Factory Outlet

July 1st, 2005

There exists a store in Michigan called something to the affect of The Bible Factory Outlet. How do I know? I, friends, saw a billboard; therefore it must be true. My question for you is this:

If you buy a Bible at said store, is God then mad at you? Is God mad because you do not want a Bible bad enough to purchase it through normal retail means and pay the MSRP?

Or to the contrary is God proud of you for being able to buy the same "good book" at outlet prices? Does he applaud your comparison shopping?

I notice there were no factory outlets for the other religious texts; only the Bible. Does this tell us something? Hey, I just point out the possibility.

Oh the things we wonder while we sit alone in the car for four hours...


June 29th, 2005

In dieting and quitting smoking, as two examples, it is often said that when you vow these things, tell others. This will then hold you accountable and help you psychologically towards achievement of your goal(s). While I neither diet nor smoke, the benefit I seek from bringing this up is to stop cracking...well just about everything.

Many people crack their knuckles. I do not typically crack my knuckles, but I crack my ankles, my knees, my elbows, my back, my neck, my wrists, my big toes and my thumbs.

When sitting for an extended period, sleeping awkwardly, typing at my keyboard too much, or any number of other situations the parts the I mentioned above begin to hurt. Sometimes the hurt is more of an annoyance, sometimes it is downright painful. My relief, though often only temporary, comes in the form of cracking said part. Again, like some smokers, I have "quit" before. Sure quitting means you do not start up again, right? So let us amend that to say that I have been able to stop for periods of time in my past, but before you know it I am right back at it. I can't help it. I can help it. I am going to start...well stop...whichever one means I will not crack these joints/areas of my body anymore.

Though this will most likely be yet another hiatus in my cracking, at least it will be better than keeping it up. If telling a handful of people on the internet does not get me to stop, nothing will...

The Worst Time of Year

June 27th, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, please let me welcome you to the worst time of year. I know this post is, as you will see, a few days past due, and for that I do apologize.

Why, you ask, is this the worst time of year? Baseball. In the grand scheme of things, Major League Baseball and I have no beef with each other; it is however, the root of my complaint to you today. As of Thursday, as the NBA season came to such a (poor) end, there is mostly nothing sports-wise of merit to watch until the regular season of the NFL is underway in the fall.

There is the occasional reprieve, but for the most part, the summer has nothing on TV worthy of your attention. Baseball, boring in its own right, can be summed up in three highlight clips the following morning; there is no need to watch an entire game unless you are physically present at the stadium.

So many channels carry sports programming and yet you will be hard pressed to turn one on this (or any) summer and find anything besides baseball. Usually the Stanly Cup Playoffs go further into the summer and buy us a little breathing room before this wave of boredom encroaches upon us. Let us not bring up my thoughts on how much I miss the NHL right now.

Here's waiting for fall...

Wrong Number.

June 24th, 2005

I have one of those fancy (XXX) XXX-XX00 type cell phone numbers. The ability to end with "hundred" when you tell people the number is a wonderful luxury. The downfall is that your number will often be confused with that of any number of businesses. I would estimate the number of calls I receive that are not actually for me in the neighborhood of three per week. That is not really a lot, and the inconvenience is low. The relative frequency did get me thinking about how we handle these phone calls.

I have found myself saying "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number." Why am I sorry that they have the wrong number? Wait, I'm not. So I do my best not to say that anymore. I am working towards saying "You have the wrong number" and omitting the apology. Does anyone else do that?

Why do some people not believe you when you tell them that they either have misdialed or been given the wrong number?
"[I'm sorry] You have the wrong number."
"This isn't Whatever Medical Supplies?"
"No. (Which is why I said you have the wrong number!)"

When they have just been given the wrong number or god forbid it was user error and they wrote it down incorrectly they really get mad at you.
"[I'm sorry] You have the wrong number."
"Is this (XXX) XXX-XX00?"
"Yes, but you must have been given the wrong number."
":utter disbelief:"
As if I am really the person you are calling and will at any minute chime in with:
"Dude, I was kidding. It's me, what's up? I totally had you going on that wrong number thing. I can't believe you fell for it! Now, thank you for calling Whatever Medical Supplies, how may I direct your call?"

Do you ever get the guy that calls you back immediately after you tell him he had the wrong number? Caller id has really turned this into your advantage as you now have options. You may simply answer the phone with, "Still have the wrong number." This will generally prompt the conversation immediately above. You may also employ the changing of your voice or greeting when you answer and tell him he has the number wrong again in hopes he thinks he has now misdialed two times. This is fun in theory, but often will lead to the third call back, so you may want to avoid it all together. The last option that if you get really bored may be attractive is, now that you know who he is trying to reach, just say you are that person. Be warned, this could take you down a path from which it is hard to turn back. Who knows how long the conversation can go before you get backed into a corner and must hang up. Then the resulting phone call is even more awkward when you tell them they have the wrong number.

My personal favorite though, is taking a message. This only works when it is a personal call and said caller is not attempting to make contact with a business. I once was able to take messages for a woman for nearly a month. I kept telling the caller that I was her cousin visiting from out of town and she was out running errands. She had to run to the bank, she went for a walk, the movies had to be back at the rental place before midnight...you name it. I wonder whatever happened to that guy.


June 23rd, 2005

There are words, phrases, accents, idioms, and customs that vary from region to region, even family to family. Growing up in this great state of Michigan, I of course developed the correct and complete set of these different items, right? (Not funny? Ok, fine.) Having spent my glorious college years on the East Coast I began to see what things that seem so normal to me can confuse Philadelphians and New Yorkers so easily (well most things can confuse New Yorkers easily, but that is another post entirely).

Back east I was the outsider. I say "tennis shoes" while they refer to their "sneakers". If I wanted a piece of candy, I might enjoy a "sucker", while they would have a "lollipop". There weren't too many differences, but those that were did not go unnoticed. But, like a good stubborn kid from a stubborn family, I stuck to my guns. I still say tennis shoes and sucker and will continue to do so though those were small potatoes.

The big, glaring difference that has even been the topic of entire episodes of programming on some television channels is the pop/soda debate. I am now and will always be a member of the pop camp. Many tried to convert me while I was at school. They said it was just easier to order what I wanted if I would just say soda. What are we without our principles?

So early already in law school I face another of these challenges. This may not be industry specific vernacular, but in a law environment is the first time I have even encountered the use of the term "hypo". Hypo is just a truncated version of saying hypothetical situation. If you present a hypo to someone you are asking them to apply knowledge to a scenario that was created in your mind. In class we will read a note or a question after a case and then we are told how similar this is to the hypo we just discussed. Or a student will pose a question to the professor to see how a rule or law applies to a different situation for increased understanding; this is another way to use a hypo.

As I vowed on the drive to Philadelphia those few years ago that I, on my death bed, would be able to go in peace with understanding that I never wavered from saying pop, I vow to you now that I will do everything in my immediate power to not use the term "hypo". I find that using "example" or "scenario" or when I am feeling crazy even "hypothetical situation" is not difficult to say.

I harbor no ill will towards the originators of this abbreviation, nor towards those that promote its use today. All I am saying is that I do not expect it to enter into my limited vocabulary.

On that note, in my tennis shoes, I will now go have a sucker while drinking a pop.

June 22nd, 2005
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.
- Andre Gide

Academic Faux Pas

June 17th, 2005

Many educators allow the opportunity to review a graded assignment after it is returned so the students may see where they missed points and what was expected. When another student tries to argue a point with the teacher/professor you do NOT have the authority to help explain to them why they are not correct. This is between educator and educatee. If that student is able to talk their way into getting one or more points back on their individual assignment, more power to them. It is not your place to come to the aid of the teacher.

If I am debating an answer on a test with the professor, unless you have something constructive to contribute to MY cause, keep it to yourself. You will not benefit from trying to prove me wrong, so why would you do it? This is between the teacher and me. By all means, if you want to try and get this point back, too, join my crusade. Do not try and keep me from getting my point back.

The mind set of some students is such that it is always the appropriate time to demonstrate their understanding of what was taught and this often times leads to their outright sabotage of your right to dispute your grade.

Equate this idea to a casino. At a blackjack table we are all playing against the dealer, not against each other. When the objective is to get the highest score not to exceed 21; the dealer has 17, you have 19 and I have 20, we both win. We both beat the dealer. In the classroom my debate is not with you, it is with the professor. Please, leave us be. Many teachers will rely on their stubbornness in thought that the answer they chose was for a reason whether they remember it now or not. This leads to an absolute denial of any counterpoint made in attempt to recover a point missed. Others, however, are more receptive and will often heed the evidence provided by a student in his own defense and give him the point. In these occasions, why do you feel the need to interfere?

In high school, you may be too young and ignorant to this matter to know not to do it. In college it becomes unacceptable. When pursuing an advanced degree, there are no excuses, it is downright outrageous. Do not do it.

Ebay Sellers: The misguided approach to life.

June 12th, 2005

I made a purchase on ebay relatively recently. Since the purchase I have received multiple e-mails from the seller reiterating the fact that I should not forget to leave feedback if I was satisfied with our transaction and he will leave me feedback in turn.

The e-mails began showing up in my inbox reminding me to leave feedback before I received the item that I purchased. Correct me if I am wrong, but my end of the transaction was complete. Why do I then have to wait for feedback? As I only bid on auctions that accept payments from one of the online payment companies, my payment was made within a few hours of auction end. I do this to facilitate the easiest of transactions and so as to receive my purchased item(s) sooner as opposed to later. This has to be ideal from the seller's standpoint.

Sure it is nice as a buyer to have positive feedback left to assure future potential sellers that you are a serious bidder. Is it critical? No. Is it nice? Yes. The feedback ultimately helps the seller more than the buyer; I think that is an accurate statement. What bothers me about this whole thing is the fact that this particular seller is telling me that any feedback left for me, whatever it says, should be read as "Buyer leaves feedback" and not "Buyer pays in a timely fashion and causes no problems".

I think you are all able to deduce from this story that I have not left this guy feedback nor will I. Rationalize that my stance is one developed out of spite if you like; you will most likely be correct. This is not even the first time I have received communication from a seller that essentially told me this same thing, but never with the frequency of this seller. That guy didn't get feedback either.

Cupcake wrapper.

June 8th, 2005

Upon completion of the cupcake did you ever ball up the wrapper and pop it in your mouth? There was plenty of cupcake residue left. No, you didn't eat the paper, there was some skill involved. Or was this only us "healthy eaters" that employed this technique?

Don't judge me.

Note: Also works well with muffins.

Morning commute.

June 8th, 2005

Why is it that you can drive next to people at or even before 7am and they will be contently engaged in what appears to be a healthy, casual conversation on their cell phone? Who on EARTH are you talking to at 7am?!? Mind you, my wake up time is generally somewhere in the 4am-5am range so I am up if you call, but is this the optimum time for chat?

The only reason I can make this acceptable in my head is when the person on the other end of the phone is also on their drive to the job. But, did you wake your friend up with news of what Bobby wore to the movies? Will Jenny just not believe what happened on American Idol last night? I would wager that she will not in fact "totally freak" when she finds out, but I could be wrong. And will she really thank you in the long run because you got the news to her first? I am from the school of thought that it can wait until normal operating hours.

Oh, and in case you did not pick up the bias I notice a grossly disproportionate number of *younger* females guilty of this as opposed to other motorists.

(That is to say nothing of text messages at this the witching hour that may or may not center around the idea of fresh produce. You should be up and expecting those.)