Friday, May 09, 2003

Check this out.....

Ang has been nice enough to complement my writing, so I'm improving my blog by adding a link to her. Most of the people who drop in here come from Sua Sponte, or from The Paper Chase, or from liable, or from moxie. All of these blogs are great reads (check out liable's comments on today's post), and I think they deserve a thank you from me for their support.

But I would be remiss to ignore fish, whom several of my friends like, or a mad-tea party (listed as Alice on the links page), who was recently listed as one of the top 50 interesting newcomers on Technorati, and for good reason.

There's more good stuff.....just check out the links page.
People are funny..

There's a lot going on around here in the Finance Department. Today is T's 50th birthday. Tomorrow is D's birthday.

T is rather nonchalant about the whole matter. Every day T goes to the company cafe for lunch, and buys a salad. But today is a big occasion - the big 5-0. So T is celebrating by taking a half day, and having a quiet dinner with the wife.

Not D. She had to let everyone know that tomorrow is her birthday, and they all must go out for it. God forbid anyone cancelled, because the full pouting mode would begin. In fact, her boss, P, was in a meeting with his boss, R, and she stood at the corner of P's cube, waiting for him to finish. Finally P looked over and said "go ahead, I'll catch up with you." After they were done, he told R that he was going to lunch, which prompted a wry, I-feel-sorry-for-you smile from R. D is one obnoxious person, who more than once has interrupted a co-worker's meeting with R for some issue that she just had to deal with at that moment. The funny thing is she makes numerous derogatory comments about me, but no one here really likes or respects her, for obvious reasons. I can't stand her, but it's mostly because of what went on between my ex-roommate and her, which I may blog about someday, but not today.

On another topic....

We are at T minus 5 for Contracts finals. I've resorted to pulling out my CPA review tape and listening to Harry talk about Contracts. It's from 1995, but remarkably, still accurate. Eight years hasn't changed much in the law. And Harry Wright is much more entertaining to listen to than Professor Contracts. Several of my classmates, who lack full-time jobs, went to a review course for the day students, and came back talking about how poorly Professor Contracts had done in instructing us. Of course, Professor Contracts has to compete with Professor Civ Pro (who would have been Professor Bus Org, had I not forgotten to register until 11 a.m. yesterday), who is one of the most dynamic professors I've had. He ranks up there with Harry in teaching style, engagement of students, and ability to make you remember even the most mundane details about filing a pleading. I'm still trying to change my Bus Org class, and if I can't get in legally, I may just go anyway...

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Responding to others' blogs.......

Dawn argues that "[t]he safest family environment for a child is a home in which the biological parents are married. Contrary to current theory about the effects of marriage on children, recent research demonstrates that marriage provides a safe environment for all family members, one in which child abuse and fatality are lowered dramatically." Joanie counters that "90% of the children brought in to the hospital [where she works] suffering from child abuse are from homes where mom and dad are married and living together."

I have no experience in being a husband or a parent, but I'll still say this: You live what you know. I recently went out for drinks with a few classmates, and came to a realization: all four of us had parents who were involved in our lives cared about what we did, and encouraged us to pursue our dreams. And for the most part, we all turned out well.

No one is perfect, and we all have our flaws, but my guess is that both Dawn and Joanie are right. Where the biological parents are still married, and had happy childhoods, the children are well adjusted and happy. But those parents never wind up in divorce court, and are usually successful. Hence, no social issue.

But where there have been problems in the parents childhood, those problems will manifest themselves again when the parent has their own children (clear as mud?). If you're abusing your children, they'll abuse theirs. If you smoke in front of them, they'll smoke. I could go on and on. This is a subtle form of addiction, breakable only when someone makes the conscious decision to break the cycle. Until that happens, the behaviour will continue. We've all known children afraid to talk about sex, because that's "dirty". Usually, these people either meet enablers or become enablers themselves, so the cycle continues.

I agree with Dawn. There is a social problem out there. But there is no one cure-all panecea which will solve the problem, no metaphorical bomb we can drop to make it all go away. It has to start with the parents themselves - get involved in your children's lives, and don't be afraid to discipline them when they need it ("Honey, please don't do that" is NOT discipline - be firmer). But know when to back off, and know the difference between discipline and abuse. Teach them morals and values, and exhibit the behaviour you want them to exhibit. If you show respect for others, they'll learn to be respectful. And yes, you'll make mistakes; we all do. But if you feel the urge to punch your six-year-old, see a psychiatrist.
Limited time offer......

Today H took me out for some drinks, because he's leaving tomorrow on vacation and can't join the drinkfest. His boss came too. I like them both, and have a lot of respect for both of them. I've kept in touch with someone from every job I've worked at, and hopefully they'll stay in touch.

Speaking of which, one of the eight Jens I know called me today - after a year of not hearing from her. She called to invite me to her wedding, but unfortunately, it's after I leave for Rome, so I won't be able to go. Too bad. I haven't seen her in a while, and it would be nice to see her.

Yesterday was the oldest nephew's confirmation. It went fairly well, and the bishop was actually entertaining. He was a Chicago boy through and through - right down to his mannerisms and the way he talked. The church is a new church, just built in the last year, but the pews were damn uncomfortable, and it was very stuffy inside - they obviously forgot ceiling fans to generate airflow. Afterward, they offered refreshments. I thought we'd get some, chit chat a bit then head back to my sisters, which we did, but not without my oldest nephew becoming Oscar the Grouch. Man, did he get pissy. It was embarrassing. I just wanted to leave. It was too bad. Mom wanted to get ice cream or rice pudding, but he spoiled the fun mood. Which made me sad and angry - sad because my Mom was just trying to make a nice evening, and angry because he had no good reason for this.

I start turnover tomorrow. Six more days.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003


Well, things are winding down. There are now eight (not counting today) days left in my career here (though I could wind up like Milton in Office Space if I don’t remember to tell HR I’m leaving). And school is all but over except for finals, which are the 14th and the 19th. Oh sure, there’s a Contracts review session tomorrow, but I won’t be there because it’s the oldest nephew’s confirmation.

When I was a teenager, I used to think that my parents didn’t understand me. But now that I’m older, I realize that it’s the other way around – teenagers don’t understand what it’s like to be an adult. And they never will, because it’s an understanding that you don’t get until you’re there, and then it’s too late to go back. Only then do you appreciate the benefits of ignorance.

My oldest nephew lacks motivation. He’s perfectly content to do nothing. One of his classmates, upon noticing the instructor had misspelled his confirmation name, asked my nephew to get the attention of the girl in charge fixing such errors. My nephew called this girl’s name out in a voice barely audible to me, sitting right next to him, much less someone three rows away, as she was. The classmate finally got help from someone two rows in front of us, who overheard him asking for help and called the girl over.

I feel sorry for him, because I think he’s greatly influenced by his father, who brags about his third grade education, and how well he’s done for himself. Let’s review that, shall we? He lives in a house he doesn’t own, drives an on-its-last-legs car because he (a) can’t afford and (b) can’t get a loan for a new one, has twice been cited by the city where he lives for having vehicles rusting away on the lawn in front of his house (and complained that they ‘have it in” for him as a result), has promised to by a car for both kids when they turn 16 (and told the oldest that the beat up, rusting deathtrap 1989 MR2 was for him, but then traded it for a tractor, and said he’d get that instead), and works as a maintenance man for a grocery chain, because he lost every other job he had and his own business ‘never took off’ (which it won’t when you make 8 a.m. appointments, and don’t show for them, or when you don’t answer your pager).

My nephew won’t hesitate to tell you his plans to play college and pro football, but apparently he missed the requirements that you (a) pass your classes, (b) stand taller than 5’9” and (c) actually make the teams. Kind of like the tax client I had this year who told me that she inspired her boyfriend to go back to college. When I asked her what he went back to do, she told me “he’s gonna be an NBA player.” Again, the fact that he was 5’8”, 28 years old, and playing on a juco team didn’t seem to be a deterrent, because “he’s got some real good moves.” Yeah, so does the 12th man on every NBA team.


It’s strange to be winding down. When you go to law school open houses, they tell you that you really bond with your classmates, and to an extent it’s true. But there are barriers. The suburban people (like me) are limited, since they have to drive back out to the suburbs, and can’t hang around like the city people do. Take last night, for example. John, Heather, Christine, Aaron, Mark and I all went for drinks. Heather left when her stalker showed up (according to her, they’re just friends, but from what she told me, she’d better be careful). I left when I realized (a) it was getting late (b) I’m still gainfully employed, and needed to be at work somewhat close to on time (c) I had a thirty-five minute drive home and (d) I was getting tired. The others were still there, rehashing their briefs, agonizing over trivial errors (I can’t imagine that in practice all briefs are perfectly written) and rationalizing that the Moot Court committee won’t notice that they didn’t underline a case name, or missed a period, or spelled behaviour with a ‘u’ as the British (and I) do.