Saturday, December 18, 2004

Quick Update

It's been awhile since I've posted, and I know that both of you have been waiting with baited breath for an update.

First, let me say how utterly thrilled I am that the Texas Longhorns will be playing in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day. I love the fact that Mack Brown is unapologetically for pushing the voters to take a closer look at his team. Texas has gotten the short end of the stick in the BCS for several years. We deserve this bid. We are a better team than Cal. So they had a close game against USC, big deal. We had the same with OU. But we're 4-1 against top 25 teams, Cal is 1-1. We play in the Big XII, they're in the Pac-10. I'm really looking forward to the game against Michigan. Hook 'em!

Last weekend, I ran the final leg of the relay in the White Rock Marathon. Our relay team consisted of me, my dad, Jason (who ran the Marine Corps marathon with me), Andre (who works with my dad), and Mr. Pop (a family friend). We ended up finishing in 4 hours and 8 minutes, which is pretty good considering my dad (who will be 60 in February) ran 14 minute miles. I ended up doing my 10K portion in about 48 minutes. It was a fun race, but unfortunately I caught a cold afterwards and have been under the weather since. Nonetheless, I think I also caught the marathon bug again and am seriously considering running The Cowtown in late February.

That's all for now. I'm hungry. Time for breakfast.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Results

The 2004 Marine Corps Marathon was by far the hardest of any marathon I've run. It was also my slowest time since 2001's New York City Marathon. My chip time was 04:41:52, or right at 10:45 per mile. I ran the second half of the marathon 21 minutes slower than the first half. It was unseasonably warm (mid-70s) and humid. I've never felt my legs cramp as much as they did on the final 10k. I did fare better than my training partner, whose legs pretty much locked up on him around mile 18. We separated at that point, but he ended up finishing only about 6 minutes behind me.

Despite the aches and pains, this was probably the most emotional marathon I've run, especially with its uphill finish towards the Iwo Jima Monument.

Now my sister wants to run a marathon. Guess I'll have join her. But that will be my last one.

Again.

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Final Run... For Awhile

In two hours, I will be headed to the airport to depart from our nation's capital. On Sunday, I'll be running in the 29th Marine Corps. Marathon. This will be my fifth marathon in four years, and I have sworn it will be my last, at least in the immediate future. During law school, I ran the Mardi Gras Marathon twice and the New York City Marathon once. While clerking, I ran the Houston Marathon.

I've been training for this marathon with a buddy who is six years my junior. It's the first time I haven't been in better shape than my training partner. It's been quite a humbling experience. I've also not been able to dedicate as much time to cross-training as I have in the past. Working full-time as a commercial litigator tends to curtail those 2-hour long gym excursions. The lack of additional conditioning and the time commitments of my job have taken their toll, and, while I'm very excited about the race, I'm also looking forward to sleeping in on Saturdays, as opposed to getting up at 4:45 a.m. so I can jog 18 miles before the Texas heat and humidity makes it unbearable.

Upon our arrival in D.C., we will be met by Canon Manning, older brother of Colin, who hosts HawaiianShirtFriday, the liberal antedote to Dedman's conservative commentary. I got to be friends with Canon during law school, when he would come to town to visit his brother (read: New Orleans).

Canon, my roommate Kyu Chan, and I eventually formed a band, Poncho, Lefty, & Drunky, that played a few parties here and there. Canon played the drums. Well, he played a drum. He could only check a snare on the plane. One time, during Mardi Gras, Canon bought some bongos, and we played a short set on the neutral ground (where the street car runs) in between parades. We like to tell people we played in front of thousands. Gosh, if only we had pursued our musical careers. We were geniuses!!!

I'll report back after the race.

Friday, October 22, 2004

So long, TEX

Sad, but true.

The Texas Enrollment Exchange, more commonly known as TEX, has finally met its demise. I still recall my first encounter with TEX during the freshman summer orientation of 1995. I was on the 13th floor of Jester Dormitory, desperately trying to put together a schedule that would allow me to sleep until noon.

As Dedman would say -- alas.

Monday, October 18, 2004

They're Texas

Dedman sarcastically proclaimed his astonishment when the New York Times endorsed John Kerry. But what about The Daily Texan editorial board? Not surprisingly, they too opted for the junior senator from Massachusetts.

Lone gone are the days when Dedman and his vast right-wing agenda controlled the op-ed page at UT.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Sinus, Virus, Football

Yesterday morning I went to see my doctor after a week of feeling stuffed up and achy. I'd tried to kick my cold/flu-like symptoms with every over-the-counter drug I could find. Unfortunately, I still awoke each morning unable to breathe and feeling like my head was in a vacuum chamber.

Thankfully, my doctor is also a family friend and was able to schedule me an appointment within 1 hour of my request. I arrived to a sea of sick souls wading miserably the waiting room. Quickly, I was ushered directly to see the doctor, where she informed me that I had both a sinus and a viral infection. Ugh. After prescribing some heavy duty drugs, I was sent on my way. Rather than head to the office, I decided to take the day off and spent another four to five hours asleep.

Now it's Saturday morning and, although I feel better, I am still as stopped up as a clogged drain. But what will I do with my day? I'm one of those people who abhors being bored. I cannot stand to do nothing.

Thankfully, today's football schedule is full of Big XII action. At 11 a.m., I will watch Kansas State take on OU, hopefully handing the Sooners the first of the two losses they must amass to give my Longhorns a shot at the National Championship.

After that, Texas welcomes Missouri to Austin. This will be a tough game. Mizzou has the highest-ranked defense in the Big XII and a gifted athlete at QB. Plus, Texas is without Tony Jeffryes, the only wide receiver to show any spark this year. If the passing game is stagnant (as it was against OU), this could be rough.

Finally, I will cap off the evening with Texas A&M versus Oklahoma State. The Ags are much improved from the team that was stung by Utah in the season opener. Despite the fact that A&M is supposedly Texas big in-state rivalry, I'll be cheering for them. In truth, I cheer for the Longhorns first and foremost, then Texas teams (with the exception of Texas Tech -- for obvious reasons), then Big XII south teams, the Big XII north teams, and then whoever has a chance to knock off a team ranked higher than Texas in the polls.

So it looks to be a fine Saturday of rest, relaxation, and football. Here's hoping the stress of the TX-Mizzou game doesn't result in a backslide -- both in terms of the Longhorn season and my illness.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Dell 4 Eva

I am very pleased with my Dell DJ. Works great in the car. Love it at work. Sure, some will call it the poor man's Ipod. But to me, it's a smart way to go. It's a solid piece of equipment that gets the job done. And at least $100 less than Apple would've charged me. Hey, I'm all for style. But Dell has done a great job putting together a nice little unit that, while admittedly not as "hot" as the Ipod, has a simple, stream-lined look and an ease of use that has me smiling.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Much Music

Having had several friends purchase Ipods over the past several months, I've toyed with the idea of shelling out some cash for one of my own. But don't let the $299 price tag deceive you. You will also need several accessories to complete your digital music experience, none of which are included with the basic purchase. Dismayed at a $400+ price tag, I routinely put off buying my own nifty little gadget.

And then a colleague suggested checking out the Dell DJ. The reviews were good. I also check one out at a Dell kiosk at the mall. Sure, it's not quite as sexy as Apple's machine, but it does darn near everything the Ipod does--and at a cost which doesn't put near as big of a strain on my wallet.

So, for about half what the Ipod (and the requisite accessories--cradle, auto kit, carrying case, stereo hookups) would have cost me, I ordered a Dell DJ yesterday afternoon. I'll let you know my thoughts upon its arrival.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Deadbeat blogger: I think not

With one day to spare, I triumphantly post this entry. I can only assume that somewhere Jim is a bit disappointed. Such is life.

I will be better this month.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Less is Moore

Let me start by pointing out that I have not seen Farenheit 9/11. As far as Michael Moore's esteem as a filmmaker, I cannot provide a satisfactory opinion, having only seen bits and pieces of Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine. (They were on my rent list, but the last time I was at the video store I opted for The Real Cancun. Who wouldn't?)

Over the past year, however, I have observed Moore's increasing presence on television, not to promote his films--though I'm sure it doesn't hurt--but instead to provide firery rhetoric as a very vocal, anti-Bush advocate.

Recently, Moore has been covering the Republican National Convention for USA Today. I happened upon his commentary regarding the Bush twins recent appearance at Madison Square Garden. I was initially surprised by his seemingly apolitical--and quite complimentary--description of what he saw:

I loved the Bush daughters: They were funny, sassy and free spirits. Back in 1999, they told their father in no uncertain terms that they did not want him to run for president. They wanted their dad at home, they wanted their privacy, and they wanted to go to college in peace. He chose to ignore their pleas — and I guess Tuesday night was their way of saying, "Thanks, Dad."

And thank him they should. He and Laura have obviously done a good job raising two bright, independent women. He made their privacy a top priority and did what he could to protect them. They clearly love their parents and, when you see that happen, you know the Bushes did something right in their home. For that, they should be commended.

Quickly, however, Moore returned to what he knows best:

Other fathers and mothers who loved their daughters and sons across America can no longer celebrate with them. That's because their children are dead on the streets and roads of Iraq, sent there by Mr. Bush to "defend" America.

Ah, well. So much for that.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Get Up, Stand Up


Another citizen exercising his inherently American right to protest.

Sort of.

For an irreverent perspective on protest, take a look at the "Give Me Your Tired Slogans" and "NY Protestors" posts over at Dedman's blog. Be sure to check out the comments. I'm curious to see Jim's response.

 Posted by Hello

Sunday, August 29, 2004

She Used to Be His Girl


A disturbed misanthrope looks on as his obsession stares longingly into the eyes of her soulmate. Posted by Hello

(Note: This blog is now photo-enabled.)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Not Kerry Funny

The other night, Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry appeared on The Daily Show. Personally, I don't really know what to think of Kerry. He's always seemed a bit bland to me. He's not as dynamic and engaging as Edwards or Obama, both of whom I find energizing and encouraging. Still, I thought Kerry did okay last night.

But don't tell that to the writers at Slate:

Kerry's charisma was less than zero: It was negative. He was a charm vacuum, forced to actually borrow mojo from audience members. He was a dessicated husk, a tin man who really didn't have a heart. His lack of vibrancy, his utter dearth of sex appeal made Al Gore look like Charo.

...

Watching Kerry strike out was especially heartbreaking given that Stewart was pitching not just softballs but marshmallows. Puffy interview marshmallows with rainbow sprinkles on them, and Kerry was letting them sail by as if he planned to get to first base on a walk.

...

And then, when the interview was over and Kerry rose to leave, he caused audible groans in my household by saluting the audience (just as he did at the opening of his convention speech: "John Kerry reporting for duty." Lieutenant Kerry, your first order is to stop saluting the audience. It makes you look like a total tool).

...

The struggle on Stewart's face was visible but, eager to put his distinguished (and less-than-flexible) guest at ease.... When it comes time for the debates this fall, the Bush camp won't be so kind.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

"I got no more use for this guy."

My Cousin Vinny. This is the line I wish I had used during my one and only trial (so far, that is). Absolutely the perfect way to dismiss a witness.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

A Lesson in Etiquette

I quote verbatim a recent order from Federal District Court Judge Sam Sparks:
BE IT REMEMBERED on the 21st day of July 2004 and the Court took time to make its daily review of the above-captioned case, and thereafter, enters the following:

When the undersigned accepted the appointment from the President of the United States of position now held, he was ready to face the daily practice of law in federal courts with presumably competent lawyers. No one warned the undersigned that in many instances his responsibility would be the same as a person who supervised kindergarten. Frankly, the undersigned would guess the lawyers in this case did not attend kindergarten as they never learned how to get along well with others.

Notwithstanding the history of filings and antagonistic motions full of personal insults and requiring multiple discovery hearings, earning the disgust of this Court, the lawyers continue ad infinitum. On July 20, 2004, the Court's schedule was interrupted by an emergency motion so the parties' deposition, which began on July 20, would and could proceed until 6:30 in the evening. No intelligent discussion of the issue was accomplished prior to the filing and service of the motion, even though the lawyers were in the same room. Over a telephone conference, the lawyers, of course, had inconsistent statements as to the support of their positions. On July 20, 2004, the Court entered an order allowing the plaintiffs/counter-defendants until July 23, 2004 (two days from today) to answer a counterclaim . Yet, on July 21, 2004, Bodyworx .com, Inc.'s lawyers filed a motion for reconsideration of that Court order arguing the pleadings should have been filed by July 14, 2004.

The Court simply wants to scream to these lawyers, "Get a life" or "Do you have any other cases?" or "When is the last time you registered for anger management classes?" Neither the world's problems nor this case will be determined by an answer to a counterclaim which is four days late, even with the approval of the presiding judge. If the lawyers in this case do not change, immediately, their manner of practice and start conducting themselves as competent to practice in the federal court, the Court will contemplate and may enter an order requiring the parties to obtain new counsel.

In the event it is not clear from the above discussion, the Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.

/s/ Judge Sam Sparks

Health and Happiness

Not one known for my political blogging, I do frequent various other sites dominated by the donkeys and elephants of the day. Here's an interesting excerpt from an opinion on healthcare written by Peter Z. Grossman of the Indianapolis Star:
Actually, there is one way that the government might lower costs. It's the same way that all countries with socialized medicine keep costs down. They limit access to care. In Canada, for example, it can take months for a patient to get a test that hospitals here order the same day. People literally die waiting for their medical tests. This is a way of transferring the costs back to the patient. You want a CAT scan? Stand in a long line until a unit is free. As our government becomes more involved with health care, it too can ration care, but that just trades one problem for another. We go from under-insurance of patients... to under-provision of care.

All the talk of health care reform brings to mind a conversation I recently had.

An acquaintance intimated that she was canceling the family insurance plan provided by her employer because of the increasing cost. Instead, she intended to maintain health insurance only for herself. I asked what she intended to do when her children (she has two) got sick. Without hesitation, the woman responded, "JPS."

For those unfamiliar, JPS is a tax-supported medical program offered to eligible Tarrant County residents by JPS Health Network. JPS is available for clients that do not have Medicaid, Medicare with prescription benefits or any medical coverage that covers all or part of medical services and prescription pharmaceutical costs.

I find this woman's actions disconcerting. She is not without the means to afford adequate healthcare. Nor is she uneducated or ignorant. She simply wants more take-home pay at the end of the month and does not see any reason to provide her children with insurance -- especially when there is "free" healthcare available at JPS.

What is perhaps even more troubling is the thought that this woman is probably one of thousands if not millions who share a similar sentiment.

When I learn of people making these type of decisions, I have difficulty seeing the benefits of socialized healthcare. It seems at times that we live in a society whose members are devoid of personal accountability.

Socialism works when we all act as members of society. When we start abusing the system, how can we hope for it to succeed?

New Commentary

I dropped Squawkbox and am now using Blogger's comment function. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Longhorn Pride

While it might seem strange to some, I cannot help but feel a swell of pride at the actions of two Texas-Exes over the weekend. First, Lance Armstrong crossed the finish line Sunday in Paris for a record sixth Tour de France title. Second, Ricky Williams retires just as his NFL career is taking off.

Why do such seemingly opposite situations encourage me to proudly wear my burnt orange?

Because in each circumstance, Lance and Ricky were following their hearts and dreams to pursue and realize those goals which make them individually happy.

To each, I say, the eyes of Texas are admirably upon you.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Early Saturday

I woke up 15 minutes ago -- 5:40 a.m. on a Saturday. Why? Because I've signed up to run the Marine Corps Marathon in late October.

What does that have to do with getting up at the butt-crack of dawn?

Saturday mornings are long run days. Today, I'm putting in 11 miles, which isn't so bad. But over the next three and a half months, the mileage will grow. Eventually, I will probably get up to about 20 miles during my training. (The marathon itself is 26.2 miles.) Running that much takes time. And Texas in July gets pretty hot pretty early. The idea is to get the training run in before that blistering sun comes out and jacks the temperature into the high nineties.

Good stuff.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

A Melee of Mellies, Part One

From the League, here are my incomplete nominations for the 2004 Mellies....

Most loathsome movie (theatrical release)
The Matrix Revolutions. The original was fantastically entertaining. Reloaded raised enough questions to keep me interested. The finale was endlessly disappointing.

Best television commercial
This Honda commerical. According to numerous websites, this ad was shot in one take. Not true. My sister works for The Mill, who did the post-production effects.

Least tragic event
The kidnapping of Audrey Seiler. The survellience video of this University of Wisconsin-Madison sophopmore was replayed for days on major news networks. Turns out, she faked her own abduction. Oops.

Best item at Taco Bell
Mexican Pizza. Two crisp pizza shells filled with seasoned ground beef, hearty beans and then topped with pizza sauce, a blend of three cheeses - cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella, melted to perfection and topped with diced ripe tomatoes and fresh green onions.

Best book you read
"Reefer Madness" by Eric Schlosser. Three essays on illegal "underground" enterprises. Engrossing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Hawaiian Shirt Friday

It was only a matter of time. My law school buddy, Colin Creighton Swindle "Cracka" Manning, has entered the land of blogs.

I met Colin during my first year in law school. He was the annoyingly loud guy who always seemed to speak up in class, though was never called on by the professor.

After a semester or so, I was invited to play poker at his house just off Tchoupitoulas, where I successfully avoided being shot by local drug dealers on my way in the front door. We spent a summer clerking together at a now-defunct insurance defense firm (nothing big, just a disbarment of one of the named partners).

Amazingly, our friendship endured the rigors -- yeah, right -- of legal education, and Colin ended up an usher in my wedding. Throughout our three years living in the Big Easy, we shared break-ups, engagements, more break-ups, intersting thank-yous, numerous golf outings, and quite a few hangovers.

In the meantime, I merely note the coincidences of life.

Colin went to under grad at Baylor, where Dedman attended law school. After I left New Orleans, I met Dedman at the 14th Court of Appeals, where we both clerked. Colin is ultra-liberal. Dedman is uber-conservative. Colin is friends with Molly, who is friends with Dedman. Molly helped Colin set up his blog. This, quite naturally, begs the question -- does Colin know Dedman? And does Dedman know Colin? And does Molly know me?

Am I the MAN?

HELL YES.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Austin Remembrance, Part 1

I'm a bit late jumping into the fray, but here goes....

Liberty Lunch.
Not necessarily a beautiful venue, but it still brings a smile to my face. I saw countless shows standing on the uneven, concrete floor. The best was probably The Refreshments, a band best known for the poppy tunes, "Down Together" and "Banditos" ('everybody knows, that the world is full of stupid people'). It was one of those rare shows that seemed to go beyond a good performance. As cliche as it sounds, there was a connection between the audience and the band that unfortunately doesn't happen that often. (For those interested, after the breakup of The Refreshments, Roger Clyne went on to form Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, which highlights Clyne's country-tinged songwriting style amidst the backdrop of the Arizona/Mexico border.)

I also recall going to see performances by 3 Penny Opera, a band fronted by my college friend, America Alva. Sadly, the members of 3P0 also went their separate ways a couple years ago.

Oh, and for those who read my recent entry about Better Than Ezra, you'll be happy to know that in 1996 I was kicked out of a BTE show at Liberty Lunch for trying to drink a beer underage. Ah, the good old days.

More to come....

Thursday, June 10, 2004

SoBe It

Back from the land of the beautiful people. My wife and I took an extended weekend in Miami, Florida to celebrate our one year anniversary. (I'm not sure what they say about the years of marriage, but the first was quite nice. Looking forward to many, many more.) We stayed at the Lily Leon, a boutique hotel on Collins Avenue, two blocks from the white sands of South Beach. The food was great. The Delano was hip. The nightlife was exhausting.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Rockstar

Friday night, my wife, a group of friends and I headed east to Dallas to catch a show by the highly-underrated band, Better Than Ezra. (BTE's last release, "Closer," was one of the best albums of 2001. Sadly, the band's record label encountered troubles which led to bankruptcy. As a result, "Closer" received almost no radio or video support and slid quietly into the background amongst the clammer of Britney Spears and her cohorts.) The gig took place at a newly-opened venue, Firewater Bar & Grill. Great place for live music.

When we arrived, my friend Joe suggested we all enter a drawing to win a meet-and-greet with the band after the show. Sure, why not? About an hour later, after the warm-up act had finished their set, a local d.j. began pulling names out of a hat for the prize. I recall my buddy Adam saying to me during the drawing, "you'll be the last name called."

Surprise, surprise -- his prediction proved true.

Now, as BTE took the stage, I was pretty pumped. I also figured, what the hell, let's have a few drinks. By the time the band was 3/4 of the way through their playlist, I was feeling quite euphoric.

This elation only escalated when I was picked as the "No. 2 Guy" to aid the band in their rendition of "This Time of Year." (BTE asks the audience if anyone knows how to play a particular song. Amongst the numerous volunteers -- drunk guys who scream out "I can play it!" -- the band picks a lucky individual to come on stage and strum the guitar part. As the "No. 2 Guy," I was on-deck in the event that the first guy chosen messed it up. Unfortunately, the "No. 1 Guy" could actually play the song. Bummer for me, good for him.)

Anyway... the set eventually ends, and I'm ready to go backstage. My wife has encouraged me to take Adam instead of her (the pass only allows one guest), so we saunter casually to the backstage area, i.e. the parking lot. After getting clearance from the doorman, we make our way towards the band, who are smiling and signing autographs.

All in all, the meet-and-greet lasts about five minutes. Then the band takes off to their tour bus. Somewhat disappointed in the lack of personal interaction, I tell Adam to follow me, as I lead us through the lot towards BTE's Winnebago. Not surprisingly, we are met by a rather large bouncer who informs me that we will not be allowed inside. Serendipitously, this same bouncer is a guy I met several months ago at Larry North Fitness in Fort Worth. I start shooting the breeze and somehow manage to talk our way onto the tour bus.

And now it really gets interesting.

There we are, Adam, the band, and me -- and about a dozen groupies. There's an open bar and snacking food laid out on a table. Things are getting hazy. I'm talking with Tom and Travis, the bassist and drummer for BTE, having a good time. We take shots with the band. It's all quite surreal.

Then, out the blue, somebody turns to me and says, "we're headed to a club. Come with us. There's a limo bus to take us there." There's just one problem -- my wife and Adam's girlfriend are waiting for us inside the venue, along with the rest of our friends. I try to explain this to the band members, who promptly respond with a chorus of boos. "Just call her from the limo and tell her to meet you there," someone suggests.

Now, I don't know what it is, but something about this suggestion sounds pretty good to me at the time.

So we jump in the limo bus and head to an unknown destination. About ten minutes later, we arrive and are ushered to a roped-off section of this new nightclub. As I begin to take in my surroundings, it suddenly dawns on me.

This is a strip club.

Needless to say, when our significant others arrive several minutes later, Adam and I are quickly removed from the premises. To my wonderful wife's credit, she was calm and collected throughout the ordeal. Her main concern was the fact that I was clearly inebriated and in desperate need of a safe way home.

Nonetheless, I recall being quite upset about this turn of events, pleading my case to all who cared to listen. "You don't know what it's like to be famous!" I hollered. "This is normal!"
I'm quite certain I made an ass out of myself.

The next morning, with head pounding and stomach churning, I made calls to each of my friends whom I may have offended the night before. I also tried my best to be extraordinarily sweet to my wife.

In the end, it was probably not the most intelligent nor productive way to spend an evening.

Ah, but it was all in the name of rock and roll.

$10 Refusal

The other day, I offered Jimbo a small sum to help finance his film. Admittedly, it wasn't much, but you'd figure anything would be appreciated.

Right?

Wrong. All I received was a cold, heartless rejection of my generosity.

Some people are just mean.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Blog Status: Alive and Well

Here's the post to keep Dedman off my back. Heaven forbid I find myself on the receiving end of a "deadbeat blogger" accusation. I'm doing what I can to keep this gravy train of excitement rolling.

Speaking of excitement, my wife and I are heading to South Beach next month to see how the rich and beautiful crowd spend their time. We're staying in a boutique hotel just off the beach, which means it will either be really cool or really stank. I'll let you know.

On another unrelated note, my little sister will be making the trek down here from NYC over Memorial Day weekend. She moved up to the Big Apple just after 9/11. After spending two years grunting it out as a waitress, she landed an awesome job last year at The Mill, a London-based company that specializes in high-end visual effects for commercials, music promos, and television. Sis started out as a receptionship, but has since moved quickly up the corporate ladder. I'm not exactly sure what her current position involves, but I know she's enjoying it.

Vaya con Dios.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

1-0

Yesterday, I won my first jury trial.

I represented the defendant in a case involving breach of an oral agreement. The plaintiff alleged that she agreed to loan my client a welding machine in exchange for labor my client would perform on her property, namely erection of about 500 feet of pipe-fencing. According to my client, the deal was a straight barter where the plaintiff agreed to give him the welding machine in exchange for his labor. Not surprisingly, my client refused to return the welder after he had spent numerous hours erecting the fence.

Alas, this lawsuit.

Plaintiff sued for $4,977.23. Those familiar with the Texas Government Code will note that this places the amount in controversy just under the jurisdictional limit of JP court. Crafty pleading by the plaintiff's attorney.

We countersued, plaintiff amended, etc.

In the end, the jury saw it our way. It was a nice way to end the week.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Happy Easter, Tex-Mex Style

Easter has finally come. And with it, has arrived uncharacteristically cold, rainy weather. Thankfully, after attending church, my wife and I joined my parents and grandmother (G-ma to her friends) inside the warm, cozy confines of Blue Mesa Grill. Seated comfortably by a window, we enjoyed mimosas, chorizo and egg burritos, huevos rancheros, bean and cheese filled adobe pies, sweet corn cake, carnitas, and some cinnamon coffee. And that was just my first trip to the buffet!

Several hours later, I have just awakened from the requisite 2-hour siesta. My wife still sleeps soundly in the other room. What shall I do?

Sadly, I will post a quick blog and then return to the work I should have done earlier this weekend.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be lawyers.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

How do you write a screenplay?

Dedman has done it. So tell me... how does one go about drafting a screenplay? What if I know nothing about film, but can put together snappy dialogue in a fantastic plot? Are there programs out there to help me? Am I stuck all alone?


I know I can do it.



Seriously, I know I can.



Really.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

The Biweekly Post

Ah, it feels so good to update this blog. It satisfies like nothing else. I love my blog. I would never abandon it. Dedman be damned.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Monday, February 23, 2004

8(a) is Enough

Thanks to Jim Dedman for helping me discover which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure I am:

YOU ARE RULE 8(a)!

You are Rule 8, the most laid back of all the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While your forefather in the Federal Rules may have been a stickler for details and particularity, you have clearly rebelled by being pleasant and easy-going. Rule 8 only requires that a plaintiff provide a short and plain statement of a claim on which a court can grant relief. While there is much to be lauded in your approach, your good nature sometimes gets you in trouble, and you ofen have to rely on your good friend, Rule 56, to bail you out.


Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, February 20, 2004

Keeping the Faith

Respectfully protecting the identity of a masked Mardi Gras captain, I wish to extend a joyous congratulations to a good friend of mine who appears to have proposed to his girlfriend during the Krewe of Ancient Druids' parade earlier in the week. Here's an excerpt from the story:
While some women along the Uptown Carnival parade route Tuesday night bared body parts to score plastic beads they'll soon discard, Houston resident Cynthia Robidoux flashed a naked finger and received a diamond ring she promised to wear for the rest of her life.

The ring came with a marriage proposal from the Krewe of Ancient Druids' masked and costumed captain, who worked a bit of magic to keep his wedding intentions as much a secret as his identity, in keeping with the krewe's tradition.

After a tearful "yes," a guy in a Tulane cap whose nickname is "Big Elf" began playing Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" on a comb, and a man in black leather whipped out a clarinet and noodled through "Bourbon Street Parade."

After one more kiss, the masked captain climbed the stepladder to his saddle, yelling, "She said yes! She said yes!" and the parade rolled on.

This helps to restore my faith in Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras Murder

On Wednesday night, a teenage feud turned deadly along the uptown parade route New Orleans, ending in the murder of one innocent bystander and injuries to three other parade watchers. As reported in the Times-Picayune:
Suspects Ray Smith, 19, and Adrian Norris, 17, were among the teenagers who came to the Saturn and Muses parades from a rough-and-tumble section of Mid-City less than two miles from Uptown, but worlds away from the turf that is home to their street-savvy rivals. The two young men live three blocks from each other on Gravier Street, near the criminal courthouse, though family and neighbors said they were acquaintances, not close friends.

Suspect Alvin Wilson, 17, came to the parade from the B.W. Cooper public housing development, also known as the Calliope, as did Carlos Miller, 15. Although the housing complex is in the 2nd Ward, residents long have considered themselves part of the 3rd Ward, referring to the apartments as "CP3," for Calliope Project 3.

The two groups had intended to confront each other last week, at Canal Street and Elk Place, but rain thwarted their plans, one police investigator said.

It was unclear whether the encounter Wednesday on St. Charles Avenue was planned. But shortly before 9 p.m., Wilson's group and the Mid-City group apparently crossed paths on the neutral ground, between Josephine and St. Andrew streets, just as the third float of the Muses parade was about to pass.

Before any of the parade-watchers realized what was happening, several wild shots had been fired. Two women and two men, all local residents with no connection to the suspects, were hit.

Shaken by the sudden violence, some spectators ducked under parade ladders and others lay face-down in the street, hugging the pavement in search of cover.

I attended nearly every uptown Mardi Gras parade during my three years in law school and have returned to New Orleans for the carnival both years since I graduated. Never have a seen any sort of violence whatsoever along St. Charles Avenue, which is generally filled with families enjoying the festival atmosphere. One of the things I've found amazing about the experience is the jubilant mix of people, all peacefully enjoying the parades.

At first, I was shocked at the apparent lack of fighting, especially considering the massive quantities of alcohol being ingested. Soon I grew to appreciate the "spirit" of Mardi Gras, in which different social and ethnic groups partied side-by-side.

The recent shooting has (temporarily) tarnished my Mardi Gras' memories.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Crabby Jack's

Having just returned from New Orleans, I spent the past several days living a life of gluttony. Amidst visits to many of my top ten Big Easy restaurants, we made the trek down Claiborne Avenue to Crabby Jack's, a relatively new (estabished 2002) restaurant opened by Jack Leonardi, the owner of Jacques-Imo's. A casual, lunch counter eatery, Crabby Jack's provided the best oyster po-boy I've ever had. Unlike the vast majority of fried seafood, Crabby Jack's fare was lightly battered and perfectly fried, avoiding the all-too-often excessive crunchiness that comes with overfrying. The roasted duck po-boy was heavenly. Here's a better review from www.bestofneworleans.com:
At Crabby Jack's, nobody cares if you play with your food. The wait in the 30-seater space is long; by the time customers get face-time with their food, they take it literally. You'll find yourself rubbing love handles with men wearing K&B T-shirts who let the gravy-mayonnaise drippings squeezed out of a Not Famous Ferdi po-boy trickle down to their elbows, and women who announce they haven't showered yet today in anticipation of boiled lake crabs by the pound. I once spent 20 minutes watching a man tugging single fried shrimp from a po-boy, showering each one with Tabasco and savoring them individually. Many customers push stools aside to attack their sandwiches standing. The only rule at Crabby Jack's is painted on folk-arty signs from Dr. Bob around the restaurant: "Be Nice Or Leave."

Anyone familiar with Crabby Jack's owner, Jack Leonardi, won't be surprised by the creed. Also the man behind the madly popular Jacques-Imo's restaurant Uptown, Leonardi is best known for his unconventional food combinations, his chile pepper chef's shorts and his generosity with a tequila bottle when the wait at Jacques-Imo's exceeds the standard hour and a half. He took over the restaurant end of Louisiana Seafood Exchange and retails the wholesaler's raw seafood out of the shop's refrigerated cases.

Crabby Jack's lunch service ends right when Jacques-Imo's opens for dinner; just as Leonardi is an active host at night, he sometimes passes through the lunch place patting diners' backs and making sure they lick their butcher paper clean. His efficient front staff embodies a similarly good-natured spirit, wearing flip-flops, shorts and rosy cheeks as if a shift in the sandwich shop were a day at the beach. The prep cooks, whose work area opens onto a crowded gravel lot, also smile as customers park within a Saturn's length of their parsley chopping and fish cleaning.

For the rest of us, there's little struggle in being nice where you can scoot in for a muffaletta and leave with raw scallops the size of key limes; where whole red snapper, drum and grouper recline on a communal bed of ice; where red beans are thicker and creamier than softened butter and, for $6.95, are served with a pork chop whose spiced meat easily pulls from the bone with a plastic fork; where go-cups printed with Leonardi's scruffy mug are reaching cult status; and where a roasted duck po-boy wetted with thin, brown jus is so luscious you don't mind that the kitchen forgot to dress it.

Crabby Jack's menu is a mix of casual New Orleans and typical Leonardi ingenuity -- all prepared to a surprisingly high standard considering the restaurant's youth, and all packed in Styrofoam. An innovative daily special of hard, blue-corn taco shells filled with blackened swordfish strips, salmon in shreds, salsa and cheddar cheese is every bit as rewarding as a basic po-boy made with Cajun-spiced fries and reddish debris gravy. Blackened drum fillets with lump crabmeat and lemony hollandaise are as popular as po-boys over-stuffed with frayed roast beef. There's a wonderful salad of fried green tomatoes with crunchy shrimp smothered in a warm, garlicky red remoulade. Even side dishes seem to be made with love, like half-mashed potato salad with Creole mustard and pickles, and tart red cabbage slaw with a dab of creaminess. In the balmy room, brownies are like chocolate chips melted over walnuts.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Purple Reign

I hadn't planned on watching the Grammy awards, but I'm glad I caught the opening act. Prince is the man. Twenty years after (arguably) the height of his commercial success, and His Purple Majesty is still one of the most electrifying perfomers in music. Combining brilliant showmanship with musical genius, Prince is truly one of the most gifted entertainers I have enjoyed watching in my lifetime.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Self-importance?

The surprisingly-egotistical Jim Dedman recently posted yet another of his discussions concerning the Confederate Flag. While many who read his blog might have delved into the substance of Jim's rhetoric, I found a quote early in his entry quite interesting:
"As you know, my law review article detailed the jurisprudence of the Confederate flag, the First Amendment, and the public school classroom."
Now, I realize Dedman's blog has seen enormous growth in readership over the past year, but does this justify such a presumption? Does he truly expect all those who visit his site to automatically know of his law review article?

I, for one, am at daggers drawn over this.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Supercalifragalisticexpialidotious

I take it all back. The Super Bowl was fantastic. Both teams played spectacularly, thrilling us with explosive entertainment and one of the most exciting final two minutes of professional football in recent memory. Even without the "shocking" and "unintentional" halftime show, the game provided unpredictable enjoyment.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Super Bore

Although Fantasy Football has worked wonders in increasing my professional football interest, overall I still view the NFL with little enthusiasm. Today's Super Bowl does little to excite me. Perhaps my attentiveness might be greater if I followed either team, but, as fan of neither, I will be watching with feigned fanaticism.

However, I look forward to PVRing the game so that I can review the commercials at later time. Yip. Dip. Doo.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Update on "evolution"

According to CNN.com, former President Jimmy Carter had this to say about the proposed ban of the word "evolution" in Georgia classrooms:

"As a Christian, a trained engineer and scientist, and a professor at Emory University, I am embarrassed by Superintendent Kathy Cox's attempt to censor and distort the education of Georgia's students.

"The existing and long-standing use of the word 'evolution' in our state's textbooks has not adversely affected Georgians' belief in the omnipotence of God as creator of the universe. There can be no incompatibility between Christian faith and proven facts concerning geology, biology, and astronomy.

"There is no need to teach that stars can fall out of the sky and land on a flat Earth in order to defend our religious faith."

A rose by any other name

According to this report, Georgia's school superintendent has proposed striking the word "evolution" from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase "biological changes over time." Regardless of one's personal feelings on the evolution-creationism debate, you've got to hand it to State Representative Bobby Franklin, who summed up the matter nicely:

"If you're teaching the concept without the word, what's the point? It's stupid. It's like teaching gravity without using the word gravity."

Thursday, January 29, 2004

You can't escape your past

According to this report, Cleveland Indians minor league pitching prospect Kazuhito Tadano has come clean about his participation in a gay pornographic video.

"I did participate in a video and I regret it very much," Tadano said. "It was a one-time incident that showed bad judgment and will never be repeated. I was young, playing baseball, and going to college and my teammates and I needed money.

"Frankly, if I were more mature and had really thought about the implications of what I did, it never would have happened."

Through an interpreter, he added: "I'm not gay. I'd like to clear that fact up right now."

It is interesting that Tadano, like Mike Piazza before him, felt the need to proclaim his heterosexuality.

This past year, in an episode of ESPN's new drama, "Playmakers", a gay professional football player watched his season come to an end when rumors of his sexual preference surfaced.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Oscar Snub

Now that the nominees have been announced, one has to wonder how Oscar can get away with neglecting not one but two brilliant performances last year from the magnificantly gifted actor, Will Ferrell. His moving performance as the tragically indulgent Frank Richard in "Old School" provided the conscience of the film. Several months later, Ferrell's astonishing range was highlighted by his next role as Buddy in Jon Favreau's "Elf," in which Ferrell brought unparalleled optimism and joy to the hearts of all those he encountered, most notably James Caan's hot-headed mobster, Sonny Corleone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

True Crime

A good friend of mine was mugged at gunpoint Saturday night in downtown Dallas, just off Greenville Avenue. My friend was in a group of four individuals who were approached by two men immediately after getting out of their car. The assailants forced them facedown onto the pavement and took their money. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

My friend said what affected him most was not fear, but a feeling of complete helplessness.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Today was a good day.

About two weeks ago I worked on a response to a motion for summary judgment. We (another lawyer from my firm and I) went to court to argue against granting the motion. (Admittedly, I didn't utter a word, but that's beside the point.) A week later the court coordinator alerted us to a request from the judge for additional briefing on a particular issue. I spent a good deal of time drafting our supplemental response. We filed it Friday.

This afternoon, I got a another call from the court coordinator letting me know the judge had ruled in our favor and was denying the other party's motion for summary judgment.

As this is my first "real" legal victory, I feel a self-congratulatory slap-on-the-back is in order. So there you go.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Yard Work

I just spent my entire Sunday digging up flower beds. I am exhausted. My back hurts. I want to take a shower and then lay on the couch for the rest of the evening.
This is why I am a lawyer. When it comes to hard, physical labor, I'm a lightweight.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Who says motion practice is boring?

Admittedly, I'm a little late in breaking this news, but for those who haven't yet read Washington v. Alaimo, check out this link for an enjoyable opinion invovling a persistent, if not deranged, pro se defendant.

Episcopal Division

Having grown up and been married in the Episcopal Church, I've been following the fervor over the consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay. This morning, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported the most recent development in this religious battle that threatens to tear the American Episcopal Church apart:

The Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese's executive council has unanimously approved joining an alliance of conservative clergy and laypeople, less than 24 hours after its charter was formalized in Plano.

Some critics say the alliance's goal is to displace leaders of the U.S. Episcopal Church who approved the ordination of an openly gay bishop.

Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker called those statements "scare tactics."

"It's disinformation and it's caused by people who simply want to say ... either embrace the gay agenda or leave the church," Iker said Thursday evening before attending a ceremony at St. Vincent's Cathedral Episcopal Church in Bedford.

"That ain't going to happen," he said. "We're here to stay."

The alliance, called the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, was formed to oppose last year's ordination of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay. Representatives from 12 dioceses and some scattered parishes created the group's charter and theological statement at a closed-door meeting Tuesday in Plano.

On Wednesday, the diocese's executive council, made up of lay representatives and some clergy, voted to join the network. The 21-member council, which also approves some budgetary matters, represents geographic regions of the 24-county diocese.

Read the rest of the article here.

Bishop Iker has been very clear on his position regarding this matter, and I agree with him in many respects. However, having several gay friends, I am often troubled by any attempt, be it religious or political, to discriminate against homosexuals. Here's an excerpt from Bishop Iker's address to the 21st Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2003:

On Sunday, Nov. 2, in defiance of the stated teaching of the Anglican Communion and in spite of the clear warning of the Primates? Meeting not to do so, a practicing homosexual was consecrated a bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire. The response from around the world has been swift and direct. Primate after Primate has denounced the consecration, refused to recognize the ministry of Gene Robinson, and declared impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church. This Convention will be asked to make our response by adopting a resolution to be presented to us immediately after lunch today. Those who have participated in this consecration are in open rebellion against the Anglican Communion and have declared their independence from the stated boundaries of Anglicanism. As a result, I will not recognize the ministry of Gene Robinson, nor will I permit any bishop who consented to his election or participated in his consecration to exercise any ministry within this diocese. In this way, we seek to maintain not only our theological integrity, but also our unimpaired communion with the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Quite honestly, I feel the need to tell you that I am tired of this controversy and weary of the continual battles revolving around it. I resent being placed in the position of always having to respond to the latest revisionist attack on orthodox Christianity. I am tired of being interviewed about it, issuing statements on it, and going to meetings about it. All of this is a huge distraction from the mission of the Church and very harmful to the healthy functioning of the Body of Christ. I am deeply troubled by the anguished pleas from faithful members of the Episcopal Church, both here and elsewhere, who now feel compelled by actions of General Convention and the Diocese of New Hampshire to join other faith communities. At the same time, I am acutely aware of the responsibilities of my vows as a bishop "to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church." The controversies before us at this time are an assault on all three ? faith, unity, and discipline. The secular culture of modern society is undermining the basic tenets of the faith, with the full support of many church leaders.

Weary of the battles and debates that I am, I will not be silenced or intimidated. I will not give up or give in or go away. Like many faithful Episcopalians across the United States, I am alarmed by the relentless efforts in this Church to create a new religion ? call it "Episcopalianism" ? which is increasingly at variance with the teaching of Holy Scripture and historic Christianity. I am tired of the "General Convention religion" that attempts to give us a new and improved version of Christian faith and practice every three years. One thing that I have discovered in the past decade as a bishop is the incredible sense of institutional loyalty to the Episcopal Church on the part of many of our members. They seem to place General Convention on a higher level of authority than the Bible. They give greater weight to the majority votes in the Episcopal Church in the USA than to the overwhelming majority of the rest of the Anglican Communion. And they tend to become very upset, even angry and accusatory, when others contend that ECUSA is wrong and the rest of the Church is right. Apparently they ascribe to the General Convention an attribute that we deny to the Pope himself ? infallibility in matters of faith and morals.

I have been amazed at the hateful words and angry denunciations that have been directed at me personally, often in letters to the editor or in terse e-mails, simply because I defend the Church?s traditional teaching on sexuality. I do not hate homosexuals, nor do I fear them. To say that the Christian Church opposes the blessing of same-sex unions is not a hateful thing; it is speaking the truth in love. To say that the Scriptures forbid the ordination of persons involved in sexual relationships outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony is not bigoted or prejudiced. It is a faithful expression of the Apostolic Teaching of the Church. Why is such animosity and anger directed at those who simply uphold what has been taught ?always, everywhere and by all? in the Christian Faith? I am not disloyal to the Episcopal Church, but I will not sit on the sidelines while this Church attempts to dismantle orthodox Christianity step by step, defy the clear teachings of Holy Scripture, and separate us from the moral consensus of the historic catholic church for over 2,000 years.

Read the rest of Bishop Iker's address here.

Now that many conservative Disoceses are forming alliances within the Episcopal Church denouncing Bishop Robinson's consecration, it will be interesting to see how the national Episcopal Church of the United States reacts.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

The Blog and The Bitterness

"The blog, and my bitterness, are all that I have."

-- A quote from the irreverent Jim Dedman, in response to my comment that I'm not as charged up as he is

Lexis Luthor

Having recently entered private practice after spending a year as a briefing attorney, I have been enjoying the benefits of the Lexis new associate reward program. Every time I've done a search on Lexis, I've qualified for an online drawing for various prizes. Lately, I've hit the jackpot, racking up numerous gift certificates to Amazon.com, ranging from $10 to $50.

Sadly, I just received an email informing me that my participation in the rewards program is coming will cease at the end of this month.

I'm thinking of switching to Westlaw.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

From Crichton to Krakauer

I finished "Prey" yesterday. While the novel started off well, the ending was predictable and uninspired. You can almost hear the tense movie score as the camera tightens on the protagonist and his seemingly hopeless plight. While Crichton's formulaic approach must surely save Hollywood screenwriters a good deal of time, this latest offering was disappointing.

I have now turned my attention to "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer. I've read two other novels by Krakauer, "Into the Wild" and "Into Thin Air", both of which I enjoyed very much. Krakauer's non-fiction reads like good fiction, vividly bringing settings and characters to life. This most recent novel involves the murders of a woman and her infant daughter by Ron and Dan Lafferty, who claimed they were acting on direct orders from God. The brothers were Mormon fundamentalists who, according to Krakauer, believe the modern Mormon church went unforgivably astray when it renounced polygamy.

I know very little about the Mormon faith, but look forward to Krakauer's meticulous investigation and effortless prose.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Johnny Fiamma wins Iowa

Now that John Kerry has won the Iowa caucuses, I feel it is my civic duty to alert the public of a potentially scandalous rumor of which I have become aware. From several reputable sources, I have learned some disturbing news that may affect the future of this great nation, should Kerry eventually end up in the White House. Yes, friends, you heard it here first.

It appears that John Kerry is a Muppet.

Monday, January 19, 2004

A Brave New World

I flipped on the TV this morning to learn of two recent "miracles" of science. In Michigan, a woman has given birth to sextuplets. Although the father of the children credited God for the birth of his six offspring, one has to wonder if the couple's use of fertility drugs also had something to do with it. Moments later, Matt Lauer let me know that whenever my wife and decide to add on to our family, we now have the option of choosing the sex of our unborn child. Good to know.

Anybody else ever feel like they're living in an Aldous Huxley novel?

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Wanna be a baller?

Although Texas barely squeaked past Nebraska in yesterday's game, the Horns' decisive victory over Wake Forest last week has set the stage for what should be another exciting season of men's basketball at The University of Texas. Following the early departure of T.J. Ford for the NBA, many thought Texas would be unable to compete at the same level as last year, when the Horns made their second appearance in the Final Four. With a double-digit win over the then-ranked No. 3 team in the nation, the Longhorns are looking pretty good to me.

Where ya't?

Because top ten lists appear to be a blog requirement, I decided it was about time I add my own to the blogoshpere. However, inasmuch as I simply want to be unique (don't we all?), I am adding an extra pick to top the list off at eleven.

The category? My favorite New Orleans restaurants, inspired by yesterday's post. The following are all top places to gorge, in no particular order.

1. Jacques-Imo's.
Okay, I said I wasn't going to rank these, but Jacques-Imo's is hands-down the best restuarant in the Crescent City. Located uptown on Maple, this local favorite has a wait every night of the week, but it's always worth it. The Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake is amazing, and if you've never had a Deep Fried Roast Beef Po-Boy, this is the place to give it a go. I've never had a bad meal here. It is without a doubt one of my favorite eateries anywhere.

2. Bluebird Cafe.
Featuring a low-priced menu with mammoth portions, Bluebird Cafe is breakfast heaven. On the weekends, the line snakes out the door and around the block, but if you can make it inside, you are treated to a hearty helping of huevos rancheros, cheese grits, corned beef hash, pancakes, omelets, etc. Follow the crowd to Pyrtania Street.

3. Mr. B's Bistro.
My favorite restaurant owned by the Brennans, Mr. B's has great food and an upscale, but not stuffy, atmosphere. The dress code says casual, but at least wear a shirt that buttons, less you be mistaken for one of the tourists. (They're easily spotted in shorts and t-shirts with sayings like, "I love Nawlins.") Try the Gumbo Ya-Ya.

4. Mystic Pizza.
Someone told me this pizza joint on Magazine Street had shut down. I hope not. We used to go there for cheap pitchers of beer and gourmet pies at least once a week. The Mediterranean Pizza, with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, roasted eggplant, roasted garlic, roma tomatoes, mozzarella and feta cheese, and capers, is wonderful.

5. Crazy Johnnie's Steakhouse.
You've got to head to Metairie, but it's worth the 15-minute drive for Crazy Johnnie's "special" -- a perfect filet mignon with buttery mashed potatoes and cinnamon apples for a crazy $8.95. Rumor has it Crazy Johnnie gets his steaks from the same supplier as Ruth's Chris. Whether this is true or not, the steaks are melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.

6. The all-you-can-eat sushi place next to Popeye's on Canal.
I can't remember the name of this place, but we used to go there a lot because it featured all-you-can-eat sushi for $12.95. I know what you're thinking, at that price it's gotta be pretty sketchy. But the fish was fresh and the selections were ample, though it was mostly different rolls. Owned by Ninja, this is a good place to take someone who is discovering sushi for the first time, as it also has typical Chinese buffet fare.

7. Franky and Johnny's.
Franky & Johnny's is a real find. You can get boiled crawfish or shimp (if in season) as well as some Italian favorites. But in the end, this is the place for fried seafood. Great restuarant. Great prices. Smoky, fun atmosphere on Arabella Street just off Tchoupitoulas. Order the catfish platter.

8. Tacqueria Corona.
Although this restuarant has several locations, I've only eaten at the one on Magazine Street. Tacqueria Corona features the least expensive and most authentic Mexican food in Big Easy. The margaritas are made with fresh lime juice. Everything on the menu is fresh and simple. Excellente.

9. Camellia Grill.
This is the greasiest of all greasy spoons. Although Jimmy Buffet rated Camellia Grill as one of the best places to get a cheeseburger, the best thing on the menu is the chocolate pecan pie. Get it ala mode and watch in amazement as they take a slice, flip it upside down on the griddle -- the same griddle you've seen them cook hamburgers, eggs, hashbrowns, etc. -- and let it warm to the perfect mouth-watering temperature before adding a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream.

10. Nola.
Owned by the same guy who owns Emeril's, this funky, casual establishment in the French Quarter is pricey, but tasty. The menu changes, but it's always good. Get reservations.

11. Port of Call.
There's always a pretty crazy lunch rush for the best burger in New Orleans. Don't even bother looking at the menu. Order a cheeseburger. The monstrosity is big enough to feed a family of four, and it comes with with a loaded baked potato, so you won't be hungry until the next morning.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Missing the Big Easy

It's days like these when I really miss New Orleans. When it's lightly raining, but not too cold out. It reminds me of sitting in the bar at the Columns Hotel, which just happened to be two doors down from where I lived during law school. Or maybe we'd head over to Mystic Pizza to play some Golden Tee and drink $2 pitchers of beer. Or perhaps we'd play a few frames at Rock and Bowl. If you've never been, you must visit. It is an intoxicating city, and for much more than its liberal attitude towards alcohol.

Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Friday, January 16, 2004

"Quality" Reality TV

I now unabashedly declare before the three people who frequent this blog that "The Apprentice" is currently one of my favorite television shows. For those unfamiliar with this entertaining reality drama, here's a summary from realitytvworld.com:

The Apprentice is a 15-episode unscripted drama in which 16 candidates from all walks of life, including both Ivy League MBA graduates and street entrepreneurs with no college education, will endure rigorous tasks each week while living together in a hip Manhattan loft apartment. The tasks test their intelligence, chutzpah and street-smarts. They face the challenges of living in close quarters and must complete sometimes humorous, but always difficult, job assignments and will be forced to think outside the box in order to outshine each other to get to the top.
The candidates have been divided into two teams -- men v. women. At the end of each episode, one person is "fired" from the losing team at a meeting presided over by Donald Trump. The winner purportedly lands a $250,000 a year job running one of Trump's many business ventures.

Trust me, this show is addictive. So far, the women have trounced the men, due in part to their willingness to exploit their sexuality for the sake of making a sale. The men, on the other hand, have come across has good planners but bad executors. Both teams have their respective "wild card" members. For the women, it's Omarosa, a political consultant with a chip on her shoulder. For the men, it's been Sam who has twice found himself on the receiving end of biting criticism from his fellow team members. Who will be the next to be fired?

Does it really matter?

So far, we've seen bickering, back-stabbing, bonding, and wondrously amusing cliches of gender roles. It's fun stuff.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Try this

Last night, I met with a potential client about a case set for trial this Friday (i.e., tomorrow) in Justice of the Peace Court. Generally, an attorney has bit more notice than this when evaluating whether to take a case. Nonetheless, based on the fairly simple "he said/she said" nature of the dispute, I agreed to represent this person.

For the past 24 hours, I have prepared for this trial, assuming all was in order and we would proceed. Imagine my dismay when I got a call from the court a scant fifteen minutes ago informing me of an internal mistake in their office. Apparently, although a jury trial was requested two months ago, no one actually put it on the docket as such.

Consequently, there will be no jury pool present tomorrow morning at the courthouse. Although my client was willing to proceed with a bench trial, we were unable to contact opposing counsel, who had initially made the jury request.

So... the case will be reset for mid-March. (sigh)
Apparently, seeing her name on this blog shamed Angie into contacting me. Following months of silence, I received several emails yesterday in rapid succession.

I also learned that she is in fact working like crazy, having billed fourteen hours in a single day this week. For any non-lawyers out there, this is an obscenely long day, as you obviously cannot bill for everything you do at the office, such as lunch, restroom breaks, checking personal email, etc.

Learning of Angie's frighteningly long days, it reminded me of my time in law school when I thought I knew what being a lawyer would be like. Now, don't get me wrong. I am very happy with my firm But, like so many things in life, the actual practice of law has varied quite a bit from what I expected. Less of our time is spent in the intellectual trenches, hotly debating issues of personal/social/political importance. Instead, we file motions, write letters, answer discovery, review documents, etc.

That said, it is those rare moments when you find the analytical cogs of your mind turning that you remember why you chose this profession.

And, believe it or not, it can actually be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Is it something in the water?

As a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, I tend to follow Longhorn football rather religiously, even in the offseason. Amazingly, following Texas' most disappointing season in recent memory (with inexcusable losses to Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Washington State), head coach Mack Brown has inexplicably convinced two star players -- Cedric Benson and Derrick Johnson -- to return for their senior seasons. Granted, neither would have probably been picked as a top ten draft choice, but their decisions still stunned me, in light of the barrage of criticism that has been heaped upon Brown and his coaching staff since the Holiday Bowl loss.

Even more astonishing is the report that Chance Mock, who was relegated to back-up quarterback after the incredible play of athletic marvel, Vince Young, has also indicated that he will remain in Austin for his senior year.

Under Brown's tenure, several outstanding players -- including Ricky Williams, Casey Hampton, Quentin Jammer, Chris Simms, and Roy Williams -- have chosen to stick around for four years, forgoing the millions they most likely would have received had the entered the NFL.

Well, at least now Brown will have another shot at the dual quarterback system. He handles that so well, just ask Major Applewhite.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Polarization of the Practice

Earlier today I attended a luncheon given by the Tarrant County Bar Association. A panel of three respected lawyers, representing almost 100 collective years of experience, discussed changes in the legal profession--for better or worse--during their respective careers. Kleber Miller, an attorney in his sixth decade of practice, made an observation that struck a chord with me.

When asked what he perceived to be the most negative trend in the practice of law, Mr. Miller paused just briefly before providing his answer -- the polarization of the legal community. He was not referring to the specialization of attorneys, which complexities of the law have made almost absolutely necessary. Instead, he focused upon the pervasiveness of an "us v. them" mentality amongst practitioners. In the past, he said, civil attorneys would routinely handle cases for both plaintiffs and defendants. This provided perspective and enhanced the effectiveness of the lawyer, according to Mr. Miller. In addition to the diminished opportunity to hone one's legal skills, Mr. Miller also opined that such practice has created a schism between opposing counsel that previously had not existed, at least to the same extent.

My feelings on this subject are difficult to express, most likely because my lack of experience does not provide me with the perspective to adequately appraise Mr. Miller's commentary. Additionally, having been in private practice for less than a year, I have no basis with which to compare then and now. But, as I said, his reflection grasped my attention.

Finding Angie

Upon graduating from Tulane Law School, I accepted a job clerking for then-Chief Justice Scott Brister (now on the Texas Supreme Court) at the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas. It was there that I met Jim Dedman, who inspired me to start this blog. Jim and I would occasionally go out after work for a beer, often accompanied by our friend Angie. Sadly, I have been unable to contact Angie for quite some time now. Perhaps the demands of being a new associate at Vinson & Elkins have completely taken all of her free time. Or perhaps she has not gotten my periodic messages.

Or maybe she just doesn't like me.

Sniff, sniff.

Monday, January 12, 2004

All the small things

I'm reading "Prey" by Michael Crichton right now, which is yet another one of his "movie-script" novels about the perils of unchecked scientific experimentation and discovery. This one focuses on nanotechnology, which Crichton defines as "the quest to build man-made machinery of extremely small size." (Please, no copyright infrigement suits over that quote.)

Because my mind tends to find interesting ways to link subjects, I began thinking about a movie from my youth that addressed this same topic. Yes, I am referring to the Rick Moranis' vehicle, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids".

What ever happened to Rick Moranis? For awhile there, I recall him doing quite well. Remember his string of hits -- "Parenthood", "My Blue Heaven", and "Little Shop of Horrors?" And, as my wife just reminded me, who could forget his Oscar-worthy performance as Louis Tully/Vinz Clortho, the Key Master in the classic film Ghostbusters?

Such a talent....

Dedman made me do it

Alas, I have given in. For a little over a year now I have silently observed the blogs of others. I resisted setting up my own blog, routinely citing my lack of HTML knowledge. And then a suggestion from the brazenly conservative and often entertaining Jim Dedman led me to www.blogger.com, where I now find myself.

So... after an exciting day at the office, I am now spending my evening in the computer room, while my beautiful wife watches Oprah on the PVR. Yes, blogging certainly is a fine way to spend one's spare time.

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