Catching Up / Checking Out

Leaving: This afternoon.
Flying to: Fort Myers, Florida.
Why: Dad lives there.
Meeting up with: Dad, Grandpa Leo, both younger brothers.
For: One week.
Purpose: B-Dice Boys Mini-Reunion.

First Class Upgrade: Confirmed.
Listening to: Bishop Allen, M. Ward.
Reading: Slaughterhouse Five, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
Watching: Apocalypse Now.
Working on: Voting Rights lawsuit.

Packing: Flip-flops, bathing suit, sunglasses, wireless router.
Excited about: Warm, humid air; old, retired people.
Needing: A vacation.


Socially Retarded

I heard about this on the radio and I thought it was a joke at first: Students are banning together to encourage people to quit using the word "retarded" in a negative light. The reporter said something like, "Fifty years ago the word retarded was the clinically accepted term for people with developmental disabilities. Now people use it to describe something that they don't like, or something that is stupid or odd."

I'm all for student activism, but to call this "the social movement of this generation--the latest example of student activism" is a bit excessive. Besides, I think the whole movement misses the point. As Michael Scott so clearly explained on one of my favorite episodes of The Office: "You don't call retarded people retards. You call your friends retards when they are acting retarded."

It is mean to use "retard" in a derogatory way directed at a developmentally disabled person. It is a slur. It is no different than calling someone a Faggot, Nigger, Kike, Dago, Cracker, Honky, Nip, Camel Jockey, Guinea, Chink, Coon, Mick, Kraut, Towelhead, Spade, Beaner, Abdul, Wop, Gook, or Republican. But words evolve and change meaning. Etymology happens, even to the foulest of slurs. Again, that episode of The Office is instructive here: "Did you know that gay used to mean happy? When I was growing up it meant 'lame'. And now it means a man who makes love to other men."

As the reporter quoted above pointed out, "retarded" is used differently today than it was fifty years ago. And it is usage that drives meaning. Perhaps it is time to let go of any attempt to continue to associate "retarded" with "developmentally disabled" (a term that I doubt existed 50 years ago) and allow the meaning of the word to evolve. If retarded now means stupid or odd, so be it. Let the language market dictate the definition. People should not be called retarded because of the cognitive impairment, but things such as stupid decisions and these pants, can and should be called what they are: retarded.


Juneau What

Winston worked his magic and got us both upgraded to First Class for the flight to Juneau. But the ticket counter printer froze up while my ticket was printing out, so the agent hand wrote "2A" for my seat assignment. Old school. And, surprisingly, enough to go through the speedy first class security line.

We landed at around 2 and met up with Winston's boss to talk about the case and eat halibut nachos and drink beer. After 36 ounces of 5.9% porter, the first press call came in and I had to talk to a reporter while feeling quite loose-lipped. But I managed to pull it together and remember all of the talking points. Later, after getting a little work done, I met a friend at her office and we went out and chatted for a few hours over drinks. Dinner was next, back with the rest of the team, and we learned from our server that there was a big scandal with a local restaurant getting busted for illegally purchasing halibut. This is a tough town. Hopefully, the court won't be too hard on us tomorrow.


Tuesday Night Random 4

It's been a long while since the last Tuesday Night Random post. And it's been over a week since I wrote anything here. I was doing better re: posting more regularly since the last time I got yelled at, but blogging has been light lately as work has been hectic: getting to the office at 8, leaving late, lots of meetings, getting to know a new boss, working at home, working on the weekends, etc. And friend/colleague Winston has been in town for a couple of days and we are going to Juneau tomorrow for an oral argument before the AK Supreme Court. It for a case that deals with whether an adult's possession of a small amount of marijuana in the home is protected under the state constitutional right to privacy. It should be really interesting. I’ll report from Juneau if I can. In the meantime, here is some random stuff:

·I got back on cable just in time: season four of Top Chef started last week. Nimma was the first cheftestant to get kicked off. I knew right away that it would be her--once she started talking about God's will she was finished. I'm glad she is gone--she was really lame: she pulled that "I'm not here to make friends" act and went to bed while everyone else was hanging out and drinking on the first night.

· I had this conversation with Scotty the other night:

Him: “What are you doing?"

Me: "Playing online poker and drinking a 20-year tawny--I think I'm turning into you. What are you doing”

Him: "Playing online poker and drinking a 20-year tawny! I think I'm turning into you!”

We are bad influences on each other and should be kept apart at all costs.

· Two weeks I got into an argument with the President of the University of Alaska-Anchorage Dungeons & Dragons Student Club (or maybe it was the Anime club--I can't remember) over whose group had properly reserved a classroom for an extracurricular activity. We were in the room and we had it reserved for another half hour, but the D&D guy threw a fit because though his room reservation didn't take effect until 6:00, he needed half an hour to set up. I won that one easily. And one of my students backed me up by yelling, "Next time you should reserve the room earlier if you need time to set up--IT EVEN SAYS THAT ON THE ROOM RESERVATION FORM!" Yes, it was nerdy on every possible level.

· Does free food at a bar count as dinner? I say that the free ribs, fried chicken, and collard greens at The Office Lounge absolutely does.

· At 1 Am it should have been darker, but the overcast sky was reflecting the fresh snow, making it almost daytime-bright. Wandering in that strange mid-Winter lightness, down an alley, through a park, across a field of foot-deep powder, over a creek, eventually to my house, made me think Alaska is pretty cool, sometimes.

· This guy is an asshole.

· For the first time, I had a really good--a really good--kiwi.

· How to tell if she's into you as you drive her home late at night: If she says, "I drank way too much beer tonight--I feel totally bloated" and/or "Goodnight, buddy" as she gets out of the car, the answer is “probably not.”

· I saw Emma recently for the first time in like six, seven, or eight months. Well, saw is an understatement--we hung out; we went for a dog walk. Though, we only walked my dog. She originally told me that she was without her dog for the day, but in classic emma fashion, that wasn't quite accurate. Truth was, her small dog had a large bloody wart on her face and had ballloooned up from a Paris Hilton-sized portable to about the same size as Josie (but with a disproportionately small head) and Emma didn't want me to see Frankie like that. I told Emma that I would always love F, regardless of what she looks like (or what she did). As for spending time with Emma, the hour or so that we walked and talked was...OK. It didn't get weird or awkward, which was nice. And I think it was good to see her again. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later.

· Winston and I went out for a fancy dinner and some constitutional law discussion last night. We argued like a married couple at the restaurant ("That's not what you said you were ordering!") and midway through dinner's expense account bottle of wine, the conversation shifter from civil liberties to women. Over post-dinner scotch and port we started talking about what was really important to us these days: the Mets. Winston's devotion to the Blue and Orange runs as deeply as mine (see here and here) and the night ended with Winston drunk e-mailing the lead writer of Metsblog. (This was after Winston decided that we should secretly write down our predictions for the Mets record this season on our coasters. We both wrote down the exact same thing: 94-68.) Great minds...

· Fake gift boxes. Brilliant. And, no, I didn't ruin the surprise b/c I'm not buying any of you gifts any time soon.

That's it for now. Time to pack for Juneau.


Overhearing Things

-Overheard on TV (while half asleep and three quarters drunk on someone's couch several months ago): "Stay tuned. Still ahead on the farm report, we will have the corn navigator report for you." What the hell was I watching?

-Overheard (well, just heard, really) during a conversation with a law school classmate in Seattle: (1) Several sentences stating with "My psychic says..."; and (2) "I haven't run into Dave Matthews in a while. I used to see him all the time; We have a total psychosexual relationship."

-Overheard in Anchorage at a New Year's Eve party: "I bet my e-harmony boyfriend is probably better looking than everyone here."

-Overheard via e-mail from Katy: "Friday afternoons after 3:00 are made for Googling old boyfriends."

-Overheard at Snow City Cafe: "Those cupcakes are soooo cute."

-Overheard by the woman who said "Those cupcakes are soooo cute": Me, groaning loudly and making some other sort of snorting sound conveying derision. (I rolled my eyes too).

-Overheard (again, just heard) during a V-Day conversation with K-Rock: "I was just thinking of Valentine's Day last year when I went skate skiing by myself then went to Carr's to pick up birth control and the guy behind the counter laughed at me."

-Overheard shortly after Lisa moved from AK to SF: "I'm feeling so unhip. Yesterday I saw a dachsund wearing a cooler outfit than I was."

-Overheard in Anchorage: "I'll bet you $50 that she regularly attends, or has at some time been to, renaissance fairs" (in reference to a library staffer with ass-length reddish hair, mom jeans, a leather vest, a purple turtleneck, and am amulet of some kind). [Also, I might have said this.]

-Overheard on the Chester Creek Trail: "B-Dice, sometimes I think you are the perfect man...but, sometimes you're just such an idiot."


Weekend Update

Listening To: Bishop Allen

Reading: Soon I will Be Invincible

Writing: A brief on an obscure Federal Rule of Civil Procedure

Just Got Back From: Returning Myster's Harry Potter book (8 months after I finished reading it)

On My Way To: A suite at the Captain Cook Hotel to watch the Michelle Linehan special report with some of the 48 Hours investigators/reporter-types who worked on it

Last Week My Street Was: Covered in ice (No Kidding: Children were ice-skating down the middle of the street)

Today My Street Is: Underneath 8 inches of water

I keep being asked: Are you really a superdelegate?

I have also been asked: Are you the father?

My answer to both: No comment.


Media Frenzy

I took a four month break, but as of March 1, I'm back on cable TV. With the baseball season fast approaching and with Spring Training game highlights starting to appear on ESPN, it was only a matter of time before I re-upped. However, I think Viv is more excited than I am because now she can catch up on her Bourdain/The L Word viewing when she comes over to use me for my washing machine (and dryer).

In other media-related news, I had an oral argument in one of my cases last Thursday and it got a lot of attention. The Anchorage Daily News has a pretty good recap, and KTUU has a short video piece online--though they spelled my name wrong and misquoted me (to watch the video, click on the link above the pictures on the lefthand side of the article). Our Superdelegate video has also been doing well, having now been viewed over 2,500 times and appearing on prominent political websites. Somehow I keep managing to stretch out my 15 minutes...