goddess chats

(with apologies to Nicole Hollander) I was emailing my big sister, the ultimate computer geek, who remarked in passing that it was a little disconcerting that her little sister had turned into a goddess. When I pointed out to her that there was no reason that she couldn't be, say, The Daemon Empress of COBOL, hooboy did my lack of knowledge of the relative status in the geek world of legacy programs get me into trouble.

I was advised in no uncertain terms that, and I quote, "I would rather be called a sleazeball of a 'ho than an Empress of COBOL. I realize that no one understands what I do, but hexadecimal and assembler are my toys of choice."


I am pleased, therefore, to announce that henceforth I am proud to be the sister of the Aphrodite of Assembler. Even if I don't understand what she does.


the great tape caper

There are few experiences in the midst of trial that compare to listening to your client review a declaration, on cross-examination, that you have never seen before.

I didn't say it was a good experience, mind you, just incomparable.

During my last trial, which dragged on for six weeks before the judge finally put it out of its misery, I had just that experience. On her second day of cross, I learned that my client had made an audiotape of certain threatening messages left by the opposing party and one of her henchwomen at the start of the litigation. As the third attorney on the case, I'd not seen this declaration before. I had been blissfully unaware of that tape, and had failed to produce it.
Four days later, after searching every night after a full court day, my client finally found the blasted tape, and brought it triumphantly into my office. She had listened to it once at home, and said that it was pretty good stuff.

You know what's going to happen next, don't you?

We pop the cassette into the player, hit play, listen to an ominous few moments of message and then--squeal! flapflapflapflapflap!--the tape breaks.

One panicked hour later we have located a shop a few blocks from my office that repairs and duplicates audio and videotapes, no less, for the courthouse set. Another ten minutes, and fifteen mere dollars, later, I have a repaired original and four copies of the tape to produce all around.

The obvious moral of the story, other than keeping google at hand at all times? Copy your evidence before you put it in a tape player. It is much easier on the nerves.


blogger user profile survey

Since it's been a while since I've hung around blogger a lot (in fact, very little since google bought them), I figured I should take the survey. Nothing is as helpful as ignorance, right?

Geez. I'm still reeling from the fact that I have to check the "45-49" age category, which seems to be ancient for a blogger. Tempus fugit.

replevin rides again!

Demonstrating once again that there is no specialty in law that is too goddamn obscure to be developed, I am about to replevy another piece of heavy equipment.

Wait, that's not entirely correct. The writ for the first piece of heavy equipment still lies in my file unexecuted because the eighteen-wheeler is still on the lam (unlicensed, I might add).

Stay tuned, however, as the exciting tale of pursuit of the missing Sport King Drop Deck Trailer develops.

Wednesday update: An interesting Freudian slip appears above. The trailer is a Trail King. My .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol is a Sport King.


silence of the mutton


Between joining a new firm and the release of Time Matters 5.0, there's been no time left to blog, which sounds a bit like a song by the Guess Who, but isn't. Free associating here, I am a bit in overdrive right now.


broadband rules!

In the course of establishing myself in my new office (note to the typing weary--Kinesis keyboards are the caterpillar's boots) I have now obtained broadband access.

Oh man.

No more dependency on The Evil Empire for a meager trickle of Net.

I may never live in the real world again.


the end of an era

Some philosophical musings, no links today.

So I have joined an actual law firm, effective today. The timing has perhaps not been ideal. Some of my colleagues who are more keenly aware of my sense of whimsy have refused to believe that I am seriously making this switch. For this, I have only myself to blame.

Nevertheless, I have now left the ranks of solos and joined a firm, so I took down most of the content of my solo site this morning, and converted the remainder into a campaign site for the minor Bar office I am pursuing.

It was like watching the carnival being knocked down at the end of its stay in town. Really, I am proud of the content I developed, and it made me very sad to take it all down.


another example of the prisoner's dilemma in real time

If you believe that the correct philosophy is to cooperate, not to defect, you might be interested in Swappingtons.

If the preceding paragraph makes no sense to you, you might be interested in an introduction to the Prisoner's Dilemma (trolled up almost randomly through Google), a facet of game theory which I believes explains almost all social interaction. Well, I exaggerate. But not by much.


great, great resource for solos and small firms

I've been very impressed with what I have seen so far at myshingle.com, which is as my heading describes it. Moreover, Carolyn Elefant's style of writing is informative, but with a light touch. Dennis Kennedy's new blog, though just as informative, reads like an appellate brief.


question for my reader(s)

Does the community of blawgers, taken as a whole, constitute a k-log? Comments invited. I'm still mulling this one over.

i'd like handicapping these thoroughbreds

You have to be a licensed attorney to play in the Fantasy Supreme Court League, so the site owner is thinking of starting a law student league too. This tidbit comes from the print version of Law Office Computing, the only paper technology magazine I still buy and worth every penny. Their website, however, is uninspired.


the tragedy of the common man

I absolutely love it when life imitates logic, though some dead guy said that the "life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience."

An application of this principle can be seen in the Compact Disc Minimum Advertised Price Antitrust Litigation Settlement currently being flogged in newspapers and on the Net.

The more consumers filing claims in this settlement, the lower the recovery to each. Each additional person signing up produces a marginally worse deal for those who went before him. If enough people sign up, all the money will be subject to cy pres distribution, which in less technical terms means nobody gets nuthin'. I note, by the way, that although I think of cy pres as a reasonably obscure legal term, a google search of the term got me 2,510 hits. Replevin weighs in at a corking 10,900 hits, but I like to think that's because of my blog.

In any event, the problem is allied to the logical dilemma sometimes described as the tragedy of the commons. A commons is any resource used as though it belongs to all (the classical illustration is sheep grazing a meadow and breeding until they all starve), and a commons is destroyed by uncontrolled use. If you believe in the tragedy of the commons you are less likely to believe in the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith. And vice, of course, versa.

Another way to look at the dwindling CD settlement is to view it as a multiplayer Prisoner's Dilemma, one of my favorite facets of game theory. From the point of view of the person sitting at the computer screen pondering whether to apply for a refund, however, the choice is between having a chance at some free money or having no chance at all (if s/he doesn't apply). Because this is not an iterated game, there was only one logical course of action. At least that was my experience.


more mailing list sins

Lawyers who respond to an entire 112 KB digest of 25 messages by hitting "reply" should not be allowed to post messages to mailing lists. Sheesh.


even county clerks are blogging now

I find it very encouraging that someone from the King County Superior Court Clerk's Office is keeping an occasional blog. It doesn't matter that there aren't many entries--at least someone there knows what a blog--or a blawg--is.

really, he's got a point

I generally agree with the opinion that Tim Eyman is a horse's ass. Mainly because Eyman appears unwilling to accept Washington state's constitutional provisions against logrolling of initiatives, he costs the state millions of dollars in dealing with the consequences of enacted initiatives that are unfortunately as unenforceable as they are popular. Consider, for example, the sad history of I-695. On the other hand, maybe he just can't write initiatives. Either alternative is bad for the state.

I think Eyman's completely correct, however, that H.B. 1014 is a good idea. This bill looked to be a sleeper technical correction item until Eyman publicized it by speaking in support of it in Olympia. Let's face it, 8 1/2 by 14 inch paper is an anachronism. It's still called "legal" paper, but every court in which I practice switched over to letter-sized paper years ago. It's also hard to imagine that this bill will have any particular opposition (who? the paper companies?).

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

mystery of the missing archives

According to Blogger, my archives aren't "missing," you just can't see them on my page. At this point, September 15 entries and following don't show up as archive links, and I have a May 10, 2002, critique of Cardinal Law's deposition performance that I'd like to be able to refer to, but I practically have to stand on my head to find it. I've deleted index entries and re-indexed till I'm blue in the face, but no go.

This is very annoying.

Considering that I have just today figured out that I can add fixed links to my posts (although my attempts to format this turned the coding on the page katywompus for half an hour), which enables me to surface the previous Law entry, and that I have a totally free blog, my expectations are awfully high. If I'm going to do this, I want to do it right.


actual replevin update

We are still looking for the damned cab of the eighteen-wheeler. We got the drop-deck trailer by peaceful means (hitching it to another truck and towing it away) last year.



dg phone home

Now you can blog from a cell phone. That's good. I have a very devil of a time getting AvantBlog of which I believe I am one of the 19 authenticated users as of May 9, 2002 to work.

Okay, will someone please invent a cell-phone news aggregator now?


Here's the deal. I get a new PDA that's wired for wi-fi and use a PDA news aggregator. Desktop? Desktop? We don't need no stinkin' desktops.

Only drawback so far, aside from my needing to purchase the above-referenced PDA--this "way alpha" software is only available in Wince, which I refuse to use.


Clinging lovingly to her Betamax


oh, you mean that rod and staff!

The latest Kafkaesque view of reality as seen by the RCAB: By 1991, Cardinal Law had twice approved psychiatric treatment for the formerly Reverend John Geoghan because of allegations Geoghan had sexually molested numerous children. But when another bishop told Law that year that he had received a complaint about Geoghan ''proselytizing'' at a Waltham swimming pool and perhaps showing a ''prurient'' interest in a young boy, Law was not alarmed.

From Law's deposition:

Q: Didn't it concern you at all that Father Geoghan was now at a place where children were congregating outside his parish?

A: You know, the case, as it was brought to me, was a complaint relating to proselytizing, and I was taking it at that.

Does Law expect us to believe that he believed Geoghan to be doing God's work? Really, I couldn't make this stuff up.

the end of dialup

I may be the last technofan in America still using dialup access.

However, I have now seen the app that will force me to DSL, despite my cheap-and-worth-every-penny use of The Evil Empire. No, I'm the kind of girl who is longing for a desktop news aggregator. I just can't see doing that with dialup.

in defense of "stupid" sayings

The very thought that Lake Superior State University wants to banish words from the language makes me perversely interested in using them. Maybe I'm just touchy because their very first entry criticizes a phrase as being "contract lawyer-speak," as if there was anything wrong with that.

More seriously, they are just wrong, wrong, wrong in criticizing the phrase "black ice" as being meaningless. Maybe they don't have that up in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan/Ontario, but where I come from black ice is a thin layer of transparent ice that takes on the color of the road. I guess in the Twin Saults, ice is always thick and opaque (and probably year-round....but I digress). Ah, the limited world view of the provincial.

I could go on with this exercise, but do I really need to?

save your nigerian fraud emails!

I never even thought of collecting them, but Larry Kestenbaum has. What a great idea! Almost as good as the artist who makes sculptures out of the AOL CDs I (and many others) sent him. This being the Northwest, the salmon with CD scales ("Silver") seems particularly fitting.


almost too much content to bear

The world of Joy London appears in excited utterances, which is a fabulous name for a blog. London writes about knowledge management in law firms, not necessarily the oxymoron that some might think. Too much for my poor brain to absorb. In some cases knowledge management for a sole practitioner means turning off the darn computer.

jerry lawson is blogging!

Jerry Lawson, the deservedly acclaimed author of Internet Tools for Lawyers, or perhaps I should say content provider of same, started a blog on New Year's Day. Now that's the kind of New Year's resolution I like.

It will be interesting to watch a master of the Internet in real time making decisions about what content to allocate to his website and what content to post to the blog. Myself, I find blogging so addictive that I have been shamefully neglecting my own website, which is in the throes of an upgrade behind the scenes in any event.


who preps these guys?

My morbid fascination with deposition transcripts of highly-placed Roman Catholic clerics continues. Reading these things is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

The latest victims of Church hubris? Bishop John B. McCormack, now of New Hampshire, but late of the RCAB, and Bishop Thomas Daily, now of Brooklyn, also an alumnus of the RCAB.

McCormack's explanation of what he thought of Father Shanley's advocacy of NAMBLA positions (as it were) really is priceless. You'd think by now I would be used to the idea that a priest would lie under oath, but I'm not.

Daily is more likeable but also has what I have taken to calling Law's Disease, a seemingly congenital inability to allow the interrogator to finish his questioning before jumping in with an answer.

In any case, these men seem not to have reviewed the documents produced before their depositions. It did not serve them well.



I hear the sound of my father rolling over briskly in his grave. "Only a fool could think of e as an integer! Why dishonor Euler so? Have the idiot legislators who set the value of pi to three even struck again?" he thunders. Um, come to think of it, I should actually imagine Dad's jar rotating in his columbarium niche. More detail than you want, perhaps?

Sleep well, father. E-prime provides linguistic, not mathematical discipline. If you don't want to follow the link, that means: "In essence, E-Prime consists of a more descriptive and extensionally oriented derivative of English, that automatically tends to bring the user back to the level of first person experience." It works its magic by eliminating all forms of the verb "to be" from speech, written and spoken.

I find this hard to do, but notice that the above blog entry contains no such structures. Of course, my training in Russian gives me a leg up because the Russian language lacks a present tense form of that verb. So I worked without it regularly in my youth.