Sunday, February 29, 2004

Oscar Picks 

UPDATED: I've put asterisks on the ones I picked correctly.
_____________________________
Okay - time to put it out there. Here are my picks for tonight's Academy Awards. When filling out my contest ballot, I'm always torn between voting for who I think should win vs. picking who I think will win. In some categories I give in and vote for who I think the Academy members will pick, but in others I'm unable to set aside my personal choice. So here they are:

*Leading Actress: Charlize Theron, Monster
*Leading Actor: Sean Penn, Mystic River

*Supporting Actress: Rene Zellweger, Cold Mountain
*Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins, Mystic River (I would prefer Ken Watanabe, but I don't think he'll win)

*Best Picture: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Directing: Lost In Translation (I really think she did an excellent job - the editor needed to have a firmer hand)

Original Score: Cold Mountain
*Original Song: "Into the West," LOTR

Adapted Screenplay: Mystic River
Original Screenplay: In America

*Animated Feature: Finding Nemo
*Foreign Language Film: The Barbarian Invasions
*Short Film - Animated: Harrie Krumpet
*Short Film - Live Action: Two Soldiers
*Documentary Feature: The Fog of War
*Documentary Short: Chernobyl Heart

Art Direction: The Last Samurai
Cinematography: Cold Mountain
Costume Design: The Last Samurai
Film Editing: Seabiscuit
*Visual Effects: LOTR
*Makeup: LOTR
*Sound Editing: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
*Sound Mixing: LOTR

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:26 PM
Friday, February 27, 2004

Oscar Countdown 

Okay - The clock is ticking toward The Awards! The Girl and I, through tag-team internet searches and phone calls, tracked down a suitable trophy for the victor of our Pick the Winners Contest. I picked it up on my way home from work, and it is now standing on the entertainment center, flanked by the two 75th Academy Awards posters from last year. I had actually brought my gym bag with me this morning with the intention of hitting the health club for the first time in months, but I had to check my priorities!

The Guyfriend and I walked to Whole Foods Markets at lunch today so I could pick up some more Dagoba chocolate (Chai and Lavender) to use in creating chocolate dipped fruit for the party. What - it's fruit, so it must be healthy, right?

Now tomorrow I just have that small matter of a 15-20 page motion for summary judgement to write, and a contracts test to prepare for. No problem. To waive, to sleep - no more.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:13 PM

Marriage News Round-Up 

Rosie O'Donnell marries, speaks up.

Wil Wheaton speaks out.

Margaret Cho speaks up, takes action, gathers news and inspires.

Anti-gay groups create kerfuffle over imagined gay takeover of Rose Parade. Sounds like pre-emptive protectionism.

John Kerry deeply though not unexpectedly disappoints.

The Village of New Paltz, NY to begin same-sex marriage ceremonies. They have also added information to the village website.

Couples file suit to marry in Florida. Discourse.net points out that there are serious questions regarding whether much thought was put into this one, however.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:12 AM
Thursday, February 26, 2004

Bush Cracking Down on Cuba 

Yahoo! News reports that:

"Bush signed an order to expand the government's authority to prevent the unauthorized departure of ships from U.S. waters bound for Cuba. He said U.S. authorities would be empowered to inspect any vessel in the territorial waters of the United States and take other steps if necessary."

I'm nervous. I just get the feeling that this administration is reaching out in every possible direction in order to distract the populace.

In other news, the NTSB is recommending periodic weighing of airline passengers.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:48 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Listen to Your Writing Professor 

Ethicalesq. points out an expensive lesson a judge handed out to an attorney who was polished in the courtroom yet careless in his writing.

Use your spellchecker, look for errors the spellchecker won't find (statue vs. statute), and have at least one other person look over your work at least once. Leave time to fix your errors. And as I painfully learned last month, don't put an unprotected can of Red Bull in the same bag as the paperwork you're about to turn in.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:06 PM

Dismiss? Oh, Pooh! 

Disney attorneys accuse opposing party SSI of stealing and concealing legal documents, actions for which Disney was fined earlier in the case, which involves a dispute over royalties from Winnie the Pooh characters. SSI's attorney stated, "Disney has hijacked, derailed and turned on its head this trial..." Sounds like a visit from Tigger.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:40 PM

FRCP Identity 

Quizilla has Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?, located via Baby and Baggage.

My result: YOU ARE RULE 8(a)!

You are Rule 8, the most laid back of all the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While your
forefather in the Federal Rules may have been a
stickler for details and particularity, you
have clearly rebelled by being pleasant and
easy-going. Rule 8 only requires that a
plaintiff provide a short and plain statement
of a claim on which a court can grant relief.
While there is much to be lauded in your
approach, your good nature sometimes gets you
in trouble, and you often have to rely on your
good friend, Rule 56, to bail you out.


Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:13 PM
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Civ Pro Soliloquy 

Our Civ Pro professor likes to ask class members to do "dramatic readings" of the particular
FRCP rules we are covering at the time. In response, here is my dramatic interpretive response.

********
To 12(b)(6) or not to 12(b)(6), that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the court to suffer
The motions and pleadings of outrageous opponents
Or to take knuckles against the judge's chamber
And by opposing dismiss them. To waive, to sleep --
No more -- and by an exam to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand FRCP rules
That 1L's are heir to.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:47 PM

Go, Go, Margaret Cho! 

She says it so much better than I do. From her "Dear Gov. Schwarzenegger" post:

"What are you protecting us from? Heterosexuality? Homosexuality? Bigotry? Prejudice? Homophobia? Heterophobia? Flying bouquets of flowers? Rice thrown about willy nilly?"

UPDATED:
Wonkette says it pretty well, too, as The Sleepy Sage points out.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:19 PM

Transcript of Pres. Bush Statement 

The Human Rights Campaign has published a transcript of President Bush's statement backing the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

His closing summarizes what frustrated me most when I heard the statement. He is attempting to couch this attack on gay men and lesbians who wish equal recognition for our relationships - relationships which we've had to struggle to maintain in the face of daily discrimination and lack of societal support - in a shroud of civility. Well, as long as he promises to be nice about it, I guess it's okay:

"America's a free society which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens. This commitment of freedom, however, does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions.

Our government should respect every person and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities.

We should also conduct this difficult debate in a matter worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger.

In all that lies ahead, let us match strong convictions with kindness and good will and decency.
"

I realize that gay marriage has become the central theme of recent posts. It's also become one of the dominant issues in the media, and apparently on the President's agenda. Before the heightening of the debate in recent months, I really didn't find it that pressing an issue. Yes, I would like to have the option of marrying The Girl. In fact, I proposed just that at sunset on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, at the end of September, 2001. We decided to wait on any sort of committment ceremony until we could afford to "do it up right." We hoped in the back of our minds that when that time came, perhaps it would also be a legally recognized option.

Now, every time I hear another statement expressing the opinion that we are not deserving of entrance into marriage, I am more determined to do just that. I've not heard anything that answers the question of how allowing us to enter into marriage and commit ourselves to mutually love and support one another will do anything but create another visibly stable and loving relationship. My parents yesterday celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. They are both Republican and veterans of WWII. Two of their six children are gay and in stable, long-term relationships, and they support us. When they attend retiree luncheons out at the Air Force base, and the topic comes around to children, my mother responds, "I have six children, 3 boys, 3 girls, 4 straight, 2 gay."

My brother is godparent to one of my nephews, and I am godmother another. We are out to the entire family, including our eight nieces and nephews and our great-nephew, and have been for our entire adult lives.

The Girl and I, my brother and his partner, and every other gay couple in America are members of families, we are residents of neighborhoods and communities, we are employees, employers, coworkers, colleagues, students, teachers, parishioners, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We are America. How, exactly, are we a threat to that society of which we are a part and to that institution to which we would freely commit ourselves?

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:12 PM

My Head Is Going To Explode 

Pres. Bush has now come out in favor of a US constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. I've yet been able to find a print version of his sound byte I heard on NPR, but it really got to me. WBUR.org has this quote:

"If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America," Bush said in an announcement in the White House Roosevelt Room."

The bit I heard was about how we need to make sure that marriage is only between one man and one woman because that's how it's always been, and it's better for the children. He also wants to prevent the "confusion" that comes about when people engage in civil protests and litigation to try to change the law. Guess what - that's how the law in this country develops.

This doesn't capture the whole of what he said, as my brain short-circuited upon hearing his actual words. I can't even articulate my thoughts right now. Cheryl Jaques and HRC sum up the alternative view well in this article and this list, plus this piece on civil marriage and religious freedom.

CNN has a slightly more complete piece on Bush's announcement here.

UPDATED: Here is the Human Rights Campaign's response to Bush's announcement.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:01 AM

Work Product Protection 

We've moved into Discovery in Civil Procedure, and have been discussing work product / trial preparation (among many, many other things) the last couple of classes. Serendipitously, the ABA Journal this past week published a related article, "Hand It Over - Courts Differ on When a Lawyer Must Turn Over Materials to Successor Counsel," by Elizabeth Cohen. It discusses the situation where you've been disqualified from a case based on your previous representation of the opposing party. Basically, she recommends that if the cases are substantially related enough to have had you disqualified, you should presume that your work product is also completely tainted until and unless the judge rules otherwise. The discussion was helpful for me in getting a better handle on the questions of work product in general.

On a side note: We were on school break last week, and our Civ Pro prof. last night opened with an break-related anectode. Apparently he and his wife went away and were staying in a motel. One morning he was up and getting ready for the day, when there was a knock at the door. It was housekeeping, and she was surprised to see someone in the room. She checked her clipboard and informed the prof. that she had him "listed as vacant and dirty." The laughter this evoked from the class was only topped by his follow up statement that when he had related this story to one of his colleagues, she immediately replied, "Oh, she must have had access to your student evaluations."

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:58 AM

Charmed - Midnight Rendezvous 

I'm torn. I liked the episode, but I'm frustrated at the continuance of the dilemmas around Leo being an elder and therefore supposed to break his earthly ties, but he wasn't really "suppposed" to become an elder and now he's been tricked once again into thinking he needs to separate himself from his loved ones. Whitelighters aren't "supposed" to get involved with their charges, let alone marry them, but the Elders made an exception in their case. Why does Leo believe that the "rules" have to apply so strictly once again, without regard for their overwhelmingly true love?

I do feel vindicated, however, by Gideon's having a hidden agenda. I KNEW his behavior in "The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell" was strange and ill-explained at the time!

What's going to happen as fetal Chris develops and is born? Will adult Chris accompany Piper to her ultrasounds and check himself out? After he's born, will adult Chris babysit himself? How will this affect Wyatt? His little brother is also his big brother. He's no longer the oldest child but the middle child. Will Chris still end up dating Bianca? Will older Chris be jealous? And why is Wyatt the one with all the special power foci? Chris has the same Charmed One and Whitelighter for parents. In fact, his dad was an elder but Wyatt's was a basic Whitelighter. Of course, Original Chris' dad wasn't an elder, but Reconstituted Chris' dad is. Oof.

Hated, hated, hated the jacket-blouse combo Phoebe was wearing. But I like Paige's new hair color.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:54 AM
Monday, February 23, 2004

The L Word - Losing It 

Let's just call it "The Drugs and Boundaries Episode." Plethora of one, paucity of the other.

I'm still trying to make sense of Jenny's having showered and then redonned the stockings of shame, but now she's hitchhiking in the same outfit? And all those cars are passing her by?

I'm also still trying to accept that Shane used to trick as a boy (what is this - Tipping The Velvet?), and now she's doing drugs as well? Oh - so she thought it was cocaine and didn't realize it was OxyContin. Is that supposed to be okay?

Other drug storyline - Jenny, honey, perhaps a single mushroom might have been sufficient. You didn't have to snarf a whole handful like it was movie popcorn. And then you decided to take a turn driving?

On to boundaries. Malcolm, stop staring. Malcolm, shouldn't you have asked before clambering on over into the backseat? Malcolm, get off of Jenny's shoulder. It's a little tired from the burden of all the lies and bitchiness she's been hauling around. And that letter is rather morbid, self-serving and pathetic.

Dana and Lara - find some personal space of your own. You could at least sneak out to the pool. Shane finds the environment conducive out there, apparently. But don't stop being so cute! The same personal space message goes to the fast food teenagers from the opening. Although Bette and Tina's pool probably wasn't an option, perhaps you could have checked out the walk-in refrigerator?

Dana's manager - find the boundary between managing her personal and professional life. Jump into the current decade. You need to keep your players happy, not tormented.

Lei Leng - You are so far beyond any boundary ever set. Even Marcus says you're "getting ahead of yourself." Marcus - maybe you could have done a bit more than wait calmly in the car while Lei Ling threatened Tina and physically blocked her from the car?

Tim - I understand you're very upset, but what's up with the wrist binding and breathy glowering? Besides, Marina could kick your ass any day. And she wins, because she kept her cool. It reminded me of the episode of Chicago Hope when Mandy Patinkin and Ron Silver had a verbal abuse competition, of which Mandy Patinkin declared himself the winner when Ron Silver resorted to physically shoving him.

Shane - I'm not sure if you sleep over at your girl-of-the-moment's houses out of respect for the boundaries of your roommates, or because they appear to have no respect for anyone's boundaries, but good for you. Now get off the drugs and stay away from your drug-using twink friend.

Beyond drugs and boundaries:

-Tina and/or any of your friends: Tell Bette more detail about psycho-stalker girl! It sounds like Tina was irrationally overreacting, when she had every right to be freaked out!

-Jenny: Where are you now? What is this diner? Is it the diner from the opening? You've apologized and crawled for Tim - are you ever going to apologize to Marina? She's no angel, but you treated her like shit at her place of business in front of her employees, friends and customers. Maybe this could go under the Boundaries category after all.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:46 PM

Star Trek: Enterprise - Doctor's Orders 

Please, keep the Austin Powers gimmicks out of the Star Trek universe. It's this approach to entertainment that, in my opinion, that has kept this series from reaching the quality levels we came to expect from the rest of the Star Trek projects. Thank you.

The shot of Enterprise in the opening of this episode reminded me of an Andorian head.

Other than the fun with clipboard and watering can, I enjoyed this episode. I pegged T'Pol as being a hallucination right away, but then my conviction wavered, and back and forth. Why would he be walking around naked if she was awake? But they did make it clear that she was spending most of her time meditating, and maybe it was just a quick trip into the lab. But why would they have been training the doctor on running the ship if T'Pol was also conscious? She's the first officer! But maybe it was in case something happened to her during the trip. This was good - it kept me thinking and guessing. The Guyfriend likened it to the "Is Giles really The First" guessing game we all went through during part of Season 7 Buffy. Oh - and the episode that finally concluded that game also included the excellent "assface" line. Riley got better lines when they were relayed by other characters.

"Are you saying you want me to read the MANUAL?"

I loved T'Pol's expressions of increasing confusion and anxiety as the warp drive was getting ready to explode. It was during this scene that I was finally convinced that she really was imaginary. Everytime there was an opportunity for her to provide some real assistance, or information that Phlox didn't already have, her freak-out increased.

By the time the doctor was walking T'Pol back to her quarters, everyone knew that yes, she would be asleep when they got there. But it was a nice way to bring himself down from his delusion. And to keep her from being left comatose until she failed to show up for her next duty shift.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:54 PM

Star Trek: Enterprise - Harbinger 

Was there some virus going around that changed the infected individual into a 13-year-old? How else to explain the behavior of Reed, Tripp and T'Pol? Plus MACO Cole, but she barely seems out of her teens anyway.

Reed's behavior was inexplicable. How would he have gotten to the position he currently holds with that kind of petty, jealous response to fellow officers? Especially when it was getting in the way of an opportunity to increase the skills of the members of his own team. I thought Major Hayes summed it up with, "Why won't you let me do my job?"

Trip and T'Pol. I was waiting for one of them to say, "I know you are, but what am I?" I'm not buying at all that it was just an "exploration" for T'Pol, but for it to be otherwise would mean that she's lying to cover her embarassment at the situation. Neither action really fits with the whole Vulcan philosophy. Maybe it's the lingering effect of the trellium exposure. It seems to be a given that most ships they encounter in the expanse are lined with the stuff, so that's got to be having some effect on her. I'm going with that.

Archer seems to be getting a bit enthusiastic with the license to torture thing...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:18 AM

Star Trek: Enterprise - Stratagem 

A good episode. I figured the whole thing was a ruse, but at first I thought they were actually out on a real ship. So yeah, they got me there. I did think that Archer wasn't doing a very good job of hiding his distress upon the revelation that Degra was the chief designer of the weapon.

Wouldn't they have done an in-depth analysis of what happened during the problems with the faux-vessel, and discovered the brief unrequested warp view of the stars? They always manage to come up records with every other 5 millisecond anomaly in great detail.

The secondary deception was much better. I think it was because Archer could just let loose and be himself at that point, with no need to disguise his unfettered hatred of the guy. When Degra blew it at the end, it was truly a "Yes!" moment (picture Data clutching the air in his clenched fist while celebrating the explosion of the Duras sisters' ship).

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:57 AM

Charmed - I Dream of Phoebe 

I was a little bugged that they were recycling the genie story. At least they referenced the earlier one, and gave passing lip service to the lesson they had learned before about being tricked by genie wishes. I did enjoy the warning label on the bottle. Even though it was written in Arabic, I think it still would have been sufficient from a products liability standpoint, given that the bottle was taken directly from an Arabic-speaking region by the end user, and the manufacturer took no steps to place the bottle into the American stream of commerce and could not likely have foreseen its being transported into the English-speaking market.

If Genie-Phoebe could get out of the bottle by simply tipping it over, why didn't Genie-Jinny get out when the bottle was knocked onto the sand in the early battle with the carpet-riding demon?

Richard should go to some meetings with Willow.

Thank you, Richard and Paige, for finally realizing that if Richard has a problem with magic, a witch who is seeking to make magic a more central part of her life is probably not the best prospect for a relationship.

So now in addition to Chris and Phoebe, Paige also knows about the Chris genetic get-together problem. Does this mean that next week, rather than the Lucy and Ethel of Matchmaking hijinxs, we'll get the Three Stooges of Romantic Repair?

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:05 AM

Tru Calling - Valentine 

I watched this episode last week during my catch up on Tivo marathon, so it's a bit of a blur now, but here are my thoughts on what stood out for me:

-Hey, it's Lisa, the lesbian-identified man!

-How convenient that Tru's cell phone notifies her when the signal is re-established. I had no idea that would come in handy later on...

-How is it that Kevin managed to arrive at the motel at the exact same time as Tru, even though he had to deal with the police and the viewing of the security tape?

-Of course, Tru and Luc once again missed out on quality alone time. I'm shocked, shocked!

-Tru - Why did you feel the need to interject the idea of getting chips and going to the motel, when you knew that Luc was going to come up with the idea himself momentarily? It would have aroused a bit less suspicion from him if you let him suggest it himself.

-Kevin's sister - Did you really think your clearly disturbed brother could just stop his bizarre attempts to spread the wealth of grief? Particularly on this trip which was undertaken specifically to spend Valentine's Day with his dead girlfriend?

-Harrison - Why would you think it was a good idea to taste the ashes? Even though you hadn't figured out they were human remains, they were clearly ashes of some sort!!! Do you lick your grill clean after the coals have gone out? Of course, that would explain a lot.

-Lindsey - Why oh why do you keep thinking Harrison is good relationship material?

-Producers - Give a call to Mutant Enemy. They've got some writers who are looking for a new gig. Eliza Dushku's familiar with them.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:31 AM

Bush Campaign Slogan 

I heard an interview this morning on NPR with Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Chairman, former Montana Gov. Mark Racicot, in which he stated that the campaign slogan would be "Steady Leadership in Changing Times."

To me, this sounds only mildly more inspiring than the "Don't change horses in midstream" slogan that was used in Wag The Dog.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:17 AM
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Schwartzenegger on Guns, Gays and the Presidency 

As reported in an AP News article via Yahoo! News, California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pressed for Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch's proposed constitutional amendment allowing individuals who have been naturalized U.S. citizens for at least 20 years to run for president. He also claims never to have considered running for president himself. Not having done a lot of research, I'm in favor of such an amendment, but his aspirational denial seems a bit disingenuous.

But it seems that Demolition Man continues its prescience.

Further in the article, Schwarzenegger continued to voice his opposition to the gay marriages in San Francisco, making this rather giant leap:

"In San Francisco it is license for marriage of same sex. Maybe the next thing is another city that hands out licenses for assault weapons and someone else hands out licenses for selling drugs, I mean you can't do that," Schwarzenegger said on NBC.

Yes, because these are such parallel concepts...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:27 PM

Tom DeLay's Tired of Tolerance 

According to an article on KnoxNews.com (the online version of the Knoxville News Sentinal), House Majority Leader, Texas Republican Tom DeLay stated at a fundraising dinner in Knoxville on Thursday that:

Americans "have been tolerant of homosexuality for years, but now it's being stuffed down their throats and they don't like it," DeLay said.

He then linked gay marriage to the war on terror:

The nation needs to remain focused and "win the war on terror, support our troops, find the terrorists wherever we can and either put them in a cell or put them in the cemetery," DeLay said.

All of that is part of a focus on "security, prosperity and family," he said.

"But security and prosperity are not worth anything if you don't maintain and protect the American family from the onslaught that is attacking the family, starting with gay marriages," he said. "We believe the American family is headed by a man and woman, and that is marriage, and that is the foundation of this country."


So basically he starts out by trying to make people feel better by saying that they have "been tolerant" of us, but then blames us for "shoving" our attempts to secure our individual rights, and ties the whole message together by linking gay marriage with terrorism, against which he has just stated the solution is "either put them in a cell or put them in the ground." That pretty much sounds like the way a lot of people have "tolerated" the GLBT community and their supporters for years now. Matthew Shepard, Barry Winchell, Sakia Gunn, and Brandon Teena, among countless others, were all "tolerated" to death. Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore did a fine job of protecting the basic civil rights and humanity of the GLBT members of his community. Yes, he was removed from office but not over these comments. Just do a google search on him to see the number of websites dedicated to him and his hateful statements to see how tolerant people are.

Ironically, the first story on Knoxnews.com's home page this morning is "A rocky road to desegregation," which discusses how Knoxville's school have still not met the mandate of the now 50-year-old Brown vs. Board of Education ruling. That article closes with this:

One has to increase the dialogue between the black and white middle class to get things done, he said.

"When black and white parents discover that they have more in common in terms of what they want for their kids, that's going to be a huge movement."


I believe the same could be true for gay and straight families and citizens. And not just middle class. Hopefully in the end, open dialogue will prevail over hateful diatribe.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:36 AM

Bill Weld on Gay Marriage 

Republican and former Mass. Governer William Weld has an interview about his position in favor of gay marriage, in the March 2 issue of The Advocate.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:19 AM
Saturday, February 21, 2004

Sad Note - Spot "Spotty" Fetcher 

My condolences, President and Mrs. Bush, on the loss of Spot. It's a terrible place to be, and my heart aches on your behalf.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:19 PM

Joan of Arcadia - The Ties That Bind 

Okay, now I get it. Kevin's an asshole. He admitted it at the end of the last episode, but I was hoping that meant that he recognized it and would work on it. Of course, he's had these personal awareness breakthroughs on a number of episodes, but thus far they've not gotten him far. Maybe he's no longer picking on Luke, so now he has to transfer his completely inexcusable and unanticipated behavior onto Rebecca. As with last episode, I just don't buy the sudden and complete personality change. Then again, I also don't buy Rebecca's having fallen for and pursuing him in the first place. As they pointed out, he's a 19-year-old kid with a high school degree. She's got to be in her mid to late 20's, with at least one college degree and a number of years' work experience, given her apparent position of editorial authority at the seemingly leading newspaper in this fairly large city.

The rest of the family won me back last night, however. Helen handled Adam's slacking with attempted discretion, then fair but tough honesty when challenged to discuss it in front of the class. His later work was clearly disturbing. I was disturbed for her - I can't imagine how I would have felt in her shoes, particularly given her own history with violence and feelings of victimization. She handled the initial shock appropriately, and once they had each had the chance to think about it, they both expressed their feelings in an intelligent, plausible and even laudable manner. Adam did have me creeped out, though. I get the feeling that Iris is perhaps manipulating him a bit, encouraging him to defy authority even if it is the one teacher and adult who has demonstrated again and again that she gets him and wants him to grow as a person and an artist. But I'm glad he had an insight into the ramifications of his actions. Hopefully the lesson will stick better for him than it does for Kevin.

Luke-Will. I liked this storyline. I can see where it's been developing from over the season, I understand each of their motivations, desires and anxieties. They're trying to work on it, but it's not easy or smooth. I found the detective side of the story a little forced, though. Do they have so many murders in Arcadia that no one would have been able to recall that there were several with exactly the same pattern?

Glynis flattening Friedman with the medicine ball. Priceless. I love Glynis. I love Luke and Glynis. And Bobby Glass! Sir.

We need more Grace.

I feel like Joan with regard to Casper. What was the point of the story? I guess Joan showed Casper that she could trust some people, that not everyone is out to get her. Of course Price followed that up with a lesson in how some adults in positions of authority really are petty bureaucrats more interested in flaunting their own power at the expense of those over whom they wield it.

Good God-Joan interaction this episode. Joan looked so satisfied that she slammed Pizza Delivery God about his not deserving a tip because is it really that hard for God to deliver a pizza in less than 30 minutes. Jump Rope Girl God and Joan jumping together at the end reminded me of Little Girl God walking Joan home last episode. I like the juxtaposition of an omniscient being presenting as a child, enjoying the small joys that can come with childhood, and reminding Joan of those joys while at the same time helping her to understand the pains and sorrows that many children and adults also experience.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:48 AM

Joan of Arcadia - Night Without Stars 

Eh. I felt like this one was just dropped on us, as if the writers felt a need to go in some new directions, but lost the patience for story development that I've come to expect. It all made sense by the end, and the closing scene had me crying as usual, but I didn't have the satisfaction that comes from watching the story unfold, following it along, putting things together, and being drawn into the emotions and motivations of the characters.

They've been developing Will's post-traumatic stress disorder for a few episodes, but I didn't feel it was actually developed rather than inserted. There was no build up, no escalation, no sense that he sensed anything was wrong until the very end. It just seemed bizarre in a character that had been developed as being sort of a sensitive new age guy in tough guy's clothing. I can completely see his character getting to where he was in this episode, but it would have been helpful to have seen it rather than imagining having seen it.

That said, they won me right back over in the closing scene. How do they manage to find the perfect music with the perfect lyrics, and intertwine them so well with the dialogue and actions?

The Adam-Iris thing. I'm not liking Iris so much. I'm kind of with Grace - I don't want to break in another character. At least not this one. Again, her choices regarding working with kids from abusive homes and refusing to make a pinata made sense by the end, but I didn't feel any development along the way, or any resolution at the end. Joan realized that she was being blinded by her own emotions, but that was pretty much it. I saw no real understanding between the two, and no real benefit for Iris. I did love that Joan put Little Girl God in charge of the kids' group, and that Little Girl God then escorted Joan home. And Joan truly seemed comforted by it.

I really didn't buy Helen's in-class lashing-out-in-the-guise-of-teaching at Adam and Iris. That's the kind of behavior that her character up to that point seemed completely against, particular in an adult in a position of authority, and particularly when it comes to art and expression.

Kevin and Rebecca. I'm not feeling the love for or from them. It feels like a tertiary storyline that gets checked up in each episode, but without adding to the story. In her first couple of episodes we got a bit more insight into Rebecca's motivations, a hint about her background, a glimmer into her work and personal ethics. Now I'm starting to see her as simply a convenient foil for Kevin's character and whatever (apparently backward) development he's going through.

Luke. Again, I could see where his motivations came from, right from the first time they showed Kevin whacking him on the arm and ridiculing him. I've been there. But they never gave us a hint of this before. This was some deep-seated resentment here. I can believe that perhaps in the 18 months between the accident and the start of the show that Kevin and Luke's relationship had changed to one of more caring and respect, such as was shown in the episode where Kevin was lashing out by shoplifting and Luke defended and protected him. But then why did it suddenly snap back to the pre-accident mode? Maybe it had been gradually building up but I don't recall seeing it, at least not to the level that justified the breaking point we saw on this episode.

I know I rant about Tru Calling not trusting our ability to follow the nuances of a story, and praise Joan of Arcadia for trusting the audience to make the connections on our own. But in order to make a connection, they do at least need to show us a couple of points between which we can draw our own line.

But even with these questions, I still love this show and feel it is one of the best dramas on television. Certainly the other "teen" or "family" dramas can't hold a candle to it.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:14 AM
Friday, February 20, 2004

Things To Do 

A list of things to do when you'd rather be doing something other than what you should be doing:

Blog.

Watch Badger Badger.

Read other blogs.

Play Penguin Smash.

Modify your Avantgo settings for your PDA.

Catch up on all your favorite shows on Television Without Pity.

Customize your law-related headlines on The Daily Whirl.

Lavish attention on your cats. You may not have a choice in this.

Check out the insane number of law-related blogs at BLAWG.

Adjust your blog template. It's amazing how much time this can consume. Just remember to save a copy of your original CSS first.

Thoroughly investigate the ESO's Paranal Observatory website. Be sure to check out the Astronomical Images.

Find your place in the Geek Hierarchy.

Check out the wildlife in the Live Video. This is only interesting when it's daytime in Bavaria.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:07 PM

Oscar Party 

Well, the ball is now rolling for our annual Academy Awards Party. The E-vites have been sent, replies are coming in, and the Chinese restaurant has been selected for take-out. Even though we've moved since last year's event, The Girl and I have decided to make the half hour trek to the restaurant in the old neighborhood because hey, you don't mess with perfection. I've scheduled Tivo to record a few Oscar-related shows before then, so we can have them on in the background before the red carpet arrivals start up.

Still to do: Print out the ballots, pick up a trophy for the Pick The Winners contest, and make the specific food item selections!

Plus we still have a couple of films to view... but not many.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:35 AM

Gay Marriage Cartoon 

Courtesy of Kevin over at The Sleepy Sage, this great animation about gay marriage, from The Village Voice: Attack of the Gay Agenda.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:19 AM

Random Thoughts From Vacation 

Okay, so the last week has consisted of several days in a lovely house in the woods of Maine overlooking the Penobscot Bay, the road trip to and from the house, many DVDs, oil burner hijinx, firewood hijinx, much food, several days with no internet and no NPR, Tivo catchup overload upon return, and even some historical fiction.

Here are some of my random thoughts from the week:

GAH!!!!! Angel won't be on after this season!!!!!! A plague on your house, The WB!!!

Gee, the house is rather cold. Oh, the oil burner seems to have shut down. Let's restart it. Smoke, smoke, shut it down, shut it down!!!!!

Was Tiny Dancer always a great road trip song, or just since we have the additional attached memory of it being used as a great road trip song in Almost Famous?

This new Melissa Etheridge CD rocks!!!

In the summertime you can't drive 50 feet on or around Mt. Desert Island without seeing a roadside firewood stand. Now that it's 5 degrees Fahrenheit, not one is to be found.

On departure: Wow - 665 couples have been married in San Francisco. On return: WOW!!! 2700 couples and still counting!!!

Furnace repair guy removes front panel from oil burner. Wow - that's disgusting. Nope - no idea when the filter was last cleaned. You cleaned it on a service call four years ago? That was prior to my sister buying the place, but yep, that was probably the last time.

Furnace guy removes external stovepipe to burn out the oil sludge which has accumulated. Massive flames shooting out of three separate openings. Wow - that's really cool.

Kind of hard to cross-country ski when there's no snow. Oh well - pop in another DVD!!!

An eagle! A bunch of deer! A huge pile of firewood bundles for sale!!!!!!

"You're a wee little puppet man!"

Are Jolene Blalock and Hilary Swank related? I kept thinking - look - T'Pol was a suffragist during an earlier mission!

Melted Dagoba Chai chocolate with a little heavy cream is delicious for dipping strawberries.

Iron-Jawed Angels is most excellent. Just see it.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:16 AM
Friday, February 13, 2004

Vacation Time 

Well, The Girl and I are heading up to the backwoods of Maine for a much-needed mini-vacation. I haven't yet started having heart palpitations or other signs of withdrawal at the thought that I will be offline for several days - I may still be in denial.

So don't look for any posts until next Wednesday (2/18). But I'll be back.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:19 PM

Change Can Happen 

Final update on the LesbiaNation article "Ten Tips for a Romantic and Memorable Valentine's Day" I discussed here and here.

I was back on LesbiaNation this morning, doing my usual morning rounds of the various news sites, and decided to take another look at that article. They've updated it! The gift suggestions according to gender stereotypes have been modified to:

"For the man or woman in your life, buy a locket and put a picture of yourself in it. Personalize the locket with your loved one’s initials so she’ll have something to wear that’s hers alone. Package it in a heart-shaped box or tied to fresh flowers. For your partner, a good choice is the classic sterling silver ID bracelet or cuff links with their name or initials custom-engraved."

"Give the special person in your life a personalized gift for his favorite hobby such as personalized golf or tennis balls that say, “I love you,” “You’re a hit!” or “Be mine,” or a monogrammed humidor for cigars.
"

Clearly a patch job, with some vestigial gender-specific gift references ("something to wear that's hers alone" and "his favorite hobby"), but if I were reading this for the first time I could certainly chalk it up to alternating pronouns to avoid really stilted prose. And now without the blatant traditional straight-mindset references in the middle, the marriage proposal suggestions at the end seem inclusive. I feel better now - how about you?

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:17 AM
Thursday, February 12, 2004

Angel - Why We Fight / 1943 

I admit it - I was pleasantly surprised. I also admit that I was fooled by The WB's misleading (as usual) promo. The trailer had Angel looking at Spike in an SS uniform and saying, "You're a Nazi." This gave me all sorts of nasty visions of Spike having embraced the Nazi propaganda and throwing himself into the cause, while Angel was fighting for Truth, Justice and The American Way.

Instead, I discover that Spike responded by quipping, "Nah, I just ate one." Of course he'd go for the leather coat. And Angel was only working for the U.S. because they threatened to tie weights to him and drop him in the ocean anyway if he didn't. Of course, they actually did end up tying weights to his ankles and dropping him, so I'm not sure what he gained by agreeing. Maybe if he didn't cooperate they would have given him goofy clothes to wear instead of the cool commando outfit he ended up with...

Plus we got nifty guest vampires. I wasn't so enamored or fearful of the Scourge of Siberia, but Prince of Light (or was it Prince of Night? It was hard to tell through the accent and saliva-laden speech impediment). He was very Nosferatu. And those fingernails - Yikes! But they looked real.

Spike was clueless as usual, but in an entertaining way. Did it take him long enough to figure out that Angel wasn't on his side? My biggest issue, though, was his hair. Spike with slicked back black hair - not so much. In his first submarine shots of the episode, the way the light was reflecting off his shiny, shiny, slicked-back bangs, it looked like his hair was extremely thin in front, and he was attempting a front-to-back comb-over. But the the light changed and I relaxed.

I did think it was great that it was the newly formed "Demon Research Initiative" that sent Angel after the sub, and that Spike burned up the Nazi research on brain implants for controlling vampires. No wonder Angel hated Riley so. Well, that plus the fact that Buffy was dating him. Spike burning the research also removes any question that the (fictitious) U.S. Army Initiative utilized Nazi "medical research." Of course, the (real) U.S. government would simply have recruited the scientists themselves, and had them reproduce the research in "humane" American labs so as not to cast dispersion on the methodology or results, but that's another story. One that was well-addressed on Star Trek: Voyager, in "Nothing Human" Back to this story.

The wire and office chair setups? I'm still shivering. Major heebie-jeebies.

I'm pensive over the possibility of soul transference. When Angel pointed out his own soul, Lawson asked if he has one, too, since Angel sired him. Angel's response was that he didn't think it worked that way. But Lawson is the only person souled-Angel ever sired, and he seemed truly tormented by what he referred to as his "spark of humanity," and blamed it on Angel having passed on just enough soul to torment but not enough to keep Lawson from acting on his evil demon impulses.

Granted, Harmony is able (mostly) to resist her demon impulses, but it's not out of guilt and she's not happy about it. It's just a means to social acceptability. Lawson appeared to be deeply torn. It would make sense, since during the siring process it's the demon essence that's transferred in the bloodsucking, and souled-Angel's blood might be a mix of Angelus-demon and Angel-soul. Could Angel's blood be worked into a vampire resouling vaccine? Could such a vaccine be injected, or does it need to be ingested? But then everyone would have Angel's soul. Would they all have his memories? Would they all begin brooding, using lots of hair gel and singing Barry Manilow? Only time will tell.

Next week: Muppet Angel!!!!! YAAAAYYYYY!!! I'm still cracking up over that tiny, tiny little Angel puppet in the short, short trailer. Spike wrestling on the floor with a puppet! Will Fred be all maternal and patronizing toward tiny, tiny, plush Angel? Will Harmony try to put him on a shelf with her unicorns? I predict fun times ahead.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:28 PM

BMW Films 

The Guyfriend turned me on to BMW Films, a website by BMW, through which you can view or download a series of films they produced using well-known directors and actors. Each one features Clive Owen as "The Driver," but each is a separate story, with a different director and actors.

I only watched a couple so far, but liked what I saw. The best of what I've seen, and which had me rolling off my chair laughing, was Star, with Madonna and directed by Guy Ritchie. It starts off as a seemingly standard star tribute, but very quickly moves in an unexpected direction. Definitely worth checking out!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:50 PM

Response From LesbiaNation 

I sent a brief e-mail version of my posting on the Valentine's Tips to LesbiaNation. Laudably, they responded quite quickly, but I'm not particularly satisfied with the glossed-over response. The editor attempted to label the statement "for the man in your life" as being merely a problem of a "pronoun." But anyway - judge for yourself:

My e-mail:
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2004 7:08 AM
To: info@lesbianation.com
Subject: Valentine's tips article

I understand that lesbianation gathers articles from many sources, but perhaps a less obviously straight-focused article could have been selected for the Valentine's Day tips.

My first tip-off was the suggestion of personalized golf or tennis balls, or perhaps a humidor, "for the man in your life." Now, much of your content does include information that gay men might find helpful, but it's a bit ironic that lesbianation would assume that golf balls would be a gift for a man but not a woman.

Second was the two-paragraph discussion of marriage proposals. I live in Massachusetts, and given that there is right now a battle being waged over whether or not I should even be allowed to marry my girlfriend, I found this an awful reminder of the rights I don't yet have.

Charles Grace's most recent column is a great example of how this could have been approached a little better, in my opinion. It can be found at http://planetout.com/living/etiquette/?sernum=810.

Thanks for listening.


The response:
From: L. A. Vess [mailto:LAVess@himcorp.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2004 8:07 AM
To: LesbiaNation.com
Subject: Re: Valentine's tips article

Hello,

Thank you for your notes. For the first part, I agree the pronoun for that should be altered. No reason to assume that women wouldn't like golf balls!

For the second part, we cater to an International audience, some from countries where gay people can actually get legally married. And, regardless, I personally prefer to claim the word 'marriage' to refer to gay commitments in general, regardless of what the U.S. government says. In a way, reminding people of a right they are missing is one way to keep them thinking about it, and hopefully working toward doing something about getting that right for themselves. However, I can understand for some people it can be a painful reminder, and I apologize that this was the case for you.

Unfortunately, with writing, as with all things, you can please some of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time. ;-) However, I really do appreciate your comments, as all input is helpful in doing better!

L. A. Vess
Editor
GayWired.com
Lesbian.com


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:34 PM

Know Your Audience 

The advice of knowing your audience applies both to Legal Research & Writing and GLBT media. This message hit home this morning when I came across two different "Valentine's tips" articles on two different gay news sites.

The first was Charles "Social" Grace's "Etiquette For Lovers " which I mentioned in my last post. This is a column which addresses the GLBT community, but which contains information helpful for everyone. I've forwarded the link to several straight friends and relatives.

Then I found "Ten Tips for a Romantic and Memorable Valentine's Day" on LesbiaNation.com. At first it seemed like a nice little collection of ideas. I paused momentarily when they suggested a heart-shaped locket "for the woman in your life" while recommending a sterling silver ID bracelet or cufflinks "for your man." A bit traditional, and while I don't personally know any lesbians who would likely wear a heart-shaped locket or gay men who cherish their ID bracelets, I'm sure these folks are out there. I certainly don't know everyone.

My first real tip-off that perhaps this article was recycled from a source which targets the straight audience was the suggestion of personalized golf or tennis balls, or perhaps a humidor, "for the man in your life." Now, while this website is titled "LesbiaNation," they do include information for the GBT's of GLBT. But it seemed odd that an article on such a site would assume that golf balls would be the perfect gift for a man but not for a woman.

The next indicator was the two-paragraph discussion of marriage proposals with which they closed the article. I live in Massachusetts, and given that there is right now a battle being waged over whether or not I should even be allowed to marry my girlfriend (see numerous previous postings), I found this an awful reminder of the rights I don't yet have. Or that technically I have, but which are on hold until mid-May and which many folks are urging to have barred by amending our constitutionality. "Discrimination's unconstitutional? Well dagnab it, we'll make it constitutional!"

Indeed, I scrolled down to the bottom of the page, where they list the original source of the piece. "For more information, visit www.lillianvernonproducts.com or call (800) 901-8758." I remember the Lillian Vernon mail order catalogues. My mother receives all the mail order catalogues (which she maintains faithfully, retaining only the most current edition of each, and then keeping them stacked alphabetically for Christmas shopping time. Which for her is in October. She's very organized. She was in the WAVES. But that's another story.). Granted, many of their products are so over the top that they could be considered campy chic (such as this, this or this), but I really don't think the readers of LesbiaNation are their target audience.

The Charles Grace article got me thinking about the weekend getaway The Girl and I are planning to my sister's vacation house in Maine. Way out in the woods, waterview, woodburning stove, jacuzzi - you get the idea. And by the way - thanks to K for the use of the place! Unfortunately, the LesbiaNation article brought me right back to the political reality of today, and led me to this rather lengthy post. I'm passing my pain on to others. Nice.

I plan on rereading the Etiquette article and returning to the romantic weekend ahead. Hopefully any mood reduction I've imposed on others will be short-lived. I'll be remembering the impact of reading something which was targeted to the wrong audience while working on my upcoming brief in support of summary judgment. Target the judge, not the jury, not my client. Target the judge, target the judge, target the judge.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:34 AM

Valentine's Inspiration (or Escape) 

If you're seeking some Valentine's Day inspiration, Charles "Social" Grace has excellent suggestions in his latest column on PlanetOut.com. The lesson he imparts is that when people lament the absence of "romance," sometimes they are looking for the etiquette that often accompanies the best behavior exhibited at the beginning of a relationship. He provides ideas that depart from the usual but won't break the bank. He also includes a helpful guide to the traditional meanings behind the various colors of roses.

Alternatively, if you're seeking refuge from Hallmark and googly eyes, check out BitterSweets, "Valentine's candy for the rest of us." The description states that they are designed for "When cruelty and holidays collide." The BitterSweets are similar to the candy hearts with cute little sayings, but these sport such phrases as "U+ME=GRIEF," "PRENUP OKAY?" and "SETTLE 4LESS."

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:28 AM
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The Latest Big Day in Massachusetts 

Today is the constitutional convention for the Massachusetts legislature. Boston.com has an information article with analysis of the issues surrounding the proposed amendment, and the possible challenges it would likely face under the 14th Amendment, even if it were pass this convention and the next, plus a popular vote which could be held in November2006 at the earliest.

Right now on Boston's NPR affiliate WBUR's The Connection, the guests are Laurence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and Maggie Gallagher, President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. The subject is "The Battle Over Gay Marriage." The station also has a webcam by which you can view the studio, but it only shows the host, Dick Gordon, and Prof. Tribe. I'm not sure if she's just out of the range of the camera or if she's doing a call in, or is perhaps in studio at another affiliate.

Fortunately (from my point of view), Prof. Tribe is presenting calm and rational discussion, while Ms. Gallagher is falling back on emotional appeals without much of anything to back them up. Much as I am loathe to direct people to Gallagher's blog (referenced above), it does make for interesting reading. Remember - it's always beneficial to know what the other side is saying and promoting, no matter which side you're on.

Also - Why is it that I can find scarcely a mention of yesterday's massive rally at the MA state house, in support of gay marriage? There was a much smaller anti-gay marriage rally over the weekend, and I found extensive coverage on all the web news sites.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:03 AM

The Good Fight 

Apparently Wesley Clark is dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination, according to the Associated Press this morning. He is anticipated to make an official announcement later today after returning home to Little Rock, Arkansas.

I'm rather disappointed that I didn't get a chance to cast my vote, since the primary here isn't until March 2. The Girl and I reregistered to vote in our new town of residence yesterday.

I'll have to do some more research to make my decision between Kerry and Edwards. I didn't favor Dean even when he was the frontrunner. It would appear that Kerry is the expected winner at this point, but I still would prefer to vote for whoever I feel is the better candidate from my point of view. That would still be Clark, but it's hard to vote for someone who isn't running.

I hope Clark will continue his efforts in the political sphere. I'll be in his corner.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:41 AM
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Freedom of Association Restored - For Now? 

AP via Yahoo! News has posted "U.S. Nixes Subpoenas Against Protesters". This is regarding the anti-war protesters and their forum at Drake University, which I mentioned a few days ago. The U.S. Attorney's office did not comment on the reason for withdrawing the subpoenas, but did state that the investigation is not over.

Okay - I really need to get this fictional client letter written for Legal Research and Writing. It's due tomorrow evening, and I work during the day...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:39 PM

Rule 11 and Janet Jackson 

We just covered FRCP Rule 11 yesterday in Civil Procedure. Today Tung Yin of the University of Iowa Law School posted this blog entry discussing the possible role of Rule 11 in the dropping of the potential class action law suit over the Superbowl escapades.

I just love how class subjects and current events are intersecting lately. Plus this professor's from UI, where I earned an M.A. Go Hawkeyes!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:18 PM

Doesn't He Always Ring Twice? 

The Guyfriend and I were out for a lunchtime walk today (the sun is out, it's 45 degrees - ah, nice), and we passed a house which also contains an optometrist's office. I noticed there was a plaque on the mailbox:

"Lettercarrier: Please Ring The Bell Twice"

I wonder if they deliberately worded this in an attempt to be gender inclusive, to avoid hearing repeated movie references, or both...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:42 PM

Galactica a Go! (Galactica-A-Go-Go?) 

Sci-Fi Channel today announced they have ordered 13 episodes of the new Battlestar Galactica, continuing on December's mini-series. Just please update Boxie's haircut. Do that, and I will love this series. Production begins next month.

And I love Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck. She's bold, brassy, physical and outspoken. Oh - but with a heart of gold. Can't forget the heart of gold...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:35 PM

Re-Charmed - The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell 

Okay - they're winning me back. I didn't even watch the last episode, "Used Karma." But I gave them another shot, and I enjoyed it. The story was fresh (I know, I know - it was a Harry Potter rip-off, but it was fresh for Charmed), explored new territory in the magical world, and revolved around characters more than cutesy antics.

I wish they had been more clear on the headmaster's motivations. Maybe they played it the way they did in order to cast suspicion that he was behind the whole decapitation thing, but I found it rather unsatisfying.

Why is Piper so fixated on Wyatt having a "normal" life, meaning without magic? Weren't the sisters a little annoyed that they had their powers bound and had grown up without magic before it was surprisingly thrust back upon them? He's a witch-whitelighter. I would think that for him, "normal" would include magic, and that going to a school where he could learn to control his powers and use them for good would be just the ticket.

I really wanted Chris to echo Troubled-But-Not-Evil Telepath Boy's comments to Phoebe about finally figuring things out. Oh well, at least his secret's out and his story can finally move along. I do fear ensuing Chris-Phoebe as Lucy-Ethel hijinks, but we'll see next week.

This may have seemed rather critical for my having expressed that they're winning me back. The important thing is that they made me care enough to question.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:27 AM

Space Exploration 

Wil McCarthy's latest Lab Notes column on Sci-Fi Wire is titled "Space Chickens," and discusses Hubble, the space shuttle, the spirit of adventure and exploration, and the outcome of 1 astronaut, 1 Mars rover, a Snickers bar and a bottle of Gatorade. Cool quote:

"Whether you're on the ground or in outer space, life is 100 percent fatal in the end. The only question is whether you do anything cool before you exit."

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:45 AM
Monday, February 09, 2004

Good Health and Law School 

Has anyone been able to maintain good health and good grades simultaneously? Before the first semester started, I joined a gym that's totally convenient. It's on my route both from home to work, and from work to school. I've been there once since August. I look up at the windows on my way by twice a day, and think, "Gee, I really should go. I'm paying for it and all." And yet I don't.

Alternate exercise: Walk the 1/2 mile from the bus every day. At least it's something. Now to my momentary delight, they've added a bus stop directly in front of the school. Great! Now I can get into the library 10 minutes earlier and set my ever increasing butt down in a chair that much sooner...

My caffeine intake has increased exponentially. I used to drink decaf. No more - high test for me. Now I have a 16 oz. travel mug full on my way to work, then a latte either at midday or right before class, plus a Red Bull for a midafternoon pick me up. And then, gee, I wonder why I'm so tired by the time Friday comes, or why I have such a headache Saturday morning. Or why my heart is racing so.

At least The Girl has been good about reminding me to pack something to eat before class, so this has cut out the nightly run to the Student Lounge to hit the candy machine between classes.

But I have hope that I'll make it to the gym soon. I actually packed a gym bag last night, but then this morning decided to use the time to drop off my car at the garage and take the bus to the train. My inspection sticker ran out several months ago, and I needed the headlight fixed before I could pass inspection. So of course I've been putting it off and putting it off. Maybe I'll get to the gym tomorrow...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:41 PM
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Joan of Arcadia - State of Grace 

Okay, so now Joan and Grace are free to pursue each other, right? What, I can dream, can't I? I've even won The Girl over to my camp. During the amazing scene in which Grace is apologizing, The Girl called out, "Kiss her!" at least three times.

I so enjoy Glynis and her faces. I just looked up Mageina Tovah, who plays Glynis, on IMDB. She was on Buffy in "Wrecked," credited as "Jonesing Girl." She must have been one of Rack's patrons. It all comes back to Buffy.

But now back to Glynis. I had to Tivo instant replay her lines in AP Chem several times. The whole scene leading up to the big kiss with Luke was amazing. I think my heart and breathing were racing as much as theirs. Michael Welch managed to convey the emotional transformation from "a mission of exploration" to "oh my god, smart chicks are so hot" impressively. The cutaway shot of Grace was perfect as well. She's like Yoda, sending young Luke off on his true path. Smirk, acknowledgement, approval, warm fuzzies (who knew she could do those?) - all in one quick shot.

The Grace-Joan relationship is just so well-played. They're both strong-willed and stubborn, they each have motivations the other one just can't quite fathom, they both latch on to concepts and get totally fired up. Joan usually backs down, though. Maybe it's that middle child syndrome of peacemaker. It was great to see her let her true emotions out (and boy did they come out) for once, and that this revelation was the one that opened Grace's heart and head to the concept of compassion and understanding.

Was Security Guard God Curtis Armstrong, who played Herbert Viola on Moonlighting?

Next week: Joan argues with Hippie Dog-Walker God (aka Amber's Dad God), and Kevin gets over his reticence big time.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:35 AM
Saturday, February 07, 2004

Attention Buffy Fans 

I just found (via Ms. Magazine Online) what I'm sure is bound to be my next time-sucking vortex of distraction: Willow Rosenberg's Journal.

This is an ongoing journal that someone has assembled and is maintaining under the guise of Willow. There are also links to similar sites for all the other characters in our favorite fictional world. Whoever is doing this is managing to keep it in synch with Angel, including a bit of tweaking to align the "official" storyline with what's been created in these journals. For example, the author had no way of knowing that Andrew would tell Angel that Willow and Kennedy were in Brazil, but Willow has an entry explaining this discrepency from all the postings indicating that they are actually in Cleveland.

Here are some of the related links: Kennedy, Xander, Buffy, Angel, Andrew, Giles.

My hat is off to whoever has undertaken this project. Keep up the entertaining work!!!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:34 PM

Freedom of Association? 

I just read this article from AP via Yahoo! News.

I haven't done any more digging into it, but the article states that the "a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists." There was an anti-war protest at the Iowa National Guard headquarters in Johnson, IA last November. Subpoenas have now been issued to Drake University, seeking information relating to an anti-war forum, "Stop the Occupation! Bring the Iowa Guard Home!" held at the school the previous day, as well as to four of the activists who attended the forum. From the university, they are seeking:

"...all documents indicating the purpose and intended participants in the meeting, and all documents or recordings which would identify persons that actually attended the meeting..." and security records "...reflecting any observations made of the Nov. 15, 2003, meeting, including any records of persons in charge or control of the meeting, and any records of attendees of the meeting." The subpoena also requests from the university " all records relating to the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based legal activist organization that sponsored the forum."

Freedom of speech? Freedom of assembly? John Ashcroft? Anyone with further information on this case, feel free to comment.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:13 PM

States Where I've Lived 

I've seen this "visited states" map popping up, so thought I'd join in, with a twist. I've done a lot of driving across many, many states, so the map was pretty much red except for the southeast, and North Dakota.

So instead, here is a map of states in which I've lived.



create your own visited states map

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:34 PM

Gadgets Galore 

The touch pad on my Inspiron 5100 has been a wee bit temperamental of late. The scroll function goes in and out, sometimes the cursor won't move as directed, and then I get frustrated and thump it a few times, which usually works but irritates my fellow students in the law library. Not as badly as that time I was road-testing my newly downloaded Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life screensaver, which activated the sound (I had muted, being in the library and all), and began blaring Korn's "Did My Time."

So yesterday at lunch The Guyfriend and I went out on a shopping trip. He wanted to check out the 2004 road bikes from Trek and Cannondale, and I needed an ultra mini mouse. So first to the bike shop, which indeed had the new models on hand. Much talk of machined out gearrings, weighing of various bikes on the really cool digital bike scale, debate over which was the sexiest (I voted for the Madone 5.9), and mopping up of spilled drool, we headed over to Best Buy.

I was after the Targus Ultra Mini Optical Mouse, but then I discovered that Belkin now has a Mini-Wireless Optical Mouse. I had to make it mine.

Now I can sit comfortably back in my chair, with the mouse at the front edge of the desk, and blissfully navigate without having to go near the touchy Touch Pad, or even in contact with the notebook. I sip my latte and scroll. Life is good.

On a more subconscious note, I've been having many gadget-related dreams lately. Wednesday night there was some sort of international intrigue storyline that I don't remember clearly, but a really cool PDA and high tech sport snowshoes were involved. Last night it was a motorized scooter on which I was travelling to Montreal with The Girl and two friends. But I wake up and know at least that I have my wireless mouse to look forward to.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:45 AM

Tru Calling - The Longest Day 

New twist for Tru - she lives the day over and over and over until she gets it right. It worked pretty well. She even made reference to Groundhog Day - which is a most excellent movie, by the way.

I liked that she got increasingly impatient each time she had to go through the same seemingly trivial stuff each time. Not so sure why Luc seemed also to become increasingly impatient. It was the only time he'd had the conversation - each time. Especially given that she was trying to address his needs and concerns a little better on each go round.

I didn't really get her garbage disposal motivation, though. Or the timeline. One time he said she'd been bugging him all week to fix it, another time he said the bugging had been for weeks. The first time through it seemed that Harrison did something to it after Luc had done the repairs. Why would she take from this that it's destined to be broken? If she thought it was the disposal and not Harrison, maybe she could have just said something like, "You know, that's been fixed before and seemed perfect, but then it always fritzes out again in a few hours." That might prompt Luc to analyze the problem more closely. Or maybe buy a new one. Or maybe, I don't know - CALL BUILDING MAINTENANCE!! My landlord's plumber was very efficient about repairing my garbage disposal. And he was quite polite about the fact that it was broken due to the shiny nickel that had jammed its little rotors. Of course, the nickel got there while I was dumping buckets of water into the sink from the basement which was flooded when the water heater sprung a leak, turning the 20 year old shag rug and 1 inch thick felt pad which had been left by the previous tenant into a stinky disgusting swamp, so maybe that's why he cut me a little slack. But I digress.

They got me with the knife-weilding psycho mugger. I spotted him pretty early as significant, when the camera lingered a bit too long on his crazy eyes in his Bruce Dern face, with the slight layer of sweat. I was feeling pretty smug - "Oh those writers again. This guy is such an anvil. And that pack of cigarettes! They keep zooming in on it. It's a bomb!!!! The whole convenience store robbery is a ruse. HA!"

Oops. Guess I was wrong. This is a good sign for the show, since the storyline went off in a direction not entirely obvious. At least to me. And I had just sat through a double session of Criminal Law, so I should have been able to spot the bizarre twists. All the cases we study are the ones with the bizarre twists. But maybe I was tired.

Unfortunately, the show once again developed gaping credibility holes at the end. Tru was accompanying Michael, who had just been brutally gutted by Crazy Eyes, into the ER. They need a way for Tru to have a shroud of authority (comes in handy later), so the doctor asks in an incredibly rude way, almost yelling, "Who the hell are you?" Wouldn't he at least momentarily have thought she could be the stabbing victim's friend, his wife, a good samaritan who helped someone in need?

This was topped by her response. "City Morgue." Oh, that explains everything. I guess the morgue is trying to cut down on their response times by having employees roam the streets waiting for life-threatening illness and injury to rear its ugly head, then follow the victims into the nearest trauma center, so they can be there when the person dies. Then the morgue employee gets to say, in a deep and official beaurocratic voice, "City Morgue. I'll take it from here."

But the trauma doc found nothing odd or unseemly, so Tru gets not only to stay, but to give orders!

I could see where they were going with the heart transplant, and indeed they did. Who found it odd that they would just take this random City Morgue worker's word that this guy was the father? That his tissue type would be an appropriate match for his 11-year-old daughter? Is there any sort of size consideration when matching heart donors with recipients? Because that kid was tiny. He was short, but not like her. What about getting consent from the mother? No mention was made of this - just "Notify the transplant team," and they push the kid's gurney out of the room.

Why are they going to such lengths to make us think Tru and Luc aren't having sex? He's always there making her breakfast, but the scene usually includes him just arriving, or a point about her having slept on the couch because she was so very, very tired the night before, or she was drunk and he has rules about those things. It's not like we believe she hasn't done this before. We know she had a wildly inappropriate affair with one of her undergrad professors, and they showed him getting dressed while she was just waking up. They've shown other characters in bed post-sex, so it's not because of the 8:00 timeslot. I just don't understand.

Maybe Tru is in the process of coming out. She knows she's done with the boys, but she just can't get up the nerve to let go of the safety net. I had a friend who did this for her entire college career. Perhaps Tru was actually in love with Candace, not Ronnie, and that's why the whole prom rejection thing cut her so deeply and lastingly.

Next week: Valentine's Day hijinx! Will Tru and Luc enjoy a romantic weekend alone in the country? See above two paragraphs.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:04 AM
Friday, February 06, 2004

Free Hateful Speech 

One of the painful yet ultimately helpful benefits of political and social controversies, particularly those in which patriotism or morality are questioned, is that these times encourage people to express openly what is going on in their heads. This is a good thing, whether you agree or disagree with the statements, for how can you join with or struggle against that which is hidden?

Sometimes it's not that the ideas were hidden, but merely polished and dressed up for public presentation. When the debates really get going and the stakes appear to be at risk, the polish comes off, the fancy outfits are put away and the truth as people perceive it is brought to the front. Where is the benefit of this? Sometimes the ideas behind the glossy veneer turn out to be incredibly ugly, blatantly prejudiced, and grounded in fear. Once these ideas are presented openly, perhaps some of the people who had been following the speakers can re-evaluate whether they wish to continue doing so. It also motivates those who oppose those ideas to speak out.

Margaret Cho posted in her blog last month regarding the effects of Matt Drudge having posted an edited version of a comedy set performed by Cho at a Moveon.org event.

In response to the Drudge Report posting, Margaret Cho was inundated with hate e-mail. Not just critical e-mail, voicing respectful disagreement with her opinions (which were presented in a comedy routine, not a political rally), but hateful, abusive, and violence-threatening invectives. You can link to examples of these e-mails by clicking on the "the site" link in her blog entry, or directly here.

But it doesn't stop there. The complete text of these e-mails were in turn posted on Margaret Cho's website. Readers who were offended by the posted e-mails hit their own keyboards, and sent messages of support to Cho and also sent e-mails of opposition directly to the original anti-Cho e-mailers.

The vociferous proclaimers of patriotism, who were willing to attack Cho's weight, facial features, ethnic heritage, sexual preferences and family members in explicit terms, and some of whom suggested strenuously that she leave this country because she is exercising her free speech right to criticize political leaders, while bolstering this argument by pointing out that she wouldn't have this free speech right in other countries, sent follow up e-mails, requesting that their own e-mail addresses be removed from the site, as they were now receiving hate mail of their very own.

Okay, so this country is great because we have a right to free speech, but should we choose to exercise that right, we forfeit our right to remain in this great country that provides the right to free speech? And you have the right to protest loudly and brutally against what someone else says, but I am not in turn allowed the opportunity to protest what you have to say?

Again, I am reminded of the fictional president Andrew Shepard's speech in "The American President."

The e-mail addresses were indeed removed from the website, and Cho also requested that anyone else who had posted the addresses remove them from their sites as well. Prior to the removal, however, some of the original e-mailers apologized. This is what can come of free dialogue, and this is good.

Margaret, you are fabulous. Keep walking the walk and talking the talk. We'll be here listening, laughing, and growing.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:44 AM
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Geekier and Geekier 

I went out to lunch with my friend Not A Freak yesterday. After a fabulous meal at a new Chinese restaurant in town, we strolled on over to Starbuck's for some hot foamy beverages. Only I decided for an iced chai, but whatever.

This particular Starbuck's is quite cool, as they've taken over a historic railway station on the Green Line. You can sit and imbibe and people watch while you observe the trolleys roll in and out on the tracks outside the windows. When a train heading to Boston is en route, a big green sign lights up: "Train To Boston Arriving."

Anyway, we're sitting in the comfy chairs which are small-sized, so my feet, which are attached to very short legs, actually sit flat on the floor. Tall people don't get this. I'm explaining my latest addition to my Tungsten C: an alphabetical listing of every movie nominated for an Academy Award since 1960, with the particular category listings for each film, and winning categories marked with an asterisk. To demonstrate the total coolness of this, I had her name a movie she thinks may have been nominated for something. "Goodbye Girl." The search begins. I start by searching for "good," since I can't remember if it's "goodbye" or "good-bye." Unfortunately, there are lots of nominees with "good" in the title.

I switch to plan B: just scroll through. Another disappointment when I get to "Good Will Hunting" without having passed "Goodbye Girl." Then I realize that because "Good Will" consists of two words, it is listed before anything starting with "goodbye." Finally I find it. I gleefully inform her that "Goodbye Girl" received 5 nominations at the 50th Academy Awards, in 1977, with a win in the Actor in a Leading Role category (Richard Dreyfuss). The other noms were for leading actress (Marsha Mason), supporting actress (Quinn Cummings), Best Picture and Original Screenplay. I grin triumphantly.

She then calmly informs me, "You're getting geekier every day." I joke, "Gee, I didn't think it was possible. Ha ha." She replies, "And yet, it's true. Do you know what I have stored in my PDA? A list of people who think you're a geek. That's how much of a geek you truly are."

I accept my fate. Gadgets are good. Factoids are fabulous.

For anyone who is wondering where on earth I acquired this all-encompassing Oscars list, go to the Academy Awards Database. You can search on any category, year, by entering a name, song title, or just everything for a particular set of years. It's freaking amazing!!!!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:48 PM

Time To Legalize Discrimination? 

The Advocate has an article Massachusetts lawmakers vow to block gay marriage, which describes Thomas Finneran's (Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Reps) newest plan to block gay marriage. Now that the SJC has determined that such a ban is unconstitutional, and then reiterated this in an advisory opinion that civil unions are not a sufficient alternative, he is considering requesting a stay of their order until there has been a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment to ban these marriages. His expressed concern is that if gay folk are allowed to marry in the meantime and then somehow this amendment is passed by two consecutive sessions of the legislature and then approved in a statewide vote, there might be confusion about what to do with the marriages which have taken place in the meantime.

So basically, he wants the court to continue a discriminatory and unconstitutional practice until such time as the practice can possibly be changed to discriminatory but constitutional. And what if things don't go as he hopes, and either this vote cannot be brought at the earliest date of 2006, or the vote is taken but the amendment is defeated? Will he continue requesting stays until such time as he gets what he wants?

The lengths to which the scare tacticians and desperate politicians (not mutually exclusive categories) are going to prevent this decision, which was arrived at through a completely legitimate and constitutional system, from going into effect is coming close to making my brain explode. Perhaps that's their strategy - confound us into such levels of disbelief that we give up. Sigh...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:01 PM

Peer Success 

Congratulations to Jennifer LeSar, who this past fall was named one of San Diego's "40 Under 40," the San Diego Metropolitan's annual selection of "outstanding young contributors" to the community. Her accomplishments are impressive, and her adherence to her ideals of community building and public service are more impressive still.

Jennifer was a college friend and teammate of mine, who was a leader even then, and whose counsel I always valued, even if I didn't always heed it. We haven't talked since I left LA in 1990, after my having been a bit of an a-hole. Jen - my apologies for that, and congratulations on your continuing leadership, success and integrity. Anassa kata!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:43 AM

Angel - You're Welcome 

One hundred episodes of Angel. I didn't realize how much I missed Cordelia. Not the one from last season - she was a drag. I missed the Cordy who came back for her final farewell last evening. The one who said exactly what she thought, who didn't get pushed around, who had great one-liners and made hilarious faces, and who lit up at the thought of shopping. Although I must say, I don't recall her ever having worn her shirts unbuttoned quite so low. That was without doubt an impressive use of cleavage.

While I'm on the subject of aesthetically pleasing displays of flesh, may I just add that I want Christian Kane's abs. To replace my own, not in addition to them. Wow. It seems he was able to retain some of his sword-fighting skills seen most recently in Second Hand Lions. The Guyfriend and I agree that his backward flipping through the air, landing on the pedastal in a crouch with the sword blade behind his shoulder was the coolest move of the episode. I have to say, Lindsey was quite the sexy bad boy last evening. And I'm usually more the Angelina Jolie type. I imagine Christian Kane wows the crowds during his gigs.

I loved that Harmony threw herself in and was willing to torture one for the team. I'm glad they're keeping up with the secondary (tertiary?) storyline of her struggling not to "be evil" in order to fit in with the crowd. She was so bummed out that Eve caved so quickly, and later on so disappointed that Eve wouldn't attempt an escape despite Harmony's urging. She was really hoping for a little Eve-snack.

Was it just me or was Fred making swooney eyes toward Wesley during the detatooing ritual? It would be understandable, as Wesley was managing to be much more Giles-like in his authoratative delivery in that scene. It was nice that he and Cordelia were able to have that conversation acknowledging Wesley's loss of Leila. Even better was Cordy shortly thereafter addressing Eve as Leila Jr.

Whew - this is getting a little too enthusiastically fanlike for me. So let me add that I was underwhelmed by the scene where Angel comes back from apparent defeat and strikes a victory blow for the good guys. It seemed too forced and a bit cheesy. They did it much better over on Buffy, in Chosen. Buffy really seemed on the edge of failing miserably, and of dying in the battle. Did the writers think we failed to realize that a sword through Angel's heart wouldn't kill him? On the flip side, they apparently also think we would forget prior incidents of impalement which actually had a deleterious, though not fatal, effect on his mobility and fighting skills. When Buffy dragged herself up, she gave the impression that it was a struggle, but she would prevail nonetheless. Angel just quips that Lindsey's a dumb-ass, yanks out the sword and knocks him into next week. Or the next portal, as it were.

"I'm Angel. I get the bad guys." Symphonic chords in the background. It was all a little too "My name is Inigo Montoya and you killed my father. Prepare to die." for me. But Mandy Patinkin did it much more memorably.

And it was a bit out of character to have Spike beat up his tv over a video game. Oh well.

Back on the fanwagon, the closing scene was nicely done. I did figure out where they were going, but I admit that my enlightenment only arrived when Cordy said he needed to answer that call. I actually had a Tru Calling moment, where bits of the previous scenes went flashing through my head as I pieced it together in that split-second. Hmm. Maybe I'll have to back off on my criticism of that show as well. Nah.

Anyway, it was well-done and I had tears welling. A fond farewell to Cordelia and Charisma.

Next week: The trailer has me frightened. I hope they can pull off the WWII submarine storyline, but it will be a surprise if they do. At least it's a chance for them to show all-out evil Spike.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:30 AM