September 2004 Archives

Stupid Rules


These new rules for the upcoming Presidential debates are gonna suck the life right out of them:

Candidates shall address each other in terms of mutual respect (“Mr. President,” “Senator,” etc.) … The following terms are specifically forbidden and may not be used until after each debate is formally concluded: “girlie-man,” “draft dodger,” “drunk,” “ignoramus,” “Jesus freak,” “frog,” “bozo,” “wimp,” “toad,” “lickspittle,” “rat bastard,” “polluting bastard,” “lying bastard,” “demon spawn,” “archfiend,” or compound nouns ending in “-hole” or “-ucker.”

Cordas v. Peerless Transportation Co.


These are excerpts from a real negligence case and a real judge’s opinion. Cordas is, by far, the single best case we’ve read all year.

It appears that a man, whose identity it would be indelicate to divulge was feloniously relieved of his portable goods by two nondescript highwaymen in an alley near 26th Street and Third Avenue, Manhattan; they induced him to relinquish his possessions by a strong argument ad hominem couched in the convincing cant of the criminal and pressed at the point of a most pursuasive pistol. Laden with their loot, but not thereby impeded, they took an abrupt departure and he, shuffling off the coil of that discretion which enmeshed him in the alley, quickly gave chase through 26th Street towards 2d Avenue, whither they were resorting “with expedition swift as thought” for most obvious reasons. Somewhere on that thoroughfare of escape they indulged the stratagem of separation ostensibly to disconcert their pursuer and allay the ardor of his pursuit. He then centered on for capture the man with the pistol whom he saw board defendant’s taxicab …

The chauffeur’s [cabbie’s] story is substantially the same except that he states that his uninvited guest boarded the cab at 25th Street while it was at a standstill waiting for a less colorful fare; that his ‘passenger’ immediately advised him ‘to stand not upon the order of his going but to go at once’ and added finality to his command by an appropriate gesture with a pistol addressed to his sacro iliac. The chauffeur in reluctant acquiescence proceeded about fifteen feet, when his hair, like unto the quills of the fretful porcupine, was made to stand on end by the hue and cry of the man despoiled accompanied by a clamourous concourse of the law-abiding which paced him as he ran; the concatenation of ‘stop thief’, to which the patter of persistent feet did maddingly beat time, rang in his ears as the pursuing posse all the while gained on the receding cab with its quarry therein contained. The hold-up man sensing his insecurity suggested to the chauffeur that in the event there was the slightest lapse in obedience to his curt command that he, the chauffeur, would suffer the loss of his brains, a prospect as horrible to an humble chauffeur as it undoubtedly would be to one of the intelligentsia. The chauffeur apprehensive of certain dissolution from either Scylla, the pursuers, or Charybdis, the pursued, quickly threw his car out of first speed in which he was proceeding, pulled on the emergency, jammed on his brakes and, although he thinks the motor was still running, swung open the door to his left and jumped out of his car.

… [further facts and a discussion of negligence redacted]

Returning to our chauffeur. If the philosophic Horatio and the martial companions of his watch were ‘distilled almost to jelly with the act of fear’ when they beheld ‘in the dead vast and middle of the night’ the disembodied spirit of Hamlet’s father stalk majestically by ‘with a countenance more in sorrow than in anger’ was not the chauffeur, though unacquainted with the example of these eminent men-at-arms, more amply justified in his fearsome reactions when he was more palpably confronted by a thing of flesh and blood bearing in its hand an engine of destruction which depended for its lethal purpose upon the quiver of a hair? [rest of the opinion redacted]

The whole text of the case is available on-line as part of a rather amusing collection of odd & whacky cases, including the complete text of U.S. v. Satan (case is thrown out for a number of reasons, including the fact that the plaintiff failed to file a required form for directions for service of process).

The Platonic Ideal of... Ketchup?

| 1 Comment

Or, to quote one of my favorite bad movies, there can be only one ketchup.

The really interesting part of the article, though, is when he talks about pasta sauces.


| 6 Comments | 1 TrackBack

The highlight of the weekend was being introduced to a hot girl blogger (blogette?) and having the following conversation:

Me: Hi, I’m PF.
HGB: You’re PF? You’re famous!
Me: [blushing and stammering ensues]

Coming in second on the highlight list was the 20 minutes I spent chatting up a 22-year-old girl who was in a band and striking out like Jose Valentin chasing Eric Gagne’s fastball. Fortune favors the bold,but not the foolish. It was a fun 20 minutes, though…

Of All The Gin Joints...

| 1 Comment | 3 TrackBacks

Mike Whybark attempts to translate some ingredients from the French, with unique results:

Gin, of course, was invented by Father Junipero Serra, as a means of keeping the Indians drunk and near the California missions that still bear his name (which, in English translation, is “Taco Bell”). The Hammerin’ Friar, as I have just dubbed him used the waste-product from his many bark-cloth production facilities…

New Geeky Mac Toys

| 2 Comments | 1 TrackBack

NetNewsWire 2.0 has been released as a beta. It’s way cool—a lot of the rough edges have been smoothed over, it’s much, much faster, and it, once again, sets the gold standard for RSS aggregators. One example of the kind of fit and finish that it comes with is when you click on the Subscribe button, it’ll check to see if there’s a valid URL in the clipboard and automagically paste it into the right field if it finds one. Now that’s cool.

It’s clear that Brent Simmons, the author of NNW, has spent a lot of time listening to his users; one of the really neat things about the 2.0 beta is that it’s flexible enough to adapt to many different ways of reading RSS feeds.

Brent also released MarsEdit, a stand-alone blog editor based on’s user interface. It is, unfortunately, not nearly as polished as NNW, but given that it’s a brand new, 1.0 application, I’m willing to give it a break. Even without that needed polish, it’s the first stand-alone blog editor I’ve used that I feel comfortable with (I was never able to get Ecto to work properly with my site, unfortunately). I’m actually using it right now to write this post.

Two other Mac geek toys of note:

  • iEatBrainz, an iTunes companion program that will take your poorly/mis-labled MP3 files, compare them against an acoustical database, and then properly re-label them. It’s really cool.
  • Paparazzi—not to be confused with the awful movie of the same name, this little app does one thing only and does it well. It takes screenshots of webpages in their entirety. It’s quite the cute toy…

On Star Wars and Things That Should Never Have Been

| 1 Comment

This guy has found the reason why Star Wars: Battlefront is going to sell a zillion copies

Or, it’s time for that October title contest. The rules (you know the drill, but once more, for old times’ sake): post in the comments your favorite quote with the word “October” in it. Winner gets their quote put up in the title bar and their blog (or website of choice, if they have no blog that they call their own) gets a month-long gig heading up the randomized permalinks over there on the left.

More Gmail Giveaways


I have 12 more Gmail accounts to give away to my faithful readers; if you want one, leave a limerick in the comments that says so.

Spellbinding Speakers

| 1 Comment

Hanging out before Torts, was peeking through the window in the door of the classroom. Counted nine games of solitare in that class alone. They must be learning loads in there.

On The Morning Side

| 1 Comment

The flip side to yesterday’s brief workout is that I can barely move my arms this morning. Thankfully, it’s not like I need them to carry my 30 pound bag or anything…

Three Weeks In

| 1 Comment

The original title of this post was “Waiting For Colonel Kurtz, Part I”.

So far, the reading is manageable. I suspect that our professors were under orders to keep it light for the first few weeks; they’re really starting to ramp up now.

Contracts blew through four? five? cases today. Fortunately we don’t have another class until next Monday (thanks to the quirks of the Rabbit Hole’s schedule). Another quirk of the schedule meant that this morning’s Civ Pro was the first one we’d had in a week. Paul to brain: engage jump-start drive in 3, 2, 1…

This afternoon I had some three-and-a-half hours between classes, so I did what anyone faced with a lot of heavy reading would do: I went home and thence to the gym, where I grunted and sweated and grunted and sweated for an hour. It felt good, and seemed to lift the sluggish fog I’d been carrying around all day. Of course, that said fog might have been caused by the four chocolate donuts that was my excuse of a breakfast this morning. Or was it the four chocolate donuts that was dessert last night?

Mmmmm… donuts.

The TA in my writing section is, as they used to say, quite the looker. To use legal terminology, she goes straight through “attractive nuisance” and right on into “hidden trap”. This is meant very much as a compliment, for all the enraged women readers out there who are about to march on Frankenstein Castle with torches and pitchforks. This was underscored the fact that she’d done something to her hair today and it looked dangerously <Fernando>mahvelous</Fernando>.

The student lounge is apparently the preferred place to pass out/take a nap; I’ve seen at least three students sprawled along those blue sofas, plus one who announced that her intent was to sleep. Not sure that it’s an optimal sleep strategy, though.

On the other hand, those on the blue couches are probably employing a more optimal sleep strategy than the guy who was catching 40 winks in class.

The few solitaire games that were visible in the first two weeks of class have long since vanished, replaced with busy screens filled furious typing.

And now back to wonderful world of proper service in truck-stop cases…

Shine On Through


Life at the rabbit hole seems to have accelerated the thinning of my already thin hair. Perhaps it’s time to get that razor out…

This story neglects to mention how immigrant languages fork off from the mother tongue, often ossifying parts of the language that the homeland has long forgotten while adding new constructions and phraseology: You Say Prosciutto, I Say Pro-SHOOT, and Purists Cringe.

Also related: the undersea boat of twelve thumbs.

The Manhattan Lifestyle

The Laid-Off Dad ruminates on the disencrapment of the New York City Apartment.

So That's What the War of 1812 Was About


Someone told me the other night that the difference between Americans and the English is that Americans have hang-ups about taxes while the English have hang-ups about orgasms.

I’m not sure where that leaves the Canadians.


| 1 TrackBack

While the talking heads busy themselves with whether or not typewriters could produce Times Roman text in 1973, how ‘bout a reality check on Iraq:

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant: “The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options.

Oh yeah, and there are another 19 dead today. Way to win the hearts and minds, guys.

Jack Benny

No Shit!


Report: High-tech job market has lost more than 400,000 jobs.

The nation’s information technology industry lost 403,300 jobs between March 2001, when the recession began, and April of this year, the researchers found.

Yeah, and I’m one of them…

The Job of a Lifetime

The Ninja Burger Employee Handbook is now on-line:

While some companies require you to sign a form stating you will not betray them, Ninja Burger employs a much simpler system: if you betray the company, your co-workers will hunt you down.

Shining Song


It sure was nice to see the towers of light again tonight.

The Looooooove President, Part II

Here’s the video of the president talking about OB/GYNs not being able to practice their love.

Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Baby


Who knew that Bush/Cheney 04 was going to take the campaign in a new direction? Here’s the president on the health-care crisis:

Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.

That’s right: Bush wants to be the looooooooove president. Cue up the Barry White, and break out the champange and strawberrys, baby.

Tales From The Trenches


Sorry if I haven’t been more forthcoming with the bawdy stories from the depths of the rabbit hole… to tickle your fancy, here’s an entirely incomplete list of blogs by law students, some of whom go to the same rabbit hole as I that I do:

Knock yourself out.

Larry Feign for Chief Executive

This is probably only funny to people who know a little about Hong Kong: Feign for Hong Kong Chief Executive

(Larry is a HK-based cartoonist who wrote the late and lamented comic strip The World of Lily Wong)


Since when did The Onion start publishing straight news?

Small Group Of Dedicated Rich People Change The World


So I’m checking out the web’s most authoritative site about Chinese history this morning when I see this:


Ads by who, exactly?