Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bleg X 2

Someone who knows me should really get me this book. I have a feeling the author wouldn't like Battlestar Galactica either. (via)

Also, I hate hate hate anonymous comments. If you don't want to comment under your own name (which, if I actually know you, is pretty shady), can you pick a pseudonym or an initial or something? Please?

Books ARE made out of books, though.

Cormac McCarthy is kind of a jerk:
McCarthy has never shown interest in a steady job, a trait that seems to have annoyed both his ex-wives. "We lived in total poverty," says the second, Annie DeLisle, now a restaurateur in Florida. For nearly eight years they lived in a dairy barn outside Knoxville. "We were bathing in the lake," she says with some nostalgia. "Someone would call up and offer him $2,000 to come speak at a university about his books. And he would tell them that everything he had to say was there on the page. So we would eat beans for another week."
He also has odd standards for literary merit:
His list of those whom he calls the "good writers" -- Melville, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner -- precludes anyone who doesn't "deal with issues of life and death." Proust and Henry James don't make the cut. "I don't understand them," he says. "To me, that's not literature. A lot of writers who are considered good I consider strange."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Take that, Texas!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West


North Central

The Inland North

The South


The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Monday, November 27, 2006

Permission to be en deshabille?

Some good posts at Megan's blog about relationships and opposite-sex friends.

Never underestimate the ability of psycho jealousy about completely innocent opposite-sex interaction to destroy a relationship. I went out with one guy in law school (let's call him Guano, because I do) who was obsessed with, among other things, my bathrobe. See, I had a guy housemate, and although we'd dated in college we were by that point totally platonic. But because I'm nice, and not a nudist, rather than walking around in a towel or in skimpy pajamas, I wore a bathrobe. This robe covered me from wrists to ankles, came up to my neck, and was always belted snugly. I called it my burqa; it was even blue. But this wasn't enough for Guano. What if the bottom flapped as I walked down the stairs? What if I sat with my knees apart on the couch? I tried to tell him that it would be harder to see more of me in the burqa than someone could were I wearing, say, a dress, or even a tee shirt and shorts. But he harped on it regardless. He also threw a fit over my going to work-sponsored happy hours which one (partnered!) male colleague also attended.

All this is a long way of saying that if your relationship includes permission slips, there's something way wrong.

Book chairs

You could probably have the top one on this page custom-made by a halfway decent woodworker.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

We used to be friends

Steve has a long post on Veronica Mars. I remain disappointed in the season so far: Weevil's ugly, Veronica's a giant bitch, and Wallace and Mac are mostly absent. And don't get me started on Piz. What a waste of screen time.

UPDATE: Turns out that Francis "Weevil" Capra has been puffy and weird-looking due to medications he's taking for a leg injury (prednisone?). If he's been cut from episodes he was scheduled to appear in due to this change in appearance, does he have a cause of action under the ADA or California employment law a la the Hunter Tylo/Melrose Place lawsuit? (h/t Steve)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Books I Don't Read

- Romance novels
- Glorified New Yorker articles beefed up to 150 pages so they can sell for $24.95 in hardcover
- Russian authors, classical and contemporary*
- Those free books I got in college . . . you know the ones
- Philip Roth or Toni Morrison
- Biographies
- Chick lit with pink covers/clip art graphics of legs with fancy shoes
- Fiction by David Foster Wallace
- Hemingway or Faulkner

- Books about the ____-American experience
- Magical realism
- Police procedural thrillers like you see advertised on the subway (you know, A is for Aggravated Assault, in the movie adaptation the bad guy is played by Andy Garcia and Sandra Bullock is the Mary-Sueish female detective)
- Political nonfiction (some of which are also #2)
- Cormac McCarthy

Feel free to gasp in indignation and tell me I'm wrong.

* Includes that Absurdistan guy but not Nabokov.

Authors I've Given Up On, part iii

From the extremely long Crooked Timber thread on the subject, a nice summary of why I avoid much contemporary fiction in favor of genre works:
Do I care, even the tiniest bit, about the delicate epiphanies of an aging bourgeois, the topic of so many contemporary novels? Well, maybe a tiny bit, but if it’s an aging university professor and his fascinating affair with a student or something, not at all.

The Ur-Luke

In the course of a discussion about whether the pervasiveness of religious belief bears on its truth:
it is astonishing how much convergence there is in folk belief

No, it's not. It's no more astonishing than the incredible number of folk cultures that use the pentatonic scale, or the incredible number of cultures that have a myth in which a farm boy living with adoptive parents encounters a mysterious figure who explains to him that he is the true son of the High King and must battle the Dark Lord to save the realm. Does that mean that there really IS a farm boy who is the true son of the High King? No. It means that everybody has some similar built-in ideas about what makes a good story.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Test

Steve was asking me for a while about whether I wanted to go see The Departed. I didn't; it's about Bostonians, and I hate Boston(ians). But I'd also heard, via this NY Times profile, that it completely fails the DTWOF test for films. The test, for those of you who don't click through the preceding link, is that a movie must have
  1. More than one female character,
  2. The female characters talk to each other, and
  3. Their conversation is not about a man.
This is surprisingly hard to do. A Fish Called Wanda only passes if you include Mrs. Leach's brief conversations with her daughter about getting a nose job. The Prestige fails, since I think the only conversation between women are about one of the magicians. I'm not a strict adherent to the test; if I have some motivation to see a film, it doesn't dissuade me. But if I'm already leaning against . . .

Suri Cruise Mystery Birthmark

This kid ain't right. I'm calling it "scar from fetal surgery to repair bizarre birth defect/third eye."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Favorite Phrase of the Day

"Fugitive Uterus Act"

Delicious Pesto

I made this tonight. It was sooo good, and is better for you than regular pesto. You will need:

3 cups basil leaves (remove stems and bruise leaves)
1/2 cup skim/lowfat ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
4 cloves garlic, toasted in a pan and then pressed
1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt+ pepper

Blend in food processor. Eat. And eat. And eat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Author I've Given Up On

Ender's Game: Threat or Menace?

(Just for the record, I still like Ender's Game, but the Bean-centered reboot with its obsessive flogging of reproduction via Petra's previously independent character disgusted me.)

Authors I've Given Up On

I saw this meme floating around and decided to embrace it.

1. Ursula K. LeGuin: As one of the CT commenters quipped, "Wonderful stage sets. Shame about the cardboard cut outs."

2. Stephen King: Like Robin Williams, he was better when he was on drugs.

3. Lois McMaster Bujold: meh.

4. Gene Wolfe: against my better judgment, I read Sword & Citadel. That was enough.

5. Jacqueline Carey: After the Banewreaker debacle and her disappointing return to alternative-history smut, I've thrown in the towel.

Your additions welcome.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Get well soon, Judge Arnold!

I had heard about this a few days ago, but if it's in the papers, I feel like he wouldn't mind if I mentioned it here. Best wishes to Judge Arnold for a speedy recovery!

BarBri Books

Was one of my first acts as a lawyer to breach a contract?

Someone told me yesterday that you can't sell your BarBri books on Ebay. Since I did this, I was a little disconcerted. I don't have my contract anymore but apparently a fellow bar-taker looked it up at the time and, in California at least, selling the books is kosher. (also)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The flip side of public nudity bans

Show too much and you'll be arrested. We talked about the principles behind that before. There's a proposal in the Netherlands to outlaw not showing enough. The burqa (and the psychological need for the burqa, in instances where women freely choose to cover to escape male gazes) is, to put it lightly, problematic. But I'm not sure that everyone in society has a right to see your face.

N.B. Can't the same arguments about how covering your face insults men by implying that they cannot control themselves be applied to breasts?

Linked without comment.


Show us your papers, or else . . . this.

Imagine you are a student. It's time for midterms; you're up late in the library computer lab working on a paper. Suddenly, the school safety officers start performing "random" ID checks in the library because it's after hours. This is all well and good (it's standard policy) but you're suspicious that they seem to be "randomly" selecting you, an Iranian-American. You're pretty irate about this, and, wouldn't you know it: your wallet's back in your dorm room. They start telling you to leave. You refuse; you're working on a paper, they're singling you out, and anyway, you do have a right, as a student, to use the lab. Eventually the ineffectual safety officers call the campus police to eject you, but by that time you're already heading for the door in a huff.

But as you're on your way to the door, one of the campus cops grabs you! "Get off me!" you shout. And then you are swarmed by more cops, all grabbing you. You go limp. You were on your way out; if they want to throw you out, they can damn well carry you.

Then the cops shock you with a taser. They do it again and again, screaming at you to get up as you lie on the floor, muscles locked in spasm, and shocking you once more when you do not (because you cannot) rise. Bystanders (your fellow students) scream for mercy, then become upset on your behalf. Several demand the officers' badge numbers and, in response, one cop brandishes a taser at them and offers to shock them as well.

Eventually the officers get you in handcuffs and begin dragging you out the door. As they carry your limp, pain-wracked body, one of them shocks you again. For the road.

But don't rely on my account. Watch the video.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


If you want to maximize the amount of liquid cosmetics you can carry on planes these days, you might try switching to solid shampoo. I am strictly a Brilliant Brunette person these days, but when I had waist-length locks I used to swear by their Gentle Lentil (since discontinued, alas).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

And don't get me started on that Bamber guy.

More reasons to dislike Battlestar Galactica. (previously)

I have a pen pal.

When I was in Japan, a very nice, very elderly former oncologist chatted me up on the train and asked me to be his pen pal. A couple of weeks ago this came in the mail. Aw.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I hate podcasts. At no point do I have the desire to listen to rambling blogger when I could read that same rambling in much less time. But video adds something special, or at least a distraction for the eye.

All this is prelude: would anyone be interested in videoblogging on this site?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mmm, burritos.

Lovers of Judge Friendly's chicken opinion will enjoy hearing about this case, which settled this pressing question: what is a sandwich? Answer: not a burrito. (via)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Bake: Tropical Edition

To brighten up a dreary day and to provide snacks for our gaming, I made two yummy baked treats this weekend: pineapple upside-down cake and lime bars. The lime bar crust is made of animal crackers and butter, and the cake was delightfully sweet, if oozy. The recipes are from Cook's Illustrated Online, to which I have recently subscribed.

(I won at Trivial Pursuit, as usual. *preens*)

UPDATE: The pineapple upside-down cake recipe is here.


Justice Scalia on female law clerks:
"Other things being equal, if there's a male applicant and the female applicant, and there's no other distinguishing factors between them, I will take the female because she's a civilizing influence."

(h/t Steve)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Establishment of religion

Why is it that the BlueBook contains citation formats for every international source known to mankind but does not include those for religious sources other than the Bible?

Stub bonus

Weekend cat blog from elsewhere: three-pawed kitten.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Brad Pitt is not hot.

At Throwing Things, they're hashing out hot versus pretty. I like this:
see, I have this slight problem where all the men I find attractive are a la Edward Rochester.
As long as we're talking pre-fire, I agree.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Supreme Court : Kennedy :: Senate : Lieberman :: Executive : _____?

I also thought it might be a good time to link to this old faux-expose of White House secrets. So many personnel changes.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I am old, I am old

Or maybe it's just that I no longer live on the West Coast. Staying up for election returns (especially when squeakers are likely to be drawn out for weeks) is just not fun anymore.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All opposition to military recruiting is wrong?

I was going to write a long post on why this is totally absurd, but it looks like the commenters are taking care of any arguments I would have made.

Feminism is not a dating service

Or is it?

This cannot end well.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Follow the hawk.

Borat roundup here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Fashion Bleg

I am looking for a trenchcoat with the following properties:

- Waterproof
- Has removable liner
- Available in buff/khaki/taupe (basically, not black)
- Available in petite sizes
- Stylish (or at least not frumptastic)

Any ideas?

Friday, November 03, 2006


Karaoke songs sung by this blogger: zero
In-N-Out products consumed: zero
Billable hours billed today: 3.5
Hits in my Lexis search: 648
Alcoholic beverages consumed since arrival in LA: zero

I am no fun.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Puttin' on the Ritz

Did you know the Huntington Gardens closes at 4:30pm in the fall? Rats. No pretty flowers for me.

In other news, I am in a fancy hotel. GN: no rubber chicken. BN: really tasty cookies, all the time. I am starting Calorie Restriction when I get back, with the emphasis on the latter part of the sentence.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Southern California wants to be Western New York

Or not, at this time of year. I'll be in L.A. for a work thing until Friday, but blogging will continue unless I dump an In-N-Out strawberry shake on the keyboard.