Sunday, May 30, 2010

SFW: Colon Health, Existential Hairstyling, and the Insurance Racket

Welcome, ladies and germs, to the latest installment of our sorta-regular series, Scenes From Waco. In this very special Waco Drive Edition, we explore the surreal landscape within a 1-wood of our humble home.

Let's start with a blast, and Waco's infamously misleading "Colon Massage" establishment (also recently featured at Micah-Circuitry). Whizzing by at 40 mph, most drivers' gut reaction is that the place offers some sort of bowel manipulation service. But closer "scoping" reveals an elusive ampersand, conjoining two very different therapeutic activities. The Health Center's proprietor is Rev. Rufus Stephen, B.S. No kidding, the fellow who makes his living shooting hot water into nether orifices bills himself not only as a member of the clergy but also as the proud recipient of a bachelors degree. Not to knock the old baccalaureate--I've only got a B.A. myself--but it can't be good for the colon business to tell folks up front you're not some kind doctor or chiropractor. And the whole "Rev." thing doesn't really help. Are you some kind of sphincter priest? Every potential answer just raises more disturbing questions. I'm not even going to touch the "B.S." thing, because you know I don't have to.

Few people know that after Egypt got over the whole boils, frogs, and rivers of blood deal, a wrathful God visited upon the world a plague of lawyers. Our own Jerusalem-on-the-Brazos still suffers from a glut of licenciados of varying quality. I don't know anything about Mr. Afton J. Izen, Esq. or his professional chops, but I do know that A) $79.50 is a pretty good price for a quickie divorce, B) no one should pay an attorney for services his sign confesses are not performed by an attorney, and C) acrostics are a terrible way to be taken seriously or convey information to passing motorists.

Now we jump across the street to "Salon Dada," a beauty parlor I'm not even sure exists. I mean there's a sign and building and everything, and people go in there, but these dadaists are the same folks who put a urinal on a pedestal and called it art. I think the stylists are using their scissors to cut up magazines and make collages, rather than doing hair. Maybe this is where the crazy runway model hairdos come from. But if you ask me, ceci n'est pas une salon (I couldn't help making a Magritte reference, even though he wasn't really a dadaist).

Finally, we head down the street to RICO Insurance. Insurance is one of those businesses I comprehend but don't fully understand the complexities of. However, I am pretty sure that a firm in such a universally hated and mistrusted industry shouldn't name itself after a federal anti-racketeering statute. Just my two cents. A quick google of "RICO Insurance" yields not this business' phone number or website, but an article on "protection" schemes. Has the mob sunk this low, to set up shop in Waco with a blue jay as their mascot? You have to admit, it's a more believable story than Godfather III.

Friday, May 21, 2010

For Christ's sake, be a crucifer.

All hail! A new blog has entered the blogosphere: Crucifer. The author is the Rector at St. Alban's Episcopal Church here in Waco, TX (if you ever want to visit, Jesse and I are members!). St. Alban's is by far our favorite part of Waco - and this blog promises to be a collection of intellectual, spiritual discussion - I recommend you all check both out! One of Jesse's favorite quotes, "For Christ's sake, be a crucifer" is featured in the first edition.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Olympic Embarrassment

Leave it to the Brits to name the ridiculous space-age 2012 Olympic mascots with upper crust 19th century names: Wenlock and Mandeville (both were potential Jr. Associate names, curses!). If you haven't already, check out the psychedelic unveiling video below...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Philosopher or Philosorapter?

In a New York Times opinion piece titled, "What Is a Philosopher?" Simon Critchley discusses Socrates' tale of when Thales:

"was looking so intently at the stars that he fell into a well. Some witty Thracian servant girl is said to have made a joke at Thales' expense — that in his eagerness to know what went on in the sky he was unaware of the things in front of him and at his feet. Socrates adds, in Seth Benardete's translation, 'The same jest suffices for all those who engage in philosophy.'

What is a philosopher, then? The answer is clear: a laughing stock, an absent-minded buffoon, the butt of countless jokes...the one who is silly."

In thinking of the most interesting people I know, I would say the majority are also the most "silly." These are the professors from who I have learned, or desired to learn from, many of my closest friends who I spend hours talking to without a dull moment, and mentors who offer a different, more laughable (yet very serious) view of the world.

However, for the aspiring lawyers who follow this blog:

"Socrates introduces the 'digression' by making a distinction between the philosopher and the lawyer, or what Benardete nicely renders as the 'pettifogger.' The lawyer is compelled to present a case in court and time is of the essence. In Greek legal proceedings, a strictly limited amount of time was allotted for the presentation of cases. Time was measured with a water clock or clepsydra, which literally steals time, as in the Greek kleptes, a thief or embezzler. The pettifogger, the jury, and by implication the whole society, live with the constant pressure of time...By contrast, we might say, the philosopher is the person who has time or who takes time...Pushing this a little further, we might say that to philosophize is to take your time, even when you have no time, when time is constantly pressing at your back."

The latter statement, I think, is something that we should all strive for - to allow ourselves the time to philosophize, to be silly, to think outside the box.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

All Hail Our Robot Overlords!

This video is conclusive proof that we will lose the coming war against the robots. I mean, they even found a way to reanimate MJ! (Watch the whole thing for some of the best parts)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Practice Court: The Legend Continues

Attend me closely, and I will tell you now of a kung fu that is stronger than any other in the ways of law. I have wandered the Halls of Darkness lo these many weeks, and I have climbed to the summit of the Celestial Courtroom. I have descended to the depths of the Five Hour Mini-Trial, and narrowly escaped the voracious jaw of the ancient beast--he who is called Memo. I have trod the Six-Fold Path to a Winning Argument, and beheld the anguish of a Adverse Evidence Ruling. How has a mere student such as myself survived these arduous tasks? I have learned from worthy masters.

In many ways, kung fu is the perfect metaphor for the practice of law (especially litigation). Properly executed, the offensive and the defensive practice flow together seamlessly. A practitioner may chose which style (or "school") of practice, among many, best fits his individual strengths and weaknesses. A practitioner must always be ready to recognize and adapt to changing circumstances. A good practitioner will approach an obstacle with preparation, deep thought, and inner calm. But most importantly, a good practitioner trains with learned masters.

It is appropriate, then, that I've found myself comparing my professors (notably the PC profs) to kung fu masters, steeped in ancient wisdom passed on for generations and added to in turn by each successive torchbearer. Individual professors teach what they learned from their professors and mentors. And, entire law schools can develop meta-personalities, commonalties of thinking that morph in to a true "school of though." For example, a practitioner of Baylor style legal kung fu is unrepentantly aggressive, but also honest and forthright--he'll fight you tooth and nail, but he'll do it by the book.

So what have my masters taught me? I've learned the bulk of Baylor-style litigation from Masters Powell, Wren, and Counseller. From Master Powell, I've also learned the importance of communication and the narrative. From Master Wren I've learned the persuasive power of truth. Outside of PC, from Master Osler I have learned to answer one's calling and to truly value a new perspective. From Master Serr, I've learned the benefit of careful thought. From Master Beal, I've learned to freely express one's joy and love for what you do. From Masters Cordon and Ryan, I've leaned the strength of an organized argument. From Master Fuselier, I've learned that ancient tradition can have relevance in everyday life. From Master B----- (awkward in this particular context), I've learned that case law might be the hardest drug the hippies ever got their hands on.

I could go on, but I've got more to learn tomorrow. The Practice Court legend continues.