!

It all reminded me of my thesis where I explored the postmodern concept of meaning as existing only in shared comprehension. I was right, I realized, absolutely right- that language, much like these signs, ever possibly reached Truth only insofar as the people discussing the Truth comprehended each other. (Whether or not something is True existing again outside said discussion being a whole other discussion for another day... If a tree falls in the woods....)

But getting away from the deeper issues there-- and back to the middle deep issues-- There are people who design and create these signs. They convey an entire paragraph into a pictorial representation- a pictorial representation that should be understood by each and every person in the society without the need for deeper explanation. Red having certain connotations-- like danger... Arrows at certain places on the roadway suggesting certain things. But we forget in our isolated societies that signs are not universal; not connected to a deeper comprehension existing before the communally agreed representations- and that as second nature at they are to us they boggle the mind of poor unsuspecting souls visiting from other places. Like Alabama.

I give to you:

Philosophical Friday

When I first decided to become a lawyer, it was purely reactionary. I had gotten out of school and after spending 18 years that I can conscienciously remember years refusing to be a lawyer I realized that it was a way to 1) postpone reality-- 3 more years in school seemed like a great deal after 1 year in the "real world" and 2) work for myself- because 1 year of working for idiots was one year too many. I still laugh at things I said in college to professors to whom I spoke about my direction in life, "I will never be a lawyer" must have been repeated sixteen million times. Now I see the knowing smile- I know they saw that I was cut out to be a lawyer.

I went to an educational psychologist for a battery of tests to tell me what career I was suited for. Top on the list-- lawyer, second? Psychologist. Third? College professor. (Note: Being a lawyer is to be all three of these things. I am my client's psychologist, I must understand the psychology of the issues, and I must educate the other side and the judge.)

I had to start down some sort of path. Temp jobs and retail were not cutting it. MadDog kept reminding me that I could always change my mind and turn around-- but that you have to pick a direction and start walking, or life will start walking for you. "A lot of days," he would tell me, "It will feel like you will step up 13 inches and slide back down 12; but you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get there."

I choose law school because there were a lot of doors in life it would open- whether or not I decided to be a lawyer. I still claimed it was "not my calling." I didn't know what my calling was, but being a lawyer- not it. I figured I might have time to think about what my calling was in law school, and law school would help no matter what my calling was.

MadDog, naturally, was thrilled I was in law school, and very philosophical about me not being a lawyer, "Oh, I wasn't going to be a lawyer either. I was going to work in a bank." He did in fact begin his working life as a trust department officer. He still gets happy when he sees a clause he wrote in a financial document, or a trust document. And believe me-- there are still several paragraphs he wrote floating around out there in the banking business. But he would never go back to work for a Bank- he shudders at the very mention.

The other day I was talking to someone about being a lawyer and I realized it was, in fact, my calling. I just hadn't heard the voice before- I didn't want to listen to the voice before. It wasn't until I was on the path and deep into it that I realized that it was what I was good at doing, felt good about doing, and enjoyed. There are a lot of scary moments but I do love it.

So, think about your calling in life and begin making baby steps towards it no matter what it is. And if you have no idea what you are doing-- pick the option that opens the most doors to you and take that one, because you can always turn around and go back through the door, but if you don't make a choice, life will make it for you.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Next time someone calls you a mule, consider it a compliment....

This was sent to me by a friend of MadDog's. I have always heard that if you are mounted bears and mountain lions will not attack... I guess this is why.

This may be a first... A couple from Montana were out riding on the range, he with his rifle and she (fortunately) with her camera. Their dogs always followed them, but on this occasion a Mountain Lion decided that he wanted to stalk the dogs (you'll see the dogs in the background watching). Very, very bad decision...The hunter got off the mule with his rifle and decided to shoot in the air to scare away the lion, but before he could get off a shot the lion charged in and decided he wanted a piece of those dogs. With that, the mule took off and decided he wanted a piece of that lion. That's when all hell broke loose... for the lion.As the lion approached the dogs the mule snatched him up by the tail and started whirling him around. Banging its head on the ground on every pass. Then he dropped it, stomped on it and held it to the ground by the throat. The mule then got down on his knees and bit the thing all over a couple of dozen times to make sure it was dead, than whipped it into the air again, walked back over to the couple (that were stunned in silence) and stood there ready to continue his ride... as if nothing had just happened. Fortunately even though the hunter didn't get off a shot, his wife got off these 4...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Something to amuse you....

I like to keep funny things with me in Court so that when the stress level gets too high, I can make myself laugh. After a hard week this week, I pulled this out of my forms folder:

From Washington v. Alaimo, 934 F. Supp. 1395 (S.D. Ga. 1996)

..."Inmate plaintiff's complete disregard of and noncompliance with explicit court order to show cause why Rule 11 sanctions should not be imposed upon him for filing motion for improper purposes warranted dismissal with prejudice; motion which plaintiff filed was entitled "Motion to Kiss My Ass" in which he moved "all Americans at large and one corrupt Judge Smith {to} kiss my got [sic] damn ass sorry mother fucker you."

This always makes me smile. I especially love the thought of the person summarizing this inserting the {to} and [sic] after "got." S/he's sitting there thinking, "Dude, you can't even insult the man in proper English."

That one's almost as good as the old divorce case MadDog loves to read (and I'll have to give you the cite later) where the Judge writes, "Like a dog returning to its excrement, so he returned to the fair and delectable Vinah."

Have a wonderful day : )

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lawyer stories...

So I'm sitting in the snack bar...Where half the lawyers sit while waiting for the Judges to get done with the other half of the lawyers- then they swap. You can learn a lot in the snack bar.

One lawyer starts telling a story about himself and another lawyer: Lawyer 1 and Lawyer 2 are sitting in City Hall. Lawyer 1's client runs in City Hall yelling for lawyer 1 "because I done shot John Doe. " Lawyer 2's client is John Doe.

Both lawyers run outside. Lawyer 2 is talking to the guy who ran inside, and asks him who did the shooting and where the gun is. Guy calmly reaches in his pocket and pulls out the gun. Lawyer 2 Gets a plastic bag and has guy put gun in said bag- being careful not to touch it himself. (its his client who was shot.)

Meanwhile lawyer 1 walks up to a cop who just showed up and knows nothing about the shooting. He tells the cop, "Shooting in the parking lot." Cop reaches down to his shoulder radio and calmly says "shooter in the parking lot." Cops swarm out of the building. They surround lawyer 1 holding the plastic bag with the gun. They point many guns at lawyer 1 who is standing there holding a plastic bag with a gun in it. Lawyer 2 slinks off because he really doesn't want to have to deal with his client who is also slinking off. Lawyer 1 starts screaming for lawyer 2 to get his ass back here. Lawyer 1 pretends not to hear Lawyer 2 yelling at him. As they are telling it together, lawyer 2 says, "Hell I wasn't hired to defend a shooting." Lawyer 1 is rolling his eyes because he had guns pointed at him. Lawyer 2 is laughing about lawyer 1 having all those guns pointed at him. Lawyer 2 is stupid like a fox.

This is one of the many many ways that lawyers fuck with each other.

And another good story from the trenches: One of my friends is at her office early one morning and one of her clients who just happens to be a deputy shows up. He is really upset and crying so she lets him in. He says he needs to go and turn himself in because he has just beaten a man to death. And will she come with him because he is scared.

She tells him to slow down. Start at the beginning. He gives some background about getting off work early and coming home to find his girlfriend in bed with another man. He got angry and dragged the man out of bed and beat him senseless and left him dead on the front porch.

She asks how he knows the man was dead. He says he has to be I mean I beat him bad. He is sobbing; so upset that he lost his temper.

So the lawyer calls the hospital and and police station. No one has a dead body or a report of a crime.

She then calls the hospital back and asks if someone came in beaten up really badly.

Why yes, her friend tells her, we did, but he won't say who or how he was beaten. And yes, he will survive.

Lawyer looks at her client and tells him to go home-- dude doesn't want to upset his wife and family by letting it get out why he was beaten any more than deputy wants people to know he beat the guy. Since both parties had so much to loose, paramour took his beating and went home. Now, that's Southern Justice for you.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Animals in New Orleans

Friday Rant....

Last night I woke up and put on the news to go back to sleep. I was overwhelmed by the pictures of the animals left behind in New Orleans. When I saw the german shepherd stuck in the water in his fenced in yard trying desperately to climb onto a window ledge I lost it. It made me so sad and angry.

People had to make terrible choices, and I don't blame them-- get on the bus but you can't bring your pet. Here's a shelter you can come to, but you can't bring a pet. How could they (You know the asshats running the shelters) have these rules? I understand some people are allergic, and too many animals can result in issues, but shelters need to have a system set up with local vets and other groups to house and take care of pets.

I have always believed that when you take in an animal and remove from it its natural and wild state you MUST take on that responsibility for the rest of that animal's life because you have removed his ability to function as a wild creature. The dogs howling on the rooftops, having no real idea how to survive, were just so awful to see. They were clinging to their rescuers- I saw one golden, all 80 pounds of him, his paws tightly wrapped around the rescuer's neck--just hugging her.

I've always heard, "A society should be judged by how it treats the least of its members"- and we have a bureaucratic and social failure here as a society when people were forced to leave their pets behind. This failure is further proof/evidence of the attitude that resulted in the terrible humanitarian crisis those sheltering in New Orleans faced last week.

I am so glad the humane society is down there rescuing pets door to door and housing them until their owners can come claim them. They have over three hundred people on the ground pulling in pets. My hat goes off to them.

Oh, and ohhh, its all going to be better now that the head of FEMA has been the middle of the crisis....isn't that like locking the barn door after the horse is out?

On another good note- my friend who works at the NO zoo said they finally had food in and they were rotating crews in and out to care for the animals there. Almost all of the animals survived and are doing well.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Meeting Melvin and Hearing the Rainsong

I am republishing this post in honor of New Orleans.

Several years ago I read the Celestine Prophesy. The one great thing I garnered from that book is that each person you meet has something to teach you if only you’ll shut up and listen. I am a firm believer in this.
However, when you go to New Orleans, if you sit and listen to each person who comes up to you and begs you’ll never make it anywhere. Now, I am a nice Southern Girl from a small Southern town where we don’t lock our cars, much less our homes unless we’re going out of town or something, but my Daddy didn’t raise a dummy. When I am in the Big Easy, which used to be the murder capital of the US and now I think its just the murder capital of the South, I wear sunglasses and walk purposefully like I know what I’m doing. Ok, the second one isn’t too hard for me as I’m kind of known for walking like I have somewhere to be- even if I don’t, but I do try to be especially sure to look like well, if not a local, an experienced tourist. I guess it works pretty well, because hardly anyone bothered us where we spent the weekend there recently.
Of course, I did notice when I walked my friend’s cute little Westies someone tried to ask me for money, but when I walked my 100 pound White German Shepherd who eyes you menacingly if you approach me—no one did. So part of my success may have to do with my accessories… and I do strongly recommend to any traveling alone in the Big Easy that a 100 pound White German Shepherd makes an excellent accessory.
But at any rate, the second night we were there, my friends who were newly weds, decided to go out for a romantic dinner while my beau and I stayed in our room and tried to convince ourselves we were in our 20’s and not our 30’s and that 6 hours of sleep was fine and we really could get up and go drinking again. Well, I finally managed to pull him up, mostly on the threat that if he would not come with me then I would just go by myself, thank you very much, and he could sleep. Like any good southern gentleman, he couldn’t let that happen especially as I couldn’t take my guard beast with me since we planned to go to bars and all. And he didn’t want me doing anything crazy like lifting my shirt for those people on the balconies for those cute little beads, unless he was there to see.
So, he creaked to his feet, knees cracking pulls on a white button down and his favorite madras plaid pants with bellbottoms handed down by my dad that he can only wear places where kitch or ironic clothing is appreciated like New Orleans and says, "ok, ok, lets go." 6 blocks later we reached Jackson Square where we were meeting our friends and he collapses into the bench beside them. "She walks too fast" he moaned. "I need beer." So, I reach into my bag with a big grin and produce a lovely cold beer and he looks at me with love in his bloodshot eyes and says, "damn you’re good, baby darlin’."
Of course, the sight of beer being handed round in Jackson Square results in each of the various cons loitering about trying to decide which method would work on us. Some people like the down on your luck story, some like the appeal to a favorite sports team or college, some like to pay for display of a talent, like juggling while riding a unicycle, a few go for the intimidation/guilt thing, and some, a rare few of us, are completely taken in by the truth. If someone walks up to me and says, "look I’m down on my luck and I just want to get drunk and pass out and think about my life tomorrow." I am going to go to the store and buy that person a fifth of whatever they want because, and only because, they told the truth. If someone tells me a story about why they are down on their luck, and how their baby needs medicine I am going to keep walking and tell’em to save it because the lawyer in me is going to begin poking holes in their story right and left and I’m just going to be really irritated that if they had just put all that effort into getting a job they could have had the money by now.
Thus, when a hulking Black man sitting one bench over asks if we would like him to take a picture of us, we politely decline. And then studiously ignore him-- but he would not be ignored. He stands up and says, "Hey I was just trying to be nice. I’m just here sitting shooting the breeze with my friends. You act like I’m gonna try and steal it." We throw back the usual noises of Ehh no worries and then he said, "May I ask you an unfair question?"
Now, I like this right away, you know, since it fits in with my whole "lets tell the truth" thing. "May I ask you an unfair question?" that’s great. So when he extends his hand to me I think "you can learn something from anyone." And walk over and shake it and he says "Hi, I’m Melvin Jacques and I was born about 5 blocks from here but I live across the river now. Where are you folks from?" After we tell him and he asks our signs he gets back to his unfair question which is first if he can have a smoke and then if he can have a beer. "My wife, he explains, "don’t want me drinking, so she only gives me bus fare." I forget about the beers I have and am reaching in the bag to give him some moolah to go and get himself one, when my friend has one of those lightbulb moments and reaches in and pulls out a Coors light.
"Well knock me over with a feather!" he says, his eyes lighting up as his pops the top as fast as he can and just as quickly takes a swig- almost like he’s afraid that if he doesn’t mark it as his beer we will change our minds and take it back. We chat for a while longer about a palm reader he knows who told a woman she was going to meet the man of her dreams in New Orleans and she did—so when she gets married she came back to New Orleans and gave the psychic $10,000 dollars and sent all her friends to visit her. It was a great happy story. He tells us about some of the other local people in Jackson square and what restaurants are really truly good and which are tourist crap and then we leave and make our way off to the bars and sing raunchy songs at Howl at the Moon until it is time to go back to the hotel.
As we’re walking back by the A and P to get some juice for our sure-to-come morning hangovers, Willow and I are drawn in by an old sailor sitting in a shop alcove strumming on a guitar for no one in particular. The boys plop exhausted on the steps of the church across the street as we speak with him. He is old with kind blue eyes hidden by a full white beard. He is wearing one of those little hats like Irish people or golfers wear. We ask him what he likes to play and he plays one he wrote about how much he wants to stay and love a girl but that he is not worthy. It was beautiful. He plays Bob Dylan—Tangled up in Blue- which is one of my favorites.
After we leave our sailor man we are so distracted we walk the wrong way and have to double back. I hear him playing again and talking to himself, "Yeah, I’m gonna make it rain if I keep playing the rain song. But it’s a good night for rain." "Hey," I tell him, "hold off on the rain song for 10 minutes so we can get back to the room." He laughs and says sure, and we finally head off to the A and P. What do you know but that conversation saved our lives. No, I mean, talking to that man saved our lives. See, sometimes its good to get off course, because just when we should have been arriving at the A and P someone was robbing it and shooting the clerk so that when we did arrive, the door was shut by a broom handle and there was blood everywhere and cops running around. We would have been in there, but we stopped and listened to the sailor man.
The boys are doing the trainwreck thing and trying to find out what happened, but like I said in the beginning, my Daddy didn’t raise no dummy—so I remind them sharply that there is blood everywhere and we should leave now so we do and hurry back to the room and just as we walk through the door the sky opens and the deluge begins all at once as it does in the south at night. I just wish I knew that rain song.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Shun Wal-Mart

Ok, I have hit on this a few times in the past on this web site. I believe shunning is the most appropriate response to unacceptable behavior. You can't make someone change, but you can remove yourself from their company until they do.

This all started many years ago when I took BL (Brit Lawyer) to a municipal authority meeting. We're sitting at the meeting watching MadDog do his thing (he was the authority's lawyer) trying to work out a dispute.

Suddenly, one man, wearing- I kid you not- a short sleeved buttoned down shirt with tie under his overalls jumps up and yells at another man- also wearing the buttondown shirt with tie under overalls combo- only he is also wearing wingtip shoes with white athletic socks, "You done lied on me the last time, I shun you and I shun your family." And he moved three seats to the right and pretended he neither saw nor heard the offending party throughout the rest of the meeting, because when you shun someone that's what you do. They cease to exist to you. You continue to do what has to be done in that person's presence, but you do not acknowlege them. Nor do you do any passive aggressive talking over them or anything like that-- you just pretend they don't exist unless social demands insist-- until they apologize and bring their behavior back within social norms.

So, I ask that you shun Wal-Mart. I heard today on NPR that they are only paying their effected workers for 3 days. Most other companies are paying what they can-- at least two weeks, and some as long as 90 days--but seriously-- 3 days! Shame on them. Shun them! Boo. Shame on you Wal-mart! Sam Walton would be rolling over in his grave. In this case shunning means: Don't go unless you have to and if you do go ask the clerk to tell management that you think it completely inappropriate that Wal-mart is only paying its employees for 3 days. Don't be mean to the clerk about it, just ask them to pass it along.

Oh and the shunned party later appologized and is again walking side by side with his fellow overalls-buttondown-tie wearing brother.

Katrina and some heros

This weekend I was at the Alabama Coast. On Saturday night I was *ahem* reading the Upper Room at my favorite watering hole when a sailboat returned from Pass Christian to a standing ovation of applause and cheers. FEMA and the Federal Gov't may not be able to get their heads out of their asses, but the citizens of a small unincorporated town in Baldwin County sent 6 tons of supplies over on a sail boat and have $7,000 more to send at some point this week.

Those who went are true heros-- they didn't wait for permission, or a plan, they knew what was needed. Their VFD contacted another VFD and the pickup was arranged-- propane tanks, disinfecting wipes, work gloves, clean underwear, water, food...a few beers... Were loaded onto the boat and sailed to the waiting needy people. The VFD in Pass Christian now had more supplies to give out to their community- after all they are there on the ground and working so hard to help people. They know what is needed-- if they only had the supplies and tools to give out. These people are working themselves to exhaustion to do what has to be done- not the Federal Government who is too tied up in red tape and controlling the situation and telling the people on the ground what they need.

Here is what killed me: My friends in the sailboat were stopped by the Coast Guard coming in and allowed in-- after much bureaucracy. On the way out, they were stopped, told to anchor-- that they could not leave. Luckily, the sailors are an intelligent and feisty lot and they told the Coast Guard that if they wanted to board them that was all well and good, there was no legal reason to do so, and they'd have the media on them faster than would be believed. They were allowed to proceed quietly.

The things they saw on their route-- thousands of packages of packaged chicken floating in the water. Bodies. Dead Alligators. They said the stench and bacterial count of the water was overwhelming.

And FEMA-- bah humbug. They said the Red Cross is there all right-- charging for coffee!!! That's right CHARGING DISASTER VICTIMS FOR COFFEE! So, give your money to the Salvation Army- or call your local VFD or other small agency. Or take in a displaced family.