The Academy

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Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Newest Addition to Top 100 Paragraphs List

Oh, come now. Don't you maintain such a list?

Anyway, here's my most recent addition, from an E! Online article describing Siegfried & Roy's history:

The two met aboard a cruise ship in 1959. Roy was a bellboy, traveling with a cheetah he had stolen from a German zoo. Siegfried was a steward, who performed magic tricks for the ship's passengers on the side. A partnership was born.

I smell mini-series.

Former Federal Judicial Clerk Turned Ebay Addict Seeks Help

Something about the fact that I now must measure out my life in coffee spoons filled with little six minute increments has made the Internet even more seductive. I have become addicted to Ebay. In the last 24 hours I have purchased a bookcase, three laundry hampers, and an oil-on-canvas reproduction of a Rousseau painting.

Then I found this site that collects disturbing auctions, and now I'm addicted to that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
At Long Last, I am Vindicated

Have you ever known that something was true in your heart of hearts and yet your dearest friends doubted you? Painful, isn't it? Here's a little story about believing in yourself against all odds.

When I was a child, I watched the television program Too Close for Comfort. Didn't we all? Who could resist lovable Ted Knight as grouchy Mr. Rush, and Jim J. Bullock as somehow-not-gay Monroe. A few years ago, I was telling a group of friends about the most bizarre episode of Too Close for Comfort I could remember. It was a "very special" Too Close for Comfort. A very special Too Close for Comfort, in which Monroe was raped. By two women. In a van.

I could not have predicted the scoffs, the gasps, the jokes. I was mocked. Soundly mocked. Certain that this could not have happened, my friends chided me for dreaming up this nonsensical obscenity. Frankly, they began looking at me just a little differently. What is wrong with her, their looks suggested, that would permit her to come up with such a bizarre notion?

As I often do, I turned to the Internet for comfort. Surely some maniac has a Too Close for Comfort website. Surely someone has plucked this gem of a "very special episode" apart and turned in the resulting term paper to their seminar at Brown on gender roles and violence on 80's television. TO NO AVAIL. I had finally stumbled upon something so obscure not even the Internet held any evidence of it.

Or had I? During the ensuing years I began to doubt myself. Had I really seen such a thing? Did I dream it? If so, what in God's name did it mean? Clearly gay man raped by two women in a van at a mall parking lot? And, dear God, was it CHRISTMAS when this happened? Perhaps there was something wrong with me after all...

This self-doubt persisted until Saturday evening.

My dear friend Meg called, sounding shaken, saying "I owe you the most sincere apology."

"What?!?" I replied, excited, "The Dad from ALF really is a crack ho?" (This is yet another of those things of which I'm certain and yet can find no proof.)

"No," she said, taking a deep breath, "Monroe was raped."

The veil was lifted.

It turns out that VH-1, God Bless Em, is running a show called "Super Secret TV Formulas". Episode One focuses on "very special" shows. AND DIRECTLY ADDRESSES THE EPISODE I REMEMBERED.... including depicting a shaken Monroe, saying, "No one takes this seriously unless it happens to a woman."


But, yes. It happened.

The apologetic phone calls have been coming in fast and furious now. My friend Dave tells me, "This must have been what it was like when they found out the world was round."

Friday, October 24, 2003
Celebrities Eating!

I have stumbled upon one of the greatest sites ever. Dedicated to pictures of celebrities eating. Here's my current favorite.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
The initial ruling was silly and overwrought, and has implications that go beyond the mere recitation of the pledge. The justices should have no trouble overturning this abomination, quickly and decisively.

Talk about silly and overwrought. The above sentence, from an editorial in the Las Vegas Review Journal, took me completely by surprise. Newdow was a lot of things. However, it was neither "silly" nor "overwrought." Calling it an "abomination"? That's both.


Wednesday, October 08, 2003
While the Rest of the Media is Distracted by Cauliphonia....

The Academy has its eye on the story captivating those who truly care about our nation's future. The Academy and, thank God, Larry King. Tonight, Siegfried joins Larry live to fill us in on Roy's condition.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Finally, an Update

One of the many problems with letting your blog stand unupdated for so long is that when you finally return, you have so very much to say you might type forever and ever. Perhaps I should begin with my favorite news topic of the past few days: tiger attacks.

Now, I am saddened by the story of Roy's mauling. Don't get me wrong. I wish him a speedy recovery (although that seems unlikely). But, I must admit, part of me is rather pleased for Montecore, the mauling tiger.

Think about it. You're Montecore. You're a white tiger. These German freaks make you live in a casino. Their whole act basically makes fun of you. "Ooooh! Look at the big white tiger! I'm in charge here, Tiger, and don't you forget it!" After seven years of that crap, can you really blame ole Montecore for saying, "Enough of this, Buddy. How's about today, instead of me rolling over or playing dead, I bite you." I can't blame him. I even cheer a little bit for him, for standing up for his tiger self.

That said, the story of Roy and Montecore is by no means the best tiger story out there right now. Hell no. That title goes to the kook who kept a tiger in his Harlem housing project apartment.

Let's examine this, shall we? Antoine Yates somehow acquires a six-week old tiger cub. How the hell did he do that? Who's out there dispensing tiger cubs? He then moves the tiger cub into his Harlem housing project apartment, which also appears to have served as a foster home. Eventually, as you might expect, Antoine becomes nervous around the tiger. So nervous, in fact, the tiger runs everyone out of the apartment. Everyone, that is, except a feisty alligator. But, Antoine moves out, ceding the territory to the tiger. But, don't be concerned. Antoine still cares for the tiger and the gator... stopping by every day to crack the door open and THROW IN SOME CHICKEN. (That's my favorite factoid in this case... tossing in the chicken.) One day, even this finely honed plan goes awry and the tiger manages to shred the guy's leg to bits.

The neighbors knew about the tiger, sure. One even called the NY City Housing Authority to complain about the URINE ON HER WINDOWSILLS but to no avail. (Second favorite factoid: windowsills covered in urine.)

For those at a loss as to how to synthesize these two stories, the NY Times editorial page provides a sort of college essay compare/contrast piece. The bottom line? The Times has taken a bold stance and advises us not to try to keep wild beasts such as tigers as pets. According to the Times, "Tigers have enough trouble as it is."

Yeesh. Get well soon, Roy Horn. And keep them from putting Montecore to sleep. Everybody deserves the odd bad day once in a while.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Some Academy readers have asked for an update on my vacay. How's it going, the throngs wonder? Why haven't you posted anything about your travels? Be still, masses. Nourish yourself on the following tidbits....

I have been on the road since Friday, the day I left beautiful Portland, Oregon. I'd be desperately sad about leaving such a glorious city, but I'm hell-bent on a return engagement there. One of a more permanent nature. Let's hope so. First, however, I have to get the Citibank vultures off my back. Also, I don't think Robert and I are quite done living in a big ole annoying loud horrible city. At least, that's what I tell myself. So, this move. (Plus, of course, I can't wait to shack up with Robert. Cute little left-wing hysteric that he is. Hi sweetie! *smooch*)

But I have nowhere to be until the middle of October, when I start a really exciting job. One I'm terrified of, by the way, because it seems awfully grown-up. Yikes! So, I'm taking a looooong wandering journey south to Hell Ay, as that gossip-hound Ted Casablanca calls it.

My first stop was the tiny town of Prospect, Oregon. Prospect is approximately half-way between Medford and Crater Lake National Park. I didn't want to leave Oregon without seeing Crater Lake.

You know, I have nothing amusing to say about Crater Lake. Not a thing. Its breathtakingly beautiful. If you haven't seen it: see it. Its not like I'm easily jarred by natural wonders, either. When I first saw the Grand Canyon, I said, "Yup. Pretty much what I thought. Big old hole in the ground." This, however, is a big old hole in the ground created by a volcano and filled with really blue water. Its pretty. Go look at it.

Taking a looong road trip by yourself is fantastic. Its something I've always wanted to so. But, because I was raised like a milk-fed veal, it has taken me 33 years to do it. I always thought I'd have plenty of time and space to think and get to know myself. You know, take a nice long swim in Lake Mindy.

Okay, so I was ready to get out of the lake and dry off for a while by day three. I'm terrific company and all but I was getting a little sick of myself.

I was staying at a terrific hotel in Prospect called, appropriately, the Prospect Hotel. The owners, Mike and Jo Turner, took pity on me and invited me to join them for dinner. We ended up taking a drive in a 1981 Ford van up into the mountains to drink wine and watch the sun go down. I got some beautiful pictures. Email me and I'll send ya one, if you already know what I look like. If you don't know what I look like, I look a lot like this.

That's the kind of thing that happens when you're traveling by yourself. My parents, however, can't get over the fact that everything I'm doing sounds like the beginning of a Sam Raimi movie. Lone blonde woman, traveling in the woods, cell phone goes out, stops at a hotel, gets into van... you know the drill. How could that story end well? But, so far so good. (gulp... knock wood three times)My belongings await me in LA and I'm continuing to wander South. More anecdotes tomorrow, Gentle Readership.

No FBI Agents Visited Me But...

In all honesty, Willy, if Ashcroft had come by and quizzed me I would not have been surprised. Whew! Bad-mouthing Ashcroft on the Internet feels like taking off a pair of tight jeans.

More on the topic of separation. I will miss the people I worked with and for. I will miss many things about my former employment. But, boy, there are things that I thought I would miss that I just don't miss at all. For instance, the court for which I used to work released a very important and controversial decision yesterday. But, just now, I spent an hour and a half or so eating biscuits with a table of 10-12 chattering people and NO ONE SAID WORD ONE ABOUT IT TO ME. In fact, they might not even KNOW ABOUT IT. Sigh. So far, I do not miss the inside baseball. I know nothing more than anyone else does about this decision and I'm delighted.

Wanna know a secret? I haven't even read it yet. Wanna know something else? I'm NOT GONNA. From now on, I plan to operate like a real grown-up lawyer. In other words, I'm going to read only Howard Bashman's summary but then claim absolute knowledge of all the intricate details of the ninety-page decision. Deeeeee deee deee deee deeeeee..... (brief pause while I skip merrily around the room).

Monday, August 25, 2003
Separated from Service

For those of you who don't know, when you leave employment with the federal government you have "separated from service." You don't quit. Your term does not end. You are violently wrenched from the arms of your job and thrown into the pit with the rest of the private masses. That's what it sounds like to me anyway. Separated from service. I've been exiled. Cast out of the garden!

But, anyway, here's the official announcement: I am no longer a federal law clerk. Merciful heavens, thank you Jesus. Now I can blog uncontrollably without fear of reprisals. Blog, blog, blog. I can speak meaningfully about things that matter. I can share my views about anything I care to speak about!!!

So, um.



Maybe I'd better start slow. Here's a link to a San Antonio paper. Note to scorned women of Texas: take the bus to surprise your two-timing husbands, please. You'll save yourself a lot of time in jail.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Comments, Please?

Here's what President Bush said today about the gays:

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, many of your supporters believe that homosexuality is immoral. They believe that it's been given too much acceptance in policy terms and culturally. As someone who's spoken out in strongly moral terms, what's your view on homosexuality?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am mindful that we're all sinners, and I caution those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor's eye when they got a log in their own. I think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country. On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage. And that's really where the issue is heading here in Washington, and that is the definition of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or the other. And we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that.

OK, I have one comment and one question.

Comment: OW!!! I've got a log in my eye!!!!!

Question: What does he mean by "somebody like me"? Does he mean "President"? Does he mean "Christian"? Does he mean, as I suspect he does, "non-freak"? Help. I must know your thoughts. Just now, though, I'm off to the emergency room to get this log removed from my eye.

Is this as dumb as I think it is?

I mean, don't we all agree that the Framers had themselves some slaves and so originalists around the Dred Scott era had themselves a bit of a hard time getting around that were it not for the 13th and 14th amendments and stuff?

That is not to say that hysterical law professors don't squeal "DRED SCOTT" whenever the court does something they personally feel is dumb. They do. High-pitched hysterical squeals of "DRED SCOTT" or "PLESSY V. FERGUSON" were heard a lot around Bush v. Gore's announcement -- for no good reason, of course, except that the squealers were trying to get people as excited and outraged as they were. So that's bad.

This commentary is really no better than those knee-jerk hysterics that it targets. Its just saying "Dred Scott = BAD originalism, Scalia dissent in Lawrence = GOOD originalism."

Thanks, Dude. Damn illuminating.

And HUZZAH to IA's return.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003
OK, Now I'm Confused

That darn website has got me thinking. I don't surf to think! Darn you, Cursed Website. What am I thinking? I'm thinking -- HOW CAN THAT BE REAL?!? But its so very involved I can't believe its a parody. But then I think -- HOW CAN THAT BE REAL? Andrew Sullivan is similarly flummoxed, so I don't feel so dumb. But.... but.... is it real? Or funny? Comedy or not? Help!!!

Creationist Science Fair Winners and Honorable Mentions

Recently, Robert and I took a trip to Colorado with my family. During this trip, I did my best to behave myself. I did get in to one raucous argument, though. My cousin explained that she would be home-schooling her child so that she wouldn't learn "dangerous" things. When I asked for an example, my cousin offered, "Evolution."

OK. So I lost it a little. Just because I was so surprised. Afterwards, I was even willing to concede that I might have overreacted. That the proper reaction was polite nodding and staring, instead of the reaction I chose, which was shouting "What?!?! ARE YOU NUTS?!?!?" She explained that she wanted her child to know the Truth. I countered with, "But you heard all about evolution and you turned out okay!" I thought this kind of gave her the benefit of the doubt. She summed up her feelings on the subject by insisting that "We didn't come from monkeys," with a kind of peculiar emphasis on the "We." As if some people might have come from monkeys, but not her.

The thing is, people who say things like that terrify me. I explained this to my parents and sister later when confronted with my inability to let this topic go. Why do they terrify me? Because their inability to see beyond their Fundamentalism also causes them to hate my best friends. And subjugate women. And advocate racial separatism. My parents and sister blew me off, claiming that I was blowing things out of proportion.

TO THAT I NOW SAY THIS. Please, please, please click on this link and peruse the winning projects from this Creationist Science Fair. I may never recover.