Monday, January 30, 2006


My thoughts have wondered off my ever important work-topic today-- how the writers of the UCC clearly missed the issue with which I am presented. I have been reading a book about the Battle of Vicksburg and the campaign in Mississippi during the Civil War. It's my ever present effort to dull my mind during the first hour of being on the trainer. I am ready for the sun to come up just a few minutes earlier and then I'm back outside because this is killing me.

I admit that I am in love with the City of Vicksburg. Unfortunately that city does not exist anymore. People back home ask if there was a place in Mississippi that I would be willing to live in for a long while and I always respond by saying either Oxford or Vicksburg. I realize now that neither is correct but for different reasons. The Oxford that I knew and loved is vanishing for me. The city remains, but the reasons I loved it are slowly disappearing as I grow older and my interests grow further away. I had the same feelings regarding Lawrence, KS too. I can never recapture the city that I lived in while going to school because the opportunities and motivations that drove me back then are changed and will continue to change.

As to Vicksburg, the city that I am in love with has not existed for a long time and maybe never has. I have an overly romanticized view of the town, which doesn't match reality. I picture it as parasols and southern belles walking down Washington St. In my mind the city is the epitome of the arts and culture. The high point of ante bellum life with balls, clubs and dinners. I even once thought of buying the historic Balfour House which was for sale recently ($895,000 for the house and the 1 acre lot next to it--that would have been a steal).

Upsettingly, reality does not mix with the present. What exists is a shadow of what could exist. There is so much potential in that town, but no one seems capable of unlocking it. The mayor has done an improving effort to push it forward, but still violence, drugs and murder are hard to push out of your city. I wish the government could come in, evict the population of most of downtown, bulldoze it and start afresh. Then it could become the city that I imagine it in my mind being. However, thinking now, that if I did buy the Balfour House surely any left over spirits of Confederate dead would haunt it's Illinois owner. It would be an interesting turn of fate for the home. Maybe it would be the completion of a long-lost goal of U.S. Grant. I still do have LullaBelle.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Complete Exhaustion

I have run out of energy today. Which means that my tolerance for just about anything is going. Therefore, I find myself biting my tongue more and more. A lot of things have been setting me off lately, mostly dealing with the fact that I cannot tolerate fakeness or as put in Mississippi politeness. I have always been a fan of proper deportment, but a lot of what happens around me that is called politeness is pomp and circumstance, which I thought appropriately died in almost all circles when the revolution came (the 1776 one).

I asked Mom last night at what point in time do I arrive at the level of authority where I can tell someone that I just do not care what they are saying and that I stopped caring long before they opened their mouth? She told me that if that ever happened that it would happen the day after my name goes on the door of the oval shaped office. So alas, that might not happen for a good long time, but I am looking forward to that day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Judiciary

The problem with working in the judiciary is that you have to objectively listen to stupidity and then address its merits. While this may appear simple in theory it is incredibly difficult in practice. I have become a study in temperance and self-restraint, which in the past were not things that I excelled at. I would love to write something to the effect of: "the appellant is a complete and utter moron if he/she/it honestly believes what he/she/it is saying is true". However, I typically end up writing: "we find that the appellant's argument is without merit". Trust, me the two typically mean the same thing.

In the last 24 hours I have found my writing slowed and more deliberate than usual. I largely blame it on the issues which are currently before me and their complexity. However, some is also to blame for the fact that there always seems to be a gray area. I've dealt with only 2 or 3 cases that were clear, cut and dry. The rest have been at one point in time a mess. I am amazed by how often a set of facts splits the middle of two theories of law or binding precedents.

I find absolutely amazing the size and body of law out there on any single topic. It seems that every issue in the history of society has been dealt with by our courts, except for the issue that you are currently faced with. I applaud litigants for their ability to accidently find themselves in a mess that no one has ever dealt with before. Maybe after I leave my post I'll have a better understanding of how this can happen, but I doubt it. Likely I leave here just as amazed as I was the first day I arrived.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Training Camp in Review

I survived the camp. While at some points in time it was painful, overall it was very productive and a good time. The second day was rained out, but what can you say, the first day was pretty good. Some of the people with me definitely bit off a little more than they could chew but overall the group stayed cohesive and together.

I got back here to find a rather upset e-mail posted to one of the list-servs that I am a part of regarding proper cycling etiquette. Apparently a cyclist got upset because a bunch of riders rode quickly by them without announcing their presence as they went by and at times doing so three abreast.

The law is pretty clear on the riding two abreast thing, if you don't agree with me just read Miss Code Ann. Sec. 65-3-603. So if you do ride three abreast you're just plain stupid. I have always been of the opinion that on the typical group ride that the group should ride two abreast. Some people seem to think that it's important to placate cars and ride single file along the side of the road. That only invites death and accidents. At two abreast riders are half the width of a car. At that size we actually become something to deal with. A car has to slow or stop or at the least, to think about passing us. Single file we are an afterthought and can easily be crowded or pushed to the side.

As to identifying yourself as you pass another rider, that's just courtesy. If your nice and friendly and want to say something to someone as you pass than do so. Otherwise you don't have to do anything like the sort. Maybe in a crowded environment it's better to do that; but if you don't the other person really shouldn't get upset about it. If you're willing to ride and be passed by cars weighing several tons, then you should be unthreatened by someone on a bike weighing 200 pounds. The writer of the e-mail said that people were lucky they didn't end up with road rash by what they did. I wasn't there so I can't say that they passed close by them or anything to cause such a reaction, but frankly if you can't stay on your bike while being passed by a group of other cyclists without falling off then maybe you should stick to bike paths.

If that was the approach we all took then we should start writing letters to the editor when someone cuts us off on the highway or passes too close to us while driving. I think people need to just relax. You're riding your bike it is supposed to be fun and when you start clinging to rules of etiquette like they are the Napoleonic Code then it ceases to be fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Training Camp

This weekend marks my first cycling training camp. It's not that I'm a novice at the sport, it's just that I've never gone to one. My schedule has always been open enough to let me ride at my convenience for as long as I liked.

I'm a little uneasy about this camp. I know that my conditioning is good and that I'm not going to die from lack of training. My uneasiness comes from the fact that I know next to nothing about the people that I'll be riding with. I've always found it very uncomfortable to ride with people that I don't know. Something has to be said for trusting the person who is riding next to you at a distance of less than a foot. If they do something stupid or wrong and fall then you'll be right next in line to do the same.

Plus I don't know their levels of conditioning and fitness. This could turn out to be the longest rides ever to accomplish the shortest distances. I'm sure everything will turn out fine but I'm uncomfortable. We are heading up to my old stomping grounds in Yoknapatawpha so the ground is familiar to me. I have these preconceived routes and rides planned in my head, but since I know next to nothing about anyone I can't say for a certainty whether or not they'll be appropriate.

I'm looking forward to it, but just uneasy because I am in the dark. My expectations are likely going to be different than others.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What Can a New Year Bring

Admittedly I know that this year, 2006, is going to be one for the record books...well at least in my life. It's my first year. It's my first full year since graduating from law school, since passing the bar and since getting a steady permanent paying job. Not to mention the most important thing being a full new year with LullaBelle. These things are outstanding and enchanting episodes in my life. So much new...soo much new.

When you go out for a good ride, especially one of exploration it's always exciting. You get to see new things and be in new places. The scenery changes and changes and there is always something out there for you to discover. You have a tendency of getting really lost though. I ride by maps a lot. Thankfully Mississippi has been kind enough to put all the county maps online, otherwise I'd have to order away from God knows where.

I make these intricate routes with a million turns, because no road in these counties goes further than 10 miles in any direction and carry notes with me on torn up pieces of envelopes. Even with the best laid plans I go awry quite often. I've ended up in some pretty messy places before and then it's just luck that gets me home. Maybe this is a metaphor for my life?