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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Is Holding Weird Press Conferences an Impeachable Offense? 

Check out this bizarre press conference that Blagojevich held after being impeached by the Illinois House, in which he essentially argues that he should not have been impeached because he did lots of good stuff. As TPM points out, the Tennyson quote at the end is not to be missed.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Eye of the Beholder 

When you're a forensic musicologist, everything looks like a prehistoric rave site....

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We're Back 

After a hiatus of absurd length, we are back. Somehow we cannot resist beginning the new year with the glorious title of this case decided ... uh, last year ... by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins, No. 05-56274 (9th Cir. Mar. 17, 2008). POA readers who are legally inclined are encouraged to submit other amazing case names in Comments. Here, we'll give you a couple more examples: United States v. 11 1/4 Dozen Packages of Articles Labeled in Part Mrs. Moffat’s Shoo-Fly Powders for Drunkenness, 40 F. Supp. 208 (W.D.N.Y. 1941); United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries, 86 F.2d 737 (2nd Cir. 1936). Bonus points for absurd case names that are not in rem actions.

Happy New Year!

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Azerbaijani Minister of Culture and Tourism 

Today, at a conference held by the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, the Azerbaijani Minster of Culture and Tourism entreated all the conference attendees who had not yet visited Azerbaijan to do so, because, as he put it, "The sooner you come, the later it will be!"

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Palaeography Skills 

"You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills." POA readers interested in brushing up on their awesome ancient document parsing skills should visit the web site of the UK's National Archives. Check out the palaeography tutorial.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Estonian TV Commercials 

I imagine most of our readers have already been confounded by these insane Estonian commercials, especially this particularly disturbing one about meat and this nearly indecent one that appears to be about ice cream. Thanks to some guy named Stevenf for the link.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Happy Birthday to Lorenzo 

Hope it's a good one!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Welcome Back, Martha -- er, Wall Dog! 

For those readers who haven’t yet seen the March issue of Martha Stewart Living (you know, like, while waiting to pay at the supermarket), the Editor’s Letter is something special. Penned by editor in chief Margaret Roach, it provides a revealing (perhaps unintentionally so) glimpse of Martha’s life in the slammer—and what we can expect when she’s released in March. It’s scary. The letter is not available online, so I’ve reproduced selections of it below.

Roach tries her best to stay cheerfully on-message: Jail has been nothing but a positive learning experience for Martha, whose irrepresible cheeriness conquers all. And we at Martha Stewart Omnimedia just can’t wait to have her back!
This year, we usher in spring with an extra measure of gratitude, because the month of March not only marks the vernal equinox on the twentieth and start of our Northeast growing season, but also Martha’s homecoming…

...When Martha announced last fall her decision to serve her sentence, she said she would be back in time to plant her garden. As promised, she will…

…The thing about Martha—she is always Martha and never idle or distracted or down. She remains ever the can-do optimist, starting letters from prison with sentences like “Today was a pleasant day,” and after a passage looking ahead to 2005, ending with “Let the fun begin!”
And yet reading between the lines, we start to get the impression that 'Camp Cupcake' hasn’t been quite the home-away-from-Turkey Hill we’ve been led to believe:
Martha also continues to be the most resourceful person I know. “See what one can do with nothing?”she wrote not long ago in an upbeat letter full of anecdotes about her many adventures in creative reuse at Alderson. And later in the same letter: “I hope you enjoyed just a glimpse of some nice things. There are many others to recount.”

The tales were always surprising: foraging for wild greens, such as dandelion, on the prison property to augment the limited fresh vegetable offerings in the diet there; decorating the chapel for a memorial service with whatever remnants of the growing season nature had left behind by late fall; cooking up impromptu recipes in the microwave with whatever very basic ingredients the commissary had for sale.
Hmm...foraging for wild greens? Hunting for calories by microwaving Fritos topped by French’s Mustard and a few packets of Sweet N’ Low? A pathetic prison funeral decorated with withered vines and rotting squash? (And who died?) This sounds more like a harrowing attempt to survive a Russian gulag than an “adventure in creative reuse.”

Roach goes on to tell us about Martha’s many ways to keep busy—teaching a yoga class to inmates, crocheting toy oposums for her dogs (really!), and casting a nativity set for her mother using old ceramics molds. But the ending of the letter is where things get plain weird:
Martha and I have been many places together: state fairs around the nation, 4-H Club bull judgings, pie-eating contests, and out-of-the-way eateries on the back roads of America. And at each one, she has been curious, irrepressible, hungering to try, to taste, to learn. Admittedly, we have never been anyplace as unexpected as the visiting room at Alderson, where she was very much herself, even after a long day of sitting, punctuated with conversation, card games, and Scrabble. And then, suddenly the sitting became too much.
“Wall dog,” she said out of nowhere as she got up from her chair, motioning to me to follow her. “Wall dog!”
And so we went to lean against the visiting-room wall for a modified version of the yoga pose called “downward-facing dog,” a great back and shoulder stretch, from which she seamlessly moved into a headstand.
Nobody in the visitor center seemed surprised. They, too, have gotten to know our Martha, always formidable, always moving forward.
Wow—does anyone else get a Robert De Niro in “Cape Fear” vibe here? Martha pulling herself into a perfect headstand with “Love” and “Hate” tattooed on the knuckles of each hand? No wonder none of the other inmates said anything: ‘Yeah, there goes Wall Dog again. Don’t stare at her—she’s crazy!’

I wonder if Roach and the other staffers at MSO are really looking forward to their first editorial meeting with 'Wall Dog' back at the helm. Be brave, Margaret, be brave!

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