Monday, July 25, 2005

Hang The Bloody DJ, Burn Down The Disco

So it's that time of the year again when all around the United States, thousands of folks flock to convention centers, airport hotels, and bingo parlors with highlighters (one color for each different issue you spot in the essay portion), pens, typewriters, and flashlights (just in case of a power outage) to take that legal version of getting whacked with paddles and forced streaking through the campus known as the Bar Exam. In California, this exam lasts for three days, so those of you in Illinois or New York, quit your complainin'. (California has something called "performance" tests in addition to the standard essays and multi-state. These tests are supposed to measure your aptitude for the practical side of the law--here are some documents or a client file and write a research memo in 2 hours. Of course, in the real world, if you have to write a legal memo based on a review of a real client file in 2 hours, watch your malpractice insurance rates rise faster than my blood pressure after listening to an RNC PR flak). For those of you rushing off that cliff with the rest of the lemmings, good luck. And please, remember you have the duty NOT TO BE STOOPID.

You would expect that the Bar Exam would weed out all the folks who keep trying to push the square peg through the circle hole, and yet the short bus of the legal profession always seems to be full.

Let's take, for example, the Family Lawyer who was a partner in a short-lived two person firm who decided to switch over to litigation. Trusting Lawyer made him a partner (despite the fact that Family Lawyer only had three years of legal experience) because Family Lawyer was the godfather to Trusting Lawyer's daughter and had been Trusting Lawyer's college advisor (Family Lawyer started law school a bit late). Now, as a litgator, Family Lawyer was a complete fuck-up. When asked to draft things, he would just cut and paste from other briefs or discovery without bothering to check the rules on whether he could do that. He didn't serve opposing counsel notice because he didn't know he had to serve opposing counsel notice (to non-lawyers out there, that's just like not unzipping your fly before you take a piss). He simply flat out refused to do the most basic of civil procedure research. And yet because he was a partner, he tried to exert his authority over yours truly, a litigator with six years under my belt--and when I called him on his shit, he'd go to Trusting Lawyer to get his take on the issue and then, when he found out he was wrong, tell Trusting Lawyer I was the one who spouting the wrong position. The partnership fell apart within the year because Trusting Lawyer realized he was doing 90% of the work (including fixing up Family Lawyer's fuckups) and yet Family Lawyer was still getting 50% of the take.

And then there's Asshat Housing Lawyer. His client, the Dragon Lady, is a Not Breaking Any Stereotype Canadian Chinese woman with a husband on the run from the SEC and two children. The gist of their lawsuit is that our client, a homeowners association in the desert, has discriminated against her because she's not Jewish and she has kids. Asshat Housing Lawyer filed a preliminary injunction motion requesting that the no-kids-living-in-the-community clause not be enforced. See, here's the problem with that motion--Dragon Lady, her husband and her kids live in the community. So obviously, that no-kids provision isn't being enforced, derrrrrrrr. Or in other words, Asshat Housing Lawyer was going to the Court and saying "Hey Court, please tell these guys not to enforce the no-kids provision that they aren't, well, enforcing." Needless to say, Asshat Housing Lawyer's motion was not granted. (And as to the not-Jewish thing, well, the current president of the homeowners association is a goy, so it really sucks to be Asshat Housing Lawyer if this gets to trial.)

Please guys, when you pass the Bar, please don't be stoopid, OK? My blood pressure is high enough as it is.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sacrificial Bonfire

I was planning on writing a rather detailed entry about fighting smart, and how the kneejerk reaction of a lot of liberals regarding Judge John Roberts is like that one friend that you have, that one stupid friend, who starts pissing off people at a bar by staying inane things, and you know that this idiot friend of yours is gonna get his ass kicked, but so are you because he is your bud and you have to have his back. See, I was going to do that, but the Democratic leadership as well as the calmer heads over at dailykos already know about fighting smart and not making idiotic statements about "oh look at the briefs he wrote" (which were in private practice) or "oh look he's Republican" (like Shrub was going to nominate John Kerry--and by the way, when we get back in power in 2008 of course we're going to nominate our own whipsmart qualified judge who, you know, will be a Democrat) or "oh, look he's a white male" (because, even though I think Shrub is the worst president since Herbert Hoover, you can't really say that his adminstration isn't racially diverse).

So instead, it's back to doing that gabba gabba hey on random stuff. Like how I found out from Dubois last night that CNN Asia Chick got fat. And not like oh just a little bit puffier around the face fat, but wholly unrecognizable until she said her name fat. I seem to have a knack for dodging bullets (insert image of Asian with badass goatee and hip striped shirt--cuz striped is the new black--dodging bullets in slo-mo).

And yes, I had to shell out some moolah to replace a tire despite only a pinhole sized, well, you know, hole because the whole inside of the tire was absolutely shredded from driving on it with low pressure. But on the other hand, it didn't blow out on me last night in midnight in the shadier sections of Hollywood. Plus, since the only auto place that was open was the Sears automotive near 3rd Street Promenade, I had a rather nice lunch at Il Fornio, just a block away from the ocean. Nothing says simple pleasures like a mandarin orange sorbet with a chilled pinot grigio under 80 degree heat, gray skies, palm trees and Argentinian soccer playing at the bar.

So I guess that I can't kvetch that much about not finding that special girl with the anime eyes and glossy lips who can talk about absurdism and old school hip hop lives within 10 miles of Casa de Stark. But you know, I will anyways.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Hey Karl! Posted by Picasa

Yes, this is another political rant, so for those of you not politically inclined, go ahead and think of cute widdle kittens what with the widdle paws and whiskers and whatnot.

OK, so this is yet another entry among millions I'm sure about Valerie Plame. And already, the Republicans are deifying Karl Rove--e.g. Representative Peter King from New York saying it was "gutsy" for Rove to out Plame--and vilifying Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson--e.g. Valerie as nothing more than a desk jockey who was guilty of nepotism and thus deserved to be "frogmarched" out of D.C. and Joe as a partisan lying unpatriotic sonofabitch. All you have to do is go to any conservative blog to see this.

Now, DailyKos as done a lot of analysis debunking these repo talking points, so my rant here isn't so much a policy wonk discussion, but more of a breaking it down so the average joe can understand sorta thing. Crap, part of my job as a litigator is to take complex issues and simplify them so that the average state court judge who worked in a small ass firm and got his J.D. from Upstairs Beverly Hill School of Law can understand it in less than five minutes (though I usually do so with much less extraneous asides than my blog entries).

So here it is. Let's assume that the Republican talking points are right: that Valerie Plame was a desk jockey, and that she abused her position within the CIA to get her husband that trip to Niger (though if she was just a glorified typist, I guess she was a very powerful glorified typist if she could get her husband that Niger trip). Let's assume that Valerie Plame deserved to be frogmarched out of D.C. for putting her personal aspirations in front of national security, that she engaged in nepotism of the worst sort.

The problem is that, even if we assumed all that, at the end of the day, it still doesn't justify blowing her cover--a cover that other CIA agents may have shared.

The leak of Valerie Plame's identity also exposed the identity of the CIA-front company, Brewster Jennings and Associates. In turn, this necessarily exposes the work of other CIA agents who had been using Brewster Jennings and Associates to risk--they can't very well run covert operations when it's suddenly become public knowledge that the company they've told everyone they worked for is a CIA front.

No doubt, there will be people who will still say Valerie and Joe are at fault for the outing--it was their conduct if nepotism and undermining the President that caused Rove to do what he did. Thus, we should blame them for the damage to Brewster Jennings. However, assuming that the constructive termination of Valerie's career was justified, that doesn't mean that the manner in which this administration constructively terminated her was justified. If the CIA or the administration thought she acted improperly, why didn't they quietly fire her so as not to reveal that Brewster Jennings was a CIA front? Or to put it differently, even assuming that Valerie and Joe were at fault for the termination of her career, they were not at fault for howher career was terminated.

So even if you assume that Valerie deserved to be "frogmarched" out of DC, as certain conservative blogs are saying, the Republican Spin on this is still ridiculous--they are in effect arguing that the wholesale compromise of a valuable CIA front company, as well as any ongoing and future operations run out of that front company and the loss of intelligence that could have been gained in those operations, is completely justified because one of their glorified secretaries tried to get her husband a high-profile trip to Africa. And liberals are accused of being soft on terrorism?

Please people, all that I ask is when you hear spin from anybody, you think things through, OK? That way, I'm not up at 2:00am in the morning seething about politics, and I can go back to seething about other things, like how my Financial Advisor looks like a younger version of Kelly Hu but unfortunately I can't tap that.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Please Don't Let Me Hit The Ground

Tonight I'll Think I'll Walk Alone Posted by Picasa

Given that I was out last night, I make no apologies for blogging on a Saturday night. Plus, I got a lot running through my head. Anyway, time for yet another half-assed random list of shit that's keeping Marty awake these days.

1. An open letter to the partner at Gateway Gig who thinks he was doing Marty a favor: I really do appreciate that you told me the firm hired another associate who is supposed to start in August. Knowing how most of the partners really can give a rat's ass about actual firm administration, if you hadn't told me, I would've been sitting with my thumb up my ass, getting pissed off about reserving my time to do Gateway Gig's work and not getting any straight answers about whether they need me or not. Though for future reference, it would have been preferable had you told me this when I wasn't doing the post-urinal shake in the friggin' john. I'd rather not have my hand around my dick when you're laying me off.

2. So I've been off the Lexapro for the last month, and given my post-medication feelings, I can definitely say there was no placebo effect. The colors are brighter (and the darkness is deeper) without the Lexapro, I can feel inspired when I watch movies or listen to music, and, oh yeah, I'm a friggin' horntoad now. All I need is a gust of wind hitting me in a certain way, and BANG, I'm looking for some lotion.

3. For all those aspiring writers, at one time, you've probably heard "show, don't tell." Well, here's a perfect example, from one of my favorite writers, Michael Marshall Smith:

"You know how sometimes, when you're just walking around, living your life, you'll see someone on the street and fall hopelessly in love with them? How something in the way they look, the way they are, makes you stop dead in your tracks amd stare? How for that instant you're convinced that if you could just meet them, you'd be able to love them for ever? Wild schemes and unlikely chance meetings pass through your head, and yet as they stand on the other side of the street or room, talking to someone else, they haven't the faintest idea of what's going through your mind. Something has clicked, but only inside your head. You know you'll never speak to them, that they'll never know what you're feeling, and that they'll never want to. But something forces you to keep looking, until you with they'd leave so you could be free.
The first time I saw Rachel was like that, and now she was in my bath. I didn't call out to hurry her along."

Much better than saying, "I was so lucky to have Rachel in my life," no? I'd stick a skewer through my hand to write like that. And hence you see once of Marty's writing inspirations.

There Is A Light

And In The Darkened Underpass . . . Posted by Picasa

So, Marty's financial advisor got a case of the smarts and decided that she didn't want to date her clients. Which means I won't be able to say "Yeah, she's putting my assets into a Roth IRA" as a euphemism for anything. The lawyer side of me is frankly a bit relieved--I've seen business actions go completely bugfuck because of soured relationships. The "man she has an ass you can bounce a stack of quarters off of" side is disappointed--I mean really disappointed. Think when the waiter brings by the dessert plate and shows you a mouthwatering cheesecake with a fresh strawberries and creme and says it's all yours, and just when you're going to bite, he takes it away and says he's oh so sorry, another table actually had ordered the cheesecake before you. Man, why do I keep using food imagery to get across romantic and sexual points? Excuse me, it's time for my daily binging and purging.

The Financial Advisor and I got into a rather interesting discussion about the genders. She apparently keeps getting into situations where her male friends or her clients become romantically interested, so she talked to her guy friends about why this might be. It seems that guys are always optimistic, and much more direct in their communications, whereas chicks don't feel comfortable being direct and hence tend toward giving "hints." And that's where the problem arises I told her.

See, Financial Advisor is attractive, smart, and fun to hang out with. A guy who is able to make her laugh is stupid if he doesn't try to tap that. And she's right, most guys are optimistic--and it's a real bitch of time trying to figure out if that optimism is well founded or just false hope. So when a woman tells a guy she's able "to keep being friends separate with anything else that might develop", or she's "not interested in focusing on romantic relationships now", that little spark of optimism in guys focuses on all the modifiers--"might develop," "now". To us, that's not being direct at all. When a woman tells a guy that she can't hang out because she's "busy", well, she could honestly be busy. Whereas to the chica, she's being as direct as she can and thinking that should take care of it. And therein lies the rub. The guy will keep sniffing around with this hope in his heart that something might develop later, the hope blooming and expanding and having a life of its own, while the chica is totally uninterested, and that leads to bad drama later.

Now lucky for the both of us that I was able to be direct and forthright, and forced her to be so as well. Situations where you're thinking "Oh my God she's so into me" while she's thinking "Gosh, I really like vanilla" six months down the line are awkward enough as it is, but doubly so if she's managing your money.

And what have we learned? Yes, I know Snoop Doggy Dog advised "Don't sweat the pussy," which is all fine and good advice. But we also know that in reality, if guys were truly able not to sweat the pussy, that male market in hand lotion would collapse overnight.

The practical lesson for the rest of us guys is to have the chicas define their boundaries as early as possible. Otherwise, you might think you're about to storm her castle when you're actually 50 miles outside her state line playing pinochle. Now, you have to be smart and simple about it--don't make it about you. Just lay out that you like her, you don't want to put her in an awkward position which is why your letting her know that you would like to be more than friends, but that if she doesn't feel the same way that you understand. And that if she wants to stop hanging out, you perfectly understand. That way you're defining your expectations without creating an ultimatum (which is a sure way dropping nookie probability to 0%)and allowing her a way out if she really isn't interested.

Financial Advisor's main qualm was that she wasn't comfortable with being that direct. Well, we're not comfortable trying to read women's minds. So if a man is honest enough to be direct with you and is polite enough to leave you an out, the least that you can do is be direct and honest with him, and define your boudaries.

If you think that the hints and such are a necessary part of the game, well, as a man you should be prepared to find out that she was thinking about how much she liked vanilla the whole time and start stocking up on hand moisturizer, and as a woman, you should be prepared for annoying phone calls from pissed off guys three months after you thought you told the chump (indirectly and never saying the words)"I'm not interested."

As for the Financial Advisor and me, I needed a financial advisor and was going to use her even if she had told me she wasn't interested, gay, had plans, was clinically dead the first time we spoke. We have fun when we hang out, so I see no reason not to hang out with her every once in a while (though not more than that because a man can only be around a tight ass like that before something bursts somewhere in his body). In the meantime, it's onward for me. Plus there's always that 22-year old file clerk in the office who has a female crush on Zhang Ziyi. Heh heh, girl on girl crushes. Excuse me while I get some hand lotion.