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The definitive verdict on The North Face, Marmot and Merrell.


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Survive the zombie apocalypse in your very own lighthouse hideaway.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and You: Could it Happen - Part 2

Could it happen?

Welcome back to Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and You. Where we examine whether its arcane plot, in which anonymous hackers attack the US with our own robots, could actually happen - and if you need to be prepared for it.

Here's a refresher!

Last time we debunked the myth of military robot IQ. This time we'll examine why you need to worry less about the current generation of remote controlled robo-warriors and more about Terminator's Skynet. Because...

Reason 2: Robots don't arm robots, people do.

You might think that the Army, Air Force and Navy just leave robots lying around chock full of fuel and high explosives. (And, if you do, I might think that you have the mind of a twelve year old.) But they don't.

In 'bot we trust.
Just like guns, tanks and other awesome stuff, the armed forces keep their bots securely locked up sans armaments. So the odds of your average Predator strolling out to the flight line, taking off, flying 250 miles and bombing the crap out of downtown LA with Hellfire missiles on its own are pretty damn slim.

Even in combat zones, heavy equipment is not usually stored fully-armed and fueled, save for a few quick response units. Bring it home to the USA, and you're more likely to find a pre-schooler packing heat than a Predator.

So even if hackers did seize control, in a truth first recognized by The Simpsons years ago and best represented in the following nut-job conspiracy video, it takes support personnel (read, "people." -ed.) to pump the gas, maintain the motors, plug in the batteries, hang the bombs, arm the missiles and load the ammo.

It's a Simp-spiracy!

All of which adds up to an official "Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Plot-Line Threat Level: 0." You needn't fear a hacker-guided robo-mob showing up at your door unannounced any time soon. Instead, worry more about Terminator's hypothetical Skynet battle control system. It's autonomous. It thinks on its own. And, in theory, it actually has its electronic finger on the proverbial button. 

Sleep tight!

(Or enjoy these fine photos of people doing unspeakably mundane things to robots. You know, whatever...)

Predator waits.
Mostly Harmless.

Jumping off the deck, and shoving into overdrive-ive...
Somewhere in the Indian Ocean...

Those bombs aren't going to hang themselves, people.
Wrench wenches.

Sunset of the humanities.
If you could hear it, it'd sound like Kenny Loggins.

Next up? The final installment...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The post in which I approve vehicles based on stock tire choice alone


Yes, the wasteland is a cruel mistress.

Out here, you might think that your shiny, new all-wheel-drive Cadillac Escalade or Mercedes G-Class will graciously deliver you to your next Client meeting in sumptuous safety... But, come rocky crag or stick-wielding 99-percenter, and you'll be sadly mistaken, friend.

Stock street tires, even ostensibly "off-road" rated rubber, are not what you want under you when society collapses (again). You want super strong TriGard sidewalls. You want ultra-long wear life. You want the roughest, toughest and tread-liest donuts you can find. We're talking about BF Goodrich All-Terrains.

Ergo, I hereby approve the top three dealer-ready, OEM vehicles based entirely on stock tire choice alone. Not disconnecting sway bars. Not integrated winch bumpers. Not lunatic color options (Looking at you, Jeep). Just pure, sweet rubber:

#3) Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD

PAL APPROVED: LT265/75R16 BF Goodrich All-Terrain
While the imports are dealing with the aftermath of a dangerously exposed supply chain, adding an uncertain flair to your long-term reliability prospects, there's no denying Toyota's taste in tires. Buff your average FJ with the factory-installed TRD or Trail Teams package and you're well on your way to executive parking dominance. (Not to mention, dead sexiness.)

Low, low financing.

#2) Ram Powerwagon 2500

PAL APPROVED: LT285/70R17D BF Goodrich All-Terrain
There are pickups, and then there is Powerwagon. Packing 33-inch tall All-Terrains, it's bigger, badass-er and nearly guaranteed-er to get you through the toughest terrain imaginable. (Even Detroit. -ed.) And that's even before you factor in the lift kit, HEMI power and integrated winch.


#1) Jeep Wrangler Rubicon/Call of Duty/Mountain/Arctic/Et Al. 

PAL APPROVED: LT255/75R17 BF Goodrich Mud Terrain KM
Because the baddest A/T on the market wasn't quite bad enough, legend has it that Jeep commissioned a special version of its big brother, the Mud Terrain KM, specifically for the Wrangler Rubicon. And, as they're slapping it on every badge-enhanced special edition they can crank out, it looks like the head honchos at Jeep are taking full advantage.

Rumored to be a little slippery on wet roads, there's nothing better when the byway goes bye-bye. (And the guys with guns say hello...) Its wide, deep tread channels are designed to quickly displace mud, but the real attraction is its toothy, blocky side treads. A step above the All-Terrain, they're one of the scariest looking tires you can buy. Scary awesome.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Racing Events Primer, Volume I

Run Lawyer Run

When a brisk walk from your desk to the fax machine leaves you gasping for air, you have two choices: go paperless or get in shape.

Your Local 5k

Running an organized 5k is a great initial goal.  Training programs are abundant and most are not too condescending.  And there’s no shortage of 5ks, either.  Check your local paper and you’ll see at least one every weekend, each supporting some obscure worthy cause.

Opinions vary on training and/or running with a partner.  Like law school study groups, some people thrive on the communal energy, while others find it unbearably annoying.

Once you’re comfortable enough to enter your first race, you should try to remember a few things.

The distance is 5000 meters but pacing is listed by the mile.  This inconsistency may grate on your lawyer sensibilities, but it does make the math kind of easy.  A 5k is 3.1 miles, so to calculate your target, take your mile pace, multiply by 3, and add a little bit.  This is like calculating a contingency fee, but in reverse.

Do not get discouraged.  Someone there will finish in 16 minutes.  In other words, by the time you start your third mile, you will have technically already lost the race.  (If this is your first race and you finish in 16 minutes, you should go pro.  Or you missed part of the course.)   Your goals at first should be to get fit and to continually improve.

You will get a crappy t-shirt.

After running a couple of 5ks, you should get an idea if organized racing events are your cup of tea.  Chances are, you’ll get hooked on the camaraderie and post-race euphoria/food.

The Endangered 10k

In ancient times, 10ks were commonly held alongside 5ks.  The lame ones were just two laps of the 5k course, but most organizers took great pains to give 10k runners some variety.  It was the event for stronger runners and those who wanted to challenge themselves after becoming proficient at 5000 meters.

Now, sadly, 10ks are becoming exceedingly difficult to find.  Science has yet to determine the cause, but experts speculate that the proliferation of 5ks, smaller venues, and disruption of migratory patterns may explain the decline of this event.

Be warned: You should not expect to just run your 5k pace for twice as long.  Running a 10k requires different training methods and greater attention to your pace per mile than a 5k.  This preparation will have various individualized nuances and subtleties, but the key is to step up slowly.  Far too many runners get injured by pushing to greater distances too fast.

This distance is a good match for people who actually, you know, like to run.  It’s also a good gateway drug to intermediate distances, such as 8-mile, 10-mile, and half-marathon races. Not to mention the next level of health and fitness, baby.

So what are you waiting for? Let's do this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bar Exam Preparation Survival Quiz

Post-Apocalyptic Academy

You have two months until the worst experience of your life.  Will you make it to the big day, or are you doomed before the clock even starts?  Take our practice test to find out…

1) How many hours of sleep are you getting per night?
      a. Four.
      b. Six.
      c. Sleep?
      d. Under Miranda v Arizona, I don’t have to answer that.

2) The other students in my bar review course are:
      a. Smart.
      b. Not smart.
      c. Conspiring against me.
      d. Imaginary.

3) How do you plan on spending the night between the exam days?
      a. Drinking.
      b. Praying.
      c. Studying.
      d. Oh s***! There are two days?!

4) At common law, the elements of a contract are:
      a. Offer and acceptance.
      b. Offer, acceptance, intent, and consideration.
      c. Offer, acceptance, and consideration.
      d. Offer, acceptance, and calligraphy.

5) Which of the following is NOT a concept of property law?
      a. Tenancy in common.
      b. Tenancy by the entirety.
      c. Tenancy at will.
      d. Calling “dibs.”

6) Which Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure?
      a. Second.
      b. Seventh.
      c. Fourth.
      d. Eleventy-First.

7) How many practice exams are you taking per week?
      a. Two.
      b. One.
      c. Three.
      d. Words With Friends is basically like a practice exam, right?

8) How many total hours do you plan on spending on studying?
      a. 250.
      b. 300.
      c. 350.
      d. How many hours are in three consecutive all-nighters?

9) True or false: I have been actually writing out essay answers to prepare for six straight hours of writing.
      a. True.
      b. False.
      c. I’m not worried about my shootin’ hand.

10) True or false: I am secretly planning to fake my death rather than take the bar exam.
      a. True.
      b. True.

Answer Key:
There’s no easy answer to studying for the bar.  Put in the time and the work, and you have a good shot at succeeding.  Then comes the real test: waiting for the results.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Update: You Made James Suffer

Make James Suffer. "You donate it, I carry it."
Nice work, people.

This past weekend, our friend James suffered an entire 5k with the weight of your American Heart Association donations draped across his heroic, calloused shoulders - all $2k of it. Crossing the line in just under 1:10, he hustled your 100 pounds of love with a quickness that defies all physics, all logic and every single self-presevation instinct built into modern man by eons of evolution. (Obviously.)

Axe me a question
How to fit 100 lbs of sh*t storm in a 2.4 lb sack.

So, go ahead, clap your torture-inducing selves on the back for a job well done. Because James did it. You did it. And now Heart Disease is going to get it - right where it counts.

Hero. Legend. Lunatic.
A Winner is you.
(And also you.)

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Past Coverage

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and You: Could It Happen - Part 1

Could it Happen?
The new Call of Duty Black Ops 2 trailer is out, and there seems to be a wild rumpus on the internets about whether or not its plot, involving hacked military robots attacking the US, is too sci-fi be a realistic Call of Duty game.

Newsflash, Interwebs. It's a game. It's never been realistic. So, rather than besiege the message boards with pointless sniping, let's ask the bigger question:

Could this hacker-fueled apocalyptic vision actually happen - AND do you need to prepare your Clients in the event that it does.

While your average sensationalist Fox News anchor may say yes, I say no. Here's why...

Reason 1: Our robots just don't pack that much heat.

While I have yet to play the game (it hasn't been released), the official trailer seems to show massive gun-toting quadrapeds, high-speed fighter jets and MG-packing quad rotors shooting up greater Los Angeles. These simply don't exist in today's operational arsenal.

Driving Miss Lazy
Most robotic weapons systems today are used in reconnaissance and assistance roles. That means taking pictures, exploring potentially dangerous locations and generally doing things you'd rather not - or can't - send a human to do.

Most are remote controlled or human assisted. And most don't pack a single shred of real offensive combat capability. The largest operational units by sheer numbers, the Foster-Miller TALON explosive ordnance disposal bot and the Packbot (made by iRobot, the company that brought you such terrifying devices as the Roomba!), are good examples. Cute. Slow. And nothing more than glorified remote control cars. Like your average video game, they do their jobs based on inputs from a human operator; sometimes using an actual xBox controller.

There are always exceptions to the rule, of course. The armed TALON "SWORDS" variant was deployed to Iraq. However, three SAW-equipped remote controlled mini-tanks that have yet to fire a shot in anger do not a statistically significant threat make.

The Predator and it's bigger, meaner brother, Reaper, on the other hand, are whole different winged beasts. Able to orbit undetected high above the battlefield, they pack a pretty nasty compliment of operator-activated laser guided bombs and Hellfire missiles. Thankfully, not in US airspace. Or in the numbers needed to decimate downtown LA. (So put your military surplus Stinger away, Suburban Rambo. No need to worry.)

That said, the story itself isn't that far fetched. Some of the predicted technologies are in development. Quad-rotor swarms. Walking robots. MAARS remote weapons platforms. Autonomous command systems. And the Army has made some noise about integrating more combat ready bots into the tip of the spear. So a few years away? Maybe. Today? Not a chance.

Or maybe we should start worrying...

Next up? Reason Number 2 Skynet is still scarier than Call of Duty Black Ops 2.

Image reference: US Army, Air Force

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Update: 3 Days Left and James is Not Impressed

Make James Suffer. "You donate it, I carry it."
Ok, guys.

James thinks we're playing. He doesn't think we're serious about helping the American Heart Association. And he's taunting us.

Threats and Taunts

There are only 3 days to go. Let's make his day (painful).

The patented stink eye.
No, really. Bring it.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Iron Man Dancers Not Included: The Avengers Deuce and Half Auction

Deuce For Sale!

So, The Avengers smashed box office records like Drunk Hulk smashes Twitter, and now you're looking to roll strong in super hero style like Samuel L. Jackson. Good news, friend. Ebay has your hookup:

A S.H.I.E.L.D. Deuce and Half actually used in the film for the low, low buy it now price of only $10,000. (Way more badass than a paid placement Acura, right?)

$10 Grand O.B.O.If you do win, you're looking at 10 wheels of 2 1/2 ton sexiness. According to Wikipedia, the medium duty M35A2 is rated to up to 10,000 pounds of cargo. Plenty of room for your army of Ironettes (not included). As an added bonus, while you're hauling assloads of ass, you can feed its turbo diesel multi-fuel engine on pretty much any extra fluids lying around the bunker: diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, heating oil and - in a pinch - gasoline. Hell, maybe even the tears of your fallen super enemies. (Unsubstantiated.)

Because it's ostensibly still military hardware, the terms of sale require an export license from the State Department if you're shipping it overseas. Good luck with that, foreign comic book guys.

6 of 10 Gavels (Good, but no Helicarrier.)

Check it here: - The Avengers Deuce. M35A2 Military 6x6

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Housekeeping: Tip Link Added

From The Desk Of The Lawyer

Got a hot tip for the Post-Apocalyptic Lawyer?

Special words of encouragement? Crude strings of epic curses? New gear worth looking at? I've added a handy tip link to the right of the nav bar just for you.

Simply click, type and send.

Or hit me up via Twitter or Facebook.

You know, whatevs...