Tuesday, February 28, 2012

World's Oldest Rodeo - Arizona Trivia

Did you know that Prescott, Arizona, lays claim to the "World's Oldest Rodeo"? First held on July 4, 1888, the Rodeo has been a part of Prescott "doings" every year since then.

In fact, the World's Oldest Rodeo (celebrating its 125th year this summer) is 25 years older than the State of Arizona (which just turned 100).

This year's rodeo in Prescott will be held June 28 to July 4, 2012, and will feature all the usual events - roping, bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, and barrel racing - and the Town of Prescott also hosts a parade, an arts and crafts festival, and a fireworks show, to boot.

Personally, I can't imagine wanting to ride one of those broncos or bulls. I cringe in pain just watching it! Have any of you ever been to a rodeo? Or ridden in one?

* * * * *
Click here for more information about the World's Oldest Rodeo.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Totally Awkward Tuesday

Back in the day, before she went AWOL, Tova Darling of the blog "Secret Life of Tova Darling" used to run a weekly feature entitled Totally Awkward Tuesdays, in which she would tell a tale of something totally awkward that had happened to her, and would invite readers to post links to their blogs in which they wrote about something totally awkward that had happened to them. It was totally awkward hilarity all around.

Well, I'm busy with Arizona Trivia Tuesdays all year, so I can't revive Totally Awkward Tuesdays on my own blog. However, something totally awkward happened on Tuesday and I just can't resist telling you all about it. And so even though I'm posting it on a Thursday, I'm entitling it "Totally Awkward Tuesday," as a tip o' the hat to dear Tova, who I miss very much now that she is no longer blogging (or if she is blogging somewhere, I haven't found her and she has apparently abandoned her "Secret Life..." blog).

Here is my tale:

I have a friend, we'll call him "Jim" since that's his name, who I have known since law school, which we both attended back in the early 1990's. He used to rent a room from us, and then he moved out, but he kept his key and he is such a good friend, almost family really, so he drops by often. If he drops by and we're here (as evidenced by a car or two in front of the house), he knocks. If he drops by and no one is home, he uses the key and lets himself in. Sometimes we come home to find him kicking back by the TV. Other times, he's cooking us dinner. Either way, we're always happy to see him.

Jim's parents visit him from the northern climes at least once, sometimes twice a year, generally when the weather is nice here and it's butt-freezing cold there. Generally, we go to dinner with them at least once while they are here.

Jim's parents are extremely kind people. We love them. But Jim's dad often mumbles and talks in a very low voice. Many times we have to ask him to repeat what he has said. But sometimes that gets awkward so if the context makes it pretty clear, we just nod and smile even if we're not 100% sure what he said. My dad does this mumbly, low-talking thing, too (and wasn't there a "Seinfeld" episode about that, as well?), the difference being that I'm better at guessing and/or reading lips with my own dad than I am with Jim's dad.

So Tuesday night, we went to dinner with Jim and his parents. We went to an awesome middle eastern restaurant nearby. Jim's dad ordered a platter that came with tabouli as a side dish.

When our food was served, Jim's dad leaned toward me and said (at least I thought he said) that he doesn't really like tabouli, and asked if I would like to have it. I said, "You don't like it at all?" He said (I thought) that he doesn't like it and wasn't planning to eat any of it, and that I could have it if I wanted it. So I said, "Sure, I love tabouli. If you don't want it, I'll be happy to have it." The waiter brought an extra plate, and Jim's dad held his plate up over the plate the waiter brought, as if for me to scrape the tabouli onto my plate.

About halfway through the scraping process, he abruptly moved his plate away. So I stopped scraping even though I was a bit confused because about a fourth of the tabouli was still on his plate and I thought he had stated that he didn't like it and wasn't planning to eat any of it.

He then proceeded to eat every last bite of food that was on his plate, including all of the tabouli that remained there.

I offered him some of my salad, which I had not yet touched. He declined. I pushed the side order of hummus, which we had ordered as a shared appetizer for all of us, in his direction, but he didn't eat any of it. Just kept scraping up random bits of tabouli that were still on his plate, until it was completely bare.

He literally scraped every last little couscous and parsley morsel onto his fork. For a man who (I thought) had stated he did not like tabouli, he was acting like it was his favorite dish! His plate was practically licked clean, and he looked like he wanted more tabouli.... but I had already eaten from the portion I had taken from his plate, so it didn't seem appropriate to offer to give it back.

When Jim's mom seemed like she was done, and had some tabouli left, he even ate some of her tabouli....

So then I felt like I had taken this kind man's food and made a complete pig of myself.

It was all very weird. And awkward.

* * * * *

If you want to join the awkward hilarity, please feel welcome to either tell your tale, or post a link to your own blog with your tale, in the comments section. I'm too lazy to set up "Mr. Linky" the way Tova always did!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Honorable Lorna E. Lockwood - A Trailblazing Western Woman -- Arizona Trivia

Lorna Elizabeth Lockwood was born on March 24, 1903 in Douglas, Arizona -- which at the time was a Territory, not a State (as explained last week, Arizona was admitted to the Union on February 14, 1912).

Her family moved to Tombstone, Arizona in 1913 (yes, that Tombstone - adopted home of the Earp brothers, site of the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral, subject of several movies), and she graduated from high school there in 1920.

She was an amazing woman. As you read this brief summary of her life, remember that during most of her formative years, women did not even have the right to vote in most of this country. Did she let that stop her from dreaming big? No, she did not!

According to the Women's Legal History Biography Project at Stanford University, Lorna E. Lockwood chalked up a number of "firsts" during her long career as an Arizona attorney and judge.

Ms. Lockwood was the first woman to receive a Juris Doctor (law) degree from the University of Arizona College of Law, in 1925. According to the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame, she was the only woman in her class of 13, and was elected president of the Student Bar Association.

She was the first woman in Arizona appointed as an Assistant Attorney General, in 1948.

She was the first woman to sit on the bench of the Arizona Superior Court, appointed in 1951.

And, most amazingly, she was the first woman to become Chief Justice of any State Supreme Court in the U.S., in 1965. (However, according to Wikipedia, we must give credit to Ohio for being the first to elect a woman to serve as Associate Justice on its Supreme Court - a position held by the Honorable Florence Ellinwood Allen from 1922 until her appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in 1934.)

The Honorable Lorna Lockwood served on the Arizona Supreme Court from 1961 to 1975, and was Chief Justice twice, from 1965-66 and from 1970-71. (Interestingly, Lorna's father, the Honorable Alfred C. Lockwood, served on the Arizona Supreme Court from 1925 to 1943; she used the same office and desk he had used.)

In the 1960's, the Honorable Lorna Lockwood was a candidate and was almost nominated to be the first female justice on the United States Supreme Court. However, President Johnson appointed Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, instead.

Sadly, the Honorable Lorna Lockwood died in 1977 at the age of 74 due to complications of pneumonia (an awful disease, as I know from personal experience).

* * * * *

As a law student, I can remember reading Arizona cases authored by Ms. Lockwood and being impressed that Arizona was progressive enough to have a woman supreme court justice sooner than many other states. Our State may come across as reactionary and ultra-conservative on a lot of issues (see generally Arizona politics), but women's participation in public life isn't one of them (see Wikipedia's biography of the Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor, another famous jurist from Arizona).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Arizona

On this day, 100 years ago, the Territory of Arizona became the State of Arizona.

Yes, on Valentine's Day, 1912. Can't you just feel the love?

This year, the anniversary of the year Arizona became our 48th State, I am learning and/or sharing a lot of trivial, but interesting, facts about my adopted home State. Thus, my new "Arizona Trivia Tuesdays" feature.

For today, just a few facts about Arizona's admission to the Union:

* Arizona was the last of the continental States to be admitted to the Union. It was another 47 years before we admitted any other states to the Union, with Alaska and Hawaii being admitted in 1959.

* President William Howard Taft signed the bill admitting Arizona to the Union.

* The Arizona Constitution includes provisions allowing people to propose and enact laws by initiative and referendum.

* Immediately after Arizona achieved statehood, Arizona women's suffrage supporters put those initiative and referendum powers to good use: they began an initiative campaign to place women's suffrage on the ballot. They were successful, and in the 1912 elections, Arizona (along with Oregon and Kansas) joined the 6 other Western States that allowed women to vote. This was 8 years before the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote nationwide.

That's it for today. I'll continue sharing much more Arizona trivia every Tuesday all year long. Hope you enjoy it!

* * * *
Legal Mumbo Jumbo:

Photo by Graceful Cake Creations, found on flickr, and used under a creative commons license. Use of photo does not imply endorsement by copyright holder. Isn't it a lovely cake?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Worst. Illness. Ever.

Lately I've been writing some of my best stuff in the comments on other blogs. So I'm recycling this one from a comment I left on Janie Junebug's blog, in response to her question, "What is the worst illness you ever suffered?" (Or words to that effect).

Since Janie's blog is invitation only (due to some privacy violations and other stalker-ish issues she was having with some commenters), you can't all go there to answer her question (well, some of you can, if you've joined her blog). But you can answer her question here, if you like. Feel free to share your worst illness ever in the comments section below. Note to the squeamish: You might want to avoid reading the comments for today.

Here is my story:

When I was a kid, maybe 8 years old, living in Florida, I caught pneumonia during the Christmas break. I think it was after Christmas, though. My parents later told me I almost died from it.

It came on very suddenly. I was feeling absolutely fine, and I went to a sleepover at a friend's house, woke up in the middle of the night feeling awful, and my Dad had to come pick me up at something like 2:00 a.m. I think he was angry about it until he saw how awful I looked and felt. I actually watched his expression go from frustration to "holy crap I've never seen her look so bad," and then he carried me gently to the car.

I was sick for weeks and weeks and had to take penicillin. The doctor had prescribed these horse pills but I hadn't learned to swallow pills yet and sure wasn't going to learn on those giant things, so my mom had to crush them up and mix them in with a dixie cup full of soda, usually Pepsi but sometimes Sprite, and it was soooo bitter and awful tasting but I had to drink all of it, every time. She'd even pour more soda in the little dixie cup and swish it around so we wouldn't miss any. Ugh. I still don't like soda all that much.

And at least twice a day, every day, my dad had to come in and hold me over his lap with my head hanging down over the trash can by the bed and hit me on the back between the shoulder blades at just the right angle (as demonstrated by the doctor) until I coughed up a bunch of the goo that was in my lungs. He later told me it was all he could do not to puke every time... poor guy...

I was in a fog for ... ? days? weeks? ... I don't know.

I only know that finally, after missing whatever was left of Christmas vacation plus a bit of school, I started to come out of the fog and then I was lucid for longer and longer times each day and then one day I felt well enough to sit up and it was a beautiful bright sunny Florida winter day, and I begged my mom to let me go outside. I wanted to run in the sunshine. My legs were weak, though, so I settled for sitting on the edge of the driveway in a spot of warm sunshine and enjoying the cool air and gentle breeze.

It was the most beautiful day God ever made. I felt alive again.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Puns In My Email

Pun fun for the educated mind...and maybe even you!

1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. Atheism is a nonprophet organization.

12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: "You stay here; I'll go on a head."

13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: "Keep off the Grass."

15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

17. A backward poet writes inverse.

18. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine.

21. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One said, "I've lost my electron." The other said "Are you sure?" The first replied, "Yes, I'm positive."

25. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dwarf Planet Pluto - Arizona Trivia Tuesdays

Did you know that the object formerly known as a planet called Pluto (demoted, in 2006, to "dwarf planet" status) was discovered in 1930 at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona?

The following is summarized from Wikipedia.org:

Neptune's existence was predicted in the early 1840's, before its first observation in 1846, because of disturbances in Uranus's orbit. Disturbances in Uranus' orbit that were not explained by Neptune led astronomers to predict the existence of yet another planet in our solar system, out beyond Uranus' orbit.

Percival Lowell searched until his death in 1916 for the planet, and in 1915, his observatory captured two faint images of Pluto, but no one recognized them at the time.

In 1929, Clyde Tombaugh, who at 23 years old was new to the Lowell Observatory, was appointed to conduct a systematic search for the planet, and he succeeded in February 1930.

The planet was officially named on March 24, 1930. It was not named after the Disney character, but after the god of the underworld in classical mythology. It is possible that the Disney character was named after the planet.

Over the years, estimates of Pluto's mass were repeatedly revised downward, until 2006 when it was finally demoted to "dwarf planet" status. [See footnote 1]

Additional interesting facts about Pluto:

* It takes 248 Earth years for Pluto to complete its orbit (i.e., for one "Pluto year"). That must be one heckuva long winter, right? Then again, it's so far from the sun that it is, for us, impossibly cold (approximately -230C) all the time anyway!

* It takes 6.39 Earth days for Pluto to revolve (i.e., for one "Pluto day").

* A portion of its orbit brings it closer to the sun than Neptune for approximately 20 years out of each 248. This occurred most recently between February 7, 1979 and February 11, 1999. (I am amazed that they can figure this out down to the very day, for an object so far away....). Fortunately, because of the different "angles" of their orbits from the plane of the Earth's orbit, their orbits do not intersect, so we do not risk a planet / dwarf planet collision at some point in the future that might destroy both celestial objects. [See footnote 2]

* Pluto is approximately 2/3 as big as our moon.

* Pluto has one large moon, Charon, and at least three smaller ones. Some astronomers consider Charon and Pluto to be more like a binary planet system (a "dwarf double planet") rather than planet and moon.

* * * *

Footnote 1: Interestingly, in 1992 new data from Voyager 2 indicated that Neptune's mass was sufficient to account for the gravitational effects on Uranus, and that no other planet was needed to account for the disturbances in Uranus' orbit. So, even though the wobbles in Uranus' orbit, combined with the mis-estimation of Neptune's mass, predicted the existence of a planet at a certain place in space, and even though Pluto was discovered to exist there, it was all just a big coincidence.

Footnote 2: When I was in elementary school, we were taught that the planets went, in order, like this: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. We even built a paper mache model of the solar system and hung the planets from the ceiling in my 2nd grade classroom.

For about 20 years, I guess they had to hang Pluto closer to the sun than Neptune.

And nowadays, I guess there'd be no Pluto hanging from the ceiling. I confess to a certain sense of nostalgic loss.

Although, to argue the other side, I suppose if we did continue to recognize Pluto as a planet, we'd have to learn the names of a whole legion of other similarly sized orbital objects that fall into that "dwarf planet" category that we otherwise get to freely ignore while learning about planets. So I'm guessing elementary school kids all over the world are grateful for Pluto's demotion.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fine Parenting Moment #3897

Legal Mist's Son: (While jumping up and down) Can I have a jawbreaker? Can I? Can I? Please? Can I have a jawbreaker?

LegalMist's Husband: If I give you one, will you go away?

Son: Yes!!

Husband: If I give you two, will you go away faster?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lawyers. Ugh.

How can you tell if a lawyer is telling a lie? His lips are moving....

Normally I hate those kinds of lawyer jokes. I try so hard to be decent, trustworthy, honest... I don't like to be made fun of in that way... but sometimes I totally see where these things come from.

I'm currently dealing with a case in which the attorneys on the other side are untrustworthy. They literally lie and cheat. It is despicable. They are the type who give rise to "jokes" like the one above.

Example: Case is pending in a forum which allows for electronic filing of documents and service by email or U.S. Mail. You get 5 days to respond, but you get extra time added to that if service is by U.S. Mail. Attorneys for the other side e-filed a motion. The service certificate attached to the motion states that they emailed it to me on the date it was filed. It does not state that it was snail-mailed. I received a copy via U.S. Mail 5 days after it was filed. Remember: the response time was 5 days, if served by email. So now I am receiving a motion and the response is due later that same day.

So I called and told them I did not receive the emailed copy and had just received the mailed copy, and asked if they would stipulate to extend the response time. They refused. They forwarded me a copy of an email confirmation from the Court allegedly proving that they emailed a copy to me on the day they filed it. I emailed back, explaining that their mistake was now clear -- they had entered the email address improperly, and so it did not get to me. They still refused to stipulate to an extension.

So I filed a motion to extend time, explaining to the judge that I had not received the motion until 5 days after it was filed, via U.S. Mail, and asking for more time to respond.

They had the nerve to file a response to my motion, attaching the email confirmation from the Court, and claiming that it "proved" they had served me by email on the day they e-filed the motion. A flat-out lie, given that I had already explained to them their error and that, even if they tried, they did not in fact email me a copy.

So then I had to file a reply, explaining the whole incorrect email thing. I attached a copy of the email I had sent them explaining about the incorrect email entry -- which was sent well before the time they filed their response alleging proper service.

The judge granted my motion for extra time to respond to their motion. I hope he also realizes they are lying scumbags at this point, and will be skeptical of any other "facts" they allege.

Sidenote (because, for now, I'm tired of footnotes): Typically in this forum, if you think you have properly served someone by email, you would not send another copy via U.S. Mail. So, the fact that they sent a copy by mail makes me think they actually knew, before I told them, that they had not in fact properly emailed their motion. Lying rats.