Watch Me Take The Bar
Watch Me Take The Bar
This blog, originally started as a chronicle of my taking the bar, is now a look into the mind of an attorney in solo practice in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Monday, October 31, 2005

Not One Damn Dime

I have always had fun with people from my alma mater, American University, calling me and asking for money.

I very politely explain to them that I know they're students doing work-study and so I want them to know I have not a thing against them, but there's not a chance in the world I'm giving money to them. My excuse has always been because, when a student started a website about the man who was our President,, it shouldn't have created a reason for that student to be attacked by AU police officers.

Yeah, that was pretty bad.

Worse is that, after Ladner has been unceremoniously ousted for bsically stealing all sorts of cash from AU, with the Feds and the Senate hot on his trail, AU just gave him a severance package of $3.75 million.

What a great lesson! Tuition's going up, kids!

I'm sorry, but that's a clear case of a Board of Trustees not getting it. Or trying to cover their tracks.


At the request of a fellow blogger who wants me to update...

AND who will be saying something about Alito, so she says, at any moment...

I pass on this information from a friend of mine who is a flaming liberal in all aspects other than being against legalized abortion. As she says, "this is scary for other reasons." From CNN:

"In 1991, in one of his more well-known decisions, Alito was the only
dissenting voice in a 3rd Circuit ruling striking down a Pennsylvania law
that required women to notify their husbands if they planned to get an
abortion. The Supreme Court upheld the decision, Planned Parenthood v.

This was overturned by SCALIA, for cryin' out loud. As my friend says, "So he wants women to ask men if they can do something legal? ouch."

OK, so, Alito needs to go.

PS: I have two posts in the "draft" pipeline I'm working on.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Ticktock: How It All Went Down

By way of helping you outta-towners get the geography here, you need to understand that Bassetts have been living in Oak Harbor since 1898, when Nahmy Bassett opened his grocery store. In 1996, we sold our Oak Harbor grocery store and my immediate family (my mom, dad, two brothers and I) moved about half an hour down the road to Port Clinton. Same county, all that. Oak Harbor is the location of the SUDL, and where I grew up 'till I was sixteen. Also, Toledo (where I went to law school and where I maintain an apartment and work in the two grocery stores) is about forty-five minutes from Oak Harbor. I say this all so you can help keep track of where I was as this glorious day (yesterday) progressed.

5:51 A.M.: I do not drive directly to the SUDL from my apartment in Toledo; instead, I decide (not on the spur of the moment) to do a little extra driving with the extra time I have to some places that have meaning to me. On my way down Sylvania Avenue, I am listening to "Strike Up The Band," sung by Tommy Tune, on my iPod. What a great, exciting way to start the day!

5:59 A.M.: First stop on the Pre-Results-Good-Cosmic-Dust Tour is for me to head down Monroe Street and go past the grocery store where I've been working for the past two months. I say a quiet thank you to my great-grandparents, both immigrants from Syria/Lebanon. When my great-grandfather died in 1930, he left my great-grandmother living in an apartment with one bedroom above a grocery store and seven children. Through her sacrifice, the grocery store the point that we now have expanded into the Toledo market. I don't think they'd've ever believed it.

6:06 A.M.: I am supposed to be at the SUDL between 6:45 and 7. By rights, I should probably get on 475 now, but I decide I want to make a pretty decent run at one other spot. I go past the exit on Talmadge, and hang a left on Central Avenue.

6:10 A.M.: After taking a right on Secor, I cross Bancroft and turn left. I make a quick orbit through the University of Toledo College of Law parking lot. Did what I learn here help? I'll know soon.

6:16 A.M.: On 475, I'm not exactly poking along, but there are still drivers going past me. I want to know what in hellfire is so important to them at this hour of the morning. Nothing, I say!

6:25 A.M.: I think I should probably call Anonymous of the SUDL to let her know I'm running a little late, but, while I'm not feeling terribly nervous, just determined in a gritty sort of way, I'm also feeling incredibly like I don't want to talk to anyone, to share any information, and that speaking would require a lot of effort.

I don't call.

By the way, I opt to skip John Lennon's song "Instant Karma."

Instant Karma's gonna get you,
Gonna knock you right on your head
Better get yourself together,
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead.

Yeah, I don't need that.

6:45 A.M.: I get off the Ohio Turnpike at the Elmore exit.

6:57 A.M.: Although I am due at Anonymous' house in three minutes, and, in theory, the bar results could be released at that time (I later find out they basically 7:01), I decide that (a) I need all that good cosmic dust and (b) the results probably won't come out till 7:30 or 8:00. I cannot fathom calling Anonymous.

6:59 A.M.: Entering Oak Harbor, I take a left on Locust Street and drive past my great-grandmother Bassett's old house. I turn towards the Oak Harbor Junior High School.

7:01 A.M.: I drive past Oak Harbor Junior High. In many ways, my eighth grade year was the happiest year of school ever. I was student council president, and implemented a program I'm proud of to this day that helped kids raise their grades. I'm listening to the instrumental trio version of "It Had To Be You" from "When Harry Met Sally."

7:03 A.M.: One of the great things about a small town is everything's close together. I'm now driving past R.C. Waters Elementary School, where I, well, went to elementary school. I'd forgotten the roof was curved.

7:05 A.M.: I don't have to ring the doorbell at the SUDL; Anonymous opens it by the time I'm on the porch. She was worried sick. I really am unable to say very much. (She later reports that when I walked in, I looked like I was going to throw up. I didn't feel that way -- even though I did have a bottle of Pepto-Bismol in tow. I visit the facilities.

7:07 A.M.: In Anonymous' living room, she sits down at the computer, clicks on the Firefox icon, and asks, "Where do I need to go?" I indicate I'M going to need to go there to pull up the results. I tell her I'm not quite ready to check. (BTW, I can honestly say I now understand the people that delayed checking their grades until they were all in...I always wondered how they could stand not knowing. I wasn't yet ready to check.) I want to do a blog post. Anonymous goes to the kitchen.

7:08 A.M.: I hit the button on my last R- post. Anonymous still in kitchen. Decide there is nothing to do but go to (Gotta love our Supreme Court's easy-to-recall website! Even Marcia Mengel just told people to Google it.) Figure the results won't be up yet. Am prepared to wait until 8:00.

7:09 A.M.: I gasp and let out a yell of shock. There, at the top of the page, with a nifty little "NEW" icon. "COME HERE!" I yell to Anonymous. "What is it?" she asks, as she jogs in.

There is a box to type in my name. I do. Hit the enter button.

And my name and address appears.

I scream. Probably say, "YES!!!" Anonymous knows immediately. We hug. (She later accuses me of slapping her hard on the back.)

7:11 A.M.: I call Kylie, the only person in the world who answers her cell phone less than I. Leave her a message.

7:12 A.M.: "Time to wake up Precious," I declare. (Precious...also known as Anonymous' daughter, going to college at Randolph Macon Womens' College in Lynchburg, Virginia.) I wake her up. Tell her.

7:13 A.M.: Next call is to Patricia. She is worried that I am calling at 7:13. Yeah, be worried, be afraid...I PASSED THE BAR!!!!

7:32 A.M.: I call Janet. She is, of course, delighted.

7:38 A.M.: And now, the fun begins.

OK, I haven't told my dad the date because he would have driven me nuts trying to find out whether I passed or not. And I want to tell him face-to-face. It's a pretty sure bet, I think, he's going to be in Port Clinton at his office. But, just to make sure, I've had Sue, our head HR person and my boss, tracking his Friday whereabouts all morning.

My phone rings. It's Sue. "You sound pretty happy," she says. I indicate that I am. Tell her I've passed.

My dad, it appears, is on his way to Toledo as we speak.


I'm in Oak Harbor, and going to Port Clinton. To tell people.

And I want to tell him.

Face to face.


7:39 A.M.: Call my dad. "Where are you?" I ask. He's in Elmore, which is between Oak Harbor and Toledo (in other words, not about to go past the SUDL.)

I need an excuse quick.

"Damn," I say. "I was going to have you pick something up at Anonymous' house. Is there any chance you could get it?"

He doesn't think so.

He asks what it is. I say it's some political papers. He laughs...because I'm a Democrat and a Republican. No, he can't make it. He's sure. He needs to get to Toledo; hasn't been there in too long, will throw whole schedule off.

OK, we're going back to the drawing board on how we tell Dad.

8:04 A.M.: Leave it to Lnze to be able to figure out whether I passed or not without me telling her. I get an email reading, "You passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sweet! Congratulations!!!"

8:15 A.M.: I depart the SUDL for Port Clinton. I am headed for home to tell my mom.

8:24 A.M.: On the way home, I talk to my Uncle Tom, who was married to Jody, who I discussed in this post.

8:44 A.M.: At home, I tell my mom, who is, of course, quite excited. Discuss how to tell people I need to tell without it leaking to my dad. Speed is the key: Good news travels fast. And my grandpa -- who is notoriously bad at keeping a secret -- will be the last one I tell before leaving Oak Harbor to find my dad.

9:11 A.M.: I leave home for the courthouse, where I want to tell my coworkers for the past ten years that what I learned working with them helped me pass the bar.

9:17 A.M.: On the way there, I call Ellen.

9:20 A.M.: Once done with her, I call Michelle. (I ate lunch with Michelle and Ellen, who were #1 and #2 in our class. I can never remember which was which, I just remember it was one of the few times in my life I felt COMPLETELY intellectually inadequate.)

9:23 A.M.: I am at the courthouse...tell my boss...want to have lunch with him next week. The secretaries say that, as I do my private practice, they will be happy to catch some extra $$$ by typing appeals briefs for me. Sweet!

9:35 A.M.: I stop upstairs to tell our awesome clerk of courts that I passed.

9:44 A.M.: I am back on the road, heading back to Oak Harbor. I am not getting to hang out long because I know every minute that passes, there's more chance of someone telling my dad.

10:07 A.M.: What a stroke of good luck. I've been wondering whether I'd call my Aunt Nancy to let her know I passed. As it turns out, I have to sign in at Oak Harbor High School, where I have come to tell a former teacher, Mrs. Moenter, that I passed. When I do, I see my Aunt Nancy's name signed right above me. She's there to walk.

I place the 3x5 index card on a piece of string with the word VISITOR around my neck, and head off to find Aunt Nancy. I can hear her before I see her. "Mi-chael," she says, (she's the one who on Sunday asked me how long and I said, "very soon...) "what are YOU doing here?"

I tell her I came to tell her I passed the bar.

Screaming, joy, excitement. Classes at OHHS are probably distracted. I give her the same warning I've given everyone else not to tell people for another hour and a half or thereabouts. She says she's going out to lunch at the Oak Harbor Hotel at noon, so I'd better be quick because the whole town will know then. I promise to get the word out by then.

I go down, tell Mrs. Moenter. Glad I did that. Am back on my way.

(My biggest laugh is that Oak Harbor High School's principal is a guy named Mr. Thorbahn, the son of Mr. Thorbahn who was the principal when I was there.)

10:19 A.M.: The teacher I am closest to is Mrs. Bahnsen, who is now retired. She and her husband have had a dickens of a year over health issues (in fact, she is the friend who was having surgery same time as my grandma this August.) But she plans to make it to the swearing in ceremony! She's happy to see me. I'm happy to have stopped.

10:35 A.M.: I go to my grandparents', and I get a three-fer. Not only are my grandma and grandpa there, but so is Imogene. Imogene has been my grandma's cleaning lady since before I was born, and she worked for my parents for years and years and years. She keeps retiring and coming out of retirement to help my grandma.

My grandpa says, "Did you come to finish off the tuna noodle casserole from the other night?" "No," I say. "I came to tell you I passed the bar."

Much excitement, of course. I give my grandpa the exhortation. Then, hop in my car and head for Toledo. Moving fast enough to try to stay ahead of good news, but not so fast I'll be my first client. :)

10:45 A.M.: When I talked to my dad earlier this morning, he mentioned having lunch. I call his cel phone; he's not there. Beyond that, I need to know whether he's in Perrysburg or Sylvania.

It's also bothering me that I haven't posted to the blog yet, especially since Eve said she was staying up to see how things were going. I had said no later than eleven, but this thing with my dad had thrown a heckuva wrinkle into my plans.

10:49 A.M.: I call the Sylvania store. Evidence of my dad not seen.

10:53 A.M.: My dad calls. As it turns out, he's spent some time with Pastor Dick Powell, a dear old friend of ours, so he's had his cell phone off of him. I consider suggesting he visit a cloister next, but instead just arrange to meet him at the Sylvania store.

11:40 A.M.: Get to the store. The joke at the Port Clinton store has always been that if you want to find my dad, look in the wine department. He is something of a connoisseur -- NOT an alcoholic -- plus, they haven't had a wine manager in Port Clinton for years.

So, I get to the store and ask the manager where he is. We page him. He's in the wine department.

I find him back there and tell him, "You know, you're a great grocer, but you're a pain in the ass when it comes to tracking you down to tell you I passed the bar exam."

Said he wondered if something was up when I had asked him to go back to Carol's, but since I didn't push it, he didn't, either. (Apparently, if I'd have just said, "It means a lot to me to have you pick this stuff up," he'd have gone back. Sheesh.)

We decide to go to lunch.

11:55 A.M.: Issue email/post on blog that I PASSED THE BAR!!!!!!

12:20 P.M.: On my way down 475, I heard this sound, couldn't figure out what it was. Didn't think it was me. But now, as we're driving through Starlite Plaza, I hear it again. Call my dad, who's in the car behind me, and ask if I have a flat tire. In fact, I do. Decide to go to lunch, call Triple A from there.

It's a good thing I passed. Wouldn't it have been awful to fail and have a flat tire?

12:45 P.M.: Lunch is very good.

1:34 P.M.: I wait for the Triple A guy to show up while talking to Sue. Find out she enlisted Kim, our comptroller at the store and my cousin, to help. Talk to Kim. Triple A guy shows up.

1:39 P.M.: The last time I got a flat, it took them forty minutes to show up and two guys had a hard time figuring out how to get the spare out of the back of my car. It takes one guy ten minutes to show up and he gets the spare out of my car without complaint.

1:41 P.M.: I'm in the middle of saying something to the guy who's fixing my tire when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee calls me on my cel phone to ask for money. It's the second time they've called me at a bad time, and the second time I've had to hang up on them.

1:45 P.M.: Passing the bar makes for good cheer. It's 40 degrees out and I am literally strolling up and down the parking lot, grinning like an idiot, waiting for my tire to be fixed, and loving life.

1:55 P.M.: My tire is fixed. I head home.

2:07 P.M.: This day couldn't get any better. No, wait, it can! I come home JUST as they start a press conference announcing the indictment of Dick Cheney's chief of staff. They held it till I could get comfortable, I think. ;)

7:30 P.M.: I go to Barry's Bagel for a baked potato.

8:00 P.M.: Talk to Laura, again. Remind her that now, she must not only call me Groceryman, but also Lawyerman.

9:00 P.M.: Watch a little of Larry King Live.

10:05 P.M.: Go to "lay down for a few minutes."

12:15 A.M.: Shut off the lights, say a quick prayer of thanks, and go to bed. Sleep for another 6 hours, and wake up after eight hours of sleep.

So, a little later today, I'm off to the Barnes & Noble in Ann Arbor! Need a cookbook. Need a book on advice for people who are about to be lawyers.

I'll explain how I'm going to put my law license to work for me and others later.

PS: The blogger gratefully acknowledges his cel phone, which records the exact time he makes phone calls, and thus allowed him to keep track of where he was when. ;)

Blog! It's Good For Your Bar!

When I started this thing, I could hear people saying, "That'll be a distraction from your studying!"

I'm happy to report that it appears that blogging does NOT detract from passage of the par.

In Ohio, so far as I can tell, it's 5 for 5.

I passed.

Linds, the first bar blogger I discovered, and one of the funnier gals on the planet, passed.

Lawvlife passed.

Chris Geidner, who has a pretty darned good site passed.

OLS, who was worried she'd have to be a moderately upscale prostitute in Columbus, passed. (Although, a lawyer I know says the difference between a hooker and a lawyer is that a hooker just sells her body, a lawyer sells his mind.)

Now we get to wait for Eve, TSC Girl and Glib Gurl. Eve & GG get their results November 18; TSC Girl is in NJ, where apparently everything is scored but they take a peculiar delight in saying, "We have your results but it's taking us a while to get them done and until then we aren't telling you when you'll get them."

Hang in there ladies...there will be light at the end of the tunnel!

good things

Breaking your old record of most visitors to your blog in a day (154) by setting a new one (161): Good.

Passing the bar exam: Excellent

Breaking your old record of most visitors to your blog in a day by setting a new one AND passing the bar exam on the same day: Priceless

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Brief Detour from Bar Results (didja hear I passed?)

They just said that the Bushies are thinking the way to get the heat off of this whole Rove/Plame/Libby thing is to name a Supreme Court nominee Monday.

Which, in my opinion, would be great. The weekend to vet him/her. To read through all the stuff he/she has written. Dig through speeches.

Yeah, really think it through. Take 48 hours to make a decision on a lifetime appointment.

These folks are becoming the gift that keeps on giving.

Off to Barry's Bagels!

The Promised Update

well, this isn't what I was planning to write about, but OK.

I have a draft started of a "ticktock" of how the whole day has gone. Unfortunately, I'm not getting it done in this sitting, and I doubt very much it will get done tonight, because the four hours of sleep I got last night is starting to catch up with me.

It's been quite a great day. I didn't even much mind the flat tire I got this afternoon.

My comment was that it was a damn good thing I didn't flunk. Flunking and a flat tire in the same day might have been more than I could bear.

Sooo, anyway, I think I'm going to go watch "The Simpsons," run out to Barry's Bagel for a baked potato, come back, and tuck in and see how long I stay awake.

Bets? 9:00, maybe? I'd like to watch Larry King and the Republicans making excuses for the first sitting White House official since the Ulysses Grant administration.

Also, when I have my wits about me tomorrow, I have to tell you about the continuing saga of

It's pretty interesting. Not, perhaps, in the way you're thinking, but still very interesting.

how cool that my 200th post is to say


-More details to follow. Thank you ALL for your love, support and readership. I'll update later this afternoon!-

R-7 minutes or whatever

I'm at the SUDL.

Feeling OK.

Not very verbal.

R-93 minutes & I'm off

to the SUDL.

Cell phone. Check.

Coat. (The SUDL is, like any good bunker, cold.) Check.

Pepto Bismol, for those with stomachs who (don't) know the score. Check.

Will check in from there. Gonna drive around a bit.

Just Like The Pre-Oscars, the Pre-Results...All About What I'm Wearing! (R-107 minutes)

We start with your basic blue jeans.

And then, a 2002 Ohio State national champions tshirt. In deference and salute to people who talk about feeding their inner champion. ;)

Under that, most importantly, a t-shirt.

It's clearly generated on someone's home computer. A stick-figure of a guy who appears to be walking. The wording is more important.

Second Annual
Jody Stoyan 5K & 10K Run
For Cancer Research

On the back....

Live with passion.
Don't waste the day.
Make a list of what is important...and then do it!
-- Jody Stoyan

Jody Stoyan is my aunt (dad's sister.)

When I was a kid, I visited her at least twice a summer in Toronto. If I wasn't suggesting I go see her, she was suggesting I go visit her.

Our phone bills to Canada were astronomical.

Let me tell you, she was the person to hang out with. As my brother described her, "She was like the big sister I never had and also a cool mom."

No one whom she met was unimpressed by her.

She could, with a straight face, lecture you on eating your vegetables and eat Neapolitan ice cream at the same time.

I could go on forever, and you do know, of course, where this is going. Stories about awesome people who have runs for cancer research rarely wind their way to a happy conclusion.

She had cancer that started when I was in eighth grade, and it recurred at the end of my junior year in high school.

Her goal was to make it to my high school graduation.

Missed it by about eight weeks.

The whole thing was, well, pretty awful.

But the sadness of losing her was more than made up than the eighteen years of memories I have with her.

It hurts like hell that I won't be able to call her up today once I get the results.

Even though she's going to be with me at the SUDL. (I don't even need to tell her where it is.)

Hang in there with me, babe. This could get interesting.

(Yeh, I know. You prolly hate the shirt. It has no color, just words and a computer-generated stick figure, and worse yet, your name on it. Sorry.)

A Quick Word About Today (R-114 minutes)

Please be reminded...this is how today will unfold on the blog.

As you can tell, I'm pretty well liveblogging my life right now until I leave to make my way to the SUDL, which will probably happen in about ten minutes or so.

Once there, I will continue to blog right up until I get the results.

Then I will enter a period of probably 2-3 hours of radio silence, regardless of what the results are, so I have time to let IRL people know in person, by phone, or by email. There are some folks who deserve to know from me in person and not over the Internet.

My goal is to post no later than 11, and hopefully much sooner. Of course, much of that's tied to Ohio.

If you know me and have my phone number...uh, not to be impolite, but, well, I'd suggest not calling. Heaven knows what sort of mood I'll be in.

I'll post soon enough!

Thanks for stopping by!

Grateful (R-119 minutes)

Still feeling good.

In the shower, realized that, no matter what the results, I have many things to be grateful for:

  • I live in the greatest country in the world.

  • I lead a fascinating, amazing life, and there's, God willing, much more in store.

  • I have a way of sustenance regardless of the outcome.

  • My family, while occasionally aggravating and certainly sometimes nuttier than a fruitcake, is wonderful.

  • I have the world's greatest friends.
And by the way, just in case I haven't or don't mention it, to all you readers of the blog...thanks. Sharing this experience has been terrific. (No, I'm not going anywhere regardless of the results, but the support, encouragement, and friendship from those of you I know and those of you I've never met is something I'll always treasure. Through good times and MMD's, you've helped sooo much.)


Dear Ohio Supreme Court (R-137 minutes)

All I want to say is, I hope you have your sh*t together.

You know, everyone's name who should be on the list on the list.

No erroneous additions where, in two days, you'll call them from celebrating and say, "We're really sorry, we screwed up."

None of that telling people who passed they might have failed.

Also, please get that beloved list to your OIT department ON TIME.

Or early.

As you may have seen from my posts so far today, I'm doing pretty well. Notice a tendency to not be able to sit still, yes, but am calm.

Please don't make what will be a weird, wild and wooly day worse.

Thank you.



R-164 minutes

"I can't wait for this to be over so your blog goes back to being interesting. Right now, it's just basically watching you slowly melt down, and I get enough of that in my life."
-- Gentle Reader

It did make an impression on me here when I saw the Friday, October 28, 2005 emblazoned atop the front of the blog since I've been waiting for this date since July 28.

R-168 minutes

OK, so, I got about four hours of sleep. Pretty darned good, methinks.

And -- and this is the amazing thing -- I am awake, and not in the least nervous. I mean, I am as calm as I have been for weeks about this thing.

I'm a little concerned maybe I've bought into everyone else's optimism of the day.

Ah, well. The firing squad will be here any minute now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Another Consensus Thing (R-543 minutes)

...all my friends/family agree on this:

I'm going to pass.

Thanks for the faith, guys. I wish I felt as good at this end.

R-557 minutes, or wondering

who will get less sleep tonight...

Karl Rove or me?

R-571 minutes

Over at Linds' place, she's planning a drunk blogging party for tomorrow night.

I've begged off, because I don't drink. But on the advice of people who don't usually drink, either, I am drinking this evening. I just opened a Labatt's. I plan to open a second one.

(If I do, it'll be some sort of world record. I usually can't make it much farther than the bottom of one without falling asleep.)

The consensus among my friends seems about as follows:

I'm on a major nutty.

Alcohol is needed.

I will probably get some sleep tonight.

Quote of the Night:

ME: "So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how weird am I?"
LNZE: "Well, you don't seem that weird to me. But think about the last three times I've seen you. "
ME: "Yeah, tonight, before that when I was working 90 hours a week; the time before that was two Sundays before the Barzam."
LNZE: "Yeah. I've almost forgotten what normal is."

Laura, I'm about to call you back, as soon as Larry King Live is over.

R-25 hours

Eep, people.

Well, let's see. I hope I do enough today that I'm as tired tonight as I was last night. I fell asleep in front of the TV around 10:45, with Game 4 of the World Series tied at 0-0; woke up at 11:17 with Chicago up 1-0; made an attempt to watch it but didn't wake up for another hour, at which point they'd won. I had made the comment I hoped Chicago would win the series, but that the Astros would win just one of the first four games so they would go to Game 5 so that I'd have something to watch tonight.

The good news is, I have this week's "West Wing" yet to watch, thanks to Anonymous of the SUDL (who is also a White Sox fan...congrats, Anonymous...) I think I'll do that tonight.

In the meantime, I woke up in an okay but not great state. Weird dream. Very weird dream. Old lady being carried out in a paper bag by a menacing looking man telling me he's going to take her to the doctor. Her mouthing "help." Me going to call 911. Waking up. Weird.

Feel calm right now; don't expect I will at this hour tomorrow.

Haven't decided what to wear. Don't laugh that I say that. Best guideline is what I usually wear on election days. (Now, no one may laugh at me as I tell you this.) My election days have a pretty decent dose of superstition. When I get in the car, I start by listening to "1979" by the Smashing Pumpkins, followed by "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2. (Did you know that song was written after they went to Nicaragua, because the streets there, literally, have no name?) I'm ritualistic about what I wear. Khaki pants, a navy blue button-down shirt that says, "The American Adventure" that my grandma bought me, and a gray and white sweater. At 2:00 on the dot, I remove the sweater, no matter where I am or how cold it is. At around 7:00, I shower and change into a three-piece suit with a tie that's terrific I got for Christmas four years ago, but which was really cheap and disintegrates and, hence, only gets worn on Election Day.

Well, my lucky outfit served me well for Election '02, '03, and my delegate candidacy in '04, but last year's Election Night was, as they say, a bit of a yard sale. So I'm wondering about a trip back to the drawing board. Just as well: Last time I tried to put that three-piece suit on, it was a bit of a tight fit!

BTW, I think I am writing obsessively about details no one cares about to keep my mind off of this other thing that's going on. Did I tell you the bar exam results are released tomorrow?

And, on that topic, to say no one cares is obviously a misnomer. More and more visitors are here every day since Monday. Yesterday was the second-highest day this month. I have a feeling it's growing...much like this incredible spike I saw in the midst of the barzam. There's something about watching a grown man have a meltdown live on the Internet that's pretty compelling, eh? ;)

PS: If anyone sees my friend Lnze today, don't tell her how spastic I am. She has, for whatever reason, agreed to have dinner with me tonight. I think it's just so she has a funny story to tell.

PSS: Like I'm going to be able to EAT.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Just in case you think I'm the only one freaking (R-45 1/2 hours)

Check here.

And here. (Heh, I'm ahead of this one! I don't HAVE a job! Show those people who had their resumes all set by the fourth day of 1L.)

Here too. (This is why I have been very quiet on when the day is.)

And here.

Of course, why leave? You're getting a pretty good view right HERE!

Off to work. Lucky people who get to be interviewed by ME today.

Oh, God. (R-47 hours...I think...)

Anonymous [who is not Anonymous of the SUDL] writes:
At your secret location to get your results, are you calling or going on-line? They say the website is terrible and nothing loads until about or after 8a. Calling seems pretty bad too though. Ohio is mean.

Well, I didn't realize that.

My plan had been to just go online and keep hitting CTRL-R until the results loaded. We were told on the last day of the bar exam that they would be up between seven and seven-thirty. So, I've just called it 7:15 and been counting down that way.

Please tell me that Marcia Mengel, the voice of the Ohio bar exam, didn't lie to me. I can't take a shock to my system like that. Not this week.

OK, so, I could call. I was given two numbers on the day of the bar exam, which I have to find. Yeah, that's a recipe for success. Take two phone numbers (probably representing, what, MAYBE eight people answering phone lines? If we're lucky?), add 1,500 people calling nervously and hitting redial. Oh, that will be GREAT.

I thought we passed this mark. It used to be ALL you could do was call, and listen to busy signals and busy signals and busy signals and go bleeping nuts until you found out.

Then, with the Internet, I thought, the busy signal was eliminated. Between 7 and 7:30, DAMMIT.

Now I might have to call.

I don't want to call. I really don't want to have to call.

Because if I have to call, I'll be on my cel phone and have Anonymous of the SUDL on her phone redialing and redialing till we get through.

And then Anonymous of the SUDL may have to get through and find out. And I don't want her to have to deliver bad news if it is bad news.

And I don't even want to have to try to ask someone or speak when I finally get through.


(Eve, if you're wondering, this is what an MMD Michael style looks like.)

And, by the way, I keep meaning to mention this, and saving it for another post, and another post, but here's a big objection I have.



It's not like someone's out there, late grading papers, right? I mean, that's probably been done, by, say, two, three weeks ago? Then they had to figure out the scale with the MBE (I still suspect there was a random number generator used in the equation.) Then they had to add it all together and correspond numbers to names.

It was probably done on Monday. Maybe even before that. But let's give 'em the benefit of the doubt and say they're burning the midnight oil at the Supreme Court. They WILL have it done by tomorrow night at 7.

And then, there's twelve (or thirteen) hours, where THEY know if I passed, but they don't tell US.

"Yes, these people have gone through seven years of formal education. They need one more sleepness, anxious, worrisome night!"

See, that twelve hours between 7 PM tomorrow and 7 AM Friday? That's called sadism.

I mean, someone out there will know by then. They'll either be saying, "Wow...Michael snuck by," or, "Heh, he couldn't even be in the top seventy percent of Ohio lawyers."


Oh, and the other thing about calling?

Remember my calling rant?

You know, like, ten minutes ago?

When I started at the beginning of this post?

Yeah, to finish this story.

I have a friend named Szcezny. (I may have spelled his name wrong, and for that, I apologize.)

He calls the Supreme Court on the Appointed Day at the Appointed Time. (And come to think of it, they had the Internet posting thing at that point.)

"Hi," he says, "my name is Dan Szczeny. S-Z-C-Z-E-N-Y."

"Hang on," the clerk says. Puts Dan on hold.

A minute or so passes.

Imagine how poor Dan feels.

The clerk comes back on.

He hears a breath.

"I'm sorry," she says.

"How do you spell your last name?"

(Dan passed, by the way.)

Good grief.

I'm still, I think, glad that I have some control over what I'm doing when I find out.

I wouldn't want to just find out at work or whatever.

So, they'll have a great time dealing with Michael at work today, eh?


Well, now, since I started this, we're down to 46 1/2 hours.

I think.

R-49 hours

"Oh, shoot." (An approximation)
"Jeeminy Christmas." (Another approximation.)
"Oh my God."

My thoughts on waking up and realizing the roller coaster is two days from its end.

Yesterday was worse than Monday. In the weekly managers' meeting, it suddenly occurred to me how close we were getting and all of a sudden, the discussion about the inventory preparations did not matter a whit to the alleged Grocery Man.

(They even talked about yogurt, and I wasn't paying attention. What the hell does that tell you? Yogurt, for Pete's sake!)

I could also tell it was starting to get to me yesterday afternoon, when I kept repeating "Nothin' to Lose" on my iPod for twenty minutes as I drove. Nothing symbolic here, I swear, just was so distracted I didn't want to change my musical scenery.

Of course, then as I started to ponder on repeating that song over and over and over and over and over, I decided to try and attach some meaning to it. I decided the best I could do was to say that I'm not a lawyer, and if I fail, I STILL won't be a lawyer. So, I've got nothin' to lose.

Heh. Yeah, if I can get myself believing THAT.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

She Stood Up By Sitting Down

Rosa Parks

Monday, October 24, 2005

Quote of the Night From Our Friends at the Father's Rights Movement (R-80.25 hrs)

"What would a good mother do if her child told her of sexual abuse by his or her father?"

"What would she say? Don't you say that about your father. If you do, I'll beat you."

-- Dr. Richard Garner, men's rights theorist

R-82 1/2 hours


OK. Today, I managed to go, like, an hour or an hour and a half at work without even thinking about the fact that results get published FRIDAY.

TalkaboutyerfreakyFriday. Fur Gahd's sayk.

Last night. Dinner. My aunt, given to drama.

"Oh, I hate that you have to go through this wait."

For once, nothing overdramatic about that.

Asked me how long. I told her, "Very soon."

This is an upgrade from my pat answer of the past several weeks of "Soon."

Instantly regretted it. This morning, I'm quite sure everyone around Oak Harbor has heard my aunt give special emphasis to it.

"And I asked him...howwww lonnnng...and he said..." pause for deep cleansing breath...followed by whisper connoting importance..."very soon."

I'm literally to the point that, after tomorrow and Wednesday, the next time I see my parents, I will be advising them of my success or lack thereof.

I made a stop at the SUDL (Secure UnDisclosed Location) where I will learn my fate Friday morning last night after dinner to pick up a videotape. (The videotape, by the way, contained the "Breaking the Silence" documentary I mentioned a few weeks ago. I've just viewed it and have about a page and a half of notes I'll be sharing in blog form at some point this evening.)

Anywho, the drive from dinner to the SUDL was somewhat hairy, not in terms of my driving skills but rather in terms of realizing that the date is no longer approaching but rather tearing at us in a damn-the-torpedoes-and-batten-down-the-hatches [hatchets?] terrifying sort of way. You know, how I get when I tap my foot and can't sit still.

Anyway, Anonymous of the SUDL calmed me down. Her argument is that if I don't pass, it's just God's plan I continue to be Groceryman and review for a little longer and take it. And in those terms, I guess I can handle it.

But, to be a bad little mortal for a moment, I'd really prefer if the plan has me taking the oath on November 7.

I did remember something Whitebread said during Barbri over the summer. (BarBri. Just the thought of it starts sending shivers down my spine.) He said that there are three kinds of knowledge on the bar exam: The first level is knowing that you're in the forest and there are trees and which trees youc an and can't identify. The second is knowing all the bright-line rules and quite a few of the other rules. The third is knowing everything. He argued you just need to be in that first zone.

Hopefully I was.

...something that made me gasp this morning

Hearing Tim Russert say that, if Rove or Libbe are charged with perjury, the Republicans will argue it's a technicality.

You may recall about seven years ago, we spent a great deal of time hearing from Republicans arguing perjury was far more important than a technicality in the case of a William Jefferson Clinton of Hope, Arkansas. (I, by the way, was with them on that one.)

Also, if Rove or Libbe is indicted, they will be the first sitting White House official indicted in 130 years. (It was a Ulysses Grant official.) All other Presidents have gotten rid of the officials who were going to get indicted long before things got to this stage...including even Richard Nixon.

Ulysses S. Grant, people. We could be looking at the first administration since Ulysses Grant to have a sitting official indicted.

It's moments like this I'm just terribly proud I'm from Ohio.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Want less judicial activism? Appoint a Breyer

For some reason, I've always liked Stephen Breyer. He seems more accessible and friendly than your ordinary Supreme Court justice.

If you don't think judges should legislate from the bench, you, too, should like Stephen Breyer. This article by Jeffrey Toobin on Justice Breyer points out that between 1994 to 2005, in decisions addressing the constitutionality of sixty-four congressional provisions, Breyer voted to overturn the laws 28% of the time. This is the least of any of the justices.

The most eager to overturn congressional action? That old judicial activist himself, Clarence Thomas, who W wants his Supreme Court justices to be in the mold of.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Michael needs...a meme

Laura had me try this the other night on the phone, then I saw it in meme form in TSC Girl's blog, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Type "[your name] needs" (with quotes) into Google, and see what you get.

1. "Michael needs a bit more flesh." -- Are they saying I'm too skinny? But, truly, I have put on some weight in the past few months. Or is this in some sort of referring to needing something else?

2a. "Michael needs dependable adults in his life who will help him learn how to navigate peer relationships," -- Hmmm. Maybe then I wouldn't attack congresspeople on the floor...of the democratic...national convention.

2b. "champion him when it's merited," -- what about when its frivolous? Like when I'm screaming about the fact I don't make $300 grand a year? I could still use a champion then!

2c. "and act as his advocates with the school system so that he gets the services and specialized instruction that he needs." -- I'd ordinarily point out that I am out of school, but since I'm on a school board, what sort of services am I supposed to get? A G2 pen in front of my name tag at every meeting, in case I forget mine? A makeup artist before they take our picture? Really, we're trying to pass a levy here, so I'm not sure that Michael needs any sort of extravagant-looking services...

3. "Michael needs some Juice." I do have a proclivity to grapefruit juice in the morning. I don't know why; best argument I can make is that it helps me with my scowl.

4. "Michael Needs. Conservative" -- WRONG

5. "Michael needs open lines of communication." Yes, so long as it doesn't involve hand-holding and Kum-Buh-Yah singing.

6. "Michael needs some Juice." I'm starting to wonder if my car will start.

7. "Michael needs Mum." I really have not had a problem with my parenting structure, but thanks for asking.

8. "Michael needs to feel safe and secure in order to ask for assistance." Hey, it's a decent goal.

9. "Michael needs a loving single or two parent family who will accept Michael." No, Michael HAS a loving two parent family who has already accepted Michael. He doesn't need to go throug the process again.

10. "Michael's needs a win." If by 'win,' you mean 'pass,' yes, Michael definitely needs a win.

11. "Michael needs to focus on new trends and how the music industry has changed." What, they're no longer hiring singers who are off key and dancers who, well, can't dance?

12. "Michael needs a family that is consistent with their expectations." Google needs to learn that my family is OK. Google thinks it's a guardian ad litem.

13. "Michael needs photographs of both sides of the animal." I have no idea what is gong on here, but no, I don't.

I'll end with this one, it's a twofer...and it's priceless..

"Michael needs to learn that for every man there is a condom." Ooooookkaayyyyyy....

"What Michael needs to do is to go shopping, and find a condom that fits him." No comment. Absolutely, positively, no freaking comment.

Well, while this has been fun, I have decided Google should not be conducting any needs assessments anytime in the future; so I'll be on my way now. I get to go door-to-door in the rain today trying to encourage people to raise their taxes. FUN!

Michael needs something else to do on Saturdays.

Friday, October 21, 2005

One Week (w/apologies to BNL)

It's just one week 'till I get results
Find out whether I passed or if I did not
Seven days 'til you laugh at me
If I didn't pass a test of minimum competency
These days, I'll be going nuts
No questions, ifs, ands, or even buts
Hopefully, you'll be forgivin' me
If I have to say, I flunked, oh I'm sorry.

Hold it now, did the examiners I hoodwink?
Make 'em stop, think
Think they're looking at Lawyerman?
Think my test was the best, though I felt quite distressed
I hate the CivPro
I think it really should be just banned.
Joinder like death when I essayed
Y'see, I'm afraid
Because how wrong I was I can't tell you
Other people got the answers
They're light like dancers
But with CivPro I didn't have a clue
Gonna pass the 'zam I hope I am that would be glam
If I don't, then what will I do?
Gotta take the oath for my growth,
So I can tell battered youth
The system is so dangerous,
You'll have to sign a waiver

How can I help it if I ran out of time on the MPT?
And what the hell was the deal with that MBE?
I'm the kind of guy who stresses on a barzam
Can't understand what I mean?
Well, you soon will
I have a tendency to wear my mind on my blog
I have a history of taking off my shirt

[OK, so, the last four lines were just the same BNL used. YOU try to adapt a song like that!]

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Phrightening Phone Calls

pre-message warning: Forgive any typos; my g and h keys are being particularly temperamental. This can be annoyin and orrible.

So, I'm at work today, and get paged. Answer the phone; it's my dad.

"I have an envelope here from the bar association. Do you want me to open it?"

Now, understand, the bar association is NOT the entity responsible for administering the bar exam; that's the Supreme Court. And, the results get published on a website, eight days from today.

All of these thoughts went through my head. And NONE of them did anything to slow the pounding of my heart or my shaking.

"OF COURSE I want you to open it," I replied. WHAT POSSIBLE REASON WOULD I NOT WANT YOU TO OPEN IT? I'm thinking. (OK, it occurred to me that I was sitting in the midst of a number of people at the time and if in fact I found out I failed the bar exam in the midst of them, they'd be forever talking about the moment when Michael dissolved suddenly and unaccountably into tears.) No, let me, let me, let me drive from Sylvania to Port Clinton and spend an HOUR AND A HALF WONDERING IF IT'S A LETTER TELLING ME I PASSED.

I hear my dad opening the envelope. I continued to tell myself I knew it wasn't the results, while still envisioning myself at a bar association meeting, chuckling about how it was so funny how they pulled that thing on us unsuspecting examinees, releasing the results early and through the bar association and by mail.

"Ah," my dad said, "all it says is, 'In a few weeks, you'll learn whether you passed the bar...'"

Well, I KNEW that, Einsteins. Thank you so very much.

For Pete's sake, people. I didn't need that...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


So, I'm sitting here eating dinner and flipping channels. (Living alone, I hate eating and just staring at the wall...seems so pointless and boring.)

Anyway, flipping around brought me to CSPAN-2, where they are showing the hearing today from the Saddam Hussein trial. The judge is trying to get Saddam to give them his identity. Saddam refuses, says he submitted it on paper. Saddam sits down.

They ask the next guy for his identity. "I am an Arab. My identity is my head scarf. They took it from me."

I'm not making this up.

The judge indicates they don't care much for his head scarf, they want to know his name.

"I am an Arab man and without my head scarf, I have no identity."

"Well, you can wear whatever you want in this court," the judge says, "so long as it is decourous, and no one should have taken your head scarf from you. Let's take a five-minute break so you can all put on your headscarfs."

No, I'm not joking. This is not from a Dave Barry column.

I don't mean to be culturally insensitive, I really don't, and I don't mean to insult what is an Arab tradition. But the judge couldn't have said, "Yeah, next time, let them wear their head scarves, but for right now, just get on with it."?

It is interesting to watch a country as it comes to grips with concepts of law and justice.

Quote of the Day

"We've turned the corner so many times in Iraq that we're just circling the block."

-- Bob Shrum, Democratic consultant, on

I found that quote while reading this fascinating article by Chris Matthews on what he thinks will happen whe the special prosecutor in the Rove/Plame/Wilson/leak thingy makes his final decision. Matthews' take is that it's going to be big...very big.

And here's his final point, one I think should make us all think. He argues that, with the impending indictments (if there are any), Cheney's usefulness and communication with Bush will be far less. (He points out that it's already frayed; when Harriet Miers was named to the Supreme Court, White House press secretary Scott McClellan made a point of saying that the president had his chief of staff tell Cheney who the pick was going to be.) Because of this, Matthews says:

"[N]ow George W. Bush will be running this country completely on his own the next couple of months. It's going to be very interesting."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Another Take on the Rove Leak Thing

I haven't commented much on it, but today there is some thought that Cheney might get dragged into it.

And if he is

And if he's forced to resign...

I'll be forced to admit, once again, that The Most Brilliant Political Mind I Know was right when she said, last year, that she didn't think the Rs would have Cheney serve out his term, but rather step down so that the GOP heir apparent could take over.

I'm not sure that's going to happen, but with this crew, you never can tell.

In any case, I'd like to believe it wouldn't work. I tend to think their doing it right now would be a bad idea and seen for what it is, as well as pointing out the numerous ethical failings of this administration. I'd like to believe people are smart enough to see through it.

This is much like last year, when I kept saying people were going to see through and vote for Kerry. Yeah, that happened.

The List Grows

In what's been a rather bizarre, kinda tough day, I must say starting it out by going to Eve-Marie's site and reading, "Is there anything Michael can't do?" was pretty damn cool.

I apparently touched a nerve with my list last night. Within an hour, TSC Girl had a post in which she added to it. Then, the perpetually nocturnal Eve-Marie added her own thoughts to it.

The good news here is that, of the three of us, I get my results the soonest. At least Eve-Marie, while she must wait 'til November 18 (!), also has a firm date. Poor TSC is in New Jersey, where they release them in "the middle of November." They actually don't GIVE you a date. You just have to wait around.

I'm very glad Ohio's not like that. Otherwise, I'd be going bleepin' nuts visiting the site to find out if I'd passed every ten seconds. (You think I'm joking.) My left-pinkie and index finger would be sore from hitting CTRL-R all the time. That's like Chinese water torture.

How do I know I'd be like that? Because...and I blush to admit this...I am already visiting the site where results will be disclosed. Even though I KNOW Ohio NEVER releases their results early, as some states do.

"Well, y'know," I think, "this might be the year. Then, when I go to bar association meetings in thirty years, we can all reminisce about how we were the only Ohioans who ever got their results early."

OK, so, that's not gonna happen. So I should stop checking. Right. Got it.

I must say, I'm not sure what I'd do if I found out Ohio DID release theirs early. As I've mentioned, I've got my own little ritual set up for the moment when I find out. If I had to suddenly discover it on my own and without any runup...that could be very ugly.

And that leads me to a question I keep meaning to ask all you other bar bloggers out there: What do YOU plan to be doing when you find out how you did? Have anyone hanging out with you? One glass of champagne, one of arsenic? (just kidding.)

All right. Back to trying to create a podcast. If only RSS didn't daunt me so much, and hosting the thing wasn't bothering me, and I wasn't going half off my rocker...

Monday, October 17, 2005

the good news is

I'm not the only one who's not doing well with this.

Look, I'm really sorry that my posts of late all are variations on a theme by Michael-Going-Nutzoid. (Scroll down if you've had enough about it and read about the contents of Karl Rove's garage.)

Someone else mentioned on their blog they had a friend who recently failed the bar, and they were really desperately wishing they could say he was someone who hadn't studied. But he had.


In the meantime, here's a list of things I've heard enough of:

1. "Oh, I know you passed, you're just so brilliant."

Yeah. Brilliance is to bar exam as logic is to bar exam. And you don't get out much.

2. "So, when do the results come out?"


2a. "How long?"

Before Election Day.

2b. "So, it could be anytime."

No, there's a day.

2c. "When is it?"

I'm not saying.

2d. "Oh, why not?"

Because then you'll call me up and bug me.

2e. "Well, make sure to give me a call when you know."

I'm not afraid of calling you. It's you calling me that doesn't excite me.

3. "When you pass, we should have a cake."

I swear to God, if I see a congratulatory cake anytime before I have firm evidence of having passed, someone will be wearing a lot of congratulatory frosting.

4. "It took JFK, Jr. three times."

Oh, good. That makes me feel so much better!

5. "There's really nothing to worry about. The bar exam is taken."

Yeah, call me when you have a life threatening disease and are waiting for the results. I'll tell you there's nothing you can do about it, it is what it is.

Am I the only one who's recently found himself going back and retreading the bar exam and feeling quite confident he fell short?

Look, I'm No Fan of Karl Rove, Either...

...but this is a little ridiculous.

In a triumph of investigative journalism, it appears the Associated Press has taken it upon themselves to inventory Karl Rove's garage.

There's a Box 6, Box 4 and Box 7. Boxes 1, 2, 3 and 5 probably contain weapons of mass destruction.

"What appeared to be paint cans, stacked alongside a folded, folding chair."

Wow, I'm really glad they told us that the folding chair was also folded. Woodward and Bernstein must be proud.

"A tall aluminum ladder."

Aren't most aluminum ladders tall? I have to admit, I kind of like the idea of Karl Rove working on a tall aluminum ladder. No, not because he's that farther off the ground for when he falls off, but when he's up on the ladder, he's probably not down on the ground plotting to screw up social security, gain control of uteruses (uterii?) that are not his own, or further expand the grasp of the GOP theocracy.

"Wicker baskets inside of wicker baskets..."

Oh no! Karl has a wicker fetish!

In another corner, there's a rear wheel of a bicycle "along with what appears to be a helmet."

What appears to be?

Egad. Isn't there more important stuff to cover? Like, I dunno, the fact al-Qaeda could be getting in through the Mexican border? The fact we have a UN ambassador who doesn't play nicely with others? The fact we have a national debt that as of this moment is $8,001,674,743,949.52?

And, really, Karl has some pretty pedestrian stuff in his garage. It would have made the story newsworthy if they'd have found:

  • a heart (for Karl or Cheney)

  • a brain (for guess Who)

  • a plan for getting us out of Iraq

  • 538 hanging chads

  • how the hell he won Ohio last year
Seriously, media: You're getting desperate here to find things to cover. Try harder.

If you can show me what Karl's cell looks like someday, though, that I would love to see.

Sunday night quotes

"We could talk about the race for tayor of Moledo, which pits the incumbent, Fack Jord, against the challenger, Farty Kinkbeiner."

-- The Capitol Steps (he -- and the audience at the Valentine -- really, really liked flipping Carty's name around.)

"I hate Toledo! I think the only reason anyone lives here is that they can't find their way out and they just gave up!"

-- Anonymous, lost in Toledo

(What? It's really quite simple. If you just take 475 to 75 or catch 280 to 795, without getting on 23, since you'll end up in Ann Arbor (but is it the same 23 that puts you in Columbus? Oh, the irony...) but maybe getting on 24 or 25, you should be fine. And don't confuse your Ohio Byways [what the hell is that?] with the Anthony Wayne Trail. Also, remember that 2 is actually Airport Highway, and 51 is 51 except when it's Monroe Street.)

ANONYMOUS [still lost in Toledo]: "They should just burn the whole city to the ground and start over again."
MICHAEL: "I don't think that sounds like a winning campaign slogan for a candidate."
ANONYMOUS: "I'd vote for them."

(And this from one of the best political minds in the business.)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Uneasy on Sunday morning

Let's start with a personal fact, which is petty in light of the subjects I discuss below: It is now Sunday, the start of a new week.

I can officially say that next week, I will know if I passed the bar.

Yikes, people.


There are far more important things going on. If you are visiting this site from other places, you've probably seen Toledo on TV lately. Unfortunately, it's not in the context we'd have liked.
The American Nazi Party (or whatever the hell they're called, I'm not taking the trouble to get their name right) decided to stick their nose into a neighbor dispute and decided it was all over gang violence brought about by blacks. So, they thought they could help by showing up and marching.

EVERYONE was encouraged to stay away from the march. They begged. They pleaded. They encouraged people to meet for healing meetings other places.

Didn't work out so well. Add unhappy people, volatile gang members, bricks, reports of people with guns, mix well, and voila, Toledo is the #5 search term on Technorati tonight.

Really, with as volatile a situation as it was, things were bad but could have been much, much worse.

If you're looking for an insider's perspective on what happened, here's a pretty good one from a friend of mine, Toledo city councilman Frank Szollosi, who has written a very thoughtful account of his day.

The worst part of this is, of course, that in the words of Mayor Ford, this has given the white supremacists exactly what they wanted. Stirred up everyone and will make nothing better.

(In case you're wondering, I was nowhere near the activities that were taking apartment is out to the west of what was happening.)

Some of the annoyance seems to be over the fact the Nazis were allowed to march at all. If you're disturbed by the fact they got to march, read the second half of this post of mine from June to find out why unpopular and offensive speech is still protected speech.

So, pray for Toledo, y'all.


After all that, you might need a laugh. Here's one. For years, there's been a rumor that the Smurfs TV program were really a subtle indoctrination for the Communists. (If you haven't heard this, no, I'm not kidding.) Papa Smurf running around with his red hat and long white beard had to be representative of Karl Marx; everyone shared everything; no profit was made.

Anyway, here's a pretty decent takeoff on that whole theme. It gave me a laugh.


Oh, c'mon. Michigan beat Penn State? The irony, oh, the irony.

Time for bed.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

5:30 AM

was the time I awoke.

Crud, I think I know what's going on.

Whenever I have a stressful event coming up in my life,

like an election

or finals

or the bar exam,

(or, apparently, finding OUT about passing the bar exam),

I find myself awake around 5, 5:30 AM for the weeks ahead of it.

It appears we've started down that particular road.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Two weeks from now...

I was awake at 4:45 AM this morning.

I hope I can sleep that late two weeks from now.

I think I'll say a word or two about that day, more for the benefit of those following this blog, so you know what I'll be doing.

Before the bar exam, I had this obsession about checking out other peoples' experience with the bar. (This went beyond simply reading other bar-taker blogs to even reading bizarrely detailed stuff by the NCBE.) I'm not quite sure if this is what Eve-Marie was talking about the other day when she mentioned that there is a similar theme between her pre-exam and post-exam posts, but I now find myself obsessed with knowing how others have dealt with learning the results.

The short answer?


Lots and lots of alcohol.

Damn. If only I drank more than an occasional single Labatt's.

And if only I hadn't basically given that up.

And who the hell wants to wake up the morning of finding out whether you passed feeling like you drank the morning before?

The twenty-four hours before are said to be just awful.

(Note well: the month before is no picnic, either.)

And I imagine the fifteen minutes before are pretty bad as well.

I think I'm least looking forward to the time between when I click on the page link and when I determine whether or not my name is there.

I liked what someone said of being in this bizarre place where you swing between smiling idiotically, imagining the happiness of passing, to the depths of depression you consider in case that other thing happens.

I'm trying to get together with my friend Lindsay, who, you'll may recall, dined with me nine days before the bar. She's sent me a menu of different dates it might work. One of them is October 27.

I think I'll see how much of a glutton for punishment she is.

Let's all do me a favor and pray the World Series goes to a Game Five, so I can occupy my time the evening of October 27.

That evening, around 9:00-9:30, I will be taking some sort of sleep aid. I don't want to pull my first "all-nighter" -- i.e., absolutely no sleep (closest I came was three hours of sleep in college) -- the night before possibly learning I'm free of tests for life.

My friend Laura has advised me I am free to call her anytime in the middle of the night if I need to talk.

Be advised I may also be blogging, if sleep eludes me.

After waking up around five (heh, I'd like to believe I can sleep that long), I will at some point be departing for the Secure UnDisclosed Location at which I will learn my bar results.

Again, I may blog most all of this.

Results are supposed to be posted on the Internet between 7 and 7:30 AM.

They can't get them up AT 7?

Now, here's the tricky part, folks. Once I learn my results, and I do apologize to you loyal readers up front, there'll be a period of radio silence, where I won't post anything, for about three hours.

Why? Because, quite frankly, there are folks who've helped me along on this journey -- going far, far back before the barzam -- who deserve to know how I did in person.

So, that will take some actual driving on my part I will need to complete. I'm going to do it as quickly as I possibly can and, once I've done it, you'll be the next to know.

There'll also be a mass email issued, around the same time I post the entry.

Dem's the breaks.

The day after the results are published, the store is having a Halloween spooktacular. I have been told I must dress up as something.

I hope, by that point, going as a lawyer does not count as a costume.

(Of course, some quarters are encouraging me to go as a vampire. One could argue that might not be a costume for one who's passed the bar.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Same Great Content...Less Blogger Template

Welcome to the newly-redesigned Watch Me Take The Bar, version 2.0.

Almost as exciting as the day the Today show went to a street-side studio, is it not?

OK, it's not. But, it's something different. :)

First of all, no, I didn't design the template. It's by MayStar designs.

I've been wanting to do a redesign for sometime. In fact, I found this template in August, but what with being GroceryMan, I have been too busy to play with it.

And, I can tell you I didn't just take the template and dump it in; rather, I did a few "mods" or "hacks" or whatever you call it. This was no mean feat, considering I barely know enough HTML to identify an object as a paper bag, should I ever need to talk myself out of one. For one thing, there was no ability to add comments in the original template. That took some time. Then, I had to figure out how to get it to reproduce the titles.

I have to say, I was pretty pleased I was able to figure it out. There's still a few things I want to mess with, and I'm sure as I continue to work on it, there are things I'll find that need to be changed. (In fact, I've already found one as I'm writing this entry.)

But, anyway, nobody cares what I think. How's the design? Like it? Hate it?

Comment away. (You may have to actually click on the button that says how many comments there are to add comments...I've got to fix how the time stamp on here works and what it links to.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A good update

Well, according to the Blade, Lionel Mason is resigning.

You'll recall he's the fellow who refused to make an arrest after a woman was beaten with a ladder, didn't help remove a baby from an abusive home, and referred to victims' advocates as "nosy witches."

So, methinks this is a good thing.

Monday, October 10, 2005

So Long As We're Talking About White Collar Crime...

wait...was I talking about it? No, but I'm going to.

I think the topic covered in this story may get hotter and hotter: huge shortfalls in airline pension funds.

I was recently told the story of someone who lost $527,000 from a pension in an airline that went bankrupt.

But this story is even neater: Seems that the chairman of Northwest Airlines, Gary Wilson, was aware of the $5.7 billion (as my astronomy professor would say, that's billion with a b) shortfall in Northwest's pension fund. That's the number federal pension insurers calculated when Northwest flew into bankruptcy court.

The rest of us poor schmoes had to rely on Northwest's numbers from its most recent financial filings prior to the bankruptcy, which said its pension was only short by $3.8 billion. But, hey, what's $3.8 billion between an American corporation and its loyal, longtime employees?

Anyway, ol' Gary (who's still chairman at Northwest and also a director at the Disney corporation), knew what the real number was. Completely coincidentally, I'm sure, he sold 85% of his Northwest holdings in the past year.

The real number has created what is described in the article as a "huge claim" for the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in the bankruptcy proceeding. Which is going to make the shares that people bought from Gary Wilson basically worthless.

But, wait, it's not just the unlucky buyers of Gary Wilson's old shares. When I saw "U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation," I had this deep pit of fear in my stomach that with a name that catchy, I had to be a shareholder.

You guessed it. It's a government agency. Congratulations! We're going to court to try to cut our losses because Gary Wilson and friends were $1.9 billion off on their math.

Talk about yer fuzzy math.

Oh, and here's the real beautiful part of this (beautiful if you're a CEO trying to sell stock from your company which is short by a billiion or two): The PBGC cannot disclose the estimate Northwest gives it. Northwest, however, could have. But they chose not to.

(Perhaps because Gary might not have been able to unload 85% of his stock on unsuspecting schmucks.)

The article draws a parallel between Gary Wilson and a woman by the name of Ellen Saracini, who did not have access to the pension fund information. It would have been useful to her when she settled with the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, and they reduced her settlement by the value of her husband's full pension fund. (He flew for United, and was flying the plane that was taken over and ultimately crashed into the World Trade Center south tower.)

Guess what. She's not getting her full pension fund.

But Gary's prolly getting a new BMW.


I swear, my last post was not synergy, but the Toledo Blade yesterday started a three-part series on juvenile domestic violence, which contained what I thought was the quote of the day, by Dan Pompa, the Lucas County Juvenile Court administrator, who is trying to evaluate how to deal with juvenile domestic violence:

"I don't think as a system we understand what [juvenile domestic violence] is and we don't yet understand the consequences of it. If you go over to adult courts, you understand the high impact of domestic violence. The prosecutors are sensitive to it. The judges are sensitive to it. You've got advocates sitting in the courtroom that are ready to jump up with the victims and say 'We'll lead you through.' You don't see any of that here."

To which, I have one word to say.



I spent a fair amount of my time over the weekend at the Oak Harbor Apple Festival, where I encountered several attorneys and a judge. All of them sympathized with what I am going through right now, waiting for the results. (Of course, I think all of them passed on the first pass through.)


Seriously? I'm going to be a basket case in about two weeks. I can just tell. I don't know if I even mentioned this on here, but when I flew to Florida, I proved Laura's theory that it's been a good thing I've been working like a dog. I was sitting there at whatever thousand feet, enjoying my iPod, and started thinking...seriously thinking...about passing, or, well, the alternative to passing, the bar exam.

That was a mistake. I nearly had what Eve-Marie would call a MMD (Major Melt Down) at 35,000 feet.

Literally, people. Rocking back and forth in my seat; squinting; breathing heavily.

And I'm not sure it's going to get better.


Frequent readers of this blog will recall that this summer, I had fun with a dog who lived across the street and had the delightful habit of waking me up around 5 to 5:30. Over the weekend, it occurred to me that it had been a while since he'd been heard from.

That was, of course, a mistake. I was up at 5:30, although I think it was a different dog.

I really hope I don't have to start harassing the Sylvania police department again.


It was not a good weekend to be a Buckeye fan.


However, it wasn't the peppiest of weekends for That Team Up North, either.


Before the bar exam, I found myself with this strange compulsion to check out what the experience was like for others. (Not so much the studying...the bar bloggers kept me up to date with that...but rather the experience of ACTUALLY taking the exam.)

Now, I find myself growing a compulsion to know what people are doing in the runup to finding out their results. I liked the comment someone made (I think on JDJive, although that site makes me worry about the future of the legal profession) that she goes from "smiling absentmindedly as I imagine how cool it will be to pass to moments of sheer desperation as I think about how horrible failing would be."

Yeah, I know how you feel. Same range here.

The majority opinion seems to be that the 24 hours before the bar may require sedation. A friend and I are trying to get together, and one of the evenings we're considering is the night before the bar results are released. I'm not sure I'll inflict myself in that state on anyone.

(Except, of course, on you, my loyal readers. ;-) )


And, I must say, I've stopped defending the Ohio Board of Bar Examiners. I had a number of friends/relatives who said to me immediately after the bar, "What in tarnation takes them so long?" (OK, actually, no one used the phrase "in tarnation," but it made it sound like I live in some 1893 retroville, so I thought it was cool.) I pointed out, calmly and rationally, that there were 1400 people who took the bar, and answered twelve essay questions, front and back of a page, so 2 x 12 x 1400 (you do the math, if the spirit moves you) plus the MPTs.

I am feeling decidedly less sympathetic now.


I said earlier I had one word to say about the comment I opened this entry with. Actually, I have more -- about 299 more. Here's the letter to the editor I'm emailing the Blade today:

I was interested to read the comments of Dan Pompa, Lucas County juvenile court administrator, in your recent story on juvenile domestic violence, that while he believes juvenile courts don't understand the consequences of domestic violence, adult courts do. He argued that prosecutors and judges are sensitive to it, and there are advocates ready to support victims.

I suppose Mr. Pompa shouldn't feel bad, because my experience is that often, adult courts don't get it. When prosecutors have a policy of prosecuting both sides in a "mutual combat" situation -- where the victim may have been taking steps to ensure she or her children weren't injured, that suggests more sensitivity is needed. We entrust police and prosecutors to make value judgments, not file charges against someone who was attacked.

When a magistrate makes comments from the bench that comments like "I'm going to kill you" were simply said in the heat of the moment and taken out of context, or a psychiatrist argues that communications are appropriate when only "one in four" are abusive, someone's not getting it.

We are fortunate to have domestic violence advocates who do a wonderful job. But, when a local police chief describes them as "nosy witches," after refusing to make an arrest in a case in which a woman was attacked with a ladder, one has to wonder if we couldn't provide them with more support.

Mr. Pompa should be congratulated for realizing this is a problem and attempting to address it; but he shouldn't feel that the juvenile justice system is alone in its failure to understand domestic violence. He (and anyone else interested in this problem) should watch the documentary "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories" on how the system treats battered women and children on WBGU, October 20, at 10 PM.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

In case you hadn't noticed...

because I never discuss domestic violence on this blog.

In any case, PBS is doing a documentary "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories" on what happens to abused women and children in the court system, and not surprisingly, the answer is, bad things.

Studies show that batterers convince authorities that the victim is unfit/undeserving of sole custody 70% of the time.


Anyway, the suggested air-time for this is October 20 @ 10 PM on PBS. Check your local PBS station's listing (go to to find out what it is, if you're not sure.) In Northwest Ohio, WBGU is confirmed to show it that date. WGTE (channel 30) isn't showing it that time, but hopefully they will.

Also, look for more information on this space, including the possibility of a guest blogger. I plan to be live-blogging that evening.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

...and furthermore

Reading this thread further, it soon devolves into a rant about how people who are working as cashiers or in service jobs make too much money anyway because they are in unskilled labor.

Well, if you're afraid of unskilled labor, Freepers, come to the grocery store I've been working at. You'll be delighted at what you'll find there!

We have cashiers with psychology and public health degrees.

One is even a licensed social worker!

We also have a person with a psychology degree working behind our service desk.

Among others.

Are they voluntarily underemployed? No. They can't find work in their chosen field.

Whether it's because of a crappy job market, or because all of our jobs have been shipped somewhere else, please understand that a four-year degree is no longer a promise of success. And don't look down your nose at the person ringing up your groceries.

More Fun with Freeper Follies

You can tell Bush is doing a bad job when even Republicans are beginning to see how bad it is.

Generally, this is what happened. There was a story posted on Free Republic about the difference between Costco and Wal Mart. It was pointed out that a cashier at Costco can make $44,000 within four years.

This led, once again, to one of those delightful moments where conservatives talked about how much money is needed to survive, and one, at least, finally came to an epiphany.

It started with a person whose name is azcap saying, "Somehow the economist in me tells me I am not getting the best deal at a store where the guy scanning bar codes and putting marshmallows in a sack is getting $44k."

OK, so we've got the first rule of Republican shopping: Make sure they don't pay their people too much.

This comment was responded to by a sensible Freeper named fabriclady: "$44k annually will barely put food on the table for a family. I live alone and I could not make it on 9.00 per hour. Babies need lots of milk and veggies. Unless you grow them, they are very expensive."

And then, for the great closer line of the evening, by a fellow whose username is, and I swear I am not making this up, Rodney King. (His tagline is, "No, we can't all just get along."): "If that is the case, then vast swaths of the country are only barely putting food on the table."

Congratulations on figuring that one out. Perhaps you could ask Our President to do something about it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

dagnamit, it's just a good day to read the Blade

I love Roberta deBoer's columns, and you simply cannot miss this one if you are at all familiar with the race for mayor of Toledo.

Not familiar? Let me give you the thirty-second rundown. It pits the current Mayor of Toledo, Jack Ford, also known (very sarcastically) as Mr. Excitement against the last Mayor of Toledo, Carty Finkbeiner. Carty's actual campaign slogan is "Carty gets results." One could say, "Carty gets results by suggesting deaf people move out to the airport neighborhoods where people are complaining about the noise and getting into altercation with local businessmen." Carty was always colorful, but he did get things done.

Anyway, deBoer asked readers to suggest campaign slogans for these two. Here are my favorites for each candidate:

For Jack Ford: "If you're voting for Carty, you don't know Jack."

For Carty (and my personal favorite): "Make ADD Work For You: Vote Carty!"

Check it out.

Even Better News from the Blade

It looks like we'll have a Democrat with a prayer to run for Senate against Mike DeWine next year, to wit, Sherrod Brown. Former secretary of state and well-liked, this is good news!

What a great lead...

From today's Toledo Blade:

"Flanked by 25 colleagues, House Minority Leader Chris Redfern unveiled the Democrats’ legislative agenda, saying that “restoring honesty and integrity” to Ohio was their main priority. While the Republican leadership intends to wait until criminal investigations are complete, Democrats have offered a variety of reforms."

So, in other words, the Republicans are saying, "We won't restore honesty and integrity to state government until the investigation is over."

Probably a pretty good bet for them. Considering how they've run this state, we could be investigating this stuff for a long time.

It Takes A Man Truly Secure In His Masculinity... drive with the windows down on his VW Bug, listening to "Bolero," a 13 minute ballet.

Just to make sure there's no doubters out there, I'm sitting here watching baseball as we speak now that I'm home. (I don't care a whit for baseball until October, when I love watching the playoffs. Odd, I know.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I love that there's such great technology these days that I can

  • blog from the West Palm Beach airport
  • while listening to one of 831 songs carried around on a little device slightly larger than a deck of cards
  • after making a telephone call to Toledo to reserve tickets
and yet we have no cure for the common flight delay.

Monday, October 03, 2005


This is interesting...a story on Harriet Miers' tenure as the head of the Texas Lottery Commission.

Apparently, a lawsuit while she was there, alleging the main contractor for the lottery commission (which employed Miers' then-boyfriend as a consultant) had ensured the company kept its state contract by having a former lieutenant governor keep silent on helping W get into the national guard.

Hmm. Think we'll hear more on this?


In other news, for those of you who come here to hear about me and not just for my incisive legal commentary, Florida is great but very windy. But, it keeps the heat factor down. So, I'm happy.


Does anyone realize it was ten years ago today O.J. Simpson was found not guilty? Just wonderin'. This is how my mind thinks.

Now, THIS makes me nervous

"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she ever met."

Harriet doesn't get out much, does she?

If you like seeing right-wingers in full-fledged meltdown...

Check out this page on FreeRepublic where they're reacting to the news Harriet Miers will be the next Supreme Court justice nominee.

Some consider it a personal betrayal.

Several have gone so far as to suggest that it's a precursor to Bush changing to the Democratic party. (No, really, you can keep him.)

They're depressed and demoralized and not planning to vote next year.

What they don't realize is that Bush is so politically weak right now that this was about the best he could do.

And so they gnash their teeth and attack Our President.

Awww. The poor darlings.

Go check it out. It's more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

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