Holiday Traditions

I’ve always loved the holiday season for the various traditions shared by my family. They’ve evolved through the years. Many that existed when I was young have since died. Others began when I became an adult.

As a kid, I was forced to sit and endure political conversations. Most of them revolved around a consensus about “Commies,” how our country spends too much money, or other topics popular in WWII generation circles.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve been granted a license to contribute to the discussions, though often to the chagrin of my Fox-News-lovin’ relatives.

For the last few seasons, one traditional conversation ensues. It begins and ends the same each year.

Here’s how it goes.

1. A relative begins by talking about how this country needs to get tougher on terrorists and how they love GITMO, indefinite detention, roadblocks for disgusting defense attorneys, etc.

2. I reply that indefinite detention, tripped representation, and the like are certainly in violation of our Constitution.

3. This is where they get me. They reply that our Constitution does not apply to those scum.

4. I’ll reply something like, “Oh yeah, I forgot, they’re not citizens or residents on US soil, so the Constitution doesn’t apply.”

5. They sit back, admiring the masterpiece they created in showing that stupid lawyer that he isn’t such a smarty pants after all.

6. Then, I say something about how the Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights were just made up by James Madison, Ben Franklin, and their drinking buddies.

7. “NO!” they reply angrily. Our rights are god-given. God intended for us to have those rights (and he somehow sent the memo to the founding fathers).

8. I reply, “So, god is a pro-American biased prick who makes rules that help us but don’t apply to the rest of the human race?”

9. They seethe and eventually reply with some cheap joke about lawyers.

This allows me two benefits. First, I pissed-them-off, which is always fun sport among family members. Second, they refrain from bothering me until the next holiday season.

Hoping He Wins

Whenever I make a weekend trip for groceries, I notice this man in a corner table of the store’s cafe.

He is always scratching copious amounts of lottery tickets.

It makes me sad.

I hope he wins.


Admiring Headgear

You can tell a lot about an Army by the headgear worn by their officers. Say, for instance, North Korea:

The hat is particularly prominent when seen upon the noggin of a young, skinny officer:

To think, I once bemoaned the size and shape of the Army’s old “bus-driver hat.” I guess I had it pretty good after all.

A Curmudgeon’s Christmas 2011

Originally published as a comment to a post at My Law License. It has been lovingly updated (but not too much) for 2011. Think of it as the lawblogger’s version of “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” but substitute the warm feelings of joy and happiness with the dense, musty air of old and busted.

Christmas arrived once more, and the old curmudgeon at Simple Justice sat hunched over his keyboard. It was an old keyboard, once white, now stained a light, tannish brown. Some keys were missing, but he didn’t care. He’d never need “PrintScr” again. Not with his latest version of DOS. The large, yellowed computer box sat under his desk, streaked with shoe polish from being kicked on particularly trying days. The word “WANG” displayed faintly on its face next to the 5 1/4 inch floppy drive. It had 1MB of memory and a 20MB hard drive. That’s all he’d ever need, or so the salesman said. He saw nothing amusing about the name. Amusement from that was left to those kids and their “Rock-N-Roll” music.

The faint light from the green, monochrome screen made his face look ruddy, but he didn’t care. He was alone. Just he and his blawg.

Tonight, he wouldn’t be disturbed. His phone, with its crystalish, rotary dial never rang at this time of night, and the cell phone, mandated by his wife, sat silent, turned off. The words JITTERBUG glowed lightly in bold cursive. AARP said it was the best. By god, if AARP says it’s good, then it must be damn good.

He tried to play nicely with others. He really did. He even opened a contest for the best blawg post, but that brought him nothing but despair. Nobody seemed to care anymore. All they wanted was more Shpoonkle–nothing more than a cheap money shot, if there ever was one.

He touched his beer, recently retrieved from the fridge. The word “Schlitz” lightly illuminated by the green light. “When you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer,” he coughed, fondly recalling the slogan. It was warm. All his beer was warm. Kitchen Aid saw to that. They tried to explain the new “warm cooling” process. He couldn’t understand. He wouldn’t understand. Their slogan “80° is the new 40°” was lost on him, as were most modern advances.

On Twitter, Cody from @KitchenAid tried to help. Then Madison, then Logan, then Dakota, and finally Riley. They all failed. He wanted to talk to Alice. Nobody was named Alice anymore. Alice was a name from a time when people got things done. Today, there were none to be found. Not this time. There were no more Alices. Kitchen Aid didn’t want an Alice. Then they might have to refund his money. Or start fixing shit.

Tonight was the night when everyone across the blawgosphere would get their new toys. There were touch things.  There were internet things. There were books in computers. There was legal research that looked like Google. There were Judges who, starting tonight, would start accepting motions filed over email. There were gadgets and gizmos. Some with apples, and some with other, glowing displays. To him, they were all fruity. The bile welled-up in his throat.

“Merry F-ing Christmas” he thought to himself as he prodded the yellowed keys, glancing ruefully at the warm Schlitz. He’d be done in a few minutes with this post. Free again, for awhile.

Then, he’d do what he always did at this festive time of year while everyone else dreamed of gifts with lithium-ion batteries. He’d replace the pocket parts on all his federal reporters. In these days of electronic unhappiness and warm beer, it was the one thing that gave him sheer glee, if only for a while.

A Little Lead Time…

At 9AM on December 7, 2011, I read an email. It was a desperate plea for help and court-martial representation.

I was all ears (so to speak) since I love the courtroom and courts-martial. Though, I don’t get very many (maybe 2 a year).

Essentially, it explained that the service member was in trouble. Their family was in trouble. They faced many family, medical, financial, and child-care issues. Evidence existed to show that he was being treated unfairly and unjustly. Extenuation and mitigation existed in copious amounts.

I’m game. This is the lifeblood of my professional existence. I’m psyched. I’m already formulating motions to file and arguments to be made in order to get this thing to evaporate prior to trial.

This is exactly what I need — a chance to do something great this holiday season.

I looked for dates and times. Timing is everything.

The email was sent after 5PM on December 6, 2011.

The court-martial was scheduled to begin at 7AM on December 7, 2011. I do not know the location.

I hope he has a happy holidays and a great Trial Defense Services lawyer.