Sunday, September 21, 2003

How's your vision today?

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

What I've been up to....

Writing. Lots and lots of writing. The first draft of my appellate advocacy paper is due this coming Thursday, and I've bee plugging along trying to write up the brief. It hasn't been easy, since I really don't like a.) the topic and b.) the case. I have to write for the appellant for this one, and I really have to admit: they don't have a case. Ok, they have a case, but not much of one. So it's been fun.

What else have I been doing?

Well, Thursday I went to court. Not any court. THE court. Well, at least the biggest court around here - the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. I have a friend who works there, and he assured me that Thursday would be a good day to go. Why? Judge Frank Easterbrook would be presiding, and for those of you who don't know what that means, well....let me share a story he shared with me.

Seems a rather prominent attorney, who does most of his work in the 9th and 2nd circuits wished to file a brief in the 7th. Unfortunately, the attorney's brief did not conform to the rules of the court. When the clerk informed him of this, he told the clerk "I do most of my work in the 2nd circuit, which is much more prestigious, and that brief conforms to their rules."

Well, you can guess what happened. The clerk 'let it slip' what the attorney had said. Unfortunately for the attorney, Easterbrook was the judge to whom the clerk let it slip. And Easterbrook was the presiding judge in the case. So when Mr. Self-Important Attorney got up in front of the Court for his allotted twenty minutes, he got a - yep - twenty minute lecture on the rules of the 7th circuit and why they should be followed. He got not one minute of time to present his case.

So in full knowledge of how Easterbrook can shred an attorney (Richard Posner, another 7th Circuit Judge, has a similar rep, though Easterbrook's younger and more vocal, from what I've heard), I showed up on Thursday. Most of the six cases were dry affairs, though the Northwestern University prof who showed up to argue a habeas case on behalf of the defendant certainly had fun dancing his way around Easterbrook's shots. Judges Wood and Evans were fairly quiet, though Judge Wood grilled a female attorney who showed up to argue a deportation proceeding.

The highlight case was United States v. Mallon which concerned an Irish civil servant (though the BBC says he's merely a consultant) who came to the U.S. for some State Department things, and decided to march in the St. Patrick's day parade here in Chicago. And he figured, since he was here anyway, to have sex with an underage girl. Or he thought she was underage. Instead, "she" turned out to be a Cook County Sheriff, and he happened to get welcomed to Chi-town with his own committee....and some neat digs out at 26th and California.

But that wasn't the highlight, argument-wise.

No, that went to this exchange:

Attorney 1: "Your honor, I am here today to....."
Easterbrook: "Why are you here today? Frankly, I don't even know if we have jurisdiction to hear this case."
A1: "Excuse me, Your Honor?"
E: "Your brief doesn't include the required statement on the state of incorporation and principal place of business of your opponent." (Easterbrook's a stickler on the rules!)
A1: "Uh.....I'm pretty sure they have their principal place of business in New York."
E: "But your brief doesn't say that. It doesn't say anything. But don't worry, the other side's brief doesn't either."

Surprisingly, Easterbrook let him continue. That's probably because the attorney seemed not to be a real attorney, but a guy representing himself (He had the same name as the plaintiff). Besides, Easterbrook had another attorney waiting to be roasted - the other guy.

Easterbrook: "Your brief violates the rules of this court. It does not state the state of incorporation or the principal place of business of your client."
Attorney 2: "I think it's in the complaint, your honor."
E: "I didn't see it in the complaint. Besides, whether or not it is in the complaint doesn't matter. It's supposed to be in your brief."
A2: I don't know what state they are incorporated in, Your Honor, but I'm pretty sure that their principal place of business is not in Illinois."
E: "I don't want an attorneys guesses, counsel. I want facts. In the brief, where it belongs."
A2: "Yes, Your Honor."
E: "I'm giving parties seven days to amend and include the required information."
A2: "I imagine you want the plaintiff (A1) to amend first, Your Honor?"
E: "No, I want both parties to amend. In seven days."
A2: "Do you just want a supplement with the information?"
E: "I'm sure a properly written and formatted brief will suffice."
A2: "Yes, Your Honor."

At least Attorney #2 got a chuckle when he referred to a California appraising company as "foreign".

According to my friend, Monday has a real interesting case coming up. If Easterbrook's involved, I'll be there.

Last days....

I had two positions when I was at Exelon. I started in reporting, and ended in support accounting. My replacement at the report accounting position, Jen, left the company on Friday, and I joined up with some ex-co-workers to see her off (her hubby, an ob/gyn, got a residency in Los Angeles). First up was watching the DVD of her and my friend Jim going skydiving (Jim liked the experience, not the DVD - he didn't buy his). Miguel teased Jen about how lively she was before she got up in the plane, and how quiet she got once there. Actually, as Miguel pointed out, the guide nearly had to pull her ripcord, because Jen was too busy waving and smiling at the camera to notice that they'd passed the altitude they were supposed to pull it at. All in all, it was quite funny.

I told Jen that with her in LA and Scott in San Diego, I'd have to come out west soon. Then I could meet Moxie, and Annika, and Joanie.........hmm....winter sounds like a good time for a trip....

In other news, I'm going to be moving. No, not apartments, which I am going to do in about three weeks. But blogs. I've struck a deal over at for my own space, and I'll be moving over there soon - probably about the same time I move to my new apartment.

Friday Five

Ok, so it's Sunday, not Friday. But I originally spent a good hour typing the above and my answers to the Friday Five and then hit post and watched it all disappear....

So here goes...

1. Who is your favorite singer/musician? Why?

I have lots. Bruce Springsteen, Sarah McLachlin,'s a long list. Music defines a large part of my life, as regular readers can probably tell by all the lyrics I quote here. I use music to make me happy (Sit Down by James, Return to Innocence by Enigma are two that come to mind), to express anger (Godsmack), when I'm sad (Sarah), when I'm reflective (Enya)...and on and on. To pick one as a favorite? Never

2. What one singer/musician can you not stand? Why?

Oddly, this is easy. Van Morrison. Yuck. I'm not a big fan of Led Zepplin or the Beatles, either, but this says musician, and I like Paul.

3. If your favorite singer wasn't in the music business, do you think you would still like him/her as a person?

Yes, to all of them.

4. Have you been to any concerts? If yes, who put on the best show? Ok, here's the concert list:

AC/DC (1981, Rosemont Horizon): My first concert. I still remember riding in the car with my friend Al Crutcher, and his friend Bob. Very Loud. Very fun.
Queen (1982, Poplar Creek): Their last US tour. Best light show, hands down.
Wham (1984-ish, Poplar Creek): My friend Brian talked me into going, cause there'd be tons of girls there. There were. And they all thought Brian and I were a cute couple.
Bruce Springsteen (1985, Rosemont Horizon): There's a reason he's called The Boss. 'Nuff said.
Peter Gabriel (1987, Poplar Creek): I can still feel the drumbeats of the encore song, Biko. Awesome.
J. Geils (1987, Poplar Creek): One Big Party
John Mellencamp (1987, Rosemont Horizon): This one involved some effort. I had an interview in Deefield (an hour from home), and then had to go back to NIU (in DeKalb) because my Econ prof moved the date of the exam, and wouldn't let me take it another day (I can still hear him say, "It's a night class, you can do the interview and the exam"). Then I had to drive another hour back to Rosemont through a horrible whiteout so bad that Mellencamp himself recently called it the worst conditions in which he did a show. It was worth it.
Yes (late 80's): They came to Poplar Creek (since torn down and now part of Sear's HQ). They had just had their first hit in years (Owner of a Lonely Heart), and were riding the crest of a wave of new stardom. Most boring concert ever. The wave didn't last long, either.
U2 (1992, The World Music Theatre): The day of the show, it was about 98 degrees and humid outside. An hour before the show, the skies opened up for about 15 minutes, or as my mom likes to say "long enough to get everything wet." Including all the tops of the girls, most of whom wore white, and many of whom left the bra at home. It was a good show. And what was on the stage was good, too.
Bruce (again) (1992, The World): I used to know this girl, MK, who liked to tell tall tales. She did work for Jam Productions, and she did have a backstage pass, but that was about it. The funny part was when she told us how she bumped into the Big Man (Clarence Clemons) backstage and talked to him. She shut up quick when I pointed out that Bruce had recently fired the E Street Band, and that they were probably not on speaking terms at the moment.
The Cure (mid-90's, Rosemont Horizon): I went with a co-worker, Kathleen, who was from Detroit and not all that gorgeous, but to whom I was attracted to anyway. Good seats, good show. No date.
Melissa Etheridge (mid-90's): She did a show at the then-Rosemont Horizon (now Allstate Arena). I went with my friend Jeff, his then-girlfriend and her friend (who was disappointed to be fixed up with me). She did the middle third of the show from a satellite stage 15 rows away from us. Kenny Arnold (Mellencamp's drummer) did a solo on her acoustic guitar. It was great.
Nine Inch Nails (mid-90's, Rosemont Horizon): One of only three concerts for which I still have the t-shirt (the 92 Springsteen and U2 shows are the others), and the t-shirt that's in the best condition of the three. Wins the award for most bizzare, with the Jim Rose circus appearing as the opening act, and a big silkscreen covering most of the stage. And Jeff's future wife/ex-wife's cousin bobbing his head incessantly. On the way home, he said he had a headache. Wonder why.

I haven't been to a concert since Melissa/NIN/Cure (I don't remember which was the last of them), partially because I object to Ticketmaster's rape of the public with their fees, and partially because - well, I'm not 21 anymore.

But David Bowie's coming in January. And I bought tickets. And coughed up $8 per ticket (on top of the $40 ticket price) to Ticketripoff.

5. What are your thoughts on downloading free music online vs. purchasing albums? Do you feel the RIAA is right in its pursuit to stop people from dowloading free music?

Explain to me this: How is downloading any different from borrowing your buddy's CD and taping it? Hmm?

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