Thursday, March 30, 2006

Public transportation and our republican system of government

The other morning I saw an ad for the DC Metro system on the side of a bus that said, "House, Senate. Bus, Rail." I experienced a mini-flashback to the SATs and thought to myself, "That seems like an apt analogy--but why?"

Well: like the House, the bus system is the black-sheep sibling; it's less well-known, less predictable, and it has a lot more crazy people.

But is this possibly what Metro meant? Unlikely--why would they want to point out to bus riders that the strangers in whose armpits they are standing are probably wackjobs like Tom Tancredo?

But what else is it supposed to mean? That Metro is bicameral and that in order to get anything done you have to ride both a bus and a train? That once you get on the metro you'll be there for 6 years, while you'll only stay on the bus for 2?

It's a mystery. At least it will give me something to ponder while I ride the fickle, passionate branch of the legislature to work.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Poor imitation of retired Entertainment Weekly item

One of my favorite things in the paper version of Entertainment Weekly used to be The Shaw Report by Jessica Shaw, a.k.a. the "In/5 Minutes Ago/Out" chart. Every week there were 3 columns and 3 rows of pithy, insightful, clever brilliance. Recently they've shrunk this to 3 rows, 1 column, and it's just not the same. Thus, here's my homage/cheap knock-off, sans rows and columns because charts are not Blogger's bag:

In: Warrantless wiretapping
5 minutes ago: Three-way call ambush
Out: Quietly picking up the phone in the kitchen

In: Britney as maternal ideal
5 minutes ago: Britney as Child Protective Services case
Out: Britney and Madonna

In: Lime
5 minutes ago: Celadon
Out: Moss

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Why does anyone reach the top of big law firms?

It takes the New York Times 5 pages to answer the question Why Do So Few Women Reach the Top of Big Law Firms?, but I could do it in 5 words: because big law firms suck.

Is it really any shock that anyone decides to leave a job that makes them work 60-100 hours a week whilst punching the clock like a waitresses (worse, really, because waitresses don't have to punch out when they go pee)? Let me tell you a little anecdote: when I got sworn into the DC Bar, the judge who performed the ceremony gave us 3 pieces of advice: 1. Don't commingle your client's funds with your own; 2. If you find that you are very depressed or abusing drugs or alcohol, you have an ethical obligation to take a break from practicing until you fix the problem; and 3. If you don't spend any time with your family, your children will hate you. Welcome to the practice of law!

The real shocker is that anyone decides to stay in big law firm jobs. I would suggest that the reason more men than women do so is because more men than women feel pressure from society, their families, their own overachieving selves, whatever, to climb whatever Accomplishment Mountain they find in front of them, despite the fact that they'd rather work less so they can spend time with their children, or just so they could leave work while it's still light out.

With that, I think I'd best stop spending time with the computer on Sunday, and go eat brunch.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Claude Allen, refund fraud, and a friend of mine

The most trashtastic news of the day didn't involve TomKat or Paris & Nicole, but Claude Allen, one of the lesser-knowns in President Bush's collection of uber-conservative black advisors. Allen, an evangelical zealot domestic policy advisor and nominee to the 4th Circuit, was previously best known as the Jesse Helms aide who got into a wee spot of trouble for saying Helms' 1984 Senate opponent was vulnerable because of his links "to the queers."

It seems that in the midst of his busy schedule of sitting next to Laura at the State of the Union, having his wife home-school their children, and promoting abstinence education as the best way to deal with AIDS, Allen managed to fit in a regime of stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise from Target via "refund fraud." If that isn't fabulous enough for you, there is an evil twin angle.

Now, if you're like me, reading the phrase "refund fraud" might have made you feel a bit panicked, perhaps even enough to distract you from the awesome evil twin possibilities. I mean, panicked on behalf of a friend. Like, maybe you have this friend who, for instance, maybe once returned a comforter that she'd used for 88 days on the 89th day when there was a 90-day return policy, or maybe once returned a pair of jeans to J. Crew under their old "return anything at any time for any reason" policy, which, why did they ever get rid of that?, after she fell down and tore a hole in the knee and then returned the new pair because they seemed too baggy after her Brazilian friend convinced me that my pants should be tighter. Her, I mean her pants could be tighter. Hypothetically, would that make your friend some kind of criminal?

Allow me to ease your mind: I have read all about Claude Allen, and sir, you are no Claude Allen. It seems that Allen-esque "refund fraud" is less conscientious receipt-saver, more Winona Ryder. It worked like this: he'd buy a stereo or something, bring it out to his car, bring the receipt back into the store, get another stereo from the shelves, and then return it with the receipt. He did this lots of times, netting maybe $5,000. Including once with a pair of shades that cost $15 each.

So carry on with your return-happy ways, dear readers! I hear will let you send back shoes for a year after purchase and will pay for your return shipping. You can thank me with your comments.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oscar Recall

Liveblogging is so 5 minutes ago. Here are my thoughts on the Oscars, aged for 48 hours:

Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger are intruiging because they're attractive, but not blindingly hot, and they seem happy but somewhat unsure of themselves. They have some things in common with Brad & Jen and other things in common with Reese & Ryan, but if forced to pick I'd have to say they're more like the new Kirsten & Jake. Also, I like her dress, but he's balding and needs to shave.
Nicole Kidman, why art thou blonde? She was a lovely redhead, but now her hair blends right into her forehead, elongating it into kind of a fivehead. (Fivehead! Haha! Ahh, that never gets old.) On the topic of her fivehead (haha!), it seems she eased up on the Botox enough to let one of her eyebrows move for the occasion, and that's progress, but the upper part of her face still looks strangely bat-like.

[Please note that it was at this point in my blogging endeavor that Blogger got all sassy, like, "You think you free web-based blogging software is going to let you post pictures whenever you want, eh? Is that right? Well, you are going to have to learn that life is sometimes not fair, missy!" So you will have to use your imagination about the visuals.]

Samuel L. Jackson's big retro moustache and little rectangular eyeglasses really worked at cross-purposes. He looked like a beatnik cowboy, or a porn star philosophy major, and not in a good way.

You can say what you want about Dolly Parton's UFO boobs and loud discussion of how her jewelry was worth $2M, but it is indisputable that she was the only musical performer who put her foot down about the interpretive dancers acting out scenes from the movie like stoned understudies. Props, Dolly.

Crash winning Best Pictureseems to me like how, if the high school play was a normal play with 5 or 10 actors, it could be the most inspired piece of theater since, I mean, I don't really watch theater so I can't think of a good comparison, but my point is not that many people would come. But if the play had some huge ensemble cast, like Grease or even Our Town, all the shows would sell out. I'm not saying Crash wasn't good, but I think it benefitted from having every actor since Ronald Reagan in it.

Jon Stewart, my shadow husband, you did a great job. Of course I mean it. No, I think it was really funny. No, it wasn't at all questionable of you to repeatedly make fun of the Three 6 Mafia like you didn't think a rap group should win an Oscar. Yes, dear, I'm sure they'll invite you back next year.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ashley Parker Angel is a Genius

During my unplanned blogging hiatus of the last week and a half, I've missed so much titillating news: Lindsay Lohan's boobie falling out of her dress! Chief Justice Roberts commenting on how Anna Nicole Smith's Supreme Court case involves "a substantial amount of assets!" Prisons often shackle pregnant inmates in labor! (OK, maybe that last one not so much.)

But the one tidbit that drew me away from my strenuous regime of watching the commentary track(s) to Wedding Crashers was something I heard whilst taking a break by watching MTV. It was the beginning of "There and Back," the reality-show comeback vehicle for Ashley Parker Angel, which, coming back from what you might well ask? He'll tell you himself if you click here.

Anyhoo, on the show, in the midst of a discussion with his wife about chores, Ashley explained:

"I mean, washing dishes every day? That's just not the kind of life I want."

It takes an idiot or a genius to put into words such a fundamental truth. May your comeback vehicle take you far, Ashley Parker Angel.