In re: Greetings from Belfast

So to those who’ve been complaining (all one of you) sorry for the delay over the holidays. Had a great Christmas up in Michigan (shocking that they can produce a nice christmas, and such a horrible football team)

Anyway, a small update on my trip to Ireland, only have a few minutes here on the computer and the timer is ticking away, so its really pressure to write. Flew in alright from JFK via Shannon to Dublin, at least I did, my bag was apparently not brought the whole way and may have spent some time in shannon. No worries though, we continued on and hit the road in our suprisingly huge car by Irish standards, a Ford Mondeo, and in what seemed like no time arrived in Belfast where we had decided to begin our trip.

Things of interest, there is no border crossing between Ireland and Northern Ireland, nothing, no sign, nothing the only thing is a sign saying that the speed limit is now in MPH instead of KM/H. (It may be that the sign would constantly be prone to graffiti, vandalism, ‘Get out of Ireland’ slogans, etc.)

The hockey team here (only a few players are of course Irish, apparently most, including Theo Fleury are Canadian, American, or Eastern European) is named ‘ TheCoors Belfast Giants’ yet no Coors is sold in the stadium (Harp, Guiness, etc. are sold thankfully) yet Coors ads abound, and coors is barely sold here, strange I say. Time running out, more on the game soon!


In re: Hitching is the way to go (in Cuba)

Cuba whether or not you believe official statistics has an extremely low crime rate (especially if you compare it to nearby islands and central America), as well as having an amazing literacy rate. Of course the island has plenty of problems and poverty is one of them. That poverty has helped keep hitch hiking as a standard mode of transport even for middle class folk. ‘The Correspondents Diary’ at the Economist has an interesting post on his experiences providing rides for people in Cuba and his sadness that it doesn’t exist here as a safe and legitimate means to get around.

“We’ve lost the ability to hitch-hike in America; driving around Cuba reminds me of how much we’ve lost. It’s a wonderful thing to talk to strangers about their lives. And because I’m already doing them a favour by giving them a ride, it’s one of the few places where they won’t ask me for money. Instead, they’ll want to return the favour. I had dinner at one hitch-hiker’s house; another wanted to show me around his village.” See post here at the Economist.

In re: Law School Exams

Its when I start writing posts about Google Patent Search when i realize I’ve had enough studying for my Wills, Trusts & Estates exam as i can take.  I’ve read through commercial outlines, listened to a 6 CD set on the subject as well as reading through my semesters worth of crappy notes.  I remember in college hearing from a professor how in law school we’d buy books (on our own, off the syllabus) that were about the books we had on the syllabus and before I knew it he was right and I was that person.  Its not even good students who do it, its rather the reverse, but like Dumbo grasping at a feather I always feel I won’t be okay without the commercial supplements to our casebooks and dive in often at the last minute with books with in series such as ‘Examples & Explanations’ — Sounds fun?

Exam time isn’t fun, its tough trying to prepare for your one evaluation for the year, on a test format you aren’t even completely clear about.   Surrounded by stacks of notes, outlines, highlighted and underlined books, you never know when you’ve had enough, but you come back the next day to the library and sit the entire day, neglecting the world around you, under fluorescent lights reading about testamentary capacity, or lapses in residuary estates.

Anyway, I think its about time to go, it rambling here and its probably not the ringing endorsement of law school that I want this to read as.

In re: What has Google done for you recently?

Google has had great success (read profits) from advertising on their search engine, but they haven’t been standing still and their ‘labs’ have been creating plenty of other products (spreadsheet app, word processor, and online photo hosting to name a few I’ve checked out) For those interested in IP Google has taken to harvesting the public domain in the form of Google Patents (not their ones, but the US repository of patents) It also starts off the opening page with five random patents, kinda cool I say.

Of course the USPTO already has a website and database of patents you say, why do we need another? Well the official website isn’t exactly the most user friendly and the search process can be a bit tedious, Google has made a much more visually appealing site with easier searching, of course Google Patent still has problems, including that it is several months out of date. There are other sites that offers patents as well including PatentStorm and Free Patents Online

In re: Zingerman’s of Ann Arbor – does it have an illegitimate Columbus child?

At first they just seem like some coincidences, but the more you look at the menus of Zingerman’s (an Ann Arbor institution) and of Katzinger’s (some would say a Columbus institution, but clearly with less national fame than the former, and clearly the ‘original’) you would think they have some affiliation. They both have two kinds of pickles that you can choose with your sandwiches, they share a certain style to their sandwiches and they both have ridiculously high prices and they both have two sandwich sizes (okay, that’s not that strange). Anyway, after looking at their menus (Zingerman’s sandwich menu here, Katzinger’s here), and seeing the similarities, I noticed a post on Chowhound, on their midwest forum that said the two were corporate cousins (see a recent Chowhound thread on Zingerman’s). Despite the lack of love shared between Columbus and Ann Arbor, I though, hey its possible they do seem similar, but I figured I’d delve deeper and then I found out apparently they aren’t. That’s right, its just coincidence? At least corporately they are different, they each have their founding stories (Zingerman’s has led to an empire, at least locally and through mail order). Then later on I saw posts in the Chowhounds forums that at least in Zingerman’s eyes Katzinger’s wasn’t such a coincidence and that at one point a lawsuit was filed (and apparently lost by Zingerman’s) but I was unable to find evidence of this – although I did find a story that mentioned another Zingerman’s lawsuit against a deli.

I haven’t been to Zingerman’s in a while, but this Christmas I hope to drop in and have it again if I can wiggle it into my family’s Christmas plans while we are up in Michigan for the holiday, and as for Katzingers, the first time I had it I was disappointed, considering the prices it wasn’t that good, but I will give it another shot and then hopefully be able to gauge how skilled a rip off of Zingerman’s it is.

In re: one red paperclip

I hadn’t heard about ‘one red paperclip‘ til recently (surprise as its right up my alley!) a story of how a Canadian man started trading with a red paper clip and through a series of only 14 barters ended up with a house in Canada.  He has a blog that shows each barter and its quite interesting / funny.  Also some economics lessons here…

Also checkout Steve Roach & The Art of Law’s (former OSU Law Student) post on barter and Section 1031 Exchanges and Coins

In re: The smoking debate…

In case you don’t visit the comments you have missed a little debate following my post “In re: Head for the border – Ohio smoke free as of today” that touches on some of the issues of smoking bans you can see them here.