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September 2004
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Toot Toot

"No one ever went to law school to be humble."
-- Wallace's Postulate

Weblogs are all about self-absorption, right? That being the case, you will be unsurprised as I point you toward the multimedia section at Insurance Journal, where you will find streaming audio of an interview with This Very Fool. The discussion is on legal and insurance-related weblogging, with my own Declarations and Exclusions as its jumping-off point.

The interview has already drawn praise from respected academics, as well as gentle correction from a not-unexpected source.

Duck, Goose!

Small_marching_gooseIs there some trauma in the childhood of Senator John Kerry that we haven't heard about?

The curious want to know:

He feasts upon their livers.

He shoots them from the skies.

What is it with Senator Kerry and geese?

UPDATES (later that same day): Are Republicans Friends of Geese [FOGs]? Let it be noted that our Republican Governor Schwarzenegger did sign into law the Anti-Foie Gras Legislation alluded to in one of my earlier posts.

Elsewhere: cleanse your palate with the wide array of goose-related haiku at f/k/a . . . .

A rhetorical question: What direction is our conversation heading with all this talk of geese?
Down, of course, down!


Howard Dean -- governor of Vermont, erstwhile presidential candidate, one-time physician (and as such a man who only needs to explain other people's purple hearts) -- was the subject of one of this weblog's first double-dactyls (posted in the waning hours of 2003). Having mocked him here, the least I can do in fairness is to point you to his performance in the following advert for Yahoo Local, in which he displays a charming self-deprecating humor about himself. Good on ya, doc.

You May Firefox When Ready, Gridley

I'm sold. I'm sold. After three weeks' use I am prepared to declare that Mozilla Firefox is a clearly superior browser to The Moribund Thing From Redmond known as IE [pronounced "Aieeee!"]. Get it [Firefox] right here if you don't have it already. As one who is Not Your Lawyer, I so advise you anyway.

What did it lack until now that I most missed? A right-click option to post to a weblog. But wait: thanks to Brother Advocate Dave Stratton's Insurance Defense Blog, I learn of JustBlogIt, a dandy little Firefox extension that ... gives you a right-click option to post to a weblog. Joy joy joy.

Ooooh. Lookie here: it works!

Hey Ho, the Wind and the Rain

When Florida suffered under the blows of hurricanes from every direction, some unfortunate souls took two or more hits in rapid succession. (The essence of real estate: location, location, location!) Because each hurricane is a separate event, most insurance policies will apply a separate deductible to each loss, much to the chagrin of suffering homeowners and the occasional opportunistic politician. Martin Grace has taken up the subject, more or less seriously, here and also here. At the far low end of seriousness, another regular reader dropped me an e-mail and asked that I "please bridge the gap between your two weblogs with a double-deductible double dactyl." I try to be obliging, I really do, and after fretting over the problem for a couple of weeks, this is the best I've been able to cobble together:

Hurricane Season: A Double De-dactyl

Dire déjà vu for some
Soggy Floridians:
Charley then Frances then
Ivan then Jeanne.

Struck more than once, they’ll pay
Double deductibles,
Wishing perhaps they had
Stayed in Racine.

Random Foolishness

Busy, busy, busy! Nothing much original to be expected here until perhaps sometime on Monday. Meanwhile, tide yourself over with these recommended Elsewheres:

♣ The Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam is extra-soggy today: rain is accumulating on the camera's enclosure and no one is being allowed up on Johnston Ridge to wipe it off. If you are nostalgic for the various steamy eruptions of the past week, you can now access VolcanoCam Movies of the events of October 1, 4 and 5.

♣ Whatever did I do with myself before I discovered Professor Althouse? Today, she draws the connection between Saddam Hussein and Woody Allen by way of Nieman-Marcus.

♣ Greg Perry offers a Nobel-inspired consideration of Bob Dylan's creative debt to the Child Ballads [caution -- noisy link] and other sources. Although the argument is not explicit in Greg's piece, the breadth of preexisting material that has gone into Dylan's highly-admired oeuvre would provide powerful evidence in support of a Lessig-style approach to intellectual property rights: a broadly-defined public domain to draw on and a similarly broad notion of permissible "fair use." I mentioned some of Bob Dylan's more unexpected recent influences here.

After the Circus Left Town

Long time readers will "recall" that I was an enthusiast for last year's election in which we Californians removed then-Governor Gray Davis and selected Arnold Schwarzenegger as his replacement. You may also remember the view of others -- held widely (and largely in good faith) at the time -- that the entire business was no more than a disastrous and embarrassing Circus that should never have been allowed to take place.

The Sacramento Bee's Daniel Weintraub notes today's one-year Anniversary of the Recall and concludes that it was hardly the civic disaster many feared:

A few things did change:

Californians paid $4 billion less in taxes than they otherwise would have, illegal immigrants didn’t get drivers licenses, the workers compensation system got some further fixes, and Indian gaming tribes got permission to expand on the condition that they give more money to the state treasury and grant their neighbors, their employees and customers rights they did not have before. Also, the voters are happier with the performance of their government – the executive and the Legislature – and have rated Schwarzenegger about as highly as any governor who has served in the last half century.

The recall was not a revolution. It was an election. Voters were given an opportunity to re-do the 2002 election, when they had expressed disdain for both major candidates, give a vote of confidence or no confidence to the incumbent, and start fresh with a new leader. They did that and, contrary to much of the punditry, survived. So did democracy. Life goes on.

One other change of note: We may no longer have a circus in Sacramento, but we still have a tent.

Last Judgment on Lucas

Conservatism holds itself out as devoted to the preservation of what is best in our culture. That the definition of "our culture" has broadened considerably, even in conservative circles, is evidenced by Jonathan Last of The Weekly Standard, who blasts the liberties taken by George Lucas in the new DVD Edition of the original Star Wars Trilogy. Wickedness and revisionism are afoot:

These changes, counterproductive as they are, should be endurable. After all, George Lucas created these movies. He has the right to wreck them if he wants. But Lucas isn't just putting out newer, flawed versions. He is embarked on a campaign to create The One True Version of the Star Wars mythology. You see, every time Lucas tinkers with one of his movies, the changes becomes the official version. The older versions are then quietly and efficiently erased from the public record.

* * *

In a few years the original versions of the Star Wars trilogy will be vanished completely. Many filmmakers put out director's cuts of their movies, which are sold alongside the theatrical versions. George Lucas, on the other hand, is so obsessed with airbrushing history that at the end of the day, only Jar-Jar Binks will be left seated on the couch with Lenin.

Some readers will necessarily reject Last's opinions, given that he is a notorious apologist for the Dark Side.

UPDATE 10/6/04: Like Homer, I nod, but in this case it is to express agreement. Greg Perry raises the level of the discourse with a kind link to this post and with a discussion of a point I thought about, but never incorporated here: the value of having all of the versions of a given work available, even if only one is deemed "finished" by its author.

As I suggested above, George Lucas is well within the bounds of his authorial rights, but I think he is harming his own long-term reputation as a creator even more than he is annoying his fans.

And while we're speaking of Greg: I haven't spent much time at all on any serious consideration of poetry here lately, but I have kept up my reading of others' poetry weblogs. I tend to agree with Mike Snider that Greg and Henry Gould have been particularly strong lately. I disagree with Mike's loss of enthusiasm for Wallace Stevens, though: as good as Frost was, I'm a die-hard Stevens man. But then, Stevens was an insurance lawyer, too.