Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Fifteen Law Firm Rankings American Lawyer Is Working On For Its Next Issue

1. Average evening time of departure
2. Time to ground if leaping from windows
3. Size of hard drives
4. Complexity of telephone system
5. Number of cups of coffee consumed per day per attorney
6. Percent of people who wash their hands after using the bathroom
7. Amount of firm-wide administrative e-mail sent
8. Average age of xerox machines
9. Ratio of people taking the elevator to people taking the stairs
10. Elite preschool acceptance rate for children of partners
11. Boxes of paper clips per person
12. Pixel quality of photos in the online facebook
13. Quality of provisions in emergency supplies kit
14. Alcohol consumption, weekdays vs. weekends
15. Amount spent on the summer program (in millions, for space reasons)

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Whenever we have a summer associate event in the evenings, people who live outside of Manhattan can get a car back. I'm living in way-far-from-Manhattan-and-an-hour-commute-each-way Brooklyn with my parents, and so I qualify for that. So I was talking to my mom on my cell phone while in the car, and I mentioned something about a bunch of other summer associates mentioning to me tonight that they had seen my weblog, and after I hung up, the car driver starts a conversation with me. I swear all of this is real. I swear.

"You a summer associate?"
"Good thing you don't work for [firm]. They find out someone has something like a weblog, they fire you instantly. Not tomorrow, not next week, today."
"But the firm you should really go work for is [other firm]. Nicest people in New York. We drive for all of the firms. [Your firm] is fine, but [other firm] is the best. Everyone is very polite, very nice to each other, and don't just get in the car and start yelling at people over their phones. You should work for [other firm]. Very liberal. Very nice people."
"What kind of law you want to do?"
"[kind of law]"
"Oh. Yes. [Other firm] is great at that. Do you know [partner at other firm who by coincidence happened to be one of the people at that firm who interviewed me]?"
"Yeah. Big guy, right?"
"Yes. And one of the best lawyers in New York. You want to do [kind of law], [other firm] is where you should be. [This partner]'s wife, a very old woman, is so bossy. They were late to a hockey game, and she goes on and on and on. But he is a very nice man. [Other firm] is really a great firm. Very good."

He should be a recruiter for [other firm]. Really.
2 more Gmail accounts to give away, if anyone's interested.
(Thanks to Adam for inspiring this post) "In my fantasy world, it's time for the next round of summer associate eliminations in the real-life reality game show that is Summer Associate Survivor. In this world, there are many summer associates, but only a few get offers. Already, some summer associates have been eliminated due to their performance in one of a number of competitions: (1) the due diligence relay, where one team of four failed to find the extra bracket on page 40 and were eliminated; (2) the document review-a-thon, where our eliminated friend forgot to redact the name of the library book our client's CEO returned three days late; (3) the five-mile-lunch, where three summers vomited after eating $50 meals at eight restaurants, one right after the other, and thus were eliminated; (4) the sleep-is-for-the-weary challenge, where during hour 64 of the stay-awake-during-the-world's-longest-conference-call, one thus-eliminated summer fell asleep; and (5) the picture database memorization exercise, where five summers were unable to commit the names and faces of every firm partner to memory within two hours of arriving, and were thus eliminated as well. So that got rid of 14. Now it's time to get rid of one more. You have three choices. The choice is yours.

(A) Larry Loveslaw, Hometown: Nashville, TN. In his slow southern drawl, Larry Loveslaw can talk about nothing but the 1940 Securities Act, as well as its implications on his ever-growing portfolio of personal investments. There's no denying that Larry is intelligent (and he'd be the first to agree with that), but where Larry really shines is in his willingness to think about nothing except for the task at hand. Last movie seen: The Paper Chase, during 1L orientation; Favorite TV show: Does not own a TV; Favorite food: cardboard; Leisure time activity: recreating landmark Supreme Court oral arguments using transcripts available on the Web, and his Supreme Court Paper Doll set, handcrafted by Larry's mom.

(B) Henrietta Husbandseeker, Hometown: Boston, MA. No one knows yet, but Henrietta's pregnant. With twins. Her one mission this summer is to find a husband, whether he's a partner, an associate, or a fellow summer. Heck, she's even thinking about asking the pretzel man on a date. She'll make a capable attorney, but that's not the life she wants. She wants a lawyer's salary, without all the effort. She wants three houses. And fourteen kids. Last movie seen: The Stepford Wives; Favorite TV show: Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? Favorite food: not sushi -- she's pregnant!; Leisure time activity: shopping.

(C) Walter Goofinoff, Hometown: Leningrad? Walter's here to have a good time. Not that he's not doing his work. He does his work. But he's here to have a good time. He goes on lunches every day, he smuggles Vodka into the office (he's from Russia, after all), he occasionally steals money out of other people's wallets. But he's well-intentioned, and he does do his work. Reasonably well. Last movie seen: Jackass: The Movie; Favorite TV show: Punk'd; Favorite food: Vodka; Leisure time activity: Raping and pillaging."
Tonight we have a "progressive dinner" in Little Italy. We're visiting three restaurants, each for a different part of the meal. I imagined perhaps it would be more than three, and we'd eat very very little at very very many places. That it might look like this (all restaurant names are made up; note that I clearly don't speak Italian):

1. Wash hands in restroom at La Prosciuttorie
2. Sit down, and immediately stand up again at Luigi & Mario's
3. Hunk of bread at Famous Original Ray's Pizza, Location 44
4. Pat of butter at Pasta e Pasta Sauce
5. Three baby lettuce leaves at Salami Hut
6. 2 walnuts at Antonio's House of Marinara
7. Shot glass of raspberry vinagrette at Las Miserables Food
8. One chicken nugget covered in sauce and cheese at Maria's Italian Bistro & Falafel Stand

You get the point.
Fumbling with chopsticks at lunch today, I began to wonder: at foreign restaurants in Asian countries, do they give out forks and knives? And do the patrons, used to their chopsticks, have trouble using them? Is there a learning curve for a knife and fork, like chopsticks? Do the particularly ill-adept ask for chopsticks to eat their steak with because they can't handle a knife and fork? Do they look at Western food and get flustered? Or is it all pretty easy?

Monday, June 28, 2004

Top Ten Signs You've Been A Lawyer Too Long
(Thanks to Andrew for the idea and for #2 on the list)

10. You're planning on watching 0.8 hours of TV tonight followed by 1.2 hours of pleasurable reading
9. You refer to an orgy as a three-prong test (maybe not)
8. You tell your parents they can no longer tell you what to do because you're in a different jurisdiction
7. You borrow your neighbor's lawnmower with an securitized loan
6. "I'll take 4 tickets to the Yankees game, on contingency. They win, I'll pay."
5. Your son's allowance dispute arbitration is scheduled for next Thursday at 9
4. You perform due diligence on your restaurant takeout menus to get rid of the duplicates
3. For others it's shoplifting, for you it's a hostile takeover
2. Your trash talk repertoire includes the line, "You are my wholly-owned subsidiary"
1. "I love you, subject to the terms and conditions in schedule A"
Christopher Hitchens has a piece on Slate critiquing Farenheit 9/11. It's worth a read. Hidden in Slate's underbelly is Hitchens' first draft of a similar critique of "White Chicks." Here's an excerpt:

"To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. White Chicks is a sinister exercise in the distortion of reality, unfairly disguised as a light comedy. It is a call to race-based rioting masking itself as a frivolous exercise in frivolity.

White Chicks makes the following points about caucasian females growing up saddled, through no fault of their own, with wealth beyond reasonable means, and makes them in this order:

1) Caucasian females enjoy terrible pop songs sung by other caucasian females.

2) Many caucasian females enjoy trading witty repartee with other caucasian females.

3) Caucasian females frequent country clubs filled exclusively with other caucasians.

4) Fashion shows are silly and deserve to be mocked (this, of course, ignores the valuable good that fashion shows at country clubs have provided to the country over the years in terms of scientific breakthroughs and accomplishments in great literature).

5) Caucasian females have difficulty dancing, due to innate characteristics of Caucasians, which also enable them to process lactose in a way that at least one of the Wayans Brothers cannot.

6) The American lives lost in Afghanistan have been wasted.

Disregarding the errant sixth point, it must be evident to anyone, despite the rapid-fire way in which Wayans's direction eases the audience hastily past the contradictions, that these discrepant scatter shots do not cohere into one compelling story. Either caucasian females are non-dancing, non-lactose-intolerating, bad-pop-song-enjoying figures to be deeply mocked, or they are innocent victims' of their parents' massive wealth, and undeserving of the broadside hits taken at them by this disgraceful film. The Wayans Brothers simply cannot have it both ways."
A Long Entry About Nothing

Due to the vagaries of the New York City subway system, (1) I arrived at work 8 minutes earlier than usual, and (2) for the first time in many weeks, I got a seat. I arrived at work to discover (1) our elevator news and information screens have apparently (according to a banner ad that appeared) been acquired by Gannett, makers of USA Today, which makes sense, since where else can you find descriptive elevator headlines like "Number of People Die In Tragic Accident" than in USA Today, and (2) there is apparently a "broken stair" in the stairwell. Whenever I'm early / bored / hungry in the morning, I make a stop at the "Attorney Lounge" before heading to my office (although it really shouldn't be called a "Lounge" so much as perhaps a "Break Room" or a "Semi-Daily Free Food and Beverage Facility." "Lounge" implies that a certain genre of entertainer would feel at home there. That would not hold true in the Attorney Lounge. Wayne Newton singing the best of Barry Manilow(or vice versa) would be decidedly out of place there. In any event, I make a stop there for a muffin (or a bagel) in the morning sometimes, if I'm early enough to feel like there might still be some left. And then I take the stairs the two floors up to my office. But today there was a sign in the stairwell, "Broken Stair. Use the elevator." But it was unclear whether, by the time I reached the sign, if I'd somehow passed the broken stair already, or it was upcoming. And there was no evidence of a broken stair. So, all the while feeling like there was real potential for me to feel awfully silly ("You fell through the floor? But you saw the sign, right? Are you a moron?"), I carefully continued my stair journey -- with a hot cup of tea in my hand, mind you -- trying to take extra caution in case of the mysterious broken stair. Demonstrating (once again) that my life is not a sitcom, I did not encounter any obviously broken stair, and arrived safely at my office without incident.

In other news: this morning on the subway I completed the Paul Collins trilogy. Avid readers may recall that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned I'd read Collins' "Not Even Wrong" a wonderfully-written book about the author's son diagnosed with autism, and a history of autism of sorts throughout the ages, but, even more significantly, just a really well-written, engaging, compelling book. So I bought Collins' other two books, "Banvard's Folly," about 13 men who tried to change the world and failed (ex: a guy who invented Concord Grapes; a Shakespeare forger who was a solid playwright in his own right; a guy who thought blue light could cure lots of bad diseases), and "Sixpence House," about the author's trip to a small town in England that is home to lots of antique booksellers, and basically a story about old books. They're both quite worth reading. Excellent stuff. I enjoyed the most recent one, "Not Even Wrong" probably the most of the three, but they're all quite good.

I have an urge, whenever I really enjoy something, be it book, music, or film, to see/hear/read the entire corpus of work by the creator. I feel like I may be missing a gem if I don't. Hence a somewhat bizarre set of CDs/mp3s, indicating a slight fetish for the albums that good songwriters release in their declining years.

Next up on the reading list: Fierce Pajamas, a collection of humor pieces from The New Yorker. I'll let you know.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

An Acrostic Poem About Being A Summer Associate

A is for associates. They're what summer associates become, like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But what if I'd rather stay a caterpillar? What if flying doesn't seem all that exciting? What if flying means you need to pay for your own lunch?
B is for billing tiny increments of every hour: "wrote an acrostic poem about life as a summer associate / non-billable / 0.4 hours."
C is for copy codes, client codes, and codes of all sorts. Codes for billable time, non-billable time, time spent on "summer associate learning," "professional reading," and "non-billable office maintenance."
D is for due diligence, which means reading through papers looking for stuff. I'm not sure what stuff. Maybe that's my problem.
E is for the emergency kit they gave us on the first day, with a glow-stick, water, energy bars, a heat blanket, a gas mask, and a poncho, but not an emergency Lexis account number, despite those emergencies perhaps being more critical to law firm survival.
F is for the free lunches. "Dessert? Do I really want dessert? Well, if it's free, then I suppose I'd better get dessert. After all, dessert is the best part of every meal. And even better when it's free. Although it's not really free. It's just free to me. But I'm sure I'll have to pay for it someday."
G is for the garbage pail that gets emptied every day, sometimes twice a day, even if all I throw out are a couple of pieces of paper and a small piece of my soul (I'm kidding about the soul part).
H is for the haricot verts. I don't know what they are, but they're on lots of menus. I think it's a vegetable. I bet it sounds better in whatever language it's in than it does in English.
I is for the impossible amount of paper in everyone's office. So much paper. So little time.
J is for the other Jews. Did you know lots of lawyers are Jewish? And that not too many relevant words begin with "J" ?
K is for the Konference Kalls. Yes, I'm cheating. But after K I only have two letters left to do (I'm doing this out of order, as they come to me), and I just want to get finished and post this already. Bonus points to anyone who wants to guess which 2 letters were my last ones, the ones left after K. Hint: I did the intuitively-hardest ones first.
L is for legal research, which, despite what you might think, is often a bit dry.
M is for the masturbating judge you can read about on The Smoking Gun. Bizarre story of a judge who did some bad stuff on the bench. (Thanks to Evan for linking to him.)
N is for the noose. See R.
O is for the oatmeal-scented soap in the bathroom. I like the oatmeal-scented soap. It's soothing.
P is for partners. Partners are scary.
Q is for quiet, when you can hear the hum of the computer, the distant sounds of the printer, the ringing of the phones, the beeping of the elevator, and the screaming from down the hall.
R is for the rope. See N.
S is for having a secretary, despite not really having any need for one, and feeling kind of awkward whenever I ask her something, like what to do with the pile of inter-office mail envelopes I've collected on my desk. "I'll take care of them," she said. "Thanks."
T is for the train I take to work. T is for the terrible-smelling people and the tightly-packed car and the too-frequent announcements of track delays.
U is for UNICEF. They do good work. Look, it was either that or underwear, and I really didn't want to go there, especially not after M.
V is for the view out the window. It's a nice view.
W is for weekends, which summer associates don't have to work, but it seems as if associates sometimes do, which sounds less than wonderful. Wonderful also begins with W. So does Westlaw. I'm a Lexis guy myself, although the fact that I have a preference between the two is sad. Woefully sad. Woefully also begins with W.
X is for the xtra-large paychecks. Even though they're not actually larger-than-life in a Publishers Clearing House sense, they kind of feel like they should be.
Y is for the
Z is for the zipper on my suit pants and how I hope it never breaks, because that would really not be good, and I'd have to buy a new suit I guess, or bring this one to a suit-fixer, or whoever fixes zippers, and I don't want that.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

An interesting post on freedom vs. safety on a blog about criminal law that I hadn't seen before.
I saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" today. It's standard Michael Moore. Very well done, but obviously it's politically charged toward the left, and so because the bias is so obvious, it loses some of its bite. It definitely leaves you thinking about the war and the gravitas (or lack thereof) of the current administration, but it also leaves you wondering which parts are really genuinely actual and which parts are easily rebutted and just carefully constructed sleight of hand. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I won't really delve into content -- but the truth is that even if I was to delve into content, I don't have that much to say. Michael Moore knows a lot more than I do about the war. All I know is what felt honest and what felt contrived. But it's a solidly entertaining and interesting sit-through. I can't help but recommend it. Regardless of your politics. But I also don't think it's going to change anyone's mind. It'll just reinforce whatever feelings you've got.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Last night, the whole firm had an event -- summer associates, associates, support staff, their families, everyone. It was very nice, lots of food, lots of stuff for people's kids to do. One of the things they had was a fortune teller. Now, maybe it's just me, but I can't imagine the fortune teller job at a law firm event is all that difficult. I mean, I could do this job, and I have no special fortune-telling gifts:

>"You will stay late at the office tomorrow."
>"You will work at some point this weekend, or some weekend in the near future."
>"You will check your Blackberry sometime within the next five minutes."
>"You will use one or more legal research services in the near future."
>"You will purchase some new business casual attire."
>"Your vacation will be in danger of being cancelled, but providence will be on your side and it will take place as planned, despite the nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you ought to be at work."
>"Your clients will settle soon."
>"Your salary will soon rise in a stepladder increment."

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I saw the movie "White Chicks." I give it 4/10. It is a collection of jokes that don't really form a satisfying movie, but it's not dreadful to sit through. There's really no reason to bother, but you won't hate yourself if you have to see it. I only saw it because we wanted to see Farenheit 9/11 but it was sold out. White Chicks wasn't sold out. Look, it's better than the disaster it looked like it was going to be. But it's not like it's a good movie.
Someone found this site by searching on Google for "Ryan Seacrest internships." Sorry. None here. And not sure really what you want to do for Ryan Seacrest. Style his hair?

I wrote the other day before our trip to the Culinary Institute as a summer associate event, but didn't say anything about it afterwards, mostly because the food wasn't that good, and I didn't really think about it. But I've had a request for more about it, so I'll see what I can do. Notes on the culinary institute:

(1) They gave out paper chef's hats. On the way out, I noticed they sell the hats. These hats should maybe sell for $2. Maybe. They sell them for $15. Crazy people, these culinary institute people.

(2) So they served us some appetizers, and then ushered us into some rooms where we were split up to prepare dinner. I ended up having to squirt pesto from a tube into a hole they made inside raw chicken breasts. This is as foul (I mean fowl) as it sounds. Other people got to put strawberries in a blender. How I ended up with my job is just the luck of the draw.

(3) The meal took a long, long time and wasn't particularly good. The event was ok fun, not great fun, but ok fun. I wouldn't hire someone from the culinary institute if I was opening a restaurant though. Sorry.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Partial anagrams of "corporate lawyer" --


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Thank you, Waddling Thunder for writing a post that could inspire a comment that could inspire me to respond in a rambling, long-winded, and generally pointless manner. This doesn't happen often enough, so I figure I'd better seize on it. WT's anonymous commenter wrote, in response to a post about getting grades today:

the competitiveness is the worst thing about harvard - i wasn't like this before, either. the school brings it out in everyone and then makes you feel relatively stupid in comparison to people around you because you're surrounded by so many brilliant people. so you resent yourself *and* your classmates. i think this is why, in the end, harvard has such a tight, cliquey alum community. because we've all been through this ego-crushing crapfest and made it out alive.
And here's where I started typing something about how whoever's feeling this way is making themselves feel this way, because you can make the opposite argument. It's not competitive at all. Everyone who wants a job gets a job -- a good job, in fact, if that's the job you want. Everyone who doesn't want a job still gets one because it's almost impossible to avoid getting one. Everyone at any selective law school has proven themselves competent already, probably many times over, in high school and in college and perhaps in the working world. I honestly can't see how someone can really take his low grade in Torts as a statement of some greater import than "these other people gave a better answer on the Torts exam than I did," and why that statement isn't perfectly reasonable. And maybe that just means that I'm less invested in this whole law school thing, and I should feel more competitive, and it's a failing on my part. Being in the pack at a selective law school should not be some ego-crushing thing. But, you know what, I only live in my own head. I understand people can feel this way. The only thing I really feel like I can legitimately respond to is the word "everyone." It's not everyone. And I'm as cynical as anyone but it's not fair to people thinking about going to law school to have to imagine that everyone feels this way and that's the world you live in as a law student. That sounds like a terrible world to live in. And it's just not the case that everyone feels like that -- I know lots of people who don't. I mean, of course there are probably going to be people who can answer the exam questions better than you can, and, yeah, in a way that maybe kind of sucks if you thought you would be better at law school than everyone else. But I don't think it means there's something wrong with you, or that you need to hate the people who do better on exams, or that any part of this has to be in any way emotionally impactful. Life is not the National Spelling Bee. There's more than one winner. You're at one of these places? You're doing fine. Bottom of the class, you've still got tons of doors open to you. You don't have to be miserable because other people know more rules of evidence than you do. End of rant. Consider this all tongue-in-cheek if it turns out I've said anything too stupid.
Three more assorted notes on the day:

1. I was in an associate's office for something, and he noticed on the Internet that some South Korean guy was killed. Referring to the big important news stories I don't read, despite the fact I go to the NY Times website pretty much every day. But I read the Arts and Leisure stories, the interesting science news, stuff about political campaigns, sports, domestic stuff... I just can't get into the international stuff, even big stuff, like this war we're in (we're still at war, right?). Just doesn't click for me. So I'm woefully ignorant. Oh well.

2. Tonight we have a summer associate event at the Culinary Institute where we're going to (apparently) make some food and then eat it. Which begs the only logical question: if we have a night at the culinary institute, does that mean that interns at the culinary institute have a night where they visit a law firm and learn how to do law stuff? It would only make sense....

3. The first chapter of Bill Clinton's book is on the NY Times site. I'm not compelled to read the rest. Sorry. Only to parody it.
A whole bunch of little things I feel like writing about this morning:

1. Just in case you thought people were exaggerating when they talked about NY housing prices. Posted on a bulletin board here: "Quiet, sunny studio apartment for sale: Co-op located [in good neighborhood]. Approx 440 sq ft. Elevator bldg. Laundry in basement. Window in kitchen. Asking $215,000. Monthly maintenance is $622.51." Note the square footage. Note that the "monthly maintenance" sounds a lot like "rent," but you also have to pay a gazillion dollars just for the privilege of living there and getting to pay this rent every month. Gosh.

2. Trying to make lunch plans with associates is kind of like (and I'm stretching for the analogy here) asking a girl out on a date. Don't want to look too desperate, seem too forward, put yourself too far out there for fear of rejection. "If you're not too busy...;" "I totally understand if you can't...;" "I know the odds are you're not available, but...;" "If you aren't doing anything and have been hoping someone would ask you...;" "Not to put any pressure at all on you...." Yes, I'm trying too hard.

3. I read "Wonderland," by Michael Bamberger on my commute yesterday. It's the story of a year in a typical American high school, and some of the students he met, and their stories. Human interest stuff. Very well-written -- he's a writer for Sports Illustrated, so he knows what he's doing as far as human interest people pieces -- and really engaging. Not anything extraordinary, but a totally satisfying subway read.
Got my grades. They look a lot like my other grades. Pretty much what I expected. Despite my grades pretty consistently matching my expectations I still get kind of nervous/excited when I see them for the first time. And then I see them, and they look like I expect them to, and I realize it didn't really make sense to care that much about them, since they're pretty much what I thought they would be. Whatever. No disasters, no surprises.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Went to a Thai restaurant for lunch today. Lunch specials, most of which were $7.95. Line at the bottom of the menu: "Lunch minimum: $8.00 per person." But your lunch specials cost $7.95?! Silly menu writers. (I didn't actually notice the line on the menu, so I don't mean to take personal credit for the observation. I'm just reporting.)
Thought I'd smoked out the system -- we got an e-mail on Friday saying our grades would be posted online on Tuesday the 22nd. This is about 3 weeks earlier than last year, which is either a testament that the new online grading system saves heaps of time, or just means people weren't so darn slow this year grading exams. But I had a hunch that if they were saying they'd be up tomorrow -- they didn't give a time -- they really meant today. So I checked. They're not up yet. Oh well. I can wait. I can wait a while. I know they don't matter. But I'd be lying if I denied being curious anyway.
Just realized I forgot to post this last week. It's a Reagan sketch that builds off an idea I did post.

CBS Continuing Coverage of Ronald Reagan's death


Tonight on the CBS Evening News, more continuing coverage of the death of former President Ronald Reagan. John Roberts goes inside his coffin for an exclusive one-on-one with the former President.


Even the darkest days of the Reagan administration were never quite as dark as it is inside the former President’s coffin, Dan. Under six feet of dirt, inside a wooden box, but overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean, I’m here with the former President, and, somehow, a cameraman’s in here too. Hoping to get the first words after the final words, from Ronald Reagan.


Thanks, John. Plus, a look at one Senator’s attempt to change the name of his state to Reaganville, to honor the great President.


All week it’s been gratifying to see people remembering how great Ronald Reagan was, and how he did no wrong. We want to honor his legacy by changing the name of our state to Reaganville.

But aren’t you from the state of Washington?


Named after *George* Washington?

Your point being?


All that, and pictures from inside Ronald Reagan’s small intestine, on the CBS Evening News.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Perhaps this is how to do it. On Wednesday, Volokh posted the following:

Pledge break: Some blogs ask their readers for money to help operate the blog. That's quite understandable, but we fortunately don't need that....

We're in it for the eyeballs. (Yumm, eyeballs.) So if you like the blog, just let your friends know about it -- perhaps take a blog post you really like, pass it along (together with its URL) to people who you think would enjoy it, and tell them that there's a lot more where that came from. Or not: We're happy with just your eyeballs, too.
And Volokh's hits jumped from about 12,000 Tuesday to about 16,000 Wednesday. (Yes, that's a lot of readers.) Maybe there were other reasons (someone popular linked?). But interesting.

I'm not very subtle, am I? :)
The assignment for tomorrow's session of the mostly-worthless-but-at-least-it-gets-me-writing-although-I-kind-of-write-anyway sketch-writing workshop I'm doing on Monday nights is two-fold: (1) the most vulgar sketch you can write, and (2) a couple of blackout sketches. I haven't tackled (1) yet. I think it's a pretty useless assignment. I'm figuring I'll knock something out at work tomorrow. For (2), some brief explanation: a blackout is a very short scene that ends on a twist. Like the commercial where people are making out in the backseat of a car and then it's revealed it's not kids but actually their parents. Ooh. Blackout. It's called a blackout because you reveal the punchline and then, bam, the lights go down. They're often pun-related, or just one joke that doesn't have anywhere to go, or just something corny or silly or stupid. Here's two. They're not thrilling. I'm not that inspired. I may try to come up with some better ones tomorrow at work.

1. 2 Guys at a restaurant table. Very attractive foreign woman is taking their order in broken English... "Yes, ze Shish Kebab, very good...." She starts to walk away. Guy 1: "She's hot." Guy 2: "Yeah, and I know the one word to say to get her to come running." Guy 1: "Yeah, what's that?" Guy 2: "Deportation." Blackout.

2. I think I posted a variation of this in prose the other day. Commercial parody. "For all the carbs you'll get in this one piece of bread, you can have fourteen plates of fatty bacon." Man walks by. "I choose the bacon." And grabs the fourteen plates. Blackout.

See, not that thrilling. My posts yesterday were better.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

An Open Letter from a Summer Associate to a Law Firm Partner, Part II

Dear Law Firm Partner,

Thank you for indulging my irrational fear of the letter Q by not staffing me on the Qualcomm case, letting me miss our trip to see the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Avenue Q," and not telling me to be Quiet when I accidentally screamed obscenities at your secretary while in your office listening in on the conference call. While it was not my fault that she put two sugars in my coffee when I clearly asked for one, I should have found a better way to deal with it than by calling her a cow. It was my mistake, and I assure you it will not happen an excessively large number of times in the future.

Thank you for telling me I didn't have to wear a suit to court, even though you were obviously kidding and I knew that and decided to pretend you were serious anyway, because I really didn't want to wear a suit. I know it was awkward for us to meet down at the courthouse, you in your suit and me in a gorilla costume, but I'm sure the judge understood. I was only trying to be amusing. How was I supposed to know that our client's wife was eaten by a gorilla? Or that the court reporter was a very hairy man who would think I was his long-lost brother? It was all an unfortunate misunderstanding, and I completely agreed with you when you suggested afterwards that I might want to avoid going to court anymore this summer.

Thank you for not telling anyone I have genital warts. It was probably an inappropriate thing to share with you during the client meeting, but it seemed relevant at the time. It was only afterwards when I realized the client had said he liked "sports," not "warts." My mistake.

Also, once again, thank you for paying me.

Your friend,
Summer Associate
I find it hard to believe I've been a summer associate for five weeks already. That's 24 work days (we were off for Memorial Day). Approximately 192 hours in the office. Except for the 80 or so of those when I've been at lunch. Possibly as many as 3 or 4 hours of work they can bill to clients. :) No, I'm kidding. It's been a nice balance of work, lunch, and waiting for each of them. I really, honestly, absolutely have a much better sense of what lawyers do at places like these than I did before. Which should be obvious. But still, it's definitely given me a much more real picture, beyond just the stories people tell. And I've gotten a nice variety of assignments -- I've done research, written some memos, learned how to use some online databases, watched stuff happen in court, sat in on conference calls, been to meetings where partners talk about stuff, and watched someone sign a will. Other people have done other things -- drafted contract language or sections of briefs, I'm sure other things I don't know about. Nothing extraordinary but all perfectly reasonable things that it seems like real associates do, and definitely give a sense -- although a limited sense, since we're working on discrete, manageable assignments, since that's really all we can do at this point -- of what a young lawyer does. So all of that is fine.

What's interesting, sort of, and it might just be the work they give to summer associates, and may not hold true in every kind of law, and may not even hold true more broadly than just the work that I happen to have been given, or the perception that I happen to have had so far -- or, actually, this probably isn't specific to the law at all, and holds true for all sorts of jobs -- but, well, despite being around people all day, it's kind of lonely job. You're sitting at a computer and researching stuff, or reading stuff, or writing stuff, and you're checking in with people to see how you're doing, and you're going to meetings, and there's tons of people around... I expect that as people get more and more senior there's more brainstorming, more engagement with other people, thinking around a table, throwing ideas out, working together, being part of a team... at a lower level, I'm not sure when that kicks in. Certainly it can't at a summer associate level -- we have no background, we have no experience -- but I don't know that I've gotten a sense of whether a junior associate has a much different experience or not; whether it's most of the day at your desk doing something by yourself, or if there's a substantial component of real interaction and thinking and working together and feeling involved, not just feeling like you're completing tasks in a vacuum. I imagine this would have something to do with job satisfaction -- and that people who feel engaged and involved and part of a team are more satisfied than people who feel like they sit at their desk doing research all day... but obviously the research has to get done... and before you can be useful in a brainstorming session you need to have some idea what the parameters and rules are... I just don't know that I know when that kicks in -- year 1, year 5, or year 25.

Maybe this doesn't make any sense, and, honestly, this post has turned a lot more work-related than I intended to write. The post I thought I was going to write was that sometimes you're around all of these people and you have nothing to talk about, and so it can feel a little lonely despite being surrounded by smart, decent people. This post may be more interesting as it's turned out though. I'm not really sure. I'm just rambling I guess. Oh well.

Friday, June 18, 2004

It may be that everyone who wants one of these has got one, but the gmail account I got because I have a weblog, even though I never use the account, says I can invite 2 friends to have gmail accounts. Since it would be pretty dorky for me to e-mail my friends and offer them gmail accounts, instead I'm offering them to you. So, e-mail me if you want one. Preference to someone who can provide a connection (or advice) to help me someday get my words printed in a publication of some sort. :) But even if you can't, I'd say it's worth a try to e-mail me if you want the invite.
How many parts of a cow are there? I just got back from lunch at the Brazilian Barbecue place (see pre-lunch post below). They came around with meat after meat after meat, most of which had at one point been attached to a cow and not cooked. It was these big meats on skewers that the waiters sliced off with sharp knives, sitting in pools of their juices. It could turn someone into a vegetarian. Not a good place to bring a date, I'd venture to say. Unless you're dating a Tyrannosaurus. Or [bad attempt to be funny coming] Carnie Wilson, assuming Carnie stands for Carnivore. "I'll just have the salad" doesn't really work. Heck, "I'll just have the parts of the cow that don't look they're still twitching" doesn't really work. Then, once you've eaten the filet of leg, baby back tenderloin, rib eye, rib nose, rib ear, and barbecued cow toes, you get dessert. It's a big cake, filled with meat, sliced off a skewer. No, not really. The desserts weren't that thrilling. Too much meat though. I didn't actually eat that much, it just felt like a lot. I don't feel like eating until next Wednesday or so. Or looking at any animals, since I think their parents were just served to the next table. This was actually the first place where nothing served was baby anything. This was grown-up animal. Definitely adults. I kept watching for the knife to slip and... a table full of lawyers? No chance.
I'm going to a Brazilian Barbeque restaurant with work people for lunch in a bit. I've been to one before, but it was cheap, and I assume this one isn't as much. Basically, it's all you can eat salad bar and assorted meat on skewers that waiters bring around and cut for you. The one I went to started with easy stuff like beef and chicken and progressed to things like goat, rabbit, and gerbil (not the third one, but the first two). Despite my embrace of ethnic cuisine of pretty much all sorts, I do draw the line at things that seem cuddly, like rabbits and gerbils. And, besides, I'd filled up on salad bar. I never feel like I get real value at all-you-can-eat places, because I'm not a big guy, and just can't eat that much. But if I'm not paying... then it's fun to try stuff... and just leave most of it on my plate... so that's what I'm planning on doing for lunch. One bite of things that seem interesting; no bites of things that look or sound disturbing; and nothing that looks like anyone else has sneezed on it. That's my other problem with all-you-can-eat or salad bar places. You never know how long that stuff has been out for... or what people have done to it... or who's breathing on it... there's an uncleanliness that makes me uncomfortable. It's how people get food poisoning. People here got sick a few weeks ago (I may have mentioned this in a prior post) at a restaurant from something called a Tower of Fish. Which sounds awful. I wouldn't eat that, or a Monument of Beef, an Obelisk of Chicken, a Statue of Lamb, a Pile of Pork, or a Mound of Dog. Anyway, the gimmick at the Brazilian BBQ I've been to before was that you got a block painted half red and half green and if you wanted more meat, you put the green side up; if you didn't, you put the red side up. Not sure whether that was red/green for stop/go, or if it had something to do with the colors of Brazil. I don't know what those colors are. This is going nowhere. I will report back on what I eat, in gastronomically sufficient detail for any readers who may be hungry.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Today I was in court all day, watching something and taking notes. I noticed the other people sitting in court (not the lawyers up at the front who were doing actual talking) were doing crossword puzzles, playing games on their Blackberries (or just e-mailing A LOT), doodling, nodding off, and, in one case, reading what looked like the National Enquirer. That seemed particularly bad. Even marginally worse than one of the lawyer who was doing a crossword... FROM A BOOK OF TV GUIDE CROSSWORDS. This is (presumably) a woman with a law degree. Surely she could challenge herself with something more rigorous than a crossword from TV Guide.

1-Across: The _________ Boat
2-Across: The _________ Wheel
3-Across: Actor Hanks

Ooh, gotcha there I bet. The answer to 3-Across is Colin, not Tom.

So I was in court from 10AM-6PM or so. We were given an hour lunch break. I went to the nearby Amish Market, which was definitely not run by the Amish, because it had lights and refrigeration. And sushi. And empanadas. And all sorts of things I bet the Amish don't use/eat/have/believe in. It was cheating. I don't understand it at all.

On the way back to the office on the subway I ran into someone I know. That's been happening a lot this summer. I must know a lot of people, or just be really lucky that way lately.

Tonight our firm social activity was a big reception at a public interest organization with a bunch of people from lots of other firms. I feel okay saying this, because so many firms were there that I'm not actually revealing anything. The organization deals with battered women. The reception featured a performance by a rap group. This makes sense, right? Because rap songs never have any negative implications about women. There was a "Chinese Auction" at the event. A "Chinese Auction," to my surprise, does not involve Chinese babies being sold to the highest bidder. Apparently it's like a silent auction, only with an ethnically insensitive name. Different from a Jewish auction, where the lowest bidder wins.

I have an idea for a new consumer product to capitalize on the Atkins craze. Low-carb shampoo. Because shampoos are always advertising that they've got oatmeal, or fruit extracts, or rye bread in them. All carbs. I want a low-carb shampoo. For a low-carb diet. For a low-carb me. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Catching up on Q-and-A from All-Request-Day:

1. "There is a neighborhood kid who keeps pestering me. I'd like to know how to make her disappear... she speaks in some sort of garbled English like Nell and she is about 4 feet tall. I guess that makes her 4-5-6 or so."

Uh, not really my area of expertise. But let's see. You could move. Or you could spray her with pepper spray. That might be illegal though. You could tell her parents. You could yell at her. Or perhaps you can just be nice to her and make a new friend. Maybe she likes you. Maybe you and she are meant to be together forever. My answer sucks. Sorry.

2. "After reading your summation of 3 years of Hell I thought maybe you could do a quick summary of the big Blawgs ala Talk Soup. I don't know if talk soup is on TV still, I haven't had a TV since the mid 90's so I'm not too hip."

I've never seen Talk Soup. I can only imagine. I know Greg Kinnear used to host it before he got nominated an Academy Award, and then became known exclusively as "Academy Award Nominee Greg Kinnear," especially in movie trailers where he appears. I can't recall a single movie he's been in since As Good As It Gets, so I'm guessing he hasn't been nominated for any more Academy Awards. And you haven't had a TV since the mid-'90s, yet you watched Talk Soup when you did have one, which seems like a show designed for the especially TV-addicted -- a TV show all about other shows on TV, after all. But back to your question. I'm really not sure what to say. Evan Schaeffer does a weekly law school roundup on Sundays that sounds like exactly what you're looking for, actually. And I don't want to compete with Evan on his own turf, so I'm sort of tempted to punt you over to him. I suppose I could share a list of the blawgs I read more often than not, but I kind of don't even want to do that because I'll leave someone out and they'll feel bad and I don't want that. There's lots of good stuff out there, I'm pleased you think this one's worthy of your time... I almost want to leave it at that.

3. "Business casual -- what's appropriate?"

Shirt. Pants. Socks. Shoes. I've been wearing button-down shirts and pants in various shades of navy, tan, and gray. Seems to work. Lots of blue shirts around. Pretty straightforward. Nothing that could be mistaken for a soccer uniform, pretty much. Random related story -- I have a pair of pants that's made of some material lighter than cotton, I forget what, but it's very sensitive to water -- any drops of water show up very dark and very visible (and then dry and disappear, but still), so when I go to the bathroom, and then wash my hands, if the water from washing my hands at all drips on the pants, it looks like I peed on myself. Which is not good. But I like the pants. So I don't know. What a pointless story. Sorry.

4. "What's your favorite type of food?"

They're all good. I like Thai food a lot. Greek food too. I'm pretty adventurous with food (unless it has fallen on the floor -- see post from a couple of days ago). I don't understand people who will only eat certain things. Lots of things are good and interesting and tasty. Appetizers and desserts are the two best parts of the meal too. And food that tastes like it should be expensive but is actually really, really cheap is my favorite type of food. For more on food, read Waddling Kitchen (or go to a supermarket).

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

E-mail from a journal at school: "Just a reminder that the deadline for the notes competition is July 1. There are no entries in yet. That means that if you submit, you have a pretty darn good chance of winning the big money. Details are at the bottom of this email."

I found that amusing and worth sharing. Don't know exactly why.

I went to court today, to watch and take notes. This was actually the only time I'd been in a courtroom besides a high school trip to Washington where we sat in the Supreme Court visitors gallery while they announced something. All I recall is Justice Thomas kept spinning around in circles in his comfy-looking chair. Anyway, at this court thing lawyers said stuff and the judge said stuff and it wasn't very long and now I'm back. Sorry if all those specifics bored you.

Things not to do in court:
1. Clap
2. Boo
3. Hiss
4. Jeer
5. Throw fruit
6. Throw vegetables
7. Throw up
8. Throw table over
9. Graffiti
10. Scream
11. Yell
12. Run
13. Brandish weapon
14. Use cell phone
15. Brandish cell phone
16. Use weapon
17. Brandish combination weapon-cell phone
18. Use combination weapon-cell phone
19. Call judge by wrong name
20. Call judge on his combination weapon-cell phone
21. Act like a monkey
22. Bring a monkey
23. Monkey around
24. Insult the court reporter
25. Start the wave
26. Ask if there's a promotional giveaway at today's hearing
27. Tickle the bailiff (was there even a bailiff? Must've been...)
28. Eat
29. Drink
30. Be particularly merry

Monday, June 14, 2004

We had a presentation at work today from some corporate partners talking about what they do. It was actually a very solid presentation -- I came in knowing very little about what lawyers on the corporate side do, and left having a decent idea, sort of, a little bit. But enough that a thought passed through my head that I've been playing around with since. I have a macro-level lack of understanding about our economy that makes it absolutely impossible for me to have any appreciation for what corporate lawyers, investment bankers, hedge fund people, private equity folks, venture capitalists, and big businessmen do, or to have any idea why they're necessary. I understand that we have all sorts of financial structures and rules and regulations and processes and forms and business arrangements. I just don't understand what they are and why we need them. This is at a level so far removed from the actual practice of these professions that it's not an indictment of anything or an opinion about the value of certain people in society -- it's just a general ignorance of what goes on and why that may or may not be important. To me, if I have a business -- making sneakers, let's say -- I understand that I need leather, and thread, and people to sew them; I need factories, and trucks, and accountants to keep the books, and marketing people, and lawyers to make sure I don't do anything wrong; and some people to set strategy, and some people to sell my shoes, and a banker to collect my money... but I don't understand why these things require, say, bidding procedures, or compliance with something apparently known as the '40 Act. Or why we may need to involve an investment bank in what we do, and get other people to put money into it. And why all of this is so complicated and takes so many smart people to spend so many hours worrying about this. All that should matter are the shoes.

See, as I write it, I realize I should have a better idea of what the business world looks like than I do, and it all probably comes off as very naive and unsophisticated. But because I don't understand where these players fit, I find myself unable to imagine doing these things I see as abstract for a living and getting excited and passionate about them. I just can't quite get myself to care. And I don't say that in a bad way, but in the same way I might say that I just can't get myself to care about cricket because I've never seen a game and don't know any of the players. I'm not saying cricket is a bad sport. I just don't know the rules, and would hardly be inclined to choose to go watch, or play. And I'd probably look a little skeptical at someone who did decide to go play, since I have no way of understanding his passion and his interest. And, since I'm familiar with lots of other sports, and they get me interested and motivated, it's not like I'm dying to learn about cricket, or even have much of a desire at all to become an expert. I'd rather just play baseball. I've gone too far with the analogy, but this is kind of how I feel, in a way, about investment banking and securities law, and stuff like that. It's cricket. It may be a great sport. But given what I know now, I can't imagine staying up all night measuring the paddles (do they even use paddles?), or figuring out whether to trade the catcher (do they even have a catcher), or even figuring out which channel the games are aired on.

(See, you hang around through the nonsense and eventually I say something substantive, right?)
My All-Request Monday gone awry... the Internet was down most of the day at work. All that was up was Lexis. Seriously. And, jd2b linked to me, which is always cause for celebration. So I'm extending All-Request Monday to All-Request Tuesday, with the footnote that in fact it's Feel-Free-To-Request Day every day, since I do answer all my e-mails, without even the help of an assistant. :)

I will get to the requests that came in today in due course. Probably tomorrow, since I'm sleepy.

Tomorrow, incidentally, I get to go to court. Not to do anything, obviously, although I think the associate mentioned that "we'll be taking good notes," which probably means me'll be taking good notes. Which is totally reasonable, of course. My response to the associate's e-mail inviting me to tag along: "I have to wear a suit there, don't I?" The reply: "Yes." Oh well. My suit is lonely in my closet anyway. BUT CLEAN. And I don't want to get it dirty. I'm probably mildly obsessive-compulsive in my dislike of dirt. I've written before about trying not to touch the subway poles. To me that seems reasonable though. But stuff like food that falls on the floor -- I have a zero-second rule. I wouldn't even think about it. Or if I have any doubts about a food source -- I can't remember how old the milk is, or I think the sushi may be from yesterday, or I notice something crawling on the pasta. All reasonable concerns, to me. I don't like paint. Or things that drip. Not a huge fan of newsprint. Okay, enough about my quirks. Where was I? Oh, yes, going to court. To watch. Cool. The person who e-mailed me last week to say I haven't written enough about stuff I'm doing at work: this post is for you.
As I was walking out of the subway station this morning, there was a cleaning person with a garbage pail full of cleaning fluid and a mop, washing the floor. A well-dressed woman walked by and, thinking the garbage pail was a garbage pail, threw her Pottery Barn catalog in. The cleaning person yelled after her, "Excuse me," she turned around, he said "this isn't a garbage pail," and fished out her sopping wet catalog and thrust it at her. She had no choice but to take it. So there she was, in her designer suit, carefully carrying a sopping wet Pottery Barn catalog, hoping not to drip it on herself. Just thought I'd share.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

I did a rewrite on my toothpaste sketch a few posts below. If you see any ways to make it funnier before 5:30 Monday (or if you think it's funny/not funny) let me know. Thanks.
Anthony Rickey writes about his Con Law exam disaster. Long story short: his professor recycled old questions that students had the answers to, and ended up having to muck up the grading to (poorly) remedy the situation. Long story long: read his post.
Monday is all-request day. E-mail me a question, an idea, a topic, anything, and you get a post. Free! Or I'll make some up.

In the meantime, you get an open letter to a law firm partner. I don't know where I'm going with this until I write it. First I wrote, "In the meantime, you get some unedited introspection," but I sat quietly for a few minutes and realized I don't have anything to say. So I'll force myself into a structure and see what comes out.

Dear Law Firm Partner,

Thank you for inviting me to sit in on your conference call, even though I probably looked pretty disappointed when I realized that sitting in on your conference call would mean that I would have to miss the summer associate dwarf tossing event. You'd be right to feel frustrated if my disappointment was evident. After all, it's not like sitting in on your conference call is doing you any favors. It's not for your benefit, it's for mine. I'm of very little value to you during that conference call, unless you have a cardiac event and need me to run for help. Besides that, perhaps I could take notes, but since I don't know what's important, my notes probably aren't going to be all that useful. I understand that you invited me to sit in on the call because you want me to learn. Which is the right thing for you to want, since besides the dwarf tossing and tomorrow's potato sack race, ostensibly I'm here this summer to learn as much as possible. Even if it's not that exciting. Thank you for handing me a copy of the tax code after you gave me the research assignment that came out of the conference call. Even though I probably looked pretty disappointed with the idea of having to actually open the tax code to do the research. You'd be right to feel frustrated if my disappointment was evident. After all, despite everyone's friendly tone and willingness to accommodate requests as unnecessary as wanting to miss work on Friday because the circus is in town, and I love the circus, I imagine it's a real pain to give an assignment to a summer associate, and then get back something completely useless. Not that completely useless work product isn't to be expected sometimes from someone who's never done this before -- but if there's a way to avoid it with some more effort or diligence on my part, I would think it's exasperating to discover that the time you spent explaining the assignment to me, the time you spent answering my basic, ill-thought-out questions, and the time you spent looking over my results, has all been for naught, and a regular associate is going to have to do the work anyway. And thank you for not screaming when I hung up on the client by accident when transferring the phone call. Using a telephone is hard, and you had every right to be upset at me for not reading the manual in advance and figuring out how to transfer a call, especially when I was told to read the manual and figure out how to transfer phone calls. Finally, thank you for not asking me to miss the pony rides last Wednesday because the assignment you had given me was relatively urgent. I would have missed the pony rides if you had asked me to, but I'm thankful you didn't force me to choose. I appreciated that, because I really didn't want to miss the pony rides. Also thank you for paying me.

Your friend,
Summer Associate


Mom! This toothpaste tastes awful.

A parent’s hardest job is making sure her kid doesn’t die. But her second hardest is getting him to brush his teeth. But not anymore.


Try this!



Oops. Wrong one.


Willy Wonka toothpaste? Cool!


(WITH A MOUTH FULL OF TOOTHPASTE) This tastes just like chocolate pudding!

That's right. It tastes like chocolate pudding -- because it IS chocolate pudding.

A toothpaste made of chocolate pudding? Is that good for my son’s teeth?

Of course not. Here’s a computer simulation.


Ordinary toothpaste keeps teeth white and shiny. (THE ANIMATED TOOTH SPARKLES) Our toothpaste turns them brown, and then they fall out. (THE ANIMATED TOOTH TURNS BROWN AND FALLS OUT) But it tastes great!

And that’s what’s important!



Is the tan stripe a whitening gel?

No, it’s caramel.

(MOUTH FULL OF PUDDING) This is the best toothpaste ever!

That’s right. Because it’s all natural. Other toothpaste manufacturers use chemicals with long names no one can understand. Tetrasodium pyrophosphate? Sodium lauryl sulfate? Fluoride? We just use sugar, chocolate, and flour.

Flour has some of the same letters as fluoride.



I can’t get it off.

That’s because you’re rinsing with water. Willy Wonka toothpaste goes better with milk.


While you’re in the kitchen – I should tell you that Willy Wonka toothpaste contains baking powder.

Baking SODA?

No, baking powder. Check this out. Just squeeze out drops of our toothpaste onto a baking sheet –-


-- stick it in the oven (SHE DOES), and twenty minutes later (THE OVEN BELL DINGS), you’ve got brownies (SHE TAKES BROWNIES OUT OF THE OVEN).

Wow! That’s convenient. But what do dentists think about Willy Wonka toothpaste?

They think we’re evil. But –-

It tastes great! (THEY LAUGH)

BOY (O.S.)
Mom! I need more toothpaste!

Willy Wonka toothpaste. Won’t clean your teeth, but it tastes great. Now in snack size.

(JINGLE PLAYS: Willy Wonka Toothpaste... CAVI-TY-LICIOUS!)

Saturday, June 12, 2004

I've read some articles about how some people are upset that the media is turning Ronald Reagan into a saint now that he's passed away. From one article: "'A lot of rewriting of history is taking place right now,' echoed Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal Washington think tank tied to organized labor. Since the death of the 40th president at the age of 93 on Saturday, reverent recollections of 'The Gipper' have filled TV news programs, newspapers and magazines. Through anecdote and accolade, Reagan is remembered as the handsome actor who led a conservative revolution in winning landslide elections for two terms as California governor and two more as president. In his later years, the former president became a sort of national grandfather before sinking into the cruel fog of Alzheimer's disease.... 'Stop the sugar-coating,' columnist Joan Vennochi pleaded in the Boston Globe."

Well, you think this bad? I've uncovered some clips from old newscasts that put the Reagan coverage to shame.

"Good evening, this is Edward R. Murrow. Sad news from overseas today as Adolf Hitler has passed away at the tender age of 56. Hitler is best known for designing the autobahn, the greatest interstate highway in the world. He also loved ice cream. A sad, sad day. We've got Hitler confidant Frank Bratwurst on the telegraph with us. Mr. Bartwurst, are you there?"

"Yes, yes I am."

"How do you feel today?"

"Very sad. The world has lost a great friend. No one has ever had a bad word to say about Mr. Hitler."

"Indeed. Let's take a look at some childhood photos of Mr. Hitler."

[photos -- one of a young boy with a small moustache licking an ice cream cone; the next of a young boy with a small moustache riding on a sled; the next of a young boy with a small moustache herding Jews into a gas chamber.]

"With us now we have some Jews."

"Hello. Shalom. Are we on the air?"

"Yes. What do you have to say about Mr. Hitler, now that he has died?"

"He was wonderful. He was a friend. He was meshuggeneh."

"Thank you. Let's take a look at Mr. Hitler's burial site. As he requested, his bosy will overlook the scenic Auschwitz concentration camp, where the Jews are being slaughtered at a rate of ten thousand per day."

[photo of burial site]

And that's not all... here's a clip from 1801.

"Good evening, this is Tom Brokaw. Sorry to interrupt this week's episode of Little Hut on the Frontier, but I have some terribly sad news to report. Noted American Benedict Arnold has passed away at the age of 60. Benedict Arnold, dead at 60. Despite an incident during the Revolution, Arnold had an extraordinary military career and the nation will mourn the loss of this great man..."

Friday, June 11, 2004

Follow-up to yesterday's bathroom post: here's a urinal selection quiz (Thanks, Nate!). I scored a 45 out of 60.
Been meaning to link to The Unreasonable Man for a couple of days now, because he sent me an e-mail asking me to link to him that was well-enough disguised as a real e-mail that I almost couldn't tell the difference. He's an incoming 1L who not only uses footnotes in his weblog, but uses them well. The post I'm linking to, I'm linking to because of this:

Is the movie White Chicks with Shawn and Marlon Wayans going to be the worst movie of the summer? Of the year? Of the decade?
My mom saw the commercial and said it looked funny. I'm not going to comment on that, because I wouldn't want to say anything but nice things about my wonderful mom.

ONE of Edinburgh’s most prestigious legal firms has launched an investigation after trouble flared during a corporate weekend at a luxury timeshare development...

Among the allegations being investigated are that two members of the legal firm’s staff were physically assaulted by colleagues attending the corporate event.

Other employees have complained that drinks were thrown over them and that they were verbally abused.

Another senior Dickson Minto staff member was fished out of the hotel’s ornamental pond in the early hours of the morning after a marathon drinks session. Hotel workers offered to escort him to his room but he insisted on returning to the party...

The Evening News has been told that a female employee was slapped on the face and another had drink thrown over her. Others complained of being verbally abused. Despite complaints, police were not called to investigate the incidents...

A company source who was present at the weekend event said: "A lot of people were very upset about what had taken place. They were very angry that people had been headbutted and punched and that no action had been taken at the time...

A spokesman for the legal firm said: "We are making no comment whatsoever."
Well, my summer job hasn't been *that* exciting so far.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

One of my fellow summer associates (thanks Andrew) e-mailed me an idea for a post about how awkward it is to see the lawyers in the bathroom. It's hard enough to come up with things to say to them when you see them normally; but at the urinal? "How's the summer going," they ask. "It'll be going a lot better in three minutes when I finish up in here, actually." The bathroom on my floor has 2 urinals and 2 stalls. There's no partition between the urinals. I don't know why. They can afford it. I mean, they have TV in the elevators; surely they can afford a partition between the urinals. So I've noticed it's about a 50/50 split whether, if you're at one urinal, if someone will come over and use the other one, or just use a stall. I wonder if it's a specific kind of person who uses the other urinal. Timid people don't. Timid people go to the stall, lock it, and don't come out until 5:30. No, really. I would never go use the other urinal if the first one is occupied. It's uncomfortable. They're too close together. I saw one guy not wash his hands on the way out. What do you say to a partner who doesn't wash his hands after using the bathroom? Especially if he notices you, says we haven't met, and reaches out his hand to shake. "Oh, no, uh, I think we met before. Remember, I was in the elevator bank, and you were dripping with pee. Remember?" Some of the lawyers, mostly just in my imagination, bring their cell phones in with them, to continue their phone calls with clients. "What's that sound? I'm on vacation by a waterfall. Doing work. Yeah. Doing work by the waterfall. Oh, the other sound? Cliff diving. There I go. Splash. Avalanche. Here they fall. They're all coming down. That other sound? I'm squeezing through a narrow opening. Sorry. That other sound? I don't hear anything. Sorry. Must be on your end." We have billing codes for this stuff. 991 and 992. You know the difference between the 1 and the 2. Forgive me. Potty humor is cheap. I'm sorry. Wasn't my idea. :)

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I saw a play tonight with a friend, called "Chinese Friends." It was not about Chinese people at all. In fact, I'm not really sure what it was about. If you go see it, I expect you too will leave wondering what exactly just happened to the past two hours of your life, and why you have no idea what in the world was going on in front of you. I have no idea. I just don't. I'm pretty smart, but sometimes, whoosh, no idea. I think it was making a political statement. But gosh darn I have no idea what that statement was, besides perhaps "politics is confusing. whoosh." Yeah, so that's what I did.

Before I left work, I got to sit in on a conference call. There were a bunch of lawyers from elsewhere on the call who were either drugged, attempting to pad their hours by talking as slow as possible, or inhabiting some other cosmic time zone where time moves at a different speed. Perhaps my impression is only because I have no idea what they were talking about, but here's how it sounded to me:

Lawyer 1: "Soooooooooooooooooooo, do we thiiiiiiiiink that if we present thiiiiiiiiiiis theory fiiiiiiiiirst, then we miiiiiiiight be able toooooooooo eveeeeeeeeeeentuallllllllly wiiiiiiiiiiiiin points with the juuuuuuuuuuuuudge on that other theeeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooooory?"

Lawyer 2: "Caaaaaaaaaan yooooooooooou repeeeeeeeeat that, but slooooooooower?"

I don't know what the word "lugubrious" means, but I've decided it sounds like it should mean slow. And so I will say that the conference call was lugubrious. I'm not even going to look it up to check. I'm just going to chance it. How lugubrious of me.

I've decided (although my friend I saw the show with tonight gets about 50% of the credit for this one) that I want to make a mock parody film of that "Super Size Me" movie I saw last week. In my version, I will film myself eating sensible meals from McDonalds and not gaining any weight. Lines from my imaginary script:

"I think half a humburger is enough. I'm full."
"Actually, the salad sounds great today."
"Would you like to supersize it?" "No thanks."
"Oh sh**! Is that a HEAD in my Chicken McNugget??"

I've also decided to make another mock parody of "Super Size Me" called "Super Size My Kid." In that one, I feed a child lots of McDonalds food and he gets really fat. I think it would be a big hit.

I had lunch today at a steakhouse but I got the salmon. It wasn't that good. But I didn't really want the 48-ounce porterhouse, or anything like that. Then they came around with the dessert tray. I didn't want the 48-ounce carrot cake either. It was huge. I didn't think there were that many carrots in the universe. The picture of the carrot drawn with icing on top of the slice was ACTUAL SIZE. They also had a creme brulee, served in a swimming pool. And some chocolate fondue that someone drowned in.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

If you read one book this week... :) Yesterday on my commute, I read "Not Even Wrong," by Paul Collins. It's a masterpiece. It's a book about "Peter the Wild Boy," a nearly-mute, feral child in 1700s England. And it's a book about the author's 3-year-old son, diagnosed with autism. I'm making it sound dreadful. But it's so well-written, so gentle, so touching... it's really quite remarkable. Read it.

I'm grabbing from some reviews on Lexis, since I don't think I'm pimping this book as well as it deserves:

"Not Even Wrong," thankfully, includes us on a sweet, sad voyage into a disorder about which we know very little. Collins' book serves as a meditation on the meaning of "normal" -- and as a reminder that specialness can come to us in miraculous ways.
[M]ore than anything else, "Not Even Wrong" is an affecting portrait of a loving, charmingly eccentric family. Were irony not dead, or at least, cryogenically on hold, it might be ironic that such a "cold" affliction as autism (characterized by, along with everything else, a flat affect when dealing with people) has inspired such a warm (and smarm-free) memoir.
In a "happy ending" that breaks the reader's heart, Morgan gets to have a human experience on "our" terms. He reels from loneliness and desolation. But it's not sad, the author insists. "It's not a tragedy, it's not a sad story, it's not a movie of the week. It's my family." Brave man. Brave book.
If you read two books this week... on Friday I read "Burning Down My Masters' House" by disgraced New York Times reporter Jayson Blair. The first section, where he talks about his meltdown, and his trip to the psychiatric hospital, and life as a quickly-spiraling-downwards New York Times reporter is very, very compelling. And then the book jumps back and does a life story leading up to the meltdown, which is much, much less interesting. I found myself starting to skim. I was hoping for more insight about the Times and what life is like there, but I didn't feel like I got it. I got a biography. The middle section, for me, fell flat. The end picked up again a bit. But it was missing a *very end* -- a "what the Times can do so people like me don't self-destruct," or "what I've learned and what's ahead," or both. We get neither. So read the first hundred pages, and then skip to the end, and read the last chapter or so. That's all worth the read. The middle hundred and fifty pages, not so much. Sorry. (And, really, read Paul Collins' book on autism before you read this. It's so good. Really.)
Rejected Fidelity Investments slogan: "we put the 'fun' in 'fund'"
From a New York Times article about summer swimming:

What the Centers for Disease Control suggests to combat the parasite is increased vigilance by pool staffs and swimmers. Thus the agency's brochure "Fecal Accident Response Recommendations for Pool Staff: What Do You Do When You Find Poop in the Pool?" and its poster that looks like an eye chart. It poses the question, "Can you read this?" The letters of the chart say: "Have diarrhea? Don't swim."
More about lunches, because that's my favorite topic lately. So, like I've said, every morning at about 10:30, we start to get a barrage of e-mails on the summer associate list. "2 spots left for lunch at Pan-Asian Bistro Grill. First to reply get it." Eight to twelve seconds later: "Lunch full." "1 spot for lunch with Litigation associates at Fusion Gardens. Preference to those I haven't had lunch with yet." Eight to twelve seconds later: "I've received 31 replies, but Carol's came before I even pushed send, so she gets it. Sorry!" "Might have two spots left for a lunch I'm putting together at Genetically Modified Fish Spa this afternoon. Preference to those with killer smiles." Eight to twelve seconds later: "One more spot has opened up. Preference to those not wearing socks." Eight to twelve seconds later: "Changed my mind. Preference to those who don't smell like cheese." Eight to twelve seconds later: "No, actually, you do smell like cheese." Eight to twelve seconds later: "Sorry, I meant that just to go to Jim, not the whole list." Eight to twelve seconds later: "Lunch full. For now. Ha ha ha."

Just getting into a lunch has become the game of the day. But once you're there.... I've figured out two things:

(1) Expensive food loses its ethnicity above a certain point. Everything becomes fusion no matter where it starts. "Miso-glazed salmon" is simultaneously high-end French, Chinese, American, Japanese, German, Swiss, and Ethiopian. "Lobster-glazed pork," unbelievably, becomes kosher if priced above $26. As prices go up, food becomes younger. Baby greens, baby octopus, baby lamb chops, baby veal, and baby pudding. I'm kidding about the baby pudding. So far. And dessert is the best part of every meal, even if "exotic Asian fruit tower" turned out to be apple pie, and "honeydew granita" turned out to be green-colored italian ices. At one restaurant, the waitress describing the dessert almost strained the bounds of credibility: "The chocolate-mocha layer cake is quite extraordinary. It's a layer of chocolate," she said, tracing a layer in the air with her finger, "followed by a layer of mocha, then a layer of chocolate, and a layer of mocha, and a layer of chocolate, and a layer of mocha, and a layer of chocolate, and a layer of mocha--" I was getting the drift. How many layers were in this cake? "--and a layer of chocolate, and a layer of mocha, and a layer of chocolate--" This is why these are three-hour lunches. She's still describing the dessert.

(2) Too much food. I go out to one of these lunches and four days later I'm still full, still digesting the baby tuna steaks with the baby asparagus and the baby cheesecake. I can't eat dinner, I can't eat breakfast... until someone offers to pay for those meals, too. And I come back to the office and I'm ready for a nap. Like a baby. Octopus. Grilled atop a wild mushroom ragout with baby field greens dressed in balsamic vinegar and pine nuts with a side of crisped leek and smoked kale and braised plum and seared shark and chewed steak. And some homemade verisimilitudes and a side of slurvy.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Another try at a commercial parody. This may or may not be better than the other two; but I thought maybe I'd try to get inspired by my surroundings.

(Lights up on a law office.)

I have three questions for you. Number one, do you have a checkbook? Number two, have you done anything lately? And number three, uh, do you have a checkbook? If you can answer "yes" to one or more of these questions, you may be eligible for a settlement. Call us. And remember our motto. "You don't get paid, until we get paid." It's easy. Let's hear from a client.

I did something. And had a checkbook. So I called. And they got money. Maybe I did too. I can't remember.

See, a client. And you can be too. We fight for people to whom things happen. Or who see things happen. Or who only hear about them. And we fight about as hard as we need to. To make sure we get paid. And if there's anything left, you get paid too. Sometimes. It's how we've done business for over 75 years. Let's hear from another client.

I signed something. I think. I don't know. What else did you want me to say?

Another client. We've got lots of them. More after each one we get than we had previously. All built around our slogan. "You don't get paid, until we get paid." It's easy. We could write a jingle. But we haven't. Because we're too busy fighting for us. And, perhaps, when we have a chance, our clients. Fall down? Didn't fall down? Saw someone fall down? Heard someone fall down? Read about someone who once fell down? Assume someone must have once fallen down? Call us. We'll help. Someone. Probably ourselves. Let's hear from another client.

I'm a child. Things happen to children. It's scary. They help. All better.

We love children. With checkbooks. Sometimes they don't understand our slogan, so we simplify it for them. "In the event there is money that someone gives to us because something may or may not have happened to you, we take that money. Sometimes, after we have taken as much as we can, we give some to you. Or we don't. It depends. But in all cases, you do not get any money unless we have reached a point where we have gotten money. Understand?" Of course they don't understand. They're children. We love children. They sign wherever we tell them. Let's hear from another client, and his translator.

Bark. Bark bark. Bark bark bark. Bark bark bark bark bark.

Something happened to me. I have no idea what. After all, I am just a dog. They got money. I got my belly rubbed. Seemed fair to me. I have to go poopy now.

People sometimes ask us how much money we have made. The answer is easy. Then they ask how much our clients have received. That answer is hard. Surely you don't really want to see our boring, complicated, hard-to-understand records that we constantly shred. You just want to hear from more clients.

I live in luxury thanks to the work of these fine lawyers. This is the best nursing home in the world, except when they hit me.

Thanks, mom. And you can be our client too. When things happen, or even when they don't, call us. We're here to help. And remember, "you don't get paid, until we get paid."
We had a breakfast event this morning, and there was a pretty substantive buffet breakfast. One of the items on the line were miniature bagels, on a platter with some smoked salmon. So I took a bagel, and a piece of salmon. And I get to the table, and I open the bagel. And it was pre-cream-cheesed. They had already put cream cheese on the bagels. Astonishing. This is how good they treat us. They put cream cheese on our bagels for us. Amazing. (Is that what paralegals do?)

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Thanks to Evan Schaeffer for his kind words about my blog. His is another on the short list of stuff I regularly read.

Feedback is running in favor of Stampons over Democratic Debate so far, so given that I haven't been inspired with anything better, I guess I'll use Stampons at the first meeting of the sketch writing workshop I signed up for tomorrow night. Figured it could be fun, a way to get some live feedback, motivate some writing, meet some other writers, etc. And as long as I'm in Manhattan at work, I may as well do stuff after work that's fun. Not that work isn't fun. Of course work is fun. Obviously.

The Tony Awards are on in a bit. I'll probably watch them in the background as I write something percolating in my head about lunches paid for by the firm.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Directly below, I posted a commercial parody sketch about the Democratic Debates, and asked for feedback as to whether it was funny. Go read that one. And then, come back up here, and read this very, very different commercial parody sketch. Which also may or may not be funny. Would love feedback. Thanks. (Warning: ths may be horribly offensive. I don't mean it to be. Tell me if it is so I can delete it. Thanks.)

[Lights up on 4 women in a living room. They’re in their 30s, old friends, laughing, completely at ease with one another.]

Ladies, it’s happened to all of us. It’s that time of the month—

—but you also need to mail your cable bill.

Or you go to the post office—

—and you get that feeling down there, like it’s that time of the month.

But now, there’s a product that solves this vexing age-old problem.

It’s government-issued legal tender postage—

—but it’s also a women’s sanitary product.

That’s right—



—and completely valid for all first-class mail deliveries via the U.S. Postal Service.

Sticks on the envelope—

—but doesn’t stick in you.

And stampons come in a variety of sizes—

—and denominations.

Perfect for heavy flow days—

—or boxes up to 5 lbs.

Or just for precaution—

—Or for a postcard to a friend.

I used to tell my husband, all the time, that I wished there was one product that I could use to mail my letters, and to absorb my monthly flow. And now, there is.

Just last week I was picking up the mail when I felt that all-too-familiar feeling. So I just tore the cancelled stampon from my credit card application, and inserted it nice and snug where it belonged. Problem solved!

And just last week I was on my way to the mailbox, when I realized I hadn’t put any postage on my electric bill – imagine if they turned off the lights! I just reached down my pants, pulled out my stampon, placed it on the envelope, and dropped it in the slot. Problem solved!

Stampons are flexible, to fit your body as you move.

And come in a variety of themes and designs, like the American flag, the Capitol Building—

—Or former President Dwight Eisenhower.

I like Ike.

I can’t wait for President Clinton to die. He’d be perfect on a stampon!

He’s already autographed mine!

WOMEN 1, 2, and 4

Stampons have been proven just as effective as traditional women’s sanitary products—

But don’t take our word for it. Pick up a box of stampons yourself. Available at a drug store near you—

—or from your local post office.

From the makers of Jemorrhoids, the only jewelry that’s also an inflamed sore.
I just wrote a sketch. It's a commercial parody of sorts. I'm sort of looking for feedback as to whether it's funny. I don't know if it works or not. I'm thinking maybe it doesn't. But I liked the idea. I don't know. So if you read it, let me know if it works or not? Thanks.

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; John Kerry speaking]

JOHN KERRY (in a monotone)
Under this administration, the trade deficit has grown by almost 50% and exports have fallen to an all-time low.

Don’t you wish you could relive exciting moments like this, over and over again in the comfort of your own living room? Finally, now you can, with, “The Greatest Moments of the 2004 Democratic Candidate Debates.” All of the highlights are here:

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; John Edwards speaking]

Under my plan, almost two-thirds of all women earning less than seventeen thousand dollars a year will receive an education tax credit of up to six hundred dollars.

Remember where you were when Joe Lieberman shrugged his shoulders for the very first time? Or when Dennis Kucinich realized he couldn’t see over the podium.

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; Al Sharpton speaking]

There are bigger issues in this race. Issues like why the media continue to ignore me.

The good times, and the bad. The laughter, and the tears. We all remember this emotional moment:

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; Wesley Clark speaking]

WESLEY CLARK (in a monotone)
I am the only candidate on the stage with real foreign policy experience.

For years, Americans have clamored for a way to recreate the presidential candidate debates in their own homes. Never before have they had the opportunity. Until now.

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; Bob Graham speaking]

I am Florida Senator Bob Graham, and I am running for President because I believe there is a chance all of the other candidates will die in a fiery accident, and I will be the only one left.

This 6-DVD set includes moments from the debate in Louisville, the debate in Des Moines, the debate in Springfield, the debate in the other Springfield, the debate in Grand Rapids, and the hardly-before-seen debate in Chestnut Fields, South Dakota that was only aired on public access television. During a blackout.

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; Dick Gephardt speaking]

One of the most important issues facing Americans today is how to get to me, Dick Gephardt, to stop running for President.

These professionally mastered DVDs are offered in the original widescreen format, with Dolby sound quality, and the option to hear the debates in English, or in German.

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; Howard Dean speaking]

Apple strudel, Fahrvergnugen, Haagen-Dazs, Weinerschnitzel, AAAARGGGGGGH!

Plus, the original theatrical trailers, and commentary from former Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun.

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; Carol Moseley Braun speaking]

Oh, here’s where I stood too close to the microphone and encountered a slight bit of feedback. It was quite an embarrassing moment.

And, a behind-the-scenes tour of the debate sites, with 1988 Presidential hopeful Bruce Babbitt.

[clip from behind-the-scenes tour]

This is the Green Room, where they provide coffee or tea for the candidates, and give them a place to make final preparations before the debate begins. Across the hall is the media room, where the candidates will make statements to the press after the debate is finished…

And, if you order now, we’ll throw in a limited-edition Joe Biden for President bumper sticker, and an autographed photo of Democratic Leadership Committee chairman Al From.

I’d always dreamed of the day when I could watch the Democratic presidential candidate debates over and over again, whenever I wanted. Now, thanks to this special offer, I can. And I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me.

Sure you can.

Well, okay. It’s meant I can finally take my Season 1 of Growing Pains DVD out of the DVD player and put it in the garbage where it belongs.

“The Greatest Moments of the 2004 Democratic Candidate Debates.” Order now, before it’s too late.

[clip from 2004 Democratic Debate; Joe Lieberman speaking]

JOE LIEBERMAN (in a monotone)
We need to find a way to lower the cost of refinancing home mortgages in this country; we need moderate change for moderate problems; we need a leader who’s not afraid to listen.

NARRATOR (quickly)
“The Greatest Moments of the 2004 Democratic Candidate Debates” DVD collection may cause nausea, headaches, chest pains, drowsiness, and extreme boredom. Do not operate heavy machinery after watching the debates; the DVD collection is not for everyone; ask your doctor before you order; international shipping is extra.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Someone needs to tell the Maine bankruptcy court how to spell Bankruptcy (see the title field in your browser window). Oops. (Think they can help me with my research if I tell them there's a typo in their html-code?)
This is post #1200. The new Blogger interface tells me so. Getting to round numbers are fun. 1200 is a big number. And I've been doing this for not quite 2 years (a year and 10 months), so that's a little less than 2 posts a day on average, if my math is right.


Over at NeoTokyoTimes, which is one of just -- counting in my head, give me a second -- 5 law-or-law-student blogs I check fairly regularly (bonus points to anyone who wants to guess the rest of the list; I'm defining fairly regularly as close-to-daily), there's a comment I find thought-provoking:

More and more I'm beginning to believe that my tendency to play social butterfly has too often left me in the lurch when people who decide to do things invite only their "primary friends" of which I am not considered. People don't believe that I consider all of my friends "primary friends," and that they must think that they're considered by me as "secondary friends." I suppose their assessment is probably correct. More than ten "primary friends" probably means that they're actually all secondaries. This is phenomenally sad.
I have nothing tremendously substantive to say in response, but it got my attention because we don't usually get to know how other people think about stuff like this. And when I read "social butterfly" in the first line, the image I get -- and it's just because the term makes me think of the obnoxious phony people schmoozing at cocktail parties, trying to shake everyone's hand and figure out whether you can help their career, and if you can't you're useless and they're off to find another conversation -- is of someone who's collecting friends like trading cards, not necessarily of someone who cares about his depth of relationships, so it's interesting just to know how someone else thinks about this stuff.

For me -- and this may be revealing too much about what goes on inside my head, I suppose -- I have some of the same worries, but coming from the other direction -- just to use NeoTokyo's terminology because I don't have anything better -- I feel like I have pretty good intuition when I meet someone whether he or she is someone I'd want to be friends with, whether I think he or she is a good person, who I'd want to know. But the relatively tentative, shy part of me isn't always sure how to translate that into actually becoming friends, and I think I tend to overthink stuff, trying to figure out how to "convert" the acquaintance into a friend, but also wanting to make sure I'm not wrongly thinking the other person would want to be friends with me. (Of course, this is only magnified when I'm thinking about whether if I ask a girl on a date, I think she's actually interested or not -- I feel like I have good instincts as to whether I'll like somebody, even just after meeting them for a moment, but I don't feel like I trust my instincts at all about whether she likes me back and am usually pretty clueless... and I'm not sure how one gets better at that... but probably everyone feels the way I do, on some level, unless they're just so taken with themselves that they feel everyone must like them... which may not be terrible for the one who feels that way....) These are some massive run-on sentences with all the dashes and ellipses. Sorry about that. And I think I'm revealing too much about the inner workings of my head. Oh well. I'll live.