mytopleft

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Can't throw out a reference like that and just leave it lying there

Mentioning The Gourds and not posting a video is cruel, at least as it relates to their cover of "Gin and Juice" by Snoop. Think bluegrass. Enjoy:




God, I love rednecks


A guy I know at work suggested I needed to listen to a version of Snoop's "Gin and Juice" as performed by The Gourds. It's wonderful, but that's professionals. This appears to be amateurs doing Ice Cube's "Straight Out of Compton." Brilliantly, I might add.



Comfort food porn


No Packers' game today, so we are going with slightly generic food porn as opposed to game-oriented food porn.  Naturally, I root for the teams that are playing teams in the Packers' division. Not easy when you have Bears-Lions. Did what I could. So today we did comfort food: pot roast in the crock pot. It's really easy. You start with a roast-type cut of meat (in this case, a top sirloin), an onion, some potatoes, carrots and a can of french onion soup:



Quarter them there potatoes.  I don't know why people call it that  -- if you cut a potato the way people are talking about when they talk about quartering a potato, you wind up with eight pieces. We won't talk about that, though.


Chop up an onion. You'll feel better.


I used so-called baby carrots (which are just carrot pieces that are run through a machine to smooth them over). You can do what you want. Anyway, toss the carrots, onions, and potatoes into a crock pot. Put that big slab of meat on top. Yes, you can put celery in this recipe, and sometimes I do. Not today, though.


Pour a can of French onion soup over that, cover and put on low heat.


Now go away. On low, this is going to take at least eight hours to cook, and the longer, the better. The meat gets more and more tender the longer you cook it. After at least eight hours -- ten is better -- you will have a steaming heap of goodness that looks like this:


Put it in a bowl, put it on a plate, it don't matter. This is good.


Eat it, people.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A little musical history for you here, people


Don't even ask me what got me started down this road, but this evening I reached a place where I had to do this. Once when I was a kid, about 1972, my father was driving me home from baseball practice and the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" came on the radio. This was the version by Robert John (fricking everybody has recorded some kind of version of this song at some point -- it's kind of like "Gloria" by Them) that went to No. 3 on the pop charts in 1972. Dad said something along the lines of "I know this song. It was popular when I was in boot camp. It's called 'Wimoweh.'"

Naturally, I knew that the song was new and my dad was disturbingly wrong. My dad was at Parris Island in 1951, so there was no damn way he'd heard this song then. I was a music guy even then, so I assumed he was thinking of the "original" hit by The Tokens, who took the song to No. 1 in 1961. I was wrong, and it is probably about time for me to apologize to my father.

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight," as folks now know, was derived from a song written in the 1920s by a South African Zulu named Solomon Linda. With his vocal group, the Evening Birds, he recorded the song in 1939, giving us this early version:


Unfortunately for Solomon, he sold the rights to the song for roughly two dollars and died broke in 1962, even though the song had already made a bunch of money for folks like The Kingston Trio, The Tokens and, even at that point, many others. The first group to revive the song was The Weavers, well-known communist Pete Seeger's folk group, who did this version in 1952, calling it "Wimoweh" and taking it to No. 6 on the U.S. pop charts:


The Tokens added a bunch of English lyrics and went to No. 1 in 1961:


 The Disney movie "The Lion King" only added to the stack of cash made by the song over the years.

So, basically, you have a song written by a guy who created the style of music that gave us Ladysmith Black Mombazo, the Zulu group made famous by their work on Paul Simon's Graceland album, that made a pile of money for lots of people, including Ladysmith Black Mombazo:


Happy ending, kids. In 2006, the daughters of Solomon Linda won a copyright suit that gave them big bucks for Solomon's work. Good result. Great song.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yes, I know I'm late with this, but DAMN, y'all!

I've been slow with some stuff because I work a lot -- so sue me (that's a lousy lawyer joke) -- but this is fucking awesome. Again, courtesy of The Blaze, this is a matchup you don't really exp3ect:


Plus, the eagle won. That is a big fucking eagle. Or a little deer. Hard to tell.

Hitting back at Big Brother?

Courtesy of The Blaze, here's a graphic representation of what happens when Big Government starts trying to exercise too much control over our lives. Not advocating speeding here -- or vandalism, for that matter --  but I am not in favor of a police state, either. Neither was somebody in Wicomico County, Maryland:


The "1776" kind of indicates this might not just be a guy who likes to drive fast.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another document review haiku

Why can't you shut up?
They don't want to hear you ask
Dumb fucking questions.

Which category is she in?

There are two kinds of contract attorneys on projects who ask questions: temps who are hoping to impress the associates with the keen insight demonstrated by their questions, and temps who just don't get it. Well, the associates from the firm came by today, as they do at least once a week, to see if we had any questions. Many people have been on this project since the beginning -- a few weeks short of two years now -- and no one has been on the project for less than three months. Realistically, you either have no questions, or you are hopelessly clueless, because the associates are never impressed by the keen insight of your questions, and they are damn sure not impressed two years in. So shut the fuck up, right?

Wrong. There is a woman on this project -- she's very nice, make no mistake -- who has a question almost every single time the associates come by -- or, God help us, when a partner comes by. Partners are much quicker to recognize, and get rid of, fools. But this woman always has a question, and today, when the associates came by, it was no different.

The problem here is, she makes it clear that yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question. Most of her questions would have been stupid two years ago when they all first started. Now, they make you wonder if a brain scan would show any activity.

This, of course, raises a question for me. If you're an associate on a case, and a person still has very basic questions every week nearly two years into a project, why the fuck do you keep that person? She obviously has no fucking clue what she's doing. Unfortunately, I know the answer, and it says a lot about our legal system today. Maybe later I'll tell you. Maybe not.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hey, I'll work for $466 an hour

The Posse List was kind enough to share today a story from eDiscovery Daily Blog, which has been following the case In re Citigroup Inc. Securities Litigation. The case is noteworthy from a contract attorney standpoint because of the rates the plaintiff's firm tried to charge for contract attorney work in arriving at a settlement figure. The firm tried to bill an average rate of $466 per hour for contract attorneys. You know, this job might not be so shitty if they paid me that much. Of course, they don't, and it looks like the plaintiff's firm won't get away with it.

Apparently, there is a class-action reform activist involved in the settlement hearings, which makes me happy because all class action settlements give the plaintiff's firm a shitload of money and the actual plaintiffs get fucked with no lube. There are some stupid incentives in our legal system. In any event, eDiscovery Daily Blog reported this:
One shareholder objected to the lead counsel’s billing practices, claiming the contract attorneys’ rates were exorbitant.Judge Stein carefully scrutinized the contract attorneys’ proposed hourly rates “not only because those rates are overstated, but also because the total proposed lodestar for contract attorneys dwarfs that of the firm associates, counsel, and partners: $28.6 million for contract attorneys compared to a combined $17 million for all other attorneys.” The proposed blended hourly rate was $402 for firm associates and $632 for firm partners. However, the firm asked for contract attorney hourly rates as high as $550 with a blended rate of $466. The plaintiff explained that these “contract attorneys performed the work of, and have the qualifications of, law firm associates and so should be billed at rates commensurate with the rates of associates of similar experience levels.” In response, the complaining shareholder suggested that a more appropriate rate for contract attorneys would be significantly lower: “no reasonable paying client would accept a rate above $100 per hour.” 
Holy shit. They tried to bill $466/hour for contract attorneys? Wow. Even in New York, temps don't make much more than in DC. It's a shitty job there, too. Apparently, the judge in this case recognized that:
Judge Stein rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the contract attorneys should be billed at rates comparable to firm attorneys, citing authority that “clients generally pay less for the work of contract attorneys than for that of firm associates”:
“There is little excuse in this day and age for delegating document review (particularly primary review or first pass review) to anyone other than extremely low-cost, low-overhead temporary employees (read, contract attorneys)—and there is absolutely no excuse for paying those temporary, low-overhead employees $40 or $50 an hour and then marking up their pay ten times for billing purposes.”
Jesus H., please pay me $40 or $50 per hour. I don't give a fuck how you mark it up. But yeah, yet another example of firm fuckheads trying to get rich on the backs of contract attorneys. Usually, they get away with it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Maryland vs. Texas


Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been running ads in Maryland letting Maryland businesses know that Texas is a much more business-friendly state. Hard to dispute, really. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley did a head-to-head event with Perry to attempt to refute Perry's claims. Given the tax rates, regulations and other barriers that exist in Maryland, O'Malley didn't have much to work with. It was a polite affair, however,  and no major fireworks came out of it.

Afterword, Perry apparently was at Morton's Steakhouse in Betheseda, where he said this:
In Texas, we pray for rain. In Maryland, they tax it.
Ain't that the damn truth. In Maryland, the motto is, "If you can dream it, we can tax it." And yeah, we have a fucking rain tax. I have to believe these ads might be effective:



Oh, by the way -- Italy, bitches

Yeah, got my first-ever visit from Italy this past week. Not sure why it took them so long, but they finally got here. Sure, we all know Italy -- Rome, the Coliseum, Russell Crowe killing a fucking tiger and all that good shit. It's a unitary parliamentary republic with nearly 61 million residents, making it the fifth-most populous county in Europe. It includes Sardinia and Sicily, the two largest islands in the Mediterranean, as well as numerous smaller islands and the Campione d'Italia enclave in Switzerland. They used to be global bad-asses, but pretty much can't keep a government for more than a year or so, as there have been 61 goverments since World War II. Plus they're pretty much bankrupt and are probably going to take down the Euro at some point soon (if Spain, Portugal or Greece doesn't beat them to it.) Can't have everything. But hey, we have this:


Welcome, my Italian friends. Or, so far, friend.



Game food porn, Can't Believe We Lost That Game edition

Packers spotted the Bengals two touchdowns, slowly got it all back, went up by 16 points and finally managed to lose the game. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. But the food was good. We did a couple really simple things this week, starting with pigs in a blanket. For this, you need only two things: cocktail wieners and a can of biscuits. I guess it's called a can. I don't know. Any way, 10 biscuits. I used Hillshire Farms Bee Lit'l Smokies, but you can use any cocktail wiener you want. Carolina Pride is good, too. Just throw some wiener, dammit:


Take your biscuits, and tear each biscuit into three pieces -- two each of equal size, something less than half, and a third piece that is not one-third of the biscuit. Something more like three-eighths twice, and one-fourth once. You combine the little piece from every two biscuits so that you get five pieces of dough from every two biscuits. Get it?


Once you have done that to all ten biscuits -- which means you will wind up with 25 pieces of dough -- take a piece of dough and stretch it out to get it ready to wrap around a wiener:


Then wrap it around a wiener.

Do that 24 more times.


You will cook these at 400 degrees for about 13 minutes, until the dough is golden brown.


Serve these with mustard. Simple, but really good.

The other simple-but-good game food we did today was pizza rolls. Again, you will need few ingredients, just some pepperoni, some mozzarella cheese (shredded), some sliced provolone cheese (not pictured because I forgot) and a refrigerated pizza crust dough (is that at can of dough?):


Grease a cookie sheet, unroll the pizza dough, then stretch it out a bit so it is no longer square, like so:

Slap on some slices of provolone cheese:


Layer that with pepperoni:


You will then spread some shredded mozzarella on top of that, keeping everything about a half-inch from the edges. For some reason, I forgot to take a picture of the mozzarella phase. Anyway, once the shredded mozzarella is on, roll that sucker up. Seal the edges with a fork, like so

It should look like this right before you put it in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes.


Once that sucker comes out, it looks a lot like this:
 

Slice it like bread, put some marinara sauce in a bowl and serve. It's really good.


Naturally, we also had potato skins:


Soon-to-be Mrs. Cpl. Wolves came by, so of course we had a vegetable tray:


And yes, hidden under the dip container is a Green Bay G:


All in all, the spread was tasty:


Ultimately, no lie, the food was better than the game, certainly as far as the outcome goes. But it's a long season. Many more games, and much more food porn, to come. Enjoy!

Good damn thing for the Redskins, too

I was reading a Q&A with official Packers reporter Vic Ketchman over at www.packers.com. One reader wrote and said a Redskins player said after last week's 38-20 whipping by the Packers that Aaron Rodgers was misreading coverages all day but made some great throws. Ketchman's response was priceless:
It’s a good thing for the Redskins that he did, or he might’ve thrown for 960 yards and eight touchdowns.
Today we go to play the Bengals in a city I can't spell. Stay tuned -- game food coming. Go Pack!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

County fair, part four

We been through bovine, equine, swine and homemade wine. Time for some chickens. There were a bunch of damn chickens at the fair. Some were hens, but the ones we saw tended to be roosters. Flashier, I guess. In any event, no, I did not write down what kind of chickens they were. But they were all fat and feisty:





 I think these might have been hens looking to lay an egg, but I really am not a livestock guy.
 Naturally, they had chicks, as well. Actually, there were consecutive displays showing how the chickens go from egg to chick to young chicken to ROASTERs. Yeah, food. Some people find it disturbing, so I stopped with chicks.
 This guy was huge, but wouldn't look at me. I hope somebody fries him really soon.


Naturally, looking at all those chickens makes a man tired. As anyone would, we went to the beer garden. We sat down, ordered beers and as we awaited our order, we looked out at the fair goings-ons. Thank God, I did not have to look far for a young man with a backwards ball cap and no shirt:


Ah, signs of home. After the beers arrived, we relaxed a little and noted that some things will never change: tramp stamps are with us always:


At least she had the originality to avoid the butterfly tattoo. Or, I guess it could have been a butterfly, but not obviously, at least from what I could see. Anyway, after our refreshments, we split up. Mrs. Wolves and her friend went to a wine bar, the friend I garden with -- who is the husband of the woman who went to the wine bar with Mrs. Wolves (Mr. and Mrs. Garden, I guess) -- went back to the car to get jackets for the womenses, and I went to the building with the cooking displays.  Like the bottled wine and beer displays, the baking was all nibbled on. How else to judge it? I think I might enter in a couple categories next year. Lots of banana bread and zucchini bread, and mine are pretty good, so why not?


 Likewise, the canning displays did not fill me with fear and intimidation. I might also enter some canned goods next year.


All that said, those folks put in a lot of work. Pretty sure I wouldn't win a ribbon. But I think I might try.

So I left the cooking and canning displays and went to hunt down Mrs. Wolves and Mrs. Garden at the wine bar. Much to my surprise and pleasure, at the wine bar was a three-piece blues band. Not bass, drums and guitar, but bass, guitar and vocalist with harmonica. No drums. Very traditional, they played a lot of songs I knew and they were pretty god. I always wanted a chick bass player:

 Finally, we went on for the climax of our fair visit: a concert by Martina McBride. We had pretty good seats. She looked like this:



Just kidding. With my shitty ass camera, it was hard to get a good shot in the dark. She actually looked like this:


Yeah, not so much tat, either. But it was a good show. She played a lot of her big hits, a couple things off her upcoming new album, and some covers that let me know she really digs Rod Stewart. Which is good, at least if you dig Rod Stewart and Faces, not Rod Stewart from the "Do You Think I'm Sexy" days. Martina was on the right side of that line.

All in all, it was a good fair trip. Had a camera battery crisis in the middle that spiked some good picture opportunities, but fortunately, free enterprise won out and there as a booth happy to sell me fresh batteries for far too much money (and I cheerfully paid it). Anyway, while I might not have good pictures from Martina's concert -- and the folks there were really into it, I might add -- I leave you with this. It's how she ended the "regular" segment of her show (not sure why artists do this and pretend their done, then come back and do two encores that everyone knows they're going to do, but that's how it works. BTW, the encores, both covers, were great):




Good fair experience. Can't wait until next year.

Obscene traffic haiku

Holy fucking shit
Second-best traffic month ever
With ten days left, y'all

Friday, September 20, 2013

County fair, part three

Just so we're clear, I am giving up major sleep for this, so I want a little gratitude from you people. Or, you could just keep coming by. Whatever.

In any event, we're getting down to the nitty-gritty of the county fair: farm stuff. There was a whole bunch of farm equipment on display, as well as a good bit of you-don't-have-a-farm-but-you-have-lots-of-land equipment. This category included, of course, industrial strength riding mowers:

 Freaky-deaky, but the controls require both hands, which kind of rules out the whole beer thing. That's why I prefer a lawn tractor with a mowing attachment to these riding mowers. Mow with one hand, drink with the other. At an hour per acre, you don't want to be dry that long, which you will be with these bad boys:


Naturally, there was a bunch of actual farm equipment, too:

The air-conditioned cabs are a little bit of a change from days gone by. I don't know how the hell you're supposed to get a farmer's tan sealed up in one of these bad boys;


Some of the equipment smelled more like construction than farming. Sure, you often need this kind of stuff on a farm -- unless you want to dig your farm pond by hand -- but not often enough to own it, I think. Borrow or rent, I say. Still, good-looking stuff.

In lots of pretty colors:


Small display of days-gone-by stuff, as well:


From back when you could work on a malfunctioning engine yourself, no computer diagnostics required:


Wouldn't be a county fair without some pure farm equipment, though, like this big-ass combine:


Yeah, you know who had this on display. Nothing runs like a Deere:


Didn't note the brand, but somebody had a freaking ginormous tractor on display that children found irresistable. One girl thought being between the tires was cool:


Another apparently wanted to move into the rim:


Other kids I saw (none of them mine) seemed to share these sentiments.

Of course, it ain't the fair with no rides. Truthfully, we didn't do any rides and only came in contact with them when coincidence brought us to them, but I felt like I should document what I saw of the rides nonetheless. I guess Reithoffer's ran the midway this year:


 This looked kind of like a vomit machine:


Saw the ferris wheel, too:


This was a kiddie ride that a number of kids were crying on:


The fun slide looked a little tame, but maybe not to the 7-year-olds trying it out:


As the sun sinks slowly in the West, we look and see the ferris wheel lighting up, with the sunset-silhouetted Braddock Mountain in the background:


Night fell, as it tends to do, and the ferris wheel and the midway lit up. Looked nice, not that my cheap little camera could show all that:


I've got one more post on the county fair. Hope you're not bored to death yet. On the other hand, if you are, refer to the title of the blog.