Thursday, March 30, 2006

I just received a very disturbing e-mail from a reader: "I am now living and teaching in China. I've been here a month, and I am just now settling down into a routine. This morning, I Googled 'Anonymous Lawyer" and the link to your blog is 404! Not to be found! You've been blocked by The Great Firewall of China!"

Of course it upsets me that people in China are unable to read my weblog. I expect the Chinese government has banned it because they are afraid that upon reading this blog, many Chinese citizens will immediately send applications to American law schools so that they can end up working at firms like mine. Perhaps they are offended that I haven't yet written about any $50 lunches at Chinese restaurants. We do have some $50 lunches at restaurants that claim to be Chinese, but I must admit that at the $50 price point, Chinese restaurants start to look a lot like fusion cuisine. I'm not sure how authentic General Tso's Chicken & Black Truffles is. Or Kung Pao Foie Gras. Or Quail Egg Foo Young with Curried Duck Breast in a Baby Bok Choy emulsion topped with Pine Nuts. Or Fortune Cookies 'n' Cream ice cream.

The bigger concern for me is why a country as large as China is able to successfully implement a firewall that effectively blocks sites like this while our firewall at the firm, which is supposed to block all personal e-mail, social networking sites like Friendster and MySpace (my nephew tells me about these things),, spider solitaire, Yahoo's "Super Text Twist" game, the Greedy Associates message board, all instant messaging services, legal recruiting websites, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the American Red Cross,, Alcoholics Anonymous, Sons of Sam Horn, Instapundit, Gawker, Wonkette, The Huffington Post, a web game about urinal etiquette, and anything else we think is a drain on productivity, never seems to work. Associates find ways around it. And the IT department keeps saying it's impossible. If China can find a way to do it -- Communist, backwards, non-English-speaking China! -- then surely we should be able to patch together a solution. Or at least find a way to outsource it to whoever makes it work over there. They probably outsource it to India. India probably outsources it back to us. The guys in our IT department are probably implementing the successful firewall for the Chinese government in their spare time while they claim to be unable to do the same over here.

Actually, that's impossible. Our IT guys don't have any spare time. We eat of all that up with housecalls to the partners' estates whenever any of us have a problem with our home systems. I had one of the IT guys come out last weekend to fix my stereo. I couldn't get the remote control to work. It turns out it needed a new battery. One of those special ones you have to get at Radio Shack. Radio Shack doesn't even deliver. What kind of business today doesn't deliver? Luckily it was on the IT guy's way home (the long way) so I had him pick it up for me and then bring it to the office on Monday. I rewarded him with a piece of candy from my secretary's bowl. Not many people get to eat her candy. He should consider himself lucky.

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