Confusion Postale

My parents live on a street that is... how to explain this... it has almost the same name as another street in the same town. So, for example, imagine they live at 10 Evergreen Street and there is also a Evergreen Terrace in the same town.

So, for years, they have ocassionally gotten mail or deliveries for the family that lives at the same number on the similarly-named street (the family that lives at 10 Evergreen Terrace). My parents got to know the other couple pretty well. If they got regular mail for each other, they'd usually just give it back to the mail carrier to take back the next day. But once in a while, if a package or flowers, for example, were delivered, they'd end up calling each other to say, "I have a package here for you," and making arrangements to make an exchange.

I remember there being some talk years ago that one of the streets should change it's name, but it never happened.

Early last year, the couple from the corresponding address called to tell my parents that they had moved out of their house and that it was for sale. My parents hoped that this would mean less confusion, but in reality, it meant more.

Throughout the summer, my parents would find random people walking around their house checking it out. (As my father put it, "They were casing the joint.") It turns out that they were all people who had seen the listing for the other house and had come to check it out.

Last week, my mother told me, "Someone finally moved in to the other house. They speak French."

"Really? How do you know? Did you meet them?"

"No, but they got a package."

"Right, so, they still have the same phone number? You called them?"

"No, we don't have their phone number. It must be unlisted or something. Or maybe they just moved in and they didn't connect it yet."

"But then how do you know they speak French?"

"Well, the package was a video."

"Wait, you opened it?"

"Sure. We had to. We didn't know if anyone was living there."

"Um, that doesn't really make any sense. You opened it because you didn't know if anyone was living there? You could've given it to the mailman. You could've done 'return to sender.' And, besides, how does that show that they speak French? Was the name of the movie in French? Because, people watch foreign films, you know. What about subtitles? Maybe the movie has subtitles. What was the name of it? How do you even know it was French? You don't know any French."

"No, it wasn't really like it had a name or anything. It was just a blank tape, basically."

"Ok, I don't get it. How do you know they speak French?"

"Why else would a bunch of people record a video all in French and send it them?"

"YOU WATCHED THE VIDEO? OH MY GOD! YOU WATCHED THE VIDEO? You not only opened someone else's mail, YOU WATCHED THE VIDEO? I can't believe this! That's a federal offense! You watched their video?!? Mom, it could've been something, you know... (how the heck do I say this to my mother?) dirty!"

"It's not a crime, it was for national security," my mother told me very calmly and matter-of-factly. "We're supposed to be on alert for terrorists. For all you know, they could have been the recipients of the Osama bin Laden tapes. And if we hadn't watched it, no one would've ever known. I'd like to see the postal inspector come try to arrest me."

I guess she has a point. There are no laws when it comes to national security, right? But still... I can't believe she actually watched someone else's video!

"Blonde," she said, "It's not so bad. If the president has to do all this wiretapping for national security, it's the least I can do. Everyone has to do their part for our safety."

Run, Here Comes Blonde Justice!

I hear too many clients telling me stupid things like, "Oh, you didn't tell me I shouldn't keep getting rearrested." Or "Nobody told me I really had to come back to court when the judge said I had to come back to court." Or "Oh, you didn't tell me I shouldn't be caught selling drugs while I'm on trial for selling drugs!"

So, when I worked arraignments last week, I took the judge's slow pace as an opportunity to actually tell all of my clients the rules. It should be interesting to see whether actually being told what to do will (1) stop my clients from making the same stupid mistakes and (2) stop my clients from saying "You didn't tell me...!"

For this little experiment to work, I had to give each client the same exact instructions. (I'll consider all of my previous clients, who weren't given such explicit warnings, the control group.) So, this is what I told them:

"You're going to be released from here today. In order to be released, there are 3 rules you're going to have to follow.

1. Keep in touch with me. This is the phone number and address I have for you. [Read it to client, ask if they have any other numbers... a work phone, a cell phone, etc.] If you move or your phone gets disconnected, it's your responsibility to let me know how to reach you. If I leave a message, you need to call me back right away. It's possible that the prosecutor will call to make a limited-time offer. If I can't get a hold of you, you might miss out. If you don't hear from me within a few weeks, feel free to check in with me.

2. Come to court. Coming to court is your priority over everything else. You need to be here, and you need to be here on time. If you have a real emergency - someone died or you're in the hospital - give me a call and let me know ahead of time, so I can tell the judge where you are. And you're going to need proof of where you were, so you might as well get it while you're there.

3. Don't get rearrested. That means you have to be on your absolute best behavior. No arrest is too small or insignificant to make the prosecutor say 'He had his chance.' This means no loitering, no drinking in public, no smoking weed, no hanging out with the wrong kids, nothing."

Every client, maybe because they were mostly young, seemed to listen pretty intently to the rules and seem pretty pleased that I was laying the rules out for them so clearly.

All of the clients who heard "the 3 rules speech" were released, which gives them all a fair opportunity to follow the rules. I'm not setting my hopes too high though - I know that my clients are my clients because they're not rule followers. And if they could all follow rules, I'd probably be out of business.

Later, at the end of the day, I walked out of the courthouse and saw one of my clients standing in front of the courthouse with some other kids, smoking a cigarette.

Completely joking, I shouted, "HEY! WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT LOITERING?!?"

And my client -oh god, this cracks me up- said, "Oh shit! That's my lawyer!" and took off running!

Took off running! Ha!

Blawgers Fantasy Baseball Reminder

Did you remember to set your Pre-Draft Player rankings for your Blawgers Fantasy Baseball team?

The draft is tomorrow!

Not a Material Girl

A while ago, I was watching some TV show (I hate to admit it, but I think it was Oprah), and they were doing something about how to dress attractively or how to dress your age... I don't know, I didn't see the whole episode. Anyway, they pointed out how a woman in her 50s can look beautiful, but really shouldn't attempt to wear the low-cut jeans that girls in their teens and 20s are wearing.

One thing that stuck in my mind was that they said, "If you wore a trend the first time around, you shouldn't wear it the second time it comes back into style."

And I agree. If you wore bellbottoms in the 60s as a teenager, you were probably better off skipping the trend when they came back in the 90s and you were in your 40s.

I mention this because lately I've been seeing a big resurgence of 80s clothes in the magazines.

I was a little kid in the 80s, so I probably didn't "do" the trends as much as someone a few years older than me might have. But my best friend had an older sister who dutifully kept us informed of every trend and showed us how to feather our hair and what shades of blue eyeshadow "worked" best. We were the coolest kids in the sixth grade, not that anyone else really understood what we were trying to do.

One of the funniest thing I remember was that this best friend and I used to take totally normal sweatshirts, and wear them pulled down off the shoulder. Because we weren't allowed to cut our sweatshirts and there was no way our mothers were buying us the cool sweatshirts that had a big wide neckline that fell naturally off your shoulder. Getting a regular sweatshirt to stay off your shoulder requires holding an uncomfortable neck-ache-inducing-pose to ensure that the sweatshirt doesn't just slip up to where it's supposed to be. I also remember ponytails all the way on one side of the head, which also gave me a bit of a neck ache.

So, I am old enough to remember the trends of the 80s and to think that they look very dated and... how shall I put this... tacky.

Which is why I was so disturbed when I've seen these 80s trends reappearing in the stores and in fashion magazines.

Just for example, in the March issue of Lucky Magazine*, there is not only a little piece on how to properly wear leggings under your dress, there are a few models featured in leggings under their dresses. I'm not too proud to admit that I did this on the day of my 6th grade class picture. Hey, I was young and very impressionable.

Also in the same issue? The very next page, in fact? "Batwing Sweaters." No, I can't remember ever participating in this trend - but it looks very 80s to me.

Same page? "Puffed Shoulder Jacket." Yes, sort of like shoulder pads, I suppose, but they probably know that printing the words "shoulder pads" would be the kiss of death for any fashion magazine.

There's even a page featuring a model in a gold lame jacket and skinny pants. Unbelievable. This is the kind of thing that I'd look at in someone else's yearbook and laugh.

And don't think that Lucky Magazine is the only offender here - they're not. It just so happens that I only had Lucky Magazine in my reach. (Although, really, did you see the picture on page 214? I need to get a scanner. You wouldn't believe this. It's straight out of Sixteen Candles. Which was a great movie, but not my fashion inspiration.)

What's next? Hyper color t-shirts? Lace fingerless gloves, a la Madonna? Will we all walk around saying "Psyche?"

I may not be too old to pull off the 80s look again, but I'm definitely old enough to not want to.

Because, you know, the 80s weren't so long ago that there aren't people still wearing their 80s trends from the first time. And looking completely ridiculous doing it. And for at least 15 years now I've wanted to shake those people and say, "THE 80S ARE OVER! GET CHANGED! LET YOUR BANGS GROW OUT! AND GO WASH OFF THAT TEAL EYE SHADOW!" Hell, there was a girl in my law school class who probably spent hours everyday achieving her 80s hair. It's one thing not to bother much with your appearance - it's an entirely different thing to put a lot of time into making yourself look bad. I can only hope that when she got to her law firm someone convinced her to get a makeover.

And then if we all start wearing 80s clothes as if they're cool, then we've let those still-wearing-the-80s people win. And we don't want that, do we?

*Yes, I realize this is my second magazine-based post this week. What can I say, I'm a complete magazine addict? Admitting it is the first step.

How Low Can You Go?

My five year old nephew got a game called Chicken Limbo for Christmas. "THIS IS ALL I WANTED!!!" he shrieked. (Gee, thanks, kid. Then give back those socks I gave you.)

I was forced to put it together "NOW!" Assembling Chicken Limbo wasn't too tough, and it really didn't require any tools except a screw driver to open the battery compartment. It comes with a chicken (which needs batteries in order to play music and make jokes at your expense), limbo poles (which are the chicken legs), the poles that hold up the limbo-pole-legs, and the bases for the poles.

Once it was set up, everyone, and I mean everyone, including grandpa, had to take a turn crawling underneath the chicken. (Proving that it's easier to limbo than to listen to "Wanna play chicken limbo? Wanna play chicken limbo? Wanna play chicken limbo? Wanna play chicken limbo?" even from the cutest little voice.)

I've added a photo of the game set-up for your amusement. Notice how, even at it's highest, this thing isn't much taller than the little girl? Now try to picture my mother, father, aunts and uncles limboing beneath it. And if you hit the chicken, it makes fun of you!



As we played with it, even the slightest tap (which is really inevitable when senior citizens play chicken limbo, isn't it?) would cause the entire contraption to fall apart. Again and again, we were forced to stop the game and put the whole thing back together. I told my little nephew that maybe when he got it home his father could do something to make it stay together better.

(I was thinking duck tape, but I didn't try it because I wanted him to be able to get it back in the box to take it home. But I thought his father, who is a little handy, should be able to rig something up.)

I took a lot of ribbing that night. "Who put this together?" "Blondie?" "Oh, obviously Blondie's not ready for kids! She couldn't put together one Christmas toy!" "She's going to get us all killed, that chicken almost hit me!"

"That's exactly how it's supposed to be. The thing is a piece of crap!" I repeated all night in my own defense. "You look at the directions!"

Finally, two months later, Yahoo! reports Milton Bradley Recalls Chicken Limbo Game.

According to the article:
Milton Bradley is recalling about 461,000 Chicken Limbo Electronic Party Games after reports of the product collapsing unexpectedly, causing bumps, bruises, cuts and one fractured foot, U.S. consumer safety officials said on Thursday.

Milton Bradley, which is owned by Hasbro Inc., has received 46 reports of the game unexpectedly coming apart and 23 reports of injuries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The Chicken Limbo plastic electronic game has two side poles that do not fit into their bases properly, and the game can completely fall apart if touched, hitting children playing the game and bystanders, the agency said.

Naturally, I emailed the article to every family member with an email address (unfortunately, not as many of them have email as I would like).

For my email, I used the subject line "Chicken Little Recall." Most importantly, I proved my maturity because I managed to restrain myself from using the subject line that I really wanted to use: "TOLD YOU SO!"

Worst. Date. Ever.

I love reading other peoples' bad date stories. WotL had a great one recently, and E.Spat did a whole series ("Top Five Bad Dates Ever" - an actual countdown!) on bad dates that was just amazing. ("Amazing," in that watching-a-car-wreck-where-things-blow-up kind of way, of course.) Sanchovilla finally gave us the story of "the crying date," which was more of a sad situation than a bad date...

So, it's only fair that I give you one of my own. And, fortunately for me, I only have one REALLY bad date story to tell. I mean, I've had a few boring dates, but nothing really countdown worthy, so I'll just cut to the chase...

Wait, first let me say that this probably wasn't even really a "date." But it was definitely a really weird, really bad experience with a boy.

When I was a freshman in college, I lawyered my way around the rule banning freshmen from having cars on campus. Being one of the only freshmen with a car was both a blessing and a burden. A blessing because it allowed me a few roadtrips with friends and an escape from campus, and a burden because I ocassionaly had to drive friends on errands and even make a middle-of-the-night emergency room run for a dorm neighbor.

Early in my freshman year, I had a group of about 6-10 friends from my dorm that I hung out with a lot. We met during orientation and were pretty tight for the first semester until we started to branch into our own groups of friends. Out of our little group, there was one guy that I was interested in, and he was interested in me, but it wasn't like we were really doing anything about it. Mostly we just hung out in the group. In fact, I don't think we had spent any one-on-one time. This was probably only the second week of freshman year, so I didn't want to get too committed to anything too quickly.

This particular boy was living on campus, but his parents lived maybe 20-30 minutes away. Before orientation, we had all received the names and phone numbers of our roommates-to-be. He hadn't been able to get in touch with his roommate-to-be, and figured he just wouldn't bring much stuff, because he could always make the short trip home for more if he wanted. In the end, he didn't have a roommate (I think they had matched him with someone and that person ended up going to a different school at the last minute), so he had a big empty room to himself.

This is where the car comes in. He proposed that if I would drive him home to pick up a few things, I could get a home-cooked meal out of it. I was already sick of cafeteria food, and, probably because I liked him... I agreed to it.

This trip to his house was planned maybe a week in advance. I remember him on the phone with his mother, talking about what he wanted to bring back with him to school and what I would like for dinner. ("Do you eat steak? My father said he would grill steak but I wasn't sure if you eat red meat or whatever...") Sure, I'll eat anything. Steak it was.

We drove to his house. I guess, in retrospect, maybe he was nervous about bringing a girl home. Although, I didn't think much of it. I hung out at boys' houses and boys hung out at my house all the time in high school. Anyway, he started babbling.

He warned me, so that I wouldn't think it was too weird, that his parents don't sleep in the same bedroom. Ummm, ok. How would I have found out? I wasn't planning on staying over.

He also warned me that they had a dog.
"That's ok, I love dogs."
"Well, I don't know, I hope they took care of it since I left, but the dog had a few fleas when I left."

Again, ummm, ok. What could I do about it? Besides not pet the dog? And, really, is it possible that his parents just ignored the fleas in the house for the THREE WEEKS since he went away to school?

We arrived at his house. It was a big old farmhouse. It was nice, or, at least, it had the potential to be very nice. (I've always had a tendency to redesign homes in my head, and I saw a lot of potential here.) But, it was weird. For example, there were cane chairs hanging from the ceiling. The ceilings weren't that high, so I had to duck around the legs of the chairs. I guess he noticed me ducking around the chairs because he said, "My mother re-canes chairs. Well, she's going to learn how." Ummm, ok. She had already saved up a lot of chairs to practice on.

Almost immediately, the dog, a big friendly golden retriever, came running up to me. I'm a dog person, so it was so hard for me not to pet the dog. I was also worried that his parents might see me not petting the dog and think I was a bitch. I know I can judge a lot about a person by the way they interact with a dog, and here I was, walking past a dog that was wagging his tail and trying so hard to get my attention.

I didn't think I would get the tour of the house, but, in the end, he was running around the house grabbing things that he wanted to take back to school with him while his father prepared dinner. So, the tour included, "This is my mother's room," and "This is my father's room." I didn't really know anyone whose parents still lived together but lived apart, but I didn't think too much of it, really, anyway.

Throughout the whole little take-things tour, he was fighting with his mother. He'd unplug a lamp and his mother would scream, "You can't take that lamp! That's my reading light!" and he would scream back, "I'm taking it, I need it for my room!" Then he would mutter "stupid bitch" under his breath and unplug the lamp. Guys, take note: This is not a way to woo a woman. Instead, it made him look like an spoiled little brat.

I felt strangely like an accomplice as he piled the lamps and other stolen furniture next to my car. His mother would turn to me and say, "He's not taking that lamp." Ummm, ok... what am I going to do about it? What am I, his mother?

Finally, we were saved by dinner. We sat down to the dinner table and the first thing I noticed was what looked like a large mayonnaise jar on the dining table... and in it was...

I wasn't sure. Maybe it was something we were going to eat? It didn't look like anything I had ever seen before. He was just plain-old-caucasian, so I didn't expect there to be any weird cultural we-eat-live-octopus-as-an-appetizer-it's-a-delicacy kind of moment. I leaned in to get a better look... It started to look like something I remembered from high school...

"Uh, is that a..." No, it couldn't be. I shouldn't even say it. "What is that?"

Unbelievably, they really truly had a fetal pig in a jar on their dining table.

Alright. I'll try not to look at it. I was raised to be polite. I'll enjoy my dinner and then I'll go back to school. I just have to get through dinner.

I cut into my steak. It was the most dry, burnt and gristley piece of meat I had ever had. That poor cow, wasted. But, I just kept telling myself that I would just be polite, and eat it, and that would be the end of it. Just try not to taste, try not to look at the fetal pig, try not to imagine fleas biting my legs.

I tried to swallow pieces of steak whole with the juice that I was drinking. I kept thinking, "Please, God, let me choke on this so I can get out of here - even if it is in an ambulance." But then I realized choking might keep me there longer - maybe they'd do the Heimlich and then want me to stay and rest for a little while after choking. At some point, maybe I should give up on politeness and make a run for it. I kept thinking about seeing this boy around school, or our little group of friends asking me what happened. I just had to get through this. Even the juice tasted gross.

"Do you have any... steak sauce?" Maybe if I could soak it in some kind of sauce, the steak would slide down my throat a bit easier.

"No," his father responded, "Steak sauce is only for bad steaks."

Yeah, and your point is?

I decided to excuse myself and use the bathroom. I was working under the theory of maybe-if-I-spend-enough-time-in-the-bathroom-this-will-all-go-by-more-quickly. When I went in the bathroom, I realized my legs really were itching. I pulled up my pant legs and saw that my legs were entirely covered with fleas. I'm not exaggerating - I could not see one dot of my skin under all of the fleas. I put a foot on the toilet seat and, using toilet paper wrapped around my hands, wiped hundreds, if not thousands, of fleas into the toilet. I did this again and again but the fleas would just jump up and then land on my legs again.

Enough was enough. I went back out to the table, put my hand on my head and said, "I'm really not feeling so great, I think I need to get going."

A few minutes later, we all headed out to my car, while this boy was still fighting with his mother. "But, I neeeeed this chair!" I slowly kept taking affirmative steps forward. I opened the door to the car. "You nevvvvver let me have anything I want!" I sat down in the car. "But maaaaa!" I put my seatbelt on. "I waaaaant the chair." I turned on the car. "Maaaaa!" I put the car in gear.

Finally, he got in the car, and we sped back to school. I was already deciding that not only was I no longer interested in him, I wasn't really sure I even wanted to speak to him again.

I guess you could say that it's not his fault that his parents are weird and keep gross stuff in their house and don't give their dog a flea bath. Hell, my parents are weird - would I want a guy to hold it against me? But moreover I was really put off by the whiny and rude way that he dealt with his mother. For the very first time in my young college career, I wanted nothing more than to get home to my little dorm room.

I turned the radio up. Please just don't talk to me. Please just don't talk to me.

"Did you like my family? Did you like the house? Did you like dinner?" Obviously not one to take non-verbal clues.

I had to say something right? "Ummm... sure. What was that juice that we had? That was... different."

"Red kool-aid? You never had kool-aid before?"

"No, no, I've had kool-aid before, but... it tasted... different. It kind of tasted like... I don't know... pickles?"

"Oh, yeah. Probably pickles. My mother uses that jug to make pickles sometimes."

Gross.

Back at school, all of our friends wanted to know how it went. I decided to play it cool and not embarrass him. "It went fine. They're, you know, normal." When they asked if I was still interested in him, I decided to play it cool, not tell them what a whiny little jerk he was. "Sure, you know, we'll see where it goes. School just started." When I couldn't wear shorts for two weeks because of all of the flea bites on my legs and everyone said, "Aren't you hot?" I said, "No, no, I'm fine."

In the interest of being nice and polite, I never ever told this story to a single soul. Until now.

If You See A Flashing Red Light, Put Your Clothes On

I read an interesting article in Glamour magazine the other day. (I can't find the article on their website, but it's in the March issue.)

The title was "Click Here For Your Worst Drunken Nightmare" and, basically, it was about the "girls gone wild" genre of porn (that is, drunk and crazy candid amateurs, rather than professional porn stars in a studio), and the promoters who plan parties, encourage women to drink their inhibitions away, direct certain behavior, and make a profit of selling the results, generally through porn websites. One woman tells the story of being at a party, drinking way too much, and having a sexual encounter with her best friend, while her boyfriend begged her to stop. She says that she wanted to stop, but, between the alcohol and the other partygoers cheering her on, she felt she couldn't.

But only the image of her boyfriend kneeling over her and begging her to stop stands out in her mind. "I just looked up at him and said, 'I can't,'... in retrospect, it was a weird thing to say. But that's how I felt. Between the booze and the crowd, there was no way to stop. I cheated on my boyfriend in front of his face."

The guy filming the incident gave her a hundred dollars and had her sign a release. The entire incident ended up on the internet and she felt humiliated.

One of the points the article makes is that for as long as there has been alcohol, there have been regrets about drunken mistakes, but that it is a bigger problem now when your mistake can be so quickly and easily posted on the internet.

I mean, compare it to when I was in college, which was less than ten years ago. If a girl got drunk and did something stupid, most likely there would only be a rumor about it ("You won't believe what I heard she did!"), and if she ignored it, it would eventually just go away. Even if everyone was talking about it, there was rarely photographic evidence ingrained in their memories. And even if photos existed, most likely only a few people saw it, because it was unlikely that anyone was ever going to take it to the photo shop and have duplicates made. And a xerox can only do so much.

These days, obviously, thanks to the internet, it's much easier to take and share photos and videos. And we're not even talking about hidden videos here - every woman in the article knew she was being recorded.

While the article does put some of the responsibility on the women involved, I think it puts too much blame on the men who profit off these women. For example, one of the section headings is "Can women be protected?" But I think the question really should be, "How can women protect themselves?"

I have a problem with the way the article portrays the men who arrange these tapings and the industry in general. While it may be distasteful, are they wrong to try to make a profit off something women are so willing to do? Look at prostitution - commonly known as "the oldest profession." As long as their are women willing to sell their bodies, there will be men trying to find a way to cut themselves in on the profits.

To blame it on parties, or alcohol, or the people serving alcohol or encouraging drinking is wrong, and just plain sexist. We don't let men get away with blaming their mistakes on alcohol - why should we, as women, be allowed to use it as our excuse? I have clients charged with domestic violence or sex abuse, and if they were to tell me, "Oh, I only did it because I was drunk" or "Some guys were cheering me on, so I had to do it," I would tell them that's not good enough, that's not going to get anyone's sympathy. And it shouldn't fly when it's a woman giving the same excuse.

Instead of focusing on laws that criminalize the mens' behavior, the article should instead discuss how women can protect themselves (i.e., when you're getting wasted, stick with a friend you can trust to say, "Hey, put your clothes on, there's a creepy guy with a videocamera here") and why they should want to protect themselves in the first place (i.e., just because it's cool at the party when all your drunk friends are doing it, doesn't mean you won't be ashamed of it the next day, or when your parents find it, or someday when you want to run for congress, unless, of course, your life's ambition is to be a porn star.)

Perhaps I was most appalled though, when someone quoted in the article compared it with rape. Here's the quote: "Saying a drunk girl deserves to be filmed is like saying a drunk girl deserves to be raped." So, being filmed is somehow equivalent with rape? If you do something consensual and regret it later the next day, it's rape? I suppose I can see a small similarity - that the women live with some sort of humiliation after... but I think the similiarity ends there. A drunk girl being filmed has the option of putting her clothes back on! The girls in this article got paid and signed releases! The one woman went back with the cameramen to the website's offices so that they could copy her driver's license for the release... that's somehow comparable to rape?

Again, just as it sets women back to say that we can't think for ourselves and can't protect ourselves by simply staying sober while a camera is running, it does a disservice to all women to minimize the violent crime of rape by analogizing it with a consensual act.

Who's with me?

Meet Bijou!

Meet Bijou, my new puppy. (She's over there, on your right.)

That's right, she's pink and I adopted her.

Try giving her a treat.

See? Wasn't that fun?

(Bijou is dedicated to all of us who work too much or whose lives are just too... insane... to adopt a real dog in good conscience.)

Can I Get a Coffee With That?

You Are a Boston Creme Donut

You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.


I must say, this describes me fairly well.

(as seen on LQ)

The Shoes, Part 2

I spent a lot of money on shoes. Well, a lot for my budget.

And then, I came home, blogged about it, and looked around online...
I couldn't find them in the same color, but I found the same brand and style on zappos.com FOR TWICE AS MUCH.

I had to change my mood to "victorious."

Food? Who Needs Food?

I spent my lunch hour today buying hot shoes. Not one pair, but two.

Because I had to buy a cheaper pair to even out the average price of the shoes after buying a kind of expensive pair.

(Never trust the financial logic of a public defender. It has to be skewed to justify taking the job.)

Sure beats my usual lunch hour of checking email and listening to voice mail messages as I shove a sandwich in my mouth before running back to court.

Aaaah, shoes. You make everything all better.

E-Mail Exchange Gone Bad

By now, I think everyone has seen this at least once or twice. But if you haven't, here I present, lawyers behaving badly:

(The only change I made was to cut the emails so that you can read them top to bottom in chronological order. As opposed to the email that is going around, which forced you to scroll down and then read bottom to top.)

> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Dianna Abdala [mailto: dabdala@msn.com ]
> > > Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 9:23 PM
> > > To: wak@kormanlaw.com
> > > Subject: Thank you
> > >
> > > Dear Attorney Korman,
> > >
> > > At this time, I am writing to inform you that I will
> > > not be accepting
> > > your offer.
> > >
> > > After careful consideration, I have come to the
> > > conclusion that the pay
> > > you are offering would neither fulfill me nor
> > > support the lifestyle I am
> > > living in light of the work I would be doing for
> > > you. I have decided
> > > instead to work for myself, and reap 100% of the
> > > benefits that I sew.
> > >
> > > Thank you for the interviews.
> > >
> > > Dianna L. Abdala, Esq.
> > > ---------------------------------------------------------------
> > >

> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: William A. Korman
> > > To: 'Dianna Abdala'
> > > Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 12:15 PM
> > > Subject: RE: Thank you
> > >
> > > Dianna -
> > >
> > > Given that you had two interviews, were offered and
> > > accepted the job
> > > (indeed, you had a definite start date), I am
> > > surprised that you chose
> > > an e-mail and a 9:30 PM voicemail message to convey
> > > this information to
> > > me. It smacks of immaturity and is quite
> > > unprofessional. Indeed, I did
> > > rely upon your acceptance by ordering stationery and
> > > business cards with
> > > your name, reformatting a computer and setting up
> > > both internal and
> > > external e-mails for you here at the office. While I
> > > do not quarrel
> > > with your reasoning, I am extremely disappointed in
> > > the way this played
> > > out. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your
> > > future endeavors.
> > >
> > > - Will Korman

> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Dianna Abdala [mailto: dabdala@msn.com]
> > > Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:01 PM
> > > To: William A. Korman
> > > Subject: Re: Thank you
> > >
> > > A real lawyer would have put the contract into
> > > writing and not exercised
> > > any such reliance until he did so.
> > >
> > > Again, thank you.

> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > >
> > > From: William A. Korman
> > > To: 'Dianna Abdala'
> > > Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:18 PM
> > > Subject: RE: Thank you
> > >
> > > Thank you for the refresher course on contracts.
> > > This is not a bar exam
> > > question. You need to realize that this is a very
> > > small legal community,
> > > especially the criminal defense bar. Do you really
> > > want to start
> > > pissing off more experienced lawyers at this early
> > > stage of your career?

> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Dianna Abdala [mailto: dabdala@msn.com]
> > > Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:29 PM
> > > To: William A. Korman
> > > Subject: Re: Thank you
> > >
> > > bla bla bla
> > >

At that point, it gets forwarded all around the country.

A few things. First, I thought only public defenders were the only ones who were accused of not being "real lawyers." But, then again, considering this is someone who refers to "the lifestyle [she] is living," I guess it's expected.

In fact, according to this Boston Globe article, "Abdala who described herself as a 'trust fund baby,' was admitted to the Massachusetts bar last year and said that since then she has 'just been taking it easy' because 'I worked hard in school.'" She also reported Korman to the Board of Bar Overseers for ''unprofessional and unethical" conduct.

Not only that, she misspelled "blah blah blah," which definitely requires an "h." And, furthermore, the phrase is "reap what you sow," not "sew."

And, finally, children, we learn two very important lessons here: (1) Don't put anything in an email that you wouldn't want published all around the world; and (2) nearly all legal communities, whether you group them geographically or by practice area can be tight-knit. The best advice is probably to keep your mouth shut at least until you know all of the players.

Pitchers and Catchers Report

We have reached the maximum of 12 teams I set for the Blawger Fantasy Baseball League. Therefore, I don't see why we should wait much longer to run the draft. Once a few final details are ironed out...

First, the defense issue: I want the league to reflect defense and fielding skills. So, despite the votes to "stick with 5x5," I am going to keep fielding percentage as the 6th batting category.

Second, innings pitched: The 6th pitching category is number of innings pitched. I think it's important in a head-to-head league to get points for having your pitchers in the game. As I stated earlier, I also made the minimum innings pitched 14. I wasn't sure, but since no one really commented on that to say that 14 was either too high or too low, I'm sticking with 14.

DL : The Yahoo default was only DL one spot. I thought one was too few, but I think five is too many. I agree that some of the strategy is knowing when to dump an injured player - being forced to question whether they'll make a comeback, and how long it will take. So, I set it at two DL spots. That allows you to hold on to one injured player for a while if you need to, and you can always use your bench short-term for injured players too.

Trades: No limits on trades. If I remember last year right, I don't think there were many trades, and I always wish there would be more trading. (I think it keeps things interesting.) So, no trade limits. The trade deadline is August 13 (doesn't that feel so far away?). That's two weeks after the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. I set it later (1) to encourage continued trading and (2) to allow you to incorporate real MLB trades into the fantasy league. Finally, trades will be reviewed by the league:

About trades: Accepted trades can be overturned by a vote of at least 1/3 of the members of your league. All league member votes, including the one cast by the commissioner, count equally. Even if no protests are made, the trade will not be processed until the time allotted to protest pending trades in your league has elapsed.

Finally, the draft has to be auto. I'm just too busy for a live draft. If you're looking for a live draft, check out Law v. Life's baseball league, which will have a life draft.

Alright, now that we've worked out all the details: Let the draft begin! Here is your notice: THE AUTO-DRAFT WILL BE HELD ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27TH. I will set the draft to ready on Monday, February 27th at noon (assuming I'm not stuck in court). Let's say noon at the earliest, 5 p.m. at the latest. That gives you about 12 days notice, including 2 weekends. So, if you're in doubt about Monday, just have your settings ready by Sunday night, or don't come crying to me. Got it? Good.

Play Ball!

Hung Jury

Alaskablawg's teen blogger case ends in a hung jury.

Jurors vote 10-2 for teenager's acquittal because arguments left 'reasonable doubt'

Great job! A mistrial is ALWAYS better than a conviction.

Alaska: Teen Blogger Waits For Verdict

Alaskablawg hasn't given us an update in a while (it's okay, I understand he's very busy), I've been relying on google news search to keep up with the Rachelle Waterman (also known as "the Teen Blogger") trial.

I can't get over the photos of this girl. I can't look at the photos of her without being struck by how young she is.

According to the Alaska digest, the jury deliberations have ceased for the weekend, and the jury will reconvene on Monday.

One note (the only note that is reported) asked for the legal definition of "engage." That question came Friday morning.

Much more at courttv.com.

Jurors' Clemency Letters Forged?

This story has taken an interesting twist.

Michael Morales is scheduled to be executed later this month. His clemency attorneys, which includes Kenneth Starr, have submitted letters on his behalf, purportedly from trial jurors who now support clemency.

The jurors now say the letters are forgeries, and, in fact, in two cases the jurors' names are misspelled.

Two of the jurors said their names were misspelled on the purported declarations. One said she appeared on a radio program Thursday, opposite one of Morales' lawyers, and reaffirmed her support of the death sentence -- only to learn later that she was one of the jurors identified by the defense as backing clemency.

All five jurors said they still favor executing Morales.

"I am extremely upset and outraged by the forged declaration submitted on Morales' behalf bearing my name,'' said one juror, whose name, like the others, was blacked out in the statement released to the public.

In addition to the two jurors who said their names were misspelled, another juror whose defense declaration referred to reading a recent article in a Ventura newspaper about the case said it was obviously untrue, because the juror had moved out of California in 1985 and hadn't read the Ventura paper since then.

Similar letters were also submitted to Gov. Schwarzenegger's office.

It will be interesting to see where this investigation leads.

Blawger Baseball Update

Gideon and I have been having a bit of a back-and-forth about the blawgers baseball league. And, most likely, we're the only 2 that care, since no one else really had anything to say about head-to-head v. rotisserie, nevermind scoring categories.

In defense of head-to-head: (1) We did roto last year, it was fun, but I thought it'd be fun to try something different. Not that I haven't done head-to-head before, but it's something different in terms of blawger league, and (2) I thought it might encourage players to read their rival's blawg and the smack talking and interaction that I think adds to the fun of fantasy baseball.

Scoring Categories: I started out with the basic 5x5, but felt that I wanted a category relating to defense. I added errors as a category. Gideon and I discussed it, and I've deleted the errors category and added fielding percentage, thereby giving some credit for defense, but making it a little more scientific than errors. To balance the 6 batter categories, I had added innings pitched, which I feel is important for balancing those relief pitchers and closers who pitch one perfect inning with those starters who pitch a few strong innings.

Gideon points out: "One thing I've heard about having IP as a stat: In an H2H league, there should be a mininum number of IPs per week, otherwise people will load up on RP and CL to better their ERA and WHIP." I had left the minimum innings at the default of 7, but on Gideon's suggestions, I've upped it to 14. (Remember, innings pitch is also a scoring category.)

So the comments are open. I've already decided that I'm sticking with head-to-head, for this year at least. But if you have a feeling about minimum innings pitched per week (should it be higher? or lower? I'm open), or about the defense categories, let me know.

So, if you care, give me your comments (about these topics or any other blawger baseball concerns you have) and vote. If you don't care, or have no idea what I'm talking about, that's ok, you can still participate in the league and have fun.

If you haven't signed up yet, email me so I can send you the league info. I think yahoo has gotten a little better each year, but it still boggles my mind that the commissioner doesn't have the option of "invite everyone who was in my league last year." Wouldn't that be simple to set up and easiest for everyone? Point is, email me if you want in. There's still (a little) time.

As for the draft, I was going to wait a bit longer to give the league more time to fill up. (And to give me more time to think about who I want to draft.) I promise to give you at least a 48 hour warning via email and this blog before I set the autodraft to ready.

Blonde Joke

Hey, did you see this blonde joke over at amb imb?

gmail chat?

Does anyone else have this gmail chat?

(I like using the word "this" for things unfamiliar. I got it from my mother. I like it when she uses "this internet." As in, "I heard you can use this internet to buy airline tickets, but I can't figure out how." I always want to say, "That internet? Wait, which internet are you using?")

Anyway, about this gmail chat... I currently have two gmail accounts: a blondejustice account, and a less anonymous account.

Interestingly, only the blondejustice account has chat activated, for some reason.

Anyway, if you see me on there, feel free to send me a message. I want to see how this works.

Puppy Bowl II

By the way, if you get a minute Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl is pretty amusing for a few minutes if you're a dog lover.

I love making football calls - like when one of the puppies runs into the endzone, I say, "Did you see that touchdown?"

Sometimes the puppies will put their paws up on the the walls, checking out what's going on outside the field. I love to yell, "Offsides!"

But, in reality, the only penalty they actually called was when one of the puppies left a little "landmine" on the field. And then this poor young guy had to come out on the field dressed like a ref and clean up the field.

Aah, good times.

Ribs Emergency

You know what I hate? When a favorite restaurant closes. And it's not like it hasn't happened to me before.

But you know what's worse? When you're invited to a Super Bowl Party, asked to bring something, and tell them you'll bring these amazing ribs from this this great little practically-unknown place you've been raving about.

Then, you get up in the morning and call the little rib joint to order those amazing mole ribs... and guess what... they're not making ribs anymore. In fact, I don't think they're making food anymore. (It was pretty much a ribs-and-beer place, I think maybe now their cook quit and it's just a beer place.)

And then you have to spend the rest of the day calling around to find a place that even makes some kind of ribs, and can have them ready for you in a few hours on Super Bowl Sunday of all days.

Finally, you're going to get stuck bringing ribs from Chili's and you know everyone at the party will be thinking, "This is the great little secret rib place she knew? Chili's?"

Back to Playing the Field?

How do we all feel about bringing back Blawgers Fantasy Baseball?

E-mail me if you are interested and, also, if you have any settings preferences.

I was thinking about going head-to-head this year, just for something a little different. Any objections?

(UPDATE: Having a blawg is not required. I doubt this is necesary, but if I get too much response, blawgers will get first preferences, followed by bloggers, then to non-bloggers.)

Perhaps a Beaujolais?

Reading Woman of the Law's two most recent posts (here and here), I was reminded of a recent arraignment experience...

Not too long ago, I interviewed a client who had been arrested for driving while intoxicated. Sometimes the drunk driving clients are either still a little drunk or a little hungover when I first meet them. On top of that, English wasn't his first language, but he insisted that he did not need an interpreter. It wasn't much of a language barrier, but when taken together with a little bit of slurred speech, it made it that much more difficult to get through my usual questions:

"Where were you coming from?"
"A family event... A party. Dinner. Dinner."

"How many drinks did you have?"
"Two. Maybe three. Three."

"What kind of drinks did you have?"
"Um... you know... you know... what you drink with... you know... fish."

Really? Not only am I providing free legal services now, I also have to provide food and wine pairings?

"Hi, I'm Blonde Justice, I'm a lawyer from the public defenders office. I'm going to be your lawyer and sommelier today... would you like me to suggest a wine to go with your complimentary bologna sandwich?"

I was in too good of a mood. I had to play along.

"Maybe a Sauvignon blanc? But I guess it really depends... what type of fish? Salmon? Tuna? Swordfish? It's hard to go wrong with a Riesling. How was it prepared? Fried? Grilled? In any type of sauce? Because that's going to effect my recommendation..."

I don't even know if my client was listening or not, but suddenly he interrupted, "Wine! That's right! Wine. Wine. That's what it's called."

About The Blog

I've been meaning to write an "About The Blog" statement for a while. So, here it is. (I'll eventually add a permanent link to the sidebar.)

Just some general things you might want to know about this blog. Or that I want you to know:

First and foremost, it's anonymous. This was very deliberate. Although I never expose anything of a confidential or a privileged nature, I feel that I must keep the blog anonymous if I want to discuss work at all. And, further, I'm a private kind of person. If the blog wasn't anonymous, I wouldn't have much to say. In fact, I'd almost definitely just take it down. Part of the anonymity is geographical anonymity. I think if you even knew what city I worked in, it might not be hard to figure out who is the blonde public defender in pink suits. Therefore, even if you think you know, I ask you to help me preserve my anonymity. Thank you.

Second, is it true or truthy? Let's go with mostly true. I can assure you I'm not pulling a Frey, but when I feel it is necessary, I will occasionally change identifying details to protect anonymity.



Third, what is the link policy? Eh, it's pretty subjective, but there are two hard and fast rules: (1) If you haven't posted in one month, your link is coming down, and (2) If your blog hasn't been up and running for a month yet, no link yet. This is simply to prevent dead links, and acknowledging that many people start a blog, keep it going for a few days, and then give up.

I'm considering a third rule to eliminate all blogs with pop-up ads. Because pop-up ads annoy me. There's also one particular blog that I love but seems to make my computer crash a lot - I may end up deleting that too.

As for reciprocal linking? Generally, if I notice that someone has linked to me, I bookmark it and try to make a point of reading it for a few weeks so I get an idea of what the blog is about. (Generally, I'm trying to ascertain whether I think your blog will be interesting for me and my readers, since I generally read all of the blogs on my blogroll pretty regularly.) Every few weeks, but sometimes less frequently, I go to blogrolling to delete the links that haven't been updated in over a month and add some of the ones that I've been following for the past few weeks. If you're dying to be linked and feel like you've been overlooked, just send me an email.

Finally, what's up with the spelling? I am, by nature, a bad speller. Blogger's spellcheck sucks. (It doesn't even recognize the word "blog!" How could that be?) Therefore, spelling errors are a fact of life around here. As far as the word "Blonde," no, I did not spell it wrong:
The words blond and blonde come from the French and follow somewhat the French pattern. Blond (without the e) is used to describe males, mixed gender, or uncertain gender. Blonde refers to women or female gender. In modern use, blond is sometimes used for female as well as male, but blonde is preferred for female.
And blawg? No, not a misspelling of "blog," but a variation on it:

Blawg, n, a weblog with emphasis on the law or legal related issues and concerns, often maintained by an individual who studies, practices or otherwise works in the legal field.
Get it? Like b-law-g? Aren't those law blog types creative?

Blonde Justice, Anonymous as Ever

Well, for all my paranoia, I can rest easy knowing that I have not been outed.

Either that, or everyone in the office reads my blog, including the newbie, but he just refuses to take my advice.

The headphones are still on.