Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What makes Tennessee awesome: fun in "the Noog"

First, check out this guy's Craiglist ad, posted for Chattanooga (yeah, I know, language):

It read:

No frisbee golf, no ultimate. Don't care what race or gender you are. Not trying to jack off or fuck anyone. All I wanna do is toss a goddamned frisbee at you, and you throw it back. I don't care if you're any good. Let's just try this shit. Yes, I am awesome at frisbee throwing and catching (especially for a man of my portly stature), but don't let that intimidate you. Embrace my awesome. Have a drink from my flask. Let's do this shit.

And it got posted in Reddit.  Where people responded.

Here is the information on the meetup.  And, as it is - I am scheduled to be in Chattanooga on November 1st!

So . . . November 1st at 3:00 pm in Coolidge Park in Chattanooga.

Of Sex, Lies, and Cyber-bullying: why Monica Lewinsky deserves no sympathy, not now

For Monica Lewinsky to depict herself as “Patient Zero” in an epidemic of “cyberbullying,” as she has done, inspires several questions: Was she genuinely a victim? What does the phrase “cyberbullying” mean? How innocent must a victim be, in order for their victimhood to be genuine? In the context of online disputes like #GamerGate, how do we determine who is the victim and who is the bully? Is it possible that our prejudices, including the set of prejudices we call “political correctness,” may prevent us from accurately assessing responsibility for these conflicts?
A harsh, but good article from  Robert Stacy McCain.  NSFW: language.

I can extend some sympathy to a 22-year-old White House intern. I will not extend sympathy to a 41-year-old woman who decries an invasion on her privacy while bringing up her past publicly like this.

And really, the question is "why now?" Mid-life crisis? Book coming out? Or is it a pre-emptive strike to whitewash the Clinton name in preparation for a presidential run in 2016?

After all, as Monica tearfully explained, it was a Clinton that placed her and the blue dress in the public square, it was Matt Drudge. She is the self-proclaimed Patient Zero of cyberbullying, a claim which I think pisses on the graves of those who took their own lives because of real cyberbullying.

And what better photo op could we see than Grandma Hilary hugging Victim Monica, two "strong women" determined to see that no gal should ever face the shame again of exercising her right to performing fellatio with older, married men where and when they want to?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Photoshoot

If you're ever in Knoxville and need a good place for pictures, try the Old Grey Cemetery.  It is a beautiful place.  Remember to thank the occupants.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Michael Mark Cohen hates women

This is about when I run out of time and have to end class. As I am unplugging, a few of those white kids creep up to ask: So what should we do? If we want to be more than just not racist, if we want to be actually anti-racist, then how should we act? How do we deal with the burden of a privilege we did not earn? 
"Have any of you ever called some one black or brown or Asian a douchebag?... How 'bout women or gay folks?" The students had no recognizable response to the initial suggestion. But with each refining question—"Ever call a poor person a douchebag?"—their widening eyes became knowing nods, nods became spoken agreement, and the scattered "yes" gathered into a room of collectively blown minds. Including mine. Yes, it turns out, only rich, white heterosexist men are douchebags.
Cohen's premise is that there is not a universal denigration of white men, terms such as "cracker" and "haole" being regional whereas words such as "chink" and "nigger" encompass an entire people, and so the term "douchebag" should be adopted.

Image used by Gawker for Cohen's article
First, let me point out to you that the author of this article is a professor of American Studies and African American Studies at UC Berkeley.  He is an avowed socialist.  Frankly, I think this alone presents a good argument to boycott "going to college" unless you are certain to receive knowledge, training, and skills that will benefit you.  Because I bet taking a class with Cohen is money wasted.

But does anyone with a decent vocabulary see the irony in the use of the term "douchebag" as a way of leveling the insult playing field?  It is misogynist.  Women douche, men do not.  A douchebag is a device used when that marvel of French plumbing designed solely for women, a bidet, is unavailable.  Even the graphic artists at Gawker got it wrong with their illustration - that is an enema bag, not a douchebag.

How pathetic.  Professor Cohen's attempt to eradicate the bias of insults by creating an equal insult for White men only serves to create a new inequality by actually attacking women through a universal insult for them since all women have a vagina that a douchebag serves.

May I suggest a term for Cohen that transcends regions, geography, race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class?  He's an asshole.  Because clearly something fecal is coming out of his lectures.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

From my Facebook . . .

Something I posted as my status today:

I am probably going to piss off some people with what I am about to say, but after considering that possible outcome, I don’t care. So a fair warning: if you are an extremist with socio-ideological views, you’re likely to be offended.

I just finished re-reading a book in Rita Mae Brown’s Runnymede series, “Bingo.” I love her characters in the fictional towns of Runnymede, the plural being used since the Mason-Dixon line runs right down the middle of it, making a Runnymede, PA and a Runnymede, MD. I especially love her character of Nicole “Nickel” Smith, a headstrong but ethical woman who, like the author . . . just happens to be a lesbian.

Now, I say “just happens to be a lesbian” because while Nickel supports “the cause,” what occupies her time is what is important to her, that is, her family, her neighbors, her town, and her personal ethics, the last of which happen to be strong. That does not mean she is perfect; indeed, in this book she is doing something she never would have dreamed she would – sleeping with her best friend’s husband.

Wait, what?! But she’s a lesbian! Yes, and she loves this man whom she has known since childhood and she loves his wife who has been her best friend since childhood. I think Nickel’s predicament is a great lesson because how many of us who profess to follow a code of ethics find ourselves in a situation that is antithetical to it?

It is called sin, folks, and we all do it. But even the Catholic Church recognizes there are degrees in sin (venial vs. mortal) and here is where I see too many people tripping up by failing to be mature enough to appreciate what we lawyer types call a “totality of the circumstances.”

First, let me go back to a conversation in the book that Nickel has with her lover, Jackson. For some background, this book is set in the mid-80’s, a time when for the average Joe or Jane, coming out as a gay person was a bigger deal than for, say, a celebrity. I mean, nowadays with the “Anything Goes” mentality abounding, it seems downright quaint to think that even Elton john once married a beard (and I hope she knew that was the deal). Anyway, here is what she said:

“If you accept my theory, then coming out is not an issue of individual liberty; it is a matter of community responsibility. Communities must have truth and trust. Not understanding that sexual information is crucial to our building communities is going to weaken the community as well as harm the individual.”

I am not quoting her to make a stand for coming out of the closet. The point is, that is your business . . . unless in doing so or failing to do so affects the community. And that is also a difference with sin. Your personal failing may be something between you and God, or so you think. However, as Nickel says, “Communities must have truth and trust,” and where the sin gets compounded is when you betray that trust.

Let me explain with some examples. If you come to me and say, “I’m gay,” I would be polite and say, “Well, that’s nice,” and give it no more weight than if I tell you I’m not. If you come to me and say, “I’m gay and a catering company that does not cater my same-sex wedding should have heavy sanctions leveled against it because that is discrimination and actually I believe in gender-equality so I want you to refer to me by the pronoun ‘zhe’ and ‘zhim’,” then I will consider you a jerk. Because for your own self-interest, you are willing to sacrifice an economic enterprise in the community, whose success serves us all whether we patronize the company or not, and you want to make demands of me as to my speech.” Is it discrimination? Well, yes – now, given the plethora of catering companies and understanding that the Chicken Divan does not make the marriage, get over it. You are not being denied the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter as Blacks did during the days of Jim Crow. And you are failing to recognize that you have a responsibility to the community at large. Your demands betray that trust.

But this is not meant to be “all about gay sex.” I recently had a conversation in which the name of a mutual acquaintance came up. The acquaintance had clearly engaged in behavior that was against the teachings of the Catholic Church but had, in my opinion, taken action to correct the situation where, more importantly, the steps lessened – if not outright prevented – a betrayal of trust that this person had voluntarily assumed. What made me angry was the eye-rolling and snidely vague remarks that the person was saying about our mutual acquaintance, to the point where I asked, “What do you mean by that?” and still got no reply, just a chuckle and, “Well, we’ll see what happens . . .” What a remarkable display of the lack of Christian charity! What a betrayal of trust for the other Catholic.

And parody. Do not get me wrong, we laugh at others and when we do, hopefully it is an extension of laughing at ourselves. Comedy is based on someone being the fall guy – think of any joke and someone is getting the metaphoric pie in the face – but it becomes “good natured” when we are willing to be the recipient of the pie. Because therein lies the difference between comedy and mockery. I realized reading a post by a friend that the line had been crossed when they posted an article that was so preposterous, it had to be parody – and it was. But they were treating seriously and used to point out the stupidity of “those people.” What saddened me was the willingness to throw aside rationality in the belief that they had found “proof” to support their criticism of the behavior of “those people” that they could not see the article was satire. At that point, criticism becomes outright animus. That’s betraying the trust of a community because like it or not, we share the community with “those people.”

I am no saint. I try to recognize when I have assumed a standard to which I must hold my conduct and when I breach that standard, take action to fix things. What are these standards? Well, I can renounce my citizenship, but I do not, so I have a standard to my country, which means I don’t become a burden to it but work to contribute instead. I am a practicing Catholic, which means I am obligated to follow Church teachings and engage in a regular examination of conscience while remembering the words of Hebrews 3:13: “Encourage each other while it is still today.” I am a licensed attorney, which means I am held to a standard of ethics and fair dealing. I am a wife, which means I have accepted a marital standard of fidelity and support. I am a mother and if I can go back to the first standard I mentioned, it means I have a duty to give to the future its next generation of the same ethics and contributive mindset. And I am a friend, perhaps closer to some, but one where I try to conduct interactions with love and honesty – that doesn’t mean there won’t be hurt, because sometimes the truth is painful.

You know, it strikes me that no one calls Satan the King of Sloth or the Duke of Wrath. No, he is the Prince of Lies. Because what can be more evil than a betrayal of trust? Was scourging and crucifixion the nastiest thing done to Jesus? No – it was Judas’ kiss.

Anyway, after re-reading “Bingo,” I sat for a while and thought about things. And thought about how tiresome it is to live at the extremes, to the point where you have to work to find anecdotal evidence or create lies to support your own biases, your own misplaced sense of oppression, your own inflated ego – because everyone has worth, but why do we feel our own threatened by another’s?

“Who am I to judge?” said Pope Francis, and those with a child’s mentality read that to mean no one can be criticized for their actions – while those getting angry at the ones with the child’s mentality instead attacked the Pope and made snide remarks like, “Wake me when this pontificate is over.” He meant who is anyone to condemn. Only God condemns. But yes, we judge and we criticize – we just need to know when someone’s actions merit it. And I think the answer goes back to what the fictional character, Nickel Smith, said, as well as Hebrews 3:13, but paraphrased: “Communities must have truth and trust. [Maintaining the standards we accept and the obligations that come with them, while looking out for one another] is crucial to our building communities is going to weaken the community as well as harm the individual.”

So, look, Father, I don’t care if you are gay but maintaining a little poutine boyfriend on the side and lying about it is wrong and a betrayal to those who trusted you. Hey, average Muslims- you above all others have an obligation to the rest of us to denounce the actions of groups like ISIS and encourage helping angry young men to become productive members of society rather than jihadists. I think opening the borders is wrong but let’s not judge each illegal alien by the bad ones, and you who are without legal status here, don’t look for handouts but help everyone around you shoulder the responsibilities of building strong communities in America. Are you single and pregnant? If the father won’t step up and marry you to start working together to form a family, then don’t let it happen again – and for anyone else, don’t make snide remarks, because every child is a blessing and that child doesn’t need to be the fall guy of jokes. That some members of a minority are ignorant doesn’t mean criticism of them is racist, but know stop and think about whether it is – and for those members of that minority, not all criticism is racist and yes, sometimes you act like idiots. And you may think you’re “just being a good friend” but setting up someone for bad behavior, like hooking them up with a one-night stand, betrays that person’s trust, whether they realize it or not.

That’s all I got to say.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy


Announcing the Creation of SimpLex Guides and our first publication

So, where have I been?

Adding "published author" to my resume.

My dearest friend and fellow attorney, Mariana, and I had a talk a while back.
"Dude, the courts are getting crazy."
"Dude, I know.  It would help if people with everyday, run-of-the-mill divorces handled it themselves." 
"Dude, they need DIY books." 
"Yeah, but Dude, I looked at some and they really are not that good." 
"Really, Dude?" 
"Well, yeah - see, they tell you the law, but not in language for non-lawyers and they miss an important piece." 
"What's that, Dude?" 
"Dude, they don't tell you how to APPLY the law to your own circumstances.  Or how to write up agreements, or how to fill out the forms . . . wait, did I say 'tell?'" 
"Yeah, you did, Dude." 
"Okay,see?  Dude, that's another problem - you can't tell people, you gotta show them.  Give them examples, something they can copy from and modify to fit their case." 
"Dude . . . we should write a book." 
"Dude!  Let's do it!"

So we did.

(Can you tell what Mariana and I call each other?)

Now available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle!

As it says in our Introduction:


Is this guide for me? 

This guide is for people who want to do their own divorce in California – whether you think you can or you hope you can. 
This guide is for the person who is thinking about whether to divorce their spouse and wonders what will happen if they do. 
This guide is for the person who has come in for a consultation and said, “I just got served with divorce papers – what can I expect?” 
But mostly, this guide is for the couples who have come to our office before and said, “We have an agreement on how we’re going to divide everything up – we just need to know what to do next.”  
In short, this guide is meant to educate and instruct: educate you on the basic issues that come up during a divorce and what the law says and instruct you on how to complete the necessary paperwork. 
This guide is not a “tell-me-how-to-go-up-against-my-spouse’s-attorney-in-court-and-win.” In fact, you may think you are one of the people mentioned above, but this guide may convince you that you need to go out and hire an attorney.  
But here has been our experience: a huge majority of divorce cases wind up with the spouses negotiating a Marital Settlement Agreement. They do not litigate, they settle. Now, they may have reached a Marital Settlement Agreement after spending a lot of money in litigation, but it is possible – and many people have proved it – to work it out and get a divorce without ever seeing an attorney or the inside of a courtroom. 
And that means saving your wallet and saving your sanity. 
You have better things to do with your life than living your divorce.

We want to see marriages stay together.  But California is strictly a no-fault divorce state and we hae seen people go through more headache and heartache than they deserve . . . much of which is avoidable by "divorcing smart."

And we believe in this product ton where we even include our direct emails because we want to hear back from people, so future editions can be improved to help couples.

Don't just do it yourself - get it done.

Keep your wallet, keep your sanity.

Please pass this along to someone whom you think needs to know about our book.  And look for future titles!

And come like us on Facebook!