February 11, 2003

You’re a New Jerseyean

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:40 pm

You’re a New Jerseyean if….. The creator of this list (see below) states that you are a “New Jerseyan” if you can recognize or relate to at least ten of the items.

Let me say that I think it is a great list, but I don’t know anyone from here who would respond to the question, “Where are you from?” by saying, “I’m a New Jerseyan.” The proper answer to that question is, “I’m from Jersey.” Some might say that the proper answer really is, “I’m from Jersey, asshole. You got a problem wit dat? You writin’ a friggin’ book or somethin’?”

In addition, I think people who are really from Jersey should recognize or relate to at least 45 of the 55 items. Hell, you could relate to 10 of them just by hoppin’ on the Parkway for a ride down na Shore.

I scored a 53. So quit bustin’ my chops, and check out da list.

Cuban Coast Guard. I

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 2:06 am

Cuban Coast Guard. I must have been busier this weekend than I had realized. Somehow I missed the story about the four members of the Cuban Coast Guard who sailed a thirty-foot Coast Guard boat into Key West in the middle of the night last Friday. They docked the boat at a hotel marina, came ashore at approximately 4 a.m., and turned themselves in to a local police officer. They were armed with a handgun and two AK-47 assault rifles. The U.S. returned the boat to Cuba, but is detaining the crewmembers for questioning.

This all happened on the day the country escalated the Terror Alert to “Orange.” It is more than a little unsettling to see that uniformed, armed members of a hostile country’s military can walk ashore in Key West, the home of a U.S. Coast Guard Station, and stroll down Duval Street. Homeland what?

As for the U.S. promptly returning the Cuban boat, I am sure that if Castro ever got his hands on a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, he would return it to the U.S. just as quickly.

February 10, 2003

An Ipse Dixit Favor. Dodd

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:59 pm

An Ipse Dixit Favor. Dodd for President! (NOT Chris Dodd). Check out Dodd’s 2/10/03 post for the details.

February 9, 2003

Unbelievable! I came across

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:55 pm

Unbelievable! I came across this site via The Presurfer. For a mere $100.00, this Swedish Company will prepare and provide a phony photo ID. The site refers to them as “Novelty ID’s,” and requires each of its customers to execute a copy of ridiculous “Terms and Conditions,” which the site refers to as a “Disclaimer.” I took a look at the “samples” (which are, according to the Company, intentionally blurred to prevent people from copying the samples directly from the site), and they appear to be driver’s licenses from each of the fifty states. I can tell you that the one for New Jersey appears to be an exact duplicate of a genuine New Jersey driver’s license. Check out the version for your particular state.

As for the legality of all this, the Swedish company states in its FAQ, “Yes, doing what we do is legal. What YOU do with your purchase defines legality. We don’t advise any actions with these ID cards. They are custom made novelty ids to be enjoyed for entertainment purposes! You are legally allowed to own a novelty id”

Can anyone tell me (with a straight face) what a “novelty ID” is, and why one would spend a hundred bucks to get one? Perhaps it is legal in Sweden to produce “novelty” (i.e. counterfeit) New Jersey driver’s licenses, but offering a counterfeit license as proof of identity violates New Jersey law, and it may well be (I will certainly check) that mere possession such a document violates New Jersey law. It goes without saying that setting up an operation like this in New Jersey would land these folks in the slammer.

Can it possibly escape the attention of these Swedish creeps that a photo driver’s license is the document most often proffered by people in order to be permitted to board an airplane? Need I say more?

February 8, 2003

North vs. South. Newmark’s Door

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:28 pm

North vs. South. Newmark’s Door posted on 2/6/03 an amazing photo of the Korean Peninsula at night. It speaks volumes.

February 7, 2003

MASTER SGT. JOHN “JACK” STEELE,

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:28 pm

MASTER SGT. JOHN “JACK” STEELE, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR OF LAW

(Continued from January 26, 2003)

Second Installment: Sergeant Steele Formally Introduces Himself to the Class

Steele passed his eyes over the class, not missing a person, as each student struggled to maintain his or her version of the position of attention. Sweat broke on the faces of some of the students, who could not believe what was happening. Barringer thought, This is supposed to be law school, not some kind of military academy. This is bullshit. Others were planning to make an immediate dash to the Dean’s office after class to report the actions of Steele and to try to get out of Steele’s class. They would soon learn that getting out of Steele’s class was not an option.

After Steele had “eyeballed” every student’s face, he removed his drill sergeant’s hat, placed it on the desk next to the lectern, and addressed the class.

“My name is John Steele. I am a Master Sergeant in the United States Army, and yes, I am also a lawyer. I chalk that up to a long assignment in Washington D.C., and my decision to spend time in Georgetown Law School rather than hanging around the NCO club drinking Budweiser.”

“I got a call from the Dean of this School, an old Army buddy of mine, who told me that for the last few years, graduates of this place have gotten piss-poor scores on the Torts portions of the bar exam. He asked if I could come here and whip your sorry asses into shape. I immediately accepted his offer, because, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my job to whip sorry asses into shape. I’ve trained a couple thousand “raw-CROOTS” to do things that take a lot more grit than learning the law of Torts and learning to act and think like a Gott-damned lawyer.”

You will not like me, and I don’t give a good Gott-damn about that. My mission is simple, and that is to teach you maggots Torts. And you may even learn something about acting and thinking like a Gott-damned lawyer. You should know that I have never failed to complete a mission, and I’m not about to fail now. Therefore, I will teach and you will listen, and all of you — even you, Barringer, will Gott-damn well learn. Have I made myself clear?”

Several students nodded their heads. Steele glared at the class and roared, “I asked you a question that calls for a yes or no answer. What the hell did I say about that just a few Gott-damned minutes ago? Let me ask you dumbshits again. HAVE I MADE MYSELF CLEAR?”

“Yes, Sergeant” about half the class responded at less-than conversational volume.

“You people had better learn to sound off when I ask you a Gott-damned question. Now, SOUND OFF!”

“YES, SERGEANT,” the class replied in unison.

“Outstanding,” said Steele. He paused for a moment, and then said, “SEATS!”

Some students slowly sat down, while looking to see what the other students were doing. Others followed suit in a rather haphazard fashion.

“People, I am not going to send you a Gott-damned engraved invitation to sit down. When I give the command ‘Seats’ I expect to hear the sound of every ass hitting the chair at the same time. You read me?”

“YES, SERGEANT,” the class replied.

“Much better. OK, Let’s try it again, shall we? Everyone on your feet! Attenn-HUTT.”

The students scrambled out of their chairs and, again, did their best to stand at attention.

Once they were all standing, Steele shouted, “SEATS!” There was one loud thump as everyone sat at the same time.

“Outstanding. You will now take everything off your desks, except for a notebook or a sheet of paper and a pen. If you don’t have a sheet of paper or a pen, grub one from your buddy. Pay attention, people. Here’s the Standard Operating Procedure for this class.”

“This class begins at zero-eight-thirty hours, and you WILL be here on time. If you want to sleep late, you better go back home to mama. You will stand at attention when I enter the room. You will sit ONLY when I give the proper command. YOU WILL ATTEND EVERY CLASS. If you miss a Gott-damned class, you damned well better show up with a picture of you in the hospital or standing next to the coffin of a family member.”

“YOU WILL BE PREPARED. I will say that again, people. YOU WILL BE PREPARED. That means that you will have read the assigned material and that you are prepared to discuss the cases. It does not mean that you’ve read Gilbert’s, or, God help you, that you read some canned briefs, and you think that you can bullshit your way through the class. Not here, people.”

“There will be only one person at a time speaking in this class, and that will be ME, unless and until you raise your hand and request permission to speak, and I grant you such permission. Otherwise, at all times, you WILL keep your pie-holes shut, and you will pay Gott-damned attention. Don’t even think about bullshitting with your buddy during class. If you don’t understand something, ask me, not your buddy. Chances are he’s even dumber’n you.”

“If I call upon you in class, you will stand at attention before you open your mouth, and you will not speak until I give you the command “At ease,” at which time, you will move your left foot away from your right foot until your feet are shoulder width apart, and you will clasp your hands behind your back.”

“You are authorized to have the following equipment on your desks during class: one spiral notebook, two ballpoint pens – blue ink only, and one case book. All other gear will be neatly stowed under your chairs.”

“There will be ABSOLUTELY no food or drinks of any kind permitted in my class – and that includes Gott-damned gum. Have breakfast with mama before you come here. This is not a Gott-damned movie theater or a mess hall.”

“Now, do any of you maggots have a question?”

No hands went up; the room was silent. You could actually hear the students breathing.

“Listen up, boys and girls, this is your chance to ask questions. If you don’t ask any questions, I will assume that you have heard and understood every instruction I just gave to you.”

A student in the center of the room slowly raised his hand. Steele, pointed at him, and said, “You, fifth row, center.”

The student, began to speak, “Do you…”

Before the student could say another word, Steele shouted, “What did I just say? Get your ass out of that chair before you even think about sounding off!”

The student hurriedly rose to his feet, and again began to speak, “Do you….”

Again, Steele bellowed, “Your ass may be out of the chair, but you are not standing at attention, and I did not yet give you permission to speak. I just went over that. I figure you gotta either have a hearing problem or you must be real friggin’ stupid.”

The student put his heels together, arranged his feet at a 45-degree angle, sucked in his gut, pushed out his chest, arranged his thumbs along the seams of his trousers, stared straight ahead and remained perfectly silent.

“Excellent,” remarked Steele. “At ease. What is your name?”

“Tom Merchant.”

“I think you mean ‘Tom Merchant, Sergeant’.”

“Yes, sorry. My name is Tom Merchant, Sergeant.”

“What’s your question, Merchant?”

While every other student quietly thanked God that it was not them being put through the wringer, Merchant, now noticably shaken, said, “Do you … have… a problem with laptops, Sergeant?”

Steele responded, “Yeah, sure. Sometimes I have a problem with them, and when I do, I get them fixed. Does that answer your question, Merchant?”

“Well, no, Sergeant. I meant do you have a problem if we bring laptops into class?”

“Merchant, you can bring a laptop into the classroom. You can bring ten laptops into classroom if you want. I don’t give a shit. Now, does that answer your question?”

Pausing for a moment, Merchant answered, “Not exactly, Sergeant. I mean, is it OK with you if we take notes on a laptop during class?”

“Well, Merchant, here is your first Gott-damned lesson – and this goes for the rest of you dumbshits. If you wanted to know if you may take notes on a laptop, you should have asked me that. No, instead, you wasted my Gott-damned time and your buddies’ time asking me half-assed questions about whether I had a problem with laptops!”

“If you people want to be lawyers, you better learn Lesson One right away, and that is to think about what you say before you run your mouth. If you don’t you’ll piss off judges, screw up any chance of properly questioning a witness, and render your client broke from having to pay for the time you waste asking dumb-ass questions and otherwise spewing Gott-damned word salad.”

“Now, to answer the question that you finally got around to asking, I already told you what equipment was authorized to be on your desk during class, didn’t I, Merchant? Did I say anything about laptops?

“No, you didn’t mention them, Sergeant. I just thought that, since other professors let us…”

Steele interrupted again, “You just thought? Merchant, unlike you, I say what I Gott-damn mean, and, for the record, I don’t give a rat’s ass what other professors do. If I intended laptops to be authorized, I would have said so.”

Let’s do a little exercise, Merchant. It requires that you listen to me and that you think before you open your yap. I know that might be difficult for you, but let’s give it a try anyway. Here’s the question. Is it permissible for you to bring a laptop into this classroom?”

While all the other students stared down at their desks, Merchant was silent for a full ten seconds and finally said, “Yes, Sergeant, it would be permissible.”

“Outstanding, Merchant. And if you were to bring a laptop into this classroom, what should be done with it?”

“It should be stowed neatly under my chair, Sergeant.”

“Well, Merchant, it took you a while, but you finally got it. Any other questions, Merchant?”

“No, Sergeant.”

“Fine. Take your seat. Are there any other questions?”

No hands went up.

“Outstanding. For the next class, you will read pages 1 through 95 in your casebooks. Attenn-HUTT!”

Everyone immediately rose from their chairs and stood at what was actually becoming a reasonably acceptable position of attention.

“Outstanding,” said Steele. “I’ll see you people on Wednesday at zero-eight-thirty hours. DISMISSED!”

The students could not get out of the room fast enough. Once in the hall, some students talked animatedly, but most appeared to be in a bit of a daze.

Steele, placed his drill sergeant’s hat back on his head and thought, I think I’m going to like this.

(To be continued)

February 6, 2003

Oy! Coughing, hacking, sneezing,

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:56 pm

Oy! Coughing, hacking, sneezing, runny nose –. the whole package. I feel like ca ca. And, to top it all off, I spent a good deal of non-quality time this evening on the phone with the lames at citibank, who managed to screw up my American Bar Association Master Card Account. If it’s not fixed by tomorrow, the card is history, and the American Bar Association gets a letter advising it of citibank’s shoddy operation. So, rather than trying to write anything more difficult than this dumb rant, I’m going to read some of my favorite Blogs and then head for the couch with a cup of tea with honey, lemon and LOTS of dark rum.

February 3, 2003

Fort Dix Quickies.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:53 pm

There are a several memories swirling around in my head that do not warrant lengthy treatment, but I thought I would share them anyway.

“Where’s the Red Thing?” As I may have mentioned before, a fair number of guys in my basic training company in December 1968 were college graduates (graduate school deferments – except for medical school – went by the boards for the Class of ’68). I believe that most of the guys who were not college graduates had been drafted after high school graduation. We did, however, have a couple guys who were only seventeen and who did not finish high school. I believe that, at that age, their parents had to consent to their enlistment. It may sound silly, but the differences between the seventeen year olds and those of us who had finished college and reached the ripe old age of twenty-two were palpable.

One day, I found myself sitting at a table in the mess hall with one of the seventeen-year-olds (I’ll call him “Jones;” I do not remember his name). I knew that he had enlisted to be in the infantry, with an ultimate goal of attending jump school to be a paratrooper. As you know, that was not exactly my Army “career” plan (see, Remington Raider), but I digress. He was an exceedingly nice guy, who sometimes viewed us “older” (can you imagine?) guys as if we were his high school teachers, which, I suppose, is something we could have been, but for the draft.

The meal that day came with a salad that contained olives. Jones looked down at his tray and, pointing to the olives, said, “What are those things?”

“They’re olives,” I said.

“No they’re not,” Jones replied.

“Sure they are, Jones. What do you think they are?”

“Be damned if I know, but they sure as hell ain’t olives.”

“Jones, fer Chrissake, they’re olives!”

“Well, where is the red thing?”

“The red thing?”

“Yeah, the red thing in olives.”

“Jones, you’re kidding me, right? You mean the pimento?”

“What’s a pimento?”

“It’s a little piece of red pepper that gets stuffed into olives after the pits are removed.” I began to laugh, and asked, “Jones, did you think the olives grew with the red things in them?”

I stopped laughing when I saw how utterly embarrassed he was. He stared down at the table, shook his head from side to side and in a voice barely above a whisper, said, “Jesus, Jim, I actually thought that they grew that way. Please don’t tell the guys about this.”

Upon seeing his expression, there could be only one answer. “Don’t worry about it, Jones. I won’t say a thing.”

He looked up, smiled, and said, “Thanks, I appreciate that.”

Then we both went about eating our salads, including the olives.

Facing Movements. A great deal of time is spent in basic training on “facing movements” (e.g. “right face,” “left face,” and “about face”). Having learned this in the Boy Scouts, I had a bit of a jump on many of the guys, but facing movements can easily be mastered with a little practice (although we did have one guy from northern Maine who never got it down).

One day, our drill sergeant proudly told us that he believed that he executed facing movements better than most soldiers. He attributed his self-proclaimed degree of skill to regularly practicing his facing movements at home, every time he went to the bathroom. I have often wondered if he had thought through sharing this little gem with us, because, at the time, the mental picture of this man left facing, right facing and about facing before and after peeing or brushing his teeth made me laugh.

It still makes me laugh.

“Police the Brass”. After a day’s shooting at the rifle range, we would all have to line up shoulder to shoulder and walk across the area to “police the brass.” In English, this means that we had to pick up empty shell casings and place them in our steel pots (the multi-functional outer portion of the helmet) to be collected, presumably for re-loading.

One day, after a long day of firing, we were given the customary “police the brass” order. By this time, it had become routine. As we were walking shoulder to shoulder and bending over to pick up spent casings, the guy to my right (a typical New York Italian wise-cracking guy that one always sees in World War II movies) said, “You know what? By the time we get to Vietnam, the f****** war will be over, and they’ll line us up across the Mekong Delta and march us north to police the goddamn brass.”

Back then, mental pictures of myself in Vietnam were not something I particularly enjoyed. This one, however, made me laugh hysterically.

February 1, 2003

In memory of of

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:12 pm

In memory of of the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Our thoughts are with their families, as the nation grieves.

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