Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's #1

Tonight, The Missus and I watched the greatest movie ever: The Shawshank Redemption.  As a fan of both Stephen King and Morgan Freeman, maybe this movie was just right up my alley, but The Missus liked it, too.  And she doesn't like Stephen King.  So anyway--really good movie.  I concur with the IMDb voters.

Friday, March 27, 2009

He Said It Best

Nobody ever asks me why I want to be a lawyer.  But if they did, I might point them to this passage from Michael Cricthon's 1994 novel Disclosure:
Sitting in the deserted law offices, [the client] had the feeling that he was all alone in the world, with nobody but [his lawyer] and the encoraching darkness. Things were happening quickly; this person he had never met before today was fast becoming a kind of lifeline for him.

That's how you justify defending people you think might be guilty: because, as humans, they need somebody to believe in them and fight for their (and our) rights.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thomas KOs Artest

A quick Google news search tells me that nobody else is reporting what I saw today in San Antonio: Kurt Thomas knocking the crap out of Ron Artest, knocking Ron Artest flat on his patookis in the crowd behind the goal.

Let me explain.  Mr. Artest battered George Hill, our rookie guard, who was on his way to a fastbreak layup.  Sir Kurt (who should be knighted for his defense of the homeland) answered the assault with the same intensity with which he plays: he pivoted, then sidled toward Mr. Artest, stepped into it, pushed his 235 pounds through his left shoulder, and blasted Mr. Artest at least twenty-three feet into the crowd behind the goal.  Fouls were called on neither Mr. Artest nor Sir Kurt.

Normally, I don't condone violence.  Sometimes, however, you gotta put the smack down to show people whose house they're in.  Sir Kurt explained to Mr. Artest, in language he could understand, that he was in la Casa de los Spurs.  If you mess with one Spur, you mess with us all.

You just don't get stories like this in baseball.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This One's for President Scott

The Sporting News, via Yahoo!, published a story by Richard Justice, who writes for the Houston Chronicle.  So maybe he's just rubbing it in our face.  (But let's face it---Astros and Rangers fans don't hate each other like Cubs and White Sox fans.  The only thing we've ever done to them was steal an almost over the hill Nolan Ryan back in 1988 or whenever.)  Or maybe he genuinely understands what it means to be a Rangers fan.  Some quotes:
To be a fan of the Texas Rangers is to live in your own peculiar sports hell.

. . . 

[E]very franchise has had its bad moments.

The thing that separates the Rangers from pretty much every other MLB franchise is that they keep making bad decisions.  Year after year.  Generation after generation.

. . . 

In 37 years, the Rangers have won just one playoff game.  That was their very first one---on Oct. 1, 1996. . . . Under general manager Doug Melvin and manager Johnny Oates, the Rangers made the playoff three times in four years.

Those were the great years.  

I think it's important to note that he says "the great years" and not "some good years."  The article then delves into the great ownership of Tom Hicks, including his deals to get Alex Rodriguez and Chan Ho Park before concluding with the words that every Rangers fan wants to read and believe and hope:

Maybe Hicks has learned his lesson.

Yes, and maybe this is the year we beat the Nationals in the World Series.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Go 76ers Go

After my team's miserable loss on Monday night, I feel the need to spread the embarrassment.  Last night, sixteen NBA teams met in eight locations.  Seven home teams won; the only home team loss came in the Staples Center.  And in case you were wondering, the Clippers lost up somewhere near San Francisco.

Monday, March 16, 2009

First Movies

The earliest movie I can remember seeing is the 1987 classic Predator.  After that, the first two movies I can remember watching were Michael Keaton's venerable Beetle Juice from 1988 and Bill Murray's 1984 effort, Ghost Busters.  The first movie I saw in the theater was the inimitable Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

The first Disney movie I can remember seeing is 1991's Beauty and the Beast, tho I might have seen Terminator 2 in theaters first.  I'm also pretty sure I saw 1992's Aladdin in the theaters.  The first Disney movie I remember owning is still my favorite, 1994's Lion King.  (I asked for the Super Nintendo game for my birthday, but my parents got confused and bought me the movie instead.  Ah well: all's well that ends well.  The movie is a classic and the game is forgotten.)  Maybe this is weird, but the two scariest movies I remember from growing up are Dumbo and Fantasia.  I'm still afraid of drunk elephants and dancing broomsticks.

Come to think of it, the only kids movie I watched much of before Lion King was Scruffy.

What about y'all?  What's the first movie you remember seeing?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sawliet, Sawliet, Sawliet!

One of my favorite things to tell The Missus is that life is too short to be in a hurry.  Like many of my friends, I want to know how LOST ends, but reading this post on Lostpedia got me thinking about enjoying the present on LOST (whenever that is).  Here's a good sum-up quote:
Too many of us complain that there aren’t enough answers being given, and that there are too many questions popping up. But it is a mystery show, after all. Learn to love the questions.

Will Sawyer and Juliet end up together?  Who's the real bad guy, Ben or Widmore?  When will Walt come back?  I don't know the answers, but I have guesses.  (Yes, Jack, and Season 6.)  And right now it's a lot of fun to talk to other people about what they think the answers are.  I think when the show ends, we'll miss that part of the LOST experience.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dignity and Debasement

The most beautiful book I've ever read is Stephen King's Cujo, a story not just about a rabid (or demon-possessed?) dog, but a story about the debasement of a husband and wife dealing with insanely huge problems they can't escape, like infidelity:
[S]he hoped he would always think he had been as mad as hell, and not . . . not the way his face said he felt.

Infidelity (whatever that means to the couple in question) is such a big issue in a marriage that it cannot be simply swept under the rug.

But why is it such a big deal?  Relationships sometimes peter out.  Friends drift in and out of closeness, sometimes trading best friends.  Why not spouses, too?  Sure, judeochristian ethics frown on infidelity, but why?  (I mean besides the obvious husband : wife :: Christ : church analogy.  I've always thought of that analogy as arising precisely because of the ban on infidelity.)  I don't have the answer, but I do have a thought: dignity.

William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist is both beautiful and insightful.  Toward the end, Father Merrin (the old priest) and Father Karras (the young priest) are talking about what the demon seems to want from Regan (the little girl):
I think the demon's target is not the possessed; it is us . . . the observers . . . every person in this house. And I think---I think the point is to make us despair; to reject our own humanity, Damien: to see ourselves as ultimately bestial; as ultimately vile and putrescent; without dignity; ugly; unworthy.

The demon is trying to debase Regan and the others and take away their dignity.  When I talk about dignity, I mean something deeper than pride and more lasting than the absence of embarrassment.  I mean a recognition of your intrinsic self-worth, a recognition that, regardless of what seems to be or what people think, you deserve to have that worth recognized.

And dignity is what infidelity attacks.  We all deserve, intrinsically, somebody on our side, even when the world hates us.  It's why we all have a Sixth Amendment right to counsel and a right to zealous, loyal representation.  And maybe that's why infidelity is so destructive.

Monday, March 09, 2009


I love reading fiction and only tolerate some nonfiction.  I've read enough nonfiction over the past three years to last me a lifetime, but I have much more nonfiction to read in the future.  Perhaps Isaac Asimov said it best:
It's your fiction that interests me. Your studies of the interplay of human motives and emotions.
That's it.  I love stories, and I love psychology.  Go fiction!

On second thought, most legal nonfiction is really a study of the interplay of human motives and emotions.  Maybe I have chosen the right profession . . .