Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year.

I was going to write a semi-serious piece on my New Years Resolutions and law school and something like that -- but first I need to actually think about that stuff so I have something to say. In the meantime...


Instructions: Pick one each from column A, column B, column C, and column D. Put them together, and voila! Your very own exam question!


Joan Smith, a 45-year-old file clerk from Alexandria, Virginia
Your mom
Zeptar from outer space
Michael Jackson
My husband
A government official working in his governmental capacity
My son's third-grade teacher, while high on crack
A talking dog
A magic eighteen-wheeler

Spills hot coffee on
Gives an exploding toaster to
Breaks the leg of
Lands a spaceship in the backyard of
Intentionally inflicts emotional distress on
Runs over
Feeds copius amounts of McDonalds food to
Sneezes on

Herself / himself / itself
Your mom
The ghost of Oliver Wendell Holmes
Fifty Cent
Santa Claus
Karl Rove
The family dog
A room full of Jehovas Witnesses
Alvin and the Chipmunks

Who pays?
What would a judge do?
Write a fifteen-page memo describing the legal issues.
Imagine you are the clerk to Justice Ginsburg when the case comes before the court.
Argue for the plaintiff.
List all conflict pairs and resolve the relevant issues.
Distinguish this case from the relevant cases we have read in the course and decide a ruling.
Discuss policy implications for deciding the case in either direction.
Dump all of your torts knowledge onto the page and somehow pretend you've answered the question.

You have three hours. The exam begins now.
Some breakfast reading: an article about bagels in the New York Times that has made me hungry.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Waddling Thunder has some recipes on his weblog for risotto and dumplings, in an attempt to present ideas for a diet consisting of smaller portions of really good food.

His posts have inspired me to share what I have seen in my year and a half at law school. If you've ever looked around a law school campus and wondered how you could look like the students there -- frazzled, tense, and borderline paranoid -- now, for the first time, you can learn the secrets to the physical side of law school success. Why more workout tapes are filmed on law school campuses than anywhere else.* Why the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog was filmed on Harvard Law School's campus.** Why lawyers live longer than virtually anyone else.***

* = Not true.
** = Definitely not true.
*** = Nope.

The (Secret and Amazing) Law School Nutritional Plan: "For A New You to Sue!"

Seven cups of coffee, black
(For extra benefit, make the coffee too hot, spill it on yourself, and sue somebody)
Institutional donut, glazed

Twizzlers (from vending machine)
Eight more cups of coffee, black.
Caffeine pill

Pre-wrapped cafeteria sandwich, extra mayo
Three 20-oz. bottles of Diet Coke
Institutional donut, glazed
Ballpoint pen, by accident

Potato Chips (from vending machine)
Four more bottles of Diet Coke
The bitten-off head of a little baby bird

Cup O'Noodles (Beef flavored), uncooked (boiling water takes too much time)
Bowl O'Cheese, for calcium
"Coffee Cola" -- four cups coffee mixed with three bottles Diet Coke, plus five tablespoons Red Bull and a shot of Vodka

Repeat DINNER as necessary throughout the evening


"Law School Salad" -- the weeds growing outside your window, use the window moisture as dressing (no time to cook or go to the store -- need to study!)

"Mystery Meat" -- either from cafeteria or from dumpster in front of the library that you can quickly scour in your rush to make it to the circulation desk before the old exam answers are stolen and secretly altered by a classmate

"Recruiting Bonus" -- all the mini egg rolls you can eat without retching, at any of eighteen receptions per evening

"Recruiting Bonus 2" -- all the "Coffee Cola" you can drink, FREE at these receptions!

"Recruiting Bonus 3" -- rejection letters on toast. Delicious.

"Recruiting Bonus 4" -- blood from a lawyer's eyes. Just wait until they've been awake for 60 hours straight and it's a vampire's feast!


Turning a page in a casebook burns 0.04 calories. Read a 1000-page casebook and burn 40 calories! Amazing!

Monday, December 29, 2003

I saw "Stuck On You" with a friend this evening. The Farrelly brothers movie about the conjoined twins. Eh. There were definitely funny lines. There were a good number of times I laughed out loud. But it just didn't hang together. The second half dragged. It was scattershot -- some jokes hit, some jokes missed, and there wasn't an overall solid coherence to it. Or at least that's my opinion.

Five Things I Would Not Want To Be Stuck On

1. The fence of a house about to get hit by a tornado
2. A fat person running on a treadmill
3. A bed of nails
4. The roof of a retractable dome stadium as it's retracting
5. An about-to-explode grenade

Sunday, December 28, 2003

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR LAW STUDENTS (a follow-up to yesterday's Professor Resolutions):

"No more ripping pages out of books in the library just to flummox my classmates."

"I will only play Spider Solitaire once class has actually started, and not beforehand."

"No more using my purported legal knowledge to convince distant relatives to transfer their assets to me."

"I will buy my casebooks this semester instead of just stealing them from the handicapped kid."

"No more sleeping through Wednesdays."

"I will start outlining at least one day before the exam this time."

"No more masturbating to pictures of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It's just wrong."

"I will not assault any more members of my study group."

"No more pretending to be British. It's not funny anymore."

"I will tell at least one of the four firms I've accepted offers with that I'm not going to actually work there this summer."

"No more using the copy code I got because I'm a professor's research assistant in order to photocopy my behind and send it to all of the people on my professor's mailing list on his stationary with a personalized note."

"I will go to at least as many classes as there are months in the semester."

"No more showing up 20 minutes late and leaving 20 minutes early for a 45-minute class."

"I will re-read the contract I signed when I sold my soul to the devil prior to recruiting season."

"No more taunting my friends at unaccredited law schools because their casebooks have large print and color pictures."

"I will donate one day's salary to charity this summer. Or not."

"No more spending my free time doing "research" for my "paper" on how easy it is to illegally download movies before they are even in theaters."

"I will not file any frivilous lawsuits this year."

"No more cheating on my Lawyer Ethics exams."

"I will stop making New Years resolutions I know I can't keep."

Saturday, December 27, 2003


"No more telling students my office hours are at a certain time and then purposely not showing up just to frustrate them."

"I will not steal any more exam questions off random law-related websites."

"No more eating beans and drinking prune juice right before class."

"I will actually plan my lectures in advance this semester instead of just making stuff up as I go along."

"No more letting my three-year-old daughter grade my exams for me, except when I'm really tired."

"I will stop lying to my class about the holdings of cases, even though it's a lot of fun."

"No more LSD."

"I will make an effort to learn my students' names, at least the ones I like."

"No more purposely excluding certain pages from reading assignments and then testing on them later."

"I will not just assign my own books because I want to get the royalties when they're not in any way relevant to the class materials."

"No more removing the copies of all relevant study materials from the library and hiding them under my desk so no one can find them."

"I will show up on time usually sometimes, or at least not too late."

"No more jokes about the handicapped."

"I will shower before class so the students in the front row don't get nauseous."

"No more dating the students, except for the really hot ones."

"I will try to keep my political opinions to myself, or at least not grade the exams too much based on whether or not the students agree with me, unless it's an issue I really care about."

"No more telling the students how much money I make and then laughing."

"I will not write the syllabus while high on amphetamines."

"No more using the final exam as a chance to get a hundred free papers from students relevant to the outside consulting work I'm doing."

"I will stop making New Years resolutions I know I can't keep."

Friday, December 26, 2003

All of the movies I've seen this year (I'm going by release dates -- probably a couple of movies released at the end of 2002 I saw in 2003), and the order which I'd rank them. There is no reason for this post, but just in case you're curious. I didn't think I'd seen this many until I made the list, although I guess 18 movies in a year really isn't a crazy amount, especially since I think I saw 5 movies in 2 weeks at one point this summer. I generally try to only go to movies I think I'll like (so my choices probably say as much about me as my rankings), but I would say I only liked the top 11 of the 18, and #10 and #11 are borderline.

1. Spellbound
2. Shattered Glass
3. Bend It Like Beckham
4. Elf
5. School of Rock
6. A Mighty Wind
7. American Wedding
8. Camp
9. Johnny English
10. Seabiscuit
11. Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star
12. American Splendor
13. Bruce Almighty
14. Intolerable Cruelty
15. Thirteen
16. Legally Blonde 2
17. Better Luck Tomorrow
18. The Matrix Revolutions

Heck, just because I'm curious how many movies I saw last year, while I'm at it, this would be my list for movies released in 2002:

1. Antwone Fisher
2. About a Boy
3. The Emperor's Club
4. Moonlight Mile
5. Spider-Man
6. The Rookie
7. Undercover Brother
8. Bowling for Columbine
9. Mr. Deeds
10. Hollywood Ending
11. John Q
12. 40 Days and 40 Nights
13. Kissing Jessica Stein
14. Sweet Home Alabama
15. About Schmidt
16. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
17. The Good Girl
18. Two Weeks Notice
19. Orange County
20. Tadpole
21. Igby Goes Down
22. Roger Dodger
23. Chicago

I'd draw my Like/Didn't Like line right below #16 I guess, although #13-#16 could probably just as easily be on the other side of the line.
A quick song for the new year. To the tune of "Auld Lang Syne."

Should all the cases be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should all the casebooks be destroyed
in days of post-test time
In post-test time, my dear,
In post-test time,
We'll burn the outlines to a crisp
In post-test time

Should all the rules that we had learned
Each unit we'll discard
Forget the hours lecture spent
In post-test time
And take your notes, my trusted friend
Delete the whole damn file
We'll toss the syllabus away
In post-test time

Thursday, December 25, 2003

A Christmas / Chanukah Gift for my readers (well, one of my readers, anyway).

I've got a 2004 Vault Guide to Law Firms that I don't need, and that no one who uses Amazon seems to want to give me $20 for. $34.95 retail value. And it's actually still sealed in the plastic -- I didn't realize when I bought it that we get online access through the Harvard career services website, and I ended up not even opening the paper copy. So this is brand new, and if someone is willing to pay shipping, it's a sunk cost for me and I'm happy to give it away and make someone happy.

If you want it, here's the plan: send me an e-mail with the subject line Free Vault Guide. I'll give it a few days, depending on the response, and I'll randomly choose one (the accounting firm of My Mom will audit the drawing, since I'll do it before I head back to school next weekend).
I'm back in NY, after what could most charitably be described as a very comprehensive security checkpoint at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris that delayed the flight by 3 hours. I have no problem with added security, I really don't, but I'd never seen it quite like this before. Once everyone was checked in and ready to board, they had the 200+ passengers line up, and one by one they emptied all of our carry-on luggage and re-packed it, did very thorough full body metal detector swipes ("can you take off your belt? can you take off your watch? can you take out your fillings?"), and scanned our shoes specially. This took 3 hours. Sloooow. But the plane didn't blow up, so it was all worth it.

I had the good luck to encounter an overly-friendly insane man to help make the time pass more quickly. I tend not to find myself making conversation with strangers very often. My grandmother is very good at this. I never really feel comfortable starting to talk to a stranger. But anyway, this guy saw me reading an English-language magazine (the British version of GQ, actually -- I figured when else will I get a chance to sample British magazines at no greater cost than their American counterparts, available with the 20 Euros I still had left at the airport's international newsstand) and took to opportunity to ask me if I thought we were at the right gate -- I did -- and then he launched into a long discussion of his life. He was engaged a while ago, but it didn't work out. Marriage is supposed to fun, he said, and they fought too much. He might go teach photography at the University of Texas, but they would have to offer him a lot of money. I didn't get the impression they've heard of this plan yet. He is a photographer. He carried a camera. He wouldn't stop talking. He just finished taking pictures on a movie set. He went to Paris for half a week to write a screenplay. Screenplays don't get written in half a week, I didn't say. He met a woman at the airport (before meeting me) whose daughter is a singer. He's going to write a part for this woman's daughter in his movie, and then she'll become a famous singer and he'll become a famous director. And then he's going to move to Alaska. With his fortune. And buy a house there. And eat fish. Have I tortured you enough?

But on the plane, I got to sit next to a rude French woman and the husband she tortures, which was much more entertaining. She got on the plane -- I had the aisle seat, they had the window and the middle -- and said something to me in French. I figured out what she meant and got up to let her through. She gestured to the overhead bins, screaming at her husband, and he tried to cram their bag in where there wasn't enough space. He failed. So then she pulled someone else's bag out -- a girl's knapsack, sitting behind me, and threw it to floor, stuffed her bag in, and then tried to cram the girl's bag back up there. She thought she succeeded. Three seconds after she let go, the bag fell and hit the girl in the face. The French woman screamed at her husband some more. No one apologized to the girl. They stuffed her bag back up there. Then the rude French woman argued with her husband about (I'm guessing) who would get the middle seat. Guess who? Poor husband. A bit of the way into the takeoff, they turned the lights off. I was reading so I turned my light on. She then did her best impression of Al Gore in a presidential debate, sighing and squirming and trying to shield herself from this awful light with her magazine, making uncomfortable faces and noises until I just shut it off. The food came around and they asked whether we wanted chicken or beef. She said beef, her husband said chicken, and she yelled at him -- I assume that she was saying how awful chicken is, or something to that effect -- I kept hearing the words for chicken and beef but could pick up nothing else. Neither one ate their food, and she said something about Americans. Four trips to the bathroom later, including one where she literally stomped on my pillow as I moved to let her pass, we were about to land. Her husband asked me if I was from New York -- it turned out he lived here for a year when he was young and could speak some English. His wife said something. "She says these are the ugliest buildings she's ever seen," he told me. Welcome to America. I hope the taxi driver rips you off.

It's actually too bad that these people were my last impression of France, because overall I didn't find the people any ruder than Americans, any smellier, any more worthy of mockery. They were fine to me, I guess -- although I didn't understand anything they said so who knows. They were notably less obese than Americans, but that may be because all of the subway stations involve tremendous amounts of stairs, and really the whole city is a walking city and everyone walks. So they get exercise. And I guess portions are smaller, although certainly I found them to be well bigger than ample and especially when each meal has fourteen courses.

The rude plane people are overshadowed by the relatives I visited for Christmas Eve dinner last night -- my cousin's wife's brother and his family, who are French. They were extraordinarily hospitable and pleasant, although for all I know they could have been making fun of me all night in their secret language code (I mean French, obviously). The food was unbelievable, including oysters and foie gras (two French delicacies widely available but expensive it seems). And a traditional French Christmas log cake (bouche), which, if compared to the American fruit cake is like comparing a chia pet to the Wrigley Field outfield. There are better analogies out there, I'm sure. I am still full, 24 hours later.

Apologies for the week-long focus on France, if you didn't like it. It's over now, and back to the usual stuff. Although I'm hoping that the downturn in hits this week is because of the holidays and people not being online rather than due to people not wanting to hear every detail of my vacation. Uh, maybe not. Anyway, more fun soon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The 1L Course Primer, Part 7 of 6. 100 Words About... LEGAL WRITING

It doesn't really count as a course, so I didn't really give it a number. Here, we learned how to use the Internet. And what gets italicized in a footnote and what gets written in small-caps. And how many lines we're allowed to put on a page in a legal brief, and what color the cover must be, and where the staple goes, and how many pixels are in a comma. Legal writing is a lot more like regular writing than anyone wants to admit. If you can regular-write, and regular-read the irregular-rules, you can surely legal-write. Don't sweat it.
Oh, in case I forget: Merry Christmas to anyone for whom it's relevant. And Happy Chanukah a few days late. And Happy Birthday, whenever it is.
Twenty-four hours from now, I'll be somewhere over Greenland.

I gave up my personal crusade to go to Paris and not visit the Louvre. Mostly because it's raining. I didn't actually buy a ticket and look at the exhibits, but I wandered around the lobby, looked at a map, walked around the gift shop, ate lunch in the cafeteria, checked out the famous Pyramid (it's lovely), and walked through the Louvre Mall, which features a Body Shop, Virgin Megastore, and 2 Swatch stores, or maybe just one with two entrances. I know I sound silly going to Paris and not spending three days staring at the magnificent paintings and sculpture -- and I don't at all deny their magnificence -- but, like I said earlier in the week, I just don't feel like I get anything out of looking at paintings. On an intellectual level I know I should, but for whatever reason I'd rather walk around a supermarket than an art gallery.

And so I searched out the nicest gourmet supermarket in Paris -- Le Grand Epicerie -- and wandered around for a while. Fresh squeezed juice appears to be an American thing -- all of the fresh squeezed juice in the supermarket had English labels. There was a stunning selection of refrigerated pastries that we just don't have -- charlottes and melbas and ednas (not ednas) -- as well as lots and lots of varieties of plain yogurt, but only a few varieties with fruit. Lots of biscuits and chocolates and breads and jams and cheeses, obviously. Not much frozen food. Not really all that many different kinds of vegetables. Lots of foie gras, but I think that was a function of the "gourmet" part of the supermarket. A huge wine section. Walking around the supermarket really was interesting. This is why the travel book I write is going to sell fourteen copies and end up in the bargain bins a week after it's published. Chapter 1. Supermarkets. Chapter 2. Books, CDs, and the cheapest souvenirs the city has to offer. Chapter 3. Street food. Chapter 4. Magazine stands. Chapter 5. Funny signs that wouldn't be funny if you actually spoke the language (today's observation: the copy shop sells Tampons! [really]). Sidebar, page 93. Museums, cathedrals, churches, monuments, and cemeteries, plus a small drawing of a monkey to fill up the blank space still left in the sidebar.

I pieced together another lunch of random parts today. The theme was, "it's my last day in France, but I'm tired of French food, so let me get more creative." At the Louvre Food Court, a magnificent 12-stall homage to the American suburban shopping mall, my choices were wide-ranging, from the Muffin Shop (there are no words for muffins or cookies in French -- they're American imports) to the Sushi Palace, to the Pyramid of Taco, to the Sicilian Pizza Jamboree (I'm making up these names, but the themes are accurate), to the Well-One-Of-These-Stalls-Should-Be-French-Since-You're-In-France Bistro, to the Hamburger Angioplasturie, to the Wok To The Louvre Chinese Buffet to the Pretend Indian Food. I chose the Spanish Tapas stall, which looked really tasty. And it was really tasty. I had cold fish in a lemony vinegar sauce, and scallops in a tomatoey sauce. 2 appetizers. Total cost, $5. Excellent. And an Orangina. Because I really like Orangina.

Two hours later, while walking down a lovely 13th-century shopping street, I had gelato, which is probably not French. Yogurt with mixed berries. It was possibly the best thing I've eaten all week, no joke. And I've liked the food here. But this was unbelievable. Maybe it was just because it's a little warmer out today than it's been, and I'd been walking for a while... I don't think there's any explanation needed though -- it was just really, really good.

The best thing about what I've eaten today? No bread. I'm tired of bread. There's too much dough in this cuisine. It's either bread, or pastry, or quiche... everything's made of dough. It's good dough, but a week of it is enough.

So -- I ended my tourist adventure by wandering around a street market, eating my gelato, and going into Disc King, a discount CD store that offered piles upon piles of Glen Campbell's Greatest Hits for $6 and the new Ronan Keating CD for $30. And that's about it. Then I went into the University Bookstore, looked at a couple of books of French comics that I did not understand, bought a small pen and pad to write down my observation that the copy shop was selling Tampons before I forgot, and got back on the metro. Tonight I go with my cousins to a Christmas Eve dinner at someone's house, and then tomorrow I fly home. Such has been Paris.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Law Professors
(that you can buy on the Internet)

Professor Civil Procedure
>"Class Action" (Movie, 1990, $4.99 used on VHS). Click here.
> Antique Ruler (for all those rules) ($27.00) Click here.
> Miniature lighted county courthouse ($43). Click here.

Professor Criminal Law
> Original 1962 Model Penal Code ($40) and a selection of commentaries (recently discounted -- really). Click here.
> Coin-operated electric chair. Click here to buy.Or here for more info.
> A gun. Click here.

Professor Constitutional Law
> Supreme Court Paper Dolls ($23.99) Click here.
>"Music to Download Pornography" ($13.99) Click here.
> Constitution Poster (13.60 Euros) Click here.

Professor Torts
> Body armor (to avoid injury) ($350 and up) Click here.
> Or, a helmet ($65 and up) Click here.
> Empire Torte ($44.99 small, $69.99 large) Click here.

Professor Contracts
>"Got Chickens?" mug (recall the Frigaliment case about what is a chicken) ($6.95) Click here.
> UCC T-shirt (10 Euros) Click here.
>"Mere Puff" (recall: ...when is someone not held to a promise? when it's mere puff...) ($24.95) Click here.
The 1L Course Primer, Part 6 of 6. 100 Words About... CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

For me, Con Law wasn't a 1L course. But for a lot of people it is, and I still need another day to fill, so it gets its own hundred words. If you think the Supreme Court's decisions make sense, you won't after a semester of Con Law. For every famous case the Supreme Court has heard, about abortion, or affirmative action, or school desegregation, or sodomy, you'll read a dozen others about banning out-of-state milk in plastic (but not cardboard) containers, or whether Maine can keep out foreign bait-fish. There's a lot of constitutional law out there. Have fun.

Monday, December 22, 2003

We had dinner tonight with a family that's friends of my cousins -- a man and wife and their 18-year-old son who has grown up in France but is thinking about going to an American university. I learned a bit about the French university and "grande ecole" system, which is different from ours. This kid, for example, is in a transition year before he will have to take a test to see whether he can go to the prestigious grande ecoles or will have to settle for a much less prestigious university, the end result being that his fate will be determined to a much greater extent than it is here by this one test. So his current program is structured much like a university here as far as coursework -- only there's a lot more of it... he's in class 35 hours a week plus homework, and the entire year enveloped with the pressure that he has to do well on this test at the end -- a content-based test as opposed to the more intelligence-aimed SAT. Sounds like a fairly unpleasant situation, actually. Not sure I have a point to make here, but I thought it was interesting an I'd share...
An attempt. This may not hit the mark.

Twas the night before the night before the night before Christmas
And all through the house
The presents were sleeping
For kids and for spouse
They were wrapped in the closet
With ribbons so tight
They were battery-powered
But not on tonight
They were resting and ready
In places they hide
For gift-getting people
With mouths open wide
To tear off all the paper
And throw out the card
To be shaken and rattled
Felt if soft or if hard
So the presents were resting
As you were asleep
And you hear little patters
From small little feet
As the closet gets opened
The wrapping gets torn
Guess it can't wait three days
Until Christmas Day's morn
But there's just disappointment
The feet go away
There are no presents there
For this creature that day
He comes back in the morning
You wake with the fog
And you see who was looking
For gifts
Was the dog.
You'll notice I posted a Top 10 List this morning trying to somehow connect France to Law School. So if the Paris reports aren't really your cup of tea (cup of the, in part-French), hopefully that (along with my daily 100 words about 1L classes) will keep you from being too annoyed at all the Paris talk. Only 2 more days of Paris and then I have some year-end stuff in mind I'm playing with.

Today's observations:

1. Best evidence to check what the name of your shoe company means in another language before putting up a big sign advertising it: "Brothel Creeps shoes." Really. Brothel creeps. I wish I'd had a camera.

2. Best evidence to check what the name of your toilet company means in your own language before writing it on your toilet: "Eclair" was the name of the manufacturer of one toilet I used today. My immediate thought: [juvenile humor warning] I hesitate to ask what that would make a chocolate eclair...

2A. More toilet humor. Note that toilet = bathroom here. My cousin, who's from France, told me that if I was thirsty I could just get some water from the toilet. She meant well.

3. I made Santa angry today. I was looking around a gourmet food store (art museums I hate, but I can spend a half hour walking around looking at food...) and there was a man dressed as Santa handing out a small free gift to customers. He passed me twice and gave me nothing. The third time I pointed and looked at him. He said something in French. I shrugged. He gave me one, but said some more things in French that sounded rude. Oh well.

4. I made a cheese store employee angry today. I walked into the cheese store, she said Bonjour, I said Bonjour, I realized the store wasn't that interesting, and I left. She came after me and said something in French. I said I didn't understand. She said she wanted to know if I needed any help. I said no, just looking. She muttered something in French that sounded rude. Oh well. I didn't do anything wrong, I don't think.

5. I looked in a music store today (the theme of my day -- looking in stores -- is becoming pretty apparent, isn't it) where they had $5 CDs. But these were not normal CDs. They were all "Britney Spears songs as sung by Maria Smith, or some name that sounds much more European than that. They had CDs like that for Britney, Christina Aguilera, U2, The Four Tops, the Bee Gees, Little Richard, Westlife, Robbie Williams, and more. If they'd been $1 I probably would have bought one just out of curiosity. My curiosity wasn't worth $5 though.

6. I went into a bakery and asked for an olive roll. The man put it in a bag and gave it to the woman at the register. She looked inside and said something, and I just nodded, and she gave it back to the man and he put a different roll in. And I paid. My first thought was that she'd seen some mold or something and was giving me a new one, which didn't sound very appetizing at all. But then I started eating it and realized it had nuts, not olives. So, I surmise: she must have said to me, "roll with nuts," and I nodded, and then she told the man he'd given me a roll with olives, not nuts, and so he switched it. So, because I nodded, I ended up with a roll I didn't want. Oh well. Just a roll.

7. But speaking of olives, another store I went in (yes, this really is all I did today -- walked around parks, and went into stores -- and got completely lost in the Latin Quarter and not even my map could save me until I stumbled across a Metro station about a mile away from the one I thought I was near) had samples out of chocolate covered olives. That sounds gross, and I doubted it when I saw the sign, even though the word for olive is "olive," but it was actually not bad. Really.
The 1L Course Primer, Part 5 of 6. 100 Words About... CIVIL PROCEDURE

Oh, man. Civil Procedure is the least accessible 1L class you'll take. Because we all have some idea of what a crime is, and what a contract is, but none of us (at least not me) has any clue that there are rules about what court you can sue someone in, and they depend on where you're from, and where he's from, and whether the case is about your car that rolled down a mountain from Vermont into New Hampshire. Or the other way around. Civ Pro is about court rules. I'm not selling it very well here, am I?
Excerpt from the popular travel guide, "Paris for the Easily Amused" (inspired by the utterly useless "Undiscovered Paris") 97

Secret #31: The tallest light post in Paris -- take the Metro to Rue d'Day Ouimet. Turn south. Walk three euros and seven degrees celsius until you find a narrow baguette. Go three forward, take two back. There, right in front of you, will be the tallest lightpost in Paris. Rarely visited (it's criminal!), this attraction is stupendous. The lightpost is 7 feet tall as compared with the normal 6-feet 9. Astounding. Budget 19 hours for this trip.
Ten Ways Law School Is Probably Different In France

1. No classes between 11:30 and 2:30; mandatory 3-hour lunch; and the cafeteria food is really good
2. People don't line up to register, they just all sort of gather and push their way toward the front of the line
3. Instead of Torts they take Tortes
4. Boulangerie -- Law School -- Patisserie
5. Everyone wears a scarf to class
6. Instead of pizza at their meetings, student organizations serve crepes
7. Bri-Bar, Nexis Lexis, and LestWaw!
8. There are garbage cans but everyone just throws his trash on the ground (I'm beating this dead horse, I'm sorry)
9. The law school is next door to an art museum (everything here is next door to an art museum)
10. All of the classes are conducted in French

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Today I went with my cousins on a day trip to Beaune, a small town about two hours outside of Paris that makes wine but not traffic signals. We got up at 6 AM to get to the Metro before 7 and to the fast train for out of town trips (3 letters -- stands for something -- but I can't remember. I'm tempted to go for the easy joke and call it the STD, but I won't. I'll just call it the train). So we got to Beaune, after a transfer in Dijon, where the train station sold mustard in a rainbow of colors. Pink mustard (red wine), white mustard (white wine), and green mustard (mold). The station also had a magazine shop with an "international" section. For some reason, Time and Premiere are the 2 American magazines they carried. The Premiere sales rep should get a raise. I bought neither mustard nor a magazine.

Beaune's train station is an unpleasant 15 minute walk from the town, which is actually surprisingly nice. There were a whole bunch of nice gourmet food stores, patisseries, charcuteries, gourmanderies, and stores that sell scarves (neckwooleries). Scarves are big in France. There was also an odd looking cafe that said "Non-Stop Restaurant." They were right. No one stopped. It was empty.

We went first to a hospital from the 16th century that's been turned into a museum. It was part of Beaune's Museum Trifecta, all available for one price, ostensibly to get you to forget that you hate museums and con you into spending all day wandering around looking at art. The hospital museum was somewhat interesting. Their brochure was offered in 10 languages, including Japanese and Norwegian -- I'm not sure why they were more accommodating in that way than anything I've seen in Paris, but whatever. The museum had restored the hospital's main room, which was a room full of fancy beds, basically -- the most a doctor could do in the 16th century was watch you die, I imagine. And they had on display all sorts of crude medical instruments from the past 5 centuries. Syringes, proto-stethoscopes, tooth-pullers, do-it-yourself-enema-instruments (really), hatchets, toothpick-looking things, blood-letting pans, and, of course, the most important medical tool back then, coffins. One of the rooms had mannequins of nurses caring for patients. This is where Paris is different from America. In America, there would have been real women dressed up as nurses from the 16th century, in period costume, churning butter and playing with leeches. But here all we got were big dolls. No fair.

Onto the art museum, where I once again was reminded I don't like art museums. The exhibit on display was all sorts of work by some guy I never heard of, mostly where he drew men and women but replaced the women's faces with funnels or cabbage or other stuff like that. My cousins thought the paintings were depressing. I thought he was trying to preach tolerance -- I love you even though your face is made of cabbage. I don't know.

The third museum was the wine museum, which featured a fascinating gallery of hoes and spades used in the fields. The hospital museum was really carrying the rest of the 3-pack. The art and wine museums were simply dreadful. At least the hospital museum let me use the word enema in context.

The most interesting part of the day was lunch. I tried snails for the first time. Honestly, I was disappointed. They're not strange enough. They taste like mussels or clams or any of the other stuff you might think they'd taste like. Same texture and everything. They sound like they ought to be weird and unusual and scary. But they're not. At least oysters are slimy and taste like ocean. They're interesting. But snails weren't really. I didn't mind them... but they're nothing to get excited about. Another cool part about lunch was that I didn't order dessert, but, for the second or third time in a restaurant here, they give you some small sweets anyway when they bring the bill. It is impossible to undereat here. Every meal is huge and good. Food on the street is delicious. Crepes mostly. Anything in any bakery -- mini quiche, any pastry, any sandwich -- is delicious. I can spend $5 and get a great lunch including dessert by eating things from street vendors and pastry shops. Awesome.

On the train on the way back, there was a little kid sitting behind me, probably 2 years old or so. Along with the wooden tray at every seat on the train, he had a glass baby food jar and a metal spoon. And he knew how to use them. I actually didn't mind the racket all that much -- his mother tried to quiet him down but couldn't, and chose not to take the jar and spoon away from him for whatever reason -- but the people around me got more and more annoyed. Which was fun to watch. I have a pretty high tolerance for children doing things that children do, actually. I mind much more when adults do things of which they ought to know better. But that's neither here nor there.

Another book recommendation -- Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon, a set of essays originally in the New Yorker about the author, an American, moving to Paris for 5 years with his wife and young son. Great writing. A lovely read. You'll wish you lived in Paris, had a young son, and wrote for the New Yorker. Really. All three. I promise.
The 1L Course Primer, Part 4 of 6. 100 Words About... CRIMINAL LAW

OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Pee Wee Herman -- we don't know their names because of their disputes about Property Law. Criminal Law is special because if you do bad stuff regarding contracts or property law, you just pay money. But in criminal law, you go to jail. And jail, from all I've heard, is not a fun place to be. In my criminal law class, we spent gobs of time talking about murder and rape, and no time at all on arson. Which I suppose is good, since I can't remember the last time there was an arsonist on CourtTV.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Someone has found this site by google searching "laxative torture." Gosh. I don't what they were hoping to find, but I don't think this is it. Anyway... more notes on Paris. Bill Bryson is a wonderful travel writer. His books are awfully funny, and awfully good. "In A Sunburned Country," about Australia, "Neither Here Nor There," about Europe, "I'm A Stranger Here Myself," about America from the perspective of someone living in London for 20 years, and not really a travel book as much as it is an Andy Rooney-style (but better, although I do like Andy Rooney oftentimes) set of commentaries (and is truly, truly hilarious), as well as a book about England ("Notes from a Small Island"), a couple of books about the English language, a small book about Africa, "The Lost Continent," about small-town America, and a science book, his most recent, "A Short History of Nearly Everything," that's as delightful a way to learn about science as anything I've seen. He writes really well. He's engaging even when he's not trying to be funny, and when he is trying to be funny, he's often very successful. I say all this for two reasons -- (1) if you're looking for someone new to read, give one of his books a chance and I think you'll like, and (2) honestly, when I'm writing this Paris stuff, he's the model I'm holding up in my mind as an example of someone who I think does this really well. So I just figured I'd let you all in on that. Anyway, here goes. This is longer than it needs to be -- I apologize for that. But hopefully it's interesting and worth the read.

1. Musee de la Musique -- After a hearty breakfast of four different varieties of cheese, I took the Metro to Parc de la Villette. All of the tour books I've seen say it's a lovely park, under-visited by tourists because it's out of the way and barely in the city. But it's home to the music museum, which I figured might be interesting (and the Cite des Sciences, which the guidebooks all like, and, while art museums aren't my thing, I figured anything with a giant 1000-meter squared geode IMAX screen had to be cool (I was hoping the brochure would say "12 stories tall" or something to that effect. I have no idea what 1000 meters looks like). But more on that later. I got to the Park -- I mean the Parc -- at 11:40 -- the museum opens at 12 so I wandered around for a little while and watched a soccer game where everyone playing looked extraordinarily skilled. Wandered back to the museum as it was opening, picked out the American tourists (the ones standing impatiently in line) from the French people (the ones throwing trash on the ground indiscriminately). This museum was stupendous. I know I had unkind things to say about Picasso yesterday, but the Music museum was fantastic. They had an headphone audio tour -- available in English, thank goodness -- that activated every time you passed a display. And there were lots of displays. There were 9 "suites" in the permanent exhibit -- making up a tour of musical instruments from the 1600s to the early 1900s -- from recorders and simple harpsichords and small violins to the more complicated things we have today. Musical samples from Beethoven, Mozart, etc, with context provided on the audio tour. Definitely worth it. Someone could have spent probably four hours in there if they'd listened to everything start to finish. The only downside was that the range of the headphones was small, so you only heard the music if you were standing right in front of the exhibit -- take three steps, and you lose it. So there was a lot of standing and listening and seeing how far I could stray and then walking back. This part of the museum was virtually empty, because no one comes to this museum anyway, and the people who do are probably there, I gathered, for the temporary exhibit...

...which was a huge and ridiculously comprehensive journey through the career of Pink Floyd. "Pink Floyd Interstellar," it was called, and looked like it was put together with great care. Listening booths, psychedelic lighting, posters, TV clips, and on and on and on and on. If I was a Pink Floyd fan, I would have been in heaven. Taking a stairway to heaven, in fact (that's not them, is it...?). The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should visit this exhibit to learn what they ought to do. I've been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the problem was it was too broad -- too surface -- this exhibit was deep and interesting and wonderful... if I liked Pink Floyd. A Billy Joel exhibit like this, I'd travel three hours and pay $30, no question. They had handwritten lyric sheets, actual instruments used, behind-the-scenes clips, props used in music videos, newspaper clippings, all presented in a very attractive and elaborate set of displays. Excellent stuff. Although I don't know why they chose Pink Floyd and not, say, the Beatles, or Bob Dylan, or Britney Spears. Yeah.

2. Science Center -- I wandered across the Park and found the Science Center, an enormous building. Grabbed a brochure. And realized I was all museumed out and didn't really need to see the exhibit on "Bamboo, an unusual Grass." That's right from the brochure. Also the odd "Scenes of Silence -- an exhibition experience, in silence, to develop awareness of non-verbal communication." I swear I am not making this up, but the brochure flags the "Scenes of Silence" exhibit as being "presented in English." Figure that one out. I appreciated the brochure, the walk through the parking lot as I looked for the cafe, and the toilet. But I decided I would save my 6 Euros and head elsewhere. I did pick up a card by the gift shop advertising the "Tenniseum" (great name), the museum of tennis. Be patient. I have more to say on that one later.

3. Next stop was the Champs-Elysees, a street filled with stores they have in America. Haagen-Dazs, McDonalds, Gap, Benetton, and the Virgin Megastore. I spent 27 minutes in the Virgin Megastore. Alert readers will make the ironic observation that I spent as much time in the Virgin Megastore as in the Picasso museum. Yes, yes, I know. It was interesting though -- I listened to French pop at the listening stations, amused myself by reading what the translations were of movie names in the soundtracks section, and found a curious section called "West Coast" that was filled with CDs by the individual members of the Eagles (Don Henley, Glenn Frey, etc), Chicago (Bill Champlin, Peter Cetera), and a whole bunch of Japanese import CDs of American country music songwriters who never had solo careers in the states. This was an odd discovery. There is some country music I like, and I'm reasonably familiar with the names of a bunch of the songwriters, because I look at stuff like who writes the songs I like. Apparently these songwriters, used in America solely for their songs and not their voices, release Japanese CDs that then get imported to France. For $1, I would have bought some, just out of curiosity. For an average of 33 Euros (40 bucks) each, I'll stay curious. Weird. Prices in general were pretty high. I was not tempted.

4. As I wandered down the Champs-Elysees, I saw a huge line in the street. I looked up and saw I was near a movie theater. The first title I recognized was "In The Cut." It baffled me for a moment why that would have a huge cult following in France, and then I realized that the poster for Le Signeur de Anneaux (forgive the spelling if it's wrong -- I scrawled notes on a receipt to remind myself of stuff throughout the day -- it's not that legible). I assume that means Lord of the Rings. Huge line.

5. Reached the Arc de Triomph, a huge archway covered in scaffolding. The real triumph at the Arc is figuring out how to cross the street. 13 streets intersect at the Arc. "And only one man survives...."

6. At this point, I began to think about buying a gift for my mom's birthday, which is just after the new year. A gift from Paris would be cool, I think. I'm a bad gift buyer, though, because (1) I like my gifts to be meaningful, and (2) I like my gifts to be cheap. And (3) I have a hard time buying things for people that I wouldn't want to get, and that limits my choices to thinks with food. :) Not really, but sort of. So I went into a gourmanderie, translation obvious, and looked around. Smoked fish, mustard, and duck liver all sound like terrible gifts. I will continue my search.

7. At this point I decided to venture off to the Tenniseum, prompted by the card I picked up at the Science Center. The card says there's 100 of something there. Exhibits? I don't know. Maybe tourists. I would try to be #101. The Tenniseum is such a popular attraction that it is not listed in any guidebook, and in fact is off the map in the guidebook I've been relying most heavily on ("Paris for Idiots," by a five-year-old). It took 4 trains to get there. I think the stop was d'Estination Final. So after I got to the stop the card insisted was closest, I looked around, and blessed with a terrible sense of direction, hoped for a street sign. I saw a street sign. It was ambiguously pointed (another 13-way intersection). I went unambiguously wrong. I found myself walking on a dirt road past apartment buildings, sure I was wrong but not knowing how to fix it. Eventually, after a giraffe crossed my path, I asked the only man in sight to help. I said "Pardon," and he said, in broken English, "You speak English." Yes, my pronounciation of "Pardon" was all it took. I showed him the map on the back of the card and he laughed. "You are North. This is East. This not accessible on foot." Thanks. "Return to the train station and try going right. You get closer." So I did. And I found myself walking through an empty park as it was getting dark. Passed a woman, asked for help. "Pardon." "I am sorry, I do not speak English." "Map?" She looked at it. "You can no get there on foot. Highway. Must cross. No foot." Aw, screw it. Back to the metro, I give up, no Tenniseum for me. Maybe the guidebook authors couldn't get there either.

And that is enough for one day. Sorry nothing about the law. I'm trying.
The 1L Course Primer, Part 3 of 6. 100 Words About... PROPERTY

Are you allowed to siphon water from the ground underneath your neighbor's property? Can you remove a stone wall on your land that just happens to be keeping the mountainside from collapsing and your neighbor's house from falling into the ocean? Can the government take your house away just because it wants to? Leases, covenants, and an arcane rule about not being able to leave property to people who may not come into existence until more than 21 years after you die (there's no way I'm getting that right) are just some of the fascinating things you'll cover in Property!
I stand corrected. Apparently entree means appetizer. I was thinking of entrer. Which means enter. My notes must have gotten smudged. :) One of the more interesting places I visited yesterday was the Musee de Publicite, which is close enough to English that even I could have a pretty solid guess what it would be about. They had an exhibit on the history of Air France and all of its advertising campaigns -- and, what was truly interesting, a multimedia component where you could sit down at a computer kiosk and watch a selection of French TV ads from the last 30 years or so. I spent a solid thirty minutes watching ads for beer, soft drinks, and chocolate. It was fascinating. The other thing I noticed was that French keyboards are all mixed up. The A is where the Q should be, for example. And there are all sorts of accent marks and carets and weird characters we don't have. But the A where the Q should be -- that really threw me off.

The Unofficial Guide to Paris tells me my planned excursion to the Music Museum and the Science Museum in a park on the edge of town is worth it, and should be less crowded on a Saturday than other things I might choose to do. I am not a good tourist. As you could tell from my observations on the Picasso museum, I don't love art museums. I have a tendency to speed through museums, not really interested in taking the time to look carefully at things. Especially paintings. I did the Museum of the History of Paris (which was anart museum, despite a name that indicates it mightn't have been) yesterday in 22 minutes, the Picasso museum in 27, and the Publicity museum was saved mostly by that kiosk. And at about 5 dollars a museum (this history museum was free), I'm wasting my money. Hence, in an attempt to be the only tourist ever to do so, I intend not to visit the Louvre. Really. And not to make a point or anything, just because I don't think I'll get anything out of seeing the Mona Lisa in a mob of hundreds of other tourists. And the museum of modern art, in a lovely modern building with the pipes and staircases on the outside, was lovely from the outside. But I just didn't have a desire to go in. The music museum today will hopefully be cool though, and the science museum. And, on a reader's tip, the Musee de somebody-from-the-19th-century on Monday. Jacquesmart-Andre, I believe. I don't know if that's his name or the place he shopped for groceries. I'll let you know.

This post has been less interesting than yesterday's, I think. Sorry about that. I'm better when I'm working off notes scrawled in the margins of my guidebook. "Subway handle -- detached penis" was one of my notes yesterday (see #6 on yesterday's post). If the woman next to me on the train knew English and saw me write that...

Friday, December 19, 2003

Notes on Paris:

1. Waiting for the bus, a woman propped her bag up on the garbage can. Went through her bag for something, found a piece of paper, a receipt or something, threw it on the ground. She literally had to make an effort to do that. Had she dropped it, it would have gone in the garbage can. My cousin said that's a good illustration of what French people are like.

2. If you pay 3.50 Euros at the Eiffel Tower, you can climb to the 2nd deck, and then take the elevator up to the top. For 6.50 Euros you can ride all the way up. I'm cheap. But here's what they don't tell you: 800 steps. Eight Hundred. Burned off a crepe or two, I hope.

3. Entree does not have anything to do with food.

4. If you want to know about Pablo Picasso, visit the Picasso Museum. It should be called the Picasso Stalkers Museum. Every letter he ever wrote or received, every doodle on the back of an envelope, every train ticket stub, daily calendars, shopping lists, newspaper clippings he had saved, dirty plates with half-eaten meals (kidding but only about that last one). Every picture of him anybody ever took. Insane! Who could possibly want to know all this. They have a newspaper clipping he cut into a funny shape probably out of boredom. On displaty as a "decouppage." They label each doodle with the type of pen he used! "Picture of an eye, Bic medium." I guess they had to justify the $6 admission.

5. I have a strange compulsion to try French sushi. Looks so out of place next to the four billion patisseries, boulangeries, and charcuteries. I have no idea what any of those words mean. But they're all over the place.

6. The picture on the train instructing on how to move the handle and open the door looks like a picture of a man reaching for his detached penis.

7. I figured out that I can judge whether or not I'm in a tourist area by the price of street crepes. At under $2 (I'm converting from Euros for you), I'm probably okay. At $3 or more, I just need to look at my map and figure out whether I've wandered back toward the Louvre again. s tehe price reached $4 in one spot, I found myself at what could best be called "The Overpriced Tourist Bazaar," a collection of wooden booths (think fleamarket stands only nicer) selling all sorts of crap no one would ever need. Small figurines, fancy scarves, foie gras, bads and necklaces, pretty hand-carved silverware, wooden airplane toys, more foie gras, crystal dishware and vases, marzipan fruits, wooden clarinets, costume jewelry, pashmina, "I Love The Louvre" t-shirts, $4 crepes, and more foie gras. I love to watch people spending money on useless things they don't need. Meanwhile, I wasted $2 because I had to buy a second metro token after I screwed up the first time and got stuck in the turnstile.

8. Doors here push when they should pull. If a crowded patisserie catches fire, no one's getting out alive. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The 1L Course Primer, Part 2 of 6. 100 Words About... TORTS

Whoops, I ran you over with my rickshaw. A tort is a wrong, an accident, an "oops." Like your toaster exploding, your hot McDonalds coffee burning you, or your doctor cutting off the wrong leg. Tort law deals with how we figure out whether someone is to blame for the lung cancer you got from smoking, and how much money you deserve because eating Burger King made you fat. Words like "negligence" become important. Words like "ambulance chaser" become important. Words like "asbestos" become important. The key here is civil liability -- money -- not criminal (jail). That's another course.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Live from a foreign country, where I have no new insights about law school or the practice of law. The crosswalks here are weird. And the Haagen-Dazs flavors are really different. These are my only observations today. Sorry. I'll get inspired later perhaps.
The 1L Course Primer, Part 1 of 6. 100 Words About... CONTRACTS

In Contracts, you learn about deals between parties to buy something, sell something, or do something. Basically it's about private law -- people making their own agreements, what it takes to make one of these agreements have legal force, and what happens when the agreements get broken. Contracts is cool because intuitively we all know what a contract is, and make contracts all the time. Effectively, it's a course about deals gone bad. You read cases, and you also wade through the Uniform Commercial Code, a collection of the "best practices" of contract law. This was my favorite 1L class.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

A quick note -- I'm heading to the airport to visit a cousin in Paris for a week (...I feel kind of weird saying I'm going to Paris... makes me sound much more, uh, cultured than I actually am... I haven't been to all that many foreign places... but he invited me to visit, and it seems cool, and I found a $300 flight, so why not...). He's got Internet access, so I expect I should be able to post as usual, but just in case you wonder why I'm posting at 4 AM, or if I miss a day because I'm waiting in line to see the Eiffel Tower, you'll know why. Actually, if I have any readers in Paris (sure...), I'd love to know what the cool stuff to see and do (and eat) is that isn't the obvious stuff in the guidebooks (the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre... although I don't have the patience for art museums..., the Leaning Tower of-- oops, wrong country).

PS -- Just in case I can't get to a computer to post, I've pre-loaded the system and set up Blogger to post something fresh each day at noon for the week I'll be gone. A 6-part series on traditional 1L classes. Nothing hilarious, but maybe useful for any 1Ls-to-be that are reading. Part 6 is funnier than part 1, just because I got sort of bored while writing them and had to amuse myself.
The rare post that isn't trying to be funny. A reflection on being a 2L. Sort of.

Last year, when friends would ask me about law school -- would ask if they should apply, even if they're not sure they want to be lawyers -- I would pretty much give them an unqualified yes. "Have a reason for going, know why you're there, understand what you're getting yourself into--- but I think there are lots of reasons to go to law school beyond being absolutely sure you want to practice law." After all, classes are interesting, the people are interesting, being a student is a lot more enjoyable than working at a miserable job, a law degree is a respected and nice thing to have, being a lawyer is an awful nice backup plan for anyone even if it's not their passion, people in all sorts of fields have law degrees, it's a better feeling to wake up in the morning knowing that even if the day sucks at least at the end there's a degree, as opposed to being at a job you don't think is leading anywhere and wondering what the heck you're there for and what you're really getting out of it. And who knows, there are lots of kinds of law to practice, and how do you know you don't want to practice law, and maybe you do and if you don't go to law school because you're not totally sure yet then you're missing out on the chance to discover your real calling.

All still good reasons, no doubt. But this year, I've found myself colored by the recruiting process a bit. Colored by life as a 2L not being as new, as fresh -- as all-encompassing -- as the 1L experience. It's easy to ignore the post-law school future as a 1L because there's so much other stuff to focus on. There's some degree of intensity and pressure, everything's brand new, everyone's brand new, the focus is on the present and whether you're learning civil procedure or not, more than it is on what you're going to do with the degree. But lately, when friends of mine ask if they should go to law school, my gut answer isn't the same pretty much unqualified yes. It's more nuanced -- "Do you think you want to practice law? Do you want to work at a law firm? Can you not think of anything else you'd rather do, be more excited about doing, feel is really your passion?" Not that I've discouraged anyone from going to law school. But 2L year has surprised me because it's been so much more -- I don't know -- vocational than 1L year.

We returned to campus in the fall and were immediately ushered into this on-campus recruiting process where, basically, you're deciding what you're going to do after law school, but in a world where the only choices are the 500 big law firms that come to campus. The handful of people who don't go through the process are the ones who are sure they want to do something else law -- public interest, the government, etc -- but most people do it, most people interview, most people (at least here, and I recognize that's not the case everywhere) get jobs somewhere. And so for about six weeks now everyone's had job offers, and there's this feeling that law school's done. That the next year and half is just playing out the string, none of it really matters, we're on our way out, we're finished here.

Which is a substantial flip from a year ago, when everyone was if not at least concerned about their grades and their reading and their law school experience, at least they were ready to acknowledge that it made some sense to be concerned and to care and to not be completely checked out emotionally from the whole experience.

As I write this, I'm realizing I started this post off with the wrong hypothesis. I don't know that my answer is different now when my friends ask about law school because of the "do I want to be a lawyer?" question. I think more than that, my answer is different because law school is less fun -- fun's the wrong word -- less stimulating, less engaging, less fulfilling when people are checked out. When people don't care. I'm as guilty as anyone else, I suppose. But it's just a different feeling. It's the bad job feeling -- the "why am I here, what is this accomplishing" feeling. Once you have that job offer -- and I think maybe even whether you want it or not -- the stakes are gone, the fear of falling off the cliff is gone, the edge is gone -- and that makes it a less rewarding place to be. And I don't know if there's any way around it.

Last year, I remember 3Ls saying they really did feel like the whole year was unnecessary and why were they there. And I dismissed it as people who just hadn't gotten enough out of the experience -- who didn't make enough friends, who didn't understand that being a student is not a bad gig, who were just too eager to graduate and start their firm jobs. But maybe it's more institutional than that. I don't know.

And I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, because I'm not -- by and large, I've enjoyed law school, and I'm glad I'm here. I just don't like the days when I wake up and wonder what the heck I'm doing and why this felt sort of important last year, and now it feels sort of like a charade. Not always, just a little bit, but enough to make me want to write about it.

So I just thought I'd share.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

E-mails I Didn't Receive From 1Ls About Exams

I was hoping you might be able to give me some advice. I just took my Contracts exam yesterday, and this morning I woke up in a cold sweat because I think I cited Frigaliment when I meant to cite Raffles. It was a really important part of the exam, part (g) of question 17, and even though I wrote in parentheses (the ships case) and not (the chicken case) I'm concerned my professor won't have any idea what I'm talking about and I'll get an A instead of an A+. So I was thinking that I would sneak into her office and replace my exam with a corrected version. I know exactly what hours she keeps, since I've been trying to visit her as often as possible and get in her good graces so she writes me a good recommendation for the 1L pre-clerkship honors program I'm applying for over at the local courthouse, and I've also befriended the security guard by baking him cookies so he lets me in to see her after hours -- so I'm sure I could get in. I could even use the key I mhad made when I took a plaster image of the lock on her door one day when I was bored. This way she'll know I knew the case. Do you think that's a good idea?

I need your help!! I just discovered that the version of Glannon's I've been using for Civ Pro is 6 months outdated!! I think the evil demons who attend law school with me must have gotten all of the current editions from the bookstore first, leaving people like me with these almost-useless old and expired versions!! Some people!! So I was hoping you might know offhand which of the rules of civil procedure have changed in the past six months, and whether I'm going to need to drop out of law school because I've been studying from the wrong book or if you think I can still squeak out a C and stcik around for one more semester of watching my classmates backstab me my doing their homework AT MY SEAT in the library, or raising their hands in class JUST WHEN I'M ABOUT TO, or stealing my boyfriend BEFORE I EVEN ASK HIM OUT!! It's horrible, these law students, they're all just awful. Luckily I am level-headed and normal. Just a typical reader of your weblog I'm sure.

I didn't know where else to turn so I thought I'd write to you. I was taking my law school exam, and I think I might be pregnant. You see, I was reading Glannon's for Civ Pro last night. But I was reading it naked. And all of a sudden I got so excited about Civ Pro, I mean really excited, I love Civ Pro, I really do. So I got really really excited. And now I think I'm pregnant with Glannon's baby. Really. Because I'm feeling these feelings right now while I'm taking the exam. These strange feelings. For example, I just threw up. And I'm eating my pen. Please help.

I don't know you, and frankly I never even read your weblog because it's really just not that funny. But I was wondering if you could send me your Criminal Law outline, your Torts outline, your Civ Pro outline, and your future first-born child. Thanks.

I am the grandson of a wealthy Nigerian businessman hoping for your help in converting my Nigerian bank account to an American...
(Thanks to Nate for this idea)

"This week on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: He's a deposed dictator living in a tiny hole in the ground. And using no moisturizer to boot! But the Fab Five get behind the mountain-man beard and take on their hardest challenge yet: Saddam Hussein."

" what I've done is I've added a whole wall of mirrors to the hole down here, because what mirrors do is they add the illusion of space. I've taken the ventilator and painted it a bright orange, and hung some photos of your family, since I can tell that deep down, you're a real family man..."

"...the beard has got to go, Saddam. We're going to add a few blond highlights to the hair, and I'm giving you this great mousse from Paul Mitchell that'll really jazz it up. And, if you want to eliminate those razor bumps, you've got to shave right after you shower, and always with the grain..."

"...even when supplies are limited, it doesn't mean you have to subsist on oats and barley. With a food processor, and some cocktail shrimp, you can turn the oats into a fantastic appetizer spread perfect on crackers. And, the barley makes a great alcoholic beverage once we set up your new home distillery down here and you let it ferment..."

"...the browns and the grays are out, Saddam. It's winter in Iraq, and that means dark blues, and rich greens. I've turned your military uniform into a fashionable pocket square -- and your medals into cufflinks. You may be a ruthless dictator, but you don't have to dress like one..."

" I got you tickets to see the Producers! And Rosie O'Donnell's brand new show with Boy George..."

"The Fab Five have never been faced with a challenge quite like this! Tune in to see Sad Saddam transformed into Hunky Hussein! This week on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy!"

(followed by Michael Jackson's new sitcom, "8 Simple Rules For Dating Your Teenage Son")

Monday, December 15, 2003

The Exam Post-Mortem... to the tune of "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Said the one-L to his one-L friend
Did you get what I got?
On the torts exam, question three
Did you get what I got?

A case, a case
Hidden in the book
With a footnote right on the mark
With a footnote right on the mark

Said the one-L boy to his study group
Did you get what I got?
Question three, part a, study group
Did you get what I got?

A point, a point
Public policy
Why our tort law has come to be
Why our tort law has come to be

Said the study group to the teacher's pet
Did we put what you put?
In your wisdom, you're teacher's pet
Did we put what you put?

A line, a line
Hidden in our notes
When the prof said this stuff was key
That's the point he wanted to see

Said the note to the students ev'rywhere
You will get your grades soon
There's a curve, pray that there's a curve
You will get your grades soon

That case, that case
Should have seen that case
With a footnote right on the mark
With a footnote right on the mark...
Someone got here by searching for "jurisprudentially octopus" on Yahoo. I'm as clueless as you are. Is there a class on the Law of the Sea?

I watched the Survivor Finale tonight. Hard to care when you've only seen two or three episodes. Hard to care anyway. But the life of a 2L done with exams is not a life with many obstacles standing in the way of watching the Survivor Finale, so I figured why not.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Upcoming law-related movies and TV:


Julia Roberts stars in a brand-new film, "Mona Lisa Copyright Infringement." In this thriller, Roberts paints a beautiful picture of the Mona Lisa, and then is shocked to discover someone already painted it, hundreds of years ago. Oops! A worldwide manhunt ends with Roberts discovered in a six-to-eight foot spider hole with ventilation deep in the farmlands of Iraq, with a shaggy beard. DNA evidence proves it is her, and she is tried in an international criminal tribunal for her copyright violations. Co-starring Judge Judy, who hopefully will also be starring in the Saddam Hussein trial, if the U.S. government has any idea what makes good international war crime tribunal television.

Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear star in the brand new comedy, "Stuck On Rule 501," a rip-roaringly hilarious story about the Federal Rules of Evidence. As Siamese twins, the court is forced to ask whether it's really hearsay if there's no doubt the witness was right there at the scene! Hijinks ensue.


"Will a beautiful supermodel find love in a Sears Prize winner, or will she settle for an average-grades Joe?" That's the question that NBC asks in season two of "Average Joe: Joe goes to law school." Sixteen B-students compete for the heart of a beautiful woman who scored a 120 on the LSAT. But when three former Sears Prize winners are added to the mix, who will she choose? Watch as the contestants compete for her love in moot court!

And then there's the new "Tracy Morgan Show," which is just criminally bad.
Wow, looks like they've got Saddam Hussein. His DNA tests, besides proving that he's actually Saddam, also proved that he is indeed the father of the baby. Yes, Saddam's a dad. No, I don't exactly know what the joke is I'm trying to make, and how to make it a little bit funny. Sorry.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

A friend of mine has already suggested forming a study group for some classes we've got spring semester. Apparently just a panic reaction after an exam she had yesterday that didn't seem to go as well as hoped. Although you never know given the curve. In any event, forming a study group before you've bought the books, before the start of the class is even in sight, before you have any clue... would seem to be planning a bit too far in advance. I actually didn't have any sort of study group at all for any of my classes this semester (and hardly did last year except to go over some practice exams). I didn't make any outlines, I didn't re-read the entire semester's assignments... I mean, I studied -- I did some practice exams, read a 1000-page Con Law treatise (seriously -- and I think it's the best thing you can do for a class where you think you understand a lot of the pieces, but don't see how it all fits together, and want to really get the subject in your head and figure out what all the parts are -- I read Singer's Property treatise last year and found it super-helpful [also helped that Singer was my professor] and for Con Law this year I read Chemerinsky's book... obviously I won't know if it did good until I get my grade, but it felt helpful... much more helpful than making an outline, or reading someone else's outline, or reading a Gilbert's or any of that stuff...), made a short "checklist" of issues for each class, made a list of everything we read and one sentence about them (cases, theory, etc) -- but beyond that I didn't really feel like a whole big outline or a study group would have been all that useful. So that's exam advice from a 2L's perspective. Probably different from what I said last year, a little bit, but not that much I don't think.

I took the bus home to NY today. The "Chinatown bus" -- $10 Boston to New York (cheap!), took about 5 hours, pretty uneventful, and not a Chinese person on it, I don't think. It was pretty much all student-looking people, young working not-wealthy people, and a few middle-aged people who probably just liked the fact it was $10. Two people sitting in front me were talking, apparently they both went to Tufts. One of them looked around -- I guess didn't see anyone performing brain surgery or anything like that -- and says to his friend, "I bet we're the only two educated people on this bus." Thrilling people, I'm sure. I guess no one else dressed up enough for them. The guy across the aisle from me, I could tell from his loud cell phone conversation, is at Harvard Medical School, and hopes he didn't catch the flu from the sick patients he's been around all week. And as he said that, everyone within earshot got a panicked look in their eyes. Although better than if he'd said "Ebola" or something like that.

One more random story -- I passed a sign for a church selling gifts, they'd put up signs all around the building. One of the signs said, "Get your family the gifts they've been dying for." The sign was on the fence next door to the church. On the fence of the cemetery. :)

Friday, December 12, 2003

You may have heard about the Paris Hilton video, but I bet you haven't heard about this one...

Harvard Law Review Sex Video Making Rounds On Internet
Associated Press

The prestigious Harvard Law Review reportedly has a sex video making rounds on the Internet.

In a statement issued to The Associated Press, the Vice President of the century-old legal publication based at Harvard Law School said he was embarrassed and humiliated, for himself and for the entire organization, and never expected the video that was made for private use at the Review's 23rd annual Winter Sex Party would ever become public.

"I feel ashamed, especially because my parents, my professors, and my friends have now all seen me naked," he said in a statement.

The Law Review made the video last week at the annual Sex Party, a celebration traditionally held after the December issue finishes production, the culmination of weeks of long hours, grueling work, and compulsive footnote-checking. The Social Chair is typically in charge of purchasing supplies for the party: drinks, snacks, and, in this case, a camcorder, tripod, and a blank Sony VHS cassette. It is unclear how the tape found itself in the hands of major media outlets, but since rumors of the tape began last week, the video has made its way onto the Internet and is now the fourth most popular Blockbuster rental.

Lawsuits from fourteen different parties have resulted since word of the sex tape surfaced, including from the Law Review's faculty advisor, who claims emotional distress from coming home one day to find his wife watching him and the eighty-six members of the Law Review engaged in a wild sex romp on the third floor of the Law School library.

One thing that has surprised watchers of the video is how the Law Review was able to hold such a wildly successful sex party when the Review is made up of 65 men and just 18 women. Reportedly, the third-year males had first pick, and the second-year students just had to "make do with whoever was left -- girl, guy, or legal dictionary," said the Review's Recording Secretary.

On the tape, moans can be heard from all directions, as well as the names of no less than eleven Supreme Court justices, including Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, O'Connor, and Frankfurter.

Five members of the Law Review have already accepted offers to pose for PlayLaw magazine. The school is reportedly investigating the party to ensure that all Massachusetts laws regarding Sex Parties were complied with.
Just handed in my last exam a little while ago. So, ignoring this odd little winter term we've got in January where we take one class for three hours a day for three weeks, I'm halfway done with law school. Weird. Seems like I just started.

I'll come up with some sort of gimmick to note the halfway mark -- advice, or a top ten list, or something -- but nothing's come to mind yet. Brain kind of fried from 3 eight-hour exams in the past 4 days.

In the meantime, you can check out the NY Times Magazine's Year In Ideas, like I'm about to do. Or wait twenty minutes and I'll tell you whether it's worth reading or not.

EDITED TO ADD: I'm about a third of the way through. It's interesting, but I wish there was a better way to read it than to have to keep clicking. I've lost patience. I'll return to it later.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

To the tune of "Locomotion"

Everybody's livin' by a brand new law now,
(Come on baby, read the Constitution)
The top of the preamble down to Article 4 now,
(Come on baby, read the Constitution)
My little baby sister knows there's freedom of speech
My little brother knows the way the House can impeach
So come on, come on, read the Constitution with me.

You gotta trust them states now
Come on baby, appoint, elect
The founding fathers were correct

Regulating commerce, oh it's so much fun now
(Come on baby, read the Constitution)
Spending power, taxing power, either one now
(Come on baby, read the Constitution)
Rights are fundamental under many a clause
We have a right to privacy but no one's found a cause
So come on, come on, read the Constitution with me.
Addition to yesterday's Con Law Critters -- "The Lochnerss Monster" -- makes sense if you've taken Con Law. He mostly leaves people alone and lets them do whatever they want. Then his girlfriend Carolene chews him up, spits him out, and leaves him on the side of the road for spectators to look at and then turn away.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Studying for Con Law has inspired me to create a cast of characters fit for a new show on the Cartoon Network, perhaps called "Constitutional Critters" -- or perhaps not.

"Commerce Claws" -- as his name implies, he has giant claws. He can use these claws to snatch back people moving across state lines, or pluck them out of the pipes and sewer systems I think of whenever I think about "channels of commerce." Unfortunately for Commerce Claws, his wife had a terrible accident a few years ago and is in a coma. So you could say she's Dormant.

"Wanda Mentalright" -- obviously she's from whatever foreign country allows her to pronounce her W's like F's, that goes without saying. But beyond that, she is quite a woman. She has two boyfriends. And, let's just say, her personality when she's "under" Doop Rawcess is just a little different from when she's "under" E. Qualp-Rotection. They're very different men from each other. In ways I can't even begin to describe without opening my casebook first.

"Ray Shnelbasis" -- is very easy to step all over. He's the pushover of the group, the guy who'll always defer to whatever everyone else decides. He'll eat wherever, he'll do whatever, as long as it's not too radical or strange.

"S. Rick Tscrunity" -- is Ray Schnelbasis's evil twin. He works as a bodyguard, and nearly nothing gets by him. He blocks stuff from getting by.

"The Alien" -- comic relief. An actual alien! Who is entitled to public school! Imagine the hijinks an alien can cause IN PUBLIC SCHOOL!! Especially when paired with his teacher, Mr. Brown, who spends all day trying to make The Alien play with all of the other children -- you know, in a nice integrated classroom. It's HILARITY!!! (Will Ferrell is the voice of The Alien!!!!)

"Ty Mplacemanner" -- he loves to make rules. Oh how he loves to make rules. I think we write him off after the second episode. He's not so much fun.

"Rita Travel" -- she goes on trips to states, collecting welfare benefits and voting. Very exciting, and a great device for getting us to new places quickly.
Funny post over at Wings & Vodka about exam software that doesn't let you access your hard drive. We don't have that stuff here. They trust us. And the exams are mostly open book anyway so what's the difference.
Apologies to non-baseball fans for this one. According to the NY Daily News, the Mets may pursue pitcher Miguel Batista:

Instead, the Mets have spoken multiple times with Miguel Batista's agent... it's likely he would fall within the Mets' price range. Batista - who writes poetry and kept a picture of Albert Einstein in his locker - is also the good-in-the-clubhouse type the Mets typically like.

I've read articles before that mentioned Batista being unusually learned for a baseball player, or something like that. Actually, I'd like to read some of his poetry. In the alternative, I can just make some up of my own:

Selections from "The Bad Haiku Journals of Major League Baseball Players"

(Pedro Martinez)
Come closer, bald man
Let me throw you to the ground
And lose the Series

(Greg Maddux)
Eleven long years
And they've cut me loose like this
Arbitration. Sigh.

(Vladimir Guerrero)
Offer me contract
Someone, please, I'm really good!
No, I really am!

(Jesse Orosco)
I've found the secret
Of playing ball forever
One fastball a week

(Curt Schilling)
I don't want a trade
How I love my no-trade clause
Oh please please trade me

(Mo Vaughn)
A baseball is round
I am pretty much round too
I eat round baseballs

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Prof. Brian Leiter, a professor at UT with a weblog of his own, writes about the "recommendation letter code" and how they're all too inflated and over-the-top. He links to an interesting article here with more on the topic. Leiter and the article are both referring to recommendations for professor-ships, but it's all the same. Reading this stuff inspires me to parody.

Recommendation Letter For Law Firm Job from Law Professor

Dear Hiring Partner,

I teach a hundred and fifty students a year, and am lucky to remember six or seven names outside of class. So when Jack Simmons came to my office and asked me to write him a letter of reference, I must admit I had no idea who he was. I did not know if he was a 1L, 2L, or 3L, whether I had taught him in Contracts, Corporations, or in my Tennis workshops on the weekends, or whether perhaps I had once seen him in the library and had accidentally acknowledged his existence. Nevertheless, when he told me how much he had enjoyed having me as a professor, and especially how I went out of my way to be accessible to students and really get to know them as people -- and when he handed me a copy of my book and asked me to autograph it for him -- I instantly remembered the fine young man who had been one of the star pupils in my class last semester. Some professors employ the Socratic method in class and challenge their students to think on their feet -- in those classes, professors can often get a good sense of who the brightest of the bunch are, and which students are more like dullards. I, however, enjoy hearing myself speak more than most, and so I conduct my class exclusively as a lecture and never take questions. This allows me to form impressions of my students based on looks alone. And Jack is certainly a spiffy dresser, although his hair is a bit too long and he could use those toothpaste strips that make teeth just a few shades whiter. But these flaws do not obscure the fact that he was always attentive, often on time, and sometimes awake during my class. There was no other student in his seat besides him, and that is certainly saying something if it's saying nothing at all. So, needless to say, I was as delighted as a professor who knows none of his students by name could possibly be when Bill came by and asked me for a letter of recommendation. I told Bill I would love to write on his behalf, if he could be so kind as to send me a copy of his resume. And he did -- quite promptly, I should add -- but I have unfortunately misplaced it, so I have little more to say on that subject. But I have heard of your law firm -- I make sure to keep up on events in the legal world, although I have never practiced law a day in my life and wouldn't know a motion from a magic potion, from a genuine emotion, from moisturizing lotion, from love and devotion to my profession, and I have certainly heard your firm mentioned in long lists of other firms when students I overhear talking are talking about alphabetical lists of law firms appearing on papers they may have seen. And based on this knowledge, I find it hard to believe anything more than I believe that John would make a wonderful addition to your firm and not disgrace you any more than he has disgraced the name of this school, which I don't believe he has, at least as far as I'm aware. I do so appreciate your taking the time to read my award-winning prose, and hope it has proven to show that Sam is definitely a student here, at least as far as I'm aware, and I see no reason not to offer him a job, although I currently have no openings or else I would most surely consider it.

Best wishes, and a happy Arbor Day from a colleague who never even bothered to take the bar,
Professor Harry Fitzwhipple
One down and two to go. No problems, just an exam. My post this morning was just to write something. No panic.

After every exam I always feel like whatever studying I did wasn't really all that helpful -- especially for an open book exam -- pretty much everything I was able to come up with I would have been able to come up with a week ago, and really nothing I could have done all week would have changed that all that much, I don't think. That's neither a good thing nor a bad thing, just an open-book exam thing, I think. Because really, if I think about it, it's a lot more efficient to "study" after you see the questions than it is beforehand. There's an argument for studying hard...

Everything seems further away when there's three feet of snow on the ground that have turned into slush. Slush looks like it should rhyme with Bush but it doesn't. Weird. Makes writing song parodies harder.

I feel bad for Lieberman now that Gore endorsed Dean. I mean, he picked him to be his running mate but now he won't support him for President? That seems unfair. Clearly the depth of my political thought on this matter is astounding.

After an eight hour exam, it's really hard to do anything useful.

This post is boring. I'm sorry.

Anyone want a bankruptcy casebook? Real cheap. I'll throw in an outline.

P.S. You can read my thoughts on NBC's "Average Joe" finale over at en banc. You can also read some other interesting stuff I didn't write. It's about the law and stuff like that I know nothing about. :)
forty minutes until i pick up my first of three eight-hour exams this week
fifty minutes until i read the first question
fifty-two minutes until i panic
fifty-five minutes until my first of fourteen bathroom breaks
fifty-eight minutes until i read the question again
one hour and two minutes until i vomit
one hour and six minutes until i realize i've vomited on the exam and can't read the question
one hour and nine minutes until i run out of paper towel cleaning it up
one hour and nineteen minutes until i return from the store with more paper towel
one hour and twenty-six minutes until i read the question again
one hour and forty-five minutes until i start to outline
two hours and fifteen minutes until i take my lunch break at 10 AM
three hours until i realize i'm eight percent with the exam and have used up thirty percent of my time
three hours and fifteen minutes until i cry
three hours and twenty minutes until the ink runs on the exam from my tears and i can't read the question
four hours until i accidentally fall asleep during question three
five hours until i panic
six hours until i cry again
seven hours until i start to print my answers
seven hours and one minute until my printer gets stuck
seven hours and fifteen minutes until my printer gets unstuck
eight hours until i fall in the snow on the way to hand the exam in
eight hours and forty-one minutes until i hand the exam in one minute late and fail the class


Monday, December 08, 2003

Christmas Song Titles For Lawyers

1. Silver Bills
2. Away in a Courtroom
3. Frosty the Partner
4. Winter Bonusland
5. Do You Bill What I Bill?
6. I'll Be In The Office For Christmas
7. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and now Daddy needs a divorce lawyer
8. Hark the Paralegals Sing
9. Jingle Bills

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Google searches that have brought people to this site in the past 24 hours:

>>"Bankruptcy exam answers"
>>"Free short outlines"
>>"Model Penal Code"
>>"Billy Joel hobbies"
>>"Medic alert keychain"

I wish I could help with #1, don't really have much of selection with #2 (although someone did e-mail me last week asking if I'd e-mail her my crim outline from last year...), sold back my casebook that had #3, have no idea about #4 although I imagine that reading my weblog isn't one of them, and really hope that whoever was looking for #5 wasn't too upset by what he or she found here instead.

On that note...

Top five Google searches by law students nationwide:

1. "Answers to my upcoming exam" and "that none of my classmates can find"
2. "Default on your student loans" and "legally"
3. "Evidence professor" and "naked"
4. "Britney Spears" and "wishes she was dating a law student"
5. "Legal ethics class" and "free term papers"

Saturday, December 06, 2003

I've switched over from studying Constitutional Law yesterday to studying Bankruptcy today. Or at least to pretending to study while I stare out the window and watch the snow fall. Snow. Ooh. Mesmerizing. Bankruptcy, impossible as it may be to believe, is very hard to make fun of while still making sense to people who aren't taking bankruptcy (there's only so many times I can use the word 'discharge'). I'm trying. I'll come up with something. Eventually.

In the meantime, now that I've finished classes for the semester, I have a small complaint. Professors, at least a substantial number of them, seem averse to wrapping up the course with any sort of summary, any wise words to put all the pieces together, any overarching thoughts about the 12 weeks of material we've just slogged through and what it all means. That bothers me a little bit. I realize it's probably largely a function of time -- that there's so much material they have to squeeze in that they can't leave any time at the end for any sort of summing up -- but surely we could have lived without that forty-minute discussion from the third week of Constitutional about why it's illegal to wrap someone in an American flag and light them on fire when it's not illegal to wrap someone in an American flag, and it's not illegal to light an American flag on fire. Surely. So instead of a half hour of wisdom from these professors in these subject areas they all know an awful lot about or else they wouldn't be teaching them, they all end class with some variation on:

"And that's just another case in the line of cases that brought us to that point in the doctrine that you read about last night in the casebook, and, oh, look at the time, I guess that's it for the semester. Bye!"

It's not too much to ask, is it?

Or maybe that's what the exam is for. To see if we can sum it up ourselves. Hmmm. Oh well.
It's snowing! Quite heavily, in fact.

Friday, December 05, 2003

When I was a kid, I had a book I think was called "Sniglets," or something like that. It was a fake dictionary for made-up words that ought to be the kinds of things they sounded like. I just did a yahoo search to check and find an example -- I'm right, it was called Sniglets -- for example (this isn't mine; it's from my yahoo search): Burgacide -- when a hamburger can't take any more torture and hurls itself through the grill into the coals. Anyway, they generally weren't that funny but at least they were trying to be.

In that spirit, as I muddle my way through Con Law, I've been inspired to come up with some fake definitions for the names of parties in some cases we've seen. My definitions have absolutely no relevance to the law, or what the case stands for. These are not mnemonic devices and will not help you (or me) in any way. I'm just trying to liven up the day. Bonus points if you actually know what any of these cases are about. 'Cause I don't.

P.S. I thought this would turn out funnier before I started writing it. My bad. Although towards the end I get a little punchy, so don't give up if the first few have you rolling your eyes.

Dagenhart = German for "Valentine's Day." Also a popular German frozen yogurt manufacturer. The raspberry flavor is especially tasty.

Hodel = The sound that people who can't yodel make when they try to yodel and fail miserably. Also the place where Scandanavian homeless people live.

Yakus = An eskimo festival, usually involving seals and ice skating. Or ice skating seals.

Bendix = What's left of the pencil eraser after you've fallen prey to the compulsion to rip most of it off the end of the pencil.

Schenck = To throw dirty dinner plates across the room hoping they'll land in the sink without shattering into a million pieces. Seems like it would usually be pretty unsuccessful.

Beauharnais = The ritual I assume is practiced by upper-class families of taking one's spouse-to-be on a horse ride with the rest of the family, on some large estate in the country. Like that scene in the movie "Stepmom" involving horse riding. Yes, I've seen the movie "Stepmom."

Gertz = To trip over the sidewalk for no apparent reason (as in, "I'm glad no one saw me when I Gertzed, because I looked pretty stupid.")

Hudnut = [definition has been deemed too offensive to appear here -- use your imagination]

Chaplinsky = The guy who presides over a Russian funeral.

Posadas = Taco Bell's new healthy offering, involving no cheese, no sour cream, no meat, and no shell. Tomatoes and lettuce, wrapped in a piece of newspaper.

Tornillo = Taco Bell's new unhealthy offering, involving extra cheese, extra sour cream, a dollop of lard, three pounds of beef in every bite, and a deep-fried chocolate-covered candy shell. Very popular, actually.

Red Lion = Taco Bell's new beverage offering, basically iced coffee with guacamole.

Lyng = The piece of vomit that hangs from your mouth after you throw up upon eating any of the new Taco Bell offerings described above.

Yick Wo = My reaction when I see my Con Law grade, as in "Yick! Wo...."

Wing Wong = The sound of me hurling off the roof after I see my Con Law grade.

Zablocki = The sound of me hitting the pavement after the Yick Wo and the Wing Wong.