Thursday, July 28, 2005

John Roberts, Lawyerbot

There are any number of reasons one could be afraid of John Roberts, who, barring a shocking, late-breaking memo or intern, will be the next Supreme Court Justice. But let's put aside the corporate-hack issue and the apparent opposition to civil rights, school desegregation, and legal abortion--you can read about them elsewhere. The elephant in the room is that the man is a ROBOT. And not just a regular, clean-your-house, walk-your-dog robot--a LAWYERBOT.


While the Fembot, the sexy killer lady robot immortalized in the Austin Powers movies, is certainly better known, its relative the Lawyerbot is in fact both more common and much more dangerous. While the Fembot kills with Guns Hidden In The Boobs, the Lawyerbot destroys all that it encounters with the much more cunning (although less visually impressive) Distaste for the Powerless Hidden in a Legal Argument. Be afraid--be very afraid!


The first hint of Roberts's mechanical origins is his appearance--the unreasonably square jaw, the strangely thick neck (all the better to hide the wiring), the unmoving hair and fixed half-smile. However, in general the most common identifying characteristics of the Lawyerbot are its resume and its unnatural interactions with normal humans. Just as Fembot appears to be a proposterously sexy woman, Lawyerbot takes the form of a proposterously high-achieving attorney.

If the meandering pathways of life have led you to those Lawyerbot Breeding Nests more commonly known as law school and D.C., you have surely encountered many of this type. They were the ones whose entire lives seemed to have been programmed to lead them to the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court (a.k.a. The Motherships), who could engage in earnest discussion of legal arcana for hours without showing signs of depression (or blinking), and who would forgo any remotely debaucherous forms of entertainment with it-sounds-like-I'm-kidding-but-I'm-really-not jokes about their future confirmation hearings.

When you live amongst these creatures, your immersion in their strange, inhuman culture can disorient you to the point that you do not realize you are surrounded by robots. You may, in fact, come to think that you are the weird one. But rest assured, dear reader, you are perfectly normal--it's the Lawyerbots who are not right in the head!

Unless, that is, you dream of standing doctrines or the dormant commerce clause. In that case, I would advise you to watch the director's cut of Bladerunner and go oil your joints.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Onion roooooooocks

To clarify, the Onion does not always rock, but this headline is going to make me happy for weeks (ok, minutes):

War On String May Be Unwinnable, Says Cat General


Monday, July 25, 2005

Ann Landers, Meanie?

First of all, I want to apologize for my fairly long absence. Not that I have gotten many emails asking where I am--OK, I haven't gotten any--but I can dream that someone out there is secretly pining for my, um, trash-talk and analysis. I don't really have any good excuse--I have been working relatively hard, but relatively is the operative word there. For instance, I have nothing on A3G, that undeniably hilarious but oh-so-heart-breakingly conservative lover of federal judges and hater of eyebrow rings, who apparently works a gajillion hours a day at a law firm and then blogs at 4 a.m. about how John Roberts should hire her as a Supreme Court clerk. Exhausting!

Anyway, in case anyone has fallen behind on their advice columns, I wanted to draw your attention to a very interesting personal aside from Prudie, a.k.a. Dear Prudence, a.k.a. Margo Howard, a.k.a. the advice columnist for Slate, a.k.a. Ann Landers's daughter. (Here is evidence, in the form of her book, "A Life in Letters: Ann Landers' Letters to Her Only Child.") Dear reader, Prudie essentially says that Ann was overbearing and mean! Check it out:

Dear Prudence,

My mom is a very caring woman, but ... whenever she comes over, either to visit or to pick up my 12-year-old, she sticks her finger in my plants (checking for water), walks around my house (checking for cleanliness), etc. When I was growing up, my mom had a full-time job, but when it was time for dinner, she had a full table—meat, veggies, fruit, the ultimate dinner. Now that I am a mother, she often comments on the state of my house. I know she cares, but how do I tell her tactfully that I am independent, she raised me well, and I am OK?

Dear M.,

Take it from someone who knows from problems—this is not even on the chart. Your mom's habit of being the housekeeping police is ingrained and really quite benign. Try to laugh it off and don't let it annoy you. This is a somewhat common mother-daughter dynamic. Prudie's own mother, for example, used to sigh that Prudie's children were raised by wolves. You are old enough to know that she did it her way, you're doing it your way, and never the twain shall meet. The way to see this situation, my dear, is with humor. Or at the very least, when she is checking for plant moisture or dust, do the mental equivalent of "la, la, la, la, la, la, la."
—Prudie, obliviously

Omigod! Could it be that Ann Landers, who taught this entire nation everything it knows about how to deal with drunken mothers, absentee fathers, wayward children, and ill-trained puppies was a meanie herself?

In fact, though, you only have to get about halfway through that thought before you realize, Of course she was. If anybody in the universe was going to be a know-it-all in her personal life, it was a woman who tells everyone else how to behave for a living. This is Exhibit # 5324378 for my rapidly-developing theory that most powerful people are fairly unpleasant to be around. Looking on the bright side, though, this theory provides a nice rationalization for my aforementioned strategy of being fairly lazy.

And on that note, I'm off to watch MTV.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Shout-out to my new blogging peeps

I'm very happy to welcome St. Scobie of St. Scobie's Mock Whiskey and Pooplatter of Poo Poo Platter to the world of blogging*! I am very flattered by Scobie's claim that her blog came about by accident in an attempt to post on my blog, although I suspect that this is a ruse that her subconscious concocted in order to let her inner blogger burst forth. I particularly liked her discussion of how Bush should reveal his nominee:

How will the nominee be revealed?

Good question. Brook thinks GWB should put the nominee under a heavy black cloth and then, right as he says his/her name, whisk the cloth off, revealing the nominee.
For me, I sort of imagine him being really gushing and silly, saying “I just hope the American people are as crazy about (him/her) as I am!” and then lofting the nominee’s hand high above their heads in victory.
Both of these ideas were definitely superior to by-the-book approach Bush actually chose, which was: let the new guy wear the red tie, try unsuccesfully to suppress smirk, refer to his "heart."
Pooplatter's Special Purpose (if you haven't seen The Jerk with Steve Martin, you really should)is clearly pasting the heads of political figures on other bodies, as such:

Prom (courtesy of Poop Platter) Posted by Picasa
So anyway, welcome, darlings! You bring a little ray of light to my otherwise dark and annoying day. :)

* I would say "blogosphere," but really I don't feel like a member of such a place (e-place?), since something with "osphere" in its title sounds like a huge world full of varied, interdependent species, whereas I pretty much just write about TomKat, and sometimes judicial nominations, and link to Wonkette. I think it's more accurate to say T&A resides in a blog-o-diorama. So, welcome to that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Here's a Supreme Court nominee!

So Bush just named John "May God Smite Me Down If I Should Disappoint the Federalist Society" Roberts to the Supreme Court. Karl Rove who?

Friday, July 15, 2005


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince comes out tonight at midnight! If you have not already made plans to brave the hoardes of excitable children to pick it up at your local bookstore and then stay up all night reading it, you should really reconsider. Here are some factors to take into account:
  • The current Pope, back when he held the terrifyingly-named position Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, warned that Harry Potter was an example of "subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly." Who doesn't like their seductions nice and subtle?
  • When the 5th book came out in 2003, there was a huge marketing push, but it flopped because "Harry Potter mania is essentially a celebration of reading, a phenomenon created by children, not marketers." Awwwww.
  • You can always see The Wedding Crashers tomorrow night.

There, I just put all of my persuasive powers into that, so I hope it worked. Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Thank you, Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security may be involved in a lot of evil, nefarious things and some stupid ones, but I am honestly, truly, from-the-bottom-of-my-heart grateful for their announcement today that you will no longer have to remain seated for the last 30 minutes of flights going into and out of Washington National Airport.* About a year ago, I had a Really. Bad. Experience. involving this rule, airport pizza, and my state of denial about my lactose intolerance. I remember actually thinking, "If John McCain lived through being tortured in Vietnam for years, I can deal with this for 25 more minutes," and then, "I am trying to inspire myself with thoughts of John McCain--the end must be nigh." Anyway. Thank you.

*You will catch me calling it Reagan National Airport over my own cold, dead body, and probably not even then, as I anticipate being a fairly quiet dead person.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Giving in to TomKat temptation: Movie Reviews

I have big confession: after I went apeshit on TomKat's movies like a socially conscious 20-year-old at a World Bank convention, I totally paid $10 a pop and saw BOTH Batman Begins and War of the Worlds. And it was AWESOME. (Now I've ignored not only my own supposed principles about TK, but also the rule that you don't start a sentence with "and." And--haha!--I'm using bordering-on-rude ALL CAPS like they're going out of style. Society, I ignore your rules! I'm WILD!!)

It gets worse: War of the Worlds was BETTER than Batman. Batman had a pretty awesome villain, but also a very predictable retelling of the Childhood Trauma That Made The Superhero, an uneven tone caused by small, infrequent doses of awkward humor, and (SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT) an unsatisfying resolution, as in, they seem to have forgotten to save a large portion of the innocent populace, and mentioned this omission only in passing. Also, Katie's character, a kind of Elisabeth Rohm/Angie Harmon/Jill Hennessy/Carey Lowell type, didn't have that much to do. Katie also didn't have much chemistry with Christian Bale, which wouldn't have been surprising when she was adorable Joey (sniff), since Christian Bale's a freaky man and all, but now that we know she looooooves freaky men, I kind of thought, where's the beef?

War of the Worlds, on the other hand, was almost consistently terrific--it's a surprisingly realistic portrayal of human fear and paranoia, in a universal, this-could-be-a-metaphor-for-anything kind of way. The only bad part was Tom Cruise's movie son. Yes, that's right--Tom himself was GOOD! His character is kind of an arrogant prick, which is believable, and (KINDA SPOILER ALERT) he doesn't save the day, which is a nice change.

So what have we learned from this experience? My short-lived impulse to boycott TomKat movies was just as unlikely to succeed as my attempts to do many otherwell-intentioned things (brushing my teeth after breakfast, writing thank-you cards, working for nonprofit organizations). As a wise man once said:

Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.

Amen, Homer.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Alert! Katie Holmes' brain is missing!

Let the gnashing and wailing of teeth commence: Katie Holmes has lost her marbles. Gone idiot. Dropped her egg on the frying pan. Put on a monkey hat. Traded in her chips for a lump of poo. This interview in W (reproduced in part on provides the chilling, incontrovertible evidence:
Do you worry that this might be a rebound romance for either of you?
"I've never met anyone like Tom," Holmes replies, her beautiful green eyes focused on nothing in particular.
Do you ever wonder whether this is just a honeymoon phase?
"Tom and I will always be in our honeymoon phase."
Did you learn anything in your previous relationship (five years with actor Chris Klein, which came to an end when they called off their engagement this past winter) that has been a benefit to this one?
"Chris and I care about each other and we're still friends. Tom is the most incredible man in the world."
Do you feel that, with more relationship experience, you get better at resolving conflicts?
"Meeting Tom—I'm just exhilarated. He makes me laugh, we have fun, we understand each other, everything is so aligned. I feel so lucky and so—like I've been given such a gift, such a gift, you know?" She pauses. "And it's just really amazing."

Nutsorooni. And there's more:
Anyone who has seen photos from the couple's June tour of European capitals in support of their summer movies will recognize the tall, cold-eyed Jessica Rodriguez, a third wheel at all of Holmes's recent public appearances. Rodriguez, 29, was described to me as Holmes's "Scientologist chaperone" . . . After the interview, when I ask Rodriguez how long she's worked with Holmes—reports call her a longtime employee of the Church of Scientology—she waves her hand and says, "Oh, no, we're just best friends.… Well, Katie has a lot of friends." And how long have you been friends? "Oh, a while," Rodriguez answers. "I don't know." It turns out the two women were introduced only six weeks earlier—right around the time when Holmes met Cruise.
Get out the straightjacket, boys and girls. Happy Friday!

Spending it all in one place

So, as you may have seen, Chuck and Caitilin won Beauty and the Geek last night. I must say, I felt really bad for Richard, because he clearly wanted to win soooo bad, and because his piano serenade to Mindi, his partner, was really cute (sample lyrics: "Mindi, It's windy, when you're not around.") Awww!

But anyhoo, only after they won did it become clear to me that the $250,000 prize they won was to be split between the two of them, leaving . . . wait a second, I can do this . . . in my head, I'm not even using a calculator! . . . $125,000 each, or a little under $100,000 after taxes, probably (I totally guessed on that one.) Doesn't that seem like not so much for a reality show? I mean, I guess this is the WB, and they didn't have to survive with no food on a deserted island for a month, but still. Anyway, I started to think to myself, What would I do with that amount of money if I had won? Here's my list:

-Pay off part of student loans.

That's the whole list. I feel kind of sick to my stomach.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Law & Order Republican Alumni Update

Today President Bush picked Republican Fred Thompson (Law & Order, United States Senate) to "shepard through" the yet-to-be-named starlet who will be plucked from obscurity to play the Conservative Female Associate Justice role in the upcoming spinoff series Supreme Court: No More Abortion For You, Ladies.

Also today, Republican Angie Harmon, the previously unknown starlet who was plucked from obscurity to play the plucky Conservative Female Assistant District Attorney role in L&O, will join the cast of NBC's "fertility clinic drama," Inconceivable.

Coincidence or conspiracy, people? You tell me.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Why, Sandy?

Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring. This bodes rather poorly for the future of women's rights, civil rights, etc.--and, more immediately, probably significantly limits the amount of vacation I will be able to take this summer. Quelle horror! :(