Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Phone Stack

Internet Stuff Post
If you live alone, and are tired of most of television, although I am now thinking of getting the Brazilian Booty Butt Lift DVD to tighten and tone up, and so between reading and homework you surf the internet looking for something to keep the mind stimulated, you stumble over things. This is one such thing.

I found this online and really can't wait to play a round of this some folks I know. Although considering my neighborhood I'll probably be picking up checks like a chocolate candy because every time my phone chirps (yes, I've turned the sound on now) my stomach lurches just a little bit. But then maybe one of you out there can get a free meal or three out of it.

From the inventor : The initial purpose of the game was to get everyone off the phones free from twitter/fb/texting and to encourage conversations.


1) The game starts after everyone has ordered.

2) Everybody places their phone on the table face down.

3) The first person to flip over their phone loses the game.

4) Loser of the game pays for the check for the whole table.

5) If the bill comes before anyone has flipped over their phone everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.

Note the context of rule #3. The reason for turning the phone over doesn't matter, and since the phone is face down you can't look at the number and make the decision not to answer it. This gives rise to the simple concept that unless you're a doctor on call, that ringing phone shouldn't take precedence over people sitting there. (Special ringtones were not considered in this calculation)

Barkeep, a round for my friends. Except that one on phone. Yeah, we can ALL see the bluetooth!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Newt & The Laugh Track

This is a political post

Photo from the Washington Post

Newt Gingrich, and oddly the View's Elizabeth Hasselbeck, were upset that the moderator of the first Florida debate asked the crowd to please hold their applause. This created in Ms. Hasselbeck's view a "very boring debate", and caused some pundits to say that Newt floundered. What it says to me is that the Republican nomination process has become the political version of "Last Comic Standing".

The dearth of crowd reaction and Newt's reaction to it is an actual phenomenon, stemming from the development modern television sitcoms. You see the average television situation comedy (sitcom) comes with a laugh track. This feature provides an auditory cue for your humor instincts. It laughs on cue, funny joke or not and actually induces you laugh, or at least make you think there is enough mirth to keep the show on the air. It's a fairly big deal in television production, because when a show that's supposed to be a comedy gets made without one, the whole vibe is different. It's the difference between Two and Half Men and 30 Rock.

Because apparently, it turns out, Newt's thing is schtick.

The Republican nomination process has forced all the candidates to choose the same cover story, the same talking points if you will, to be as close to the fantasy candidate mouthpiece the extreme end of the party wants just to get their votes. The moderate Republicans, now a dirty idea in general, will go along with whatever in any case, so no one is pandering to them. As such, there is now really just one candidate, the rest is all camera angles. So to set themselves apart, each has to differentiate himself on another level to woo votes. Perry was the good-ole boy. Cain was the outsider. I'm not sure what role Bachman was shooting for. Santorum is the ideological purist. Paul is the loose cannon. Romney is the inevitable. And as it turns out Gingrich is the performer.

Gingrich has discovered how to play to the crowd. There is no conviction, no this is who I am and this is what I think is best, it's all "you didn't think that was good, wait, let me do this," and whatever else makes you like me, almost like a dancing child. It started with his famous "if you quote what I said then you're misquoting me" when he misjudged that the party didn't really want a leader, they just wanted someone to stand out front and quote the talking points. A pretty face if you will. And the standing ovation he got the other night for his snappy answer to the ex-wife question just reinforced this line of thought.

On stage, if there is no feedback to let him he's rung the bell again, apparently Newt can't make himself standout, as evidenced by his first Florida debate showing. The silent crowd gives him only the same points everyone else has. He needs lights, fog machine, he needs magic. And if you could throw in a minority moderator who will ask him about his sex life, the man can throw out zingers all night. Thank you, Thank you, try the veal, I'll be here until the convention.

I'm curious to hear how he plans to dictate the terms of the Presidential Debates if he wins the nomination.

It's sad that for all the points being made that we need a strong leader in these difficult times, what we're getting from raucous debates is the promotion of an well dressed version of Larry the Cable Guy.

(my apologies to Larry the Cable Guy)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #24
Sometimes it just ain't enough to make a post, but it's still needs to go out....it's just bar chatter.

How not to endear yourself to your new professor, especially when you've signed up late for the course without consulting them:

"Well, I heard there was no reading."

Since the class is project based I guess that's technically true, but if you say it like not reading is a benefit, you're probably doing it wrong.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Red Tails - a film rationale

Ramblings Post #179
I love a good movie. Well, let's quantify that because I love some pretty dumb ones too. I love movies that suck me into the story, or make me wish I was the star. Or even better make me forget for a few minutes the world around me. And is funny. But not stupid. Okay, I don't know what I like until I see it. And then some films still have to grow on me. I'm not even sure why I wrote this now.

For the last two decades, in a Hollywood heavyweight has been struggling to bring a story to the big screen starring Black heroes of World War II. Now, frustrated to the point of action beyond all movie making logic, he has gone out on a limb and put up his own money (a big filmmaker no-no) to get made a fairly large budgeted big screen adaptation of the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. And by doing so, he has accidentally put the idea of black film-making at risk because if a film by someone like him, an icon of nearly three decades of cinema, can't turn a profit here then the bulk of black films will be relegated to whatever Tyler Perry or the rapper of the minute wants to give us and bargain basement labor of love indie films. And nobody wants just that as the whole of black cinema.

Yet black women are talking about boycotting it.

Are kidding me? Did the "if this doesn't work nothing else even gets a chance" discussion even get acknowledgement?

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a big George Lucas fan. But his explanation of the whole system and why Hollywood is reluctant to make movies starring black characters shouldn't be dismissed because we don't like it. After all, he as well as anyone would know. To many studios he's money in the bank, so he should have had it easy. Instead, it took in twenty years and he's still going it alone on this one.

And black women are talking about boycotting it.

The two primary reasons I've seen today are "why support this and not an indie black film (Pariah)" or the "the movie doesn't have a black female love interest" so it must be writing black women out of history.

Pariah, for those of you who don't know, is a small indie film about a young black girl coming to grips with own sexuality in the face of her friends and family. I've only seen the trailer, but it looks sensitive and poignant, a lovely exploration of a young girl finding who she is in a world that might not accept her. But in Atlanta, it's playing at ONE location. People who like this film should rejoice in George Lucas's film. Why? Because if Lucas is successful, then movies like Pariah might be able to find a wider audience.

The other argument is one a bit more visceral. In the film, one of the black actors has a Italian girl friend (in Italy), so along with no major white hero, there is also no black female love interest. This I realize touches a nerve. However, the answer is the same for the first argument. If this film is successful, then those films that follow can include more and broader roles black actresses.

We've fallen into the instant gratification concept to hard here, in that instead of getting this victory we've become intent on "righting a wrong". Does Pariah deserve a wider audience? Yes. Will boycotting Red Tails get it one? No. Do black actresses need more roles in Hollywood? Yes. Will boycotting Red Tails and causing the first major black film in years to fail make that any easier? No. So why boycott?

No, that's a real question.

Because I don't get it. Black cinema will survive no matter how Red Tails does, but this idealistic martyr concept won't advance any black filmmakers agenda, only hinder the opportunity for what is to come. And opportunity is the heart of the matter, for without that we are nothing. And for the record, I'm probably going to buy a ticket to Red Tails and then not go see it, just support the idea that black people can be heroes on their own.

Black people can be heroes? Well, that's just a "horrible" message to send anyone.

Barkeep. Something smooth.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Many years ago, Dr. King had to sit down and tell his child that she couldn't go someplace because she was black. Then he went and did something about it.

Now, over forty years later I can sit down and have a meal just about anyplace I can afford. And think the food is okay. And like the decor. I can be picky. Or I can go to the park. Or a museum. Or downtown. Or the golf course. Or anywhere....

You might not think it means much, until you think about what it mean if you couldn't.

Thank you Dr. King.

Thank you so very much.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole

Ramblings Post #178
I just realized I didn't post my annual rant about the amount of time between when the law school exams are completed, and when the law school grades are posted. Because a great deal of law school tests are essays, it's completely understandable that a little more time is needed for proper evaluation. What's odd is that for some reason grades come out the day AFTER late registration ends, which means you're on faith each and every time. What's even more odd, I just noticed that last part.

This semester started off with a round robin of "starting the last semester of law school" from all my law school FB friends. I was surprised by the number of them, but not surprised by the level of confidence. Law school seems to breed confidence, even in those whom its not normally displayed.

This is a front.

Having confirmed with the registrar (again) that my version is their version, which means provided all my grades are passing from last semester, and all my grades are passing from this semester, it looks like I will graduate in May. I say this provisionally, which as I understand from the registrar with whom I used air quotes every time I said graduate, based upon my expectations of grades.

Thinking like a lawyer already. Will I graduate this spring? It depends.

Lawyers are by in large cautious people. We're taught to be. For example, I started classes this week and of the four classes I'm taking at least two professors led the first day orientation five minute cold start with the reminder that if we make a mistake, we could get sued for malpractice. And maybe lose your law license. This is a repeat from 85% of the classes I've taken since I started, where if they didn't open with it, it certainly came up shortly thereafter. In a sense it keeps you looking for the "alligator in the swamp" so to speak.

I don't anticipate any issues. Okay I do anticipate an issue or two, but that is the nature of the game. We shall see as they say.

Barkeep. Water. In a tall glass. I need to keep my nerves.

Monday, January 9, 2012

One last weekend

Ramblings Post #177
The condemned man gets a last meal. Even if the governor gives a reprieve, there is one last bag of Cheetos and diet RC cola if requested. So here we are, on the verge of starting the last step towards this educational journey I started oh so long ago. So no matter what happens, and maybe I'm paranoid but I'm always waiting for the issue to arise, I need to go and have a good time now because until this is all said and done...it ain't all said and done.

The NFL season is over....but I went to a playoff party anyway.

A partner of mine, a big Falcons fan, was having a playoff party and since the semester didn't start until the following Monday, I stopped by the "package" store and laid out my "going ta meeting clothes". A little before kickoff, brunch eaten, I headed south. He and I had hung out many a time, always with a great cup of spirits in hand, and as a premier Falcon fan I expected a pretty good little shindig.

It got off to a rocky start before I even got there, when that sound my car was making that I had been trying to figure out the source of for a week or so turned out to be the power steering pump dying. Heck of thing to find out on 285. But since there was closer than going back, I trundled onwards.

The party was a nice little group, maybe twenty five or so people, game jerseys aflutter, familiar faces at every turn. It was nice to see some folks I hadn't seen in a while but whom I used to run into two or three times a week. It was hugs and smiles and joy....

Full Regalia. The man is a true fan.

....until we actually started watching the game. The host was in full regalia, and even changed outfits two or three times to try and change the Dirty Bird's luck to no avail.

I'm not sure how it will be in the future, although I had glimpse with my cousin at that other game party, but at this "throwback" function the stereo came on during commercials and liquor was a series of bottles on the kitchen counter. The men watched the game and cursed, the women stood around and talked about everything but football. And well aware of the wrestling match waiting for me in the car I went with a judicious mix of bottled water and juice with B12, which is why my recollection is so clear.

And as the game got out of reach for the home team, the crowd's interest waned further. The card table came out and dominoes started, following by spades with the game as white noise filler. There was only one Steeler fan in attendance, so by the time the second game rolled around, the idea was simply to hang out for minute. Realizing I had things to do, and a steering wheel to wrestle, I called it a day and headed home about midway through the second quarter of the late game.

I got home, cleaned up a bit, but didn't turn the late game on until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter when the Steelers had a chance to complete their comeback.

Let me say this: Tebow is living proof that it is better to be lucky than to be good.

He has bad mechanics and is so far from the typical NFL quarterback it's scary. What's even scarier is that because he has lucked up ...and I mean that, lucked up... and managed a string of victories and a playoff win, there will more of this style coming. Which means that more option and running quarterbacks might get a shot in the NFL. And it also means that a QB's career will probably have two to three years shaved off a career that's already only averages four to five years long. The hits take a toll, as your average running back can attest.

But all that was to get ready for the next big thing. Back to the books.

Barkeep. Well, you know how it goes. The usual.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #23
Sometimes it just ain't enough to make a post, but it's still needs to go out....it's just bar chatter

So, I guess football season's over.

Yes. It is. This is not up for discussion. I take heart that last year they were abysmal and this year they had a shot at winning the division. When life gives you lemons, you make lemon juice...because for lemonade life has to also supply sugar and water.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What I learned 2011

Well the first thing I learned is that I mis-named last years list. This is what I learned in 2011.

This year for the third or fourth time in a row, I stayed in on NYE. This year just didn't feel right, again. Maybe it's the waiting on grades, maybe it's the getting my budget right, maybe it's the number of jurisdictions between my house and the nearest party. But next year, I'm gonna hit one of those big parties, where they advertise that tickets are ONLY sixty bucks or so, and although they swear the party lasts until 6am you know that around 12:30 the joint is going to start emptying out....

Okay, seriously, as I've shared before, I'm not really big on resolutions. It's like a TO-DO list that lasts seven days or so. We make a personal promise, we hold out for week, we stop lying to ourselves, we move on. Maybe a month. So what I do is I take a few moments to reflect on what I've learned from this year.

NOTE: the idea for this piece is blatantly stolen from Esquire magazine. I like to believe that I'm just practicing for when they do actually call me for an interview. (It will happen!)

Too much time is as bad as too little time.

A leap
of faith is sometimes all you need to get you need to get you out of your rut.

The power
of inertia is unfathomable.

Take love
where you can get it, because the real stuff is hard to come by.

getting it done is better than getting it perfect.

needs a hobby. Collecting matchbooks, dancing, something.

Steady paychecks
change your mindset.

Routines come
from circumstances. Change your circumstances, change your routine.

The distance
between done and almost done is forever. Squared. Times two.

needs to be stopped.

You're in trouble
when the journey becomes the goal. You need actual goals. Plural.

The unknown
is just scary. The known can be terrifying.

a hug can fix a lot.

Everyone has their
own story, and it proceeds no matter what your plans are.