Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Aruna Soso's Sad Story

I recently got this sad, sad e-mail. I'd like to share it with you before I hit the "spam" button. Interspersed will be my comments.
Dear Friend,
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I
believe everyone will die someday.
Well, that's just your belief. Not everyone agrees with that. In fact, I was speaking to Odin the other day (the Norse god) and he said that he will never die, at least not until Ragnarok. So, who knows?
My name is Aruna Soso I am a merchant of Omani nationality but presently residing in london.
I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer .It has defiled all forms
of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to
live, according to medical experts.
I'm sorry about your cancer. I'm not sure why it has "defiled" medical treatment. In this context it's a transitive verb, which means that it has corrupted the medical treatment (with a religious connotation so that it's like it committed sacrilege). In that case, apparently the disease doesn't share your belief system either, and maybe it doesn't believe you will die either.
I have not particularly lived my life
so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself)but my
business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always
hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for.

But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more
to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.I
believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it.
Wait, have you already spoken to him? Is he giving you another chance? Sweet! How much did you have to pay him for that?
Now that God has called me,
Like, on the phone?
I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few close friends.I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to give alms to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the Oman, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly,I cannot do this myself anymore.
So, apparently giving away money is harder than sending an e-mail. Who knew? I figured that if you say "Hey, free money!" then people come flocking.
I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them. The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of eighteen million dollars18,000,000 that I have with a finance/Security Company in europe.I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatche it to charity organizations.
I have set aside 20% for you and for your time.
God be with you.
Aruna Soso.

Kindly Reply to my private box: aruna_soso@myway.com
Wow! 20% of 18 million. That's like, some number that's so high I can't even count. I'm glad you picked me, Aruna Soso, to help you distribute your money. I'm sure you chose me because of my excellent . . . reputation . . . or something.

Guest Blog: Gosu - Images from Africa

This just speaks for itself.

Gosu - Images from Africa

Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Renter

If you're interested at all in human rights, or in Darfur, make sure to check out my new renter (link at top of sidebar) and read. This person is definitely dedicated to public awareness of the atrocities committed in that region of Sudan.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Supreme Court Decisions Test

I don't usually post this kind of thing, but check it out:

You scored 100!
We bow in your presence!

You're the one that everyone consults to break the tie. You wear the STRIPES! You obviously know too much about the law and are ready for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Other categories are Law Student, Legal Intern, Passed the Bar, Law Professor, and Associate Justice.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 90% on variable 1
Link: The U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Test written by bingomosquito on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I've recently begun reading Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov in the beginning of a journey toward reading the entire Foundation series (as written by Asimov, not the posthumous sequels). It always strikes me when I read works by Asimov what an incredibly bad writer he is, at least as far as novels. His short stories generally are good, but that's because you expect something different from a sci-fi short story than what you expect from a novel. A sci-fi short story is supposed to explore some kind of futuristic scientific speculation--and Asimov is the undisputed master of this style. A sci-fi novel, on the other hand, is supposed to be just like any other novel, and the speculation is incidental to the story, or at least the story takes the forefront. Asimov seemed to have missed the distinction.

Which is not to say that I don't like it. I'm one of a limited number of people that actually enjoys reading that kind of thing. But let me explore why it's bad from a fiction-writing standpoint.

The most important rule of writing fiction is "show, don't tell." Asimov is absolutely famous for telling rather than showing. Every novel of his that I've read has a character unfamiliar with his surroundings and a person who knows about it. The one familiar with them shows the other around and explains all the workings of the space station or planet or whatever else is involved.
He's famous for having long passages of explanation of what's happening. He does make concession to the rules of fiction by adding some exciting events, but this is the lesser part of the story.
And in Nemesis, for example, we see one of the largest failings of most Asimov novels. The main characters are often scientists who sit around and discuss the scientific problem until they come to a solution.

If you like that kind of thing, like me, it's fine, and reading Asimov is great. Of course, if you like that kind of thing you've probably already read a lot of Asimov, so what I'm saying here won't be much help.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tompkins v. Tompkins, 92 N.J.Eq. 113 -- Great Judicial Writing

After five years of marriage, the parties still had not consummated the relationship. Impotence is a ground for annulment of a marriage, and usually the party seeking annulment has the burden of proof. Some courts, however, will apply a rule that after three years of no hanky-panky (I think that’s the legal term) the burden will shift to the husband. Here’s some of what the court had to say.
[T]he question comes to one of belief in his story of forbearance for five years, under most trying circumstances, simply because sexual intercourse was painful and distressing to her I have misgivings. Such solicitude of a groom is noble, of a husband, heroic. Few have the fortitude to resist the temptations of the honeymoon. But human endurance has its limitations. When nature demands its due, youth is prodigal in the payment. Men are still cavemen in the pleasures of the bed. . . . And if, in fact, he had the physical power, and refrained from sexual intercourse during the five years he occupied the same bed with his wife, purely out of sympathy for her feelings, he deserves to be doubted for not having asserted his rights, even though she balked.
(Emphasis added)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wheel of Fortune Theme Weeks

I've been kind of discouraged lately because I haven't had any good ideas for new posts. That is, until now.

BTW, be sure to check out my new renter, link in the sidebar.

Wheel of Fortune seems of late to be afraid to do just a regular show. They have theme weeks all the time. For example, the current theme is college, so they invite only college students to participate. That's all fine and dandy, but other times they have stupid things like soap opera starts or royal treatment week, or other such bullcrap. So, I got to thinking that I could come up with much better theme weeks for them. Here are my ideas.

Blind Week

Only blind people would be allowed to play, and the letters would be in Braille. The players would have to go down there with Vanna and feel the board. Their guide dogs are allowed to help.

Mullet Week

I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. Possible puzzles:
Category: Before and After / Solution: "Gerber Daisy Duke"
Category: Phrase / Solution: "It's Got a Hemi"

Divorced Couples Week

They work together on it, but in the end the ex-wife gets to keep all the money. Moving on . . . .

Drinking Game Week

During this theme week, contestants will have to take a drink any time they land on a "bankrupt" or "lose a turn" space on the wheel, as well as when they call out an incorrect letter/solution or when another player correctly answers a toss-up question. "Drinking Game Week" will be followed, of course, by "Rehab Week". Possible puzzle:
Category: Phrase / Solution: "You know, you know, hey, you know, are you even listening to me? Seriously, I mean it . . . oh man, I am so sloshed."

Goth Week

The producers will turn the lights down low and Vanna will be dressed all in black with her hair dyed to match. "Gothic" contestants will be invited. Possible puzzle solutions:
Category: Event / Solution: "Cutting Yourself"
Category: Occupation / Solution: "Grave Digger"
Category: Place / Solution: "Outside" (they'll never get that one)

Mentally Retarded Week

This may sound offensive at first, but actually I think it's a good idea. You could make the puzzles a little easier, and it would make them feel good about themselves and give them a chance to win some money.

Coming Out Week

During "Coming Out Week" on Wheel of Fortune, only homosexuals who have not "come out of the closet" will appear on the show. They can tell the whole world their secret. (I have to give complete credit to my wife for this idea.) Possible puzzles:
Category: On the Map / Solution: "Fire Island"
Category: Event / Solution: . . . Well, you can use your imagination here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Reasonableness and Jury Nullification

Be sure to check out the latest photo at FMPhoto, because I'm really proud of it. :)

Anyone even remotely familiar with the law is aware of the "reasonable man" or the "reasonable person." It's a standard that has found its way into every nook and cranny of the law where legislators and judges have been unable or unwilling to fill in the blanks in specific situations to decide what the law should be in those specific circumstances. For example: should the power company put nets under its power lines so they don't land on the telephone lines and cause a loud sound to go through to the person listening on the phone?

And those same people are also likely aware of the concept of "jury nullification," where juries disregard the law in favor of a result that they think is more desirable. For example: even though person A was driving like a nut case, person B (who was injured) is a big jerk and we don't want to give him any money anyway.

I now posit that the two concepts are complementary.

The concept of the "reasonable person" is simply meant to make judges and lawyers feel better about situations where they should let the jury decide the case however they please. It's more than just a concept of moral or economic fault. Any time the decision is left up to "reasonableness," the jury just gets to give money to the person who deserves it most.

The case that proves this more than any other is the famed case of Li v. Yellow Cab Co. of California, where the California Supreme Court adopted the concept of comparative negligence. This doctrine allows juries to give only part of the damages to the plaintiff because of the degree of fault which is attributable to him. There is no principled basis on which you can draw to come to the conclusion that P is 25% at fault and D is 75% at fault. And if I remember correctly, the dissent in that case made this point very clear--the concept of comparative negligence does not have its theoretical basis in the law of negligence itself. Negligence makes the person at fault pay for the damage that he's caused. Nowhere in that theory is there any room for sharing blame on an arbitrary basis.

So what is comparative negligence? It's just a tacit approval of jury nullification, allowing juries more free reign to do whatever they please. And this is true of all areas of the law where "reasonableness" rears its head. The juries ask themselves what they would have done in that position, and how sorry they feel for each party, and distribute the rewards accordingly.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Guest Blog: Mr. Zero

I have a new guest blog up at FMPhoto. Check it out.

His web site can be found here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mind Trip

For a bit of a mind trip, go here. It's a discussion on time, matter, energy, and the universe. The author attempts to disprove Aristotle's concept of an ultimate cause (often used as an argument for God's existence), although I'm not entirely sure he does it. He also asserts that time is illusory (a little bit of Parmenides?).