Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm Drawing a Line Here

I’ve not read this article at; but, I did look at the pictures below the lead. It seems that us men are wearing shorts to work. I on occasion wear shorts to work, on a rare occasion. Two of the lawyers in the office do it much more often than I do. When we wear them, we obviously aren’t going to court. We aren’t meeting clients. They’re worn on a very hot Atlanta day when we are lounging in our offices. They are the same shorts and shirts we wear on weekends.

A couple of years back I flew to Destin, Florida for the day to attend a meeting. The lawyer for the entity involved was wearing khaki shorts and a golf shirt. A bit odd, but it was way hot; and, Destin's a beach town.

Two of the three pictures leading the article show guys in short “suits”: one has a jacket with matching little shorts. The other goes for the casual blazer over white little shorts. Really dumb looking as seen by my now older eyes. They remind me of my middle brother and me in our little kid suits with shorts in a picture taken on an Easter Sunday many, many years ago.

I’m going to read the article now. If I change my opinion in any way, I’ll give you an update. Don’t count on it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And They Don't Serve Peanuts in the Baggage Hold

Last month I flew from Atlanta to Dallas and back. I had a mediation on a Thursday and Friday. If the case didn’t settle, I had a deposition on Monday. So I scheduled my return for Tuesday. I was pleased by the $209 fare.

Since I had to be ready for the deposition, I had a wheel bag full of paper in addition to a shoulder bag with clothes.

The first gotcha was the $25 charge for the second checked bag. That’s $25 EACH way, or $50, or just under 50% of the original fare.

Then, since we did settle the case at the mediation, I flew back on Saturday morning. That cost an extra $170 between the change fee and the fare differential. So we are up to $479, or about 240% of the original fare.

Delta announced today that it is doubling the second bag charge: I paid $50, it’s now $100. It is also charging stupid amounts for heavy baggage and an astounding $175 to check a piece that is between 62 and 80 inches, translation: golf clubs and skis.

I know the airline business is sucking; but, people aren’t going to pay these prices. My solution in the future: paper will be replaced by DVD’s with .pdf files of the paper and my friend in the shipping business will get a baby windfall for shipping golf clubs when necessary.

Looked at a bit differently, Delta is giving me a deal. I just spent $30 today to send two pieces of paper (admittedly nice bond) in a cardboard “envelope” that weighed more than the paper, from Atlanta to Anchorage via UPS “second day air” which is not guaranteed to get there on the second day. Fermi, pull out your calculator and tell me what it would cost to send me and two bags by UPS.

The silly thing about the UPS cost is that I sent the two pieces of paper as a .pdf attachment to an Email that got there a couple of seconds later; but, since it was a legal thing, I needed to be able to prove that the recipient actually got the paper.

We need to spend a lot of money developing the real Star Trek transporter. Again, Fermi? Fermi?

Monday, July 28, 2008

One of the Best, Worst Movies of All Time

Slapshot came up in a couple of your blogs this month.

I’m watching an interview with Quentin Tarantino who was talking about what is good about bad movies.

My nomination is Hell Comes to Frog Town, starring the inimitable, Rowdy Roddy Piper. I never saw it at a theater; but, I watched it, half asleep, many times on Gilbert Gottried’s (an unrecognized genius of stupidity) Up All Night.

Business Is Booming

As near as I can tell, in the last week or ten days, I’ve taken on five new matters.

I like the actual doing. Kind of.

Do you have a parallel to my personality disorder?

I like getting all the facts together and figuring out what the best path to get the best result is. Once I’ve done that, I don’t like following the path, as I’ve already decided where it is going to go.

As an example, in law we on occasion write “briefs” – legal arguments that are submitted to the Judge who will decide who is right. I like mulling the issues over, thinking about the legal theories and latching on to the right argument. Then I have to do the research to find the statutes and court decisions that I know are out there. Drudgery. I know they are there; but, I have to physically find them and incorporate the “citations” in the brief.

But, where I plan to go is never quite where I end up. The only way I can crystallize my thinking is to write or talk. I start out SSW and before I know it, I end up tacking to the SW. Who knew, before I took the writing or talking trip.

Before a deposition or a hearing, I do my preparation. I outline the facts and the law (for a hearing). Then I start asking questions or making my argument; and, I NEVER follow the outline. As you are asking or arguing, things change. What wasn’t known, suddenly becomes obvious.

So what am I saying? Doing rather than pondering focuses my mind? Doing creates the intellectual equivalent of the athletic “zone?” Whatever it is, it works for me by paying the bills.

So tomorrow, some more pondering, drudgery and epiphany. Epiphany is fun.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Shot...

SIX over; and I was so happy that I played again and shot, while dying in ridiculous humidity, thirteen over.

I am, for the day, one kick ass golfer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Go Faster, Drive Cheaper

I went to Knoxville, Tennessee yesterday for some meetings and drove back this afternoon.

I don’t do much highway driving; so, though I’ve had my current car for going on three years, this was my first drive over a hundred miles in it.

On the way North, I put it on cruise at 65 mph and filled it up before starting back today. 27 mpg! On the way back, I set the cruise at 70 mph and got right at 25 mpg!

I’ve discovered how to get this kind of mileage day in and day out (rather than my normal around town 21 mpg):


Stay where you are till I go by, just sit there; and, GDOT, turn all the lights to green for a measly minute or two as I make my way.

Ya’ll do it for W, what am I, chopped liver?

Be Careful What You Ask For; and, More Careful About How You Deal With the Results

Back at the end of May, John McCain invited Barack Obama to visit Iraq with him, knowing that Obama wouldn’t accept the “invitation.” The McCain campaign then made much of the fact that McCain has been to Iraq a bunch of time over the course of the war and Obama had only been there once, in 2006. Since Obama had been there much, he obviously wasn’t interested in the facts and was thus unfit to be the commander in chief, or something like that.

So, this week Obama has been to Iraq, Afganistan, Berlin, Paris and is about to land in London, all the while being treated to adoring crowds, massive media coverage and obliging world leaders.

McCain spent the week visiting a German restaurant in German Village in Columbus, Ohio. As put by an article I read, and can’t now find “Obama visits countries. McCain visits restaurants.” I would add, “and whines about the disparate press coverage.” And, he went shopping with a nice GOP lady who complained about food prices.

I know campaigns ebb and flow; but, McCain did a really poor job this week, low-lighted by his attack on Obama for seeking election at the cost of “losing” the Iraq War.

If McCain keeps up his dismal efforts, Obama can do as he’s done for months, coast on platitudes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Have No Interest...

as to whether Bret Favre plays this year for the Packers, Minnesota, or an Atlanta flag football team.

He’s all the rage on ESPN and other sports channels these days. The august Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodall, has opined that the matter of his status should be resolved before training camp starts this weekend.

For those of you that don’t know the ins and outs of this matter, don’t worry, it isn’t important. Focus your attention on the fact that Senator McCain has accused Senator Obama of wanting to “lose a war rather than lose a political campaign.” Other than the fact that the statement is nonsensical, it appears that we are fully into the silly season of the campaign. Say and do anything and see if it sticks.

Come to think of it, it is kind of like following sports news.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Still Got It

Back in the early Eighties, I spent the weekend at my cousin’s house in Ocala, Florida. Saturday, he and his wife got a baby sitter for their then infant son and we “did the town.” Nice dinner somewhere, and then, on to the Ocala Holiday Inn for music.

Yes, I know, Holiday Inn, bad lounge singer. Not always.

I won’t tell you the name of the act just yet. They were set up in one of the ballrooms. We were seated about midway back. The lights went down in the room and up on the stage. And we heard the most amazing sounds, of the then unknown, Miami Sound Machine.

One of the best lounge acts I’ve ever seen. Why bring this up now? I watched the now Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine on TV in a concert at Caesar’s Palace.

She and they have still got it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Newspaper Crisis Hits Atlanta, Again

Last year the AJC cut its circulation area and cut a bunch of reporters, shifting many of what were left into its online offering. It abandoned national and international news to AP, saying it was going to focus on local news.

It just announced that its news staff will be further reduced to 350 (from last year’s 500).

That local angle? Now, it is cutting all of its area sections, which now appear a couple of times a week.

It is planning a revamped Sunday paper that will appear sometime early next year. Rumored to be gone is the opinion section called @Issue.

So, what is left? Copied national news. Copied international news. Reduced local news. No editorial section. (Rick, there is no threat to get rid of the funny papers.) Sudoko apparently will survive. The AJC still puts Parade Magazine in the Sunday package, thank God (heavy sarcasm).

I suppose I am as much to blame as anyone for this. I get the Sunday paper because it is part of my life. I don’t buy during the week because I read it online or get it in print to read at lunch (there's usually one laying around at the restaurant). Even there, I’m guilty lately. The newsstand price was just increased to seventy-five cents. I, for the most part, don’t buy it now because, I’ve read most of it online and don’t want to pay the extra quarter. If I want to read a newspaper at lunch, I’ve been buying USAToday – mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Readers like me, were the heart of newspapers in print. Readers like me, are leaving newspapers in print. And I’m pissed because, as we abandon them, they are abandoning us.

Stupid Lawyers and Their Clients: UPDATED

This post was longer, and arguably better, before the computer shut down because the battery died because I forgot to plug it in and the %#!&*(^ battery died and I only have Word 2000 on this computer which doesn't save as it goes like Word 2007 or 8 or whatever it is that I have at the office. Supply your own punctuation.

Anyway. Lawyers and their clients, sometimes should be shot. There's a guy in New York that bought a 12" sub from Subway last month. He bit into it - and nothing happened. But, he saw that in a part of the bread that he'd not got to, there was a 7" knife baked in. He says he saw the knife before "anything happened." But he did get a stomachache. He and his lawyer have filed, or are about to, file suit seeking a million bucks as damages.

As a lawyer, I offer my humble apology.

HAH! I found the original post deep in the bowels of Word. You get two for the price of one. Here's the original:

The First Thing We do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers

The full quote from Shakespeare is of course:

“CADE Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vowsreformation. There shall be in England sevenhalfpenny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hoopedpot; shall have ten hoops and I will make it felonyto drink small beer: all the realm shall be incommon; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go tograss: and when I am king, as king I will be,--

ALL God save your majesty!

CADE I thank you, good people: there shall be no money;all shall eat and drink on my score; and I willapparel them all in one livery, that they may agreelike brothers and worship me their lord.

DICK The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

CADE Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentablething, that of the skin of an innocent lamb shouldbe made parchment? that parchment, being scribbledo'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings:but I say, 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but sealonce to a thing, and I was never mine own mansince. How now! who's there?”

Of course if you want chaos, have no rules: but, sometimes it makes sense to kill the lawyers and the clients.

I caught a bit of Fox News earlier. They interviewed a “victim” and his lawyer. The victim went to a Subway last month in New York. He ordered a 12” sub. Baked into it was a seven inch knife. He didn’t bite down on the knife. He did get a stomachache. (There’s a vague allegation of the metal contaminating the bread that made its way into his stomach.) And he did get a lawyer. And they did sue Subway. (Said lawyer, according to a Google search, is running for the New York City council this year.)

Anyway, said victim and said lawyer are seeking $1,000,000.00 from Subway for the man’s stomachache. (My thought is that the resulting alleged stomachache is more the result of the need in most states for a physical injury to predicate a claim for pain and suffering than any actual physical injury. Again, I’m sorry for my profession.)

Said victim and said lawyer waxed on about it being a case about public food safety. Said victim opined that food safety in restaurants was important in New York because “people can’t eat at home three meals a day.”

I just finished a mediation. My proposed settlement of this important piece of litigation: the victim gets ten years of free subs at Blimpy or Jersey Mike’s, his choice (I’d take the latter). The lawyer gets the publicity she garners in the next couple of days, for better or worse, seeing that that’s what she is in it for in the first place.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Culling the Herd; or, How to Decide in a Primary Election

Georgia is conducting primary elections today. Campaigning has been very low key.

There are five candidates seeking to run as a Democrat, and almost certainly lose the November election to Republican Saxby Chambliss. One of them, Vernon Jones, the current chief executive of DeKalb County in Metro Atlanta, drew some negative press when he sent a mailing that showed himself and Barack Obama together. The problem? They hadn't been together - he photo-shopped two individual pictures to create the meeting. Senator Obama felt compelled to state publicly that he wasn't sure who Jones was and that he was not endorsing Jones. I'll sit this one out and see who survives.

Two Democrats are running to unseat Democrat Sheriff Thomas Brown in DeKalb County. Aldranon English, when asked why he's running said "I plan on competing with other law enforcement agencies outside of DeKalb County to bring in new business and residents back into our communities." Huh? Tony Scipio also wants the job: "I will provide and maintain proficient, effective and qualified Law Enforcement Services throughout the Jail Facility, Court Services, Criminal and Civil Process, while increasing the clarity and image of the Sheriff's Office and maintaining the quality of life for all citizens of DeKalb County." I guess he's the capital letter/osmosis candidate. The incumbent, Thomas Brown, actually made sense in his statements leaving me nothing to make fun of. I guess he's my guy.

The herd was a bit puny this year. I won't bore you with my culling in the other races. I used a similar process. Syntax or logic problems, you're outta here. Too many capital letters, adios. Use of the word transparency, good bye. Still too many candidates that I don't know enough about. I guess I'll leave some blanks on my electronic, chadless ballot.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Haven't Complained About Anything In A While

Back on May 1, I wrote this post:

“I just powered up the Dell laptop. I got a popup, not identified as from Dell, that told me that my battery may be ‘nearing the end of its useful life.’ It gave me the handy option to click a button and buy another battery. Now I'm wishing I'd clicked it and confirmed that Dell had planted a little ad in the software, rather than clicking ‘don't show me this [garbage] again.’ The computer is just over a year old. I’ve used the battery, rather than the power cable, maybe ten times.Just how stupid does Dell think I am?”

Well, Dell apparently knows that it put a lousy battery in the laptop and was just giving me a heads up on what was about to happen.

I flew to Dallas last week. The day I left, my latest Netflix movie arrived, Stardust (recommended). I loaded it into the laptop on the plane, plugged the earphones in, and enjoyed the movie – for about forty minutes – until the battery died.

I charged the battery up that night. Forty-five minutes of juice was the result.

This is my third laptop, its predecessors being a Dell and an IBM. The batteries in both lasted as long as I had the computers, about three and four years respectively.

Now, Dell is selling computers with a battery that lasts a little more than a year. Dell’s price for a replacement - $134 – is about 15% of what I paid for the laptop. My next laptop probably won’t be a Dell.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Unexplained Absence

I’m in Dallas and have been since Wednesday. I just finished my mediation mentioned in this space awhile back; and, wonder of all wonders, we settled our portion of the case at a reasonable, though not wonderful, number. It is said that a good settlement is one where both sides walk away unhappy. We did better than that.

So, the good news, I don’t have to stay through the weekend and take a deposition on Monday. The bad news, we didn’t finish early enough for me to make a getaway today; so, I’m ensconced in the Comfort Inn at Mockingbird and the Stemmons Freeway – feel free to drop by if you’re in the neighborhood – there’s nothing else to do.

The big choice is trying to find a good restaurant for tonight. There’s a Crowne Plaza next door as a fallback. I’m thinking Italian.

Regular programming will resume over the weekend or first of the week.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

If You Can Watch

this guy and not smile at least once, I'll send you a dollar:

Saturday, July 05, 2008

This Year, We Get Two Fourth Of Julys at Rather Than Working

Milena, a citizen of the United States of America, just wrote this. Yes, there's a link to the post, go there and put her on your list. If your lazy, read below. She seems to be what I was talking about in the positive part of my last post.

On becoming a citizen of the United States of America

Two days ago there were one thousand nine hundred and eleven of us at the ceremony. We represented 110 of the 195 established countries of this world. We were all ages, all stages of life between the young and the old, all conditions of living between the healthy and the infirm, all the mirrored disparity of the affluent and the poor.Our skins reflected the gamut of our racial spectrum. Our attire reflected the respect which we'd thought to bring to this day. We came in the company of our families, by the hands of our husbands, holding on to our wives, flanked by our children, supported by our close friends.

It was a day marked by an atmosphere of expectancy and of relief. It was grounded in the sensation of imminent completion, in the anticipation of an awaited final step in the road to naturalization.There were flags painted on the walls, anchored ceremonially in the stands that stood on the auditorium floor, there were representations in plastic and balsa of the most conspicuous symbol of Americanism, held in our waving hands. In lapels I saw small metallic likenesses of the bald eagle, a dollar bill, red and blue stars; someone sported an I am an American pin, God Save the USA even read the ink of one man's tattooed arm.

For the long hours of wait until the ceremony of oath-taking took place, a musical potpourri of John Philip Sousa marches and Louis Armstrong singing What a Wonderful World had been put together before the rousing impulse of Anchors Aweigh gave way to yet another repeat of the moving America the Beautiful. I have no idea what the cheesy theme song from the movie Dirty Dancing was doing in the play roster but what it lacked in patriotic credentials was more than compensated by the mental distraction of its sing-along charm.

Concession stands sold the most American of food fares: hot dogs, hamburgers, fries with ketchup, sodas and, because this is Texas, there were breakfast burritos; and because this is the US, the little girl said, "they don't taste as good as McDonalds mommy," and because I have yet to taste a McDonalds burrito, I could neither confirm nor deny the veracity of her discerning taste.

When the judge officiating this ritualistic induction into the privileges of US citizenship walked into the room, we all rose except for those too frail or too sick to stand. Amongst them, Lorenzo Medina, aged 95, who sat in a wheelchair while his granddaughter held a home-made sign with the words Congratulations! and Finally! stenciled in black for all to understand the longed for arrival of this day in her grandfather's life.An honor guard of four boy scouts, the youngest of which had a brother and a father becoming citizens in this particular ceremony, marched to the center of the floor from where they saluted the judge and then the sole INS lawyer who was there to represent our collective interests before finally turning to us, the audience of applicants. This courtesy they gave felt symbolic, fraught with the intangibleness of a moment that never banked on its power, nor the emotion it did not know it could engender. Many teared up at this small token of pomp. It felt cosmic in the way that cosmic happenings seem to have no reason because they just simply are.

Afterwards, we all sang the National Anthem. All together we pledged allegiance to the Flag. As one voice we renounced our previous nationalities and promised to protect, honor, defend and obey the Constitution of the United States. We swore we would bear arms for our adoptive country. We said it would be our privilege to do so and just like that, after all the swearing and pledging, it was suddenly done.Invisibly, we were now citizens who were readying to empty a large stadium, citizens who were receiving an official document to confirm the validity of our changed state.

Citizens who climbed into their cars to go home to the routine of those same days we lived in before we were made - citizens. Citizens because the judge said so and because his word is the law.In my car seat, I sat staring at my shiny certificate. It told me nothing new, I felt nearly the same even as I understood that this proof of my citizenship proved something to others, rather than to me. That's because, for many a year, I have been a non-official citizen of this country as much as I will always be an official citizen of the Panama that saw me born.

I do not need a paper to remind me of those truths the way I do not need a sworn oath to make me be faithful to the honorable freedoms and ideals I uphold because, I believe in them so. And yet, like Mr. Medina, I mentally tacked on a finally to this moment. After 23 years of living here as the daughter of a diplomat, as an international worker and a married resident, I am now finally, a citizen in my own right rather than a sanctioned dweller. There is a resolution of sorts within that journey if only because it marks the official end of my being considered a foreigner in this land I call my home.

I celebrate that important shift in perception on this Fourth of July day. I hope it was a good one for you also. A safe Independence Day to all of you, no matter in what country you may be.


(The paragraphs are mine as Blogger sucks at copy and paste.)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A More Serious Reflection on the Statute of Liberty

You’ve heard a bit of this poem by Emma Lazarus that is inscribed on the base of the statue:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Her lamp is lifted and lit. Her welcome, not so much as they say.
We no longer welcome the world. We are afraid. Socially, economically, defensively. Probably with cause; but, remember when we took in all comers? They brought with them a burning desire to be what they could be.

I just realized this is a Fourth of July post. To start at the end, here’s something that fictional President Thomas Whitmore said:
“Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”

Perhaps, we should focus on the boldface in the quote. The aliens aren’t coming to get us just yet. But we, with our fears of each other, will be the end of us.

Damn Mexicans, welfare mothers, greedy corporations, crazy Muslims.

From a real live document:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

We were given a good start. A system of government that, to this day, mostly works. Abundant resources. DNA and culture contributed by a myriad of peoples, constantly replenished. We’ve done well, in many ways with what we’ve inherited. More and more though, we are squandering what we have been given.

“That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

So, in 2008, on Independence Day, is there cause to follow the counsel of the Declaration?

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

None of our candidates for election this fall, local, state or federal, will save us from ourselves. We are the authors of our fates, we don't have to overthrow the government to follow the counsel of our first national document.

To steal a quote from a wise blogger:

"’We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.’ ~Martin Luther King, Jr.” (From Living Next Door to Alice.)

I know that is all touchy-feely; it’s almost as bad a Rodney King’s “why can’t we all just get along?”

But, MLK and Rodney, had a point. Until we learn the lesson preached in “President Whitmore’s” speech, and written in our own Declaration of Independence, we will not fulfill the promise allowed by what we were given.

So, on this Independence Day, think about what the Declaration means and promises. Rather than fighting with each other, would it be so hard to figure out what we need, and other people need, and work a deal? Maybe easier to say and do here in the good old USA - and we aren’t doing such a good job of it; and, there’s little hope in the near future of this approach working worldwide.
That said, wasn’t the speech in the movie cool and inspiring? And we kicked alien ass!

I Didn't Know That the Statute of Liberty Has a ...

Pony tail.

I'm in the midst of watching a Ken Burns documentary on one of the local PBS stations on the history of the said statue. One of the opening images was of the lady's head, looking over her left shoulder. There it was, something I've not seen before. Her hair flies out from "behind" the statue.

You always see her from the front, mostly looking up from the ground, or from a distance, full figure, from a distance. All, never show her backside, so to speak.

So I've gone on a search on the internet. The picture above is the closest to what I saw on TV.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Not Well Done

I stopped at a chain upscale burger place, Five Guys, for lunch today. It reminded me of why I don't go to these places.

"Hey guy, welcome to Five Guys, how you doing?"

"Good, thanks."

"Ah, that's a beautiful thing."

I heard that constantly for the next twenty minutes.

"All of our food is cooked well done" read the signs plastered everywhere.

That, I found out, included the french fries and the hot dog, which they had split in half (sacrilege) and grilled way too long.

I first ran into this well done obsession ten or so years ago on a trip to South Carolina. I'd checked into the hotel late and the only thing open to get something to eat was the bar. I ordered a burger, medium, and was told that South Carolina had passed a law that required restaurants took cook hamburger at least medium well. The Five Guys, Fatburgers, In-N-Out Burgers of the world now protect themselves from liability (damn lawyers) by serving hockey pucks.

I can get a well done Wendy's burger for a buck and make it edible by slathering on mayo, mustard and ketchup. Why pay Five Guys four bucks for the same thing (not considering size difference)? And be annoyed by the constant patter while I'm eating.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Give Me Your Vote and I'll Give You...

Senator Obama, in his continuing quest to capture conservative and moderate votes, announced "his proposal to get religious charities more involved in government programs ….[giving] $500 million per year to provide summer learning for 1 million poor children to help close achievement gaps for students. He proposes elevating the program to the 'moral center' of his administration, calling it the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. ", July 1, 2008.

I suppose this is no different than his move from being a pro-NAFTA free trade advocate to advocating publicly (versus privately in communication with Canadians) to renegotiate the treaty to woo union votes; or, his switch from opposing the Bush Administration's revision of the FISA law to immunize phone companies to appeal to more conservatives and moderates with a national security bent; or, his conveniently forgetting that he used to think that the DC gun ban law was constitutional to draw in some of the NRA crowd (or more likely, to mute its opposition).

Senator Obama is not America's political savior. He is not going to, and has no intention of, transforming American government. He is a left-of-center politician that would govern very much like a guy that he doesn't get along with too well: Bill Clinton.