The Academy

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Friday, April 11, 2003
The Dumberfication of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

So Congress passed the Amber Alert bill that contains a slightly watered down version of the Feeney Amendment. Not that watered-down though. As I understand it, the statute still overrules Koon v. United States and still requires reports to Congress of every downward departure. Thus, in my estimation, it is still dumb.

Thursday, April 10, 2003
Me thinks Mindy doth protesteth too much

Here are the reasons why Mindy's reasons are stinky:

1. NY can be purty, too. If you squint real hard to block out the graffiti.
2. But, NY has good Italian, Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern food. And the best bagels in the world.
3. Ok. I don't have a response to the Beetle thing. That's a really cute car! What color are you going to get?
4. To the Marge, Andy, and Paul arguments, I can only say that I hope they remain loyal to you. Sniff.
5. I just don't get the Vegas thing. It seems to me, though, that they have flights leaving good ole LaGuardia pretty regular like, too.
6. I can't really argue with the ocean thing. But I think you're overlooking the aesthetic value of the East and Hudson Rivers. LA is in some kind of valley, right? You lose all those nice river breezes!
7. You won't miss Key Food? Even a little? I think the NY shopping cart is more your size. You are, after all, a small person.
8. Buying a place is overrated! When something breaks, you can't just call Jose to fix it. Have you considered that problem?
9. Movies shmovies. They make 'em here, too. And tv. You could accidentally appear on Law & Order in this town, baby!
10. I think you have probably realized by now the ridiculousness of the Dodger Stadium comment. Hi. Yankee Stadium? Sure, it stinks, but it doesn't get any better than that for baseball!
11. I don't get the "restaurant nonsense is good" argument. I really don't. Were you so drunk during the summer of 2000 that you didn't notice all the ridiculous places our law firms took us to? Oh wait. I know the answer to that. I was drunk with you.
12. There are celebs in NYC, too. They're just more guarded when they're here to avoid the crazies. But that presents more of a challenge. What fun is a celeb sighting if you don't have to work for it?

As for the subway . . . It is bearable for about 9 months of the year. And, walking in the city in the summer makes for great exercise. I don't know what about that prospect doesn't appeal to you.

At least you haven't been knifed

Knife thrower slices assistant live on TV

LONDON (Reuters) - A record-breaking knife thrower shocked viewers when one
of his daggers sliced into the head of his assistant on live TV.

Circus performer Jayde Hanson, 23, was demonstrating his skills when one of
his knives hit his assistant and girlfriend, 22-year-old Yana Rodianova on

As she clutched the side of her head, horrified presenter Fern Britton
shouted: "Oh my God, there is blood, quick -- get her off."

A spokeswoman for ITV's "This Morning," one of the country's most popular
daytime programmes, said the wound was only "a nick".

"She's absolutely fine and recovering well," the spokeswoman said, before
adding ruefully: "You don't really expect that kind of thing from a world

Over one million viewers had been watching as Hanson, who works for the
Cottle and Austen Circus, showed off how many knives he could hurl at Yana
in 60 seconds.

He had been trying to emulate the pace of his world record-breaking effort
of 120 knives thrown in two minutes which he achieved as part of National
Circus Day on Tuesday.

"He felt confident as he has been throwing his mother's kitchen knives since
the age of 10," the show said on its website before the accident.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Hanson, whose father was an elephant tamer and
mother a trapeze artist, is currently having to advertise for a new
assistant as Yana, who bears two scars from previously mis-directed knives,
wants to concentrate on her hula-hoop act.

His previous assistant reportedly left the job after being hit in the foot,
her third injury from a wayward knife.

"In 11 years of performing, I've only hit my assistant on five occasions,"
he told the Daily Mail recently.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Sunny So-Cal

I find myself once again down here in sunny Southern California. During my decade-plus living in New York City, I reviled this part of the world. I mocked those who moved out here and predicted their swift return. I ridiculed denizens of LA as vapid, convertible-driving, cell-phone-talking, silicone-breasted, botoxed bimbos. I still think that I was mostly right. However, I have decided to move here nonetheless. The irony is not lost on me. I thought I'd work out my insecurities and uncertainty about the wisdom of this decision here, in public, in front of everyone in the world. Or, at least, the five or six loyal Academy readers.

Although the primary reason is my love of a fellow Academy member, that can't be the only reason. Not because of some feminist "I am my own person" kind of thinking. I'm over that. I'm absolutely not my own person. I was my own person for a really long time and it got waaaay boring. (Except for the luxury of eating only popcorn for dinner, which I kind of miss.) Frankly, Robert's worth chucking lots of life plans over. It can't be the only reason because Robert has no real desire to stay here. He would've gone back to NYC with me if that's what we decided to do. But inertia is a funny thing. Plus, I think he's managed to convince Thorlarc and the other surly partners in the LA office of his Big Bad Lawfirm that he's smart, capable, and willing to work hard when he has to. Why would he want to uproot himself and head off to the Mothership where he would have to prove all that to another crowd of surly Thorlarcs? So, it makes sense to stay. But he would've left -- so he can't me *my* only reason to move here....

Here are some other reasons I'm choosing LA over NY:

1. Its purty.
2. It has good mexican food.
3. I can drive one of them new convertible beetles
4. My old roommate Marge, who I love dearly, lives here
5. My old friend Andy, who I love dearly, lives here
6. Did I mention the convertible beetle? I mean, that's kind of a big thing for me. That's odd, isn't it, considering my aforementioned LA stereotype.
7. 40-minute, 50 dollar plane rides to Vegas. Or, in the alternative, four hour raucous road trips to Vegas. LA's proximity to Vegas is my point.
8. It's close to the ocean. Of course, so's New York, technically. I don't think I need to explain why its kinda different out here though.
9. It has grocery stores that you can turn your cart around in
10. We can probably buy a place to live. Unlike NYC, where studio apartments in Brooklyn are going for half a mil lately.
11. Movies. It's a movie town. They make 'em here. Hot and fresh movies, popping out of studios like Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
12. Dodger Stadium is a beautiful place to see a baseball game.
13. My old friend Paul, who I love dearly, is a professor here
14. They have hotels/restaurants/bars that are so obvious about trying to be cool its hysterically funny. Example #1: the aquarium behind the registration desk at The Standard that contains an underwear model, lounging and reading a book. Having come of age as an adult in NYC, where the idea is that you turn your nose up at anything that obvious, I love that kind of thing.
15. Amusing nonsense is pretty much the norm. For instance, this one time, Robert and I were at one of those cool restaurants, and I saw this guy I went to college with whose name was Jim. We walked past the table and he didn't see me, though, so I sat down and had a mojito before going over to say Hi. I regaled Robert with tales of Jim while I sipped my drink. Fortified by minty rum goodness, I wandered over to the table to say hello. Jim was turned away from me, stuffing a bite of garlic mashed potatoes into his mouth. "Hey!" I cheerily greeted him. He turned to me and stared. I suddenly became not so sure that he was Jim. Thus, I asked, "Is your name Jim?" "No," he grunted, through potatoes. At that point, I realized that he was Kiefer Sutherland. That kind of thing could happen every week!

Let's face it: two years in Portland have made me soft. I could no more move back to NYC right now than I could become an astronaut. I like driving around in my cute little car too much. I like sleeping far away from my refrigerator too much. I like forgetting the smell of the subway in the summer too much. I'm ruined for life. So, I'm moving to LA.

Monday, April 07, 2003
Mystery Solved

Huzzah! The genius behind The Judge Song and the parties to blame for my humming "Happy Together" by the Turtles obsessively have been identified. The Bar and Grill Singers are responsible. I'm proud to say they're from Texas, folks.