Friday, June 30th 2006
posted @ 8:51 am in [ ]
Say you’ve been trying to have this one kind of light work schedule for about two years so you could finish your dissertation and get the hell out of school once and for all, and you finally get that kind of schedule. Say you finally defeat some various problems with discipline and are cranking along, back in the groove, making great progress. Hooray! What could go wrong now? Is that light at the end of the tunnel?
Why, no: it’s just an oncoming train. The oncoming train of jury duty. BLAM!
Now, let me just clear something up, here. I have always wanted to sit on a jury, ever since Watergate. I love the idea that other citizens should decide the fate of the accused, and not the magistrate living in Locke’s perpetual State of Nature (not a political theory weenie? By all means, ask me to elaborate). I am absolutely wild about citizen participation. I think the whole jury duty thing gets a little dangerous when the average citizen doesn’t know a whole lot about civic engagement, but I imagine serving on a jury gives citizens a bit more education about it.
The reality is, though, that they don’t really want me. I never get picked when I get called, EVER! Millions of people in this country attempt to weasel out of jury duty every year, I actively want to do it, and the judicial system doesn’t even want me. It goes like this:
“And what is your Ph.D. in?”
“What is your specialty?”
“International relations theory, security, violent societies, political theory…”
“The court thanks and excuses Mrs. Spohn.”
Perhaps it’s just that they don’t want anyone who’s intimately familiar with the Federalist Papers sitting on a jury, but you would think they would really want that. My husband had a similar experience with jury empanelment.
“Mr. Spohn, do you believe that the prosecution has the same right to a fair trial as the defense?”
“Hell, no. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, while the defense is innocent until proven guilty.”
“The prosecution thanks and excuses Mr. Spohn.”
He really wanted to serve on that one, too. It looked like it was going to be a really juicy trial.
One of my colleagues was excused from jury duty by giving a Foucaultian rant on the stand when they tried to empanel him for a civil case. He went off about the juridical system and class divisions, and said there was no way he’d side with the wealthy plaintiff, using all sorts of Foucaultian jargon. Now, I’m sure he sounded like a nutcase, but still, here’s someone who understands how the juridical system is supposed to work and how it really does, and they want nothing to do with him.
What I’m getting at here is that, counterintuitively, the more you know about how the judicial/juridical system is supposed to work, the less they seem to want your participation. So basically, they’re just going to haul my ass down to the courthouse — potentially multiple times, because it’s an on-call system — just to send me home. They’re going to disrupt my life and my process, make me park downtown (we should have a hearing about THAT, boy howdy), keep me away from my work, jack up my all-important momentum, all for nothing. In the name of civic duty, I would be okay with all that disruption and parking if they were actually going to use me, but they’re not. It’s just going to be a monumental, state-sponsored disruption. That just sucks.
Tuesday, June 27th 2006
…and who else?
posted @ 10:53 am in [ ]
I can tell some of you are just ITCHING to mention other folks who should get their ignorant, hateful, stupid, incompetent, badly-dressed, and/or corrupt asses out of office. Who else needs to GO and why?
Saturday, June 24th 2006
Wayne Allard needs to get his hateful, ignorant ass out of office
posted @ 11:30 am in [ ]
As you know, I am heavily in favor of the right of any American to get married to whatever consenting adult he or she wishes. My reading of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of these United States is that no group of Americans can be discriminated against. Therefore, saying that Americans who are homosexual cannot enjoy the same legal partnership rights as everyone else is a direct violation of this amendment. Furthermore, the arguments for disallowing same-sex marriage are weeeeeeaaak. As a person who has been married for over 10 years, I can safely say that allowing same-sex couples to get married does not threaten my marriage in any way at all. It’s been going on in my home state of Massachusetts for a couple of years now, and it has had no discernable impact at all on my marriage (except perhaps that it gives my husband and myself something to say “right on” about, but we agree about lots of things).
Since this is an issue about which I feel very strongly, any time a petition comes along that I might sign, or any other way to help this great nation live out the principles laid out in its primary document of governance, I pitch in. I sign that sumbitch. I make the phone calls. I write the letters.
Well, a few weeks ago, I electronically signed such a petition and it went to my various governing officials. My U.S. Congresspersons are Sen. Ken Salazar, for whom I did vote, and with whose work I am pleased enough thus far; Rep. Bob Beauprez, who in this term of service has completely eradicated any respect I had had previously for him with his rotten behavior toward me and my fellow constituents (this is especially sucky because if I lived a mere couple of blocks away, my U.S. Rep. would be Udall, who’s a decent guy, and might I add, hot); and Wayne Allard, who, as the title of this posting suggests, needs to get his hateful, ignorant ass out of office. While I appreciate that he bothered to have a perfunctory missive sent to me at all — Beauprez’s staff is frickin’ SAD at this key function of government — I am horrified by its content. I share it with you below, in no small part because Mr. Allard, MY senator, does not allow his constituents to respond to his lofty emails that his staff deigns to send me. Therefore, I hit “Reply All” writ large. Take a look at this.
First of all, who told Wayne-o that he could call me by my first name? We’re not pals!
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the issue
of marriage. I appreciate you taking the time to write on such an
However, I do not appreciate it enough to allow you to reply to my email. Leave me alone, you annoying consitutent.
Marriage, the union between a man and a woman, has been the foundation of
every civilization in human history. The definition of marriage crosses
all bounds of race, religion, culture, political party, ideology, and
ethnicity. Marriage is incorporated into the very fabric of our society.
It is the one bond on which all other bonds are built and from which
families and communities are grown.
WROOOOONG!!! He has no support for this statement because it’s not true. The foundation of civilizations is the polis, whose atomic piece may be (but is not limited to) the family unit, but definitions as to what constitutes a family unit are all over the place, and none explicitly names marriage between a male and a female as its base, not even Aristotle the gay he-man womanhater himself. Check out Book 2 of the Politics sometime. Furthermore, homosexuality occurs at the rate of approximately 11% of every single human population on earth, whereas views on marriage differ (and incidentally, some cultures have practiced same-sex marriages). Homosexuality, then, is actually more prevalent and consistent than marriage being the keystone of civilization, which Wayne-o would know if he had actually cracked a book and looked for evidence rather than making unsupported assertions. I am not impressed. But hey, he obviously didn’t even read my comments to him, so why the hell would he bother to read a frickin’ book of some kind?!
Furthermore, none of that is important, because the U.S. should not be in the business of making its laws in accordance with ancient sources. We are supposed to live by the Constitution, and amend it only when extremely necessary for better serving The People.
As you may know, on January 24, 2005, I introduced Senate Joint Resolution
1 along with 32 of my Senate colleagues. Known as the Marriage Protection
Amendment, the resolution states that “Marriage in the United States shall
consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this
Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to
require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any
union other than the union of a man and a woman.”
I did this because I have no idea where policy should come from, because I don’t give a rat’s ass what The People actually want, because Britney Spears’ 50-hour marriage is not at all a threat to the institution of marriage while two people of the same sex who have been committed to each other for 30 years really is, and because I found my bus boy attractive on the evening of January 23 and it freaked me out.
Unfortunately, traditional marriage has been under attack by those who
wish to redefine marriage to be something that it is not. Activists have
chosen to debate this issue not through the democratic processes such as
state legislatures, the Congress, or ballot initiatives, but have instead
turned to unaccountable and unelected judges.
Hey, whatever it takes for The People to go over the heads of ignorant, insubordinate weenies until we can get you the hell out of office, Wayne-o.
The purpose of my amendment is two-fold: First, it defines marriage as an
institution solely between one man and one woman, and, second, it ensures
that the people or their elected representatives, not judges, decide
whether to confer the legal incidents of marriage on individuals. This
amendment would not affect civil unions as created by state legislatures,
nor the ability of private employers to offer benefits to same-sex
couples. This amendment simply affirms the traditional definition of
marriage and allows state legislatures, and not courts, to decide the
issue of civil unions or domestic partnerships.
What a load of crap. This man doesn’t seem to understand his job AT ALL. The People and their elected representatives don’t want this. That’s why it got shot down. That means YOU, as an elected representative, should be honoring our wishes to knock it off instead of trying to legislate your own lame, uninformed opinion. Get it? This guy is not just incompetent, he’s perpetrating a hate crime on the U.S. Constitution, on roughly 11% of his constituents, and on society at large.
I do not take amending the U.S. Constitution lightly. My decision to
introduce a Constitutional amendment was made in direct response to the
carefully coordinated campaign to circumvent the democratic process and
redefine marriage through the courts.
This is such a ridiculous pile of lies in such a small space, you almost have to admire it… if it weren’t destroying the fabric of this great and tolerant country (well, on paper, anyway…).
I am pleased that on June 7, 2006, a majority of Senators voting voted in
support of my amendment. Although it did not receive enough votes to end
the filibuster, the progress that was achieved in the Senate and the
states since the first vote on this amendment in 2004 is proof that
marriage remains an important issue to the American people.
WHAT?! If it did not receive enough votes, that means people DON’T want it. Get it? And what exactly is the logic underlying the conclusion that a prior event to that shows that something is continuing? So then, the prior event of the McCarthy hearings in this country proves that the issue of communists in our midst is still an important issue to the American people?
Thank you for writing to share your concerns. I look forward to hearing
from you again. If you would like more information on issues important to
Colorado and the nation, please log on to my website at
Never contact me again. You can’t even respond to this email, and even if you could, I wouldn’t read it or give a rat’s ass. I’m just going to keep on ignoring the fact that I work for you and do whatever I feel like doing. Now go away.
United States Senator
I had an intern write this because I am too busy blowing off the real wishes of the American people I represent to do research or think about stuff, and I prefer it that way.
Know how I discovered I couldn’t reply to this email? I attempted to write a mere two-sentence response that got rejected by the server: It said only, “Your disregard for the 14th Amendment is very disappointing. I can’t wait to make a generous donation to your opponent.” No wonder he has no idea what his constituents want, and no intention of doing it anyway. My fellow Coloradans, please join me in ejecting this ineffective, ignorant, self-serving defiler of the Constitution from office at our earliest opportunity.
Friday, June 23rd 2006
Your offspring constitute a poor obstacle course
posted @ 2:44 pm in [ ]
It’s summertime in the Denver metro area, and lots of folks think it’s fun to take the kiddies out on the bike trail. That’s lovely. But for the luvva mike, people, teach your kids how to use the trail! It is not my job to supervise your kids so they don’t get creamed. It’s yours.
This morning, I had to tell no less than 8 different kids / sets of kids to stay to one side of the trail. I had to slam on my brakes several times to avoid hitting errant small primates. It’s not cute to let kids meander all over the trails; it’s incredibly dangerous. Furthermore, the trails do not belong to your children — they’re public thoroughfares. You don’t let them wander around in the street while you’re not paying attention, do you? Well, maybe you do, because apparently, you are dissatisfied with your genetically obsolete status to the point where you would like your offspring to be roadkill.
Parents heading for the bike trail, I implore you to do at least one of the following:
Be certain that your children can ride a bike well enough to stay on a narrow sidewalk and maintain control of their bikes.
Explain to the kiddies that they must stay to one side of the trail, and make sure they do. Reveal to them the mystery of the words, “On your left.”
Keep an eye on them as opposed to tuning out, talking on your cell phone, etc.
Embrace the opportunity to educate your progeny about key aspects of citizenship.
If you can’t manage the above, kindly refrain from tossing your offspring carelessly under the wheels of passing cyclists, and instead opt for playing in the street together.
Wednesday, June 21st 2006
posted @ 4:10 pm in [
So a number of you have been asking about the best prank I ever pulled off or helped pull off. I’m not saying I would ever knowingly do something illegal or property damaging, but I imagine any statutes of limitation would have expired with regard to most of them. My favorite prank, though, was neither damaging nor truly illegal, yet it seems to me I should probably not actually talk about it until after I graduate. Maybe I can talk about it in a hypothetical kind of way…
Monday, June 19th 2006
posted @ 2:11 pm in [ ]
Last night I went to an incredible restaurant. For those of you within a day’s drive of Colorado, I highly recommend L’Atelier at 1739 Pearl Street in Boulder. Aieeeeee, it’s incredible! I have never before been tempted to lick my plate in a restaurant. We ate little food boogers off the tablecloth after the meal, not caring what they were, knowing simply that they had come from one of our unbelievable plates of food and that they would be heavenly crumblets. And they were. Even my after-dinner tea came in a little silk pouch. Just incredible. Go if you can!
Saturday, June 17th 2006
posted @ 8:16 am in [ ]
Remember the Adventures of Conecat a few weeks ago? Well, the conecat is long since unhindered by coneage, and her fur is growing back nicely. Unfortunately, she has not yet made up with the other cat, who has been living a life of cowering in the bedroom in a laundry basket. She won’t come out.
When I took conecat to the vet, I had to get her off the bed, where both cats were curled up sleeping in a pile. I figured the two of them would hiss at each other for a few days and sort it out, but it’s been weeks. I had to start bringing food in to Petra so she wouldn’t, you know, starve. In the meantime, neither of them seems too happy. Not much bouncing or playing.
The vet doesn’t have any ideas for me. He just kind of shrugged and said, “Cat behavior.” In the meantime, it’s like cat Dynasty around here. Anyone have any ideas?
Friday, June 16th 2006
My latest prank
posted @ 9:20 am in [ ]
I wasn’t even thinking about this, but I think I’m being pranky RIGHT NOW. Perhaps my juvenile nature doesn’t even register pranks as not just being a matter of course. Anyway, this week my husband had a birthday. I knew there was one thing he really wanted, but I’d have to have it specially made, and I’d have to play it really cool to get it: “from the desk of” stationery making a lewd suggestion for those times in the sales game when the people making unreasonable requests of him really need one.
So I went to a printing and copying joint, and I asked if I could get some personalized stationery made up. Not only could I, but they’d make it into pads for me, and put the design on a CD so I could get more printed up anytime. Nice. Now the tricky part: playing it straight.
I received a blank sheet of paper, on which I wrote at the top:
from the desk of…
and then I put his cell phone number below that. I figured that going the ethnic route would be the thing to do here in homogenous Colorado. In the northeast, where people have some clue about ethnic pronunciations, I probably couldn’t have gotten away with it. Here, though, I was then asked what font I would like, and whether I would like any clip art. I picked a thumbnail entitled “man listening” that had a dude in shades and a leather jacket. He was turned slightly to one side with his fingers tented. The perfect punctuation for the request, I thought. So as not to arouse any suspicion, I asked if I could get that by Father’s Day, as if my own dad were just cursed with this terrible name. It was really hard not to crack up.
I saw the proofs yesterday. They look great.
Wednesday, June 14th 2006
posted @ 1:34 pm in [ ]
It occurs to me that some of you (and not just Mike) must be really good pranksters. What was your greatest feat?
Tuesday, June 13th 2006
posted @ 7:03 pm in [ ]
The below article was sent in by alert reader and prank fan, Mike. Thanks, Mike! As you already know, I think clever pranks are a really good way for students to learn problem solving and teamwork skills. Here is the full article, but below is the juicy part:
Those senior pranks
Graduation, however, would probably not be complete without senior pranks, and Washoe County schools had their share.
At Reed, the Class of 2006 put their school up for bid on e-Bay, the Internet shopping Web site, for $21.36. By Friday night, the highest bid hit $107.50.
At McQueen, students wrapped lockers in cellophane, poured syrup on the floor and smeared whipped cream on the walls. The Reno police arrived, however, and forced a cleanup before the students were allowed to leave, other students said.
At Reno High, students somehow got a hold of a master key that opens most doors at the school and moved the furniture from Principal Robert Sullivan’s office to an area near the front entrance of the school known as “The Dome.”
Students also put most of the classroom desks in the halls, put cups of water on the stairs, threw paint on windows and sidewalks and spelled out “Ha Ha,” in the bathrooms using mustard.
“I didn’t like that one because it smelled really bad in there,” student Clint Demeritt said about the mustard after writing a story about the pranks in the student newspaper, The Red & Blue.
Reno students also moved a rock about the size of a Volkswagen from the football field to the front of the school.
“Moving the boulder is impressive,” custodian Kaz “Kookie” Rekucki told The Red & Blue. “I thought that they were not capable of doing that. It was a feat.”
Not all teachers and students at Reno were laughing, however.
“The problem I really had was people were allowed to get into my room,” teacher John Fry told the student newspaper. “I had a test and answer key on my desk.”
The editorial writers of The Red & Blue failed to find much humor in the pranks.
“The behavior of the student pranksters is reprehensible,” they wrote. “The relocation of The Rock and Mr. Sullivan’s office was clever and humorous; however, the prank was simply taken too far with the accessing of the teachers’ rooms, the water cups on the stairs and most egregiously, the paint all over the school.”