Saturday, January 30, 2010

Who Dat? Whoops, I'm in trouble with the NFL.

Google "who dat NFL" for the backstory.

The NFL has decided that tee shirt vendors can't put the phrase on their wares and has sent cease and desist letters to a bunch of them. Something about the phrase having become associated with the New Orleans Saints and thus the NFL has full marketing rights to it.

I've been a lawyer too long. My considered non-legal opinion: garbage.

Blood and Gore and Baby Wipes

1:33 a.m. Friday morning. I woke up with a start. Some sort of reflux, I bolted out of the bed looking at the clock.

A bit of a stumble coming out of bed and the left side of my forehead hit the edge of the bedroom door. On the plus side, I forgot about the reflux as I collapsed on the floor.

I put my hand to my head and it came back wet, very wet. I staggered into the bathroom and turned on the light.

The blood part of the title was evident. I grabbed a towel and wiped, spreading the blood, which kept flowing from my skin.

I soaked the towel and pressed it to the wound (which given the blood, I couldn’t see) and sat on the floor. I turned on the radio and listened to something for ten minutes or so.

Pulling the towel away, the blood started flowing again. Session two of compression, which worked.

I’m not big on first aid supplies. I rolled up a couple of paper towels, cut some strips of electrical tape and bound my wound.

It started seeping. Take two on the first aid. This time it worked.

At this point, fully awake, I looked around. Slasher movie in the bathroom and a trail of blood on the carpet through the bedroom. That would wait till the morning.

I gingerly got onto the bed, my head started pounding (it may have been doing so, but I hadn’t noticed). I thought through my options. I sleep on my side, usually my left. That wasn’t going to happen as the cut was on my left forehead. I tried my right side and listened to my head pounding and my right shoulder and neck aiking.

I tried flat on my back, which made the neck and shoulder worse. I built a ski slope with pillows trying to get rid of the angle between my torso and my neck and head.

I got up and sat on the couch for a while listening to and feeling my upper body pound.

Next try at the bed, I could alternate between flat on my back and on my right side, doze off, and repeat – 20 or 30 times over the rest of the night.

When the light started coming through the window I assessed matters. Interestingly, while my head was still pounding, I started figuring out how I was going to clean up the blood that I remembered depositing on the carpet and most surfaces in the bathroom.

Putting that off, I drank some orange juice and walked into the bathroom. I should have taken a picture. A roll of paper towels was strapped to my head with 4 strips of electrical tape.

I soaked the paper toweling with water and slowly pulled it away. Just a bit of oozing blood from my maybe inch and a half kind of reverse “s” wound.

Three aspirin and a fresh round of toweling and tape and back to bed.

A couple of hours later, during which I actually slept, I got up and pulled the “dressing” off. A bit of gore so I swabbed it again and then tried to figure out if I should go to a doc in the box.

It was clear that there was going to be a scar. As I don’t get by on my looks, I decided that self-treatment was in order. After some Internet time I bought some ointment, butterfly strips and something to cover it that says it will allow the wound to breath while it heals.

More aspirin.

The current plus side: a baseball cap hides the scene of the crime unless you are shorter than I am.

My current medical treatment includes alcohol taken orally.

Oh, the blood on the carpet. The Internet says use baby wipes. The Internet is right, though it takes forever.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bin Laden Goes Green

It must get a little boring sitting up in the mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border between meetings to plan the destruction of the Western world.

“Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, blamed the United States and developed countries for not halting climate change and said that the global economy should immediately abandon its reliance on the American dollar, according to an audiotape released Friday by the broadcaster Al Jazeera.

“’Talk about climate change is not an ideological luxury but a reality,’ Mr. bin Laden was quoted as saying in a report on Al Jazeera’s English-language Web site. ‘All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis.'" (not The Onion)

Monetary policy and global warming. Ben Bernanke and Al Gore must be nervously looking over their shoulders. There’s a new pundit in town.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Partial Organic Failure, But, I Don't Mind

Other than lunch, I’ve been cooking a lot over the past couple of years. I used to eat out most nights and just got tired of “fresh garden salads,” fast food and chain food.

A couple of months ago, I started trying some of the local “farmers” markets around Atlanta. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered the mother lode: Your DeKalb Farmers Market.

For those of you that are local, don’t wait, run, don’t walk. It’s huge. The produce section is probably 15,000 square feet. It has everything you’ve ever heard of and stuff that, even reading the sign, I have no clue. Much of what’s there is organic.

There are two bakery sections. One for bread, bagels, cookies and pastries. All of it is organic. The other section has more fancy baked goods. All of it is baked there, every day.

The seafood and meat sections, each, are maybe 3,000 square feet and again, most of what is there is organic.

Spices. You name it, they have it.

Prices. Starting with the last subject, a tub of white peppercorns more than twice the size of a McCormick’s jar was $1.45. The little label said it had been packed the day I bought it. Tomatoes, 39 cents a pound. Cucumbers, 39 cents each. Whole bean Sumatran coffee, $7.00 a pound, about half of what the neighborhood coffee shop charges.

Enough of all that.

Last night I decided to have an organic dinner. Fried chicken thighs, baked French fries, tomato and cucumber, all organic. A hint, don’t buy organic frozen French fries. Six minutes on each side, after the first side, results in burnt sticks. The rest of the organic meal was wonderful.

A Big Something From Nothing

I read about the iPad announcement yesterday and noted that AT&T will have a two-tiered 3G plan for the device. $15.00 a month for 250 megabytes and $30.00 for unlimited data.

With news stories over the past year or so about consumption based pricing for Internet service, I’ve several times wondered just what kind of bandwidth (if that’s the right word) that I use.

So what do you get from a megabyte?


“An hour of browsing the Web on a mobile phone consumes roughly 40 megabytes of data. Streaming tunes on an Internet radio station like Pandora draws down 60 megabytes each hour. Watching a grainy YouTube video for the same period of time causes the data consumption to nearly triple. And watching a live concert or a sports event will consume close to 300 megabytes an hour.”

A Netflix streaming movie would blow through the 250 megs in AT&T’s cheap plan in one sitting. I’m usually surfing four or five windows at a time while I’m watching a movie, let’s call that another 160 megs. I’m often “consuming” close to a half a gigabyte of internet an hour during the evening. And I don’t know that I’m particularly unusual.

Looking back at how I got to this point, it seems that the media companies, Comcasts, AT&Ts and Verisons of the cyber-world can be equated to drug dealers.

Five years ago, like now, I had DSL at work, a cell phone and home cable; but, a lot of what I did at work back then was off line. Now almost everything I do at work is on line. My cell phone back then actually could surf the Internet, but I didn’t surf – the screen was tiny, the speed was glacial and the on line world didn’t render well given those limitations. Cable Internet was there; but, the content available was minimal. There was no streaming Netflix. Pandora hadn’t come into its own. No Huffington Post. YouTube sprang to life. NYTimes was charging for “premium content.” And so on. Now they and many other content sources are there 24/7.

I, and millions like me, took the candy and became addicted.

Now both the pipeline and content providers, having a growing, hooked audience are upping the price of our drugs. Want the Wall Street Journal, and soon Fox and the NYTimes? That will a few bucks each a month. Oh, and now that you’re streaming all that stuff, the ISPs have their hands out for all that bandwidth you’re using, AT&T is just an early adopter.

I’m not saying they are bad people. I am saying they are good marketers. From nothing, they’ve created a multi-billion dollar stream that we are going to pay more to play in.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You probably don't recognize me; but, Dave's a friend of mine. He'd probably say I'm his property. I asked him to take a picture of me, he did, which is good because I don't have any hands or fingers.

I"m writing to you in desperate need.  You see, day before yesterday, I was hanging out on the counter in Dave's kitchen with my little brother.  The usual was happening, the sun was rising and we heard Dave getting up.  He came into the kitchen and made some coffee.  Time passed, we heard a knock at the door and then this female voice. Dave left and the girl stayed.  She was banging and wiping and throwing things away. Little Bro' was a little scared - I told him not to worry, I'd handle any problems. After a while, she came over to where we were on the counter.  I've got to admit, she's a looker.  She picked both of us up and started rubbing on us.  Wow.  I've never felt that good.  Little Bro', he was moaning.

I've got to confess, I passed out.  When I woke up, everything was quiet.  I yelled, "Bro, what's up?  You OK?"  No answer.  It was dark.  A while later Dave came home, I heard him banging around, the TV came on.  Time passed and he came into the kitchen. The frig opened. More banging around, drawers opening and closing.  "Ah, where'd she put them?"  Suddenly there was light and Dave picked me up. It was dark because I was in a drawer, Dave never puts me in a drawer, then too, he seldom rubs me, and never like she did.  As always, I was there to help him cut up some food, last night some nice roast pork.  He banged some more.  He doesn't call Little Bro', Little Bro', hell he doesn't know my name.  "Where the hell is the paring knife?"  More opening and closing drawers.  No results.

Over the rest of the night, I yelled a few times myself.  Nothing.  I'm thinking Little Bro', not as experienced as I am in the ways of the world, and having been handled as I was (I'm almost moaning myself thinking of it), he might just have hopped to somewhere around here and he"s afraid to come out.  Dave looked in all the drawers and couldn't find him.

You probably can't tell from the picture; but, the business end of me is about 8" long.  Little Bro', his shiny stuff is about half of mine.  If any of you see that pretty girl, tell her I miss the kid. He might just come out of hiding if he thought he had a shot at another go-around.  Oh, and if she's of a mind to rub some steel, I'm here, ready and waiting.

(Little Brother was found in a corner of the dishwasher, no worse for his experience, as far as I could tell. He's back with his larger kin, both sitting on the counter, next to the cutting board where they've always resided. If I hear any reports as to negative effects from their experience, I'll let you know. Dave.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Are you? I’m getting there.

Virtually everything I read at home is on a computer. There aren’t any newspapers or magazines piling up around the couch.

Every bill that I can pay online, I do. But, I do print out the confirmation of payment even though I get confirming Emails and they are backed up on an external hard drive.

I bank online except for depositing checks (and I’ll soon be able to scan them and send them to the bank over the Internet). I still, irrationally, won’t put checks in an ATM; but, that will change soon as I understand some banks are scanning the checks in the ATM and spitting out a picture, front and back, on the receipt.

At work, almost everything is paperless. Other than court related correspondence and filings (and soon most, rather than some, courts will allow or require electronic filing) I get and send hardly any letters by mail and very little stuff by facsimile. “Letters” are now scanned and attached to an Email (lawyers are a little conservative – the “letter” has the street address and looks just as it would were we to print it out, put it in an envelope and mail it, some still actually mail and Email it – me – only if I don’t trust the other lawyer - and then it's usually by UPS or Fedex because I have to prove receipt).

I'm slowly training clients that I don't want inches/feet/boxes of paper and getting them to scan the documents and Email them to me (there are a number of secretaries/assistants that are less than pleased with me on occasion).

The major paper holdover: I can’t (don’t) read statutes and legal opinions on the computer screen, other than an initial skimming. If I have to think about it and use it, I need (want) it on a piece of paper in my hands, or strewn across the desktop. I’ve tried to write a brief using the cases and statutes in the form of files in the computer: but, I find that I lose my train of thought clicking through tabs to find the file and scroll through it to find the part I want. Maybe someday.

Given my evolution, there’s still a lot of paper piled up in the office, though I don’t add much to it. Maybe one of these years I’ll clean it up.

I don't want to admit it; but, I might be a candidate for a Kindle or tablet one of these days.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Short Movie Review

Songcatcher, 1999. No one that's famous, that I know of, is in it, other than Aiden Quinn.

A professor of "musicology" goes to Appalachia to visit her sister in the early 20th century and discovers mountain music, transported Scots Irish music from a hundred or so years before. She bonds with the local people and their ways.

Great music. Nice story. Quite worth a Netflix rental.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't feed stray animals

I'll let you draw your own conclusions:

Moral Authority

Secretary of State Clinton spoke out recently on the attacks against Google and other companies that originated in China. She wants the Chinese government to "explain."

"Clinton said 'the ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy….""

Oh come on. The United States and other governments, I'm sure including China, have been spying on the Internet for years. Indeed, the "back door" used by the Chinese hackers exists because the U.S. made Google put it there so the U.S. could monitor Google users:

Goose, gander. Pot, kettle.

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's that time of year again.

I got my annual notice from the State Bar of Georgia reporting my Continuing Legal Education (CLE) status.

I'm ahead of the game, I only have to get 6.5 hours by the end of March to finish CLE - for last year. Then I have to get another 12 for this year; but, I'll worry about that next January.

I just spent some time on the CLE website. There's a problem when you've been doing this as long as I have. You run out of things to be educated about. I've taken pretty much every class there is that has anything to do with my practice. Every few years, I retake a class to see if there's anything new that I don't know about. (I am not willing to learn about criminal or divorce or bankruptcy (the debtor mostly stiffs the creditors) law.)

Remaining a lawyer is also getting more expensive. Bar dues are something like $400. The cost per hour of CLE seems to be going up. I just looked at one seminar that cost $175 for three hours of credit.

I wonder if I can apply for credit for the time I spend doing posts about law.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Very Little Law; but, A Whole Lot of My Politics

The Supreme Court ruled today that corporations can directly pay for political ads. There's a lot more to the decision and the issue. From what I can see, now rather than creating "front' PACs, companies can skip a step and try to directly buy elections.

The Constitution aside, the state of laws dealing with corporations before this morning and going forward isn't in good shape.

Corporations are "persons" under the law. If you want to know more about that try Google (or Baidu in the PRC). Their personhood is a "legal fiction" that allows law to apply all the normal rules applicable to people - they can be sued for breach of contract, negligence, violation of statutes and so on. If they fail, and they've dotted their "i's" and crossed their "t's" you are stuck with the fake "person's" assets, you can't reach beyond and get to the owners' assets, which encourages investment. So far, so good.

The mistake we made was giving them personhood for other purposes, like having any part in politics, taxation or charity. Corporations have no "business" being involved in anything but operation of the business, for the benefit of their owners. Their owners, real people, support and oppose political candidates, pay taxes and give to charities. Once you place a layer over peoples' actions you lose transparency, be it political, financial or charitable. You can't tell who did what.

I've railed about it before; but, corporations shouldn't pay taxes - that they do so only masks what you and I pay (theirs are passed along to us in the price). They shouldn't give to charities as it's quite probable that all of their owners don't agree on the recipients and us folks who pay the price for their goods and services (inflated to pay for their charity) are guaranteed to not all agree on the recipients. Quit with the taxes and charity, lower the price and let us decide.

Then there's the political involvement. When Goldman Sachs, Microsoft or another corporation spends money to influence political decisions, it dilutes your and my ability to do so. They've got more zeros after integers in their bank accounts than we do and carry more weight with our esteemed politicians than do we. Adding insult to that injury, again, we are paying for their lobbying and politicking.

For a somewhat biased view of the legal aspects of today's opinion:

Aren't you glad that I haven't posted since Sunday?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How does Kroger calculate?

I just got home from Kroger as I didn't want anything I have at home to eat.

Smoked sausage, sauerkraut and frozen macaroni and cheese. The Kroger card gave me 15% off the marked prices. Nothing off the macaroni, ten cents off the sauerkraut and a buck something off of the sausage that was only $2.50 to start with. Sometimes I get a percent or two, sometimes seven or eight percent. Now and again, I hit the jackpot like tonight.

The discount doesn't seem to have any logic (other than when an item is marked on the shelf with two prices, the lower one given with the Plus card). Overall, Kroger is cheaper than Publix with the irrational discounts so I keep going. (I could also shop at Whole Foods, IGA and Winn Dixie - WF would be crazy expensive, IGA has no selection and Winn Dixie is too far away).

I just wish I could figure it out. Maybe they have a random number generator that gives an average "x"% off over time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Just send your cash"

First time I've agreed with the last President in a long time. I will.

White Meat?

The Thursday night, once or so a month dinner group ate at the Horseradish Grill night before last.

The moon, stars and perhaps a black hole were aligned. I wanted to quote Jesus Christ Superstar, but was too lazy to go find the actual quote.

There was a disconnect between our orders and the server and the kitchen. I'll not bore you with it, beyond saying that two attempts at the signature dish failed with a few other basic matters. If you live hereabouts, I don't recommend the place.

The signature dish was fried chicken.

As conversations elliptically go, once the first attempt had failed, Bill the Engineer said that wings were white meat. His factual basis being that if you order white meat chicken at a fast food restaurant, you often get a wing with a breast.

Two of us said he was full of it. Wings are dark meat. With four smartphones at the table, I was first to check his foolishness. According to, wings are white meat, He's right according to the Internet.

I'm saying the Internet is wrong. White meat poultry is the breast. Legs, thighs and wings are dark meat, the result of more muscle movement. Right?

Comments are welcome.

Importuning the Enemy

We think of the First Amendment as the main protection of free speech, assembly and religion.

Then there is the other side. The need for privacy to be able to speak, assemble and practice our religions, without harm.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for the proponents of Proposition 8 in California that somehow got the Supreme Court to bar simulcast of the proceedings in the current trial in a handful of courtrooms, based on their "fear" of harm if their faces were known in addition to their names (they are volunteer witnesses and have been all over the news).

Then there are the more than a hundred thousand people in Washington State that signed a petition opposing same sex marriage that are now opposing a Freedom of Information request for their names. The Supreme Court issued a stay against the release of their names. Again, not much sympathy here.

But. If the fears of retribution are real, do we do an injustice to free speech by exposing them to those that would expose them?

I’ll leave the law stuff to the Court; but, it's kind of funny for the anti-government, states rights crowd to petition the heathen courts to protect them as they've for years argued that the godless courts should stay out of matters that they say are reserved to the states' legislatures and citizen votes - majority rule and all that, unless the majority is opposed to their view I guess.

Curmudgeon, I know this wasn't lawyerly, I'm less and less so as time goes on.

Friday, January 15, 2010

And on Friday, disappointment ensued

Those are my golf clubs in the lower left corner of the picture. The brown stuff is dormant grass (and mud) on the driving range. To the left, out of the picture, is the golf course. The golf course which is still frozen.

It was about fifty degrees when the picture was taken, just after I was told they wouldn't be opening the course today. It's now fifty-three. The high may reach sixty.

As a consolation prize, I hit a small bucket of balls. I only shanked two shots (I'm not counting the duck hook - I'm rationalizing that had I hit it on the course, it would have been on the 14th hole that has a large bailout area to the left).

For good luck, I made a tee time for a week from tomorrow at noon. I know God's busy and all; but, come on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

God and Us

Pat Robertson made the news this week by saying the earthquake in Haiti was the result of Haiti's "pact with the Devil" to get rid of the French a couple of centuries ago.

Sarah Palin and Glen Beck opined earlier this week on his show that God played an "essential" role in the founding of the U.S.

Palin is supposed to have said that her selection as the GOP VP nominee in 2008 was God's plan. During the campaign she described the Iraq War as God's "task."

Various terrorists claim legitimacy by claiming to do God's will.

Legislatures, parliaments and the like do all manner of harm after praying to do God's will.

Football and baseball players seek God's blessing for hoped victory (oh, and don't let anyone get hurt) and thank Him for touchdowns and home runs.

Georgia's Governor famously prayed for rain at the height of our drought a couple of years ago. His prayers were answered last fall.

God bless you. God damn you.

God's will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven. We're making a mess of that one and have been for millennia.

Jerry Landers: How can you permit all the suffering that goes on the world?

God: Ah, how can I permit the suffering?

Jerry Landers: Yes!

God: I don't permit the suffering. You do. Free will. All the choices are yours.

Jerry Landers: Choices? What choices?

God: You can love each other, cherish and nurture each other or you can kill each other. Incidentally, "kill" is the word. It's not "waste."

George Burns and John Denver in Oh, God! 1977.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Whither Google

Google has announced that it, kinda, maybe, won't censor its results in China. It hopes to work a deal with the PRC to operate legally there and not censor.

It seems to be trying to stake out a negotiating position. To do that you have to have something the other side wants. I don't think Google has that in China. China can live quite nicely, in its view, without Google.

If Google wants to "do no evil" it should withdraw from China and promote what I understand are a number of ways for Chinese internet users to get around Chinese firewalls to reach the real Google. Ads are ads whether you get to them on or

An aside, did you know that if you go to, you actually go there? I didn't. Same spare page, with Chinese characters. Oh, and in the lower right of the page there's a link for Clicking it sent me to my iGoogle homepage. I wonder if clicking it gets you to the real Google if you are in the PRC.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Anyone want to play golf Thursday at about 2:00 p.m.?

The high is going to be 58, not that I believe it totally. Think we'll need a tee time? If you are looking for me, try the cell phone, I may be playing hooky.

I think I need to swing the weighted club leaning against the wall over there. It is too cold to go outside and get the putter and a couple of balls. The carpet is lumpy anyway.

This could just happen. Bogey golf would be just fine. Even worse, no that's not true.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another occasion that lets me get on my soapbox

Warning, if legal stuff puts you to sleep, come back later.

A trial began today in a U.S. District Court in California. The Judge is hearing evidence with the purpose of deciding whether the U.S Constitution bars enforcement of California's Proposition 8 law barring same sex marriage.

43 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court looked at marriage and race:

"This case presents a constitutional question never addressed by this Court: whether a statutory scheme adopted by the State of Virginia to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. For reasons which seem to us to reflect the central meaning of those constitutional commands, we conclude that these statutes cannot stand consistently with the Fourteenth Amendment.

In June, 1958, two residents of Virginia, Mildred Jeter, a Negro woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were married in the District of Columbia pursuant to its laws. Shortly after their marriage, the Lovings returned to Virginia and established their marital abode in Caroline County. At the October Term, 1958, of the Circuit Court [p3] of Caroline County, a grand jury issued an indictment charging the Lovings with violating Virginia's ban on interracial marriages. On January 6, 199, the Lovings pleaded guilty to the charge, and were sentenced to one year in jail; however, the trial judge suspended the sentence for a period of 25 years on the condition that the Lovings leave the State and not return to Virginia together for 25 years. He stated in an opinion that:

'Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.'"

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967).

Since then, a number of courts have refused to use Loving as precedent for same sex marriage cases. It all comes down to whether sexual orientation and race have the same constitutional protections and why marriage is a fundamental right. There's room for both sides in the Loving Court's opinion:

"There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy. We have consistently denied the constitutionality of measures which restrict the rights of citizens on account of race. There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.


"These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

"Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State." (Footnotes omitted.)

So which citation does the Judge in California pick?. Are race and sex on equal footing under the Constitution? Not so far; and, given the make up of the Supreme Court, I don't see them extending the Loving Court's equal protection analysis. I don't see a District Court doing that on his own. But, he could cherry pick their due process cases to find that marriage, be it heterosexual or gay, is a "vital personal right…essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," not tied to its connection to procreation, "fundamental to our very existence and survival" so as to conclude that "the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of [either sex] resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State."

I've seen a lot worse reasoning by courts.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Fortress of Solitude

The picture shows the exterior of the fortress, my office. Getting here this morning was a bit like Superman's journey to the original fortress, cold and lonely.

We had .6" (note the decimal point) of snow last night. That is about half of the annual average snowfall in these parts.

Atlanta doesn't do snow. We panic. We buy up bread and milk. Schools announce they will be closed. Employees tend to report that they are iced in.

There are legitimate ice ins. I just got an Email from Bill the Engineer. He lives in a condo complex that is quite hilly and is literally ice bound.

But most absences are less legit. There is no one here in the fortress of solitude except me. I even succumbed to "Ice Jam '10" (yes they name our snow "storms") by not leaving home till about nine.

It is cold - the wind chill this morning was about zero. And, it's supposed to stay that way till Monday or Tuesday.

Yet another weekend of no golf.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Google Goggles

I was bored a day or so ago and downloaded Google Goggles from the Android Market (the newer and poor cousin of Apple's App Store) for my phone.

The program - I don't like the word "app" or application, both of which have replaced program; but, I suppose that's another post - is pre-Beta, what Google puts in its "Labs":

Most of its stuff starts out there.

"Google Goggles lets you search Google using pictures from your camera phones. We take an image as input, and using several image recognition backends (object recognition, OCR, face matching, etc), we return relevant search results."

Maybe someday.

I've taken a picture of a wood chair, it gave me ten or so images, including a pool table. I took a picture of a glass that had the logo "KENO" on it and again got ten or so totally unrelated results.

I took a picture of my monitor with no results. I decided to give it some help and did a close up of the bottom band of the monitor which spells out "DELL." The results were varied. The first time it gave me links related to Iphones; the second time with a little less of the screen in the picture, it gave me eBay results for "egadget" whatever that is.

Next, I tried a painting of the clubhouse at Augusta National Golf Club. Google isn't a golfer. My results were mostly pictures of beaches with a picture of a Wrangler jeans logo tattoo thrown in for humor I suppose.

I'd say they've got a bit more development ahead of them.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Some Posts That Didn't Pan Out

I'm dry when it comes to getting interested enough in anything to write about it. Even if something interests me, I find I don't have much to say other than to regurgitate what I've read - you can read for yourself. Then there are the ideas that require too much work or just don't have any substance. Some of the latter:

All cable channels are the same. More specifically, there's no difference in programming on History, Discovery, Bravo, TLC or their cousins. I don't want to watch poker, see what happens in a pawn shop, on a boat (or in a truck) in cold weather or learn how something's made (be it a widget on the Science Channel or potato chips on the Food Network).

National security after recent news events: It's obvious changes are needed; but, I'll be damned if I know what they are. I hope some of the people in charge do.

Our arctic weather, especially down here in the South. The lead for a post: Shovel ready recovery project - build a tall wall to keep the cold air up there where it belongs.

Just who is Tila Tequila? What is her connection to Casey Johnson? Just what kind of person follows (is that the right word?) her tweets about her grief? The questions grow: beyond being an heiress, was Casey Johnson anyone beyond being one of the current crop of Spears/Lohan clones?

Is it the Dems or the GOP that's on the ropes? Today every news site says the Dems are in big trouble this fall with two or three Senators retiring. A month or so ago wasn't there a burst of reporting that the GOP was about to implode because its far right had too much influence?

We have a lot of unspent bailout money. You think Cheney would shut up for a low eight figure bribe?

How come Emeril Lagasse was on Iron Chef America on Sunday, billed as a "super chef?" I thought they put him out to pasture a couple of years ago.

I didn't know that senility (stupidity?) could come on as quickly as it appears to have with Brit Hume.

I hope regular programming will resume soon.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Tiger Woods is dumber than I thought he was

Until a month or so ago, I didn't think he was dumb at all. Then I watched him throw away a family and maybe a career.

I just read that he is on the cover of February's Vanity Fair, pecs ablazing:

The photos and story were done before the controversy. Without the recent problems, I'm thinking that AT&T, Buick, Accenture, Gatorade, etc. wouldn't have been too thrilled to see him all buff and with a skull cap on the cover. Not quite targeted to their demographic.

I guess he's got plenty of money left even after a divorce; but, I can't help but wonder what the hell he's been thinking.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

364 Days

If you are new here, skip this post or do a search on the blog for "Tony."

Tony would be happy that I'm not so slavish that I had to do a post on the exact anniversary of his death. Instead, I'm beating it by a day.

I quit writing about his passing a long time ago; but, I and our friends didn't quit thinking. The thinking is sporadic these days. A subject comes up and the conversation drifts to something he said or did. Someone says "Bastard" and we move on.

Tony, the other Tony, left a comment on one of my early, angry, posts:

"Tony kinda' represented the anchor of the group…they seem to have been part of a large machine, each not quite able to be complete without the parts of the other."

He's right, it isn't the same. We've moved on, adrift without the anchor. In fact, "we" aren't without him. That isn't all bad. I've had to extend myself, reach out to others. And work a bit to maintain part of what was.

Calm center, everyone needs one.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I hate this stuff

For someone who makes his living negotiating, litigating and solving problems, I am remarkably averse to personal conflict. I'm the kind of person that doesn't argue. I don't yell. I procrastinate and avoid.

I was driving home this afternoon and the "Malfunction Indicator Light" came on. A bit of Googling has determined that it is the Hyundai equivalent of the check engine light. Further Googling indicates that it can mean almost anything.

So here's the thing. I immediately run through all the things that will result in grief. Out of bumper to bumper warranty? No - a few thousand miles to go. Thus the power train warranty is still good too. Did I miss any scheduled maintenance? Nope. Oil changes as scheduled and the 60K mile major stuff is, again, a few thousand miles down the road.

There is the "recommended" changing of some fluid or other by the Dealer that wasn't in the maintenance manual that the Dealer said I should do, that I declined and the service writer notated on the sheet they fill out. I was going to make an issue of it but didn't. Is it about to come back to bite me?

Anything else that can be wrong? I don't know, but I'll gnaw at it till Monday morning when I take it to the dealer.

Friday, January 01, 2010

For wont of something profound to say on the first day of the year...

I'll give you a link to a story about an increase in price of the cheapest Russian vodka:

The government there wants to cut down on drinking, apparently only in the lower economic classes. There's now a minimum price, which I assume won't have any impact on people with money.

Happy New Year to all our Russian friends with enough money to celebrate.