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.
Sunday, February 26, 2006

OK, Now We've Got Ricky Martin Singing

That means I'll be having nightmares tonight.

anyone else think

...this closing ceremony will create nightmares for half of the populace?

I mean, we've had

  • clowns who marched straight out of a John Wayne Gacy painting;
  • folks who apparently broke into the Star Wars set for some costumes;
  • and what one poster on a discussion forum I was on tonight described as "The Wandering Brides of Italy."
Perhaps a little too much vino, eh?

Olympics Wrapup: Michael's Short Takes

Joey Cheek = class

Shani Davis + Chad Hedrick = both, rhyme with class. Seriously, it got old.

Apolo Anton Ohno = glad he got a gold, for Laura's sake, anyway

Yoko Ono = glad they didn't let her sing, for everyone's sake

Bode Miller = well, he said he liked to ski drunk, didn't he?

Last night of the Ladies' Skating Competition = ok, what did they do with the Olympic athletes? The GOOD ones?

Clara Hughes winning gold, Cindy Klassen winning silver = awesome

MSNBC posting Olympics results on their main page = NOT COOL

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Memo to Professor Harris

Look, I enjoyed Crim Law and Crim Pro with you. But there was one thing you said on, I think, the last day of CrimLaw, that I have to disagree with.

You encouraged us to have all the philosophical discussions we could have on the law in law school because, when we graduated and were out in the real world, those just wouldn't happen.

I'm happy to report you were wrong.

There I was yesterday, having a philosophical discussion with a colleague about a case I'm working on and some thorny issues. These issues intrigue me and are things I've thought a lot about, and now I am living them out in practice.

And, I must say, the theoretical discussion is far more interesting when there's real life application to it.

Hmm, Steve, Perhaps It's Some of the Ills I Illuminated In My Last Post

"Twenty-two astronauts were born in Ohio. What is it about your state that makes people want to flee the Earth?"
-- Stephen Colbert

Now, Here's A Legislative Proposal I Could Get Behind

Greetings from Ohio.

We are losing jobs.

Young people move away in droves.

Corruption? Crikey, Richard Nixon is spinning in his grave at our incumbents.

But fear not: We've got people making sure that gay and lesbians can't adopt. I haven't felt this good since we said the sodomites couldn't marry. (And, since they can't marry, we all know this keeps them from having premarital sex. Have you heard how they do it? Ewww.)

In response to same, State Senator Bob Hogan has proposed (as a joke) my favorite piece of legislation this year: A bill banning registered Republicans from adopting children or serving as foster parents.

According to Hogan, of Youngstown, those raised by Republicans, while "significantly wealthier than their Democrat-raised counterparts," are "at risk for developing emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, an alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities."

Now, unfortunately, Republican Jon Husted, speaker of the House, says that the bill to keep gays from adopting shouldn't pass this year because he thinks we have more pressing issues to deal with.

I can't think of what.

(My favorite detail from the above article? As we are putting more restrictions on who may adopt, Ohio has 3,000 children on adoption waiting lists.)

I'm not sure that Hogan's proposal is so bad.

PS: Author's disclaimer: He was raised by a registered Republican and a registered Democrat. For a brief time, in early second grade, I considered myself a Republican because my dad was. If you don't believe that I cared in second grade, check with anyone who knew me then.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Trip Down Memory Lane, Without (& With) Pictures

A case I am working on right now required me to make two stops on memory lane yesterday.

The first was at R.C. Waters Elementary School, where I attended from Kindergarten to fifth grade. Lawyers, you have not lived until you have applied what you learned in law school in the building where you learned how to add and subtract. As I sat in the guidance counselor's office (which used to be the assistant principal's office), I remembered sitting in there in fifth grade because I had been accused of cheating. (And just in case anyone is wondering, NO, I wasn't...)

There were two changes in the school, and neither were for the better: One was that, when I pulled in, they have added a bus loop to the front of the school. I remember getting off the bus and walking up a sidewalk that was not long, but was still a bit of a hike. There wouldn't have been any safety reason to add that loop (other than to keep the kiddly-didlets from having to deal with the cold for an extra fifteen seconds.) (God, do I sound old. "When I was your age, I had to walk fifteen seconds in the snow to get to the school. We didn't have no freakin' bus loops.")

The other was the far more disturbing. When I was there...OK, if I'm going to sound this old, "In my day," would walk in the front doors of the school (what used to be called the lobby), on the right was a picture of Ralph C. Waters, the man for whom R.C. Waters was named. He used to be superintendent of the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District, and was something of a local legend.

Now, this was not a picture that exactly drew your attention. It was one of those gray-background, 1960s affairs. R.C. looked like a typical 1960s principal: He had reddish-brownish hair, very light complexion, and little horn-rimmed glasses. I always pictured him having a hump in his back as well, but that was probably just my exaggeration.

And that was the sum total of my connection with the man for whom a building in which Ispent my first six years of education was named, but that was enough. I knew what the R stood for, and I knew what Ralph looked like. (Actually, his wife was still alive in 1992. My dad purchasd a 1963 Monte Carlo from her and parked it in our driveway. My mother told him that she hoped he liked it, beause if it stayed there very long, he'd be sleeping in it.)

Anyway, when I looked yesterday, the picture of R.C. Waters was gone.

I find this disturbing on a number of levels. First of all, it was the only way I knew who the building was named after. I don't know particularly what Ralph Waters did, but I knew he did something, and that was enough.

This is how I figure the students of R.C. Waters today are trying to determine the name of their school:

Timmy: Gee, I wonder how R.C. Waters got its name?
Tommy: My grandpa said it was named after Ralph C. Waters, who used to be superintendent of the school district.
Jonny: No, you idiot! [Slaps Tommy upside the head.] Royal Crown Cola bought the naming rights, and Muddy Waters played the opening, so it was named R.C. Waters.

But here's the other disturbing thing: Someone took that picture down. (There are new certificates or something hanging up there. I didn't even bother to see what they were.)

I don't know who. I don't know when. I don't know why. But at some point, some decisionmaker said, "You know what? Why's this old guy's picture hanging here? He only provides kids with a link to the past and lets them know why we aren't named the 'Oak Harbor Elementary School,' so, it's serving no useful purpose. Let's take it down and throw it in a storeroom."

Alas, poor Ralph, I knew his picture well. He deserved better.

(If anyone from RC Waters or BCS is reading this, I beg you, let's restore Ralph to his position of former glory.)

Later, I went to the Oak Harbor Junior High -- oops, now it's the Oak Harbor Middle School. (For some reason, educational types that go to the trouble of renaming their junior highs as middle schools get very perturbed when the rest of the world doesn't follow suit.) Now, things there were pretty much exactly as I remembered them. They've, however, had a picture added, of Mr. Daniel Kalo, who was principal when I was there.

Mr. Kalo was a little larger than life. He was a former (not ex) Marine, who served in Vietnam. When he shook your hand, you remembered it for a week. Screwing around had no place in his school. If kids didn't like him (and I did like him), they at least respected him.

So, Mr. Kalo's picture is a little larger than life, too. (This is as opposed to the picture of poor R.C. Waters, who, even before consigned to the dust heap of the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District, had a very small, square picture.) It dominates the wall, just like he dominated the junior hi -- dolgamit, middle school.

The sound of students changing classes sounds almost exactly the same, but they aren't dismissed with a bell now, they have "tones." (Which seemed a bit of a shame to me, really.)

But, for those of you OHJH -- er, -MS, -- alumni, the most important thing: Mrs. Weber is still there.

Mrs. Weber was the secretary when I was there. She still is. When I was there, it would have been an overstatement to say she ran the place, but she certainly knew what to do to make things happen. And she was also one of the zanier people I've ever met. The person you need as a junior high -- or, middle school -- secretary.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Just Something To Think About...

Out in California, they were supposed to execute a fellow by the name of Michael Morales this week, but the execution didn't go forward.

It didn't go forward because of the concerns that maybe, after the first drug is injected into him, whihc is supposed to anesthetize you and is also administered in a quantity lethal enough to cause death all by itself, he might feel pain when we administered the second two drugs. Intense pain.

So, here's my question.

Did he offer anesthetic to his 17-year-old victim before he raped and murdered her in 1987?

Has the pain her family has been in since then anything less than intense?

And we're worried he's going to have TWO MINUTES worth of intense pain?

I can tell you, I wouldn't lose sleep at night over that.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

All right, if we have to say goodbye to the "West Wing"... least it appears we're going to finally get Josh and Donna together. I've been pulling for that, at least.

Contentedly curled up in a warm condo in cold northwest Ohio, I remain, MRB, Esq.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Own Brand of Urban Revitalization

So, Tuesday was just a long day that wasn't much fun. I

  • started with a 7 AM meeting (!) of the safety committee for the school board I am on.
  • found myself doing a bunch of research I didn't expect to do.
  • found myself dealing with fires I didn't expect to deal with.
  • finished with an 8 PM meeting for the school board, getting home around 10.
Yesterday, while not as long or as intense, was just sort of a blah day most of the day. I got some stuff done that needed to be done and trudged through. I headed for Toledo for a meeting.

And something odd happened to me.

Toledo charged me up.

Now, this is odd because, well, Toledo isn't exactly Excitement City. Some claim it's impossible to get around in.

But, nonetheless, I spent three years living part-time there, and I love it. I know where everything is. I have things I'm used to. Like Barry's Bagels. (Got there, got a baked potato, got iced tea.) And Starbucks. (Didn't get there, unfortunately.)

I think part of it has to do with this change I went through between undergrad and law school. I realized, about midway through my college career, that American University wasn't exactly all it was cracked up to be. And I found that living in DC was difficult without a car, because you were always thirty minutes away from wherever you were going to.

When I got to Toledo, that wasn't the case. And I liked that.

Anyway, being back there charged me up a bit. Being in a meeting about how Democrats will take back the state in November charged me up a bit. And getting food from the Beirut -- that charged me up a bit.

And filled my fridge for the next few days, anyway. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Yoo Hoo, MSNBC

Here's the deal.

YOU want me to watch NBC's coverage of the Olympic games this evening.

I want to watch NBC's coverage of the Olympic games this evening.

I want some suspense.

I don't want to know how Bode Miller or Apolo Anton Ohno fared today, but I do.

Please -- a simple link to Olympic results. SOMETHING.


I'm sorry...

...but this is proof God has a bit of a sense of humor:

Cheney accidentally shoots hunting partner

Damn, I'm Good

Actually, I'm just a heckuva nerd.

But I finally found the answer to a question that's been bothering me for some time, quadrennially.
I like orchestral TV theme music.

(And, in unison, the people all asked, "And WHY doesn't he have a girlfriend?")

"The Mission" from NBC News is awesome.

Both NBC and CNN's election night themes are terrific.

And so on. And so on.

But there was a piece that kept eluding me. It was something NBC used in their Olympic coverage. No, it wasn't that kettle drum thing they play at the opening (I've always found that kind of obnoxious myself.) Rather, it's the music they play in promoting what they'll show tomorrow and is meant to inspire the Olympic spirit and the thought of determination. It's usually layered over some promo like:

"Tomorrow night, we'll feature American figure skating champ Mary Sunshine. She's battled cancer, menengitis, irritable bowel syndrome, chicken pox and a plague of locusts, and is dedicating this performance to her piano teacher's mother's roommate's ex-husband, who died three years ago today. But can she beat Chinese figureskater Trisha Taikwando? Lots of people are rooting for her, none more than her father, who the Chinese authorities say they will execute if she does not bring home the gold."

Anyway, the music under this is very inspiring and sweet at the same time, and I've always liked it, and, much to my eternal chagrin, have never been able to figure out what it was.

It wasn't "Summon the Heroes."

It wasn't "Call of the Champions."

It wasn't anything by John Williams.

Now, I don't know if you've ever searched for a piece of instrumental music on the Internet, but this is no mean feat. Whereas when you hear music on the radio, if you can catch and remember a few of the lyrics, you can usually find the song. No such luck with instrumental music. And they haven't come in with a hum-your-theme-in and we'll tell you what you're listening to search engine, either.

So, this morning, I searched and I searched and I searched, and somehow (don't ask how) I stumbled across the answer. Which I guess I would have had if I had watched more TV in high school.

Remember the show, "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr."? (I did only in name, I never caught it.) It appears to have run for one season on Fox.

The theme song, however, lives on -- as the NBC heart-tugging, inspiration-building theme. And I found it here. (It's listed under Brisco County Jr.)

You don't know how delighted I am. I have wanted to find this song for EONS. And I'm rather proud I found it with no lyrics and just a few good search terms. (And yes, I know this makes me a complete nerd and cements my status as the answer whore for all time.)

Another one of life's little mysteries solved.

I Think They Should Give Michelle Kwan A Gold...

...Just for not responding to this question:

"You're 25 right now and you're going to be 29 four years from now. how does it feel knowing you're probably going to end your career without a gold medal?"
...By either breaking down in a complete nervous breakdown or saying something like this:

"Well, asshole, I've only trained for this since I was, you know, like three years old. I gave up my childhood, any semblance of a normal life, and my parents made tons of sacrifices. I mean, it's only been my dream MY WHOLE FREAKING LIFE. In addition, the whole country's going to be talking about my groin for the next 72 hours, and I'll always be remembered as The Girl Who Never Won A Gold. So, in answer to your question, it feels great. Just great. Now, if anyone needs me, I'll be in the garage with the motor running."
I'm big on asking whatever question you need to get your story, but this was a rare occasion I thought the media could exercise more restraint, decency and common sense. Of COURSE she feels bad. Do we have to drive it home to her NOW, in front of the whole WORLD?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

For A Good Time,

Click here.

CAVEAT #1: Make sure you have your speakers turned up. The sound doesn't kick in till 20 or 30 seconds into it.

CAVEAT #2: Don't turn your speakers up when your kids/easily offended boss is around.

I find it hilarious, especially because this guy swears in sort of the same pattern I do.

And then he has the audacity to write the guy a traffic ticket!

Franken on Funerals

Here's a great piece by Al Franken on the griping going on by Republicans about some of the comments made at Coretta Scott King's funeral.

Perhaps my favorite quote is this one:

Four presidents spoke. One of them, Jimmy Carter, made a passing reference to the fact that Martin and Coretta King had been the victims of domestic wiretapping by the government. Was it a shot at President George W. Bush, who was sitting right behind Carter? Probably. Was that inappropriate? Maybe.

Would Coretta Scott King have enjoyed the moment? I don't know. You know who would have a better idea than me? Jimmy Carter. He knew Mrs. King. Those who are currently complaining - most of whom claim to be offended on her behalf - didn't know her at all.

Sooooooooo incredibly grateful this isn't me

I believe we are getting to that time when they give the February bar exam.

I don't know the exact date because, well, I don't have to take it.

But to my brethren and sistren out there who do: I feel your pain.

Clearly, the hour approacheth, based upon searches that have brought people to this blog like this: practice mbe%22 scaled -- ahhh, the mysteries of the scaled score. essay%22 civil procedure&hl=en&lr=&start=10&sa=N -- don't get me started for the multistate bar subjects&ei=UTF-8&fr=FP-tab-web-t&b=21 -- AAAAAHHGHGHGGGGGHHHHHHH [hides under a table]

meanwhile, all this guy can hope for from me is my rendition of "Accidentally in Love" or "Hallelujah": to Shrek soundtrack

And, for our last entrant? You, sir, are just a pervert. me see and watch sexy lady&FORM=DNSERR

Mark Warner, Comedian + Opening Ceremonies

Last night, in between watching the Olympics, I caught large parts of former Virginia governor Mark Warner speaking in New Hampshire. (There is only one reason someone with presidential aspirations goes to New Hampshire at this time of year.)

Anyway, I'd never really heard him speak before, and I was moderately impressed. First of all, he told his personal story with a great deal of self-deprication that kept the audience in stitches. He indicated that he was the first from Harvard to graduate without a job offer at either clerkship he had worked at during the summer; so he decided to go into business, invested $5,000 in an energy firm and promptly watch it go down the tubes. He then got into real estate, which went under in six months. Then, in 1982, someone suggested he should get into selling phones for people's cars. He thought it sounded like a good idea, and he and another fellow founded a company. His law school friends told him, "Warner, get a real job."

Those people are still practicing law and he's long been out of that cellular phone company he founded called Nextel. (I hadn't known that until last night.)

Anyway, he could use some polish but he might ultimately be the real deal. I know a lot of folks have been comparing him to Clinton; I'm not sure whether that's accurate, but it's worth keeping an eye on him.


A few short-takes on the opening ceremonies:

This is very Ugly American of me, I admit. But I always wonder why Team USA walks into the Olympic ceremonies wearing hats made by Roots, which is a company as Canadian as you can get. Aren't there ANY good apparelmakers in the US?...

The opening ceremonies seemed pretty good to me (although I admit to watching the first half last night, falling asleep around ten and then waking up and catching the rest this morning on NBC's primetime replay.) The only terrifying moment was when Yoko Ono emerged to read a poem about peace. I'm sure that, worldwide, everyone was afraid she might sing...

Luciano Pavarotti singing "Nessun Dorma?" Classic, truly classic...

The lighting of the Olympic torch is always an emotional moment, but I still haven't seen one that can hold a candle (ha!...pun intended...) to Atlanta 1996, when Mohammed Ali emerged from behind a pillar to take and light the torch. (I was barely awake for that one, too...I remember falling asleep and waking up...)

Another opening ceremony moment born out of Atlanta was this. My Aunt Jody, whom I've written about before, would later describe watching the opening ceremonies with my Uncle Tom. Now, Tom is a person very committed to ideas like the beauty of sport and competition, and was literally a split second away from the Olympics in track and field in 1972. Jody was big into design/fashion/visual.

"So there we were, watching the opening ceremonies," Jody said. "Tom was sitting there, tears streaming down his face because of the beauty of all these athletes from all over the world coming together to compete, and I was sitting there, tears streaming down my face, because everyone was color-coordinated."

She was one helluva lady.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Howdy Again...A Few Short Takes

God Bless Anonymous

Two reasons:

First of all, you may recall my New Year's (Years'?) Resolution was to learn to make one healthy dish a year. This has had varying degrees of success, but on Wednesday, hit on one new recipe I'll be making again: Southwestern Black Bean Soup.

This came from a cookbook Anonymous gave to me. So, she got to be the first person (victim?) to try it.

At some point, I will try to post the recipe here but I will say it was good (although the shredded cheddar cheese I added sealed the deal, and that may have diminished the nutritional value somewhat.)

Secondly, yesterday I ran into a logic problem. This is one of those "why I'm glad I'm done with the LSAT" sorts of things, although not really. It was one of those everyday things that some of us are better at lookng at than others, and if you don't quite get it right, it will haunt you for all your days.

Many thanks to Anonymous, who hopped in her van and spent an hour and a half figuring out what I needed to do and where I needed to go and got me back on the right track.


And It Continues To Unravel

On a day after Cheney gets bad news, it appears Bush might be getting even worse news. That Jack Abramoff guy who no one remembers meeting remembers meeting Bush nearly a dozen times, and claims to have been extended an invitation to visit the ranch in Crawford.

Curioser and curioser...


Bill Gates Is Not Getting Any Less Evil

MSNBC tells me when I am in Firefox that I need to download the newest version of Windows Media Player. However, when I am in Explorer, it plays fine.

Something tells me they just want me using Explorer...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Chip Dip for your Commercial Watching Pleasure

DISCLAIMER: Please be advised this recipe is NOT part of the MRB 2006 Eat Healthy Plan. Not even close. Thanks!

All right, team, we all know what Sunday is, isn't it?

It's the day we all gather around the set and watch the year's greatest commercials. In between times, we'll be subjected to a football game which, if history is any guide, will most likely not be terribly scinitillating and will be over in the first six minutes. (I'm rooting for the Steelers.)

Anywho, if you're looking for a chip dip to take to a party or to keep for yourself as you coccoon in your condo (not that I would ever do such a thing, mind you...hehehehe)...this is a Bassett family favorite:

Combine 8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese and 2 tbsp cream. Blend well. Add 2 tbsp Kraft Miracle French dressing, one tbsp. grated onion, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/3 cup of ketchup. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour, hour and a half. Enjoy.

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