Monday, May 31, 2004

Declaration of Intent to Pay Administrative Fees

Listen up, kids, it's time. Tomorrow is the deadline to mail your 'Declaration of Intent to Study Law' form without paying the late-filing fee of $1,254,937.65. Remember to be honest, be exhaustive, and fully report that time you were arrested for defiling a corpse on federally protected wetlands while smoking a "marijuana cigarette" with some imported Cubans (boat people, not cigars) who just sold you a stinger missle from Pakistan. Got it? (Consequently, LARC II, Assignment 6 is finding that crime in the US Code and Shepardizing the most recent prosecution of it.)

And don't worry if you get hauled down to Austin for an accounting of your crimes -- just wink at the Examiners and say the magic words, "do y'all take plastic?" Works every time. My grand plan was to bribe them with booze and season tickets to Rangers games, but the alcohol's too valuable, and the Rangers actually don't suck yet. So, the best I've got is a gift certificate to Old Navy and sweet 'Back to the Future II' backpack/lunchbox kit.

So...mail yo' shit in, and hope the Santa Barbara police department keeps bad records.

This is pretty cool

Jacked from EmptyThoughtBubbles is this really cool new way to check the news.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Setting Free the Bears

When I was a little boy and my parents were undergrads at Baylor, going to see the bears was a weekly treat. We'd walk from our attic apartment in the Harrington House Faculty Center on 8th Street up to the creek, then north to the Bear Pit. If it was warm out (and it usually was), the bears would be lying under the waterfall. Strewn about the concrete structure were a tire, a log or two, and maybe some giant version of a dog's chew toy.

Given the nostalgic (and frankly, cool) value of the bears to me, it warms my heart to hear that the University has recently embarked on an ambitious plan to renovate and expand the Bear Pit, which is really a sad, institutional-looking thing. Here and here are some artist's renderings of the finished product.

We should get like a fishtank at the Law School. It could go either in the front foyer (where the current "Vain Attempt at Tax-Deductible Immortality" Wall is) or the little nook over by the Kronzer Appellate Courtroom. Students looking to take a break or find a place to meet up could simply say, "I'll meet you at the fish." "Hey, let's go look at the fish." "Ooooh, you know what we haven't done in awhile? Looked at the fish." I'm going to petition my local SBA rep.

Seriously though, I'm all about this bear thing. I love crap like this. :)

Good times in CrimLaw

The Criminal Law is an interesting study. This is partly because of the examination of conscience, social mores and punishment, but mostly because the cases get awfully interesting. Agreements to agree, rescission of contracts, probating a will? Booooooring. Murder? Very cool, right?

Anyway, as I'm sure every law student has when first studying actus reus (the requirement of a guilty-doing hand, haha), we read the Victorian English case of 'Regina v. Prince' this week. First of all, for you law dorks following along at home, that's Regina as in the Queen of England, the sovereign whose duty it is to prosecute crimes -- the British version of State v. Whatever. This case discusses strict liability, the idea that there are some crimes that don't require a guilty state of mind (mens rea) to incur criminal liability. Think speeding tickets, open container laws, anti-pollution statutes.

But 'Regina v. Prince' is about "taking a woman, under the age of sixteen, from her father against his will." Notice HIS will, not hers. :) She was actually thirteen, and a jury found that as a matter of fact, she looked much older. This coupled with the fact that she told Mr. Prince that she was eighteen, led him to act (take her away from her father unlawfully) but with out the requisite culpable mental state (he didn't know--nor was he reckless or negligent with regard to that fact). Nevertheless, the Court found him guilty under the theory of what we now call strict liability.

Now that I wrote all that out, the case doesn't sound much more interesting than all the other crap we read. Oh well. I guess anytime you throw some jailbait in there, things get more interesting. A word of warning, however: the poor bastard got two years hard labor.

Heard in the hallway after class: "All this talk of eighteen-year-olds is making me hungry."

God, that cracks me up.

My requisite bi-weekly bitching

In the student lounge of Baylor Law School, there is a calendar of the quarter. It's an otherwise normal calendar, but it runs backwards from 'Day 42' (or whatever) to 'Day 1,' which is the last day of class. Odd though it may be, as we like to think most Baylor law students can count anyway, it sits like a macrocosmic clock-watching session. Anyway, what I realized was that it's really a big lie. 'Day 21' doesn't mean there are only 20 days of class after today, it just means 20 SCHEDULED days.

I'm not sure if it's an institutional thing, but at Baylor we seem to have more make up days than Waco has churches. I understand the unforseen 'jury duty' make up day, but really, I think a professor should plan their course according to what's on the academic calendar, period. It's no surprise -- we get Memorial Day off. You knew this, we knew this, the administration knew this. But that's just the tip of the iceberg sometimes. Running behind? Schedule a make up. Is the sky blue today? Schedule a make up.

The way the schedule works, we're supposed to have a class four out of five days a week (with the exception of CrimLaw). But in reality, I can't remember the last week (this quarter or last quarter) when we didn't have at least one make up class in something.

A classic case of the exception becoming the rule.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Movie night

I'm in a quandary. Do I see Schrek II (makes it sound like a German-language sequel--very art house), The Bruckheimer Iliad, or The Day Before The Day After Tomorrow's Yesterday' (or whatever it's called)? Decisions, decisions. Expect a self-important and properly snooty review later.

Perspective II: My Afternoon Daydream

"Law school is a marathon, not a sprint." Except that when you start running, they release dogs 50 yards behind you. And then midgets with nerf bats are hanging from the trees in little harnesses whacking you as you run away from the dogs. Then, after you safely navigate the midget-bat forest (the Contracts final), a big puddle of creamed corn makes you lose control and slide uneasily for like 200 yards (Property final). You don't know where you're going, how fast you are, or where the dogs are for a second, because the slippery puddle of creamed corn is infested with more bat-wielding midgets, this time in Scuba gear. The dogs are still somewhere back there, but you're starting to forget why you're running. "Oh yeah," you say, "it's like a marathon or something." Problem is, in this marathon, either the dogs or the bat-wielding midgets will get you if you don't run like hell. And if they don't, then Fall On-Campus Interviews will.

Law school may be a marathon, but it's more like 26.2 sprints of a mile long.

Friday, May 28, 2004

No wonder they release Contracts first

I won't mention vital Baylor statistics like grade distribution on this space, but I will say that the Property final has prompted a lot less soul-searching than Contracts. Perhaps this is a good omen for CivPro, or maybe it's the calm before the storm. Either way, it makes for a not-shitty Memorial Day weekend, by and large.

And really, is there something 7 times harder about Contracts than about Property? Or is the teacher just 7 times more evil? Things to ponder.

WTF?

Ah, the Friday before a long holiday weekend. No afternoon classes, no heavy reading or assignments, nothing but buying softball gloves, Big O's, and new sunglasses. Until Property today.

In what can only be described as intentional, knowing, and reckless ruination of a rare 2Q break, Prof. Property dropped a 15-second Hiroshima on our carefree weekend plans.

"Very quickly, as you're packing up, I have a couple announcements. First of all, your exam grades should be up later this afternoon."

The cruelty of it is its innocuous banality. Just another announcement. Just a quick note as you get out your Torts book. Just a kick in the collective balls. There's absolutely no way anyone has the will power to not check all weekend -- at least, and still enjoy whatever they're doing instead. An email to Baylor accounts that folks don't check, a posting in the Lounge after people have left, anything to limit exposure to mood-wrecking news would be welcome.

Alright, I've bitched enough. Here's hoping everyone does ok.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

A spectacle the likes of which the Law League's never seen

Welcome to the end result of centuries of softball evolution, the 2Q super-team. We've separated our 20+ army of softball warriors into two platoons, Team Chris and Team Suck. Ok, I made up that part. We'll all fly the same team name flag, with our jerseys merely reversing the colors, so people don't get confused when watching the all-2Q championship game.

Our manager, a keen softball mind (or at least a world class shit-talker familiar with the coach's wardrobe from 'Dazed and Confused') will lead us in daily fitness and alcohol tolerance-raising drills. Our jerseys, personalized, of course, will further demonstrate to our hapless opponents the discipline it takes to be a member of the truly elite softball fraternity. We even have cool cursive-with-line-under-it baseball script. Very 'Bad News Bears.'

Then it's gametime. With the aid of a computer jacked from CentCom (which comes complete with laserlight show and badass amp), each Oral Advocate that takes the plate will do so to super cool musical accompaniment. "Welcome to the Jungle?" Must mean Deez Nuts is up, so they'll reflexively shift to right...

Yeah, it's a brave new softball world.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A National Championship at Baylor!!!!

The Baylor Men's Tennis team has one its (and the university's) first national championship in Tulsa, OK. What's weird is that to win it all, Baylor had to beat my alma mater, USC (champs two years ago), and then ucla in the final. Hopefully, this will lead off a much happier summer for Baylor athletics. Sic 'em, Bears!

The full Baylor Golden Wave Marching Band should travel with the Moot Court and Mock Trial teams to competitions. How badass would that be? At least it would give them a chance to play "The Baylor Line" a time or two -- the football team's not giving them that chance.

p.s. Res Ipsa, the Loquacious Midget, says, "Go Bears."

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Law League Softball

It's on. The summer softball season starts on Tuesday, and I predict an all-2Q championship game. We've got the talent, we've got the trash talk, we've got the jerseys, and we've got the manager with circa 1970s coach's shorts. Awwww yeah. Word has it that Prof. Contracts wants to umpire the title game. I can only imagine...

Batter: Alright, pitch. Bring it.

Prof. Contracts: You need to choke up...there's no way you're going to get the bat around in time with your hands down there.

Batter: Um, thanks, but I'm ok.

Prof. Contracts: Suit yourself, I'm just saying that you'll never amount to anything.

Batter: (turning toward him--the ball whizzes by)

Prof. Contracts: Strike One!!

Batter: What the hell?

Prof. Contracts: This isn't spring training son, you're in the big leagues. You think your client's going to put up with you not even taking a swing?! Don't give me that 'I can't take the pressure' crap.

Batter: Just shut up, Ok? I want to play some softball. (he returns to his stance)

Prof. Contracts: Whatever. I've umpired 4000 first-year batters. Your stance is all wrong -- that's college guy crap. Now put your feet shoulder width apart.

Batter: (adjusts feet) Like this?

Prof. Contracts: Much better. Now you're going to take your chin from one shoulder to the other when you swing...got it?

Batter: (readies for the next pitch) Ok, I got it, I'm ready.

(the pitch comes...)

Prof. Contracts: Jesus, boy, what the hell are you doing?! You swing at THAT crap?! You're clueless, just clueless. Not one thing you did there was even close to being right. Get off my field -- you'll never be a softball player.

Batter: Just...just...go to hell!!! I tried, I did what you said, I just...just...missed it, OK?! I just f*cking missed it!!

Prof. Contracts: Damn right, you did. Send up the next victim, er, I mean, batter.

(next batter walks up and nods a greeting to the Prof as he takes his stance)

Prof. Contracts: So listen, you need to choke up...

The Majesty of the Law...

...is macaroni salad from Wal-Mart. No joke, in Torts today we had a serious 15-minute lecture/grilling/discussion on the probative value of dirt in macaroni salad. So it sounds just a little less trivial, here's the deal:

A woman slipped and fell on some macaroni salad that was on the floor of a Wal-Mart. She sued Wal-Mart alleging that they were negligent in not keeping the floor free from, um, slippable things. The case apparently hinged on how long the macaroni had been left on the floor, since if it had been a while, Wal-Mart would have had "constructive knowledge" of its presence there, and hence a duty to remove it. This led to the question of what kind of dirt was in the miscreated macaroni.

Was it the same manner of dirt that was on the floor surrounding it, or was it dirt from a more remote place? The argument goes that if it were a different kind of dirt, it was brought by the shoes of a stepper-onner, and therefore would show that it had been there long enough to get stepped on. But wait, wouldn't the existence of substantial dirt, period, show the macaroni had been sitting for quite some time? Why no, since the macaroni in question could have fallen on the floor, bounced, and then flopped over before coming to a rest. Then, dirt would be evenly spread throughout, though all of the same dirty origin.

So the next time you slip and fall on grapes at the grocery store, have the police bag the grapes and take them to the lab for a soil sample.

Monday, May 24, 2004

6 hours

Contracts II + Property II + CrimLaw + Contracts Exam Review + Torts(1.5hour) makeup = 355 minutes of law school today

After reading for tomorrow's 260 minutes of lecture, I'm too exhausted to bring the funny. Never fear, however, because tomorrow we've got an exclusive interview with Res Ipsa, the Loquacious Midget. He speaks for himself.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Crap

So I lost my wallet. Rather, I'm going to say it was stolen, 'cause that makes me feel less stupid -- not by much, but it's something. Anyway, in this day and age of identity theft, it's more than a little troublesome. Add to that the annoyance of cancelling your credit cards, and you've got a pretty big pain in the ass. About credit cards, there seem to be two schools of thought. Some people have a hairtrigger when it comes to cancelling that kind of thing. Left your wallet in your other pants? Can't find 'em for like 20 minutes? Uh oh, time to call Visa. For me, it's a weird kind of Russian roulette -- how long do you bank on finding your stuff in your apartment before you freeze your assets and have to wait 7-10 days for another debit card. I went with about two hours before I called the good old 1-800-VISA-911. Clever, huh? So...I've got trips to the DMV and Baylor ID folks to make this week. In the meantime, guess who's carrying around his passport as government ID. I go into HEB for some milk and you don't know if I'm splitting for Morocco. It pays to be prepared, I guess.

But you want to know the worst part?

I had 9 out of 10 stamps on a Quizno's card in that wallet. That ain't right.

The Sopranos...

...had better not suck tonight. Last week's snoozefest should have lowered the bar for this week, but HBO's been running such an awesome trailer for this one that they've lost the expectations game. I'm expecting high drama, no less. And really, if Christopher or Tony doesn't whack Tony B. tonight, there's no way they're going to be able to tie up the show in one episode. Geez.

UPDATE: Wow.

Exam Review

Tomorrow is the Contracts exam review, the first one we Spring starters will have. At Baylor, and perhaps at other schools, the professor will schedule a session to go over how the exam should have been answered after grades have been released. In addition, I believe we're free to ask questions as to what we could have done differently. It's with mixed emotions that I -- and others, I'm sure -- go to the review session tomorrow.

First of all, the event will undoubtedly be helpful. I understand this. Finding out what the professor was looking for on a particular problem is always a good thing, especially since we get to hear it from him. Since we'll be taking his exam for Contracts II, every little clue about what to do then can't hurt.

What I wonder about, however, is the second-guessing, the gnashing of teeth, the obsessive mulling over of the past that the review session could incite. It's hard to put something in the past that is dissected and marked over and expounded upon in front of you. Such a wallowing in something over which we have no more control seems like it would run counter to the prevailing advice of "move on, focus on the present" message we keep hearing.

But alas, I'll go, because my curiosity will get the better of me. You counted off for what?! You didn't understand what?! You mean 'livery of seisin' isn't right?! Small-minded institutionalist.

Fun with scared people

If you have roommates and they're ever watching 'The Ring,' right when the movie finishes (but before the credits roll), whip out your cellphone from the other room and call your apartment. Then laugh.

Friday, May 21, 2004

I can only guess who

I saw this via JD2b.com. I have no commentary except to say that I dare one of y'all to email the guy -- you must CC me or forward it for me to believe you. :)

An option on the sequel

One of my roommates just got back from a week in Mexico, and he wasn't exactly fighting the Zapatistas, if you know what I mean. I'm sure it's trite and undergrad, but I thought about where I was this past week, and Cancun was sounding awfully nice. Ah, but nevermind, we had Contracts and Torts and whatnot. Come to think of it, Contracts II and Property II sound like sequels. I wonder what their subtitles would be...

Contracts II: The Substitute

"You've considered consideration, you've cracked the Code, now get ready for...dum dum dum...the Substitute. She can go from zero to RSK in 6.0 seconds, and there is no affirmative defense for missing this movie."

or, maybe something like this...

Contracts II: The Beer Ad Guy's Revenge

"He fell out of a beer ad and into the money. Follow one man on his adventure through the bargained-for exchange. You'll see things that make you cry...he did. You'll see things that make you laugh...he did. And you'll do things you won't remember...he did...or didn't...he'll never know. This Memorial Day watch the comedy that will teach you never, but never, underestimate the POWER of a crappy t-shirt and a man on a mission. Coming soon. Suck it."

Property's a little tougher, since I can't alienate the professor...

Property II: Convey This

"He's a lovable mobster. She's a hard-talking therapist. Join an unlikely study group on a trip through non-trad hilarity..."

Yeah, that one's not going anywhere.

Outsourcing sucks

Freetrader, protectionist, capitalist, commie, I don't care. What I do care about is being able to communicate when I'm trying to change cellphone plans. The kind folks at Sprint have decided to route their customer service calls through India. No shit, India. I asked. Now, I'm sure there's a certain amount of English literacy required before they'll hire, but in a country where the adult literacy rate is 57% (and that's not even based on English), I guess that's a sliding scale.

My point is, I tried asking the simple question, "So does that mean nights start at 7pm if I agree to the extension?" My God. You'd think I just tried to annex the Ukraine for all the sense that made to him. The concepts of "how soon" and "how many" (which, I'll grant, are linguistically very similar) were two more stumbling blocks, and by the end, we were in one giant game of "All your base are belong to us."

Aw, sweet globalization.

The Chicken Fried Steak Administration

The Law Buddy Picnic for the summer was held last night at George's, the same venue as last time. Last night, however, the food was much better. Given my criticism of Law Day's menu (among other things), you might get the impression that I've turned begging and choosing into an art form, and you might be right. Oh wait, SBA dues? There goes the moral high ground.

Anyway, I like to think that it's our 2Q officers (who organized the thing) who are responsible for the improvement. If I may make a suggestion, however, we should totally bring back the raffle. Nothing quite makes your day like winning a coffee mug. I generally take my coffee in an overpriced plastic cup, but hey, I think mugs look cool.

A good time was had by all -- a very good time by some, I understand -- and really, give a first quarter a hug today. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Perspective

"Sometimes law school isn't life; sometimes life is life."

-excerpted from an email from an encouraging upper quarter

Very true. So very, very true.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Let the frenzy begin...

Contracts grades are up. I'll see you all at happy hour, some of us to drown our sorrows, some of us to toast ourselves (or the great Contracts gods). For those of you who are disappointed, just remember that there are still two exams to go...and if that doesn't help, I'll buy you a drink. Ninfaritas, here I come!

Enough already

Contracts exam review session postings are up, but grades aren't. Cruel.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Hannity? Oh, Hannity?

In Contracts we've finally reached the affirmative defense of "unconcionability," and I'm wondering where the outrage is. Unconcionability is the doctrine that provides for the avoidance of a contract whose terms are so grossly unfair (or were arrived at through grossly unfair means) that to enforce the agreement would "shock the conscience." A half-assed attempt at flowcharting the contract has been made by professors, and the Restatement and UCC drafters haven't gotten much further in breaking the idea down into elements. So there it lies, a big amorphous blob of judicial discretion completely antithetical to freedom of contract lying in the middle of the common law.

Now, I ask you, where is the outrage? In constitutional law (or politics, as I can't tell the difference anymore), the wielding of broad (and face it, pageant) legal principles like "substantive due process" or "right to privacy" have been decried as activist shams by strict constructionists for decades. Students, scholars and policy-makers have been forced to guess what direction judges would be going next, since caprice and an inner morality seemed to be the only dictates when it came to pointing to the direction of the law.

Is it any less "silly" (a term of art, if you've studied here :) to give a blank check to judges to rescind a questionable contract at will? Shouldn't we force them to be more creative in their torture of the law for a "just" result? Why make it so easy by merely asking that they find an agreement odious to their personal sensibilities?

In short, where's the outrage from the strict constructionists? As long as it's not something political like the textually synthetic "right" to abortion, do they not care? The common law is more pervasive than the constitution, has existed longer, and while not ratified or definitively printed (which again, should bug the crap out of these guys), it is "the Law" in 49 states (with regional variants). Where's Sean Hannity bemoaning these runaway judges with their right to destroy freedom of contract? Hmmmm. Maybe 'cause it's boring. Yeah, that's probably it.

A LARC scavenger hunt

The next LARC assignment should really be in scavenger hunt form. Each team would be given a different first clue, that is "find and cite where in ____ resource you would go to learn about _____." Then, either looking in that book or after properly decoding the citation (which could be written to only be done with the correct use of the Blue Book), the next clue would reveal itself. There could even be dead ends if you did the citation wrong (i.e. 3rd series instead of 2nd). Since each team would have a different starting place and different subsequent clues (all of comparable difficulty, mind you), there would be no need to sabotage or hide books. Ooooh, what fun.

Damn, that was sad.

The sophomore slump

A wise upper quarter told me that Spring starters have to watch out in their second quarter. Curious, I asked why, since I'd heard that the second quarter is a universally difficult experience at Baylor Law. He told me that for two reasons, Summer 2Qs generally need to be on their guard.

First, he told me that being at school in summer will feel odd, and the natural reaction is to let up or slow down. This made sense to me, as I've only spent one summer in school ever, three years ago at Northwestern, and that was awfully low-stress. This applies to the Summer starters as well, however, doesn't it? Not so, he said. They're still scared of the novelty of law school, and so they'll prepare, read and study like madmen regardless of the season. "Hmmm," I say, "good point."

Secondly, the inclination is to relax when surrounded by novices, as we are in Torts and CrimLaw. Having survived a quarter of law school, a round of exams, a daily bitch-slapping of the ego, we believe we know more about law school than the 1Qs, and we're right. We don't, however, know more about Torts or CrimLaw, and therein lies the danger.

So, there you have it. Be careful, and if you're not, at least take the final before you drop. :)

To Judith Carlson

Before I read "Tort Law and Practice"
(And what a P.C. book that tract is),
I thought myself the people's champ
Of would-be poets of Law Camp.

IS this that far a reach, I ask?
Law school minutiae's no small task.
In case my haikus don't gain traction,
Then look at "A Hymn Before Action."

LESS may be more, but, by McGeorge!
Are my efforts mere tepid porridge?
On page 100 sans remand:
Judith's homage to Learned Hand.

THAN P times L must B be less,
The end result a tortious mess.
In "Carroll Towing"'s prose most dour,
Hand tells the story of lost flour.

P stands for --in her alma mater,
U. of P.-- Pacific water,
Though this deceives a bit, I think.
Sacramento's far from the drink.

TIMES more pacific, in LA,
Are nothing but a dream today,
Because, instead, golf clubs and guns
Stare at me from page 101.

L, just one, but second Q
Is what we are, the proud and few.
But Prof. Torts teaches, what, I see?
Not L, but G, for Gravity!

Monday, May 17, 2004

I swear to God we're not in middle school...

Reasons why CrimLaw is (but shouldn't be) the funniest class ever:

1. Penal Code. It's pathetic, it's juvenile, it's inevitable. Every time anyone says it, chuckles follow. We may be students of the law, but hey, he said 'penal.' Haha.

2. Marijuana cigarettes. To mix things up, Prof. CrimLaw should try calling it by a different name every time he mentions it. Ten bucks says he'll say 'reefer' or 'doobie' by week 3.

3. "Puff, puff, ____." If I ever hear "puff, puff, pass," much less "...give" coming from a professor again, I really think that's license to bust out laughing.

4. 1Q unpreparedness excuses. These kids are ballsy, that's all I'll say.

5. "Mr. Anderson." It's nobody's fault, but 'The Matrix' forever made some people getting called on in class a tad more amusing.

6. Prof. Contracts getting victimized in CrimLaw hypos never gets old.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

A Blow to the Wohlgy

The Veterans Administration has decided to keep the 72 year old Waco VA Hospital open. Hoping to chip at incumbent Congressman Chet Edwards' claim that he is needed to protect Waco's interests in Congress, Arlene Wohlgemuth is no doubt pissed that this went Chet's way. Very intelligently, Chet was quick to share credit with Sens. Hutchison and Cornyn, both Republicans, and he has Arlene looking like she was petulantly rooting for its closure the whole time.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Fun with Google

This blog is now the #1 result when searching for "Baylor 1L" on Google. When searching "Baylor Law," it's #4, and "Baylor law student," #6.

Cool.

What I didn't expect, however, was to be the #1 result when searching for "kinky weasel adventures 1996." That one's got me weirded out.

Love and Theft

Today, as I was running errands about town, I listened to Bob Dylan's most recent album (that is, 2001), "Love and Theft." The child of baby boomers, I was raised on Bob, and frankly, he was more popular in my house than Elvis or the Beatles. I wasn't expecting another "Blood on the Tracks" or anything, but alas, listening to this swansong was rather sad.

First of all, the songs are pretty damned good, in my humble opinion. "Mississippi" and "High Water" show the folksy-yet-ominous Dylan that made "John Wesley Harding" what it was. The old man's still got it when it comes to songwriting. What was depressing, however, was that he was the one to sing them.

My God, words cannot express how maddeningly atrocious Bob Dylan's voice has become. This isn't the typical "Bob Dylan can't sing" complaint, 'cause frankly, we all know that. Part of his charm is the raspy, nasal, sotto voce-with-harmonica thing. What has happened, though, is that in his old age, it sounds as though he's singing through a tracheotomy hole. No really, it's like a constant state of needing to clear his throat. So distracting are Dylan's attempts to communicate pitch and lyric that they draw attention to the sweetness or fluidity of the song by contrast. Perhaps that's part of the gimmick---the aural experience of listening to an aging, emphysemic legend sing about tragedy is in itself the tragedy. Or maybe no studio can say no if Bob Dylan wants to record an album. Yeah, that's probably it.

In sum, Bob Dylan in 1971 sounded 50 years old. Bob Dylan in 2001 sounds 150 years old. The writing is good, and the instrumentation is classic-but-mildly-updated Dylan, so I would recommend 'Love and Theft' to any avid Bob fan. As a means to winning converts, however, I'd pass.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Baylor Bar Journal--back page

"Chris Fahrenthold, recently of Los Angeles, was preemptively disbarred for fraud and unprofessional conduct. On May 13, when in the Baylor Law School student lounge, he was found with his arm--up to the shoulder--stuck in the dispensary of the soda machine closest to the door. In his other hand was found a hammer, with which he was reaching up to hit the "coin return" button. He could be heard to say, "die, die, you quarter-stealing son of a bitch." The Baylor Honor Code Enforcement Task Force (B.H.C.E.T.F.) was called to the scene, and the disbarred was tazed into submission, but not before the 'Dr. Pepper' button of the machine was beaten beyond recognition. For the next two hours, maintenance staff, the University provost and the guy who walks the bear attempted to remove his arm from the machine. Upon removal, the ungrateful wretch said, "you had to taze me?!" In his recently-freed hand was an ice cold Dr. Pepper caught in a death grip. As the subject was led away for hearing and reprimand, drinking his prize, he said, "perseverance pays off, victory is sweet, and stay in school, kids."

"Oh yeah, and he accidentally tore his brand new Westlaw card. That's fifty lashes and a week in the brig."

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Undergrads

So the undergrads upstairs just had their last exam of the semester, and so, of course they're partying, as is their right. I've got Nelly Furtado ("that's Sooooo 2001") thumping through my ceiling with a vengeance. But do I really signal to the world that I'm now a boring old man by going up to complain? Decisions, decisions. They've earned it, I guess, and who am I to get on them for living it up the first chance they get? In case you don't remember the scene after the Contracts final, or the Property final, for that matter, suffice it to say we put these little kids to shame.

I don't know what I'm more pissed off about, that they're loud and obnoxious at 1:30 in the morning, or that they didn't invite me. Not that I'd go. Cool guy has a LARC memo to finish, er, polish. Yeah, polish. And fine-tune.

"...estopped to deny their existence."

Who'd've thought the duty to disclose defects in real property could be so entertaining? Sure enough, in our casebook is reprinted a 1991 case (Stambovsky v. Ackley) from the New York intermediate appellate court that found that a failure to disclose the presence of a poltergeist constitutes proper grounds for rescission of the contract for sale of a house. Cool, huh?

What's even funnier than the court's dismissal of the doctrine of caveat emptor is the manner in which the judge wrote the opinion. The link above is to an abridged version of the case, so I would encourage my non-legal readers to check it out. Maybe it's just that it's wedged between equitable conversion and some other damned thing, but to us, that's about as funny as it gets in Property.

Excepting our class performance, of course. :)

Coddling

Now, I don't want to say the first quarter faculty's getting soft or anything, but I'm seeing hats and crossed arms in class. Back in my day, sonny, that wouldn't fly. Or that dog wouldn't hunt. Or that frog wouldn't hop. Or whatever downhome cliche you think is appropriate.

Where's the carnage, the mayhem, the body count? I suppose they'll have to wait 'til Fall (and Prof. Contracts) for the REAL law school to start.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

A death in the "West Wing"? Must be a season finale

Usually when a TV drama starts playing the "some major character dies" card, you know they're reaching and the end is near. ER has been lingering in a sickly state since they killed off Dr. Green and even Dawson's Creek had to end with a major death. Need an instant (hoped) ratings spike? Have Frasier's dad have a heart attack in "a very special 'Frasier'". And so, when I saw that the folks at NBC are setting up the life-or-death drama of a regular character, I started to worry that the show was going to hell. Then I remembered that this is what they do.

Season 1 finale? Several Secret Service agents die in an assassination attempt, Josh and the President get shot.
Season 2 finale? President's personal secretary gets killed by a drunk driver.
Season 3 finale? Secret Service agent gets shot and dies in a robbery.
Season 4 finale? 2 Secret Service agents get shot and die, President's daughter gets kidnapped.

Moral of the story? Don't work for the Secret Service in Episode 20. It's bad news.

It's a strange comfort, but still, do we really need to sacrifice a cast member to sweeps every year?

p.s. I wonder if the sitcom equivalent is having someone get pregnant.

I could have sworn it meant cake, too

tort ( P ) Pronunciation Key (tôrt)
n. Law
Damage, injury, or a wrongful act done willfully, negligently, or in circumstances involving strict liability, but not involving breach of contract, for which a civil suit can be brought.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Middle English, injury, from Old French, from Medieval Latin tortum, from Latin, neuter past participle of torqure, to twist. See terkw- in Indo-European Roots.]

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

tort

\Tort\, n. [F., from LL. tortum, fr. L. tortus twisted, crooked, p. p. of torqure to twist, bend. See Torture.] 1. Mischief; injury; calamity. [Obs.]

That had them long opprest with tort. --Spenser.

2. (Law) Any civil wrong or injury; a wrongful act (not involving a breach of contract) for which an action will lie; a form of action, in some parts of the United States, for a wrong or injury.

Executor de son tort. See under Executor.

Tort feasor (Law), a wrongdoer; a trespasser. --Wharton.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

tort

\Tort\, a. Stretched tight; taut. [R.]

Yet holds he them with tortestrein. --Emerson.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

tort

n : any wrongdoing for which and action for damages may be brought [syn: civil wrong]

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Some tips for the first quarters

Sadly, the only class the 1Qs have that we've already taken is CivPro. I say 'sadly' because that's the only class on which we can speak with authority when it comes to helpful hints. Although, technically, until grades come back, all of our advice is suspect. Nevertheless, here are a few in-class tips I have for those in Summer 2004's CivPro.

1. Know your pleadings. Know everything about them--particularly the form requirements for the Answer. Pennoyer isn't that big a deal. You'll probably only spend a couple class periods on it anyway.

2. Focus on in rem jurisdiction. The mechanics of quit claim deeds are also a high priority. No joke.

3. When called upon, be absolutely certain of your answer before speaking. If this means flipping furiously through your casebook and telling the prof to "hold on a sec" with your finger held up, so be it.

4. Rule 11. 'Nuff said.

5. Whenever there's a reference to Yoda, raise your hand and ask, "Are you sure that wasn't Mr. Miyagi, professor?"

6. Cases in the notes are optional reading. Don't fall for the 1Q prank when he "kicks you out" for not preparing them--he's just seeing how gullible you are. Remain in your seat and laugh so he knows you're in on it.

And I can't believe they won't let me be someone's law buddy 'til next quarter.

A brush with greatness

Adra over at EmptyThoughtBubbles has this wonderful account of legendary Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorensen's appearance at Northwestern University. Sorensen is the idol of many a political speechwriter (though I was partial to the much more attractive and conservative Peggy Noonan :) and certainly one of my heroes.

JFK referred to Sorensen as his "intellectual blood bank" on several occasions, and he is the reason we often look to Kennedy as the apotheosis of the rhetorical president. Peggy Noonan often says that Reagan (her boss) was an excellent talker who gave good speeches, whereas President Kennedy was good talker who gave excellent speeches. For a little fun, go read JFK's speech at the Berlin Wall ("Let them come to Berlin") and Reagan's D-Day anniversary speech ("...the boys of Point du Hoc."). That's it right there, Sorensen v. Noonan, the clash of the titans.

Adra's post made me wistful and nostalgic, so I went back and dug up (ok, opened up the Word document) my first professional political speech. It was a review of the recent legislative session to be delivered before the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. It was interesting to see what got changed from draft to draft and to relive the battles that led to the final product--it was just a legislative update to the CoC, but when it's your first gig it feels like an Inaugural Address.

Some highlights:

"It says something about the tone of the Session when the biggest news story was that 51 legislators ran out and hid in Oklahoma.

"When I think about the stunt those 51 House Democrats pulled, I am ashamed...(pause for a beat)...ashamed that 51 Texans would ever volunteer to go to Oklahoma.

"I don't know why they didn't go to Arkansas instead. With Bill in New York and Hillary in DC, the state isn't making its quota of 'shameless'."

Ah, good times. Most of that draft ended up in the trashcan, but a few of my favorite lines survived:

"Most Texans are pleased that we managed to balance the budget without raising taxes; I am concerned, however, that what was politically safe in 2003 will prove to be fiscally dangerous in 2005.

"In fact, to call a budget fiscally sound that has so many cuts to vital services is like calling a steer a bull. He's grateful for the title, but he'd much rather have back what is rightfully his."

Incidentally, Peter Stone never called to whine about my appropriating his quip. The Republican Party thanks him very much. :) Anyway, thanks, Adra, for the excuse to look back on my exciting pre-law school days. You've made me so much happier to be sitting in the library reading Torts. :)

Sweet Jesus

This is generally a not-taking-the-Lord's-name-in-vain zone (generally, mind you), but really, wall to wall law school from 8am to 12:50pm will do that. No joke, Contracts II, Property II, Torts and LARC II, with 10 minute breaks in between. I remember back in February when I made a post bitching about the scheduling accident that resulted in us having 4 classes (gasp) on the same day! Now, that happens several times a week, and for almost 5 hours in a row.

I need to change my last name to something that starts with a letter after L, and I need to do it now.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Round 2

Today was the first day of Contracts 2.0 and Criminal Law. Prof. Contracts II gave her first lecture--on duress. Interestingly enough, she studied under Prof. Contracts, intends to follow his syllabus, and is even giving his final. We'll see how that goes. For some reason, I feel like Prof. Contracts will very much remain a presence in our class--to the delight or chagrin of various people in the class.

In what I understand is par for the course, CrimLaw ran a little long. This class only meets three times a week, so I'm chalking it up to maximizing efficiency. Sure, yeah, that's it. And hey, how many profs can mention Peja Stojakovic and know who they're talking about?

And finally, I think it's funny that in CrimLaw, the first two rows were filled by 2Qs, while the back two were populated with 1Qs. I think we need a Spring/Summer starter mixer or something. I was going to mingle after class and hand out pearls of 2Q wisdom, but they bolted out of the room for some reason. Some lame excuse like "CivPro". Whatever. :)

Does it ever get old?

Brendan Loy has the latest on my alma mater's fourth national championship this year. Sadly, neither the NYT, WaPo, Dallas Morning News or the Waco Trib cover the women's water polo beat, so I wouldn't find out about it until the fundraising letter comes from the Athletic Department in like a month.

So now, we've got football, women's volleyball, men's water polo and women's water polo. And both the volleyball and women's water polo teams had perfect seasons. Yeah, it's nice to be a Trojan.

On a related note, next month I'll be sworn in as VP of the Austin Trojan Alumni Club. I learned my lesson from SBA and now only run in uncontested races. :) The great irony is that I'm not from Austin, and my only connection (read: continuous and systematic contact?) was 6 months spent in the Capitol on staff. Democracy is cool, huh?

No 8:00am class? What kind of first quarter is that?!

Now, I may be wrong, and if I am, then this post will find itself edited and/or deleted forthwith. But as it stands, I think the new kids' first class is Criminal Law at 10:30 (for the M-Z named folks). Now, I understand that since Prof. Contracts is on sabbatical, they can't get the full Baylor Law experience--that is, fearing for your life and gastrointestinal continence at 8 in the mo'nin', but still, we could give 'em something. I mean really, howsabout we give them our primo morning timeslot for like CivPro or something, and then WE get an extra hour or two to sleep. Alas, when I'm Dean...

What we need at Baylor is more hazing. :)

p.s. For the those who want to know what you'll be reading about this quarter, I've got Contracts II, Property II, Torts, CrimLaw and LARC II. Because we have a new professor for Contracts II, he/she will be referred to as 'Prof. Contracts II' to prevent confusion, while Prof. Property will still be Prof. Property (same with Prof. LARC).

Cool.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Happy Happy Time

To borrow from the boys over at PTI, it's Happy Happy time:

Happy Mother's Day! to all you moms out there, and if y'all haven't called or seen your mom today, shame on you.

Happy Graduation! (I guess we say 'Congratulations,' actually) to my friend Victoria over in LA. She earned her BA from Loyola Marymount University yesterday.

Happy last carefree day of your life! to the entering 1Q class of Baylor Law School. As of tomorrow, we're not the most pitiful creatures on planet law school. Here's a welcome haiku for y'all:

Get out while you can.
Get your money back or else
Stay 'til the final.

Seriously, take one for the team and help out the curve if you decide the law's not for you. :)

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I apologize to my regular readers,

...but due to the break, blogging has been light. Look for the new and improved 2Q edition on your newsstands Sunday.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Intern Search: Day 49

The quest for a personal assistant is now entering its eighth week. There's a little less urgency since Dot lost, but still, with the addition of a fourth class to schedule, my time management needs have gone through the roof. I'm looking for someone with a lot of patience and a penchant for fawning adoration of soon-to-be great men with big ideas. Plus, someone that can cut through the line to close my tab at 1:48 would be super, too. Interest in politics a plus, knowledge of baseball (since it's summer) a must, and some modelling experience can't hurt. Seriously, if I can't get anyone good soon, I might just have to manage my own damn life. And where's the fun in that?

Lunch in Dallas, Dinner in Waco, Breakfast in San Antonio

I'm going up to Dallas for a late lunch and a few hours of whatnot, then it's back to Waco for the evening. Tomorrow I'll go home to San Antonio for a couple days and lie by the pool whilst my family goes to school and work. Good times.

Monday, May 03, 2004

A politically active Aggie with a sense of humor? Weird.

Just kidding, just kidding, please spare me the hate mail. In keeping with today's rather political theme, I do believe I've found the greatest campaign website in the history of the universe. Vulgar? Yeah. Informed? Relatively. Subtle? Not at all. Without further ado, I give you...

JohnKerryIsADoucheBagButImVotingForHimAnyway

I suspect this will actually be mildly effective among the people bothered enough by Kerry's "doucheitude" to consciously abstain, but not rabid enough to vote for Nader. Oh yeah, and that paid to see 'Jackass: The Movie' in the theater.

Political Employment Etiquette

There's regifting, there's voting Libertarian, and there's going to ucla in a USC family. Elements of all three of these are present in the diaspora following the close of a campaign. There is a tidal wave of resumes that pour out to every officeholder of the party, and in a year when the Lege is out of (regular) session and the only up-ticket race is for President, folks take what jobs they can get. This usually results in a lot of former colleagues squaring off against each other (or likely will in 2006, when there are a U.S. Senate seat and the Governor's mansion up for grabs).

It's hard to describe just how weird this is until you've had close friends on rotating sides. My Comptroller Strayhorn friends will now be on their guard when they have a beer with my Gov. Perry friends, who will both be wary of my Sen. Hutchison friends, who wonder if my Lt. Gov. Dewhurst friends want their jobs. The only real winner is me, since because I don't have a dog in the fight, I now get the gossip from four different offices. Cool, huh?

And I was worried life outside the arena for so long would get boring.

My continuing vendetta against Ben Affleck

I don't usually read AdAge.com, but when they cover the White House Correspondents' Dinner, I'll make an exception. In Washington, the WHCD is prom, the Governor's post-Oscar party, the Inaugural Ball and the Bennifer wedding all rolled into one. Speaking of Bennifer, a certain overrated and newly single actor happened to BE at the WHCD. Honestly, what papers do Ben Affleck, the Olsen twins, Drew Barrymore and Serena Williams write for? Should there ever be an event where the President, First Lady and Secretary of State are on the same guest list as Clay Aiken?! Come on, now.

P.S. Newsweek's (and MSNBC's) Howard Fineman took Meg Ryan as his date. Not bad for nerdy politics guy, eh? Take note, Brendan, Howard's got a journalism master's from Columbia and a law degree from Louisville.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

LA-SA

Lakers v. Spurs, 2:30. I'll root for anyone who's playing the Lakers, but it's so much easier when it's the Spurs. When I was a freshman at USC, LA won the first of their like eight championships in a row. And how did the local Laker faithful express their pride and elation? By turning over a police cruiser and setting fire to it, of course. Ah yes, gotta love goin' to the University of South Central, Figueroa and Adams campus. :)

How's this for a title: Good Will Hunting-for-any-excuse-to-tell-law-school-to-shove-it

This blog has been a good way for me to expend random pseudo/quasi/demi/semi-creativity on a daily basis, at least so that I keep my head in the game in law school. Sometimes, however, it makes me wish I didn't have to keep my hobbies (at least the writing kind) of the bite-sized variety. As anyone who's read my CivPro morality play, imagined hungover conversation, or dramatization of my getting bitchslapped by two professors can tell you, I like to write dialogue. I also really like law school. Since the Great American 1L Novel has already been written--twice--I figure it's no use trying to top it. I do, however, think some of what goes on around here would transition awfully well to the stage.

So, inspired by 1.) this very busy Baylor lawyer's ability to find time to write a screenplay while practicing, and 2.) my week off before summer quarter, I'm kicking around some drafts and ideas about how to approach it.

First of all, I don't think anyone wants to see a play about law school, so don't think I'm simply trying to put the hell that is a Contracts class (or CivPro, depending on which row you sat on :) on display for the world. That kind of thing is only interesting to a law student, and a Baylor one at that. No, I think something merely set in the law school environment or tangentially related steers the course well enough between relevancy and boredom. And how best to dramatize what we're going through...?

Scene 1 has a law student visiting a therapist after some sort of breakdown. Flashbacks ensue. Should be fun.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

So, um, do we have any Torts reading for Monday?

Ah, sweet freedom. I can do anything I want--go home, read a book, see a movie, anything. And it's already driving me crazy. Don't I need to be making flashcards or something, maybe working on my outline or doing hypotheticals? For some reason, it seems like the day's just not real if I haven't been to the law school at least once. I'm reminded of the discussion on being institutionalized in 'The Shawshank Redemption.' We came to think of the law school as our prison, in which we languished for hours, yearning to be outside, but really, you kind of need it after awhile. Or maybe that's just me.

I know I should be happy that I don't have to be studying--and really, I am, very much so--but at least today, something just doesn't feel right. Could be the weather. It's cold and damp, not very springy. I blame the communists.