Oh you know...

This blog attempts to explain the major, and minor, events in my life in my own words. It's kind of like an ongoing auto-biography/journal.

Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States

My name is James. I am 25.

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Winds of Winter

                 Last night (02/07/13) my Hyundai’s right-front tire blew out while I was driving at high speed in moderate traffic on Interstate 66. I am blessed for the following reasons:

-          At no point after the tire blew out did I lose control of the vehicle
-          I had just switched lanes into the far right lane, putting me closest to the right shoulder at the time of the blow out, so no lane changes were necessary
-          The blow out occurred on the right front-tire, which was on the side of the car opposite of speeding vehicles on the interstate
-          I had been taught at a very young age to change a tire by my dad, so at no point did I feel panicked or helpless
-          A police officer stopped behind my car within 3 minutes of the blow-out, asked me if I needed help, and after I assured him I had everything under control stated that he would leave his car behind mine until I had the tire changed
-          From the moment of the blow-out until I was back “up to speed” on the interstate with my spare tire on the car only 20 minutes elapsed. In that 20 minutes I was able to:
o    jack up my car, speak with the police officer, remove the lug nuts, remove the tire, place the spare tire onto the axel, refasten the lug nuts, de-jack the car, and shake hands with the police officer
o    All of this I did in a suit and in the windy/cold dark
o    My pants, shirt, suit jacket and tie were completely spotless
-          I arrived home safely
-          Upon arriving home I got to hold my beautiful fiancé

                I would say the flat tire was as good an experience as a flat tire can be. God has made me a blessed man.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Post # 65 - Not Penny's Boat

        First, Marie and I are engaged! I “finally” got a ring and got down on one knee. Despite insidious rumors to the contrary, this did not happen because I am pregnant. I love my fiancé and could not and cannot believe she has chosen to be with me for this long. She actually wants to be with me forever! I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth. We are hoping for a mid- to late-summer wedding and couldn't be more excited! We also have a dog, Penny.

        The political discussion in this post is directed toward the Republican Party. The Democrats have their own problems, including a bafflingly opaque and unstable political philosophy that is subject to change like a wave in the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

        The following is my most recent facebook status: “This past Monday, seven NFL coaches were fired from their jobs. Why? They were not doing a good enough job. The Bears won 63% of their games this season but Lovie Smith still got fired. Lovie Smith is the same guy who was able to coach Rex Grossman to a Super Bowl appearance in 2006. The Eagles had won 61% of their games with Andy Reid as their coach. Andy Reid also led the Eagles to 5 NFC championship game appearances and a Super Bowl appearance - he was fired on Monday as well. The 112th Congress ended their session with an 18% approval rating, though at one point it was as low as 10%. John Boehner served as the leader of the 112th Congress as Speaker of the House. The 113th Congress, quite literally, could have "chusen" anyone in the United States to be their Speaker. Today, the 113th Congress elected John Boehner as Speaker of the House.”

        For those of you who know me, I grew up in a fairly conservative household and I tend to expound fairly conservative principles when I speak about the federal government. If any of you are confused about the difference between federal, state and local governments I would be happy to discuss it with you in person. I cannot guarantee I will discuss the differences, however important, on this blog. Anyway, the Republican Party was the champion of “conservative principles.” Today, I have come to the conclusion that the Republican Party (also called the “GOP”) is now the champion of the "principle" of “Republican power.” Please take notice that neither “conservative” nor “principles” are there anymore. They have been vanquished from the party line by those who swore to protect them.

        As I look back at the evolution of my political philosophy I realized a striking trend and similarity between rooting for republican victories and rooting for Redskins victories. I cheer for the Redskins because they are my team. I grew up a Redskins fan and I will always be a Redskins fan. I hate the Cowboys because I hate the Cowboys. That is the extent of the thought process behind it. It is that simple and need not be more complicated. It was the same with Republicans and Democrats. I rooted against Democrats and “hated” them because, frankly, that is just what I did. Those who are Republicans in Congress seem to have caught on to this sentiment of mine as it likely is shared by many who are Republicans. This means votes. Rooting for the Redskins is fun and easy (insert cruel and twisted joke about two decades of awful teams) because I never have to explain why I root for them. If I am asked, a simple “DC had the closest NFL team to where I grew up and I enjoy watching the NFL” or “I have always been a Redskins fan” suffices. Politics and government is different. In a country that was established to be governed by and for the people, it must be different. To think otherwise is intellectually lazy and not suitable for a self-governing society.

        During the recent election cycle I was sent many advertisements in the mail. One advertisement, which in substance was not much different than all the others, stood out in particular and was the impetus for this blog post. It reads, “Thanks to the Democrat’s BIG government agenda, America is drowning in debt.” Let me be very clear: This statement is insulting at best and a damn lie at worst. I happen to think it is closer to the latter. Spending and an exponential expansion of the federal government is a principle of both parties today. The national debt has gone up every year in an exponential manner for decades. Republicans were in charge for much of that, and even controlled all of Congress AND the presidency for several years. For a party that claims to be the protector of moral character, a party who stumps for individual accountability, a party that supports putting the 10 commandments in front of courthouses, here is a commandment for you: Thou shalt not lie. The advertisement is one example of many lies promoted by the Republican Party. Conservative principles are strong enough to stand on their own and do not need the assistance of deceit. My party is one of principles first and conservative ideals second. The Republican Party is no longer my party.

        Speaker Boehner is one, among many, who is leading the charge. It boggles my mind the complete lack of accountability the American people hold for their leaders. I am tempted to say it disgusts me. Almost everyone thinks Congress is doing a terrible job. When the same leader is elected by the very representatives we elected who has been in charge of not only a seemingly incompetent Congress, but participates in, contributes to, and extols lies to his own party like the advertisements sent to me (insert prolonged ellipses) I lack the cognitive fortitude or creative genius to describe, accurately, my incredulity.

        The free market, another feigned principle of the Republican Party, would never allow Speaker Boehner to be elected. He would be fired, demoted or otherwise dismissed from his position of power if he was in charge of an entity that performed so poorly and lost so much money. Something else is at play. That “something else” is a political plutocracy established through a manipulation of the very people who elected them into power. Supposedly we are all angry and frustrated at the politics in Washington. Also supposedly, we have the power to change who our leaders are through elections. After years of frustration and philosophic agony, let alone economic recession, brazen/expensive military campaigns and insane “reasons” for gridlock and the refusal to compromise until the 11th hour, the same people are in power. Something is wrong.

        I have struggled with how we, as citizens, begin the battle to restore effective, competent, representative leadership and government. ("Restore" in reference to government action is a cliche and might not be the best word here). I also have struggled with understanding whether we as a citizenry actually realize that something is wrong. I will continue to consider how we got here, where we are going, and where we ought to go.

        Anyway, the answer to the problem is certainly not the Republican Party as it is today. The answer must include individuals. Perhaps we should start with individual accountability, which happens to be a principle. Fancy that. There is no obvious place to start, but an important piece of the riddle’s answer must be the ability of the citizenry to communicate effectively, efficiently, consistently and constantly. I do not claim to be the world’s greatest writer or even a great writer. Nor do I claim to be a political philosopher of the first order. We must start somewhere and at some time. Let us start now. With that, I give an important lesson in a pervasive confusion with the English language:

- There
        o Refers to a location or is used as a non-personified reference word
        o Examples include
                § We heard about Taco Bell’s new quesadilla on the television, so we wanted to go there for lunch.
                § There once was a little boy named Sue.
                § There, there, every little thing is gonna be all right.

- Their
        o Refers to a personified, possessive pronoun. This is confusing because there is no apostrophe used in this word which often (if not always) implies some form of possession.
        o Examples include
                § I wanted their BBQ sandwiches, so I smacked them upside their heads.
                · This is distinguished from “I wanted their BBQ sandwiches, so I smacked Randy’s face a few times.”
                · Notice that the second “their” in the first sentence has no apostrophe, whereas “Randy’s” has an apostrophe in the second sentence. We have “their heads” and “Randy’s face.” It seems odd that only one has a possessive apostrophe, but that is English (your language).
        o Other examples include
                § I wanted to see their reaction when the Redskins knocked them out of the playoffs.
                § Their conviction was pure, their cause was just, yet their artillery was all they needed in the end.

- They’re
        o The apostrophe is misleading in this word. It does not indicate possession of anything. I repeat, “they’re” does NOT indicate possession.
        o “They’re” is a simple contraction of TWO words: “they” and “are.” Much like we shorten other words due to the way we speak them, “they’re” or “they are” is contracted so that it SOUNDS like “there” and “their.” Other examples of contractions are “should’ve” (a contraction of “should” and “have” and note, not “should of” which is another confusion with how a word sounds and how it is spelled when we speak it) and “we’re,” which is a contraction of “we” and “are.”
        o Examples include
                § They’re the best team in the league this year!
                § They’re going to hear it from my mom when she finds out what they did!
                § They’re probably figuring out this “they’re” “their” “there” thing by now.

        Until further notice Marie is my person of the week for every blog post. Sanity must return to this part of my blog if it is to continue. “Why? You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshank’s table that you’ve missed your God-given right to something better. There’s a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure they have it.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Post #64 - The Winter that Wasn't

Why I am voting for Barack Obama:

At the end of a work day I walked into a particular section of the office to retrieve my scholar bag. There was a gentleman at the front desk I had not seen before and he was speaking Spanish into a cell phone. He looked upon me, briefly scanning up and down, and queried “How are you?” I responded with the customary “How ya doin’,” as is polite in most social circles where there is no familiarity between the parties. Other acceptable phrases in exchanges such as these include “Howdy” and “Top of the morning.” As I walked away toward my desk I began conceiving ill and nasty thoughts about this man. He had taken one look at me, noticed that I had fair skin and red hair and thought “oh, he must speak English.” The man judged me by the color of my skin. The bastard probably even thinks I’m a citizen. The indecency of the matter had me flustered, but I managed to maintain civility as I walked out of the office with my scholar bag. As I passed him again he was still speaking Spanish into his cell phone. I said “Have a good evening.” The bastard replied, “How are you.”

Ben Frye is a former roommate of mine who has a pretty cool blog which discusses political issues. It seems to be focusing on the 2012 Presidential race, but you can check it out for yourself at http://benhamine.blogspot.com/. The following is a quote from his post alliteratively entitled Contraception, Catholics, College Co-eds, and Crazed Conservative Commentators.” I decided to write a brief response to this.

“It is asinine to claim that insurance companies providing the option for insurers to get contraception to be infringing on the religious rights of the employers. They’re not even directly paying for the coverage. If this were a valid argument then I should be granted deductions from my taxes for the amount that would go to funding the military, going towards executing capital punishment, and subsidizing oil companies due to my moral objections. It doesn’t make any sense to give people the option to sue their own subjective morals to decide which laws they should or shouldn’t follow.”

One problem, amongst others, with the law in question that arises is with self-insured companies. Often, this means Catholic hospitals. Thus, if the compromise is “the insurance companies will pay for contraceptives and birth control,” and the Catholic Church is the insurance company, you can then understand why this is not understood as a compromise by many. A sample dialogue might go like this:

Samwell Tarly: “You must pay for your employees’ birth control.”

Jon Snow: “But doing so would go against my church’s policy regarding contraception.”

Samwell Tarly: “Ok let’s compromise, you can have your insurance company pay for it. That way you are not actually paying for it yourself.”

Jon Snow: “But Sam, I am self-insured. This means I cover myself. If ‘my insurance company’ pays for it, and I am my insurance company, then I am still paying for the contraception. This is not a compromise.”

Samwell Tarly: “Republicans are obstructionists.”

Contraception is not something that the federal government is mandated to provide by the Constitution. There is another thing that is mandated by the Constitution that is relevant here, and that comes from the first amendment in the Bill of Rights. The relevant text is “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The law in question “prohibits” the Catholic Church from the “free exercise” of their religion. However much that annoys someone, or however much that person thinks the Catholic Church policy is ridiculous, it does not matter. The founders laid protections of the church, against encroachments by the government, within the very document that established the government. Now would be a fun time to enforce the “separation of church and state” doctrine. As the famous case of Marbury v. Madison tells us, any law that is made by Congress that goes contrary to the Constitution is “null and void.” (cite needed).You can also see Article VI section 2: “This Constitution shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” This has nothing to do with “subjective morals,” it’s in the Constitution.

Additionally, the Constitution allows for the Congress to decide who to tax, and all appropriations of those revenues are to begin in the House of Representatives. Your moral objections to capital punishment and subsidizing oil companies are reasonable, and you can use those reasons when deciding for whom to vote in elections. Those men and women who are elected, based on the electorate’s subjective opinions regarding public policy, then make the decisions representing the people until the next election. Repeat ad nauseam.

The following link is to a CNN article from a few months ago. I share this link not for the merits or opinions contained within the article, but for the engaging remarks left in the “comments” section following the article. It helps to read the article and then to read the comments I kindly discovered for you, but if you’re in a rush you can just skip the article and read the comments. Mind you, the comments are not my own and are transmitted to you as they originally appeared.


Simon and ButtFunkle said: “She is also VERY UGLY and should be deported.”
Meanwhile, Uncle Sanchez commented: “I want to pee in her face.”

Noting recent sociological trends in the news, barabbas2010 exclaimed: “How nice ! Racism and xenophobia are alive and well in the US.”
To which Racer X is Gay retorted: “Shut up, Ho~mo.”

And finally, two commentators engage in a brilliant exchange where the principal issue in the article is illuminated:
sid206: “Your are in America. We speak English. You should to.”
To which reality hater tactfully responded: “Very well said !”

It’s good to be back.

Person of the week: Joe Zarobila, as he is probably the most ecstatic of my readers that I have posted again.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Post # 63 - Fait Accompli

This blog post is addressed to the Christian Church, but all are welcome to read. I will open up this post with a few verses that are relevant to current events:

Romans 12:14-15, 17-21: 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn… 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matthew 5:38-48: 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Proverbs 24:17-18:
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the LORD will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.

On Sunday Osama bin Laden was finally killed. The way I saw it he was the entire reason we went into Afghanistan. Strangely enough we killed him in Pakistan. Immediately upon hearing the news I was unsure about how to feel. I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a sense of relief, but I also felt an overbearing sense of "well...what now?" Like many of my friends I was extremely hesitant to celebrate. It is true that Osama bin Laden was responsible for many American deaths and stole from us our sense of invincibility. However I knew that celebrating was probably not the wisest thing to do and so I opened my bible.

The act was done by the United States, and many members of the body of Christ are citizens of the United States. If we as citizens of the United States and as members of the body of Christ have ever had an enemy, Osama bin Laden was it. It is very easy to love others when you are with your family. It is very easy to love others when you are with your friends. I encourage you to replace the word “tax collectors” in Matthew 5:46 with “terrorists.” Just as the law must speak most clearly when the situation makes it tough to follow, so must the Christian act according to scripture when we are tempted to do otherwise. Think pensively on that.

We must also ask ourselves was all of this worth it? There comes a time when a shepherd must protect his flock, and in their duties as President, George Bush and Barack Obama have done just that. We’ve spent billions of dollars and lost thousands of soldiers’ lives along with thousands of civilian and Taliban lives. Much of the information leading to this particular raid, though still unconfirmed, seems to have come from Guantanamo Bay. And so we must ask ourselves, was all of this worth it?

Finally in Matthew 26 after Peter cuts off a servant’s ear while attacking those who were arresting Jesus, Jesus exclaims: 52 “Put your sword back in its place… for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” I do not think that the killing of Osama bin Laden was wrong. He was openly at war with us. As a nation we (recently) have become committed to having church and state completely separate, and so we cannot force the President to live by “wwjd.” However, I also do not wish to live by the sword, nor do I wish to die by it. Osama bin Laden is dead, but I hope the Christian spirit is not. "As far as it is possible" we must strive for peace. We must not gloat. We must not repay evil for evil. If one forces us to go one mile we ought to go with him two. Revenge is for God, and so if our enemies are hungry we should feed them. If they are thirsty we should give them something to drink. In doing these things we just might overcome evil with good.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Post # 62 - When the Log Rolls Over

There comes a time in every man’s life where he must prove to the world that he is once and for all not a complex being.

Tip o’ the Week from James:
Do not wear a scarf while at the urinal.

This past week has been pretty crazy. After working an insane amount of hours over my “break,” driving over 2000 miles on the interstate, my right front tire blows out in a rather pathetic manner right in front of my house here in Maryland. I really wish global warming had been a reality at that moment, because it was approximately 20 degrees below 0 and the wind was howling around 30 mph with gusts up to 97. I braved the cold, and stood my ground fearlessly while changing my tire with a pack of blood thirsty wolves surrounding me. In just a few short hours I became the alpha male of those wolves, and miraculously my spare donut-tire remained useful for 0 minutes. For second upon second it firmly fulfilled its duty to remain steadfast whilst I was in trouble. Sadly, the sole purpose for that tire in this world was to last for no longer than Sarah Palin’s chance at becoming president. It reminded me of the story of the fig-less fig tree in the New Testament. I do not have the power to curse a tire, and so the car remains technically parked in front of my house.

Grades have been slowly trickling in this week which is stressful in and of itself. Some grades were received with songs of jubilation (see Mulan: Let’s get down to Business). Others were received with cries of despair (see the Hindu God Vishnu who was quoted after the testing of the first atom bomb: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”)

Classes have started. I woke up at 5:30 the other morning and read Title 28 of the U.S.C. for 2.5 hours. What a terrible way to start the day! It sapped every ounce of creativity and livelihood out of me, and I was reduced to a pile of wistfulness while blubbering “And this district hath only jurisdiction over disputes between a citizen and a state, or anything involving tigers.” Only some of that is actually true.

I also have not yet received a loan check. It was processed on January 3. It was sent out January 7. Just so we are all clear, it took four days for someone to move the check from outbox to mailbox, an understandably difficult task for your average government employee. Zing!

Somehow that last comment could, after watching news coverage of the recent tragedy in Tucson, be construed as an attack on the troops since they are technically government employees. The point of the previous outrageous sentence is to point out how ridiculous the media coverage of this event has been. As we all know Rush Limbaugh went on a shooting rampage, succumbing to his own violent political rhetoric.

CNN even ran a story written by a Muslim-American talking about his experience watching coverage of the event. He wrote about how he prayed “please don’t be a Muslim that did this.” The article brought up some good points, all of which have been completely exhausted in debate and discourse and thus has a severe lack of originality in my opinion, but the reader comments easily stole the show. It’s much like a psychology experiment that I get to just sit back and watch (read). The article can be found here - http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/01/13/obeidallah.loughner.muslims/index.html?hpt=T2

And now a thin slice of user comments for your reading pleasure:

Hey buddy, when thousands of Americans are killed by Muslim terrorist, and thousands of Muslims hate Americans and many Muslims have little regard for the rights of women, don't ask us not to be weary of Muslims. The Muslim religion was created by men for men and for hate toward non-Muslims. You can candy coated it anyway you like to, but the religion is flawed. I believe there are million of nice people who are Muslims,,,,but you have too many extremist. less
2 minutes ago | Like (1) | Report abuse

hey moron bigot, how many books of the bible are named after women?
1 minute ago | Like | Report abuse

Bleeding-heart liberal pile of $%*#.
3 minutes ago | Like | Report abuse

liberalism and atheists tend to have higher IQs, lower rates of violent crime, less infectious disease, less sexual assaults, (less abortions is the real shocker)
0 minutes ago | Like | Report abuse

It's time for Americans to wake up, this is really a great article. We are all for sending our troops across the globe to fight criminals in other countries and call them terrorist.

Terrorism is defined as an unlawful act of vilolence or war. The systematic use of terror.

If we just use the actual definition as it should be and apply the same actions we do in other countries, our military would be hunting down and eliminating gang members, serial killers and sicko's like this.

Instead we label our own Terrorist as misguided kids, mental illness and many more sympathetic liberal labels. It is what it is "Terrorism"

By the way I am a white male and not Muslim less
3 minutes ago | Like | Report abuse

2 minutes ago | Like | Report abuse

What if? What if? This writer seems to have a subliminal desire for chaos. We certainly already have more than enough examples of what if? already. What if he were a Mexican? There's one stereotype to go for. Drug guy. What if he were Italian? Mafia. What if he were black, asian, jewish, and on and on and on. The REAL question is, What difference does it make? Being not even a little, but totally crazy whacked-out crosses all and all racial boundaries. So to be right about matters, Mr. Writer, don't exclude the rest of the ethnic groups on the planet when you ask "What if". What if ANYBODY did what the Tucson Terror did? I'm just glad the firing squad is well and alive in Arizona. I volunteer to be one of the marksmen, as long as I'm given one of the rifles that has a bullet in it. less
7 minutes ago | Like | Report abuse

I don't know who is stupider the person that has to ask if it was an act of terrorism or Clinton suggestion it falls short of the definition,
9 minutes ago | Like (2) | Report abuse

SinD your HOT!!!!
5 minutes ago | Like (1) | Report abuse

In other news, I accidently held the door open for a lady in a wheelchair at Starbucks. That statement seems odd right? I was walking out of the store and saw a gentleman coming in so I held the door for him, I let the door go as I was looking back and, oh, there is a lady wheeling out! Luckily for everyone involved she not-really-that-narrowly escaped the slow crawl of the door to its natural resting place.

It is time to make pancakes.

Person of the Week: Robbie Shaver! Happy Birthday big guy. Remember, here at 5004 Cherokee "The quatro" we don't retreat, we drink beer.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Post # 61 - The Vast Green-wing Conspiracy

Maryland, as a state, has a lot of ground to make up if it wants to become cool in my eyes. There seems to be a general feeling of the residents here that “everyone else who is around me, including my neighbors, is by default a nuisance or burden to me.” When I pass people in the grocery store I’ll say “Hi” with a smile and they just walk by without even a nod. When I go out of my way on narrow residential streets to allow a car coming from the opposite direction to pass before me, which I have done on dozens of occasions, I have received only one wave of appreciation. I just said “bless you” to the guy sitting across from me in Starbucks twice and he didn’t even acknowledge my presence. These events, along with such incredible instances of “loving thy neighbor” (see the anonymous neighbor who called the police after we started a fire in our “unsafe” fire pit to grill hot dogs at 4 o’clock on the last warm day of the year. Keep in mind that we have a large backyard enclosed by both a chain-link fence and a wooden fence as tall as me.), continue this constant pressure for me to dismiss Maryland as a state for the chilly instead of for the cheery. I want to give Maryland the benefit of the doubt because they make crab cakes (and I LOVE crab cakes) but it seems as though every day I am reminded that I as an individual I am not welcome in any form if my presence is made known to another person.

Ok now the same guy in Starbucks, real time, just adamantly refused to watch the guy’s laptop who was sitting next to him while he used the restroom. Really?! Is it THAT big of an inconvenience to you to sit there doing exactly what you were doing before (being a dick) but simply making sure that tragedy does not befall your neighbor or his things, something you should probably be doing ANYWAY without being asked?! He does have an atrocious sweater on, and I appreciate that in a guy, but other than that, this swine-flu guy really encompasses what is annoying about being in this state. Way to bring holiday cheer, sir. If your goal was to make no one want to even look at you as a decent human being you have succeeded. Based on the small amount of information I have given you may think I am being harsh on him, but I assure you both he and I have been here for five hours and his demeanor has not changed and he has taken several measures to, in effect, announce: "Attention, I have a really small penis and have been insecure about it since 1968! STAY AWAY." A scented Christmas-y candle, or perhaps a swift boot to the nose, would do this guy a world of good.

In other news the Democrats lost control of the House. No one was surprised by this. They had so much opportunity and potential to maintain control and do a world of good in both houses of Congress. Instead the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, which should be written into a book about how not to lead, is best characterized by this film clip from Tommy Boy (the bread roll represents her newfound role beginning in 2006 as House Speaker):


Anyway I do not wish to spend too much time on politics, but I think it is prudent to point out how fickle the whims of the American people have proven to be. Does anyone even remember 2008? The economy was Bush’s fault, Bush tax cuts were a toxic-at-best sound bite, and “Republican policies” were soundly rejected and repudiated. Fast forward to 2010 and you get the picture. Now the economy is Obama’s fault (including the unemployment rate), the Bush tax cuts are now this great and incredible policy that is supposed to help the economy (and is favored in a bipartisan way), and Republican policies are now accepted in a sound rejection and repudiation or Democrat policies. Two years, folks. It’s incredible. I’m not saying that American people are stupid, but I do think a look into the sensationalist media that we have today might be necessary in explaining these inconsistent political and policy wants.

We had a squirrel “problem” in our house. Earlier this year on a Saturday morning, on which my eyes were especially sensitive to light and my head was throbbing, I walked out of my room to see a squrriel IN the living room climbing up the open but screened windows. I stared at it for about five seconds and thought to myself “There’s no WAY there is a squirrel in the house…” I went to the bathroom, walked back into my room, sat on my bed with a quizzical look on my face and thought (pensively): “Am I awake right now? A squirrel being in the house is absolutely absurd. I’ve either lost my mind or I am dreaming…but my head hurts, so I can’t be dreaming.” I don’t know how long I sat there. It could have been seconds, it could have been hours. I came out of my room and began telling my roommates about this crazy dream I had about a squirrel. They were like “Yeah when we came downstairs there was a squirrel trying to get out of the windows so we shooed it outside!” Relieved that I was not insane I exclaimed “No WAY!” It was, for some reason or another, a life-changing experience.

Unfortunately another squirrel (or perhaps the same one) got back into our house and was living in the walls of our house. Here is a picture of approximately what he looked like:

(photo courtesy of duncraft.com)

We made sincere and continuous efforts to get it out. I even had this seemingly fail-proof plan of cordoning off a section of the house and leaving a discrete trail of almonds leading to our open backdoor. Those almonds were nibbled, and we thought on several occasions that my plan worked! Unfortunately it all failed. We almost accepted him as our 7th roommate, even going so far as to naming him Charlie, but then he reminded us that he was not potty-trained. Alas after we had all left for Thanksgiving break my roommate, Clint, set a trap and coldly murdered Charlie. Clint came home one day to find Charlie’s bushy and lifeless tail hanging out of the trap. He held a funeral service for him and had him cremated.

I am in the middle of preparing and studying for finals. Classes are officially over and my grades are solely dependent on how I do on these exams. I would like to share a couple of my favorite quotes from my Torts book that I hope you will find just as precious or awesome as I do:

On page 126: “The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff. The defendant appealed, contesting the instructions given to the jury and arguing that he ‘ought not to be responsible for the misfortune of not possessing the highest order of intelligence.’”

On page 201: “The witnesses who saw and knew, like all things else around, save the earth itself, were scattered to the four winds.”

On pages 693-694 from Warren and Brandeis’ Harvard Law Review Article, The Right to Privacy: “Gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious, but has become a trade, which is pursued with industry as well as effrontery. To satisfy a prurient taste the details of sexual relations are spread broadcast in the columns of the daily papers. To occupy the indolent, column upon column is filled with idle gossip, which can only be procured by intrusion upon the domestic circle…the supply creates the demand. Each crop of unseemly gossip, thus harvested, becomes the seed of more, and, in direct proportion to its circulation, results in the lowering of social standards and or morality. Even gossip apparently harmless, when widely and persistently circulated, is potent for evil. It both belittles and perverts. It belittles by inverting the relative importance of things, thus dwarfing the thoughts and aspirations of people. When personal gossip attains the dignity of print, and crowds the space available for matters of real interest to the community, what wonder that the ignorant and thoughtless mistake its relative importance. Easy of comprehension, appealing to that weak side of human nature which is never wholly cast down by the misfortunes and frailties of our neighbors, no one can be surprised that it usurps the place of interest in brains capable of other things. Triviality destroys at once robustness of thought and delicacy of feeling. No enthusiasm can flourish, no generous impulse can survive under its blighting influence.” (Sorry about the length. I shortened it as best as I could without taking away the meaning.)

There are many more, but I must get back to studying.

Person of the Week: I can't believe I'm doing this, but Paul Thompson wins the award for the craziest story which will never be published on this blog. A quote from the story which perhaps captures the essence of the moment: "Have you ever seen hell?! This is what hell looks like! I'm in hell!"

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Post # 60 - Nemo dat quod non habet

So I woke up the other morning at 5:00 AM to the sound of my alarm clock. I turned it off fully intending to sleep 20 more minutes. I bet you think you know where this is going. Trust me, you don’t. I lost a hide and seek battle with Nehemiah the Cricket the previous morning, and upon sounding off the alarm I could hear him calling to me from the living room. He was up to his old tricks again. In my fatigued stupor I stared at my couch in the living room and decided to make coffee and read for the next 3 hours before I left for school. Nehemiah, I will peacefully catch you and gently release you back into the depths of the front yard from whence you came! This is not a threat, it is a promise.

I’m in Law School now and it has rocked my world. Who knew that reading text after text could be so unappealing to the outside world? There have been many cases I have briefed that have been thought provoking about the human condition, of which I would like to write about later on in life. However I would like to share with everyone the beginning of a case that I found especially entertaining from my Torts class (Farnsworth and Grady. Torts, Cases and Questions. Aspen Publishers, New York. 2009.). Within the text I will add in my real-time thoughts when I read this through for the first time. All credit goes to the authors of this book and the genius’ within the case. It can be found on pages 85-86:

Katko v. Briney

The defendants, Edward and Bertha Briney, owned an 80-acre farm in Iowa with a house on it. [wow, I bet that is very peaceful out there] They did not live there; they used the house mostly for storage. [um, ok, how much land do these guys have?] After suffering a series of trespasses and break-ins at the house, the Brineys boarded up its windows and doors and posted “no trespass” signs nearby. [that is really annoying that they have to go through that kind of effort to protect 80 acres of near emptiness] After still another break-in Edward Briney set a trap in one of the bedrooms. [wow that seems a bit extreme to set a TRAP inside the house. What, are people just animals to be caught in a trap?] He tied a 20-gauge shotgun to an iron bed with the barrel pointed at the bedroom door, then ran a wire from the doorknob to the gun’s trigger so that it would fire when the door was opened. [ hahahahaha what the foxtrot?! We have a winner!] Briney first pointed the gun so an intruder would be hit in the stomach, but at his wife’s suggestion it was lowered to hit the legs. [Well, at least the wife adds some reason to this guy. This sounds like the typical guy-girl relationship: Guy comes up with some ridiculous and crazy idea, immediately acts upon it, and just before he gets himself into a really bad pickle the girl jumps in and, still allowing him to have his fun, makes some necessary precautionary measures to save the guy from disaster] Skipping along down a little further in the reading so you get the idea of what happened…”The plaintiff…entered the bedroom and set off the gun; it removed much of his right leg.” […….*stunned silence*…….. why do I feel like this book is so cold and anti-climactic. To say that “removed much of his right leg” does this story justice is a crime in and of itself, especially when the next line is “The plaintiff remained in the hospital for 40 days.” This guy took a shotgun to the legs in a supposedly abandoned house after setting off a trip wire you only see in movies!

How about Islam? Ok, so let me just semi-briefly comment on the incredible debacle taking place in our nation’s biggest city, New York. Few may remember what happened there a few years back. They elected a Republican mayor.

And moving on.

Seriously though there is a supposed radical Imam that is attempting to have a community center/mosque built near the site of the World Trade Center. Is it important to note that this Imam refuses to condemn HAMAS? Sure. Is it relevant for this issue? No. Let me point everyone to something that is relevant:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

Yes, that is the Constitution. It is the first amendment to be exact. Muslims have every right to erect this building. It doesn’t even matter if it is ONLY a mosque. I don’t care that a community center makes up a large portion of the proposed building. I think it’s great that it is a part of it, but frankly it doesn’t matter. That aspect should not have to be emphasized. Do I think it’s a ridiculous thing to do? Yes, absolutely. Do I think there is insensitivity involved? Yes, absolutely. 3,000 people died. It’s tragic. However, if we attempt to deny American citizens their right to the FIRST amendment, why don’t we just deny the 13th amendment to certain Americans at our leisure? Ugh, for brevity’s sake, build the mosque. Build three mosques if you have the money. It may or may not be a good decision but I’ll fight for their right to do it. They have just as much right to build there as the NRA did to hold their conference in Denver a few weeks after the Columbine tragedy (which they did do).

I am so happy I was able to use the word "erect" in that last paragraph!

Anyway, I must get back to my irregular sleep schedule before my body gets rested or comfortable.

Person of the Week: Combination award goes to Jeremiah and Charity (le wedding…many moons ago) and Ellie and Marijn (le wedding…many moons from now) and Josiah (le pizza plate to the face requiring 9 stitches). Some accuse me of nepotism, but really this blog is just a dictatorship……………where nepotism is rampant.