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Friday, June 16, 2006

Shout Out to my Peeps in "M" Town

That's right! The Big Time! Midland, Texas, in the hizzouse! Holla!!

Ha ha, I am such a geek . . .

But I've noticed several of my faithful few who've stuck with me through my sporadic posting since the end of the semester,

are from Midland.

Which, of course, is where I will be heading myself in 3 weeks.

I made the mistake of telling someone this a few days ago . . .

After noticing her blank stare I started to explain:

"Oil & Gas country, salt of the earth, home of President Bu--"

And she promptly cut me off.

"Yes, I know," she said with the same stare. "And I'm wondering if you could take him back with you when you go."

I did think that was funny. Perhaps it was the delivery.

So, anyways, I want to know from my "M" Town peeps: Would I want to raise my soon to be little Baby Misery there??

If you will respond, I won't call Turner & Davis and tell them you are reading blogs when you should be slavishly toiling away for the ridiculous price of, what, $1900/week? at a Midland Firm of all places . . . I mean, don't you have expensive lunches, golf, dinners at a partner's house, and the even the occasional memo to attend to?

good grief.

Baby Names

For those who are interested . . .

It will definitely be "Baby Misery"

And then, as the baby gets older, he/she will become "Little Misery"

And, finally, should I still be blogging away in 15 years (as unlikely as that is) . . .

He/She will be "Big Pain in the Ass"

Here Comes the Sun

Wednesday morning, as I still had not completely found the ground yet after the news of the day before,

I was walking to the Metro when I realized the world looked different to me. Much different.

When I got to work I sent my wife a text message that read, "I don't know about you, but I can't help but look at everything different today."

She replied asking me what I meant.

As I explained:

I am not completely sure, but like less selfishly-- like "this is the world our parents gave us but we have the power & responsibility to make it a bit better before passing it on to 'Little One'" and so, y'know, it makes me want to work harder to try harder to make her world better, because mine is what it is, but we don't have to accept her's yet.

So first thing we do? Kill all the Lawyers.

But don't worry, the Tree-Hugging Hippies are next.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

And Then There Were Three . . .

I am going to be a father.

She asks, as I sit speechless on the other end of the phone 2000 miles away from her, what I think . . .

But I can't speak.

I am going to be a DAD!!!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

If You Want a Steak . . . Speak-a da English!

Last week I was in Philadelphia . . .

And, among all of the sights the city has to offer,

there was only one in particular I just had to see . . . and smell . . . and taste . . . before leaving.

I wanted a real Philly Cheesesteak.

Little did I know that as I sat on the corner of 9th and Passyunk in the City of Brotherly Love on a rather cold and rainy Saturday afternoon in June,

the very establishment I was enjoying was becoming embroiled in controversy of its own making.

Little did I know that Geno's was . . . [gasp!] . . . a nasty bitter racist and pro-American.

Had I known at the time, of course, I would have taken a picture of the sign that has brought so much trouble upon the man.

It is a simple sign, close to the order window, that reads:

"This is America. Speak English."

Now, if you have never eaten a real Philly where real Philly's are born at the corner of 9th & Passyunk . . . well, then maybe you wouldn't understand.

You just can't waste time when ordering a Philly by worrying about the translation. You step up, you quickly and precisely place your order ("Wiz Steak, wit onions 'n mushrooms"), and then you hand him the money (which has been calculated with tax on the sign already so as to make a nice simple transaction).

Listen, again, you don't waste time.

You have to move on to a second window before you can even order your drink and fries.

So how hard could it possibly be to speak English when ordering a Philly???

But now the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission is threatening action . . . because?

Joey Vento, the owner, is apparently discriminating in a public place.

Again . . . because?

He wants to understand you when you order your "Steak wit provolone, no onions."

Geno's is a wonderful place. And most people I talked too prefer Geno's.

But if you are too damned stubborn to learn "Steak wit American, wit onions" in English (even I learned to say it in a South Philly accent),

Then just go on across the street to Pat's. And I'm sure they'll accomodate you there.

These pictures I took last weekend. And I am telling you, the Liberty Bell doesn't have a thing on a real Philly if you are trying to budget your time.

And, if you are curious, Mrs. Misery and I preferred Pat's.

The grease just dripped right off the bun. And, besides, Pat's was the place where the very first Philly was made in 1930. So you gotta give it mad respect, dawg.

Doesn't it look delicious?!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

How do you destroy a government?

I was just assaulted by a LaRouche supporter.

I'm walking from the Capitol building to the Metro stop when I find myself posed with a blockade of wackos handing out Lyndon LaRouche propaganda.

"Wow," I think to myself, "he's been running for President since your parents were smoking pot and -- er, well -- from the looks of you they probably are still doing that. So how about since when it was actually cool for your parents to smoke pot. How's that? But, anyways, he's an old tired wacked-out egomaniac. Bunch of losers."

And I breach the lines with a violent shake of my head and a smirk.

But then one gutsy girl grabs my arm. This time I think to myself, "Wow, you should shave those legs. Or else not wear shorts."

And she says to me, yelling:

"Do you know how to destroy a government?!"

And I said,

"Yeah. Let the crazy liberals take over and run things."

I was about a quarter of the way down the escalator when a balled up piece of paper hit the back of my head.

I look back. She's smiling.

Then I think to myself, "You need to give this up and join the major leagues, Sasquatch."

But still, I can't believe . . .

I came all the way to D.C. and was assaulted by a Lyndon LaRouche supporter.

How embarrasing.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I'm a Traveling Man . . .

and I've seen a lot of places all over the wooooorld.

Mrs. Misery has landed at BWI and will be heading over here to my office shortly.

Upon her arrival I have been granted a reprieve from my responsibilities for the remainder of the day . . .

And so, after taking her to see the Constitution, Declaration, Bill of Rights, and Magna Carta at the Archives

And having a giant egg roll from one of the street vendors

We will hop on a train at Union Station and head up to Philly for the weekend!

We are staying at the Comfort Inn Downtown which, even being a Comfort Inn, will still cost me about $170/night.

But don't call asking for Mr. Misery. Or try to come so you can get a picture or anything. Or an autograph on your left breast. (Which would be completely inappropriate in front of Mrs. Misery, please . . .) We will be staying under an assumed name, I'm sorry.

And, ever the true geek, I will bring my laptop and a movie for our viewing pleasure. National Treasure, to be exact. So that we can now, y'know, truly live in the movie.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

This is the Title for This One

So I am sitting at my desk reflecting upon my post from this morning about D.C. Egos while eating my lunch . . .

When I get a phone call saying that [So-and-So] from Congressman [What's-his-name]'s office is on the phone, can I take the call?

No, I can't, I want to make him wait so he'll think I'm just as--if not more--important than he.

(Actually, though, I have found in my short time here there is some benefit to playing at least a day's worth of phone tag with a person before finally connecting. Doing so puts each person on notice that the other is an extremely busy and important person and can't sit around waiting for a call . . . because, uh, he has an appointment with, uhm, "the Mexican" at, uh well, the sandwich shop around the corner . . . of course.)

But, no, I took a sip of my drink to wash down my last bite of "The Mexican" and announced to [So-and-So] from Congressman [What's-his-name's] office that I was present and ready to talk.

And about a minute after I took that official I-Know-What's-Going-On-Trust-Me tone, I wanted to stop and say

"Look, [So-and-So], you're about--what--25? 26? You can't be any older than me. I've it on good authority that they put you in the canoe and sail you into the horizon when you turn 28 around here. So, anyways, this is the way it is . . . I'm going to stop pretending I have any clue what's going on around here and I'm going to tell you what my boss wants to do with this thing, this "issue" and I'm hoping you'll tell me what your boss wants to do with this thing, er issue, because this is about to become a really big thing-slash-issue and my boss wants to get in on it--from the litigation side, not the legislative side, because--well--we all know that in today's government the courts have been dealing the cards for about 30 years or more now . . . so, how's that sound?"

But I didn't do it, of course. I just tried to get off the phone as fast as possible because, honestly, at that point I didn't even need to talk to Congressman [Whats-His-Name]'s office anymore. In the course of playing phone-tag everything had taken a different direction.

Another thing--

I love who I work for. I think they are great. I think they do great work. They are honest and earnest and passionate about their purpose . . .

But working for them has taught me just why the federal government is so damned "Effed" up.

Everything is an "issue." This is an "issue" we want to be ahead of. This is an "issue" we want our names out there on. This is an "issue" we care/don't care about.

But everything, everyone thinks the same damned way.

America is a country of 300,000,000 "issues."

Minus the people running around here, of course.

And so I'm working on a project that could potentially, if i'm successful and ingenious enough, affect the life, security, and livelihood of somewhere between 5 and 11 Million of these "issues."

And that doesn't make me important.

It just makes me careless and cold when I treat it as nothing more than an academic exercise and not give it the thoughtfulness and respect the "issue" deserves.

Wow. I'm starting to sound more and more like "Mr. Smith" than Mr. Misery every single day . . .

"Just get up off the ground, that's all I ask. Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won't just see scenery; you'll see the whole parade of what Man's carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting."

D.C. Talk


I'm swimming in it--mine as well as everyone around me.

Yesterday I caught myself . . .

I had spent two days on the phone with the offices of various Senators and Congressman in an effort to decide whether we'd like to get involved legally on an immigration issue,

And so yesterday afternoon I call Mrs. Misery and tell her:

"This is so cool! I feel as if I'm doing something so important finally . . ."

But that's not really what I felt. I didn't think I was doing something important. I just thought I was important.

I mean, it is really cool to call up a Senator's office--get his top aide on the phone--and say "Hi, I'm [Moonlighting in Misery] and I'm with [Important D.C. Public Interest Firm]."

And he is grateful you've called.

I suppose I can't keep fighting the Ego. Its never going away. I'll just have to try and keep it in check.

On another note, last Friday I got my first taste of bitchy bossy attorneys.

We were filing a brief in a big lawsuit with national implications and Friday afternoon my responsibilities had become to make sure we were following all of the local court's rules and knew how exactly to e-file the amicus.

After several disastrous phone calls with the walking-talking-stick-up-her-butt at the e-file help desk, in which she would not let me explain my question, would curtly answer a question I was not asking--and answer it wrongly--and then hang up on me . . .

After all that the attorney finally asked to speak to her, and after fumbling around with her for another 5 minutes on the phone (its a miracle she didn't hang up) he finally led her to the answer he wanted, and he received the e-mail address he wanted.

So he hangs up the phone and begins to write down the e-mail address. But he writes it down wrong. And he looks at it. And he asks me--temper rising-- "Wait a minute! What is this e-mail address?? What court did you have me at?!"

Initially caught off guard, I pointed to the computer screen and replied, "This is the right court. Look."

"Did you have me in state court?! I don't want to be in state court! Federal Court, Federal Court!! I've had a clerk do that before . . .," he roared at me.

Again, a bit speechless, I pointed to the screen and said, "See, no. Its the right court. Look, New York City."

At which point he lost it.

He turned around, threw his hands in the air and began walking towards the door cussing at me. He then turned around and threw my pen in my direction. It hit the desk and bounced off to the floor. He hit the door jam with one fist and yelled,

"No, g--dammit, what have you done?!"

By this time my confidence had returned in full force. And I sat in stone cold, almost bored, silence just staring at his temper tantrum. When he was finally done, and quiet, I spoke:

"No. If you will stop and look. The southern district of New York is located in New York City."

My fellow clerk, whose ego he'd beaten on a bit earlier, sat in the next office fighting back tears given the commotion.

The attorney, on the other hand, brightened suddenly and came around the desk to look over my shoulder.

He put his hand on my shoulder and said four words: "I take that back."

Then left.

I waited a few minutes then e-mailed him with the actual e-mail address.

But he has been super nice all week long since.
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