Tag Archives: Department of Redundancy Department

Instant Replay in Baseball

3 Jun

Warning: this is a post about baseball. People who don’t like sports should stop reading. Derrick and other derrick-types should uninstall their browser, run a virus scan, and restart their computers. Safety first.

Some of you may or may not know that I am a baseball guy. When I stopped playing ball in college, there was a chasm in my life left unfilled where baseball once was. My recourse was to fill it with a stronger dedication to my MLB fandom, fantasy baseball, and lastly, umpiring little league baseball.

Many of you (I hope) will be familiar with the incident that happened last night in Detroit. The link is here, hopefully it will continue to work. You absolutely must watch it if you have not yet watched it. http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=8629733

Ironically, last night when it happened, I was actually out on the little league field umpiring a game.

This morning, I have heard all kinds of protestations and general inflamation about the whole event. People seem to think that instant replay should be brought into baseball to remedy situations and calls like this. I completely disagree.

This is a relatively unpopular position, since instant replay has been “successfully” integrated into football, and many people believe that it has a place in baseball. It is not a weak position, and there is a strong argument for it, since, like football, baseball is oftentimes a game of inches. However, as valid as that opinion might be, it is a wrong opinion. I will use more commas, to show you why.

I was watching some reaction to the fiasco last night on baseball tonight, and I happened to hear a text that was sent by Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay to one of the commentators. That text struck me a funny way. While I can’t find the exact text of the text, it said something to the effect of “My heart goes out to both Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce. Galarraga pitched a beautiful game and Joyce is one of the most professional and well-liked umpires in baseball. It is a shame that the game had to end this way.” Then he said something that really resonated with me: “This is the kind of thing that makes baseball so great”.

And it is a counterintuitive thought, that such a horrible experience could make for a sport which is so great. But I fully agree with Halladay. The pundits this morning were clamoring for instant replay because that is what is needed to “get the call right”. These are the same pundits who have never played baseball for a day in their life. Anybody who knows and loves baseball will agree that baseball isn’t always about getting the call right.

To me, what makes baseball so great is that it is a human game. That sounds absurd, I know, but I believe it. In baseball, if you fail 2/3 of the time, you are a great player. In baseball there are two outcomes for any one play: ball/strike, safe/out. No matter what, one player loses. And that is part of the human experience, dealing with failure. After losing in the third round of the state playoffs, when I was a sophomore in high school, I remember one of the coaches saying this exact thing. He said that life is a lot like baseball, though you don’t always know it. Most of the time you will fail. The best baseball players, and the best humans learn how to cope with that failure and use it to turn them into better people.

All this is to say that, like the players, umpires are human. They are usually perfect, and they rarely miss calls because they are good at what they do. They are still human. And that is a human element which is part of the game. Jim Joyce missed a call that he will always remember. Most of us will forget about it tomorrow, but Joyce will always look back and regret that mistake. To me, that is not sad but beautiful. It is part of baseball. It is part of the game.


Terry Tate, Condense the Nonsense.

12 Oct

I realize that this blog has started to become just a haphazard collection of youtube videos, and that is certainly not the intent of the authors. The authors, in fact, wholly lack any intention. The reality is that law school is a bit mundane. While there are interesting cases and such, I don’t want to bore you with rewrites of my case briefs. It’s bad enough that I have to write them once. So, I’m busy. Youtube isn’t. Go talk to him.

The only excuse I can offer for Intern Derrick is that he is busy grooming his Col. Sanders mustache and pretending he is an English expert in a place where nobody knows better. That is only a slight burn because I couldn’t pull off the majestic mustache. But then again, I’m not sure whether he can pull it off either (nice, a follow-up burn that mitigates my mitigation of the original burn).

Your mom.

(that was a pre-emptive burn for the anticipated burn which Intern Derrick will be thinking of posting but will undoubtedly decide is too anemic and sickly to ever stand up to the might and strength of my incendiary greatness)

(I feel comfortable using this space as a locale for petty insults and jibe because I am quite certain that the only other person that reads this blog is, in fact, Intern Derrick. And it is quite possible that he doesn’t even bother with that)

(Self-burn, I’m even good at that)


So Terry Tate, office linebacker is one of my personal favorite bits. It came out a few years ago, and was unadulterated awesomeness. Now it seems that there are a few sequels to the initial greatness, so that gives me an opportunity to post the videos and still maintain an illusory appearance of relevance and modernity.

The Original

“I’m a firm proponent of paradigm breaking”

Sensitivity Training

“As I’ve always said, if it ain’t something that is broken, then there is no need to repair it.”


“Oh, we were aware that Mr. Tate was a discerning guest, but, it seems were weren’t aware just how discerning he really was.”

Draft Day

“You got mailed baby! Woo!”


Regina v. Dudley and Stephens

4 Sep

So, a while back I mentioned a case that I was reading for the first week of law school, called Regina v. Dudley and Stephens. As it turns out, this is a very famous, and very cool case. You should know about it, and since you don’t, it is my fiduciary duty* to educate our esteemed imaginary readership.

Four seamen (stifled laugh) are stranded at sea in a small rowboat. This adrift quartet is without food and water, save two small tin cans of turnips (tough break, really), and they have been floating about for nineteen days. They are all slowly starving to death. Two of the men Dudley and Stephens decide that it is a worthwhile idea to eat someone to survive. The third, Brooks, agrees. The fourth, a young cabin boy, is not consulted. The cabin boy is dying at a more rapid pace than the others, having drank a moderate portion of seawater, and it is not suspected that he will last more than another two days. On the twentieth day, Dudley and Stephens decide that it would be best to kill the young boy, since he does not have a family to go home to. Brooks, the third, dissents. Dudley and Stephens approach the boy, who is lying helpless and weak in the bottom of the boat, and bludgeon him to death. Thereafter, the remaining three feed on cabin boy’s remains. A boat rescues them four days later.

Dudley and Stephens are charged with murder of the cabin boy. Testimony at trial shows that the boy would have died before the others and that if they had not eaten him, it is likely that they would not have survived until the twenty-fourth day when rescued.

The Queen’s Bench (equivalent of an appellate court in Britain) found Dudley and Stephens guilty of murder and sentenced them to be hanged.

The question of law: is necessity to survive a defense for murder?

Nope. It isn’t.

Take that as you will, and feel free to leave your imaginary thoughts (redundant?), but that is only tangential to the real odd thing that resulted from this case: an extraordinary coincidence.

In 1838, Edgar Allen Poe published his only complete novel, called The Narrative of Arthur Gorden Pym of Nantucket. In that novel, Poe wrote about four seamen (huh huh) who are stranded at sea and have to kill one of the four for food. The name of the person sacrificed in the novel is Richard Parker.

The Regina v. Dudley and Stephens incident happened 1884, almost half a century after the publication of Poe’s novel. And the name of the cabin boy who was sacrificed? Richard Parker.

Weird, right?

*It’s not really my fiduciary duty. But the word fiduciary sounds really cool, so I’m staying with it.

Cultural Competency

13 Aug

So law school orientation for your’s truly started this week. So far I have been doing very little learning about the law and a lot of learning about how hard it is to learn about the law. Mostly a fair bit of backhanded intimidation mixed with cleverly disguised assurances of hardship. I suppose that I did sign up for it.

Today I oriented myself to something which I found particularly difficult to conceptualize. I thought I might share it with you. Apparently, there is a popular movement in soft-skill circles called “cultural competency”. Here and here are examples and explanations. I don’t necessarily have problems with the ideas presented, but the title does baffle me. Cultural competency? How could you possibly become competent in culture? Doesn’t one gain competence at a particular skill or trade or ability? Culture surely isn’t something you can be competent in. Surely pseudo-bloggers know not to end their sentences with prepositions!

Am I so arrogant to think that I could learn to be “competent” in all of “culture” (including those things therin enclosed, contained, and encapsulated) in a two-hour period? Assuming that I am that arrogant (I am), what could becoming culturally competent possibly entail?

Well, to sum up the presentation from the wonderful PhD presenters from Kennesaw State University (who have achieved cultural competence): cultural competency is the realization that everybody is different, but that those differences do not mean we should treat each other differently. But (!) it is of utmost important that you do not deny those cultural differences. However, it is of equal importance that everybody is considered equally important. So everybody is different, but everybody should be treated the same.


Maybe our cultured (and undoubtedly culturally competent) Intern Derrick can enlighten us to the ways of competence which I sorely lack and fail to understand.


31 Jul

First, I want to congratulate The Constitutional Pheasant for our biggest day of all time history existence, with twenty-one views yesterday. Now, if we can trick some other people into coming and scoffing at our shoddy work…

Don’t worry, soon there will be a link up where you can donate money to our site, since we are now so popular.

Seriously though, we’re poor.

Okay, on to the topic of today’s post. Last night, at an unknown point in time occurring between 10:00pm and 11:30pm, $50 was stolen from my wallet. Truly, this was an odd thing to have happen because I was home watching a baseball game and my wallet was in my room, sitting on my desk.

I will not speak of the person who stole the fifty dollar bill, but suffice it to say that this person was the boyfriend of a family member who was staying as a guest. Mistakenly, I decided that this individual was honest enough to avoid disrupting the integrity of my wallet and the contents contained therein.

Here’s the thing. It really isn’t about the $50, it’s about someone, staying at the luxury and request of my uncle, walking into my room and blatantly violating my trust and the trust of my family. Is $50 really worth that much to a person, that they would risk severely injuring their reputation among people who might be considered extended family?

So here’s the deal. Quit that mess. Earn your money, don’t steal it. The reality is that every day we are given things which we did not earn and every day things we have earned are taken away. I’m not so shortsighted as to think that I am more honest or integritous (look it up) than any other person, but I’d like to think that I wouldn’t steal money knowingly from a bystander/innocent/stranger/interloper/immigrant. And I certainly like to think that I wouldn’t steal money from a relative of my girlfriend, or anybody who even slightly resembles a family member or acquaintance.

This is all babble, but my question to you is this: can you think of a friend or family member whose trust and respect you would trade in for $50? And if you can’t think of one, does that mean you have too much money?

Anyway, this was all a guise for me to provide a little Monty Python clip for you, chosen appropriate to the post and today’s theme:

Also, the word purloin is awesome. That is all.

The post where Joe makes up some excuse for forgetting about the blog post.

29 Jun

So let’s be honest here, none of our imaginary readers thought that we would be able to keep up with a frequent blog. I mean, intern Derrick is an international man of mystery intrigue sophistication internationalism. And, frankly, this is the first time I’ve even tried to use a keyboard. Expectations should be low people.

While intern Derrick has been going through his own life crisis related to the horrors of dial-up internet, I have experienced a series of experiences that has kept me from being in touch with my own abnormal reality (in other words, my google reader has more than 100 unread posts). I have recently relocated to Macon, Georgia, where I will start law school in August at Mercer University. In the mean time, I am working for my uncle’s bankruptcy law firm doing little menial work and learning as much as I can about the law. Since my work is so menial, I should be able to post on this blog from time to time. Don’t act so excited!

As it turns out, bankruptcy law is pretty interesting. Bankruptcy is under federal jurisdiction, and each Federal District Court lays out several regional (smaller) bankruptcy courts. There are two major types of bankrputcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 (there is also Chapter 12, but that is for farmers, and honestly, who farms anymore?). Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as liquidation; it is where the debtor sells all their assets and the cash proceeds go to pay off as much of the debt as possible. The remaining debt is then “discharged” (insert immature bankruptcy lawyer joke here). In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you get to keep some of your assets (house, car, etc.), but you have to continue making payments on the debt under a five-year plan.

All that is kind of boring, I know, but there is some interesting things too. For example, did you know that you don’t have to be a lawyer to practice bankruptcy law? You can actually be a laymen who represents people in bankruptcies. Can you say, no bar exam? (The downside is that you cannot be covered under malpractice insurance, and therefore, if you mess up, you stand to lose everything, unlimited liability style.) Also, bankruptcy law is not on the bar exam (apparently neither is worker’s compensation nor social security law). So that means I’m learning all this stuff for nothing.

Wait… what?



18 May

Welcome to The Constitutional Pheasant. You are obviously lost.

My name is Joe, I will be the captain and commander of your blogger experience as long as you remain here . I will be assisted by my trusty assistant, Derrick. I think he is an unpaid intern or something.

I do very much realize that our reader-base is very much imaginary. For this reason, both Derrick and I will take it at our own liberty to use bad grammar frequently and make up 6% of the words that will appear on this glob. You are here on your own volition, don’t blame us.

(Please don’t leave).

Contentually, this blog will feature a gallimaufry of different uninteresting posts and, um, items. Both intern Derrick and I have a broad assortment of interests and opinions. Common content: youtube clips, soapbox time, and youtube clips. What will you get from The Constitutional Pheasant that you can’t get at another blog? We’ll count that one as rhetorical.

If you don’t understand the Constitutional Pheasant reference, then you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog.

In commemoration of this commemorable day, we give you our namesake and the symbolic forefather of all things great and sacred: Monty Pyhon and the Holy Grail’s Constitutional Peasants. Cheers!