Saturday, July 31, 2004

MLB trade deadline brings us...

Holey rusted metal, Batman! NO-MAH Gahseeyapahra is a Cub now!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Not Dead Yet

Much like the vaunted Norwegian Blue parrot, I'm not dead, just resting. I've been spending the now half a week of our long-awaited vacation clearing my mind of all things law school--this space included. But never fear, I shall return shortly.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Hottest State

I just finished reading actor/author Ethan Hawke's first novel, "The Hottest State," and I must say, I'm rather impressed. Perhaps Mr. Hawke is reaping the benefit of my lowballed expectations, as it seems, for some reason, that good-looking actors who marry people named Uma Thurman can't have actual "artistic talent." But alas, Hawke's book was tight, authentic and actually moving.

It seems to me that writers can be divided into two types, generally: storytellers and stenographers. Storytellers do just that, tell stories. Stenographers focus on the minutiae and subtleties of life and speak to the tortured confusion of the human condition--or something. Storytellers generally entertain us or teach by analogy; stenographers seek to describe life as it happens, most usually, as it has happened to the author.

"The Hottest State" centers around the arc of a love affair of an actor in New York just shy of his 21st birthday. Hawke is very much a stenographer. Believable dialogue and some worthy insights on the awkward self-consciousness of love, sex and relationships redeem a book that could very quickly have turned cliche and self-indulgent. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good transcript of what goes on in the head of someone painfully self-aware and clumsily well-meaning in relationships.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, July 23, 2004

It's over

Let the whathaveyou begin.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Reckoning

2Qs, check your Baylor email accounts for a super-special word from our sponsors.

Everyone else, here's a rerun from last quarter. This is the episode of SoTheBearSays where the 1Qs are getting ready to take their Contracts exam...

A Hymn Before Action

When every word is studied, and few are memorized,
When all your thoughts by Contracts have thus been terrorized,
When no more consolation can e'ermore be derived
From reading, just say "screw it," and try to shut your eyes.

But when two seconds later, you find yourself awake,
When no sweet dreams are coming--with nightmares on the make,
Just think, it's almost over, our Contract-laden wake,
The Trail for us is over, and so let him eat cake.

When fishing for Restatements or slogging through the Code,
"Is this under the Statute?" you say, just don't explode.
The answer and its cousin, the peaceful inner road
To "maybe" can be summoned, with patience as its goad.

When all 2-207's and all 2-204's
Begin to run together, and battles become wars,
Don't fret and frown and gasping go running for the doors,
Instead just wink and smile and know the test is yours.

There's worse to be afraid of, there's PC still to fear,
But look right quick around you, though some have dropped, YOU'RE HERE.
You cannot yet be frightened, you must still persevere,
You'll still be, come tomorrow, much more than your career.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Contracts doth cometh to smiteth forthwith

One of my classmates once likened his perception of the Contracts II exam to the Normandy beach landing sequence in 'Saving Private Ryan.' Now, I don't know that it's THAT bad, but all's I'll say is there were probably soiled trousers on D-day (and they weren't all French), and there might be some this Friday morning, as well. I wonder if it's more like a Titanic/ApocalypseNow thing.

At this point, I'm numb. I have no perspective on time or space--I can't tell what day of the week it is, nor do I care. There are times when I step back and can remember thinking this would really suck about three weeks ago, but now I know how little I actually understood about the magnitude of the suckage.

What's weird, though, is that the world does indeed move forward. It's difficult to comprehend people not caring (or shock of shocks, not knowing) about Contracts II on Friday. What? Clinton NSA Berger stole documents? What? The Rangers don't suck this year? What? Some animal took a massive dump in Nick and Jessica's backyard on the Newlyweds? What? Huh? How did I not know these things earlier?

Ah, the narcissism of the law student, assuming the world takes a nine-quarter break. Me, I just can't wait for Fall, ya know? Torts II will be fun, a chance to really grapple with the statutory framework of torts in Texas... :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

1L Torts simulcast

1Q Torts

nine days to study
sans any molestation
even the good kind

2Q Torts

thirty-six hours
to study this tortious mess
after Property

4Q Torts

making bank clerking
still a whole month 'til school starts
hope i passed torts II

The Fabled Lost Post of Captain Caveman

Here's the mysterious comment that would never post. Consider it a post hoc addendum to the Property hypo. Oh yeah, and since it's a capt caveman post, you should probably hide the children. Earmuffs!

"Admittedly my linguistic prowess lies somewhere close to nowhere in comparison to yours Chris, but is that kind of talk really necessary?…So, I’m giggling like a school girl (or boy) at your hypo and then I come across PERIPATETIC…Shit, now I have to look up this poopy word…So, something to do with Aristotle…no, that doesn’t really make sense…oh, walking around from place to place…yeah, that fits…Now I’m thinking, “you son of a bitch, all you had to say was the mofo is hoofin’ it from place to place, but instead you whip out your large, hairy PERIPATETIC shlizong…we get it, you’re huge…now put that scary thing away and communicate to the little people...;o)"

For the record, on page 545 of your Torts book you'll find the "peripatetic rat problem." :)

Timing

I can't believe it. I've got a wisdom tooth coming in RIGHT NOW. You're never too old to start teething--I just didn't think I'd have to during the middle of finals, that's all. Damn Torts. Prof. Torts better not mind me bringing my teething ring into the test.

That thing got a hemi?

I don't know about non-political advertising--I leave it to other friends of mine to keep me apprised of developments there. But I saw this piece on Slate.com about those new Dodge hemi commercials. Call me a hippy, call me Californian, call me able to spell the second month of the year correctly, but I had never heard of a "hemi" until I saw the scrumptrillescent film Joe Dirt. (Sidenote: I always want to call that movie "Meet Joe Dirt" for some reason.) Anyway, the Slate article discusses what the hell a hemi is (a kind of engine, apparently, not some new slang term for a gay midget or something (not that there's anything wrong with that). Another interesting aspect of the new Dodge campaign is its attempt to market to the NASCAR crowd and the suburbanite deck-waxing crowd, which it claims are becoming the same group. Hmmm. I wonder, though, if this is a regional campaign or if they try to pitch this "grab life by the horns" nonsense in Delaware and Vermont. I dunno. Something to think about.

What do I know, though? I drive the baddest little red Korean sportscar on the planet. And by red Korean, I don't mean from Pyongyang, I mean it's from Korea and it's red. Haha.

And while I'm on commercials, that Starbucks "Supervisor" one kills me, too. :)

The song in my head

I'm not sure if it's the manifest stress of 2Q finalstime, but I've been feeling awfully destructive these days. What's a white kid from the suburbs to do? Listen to songs about mayhem, rioting and looting, of course--and so Sublime's "April 29th, 1992" won't leave my head. My only fear is that it will seep into my writing in much the same way that lyrics sometimes enter my classnotes.

"A negligence cause of action is composed of four elements, the first being the requirement of a duty owed by the defendant to the returned to the pad to unload everything, it dawned on me that I need new home furnishings, so once again we filled the van until it was full, since that day my livingroom's been much more comfortable plaintiff. This duty must be breached by the defendant, and this breach must be the proximate cause of everybody in the hood has had it up to here, it's getting harder and harder and harder each and every year of the harm for which the plaintiff is suing."

Although, a couple "let it burn"s in the middle of tortious fire question couldn't hurt.

Monday, July 19, 2004

As seen on TV

I shall be watching Jimmy Kimmel Live with great interest tonight, as my roommate from college (and reigning fantasy baseball champion of the greater 90007 area code) will be in attendance. As I recall from my first two trips to the show, the only way you're guaranteed airtime is if you're blonde with a much nicer rack than you have, Tom. But good luck, all the same. :)

The last time I saw the show live, Queens of the Stone Age were the musical guest, and they stuck around to play a full set for us afterward. Pretty cool. They've got nothing on the musical act from my first trip, the Japanese boy band Happatai. I swear I'm not making that up. The show should be a pretty sweet one to attend, with Jay Mohr and Dick Vitale. And here I am, studying Torts. No really, I am.

Sample Property Problem

"Maury and his wife Povich both sign a deed conveying the property known as 'Ricki Lake' to their children--two sisters and a brother--as tenants in common: Sally, Jessy and Raphael. Ricki Lake is an artificial lake that is sometimes very full--so full, in fact, that it will sometimes flood the area immediately adjacent, which is an estate called Jerry Springs.  Though Ricki Lake can sometimes be exceedingly full such that it flows over its barriers, at other times it can be incredibly small.  This has not happened in many years.
 
Mont-El Williams, the owner of the adjacent Jerry Springs, is a Sephardic Jew whose father is a peripatetic rat salesman from Weehauken.  Because of his strict adherence to the Jewish Sabbath, he wanted no one crossing over his land to get to Ricki Lake from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  He felt so strongly about this that he proposed a contract with Maury to prevent anyone from crossing Jerry Springs for either ingress or egress to Ricki Lake on the Sabbath.
 
Maury, after speaking with Mont-El, signed the contract, which would render the path across Jerry Springs unpassable for those 24 hours each week.  Povich, Maury's wife, was irate, but she acquiesced.  Three years passed between the contract with Mont-El and the deed to Sally, Jesse, and Raphael.
 
Sally and Jesse both live on Ricki Lake and claim it as their primary residence.  Raphael, a producer of talk shows, keeps a studio on the shore of Ricki Lake, where he teaches karate and raises turtles.  After five years, he assigns his interest in Ricki Lake to his children, Michaelangelo, Leonardo and ICantRememberTheOtherOnesName.  Right about this time, Ricki Lake dries up.
 
Distraught over news that Raphael plans to leave the property, Maury and Povich ask Mont-El to seal the ingress-egress path over Jerry Springs.  He does so after consulting Maury's first lawyer, Con E. Chung.  Sally and Jesse have been planning to burn down Raphael's studio and invite the Los Angeles fitness and well-being guru, Bo Tocks, to teach classes on its smoldering ruins.  Raphael opposes this on principle and seeks to cross Jerry Springs and leave this hellhole behind."
 
What rights does Maury have to Jerry Springs?  To Ricki Lake?
 
What about Mont-El?
 
What about Oprah?
 

Sunday, July 18, 2004

One crappy week; or, only the numb survive

You know those scenes in movies where, in some altercation, a person will get kicked in the stomach, kneed in the groin, and then punched in the nose?  Well, this week in like one of those scenes, but played out very slowly, with special emphasis on getting kneed in the groin.
 
I'm not sure if there's any implicit symoblism in me putting the kick in the stomach first, as though it's somehow illustrative of Property II, but you must forgive me my paranoid search for bullsh*t meaning---it's Da Vinci Code-itis.  But yeah, Property is tomorrow, and with it comes a wave of easement-induced nausea.  That is, right after the covenant-induced coronary and the mortgage-induced ulcer.  Oh yeah, don't forget the exam-induced bomb threat.  Just kidding, Dean.  It's a little joke I have with the Secret Service.
 
But anyway, in that last night before a test, there's a choice to be made: do I cram on the substance or decide to devote time to properly aligning my chi for test-taking?  Hmmm, the chi involves barbecue at 6:30ish.
 
Here's to chi...and pass the creamed corn.
 

Friday, July 16, 2004

Free Martha!

5 months in prison, 5 months house arrest and 2 years probation, plus a $30,000 fine.  Poor Martha--the Man keeps beating her down.  Also, the story linked from Drudge (I'd link to it, but hey, I know you all check Drudge anyway) mentions that Martha Stewart was a model before she was an Emmy-winning TV host.  I don't know about that.  That's kind of like saying "Joe Montana, before he was a Hall of Fame quarterback, was President of France."  I dunno, kinda weird.  But hey, maybe Martha was a looker back in the day.
 
p.s. You know it's only a matter of time before "Free Martha" shirts are for sale.  Having gone to college in LA, I saw the Free Mumia crap everyday and the Free Wynona thing senior year.
 

The Last Hollando Party

I like to think that SoTheBearSays is or will one day be a Baylor Law School institution, a thing that people recognize, read, and talk about.  Perhaps even something whose editorship can survive even my own graduation?  You never know.  In any case, there is another seeming (some might say seemy?) Baylor Law institution--or at least a self-proclaimed one: the Hollando Party.
 
A quarterly fixture for quite some time, this Baylor Law graduate (he was a 3L when I got here) is famous, infamous, at least notorious for his post-Whatever parties.  I must confess I spent only about 5 minutes at the last one, which occurred not long after our beginning law school, but I had Honda Accord trunks to crawl into and other important things to do.  In any case, this is the final such party, and the whole law school is invited.  I suspect that includes faculty, though I'm sure their better judgment would preclude their making an appearance.   So...there you have it.  Hollando's post-bar exam whathaveyoufest. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Changing horses in midstream

I suspect there's some measure of continuity in studying for finals that develops in nine quarters of law school--a method, a routine, a system. Having only been through one round of these things, though, I don't think that I have quite found the most effective use of my time yet. Last quarter, I spent a week studying for Contracts, and then the two-day interim period before Property and CivPro. And frankly, my grades reflected as much. Pacing oneself is a delicate science and a very difficult task if you're like me. With Property on Monday, I feel like I need to study nothing but Property until then, since I'm nowhere close to where I'd like to be. If I do that, however, I know for a fact that I'll be severely under-prepared for my Torts exam on Wednesday. And Friday's Contracts exam? Messy duty.

So...I'm trying to discipline myself to follow the study schedule I've written--trying being the operative word. I'll be reading about easements and then my mind will wander and I'll catch myself thinking "damn, if I had been called on to recite such-and-such in Torts the other day, I'd've been totally boned." And so I end up frenetically jumping from Property to Torts to Contracts to Torts to Contracts to Property again. Hardly effective studying technique. And then, there's the actual content. Do I try to join a hypo orgy, to I make flashcards, do I memorize my outline, what? Last quarter, I did a mixture of all of the above and I was less than satisfied. This time, I'm going to try total-immersion/sensory-deprivation studying. Nothing but RSKs, a Torts outline and my Property notes. We'll see how that goes.

But then I made the mistake of starting 'The Da Vinci Code' yesterday after class...

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Messy Duty

God love her, but sometimes Prof. Torts says funny things. Hell, all of our professors say funny things. Today, however, (and yesterday, I'm told, in the other section) she mentioned the "messy duty question" addressed by the Texas Supreme Court in a particular case. Following that came the "murky duty," a slightly less obvious but more troubling variation, in my opinion.

And while I'm on it, I can't let these slips go, either. Prof. Property has been a source of joy, frustration, humor and enlightenment over the past two quarters, and today she made us laugh--though she didn't know why. In reference to restrictive covenants that prohibit parking cars along the street, she mentioned, rhetorically, of course, "the horrors--parking overnight in the neighborhood." Now, eliding 'horrors' into 'whores' isn't that much of a stretch for us immature law students. Nevermind these whores who park overnight in the neighborhood. Not as funny as messy duty, but we laughed. This, from the same professor who brought you: "you can do whatever you want on the land--like pitch a tent."

I've mentioned before how we all still chuckle about the Penal Code, even after a quarter of CrimLaw. Why is it that we all of the sudden revert to pre- and pubescent humor in law school? The homophonic properties of the word 'duty' shouldn't be that funny--but they are. That 'penal' sounds like 'penile' shouldn't make it a source of endless puns--but it does.

My guess is that since the law school environment so much resembles high school and earlier in other respects, our sense of humor goes there as well. Alas, just embrace it. I see a #1 hit in "Messy Duty" by Plan B...

The end, sort of, not really

Now is when I'm supposed to do some rhapsodic post about the last day of class for us 2Qs. The problem--aside from many who are in no hurry to return to certain classes--is that it doesn't really feel like the end of anything. Add to that the fact that we've already had TWO final exams, and the week just feels plain surreal. Contracts II is over, but we had an adjunct professor, so we have garbled memories of her and Prof. Contracts I. Property II is over, but we'll have Prof. Property again in a couple quarters for Consumer Protection. No real goodbyes there. Tort I's end simply means on to Torts II with the same cast of characters, and CrimLaw means CrimPro is up next. Again, not your average throw-the-books-out-the-locker days of yore. Well, YOU can. I won't stop you.

In law school, the last day of class simply means the first day of hardcore, fear-of-impending-doom, round the clock studying. Hmmm, I suppose that's a bad definition, as several folks have that regardless of class or finals. How about...in law school, the last day of class simply means the first day of not having to prepare for class in anticipation of getting called on. Hmmm, I suppose that's problematic as well, since some subscribe to that study method during the quarter. :) So I'll leave it at this:

In law school, the last day of class means absolutely nothing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Wizard

Two finals down, three to go. LARC II was today, and I dunno, you just feel that much better about things when your exam proctor is our beloved senior IT analyst and programmer guy. It's like a warm blanket of "it's ok, I'll be there to help you out, don't worry about it" that you can wrap yourself in as you enter citation hell. Like if your pencil breaks, you know he'd know about 87 ways to sharpen it...or build a pencil-sharpening robot to come fix it in about 2 seconds. As Prof. Contracts reminds us frequently, those men are wizards, the wizards who built the Law School themselves. Just two guys, a couple clothespins, some copper wire and a mainframe...and BAM!, you've got yourself a brand new building.

So anyway, yeah, two down. Bring it.

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Twelfth

It falls upon my friend Brendan (and his father) to remind me of important dates in Irish history, as my touch with the old country is not quite what it should be. Today is the 12th of July, the day that Irish Protestants celebrate as their 'Independence Day.' That day, at the Battle of the Boyne, the Protestant King William of Orange defeated the Catholic James II. So began the "Glorious Revolution," wherein the foundation of parliamentary rule and the modern monarchy were laid. (Huh huh...he said 'laid') Or so the Ulster Protestants say. :)

So...if you're Irish Catholic, go take a drink to the Republic, and if you're Irish Protestant, go take a drink to religious freedom. If you're Irish, period, go take a drink. And then another. And then another.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Something light

Here's a good laugh before the exam for all you typing folks. I'm sure this would be more funny to me if I was familiar with Extegrity.

About the final...I seem to remember a certain post-Contracts lunch at Ninfa's that didn't end until 4 hours, 6 'ritas and 1 pissed off bartender later. This "exams before classes are out" thing is cramping our collective style. :) Seriously though, good luck, guys--I'm gonna hit the LARC hypos for a little while and then go to bed.

Another Hymn Before Action

First Chapter Six, the basics--the actus, mens and cause.
(Acts must be voluntary or omissions of our laws.)
The guilty mind is four-fold, at least per six-oh-three
Plus old school gen. mens rea and strict liability.

Causation must be but-for and proximate as well
"Take up the rails," the flagman and the driver go to jail.
The law and sense are common on foreseeability--
Would saying that D "caused" it stretch credibility?

The Nineteenth chapter's deadly--"bad pun!"--now don't be snide.
That's murder and manslaughter and crim. neg. homicide.
There are three ways to murder, b(1), b(2), b(3).
B(1)'s straight up and b(2) is a serious injury.

The felony-murder doctrine in b-sub-3 is found
There's way too much packed in there to iambically write it down.
Sub-d governs a V.M. or murder mitigated
By sudden passion and so one degree less is graded.

The rest, just know your M.R.s, and apply them to the act:
"Big Jim lay covered up, killed by a penknife in the back."
An antiquated notion persists in manslaughter
In Texas when you're drinking and killing with your car.

And now the subtle science of CrimLaw gets unkempt--
Fifteen means crimes inchoate, we'll start here with attempt.
Acts in mere preparation don't constitute a crime,
But beware the mathematician, renounce and don't do time.

Conspiracy is dangerous, the groupthink evil deed,
For fortitude is nurtured plus anti-social greed.
And so we hold all guilty of acts in furtherance,
But such is Seven's story--and so cross-reference.

So now solicitation, a pre-pre-prepping act,
For once you suborn murder, you cannot e'er retract.
A final word, a small one, a game of pitch and catch:
When it comes to crimes inchoate, you cannot mix and match.

The game of the accomplice is dangerous per se
For once the game has started, you're stuck for the whole way
You stand inside the perp's two shoes, and then his "5 to 10,"
And then, if you're unlucky, his playtime in the Pen.

But what you need to know here is seven-oh-two's not
A crime, but just a theory--a theory of a lot.
Complicity is different, confusingly sometimes,
From crimes of the inchoate, for they are just those, crimes.

Alas, the clock is ticking--thirteen hours to go,
There's so much more to study and so much more to know.
Defenses and excuses, too many to describe,
But into mens-negating and not- I would divide.

A final word to all who--by pencil, pen or type--
Will take CrimLaw tomorrow, 1Ls of every stripe:
If you do feel uneasy, and worry you'll implode,
Just think of how much worse you'd be off without the Code!

On the way back for finals...

...and I forgot to get my suits dry-cleaned. This worries me.

The Cruel Camera

One last thing. Is it mean of me to post this picture of the new Miss Texas on the blog? I mean, it's the official picture and all from the official site, but man, it just doesn't seem right. Unflattering is one of the nicer words that comes to mind.

Also, the final results are in: Alexis was 7th. Congratulations Alexis, you looked great, performed beautifully and will be vindicated when Miss Texas goes out in the first round of Miss America, somewhere behind Miss Guam and Miss Puerto Rico (who actually lives in the Bronx, haha).

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Our hot student body

This is freakin' Texas, but the Miss Texas pageant isn't going to be run live. Now, ordinarily, this wouldn't bother me, as I'm usually on the set as swimsuit monitor. Since I'm in law school and unable to attend, I was counting on watching it live at 8pm. Oh, yeah, and I was also going to watch because OUR VERY OWN 2Q ALEXIS YOUNG WILL BE IN THE COMPETITION!!! That's right, UT and SMU (and all you other schools clinging to your accreditation), we've got the next Miss America in OUR class---and on our flag football and softball teams.

So, yeah, fellow Baylor law students, take a break at 10:30 and go watch Alexis kick serious booty. And no really, that's some seriously nice booty she'll be kicking.

Whipping out the Penal Code

So Prof. CrimLaw's going to let us take our Texas Penal Code into the exam. Sweet. He has, however, told us that we are not to have any additional markings in our book save underlining and highlighting (and one- or two-word notes like "Pinkerton," "M.R.," or "Is it just me or is Paige from 'Trading Spaces' kinda hot in a gymnast sort of way?"). What this means is that we the students just had a huge weight lifted from our shoulders. Most of us, however, will proceed to take that weight and form it into a big fat crutch.

Me? I'm wondering how much stuff I can cram into my penal code without running afoul of the Honor Code. Those scratchmarks on the inside cover? Nothing more than my casebrief for "Regina v. Martin Dyos" written in ancient Sumerian cuneiform. Crack that, Honor Code nazis, I dare you. And I hope they won't mind the cool flipbooks I made using stick people to demonstrate the inchoate crimes on the corners of my TPC...

Sequestration II

I am at the house is SA-town for the weekend studying. I'll be back in Wac-town on Sunday, on the way to which I drive through the NB, SanMarc-town, Aus-town and G-town. Ok, I'll stop.

In-flight entertainment

Congratulations to MS, the winner of our CrimLaw-a-thon pool. Prof. CrimLaw finished at 5:10.30, and she had 5:11. It was a close race there at the end, and for a brief moment, I was almost sure I was going to win when he started his "final" point at 4:42. I had picked 4:48. For the record, I think that since he finished his shpiel and began taking questions at 4:57, the person who had that time should be deemed runnerup.

I was looking back at the clock every 10 seconds like I had something in the microwave about to explode, and it was--I'm sorry to say--incredibly exciting. After two and half hours, I'm sure anything would be exciting, but really, it was like a horserace or something. This opens up a brave new world of in-class entertainment...

How many minutes into the lecture will Prof. Torts say "...a client walks into your office"?

How many times will Prof. CrimLaw either commit a hypothetical crime against Prof. Contracts or have Prof. Contracts commit a hypothetical crime?

And for my 1Q readers...how many times will Prof. CivPro say "traditional notions of fair play and substantial jusice"?

The betting possibilities are endless. We could also make up cards and play Contracts/Property/Torts/CrimLaw bingo...

Yeah, so, back to CrimLaw.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Prof. CrimLaw-a-thon

Titles like the one of this post make me wish I could make an exception to the no-naming-of-professors policy we employ here at SoTheBearSays. That said, today's the day. We start at 2:15 and go until the syllabus is finished, somewhere in the neighborhood of 4:30, says Prof. CrimLaw. As has been mentioned both in this site's comments and by the prof himself today, there is usually a pool as to the exact ending time of the monster lecture. I'd like to keep that venerated (or denigrated) Baylor Law tradition alive.

So...email me at chris_fahrenthold@baylor.edu or find me sometime BEFORE CrimLaw to place your bets. We'll ponder what the buy in price is tomorrow. Good times.

Lexis reality check

Let me start by saying the arms race between Westlaw and Lexis is a good thing for law students. Want more Lexis points toward your reward fireplace tongs or iPod? Tell the local rep how the Westlaw folks are giving rewards points like they're going out of style. Think Lexis training is taking too long? Mention that Westlaw had us out of here in 30 minutes flat. Very cool, the rivalry.

But what really gave me a panic was something that our very nice, very engaging Lexis instructor said about his law school experience. He mentioned that he really didn't want to practice law, but instead went to law school because of his interest in politics. How could a legislator really write law unless he'd studied the law? This is a line I've actually used on many an occasion, and I'm mildly disappointed that I got to it second (or third, or 1,938,038th). But then he mentioned that when he graduated and clerked, he really had to make some money to pay off his private law school tuition, and so he worked for a major travel website and then got the gig with Lexis.

Uh-oh. Do I need to rethink a few things? Time will tell. In the meantime, I hear Westlaw is hiring a guy to do balloon animals at the next training session...

Skipping class

Alright, here goes. I've wanted to do a big post about skipping class for awhile, but certain circumstances have kept my candor captive (oooh, nice alliteration). First of all, I think professors have to know that in a perfect world, most students would skip most of the time. This is a fact of nature. There is, however, a difference between the slacker mode of undergrad and the rigors of legal education. We students know that attendance at lecture is a valuable (indeed, invaluable) component of succeeding on the final. This point is especially driven home by the nature of law school grading, namely, that it all comes from one exam. Therefore, students miss class in one of two ways, a calculated fashion or a miss-the-alarm fashion. The latter are, by definition beyond deterrence. Students that miss in a calculated fashion have weighed the costs and benefits of attending class that day and have decided that their time would be better spent doing something else.

Today, many people thought their time was better spent writing their LARC motion than preparing for class. I would submit, respectfully, of course, that hey, that might be the case. The argument of "you shouldn't have waited" is a valid one as a matter of normative student conduct, but it is inapplicable when the choice is not made in a vacuum. This is similar to the fallacy of "sunk cost" as a motivation for continuing with a costly and inefficient project. What I mean is, ok, so they shouldn't have procrastinated, but they did, so here's the choice. Miss a class or repeat LARC II. As a matter of course, law students of any stripe would miss class. But here's the kicker, and this is where I think it gets muddy.

Missing class is its own punishment.

That's never been in doubt. We know that when we miss a lecture, there's a whole bunch of information that we won't have. I even understand making students pay for their missing out on the Socratic portion of a lecture by giving them a socratic punishment the next day back. "What? You're going to miss my class? I'll have some fun with you when you get back." That's cool, it's part of the game. We know it, they know it, that's law school. But then there's the ex post facto quiz-giving. Not many people here? Let's spring an unplanned (not unannounced, mind you) quiz as a pro forma attendance sheet sign-in bonus. This punishes mass skippings but lets the habitual truant who happened to come today (hi, everybody!) off the hook for all his other nonfeasance.

Which brings me to my final point. Maybe. Baylor Law students are required to attend 75% of classes. [Massive lawblog first--a blatant admission of bad studentness] I've come dangerously close to my quota in one class, and yet I never missed Civil Procedure and skipped CrimLaw twice. Hmmm. Could it be the fear of in-class reprisal? Yes. But did I ever think that a prof would say "Ah, Fahrenthold's not here today, let's have a quiz." No, because that's unjust (and a bill of attainder, I'd argue :). Anyway, I'm saying that the existence of a 75% attendance requirement presumes the existence a 25% absence safe harbor provision.

Yeah, it's crappy when a bunch of students miss class, but they'll pay for it by not knowing Perseault v. United States as well or maybe by getting called on by a "heated" Prof. CrimLaw. That's the way it goes. But I don't know that I agree with the ad hoc and constructive docking of points by giving a quiz. That just doesn't seem fair.

Sucky

There was a lot that went on today, but I don't have the energy to post about it right now. We barely had a quorum in Contracts and Property, and Prof. CrimLaw saw enough empty seats to piss him off to the point of giving an impromptu quiz. (So did Prof. Property, by the way). Anyway, the motion, CrimLaw final, etc. made for a lousy day. Oh yeah, and Lexis training. The Lexis rep was nice, but I really don't think anyone could have made mandatory Lexis training at 5:30pm enjoyable to me. What I'm getting at, though, is that this was a sucky day, as most of the next 14 days will likely be. I'll post more when I get home, but if I'm in the library a second longer, someone's ALRs are going to get mixed up on the shelves. Haha. Put those in order. I'll just mess 'em up again.

Coming next: The Great Absenteeism Post of 2004

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

A close call

I had forwarded a request from a PC student for some 1Ls who wouldn't mind helping him out by serving on a PC jury. This student came up to me in the lounge and said I should be glad I didn't sign on--last night's PC trial got out at 2:30 IN THE MORNING! This goes in the "there but for the grace of God go I" file, as it could have been any one of us there on the day before our LARC motion. Luckily for us, we're selfish and uncooperative. :)

Seriously though, when Prof. PC goes home at 11pm and leaves Prof. Sentencing holding the bag 'til 2:30am, I think that's when my "volunteering" ass would call it quits. See ya, pals. One wonders if that would be an adequate excuse if called on the next day in class. It was clearly unforeseeable, served to edify the law school, and could be externally verified by the High Priest of the Law School himself. I say we recruit a test case...

Pray for Rain

We must not forfeit the softball semifinal. We must not fail LARC II. We must not get ejected from class tomorrow.

Pray for rain.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Gilligan

Prof. Property: So if the Skipper wants to establish an easement of necessity, he'll have to do it on the strength of Gilligan's grant. Any questions?

Student A: Ma'am, did you see the one where the Air Force was conducting target practice on the island?

Prof: Um, yes, but do you have a question about easements?

A: Listen, if you haven't seen that episode, that's cool, but you don't have to lie about it. I've got the DVD box set, so I'll know if you're BSing me.

Prof: Excuse me? I'm trying to teach class here, not talk about 'Gilligan's Island' reruns!

A: Then why are we talking about MaryAnn, Ginger, the Professor and the gang?

Prof: Because it's just a hypothetical! Does the Skipper have an easement?!

A: Well, he was on the bottom bunk, so I think the real question is whether Gilligan has an easement through the Skipper's personal space from his top bunk to the door, don't you?

Prof: What? Oh. Well, I suppose, but that's not what I'm talking about.

A: So what are you talking about? I just wanted to know if you've seen the one where--

Prof: (interrupting) ...where the Air Force uses the island for target practice, yes, yes, I've seen it.

A: Hey, I told you that part already. You're just trying to parrot back what I've already said to pretend that you've seen it. Come on, it's ok to say you're not a 'Gilligan's Island' fan. The scrumptrillescent John Denver isn't for everyone.

Prof: Bob Denver.

A: What?

Prof: Bob Denver was Gilligan, not John Denver.

A: Duh. I bet you don't even know who John Denver is.

Prof: I do too, he sang 'Rocky Mountain High.'

A: Oooooh, wow, good for you, you know one John Denver song. That was just a Peter, Paul and Martha cover anyway.

Prof: Mary. You mean Peter, Paul and Mary. And they sang Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane."

A: Jeez. I'm trying to talk about easements here.

A Tortious Ejection

You can't say that we didn't see it coming.

After a week of so of warnings about the consequences of unpreparedness, Prof. Torts' credibility was on the line. There have been several near-bootings in both sections of Torts, and a professor with a hairtrigger could have racked up quite a body count by now. Prof. Torts, however, has seemed loath to dismiss students who serve either actual or constructive notice of their failure to read for the day.

Last week, however, Prof. Torts said--in no uncertain terms--that no longer would the response "I didn't read the case" be allowed to stand without ejection. And what was the response to her very next question? "Ma'am, I apologize, but I didn't read this case."

Uh-oh. What's a law professor to do? Distinguish the instant case, of course--and so the student's mistaken impression about the assignment (rather than his conscious disregard of it--an ignoramus, not a gambler, as Prof. CrimLaw would say) earned mere stern words, social shaming and a promise of being called on next class.

Which brings us to today.

No distinguishing, qualifying or mitigating could be done, and so a different unprepared student became the first casualty of Prof. Torts this quarter. This was not, however, without some equivocation. One could see the professor's own struggle with impatient clemency and fear of losing credibility in the form of the "see me after class...on second thought, take a hike." While Prof. CivPro seemed to issue dismissals with relish (or at least not distastefully), I wonder if Prof. Torts' heart was actually in it.

But alas, a professor must keep his or her promises or risk never being believed, a burden I'm sure makes for some ery difficult (or perhaps just not fun) decisions.

For some people, though, kicking a student out of class is more like a spanking than a teaching tool.

Monday, July 05, 2004

SoTheBearSays...what?

Courtesy of the person who set up this blog comes a possible redesign of this space. I think it looks great, and a possible change in scenery could do the blog some good. So, anyway, it's just a thought.

Reason #4,204 that I don't miss LA

From our Torts casebook...

"Saska's reliance on 'Nola M. v. University of Southern California' is miplaced. There, early one evening, the plaintiff was attacked and raped on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC). The USC security department included highly trained armed security officers and unarmed community service officers. At the time of the incident, USC had eight officers patrolling a quarter-mile area while the Los Angeles Police Department had approximately the same number patrolling the surrounding ten and one-half miles. Plaintiff's expert found fault in the physical plan, number of guards and the way they worked, but could not say his suggestions for improvement would have prevented the assault. Consequently, 'Nola M.' is factually distinguishable and inapposite here. Unlike this case, it involves marginal misfeasance, rather than complete nonfeasance. However, more importantly, the record in 'Nola M.' does not contain the evidence of causation that exists here, especially the prior experience of Newport Annie's regarding the effectiveness as an apparent deterrent of a parking attendant."

I blame Arlene

Burleson fireworks had no Grand Finale. I blame Arlene.
Area cats are missing and suspected sacrificed in satanic rituals. I blame Arlene.
Like 7 cases in the reading for Torts tomorrow. I blame Arlene.

As a press secretary, at least I reliably stayed on message.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Beating the British (and everyone else) at their own game

Happy Fourth of July, everyone, the greatest day on the calendar. Canada Day, Victoria Day, Guy Fawkes Day, Whatever Started The Russian Revolution Day, we've got them all beat. Around the world, people know what the 4th means, and if they don't, we bomb them. Simple as that.

I guess Mexico's got Cinco de Mayo, but no one really knows which colonial oppressor THAT one was the triumph over. There's another one, I think, sometime in Septiembre. Anyway, what I'm getting at is, the date means something--a lot--to us and the world.

And...American Andy Roddick is currently tied 6-4, 5-7 with Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Men's Final. It's not the Fourth unless there's an American kicking ass at a British sport. 228 years ago, it was war. Nowadays, it's tennis and spy movies.

UPDATE: Roddick lost to the Swissman (is that what we call people from Switzerland? No no, Chris, we call them "pansies" or to be more precise, "Nazi sympathizers"). Alas, America still kicks booty. Also, for some reason beyond my technologically handicapped intellect, I couldn't view this post for the better part of the Fourth, notwithstanding the fact that I wrote it sometime around 11am. Hopefully you can read this, and if you can't, well, then, you're not missing anything.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Worst Job Ever

The guys that man the Westlaw 24-hour legal research chat thingy must have lost some bet with God or something. I can't summon to mind a job that can only be done with professional legal training that's worse than answering legal research questions from lazy, confused or lazy and confused law students. For instance, whether the 2003 Texas Celine Dion Karaoke Repertoire Exclusion Act has been affected by the Bring Back Pizza To The Student Lounge Amendment to the 2004 Loss Of Tenure When Seen At The Law School In Bermuda Shorts Act.

So yeah, maybe I'm completely misunderstanding the scope and requirements of the job, but really, it sounds like it sucks. The only thing that's possibly worse is a 2L summer clerkship with those folks.

Oh, just study for the final in the break

Hunker down, it's time for finals. CrimLaw in 9 days, LARC II in 10, and then the others shortly thereafter. It seems like just a couple weeks ago we were getting our grades and just last week that we had exam reviews...oh wait, that's 'cause it was.

But really, the transition from preparing for class to preparing for the final is beginning, and it seems way too early. In the interest of excising the miasma that our whole class is feeling with respect to the coming week or so, I'm going to bitch about this little scheduling snafu forthwith:

Thursday: LARC II motion due

Monday: CrimLaw final
Tuesday: LARC II final (AND CLASS AS USUAL)

First of all, the motion's gotta be due when the motion's gotta be due, and so it sucks that it's going to mess up my CrimLaw plans, but hey, that's what happens. What's worse, though is that after spending all weekend studying (practically) solely for CrimLaw, the rest of that day will have to be split between LARC review (yes, you read that right) and preparing for class. Now, I really do wear the Scarlet 'A' for 'absenteeism' in the 2Q class, but if I didn't, I'd consider saying "screw it" and not going to class on the Tuesday of the LARC final.

As it stands, I'll say "screw it" and still go to class.

Friday, July 02, 2004

The Commies at Baylor Law

It's the Fourth of July Weekend! That means fireworks, flags, and, um, LARC motions, CrimLaw final, LARC motions, and um, LARC motions. If you have to watch fireworks through the window of the library, then the terrorists have already won.

Immunity Day

Sometimes you get screwed. Sometimes, however, you get hosed. Today, we got screwed with a hose. Of all the days to have the Immunity Day fundraiser, the scheduling gods picked a day where the 2Qs have one class with a participating professor. And even then, some sort of "mix-up" (by the same scheduling gods, perhaps? SoTheBearSays is reserving judgment for lack of evidence) resulted in an elevated price for that one professor's class.

I purchased no immunity, as fifteen dollars means many things better than not getting called on to me. A few of those things:

-1 pitcher and an undivided 66% interest in another pitcher
-5 Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches
-0.5 pairs of new flipflops
-5800 paperclips (imported from Bangladesh)
-1 small child (also imported from Bangladesh)

I about died when Prof. Torts called on two people WITH immunity stickers first, both of whom lacked the testicular fortitude to tell her so (one had the excuse of physiological impossibility). After I stopped laughing at the poor suckas who bought that crap for "charity," I rationalized it as probably meaning that the stickers were "immunity from being called on for case recitals." This should have immediately sent a chill down the spine of the not-quite-escaping-their-hangover crowd who counted on simply existing in class for 65 minutes to get their attendance credit.

But I'm going to chalk that up to Prof. Tortious nearsightedness in not being able to see the stickers, as she later said immunity was an affirmative defense to getting called on. Mad props to those who took the $0 immunity route called "skipping class." No chance of getting called on at home in bed.

The Funder and Plan B

Last night's Pre-Immunity Day Party was so...so...hmmm. There are no words to describe it, so I am forced to make one up--"scrumptrillescent." Last night's performances were scrumptrillescent. To really kickoff the show, one of the members of our 2Q band had everyone up with "Paradise City" the way it was meant to be sung--with lots of mic stand throwing and big hair. [ed. note-I dare you to follow that. No really, I dare you. God love ya, but "Summer Lovin'" just ain't badass enough--shoulda waited a little, kids. Get your manager on the phone.]

Oh yeah, by the way, much pizza and beer all around--two of the three necessary ingredients to a law school social event worth going to. The third, of course, is a quorum of the Spring 2004 starting class. Our zeal for life (oooh, that's a good word for it) coupled with our ample creativity (oooh, that's an even better way to put it) make for a real moveable feast of fun. But I digress.

Some time later came the ABSOLUTE HIGHLIGHT OF ANY OF OUR LIVES. If you missed it, there is a reason to go on living, namely the misplaced hope that it will happen again. If you saw it, kill yourself now, because nothing will be funnier. As no amount of words can do the scene justice, I will rely on as few as possible:

The Funder, surrounded by the women of the second quarter, sang Prince's "Pussy Control."

If you know him, you know how perfect it was; if you don't, well, skip this post.

Believe it or not, the night wasn't over. The aforementioned posse of 2Q hotties on "Baby Got Back" served as the warmup act for the debut of the GREATEST LAW SCHOOL BAND OF ALL TIME.

Though our announcer (through Freudian slip) introduced us as Sexual Chocolate featuring Mr. Randy Watson (which was just a name we played Jersey bars under during the summer of '86), "Plan B" took the stage to roaring applause. Our first two numbers helped us work out some of the kinks with the sound system just in time for the main event, our tribute to "The Fallen."

I'd post the lyrics to our song in remembrance of our comrades lost to the Baylor Law attrition monster, but really, some things are better left in the moment. That, and some lines just have to be delivered in person to convey accurate sentiment. I can say, however, that you might just hear it as an encore someday. You laugh, but hey, we got another gig. Can you say Fall Quarter Law Buddy Picnic? That's right, biotch. We're headlining.

Just wait 'til you hear a full set...