Thursday, June 28, 2007

Scrambled Bald Eagle Eggs For Breakfast

The bald eagle has been removed from the Endangered Species list. It is being heralded as one of the greatest victories of the conservationist movement.

In Texas, it is being heralded by regular citizens as one more thing they are allowed to shoot. Thanksgiving turkey is for sissies. Why not serve the national bird? Be a real American.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sports Cross-Blogging

It's official, I am a sports bigamist. If adopting the Diamondbacks as an emergency NL backup team to the Orioles wasn't bad enough*, I have now accepted Red's generous offer to be an official BearBacker. My torturous journey to Baylor fan is detailed over at the most famous Baylor blog in the world, BearMeat.

In order to make myself feel better, I also go on a long-winded rant over at Pittman's LSU blog in defense of rooting for a loser. I'm already infected with Baylor sports fever. But I hear with a series of antibiotics, it should clear right up in a few weeks.

BearMeat is the only thing, other than bourbon, which makes rooting for Baylor bearable. Oh, God. No pun intended.

*First place in the NL West after taking two of three from the Orioles! And yes, I was rooting for Arizona.

A Peon Dares Criticize His Betters

It's not often I'm completely in tune with Scalia, but I really liked this footnote from yesterday's FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life decision. (WARNING: the link is a .pdf file)

"[T]he principal opinion's attempt at distinguishing McConnell [v. FEC] is unpersuasive enough, and the change in the law it works is substantial enough, that seven Justices of the Court, having widely divergent views concerning the constitutionality of the restrictions at issue, agree that the opinion effectively overrules McConnell without saying so. This faux judicial restraint is judicial obfuscation."

This is one of my pet peeves of Constitutional Law. I absolutely detest when the Court overrules or ignores precedent without explicitly doing so. I hate pretend judicial restraint.

If the Court wishes to overturn McConnell, it is certainly their prerogative. But to essentially invalidate the holding of that case while then speaking of judicial restraint is just insulting. We're not idiots. I'm hardly an expert on campaign law and even I can see there isn't a whole lot left of McConnell, especially since several Justices explicitly wished to overrule it (Scalia gets jobbed of his opportunity, at least he was being honest about his opinion).

OK, since I'm ranting about academic honesty, let me lay some cards on the table. I disagree with the new holding, and think its just an invitation for election fraud and the further corrupting influence of money on politics. No one honestly believes "issue ads" aren't political ads for a candidate, not even the Court. But at least Scalia in his concurrence had the decency to be honest about what he was doing. I can disagree with his logic (I do, I honestly believe political ads are commercial speech on a topic of public concern, and Con Ed v. Public Services Commission is the controlling authority -- but that's why I'm not a Constitutional scholar), but he's certainly on sound footing when he makes his argument.* The majority decision, however, is based on a lie that they are respecting the previous holding of McConnell. They aren't. I'm just asking for some intellectual honesty. I'm fine with decisions I disagree with. I'm not fine with decisions which are based on sophistry.

You're the Supreme Court, if you want to overrule a case, just overrule the damn case.

*Probably stronger than mine. Let's assume Scalia is right and I'm wrong. That's always a good assumption. Then again, I'm simplifying my argument because you don't care that much, and to make a more nuanced argument will just result in (further) embarrassment for me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Party Time In Waco

I want to point out that you guys (and gals) can really put away the alcohol*. You might have a serious problem and should look into some counselling. I'm worried about all of you.

Thanks for coming to the party. Hope y'all had a good time.

*Ed. Note - Of course, no alcohol was served at the party. No one had a drop. "Alcohol" in this context is just a clever reference to "Coca-Cola". And when I say you need counselling, it is because you are in Waco and you have rejected the power of Dr. Pepper, an always dangerous idea.

And when I say "you", I explicitly mean to distance myself from this sorry and sinful behavior. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Defense of Obscure Sports

There's a good feature article up on ESPN today about Omaha and the College World Series. In it, the author captures exactly what is so great about going to an obscure sporting event.

Cunningham stands in Lot 4 now, listening for the ping of the bat, wondering what the score is while mosquitoes chomp at him. He refuses to listen to the game on the radio. It depresses him too much, reminds him that he's not at the game.

He says Omaha is cowtown in a good way, a growing city that sneaks up on people. It isn't the sports capital of the nation. It isn't even the capital of Nebraska, and that's OK. He sits back down on his folding chair, where the parking lot is dark and quiet and safe. It's Omaha.

"I don't think they'd treat this as special in Indianapolis," he says. "What's the College World Series to them? They've got the Super Bowl champions. We have this and Nebraska football. That's it.

"This makes us feel special."

I went to the CWS in 1995, I think. I know LSU got destroyed by Cal State Fullerton. It was perhaps the most fun I've ever had a sporting event. There were no corporate boxes, no fat cats ignoring the game as the schmooze their clients, no nothing. Just the game and a bunch of fans. It was like we were in on a secret, and in this one small city, the only thing that mattered was college baseball. Well, that and the zoo, which was right next door to the stadium and provided a perfect place to duck in and kill a few hours between the morning and night sessions of games.

It was the way sports should be. It didn't feel like I was watching an advertisement like it often does at an NFL stadium. And you were close enough to talk with the players, who were just as wide-eyed and excited as you were to be there. In Omaha of all places.

I've been to some big sporting events, but the ones I've enjoyed most have been the obscure events. The CWS. The college lacrosse final four. The MLS Cup. The Arena Bowl. The Stanley Cup. It's why I like the smaller sports so much. They are just more fun.

A Very Unsmurfy Ad

Do not cross the United Nations, or they will bomb the Smurf Village. I'm thinking we should respond by eradicating the Snorks.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The BLS Blogs

A belated welcome to the Baylor Law School blogosphere to my Employment Discrimination teacher, Boiler Babe.* She makes the point that blogs can be narcissistic navel-gazing and promises her blog will not fall into that trap. Besides, I’m already caught in it. Here at Poseur HQ we make no secret of our narcissistic navel gazing. It’s why we use the royal “we”.

Also, while we’re doing some housecleaning, a big congrats to Mr. Acosta of “Love, Matt” fame for getting hired on to work on Osler’s Supreme Court brief. Matt says he is now officially overworked and underpaid.

Incidentally, Matt and I recently took a personality test in the CSO, and it turns out we have the exact same personality. Unfortunately for me, he is smarter and more talented than I am. But at least I have the personality of an overachiever like Matt.** I just need to find the talent.

Maybe I can copy off of him in PC.

* I am extremely tempted to call her this in class. But I won’t because she can fail me on a whim. And her tests are hard enough.

** Yeah. I’m sort of surprised, too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Good Times Are Here Again

I'm never quite so happy as I am when I have something to complain about. It is my lifelong ambition to grow up to be a crotchety old man. One day, I'll be yelling at kids to get hell off my lawn. My idols are Statler and Waldorf. I'm that kind of guy.

So I'm kind of stunned to say this: everything is going great right now.

Maybe I'm tempting fate, but I am completely without things to complain about right now. In fact, things are going great. My grades came in and they were the best I've ever had. My brother is getting married in two weeks and I couldn't be more excited. Things are even going well on the relationship front, though I'm staying only cautiously optimistic. I am wholly without complaint right now. How odd.

So, for my own enjoyment, here are completely out of context quotes from the bachelor party in Vegas:

"My brother told me nothing in Vegas is free."

"This is because I'm Iranian, isn't it?"

"Let's go see some architecture."

"Hey, Baker. Isn't that your brother?"

"Why can't I bet against myself? Everyone else is."

"You mean I can smoke anywhere I want?"

"When you say that you've lost the groom, what do you mean by that exactly?"

"I Don't Know played third base."
"Yeah, what base did I Don't Give a Fuck play?"

"That guy really is dancing with himself."

"For the next hour, I'm not talking to you."

"This casino looks like my mom's basement. It's just missing the wood panelling."

"You only get married once... unless you're Stephen."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Steve Is A Moron. The O's Really Suck.

Before the season, I wrote a hopeful post about the Orioles, and gave several reasons why they might be a .500 team. I have since adopted an emergency NL backup team, the team has fired the manager, and they have hired Andy MacPhail, architect of the Cubs dynasty, as the COO. When a team is hiring executives from the Cubs to get better, you have hit rock bottom. So, let’s go back to a favorite topic of my professors, ex-wives, and fellow students: exactly how wrong I was.

The Orioles have amassed about a hundred corner outfielders, they can’t all suck.
It turns out, they can. And they are bickering over playing time. Nik Markakis has been all right, but everyone else has sucked so much that light cannot escape from left field.

The O’s might actually have a decent rotation.
Actually, this is true (insert story of blind squirrel and the nut). The rotation is officially decent. The Orioles’ starting pitching has a 3.84 ERA, which is good for third in the AL. It’s not the 1971 Orioles (four 20-game winners on one team), but it’s pretty credible. The starting pitching has been a bright point. Hell, even Steve Trachsel has been pretty good. No complaints.

The bullpen can’t suck as much as it did last year.
Yeah, it can. It might even be worse now that closer Chris Ray has decided to suck. The bullpen has tallied 18 losses, worst in the AL. The 5.16 ERA is just ugly as well, though not the worst in the AL. In the recent homestand, the Orioles went 1-9 thanks to a bullpen which blew five saves in ten games and posted a 6.00 ERA. Relievers now walk out to the mound carrying a can of gasoline to pour on the fire.

The middle defensive players are pretty damn good.
Roberts? Really good. Tejada? Well, no longer playing like an MVP candidate, but he’s been OK. But Corey Patterson has been cover-your-eyes awful. The good news is, he’s been so terrible, no one has really noticed that Ramon Hernandez has played badly. Simply playing poorly on this team doesn’t make you special. You have to hit the higher reaches of suckitude to get noticed. Which is why I admire Corey Patterson going all out to be arguably the least productive regular in all of baseball. Congrats, Corey. When you suck it up, you don’t kid around. Kind of like when I'm wrong. I wasn't just a little wrong, I was the fighting-a-land-war-in-Asia level of wrong.

No one on the team out and out sucks.
I’d like to pretend I never said that. It’s easier to list the Orioles who have not out and out sucked this year than to list those who have. Brian Roberts. Maybe Miguel Tejada. Every starting pitcher not named Cabrera. End of list.

The Devil Rays still exist.
And they are better than the Orioles now. It’s now a race for the worst record in the majors between the O’s and the Rangers. Luckily, the Rangers have no fans so no one is suffering. About the only thing the Orioles have done better than the D-Rays this season is employing players who do not commit domestic abuse.

So, I'm a moron. The O's suck. And I'm glad my backup team, the Diamondbacks, delivered the knockout blow to the Perlozzo regime this weekend. Time to go all out rooting for the Snakes. One game out...

Father's Day Memories

Since I was hanging out with my brother in Vegas, we started swapping Dad Stories in honor of Father’s Day. I won’t bore you with them, but it was nice that we still have such a vibrant picture of the man so many years after he died.

I can still picture all of us in the backyard, my dad teaching my brother how to throw a curveball while I stood in as a batter to help give him a target. Every so often, my brother would “accidentally” let a pitch slip and plunk me with a fastball. It was about then my dad taught me how a catcher is supposed to tackle a batter who is charging the mound.

I really miss those days. But we lived them to their fullest. You don’t ever know how long you are going to have those you love, so its best to treasure those times you do have. They can end sooner than you think and all you’re left with is a bunch of stories like the time your dad walked three miles through the Badlands to get gas. It’s not an even trade, but it will do.

We miss you, Dad.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What Happens In Vegas Invariably Does Not stay There

I'm off to Vegas for my brother's bachelor party. If I do not return to class by Monday, assume that I have been arrested and send legal counsel to Vegas. My brother has never been to what I like to call The Greatest City On Earth, but he's not the kind of guy who will get into trouble. Besides, we have an incredibly detailed itinerary, and nowhere on there does it say "Get Arrested". Though "See the Bellagio Fountain" is. These are not the sorts of people who get into trouble.

When my mom called me to scold me for taking him to Vegas so close to his nuptials, she was only worried about me getting into too much trouble since she knows David is a responsible adult. Me? Not so much.

I took the standard little brother tact of blame shifting. This was not my idea. I'm just along for the ride. My mom accepted this answer and asked me who organized the trip. I said Alex. My mom then called Alex's mom to have her scold him. Alex is 33. Let that be a lesson, scoldings from mom never stop.

That's what he gets for giving me an itinerary in Vegas.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

TV Icon Dies

Mr. Wizard died yesterday. Now, my knowledge of science can be charitably be described as “awful”, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t watch Mr. Wizard as a kid. What little I did know can be attributed to him. He was the best science teacher I ever had.

Since I’ve been on a kick recently of calling things overrated, let me say that Mr. Wizard was not overrated. Neither was Mr. Rogers while we’re on the topic. Mr. Wizard sparked some kid’s interest in science who went on to NASA or something, but he at least managed to get me to not hate science, which is a an impressive accomplishment in its own right.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Chemical Warfare

Tremble before the gay bomb. Apparently, the US army spent $7.5 million on a bomb that would release a chemical that would make enemy combatants "irresistibly attracted to one another."

The idea was quickly shelved so the lab could work on the Nude Bomb. I think we really are reaching the point where satire is impossible.

Make love, not war indeed.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bloggers and Copyright

In my unending campaign to find things about intellectual property law I dislike, I give you the NCAA's recent decision to throw bloggers out of the press box. Apparently, a writer for the Louisville Courier Dispatch ran afoul of the NCAA in the press box by blogging during a NCAA baseball game, giving game updates with analysis. He was thrown out in the fifth inning.

Now, there is no rule against blogging on the press pass. In fact, the AP consistently gives game reports to the reporter pool. So there can be dissemination of the game without being one of the rights holders to broadcast the game. But the NCAA invented the policy before the game and enforced it. No blogging from the press box.

Now, there's two major problems with this policy.

One, I'm not sure it's entirely legal given NBA v. Motorola, 105 F.3d 841 (2nd Cir. 1997). Statistics from a game are facts, and therefore not subject to copyright law. In the press box, the blogger in question was reporting the facts of a sporting event, which is not a violation of the NCAA copyright. He was reporting a story. The NCAA threw a journalist out of the press box for doing his job. Yet the NCAA freely admits he could continue blogging about the game if he was watching the broadcast on TV.

Two, this is just a stupid policy. You can count the number of people who care about college baseball on one hand. The NCAA could use all of the publicity for the tournament it can get. And it's throwing out people who are trying to publicize an event that barely anyone cares about. There's a very fine line between sports journalism and simple publicity (just ask ESPN). If it's journalism, then the NCAA can't stop him from blogging. If it's publicity, then they shouldn't want to.

Me and my deep love of intellectual property. I never should have married a patent examiner.

Message To Everyone Who Called Me

I'm sorry I didn't go to your party, ok? I was tired from an acute lack of sleep on Friday night. When I woke up on Sunday morning after a mere 14 hour nap, my cellphone listed ten missed calls. And let me tell you, I thank every one of you who left me a drunken message after midnight. Those things are getting saved.

I'm sure you were able to make it to Scruff's without my help. I promise it was nothing personal. I wanted to see you, just not enough to get out of bed.

Though I am a little bitter about missing out on the jambalaya. You know it's bad when I'm turning down not only free beer, but free food.

Friday, June 08, 2007

You Are Not What You Own!

I'm driving down to Austin tonight to see the Hold Steady and I'm pretty excited. It's hard to see a good show when you live in Waco, and I used to spend so much time at the 9:30 Club I think they started to charge me rent. Matt borrowed their back catalog from and is spending the day memorizing the lyrics to all of their songs so he can sing along at the show. I wish I was kidding.

So, instead of just replying over at the Razor, I thought I'd give my Best Show Ever thoughts on my own space. Because these things matter, like when Prof. CivPro asks you in your first year, what is the best show you've ever seen?

Fugazi. And it's not even close.

I was 14 years old, and we took the Metro into DC to see the scary punk band. I had seen a few shows at our local pavilion and I'd seen concerts on TV, so I thought I'd know what to expect. The band plays on a stage and performs for us, right?

Not even close. It was close to anarchy. There was a stage, if you want to call it that, but it couldn't have been more than two feet off the ground. The crowd constantly overwhelmed the band and ended up on the stage, singing along to the choruses. They weren't performing TO us, we were part of the show. There was a total breakdown between the invisible wall separating us from the band. And it was awesome.

And the show was completely DIY. It wasn't at a club, it was an a youth activities center, so a 14-year old could show up and not be turned away because he couldn't drink. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the youngest person there, and I wasn't too far from the oldest. I didn't realize at the time, but the band sold the tickets at the door. It was like $5 or something equally cheap. The band sold no merchandise. They weren't marketing their latest album. And when some kids started slamdancing, the band stopped the show and politely asked that they stop. Ian MacKaye even said "please". I'll always remember that. Here was one of the biggest punk bands on the planet saying "please". Apparently, when they threw people out of the show, they gave them a full refund.

It was a show completely unlike any other. And, unlike Kraftwerk, Fugazi played simple, stripped down music. It was a total rejection of the 80s synth-pop which dominated the airwaves at the time. The band threw themselves all over the stage and we pogo'd until our legs hurt and sang along until our voices were raw. It was a demonstration of everything live music could be.

This is not a Fugazi blogpost.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Paris' Punishment

OK, not only is Paris Hilton in jail, the Man is now going after her former boyfriends. Mark Philippoussis, tennis “star”, is being forced to go on a reality TV show, a fate so horrible I don’t even want to contemplate it. When will we stop hounding this poor woman? Have you no sense of decency, sir?

What’s that? It’s voluntary? He wants to be on a reality dating show? It has nothing to do with furthering Paris Hilton’s punishment?

Then I just don’t understand. I’d rather be ripped apart by badgers than star on a dating reality show. Then again, I’d rather watch Mark Philippoussis get ripped apart by badgers than watch him choose between the 20 year old girl or the 40 year old girl. Gee, I wonder who he will choose? This is as suspenseful as Average Joe!

Booze Cruise

The boat cruise has been cancelled because there is too much water in the river. Am I the only person who finds this funny?

Karaoke showdown tonight. Bradley Thomas -- you are going down.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Steve Rips Into Another Pop Culture Landmark

Sgt. Pepper's has turned 40.

After I wrote about how I don't get the Star Wars phenomenon, why not rip another cultural institution? Because that's that's the kind of guy I am. I don't doubt that it was a revolutionary album and that it blew people's minds when it came out, but I think this may be the most overrated album in history.

First off, it's not the best Beatles album, Abbey Road is. It's not the great leap forward in their sound, Revolver was. It's not the album which to this day screws with your mind, that's The White Album. It's not a bad album, after all, it is the Beatles, but even though no album could ever live up to the hype bestowed on Sgt Pepper's, this one certainly can't.

Influential? Sure. But how much of that influence was good? Bands started to turn away from music they could play live and rock went from a live experience to a studio experience. Bands started churning out concept albums, some of them good (The Who's Quadrophenia), some of them painfully awful (Rush's 2112). Sgt. Pepper's spawned 1970s prog rock, which is an almost unforgivable sin. We can trace bands like ELO, King Crimson, Rush, and Yes to this one album. Pretentious studio albums are a bad idea. Even when Radiohead makes them.

Maybe I had to be there. Maybe I haven't done enough drugs (or any drugs for that matter). Maybe I'm blinded by my hatred of the music which came in its wake. Maybe its my punk rock roots which are 180 degrees from Pepper's. Maybe its that a good live show will always beat the hell out of a great studio album. Maybe its that I just like being contrarian. But Sgt. Pepper's lives up to MacBeth's criticism:

"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Monday, June 04, 2007


The mosquitoes are out of control. They are the size of bats and they have absolutely no fear. Normally, they will at least try to avoid the swat, but there are so many of them that the advance scouts are willing to sacrifice themselves so the others can get a place at the snack bar.

And that’s what we are to mosquitoes. We are walking all-you-can-eat buffet bars. I’m a Cici’s Pizza to an insect. I’m buying citronella candles today so I can sit out on my porch without worrying about getting malaria.

When did Waco move to southern Louisiana?