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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

December 17, 2005

they’re baaack! bittersweet collegiate homecomings

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:56 pm

The New York Times Headlines email letter came this morning
with the following Quotation of the Day:
“It’s always nice when they come home. And it’s always nice when they leave.”

– PATRICIA GOSS,  on having children home from

college for the holidays.
(see the accompanying article: “Home for Holidays, Rocking the Nest,” by
Vincent M. Mallozzi, Dec. 17, 2005).  It’s a topic that has been addressed
by a few of f/k/a’s Honored Guest Poets:

first night home from college

click of the latch

on her bedroom door

his room empty now …
in the distance, points of the light
on the interstate

boy shooting baskets–

deep snow piled

all around him


home from a date—
my roommate’s underwear
now inside out

our two loudest
on vacation
in the same week
last sandwich
from the loaf
the two ends
3 P.M.
mom’s shoveling wakes
the cranky collegian
update: See Paul David Mena’s treatment
of this theme here (Dec. 19, 2005).
NoSantaGS I’m sure the RiskProf is more than happy to send his students
back to their parents over the Holiday Break. But don’t go thinking he’s
only having fun.  For example, see his response to little Virginia Hazard’s
question on the existence of Adverse Selection.”   He’s brutally frank,
making analogies to Santa Claus.   Now I’m wondering what he’s going
to say when Virginia’s brother Moral Hazard writes in wondering whether
Cherry Picking really happens in the insurance industry.  Stay tuned.
snow pile

the Ranter is hunting Reindeer

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:21 pm

The opinionated proprietor of the Taken for Ranted weblog must

believe in the old saw “If you’ve got the name, you might as well

have the game.”   In response to those who insist there is a war

on Christmas, Ranter has posted “John Calvin Joins the Ranter

in the War on Christmas” (Dec. 15, 2005)




Here are a few excerpts (which I hope will get you to go read the

entire post and check out his merchandise; of course, if you haven’t

already, feel free to first check out our “the so-called war on Christmas

“NEWSFLASH: The Ranter has declared war on Christmas!

Or at least Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson and the other genius right-

wingers at Faux News believe that liberal, left, secularists like The

Ranter have declared war on Christmas. I hate to disappoint, so I

Joining me in this anti-crusade is John Calvin, the famous Reformer

of Geneva, father of the Puritan movement and one of the original

soldiers in the war on Christmas.

“Many commentators have written to note that Christmas is alive and

well (or ill from a case of acute commercialism, actually, but most

Christians and atheists agree with that assessment as well unless they

happen to be retailers).


“. . .  More surprising to many Christians and atheists alike is that the

great-grandfather of religious fundamentalism, John Calvin, was himself

a soldier in the war against Christmas. Like most educated Christians,

Calvin knew that the birth of Jesus did not correspond in any meaningful

way to December 25th, and that it was in essence a pagan holiday that

had been absorbed and coopted by early Christians. Calvin, however, went

the next step in believing that only holidays specifically mentioned in the

Bible should be celebrated.”



Like any good retailer, Ranter has an entire line of products at his War on Christmas

boutique — from bumper stickers and magnets, to mugs, shirts and tote bags. As 

he explains pitching the product: 

“Make War on Christmas, Not Iraq” Tired of Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson?

Join The Ranter in the war on Christmas. I mean this tongue in cheek, of

course. I wrote a blog post pointing out that John Calvin was a soldier in

the war on Christmas and, being a fan of Calvin, I have decided to enlist


If you’ve given in to the commercialization of our Holiday Season, Ranter has a lot

of other gifts to please the Liberals in your life (or to tweak the conservatives),

including products featuring:



Republicans can read, but clearly they don’t or they wouldn’t vote the

way they do.”


Lost. One Democracy Want Ad.   “LOST: One democracy. Large

economic and military power. 300,000,000 citizens. Last seen in

North America cavorting with corporate fat cats and religious funda-

mentalists. If found, return to the American people. Great sentimental


Besides checking out his full product line at CafePress, you could do far worse than

checking in regularly at Taken for Ranted, which has the appropriate tagline: “Paying

attention, and therefore outraged.”  On the other hand, reindeer might want to steer

clear of his home in Yosemite, CA, for the next week or so.



lips and tongues

traditional Christmas





tiny check   Prof. Bainbridge often deserves tweaking, but he also again deserves

credit for his posts the past couple of days on Iraq triumphalism, and America’s

need to be better than “Coercive interrogations. A gulag of secret prisons. And

now warrantless surveillance.” 


Pape & Chandler will seek certiorari for their Pit Bull

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:52 am

A month ago, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that attorneys

John Pape and Marc Chandler acted unethically by using a

pit bull logo and an 800-PIT-BULL phone number in marketing

their services to persons injured in motor cycle accidents.  The

Court said the Pit Bull image demeaned the legal profession.  

Consumer and First Amendment advocates, legal ethics experts,

and the public in general, replied scornfully to the Court’s argument

and hoped Pape & Chandler would take the case to the United

States Supreme Court. (see our prior post, which collects many



dog black


Marc Chandler has informed f/k/a that Pape & Chandler won’t just heel

and whimper.  Instead, they have hired Rodney A. Smolla, Dean of the

Richmond School of Law and well-known First Amendment author and

advocate, to seek review of the case at our nation’s highest court.  [In

2003, Smolla successfully represented the respondent in Virginia v. Black,

538 U.S. 343, a cross-burning case.]


Of course, the certiorari hurdle is always great, but I’d be interested

in hearing predictions on how the various Justices might vote, should

they take the case.  Would the Court conclude that pious notions of

“dignity” only make the legal profession look silly and are inadequate

reasons for limiting commercial speech and First Amendment rights

of lawyers and consumers?



christmas morning

the old retriever gets

all the innards


            ed markowski 





not much afternoon left–

his dog runs loose

ahead of him







the dog out–

the stars in




distant thunder–

the dog’s toenails click

against the linoleum


(Canon Press, 1999)




brand new snowbank

the neighbor’s dog

makes a deposit




p.s. Here’s a smaller, b&w version of the logo in question:




fresh scent–

   the labrador’s muzzle

        deeper into the snow









Christmas morning—
bird dog in the stubblefield
chasing sparrows


    Lee Gurga from Fresh Scent (1998) 

                                                                                                                                dog neg


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