Friday, May 23, 2008


On the board: names for our new product
Honey 8
Bee-slobber 1

Man: Clearly, no one values honesty here!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Really Finished!

So I actually finished all the first year law work! The paper I wrote ended up being a bit like this:

If you don't know the number it is about a con man tricking a town into buying band instruments by convincing them that the opening of a pool hall will turn all their kids into hoodlums (i.e. quick get your kids into a band and off the streets1). I basically tried to do the same thing , i.e. try and sell my paper by telling everyone the federal agency involved was the devil.

I am proud of my work and feel my transformation into a used car salesman is complete (i.e. first year is done and all my pesky moral qualms are gone too).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

So Close and Yet So Far!

As mentioned below I am done with exams, but the academic year for first year law students is not quite over. Yes, first we all get to scramble to write what amounts to about a sixteen page paper in two days. Oh, and it is based on a 58 page packet of cases we get on that day. Did I mention none of this is technically for fun? Yes, based on these papers the editorial board for the law journals will be chosen, an honor we have all been brainwashed into thinking we secretly want since day one.

Now, I always have a bit more trouble sorting through cases with no human parties and just a lot of regulations that seem to have borrowed the devil's Dewey Decimal system to come up with their names. Yes, I do best when parties are human (ok I am holding out for mythical beasts, but none of those yet) and when there is a comprehensible story or at least some human elements involved for better or worse. So image the joyed I was filled with after receiving my question packet from an overly chipper helper and discovered that our question was on banking regulations. Awesome! Nothing like 50 plus pages of banking regulations you have to read and then come up with new and exciting views on them. Now, I may be as pigmentless as the monopoly man one day, but that does not mean federal banking regulation will ever occupy a warm place in my heart.

So just as I though I was out the door the icy hand of the law grabbed my ankle and pulled me back in. Accordingly, the monsoon weather we had on my free day was traded for fun in the sun weather when I had to lock myself inside and attempt to do handstand as an attempt to better understand what I was reading.

Did I mention that the reward for this is getting to argue for a year about other peoples citations? Seriously, I would accept a handful of beans. It would be a better offer. Then I would climb up mine bean stalk to the the land of the giants where all would hopefully live in a land of blessed anarchy and anyone who mentioned the law would be given in intimate role in the provision of bread for the entire giant community. And on that blissful not I shall drift off into sweet, sweet sleep.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Praise Be!

First year of law school is done!

I seriously cannot believe it

Maybe in a few days time I will have some insight

you know,

other than law school,

don't do it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oh, I don't dislike Hillary THAT much

Remember when I used to have words on this here blog? Or things about me? Maybe those will return once I finish exams tomorrow and have life again/words to spare.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Um, Yeah

If you ever wanted a ghetto summary of the Die Hard movies in Russian and set to music and then marketed as a hip hop hit...

And yes, this is one of Ukraine's most popular groups

Clearly I am studying civil procedure.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Dragons vs. Robots





Thursday, May 08, 2008

In Other Presidential News...

And Just because...

"Senator Barack Obama has caught the imagination of the British public across the board. He is both known and seen as fresh and exciting. Nearly a half of all voters (48 per cent), and the same proportion of men and women, and of Labour and Tory voters, prefer Senator Obama."

"This meanwhile is a disadvantage for Barack Obama. All those Americans who care deeply what the Brits think will be voting for him anyway and the enthusiasm of foreigners - even British foreigners - will only add to suspicions that he is not the heartland candidate."

We are a bit touchy about that whole Revolutionary War thing. Maybe if they had burned down the White House under a less popular president?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Guy in Town

Dmitry Medvedev was sworn in as the President of Russia today. The role of religion in the ceremony seems to be much more than prominent than it has been in the past (but I could just be looking for it more intently this time after reading this article). Still they managed to find a group of people who knew the non-Soviet lyrics of the national anthem so that was impressive.

The video above, among other things, shows Medvedev being sworn in (does it say anything that he is not given the book by anyone and it is not being held by anyone? Seems a bit like Napoleon crowning himself). A big part of the oath that they show was up holding human rights. This cartoon parodies that:

Medvedev: the most important values are human rights and freedom
Putin: [thinking] what was that now?

Now for fun, compare and contrast the video with the video below of the (re)inaugeration of the President of Kazakhstan:

I can sing that anthem!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


This one is all Edward and is brilliant:

And a Kids in the Hall sketch I cannot rationally explain liking so much:

Under the Sea

Oh man, I really could not believe this. So apparently because subway service in New York is too regular New York is willing to give away older subway cars. This has inspired a number of odder projects. Delaware decided to use its subway cars to make an artificial coral reef:

I guess this is why you really want to make sure you get off when it is the last stop

Studying for Property

Preparing for my property exam involves going back over a lot of very funny situations. Oh sure, we have plenty cases where there are just angry neighbors in a cookie-cutter suburb, but oh there is so much more.

Here's a list of some of the better ones:

1. Angry neighbors...who live next to a racetrack
2. Developers who build a dung heap (sexy right?)
3. It is WWII, in the middle of an air raid in London an expensive broach falls from somewhere in a house, a soldier finds it, but it is not from the house, who keeps it? Apparently that division of German fighters got confused and was dropping priceless heirlooms.
4. Whaling and the Provincetown mafia.
5. Rivers fickley changing and stealing part of states territory.
6. It's my body, I own it, so why won't you let me sell bits of it?
7. I have this lovely home how can the government even think of taking it away? So cruel, and to think I would lose my view of the HUGE sewage plant.
8. I know lets build a huge skyscraper on top of Grand Central, fortunately this is the 70s so a t least it will be pretty.
9. I don't like you, you nouveau rich bastard, having a fox hunt are you? Oh, did I just kill your fox mid hunt? What?


TV: penguins mate only once and then stay together for lifetime...


I was brushing up on my English slang the other day mainly using wikipedia. I was listening to a lot of slangy British music and though I remembered most of it from my time in Brighton it was fun to get dry dictionary definitions for the stuff.

One of the words was Chav, which in Brighton we usually called townies. Wikipedia had this illustration:

Personally I like this one:
Anyway, a bit of research led me to a certain Welsh rap group and this amazing music video:

Monday, May 05, 2008


* I REALLY like this one

Goings On

Not too long ago I applied for a job with Human Rights Watch in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. If I get it I will take it.

I would really love to go for a number of reasons. For one, it has been really tough for me being separated from my passion (the former Soviet Union). Granted it is not as if I haven't done anything related to it: I have been taking Russian classes, reading quite a bit in branching into legal topics, going to Brighton Beach, and unwittingly going to multiple Russian Speaking Uzbek Jewish barbers. None the less, for something at the center of my academic interests and that I want to be at the center of my professional life. What kind of professional life? I have no idea, but I am looking for something to push me and force me to use the skills I have and to push me.

Of course, there is also the fact that I miss being abroad in general, and Central Asia in particular. I have to admit I would be very excited to be using my Russian on a daily basis again and to learn Uzbek. After law school I also have to admit that the idea of working a 9-5 is also extremely appealing. I could start to sing again and learn Uzbek songs! In addition to just generally being a bit more chill (though I think I have done pretty well as law students go). It will also come as a surprise to no one that I also find the history of Russia-dominated Uzbekistan fascinating.

So we'll see. What I am really looking for is a galvanizing experience. Uzbekistan is a country where human rights violations are quite prevalent and the position involves keeping track of the many political prisoners in addition to taking notes and trials. I have to admit that I do not think it would be an easy experience, but I think that is exactly what I need. If I continue with law school I really want to have a focus and to really know what I want to do and to have relevant work experience. Also I mean this would have to like tipple my street cred right? (Shh, no comments about multiples of zero)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why I Support Barack Obama

The long and short of this is that I want a president I can respect.

I respect Obama. First of all, I respect Obama intellecually. The intellectual respect is two-fold. On the one hand, I deeply respect Obama's personal struggle for identity. Like many Americans, Obama came from a background that kept him from being able to adopt a pre-packaged identity. Obama is black, but had little contact with his Kenyan father, was raised by his white family predominantly on Hawaii, a place with a very different race dynamic from the rest of the United States. When Obama's mother moved from Hawaii to Indonesia, Obama chose to stay in the United States and later to root himself in and marry into Chicago's African American community. Obama had a long struggle for identity and eventually chose to connect with the African American community, and focused much of his early professional life serving that community. I respect him for seriously struggling with his identity and putting down strong roots.

The section aspect of intellectual respect is academic. As a graduate of Columbia College and Harvard Law, Obama attended some of countries finest academic institutions. He shows intellectual curiosity, a skill and comfortability with complexity, and a preparedness to struggle with questions (such as race) which need to be addressed but for which no answer can be claimed to exist. Obama has a top class mind and has spent the time and energy to refine it.

I also respect Obama for being a self-made man. Though he did not grow up in poverty, no one can claim that Obama belonged to the American elite. He has has not had family connections to fall back on for political success, but rather has had to rely on his own successes and merits. I have to admit I am none to eager to have the Clinton dynasty simply alternate with the Bush dynsaty, and the prospect of someone like Obama who has built his own name and doesn't simply rely on Napolean III - type fame excites me.

Finally, I respect Obama because all of the politicians I have heard speak he is the one I find most truthful. I have no allusions, politicians are not in the business of honesty and transparency, but a personal voice matters to me. With Hillary I usually think to myself that she has excellent staff and speech writers and then wonder what she really believes. Obama's willingness to make impromptu statements and express opinions (contrary to general American political style) impresses me.

Those are the reasons I respect Obama as a person.

For me, Obama also represents the type of America I want to live in. Obama has an internationalist perspective and a willingness to address and try and include all ethnic groups in American political life. I want a more inclusive America. I want an America where a black man can be president and people realize that is no better or worse if a white man were president, but that it depends on the person. Particularly following the Bush administration that seemed to represent an old white America plagued by corruption and nepotism, I want a young president who comes from a diverse background and want to improve the country, rather than the position of a select few in that country.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mini Wall of Shame

Bad, bad boys.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Places in time II

New York

New York is a special place for me. It where I was born, but not raised, and it is home. In many ways New York is the only place I make any sense.

Ethnically I am a weird white mix: Catholic Northern Irish, Western Ukrainian, Swiss Italian, and Italian (Sicilian/Genoan/Roman). As it break down with me, I look and come off most Irish to people, I feel the most Italian (very much raised in the (non-guido) Italian-American subculture, and I am probably most fascinated by my Ukrainian roots.

The only things all those groups have in common is that they all came to New York at the turn of the last century. The Irish, Italians, and Ukrainians continue to have strong communities in New York. I feel at home with all of them, but particularly with the mixture.

Besides going to college in New York, I grew up with stories, stories about the ethnic neighborhoods. My grandfather's story about how Lucky Luciano attended his uncle's funeral, stories about the neighborhoods that used to be Irish and where they all moved once they got money from the GI Bill, how my parents and grandparent were always told to never take anything from mafia types, and how almost all of the Swiss Italians left New York almost immediately upon arriving for the warmer climate of Southern California. There were also the many, many stories about the great depression (prohibition was funnier) because of which I think my parents essentially consider themselves depression children.

Anyway, New York has never been just a city for me. It has been a story intimately tied to my family. I went to the same college my grandfather did, I live not far from where my grandparents did when they were first setting up, and most of the trendier parts of lower Manhattan are where we used to have a number of relatives. Obviously the city has changed so much I certainly don't feel like I am just rehashing the past, but as I walk around I do feel a real connection, not always sentimental, but a sense of belonging. I feel very at home in the Irish, Italian, and Ukrainian areas. Italian-American food is American food for me. Talkative Irish men all remind me of my grandfather and myself. The Ukrainians instantly remind me of my grandmother and the pictures of her family and church (the food also hits a tender note of home).

Now of course I am also and assimilated New Yorker. I can be quite pushy, I complain, and I am not much of one for beating around the bush. But with my friends here and New York being the center of most of the stories of my childhood, New York is my past and present. It is also a place where almost never feel out of place. But again it is very much the mix of it all that makes me feel at home. Here the table are turned. In New York the born Americans are more often than not the foreigners as are the people only emerging from one culture, as opposed to those who emerged from the tangled web of differing, tangled, and sometimes frictional cultures.


First sign: Careful! I bite! (German equivalent of "beware of dog")
Second sign: and apparently I can write.
Third sign: Hey, I can write!
Fourth sign: Then I can read too.


I can't really seem to get over my exhaustion. I was feeling extremely burnt out going into spring break, and despite some really fun relaxing moments with friends I have yet to feel refreshed (all the work I have had to do over break hasn't helped either). I have found myself staying in a couple of nights to literally do nothing (really out of character) and I have even been too tired to exercise, which is really frustrating (the type where even if I could drag myself to the gym my body still wouldn't be able to do much).

I have a good amount of work ahead of me so this worries me. More likely than not at least part of it is psychological. Classes have become monotonous and the only thing to look forward to are the exams, which really isn't much to look forward to at all.

I suppose it is probably part of something larger (I have been feeling a quite profound wanderlust lately as well). Hopefully I will be doing something profoundly exciting and different over the summer, but at the moment with the often gray days and seemingly endless stream of cases and work it is a bit hard to work through.

I do try and figure out what this stuff says about me sometimes. I know for work I will need something challenging, but I also like things that come in cycles: really intense and calm again. I can't really take the long intense burn. I am the type that has always run up mountains rather than walked, or sprinted if I was going to jog. If I am going to get tired I'd rather it happen quickly and get it done.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Mailman: It would have hurt less if he had just bitten me.
Dog: Your mother never really loved you!


I haven't updated for a little while now so this is going to be another catch all post.

I am learning an awful lot these days. Admittedly, that is a very new agey sort of thing to say, but all I can promise you that my inner child has been left well alone and my crystal collection remains, well, nonexistent.

I suppose what I mean is that I am learning what is important to me (versus what I think is important for me). Some things remain constant: languages continue to really capture my intellectual interest, doing improv continues to be when I feel most alive, and I continue to be driven by a desire to connect with my different roots (had a really great moment with Alexia over the weekend in a tiny cafeteria in the east village serving mainly church-going Ukrainians; the pirogies were much better than what I have had in restaurants here and I was very happy to use the Ukrainian I knew). I have reaffirmed some newer things as well, such as the fact that while I value hard work and do always work as hard as I can, I am not a workaholic and do not desire to be one. I just don't think it is healthy, and seeing more and more workaholic lawyers and law students preparing for themselves for that those positions, I can only say I do not think it is healthy and takes its toll on your personal life and breadth as a person. So I continue to try and balance law school and normalcy.

I have also learned that I can't be in a relationship if I don't think it is for the long term. Though I have always been adverse to relationships when I am not in a place for very long, I mainly mean it in the sense that I am unable to stay in a relationship that is comfy when I realize I am not getting the fulfillment I need in the long run. I am a big picture person and for better worse if I know there is hard work to be done I would rather get started on it today. In terms of relationships that means I'd rather get back to searching rather than stay with what I have, but ultimately am unsatisfied by.

Other than that not sure there is much else to tell. Continue to struggle a bit with being dyslexic in a field that is extremely detail oriented and finicky. My own fault really and I don't regret it though it poses frustrating challenges at times.

Generally, I have felt rather burnt out as of later. Been thinking about running away to New Caledonia. If you consider the pile of dirty laundry in the corner a suitcase you could say I have a suitcase packed and I am ready to go at any moment.

- The subway continues to be the best free show in the entire city with Crazy people saying 'hi' and flipping out remain remarkably similar. I am thinking of a scene in Queens when a woman on the platform saw a guy she knew in a subway car. As the doors were closing she dove through blocking them. She didn't get in the train (she just stayed stuck between the doors), but proceeded to have a weird discussion with the guy she knew on the subway in which both tried to pass the buck of calling the other. It ended with the woman yelling "I'm gonna find you, I'm gonna find you!" See, she wasn't really crazy but seemed like she could break you that's what made it scary.
- I am on an ethnic neighborhoods/locals kick which I am quite enjoying. In addition to my further adventures in Little Ukraine, it has involved the Czech beer garden in Astoria (amazing kielbasa!), a great Indian restaurant in Jackson Heights, and a number of rather authentic Belgian and German beer gardens. Next on the list: Little Poland, Irish part of Queens, and the Central Asian part of Queens.
- Cranes. I am supposed to be watching for them now according to my mother.
- Can China please be nice to Tibet? Okay, maybe this is a hippie post. Look it took me a long time to overcome my dislike of Richard Gear and get behind Tibet, but I did, and well I like the Dali Lama and am none too fond of China's attacks on Tibetan language and culture.
- I continue to be impressed by cute female friends ability to smile and get free stuff. Six foot tall (randomly bearded) men can be cute too right? Right? No, it's okay I know people would only give me free stuff if they thought I was about to rob them.
- I really want to see Candide at City Opera next month. Interested?
-Question: guys in your early 20s, do you get called 'sir' a lot? I do. Is it my fake-Britishness or just the scariness factor?
-The computer monitors in the L train almost make me think I am in a European metro/U-Bahn. Almost.
-Oh, Spitzer, I nearly forgot. Wow, right? These are the kinds of people who perfect scores on the LSAT. . .

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Out and About

I am officially post-brief (well I have been for a little while now, but after all that writing the last thing I wanted to do was, well, write). The great things was that the brief was due on a Monday so after conned out of a weekend I then had a full week of normal law school. Still the weekend came around and fist full of pirogies (though for me good ones will forever be "pedeha") and a few German and Belgian beers later my semblance of humanity has returned.

*Note: it does amused me that I basically get to responses to these sort of whiny law school posts. From my fellow las students something along the lines of yeah it sucks, I had forgotten normal people don't do that stuff. Then from my normal friends (Hu-Man-Z) it generally just solicits exclamations of "thank God I am not in law school" and "wow that sucks." I mainly still think law school is funny, a funny repository of neurotic and anal youth and age.

Not much else to tell at the moment really. Tomorrow I am waiting to hear back about a summer internship I would quite like (international law and abroad). Could very well not get it, which is fine since it isn't actually late to not know it is just the time when people start to freak out about that stuff so if not I will enter into my last round of applications.

Also I am pretty much giving up on trying to stay close with a lot of people from college. Coming back from Austria I foolishly thought I could reconnect with my whole college group and after many facebook invites that never received rsvps and other attempts I am done. I am quite happy with the people I see on a regular basis and will be happy to see other friends on the more haphazard basis that they pop up on.

And now some randomness:

1. I saw Nathan Lane on the street last Monday near Time Square. He looked very tired and though no one was paying any attention to him he ran to a taxi so as to avoid human contact as quickly as possible. The cabby seemed to recognize him and be pleased. I can't stand Nathan Lane.

2. So many Russian in New York and really everywhere. One very small example was me not going to a barber where Russian speakers from Central Asia work and ending up at another barber where Russian speakers from Central Asia work.

3. The L train is very spiffy with its computer screen and counters. Most other trains, still pretty ghetto.

4. The Jersey/Long Island overflow into the city is irksome and the cultural and fashion difference is impressively strong.

5. Kosovo, at some point I would like to do a post on this. I really think it has every right to be independent. There is a lot of talk about it being a dangerous precedent in international law for regions breaking away and becoming their own countries, but if the precedent is that if you government tries to ethnically cleanse the majority in your region you get a shot at being a government opposed to ethnic cleansing, I don't think it is that bad. Either way, NATO has been administering Kosovo for some time with a governor whose power and style was compared with the British Raj's. Time a democratically elected government took up the reigns.

6. Russia had its Presidential election. I'd like to do a post on that. It is all too clear who won and there was never any question of that.

7. Lily Allen is really impressing me with her musical talent as of late.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Entering Paper Land

Going to be working on a large and rather important law school paper for the next week or so. Life is likely to start resembling the Dali painting above. Should be fun. Hopefully I should make it out the other side. See you then.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh Mao, Such a Kidder!

So transcripts were recently released from a 1973 meeting between Henry Kissinger and Mao. As you can see from the picture above the two clearly enjoyed themselves. Apparently Mao was quite the jokester.

Specifically, he complained about there being so little trade between the US and China and said something along the lines of "I know! We have loads of women! Why don't you take 10,000 of them?" He later increased the offer to ten million, complaining that they have too many children. Later, he added they would flood the US with disaster. Closing with the observation that if the Soviet Union invaded China it would probably win since not enough Chinese women knew how to fight (something made evident by his surviving so long making these sort of comments).

To make things all the more wonderful, the interpreter passing on all this crazily sexist dictator humor and translating Kissinger's foghorn-like chuckle into Chinese was a woman. In the end, Kissinger, afraid of making Mao lose face, was able to to talk him down to 500 Chinese women, who as a result of new state gift policies were taken off and stored in a Raider's of the Lost Ark-like warehouse under the old executive building.

Chinese women, however, continue to haunt Mao to this day, specifically questioning his choice of the moo-moo as life-long fashion choice.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Places in Time I

So this a new experimental series I am trying to start on places of significance to me. Not sure how interesting it will be or how long it will run, but here goes.

Between graduating high school and starting college I spent a year at an English boarding school in Brighton conveniently titled Brighton College. Oddly, my going was entirely self inflicted and did not involve any action on my part that horribly embarrassed my family and required me being shipped far away to learn some discipline before I could be trusted enough to go to college. No, instead I chose myself to apply to the English Speaking Union's secondary school exchange program and ended up being selected which provided me with a free year's worth of study and room and board at an English public school (the public schools in England having been the first and oldest and hence the term reffering to elitish private schools rather than schools that are actually open to everyone as it does in the US). Anyway, this was all very funny for the English because when they take a gap year, they tend to go to warm places with plenty of beach and do things that pass as community service, where I had chosen to go somewhere damp and of limited beaches to sit their exams.

On the whole I am not sure the year was a good one. It was one of a lot of growth and I wouldn't undo it for the world, but it was certainly a challenging one and I must admit that by in large I do find people from the south-east of England a bit hard to get on with if only for all of their indirectness. During that year however, I did have a fantastic opportunity to dive in German and theater to an extend I had never been able to before and it was then that I began to travel for the first time as well (quick list of countries visited: Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Norway, Latvia, and Estonia). It was also during that year that I had my first exposure to the EU and European politics, and ironically, because of my interests and love of continental Europe I was considered a European by or at least as some sort of expert by some of my classmates.

Perhaps the hardest barrier I experienced when in England though was the drinking culture. I am not much of a drinker and never have been. Coming straight out of a Christian school that openly preached the evils of any sort of alcohol and then going to England, however, was still more than a bit of a culture shock. Still there were elements I liked, English pubs are lovely and there is certainly always something to be said of buying a good friend a pint. Binge drinking is something, however, I am none to fond of and that was a feeling augmented at the few parties I went to when intoxicated people would come up to me and tell me what exactly they thought the problems were with America's foreign policy and how I was personally responsible (bit of a theme in my travels actually).

But back to the place. Brighton is lovely. One of the warmest places in England (i.e. not that warm and still a bit chilly and windy most of the time) and an old bathing town with some beautiful architecture and some hideous projects from the 60s and 70s mixed in. The beach is mainly for show as the water as both too cold and too rough for swimming. There is a great theater scene, loads of young artsy types, lots of cool shops (good comic book shop as well), and a giant clubbing scene I never took or wanted to take advantage of (partially because I had a 10 0'clocl curfew, we actually had role in the morning and evening, I remember there being a large bingo hall next door that was all jazzed up and which I thought was a movie theater, but was not). Brighton was my first city, not a big one (about 170,000 is memory serves), but is was the first one I had lived in and the first one I was really comfortable in. I grew a tremendous amount in Brighton, it was my first real slice of independence (my parents never even having been to the UK at that point) and taught me to balance things I didn't like (being forced to take more exams and in less time than other students because for some reason they though I would bring the school average up) with things I did (traveling, theater, public speaking [I made it to a semi-final!]).

I don't have many English friends from that time, though the few I do have mean an awful lot to me, on the whole my better friends were the other international students, in particular, and I know this will come as a huge surprise, the Eastern European students. To this day, I feel a particularly strong bond of loyalty to the other boys who were in my house (yes we had Harry Potter like houses) and with a school and host parents in the England whenever I go back it does have certain element of going home whenever I go to visit. And that is why Brighton is a place with a little extra bit of significance for me.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

In the News

Well, not in ours...

Pince Andrew made some remarks critical of Bush ten days before he is supposed to leave on a trade mission to the US. They have caused quite stir in the UK. Here are a couple of them:

"[There have been] occasions when people in the UK would wish that those in responsible positions in the US might listen and learn from our experiences."

"why didn't anyone listen to what was said and the advice that was given?" [in reference to Bush's (non-existent) post-war Iraq strategy]

Seriously though, this stuff caused a fuss? First of all, those are comments most Americans would agree with let alone Britons, a majority of whom never supported the war to begin with. The whole business is so painfully English. No one really disagrees with what he said, but is the principle of it so there has to be some sort of half-hearted uproar.

What is even better is how the government emphasized the impropriety of his actions:

"The remarks are not just unhelpful but the timing could not be much worse as the Super Tuesday primaries unfold."

That bit just seems to be pompously English to me. Now, I read British papers. They are quite well written and have a more international slant to them than American ones do. That being said, even if Andrew had said Hillary Clinton was a witch and he had seen her luring children into her candy house and gobble them up, I don not think it would have had the slightest effect on Super Tuesday. That is A.) because people who like Hillary know that about her already and think that is the sort of strong leadership America needs right now (if you don't already know my political leanings now would be a fun time to guess) and B.) because nobody in America cares what people outside the country think/say about our leaders or are even internationally oriented enough to notice something like this.

America's lack of real interest in the abroad does concern me, but those particular comments from the government source amused me because they make it sounds like the opinion of a minor British royal could have had a determinative effect on Super Duper Fat Tuesday and/or plunged the US into a civil war. Yes I know, figureheads are supposed to be neutral and the like, but really Andrew has a long ways to go if he is ever going to live up to his father's ability by just opening his mouth to blow diplomacy out of the water like an a-bomb going off in a kiddie pool (yes, I will miss him).

In recent memory, the only time I can remember people in the UK having an impact on a US election was the last presidential one when the Daily Mail was having readers write to undecided voters in Ohio to try and get them not to vote for Bush. The problem with that is that the list they had was not of undecided voters, but of people who hadn't voted recently. Now if there is one thing Americans like it is being told by their former colonial masters (sorry, but the revolution is still a big part if our national mythology) it is how to vote. Shockingly, a great many of the people who received the letters went to go and vote for Bush just because of the letters.

This concludes my observational rant.


My head!
what kind of
are you?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pulling It Together

I really need to get my shit together. Not in any crazy way, just there is a lot of stuff I need to be doing and I will only be able to do it all the way I need to if I throw myself into it full force. The problem is that I am just enjoying life so very much at the moment and I do not want to sacrifice that.

There is the basic stuff life law school reading, which I do enough of. But the thing is whenever I don't quite grasp something rather than leaving it for later I need to jump into it full force now not leaving it for later. so much of a law school exams is creating a store of knowledge that lets you share a vast amount of pertinent knowledge on the subject of the class. It is much easier to build up that store over time than to try and cram it full at the very end.

There are the more complicated and short term things. For example, the brief I have to write for my international legal writing class. The thing will be a monster. I have to defend a countries bombing of another under international law. I love the topic and feel pretty comfortable with international law, but I need to dive into the material and start writing. This is an important paper, but it is also what I will have to do oral arguments based on and what my Moot Court try out will be based on (Moot Court is a bit like a law school debate club, except it is very prestigious and something employers look for). It is likely I will never been in the very top of my class, by Moot Court is something I could do very well and I need to take advantage of that opportunity. I want to know the stuff in and out, I just need to make time for all the work.

Summer internship pressure has continued. As I am sick the fact that I have so far only received rejections hits a bit hard. Granted, that is not abnormal and I am applying for very particular stuff without a whole lot of specialization in my professional background. I will get something good, but for now it is something else tugging on my time strings as I wonder whether I should be using my time applying for more stuff.

For now some things have to go on the back burner. My improv class is wrapping up and as much as it pains me, I am going to have to take an improv hiatus for a while. French too after jumping back in the boat is going to have to go back on hiatus as I reallocate time. What is frustrating is yes, I could create and extremely detail and rigid schedule for myself that would allow me to do more or work more efficiently, but I don't work well with those. First, they do stress me the hell out, and second my body revolts against them. So I suppose I will continue working in my slap dash fashion where guilt continues to be a powerful motivator (i.e. groan, I can't believe I still haven't done that) while attempting to preserve some sort of a social life. Again, having one that I consider so rather pleasant makes it so very difficult to haphazardly chuck it overboard.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lost My Voice

Thanks to a sore throat followed by lots of yelling Friday (I'm sorry it was a bar and when I can't hear myself I start talking louder without even realizing it) I have all but lost my voice. Oh sure, I can still talk, but only for short bursts and in a rather muppet like fashion. Seriously though, when I hear myself talking I wonder when I have been smoking those four packs a day all of these years.

This has been going on three days now and it is quite frustrating. I like to talk. I like to think I like to share meaningful insight unlike a rambling valley girl unable to stop the deluge of her own voice once it gets going, but I also know I just tend to talk a lot. Very frustrating knowing that any loud background noise will wash out your ability to communicate, having a brilliant point in lecture (or thinking you do) and having to let it go because you just won't be able to communicate it, and having people leaning into you to hear what you are saying like you where their octogenarian grandmother.

I would say the whole experience has taught me know understanding and compassion for the mute, but I am pretty sure they are used to not talking, where I keep getting ready to say something and then remember "oh wait, I can't talk."

I really hope it does not take too long for my voice to come back, but this probably all some sort of ironic punishment for something I did or thought. Possibly being a little sad that this float got pulled from the Rio Carnival festivities.

Yes, it is a holocaust float that was supposed to feature at least one dancing/sambaing Hitler that the Viradouro school had hoped to enter. Offensive? Incredibly. Poor taste? I did mention that it was a DANCING Hitler on top of a float of holocaust victims right? Does that sort of float have any place in any sort of a tasteful or pc Carnival celebration? Of course not.

And that is just it. Carnival is not tasteful. Come on, people used to mock the bubonic plague by dressing up as corpses and undertakers and piling on corpse wagons in the middle of the worst days of the black death. Look at a Bruegel painting, they are insane. I do realize this post will probably bar me from any sort of public office of working with people. Ever. But, that being said I still completely agree that the Viradouro school has no taste as can be seen by their replacement float/dance idea which seems to be a samba homage to Arnold Schwarzenegger's tour de force as Mr. Freeze:

(for reference):

That has to be intentional right? Sick, sick Brazilians.

And just to prove that I have some notion of political correctness after all, here is the pic I chose not to lead this post with:

Remember, it is Carnival so offensive is festive!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


We meet again Sandman!

We both knew this night would come drool-on-pillow-man!

Monday, January 21, 2008

British Council

This is getting closed down

because this guy

killed this guy
and this is how Russians feel about it


British Councils is an organization sponsored by the British government that promotes English-language learning through courses and access to books in its libraries. It has branches abroad (would be funny if there was one in the US) and much like the Goethe Institute which is subsidized by the German government and the Alliance Francaise which is subsidized by the French government, the British Council is subsidized by the British government.

The Russian government is forcing the all British Councils offices outside of Moscow to shutdown. Russian authorities have been giving various reasons for this, the most amusing and simultaneously most ridiculous is that they are centers for British spies in Russia. That is a laugh, something the British papers are quick to point out. I have seen these places. They have some books and really just try and help people to learn a but of English at a subsidized rate. To be sure there are British spies in Russian, and rightly so, but they sure as hell aren't wasting their time in the British Council branches, just as I am sure the Russian spies in the UK don't go to too many Russian cultural events.

Basically, what is going on is part of an ongoing British-Russian feud centered around Litvinenko poisoning (pictured in his hospital gown above). To make a very long story short, Litvinenko was a former KGB agent who was poisoned with radioactive polonium. He died in the UK and had been living there before being poisoned. The Brits sent a team over to Moscow to investigate and came up with the fellow they believed to be responsible, Andrei Lugovoi (blond guy above). The Russian refused to extradite him and he was later voted into the Russian parliament , giving him immunity from prosecution.

In a tit-for-tat response, some more minor Russian diplomats were expelled from the UK last summer and things have been simmering since then. The latest element of that was the forced closure of the British Council offices outside of Moscow (most likely so the foreign ministers kids can keep going to language class), on preposterous grounds. The British government has been quite resilient, lambasting the Russian authorities and so far refusing to shut those offices claiming the claims against them are baseless and any attempt by the Russian to close those offices would violate international law (not so sure about that one, but sounds good).

Anyway, essentially banning the British Council puts Russia in the fine company of Burma and Iran, the only other two countries to do so. Hence the ironic kidney punch of the Russian political cartoon above.