« Bad at Diplomacy | Main | Strategy and Tactics »

December 29, 2004


I totally agree about Barack Obama.

My best thing about this year is that I am able to be more expressive of love to my mother. I am one of her caretakers now. She has dementia. In an odd way dementia has helped her. Her personality has been stripped down to its essence: affectionate neediness. The unpleasant,off-putting parts of her, including the alchoholism, are gone. I am grateful that in the last years of her life I am able to give her what she has always given me.


Was that list ordered?


more or less...why?


that's a truly lovely way to approach needing to care for an elderly parent.

Just curious.

Live blogging Beslan was definately one of the highlights of the year for me. I spent several days at work doing nothing but updating my blog. My manager was not too happy. (As Kos would say) Screw them, I am underpaid. :P

You did an absolutely amazing job on that Stan. Truly, it was one of the best blogging efforts I read all year.

Thanks, Edward. It was rather sloppy. My writing skills went straight to the toilet during college. I blame the instant messenger and the IRC for getting used to shooting off one liners and forgetting rules of punctuation. Rather emberassing. If anyone can recommend a book (writing for dummies?) I'ld appreciate it. Becoming a better writer will be one of my New Year resolutions:

1) Becoming a better writer.
2) Getting another job.
3) Getting into better shape (not that I am in bad shape right now, but there's always room for improvement).

Lily and Edward,

Very beautiful expressions of love shown here. Thank you both for that.

Stan --

Strunk and White, "The Elements of Style." It's a slim little book, and it's all you need. (Not that you write at all poorly.)

How 'bout two resolutions:

1. Work out more. I'm still targeting the Chicago Mini-triathalon next August, and I ain't getting any younger.

2. Drink less. Alcohol, dear friend that it is, can be overdone. (Shocking news!)

Drink less. Alcohol, dear friend that it is, can be overdone.

I resolve to drink less every year...it's not a good start to go to a New Year's Eve party with all the champagne one can guzzle though (followed by the much needed hair of the dog the next morning)...perhaps I need to ring in the new year with club soda this time...having said that, I'm not too badly out of shape myself for one no longer being carded when buying said spirits.


Thanks. I am gonna get it from Amazon right now.
I already gave up on the drinking resolution... I drink too much, though. I've had half a bottle of cognac by myself just while watching tv (put a bottle of Martell XO in front of me, see what happens). Trying to cut back on the hard liquor by switching to beer on most nights. Love the German/Belgian stuff, can't stand Coors/Miller/Bud.

When I went to Russia for two weeks in June, I did some serious bar hopping. I tell ya, when you hold your own drinking vodka with those guys it's not a good sign! :)

Is two gallons of milk each week drinking too much? (Edward, don't put that in my bio!) :)


I hope your windows are open 24/7 :P

Best 10 things of this year for me, in no particular order:

1. Finding out that one of my best friends is pregnant. (Baby due any time from the 26th of December: seems to have decided to be late.)

2. The news that the ACLU was joining the friend-of-the-court brief calling on the Supreme Court to assure that the detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay have access to the courts to challenge the legality of their detention. I was very touched by this: the ACLU is one of America's genuinely great institutions. I sent a donation promptly, and have been urging other British friends to donate ever since.

3. Hiking the Grand Canyon. This was one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life. If I had to pick one peak experience out of it all, I'd say it was the moment on the Tonto Trail when I rounded a corner and saw ahead of me the splendour of Indian Gardens, an extravagance of purple and green, a beautiful sight after hours of nothing but dust and rock and a few cacti.

4. Buying my new house. Moved in February this year, and suddenly for the first time in my life became owner of a garden. And a room to call my office, separate from my bedroom.

5. The Civil Partnership Bill became law in the UK: from autumn next year, same-sex couples will have rights almost exactly equivalent to mixed-sex couples in civil marriages, and same-sex cohabiting couples (that is, outside civil partnerships) will have rights identical to mixed-sex cohabiting couples. This was a major step forward for civil rights in the UK, and, typically, the British press focussed more attention on the new foxhunting ban. Still.

6. I got a job I really like. No, I'm not writing any more than that here.

7. A friend who was diagnosed with cancer survived the year and seems in good health for the future. No one else I love died, either *cross fingers* *touch wood* (I've even heard back from all the friends who live in tsunami-struck regions, and they're all alive and well.) That alone makes 2004 better than 2003, 2002, or 2001.

8. I wrote some stories that I'm pretty damn pleased with. (Not going into any more detail than that, here, either.)

9. I learned how to make really excellent vegetarian chilli.

10. I made a friend who'll swop her delicious home-made jam for my delicious home-made bread.

(Okay, by the time I got to 9 I was running out of ideas. Still, the jam is good. So's the chilli, if I do say so myself.)


What's a popular drink in UK?

Stan --

Don't switch to beer -- at least, not the kind of beer that you like. During law school, I switched my drink for a semester from mostly hard-alcohol to the kinds of thick, delicious beers that prove the existence of God. Gained fifteen pounds. Went back to hard alcohol. Lost ten (hey, whattaya expect, a full recovery?).

Sebastian, for the love of God, seek help.

What's a popular drink in UK?

Which part of the UK? There's a lot of regional variation.

Where I live, it's probably an even choice between Irn Bru, Tennants, and tea.


In the past few months I moved away from cognac and vodka to tequila and jagermeister. Now I am moving towards beer.
Went to a local beer distributor, got like 20 bottles for various german/belgian stuff (bottles with corks, pricey stuff: $3 - $9 a bottle)... Very tasty! I am keeping it under control, though. Usually don't have more then 1 - 1.5 pint a day, and will be cutting it down to like 2-3 days a week. Also, I got a stationary bike to improve my cardio, so I am not worried about getting a beer belly.


Speaking of tea... I don't know how you guys drink it with milk. Tea is pretty big in Russia/ex soviet republics, and I've never, ever, heard of drinking tilk with milk there. Just lemon and/or fruit preserves.

Speaking of tea... I don't know how you guys drink it with milk.

*shrug* To each their own.

When I was travelling in China, I drank many delicious teas, and never once with milk. The strong brew customarily served in the UK, however, is best when tempered with a moderate amount of low-fat milk. I like tea with lemon, but it has to be good tea.

Sugar or any other sweetening in tea, however, is an abomination.

Yea, I like my tea like I like my coffee - strong and no sugar. Sugar masks the taste, which is something one might want to do with cheaper stuff(which I refuse to drink). I do put just a drop of milk or half and half in my coffee.

Hmm. Maybe I'll try some milk in my tea right now. I'll let ya know how it goes in 15 mins. How much milk should I use?

Stan, that's so much a matter of taste I find it impossible to advise you. You might find this of interest, though: George Orwell's 11 rules for making a perfect cup of tea.

"Is two gallons of milk each week drinking too much? (Edward, don't put that in my bio!) :)

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw | December 29, 2004 12:29 PM


I hope your windows are open 24/7 :P

Posted by: Stan LS | December 29, 2004 12:32 PM"

SH is sufficiently broadminded to tolerate lactose.

Well, I grew up with tea, so I know all the basics. The milk part is a mystery to me, though. Going devirginize myself as soon as the water boils. They have have sucky tea in the office, though (the tea bag kind).

Definately tastes very different. I need better tea, though, cause I am barely tasting it after the milk.

Stan: Not that I think you need to become a better writer, but reading George Orwell's essay 'Politics and the English Language' always helps. -- I have just checked to see if it's online, and to my horror almost all the e-texts I have found are in one way or another wrong. (I know it pretty well.) As best I can tell, though, this one is OK. Be sure to check out the words he puts in the mouth of 'some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism' and his subsequent translation; they're priceless.

If you can stand one more bit of advice, Stan, I'd say that rather than buying a book, the best way to go is simply to jump in and do it. Write, re-write, re-write, and then re-write again. Then edit. Then read aloud. Repeat.

I'll go on-topic, though, in descending order of importance:

10. Daughter finished high school, started college, and loves it. Met and fell for a nice boy who seems to be a good influence. Having gone a ways down the road in the other direction, it's hard to overstate how gratifying this is.

9. Son (10 last week) went completely for the Red Sox early in the season, and experienced the best show the national pasttime has to offer. Last night he asked me to donate all his Xmas money to the tsunami relief fund.

8. Great progress in my Cousin Project (wherein I locate and come to know as many of my 3d and 4th cousins as possible). Met some great people -- most states, NZ, Belfast, BC, England, Samoa. There's a nice self-selection too: the nasty folks don't respond, and those who do are interested, and usually pretty interesting. (I didn't reach out to the 4th cousin who served with Sen. Kerry on a swift boat, figuring 2004 was a bad year for unsolicited invitations to communicate. Maybe next year). I really recommend considering trying something like this.

7. The guy I supported for Gov of Montana won. Although I was only in MT twice in '04, that's better than nothing.

6. The Albuquerque precinct to which I was assigned for the 2004 general did not have a single challenge, and the provisionals were all the result of people going to the wrong elementary school -- and many of those Republican voters who wouldn't take the time to talk to me outside about whether they were in the right place. The Republican poll watcher and I spent much of the day working out all the issues that came up. The Sen. won my precinct, but not nearly by the margin he should have. All in all, though, the experience, including hanging with some friendly female attorneys from Texas the couple of days before the election, was worth it.

5. All the associates I've hired or had transfer from our headquarters -- I'm the hiring partner for my office -- are doing well. Good junior lawyers are the alpha and omega of success in the legal field, and I'm having a very good year. (I'm looking for a general corporate guy, 3-5 years out, if anyone's interested.)

4. A couple of old cases had some good action: I was in the Pribilofs for a case during the DNC, and went to an orthodox church service. Looks like we'll be getting a ruling soon in my favorite case (at least on the issues concerning the nature of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and the scope of presidential power to punish and deter state sponsored terrorism). Got rulings in a couple of USVI cases that while not total wins were better than they might have been.

3. Won a big case for a client in December 2004 for whom we'd lost a big one in March. Always nice to be trusted to try again.

2. The weight regained by a month without restraint was lost again.

1. That pain in my left arm (which appeared when I was in NM for the election) is not cardiac related. A nerve thing, apparently.

"Guy" of course means human being. Of either gender.

Hilzoy, CharleyCarp,

Thanks for advice.

Nice list Charley...you sound like an excellent father!


Last night, I got a bottle of Camus XO as a gift from a girl I am seeing. Looks like I won't be cuttin' down on my drinking any time soon.

I hope more people add their lists; it is so interesting to get a glimpse into another life.
here are some additions to my list:

2. Gregoire winning. True blue Washington regected Rossi the way a healthy organism rejects a virus.

3. I sold a painting for 600 dollars. I have the impression that Edward is a professional in the New York art world so this may not seem like that big a deal but it is a personal best for me.

4. I have work in three galleries, also a personal best.

5.sitting on the porch of the island house with Paul in the dark drinking port, smoking cigars, and watching the bats.

6. swimming in the ocean with my dad. He is deaf and nearly blind (mid-eighties) but he has always loved the natural world and outdoor activites. We had a family holiday out on the coast this summer and my dad and I went, probably for the lst time, for a swim.

7 to 10. building rituals of family life with Paul. We aren't married in the conventional way but we get more unconventionally married all the time.

I sold a painting for 600 dollars.

Congratulations! Email me a jpeg.


Stan LS

Speaking of tea... I don't know how you guys drink it with milk. Tea is pretty big in Russia/ex soviet republics, and I've never, ever, heard of drinking tilk with milk there. Just lemon and/or fruit preserves.

It is very comment in some ex soviet republics to drink a tea with milk. Even though i dont like it.

I think you meant to say "common". I've never heard of milk in tea, then again, judging by your email address - we are from different ex republics.

Stan SL,

Yes we are.

I am from Ukraine, if you're wondering.

Stan SL,

Thank you for telling me, and I think you can guess my country from my email address.
By the way I am glad that election in Ukraine is over.
Hopefully everything will be better in new year.

Yep, hopefully everything will be better in the new year! S nastupauschim!

:) spasibo, tebya toje

er...not all of us read Russian here...translations???

"Spasibo" I know...

E spasibo tebe! :)


I wished Murat a Happy New Year, he said "Thank you, you too", and I thanked him as well.

The comments to this entry are closed.